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Lewis Hamilton Handles Wet Track to Win UBS Chinese Grand Prix Pole

April 19th, 2014 at 3:32 AM
By Mark Eddinger

Qualifying for the UBS Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday around the Shanghai International Circuit was competed under wet track conditions due to falling rain and it was Lewis Hamilton, who led every session including a lap of 1:53:860 in Q3 to earn the Mercedes driver the pole.

'Nico Rosberg' photo (c) 2010, Nic Redhead - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It is the third pole of the season in the first four races for Hamilton and the 34th of his Formula One career. It was also the third qualifying session of 2014 that has been competed in the rain.

Daniel Ricciardo was 0.595 seconds off of Hamilton in Q3 and will start from second. His Red Bull Racing teammate Sebastian Vettel will start in third. Qualifying fourth was Nico Rosberg of Mercedes. He spun in the final corner on his final lap of Q3 trying to improve his time.

Earning the fifth starting position was Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. The Williams Martini Racing duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will start in sixth and seventh. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India will start eighth and Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso will start ninth. Romain Grosjean got Lotus into Q3 for the first time in 2014 and will start tenth.

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Numbers Say Competition up During First 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Races

April 17th, 2014 at 9:41 PM
By Mark Eddinger

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads into its first off weekend of the 2014 season for the Easter break with eight races in the books. The 2014 season is the second with the Generation 6 race car which was introduced to help usher in more on track competitiveness during the races.

There didn't seem to be an overwhelming increase in on track racing and passing during the 2013 season especially on the intermediate tracks but NASCAR has kept tweaking the rules package to make things better and after eight races in 2014 the numbers show that the racing has become better.

'Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol' photo (c) 2013, Parker Anderson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

There have been 29,541 total green flag passes in the first eight races of 2014 compared to 23,178 in 2013. That is a big increase. Furthermore there have been 346 green flag passes for the lead compared to only 181 last season. Another big increase which is a good indication that the racing is better. The leader is not at as big of an advantage with clean air clearly by the numbers this season.

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Swan Racing Announces Changes, Could Shut Down

April 17th, 2014 at 6:28 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

Swan Racing, which fielded the #30 Toyota driven by Parker Kligerman and the #26 Toyota driven by Cole Whitt for the first eight races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, has announced a major redevelopment plan which could see the team shut down. The team tweeted an official statement on the situation on Thursday afternoon. 

Swan Racing is in the process of reviewing its current situation and the ability to continue to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team. As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future.”

Swan Racing has been in existence since September 2012 when Brandon Davis purchased the team from a group that included Sprint Cup Series driver David Stremme. Stremme remained with the team until September 2013 before being replaced by a group of young drivers that included both Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt

'David Stremme' photo (c) 2012, Mike Kalasnik - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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FOX Will Telecast Talladega Superspeedway Knockout Qualifying on May 3rd

April 16th, 2014 at 8:53 PM
By Mark Eddinger

NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format has been a success early on in the 2014 season and on Wednesday FOX announced that they will broadcast the May 3rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway on network television.

'FSAE at Talladega Speedway_40' photo (c) 2007, ChuckSchultz - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The qualifying session will air from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 3rd on FOX. It will be the first knockout qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at a restrictor-plate track. Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is still contested under the rules of single-car qualifying and then two qualifying races to set the field.

There will be three sessions at Talladega with all entires participating in the first session. The top 24 drivers from that session will advance to the second session. Then the top 12 from session two will advance to the third and final session just like what has been used at other tracks that are over 1.25 miles in length over the past seven races.

"This move is a direct result of the double-digit ratings gains NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format is delivering every weekend," said Bill Wanger, Executive Vice President of Programming, Research & Content Strategy. "We are thrilled to be able to highlight this new format on FOX, and what more exciting place to do that than Talladega Superspeedway."

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Chase Elliott Proves Nationwide Series Better as a Development Series

April 15th, 2014 at 6:22 PM
By Clayton Caldwell

The last two weeks the NASCAR Nationwide Series has provided exciting and interesting storylines. For the first time in several seasons the story coming out of the series was about a Series regular winning races over the Cup star in Cup equipment. 

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has been a series that has received a lot of negativity over the last few seasons. Many fans have been turned off by the fact of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver coming into the Nationwide Series and absolutely dominating the race, leaving the fans bored and not entertained. The series looked to be headed into a bad stage. 

Even series sponsor Nationwide decided to spend their money elsewhere. The sponsor will not return to the series that it began sponsoring prior to the 2008 season. NASCAR is in search of a sponsor for the series that has been second fiddle to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for over 30 years. 

'O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway' photo (c) 2014, bk1bennett - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

There's been a long debate about the Nationwide Series and whether NASCAR should keep the series a separate series in NASCAR, like the series was intended for when it was created in 1982 or whether the NASCAR Nationwide Series should become a development series and be come the equivalent of AAA baseball for NASCAR. 

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