Coughlin, Langdon earn NHRA titles in season finale

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Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Shawn Langdon (pictured) won NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series class championships in this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Coughlin locked up his fifth Pro Stock title Sunday when Jason Line, the only other driver that was eligible for the title, lost in the second round of eliminations. With that, Coughlin became the eighth driver in NHRA history to win five pro series crowns.

“This was the tightest and one of the most intense championship races I’ve ever been involved with, and it certainly ranks right up there with the previous titles,” Coughlin said to NHRA.com about clinching.

As for Langdon, he won the Top Fuel title on Saturday in qualifying, and on Sunday, he celebrated by taking the Pomona race win over Doug Kalitta with a run of 3.784 seconds at 323.58 miles per hour.

In comments to the Los Angeles Times, Langdon expressed his thrill of winning the title at Pomona, a track where he watched many races while growing up.

“It’s weird to think back to where I started and where I’m at now,” Langdon said to the Times’ Mike DiGiovanna on Saturday. “Coming back to Pomona, where I grew up racing and watching my dad race, winning a championship, it’s a crazy feeling, a great feeling. It’s definitely a dream come true.”

Matt Hagan bested the recently-crowned Funny Car champion John Force in the FC final round, knocking off the legend with a 4.018-second run at 320.66 mph. Also earning event wins were Rickie Jones in Pro Stock (his first career win in the class) and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.