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

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.

Mercedes F1 engine chief warns against underestimating Honda

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Mercedes Formula 1 engine chief Andy Cowell has warned against underestimating the threat of Honda despite its ongoing power unit struggles, tipping the Japanese manufacturer to bounce back in the near future.

Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2015, supplying V6 turbo power units to the McLaren team, but has struggled for either performance or reliability through that period.

The struggles have led McLaren – currently sat bottom of the constructors’ championship – to consider cutting ties for 2018 given how far adrift compared to the other three engine suppliers Honda has been.

Mercedes has been the benchmark for engine performance since the change in regulation for 2014, but Cowell feels that Honda could make up ground quickly, with the removal of the token system for 2017 helping performance to converge through the field.

“I think collectively we’ve helped with convergence in Formula 1 in the opening season, performance development through the year,” Cowell said.

“But then the opportunity to do a big change with Honda coming in, we all agreed that Honda could have that same opportunity to change everything in the first year and then the request came from manufacturers in addition to Honda saying ‘please can we take this crazy token table away because it’s bad for the sport?’

“It’s bad if somebody can’t train to get better and so we agreed, yeah, take the table away because it’s better for the sport because it means that you can innovate, you can introduce whatever you like.

“I think none of us should underestimate the technical prowess of Honda and of McLaren and I think my money is on that combination coming good and coming good pretty quickly. No pressure…”

Williams happy to ‘hold off’ on 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams is happy to “hold off” on making a decision on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2018 as it focuses on improving its on-track displays after a tough start to the season.

Williams currently fields Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, a mix of experience and youth, but has failed to keep up with midfield front-runner Force India through the first half of the year.

Force India sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of Williams, who leads a tight-knit group down to Renault in eighth place, 15 points adrift.

While Stroll looks set to continue with Williams and Massa has hinted he may look to continue through to 2018 despite initially planning to retire at the end of last season, deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that no decision about next year’s line-up will come any time soon.

“There’s a lot of talk already isn’t there, about drivers across the paddock. For us, we’ve decided we’re going to hold off a bit on our driver decision,” Williams said.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands on the race track at the moment and to be distracted by those kinds of conversations isn’t something that we want to be happening at the moment.

“[Force India’s] got a nice points haul on us at the moment we need to focus on, rather than anything else.”

Nico Rosberg visits Stanford University, considering study options

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University after visiting the college earlier this week as part of his tour around California.

Rosberg sensationally announced his retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden world title last November, wanting to spend more time with his young family.

The German has been enjoying his retirement, recently embarking on a tour of Silicon Valley and California that saw him hold meetings with electric car giant Tesla, among other companies.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Rosberg spoke warmly about a visit to Stanford, revealing that he is considering some study options in the near future at the historic institution.

Rosberg was previously offered a scholarship to study engineering at Imperial College London when he was younger, only to turn it down in order to embark on a racing career. He also reportedly holds the highest ever score on Williams’ engineering aptitude test.

Should Nico sign up to a course at Stanford, we imagine he’d take things one class at a time…