Jamie McMurray tops Sprint Cup speed charts in Happy Hour at Las Vegas

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Jamie McMurray was the fastest driver in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

McMurray’s best lap was his first of the final session, covering the progressively-banked 1.5-mile surface at 186.942 mph.

A close second was Daytona 500 pole sitter Austin Dillon at 186.896 mph.

Third through fifth were Clint Bowyer (186.851), Kasey Kahne (186.793) and Kevin Harvick (186.458).

Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ninth-fastest at 185.893 mph.

Sunday’s pole sitter, Joey Logano, was 15th-fastest at 185.918 mph.

Danica Patrick, who was sixth-fastest in the morning practice session, fell off the pace in the one-hour afternoon stanza at 32nd-fastest.

With less than four minutes to go, the motor in Parker Kligerman’s let go, spilling oil and fluid on the track, almost causing Greg Biffle to wreck. It was yet a continuation of the frustration that Kligerman has experienced in his first full Sprint Cup season. Kligerman is the only driver in the series who has recorded DNF’s in the first two races at Daytona and Phoenix.

Here’s the speeds of Saturday’s final Sprint Cup practice:

1 Jamie McMurray 186.942

2 Austin Dillon 186.896

3 Clint Bowyer 186.851

4 Kasey Kahne 186.793

5 Kevin Harvick 186.458

 

6 Kyle Larson 186.419

7 Jimmie Johnson 186.233

8 Brian Vickers 186.047

9 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 185.893

10 Casey Mears 185.810

 

11 Ryan Newman 185.567

12 Brad Keselowski 185.484

13 Aric Almirola 185.440

14 Trevor Bayne 185.312

15 Joey Logano 185.918

 

16 Denny Hamlin 185.147

17 Martin Truex Jr. 185.122

18 Kurt Busch 185.077

19 Matt Kenseth 184.919

20 Carl Edwards 184.735

 

21 Tony Stewart 184.559

22 Marcos Ambrose 184.521

23 Jeff Gordon 184.451

24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25 Kyle Busch 184.168

 

26 Paul Menard 184.162

27 Alex Bowman 183.580

28 AJ Allmendinger 182.814

29 Jeff Burton 182.580

30 David Gilliland 182.377

 

31 Greg Biffle 182.359

32 Danica Patrick 181.830

33 Reed Sorenson 181.257

34 Michael McDowell 181.208

35 David Ragan 181.099

 

36 Justin Allgaier 181.080

37 Josh Wise 180.717

38 Parker Kligerman 179.557

39 Ryan Truex 179.97

40 Michael Annett 179.390

 

41 Travis Kvapil 179.146

42 Timmy Hill 178.968

43 Cole Whitt 175.718

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Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”