Angelle Sampey celebrates her most recent win in 2016. Photo: NHRA

NHRA: Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey joins Vance & Hines

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For more than two decades, Vance & Hines has been one of the premier teams in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing.

And now, three-time PSM champion Angelle Sampey will join her longtime rivals, being added to Vance & Hines’ powerful batting order.

The Santa Fe Springs, California organization announced this week that Sampey will ride a Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson Street Rod in 2019, joining new teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec.

How strong will that make the now three-rider team? Hines, Krawiec and Sampey have combined for 12 championships and 137 national event wins in their overall careers. In addition to her three championships, Sampey has amassed 42 national event wins by herself, making her the most successful female competitor in all forms of motorsports.

For now, Sampey will sport V&H colors in the first four races of the PSM schedule, beginning with the 50th Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, March 14-17. Sampey will be termed a “showcase” rider at Gainesville, the two Four-Wide events at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway in suburban Charlotte, as well as the Southern Nationals in suburban Atlanta.

It’s unclear how many more races Sampey will compete in after the first quarter of the 16-race PSM national event schedule.

“It’s surreal to be getting ready to race one of these Harleys after lining up against them for so many years,” Sampey told National Dragster’s Kevin McKenna, who first broke the story. “I’m so motivated to get out there and see what I can do on the same bike as Eddie and Drew (Hines).”

Added V&H founder and former PSM great Terry Vance, “I’m truly thrilled for Angelle to have this opportunity to run with us on the Harley-Davidson Street Rod. No question, Angelle has been one of the toughest riders we’ve battled with for so many seasons out on the track. I have so much respect for her and what she has accomplished in this class, and I’m really looking forward to seeing her give the boys a run for their money on the Harley.”

Sampey first began racing on the NHRA PSM circuit more than 20 years ago in 1996. After winning three consecutive PSM championships from 2000-2002, she took a nearly decade-long hiatus from the sport to start a family. She returned to competitive racing part-time in 2015. Her most recent win was in 2016 at Englishtown, New Jersey.

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INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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