The 2007 IndyCar Series season, which features a record-tying 17 events between late March and early September, will challenge its drivers with a blend of speedways, short ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits.

"We have 1.5-mile ovals," said Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. "We have superspeedways. We have short ovals and road and street courses. That means in 2007, the driver who wins the championship will have succeeded on a variety of tracks." The season kicks off under the lights on March 24 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and ends Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway. Set aside May for the 91st Indianapolis 500 and two weeks of lead time for the April 21 event at Twin Ring Motegi and that leaves 18 weekends for 15 races.

"I think having diversity in the series, everything from road courses to short ovals to superspeedways, makes the series complete," said former Kentucky Speedway pole award winner Danica Patrick, who joins Andretti Green Racing in 2007. "It's what attracts drivers. Back in the heyday of Indy Car racing, that's what it was, a little bit of everything. That's what the IndyCar Series is getting back to, and I think it will be attractive to a lot of people."

In addition to a number of firsts, the upcoming schedule includes the first twilight IndyCar Series race in Kentucky Speedway history on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m.

INDYCAR SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS: - Three new venues debut: the 0.88-mile Iowa Speedway oval, the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and the 2.096-mile Raceway at Belle Isle street circuit.

- The IndyCar Series season will open with a prime-time event, the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway - a first for Indy-style racing.

- There are four short ovals (Richmond International Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, The Milwaukee Mile and Iowa Speedway) on the schedule. Iowa (June 24) and Richmond (June 30) will be contested within six days of each other.

- There are six 1.5-mile speedways (Homestead-Miami, Twin Ring Motegi, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and Chicagoland) and two superspeedways (2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 2-mile Michigan) on the schedule.

- In the past, the Indy Japan 300 preceded Month of May activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In '07, once equipment clears U.S. Customs in Indianapolis, it will be on the way to Kansas Speedway for practice and qualifying just a few days later.

- The Twin Ring Motegi-Kansas Speedway events offer additional diversity and challenges. Though both 1.5-mile ovals, the configurations are completely different for car set-ups.

- The series will feature three road courses for the third consecutive season and will add a second street course to its schedule.

- Milwaukee returns with a new date following the Indianapolis 500, resurrecting an Indy-style racing tradition.

Tickets for the Aug. 11 Kentucky Speedway race and all 2007 speedway events are on sale now and can be reserved through the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE, through Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and in the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center as well as at any Meijer store.