New Jersey’s 2014 fate to be decided next week


The organizers of the proposed Grand Prix of America in New Jersey will learn of the event’s fate next week when the World Motor Sport Council meets to finalize the calendar for the 2014 Formula One season.

After initially planning to find a place on the 2013 schedule, the promoters of the race in New Jersey – led by Leo Hindery Jr. – have remained defiant that the race will go ahead despite much speculation and doubt. Holding a race in the NY/NJ area has been a long-term desire of Bernie Ecclestone, and the last ‘official’ word from the FIA was that the race had indeed been granted a berth on the 2014 calendar with the race planned for June 1. However, its placement between the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix appeared to create a logistical nightmare for the teams who claimed that it was not possible to do all three races in the space of three weeks.

Therefore, when a fresh draft calendar – lacking approval from the FIA – began to circulate lacking the races in New Jersey, Mexico and Korea, it came as little surprise. As a result, 2014 looked set to be a 19-race season much like 2013 with new events in Russia and Austria replacing Korea and India.

However, a number of officials from the Grand Prix of America headed to Austin for negotiations, meaning that the fire of the race was still burning brightly.

Therefore, we will have to wait until the World Motor Sport Council confirms the final schedule when it meets next week, but should New Jersey not be listed, it is by no means the end for the race. Ecclestone’s desire for a second grand prix in the US is as strong as ever, and with widespread support for the race, the focus of the team in New Jersey will be to find a place on the 2015 calendar should 2014 not prove to be possible.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

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.

Follow @JerryBonkowski