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No charges in NASCAR noose incident involving Black driver – CTV News

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The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October, federal authorities said Tuesday in announcing there will be no charges filed.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said its investigation determined “although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”

A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose Sunday at the Alabama race track. NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the track to investigate. They determined no federal crime was committed.

The statement said the garage stall was assigned to Wallace last week in advance of the race scheduled for Sunday but held on Monday because of rain. Through video confirmed by NASCAR it was discovered the noose had been “was in that garage as early as October 2019.”

The agencies said the evidence did not support federal charges.

Wallace, the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level, successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago.

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Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari never offered a contract! – F1i.com

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Sebastian Vettel revealed that his eviction from Ferrari came as a total surprise, insisting an offer was never tabled by the team.

The unexpected announcement back in May of Vettel’s departure from Maranello alluded to a separation by mutual consent and came after Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto had publicly stated earlier in the year that the four-time world champion remained the team’s first choice as teammate to Charles Leclerc.

But speaking in Austria ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2020 season, Vettel set the record straight on his exit from the Italian outfit.

“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue [with me],” explained Vettel.

“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point.”

Speculation is rife about Vettel’s next move with most insiders projecting a retirement or a year on the sidelines for the 32-year-old. But Vettel insists he’s motivated to remain on the grid in 2021, under certain conditions.

“Obviously I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself and my future,” he said.

“I think I have a very competitive nature, I have achieved a lot in the sport, I’m motivated and willing to achieve more.

“To do so I need the right package and the right people around me so that’s what I’m looking out for at the moment, if the right opportunity should arise then it is quite clear.

“If that’s not the case then I’ll probably have to look out for something else.

“I am of the conviction that if you are prepared to let’s say, shut the door, then you should be prepared to shut that door and not shut it and expect it to open again.

“You have to be aware of the decision you are making at the time and that’s also why I’m not rushing into anything, the next weeks and months will be probably bringing some more clarity.”

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Hamilton fastest in the 1st practice for Austrian Grand Prix – TSN

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time on Friday in the first practice for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

The British driver was .356 seconds ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest and .602 behind Hamilton in damp and overcast conditions.

Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, finishing with a top lap of 1:06.074 a little more than a second behind Hamilton. Stroll’s Racing Point teammate Sergio Perez finished the session fifth, with a top lap time of 1:05.512.

Nicholas Latifi finished 18th in his first practice session his rookie year, lass than a half second behind his impressive Williams teammate George Russell, who clocked a 1:06.495 top lap. 

Both Ferrari drivers struggled for speed, with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th. Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.

There is a second practice later Friday.

Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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F1 facing "smash and grab" season, says Horner – Motorsport.com

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The delayed 2020 season is set to get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, but so far only eight European races – including double headers at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone – have confirmed with slots back on the rearranged calendar.

As the coronavirus lockdowns swept away the expected 2020 schedule after the aborted Australian GP, the car updates that teams had planned to introduce in the early races are now being implemented differently across the grid.

The upgrade limits for 2021 are also an important consideration for the teams as the current designs will largely be carried over, with two tweaks allowed under a token system supervised by the FIA.

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Red Bull, which will run an upgraded Honda engine in Austria is one of several teams introducing major upgrades for the new season opener – while its ‘Class A’ rival Ferrari is waiting until the third round, which will take place in Hungary.

“I think we had a good pre-season,” Red Bull team boss Horner told Motorsport.com.

“It felt like Mercedes still are a sniff ahead. But it’s all going to come down to the rate of development. And obviously Honda’s evolution as well.

“I’m sure the top teams will all be bringing updates that would have normally been either [added on] in the early European season and it’s going to be [about] ‘how much is that worth?’ Who’s going to be putting on the most performance onto their cars?

“And of course we’ve got a unique situation where we’ve effectively got a year-and-a-half to get out of these cars.

“So it’s going to be a smash-and-grab kind of season this year, with prolonged development that goes through with this car carried over into next year.”

Horner also outlined how Red Bull had altered its plans for the adding its normal early-2020 updates to the RB16 in light of the spring factory shutdowns that resulted from the lockdowns.

“The normal development process has continued because obviously a lot of the development was in the pipeline following the testing, which would have normally been introduced in Zandvoort – or updates that would have also happened in Vietnam,” he said.

“So they all get rolled up and packaged into what will appear on the car in Austria.

“It’s going to be important to get up to speed quickly. Red Bull Ring is tricky – it’s a unique kind of circuit.

“I don’t think you’re going to get a really a pattern of things [over the two Austrian races] – even Budapest is a unique circuit.

“So it’s only really going to be by the time we get to Silverstone that you start to get a clear picture.”

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