Great news for fans of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Beginning this coming Sunday, and continuing through to the conclusion of the season on Sept. 15, TSN or TSN2 will televise all the 2012 IndyCar races, most of them live.
And the bonus coverage around the Indianapolis 500 in May is almost enough to make a grown man weep. Not only will we get to see the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but extended coverage of Pole Day qualifying is planned, as are the final hours of Bump Day (when cars already qualified for the 33-car Indy field can be bumped out by faster cars) as well as Carb Day activities two days before the big race when final practice for the 500 as well as the Indy Lights Freedom 100 classic can be seen.
I know there’s a tendency to criticize TSN and other broadcasters for perceived slights when it comes to coverage of auto racing (and I’ve been down that particular road a time or two myself). But at the end of the day, folks, this is more than good: it’s pretty damn good.
Two of the series’ 16 races are in Canada – the Honda Indy Toronto and the Edmonton Indy – and a rising star is young James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., who took over the Go Daddy-sponsored ride at Andretti Autosport when Danica Patrick left for NASCAR.
(Hey, Don Cherry! The IndyCar Series has an Ontario guy, which is more than can be said for the Maple Leafs!)
Here is an overview. As always, I direct you to "George’s TV listings for race fans," which can be found on the home page of wheels.ca, for a quick reference as race weekends draw near.
First up this coming Sunday is the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It can be seen live on TSN (and ABC) at 12:30 p.m.
Then follows the Grand Prix of Alabama on Sun., April 1 (TSN2 at 5 p.m. – a delay of three hours), the Long Beach GP on Sun., April 15 (live at 3:30 on TSN2) and the Brazil race from Sao Paulo on Sun., April 29 (live at noon on TSN).
May means the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 (live at 11 a.m. on TSN) plus – and I talked about this earlier – bonus coverage: Pole Day qualifying on Sat., May 19. starting at 11 a.m., Bump Day qualifying on Sun., May 20, starting at 5 p.m. and Carb Day practice/Firestone Indy Lights racing starting at 11 a.m. on Fri., May 25.
The Indianapolis race is the beginning of five straight weeks of competition. On Sun., June 3, the Detroit Grand Prix will be seen live on TSN2 at 3:30 p.m. On Sat., June 9, live at 8 p.m. on TSN2, the twin 225-mile races from Texas Motor Speedway will be seen. On Sat., June 16, the race at Milwaukee will be seen on a delayed basis at 5 p.m. on TSN2 (but will be live on ABC at 1 p.m.). On Sat. June 23, the last race of the five-weekend grind will be held at Iowa Speedway and can be seen live at 8 p.m. on TSN2.
July brings us to the Honda Indy Toronto, which will be televised live on Sun., July 8, from the CNE in Toronto on both TSN and ABC starting at 12:30 p.m. Two weeks later, on July 22, the Edmonton Indy will be seen live on TSN at 2 p.m.
The three races scheduled for August will be televised – delayed until 5:30 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 5, from Mid-Ohio on TSN2 (but live on ABC at 12:30 p.m.), live on Sat., Aug. 18, from China on TSN at midnight and live on Sun., Aug. 26, from Sonoma, Calif., at 4 p.m. on TSN2.
The season wraps up in September. The Grand Prix of Baltimore will be seen on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend (Sept. 2) on a delayed basis at 11 p.m. on TSN2. The season finale from California Speedway will be live, however. It can be seen at 8 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 15.
I can’t get upset about the Baltimore race – which is the longest delay of the season with no alternative. I mean, it’s Labour Day weekend. I’ll be at a race somewhere. Maybe even there!