IMSA Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sunday: How to watch, start times, schedule, TV, entry list

IMSA Mid-Ohio start TV schedule
IMSA
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After a two-month break (because of the rescheduling of Long Beach and Laguna Seca), the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return this weekend with a full schedule of racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Acura Sports Car Challenge.

Practice will begin Friday on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course that also will play host to the MX-5 Cup, Michelin Pilot Challenge and Prototype Challenge series.

Sunday will feature the 2-hour, 40-minute race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the DPi, LMP3 and GTD classes. There are 26 cars entered in the event. After winning last year’s race at Team Penske with Helio Castroneves (who has returned to a partial IndyCar schedule this season), Ricky Taylor will be paired with Felipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing. In GTD, Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz return to defend their win in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3

STARING LINEUP: The grid for the Acura Sports Car Challenge

Mid-Ohio marks the beginning of the IMSA Sprint Cup for GTD after endurance races at Daytona and Sebring. Hawksworth and Telitz won the 2020 Sprint Cup title.

Through the first two races in 2021, there have been no repeat winners in any IMSA class.

Here are the start times, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (all times are ET):


IMSA Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course start times, schedule, TV info

When: Sunday, 2:40 p.m.

Race distance: Two hours, 40 minutes on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 64 degrees with a 39% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the field for the Acura Sports Car Challenge


RACE BROADCAST

TV:  2:30 p.m., NBCSN; NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App. Dave Burns will be on play by play with analysts Calvin Fish and Steve Letarte. Parker Kligerman and Dillon Welch are the pit reporters.

TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: Flag to flag beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Race streaming: NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold

IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin May 16 at 2:30 p.m. (XM392, Internet 992)


DAILY SCHEDULE

Here’s a rundown of the IMSA Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course schedule:

Friday, May 14

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

12:20-12:50 p.m.: MX-5 Cup practice

1:15-2:15 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge practice

2:35-3:20 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

3:40-4:10 p.m.: MX-5 Cup practice

4:30-5:30 p.m.: WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5:50-6:05 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR qualifying

6:10-6:25 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge GS qualifying

Saturday, May 15

8-8:30 a.m.: MX-5 Cup qualifying

8:50-10:05 a.m.: WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

10:20-10:55 a.m.: Protoype Challenge practice

11:15 a.m.-noon: MX-5 Cup Race 1

12:20-1:50 p.m.: WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

2:10-2:25 p.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

3:35-5:35 p.m.: Michelin Pilot Challenge race

Sunday, May 16

9:00-9:20 a.m.: WeatherTech SportsCar Championship warmup

9:40-11:25 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: MX-5 Cup Race 2

2:40-5:20 p.m.: WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”