Friday, July 19, 2013

What to Do When IndyCar and NASCAR Are Off

This is a pretty odd weekend. No NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. No IndyCar race. What is there to watch this weekend? The good news is a lot. From two wheels to four, the corkscrew to the Windy City, Canada to Russia, there will be plenty of racing for you to catch up on.

Let's start with two wheels. Moto GP returns to the United States for the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Rookie Marc Márquez heads to Monterey with the points lead after a win in Germany with neither Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa or Jorge Lorenzo competing, both missing the race due to broken collarbones. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo are traveling to Laguna Seca but neither have been clearly to compete yet. Lorenzo was originally ruled out until Indianapolis in August.

Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow is fourth in points but has yet to stand on the top step of the podium in his Moto GP career. He has finished on the podium in four of the last five races. Valentino Rossi is fifth in the championship with a win at Assen. Rossi won the 2008 United States Grand Prix.

The 2006 World Champion and two-time United States Grand Prix winner Nicky Hayden is ninth in points behind his Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Honda customer bike riders Stefan Brandl and Álvaro Bautista. Hayden heads to what could be his final Moto GP race at Laguna Seca with his best finish in 2013 being a fifth in France. Colin Edwards returns to Laguna Seca coming off a thirteenth place finish in Germany. He's seventeenth in points with thirteen. The United States will be a rider down as Ben Spies will miss another race due to injury. He will be replaced by Sammarinese rider Alex de Angelis. De Angelis scored his only career Moto GP podium at Indianapolis in 2009. The United States Grand Prix will aired on SPEED Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

From the scenery of Monterey to Russia with love and World Superbike. For the second consecutive year, World Superbike heads to Moscow Raceway. Englishman Tom Sykes enters Russia after sweeping both races at Imola three weeks ago and leading the championship standings by seven points over Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli. Sykes won and finished second in Russia last year and has swept two of the last three race weekends including his home Grand Prix at Donington Park. Guintoli has not won since the first race of the season at Phillip Island. Irishman Eugene Laverty is third in the standings having won four of fourteen races in 2013. Marco Melandri is fourth in the standings with two wins ahead of the 2008 Daytona 200 winner, the only British winner to date, Chaz Davies. The World Superbike races from Russia can be seen Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET on beIN Sport.

North of the border, the American Le Mans Series makes a stop at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or more commonly known as Mosport. Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has won three consecutive rounds and has all but officially wrapped up the LMP1 championship for the German Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf with the withdrawal of Rebellion Racing and Dyson Racing turning their attention towards 2014. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith will not race at Mosport for Dyson Racing and will be replaced by Canadian Tony Burgess and Chris McMurray. The only other car joining Pickett and Dyson Racing at Mosport will be the DeltaWing driven by Brits Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge. The DeltaWing has yet to finish a race in 2013.

LMP2 will feature another Level 5 Motorsports-Extreme Speed Motorsports battle. Level 5 is up by three points in the championship after Ryan Briscoe and Scott Tucker won at Lime Rock Park but were rewarded with second place points due to receiving at sixty-second penalty for avoidable contact. Ryan Briscoe got into the back of Extreme Speed driver Guy Cosmo late in the race at Lime Rock Park. Briscoe will miss this round after breaking his wrist at the IndyCar race at Toronto. Mike Conway will substitute for Briscoe at Level 5.

In GT, Corvette and Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW are tied with seventy-two points after the #56 BMW of John Edwards and Dirk Müller won at Lime Rock. Through four races, there have four different winners in the GT class. The SRT Motorports Vipers are third in the championship twenty-seven points back. The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix can been seen Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Finally, there is a NASCAR race this Sunday but it's the Nationwide Series taking center stage at Chicagoland Speedway. Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish, Jr. in the championship by five points with Austin Dillon only twelve points back. Justin Allgaier is fourth in points, twenty back, Elliott Sadler is fifth, twenty-four points behind Smith and the most recent winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brian Vickers is sixth in the standings, forty-six markers back. This is the third consecutive year of a Nationwide Series race being a main event at Chicagoland. Series regulars have won each year with Allgaier winning in 2011 and Sadler in 2012. The lone Sprint Cup championship eligible driver at Chicagoland will be Joey Logano driving for Penske Racing. Coverage of the Nationwide Series from Chicagoland beings at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN with green flag at 3:17 p.m.