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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New 2018 IndyCar aero kit makes its formal test debut at IMS

Photo: IndyCar
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After months of buildup and following Monday’s reveal, Tuesday marked the new 2018 Dallara universal aero kit’s official debut on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

INDYCAR’s release, with a handful of social media posts embedded, is below:

If the first day of on-track testing is any indication, the new Verizon IndyCar Series car is well on its way to making Indy car racing in 2018 even better.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia turned more than 100 laps each on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in their respective Chevrolet- and Honda-powered Dallara IR-12s equipped with the universal aerodynamic bodywork kit making its public debut ahead of being used by all competitors next season.

Afterward, approval of the new car’s bolder, sleeker look and performance was unanimous from everyone involved. Buy-in from the two test drivers – among the most veteran and respected around – was essential and secured from the outset.

“From Lap 1, it just felt at home,” said the 43-year-old Servia, who has driven Indy cars since 2000. “The car felt great. I was flat on it out of the pits, which just says how good the car felt right away.

“I think it’s going to be a fast, good racer.”

INDYCAR, sanctioning body for the Verizon IndyCar Series, announced in April 2016 its intent to move away from aero kit competition to a universally supplied kit in 2018. Dallara, a series chassis supplier since 1997, was named to produce and supply the universal kit.

“It’s exciting because, for the first time in the car, it drives really, really well,” said Montoya, 41 and a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “I think they addressed a lot of the things and the car looks great. I think having one aero kit for everybody is great for the sport. The car looks good and it drives really good.”

Montoya’s car was prepared by Team Penske and Servia’s by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, though INDYCAR is retaining control of the cars until testing is complete in late September. INDYCAR officials watched with nervous excitement as the two cars took to the track for the first time shortly after 9 a.m. ET and methodically worked through the test checklist. By 5 p.m., the checklist had been completed and a potential second day of testing Wednesday was deemed unnecessary.

“We were pleased,” said Bill Pappas, INDYCAR’s vice president of competition/race engineering who headed up the technical development of the universal kit. “It matched up with our numbers that we predicted in the wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics), so we were very happy for that.”

Pappas said the test list included short runs by each car to “ensure that there weren’t any surprises,” followed by longer runs on the 2.5-mile oval to check for durability issues. Everyone at INDYCAR and Dallara felt confident the test would be a success, but there are never givens in racing.

“This is my first experience being part of a car being designed,” Pappas said. “Obviously, Dallara did a great job helping us, but you hold your breath until the first competitive laps are run.”

Love this place. @indianapolismotorspeedway is sooo much fun in an @indycar @teamchevy @team_penske @fitzgeraldgliderkits

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Old Boys. @indycar #2018 #shapingthefuture #future #racing #indy500

A post shared by Oriol Servia (@oriolservia) on

Mission accomplished, at least for the first phase of testing. Additional tests for the two cars are scheduled for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 1), Iowa Speedway (Aug. 10) and Sebring International Raceway (Sept. 26). But the fact that this opening test was completed in half the allotted time is reason to celebrate, if only for a short time.

“Everything we had planned to do in two days, we already accomplished in the first day,” Servia said. “We did lots of laps, long runs, and the car feels good. The car feels very benign.

“It just feels right and we’re not having any issues or moments out there. Very consistent. My second long run, I think, was one of my most consistent runs I’ve done at this track in all of my years.”

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season resumes this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Live race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore telecast at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.

Ryan Norman set to take next ‘Journey’ in debut Indy Lights season

Photo: Andretti Autosport
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One of the more unheralded drivers entering this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires campaign has been Ryan Norman, the 19-year-old out of Cleveland who has made strides in his rookie campaign.

Norman was the only one of Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights quartet new to the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires this year. Teammates Nico Jamin, Dalton Kellett and Colton Herta have all been in the MRTI before, while Norman has undergone a significant learning process of taking on new tracks and a new championship.

But Norman’s been one of the year’s more pleasant surprises with methodical growth and improvement over the course of the season.

Through 12 races, Norman has improved his starting position by the end of the race in nine of them, and scored 10 top-10 finishes overall – a number that is tied for second in the series with Zachary Claman De Melo, behind only season points leader Kyle Kaiser who has been in the top-10 in all 12. He’s also won multiple Tilton Hard Charger awards for advancing the most positions in a race from his grid position, and additional Staubli Awards.

Norman ranks 10th in the points standings, ahead of two three-year veterans and two rookies.

Incidentally, it’s been the few races where Norman has qualified in the top five – fourth at the Freedom 100, third at Elkhart Lake race one and fourth in Iowa – where his results haven’t measured up to his starting position. A first lap accident took he and Herta out at the Freedom, while he still banked solid fourth and eighth place finishes in the other two races.

Norman heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend for the next step of his journey on his rookie season – literally.

After running in a vibrant orange-and-black livery the first 12 races, Norman will now step aboard the No. 48 Journey Mazda for Andretti Autosport this weekend, as the legendary rock band formed in 1973 comes onto the car, and the livery changes along with it for the balance of the season.

Not far from Norman’s hometown of Cleveland, the same city of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Lexington, Ohio course will see Norman debut the new livery. ORACAL’s new 970 Premium Special Effect Cast in Sunset Shift, a color-changing wrap like Norman’s Red Bull Global Rallycross teammate Scott Speed’s race car. The new design echoes Journey’s iconic logo, featuring giant wings on the side pod and nose cone of Norman’s Dallara IL-15.

It’s an orange livery with yellow and blue stripes. Needless to say Norman is ready to rock out on home turf this weekend and look to continue his rapid growth in his first season this weekend.

“I am very excited to have Journey on board for the rest of my 2017 season,” Norman said in a release. “It’s unique to have a rock band sponsoring a race car. Journey was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, which is my hometown, so it makes the next race at Mid-Ohio very special to me. I love Journey’s music and having “Don’t Stop Believin’” on the side of my car is very fitting. This song has inspired a lot people including athletes like myself.”

Norman isn’t the only Andretti Autosport driver with a story this weekend at Mid-Ohio; teammate Jamin looks to snap a rough patch of results and extend his own personal winning streak at Mid-Ohio from its current run of five races between USF2000 (three races in 2015) and Pro Mazda (two in 2016) while Herta looks to keep his championship hopes alive. Kellett has had the opposite bit of luck as Norman this year; he’s qualified significantly better but had a rough run of results in the races themselves that haven’t matched his potential.

Indy Lights race coverage from Mid-Ohio airs Sunday, July 30, at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Luca Ghiotto joins Hungary test list for Williams

Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
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Formula 2 front-runner Luca Ghiotto is the latest young driver to be confirmed for the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test, with the Italian set to run on one of the two days for Williams Martini Racing.

Ghiotto battled Esteban Ocon for the GP3 title in 2015 but lost out to the Frenchman, and has since moved up a category on his own.

Ghiotto and Felipe Massa will split the two days of running between Tuesday and Wednesday after the Grand Prix.

“A big thanks to Williams for this opportunity. I think the first F1 test for any driver is a special moment, and to do it with such an historic team is even better so I’m really excited. Of course, I also need to focus on the F2 weekend beforehand, but I’m really looking forward to the test and I really hope it goes well,” Ghiotto said of his first F1 test.

Claire Williams, deputy team principal added, “This will be Luca’s first opportunity of a Formula One outing. Our team has a strong track record for developing young talent, and we always enjoy seeing young drivers getting opportunities to demonstrate their ability. I look forward to seeing how he performs in the car next month.”

Magnus brings in ‘hired gun’ Spencer Pumpelly for Mid-Ohio

Photo: Magnus Racing
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With Mansfield, Ohio the home of the prison in The Shawshank Redemption in the Ohio State Reformatory (also known as the Mansfield Reformatory) and with Magnus Racing PR ace and “Dinner with Racers” co-creator Sean Heckman one of two who’ve coined the inside joke that Spencer Pumpelly allegedly tried to kill a guy, it was only natural that Pumpelly will play the role of Magnus Racing’s “hired gun” near the prison at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Pirelli World Challenge competition this weekend.

The joke stems from the first season of “DWR” and was a running joke throughout the season. The “hired gun” play-on-words riffs on the fact Pumpelly will be substituting for Pierre Kaffer in the team’s No. 4 Audi R8 LMS this weekend, with Kaffer on duty at the Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps for Audi Sport.

Pumpelly has raced alongside Kaffer and Dane Cameron in PWC SprintX competition this season – Pumpelly and Cameron actually won the second race of the weekend at Lime Rock Park – and now the veteran sports car driver and Atlanta native will make his first PWC Sprint starts of the year, and first since his similar fill-in role with Heckman’s “DWR” co-creator, Ryan Eversley, at RealTime Racing last year… which also started at Mid-Ohio.

“It’s great to have Spencer back in the team,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter, who is in the team’s No. 44 Audi in GTA. “Spencer has always fit right in with us, but driving the team to our first series victory of course sealed a very special place for his legacy with us. We’re hoping Mid-Ohio suits both Spencer and the No. 4, and hopefully we can repeat the same feat.”

“It’s great to return to the team,” stated Pumpelly. “Obviously our last race together went extraordinarily well, and we’re hoping that same momentum can continue in to Mid Ohio. It’s always tough to say what to expect, especially in these very frantic sprint races, but we’re optimistic that the circuit should suit us. The entire team at Magnus has done a great job putting this effort together, and we look forward to pushing for additional results.”