NASCAR: Nationwide, Truck teams penalized after Iowa/Pocono

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Today, multiple penalties came down from NASCAR after this past weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway and Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway.

The No. 23 Rick Ware Racing Nationwide Series team was penalized for a rules infraction found during practice for the U.S. Cellular 250.

Improperly attached extra weight fell off the car during the session, which violated Section 20A-2.3A of the 2014 NASCAR rule book.

As a result, crew chief Jonas Bell has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year.

With regard to the Truck Series’ event at Pocono, the No. 17 Red Horse Racing team and the No. 6 team of Norm Benning were penalized for their own infractions.

During opening day inspection, the No. 17 violated Rule 20B-5.10.1 (6), which says the combined thickness of the throttle shaft and throttle plates must not be less than 0.197 inches. Crew chief Paul Richmond was fined $7,500 and also placed on probation through the end of the year.

The No. 6 team’s violation came during the Pocono Mountains 150 race itself on Saturday and involved improper use of a battery-powered impact wrench during tire changes. Section 9-15J says only two NASCAR-approved 1/2-inch drive air wrenches “with a single socket and with a hex design capable of removing and attaching one lug nut at a time” can be used.

The team will be penalized with a loss of track time during the Aug. 15 opening practice for the Truck Series’ next race at Michigan International Speedway.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.