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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.

PIRTEK Team Murray rolls out several tidbits as Brabham preps for debut

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Photo: PIRTEK Team Murray
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It’s been a busy last week or so for PIRTEK Team Murray and driver Matthew Brabham around the Indianapolis area.

And they haven’t even begun practicing or qualifying or even racing in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

* First, the team announced that the most decorated police officer in New York City Police history, Walter Wasilewski, has joined PIRTEK Team Murray’s CK Crew of Veterans and First Responders that will take part in the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge for the Indianapolis 500 (photo below; photo credit: PIRTEK Team Murray).

056Wasilewski received over 200 medals and awards before retiring. He made over 3,000 arrests during his career with the NYPD, and also served at Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The CK Crew, will allow the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation to host 500 members of the military and first responders at Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May. Kyle was a highly-decorated NAVY Seal and sniper who was killed in 2013 in his native Texas.

Seven of those 500 members of the CK Crew will train and crew Brabham’s PIRTEK Team Murray car in the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge, to be held on Miller Lite Carb Day on May 27.

“This concept is unique and it will allow a number of guys and girls to come together and form a team to hopefully get PIRTEK Team Murray to victory lane in the Pit Stop Challenge,” said Walter Wasilewski.

“Everyone knows what Chris Kyle did for America and Taya (Kyle’s widow) is carrying on his legacy with such dignity and class. I’ve had the chance to meet with Taya on several occasions in New York and she is an amazing American.

“My career in the Police Department was through some of the most dangerous times in New York’s history. Period.

“That training is going to come in handy when standing waiting for the PIRTEK Team Murray racecar to come at me. In the Police Department, you have to have faith in those around you to protect you – in this case, I have to have the faith in Matt to stop the car on his marks so we can then go about our job.”

* Second, Brabham recently had the opportunity to take part in the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL Draft announcement (see main photo).

Brabham, 22, joined four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in announcing two of the Colts’ draft picks: Hassan Ridgeway from Texas and Florida’s Antonio Morrison.

The draft announcement was made on the start-finish line of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I knew nothing about American football when I first moved back to the US from Australia in 2012, but I have really grown to love it,” Brabham said. “I have been to several Colts games and the more I know the more I am really starting to get into it.

“We had a fantasy football league with several of the drivers last year and I won it, so I must be learning something.

“It is great that we can combine two things as significant as the Colts and NFL Draft and the Indianapolis Speedway and the 100th Indy 500.

“To get up close to the Colts’ 2006 Super Bowl trophy (Vince Lombardi Trophy) was pretty cool. You don’t get to do that every day.”

* Third, Matthew Brabham’s grandfather, three-time Formula One champion Sir Jack Brabham, has been named to “The Top 100 Most Important People in Indy 500 History” by the Indianapolis Star.

“Sir Jack,” as he was called in the later years of his life, is ranked 56th on the list. The patriarch of the Brabham family passed away on May 19, 2014 at the age of 88.

Young Matthew is only the third third-generation racer to attempt to race in the 500, following his grandfather and father Geoff.

The other two families that have had three generations of racers compete at Indianapolis are the Vukovich family – Bill, Billy Jr. and Billy III – as well as the Andretti family: Mario, Michael and Marco.

“We have said it many times, but it is just an honor and a privilege to be part of this year’s Month of May and everything that goes with it,” Matthew Brabham said in a media release.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Marty Snider’s son Myatt Snider set for ARCA debut

myatt-snider-in-no-22-arca-car-e1462401601239
Photo: Cunningham Motorsports
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Myatt Snider, the 21-year-old eldest son of NBCSN NASCAR and IndyCar reporter Marty Snider, will make his ARCA Series debut later this month.

His series debut will come at Toledo Speedway on May 22, driving the No. 22 Ford for Cunningham Motorsports. It will be the first of nine starts for him this year.

“This is the big opportunity that I have been dreaming about for several years,” the younger Snider said in a release. “I feel so blessed to drive for Paul Andrews and Cunningham Motorsports. I’m confident the move up to ARCA will be a smooth transition, especially since Jeff Caudill will be coming with me and continue being my crew chief.”

With Kevin Lee’s son Jackson also a rising star in the karting ranks, it’s cool to see the next generation of talent start to grow and develop in the stock car ranks. Marty Snider will work on NBCSN’s IndyCar broadcasts through Road America on June 26 on pit road, before the return of NASCAR on NBC on July 2 at Daytona.

A more extensive report can be found here via NASCAR TALK’s Nate Ryan.

Pagenaud disappointed by Boston drop; would love Watkins Glen option

LONG BEACH, CA - APRIL 17: Simon Pagenaud is the winner of the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17, 2016 in Long Beach, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
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The Verizon IndyCar Series points leader, Simon Pagenaud, was one of several drivers the series deployed to Boston (James Hinchcliffe was another) to promote what would have been the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston on Labor Day weekend.

“The underground aspect is very unique,” Pagenaud said in a series release in January. “I mainly look forward to hearing the sound of the car as I drive under it. The layout is very fun and the track itself is in a fast-growing area with a great dynamic. I should be able to get good speed because the wide track, fast corners and smooth roads after all of the work (is completed) will most likely make this track one of the fastest tracks there is.

“The Verizon IndyCar Series is very excited for the potential that Boston brings as a whole,” he added. “It is exciting to be able to reach out to another population in a great area and hopefully see its economy change for the better as a result of the race. I would really like to thank the city of Boston for this opportunity.”

But with news emerging late Friday that the race wouldn’t be on the 2016 schedule after all, Pagenaud reflected a bit of disappointment that people didn’t understand what the event could have provided.

“Yeah, I’m very disappointed,” Pagenaud told reporters Wednesday during a teleconference. “That was going to be a great event, perfect position in the city.

“I managed to see the excitement of I guess half of the population in Boston, because I know some of the population was not excited about it. There were a lot of people that were pulling for the race. I saw the excitement.

“The racetrack itself looked like it was going to be a beautiful layout. We were going to go through a tunnel, which would have been really cool.”

Naturally, the next follow-up question is where would Pagenaud like to race provided INDYCAR could fill the slot on the calendar.

A permanent road course in the vain of Road America – where Pagenaud’s had success in sports cars and clinched his Champ Car Atlantic crown in 2006 – immediately came to mind.

“I hope we can replace the race. For sure, I’m thinking of Watkins Glen. I’ve never been there, but it looks like a beautiful track. It’s been repaved, as well, recently. That would be a good market and really cool track to go to.

“There’s plenty of tracks in America that could be exciting to go to. I’d like to go back to Fontana personally. I love that oval. But I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

For what it’s worth, Watkins Glen has been discussed openly as an option although whether INDYCAR could make it happen and whether the track will be able to accommodate it remains to be seen.

Watkins Glen International Michael Printup told the Boston Herald that while the track would “be a great site for them,” it remains a long ways off and would require a minor miracle to do some schedule jostling.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but we’re not even there yet. It’s a huge challenge,” Printup told the Herald, with neither INDYCAR officials nor Grand Prix of Boston officials available for further comment.

I had to joke with Pagenaud, who’s now driving a Menards-backed entry with John Menard’s support for the full month of May and for IndyCar’s return to Road America in late June, whether he could persuade Menard to help IndyCar return – again – to the Milwaukee Mile.

“There you go,” Pagenaud laughed, although such an option doesn’t seem realistic at this juncture.

Space dreams occur for Hildebrand, Daly at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Hildebrand Daly
(Photo courtesy Conor Daly official Twitter page)
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To some awe-struck fans, their dreams of driving an Indy car are an out-of-this-world experience.

For Conor Daly and JR Hildebrand, driving an race car in the Verizon IndyCar Series is an orbital experience what they do for a living.

Earlier this week in Houston, on Tuesday, Daly and Hildebrand enjoyed a REAL out of this world experience as they visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The day-long visit was an exceptional trip for the two drivers, who hung out with robots, did a virtual tour of the International Space Station, saw mockups of the Space Shuttle and more.

But the best part for the duo was the opportunity to have a live 10-minute conversation with astronauts Tim Kopra, Jeff Williams and Tim Peake.

“Man, I wanna go to space,” Daly said, via IndyCar.com. Of note, the driver of the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda also went to “Space Camp” prior to the series’ most recent round at Barber Motorsports Park.

Added Hildebrand, “Ultimately, you end the day feeling overwhelmed about how much amazing stuff you got to see.”

Later, as their trip came to an end, the drivers were more than just appreciative. They left the JSC in a kind of awe that they’ll likely feel for a long time to come.

“Right away we were able to find common ground on things that we do compared to things that they do,” Hildebrand said. “Coming from the motorsports community, there is so much crossover in terms of the way that things happen at NASA.”

Added Daly, “This is probably one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

Check out some of the many tweets both drivers and their new friends, the astronauts in the ISS, posted, as well as tweets of others including Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles:

Follow @JerryBonkowski