Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville

Alex Tagliani on pole for today’s Nationwide race at Road America

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Alex Tagliani will seek his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory from the pole position in this afternoon’s Gardner Denver 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Tagliani, who won at Road America in an open-wheel Champ Car back in 2004, turned in a time of 134.411 seconds in the final round of qualifying around the giant, 4-mile circuit.

It marks his second Nationwide Series pole in five starts (Montreal, 2012).

The fact that Tagliani is starting from pole isn’t a surprise considering his road-racing skills and the fact that he’s driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford that won all three Nationwide road course events last year.

But the other front-row starter may be a surprise: 18-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski, whose lap of 134.513 seconds was good for second on the grid.

Kwasniewski has had a tough year so far with just one Top-10 and 3 DNFs in the first 13 races. It will be interesting to see if he can stay patient on this tricky course. If he does, he might get the result that turns his season around.

Series points leader Regan Smith will try to keep hold on the championship from the inside of Row 2. Lining up beside him is Joe Gibbs Racing part-timer Sam Hornish Jr.

A pair of Richard Childress Racing drivers make up Row 3, with Brendan Gaughan on the inside and Brian Scott on the outside.

Another RCR driver, Ty Dillon, and Justin Marks are in Row 4, followed by Chris Buescher and Andy Lally in Row 5. Lally is a regular in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Elliott Sadler, who sits 14 points behind Smith in the NNS title race, is starting 11th to match his car number. Chase Elliott qualified 12th after missing yesterday’s practice due to an engine change.

Today’s Nationwide race will take the green flag around 2:45 p.m. ET.


Sainz uninjured, but to remain in hospital overnight

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Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain in hospital overnight following a terrifying crash during practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13 after losing control of his car, pitching in underneath the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

Medical crews spent 20 minutes extricating Sainz from his car due to the barriers’ placement before he was taken away to hospital for a check-up.

Sainz tweeted a picture to his followers confirming that he was okay, and Toro Rosso has now released a second statement confirming that the Spaniard was fully conscious throughout the crash and is uninjured.

“After arriving at the Sochi Hospital 4, Carlos Sainz, who never lost consciousness, underwent a medical examination, including a full body scan,” the statement reads. “The scan showed that the driver has no injuries.

“However, he will be staying in the hospital overnight as a precautionary measure, which is the normal procedure in these circumstances.

“We will release further information when it is available.”

Sainz tweeted that he was hoping to convince the doctors to release him from hospital early enough so that he could take part in tomorrow’s race, but any steps taken will be with his well-being in mind.

Rosberg charges to Russian GP pole in Sochi

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Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to edge out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by three-tenths of a second to score pole position in Russia.

Following on from its dominant display in Japan two weeks ago, Mercedes showed few signs of easing up at the front of the field as it stormed to another front-row lock-out.

Having traded fastest lap times throughout the earlier stages of qualifying, Hamilton and Rosberg renewed their battle in Q3 at Sochi, but it was Rosberg who finished on top.

Rosberg drew early blood in Q3 by going three-tenths faster than his teammate on his first run, and when Hamilton locked up late on and opted to pit, pole was safely with the German driver.

Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest in third place, beating the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who finished fifth and sixth respectively as all of the drivers struggled to improve on their second runs.

Nico Hulkenberg and Force India teammate Sergio Perez will start sixth and seventh, while Romain Grosjean qualified eighth. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.

Home favorite Daniil Kvyat was unable to delight the local fans as he would have liked to in qualifying, dropping out in Q2 by finishing 11th ahead of Felipe Nasr. Pastor Maldonado was also eliminated, finishing 14th, but it was Felipe Massa who was the biggest casualty of the second session, ending up 15th for Williams.

McLaren experienced something of a mixed qualifying session on Saturday as Fernando Alonso was knocked out at the end of Q1. Teammate Jenson Button managed to improve late on to dump the Spaniard out and leave him 16th overall, while the Briton went on to finish 13th in Q2.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also dropped out at the first hurdle alongside the two Manor drivers, while Carlos Sainz Jr. took no part in the session following his practice crash. The Spaniard still hopes to take part in tomorrow’s race, but will remain in hospital overnight.