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DATE News (chronologically)
05/01/11
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'IndyCar Open Wheel Weekly' debuts May 3
For four days in São Paulo, Brazil, this past week, Kevin Lee had the entire IZOD IndyCar Series – drivers, team principals, officials – all under one roof at the Anhembi circuit. The setting and timing aligned for the VERSUS broadcaster to gather insights and anecdotes for the show he’ll co-host on the network.

“IndyCar Open Wheel Weekly” debuts at 4 p.m. (ET) May 3, with a re-air at 11 p.m. (Pacific). The hour-long format will afford in-depth discussions of the topics du jour and the sport in general.

INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard, HVM Racing driver Simona de Silvestro and reigning USAC National Drivers Champion Bryan Clauson, who will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 27, will be in-studio guests.

“I think we’ll have an opportunity to explore some things we don’t have the time to do on a race broadcast, and maybe get something out of the drivers that you can’t get when we interview them 15 minutes before the race starts,” said Lee, who will be joined by VERSUS pit reporter Lindy Thackston and commentator Robin Miller on the set in the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s not a radio show, but I think it will be a little more casual like a radio show where the three of us talk and debate -- and maybe say some things you wouldn’t otherwise say on a formatted pre-race show. We want some more opinions, and certainly with Robin we’re going to have some opinions. I think Lindy and I will have some opinions as well.”

The three will welcome guests via phone and in person and entertain viewer tweets (@INDYCAR) that will be incorporated in the telecast.

“This isn’t live to tape, it’s live at 4 pm Eastern,” said Lee, an IMS Radio Network pit reporter since 2004. “Screw-ups will be included so that adds a different element, but I also think that brings a positive, too, with the fan interaction. I don’t know if we’ll have questions before the show.”

In addition to the nine IZOD IndyCar Series races remaining on its docket, VERSUS will air Indianapolis 500 time trials May 21-22 and Miller Lite Carb Day activities (IZOD IndyCar Series final practice, the Firestone Freedom 100 and the Pit Stop Competition) May 27 from the Speedway. To Lee, the weekly show is a bonus.

“I just think it shows the commitment VERSUS and the NBC Sports group has to INDYCAR,” he said. “Their prime properties now are the NHL and the IZOD IndyCar Series, and they’re open for as much programming as we want to offer. So we really need the fans to respond to this and people to watch it. Who knows, they might add more things as we go along.”  IndyCar.com

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