Summit Vegas nationals

Ladies rule NHRA in Vegas: Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) win

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Sunday was Ladies Day in final eliminations of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, as Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) flexed their girl power all the way to victory lane.

It was the second time that two female drivers have earned wins in the same NHRA event, the other time coming when Courtney Force and Enders-Stevens made history in 2012 at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.

Also winning in the fourth race of the 24-race season was Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel.

In conquering The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, DeJoria won her second career national event – and second race of the last three this season – while Enders-Stevens followed up Saturday’s win in the K&N Horsepower Challenge with Sunday’s triumph.

DeJoria recorded a final-round pass of 4.026 seconds at 309.98 mph to defeat Robert Hight (4.083, 315.42), who she also beat to earn her first national event win last month at Phoenix.

“This was definitely a grudge match [with Hight] coming off our win in Phoenix,” DeJoria said. “I was just in shock when we won there. It was gratifying and intense.

“Today my team gave me a good car and got me down the track first. I really appreciate them so much and all they give up to help this team go racing.”

Even with the defeat, Hight took over the Funny Car points lead, having reached the final round in three of this season’s first four races.

DeJoria, meanwhile, leads all Funny Car drivers with two wins and moved up to third in the standings.

As for Enders-Stevens, she was unbeatable in the Horsepower Challenge and then in Sunday’s four rounds of eliminations, her seventh career national event win.

She is now third on the all-time wins list of female drivers in the NHRA behind Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angelle Sampey and Top Fuel legend Shirley Muldowney.

In addition, Enders-Stevens, who earned $100,000 in winnings and bonuses this weekend, becomes the first female to ever lead the Pro Stock points standings.

“This is storybook,” she said. “We’ve gone a few years without sponsorship; there were definitely more lows than highs. It would have been easy to quit. This is definitely a highlight. Next to winning a championship, this is probably the coolest thing in the world.”

Enders-Stevens covered the track in 6.612 seconds at 208.78 mph, preventing Jason Line (6.633, 208.23) from earning his second win of the season.

In Top Fuel, Schumacher earned his first win after 15 winless events dating back to last season, defeating points leader Doug Kalitta.

“I’m not angry that we hadn’t won in a long time,” Schumacher said. “I was disappointed, but I understand that you have to make leaps and bounds. Kalitta is running great, Antron (Brown) is running good, the Alan Johnson [Al-Anabi] cars are going to be bad to the bone pretty soon. We have to keep forcing the issue.”

Schumacher earned his eighth career win at Las Vegas and his 73rd overall career win (in his 126th final round appearance) with a run of 3.797 seconds at 326.16 mph. Even though he came up short at 3.814s seconds and 321.12 mph, it still was Kalitta’s  third final round appearance in the first four events.

“It was important for us to get this win,” Schumacher said. “There’s a lot of pressure early in the season to get a win and get into the Shootout for a chance to race for $100,000. I love the pressure. We’re a high-pressure, adversity kind of team.”

The next national event takes place in two weeks, from April 11-13, at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.

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Below are the final finishing order of Sunday’s 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, followed by final round results, round-by-round final eliminations, and updated points standings in each pro class following the fourth of this season’s 24 national events:

Final finishing order (1-16):

TOP FUEL:

1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Steve Torrence; 5. J.R. Todd; 6. Bob Vandergriff; 7. Shawn Langdon; 8. Spencer Massey; 9. Khalid alBalooshi; 10. Terry McMillen; 11. Richie Crampton; 12. Troy Buff; 13. Mike Strasburg; 14. Steve Faria; 15. Clay Millican; 16. Brittany Force.

FUNNY CAR:

1. Alexis DeJoria; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Cruz Pedregon; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Courtney Force; 7. Paul Lee; 8. Tony Pedregon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. John Force; 11. Del Worsham; 12. Jeff Arend; 13. Matt Hagan; 14. Chad Head; 15. Jon Capps; 16. Tommy Johnson Jr..

PRO STOCK:

1. Erica Enders-Stevens; 2. Jason Line; 3. Chris McGaha; 4. Jimmy Alund; 5. Shane Gray; 6. Jeg Coughlin; 7. Dave Connolly; 8.  Steve Kent; 9. Larry Morgan; 10. Rodger Brogdon; 11. Deric Kramer; 12. Allen Johnson; 13. V. Gaines; 14. Vincent Nobile; 15. Mark Wolfe; 16. Matt Hartford.

FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Tony Schumacher, 3.797 seconds, 326.16 mph  def. Doug Kalitta, 3.814 seconds, 321.12 mph.

Funny Car — Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.026, 309.98  def. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.083, 315.42.

Pro Stock — Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.612, 208.78  def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.633, 208.23.

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, 3.822, 323.74 def. Richie Crampton, 3.837, 312.57; Tony Schumacher, 3.808, 320.13 def. Troy Buff, 3.857, 310.27; Doug Kalitta, 3.844, 320.58 def. Steve Faria, 4.070, 249.26; Antron Brown, 3.758, 322.19 def. Mike Strasburg, 3.996, 305.01; Steve Torrence, 3.785, 326.63 def. Terry McMillen, 3.826, 301.33; Spencer Massey, 3.805, 320.43 def. Clay Millican, 4.212, 207.91; Bob Vandergriff, 3.824, 313.00 def. Brittany Force, 7.525, 68.56; Shawn Langdon, 3.796, 321.88 def. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.810, 319.45;

QUARTERFINALS — Kalitta, 3.837, 322.42 def. Vandergriff, 3.842, 316.97; Schumacher, 4.869, 220.69 def. Massey, 12.908, 68.25; Brown, 3.774, 326.48 def. Langdon, 3.873, 300.80; Torrence, 3.804, 324.83 def. Todd, 3.800, 321.96;

SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.785, 325.37 def. Torrence, 4.941, 178.66; Schumacher, 3.812, 327.43 def. Brown, 3.875, 300.46;

FINAL — Schumacher, 3.797, 326.16 def. Kalitta, 3.814, 321.12.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.082, 314.02 def. Jeff Arend, Dodge Charger, 4.768, 170.97; Ron Capps, Charger, 7.856, 82.57 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, foul; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.125, 308.78 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 8.354, 80.00; Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.106, 310.05 def. Jon Capps, Chevy Impala, foul; Paul Lee, Charger, 4.132, 300.60 def. John Force, Mustang, 4.137, 302.96; Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.171, 291.32 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.545, 211.39; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.071, 305.08 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.998, 185.36; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.757, 207.91 def. Chad Head, Camry, 5.050, 232.79;

QUARTERFINALS — R. Capps, 4.133, 311.63 def. Beckman, 4.135, 311.27; C. Pedregon, 4.104, 297.94 def. C. Force, 4.144, 308.43; Hight, 4.086, 316.82 def. Lee, 4.312, 269.40; DeJoria, 4.125, 307.37 def. T. Pedregon, 4.604, 190.59;

SEMIFINALS — DeJoria, 4.090, 309.34 def. C. Pedregon, 9.007, 82.23; Hight, 4.073, 315.86 def. R. Capps, 4.133, 310.84;

FINAL — DeJoria, 4.026, 309.98 def. Hight, 4.083, 315.42.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Jimmy Alund, Chevy Camaro, 7.821, 194.18 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 8.110, 178.10; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.647, 207.91 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 7.498, 148.59; Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.673, 206.54 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.782, 207.43; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.645, 207.37 def. Deric Kramer, Avenger, 6.705, 206.29; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.657, 207.59 def. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 22.863, 24.93; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.621, 207.69 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.702, 206.67; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.697, 207.88 def. Mark Wolfe, Ford Mustang, 12.622, 68.35; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.645, 207.66 def. Larry Morgan, Mustang, 6.693, 206.80;

QUARTERFINALS — Alund, 6.689, 206.92 def. Coughlin, 6.653, 207.82; Line, 6.652, 207.72 def. Connolly, 6.654, 207.91; Enders-Stevens, 6.626, 208.39 def. Kent, 6.674, 206.86; McGaha, 6.644, 207.69 def. Gray, 6.649, 208.46;

SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.645, 207.98 def. Alund, 6.647, 208.10; Enders-Stevens, 6.618, 208.65 def. McGaha, foul;

FINAL — Enders-Stevens, 6.612, 208.78 def. Line, 6.633, 208.23.

UPDATED POINTS STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL

1.  Doug Kalitta, 412; 2.  Antron Brown, 339; 3.  Steve Torrence, 314; 4.  Tony Schumacher, 262; 5.  Spencer Massey, 236; 6.  Khalid alBalooshi, 229; 7.  Shawn Langdon, 223; 8.  Brittany Force, 191; 9.  Richie Crampton, 157; 10.  Bob Vandergriff, 150.

FUNNY CAR

1.  Robert Hight, 367; 2.  John Force, 358; 3.  Alexis DeJoria, 299; 4.  Ron Capps, 241; 5.  Del Worsham, 224; 6.  Courtney Force, 207; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 205; 8.  Matt Hagan, 204; 9.  Jack Beckman, 202; 10.  Bob Tasca III, 194.

PRO STOCK

1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 344; 2.  Jason Line, 329; 3.  Allen Johnson, 317; 4.  V. Gaines, 276; 5.  (tie) Dave Connolly, 267; Vincent Nobile, 267; 7.  Shane Gray, 237; 8.  Jeg Coughlin, 214; 9.  Chris McGaha, 191; 10.  Jimmy Alund, 169.

Ross Brawn, Sean Bratches confirmed in top F1 roles

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 22:  Mercedes GP Team Principal Ross Brawn is seen in the paddock during previews to the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 22, 2013 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches have been confirmed to key roles within Formula 1’s new leadership structure under new chairman/CEO Chase Carey.

Brawn, whose team won the 2009 World Championship with Jenson Button before laying the groundwork for Mercedes’ recent run of form, and who achieved a wealth of success with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, has been installed as Managing Director, Motor Sports. Bratches, a former ESPN executive, will be Managing Director, Commercial Operations. It’s an undoubted key role in Brawn’s 40-year career.

Carey’s latter role was confirmed today as part of Liberty Media Corporation’s completed acquisition of the sport, which sees Bernie Ecclestone removed as CEO.

“I am delighted to welcome Ross back to Formula 1. In his 40 years in the sport, he’s brought his magic touch to every team with which he has worked, has almost unparalleled technical knowledge, experience and relationships, and I have already benefitted greatly from his advice and expertise,” Carey said in a release.

“I am thrilled Sean is joining Formula 1. Sean was a driving force in building ESPN into one of the world’s leading sports franchises. His expertise and experience in sales, marketing, digital media, and distribution will be invaluable as we grow Formula 1.

“I look forward to working with Ross and Sean, as well as key current executives including Duncan Llowarch, our CFO, and Sacha Woodward Hill, our General Counsel, the FIA, Bernie and Liberty as we work together to make Formula 1 the best it can be for the teams, promoters and fans for years to come.”

The Brawn appointment sees him back in the sport several years after the end of his time with Mercedes, and not long after the release of his new book. He’s been consulting to Liberty Media for several months.

“It’s fantastic to be returning to the world of Formula 1,” Brawn said. “I’ve enjoyed consulting with Liberty Media these last few months and I’m looking forward to working with Chase, Sean and the rest of the Formula 1 Team to help the evolution of the sport. We have an almost unprecedented opportunity to work together with the teams and promoters for a better F1 for them and, most importantly, for the fans.”

Bratches has more than 27 years experience and at ESPN, most recently served as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

“I’m very excited to be joining Formula 1 and contribute to the continued growth of this extraordinary global brand and sport,” Bratches said. “Formula 1 is one of few truly global tier one sports, and I am encouraged by the manifold opportunities to materially grow the business, work closely with current and future sponsors, race circuits, television rights holders as well as create next generation digital and on-site race experiences to best serve the Formula 1 fans.”

Liberty completes F1 takeover; Bernie Ecclestone out as F1 CEO

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 11:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone walks in the Paddock during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 11, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign at the helm of Formula 1 has come to an end following the CEO’s resignation on Monday, the major bit of news on a day when Liberty Media has formally completed its acquisition of Formula 1.

Ecclestone, 86, played an instrumental role in building F1 into the global success it is today, forming the Formula One Constructors’ Association in 1974 and becoming its CEO.

Ecclestone has controlled the commercials rights to the series ever since, but his position came into question last fall when F1 was sold to American company Liberty Media. Liberty installed Chase Carey as F1’s new chairman, with Ecclestone staying on as CEO.

However, with Liberty’s takeover of F1 set to be completed by the end of the month, Ecclestone’s tenure as the sport’s ringmaster is set to end following his resignation as CEO. Carey is now formally confirmed as new Chairman and CEO of the sport.

“I was deposed today,” Ecclestone told Auto Motor und Sport. “This is official. I do not run the company anymore. My position has been taken over by Chase Carey.

“My new position is now such an American expression. A kind of honorary president. I’ll get this title without knowing what it means.

“My days in office are now somewhat calmer. Maybe I’ll come to a grand prix. I still have a lot of friends in the Formula 1. And I still have enough money to be able to afford a visit to a race.”

AMUS’ report was followed by an official statement from Liberty later Monday afternoon, confirming Ecclestone no longer served as F1’s CEO, and confirming Ecclestone as Chairman Emeritus of the sport.

“I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with,” Ecclestone said in a release. “I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

Carey said, “I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO. F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans overtime.”

“I would like to recognize and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie’s role as Chairman Emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved.”

Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation, added: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of F1 and that Chase will lead this business as CEO. There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this. I’d like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes Chairman Emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport.”

Liberty confirmed within the release that the Liberty Media Group name will become the Formula One Group. Full formal details are linked here.

While not announced today, Liberty is reportedly set to bring in ex-ESPN marketing chief Sean Bratches in a commercial role, and ex-Ferrari and Benetton technical chief Ross Brawn has been linked with a sporting role to define the future roadmap for F1.

Liberty’s takeover is set to result in a number of changes for F1, with the United States being identified as a key market for the series to grow in.

Recently-appointed McLaren executive director Zak Brown said earlier this month that he believed Liberty would focus on putting fans first in a bid to boost its audience.

While Liberty’s exact plans for F1 moving forward remain unclear, the departure of Ecclestone as its ringmaster certainly signals the end of an era for the series.

PWC: Parente back, Sellers, Hedlund join at K-PAX

Photo: PWC
Photo: PWC
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Defending Pirelli World Challenge GT champions K-PAX Racing have confirmed their lineup for this year’s season, which will see Alvaro Parente back to defend his crown in one of three McLaren 650S GT3s.

Parente will have two new teammates, in two talented Americans. Bryan Sellers will make his first run at a full-time PWC season in the team’s No. 6 McLaren, while Mike Hedlund, who’s driven off-and-on with K-PAX Racing technical partner Flying Lizard Motorsports, will run for a GTA title in the No. 98 McLaren.

Sellers and Hedlund replace Austin Cindric and Colin Thompson, respectively, as full-season drivers. Driver lineups for the SprintX races will be announced at a later date.

“With the addition of new teams, drivers and GT3 cars in the Pirelli World Challenge, 2017 is going to be tighter and more challenging than ever,” said Team Owner Jim Haughey. “So we are very pleased to have Alvaro, the returning Driver’s Champion, team up with the very competent Bryan Sellers in GT and Mike Hedlund in GTA.”

The full release is linked here.

These confirmations add to what’s shaping up to be, once again, a very good GT class field for the series.

Foyt confirms hire of Will Phillips as technical director

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Larry Foyt, Will Phillips and A.J. Foyt. Photo courtesy A.J. Foyt Racing
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A.J. Foyt Racing has confirmed the hire of ex-INDYCAR Vice President of Technology Will Phillips as the team’s new technical director. He’ll also serve as race engineer for Carlos Munoz this season. Trackside Online was first to report the hire.

Phillips was named as technical delegate for the Formula 4 United States Championship powered by Honda this past year, and now will be in a team role for the two-car Chevrolet outfit that Foyt has this season.

Munoz and Conor Daly will be in the pair of ABC Supply Co. Chevrolets this season, with Daniele Cucchiaroni continuing with the team as Daly’s race engineer. The duo tests this week at Sebring International Raceway’s short course.

He’s been a technical director/chief engineer, race engineer or design engineer at various teams, including but not limited to de Ferran Motorsports, Highcroft Racing, Rocketsports, and Reynard Motorsport.

“It is a privilege to join one of the most iconic teams in the IndyCar Series,” Phillips said in a release. “I have missed the competition and as such am looking forward to being back on the frontline. The depth of talent in the team is impressive and I look forward to working with them and helping create a cohesive engineering group to support Carlos and Conor.”

A.J. Foyt added, “I’m glad to have Will on our team. He’s smart and experienced and he was a close friend of “Ando’s” [the late John Anderson]. Ando worked for me and was a good friend of mine. I don’t know Will that well yet, but if Ando respected him, that’s good enough for me. I think Will can do a great job for us.”