Kevin Harvick fastest in 1st Sprint Cup practice at Watkins Glen

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Kevin Harvick, a former winner at Watkins Glen International in his days with Richard Childress Racing, was fastest in today’s first of two practice sessions for the Sprint Cup Series on the New York State road course.

Harvick posted a lap of 68.652 seconds around the 2.4-mile circuit, which works out to an average speed of 128.474 mph inside the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.

Following him was fellow Hendrick-powered driver Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports, who was second-fastest with a time of 68.992 seconds (127.841 mph).

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski was third in the session (69.690/126.560), followed by A.J. Allmendinger (69.801/126.359) in fourth and Marcos Ambrose in fifth (69.803/126.356).

Multiple incidents took place during the first Cup practice, with most of them coming at or near the track’s right-hand Carousel turn.

Landon Cassill brought out a caution flag when he spun and backed into the wall there. Also spinning there but avoiding damage were Kyle Larson and Paul Menard.

Additionally, Alex Kennedy lost control of his car in the uphill esses but avoided contact with the blue barriers. Tony Stewart also spent some time in the garage getting a transmission change on his car.

Positions 6-10 in the practice session were filled by Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Pocono winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., and defending Cheez-It 355 winner Kyle Busch.

A second Cup practice is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen – Practice 1 Times

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.