Kvyat growing in confidence at Toro Rosso, qualifying P7 in Baku

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Daniil Kvyat made no secret of his delight after qualifying seventh for the European Grand Prix in Baku, marking his best Saturday result since re-joining Toro Rosso.

Kvyat was demoted back to Red Bull’s junior Formula 1 team for the Spanish Grand Prix in May, swapping places with Max Verstappen.

The Russian driver struggled in Monaco and Canada, but appeared to find his feet on Saturday in Azerbaijan by reaching the top-10 shoot-out for pole position.

Kvyat ended the session seventh-fastest, just half a second off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in P5, and will start the race sixth thanks to Sergio Perez’s five-place grid penalty.

“It was a good day, I’m quite happy!” Kvyat said.

“We managed to get some clean laps, something which isn’t easy to do here in Baku and a trouble-free qualifying session is definitely what I needed.

“It was tricky out there as the track was changing all the time and you had to go in line with the evolution, but we managed it well and did a good job.

“We will now try and do the same tomorrow – there will definitely be plenty of opportunities and we will have to be very alive and make sure we take them. I have to say I enjoyed today’s quali quite a lot.

“I’ve been feeling more and more confident with the car and to start tomorrow’s race from P7 is a positive result.”

Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. struggled to match Kvyat for pace, finishing 13th in Q2.

“A bit of a disappointing day for me – it’s a shame, because we had a decent Friday and I was feeling good,” Sainz said.

“We had new brakes on the car today and unfortunately I wasn’t feeling as confident as yesterday under braking.

“Maybe this could be a reason why in qualifying I just didn’t manage to extract the most out of the car… and if you also add the fact that there was a lot of traffic, in the end it wasn’t possible to get into Q3.

“Let’s see what we are capable of doing tomorrow, hopefully we can do another good comeback – it can be a very crazy race here, so I’m convinced that with a clever strategy and quick pit-stops we can manage it!

“All in all, we need to stay optimistic because tomorrow can certainly be a better day.”

The European Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Sunday.

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

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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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)