Alonso re-states McLaren quit threat: ‘I want to win’

Getty Images
2 Comments

Fernando Alonso has re-stated that he is open to leaving McLaren at the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season, saying that he wants to be in a position to win races next year.

Alonso returned to the F1 paddock on Thursday following his Indianapolis 500 adventure, with the two-time world champion’s future becoming a hot topic once again.

The Spaniard has made clear that he is keen to be in a car that can win races next year, having failed to record a single podium finish since joining McLaren for the 2015 season thanks to problems with the team’s Honda power unit.

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Alonso stressed that he would be open to staying at McLaren beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the year if it were in a position to give him a winning car.

“We have to win. If we are winning before September or something like that when I will make a decision, I will stay,” Alonso said.

“You cannot be 100 per cent now in June about a decision for next year that I don’t even start to consider. What we all want is to win, and I think related to the answer before, what Zak [Brown] commented about yesterday, the Honda thing, is probably what you will expect Zak to say

“He wants to win. He wants to put McLaren again on a contender position for the championship. So after three years we are not in that position, so things have to change I guess for the team. The same for me. I want to win.

“I joined this project because I want to be world champion and we are not in that position. If you don’t see things changing and you are not in a competitive position, maybe you change project? That’s the only thing I can say now.

“Until I sit down with myself in September after the summer as I always said, I cannot say 100 per cent about anything now. I’m very open. The best decision hopefully I will take after the summer.”

Alonso’s Indy 500 push was part of a career goal to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with a shot at Le Mans in the future also on his radar, but he stressed that a third F1 world title is still his greatest aim.

“As I said many times, in F1, a third world championship is still my biggest priority,” Alonso said.

“I developed my skills to drive F1 cars for the last 16 years. The best car that I can drive is still Formula 1, but it’s another time that I jump in any car, in any categories, in any tires, with any rules, I go there and I am competitive.

“I am not afraid of the future. If I cannot succeed here and win this third world championship, I still love motor racing and I will race in any series and I know I can win in any series.”

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)