Three legendary motorsport events will provide a triple header for the race fan this Sunday, May 25th.
Race 1: Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco
The day begins at one of the most spectacular settings in sports at the Monaco Grand Prix (7:30am est., NBCsports in the US). Along the streets of Monte Carlo and La Conamine, the race passes the world famous Monte Carlo harbor. If you’re not a race fan, you’ve seen Grace Kelly, James Bond(s), and Tony Stark / Iron Man at the harbor on the big screen. If you are, you know the Formula One greats that have won there: Senna, Schumacher, Lauda, and Prost.
The only current driver to win multiple times in Monaco is Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. This year, he is seeking his first win and would love for it to come on this stage. The defending champion is Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, but his teammate Lewis Hamilton is on a 4 win streak. Never count out the hungry Red Bull team. After finishing last season with a record 9 straight victories and a 4th straight championship, Sebastian Vettel has yet to find the winners podium in 2014. He and teammate Daniel Ricciardo made a run in Spain to finish 3rd and 4th. Could this be the week Red Bull breaks through? Former Monaco winners Jensen Button (McLaren) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) would like to return to glory at the crown jewel of the Formula 1 calendar as well.
The estimated actual attendance at the race is 200,000, including plenty of celebrity fans. Monte Carlo draws the stars, the fans, and the racing world.
A special note: Graham Hill (“Mr. Monaco) and Juan Pablo Montoya are the only drivers to have won both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Montoya will race Sunday in the next race on the schedule for team Penske…
Race 2: The IndyCar Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
At high noon, the stage turns to the largest sporting facility in the world for the running of the 98th Indianapolis 500 (12pm est., ABC). Indianapolis Motor Speedway produces a one of a kind experience in magnitude for the senses. It’s a modern day colosseum.
The race has produced legends of it’s own: Foyt, Unser(s), Andretti. Dubbed the “greatest spectacle in racing” by organizers, the 500 has also provided some of the most iconic moments in race history.
In this years race, Ed Carpenter takes the pole for the second straight year. He hasn’t had great results in Indianapolis and looks to change that. The odds on favorites are Helio Castroneves, who is going for his 4th Indy win; Juan Pablo Mantoya, who returns for his first race since he won in 2000; Marco Andretti, and former champ Scott Dixon. Defending champion and driver favorite Tony Kanaan will start near the back of the pack, but watch for him to make a run.
It’s the racing, the spectacle, and the chance at an exciting finish the world will tune in to see.
If it’s hard for you to understand why Jim Nabors singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” for the final time will be a great moment for 500 fans this weekend, Al Unser, Jr. explained a lot after winning the 1992 race: “Well, you just don’t know what Indy means.”
Special note: Immediately after Kurt Busch finishes the race, he will fly to Charlotte and compete in our race finale on Sunday. He is only the fourth driver to attempt the feat.
Race 3: NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Finally, all eyes move to North Carolina’s Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 (6PM est. FOX). The site of Jeff Gordon’s first win, this race starts in daylight, moves through dusk, and ends under the lights. The changing conditions affect the cars, drivers, and the track, adding to the grueling 600 mile challenge.
Like the first two races of the day, former winners at this track include legends of the sport, including Petty(s), Allison(s), Earnhardt, and Martin. Darrell Waltrip holds the win record with 5, and seven other drivers have won three times. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. has never won at essentially his home track, and Danica Patrick seeks her first NASCAR victory.
Coming in to the race, Jeff Gordon leads the Sprint points race, but Joey Lagano is the only driver with two wins and 6 top tens to start the season. As we mentioned, Kurt Busch will join Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, and John Andretti as the only drivers to race both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.
Start your DVR Engines, Race Fans