Greg Biffle (pictured) and Brad Keselowski will try to rally from the back of the field in today’s Sprint Cup race from Auto Club Speedway.
Biffle and Keselowski, the current championship leader, qualified second and third respectively on Friday, but will be forced to abandon their starting positions due to engine changes before that session. However, both drivers are confident that they’ll be up front before long in today’s 400-mile event.
“I started at the back at Bristol,” Biffle said to NASCAR.com’s David Caraviello in reference to last week. “We started 29th, and in 60 laps, I was ninth under green. It was a heck of a run for us. Hopefully, we can do the same thing here. This race track has a lot more room and I wouldn’t say is easier to pass, but there is a lot more opportunity to pass than last week.”
“Certainly, we aren’t going to do it in a short amount of time…It will take probably 100 laps at a minimum, or maybe 50 to 75 laps to get our way up through the field.”
As for Keselowski, he’s also aiming to race to the point; when he was told of Biffle’s “100 laps” comment, he told the AP that he felt “like [he could] do it in 99.”
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.