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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.

Juan Pablo Montoya victorious on opening day of Race of Champions in Miami

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet prepares to practice on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya added another trophy to his cabinet on Saturday by claiming a shock victory in the Race of Champions.

The event at the Marlins Park in Miami pitted some of motorsport’s biggest names up against each other in a multi-discipline challenge, with the Race of Champions’ traditional crossover circuit style being used.

Ahead of the battle for national honors on Sunday, the 17 drivers on the entry list in Miami faced off for the individual title.

Defending champion and four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered a shock exit in the group stage after defeats to Helio Castroneves and Travis Pastrana. The German won only one tie against 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who in turn had qualified following a shoot-out against GRC’s Scott Speed.

In the bottom half of the draw, IndyCar stars James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan were eliminated in the group stages, while veteran British F1 racers David Coulthard and Jenson Button made it through. The pair were joined by nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and NASCAR’s Kyle Busch; the latter’s brother, Kurt, was knocked out at the first hurdle.

Pastrana and Castroneves both fell in the quarter-finals, losing to Felipe Massa and Montoya respectively. Massa advanced through the draw despite a frightening incident in the group stage involving fellow F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein, who flipped his car after crossing the finish line.

Kristensen edged out Button 2-1 in their best-of-three bout to reach the semi-finals, setting up a tie against Coulthard after he eased past Kyle Busch 2-0.

Massa and Montoya’s semi-final went down to a tie-breaker, with the former receiving a time penalty to hitting the wall and gaining an advantage. As a result, Montoya progressed into the final, winning the tie 2-1. Losing 2015 finalist Kristensen followed Montoya through, beating Coulthard 2-0.

Montoya won the first heat of the final in the rallycross car, edging Kristensen out by less than a car length before jumping into a KTM X-Bow for the second match-up. Despite almost jumping the start, Montoya managed to wrestle his car through the two laps before edging out Kristensen by just 0.08 seconds, securing a shock rookie victory in the process.

“Honestly I had a blast,” Montoya said. “It’s pretty amazing. I told my wife, I’ve got to make it through the first round. It just worked out.”

Montoya will race in the ROC Nations Cup on Sunday, teaming up with recent IndyCar racer Gabby Chaves for Team Colombia.

Report: Manor making progress in talks to make start of F1 season

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 12:  Pascal Wehrlein of Germany driving the (94) Manor Racing MRT-Mercedes MRT05 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 12, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Manor Racing has made progress in talks with a possible investor as it bids to make the grid for the start of the 2017 Formula 1 season, according to a report from BBC Sport.

Manor confirmed at the beginning of the month that it had entered administration for the second time in three years amid ongoing financial difficulties.

The backmarker team finished 11th in last year’s constructors’ championship, dropping behind Sauber at the penultimate round and missing out on a sizeable amount of prize money as a result.

With a little over one month to go until the start of pre-season testing, Manor faces a race against time to keep racing, but the latest report from BBC Sport suggests that a breakthrough has been made.

Andrew Benson writes that the future of the team is dependent on the promised investment arriving in the next week, noting that “prospects have improved considerably over the last few days”.

Manor had previously been in talks with Mexican-American businessman Tavo Hellmund over a buyout, as well as a Chinese consortium. The report from BBC Sport also names Indonesian businessman Ricardo Galael, the father of GP2 racer Sean Galael, as a possible suitor for the team.

NBC Sports learned last week that the team is pushing to race with a modified version of its 2016 car – likely to be named the MRT05B – should it make the grid in 2017.

If Manor fails to find a buyer, the F1 grid will drop back down to 10 teams for the 2017 season, returning to its pre-2016 level prior to the arrival of Haas.

NBC Sports has approached Manor’s administrators, FRP Advisory, for comment.

Jacques Villeneuve: F1 is ‘supposed to be too expensive, too crazy’

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1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve feels that he cannot relate to the series in its current form, saying that it is supposed to be “too expensive” and “too crazy”.

Villeneuve raced in F1 between 1996 and 2006, and remains a keen observer as part of his role as a pundit on Italian television.

F1 has striven to enforce greater cost control and road relevance in recent years, but Villeneuve believes that this is the wrong direction, saying officials should instead focus on making the series spectacular.

“That’s when I start to feel old because I don’t relate to the technology of modern Formula 1,” Villeneuve said.

“Because to my mind, Formula 1 has always been about extremes. Pushing the boundaries and human boundaries.

“It’s supposed to be too fast, it’s supposed to be too expensive, it’s supposed to be crazy. And that’s not what we have.

“You see drivers get out of the car and they didn’t even break a sweat because they have too massage their car the whole race and drive within eight seconds of what they’ve done in qualifying. It’s wrong.”

Villeneuve also believes that those in charge of F1 should not listen to fans’ opinions, citing the introduction of DRS in 2011 as being a negative result of doing so.

“The fans kept complaining that ‘oh, there’s not enough overtaking’, ‘oh, there’s not enough of this or that’,” Villeneuve said.

“By listening to that, what did F1 do? Let’s put DRS. Because that way we’ll have hundreds of overtakes in a race. But name me one overtake that you remember since DRS – you don’t. Because you don’t see the driver working it.

“Look at a motorbike race, sometimes they take a rider 10 laps to overtake another rider, but in these 10 laps you see the work that goes with it, and what that overtake happens, wow.

“But now you don’t. Next straight line, press a button, that’s it. All of these rule changes to try and create a better show actually create a worse show.

“Then the technology, take the engine, amazing beautiful technology – for the engineers. It shouldn’t be in F1. It doesn’t bring anything. It takes away from F1.

“It has nothing to do there. It’s crazy engineering. I wouldn’t want it on my road car.”

WRC’s Paddon calls for lessons to be learned from Monte Carlo spectator death

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FIA World Rally Championship racer Hayden Paddon has called for lessons to be learned following the death of a spectator on the opening stage of the Monte Carlo Rally on Thursday night.

A spectator was killed after being struck by Paddon’s car when the New Zealander hit black ice and careered into a roadside bank.

Hyundai driver Paddon was withdrawn from the remainder of the rally out of respect, and has now issued a statement regarding the incident.

Here is the statement in full:

Hi everyone,

Upon reflection, I wanted to issue a small statement about yesterday’s events.

Firstly, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the spectator involved. No matter the circumstances, this is never something we want to see.

Secondly, John [Kennard, co-driver] and I are humbled by all the messages of support at this time. Obviously, my thoughts are with the family and that is my only concern at the moment. Not being able to return home to New Zealand does make it a little tougher but it is important we stay strong.

I do want to take this chance to ask people not to speculate. Irrespective of how and why the accident happened, finger pointing will not change anything. The most important thing is that we learn from this and I am committed to work with the FIA and rally organizers relentlessly to ensure this does not happen again.

I will take this chance to ask spectators at rallies to please be considerate of where you stand and to respect the instructions of the marshals. We all want to enjoy a good show and go home to the family afterwards.

I also ask each and every rally fan at the events, if you see someone in a dangerous position to request they move for everyone’s best interest. As a community, we can collectively work together to prevent this from happening again.

Lastly, I please ask the respect from the media in these times, especially for the family and friends of the spectator. I will not issue any further statements or conduct interviews at this stage. We made the decision not to continue this weekend out of respect, but will be back in Sweden where we will pay tribute.

Thank you again for everyone’s support and for the support of the team – it really does mean a lot.”

The Monte Carlo Rally finishes on Saturday.