Motorsports roundup — May 11

Associated Press AJ Allmendinger needed help buckling down Saturday. After trying to calm his nerves by snacking all morning, things got even more uncomfortable for the 31-year-old Indianapolis 500 rookie when he climbed into the cockpit of the No. 2 car — and not just because he was pushing 220 mph. “The [seat] belts were a little tight,” Allmendinger said after taking his first laps in an IndyCar around the historic Brickyard. If things go as smoothly as they did on the opening day of practice, the California native might stop the snacking and wind up fitting in with the Indy crowd. He needed roughly one hour of track time to pass all three phases of his rookie test and posted the fastest lap in rookie orientation at 219.239 mph. Ed Carpenter, the stepson of IndyCar founder Tony George, topped the speed chart at 220.970. American Josef Newgarden and Colombian Carlos Munoz were second and third at 220.920 and 220.720 on an unseasonably cool, breezy and mostly overcast afternoon. Allmendinger’s time was the seventh best on a day less than half of the 33 drivers turned laps. Practice also was halted for 30 minutes when light showers dampened the 2.5-mile oval shortly after rookie practice ended. “We had a good race and a good car in the race, but really I have bad memories from last May because we struggled a lot and we weren’t prepared,” Carpenter said. “I think the whole team was really determined to come in prepared this year and they’ve done that.” Munoz and France’s Tristan Vautier also passed their rookie tests during a two-hour window carved out for the newcomers after last month’s originally scheduled rookie orientation was rained out. A fourth rookie, 21-year-old Conor Daly, an American, was racing in Spain on Saturday and today and won’t arrive at this track until Monday.

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Spanish Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg will use his frustration from the Bahrain Grand Prix for motivation when he starts the Spanish Grand Prix from the pole position today.

The German driver finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton to give Mercedes front-row seats at the Circuit de Catalunya, with both drivers still seeking their first wins of the season in a car that has plenty of pace but has lacked durability over the first four races.

Three weeks ago, Rosberg took the pole in Bahrain only to finish ninth.

While Hamilton had the fastest times in the first two qualifying sessions, Rosberg edged him to win the pole position in 1 minute, 20.718 seconds. Three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel was third quickest.

NHRA Top Fuel

Antron Brown raced to the Top Fuel victory Saturday at the weather-delayed NHRA Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway.

Brown earned his second victory of the season and his fifth win at the Georgia dragstrip, powering past Brandon Bernstein in the final round.

Brown covered the distance in 3.801 seconds at 321.25 mph, while Bernstein lost traction at the start and finished in 7.105 at 90.64 mph.

“It’s big to win down here at the Southern Nationals,” said defending world champion Brown, who also defeated Pat Dakin, Spencer Massey and Doug Kalitta in earlier rounds for his 39th career victory.

Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Drag Racing Series event.


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