NHRA releases 2015 schedule


No major changes are planned for the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

The 24-race slate for Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock continues with a number of traditional events, with the marquee U.S. Nationals set from Sept. 2-7.

As usual, the series opens and closes in Pomona, Calif.

Here’s the slate. The 16th Pro Stock Motorcycle (PSM) weekend is yet to be determined:

NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season
Feb. 5-8 NHRA Winternationals Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 20-22 CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Phoenix
March 12-15 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals (PSM) Gainesville, Fla.
March 27-29 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (PSM) Charlotte, N.C.
April 10-12 NHRA Nationals Las Vegas
April 24-26 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals Houston
May 15-17 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals (PSM) Atlanta
May 22-24 NHRA Kansas Nationals Topeka, Kan.
June 4-7 Toyota NHRA Summernationals (PSM) Englishtown, N.J.
June 12-14 Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals Epping, N.H.
June 19-21 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol, Tenn.
July 2-5 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals (PSM) Norwalk, Ohio
July 9-12 O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals (PSM) Chicago
July 24-26 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals (PSM) Denver
July 31-Aug. 2 NHRA Sonoma Nationals (PSM) Sonoma, Calif.
Aug. 7-9 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals Seattle
Aug. 20-23 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd, Minn.
Sept. 2-7 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (PSM) Indianapolis
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
Sept. 18-20 NHRA Carolina Nationals (PSM) Charlotte, N.C.
Sept. 25-27 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals (PSM) St. Louis
Oct. 1-4 NHRA Nationals (PSM) Reading, Pa.
Oct. 15-18 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals (PSM) Dallas
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 NHRA Toyota Nationals (PSM) Las Vegas
Nov. 12-15 Auto Club NHRA Finals (PSM) Pomona, Calif.

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.