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From the moment the smoke cleared following the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500 back in 1945, the greatest race in the world has been an annual highlight of the sporting calendar.
The Indianapolis 500 is the first of the Big Four U.S. championships and traditionally one of the most important races of the year. It’s considered the pinnacle of both the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).
This year’s edition of the Greatest Race begins on Sunday, May 27 and will be broadcasted in full on ABC. The last edition of the 500 mile race was in 2014, which was the second-to-last year that it was held as part of the IndyCar Series. The Grand Prix of Indy cars will return on Aug. 5-7, 2021 in Indianapolis. (The Indy 500 and The Indy Grand Prix are the two founding members of the IndyCar Series. The Indy Car Grand Prix is an annual event that usually occurs in August, while the Indy 500 is held in May.)
The last IndyCar Grand Prix was in 2018 and was won by Sebastian Vettel of Germany. Since then, there have been no major races held in the U.S. as many teams and drivers have been affected by the pandemic that began in late 2019.
Watching The Race Live
If you’re not living in the U.S. and you want to follow the Grand Prix online, you have three options:
- You can tune in to the radio feed provided by your local affiliate;
- You can purchase a pay-per-view pass for the IndyCar Grand Prix;
- Or, you can catch the event live on TV. (Make sure you check the dates of the race before you set your DVR.)
Unfortunately, not all of the IndyCar races will be shown live on TV. The Indianapolis 500 has been televised every year since it started back in 1911 and has always been one of the most popular races on TV. (The only year it wasn’t televised was 1974.) Over the years, full race replays have often been shown as fill-in broadcasts, or in primetime on major TV networks.
The Indianapolis 500 does get a bit of a bump in the TV schedule due to its important place in auto racing history. However, the national spotlight will be on another racing event that’s almost as important as the Indianapolis 500. That event is……..
The NASCAR Grand Prix Of Indycars
Yes, the great American race car showdown that everyone loves to watch rallies in concert once a year too. The NASCAR Grand Prix of Indycars is the one championship race that is always held in late July, which means it gets a bit of a bump in the TV schedule as the IndyCar Grand Prix races draw attention away from it. (The year that wasn’t so good was 2008. Before then, the NASCAR Grand Prix was always held in late July or early August.)
Like the IndyCar Grand Prix, the NASCAR Grand Prix gets a bit of a bumper crop in the TV schedule due to its significant place in auto racing history. (The first NASCAR Grand Prix was held in 1957 and was won by NASCAR legend Floyd “Candy” Cunningham.) Since then, it’s always been one of the highlights of the NASCAR season. In fact, it is one of the highlights of the entire year for NASCAR fans.
You can see a full list of the NASCAR races that will be televised here. Keep in mind that not all of these races will be shown live. (Which is a shame, because there are so many awesome things about the NASCAR Grand Prix. The grid of cars is always exciting to watch, the side-by-side battles for position are always fun to watch, and what’s more, the rallies themselves are usually high-speed displays of driver skill.)
Watching The Race On TV
The three options for watching the IndyCar races were discussed previously. However, we didn’t address the sport’s biggest stage yet. That’s because, as sad as it is for fans of the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Grand Prix, they don’t get a chance to see their champions in action on the biggest stage yet. (You’ll have to settle for highlights and full race replays.)
Thankfully, there is a fourth option for fans who want to see their favorite drivers race on the largest circuit in the world. One of the most historic venues and spectator-friendly racetracks in existence is up for grabs this May. That is ……..
…the Coca-Cola 600. (Yes, that Coke. The drink. The brand. It’s always been one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.)
The Coca-Cola 600 was first held in Los Angeles in 1955 and was initially won by an outgoing rider named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Back then, drivers had to wear white silk suits with yellow capes and helmets. (The helmets feature the famous Coca-Cola bottle crown on the front and the company’s familiar six-pointed star on the back.)
Since then, the Coca-Cola 600 has always been one of the biggest and most popular races on the sporting calendar. And for good reason. First, it’s in one of the most beautiful cities in the country. (Los Angeles is a hub for culture and understanding.) Second, the track itself is located at the Angeles Boulevard – Hollywood Drive Intersection in Hollywood. (Yes, the road is named after the intersection.) Third, the spectators are treated to a great display of championship driving as the top speed of the cars is limited only by the driver’s ability and skill. (Yes, the Hollywood Park Surface is actually smooth as a wet skate but you won’t get that pleasure at the other tracks.)
Now, if you want to watch the Coca-Cola 600, you have just three options. Like the other three, the radio feed is provided by your local ABC affiliate. You can also buy a pay-per-view pass or catch the Grand Prix live on ESPN. (The Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 are the only two IndyCar races that don’t get aired on ESPN, which is a great loss for fans of both races since they exist on parallel tracks in the sport of auto racing.)
…the European Grand Prix. (Yes, the great country over there is making such a big deal about Brexit these days that we’re starting to feel concerned for their security and well-being. We can’t help but think that they will be negatively impacted by the unsettled status of the UK in relation to Europe.)