Felipe Massa tops opening day of second Barcelona F1 test

Getty Images
1 Comment

Williams bounced back from a troublesome first week of Formula 1 pre-season running in Barcelona to top the opening day of the second test on Tuesday through Felipe Massa.

Williams was forced to end running early on two days last week and skipped Thursday altogether due to damage sustained in crashes involving 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll.

Massa was handed the opening day of the second test in a bid to maximize track-time, and the Brazilian duly delivered by racking up over 160 laps, one of which proved to be the fastest of the day.

A best time of 1:19.726 saw Massa flirt with the fastest overall time in testing, set last week by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished second, two-tenths of a second behind.

Ricciardo’s lap was a first sign of raw one-lap pace from Red Bull, which opted to spend all of last week focusing on reliability.

Sebastian Vettel continued Ferrari’s impressive start to testing by finishing third, as well as completing more laps than any other driver. The German was just six-thousandths of a second shy of Ricciardo’s time.

Mercedes split its running between Lewis Hamilton and Bottas once again on Tuesday, taking the morning and afternoon sessions respectively. Hamilton was unhappy with his morning running, with the team ending its program early so it could make changes to the car. The Briton ended up fourth-fastest ahead of Bottas in P5.

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Force India ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, the latter splitting running with teammate Jolyon Palmer. Kevin Magnussen was eighth in the Haas VF-17, while Toro Rosso bounced back after a tough first week with Daniil Kvyat winding up P9.

McLaren’s nightmare start to pre-season testing continued as Stoffel Vandoorne’s running was once again interrupted by an engine issue, forcing Honda into changing the power unit on his car over lunch. The Belgian completed just half the mileage of the pace-setters and ended the day 10th.

Sauber split its running between Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, the former making his first appearance in the C36 car after missing the opening test through injury. They finished 11th and 12th ahead of Renault’s Palmer, who propped up the timesheets.

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)