Iowa Speedway - Day 1

Chase Elliott leads first Dover Nationwide practice

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Chase Elliott’s lap of 157.618 miles per hour was enough to top today’s first practice session for Saturday’s Buckle Up 200 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Dover International Speedway.

Elliott also had the best consecutive 10-lap average in the session, logging an average of 154.132 mph between Laps 30-39. He’s seeking to reclaim the Nationwide championship lead after losing it due to a 37th-place finish (mechanical) last weekend in Charlotte.

Running P2 right behind Elliott this morning was Richard Childress Racing part-timer Cale Conley. The K&N Pro Series East product turned in a lap of 155.602 mph, a touch faster than RCR regular Ty Dillon in third (155.521 mph).

Chris Buescher was fourth-fastest in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford (155.233), followed by Joey Logano in his Team Penske Ford (155.132).

Logano has won the last four Nationwide events at Dover, and a win on Saturday would tie a NASCAR national series record for most consecutive wins at a track (Jack Ingram at South Boston, Dale Earnhardt Sr. at Daytona, Kyle Busch at Texas).

“To be in that group of guys that have won five races at a row at a race track with Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Busch and Jack Ingram, it would be an honor to be there,” Logano said this morning.

“…This is definitely my favorite track and it is close to home for me. I grew up in Connecticut and we aren’t too far down the road from there. This is a neat place to run at.”

Last week’s winner at Charlotte, Kyle Larson, was sixth on the time sheets this morning (154.852). Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, new NNS points leader Regan Smith, and Trevor Bayne rounded out the Top 10.

The Nationwide contingent will hold a second practice later this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.