Lucas Oil 150

Mixed fortunes for TSM youngsters Kwasniewski, Burton

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Turner Scott Motorsports’ 2014 efforts have changed in the last few days. One of its drivers, who was poised for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, is now out of a full-time ride, while another driver will have a chance at a full-time season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series ranks.

The bad news first: Jeb Burton’s No. 4 Truck team was shuttered over the weekend, when sponsor Arrowhead electronic cigarettes defaulted on payments. Burton won his first race in 2013 and finished fifth in points; he was a likely title contender in 2014.

“Racing is kind of my whole life, and to have it kind of taken from me because of something I don’t have any control over is devastating to my family and I,” said the son of former Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, via

TSM’s lone full-time NCWTS driver will be Ben Kennedy, with a part-time effort featuring Brandon Jones and other drivers to be named later.

On the Nationwide side, TSM confirmed Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, will compete in a full season with sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink in the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro. Kwasniewski is the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion.

“The test session earlier this month at Daytona taught us a lot and it’s good to enter Daytona with a level of confidence, not only for myself, but for Pat (Tryson) and all the guys,” he said in a release. The aforementioned Pat is Pat Tryson, who will be his crew chief this year.

Kyle Larson is also set for a full year in Nationwide for TSM, to go along with his Sprint Cup Series commitments with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen: Verstappen is already “a real pro”

during a media interview at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards on April 15, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
© Getty Images
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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.

In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.

Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.

“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.

“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”

Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.