NASCAR: GameStop in for 10 races on Erik Jones’ XFINITY ride with Gibbs

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Erik Jones’ part-time drive this year for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series will feature a familiar sponsor.

After supporting Sprint Cup veteran Matt Kenseth over the last two years of NXS competition, GameStop will now back Jones and the No. 20 JGR Toyota Camry in 2015 for 10 events.

Those events include the NXS season opener at Daytona on Feb. 21, the two races at both Texas and Charlotte, and single races at Fontana, Bristol, Richmond, Phoenix, and Homestead-Miami.

Along with his NXS schedule, Jones will also compete full-time this year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He made three NXS starts in the No. 20 Toyota last year with finishes of seventh at Chicago, eighth at Bristol, and sixth at Phoenix.

“As a gamer, I’ve always followed the cars GameStop puts on the track each year,” Jones said in a release. “It’s so cool that they change their paint scheme for every race, and they’ve featured many of my favorite games. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to combine my love for gaming with my career as a NASCAR driver.

“I know we’ll be competitive each week with the GameStop Toyota, and I’m confident we’ll be able to get us a win, or a few, this season.”

Mike Wheeler, former race engineer for Denny Hamlin on JGR’s No. 11 Sprint Cup team, will now take over as Jones’ crew chief on the team’s No. 20 NXS program.

“Erik is a great addition to our program and will be a great representative of GameStop,” team president J.D. Gibbs said in the same release. “We also have Mike Wheeler stepping up to lead the No. 20 Toyota team as crew chief. It will be exciting to watch those two together as they run up front and contend for wins each time Erik is in the No. 20 Camry.”

F1: Lewis Hamilton qualifies No. 1 for U.S. Grand Prix, on verge of winning 5th title

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Lewis Hamilton took a big step toward earning his fifth Formula One championship on Saturday, qualifying No. 1 for Sunday’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Hamilton and his Mercedes have won five of the previous six U.S. Grand Prix’s held at COTA, including the last four races there.

The Great Britain native comes into Sunday’s race leading the F1 point standings and is seeking to tie Juan Manuel Fangio for second-most F1 career championships. Michael Schumacher has the most with seven crowns.

Sebastian Vettel is Hamilton’s sole remaining challenger for the title, trailing Hamilton by 67 points with four races to go, including Sunday’s race.

Vettel must win Sunday’s race or finish within seven points of Hamilton to prevent the latter from winning the title and pushing a possible clinching scenario to next week in Mexico.

Vettel qualified second Saturday, but due to a red-flag three-position grid penalty sustained during Friday’s morning practice, will start fifth on Sunday’s grid.

As a result of Vettel’s penalty, Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start alongside Hamilton on the front row for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Vallteri Bottas, will start third, while Daniel Ricciardo will start fourth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.

Here’s how qualifying played out:

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:34.130 1:33.480 1:32.237 20
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:34.569 1:33.079 1:32.298 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:34.703 1:32.884 1:32.307 15
4 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:34.518 1:33.702 1:32.616 17
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:34.755 1:34.185 1:33.494 14
6 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:34.876 1:34.522 1:34.145 18
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:34.932 1:34.564 1:34.215 18
8 8 RomainGrosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:34.892 1:34.419 1:34.250 17
9 16 Charles Leclerc SAUBER FERRARI 1:35.069 1:34.255 1:34.420 17
10 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:35.193 1:34.525 1:34.594 17
11 55 Carlos Sainz RENAULT 1:34.891 1:34.566 12
12 20 KevinMagnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:34.972 1:34.732 12
13 10 Pierre Gasly SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1:34.850 DNS 13
14 28 Brendon Hartley SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1:35.206 DNS 13
15 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:34.766 4
16 14 FernandoAlonso MCLAREN RENAULT 1:35.294 6
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:35.362 6
18 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:35.480 8
19 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:35.536 8
20 2 StoffelVandoorne MCLAREN RENAULT 1:35.735 6

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