Motorsports Weekend Guide: April 24 to April 26

MWG_2015
If last weekend was a hectic mish-mash of top-tier racing, this upcoming weekend’s races are a grab bag of eclectic tastes. Sure, the usual suspects like IndyCar, NASCAR, and the NHRA are in action, but you can also find some unique racing in the U.S. in both the professional and especially in the amateur realms. Additionally, a number of European series of perhaps a more obscure nature are available for those looking for a racing fix and many of them can be watched online for absolutely free.
Want more information on a series mentioned below? Click here for Hooniverse’s Massively Oversized Guide to Motorsports 2015, which will tell you all you need to know (and then some).

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IndyCar: Grand Prix of Alabama (Barber Motorsports Park)

After two challenging rounds to start the year, IndyCar made good on the season’s third round at Long Beach. Scott Dixon became the season’s third winner from a third team and the racing really got tight in the closing stage of the series’ marquis street race. IndyCar’s compressed schedule has resulted in a grueling travel schedule that has taken the series from NOLA to Long Beach and back across the country to Barber in less than two weeks, so the teams that unload with the best-rested crews may have an advantage in Alabama this weekend.
Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay has won the last two races at Barber with Penske ace Will Power—coming off an utterly forgettable weekend—won the two before that. Scott Dixon has finished in the top five every time he’s been to Barber without winning, so he may be a good bet for a repeat victory.
As for support races, Pirelli World Challenge was an utter disaster at Long Beach, where the race featured only seven green-flag laps and literally half the field were served post-race penalties. They’ll hope for better at Barber. In Indy Lights, European single-seater outfit Carlin Racing has figured out the new Dallara IL15 chassis and put their lead driver Ed Jones on the top step of the podium at all three races this season.
Links: IndyCar site. Barber site. Event page. ScheduleSeason points.
Supporting Series: Indy Lights. Pro Mazda. USF2000. Pirelli World Challenge.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (TV) and Siriux XM 213 (Satellite radio; also available with live timing on IndyCar Race Control).
 
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ChampTruck World Series: New Jersey Motorsports Park

For the first time in decades, big-rig racing returns in earnest to the United States. This is the debut event for the ChampTruck series, a spin-off of the low-dollar endurance ChumpCar World Series, and it will feature formerly roadgoing trucks rebuilt and repurposed for a series of sprint races over the weekend. Expect somewhere around 10 trucks or so if you’re going to see the races in person.
Sharing NJMP this weekend will be the local SCCA South Jersey Region’s Devil in the Dark, a 12-hour endurance race that stretches into the cold dark of New Jersey spring. The Devil in the Dark will run NJMP’s Thunderbolt configuration.
Links: CTWS site. Silverstone site. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: Devil in the Dark. ChumpCar World Series.
Live coverage: Live timing on RaceMonitor app for smartphones and devices.
 
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World Rally Championship: Argentina

After a long layoff from the rally in Mexico that saw “Save the Ti-Tanak,” Thierry Neuville crashing out, and Sebastien Ogier walking off with an easy third victory in three attempts, the rally now heads to Argentina near the city of Cordoba. The sometimes-dusty and sometimes-rocky mountain roads make for some fabulous footage. It would be hard to expect anyone but Ogier to carry this rally in his Volkswagen, but stranger things have happened. Ogier, it seems, is the new “Sebastien” in world rallying.
Links: WRC site. Argentina site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Maps!
Supporting Series: WRC2. Some South American Rally of some sort.
Live coverage: Live coverage on MAVTV Friday @ 4 p.m. ET & Sunday @ 11 a.m. ET. Live coverage throughout the rally on WRC+ (Subscription service) and WRC Live (Free streaming radio with live stage splits).
 

Britcar: 24 Hours of Silverstone

If you’re a Top Gear fan, you probably recall when the mad trio (and The Stig) raced a biodiesel BMW in a 24-hour race. This is that race, a full day of racing at Silverstone, put on by the Britcar organization. The racing is mostly amateurs, although big British GT racing outfits like Beechdean will be there in their Aston Martin Vantage GT3. The entry list is fairly eclectic, actually, and includes everything from a brand new LMP3-spec Ginetta-Nissan to a diesel Jaguar XF-S to a Ford Fiesta in the race’s five classes.
Links: Britcar site. Silverstone site. Britcar 24 page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: British Trophy Championship. British Superkart Championship. Racing Saloons. SRCC Sports 2000cc Championship.
Live coverage: None in the U.S.
 

Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series: Wild Horse Pass

LOORRS will run its second round this year in Arizona at Wild Horse Pass (formerly known as Firebird Raceway). The weekend includes the full complement of classes, from off-roading karts to Pro4 trucks.
Links: LOORRS site. WHP site. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Delayed on MAVTV
 

The Off Road Championship: Texas Motor Speedway

Meanwhile in the Midwest, USAC’s own short-track truck series starts off its season at Texas Motor Speedway. The track includes some huge jumps and an otherwise simple double-hairpin layout, but the racing should be entertaining. Of note: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will have a go in one of the TORC trucks this weekend.
Links: TORC site. TMS site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Possibly streaming on the TORC YouTube channel. Delayed TV on June 11 @ 10 p.m. EST & June 18 @ 10 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 2.
 

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Toyota Owners 400 (Richmond International Raceway)

Richmond is another of the small ovals—like Bristol and Martinsville—that has hosted NASCAR for more than half a centurty. No active driver has dominated at Richmond, although the Busch brothers tend to perform well at shorter tracks.
Links: Sprint Cup site. Richmond site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Supporting Series: ToyotaCares 250 (NASCAR Xfinity Series)
Live coverage: Saturday @ 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX. Qualifying – Friday @ 5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Practice – Friday @ 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. on FS1. Xfinity Series – Friday @ 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying – Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
 

ARCA: Federated Auto Parts 200 (Salem Speedway | Salem, IN)

Elsewhere in the stock car world, ARCA visits the .555-mile Salem Speedway in the heart of oval-racing country. To date, occasional NASCAR driver Grant Enfinger has won all three rounds of the 2015 championship.
Links: ARCA site. Salem site. Event page with entry list. Schedule. Season points.
Live coverage: No live TV or streaming video.
 

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series: Valencia

Across the pond, NASCAR’s European series starts its 2015 campaign in Spain as part of American Fest, a celebration of all things American, apparently. Among the Whelen Euro Series drivers is Eddie Cheever III, whose ride in the EuroV8 Series vanished with that series’ demise. Also on the bill is the FIA’s European Truck Racing Championship.
Links: WES site. Valencia site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: European Truck Racing Championship.
Live coverage: Live streaming on FansChoice.tv. Races are Saturday @ 7 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. and Sunday @ 4:30 a.m. & 8 a.m.
 

NHRA: Spring Nationals (Royal Purple Raceway | Houston)

The NHRA’s massive horsepower display rolls into Houston, where drag racers will rip down Royal Purple Raceway’s drag strip. Of note, the ageless John Force comes off his first win with the new Camaro body style on his Funny Car, vaulting him from 12th in the championship to sixth.
Links: NHRA site. Royal Purple Drank Raceway site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Eliminations on Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
 

IHRA Nitro Jam: Palm Beach Nationals (Palm Beach International Raceway)

If you’re in Florida, you can catch the other American drag racing series in Palm Beach, with the Nitro Jam Pro-Am Series
Links: IHRA site. PBIR site. ScheduleSeason points.
Live coverage: None, but weekends are compressed into a highlights show on MAVTV.
 

Dunlop 24H Series: 12 Hours of Zandvoort

The Creventic-run endurance series runs a race at its home track in the Netherlands. Like the 12 Hours of Mugello, this is a split-session race with three hours Friday and the final nine hours Saturday.
Links: 24H site. Zandvoort site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Live coverage on 24H site Friday @ 10 a.m. ET & Saturday @ 2:45 a.m.
 

International GT Open: Paul Ricard Circuit

In the south of France, GT Open starts its campaign. Featuring a mix of GT2 and GT3 machinery, the races are usually close battles. Typically, the V8 Racing Corvettes duel blow-for-blow with a myriad of Ferrari 458s.
Links: GT Open site. Ricard site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: Euroformula Open. Seat Leon Cup. Maserati Trofeo
Live coverage: Usually streaming on the GT Open YouTube Channel. Race times are Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 8 a.m. ET. Euroformula Open – Usually streaming on EF Open YT Channel. Race times are Saturday @ 7 a.m. ET & Sunday @ 7 a.m. ET.
 

FIA European Hill Climb Championship: Rechbergrennen (Osterreich, Austria)

Hill climbing is not a uniquely European sport, but they generally do it as well as anyone else (excepting perhaps Pikes Peak and Mt. Washington). The Rechbergrennen marks the second event in the FIA’s hill climb series. Expect a huge
Links: EHCC site. Rechbergrennen site. Website is in German, so I have no idea what anything is.
Live coverage: None, but spectator videos usually start showing up shortly after the weekend.
 

World RallyCross: Portugal

While the big short-course off-road racing in the U.S. seems to be Trophy Truck-style racing, the equivalent in Europe is rallycross. In its most extreme versions like the FIA’s World RallyCross Championshipo, this entails hurtling firebreathing 2.0-liter, all-wheel-drive supercars around mile-long courses with mixed surfaces. The defending champion from the series’ inaugural season is the ever-entertaining Norwegian Petter Solberg.
Links: WRX site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: Super1600 and RX Lites.
Live coverage: Streaming live on WRX site beginning Sunday @ 9 a.m. ET.
 

Rally America: Oregon Trail Rally

Stage rally seems to be in trouble in the United States, but Rally America soldiers on in the forests of the Pacific Northwest this weekend. Defending champion and current points leader David Higgins has somehow wrangled Subaru factory support this year and is making a bid for another season of scarcely being challenged.
Links: Rally America site. Oregon Trail site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Live radio on Rally America Radio via Down and Dirty Show.
 

Formula Renault 3.5: Aragon

The World Series by Renault typically includes both the V8-powered single-seater championship mentioned above and support races with 2.0-liter open-wheelers and sometimes Clio Cup races. This weekend in Spain, only the open-wheelers race and if you’re at all interested in the future of Formula 1, keep an eye on the sharp end of this grid.
Links: World Series by Renault siteAragon site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.
Live coverage: None in the U.S.
 

Stock Car Brazil: Autodromo do Velopark (Brasilia)

Both of the fastest racing series in Brazil head to Velopark this weekend. In Stock Car Brazil, multiple champion Caca Bueno leads the championship early in the season over a field that has included several ex-Formula 1 drivers like Rubens Barrichello and Ricardo Zonta. Also on the bill is F3 Brasil, which has tended to be a feeder pipeline for Brazilian driving talent—of which there is seldom a lack—to Europe.
Links: Stock Car Brasil site. Velopark. Event page. Entry list. Season points.
Supporting Series: F3 Brasil.
Live coverage: None in the U.S.
 

Historic Sportscar Racing: The Mitty (Road Atlanta)

The Mitty is to the East Coast what the Monterey Historics Reunion is to the West Coast. The massive entry list spans something like a dozen pages and includes just about every kind of racecar imaginable.  I’ve not been, but I’ve heard it’s a must-attend. If you’re in the area, consider the Concours d’LeMons on Road Atlanta’s grounds a super-extra bonus.
Links: HSR site. Road Atlanta site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting Series: Concours d’LeMons.
Live coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
 

SVRA/VARA: British Extravaganza (Buttonwillow Raceway Park)

Across the country the vintage racing organizations will play host to British and other vintage racers at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. The event is billed as a “British Extravaganza,” but the entry list sports a whole host of older racecars.
Links: SVRA site. VARA site. Buttonwillow site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
 

Chihuahua Express

Information is a bit scarce on this, but in Mexico, a bunch of crazies will race on closed public roads from Chihuahua in the Chihuahua Express. It’s not well covered or particularly well known compared to its distant Carrera Panamericana cousin; we only know about it because a trio of Texas LeMons racers have entered an NA Miata in it this year and because LeMons stalwarts NSF Racing have flogged plenty of old Mopar metal on Mexican roadways.
Links: Chihuahua Express site.
Live coverage: Good luck with that.
 

24 Hours of LeMons: Gingerman Raceway

Speaking of LeMons, Hooniverse’s own Eric Rood will be working at this weekend’s LeMons race in Michigan. Unlike races of the recent past, there won’t be a live blog due to some practical considerations, but the racing will be good and you can expect a recap here in the coming weeks.
Links: LeMons site. Gingerman site. Event page with weekend schedule. Entry list. Hooniverse preview.
Live coverage: Live timing on Specialty Timing site and on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
 

World Racing League: Carolina Motorsports Park

In South Carolina, the endurance racing series World Racing League holds its first race at CMP. The WRL has held races of varying formats; this one will be a 12-hour slog of the highest Southern caliber.
Links: WRL site. CMP site. Event page with schedule.
Live coverage: Live timing on WRL site and on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
 
Going racing yourself or heading out to watch some racing in person? Tell us in the comments where you’ll be turning your wheels.
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: IndyCar, ChampTruck Facebook page, WRC]

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