NASCAR


NASCAR

After 3 starts, Bristol washed out

BRISTOL, TENN.

Kyle Larson will have to wait another day to try to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season.

The race at Bristol Motor Speedway was postponed until Monday because of heavy rain with Larson out in front. Racing was halted three times Sunday due to wet weather.

Action is scheduled to resume Monday at 1 p.m.

Larson led 74 laps when the race was halted on lap 204, just 46 laps from it becoming official. NASCAR hopes to complete all remaining 296 laps, although the forecast calls for more rain and possibly snow.

Larson seemed to have found his groove on the track before the third and final red flag came out. NASCAR waited about an hour before officially postponing the race with a forecast of steady rain for the remainder of Sunday night.

“It’s hard to get a rhythm with all the rain and stuff and then getting out of your car and getting back in,” Larson said.

Larson liked the speed of his car, but said the track was slick.

“There is only a little line there on the bottom that has got some grip,” said Larson, who normally likes to run on the high side of the Bristol track. “If you get out of it, it’s slick. If you get below it, it’s slick. So, it’s been fun, but it’s kind of hard to guess where you need to position your car there for a little while.”

Some drivers won’t have to worry about coming back Monday.

Ryan Blaney was dominant early in the No. 12 Ford, leading 99 laps of the first 119 laps before getting caught up in wreck that left his car in shambles.

It happened on turn three when Chris Buescher and Trevor Bayne, who were fighting to stay on the lead lap, got tangled up in front of Blaney, leaving him nowhere to maneuver.

His car was taken behind the wall, ending his day.

“By the time I got away from the car right in front of me they were already turned right up the race track and I was already going to the top,” of the track,” Blaney said. “I kind of saw them spinning low and I thought that top was going to be OK and then they slid back up and got us. That stinks. I thought we had a good car and nothing to show for it.”

Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher, Harrison Rhodes and Ross Chastain also are out of the race.

FORMULA ONE

Ricciardo wins Chinese Grand Prix

SHANGHAI

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo yanked off his right shoe, poured champagne into it as he stood on the podium, and then drank up to his unlikely victory in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The Australian started from the third row, but took advantage when the safety car came out on the 31st lap to allow him to get fresh, soft tires when the other leaders were running on worn rubber and couldn’t get in quickly to change.

Ricciardo got quicker and quicker and took the lead on the 45th lap of the 56-lap race, overtaking Valtteri Bottas with a dive on the inside past the Mercedes driver.

“A lot of time you only get one chance, so I make the most of every opportunity,” Ricciardo said. “I don’t seem to win boring races. They all are pretty fun, but that was unexpected.”

Bottas called it a “fair” pass and finished second with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Ricciardo said he knew he had a great chance with the fresh rubber. And he knew he got a bit lucky.

“That was obviously giving us a good little bit of grip on the restart,” Ricciardo said. “Once I was aware we had the pace, I wasn’t going to let that slip.”

Mercedes, the power of the last few seasons, has not won any of the first three races with defending champion Lewis Hamilton and Bottas at the wheel. Hamilton finished fourth on Sunday and was never a factor.

INDYCAR

Rossi dominant in home state

Long Beach, CALIF.

Alexander Rossi spent his early racing career in Europe, and his extended family back home in California hardly ever saw him in person.

With a chance to race an exceptionally fast Honda on the Long Beach streets in front of about 60 friends and relatives Sunday, Rossi showed everybody what they might have missed. He also demonstrated what his Honda looks capable of doing in the rest of this very promising IndyCar season.

Rossi pulled away after a late restart to win the Grand Prix of Long Beach, completing a dominant weekend by holding off Will Power for his third career victory.

Rossi claimed his first win of the season from the pole, thriving amid the usual excitement on this beloved downtown road course just off the Pacific Ocean. Rossi led 71 of 85 laps in his Andretti Autosport Honda before taking charge on the restart with nine laps to go, pulling away from Power and moving into the IndyCar points lead after three races.

“Even though it’s not my true home race, it really feels like one,” said Rossi, who grew up around Sacramento. “The crowds here, and just the whole atmosphere is so welcoming and inviting. It’s no surprise that this race has been on the calendar for so long. It’s a pleasure to be able to come here and race. This is one I’ll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons.”

Rossi comfortably earned the second pole of his three-year IndyCar career during qualifying, and his pace was still there in the race. He doesn’t have many victories yet, but they’re all monsters: The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner and veteran of five Formula One races also won at Watkins Glen late last year.

“I certainly hope I haven’t peaked too early with those three,” Rossi said of his impressive array of conquered tracks. “I mean, if you’re going to hit the wish list, those are the three.”

Associated Press

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