Rosberg paces opening day of second Barcelona test

Associated Press

The Mercedes W07 picked up right where it left off from last week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, to again top the timesheets in the opening day of the second four-day preseason test.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton again split the day’s running, with Rosberg ending on top on Tuesday with a best time of 1:23.022 on Pirelli’s soft tires.

More to the point, the staggering reliability continued with Rosberg running 82 laps in the morning before turning the car over to Hamilton for the afternoon.

Valtteri Bottas, on Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound, was second quickest at 1:23.229 for Williams Martini Racing in the FW38 Mercedes.

Both of those cars were more than a second clear of the rest of the field, with Fernando Alonso third in the McLaren MP4-31 Honda (1:24.735), Kimi Raikkonen fourth in the Ferrari SF-16 (1:24.836) and Daniil Kvyat fifth in the Red Bull RB12 (1:25.049). Raikkonen set his best time on the medium tires with Alonso and Kvyat on the softs.

Five drivers clocked in more than 100 laps today, with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen delivering the most at 144 laps in the STR11 chassis, which saw its new livery premiere today.

Sauber turned in more than 100 laps in the first day of running with the C35 chassis, in the hands of Felipe Nasr. Nasr’s best time was 1:25.493.

Meanwhile Haas F1 Team hit issues for the first time after its impressive first week, with a fuel system issue halting Esteban Gutierrez’s day early after barely more than 20 laps.

Renault also had a late stoppage with Kevin Magnussen at Turn 3 in the RS16, but the Dane still completed more than 100 laps on the day.

Times from the day are below, with Paddock Pass – the NBC Sports Group original digital series featuring Will Buxton and Jason Swales – set to go live later today for the first episode of the year after today’s test. We’ll have it for you on when it goes live.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)