Reigning champ Nani Roma, top rookie Yazeed Alrajhi done at the Dakar (PHOTOS)

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Nani Roma’s wild crash during Wednesday’s Stage 10 of the 2015 Dakar Rally has sent the reigning champion out of the event.

Roma’s fate had been up in the air for some time after he and co-driver Michel Perin reportedly hit a hole in the terrain that hadn’t been accounted for in their road book and then rolled their Mini at kilometer 193 of the 358km route from Calama, Chile to Salta, Argentina.

Roma and Perin eventually made it to the bivouac at 11:15 p.m. local time last night according to their team. But the duo and their machine were not allowed to start this morning for Stage 11 (Salta to Termas de Rio Hondo) – even though the team has indicated on Twitter that their car was ready to go after a long night of repairs:

For Roma, it’s the end of an altogether difficult Dakar.

The Spaniard’s chances of retaining his title were obliterated on Day 1 thanks to mechanical problems, and he was forced into a support role for the other Mini pilots.

Nonetheless, Roma and Perin bounced back and eventually bagged their first stage win of the Dakar in Tuesday’s Stage 9. But just one day later, their positive momentum came to a halt and now, their event is finished.

Another big name in the car category has also been knocked out of the fight as well. Yazeed Alrajhi had put on a tremendous showing in his inaugural Dakar to run third in the overall standings behind leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers.

But after major problems emerged with the exhaust system on his Toyota Hilux near the start of Thursday’s special, the confident Saudi had to give up his pursuit despite valiant efforts from crewmen to solve his car’s issues:

Before the setback, Alrajhi had collected a Stage 8 win and five podiums in the 2015 Dakar.

Finally, we now have word that Stage 9 quads winner Victor Gallegos has also had to abandon the event this morning. A broken engine is the reported cause.

Other notable withdrawals in recent days include those of stage winner Matthias Walkner and factory Honda rider Jeremias Israel in the bikes; the previously mentioned Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente in the quads; and sports car veteran Romain Dumas in the cars.

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

Alex Laughlin official Instagram page
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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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