Tagliani, St. Pete race helping veterans in need

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Barracuda Racing driver Alex Tagliani has donated his race helmet for this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to military charity Wish For Our Heroes.

According to Jim Tomlin of the Tampa Bay Times, the helmet has been put on eBay for a one-week auction that will benefit military members in need throughout the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg region.

“I have a hard time saying no,” Tagliani told the Times. “I can’t donate all my helmets. But when it makes sense and when it [hits] my heart, it’s something I can do.”

Leading up to this weekend’s event, Wish For Our Heroes and race organizers announced a “wish fund” to help veterans be able to attend the race through donations from individuals and businesses that would be used to purchase tickets for those who serve.

A veteran, former U.S. Army Specialist Charlie Lemon, will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s event and also give the command to start engines to the 25-car field. Lemon, 30, lost his legs while on a mission in Iraq two years ago.

Wish For Our Heroes, along with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indiana National Guard, has also set up a “wish fund” for sending troops to this year’s Indianapolis 500. If you’d like to help the cause, click here.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.