Malaysian GP highlights 15+ hours of motorsports this weekend on NBCSN

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NBC Sports Group continues its Formula One coverage this weekend with the Malaysian Grand Prix, highlighted by live race coverage Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Qualifying, practice, and the Malaysian Grand Prix will stream live via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.

Coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix begins Friday morning at 2 a.m. ET on NBCSN with live practice, followed by live qualifying on Saturday at 4 a.m. ET. NBCSN’s live race presentation begins at 3:30 a.m. ET, followed by F1 Extra at 6 a.m. ET.

NBCSN will air an encore presentation of the Malaysian Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.

Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call the Malaysian Grand Prix, and will be joined by veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia.

In addition to live comprehensive coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix, NBCSN will present a new episode of F1 Countdown on Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett, and Buxton will break down last week’s race and provide in-depth analysis on this week’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Prior to this week’s F1 coverage, Diffey will host NASCAR AMERICA, NBCSN’s daily weekday stock car racing show, this Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, alongside former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. An encore presentation of the Mecum Auction from Kissimmee airs at midnight on Thursday night, leading into live coverage of F1 practice from the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia.

Following is this week’s motorsports coverage schedule on NBCSN. All times are Eastern:

Thu., March 27
NASCAR AMERICA – 5 p.m., NBCSN
Pebble Beach Auto Show – 9:30 p.m., NBCSN
L.A. Auto Show – 10:30 p.m., NBCSN
Mobil 1 The Grid – 11:30 p.m., NBCSN

Fri., March 28
Mecum Auctions: Kissimmee (Encore) – Midnight, NBCSN
Malaysian Grand Prix Practice – 2 a.m., NBCSN
Road To Ferrari – 4 p.m., NBCSN
F1 Countdown – 5 p.m., NBCSN

Sat., March 29
Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying – 4 a.m., NBCSN

Sun., March 30
Malaysian Grand Prix – 3:30 a.m., NBCSN
F1 Extra – 6 a.m., NBCSN
Malaysian Grand Prix (Encore) – 2:30 p.m., NBCSN
F1 Extra (Encore) – 5:30 p.m., NBCSN
Sebastian Vettel: On Road and On Track – 6 p.m., NBCSN

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne