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.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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