Motorsports Weekend Guide: March 13 to March 15

Welcome to Hooniverse’s weekly guide to who is racing what and where this upcoming weekend. This weekend marks the “real start” of racing for the world’s biggest motorsports series while the first professional all-electric racing heads to the U.S. for the first time. The usual suspects are in play stateside, as well, oddly occupying most of the Southern states. Follow the jump for the scoop.


Formula One: Australian Grand Prix (Albert Park | Melbourne)

Another season of the world’s most incredible single-seat racing starts yet again in Australia. The mighty Mercedes duo of defending champion Lewis Hamiltron and Nico Rosberg again look the class of the field while nine more teams try to keep up. Constructors’ runners-up (by a big margin) Red Bull Racing will likely battle the Williams team, now with a Mercedes powerplant, for second-best. Elsewhere in the field, Ferrari are a complete question mark as is McLaren, returning in 2015 with a Honda power unit. McLaren begin the year without perhaps the series’ best out-and-out driver Fernando Alonso after a bizarre and somewhat mysterious testing accident.
If you’re looking for other storylines—and there will always be abundant F1 storylines—see how Scuderia Toro Rosso’s whiz kids Max Verstappen (who will be the youngest F1 driver ever at this race) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (son of World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz) fare in each of their first races. And if you value the future of F1, pay attention to how the backmarkers in the field manage to keep a car on the grid for every race. You can bet heavily it will involve bringing in pay drivers of sometimes-questionable repute or even fighting for seats in court. Yes, the high drama seldom ends in the series that fits squarely into a geriatric muppet’s Tardis-shaped wallet.
Website: F1 site. Australian GP site. Event page. Weekend schedule. Entry list.
Supporting series: V8 Supercars. Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. Heritage Touring Cars.
Live coverage: Live on Sunday @ 12:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Replays on Sunday @ 6:00 a.m. ET & 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The Mint 400

The Nevada off-road race, hosted by the Mint Hotel, was of course made famous in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but the race today is likely a different beast from its 1971 form in the novel. The modern race retains much of the brutal nature of its original concept, traversing four laps of a 100-mile course in the barren desert, but the entry list is chock full of brutes of all manner, from Trophy Trucks down to dirtbikes. This is a massive and massively popular race, even if it’s not quite as well known as the Baja 1000 or Dakar Rally. The proof is in the entry list (linked below), which spans 15 pages.
Website: Mint 400 site. Schedule. Entry list. Maps.
Live coverage: Possibly streaming on this kind-of-sketchy-looking blog, I guess.


Formula E: Miami

Yes, the all-electric racing series runs its first of two U.S. dates this weekend in Miami. The circuit, if I’m honest, looks like a pretty humdrum seven-turn affair, which is a bit disappointing after great circuits at the last three rounds. Nevertheless, the only thing more exciting than the new Eurotrashiest “Formula E Anthem” by Nacho Cano—If you’re picturing a mash-up between Nacho Libre and Robinson Cano, you’re in the right ballpark, so to speak—is that all-American racer Scott Speed will get a shot in a Formula E car with Andretti Autosport alongside Jean-Eric Vergne. Speed becomes Andretti’s sixth driver already this year in five races and who knows if he’ll do well?
As for the frontrunners, you can bet on strong performances from the e.dams Renault pair of Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost, ABT’s Lucas Di Grassi (who leads the driver points), Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, China Racing’s Nelson Piquet, and Amlin Aguri’s Antonio Felix de Costa. Keep an eye out for Jerome D’Ambrosio, Nick Heidfeld, and Stephane Sarrazin, who have both looked good in the early rounds but have come across enough bad luck so that it hasn’t shown in the results.
Website: Formula E site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Live on Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 2. Replay on Saturday @ 5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Hankook 24H Series: 12 Hours of Mugello

The popular Dutch-owned series heads into its second round after the Dubai 24 Hours. Like the Dubai race, this one is heavily subscribed with more than 70 entries. The race is a two-session affair with four hours Saturday, overnight parc ferme (no work on the cars), and then the final eight hours Sunday.
Website: 24H site. Mugello site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Season points.
Live coverage: Streaming coverage on Hankook 24H site.

NASCAR: 500 (Phoenix International Raceway)

Sprint Cup chalks up another 500-mile race, this one in sunny Phoenix on PIR’s one-mile D-oval. NASCAR superstars Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano have already punched their tickets to the Race for the Chase, so it remains to be seen who gets lucky this time around. This race also marks the start of the Toyota Mexico Series, the only round of the season not held south of the border.
Website: Sprint Cup site. PIR site. Event page. Schedule. Entry List. Points.
Supporting series: Axalta Faster Tougher Brighter 300 (Xfinity Series). Toyota 120 (Toyota Mexico Series).
Live coverage: Sunday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX (TV) and Motor Racing Network (Radio/Streaming audio). Xfinity Series – Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and MRN.

NHRA: Gator Nationals (Gainesville, FL)

It’s still early in the year, but 2014 Funny Car champion Matt Hagan has picked up right where he left off with wins in each of 2015’s opening rounds. Also of note: Racer Magazine named 2014 Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens its Racer of the Year for last season. This weekend, the NHRA heads south to Gainesville with a trip looming to the spectacular four-wide drag strip at Charlotte in two weeks.
Website: NHRA site. Gator Dragway site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Live coverage: Live on Sunday @ 11 a.m. ET on Delayed @ 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

IHRA Nitro Jam: Mardi Gras Nationals (State Capital Raceway | Port Allen, LA)

Meanwhile in the country’s other swampy state, the International Hot Rod Association’s Nitro Jam will tear up the drag strip across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This race was originally slated to run in San Antonio, but it was instead rescheduled for State Capital Raceway.
Website: IHRA site. State Capital site. Event page. Schedule.
Live coverage: No live coverage. Event recap show airs on MAVTV later this year.

ARCA: Mobile 200 (Mobile International Speedway | Irvington, AL)

Of all the races at Daytona during SpeedWeek, perhaps none was more entertaining than the ARCA race that kicked it off. This weekend, ARCA visits the half-mile oval, where a full field means door-to-door insanity in closer confines.
Website: ARCA site. Mobile site. Event page with schedule. Entry list. Points.
Live coverage: No live TV or radio coverage.

British Rallycross: Croft Circuit

Fans of short-track rally racing can thank British television for the invention and the British Rallycross Championship remains the heritage-holder of the modern fire-breathing versions run by the FIA (World RallyCross) and Red Bull (Global RallyCross). Modern British Rallycross features a wide variety of classes and highly entertaining wheel-to-wheel racing on dirt and tarmac.
Website: British Rallycross site. Croft site. Event page with schedule. Entry list.
Live coverage: None stateside, but British Eurosport carries it in the UK.

World Racing League: National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park

The low-buck endurance series starts its sophomore season with a weekend at NCM Motorsport Park, also in its second season of racing. The weekend features two races on Saturday and Sunday of nine and seven hours, respectively.
Website: WRL site. NCM site. Event page with schedule.
Live coverage: Live timing on Race Monitor app for smartphones and devices.
Racing this weekend or headed to the track to watch a race? Let us know in the comments section!
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: Formula 1, The Mint 400, Formula E]

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  1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
    Bradley Brownell

    1. Geriatric Muppet. HA
    2. Mint looks like tons of fun. I should do that some day. I need to learn how to ride a dirt bike. I wonder if they would accept my Honda MB5 on knobbly tires as an entry?
    3. I have nobody to cheer for in the Grand Prix this weekend, because Fernando Alonso got knocked the F out and he’s sitting sidelines.

    1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
      The Rusty Hub

      2. Have you considered a Vincent Black Shadow? (Link not dirty, as URL would suggest)
      3. Why not Zoidberg?