Photo courtesy LindbergBros.com

NHRA: Swedish driver, 2-time champ Jonnie Lindberg jumps to Funny Car for 2017

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Competition in the NHRA Funny Car class is hard enough with the likes of defending champion Ron Capps, 16-time champ John Force, Matt Hagan, “Fast Jack” Beckman, Del Worsham, Tommy Johnson Jr., Courtney Force, Alexis De Joria, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and more.

But the competition just got even tougher with the announcement that two-time defending Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Jonnie Lindberg will move up to the nitro fuel Funny Car class in the 2017 season with Head Racing.

According to NHRA.com and National Dragster, Lindberg – a native of Sweden – will take over for Chad Head, who stepped out of the driver’s seat of his family’s long-time Funny Car operation after last season to devote more time to the overall family business.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Lindberg told Kevin McKenna of NHRA.com/National Dragster. “I’ve always wanted to drive a fuel Funny Car. Last year, my goal was to win a second [Top Alcohol Funny Car] championship and then get my fuel license.

“… I thought it was a good idea to have the license just in case someone was looking for a driver. I didn’t expect that anything would happen this quickly, but I’m happy that it did.”

Lindberg has been a dominating force in Top Alcohol Funny Car – which is similar to the Xfinity Series in NASCAR, namely, one step below the NHRA’s big leagues. Not only did he win back-to-back TA/FC championships in 2015 and 2016, he also has six national event wins.

And, according to McKenna, Lindberg is the first driver in Top Alcohol Funny Car to break the 5.3-second barrier and to surpass 270 mph.

But by moving up to nitro Funny Car, Lindberg will also be making a big step: Funny Cars typically run less than four seconds and oftentimes over 330 mph down a 1,000-foot drag strip.

Per NHRA.com, the initial plan for Lindberg calls for him to compete in between 16 and 18 of the NHRA’s 24-race national event schedule, according to team owner Jim Head. Lindberg’s first race in a nitro Funny Car will be the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, March 16-19, in Gainesville, Florida.

Lindberg will also be in contention for the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Road to the Future award as NHRA’s top overall rookie driver.

Click here for McKenna’s full story on Lindberg.

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Video highlights from Stage 12 of Dakar Rally, 2 stages remain

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Thursday’s Stage 12 of the 40th Dakar Rally not only closed the overall standings gap in at least two classes (cars and trucks), two other classes (bikes and quads) failed to get going due to weather conditions.

The full video highlights of Stage 12 will air on NBCSN on Friday at 7 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s action:

CARS

2018 Dakar Rally: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 12 of cars

BIKES

 Stage 12 cancelled due to weather conditions

 

TRUCKS

Ton van Genugten edged out Martin Kolomy in Stage of, while Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev both faced an uphill battle to finish fourth and third respectively.

QUADS

Even though the Quads were also impacted by weather issues on Thursday, Ignacio Casale, the 2014 Dakar winner, continues to make his case for a second overall victory in the quads.