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Indy 500 on Fernando Alonso’s radar as alternative to F1

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Fernando Alonso is considering racing in the Indianapolis 500 as an alternative to Formula 1, saying that he is “not at all happy” with the direction that the series is going in.

Alonso currently races with McLaren, and although the team has made significant progress in recent months, he has failed to get anywhere near the heights of his heyday with Renault in 2005 and 2006 when he won the world championship.

The Spaniard expressed his disappointment with modern-day F1, with his future seeming to hinge on the overhaul of the technical regulations for 2017.

“I’m not at all happy for some things that are happening,” Alonso told Autosprint in Italy.

“We can never drive the cars to their real limit. We can never attack as much as we would like because the tires don’t allow you to.

“Many things will change next year. Let’s hope the joy of driving will return to be a major factor.

“If F1 carries on going in a different direction to what I knew and loved in the past, at that point I could consider other alternatives and leave F1.”

Alonso has spoken of his desire to race at Le Mans before, but is now also looking at IndyCar, believing it to offer a big change from his current style of racing.

“Le Mans would be the option closest to my driving style and to what I’ve always done,” Alonso said.

“The Indy 500 is a fascinating, radical change because you must learn a completely different driving style and way of thinking.

“I’d be open and ready to learn it because when you have been F1 world champion there are only two other races that are equivalent prestige-wise: the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.”

However, Alonso did acknowledge that it would not be a move he could make in the short-term.

“It would be a plan that would be really long-term in order to be turned to reality,” he said.

Alonso had previously been linked with a drive in Porsche’s third car at Le Mans in 2015, only for Honda to reportedly veto the move.

Nico Hulkenberg’s victory with the German marque did spark the idea of F1 drivers managing ‘double duties’ once again.

Yet with the Indy 500 now clashing with the Monaco Grand Prix most years, and given the extensive testing required, it is unlikely we’ll see Alonso at the Brickyard until his F1 career is over.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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