July Sports Betting Calendar: NBA Summer League, The Open Championship and MLB All-Star Week

No NBA or NHL playoffs? No problem.

If you thought the June conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA and NHL seasons meant less to bet on in July, you thought wrong. Not only do the MLB and WNBA seasons roll along this month, leading into their respective All-Star breaks — which includes the Home Run Derby — but the NBA keeps the momentum going too with summer league action.

The solo sports also keep things interesting, as Wimbledon crowns its singles champions on July 9 and 10, and The Open Championship is competed in the following days.

Those are just a few of the highlights in a month filled with them. Here’s a look at all of that and more.

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The ‘biggest barrier’ for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Xfinity team to make the jump to Cup

JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller says the team wants to race in the Cup Series. But it’s complicated.

JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR team in the second-tier Xfinity Series, is seriously looking at how to make the jump to fielding a car in the top-tier Cup Series.

The team wants to go Cup racing, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, the team’s co-owner and Dale Jr.’s sister, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. But it’s still evaluating not only how to successfully do this, but also, and perhaps most importantly, when.

It’s no secret that it’s awfully expensive for teams to race in the Cup Series, and Dale Jr. has repeatedly said in the past the cost of entering the top series is largely prohibitive, particularly because of the 36-team charter system.

Speaking to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Earnhardt Miller echoed those sentiments and expanded on what it might take for JR Motorsports to join the Cup Series.

She explained:

“We’re thinking about it every day. We’re working on it, feels like every other day. We do want to go Cup racing. We do believe that that’s a good spot for us. We want to stay in the Xfinity Series too, so what that looks like is certainly up for grabs. But we definitely are just trying to — the biggest barrier is that charter cost and just looking at the business model and trying to figure out sponsorship and trying to really make that leap.

“Because I think right now, we saw it last fall where there was a high demand for charters and a lot of conversations went on and a lot of purchases went on. And I don’t think there’s a lot of charters up for grabs at a reasonable cost right now.”

Extended through the 2024 season, NASCAR’s charter system has 36 cars that are guaranteed entries for every Cup Series points race and notable financial benefits. Teams can sell their charters as they like, but there’s a hefty price tag that comes along with them.

In 2021, Dale Jr. shared his thoughts on the charter system, reiterating that the price tag rumors are simply way too high. Last summer on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, he said he thought charters were going for $5 million or $7 million but had since heard “it’s north of $10 million.”

“JR Motorsports ain’t gonna be racing no Cup Series if that’s what the charters are going for,” he said in 2021.

Last month, Dale Jr. again addressed the state of the charter system and JR Motorsports’ potential for acquiring one during an episode of his podcast. While speaking with team owner/driver Denny Hamlin, Dale Jr. said:

“We have talked to every single person that is in the industry about this — about what is the options, what routes are there to take. That initial purchase of the charters isn’t the scary part. They are worth what they are, right? You’re buying something that you hope is going to continue to gain value. That’s great, right? I’ll invest that money if it’s going to be worth more tomorrow.

“But it’s not knowing the cost of racing and how much that’s gonna be, not knowing exactly how much sponsorship you’re going to have to acquire to offset that cost and not knowing what the new agreement’s going to be. I’m with Denny in feeling that the owners deserve a bigger piece of the pie. That’s the only way it’s going to entice people like me.”

And that’s the sentiment and strategy Earnhardt Miller expressed this week, as well. It’s all about timing, and much of that is related to NASCAR’s upcoming media rights talks, as its deal with FOX Sports and NBC Sports is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.

Earnhardt Miller continued to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:

“[We’re] just trying to make that pencil out and make it work and figure out when that right time of entry is, and you’ve got the next couple of years with the TV contract coming down and all those kinds of things. Just it’s like, when’s the right time to strike? And so that’s just really what we’re trying to work through and figure out.

“Right now, we’re focused on re-signing our guys for Xfinity for next year and re-signing our sponsors, and then if we have the opportunity to do some Cup racing and kind of put our toe in the water and kind of see. I don’t think we’ll be Cup racing full time for 2023 — that’s for certain, unless something amazing happens and something really awesome falls out of the sky. But right now, our sights are set beyond that, and we’re just really trying to figure it out and make it pencil.”

So obviously, it’s unclear if or when JR Motorsports will join NASCAR’s top series. Maybe it’ll start with a handful of Cup races in 2023 before expanding, or maybe it’ll jump in right away with a charter and a full-time car in 2024 or beyond.

But at least now NASCAR fans and JR Nation know the team is seriously eyeing the Cup Series.

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Pitbull pitched a taco piñata to NASCAR driver Daniel Suárez, who destroyed it as cash fell out

Tremendous, wholesome content from Pitbull and Daniel Suárez.

After Daniel Suárez took the checkered flag at Sonoma Raceway earlier this month, marking his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory and the first for a Mexican-born driver, he celebrated with some fun and pizzazz.

That included him destroying a taco piñata on the track (sort of along the same lines as his teammate, Ross Chastain, smashing a watermelon after his wins).

Well, Suárez and his team, Trackhouse Racing, continued having some fun with piñatas, and it’s massively entertaining.

Sometime in the week and a half since Suárez’s win, Trackhouse co-owner, Pitbull stopped by the shop to help celebrate the team’s third overall win this year in its second Cup season.

And at one point, Pitbull grabbed a taco piñata and Suárez a bat. From a stage, Pitbull pitched the piñata to Suárez, who didn’t hold back with his swing and blew the piñata open as cash (real or fake, it’s unclear) poured out.

Amazing. An international music superstar and NASCAR team owner pitching his winning driver a taco piñata filled with money.

This is tremendously fun and wholesome content from Trackhouse, which is having a stronger season than many people expected with three wins between its two drivers.

And just as Chastain has kept his watermelon-smashing tradition going, we can only hope Suárez follows suit if or when he adds more wins to his resume.

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How to watch NASCAR races now that NBC Sports has taken over the broadcasts from FOX

Without NBCSN, here’s what you need to know about watching the rest of the NASCAR season.

Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide to catching up on and better understanding stuff going on in the world. If you’re wondering about how to watch the remainder of the NASCAR season, now that NBC has taken over the broadcasts, but don’t know where to find races, we’re here to help.

The only off-weekend of the NASCAR Cup Series’ 36-race, nine-month season came and went last weekend, and it was perfect timing as the sport switches broadcast networks.

For the Cup Series, FOX Sports handles the first half (give or take) of the schedule, and NBC Sports takes over for the back half. So after the first 16 points races of the Cup season were on FOX’s channels, NBC is now up to bat, starting with Sunday’s Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway (5 p.m. ET, NBC).

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Allen (play-by-play), Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte are returning to NBC’s broadcast team in the booth, while Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett, Brad Daugherty and Marty Snider are back for studio coverage.

However, things will be a little different for NASCAR fans who are used to switching between the main NBC channel and NBC Sports Network. At the end of 2021, NBCUniversal shut down NBCSN, switching some of its live sports over to USA Network or, in some cases, Peacock.

So what does that mean now that NBC Sports has taken over the NASCAR schedule?

Make sure you know where to find USA Network. The remaining 20 Cup races, along with 19 Xfinity Series races, will be on NBC or USA Network, and sometimes, pre-race and post-race coverage will switch to Peacock.

Cup’s regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway in August and the championship race at Phoenix Raceway in November will be available on both NBC and Peacock.

For the third-tier Truck Series, races will still remain with FOX on FS1.

So ahead of NBC’s first NASCAR weekend of the 2022 season, here’s a look at its complete broadcasting schedule:

Friday, June 24 — Xfinity practice
5:30 p.m. ET, USA Network

Friday June 24 — Cup practice
6:30 p.m. ET, USA Network

Saturday, June 25 — Xfinity qualifying
Noon ET, USA Network

Saturday, June 25 — Cup qualifying
1 p.m. ET, USA Network

Saturday, June 25 — Xfinity pre-race/post-race
3 p.m. ET/6 p.m. ET, USA Network

Saturday, June 25 — Xfinity Series’ Tennessee Lottery 250
3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network

Sunday, June 26 — Cup pre-race/post-race
4 p.m. ET/9 p.m. ET, Peacock

Sunday, June 26 — Cup Series’ Ally 400
5 p.m. ET, NBC/Peacock

And here’s the remainder of the Cup Series schedule and what channels are planned for each race broadcast:

  • Sunday, July 3 — Road America, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, July 10 — Atlanta, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, July 17 — New Hampshire, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, July 24 — Pocono, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, July 31 — Indianapolis Road Course, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, August 7 — Michigan, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, August 14 — Richmond, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, August 21 — Watkins Glen, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Saturday, August 27 — Daytona, 7 p.m. ET, NBC/Peacock
  • Sunday, September 4 — Darlington, 6 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, September 11 — Kansas, 3 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Saturday, September 17 — Bristol, 7:30 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, September 25 — Texas, 3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network
  • Sunday, October 2 — Talladega, 2 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, October 9 — Charlotte Roval, 2 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, October 16 — Las Vegas, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, October 23 — Homestead-Miami, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, October 30 — Martinsville, 2 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, November 6 — Phoenix, 3 p.m. ET, NBC/Peacock

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Daniel Suárez destroying a taco piñata and 6 other awesome celebratory moments after 1st NASCAR Cup win

“This is the first one of many.”

Daniel Suárez made NASCAR history Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, and he celebrated in spectacular fashion. Not only did Suárez win his first career NASCAR Cup Series race, but he also became the first Mexican-born driver to win at NASCAR’s highest level.

The No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet driver led a race-high of 47 laps during the 110-lap California road course race before taking the checkered flag in his 195th career start in the Cup Series. It was his third top-5 finish of the season and fifth top 10.

With the checkered flag, the 30-year-old driver from Monterrey, Mexico is the 12th different winner in the 2022 season and the fourth first-time victor. He’s also now the fifth Cup winner from outside the U.S., joining Mario Andretti (Italy), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Marcos Ambrose (Australia) and Earl Ross (Canada).

Here’s a look at his winning moment as he crossed the finish line:

And how it was called on FOX Deportes:

“It has cost me a lot to get to this point,” Suárez said in his post-race press conference. “A lot of people doesn’t know that, but it has cost me a lot to get to this country, first 10 years ago, and to get to this point, fighting. I come from a very humble family. Every step of my life has cost me a lot. I knew that it’s important to remember that if I was able to come all the way here, I wasn’t going to give up here.”

Obviously, Suárez was overjoyed to finally break through and win his first Cup race, and he celebrated with his team, with homages to Mexico and, as is tradition at Sonoma, with a giant goblet of wine.

Here are his seven best celebratory moments from his Sonoma victory.

NASCAR president Steve Phelps sees potential for a street course on Cup schedule

NASCAR president Steve Phelps is in favor of adding a street course to the Cup schedule.

From road courses to a dirt race to an exhibition event held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, it’s no secret that NASCAR has been working to spice up its schedule in recent years.

With 36 races for points on the nine-month schedule, variety is necessary, and many drivers and fans embrace changes and experiments — even if they don’t work out perfectly the first time. So as NASCAR continues exploring new markets and coming up with entertaining ways to shake up the schedule, maybe a street course is next.

NASCAR president Steve Phelps said Thursday a street course is an event he’d like to see on the schedule, and he hopes the 2023 lineup will be released in August, FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass reported.

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Ahead of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, Phelps said about adding a street course to the schedule:

“You know that’s something that we’re exploring. It’s hard to say at this point. I personally think having a street course on the schedule would be a good thing. Where it is, what it is remains to be seen. But I think it’d be a part of our future, I really do.

“And I know there are some traditionalists that probably don’t like that. But with 36 points-paying races and two exhibitions, I think there’s room on the schedule for a street course.”

Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick expressed a similar sentiment earlier this season, saying he’d like a street course on the schedule. He applauded NASCAR for its recent “exciting” changes to the schedule.

“If there’s a right street circuit that we could race on, I just think something different brings in a new level of fans,” Hendrick said in March. “And it’s exciting. It’s something different to talk about. I think keep changing it up, and it just seems to bring in a lot of new people that we haven’t seen.”

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule has six road courses on it. The first was at Circuit of The Americas in March (won by Ross Chastain), and the second it Sunday at Sonoma. Then the series heads to Road America and Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in July, followed by Watkins Glen International in August and Charlotte Motor Speedway’s roval (half oval, half road course) in the playoffs in October.

So would the addition of a street course eliminate one of NASCAR’s already existing road course races? Phelps weighed in on that too with uncertainty. He told FOX Sports:

“I don’t know. I think we’re getting to a point where we may have some saturation on the road course side of things. I think we’ll continue to listen to the fans and see what the fans are interested in seeing.

“They told us they wanted more road courses and short tracks. The short track thing has been difficult. We were able to do the road course piece really well obviously with the roval and the Indy road course. I think it’s a good mix for us right now, but not sure [about] ’23 to be honest with you.”

NASCAR fans will get their street course answer this summer if the schedule is released on Phelps’ projected timeline.

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Trackhouse Racing co-owner on NASCAR drivers threatening payback for Ross Chastain: ‘Let’s battle’

Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks continued defending Ross Chastain’s aggressive racing.

After an aggressive performance Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series’ first race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Ross Chastain made a couple on-track enemies. Despite his eighth-place finish, the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet racer even said “it was terrible driving” on his part.

But the co-owner of Chastain’s team, Justin Marks — Pitbull is the other owner — feels a little differently about how his driver raced and the subsequent feuds his style ignited. And, in fact, Marks is “here for it.”

Although Chastain took responsibility for tangling with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott during the Gateway race, Marks defended his driver’s actions afterward and expanded on his perspective during an interview Monday with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Marks noted that Chastain, as a young driver in only his fourth full-time Cup season, still needs to figure out the “dance and the balance” of racing at NASCAR’s highest level but applauded his effort.

“I’m proud of his aggression,” Marks told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I think he probably beat himself up a little bit too much after the race over it. I don’t want to see cars wreck. We certainly don’t want to see that. But I just, I don’t know. I don’t want him to slow down or take any aggression away because it’s exciting for all of us to watch.”

Sure, it is exciting. But Hamlin made it clear after Sunday’s race that Chastain — one of four drivers with two wins so far this season — should expect some on-track payback.

“This sport is self-policing, and usually when you least suspect it and when it means the most is when it comes back around,” Hamlin said Sunday.

Still, Marks is on board with the drama and feuds.

Marks continued to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:

“Honestly, I’m here for it. Like, I’m ready. I mean, Denny’s texting me right now as we’re talking actually. And, you know, it’s the drama, the controversy. I guess there’s a lot of talk in this sport, right? There’s a lot of time we spend telling everybody what we’re gonna do, and not a lot of time doing it. So if they want to play, it’ll be fun. …

“I’m a huge fan of the sport. I love entertaining fans and doing stuff out there that gets the conversation going. So if we want to battle, let’s battle. I’m not going to shy away from that. But again, at the end of the day, I’m also not driving the car myself. So, I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”

Marks said he knows drivers self-police, but he still wants Chastain and No. 99 Chevrolet driver Daniel Suárez to be aggressive and “go fight for everything that they can.” And he said he made that clear to Chastain after the Gateway race.

More from Marks’ interview:

“I said, ‘I don’t think that you really did anything wrong. I think that you’ve just walked into a club [that] the same couple of guys have been in for a long time, and that’s the top-5, top-10 club. And you’re aggressive and you’re upsetting the applecart, and they’re not happy about it. But don’t really change what you’re doing because we got way too much money invested and time and effort to have either of our guys lay down.’

“So, yeah, I’m glad through all the drama and everything that he was able to come back and get a top-10 finish.”

What kind of retribution Chastain will suffer at the hands of Hamlin, Elliott or anyone else he’s frustrated remains to be seen, obviously. But, as Hamlin noted, it could come at the least ideal time for Chastain and the No. 1 Trackhouse team.

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Ross Chastain after infuriating Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott at Gateway: ‘I’ll have to pay for it’

Ross Chastain didn’t exactly make friends with this World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway performance.

Welcome to FTW’s NASCAR Feud of the Week, where we provide a detailed breakdown of the latest absurd, funny and sometimes legitimate controversies and issues within the racing world.

Ross Chastain scored his ninth top-10 finish of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, finishing eighth behind winner Joey Logano. But the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet driver didn’t exactly make a ton of friends along the way.

What’s more, Chastain — one of four drivers to have two race wins so far this season, including Logano and Denny Hamlin — admitted he was in the wrong for getting too aggressive at times. And looking ahead to this weekend’s race at Sonoma Raceway and what’s left of the 36-race season, he’s now bracing himself for (more) payback from Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

Let’s break down what happened between Chastain, Hamlin and Elliott on Sunday during the Cup Series’ first-ever race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

See Joey Logano and Kyle Busch’s intense final restart battle at World Wide Technology Raceway

“It doesn’t get much better than that!”

Joey Logano walked away victorious after taking the checkered flag Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series’ premiere race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

But it certainly wasn’t an easy win, as the No. 22 Team Penske Ford driver had to duke it out with rival Kyle Busch in a thrilling final restart.

The inaugural Cup race at the Madison, Illinois track was scheduled for 240 total laps. It was extended for overtime after Kevin Harvick crashed hard into the wall with a brake rotor failure with just four laps to go.

That set things up for an intense overtime restart and a two-lap shootout for the win.

Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was on the outside, while Logano was on the inside with his teammate, Ryan Blaney, right behind him.

Logano got off to a strong start and was able to pull ahead of Busch, who then went to the inside to try and get around the No. 22 car. Banging on each other, the two rivals traded the lead on the penultimate lap. But in Turn 4, Busch slid a little too far up the track, allowing Logano to steal the lead back from the inside.

By the time the field got to the white flag signaling the last lap of the race, Logano had a comfortable lead on Busch and was able to hold on to take the checkered flag for his second victory of the 2022 season.

“It doesn’t get much better than that!” Logano told FOX Sports after the race. “Racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best. It was a lot of fun. And crossing each other back and forth. I knew it was coming. So I did it to him; I knew he was going to do it to me. We crossed back and forth there in the last lap there a couple of times. …

“Who would have thought we had slide jobs like that here? I thought we’d be running towards the bottom, and we were running way up top and crossing each other. It was a lot of fun to race here, and looking forward to coming back.”

Busch is currently second in the Cup Series standings, while Logano is sixth. Logano joins Denny Hamlin, William Byron and Ross Chastain as the drivers with more than one win this season so far.

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June Sports Betting Calendar: NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final and U.S. Open

And don’t forget about the Stanley Cup Final.

June is here, which means it’s championship season for a few sports. The NBA and NHL will each crown champions in the next few weeks, but those are far from the only big events to bet this month.

There’s another golf major coming up with the U.S. Open teeing off mid-month. But first, a few NFL MVPs hit the links when Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers take on Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in The Match. There’s also Wimbledon and the College World Series later in the month. And though horse racing won’t have a Triple Crown winner, the Belmont Stakes is sure to bring excitement too.

Here’s a look at when all of that and more takes place.

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