Kyle Larson cracks top-10 for first time in Sprint Cup at Bristol

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The methodical progress for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson continued this weekend at Bristol, with the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie’s first career top-10 finish.

Somehow, 10th almost seems a disappointment given how well the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet ran.

Larson ran as high as second within the last 100 laps of the Food City 500 but briefly fell back as the race progressed. Still, a good effort in only his eight career Sprint Cup start.

“We ran a really good race tonight,” Larson said in a post-race team release. “The Target Chevy was strong all night and the crew did a great job to keep us in contention with great pit stops. All-in-all a good race for Team Target.”

Teammate Jamie McMurray was less fortunate on the night after driving through oil laid down by another car and crashing out with less than 50 laps to go. It ended a run of 45 straight races where he made the finish.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).