WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Hornish joins RPM, Keselowski’s Chase fate, Harvick’s outlook and more

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America (live from 5 pm to 5:30 pm ET), Leigh Diffey, Wally Dallenbach and Parker Kligerman ride herd in-studio over what promises to be a very busy show.

Among today’s show highlights:

  • Richard Petty Motorsports announced earlier today that Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 9 car next season in NASCAR Sprint Cup. Hornish will replace Marcos Ambrose, who is returning to his native Australia to race V8 Supercars next season. We’ll hear from Hornish and discuss how he’ll fit in with the RPM team.
  • Kelli Stavast visited the Team Penske race shop in Mooresville, NC, to report on the team’s preparations for this weekend’s race in Charlotte. Also, how much attention will be diverted to Brad Keselowski’s efforts, now that Joey Logano has already clinched his spot in the next round?
  • Marty Snider caught up with Kevin Harvick Tuesday night at a charitable dinner for the Kevin Harvick Foundation in Greensboro, NC. Snider spoke with Harvick about his chances this weekend in Charlotte, a track where he has already notched two career wins.
  • Parker Kligerman uses the NBC Sports iRacing simulator to illustrate how driving under the lights can affect a race. Parker and Wally Dallenbach will both break down the nuances of the Charlotte Motor Speedway track, site of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500.
  • Chase Elliott has a sizable lead in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings with four races remaining. We examine Elliott’s season to date and how likely the 18-year old is to win the title in his first full year of NASCAR Nationwide racing.
  • We also examine the points standings for Sprint Cup drivers who did not make the Chase, as well as focus on the recent run of strong finishes by both Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Austin Dillon.

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.

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.