And now, for A.J. Allmendinger’s next trick …

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Fresh off his first career NASCAR win (in any series) Saturday in the Nationwide Series at Road America, A.J. Allmendinger will be back behind the wheel of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Toyota next Sunday (June 30) in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky, part of a fill-in deal designed to get a different perspective and input from another driver to improve the performance and consistency of the car in addition to that from regular JTG driver Bobby Labonte.

In essence, call it JTG getting a second opinion from Allmendinger.

The Kentucky race will be the second of five races with JTG for Allmendinger. He finished 19th last week at Michigan in his first stint with JTG, the team’s best finish since a 19th-place showing at Richmond in April. Allmendinger will also sub for Labonte at Watkins Glen in August, with the other two race venues to be announced.

Allmendinger  will also race in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 17.

“We’re going to try and get another one,” Allmendinger said after Saturday’s win.

Labonte qualified 20th for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway while Allmendinger is still reveling in the afterglow of his breakthrough win. He will drive all three Cup races in July: Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.

 

Williams to wait until new year before making 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams will wait until the new year before making an announcement regarding its Formula 1 driver line-up for the 2018 season.

Williams holds the final vacant seat in F1 for next year, with Felipe Massa retiring at the last race of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

The Brazilian’s departure has opened up a seat alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, which looked poised to be taken by Robert Kubica, over seven years after he last raced in F1 before injuries sustained in a rally accident appeared to cut his career short.

Doubts emerged about Kubica’s comeback following a test with Williams in its 2017-spec car in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, leading to Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin becoming the favorite.

Besides Kubica and Sirotkin, ditched Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also an option, but Williams has now confirmed it will make no decision on its line-up until the new year.

Sirotkin first entered the frame in F1 in 2013 when he became a development driver at Sauber, with Russian backers SMP Racing pushing to get him a race seat for the following year.

Sirotkin missed out on a full-time role at the team, leading him to focus on racing in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2014 before spending two years in GP2, where he finished third in the standings in both seasons.

Renault struck an agreement to sign Sirotkin in a junior role in 2016, leading to a number of practice run-outs over the last two seasons, but he was passed over for a 2018 race seat when it signed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Williams emerged as an option for Sirotkin following a successful maiden test with the team in Abu Dhabi alongside Kubica, with talks now set to continue over the holiday period.

Sirotkin has not taken on a full-time race program this year, making just a single competitive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Sirotkin has also been involved in the development of the team’s BR Engineering-designed LMP1 car for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and is likely to secure a seat should he miss out on the role at Williams.