Truex, Hornaday also penalized after last weekend

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Penske Racing wasn’t alone in the penalty receiving line after last weekend’s NASCAR races. Texas Motor Speedway runner-up Martin Truex Jr. and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday also fell afoul of the long arm of the law.

Truex was issued a six-point driver and Michael Waltrip Racing a six-point owner point penalty His crew chief Chad Johnston (pictured) was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5.

MWR has decided not to appeal. The team was found in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1B (the car failed to meet the minimum front car heights during post-race inspection) of the 2013 rule book.

Hornaday, meanwhile, was issued a 25-point penalty and placed on probation until June 12 for wrecking driver Darrell Wallace Jr. under a yellow flag in the NCWTS race at Rockingham Speedway. Kyle Busch performed the same maneuver on Hornaday at Texas in November, 2011. Busch was parked for the remainder of that weekend.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.