Truex paces “Happy Hour” at Las Vegas

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Martin Truex Jr. led today’s Sprint Cup final practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a top speed of 188.383 miles per hour in the No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

Truex, who will start 11th in tomorrow’s Kobalt Tools 400 at LVMS, paced the session ahead of the series’ most recent winner, Carl Edwards (187.007 mph), Las Vegas’ own Kyle Busch (186.845 mph), championship leader Jimmie Johnson (186.528 mph), and one of Truex’s teammates, Mark Martin (185.816 mph).

The starting grid for the race was set primarily by last year’s owner points after steady rains washed away qualifying on Friday, which gave Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer the front row. Keselowski was only 21st-quickest in “Happy Hour,” while Bowyer posted the sixth-fastest lap of the session (185.803 mph).

In Saturday’s morning practice, Kasey Kahne (eighth-fastest in the afternoon) was the quickest in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, followed by Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Carl Edwards. Kahne starts fourth on Sunday.

The Cup teams will be going into tomorrow at a bit of a deficit on track time. Outside of an extended test-and-tune session on Thursday at LVMS (which saw some teams use different cars than what they’ll use in the race), today’s two practices served as the only time for teams to get everything squared away before their big 400-miler.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”