(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Watkins Glen not very hospitable to Danica Patrick: First, motor breaks, then she wrecks in practice

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Heading into this weekend, Watkins Glen International threw out the welcome mat for Danica Patrick, but then abruptly pulled it back twice on Friday.

It was bad enough that Patrick was slated to start Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen from the back of the 43-car field due to an engine change in her No. 10 Chevrolet after Friday’s first of two practice sessions.

But then things went from bad to worse in the last two minutes of the second practice session late Friday afternoon.

Patrick was coming out of the carousel on the nearly 2.5-mile road course when she plowed head on into a tire wall. According to Fox Sports 1, it was a cut left front tire that prevented her from turning.

As a result, the engine change became secondary in nature as Patrick will now have to go to a back-up car for Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race day.

Patrick apparently caused some damage to the motor in her car after reportedly missing a shift and causing the engine to over-rev during the first 90-minute practice session, SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli told NASCAR.com.

The damage apparently was significant enough that the team had to change the engine, thus relegating her to the back of the field in Sunday’s race, regardless of how she qualifies Saturday.

The only benefit for Patrick for a good qualifying run Saturday would be she could earn a better pit stall than last on pit road.

Patrick, who finished 20th in her Sprint Cup debut at The Glen last season, was no faster than 32nd-fastest during Friday’s first practice on the nearly 2.5-mile road course before her wreck.

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Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.