“Road course ringers” draw ire of Larson, Kligerman at Mid-Ohio

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Kyle Larson and Parker Kligerman are two of the most talented drivers in NASCAR’s pipeline who are yet to make their Sprint Cup debuts. Occasionally they’ve hit some rocky moments in the Nationwide Series on the way up, and Saturday was evidence of that as each felt their race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was compromised by the “road course ringers.”

Kligerman finished 13th, Larson 14th on Saturday but neither result was indicative of where they ran. Larson was pitched into a spin by Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. on the first lap and contact from others along the way, as he had worked to recover a 3-lap deficit from the first lap, didn’t make things any easier. He was up to fourth place before being contacted on the last lap.

Larson’s tweets on the matter, including a reply to fellow competitor Brian Scott, are below.

Kligerman also took to Twitter after the race to express his displeasure.

 

It’s a fascinating phenomenon as the concept of “road course ringers” has taken a bit of a nosedive this year on the Sprint Cup level. For years, it used to be the case where a one-off driver could come in and secure a result. But as the regulars have improved their road course ability, and the cars have grown more reliable, it’s become a lot harder for the “ringers” to make an impression without using their bumpers to do so.

Mid-Ohio was the last of three road course events for Nationwide this season, and Cup’s two are also in the books. All that remains is a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Mosport on September 1.

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.