NASCAR: Darrell and Michael Waltrip earn 4th Quarter NMPA Spirit Award

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One of NASCAR’s most famous sets of siblings, Darrell and Michael Waltrip, have been honored with the National Motorsports Press Association’s Spirit Award for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The brothers’ recent charity golf tournament was singled out for praise by the NMPA. This year’s Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship raised $450,000 through the tourney itself as well as a dinner and auction.

Benefiting from the tourney were three organizations in particular: Motor Racing Outreach, Feed the Children, and Tucker’s House, which helps improve the quality of life for children with disabilities that require their homes to be modified for added accessibility, safety, and therapy.

The Kyle Busch Foundation and Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter also received fourth-quarter votes for the award.

In addition to the Waltrip brothers, other quarterly Spirit Award winners this year include the late Lynda Petty and Junie Donlavey, as well as Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr.

Members of the NMPA will help determine and then announce its overall 2014 Spirit Award winner during the organization’s annual convention on January 25, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The award is designed to honor character and achievement in the face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to the sport.

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.