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Former CART racer Herm Johnson dies aged 63 after battle with illness

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Former CART racer and two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Herm Johnson has died following a battle with illness, his family has confirmed.

Johnson raced in CART between 1979 and 1986, making 35 starts and recording a best finish of sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1982.

Johnson enjoyed success in his junior career, winning the SCCA National Championship Runoff in the Super Vee class in 1976 before following it up with USAC Mini-Indy Series in 1977.

The native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin twice qualified for the Indianapolis 500, starting the 1984 race ninth and finishing eighth in a March-Cosworth.

Johnson introduced Eau Claire businessman John Menard to Indy car racing, starting an involvement in the series that continues to this day through sponsorship on Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske car.

Johnson made his final Indy car appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1986 when he crashed heavily during practice, sustaining severe injuries to his feet, legs and back.

After retiring from racing, Johnson became an instructor at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, as well as designing helmets for racing drivers.

Johnson had been battling illness recently, suffering from liver failure as per sources, with his family setting up a GoFundMe page to help cover his healthcare costs.

On Saturday, page admin R. Cary Capparelli wrote: “Herm took the checkered flag at approximately 9:30 this morning. RIP Herm.”

You can view the GoFundMe page by clicking here.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.