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.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”