IndyCar Series releases 2011 schedule, includes Baltimore

The IZOD IndyCar Series announced its 17-race 2011 schedule today, officially adding the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 4. Series officials unveiled the 2011 event lineup at the historic Milwaukee Mile, which will return to the schedule next June. New Hampshire Motor Speedway also is back.

In trying to offer drivers a diverse and challenging championship, the schedule features eight oval races and nine road/street events.

Here are highlights of the 2011 schedule:

•The season opener will be March 27 on the temporary street course in St. Petersburg, Fla.

• The street course in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will play host to the first international event of the season on May 1.

• The Indianapolis 500 will be May 29, preceded by two weeks of practice and qualifications. it will be the 100th anniversary of the race.

• Texas Motor Speedway will feature dual races under the lights June 11, allowing for a weekend off following the Indianapolis 500.

•After a one-year absence, the historic Milwaukee Mile rejoins the schedule June 19.

•Iowa Speedway will showcase its first IZOD IndyCar Series night race June 25.

•The IZOD IndyCar Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon after a 13-year hiatus on Aug. 14.

•The inaugural race in Baltimore, which incorporates the Inner Harbor, will be on a series-designed street circuit Sept. 4.

• The season finale race, which will take place on an oval, will be announced at a later date.

"It was important that the IZOD IndyCar Series continue to strike a balance between ovals and non-ovals to maintain our claim to the most diverse racing schedule in the world," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer, IZOD IndyCar Series. "We want to have the best drivers in the world, and it's important that our schedule truly challenges the best through short ovals, speedways, temporary circuits and road courses."

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