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NEW YORK – Sept. 13, 2012 – NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series culminates this weekend with the MAVTV 500 on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET live from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The final race will determine this year’s IndyCar champion with leader Will Power of Team Penske just several points ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay from Andretti Autosport. If Power wins, it will be the first championship in six years for Penske Racing. Hunter-Reay won last week’s race in Baltimore after Power dominated the first part of the race.

Coverage of the final race of the season begins Friday with IndyCar Qualifying live at 7:30 p.m. ET, preceded by an all new episode of IndyCar 36, which will profile Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Oriol Servia at 7 p.m. ET.

Fontana also marks the final race in the 34-year career of NBC Sports Network commentator Bob Jenkins, who is retiring. Jenkins will be honored with a special segment during Saturday’s broadcast.

JENKINS ON THE RACE AND RETIREMENT: “Once again we have a close battle for the championship of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Late Saturday night we’ll know who will wear the crown. This race is, of course, very special to me because it’s my last after 34 years in television. I know I’ll be very emotional at the end of the evening, but I’m confident I’ve made the right decision. I couldn’t possibly thank everyone individually, especially the fans, who have been so supportive of me in my career. My only hope is that at the conclusion of the race we have 26 healthy drivers. That will be the greatest send-off I could possibly ask for.”

SAM FLOOD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR NBC SPORTS AND NBC SPORTS NETWORK: “Bob is the gold-standard of auto racing play-by-play announcers.” He started his career with NBC and we are proud and honored that he will call his last race of his long and storied career with us as well.”

MORE ON BOB JENKINS: NBC Sports Network will air a tribute to IZOD IndyCar announcer Bob Jenkins during the last broadcast of his career. Jenkins has devoted 34 years to broadcasting auto races. He was one of the first announcers hired when ESPN went on the air in September of 1979. Through the years Jenkins has served as host and play-by-play announcer for many racing telecasts for various networks including the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Winston Cup. Jenkins has received numerous honors including induction into the National Auto Racing Fan Club Hall Of Fame in May of 2006, the Tony Hulman Award given by the same organization for unselfish devotion to motor sports, the Roger McCluskey Award from the United States Auto Club in recognition of his standards of excellence in the sport of auto racing, and the Henry T. McLemore Motorsports Press Award which recognizes outstanding motorsports journalism in the field of writing, broadcasting or photography. A permanent plaque with his likeness is in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama.

NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S INDYCAR COVERAGE (subject to change, all times ET):

Fri., Sept. 14 IndyCar 36 featuring Oriol Servia 7 p.m.
IndyCar Qualifying (live) 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 15 MAVTV 500 (live) 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 20 Indy Lights (Fontana) 4 p.m.

COMMENTATORS: Bob Jenkins (lead race announcer), Jon Beekhuis (analyst) and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. (analyst) will call all the race coverage. Additionally, Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Robin Miller and Townsend Bell will serve as pit reporters calling all the race action.

QUALIFYING: One-hour of live qualifying coverage begins Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

INDYCAR 36: The NBC Sports Network will offer motorsports fans another episode of the all-access series IndyCar 36. This week the cameras follow Brazilian driver Oriol Servia, who races for Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. The final IndyCar 36 of the 2012 season will air on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET.

The NBC Sports Network original series is produced by IMS Productions and gives viewers an all-access pass into the life of a world-class driver in the middle of race season. The cameras will follow a driver for 36 hours during a race weekend providing a behind-the-scenes look at the on- and off-track activities of the stars of the IndyCar Series. The all-access 36 series also includes NHL 36, which debuted in December, and Fight Night 36 that debuted in March.

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS: NBC Sports Network will air coverage of the final Indy Lights race on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. ET with coverage from this week’s race in Calif. Firestone Indy Lights is the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Primarily run in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Firestone Indy Lights schedule features races on road courses/street circuits and ovals, including the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.