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 X0W5963Pierre Gasly will replace Daniil Kvyat for Toro Rosso for at least the upcoming Malaysia Grand Prix and the following round in Japan, the team has announced.

Red Bull junior Gasly won last year's GP2 championship and was originally lined up to replace Carlos Sainz from this weekend's race, with Renault having been keen to secure the Spaniard as an early replacement for Jolyon Palmer. However, Sainz is set to remain with Toro Rosso for the rest of the season after Renault was unable to end Palmer's contract early, with the Briton impressing by finishing sixth last time out in Singapore.

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With Sainz set to stay for the final six races, Red Bull was still keen to evaluate Gasly in the Toro Rosso and so has promoted the Frenchman from this weekend's race at Sepang. The team has confirmed Gasly takes over Kvyat's seat "for the next grands prix" but Super Formula commitments are expected to see Kvyat return for the United States GP at Circuit of The Americas.

Kvyat has scored just four of Toro Rosso's 52 points this season, crashing out in Singapore (pictured above) while Sainz finished fourth, and team principal Franz Tost admits the Russian's form played some part in the swap.

"Scuderia Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Program into Formula 1 and thats what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance," Tost said. "He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan. He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader.

"The driver switch gives us an opportunity to make a more informed decision regarding our 2018 driver choices.

"For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races. This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend."

2017 SF Rd6 027Gasly (pictured above) says he feels well prepared despite having to make his grand prix debut mid-season.

"I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this chance in my motor racing career and specifically, Red Bull, Dr. Helmut Marko and Scuderia Toro Rosso," Gasly said. "This is a great opportunity for me.

"I feel as ready as I can be, having had to be prepared for anything in my role as Red Bull Racing's third driver this year. I will do my best to perform well with Scuderia Toro Rosso during these coming races."

The 21-year-old Gasly is currently challenging for the Super Formula championship title in Japan, with a second place at Sportsland SUGO last weekend leaving him just half a point behind championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura heading into the final double-header at Suzuka on Oct. 22 – the same weekend as the USGP.

bob rahal runoffsThe 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, set for Sept. 25-Oct. 1, will be different from any other in the event's history. The 54th edition of the Runoffs will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and nearly 1,000 drivers will compete for 28 national championships.

In this video, Indy 500 winner and IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal shares his SCCA racing memories.

All Runoffs races are open to the public. To purchase tickets, click here. For more information on the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, click here. And stay tuned to RACER.com for updates throughout the event.

Click here to listen to the audio commentary, follow live timing, and watch several static video feeds

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 ONY2892Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC has announced increased pre-tax profits for the six months to June 30, 2017.

The holding company for Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited – the Formula 1 team – Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC (WGPH) saw group revenue grow to £85.9 million ($115.28m) from £80.0m ($107.36m) compared to the same period in 2016, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improving from a £7.8m ($10.47m) profit to a £10.4m ($13.96m) profit in 2017.

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The F1 business also generated increased revenues, up from £51.3m ($68.85m) last year to £65.5m ($87.90m) in 2017, while EBITDA grew to £10.1m ($13.55m) from £4.1m ($5.50m) during the same period last year.

Group chief executive officer Mike O'Driscoll says the results will allow the company to continue chasing further performance on the F1 side while growing its advanced engineering arm.

"These results demonstrate our financial stability as a group, and represent a solid platform from which we can continue to develop our Formula 1 and advanced engineering operations," O'Driscoll said.

"The Formula 1 business generated both increased revenues and profit versus the first half of 2016, largely driven by non-recurring one off items and the revenues associated with project work within that period. We are delighted to be celebrating our 40th year in Formula 1 during 2017, and we are confident that with recent additions to the team, coupled with investment in facilities we will accelerate our progress in the years ahead.

"We are pleased that Williams Advanced Engineering has consolidated its financial position, while simultaneously making further investments in its core capabilities. During the first half of this year we have secured government APC funding for a battery build program and unveiled the FW-EVX, a ground-breaking lightweight electric vehicle platform concept that showcases our state-of-the-art innovation and proprietary technology. Our growing reputation and expanding customer base support our belief that we will continue to grow the business and create a sustainable and profitable future.

"We continue to face the cost pressures associated with our determination to enhance our Formula 1 performance and in growing Williams Advanced Engineering, however, we remain confident in our ability to meet these demands. Wider economic pressures and the evolving Formula 1 landscape will continue to impact our near-term results."

After back-to-back third places in the constructors' championship in 2014 and 2015, Williams slipped to fifth place last season after a close battle with Force India, and is currently fifth once again this year.

2018 OhioThe Verizon IndyCar Series has doubled the number of cars it will have at its disposal for Tuesday's final test for its brand-new 2018 bodywork.

Along with the two primary cars it has used throughout the summer from Chevy affiliate Team Penske and Honda partner Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, RACER has learned IndyCar's visit to Sebring International Raceway's short course will also include a 2018-spec Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy and a Chip Ganassi Racing Honda carrying high-downforce 2018 universal aero packages.

As IndyCar aerodynamic director Tino Belli recently told RACER, the final validation test scheduled for Sebring would be used to sign off on revised brake ducting to cool the new and full PFC braking systems that will outfit every car in the field. New steering wheels, electronics and other components will also be tested on Tuesday.

Ongoing testing by Juan Pablo Montoya for Penske and by Oriol Servia for SPM will continue as planned, and it's believed Scott Dixon will handle the driving for CGR and ECR's Spencer Pigot will pilot its Chevy as his first duty as a full-time driver for the team.

Once all of the bodywork, electronics, and brake systems are delivered, teams will be allowed to start private testing with the 2018 package on Jan. 8.

hull runoffsThe 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, set for Sept. 25-Oct. 1, will be different from any other in the event's history. The 54th edition of the Runoffs will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and nearly 1,000 drivers will compete for 28 national championships.

In this video, Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull shares his SCCA racing memories.

All Runoffs races are open to the public. To purchase tickets, click here. For more information on the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, click here. And stay tuned to RACER.com for updates throughout the event.

Click here to listen to the audio commentary, follow live timing, and watch several static video feeds

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Let's get reality out of the way: Darrell Wallace Jr. does not have the financial backing to be in a racecar.

Considering his status as perhaps the hottest free agent on the NASCAR circuit, I get why many continue to assume, comment or send emails about how he should get this or that ride. Wallace is likeable, young and talented, and has a unique charisma. Those are some of the most important ingredients for any team owner. There's also a solid fan following behind the 23-year-old Alabama native.

Yet a reminder shouldn't be necessary that in today's NASCAR, the marketability and talent of a driver oftentimes takes a backseat. In today's NASCAR, a driver must arrive not carrying a helmet, but a check. Wallace does not have that, which he admits is not a new problem.

"I haven't had a sponsor in 15 years that I've been racing," Wallace said recently. "I've been doing that [looking for partners] since day one, no matter what the team is. We're still trying to bring our own money."

As this season edges ever closer to its checkered flag, Wallace will continue to be brought up in the conversation and some have already – prematurely, in my opinion – put him in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford. Again: show me the money. In fact, show RPM the money, because they are in the same boat, having just lost Smithfield Foods.

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But Wallace, Danica Patrick and even a former champion, Matt Kenseth, are the biggest names in the conversation when it comes to who will and won't be in the sport next year. NASCAR is amid a seismic shift of big names leaving in rapid succession, and sponsors are doing the same. The business model keeps evolving, the schedule will undergo a slight shift next season and even the sanctioning body's policies and procedures aren't untouchable. While younger, equally-talented drivers are filling the void, their effect on the sport is not going to be felt for a while to come.

For anyone who missed it, Jeff Gordon is gone. Tony Stewart quickly grabbed the closing door behind him. Greg Biffle was left without a quality ride after he split from Roush Fenway Racing last year, and then Carl Edwards woke up one day and decided he wanted to experience more in life than just driving race cars. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rides off into the sunset at season's end.

It's a lot to handle in such a short time, and it's only natural for there to be a desire to see drivers like Wallace become one of the next wave to carry the torch. Having already spent time in the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, Wallace is hungry for a full-time shot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and proved he deserves one after doing an admirable job filling in for the injured Aric Almirola over the summer.

17Chi1bem00498Patrick's situation is no different, as she too doesn't have any funding. Losing longtime partner GoDaddy at the end of 2015 seems to have been the beginning of the end for her. And Kenseth? He's being replaced for a newer, shiner model at Joe Gibbs Racing, and Kenseth has been quiet about his future.

What has struck me in recent weeks is that as Wallace continues his fight to stay relevant and land a ride, both Patrick and Kenseth seem at peace with what could be next for them – which may very well be life away from racing.

I want Wallace and Patrick and Kenseth in the 2018 field as much as the next person. However, it would be smart to accept the possibility that Patrick and Kenseth could very well be competing in their final races and that Wallace may forever be walking around with his hand out.

As the saying goes: it's nice to want things.

11KAN1tb6326NASCAR has entered the political firestorm.

As peaceful protests during the national anthem continue to be widespread in other sports  particularly in the NFL where team owners and players expressed themselves in large numbers this past Sunday after being criticized in a tweet by the President of the United States for players' actions during the anthem  there have been no such occurrences in racing. However, the topic came to the forefront Sunday when a group of NASCAR team owners were asked about protests, resulting in President Trump tweeting his support:

Asked before the ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire what the policy is for his organization when it comes to protesting during the national anthem, team owner Richard Childress was very straightforward with his response.

"Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,'' Childress said. "Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America."

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Richard Petty was just as stern, telling USA Today: "Anybody that don't stand up for (the anthem) ought to be out of the country. Period. If they don't appreciate where they're at ... what got them where they're at? The United States."

Not all shared the same sentiment, however. Andrew Murstein, who is the majority owner at Richard Petty Motorsports, did not agree with The King. Murstein told ESPN he would not fire any employee who expressed themselves during the anthem. Instead, "I would sit down with them and say it's the wrong thing to do that, and many people, including myself, view it as an affront to our great country."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski also joined in the debate via social media. Earnhardt is the sport's most popular driver and tweeted Monday morning to his two million followers a quote from President John F. Kennedy.

NASCAR issued the following statement on the matter Monday afternoon:

"Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events. Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one's opinion."

During his regular appearance Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NASCAR's senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell offered this:

"I think it's something that we've always talked about in the industry as a sport. If you look at our history, we've always as a sport demonstrated a respect for the American flag and the freedoms it represents. We celebrate the servicemen and women who have sacrificed to be part of that. That's part of the sport. From our standpoint, we view ourselves as a sport and want to continue to celebrate the flag but respect others' opinions.

"But going forward, that's where we stand, and we'll leave it at that and hope people can contribute or look at NASCAR as something to tune into on a Sunday and enjoy a sporting event."

BRS 0464News and notes from the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, set for Sept. 25-Oct. 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where nearly 1,000 drivers will compete for 28 national championships.

Connor Solis is looking for glory

At age 20, Connor Solis of Prunedale, Calif., is looking to make his mark in SCCA history at this year's 54th SCCA National Championship Runoffs, being held this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The young racer is looking for a championship to cap off his rookie year in SCCA Club Racing.

"This is actually my first year in Spec Racer Ford and in SCCA racing," Connor says. "It's been a very good year for me. I've got a really good crew backing me up."

While he has earned respect in his home region, Connor has not yet raced at the national level.

"I haven't raced against any of the past champions," he admits, "but I'm looking forward to that at the Runoffs. I haven't given my full potential yet, to show who I really am. My goals are: top five would be good, top three would be great, but I want to win."

Connor Solis2Coming from most rookie drivers, that might sound like arrogance, but Connor has demonstrated he has the chops to back it up. He racked up 11 wins in the competitive SRF class in San Francisco Region this year, and set a new track record for the SRF class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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"We took the last two races off to prep for the Runoffs," Connor says. "The car's already on its way to Indianapolis. I'm looking to become the national champion  I can't think of anything better than that."

Of course, Connor's racing career didn't start this year. He's been racing karts since age five, and collected 13 karting championships before transitioning to SCCA. And he's still racing karts alongside his SRF campaign.

"Kart racing keeps me sharp," he says.

For the future, Connor hopes to move up to IMSA or Pirelli World Challenge racing.

"It's not just showing who I am on the track," Connor says, "it's off track, too, showing that I can promote in an overall way."

The SRF national championship race is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 29 at 10:40 a.m. Eastern time. You can watch the race live online at www.SCCA.com.

Record turnout for the Runoffs

The 54th SCCA National Championship Runoffs has already made the record books with over 1,000 entries before the event. As of the beginning of the event, no-shows and dropouts have whittled that number to 982, but that's still enough to easily beat the old record of 709 starters set in 2004 at Mid-Ohio.

The most popular classes include Spec Racer Ford 3 at 101 cars, Spec Miata at 88 cars, Super Touring Light at 58 cars, and Spec Racer Ford at 50 cars. The road course at Indianapolis can accommodate up to 72 cars on course according to SCCA rules, so both Spec Racer Ford 3 and Spec Miata competitors will have to pay special attention to qualifying.

SCCA has decided that the top 60 qualifiers will advance directly to the championship race, while any additional qualifiers will compete in a special qualifying race on Thursday evening. The top-12 finishers of the qualifying race will advance to the last 12 grid positions for the championship race.

For a facility of the size of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, accustomed to hundreds of thousands of spectators, the Runoffs nevertheless pose a special challenge. While the facility is geared for huge numbers of fans, accommodating nearly 1,000 racecars and their support vehicles poses a new challenge. Parking in the infield is crowded this week, but as of Monday morning, everyone was inside the gates.

1 courtesy of IMSSCCA at The Brickyard

This year is not only the first time the SCCA National Championship Runoffs have been held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it's the first visit for SCCA Club Racing of any kind.

Construction of the Speedway began in 1909, and the facility opened for its first racing even in August of that year. The original surface was oiled rock chips, which proved to be dangerously unstable. After just a few races, the entire 2.5-mile oval track was resurfaced with 3.2 million bricks laid over sand and held in place with mortar. That earned the Indianapolis track its "Brickyard" nickname, and that tradition is maintained with a single yard of bricks marking the start/finish line.

The first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race was held on May 30, 1911. Ray Harroun won the event with an average speed of 74.602 mph in his Marmon Wasp. In addition to winning the first 500, Harroun's car featured the first known use of a rear-view mirror.

Over the next 106 years, the Indianapolis 500 was interrupted by World War I and II, but not by the Great Depression. Indy history includes the first diesel-powered Indy car in 1931, which finished the race without making a single pit stop. After World War II, the Indy 500 and the Speedway alike entered a golden era of growth and popularity.

The road circuit was created in 2000, utilizing part of the oval leading to an infield course. The road course has been used for Formula 1, IndyCar, motorcycles and professional sports car racing since that time, but never by SCCA Club Racing until this year's Runoffs.

Click here to listen to the audio commentary, follow live timing, and watch several static video feeds at the SCCA Runoffs

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