What, Why and Where to Watch Racing on TV for Oct. 23-25

Scott Dixon hopes to move one step closer to the top step of the IndyCar all-time champions list this week at the IndyCar finale in St. Petersburg, Fla.

With five championships, Dixon hopes to pull to within one of A.J. Foyt’s all-time mark. Dixon enters the weekend with a 32-point lead over Josef Newgarden. While there are 19,872 different point scenarios (we trust IndyCar’s math on that one), it’s hard not to like Dixon’s chances. If he finishes ninth or better, Newgarden can’t catch him.

So, let’s put the spotlight on Florida this weekend. Meanwhile F1 makes its first trip to Portugal in more than two decades, the NASCAR Playoffs continue at Texas and the NHRA is in the Greater Houston area for its second-to-last race weekend of the season.

Here’s were to find this week’s major action, and why you won’t want to miss it:


What: NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Sun.)

Where: Steets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Why it is a Must-See: It the sweason finale. It’s a chance to see the top two IndyCar drivers in recent history (Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden) go head to head, and it’s a chance to see sunny Florida on TV and wish you were there. What more do you need?

What to Watch:

• Just watch Scott Dixon. If he finishes in the top nine, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does—the championship is Dixon’s. Dixon and Josef Newgarden have combined for the last three and five of the last seven IndyCar championships. The streak will continue, one way o another.

• Colton Herta is not going to win a championship this year, as he’s 101 points back of Dixon. Still, we’re seeing a star in the making. A third-place finish in the championship would firmly put in the “future superstar” category.

• Team Penske has nine wins and nine poles at the 1.8-mile temporary street course, and Will Power loves the place and has two wins and eight of the poles in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Power comes into the weekend just 13 points back of Herta. Power is not ready to yield to the sport’s future just yet.

Where to Find the Action:


NTT IndyCar Series Practice, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 10:55 a.m., NBC Sports Gold (L)

NTT IndyCar Series Qualifying, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 3:05 p.m., NBC Sports Gold (L)

NTT IndyCar Series Qualifying, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 8 p.m., NBCSN (S)


NTT IndyCar Series Warm-up, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 10:40 a.m., NBC Sports Gold (L)

NTT IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 2:30 p.m., NBC (L)


What: F1 Portuguese Grand Prix

Where: Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal.

Why it is a Must-See: As part of the Formula 1 so-called coronavirus calendar, the Portuguese Grand Prix will be the first F1 race in that country since 1996. Mercedes could clinch the Constructors’ Championship and Lewis Hamilton can win pass Michael Schumacher on the all-time wins list.

What to Watch:

• Mercedes can win its seventh consecutive F1 Constructors’ title this weekend. Mercedes has 391 points, 180 clear of second-placed Red Bull. To clinch the title this week, Mercedes would need to score 40 points or more than Red Bull. After those two, it’s a logjam, as Racing Point, McLaren and Renault are separated by just six points. That battle will be fun.

• On the flip side of the F1 Constructors’ standings, it’s just as crazy, as Alfa Romeo has five points, Haas three and Williams is scoreless. Sure, it’s the battle for eighth, but there’s money at stake and there’s pride on the line.

• Haas F1 Team will go to battle with two lame duck drivers, as both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were told this week that their services will be no longer needed at season’s end. Will they be going through the motions or auditioning for other teams (and maybe other series)?

• And keep an eye on Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. Sure, they’re both scoreless and they’re both under contract for 2021. That doesn’t mean the new owners at Dorilton Capital aren’t exploring their options.

Where to Find the Action:


Formula 1 Welcome to the Weekend Preview, Algarve, Portugal; 5:30 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix Practice 1, Algarve, Portugal; 5:55 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix Practice 2, Algarve, Portugal; 9:55 a.m., ESPN2 (L)


Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix Practice 3, Algarve, Portugal; 5:55 a.m., ESPN (L)

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix Qualifying, Algarve, Portugal; 8:55 a.m., ESPN2 (L)


Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Algarve, Portugal; 9 a.m., ESPN2 (L)

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Algarve, Portugal; 5:35 p.m, ESPNEWS (S)

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Algarve, Portugal; 10 p.m, ESPN2 (S)


What: Mopar Express NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil (Sun.)

Where: Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, Texas.

Why it is a Must-See: This is the second-to-last race weekend of a stop-and-go NHRA season that has included everything from coronavirus shutdowns to champions sitting out the season to title sponsors getting sued. Never a dull moment. Oh, and the major class championships are still up for grabs. What’s not to like?

What to Watch:

• Taking it from the top, the Top Fuel class has the biggest gap between first and second place. Steve Torrence has a 51-point lead on runner-up Doug Kalitta, as Torrence tries to become the back-to-back-to-back champion since Tony Schumacher won six championships in a row from 2004-2009. Leah Pruett is a distant third in Top Fuel, 148 points back.

• In Funny Car, the Don Schumacher Racing Show continues (or so the team hopes) as DSR goes for its record-extending 13th consecutive event win in the class. DSR drivers occupy the top four places in the standings, as Matt Hagan leads last week’s winner Jack Beckman by just four points. Tommy Johnson Jr. is third, 77 points back. Ron Capps is fourth, 174 off the pace but would love to play spoiler.

• Pro Stock is another close category as three-time champions Erica Enders and Jason Line are separated by just 31 points. Jeg Coughlin Jr. is next, 93 points back and is pretty much in a must-win situation this week.

• In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith looks to be on track to take another step toward a fourth championship. He leads Scotty Pollacheck by 49 points.

Where to Find the Action:


NHRA Qualifying, Baytown, Texas; 9 a.m., FS1 (T)

Mopar Express NHRA SpringNationals, Baytown, Texas; 2 p.m., FS1 (L)


What: NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (Sat.), NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400 (Sun.), NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (Sun.)

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.

Why it is a Must-See: This is Race 2 in the three-race Round of 8 in each of the three major NASCAR series. Win and you’re in is still in play. Race 1 winners (drivers who are in the Championship 4 are Joey Logano (Cup), Chase Briscoe (Xfinity) and Brett Moffitt (Trucks).

What to Watch:

• Kevin Harvick has won the last three Texas Playoff races on the Cup side and can tie Jimmie Johnson’s record of four consecutive with a victory this weekend. Harvick has a big points cushion in his bid to qualify for the Championship 4, but a win at Texas would make it a slam dunk.

• Denny Hamlin will be looking to rebound this weekend after finishing 15th at Kansas to start the Round of 8. Hamlin is third in Playoff standings, 20 points above the Championship 4 cutoff. He’s trying to make the Championship 4 round for the third time in his career (2014, 2019).

• Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott are 4-5 in the standings and on opposite sides of the cutline, separated by just eight points. This battle could be fun.

• On the Xfinity side, Austin Cindric won earlier this year at Texas. Justin Allgaier won both stages and ended up finishing third. Briscoe finished second. Cindric and Allgaier are currently second and fourth in the standings. Brandon Jones is third.

• In Trucks, keep an eye on Grant Enfinger. He is fifth in the standing and the first driver below the cutline. He’ll will be making his eighth start at the track. He’s been strong at Texas with four top fives and six top 10s in his seven total starts. He has never finished worse than 12th.

Where to Find the Action:


NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, Fort Worth, Texas; 4:30 p.m., NBCSN (L)


NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400, noon, Fort Worth, Texas; noon, FS1 (L).

NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, Fort Worth, Texas; 3:30 p.m., NBCSN (L)

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