ABC extends Indianapolis 500 deal

Pact also includes four IndyCar races per year

NEW YORK -- ABC will continue to carry the Indianapolis 500 through 2012, marking nearly 50 years that the network has televised the race.

ESPN announced a deal Thursday with the Indy Racing League that would also include four IndyCar Series races per year until 2012. The cable portion of the race will, however, move to Versus.

The Comcast-owned sports channel will carry at least 13 races a year for the next decade. Each race will include at least three hours of the race, pre-race coverage and an hourlong preview show. It also will carry qualification-day coverage for the Indy 500.

ABC began high-definition coverage of the Indy 500 two years ago and this past year broadcast each of its races in HD. ESPN also will be able to televise the races on its international channels plus highlights for ESPN's digital assets.