Getty Images

Spanish GP kicks off F1’s traditional European season on NBCSN

Leave a comment

The Spanish Grand Prix kicks off Formula 1’s traditional European season this week, at the track where the 2017 cars have had their most running but where most teams will bring upgrades from their cars in the first four races.

Live race coverage is on NBCSN this weekend with live qualifying on CNBC on Saturday.

Variety has dominated the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with 10 winners in the last 10 years. Only Russian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes AMG Petronas or Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo would be considered a realistic prospect to extend that run to 11 in 11, although few thought Max Verstappen could win on his debut with Red Bull this race last year.

Otherwise, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) or points leader Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – each of whom has won here only once – will look to get back on top. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) is also keen to win his first race since the 2013 season opener in Australia.

Hometown star Fernando Alonso (McLaren Honda) looks merely for a finish after a troubled start to the season, in his last F1 race before he heads to Indianapolis for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

As noted above, all sessions will be broadcast on NBCSN, CNBC or via the NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett are on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

The next race is the Monaco Grand Prix, on May 28.

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
Leave a comment

Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

Follow @JerryBonkowski