Sports Outside the Beltway

Bahrain Grand Prix called off

The Middle East car race was canceled by the country. From AP-

The season-opening Formula One race in Bahrain was called off Monday because of anti-government protests sweeping the Gulf kingdom.

The race is the country’s biggest international sports event and has been on the F1 calendar every year since 2004.

“We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula One race to a later date,” Bahrain’s crown prince said in a statement.

Eight people have been killed since the unrest began last week and demonstrators planned to use the March 13 race to highlight demands for the ruling monarchy to give up its near-absolute control.

The race could be rescheduled for later in the year. IMHO I think the canceling of the race was the right decision.


Mark Webber wins the British Grand Prix

It was his third Formula One triumph for 2010. From AP-

Mark Webber cruised to his third Formula One victory of the season Sunday after overtaking Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.Britain F1 GP Auto Racing

The Australian finished 1.36 seconds ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, turning in an immaculate drive at Silverstone after being angered by having to hand over a key car part to Vettel.

“Not bad for a No. 2 driver,” Webber quipped over his radio during his victory lap.

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes was third.

With nine races to go, Hamilton leads the overall standings with 145 points, 12 ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button. Webber is third with 128 after becoming the first driver this season to win three races. Vettel is fourth with 121.

Webber’s car has been equipped with the old version of Red Bull’s front wing since qualifying Saturday after the new design was stripped and handed to Vettel, who subsequently took the pole.

But Webber led throughout Sunday after pushing Vettel wide on the opening lap, when Vettel also punctured a tire.

So they raced 80 laps without a lead change. This is almost standard operating procedure for Formula One races. I watched the Monaco Grand Prix two months ago, and the driver who got the lead on the first lap led all the way.

So why does anyone watch these races? For the crashes or to party?


NASCAR Driver Brian Vickers hospitalized with blood clots

He has two career wins. From AP-

NASCAR driver Brian Vickers was hospitalized with blood clots in his legs and around his lungs.

Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye says Vickers is on medication and was hopeful of being released from the hospital on Friday.

Frye says Vickers complained of discomfort on his chest and went to the hospital. He says the team is not sure what caused the clots.

Frye says there is “no timetable” for Vickers’ return.

The 26-year-old is in his seventh full season racing in NASCAR’s elite Sprint Cup Series. He has two career Cup wins and made the 12-driver Chase for the championship last season.

It sounds like Vickers suffered a pulmonary embolism which is very serious. I know about it from personal, a PE almost killed me in 2005. The medication Vickers will take is coumadin. It is a blood thinner and I’m still taking it today.

Vickers could be back racing very quickly. I hope he gets well soon.


Sebastian Vettel wins the Malaysian Grand Prix

It was his 6th lifetime Formula One triumph.

Sebastian Vettel took victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of team-mate Mark Webber as Red Bull Racing finally realised the potential it had shown in the opening two races.Malaysian GP

Vettel took the lead from team-mate Mark Webber at the start and then headed the pack pretty much throughout. It was a welcome result for the Milton Keynes-based outfit after reliability woes cost the team victories in Bahrain and Australia.

Nico Rosberg took the final spot on the podium for Mercedes followed by Robert Kubica’s Renault and Adrian Sutil, who held of Lewis Hamilton, to take sixth.

Wet weather in Kuala Lumpar did affect the race but ultimately little was changed. As often happens in GP racing, the race result is decided in the qualifying session. Vettel, who started from the pole, led from start to finish. How do fans find a race like this or the season opener in Bahrain exciting is beyond me.


Fernando Alonso wins Bahrain Grand Prix

He also won the 2005 and 2006 editions of the race. From AFP-

Two-times former champion Fernando Alonso marked his debut with Ferrari by leading home team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa in a resounding one-two triumph at Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.Fernando Alonso

In a keenly-anticipated race including four champions, three new teams, five rookie drivers and new rules that banned mid-race refuelling, returning 41-year-old ‘red baron’ Michael Schumacher was left among the chasing pack and finished sixth.

It was the German legend’s first Formula One race after three years in retirement, having won a record seven drivers world titles, and he was beaten by his Mercedes team-mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg, who came home fifth.

Defending Formula One Champion Jenson Button finished 7th. Button who didn’t have that spectacular a career(Only one ever Formula One win) before before 2009, could be just another ordinary driver again.


Formula One adding India to 2011 schedule

The 2010 racing season opens in Bahrain this Sunday. From AP-

India is set to host a Formula One race starting in 2011.

The decision was announced by governing body FIA on Thursday after a World Motor Sports Council meeting in Bahrain.

Can ladies professional golf be long for the Asian sub continent? I expect the LPGA to be playing in India and Dubai within five years.


Bump in the road- Jamie McMurray wins the Daytona 500

It was his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Victory. From AP-

Jamie McMurray has won the Daytona 500, holding off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. over a wild, two-lap sprint to the finish of NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl.NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing

The race was stopped twice and delayed for more than two hours because of a pothole at Daytona International Speedway, and the setback nearly derailed the race. NASCAR struggled to patch the hole, and drivers knew the pavement could tear at any time after the final repair.

It meant they had to race hard the final 80 miles, and did they ever.

It was a great and crazy race like many other 500s. My personal favorite is the 76 edition where Richard Petty and David Pearson crashed coming down the home stretch. With a helpful push from his pit crew, Pearson got across the finish line first. If I remember right Benny Parsons(the 75 champ) was coming hard from 3rd place.

McMurray is wildly inconstent in his results. Just look at his 2009 Sprint Cup campaign. A win at Daytona is definitely career changing for a driver.


Formula One to use new points system

If the same points system had in place last championship season, Jenson Button would have still won the title but by a larger margin. From AP-

Formula One is set to formalize new regulations for the expanded 13-team championship that includes a points system that would reward the top 10 drivers while handing race winners 25 points.

Second-place drivers would earn 18 points, followed by 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point, the sport’s governing body FIA said Tuesday. Since 1993, it went 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

Jenson Button would still have captured the 2009 championship with the new system, but by a greater margin over Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s a good decision to change this points system,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said. “The reason for it is we are pushing for more overtaking maneuvers. We just hope this will be the case.”

I think the news points system is better. A win should be worth more and have a wider points gain over finishing second. Three points just doesn’t seem big enough.

FIA is also proposing to have the top-10 race qualifiers start on their qualifying tires, while the rest of the field could use new tires. F1 will also reduce the number of dry-weather tires available to teams to “encourage teams to run during the Friday practice sessions.”

The tire change rule isn’t finalized yet. Is F1 trying to bring parity to its racing by taking away an advantage from certain drivers or trying to better define its best driver every season? I see a little bit of contradiction in their actions.


Crystal Ball Time

My annual sports predictions for the upcoming year. Due to some unknown reason, I skipped doing this a year ago. What matters is I came back, right?

1 Cleveland beats the LA Lakers for the NBA Championship
2 Indianapolis defeats Arizona in the Super Bowl Crystall ball
3 San Jose defeats Washington for the Stanley Cup
4 St. Louis beats the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series
5 Tiger Woods returns to golf, wins at least one tournament but no major championships. That is a risky prediction in light of the fact that Tiger has won majors on 3 of this year’s host courses.(Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews)
6 Phil Mickelson wins the US Open
7 Michelle Wie wins at least two tournaments, one of which is a major championship
8 Ji Yai Shin is LPGA player of the year
9 A non-Korean golfer will be LPGA rookie of the year
10 Yu-Na Kim wins figure skating gold at the 2010 Olympics
11 The Miami Dolphins don’t make this year’s playoffs but have a winning 2010 season
12 The Miami Heat make the playoffs but lose in the 1st round
13 The Florida Marlins have a winning record but don’t make the playoffs
14 Urban Meyer doesn’t return as coach of the Florida Gators
15 Joe Paterno announces his retirement after the 2010 Penn State season is complete
16 The Florida Panthers don’t make the playoffs
17 The Florida Panthers trade Goalie Tomas Vokoun
18 Manny Pacquiao loses to Floyd Mayweather
19 Kansas defeats Purdue for the NCAA Basketball Championship
20 Texas defeats Alabama in the BCS Championship game
21 Army has a winning football season and gets a bowl invitation
22 Washington Redskins fire Coach Jim Zorn
23 Serena Williams wins at Wimbledon
24 Versus and Directv finally settle their dispute
25 A North American horse racing track closes its doors.
26 Sebastian Vettel wins the Formula World Drivers Championship
27 New York Rangers fire Coach John Tortorella
28 The New Jersey Nets don’t finish with the worst record in NBA history
29 Connecticut defeats Tennessee for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship
30 At least half these predictions are wrong

We’ll come back on December 31st 2010 and see how I did.


British Grand Prix to be remain at Silverstone

The oldest F1 race was scheduled to move to Donington Park beginning in 2010. From AP-

The British Grand Prix will stay at Silverstone after Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and the track’s owners agreed to a 17-year deal on Monday.

Donington Park was stripped of the right to host next year’s British GP after efforts to raise funds for a necessary upgrade failed and the race had been in doubt.
Donington was awarded the 17-year staging rights last year but Donington Ventures Leisure Limited failed to find buyers for seven-year bonds that it hoped would generate $221 million to fund rebuilding work to bring the track up to standard.

Silverstone has staged the British GP, the oldest race on the F1 calendar, every year since 1987 and continued to plan for the 2010 race even after Donington secured the rights.

Now Silverstone will undergo improvements in preparation for next year’s race. The 2009 edition of the British GP was won by Sebastian Vettel


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