Multi-car wreck on restart collects Stewart, Keselowski and others

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A big moment for Denny Hamlin led to a multi-car pileup shortly after a restart with 44 laps to go in today’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Hamlin got loose under Clint Bowyer coming out of Turn 1, causing Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth to come together and start the crash. Hamlin was able to save his car from wrecking, but many others behind him weren’t as fortunate.

Among those involved in the wreck were Vickers, Kenseth, Paul Menard, Justin Allgaier, Martin Truex Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Michael Annett, and Tony Stewart.

“I was coming out of Turn 1 and the 11 [Hamlin] just spun in front of us,” Vickers told ESPN after his release from the infield care center. “I was trying to avoid him…I don’t know if a car got into me or not but one thing led to another trying to avoid the 11, and I ended up in the wall.”

Said Kenseth after his release: “I was following Denny on that restart. He kind of got in the middle, so I stayed on the bottom and got behind Brian.

“[The spotter] told me I was clear high, so I just went up to go up off the corner and when I got up there, I saw the 11 car [Hamlin] sideways, the 55 [Vickers] went to miss him, and we all just got collected.”

Stewart himself had the wildest ride even though he was farther back in the field when the incident occurred. He ultimately came to a rest on the hood of Menard’s car, but told ESPN that he was OK.

“It started far enough ahead of us to where we couldn’t see it,” Stewart said. “I was coming off the turn there, somebody got sideways and it started wrecking in front of us and we got caught in it…It wasn’t where we wanted to end up by any means.”

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.