Vincent Nobile earned his first Pro Stock win of 2014 Sunday in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

Vincent Nobile beats teammate Jason Line at Joliet to earn first NHRA Pro Stock win in nearly a year

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JOLIET, Illinois – When Vincent Nobile moved to Ken Black Racing after last season, the goal was obviously to win races in Pro Stock.

It took him a bit longer to do so than he planned – going 12 starts in 2014 – but the 22-year-old Nobile finally earned his first win of both the season and with his new team, defeating two-time world champion and teammate Jason Line in Sunday’s final round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Nobile crossed the finish line first with a run of 6.655 seconds at 208.01 mph. Line was slightly quicker (6.637 seconds) and faster (209.26 mph), but Nobile won the race with a far quicker reaction time: .004 seconds to Line’s .031 effort.

It was Nobile’s ninth career win and his first since Seattle last summer.

“It’s a great win, kind of a long time coming,” Nobile said. “I know I’m young and I’ve won some races, but when you go a streak like I’ve done and not won one, you kind of forget what it feels like. But today definitely refreshed my memory.”

It was Nobile’s second straight final round appearance. He made a shifting error in last week’s race at Epping, New Hampshire and wound up with a runner-up finish.

He was bound and determined not to make another mistake Sunday.

“I kind of choked a little bit there short-shifting and it cost us the race,” Nobile said. “We would have sealed the deal there, I’m pretty confident about it, but I came back here confident and I think I redeemed myself.

“Nobody’s perfect and I’m the first to admit it. I had the car (last week) and it was just me. Today as a team, we all came together and got it done.”

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Final finishing order (1-16) at the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway:

 

PRO STOCK:

1.  Vincent Nobile; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Dave Connolly; 4.  Shane Tucker; 5.  Allen Johnson; 6.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Jeg Coughlin; 9.  V. Gaines; 10.  Jonathan Gray; 11.  Greg Anderson; 12.  Larry Morgan; 13.  Mark Martino; 14.  Mark Hogan; 15.  Dave River; 16.  Chris McGaha.

 

 

Round-by-round results from the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway:

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Dave Connolly, Chevy Camaro, 6.618, 209.43 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, foul; Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.639, 209.20 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, broke; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.619, 209.10 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.624, 208.81; Shane Gray, Camaro, 12.771, 68.13 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, foul; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.601, 210.24 def. Mark Martino, Pontiac GXP, 6.696, 207.21; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.606, 209.72 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.680, 207.27; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.620, 208.71 def. Mark Hogan, GXP, 6.737, 205.35; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.658, 209.36 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 14.169, 49.29;

QUARTERFINALS — Tucker, 6.658, 208.71 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.647, 208.59; Connolly, 6.635, 209.23 def. Johnson, 6.625, 208.46; Nobile, 6.645, 208.36 def. Coughlin, foul; Line, 6.630, 209.75 def. S. Gray, 6.667, 208.26;

SEMIFINALS — Nobile, 6.638, 208.55 def. Tucker, 6.699, 208.62; Line, 6.628, 208.94 def. Connolly, 6.634, 208.78;

FINAL — Nobile, 6.655, 208.01 def. Line, 6.637, 209.26.

 

 

Point standings (top 10) following Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway:

Pro Stock

1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 1,036; 2.  Jeg Coughlin, 846; 3.  Allen Johnson, 845; 4.  Jason Line, 830; 5.  Vincent Nobile, 785; 6.  Dave Connolly, 782; 7.  Shane Gray, 769; 8.  V. Gaines, 552; 9.  Chris McGaha, 525; 10.  Jonathan Gray, 432.

Esteban Ocon secures Mercedes DTM seat for 2016

2015 GP3 Series Round 9
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sunday 29 November 2015.
Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C8733
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2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.

Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.

The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.

“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.

“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”

Trident completes 2016 GP2 line-up with Armand

2015 GP2 Series Test 3.
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Friday 4 December 2015.
Philo Armand (INA, Status Grand Prix).
Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.
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Trident has completed its line-up for the 2016 GP2 Series season by signing Indonesian driver Philo Paz Armand.

Armand has previously raced in a number of European Formula Renault 2.0 championships, and most recently took part in half of last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 rounds, scoring one point.

Armand will now step up to GP2 for the 2016 season, racing alongside 2015 GP3 runner-up Luca Ghiotto at Trident.

“We are very excited to start this collaboration with Philo and we are confident he will express all his talent thanks to the team’s help,” Trident team manager Giacomo Ricci said.

The grid for GP2’s support series, GP3, is also beginning to come together for the new season following the announcements of Tatiana Calderon and Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi.

Calderon moves into GP3 from FIA F3 and will race for Carlin, while Fukuzumi joins ART Grand Prix, continuing the French squad’s association with Honda.

Marchionne calls for Alfa Romeo to consider F1 entry

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  The Alfa Romeo 4C on display at the Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood Alfa Romeo Ride and Drive luncheon at The Polsky Residence on February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
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Fiat-Chrysler CEO and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believes that Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo must consider entering Formula 1 with a team in the near future.

Alfa Romeo last raced as a constructor in F1 between 1979 and 1985, but has enjoyed no involvement within the series since 1988 when it supplied engines to the Osella team.

Marchionne believes that a return to F1 would be an effective way for Alfa Romeo to grow as a brand and gain more public awareness.

“In order to restore their name, they must consider returning to Formula 1,” Marchionne told Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Alfa Romeo are capable of making their own chassis, just like they are capable of making their own engine,” he added, before conceding that it could enjoy an engine supply from Ferrari should it wish to enter F1.

Marchionne believes that adding more manufacturers to the F1 grid is key to safeguarding the long-term future of the series.

“In the end this sport must be saved,” Marchionne said.

“The important thing is to make other car manufacturers enter grand prix racing.”

Grosjean unveils new helmet design for first F1 season with Haas

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Romain Grosjean has revealed his new-look helmet design ahead of his first Formula 1 season with Haas in 2016.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas won the race to get an F1 team on the grid back in 2014, and has spent the past 18 months meticulously planning its arrival in the sport.

Haas F1 Team’s full debut is now just five weeks away, with the first on-track test of its new car coming on February 22 in Barcelona.

Grosjean walked away from Lotus at the end of last year to join Haas for the new season, where he will race alongside former Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez.

In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Grosjean unveiled his new helmet design for the 2016 season, featuring plenty of Haas signage.

Grosjean also revealed earlier this week that he would be racing with a tribute to Jules Bianchi on his helmet, who died at the age of 25 last July.