Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. This weekend (and into next week) is a bumper crop of super-serious racing and also a variety of events that promise to deliver pure fun. Get the scoop after the jump on these things and more.
IndyCar & a great show in Toronto
NASCAR trucks on a dirt oval (next week)
eXtreme Motorsports extravaganza in the U.S.
NASCAR on the Nurburgring (Really!)
And a whole boatload more!
IndyCar: Honda Indy Toronto
North American open-wheel racing is no stranger to the 1.755-mile street circuit around Toronto’s Exhibition Place. Going back to the IndyCar days of the mid-1980s, this has been a staple of the IndyCar (and ChampCar and CART) schedules. The narrow, wall-lined racing surface demands constant attention and Turn 3 at the end of the long run down Lake Shore Boulevard will see many great passes and possibly a few flubbed overtakes. With the points race super-tight between Helio Castroneves and Will Power, the two-race format could either boost or hamper the Penske drivers while the most-recent race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay continues to whittle down the once-substantial gap to third place. Meanwhile, Chip Ganassi Target Racing has yet to score a win in IndyCar this season, but defending series champion and Ganassi driver Scott Dixon swept both races at last year’s first doubleheader to launch his incredible late-season run to the title.
If none of that gets you going, the tremendous mix of supporting races from no fewer than five different sanctioning bodies is absolutely spectacular. Stadium Super Trucks is, bizarrely, at its best and most absurd on street circuits while World Challenge seldom lacks in entertainment from its sportscar sprint-racing format.
Website: IndyCar. Toronto GP site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Stadium Super Trucks. Pirelli World Challenge. Indy Lights. USF2000. F1600 Series (Canada). Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Live coverage: Two races: Saturday @ 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (TV) & Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN (TV). Live timing and streaming audio on Indy RaceControl. Stadium Super Trucks – Two races: Saturday @ 2:20 p.m. ET & Sunday @ 2:20 p.m. ET on SST site. PWC – Two races: Saturday @ 11:25 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 12:15 p.m. ET on World-Challengetv.com.
NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series: 1-800-CARCASH MIDSUMMER CLASSIC (Eldora Speedway | Rossburg, OH) Yes, this race takes place next Wednesday, but that’s usually before the weekly Motorsport Weekend Guide goes live. So consider this an extra-long heads’ up. Last year, much of the automotive world went nuts when NASCAR ran its first major race on dirt at Eldora with the Trucks series. It all serves as part of the weeklong lead-in to the Brickyard 400 at nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The end product was fantastic and frenetic in the most entertaining way possible for short-oval dirt racing. If you only watch one NASCAR oval race this year, make it this one. Website: Camping Trucks site. Eldora site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Live coverage: Wednesday 07/23 @ 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports1 (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming audio).
Formula One: German Grand Prix (Hockenheimring)
Lewis Hamilton won the last F1 round, narrowing the gap behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to just four points at the top of the series standings. The rest of the field has languished behind and there’s little reason to expect much else, so the excitement really will be, as it has been, the intersquad rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg, racing at his home track.
Red Bull Global RallyCross: New York (Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | Uniondale, NY) Unfortunately, GRC won’t be running inside the New York Islanders’ home stadium, but they will be screaming around a course constructed in the parking lot just south of the coliseum. Atop the drivers championship standings are a couple of names that should be familiar to motorsports fans: Scott Speed leads Nelson Piquet, Jr., by a single point. If nothing else, this should be a tremendous spectacle, putting on a race in the middle of the country’s biggest megalopolis. Website: GRC site. GRCNY site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Live coverage: Sunday @ 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC (TV). Formula Drift: Throwdown (Evergreen Speedway | Monroe, WA)
Formula D kicks off its final three rounds with a run at Evergreen just outside Seattle. The points standings took dramatic turn at The Wall Speedway, Chris Forsberg turned a narrow lead over Vaughn Gittin Jr. into a solid 59-point margin over Norwegian Fredric Aasbo. Aasbo claimed his first win of the year in New Jersey, but Forsberg’s runner-up finish continued his consistent finishes.
Rally America: New England Forest Rally (Newry, ME)
To complete the American extreme motorsports trifecta, Rally America heads to the Northeast for the New England Forest Rally. The field contains few surprises, although Bill Caswell is registered in his BMW 318 despite his recently proclaimed retirement from racing. David Higgins, who recently wailed on his Subaru around the Isle of Man TT course to set a new four-wheel record, leads the championship by a wide 23-point margin and will look to stretch that margin at the NEFR with only two points-scoring rallies remaining.
NASCAR Nationwide: EnjoyIllinois.com 300 (Chicagoland Speedway | Joliet, IL)
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series gets the rare weekend off, but the Nationwide cars will head to Chicagoland Speedway’s 1.5-mile tri-oval for a shared weekend with ARCA. Regan Smith currently leads the Nationwide standings with Elliott Sadler and Chase Elliott occupying the next two positions, respectively, with 13 points between the three of them. Kyle Busch is the master of Chicagoland with six career wins, but he will not drive an entry in the Nationwide race. So that sentence is kind of a waste, I suppose.
Website: Nationwide site. Chicagoland Speedway site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Ansell ActivArmr 150 (ARCA). Live coverage: Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 (TV) and MRN (Radio/Streaming audio). ARCA – Saturday @ 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
European Le Mans Series: Red Bull Ring European multiclass sportscar returns after the month-long hangover from Le Mans. Teams have regrouped and the field looks absolutely first-rate. The Spielberg, Austria, circuit is one of the most entertaining with elevation changes, including the first two turns that span the crests of separate hills. The circuit and nearby town rest in a valley that is surrounded on all sides by densely forested hills. To boot, expect the FIA to make an announcement about the forthcoming LMP3 class regulations ahead of the four-hour ELMS race. The new class is to be cost-capped and intended to replace the LMP-Challenge class that has struggled everywhere except the United States. Website: ELMS site. Red Bull Ring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Auto GP. Live coverage: Sunday @ 6:30 a.m. ET. No TV in the U.S., but streaming audio on Radio LeMans.
Asian Le Mans Series: Three Hours of Inje (Korea) The ACO’s sister series on the other side of the globe finally kicks off its season with a three-hour race at Inje Speedium, a serpentine 2.6-mile with 20 turns marked on its track map. The series has struggled in the past, running its first year in 2009 and then not reappearing until 2013. This race shows only nine entrants, an alarming number despite the 15 paid full-season entries in the series. Some suggest that teams are simply not interested in traveling and running at the somewhat-obscure Korean circuit. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how (or possibly if) the AsLMS progresses this year. 9 cars only. 15 full-season entries. Website: AsLMS site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Ferrari Challenge. Formula Masters China. Live coverage: None stateside. FIA European Rally Championship: Rally Estonia After its recent round in Poland and Lithuania, the ERC makes a short jump to Estonia. The primarily gravel rally winds through old forest roads and over the plains of southern Estonia. The stages also include a paved run through the city of Tartu at dusk Friday, a spectacular sight no doubt that will be shown live on Estonian TV. Website: ERC site. Rally Estonia site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Live streaming on Rally Estonia site. International GT Open: Silverstone (UK)
Silverstone seldom lacks for quality international racing and once again, this weekend sees excellent GT racing on its hallowed grounds. The World War II airfield-turned-racing circuit hosts the mostly Pro-Am GT Open field, but a quick glance at the entry list will tell you that the teams involved mean for this to be professional quality: AF Corse, SMP Racing, TF Sport (running an Aston Martin with an AMR factory driver), and V8 Racing mean business wherever they race. The last of those, a Dutch squad, will run a pair of (I believe) ex-American Le Mans Series Corvette C6Rs in the GT2 Open class. Europe, it turns out, loves the Corvette racers.
Website: GT open site. Silverstone site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: EuroFormula Open. SEAT Leon Supercup UK. Maserati Trofeo MC International. Live coverage: Two races – Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 7:30 a.m. ET on GT Open’s YouTube Channel. Formula Open – Two races: Saturday @ 9 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 6:30 a.m. ET on EuroFormula Open’s YouTube Channel.
NHRA: Mopar Mile-High Nationals (Bandimere Speedway | Denver, CO)
The NHRA’s big horsepower rolls onto the mile-high strip at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Doug Kalitta leads the Top Fuel season championship by 48 points over 2012 champion Antron Brown while 2011 champion Robert Hight leads John Force by 178 points in Funny Car’s championship. Perhaps more impressively, Erica Enders-Stevens leads the Pro Stock category by a whopping 241 points. If she wins, she’ll be only the third female NHRA champion after Shirley Muldowney’s (three-time Top Fuel champion) and Angelle Sampey (three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion).
AMA Pro Road Racing: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
After a single-race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last weekend, AMA rolls into Mid-Ohio for two races. Three-time champion Josh Hayes has dominated the series this year with five wins in seven races. With only four races remaining and a 40-point lead over Cameron Beaubier, Hayes looks pretty good for another championship.
The HAWK with Brian Redman at Road America The Hawk is one of the great vintage races, alongside The Mitty at Road Atlanta and the Monterey Historics at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Like those, the field drawn is absolutely jaw-dropping for automotive enthusiasts, let alone motorsports fans. Peruse the entry list linked below and you’ll find everything from early post-war British sportscars to vintage Can-Am cars and everything in between. Read the entry list. Seriously. Do it. Website: The Hawk site. Road America site. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
TORC: Throwdown in the U.P. (Bark River International Raceway | Bark River, MI)
Off-road racing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s either your thing or it’s not. If you live in the U.P., though, it’s very likely your thing. Website: TORC site. Event page. Live coverage: Tape-delayed coverage on NBC Sports Network. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series: Nurburgring Yes, this is NASCAR on the ‘ring. [Record scratch] And, yes, you can watch it for free. No, it’s not the Nordschleife. No, that shouldn’t keep you from watching it and letting patriotic tears flow down your cheeks. If you’re curious, the Whelen Euro Series cars aren’t actually old NASCAR chassis or anything like they use in ARCA Racing. These are purpose-built for European road courses and all have the same 400 horsepower Chevy V8, regardless of “car type” suggested on the entry list. Website: Whelen Series site. Nurburgring site. Event page with weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: ADAC Truck Grand Prix/European Truck Racing Championship Live coverage: Four races Saturday & Sunday streaming on FansChoice.tv. (Times adjusted -6 hours for ET; see Event page linked above) NASCAR Pro K&N East: Jegs 150 (Columbus Motor Speedway) Another weekend, another K&N race on a short oval. If you’re curious, Ben Rhodes has won half of the K&N East races this year and racked up a massive championship lead over Gray Gaulding. Website: K&N site. Columbus site. Live coverage: None. 24 Hours of LeMons: The Ridge Motorsports Park LeMons visits the Pacific Northwest, where much of our readership resides. Heck, plenty of you will be at this race, so I’ll refrain from even explaining here what to expect because I’ve already written that elsewhere for the site. Website: LeMons site. The Ridge site. Event page. Hooniverse preview. Live coverage: Live timing on SpecialtyTiming.com and via Race Monitor app for smartphone and devices. ChumpCar World Series: Gateway Motorsports Park ChumpCar returns to the place where I first liveblogged a crapcan race. So that’s neat. This weekend, the series will run a single 14-hour race Saturday, followed by the Ultimate Street Car Association on Sunday. If the USCA sounds familiar, that’s because Hooniverse’s own Jason Connor ran his Focus ST at the Auto Club Speedway event. Website: CCWS site. Gateway site. Supplemental regulations with weekend schedule. Live coverage: Live timing on ChumpCar site and via Race Monitor app for smartphone and devices. ChumpCar World Series: Lime Rock Park
This race is also of interest to the Hoonitarian Hooniversalists, as (last I heard) Kamil Kaluski’s Park Bench Racing Team was going to run the Buick at this race, called the “8 Hours of Limes” (GET IT?). Because of Lime Rock’s local color, no racing is permitted on Sundays, so this race will actually run Monday.