Vickers, Allmendinger star during Sunday’s NASCAR race

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In seventh and eighth place on Sunday were two drivers who haven’t really figured into too many NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the past, Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger.

Vickers, continuing his comeback trail after health issues have plagued him two of the last four seasons, posted his second top-10 result of the season in seventh in the No. 55 TreatMyClot.com Aaron’s Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Like several others, this was a result that probably wasn’t as good as how well he ran over the course of the day. Vickers spent much of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in the top three. But a couple setbacks caused the end frustration.

“The guys did an awesome job in the pits all day except for one stop,” Vickers said. “They were laying down some incredible stops. Unfortunately we had a big mistake that cost us like 20 spots on one of the stops. We battled back from that all day and then fought traffic.

“We finally got to the front and then a bunch of guys stayed out on old tires on the green-white-checkered which kind of caught us off-guard. We just ran out of time. The 40 (Landon Cassill) stayed out on old tires and we had nowhere to go. All the guys dropped down to the inside and went four wide and we were just kind of stuck. I tried to make a move and just couldn’t make anything out of it.”

Allmendinger, meanwhile, brought the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team its best result since 2011 in eighth. He raced at Fontana in the IndyCar Series finale last October; little translated except extra track time in a completely different type of machinery.

He was another driver affected by the late-race caution caused when Vickers’ MWR teammate, Clint Bowyer, spun from second place.

Still, he climbed from 11th into eighth on the last lap with a low-line move.

Vickers ranks 13th and Allmendinger 22nd in points after the first five races of the year.

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.”