Mexican drivers delighted with return of home grand prix

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Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez have made no secret of their happiness following the news that the Mexican Grand Prix will be returning to the F1 calendar in 2015.

The race was last held back in 1992 – Gutierrez was just one year old at the time – at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but it was confirmed earlier this week by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that the sport would be returning there as of next year.

Speaking in the FIA press conference on Thursday, both of the drivers expressed their excitement for the Mexican Grand Prix and the chance to race in front of their home fans.

“It’s great, I’m so happy,” Perez said. “Since I left my home at 13, 14 years I never raced in Mexico. I never raced in my home country. Now to go back after so many years and race actually in Formula 1 is great.

“They’ve been really pushing for so many years, since I came to Formula 1 four years ago. The spirit of the fans is massive back home.

“It’s great for my country, for all the fans back home and I’m sure you all will be surprised at how good the event will be. I’m just very proud and excited. It’s great that we can confirm that we will have a Mexican GP next year.”

Gutierrez has enjoyed one race in front of his home crowd before, but to have a grand prix in Mexico is a “dream come true” for the Sauber driver.

“I have good feelings about it, because all these years that Mexico has been involved in Formula 1 with obviously first Checo getting to Formula One and now myself, we are two in Formula 1 and I think this is a great step to have a grand prix,” he said.

“It’s really a dream come true for many of us. I had the chance to race once in Mexico City, back in 2008, when we did the world finals of Formula BMW. It was a great experience.

“I think it was an introduction to what it can be, obviously very, very small by comparison but now we will be able to going into the biggest thing in Mexico and to really share with our fans, with our supporters, to share with them physically the sport.”

Christopher Bell survives caution-filled Chili Bowl Prelim

TeeJay Crawford
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Christopher Bell survived the most caution-filled Feature of the week to win Thursday’s preliminary night at the 33rd Annual Chili Bowl. His ability to hold the lead on restarts helped lock Bell into his seventh Saturday A-Feature since 2013.

“I pretty much suck on restarts. I do better when I get into a rhythm,” said Christopher Bell on twitter.

Bell started the feature in third place behind Danny Stratton and Jerry Coons Jr. He took the lead on the first official lap of the race, but not until after two Lap 1 cautions.

The Oklahoma native held the lead through the remaining 24 laps and eight cautions until being challenged by Shane Golobic and CJ Leary on the final laps. Golobic briefly made it past him though Turns 3 and 4 of the final lap. Bell regained control in 1 and 2 to claim the checkers.

“It was a lot busier than what I wanted them to be. Shane definitely made a race out of it and I hope the last four laps were a good show. It was a lot of fun … well it was fun because I won but if I hadn’t won it wouldn’t have been much fun,” Bell said regarding the final laps.

Golobic earned the second transfer into Saturday’s A-Main after starting to the outside of Bell.

Leary completed the podium with the pole sitter Stratton finished fourth.

Josh Most battled through the B after a hard crash in his heat. He rebounded to transfer to the A and drove from 22nd to fifth.

With the throng of cautions at the start and finish of the race, the goal quickly became survival. Only 15 of 24 entries completed the full feature. Notable DNF’s included Ryan Bernal who started fifth, Coons, who started on the front row and Thomas Meseraull in 15th.

NASCAR’s Justin Allgaier finished 13th and will have a long day ahead of him on Saturday.

Friday Jan. 18 will be the final Qualifying night for the 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals.

MORE: Rico Abreu wins Chili Bowl Night 3 
MORE: Kyle Larson wins Chili Bowl Night 2

Thursday’s Results

1. Christopher Bell
2. Shane Golobic
3. CJ Leary
4. Danny Stratton
5. Josh Most
6. Austin Brown
7. Tracy Hines
8. Casey Shuman
9. Kyle Cummins
10. Andrew Felker
11. Austin O’Dell
12. Seth Carlson
13. Justin Allgaier
14. Chase Johnson
15. Johnny Herrera
16. Ryan Bernal
17. Jerry Coons Jr.
18. Matt Sherrell
19. Thomas Meseraull
20. Jake Morgan
21. Andrew Deal
22. Kevin Bayer
23. Kaleb Currie
24. Joe B. Miller