Monday, May 22, 2017

May 28th: Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco/IndyCar Indianapolis 500/Monster Energy NASCAR Charlotte Coca-Cola 600


Subtitled: "Why do races have such long names?"

Three of the biggest races in motorsport this coming Sunday, Monaco Formula 1 in the morning, Indianapolis 500 after that, and then the NASCAR Charlotte race in the evening. From the listings on TVRacer.com, here's the main coverage of the biggest day in racing, with all times Eastern US. I'm sure there are other apps and TV coverage of the practices and qualifying, but Sunday is the big day! Note that since Monaco is such a big event, the race is actually live on regular network NBC! L=Live

Formula 1 Monaco
7:00am-7:30am (L) - Pre-Race - NBCSN
7:30am-8:00am (L) - Pre-Race - NBC 
8:00am-10:00am (L) - Race - NBC
10:00am-10:30am (L) - Post-Race - NBCSN

IndyCar Indianapolis 500
11:00am-12:00pm (L) - Pre-Race - ABC
12:00pm-3:30pm (L) - Race - ABC

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Charlotte - Coca-Cola 600
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) - Pre-Race - FOX
6:00pm-10:30pm (L) - Race - FOX

Formula 1 wise, the Monaco race is always a classic, probably the oldest circuit still used today, and not really meant for today's high speed cars. While it's epic and chock full of history, the racing tends to be a parade with very little on track passing due to the tight and winding nature of the city circuit. The pole winner should win this thing as long as they get to the 1st corner ahead, and have a smooth pit stop, but it's no guarantee either. Connecting this race with the Indy 500 this year is McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso passing up Monaco, and racing at Indy for Andretti. He qualified 5th yesterday, so his driving ability certainly brings a lot of interest in the Indy race around the world. With last year's rookie driver winner Alexander Rossi (who also drove some F1 races!) also qualifying highly, I think we've got great proof that a great driver can adapt to the big oval at Indy and compete with the other 32 drivers. 

Back at Monaco, former World Champion Jenson Button returns to McLaren to fill in for Alonso, so how he does is also going to be interesting. He just retired at the end of last year, so this will be his first time back in the cockpit. With his experience, and the lower speed overall at Monaco, Jenson right now has a great shot at scoring McLaren's 1st points of the year.

If you're really into it, remember that Monaco is unlike every other race week, so the first two practices will be on THURSDAY, and then Friday is an off day so that the citizens of the city can actually get around. Either they do it for that reason or so that everyone can party more during race week! Big fat prediction number one: One of the Ferrari drivers will snag the pole, and win the race! Other than that, it's a big crap-shoot at Monaco (get it, crap-shoot, they race right by the world famous Casino at Monaco!), so I'll not wimp out and wait for qualifying to predict the winner. Shoot, let's go for the gusto, and say the Ferrari guys pull some Italian magic out of their helmets and finish 1-2!

IndyCar wise, the Indy 500 is the big one, and since we've already had qualifying and pole day yesterday, we know that Scott Dixon blitzed the field and took pole easily. Based on my experience of running at Indy....No really, I've run around the track in a half marathon, and marched around the track in a marching band. The running was easier and faster, because marching on banked oval does NOT make it any easier to play a trumpet for 2.5 miles....in the rain....(true story too!) I'll just make a big fat prediction here that he wins it after getting a good start, with lots of pit stops, 500 miles of racing, some safety cars, and the usual excitement of Indy.  On the other hand, last year's rookie winner Rossi won by managing his fuel stops, so there is always a chance for an underdog. I think both Rossi and Alonso will be among the front runners, so if I'm wrong about Dixon, I'd be more than happy to have one of these two guys drinking the milk at the end!

NASCAR, well, let me tell you, based on my experience of driving the track at Charlotte...
OK, I really have driven on the track at Charlotte, but it wasn't in a race car, or in a race or anything, but it is a fun place to go high speed on the big banking oval track! I'm not a big NASCAR fan, so I'll only go so far in big fat prediction number three that Richard Petty will come out of retirement and win it easily. Wouldn't that be a great story!

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