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Massa geared up to bid farewell – for good this time – to Brazilian GP

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Felipe Massa is relishing the opportunity to bid farewell to his home fans at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend after confirming his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

Massa had originally been set to retire from F1 following last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and paid an emotional farewell to Interlagos after crashing out of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Massa was handed a surprise return for 2017 with Williams following Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes, partnering Lance Stroll, but confirmed last week he would be retiring for good this time at the conclusion of this season.

“It’s actually my second retirement race in Brazil, but this time is the last one for sure in Formula 1,” Massa said, stressing there would be no surprise return in 2018.

“[I’m] really looking forward to another amazing feeling to race at home and really enjoy the track that I grew up on for my last time in a Formula 1 car.

“So definitely looking forward and really hope we can have a nice race and a nice result to finish well.”

Massa has endured a difficult bonus year in F1, with Williams being swallowed up in the midfield fight to leave the Brazilian struggling on the fringes of the points.

Asked about the highlights of his final year in F1, Massa said: “Not amazing highlights to be honest. I think the way we started the season, it was not the same way we finished the season. Definitely the car was more competitive at the beginning than the end.

“I think I definitely enjoyed driving the car with all the rules that have been changed from last year to this year. I think it’s a lot of fun this car to drive, a lot more downforce. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.

“Unfortunately I was a little bit unlucky in some races otherwise I could have scored massive points. I expected maybe a season that would have been little bit more competitive than we were.

“But I definitely enjoyed having fun by driving the car. I’m happy that I’ve been able to take the best out of this car when I didn’t have any problems.

“I think it was a season that I definitely enjoyed. I think it will be nice to remember this season.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).