Motorsports Weekend Guide: May 8 to May 10

[Edit: Hey look, I forgot to write an introduction so I’ll add one now. There’s racing this weekend. Lots of it, especially open-wheel racing. Read about it after the yump.]
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).


IndyCar: Grand Prix of Indianapolis

Technically, IndyCar already kicked off its May residency at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with testing and rookie orientation last weekend, but the race on the IMS’ road course marks the start of real competition. The sight of these cars ripping down the front straight backward can be disorienting to the seasoned Indy fans, but last year’s Grand Prix race—the inaugural edition on the revamped 2.44-mile layout—saw a solid performance from Simon Pagenaud to earn the win for the relatively small Schmidt Peterson team. Pagenaud returns with Team Penske backing, so expect a formidable race from the Frenchman.
Notable in this field are several May-only driver taking their place on the grid, including friend of Hooniverse Justin Wilson. The most interesting part of this race? Less than 24 hours after its completion, IMS will have restored the oval configuration and drivers will be turning test laps around the famed Brickyard leading up to the next weekend’s Indy 500 qualifying.
Links: IndyCar. IMS site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list & points.
Support Series: Indy Lights. Pro Mazda. USF2000.
Coverage: Saturday @ 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC with live timing and IndyCar radio on IndyCar Race Control site. Support races and IndyCar practices streaming on IndyCar YouTube Channel.

Formula Drift: Road Atlanta

This is one of the most varied and interesting weekends on the American motorsport calendar, when the tire-ripping FD crowd take over the final sector of Road Atlanta in front of the track’s massive grandstands, using the loop just before Turn 12. Drifting is usually pretty entertaining just from a spectacle-of-precision vantage point, but the final rounds shrouded in tiresmoke haze under the floodlights at Road Atlanta is a special environment for fans and competitors.
Along for the weekend is the Trans-Am Series, which will feature two races, one with the TA and TA3 cars and another race for just the TA2 field, which seems to be expanding every race weekend. Could this be the resurgence of Trans-Am that muscle-car road racing fans have yearned for since the series returned in 2009. Also on the docket is Global Time Attack, the pro-amateur time trial series whose fairly open rulebook allows for some spectacular builds and all-out 11/10ths driving.
Links: FD site. Road Atlanta. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Support Series: Trans Am Series. Global Time Attack.
Coverage: Lives treaming on DailyMotion & on FD site. Round of 32 starts Saturday @ 4 p.m. ET. Trans Am – Delayed broadcast May 23 @ Noon ET & May 30 @ Noon ET. Global Time Attack – Streaming live on RacerConnectSee schedule for all times.

Formula E: Monaco ePrix

After globetrotting in its inaugural season’s first six rounds—including two U.S. rounds—Formula E heads to Europe for the final four races of the season. They land in Monte Carlo this weekend for—like the Grand Prix of Indianapolis—a prelude to the main event on the Monaco circuit, the Grand Prix of Monaco. And like the GP of Indy, the Monaco ePrix will use a different configuration of the classic circuit, eschewing the Casino, Mirabeau, and Tunnel sections of the course to instead pick up the harbor section by the Nouvelle Chicane.
If you’ve not watched the racing at all, the blow-for-blow battles have been tremendous all season to date while the non-slick tires have made the cars fun to watch as drivers push them to their thresholds. Six different drivers have won the six rounds, although the e.dams Renault pairing of Nico Prost and Sebastien Buemi have combined to give their team a substantial lead in the teams’ championship. The drivers’ championship has heated up lately; early season leader Lucas Di Grassi still leads the title hunt, but Nelson Piquet seems to have figured the cars out and has ripped off 70 points in the last four rounds, including a dominant victory at Long Beach.
Links: Formula E site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Coverage: Saturday @ 10 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Formula 1: Spanish Grand Prix (Circuit de Catalunya)

The Lewis Hamilton show rolls on to Catalunya, where the battle of teammate drama continues between Lewis and his Mercedes compatriot Nico Rosberg. Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastien Vettel seem to have Rosberg figured out and the Valterri Bottas continues to look strong for Williams. Kimi has won at Catalunya twice and seems a reasonable bet if Lewis’ odds aren’t going to pay.
Links: F1 site. Catalunya site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Support Series: GP2. GP3. Porsche Supercup.
Coverage: Sunday @ 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Spongebob Squarepants 400 (Kansas Speedway)

Well, Spongebog Squarepants is a NASCAR title sponsor. For once, I’m completely speechless about something. This is either the best or worst thing in NASCAR since Dogecar.
Chip Ganassi driver Kyle Larson has looked pretty good on Kansas’ 1.5-mile tri-oval in his two starts, so this could very well be where Larson scores his first Sprint Cup victory.
Links: Sprint Cup site. Kansas site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Support Series: Toyota Tundra 250 (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series)
Coverage: Saturday @ 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Qualifying – Friday @ 6:45 p.m. ET on FS1. Practices Friday @ Noon ET & 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1. CWTS – Friday @ 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Qualifying Friday @ 4:45 p.m. ET on FS1.

Blancpain Sprint Series: Brands Hatch

The GT3 series heads to the UK for a round at Brands Hatch in Kent. Brands’ natural bowl provides one of the more spectacular corner sequences in Britain as cars dive down the huge downhill Paddock Hill Bend and back up to the heavy braking zone for Druids Bend, all within the view of spectators lining the Brabham Straight. Both sprint races at Brands were excellent last year so expect no different.
Links: Blancpain site. Brands Hatch site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Support Series: GT Cup. MINI Challenge. BRSCC MX-5s.
Coverage: Delayed broadcast Sunday @ 11 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

British Touring Car Championship: Thruxton

Meanwhile at Thruxton, the BTCC comes to town. To no one’s great surprise the top five in the season points are Matt Neal, Colin Turkington, Gordon Shedden, Andrew Jordan, and Jason Plato. However, young phenom Jack Goff has hung with the seasoned veterans and is intent on making a name for himself in the Triple Eight Racing MG.
Links: BTCC site. Thruxton site. Event page with schedule. Entry list. Points.
Support Series: Ginetta GT4 SuperCup. MSA Formula Championship. Renault UK Clio Cup. Ginetta Junior Championship.
Coverage: Delayed broadcast May 20 @ 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

World Superbike Championship: Imola

It took until the seventh round of the WSBK season for a non-Brit to stand on the podium and even then, it was Dutchman Michael van den Mark at his home track Assen taking two third places at the last round. Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea has taken a huge 50-point lead in the standings on the back of his second weekend sweep of the year at Assen, giving him six total wins in eight races.
Links: WSBK site. Imola site. Event page with schedule. Entry list with points.
Support Series: SuperSport World Championship. Superstock 1000 Cup. SuperStock 600 Championship. European Junior Cup.
Coverage: Monday @ midnight on beIN Sports.

TCR International: Algarve

The new touring car series has sought to be an alternative to the FIA’s World Touring Car Championship, whose flagging subscription (with just 17 cars at the last round) might mean good things for the TCR formula. I’ve not yet had a chance to watch a TCR race so I’m not sure if it’s more entertaining than the WTCC, but they’ve managed to put 15 cars on the grid for the opening two rounds with respected touring car names like Gianni Morbidelli, Franz Engstler, and Andrea Belicchi. TCR now heads to Portugal for its first European round.
Links: TCR site. Algarve site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Coverage: Possibly streaming on TCR TV on Sunday @ 7 a.m. ET & 9 a.m. ET.

British Rallycross: Pembrey

The last BRX round was held on a bank holiday Monday, meaning that I got the chance to watch it live. The final Supercar round was a complete disaster, but the lower classes all proved incredibly entertaining with a startling variety of machinery. If you’re up early Sunday, grab a cup of coffee and watch a few minutes.
Links: British RX site. Pembrey site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list. Points.
Coverage: Streaming live Sunday @ 5:30 a.m. ET on Livestream.

Ultra4 Racing: MetalCloak Stampede (Sacramento, CA)

The King of the Hammers racing organization does more than race their sprawling piece of California real estate; this weekend, they’ll be near Sacramento to tackle a two-mile circuit. The short circuit still features a variety of terrain, from flat-out on dirt to rock-crawling at a walking pace.
Links: Ultra4 site. Event page. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: Live coverage available on Ultra4 site.

Scandinavian Touring Car Championship: Skovde Airport

How’s this for a throwback? The STCC opens its season with a round at an airport. Airports were at one time a very popular racing venue, so it’s great to see the Swedes racing at one with a rallycross circuit also carved out on the grounds for supporting races.
Links: STCC siteEvent pageEntry list.
Support Series: Rallycross.
Coverage: None in the U.S.

World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies: Pharaohs Rally (Egypt)

Rally raids were at one time a particularly obscure piece of motorsport trivia, but with banner events like the Dakar Rally, they are gaining some traction. This weekend finds the start of the Pharaohs Rally in Egypt.
Links: WCCCR site. Egypt site. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: None.

FIA European Hill Climb Championship : Subida Al Fito

Similarly, the European version of hill climbing has become one of the best places to fish for white-knuckle YouTube videos. This weekend finds the thrill-seeking nutbars flying up the closed public road in eastern Spain near the hamlet of Sella.
Links: EHCC site. Al Fito siteEvent page. Schedule. Entry list.
Coverage: None, but YouTube videos usually start emerging the week following the race.

Turismo Carretera: Viedma

Argentina’s national stock car series heads to Viedma, a relatively simple, high-speed 2.5-mile track. That actually seems to describe quite a few of the circuits on TC’s schedule, but the racing is tremendous and draws huge fields: 44 different drivers have raced in the series’ opening two rounds.
Links: TC site. Event page. Entry list. Points.
Coverage: None in the U.S.

24 Hours of LeMons: New Jersey Motorsports Park

LeMons wraps up a three-consecutive-race-weekends run at NJMP before taking a month off. NJMP tends to produce no shortage of drama and the winner at last spring’s race there—Near Orbital Space Monkeys—had to squeeze every drop of fuel out of their Mustang’s fuel cell to hang on over RealDime Racing’s late-charging Acura Integra. Class C, as usual, will be insanely good here, too.
Links: LeMons site. NJMP site. Event page with schedule. Entry list. Hooniverse preview.
Coverage: Live timing on Specialty Timing site and also on Race Monitor 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.
We like talking about racing.
Please talk about racing with us.
[Lead photo copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Eric Rood | Other photos: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scion Racing, Formula E]

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  1. engineerd Avatar

    It’s good to see NASCAR has given up every pretense of being a legitimate racing series.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      I think NASCAR can still make reasonable claims to “Association” and “Auto” so they’re holding at 100% on vowels.

      1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        It’s certainly still a National affair, aside from that one trip they take to Canada every year.
        They don’t even go to Mexico anymore, do they?

        1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
          The Rusty Hub

          No. The Mexican series runs with them at Phoenix and that’s it. And only the trucks go to Canuckistan.

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          I’d call it international at this point, what with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and NASCAR Mexico Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, as well as the Canadian event that’s part of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

          1. The Rusty Hub Avatar
            The Rusty Hub

            Fair point and well made. I’m still not sure the Whelen Euro Series will stick long-term, but we’ll see. It’s much closer to touring car racing than anything that runs stateside.

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            Yes, it occurred to me even as I was typing that list that these tend to bolster their claim to the letter R. Well, can’t win ’em all.