Camping World RV Sales 301

NASCAR: Late strategy call gives Kyle Busch runner-up finish at N.H.

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Kyle Busch just made it to the finish in today’s Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as a late strategy call enabled him to take second place despite running out of fuel in sight of the checkered flag.

When the caution came out for debris at Lap 249, Busch was among a handful of drivers that stayed out on the track in a bid to finish on fuel. Things were looking good until Justin Allgaier found the wall with four laps to go and sent the race into Green-White -Checkered.

Two of the drivers that stayed out on the Lap 249 caution with Busch – Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick – ran dry leading up to the G-W-C restart. But Busch had just enough in the tank to climb into second in the final rush, and he was able to hold on to the spot.

After leading the first 62 laps today, Busch picked up his third consecutive runner-up finish at the Magic Mile.

“We just kind of fought turning in the center all weekend,” Busch told TNT. “I thought we were close at the start of the race. I thought they made good adjustments overnight and got us going there early, but every time here, about 40-50 laps in, I just didn’t have any more front turn.

“But the guys did a great job today. This Interstate Batteries Camry was good and we should’ve been anywhere between fourth or sixth. We made a gutsy call there to stay out and see if we can make it on fuel, and we just barely made it – ran out right at start/finish.”

Thanks to his win earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway, Busch is pretty much set on the Chase Grid. NASCAR’s postseason will feature New Hampshire again in September for the second Chase race.

But when asked about the most positive thing in his team’s favor going into that return visit, Busch said his job was simply not to screw up the momentum he and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team have built up in Loudon.

“We’ve got good things going for us right now here,” he noted. “We’ve finished second [at New Hampshire] three times in a row…So, we’re close. No need to screw that up and finish worse than second.”

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.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball
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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the driver-by-driver recaps following the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, with a look at Charlie Kimball, who finished 12th this year.

Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

  • 2014: 14th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 16.3 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 12th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 3 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 21 Laps Led, 13.3 Avg. Start, 13.1 Avg. Finish

“Super Chuck” – as NBCSN’s Townsend Bell has called him in the past – had another typically “Super Chuck” season. He produced some dizzying heights, made a few mistakes, and posted a lot of consistent runs in the middle that ultimately netted him 12th in points for the season.

We wrote last year that one of the areas where Kimball most needed to improve was his qualifying, and a three-spot year-to-year gain from 16.3 to 13.3 delivered that improvement. Problem was, in a Chevrolet top-heavy grid, Kimball might have been qualifying better, but he was qualifying behind at least seven or eight more fancied Chevrolet runners. In a Honda, you worry if Kimball’s grid positions this year would have dipped into the low teens or high 20s, rather than only just missing advancing into Q2 as was often the case.

While Barber and Mid-Ohio had served as his standout races in the past, the undoubted highlight of Kimball’s 2015 season was his quiet early – then dynamic late – drive to third in the Indianapolis 500. It was a performance that was particularly impressive given he was up against past series champions Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Scott Dixon, who were all vying for the win. Another podium at Sonoma was his first on a road or street course since Detroit race two in 2014, and put him third in points in the two double points races for the year.

But mistakes occurred all too regularly in the 14 standard points events, where he ranked 14th among all drivers. Contacting Dixon in Detroit, surviving a nightmare weekend in Iowa with multiple incidents, and coming together with Graham Rahal in St. Petersburg – even though Rahal was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact – were all moments he’d like to have back.

Kimball’s five years into his IndyCar career and there’s enough evidence to suggest now his breakout 2013 season was an outlier, not the norm. But seasons like 2014 and 2015 prove he still has plenty in hand to cut it at this level, and together with his entire Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team, an overall asset to the sport.