Saturday’s Supercross Round 1 in Houston: How to watch, start times, schedule, TV info

1 Comment

Monster Energy AMA Supercross will begin its 2021 season Saturday night with Round 1 in Houston kicking off a 17-race schedule unlike any other in series history.

It’s the first time in 25 years that Supercross will open a season outside of California, which is among many curveballs that riders and teams will face in adapting to restrictions from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After ending the 2020 season with seven consecutive events at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Supercross will carry over several of those concepts – such as midweek races and multiple consecutive rounds in one city — to the 2021 schedule, which will open Saturday with the first of three races in eight days at NRG Stadium.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Supercross storylines for the 2021 season

The short turnaround and unfamiliar starting local have prompted some trepidation among routine-driven riders who have been accustomed to opening the season at Anaheim annually since 1999. For the past two seasons, the proximity to many manufacturer and team hubs in Southern California and the once-weekly event schedule provided time for making adjustments and testing between races.

Houston won’t allow for that luxury, though riders still seem stoked about opening the season someplace new.

“I don’t think the location is going to play too much of a role,” Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo said. “I think it’s still the same type of nerves I’d feel lining up at Anaheim. Maybe a little less because the crowd won’t be at full capacity. I think it’s a little more of a chiller vibe.

“But when you get behind the gate and look to your left and right and see all these amazing athletes next to you, it’s still nerve-wracking, obviously. I really like the California races, so I hope we can get back to that pretty soon. At the same time, I enjoy Houston, and the dirt is really good. It’s my favorite football team as well, the Houston Texas, so I’m excited to channel some Deshaun Watson energy.”

Said 2019 series champion Cooper Webb: “I’ve always enjoyed Houston, I think they have some good dirt there. I raced it when super ready and when it’s hard-packed. I’m sure it’s maybe a little wet now.”

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 1 of the 2021 Supercross season:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE:  TV coverage of Round 1 will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The event also will be streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App.

Exclusive streaming coverage formerly on NBC Sports Gold’s Supercross and Pro Motocross Pass also has moved in 2021 to Peacock Premium, which is available for $4.99 per month. The Supercross and Pro Motocross packages will have live coverage of all Supercross heats, qualifiers and races and Pro Motocross main practice, qualifers and motos. On-demand replays (including the full 2020 season, which was added this week) are available without commercial interruption.

An encore presentation of the NBC Supercross season preview special will air this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC

ENTRY LISTS: Click here for who is racing in the 450 and 250 divisions at Houston

EVENT SCHEDULE:

6:11 p.m: 250SX Heat #1 – 6 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 20 riders (Finishers 1 – 9 advance to Main)
6:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat #2 – 6 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 20 riders (1 – 9 to Main)
6:33 p.m.: 450SX Heat #1 – 6 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 20 riders (1 – 9 to Main)
6:47 p.m.: 450SX Heat #2 – 6 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 20 riders (1 – 9 to Main)
7:10 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier – 5 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 22 riders (Finishers 1 – 4 to Main)
7:28 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier – 5 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 22 riders (1 – 4 to Main)
7:48 p.m.: 250SX Main Event – 15 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 22 riders
8:29 p.m.: 450SX Main Event – 20 Minutes/Plus 1 lap – 22 riders

COVID-19 CROWD PROTOCOLS: Houston will have limited attendance of about 25 percent capacity and “pod”-style seating for the event with face coverings required and social distancing observed in the stadium.

Supercross will be reopening its FanFest pit and sponsor area to fans but will keep riders and teams in a paddock bubble separate from the general public.

TRACK LAYOUT: Saturday night’s event will be the first of three in Houston to open the 2021 season, and Supercross officials plan to tweak the course for each race. Here’s the track map for Houston 1.

HOW TO WATCH SUPERCROSS IN 2021Full NBC Sports schedule

FINAL 2020 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings

PRESEASON COVERAGE ON NBCSPORTS.COM:

Malcolm Stewart hooks a big catch with Yahama ride

Adam Cianciarulo has unfinished business in Year 2

Sexton, Ferrandis, McElrath headline stellar rookie class

Cooper Webb feeling extra motivation for 2021

2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona: Schedule, TV info, start times, entry lists, notable drivers, more

2 Comments

The new year brings the start of a new era for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which will open the 2023 schedule with the 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

A new premier class for prototypes is the overriding story entering the 24-hour endurance race that unofficially kicks off the major-league racing season.

The new Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) cars of the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) top category will re-establish a bridge to the 24 Hours of Le Mans while bringing a new layer of engine electrification to IMSA.

With at least a few of the cars on the grid at Daytona also slated to race at Le Mans in June, it’s possible for the first time in decades (since the “Ford vs. Ferrari” battles) to have the same car win the overall title at Daytona and Le Mans.

The GTP category will feature four manufacturers, two of which are new to IMSA’s premier division. Porsche Motorsport (with Team Penske) and BMW (with Rahal Letterman Lanigan) will be fielding LMDh prototypes, joining (now-defunct) DPi category holdovers Acura (Meyer Shank Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing) and Cadillac (Chip Ganassi Racing, Action Express Racing).

Here’s what else you need to know ahead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener Jan. 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway:


NOTABLE DRIVER ADDITIONS 

The Rolex 24 will feature 10 active drivers from the NTT IndyCar Series, including the IMSA debuts of Team Penske drivers Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin, who will be teamed in an LMP2 entry (teammate Will Power unfortunately had to withdraw from this debut).

Colton Herta will move into the GTP category with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud return with Meyer Shank Racing to defend their overall 2022 Rolex 24 victory. Scott Dixon also returns in the premier category with Chip Ganassi Racing for his 20th Rolex 24 start and third consecutive in the No. 01 Cadillac.

Other IndyCar drivers in the field: Romain Grosjean will make his debut in GTD Pro with Iron Lynx Racing (as a precursor to driving a GTP Lamborghini next year); Devlin DeFrancesco (Rick Ware Racing) and Rinus VeeKay (TDS Racing) are in LMP2; and Kyle Kirkwood will return in GTD with Vasser Sullivan.

Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric also will return, teaming with DeFrancesco in an LMP2 entry for Rick Ware Racing.


CAR COUNT

The Rolex 24 field was capped at 61 cars, matching last year’s field (which was the largest since 2014). The field was capped because of the space limitations for the LMDh cars of GTP in the pits and garages.

Click here for the official 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona entry list.


STARTING LINEUP

Tom Blomqvist captured the first pole position of the GTP era, qualifying defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing in first with the No. 60 ARX-06 Acura that he shares with Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

The No. 7 Porsche 963 of Porsche Penske Motorsports will start second.

Click here for the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona starting lineup


RACE BROADCAST

The 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona will be streamed across the NBC Sports AppNBCSports.com and Peacock, which will have coverage of the event from flag to flag.

Broadcast coverage of the race coverage will begin Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and move to USA Network from 2:30-8 p.m. and then will be exclusively on Peacock and IMSA.TV from 8-10 p.m. Coverage will return to USA Network from 10 p.m. to midnight and then move to Peacock/IMSA.TV until 6 a.m.

From 6 a.m. until noon on Sunday, Jan. 29, Rolex 24 coverage will be available on USA Network. The conclusion of the Rolex 24 will run from noon through 2 p.m. on NBC.

HOW TO WATCH IMSA ON NBC SPORTS: Broadcast schedule for 2023

Other events that will be streamed on Peacock from Daytona during January (all times ET):

Jan. 21: IMSA VP Racing Sports Car Challenge, 2:05 p.m.

Jan. 22: IMSA VP Racing Sports Car Challenge, 12:20 p.m.

Jan. 22: IMSA Rolex 24 qualifying, 1:25 p.m.

Jan. 27: BMW Endurance Michelin Pilot Challenge, 1:45 p.m.


ROLEX 24 COVERAGE FROM NBC SPORTS

Wayne Taylor Racing takes a step up to the next level with Andretti Autosport

Austin Cindric seeks to join legendary club of Rolex 24-Daytona 500 winners

Helio Castroneves recalls “Days of Thunder” moment in 2022 Rolex 24 victory

The “Bus Bros” tackle the “Bus Stop” for Rolex 24 at Daytona debuts

Romain Grosjean adds Rolex 24 at Daytona to his crown jewel career

Tom Blomqvist beats the clock to win Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position

GTP cars make debut in “Gymkhana”-level traffic

Five things to watch in the new GTP class as a golden era of sports cars returns

Cadillac unveils paint schemes for LMDh cars

Austin Cindric, Devlin DeFrancesco, Pietro Fittipaldi teaming up in LMP2

IndyCar drivers in the 61st Rolex 24


ROLEX 24 DAILY SCHEDULE, START TIMES

Here’s a rundown of everything happening at Daytona International Speedway over the last two weeks in January, starting with the Roar test session. Rolex 24 start times and full schedule:

Wednesday, Jan. 18

7 a.m.: GTP garages open

4 p.m.: Non-GTP garages open

4 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship haulers load-in (park only)

6:30 p.m.: Non-GTP garages close

9:30 p.m.: GTP garages close

Thursday, Jan. 19

7 a.m.: Garages, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship haulers open

8:30 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety inspection

10 a.m.: Rolex 24 Media Day

2 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge driver and team manager briefing

3 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver and team manager briefing

5:15 p.m.: Track walk

7:30 p.m.: Non-GTP garages close

9:30 p.m.: GTP garages close

Friday, Jan. 20

7 a.m.: Garages open

8:45-9:15 a.m.: VP Racing SportsCar Challenge practice

9:30-10:45 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

1:45-2:15 p.m.: VP Racing SportsCar Challenge practice

2:30-4 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

4:15-6 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice (GTD/LMP3/LMP2 4:15-5:45; 4:30-6: GTD Pro, GTP)

8 p.m.: Non-GTP garages close

9:30 p.m.: GTP garages close

Saturday, Jan. 21

7 a.m.: Garages open

8:40-9:15 a.m.: VP Racing SportsCar Challenge qualifying

9:30-11 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

2:05-2:50 p.m.: VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, Race 1 (streaming on Peacock)

3:10 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

6:30-8:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

10 p.m.: Garages close

Sunday, Jan. 22

7 a.m.: Garages open

10:15-11:15 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

12:20-1:05 p.m.: VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, Race 2 (streaming on Peacock)

1:25-3 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 qualifying (streaming on Peacock)

8:30 p.m.: Garages close

Wednesday, Jan. 25

6 a.m.: Garages open

7:30-10 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety inspection, non-GTP

8 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 load-in

10-11:30 a.m.: Track walk

10 a.m.-noon: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship car photos

11:30 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge team manager briefing

Noon: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team manager briefing

12:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship new driver briefing

Noon-2 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety and technical inspection, non-GTP

1:45-2:30 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

2:45-3:45 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

2:30-7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship safety inspection, GTP only

4-5:30 p.m.: Track walk

6:45 p.m.: Garages close

Thursday, Jan. 26

7 a.m.: Garages open

9-9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

9:45-10:45 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

11:05 a.m.-12:35 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:55-1:10 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 qualifying

2:25-3 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying

3:20-5:05 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice (3:20-5:05: GTD, LMP3, LMP2; 3:35-5:05: GTD Pro, GTP)

5:30-6:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

7:15-9 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

10:15 p.m.: Garages close

Friday, Jan. 27

7 a.m.: Garages open

9:25-9:55 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

10:15-11 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:30 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge driver and team manager briefing

11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

1:45-5:45 p.m.: BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona (Michelin Pilot Challenge; streaming on Peacock)

8:45 p.m.: Garages close

Saturday, Jan. 28

6:30 a.m.: Garages open

9:45 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver and team manager briefing

12:30-12:40 p.m.: Rolex 24 engine warmup

1:30-1:40 p.m.: Rolex 24 formation laps

1:40 p.m.: The 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona (starting on NBC; streaming flag to flag on Peacock)

Sunday, Jan. 29

1:40 p.m.: Finish of the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona

7:30 p.m.: Garages close