MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: British GP

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The British Grand Prix has a reputation for one of the most electric atmospheres in Formula 1 as the home fans come out in droves to cheer on world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton has won twice before at Silverstone – in his championship years of 2008 and 2014 – and has designs on a third victory on home soil this weekend.

However, Hamilton will have to overcome Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg if he is to do so. The German driver has plenty of momentum after claiming three wins in the past four races, and is also a former winner at Silverstone.

With the heatwave that Britain is currently experiencing also set to play a part in the running this weekend, it may be a matter of which Mercedes driver can keep their cool at Silverstone.

You can read our complete preview of the British Grand Prix here.

Here’s what the MST writing team is expecting to happen this weekend. As ever, let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. It’s hard to bet against the British driver on home soil. Hamilton has experienced some problems with his clutch in recent races, but is now reverting back to his 2014-spec one. With 140,000 fans behind him at Silverstone, I’m tipping Lewis to extend his championship lead.

Surprising FinishMcLaren. In that I’ll be surprised if they finish. Too harsh? Perhaps. The team completed a good test in Austria last week, so could be set to get back up to speed this weekend. Don’t expect miracles, though.

Most to ProveKimi Raikkonen. After a miserable run of form, Raikkonen is now under scrutiny for his 2016 seat at Ferrari. The likes of Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg are being linked with a seat at Maranello, meaning that the Finn needs to up his game and prove to Ferrari he is worth retaining.

Additional Storyline to WatchForce India’s B-spec car. A raft of upgrades will appear on the VJM08 car this weekend as Force India finally launches its B-spec car. The team has performed admirably to rank fifth in the constructors’ championship despite being behind on development, and it will be interesting to see how it progresses with these changes.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. Rosberg is riding the hot hand but it seems almost sacrilegious to bet against Hamilton on home turf. He’ll be particularly keen to get back on top after losing out to Nico in three of the last four grands prix.

Surprising FinishNico Hulkenberg. He already exceeded the disposal of his machinery in Austria, and now with an update package coming, perhaps the Force India-Mercedes can end top-five on merit. Without an Indian GP on the schedule this is as close to a home race as possible for the team, based right near the track, and a great opportunity for a good result.

Most to ProveMcLaren-Honda. As ever this season, reliability and possible grid penalties are the story for McLaren heading into the weekend. Even more than a points score, simply finishing for either or both of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button must be the single goal.

Additional Storyline to Watch: Brits on home turf. We know Hamilton will ride the tidal wave of enthusiastic euphoria but what of the other drivers who are more likely to be propping up the grid, in Button and Will Stevens? Here’s hoping those two can add to the local story and outperform the disposal of their machinery, as Button has done here in the past.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams

The British Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

The road to the 2023 Daytona 500 is not paved for Travis Pastrana, he’ll attempt the DIRTcar Nationals

Pastrana DIRTcar Nationals
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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Travis Pastrana will attempt to make his first NASCAR Cup series race on February 19 with the grandaddy of them all, the Daytona 500, but his road to get there will not be paved and his car will have only two fenders as he tackles Florida Speedweeks and the DIRTcar Nationals.

In mid-January, it was announced Pastrana will attempt to qualify a third car from 23XI Racing that fields fulltime entries for Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick. Sponsorship will come from Black Rifle Coffee, who approached him during the offseason to ask what kind of “really cool stuff” he would like to do. Pastrana replied, “the Daytona 500” with a characteristic laugh in his voice.

“It’s good,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’re going to go down, we’re going to go hangout with [NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion] Matt Crafton, one of [Black Rifle’s] drivers, we’ll go to Modified races and watch all the Late Models. We’ll watch the racing, and we’ll bring [United States military] veterans down and hangout with [Steve] Arpin.”

But there is a saying among dirt track fans that goes, ‘asphalt is for getting to the track; dirt is for racing’ – and Pastrana is taking that to heart.

After racing on the snow in Nitro Rallycross February 4-5 in Calgary, Alberta, the original plan was to head to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida to watch the modified and late model races. Until Crafton called him out for not racing.

Pastrana relayed the conversation: “I told Crafton [I was coming to watch] and he goes, ‘Ah, too much of a sissy to drive?’ I called Arpin, and said, ‘So, Longhorn, I heard you guys have vehicles that can kick the crap out of Crafton’s vehicle.’ [Arpin] said, ‘Yeah, if you don’t suck, you can beat him.’ I said, ‘Alright, I’m in.’”

The DIRTcar Nationals run from February 6-18. The first week features six UMP Modified Mains each night they run, on Monday (Feb. 6), Friday (Feb. 10), and then the prestigious Gator Championship race on Saturday (Feb. 11). Pastrana hopes to run every night in one of Arpin’s cars, also with sponsorship from Black Riffle Coffee.

And this is not just for bragging rights; there is money on the line. Pastrana and Crafton have a $1 bet on who has the best finish.

While Pastrana is accustomed pitching his car sideways on a combination of left and right turns in a rally car – he won the Nitro Rallycross race at ERX Motorsports Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota last October and became the first two-time winner in the 2022/23 season at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona in November – the DIRTcar Nationals will be an entirely different proposition.

It took a day for Pastrana to get comfortable in the modified. And it took a little coaching from Arpin, who has experience in both dirt modifieds and rally cars to make him fast.

“[Arpin] showed up the second day after hearing how bad the first day was,” Pastrana said, which is confirmed in the Instagram post embedded above. “But he just told me, until you commit, it’s not going to work. Once I committed, it started making a lot of sense. But coming in, if you’re lifting off the gas while trying to turn, it just doesn’t turn and all your natural instincts say, ‘Don’t get on the gas.’ So, yeah, I feel like it should suit my driving style because I’m more of an aggressive sideways type of driver, but it was very difficult. Turning and sliding, I’m fine. Getting it there is not the easiest.”

Pastrana has one previous start in a dirt late model that came in the 2010 Prelude to the Dream. He finished 23rd in the 27-car field and was three laps off the pace. He wasn’t the only driver having difficulty getting a feel for the car that night; Jeff Gordon finished on the same lap, only one position ahead of him.

Travis Pastrana will race one of Steve Arpin’s dirt modifieds during Florida Speedweeks as he prepares for the 2023 Daytona 500. – Jacy Norgaard, World Racing Group

The price of the weekend could well exceed the dollar he may lose to Crafton.

“It’s going to be an expensive weekend,” Pastrana said. “Not everything is covered. If I crash anything, it is going to be all on me. This is one of those things where I want to come down and have fun. I want to hang out with the crowd, I want to sign autographs and give high fives. Especially for the Modified crew, that’s the grassroots racing that I love and some of my friends are involved with. We’ll be camping down there with Arpin and all the Longhorn guys, just hanging out. I feel like that’s a great opportunity for us to bring a lot of [US] veterans and bring people that are into racing and aren’t into racing, friends and family, and just have an awesome time.”

And it’s not out of the question that Pastrana could add another top-10 to his record book in the DIRTcar Nationals. After the rocky first day, Pastrana gained speed. Enough so that Arpin’s confidence was raised.

“We’re pretty confident Crafton is going to have to run hard to keep his dollar,” Arpin said.