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Kyle Busch fastest in first of two Nationwide Series practices on Friday at Fontana

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Kyle Busch – like you expected someone else, right? – was the fastest overall driver in Friday’s first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Busch, who won last week’s NNS race at Bristol, has been on a tear in NASCAR’s junior circuit. In addition to his win at Bristol, he also won at Phoenix, was second at his hometown track in Las Vegas and his overall “worst” NNS finish thus far this season was fourth in the 2014 opener at Daytona.

Busch was the only driver over 174 mph in Friday’s first session at 174.157 mph, followed by three fellow Sprint Cup drivers, Kevin Harvick (173.519), Joey Logano (173.281) and Matt Kenseth (173.244).

The fastest full-time NNS driver was Trevor Bayne (172.678).

Only 35 cars practiced for Saturday’s TreatMyClot.com 300. The slowest was Carlos Contreras at 153.866., more than 21 mph behind Busch’s speed.

Here’s the results for Friday’s first of two practice sessions for the NASCAR Nationwide Series:

1 Kyle Busch 174.157

2 Kevin Harvick 173.519

3 Joey Logano 173.281

4 Matt Kenseth 173.244

5 Trevor Bayne 172.678

6 Chase Elliott 172.616

7 Dylan Kwasniewski 172.509

8 Brian Scott 172.505

9 David Ragan 172.191

10 Regan Smith 172.125

 

11Ty Dillon 172.101

12 Kyle Larson 171.916

13 Brendan Gaughan 171.572

14 James Buescher 171.249

15 Elliott Sadler 171.221

16 Mike Bliss 171.127

17 JJ Yeley 170.503

18 Ryan Sieg 170.189

19 Ryan Reed 169.960

20 David Starr 168.741

 

21 Chris Buescher 168.512

22 Dakoda Armstrong 168.496

23 Landon Cassill 168.476

24 Jeremy Clements 168.366

25 Mike Wallace 168.004

26 Matt DiBenedetto 167.348

27 Jamie Dick 167.123

28 Josh Wise 167.030

29 Tanner Berryhill 166.995

30 Kevin Lepage 166.459

 

31 Jeffrey Earnhardt 165.468

32 Eric McClure 165.225

33 Daryl Harr 162.848

34 Joey Gase 161.478

35 Carlos Contreras 153.866

 

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Folger to make MotoGP debut with Tech3 in 2017

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - APRIL 22: Jonas Folger of Germany and Dynavolt Intact GP  rounds the bend during the MotoGp of Spain - Free Practice at Circuito de Jerez on April 22, 2016 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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Yamaha Tech3 has confirmed that rising German talent Jonas Folger will make his MotoGP debut with the team in 2017, stepping up from Moto2.

Folger, 22, finished sixth in last year’s Moto2 riders’ championship, and already has one pole position and two podiums to his name after four races in 2016.

The Kalex rider will make the jump up to MotoGP for 2017, joining the Yamaha satellite team on a one-year deal with an option for a second.

“I am super excited about the news and I still can’t believe this is happening,” Folger said.

“I have been racing for years in the motorcycling world championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true plus I’d like to thank all my sponsors that have stuck by me all these years.

“Furthermore, it’s an honor to make this step with Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock. I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I’m really looking forward to the new adventure.

“However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can’t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.”

Folger will get his first taste of the Tech3-run Yamaha bike at the traditional end of season MotoGP test in Spain this November.

Hamilton asks fans to trust and respect Mercedes team

SOCHI, RUSSIA - MAY 01:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP leaves the paddock after the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on May 1, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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Three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on his fans to trust and respect the Mercedes team amid unfounded allegations of sabotage in the past two races.

Hamilton suffered an issue on his power unit in qualifying for both the Chinese and Russian Grands Prix, helping teammate Nico Rosberg on his way to a streak of four successive victories to start the season.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff responded to claims on social media that the team was deliberately hindering Hamilton’s efforts by calling the accusers “lunatics”, before Mercedes itself wrote an open letter to its fans in response to the claims.

Hamilton has now issued a message of his own via his Facebook page on Friday:

Dear All,

I want you to know how grateful I am for all of your support. I’d like to ask that you please trust in my team, as I do. This is my family. These guys have been the greatest, hardest working people for me, and that is why I am now 3x World Champion.

Please don’t put any more thought into my team doing anything unjust towards me, and understand that it would be in no ones best interest for that to be the case. We’ve had the best 3 years together, and whilst it’s not going to plan right now, all will unfold in its own time.

I trust these guys 1000% and my mechanics are incredible, the best in the business. I respect them so please do the same. They are the guys that are going to make winning this championship possible.

Thank you once again.

Hamilton will bid to end Rosberg’s winning streak and get back into the title hunt when F1 arrives in Europe next weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Button confused by Red Bull’s decision to drop Kvyat

SOCHI, RUSSIA - APRIL 30: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda in the garage during final practice ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 30, 2016 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button questioned Red Bull’s decision to drop Daniil Kvyat for Max Verstappen as of the Spanish Grand Prix, saying the team has “short memories”.

Red Bull announced on Thursday that Kvyat would be returning to Toro Rosso, its B-team, as of the next race in Barcelona, with Verstappen moving in the opposite direction.

The decision sparked mixed reactions on social media, with many pointing out that Kvyat had been on the podium just three weeks ago in China.

Button made the exact same point in a couple of tweets sent from his Twitter account on Thursday.

IMS confirms 100th Indy 500 reserved seats are sold out

Indianapolis 500
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials have confirmed Friday that the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will have a sellout crowd, with confirmation all reserved seats have been sold.

“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th Running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in a release. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’”

Further information is linked here, via the IMS website.