Welcome to Motorsports Monday, a recap of the thrills and spills from the weekend of racing. Today we cover the Singapore Grand Prix, Sylvania 300, European endurance racing and much more for the weekend of September 22-23, 2012. Opposite-lock overtaking on a street circuit – ‘nuff said.
Formula One – Singapore Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel inched closer to points leader Fernando Alonso with his second win of the 2012 Formula One season under the lights in Singapore. The victory brings Vettel within 29 points of Alonso and increases the Red Bull lead over Ferrari to 53 points. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole and led from the start, until his car once again gave out, this time with a bad transmission on Lap 22. Clearly heartbroken, Hamilton was praised by his McLaren team for not throwing a tantrum – which is a funny thing to praise a grown man for, but at the same time it must be frustrating to consistently be among the fastest drivers in the world but not for your own equipment. His teammate Jenson Button finished second and Alonso came third, with Force India driver Paul Di Resta driving an incredible fourth place and Felipe Massa reminding everyone of his own potential with this pass on Bruno Senna:
Another fantastic Formula One race in the books as everyone continues to chase Alonso. F1 returns in two weeks, on October 6 with the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Sylvania 300: Denny Hamlin backed up his bold proclamation by bringing his Toyota to victory in the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, moving into third place in the Chase standings. Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson continues to hog the spotlight – what a jerk, right? – finishing third to catapult into the Chase points lead over Brad Keselowski, who trails in second place by just one point after finishing in sixth. The Chase continues with the AAA 400 next week in Dover.
NASCAR Nationwide Series – Kentucky 300: Sprint Cup may be the major leagues, but the battle going on for the Nationwie championship is among the best in all of motorsports right now. Austin Dillon won his second race of the season, increasing the tension between himself, Chevrolet teammate Elliott Sadler and Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as the three race for the title with Dodge driver Sam Hornish Jr. ready and waiting in the fourth-place wings. The win might have gone to Sadler if not for a transmission issue, but que sera sera. Instead, he reclaims the championship lead from Stenhouse Jr. and the plot thickens with just six races remaining and the upcoming battle at Dover International Speedway next weekend.
FIA GT1 World Championship – Nurburgring: The AF Corse team took their Ferrari 458 Italia to victory on the most famous road in the world, but it was second place that saw all the action. In the second to last race of the season, Munnich Motorsports Mercedes SLS AMG GT finished runner-up, which was enough to snatch the championship lead from Vita4One and their BMW E89 Z4. The championship will be decided in the final race of the season, at Donington in Great Britain this weekend. Check out the hair-raising start of the race right here:
Blancpain Endurance Series – Nurburgring: Also in their second-to-last race of the season at the Nurburgring, the Blancpain put on quite a show with hometown heroes Porsche bringing home the schnitzel. ProSpeed Competition bested the Mercedes SLS AMG of Black Falcon by just 0.521 seconds after the three-hour race. A BMW Z4 took third while twin Audi R8 LMS Ultras rounded out the top five. Championship leader Markus Palttala was punted into the wall by another driver and lies tied at the top of the table. Blancpain will take a week off, then square off with the title on the line at the Navarra Circuit in Spain on October 14.
American Le Mans Series – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: American road racing does not get better than Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Automotive innovation does not get any better than the Highcroft Nissan DeltaWing project. Rejoice! The two will be united on October 20, when the DeltaWing joins the ALMS field as an unclassified competitor, its first action since the heart-wrenching collision at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. No, it can’t score points, but it will be fascinating to see how the DeltaWing has improved over the summer and how it fares amidst some of the most competitive GT racing in the world. We were already excited for Petit Le Mans – now we’re downright giddy.