Fellows wins rain-shortened Nationwide race
Canadian road racer Ron Fellows earned a victory Saturday at Montreal in the first NASCAR points event run on grooved rain tires, winning when heavy rain and poor visibility forced officials to end the race 26 laps early.
The 48-year-old driver, a four-time winner in Nationwide Series road-course events, took advantage of Marcos Ambrose’s pit-road speeding penalty to take the lead in a Chevrolet, and had a 33-second advantage over fellow Canadian Patrick Carpentier when the NAPA Auto Parts 200 was red-flagged, then called a few minutes later.
“Visibility was the big, big problem,” said Fellows, the first Canadian winner in a major NASCAR race in Canada. “At over 70 mph, there was just so much spray.”
After only eight laps on the 2.71-mile, 14-turn road course, rain and lightning forced an eight-minute delay. The cars returned to the track with the grooved Goodyear tires and many also had a single windshield wiper.
Grooved tires also were used in 1999 during a Craftsman Truck Series practice on the road course at Watkins Glen. In 1997, the tires were used in practice and qualifying for an exhibition race in Japan.
After averaging about 90 mph on the regular slick tires before the rain arrived, the leaders’ average speed dropped to about 75 mph on the grooved tires.
“That was different,” Fellows said. “This is incredible.”
Ambrose finished third after leading a race-high 27 laps.
The historic tire switch came a week after tire troubles derailed the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis. Goodyear’s tires weren’t durable enough to withstand more than 10 or so laps at a time.
Lewis Hamilton took a big step toward winning his third consecutive Formula One race by claiming the pole position for today’s Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest.
The McLaren driver had a fast lap of 1 minute 20.899 seconds for his 10th career pole. He was more than two-tenths of a second faster than teammate Heikki Kovalainen to give McLaren a 1-2 front row.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will start from third ahead of Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is sixth, behind Timo Glock of Toyota.
The 23-year-old Hamilton, who was fastest through all three practice sessions, is vying to become the fifth repeat winner and first Briton since Damon Hill 12 years ago to win three consecutive races.
Lindsey King became the first woman driver to win a NASCAR Auto Club Late Model race at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, beating Nick Joanides to the finish line by 0.218 of a second in the 40-lap feature race. The 19-year-old King led the entire race.