Angry Felix Rosenqvist accuses IndyCar of playing favorites

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MONTEREY, Calif. – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist blasted IndyCar officials after a harsh qualifying penalty hurt his chances of winning 2019 Rookie of the Year.

“They ruined our day,” he told IndyCar on NBC reporter Marty Snider in a rare display of rage for the oft-reserved Swede. “I don’t why. Maybe someone has something against me. Or they want (Colton) Herta to win the rookie championship, whatever. But I guess I have to regroup for the race and find a good strategy starting from the back.”

Rosenqvist spun midway through Group 2 in the first round of qualifying Saturday at Laguna Seca Raceway and failed to advance because IndyCar officials disallowed his fastest two laps (and also prevented him from advancing) on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course.

Rosenqvist, 27, will start 14th in Sunday’s season finale, which he enters ranked eighth in the standings as the top rookie and 26 points ahead of Santino Ferrucci.

Colton Herta, the other contender for rookie of the year, will start on pole position. He will enter Laguna Seca trailing Rosenqvist by 49 points in a race that will pay double points.

“I don’t know what they’re thinking,” he said. “That lap didn’t mean anything for anyone. I had a spin. Then they’re saying I blocked someone while I was spinning. It was like the second lap on blacks, which doesn’t mean anything.

“We’ve been working for three days for this moment. We had the fastest time on track. The guys just did an incredible job. I think it’s pretty unfair for them to just take that away. Honestly one of the most stupid decisions I’ve ever seen.”

An IndyCar spokesman said Rosenqvist was penalized because he interfered with the qualifying run of Hinchcliffe, who went 0.7 seconds slower in the segment after the No. 10’s spin. According to Rule 8.3.6.1, “if a car interferes with the qualification attempt of another car, the best two timed laps shall be disallowed, and the car shall not advance.”

Asked whether Rosenqvist could face further penalty or sanction for accusing officials of playing favorites, an IndyCar spokesman said the series doesn’t announce fines.

Rosenqvist had entered qualifying as among the favorites to win the pole position and possibly break through for his first IndyCar victory. He was fastest in Saturday morning’s practice, second fastest in both practices Friday and third in Thursday’s test.

“He’s been super fast all weekend, you know, and of course he gets fired up,” Scott Dixon said of his Ganassi teammate. “I think all of us are extremely competitive. It’s the environment.

“I can imagine he’s pretty angry. But he’s been knocking on the door all year long, and I think he’s still got a very good shot (Sunday). You can definitely in that position create a very good off-strategy race.”

Points leader Josef Newgarden said he would have liked to have seen Rosenqvist make the Fast Six, not just because it potentially could help his championship bid.

“To be fair to Felix, he has been fast all weekend,” Newgarden said. “He probably would have been in contention for the pole without a doubt. If you look at where Dixon has been, I think he’s been a fair bit quicker than Dixon this week. Just on merit he probably should have been up there.

“But yeah, that’s more beneficial to us if he’s in the mix, more helpful. But I don’t think it changes things dramatically. It just would have been interesting to see him up there in the mix.”

After eating just one chip, NHRA drag racer says: ‘I seriously thought I was going to die’

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Editor’s note: Due to rain, Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Carolina Nationals have been postponed to Monday morning at 10 a.m. ET. In the meantime, check out this rather unusual tale:

Remember the old Lays Potato Chips commercial from back in the 1980s that bragged “No one can eat just one”?

Well, ask NHRA Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin and a few members of his team, and they’ll tell you they learned a very valuable lesson that there indeed IS a chip that you can only eat one of.

According to NHRA’s National Dragster, Laughlin and Elite Motorsports crew members Chase Freeman, Kelly Murphy and Brian Cunningham took part Friday night in the Paqui One Chip Challenge.

If you haven’t heard of the Challenge, Paqui Chips has produced a tortilla chip that the company boldly claims is the hottest chip ever made anywhere in the world. The secret is the “Carolina Reaper” pepper, considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, with a rating of 1.9 million Scoville units, according to PuckerButt Pepper Company.

How hot is 1.9 million Scoville units? Let’s put it this way: the Devil might even have a hard time taking this kind of heat. By comparison, a Jalapeno pepper only reaches 10,000 units on the Scoville rating. 

So while they were enjoying some downtime Friday night after the first two rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina (suburban Charlotte), Laughlin and Co. paid $30 for one chip – you read that right, $30 for one chip, it’s THAT hot – and thought they could take the heat.

They thought wrong.

“This is the hottest chip in the world,” Laughlin said on an Instagram post that documented the entire experience, adding a warning, “What to expect: Mouth on fire, short-term loss of speech, impaired vision from tears, extreme profanity — or death.”

View this post on Instagram

Never. Ever. Again.

A post shared by Alex Laughlin (@alexlaughlin40) on

 

Laughlin’s post also includes several reader comments that Laughlin and his crew should have had milk on hand instead of water to try and cool things down because milk has a natural antidote to cool your mouth down after eating hot food.

Sunday morning, with his mouth and throat still a bit sore, Laughlin recalled the red-hot episode to National Dragster’s Kevin McKenna:

Never again. Never. Ever. Ever,” Laughlin told McKenna. “It was definitely not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

One of our guys showed me a You Tube video and it looked like it wasn’t going to be too bad. I like spicy food and it’s usually never a problem. I’ve been to those places with hot wings where you have to sign a waiver before you eat them and that’s never been a problem.

But this? This is on a whole different level. I thought it might last ten minutes. Fourteen hours later, I was still in bad shape. I woke up at 3 a.m. and Googled “internal bleeding.” I seriously thought I was going to die. We all did.”

So if the heat from the chip was off the hotness Richter scale, where did the stunt rank on Laughlin’s own personal Richter scale?

I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.

Well, I really didn’t think it would be that bad,” Laughlin told McKenna with a shrug. “I mean, it’s just one tortilla chip. Like I said, I can usually eat stuff that other people won’t eat, but I had no idea what I was in for.

“I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.”

If you’re up for another challenge in the future that involves eating hot food, Alex, here’s a suggestion: Even though it’s a few years old now, maybe you should try the Ice Bucket Challenge (but fill it with milk) to cool down quick. Just a thought.

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