3 things to watch before NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 start

Rolex 24 at Daytona (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)
Rolex 24 at Daytona (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images) /
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Rolex 24 at Daytona
Rolex 24 at Daytona (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images) /

For fans of NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula 1, January is the cruelest month, with a total of zero scheduled races. But there are still plenty of ways to see your favorite drivers in action.

All three major racing series enjoyed exciting 2021 seasons, from Kyle Larson’s dominance in NASCAR, to Alex Palou’s sudden emergence in IndyCar, to Max Verstappen’s improbable last-lap championship win in Formula 1.

But the NASCAR Cup Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway was on Sunday, November 7, IndyCar last ran at Long Beach on Sunday, September 26, and the thrilling Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi was now a month ago.

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With the Daytona 500 less than six weeks away (Sunday, February 20), at least the light at the end of the tunnel ahead is closer than the one behind. But there are still a lot of empty Sundays between now and then.

NASCAR is actually scheduled to resume racing on Sunday, February 6 with the could-be-great-could-be-a-disaster Busch Light Clash exhibition race on a temporary quarter-mile track inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. While that one won’t count in the standings, it will certainly be worth watching, perhaps more for the novelty value and potential for hilarity than any promise of great racing action.

The green flag is scheduled to drop on the 2022 IndyCar season on February 27 in St. Petersburg, and Formula 1 is scheduled for lights out in Bahrain on Sunday, March 20.

IndyCar fans are waiting to see if Scott Dixon can recapture the title from his much younger teammate and if Romain Grosjean can go from quick learner to championship contender in his second season.

Formula 1 faithful are waiting not only to see if Lewis Hamilton even takes the grid this season in search of a record-breaking eighth world championship, but what the second chapter of a Verstappen vs. Hamilton title fight might look like.

But amid all this anticipation, there are plenty of things to watch between now and the start of major format racing to whet the appetites of racing fans.