Fuel & Tires: Full weekend of racing with NASCAR, IndyCar, F1

 

Tom E. Puskar

It's another full weekend of racing action, here's what you need to know.

NASCAR SPLITS BETWEEN POCONO AND IOWA

The Sprint Cup Series hits Pocono Raceway for the second time this season with Matt Kenseth being the defending winner of last year's race. Kenseth will be looking to repeat for his third win of the season. Kurt Busch won the June race at the track.

—Points leader Kevin Harvick will be racing without crew chief Rodney Childers, who was suspended by NASCAR for one race following a lug nut violation at last Sunday's race in Indianapolis.

—Jeff Gordon returns to the No. 88 Chevrolet, filling in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gordon finished 13th last week but admitted struggling on restarts. Gordon won at Pocono six times during his career, so if he can sort out his issues on restarts, he may find victory lane for a seventh time.

—The Camping World Truck Series will also be at Pocono for Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150. Points leader William Byron has won four times this season and leads Matt Crafton by nine points.

—The Xfinity Series will race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for the second time this season, though without any full-time Sprint Cup drivers in the field.

—Sam Hornish Jr., who won the previous race at Iowa, will return to the series in the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Hornish was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing when he won in June.

—Coverage of the Pocono Mountains 150 starts at noon Saturday on Fox Sports 1; coverage of the US Cellular 250 starts at 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC Sports Network; and coverage of the Pennsylvania 400 starts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, also on NBC Sports Network.

INDYCAR IN MID-OHIO

The Verizon IndyCar Series will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200. Ohio native Graham Rahal will be looking to defend his win last season while Will Power will be looking for first win at the track and his fourth win in the last five races.

—Defending series champion Scott Dixon has won this race five times and will be looking for his second win of the season. It was announced this week that Dixon's longtime sponsor, Target, would be leaving the series at the end of the season. Target began sponsoring cars for the Chip Ganassi Racing team in 1990 and is arguably the most visible sponsor in the series. The team won 101 races, 11 championships and four Indianapolis 500s with Target as the primary sponsor.

—With only five races remaining this season, points leader Simon Pagenaud holds a 47-point lead over teammate Power. However, the season finale race at Sonoma Raceway will pay double points, so the title race is far from finished.

—One of the most memorable moments of IndyCar at Mid-Ohio for me was a frightening crash involving Michael Andretti, who was my favorite driver, in 1998. Andretti was uninjured in the crash but it showed how safe those cars really were.

—Coverage of the Honda Indy 200 starts at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on CNBC.

FORMULA ONE HEADS TO GERMANY

Formula One will hold the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring before taking its annual four-week summer break. The race was not held last year, but Nico Rosberg was victorious on his home soil in 2014.

—Following his fifth win of the season last week in Hungary, Lewis Hamilton now leads his Mercedes teammate Rosberg by six points in the championship. Rosberg, who held the points lead up until his second-place finish in Hungary, needs to stop the bleeding by beating Hamilton, who has won at the track twice.

—Through eleven races so far this season, only the Spanish Grand Prix saw a Mercedes driver not finish first or second. In that race, Hamilton and Rosberg collided and did not finish, handing the win to Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

—Coverage of the German Grand Prix starts at 6:30 a.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Network.

LOCAL RACES

Madison International Speedway will have Mid-American Stock Cars, Great Northern Sportsman, Midwest Trucks and Midwest Dash at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Rockford Speedway will have Sportsman, Short Tracker, Roadrunner and American Stock Car features at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Jefferson Speedway will have a full racing program starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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