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Preview: Weekend of March 29-30-31, 2019

Preview: Weekend of March 29-30-31, 2019

This weekend we are watching three races: three NASCAR races from Texas and the Bahrain Grand Prix

The Texas Motor Speedway in a 1.5-mile oval located about 20 miles (32 km) north of the city of Fort Worth. It was built by Bruton Smith as part of his Speedway Motorsports conglomerate and it opened in 1996. It has been used for NASCAR racing and for IRL and IndyCar racing. The CART series went there in 2001 but the race was called off when the drivers reported experiencing blackouts from the high centrifugal forces generated by the high-speed CART-spec cars on the tight high-banked oval. During that weekend Paul Tracy recorded the fastest lap ever at TMS, 236.678 mph. The rival IRL series had been able to run here successfully because their cars had less power and were slower than the CART racers. This track has two NASCAR cup dates which were transferred here from exiting tracks – one from North Wilkesboro and one from Rockingham, both in North Carolina. Neither of those heritage ovals are hosting stock car races any more.

The Grand Prix in Bahrain is held on the Bahrain International Circuit which was opened in 2004. It was designed by Hermann Tilke and built in the desert surrounded by sand. The Bahrain GP has been held there each year since 2004 except 2011 when the event was cancelled due to anti-government protests in the country. This event continues to be controversial due to the claims of human rights abuses in the country. Again this year, some are protesting that this event should not be allowed claiming that Bahrain has a longstanding record of arresting and harassing dissents, including those opposing the Grand Prix races.

According to Human Rights Watch, “In April 2017, the authorities arrested Najah Yusuf, an activist and blogger, after she released a series of posts critical of the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix. Yusuf, in a written statement, said that National Security Agency (NSA) officers allegedly interrogated and subjected her to physical abuse, sexual assault, and psychological torture. She said they forced her to sign a prepared confession. In June 2018, she was sentenced to three years in prison for her social media activity” She remains incarcerated.

Friday, March 29.
1. NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway
• 1.5-mile oval; 147 laps = 220.5 mi/352.8 km; Stages: /35/35/77 laps
• TV: Fox Sports Racing at 9:00P
• Last year’s race, the 167-lap PPG 400, was held here on June 8, in conjunction with the IndyCar race. Johnny Sauter won the race ahead of Stewart Friesen and Justin Haley.
• This year the previous truck race was the TrüNorth Global 250 run at Martinsville last week. Kyle Busch won it, his third win in three consecutive starts.
• Friesen, who finished fifth at Martinsville is currently leading in the points standings although he has yet to win a NGOTS race.
• The preliminary entry list has 33 names. Only 32 trucks are allowed to start the race. Among the Cup drivers entered in this truck race are Kyle Busch, Darrel Wallace and Ross Chastain.
Click HERE for the NGOTS Entry List.

Saturday, March 30.
2. NASCAR Xfinity My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
• 1.5-mile oval; 200 laps = 300 miles; Stages: 45/45/110 laps
• TV: TSN3/4 at 1:00P
• Last year’s race was held here on April 7. The race winner was the Cup driver Ryan Blaney finishing ahead of Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric.
• The most recent race this year was held at the Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago. Cole Custer was the race winner ahead of Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell.
• The preliminary entry list has 40 names; only 38 drivers are allowed to start the race. Kyle Busch (No. 18) and Brad Keselowski (No. 12) are two Cup drivers entered in this race.
Click HERE for the NXS Entry List.

Sunday, March 31.

3. F1 Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit.
• 5.412 km /3.362 mi; 57 laps = 308.238 km/191.530 mi
• TV: TSN 1/3/5 at 11:05A
• Last year’s race was held on April 8. Sebastian Vettel started from the pole and he went on to win the race. The two Mercedes drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finished in second and third place behind him.
• There has only been one prior Grand Prix so far this year, the Australian Grand Prix. Bottas was the clear winner ahead of his teammate Hamilton. Max Verstappen was third in his Red Bull car. The Ferraris seemed to be uncompetitive, finishing in fourth (Vettel) and fifth (Leclerc) places.
Click HERE for the Bahrain GP Entry List.

4. NASCAR MENCS O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
• 1.5-mile oval; 334 laps = 501 mi; Stages: 85/85/164 laps
• TV: FOX/TSN1/3 at 3:00P
• Last year’s race was held on April 8 with the Xfinity race as the supporting event. This race was won by Kyle Busch over Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray. McMurray is no longer a full time race driver.
• The previous Cup race was held last Sunday at Martinsville. It was won Brad Keselowski – his second win so far this year, finishing ahead of Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.
• The preliminary entry list has 40 cars. A maximum of 40 cars are allowed to start a MENCS race.
Click HERE for the MENCS Entry List.

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