Motorsports this Weekend: April 8-9

Champ Car World Series:
The Champ Cars are in Long Beach for their season-opener this weekend. Interesting storylines include Newman/Haas driver Sebastian Bourdais, who is going for his third consecutive championship, and RuSport's Justin Wilson, who should join Forsythe Racing's Paul Tracy as a regular front-runner this year. More info here.

NBC, Sunday 4pm

Rolex Sports Car Series:
The Daytona Prototypes will experience their first-ever street race this weekend, joining Champ Car in Long Beach. Patrick Long has set the pace in early practice with his Porsche/Crawford (pictured). Given this series prediliction for door-banging, we can expect a very eventful Long Beach debut for the prototypes.

SPEED Channel, Saturday 9pm ET (delayed)

More racing after the jump...
The Nextel Cup series is at the quick mile-and-a-half Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Last year's race winner, Greg Biffle, is hoping for a repeat performance to put a little spark in his lackluster 2006 season. Follow the action here.

FOX, Sunday 1:30pm ET

The Grand Prix of Qatar is set for this weekend, with Honda rookie Casey Stoner sitting on the pole. Joining the young Australian on the front row are series leader Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Honda rider Toni Elias. American Nicky Hayden and factory Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa qualified fourth and fifth, while 2005 champion Valentino Rossi could do no better than sixth, as the Yamaha team continues to struggle with handling issues. Lots of info here.

SPEED Channel, Sunday 2pm ET

Rally France is underway in Corsica, with last year's winner Sebastien Loeb on top so far, winning three of the four stages on Friday. Loeb (Citroen) leads Ford's Marcus Gronholm by 19.9 seconds. Loeb racked up the first clean sweep in rally history here last year, on his way to victory in the event dubbed "the rally of 10,000 corners."

Rally fans in North America will have to resort to BitTorrent for their rally coverage, unfortunately.

One of the most hotly-contested touring car series on the planet fires up this weekend with the opening race of the DTM season at Hockenheimring in Germany. Rookies Vanina Ickx (daughter of F1 and Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx) and Scotland's Susie Stoddart will make this the first time women have competed in the DTM in 15 years.

Alas, no TV coverage in North America, but web info is plentiful - start here.

The drag racers roll the dice in Las Vegas this weekend for the Nationals. Watch for: Top Fuel racer Doug Kalitta, who has teamed with superstar hot rod builder Chip Foose for a special one-off paint scheme for his Mac Tools dragster.

ESPN2, Sunday 7pm (delayed)

More Information