While Joe Gibbs Racing says they will appeal NASCAR’s post-Indy penalties against its No. 11 Sprint Cup team, crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill have begun serving their six-race suspensions.
As a result, driver Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 team will have Mike Wheeler serve as interim crew chief for today’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway, which will begin a few minutes after the top of the hour.
In addition, former car chief Chris Gillin is also stepping in to help this weekend at the Tricky Triangle. Gillin normally serves as a powertrain development manager for JGR.
As we get closer to the green flag, Grubb has sent his best wishes and thanks to Wheeler and Gillin via Twitter…
The expectations for Wheeler, Hamlin, and the No. 11 team were discussed earlier this week on NASCAR AMERICA, which you can watch below. Wheeler, who normally serves as a race engineer, has been with the Gibbs organization for more than a decade.
Hamlin, a four-time winner at Pocono, will be starting 13th in today’s race.
Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).
Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.
However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.
- If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
- If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.
While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.
The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.
As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.
The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.