Here are your Sonoma IndyCar air times on NBCSN

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The Verizon IndyCar Series concludes its 2016 season this weekend with the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, which airs this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Full details and times for this weekend’s coverage of practice, qualifying and the 16th and final race of the year are below:

This weekend’s motorsports coverage on NBCSN is highlighted by a duel for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, as Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power battle for the season title at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

INDYCAR GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA – SUNDAY AT 6:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

Simon Pagenaud has been at the top of the Verizon IndyCar Series standings for nearly the entire 2016 season, with three wins and two second-place finishes to start the year, and will need to hold off teammate Will Power to clinch his first career season title on Sunday at Sonoma. Pagenaud leads the standings with 555 points, 43 ahead of Power (512). Sunday’s race is a double-points race, so Power can still win the championship by finishing in the top five in Sunday’s 85-lap race – depending on how Pagenaud fares. Click here for a full breakdown of championship outcomes.

Pagenaud’s best season finish came in 2013, when he finished in third place overall, while Power has one career Verizon IndyCar Series championship under his belt (2014). Power has historically performed well at Sonoma Raceway with three career victories, the most recent coming in 2013.

Heading into Sunday’s season finale, NBC Sports Group has had its most-watched IndyCar season to-date, averaging 481,000 viewers, up 2% vs. 2015 (excludes Pocono race, which aired on Monday, Aug. 22, due to a rain delay).

Coverage from Sonoma begins Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN with practice, followed by live qualifying at 6 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage on Sunday begins at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at 6:30 p.m. ET. NBCSN will also present an encore presentation of the race on Monday, Sept. 19, at noon ET.

Leigh Diffey play-by-play) will call the action alongside analysts and drivers Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell. Reporters Kevin Lee, Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Following is this week’s NBC Sports Group motorsports coverage schedule:

DATE COVERAGE TIME (ET) NETWORK
Sat., Sept. 17 IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Practice 5 p.m. NBCSN
IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Qualifying 6 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., Sept. 18 IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma 6:30 p.m. NBCSN
IndyCar Post-Race 9 p.m. NBCSN
Mon., Sept. 19 IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Encore) Noon NBCSN

 

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.