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Catch all the weekend action on NBCSN as IndyCar crowns a new champ Sunday

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NBC Sports Group media release

2018 VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE DECIDED ON NBCSN THIS SUNDAY AT 6:30 P.M. ET AT INDYCAR GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA

NBC Sports Presents Comprehensive Coverage of Practice, Qualifying, and Grand Prix of Sonoma on NBCSN Beginning Friday at 4 p.m. ET

Scott Dixon Battling Alexander Rossi For Fifth Series Championship to Rank Second All-Time in IndyCar History Behind A.J. Foyt

Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell to Call Friday’s Second Practice on NBCSN from Pit Road

STAMFORD, Conn. – September 12, 2018 – The Verizon IndyCar Series championship will be decided this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, as four-time series champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) attempts to further establish his place among IndyCar legends and hold off 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) at the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma in Sonoma, Calif.

NBC Sports will present comprehensive coverage of the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend with practice, qualifying and grand prix coverage airing on NBCSN, beginning this Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of all IndyCar coverage this week from Sonoma.

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

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship will be awarded for the seventh consecutive year on NBCSN this Sunday, as Dixon battles with Rossi for the title. Dixon enters the season finale with 598 points and a 29-point lead over Rossi (569 points) in the driver standings. Dixon avoided a potentially disastrous day at the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 2, when he avoided damage in a first-lap, crash and managed to finish in fifth place to maintain his lead over Rossi, who finished in eighth.

There are multiple clinching scenarios for both Dixon and Rossi, as this weekend’s race awards double points for each position (100 points for first place instead of 50 points, etc.), but Rossi will need to finish near the front of the pack, regardless of Dixon’s finish, to overcome the 29-point deficit. Team Penske teammates Will Power and defending series champion Josef Newgarden remain in contention with 511 points each, but face extremely long mathematical odds to win the title. Dixon is a two-time winner at Sonoma, while Rossi has registered a best finish of eighth place in his two races at Sonoma Raceway.

Coverage from Sonoma Raceway begins Friday at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN with Practice 1, followed by live coverage of Practice 2 at 6 p.m. ET. Analysts Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call Practice 2 on Friday from pit lane. Qualifying will air Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, following live NASCAR Xfinity Cup racing from Las Vegas, and live race coverage on Sunday will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following Monster Energy Cup Series race coverage from Las Vegas. An encore presentation of the Grand Prix of Sonoma will air Monday at noon ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports’ lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s Grand Prix of Sonoma alongside Tracy and Bell. Robin Miller, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt will report from the pits.

Following the conclusion of the 2018 season on Sunday, NBC Sports will present all IndyCar races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019, including the Indianapolis 500 and an additional seven races on NBC.

Following is this weekend’s IndyCar coverage schedule on NBCSN:

Date

Coverage

Network

Time (ET)

Fri., Sept. 14

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma – Practice 1*

NBCSN

4 p.m.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma – Practice 2

NBCSN

6 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 15

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma – Qualifying*

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 16

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma

NBCSN

6:30 p.m.

IndyCar Post-Race

NBCSN

9 p.m.

Mon., Sept. 17

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma (Encore)

NBCSN

12 p.m.

*delayed coverage 

2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PLAYOFS BEGIN THIS WEEKEND IN LAS VEGAS ON NBCSN

NBC Sports Group surrounds the first race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, with more than 16 hours of trackside coverage from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in Las Vegas, Nev. NBC Sports’ race coverage begins Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with the final regular season race of the Xfinity Series, and culminates Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing.

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP  

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

-NBC SPORTS-

Dean Wilson’s life as a privateer reconnects the rider to his roots

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One of the added benefits of subscribing to NBC Sports Gold is the in-depth interviews from each Saturday’s action. Last week between the first and second rounds of qualification for the Glendale Supercross race, a relaxed and confident Dean Wilson joined Race Day Live’s Daniel Blair and Jim Holley to review his fourth-place finish in the season opener and his mindset moving forward.

Losing factory support from Rockstar / Husqvarna at the end of 2018 was not exactly what Wilson had in mind, but after getting off to a great start in the first two races this season, it may well have been a blessing in disguise.

The life of a privateer is not exactly relaxed, but it affords a rider the opportunity to call his own shots. For Wilson, it is also a way to reconnect with the grassroots feel that attracted him to Supercross in the first place.

“I think that’s what I like,” Wilson said on Race Day Live. “I think that’s the environment and atmosphere I like – it’s just more low key. At Anaheim I, you would think I was local racing at Glen Helen. I had a Sprinter and I had another trailer just to chill in, do my spins. It was so cold I had a little propane heater to warm me up. But I like that. That’s what works for me.”

MORE: Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim 

The program Wilson was able to put together during the offseason produced back-to back top 10s – a much better start to the 2019 season than he experienced last year.

In 2018, Wilson did not score a top 10 until his fourth feature at San Diego. His first top five would not come until late March in Indianapolis.

This year Wilson got the hole shot and led 14 laps at Anaheim in the opener before finishing fourth. Last week in Glendale, he finished eighth.

“What was going through my head was ‘it’s about time; it’s about five years too late to lead some laps here,’ ” Wilson described his emotion as he led at Anaheim. “It was nice because I did a lot of work in the off-season and my starts were really good. The thing is I haven’t over-analyzed my starts and practice.”

At Anaheim I, Wilson struggled with visibility as his goggles began to get fouled by mud. A once comfortable lead was eroded by Justin Barcia. With pressure from behind, Wilson made a minor mistake that was then compounded by lapped traffic.

“I was leading my laps; I was just trying to hit my marks. I was doing really well until I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn’t hit that middle double, double … the rut was getting real chewed out, but I was already on the right side where you couldn’t double the middle part so you had to go roll, roll, roll – and Barcia was already on me.”

Wilson’s pair of top 10s was enough to keep him fifth in the standings, three points behind Glendale’s winner Blake Baggett.

For more, watch the video above.

Next Race: Anaheim II Jan. 19, 11 p.m., NBCSN

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