IMSA - Petit Le Mans
Saturday, October 17th - 12:30 p.m. ET
NBC Sports Network (Continuing on IMSA.com)
IMSA's ten-hour Petit Le Mans may not be the marquee endurance race it was in its American Le Mans Series heyday, but it remains a crucial event on the IMSA calendar, one of four endurance races of six hours or longer.
Just two IMSA races remain after today's race, including a very belated 12 Hours of Sebring, so championship implications are very much in play across all four classes. Acura's hopes to win a title before parting with Penske Racing at the end of the season get a boost from the team locking down the front row in DPi qualifying, while the #3 Corvette C8.R and Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX continue their trends of impressive speed with poles in GTLM and GTD, respectively.
Most of the race will air on the NBC Sports Network, but a few hours will be switched to IMSA.com while the network airs an Xfinity Series race from Kansas Speedway.
Virgin Australia Supercars - The Bathurst 1000
Saturday, October 17th - 8 p.m. ET - MotorTrend app
Australia's greatest motor race, the Bathurst 1000, returns. This year's edition of the marquee event for the Australian series once known as V8 Supercars will be one of the last of the Holden-vs-Ford era that has defined the Mountain for so long. With Holden shutting down its operations, Australia's GM teams will transition to Camaros in 2022.
Favorites in the race include the two Mustangs of DJR Team Penske, the two Holdens of Triple Eight Racing, and the pole-sitting Tickford Racing Mustang of Cam Waters and Will Davison, which will start on pole after a spectacular lap in yesterday's Top Ten Shootout qualifying session. Rain is expected early, and the sheer length of the race means that drivers could face significantly different conditions over the course of the race.
Those interested in watching can find the Bathurst 1000 on MotorTrend's app, as its television channel is going to spend the evening re-airing Top Gear.
NASCAR - Kansas Speedway
Sunday, October 18th - 2:30 p.m. ET - NBC
Between the short tracks, the infield road course, the superspeedway, and the unique intermediate oval at Phoenix, the NASCAR Playoffs visit some of the most interesting tracks the series runs. They also visit three 1.5-mile "Cookie cutter" intermediates, two of which are, for some reason, the first two races in the all-important Round of 8.
If you care about NASCAR deciding its champion, the next two races at Kansas Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway are must-watch events. The next three races will separate the best in the series from one another, and the four who qualify for the next round will each get an even chance at a championship in Phoenix next month. The races are three of the four most important in the title fight, and a win in any single race will guarantee a driver qualifies for the final round.
But if either race itself is exciting, it would be a surprise. NASCAR itself no longer hides that these tracks are downright bad for stock car racing, and their many efforts to change this have been largely fruitless. The current high downforce, low horsepower package at these tracks, effectively designed to create pack racing on intermediates, failed to live up to its gimmicky promise, and NASCAR has instead gone about trying to radically restructure its schedule to avoid these types of races. Somehow, that restructuring process did not include rescheduling these events, which remain three of the four most important on the schedule next year.
Each of the eight remaining contenders is capable of winning one of the next three races, and the Playoff Point system gives such a huge advantage to the elite drivers in the series on championship points during this round that any driver between fifth and eighth understands that they may have to win a race to secure a spot in the Championship Four. The result is a sense of real urgency at a track that does not create many opportunities for urgency to matter. Expect some unusual strategy calls, like the one that won Kurt Busch the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a few weeks back, in the race's final stage.
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