American driver Conor Daly loses GP2 ride with Venezuela GP Lazarus


A lack of funding has put American GP2 driver Conor Daly on the sidelines ahead of this weekend’s race at Monza.

Daly confirmed the tough news via his Twitter account earlier today:

He has since added additional comments in a release: “I’m naturally disappointed but thankful for the opportunity that Venezuela GP Lazarus provided me this season. Lazarus is a great team of people who race because of their love of the sport and I wish them every success in the future.”

“Europe for the past four years has been a an invaluable experience for me. It was a sacrifice well worth making because I know today that I am a better driver because of it. I’m ready for my future, whatever it may be.”

After finishing third in the GP3 championship last season, Daly moved up to GP2 for 2014 with Venezuela GP Lazarus. His best finish has been a seventh in Race 2 at the Hungaroring in July.

Daly’s dropping makes him the second American to leave the GP2 grid this season. In July, Alexander Rossi left Caterham, where he served as not only a reserve for its F1 side but also as a race driver for its GP2 squad.

As for where Daly goes from here, the release made note of his recent appearance at last weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series championship finale at Auto Club Speedway.

On that subject, Daly says: “I want to be a professional race car driver and be in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that might come my way.”

Daly made his IndyCar debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 for A.J. Foyt Racing.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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