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Chad Boat not medically cleared for Indy Lights debut at Iowa

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The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field was expected to grow by one to 15 cars for Iowa Speedway, as Belardi Auto Racing was set to field Chad Boat for his series debut.

But the short track veteran and sometimes stock car driver has been ruled out in advance, not medically cleared, as initially reported by Trackside Online. It pushes his debut back to Gateway Motorsports Park next month.

The team’s release is below.

As reported in the motorsports media, Belardi Auto Racing can confirm that driver Chad Boat, who was set to make his Indy Lights debut this weekend at Iowa Speedway, has not been medically cleared to race in the Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires due to injuries sustained during a National USAC midget race on Sunday, July 2.

“To say I’m disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I’m feeling right now, but I trust the doctors and medical staff at INDYCAR and know they have my best interest in mind,” said Boat. “I’ll continue to follow the instructions I’m receiving for recovery and look forward to being back soon. Thanks to Pristine Auction and Belardi Auto Racing for the opportunity.”

Boat was evaluated at Iowa Speedway’s medical center on Friday morning where INDYCAR’s medical staff made the official call.

“We’re all extremely disheartened that Chad won’t be able to run the #84 with us this weekend, but we remain excited and positive about the future based on his pace in last week’s test,” added Brian Belardi, Team Owner. “We’ll have him back with the team at Gateway in August and we’ll keep looking to the future.”

The 25-year-old will be back with the team at Gateway Motorsports Park in the No. 84 Pristine Auction Dallara IL-15 on August 26. Indy Lights fans can use the time to get up-to-speed on the quick Cornelius, NC driver by following Boat on Twitter at @ChadBoat for all racing updates.

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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