Motorsports Weekend Guide: August 1 to August 3

  MWG Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly look ahead to who’s racing what and where this weekend. The world of motorsports has a relatively light weekend on tap for the race fan, but there will still be plenty to watch for the conneisseur. If you want some playing in the dirt, there’s plenty of that. If you want tubeframe monsters roaring around atypical circuits, you can have that, too. And if you just want to go racing yourself, you can find a place for that. Read about these (and more) after the jump:

  • World Rally Championship in rally’s heartland

  • NASCAR in two places at once

  • Four different touring car series in action

  • American Endurance Racing’s debut race

  • And a few more!

WRC_Finland

World Rally Championship: Rally Finland

Rallying and Finland: No better combination of motorsport and locale are likely to be found anywhere in the world. The forest stages features tons of treacherous terrain and tremendous leaps. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Finns have won 51 of the 62 professional rallies in Finland. However, current WRC points leader Sebastien Ogier won with the Finns missing the podium altogether. This year, Ogier’s Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala will be in a top machine and may dethrone Ogier as defending Rally Finland champion. Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen will be a longshot, but the Finn’s familiarity with the terrain could give an advantage.

Website: WRC site. Rally Finland site. Event page. Weekend scheduleCompetitor guides with tons of awesome information. Live coverage: Live MAV TV coverage Thursday @ 1:30 p.m. ET, Friday @ 1:30 p.m. ET, and Sunday @ 6:00 a.m. ET. Live timing, stage updates, and radio on WRC Live.

  NASCAR Sprint Cup: GoBowling400.com (Pocono Raceway) Just a few short weeks after IndyCar ran on Pocono’s 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle,” NASCAR will tackle the tri-turn autodrome. Jeff Gordon, fresh off a Brickyard 400 win on Jeff Gordon Day in Indianapolis (naturally), will be worth keeping an eye on with six career wins at Pocono. Denny Hamlin will be another with four wins and 11 Top 10 finishes in 17 starts at Pocono, but he’ll be without his suspended crew chief, Wesley Sherrill,  following a major penalty for failing post-race technical inspection after last weekend’s race. Qualifying for the 16-driver Chase for the season championship is in its final stretch with the final six “regular season” races in these upcoming six weekends. Only 11 drivers have won races to clinch a berth in the Chase so those final four spots (with one going to the highest non-winning points scorer) will be at a premium this month. Website: Sprint Cup site. Pocono siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Supporting series: Pocono Mountains 150 (Camping World Truck Series). ModSpace 125 (ARCA). Live coverage: Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on ESPN (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming Audio). Camping Trucks – Saturday @ 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (TV) and MRN (Radio). ARCA – Friday @ 5:15 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.   NASCAR Nationwide: U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (Iowa Speedway)

The Nationwide series will run its own race several hundred miles away on Iowa’s 7/8-mile oval, also just a few short weeks after IndyCar’s visit (which produced spectacular results. Two-time Iowa winner Brad Keselowski will pull double duty this weekend, racing Iowa and then flying to Pocono for the big race. The overall points spread from first to fourth in the championship is a mere 15 points and while there’s a long way to go, expect hard racing between Chase Elliott, Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler, and Ty Dillon for the top spot.

On the undercard is a 150-lap race with the combined fields from the K&N Pro East and K&N Pro West series. This is the second such race this year in what is fast becoming a staple of the NASCAR development calendar(s).

Website: Nationwide site. Iowa siteEvent page. Weekend scheduleEntry list. Supporting series: Autolite Iridium XP 150 (K&N Pro East & K&N Pro West). Live coverage: Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN (TV) and MRN (radio/streaming).

  IndyCar_Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) Ohio’s legendary road course hosts the annual American open-wheel race, a long-standing tradition and one of the races I best remember from my childhood: Goodness, they’re turning right, too! And Bobby Rahal’s black MGD car looks menacing! Boy, would I ever love a cold MGD, even though I’m nine years old. The power of sponsorship, that. Where was I? Oh, yes. Chip Ganassi Racing’s racers have won six of the seven Honda Indy 200s since IndyCar went there after the ChampCar/Indy Racing League merger. This is important, because Ganassi–whose drivers include defending champion and four-time winner at Mid-Ohio Scott Dixon–has yet to win a single IndyCar race this year and the Target-sponsored squad desperately need a victory. Outside of the CGR squad, keep an eye on Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power. Not only are they dueling for the championship currently, they also have two poles each at Mid-Ohio, Castroneves won twice at Mid-Ohio in CART, and  Power is second only to Dixon in laps led there. Website: IndyCar site. Mid-Ohio siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Pirelli World Challenge. Indy Lights. Pro Mazda. USF2000. Live coverage: Sunday @ 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Live timing and streaming radio on IndyCar Race ControlWorld Challenge – Live streaming on World-Challengetv.com on Saturday @ 11:25 a.m. ET and on Sunday @ 9 a.m. ET.   NHRA: Northwest Nationals (Pacific Raceways) After a visit to Sonoma Raceway, the NHRA now trucks up the coast to another drag strip embedded in a road course, Pacific Raceways, south of Seattle. Drivers have already started to clinch one of 10 spots (per category) in the playoffs, so expect those on the cusp to be working hard for points. Website: NHRA site. Pacific Raceways siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage:  Sunday @ 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com (live) and Sunday @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (replay).  

DTM: Red Bull Ring (Spielberg, Austria)

Audi remains winless in the German touring series and it’s finally costing them; factory BMW driver Maxime Martin won the last round at Moscow, giving BMW Team RMG (which includes Marco Wittman) the championship lead by a big margin over Audi Team Abt. With five rounds remaining, anything can happen, but BMW has looked awfully tough. Now the series heads to the hills of Austria and Red Bull Ring’s (formerly Oesterreichring) roller coaster hills.

Website: DTM site. Red Bull Ring site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup. European Formula 3 Championship. Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. KTM X-Bows. Live coverage: No live coverage. Tape-delay broadcast Sunday @ 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

  V8 Supercars: Coates Hire Ipswich 400 (Queensland Raceway) Yes, the Aussies are well more than halfway through their season and the season championship looks headed for an interesting and classic entanglement. Through consistent finishes near the front, Ford Pepsi Max driver Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom had built up a substantial championship lead, but Red Bull Racing Australia driver Jamie Whincup’s two-win weekend at Townsville has knocked the gap to less than 100 points. That may sound substantial, but the extra points of the endurance events, which are Whincup’s strong suit, in a few weeks could make it interesting. Winterbottom has yet to win a title while Whincup has five of them, including the last three. Can Frosty hold off the the wily veteran? Ipswich’s six turns will be an important stepping stone in the season’s final seven weekends. Website: V8S site. Queensland RacewayEvent page. Weekend schedule. Supporting series: Dunlop Development Series. Aussie Racing Cars. Production Sports Cars Live coverage: No live coverage in the U.S. Live streaming via V8 SuperView subscription service.   BTCC_Snetterton British Touring Car Championship: Snetterton Circuit If the touring cars Down Under aren’t close enough in the title fight, try the other right-hand-drive series across the pond. Yes, the British Touring Cars is even tighter: BMW 135M driver Colin Turkington currently leads Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Tourer wagon by a mere seven points. The revamped Snetterton Circuit is a twisty circuit where Shedden has performed well in the past. Jason Plato has been the master of Snetterton and while he currently sits a distant fourth in the championship, never count out the popular, wily veteran with a penchant for argy-bargy. Website: BTCC site. Snetterton siteEvent page with weekend schedule. Supporting series: Ginetta GT Supercup. Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. UK Clio Cup. Live coverage: ITV coverage in the U.K. No live coverage in the U.S.   World Touring Car Championship: Argentina (Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo) Citroen still leads the championship by a wide-enough margin that they could probably park for the rest of the season and still win the manufacturers’ title. Drivers’ championship leader Jose Maria Lopez will find himself at home in Argentina; don’t be surprised if he sweeps the weekend. In more exciting news, Lada will unveil a new Vesta WTCC entry for 2015. I’m not entirely sure it could possibly do worse than this year’s Granta. Website: WTCC site. Event page. Entry list. Supporting series: Turismo National. Live coverage: No nationwide live coverage.   VLN Endurance Championship: Nürburgring The ‘ring-only series carries on this weekend with their sixth round, I think. Most of the series’ website is in German and Chrome refused to translate some of it, but from what I can tell, there will be mostly Germans driving racecars. And you can watch it online for free, I think. Website: VLN site. Nürburgring siteEvent page with weekend schedule. Live coverage: Livestream here, possibly.  

Lucas Oil Off Road Series: Glen Helen Raceway Park (San Bernardino, CA)

The real draw of the Lucas Oil series is that it contains its own development series for closed-circuit off-road racing. If you’ve seen how Robby Gordon has elbowed his way into the motorsport conscious with his Stadium Super Trucks series, then you’ll know that the lower-strata of karts, buggies, and even the Lights series will bring a new generation of big-truck specialists like current young hotshot Bryce Menzies in the Pro 2 (two-wheel-drive category).

At the moment, the Pro 4 and Pro 2 ranks are filled with the likes of veteran off-roader Carl Renezeder and X Games legends Brian Deegan and Jeremy McGrath. Deegan, by the way, has quietly won a pair of Pro 2 titles in the series and leads the points race this year.

Website: LOORS site. Glen Helen siteEvent page with weekend schedule. Entry list. Live coverage: Tape-delayed broadcast (Full schedule here). Live timing on LOORS site.

  TORC_Sturgis

TORC Series: Battle at the Chip (The Legendary Buffalo Chip | Sturgis, SD)

Just after the Lucas Oil series, The Off Road Championship Series heads to the motorsports wasteland of Sturgis, South Dakota, for a Tuesday and Wednesday event. What’s in Sturgis? Some motorcycle thing, apparently, that features Motley Crue, among other things. The classes are similar to (if not the same…I can’t really find a comparison between the two series) those in the Lucas Oil and the SCORE Baja series.

Website: TORC siteEvent page. Driver list/Standings. Live coverage: Tape-delayed broadcast on NBC Sports Network, August 10 @ 3:30 p.m. ET (Full schedule here).

  American Endurance Racing: New Jersey Motorsports Park The newest of the low-buck endurance racing series holds its inaugural races at NJMP this weekend. AER, it should be noted, opens its doors to crapcans but also will host tin-top racers from any of a number of clubs. It follows a fairly unique formula: Qualifying on Friday will determine classes. Races have a required number of pit stops with a minimum stop time to keep it close. The end result should be cars that are equal on pace and can run against each other. It’s been an interesting idea since we mentioned it earlier this year and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. From the sounds of it, professional GT driver Randy Pobst will have some wheeltime at the inaugural AER race. How’s that for starting with class? Website: AER site. NJMP site. Event supplements with schedule and scoring. Live coverage: Live timing (with driver names!)on Race Monitor app for smartphone and devices.  

SCCA Majors Tour: Summit Point Raceway

The SCCA’s “Eastern Conference” hosts its final Majors Tour race of the year at West Virgina’s Summit Point Raceway. The wooded circuit has been in the news lately for a sensational deer strike caught on video. Wildlife has, unfortunately, become part of the Summit Point mythology, as some LeMons teams will tell you. Nevertheless, most racing weekends at Summit Point carry on without incident and expect this to be much of the same.

Website: Majors Tour site. Summit Point siteEvent page. Weekend schedule. Live coverage: Live timing on website and via Race Monitor app for smartphones.

 

ChumpCar World Series: Portland International Raceway

ChumpCar’s two-race weekend coincides with the Ultimate Street Car Association’s seventh weekend of the year at PIR. Originally scheduled as a single seven-hour race Saturday afternoon into night, Chump organizers have tacked on a five-hour race Friday evening. The races seem to be scheduled around the USCA events and turnout looks relatively low compared to other Chump races in Portland, usually a stronghold for the series.

Website: CCWS site. PIR siteEvent supplements with schedule and entry list. Live coverage: Live timing on website and via Race Monitor app for smartphones.

  ChumpCar World Series: Brainerd International Raceway Meanwhile, Chump will run at Brainerd, another strong circuit on their schedule, typically. The Upper Midwest enjoys a glut of BMW 3-Series teams, most of whom would be tough to beat on any circuit. When they square off, races are usually tight and decided by the slimmest margins. The weekend is a standard Double-7 weekend with races Saturday and Sunday. Website: CCWS site. BIR siteEvent supplements with schedule. Live coverage: Live timing on website and via Race Monitor app for smartphones.   Did we miss anything? Are you headed out to a local race somewhere? Let’s hear about it in the Comments section.   [Lead photo copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: WRC, IndyCar, BTCC, TORC Facebook page]

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