March 25, 2014 - In one of racing's most picturesque settings, the 2014 season for the Verizon IndyCar Series opens this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
ABC will have a live telecast of the event on Sunday, March 30, with pre-race at 3 p.m. ET. The green flag will fly at 3:27 p.m.
The race will be run on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary racing circuit that includes St. Petersburg city streets as well as part of an airport. With the Florida city's skyline and adjacent Tampa Bay providing a scenic backdrop, the stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series will race for 110 laps.
The new season looks to be one of IndyCar's most intriguing with a deep and competitive field of drivers and cars.
Motorsports broadcasting veteran Allen Bestwick will begin his first season as ESPN on ABC's lead announcer for the IndyCar Series at St. Petersburg, joined in the booth for analysis by former series drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. Goodyear is starting his 13th season as an analyst and Cheever his seventh.
The coverage team at St. Petersburg also will include pit reporters Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little and Vince Welch. Terry Lingner will produce the telecast and Bruce Watson will direct.
The popular "Side-by-Side" feature, used in IndyCar Series telecasts since first introduced by ESPN in 2005, will continue in 2014. During national commercial breaks, a split screen format showing the advertisement on one side and racing action on the other allows viewers to not miss anything that might happen on the track during the break.
ESPN will produce telecasts of four additional Verizon IndyCar Series races this season on ABC, including the May 25 Indianapolis 500 that will air on ABC for the 50th consecutive year, as well as the inaugural IndyCar Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 10. ABC also will televise the new-format Indianapolis 500 qualifications May 17-18 and two races from Detroit's Belle Isle circuit May 31-June 1.
In addition to television in the United States on ABC, ESPN also distributes Verizon IndyCar Series race telecasts through a combination of ESPN networks and syndication to more than 197 countries and 96 million homes. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world can watch live via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network.