What to watch for: British Grand Prix (7:30am ET on CNBC and Live Extra)

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In a time of dwindling track attendances and widespread negativity in Formula 1, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is the exception to the rule.

After over 100,000 people came out for qualifying on Saturday, the figure is expected to tip over 140,000 on race day as the track becomes a swathe of red, white and blue.

A good chunk of the fans will be cheering on defending world champion Lewis Hamilton, who goes in search of his third British Grand Prix victory on Sunday from pole position.

The Briton edged out Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg for P1 on Saturday, but with the German alongside him on the front row, the stage is set for a thrilling battle.

Here are a few storylines to keep an eye out for on Sunday.

HAMILTON’S HISTORY HUNT

Few drivers have captured the British audience like Lewis Hamilton has. With two wins at Silverstone under his belt, he now has a chance to win a third on Sunday and draw level with Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell for the most home victories at Silverstone.

The debate about the greatest British driver in F1 history is already one most deem to be over. Only Clark and Jackie Stewart can really compare with Hamilton. A third win for Lewis today would only further his argument to be known as Britain’s best.

Also note that his previous Silverstone wins came in 2008 and 2014 – the same years he went on to become world champion.

ROSBERG CHASES AUSTRIA REPEAT

Heading into qualifying on Saturday, Hamilton appeared to lack the rhythm required to score pole position. All eyes were on Rosberg to see if he could upset the home favorite. Ultimately, he fell a tenth short.

It was the same story in Austria, though. Rosberg dominated practice, Hamilton took pole, only for Nico to then seize the lead at turn one and dominate the race.

This time around, it may be a bigger challenge. Hamilton has reverted back to his old clutch setting that was causing him gripe, and the opening complex of corners at Silverstone would allow their fight to rage on throughout the first lap. It’s a mouth-watering prospect.

FERRARI THIRD BEST?

We’re still waiting on Ferrari’s big step forward, it seems. The engine upgrade introduced in Canada is yet to bear fruit, and at Silverstone on Saturday, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel ailed to P5 and P6 on the grid behind both Williams drivers.

Both drivers are confident that no ground has been lost to Mercedes and that they’ll be able to recover the positions in the race, but if Williams plays tactical, it could use either Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas as a rear gunner.

Perhaps the more intriguing fight would be between the two Finns, Raikkonen and Bottas. Ferrari is rumored to be lining up the latter as Kimi’s replacement, with reports in Italy suggesting that the Iceman has until the end of July to save his seat. Game on.

DAMAGE LIMITATION FOR RED BULL

After struggling at its home grand prix, Red Bull has shown a few more signs of life at Silverstone this weekend. Daniil Kvyat nearly beat the Ferrari drivers in qualifying, whilst Daniel Ricciardo would have been higher than P10 on the grid had his times not been deleted.

Once again though, it appears that Sunday will be a question of damage limitation. With Force India and Toro Rosso looking quick, the team will need to pick up what points it can.

As a final curveball, rumors of a possible tie-in with Aston Martin Racing emerged last night. Expect team principal Christian Horner to face a few questions on Sunday.

WHAT OF McLAREN?

At the beginning of the season, McLaren’s struggles were tolerated. “The team is still getting to grips with Honda,” we said. “It’ll get back to the top.”

We’re almost at the halfway point of the season, and still we’re saying the same thing. The novelty has worn off. The positivity from the teams appears to be more feigned than ever.

To qualify 17th and 18th at its home grand prix was nothing short of embarrassing for McLaren. Let’s see what the race brings on Sunday. Frankly, getting both cars to the finish would be an achievement.

STARTING GRID FOR THE 2015 BRITISH GRAND PRIX

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Felipe Massa Williams
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
7. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
8. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
11. Sergio Perez Force India
12. Romain Grosjean Lotus
13. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
15. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
16. Felipe Nasr Sauber
17. Fernando Alonso McLaren
18. Jenson Button McLaren
19. Will Stevens Manor
20. Roberto Merhi Manor

The British Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday. Lights out is at 8am.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”