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NBC extends partnership with Lucas Oil Pro Motocross

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On Wednesday, NBC and MX Sports Pro Racing announced they will continue their partnership with Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. NBC will be the television and digital home of the series. The deal runs through the 2021 season, which gives the partners a decade together.

It was also announced that Luca Oil will return as the series sponsor.

As part of the agreement, all main practice sessions, qualifiers and Motos 1 and 2 will be shown live and commercial-free via NBC Sports Gold’s “Pro Motocross Pass”. Via the pass, more than 60 hours of live coverage will be shown.

Additionally, viewers will have access to full replays of all events from 2017 and 2018.

Photo: Chris Ortiz/ProMotoross.com

“As the home of motorsports, we’re proud to continue our strong relationship with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and MX Sports Pro Racing into the next decade, further establishing our presence in the motocross community,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president, NBC Sports Ventures. “Fans know NBC Sports is the home for all things motocross, from our linear coverage on NBC and NBCSN, to our robust offering on our direct-to-consumer product, NBC Sports Gold.”

Last year, Eli Tomac beat Marvin Musquin for the 450cc class by only 16 points. Aaron Plessinger outpaced Alex Martin in the 250cc class.

“We’re thrilled that NBC Sports will remain the home of American motocross for the foreseeable future, which will ultimately culminate in a decade-long partnership for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship,” said Carrie Coombs Russell, MX Sports Pro Racing CEO. “We are committed to providing our dedicated and loyal fanbase with as much live content as possible, and the continued development of a digital platform with NBC Sports Gold shows what the future can hold as we collectively push to grow the sport.

“We are delighted to continue on with this relationship and do our part to help the sport keep growing.”

Coverage begins with the Hangtown Classic on Saturday, May 18.

2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Telecast on NBC and NBCSN

Date Event Time (ET) Network
Sat., May 18 Hangtown Classic* – 2nd Motos 6 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., May 25 TBA* – 2nd Motos 6 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., June 2 Thunder Valley National* – 2nd Motos 4 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., June 15 High Point National – 2nd Motos 3 p.m. NBC
High Point National – 2nd Motos 4 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., June 22 Florida National – 2nd Motos 3 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., June 30 Southwick National* – 2nd Motos 10:30 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., July 6 RedBud National – 2nd Motos 3 p.m. NBC
RedBud National* – 2nd Motos 7 p.m. NBCSN
Sun., July 21 Spring Creek National* – 2nd Motos 1 a.m. NBCSN
Sat., July 27 Washougal National* – 2nd Motos 10 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 10 Unadilla National – 2nd Motos 3 p.m. NBC
Unadilla National*- 2nd Motos 7 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 17 Budds Creek National – 2nd Motos 4 p.m. NBCSN
Sat., Aug. 24 Ironman National* – 2nd Motos 11 p.m. NBCSN

April 9 in Motorsports History: Al Unser Jr. gets sixth Long Beach win

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The list of winners in the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a ‘who’s who’ of open-wheel racing.

Mario Andretti won at the famed street course four times. His son Michael won there twice.

Paul Tracy is also a four-time winner at the beach. Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastien Bourdais, and Alexander Rossi also have won at the famed course multiple times.

But there is only one “King of the Beach”: Al Unser Jr.

The winningest driver in the race’s history, Unser won at Long Beach four consecutive times from 1988-91. He won again in 1994 and entered the 1995 edition as the race’s defending champion and the defending CART champion as well.

Starting fourth, Unser made slight contact with Gil de Ferran when he passed the Brazilian on Lap 3. He then continued to move up to the front, taking the race lead from Teo Fabi on Lap 30.

Once he had the lead, Unser ran away from the field, winning by more than 23 seconds over Scott Pruett.

Unser’s victory was such a familiar scene that after the race, CART news manager John Procida began the winner’s news conference with the following statement: “Well, we have a very familiar face on the top rung of the podium. As we listed on the prerace press release, this seems to be the Al Unser Invitational.”

Indeed it was. Unser’s victory was his sixth at Long Beach, and the 28th of his career. overall. While it would be his last win there, Unser continued to race at Long Beach through 1998 before missing 1999 with a broken leg and moving to the Indy Racing Leauge in 2000.

In 2009, Unser was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, which honors significant contributors to the race and California motorsports community.

“It truly is just an honor to be mentioned with the names and the legends that have already been put into the sidewalk,” Unser said during the induction ceremony. “To have Brian (Redman, the inaugural winner of the race) and Parnelli (Jones) is really an honor and just to be in their company is very, very special.”

Also on this date:

1971: Jacques Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada. The second-generation driver was one of the best in open-wheel racing during the 1990s, winning the Indianapolis 500 and CART championship in ’95 and becoming a Formula One champion two years later.

1989: Rick Mears dominated CART’s Checker Autoworks 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, leading every lap from the pole and lapping the field.

2011: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, their sixth consecutive victory in Grand Am competition. Their lengthy win streak, which started on Aug. 7, 2010 at Watkins Glen, prompted Grand Am to offer a $25,000 bounty for any Daytona Prototype team that could beat the dominant duo. The Action Express trio of Joao Barbosa, J.C. France, and Terry Borcheller finally unseated Pruett and Rojas in the series’ next round at Virginia International Raceway.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994