Motorsports Weekend Guide: July 17 to July 19

Welcome to another edition of Hooniverse’s look ahead to the weekend for racing fans. This weekend is a bit lighter than usual for no particular reason, though like most weekends like this, the next weekend is packed full of good stuff. Nevertheless, maybe the best NASCAR race of the year comes after this weekend and you also get one of the most underrated IndyCar races on the season calendar. Pair that with some great rallying and hill climbing and you have yourself a nice little racing weekend.
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).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: 1-800-Car-Cash Mudsummer Classic (Eldora Speedway)

I know, I know. This race doesn’t actually take place until next Wednesday, but since these previews come out on Thursday, this is where it goes. NASCAR started this race in 2013 and it immediately became the NASCAR race to watch if you’re not going to watch any other in a given year. It’s a nod to many drivers’ dirt-oval roots, complete with qualifying heats, a last-chance qualifer, and a 150-lap feature around Eldora’s half-mile of dirt.
We’ve been to half-mile oval races before and it’s absolutely manic, perhaps even moreso with 3400-pound tubeframe behemoths as opposed to nimble little sprint cars. Last year’s race became a no-holds-barred throwdown between Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson (who cut his teeth on California’s dirt-oval circuit) and Bubba Wallace, who eventually took home the win. Larson is absent this year, but Austin Dillon (who won the inaugural Eldora race), Ty Dillon, and Penske driver Brad Keselowski will all take a crack at the win against the Camping World Trucks regulars.
Links: CWTS site. Eldora site. Event page. Entry list. Standings. Live timing.
Coverage: Wednesday @ 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming Audio).

World Superbike Championship: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

It’s always a big deal when a world championship comes stateside and Laguna Seca remains one of the most exciting and treacherous places in the U.S. for motorcycle racing. The famous Corkscrew is the track’s literal and figurative high point, beginning a thousand-story drop (or so it feels) back toward the start-finish straight. In the main event, it’s been literally three months since a non-Kawasaki rider has won a race. Jonathan Rea leads the championship by more than 100 points over his teammate Tom Sykes and Brits Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies follow in the points. In fact, the British riders have racked up an incredible 42 of the season’s 48 podiums.
American bike fans will be excited to see that MotoAmerica will provide supporting races for the World SuperBikes. The American series follows the WSBK’s class structure so it’s conceivable that the future of American riders in the world championship is right in front of team owners. With the class of the fields looking to get noticed by the World SuperBikes crews, expect a lot of hard racing from the MotoAmerica crowd.
Links: WSBK site. Laguna Seca site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Support race(s): MotoAmerica
Coverage: Sunday @ 2:30 p.m. ET (Race 1) & 5:30 p.m. ET (Race 2) on beIN Sports. MotoAmerica – Live on and on (See schedule for class race times). Delayed coverage on CBS Sports Network.

IndyCar: Iowa Corn 300 (Iowa Speedway)

After an old-school race on Milwaukee’s short mile-long oval last weekend (which I thoroughly enjoyed as a spectator), the series heads to another short Midwestern oval, this time the 7/8-mile oval in Iowa. Milwaukee showed the value of high-downforce on these short tracks and the story at last year’s race was tire management, so expect those to very much remain an issue at Iowa, which features high banks and virtually no straightaways. Sebastien Bourdais ran away from the field at Milwaukee with clean air giving his car an incredible amount of grip through the turns. Now that he’s shown what it takes to get around the short oval quickly, the strategy of balancing track position and tire degradation should make this an intriguing round as the championship runs down to its final four races.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has won twice at Iowa and while he’s had a poor season, a win would certainly buoy the remaining rounds for him. Current points leader Juan Montoya struggled at Iowa last year while Scott Dixon, who is second in the championship, has seven Top 10 finishes in eight races (but no wins). Behind those two, Graham Rahal’s renaissance continued this season with a podium at Milwaukee and he enters Iowa tied with Helio Castroneves, who finished just ahead of Rahal at Milwaukee after starting at the back of the field.
Links: IndyCar site. Iowa site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list with standings. Live timing.
Support race(s): #ThisIsMySpeedway150 (ARCA Racing Series). Indy Lights. ProMazda.
Coverage: Saturday @ 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and live timing/radio on IndyCar Race Control. ARCA – Friday @ 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Road to Indy – Streaming video probably on Race Control site linked above.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: 5-Hour Energy 301 (New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

The short-oval racing hits fever pitch with NASCAR visiting the “paper-clip” mile(ish)-long oval at New Hampshire. Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski (who also has won two Xfinity/Nationwide races there) swept both races at NHMS last year while the aforementioned Kyle Larson finished 2nd and 3rd there in his two races. Larson is still seeking his first win and it’s not a bad idea to bet on him in New Hampshire. Perhaps the undisputed master of New Hampshire, however, is Kyle Busch, who has one Sprint Cup win and an incredible seven wins in his last 10 races in the Xfinity and Camping World Trucks series. He’s on a tear after returning from a broken leg with wins at Sonoma and Kentucky in the last month and will get a shot in both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity races.
Links: NASCAR site. NHMS site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings. Live timing.
Support race(s): Lakes Region 200 (Xfinity Series)
Coverage: Sunday @ 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (TV) and Performance Racing Network (Radio/Streaming Audio). Xfinity Series – Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC SN and PRN.

Super Formula: Fuji Speedway

The Japanese national open-wheel series heads to the country’s biggest track, the epic Fuji circuit in the shadow of the mountain that bears the same name. Hiroaki Ishiura, a longtime racer in the series, won the last round at Okayama and in several years of racing, it was his first Super Formula victory. That vaulted him past Round 1 winner Andre Lotterer and put Ishiura into the championship lead. The series does bring quality drivers under the international radar, for the most part, although Lotterer, Kamui Kobayashi, and Kazuki Nakajima are all major players in Super Formula. It’s a shame there’s no coverage of Super Formula in the U.S. because it’s some solid racing.
Links: Super Formula site. Fuji site. Event page. Entry list. Standings.
Support race(s): GT Asia.
Coverage: No live coverage in the U.S.

British Superbike Championship: Brands Hatch

While the Brits are currently dominating World SuperBikes, they also have their own national championship, upon which MotoAmerica is based (although MotoAmerica doesn’t have a Sidecar class…yet). Unsurprisingly, British riders stand at the top of the standings headed into the historic Brands Hatch racing circuit, which is nearly as spectacular at Paddock Hill Bend as Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew. This is, of course, the training ground for World SuperBikes and the series to which MotoAmerica should aspire.
Links: BSBK site. Brands Hatch site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list with standings.
Support race(s): Supersport, Superstock 1000, Superstock 600, 250 Junior Cup, British Motostar, Sidecar World Championship.
Coverage: Liveand highlights on British Eurosport . No coverage in the U.S.

European Rally Championship: Rally Estonia

The Estonian rally won the prestigious, apparently, Rally of the Year award last year as the best on the tour, so expect the fast gravel rally full of big jumps and large crowds to be spectacular again this year. The onboards are excellent from this rally:

Links: ERC site. Rally Estonia site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Support race(s): ERC2, ERC3, ERC Junior.
Coverage: No live coverage. Highlights on the ERC YouTube channel.

FIA European Hill Climb Championship: Dobsinsky Kopec

The EHCC rolls on in relative obscurity again this year and, like the ERC, this short but brutally fast hill climb is best understood simply by watching:

Links: EHCC site. Dobsinksy Kopec site. Schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Coverage: None, but check YouTube to find highlights and onboards from various competitors and spectators.

Rally America: New England Forest Rally

American rallying heads off into the Maine forests in New England. Subaru factory driver David Higgins continues to dominate the waning championship, but the entry list this weekend includes some interesting new blood: sports car racer Gustavo Yacaman will take a crack at the rally in a B-Spec Honda Fit. In addition, Ken Block will back Ramana Lagemann in a new M-Sport-built Ford Fiesta R5.
Links: Rally America site. NEFR site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Coverage: Stage updates on R-A NEFR page and onsite audio on Rally America Radio.

IHRA: Rocky Mountain Nationals (Castrol Raceway | Edmonton, Alberta, Newfoundland, Brian Adams, Yellowknife, Canada)

The International Hot Rod Association continues to cater to the sportsmen drag racers with a run in Canada. Yes, the Nitro Jam Pro-Am tour includes a couple of high-dollar, high-power professional classes splitting the weekend with a bevy of amateur classes. Grassroots racing is the IHRA’s bread and butter and they’ve done it well since re-emerging last year.
Links: IHRA site. Edmonton site. Event page. Schedule. Standings.
Coverage: Live feed on IHRA site. Highlights on MAVTV eventually.

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: Glen Helen Raceway

After Ultra4 visited Glen Helen in Southern California last weekend, LOORRS heads to the off-road circuit just outside of the Los Angeles metro area. The massively powerful Pro4 and Pro2 trucks race in the top classes, but the whole range of racing includes a variety of buggies and karts racing around the dirt circuit.
Links: LOORRS site. Glen Helen site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Standings. Live timing.
Coverage: Possibly streaming on Delayed coverage on MAVTV, CBS, and CBS Sports Network (See TV schedule).

ChampTruck World Series: Gateway Motorsports Park

The big-rig racing series continues on its transcontinental tour with a stop near St. Louis at Gateway. The roval course inside the 1.25-mile oval is one of the better such configurations with some subtlety and the potential for some seriously heavyweight argey-bargey going into turns 1 and 2 (coming off the oval section. This will be a major test for the trucks, as they may come close to their 100 mile-per-hour speed limit by the time the drivers try to whoa the five-ton rigs down for that corner.
Links: CTWS site. Gateway site. Event information with schedule. Entry list. Standings.
Support race(s): ChumpCar World Series.
Coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
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.
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[Lead image copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other sources: NASCAR YouTube channel, WSBK YouTube channel, IndyCar YouTube channel, ERC YouTube channel, Pierangelo Liber YouTube channel]

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  1. mve Avatar

    Eric, you were at Milwaukee last weekend? Props to you for that. I’m downloading the race as we speak so I can watch it tomorrow after work. I’ve seen the highlights, and can’t wait to watch it again.
    Iowa has always been one of my favorite Indycar races, and this weekend should be no different.

    1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
      The Rusty Hub

      I was. The event has gotten a lot better even from last year there and it’s such a great oval that races absolutely nothing like an oval. I really hope it never goes away because it’s absolutely perfect for the cars that they have now. Iowa is just complete insanity; RHR’s kamikaze charge last year on fresh tires was just unreal.

      1. mve Avatar

        I always hear people pass and moan about the state of Indycar, but it’s the best racing in America, in my opinion.

        1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
          The Rusty Hub

          Agreed. IndyCar’s fanbase, unfortunately, has made pissing and moaning about the series their first priority for reasons that probably too complex for me to really every truly understand. Whatever, I’ll keep watching because the racing is incredible.