The Profit on CNBC 500 - Practice

Could Larson, McMurray have answer for Harvick tomorrow?

Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick may be rolling off 13th in tomorrow’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, but after topping both of today’s Sprint Cup practice sessions, it appears he has the car to beat in the Valley of the Sun.

But it also appears that both Chip Ganassi Racing drivers, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, will also be contenders as well, and may have what it takes to fight Harvick to the checkered flag.

Larson has been impressive throughout the weekend at Phoenix. In Friday qualifying, he was quick enough to make the final round – the only rookie competitor to do so – and will line up eighth on the grid tomorrow. He’s been strong as well in the three practice sessions, where he’s been sixth, fourth, and second-fastest in the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.

McMurray has also been solid this weekend. His third-place qualifying effort was especially noteworthy considering that he didn’t qualify in the Top-5 on an oval all of last season (his best oval start was a sixth at Bristol last March). And like Larson, he’s had good practices (14th, second, seventh).

Here are a few others to watch out for…

Don’t let the P20 in final practice fool you. With both poles in the Nationwide race (currently ongoing) and Sprint Cup race, Keselowski has the pace to be a contender.

JOEY LOGANO – Starting second
Second, 10th, and eighth-quickest in the practice sessions, Logano appears set to have a steady piece for Sunday.

DALE EARNHARDT JR. – Starting fifth
Another solid performer in practice – he topped the first one on Friday and was fourth and sixth-quickest in the next two.

CARL EDWARDS – Starting 23rd
Working on race trim was his main focus on Friday, but he almost won at PIR last fall from the very spot he’ll be starting on Sunday. Good pit stops should get him up the pylon.

Report: No Mexico, 16 races expected on 2016 IndyCar schedule

indycar logo2
1 Comment

IndyCar chairman Mark Miles doesn’t expect the 2016 Verizon IndyCar season to begin in Mexico in February next year, according to a report by USA Today.

Though Miles said the Mexico race was “unlikely,” he believes the final schedule will 16 races at 15 venues over the course of seven months.

Miles said the series is waiting for a “highly, highly likely” event to be approved by a board around Oct. 13, going on to say it wasn’t Pocono Raceway.

“If we had to, we probably could put this out, in theory, sooner, but we want to go through the formality and respect the process of a formal approval from one of the promoters,” Miles said.

Miles said the Mexico City race has been put on hold due to concerns for proper promotion for the event, which would be the series’ first outside the United States since racing in Brazil in 2013.

“The process they needed to go through to get everything lined up has not really left a lot of time to be confident that everything can be done to properly promote the first race,” Miles told USA Today. “So I think the conversation is very much about ‘17. We just kind of ran out of time for ‘16.”

This is what is know about the 2016 IndyCar schedule so far.

Either the track, IndyCar, or an IndyCar support series (Pirelli World Challenge) have announced these dates for 2016:

March 13: St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 17: Long Beach, Calif.
April 24: Birmingham, Ala.
May 14: Indianapolis, In. (Indy GP)
May 29: Indianapolis, In. (100th Indy 500)
June 4-5: Detroit, Mich.
June 11: Fort Worth, Texas
June 26: Elkhart Lake, Wis.
July 31: Lexington, Ohio
Sept. 4: Boston, Mass.
Sept. 18: Sonoma, Calif.

These dates are not formal but are highly likely for 2016, per media reports:

April 2: Phoenix, AZ
July 17: Toronto, Ontario

These tracks have been rumored, but are yet to announce the status of IndyCar races for 2016:

Iowa Speedway
Pocono Raceway
The Milwaukee Mile
Gateway International Raceway

Williams hopes to improve on 2014 performance in Russian GP

Leave a comment

At this weekend’s Russian GP, Williams Martini Racing is looking for more of the same from Valtteri Bottas and a little improvement from Felipe Massa.

Last year, Bottas started and finished third while Lewis Hamilton ran away with the win, finishing 13 seconds over Nico Rosberg and 17 over Bottas in the inaugural race at the Sochi Autodrom.

Meanwhile, Massa started 18th after a fuel flow issue knocked him out of the first round of qualifying and managed an 11th-place finish.

Bottas and Massa enter the Sochi race fifth and sixth in the driver standings.

“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points,” said Bottas in a release. “We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car.”

Bottas has finished in the top five in each of the last three races, two of which were won by Hamilton.

“Pace-wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014,” Bottas said, who also noted after Japan the team is set to turn its focus to its 2016 car.

Massa, who has two podium finishes this year, will try to bounce back from a DNF at Marina Bay and a 17th-place finish in Japan.

“I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race,” Massa said in a team release.

“Russia is a very nice track with a few long straights which makes it interesting for overtaking,” Massa said of the 18-turn track. “The circuit has almost everything, starting with a straight and then moving into high-speed corners and then very slow corners in the middle sector. This makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident.”

The Russian Grand Prix can been seen on NBCSN on Sunday at 7 am ET.