The Price of Free TV

First, Happy birthday, A. J. Foyt.

The good news that NBC will have 14 NTT Inycar Series races on network television s tempered by the loss of night races. The closest race to a night event is at World Wide technology Raceway., with a broadcast start time of 6 pm Eastern. That means the race starts around 5:30 Central time and will be done around dusk.

I really don’t understand why this race is not under the lights since it is slated for USA Network. I get that big NBC doesn’t want to show a prime time weekend night race. But why can’t USA show a night race.

The other race scheduled for USA Network is Belle Isle. I find that puzzling as well, considering that Roger Penske is the race promoter. Why not make that an NBC and put Iowa’s Saturday race on USA at night?

I hope this is a temporary schedule transition and there is at least one true night race in 2023. Indycars at night look fantastic. The colors really pop under the lights. They seem to be faster. Most important is that at Iowa and Gateway, to a lesser extent, the racing is better at night. As the track cools, the cars’ handling changes. A fast car early in the race can turn into a handful later, while someone struggling before sundown can turn into a rocket.

Maybe we will get a long rain delay at Iowa like there was in 2019 when a twilight race turned into a late night/early morning affair. It appears my night racing will be limited to the Rolex 24 in a couple weeks.

The absence of night races is my only complaint with the television schedule. Generally, I like the early start times for most of the races. Fans should be able to get home in time to get some sleep before going to work on Monday.

The schedule with broadcast times: