Shell And Pennzoil Grand Prix Of Houston

The 2014 IndyCar schedule is released on NBCSN (VIDEO)


Over the last few weeks, details of the 2014 IndyCar schedule have emerged drip-by-drip and on Thursday night, the full gush of the entire schedule was revealed on NBCSN.

An 18-race schedule at 15 race weekends is fairly in line with this year’s 19-race, 16 weekend calendar. But it’s a condensed schedule running from the season opener March 30 at St. Petersburg to the season finale, August 30, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Six ovals, four road course races and eight street course races will make up the 18-race slate, which will be held over just 23 weeks. There are no long “schedule gaps,” with only one two-week break from Texas Motor Speedway June 7 to Houston’s doubleheader June 28-29.

“The 2014 schedule reflects a more condensed North American calendar to increase the consistency with our race weekends,” said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR. “We’ll be building momentum throughout the season toward crowning our champion on Labor Day weekend.”

Baltimore is dropped as is Brazil, which was in a perpetual state of “maybe” after an agreement with the current promoter could not be reached. It could still happen though, per Miles. The Indianapolis road course race in May is the only new addition.

Detroit, Houston and Toronto retain their doubleheader status, same as they were this year.

There’s a handful of race dates that move. Barber Motorsports Park shifts to after Long Beach to April 26. Rumors of Houston’s move to late June have come true with its switch to June 28-29. Both of IndyCar’s short ovals shift as well, Iowa to mid-July, on July 12, and Milwaukee to August 17.

2014 IndyCar schedule:

March 30: Streets of St. Petersburg (SC)
April 13: Streets of Long Beach (SC)
April 26: Barber Motorsports Park (RC)
May 10:   Grand Prix of Indianapolis (RC)
May 25:   Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oval)
May 31:   Raceway at Belle Isle Park (SC)
June 1:   Raceway at Belle Isle Park (SC)
June 7:   Texas Motor Speedway (Oval)
June 28:  Reliant Park (SC)
June 29:  Reliant Park (SC)
July 6:   Pocono International Raceway (Oval)
July 12:  Iowa Speedway (Oval)
July 19:  Streets of Toronto (SC)
July 20:  Streets of Toronto (SC)
Aug. 3:   Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (RC)
Aug. 17:  The Milwaukee Mile (Oval)
Aug. 24:  Sonoma Raceway (RC)
Aug. 30:  Auto Club Speedway (Oval)

Mansell: Button, Alonso must keep faith in McLaren

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 03:  Former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell of Great Britain talks to the media during previews ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit on July 3, 2014 in Northampton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
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Former Formula 1 and CART champion Nigel Mansell has urged Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to keep faith in McLaren-Honda while the team goes through the “growing pains” of a new partnership.

Button and Alonso have both won world titles in the past, but neither have been able to even dream of a similar success in 2015 as the new Honda power unit has limited the team to just 17 points in total from the first 14 races.

Both drivers are set to remain with the team for 2016, but speculation about their future has been rife as a result of Honda’s struggles which even prompted Alonso to publicly vent his frustration over the radio in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Mansell urged both drivers to keep faith in the McLaren-Honda project, believing that it could yet make big strides forward ahead of the 2016 season.

“Jenson deserves an opportunity to see if they can compete and win next year,” Mansell said. “I think this winter Honda can make a breakthrough and McLaren will be working so, so hard.

“They are a fantastic team. They’ve won so much in the past and, to use [McLaren Group CEO] Ron Dennis’s words, they will win again in the future. I have no doubt about that.”

Mansell himself walked away from McLaren after just two races in 1995, its first season with Mercedes engines. After winning the CART title in 1993, Mansell enjoyed four races with Williams in F1 the following year before joining McLaren for the 1995 season.

After missing the first two races of the year due to the car being too narrow, Mansell took part in the San Marino and Spanish Grands Prix before walking away from McLaren due to the car’s lack of pace.

The Briton hinted at his own regrets when discussing the matter, and wished McLaren the very best in its bid to get back to the front of the field.

“Between Alonso and Jenson they will be a formidable team, given the car and the engine to do the job,” Mansell said. “When you go through the growing pains, and I’ve been there a few times myself, stay the course because they could have the best team and best engine.

“They’ll have some really serious regrets if Honda get it right after they’ve gone somewhere else. Hopefully within 12 months they’ll be singing the praises of the team and Honda. I sincerely hope they’ll be winning races in a year’s time.”

WRC: Latvala claims third win of 2015 in France

AJACCIO, FRANCE - OCTOBER 04:  Jari Matti Latvala of Finland and Mikka Anttila of Finland celebrate their victory during Day Three of the WRC France on October 4, 2015 in Ajaccio, France.  (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)
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Jari-Matti Latvala fought back to claim his third win of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship season, beating Elfyn Evans after the Briton threatened to claim an unlikely victory in France.

For the first time since 2008, the Rally de France took place on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, but was hit by heavy rain and flooding that caused two of the stages to be cancelled.

Championship winner Sebastien Ogier and former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica shared the early lead of the rally, but both dropped back due to technical problems.

Evans emerged as the leader after stage three on Friday, enjoying an advantage of 22 seconds over Latvala. However, the Volkswagen driver managed to reel the Briton in and take the lead after stage six before keeping his rivals at bay over the remainder of the rally.

Despite only finishing third on the final power stage, Latvala claimed his third win of the season ahead of Evans by 43 seconds.

“We’ve not had to push to the maximum at any point, but it was a faultless drive in difficult conditions,” Latvala said. “After winning last year, I have now done it again in Corsica and it’s important for me to show I can be competitive on all surfaces.”

Evans managed to hold on to second place by 3.2 seconds to record his career-best finish, while Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the podium in third place.

Although neither Ogier nor Kubica could finish in the points, both salvaged something from the weekend by coming first and second respectively in the power stage.

The WRC returns in three weeks’ time for Rally de Catalunya in Spain, which is the penultimate round of the 2015 season.