IndyCar championship to be awarded in primetime this Saturday on NBCSN

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STAMFORD, Conn. – August 28, 2014 – Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves lead a group of championship hopefuls this weekend aiming for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title at the MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships, the final race of the 2014 season, on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will live stream Saturday’s MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships.

NBC Sports Group’s motorsports coverage this week also includes more than 10 hours of Auctions America action from its flagship Auburn auction, as well as encore presentations of Mecum Dealmakers and /DRIVE on NBC Sports.


NBCSN’s coverage of the MAVTV 500 begins Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET with qualifying, followed by live race coverage on Saturday in primetime at 9 p.m. ET.

Power leads Castroneves by 51 points heading into the 2014 IndyCar season finale, followed by Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 81 points behind). Both Power and Castroneves are looking to secure their first career IndyCar titles, and both drivers have finished second in the final standings on three separate occasions.

This weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. is worth double points, meaning a potential 100-point swing in the standings, keeping Pageneaud’s slim title hopes alive.

Power has recorded three IndyCar victories this season (St. Petersburg, Detroit, Milwaukee), and seven podium finishes, while Castroneves has earned one victory, in the second race of the Detroit doubleheader, and six overall podiums. Last year, Power took the checkered flag at Fontana for his first career victory at Auto Club Speedway.

Pre-race coverage will also feature an exclusive one-on-one interview between analyst and former Team Penske driver Paul Tracy and team owner Roger Penske, who is primed to win his first IndyCar team title since 2006.

NBC Sports Group’s lead IndyCar and Formula One play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey will call the MAVTV 500 on-site, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.


NBCSN will present 10 hours of Auctions America coverage this week from its flagship Auburn auction in Auburn, Ind. The action begins tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET, followed by coverage Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

NBCSN’s presentation of Auctions America: Auburn continues Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, with the final installation airing Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

More than 1,200 classic cars, muscle cars, hot rods and more are expected to cross auction block in Auburn, including a 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Saloon, and a 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible.

Veteran broadcaster Bill Patrick will host NBCSN’s Auctions America coverage this week, alongside NBCSN F1 analyst and former Benetton F1 team race mechanic Steve Matchett and motorsports reporter Georgia Lindsay.


IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.