Bottas proud to score Williams’ first podium of 2015

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Valtteri Bottas became the first driver outside of Mercedes and Ferrari to finish on the podium in 2015 by crossing the line in third place for Williams in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Finn started fourth on the grid, and managed to move into the top three when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen spun after making his first pit stop, losing a position.

In spite of Raikkonen’s best efforts to catch up and reclaim the position, Bottas went unchallenged in the final stages of the race as he crossed the line in third place with a five second advantage over the Ferrari driver.

“Yeah really happy for us as a team, really proud,” Bottas said.

“Proud member of the team. There was really good teamwork all weekend. The mistake Kimi made allowed us to get one position, and we also changed the plan with the strategy in the race which I thought was really dynamic. Really good job from the team, and it was not a bad race from me either.”

Bottas did not play down the importance of the result for Williams, and believes that it could be the catalyst in kick-starting the team’s season.

“I think we really needed this result,” he said. “Like we saw last year it really boosts confidence, and we know again now that we’re a top team and that we can fight for the podiums.

“I think from Austria, with the package we have coming there, I think from then onwards we really hope we can repeat at least these kind of results.”

Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, managed to fight his way through the field from 15th place on the grid to finish sixth at the line, cementing Williams’ third place in the constructors’ standings.

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

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