Photo courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jr. twitter page

F1: Carlos Sainz Jr. to replace Alonso at McLaren

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WOKING, England (AP) Carlos Sainz Jr. will leave Renault to drive for McLaren in Formula 1 next year as a replacement for Fernando Alonso.

McLaren said it signed the 23-year-old Spaniard to a “multi-year” deal without giving further details.

“I’ve been a McLaren fan for as long as I can remember. It’s a great name in the sport with an incredible heritage,” Sainz Jr. said. “The list of drivers that have raced for McLaren over the years are among the heroes of Formula 1. Fernando is of course one of them, so it’s particularly special that I’ll be taking his seat.”

Alonso, a two-time F1 champion, said Tuesday he was leaving F1 at the end of the season after 32 wins, 22 pole positions and finishing F1 runner-up three times.

There is speculation that McLaren will enter the Verizon IndyCar Series with Alonso as one of its drivers. Alonso ran the Indianapolis 500 last year and was in position to win the race until his engine failed. Alonso also ran the Rolex 24 at Daytona as a warm-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, in which Alonso was part of the winning team.

Sainz Jr. is the son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz. He will likely race alongside Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne, although McLaren has yet to confirm its driver lineup.

McLaren chief executive officer Zak Brown has high hopes for Sainz Jr.

“We’ve been assessing him for some time now and rate him very highly among the next generation of young talent,” Brown said.

There has been a flurry of recent activity in F1, with Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo leaving Red Bull to join Renault next year.

Ricciardo was widely expected to sign a new contract with Red Bull and his move to Renault – where he will drive alongside Nico Hulkenberg – effectively pushed Sainz Jr. out of the French team.

It also led to speculation Sainz Jr., who came through the ranks with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s feeder team, could swap in for Ricciardo.

Instead, the vacant Red Bull seat could be taken by promising French driver Pierre Gasly, who has impressed for Toro Rosso this season.

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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