FIA confirms changes to qualifying format in Austin

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The FIA has confirmed that it will be slightly changing the qualifying format for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix to account for the absence of Caterham and Marussia.

Neither of the backmarker teams will be racing in Austin after encountering serious financial difficulties over the past few months. Both are now looking for new buyers and investment.

As a result, just 18 cars will be racing in Texas this weekend, making it the smallest grid since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix when BAR was banned for two races after running below the minimum weight allowed.

With the normal 22 car grid, six cars are eliminated in both Q1 and Q2 before leaving ten cars to fight it out for pole position in Q3. In a very logical move, this has been reduced to four cars for Austin, which will still leave the top-ten shootout at the end of qualifying.

The statement from the FIA reads as follows:

“In view of the non-participation of two teams in the 2014 United States Grand Prix, the stewards have been requested to clarify the format for Qualifying Practice.

“Accordingly, under the authority granted to the stewards in article 11.9 of the International Sporting Code, and having regard to the principles established in the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations article 33.1, the stewards decide that the slowest four cars in Q1 will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session, and the slowest four cars in Q2 will likewise be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.”

You can watch qualifying for the United States Grand Prix from 1p ET on NBCSN on Saturday.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Christopher Bell survives caution-filled Chili Bowl Prelim

TeeJay Crawford
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Christopher Bell survived the most caution-filled Feature of the week to win Thursday’s preliminary night at the 33rd Annual Chili Bowl. His ability to hold the lead on restarts helped lock Bell into his seventh Saturday A-Feature since 2013.

“I pretty much suck on restarts. I do better when I get into a rhythm,” said Christopher Bell on twitter.

Bell started the feature in third place behind Danny Stratton and Jerry Coons Jr. He took the lead on the first official lap of the race, but not until after two Lap 1 cautions.

The Oklahoma native held the lead through the remaining 24 laps and eight cautions until being challenged by Shane Golobic and CJ Leary on the final laps. Golobic briefly made it past him though Turns 3 and 4 of the final lap. Bell regained control in 1 and 2 to claim the checkers.

“It was a lot busier than what I wanted them to be. Shane definitely made a race out of it and I hope the last four laps were a good show. It was a lot of fun … well it was fun because I won but if I hadn’t won it wouldn’t have been much fun,” Bell said regarding the final laps.

Golobic earned the second transfer into Saturday’s A-Main after starting to the outside of Bell.

Leary completed the podium with the pole sitter Stratton finished fourth.

Josh Most battled through the B after a hard crash in his heat. He rebounded to transfer to the A and drove from 22nd to fifth.

With the throng of cautions at the start and finish of the race, the goal quickly became survival. Only 15 of 24 entries completed the full feature. Notable DNF’s included Ryan Bernal who started fifth, Coons, who started on the front row and Thomas Meseraull in 15th.

NASCAR’s Justin Allgaier finished 13th and will have a long day ahead of him on Saturday.

Friday Jan. 18 will be the final Qualifying night for the 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals.

MORE: Rico Abreu wins Chili Bowl Night 3 
MORE: Kyle Larson wins Chili Bowl Night 2

Thursday’s Results

1. Christopher Bell
2. Shane Golobic
3. CJ Leary
4. Danny Stratton
5. Josh Most
6. Austin Brown
7. Tracy Hines
8. Casey Shuman
9. Kyle Cummins
10. Andrew Felker
11. Austin O’Dell
12. Seth Carlson
13. Justin Allgaier
14. Chase Johnson
15. Johnny Herrera
16. Ryan Bernal
17. Jerry Coons Jr.
18. Matt Sherrell
19. Thomas Meseraull
20. Jake Morgan
21. Andrew Deal
22. Kevin Bayer
23. Kaleb Currie
24. Joe B. Miller