Perez and Gutierrez looking forward to Mexican support

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Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez are both looking forward to next weekend’s United States Grand Prix as a large Mexican contingency travels to the Circuit of the Americas to cheer on their native drivers.

Although a Mexican Grand Prix is scheduled for 2014, the race at COTA is currently the closest thing that both drivers have to a ‘home’ race, making it a particularly special one for two drivers who have both had difficult seasons.

“It is very close to my home, so I’m really looking forward to being there,” Perez said. “It was a very special grand prix for me last year, so I expect this year’s race to definitely be special. Like last year, I think we will see a lot of Mexican fans at the race this year as well. I am amazed with the support I am getting from my country even though I am having such a bad year together with McLaren. For us it is very good because we have two Mexican drivers.”

Esteban Gutierrez echoed his countryman’s sentiments, saying: “I am very much looking forward to it. It will be a great experience to share all of this together with all the Mexicans and friends that will be there.

“It will be one of the most special feelings in my career. If we can achieve something there it will be great.”

Neither driver has a secure drive on next year’s grid with just two races remaining in 2013, meaning that a good performance in Austin could be crucial for the Mexican contingency in F1 next weekend.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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