Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Championship Decider and Two Penultimate Rounds

A Spaniard will be crowned MotoGP champion on home soil in the season finale at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Jorge Lorenzo needs to comeback from thirteen points back of Marc Márquez if he wants to win back-to-back titles. The rookie Márquez has six wins this season, one fewer than Lorenzo but Márquez has finished on the podium in all but two rounds while Lorenzo has failed to podium in four events.

In the two events Márquez failed to podium in he also failed to score any points while Lorenzo scored in three of the four rounds he did not finish on the podium. The lone race Lorenzo did not score in was Germany where he did not race after a practice accident.

Both riders have one win at Valencia. Márquez won in the Moto2 season finale last year after starting last place on the grid while Lorenzo's lone win was in his first MotoGP championship season in 2010.

If Lorenzo is able to win at Valencia, he will need Márquez to finish fifth or worse to become champion.

In Moto3, another Spaniard will be champion at Valencia as three Spanish riders are within five points of one another for the title. Luis Salom leads Maverick Viñales by two points while Álex Rins is third, five back. Viñales won at Valencia two years ago in what was then known as the 125cc division.

If Viñales is to win, he will win the title. If Rins wins, he will own the tiebreaker over Salom with five second place finishes to Salom's three. If Rins were to win, he would be champion regardless of where Viñales finishes.

In Phoenix, all three NASCAR national touring divisions will be entering their penultimate rounds. In the Camping World Truck Series, Matt Crafton could clinch the championship over Johnny Sauter and Ty Dillon. If Crafton exits Phoenix with a points lead of thirty-nine points or more, all he will have to do is start at Homestead and be champion. If he exits with a points lead of forty-nine points or more, Crafton won't even have to start at Homestead.

Austin Dillon leads Sam Hornish, Jr. by six points with two races to go. Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler and Jason Allgaier are all still mathematically eligible for the title but need a good finish as well as misfortune for Dillon and Hornish to have a shot. Hornish does have a win at Phoenix. He won his first career Nationwide Series race there in 2011.

Jimmie Johnson holds a seven point lead over Matt Kenseth in the Sprint Cup Series as Johnson looks to win his sixth career title and Kenseth his second. Johnson won three consecutive fall races at Phoenix from 2007 to 2009 but has averaged a seventeenth place finish in the three races since that streak ended. Matt Kenseth's lone Phoenix win came in the fall of 2002, the year prior to his first championship. Kenseth has also won one Nationwide Series race at Phoenix, that coming in the fall of 2006.

The top nine in the championship are still mathematically eligible for the title. Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne are the only four Chase drivers who have been eliminated.

One other series heading into their penultimate round is the FIA World Endurance Championship as the series heads to Shanghai. The Audi team of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval lead the points by 40.75 points over their Audi teammates André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer. Toyota is coming off their first win of 2013 at their home race at Fuji. The winning team of Alexander Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre return for their fifth round of the season. The third winning driver from Fuji, Kazuki Nakajima will not be at Shanghai as he will be competing in the Super Formula season finale at Suzuka. The second Toyota team of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin are third in points.

In LMP2, Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo González are coming off their second win of 2013 as they lead the points by 11.5 over Luis Pérez Companc, Nicolas Minassian and Pierre Kaffer. G-Drive Racing team of Mike Conway, John Martin and Romain Rusinov have won two of the last three events but are only fourth in points, 33.5 back after being excluded from the 24 Hours of Le Mans after finishing third in class.

In GT, Ferrari drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni lead Porsche's Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz by six points. Aston Martin drivers Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner are third, 8.5 points back. In GTE AM, Aston Martin drivers Jamie Campbell-Walker and Stuart Hall lead Le Mans class winners, Porsche drivers Jean-Karl Vernay and Raymond Narac by eight points.

Last year at Shanghai, Alexander Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre won overall while Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner won in GTE Pro.