A great week-end of racing is just ahead

11 June 1999

By Dave Treffer
The Auto Channel

Hope the remote control to your television set is in good-working order. You will need new batteries by the time this week-end is over. Racing's version of sensory overload is about to leave the station. Sportscar Racing (Le Mans), IRL (Texas), Winston Cup(Michigan), Busch(Virginia), Craftsman Trucks(Texas) and Formula One (Canada) are all racing this week-end. With the right television equipment you can be part of this endurance extravaganza. The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts off the week-end with TV coverage beginning at 9:30am EST with the race being started at 10:00am EST. The coverage will stay with the most famous endurance race in the world until it's time to televise Formula One qualifying from Canada.

Following the F1 qualifying, the focus of attention will shift to Jackson, Michigan for NASCAR qualifying of Sunday's Winston Cup race at the two-mile oval. You might think your done for the day. Well guess what you thought wrong. The Indy Racing League Longhorn 500km from Texas gets underway at 8:00pm EST. Here's where the fun begins if you have only one television. Do you watch the coverage from Le Mans or open-wheel racing? Hmmmm.....

Last year, via the use of a friend's satellite dish, not the off the shelf $189.00 18" inch dish but a real McCoy (West Virginia Wildflower) satellite dish, I was able to watch over 36 hours of racing. By Sunday night, with eyes glazed over, I truly defined the meaning of couch potato. It was in one word...wonderful.

Will this year be the same? No. Last year CART was racing in Detroit. CART moved the date realizing that to hold two races in the same state within 50 miles of one another would be, to put it mildly,... disastrous for them. Going head to head with NASCAR Winston Cup in a promotional battle is one that NASCAR will always win. Besides the weather in June in Michigan is sometimes a hit and miss proposition. CART will hopefully be rewarded with three brilliant days of sunshine in August.

So what does one do to prepare for this week-end. For starters, go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow, start out slowly..pace yourself. Start out with breakfast at Le Mans similar to what tennis fans do with Wimbledon. Thankfully, Bud Collins will not be doing the play by play of the race coverage. The coverage for Le Mans will stay for the first three hours and then switch to Canada for the F1qualifying. Just as that is finishing the Busch race from South Boston will be getting underway. Between the Busch race and the start of the IRL is where you take nap #1. After the coverage ends for the IRL race tomorrow night take nap #2. The fun really begins around 2:00 am Sunday morning. Le Mans is 8 hours from finishing. Hopefully the anticipated battle between Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Panoz has developed.. The pressure on Toyota to win this year is excruciating. Should Panoz somehow pull off an upset victory all of France might just take the day off on Monday. Any excuse for a day off except for a German made vehicle. I digress.

By 9:30am EST(Sunday morning), the eyelids will be getting heavy once again. Try to stay focused for one more hour. The celebration after the 24 Hours of Le Mans is similar to that of World Cup Football. Can you define the word bedlam or maybe controlled (oxymoronic) chaos? The waving of flags, splashing of champagne and out and out celebration is a spectacle in itself. After the Le Mans broadcast terminates you can catch nap#3. Before you can say "gentlemen start your engines" the next few hours of racing coverage begin. The pre-race show for both the NASCAR Winston Cup race and F1 is always filled with information. Sometimes the information passed along is actually useful.

Once again, you will be utilizing the TV clicker like you did last night during the IRL race. One should never miss a start of a F1 race. Remember last year's flying school lessons? Hopefully, the world's..ahem..best driver's will get it right this year. For those of you who do not follow NASCAR...well you might want to make an exception for the race at Michigan. It is a fun race to watch.

So there you have it...a wonderful week-end of racing. So go get some sleep you'll need it.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery

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