What to watch for: German Grand Prix (NBCSN, NBC Sports app from 7am ET)

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Sunday’s German Grand Prix will offer Formula 1 championship contenders Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton one final battle before the summer break.

The two Mercedes drivers have shared 10 victories so far this season, but their fight has featured a number of flashpoints that only acted to stoke the rivalry between them.

Rosberg has home pride to play for this weekend as he looks to delight the local fans at Hockenheim, many of whom will be hoping for a repeat of his victory in 2014.

The German bagged pole position at Hamilton’s expense on Saturday, continuing his hot streak across the course of the weekend that has seen him lead every session thus far.

However, there are only points for Sunday – and with six separating the Mercedes drivers at the summit of the drivers’ championship, this could be a big race in defining the title battle.

The German Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Here’s what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

2016 German Grand Prix – What to watch for

Will Nico and Lewis play nice?

The title fight between Hamilton and Rosberg has been notably absent of many on-track scraps in 2016. Both drivers have enjoyed big slices of luck, but when it comes to going toe-to-toe, Hamilton has enjoyed the upper hand, as seen in Hungary and Austria.

The last thing Mercedes will want before the summer break is another fall-out between its drivers, ramping up the pressure on both Hamilton and Rosberg to play nice. Rosberg’s downfall in 2014 was feeling hard-done-by before the summer break, over which he stewed before losing his cool at Spa. He cannot afford a repeat this year.

Keep an eye on the Mercedes boys heading into the fast first corner.

Red Bull eyes P2 in the constructors’ championship

With the engine woes of 2015 now a distant memory, Red Bull looks set to overhaul Ferrari in the constructors’ championship this weekend and deal another blow to the Italian marque’s hopes of a late-season revival.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen locked out the second row of the grid for the third race in a row on Saturday. Although Hungary proved that Ferrari is more of a force on Sunday, Red Bull will fancy its chances of picking up another podium finish behind the Mercedes duo yet again.

Just a point separates Red Bull and Ferrari heading into the German Grand Prix – will the tables turn at Hockenheim?

Tire strategy key at Hockenheim

This weekend’s race looks set to balance finely between a two and three-stopper, giving teams a challenge when it comes to deciding strategy. It could be that safety cars or Virtual Safety Cars prompt the pit walls to move on the fly, taking advantage of any incidents on-track.

Pirelli predicts that a three-stop strategy is quickest, comprising three super-soft stints and one on the soft tire. However, a two-stop strategy is the next quickest, minimizing pit time and offering track position – although it would leave drivers open to being overtaken towards the end of each stint.

Open fight to be fourth-quickest continues

With Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari clear at the front, the battle to be the fourth-quickest team has been raging on for some races now. Williams, Force India, McLaren, Toro Rosso and even Haas all appear to be in the mix, setting things up for a thrilling fight in the midfield on Sunday.

Haas is in particular need of points after a difficult run during its debut F1 season, recording just one top-10 finish in the last seven races. Esteban Gutierrez starts 11th after his season-best qualifying.

Another man in need of a boost is Daniil Kvyat, who admitted after qualifying 19th that his current slump seems “never ending”. Life after Red Bull has hit the young Russian hard.

Heading into the summer on a high is something all teams will be keen to do. There’s lots to be gained on Sunday.

2016 German Grand Prix – Starting Grid

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
4. Max Verstappen Red Bull
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India*
9. Sergio Perez Force India
10. Felipe Massa Williams
11. Esteban Gutierrez Haas
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Fernando Alonso McLaren
14. Jolyon Palmer Renault
15. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso*
16. Kevin Magnussen Renault
17. Pascal Wehrlein Manor
18. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
19. Rio Haryanto Manor
20. Romain Grosjean Haas*
21. Felipe Nasr Sauber
22. Marcus Ericsson Sauber

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)