Where to Watch F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and IMSA This Weekend (September 26th, 2020)

·4 min read
Photo credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar
Photo credit: Chris Jones / IndyCar

IndyCar - Grand Prix of Long Beach
Sunday, September 26th - 3:00 p.m. EDT
- NBC Sports

Back in mid-April, IndyCar became the last major world racing series to start their 2021 season. Now, they are the first series to end their season. The delayed event at the Long Beach street circuit serves as the last of three consecutive west coast races to determine the series championship. Two weeks ago, this was a close battle between Pato O'Ward and the trailing Alex Palou. Now, no matter what O'Ward does, Palou needs to finish just tenth or better to win the title.

It puts an immense amount of pressure on O'Ward, who needs to win the race and hope for chaos, but that sort of thing has happened before. Scott Dixon won the 2015 title by tying Juan Pablo Montoya in the standings in the season's final race and winning the year on a tiebreaker won by virtue of that race. Montoya finished right on his title-deciding number, sixth, in that race.

For Palou, a strong season that has been defined by consistent performances will end in a championship if he can squeeze just one more top ten out of what has been one of the best cars in one of the best open wheel fields in recent memory. Palou was exciting at Dale Coyne Racing last year, but his performance in the Ganassi car has been nothing short of a revelation. Tenth or better is his weekly expectation already, so the Spanish driver will be in a great situation if he can avoid the chaos at turn 1 and stay the course.

Both Palou and O'Ward came into the season with 0 career IndyCar wins. Unless both fail to finish and Josef Newgarden scores every available point on the weekend, one will walk away a series champion.

F1 - Russian Grand Prix
Sunday, September 26th - 8:00 a.m. EDT
- ESPN

Sochi's Formula 1 track has seen serious rains the past two days, but the headline of today's qualifying session is what happened when those rains finally disappeared. Q1 and Q2 were run on intermediate tires, leaving a fairly common Q3 group in wet-into-drying conditions for one lap on intermediates and one lap on dry tires. When those laps on dry tires finished, the results were shocking.

Lando Norris will start from pole for the first time in his career, just ahead Carlos Sainz Jr., George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton. Norris, Sainz, and Russell respectively represent McLaren, Ferrari, and Williams, all teams that have won multiple world championships in multiple decades. Of that group, only McLaren has won a race since 2019, a feat they achieved just two weeks ago.

All three will have their hands full holding off Lewis Hamilton, who goes into what is expected to be a wet race knowing that his championship hopes may come down to excelling in a race where Max Verstappen is facing issues. Verstappen will start last after incurring a full-grid penalty for an engine change, a decision made in response to F1 stewards awarding him with a three-spot grid penalty for causing a crash with Hamilton during the Italian GP.

NASCAR - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, September 26th - 7:00 p.m. EDT
- NBC Sports

NASCAR's playoffs move into their round of 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Typically, this is among the least notable tracks in all of stock car racing. This year, the schedule has placed it in a round with Talladega and the Charlotte roval. With those two races now long since known as the most unpredictable in the entire playoff, a strong finish at Las Vegas is a must to ensure a contender can survive two straight races of absolute chaos.

For the drivers between third and twelfth in the standings, a win at Las Vegas guarantees not just a hard-fought entry to the truly elite Round of 8 but a guarantee that even back to back wrecks at Talladega and Charlotte cannot sink their seasons. For the unlucky few that suffer from mechanical or on-track issues in this race, Talladega suddenly becomes a desperate, almost must-win situation.

IMSA - Long Beach
Saturday, September 25th - 5:00 p.m. EDT
- NBC Sports

Like IndyCar, IMSA was forced to postpone its race at Long Beach last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike IndyCar, IMSA rarely races on street circuits and has seen just one track anything like Long Beach all year. It represents a serious challenge for teams, one only made more complicated by a packed two-day schedule as a rare undercard.

After a huge win at Laguna Seca, DPi teams are all following Wayne Taylor Racing in what the program hopes will be another championship season for the Acura DPi program. The WTR-Acura partnership proved successful the moment the team won this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona; a championship to equal the greatest accomplishment achieved by Penske's time as Acura's partner would make it nothing less than Acura's biggest season in sports car racing ever.

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting