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Michael Waltrip Racing’s Ty Norris reinstated by NASCAR

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As part of his team’s punishment for its role in the race manipulation scandal that rocked NASCAR last fall at Richmond International Raceway, Michael Waltrip Racing executive Ty Norris was given an indefinite suspension.

But today, the sanctioning body announced that Norris has been reinstated into the sport, although he does remain on indefinite probation.

Norris’ suspension on Sept. 9, 2013 was one of multiple blows delivered by NASCAR after they found that the team conspired to manipulate the 2013 “regular season” finale at Richmond in a bid to get then-MWR driver Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

In addition to Norris’ suspension, NASCAR removed Truex from the Chase. They also docked Truex and teammates Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers 50 points each, and also fined MWR $300,000.

The Richmond incident gave NASCAR unwanted attention during its most important time of the year, and forced two alterations to the 2013 post-season field. Ryan Newman was lifted into the Chase after the MWR penalties, and then Jeff Gordon was added as a 13th driver.

Truex’s sponsor, NAPA, left MWR at season’s end, forcing the team to draw down to two full-time programs for Bowyer and Vickers. Their third Toyota, since re-numbered as the No. 66, has been relegated to part-time duty with Jeff Burton as its driver. Truex has also moved on as well, and now drives for Furniture Row Racing.

Norris remains an executive vice president of MWR but is no longer involved on the competition side. He now works primarily on the team’s marketing and sponsorship efforts.

“I appreciate NASCAR’s action today and respect their position,” Norris said according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck. “I am focused forward and dedicated to the success of Michael Waltrip Racing and the continued growth of a sport that has been my home for the past 24 years.”

Formula E adds Hong Kong race for October 2016

Photo: FIA Formula E
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The FIA Formula E Championship will add Hong Kong to its calendar for its third season, 2016-2017.

The race will take place on October 9, 2016 – exactly one year from now – around the city’s Central district. The 2km circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225kph (140mph).

The launch event today featured the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable CY Leung; Mr. Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Mr. Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E Holdings; Mr. Lawrence Yu Kam-Kee, President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association; and reigining FE champion Nelson Piquet Jr.

“The Hong Kong ePrix will be one of the highlights on the FIA Formula E Championship calendar,” Agag said in a release. “As one of the most innovative, cutting-edge and fun-loving cities in the world, Hong Kong and Formula E share many of the same qualities. We look forward to bringing all the fun and entertainment of Formula E to this amazing city, and international motorsport back to Hong Kong.”

The track map is linked below.

Hong Kong track map

Prema Powerteam to race in GP2 next season

MACAU, MACAO - NOVEMBER 16:  Prema Powerteam driver Esteban Ocon of France in action during the Formula 3 event as part of the 60th Macau Grand Prix on November 16, 2013 in Macau, Macau.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
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Prema Powerteam has confirmed that it will enter GP2 for the first time in 2016, taking over the entry of Team Lazarus.

Prema has established itself as one of the most formidable teams in junior motorsport over the past 30 years, winning countless championships – including the last five FIA F3 titles – and helping to launch the careers of Ryan Briscoe, Roberto Merhi and Esteban Ocon (pictured).

In 2016, it will enter GP2 – Formula 1’s feeder series – for the very first time, taking over Lazarus’ entry as its four-year association with the series comes to an end.

“We are delighted to line-up for this exciting new adventure in the GP2 Series,” Prema manager Rene Rosin said. “Prema always followed the evolution of the GP2 concept as an interested spectator, and it is now finally time to join the game in first person.

“The move to the GP2 Series is a logical step for Prema, following the successful experiences in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and in the Italian and the German Formula 4 Championships, which will continue with the same level of commitment.”

Series CEO Bruno Michel was pleased to welcome Prema to GP2, and believes that it will adapt quickly to life in the championship thanks to its impressive racing record.

“I am very pleased to welcome Prema to the GP2 Series,” Michel said. “Their remarkable track record makes me believe that they should be able to adapt quickly to our category.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank [Lazarus team principal] Tancredi Pagiaro and his team for their hard work and dedication for the past four seasons. I wish them the best for the future.”