Bryan Clauson claims USAC Sprint Car title in California

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A runner-up finish in last night’s season-ending Oval Nationals at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway earned former Indianapolis 500 starter Bryan Clauson (pictured, from the “500” in 2012) his second consecutive USAC National Sprint Car championship, making him the eighth driver in USAC history to win back-to-back series titles.

He claims the 2013 Sprint Car title by a 63-point margin over Dave Darland, who led the 40-lap feature at Perris wire-to-wire but had to deal with Clauson over the final laps before beating him by .106 of a second.

Clauson now has six USAC titles altogether, which includes three National Driver Championships from 2010-2012, the two Sprint Car championships from 2012 and 2013, and the 2011 National Midget title.

This season, he collected seven race wins, 21 Top-5, and 30 Top-10 finishes in the Sprint Car series.

“Winning back-to-back Sprint Car titles is special considering they were won in different scenarios,” Clauson said in a statement. “The first one last year was with my family team – a team we had built from the ground up. And then I came over to Tony Stewart Racing, which has such a rich history of not only winning races, but championships too.

“Being able to continue that championship tradition is pretty special.”

It also marks the 14th USAC crown for Stewart as an owner; he now has seven Sprint Car titles to go along with his seven Silver Crown titles, the most recent having been won by Bobby East back in September.

“So much work goes into a season like this,” Stewart said in his own statement. “The dedication that’s required, along with the time and effort of so many people, make moments like this incredibly special.

“Bryan Clauson and the entire team were really focused on what they wanted to achieve before the season event started and they all saw it through.”

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”