NASCAR AMERICA: Sprint Cup teams take part in critical test (VIDEO)

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Today at Michigan International Speedway, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams tested six different rules configurations as the sanctioning body looked to nail down a rules package to give to teams ahead of the 2015 Cup season.

“Our main goal is to harvest data today to help refine the 2015 package,” NASCAR VP of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn said in a statement. “We are listening to our fans – they have said they like a lot of passing, side-by-side racing and lead changes. That is what we are aiming to accomplish with these tests.”

NASCAR reports that each team turned more than 160 laps on MIS’ two-mile oval during the session. USA Today writer and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan was on hand for the proceedings, and he gave a full report during today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA.

You can watch that report, as well as Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty’s own thoughts on where NASCAR needs to go with the 2015 package, in the clip above.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.