Diez: All-Stars and Indy racing highlight the schedule

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Poor Chris Buescher. First, he loses the closest race in NASCAR history by .001-second, and the next week he gets dumped while battling for the lead at Darlington. He must be starting to feel like Rodney Dangerfield. At least his team won, as Brad Keselowski drove by to take the win while  Buescher and Tyler Reddick limped to the pits on flat tires. Buescher had a serious “chat” with Reddick in pit lane after the race while Reddick very wisely kept his helmet on. It was Keselowski’s first win for RFK Racing after a 110-race winless streak. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

•••

This week the NASCAR Cup cars return to North Wilkesboro for the second All-Star race at the venerable half-mile oval, accompanied by the Craftsman Trucks. The biggest question is whether last year’s winner, Kyle Larson, will be there or will he get tied up in qualifying for the Indy 500. Given the speed Larson has shown so far at Indianapolis, I’d guess he’ll post a safe qualifying run early on and board a plane for North Wilkesboro. But if not, Kevin Harvick is set to come down from the Fox broadcast booth and take over the No. 5 Hendrick Chevy for the All-Star. Harvick has won the All-Star race twice while Larson leads all active drivers with three wins, at Charlotte, Texas, and North Wilkesboro. One-time All-Star winners in the field are Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin. Saturday’s schedule includes the Craftsman Truck race at 10:30 a.m. on FS1 followed by All-Star heats 1 and 2 starting at 2:20 p.m. on FS2. The All-Star Open airs at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with the All-Star race at 5 p.m., both on FS1.

•••

Alex Palou became the first two-time winner of the NTT IndyCar season last Saturday on the Indy road course. He beat Will Power by 6.61 seconds to take the championship points lead with 152 points to Power’s 140. Scott Dixon and Colton Herta are tied at 127 for third, and Felix Rosenqvist is fifth at 107. This weekend, the field will qualify for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500. There are 34 or 35 cars expected to make qualifying runs for the 33-car field, meaning at least one driver will suffer disappointment. First day qualifying airs Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. on Peacock with the Top 12, Last Chance, and Top 6 qualifying runs Sunday at 3 p.m., simulcast on NBC and Peacock.

•••

Formula 1 is back in action this weekend at Imola for the Emilio Romagno Grand Prix. At Miami two weeks ago, Lando Norris took advantage of updates to his McLaren to upset Max Verstappen for the win. Was this just a one-off, or a sign of a crack in the invincibility of the Red Bull team? And can any other team step up to challenge that juggernaut? Ferrari and McLaren seem to have the best chance of doing so, but it’s still an uphill fight because Verstappen has won the last two Imola outings (last year’s event was flooded out). Qualifying airs Saturday 7 a.m. on ESPN2, with the race on the same channel at 6 a.m. Sunday.

•••

Finally, you have probably noticed that NASCAR races have been moving from over-the-air networks to cable (Fox to FS1, and NBC to USA). Well, hold onto your hats, because NASCAR broadcasts are going to get even more scattered next year. Amazon Prime Video and TNT will broadcast five NASCAR Cup races each starting in 2025, while all Xfinity content will air on CW. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be joining the broadcast booth for the TNT/Prime events.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment