(Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Debris slows Brad Keselowski, costs him win at Pocono

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If things would have gone a bit more his way in five particular races thus far this season, Brad Keselowski could theoretically be running away with the Sprint Cup points lead right now.

But instead of hoped-for wins, Keselowski came up short at those five races, finishing third at Daytona and Phoenix, fourth at Richmond, second last week at Dover and – much to his chagrin – second again in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Keselowski dominated the Pocono race, leading 95 of the 160 laps, but debris on the grill of his Team Penske Ford late in the race caused his car to start overheating.

“The car was real hot,” Keselowski told TNT. “We had a really fast Ford. Just got a big piece of debris on the grill and I had to do something or it was going to blow up.”

He didn’t want to take a chance that the motor would grenade, so in an effort to suck the debris off the grill, he got behind the lapped car of Danica Patrick.

Unfortunately, Keselowski lost momentum when Patrick slowed unexpectedly, allowing Dale Earnhardt Jr. to motor on to the victory, with Keselowski ultimately winding up in second place.

“I tried to make a move to get behind the 10 (Patrick) and use the air to pull the debris off it,” Keselowski said. “But when she got into the corner, she got loose and I just chased her up there and lost too much momentum.

“I should have just passed her, but I had to do some kind of move. The car wasn’t going to make it. It was already starting to blow up. It was all I could do.

“Dale made a heck of a move to take advantage of it and that’s sometimes just how racing goes.”

But Keselowski can’t be all upset: he jumped three places from eighth to fifth in the Sprint Cup rankings after Sunday’s race at the 2.5-mile so-called Tricky Triangle at Pocono.

Keselowski hopes to avenge his shortcomings in those five races this coming weekend on his home track at Michigan International Speedway.

He’s never won a Cup event on MIS’s high speed two-mile oval. In fact, his results there have been less than inspiring: just two top-five finishes in nine starts there.

But Keselowski hopes to turn that trend around next Sunday.

“We’re hitting the summer stretch with a lot of momentum and I’m really proud of my team,” he said. “I just wish I would have executed a little better (Sunday) and got the win.

“I should have just ran it and seen if it would have blown up. I don’t think it would have made it – maybe it would have – but I didn’t want to do that to Doug Yates’ engine shop. It would have been unfair to them.

“We had a real good car, Dale and I were pretty equal, and he made the right move at the end.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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 IndyCar.com.

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.