Aug. 7-9 Weekend Racing Blowout: What, Why and Where to Watch on TV

Mike Pryson
·6 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

From Autoweek

Will the tires hold up at Silverstone? Will the Big 3 dominate the NASCAR Cup Series Saturday-Sunday doubleheader on the big 2-mile track at Michigan. Will the NHRA get through an entire weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway?

So many questions, so few fans allowed at the racetrack (none at Michigan or Silverstone, limited for NHRA at Indianapolis).

Here's a look at where to find the major racing action this weekend and where to find it on that dial. OK, no emails or nasty comments please. We know TV dials went out with the rotary dial telephone.

Man, I miss TV dinners. Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes were my favorite.

Photo credit: Bryn Lennon - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bryn Lennon - Getty Images

Formula 1

What: F1 British Grand Prix

Where: Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, England

When: Sunday, 9 a.m.

Why It Is a Must-See: Expect a lot of prerace pageantry, or as much as a promoter can produce during a pandemic with no fans in the stands. In fact, the locals are being asked to stay far away from the Silverstone Circuit. No peeking through the fences, either. This one is celebrating the 70th anniversary of what is considered to be the first F1 championship race of the modern era. And, once again, there's some early morning (or is it late night?) Formula 3 action over on the premium ESPN+ service ($4.99 a month).

What to Watch:

Everyone, from fans to drivers to teams to Pirelli executives, will be watching the tires in this one. Last week, in the first of back-to-back races at Silverstone, what looked to be another F1 parade to the finish turned upside down when the Mercedes of race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both experienced massive tire failure over the final two laps. Hamilton held things together for the win, one that produced more drama than even he expected.

There wasn't supposed to be a battle for third in the Constructors' Championship this year, but that's exactly what we've got heading into Silverstone. McLaren (51 points, Ferrari (43), Racing Point (42) and Renault (32) are within 20 points of third place behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

• Nico Hulkenberg, who last raced for Renault in 2019, was pulled into emergency duty last weekend after Racing Point's Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19. Hulkenberg, however, never got to start after his car failed to fire. Guarantee his car fires up this week. Either that, or there will be a job opening over at Racing Point in the tech department.

Where to Find the Action:

FRIDAY, AUG. 7

Formula 3 Practice, Silverstone, Britain; 4:35 a.m., ESPN+ (L)

Formula 1 Welcome to the Weekend Preview Show, Silverstone, Britain; 5:30 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 1 Practice 1, Silverstone, Britain; 5:55 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 3 Qualifying, Silverstone, Britain; 9 a.m., ESPN+ (L)

Formula 1 Practice 2, Silverstone, Britain; 9:55 a.m.; ESPN2 (L)

SATURDAY, AUG. 8

Formula 3 Race 1, Silverstone, Britain; 4:25 a.m., ESPN+ (L)

Formula 1 Practice 3, Silverstone, Britain; 5:55 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 1 Qualifying, Silverstone, Britain; 8:55 a.m., ESPN (L)

SUNDAY, AUG. 9

Formula 3 Race 2, Silverstone, Britain; 3:45 a.m., ESPN+ (L)

Formula 1 Grand Prix Sunday Preview Show, Silverstone, Britain; 7:30 a.m., ESPN (L)

Formula 1 Emirates 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone, Britain; 9 a.m., ESPN (L)

Formula 1 Emirates 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone, Britain; 9 p.m., ESPN2 (S)

Formula 1 Emirates 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone, Britain; midnight, ESPNEWS (S)

Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton - Getty Images

NASCAR

What: NASCAR Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400 (Sat.), Consumers Energy 400 (Sun.); NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180 (Sat.); NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (Fri.).

Where: Cup and Trucks at Brooklyn, Mich.; Xfinity at Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Why It Is a Must-See: NASCAR's second weekend doubleheader of the season could go a long way toward determining the NASCAR Playoff field.

What to Watch:

• While most eyes will be on the leaders, the fun might be going on a little further back in the pack when Tyler Reddick in the No. 8 and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 would are currently on the outside looking in for the postseason. A win gets them in, or they'll need to start stringing some strong finishes to get in on points. And there are only six races until the playoffs.

Brad Keselowski, who grew up less than 90 miles from Michigan International Speedway, is 0-for-21 in the Cup series Brooklyn, Mich. He's finshed second there twice and third on three other occasions. This is the first time he won't be coming to his home track with a flood of ticket requests and sponsor obligations awaiting. Fewer distractions might just make him a smart pick. And his manufacturer (Ford) has won the last four Cup races at MIS.

• The Truck Series has put on some great shows at Michigan in recent years. Keep an eye on Austin Hill in the No. 16 Toyota. He leads the series in points, has nine top-10s in 10 races, and he won at Michigan last year.

Where to Find the Action:

FRIDAY, AUG. 7

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race, Brooklyn, Mich.; 6 p.m., FS1 (L)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race, Brooklyn, Mich.; 1 a.m., FS1 (S)

SATURDAY, AUG. 8

NASCAR Xfinity Series Henry 180, Elkhart Lake, Wis.; noon, NBCSN (L)

NASCAR Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400, Brooklyn, Mich.; 4 p.m., NBCSN (L)

SUNDAY, AUG. 9

NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400, Brooklyn, Mich.; 4:30 p.m., NBCSN (L)

Photo credit: RON LEWIS
Photo credit: RON LEWIS

NHRA

What: Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil

Where: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis

Why It Is a Must-See: This will be just the fifth NHRA Mello Yello Series race of the season, and third at Lucas Oil Raceway. With an uncertain schedule going forward (hey, this COVID-19 thing is not going away), teams will be racing with urgency.

What to Watch:

Don't watch for John Force, Brittany Force, Robert Hight or Austin Prock. John Force Racing has shut it down for 2020.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class is back in action, along with Flyin’ Ryan Oehler, a first-time victor at the season restart at this same venue.

T.J. Zizzo and Justin Ashley were first-time Top Fuel finalists at the previous race, also at Lucas Oil Raceway, and Pro Modified will crown a new winner—either Jason Scruggs or Chad Green—when the rain-delayed event finishes Labor Day weekend. Let's see if they can keep it rolling.

Will the NHRA make more schedule changes, as tighter public-health restrictions cast doubt on its ambitious nine-state, spectator-invited trek that's set to follow this event? Will it announce the Sept. 3-6 U.S. Nationals as the season finale? The rumor mill has been working overtime.

Where to Find the Action:

NHRA Qualifying, Indianapolis; 11 a.m., FS1 (T)

NHRA Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals, Indianapolis; 1 p.m., Fox (L)