Crashing “part of being a rookie” for Ericsson (VIDEO)

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Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson has walked away unscathed following a big crash during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix today, with the Swedish driver admitting that crashes are part and parcel of being a rookie in Formula 1.

Ericsson made his debut at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, but he failed to finish due to an oil pressure problem. After an encouraging Friday practice in Malaysia yesterday, he was faced with a fresh challenge on Saturday as heavy rain meant that qualifying took place on a wet track.

Whilst trying to put in a final lap time during Q1, Ericsson ran wide at turn three and spun into the wall. His car then careered back across the track, narrowly avoiding Esteban Gutierrez before coming to rest on the inside of turn four.

“With every lap I was learning more and more and we made a quick stop with a few minutes left to put on another set of inters, but then on the final quick lap I made a mistake in sector one and crashed,” Ericsson explained.

“I’m really sorry for the team. They’ve worked so hard all weekend on the problems we’ve had, and now they have another huge job ahead of them to prepare the car for tomorrow, but I know they’ll keep pushing and we’ll all come back fighting tomorrow.

“This has been another big lesson for me – my first wet running in F1, my first Q1 on inters and my first big off – it’s all part of being a rookie in F1 and I will learn from every single thing that happens.”

The Swedish driver will start tomorrow’s race from 22nd place on the grid behind teammate Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia’s Max Chilton.

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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