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Wurz: Closed cockpits ‘the most logical choice’

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Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alexander Wurz has become the latest figure to support the drive for the introduction of closed cockpits to single seater racing, believing it to be “the most logical choice”.

The debate about closed cockpits and driver safety in single seater racing has been reignited in recent weeks following the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson at Pocono Raceway last month.

Wilson was struck on the head by debris from another car that had crashed and died one day later due to the severe injury that he had sustained.

Other accidents for Felipe Massa (2009), Henry Surtees (2009) and Jules Bianchi (2014) have also prompted many to call for the introduction of closed cockpits to single seater cars, where drivers’ heads are currently exposed.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk, Wurz explained his involvement in the research into closed cockpits and expressed his belief that they would one day be introduced.

“I’ve been – me, personally, as the GPDA director – in the research group of the institute and we have looked into the canopy and everything,” Wurz said.

“I’m a big supporter of this idea. I always have been. I’ve been quite public a few years ago about it.

“And I think we’re all going to end up with the most logical choices to protect the drivers which is in the closed cockpit.

“It’s called ‘open wheel racing’ and not ‘open cockpit racing’. I think evolution will bring us there in the end.”

Wurz explained how the GPDA is continuing to push for improved safety standards in Formula 1 and global motorsport, with particular attention being paid to head and back injuries.

“It’s always in the spotlight and we’ve always pushed,” Wurz said. “We work very closely with the FIA institute on improving. But such tragic reminders such as Justin or Jules… just keeps accelerating the process.

“We still have a long way to go. We are a long way better than we have been, but it’s an ever-learning curve and currently full attention is on head and back injuries whilst until 15, 20, 30 years ago it was more you were breaking your legs when chassis were ripped apart etc.

“Now it seems we have to really pay attention to quite a few back injuries we have seen with impact forces and compression breaks, and obviously head injuries from Henry Surtees onwards to now Justin.

“So it’s definitely and area we need to look into, and we are looking into.”

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.