After qualifying fourth on Friday night, Denny Hamlin will have to start from the rear of the field for Sunday’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after his Joe Gibbs Racing team changed his engine following a practice session this afternoon.
Hamlin is driving this weekend with a sprained right thumb after being caught in a late-race accident last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is the defending race winner at Atlanta.
Fellow Toyota driver Brian Vickers will also have to start from the rear on Sunday. Like Hamlin, his Michael Waltrip Racing team swapped the motor on his car yesterday. Both drivers use Toyota Racing Development powerplants.
Vickers and Hamlin were 20th and 21st in final practice tonight at AMS, which was led by Jimmie Johnson with a lap at 186.447 miles per hour in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne rounded up the Top 5 in the session, while Sunday’s pole sitter, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., logged the 12th-fastest time.
Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.
Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.
The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.
DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.
Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.
Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.