Motorsports Weekend Guide: July 31 to August 2

MWG_2015
Welcome to another weekly edition of Hooniverse’s examination of who is racing what and where and when they are racing it this weekend. Got it? This weekend features one of the best—if not the best—stage rallies in the world and stock car fans can rejoice with a plethora of options in all of the hemispheres, including the only NASCAR race on a temporary street circuit. Follow the jump for what fuel to inject into your [overwrought metaphor goes here].
Pro tip: Keep this page open all weekend or bookmark so you have all the resources handy. 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).

World Rally Championship: Rally Finland

The FIA’s global rallying championship (not to be confused with Global RallyCross Championship) heads to one of its marquee events, the flying Finnish rally. Rally Finland has developed a reputation for extremely challenging driving stages and punishing jumps throughout the three days’ stages. Unsurprisingly, Finns have won 17 of the last 22 rallies in Finland and last year’s winner Jari-Matti Latvala has struggled at times this year. A win could get him back on track, although he already trails defending series champion and teammate Sebastien Ogier by nearly 100 points.
Latvala is the only competitive Finn in the field, although  Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen would both like to be the first Norwegians to win Rally Finland. Ogier won the rally in 2013, so don’t count the man who is one of three non-Finns (Seb Loeb and Markko Martin are the others) to beat the Finns at their own game.
Links: WRC site. Rally Finland site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Live coverage on MAVTV at the following times: Thursday @ noon ET, Friday @ noon ET, & Sunday @ 6:00 a.m. ET. Live stage/split timing and radio on WRC Live & additional live onboards and tracking on WRC+ (subscription service).
 

IndyCar: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

The 200-mile race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has long produced spectacular results and last year’s IndyCar race proved no exception. A first-corner crash threw the field into turmoil and when the dust settled 200 miles later, Scott Dixon had driven from dead last at the race’s start to a win, seemingly making fuel without losing pace. It was an impressive win for Dixon, who has an incredible five wins at the track since 2007. And indeed, Chip Ganassi Racing have won all but one race in that span. Whatever the case, Ganassi has the measure of Mid-Ohio and Dixon will need it, as he trails Juan Montoya by nearly 50 points headed into the season’s final three rounds.
Interestingly, Mid-Ohio is also home to the driver who sits between Montoya and Dixon in the championship, Graham Rahal. Graham has been the real story of the IndyCar season and while he hasn’t been particularly strong at Mid-Ohio, his complete renaissance means you can basically throw the historical record out the window. Most of the strong road racers in the field—Sebastian Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Ryan Briscoe—have also been historically excellent at Mid-Ohio so expect another wild one this weekend.
Links: IndyCar site. Mid-Ohio site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list with season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Pirelli World Challenge. Indy Lights. Pro Mazda. USF2000.
Coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on CNBC. Streaming audio on IndyCar Race ControlWorld Challenge – Live on MotorTrendOnDemand.com, races Saturday @ 4:30 p.m. & Sunday @ 11:50 a.m. ET. Road to Indy  – Streaming video of most (probably all) sessions on on IndyCar Race Control,
 

NASCAR: Windows 10 400 (Pocono Raceway)

Windows 10 400? Windows 10,400? Windows 10×400? Who knows? Sprint Cup is racing at the notorious Tricky Triangle this weekend under what might be the most confusing title sponsorship in a long run of confusing title sponsorships. Nevertheless, Pocono is one of the most incredibly unique places NASCAR visits with the track’s three turns making a scalene triangle. While the turns are different, Pocono doesn’t race as a road course the way some other strange ovals do. Rather, it races like a weird oval. If that makes sense.
Anyway, Kyle Busch has now won four of the last five races and looks unstoppable after returning from the broken leg he suffered at Daytona. He’ll square off with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who won both Sprint Cup races at Pocono last year. In the mix are 41 other drivers, although Hendrick Motorsports have won at least the last five Sprint Cup races at Pocono. Also on the bill are NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, fresh off a race on Eldora Speedway’s half-mile dirt oval 10 days ago, and the ARCA Racing Series, fresh off a half-mile paved oval somewhere in the middle of the country, probably. I can’t be bothered to look such things up.
Links: Sprint Cup site. Pocono site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Pocono Mountain 150 (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series). Modspace 125 (ARCA Racing Series).
Coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. CWTS – Saturday @ 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. ARCA – Saturday @ 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1.
 

NASCAR Xfinity: U.S. Cellular 250 (Iowa Speedway)

Not on the Pocono bill is the Xfinity Series, which will run Iowa’s 7/8-mile oval just a couple weeks after crazy IndyCar weekend. As I mentioned before that race, Iowa’s steep banking and short straightaway straight-up murder tires so most of this race will be conserving tires to give the shortest final run on a set of tires so that drivers can push the fresh rubber harder. The support package is the second of two combined K&N Pro Series weekend, where both the East and West series drivers run the same race.
Links: Xfinity Series site. Iowa site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): #ThanksKenny150 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West Combined)
Coverage: Saturday @ 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. K&N Series – Thursday August 6 @ 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC SN.
 

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres

Perhaps ironically, the NASCAR race I’m personally most excited for is the one you can’t watch in the U.S. (I think). This is the Canadian Tire Series at the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres, which is the only NASCAR race on a temporary street circuit. NASCAR turning right is always exciting, but this race draws the biggest CTS field and packs it into the narrow confines of the 1.53-mile Trois Rivieres Circuit in Quebec City. Inevitably, someone will illegally upload this race to YouTube and while I don’t ever condone watching races illegally, if someone were theoretically going to do so, this might be a good one to watch. The support races also include most of the big Canadian racing series and the Micra Cup field should be expansive with 40+ cars buzzing around the circuit.
Links: NASCAR CTS site. GP3R site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Porsche Challenge GT3 Canada. Nissan Micra Cup. Canadian Touring Car Championship. Formula 1600 Tour.
Coverage: Saturday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on TSN (live). Possibly streaming live here (might be geoblocked).
 

DTM: Red Bull Ring

Across the pond, DTM heads to Spielberg for what must be the sixth or seventh consecutive weekend of a big European (or international) series visiting Red Bull Ring. Championship leader Jamie Green stumbled mightily at Zandvoort, but the competition couldn’t capitalize, leaving Green still leading by five points over Mattias Ekstrom and Pascal Wehrlein. Defending champion Marco Wittman finally ended up on the podium this year with a win. Wittman dusted the field at Red Bull Ring last year and it seems BMW may have found something at last for Audi and Mercedes at Zandvoort.
Links: DTM site. RBR site. Event page with schedule. Entry list with season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Formula 3 European Championship. Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. Audi TT Cup.
Coverage: Races Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET and Sunday @ 7:10 a.m. ET, streaming on MotorTrendOnDemand.com. Also shown Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. F3 Euro – Races Saturday @ 3:05 a.m. ET, Saturday @ 7:45 a.m. ET, and Sunday @ 3:45 a.m. ET streaming on F3 Euro site.
 

V8 Supercars: CoatesHire Ipswich Super Sprint (Queensland Raceway)

Australia’s brutish race series returns to Queensland Raceway for another of the season’s super sprints (two very Saturday short races to qualify for a longer Sunday outing) and Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom is looking to put an exclamation point on the sprint part of the V8S season. He leads the championship by more than 200 points and at a time when Ford is pulling completely out of Australian motorsports, it would be a bittersweet first championship if Frosty could hold off the swarms of Holdens in title contention. He’ll need good sprint weekends at Queensland and the next round at Sydney Motorsports Park before the big points go up for grabs in the Pirtek Endurance Cup, which is typically dominated by the Holdens of Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes from Red Bull Racing. Whincup won two rounds of last year’s Ipswich 400, so this could be an intriguing weekend and a pivotal one in the championship fight.
Links: V8S site. Queensland site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Dunlop V8 Development Series. Touring Car Masters. Australian Formula 4. Sports GTs,
Coverage: Races are Saturday @ 12:25 a.m. ET, Saturday @ 2:30 a.m. ET, and Sunday @ 12:10 a.m. ET on V8 SuperView (Subscription service). Delayed coverage August 9 @ 3 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
 

World Superbike Championship: Sepang

World SuperBikes return to Southeast Asia after a staggering second round of the season in Thailand. Sepang is an incredibly fast track and it’s also a recent addition to the series schedule. Marco Melandri swept the race weekend last year on an Aprilia, but he’s no longer in the championship, leaving it wide open. The Brits continue to dominate the championship with six more podiums flying the Union Jack at the last round at Laguna Seca with both races’ podiums going to Chaz Davies, Tom Sykes, and Jonathan Rea in that order. Rea leads the championship by 125 points with just four rounds to go and the Northern Irishman could be en route to his first ever motorcycle championship.
Links: WSBK site. Sepang site. Event page with schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): SuperSport Championship.
Coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on beIN Sports (Delayed).  Also watchable on World SBK VideoPass (Subscription).
 

British SuperBike Championship: Thruxton

It seems like every time the World SuperBikes race, so to does the WSBK farm team, aka the British SuperBike Championship. This weekend finds the series at Thruxton, one of the legendary old British motorcycle and sports car circuits that rings a World War II airfield. Veteran rider Shane “Shakey” Byrne leads the championship as expected, but Josh Brookes, himself a wiley old 32-year-old to Byrne’s 39 years, trails by only five points in the top Superbike class. The full menu of support races is included, which is where motorcycle racing scouts will find the next crop of MotoGP and WSBK riders.
Links: BSBK site. Thruxton site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): A whole bunch of support series.
Coverage: None in the U.S. Live timing and radio here.
 

NHRA: Sonoma Raceway

The NHRA recently announced massive rule changes to Pro Stock, a class teetering on the brink for amateur drag racers, that take effect immediately. Most of the rule changes taking place this weekend are procedural, but the big shake-ups happen next season when Pro Stock gets electronically controlled throttle-body injection and a 10,500 RPM redline. We’ll see what effect that has on the class that typically produces very close racing in support of the big classes of the Mello Yello Series. All of this begins at Sonoma on the drag strip nestled in the sun-soaked hills of California’s wine country. With just four more race weekends before the Countdown to the Championship, those drivers below 10th in the points will need to make this one count.
Links: NHRA site. Sonoma site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com (Live) and Sunday @ 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 (Replay).
 

British GT: Brands Hatch

Changing gears completely, the British GT series goes to Brands Hatch, one of my favorite racetracks in the world. The shorter Indy circuit is carved almost perfectly into a natural geographical bowl while the extended Grand Prix circuit winds through the forest a bit, too. Either configuration, the racing is always close and GT3 and GT4 cars look absolutely spectacular tipping into Paddock Hill Bend at the end of the start-finish straight with barely a lift (if any). This race sees a single two-hour race, which means one driver change and what will likely be tight racing over a frenzied couple hours of surviving the fairly substantial field.
Links: British GT site. Brands Hatch site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Supporting race(s): Formula 4 Championship. Ginetta GT5 Challenge. Porsche Club Championship. Caterham Superlight Championship. Volkswagen Racing Cup.
Coverage: None in the U.S. In the UK, live on Motors TV.
 

Supercar Challenge: TT Circuit Assen

The Dutch sports car and supercars, I guess, series continues to dominate all of the Low Countries with their high-energy racing. Or something. I don’t know. I barely know anything about this series, but they do put together a nice highlights package with Martin Haven doing English commentary. I like Martin Haven, but this is prepared Martin Haven in a studio talking over clips so it’s a bit muted. Martin Haven at 3 a.m. doing Le Mans? That’s some good stuff, usually pushing the boundaries of decency at times.
Links: Supercar Challenge site. Assen site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S. English highlights on SuperCar Challenge YouTube channel.
 

Stock Car Brasil: Curitiba

This thing is going to write itself, so I’m just going to cut to the chase for the remaining entries: You’re not going to watch these. I’m not even sure why I write this other than to say, “Hey, here’s a bunch of racing happening that no one outside of a tiny, dedicated fanbase cares about.” Anyway, Caca Bueno leads the Stock Car Brasil championship currently. He’s a legendary stock car and GT driver and almost nobody in the world has any idea who he is. But now you do.
Links: Stock Car Brasil site. Curitiba site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points:
Coverage: None in the U.S.
 

Turismo Carretera: Ciudad Parana

Just like Caca Bueno, TC championship leader Matias Rossi is a legend in obscurity. He’s a touring car champion and the defending series title holder in TC. And while the series draws huge grids and crowds to the races on its racetracks—which are all basically variations on long, simple C-shaped tracks—nobody in the world at large know much about the series, the weird-looking old tubeframe cars, or the pilotos in the cabins. Still, the racing ain’t bad if you’ve got nothing else to watch.
Links: TC site. Event page. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S., but Spanish-language commentary/races are archived on the Pistas Argentinas YouTube Channel.
 

FIA European Hill Climb Championship: Glasbach Renning

The German round of the EHCC is an interesting one. It’s shorter than many other ones in the championship and there are really only two sections of the run with more than just a short burst of straight track. This one twists and winds almost continuously all the way up.

Links: EHCC site. Glasbachrenning siteSchedule. Entry list. Season points.
Coverage: None in the U.S. Onboards on YouTube usually a few days after the race.
 

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: Baja International Short

Lucas Oil is short-track off-road racing with big extreme sports names like Brian Deegan in the top classes. This stuff is fun and entertaining with some tremendously capable trucks in the series.
Links: LOORRS site. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Coverage: No live coverage. Delayed highlights on MAVTV and CBS Sports Network.
 

Ultra4: Sturgis, KY Offroad Blowout

Ultra4’s vehicles are even crazier than the LOORRS trucks, having to both run long flat-out bursts into the triple digits while also crawling over boulders. These machines are as intense and capable as it gets.
Links: Ultra 4 site. Sturgis site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points. Live timing.
Coverage: Live streaming on Ultra4 site.
 

Atlantic Championship: Pittsburgh International

The Atlantic Championship is part of the SCCA Pro Road Racing canon, but it gets virtually no promotion and runs alongside the North American Road Racing Association in the country’s eastern half. A few of the younger drivers in the top series and in the lower F2000 and F1600 strata might move on, but this is mostly still a club racing realm.
Links: Atlantics site. Pittsburgh siteSchedule. Entry list. Season points.
Supporting race(s): F2000 and F1600 championships. NARRA.
Coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
 

United States Touring Car Championship: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

In the same vein, the USTCC is essentially a NASA class. They run with NASA weekends on the West Coast (mostly) and the fields are usually moderately sized. In theory, someone could run a TCR-prepared car in this field, but no one has since the TCR budget—while modest for an international series—probably exceeds that of every other car on the USTCC grid. Still, the highlights shows are worth a watch if you like good onboards smooshed together (I happen to like that, for one).
Links: USTCC site. Laguna Seca site. Entry list. Season points.
Supporting race(s): NASA NorCal.
Coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app. Highlights on FinalDriveTV YouTube channel.
 
Did we miss something? Are you going to watch racing live or perhaps even to participate? Let us know in the comments so we can talk about racing.
We like talking about racing.
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[Lead image copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos/videos: WRC, IndyCar, NASCAR, MotorsportvorOrt]

0 Comments

  1. Last week’s Motorsports Weekend Guide did, in fact, inspire me to attend a motorsports event that I otherwise wouldn’t have known existed, so it appears the system works.
    Nonetheless this weekend I’ll instead be leading a set of geology field trips.

    1. Hooray! I influenced someone to do something not completely stupid (I think). How was the drifting?

      1. I’ll cheat by recycling the follow-up comment I posted on last week’s page:
        So it turns out to be something like drag racing but with corners and a high level of contempt for static friction, although the goal is not to finish first but to take turns shadowing each other closely around the course on sequential runs. Admittedly some aspects of judging the competence and artistry of the results remain opaque to me. I was there from noon to about 4:00 and watched only a handful of runs; mostly I
        walked around the paddock looking at stuff.
        I will say I have no idea how the trailing driver is supposed to determine anything about
        track position while engulfed in the clouds of tire smoke from the leading driver’s car, so my hat is off to them for generally achieving this.
        I did get to meet the Drift Idiot. He seems like a nice guy and took it well when some weirdo in a LeMons t-shirt started babbling at him about his videos on Hooniverse. He asked me if I knew Jeff Glucker and was a bit nonplussed when I said we’d never met, as he apparently thought anyone involved in LeMons on the West Coast must be from California….

  2. The fact that WRC took top billing is why I like this site. As always, well done summary of the events this coming weekend.

  3. I actually almost want to see Kyle Busch get all the way to the NASCAR Chase “final four” …but finish the last race as the 2nd of the final 4, and behind someone who got there entirely on points like Newman did last year, and with someone not in the final 4 winning the race. It would be the merciful end of this insanity.
    (I had been of a position that a Kyle Busch championship this year would demonstrate the points system’s insanity, but on further thought I realize that NASCAR would consider that a complete vindication.)

    1. I’d also love to see someone win The Chase on points. If NASCAR wants to eliminate that possibility (or at least minimize it), then they really should make a win and a podium more valuable and make Chase qualification based on points. I do know The Chase isn’t going away and the fact that the NHRA has a similar system means you might yet see it proliferate.
      Someone I know who worked on contract for IndyCar seems to think that series should go to a playoff system; I can’t even imagine the ruffled feathers in the Hoosier state should that ever come to fruition.

      1. In general, it would be entertaining if NASCAR ended up using more golf-terminology:
        “Here we are, in the Windows 10 200, where Matt Kenseth is leading the playoffs. He scored just 1 second under par in the last lap, giving him a birdie and putting him ahead of Kyle Busch who has been scoring bogies on the last 3 laps.”
        The drivers should also be required to wear plaid Nomex pants during the races.

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