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Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio highlights extensive motorsports coverage this weekend on NBCSN, NBC

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* Live Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Airs Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN; Qualifying on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

* Jay Leno Appears on Auctions America Coverage This Weekend from Burbank on Friday at 3 p.m. ET

* New Reality Series – Mecum Dealmakers – Debuts Tonight at 10 p.m. ETon NBCSN; Encore on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC

* Honda Indy Toronto Race 2 Is Most-Watched IndyCar Race on NBCSN in Three Years; Season-To-Date Up 46% vs. 2013

 

NBCSN will present live coverage of the IndyCar Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, highlighting more than 30 hours of motorsports coverage across NBC and NBCSN this weekend.

Coverage also features Jay Leno in the broadcast booth for NBCSN’s presentation of Auctions America on Friday at 3 p.m. ET, and the debut of NBCSN’s new reality series, Mecum Dealmakers, tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. ET. The reality series dovetails off of Mecum Auctions, providing car enthusiasts with a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the high-intensity of the auction floor.

Here’s what fans have to look forward to:

 

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO – SUNDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBCSN’s coverage of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio begins with qualifying on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Live race coverage begins on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, followed by a presentation of Race 2 of the Indy Lights series from Mid-Ohio at 6 p.m. ET.

Two weekends ago, Sebastien Bourdais (KVSH Racing) and Mike Conway (Ed Carpenter Racing) took Races 1 and 2 at the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader. Rain on Saturday led to both races being run on Sunday, making it the first same-day doubleheader since June 28, 1981 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the CART series.

Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) currently leads teammate Will Power by 13 points in the championship points standings with four races remaining in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar season. Last year, Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing) took the checkered flag for his first career IndyCar win. Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) is a four-time winner at Mid-Ohio, but both he and Chip Ganassi Racing are still in search of their first victories of the 2014 campaign.

NBC Sports Group’s lead motorsports voice Leigh Diffey will call the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, alongside former driver Townsend Bell and veteran analyst and former racecar driver David Hobbs.

Reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits. Lee will be joined byAnders Krohn and Jake Query to call the Indy Lights Mid-Ohio race.

 

JAY LENO APPEARS ON AUCTIONS AMERICA COVERAGE THIS WEEKEND FROM BURBANK ON FRIDAY AT 3 P.M. ET

NBCSN will present eight hours of Auctions America coverage from its Burbank auction, highlighted by a live guest appearance from former Tonight Show host, and known car-enthusiast, Jay Leno on Friday at 3 p.m. ET. NBCSN will also air an encore presentation of Friday’s live coverage that evening at 10:30 p.m. ET, followed by Saturday’s live coverage at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Leno will sit in the announcer booth alongside veteran broadcaster Bill Patrick, NBCSN F1 analyst and former race mechanic for the Benneton F1 team Steve Matchett, and reporter Carolyn Manno, providing live commentary on the various cars on the auction block. This week’s auction lot includes a 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra, once owned by British Touring Car Champion Frank Sytner, a 1990 Ferrari F40, formerly owned by rock legend Rod Stewart, and a 1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS 396 delivered new to “King of Cool” Steve McQueen.

 

NEW REALITY SERIES – MECUM DEALMAKERS – DEBUTS TONIGHT AT 10 P.M. ET ON NBCSN; ENCORE ON SUNDAY AT 2 P.M. ET ON NBC

NBC Sports Group will launch a new reality series – Mecum Dealmakers – tonight at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN, providing car enthusiasts with a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the high-intensity world of Mecum Auctions, as collector cars change hands with the smack of an auction gavel.

Mecum Dealmakers dovetails off of the Mecum Auctions series on NBCSN, and tells the story of President and Founder Dana Mecum and his son Frank Mecum. The father-son tandem works together to manage the high pressure of the auction floor, where buyers and sellers hope to make the deal of a lifetime, often with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line.

Mecum Dealmakers debuts tonight at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the 2014 Houston auction. The debut episode features a 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype on the auction block that was purchased by Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller formore than $7 million, as well as segments with former Houston Rockets owner Charlie Thomas, and NFL TE Kellen Winslow Jr., who had his eyes set on a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. NBC will also air an encore presentation ofMecum Dealmakers: Houston on Sunday, August 3 at 2 p.m. ET.

 

HONDA INDY TORONTO RACE 2 IS MOST-WATCHED INDYCAR RACE ON NBCSN IN THREE YEARS; SEASON-TO-DATE UP 46% VS. 2013

As previously announced, Race 2 of the IndyCar Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on NBCSN on Sunday, July 20 (3:53-5:37 p.m. ET), averaged 484,000 viewers, making it NBCSN’s most-watched IndyCar race since the 2011 Grand Prix of Baltimore (9/4/11, 591,000 viewers).

Through eight races, NBSCN’s coverage of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series has averaged 400,000 viewers, up 46% from the 2013 average viewership (274,000) through eight races.

 

Motorsports Coverage This Week on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra (subject to change):

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Thurs., July 31 NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions (Encore) 7 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Dealmakers: Kissimmee (Encore) 9 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Dealmakers: Houston 10 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports 11 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., August 1 Motocross Highlight Series 12 a.m. NBCSN
Global RallyCross: Charlotte (Encore) 2 a.m. NBCSN
Auctions America: Burbank 3 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Auctions America: Burbank (Encore) 10:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., August 2 Auctions America: Burbank 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio: Qualifying 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., August 3 TORC: Bark River 1:30 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Dealmakers: Houston (Encore) 2 p.m. NBC
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio 3 p.m. NBCSN
Global RallyCross – Season Recap 4 p.m. NBC
KURT BUSCH: 36 4:30 p.m. NBC
Indy Lights Mid-Ohio: Race 2 6 p.m. NBCSN

 

MOTORSPORTS ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will provide streaming coverage of this week’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio and Auctions America coverage. The majority of coverage will be provided via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at http://www.nbcsports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

Coverage airing on:

  • NBC will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra;
  • NBCSN will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra, and to the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, and telco services, via “TV Everywhere,” which is available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of participating MVPDs;

MOTORSPORTSTALK: MotorSportsTalk (@MotorSportsTalk) on NBCSports.com brings racing fans up-to-the-minute news, video and information on the Formula One, Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and all other motorsports racing from around the world. The site also serves as the destination for all news, analysis and video from NBC and NBCSN productions of IndyCar and F1, including contributions from on-air commentators.

MotorSportsTalk’s content is provided by top racing journalists and expert analysts, including:

  • Luke Smith is creator and editor at Richland F1, which begins its second season this year. He’s on Twitter at @LukeSmithF1, primarily handling the F1 scene from Europe in great detail.
  • Tony DiZinno has most recently served as web editor for RACER Magazine and has more than seven years of experience in the industry. Follow him on Twitter at @TonyDiZinno.
  • Chris Estrada has written for NBCSports.com’s MotorsportsTalk since its inception in 2013, and has been a contributor for various outlets, including the Boston Globe, IndyCar Nation and FoxSports.com. Follow him at @estradawriting.
  • Jerry Bonkowski is a veteran NASCAR reporter with more than 30 years of experience. He has contributed to USA Today, Yahoo! Sports and other websites over the course of his career. Follow him on Twitter@JerryBonkowski.

To explore the site, please visit MotorSportsTalk.com.nbcsports.com or www.NBCSports.com.

SOCIAL: Follow @MotorsportsTalk, @F1onNBCSports and @NBCSN on Twitter and “like” Facebook.com/NBC Sports for the most up-to-date news, videos and commentary about Formula One on NBC Sports and NBCSN.

Grace Autosport continuing to build program towards May

L to R: Grace Autosports Team Principal Beth Paretta and race driver Katherine Legge launch an all-female Indy 500 team to contest the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016 (PRNewsFoto/Grace Autosport)
Photo: Grace Autosport
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One of the newest teams planning to field an entry at this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Grace Autosport, continues its preparations in what could be a hectic month of February.

The primarily female initiative, led by Beth Paretta with Katherine Legge as nominated driver, has gained traction in the last month or so with further meetings, STEM events and Legge’s standout drive in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

While announced last May, time is of the essence for securing both an engine lease and a team partner, to go along with the crew already established.

The target to confirm both the engine and team partner is coming up next month.

“[We’d need to finalize] by the beginning of March to give it proper time,” Paretta told NBC Sports in an interview following the Rolex 24.

Paretta was on site at Daytona for the Rolex 24 for a number of meetings with manufacturers and other key industry stakeholders, to continue to promote the Grace Autosport message, brand and team.

“Yes, there were a few key meetings – some planned, some impromptu – which went very well,” she said.

“The awareness still surprises me. I was wearing a Grace Autosport hat in the paddock and a few people asked me about the team. Many people in the racing community have said they think the concept is cool and have offered help.

“I get offers for help from some guys that have worked on teams I’ve worked with in the past, which is lovely.”

Legge’s drive at Daytona in the DeltaWing DWC13 coupe didn’t hurt matters, either.

The Tim Keene-led team opted not to qualify in the treacherous, rain-soaked conditions. Legge started the car and went from 13th and last in the Prototype class field up to third within the first 20 minutes, and led by the end of the first hour.

In a career that’s had occasional standout drives, this was one of them, and came at a good time.

“Her drive in the DeltaWing was just fantastic. While she was leading overall I was talking with some other racing drivers in pit lane and one said, almost dismissively, ‘Well, that car was really fast,’” Paretta said of Legge.

“Yes, it was, but she has been an integral part of the development of that car and part of the reason why it’s become faster. Any IMSA fan knows that the DeltaWing project has had a lot of challenges so I think to see it running up front was a nice surprise for many fans. People like an underdog so I think it was really exciting to watch her climb through the field and run up front.”

Legge was due to share the car with Andy Meyrick, Sean Rayhall and Andreas Wirth before Meyrick got caught up in a strange accident, where a radio issue meant Meyrick didn’t fully hear there was another PC car stopped on course in the middle of Turn 1.

Although Meyrick braked earlier than normal to avoid it, proved by the data, he still wound up hitting Chris Cumming’s stranded car which took the DeltaWing out of the race. Cumming’s PC car was also severely wounded.

The DeltaWing aside, where Legge and Grace really seek to make strides is in STEM events. Legge and Paretta recently did an event in Indianapolis with the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc., last week.

The STEM portion is a major component of the Grace Autosport effort.

“STEM and education for girls is the foundation of Grace Autosport. It isn’t a throwaway comment connecting racing with a ’cause.’ It is why we are racing,” Paretta said.

“Even though we have yet to turn a wheel, we are working with different groups supporting educational initiatives for girls and young women. We participated in the Society of Women Engineers’ annual conference, which was held in Nashville in October, and this week Katherine and I will be delivering the keynote address to a conference for science teachers in the State of Indiana.

“So STEM education isn’t a pet cause for us, it is the cause for what we are doing. We will be making a few more announcements in the coming months that we will explain how we will connect our message to the community and the classroom.”

Jake Eidson steps up to Pro Mazda with Cape in 2016

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Jake Eidson came up short of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda championship last year, losing out to Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Nico Jamin.

Now, at the next step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, they’ll be teammates.

Jamin was confirmed last week with Cape for his step up from USF2000 into the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and this morning Eidson, the 20-year-old out of Littleton, Colorado, was confirmed as Cape’s second driver.

“I’m extremely grateful and excited to enter my first season of Pro Mazda and to rejoin Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing,” Eidson offered.

“After finishing second in last year’s USF2000 championship, we weren’t sure if moving up to Pro Mazda was possible. When the season was over, we tested with the Capes and quickly knew that they have a winning team. Fortunately, we were able to make the 2016 season achievable.

“I know that my goal, as well as the team’s goal, is to aim for the top spot in the Pro Mazda championship and I have a lot of confidence in their ability to make it happen. This is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get started!”

It’s a natural progression for Eidson, who ran two full seasons in USF2000. His first came with Cape in 2014 where he finished third in points, before he moved to Pabst Racing and was one of only two drivers (Aaron Telitz) to pose a threat to Jamin as the year progressed.

Eidson is supported in his efforts by Rising Star Racing, DA Lubricants Company, Bell Helmets, OMP, Team USA Scholarship, and SafeisFast.

The top three USF2000 drivers all moving up to Pro Mazda is important for the second rung on the ladder; they’ll race arguably the championship favorite in Garett Grist plus his three young, hungry teammates at Juncos Racing, with other driver announcements to come in the coming days.

Red Bull GRC confirms Wild Horse Pass for season opener

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Phoenix was listed as the season opener for the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, but a location was not confirmed.

Today though, the series has confirmed where the Phoenix round will be held: at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway.

It’s in Chandler, Arizona, technically, but it should still be a good spot for the season-opening doubleheader round.

The full release is below:

For the first time in series history, Red Bull Global Rallycross will visit the state of Arizona during the 2016 season. Red Bull GRC Phoenix, the season opener and first of four doubleheaders on the schedule, will take place at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, one of the most diverse motorsports playgrounds in the United States.

“The southwest is a crucial market for Red Bull GRC, with many of our most passionate fans located in the region,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “The opportunity to bring our unique brand of racing to the Phoenix market for the first time was something we couldn’t pass up. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is the perfect setting for us as we look to open our finest season yet.”

Located just off of I-10, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is located only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix, with ample parking and amenities on-site. Fans will be treated to a challenging and fast mile-long track, featuring the series’ signature 70-foot jump, and will be able to see all the action from great spectator areas overlooking the entire facility.

This will be the first time that a Red Bull GRC season begins with a doubleheader. Performing well in the opener has been a constant step towards winning a title, as no Red Bull GRC champion has ever finished worse than fourth in the first race of the year. Defending Supercar champion Scott Speed and defending GRC Lites champion Oliver Eriksson finished second and third in class, respectively, in last year’s opener; both drivers are expected to begin their title defense in Phoenix.

In no great surprise, McLaren also passes crash tests

xxxx during day four of Formula One Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 22, 2015 in Montmelo, Spain.
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The new McLaren chassis, the MP4-31, has passed its crash tests ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season, the team has confirmed today.

This means all 11 teams have had their new chassis complete the crash test and thus be ready for action starting with the first test of the winter February 22-25 at Barcelona, in Spain. Sauber has already indicated it will debut its new chassis at the second test.

McLaren, of course, will be looking for a better start to its season with race drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button and reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Alonso’s mysterious accident last spring at Barcelona ruled him out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.