On Thursday’s edition, the NASCAR America guys weighed in on whether or not having a new crew chief will hurt Denny Hamlin at Watkins Glen. Mike Wheeler took the reins after Hamlin’s former crew chief Darian Grubb was suspended for six races. Hamlin has only had three crew chiefs since 2005.
Williams has officially launched its new car for the 2017 Formula 1 season, the FW40, by releasing in-the-flesh images on Saturday.
Williams was the first team to present its new-look car for 2017, releasing a set of renders eight days ago ahead of today’s official launch.
The team issued the real-life images of its car on Saturday, two days before the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.
Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll will pilot the FW40 through 2017 as the team celebrates 40 years of racing in F1.
Massa returns despite originally planning to retire from F1 at the end of last year, with his comeback being agreed following Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes.
Stroll arrives in F1 as one of its youngest ever drivers, having won the FIA European Formula 3 title last season with Prema Powerteam.
Williams enters 2017 looking to bounce back from a disappointing campaign that saw it fall from third to fifth in the constructors’ championship, dropping behind Red Bull and Force India in the pecking order.
The FW40 follows the example set by the other teams with their 2017-spec cars, falling in line with the radical new technical regulations that have resulted in an aggressive look from teams.
The FW40 retains its thumb nose and also sports a large ‘shark fin’ engine cover that has also been implemented by a number of other teams.
Williams’ new car will hit the track for the first time in Barcelona on Monday with the start of pre-season testing.
Pomona Winternationals winner Leah Pritchett added to her incredible start to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, one she came in with high hopes with anyway, with a slightly bigger accomplishment:
She set a new national elapsed time record for a 1,000-foot distance in NHRA history.
Pritchett, who drives the Don Schumacher Racing-entered, Todd Okuhara-tuned Papa John’s Top Fuel dragster, ran a 3.658-second pass at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on Friday outside Phoenix during the first day of qualifying for this weekend’s Arizona Nationals. The speed was 329.34 mph.
You could barely put a piece of cheese between Pritchett’s two times; her time at the test was 3.654 seconds, but because that’s a test it is not an official mark.
The previous official record in competition was a 3.671-second pass, which Steve Torrence set July 31, 2016 at Sonoma.
“To be behind the wheel of this machine that is constantly putting out time and time again fast numbers and quick numbers is, to be honest, a little bit difficult to comprehend,” Pritchett said, via NHRA.com. “It’s everything that dreams are made of. It’s almost too good to be true, but it’s not.”
For good measure, Pritchett’s teammate Tony Schumacher also eclipsed Torrence’s old mark with a side-by-side run to second at 3.667 seconds, and 323 mph and change in the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster.
Force led the Funny Car charts on the first day of qualifying, while Jason Line led Pro Stock. Both drivers drive Chevrolets.
Lest Force’s day be overshadowed, she set a record of her own. Force broke the track’s elapsed time and speed records during the opening session of qualifying for Sunday’s NHRA Arizona Nationals with a pass of 3.838 seconds at 332.67 mph.
Force lost to Matt Hagan in the Pomona finals while Line beat his KB Racing teammate, Greg Anderson, for the Pomona win.
Andretti Autosport and Butterball, a U.S.-based provider of turkey and poultry products, announced a new expansion of their partnership. The newly revamped agreement will see Butterball branding on all four Andretti Autosport entries in 2017.
“Butterball has been a great partner since 2014 and I’m really excited to have them on board again this year,” said Ryan Hunter-Reay. “They were with me when I won the Indianapolis 500 which was a really special moment for everyone involved. Hopefully we can bring them back into victory lane this year, not only at Indy, but throughout the season as well.”
The machines of Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato will feature branding just below the front suspension components. Per the announcement, the placement has created a new nickname for the assembly: “the Butterball Wishbone.”
“Butterball is extremely excited about our sponsorship with Andretti Autosport in 2017,” said Butterball CEO and President Kerry Doughty. “With the addition of the new Butterball Wishbone Sponsorship on all Andretti Autosport Indy cars for the 2017 season, we are expanding the tremendously successful relationship that began with Michael and Ryan in 2014 when we won the Indianapolis 500 in our first season.”
Butterball’s tenure with Andretti Autosport dates back to May 2014, shortly before Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed victory at the Indianapolis 500. Branding has been featured on Hunter-Reay No. 28 entry ever since.
Josef Newgarden’s media prowess and charisma was again in full display on Thursday during a series promotional efforts for June’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
Specifically, Newgarden was in town for Detroit Grand Prix night at that night’s Pistons-Hornets NBA game.
The day began with Newgarden visiting a handful of Detroit news media outlets, where his most notable venture involved duking it out with Pistons mascot Hooper.
The day continued with Newgarden exploring more of the city, and getting in touch with its rock ‘n roll history.
That, Newgarden ventured to The Palace of Auburn Hills to the big promotional event of day, Detroit Grand Prix night. There, Newgarden was greeted with his own Detroit Pistons jersey and even tried a couple of half-court shots at halftime. However, he did not make any, making it less likely he’ll pursue a basketball career when he decides to hang up his helmet.
For an additional recap Detroit Grand Prix night, visit The Chevrolet’s Detroit Grand Prix twitter @detroitgp.