Scott Lagasse Jr. to drive for RCR in NNS season finale at Homestead

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Even though it will only be his third appearance this season in the Nationwide Series, it’s kind of fitting that Florida native Scott Lagasse Jr. will compete in the third NNS race and season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Lagasse, of St. Augustine, Fla., will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro of Richard Childress Racing, it was announced Wednesday. In addition, Nick Harrison will serve as Lagasse’s crew chief.

“I’m honored for the opportunity to drive the RCR No. 33 Chevrolet,” Lagasse said. “Mr. Childress runs a first class organization, from his team all the way down to the equipment he provides for them. Everyone at TeamSLR is excited to work with Mr. Childress, Nick and all the guys over at RCR.”

Sponsors for the Nov. 15 race are Alert Today Florida and the Boy Scouts of America.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all the Boy Scouts at the race cheering us on and also delivering the Alert Today Florida pedestrian and bicycle safety message,” Lagasse said.

Lagasse’s other two NNS starts this season came at Daytona International Speedway. In the season opener in February, he finished 26th, while he wound up 31st in the July race there.

It will also be Lagasse’s third career NNS start at Homestead. He was 37th in the 2008 season finale and 20th in the 2012 season-ending race.

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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.