The revolving door at James Finch’s Phoenix Racing sees Austin Dillon back in the No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
It’s Dillon’s second start in the No. 51, third overall, this season. The team dropped to 11th place in the owner’s standings after Martinsville last week. Dillon’s car will feature Bruce Lowry Chevy and Realtree sponsorship.
AJ Allmendinger and Regan Smith have also shared the seat. Allmendinger’s focus is primarily on his IndyCar commitments with Team Penske and his next race in the No. 51 will be at Richmond on April 27.
“Richmond is kind of the only thing (for me),” said Allmendinger. “Obviously I was going to try to run Texas this weekend, and then Phoenix Racing, they’re doing everything they can to find sponsorships, so Austin Dillon brought sponsorship to them, and I understand kind of the position, and I’m okay with that. Richmond will probably be it.”
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”