Double finish the target for Haas on debut in Australia

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Günther Steiner is targeting a double finish for the new Haas Formula 1 Team when it makes its grand prix debut next weekend.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will see his eponymous team hit the grid for the first time on March 20 when drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean line up to start the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

After an impressive start to testing in Barcelona, expectations for Haas are quite high heading to Melbourne, with debut points even thought to be within its reach.

However, team principal Steiner is remaining realistic, instead focusing on getting both of the team’s cars to the finish line in its first F1 race.

“Our goal is to have both cars finish,” Steiner said. “To show that we can compete and be proud of what we are doing.”

Haas had a more difficult second week of testing as a number of issues limited the mileage of the VF-16 car, but Steiner was comfortable that these problems were resolved and will not reoccur in Australia.

“That’s what testing is for. The good thing is, we had a front wing failure on the very first day and we fixed it within hours and were out on the track again,” Steiner said.

“We had a problem with the brake-by-wire system, but our guys fixed it overnight. We had an electronics issue and had to work through the night to fix it.

“You’re never happy when you don’t go on the track, but we always found fixes to our problems, and Barcelona was the place to do it. We don’t want that in Australia.

“[The team] put in so much effort. It was more than just the two weeks of testing. These guys put in two weeks working day and night before testing to finish the car.

“We’ve had day and night shifts the last four weeks, and they’ve worked well together. They didn’t get stressed out and they never panicked.

“I can’t thank them enough for the work that they did over the past few months.”

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN on March 20.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.