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Dixon, Castroneves battle for IndyCar title this weekend on NBCSN

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Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves battle for the 2013 IndyCar Championship in the final race of the season, the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Dixon holds a 25-point advantage in the standings over Castroneves, the only driver who can overtake Dixon to win the 2013 championship, after registering first- and second-place finishes at the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader.

Dixon is a two-time IndyCar Series Champion (2003 & 2008); Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 13-year veteran of the IndyCar Series, hopes to clinch his first career season-series title.

NBCSN’s coverage of the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships begins on Friday with qualifying at 7 p.m. ET. Live race coverage of the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships begins on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage of the Lefty’s Kids Club 100, part of IndyCar’s Indy Lights developmental series, will precede the IndyCar World Championships on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In addition to NBCSN’s coverage, NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will present live coverage of the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships on Saturday night.

This week’s motorsports coverage begins with NBCSN’s IndyCar Championship Preview on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. In addition to episodes of TRANSLOGIC and Auctions America, NBCSN will also air a one-hour special featuring the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Series.

Date  Coverage  Network  Time (ET)
Thu., Oct. 17  IndyCar Championship Preview  NBCSN  8 p.m.
 Auctions America  NBCSN 10:30 p.m.
 TRANSLOGIC  NBCSN  11 p.m.
 TRANSLOGIC  NBCSN 11:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 18  USF 2000  NBCSN  1:30 a.m.
 TRANSLOGIC  NBCSN  2:30 a.m.
 IndyCar World Championships – Qualifying  NBCSN  7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 19  Indy Lights – Lefty’s Kids Clup 100  NBCSN  7 p.m.
 MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships  NBCSN  8 p.m

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s IndyCar and Formula One play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the IndyCar World Championships at Fontana. 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. Mike King, Davey Hamilton and Jake Query will have the call of the Indy Lights Fontana race.

INDYCAR 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 MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships on Saturday. 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.

Folger to make MotoGP debut with Tech3 in 2017

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - APRIL 22: Jonas Folger of Germany and Dynavolt Intact GP  rounds the bend during the MotoGp of Spain - Free Practice at Circuito de Jerez on April 22, 2016 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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Yamaha Tech3 has confirmed that rising German talent Jonas Folger will make his MotoGP debut with the team in 2017, stepping up from Moto2.

Folger, 22, finished sixth in last year’s Moto2 riders’ championship, and already has one pole position and two podiums to his name after four races in 2016.

The Kalex rider will make the jump up to MotoGP for 2017, joining the Yamaha satellite team on a one-year deal with an option for a second.

“I am super excited about the news and I still can’t believe this is happening,” Folger said.

“I have been racing for years in the motorcycling world championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true plus I’d like to thank all my sponsors that have stuck by me all these years.

“Furthermore, it’s an honor to make this step with Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock. I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I’m really looking forward to the new adventure.

“However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can’t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.”

Folger will get his first taste of the Tech3-run Yamaha bike at the traditional end of season MotoGP test in Spain this November.

Hamilton asks fans to trust and respect Mercedes team

SOCHI, RUSSIA - MAY 01:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP leaves the paddock after the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on May 1, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on his fans to trust and respect the Mercedes team amid unfounded allegations of sabotage in the past two races.

Hamilton suffered an issue on his power unit in qualifying for both the Chinese and Russian Grands Prix, helping teammate Nico Rosberg on his way to a streak of four successive victories to start the season.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff responded to claims on social media that the team was deliberately hindering Hamilton’s efforts by calling the accusers “lunatics”, before Mercedes itself wrote an open letter to its fans in response to the claims.

Hamilton has now issued a message of his own via his Facebook page on Friday:

Dear All,

I want you to know how grateful I am for all of your support. I’d like to ask that you please trust in my team, as I do. This is my family. These guys have been the greatest, hardest working people for me, and that is why I am now 3x World Champion.

Please don’t put any more thought into my team doing anything unjust towards me, and understand that it would be in no ones best interest for that to be the case. We’ve had the best 3 years together, and whilst it’s not going to plan right now, all will unfold in its own time.

I trust these guys 1000% and my mechanics are incredible, the best in the business. I respect them so please do the same. They are the guys that are going to make winning this championship possible.

Thank you once again.

Hamilton will bid to end Rosberg’s winning streak and get back into the title hunt when F1 arrives in Europe next weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Button confused by Red Bull’s decision to drop Kvyat

SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 30: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda in the garage during final practice ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 30, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button questioned Red Bull’s decision to drop Daniil Kvyat for Max Verstappen as of the Spanish Grand Prix, saying the team has “short memories”.

Red Bull announced on Thursday that Kvyat would be returning to Toro Rosso, its B-team, as of the next race in Barcelona, with Verstappen moving in the opposite direction.

The decision sparked mixed reactions on social media, with many pointing out that Kvyat had been on the podium just three weeks ago in China.

Button made the exact same point in a couple of tweets sent from his Twitter account on Thursday.

IMS confirms 100th Indy 500 reserved seats are sold out

Indianapolis 500
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have confirmed Friday that the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will have a sellout crowd, with confirmation all reserved seats have been sold.

“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th Running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

Further information is linked here, via the IMS website.