Super Mario Vettel appears in soapbox race

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The 55,000 German fans who headed to the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Landschaftspark Hoheward, Germany on Sunday witnessed the reigning world champion in action an unfamiliar outfit and an unusual car.

In place of his regular Red Bull overalls Vettel donned the instantly recognizable blue dungarees and red cap of a certain videogame character. And instead of his Adrian Newey-designed RB9 Vettel piloted something that looked very much like it belonged in Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart series.

Vettel took to the downhill course in his ‘Super Seb’ kart, crashing over bumps and kicking up plenty of dust before stopping to sign autographs for his fans.

The three-time world champion, fresh from his first home grand prix victory at the Nurburgring, was also on hand to judge the competition entrants. He chose one styled to look like a DMC DeLorean as a winner.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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