NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Pace Laps: Rare Off Weekend for NASCAR, Sebastian Vettel Wins in Formula 1

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series/Camping World Truck Series: NASCAR Talent Hits the Small Tracks – Finally, a weekend off so the drivers can spend their time… racing. Man, these guys don’t like to step out of the seats often.

This Easter weekend featured a little new mixed with a little old for a few NASCAR talents as they took to the short tracks to compete against the respective drivers.

Kyle Larson, who leads the points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, continued his dirt racing obsession by competing in a sprint car race at Placerville Speedway on Saturday night. Like his past in dirt, he grabbed the victory. To celebrate he “threw the wing [of the car] in the trunk.”

It was also an exciting weekend for Kyle Busch, who competed in the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina. The 31-driver super late model race was short-lived for Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 suffered a mechanical failure just 15 laps into the event.

Camping World Truck Series driver Travis Kvapil also competed with Busch, lasting until a late-race crash ended his night in the 21st spot.

Lastly, though he wasn’t behind the wheel, Kasey Kahne stayed in Texas a little longer to watch his sprint car team race, and win.

Don’t worry, guys, you’ll back to racing this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. – Zach Catanzareti

Sports Cars: Audi Announces a New GT4 Challenger – On Tuesday, Audi unveiled their newest race car at the New York International Auto Show.  The new Audi R8 LMS GT4, once available for purchase, will be eligible to race in a series of championships around the world.  Here in the United States, the R8 GT4 will be eligible to race in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s Grand Sport class and Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS class.

Since the car is based on a street car that starts at $162,900 and goes up from there, a substantial amount of the car is similar to the street car.  According to Audi, 60 percent of the components are actually road-legal and used in the regular Audi R8.  The 5.2-liter V10 engine is the same powerplant in the street car, detuned to 495 horsepower.  The R8 LMS GT4 will also have one of the first seven-speed transmissions in a GT4 car.

In the past year, Audi has unveiled two new cars.  In addition to last week’s R8 LMS GT4, Audi unveiled the RS3 TCR, which will compete in Pirelli World Challenge’s TC class starting at VIRginia International Raceway in two weeks.  The car is supposed to be eligible for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s Street Tuner class starting in 2018.

The car is scheduled to make its racing debut at the 24 Hours Nürburgring at the end of May, according to Sportscar365.com. That race will be available for online streaming via multiple sources. – Phil Allaway

Formula 1: Bells Ring in Maranello for Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel earned his second win of the young F1 season at Bahrain and in doing so, took over the points lead. Seeing a constructor that is not Mercedes at the the top of the standings this late, all of three races in, is something that hasn’t happened in four years. Perhaps Vettel’s result is an indication that Ferrari will indeed be able to take the fight to Mercedes this year.

Lewis Hamilton encumbered a five-second penalty for slowing Daniel Ricciardo on pit lane or otherwise may have been able to battle Vettel wheel-to-wheel in the closing laps rather than than attempting to overcome a 19-second deficit. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who earned his first F1 pole at Bahrain, could not keep pace with either Hamilton or Vettel, though, he did lead his first laps of the season. Hamilton and Bottas took the second and third positions on the podium, respectively.

The race saw six cars retired and one not even make it to the start (Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren). From a positive perspective, Force India placed both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in points paying positions. For U.S. fans, Romain Grosjean was able to bring his Haas F1 car home in the points, taking eighth.

Formula 1 next races in Russia in two weeks. – Huston Ladner

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russ

It appears that the new rules have leveled the playing field in F1. At least up at the sharp end. Although it is troubling that reports say that Ferrari may have difficulty getting though the season without grid penalties for exceeding the allowed number of power units.

Hamilton should have known better than to try and back Daniel up. That was a real low percentage play.

DoninAjax

That was Hamilton being Hamilton. I believe if he hadn’t slowed down he would have had to wait for Bottas’s pitstop but as it turned out he still had to wait. He would have ended up in the same situation after the stop but without the penalty.

russ

Lewis, like Michael, will try to game the system if it works to his advantage.

Can you imagine Nascar, issuing a penalty like Lewis got? They would still be coming up with excuses why they didnt.

DoninAjax

With NA$CAR penalties it’s the difference between Carl Long and Jimmie Johnson.

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