Subway Fresh Fit 500 - Qualifying

Ricky Stenhouse, Danica Patrick in top 3 fastest in Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With rain approaching, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick both acted like they had a fast-approaching lunch reservation with each other during Friday’s morning Sprint Cup practice session.

Stenhouse was the only driver in the 29-car session to exceed 197 mph, with a fast lap of 197.027 mph. Patrick was third-fastest, clocking in at 196.915 mph for third-fastest. Greg Biffle was second-fastest at 196.954 mph.

David Gilliland was fourth (196.863), followed by Tony Stewart (196.790), Jeff Gordon (196.066), Paul Menard (196.023), Ryan Newman (195.976), Kasey Kahne (195.967) and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10 (195.729).

Daytona 500 pole sitter Austin Dillon was only 21st fastest (190.428).

Several young drivers who made the field for Sunday’s Great American Race struggled to find speed in Friday’s first session (the second session in the afternoon is uncertain to occur due to off-and-on rain showers): Cole Whitt was 28th fastest (187.942) and Alex Bowman brought up the rear of the field (185.208).

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Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.