Motorsports Weekend Guide: February 20 to February 22

Depending on who you ask, this may very well be the biggest race weekend of the year. The biggest American racing series launches full bore into its racing season after three months of silly season and a week of pomp and circumstance. Across the world, the first two-wheel racing commences as well. The rest of the racing card is filled out with a dusting of grassroots racing, big-budget drags, and big trucks traversing hundreds of miles in obscurity. Make the jump for a rundown.


NASCAR Sprint Cup: Daytona 500

NASCAR’s season opens, as it usually does, with controversy. Yeah, the big show Daytona 500 kicks off the season officially, but last weekend’s full-field qualifying on Sunday left more than a little to be desired from drivers and fans. Nevertheless, the non-points round of the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona started the year and there’s some other manner of sprint races (not sponsored by Sprint) on Thursday to beat the long, low drum of the nine-month NASCAR season.
Whatever else you can say about the American stock-car series, it’s omniscient in American motorsport and the Daytona 500 is the marquis event. NASCAR is rooted deeply on the too-steep-to-stand-on banks of the 2.5-mile tri-oval and, with a little luck, the rain will hold off Sunday for three hours to get the race in. Jeff Gordon starts from the pole in his final Daytona 500 and he has won at Daytona more times than any other Sprint Cup driver. Wouldn’t that be a nice start to Gordon’s final season in Sprint cup?
Website: NASCAR site. DIS site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: Alert Today Florida 300 (Xfinity Series). Nextera Energy Resources 250 (Camping World Truck Series).
Live coverage: Sunday @ Noon ET on FOX (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming audio). Daytona Sprints – Thursday @ 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN. Xfinity Series – Saturday @ 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN. Camping Trucks – Friday @ 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and MRN.

NHRA: Carquest Auto Parts Nationals (Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park | Chandler, AZ)

Just as NASCAR started their long slog through the season, the NHRA kicked off its 2015 campaign two weeks ago at Pomona. It’s likely no one’s win at Pomona was sweeter than the Funny Car victory for Matt Hagan, whose engine went to pieces during qualifying, turning the car into an inferno. Hagan and the rest of the NHRA  now head to Arizona and to the recently reopened Wild Horse Pass facility, formerly known as Firebird International Raceway. Last year at Firebird, it was Alexis DeJoria stealing the show in Funny Car with her first career win.
Website: NHRA site. Wild Horse site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season standings.
Live coverage: Sunday @ 1 p.m. ET on Replay Sunday @ 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

FIM World SuperBikes Championship: Phillip Island (Australia)

Motorcycle road racing commences this weekend for the first time in 2015 with the FIM’s WSBK heading Down Under for a two-race weekend around Phillip Island’s 2.762-mile circuit. The SuperBikes spent the early week undergoing their official testing at Phillip Island, where Alex Lowes topped the timing sheets on his Suzuki. That’s interesting mostly because last season was dominated by Aprilia and Kawasaki.
Add to that intrigue the fact that last year’s champion Sylvain Giuntoli, who won the title in the very last race, has jumped from an Aprilia to a Honda, on which he will wear defending champion’s #1. Last year’s runner-up, former champion Tom Sykes returns on his Kawasaki. Irish rider Eugene Laverty won the first 2014 race at Phillip Island, his only win of the year, while Giuntoli snagged the second race win of the weekend. That pair also split the weekend’s victories in 2013 so whatever they’re apparently helps out at Phillip Island.
Website: WSBK site. Phillip Island site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: FIM SuperSport World Championship.
Live coverage: None live. Replay Monday morning @ 1 a.m. ET on beIN Sports.

Global Time Attack Pro-Am: Buttonwillow Raceway Park

The America time trial series opens its season in the California desert at Buttonwillow, where purpose-built cars and their drivers compete to see who can pedal quickest around a single lap.
Website: GTA site. Buttonwillow site. Event page. Schedule.
Live coverage: Live timing on GTA site.

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies: Russia

Information is scarce on the  rally raid series, but the FIA-sanctioned long-distance rally season kicks off in Russia this weekend.
Website: WCCCR site.
Live coverage: Good luck with that.

SVRA: Southern Vintage Classic (Road Atlanta)

Vintage racing at Road Atlanta, where the entry list could double as most Hoons’ wish lists.
Website: SVRA site. Road Atlanta site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.

ChumpCar World Series: Harris Hill Road

ChumpCar returns to Harris Hill Road after an absence of a couple years with a pair of six-hour races.
Website: CCWS site. HHR site. Event supplement with schedule.
Live coverage: Live timing on CCWS site and on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: NASCAR, John Force Racing,]

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  1. ninjacoco Avatar

    Pretty sure the Harris Hill Road race is the most important race ever.
    It's the 12 Hours of My Couch!