Kevin Harvick’s bid for back-to-back wins ends with broken left front wheel hub

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Kevin Harvick went from halfway to no way in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After leading the race at the 134-lap halfway point of the 267-lap event, Harvick’s bid for back-to-back wins came to an abrupt end when his No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet suffered a broken left front wheel hub after about 175 laps.

When that happened, it became increasingly difficult for Harvick to turn the wheels in the turns around the 1.5-mile progressively-banked racetrack. He ultimately completed 191 laps of the scheduled 267-lap event before taking his ailing car to the garage.

Last week’s Sprint Cup winner at Phoenix, Harvick was the halfway leader for Sunday’s race and went on to lead 23 laps before apparently hitting a piece of debris that locked up the left front wheel on his race car.

With 50 laps remaining in the race and Harvick’s car in the garage being serviced and repaired, he was scored 40th in the 43-car field — although his team hoped to get him back on the track before the end of the race.

As it turned out, Harvick was unable to get back on the track and wound up with a very disappointing 41st-place finish.

“It looks like the left front hub is locked shut,” Harvick told Fox Sports. “The car just kind of lost the handling the last 15 or 20 laps and started to get loose, which makes sense with that left front brake dragging like that.

“Our Jimmy John’s car was Freaky Fast again, and just got to keep doing what we’re doing and everything will be fine with cars like that.”

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Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.