With Indy, Monaco and more, May is motorsports nirvana

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You may have noticed this morning that the calendar has flipped to May, and for racing fans, that pretty much means nirvana.

Of course, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the 97th Indianapolis 500, occurs on May 26. But in the buildup, the IZOD IndyCar Series is far from silent. Heck, it races this weekend, May 5 at 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, in Brazil. And a week of practice starting on May 11 builds up to qualifying for the 500 on May 18-19.

Formula One makes its return to Europe, for what seems to be fewer and fewer races in the continent each year as Bernie Ecclestone and FOM expand to far off areas. The Spanish Grand Prix occurs May 12, where Pastor Maldonado scored a shock win a year ago. Then on May 26, our F1 on NBC Sports crew will be live in Monaco for the Monaco Grand Prix, on NBC.

NASCAR? Try Talladega this weekend, the “Lady in Black” after that in Darlington, and two weeks in Charlotte with the Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day night.

Add in some sports car racing (FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa this weekend and the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 11), the debut of Australian V8 Supercars with Pirelli World Challenge at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas May 17-19, and a handful of other series racing worldwide and you have a veritable smorgasbord of racing to digest this month.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”