Formula DRIFT extends agreements with Long Beach, Evergreen Speedway and Road Atlanta

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We’re still in 2014, but the Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro series is already looking ahead to 2015 and 2016, extending contracts and event hosting through ’16 at Road Atlanta and Evergreen Speedway.

In addition, the series announced Thursday that it has extended its current deal with The Streets of Long Beach through 2015.

The announcement is especially poignant for Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington, which hosts the fifth event of the 2014 Formula DRIFT schedule this weekend: Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway on July 18 and 19.

It also marks the ninth year Evergreen Speedway has hosted the drift racing circuit.

“Evergreen Speedway is excited and proud to announce a three-year contract extension with Formula DRIFT through the 2016 season” Evergreen Speedway president/CEO Doug Hobbs said in a media release. “Formula DRIFT is by far, the most exciting and single largest motorsport event each and every year at Evergreen Speedway.

“Having such a marquee world stage series in the Seattle market is also a boost to tourism with a major economic impact. The best part for me is seeing thousands of fans smiling and having fun watching some of the most talented drivers in the world wow the crowd.”

As for Road Atlanta, the annual Formula Drift race there has grown by leaps and bounds, prompting track and series officials to extend the present deal so soon.

“The growth of Drift Atlanta over the past 11 years has been phenomenal,” Road Atlanta president/general manager Geoff Lee said. “We are pleased to extend our relationship with Formula DRIFT through 2016, and continue to build on the momentum that has made Drift Atlanta one of the largest and most renowned drifting events in North America.”

Based in Long Beach, Formula DRIFT is also working on extending working agreements with other existing tracks on its 2014 schedule.

“Eleven years ago we were the last on the list to get dates locked in for some of the venues,” Formula DRIFT president Jim Liaw said. “Now here we are 11 years later and are towards the top of the list for venues across the country.

“We are proud of the growth of the sport and it couldn’t have been done without the relationships that we have with these top venues and we look forward to continuing the relationships for years to come.”

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F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.