Bathurst 1000 and SCCA Runoffs this week make for a busy weekend

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The biggest race of the season for two major organizations occur this week.

The Australian V8 Supercars head to Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000, while the SCCA National Championship Runoffs head west for the first time in decades, to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

Both race weeks are already underway with practice and qualifying commencing.

We’ll start Down Under at Bathurst, for the officially named Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards claimed a popular first Bathurst win a year ago for Ford, which ended a four-year run of wins for Holden.

“Frosty” was second in the third and final practice session Thursday, behind session leaders David Reynolds and Dean Canto (2:06.3714), with the fastest lap of the day. Greg Murphy (practice two) and Chaz Mostert (practice one).

Here’s a list of the driver pairings for the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, which is awarded to the V8 Supercar driver and co-driver combination that accumulates the most Championship points over three of Australia’s iconic events.

For the second consecutive year, the Wilson Security Sandown 500 in September, and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Castrol Edge Gold Coast 600 in October offer four chances for each pairing to earn points, and edge closer to the Pirtek Enduro Cup.

The race occurs October 12 in Australia, which translates to Saturday for North American viewers. Ways to follow the race are linked here, via the V8SC website.

Heading back across the Atlantic, we arrive at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where the SCCA Runoffs take place in Monterey, Calif. It marks the first West Coast Runoffs since 1968, at Riverside International Raceway.

There are 523 entries for the race, a majority of them West Coast entries, split among 27 classes. Here’s the full entry list link.

Spec Miata leads the way with 46 entries, followed closely by Spec Racer Ford with 45. Several classes (Formula Enterprises, Formula 500, B-Spec and STU) have only 11, one over the 10 minimum required for a National Championship race to be held.

A live multimedia experience will take place with video, live timing and more, via SCCA.com/SCCALive. More information is linked here.

Live broadcast will be done through SpeedCastTV, with veteran motorsports broadcasters Rick Benjamin and Greg Creamer joined by SCCA Champion Randy Pobst and Pirelli World Challenge broadcaster Jeff Lepper for the on-air call. Heyward Wagner will man pit lane throughout the weekend. Information can be found at SCCA.com/Runoffs.

Two days of qualifying are complete with the third today, before races occur Friday through Sunday.

IndyCar will eliminate double points from the 2020 season finale

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Though the NTT IndyCar Series hasn’t confirmed the date of its 2020 season finale, it has determined that double points won’t be in play.

An IndyCar official confirmed Monday to NBCSports.com that whether the season ends at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, or on the streets of St. Petersburg, neither race will feature double points. Team owners were informed of the change during a conference call last week.

The news was first reported by RACER.com.

With the original 17-race schedule having been shortened by the cancellation of at least three races (Circuit of The Americas, Barber Motorsports Park, the Long Beach Grand Prix), using double points in the finale would have carried even greater weight (and perhaps more so if more races are unable to be run because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has been using double points at select races since the 2015 season. The 104th Indianapolis 500 will remain a double-points event.

In rescheduling the Indy 500 to Aug. 23 last week, IndyCar unveiled a revised schedule that listed Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as TBD for its season finale. The race originally had been scheduled to open the season before being called off because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told reporters last week that St. Pete probably would be slotted into the first two weeks October after the Sept. 20 race at Laguna Seca that had been slated to be the season finale for the second consecutive year.