GP2: Daly scores first points of 2014; wins for Pic and Vandoorne

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Conor Daly has scored his first points of the 2014 GP2 Series season in Hungary today after battling through to finish seventh in the sprint race.

The American driver has endured a luckless start to the year, failing to score any points so far for Venezuela GP Lazarus. During the feature race on Saturday, Daly came home in 15th position after falling foul of a safety car period.

For the sprint race, he started P13 after Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti both received penalties for misdemeanors on Saturday, and fought his way into the points.

Daly came under pressure from Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Tom Dillman towards the end of the race, but managed to keep his cool and stay ahead of secure his first points of the year in seventh place.

Just as the safety car period ruined Daly’s race on Saturday, it aided Arthur Pic en route to his first win in GP2. The Frenchman was elated to have won in Hungary, saying that it was “still a bit difficult to realise”. He was joined on the podium by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Takuya Izawa, who had started 22nd and 26th on the grid respectively. Coletti did finish second on track, but was stripped of the result after he was deemed to have forced a driver off the track during the race.

On Sunday, the spoils went to McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian youngster produced a controlled drive, leading from the start after jumping pole-sitter Nathanael Berthon off the line. He was chased home by championship contenders Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr.

With this result, Palmer has extended his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship, and is in the box seat to secure the 10th GP2 title this year with just four rounds remaining.

For Daly, this result will hopefully mark the start of an upturn in fortunes. He is now the sole remaining American driver in GP2 after Alexander Rossi’s departure from Caterham and Campos, although he is hoping to return to the grid soon.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.