Lowdon “utterly devastated” by death of Jules Bianchi

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Manor Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon has paid tribute to Jules Bianchi following his death at the age of 25 on Friday.

Bianchi raced under Lowdon for the entirety of his Formula 1 career, leading Marussia to its only points finish at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix with a remarkable performance. The two are pictured together following the race.

After sustaining severe head injuries in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October, Bianchi remained in a coma for nine months before passing away late on Friday.

Following the statement issued by Manor team boss John Booth on Saturday, Lowdon took to Twitter to express his sorrow and pay tribute to Bianchi both on and off the track.

“Totally and utterly devastated,” Lowdon wrote. “Jules was an exceptional driver and an exceptional person. All my thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Before joining Marussia in 2013, Bianchi spent one season working as Force India’s third and reserve driver, and was in the running to race for the team alongside Paul di Resta.

“We came to know an outstanding young man and a tremendous talent who was destined for great things in F1,” team owner Vijay Mallya said.

“The world has lost a true racer and we have all lost a friend.”

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.