Suzuka holds a special place in Vettel’s heart

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Having won at all but two of the circuits on the current Formula One calendar, Sebastian Vettel has a difficult job picking his ‘favorite’ grand prix of the season, but the Japanese Grand Prix holds a special place in the German’s heart for a variety of reasons.

Vettel has won the race at Suzuka three times in his four appearances at the circuit, finishing third in 2011 with a result that was enough to clinch his second world championship. Two years later, he has the opportunity to become just the fourth driver in the history of the sport to win a fourth world title, and winning it at Suzuka would clearly mean a lot to Vettel.

“I think generally we race on the best tracks in the world and, as I said, I think Suzuka is one of the best, if not the best, in my point of view,” Vettel explained. “It’s a place where we love to race. On top of that there is a fantastic atmosphere, crazy Japanese fans. They are very passionate about us coming here and I think all the drivers we do get a lot of respect when we come here but equally a lot of support.”

For Vettel to win the world championship on Sunday, he must win the race and Fernando Alonso must finish ninth or lower. Failing this, it is likely that the German driver will secure his fourth straight title at the Indian Grand Prix at the end of the month.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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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.