NASCAR receives Diversity and Inclusion Award

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I believe “diversity” is an old, old wooden ship … sorry, my mind wandered there for a second when I saw the word “diversity” used in a racing press release, and a non-Anchorman context.

In a serious and rather good note for NASCAR, the sanctioning body was awarded the 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Award at a ceremony at the New York Times building in New York City, for NASCAR’s efforts fostering diversity.

The “Drive for Diversity” program has had its most successful year in 2013 with Kyle Larson, who’s Asian-American, capturing the NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie-of-the-year honors. Additionally, Darrell Wallace Jr. became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race in 50 years when he won his first Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville last month.

“Early in the last decade NASCAR made a commitment to broadening the appeal of our sport by recruiting and developing dynamic new talent on the race track and throughout our sport. As a result, we are enhancing the fan experience for NASCAR fans everywhere,” Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, said in a release. “We take great pride in being recognized during the 2013 DANDI Awards for our ongoing efforts.”

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.