Motorsports this weekend: March 25-26

While Formula 1 takes a break ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, this weekend sees the start of the Indy Racing League and MotoGP seasons, and a return to action for the World Rally Championship series.

North American TV coverage is shown where available (all times Eastern).

Toyota may have dropped out of the IRL engine business, but the company is still sponsoring the opening race of the 2006 season, the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In Friday practice, 2005 champion Dan Wheldon topped the charts at 215.56 mph.

The story of the weekend will be the debut of young Marco Andretti (pictured during Friday practice). The third-generation Indy Car driver has some pretty good coaches in attendance at Homestead, including father and team owner Michael Andretti, and grandfather Mario.

ABC, Sunday 3:30pm ET.

[More after the jump] WRC:
Rally Catalunya is underway in Spain, but unfortunately the event has already been marred by the death of a co-driver in the junior world championship. German Joerg Bastuck was struck by another car and killed while changing a wheel.

In the senior ranks, world champion Sebastien Loeb is enjoying his first day on the Spanish asphalt, sitting atop the leaderboard with his Citroen Xsara. Marcus Gronholm, only five points behind Loeb in the championship, is off to a rough start after engine problems dragged his Ford Focus down to 10th overall after Friday's stages.

U.S. fans' best bet for TV coverage is to look on the net for bit torrent replays. Good luck!

Also in Spain this weekend is the opening race of the MotoGP season at Jerez. World champion (and Ferrari F1 hopeful) Valentino Rossi is back on top of the timesheets for Yamaha, setting the fastest time in Friday's free practice sessions.

SPEED Channel, Sunday 3pm ET.

NASCAR racing moves to the always-entertaining Bristol bullring this weekend for the Food City 500, with Jimmie Johnson still on top of the championship standings with 50 points on second place Kasey Kahne, last week's winner in Atlanta. Look for short-track stars like Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte to do well here. Weather will be a factor, with snow and rain forecast for Friday and Saturday, and temperatures in the 40s all weekend. A good race to watch on TV.

FOX, Sunday 1:30pm ET.

Rolex Sports Car Series:
The Grand American Road Racing teams share the Homestead facility with the IRL this weekend for the *deep breath* Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami. The short oval/infield road course combination at Homestead always makes for close racing, and the top 12 Daytona Prototypes in Friday's practice are covered by less than a second, led by Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett.

SPEED Channel, Saturday 8pm ET (same day delayed)

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