Four NASCAR drivers seek to extend yearly win streaks at Homestead

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Next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will conclude the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and for four drivers, a last chance at a win to extend their number of consecutive seasons with at least one victory.

Denny Hamlin’s is the longest, with a win in each of his seven full-time Sprint Cup seasons from 2006 through 2012. But his 2013 has been a disappointment in every sense of the word, with early season fines and injuries stunting his charge before it ever really got going. His last win came in March 2012, at Phoenix, some 65 races ago. With little else to take as a positive from 2013, a win for Hamlin would be a needed tonic on a frustrating year.

Clint Bowyer can win for the fourth straight year if he takes his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to Victory Lane in Homestead. While Hamlin’s year went off the rails early, Bowyer’s has just in the last two months after his Richmond spin that set off a domino effect of penalties and consequences to his team, one of his teammates, and the sport as a whole. He still made the Chase but the sting of the spin has cast an unfortunate light on his season. He last won at Sonoma in June, 2012.

Marcos Ambrose took the last two Watkins Glen race wins in 2011 and 2012 so would be least likely to continue his streak; the Tasmanian has never won a NASCAR oval race.

Meanwhile Dale Earnhardt Jr. faces the unfortunate prospect of finishing his fourth season in the last five without a win. Consistent but short of wins on a handful of occasions this year, Junior is fifth in points and seeking a win to add to his Michigan triumph in June, 2012.

Expect each of these four to race just that little bit harder on Sunday to ensure they don’t end 2013 with a donut in the win column, instead doing donuts for a win.

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.