Grosjean expecting strong second half of season

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Romain Grosjean is keen on putting an indifferent first half of the season behind him as Formula One returns from its summer break at Belgium next weekend. The French driver is confident that Lotus will not only be strong at Spa-Francorchamps, but also for the rest of the season with the remaining nine circuits suiting the E21 car.

Speaking about Spa in the team’s race preview, Grosjean said: “It should fit our car pretty well. In fact, the second half of the season looks good overall in terms of how the tracks should suit the E21. Hopefully we’ll have everything we need to win races.”

Grosjean has fond memories of Spa, despite receiving a one-race ban for causing an accident at the start of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“I’m looking forward to it as it’s a special track and I also won the GP2 Series title there in 2011, so it’ll be good for me to be back there again.

“If we have the pace we displayed in Budapest at a more normal circuit with better overtaking opportunities – and a bit wider track too – then I think good things could well be possible.”

The team is expected to use its passive DRS device in Belgium that should give Grosjean and teammate Kimi Raikkonen a straight-line speed advantage at one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.