With one week remaining in 2016, we took a look at some of the on-track action from this year across all motorsport disciplines. And there was plenty of it.
In NASCAR we saw everything from Tony Stewart’s farewell tour — and Jeff Gordon’s second — to surprise winners and rising young stars. Formula 1 wasn’t lacking any drama this year either as teams began to close the gap to Mercedes-AMG Petronas. And in IndyCar, Red Bull GRC and FIA World Rallycross Championship, there wasn’t a shortage of close racing.
To highlight the amazing racing, we made a list of eight of the best overtakes of 2016.
Denny Hamlin on Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr.: Daytona 500
Hamlin was fourth with one lap remaining in this year’s Daytona 500, but he didn’t stay there for long.
On the final lap Hamlin got a good push from Kevin Harvick that allowed him to make a move. Hamlin split the middle between Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth, before narrowly beating the No. 78 to the checkered flag in the closest finish in the race’s history.
Tony Stewart on Denny Hamlin: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Stewart wasn’t as competitive as he would have hoped in his final NASCAR season, but that’s arguably what led to one of the best overtakes of the year at Sonoma Raceway. Knowing he was out of contention for a win, Stewart gambled and stayed out while others pitted. A late-race caution made the strategy pay off, and Stewart was leading only to get passed by Hamlin with one lap remaining, setting him up for a last-corner pass for the win.
Nico Rosberg on Max Verstappen: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Rosberg only needed to finish P3 in Abu Dhabi to be crowned champion, and he made sure to do just that. When Sebastian Vettel opted for an alternate strategy, it became crucial that Rosberg get past Max Verstappen. Understanding what was at stake, Rosberg made his move just one corner after Mercedes gave him the instructions over the radio.
Max Verstappen on damn near everyone: Brazilian Grand Prix
Verstappen’s race in the wet at Interlagos was, without question, the drive of the season. After trying an alternate tire strategy that didn’t pan out, the Dutchman had to make an extra stop, relegating him to the back of the field. But he immediately made a charge through the field that included so many great overtakes, it would be pointless to choose just one.
Kevin Eriksson on Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekstrom: Germany RX
In any other discipline, when a car goes sideways it usually means something went wrong. In rallycross, however, the bigger the slip angle, the more intentional the slide was. That was the case when Eriksson found himself in P3 on the outside of Turn 1. Eriksson pulled the hand brake to get his car in front of Solberg and Ekstrom, and pointed at the apex so he could power out of the corner in P1 for his first win in the series.
Tanner Foust on Brian Deegan: District of Columbia
Foust and Deegan were battling throughout the first four laps of the Supercar final, but when Foust tried to make a move, he hydroplaned and spun. That wasn’t the end of their duel, though, as he recovered without losing a position. By the final lap he was back on Deegan’s bumper and forced the Chip Ganassi driver into a mistake on the final turn to grab the last spot on the podium.
Graham Rahal on James Hinchcliffe: Firestone 600
Hinchcliffe was leading the Firestone 600 when it was red-flagged in June, and continued leading for most of the race when it was continued in August. But a late restart threw Tony Kanaan and Rahal into the mix with just two laps to go. Rahal was able to position himself on the outside, get a run alongside Hinchcliffe and cross the line less than a second before him.
Dean Stoneman on Ed Jones: Freedom 100
This makes Rahal’s margin of victory look big enough to drive a hauler through it. Another late-race restart led to Stoneman claiming victory in his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Indy Lights series by less than half a wheel-length.
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool