Here are your Barber IndyCar TV times on NBCSN, Live Extra

Getty Images
0 Comments

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Verizon IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is this weekend, the fourth round of the 2016 season, and will feature LIVE practice and qualifying to go along with the live race on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The full release, times and breakdown are below:

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series rolls on this weekend with comprehensive live coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama, as the green flag drops at Barber Motorsports Park this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Coverage from Alabama begins tomorrow on NBCSN at noon ET with practice, followed by live qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will provide streaming coverage of practice, qualifying and the Grand Prix of Alabama via “TV Everywhere.”

Simon Pagenaud (Penske) enters this weekend’s race as the hottest driver on the circuit, following his first-ever Grand Prix of Long Beach victory last weekend. Pagenaud began his season with a pair of second-place finishes at St. Petersburg and Phoenix before winning at Long Beach last week.

Last year’s IndyCar champion Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi) finished second at Long Beach, following his win at Phoenix on April 2. Josef Newgarden (Ed Carpenter Racing) earned his first-ever IndyCar win at Barber last year, and has two Top 10s in three races this season.

This weekend’s coverage on NBCSN will include a feature on Pagenaud and his strong start to 2016 after a difficult first season with Penske last year, as well as a feature with pit reporter Katie Hargitt and drivers Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi as they attend Space Camp in nearby Huntsville, Ala.

Rick Allen, who serves as NBC Sports Group’s lead NASCAR play-by-play announcer, will handle the play-by-play duties for this week’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, filling in for lead IndyCar and F1 announcer Leigh Diffey.

Allen will be joined by 2003 CART champion and analyst Paul Tracy, as well as driver and analyst Townsend Bell, who recently announced he will be driving in this year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport. Marty SniderRobin Miller, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt will handle coverage in the pits in Long Beach.

In addition, NBCSN will showcase the Indy Lights developmental series with a presentation of the Legacy Indy Lights 100 race from Alabama on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, leading into race coverage. Kevin Lee, Anders Krohn, and Katie Hargitt will have the call.

LAST SUNDAY’S GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH ON NBCSN IS MOST-WATCHED SINCE 2012

Last Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach on NBCSN (4:416:38 p.m. ET) averaged 402,000 viewers to rank as the most-watched IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach since 2012. Viewership of this year’s race was up 17% vs. 2015 (344,000). Through two races on NBCSN to-date (Phoenix and Long Beach), IndyCar has averaged 382,000 viewers, up 11% vs. 2015 (343,000).

NBCSN is coming off its most-watched IndyCar season ever, averaging more than 500,000 viewers across 11 races in 2015, up 34% vs. 2014 viewership. The season finale at Sonoma averaged 841,000 viewers to become the most-watched IndyCar race on NBCSN since rights were acquired in 2009, and the most-watched IndyCar race on cable in seven years.

Click here for more information on NBCSN’s record IndyCar viewership in 2015.

Following is this week’s motorsports coverage schedule on NBCSN:

Date Program Network Time (ET)
Fri., April 22 IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama – Practice NBCSN 12 p.m.
Sat., April 23 IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sun., April 24 Legacy Indy Lights 100 NBCSN 2 p.m.
IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama – Pre-Race NBCSN 3 p.m.
IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama – Post-Race NBCSN 5:30 p.m.
IndyCar Chronicles – Tony Kanaan NBCSN 6 p.m.

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
0 Comments

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”