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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.


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.