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2016 United States GP confirmed to be going ahead at COTA

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The 2016 United States Grand Prix will go ahead as planned at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on October 23 following uncertainty about the future of the race.

After a washout of a race in 2015 and a subsequent cut in funding from the state of Texas, the race at COTA was listed as being “subject to agreement” on the final calendar for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Circuit chairman Bobby Epstein has been working to ensure that F1 would remain in Austin, leading to today’s announcement that an agreement had been struck with the series.

As a result, the 2016 United States GP has the green light for what will be its fifth edition at COTA.

To celebrate, the circuit today announced that 10-time Grammy-winning artist Taylor Swift will be performing a special concert at COTA on the Saturday of the race following qualifying.

“We are so happy to confirm F1’s return to COTA as well as Taylor Swift’s headline performance. We can’t think of a better way to mark this important 5-year milestone for F1 in Austin,” Epstein said.

“Since we first hosted this event in 2012, we have gained a lot of knowledge and insight that has allowed us to make significant annual improvements to the event that we are confident will continue to establish the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix as the standout race weekend on F1’s calendar.

“By combining the excitement of Formula 1, the fun of the festival, and a full concert by Taylor Swift, we ensure fans can enjoy the greatest sports and entertainment event of the year.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Texas and the Circuit of The Americas, for what promises to be an amazing weekend.”

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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