Marcos Ambrose leads halfway at Watkins Glen

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Pre-race favorite Marcos Ambrose lived up to his early billing, leading at the halfway mark of Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Amrbose has led 13 of the first 45 laps of the 90-lap event around the nearly 2.5-mile road course in upstate New York. He’s looking to make a weekend sweep, having won Saturday’s Nationwide Series race also at The Glen.

Jeff Gordon was running second at the midpoint, followed by Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger and Jimmie Johnson.

Sixth through 10th were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Brian Vickers and Kevin Harvick.

Tony Stewart is not competing in the race, having decided to sit out after Saturday’s tragic accident in a sprint car race at a small dirt short track about an hour northwest of The Glen.

Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet is being driven by Regan Smith, who flew to WGI Sunday morning with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.

The event was fairly uneventful through the first half, with just one caution, brought out on Lap 10 when Cole Whitt lost his brakes and plowed hard and head-on into a tire wall.

Whitt was uninjured in the mishap.

Two other incidents of note:

* Kevin Harvick was forced to pit just three laps to remove bean bag ballast weights that got loose under his seat and were interfering with his ability to use the gas, brake and clutch pedals.

* On Lap 27, Kyle Busch’s Toyota Camry traded paint with Martin Truex Jr.’s Chevrolet. Busch’s car got the worst of the incident, sustaining damage to left front and left side of his car. Busch pitted, but the damage was too severe to fix there, prompting him to take his car to the Sprint Cup garage for further repairs.

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Get your motor running: American Flat Track’s new season premieres Sunday on NBCSN

Photos courtesy American Flat Track
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If you like racing two-wheel style, make sure you catch the debut of a new multi-year TV broadcast deal featuring the American Flat Track motorcycle racing series on NBCSN.

The 18-round series debuts this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN with the season-opening race that was held at Daytona International Speedway on March 15.

Going forward, all 18 rounds of the series will be televised on NBCSN in highly-coveted weekend afternoon programming slots without two weeks of each event.

Last season, AFT drew nearly two million viewers on NBCSN with regular primetime coverage on Thursday nights.

This season, the one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts will be part of NBCSN’s regular weekend programing, following or preceding coverage of NASCAR, INDYCAR and Pro Motocross.

AFT is now in its 65th season, with two distinct classes: powerful, twin-cylinder rides in the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines division, and the competition in the 450cc AFT Singles division.

“We are very excited to kick-off our second season of AFT on NBCSN,” NBC Sports Group Senior Director of Programming Jeff Macaluso. “The 2017 season provided us with some incredible racing and showed us how passionate the riders and fans are of this historic sport.

“The move to weekends this year, around other marquis motorsports properties, is sure to raise the level even higher.”

Here’s the 2018 AFT schedule on NBCSN:

Round Track, Location Track Type Premiere Time (ET) Time (PT)
1 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL TT Sun, 3/25 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
2 Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA Short Track Sat, 4/14 5:30 PM 2:30 PM
3 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX Half-Mile Sun, 5/06 4:00 PM 1:00 PM
4 Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, CA Half-Mile Sun, 5/20 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
5 Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ Mile Sat, 5/26 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
6 Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA Mile Sun, 6/03 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
7 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 6/09 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
8 Red Mile, Lexington, KY Mile Sat, 6/16 12:00 PM 9:00 AM
9 Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK Mile Sat, 6/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
10 Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH Half-Mile Sat, 7/07 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
11 Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY Short Track Sun, 7/15 6:00 PM 3:00 PM
12 Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, SD TT Sat, 8/11 12:30 PM 9:30 AM
13 Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD Half-Mile Sat, 8/18 2:00 PM 11:00 AM
14 Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL TT Sat, 9/01 3:00 PM 12:00 PM
15 Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL Mile Sat, 9/22 2:30 PM 11:30 AM
16 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Half-Mile Sun, 9/23 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
17 Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN Mile Sun, 10/14 5:00 PM 2:00 PM
18 Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Mile Sun, 10/21 2:00 PM 11:00 AM


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