Sebastian Saavedra leads at halfway in IndyCar season finale (VIDEO)

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At the halfway point in the season finale at Sonoma, the race is under caution for the second time following a crash involving teammates and championship contenders Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya on a Lap 39 restart.

On Lap 42, Sebastian Saavedra leads the race for the second time in his No. 8 Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He is followed by Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Oriol Servia, Sebastien Bourdais, Takuma Sato, Simon Pagenaud, Gabby Chaves, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden.

Other championship contenders rank: Graham Rahal (11th), Helio Castroneves (19th) and Power and Montoya run in 23rd and 24th following the collision.

On Lap 4, Castroneves had to pit to replace front-wing damage he received on the start. He also went from red to black tires.

Dixon would pit on Lap 13 to change tires and on Lap 14, while the leaders of Will Power and Josef Newgarden pitted, Power’s teammate, Pagenaud, stopped next to Power’s pit stall in order to let him exit. Doing so kept Newgarden from exiting his own pit stall. After a few moments, Newgarden had to exit through the pit stall Power had just vacated. The incident will be reviewed post-race.

The first set of green flag pit stops cycled through on Lap 23 with Power once again in the lead.

The race’s first caution waved on Lap 23 when the No. 20 Chevrolet of Luca Filippi fell off the pace due to throttle sensor issues, but did not stop on the track.

Only the leaders pitted and Scott Dixon beat Power off pit road. Rahal’s stop was slowed by issues with lug nut issues on the left-front tire.

Those that stayed out on the caution were Sebastian Saavedra, Marco Andretti, Oriol Servia, Tony Kanaan and Sabastien Bourdais. Dixon and Power restarted 13th and 14, respectfully. Montoya restarted 16th, one spot ahead of Rahal.

The second caution waved halfway through the Lap 39 restart when Power was tagged by Montoya entering a turn, sending the defending champion into the dirt. The contact damaged Montoya’s front wing. Rahal was running right behind the teammates.

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

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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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