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Buemi, Prost retained by Renault e.dams for third FE season

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BERLIN, Germany – Defending Formula E teams’ champion Renault e.dams has retained Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost for season three, due to start in October.

Buemi and Prost have raced for e.dams since the inaugural Formula E race in the fall of 2014, enjoying a good partnership that has yielded six victories as well as the first teams’ title.

While Buemi fights for the drivers’ championship in season two, e.dams remains at the head of the standing in the teams’ title race, prompting it to continue with the same line-up for season three.

“There are some decisions that are hard to make and others that are logical, and this is definitely the latter,” senior team manager Alain Prost said.

“Seb has shown his speed time and time again with two wins so far this year and is fighting for the championship for the second season in a row.

“Nico has demonstrated consistency and has achieved a string of strong results. We can build on this and look forward to a solid end to the year and an even more successful third season together.”

Buemi believes that having confirmation for season three will give his title hopes a boost as he looks to bridge the 11-point gap to Lucas di Grassi in the final three races of the season.

“Knowing I will be in the Renault e.dams car next year is a definite boost at this point in the year,” Buemi said.

“I’m totally focused on winning the title this season and knowing that I will be around to potentially defend it is very motivating.

“We’ve got a good thing going: the team has gelled well together, we have strong solid support from Renault and Nico and I are very complementary.

“Keeping this going as the championship grows is a real positive for the team.”

Prost added: “Renault e.dams is definitely amongst the top Formula E teams, no question. The technical commitment from Renault e.dams works extremely well and we have one of the quickest cars in the field, if not the quickest.

“I’m sure we will carry the momentum forward into the next season so I’m really pleased to be able to continue with the team for a third year.”

NHRA shocker: Englishtown ceases drag racing operations, including NHRA Summernationals, effective immediately

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If put in baseball terms, Wednesday morning’s news from the NHRA is comparable to Yankee Stadium closing down for good.

One of the most popular and longest-running race tracks on the NHRA national event circuit — Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey — announced in a statement that “it will no longer host any drag racing events at its facility, effective immediately. This includes the 49th Annual NHRA Summernationals, scheduled to take place this June.”

This is massive — and terrible news — for NHRA fans, particularly those on the East Coast, as the track more commonly known simply as “Englishtown” has long been a destination point for fans in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland area for decades. That not only includes NHRA national events, but also local bracket racing at the track.

Few details on the decision to stop all drag racing events are known. However, the track has long struggled being landlocked and unable to expand its runoff area for cars that have problems stopping under their own power. That is especially problematic for Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars, which are the most powerful cars in the sport and, due to the 10,000 horsepower they produce, often need longer stopping distances.

NHRA Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta was killed in a crash at Old Bridge Raceway on June 21, 2008, when his car was unable to stop in the runoff area and collided with a portable crane past the runoff area.

NHRA spokesperson Jessica Hatcher told NBC Sports in an email Wednesday morning that the sanctioning body will not look to find a replacement venue for Englishtown on the 2018 racing schedule.

As a result, the 2018 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule will shrink from 24 to 23 going forward with Englishtown’s departure.

” ‘Stunned’ is the perfect word to describe how we are all feeling right now,” Hatcher said. “For 2018, we are focusing on the remaining 23 events and do not foresee any additional changes to the schedule.”

New NHRA president Glen Cromwell said in a media release, “NHRA drag racing events have been held at the track in Englishtown for almost 50 years. The Summernationals have played an important part of our heritage and we hope that fans in the area will try to make it to another of our events.

“Our focus remains on making the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series a memorable experience for our fans, racers, sponsors, partners and tracks.”

The nearest venues to Englishtown that will host NHRA events this season are Maple Grove Raceway outside Reading, Pennsylvania (105 miles west of Englishtown) and New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire (310 miles northeast).

The Napp family, which owns Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, issued a statement that the facility will remain open and continue business as usual going forward — with the exception of eliminating all drag racing events, both national and local.

“Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the Napp family owned and operated business announced today a reorganization of the company’s business operations,” the statement said. “To achieve this goal, Raceway Park will no longer conduct quarter mile or eighth mile drag racing events effective immediately.

“Raceway Park will retain and use the ‘stadium’ portion of the facility including the VIP hospitality tower and grandstands and continue most of its operations including the spring and fall auto swap meets, numerous car shows, both motocross racing and practice, kart racing, as well as drifting, a full schedule of road course activities, mud runs, monster truck shows, musical concerts, & festival events and more. The long standing Old Bridge Township Airport, owned and operated by Raceway Park will also continue to operate as normal.”

From a driver’s perspective, veteran NHRA racer Shawn Langdon, who is switching from a long career in Top Fuel to Funny Car this season for Kalitta Motorsports, won in Top Fuel at Englishtown in 2013 and laments the decision to drop drag racing there.

“It really caught me by surprise because I had not heard a thing about that,” Langdon said. “It’s unfortunate because that place has such rich history and so many great things have come out of that race in the past. It was a track that meant a lot to the Kalitta family and with Scott. They always wanted to win one for Scott. We’d have loved to have the opportunity to go back to the track and win that race for Scott.”