Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Formula One in India, NASCAR at Martinsville, MotoGP in Japan, WRC in Catalunya, V8 Supercars at Surfers Paradise

Formula One makes it's third and possibly final trip to India for the Indian Grand Prix. In the two previous editions, Sebastian Vettel has led every lap, from pole positions and he looks to repeat those results again as it would clinch the German his fourth consecutive World Drivers' Championship. Vettel has to finish at least fifth to clinch the title.

Fernando Alonso is the only other driver mathematically eligible for the title. The Spaniard is ninety points back and he has to leave India within seventy-five of the German to stay alive. In Alonso's two Indian Grand Prix appearances he has started third and fifth respectively with finishes of third and second respectively.

Red Bull has a 148-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship as they look to clinch their fourth consecutive title. To clinch the title, Red Bull has to exit India with a 129-point lead. The battle for second is much more exciting battle with Ferrari only ten points up on Mercedes and thirty-three ahead of Lotus.

NASCAR at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson enters Martinsville with a four point lead over Matt Kenseth as Johnson looks to win his sixth career championship. Johnson is twenty-six up on Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, thirty-four ahead of his teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson has eight career wins at Martinsville with five of those coming in the October Chase race.

Interestingly enough, Ford has not won a race at Martinsville in the Chase-era. In the Chase-era, Chevrolets have won seven of the nine October races, with Toyota and more specifically, Denny Hamlin taking the other two. Overall, Chevrolet has won fourteen of nineteen Martinsville races in the Chase-era, with Toyota, and once again, more specifically, Denny Hamlin having four wins and Dodge having one win during that time. Dodge's lone win came in April 2004 when Rusty Wallace won his final career race driving for Penske Racing.

MotoGP at Japan
MotoGP races for the third consecutive weekend at Twin Ring Motegi. After tire degradation issues at Philip Island forced riders to change bikes mid-race and led to the disqualification of Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo is only eighteen back with two races to go. Dani Pedrosa is the only other rider still eligible for the title, he is thirty-four back.

Márquez has two wins, one in 125cc, the other in Moto2 at Motegi. Pedrosa has won the last two consecutive MotoGP rounds at Motegi, in addition to a 250cc victory at the track in 2004. Lorenzo's one win at Motegi was in MotoGP in 2009. Valentino Rossi is fourth in points and is tied with Kevin Schwantz for most victories in Japan on the top flight 500cc/MotoGP bikes. However only one of Rossi's four Japanese wins have come at Motegi. The other three occurred at Suzuka.

WRC in Catalunya
Sébastien Ogier has already clinched the 2013 World Rally Championship with two rounds to go. Ogier's best finish in Catalunya is fifth and he has only scored points in Rally Catalunya on one other occasion. Sébastien Loeb has won the eight previous editions of Rally Catalunya but will not attempt to extend that streak as Loeb retired from full-time rallying after Rallye de France earlier this month.

Belgian Thierry Neuville is second in points and is still looking for his first career rally victory. He has finished runner-up in four of the last five rounds. Jari-Matti Latvala is third in points, only eighteen behind Neuville and won earlier this year at Greece. Catalan driver Dani Sordo is fourth in points and won his first career rally at Rallye Deutschland two months ago.

V8 Supercars at Surfers Paradise
For the twenty-second consecutive year, race cars will thunder through the streets of Surfers Paradise and for the fifth consecutive year, V8 Supercars are the main draw. For the third and final round of Endurance Cup, Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell enter as points leaders, forty-two up over their teammates Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff. Bathurst 1000 winners Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards are third in the Endurance Cup points, seventy-two back.

Whincup leads the V8 Supercars Drivers' Championship by one-hundred and fourteen points over Lowndes. Winterbottom is third, one-hundred and forty-two back. Whincup has won the last two races at Surfers Paradise, both when they were under the All-Star, International driver format and both times with Sébastien Bourdais as co-driver.