Sauber drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil are both ready for the challenge of the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend, and have targeted a big step forward following a disappointing showing in Australia last weekend.
Both Sutil and Gutierrez had rather anonymous races in Melbourne, eventually finishing in 11th and 12th, and a lap down on race winner Nico Rosberg. Having failed to show any kind of pace so far, both drivers are hoping that the heat of Malaysia could see the team take a stride towards the points.
“I am curious to drive the car on this track where the aerodynamics play a huge role,” Sutil explained. “This is important in order to get to know where we stand. If a car is good in Sepang, then it will be fast on other tracks as well. You need everything here – good aerodynamics, grip in the corners and high speed on the straights. The aerodynamic efficiency of the car is a key.
“Generally, my hope is that we improve from race to race. In Malaysia, the main objective is to get better and to make a step forward.”
2013 rookie of the year Gutierrez held no punches when previewing the race, saying: “It is a fact that we are not happy yet with our performance.
“We need to put our heads together, be united as a team and make progress in every little detail we can. We have a great team, and I am confident we can improve.”
Having relied largely on ever-the-nearlyman Nico Hulkenberg for the bulk of its points in 2013, Sauber will be hoping that both Sutil and Gutierrez can meet the challenge this year and help the team to return to the podium after two years away.
NBCSN, the cable home of IndyCar, will provide six hours of Indianapolis 500 Carb Day coverage, beginning Friday at 11 a.m. ET. In addition, NBCSN will air a live presentation of the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race at noon ET on Friday. Indy 500 coverage concludes on Saturday with the Indy 500 Festival Parade at 10 p.m. ET.
This weekend’s coverage includes IndyCar on NBCSN analyst Townsend Bell, who qualified in fourth place for this weekend’s 100th running of the Indy 500. Bell will be driving for Andretti Autosport, and this will mark his 10th appearance at the Indy 500. Bell’s best Indy 500 finish was fourth position in the 2009 race. Last year, he finished in 14th place.
Kevin Lee will lead NBCSN’s Carb Day coverage, filling in for Diffey who will be in Monaco, alongside analysts Bell and Paul Tracy. Jon Beekhuis, Marty Snider, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller will handle the pits.
This weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix takes place from the streets of Monte Carlo. The majority of the NBC Sports Group Formula 1 team is on site, as part of a massive weekend of racing coverage across the NBC Sports family.
Meanwhile two of our other race series properties – the Verizon IndyCar Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – are also running this weekend. The 100th Indianapolis 500 is on ABC (Carb Day coverage is on NBCSN) and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 is on FOX.
Here’s a look ahead to all times and schedule for F1 at Monaco this weekend. The full release can be found at the NBC Sports Group Press Box website, linked here.
For race coverage on Sunday, check your local listings, as some affiliates (Indianapolis, traditionally) opt for local programming including Indianapolis 500 pre-race content.
NBC Sports presents live coverage of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, one of the world’s most iconic racing events from picturesque Monte Carlo, this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC. The F1 Monaco Grand Prix will highlight more than 50 hours of coverage on NBC and NBCSN surrounding the “Biggest Day In Motorsports,” spanning Formula One, the Verizon IndyCar Series, and NASCAR.
NBC Sports Group is the U.S. television home of motorsports, providing exclusive Formula One coverage, exclusive cable coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series on NBCSN, and the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, as well as 19 XFINITY Series events. NBC’s coverage of the F1 Monaco Grand Prix kicks off the “Biggest Day In Motorsports” this Sunday, followed by the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 (ABC) and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 (FOX).
F1 MONACO GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY AT 7:30 A.M. ET ON NBC – COVERAGE BEGINS THURSDAY AT 8 A.M. ET ON NBCSN WITH PRACTICE 2
NBC Sports Group begins its comprehensive live coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday morning at 4 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra with Practice 1, followed by NBCSN’s presentation of Practice 2 on Thursday at 8 a.m. ET. Live Extra will stream Practice 3 on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. ET, leading into live qualifying coverage on NBCSN at 8 a.m. ET. Sunday’s coverage begins at 7 a.m. ETwith F1 Countdown on NBCSN, leading into live race coverage at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC.
Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s action, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett, and F1 insider Will Buxton, all on-site from Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Pre-race coverage on NBC and NBCSN will include interviews with 18-year-old driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who became the youngest F1 race winner ever with his Spanish Grand Prix win on May 14, as well as Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who considers Monaco to be his home race, and is in search of his fourth consecutive Monaco Grand Prix win. Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton will look to rebound from their performances at the Spanish Grand Prix, when the two collided on the first lap and were forced to retire from the race.
Shirley Muldowney has received cheers for more than 50 years for her drag racing exploits.
Now, the three-time Top Fuel champion needs cheers – and prayers – more than ever.
Muldowney, 75, will undergo surgery Wednesday morning at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, after being diagnosed with Stage 2 lung cancer.
“The fans have always been what’s kept me going and I’m sure people will be concerned about me now,” Muldowney said in a statement issued by her agent, Rob Geiger. “Well don’t be; I’ll be fine. There’s still a lot of things left I want to do.”
Renowned thoracic/cardiac surgeon Dr. Harold Howe will remove Muldowney’s right lung in what is expected to be a five-hour surgery.
“I’m a fighter, always have been, and I’m going to fight this as best I can with everything I got,” Muldowney said. “Dr. Howe is the No. 1 guy in the business and he’s as ready as I am to get this thing out of me.
“I’m ready for the pain to stop. It’s been getting worse the last few weeks as they did biopsies and the pre-op stress tests to make sure I was strong enough to have the surgery. Everything is good, so we’re getting it done.”
Earlier this year, Muldowney established the Shirley’s Kids charity (ShirleysKids.org) to help kids in need. Four children have already received donations from Muldowney’s charity in conjunction with NHRA national events this season at Gainesville (Florida), Charlotte, Houston and two weeks ago at Atlanta.
Backed by corporate support, Shirley’s Kids conveys 100 percent of donations to needy children. Muldowney has asked that in lieu of flowers or cards, donations be sent to her charity to further its work and efforts.
“The most joy I’ve had in years has come this season working with our little team at Shirley’s Kids,” Muldowney said. “If people can find it in their hearts to make a donation, that would brighten my spirits immensely because I know where all the money in this charity goes — right to the kids that need it. And believe me we have changed some people’s lives for the better.
“Thank you in advance for all the love and prayers. It all helps. My sister (Linda Roque) and niece (Betty Peek) along with Stan and Sheila (close friends Stan and Sheila May Holt) are here with me so I’m in great hands.”
Because of the surgery and post-op recovery/rehabilitation time, Muldowney has understandably cancelled upcoming appearances at Englishtown, New Jersey, and Bristol, Tennessee.
Updates on Muldowney’s condition and when she will resume appearances will be on ShirleysKids.org.
As she prepares for surgery, Muldowney gave a valuable public message to her fans and others:
“I urge everyone to keep up with their health and get chest x-rays as often as possible to make sure they are okay,” Muldowney said.
Long known as the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” Muldowney has long been one of the most popular and colorful drivers in the sport. She began racing in the 1950s near her hometown of Schenectady, New York, became the first female to earn an NHRA professional license and became the first female to win an NHRA pro race (1976 in Columbus, Ohio).
She then went on to extensive Top Fuel success, including winning championships in 1977 – the first female driver to earn a major motorsports championship – as well as 1980 and 1982.
She also the Top Fuel championship in the rival American Hot Rod Association in 1981, giving her four championships in six years.
Will Power is the man to beat in Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
So says online site Bovada.lv.
The online casino and odds-setting site has made Power an 11/2 favorite to win the milestone edition of the 500.
Power, who will start from the outside of Row 2 (sixth position) in Sunday’s race will be making his ninth start in the 500. He finished a career-best second place in last year’s race, runner-up to Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.
Montoya is tied with yet another Team Penske teammate, Simon Pagenaud, with the second-best odds to win the 500 at 6/1. Pagenaud has been on a tear of late, having won the last three IndyCar races leading up to the 500: Long Beach, Birmingham and the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis two weeks ago.
Helio Castroneves, who is seeking a fourth Indy 500 victory – which would tie him with AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears for most in the history of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing – is tied with defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon with the fourth-best odds to win Sunday at 13/2 each.
Pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe has the seventh-best odds to win at 12/1.
Here’s the overall odds for each driver in the 33-driver field for the Indy 500:
Driver – Odds to Win
Will Power 11/2
Juan Pablo Montoya 6/1
Simon Pagenaud 6/1
Helio Castroneves 13/2
Scott Dixon 13/2
Tony Kanaan 9/1
James Hinchcliffe 12/1
Josef Newgarden 14/1
Sebastien Bourdais 16/1
Ryan Hunter-Reay 20/1
Townsend Bell 22/1
Marco Andretti 25/1
Graham Rahal 25/1
JR Hildebrand 33/1
Takuma Sato 33/1
Mikhail Aleshin 40/1
Charlie Kimball 40/1
Carlos Munoz 40/1
Ed Carpenter 50/1
Oriol Servia 50/1
Max Chilton 66/1
Sage Karam 66/1
Alex Tagliani 66/1
Conor Daly 75/1
Jack Hawksworth 75/1
Alexander Rossi 75/1
Stefan Wilson 75/1
Matthew Brabham 100/1
Gabby Chaves 100/1
Bryan Clauson 100/1
Buddy Lazier 100/1
Spencer Pigot 100/1
Pippa Mann 150/1