Houston IndyCar, Motocross Tennessee highlight this weekend on NBC Sports Group networks

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Verizon IndyCar Series and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross coverage take the lead this weekend on the NBC Sports Group networks, with streaming also offered via NBC Sports Live Extra:

GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON – SATURDAY & SUNDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBCSN’s presentation of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series from Houston begins Saturday at 2 p.m. ET with qualifying, leading into live coverage of Race 1 at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage of Race 2 from Houston will air on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Two weeks ago, Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing) held off Will Power (Team Penske) to win the Firestone 600 in Texas, after Power was penalized for speeding on pit lane with 35 laps remaining. IndyCar returned to Houston last year for the first time since 2007, with the new street circuit incorporating Houston landmarks including Reliant Stadium, Reliant Astrodome and Reliant Arena, with Power and Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) earning victories in the doubleheader.

NBC Sports Group’s lead IndyCar and Formula One play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the Grand Prix of Houston on-site, alongside former IndyCar driver Paul Tracy and IndyCar and F1 analyst Steve Matchett. Reporters Jon Beekhuis, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS TENNESSEE NATIONAL – SATURDAY

NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will combine to present six hours of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee National coverage from Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tenn. on Saturday. Coverage starts on Live Extra at 10:30 a.m. ET with practice, followed by the pre-race show at 12:15 p.m. ET. Race coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on Live Extra with 1st Motos, followed by NBC’s live presentation of the 450 Class of Moto 2 at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the 250 Class of Moto 2 airs at 4 p.m. ET on Live Extra, with an encore presentation at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Two weeks ago, James Stewart swept the 450 Class in Moto 2 at High Point, while Blake Baggett won in the 250 Class for wins in back-to-back events.

Veteran play-by-play voice Jason Weigandt, analyst and two-time AMA Pro Motocross Champion Grant Langston, and pit reporter Georgia Lindsay will call the action from Tennessee National on Saturday.

Motorsports Coverage This Week on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra:

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Wed., June 25 NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Thu., June 26 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross: High Point (Encore) 7 a.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports (Encore) 5 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR America 6 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., June 27 Mecum Auctions: Kansas City (Encore) 7 a.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour 4 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., June 28 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: Practice 10:30 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: Pre-Show 12:15 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: 1stMotos 1 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston: Qualifying 2 p.m. NBCSN
IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston: Race 1 3 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: 2nd Motos 3 p.m. NBC
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: 2ndMotos 4 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Tennessee: 2ndMotos 6 p.m. NBCSN
Rally America 8 p.m. NBCSN
Off The Grid: Barcelona 9 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., June 29 IndyCar Grand Prix of Houston: Race 2 3 p.m. NBCSN
KURT BUSCH: 36 6 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Houston (Encore) 7 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Indianapolis (Encore) 9:30 p.m. NBCSN

Hamilton has considered quitting F1, but now ‘loving it more than ever’

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed he considered quitting Formula 1 in order to pursue interests outside of the sport, but currently has no plans to retire, saying he is “loving it more than ever”.

Hamilton, 32, is currently fighting for his fourth drivers’ title against Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and leads the championship by 28 points with six races remaining.

The Briton enjoys a celebrity profile outside of the sport unmatched by any of his peers, and has interests in fashion and music that he has long expressed a desire in pursuing once his racing career has finished.

After winning last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton returned to Europe to attend the fashion week events in London and Milan before jetting to Malaysia next week to continue his championship bid.

Appearing on UK chatshow The Jonathan Ross Show, Hamilton discussed his future plans and admitted he had considered turning his back on F1 in the past.

“You try and go as long as you can. It’s not a sport you can go back to,” Hamilton said.

“When you’re in Formula 1, you’re in the spotlight, you’re at the top of the world – then it’s downhill from there on.

“You don’t earn the same money, there’s not a huge amount of opportunities because you’ve been in that world for so long. I’ve been there since I was eight.

“For me at the moment, for these past five, six years I’ve really been trying to work on what I enjoy outside of the sport so that when I stop I can walk away and still have other things.”

When asked directly if he was planning to retire soon, Hamilton said: “No. There have been talks about it, and I definitely have thought about it.

“There have definitely been times when I’ve thought there are other things I want to do, but then we’re in the heat of this battle right now and I’m loving it more than ever.

“The training, all the work that you put into something, and then you get to really show your abilities, it’s the greatest feeling ever.

“So I’m going to keep going for as long as I can and see what I can do.”

Hamilton existing contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season, the Briton having made his F1 debut back in 2007.

Rossi expecting to ‘suffer’ with injury in MotoGP Aragon race

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Valentino Rossi is expecting to “suffer” in Sunday’s MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon as he competes just 23 days after suffering a double leg-break in a training accident.

Rossi was forced to miss the last race at Misano due to the injury and was expected to miss the Aragon Grand Prix, only to make a shock return and be cleared by MotoGP’s medical staff on Thursday.

Rossi qualified a remarkable third on Saturday for Yamaha, less than two-tenths of a second behind pole-sitting teammate Maverick Viñales, surprising himself in the process.

“It’s a surprise for me and us, because I didn’t know what to expect,” Rossi said.

“A week ago I started to think maybe it was possible to ride here, and I did some laps with the R1 [bike] thinking it could be possible but with some pain. But the leg has improved every day.

“My position on the bike isn’t perfect but quite close to the normal one, at first we changed some things but now I’m using the normal footpeg and seat position and for sure it’s better.”

Despite impressing in qualifying, Rossi is less hopeful of his chances across a race distance, but is ready to give his all in the race.

“We still need to work a bit because with the race tire my pace isn’t fantastic but we’ll try,” Rossi said.

“On Friday morning when I woke up I was in pain, then this morning when I woke up it was better. So if tomorrow continues in the same way, I can do the race.

“But the bike is a bit more demanding on the race tires. For sure I have to suffer, but I’ll try.”

Ricciardo confident Red Bull hasn’t missed last F1 win chance in 2017

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Red Bull Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo is confident the team has not missed its last chance to win a race in 2017 after losing out to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in Singapore.

Red Bull ran strongly throughout the Singapore race weekend, with Ricciardo boldly stating the team would win after qualifying third for the race.

A wet-dry affair marred by a start-line crash allowed Hamilton to sweep from fifth to first, while Ricciardo was left to settle for P2 for the third straight year in Singapore.

With none of the remaining circuits appearing to suit Red Bull’s RB13 car as well as Singapore, Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to share the spoils through the final six races of the year.

However, Ricciardo is sure that Red Bull will get another opportunity to add to its surprise victory in Baku earlier this season, which came about in surprising circumstances.

“Malaysia, obviously there were a few incidents last year but I think our general pace wasn’t too bad so we might be stronger than we think there,” Ricciardo said, looking ahead to next weekend’s race in Kuala Lumpur.

“Malaysia, Japan and then we’ll see. I think we can be podium cars, probably Malaysia, Japan, Austin.

“We might need some alternate conditions to really give us raw pace to fight for a win.

“I’m not going to sit here and say we’re not going to win one.

“I believe we’ll get at least one chance somewhere.”

F1 teams allowed to use current-year cars for demos from 2018

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Formula 1 teams will be allowed to use their latest-spec cars at demonstrations organized by the sport from 2018, the FIA has confirmed.

F1 hit the streets of London, England ahead of the British Grand Prix in July for a live demonstration that attracted a crowd of over 100,000 fans.

Due to restrictions on the use of current cars outside of official testing and grand prix weekends, all teams were required to appear with older chassis models in London, most coming from 2015, the most recent year allowed to be used freely.

The restrictions meant that Haas, which only became an F1 team in 2016, could not field a car at all in London.

As part of the updated sporting regulations approved by the World Motor Sport Council and issued by the FIA earlier this week, a rule tweak was confirmed to let teams use their current-year cars at “demonstration events organized by the Commercial Rights Holder”.

Teams are still allowed to complete two filming day events with their current cars, with the majority opting to use one prior to pre-season testing to act as a shakedown of their new models.

While no further demonstrations such as the one in London have been confirmed by F1 yet, they are understood to be in the works after the success the July event enjoyed.