Phoenix Update: Carl Edwards leads at halfway mark

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A quick pit stop has Carl Edwards leading the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at the halfway point.

On Lap 141, Ryan Newman hit the wall for the second time of the afternoon and brought out the caution. Brad Keselowski and pole sitter Mark Martin were the top two at the time, but Edwards was able to beat ’em all out of the pits when everyone came in for service.

Keselowski had been the leader since Lap 128, when he took the point from pole sitter Mark Martin — who had re-assumed the lead by staying out under caution following Newman’s first run-in with the wall on Lap 98.

Martin was forced to give up track position when he pitted under green at Lap 64 after disclosing a possible loose wheel on his No. 55 Toyota. But when a yellow came out one lap later for a Dave Blaney crash, Martin was able to receive the “free pass” and get back on the lead lap. He then drove back into the top 25 before returning to the front of the field on Newman’s aforementioned first incident.

As for those that had to start at the back of the field today, Kurt Busch (damaged primary car in qualifying) and Denny Hamlin (engine change) have both charged into the Top 10. However, Kyle Busch (engine change) is still trying to get up front thanks to a spin and damage he sustained on Lap 48.

Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix

Top 10 at Lap 156/312 (Halfway Point)

1. Carl Edwards

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4. Kevin Harvick

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Matt Kenseth

7. Aric Almirola

8. Kasey Kahne

9. Kurt Busch

10. Greg Biffle

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”