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Haas F1 drivers downbeat after rough home qualifying in Austin

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Haas Formula 1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez were left downbeat after a rough home qualifying session for the American team in Austin, Texas on Saturday afternoon.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will see his F1 operation race in the United States Grand Prix for the first time on Sunday, having joined the grid at the beginning of the season.

Gutierrez and Grosjean entered qualifying at the Circuit of The Americas hopeful of repeating their double-Q3 appearance in Japan two weeks ago.

However, Grosjean failed to make it past the first stage of qualifying, finishing 17th in Q1. It marked the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix in April that both Haas cars had not made it through to Q2.

“We’re missing downforce and we’re paying the heavy price. We just don’t have enough,” Grosjean explained to NBCSN after the session.

“Low speed is very diffiuclt for us. We had some pieces fall apart yesterday. Today was a good summary of what was yesterday. On back foot from the beginning. Didn’t have the grip.

“Yeah, we should be good on top speed. But the pace of the car is not better than where we are.

“It’s not looking so good for tomorrow.”

Gutierrez managed to make it into the second stage of qualifying, but could only finish 14th-fastest as he also cited numerous difficulties over the USGP weekend so far.

“Obviously hasn’t been an easy start to the weekend,” Gutierrez told NBCSN.

“I couldn’t run my new front wing. There was a crack on the wing. Not able to repair it. We had some certain kind of disadvantage.

“We didn’t think about the result, just pushing the best as possible. Today we did. But we didn’t have tools for Q3.

“We did the best with what we have. I was putting all my energies into qualifying.

“We need to focus. We need to hope for an opportunity.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2:30pm ET on Sunday.

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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