NHRA fines Top Fuel driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. $20,000

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When you hear of fines and penalties in motorsports, they’re typically in NASCAR.

But not this one.

In one of the larger penalties the sport has seen in recent years, the National Hot Rod Association has fined veteran Top Fuel driver Bob Vandergriff Jr. $20,000 for what a media release termed “violations of the NHRA Rulebook during last weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.”

According to a statement by the NHRA, Vandergriff “was fined for abandoning his race car on the track, remaining and walking on an active race track after exiting his race car, and for initiating a verbal confrontation with three NHRA officials.”

According to DragIllustrated.com, Vandergriff was upset at track conditions at Atlanta Dragway following a nearly day-long rain. When he attempted to make his first qualifying effort, Vandergriff nearly crashed while racing Clay Millican last Friday. Vandergriff reportedly left his dragster in the shutdown lanes at the end of the track, walked back the length of the track to confront several NHRA officials, including the sanctioning body’s vice president of competition, Graham Light, about the track conditions.

Vandergriff was fined for violation of 1.3.1 regarding participant conduct, found on page 3 of the 2014 NHRA Rulebook.  The fine is appealable as outlined in section 1, pages 17-24 of the 2014 NHRA Rulebook.

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SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.