Kyle Larson fifth at Pocono, ties for second-best Sprint Cup finish of season

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Well, color Kyle Larson Target-red, as in blushing and surprised.

The leading candidate for NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year somehow turned a marginal car into a near-winner in Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Instead of where he thought he would wind up at in the 160-lap event, Larson drove both his butt and the tires off his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, coming home with a fifth-place finish, tying his second best showing thus far this season.

“Yeah, I’ll take it,” Larson said. “It was a lot better finish than I thought we’d have today.

“After Happy Hour (on Saturday), I thought we’d have a 15th-place car. But I knew from the drop of the green, we had a really good Chevy and throughout the race it got better and better.”

Larson’s finish equaled his fifth-place showing at Texas. His best performance to date in 2014 was runner-up at Fontana in March.

In addition, he remains 10th in the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s race.

Overall, it was an excellent weekend performance for Larson, who made his first-ever visit to the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

On Saturday, he won the ARCA 200 race there, and while he wound up short of a weekend sweep on Sunday, Larson put his overall performance in fitting terms:

“Getting a top-five here at the Tricky Triangle and a win yesterday in the ARCA Series — I guess you can’t ask for a much better weekend.”

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NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.