Heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for Malaysian GP

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The Malaysian Grand Prix is renowned for its hot and humid conditions as well as the occasional rain shower due to the race being held in monsoon season. Following the delays caused by the weather in Australia last weekend, the weather forecast is bleak for teams keen on dry running.

Free Practice 1 on Friday is expected to be hit by heavy rain, which may lead to the teams opting to stay in their garages and hoping for an improvement in conditions. Although the rain will reduce in intensity for the second practice session a few hours later, showers will persist.

Similar conditions are forecast for FP3 and qualifying on Saturday, but as rain is so common in Sepang, the marshals should be able to ensure that qualifying goes ahead as normal to avoid a delay like last weekend.

On Sunday, the rain will subside throughout the day, but thunderstorms are forecast to hit Sepang during the race.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was hit by rain in 2012, causing a red flag delay until conditions improved. Once the race restarted, Fernando Alonso excelled in the wet conditions to take the win ahead of a charging Sergio Perez. In 2009, the race was red flagged after 31 laps, with the red flag delay becoming permanent, resulting in half points being awarded and Jenson Button being declared the winner. This is a situation the teams and fans will be keen on avoiding this weekend.

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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