IRL: ABC, ESPN2 to Televise Final Two Races of '99 Pep Boys IRL Season
16 July 1999INDIANAPOLIS-- ABC Sports and ESPN2 will televise the last two races of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's 1999 schedule, network and League officials announced jointly today.
"This will give us a head start on our new contract that begins with the 2000 season and will be beneficial both to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League and to the network," said Howard Katz, president of ABC Sports. "We are pleased to be televising the season finale on ABC from the Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 17."
In addition, ESPN2 will televise the next-to-last race Sept. 26 from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"We are very pleased to resume our long relationship with ABC/ESPN and get a head start on next year," said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League.
The networks and IMS signed a five-year contract in May, which begins in 2000. ABC/ESPN will carry the Indianapolis 500 and all Pep Boys Indy Racing League events.
The announcement concerning the final two races of the season was made following an agreement with FOX Sports Network, which carried the majority of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League events in 1999. FOX Sports Network agreed to an early termination of its contract, allowing ABC/ESPN2 to televise the final two events of the season.
FOX Sports Net will have televised five Indy Racing events, and FOX Sports will have televised one event at the end of the contract period. ABC Sports televised the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 from Walt Disney World Speedway.
"We have enjoyed our relationship with FOX," said George. "The telecasts have been among the best in conveying the excitement of Indy Racing. We expect to continue working with FOX on the telecast of the inaugural United States Formula One Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2000. Hopefully, the experience and relationships established this year will be beneficial to all."
All 10 races in 1999 will have been televised live nationally, with three on ABC, one on FOX and six on FOX Sports Network. Similarly, the 2000 schedule calls for ABC to carry at least half of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League schedule in 2000, with the balance on the ESPN networks.
In its four-year history, all the races of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League have been nationally televised.