IndyCar at Milwaukee, Motocross in Indy highlight NBCSN weekend coverage

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NBC Sports Group presents more than 30 hours of motorsports coverage this weekend across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, highlighted by the IndyCar ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the famed Milwaukee Mile on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Group will also feature coverage of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships from the Indiana National on Saturday, Mecum Auctions from Monterey beginning on Thursday, and new episodes of Mecum Dealmakers: Indianapolis and /DRIVE on NBC Sports on Thursday night.

All IndyCar, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and Mecum Auctions’ coverage will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.

INDYCAR ABC SUPPLY WISCONSIN 250 – SUNDAY AT 3 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBCSN’s coverage of the IndyCar ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile begins Saturday evening with qualifying at 8 p.m. ET. Live race coverage begins on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, followed by coverage of the Indy Lights Milwaukee race at 6 p.m. ET.

Two weeks ago, Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) earned his first win of the season with a victory at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, his fifth career victory at Mid-Ohio, making his way to the front after starting in 22nd position. Will Power (Team Penske) finished sixth to pass teammate Helio Castroneves for the Verizon IndyCar Series championships point lead.

The series shifts this week to the Milwaukee Mile, which holds the distinction as the oldest operating motor speedway in the world, hosting at least one auto race each year since 1903, except for the years during the U.S. involvement in World War II. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) has won the last two IndyCar races at the Milwaukee Mile.

NBC Sports Group’s lead motorsports voice Leigh Diffey will call the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 from West Allis, Wisc., alongside veteran driver/analyst 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 by Anders Krohn and Jake Query to call the Indy Lights Milwaukee race.

LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS INDIANA NATIONAL – SATURDAY

NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will combine to present six hours of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana National coverage from Crawfordsville, Ind., 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 Moto 1s, followed by live coverage of  the  250 Class of 2nd Motos at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. An encore presentation will air on NBCSN at 1 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Last weekend Ryan Dungey took the 450 Class at Unadilla National for his fourth win this year, and Christopher Pourcel earned his first victory of the season by winning the 250 Class.

Veteran play-by-play voice Jason Weigandt, analyst and two-time AMA Pro Motocross ChampionGrant Langston, and pit reporter Georgia Lindsay will call the action from Indiana National in Crawfordsville, Ind.

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

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Thurs., August 14 NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Monterey 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Dealmakers: Kansas City (Encore) 9 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Dealmakers: Indianapolis 10 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports 11 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports (Encore) 11:30 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., August 15 Motocross Highlight Series 12 a.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports (Encore) 1 a.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Monterey 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., August 16 Pirelli World Challenge – Toronto & Mid-Ohio 12 a.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana – Practice 10:30 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana – Pre-Show 12:15 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana – Moto 1s 1 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Red Bull Series “Mavericks Invitational” 2:30 p.m. NBC
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana – 250 Class 5 p.m. NBCSN
IndyCar ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 – Qualifying 8 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Monterey 9 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., August 17 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Indiana (Encore) 12 a.m. NBCSN
IndyCar ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 3 p.m. NBCSN
Indy Lights Milwaukee 6 p.m. NBCSN

NASCAR Truck drivers feel the earth move sitting in NHRA powerhouses

Photos courtesy Kalitta Motorsports
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Several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers got to see how the other half lives – namely, their counterparts in the NHRA – on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and across the street at zMax Dragway.

To say it was an eye-opening experience is putting it mildly.

Top Fuel drag racers Shawn Langdon and Troy Coughlin Jr., as well as Funny Car driver J.R. Todd – all from one of the top teams in the NHRA, Kalitta Motorsports – are in Charlotte for this weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway.

NASCAR Trucks driver Noah Gragson gets to feel the 10,000 horsepower of a Top Fuel dragster.

Thursday, they invited NASCAR drivers Ryan Truex, Christopher Bell, Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson to show how it’s done NHRA-style.

Todd, Langdon and Coughlin started the day taking Toyota Camry pace cars around the 1.5-mile CMS oval.

Then everyone moved across the street to see some real horsepower, namely, 10,000 horses worth – which is roughly about 13 times the power they have under the hood of their race trucks.

Truex and Bell got a chance to “warm up” Todd’s Funny Car, while Enfinger and Gragson did the same with Langdon’s Top Fueler.

 

Meanwhile, Todd and Langdon both did smoky burnouts that, if the Truck guys thought they could do burnouts, they learned a lot to the contrary.

“It was a cool to do a big smoky burnout,” Todd said. “It was cool to see the guys reactions. We had a great time today and I think we created several new fans.”

Added Langdon, “Days like today is what makes me love our sport even more. Bringing these guys over here and letting them hit the throttle and sit in the car when it warms up gives them a look at what we do. To see the smiles on their faces after a badass burnout and how excited they are, just gets me pumped.”

Here’s what the NASCAR guys thought about the experience.

Bell: “J.R. Todd let me sit in his Toyota Camry Funny Car and they even cracked the throttle open for me when we were warming up the motor. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. It is a feeling like none other.”

Enfinger: “Just a crazy experience, something I have never done. Been able to do a lot of cool things with Toyota, but it is not every day that you get to make your dad jealous.”

Gragson: “This was awesome. It was the experience of a lifetime. It was great to hang out with J.R. Todd, Shawn and Troy Jr. Definitely a cool experience; one that I will remember forever.”

Truex: “This has probably been the craziest experience that I have ever been a part of. I got to sit in a Funny Car; they hit the throttle, which really scared me. When I was outside the car, I jumped about three feet in the air. It was cool to get inside and experience that. The nitro was all in my face, and I think they gained a new fan with me today.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

F1 drivers split on new ‘shield’ protection

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) Formula One drivers are split over plans to test a new “shield” device to protect against flying debris.

The FIA will trial the transparent screen in the coming months for a potential introduction in 2018, as it pushes for greater head protection for drivers. Recent years have seen major head injuries in several motorsport series.

“I wouldn’t mind trying out the shield, seeing how is the visibility,” Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday. “In terms of safety it would be a good step compared to what we have now.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was another supporter, saying “we’ve still got to see a bit more, but first impressions seem OK.”

The FIA previously seemed to favor a metal frame known as the “halo,” which was designed to stop a flying wheel hitting a driver’s head but was criticized by some drivers on aesthetic grounds.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat said on Thursday he was “quite against” the shield and the halo. “The way Formula One should look should remain the same,” he added. “We have enough protection.”

Romain Grosjean of Haas voiced concern the “next step” would be completely closed cockpits.

Recent years have seen several high-profile head injuries, including the deaths of Formula Two driver Henry Surtees in 2009 when he was hit by a loose wheel and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who was struck by debris, in 2015.

In Formula One, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season when a loose spring from another car hit his helmet, leaving him needing surgery.

Haas changes F1 brake supplier ahead of Russian Grand Prix

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Haas has switched from Brembo to Carbon Industrie brakes ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in a bid to remedy its long-running braking issues in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, with Romain Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points through its debut season.

Grosjean and then-teammate Esteban Gutierrez had their efforts spurned on a number of occasions by brake issues which continued to arise through pre-season testing in 2017 and the early races.

Haas pushed to remedy the issue by testing new Carbon Industrie brakes in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, with Grosjean and new teammate Kevin Magnussen conducting running.

The team duly decided to fit the new Carbon Industrie brakes for this weekend’s race in Russia, with both VF-17 cars to run with them from Friday onwards.

“To be fair to Brembo, the last update in brakes we had that arrived in China were much better. It took a long time to get them,” Grosjean explained.

“So then I was not screaming to change to Carbone Industrie but it was in the pipeline, so we tried them, and both drivers were pretty pleased with them. We felt like we had more control under braking.

“I’m very sensitive to my left pedal, so I really need to get good brakes to get good confidence and push the car to its maximum limit. So we are going to run them here.

“There is still a little bit of work we need to be doing around the mapping and finding the solution around those brakes but I think yeah, definitely it’s going to help me a little bit to find the last few hundredths.”

NHRA: Chad Head to substitute for Alexis DeJoria in Charlotte

Photo: NHRA
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Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, with her Kalitta Motorsports team confirming DeJoria will need to tend to a family matter.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports Director of Safety, will step into the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend. No timetable was given for DeJoria’s return; after Charlotte this weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues for its third consecutive race weekend next week in Atlanta.

This isn’t the first race DeJoria has had to miss recently, as she also was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the 2016 NHRA season finale in Pomona.