The return of Formula 1 highlights a major weekend in racing.
Formula 1 – Belgian Grand Prix
Sunday, August 28th – 9:00 p.m. ET – EPN
After a long Summer break, Formula 1 is back to close out the year with another nine races. Max Verstappen remains in control of the driver’s championship and qualified fastest today, but this weekend’s race grid will look very different after a series of grid penalties for major drivers looking to get ahead of engine wear.
Alongside Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon also took engine replacement grid penalties from the top five in qualifying. That leaves Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Perez on the front row, followed by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. The grid quickly gets more strange, with recently-extended Williams driver Alex Albon in sixth and recently-dropped McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo in seventh. Verstappen, Leclerc, and Ocon will start 15th through 17th and will have a tall task ahead of themselves on race day.
IMSA – Virgina Internatinoal Raceway
Sunday, August 28th – 2:00 p.m. ET – CNBC
The second-to-last IMSA race of the year is also the season’s final GT-only event. With Petit Le Mans set to finish out the season in a month, this is the last sprint race of the year and the last chance for Lexus driver Ben Barnicoat to close in on what has become a dominant championship lead for Pfaff and Porsche’s pairing of Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet. While the Pfaff entry has not mathematically clinched the championship, it will effectively just need to start the next two races to claim the honors.
The championship fight in the pro-am GTD class is much more competitive. Four teams from four manufacturers sit within 100 points of the title lead, with a fifth team from a fifth manufacturer just 125 points back.
NASCAR – Daytona
Saturday, August 27th – 7:00 p.m. ET – NBC
NASCAR’s regular season ends here, at a Daytona race that is suddenly much less dramatic than it had projected to be before Kurt Busch announced he would be stepping away from playoff contention to continue healing from a crash at Pocono last month. Right now, the field of 16 is firmly set and all of the other scenarios in play are very straightforward: If a surprise winner takes the victory tonight, the lower of Ryan Blaney or Martin Truex Jr. will be eliminated from championship contention. If anyone that is already in the playoff field, behind 30th in driver’s points, or not competing for points in the NASCAR Cup Series wins the race, both Truex and Blaney will comfortably make the field on points.
Blaney leads Truex by 25 points, about half a race worth of points in this stage racing era, and would be most likely to be eliminated on points if he either crashes out late or allows Truex to score major points in both stages without scoring any stage points himself. While Daytona generally rewards more aggressive strategies, both Truex and Blaney will be more focused on staying in position to score those points. For everyone else not already in the playoffs, the strategy is simple: Win at all costs.
Keyword: Where to Watch NASCAR, IMSA, and F1 This Weekend (August 28th , 2022)