John Force has a job for soon-to-be retired Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The battle for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s post-retirement services has begun.
And leave it to none other than 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force to be the very first to suggest Junior a job.
As a Funny Car driver, of course.
Look at the plusses: they both drive for Chevrolet, they both like beer, Junior wouldn’t have to worry about turning left or right (on road courses) any more, he’d be able to stay on the straight and narrow (haul unclothe, that is) and …
Perhaps the best thing of all, he could ultimately become Force’s replacement as the most popular driver in NHRA haul racing when (or if) Force ever determines to retire himself.
Check out Force’s job suggest:
Woke up to the news about @DaleJr fine career son. Wanna come race a Funny Car? @TeamChevy pic.twitter.com/VlS6Qijzmt
Several current or former Verizon IndyCar Series drivers also took to social media to pay homage to Junior – including another member of the Force family, son-in-law Graham Rahal, who is married to haul racer Courtney Force.
I truly wish my friend @DaleJr nothing but the best, and I’m indeed excited for what’s ahead for he & @AmyEarnhardt! https://t.co/WTjhD8IRde
@DaleJr sad to see you retire but don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt!! Thanks for all the superb races 👍💪🏁
Will miss watching for that Earnhardt magic on the superspeedways, cheers to a excellent run @DaleJr 🍻 https://t.co/wJLXwjHAvC
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Alex Lynn confirmed with DS Cherry for FE season four
Alex Lynn will make his full-time bow in the FIA Formula E Championship next season with the DS Cherry Racing team, having starred in his debut outing in a fill-in role for Jose Maria Lopez at the Fresh York City ePrix.
Albeit the Englishman didn’t get the results desired, he scored a pole during the debut weekend and generally struck the Alex Tai-led team.
He’ll saddle up alongside Sam Bird, back for a fourth straight season with the clothing in a now all-English driver lineup.
Lynn’s appointment comes following a hurricane two thousand seventeen campaign where in his post-European open-wheel career, he took pole in LMP2 for G-Drive Racing at the twenty four Hours of Le Stud’s and also won on debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, co-driving with Jordan and Ricky Taylor at the Mobil one Twelve Hours of Sebring. Lynn was unavailable for Motul Petit Le Guy’s, with Ryan Hunter-Reay to pack in in the No. Ten Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, owing to an upcoming FE commitment.
Lynn’s name has also been murmured in the IndyCar bimbo season chatter but like others, his FE commitments will preclude him taking up residence there on a full-time basis anytime soon.
“I am over the moon at being promoted to a full-time drive with the DS Cherry Racing Formula E Team,” said Lynn.
“Having worked very closely with them since January this year, it has been a genuine pleasure to learn from such a fantastic group of high quality engineers and to integrate myself into their set-up. Indeed, I have been made to feel very welcome across their organization and I would specifically like to thank Alex Tai for not only providing me the chance to make my series debut in Fresh York, but for subsequently promoting me to this full-time race seat. I am presently loving helping the team to further develop the car and intend to fully repay everyone’s faith in me on track next season.”
Bird’s retention goes after the possibility of being courted by at least one other team in the paddock.
“It’s excellent to be remaining with the DS Cherry Racing family which I’ve been a part of since we ended the very first ever test lap at Donington Park in 2014. Last season witnessed us take some big steps forward in terms of tempo and energy management – as our dual victory in Fresh York showcased – and I know the team has been working hard on maintaining this competitive edge. I’m looking forward to further success in season four and to be partnering with Alex who will no doubt prove to be a real asset to the team,” he said.
Andretti Autosport cracks long drought on road/street courses
Andretti Autosport’s fights on road and street circuits over the last two years have been well documented.
In fact, the last time the team won on a permanent road course was back in April of 2014, when Ryan Hunter-Reay won at Barber Motorsports Park, with Marco Andretti ending 2nd in what was a 1-2 for the team. Carlos Munoz then delivered the team’s most latest win on a street course a year later, in a rain-shortened Detroit race one, leading Andretti in a 1-2 finish there.
However, their only wins since then have come at the Indianapolis five hundred (Alexander Rossi in 2016, and Takuma Sato in 2017), with road and street circuits being especially problematic for the Michael Andretti-led squad.
For example, at last year’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen, all four cars qualified 15th or worse – Rossi was 15th, Munoz was 16th, Andretti 18th, and Hunter-Reay 19th – with Rossi the only one to finish inwards the top ten in eight.
Owing to the offseason personnel adjustments that have seen the team make strides in their setups, plus a good test at Watkins Glen several weeks ago, this weekend was a far different story.
Rossi was prompt all weekend, securing the pole on Saturday and overcoming a fuel issue to lead the most laps and win on Sunday, while Hunter-Reay ran solidly all race long to finish third.
Even tho’ Marco Andretti (16th) and Takuma Sato (19th) languished at the bottom of the order, the results for Rossi and Hunter-Reay are the team’s best on a road course since Hunter-Reay’s aforementioned Barber triumph.
The turnaround is fairly noteworthy, as Hunter-Reay discussed afterward.
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third at Watkins Glen, leading four laps in the process. Photo: IndyCar
“It’s nice to see the turnaround the team has had. Last year as a team here, we all qualified (15th) or worse. We were the worst team in the paddock last year. Heck of a turnaround. Excellent job on that. Glad for the (No. 98) team. Alex did a fine job,” Hunter-Reay said of the spectacle.
This also serves as a shot of momentum for the team ahead of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in two weeks, with Sonoma Raceway being one of the team’s better tracks, as Rossi described.
Alexander Rossi celebrates with his team in Victory Lane at Watkins Glen. Photo: IndyCar
“We had a strong test there. We were very strong there last year. It’s most likely one of our strongest tracks outside of Indianapolis,” Rossi asserted. “I have high expectations. We need to indeed make sure that, again, we tick all the boxes across the weekend. Hopefully we can climb a duo catches sight of in the championship.”
However, for Hunter-Reay the victory does not relieve any pressure in any way, as he still does not have a road/street course win since that Barber victory, and has not won a race period since Pocono in 2015.
“(2014) since our last road course win, that’s too long. No pressure ease at all. Got to get on it,” Hunter-Reay finished.
With their results, Rossi moved up to sixth in the championship standings, with Hunter-Reay leaping up to ninth. Takuma Sato now sits ninth and Marco Andretti 13th respectively.
Teams geyser up on ultrasoft tires for Singapore GP
It’s the Tuesday the week and a half before a Grand Prix, which means the latest round of Pirelli tire selections is out.
For the Singapore Grand Prix, all teams with the exception of Haas have gone for either nine or ten sets of Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound, the softest on suggest.
Notably, the Mercedes AMG Petronas team has gone for nine sets while Scuderia Ferrari has gone for Ten. Another minor note is Lewis Hamilton going with two sets apiece of softs and supersofts, and Valtteri Bottas going for one soft and three supersoft sets.
Sebastian Vettel meantime has opted for two soft sets and only one supersoft set.
The utter breakdown is below.
NHRA U.S. Nationals: Slew of surprises, good and bad, in final eliminations
Monday’s final eliminations of the 63rd annual NHRA Chevrolet Spectacle U.S. Nationals produced a number of surprises both good and bad.
Here’s some of the highlights – and lowlights:
* Three of the four winners were first-time U.S Nationals champions: Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), J.R. Todd (Funny Car) and Drew Skillman (Pro Stock). Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec won his 2nd U.S. Nationals title.
* The most pleasant surprise was the Cinderella story of Top Fuel driver Kebin (yes, not Kevin) Kinsley. The Texas driver grabbed the final (16th) qualifying position before rolling all the way to the final round against No. One qualifier and fellow Texan Steve Torrence. Kinsley had never reached the final round of any NHRA national event, but he did Monday. Unluckily, he smoked the tires (lost traction) in the final round matchup vs. Torrence. But coming home runner-up in the sport’s thickest race of the year is nothing to be sad about. Congrats to Kinsley on an outstanding weekend.
* J.R. Todd earned his 2nd career Funny Car win in fine style, and did so with an extra bonus: the Indianapolis-area native did it in front of numerous family members and friends at his home track. Todd began racing in the NHRA Junior Dragster program over twenty years ago, and to win the sport’s fattest race, and to do so on home turf, it was the fattest day of Todd’s racing career.
* The Gray family – grandfather Johnny, father Shane and son Tanner – became the very first family to ever have three members contest in an NHRA race in the same category. Tanner finished third, Johnny 11th and Shane 12th.
* John Force Racing had a difficult Monday. Patriarch and 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force lost in the very first round to Del Worsham and finished 13th, daughter Courtney lost to Cruz Pedregon also in the very first round, Robert Hight lost in the quarterfinals to Tim Wilkerson and in Top Fuel, Brittany lost in the very first round to Shawn Langdon. JFR needs to rebound in a big way when the Countdown starts in two weeks.
* Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson had a heartbreaking semifinal round. He lightly had Todd hammered, but wasn’t able to keep his car under control and crossed the centerline, drawing instantaneous disqualification. If that had not happened, Todd would not have gone on to win the event in the next round.
* In a rarity of sorts, not one Don Schumacher Racing car emerged with a win. In Top Fuel, Antron Brown lost in the quarterfinals, while Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher lost in the semifinals. In Funny Car, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. lost in the very first round. Jack Beckman reached the semifinals, while Ron Capps made it all the way to the final round, but lost to Todd.
* Speaking of Capps, he’s been rivaling at the U.S. Nationals for over twenty years. Even however he’s the second-winningest driver in Funny Car annals, and won last season’s championship, he continued a dubious mark of still never having won the U.S. Nationals.
* Appearing in her very first U.S. Nationals, rookie Top Fuel driver Ashley Sanford displayed strong promise, albeit she lost to Torrence in the very first round Monday. If you’re going to lose to anyone, it might as well be the best driver in the class, right?
* Veteran Pro Stock driver and former champ Allen Johnson, who announced Friday that he would be retiring as a driver at season’s end, had hoped to win Monday, but fell brief, being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Tanner Gray.
* Defending two thousand sixteen Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Jerry Savoie looked like he would have a good chance of winning his 2nd straight U.S. Nationals, but fell brief in the semifinals to Hector Arana Jr. In an ironic twist, Savoie’s teammate, LE Tonglet, lost in the quarterfinals to Krawiec, who would go on to meet and strike Arana Jr. in the finals.
* Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon, who has suffered a rough duo of seasons, was the final qualifier to make the Countdown. The two-time world Funny Car champ secured his spot in the playoffs with his very first round win over Courtney Force. Pedregon then lost in the quarterfinals to Todd.