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Bourdais return to Coyne made official

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Sebastien Bourdais’ switch back to Dale Coyne Racing for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season has been confirmed on Wednesday.

NBCSN contributor Robin Miller broke the news for RACER.com during the Watkins Glen weekend that Bourdais, the four-time Champ Car champion, would leave KVSH Racing after three years and join Coyne’s team. When Bourdais came back to IndyCar in 2011 after a two-year sojourn in Formula 1 and other sporadic sports car appearances, it was with Coyne.

Bourdais then drove for Dragon Racing in 2012 and 2013 before moving to KVSH in 2014.

Along with the driver news comes the additional announcement that Bourdais will have some incredible engineering strength. He’s also reunited with Craig Hampson, formerly of Andretti Autosport, who he worked with at Newman/Haas Racing in Champ Car. And Olivier Boisson, who’s been with Bourdais at KVSH, comes over as well.

Bourdais’ first test will be at Gateway Motorsports Park on Thursday.

“Back in 2011, Dale was the one who gave me the opportunity to come back to IndyCar, and I’m looking forward to a very exciting second stint with his team,” Bourdais said in a release.

“Thanks to Dale’s leadership and unconditional commitment to the series, we have been able to assemble a great group of guys, including Olivier Boisson, my race engineer for the last three years, as well as my former lead engineer from the Newman/Haas Racing days, Craig Hampson. The addition of these two great minds and friends, to Dale Coyne Racing’s existing group, will undoubtedly give me a great chance at running up front with a competitive car..

“I would like to thank Chevy and KVSH Racing for their support and trust in me over the last few years,” continued the Frenchman. “Now, a new chapter has begun and it would not have been possible without Honda’s commitment to our effort. I am thrilled to be able to get things going this early, and can’t wait to discover my new machine this week at Gateway!”

That confirmation of Honda squashes any rumors Coyne would move to Chevrolet for 2017. With Chip Ganassi Racing switching from Chevrolet to Honda for its four cars, at least one and potentially two teams will need to switch the other way.

Coyne now has a driver confirmed in October and explained how the team will work operationally with the new hires.

“Sebastien has been on our radar ever since he left IndyCar to go to Formula 1 in Europe. We were honored to bring him back to the States to return to his roots in 2011, and even more excited about what our future prospects will be in 2017 and beyond,” he said.

“We have assembled a great group of guys over the past few years and with additions to our engineering department for 2017, we are definitely ‘putting the band back together’.  We will have some greats from the Newman/Haas era of Craig Hampson chief engineer, Todd Phillips Chief Mechanic, Oren Trower as lead mechanic, Colin Duff and others all from the Newman/Haas team. Needless to say we look forward to 2017 with great anticipation.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.