Joey Logano hits 204.5 mph to lead first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan

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Team Penske’s Joey Logano rang up a lap of 204.545 miles per hour in the final minutes to take top honors in first Sprint Cup practice at Michigan International Speedway.

With qualifying coming up later this afternoon, speed was the emphasis in this session as 26 drivers broke the 200 mph mark. Leading the way were Ford drivers Logano and Carl Edwards, whose lap of 204.111 mph was good enough for second.

Overall, Ford drivers had five of the Top 10 fastest speeds in first practice. In addition to Logano and Edwards, the Blue Oval was represented in that bracket by Edwards’ teammates at Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (fifth, 203.229) and Greg Biffle (eighth, 202.817), as well as Logano’s Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski (10th, 202.617).

Brian Vickers was able to get his Toyota to third on the speed charts with a lap of 203.920 mph. Following him was top Chevrolet pilot Kurt Busch in fourth (203.897). Three more Chevy drivers also made the Top 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in sixth, Paul Menard in seventh, and Jeff Gordon in ninth.

The pace from the Roush camp has to be a promising sign for them after their dismal performance at Michigan in June. But late last month, Edwards, Biffle and Stenhouse all tested at the two-mile oval and if these initial speeds are any indication, it would appear that they found some things in that test.

In his first session with the beleaguered No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing team, Jeff Burton was 25th-fastest (200.339). He had to spend some time in the garage due to an early parts failure on the rear end gear of the car.

Jimmie Johnson, who won at MIS in June, also had to spend time in the garage thanks to a severe vibration on his car. He only turned seven laps in the session and was 39th on the charts.

Other notables include Ryan Blaney, who was 27th in first practice as he begins his Friday subbing for Trevor Bayne in the No. 21 Wood Brothers car; and Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton, who was 37th in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing car of Martin Truex Jr.

Truex is currently with girlfriend Sherry Pollex as she undergoes surgery for ovarian cancer.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT MICHIGAN – First Practice Times

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”