NASCAR’s Gen-6 car set for 1.5-mile debut in Las Vegas

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The variation of tracks for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with its new Generation 6 car continues this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After a less-than-exciting Daytona 500 and somewhat better show at Phoenix last week, particularly in the closing stages, this marks the first test for a G6 car on one of the “cookie-cutter” 1.5-mile ovals. This is an area that NASCAR has thought the G6 could improve racing, and this is the first test.

Las Vegas, reconfigured and modified with greater banking before the 2007 season, features some strong odds either of this year’s first two race winners – Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards – could add their second victory this season. Each has two wins from the six races on the reconfigured track, Johnson winning in 2007 and 2010, Edwards in 2008 and 2011.

Edwards and new crew chief Jimmy Fennig got their act together last week after a disastrous Speedweeks, where the crew had to repair five wrecked race cars. The rebound from both Daytona and Edwards’ 70-race long winless drought was particularly satisfying for team and driver.

Tony Stewart is the defending race champion, in what was his first win with new crew chief Steve Addington.

There’s five drivers already in need of a good results to kick-start their seasons. Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. enter Las Vegas from 30th through 34th place in the standings, down 57 points to points leader Johnson. While some will say it’s too early to discuss “points racing,” Chase chances for any of those five could be compromised with another poor finish.

Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, 3 pm ET

Track Specs
1.5-mile oval
Turns: 20 degrees of banking
Frontstretch: 9 degrees
Backstretch: 9 degrees

Race Distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles

Defending Race Champion: Tony Stewart

Fernando Alonso unsure when he will chase Triple Crown at Indy 500

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) — Still glowing from his win at the 24 Hours Le Mans, Fernando Alonso says he is not sure when he will try to complete motorsport’s unofficial Triple Crown with a victory at the Indianapolis 500.

Alonso says Thursday ahead of Formula One’s French Grand Prix that “I am still digesting a little bit the Le Mans win and (.) not taking too much into account (for) next year’s project.”

The two-time F1 world champion won the Le Mans classic endurance race last weekend together with teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

That leaves the Spaniard only one leg short of completing the Triple Crown of wins at Le Mans, Indy 500 and F1’s Monaco GP, which he has won twice.

Alonso raced the Indy 500 for the first time last year but an engine failure with 20 laps left ruined his chances.