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Newgarden leads Penske top three sweep in DXC Technology 600 qualifying

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Josef Newgarden captured the pole in what was a Team Penske sweep of the top three in positions in qualifying for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Newgarden posted a two-lap average 220.613 mph, bettering teammates Simon Pagenaud (220.311 mph) and Will Power (220.194). Power actually appeared to be on a pole run on his first lap, but hit the hard rev limiter entering Turn 3, which cost him valuable time.

Newgarden’s pole is his second of the year, and his third since joining Team Penske last year – it’s also the fourth of his Verizon IndyCar Series career.

“We fought all weekend. To come here and have speed in all the race cars is really nice,” Newgarden said afterward. “I think it comes down to a lot of things, the team, the personnel we have. We have some of the best people in the paddock. You can see that. When you have cars go 1-2-3, it shows the competitiveness of all the cars.”

Robert Wickens, who tied Tony Kanaan for the fastest time in practice, posted a lap of 219.561 mph to qualify fourth.

Sebastian Bourdais (219.302 mph) rounded out the top five.

Kanaan (219.157 mph) was unable to back up his practice speed and qualified sixth. Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10.

Other notables include James Hinchcliffe (15th) and Graham Rahal (19th), both of whom struggled mightily in qualifying.

Results are below.

 

 

 

F1’s Valtteri Bottas to compete in first-ever rally race in his native Finland

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Formula One’s “Flying Finn” is going back home for the first time.

More precisely, Valtteri Bottas is returning to his Finland homeland to compete in his first career rally race in the Finnish Rally Championship season opener.

Bottas, teammates on the F1 Mercedes team with five-time champ Lewis Hamilton, will compete in the World Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland Rally from January 24-26.

He’ll team with two-time World Rally champion Timo Rautiainen in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC on rally roads of the Finnish Arctic Circle.

“This is a unique opportunity to take a peek into the world of rallying,” Bottas told Finnish rallying website Rallism.f1. “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible.

“It’s totally new territory for me too, as I have no prior experience of a World Rally Car. Still, being the race car driver that I am, you always go flat out whatever the vehicle you’re driving in.”

Added Rautiainen, “In my life, I’ve sat in a rally car with only three drivers, but this is such an interesting mission that I just had to accept the challenge. I believe that for a talented wheelman like Valtteri, we’ll be able to establish a good basic driving routine in testing.”

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