WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 7 pm ET — Chase race recap, RPM’s heartbreak, Ganassi’s drivers

Leave a comment

We kick off this week’s editions of NASCAR America at 7 pm ET for a full hour on Monday with a full recap on Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Dave Briggs and Frank Stoddard man the anchor desk in our Charlotte studios, with Jeff Burton coming from “Burton’s Garage.”

Here’s what’s on Monday’s show:

* Brad Keselowski’s win at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday clinched his spot into the next round of the Chase. It marked the first time in Keselowski’s career that he has won back-to-back races, having also won the final Chase qualifying event at Richmond two weeks ago. Based on this recent form, is he the clear favorite to win this year’s Championship?

* Highlights, results and analysis from Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicago. Dave, Frank and Jeff break down the performances of each team in this year’s Chase and discuss who can improve the most and how.

* Of all the Chase teams, Team Penske had the best overall day with Keselowski’s win and Joey Logano’s fourth-place finish. Our Kelli Stavast traveled to the Penske Racing shop in Mooresville, N.C., to report on the team’s strong performance and goals for the remaining two races of the Challenger round.

* It was a tough weekend for Richard Petty Motorsports as Chase driver Aric Almirola suffered a blown engine while running sixth with just 36 laps remaining. Unfortunately, Almirola finished a devastating 41st. Also, Marcos Ambrose announced that he will not return to RPM next season, leaving the team without a driver for the No. 9 Sprint Cup car for next season. How does RPM replace Ambrose, and with who?

* While neither of the Chip Ganassi Sprint Cup drivers made this year’s Chase, both Kyle Larson (3rd) and Jamie McMurray (9th) had strong runs at Chicago. Marty Snider spent time Monday at the Ganassi race shop in Concord, N.C., to discuss what is motivating the team to strong finishes for the rest of the season.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski