Trent Owens in as Almirola’s crew chief at Petty

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Trent Owens has been announced as the crew chief for Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, marking his first full-time crew chief opportunity in NASCAR’s top series.

Owens, a five-time winner in Nationwide Series competition, served as crew chief for Kyle Larson this past season at Turner Scott Motorsports’ NNS operation.

Larson, who will compete for Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2014, earned nine Top-5s and 17 Top-10s under Owens’ guidance.

Additionally, Owens helped Larson take his inaugural Camping World Truck Series win back in April at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway.

“This is a great opportunity to join a Sprint Cup organization and a race team that can win,” Owens said in a statement. “The No. 43 team has proven they can race up front.

“We just need to find a little more consistency to make the Chase. I believe we can put ourselves in contention for a Chase spot in 2014.”

Almirola knows Owens from his NNS days when the two competed against each other. He’s hopeful that Owens can help RPM find that missing consistency.

“He’s a very talented crew chief who has accomplished a lot, but he’s still very hungry to do a lot more,” Almirola said in his thoughts. “Our team is the same. We’re getting better, but we need more Top-10’s, Top-5s and wins.

“I believe Trent can help us do that and he’s a positive addition to the team.”

Greg Ebert served as the No. 43’s interim crew chief for the final four races of the 2013 season after Todd Parrott was dismissed following his indefinite suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.