Keselowski’s blog: A story of a friend’s rise and fall

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Brad Keselowski couldn’t have had much better of a weekend in Las Vegas than he did.

He captured his first career weekend sweep in NASCAR for Team Penske, with the Nationwide Series victory on Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series win Sunday.

Winning means a lot of things, but to Keselowski, it means emotions can occasionally come running out.

And the wins this past weekend inspired Keselowski to dig deep and tell a story he had only previously told his closest inner circle.

We first learned Keselowski could write (and rather well, if I don’t say so myself) with his first blog entry on his own website posted a little more than a week ago, about his first race with JR Motorsports.

But this one, filed today, brings us closer to one of Brad’s best friends – a man only known as James – trying to make it in the racing world.

It sounds simple on paper but is obviously much deeper than that. A brief teaser:

But it’s hard to anticipate the emotions that you experience after a big win. Sunday night, flying home after the weekend, I found myself thinking about one person in particular. His story is one that’s deep and personal, one I’ve never shared with anyone but those in my closest inner circle. I don’t think anyone outside that circle even knows about it. That story came to an end on the weekend of my last victory, which came in October 2013 in Charlotte.

You can view the full blog here, as it’s a very well-done piece on this friend’s rise and fall.

Hamilton leads damp first USGP practice at COTA, Hartley debuts

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Lewis Hamilton continued his impressive Formula 1 record at the Circuit of The Americas by topping opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday for Mercedes.

A four-time winner of the USGP at COTA, Hamilton set the pace in damp conditions in first practice after rain hit the Austin area in the lead-up to the start of the session.

After initially venturing out on intermediate tires, Hamilton made the switch to super-softs at the halfway point in FP1, ultimately posting a fastest time of 1:36.335.

Hamilton’s time saw him finish over half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who he could beat to the F1 drivers’ championship at COTA this weekend should results go his way.

Mercedes got two cars into the top three as Valtteri Bottas wound up third in the second W08 car, six-tenths back from Hamilton, while Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth for Red Bull.

Felipe Massa led Williams into the top 10 with an impressive lap en route to fifth, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Vandoorne was left to lead McLaren’s charge after a hydraulic leak sidelined Fernando Alonso for much of the session, limiting the Spaniard to just four laps in total.

Force India managed to get both its drivers up into the top 10 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth respectively, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. who was P10 in his first appearance for the team.

Brendon Hartley enjoyed his first run-out in Toro Rosso’s STR12 car ahead of his grand prix debut on Sunday, taking P14 overall.

The New Zealander had not driven an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 2012, but put in a solid first display in practice, even though his race hopes are set to be hindered by a grid penalty.

Second practice for the United States Grand Prix is live on the NBC Sports app from 3pm ET today.