NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced last week that they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. With this 10-year partnership that will run through 2024, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN. In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC has also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC’s national series events during their portion of the season. Beginning in 2015, NBC Sports Group replaces current broadcasters TNT and ESPN in the second half of the season while FOX Sports will continue its coverage of the first half of the season. … Stewart-Haas driver Ryan Newman became just the third driver Sunday to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 from the pole, joining Kevin Harvick (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2008). Newman, who started from the pole after a track-record qualifying lap Saturday, earned his first Sprint Cup victory since April 1, 2012 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It was the 17th win of his career. … Chevrolet swept both marquee races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this season, winning the Indianapolis 500 in May with Tony Kanaan and Sunday’s Brickyard 400 with Newman. … The IZOD IndyCar Series, idle this past weekend, returns to action Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Helio Castroneves owns a 29-point lead over Scott Dixon in the series championship through 13 of 19 races. … Luca Filippi, a veteran Italian GP2 driver and former Formula One test driver for Honda, will drive the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car today during the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as the team evaluates options for the 2014 season and beyond. Canadian Alex Tagliani had been driving the team’s entry since the organization became a full-time competitor in 2012. Tagliani, who will step out of the car but remain under contract with the team through the end of the season, currently is 21st in the series championship with a pair of top-10 finishes in 13 starts. … Reigning Indy 500 champion Tony Kanaan teamed with Joey Hand to finish ninth for Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix on the speedway’s road course this past weekend. Ryan Dalziel teamed with Alex Popow to win the event.
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