Getty Images

McLaren off foot of constructors’ table after double Hungary score

Leave a comment

McLaren moved off the foot of the Formula 1 constructors’ championship table after claiming a double points finish in Hungary on Sunday, led by Fernando Alonso in sixth place.

McLaren ventured to the Hungaroring hopeful of its chances given the reduced importance of engine power and straight line speed, a flawed area for the team with its Honda power unit.

Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne started seventh and eighth respectively in Hungary, but moved in opposite directions off the start.

Alonso entered an early battle with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., eventually pulling away after pitting before enjoying a trouble-free run to sixth place at the checkered flag, recording the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Vandoorne was able to hold on to P10 and score his first point of the season, with the combined score lifting McLaren above Sauber to ninth place in the constructors’ championship.

“We were probably looking at seventh or eighth position today, but with Ricciardo out of the race, sixth place became possible, and we grabbed it,” Alonso said.

“Still, we worked for that result all weekend – no mistakes, good practice sessions, strong qualifying, and then a perfectly executed race.

“There are three or four weekends in a season where we can be competitive, so we need to maximize those and fully capitalize on our potential – and that’s exactly what we did this weekend.

“Races like Spa and Monza are going to be more difficult for us, so let’s just enjoy this result and think about the difficult ones when they come.”

“It’s been quite a positive weekend for me – we came here expecting to be competitive and we were able to run inside the top 10 for the whole weekend,” Vandoorne added.

“When an opportunity like this comes up, we have to grab it with both hands – and we did. Before my stop, we were looking at the gap behind and trying to over-cut people behind us, but I made a small mistake at the stop, locked up and stopped too long.

“Nonetheless, my pace in the race was encouraging – we were definitely quicker than the Force Indias here, but overtaking is very difficult. In the end, we got points so it’s a good weekend for the team.”

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