Kevin Harvick is halfway leader in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas

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Leading the field at the halfway point of  Sunday’s 267-lap Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, last week’s race winner at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick, is looking to make it two wins in a row.

Coming up one spot short of victory in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway must have lit a fire under Kyle Busch, as the younger Busch brother led 51 laps before surrendering the lead to Harvick just four laps before halfway.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano led the field to the green and led 44 of the first 100 laps of the scheduled 267-lap event on the progressively-banked 1.5-mile racetrack. Logano was running 11th at halfway.

Four-time Las Vegas race-winner and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson eventually found his way to the front and led 30 laps before surrendering his advantage to Kyle Busch. Johnson was third at the halfway mark before pitting for fuel and four tires a few laps past halfway.

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his strong start to the 2014 season, coming in fourth at the halfway mark.

Brad Keselowski, who started on the outside pole alongside Penske Racing teammate Logano, rarely strayed far from the top five and appeared headed to a third consecutive strong finish, sitting sixth at halfway.

Last year’s race winner at Las Vegas, Matt Kenseth, seemed content to remain in the top 10, running ninth at the midpoint, perhaps saving a final kick for the final laps.

Others in the top 10 at halfway included Jeff Gordon (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh),  Paul Menard (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (10th).

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises – and not in a good way – was the performance of Tony Stewart, who fell to 32nd position after the first 100 laps. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch, who hails from Las Vegas but counts its racetrack as his worst-performing facility on the Sprint Cup circuit, was ranked 22nd at halfway, while Danica Patrick was running 28th.

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Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.