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Race Weekend Preview – July 21-22, 2018

This weekend we are watching four races:

Saturday, July 21
1. NASCAR Xfinity Lakes Region 200, NHMS, Loudon, NH
2. IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT

Sunday, July 22
3. FIA Formula One German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany
4. NASCAR MENCS PRE-RACE, Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, NHMS, Loudon, NH

F1 German Grand Prix (TSN1/3/5 at 9:05A)

Formula One returns to Germany this year after a one-year hiatus. In recent years, the German GP has alternated between the modern GP circuit at the Nürburgring and the revised circuit at Hockenheim – but no race has been held at the Nürburgring since 2013. Since then the Hockenheim circuit has hosted the German GP in the alternate years 2014, 2016 and now in 2018. It is not expected that there will a Grand Prix in Germany next year.

Despite the idea that the German Grand Prix is one of the ‘classic’ Grands Prix which are the foundation of the Formula One calendar, the longer-term future of the German race is uncertain. The attendance has fallen to low levels and neither circuit is likely to ante up the big hosting fees to hold another race. Unless Liberty, the owners of F1, decide to extract less funding from the circuit owners in general and the Germans specifically, the race may well disappear for lack of solid financial footing.

Mercedes won the last two GPs at Hockenheim, Lewis Hamilton in 2016 and Nico Rosberg in 2014. This year, it there have been three races since a Mercedes has won. Most recently Max Verstappen has won at Austria and Sebastian Vettel in Britain. Hamilton will be hoping to win here on Mercedes’ home turf – and to regain the points lead over Vettel – who now leads Hamilton by 8 points (171 points to 163).

Don’t discount the other four drivers in the big three teams. Verstappen and Ricciardo for Red Bull. Räikkönen for Ferrari and Bottas for Mercedes. On a good day, any one of those six drivers could win.

There is just one more F1 race before the summer hiatus, the Hungarian GP on July 29. The next GP after that is the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps on August 26.

NASCAR at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

NASCAR MENCS: (TSN5 at 2:00P) The Loudon track is run as a one-mile oval for the NASCAR races. It can also be run as a 1.6-mile road course for sports cars and motorcycles. When it was originally built in 1990, it was intended for Indy cars. Its low banking was thought to have made it unsuitable for stock cars. But now, there are no more Indy Car races and there are many types of NASCAR races held each year – but it remains a tricky track for the stock cars. The MENCS race is the premier event being staged this weekend. It will run on the oval on Sunday afternoon.

Last year, Denny Hamlin won the July race ahead of Kyle Larson and Martin Truex. Kyle Busch won the September race over Larson. Last week at the Kentucky Speedway, Truex seemed to be back on form, winning there after having come second to Erik Jones the week earlier at Daytona.

NASCAR Xfinity: (TSN2 at 4:00P on Saturday) Last year, Kyle Busch, an interloper from the MENCS series won the race over New Englander Ryan Preece. Preece was driving a Joe Gibbs car in a limited number of events – so he was ineligible for championship points. Neither of these drivers can accumulate NXS championship points again this year but Preece will be back again hoping for another NXS win. The most recent NXS winner was Christopher Bell over Daniel Hemric at Kentucky.

MENCS drivers entered in the NSX race at Loudon include Ty Dillon and Brad Keselowski. NCWTS regular Johnny Sauter will be driving the No. 23 GMS car – a ride that was set up while the regular driver Spencer Gallagher was suspended by NASCAR.

NCWTS: The truck series race has been run already this week. It was run on the Eldora dirt track on Wednesday evening and the race was won by Chase Briscoe over Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen.

IMSA WeatherTech: (Fox Sports Racing at 4:00P on Saturday): This week the IMSA series visits the Lime Rock track in Connecticut. Due to local noise restrictions, they do not run events here on Sundays, so the WeatherTech race will be held on Saturday. Given the constricted nature of this short track, only the GTLM and GTD cars will be competing in the 160-minute WeatherTech race. Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe were the winners in the GTLM class at the most recent race, which was held at CTMP on July 8.

IMSA Continental: There will also be a 120-minute Continental Tire GT4 race held the same day at 11:00A. This race will be broadcast live online via IMSA.TV and on a delayed basis on Sunday, July 29th on Fox Sports Racing. Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy won the GS class in their Mustang at CTMP on July 7.

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