Friday, June 18, 2010
Get ready for some left-and-right driving action as NASCAR goes road racing. For the first time the sport will visit two different road courses during a single race weekend. The Sprint Cup Series heads to wine country during its annual stop at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., while the Nationwide Series will make its debut at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Infineon is one of two road course events on the Sprint Cup schedule (the other is Watkins Glen). The 1.99-mile course has 12 turns, including the hairpin (turn 11). Drivers must be prepared for the sudden twists, turns and elevation changes. Track position is important, so expect to see drivers place even more emphasis on qualifying. Defending race winner is Kasey Kahne.
Road America is a 4-mile, 14-turn course. It's one of three road course races on the Nationwide schedule (the others are Watkins Glen and Montreal). In addition to Road America's elevation changes, speeds of 200 mph can be reached on the frontstretch. One term we'll probably be hearing a lot this weekend is "the kink." The kink refers to turn 11, located toward the back of the course and one of the track's best known features.
Also expect to see some new faces behind the wheel. Infineon and Road America give some teams the chance to bring in road course ringers: typically non-NASCAR drivers who are experts on road courses and are expected to qualify the car for the race and get a good finish. The practice is common among those teams trying to stay in the top 35 in points in Cup and the top 30 in Nationwide.
The Camping World Truck Series is on hiatus until July 11.
The following is a schedule of track events and race coverage this weekend at Infineon and Road America. All times are in Eastern Standard Time (Note: Events with no TV channel listed will not be televised).
Friday, June 18:
2:00 p.m. NASCAR Live at Infineon, SPEED
2:00 p.m. Nationwide practice at Road America
3:00 p.m. Sprint Cup practice at Infineon, SPEED (rerun at 1 a.m.)
4:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
5:00 p.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
5:00 p.m. Nationwide practice at Road America
6:00 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
6:30 p.m. Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED (rerun at 9:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.)
8:30 p.m. Trackside at Infineon, SPEED. Marcos Ambrose, Robby Gordon, Roger Craig, race grand marshall and former San Francisco 49ers running back. (rerun at 11:30 p.m.)
Saturday, June 19:
10:30 a.m. Nationwide qualifying at Road America (click here for live leaderboard)
11:30 a.m. NASCAR Live at Infineon, SPEED
12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup practice at Infineon, SPEED
1:30 p.m. Sprint Cup final practice at Infineon, SPEED
3:00 p.m. Nationwide Countdown at Road America, ESPN2
3:30 p.m. Natonwide race at Road America: Bucyrus 200 presented by Menards, ESPN2. Green flag: 3:51 p.m. or 3:58 p.m. (rerun at 1:30 a.m.)
10:00 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
10:30 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
Sunday, June 20:
10:30 a.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
11 a.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
11:30 a.m. NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
12 noon NASCAR RaceDay at Infineon, SPEED
2:00 p.m. Countdown to Green, TNT
3:00 p.m. Sprint Cup race at Infineon: Toyota/SaveMart 350, TNT. Green flag: 3:19 p.m.
8:00 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday)
PHOTOS: Top: 2009 Sprint Cup race at Infineon (Robert Laberge/Getty Images). Right: Nationwide practice on Thursday at Road America (James H. Heine/Editorial Solutions).