Kyle Larson fifth at Pocono, ties for second-best Sprint Cup finish of season

Leave a comment

Well, color Kyle Larson Target-red, as in blushing and surprised.

The leading candidate for NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year somehow turned a marginal car into a near-winner in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Instead of where he thought he would wind up at in the 160-lap event, Larson drove both his butt and the tires off his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, coming home with a fifth-place finish, tying his second best showing thus far this season.

“Yeah, I’ll take it,” Larson said. “It was a lot better finish than I thought we’d have today.

“After Happy Hour (on Saturday), I thought we’d have a 15th-place car. But I knew from the drop of the green, we had a really good Chevy and throughout the race it got better and better.”

Larson’s finish equaled his fifth-place showing at Texas. His best performance to date in 2014 was runner-up at Fontana in March.

In addition, he remains 10th in the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s race.

Overall, it was an excellent weekend performance for Larson, who made his first-ever visit to the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

On Saturday, he won the ARCA 200 race there, and while he wound up short of a weekend sweep on Sunday, Larson put his overall performance in fitting terms:

“Getting a top-five here at the Tricky Triangle and a win yesterday in the ARCA Series — I guess you can’t ask for a much better weekend.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.