Grosjean delighted, shocked after scoring first podium since 2013 US GP in Belgium

Leave a comment

Romain Grosjean was left in shock after securing his first podium finish in Formula 1 since the 2013 United States Grand Prix in Belgium on Sunday.

Grosjean had shown signs of good pace throughout the weekend, qualifying fourth on Saturday. However, he was dropped back to ninth on the grid for the start due to a gearbox change.

The Frenchman managed to pick his way through the field during the race, rising up to third place before making his final pit stop.

Grosjean emerged behind Sebastian Vettel, who was trying to make a one-stop strategy work and go to the end on a worn set of tires.

On the penultimate lap of the race, Vettel suffered a tire failure coming onto the Kemmel Straight, causing him to drop down the order. Much to the surprise of Grosjean, this handed the Frenchman his first podium finish in over 18 months.

“It has been an incredible weekend for us,” Grosjean said. “A great qualifying yesterday, unfortunately we had that grid penalty, and then a good race.

“I still can’t believe that we are on the podium. The guys have been working hard to give us the car to be able to be here today.”

The result was made all the sweeter for Grosjean given that it came at Spa, the site of his accident in 2012 that saw him receive a one-race ban from F1.

“Of course going into turn one, everytime I take a start at Spa, I remember 2012, but I think it made me stronger, and indeed it allowed me to [finish] ten times on the podium,” Grosjean said.

“Being here today is kind of special I think. For us, it is the prize of a race win.”

Christopher Bell survives caution-filled Chili Bowl Prelim

TeeJay Crawford
Leave a comment

Christopher Bell survived the most caution-filled Feature of the week to win Thursday’s preliminary night at the 33rd Annual Chili Bowl. His ability to hold the lead on restarts helped lock Bell into his seventh Saturday A-Feature since 2013.

“I pretty much suck on restarts. I do better when I get into a rhythm,” said Christopher Bell on twitter.

Bell started the feature in third place behind Danny Stratton and Jerry Coons Jr. He took the lead on the first official lap of the race, but not until after two Lap 1 cautions.

The Oklahoma native held the lead through the remaining 24 laps and eight cautions until being challenged by Shane Golobic and CJ Leary on the final laps. Golobic briefly made it past him though Turns 3 and 4 of the final lap. Bell regained control in 1 and 2 to claim the checkers.

“It was a lot busier than what I wanted them to be. Shane definitely made a race out of it and I hope the last four laps were a good show. It was a lot of fun … well it was fun because I won but if I hadn’t won it wouldn’t have been much fun,” Bell said regarding the final laps.

Golobic earned the second transfer into Saturday’s A-Main after starting to the outside of Bell.

Leary completed the podium with the pole sitter Stratton finished fourth.

Josh Most battled through the B after a hard crash in his heat. He rebounded to transfer to the A and drove from 22nd to fifth.

With the throng of cautions at the start and finish of the race, the goal quickly became survival. Only 15 of 24 entries completed the full feature. Notable DNF’s included Ryan Bernal who started fifth, Coons, who started on the front row and Thomas Meseraull in 15th.

NASCAR’s Justin Allgaier finished 13th and will have a long day ahead of him on Saturday.

Friday Jan. 18 will be the final Qualifying night for the 33rd annual Chili Bowl Nationals.

Thursday’s Results

1. Christopher Bell
2. Shane Golobic
3. CJ Leary
4. Danny Stratton
5. Josh Most
6. Austin Brown
7. Tracy Hines
8. Casey Shuman
9. Kyle Cummins
10. Andrew Felker
11. Austin O’Dell
12. Seth Carlson
13. Justin Allgaier
14. Chase Johnson
15. Johnny Herrera
16. Ryan Bernal
17. Jerry Coons Jr.
18. Matt Sherrell
19. Thomas Meseraull
20. Jake Morgan
21. Andrew Deal
22. Kevin Bayer
23. Kaleb Currie
24. Joe B. Miller