What we’re thankful for in the motorsports world, 2013

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First off, a Happy Thanksgiving from us to you here at MotorSportsTalk. We’re thankful, most of all, for your watching of Formula One and IndyCar on NBC, CNBC and NBCSN on TV, and your readership and support of MST throughout our first season.

As to the rest of what we’re thankful for? See below.

Formula One

  • We’re thankful Sebastian Vettel decided to add donuts to his post-winning repertoire starting at India, which at least gave us a bit of intrigue to see if he could nail the donuts as well as the race before it.
  • We’re thankful Mark Webber was able to leave F1 on his own terms, still at the top of his game, before heading to the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche.
  • We’re thankful that Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be teammates at Ferrari in 2014. We’re also thankful that Kimi continues to not really give a you-know-what, with his attitude a refreshing tonic compared to the corporate speak you hear from the rest of the grid.
  • We’re thankful Romain Grosjean took a massive leap from the “first lap nutcase” in 2012 to a race winner-in-waiting with an excellent second half of the 2013 season. We’re also thankful others like Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Jules Bianchi had their moments where they outperformed the machinery at their disposal.
  • Most of all, we’re thankful for new regulations coming in 2014. That will hopefully throw a monkey wrench at the form book where the last four years, it’s been Vettel and Red Bull’s world, and the rest of us are just living in it.

IndyCar

  • We’re thankful Scott Dixon continues to show what an amazing talent he is with a comeback for the ages to win his third series championship.
  • We’re thankful for 10 different race winners and 20 different podium finishers in the 19-race season, creating an unpredictable situation almost every race weekend. We’re also thankful the doubleheader weekends were a huge success, and we thank past IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard for introducing them to the 2013 schedule.
  • We’re thankful Juan Pablo Montoya is bringing some needed star power back to IndyCar in 2014 with his surprise return to Team Penske. That’s the early story to watch in 2014.
  • We’re thankful the Dallara DW12’s structural integrity held up well enough to prevent further, more serious injuries to Dario Franchitti and Justin Wilson in the last two races. Wilson is on the mend and can resume training.
  • Lastly, we’re thankful we got to witness Dario Franchitti’s incredible career. Sadly it all feels like an incomplete ending, but the achievements accomplished left an indelible impact on us all. Thanks, Dario, and get well soon.

NASCAR

  • We’re thankful for a great Chase battle between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, Johnson ultimately prevailing for his “six-pack” of titles.
  • We’re thankful for Kevin Harvick continuing to fight even when he knew this was his last season with Richard Childress Racing, and we’re thankful he, wife DeLana and their family emerged unscathed after a house fire earlier this week.
  • We’re thankful for Tony Stewart’s candor after his injuries sustained in a sprint car accident.
  • We’re thankful Jeff Gordon made the Chase, albeit under controversial circumstances, and that Clint Bowyer, whose Richmond spin in September triggered the firestorm of controversy, didn’t factor into title contention to save NASCAR an even further PR nightmare.
  • Lastly, we’re thankful the level of attention fixated on Danica Patrick went down in the second half of the season as her results weren’t worthy of the hyper coverage that always seems to follow her. We don’t talk about the rest of the 25th-to-30th place drivers on any regular basis, and Patrick should be no exception to that rule.

ELSEWHERE

  • We’re thankful for sports car content still occurring on IndyCar race weekends, in the form of the Pirelli World Challenge championship. More bang for the buck for fans.
  • We’re thankful that even though it’s going to be a rocky first year, the ALMS and GRAND-AM are coming together in the merged TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for 2014. Ideally, this makes fans a little less confused. Maybe…
  • We’re thankful that John Force continues to take no prisoners and leave it all on the line in NHRA, as he won his record 16th Funny Car title this year.
  • Lastly, we’re thankful for this simply awesome four-wide finish at the Firestone Indy Lights Series‘ Freedom 100 at Indianapolis, won by Peter Dempsey over Gabby Chaves, Sage Karam and Carlos Munoz. The finish of the year, without question.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.