Jeff Burton joined the NASCAR America crew on Wednesday to discuss Tony Stewart’s status for the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta. Burton says there has been no word yet from Stewart on whether he’ll return to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet after missing the last three races due to the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, but it could be a last-minute decision. In the meantime, Burton will remain standing by.
Sauber Formula 1 racer Pascal Wehrlein will take no part in Sunday’s Race of Champions Nations Cup in Miami after being withdrawn on medical grounds.
Wehrlein sustained a frightening crash during Saturday’s ‘Champion of Champions’ event, rolling his KTM X-Bow with a passenger inside after crossing the line during a heat against Felipe Massa.
Both Wehrlein and the passenger escaped unhurt, but the Race of Champions organizers confirmed on Sunday that the German would not be racing on Sunday as a precaution.
“I’m very sorry to withdraw from today’s ROC Nations Cup. I’d really like to race again and I feel fine, but the doctors have advised me to rest so of course I will take their advice,” Wehrlein said.
“It’s no more than mild discomfort but my real priority for the coming year is my Formula 1 season. So while I’m sad to be missing out on all the action, I send my best wishes to my team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the competitors here in Miami and I wish them another exciting day’s racing.”
Event officials are yet to confirm who – if anyone – will replace Wehrlein in Team Germany’s line-up.
The Race of Champions Nations Cup takes place later today at the Marlins Park in Miami.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya added another trophy to his cabinet on Saturday by claiming a shock victory in the Race of Champions.
The event at the Marlins Park in Miami pitted some of motorsport’s biggest names up against each other in a multi-discipline challenge, with the Race of Champions’ traditional crossover circuit style being used.
Ahead of the battle for national honors on Sunday, the 17 drivers on the entry list in Miami faced off for the individual title.
Defending champion and four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered a shock exit in the group stage after defeats to Helio Castroneves and Travis Pastrana. The German won only one tie against 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who in turn had qualified following a shoot-out against GRC’s Scott Speed.
In the bottom half of the draw, IndyCar stars James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan were eliminated in the group stages, while veteran British F1 racers David Coulthard and Jenson Button made it through. The pair were joined by nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and NASCAR’s Kyle Busch; the latter’s brother, Kurt, was knocked out at the first hurdle.
Pastrana and Castroneves both fell in the quarter-finals, losing to Felipe Massa and Montoya respectively. Massa advanced through the draw despite a frightening incident in the group stage involving fellow F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein, who flipped his car after crossing the finish line.
Kristensen edged out Button 2-1 in their best-of-three bout to reach the semi-finals, setting up a tie against Coulthard after he eased past Kyle Busch 2-0.
Massa and Montoya’s semi-final went down to a tie-breaker, with the former receiving a time penalty to hitting the wall and gaining an advantage. As a result, Montoya progressed into the final, winning the tie 2-1. Losing 2015 finalist Kristensen followed Montoya through, beating Coulthard 2-0.
Montoya won the first heat of the final in the rallycross car, edging Kristensen out by less than a car length before jumping into a KTM X-Bow for the second match-up. Despite almost jumping the start, Montoya managed to wrestle his car through the two laps before edging out Kristensen by just 0.08 seconds, securing a shock rookie victory in the process.
“Honestly I had a blast,” Montoya said. “It’s pretty amazing. I told my wife, I’ve got to make it through the first round. It just worked out.”
Montoya will race in the ROC Nations Cup on Sunday, teaming up with recent IndyCar racer Gabby Chaves for Team Colombia.
Manor Racing has made progress in talks with a possible investor as it bids to make the grid for the start of the 2017 Formula 1 season, according to a report from BBC Sport.
Manor confirmed at the beginning of the month that it had entered administration for the second time in three years amid ongoing financial difficulties.
The backmarker team finished 11th in last year’s constructors’ championship, dropping behind Sauber at the penultimate round and missing out on a sizeable amount of prize money as a result.
With a little over one month to go until the start of pre-season testing, Manor faces a race against time to keep racing, but the latest report from BBC Sport suggests that a breakthrough has been made.
Andrew Benson writes that the future of the team is dependent on the promised investment arriving in the next week, noting that “prospects have improved considerably over the last few days”.
Manor had previously been in talks with Mexican-American businessman Tavo Hellmund over a buyout, as well as a Chinese consortium. The report from BBC Sport also names Indonesian businessman Ricardo Galael, the father of GP2 racer Sean Galael, as a possible suitor for the team.
NBC Sports learned last week that the team is pushing to race with a modified version of its 2016 car – likely to be named the MRT05B – should it make the grid in 2017.
If Manor fails to find a buyer, the F1 grid will drop back down to 10 teams for the 2017 season, returning to its pre-2016 level prior to the arrival of Haas.
NBC Sports has approached Manor’s administrators, FRP Advisory, for comment.
1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve feels that he cannot relate to the series in its current form, saying that it is supposed to be “too expensive” and “too crazy”.
Villeneuve raced in F1 between 1996 and 2006, and remains a keen observer as part of his role as a pundit on Italian television.
F1 has striven to enforce greater cost control and road relevance in recent years, but Villeneuve believes that this is the wrong direction, saying officials should instead focus on making the series spectacular.
“That’s when I start to feel old because I don’t relate to the technology of modern Formula 1,” Villeneuve said.
“Because to my mind, Formula 1 has always been about extremes. Pushing the boundaries and human boundaries.
“It’s supposed to be too fast, it’s supposed to be too expensive, it’s supposed to be crazy. And that’s not what we have.
“You see drivers get out of the car and they didn’t even break a sweat because they have too massage their car the whole race and drive within eight seconds of what they’ve done in qualifying. It’s wrong.”
Villeneuve also believes that those in charge of F1 should not listen to fans’ opinions, citing the introduction of DRS in 2011 as being a negative result of doing so.
“The fans kept complaining that ‘oh, there’s not enough overtaking’, ‘oh, there’s not enough of this or that’,” Villeneuve said.
“By listening to that, what did F1 do? Let’s put DRS. Because that way we’ll have hundreds of overtakes in a race. But name me one overtake that you remember since DRS – you don’t. Because you don’t see the driver working it.
“Look at a motorbike race, sometimes they take a rider 10 laps to overtake another rider, but in these 10 laps you see the work that goes with it, and what that overtake happens, wow.
“But now you don’t. Next straight line, press a button, that’s it. All of these rule changes to try and create a better show actually create a worse show.
“Then the technology, take the engine, amazing beautiful technology – for the engineers. It shouldn’t be in F1. It doesn’t bring anything. It takes away from F1.
“It has nothing to do there. It’s crazy engineering. I wouldn’t want it on my road car.”