Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton of Britain walks in the paddock of the Sepang International Circuit

Max Chilton keeping his feet on the ground

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As the Formula One circus makes its annual visit to Monaco next weekend, the number of distractions is at an all-time high: supermodels, yachts, film stars and billionaires become something of the norm. He may be at the back of the grid, but Marussia driver Max Chilton is sure of keeping himself grounded despite his new-found fame in Formula One, claiming that he is not letting the lifestyle change him as a person.

“I won’t let it,” he told The Telegraph. “You do see it affect some people and not always for the best. I don’t see why it should change you. I will make myself stay grounded. I am an athlete, and that is what I spend my time thinking about.”

Indeed, Chilton has been known for his strict training regime. Before joining Marussia, he spent a lot of time with McLaren’s fitness and health team, and he recently joined Chelsea FC for a training session.

One of the greatest criticisms Chilton has faced is being given the ‘pay driver’ label. Such a term has become taboo in Formula One, with many believing that talent has become subservient to money in the teams’ eyes when it comes to hiring a driver. Chilton, who is backed by Aon, has allowed these comments to pass him by, believing that he has earned his place in Formula One.

“You have to put it behind you because it’s complete rubbish – it’s fuel, to drive you on to be even better. I put it behind me years ago. I’m a racing driver with a team and people who believe in me.”

Marussia have made a good start to the season, and Chilton managed to outqualify Caterham’s Charles Pic last time out in Spain. With his feet firmly on the ground, the young Briton will be keen on putting in a strong drive around the streets of Monaco.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski