Race to Chase update: Five virtual locks after Brickyard 400

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Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was the 20th of 26 regular season races before NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ryan Newman enhanced his Wild Card chances with his first win of 2013, and needs to gain 20 points on Martin Truex Jr. to move into the second Wild Card position to make this year’s Chase.

Here’s where things sit as of now:

1.   Jimmie Johnson, 740 points, 4 wins
2.   Clint Bowyer, 665, 0
3.   Carl Edwards, 655, 1
4.   Kevin Harvick, 648, 2
5.   Dale Earnhardt Jr., 616, 0
6.   Matt Kenseth, 615, 4
7.   Kyle Busch, 610, 2
8.   Greg Biffle, 565, 1
9.   Kasey Kahne, 564, 1
10. Jeff Gordon, 559, 0
11. Tony Stewart, -1 behind Gordon, 1 win
12. Martin Truex Jr., -5, 1
13. Brad Keselowski, -6, 0
14. Kurt Busch, -13, 0
15. Jamie McMurray, -22, 0
16. Ryan Newman, -25, 1
17. Aric Almirola, -30, 0
18. Joey Logano, -35, 0
19. Paul Menard, -39, 0
20. Jeff Burton, -60, 0

Johnson’s 75-point lead seems almost unassailable in the regular season and he could clinch a birth with two or three races to go before the Chase starts.

VIRTUAL LOCKS: Johnson, Bowyer, Edwards, Harvick, Kenseth
ALMOST LOCKS: Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch
GOOD FOR NOW: Biffle, Kahne, Gordon, Stewart, Truex

IN RANGE: Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Newman
OUT OF RANGE:  McMurray
VIRTUALLY ELIMINATED: Almirola, Logano, Menard, Burton

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.