Welcome to Motorsports Monday, a recap of the thrills and spills from the weekend of racing. Today we cover the Hungarian Grand Prix, Spa 24 Hours, Curtiss Shaver 400 and Indy 250 for the weekend of July 27-29, 2012. Pump up the revs and wait for that green light.
Formula One – Hungarian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton found a surefire way to avoid the bad luck that has plagued him this season, taking pole position and leading the entire race to win the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring this weekend. Hamilton and McLaren needed the win badly, and it moves him into fourth place in the standings and the team gained some ground on Red Bull in the team championship. Lotus looked especially strong, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean taking the other two podium spots. The two drivers raced each other hard, with Raikkonen exiting the pits as Grosjean came into Turn 1 and the two nearly collided – images of Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber dancing in viewers’ heads – as the Fin held his position. Lotus is just one point behind McLaren and two ahead of Ferrari. Speaking of the prancing horse, points leader Fernando Alonso finished fifth to maintain his lead over the field. Only eight points separate Webber in second from Raikkonen in fifth, as the season now enters its month-long holiday and will return with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on September 2. Felipe Massa notched another sub-par performance, in ninth, and is struggling to provide points support for the Ferrari team. Don’t be surprised to see the Tifosi court Raikkonen over the break as it appears they may have cooled on Mexican wunderkind Sergio Perez.
Blancpain Endurance Series – Spa 24: A soaking, drama-filled twenty-four hours ended the way that most long races have ended this year: with Audi on top. The No. 16 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Pheonix Racing won the fourth event in the Blancpain Endurance Series from 28 th place, completing 509 laps on the famed circuit in Belgium. Another R8 from Audi Sport Team WRT finished second while the pole-sitting No. 66 BMW Z4 GT3 finished two minutes later in third. Heavy rain and the long distance caused a whopping sixteen caution flags throughout the race, and just over half of the 66 cars finished. It likely would have been a 1-2-3 sweep for Audi if not for a miscue at high speed for the No. 2 WRT R8 LMS car that slammed into the tires on Eau Rouge (video here), a reminder that Circuit de Francorchamps Spa is always in charge.
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400: Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to win a Sprint Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, holding off a charging field to bring his Chevrolet to the winner’s circle for Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Busch in a Toyota and Greg Biffe in a Ford rounded out the podium.
NASCAR Nationwide Series – Indy 250: Brad Keselowski won a downright crazy Nationwide race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, handing Roger Penske his first stock car win at Indy and 100 th overall NASCAR win. Sprint Cup driver Keselowski and Nationwide driver Eliot Sadler were 1-2 during a caution when Sadler jumped ahead on the restart as Keselowski spun his tires. Despite Keselowski’s unforced error, NASCAR officials penalized Sadler with a drive-through penalty just eleven laps from the finish and he came in 15 th. Keselowski kissed the bricks and Sam Hornish Jr. finished second, but as previously outlined here on Motorsports Monday, Sprint Cup drivers shouldn’t count in these races. Ty Dillon, therefore, won the race in third place and his brother Austin Dillon finished second from fifth. Sadler leads the latter Dillon in the Nationwide championship by just one point.