Ricciardo content with P5 at Monza, sets sights on Singapore podium

© Getty Images
0 Comments

Daniel Ricciardo believes that fifth place was “realistically” the best result Red Bull could hope for in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix as it held onto second place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

Ricciardo and Red Bull qualified sixth on Saturday at Monza, the high-speed nature of the circuit playing against the strengths of the RB12 car.

Ricciardo enjoyed a race-long battle with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, making a late pass for fifth to follow the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers home.

“Yeah absolutely, realistically yes,” Ricciardo said when asked by NBCSN if P5 was the most he could have hoped for.

“We could have hoped for some incidents. But Mercedes was on another level and Ferrari had more all weekend.

“We didn’t get our hopes up. Fifth was good. We put a nice move on Valtteri. I told you before the wasp ambushed me that I’d get Valtteri and I did.”

Ricciardo put his advantage over Bottas down to better tire management, the Williams driving chewing through his tires during the middle stint.

“He was quick on same tire, I think they had more than us on raw pace. But our tire deg was a bit better,” Ricciardo said.

“We held on a few more laps. We stayed out longer every stint so we could put on the super-soft at the end. In the end that’s what we did. Thanks to the team for that strategy and pull off that move.”

Ricciardo has high hopes for the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, with the tight and twisty nature of the track better suiting the Red Bull car.

“I don’t want to go in there saying I’m gonna win, but we have to aim for a podium,” Ricciardo said.

“It was a dud for Merc last year. Unfortunately I’m sure they’ll be back on form. But I like the track, I like the challenge. It’s hot, humid, physical and I look forward to going there and having some fun.”

In the second Red Bull, Max Verstappen dropped from P7 on the grid on the first lap before fighting his way back into the top 10, eventually finishing the race seventh.

“Yeah I dropped the clutch then got into anti-stall. We have to look into what happened,” Verstappen told NBCSN, reflecting on his start.

“From there, it was a little bit of a difficult situation after Lap 1. We had good pace, overtook some people and that was a positive.

“I hope we can challenge for victory [in Singapore]. This wasn’t too bad. Here it’s very power dependent.”

Red Bull’s points haul ensured it retained second place in the constructors’ championship heading to Singapore, leading Ferrari by 11 points.

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

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

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)