Monday, August 30, 2010

“The Lord Definitely Had His Hand Over Me…”

SPA, BELGIUM – Some were blessed and other cursed at the 2010 Belgian Grand. As those that have spent any time in Belgium knows, it rains a lot. This past weekend was not an exception, and it caused a series of mishaps and calamities ending with Lewis Hamilton as the “golden child.” Late in the race, Hamilton chose not to pit when his crew radioed that rain was on its way. Hamilton recounts his excursion unto the gravel in turn 8, “I braked quite late and locked my wheel and went wide…, the Lord definitely had his hand over me there as I was able to get away with it.”

Lewis continued, “yeah, it is a difficult call. The team are telling you there is rain coming, and in the previous times it was just a light shower and it dries up very quickly. You didn’t know what to expect. Although there were very dark clouds above, but it began to rain and quite heavily, and you are praying that you wish you could come in, but it is too late once you get past the pit lane. Fortunately I got round and changed the tires and had a fantastic pit stop. The best one I have had this year, and I guess that’s what helped get us out there.” Lewis went on to win the race, beating pole-sitter and points leader Mark Webber. Lewis has now claimed the points lead title ahead of Webber by three points.

Others’ fortunes were not as rich. Webber’s Renault sputtered at the start of the race dropping him back as far as seventh place. Mark commented, “These days it's very, very easy to come away with nothing with a small mistake from anybody." Fernando Alonso survived after tangling with Rubens Barrichello on the opening lap only to crash on lap 38 of the 44 lap race, placing him 41 points away from the championship. Running in 2nd place. Sebastien Vettel lost control on lap 17 making hard contact with Jensen Buttons. The McLaren suffered heavy damage and retired in 22nd place. Vettel’s Red Bull continued with minimal damage, but he was penalized with a drive-through penalty.

The top 5 in the driver’s championship now stands with Hamilton 182 points, Webber 179, Vettel 151, Button 147 and Alonso 141.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Respect For Elders In That Family!

BRAINERD, MN – Shane Gray and father Johnny Gray are sure shaking up the NHRA Full Throttle Pro-Stock series. Driving for the Tire Kingdom Pontiac team, Shane and Johnny both made the semi-final round this weekend at Brainerd, the last regular season event of the year. As fate would have it, they were matched with each other and son Shane drove past his Dad in a close 6.63s vs. 6.66s run. No respect for elders in that family! Shane went up against 52 time Pro-Stock winner Jeg Coughlin Jr, in the final round. If not for a -.001 red-light, Shane might have taken his first Pro-Stock win. "Shane did a heck of a job, and had he turned that thing green by a couple of hundredths, he would have smoked the yellow and black car. We got away with one there because I was late on the Tree in the final,” commented Jeg. Coughlin continued, “For a rookie team, the Gray’s are having a remarkable year… I do have to say, the Gray family has done an unbelievable job, and they’re getting a program from nothing to several final-round runnings between the two of them… (Shane) has made two final round matches this season.” Shane has moved into sixth place in the points with 2040. Jegs is in third place with 2080 points and on top of the heap is Mike Edwards with 2110.

In Funny Car, Bob Bode, in his first-ever final round in Funny Car, drove past heavily favored Jack Beckman when his dragster lost traction leaving the start line. “All of this is kind of like a dream I’m afraid I’m gonna wake up from,” said Bode. “I didn’t know if it would ever happen, but now that it did, I can’t believe it happened. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my entire life in the racing world. I have a wife and kid, wonderful things there, but the racing world, this is it.”

Larry Dixon won his ninth straight event beating Cory McClenathan in one of the quickest races in NHRA history. Dixon posted a 3.78s et to Cory’s 3.81s. This is Dixon’s 56th Top Fuel victory. "I feel fortunate," said Dixon. "We've won finals so many different ways this year, and there are so many variables that if you have just one hiccup, someone else wins. I've had seasons where I haven't won one race, so to win nine is overwhelming. These races are so hard to win; to win nine period let alone to win nine straight in finals is something."