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This Weekend in Auto Racing (Might 1st, 2021)

f1 grand prix of portugal qualifying

Clive Mason – System 1Getty Pictures

System 1 – Portuguese Grand Prix
Sunday, Might 2nd – 10:00 a.m. ET – ESPN – Streaming
on the ESPN app

The Portuguese Grand Prix, lastly added in February of this yr, is as soon as once more again on the schedule, and meaning simply the second System 1 race on the Algarve Worldwide Circuit. The re-scheduled occasion, the second of the younger season, can also be the second consecutive race to be run in Europe after an off weekend. Because of this, automobiles have been improved.

That is dangerous information for Purple Bull, whose slim lead over Mercedes at Bahrain had already was a small deficit by the point the groups arrived at Imola. After immediately’s qualifying classes, there are causes to consider that the Mercedes program is pulling additional away.

Valtteri Bottas will begin on pole, a entrance row lock-out with Lewis Hamilton. Bottas set a time 4/10ths of a second forward of Max Verstappen’s Purple Bull, 7/10ths forward of the primary competitor from any non-Purple Bull crew. The qualifying tempo bodes poorly for the competitors, who’ve seen within the final two races that the Mercedes appears to have distinctive race tempo whether or not or not one of many crew’s drivers qualifies on pole.

IndyCar – Texas Motor Speedway
Saturday, Might 1st – 7:00 p.m. ET – NBCSN – Streaming
on the NBC Sports activities app
Sunday, Might 2nd – 5:00 p.m. ET – NBCSN – Streaming on the NBC Sports activities app

Oval races have been tough for IndyCar to e book over the previous decade, making the schedule much less numerous with each passing season. This yr marks a brand new low: simply three complete race weekends on ovals. The weekend’s doubleheader at Texas represents half of the entire oval races this season, making this a reasonably important weekend for drivers with championship aspirations who’re stronger on ovals than street programs.

The doubleheader format is the primary concern. By internet hosting two race days in a row at an occasion that already advantages groups that put together properly, there may be little to no time time between classes for groups to use classes, and because of this little likelihood for the balance-of-power to truly change. If a driver excels in sure circumstances immediately, they could already be in a wonderful place to do the identical tomorrow. Two wins this weekend would mark half of the accessible wins this season so far, and about one-eighth of the entire schedule. In a season that shall be outlined by an in depth championship hunt, this might already be somebody’s turning level for the higher.

It is also a turning level for the more severe. The monitor is slick with the remnants of a compound referred to as PJ1, a product utilized to extend grip on sure factors of a monitor within the hopes that it’s going to enhance NASCAR races. Whereas the considering is that this makes the inventory automobile races higher at a monitor that has been identified for some non-competitive racing previously, it has been disastrous for IndyCars. In a check final month, the remnants of the product appeared to destroy grip within the higher grove, creating what was successfully a one-lane racing monitor. This makes passing harder, each growing the penalty for a quick automobile that’s pressured to the again of the sector by a mistake and growing the percentages of a crash whereas trying to make a cross within the race itself.

NASCAR – Kansas Speedway
Sunday, Might 2nd – 3:00 p.m. ET – Fox Sports activities 1 – Streaming
on the FOX Sports activities app

After 4 straight Cup races on extra attention-grabbing monitor layouts, tomorrow’s race at Kansas Speedway marks a return to the mile-and-a-half intermediates that the sequence has been attempting to resolve for the previous few years. This race is unlikely to be the one which brings thrilling racing at these “cookie cutter” tracks, however the occasion will mark a serious alternative for championship contenders looking for a win within the extra conventional elements of NASCAR’s radically new-for-2021 schedule.

Denny Hamlin continues to be on the high of that listing. The championship chief has completed within the high 5 of all however two races this season, however the story of many races has been his incapacity to transform important in-race efficiency into wins. Hamlin is the clear early favourite for the 2021 championship, however he could have a tough path to the title until he begins amassing the “playoff factors” that assist drivers coast via the game’s first two elimination rounds.

Reigning champion Chase Elliott has related considerations. All three of his teammates have race wins this season, however he has but to transform what has been persistently spectacular Hendrick Motorsports pace right into a win of his personal. For Kevin Harvick, the Stewart-Haas Racing star who has been holding the mantle alone for youthful and fewer achieved teammates, plainly he will be the solely driver at his personal crew with an opportunity to win a race each weekend. And Kyle Busch, the 2019 sequence champion who has received simply as soon as since, wants to indicate the world that he can win in less-than-optimal circumstances if he needs to be taken severely on his hunt for a 3rd title.

These type of tracks favor the favorites, however the chaotic and aggressive 2021 NASCAR season has not. This could possibly be one driver’s alternative to alter that narrative. With a lot of the remaining common season schedule made up of street programs and different extra distinctive layouts, these sorts of alternatives are much less widespread than they as soon as had been.

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