Joao Barbosa/Sebastien Bourdais/Christian Fittipaldi, Chevrolet Corvette, USC, Sebring, 2015

Last-lap NASCAR thriller and Chevrolet rule Sebring

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Joao Barbosa/Sebastien Bourdais/Christian Fittipaldi, Chevrolet Corvette, USC, Sebring, 2015

Just 15 started the first race of the F1 season in Australia, but almost three times as many started yesterday’s NASCAR race at Fontana – and all were still running at the end of the 418-mile race.

Meanwhile Chevrolet locked out the podium places in the second round of the 2015 United Sports Car Championship at Sebring.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 round five

Fontana

Brad Keselowski won the Fontana round in the NASCAR series, despite only leading one of the 209 laps. On four fresh tyres Keselowski surged through the field after a late restart, taking the lead from Kurt Busch on the final tour.

Championship leader Kevin Harvick continued his run of top two finishes, taking his eighth in a row and fifth from the first five races of the year, a new record for NASCAR.

United Sportscar Championship 2015 round two

Sebring

The 12 Hours of Sebring was the backdrop for round two of the USCC, with a 43-strong grid lining up under the glorious Florida sunshine.

The victory went to Action Express Racing Corvette DP driven by Joao Barbosa and ex-F1 racers Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais,after a superb second half of the race that saw the French driver put a lap on the whole field in a single two-hour stint.

In GTLM, Corvette took the win in a driver lineup featuring another ex-F1 driver in Jan Magnussen, PC saw Brit Tom Kimber-Smith win and in GTD, it was the Porsche 911 that took the honours.

Over to you

The IndyCar season begin at St Petersburg this weekend while the NASCAR juggernaut rolls into its sixth race weekend of the year.

The V8 Supercars will be in action for the first time since the non-championship F1-supporting rounds, with a trio of races at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. And of course on Sunday it’s the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Will you be watching any of these? And which races did you watch last weekend? Have your say in the comments.

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  • 22 comments on “Last-lap NASCAR thriller and Chevrolet rule Sebring”

    1. Once again, the NASCAR race was scintillating – although it’s safe to say it was the first really very good race since the Daytona 500 as Atlanta, Vegas the Phoenix in between were rather boring to me (by NASCAR standards).

      To top it off, Brad Keselowski is my favourite driver in the Sprint Cup and I totally didn’t expect this win given how – on the long-runs – he had a top 10 car at best with very heavy fall-off 5-6 laps into any stint.

      Luckily, the last 2-lap dash to the finish played into the hands of his ‘sprint’ car perfectly as did the four-tyre masterstroke move of his crew chief Paul Wolfe. (Most everybody else at the front changed only two tyres during the last stop at lap 200 of 209.)

      That’s not to say Keselowski had an easy time, he had to climb back from 15th on lap 200 (due to the longer stop) and had to nail the lanes on the two restarts as well as muscling his way past the two best cars of yesterday’s field, the #4 of Harvick and the #41 of Kurt Busch.

      Even if another caution hadn’t fell from about 18 laps from the end, it would have been a bit unusual finish because the timing of the previous stop was such that most of the cars were marginal on fuel – fuel mileage races are increasingly frequent in the Cup, but are still quite rare in absolute terms and could also very well produce last-lap dramas (see Las Vegas, 2014).

    2. …and in GTD, it was the Porsche 911 that took the honours.

      Their 70th class win qt the 12h. Just shows how big Porsche really is.

      The V8 Supercars will be in action for the first time since the non-championship F1-supporting rounds, with a trio of races at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. And of course on Sunday it’s the Malaysian Grand Prix.

      Hopefully all, Including the MotoGP opener this weekend.

    3. Kevin Harvick is on the best form I may have ever seen in racing at the moment.

      The run of results he’s had recently is just unbelievably good.

    4. NASCAR was a slow burner but even without the late cautions it was setting up to be an epic duel between the returning Kurt Busch and his teammate, the all-dominating Kevin Harvick. Quite a fascinating race, even though I’m still not a fan of GWC finishes — it may be more exciting than ending the race under yellow, but if a driver is in the lead after 400 miles of a 400 mile race, then they should be the winner. End of.

      Sebring, though, just reminded me how much I miss the ALMS. I’ve given them a chance for a year, but I just don’t find the ugly, clunky Daytona Prototypes remotely as interesting as the LMP1s that used to race at Sebring. Maybe someday they’ll come back, but I’m not holding my breath.

      Having said that, it was a dramatic improvement over the farcical 2014 race which, for those who don’t know, saw over 5 of the 12 hours completed under caution and a driver receiving an 80 second penalty for causing a crash he wasn’t even involved in. Officiating this year wasn’t perfect, but still a thousand times better. Another improvement was the recruitment of the folks from Radio Le Mans to do the commentary. Can’t imagine there ever being a dull race with John Hindhaugh commentating.

      Thanks for this excellent feature Keith, already one of my favourites!

      1. I had a friend of mine, die-hard ALMS fan; he too did not like the DPs…until he went to the 24 Hrs of Daytona. His text to me: “Holy crap, these things are FAST! I was WRONG about DPs!” I agree with you, they look clunky and old, but they are a helluva lot faster and handle better than it seems on TV.
        That said, I would like to see more LMPs on the top step. Overall, I love the TUSC, especially the GTLM class.

    5. i find nothing thrilling about nascar.

      one of the most gimmickey, artificial & horrid race series anywhere around the world where it allows nobody to gain any advantage, has a championship system which in my opinion means it can no longer be called a real championship.

      not only that but the way it allows its drivers to wreck each other & even encourages it is downright dangerous & utterly absurd.

      how anybody could get away with intentionally wrecking somebody on 2 separate occasions without any penalty is frankly mid boggling-
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-d1xweDlsY
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz9OXptTwVQ&hd=1

      and a 1 event suspension for this, really?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDZ_xwJR6b4

      1. You’re completely right.
        I normally wouldn’t comment, but since Keith encouraged us to have our say, I’ll post a one-off.
        No, I’m not going to watch any of these.
        NASCAR stands out as, by far, the least attractive, downright repugnant series I can think of. Whatever F1 does wrong, NASCAR does it wrong-er, only times thousand. Whatever F1 gets right, NASCAR does the exact opposite, again times thousand. In my eyes, it’s cheap entertainment that waters down any real competition with ever-changing, needlessly complicated and often downright ridiculous rules and decisions.
        Yes, that’s harsh, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Y’all feel free to disagree.

        Also, I’m sick of this “F1 got 15 cars, well here’s a series that has 10 times more” argument. While I’m just as unenthused about the minuscule F1 grid as the average viewer, I tire of seeing quantity put on the same level as quality. 43 cars sound exciting (although it’s unthinkable to have a comparable number of cars on an F1 track, as it would end in a horrible traffic jam where the alertness of backmarkers would be the deciding factor for the outcome of a race), but what’s it worth if the cars are identical and using technology that’s been irrelevant for more than 40 years?
        I can grudgingly accept a 15-car-grid (or rather tolerate it for a while), knowing and seeing that the competitors are taking part in a highly complex arms race (although it would be quite nice if Red Bull could finally shut up about their lack of performance and quit whining about how it’s everyone else’s fault), and that the drivers are extremely competent multi-taskers, with physical and mental abilities exceeding those of jet pilots.
        I’d rather watch a boring race like the 2015 F1 season opener all over again than expose myself to the crushing meaninglessness of NASCAR. Hands down.

        Critisising F1 is completely justified and vital for its future development. But critisising F1 and praising NASCAR at the same time is strangely reminiscent of the hype of alternative medicine. It’s like disliking the side-effects of and the cynical companies behind a certain medicine. If you focus too much on what you don’t like about the one thing, you might end up blindly praising the alternative, e.g. in that metaphor drinking your own you-know-what, gargling bleach, have your Chi activated telepathically for a thousand bucks per hour, swallowing pills whose producers have gone great lenghts to make sure they don’t contain the slightest trace of what they’re promoted for.

        1. *criticising … :(

    6. @bradley13 @keithcollantine thanks for these articles that include other forms of motorsport! Fun to read and watch the videos

    7. @keithcollantine This weekend wrap up is one of my favorite additions to F1 Fanatic yet. I appreciate that NASCAR gets some love from this new feature, even though as a NASCAR fan myself, I readily admit that they sometimes make some moronic calls and decisions (most recently the ending of this past weekends Cup race at Fontana). Nice to see a Sebring wrap up too, pretty fun weekend of racing from wide, fast Auto Club Speedway and bumpy, grueling Sebring.

    8. One of the side-effects of this series is discovering how quickly different championships get their highlights up on YouTube. NASCAR turn them around very quickly but it’s over 36 hours since the chequered flag fell at Sebring and still nothing.

      F1 race video highlights went up on the official website late last week, which is rather quicker than they tended to last year, but they haven’t appeared on YouTube yet. And even if they did they wouldn’t appear here because FOM don’t allow people to embed their videos – a policy they put in place shortly after this article went up last week.

      1. Agreed that IMSA is bad about getting highlights up quickly, but they usually get the complete broadcast up within a reasonable timeframe. For example, 2015 24 Hours of Daytona.

        I’ll settle for that. :)

        1. @hankscorpio83 and @keithcollantine Who needs a highlights video if you can watch the entire race with commentary for free in HD on their website. THAT’s something F1 should take not of.

          1. if you could watch the race in HD live on their website, i would be glad to pay for it (free would be nice though)

    9. Christian Fittipaldi is also a former F1 driver… Why only Bourdais got that title?

      1. No reason. Have tweaked the text.

    10. Is this really necessary? I’m noticing a trend here. Lately there has been more and more non F1 racing being highlighted on this site to show how bad F1 is doing. Why sabotage F1? I actually enjoy watching Tudor, Continental tire, and Pirelli World Challenge. I enjoy them for different reasons, they are different forms of racing. IMO, Pirelli World Challenge is probably the best GT racing on the planet right now. You have Ferrari, Cadillac, Audi, Porsche, Viper, etc all battling each other in a sprint race format. I love it! I’m sure WEC is great, but who actually watches the races? Who has time to watch endurance racing? WEC is just good for bashing F1 as fars I’m concerned. I enjoy watching them qualify more than the actual racing. At least you have real excitement there. People go on and on about how they are racing flat out from start to finish. PLEASE! Its endurance racing. It is inherently a game of preservation.

      1. Bring back Group C!

      2. @sudd

        more and more non F1 racing being highlighted on this site to show how bad F1 is doing

        That isn’t the purpose of this series of articles, of which this is the third instalment, though in this case I thought there was an obvious contrast to draw between the size of a NASCAR field and F1’s miserable showing in Australia last week. Non-F1 racing has always been featured here in the past, whether it’s coverage of junior formulae, similar formulae (e.g. IndyCar) or just other noteworthy events in the world of racing.

        The aim of covering those isn’t just to show what F1 is doing wrong, it’s to enjoy those series for what they are.

    11. For my country, Thai people went wild when Rattapak Wilairot won WSS in Buriram.

    12. I love a 12hr!

      DPs are also some of my favourite cars to look at. And the race was good, too. I love the Radio Le Mans team, who give everything an old-school feel. The attention to detail is fantastic, the rapour they have with each other, the teams and the drivers, and the enjoyment they get from the racing, no matter where it is in the field.

    13. The Sebring 12 Hours video has been added to the article.

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