Randy Alexander, killed in a race crash Saturday. Photo: Alliance Racewear

NHRA racer Randy Alexander killed in crash at Atlanta Dragway

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The NHRA drag racing community is mourning the death of Randy Alexander, who was killed Saturday during a crash at the Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

According to a report by AutoWeek, Alexander, a veteran sportsman racer from Harvest, Alabama, had just crossed the finish line at 160 mph in the first round of eliminations in the sportsman class, when his 1963 Corvette abruptly veered left from the right lane and into the left lane in front of fellow competitor Bob Mandell III’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.

Mandell tried to avoid Alexander’s car but was unable to do so and struck it broadside on the driver’s side at an estimated 200 mph, according to other media reports.

Photo: YouTube/AutoWeek

Alexander’s car flipped and landed on a retaining wall nearly 150 feet down the track from the finish line.

The race was stopped for an hour as NHRA rescue workers had to extricate Alexander from his race car. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died.

Mandell, of Culleoka, Tennessee, was not injured in the incident.

The NHRA issued this statement about the incident:

“It is with heavy hearts that we report Randy Alexander of Harvest, Alabama, passed away at a local hospital after sustaining injuries in an on-track incident at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga.

“NHRA and the entire racing community extend their deepest condolences and their prayers to the participant’s family and friends. We also ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

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Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.