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Race Weekend Review: August 31-September 1, 2019

Race Weekend Review: August 31-September 1, 2019

FIA Formula One Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps
• Leclerc scores his first F1 win; the first win for Ferrari this year

Francorchamps, Belgium, Sept 1/19 (GRW): Ferrari newcomer Charles Leclerc started on the pole and held on to take the race win – his first in Formula One racing. In the end it was Lewis Hamilton in second place a mere one second back, Valtteri Bottas in third with Sebastian Vettel a distant fourth.

After qualifying was completed on Saturday , the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Vettel were on the front row with Hamilton and Bottas in the second row. Max Verstappen started from fifth place.

Verstappen’s race only lasted until the first corner where a collision with Carlos Sainz deranged his left-front suspension and he was unable to continue.

In the opening laps the front four ran in the order in which they had qualified. Vettel pitted a bit before the others and after the other three had made their mid-race pit stops, Vettel had cycled around into the lead ahead of Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas. But Vettel could not maintain the pace and he was overtaken in turn by Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas. The Ferrari management had ordered him to allow Leclerc to take the lead.

Vettel made an additional pit stop to take on soft tires and he was able to earn the point for fastest race lap – but he finished in fourth place, some 26 seconds behind Leclerc.

Click HERE for the results of the Belgian GP.

The next F1 Grand Prix will be run next Sunday, September 8 at Monza, Italy.

 PHOTO NXS DAR CusterPass 083119Cole Custer passes Christopher Bell (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway
• Custer the winner after Hamlin’s car is DQ’d

Darlington, SC, Aug 31/19 (GRW): Denny Hamlin started from the back of the field and worked his way to the front after 121 of the race’s 147 laps. He led the rest of the distance to take the checker by a six-tenths margin over second-place Cole Custer. However, Hamlin’s effort went for naught when, in post-race inspection, the car failed due to a ride-height infraction and it was disqualified.

This elevated Custer to race winner, his sixth win of the season, the same number of wins as Christopher Bell has.

Custer had hounded Hamlin after a restart with 10 laps left in the race and he ran the bottom through Turns 1 and 2 to gain ground. On several occasions over the final five laps, he pulled within a car-length of Hamlin’s bumper but couldn’t quite get to the ostensible winner.

“I thought I had him,” Custer said after climbing from his car. “I really wanted it — finishing second here really sucks. You really want to win at one of the marquee places … I couldn’t get a run off of (Turn) 4. I don’t know — it was so close.”

As it turned out, it was close enough.

Afterwards, Custer was asked about when he learned about Hamlin’s disqualification which gave him the race win. “It’s a really strange feeling, obviously. You don’t want to win them that way, but it is what it is. We all play by the same rules. Was that the deciding factor? No, with everything he won the race but it is what it is. We get the points. We get the money and we get everything, including the trophy so we’ll take it.”

The revised results showed Tyler Reddick scored in second place after leading for 70 laps early in the race. Ryan Blaney was third, Bell fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr fifth.

With two races left before the cutoff for the Xfinity Playoffs at Las Vegas, Reddick holds a 51-point lead over Bell in the race for the regular-season title. Custer is 136 points back in third place.

Click HERE for the results of the NXS race from Darlington.

The next NXS race will be run at Indianapolis next Saturday, September 7.

 

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