SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Media

Versus boosts IndyCar coverage with expanded live race windows and shoulder programming

Versus plans to expand its coverage of the Izod IndyCar Series in 2011 by televising more than 140 hours of programming, the most in network history.

The expanded coverage comes on the heels of the Comcast acquisition of NBC and offers the first indication of how the network’s new management team, composed of longtime NBC executive Jon Miller and longtime Comcast executive Jon Litner, view IndyCar.

IndyCar action
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IndyCar executives say the expanded coverage shows the commitment of the network’s new management team.
“The commitment speaks for itself,” said Terry Angstadt, president of IndyCar ‘s commercial division. “One of the challenges for a series like ours is telling the story of the drivers and the series, so this is critically important to a growth property like ours.”

Versus will expand live race windows on Sunday from three to five hours, so that the network can show live broadcasts of both the IndyCar Series and IndyCar Lights Series races. For the first time, the network will supplement those live race broadcasts with weekday shoulder programming. A new show called “Inside the Izod IndyCar Series” will air weekly from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays. It will re-air once more each week.

IndyCar streamed races live last year but won’t do so this year because Versus wants to direct viewers to its race broadcasts.

Versus also set its on-air and production talent for the 2011 season. Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis and newcomer Wally Dallenbach Jr. will anchor the booth during races. Lindy Thackston, Kevin Lee and Marty Snider will work the pits. Former NBC NASCAR director Mike Wells will direct the IndyCar coverage on Versus.

“He is the best auto racing director in the sport,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports and Versus executive producer. “He helped change the way people watch racing. Mike understands where to put cameras and how to tell the story of a race. His passion and knowledge makes the entire team better.”

Versus plans to kick off the 2011 season April 3 with the one-hour special “Crashes and Conflicts.”

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