Subway Firecracker 250 - Practice

NNS: Hard luck night at Daytona for Elliott Sadler

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Elliott Sadler’s rough night on Friday at Daytona International Speedway has cost him the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship lead.

Sadler paced 28 laps in the first half of the Subway Firecracker 250, but after pitting on Lap 36, he had to re-visit pit road under green on Lap 44 due to a loose wheel on his car.

The extra stop ultimately knocked him off the lead lap but a caution at Lap 52 for debris enabled him to get the free pass and return to the lead lap.

From there, he worked his way back toward the Top 10 and was in 12th coming to a restart with three laps left in the scheduled 100-lap event.

But as the race went green, Chase Elliott was unable to get going from the front row as his car ran out of gas. That stacked his inside line and Sadler was among several cars who were sent spinning into the infield grass.

The race eventually finished under Green-White-Checkered, and Sadler took the checkered flag in 21st place. As a result, he’s now 12 points down to new series points leader Regan Smith as the scene shifts to New Hampshire next weekend.

Smith was leading the race at the start of the G-W-C, but lost the trophy to Kasey Kahne in a thrilling finish. Meanwhile, Sadler was left to contemplate a missed opportunity.

“We just had a loose left-rear wheel and that was a shame,” he told ESPN. “[Joe Gibbs Racing teammate] Kyle [Busch] and I had worked so great together all night when we wanted to. We really set the pace and made it hard on everybody else – and then we shot ourselves in the foot.

“We can’t be doing this many more times…On the tracks that we run the best at, we’ve got to get the most points and we weren’t able to do that tonight. So, we’ve dug ourselves a hole, and we gotta regroup and come back at New Hampshire.”

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.