Chicago Auto Show Blog

Racing's Greatest Weekend!

Posted by: Mark Bilek

If you are a speed freak, you've been waiting for this weekend all year. It's one of the few times you can plop down on the couch and watch F1, IndyCar and NASCAR all in a row. So order some takeout, pack the cooler full of beer and strap yourself in!

Kicking off the festival of speed is the Formula One race from Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix has been run since 1929 and is widely considered to be the most important and prestigious race on the F1 calendar. It's held on a narrow course laid out on the streets of Monaco. It sports elevation changes, a long tunnel and tight corners. Though speeds are relatively tame by modern standards and it's a very tough place to pass, the eye-catching scenery makes it a sight to behold and a perfect kickoff for your day of race watching. You can catch the Monaco Grand Prix on NBC starting at 6:30 a.m.

Once the F1 race concludes you can take a quick nap (if you weren't already put to sleep by the parade on the streets of Monaco), but be sure to set your alarm for 11 a.m. That's when the pre-race festivities for the 99th running of the Greatest Spectacle of Racing kicks off. The Indianapolis 500 is arguably the most famous race in the world and is the largest single-day spectator event in the world. This year, there's plenty of intrigue with the addition of new Honda and Chevrolet aerodynamic body kits to the cars that are designed to make them go faster - as if laps at 230 mph weren't fast enough! Scott Dixon is on the pole for the race in his familiar Target car, but leading the field in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pace car will be none other than four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon. The green flag drops just after noon Chicago time on ABC.

After pacing the field at Indy, Gordon will have to hot foot it over to a private jet and get to Charlotte for the final big race of the day, the Coca-Cola 600. At 600 miles it's the longest race on the NASCAR schedule and the perfect way to wind down your race watching. Pre-race starts at 4:30 over on the FOX network.

My picks? F1 is easy, as one team is dominating the season. Lewis Hamilton is likely to clean up in his Mercedes. NASCAR? Well that's a tougher call, but I'm a big fan of the Steward Hass Racing team. So I'd say either Kevin Harvick or Kurt Busch. Indy? That's a lot tougher call, anyone of a dozen drivers have a legitimate chance to win the race. The easy thing would be to pick a Penske, Ganassi or Andretti driver but I'm going out on a limb and say Ed Carpenter. He's the hometown boy, is driving a Chevrolet-powered car (which seems to have the edge this year), has been fast on ovals and has something to prove.


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