3-year extension proposed for IndyCar at Long Beach, with possible F1 return afterwards

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The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is set to remain part of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar for a little while longer – but Formula One may now have a way to eventually return there.

The Long Beach (Calif.) City Council has proposed a three-year extension with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach that will see the IndyCars race there through the 2018 season, per the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

However, the Press-Telegram also reports that the city will indeed open the event up for bidding, meaning that F1 could come back to the Beach after racing there from 1976 to 1983.

The proposed extension still needs to be confirmed in open session; the city’s current contract with the GPALB runs through next summer.

“This is precisely what we wanted,” GPALB president/CEO Jim Michaelian said to the Press-Telegram. “They have every right to explore other options, but by the same token we have the certainty of conducting the event through 2018. That’s important because we have lots of sponsorship agreements.”

Chris Pook, who has been the point man in F1’s attempt to return to the venerable street circuit, was also happy about the decision.

“I’m not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys,” he said.

Pook recently estimated that upgrades to bring the Long Beach circuit to F1 standards would cost a little more than $9 million, and has maintained the stance that staging an F1 race would not be as costly as some may expect.

He re-iterated that belief to the Press-Telegram, saying: “We wouldn’t be talking about this if it wasn’t financially successful.”

This year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach opens up NBCSN’s 2014 IndyCar coverage on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. ET. A full TV schedule can be found here.

After eating just one chip, NHRA drag racer says: ‘I seriously thought I was going to die’

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Editor’s note: Due to rain, Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Carolina Nationals have been postponed to Monday morning at 10 a.m. ET. In the meantime, check out this rather unusual tale:

Remember the old Lays Potato Chips commercial from back in the 1980s that bragged “No one can eat just one”?

Well, ask NHRA Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin and a few members of his team, and they’ll tell you they learned a very valuable lesson that there indeed IS a chip that you can only eat one of.

According to NHRA’s National Dragster, Laughlin and Elite Motorsports crew members Chase Freeman, Kelly Murphy and Brian Cunningham took part Friday night in the Paqui One Chip Challenge.

If you haven’t heard of the Challenge, Paqui Chips has produced a tortilla chip that the company boldly claims is the hottest chip ever made anywhere in the world. The secret is the “Carolina Reaper” pepper, considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, with a rating of 1.9 million Scoville units, according to PuckerButt Pepper Company.

How hot is 1.9 million Scoville units? Let’s put it this way: the Devil might even have a hard time taking this kind of heat. By comparison, a Jalapeno pepper only reaches 10,000 units on the Scoville rating. 

So while they were enjoying some downtime Friday night after the first two rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina (suburban Charlotte), Laughlin and Co. paid $30 for one chip – you read that right, $30 for one chip, it’s THAT hot – and thought they could take the heat.

They thought wrong.

“This is the hottest chip in the world,” Laughlin said on an Instagram post that documented the entire experience, adding a warning, “What to expect: Mouth on fire, short-term loss of speech, impaired vision from tears, extreme profanity — or death.”

View this post on Instagram

Never. Ever. Again.

A post shared by Alex Laughlin (@alexlaughlin40) on

 

Laughlin’s post also includes several reader comments that Laughlin and his crew should have had milk on hand instead of water to try and cool things down because milk has a natural antidote to cool your mouth down after eating hot food.

Sunday morning, with his mouth and throat still a bit sore, Laughlin recalled the red-hot episode to National Dragster’s Kevin McKenna:

Never again. Never. Ever. Ever,” Laughlin told McKenna. “It was definitely not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

One of our guys showed me a You Tube video and it looked like it wasn’t going to be too bad. I like spicy food and it’s usually never a problem. I’ve been to those places with hot wings where you have to sign a waiver before you eat them and that’s never been a problem.

But this? This is on a whole different level. I thought it might last ten minutes. Fourteen hours later, I was still in bad shape. I woke up at 3 a.m. and Googled “internal bleeding.” I seriously thought I was going to die. We all did.”

So if the heat from the chip was off the hotness Richter scale, where did the stunt rank on Laughlin’s own personal Richter scale?

I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.

Well, I really didn’t think it would be that bad,” Laughlin told McKenna with a shrug. “I mean, it’s just one tortilla chip. Like I said, I can usually eat stuff that other people won’t eat, but I had no idea what I was in for.

“I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.”

If you’re up for another challenge in the future that involves eating hot food, Alex, here’s a suggestion: Even though it’s a few years old now, maybe you should try the Ice Bucket Challenge (but fill it with milk) to cool down quick. Just a thought.

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