A chaotic final lap to Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway will yield no penalties from NASCAR.
The sanctioning body believes that Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were not trying to intentionally wreck each other while racing for the victory — which wound up going to Kyle Busch, who passed the pair on the high line as they were colliding together (see above).
“It was the last lap of the race, and the last time they were both going to see Turns 3 and 4,” Sprint Cup Series director John Darby told the AP’s Jenna Fryer. “They were side-by-side. If somebody was of the mindset to retaliate, they probably would have been lined up nose-to-tail and somebody would have drove into the other car and spun him around.
“In this case, that is so far from the opposite, that it never even crossed anybody’s mind that I’m aware of that paid attention to the race.”
In addition, Tony Stewart shall escape punishment after trading shoves with Logano on pit road after the race. Logano had blocked Stewart down to the apron during the race’s final restart, causing Stewart to go after the Penske Racing driver. After a brief dustup, the drivers’ crews separated them.
“A few years ago we backed away from micromanaging drivers’ emotions,” Darby said about the incident. “You would hope in today’s world that if somebody didn’t win a race, they would be upset about it.
“I don’t know that we’ve actually got a rule book that describes every push in the chest or kick in the shin. If two guys get into a helluva fight, we’re going to have to react. But a couple of guys blowing off some steam and slapping at the air is not going to get anybody in a whole lot of trouble.”
Hamlin eventually spun and hit the inside retaining wall, suffering a compression fracture in his L1 vertebrae as a result. He was released from a Southern California hospital last night, but it is currently unknown when he’ll be expected to return to the track.
Mercedes AMG Petronas team boss Toto Wolff believes that junior talents Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon have both earned their roles in Formula 1 for the 2016 season “on merit”.
Wehrlein will make his grand prix debut in 2016 with Manor Racing after winning the DTM title for Mercedes last year, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series.
Ocon has been loaned to Renault Sport F1 Racing for its comeback season, and will work as the team’s reserve driver following his GP3 title success last year.
Wolff feels that both drivers deserve their chance in F1 this year, and also said that Mercedes will look to expand its junior program across the course of the season.
“We’re delighted that Pascal and Esteban will tackle a fresh set of challenges in 2016,” Wolff said. “Our aim is to build their experience in the best possible environment and, following positive discussions with our counterparts at Manor and Renault, it became clear that their respective Formula 1 programmes presented ideal opportunities to achieve that.
“It is very pleasing to see young drivers earning their spot in Formula 1 on merit and to see that talent is being rewarded by the system. Pascal and Esteban have proven themselves to be amongst the top young drivers out there – and both come into 2016 as champions of their respective series.
“But they still have plenty to learn and they will be staying humble, with their feet on the ground. This is an important year for them and we will be following their progress with great interest, while also looking to expand our junior program.
“Mercedes-Benz has a strong tradition of developing young racing talent and our eyes are very much open to other promising prospects for the future.”
What happens when you put a McLaren P1 owned by baseball star and CJ Wilson Racing team principal, and occasional driver, CJ Wilson, with two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, and you turn them loose at The Thermal Club for a track day?
Of course there’s other cars besides the McLaren and hockey legend, Teemu Selanne, was also on site.
This really isn’t a post so much that needs words, but one that does need proper photos and noise.
The CJWR pairing of Marc Miller and Daniel Burkett, who drive the No. 33 One Capital/Motor Oil Matters Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport dubbed “Darth Cayman” in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, have been coaching and driving at an event this weekend out at The Thermal Club, a luxury race track in California.