Doctors: Too early to give prognosis on Michael Schumacher

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UPDATE (12:41 p.m. ET): British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports is now reporting that there will be no further updates on Michael Schumacher’s condition today from the University Hospital Center in Grenoble, France.

During a morning press conference, doctors in Grenoble, France confirmed that seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher has undergone one operation since being admitted to hospital yesterday after sustaining severe head trauma in a skiing accident.

Schumacher remains in a critical condition as well as in an induced coma while doctors attempt to relieve intra-cranial pressure, and they said it was too early to give a prognosis for him, stressing that his situation is one that can change “hour by hour.” They do not currently foresee having to operate a second time on the Formula One legend.

The doctors also noted that had Schumacher not been wearing a helmet during his accident in the French town of Meribel, he would not have survived.

“We think his helmet did help,” said anesthesiologist professor Jean-Francois Payen according to the BBC. “Without a helmet, he wouldn’t be here now.”

Schumacher reportedly fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing but was initially conscious following the incident. However, his health took a drastic turn for the worse and the Grenoble doctors have said he was in a coma upon arrival yesterday at the city’s University Hospital Center. He underwent immediate surgery.

Prof. Payen said that Schumacher’s family is currently at his bedside. Additionally, Sky Sports F1 reports that FIA president Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, both of whom worked with Schumacher during his dominant period with Ferrari in the 2000s, have visited as well.

Another associate of Schumacher’s is also helping to take care of him at this time. Prof. Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA Institute and noted expert in brain surgery, oversaw medical care on Schumacher after he broke his leg in an accident during the 1999 British Grand Prix.

More to come as news develops…

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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