Tyler Wolf, a 20-year-old heading-for-greatness sprint car racing star, has died of injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night at the legendary Calistoga Speedway in California.
Wolf was the 2011 Silver Dollar Speedway sprint-car champion, the youngest driver on record to win the title.
In F1 racing, meantime:
Sebastien Vettel won the Indian Grand Prix today from pole and increased his lead in the world championship but it was blunted by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who battled through from his fifth-place starting position to finish second.
Vettel's Red Bull-Renault teammate, Mark Webber, was third with McLaren-Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fourth and fifth and Ferrari's Felipe Massa sixth.
Kim Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India-Ferrari), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Bruno Senna (Williams-Renault) rounded out the top ten.
Alonso was the driver of the race, never giving up and chasing Vettel through to the end.
With his fourth consecutive victory, Vettel increased his lead in the championship to 13 points but it could have been more if Alonso hadn't risen to the occasion.`
Sebastien Vettel won the pole today for Sunday's Indian Grand Prix. His Red Bull-Renault teammate, Mark Webber, qualified second ahead of the two McLaren-Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Fernando Alonso will take his Ferrari to the line fifth on Sunday, with teammate Felipe Massa sixth. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault), Sergio Perez (Sauber-Ferrari), Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Renault) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) will go off seventh through tenth.
Now, by the time you get around to reading this, the 41st anniversary Formula Ford Festival at the legendary Brands Hatch circuit in England will be well under way and Canada’s representative, Garett Grist of Grimsby, will be doing his best to follow in the footsteps of last year’s entrant, Xavier Coupal of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
Coupal’s will be a tough act to follow.
The Formula Ford Festival was started in 1972 and has attracted top racers from around the world every year since. F1 drivers Button and Webber are among the winners. Danica Patrick finished second in 2002. Roberto Moreno, Eddie Irvine and Jan Magnussen are others who’ve made their marks at Brands.
Last year, Ontario Formula Ford team owner Brian Graham of Innisfil, with the help of major sponsor Grote Industries (manufacturers of vehicle lighting and safety systems) and other contributors (more about them below) led a Canadian assault on the Festival, the first “sponsored trip to Europe” for a Canadian driver since the 1970s.
Coupal was selected to go and pretty much set the international racing world on its ear.
The Festival deal is that you arrive at a strange track and climb into a strange car and go. The cream has to rise to the top pretty quickly because there are 200 other young chargers there and there’s limited practice time. Then they send you out for one of 10 heats with upwards of 20 cars in each and you swim or you sink.
Coupal finished second in his heat and started from pole in the feature. He was knocked off the track during the race and eliminated, but he still set fastest lap — an amazing performance.
This year, Graham — with help from a selection committee that included me — chose Grist as the second winner of what’s being called the Team Canada Scholarship. A former Ontario karting standout who cut his single-seater racing teeth in Ontario Formula 1600s, Grist had a “superb season” this year in the highly-competitive U.S. F1600 Formula F Championship Series and that’s what won him the opportunity.
“I am really excited to be selected for the 2012 Team Canada Scholarship,” Grist said in a release. “It’s a great opportunity to represent Canada at one of the biggest Formula Ford races in the world. For anyone racing F1600, this is the event that you want be in at some point in your career. Xavier (Coupal) set the bar pretty high last year, so I know I have my work cut out for me.”
“This was a very, very, difficult decision (to pick Grist),” said Graham, also in a release. “The final group of five drivers were so impressive. We went back and forth trying to pick this year’s winner. If we had the funding, we’d send all five, as they are all deserving winners.
“That being said, we are very excited that we will have Garett piloting the Team Canada entry at this year’s Formula Ford Festival and are confident we will be challenging for top honors come Sunday’s Final at Brands Hatch.”
Graham’s been able to raise sufficient funds to take a driver to England and, of course, to hire Cliff Dempsey Racing to field a car, which is the biggest expense. He would like to have enough money to take at least two drivers and for them to do the Festival and then stick around to race for the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone a week later.
The key is awareness.
“We have to start building interest earlier,” Graham told me in conversation at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a few weeks ago. “If we want this to grow, we can’t start beating the drums in July — it has to be a year-‘round project.”
To this end, Paul Einarson has notified Graham that his organization, the British Auto Racing Club (he’s the club’s Race Director), will make a modest annual contribution to the scholarship fund starting in 2013 .
Wrote Einarson: “This is to say thanks to Brian Graham and his associates for developing this program as a ladder to international racing opportunities for Canadians. I have copied the other Race Organizers in Ontario on this and challenge them to contribute similarly.”
Good for Brian Graham for getting this going, good for the sponsors and supporters who have already signed on, and good for Paul Einarson for starting the ball rolling on a grassroots support movement.
To learn more about the Team Canada Scholarship, visit www.teamcanadaracing.org and to follow their progress this weekend, please visit the Team Canada Scholarship Facebook page at:
This year’s Team Canada Scholarship was made possible with the support of primary sponsors Grote Manufacturing and The Race Drivers Guild of Canada, who were both instrumental in the program’s creation.
Also supporting the Scholarship are Hallman Construction, LSI International, Gen. Lew Mackenzie RET, Bollenbach Insurance, EFormulacarnews.com, Door Doctor, Harvan Engineering, Rod-End Mechanical, Bamford Produce, RMB Inc, the Leda Krikorian Foundation, Altwood Doors, Bruce Gregory/Calabogie Motorsports Park, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Inside Track Motorsports News and Formula Tour 1600.