IndyCar at Long Beach highlights this weekend’s racing coverage on NBCSN

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series begins this week with the IndyCar Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, highlighting more than 15 hours of motorsports coverage this week.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will stream coverage of the Grand Prix of Long Beach via “TV Everywhere.”

NBCSN’s presentation of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series from Long Beach begins Saturday at 6 p.m. ET with qualifying. Coverage continues on Sunday afternoon on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET with the Indy Lights Streets of Long Beach race, leading into live coverage of the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

NBC Sports Group’s lead IndyCar and Formula One play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the Grand Prix of Long Beach on-site, alongside former drivers Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

Tracy joins NBC Sports Group’s IndyCar telecasts for select races this season, and is a four-time winner at Long Beach, including the first of his 31 career victories in 1993.

Reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits. Lee will be joined by Anders Krohn and Jake Query to call the Indy Lights Streets of Long Beach race.

In addition, NBCSN and Esquire Network will combine to present more than 15 hours of Mecum Auctions live coverage from Houston this week. Coverage begins on Esquire Network tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET, and continues on NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Esquire Network’s live presentation continues Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET, and shifts to NBCSN at 4 p.m. ET, with the final installment of Mecum Auctions from Houston airing Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

To find Esquire Network, please visit: http://esquiretv.com/channelfinder

Scott Hoke will host NBC Sports Group’s Mecum Auctions coverage on-site at Reliant Center in Houston, Texas, alongside analysts John Kraman, Stephen Cox, and Bill Stephens. Mecum Auctions is led by Dana Mecum, Founder and President of Mecum Auctions for the past 27 years.

NBCSN will also present coverage of the GP2 Series, Formula One’s developmental series, with the GP2 Bahrain race this Friday at 1:30 a.m. ET. NBC Sports Group’s F1 insider Will Buxton will have the call from Sakhir International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain.

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Carlos Munoz back at Andretti Autosport for 2018 Indy 500

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After posting two runner-up finishes and three top-five results in four starts with Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis 500, Colombian Carlos Munoz will come home to the team as its sixth driver in the 2018 race. He’ll instantly vault into win contention, given his pedigree at the Speedway and joining Andretti’s team that has won three of the last four ‘500s there.

Munoz raced full-time with Andretti Autosport from 2014 through 2016. While he scored his first career win at Detroit race one in 2015, and was series rookie of the year in 2014, it’s his runner-up results as a race rookie in 2013 and again in the 2016 race to teammate Alexander Rossi that loom largest.

Now, Munoz, who spent a single season at A.J. Foyt Enterprises before both he and Conor Daly were not retained for a second year, will join Andretti’s full-season quartet of Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach along with previously announced fifth driver Stefan Wilson.

This will add another confirmed Honda entry to next year’s race. Honda has 12 full-season entries expected among Andretti’s four cars, then two apiece from the Ganassi, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Schmidt Peterson and Coyne teams.

That number grows with Andretti’s two extra cars, and the combination of the SPM/Michael Shank car for Jack Harvey to confirm at least 15 Hondas for the 2018 Indianapolis 500. Honda has traditionally capped its number of entries at 18 cars.

The full release is below.

A familiar face will make its way back to the Andretti Autosport stable for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race as Carlos Muñoz returns to the team, vying for his chance to kiss the bricks.

Muñoz made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut with Andretti Autosport at the 2013 Indianapolis 500, where he finished second, earning himself Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors. The Colombian-native went on to compete full time with the team the following year. In 2016, Muñoz once again finished runner-up when his rookie teammate, Alexander Rossi, crossed the Yard of Bricks on a fuel-saving strategy to win the 100th Indy 500.

“I am very excited to be a part of Andretti Autosport again,” said Muñoz. “The team has been like family to me since day one, when I joined them five years ago to race Indy Lights. We have been so close to winning the Indy 500 – twice with the team – so I am especially excited to be back for that race and hopefully we will have a good result this year. I need to thank Michael [Andretti] and J-F [Thormann] for believing in me and wanting me to back in their car for the Indy 500. I am also excited to be back with my teammates, and I think we will continue to work really well together. We have six cars, so hopefully we will have a strong team working with the new [aero kit]. I am really looking forward to it – hopefully we can finally get that win we’ve been so close to.”

Muñoz will look to pick up where he left off with Andretti Autosport and add to the team’s historical success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team mirror’s Muñoz’s enthusiasm and is excited to have secured its complete lineup before the new year.

“We’re thrilled to have Carlos back in an Andretti car for the Indy 500,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “There is no denying that Carlos has talent at [Indianapolis Motor Speedway], he’s finished runner-up twice and that has fueled his determination to get to victory lane. He has already built relationships with his teammates and many of those on our crew, so it should be a seamless process for our six cars when they head out for the first time together.”

The veteran driver has built a resume that consists of 70 Verizon IndyCar Series starts, one win (Detroit Race 1, 2015), one pole position (Texas, 2016) and seven podiums. Muñoz competed under the Andretti shield from 2013 to 2016 and finished 17th in the 2017 IndyCar season.

Andretti Autosport has collected five Indianapolis 500 victories (Wheldon/’05, Franchitti/’06, Hunter-Reay/’14, Rossi/’16, Sato/’17) and seeks to become only the second team to earn three consecutive Indy 500 wins. Muñoz will join teammates Rossi, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Zach Veach and Stefan Wilson on opening day in May for the team’s six-car effort.