Wreck involves several Chase drivers; Keselowski spins, suffers minor damage

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Joe Gibbs Racing’s bad day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway just got a whole lot worse.

While battling for eighth position, Matt Kenseth got loose and bounced off Jamie McMurray on Lap 194. As Kenseth tried to gain control, teammate Kyle Busch couldn’t slow down in time and ran into the back of Kenseth’s Toyota Camry.

While Kenseth’s car suffered minor damage, such was not the case for Busch, whose front end and hood was crumpled up like an accordion.

Kasey Kahne’s car also suffered significant front end damage when he was unable to avoid Busch’s suddenly slowing car.

And yet another Chase driver, Ryan Newman, also was caught up in the mishap, but his damage was not as pronounced as Busch’s or Kahne’s.

Kenseth, Newman, Kahne and Busch are all in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Just a few laps before that, Denny Hamlin was caught up in a wreck involving David Ragan, Cole Whitt and Martin Truex Jr.

Hamlin’s Camry suffered extensive front and right front side damage; he managed to limp it to the garage, but it appears his day is done.

Prior to that wreck, Hamlin had a mechanical failure of the fuel-filler receptacle, which put him back four laps off the lead lap as repairs were made.

“You just can’t have any mistakes in this three-race deal, from the driver, crew and the team,” Hamlin told ESPN. “No one made any mistakes, we just had a mechanical failure that hasn’t bit us for a while.

“It’s frustrating, to say the least.”

Then on lap 197, Chase points leader Brad Keselowski spun around, incurring moderate damage to the left rear of his Ford Fusion.

Keselowski went to pit road twice for repairs and went back on the racetrack.

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F1: Lewis Hamilton qualifies No. 1 for U.S. Grand Prix, on verge of winning 5th title

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Lewis Hamilton took a big step toward earning his fifth Formula One championship on Saturday, qualifying No. 1 for Sunday’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Hamilton and his Mercedes have won five of the previous six U.S. Grand Prix’s held at COTA, including the last four races there.

The Great Britain native comes into Sunday’s race leading the F1 point standings and is seeking to tie Juan Manuel Fangio for second-most F1 career championships. Michael Schumacher has the most with seven crowns.

Sebastian Vettel is Hamilton’s sole remaining challenger for the title, trailing Hamilton by 67 points with four races to go, including Sunday’s race.

Vettel must win Sunday’s race or finish within seven points of Hamilton to prevent the latter from winning the title and pushing a possible clinching scenario to next week in Mexico.

Vettel qualified second Saturday, but due to a red-flag three-position grid penalty sustained during Friday’s morning practice, will start fifth on Sunday’s grid.

As a result of Vettel’s penalty, Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start alongside Hamilton on the front row for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Vallteri Bottas, will start third, while Daniel Ricciardo will start fourth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.

Here’s how qualifying played out:

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:34.130 1:33.480 1:32.237 20
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:34.569 1:33.079 1:32.298 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:34.703 1:32.884 1:32.307 15
4 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:34.518 1:33.702 1:32.616 17
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:34.755 1:34.185 1:33.494 14
6 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:34.876 1:34.522 1:34.145 18
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:34.932 1:34.564 1:34.215 18
8 8 RomainGrosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:34.892 1:34.419 1:34.250 17
9 16 Charles Leclerc SAUBER FERRARI 1:35.069 1:34.255 1:34.420 17
10 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:35.193 1:34.525 1:34.594 17
11 55 Carlos Sainz RENAULT 1:34.891 1:34.566 12
12 20 KevinMagnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:34.972 1:34.732 12
13 10 Pierre Gasly SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1:34.850 DNS 13
14 28 Brendon Hartley SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1:35.206 DNS 13
15 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:34.766 4
16 14 FernandoAlonso MCLAREN RENAULT 1:35.294 6
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:35.362 6
18 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:35.480 8
19 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:35.536 8
20 2 StoffelVandoorne MCLAREN RENAULT 1:35.735 6

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