NASCAR: Tony Stewart 10th in first Cup practice at Atlanta; Edwards fastest

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After several weeks of mourning and reflection, Tony Stewart went back to work.

Following an emotional press conference this morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion turned the 10th-fastest time in today’s first Sprint Cup practice session.

Stewart logged a total of 25 laps in the session, and set his fastest lap – with a speed of 189.642 mph – on his final circuit around the 1.5-mile oval.

It’s a much-needed solid start to the weekend for Stewart and his No. 14 team, which have been declared eligible to compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup should Stewart win Sunday at Atlanta or in next Saturday’s regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway.

Stewart has not raced at Atlanta since 2012, as he was unable to compete in last year’s race there due to him recovering from his season-ending leg injury.

Today’s first practice was paced by Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards and his lap of 192.855 mph in the No. 99 Ford Fusion. That lap was almost two-tenths of a second quicker than the best lap from Ryan Newman (191.628 mph), who was second on the time sheets for Richard Childress Racing.

Another Ford driver, Marcos Ambrose of Richard Petty Motorsports, was third-fastest in the session (191.417 mph). Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth (191.199 mph), and rookie Kyle Larson was fifth (191.113 mph).

Making up Positions 6-10 were Brian Vickers, Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, and Stewart.

Other notables were: Jimmie Johnson in 13th, Jeff Gordon in 14th, Danica Patrick in 22nd, Matt Kenseth in 25th, Bristol winner Joey Logano in 26th, and Nationwide Series regular Ty Dillon in 27th. Dillon is making his debut Cup start this weekend.

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.