Kahne stops cold stretch of races, finishes third at Indy

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His Chase spot is still not yet secure, but after three consecutive finishes outside the Top-10, Kasey Kahne nabbed a clutch third-place finish in today’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The result moves him up one spot to ninth in the standings with six races remaining in the Sprint Cup “regular season.”

Kahne was steady throughout the 200 laps of racing, remaining in the Top 10 through the first quarter of the race and then jumping into the Top 5 at the first restart of the day at Lap 65. A four-tire stop at Lap 80 caused him to drop to 16th, but the Enumclaw, Washington product moved through the field and back toward the front in the second half of the event.

“We just really got going at the end of the race,” said Kahne, who notched his sixth Top-5 finish of the year and his first since a second-place run at the Coca-Cola 600 in May. “We had a really fast Great Clips Chevrolet. We kept falling back too far. Just things happen and we got back and then you have to pass. You get so far behind with track position here. It takes a while to get back to the front.

“The guys did a nice job, had a really fast car…We just never got to the lead, but at times, I think we were the fastest car – we just never got up there.”

Like Hendrick Motorsports teammate and race runner-up Jimmie Johnson, Kahne did admit to having issues with his No. 5 Chevrolet in traffic – saying that he wished he had a slightly different set-up to start the race in order to better deal with that issue.

“I really struggled behind cars early in the race and got really tight off the corners,” he said. “Once we fixed that, we were really competitive with everybody and at times were the best car.”

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.