Phoenix International Raceway

Everything you need to know about NASCAR’S The Profit on CNBC 500 Sunday at Phoenix

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If you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan, you can never get enough statistics.
Thanks to NASCAR’s crack stats crew, here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 3 pm ET:
 
PHOENIX-SPECIFIC STATISTICS
                                                                               
Driver highlights:
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
·        Five top fives, seven top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.9
·        Average Running Position of 14.8, ninth-best
·        Driver Rating of 91.6, ninth-best
·        286 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
·        793 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.243 mph, 10th-fastest
·        3,242 Laps in the Top 15 (56.9%), 11th-most
·        392 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), ninth-most
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
·        One win, five top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.6, fourth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.0, seventh-best
·        287 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.351 mph, seventh-fastest
·        3,953 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), sixth-most
·        386 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota)
·        One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 12.0, seventh-best
·        Driver Rating of 97.4, eighth-best
·        248 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
·        794 Green Flag Passes, third-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.364 mph, sixth-fastest
·        4,505 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1%), third-most
·        Series-high 527 Quality Passes
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
·        Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 12.7, eighth-best
·        Driver Rating of 100.0, third-best
·        354 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.439 mph, fourth-fastest
·        3,865 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), eighth-most
·        399 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PEPSI MAX Chevrolet)
·        Two wins, 10 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 11.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.5, third-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.4, fourth-best
·        222 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.337 mph, eighth-fastest
·        4,563 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%), second-most
·        410 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 10.9
·        Average Running Position of 11.7, sixth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.2, sixth-best
·        237 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.400 mph, fifth-fastest
·        3,894 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), seventh-most
·        382 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 10.7, fifth-best
·        Driver Rating of 101.3, second-best
·        308 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
·        743 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.482 mph, third-fastest
·        4,334 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), fourth-most
·        418 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 6.3
·        Series-best Average Running Position of 6.9
·        Series-best Driver Rating of 116.7
·        Series-high 574 Fastest Laps Run
·        722 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
·        Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 125.835 mph
·        Series-high 5,009 Laps in the Top 15 (88.0%)
·        498 Quality Passes, second-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
·        One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 17.4
·        Average Running Position of 16.1, 12th-best
·        Driver Rating of 86.1, 11th-best
·        172 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
·        789 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.166 mph, 11th-fastest
·        3,344 Laps in the Top 15 (58.7%), 10th-most
·        409 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford)
·        Two top fives, three top 10s
·        Average finish of 17.1
·        Driver Rating of 85.9, 12th-best
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.280 mph, ninth-fastest
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; four poles
·        Average finish of 18.7
·        Average Running Position of 15.3, 10th-best
·        Driver Rating of 87.1, 10th-best
·        768 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
·        3,723 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%), ninth-most
·        487 Quality Passes, third-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.0
·        Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.2, fifth-best
·        220 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
·        716 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.493 mph, second-fastest
·        4,146 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), fifth-most
·        440 Quality Passes, fourth-most
                                                                               
Chase Contenders
The Top 16
Following Race 1 of 36
                                                                               
Driver Points Wins Poles Week Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 48 1 0 0 133.1
2. Denny Hamlin 43 0 0 0 113.8
3. Brad Keselowski 42 0 0 0 117.1
4. Jeff Gordon 40 0 0 0 102.7
5. Jimmie Johnson 40 0 0 0 101.2
6. Matt Kenseth 38 0 0 0 98.2
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 37 0 0 0 72.0
8. Greg Biffle 37 0 0 0 94.1
9. Austin Dillon 36 0 1 0 83.4
10. Casey Mears 34 0 0 0 80.8
11. Joey Logano 34 0 0 0 104.1
12. Kevin Harvick 31 0 0 0 85.1
13. Jamie McMurray 30 0 0 0 73.8
14. Bobby Labonte 29 0 0 0 46.2
15. Reed Sorenson 28 0 0 0 69.3
16. Carl Edwards 28 0 0 0 87.0

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Winners List:
Winner                                                     Track_________ ________________     
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.                 Daytona International Speedway
                                                                               
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Top 10 at Phoenix International Raceway

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 23 0 2 6 10 3 17 84
2 Denny Hamlin 17 1 1 8 9 0 10.9 98.2
3 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 2 3 1 17.1 85.9
4 Jeff Gordon 30 3 2 10 20 3 11.5 99.4
5 Jimmie Johnson 21 2 4 14 17 0 6.3 116.7
6 Matt Kenseth 23 1 1 5 9 3 17.4 86.1
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 0 0 0 0 0 14 72.9
8 Greg Biffle 20 0 0 5 7 1 13.9 91.6
9 Austin Dillon 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Casey Mears 19 0 0 0 0 4 26.2 61.1
* – Based on last 18 races at Phoenix International Raceway (2005 – 2013).
                                                                               
Phoenix International Raceway:
History
·        Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
·        Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
·        The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
·        The track underwent its first repave in 2011. The construction began in March and concluded in September of that year.
·        The following changes were made during the construction period (March – Sept. 2011):
o   Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet
o   Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
o   Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
o   Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
o   Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
                                                                               
Notebook
·        There have been 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
·        186 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix; 138 in more than one.
·        Mark Martin leads series in starts at Phoenix with 34; followed by Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte with 30 each.
·        Geoffrey Bodine won the first pole in 1988 at a speed of 123.203 mph (29.220 sec.).
·        There have been 19 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four.
·        Youngest Phoenix pole winner: Kyle Busch (4/22/06 – 20 years, 11 months, 20 days).
·        Oldest Phoenix pole winner: Mark Martin (03/03/13 – 54 years, 1 month, 22 days).
·        Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), while Gordon won the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
·        Denny Hamlin (November, 2005) and AJ Allmendinger (April, 2010) won their first career Coors Light poles at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        There have been 23 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Phoenix, eight have won more than once, led by Jimmie Johnson, with four – (’07 Chase race, ’08 spring race and Chase race, ’09 Chase race).
·        The eight drivers who have won more than once at Phoenix: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the series in wins(four each), Davey Allison (two), Jeff Burton (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Jeff Gordon (two)Carl Edwards (two) and Mark Martin (two).
·        Of the eight drivers with multiple wins at Phoenix International Raceway, Mark Martin is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Ford (1993) and Chevrolet (2009).
·        Four of the 35 (11.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the Coors Light pole:Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009) and Carl Edwards (fall 2010).
·        Seven of the 35 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from the front row: four from the pole and three from second-place.
·        17 of the 35 (48.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finishes at Phoenix with a 6.3; he is the only active driver with an average finish inside the top 10.
·        Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
·        Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 28th-place starting position, the furthest back an active race winner has started.
·        18 of the 35 (51.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
·        3 of the 35 (8.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·        Five drivers have won consecutive races at Phoenix: Davey Allison (1991,1992); Jeff Burton (2000, 2001); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2004); Kevin Harvick (swept 2006); Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the five to win three consecutive races (fall 2007, swept 2008).
·        Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Phoenix with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven.
·        Two perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix, Kurt Busch in April of 2005 and Kevin Harvick in November of 2006.
·        Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (11/13/2005 – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days).
·        Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Mark Martin (4/18/2009 – 50 years, 3months, 9 days).
·        Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with five; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart with three each.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Phoenix with 14.
·        Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Bobby Hamilton (10/27/1996) are the only two drivers to post their first NASCAR Sprint Cup career win at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        21 of the 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who have won at Phoenix participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Tony Stewart (11/7/1999) are the only two drivers to win at Phoenix in their first appearance.
·        Jeff Gordon competed at Phoenix International Raceway 16 times before winning (4/21/2007); the longest span of any the 23 winners.
·        Six drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon (16), Ryan Newman(15), Kasey Kahne (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Carl Edwards (12) and Rusty Wallace (11).
·        Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix without visiting Victory Lane with 30.
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix was the April 10, 2010 race won by Ryan Newman with a MOV of 0.13 seconds.
·        Two drivers have won at Phoenix and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season:Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009); Dale Earnhardt (1990).
·        Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Danica Patrick
37
17
11/11/2012
Danica Patrick
40
39
3/3/2013
Danica Patrick
32
33
11/10/2013
·        Car numbers that have produced three or more Phoenix wins:

Car Number – Drivers – (Years)
o   No. 48  – Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009)
o   No. 99 – Carl Edwards (2010 and 2013) and Jeff Burton (2000, 2001)
o   No. 29 – Kevin Harvick (2006 sweep, 2012 and 2013)
o   No. 5 – Mark Martin (2009), Kyle Busch (2005) and Terry Labonte (1994)

Phoenix International Raceway Data
Season Race #: 2 of 36 (3-2-14)
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 10-11 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 8-9 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 8-9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,179 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,551 feet
Race Length: 312 laps / 500 Kilometers

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Phoenix
Jimmie Johnson………………….. 116.7
Kevin Harvick……………………… 101.3
Carl Edwards……………………… 100.0
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 99.4
Tony Stewart………………………… 99.2
Denny Hamlin………………………. 98.2
Kurt Busch…………………………… 98.0
Kyle Busch………………………….. 97.4
Greg Biffle…………………………… 91.6
Ryan Newman…………………….. 87.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Mark Martin, Toyota, 138.074 mph, 26.073 secs. 3-1-13
2013 race winner: Carl Edwards, Ford, 105.187 mph, (03:00:15), 3-3-13
Track qualifying record: Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 139.222 mph, 25.858 secs. 11-8-13
Track race record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 118.132 mph, (2:38:28), 11-7-99

NASCAR in Arizona
·        There have been 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among three tracks in Arizona.
Track Name
City
NSCS
Phoenix International Raceway
Avondale
35
Arizona State Fairgrounds
Phoenix
4
Tucson Rodeo Grounds
Tucson
1
·        32 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Arizona.
·        None of the drivers from Arizona have won a race in NASCAR’s three national series.
                                                                               
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‘Fast Jack’ Beckman back to living up to his nickname at Gateway

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“Fast Jack” Beckman came into this weekend’s AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in a big predicament.

He didn’t live up to his colorful nickname during last week’s Carolina Nationals, the opening race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship.

Beckman was actually more like “Slow Jack,” as he failed to advance past the first round at Carolina in last Sunday’s eliminations.

He also failed to advance past the first round in the final pre-Countdown qualifying race, the U.S. Nationals, which he won last season.

All those things combined have put even more pressure on Beckman. He left Charlotte eighth in the 10-driver Funny Car Countdown standings.

2016_Jack_Beckman headshot

Being scored 110 points behind Funny Car points leader Ron Capps, Beckman had his work cut out for him heading into this weekend’s race at Gateway, in Madison, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

And as he has done numerous times in his career, when the pressure was on him, Beckman responded, qualifying No. 2 on Saturday for Sunday’s eliminations.

Robert Hight earned the No. 1 qualifier position (3.893 seconds at 328.38 mph), but Beckman wasn’t far behind (3.907 seconds at 325.22 mph).

That’s a big start for Beckman, who won at Gateway in 2012 and ended up second in last year’s championship battle that was won by fellow veteran Del Worsham. Beckman will face Dale Creasy Jr. in the first round of eliminations.

Last season, Beckman won seven races in the 24-race NHRA national event schedule. This season has been much different, as he has just one win (Chicago in July).

But that doesn’t mean he still can’t win each of the five remaining Countdown races – which obviously would go a long way towards earning him his second career Funny Car championship (and in five seasons).

Beckman isn’t panicking after Charlotte. He’s finished first, third and second in three of the last four seasons. He knows he and his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger have the capability to make a serious championship run.

In addition to hoping he wins Sunday, Beckman is defending champion of next week’s Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove (Pa.) Raceway.

“Since you can’t control how the leading cars do, really the goal is simple: you just need to win the race,” Beckman said in a media release. “At some point we have to win the race if we have a chance.

“There’s not any other path to a championship. We lost ground we couldn’t afford to lose (at Charlotte) and we can’t afford to lose any more ground. I don’t see those teams not continuing to perform well and the only way we win the championship is to outperform them. It’s imperative we get back to our capabilities.”

A major change for Saturday’s qualifying effort paid off handsomely with his No. 2 spot for Sunday – although admittedly it was a gamble of sorts for Beckman and crew chief Jimmy Prock.

“We’re still running a five-disc clutch and we have one disc on there that when it works it’s great and when it doesn’t it smokes the tires instantly and becomes too aggressive,” Beckman said. “We’re going to take that one out and take our chances with a brand new disc. We’re taking a calculated risk but I think it’s the only choice we have.

“We have to take baby steps but we have to take them quickly or we run out of races. Before we can go quick consistently we have to get back our predictability and we have to do that by the end of (this weekend’s race at) St. Louis.

“All we can control right now is our lane. Because we’re running out of rounds, every single pass becomes more important. But if you dwell on that, there’s a high likelihood you’re not going to do as well as you want.

“As the season winds down, the pressure goes up, but if you let it affect you, you’re not going to be at your best. The only thing you can do is take a positive mindset every time you go up there.”

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Touring car legend Yvan Muller to leave WTCC after 2016

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - OCTOBER 04:   Yvan Muller of France attends the FIA pre event press conference at rally headquarters after the Shakedown of the WRC France on October 04, 2012 in Strasbourg , France.  (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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Touring car racing legend and four-time world champion Yvan Muller will leave the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the end of the 2016 season.

Muller made his name in the British Touring Car Championship before making the switch across to WTCC in 2006 with Seat.

The Frenchman claimed his first world title in 2008 before enjoying further successes in 2010, 2011 and 2013, the latter three championships won while behind the wheel of a Chevrolet.

Muller joined Citroen following its arrival in WTCC for the 2014 season, but has been unable to add to his haul of championship as teammate Jose Maria Lopez romped to three straight crowns.

With Citroen set to leave WTCC at the end of the year, Muller has decided that the time is right to follow suit and call time on a stint in the series that has seen him score 47 wins, 119 podium finishes and over 2,600 points.

“I am not sure that age is the main factor when it comes to ending a career. It’s more a matter of desire and motivation,” Muller said.

“With all the testing, the simulator sessions, the physical training and the travel to the race venues, a season of professional motor racing requires a level of personal commitment that I am no longer prepared to put in.

“At the same time, I am at a time of my life where I want to do something else and I am happy to be able to make that decision after eleven seasons of FIA WTCC.

“I’ve had some great experiences over my career. These three seasons with Citroën Racing have been particularly special, even though I never managed to be world champion with this team. But I will always be proud of having helped to build our racing programme and develop the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. I have also met some great people who are passionate about their job and have a fierce competitive spirit.

“Driving has been part of my daily life for so long that I can’t see myself stopping racing entirely. But I am going to spend more time with my family and developing my team, Yvan Muller Racing. Before that, though, I am going to put everything I’ve got into meeting the team’s goals.”

Lopez is also set to leave WTCC at the end of the year, having agreed a deal to race for Citroen sub-brand DS in Formula E for the all-electric series’ third season.

The 2016 WTCC season closes on November 25 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Report: Sam Schmidt to receive America’s first driver’s license for semi-autonomous car

2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
May 29, 2016
© INDYCAR
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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt is set to receive America’s first driver’s license for a semi-autonomous vehicle, according to a report from Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Schmidt sustained a spinal cord injury in a testing accident at Walt Disney World Speedway ahead of the 2000 IRL season, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Schmidt went on to establish Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with programs in IndyCar and Indy Lights, both of which he still heads up.

Schmidt has previously completed laps behind the wheel of a modified 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray at Indianapolis in 2014 and in Long Beach last year, dubbed the ‘SAM project’ – semi-autonomous motorcar – developed with Arrow Electronics.

Schmidt controls the car using a breathing tube for acceleration and braking, and steers using his head movements that are picked up by infrared cameras.

Now, the SAM project is set to hit the road, with Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will grant Schmidt the first road license for a semi-autonomous car in the country.

The report says that Arrow has worked closely with the Nevada DMV to update regulations so that Schmidt is able to drive on state roads.

“Nevada is leading the nation in promoting autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies that can bring mobility and independence to people with physical disabilities, including our wounded warriors,” officials from the Nevada DMV said.

Robert Kubica scores podium finish on Renault Sport Trophy debut at Spa

16 KUBICA Robert (POL) HAMON Christophe (FRA) RENAULT RS 01 Team Duqueine action during the 2016 Renault Sport series  at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, September  23 to 25  - Photo Eric Vargiolu / DPPI
© Renault Sport
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Robert Kubica enjoyed a successful debut in the Renault Sport Trophy at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, finishing third alongside Christophe Hamon.

Former BMW and Renault Formula 1 driver Kubica announced last week that he would be entering the race weekend at Spa after accepting an invitation from the French manufacturer.

Kubica spent five seasons racing in F1 and won the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix for BMW before having his stint in the series cut short after a rally crash ahead of the 2011 season.

Severe injuries sustained to his right arm and hand meant left Kubica spending a lengthy spell in rehabilitation before making his return to motorsport in the World Rally Championship.

The Pole made his final WRC appearance in January at the Monte Carlo Rally before making his circuit racing return in the 12 Hours of Mugello with Mercedes.

Kubica enjoyed his first qualifying session since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of the Renault Sport Trophy weekend, finishing third.

After seeing Hamon complete the first 10 laps of the race and suffer contact, Kubica completed the final 17 behind the wheel of the Renault R.S.01 car.

A late charge saw Kubica rise from P6 with 10 minutes remaining to cross the line third, six seconds behind race winners Raoul Owens and Fredrik Blomstedt.

Curiously, Kubica’s last F1 podium finish also came at Spa in 2010, finishing third for Renault behind Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

Kubica will return to Spa on Sunday for the sprint race, where he will race in the Pro class.