Elliott Sadler overcomes penalty to finish fifth, win $100,000 bonus
Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel claims third straight pole - F1
Sebastian Vettel claimed his third consecutive Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Ricciardo appeared to benefit from a tow from Raikkonen to pip his team-mate by less than a tenth of a second.
Kevin Harvick wins pole for GEICO 500 at Talladega – NASCAR Talk
Trevor Bayne focused on winning as Roush Fenway Racing shakes up team dynamic with Matt Kenseth
Mike Hembree, USA TODAY Sports Published 1:19 p.m. ET April 27, 2018 | Updated 1:52 p.m. ET April 27, 2018
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Roush Fenway Racing’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams assembled at Talladega Superspeedway Friday and began operating in a new environment.
The team announced Wednesday that former driver Matt Kenseth, who won the Cup Series championship in 2003, will return to RFR to share the team’s No. 6 car with Trevor Bayne. Kenseth is expected to help the team overcome problems and break out of a years-long slump.
Bayne will drive the No. 6 this weekend at Talladega and next week at Dover. Kenseth is scheduled to drive at Kansas Speedway May 12 and in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 19. Other races have not been announced.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will continue to drive RFR’s No. 17 Ford.
Talladega tradition: Expect the unexpected at NASCAR's biggest track
The most immediate impact of the change is on Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500 while driving for the Wood Brothers team but has struggled across several seasons with Roush.
Bayne did not take questions Friday at the track but stood at the back of his team’s hauler and made a statement about the situation.
“My desire is still as it has always been since I was 5 years old – to come to the track every weekend to contend for wins and championships and be a driver at the top level in the Cup Series,” he said. “Nothing there has changed. I am still going to pursue that because I feel I have the ability to do that.
“Right now I don’t have much more to add to that. I want to respect your time, and I know you have a ton of questions after everything that has happened this week, but if you could just allow me to come into the garage and talk to my team and work through this weekend, I would love to have that opportunity. I am here to win Talladega as I had planned to do before any of this.”
Bayne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, but he said Friday his health is “100 percent.”
The situation will be somewhat awkward for Bayne as Kenseth tries to boost RFR’s potential while also concentrating on trying to win races in a car Bayne has driven since 2015.
Stenhouse said he has discussed the new setup with Bayne.
“I told him just to keep his head down, go out and keep running races and prove to everybody that you have what it takes and don’t really listen to anything from the fans, media or other teams and just do your deal,” Stenhouse said.
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April 28, 2018 at 09:48PM
Schwartz Thills In VIR Touring Car Fight
Johan Schwartz held off Steve Streimer and Karl Wittmer on the final lap to win the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car race Saturday at Virginia Int'l Raceway.
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April 28, 2018 at 11:06PM
Laney races to Modified win at Speedway | Sports
Cody Laney took advantage of slower traffic to take the lead, then pulled away to win the 30-lap IMCA Modified feature on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
Brett Bennett led the first 20 laps but got caught behind a slower car and that’s when Laney pounced, taking lead on the 21st lap and pulling away for his second win of the year on the third-mile clay oval.
“What a race car Terry Henry gave me,” Laney said. “I caught a break when Brett caught a lapped car and I was able to get by.”
Brad Pounds, who started 10th, came on strong as the laps wound down and finished second as he got by Bennett with two laps to go.
“I had a good car, especially early, but lapped traffic played a role tonight,” he said. “We’ll get them next time.”
Bennett finished second, followed by Chris Crompe and Robby Sawyer.
Marcus Thomas made the long haul from Fort Worth, Texas pay off with a victory in the 25-lap Western Racesaver Sprint Car Series feature.
Thomas started on the pole and led every lap, expertly weaving his way past slower competitors from the 12th lap on.
“Coming all the way out here from Texas and just beg able to race here is overwhelming,” he said.
Thomas had a big lead when he came on traffic and Brent Duinkerken, who moved into second with seven laps to go, cut in to it a bit but had to settle for second as Thomas ran a flawless race.
Albert Pombo was third, followed by George Tristo Jr. and Vaughn Schott.
Brendon Ratcliff emerged from a three-car battle to win the 20-lap American Stock feature.
Ratcliff took the lead on the sixth lap after a couple laps of three-wide racing only to see JD Mealer go to the front right before a caution on lap 15. Ratcliff got the lead back after the caution then held off Mealer and JD Coots, who got sideways in turn four on the final lap, for the win.
Mealer finished second by fender with Mealer third.
“I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, it feels good to be here,” Ratcliff said.
David Woolford had the hot car in Mini Stock action and he was on fire at the finish.
Woolford took the lead on the fifth lap then pulled away from the competition in the 20-lap MIni Stock race.
But the car slowed as he came out of turn four as the engine expired. He coasted to the finish line with a few flames flickering beneath the car, just ahead of Liam Meyers.
“About 12 laps in, (the water temperature) went to 230 (degrees) and I thought I could slow down and make it to the end. It went with about a half lap left.”
Brandon Wolford was third.
Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54.
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April 29, 2018 at 12:14AM
Azerbaijan GP: Vettel beats Mercedes duo to pole
The Ferrari driver's first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout was good enough to secure pole position by 0.179s from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton after a lock-up spoiled his second attempt.But in the dying seconds of the session, it seemed the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was set for pole position having set the fastest times of all in the first two sectors.He threw away that time by ... Keep reading
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April 28, 2018 at 09:13AM
QUALIFYING: Vettel makes it three poles in a row as he beats Hamilton in Baku
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were next up in fourth and fifth, the Australian pipping his team mate at the death after gratefully picking up a tow from a recovering Raikkonen.
Completing the top 10 in what was a thrilling session were the resurgent Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, making their first Q3 appearances of the year, and the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg (who entered qualifying with a five-place grid drop hanging over him) and Carlos Sainz.
Q1 began with drama almost from the off. The session was barely four minutes old when Romain Grosjean become the first casualty. A huge lock-up at Turn 3 forced him to take the escape road, causing a big flat spot on his front-left tyre – and ultimately a gearbox issue ended his day before it had even properly begun.
As has been the pattern this season, Raikkonen started the qualifying process in impressive fashion and was the better of the two Ferraris at the beginning of Q1.
With all 10 constructors running on the quickest ultrasoft tyres early on, Force India continued to show signs of improvement with Ocon temporarily going P2 ahead of Mercedes and Red Bull.
But the big talking point of the opening session was a near calamitous moment for Toro Rosso pair of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley. The duo were lucky not to become embroiled in a major accident when a slow-moving Hartley limped out of Turn 14 with a puncture and was almost collected by an onrushing Gasly.
That incident ultimately spelled the end for Toro Rosso, who were followed into Q1 elimination by McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne, Sauber's Marcus Ericsson - the only driver to fail to reach Q2 this season - and Grosjean. On a positive note, rookies Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin moved into Q2 for the first time this year.
The second segment saw the top three teams – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – send all their drivers out on supersoft rubber with an eye on tomorrow's race, while the rest of the field emerged on ultrasofts.
And, similar to the opening session, it didn’t take long for the tricky corners to bring out the best and worst of the drivers.
Raikkonen suffered most after making a costly mistake and flat-spotting his tyres, forcing him to retreat to the pits for ultrasofts - a switch that will surely compromise him in the race when those in front of him will all start on more durable supersoft rubber.
The Finn did at least put the his purple-marked tyres to good use, ending the session just over a tenth quicker than Hamilton as Williams duo Lance Stroll and Sirotkin, along with McLaren's Fernando Alonso, Sauber's Leclerc and Haas's Kevin Magnussen (whose car lost bodywork at one stage) were the unfortunate drivers not to reach Q3.
The final session promised a great showdown, but who would come up with the goods? Ferrari laid down the gauntlet when Vettel produced a superb lap to move to the top, an impressive 0.342s ahead of Hamilton.
And with the German fluffing his final lap, Raikkonen making an error and both Mercedes and Red Bull lacking that extra bit of pace, that lap would ultimately prove enough for Vettel to secure his first hat-trick of pole positions since 2013. No wonder he'd later say 'the car was on fire!'
With the first four on the grid lining up in championship order and major gusts predicted to hit Baku on Sunday, the stage is set for what promises to be a thrilling Grand Prix.
The key quote
"The good point is that our car was really good this afternoon so it should be in a good place tomorrow. Yesterday I struggled a bit with confidence and trust in the car and rhythm but today, when it clicks, it just keeps coming." - Sebastian Vettel
The key stats