NHRA crowns Torrence, Hagan, Enders and Smith as champions at Las Vegas

NHRA Las Vegas championships
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LAS VEGAS — Steve Torrence, Matt Hagan, Erica Enders and Matt Smith held onto their points leads to win season championships Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Finals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Torrence raced to his third straight Top Fuel championship, Hagan claimed his third Funny Car title, Enders won her fourth Pro Stock crown, and Smith captured his fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle title.

Hagan and Enders raced to event victories as well, with Hagan giving Don Schumacher Racing its 14th straight victory in the class dating to 2019. He beat Ron Capps with a 3.914-second run at 326.40 mph in a Dodge Charger SRT for his third win of the season and 36th overall.

“It’s been a dogfight the whole time,” Hagan said. “We had to battle it out and I can’t say enough about how proud I am of (crew chief) Dickie Venables and all my guys. They bust their butts each day and I try to drive the wheels off this thing. I love my team, I love my guys and I love everybody who allows us to do this.”

Enders raced to her fourth victory of the season and 29th overall. She beat Kyle Koretsky with a 6.643 at 206.39 in a Chevrolet Camaro.

Antron Brown won the Top Fuel event, and Angie Smith — Mike Smith’s wife — topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle field.

Brown beat Torrence in the final with a 3.759 at 315.34 for his first victory in more than two years and 51st overall.

Angie Smith won for the second time in her career, topping Steve Johnson with a 6.917 at 194.83 on an EBR.

Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NHRA ended its season in Las Vegas instead of its annual season finale at Pomona, California, which was one of several events that were canceled.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.