After a short quiet period following the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, racing gets under way again this weekend and at the same venue, this time for the Daytona 500. This weekend truly marks the beginning of months of uninterrupted competition throughout 2009 – I can’t see a completely clear weekend again for months – three cheers for racing!
* * * * Main Event
NASCAR Sprint Cup
– Daytona 500 (1/36)
– Daytona International Speedway
– Daytona, Florida, United States
When we reach the weekend of the Daytona 500 we know the racing season is well and truly upon us. There have been a lot of changes in what is a very short off-season relative to other series, with mergers, driver deals and sponsor changes aplenty. I’m not going to insult you by fumbling my way around this because I know very little about NASCAR, although I am tempted to watch the 500 out of curiosity.
I’ve watched NASCAR before but never a full race. The UK network Five airs a short highlights show of about an hour, in the depths of the night midweek. I got hold of some of those shows last year and it was interesting to watch – for that length of time. I don’t think I can last three or four hours of droning around in packs waiting for big accidents to happen, which is why I’d prefer to try a full NASCAR race at a non-restrictor track. Perhaps some of you NASCAR fans could recommend an event to watch, and remind me nearer the time.
The event is actually already under way, with the Gatorade Duels already having been completed earlier this evening. I’m not entirely sure what they achieved because they’ve already had qualifying and the quali process at Daytona is mega-weird.
The Daytona 500 will air live on Sky Sports 2 and in Hi-Def on Sky Sports HD2. Coverage begins at 8pm Sunday. I should note that in 2008 Daytona was in HD and the rest of the year was SD only, there is no word yet on whether that will be repeated this year.
American coverage is on FOX at 3.30pm ET. So that’s half an hour LESS pre-race build-up than we get here.. hmm. Walk through this with me will-ya? Say it’s 3pm in Florida. Add 5 hours to get British time. 3 + 5 = 8pm Am I missing something here? Maybe they are doing that strange American thing of having the race build-up on a completely different channel beforehand, and I missed the listing.
The Nationwide Series gets under way on Saturday afternoon local time.
American air time: 1pm ET, ESPN2
British air time: Not found. This race used to be on the North American Sports Network (NASN), which changed to ESPN America over the winter and they don’t seem to be covering it this time. I’m hunting around forums as I pull this post together and nobody else can find coverage either.
The trucks-that-aren’t-trucks-but-are-really-pickups kick off the proper racing this weekend, as opposed to the ‘racing to qualify’.
American air time: 8pm ET, SPEED
British air time: Not found.
* * * * Other Events
Every other racing series may only just be waking up, and some are several weeks off yet, but WRC is already on to it’s second event of the year as they head north to Norway. It looks like they’ve had some heavy snowfall and the drivers are very happy to have a ‘proper’ snow rally for once. The last few years have seen very little snow on what are supposed to be full winter rallies and the guys can’t wait to get stuck in, metaphorically speaking.
The Production WRC entrants are also competing on this event.
I should mention that WRC’s commerical rights are controlled by David Richards (yes, that one) and it looks like his team is doing a good job of embracing new media! Ironically one of the broadcast partners is a channel called ‘Dave’ (so-named because everyone has a friend called Dave).
GP2 Asia Series
– Qatar (4/6)
– Losail International Circuit
– Doha, Qatar, UAE
– Website: www.gp2series.com
The GP2 Asia boys head over to Qatar for more fun in the desert. Yet more driver changes mean this series isn’t really being taken as seriously as the main GP2 Series, though it does serve as a performance indicator for the coming year and a lot of guys are getting some good practice in. The extra track time is certainly helping some of them.
The event is supported once again by the Speedcar Series which is holding a night race.
NOTE – as with all Middle Eastern GP2 Asia events the Feature race is on Friday and the Sprint is on Saturday.
Coverage is on Eurosport at 10.30am on Saturday, I believe this is the live sprint race – it may also have some footage from the feature race because there doesn’t seem to be anything at all on Friday.
There appears to be absolutely no coverage at all of Speedcar (there may be something in locally).
Okay that’s it. I’ve decided I will not be posting all the little logos and icons when the main season gets under way, it takes too long!
Next week: A1GP and more NASCAR.