Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards snaps 70-race winless streak

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Carl Edwards survived a green-white-checkered finish to win the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway for his first Sprint Cup victory in nearly two years.

“I can’t say enough about everybody believing in me,” Edwards told FOX Sports in Victory Lane. “I’m telling you, we’re back…Whatever it is you’re doing out there, don’t lose hope. Just keep digging and things can work out — I’m proof. This is just awesome, one of the coolest wins of my life.”

A tense fuel mileage situation in the final stages for Edwards and the leaders got even tougher when Ken Schrader hit the wall in Turn 4 to bring out the caution flag with three laps to go. That sent the second race of the Sprint Cup season into overtime, with Edwards leading Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin at the restart.

But Edwards managed to pull away from Johnson, who was forced to defend second place from Keselowski and Hamlin. In an attempt to grab P2 at the finish, Hamlin shot through the backstretch apron but narrowly lost out to Johnson at the stripe, with Keselowski settling for fourth place as his fuel ran out. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.

Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix

Top 10 Finishers

1. Carl Edwards, Ford

2. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet

3. Denny Hamlin, Toyota

4. Brad Keselowski, Ford

5. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chevrolet

6. Clint Bowyer, Toyota

7. Matt Kenseth, Toyota

8. Tony Stewart, Chevrolet

9. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet

10. Jeff Burton, Chevrolet

NASCAR Sprint Cup Points

Top 10 (Through 2 Races)

1. Jimmie Johnson, 90 points

2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., -8

3. Brad Keselowski, -8

4. Denny Hamlin, -18

5. Clint Boywer, -18

6. Greg Biffle, -24

7. Mark Martin, -25

8. Jeff Gordon, -30

9. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., -30

10. Aric Almirola, -30

What to watch for: German Grand Prix (NBCSN, NBC Sports app from 7am ET)

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 30: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP in the garage during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 30, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Sunday’s German Grand Prix will offer Formula 1 championship contenders Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton one final battle before the summer break.

The two Mercedes drivers have shared 10 victories so far this season, but their fight has featured a number of flashpoints that only acted to stoke the rivalry between them.

Rosberg has home pride to play for this weekend as he looks to delight the local fans at Hockenheim, many of whom will be hoping for a repeat of his victory in 2014.

The German bagged pole position at Hamilton’s expense on Saturday, continuing his hot streak across the course of the weekend that has seen him lead every session thus far.

However, there are only points for Sunday – and with six separating the Mercedes drivers at the summit of the drivers’ championship, this could be a big race in defining the title battle.

The German Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Here’s what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

2016 German Grand Prix – What to watch for

Will Nico and Lewis play nice?

The title fight between Hamilton and Rosberg has been notably absent of many on-track scraps in 2016. Both drivers have enjoyed big slices of luck, but when it comes to going toe-to-toe, Hamilton has enjoyed the upper hand, as seen in Hungary and Austria.

The last thing Mercedes will want before the summer break is another fall-out between its drivers, ramping up the pressure on both Hamilton and Rosberg to play nice. Rosberg’s downfall in 2014 was feeling hard-done-by before the summer break, over which he stewed before losing his cool at Spa. He cannot afford a repeat this year.

Keep an eye on the Mercedes boys heading into the fast first corner.

Red Bull eyes P2 in the constructors’ championship

With the engine woes of 2015 now a distant memory, Red Bull looks set to overhaul Ferrari in the constructors’ championship this weekend and deal another blow to the Italian marque’s hopes of a late-season revival.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen locked out the second row of the grid for the third race in a row on Saturday. Although Hungary proved that Ferrari is more of a force on Sunday, Red Bull will fancy its chances of picking up another podium finish behind the Mercedes duo yet again.

Just a point separates Red Bull and Ferrari heading into the German Grand Prix – will the tables turn at Hockenheim?

Tire strategy key at Hockenheim

This weekend’s race looks set to balance finely between a two and three-stopper, giving teams a challenge when it comes to deciding strategy. It could be that safety cars or Virtual Safety Cars prompt the pit walls to move on the fly, taking advantage of any incidents on-track.

Pirelli predicts that a three-stop strategy is quickest, comprising three super-soft stints and one on the soft tire. However, a two-stop strategy is the next quickest, minimizing pit time and offering track position – although it would leave drivers open to being overtaken towards the end of each stint.

Open fight to be fourth-quickest continues

With Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari clear at the front, the battle to be the fourth-quickest team has been raging on for some races now. Williams, Force India, McLaren, Toro Rosso and even Haas all appear to be in the mix, setting things up for a thrilling fight in the midfield on Sunday.

Haas is in particular need of points after a difficult run during its debut F1 season, recording just one top-10 finish in the last seven races. Esteban Gutierrez starts 11th after his season-best qualifying.

Another man in need of a boost is Daniil Kvyat, who admitted after qualifying 19th that his current slump seems “never ending”. Life after Red Bull has hit the young Russian hard.

Heading into the summer on a high is something all teams will be keen to do. There’s lots to be gained on Sunday.

2016 German Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
4. Max Verstappen Red Bull
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India*
9. Sergio Perez Force India
10. Felipe Massa Williams
11. Esteban Gutierrez Haas
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Fernando Alonso McLaren
14. Jolyon Palmer Renault
15. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso*
16. Kevin Magnussen Renault
17. Pascal Wehrlein Manor
18. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
19. Rio Haryanto Manor
20. Romain Grosjean Haas*
21. Felipe Nasr Sauber
22. Marcus Ericsson Sauber

Saturday at Mid-Ohio: Roll out the MRTI, PWC races

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Jamin dominated Pro Mazda. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Because it’s 7:30 p.m. ET and change, here’s some quick recaps of the rest of the day’s activity from the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course..

FULL RECAPS

MAZDA ROAD TO INDY 

  • Santiago Urrutia cleaned up and dominated the first of two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races. My colleague Luke Smith wrote that report and it’s linked above.
  • There were a double dip of Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires races, and neither winner came from Team Pelfrey. Instead, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Nico Jamin swept both races. The first was less than scintillating with Jamin beating points leader Aaron Telitz (Pelfrey) and Will Owen (Juncos Racing). But the second was fascinating with rain interspersed and a heck of a lot of passes – Owen and Telitz proving aggressive when they needed to be, primarily. But up front Jamin held on for the second win of the day. Telitz holds a 14-point lead over O’Ward (345-331) heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sept. 9-11, for the tripleheader season finale weekend.
  • The second of three Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda races also took place today and for the second time in as many days, it was Australian Anthony Martin who won it for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, thus making it Cape’s first Pro Mazda/USF2000 double win day of the season. Martin took the win over teammate Parker Thompson and ArmsUp Motorsports’ Victor Franzoni, and extended his points lead in the process.

PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE

  • The pair of K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3s took a 1-2 finish in World Challenge GT with Alvaro Parente winning his fifth race of the year (Long Beach, Barber race one, both Lime Rock Park races). Parente got around teammate and polesitter Austin Cindric, the 17-year-old, early and won by 1.009 seconds. Parente drives the yellow and black No. 9 car with Cindric in the blue and black No. 6 car. Bryan Heitkotter (No. 05 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3) finished third for his first podium since Circuit of The Americas back in March; he also finished third overall as a GTA class competitor at Mid-Ohio, race two, last year. Jon Fogarty (GAINSCO McLaren) and Ryan Eversley (RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT) had a great, clean scrap for fourth, Fogarty taking it. There was contact affecting a number of others; Patrick Long (No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) received a drive-through penalty for hitting the third K-PAX McLaren of Colin Thompson. Meanwhile others who failed to finish included James Davison (Nissan), Spencer Pumpelly (RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT), Kyle Marcelli (CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra) and Adderly Fong (Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3). Fong failed to start, Davison got hit on the opening lap, Pumpelly also got hit and it broke the right rear, and Marcelli later had contact. Michael Schein (GTA) and Alec Udell (GT Cup) won their classes.
  • Lawson Aschenbach won again at Mid-Ohio in his Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in GTS, beating Nate Stacy (Ford Mustang Boss 302) and Brett Sandberg (KTM X-BOW GT4).

On tap for Sunday: USF2000 race three, Indy Lights race two and PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup race two.

Urrutia takes dominant victory in Mid-Ohio Indy Lights opener

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© Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Santiago Urrutia picked up his third victory of the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season with a dominant display on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Urrutia entered the Mid-Ohio weekend trailing championship leader Ed Jones by 24 points, but managed to cut the gap back down to single figures with a peerless display.

Urrutia started the race second alongside pole-sitter Felix Serralles, but a cleaner getaway from the rolling start allowed the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver to pull into the lead at the first corner.

It proved to be a lead that Urrutia would never relinquish as he worked the gap open across the rest of the race, going unchallenged en route to his third win of the season. His final advantage was 6.4 seconds.

“I’m very happy. The guys did a great job on the car,” Urrutia told IndyCar Radio after the race.

“The car was awesome, put the car on pole position for both races. It’s pretty good for the championship for me, so I’m pretty happy.”

Serralles duked for position with Andre Negrao and Dean Stoneman on the first lap, slipping behind both into fourth through Thunder Valley. Zach Veach also managed to dip past the Puerto Rican for P4 on the first lap, leaving Serralles with a mountain to climb.

Veach soaked up the pressure from Serralles before ultimately dropping back into fifth place on lap nine, his rival easing clear as he chased down Stoneman ahead.

For the final 15 laps of the race, the gap between Stoneman and Serralles rarely exceeded a second. However, the British Andretti Autosport driver managed to keep cool and retain the final podium position behind Negrao, who endured a lonely race to second to complete a one-two finish for SPM.

Veach finished fifth ahead of Jones, whose championship lead was reduced to just seven points as Urrutia also recorded the fastest lap and led the most laps, chalking up two bonus points in the process.

Zachary Claman de Melo managed to emerge victorious from a thrilling battle with Shelby Blackstock for P7, both surviving contact in the closing stages. Kyle Kaiser followed in P9 ahead of Garett Grist and Dalton Kellett, with Neil Alberico propping up the running order in P13.

Dixon to start 11th at Mid-Ohio after miscommunication (VIDEO)

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – After dominating most of this weekend at the Honda Indy 200, Scott Dixon will only start Sunday’s race (2 p.m. ET, CNBC) from 11th place on the grid following an odd and abnormal strategic mistake, and a miscommunication.

The driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, who led both first and third practice, was told his time from earlier in Q2 would be enough to transfer into the Firestone Fast Six.

But that’s not quite what happened. Dixon’s generally luckless season rolled on and he will start 11th; the only upside, perhaps, is he started double that – 22nd and last – and won this race two years ago courtesy of a strategic masterstroke from Ganassi managing director Mike Hull.

“We made it on track on the new set of tires, but we waved it off,” Dixon told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee. “The team felt we’d be safe. I think it’d get faster, the rain was lightening, and they didn’t hear me. Times picked up drastically.

“The Target car has been fast all weekend. Bit of a miscommunication there. Kind of like how our season has been going.

“We’ve been hoping for (luck) for three or four races. It is what it is. We’ve put ourselves in quite a big hole, there.”

Dixon enters the weekend 83 points behind points leader Simon Pagenaud, who scored the pole position on Saturday to add insult to injury for Dixon and gain another point.