Boston first responders to be hosted and honored at NHMS

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As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepares to go racing today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the series and the “Magic Mile” will take time to honor the first responders from the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.

Shortly before the green flag, pre-race ceremonies will feature a presentation of colors from the Boston Police Department and first responders that went in to help victims after two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Marathon that April day. Three people were killed and over 200 people were injured in the attacks.

Three days later, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed by one of the suspects connected to the bombings. Collier’s brother, Andrew, works in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department as a machinist.

HMS team owner Rick Hendrick has made a $5,000 donation in Sean’s memory to help the track host first responders for today’s Camping World RV Sales 301. In addition, a decal honoring Sean will be put on all four HMS cars (Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne).

Andrew Collier recently talked about the loss of his brother and how HMS has rallied around him and his family in a column that will be released in the September issue of NASCAR Illustrated.

“I started working at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and still can’t believe how awesome they’ve been in our family’s time of need,” Andrew writes. “If I need time off, I can have it. If I’m having trouble with something, they’re there to help. It’s very humbling. They’ve been absolutely phenomenal and I owe them so much after all this.”

“I’d like to thank everyone that is helping honor Sean’s memory in NASCAR and beyond. It means the world to me and my family.”

In addition, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reports that more than 2,250 free tickets for today’s race have also been given to first responders from last December’s school shootings at Newtown, Conn.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”