VERSUS SUPER-SERVES MOTORSPORTS FANS WITH MORE HOURS AND NEW ON-AIR TALENT FOR 2011 IZOD INDYCAR SERIES SEASON
NEW YORK (March 21, 2011)—VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the IZOD IndyCar Series, today announced its coverage plans for the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series season, including live race telecasts of the Firestone Indy Lights series as well as a weekly one-hour studio show called Inside the IZOD IndyCar Series. In total, the network will air more than 140 hours of IndyCar Series coverage throughout the season, giving racing fans more action than ever before. All IndyCar Series telecasts will be produced and available in HD.
VERSUS will air 12 live races during the 2011 IndyCar Series season, beginning Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m. ET with the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from Barber Motorsports Park. For the first time ever, VERSUS will also expand the IndyCar Series live television window from three to five hours to include live coverage of eight Firestone Indy Lights races, giving up-and-coming IndyCar racers a chance to showcase their talents to a national audience.
In addition to five hours of live coverage on race days, the network will premiere a new one-hour studio show on Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. ET, set to debut on May 3, called Inside the IZOD IndyCar Series. The show will discuss the hottest IZOD IndyCar Series topics and the hosts will be joined on set by some of the top newsmakers in the sport. The show will also focus on social media to be able to interact with racing fans and will be re-aired each week.
VERSUS' commitment to super-serving motorsports fans extends far beyond the live races as the network will air qualifying events the day prior to each race, encore coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series races on Mondays as well as more than 17 hours of qualification events leading up to the Indianapolis 500. VERSUS will also kick off the season with a one-hour special called Crashes and Conflicts on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. ET.
The network will also introduce a new group of on-air talent with an incredible amount of on- and off-track experience for the 2011 racing season in addition to Mike Wells as VERSUS’ new director for all its IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. A multi Emmy Award-winning director, Wells has directed more hours of motorsports than anyone in motorsports history, most notably with NBC and TNT's coverage of NASCAR.
In the booth: Returning as VERSUS’ lead race announcer is Bob Jenkins, a veteran motorsports television and radio announcer who has served in the same role since the inaugural season in 2009. Jenkins was also ESPN’s lead motorsports anchor for its stock car and open-wheel racing coverage from 1979-2003 and has worked for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network in various capacities, including chief announcer.
Jon Beekhuis and Wally Dallenbach Jr. will join Jenkins in the booth as the network’s lead analysts. Beekhuis, an analyst with VERSUS since 2009, is a former driver in CART (1989-92) and the 1988 Indy Lights Champion. Beekhuis has also worked as a pit reporter during ESPN, SPEED, CBS and NBC CART/Champ Car broadcasts before moving to the lead-analyst role in 2007. Dallenbach, a former NASCAR driver from 1991-2001, joins VERSUS after covering NASCAR for NBC Sports and Turner Sports since in 2001.
Covering the pits: Marty Snider and Kevin Lee join Lindy Thackston this season as pit reporters. Snider comes to VERSUS after serving as a reporter for ESPN’s NASCAR Today (1994-1997) and NASCAR’s coverage on Turner Sports since 1998. In addition, Snider worked as a pit reporter for NBC Sports’ NASCAR broadcasts from 2000-2006 and continues to work for the network as a reporter for various sports, including NBC’s Sunday night NFL pre-game show, Football Night in America.
Both Dallenbach and Snider were part of the award-winning NBC/TNT NASCAR team that won an Emmy in 2006 for "Outstanding Live Sports Series."
Since 2001, Lee has served as a pit reporter and announcer for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network’s coverage of the Indy 500, Brickyard 400, United States Grand Prix and Red Bull Indianapolis GP and is the co-host of ‘Trackside,’ a weekly podcast for 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. Lee has been an IndyCar Series pit reporter since 2004 and has worked as a pit reporter for VERSUS’ coverage of Firestone Indy Lights and IZOD IndyCar Series since 2009. Thackston, an experienced motorsports reporter, returns for her third season of IZOD IndyCar Series coverage on VERSUS.
Veteran announcer Robin Miller will also join the VERSUS crew as a motorsports insider for the network’s pre-race coverage and will appear as an in-race reporter for select telecasts. Miller is a regular correspondent for SPEED and has written for Autoweek, The Indianapolis Star and Car and Driver Magazine, among others.
VERSUS’ IZOD INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE FOLLOWS (subject to change, all times ET):
April 10 Barber Motorsports Park 3:00 p.m.
April 17 Streets of Long Beach 3:30 p.m.
May 1 Streets of Sao Paulo 12:00 p.m.
June 11 Texas Motor Speedway 8:00 p.m.
June 25 Iowa Speedway 8:00 p.m.
July 10 Streets of Toronto 2:00 p.m.
July 24 Edmonton City Centre Airport 2:00 p.m.
August 7 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2:00 p.m.
August 28 Infineon Raceway 4:00 p.m.
September 4 Streets of Baltimore 2:00 p.m.
September 17 Twin Ring Motegi 11:00 p.m.
October 2 Kentucky Speedway 2:00 p.m.
NBC Sports Network, part of the NBC Sports Group, is dedicated to serving passionate sports fans. Now in nearly 80 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the Summer and Winter Olympics, National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France and the 34th America’s Cup , and beginning in 2013 the Premier League and Formula One . In addition, NBC Sports Network features college football, college basketball, college hockey, outdoor programming, horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup , Fight Night boxing, Ironman, the Dew Action Sports Tour and USA Sevens Rugby. The network is also home to original programs such as Costas Tonight, NFL Turning Point, Caught Looking, NBC Sports Talk, Pro Football Talk and The Dan Patrick Show. NBC Sports Network is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.
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