McMurray, Montoya swap motors, go to rear

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Engine changes will force the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing duo of Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya to go to the rear of the field to start today’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both EGR drivers are powered by Hendrick Motorsports engines.

This morning, Mark Garrow of PRN Radio (which covers events at Speedway Motorsports, Inc.-affiliated tracks such as LVMS) tweeted that on Friday, both the No. 1 of McMurray and the No. 42 of Montoya suffered transmission problems that eventually led to the cars’ engines blowing as they were being warmed up.

Prior to the engine changes, both drivers were slated to start in mid-pack after Friday’s qualifying session was scratched due to rain (the grid was subsequently based mostly off last year’s owner points as a result). McMurray was to go off 23rd, while Montoya was originally 25th in the lineup.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”