Photo: Don Schumacher Racing

Leah Pritchett wins season-opening NHRA Winternationals

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POMONA, Calif. (AP) Leah Pritchett won the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals on Sunday at Auto Club Raceway for her second career Top Fuel victory.

From Redlands, Pritchett had a 3.711-second pass at 324.98 mph to beat Doug Kalitta in the final.

“This definitely is taking delivery from the momentum from last year,” Pritchett said. “What just happened is the best thing that has ever happened for me professionally in my career. In my opinion, right now, we have the perfect group of people, partners, sponsors, a car that is reacting. This thing is `A+,’ Grade A, perfect kid in school type of situation and we’re taking advantage of it right now.”

Kalitta smoked the tires at the start and finished in 7.630 at 103.85.

Matt Hagan won the Funny Car division, and Jason Line topped the Pro Stock field.

Hagan raced to his 23rd Funny Car victory with a 3.875 at 330.07 in a Dodge Charger R/T. He beat Courtney Force (3.901 at 326.95) in the final for his second Winternationals victory.

Line started his championship defense with a victory over teammate Greg Anderson. Line ran a 6.568 at 211.10 in his Chevy Camaro for his 46th career victory and 14th consecutive season with at least one win. Anderson ran a 6.579 at 211.56 in a Camaro.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).