IndyCar: After Indy 500 crash, Ed Carpenter returns to action at Texas

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Judging from the witty banter that he and James Hinchcliffe fired at each other one day after the two got tangled in a crash at the Indianapolis 500, Ed Carpenter has moved on from that disappointment.

Still, the visible frustration from Carpenter in the crash’s immediate aftermath was worth noting considering that he’s easily one of the most even-keeled competitors in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock.

“You saw how badly I wanted to win that race,” he said recently. “I have been dreaming of racing in and winning the Indy 500 since I was eight years old. I felt we were in position to contend for the win. And then ‘boom,’ it was over.”

“Even though we won the pole for a second straight year, people don’t realize how much we worked on the race setups. We put in a ton of miles to get a feel for the car in various conditions.

“We felt we put ourselves in position to challenge for the win. And it all went away quickly.”

That display of emotion also showed that his spirit as a racer has not ebbed, even as he’s chosen to stick to ovals and let Mike Conway drive his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy on road/street courses.

But this weekend’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra) marks an opportunity for Carpenter to bounce back from his ‘500’ wreck; last year, he finished fourth in Fort Worth.

“I have always liked racing at Texas Motor Speedway,” said Carpenter. “We have had fast cars the last two years there. We tested there earlier this year and we feel confident that the Fuzzy’s Chevy can race for the win.

“After Indy, I know the whole ECR team is very determined to pull this one off and shoot those pistols in the winner’s circle.  I’m anxious to get back there now.”

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.