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ABC's IndyCar Series Coverage Kicks Off Sunday at St. Petersburg
ABC televises its first IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season this weekend from St. Petersburg, Fla., and ESPN on ABC analyst Scott Goodyear predicts that changes made to the series schedule could enhance competition and bring more teams and drivers into the battles for race wins and the series title.

ABC’s live, flag-to-flag telecast of the race from the St. Petersburg street circuit airs Sunday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The event is the first of five races this season that will be produced by ESPN and air on ABC. The schedule also includes the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, marking the 46th consecutive year that the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will air on ABC, as well as events at Kansas Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Toronto.

Goodyear, a multi-time winner on the IndyCar Series during his career, is beginning his ninth season as ESPN’s analyst for the series and will join lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid in the booth for the five races. Reporting from the pits will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little and Vince Welch. For the Indianapolis 500, former race winner Eddie Cheever will be an analyst with Reid and Cheever in the booth for the third year, and Dr. Jerry Punch returns to Indy as a fourth pit reporter. Punch was part of the race telecast for 18 consecutive years through 2006. Brent Musburger will host the Indy telecast.

Goodyear feels that having more street circuits and road courses to the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule this season will be a major factor.

“The addition of road courses has put a lot more interest back into who’s driving the car,” Goodyear said. “Drivers can make up the difference and the deficiency sometimes in a car that’s not very good on a road course, whereas on an oval, if you don’t have a good car, you’re generally not going to find yourself up towards the front.

“I look for some surprising teams to show some new strength this year in the IndyCar Series, and although they might not be fighting for wins each and every weekend, I think they’re going to surprise some people by stealing some podium spots and maybe even stealing some race victories throughout the season.”

And Goodyear looks forward to the St. Petersburg street circuit, which has hosted the series the past five seasons.

“At the end of the high speed straightaway there, the runway, you have a great opportunity for passing,” he said. “But it’s also an opportunity for people to get themselves into trouble because they get over-anxious and over-drive the car. It’s one of the best places to watch.”
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