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.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018