NBCSN IndyCar updates: Sonoma most-watched of 2013, plus Baltimore times

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The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma was NBCSN’s most-watched IndyCar race of 2013, with a 27 percent increase in viewership over 2012. Media reporter John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal said that number was 391,000 viewers.

This weekend, the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT will be live on NBCSN Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. Qualifying airs Saturday at 6 p.m. EST, and the Firestone Indy Lights race will air after the IndyCar race on Sunday at 5 p.m. EST.

Will Power (Penske) earned his first win of the 2013 season last weekend at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, and will look to continue that success at Baltimore where he took the checkered flag in 2011. Helio Castroneves (Penske) maintains his lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series Points Standings over Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi), who was poised to gain ground at the Grand Prix of Sonoma, but finished 15th after a pit safety infraction late in the race. Ryan Hunter-Reay(Andretti) currently sits third in the IZOD IndyCar Series Points Standings and won at Baltimore last year.

NBC Sports Group’s IndyCar play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Diffey will be joined in the booth this week by former drivers Townsend Bell and Wally Dallenbach. Reporters Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Marty Snider and Robin Miller will manage the pits.

I’ll be on the ground for MotorSportsTalk once again, for my ninth of 14 IndyCar weekends (including the Detroit and Toronto doubleheaders) this season.

The full release of the more than 15 hours of motorsports coverage on NBCSN this weekend can be found from the NBC Sports Group Press Box website, linked here. Times are below:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Thur., August 29 Auctions America NBCSN 8 p.m.
Fri., August 30 ARCA Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 NBCSN 12 a.m.
Auctions America NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sat., August 31 Auctions America NBCSN 12:30 p.m.
Grand Prix of Baltimore – Qualifying NBCSN 6 p.m.
Sun., September 1 Grand Prix of Baltimore NBCSN 2 p.m.
Firestone Indy Lights Baltimore NBCSN 5 p.m.

Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s INDYCAR race was postponed until Monday

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Here’s what several drenched drivers had to say after Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was postponed until Monday morning (11:30 a.m. ET, LIVE on NBCSN):

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 2017 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner, 2018 pole winner): “It’s tough because we have so many people that come out here to watch us. We want to put on a good race. We want to put on a show. So calling the race, running around behind the pace car not running, it’s tough, it’s tough to do that. But I think it was the right thing in the end. When we started the race, the conditions were OK. You could run at that level of rain. Then, it intensified right before that first caution. I think when the caution came out, it got to a point where it was just too much. There was too much puddling and pooling of water on every straightaway. Then the rivers started flowing, high-speed compressions in Turns 1 and 2, fast corner, 12 and 13, fast corner where the river starts to form. Just tough. I mean, look, we love racing in the rain. It’s got nothing to do with not wanting to run in the rain, not being able to do that. It’s that this type of track with this water level was too much to race today. We’ve run here in the rain before, but it intensified to the point where you’re starting to get in a situation where it’s going to take it out of the drivers’ hands. What happened with Will (Power), I don’t think is a driver error. I don’t know how anyone is going to drive hydroplaning on the front straightaway. I think you would have had that for the rest of the track, too. A tough situation. Thanks for the fans that came out and supported us. Hopefully we’ll get some people back tomorrow and we’ll get the show in and put on a great event.”

MATHEUS “MATT” LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“Tough day so far. We had some problems with our radio and fuel alarm, but otherwise the car was alright. It was just too dangerous out there, we couldn’t see anything, so I think they made the right call. Hopefully we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s just a real shame for everyone on the Verizon Chevy team. The car was good and we were doing our best out there, but it was really hard to see anything in front of me. The conditions were just so bad. As soon as I got to the frontstraight, the car just came around, and I tried to keep it off the wall, but it was hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do. I feel bad for the team and for the fans in this weather. Just too bad. Hopefully our luck can turn around when we get to Indianapolis.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Very difficult day for us. In the race we were 13th at the time and we had some electrical issues, so that caused us to pit and we lost a lap. Not the ideal situation, but we don’t give up. There’s still a race tomorrow and we’re going to go for the most points. Anything can happen.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda): “It was a tough beginning, but when we kind of got going it was OK and kind of fun to challenge for a while, but visibility was a major issue today, no doubt. I’m glad that the series postponed it. I would have like to get it in today, but that’s life. We will go racing tomorrow.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 Kerauno / MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda, Verizon IndyCar Series points leader): “I think definitely the right decision was made to red flag the race. It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in. It’s never the result that you want, but safety is obviously a priority. I think everyone did a good job considering the conditions of looking out for each other. Not being able to see is not doing anybody any good. It is hard for everyone, but glad that we’re all in one piece and try again later.

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “As you could see on TV, if you couldn’t see the car, it was probably three times worse in the cockpit on the main straight or any straight. You had to completely trust the guys that they were accelerating. Never the less, I made good progress on the short stint and I made up a few positions.  The car was working well, but also was aquaplaning a lot, too, so I have to respect INDYCAR’s decision for everyone’s safety. Now we really need to concentrate on having a good car for tomorrow. I’m sorry for the fans that sat in rain all day, but thank them for their support.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop timber Chevrolet): “It was a short day. In the beginning the conditions were not that good, but afterwards the conditions started to improve. The race was stopped, then restarted, and I think the conditions were not too bad at that point. Unfortunately, it was red flagged again and then cancelled for the day. It would have been nice to get halfway, but we will come back and try again tomorrow.”