Several NASCAR AMERICA specials to run over next month

3 Comments

NASCAR AMERICA, NBCSN’s daily show dedicated to the nation’s longstanding fascination with speed and stock car racing, presents several specials highlighting the season’s top moments from the 2014 Sprint Cup Series.

Building on the expanded, in-depth coverage NBCSN provided during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR AMERICA gives viewers an all-access pass to the most intriguing stories of the most exciting season in years, using on-track audio and stunning images from inside the cars, along pit road and throughout each stop toward Homestead.

The specials began airing during NASCAR AMERICA’s 30-minute 5 p.m. ET time slot on Nov. 19, with new episodes debuting Dec. 1, 2, 10 and 11, and culminating on Dec. 16 with the Top 20 Moments of 2014. Encore presentations of all specials will air throughout November and December. Below is an overview of the NASCAR AMERICA specials:

  • NASCAR AMERICA: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED IN 2014 – premiered Thursday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. ET: Hosted by NBC Sports lead race announcer Rick Allen, and analyst Kyle Petty, Expect the Unexpected in 2014 focuses on the wild and wacky moments no one saw coming this past season. From the crazy moments during the Daytona 500 Speed Week, to the track elements outside of drivers’ control, this special features bloopers and stories from the chaotic 2014 NASCAR season.
  • SCAN ALL 43: CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 – premiered Friday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. ET: In this 30 minute episode dedicated to one of the most exciting races in NASCAR history, Rick Allen and Kyle Petty give viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience to the final four drivers left in the Chase. Using sound and footage from the NASCAR radio scanners, Allen and Petty recap the thrilling finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
  • 2014 CHASE SPECTATULAR – premieres Monday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. ETHosted by NBC Sports lead race announcer Rick Allen, Chase Spectacular gives an in-depth recap of the greatest, most intriguing moments from the debut of the new Sprint Cup Series Chase format. Over the course of 10 weeks, a field of sixteen drivers was narrowed down to four who contended for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16. Chase Spectacular highlights the dramatic results, winners and fights that highlighted each elimination round.
  • 2014 IN THE NEWS – premieres Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. ET2014 In the News highlights the top five news stories from this past season’s NASCAR Sprint Series. Rick Allen counts down the stories that transcended the sport, and lasted well after the races ended. Allen will provide analysis of the season’s best moments, including a look at the race/team alliances that led to fireworks throughout the new chase format. In the News will also feature one of the greatest victories of the season, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Daytona, and discuss Tony Stewart’s tragic accident, which was a focus of national media attention.
  • SCAN ALL 43 COUNTDOWN: THE TOP 43 MOMENTS FROM 2014 – premieres Wednesday, Dec.10and Thursday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. ETDave Briggs, a regular contributor to NASCAR AMERICA, puts the viewer in the driver’s seat in Scan All 43 Countdown: The Top 43 Moments from 2014. In this two-part special, Briggs counts down the best moments, taken directly from the radio scanners, allowing fans to hear everything from crew chief pit calls, media analysis and play-by-play, to the spotters guiding their drivers during some of the most heated moments of the season.
  • TOP 20 MOMENTS OF 2014 – premieres Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. ETSteve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former crew chief, joins Rick Allen as a guest analyst to help count down the top 20 moments of the 2014 NASCAR Season, highlighting the best finishes, biggest wins and top stories from the year. Letarte’s expert analysis provides a new perspective to many of the stories that shaped the 2014 season.

During the Wednesday, Dec. 3, episode of NASCAR AMERICA, Allen will present a special feature from Letarte’s final race as Earnhardt’s crew chief. The episode will feature behind-the-scenes coverage of their emotional final race.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
1 Comment

SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.