Testing schedule busy this week for IndyCar teams

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With Pocono Raceway coming up next on the schedule, a majority of the IZOD IndyCar Series teams are taking the opportunity to test there on Tuesday afternoon.

The test, which is closed to the public, will see eight teams and 15 drivers turning laps around the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” in Pennsylvania. Two of those drivers, Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti and Team Penske’s Will Power, were part of an earlier test there in April (pictured) that focused on tires and setting the proper aero package.

Here’s the list of competitors that will be at Pocono on Tuesday seeking to gain an early edge for the Pocono INDYCAR 400 on July 7:

  • ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT: Ryan Hunter-Reay, EJ Viso, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti
  • DRAGON RACING: Sebastian Saavedra and Sebastien Bourdais
  • ED CARPENTER RACING: Ed Carpenter
  • PANTHER RACING: Ryan Briscoe
  • KV RACING TECHNOLOGY: Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro
  • RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN: Graham Rahal and James Jakes
  • SARAH FISHER HARTMAN RACING: Josef Newgarden
  • TEAM PENSKE: Helio Castroneves and Will Power

Tuesday will also see Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which will welcome the series on Aug. 4 with the Honda Indy 200. As for the Chip Ganassi Racing contingent, the “Team Target” duo of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, as well as American pilot Charlie Kimball, will all be testing Wednesday down at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.

After the Pocono sessions, Power himself will head to Michigan for a straight-line test on Wednesday at General Motors’ proving grounds.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.