Notes: Mid-Ohio telecast is most-watched ever for NBC Sports Group

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Sunday’s simulcast of The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on NBCSN and CNBC delivered 929,000 viewers to rank as NBC Sports Group’s most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series race since it acquired telecast rights prior to the 2009 season.

It was also the most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series race on cable television since the 2008 Richmond race on ESPN (947,000 viewers). Viewership peaked for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, won by Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, in the 3-3:15 p.m. ET quarter hour with 1.326 million viewers.

The race from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was originally scheduled to air on CNBC with a later encore airing on NBCSN, but when Sunday’s NASCAR race at Pocono was postponed, the Verizon IndyCar Series race from the popular permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio, was also simulcast on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Group is on pace for its most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series season. Through seven telecasts, average viewership has been 505,000 viewers, up 28 percent from 2015 (394,000). The 2016 telecasts continue a strong surge that has seen nine of the last 13 races on NBCSN average more than 500,000 viewers, more than the prior six seasons combined (five races).

NBC Sports Group’s five most-watched Verizon IndyCar Series races to date have been: Mid-Ohio 2016, airing on NBCSN and CNBC, with 929,000 viewers; Sonoma 2015, NBCSN, 841,000; Mid-Ohio 2015, NBCSN, 666,000; Edmonton 2011, CNBC, 642,000; and Pocono 2015, NBCSN, 635,000.

Pocono Raceway is up next on the 2016 schedule, with the ABC Supply 500 airing live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. ET Aug. 21. After that, it’s the completion of the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (9 p.m. ET Aug. 27), the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen (2 p.m. ET Sept. 4) and the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (6:30 p.m. ET Sept. 18) – all airing live on NBCSN.

Pocono test open today to public

Today’s Verizon IndyCar Series team test session at Pocono Raceway is open to the public free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Fans can get a preview of the upcoming ABC Supply 500 race weekend scheduled for Aug. 20-21.

Drivers scheduled to test on the 2.5-mile triangular oval include Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport, Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden from Ed Carpenter Racing, Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth from AJ Foyt Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ Scott Dixon, Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball and Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin.

For more information on the test or ABC Supply 500 tickets, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call (800) RACEWAY.

Texas Motor Speedway honoring police at Firestone 600 resumption

Texas Motor Speedway will host "Back The Blue Night" at the resumption of the Firestone 600 on Aug. 27 to display its appreciation for the dedicated service of police officers.

"Back The Blue Night" will honor police officers by providing them and a companion free admission to the Firestone 600, which was suspended by rain June 12 after 71 of 248 laps. The race will pick up Aug. 27 at the point at which it was stopped, with James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the lead.

Police personnel who show a badge or proper identification at the entrance gate will receive free general admission seating. Texas Motor Speedway is also extending the offer to all first responders.

The Firestone 600 begins at 9 p.m. ET Aug. 27 and airs live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

The "Restart Your Engines" schedule for the day begins with gates opening to the public at 5 p.m. ET, a Verizon IndyCar Series practice from 5:30-6 p.m. and an autograph session featuring the entire driver field from 6:30-7:15 p.m. on the main concourse.

Additional perks for fans include $1 hot dogs and Coca-Cola beverages from Levy Restaurants and the first 3,000 fans receiving a free vintage Indy car t-shirt compliments of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Properties. SMIP also will provide fans with free souvenir race programs from the original June event, while supplies last.

All frontstretch seating, including premium sections, will be general admission and priced at $28, with children 12 and under at $10. Tickets from the June suspension will be honored. For more information, contact the TMS ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

Iowa Speedway puts 2017 season tickets on sale

Iowa Speedway – which will host a Verizon IndyCar Series race for the 11th consecutive year in 2017 – opened its season ticket program for 2017 this week. The schedule for the 0.894-mile oval includes the Iowa Corn 300, the Verizon IndyCar Series race set for Sunday, July 9, 2017.

Fans seeking to renew or buy new season tickets may visit iowaspeedway.com, call (866) 787-8946 or visit the track’s ticket office in person weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Season ticket prices remain the same in 2017 as they are this year, starting at $99 for seven races over three weekends.

Season ticket holders will have opportunities to win upgrades including garage passes, pace car rides, photographs in Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane with winning drivers, Newton Club passes, premium parking, signature food vouchers, suite upgrades and driver meet-and-greets.

Iowa Speedway’s single-event and weekend ticket packages go on sale Nov. 25 to the general public.

Of note

The epic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, won in legendary fashion by rookie Alexander Rossi as he ran out of fuel, has been nominated for two honors by the Sports Travel Awards, including Best Sports Event of the Year. Vote for this historic event by 8 p.m. ET Aug. 15 at http://sportstravelawards16.questionpro.com/. … Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course announced that Cooper Tires has been named the official tire of the track and the Mid-Ohio School that provides professional driving and riding instruction to drivers and motorcyclists of all skill levels. The agreement took effect in time for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, with Cooper track signage in place in time for the Verizon IndyCar Series race. Cooper Tires recently announced it was increasing its investment in the Mazda Road to Indy, becoming presenting sponsor for the entire INDYCAR development stepladder. … DEForce, a new team started by former Indy car driver David Martinez and Ernesto Martinez, announced plans to field three cars in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda – the first rung on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires ladder. The team, based in Angleton, Texas, has ordered three of the new Tatuus USF-17 chassis that debut in competition next season.

From the fans