F1 pays tribute to Roland Ratzenberger, 21 years on

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The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola is widely regarded as being the darkest weekend in the history of Formula 1, leaving its mark on the sport and having an impact that would be felt throughout global motorsport.

That weekend is most prominently associated with the death of Ayrton Senna, three-time world champion and one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1, who sustained fatal injuries in an accident at Tamburello on lap six of the race.

When Senna was extricated from his car, an Austrian flag was found stained with blood. He had planned to wave it after the race in memory of Roland Ratzenberger, who had died during qualifying just one day earlier.

Ratzenberger had raced in a number of series before finally securing an F1 seat for 1994 with Simtek. After finishing 11th in his second grand prix, the Austrian headed to Imola (pictured in 2005) searching for a breakthrough top-ten result.

In qualifying, Ratzenberger was killed at the Villeneuve Curva after sustaining severe head injuries when his car went off the track at high speed. He was 33 years old.

Roland is often considered the ‘forgotten man’ of that weekend following Senna’s death the next day, but the F1 community was sure to remember him today, some 21 years after that fateful weekend.

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.