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The IndyCar Grand Prix no longer is sponsored by Angie’s List

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One of the nuggets within the Indianapolis Motor Speedway morning release about 2017 ticket sales is that the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will in 2017 no longer be the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Instead, with Angie’s List two-year contract having expired, the race will be rebranded as the IndyCar Grand Prix with the potential a new title sponsor could emerge if one feels compelled to step up financially. A track spokesperson confirmed the news to NBC Sports, and said this could better position this race locally within the market.

The news isn’t entirely surprising given the Indianapolis-based tech company’s recent financials. Per the Indianapolis Star, the company has missed earning expectations, is losing business and has laid off at least 150 people within the last several months.

Calling the race the IndyCar Grand Prix, in the interim, does provide a better line of clarity as to the IMS road course race for the Verizon IndyCar Series as opposed to the clunky Grand Prix of Indianapolis moniker which held the title for the first three years.

However, the interest in the event has waned from the first year. Crowds declined steadily from 2014 to 2015, before this year had a seemingly more significant drop, owing in large part to brutally cold temperatures.

The event doesn’t necessarily need a title sponsor to succeed, but having one does help both the IMS and INDYCAR bottom lines – which are essentially the same pot under the Hulman Motorsports umbrella of Hulman & Co.

So, it will be interesting to see if another company steps up as a title sponsor of the one IndyCar race at IMS where a title sponsor can be had… since the Indianapolis 500, which is technically the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, has a presenting sponsor only.

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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