Colorful Kyle Busch to race and taste the rainbow in Phoenix Sprint Cup race


If you’re heading out to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500, make sure you don’t forget your sunglasses.

First, the sun at PIR is notorious. Ask drivers about how they are routinely blinded by the sun, especially heading down the frontstretch and into the first turn of the mile-long flat track.

If it bothers them, imagine what it will do to you, the fan, as you walk around the midway or sit in the grandstands.

Another reason to bring your shades is the incredibly bright colors that will be reflecting off Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota. One of Mars Inc.’s products, Skittles, will be highlighted on the hood of Busch’s car, and the paint job is nothing short of awesome.

In a unique twist, when he’s not wearing his helmet, Busch will be wearing a specially-made ball cap, with the brow of the cap adorned with — what else — Skittles.

Who knows, maybe if Busch gets hungry during the course of the race, don’t be surprised if he pulls a couple of pieces of the candy off his cap and pops them in his mouth.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.