IndyCar: RHR earns second quarter Driver of the Year award

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Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner and recent ESPY Best Driver award winner Ryan Hunter-Reay has been voted winner of the second quarter Driver of the Year Award 2014.

Hunter-Reay, 33, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 25, won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second consecutive year and was runner-up in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis during the second quarter. He kicked off the third quarter with a victory in the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB on July 12.

“Seems like the good news keeps rolling in after winning the Indy 500,” Hunter-Reay said. “It is a tremendous honor to be named the second quarter Driver Of The Year. I want to thank the panel members made up of the top journalists in motorsports who voted for me. I believe this is a testament to INDYCAR’s continued growth and momentum. This also speaks volumes as to what a phenomenal race this year’s Indy 500 really was. It is being called one of the best finishes in history, and from the driver’s seat, I couldn’t agree more.”

Hunter-Reay, who started 19th in the 33-car field for the 98th Indy 500 in the No. 28 DHL entry for Andretti Autosport, beat three-time 500 Mile Race champion Helio Castroneves to the finish line by .0600 of a second in an exciting late-race duel.

“Ryan’s story of a driver who never gives up is a the prototypical American success story. Watching his career and his triumphs makes him a great role model,” said Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation.

Team owner Michael Andretti won the overall Driver of the Year Award in 1991, while his father, Mario, was the inaugural Driver of the Year in 1967 (and also in 1978 and 1984).

Hunter-Reay is third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings heading into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 3.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

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After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)