NASCAR: Ryan Blaney visits White House to help launch tire safety initiative

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NASCAR will take part in a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase awareness of tire safety and promote energy efficiency.

Talented young driver Ryan Blaney, along with his No. 22 Team Penske Ford that won the 2014 XFINITY Series’ owner’s championship and Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, were all in attendance for today’s announcement at The White House.

The U.S. DOT will seek to establish a tire fuel efficiency education program by 2017 to help consumers choose the most energy-efficient tires. It is also teaming up with multiple tire manufacturers to kick off Tire Safety Awareness Month (today through Jan. 9, 2015), and NASCAR will help the cause with a “Drive For Safety” program that will roll out next racing season.

More than 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes occur in the U.S. each year, a figure that the DOT, NASCAR, and the tire manufacturers wish to reduce. Proper tire maintenance can also help consumers save money: Figures from the White House state that if 10 million drivers kept their tires properly inflated, they could save almost $500 million and 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Besides his duties at the White House, Blaney also got to tour the U.S. Capitol today with Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican congressman from North Carolina.

Barber IndyCar iRacing results

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Scott McLaughlin led the final six laps Saturday and finished 0.4241 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power to win the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Speed finished third behind the Team Penske drivers. Alex Palou and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five.

Click here for the full boxscore from Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing event at Barber Motorsports Park.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

Other notable finishers:

Colton Herta (seventh), Robert Wickens (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (12th), Graham Rahal (14th), Alexander Rossi (22nd).

Sage Karam led a race-high 24 laps but retired from the 45-lap event because of a crash and finished 27th of 29 drivers.