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 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.

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.