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PREVIEW: F1 at Monza; IMSA at Road Atlanta; NASCAR at Darlington

Saturday, September 5

1. IMSA WeatherTech Series TireRack.com Grand Prix, Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
• TV: Discovery Velocity at 11:30A-6:00P
• Road Atlanta is a 2.54 mi road course; race length is six hours
• This six-hour is a stand-in for the cancelled Watkins Glen six-hour race; the traditional 10-hour Petit Le Mans race will run here at Road Atlanta on October 17.
• Last year at Watkins Glen, the two Mazda DPi cars finished one-two; the winning car driven by Bomarito/Pla/Tinknell.
• The most recent IMSA WeatherTech Race which included the DPi class cars was at Road America five weeks ago. That race, which had periods of heavy rain, was won by Castroneves/R. Taylor in an Acura DPi entry. Ryan Briscoe/van der Zande finished second in a Cadillac DPi.
• Click HERE for the entry list of this IMSA WeatherTech Race
• Click HERE for the entry list for the accompanying IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

2. NASCAR Xfinity Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200, Darlington Raceway
• TV: NBC/TSN5 at 12:30P
• Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mi egg-shaped oval with 23̊ and 25̊ bankings; 147 laps = 200.1 mi; Stages: 45/45/57
• Four races remain in the regular season for the Xfinity Series
• Last year’s Xfinity race here was won by Cole Custer. Tyler Reddick was second, Ryan Blaney was third and Christopher Bell fourth. All four of those drivers are Cup regulars this year. Chase Briscoe, who finished sixth, was the highest-placed driver who is still an Xfinity Series regular driver.
• Justin Haley won the most recent Xfinity Series race which was run at Daytona last Friday. Gray Gaulding was second (his first win in this series), and Chase Briscoe was third.
• Click HERE for the entry list for this week’s race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup for this week’s race

Sunday, September 6

3. Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken d'Italia, Monza, Italy
• TV: TSN4/5 at 9:05A
• The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza uses the 5.793 km (3.600 mi) configuration; 53 laps = 307 km
• This race at Monza is the traditional Italian Grand Prix; two more GPs in Italy at other tracks (Mugello has never hosted an F1 championship race before; the most recent F1 race at Imola was in 2006).
• Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) won from the pole last year, Valtteri Bottas and Leis Hamilton (both Mercedes) were second and third.
• The most recent F1 race was the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The Mercedes cars clearly outclassed all the competition. Lewis Hamilton led every lap on his way to the win, eight seconds ahead of his teammate Bottas. Max Verstappen was third another seven seconds back. Ferrari were totally outclassed, finishing in 13th and 14th (Vettel and Leclerc).
• Click HERE for the entry list for the Italian GP at Monza.

4. NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500, Darlington Raceway
• TV: TSN5 at 6:00P
• Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mi egg-shaped oval with 23̊ and 25̊ bankings; 367 laps = 501.3 mi; Stages: 115/115/137
• A quick overview of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs:
• A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Playoffs. The remaining spots not filled by drivers with wins will be filled by drivers who have gained access to the postseason through points.
• The number of Playoff drivers in contention for the championship will decrease after every three Playoff races, from 16 to start; 12 after race No. 3; eight after race No. 6; and four after race No. 9.
• The first three races (Nos. 27-29) will be known as the Round of 16; races 30-32 will be known as the Round of 12; races 33-35 will be the Round of 8; and race No. 36 will be the Championship 4.
• A win by a championship-eligible driver in any Playoff race automatically clinches the winning driver a spot in the next Playoff round.
• Four drivers will enter the Championship 4 race with a chance at the title, with the highest finisher among those four capturing the prestigious NASCAR Cup Series championship and the Bill France Cup.
• Eric Jones won the Southern 500 here last year. Kyle Larson was second and Kyle Busch was third.
• Last week’s Cup Series race was the postponed Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona. William Byron squeaked through a mess of cars on the final lap to win the race. In the melee behind him, Chase Elliot was credited with second ahead of Denny Hamlin.
• Click HERE for the entry list for this week’s race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup for this week’s race

5. NASCAR NGROTS Trucks South Carolina Education Lottery 200, Darlington Raceway
• TV: Fox Sports Racing at 10:00P (Note: This is a same-day delayed broadcast; the race actually will start at 2:00P Sunday); live scoring and radio on nascar.com
• Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mi egg-shaped oval with 23̊ and 25̊ bankings; 147 laps = 200.1 mi; Stages: 45/45/57
• This NGROTS race at Darlington is a replacement for the cancelled race that was originally scheduled for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Three more races (including this one at Darlington), remain in the regualr season schedule before the NGROTS Playoff start at Las Vegas.
• Last year’s CTMP race (a road course) was won by Brett Moffitt over the Canadian driver Alex Tagliani and Ben Rhodes. Sheldon Creed was fourth and Austin Hill was fifth. Not that these results from CTMP have any bearing on what might happen at Darlington this weekend.
• Last week the Truck Series ran alongside the Indy cars at the WWTR at Gateway. Sheldon Creed was the winner for his third time this year. Moffitt was second and Austin Hill was third.
• Click HERE for the entry list for this week’s race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup for this week’s race

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