F1: Palmer, Wehrlein confirmed for Barcelona as Lotus, Force India set lineups

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New Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer and Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein will test this week at Barcelona, Lotus and Mercedes-powered Force India have confirmed Wednesday.

Palmer will have a day’s running in the new Lotus E23 on Friday. Pastor Maldonado will test Thursday and Saturday with Romain Grosjean running only on Sunday; as was the case for the Frenchman in Jerez, he’s coping with limited time in the car.

Wehrlein, meanwhile, will have two days aboard Force India’s 2014 chassis as the team makes its first testing appearance of 2015. He had been rumored to drive earlier in the week.

The German will run in the VJM07 on Thursday and Saturday with Sergio Perez on Friday and Nico Hulkenberg on Sunday.

“As a young driver, any time you can spend in the car is extremely important and you can learn a lot,” Wehrlein said in a team release. “I know the simulator already, but I don’t have much experience on the track.

“My first goal in Spain will be to do a great job together with the team, to learn as much as possible and to give good feedback to the engineers.I have already driven the world champion Mercedes-Benz F1 W05 Hybrid and the comparison with Sahara Force India will be very exciting for me: the way the team works, how they improve the car and handle problems – all this will help me to gain experience and to reach the next level in my development.”

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.