ARCA: Justin Allison continues family tradition, wins at Pocono

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The next generation of stock car racing’s fabled Alabama Gang has now officially arrived.

Justin Allison, grandson of 10-time Sprint Cup race winner Donnie Allison, captured his first checkered flag in the ARCA Racing Series today in the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway.

With the victory, Allison is now the third member of his prestigious family to win in the ARCA series. The late Davey Allison won eight times in the series, while 1983 Sprint Cup champion Bobby Allison earned a single win.

“I don’t even have words, man,” a stunned Justin told Fox Sports in Victory Lane. “I think we had a good car – we were struggling a little bit with being tight. But I can’t thank these guys enough. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible…This is awesome.”

Allison inherited the lead late in the 50-lap event, but still had to fend off the pursuit of Will Kimmel on the final lap.

Kimmel was on the same fuel strategy as Allison, rising up to second after leaders Brendan Poole and Justin Boston pitted under green before Lap 40 (ARCA rules require all cars to pit at least once before the race reaches 10 laps to go).

Tom Hessert also benefited from the strategy and moved up to third, which is where he’d finish ahead of Poole and Boston in fourth and fifth.

The call was made to bring Allison to the pits after a couple of cautions marred the early going. Allison may have been surprised by it, but he wasn’t about to argue with the result.

“That was definitely the right call,” Allison said. “We didn’t talk about it or plan to pit early, but all of a sudden, when the caution came out, they were like ‘Pit now, pit now.’

“I’m happy with the way things worked out.”

The victory drew congratulations from many in the stock car community, including Davey’s widow, Liz Allison, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who worked for the Allisons while growing up.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.