Motorsport: Flames and Lames Tue Jun 28

By Dale Budge

Tony Stewart celebrates with champagne in victory lane after winning at Sonoma. Photo / Getty Images
Tony Stewart celebrates with champagne in victory lane after winning at Sonoma. Photo / Getty Images


Shane van Gisbergen
Fresh after winning in the most recent round of V8 Supercars in Darwin last week the Kiwi bagged a win in the Blancpain Endurance Cup 1,000km event at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France over the weekend. Driving a McLaren sports car, van Gisbergen again demonstrated his incredible race craft and ability behind the wheel as he piloted his team to victory. But for having two race wins taken from him (he ran off after hitting oil in Tasmania and was given a drive-through for an illegal re-start in Darwin) van Gisbergen would be leading the V8 Supercars Championship.

Tony Stewart
The veteran NASCAR driver collected his first race win in three years at Sonoma Raceway in California. He survived a last lap attack by friend Denny Hamlin, who actually over took Stewart before being passed back at the final corner. Stewart, who has announced he will retire from the sport, has been plagued by poor form, injuries and legal issues over the past two years after he was involved in an incident that saw fellow sprint car competitor Kevin Ward Jr killed on the track. The win proved popular amongst his competitors as they pumped their firsts at him on the parade lap.

Mercedes F1
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are friends again... apparently. Hamilton, the two-time defending Formula 1 world champion has told media that his relationship with teammate and current series leader is "surprisingly good." The two had been friends a long time coming through the classes but upon becoming teammates at Mercedes the rivalry became heated as the championship went on the line. They have had contact on a handful of occasions resulting in retirements and at times they openly criticized each other. But, according to Hamilton, things are rosy again.


Scott Dixon
Dixon's run of bad luck continued as the IndyCar series made a return to the Road America circuit in Wisconsin on Monday. Dixon, with new livery on his car, was forced out of the event after just seven laps when his engine lost power. Initially his team thought the car was on fire but the issue was bad enough to retire and fall to fourth in the championship standings. Dixon has had a run of back luck lately and finds himself behind the three Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Will Power in the championship standings.

NASCAR Truck Fight
Yes a fist fight between two red blooded American NASCAR truck fighters might seem exciting but when Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley got it on after an altercation on the track the fans watching on television didn't quite get what they were expecting. The two drivers were so tired from the demands of the race that there wasn't much fuel left in their tanks. The fisticuffs resembled a Hungarian waltz or Greco Roman wrestling more than a typical stock car punch-up.

Pikes Peak coverage (or lack of...)
The famous old hill climb celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2016 but there was next to no media coverage of the event. Romain Dumas collected the overall win in a Honda-powered Norma M20 RD Limited car to beat Rhys Millen - son of legendary Kiwi and multiple Pikes Peak winner Rod Millen. But the event failed to attract any significant media attention - none of the big players covered it leaving fans to search the internet for the odd bit of information.

Big Kahunas
How about the performance of Kiwi star Levi Sherwood at the Red Bull X-Fighters world championship in Spain over the weekend? Sherwood was beaten by the eventual winner, Frenchman Tom Pages, in the semi-finals of the Madrid event. He dislocated a knee cap in training over the weekend but shrugged it off to compete. "It's not a big (the knee) slips out pretty easy due to previous injuries I've had. I just pushed it back in and away we go again," Sherwood told the Herald.

First domino down
Kiwi Scott McLaughlin confirming his departure from Volvo to DJR Team Penske next year will set off a spate of seat-swapping over the coming weeks. McLaughlin, the off-contract driver in most demand, agreed to a new lucrative deal with the Ford outfit from 2017 onwards. The decision means current DJR Team Penske driver Scott Pye will be on the lookout for a drive next year. Garry Rodgers Volvo need a replacement for McLaughlin while those teams that failed to secure the young Kiwi will turn their attention to other drivers now. Silly season is officially upon us.

- NZ Herald

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