Kyle Busch collected his third victory in five NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season, beating Sam Hornish Jr. by eight-tenths of a second to win the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway.
Busch took the lead from Hornish with 25 laps to go and pulled away to extend Joe Gibbs Racing’s winning streak in the NNS at ACS to a staggering nine races (Busch himself has six of those wins). However, he remains cognizant of the fact that neither his team or his manufacturer, Toyota, has ever claimed a Sprint Cup win at the two-mile oval in Southern California.
“I think it’s pretty cool that you can see a team go to a race track and dominate like that in the series, although it’s really awkward because we have nine in a row in the Nationwide Series and JGR has yet to win a Cup race here,” Busch said. “That’s quite an odd stat, but we’re working hard at it. I know [pole sitter] Denny [Hamlin] is really good for tomorrow and I think we’re okay for tomorrow, too.
“Hopefully, we can change that.”
Busch’s win on Saturday was his 54th in the NNS, and equaled his personal best at a single track; The Rowdy One also has six NNS victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’ll start fourth in tomorrow’s 400-mile Cup event.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.