Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, Lewis Hamilton, Homestead-Miami, NASCAR, 2015

Hamilton turns up to see NASCAR title decided

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Former Red Bull teams mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber added some new silverware to their respective mantelpieces on Saturday: Webber clinched the WEC drivers’ title while Vettel triumphed in the Race of Champions.


Round 36: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Kyle Busch, NASCAR, Homestead-Miami, 2015
Busch won the NASCAR finale – and the title
Kyle Busch completed an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes by clinching the NASCAR title despite having missed ten races at the beginning of the championship due to injury. Busch had been given a special dispensation to participate in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup having originally been ineligible as he was unable to participate in every round of the championship.

Busch beat reigning champion Kevin Harvick hone by one-and-a-half seconds at Homestead-Miami following a lengthy delay due to rain. Lewis Hamilton – who has previously driven a NASCAR and expressed an interest in racing in the series one day – and Mario Andretti were among those who turned up to support Jeff Gordon’s bid for the championship, but the Hendrick driver could only manage sixth in his final NASCAR appearance. Martin Truex Jnr, who also arrived at the season finale with a chance of taking the title despite only having won once all year, came in 12th.

World Endurance Championship

Round 8: Sakhir, Bahrain

Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Porsche, World Endurance Championship, Bahrain, 2015
Webber: A champion at last
Incredibly, Mark Webber’s shared victory in the World Endurance Championship is the first motor racing championship success for the nine-times grand prix winner. Webber shares the title with team mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard after the number 18 Porsche of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb took victory in Bahrain.

The Webber/Hartley/Bernhard car lost five laps due to an actuator problem after starting the race from pole position. Championship rivals Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer then hit the front, deepening the despair for Webber and his crew.

But with the number 18 car hitting the front around half-distance, and Webber and his team mates working their way up to fifth, they were soon in position to clinch the title. Audi’s victory hopes were further dashed after having to make a double pit stop in the penultimate hour. Despite a late scare when their actuator problems returned Webber, Hartley and Bernhard clinched the championship.

Formula Three – Macau Grand Prix

Guia Circuit, Macau

Felix Rosenqvist took his second Macau Grand Prix victory after a controversial collision between Daniel Juncadella and Antonio Giovinazzi on the first lap of the qualification race cost the latter pole position for the final. Giovinazzi was furious after being given a 20-second time penalty for the qualifying race collision moments before he took the chequered flag in the race, despite the stewards initially announcing there would be a post-race investigation.

The final was interrupted after several cars crashed at the start/finish area. Having initially traded the lead with Charles Leclerc, at the restart Rosenqvist surged ahead and went on to become the second driver to win the race twice, emulating Edoardo Mortara.

V8 Supercars

Round 13: Phillip Island

Craig Lowndes kept the V8 Supercars title fight alive until the final in Sydney by winning the first and third races on the Phillip Island circuit. Jamie Whincup took victory in race two and elbowed Mark Winterbottom aside for the final podium position on the last lap of the weekend. Points leader Winterbottom has been off the top step for the last nine races but still holds a 179-point lead.

Next race: Homebush Street Circuit (5th-6th December)

Guest Series: FIA GT World Cup

Guia Circuit, Macau

Maro Engel won the inaugural FIA GT World Cup on the Guia street circuit in Macau for Mercedes. The race was brought to an early end by John Shen, who triggered a multi-car crash which brought out the red flags.

Guest Series: Race of Champions

Olympic Stadium, London

British Touring Car Championship drivers Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx defeated F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg to take the Nations Cup for England on Friday night with a 2-1 victory. They reached the final after winning an all-England semi-final against Jenson Button and Alex Buncombe.

In the Champion of Champions event, Vettel finally came out on top after eight years of trying with a 2-0 victory over Tom Kristensen. Earlier in the day he saw off Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and David Coulthard. The day also saw the end of Susie Wolff’s racing career: she lost 2-0 to Coulthard in the first round.

Also last weekend

GP2 and GP3 took place in Bahrain this week as a support series to the WEC. The round was a late scheduling after the cancellation of the German Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly took his second pole in three races, but it was Stoffel Vandoorne who once more took victory. For the fourth time this season, he just missed out on doubling up in one weekend by one place as he came home second in the sprint race to Mitch Evans.

Esteban Ocon’s impressive run of nine consecutive second place finishes in GP3 came to an end in the feature race, as – despite starting from pole – he could only manage third behind Kirchhofer and Bernstorff – who overtook him on the final lap. Luca Ghiotto won the sprint race ahead of Ocon – who returned to second place – to wrestle back his championship lead, but just two points separate the pair as they head to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season.

Over to you

Which of these events did you catch this weekend? And what do you make of Webber finally winning a world championship? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend the Formula One season comes to and end for another year in Abu Dhabi – once more supported by GP2 and GP3 – while the World Touring Car Championship also ends with a first floodlit race in Qatar on Friday night.

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  • 30 comments on “Hamilton turns up to see NASCAR title decided”

    1. Those were some very exhausting 6 hours. As soon as the problem occured I was mentally preparing myself to see my hero once again miss out on a title. Happy he clinched it and now onto Le Mans to win that one too!

      1. @xtwl

        Wasn’t that just completely epic!!! I watched every minute of that race and every time yet another issue came up for the 17 car I thought it was all over and Webber was going to lose his best chance at a World Driving Championship.

        For it to come down to the last race of the season and the last 15 minutes while Porsche was going through regen problems leading to over heating brakes and then yet another stuck throttle issue and the car kept dying on turn 14 every 3rd or 4th lap….For a minute, I thought Webber was going to be reduced to a Ricky-Bobby moment and have to get out of the car and run across the finish line. LOL

    2. The 6 Hours of Bahrain was such a fitting finale to conclude an epic season – arguably the best season of motor racing in 2015. Whenever a significant battle or moment in a class died down, another one started up in another class. The battles between the 8 and 18, the 26 and 47, the Ferrari and the Porsche in Pro (I cannot remember which numbers exactly) and the two Proton Porsches were brilliant.

      1. the Ferrari and the Porsche in Pro (I cannot remember which numbers exactly)

        The 51 and 92 I think.

    3. Har-di-har at Mark waving a can of Red Bull on the podium. Not bad for a No. 2 driver!

      1. @charleski: I’m not really sure what’s so funny about that… As far as I know, Red Bull still sponsor him in the WEC. They also have quite a good bio page about Webber which is being kept up to date: Mark Webber – A natural behind the wheel

      2. @charleski On top of that they also sponsor several others including Hartley and Buemi.

      3. The big Red Bull logo on his helmet is fairly hard to miss. I imagine it’s a good idea to make sure your sponsor knows where its world championships are coming from these days.

    4. Macau is a really diverse and testing track. Would love to see a F1 race there, but I can imagine that there are some big obstacles for that ever happening

      I wonder if Rosenqvist will be able to grab a GP2 for next season or if he’s doomed to continue in sportscars to continue his racing career. Very competent driver, but winning F3 in your 4th season is more a requirement than an achievement

      1. Macau is of the THE most testing track in the world, if not the outright most testing.

        This recent article is from a former BTCC, current TCR, driver who took to the track this last weekend:

        …But I could link numerous other quotes. Btw I created the circuit for GP4 (track making is my hobby), Google it if you want to try it out. (That’s also the reason why I’ve read a lot about it.)

      2. @tequesta

        winning F3 in your 4th season

        I’d even say fifth season. European F3 rebooted in 2012 and basically took over from F3 Euroseries in which Rosenqvist competed in 2011 (and 2012 as well).

        I don’t think we’ll see him higher up in single seater racing series. If he had the budget for GP2 he would have been there in 2013 or 2014 already, having proven himself as more than competent enough for F3 and thus deserving of a seat higher up.

        1. He might now be in luck – Prema will need drivers to set up the GP2 car for 2017, when I imagine Stroll will move right up to it. That could be him and someone like Rowland or Jake Dennis. This is speculation, but it seems to me that Rosenqvist did that role in F3 this year, acting as his ‘benchmark’, a role he was seemingly preceded in by Maisano in Italian F4 last year.

          Very impressive from Leclerc and the recovering Giovinazzi at Macau. Sims also showing how he is the British equivalent of Rosenqvist, off the shelf race suit and all, but he’s at least got a McLaren GT drive to show for it.

    5. I’m bummed about the penalty for Giovinazzi – it was clearly Juncadella who changed direction in the middle of the short straight from Lisboa to San Francisco Bend, essentially driving into the former driver.

      Drivers often do that; they squeeze their opponents, who got the critical inside line into ‘Frisco,’ in a desperate final attempt to hold onto their positions, but A) they almost never succeed, and B) they simply cannot do that, if the other driver holds station as Giovinazzi did.

      This was, once again, a judgment call that is confusing – stewards worldwide often hand out penalties for drivers closing the door despite being ahead (such as Juncadella did here) as well as for drivers holding their line (such as Giovinazzi did). That’s double standards; they don’t even clarify which principle they follow in the corners and on the straights (not to mention what defines ‘straights,’ see Monza 2012 & 2013) – they usually apply the former thinking in the corners and the latter on the straights, but that is not always the case.

    6. Went to the RoC on Sunday. some great competitors but disappointed they cancelled the go kart race..

      I would have loved to see vettel, button, massa, grosjean etc battle it out in the same kart actually racing rather than time trials.

      Come on FIA how about a kart race every day at a GP? Friday, sat and Sunday?

      Could be a short race, could be a short lap. But paint all the go karts in team colours.

      Any thoughts ?

      1. +1 !!!!

        I’d pay for that session! How awesome it would be to see them race on equal footing once in a while. :)

      2. Excellent idea. :) +1

    7. What a fairytale for Kyle Busch.
      He didn’t need to compete in all races because of his injury BUT,
      he still had to fight himself into the top30 in points to be able to get into the chase!
      He did so by winning some races on the bounce and great consistency.

      After winning so many races since his comeback I would have thought he might get a wildcard for the chase..
      but in the end he just deserved it!

      1. And Toyota conquering NASCAR..(although Chevy takes the manufacturer title)

        1. And some of the purist NASCAR fans aren’t amused with that..

    8. FlyingLobster27
      23rd November 2015, 13:21

      While Bernhard/Hartley/Webber was probably the best crew of the season, the sad bottom line of the WEC is that the team orders as early as halfway through the season were justified. Keeping the #8 off the podium twice gave the #7 a sniff when the lead Porsche hit trouble, and stripping the #18 of the Fuji win gave the #17 seven crucial points, as it won by five. Of course, the #18 also took crucial points off the Audi by winning in Bahrain, but I bet Porsche wouldn’t have been beyond parking it to give the 17 more points if it appeared it couldn’t win itself. I’ll look forward to the run-up to Le Mans, the competition will hopefully be good, especially if Toyota can rebound, but beyond LM, I’ll see. I’ve been too cynical and unhappy about how things played out this year. @craig-o above: I much more enjoyed the SRO Endurance Series (Paul Ricard & the Nürburgring were utter gold) and Super GT.

      In NASCAR, I think Kyle Busch’s situation makes the case for a Chase phase, just not the way it’s done at the moment. Like it was before is defendable in my mind. Point is, Busch isn’t unworthy of the word “champion” based on his performances this year, and believe it or not, it’s the first time ever that a non-American car has taken the crown! Two finale wins for #18 on the same weekend, too!

      I saw the Macau F3 race, and the level was impressive between Rosenqvist and Leclerc. I also saw the end of the Motorcycle GP on Saturday – with John McGuinness going around the outside of another rider in the twisty bits… Nuts!

      1. I don’t like the overuse of team orders either, but the only way to remove them entirely is to limit all teams to one car; if the FIA/ACO did that, I doubt the manufacturers would accept it. Not to mention the LMP1-H class is only six cars anyway; halving it will just make things worse.

    9. Not a lot about NASCAR, aside from having fun watching the 2 road course races each year, intrigues me very much. For some reason though, I was very taken with the young Jeff Gordon when he arrived on the scene 23 years ago, and I have followed his progress since. Yesterday in Miami, he closed the door on a stellar driving career. NASCAR runs an exhausting schedule. Gordon somehow managed to start every one of the 797 races since his 1st full season in 1993, an average of 34 races per year. Over this period he won 93 times (11%), had 475 top 5s (41%), 81 poles (10%), and also bagged 4 series championships. If not for the silly “chase” points system begun in 2004, he would very likely have 7! He is also one of the catagory’s best road racers, winning 9 of the 46 road course events over the period. I have no doubt that he would have been an excellent open wheel racer if he had chosen that path (perhaps even in F1? Jackie Stewart tried to get him for a test many years ago), and I’m sure that the NASCAR brass count their blessings that Gordon came their way. What a fairy tale finish to an amazing career it would have been if he could have won the race in Florida yesterday, and with it his 5th championship, but it wasn’t to be. He leaves the driver’s seat on his own terms though, and still at the top of the game. I know that NASCAR doesn’t get much love here, and I get it. But if you were to ask anyone in the F1 paddock what they know about it, Jeff Gordon’s name would probably come up, and I’m sure that he is highly regarded. I think that he intends to remain involved in the sport, but as a driver he will be missed.

      1. Well said. I have always pulled for JG too and I like Jimmie Johnson and Little E too. Can’t say I’m glued to the races….usually record them and then fast forward through all the commercials and cautions, and I do go out of my way to watch the road courses and wish there were more. Jeff will be missed though.

    10. At first I thought the title of the article meant that Hamilton had turned up and it was already decided! Haha oops

      1. Haha. Good catch.

    11. Just watching those highlights of the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix, it sort of reminds me of when I watch an F1 race from the 80s, in terms of the style of the circuit (simple, not over-designed), cars (simple), quality of the recording, etc. It has a nice feel to watch I think.

      1. in terms of the style of the circuit (simple, not over-designed)

        Given the number of turns up the back, I’d hardly call it ‘simple’ :)

    12. Mark Webber, never more happy to come home 5th in his motor racing career

      Um. Australia 2002 might be close.

    13. NASCAR: Where 20th place in the points can get you a Championship!

      I go to a few NASCAR races a year but I really hate how they crown a champion. My interest almost disappears at the end of summer.

      Kyle is a worthy champion, probably the most talented driver In the series, just not in 2015.

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