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Nato takes second GP2 victory in Monza sprint race

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Norman Nato picked up his second win of the 2016 GP2 Series season on Sunday at Monza as Prema teammates and title rivals Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi filled out the podium.

Nato started the sprint race fourth on grid, but a rocket start saw him move into the lead at the first corner ahead of Jordan King.

After seizing the lead, Nato never looked back, leading the remainder of the race to secure his second GP2 win, his first coming in the opening race of the year in Spain.

Drivers’ standings leader Gasly managed to fight his way up to second place, picking off King before setting his sights on Nato at the front of the pack, who had by then already escaped up the road.

Gasly’s points advantage only grew by two points as Prema teammate Giovinazzi fought his way to third place, chalking up more crucial points after his victory on Saturday.

Ahead of the next round in Malaysia next month, Gasly holds a 10-point advantage over Giovinazzi, with third-placed Raffaele Marciello a further 26 points behind with four rounds remaining.

King held on to fourth place at the checkered flag after losing out to Giovinazzi, finishing ahead of Artem Markelov and Alex Lynn. Honda youngster Nobuharu Matsushita was seventh ahead of Nicholas Latifi in P8.

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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