2014 Le Mans date moved up to June 14-15; no F1 race planned that weekend

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The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has announced the 2014 date for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 82nd running of the French endurance classic will be held June 14-15, a week earlier than this year. Additional dates around the event include the traditional test day to be held Sunday, June 1, with scrutineering (technical inspection) on June 8-9.

The race was moved back to June 22-23 this year, initially, to avoid a conflict with the new Grand Prix of Port Imperial Formula One race that was set to be held June 16. The race at Port Imperial was postponed until 2014, but the Le Mans date did not move back as planned.

On Friday’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA confirmed there won’t be a Formula One race on the same weekend as Le Mans. That could free up any of the current F1 drivers to race at Le Mans, which has not been done since Sebastien Bourdais did so in 2009.

Another area to note is that the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament will be held June 12-15. That’s televised by NBC, and could cause the F1 TV for that weekend to shift around if there was a Grand Prix.

No F1 race on that June 14-15 weekend would imply the Port Imperial round, which has been projected to follow the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, would not occur on the second half of the back-to-back weekends.

Monaco is scheduled for May 25, but the rest of the Formula One calendar for 2014 is yet to be determined.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski