Maldonado expecting strong end to 2014 season

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Pastor Maldonado believes that Lotus can enjoy a strong end to an otherwise disappointing 2014 Formula 1 season and pick up some momentum to take into next year.

The Venezuelan driver has struggled to impress since joining Lotus for this season, scoring no points and recording a best finish of just 12th while teammate Romain Grosjean has led the team’s charge.

However, Maldonado has already been confirmed at Enstone for 2015, and he is confident that the team can make a good finish to this year despite a difficult record to date.

“I am confident we can finish the season off in a good way which will give us some great momentum for the new season in 2015,” Maldonado said ahead of next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. “Obviously it has been a difficult year but the important thing is that we are still united as a team and emerge stronger.

“From what I see and learn the 2015 car looks like being a very good package. There is a lot to look forward to for sure.”

Technical director Nick Chester has confirmed that the E23 car in 2015 will be very different to this year’s runner, while deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has said that a number of commercial agreements have been made to ensure that the future is bright at Lotus. For Maldonado, this is all very encouraging.

“The team at Enstone are more determined than ever to succeed and I can say 100% that I have the same outlook,” he said. “We will have very high motivation for the winter in terms of preparation and then testing in the new year.”

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.