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.

Haas goes for first three-in-a-row scoring streak in Russia

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After back-to-back eighth place finishes from Kevin Magnussen at China and Romain Grosjean last time out in Bahrain, Haas F1 Team has its second chance to score points three races in a row for the first time in its F1 career – and arguably a more realistic chance at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix (Sunday, 8 a.m. ET, NBCSN).

Grosjean’s shock sixth and fifth place finishes to open his 2016 account in Australia and Bahrain were unexpected but the team hit a bump in the road in China. Russia, however, saw the Frenchman return to the points with an eighth place, and bring his season tally to 28 points to conclude the remarkable start of results in flyaway races.

Now, with a car that could theoretically be considered the fourth best in the field behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, hopes are high for either Grosjean or Magnussen to extend the team’s scoring streak to what would be the longest yet in its short history.

The team did well to note the Olympic tie in at the Sochi circuit, linking “Super G” and how fast the new 2017 Formula 1 cars are.

From the release: “The first time we saw Super-G in Sochi was in 2014 when the Russian city hosted the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud beat American Andrew Weibrecht by .3 of a second on the 2.096-kilometer (1.302-mile) course with a 622-meter (2,041-foot) vertical drop to nab gold in the alpine slalom event.

“Three years later, a Super-G of a different sort returns to Sochi, but instead of taking place on the white slopes of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort, it will happen on the black asphalt of the Sochi Autodrom as the fastest cars in Formula One history rocket around the 5.848-kilometer (3.634-mile), 18-turn circuit for the April 30 Russian Grand Prix.”

Grosjean described the physical uptick in training he’s needed to do. The 31-year-old is in his sixth full season and seventh overall in F1, since his midseason debut in 2009.

“The cars are brutal to drive – we are not far from 8G with the peak in high corners – so it is pretty good fun, but it is hard on the body, it is hard on parts, it is hard on the cars,” Grosjean said. “You better not miss the turning point on some places. The speed we go through the corners is insane compared to the past. You need to be more precise, more accurate, more on it.

“We’re going through more g-forces, so the neck is stronger and the core is stronger,” Grosjean added. “Your whole body had to adjust to these high speeds.”

Team principal Guenther Steiner explained the importance of needing to bank points early in the crowded midfield. Haas sits seventh in the championship now, just nine points behind Sahara Force India in fourth, who have scored with both drivers in each of the three races so far in 2017.

“It’s always good to come back from two races with points, and it shows that the car is capable to score points at each race. Then again, it’s always difficult because it’s a tight midfield and we all went testing after Bahrain and everyone has learned something,” Steiner said.

“It’s as tight as it’s ever been. With four to five teams so close together, I cannot remember when that happened, and every weekend it’s mixed up in a different way. Any of these teams can go into Q3 and get into the points. It’s a very tense battle, but I think a nice battle and it keeps the constructors championship pretty open for the midfield.”

Grosjean added, “It was good to score points in Bahrain. Clearly, we deserved them – since race one, actually. I think the most encouraging fact for now is that the car is performing well everywhere we’ve been. So now we go to Russia, which was a bit of a tough one for us last year. We’ll see if we’ve made progress and if the car is working well at every type of circuit. If so, then pretty much everywhere we could score points.”

For Magnussen, the chance of a score comes after he delivered his best 2016 result here last year – seventh for Renault. He was also fifth in 2014 with McLaren, and has a chance to score for a third different team here this weekend.

“I think it’s a good track and I’ve had some good races there. Hopefully, I can have another good one there this year,” he said.

“I know last year I had a good first lap. Quite a few people messed up and lost things like front wings and so on. I made up lots of positions with that. I then had a really good race after that to finish seventh.”

 

 

PWC: 36 SprintX cars, lineups pack variety, diversity at VIR

Photo: PWC
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No less than 36 cars are set to compete in the first of five Pirelli World Challenge SprintX weekends, this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway.

Breaking down those 36 cars, they’re split this way:

  • 12 GT Pro/Pro
  • 16 GT Pro/Am
  • 1 GT Am/Am
  • 1 GT Cup Pro/Am
  • 1 GT Cup Am/Am
  • 2 GTS Pro/Am
  • 3 GTS Am/Am

And that’s before you get to the rest of the entry list: GTS: 9; GTSA: 10; TC: 32; TCA: 15; TCB: 8.

In sports car racing, the easiest way to get hooked is to embrace the variety and diversity of machinery first and ask questions about how complex it is later.

So with that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the GT SprintX entries (which themselves are split between three classes, but we’ll set that aside for a minute) and their respective lineups.

Cadillac Racing, Cadillac ATS-V.R

3 – Johnny O’Connell/Jordan or Ricky Taylor
8 – Michael Cooper/Jordan or Ricky Taylor

The fully professional Cadillac lineups give the Taylor brothers a chance to dip their feet back into Pirelli World Challenge competition alongside the team’s full-season drivers. That being said, it’ll be weird to see Jordan and Ricky racing against each other again, and Cadillac still hasn’t confirmed which brother goes where.

Magnus Racing, Audi R8 LMS

4 – Pierre Kaffer/Spencer Pumpelly (Kaffer misses Lime Rock)
44 – John Potter/Marco Seefried (Seefried misses Lime Rock)

For Magnus Racing, a return to the mini-endurance racing with pit stops could see the team with a slight advantage over those PWC-only teams in recent years. Kaffer and Pumpelly is as good a lineup as you’ll find on the grid while Potter and Seefried know each other’s nuances well.

K-PAX Racing, McLaren 650S GT3

6 – Bryan Sellers/Jonny Kane
9 – Alvaro Parente/Ben Barnicoat
98 – Mike Hedlund/Michael Lewis

With Strakka Racing coming to McLaren, Jonny Kane is the ace of reckoning added here with Sellers. Meanwhile Parente has the talented but inexperienced McLaren GT junior driver Barnicoat alongside; Hedlund and Lewis provide a very solid all-American duo.

GMG Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R

14 – James Sofronas/Laurens Vanthoor (VIR and CTMP)
14 – James Sofronas/Matt Halliday (Lime Rock, Utah and COTA)

Calvert Dynamics, Porsche 911 GT3 R

77 – Alec Udell/Preston Calvert (partnership with GMG)

In simple terms, Sofronas’ team is one that should benefit from the SprintX format. Porsche places factory driver Vanthoor in when available while Halliday is a team veteran. Udell and Calvert will share a Calvert Dynamics entry prepared by GMG, which combines the two top teams from the series’ GT Cup class.

Wright Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R

16 – Michael Schein/Jan Heylen
58 – Patrick Long/Joerg Bergmeister

Two solid lineups here for John Wright’s team. The iconic pairing of Long and Bergmeister is reunited in the team’s all-pro entry with Heylen and Schein one of the top pro/am entries.

RealTime Racing, Acura NSX GT3

43 – Ryan Eversley/Tom Dyer
93 – Peter Kox/Mark Wilkins

Wilkins and Dyer, the team’s SprintX additions, are underrated for a reason – they’re solid, quiet, capable drivers who aren’t flashy but usually get the job done. But they’re going to have to rise up against some of the other pros competing, especially when Acura’s four full-season drivers in IMSA aren’t added here.

Bentley Team Absolute, Bentley Continental GT3

78 – Yufeng Luo/Alexandre Imperatori (VIR and CTMP)
88 – Adderly Fong/Vincent Abril

Past Blancpain GT Series champion Abril is an excellent addition to this young lineup, and he and Fong will be the car to watch versus the pro/am No. 78 car.

CRP Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

2 – Ryan Dalziel/Daniel Morad

“Razzle Dazzle” and “State of Moradness” combine for one of the coolest nickname and driver pairings on the grid. The Canadian should learn the Mercedes quickly and combined with the rapid Scot who’s based in Florida, this team should excel.

TR3 Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3

31 – Daniel Mancinell/Andrea Montermini

Mancinelli has raised more than a few eyebrows in his first two weekends in the series, but has the pace to star. Ferrari GT veteran Montermini is a nice counterbalance.

R. Ferri Motorsport, Ferrari 488 GT3

61 – Alex Riberas/Kyle Marcelli

Remo Ferri’s entry is one of the best ones out there, with two very talented drivers sharing the team’s Ferrari 488 in the SprintX races. Marcelli’s vastly experienced for his still tender age of 27; Riberas is a rising GT star in sports car racing.

Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari 458 GT3

7 – Martin Fuentes/Stefan Johansson

Giacomo Mattioli doesn’t usually enter something unless he thinks he can win, and this pro/am lineup of last year’s GTA champ (Fuentes) and Ferrari veteran and team sporting director Johansson, is one of the best in this category.

M1 GT Racing, Audi R8 LMS

23 – David Ostella/James Dayson

Pair of Mazda Road to Indy veterans-turned-sports car Canadians share a car that will be consistent if not the outright fastest among pro/am entries.

MOMO NGT Motorsport, Ferrari 458 GT3

30 – Henrique Cisneros/TBA

Cisneros usually assembles a good effort, and the identity of his co-driver will be interesting.

Black Swan Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

54 – Tim Pappas/Jeroen Bleekemolen

The band has come back together for the past GTC champions of American Le Mans Series. Bleekemolen remains rapid as ever; he and Pappas have gelled well before.

DXDT Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3

63 – Aaron Povoledo/David Askew

Team’s strength comes from its 2016 SprintX experience, something many others don’t have.

Always Evolving Racing/AIM Autosport, Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3

75 – Ricardo Sanchez/Frankie Montecalvo

There’s a lot of newness for the AE/AIM/Nissan combo including a new driver lineup and new 2017 car. While it’s unfortunate past Nissan winners Bryan Heitkotter and James Davison aren’t here, young guns Sanchez and Montecalvo have potential in spades.

McCann Racing, Audi R8 LMS

82 – Mike Skeen/Michael McCann

This SprintX-only, pro/am entry could provide an avenue for “ginger stig” Skeen to live up to his lanky frame and produce some typical giant-killing performances.

MCC Motorsports, Mercedes-AMG GT3

92 – Alexandre Negrao/Alexandre Negrao Sr.

Little known here about this entry, other than it’s another Mercedes that features a past GP2 veteran in Negrao.

TRG, Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3

007 – Kris Wilson/Drew Regitz

Wilson has been capable of winning races with TRG before but it’s hard to see this aging car and the lone am-am labeled driver lineup doing much of that here. That said, in the hands of James Davison, it does still have some speed left.

Dream Racing Competition, Lamborghini Huracán GT3

07 – Cedric Sbirrazzuoli/Lawrence DeGeorge

The pairing has driven together in Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and now PWC SprintX. Sbirrazzuoli’s got the speed here between this duo.

DIME Racing, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (First Alternate)

111 – Jonathan Summerton/Michael Macs

Past Atlantic series race winner Summerton leads this lineup, although whether he’ll get a chance to race depends on one of the primary entries having a pre-race issue that promotes the first alternate into the field.

REST OF THE FIELD

There are also seven additional entries for the first SprintX race of the season, with two GT Cup and five GTS entries. Those cars may interfere with the GT competitors but will have their own interesting race within the race, as well.

Tom Dillmann confirmed for Formula E debut at Paris

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
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Mike Conway (Faraday Future Dragon Racing) will have company among guest drivers in the upcoming FIA Formula E Championship Paris ePrix on May 20.

Venturi, Conway’s old team, have confirmed French open-wheel veteran turned occasional sports car racer Tom Dillmann as a fill-in driver for Maro Engel at Paris, and will thus make his series debut. Engel is racing for Mercedes in DTM, while Loic Duval is racing for Audi at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz the same weekend.

Dillmann has driven the Venturi VM200-FE-02 before, standing in for Stephane Sarrazin for the shakedown in last month’s Mexico City ePrix as Sarrazin was en route to Mexico from the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test in Monza.

He’s an F3, GP2 and WEC race winner already. The 28-year-old Frenchman is understandably keen to impress on debut.

“Formula E is an exciting place to be for a driver – with thrilling motor racing and interesting technical developments. It goes without saying that it’s my goal to contest a full season in this series in the future,” he said in a release.

PWC: Morad, Johansson join stacked SprintX lineup

Morad and Johansson. Photos: CRP Racing (Morad) and Getty Images (Johansson)
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Two more names have been added to the 30-plus car field for this weekend’s upcoming Pirelli World Challenge SprintX races at Virginia International Raceway.

Ryan Dalziel will have young Canadian ace Daniel Morad joining him in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Morad co-drove the winning No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to a class win in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and now will have a crack at another GT3-spec car.

Morad’s career renaissance has come in sports cars after a several year hiatus, and he’s won Porsche championships before.

“There were a lot of top drivers in the mix for the seat so it is a real honor to have been chosen to pursue this exciting challenge. The past 12 months have been career changing, and I really appreciate the opportunity from Nick Short and the whole team,” Morad said.

Meanwhile at Scuderia Corsa, the team has not only confirmed its SprintX entry after missing the first two Sprint rounds but also bring together two team veterans in its venerable No. 7 Ferrari 458 GT3.

Last year’s GTA champion Martin Fuentes will share the seat with the team’s sporting director Stefan Johansson, getting an opportunity to continue his excellent post-full-time driving career in a Ferrari.

“I really look forward to returning to the cockpit with this program, it’s always something special to be racing for Ferrari” stated Johansson. “We’ve worked hard to develop this organization, and having Martin return to the team is a great testament to what we continue to build. He obviously had a tremendous 2016 season, so I’m confident that with the two of us teaming together we can have a great season, we’re both prepared and ready. The Pirelli World Challenge’s SprintX championship is a really interesting approach, and the current roster of teams and drivers is at a very high level, it should be a great experience.”