Live F1, IndyCar races highlight 20-plus hours of NBCSN racing coverage this weekend

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NBC Sports Group will present 21.5 hours of motorsports coverage this weekend, highlighted by live Formula One and IndyCar Grands Prix on NBCSN on Sunday. NBCSN’s Sunday doubleheader of live race coverage begins at 7:30 a.m. ET with the Shell Belgian Grand Prix, and continues with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at 4 p.m. ET.

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) continues to maintain his lead atop the F1 points standings over Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), despite a third place finish in Hungary last month. Raikkonen is a four-time winner of the Shell Belgian Grand Prix, while Vettel took the checkered flag in Belgium in 2011.

Helio Castroneves (Penske) continues to maintain his position atop the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings over Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi). Both are past winners at Sonoma; Dixon took the checkered flag in 2007, while Castroneves earned a victory in 2008. Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi) became the fourth driver this season to earn his first career IndyCar Series win with his victory at Mid-Ohio three weeks earlier.

Coverage of the Shell Belgian Grand Prix begins on Friday with live practice on NBCSN at 8 a.m. ET. Live streaming coverage of qualifying can be seen on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets, on Saturday at 8 a.m. ET, and on NBCSN at 12:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s live coverage of the Shell Belgian Grand Prix on NBCSN begins at 7:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN’s coverage of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma starts with qualifying on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. NBCSN’s live telecast of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma airs Sunday at 4 p.m.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will combine to provide live AMA Motocross coverage this Saturday from Lake Elsinore, Calif. Live coverage starts on NBC Sports Live Extra at 1 p.m. ET and will also air on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET.

ARCA Racing rounds out NBC Sports Group’s motorsports coverage this weekend on Friday at 11 p.m. on NBCSN.

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Fri., August 23 F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Practice NBCSN 8 a.m.
ARCA Racing NBCSN 11 p.m.
Sat., August 24 F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Practice (Encore) NBCSN 1 a.m.
F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Live) NBC Sports Live Extra 8 a.m.
F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Qualifying NBCSN 12:30 p.m.
AMA Motocross NBC Sports Live Extra 1 p.m.
AMA Motocross NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
AMA Motocross NBC Sports Live Extra 5:30 p.m.
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Qualifying NBCSN 9 p.m.
AMA Motocross (Encore) NBCSN 10 p.m.
Sun., August 25 F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 1 a.m.
F1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix NBCSN 7:30 a.m.
F1 Extra NBCSN 10 a.m.
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma NBCSN 4 p.m.

 

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s IndyCar and Formula One play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Diffey will be joined in the booth this week by former drivers Townsend Bell and Wally Dallenbach. Reporters Jon BeekhuisKevin LeeMarty Snider and Robin Miller will manage the pits.

Veteran motorsports broadcaster Bob Varsha will call the Shell Belgian Grand Prix. He will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Jason WeigandtJeff Emig and Kelli Stavast will provide AMA Motocross coverage from Lake Elsinore National in Lake Elsinore, Calif.on Saturday afternoon.

Rick BenjaminAndy Hillenburg and Kevin Lee have the call of the Allen Crowe 100 from the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Friday night.

INDYCAR AND FORMULA ONE ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will live stream the Shell Belgian Grand Prix and the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday. Coverage will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

Coverage airing on NBCSN will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra, and to the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, and telco services, via “TV Everywhere,” which is available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of participating MVPDs.

Click here for the participating cable/satellite/telco companies offering NBC Sports Live Extra.

Castroneves OK after heavy crash in Pocono qualifying (VIDEO)

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Helio Castroneves lost the back end of his No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet rolling into Turn 1 during qualifying for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN), in a big accident that will hurt his weekend hopes and force the Team Penske crew to make significant repairs.

Castroneves looped around and hit the Turn 1 wall with his nose and left side of the car, with the car then tilting up on its side before coming back down to the ground.

The Brazilian got out of the car under his own power without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team before heading to the infield medical center. He has been checked, cleared and released.

Castroneves told NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis: “Good news the hair is still good. Unfortunate for the car. We didn’t have a chance to do qualifying (in practice). I was a bit slow, so the car pushed a bit, it might have been a bit too aggressive. It caught me in Turn 1, and came around, unfortunately spun out on me. Hopefully it’s not a snowball. Now that practice is tonight before the race.”

Castroneves enters Sunday’s race second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings, seven points behind teammate and points leader Josef Newgarden (423-416).

Porsche: Formula E more than a marketing tool, ‘no passing fad’

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Porsche executive board member Michael Steiner is confident that Formula E will be more than just a “passing fad” or a tool for good marketing as the German marque begins to prepare for its entry to the series in 2019.

Porsche rocked the racing world last month by announcing it would be closing its LMP1 program at the end of this year, shifting its focus to Formula E where it will race from season six onwards.

The move sees Porsche follow in the footsteps of many more manufacturers, with Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Renault and BMW among those who will also be racing in season six.

Porsche had previously dismissed Formula E as not being of enough technical interest in its current state, but Steiner is confident of its future direction.

“The series is developing in an interesting direction,” Steiner said. Think, for example, of the rear axle with the electric motor, which manufacturers are able to design themselves within the regulations.

“Or take the inverter and the battery management, where there will also be more freedom. In the relatively short term, it is expected that a better battery will be used in Formula E, which will eliminate vehicle changes during the race.

“There are also planned increases in drive performance. And brake-by-wire is coming, along with other things. We have seen the roadmap on the technical side. The regulations will start to open up and the planned developments are very interesting.”

Steiner said Porsche is expecting Formula E to become a strong technical formula, adding: “We would not make such a wide-ranging strategic change for an event that only had marketing potential.

“If Formula E were just a short-term trend or a passing fad, we would certainly not become involved.”

Leah Pritchett has quickest run in NHRA history at 3.640 seconds

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BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) Leah Pritchett had the quickest run in NHRA history with 3.640-second pass at 330.63 mph Friday night at Brainerd International Speedway in Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals qualifying.

She broke her own Top Fuel record of 3.658 set in Arizona in February.

“We’ve looked forward to this night session for a long time,” Pritchett said. “Knowing that Brainerd, this track, this surface, the conditions and what NHRA is able to do to it, lays down the ground work for us to pull out the most power possible. That’s what this team did. They have been working tirelessly at finding small amounts of power here, there and everywhere and to be able to put it on the track tonight was incredible.”

Robert Hight broke the Funny Car time record with a 3.793 at 338.00 in a Chevrolet Camaro SS, the first run in the 3.7s in Funny Car history. He set the speed record of 339.87 last month at Sonoma Raceway.

“I could tell it was running fast and I saw the 3.79 on the scoreboard,” Hight said. “It’s just something you dream about. There are so many things that have to happen and work together for it all to come together. It’s not that easy. This is a big milestone. To be part of a milestone as a driver, this was big for me.”

Tanner Gray topped the Pro Stock field, and Hector Arana Jr. was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Gray had a 6.607 at 208.617 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Arana had a 6.879 at 194.24 on a Buell.

Back racing after F1 test, Norris dominates Zandvoort F3 opener

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McLaren younster Lando Norris made an emphatic return to racing action after the summer break by dominating the opening race of the FIA European Formula 3 weekend at Zandvoort, taking his sixth win of the season.

Norris, 17, moved up to F3 for 2017 after winning two Formula Renault titles last year, as well as linking up with McLaren’s junior program.

The Briton impressed during his maiden Formula 1 test in Hungary at the end of last month, and carried the momentum through to Zandvoort by taking pole position for Carlin for the first race of the weekend.

Norris retained his lead at the start and only came under pressure following a safety car period, with Swedish youngster Joel Eriksson running close for the lead.

Norris was able to create a gap and pull away, completing a wire-to-wire win with almost nine seconds in hand over the pack for his sixth win of the season.

The result sees Norris move to within eight points of championship leader Maximillian Günther, the German finishing third on Saturday at Zandvoort.