Road America, Phoenix and Boston added to 2016 IndyCar schedule

IndyCar will return to Phoenix International Raceway in 2016 for the first time since 2005.

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With three new venues offsetting three races that were eliminated from 2015, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series sees the same number of races as it had this year with 16.

The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule was officially released on Tuesday. The season will last five weeks longer than it did in 2015 because the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has been moved up to March 13 and the season will conclude at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 18.

The cornerstone event on the schedule is the 100th Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

The most diverse schedule in motorsports features five races on oval tracks, five on permanent road courses and six on temporary street circuits.

“Overall, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is another key step forward in INDYCAR’s strategic vision,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The season includes the series’ return to staple venues Phoenix International Raceway and Road America, plus the debut of an exciting new event on the streets of Boston.

“Road America and Phoenix are great venues and two of the best choices that we could have to add to the schedule,” said Scott Dixon, the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion who has raced on both tracks in his 15-year career. “I’m looking forward to both race events. Road America is an old-school American track that I always look forward to. Phoenix was a fun track for me in the past. I tested there (earlier this year) and the changes that they’ve made has maybe opened up quite a few different grooves. The racing will be very exciting; we’ll put on a great show.”

ABC will broadcast five races in 2016, including the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. ABC will blanket the Month of May coverage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, broadcasting the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14, Indianapolis 500 qualifications May 21-22 and the eagerly anticipated 100th Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

“The 2016 season is defined by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” Miles said. “The historic significance of our season is marked by this legendary event and the return of several storied venues such as Road America and Phoenix. Half the venues on our schedule have hosted 25 or more INDYCAR races and further our rich heritage as the premier form of open wheel racing in the United States.”

Control the camera in a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge in an Indy car

ABC’s Verizon IndyCar Series coverage also includes the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix doubleheader, with full races on June 4 and 5.

NBCSN returns as INDYCAR’s television partner for the eighth straight season in 2016 and will telecast 11 races, starting with the return to Phoenix International Raceway on the night of April 2. The one-mile oval hosted 61 Indy car races from 1964-2005.

NBCSN will also telecast the 42nd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17 and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from Barber Motorsports Park on April 24. Following ABC’s coverage in May and early June, NBCSN returns to telecast the final eight races of the 2016 season.

Among those are the Grand Prix of Road America on June 26, a homecoming to the fabled four-mile permanent road course. The picturesque track in the rolling hills of east central Wisconsin played host to 25 Indy car races from 1982-2007.

Also on NBCSN in the back half of the 2016 schedule is the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston powered by LogMeIn, set for Sept. 4 on a 2.25-mile temporary street circuit in the South Boston Waterfront. NBCSN will then air the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18. The 2015 Sonoma race set an NBCSN record for INDYCAR with an average of 841,000 viewers, including a peak of more than a million.

Returning events on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule airing on NBCSN include: the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 11; Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 10; Honda Indy Toronto on July 17; Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 31; and the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 21.

The complete schedule (subject to change), with television networks and times (all ET):