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Race Weekend Preview – June 8-9-10, 2018

 

This weekend we are watching five races, the F1 Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, The Indy car race at Texas Motor Speedway and three NASCAR races.

FIA Formula One Grand Prix du Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, QC, Sunday, June 10

Once again we can expect the winner of this Grand Prix to be one of the ‘big six’ drivers from Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. So far this year, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo have each won two of the first six rounds – and, on the face of it, these three have to be considered favourites to win again this time.
Don’t forget the other three drivers from these teams – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – all of them are capable of winning and, presumably, they have equal equipment to match their teammates.
However, Mercedes has already announced that the upgraded engines scheduled for introduction this weekend will not be available just yet and Ricciardo is expected to be given a grid penalty, setting him back a number of places and more-or-less out of contention. Verstappen has shown great speed but he is under orders to cool it and avoid any more accidents. Meanwhile the Ferrari drivers will have new engines for Montreal.
Last year the two Mercedes drivers – Hamilton and Bottas – finished one-two in the race.
Two Canadian drivers will be in action here. Lance Stroll continues with the Williams team despite his difficulty in garnering good finishing results this year. Nicholas Latifi, who is hoping for an F1 seat for next year is currently Force India's reserve driver, and he will be in action on Friday morning this weekend in Montreal.
This race can be seen on television in Canada on either ABC or TSN5 starting at 2:00 pm.

Verizon IndyCar DXC Technology 600, Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday, June 9

This week IndyCar moves to Fort Worth for a 248-lap race on the 1.44-mi high-banked oval – a nominal 600 km race.
Last year, Will Power won over Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenauld. In the double-header pair of races on the Belle Isle street circuit at Detroit last weekend, Power won on Saturday and Ryan Hunter-Reay on Sunday – not that the results from that venue will tell us much for TMS. The top five in the current points standings are Power, Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden – all potential winners in Texas.
While the Canadian ‘rookie’ Robert Wickens is sixth in the points standings, it would be amazing if this driver, who has little oval track experience, could shine here in Texas. His Canadian teammate James Hinchcliffe is 11th in the standings but – given his more extensive oval track experience – he might do better than Wickens here at Texas. The third Canadian driver, Zachary Claman DeMelo, did surprisingly well at Indianapolis and perhaps he will surprise us here as well.
Ed Carpenter, who only runs the ovals, sat on the pole at Indianapolis, He is back for the Texas oval and he usually has good results.
This race can be seen on Sportsnet 360 on Saturday starting at 8:00 pm.

NASCAR MENCS FireKeepers Casino 400, Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, June 10

Given that the Cup cars do not have their power limited by restrictor plates (as is the case at Daytona and Talladega) this two-mile high-banked oval has become one of the fastest race tracks on the NASCAR schedule. Jeff Gordon set the record qualifying speed in 2014 at 206.6 mph. This means that the corner entry speeds are over 215 mph.
Last year, Kyle Larson won both races here at MIS. Chase Elliott finished second here in June and Truex was second to Larson in August. Elliott has yet to win a Cup race – perhaps this will be the time that he finally gets a win. Last week Martin Truex won at Pocono, another high-speed oval, with Kyle Larson second, Kyle Busch third and Harvick fourth.
This MENCS race can be seen on FOX network, TSN1 or TSN3 on Sunday starting at 2:00 pm.

NASCAR Xfinity LTi Printing 250, Michigan Intl. Speedway, Brooklyn, MI, Saturday, June 9

This undercard race will run on the Saturday before the Cup race at Michigan. For the second week in a row these Xfinity cars will be running with the “Indy package” which includes larger spoilers and restrictor plates which will keep the speeds down on this fast oval.
After last week’s race, Kyle Busch – who won the race – denigrated this slower-car setup – especially for Michigan where he predicted that it will produce pack racing. Regardless, Busch, who is entered for the Michigan race, has to be considered as a favourite to win again. Of the four other Cup drivers entered for Michigan, Kevin Harvick has to be another one to watch. Busch’s teammate Christopher Bell ran well last week until he was taken out of the race by another driver – keep an eye on him as well
This NXS race can be seen on the FOX network or TSN2 next Saturday afternoon starting at 1:30 pm.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400, Texas Motor Speedway, Friday, June 8

In an unusual pairing, the truck race will run on Friday evening at TMS, the day before the Indy car race there. The previous truck race was at Charlotte on May 18, three weeks earlier. That race was won by Johnny Sauter over Kyle Busch and Brandon Jones. A year ago Christopher Bell was the winner in Texas – he eventually won the 2017 championship and he has moved up to the Xfinity Series this year. As of the Charlotte race, Sauter is leading in points ahead of Noah Gragson and Brett Moffitt.
Given the fact that this race will be running in Texas while the other national NASCAR series races are at Michigan, no Cup drivers (i.e. Kyle Busch) are entered.
There is a Canadian driver running in this series, Stewart Friesen from Niagara-on-the-Lake – a driver best known for his short-track exploits in upstate New York. He seems to have a well-funded entry and so far this year he has scored two top five finishes. Kee an eye on him at Texas
This NCWTS race can be seen in Canada on the Fox Sports Racing channel On Friday evening at 9:00 pm.

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