NBC Sports Group ready for ‘Biggest Day In Motorsports’ — part of 35 hours of coverage this weekend

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“BIGGEST DAY IN MOTORSPORTS” BEGINS WITH FORMULA ONE MONACO GRAND PRIX ON NBC THIS SUNDAY

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix Airs Live on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC – Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett & Will Buxton On-Site in Monaco

— “This is the crown jewel in the Formula One crown.” – Matchett

— “Like the Indy 500 or the Daytona 500 – this is the one they all really want to win.”  Hobbs

Plus:

— Live Coverage of Indianapolis 500 Carb Day Starts Friday at 11 a.m. ET

— Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – Glen Helen Raceway – Saturday at7 p.m. ET on NBCSN

— NBC Sports Live Extra to Stream All Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 Carb Day & Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Coverage

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 20, 2015 – NBC Sports Group will present more than 35 hours of motorsports coverage this week leading into the “Biggest Day in Motorsports,” highlighted by NBC’s live presentation of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET. NBC Sports Group’s F1 team of play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey, analysts David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, and F1 insider and pit reporter Will Buxton will call the action on-site in Monte Carlo.

NBC Sports Group’s extensive motorsports coverage this week includes coverage spanning Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, and the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, culminating with NBC’s live coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix, kicking off the “Biggest Day in Motorsports” on Sunday morning with one of world’s most iconic racing events.

NBC Sports Group is the home of motorsports in 2015, providing exclusive Formula One coverage, exclusive cable coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series on NBCSN, and the first of 10 consecutive seasons featuring the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and 19 Nationwide Series events.

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F1 MONACO GRAND PRIX CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT – DIFFEY, HOBBS, MATCHETT, & MOTORSPORTS PRODUCER RICH O’CONNOR

Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and motorsports producer Rich O’Connor previewed the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix on a media conference call on Wednesday morning. Following are excerpts from Wednesday’s call.

Hobbs on Monaco GP: “This is a massive party weekend as well as a very important race weekend… the big question on everyone’s lips is can Nico Rosberg be one of the drivers to win this race three times in a row? A bit like the Indy 500 or the Daytona 500, this is the one they all really want to win.”

Matchett on unique aspect of Monaco: “The cars are largely built for this one-off event.  They all feature new aerodynamic packages on the front wing and rear wing to give as many possible downforce to the car.  Also one of the special features on the Monaco track is the very tight Lowes hairpin, which is certainly the tightest hairpin on the Formula One calendar… it is so tight, winding and tortuous around here, there is no room for error.”

Diffey on Ferrari’s resurgence: “We won’t call it overwhelming success just yet, but they have won a Grand Prix this year which is very impressive. (Sebastian Vettel’s) definitely got the magic…last year was one of the most tumultuous years in the team’s history in Formula One.  They’ve come out of that this year very well.  They continue to be one of our big storylines.”

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F1 MONACO GRAND PRIX COVERAGE BEGINS THURSDAY AT 7:30 A.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBC Sports Group will kick off live coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra with Practice 1, followed by NBCSN’s presentation of Practice 2 tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. ET. Live extra will stream Practice 3 on Saturday morning at 5 a.m. ET, leading into live qualifying coverage on NBCSN at 8 a.m. ET. Diffey, Hobbs, Matchett and Buxton will be on-site for practice, qualifying, and Grand Prix coverage, which begins Sunday at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN with F1 Countdown, prior to NBC’s presentation of the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) is looking to win his third consecutive Monaco Grand Prix this year, after earning his second straight wire-to-wire win in Monte Carlo last year. Rosberg (91 points) currently sits second in the driver standings behind teammate Lewis Hamilton (111), who has finished in the top two of all five races in 2015. Mercedes and Ferrari drivers occupy the top four spots, with Sebastian Vettel (80) and Kimi Raikkonen (52) in third and fourth positions, respectively.

Through five races on NBCSN to-date, Formula 1 racing has drawn 406,000 average viewers, up 9% from the same point in the 2014 season (371,000).

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Thu., May 21 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 1 4 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 2 8 a.m. NBCSN
Sat., May 23 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., May 24 GP2 Monaco 1:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Countdown 7 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Monaco Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBC
F1 Monaco Grand Prix (Encore) 2:30 p.m. NBCSN
GP2 Monaco 5:30 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports – Monaco (Encore) 6:30 p.m. NBCSN

 

LIVE COVERAGE OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 CARB DAY STARTS FRIDAY AT 11 A.M. ET

NBCSN, the cable home of IndyCar, will provide six hours of Indianapolis 500 Carb Day coverage, beginning Friday at 11 a.m. ET. In addition, NBCSN will air a live presentation of the Indy Lights Freedom 100 race at noon ET on Friday. Indy 500 coverage concludes on Saturday with the Indy 500 Festival Parade at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Kevin Lee will lead NBCSN’s Carb Day coverage, filling in for Diffey who will be in Monaco, alongside analysts Townsend Bell, who is driving in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, and Paul Tracy. Jon Beekhuis, Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller will handle the pits.

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Fri., May 23 Indy 500 Carb Day 11 a.m. NBCSN
Indy Lights – Freedom 100 Noon NBCSN
Indy 500 Carb Day 1 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., May 24 Indy 500 Festival Parade 5 p.m. NBCSN

 

LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP – GLEN HELEN RACEWAY – SATURDAY AT 7 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

NBC Sports Group continues its coverage of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season with this week’s event at Glen Helen Raceway on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Last week, Eli Tomac earned his second career win with a 1-1 moto sweep in the 450 Class. In the 250 Class, reigning champion Jeremy Martin won to claim his second straight win at Hangtown.

Jason Weigandt will handle play-by-play duties, alongside two-time AMA Pro Motocross Champion Grant Langston and reporter Georgia Lindsay.

This week’s motorsports coverage begins tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN with a special edition of NASCAR AMERICA, providing analysis of the NASCAR Hall of Fame announcement of the 2016 class. NBCSN will also present a special two-hour NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET, hosted by Mike Massaro and Kyle Petty. NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special will break down this year’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, and feature interviews with analysts and drivers previewing the “Biggest Day in Motorsports.”

NBCSN will also air coverage of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Store 150 from Iowa Speedway on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. ET, the first of two annual combination races between the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West.

Ralph Sheheen, Frank Stoddard and Parker Kligerman call the action from Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.


NBC SPORTS GROUP’S “BIGGEST DAY IN MOTORSPORTS” WEEK-LONG COVERAGE

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Wed., May 20 NASCAR AMERICA 6 p.m. NBCSN
Mecum Auctions: Indianapolis (Encore) 11:30 p.m. NBCSN
Thu., May 21 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 1 4 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 2 8 a.m. NBCSN
NASCAR America 5 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR K&N Pro Series – Iowa 11:30 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., May 22 Indy 500 Carb Day 11 a.m. NBCSN
Indy Lights – Freedom 100 Noon NBCSN
Indy 500 Carb Day 1 p.m. NBCSN
NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special 3:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., May 23 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross – Glen Helen Practice 2:30 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
IndyCar Chronicles 4 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross – Glen Helen Practice 4 p.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
Indy 500 Festival Parade 5 p.m. NBCSN
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross – Glen Helen Moto 2s 7 p.m. NBCSN
F1 Documentary – “1” 9 p.m. NBCSN
/DRIVE on NBC Sports: Monaco (Encore) 11:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., May 24 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) 12 a.m. NBCSN
GP2 Monaco 1:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Countdown 7 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Monaco Grand Prix 7:30 a.m. NBC
F1 Monaco Grand Prix (Encore) 2:30 p.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra (Encore) 4:30 p.m. NBCSN
GP2 Monaco (Encore) 5:30 p.m. NBCSN


FORMULA ONE™ ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA:
NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will provide live streaming coverage of this week’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 Carb Day, and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship events via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play and Windows Store.

MOTORSPORTSTALK: MotorSportsTalk (@MotorSportsTalk) on NBCSports.com brings racing fans up-to-the-minute news, video and information on Formula One, the Verizon IndyCar Series, and other open-wheel and off-road 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 F1 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. Smith works alongside Tony DiZinno in providing F1 content on MotorSportsTalk 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 provides open wheel coverage on MotorSportsTalk. DiZinno has more than seven years of experience in the industry. Follow him on Twitter at @TonyDiZinno.

To explore the site, please visit MotorSportsTalk.com.nbcsports.com or www.NBCSports.com.

SOCIAL: NBC Sports Group will continue to provide comprehensive motorsports social coverage across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter, fans can follow @MotorsportsTalk for all-encompassing content across NBC Sports Group’s motorsports properties, and follow@F1onNBCSports for the latest F1 news.

New schedule has Josef Newgarden seeing double (points) again in 2020

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske believes the latest revised schedule for 2020 will change his approach to the season.

The new schedule has the defending IndyCar champion looking at ways to double the possibilities for a second consecutive championship.

“When I look at the whole schedule they released now, I look at it as double-points as a whole in all of them,” Newgarden told NBCSports.com Monday. “Iowa is double points on a short oval. There are double points at the Indy GP because there are two races and a road course. Then double points at Laguna, which is a different road course than IMS. And there is double points in the Indianapolis 500.”

IndyCar announced to team owners two weeks ago that the season finale (once scheduled for Laguna Seca and now at St. Petersburg) will no longer be a double-points event. But Monday’s schedule revision essentially adds three double points-style races to the Indy 500’s double-points format, Newgarden said.

“Those are four events where you have to be quite strong,” Newgarden said. “They are all very different from each other. Each one is critical to get right. Iowa has a chance to be the most difficult. From a physical standpoint, it’s already a physical track for one race. To double it up on one weekend will be quite the toll for the drivers.

“It will be a very big test physically to see who will get that weekend right. You can bag a lot of points because of it.”

Just 12 days after the first schedule revision, IndyCar officials announced another revised schedule Monday because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The new schedule features doubleheader weekends at Iowa Speedway in July and Laguna Seca in September. There is an additional race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Oct. 3.

That race will be known as the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix. It will be the second time in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history that an IndyCar race is held in the fall. The only other time was the Harvest Auto Racing Classic, a series of three races won by Johnny Aitken on Sept. 9, 1916.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix scheduled for May 30-31 will be dropped from the 2020 schedule. Michigan has a “Stay at Home” order that won’t be lifted in time to start construction of the Belle Isle street course.

Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles said the Detroit event will return in 2021.

The IMS road course essentially will have a doubleheader spaced out by nearly three months. The first race will be the GMR IndyCar Grand Prix on July 4, and the second will be Oct. 3 in the Harvest Grand Prix.

The extra doubleheaders combined with the loss of Detroit gives IndyCar a 15-race schedule for 2020. It started out as a 17-race campaign, but April’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Acura Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the AutoNation IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) have been canceled. The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being revived as the season finale on a TBA weekend in October.

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Newgarden also is excited about the chance to run at Indianapolis for three major races in one season. Of course, that all depends on how soon IndyCar can return to action because of the global pandemic.

“I’m continually excited about the thought of getting back to the race track,” Newgarden said. “We would love to be there now, but we can’t. With the current situation, everyone is trying to do the best they can to pitch in and do their part so we can get back to the track as quickly as possible.

“I’m excited to get back to racing at some point in the future. To see that is planned to start at Texas is still great. IndyCar has done a great job staying active and fluid with the ever-changing dynamics and current situation.

“We have three opportunities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are a lot of chances to get it right at the Mecca of our sport.

“I have a lot of trust and faith in IndyCar and Roger, and they are doing their best to stay on top of the situation.”

The one downer to the revised schedule is the loss of the Detroit doubleheader, a very important weekend to Team Penske because Roger Penske also owns the Detroit race. It’s a chance to showcase the series in front of as “Motor City” crowd, which is also the home to the Penske Corp.

“It’s a shame that we miss any event this year,” Newgarden said. “As a racer, you look forward to each one of them. If any of them drop off, it’s a tough pill. Detroit is more so because it is such an important race for us at Team Penske. It’s in our backyard for Penske Corp. Also, our relationship with Chevrolet, how much they put I that event and try to get it right for everybody involved. It’s tough to not have a go at that this year.

“I think of the volunteers. The Detroit weekend is so well run and executed with such a positive momentum behind it for the last eight years that I’ve gone there. I’ve always enjoyed that weekend off the back of the Indy 500.

“It’s a shame we will miss that this year, but I look forward to getting back there in 2021 and getting it started again.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500