Ty Dillon moving to Nationwide, Yuengling to support for 8 races in ’14

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Ty Dillon, younger brother of Austin Dillon, will move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time in 2014 with Richard Childress Racing, the No. 3 Chevrolet currently driven by his older brother. No mention was made of Austin Dillon’s 2014 plans in a team release.

He’s barely 21 – he only turned 21 this past February 27 – but he’ll have sponsorship support from Yuengling Brewery for eight races. It’s the first time Yuengling has partnered with a NASCAR team, and it’s interesting they’ve picked someone barely of legal drinking age as a driver.

“Ty Dillon is a perfect match for us to help introduce our Light Lager brand to loyal NASCAR fans wherever Yuengling is sold,” Lou Romano, Director of Marketing and Wholesaler Development for Yuengling, said in the release. “He’s not only a strong competitor on the track, but shares many of the same interests as Yuengling drinkers. Ty is an avid sports fan, outdoor enthusiast and holds close family ties.”

This isn’t as high-up on the NASCAR silly season totem pole as asking where Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya will land. But the indication that Ty Dillon will be in the 3 car is a very good sign that Austin will make the full-time leap to Cup in 2014, likely with RCR, and be eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

Although Austin Dillon has made 7 Cup starts this year, he retains rookie status as he has designated the Nationwide Series as the only series where he is eligible to score points.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.