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Alessandro Zanardi of Italy pushes off from the start of the men’s road cycle individual time trial H4 category at the 2012 Paralympics games, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in London. (Alastair Grant/AP Photo)
Alessandro Zanardi of Italy pushes off from the start of the men’s road cycle individual time trial H4 category at the 2012 Paralympics games, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in London. (Alastair Grant/AP Photo)

Motorsports

Motorsports: The best and worst of racing in 2012 Add to ...

Pass of the year – Tie between Force India drivers Paul Di Resta (Bahrain Grand Prix) and Nico Hulkenberg (Korean Grand Prix).

In Di Resta’s case, he closed quickly on the Sauber of Sergio Perez and Williams of Pastor Maldonado who were battling over 10th place 20 laps into the Bahrain Grand Prix. Di Resta, who had just pitted for fresh tires, wasted no time.

He pounced when the pair pushed each other wide in Turn 4 and skillfully cut underneath both cars to take two spots in one brilliant move.

His teammate Hulkenberg pulled off an almost identical maneuver with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean of Lotus as the victims in the Korean Grand Prix. On Lap 40, Hulkenberg used his fresher tires to catch the pair as Grosjean tried to outbrake Hamilton going into Turn 3.

When Grosjean’s move didn’t stick, he and Hamilton drag raced side-by-side to Corner 4, with Hulkenberg making it three-wide as they approached the turn. Using the better grip of his new rubber, Hulkenberg went to the outside of both cars in Turn 4 and muscled his way past both on the exit.

Quote of the year – Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus F1 Team

Ask any journalist in the Formula One paddock and they’ll tell you that it’s likely easier to win a grand prix than get a good quote out of Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen. But even the most reticent conversationalists can come up with gems every now and then.

A case in point was this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Räikkönen sent just about everyone into hysterics when he tossed some choice words at his race engineer, Simon Rennie, who was apparently being too chatty.

When Rennie gave Räikkönen the gap to second-placed Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and said more would be coming, the normally quiet Finn brusquely snapped: “Leave me alone; I know what I am doing.”

Scariest revelation of the year – NASCAR drivers racing with concussions

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat out two races after being diagnosed with a headaches due to a concussion suffered a wreck in Talladega, it came to light that the NASCAR’s most popular driver had also raced earlier in the season while feeling the effects of getting his bell rung.

Earnhardt experienced headaches after a crash during a tire test in Kansas but did not seek medical attention for his symptoms. About six weeks later, severe headaches following the accident in Talladega forced him to see a doctor.

In addition to hiding symptoms after this year’s Kansas crash, Earnhardt also admitted to racing with a concussion previously. Making matters worse was four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon’s admission that he would keep concussion symptoms secret if he were in title contention late in a NASCAR season.

Others like Mark Martin and 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski said that they felt doctor’s orders shouldn’t keep a driver on the sidelines, but rather it should be a up to the individual driver to choose whether or not they should race.

For more from Jeff Pappone, go to facebook.com/jeffpappone (No login required!)

Twitter: @jpappone

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