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Formula E still the priority for Nelson Piquet Jr.

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SPA – Defending FIA Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr. says that the series is still his priority despite recently dovetailing his commitments with a drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Piquet won the inaugural Formula E title at the London finale last June, but has been unable to defend his crown thanks to issues with the powertrain supplied by his NextEV TCR team.

The Brazilian confirmed ahead of the WEC season opener at Silverstone that he would be joining Rebellion Racing in the LMP1 Privateer class, racing alongside Formula E colleagues Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld.

Despite his struggles in Formula E, Piquet remains adamant that the series is his priority, with his WEC commitments simply being a good complement to it.

“It’s very easy going over here, you’re sharing a car with these other drivers. There’s no really big competition,” Piquet told NBC Sports.

“To be honest it’s much more of a relaxed weekend than anything else. You try to work together, try to get the car good. There’s a lot of teamwork. So it’s not stressful.

“Obviously you want to win out of the three cars, but it’s different to Formula E. You need to do well to keep your job. Over here, I’m doing this as a fill-in to help them out. They called me last minute, it’s not something I was aiming for.

“Formula E is my priority. I have a long-term contract over there, so that’s where you get really stressed and get pissed off when the car’s not good.”

Piquet is hopeful that NextEV will be able to resolve the issues with its powertrain for season three, which is due to be tested on-track for the first time before the Berlin ePrix in two weeks.

“Hopefully it’ll be better, I don’t think it can get any worse,” Piquet said.

“The team is working really hard to get their act together for next year. I’m positive that they’ll do a good job.

“Maybe because we fell back so much, I need to be a bit realistic too. Maybe from one year to another you’re not going to go from last to first, but at least you can have a competitive car to be running top five.

“It’s a different thing than getting to the grid every weekend and knowing you’re going to be running from 18th to 15th.”

Even in light of NextEV’s struggles, Piquet is set to remain with the team for next season, saying there is no consideration of moving away.

“No. I have a long-term contract with them, so at the moment, I’ll be with them,” Piquet said.

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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