(Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

After 62 starts, Brad Keselowski finally earns first career Trucks win at Bristol

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Brad Keselowski has done quite a bit in his NASCAR career. He won the 2012 Sprint Cup championship (as well as 13 wins to date), the 2010 Nationwide Series title (and 30 wins to date).

But one thing the Michigan native had never done prior to Thursday is to win a Camping World Truck Series event.

Keselowski can finally scratch that off the bucket list, as in his 62nd career start in a truck, he dominated en route to victory in the rain-rescheduled UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“He’s wanted this so bad for so long,” teary-eyed crew chief Doug Randolph told Fox Sports 1. “I’m just really excited for Brad. … I’m sure he’s relieved.”

Keselowski led 119 of the event’s 200 laps, holding off a late charge by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. He becomes the 25th driver in NASCAR history to win in all three major series, Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup competition.

“It’s huge, huge,” Keselowski said. “I’ve been wanting to win in this series for a long time. It’s been a long time coming.”

Later, in Victory Lane, Keselowski added, “My family has been a part of this series since the inception, and I feel like I have, too, either as a kid watching or now as a team owner and driver. I nearly went bankrupt in this series, trying to make it. … I’ve had all the success in the Cup series and Nationwide, but never here.

“It took a long time to get here and we made it and I’m thrilled. It’s great to win as a driver. … This is a special day.”

It was also the first win for a Ford truck this season.

Wallace was runner-up, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Matt Crafton and last week’s winner at Michigan, Johnny Sauter.

“We finished second. I wish we could take it back. I thought I got on his bumper pretty good getting into (turn) one and not enough,” Wallace said. “I’have had to wreck him to get by him (but) I respect Brad and what he does. Congrats to him. … We just came up short.”

Added Hornaday, “I had to burn the tires off, trying to catch those guys.”

Sixth through 10th were John Hunter Nemechek, followed by Joey Coulter, Cole Custer, Ben Rhodes and Corey LaJoie.

Jeb Burton was 11th, followed by Max Gresham, Ryan Blaney, German Quiroga Jr., Caleb Holman, Justin Jennings, Brennan Newberry, Tyler Young, Jimmy Weller III and Brandon Jones.

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was the only other driver to lead a lap in the event, leading 81 laps, but wound up finishing six laps behind the leaders in 24th. Busch was running third with 24 laps to go when he slammed into the wall due to a flat right rear tire.

Busch led at the halfway point of the 200-lap event.

With 55 laps remaining, John Wes Townley got loose in the center of Turn 3 and triggered a multi-truck wreck, including those of Newberry, Brandon Jones, Justin Boston and Gray Gaulding.

In the season standings, Sauter retains the No. 1 spot, holding an eight-point edge over teammate Crafton. Hornaday remains in third, 17 points back, Ryan Blaney is 24 points in arrears and Wallace is fifth, 33 points back.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Esteban Ocon secures Mercedes DTM seat for 2016

2015 GP3 Series Round 9
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sunday 29 November 2015.
Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C8733
© GP3 Series
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2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.

Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.

The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.

“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.

“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”

Trident completes 2016 GP2 line-up with Armand

2015 GP2 Series Test 3.
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Friday 4 December 2015.
Philo Armand (INA, Status Grand Prix).
Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _L0U4261
© GP2 Series
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Trident has completed its line-up for the 2016 GP2 Series season by signing Indonesian driver Philo Paz Armand.

Armand has previously raced in a number of European Formula Renault 2.0 championships, and most recently took part in half of last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 rounds, scoring one point.

Armand will now step up to GP2 for the 2016 season, racing alongside 2015 GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto at Trident.

“We are very excited to start this collaboration with Philo and we are confident he will express all his talent thanks to the team’s help,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci said.

The grid for GP2’s support series, GP3, is also beginning to come together for the new season following the announcements of Tatiana Calderon and Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi.

Calderon moves into GP3 from FIA F3 and will race for Carlin, while Fukuzumi joins ART Grand Prix, continuing the French squad’s association with Honda.

Marchionne calls for Alfa Romeo to consider F1 entry

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  The Alfa Romeo 4C on display at the Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood Alfa Romeo Ride and Drive luncheon at The Polsky Residence on February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
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Fiat-Chrysler CEO and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes that Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo must consider entering Formula 1 with a team in the near future.

Alfa Romeo last raced as a constructor in F1 between 1979 and 1985, but has enjoyed no involvement within the series since 1988 when it supplied engines to the Osella team.

Marchionne believes that a return to F1 would be an effective way for Alfa Romeo to grow as a brand and gain more public awareness.

“In order to restore their name, they must consider returning to Formula 1,” Marchionne told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Alfa Romeo are capable of making their own chassis, just like they are capable of making their own engine,” he added, before conceding that it could enjoy an engine supply from Ferrari should it wish to enter F1.

Marchionne believes that adding more manufacturers to the F1 grid is key to safeguarding the long-term future of the series.

“In the end this sport must be saved,” Marchionne said.

“The important thing is to make other car manufacturers enter grand prix racing.”

Grosjean unveils new helmet design for first F1 season with Haas

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Romain Grosjean has revealed his new-look helmet design ahead of his first Formula 1 season with Haas in 2016.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to get an F1 team on the grid back in 2014, and has spent the past 18 months meticulously planning its arrival in the sport.

Haas F1 Team’s full debut is now just five weeks away, with the first on-track test of its new car coming on February 22 in Barcelona.

Grosjean walked away from Lotus at the end of last year to join Haas for the new season, where he will race alongside former Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Grosjean unveiled his new helmet design for the 2016 season, featuring plenty of Haas signage.

Grosjean also revealed earlier this week that he would be racing with a tribute to Jules Bianchi on his helmet, who died at the age of 25 last July.