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Race Weekend Preview – September 14-15-16, 2018

This weekend, we are watching five races and a concours:

Friday, September 14
1. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series World of Westgate 200, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (9:00P on FSR)

Saturday, September 15
2. NASCAR Xfinity DC Solar 300, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (5:00P on TSN2)

Sunday, September 16
3. FIA Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore (8:05A on TSN1/3/4)
4. NASCAR MENCS South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:00P on TSN 1/4)
5. Verizon IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma, Sonoma Raceway, CA (6:30P on SN360)
6. Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cobble Beach (near Owen Sound, ON)

Formula One Singapore Grand Prix

This week’s Grand Prix will be held on the 5.063-km Marina Bay circuit which runs through the streets of Singapore. The Singapore GP has run each year since its inaugural year of 2008. The current contract with Formula One extends for a further three years through to 2021.
Last year’s winner here was Lewis Hamilton with Daniel Ricciardo second and Valtteri Bottas third. Neither Ferrari finished the race.
Two weeks ago, in the Italian GP at Monza, Lewis Hamilton was the winner over polesitter Kimi Räikkönen while Sebastian Vettel, who had started from the front row, crashed on the first lap and recovered to finish in fifth place.
With seven races left in the 2018 season, Hamilton has a 30-point lead over Vettel (256 points to 226). A race win is worth 25 points.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma

This weekend’s Indy car race from the Sonoma wine county is the season finale for this series. An Indy car race has been run here at this road course circuit across the Golden Gate Bridge north of San Francisco each year since 2005 but next year this season-end date will move to Laguna Seca near Monterey.
Last year’s winner here was Simon Pagenaud in his Team Penske car. The winner of the most recent race this year, run on the Portland road course, was Takuma Sato.
As it was at the Indy 500, this finale event is worth double championship points making the race win worth 100 points. Going into this race Scott Dixon is leading the championship battle with 598 points, 29 points ahead of Alexander Rossi and 87 points ahead of Will Power and Josef Newgarden who are tied for third in the points standings.

NASCAR MENCS South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

This weekend the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval will be hosting all three of the national NASCAR series. The Cup series has been running here every year since 1998 but it was not part of the playoffs last year. That 2017 race was won by Martin Truex. This year there are two races at Las Vegas, the first was won by Kevin Harvick in March.
The most recent Cup winner this year was Brian Keselowski who beat his way past Denny Hamlin to win at Indianapolis.
The Las Vegas Cup race is the first race in the 10-race playoff series which will determine the 2018 champion. The Big Three of Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex are the favourites to win the title, having won seven, six and four races each respectively. However the playoff system is designed to give the other 13 drivers who have qualified for the playoffs a chance to win the championship – race wins in the next ten races will play an important part in determining who will be the champion when it is all done.

NASCAR Xfinity DC Solar 300, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

For the Xfinity Series, the Las Vegas race will be the final race of the regular season that will determine which 12 drivers will be eligible to compete for the series championship in the seven-race Xfinity playoffs.
Last week Justin Allgaier won at Indianapolis over teammate Tyler Reddick. The Cup drivers who have competed in this series over the season are not eligible to participate in the playoff races so they have no chance to compete for the Xfinity Series championship.
Last year, the Las Vegas round was in March and it was won by Cup driver Joey Logano. The last race of the 2017 regular season ran at Chicagoland and Cup driver Erik Jones was the winner. This year there are two Las Vegas Xfinity races. The March 2018 race was won by Cup driver Kyle Larson
Given the participation of Cup drivers in this series, only three Xfinity regulars have scored race wins so far this year – and they have to be the favourites to win the championship. These three are Allgaier (five wins), Christopher Bell (four wins) and Tyler Reddick (one win).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series World of Westgate 200, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The recent race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was the first round of the playoffs for the truck series. The Las Vegas race is the second race in the three-race “Round of Eight” eliminations.
Last year, this truck race at Las Vegas occupied the same position in the schedule – the second race of the seven-race playoff schedule. It was won by Ben Rhodes who is one of the playoff-eligible drivers again this year. The most recent race winner – at the ‘Mosport’ road course – was Justin Haley over John Hunter Nemechek.
The top two race winners during the regular season were Johnny Sauter and Brett Moffitt with five and four wins each. Given his strong, consistent performance throughout the regular season, Sauter has to be the one to watch in this championship playoff.

Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

The sixth annual Cobble Beach Concours will be held this weekend at the Cobble Beach resort near Owen Sound at the foot of the Bruce Peninsula.
This event is now well-established at the premier collectible car show in Canada - a must-see for any car enthusiast. It is well worth the two hours or so drive up from Ontario’s metropolitan areas to see it.
If you have gone before keep I mind that the rules which bar a car owner from entering the same car year-after-year ensures that this year’s edition of the concours will have a fresh entry of ‘concours-quality’ cars.
Our own Howard Cohen is on the site already and he will be filing his report from there after the winners are announced on Sunday.

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