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Alonso feels Singapore Turn 1 crash cost him F1 podium shot

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Fernando Alonso was left disappointed after getting caught up in the multi-car crash at the start of Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, believing he could have ended his Formula 1 podium drought had he stayed out of trouble.

Starting eighth on the grid, Alonso made a lightning start in greasy conditions after rain to run alongside the Red Bull and Ferrari cars at the front of the pack.

A clash between Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen was the main point of focus off the line, only for Alonso to get tagged in the aftermath.

After being clouted by Verstappen’s car, Alonso’s McLaren was popped into the air before coming down on its wheels, allowing him to continue.

A number of problems emerged as a result of the damaged sustained, though, forcing Alonso to ultimately retire from the race.

“The start was amazing. The car launched amazingly well,” Alonso told NBCSN after the race.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong moment. Kimi and Verstappen crashed and it hit us.

“Arguably we could be leading the race because we were in front of [Lewis] Hamilton. Podium possibility missed.

“Hopefully we finish off the bad luck this year.”

Without a podium since 2014, McLaren has endured three difficult years with engine partner Honda, with Sunday’s race in Singapore appearing to be its best chance this season of a big haul of points.

Stoffel Vandoorne did give the team some solace, taking his best F1 result in seventh to increase its constructors’ total to 17 points for the season. McLaren executive director Zak Brown also joined the show twice; his first interview is below.

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

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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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