Hamilton excited by Alonso challenge

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Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on beating Fernando Alonso this season, claiming that the rivalry between them excites him more than the prospect of beating ex-teammate Jenson Button.

“That [rivalry with Button] doesn’t really excite me. The rivalry between me and Fernando excites me more.

“‘He’s the guy I want to beat. You also want to beat Seb [Vettel], as they are the ones with most titles. But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see. He’s also one of the most experienced. Anyone would struggle to beat him.”

Alonso finished second in last year’s drivers’ championship, just three points behind Sebastian Vettel despite struggling with his Ferrari throughout the season. Hamilton believes that the Italian team have made a big step forward for 2013.

“Trying to finish ahead of Alonso in a Ferrari that is actually really competitive, is a really nice challenge. And I do think the Ferrari is going to be quick this year.”

Hamilton and Alonso were teammates at McLaren during the former’s first season in the sport. The intense rivalry between the two caused Alonso to leave after just one season with the team, and many cite it as the reason for both drivers missing out on the world championship in 2007.

Although he has been criticized for moving to Mercedes, Hamilton believes that his decision could allow him to establish himself as a legend of the sport.

“I expect myself to excel. Ultimately, I want to achieve greatness. I want to prove my abilities year after year. Michael is seen as an all-time great, Seb is, too. I want to be seen as great as well.”

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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