Rookies feel wrath of ‘Lady in Black’ in first Sprint Cup practice

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Run-ins with the wall were plentiful during this morning’s Sprint Cup practice at Darlington Raceway, especially among those racing on the treacherous 1.366-mile oval for the first time.

Cup rookies Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman each got their inaugural Darlington stripe, but the damage inflicted to Larson’s No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was enough to force the team to roll out a backup car.

Dillon and Larson were spotted commiserating in the garage (pictured) after they both clouted the Turn 2 wall.

“We’re just learning, I guess,” Dillon said to Fox Sports. “You can get really tight – I felt good going into [Turn] 1 and through the middle, I get tight late around the middle and it carries speed off and I just hit the wall.”

“Our backup, they said, is as good as our primary and we had a really good run before I hit the wall,” Larson chimed in. “Just learning – I’ve mostly ever hit the wall in [Turns] 3 and 4, I’d never hit off 2. But I killed the wall in 2, so we’ll get back out here soon. I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

Other drivers that tagged the wall in the session included veterans Kurt Busch and Marcos Ambrose, as well as sorta-veteran Ricky Stenhouse Jr. And it’s probably safe to assume that there were more drivers that had run-ins during the session, too.

The practice was led by Kevin Harvick, who logged a time of 27.679 seconds at 177.665 miles per hour and seeks this weekend to end his doggedly bad luck as of late.

Clint Bowyer was second-quickest with a time of 27.823 seconds, followed by Jimmie Johnson (27.835), Brad Keselowski (27.959), and Jeff Gordon (27.978) rounding out the Top 5.

Kurt Busch, whose car co-owner Gene Haas is now set to field a Formula One franchise in 2015, recovered from his wall issue to record the sixth-fastest time (28.022). Last week’s winner at Texas, Joey Logano, was 12th-fastest (28.085).

The Cup contingent has another practice scheduled for 2 p.m. ET, with qualifying set for later this evening at 6 p.m. ET.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT DARLINGTON – Practice 1 Times

Castroneves crashes out of Indy 500

Photo: IndyCar
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Helio Castroneves’ bid for a fourth Indianapolis 500 triumph came to an end following a restart on Lap 145, when his No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet broke loose exiting Turn 4, sending him spinning into the inside wall near the pit entrance.

Castroneves started eighth and had been running solidly inside the top 10 for much of the race, and he was sitting fifth following a Lap 145 restart. Further, the previous caution – for Sebastien Bourdais, who crashed in Turn 4 – set up Castroneves to possibly make it to the end of the race on more pit stop.

However, that effort came to a disappointing end not long after racing resumed.

Castroneves’ status for future Indy 500s is unknown, though he did make a plea to team owner Roger Penske to let him come back next year. “Please, Roger, I want to come back,” said Castroneves during his interview.

This is the first time Castroneves has crashed out of an Indy 500 since 2006.

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