Dakar Day 8: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins, Roma's lead slashed
On an 8th stage with a slightly modified route, Cyril Despres picked up his first special stage victory of 2014 in the bike category, ahead of Joan Barreda and Marc Coma, the leader of the general standings who is now closely marking his main rival. This was a tactic that Nani Roma also perhaps attempted in the car category, but having suffered two punctures in a special won by Nasser Al-Attiyah, he lost 8'07 to Peterhansel. However, the Catalan will have the advantage of starting after his rival tomorrow for the first major sandy stage.
Even though the weather conditions prevented the bikes from crossing the salt pans of Uyuni as initially planned, there was no shortage of pizazz during the 499-km long eighth stage, firstly, with the return to the headlines of Cyril Despres. Third to start this morning, the title holder soon caught up with Marc Coma to ride together and gradually rein in Joan Barreda. Despite the Honda rider stepping on the gas at the end of the stage, at the finishing line it was the Frenchman who tasted triumph, 2'10 ahead of Barreda and 2'16 in front of Marc Coma. Behind them, whilst Portugal's Helder Rodrigues and Frenchman Olivier Pain confirmed the good form of the Hondas and Yamahas with the day's 4th and 5th places, the day was marked by the difficulties encountered by Sherco! 14'25 were lost by Juan Pedrero, but Alain Duclos again suffered misfortunes, this time a mechanical problem at the start of the stage, leading to a loss of almost 35 minutes.
Today, Kimi Raikkonen embarked on his first week’s work since starting his second career stint in red. The Finn arrived in Maranello this morning and will spend three days with the engineers and in the simulator.
“It’s good to be back at work,” Kimi told www.ferrari.com during a break in proceedings. “I began by getting used to all the new systems and procedures that we will use this year. From this point of view, the simulator is really very useful. It’s true there’s lots to do, but the workload is not much different to what it was in the past. For me, these days in Maranello are also an opportunity to be with the team and spend a bit more time with my many friends here.”
Kimi will stay in Maranello until Wednesday this week, proving that the Finn is keen to renew his relationship with the team that was his home from 2007 to 2009 as quickly as possible.
Andretti Autosport to enter Global Rallycross with Volkswagen Andretti Autosport's Michael Andretti confirmed at today's IndyCar lineup announcement that the team's interests will expand to include a Global Rallycross entry in 2014, representing Volkswagen.
"We are excited to confirm our intent to compete with Volkswagen in Global Rallycross events, and look forward to sharing more details at a later date,” Andretti Autosport released in a statement. A more detailed unveiling, including the team's full 2014 lineup, will take place at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 6.
The Global Rallycross deal will add another facet to Andretti's increasingly diverse racing activities. In addition to its flagship IndyCar and Indy Lights operations, it also recently became the first U.S.-based team to sign up for the planned FIA Formula E championship. It will also continue to field entries in Pro Mazda.
HPD reaffirms commitment to Formula F With more than 100 Honda Formula F engines sold to racers in the United States and Canada, Honda Performance Development has played a major role in the revitalization of North American Formula F competition over the last four years.
“The enthusiasm and support for the Honda Formula F program from the racing community has been very gratifying,” said Marc Sours, HPD Senior Manager and Chief Engineer. “We believe in the class; and wanted to see it grow and return to its rightful place as both a ‘first step’ for the young aspiring driver and as a competitive, cost-effective, open-wheel platform for veteran club racers.”
Broadcast Schedule Announced for Rolex 24 At Daytona The 52nd Rolex 24 At Daytona will make history on Jan. 25-26 as the inaugural race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and race fans can see the event in its entirety across multiple platforms including the FOX Network.
Leading the way will be a two-hour live telecast on FOX beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25. FOX’s over-the-air coverage will feature 10 minutes of pre-race action before the green flag drops at 2:10 p.m. ET. The start of the race has been moved up 20 minutes to accommodate the network telecast.
Munoz to Pilot #34 Cinsay Honda Showing a continued knack for attracting new sponsors to the sport, Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport announced today that 2013 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Carlos Munoz would pilot the #34 Cinsay Honda in 2013. Munoz, of course, finished second in the past year's Indianapolis 500, and scored five wins in Indy Lights. In 2014, the charismatic, talented 21-year old Colombian moves to the top level with Andretti's four-time series championship winning team.
Cinsay is a privately-held social video commerce technology company founded in Los Angeles in 2007 by Christian Briggs and Delfino Galindo. The company is currently headquartered in Austin, Texas.
We will have more reaction from the Andretti launch later today. AR1 Staff
Andretti Autosport presents 2014 lineup and liveries Four-time IndyCar Champions Andretti Autosport announced its 2014 INDYCAR lineup today during the team's 2014 Launch event at its Indianapolis headquarters. The team officially announced four full-time IndyCar Series entries, along with two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and two Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires entries.
In addition to its IndyCar efforts, team owner Michael Andretti confirmed German news reports regarding Andretti Autosport's intent to compete in 2014 Global Rallycross events, representing Volkswagen. Further details on Andretti's Global Rallycross efforts will be announced at a later date.
IMS to Host Vintage Event June 4 – 8, 2014 Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Indianapolis, IN
As the fourth race in the 2014 East Coast schedule, SVRA is proud to announce the first Vintage event ever to be held at the historic Brickyard. This one promises to be a blockbuster for competitors and spectators as it will feature a historic oval track reunion and a full slate of SVRA Sprint and Endurance races taking place on the newly configured 2.44 mile road course. Vintage competitors will also have a chance to drive the historic 2.5 mile oval.
Spectators will be allowed to camp in the infield during this event, marking the first time in the track’s 111 year history that this has been possible. SVRA’s open access to the paddock, race cars, and drivers will make this event the most family-oriented, fan-friendly event ever held at the Speedway.
This event is sure to become a must-do event on every vintage racer’s bucket list. Please complete the request for invitation to secure an entry now.
2015 Corvette Z06 Supercar -- Walkaround: VIDEO Watch Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer, give you an exclusive look at the newly-revealed 2015 Corvette Z06. It takes all the great things of the Stingray up to the next level, making it a true supercar.
Watch new Mercedes C-class at Detroit Auto Show: VIDEO Mercedes-Benz promotional video for the new C-class sedans, first seen at the 2014 Detroit auto show, and other NAIAS premieres.
The car, codenamed W205, is set to reach North American showrooms in September 2014. The BMW 3-series/Audi A4-rivaling four door has been re-engineered with a new high-strength steel platform and mostly aluminum body claimed to make it 220 pounds lighter than today's third-generation C-class. Some 2.7 million of those have been produced since its 2007 launch, even as it grew bigger and then boasted some more equipment.
Doctors begin tests on Michael Schumacher's brain A small part of his skull has been removed in a bid to relieve pressure on his brain, according to a Zurich paper, and he remains in a critical but stable condition
Doctors began tests on stricken F1 legend Michael Schumacher's brain today in a bid to precisely locate the area where he suffered massive damage in his pre-Christmas ski accident.
Schumacher has been in a artificially-induced coma for 15 days and remains stable, but critically ill.
Button's father dies of suspected heart attack F1 driver Jenson Button’s father has died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 70.
John Button, who has been a strong guiding force behind his son’s career which includes winning the 2009 world championship, was found dead in his home on the French Riviera by a friend yesterday.
A statement released by the driver’s agent read: “It is with great sadness and regret that I can confirm John Button passed away at his home in the South of France on Sunday. Whilst we await confirmation, initial signs would indicate a suspected heart attack. A close friend who was visiting John on Sunday was the first to discover the tragic news.
“John’s children Jenson, Natasha, Samantha and Tanya and the rest of the family are clearly devastated and ask for their privacy to be respected during this extremely difficult time.”
Andretti Autosport to Stream Today's Team Unveiling Four-time IndyCar Series champions Andretti Autosport will unveil their 2014 liveries for its Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, and IndyCar Series teams. Fans can tune in to watch the unveiling live at 2 p.m. ET from Andretti Autosport headquarters at www.AndrettiTV.com.
Williams F1 announces engineering changes The Williams F1 Team has expanded its engineering team as part of its on-going work to strengthen the technical leadership structure at Williams ahead of the 2014 Formula One World Championship season.
As part of this process, Jakob Andreasen has joined as Head of Engineering Operations and will work under Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds. Previously at Force India, Jakob's focus will be on better integrating trackside operations with the continued design and development of the Williams-Mercedes FW36 at the factory.
The all-new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Silverado 1500 are the 2014 North American Car and Truck of the Year.
It is the first time Chevrolet has won both awards in the same year. The Silverado was last named Truck of the Year in 2007 and the Corvette was last named Car of the Year in 1998.
Presentation of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards open media days each year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Forty-nine automotive journalists from the United States and Canada vote to recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
DTM - BMW reveals driver/team line-up for 2014 season Like last year, four teams and eight drivers will compete for BMW in the popular touring car series and have their sights set on winning races and titles with the new BMW M4 DTM.
“In announcing exactly which drivers will be racing for which teams, we are taking another important step towards the start of the 2014 DTM season,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “I am confident this line-up is the ideal solution for BMW Motorsport and our DTM project.”
BMW Team RBM, which finished runner-up in last season’s team competition with 148 points and therefore played a major role in BMW retaining the Manufacturers’ title, will compete with the same pair of drivers as last year: Augusto Farfus, runner-up in the 2013 Drivers’ Championship, and Joey Hand will be racing for Team Principal Bart Mampaey’s outfit again in 2014.
Rahal Confirmed at BMW Team RLL for Rolex 24 Following a successful test earlier this month, Graham Rahal has been officially confirmed for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with BMW Team RLL.
The Bavarian manufacturer announced Monday that the 25-year-old IndyCar star will join Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Dirk Werner at the wheel of the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opener.
It will mark Rahal’s first start for the factory squad, which is run by his father, Bobby.
ARCA Fest at the Milwaukee Mile takes over traditional IndyCar weekend Here's the trade-off. Among the drivers you won't see at ARCA Fest and the Howie Lettow 150 next year are Matt Kenseth and defending winner Kyle Busch. But the event should be easier for many fans to attend and could attract more national-level competition from drivers who someday may replace those two among NASCAR's top stars.
Moving ARCA Fest to June 6-8 puts the super-late model event at the Milwaukee Mile in head-to-head conflict with the Sprint Cup Series at Pocono.
The Camping World Truck Series competes that Friday night at Texas and the Nationwide Seires runs Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Truck regular Johnny Sauter, a big supporter of the event and of short-track late-model racing, said he didn't think the date would be a problem for him.
Challenging First TRS Weekend at Teretonga Brings Two Top 10s for Alberico Neil Alberico’s fortunes during the first round of the intensely competitive Toyota Racing Series at Teretonga matched the weather – changeable. Highlights included setting the second fastest lap during the early portion of a wet Race 2 and posting a best lap just over four-tenths off the overall fastest time during the Spirit of the Nation Trophy feature race on Sunday afternoon.
The 21-year-old from Los Gatos, Calif., faced a steep learning curve and struggled initially to come to grips with the distinctive handling of the TRS car, which features a mono-shock suspension system, but made solid progress and ended the weekend with a pair of top-10 finishes and 10th place in the overall point standings.
Russian Egor Orudzhev won two of the three races but Estonian Martin Rump holds a 16-point advantage, 166-150, despite failing to win a race. Singapore’s Andrew Tang, the other race winner, lies eighth in the points table.
Dakar Day 7: Carlos Sainz wins, Nani Roma keeps rally lead
Carlos Sainz cruised to a comfortable win in today's seventh stage of the 2014 Dakar Rally in the car class.
In Bike's, Spain's Joan Barreda took his third victory in the 2014 edition, beating overall leader Marc Coma by 4′03″ at the end of a historic stage that took the Dakar to its 28th country. Instead of making a foray into Bolivia, the cars raced on a wide 500 km loop around Salta that was more suited to Carlos Sainz's buggy. "El Matador", not one to let such opportunities pass him by, took his 27th Dakar win ahead of Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stéphane Peterhansel, who only managed to claw back 1′52″ from leader Nani Roma.
Red Bull Ring Adds Additional Temporary Stands As It Prepares For F1 Comeback
Red Bull Ring
Construction work at the Red Bull Ring, which will host the Austrian F1 Grand Prix, "has been in full swing," according to Elisabeth Holzer of the KURIER. The work at the racetrack "is being conducted 24/7 in three shifts." Back when the racetrack was called Ö-Ring and A1-Ring, the circuit "had 19,000 permanent seats." The Red Bull Ring "has 6,000 more." And because Red Bull Owner Dietrich Mateschitz "is doing things in a big way, the racetrack is adding additional temporary stands."
Organizers "are expecting 225,000 spectators over the GP weekend and 500 million viewers on TV." In addition to the construction at the track, "the surrounding communities upgrade as well." A new hotel "will be opened at the end of May and another one will be renovated."
Matthew Brabham, the grandson of Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham and son of Indianapolis 500 competitor Geoff Brabham, was happy with his improvement during the recent Indy Lights Open Test at Sebring Int’l Raceway.
The 2013 Pro Mazda and 2012 USF2000 champion will race in the Indy Lights Series for Andretti Autosport in 2014. Brabham totaled 86 laps in two sessions at Sebring, which hosted 10 drivers during the Jan. 7-8 open test session.
Brundle: F1 driver pay situation 'fundamentally wrong' There has been concern over teams ever further up the grid requiring funded drivers for 2014, with Pastor Maldonado's Venezuelan sponsorship key to his deal with Lotus, where he replaces Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen.
Brundle said on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX during AUTOSPORT International 2014 that the situation was more complicated than it appeared, but was definitely a worry.
"The main problem is that they've got to stop it being so expensive to run the cars, so it stops the need for all this cash," he said.
Sauber retains Mexican sponsor Jose Cuervo Sauber has announced that it will retain Mexican sponsor Jose Cuervo for the 2014 Formula 1 campaign.
Last season, the tequila brand gained exposure around the globe for a fourth successive year, with its logo appearing on the sidepods of the C32 chassis and on clothing worn by its team members and drivers.
"I am very satisfied with our long-term partnership with the Sauber F1 Team and I am sure the team will accomplish fantastic results during the 2014 season," said Juan Domingo Beckmann, CEO of Jose Cuervo.
Jose Cuervo has sponsored Sauber since 2011, when now Force India driver Sergio Perez made his debut.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was unbeatable this weekend at the Desafio Internacional das Estrelas, the star-hosted go-karting event organized by Felipe Massa at the southern Brazilian coast. The Italian led all practice sessions, clinched the pole position and right from the start of the race, this Sunday, he flew away from rivals while they banged each other fighting for second place.
During the weekend, all 24 drivers gathered at the center of the kart track to pray for Michael Schumacher’s recovery. Then they held a banner with the message for the German driver and his family: "Forca Schummi" - meaning "Be strong, Schummi". The same message was on a sticker in the front nose of all karts.
Liuzzi kept the lead at the start followed by Audi driver Lucas di Grassi, who started a good battle to maintain his place with Brazilian Stock Car racer Julio Campos. While they fought, the Italian built a comfortable gap to the rest of the field and was four seconds away in less than ten laps. The di Grassi-Campos battle allowed more drivers to join the party, like Felipe Massa and Sebastien Buemi, who started 13th.
F1 legend Niki Lauda among presenters at today’s Golden Globe Awards Three-time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda, whose epic battle for the 1976 title with the late James Hunt is at the core of Ron Howard’s recent film “Rush,” will be among those presenting awards for Sunday’s 2014 Golden Globe Awards (8 p.m. ET, NBC).
“Rush” could walk away with several awards tomorrow night in Beverly Hills. Daniel Bruhl, who played Lauda in the film, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. He’ll be up against Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”), Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”), Michael Fassbender (“12 Years A Slave”), and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
Todd Parrott Back Seeking Work After his recent reinstatement, champion crew chief Todd Parrott is back in the NASCAR garage. Parrott was at Preseason Thunder testing Friday and Saturday at Daytona International Speedway talking to teams about possible jobs. It's the first time he's been in the garage since NASCAR suspended him Oct. 17 for violating its Substance Abuse Policy. Richard Petty Motorsports released Parrott after he was suspended. NASCAR reinstated him Jan. 7, allowing Parrott to enter the garage.
"It was pretty embarrassing to be gone for what happened," said Parrott, who declined to reveal the cause of his suspension. "It was good to be back (Friday) in the garage. Lot of people came up to talk to me. I'm a lot better person than I was two-and-a-half months ago." He was reinstated after completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. Parrott said the time away from the sport also helped him with reflection.
More on NBC's NASCAR broadcast team The team which will bring NASCAR telecasts back to NBC in 2015 is close to being finalized. Dave Burns and Mike Massaro - both members of ESPN/ABC's NASCAR broadcast team - will make the move to NBC Sports in time for the deal. Burns is expected to become part of NBC's pit road reporting team in NASCAR, while Massaro is expected to become an in-studio host, sources said. Burns currently serves in a similar role with ESPN as does Massaro, who has hosted the show 'NASCAR Now' and worked pit road during race telecasts. Earlier this week, NBC completed its broadcast booth lineup with the announcement that current crew chief Steve Letarte will join driver-turned-analyst Jeff Burton and play-by-play announcer Rick Allen. Spokespersons for ESPN and NBC declined comment. Charlotte Observer
As part of our coverage of the Autosport International Show, which concludes today, there are many of the British contingent that compete the world over in hard-fought championships, as Saturday showcased the ‘Best of British.” Yesterday, RichlandF1’s Alex Goldschmidt had the chance to talk with GP2 runner-up and Mercedes AMG reserve driver, Sam Bird, who was very close to winning a title with a brand new team.
The 27-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on the first day of the annual event that kicks of the motorsport season, came into 2013 without a race seat and was not knowing where he would end up after racing with ISR for World Series by Renault 3.5 in 2012.
However, one phone call changed all that and his return to the GP2 series was assured thanks to new outfit RUSSIAN TIME, who partnered him with Tom Dillmann. The team then rose to the challenge ahead and picked up the Team Championship in their debut season.
Chase and Bill Elliott, the son and father testing for JR Motorsports here this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, led the first day’s efforts as the NASCAR Nationwide Series began its two-day portion of Preseason Thunder.
Chase Elliott, who will run the full season for JRM in the NAPA-branded No. 9 Chevrolet, ended the afternoon session atop the scoreboard with a draft-aided lap of 187.993 mph.
The elder Elliott, winner of the 1988 NASCAR Cup championship, checked in right behind his son at 197.974 mph. While he hasn’t competed since 2012, he is testing a second JRM entry for the organization here this weekend.
NASCAR Bans Tandem Draft NASCAR’s ban of tandem drafting brought back the pack during Saturday’s Nationwide test at Daytona International Speedway.
And the Elliott family benefited the most with Chase Elliott posting the fastest lap at 187.993 mph and his father Bill - testing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. - running a lap of 187.974. Their laps came in a three-car pack with JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, who was third quick at 187.950, late in Saturday’s session.
Series officials warned drivers Saturday morning that tandem drafting - where two cars run together for as long as possible - will not be tolerated. Camping World Truck Series drivers will receive the same message before they test Monday.
Alberico Claims Top-10 Finish in Chaotic First TRS Race at Teretonga
A day of steady improvement saw Neil Alberico climb from a disappointing 17th on the tightly packed 23-car grid to 10th in the opening round of the 2014 Toyota Racing Series. The race, which was won by Russian Egor Orudzhev, was interrupted by one full-course caution and then ended prematurely, after 13 of the scheduled 15 laps, due to another incident.
A dramatic overnight change in the weather brought blue sky and warmer temperature to the short but challenging Teretonga Park circuit in time for qualifying. Two 15-minute sessions were held to determine the starting grids for the weekend’s first and third races, with the middle race order set by a partial reversal of the finishing order from Race 1. Both periods were interrupted by incidents, and Alberico struggled with the balance of his car.
Tesla to upgrade wall adapters after reports of garage fires Tesla Motors Inc., which is under investigation by U.S. regulators over fires in its Model S sedan after battery punctures, will upgrade wall charger adapters following reports of overheating in garages.
The charger connectors, which connect Tesla-issued cables with wall outlets, will be mailed out in the next two weeks, CEO Elon Musk said in an interview today.
“These are very rare events, but occasionally the wiring isn’t done right,” Musk said. “We want people to have absolute comfort, so we’re going to be providing them with an upgraded adapter.”
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has said that he will continue to push for greater safety in F1 for drivers and for track staff, after the tragic death of a marshal working at last year's Canadian Grand Prix.
Mark Robinson tripped and fell under the wheels of mobile crane deployed to move the crashed Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez late in the race, which Whiting said was a "dreadfully unfortunate" incident and one that would lead to changes in safety protocols.
"If you are using one of those JCB-like vehicles to lift a car, you should never walk in front of it: it kind of stands to reason," Whiting said while giving the annual Watkins Lecture run by the Motorsport Safety Fund at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham on Friday.
Marussia F1 Team retains Max Chilton for a second season
Max Chilton finally delivered a big enough check to be retained
Formula 1 fans attending the Autosport International Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham today were among the first to hear the Marussia F1 Team’s announcement that it will retain Max Chilton for a second season. Max will race alongside Jules Bianchi once again, completing the Team’s 2014 race driver line-up.
Max was present on the F1 Racing Magazine stage at the Show as Marussia F1 Team President & Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon announced the news that the 22 year old British driver, who made his F1 debut in 2013, will be racing for the Team again in 2014.
Max Chilton “I am really happy to be continuing with the Marussia F1 Team into a second season. Continuity is important for the Team but also for me as a driver. You learn such a lot in your debut season, but the second year is when you can really pull all of those new experiences together and show your true potential. That has always been the case for me in the junior categories and I’ll be aiming for a similar step in my second year of F1 competition. I would like to thank the Marussia F1 Team for their continued faith and support. They are a great bunch of people who are extremely hard-working and ambitious and I can’t wait to embark on our 2014 season challenge together.”
HANS wins judgment against rival manufacturer NASCAR's and IndyCar's preferred maker of head-and-neck-support devices deserves $302,000 from a competitor that infringed on its patent, in violation of a settlement, a federal judge ruled. Robert Hubbard, a retired professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan State, began developing the head-and-neck-support, or HANS, device in the 1980s to protect against basilar skull fractures that race-car drivers can sustain if their heads whip forward in a crash. Hubbard's company, HANS Performance Products, sued Kevin Heath Enterprises (KHE) in 2010 for infringing on its patent, and the companies reached a settlement the next year that required KHE to discontinue making its neck support device, the DefNder G70, or any device "no more than colorably different" from the DefNder G70. Kevin Heath, as president of KHE, signed the agreement in his official capacity, but during negotiations, he registered a new company, NecksGen Inc., which began marketing a similar neck brace in 2012. The NecksGen device is sold worldwide, except in Georgia, as Heath hoped to avoid another lawsuit by HANS there. Nevertheless, U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. in Atlanta found Health and NecksGen in contempt of the consent order Monday because "the NecksGen device is no more than colorably different than the DefNder G70 device." Courthouse News
Earnhardt Jr. talks about Letarte leaving after 2014 season
Dale Earnhardt Jr., met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway Friday morning and discussed the departure of Steve Letarte as crew chief in 2015. The transcript in part:
Q. Obviously with Steve just leaving, can you talk about your thoughts, and how long have you known, and what you think about the situation?
DALE EARNHARDT JR.: "Yeah, it's definitely a unique situation. He actually included me in on the discussion before the end of last year, and I had a pretty good understanding, whether he knew or not, what he was going to do. I had a pretty good understanding what his decision was going to be when I left Homestead. So I've had time to really wrap my brain around it. It was hard because we are such good friends, and I really do enjoy working with him a lot. But at the same time I'm happy for him because it gives him the opportunity to spend time with his family. It's something that's really important to him, and the way these races are broadcast and how they're presented to the fans is a big part of how the sport remains healthy, and I think that he's going to be incredible in that role.
Zipadelli offered to return as Stewart's crew chief Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli won 33 races and two NASCAR championships together over a successful decade together. They split after the 2008 season when Stewart left to become co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing. He's entering this season with his third crew chief in six years, evidence he's struggled to find the same chemistry he had with Zipadelli all those years. So Zipadelli told The Associated Press he offered last year to return to the pit box with Stewart - an idea the driver did not entertain. Zipadelli is currently the vice president of competition at SHR. He manages all four of SHR's Sprint Cup teams in that role, and says Stewart didn't want him to move. But he admits he misses the adrenaline of being a crew chief. SI.com/Associated Press
Champion Vettel to race number 5 in F1 career (Update)UPDATE (GMM) F1's governing body on Friday revealed the race numbers drivers on the 2014 grid have picked for the rest of their grand prix careers.
World champion Sebastian Vettel will carry the coveted number 1 for the fourth consecutive season, but he has selected 5 - made famous by Nigel Mansell's 'red 5' and Mario Andretti's John Player Lotus Black and Gold 5 - for the remainder of his time in formula one.
Many of the race numbers had already been divulged by drivers through their social media pages or via the media, but curiously Lotus' Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado has plumped for 13 -- considered unlucky by many and not seen in F1 for years.
Nationwide, Trucks will no longer have single-car qualifying Today at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton announced that the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will not use a single-car qualifying format in the upcoming season.
According to NASCAR.com’s David Caraviello, Pemberton said the final changes will be revealed later this month and that they would go into effect during the NNS and CWTS’ season-opening events at Daytona in February.
Additionally, Pemberton revealed that qualifying for the Daytona 500 will remain in its current form – single-car qualifying for the front row and then the Budweiser Duels at Daytona to set the rest of the field for “The Great American Race.”
Dakar Day 6: Duclos eight years after, a record for Peterhansel
The 6th stage of the Dakar, marked by the announcement of the death of Belgian biker Eric Palante (see the special press release), was won in the bike category by Alain Duclos, eight years after his first victory in Bamako. Stephane Peterhansel won his 63rd special on the Dakar and gained to within a little more than half an hour of Roma, moving into third in the general standings in the process. In the truck race, still dominated by Gerard De Rooy, Peter Versluis recorded the day’ best time.
His triumph had been under preparation for some time. Since the start of the Dakar, Alain Duclos has been able to measure the competitiveness of his 450 Sherco, which has visibly accomplished enormous progress compared to last year. He has also improved in technical and physical terms, following a winless rally-raid season. Perfectly keeping pace with the best over the first 5 stages, with 3 top 5 finishes, the best performing outsider of the year had probably ticked off this stage as within his capacities of recognized scratch time hunter, given its endurance racing character. The 9th rider to start this morning, the Franco-Malian rider went on all-out attack, overtaking 5 riders and recording the best time on arrival near Salta, just like in 2006, when he won on home territory in Bamako, already with a gap of a minute over none other than Marc Coma… who also led the general standings.
Jeffrey Earnhardt will run full NASCAR Nationwide schedule Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 24-year-old grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, will make his first full-season NASCAR effort this year, running the 33-race Nationwide Series for JD/Gary Keller Motorsports. Earnhardt will team with Landon Cassill on the Chevrolet-based team of owners Johnny Davis and Gary Keller.
Earnhardt has run limited Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedules in recent years in preparation for his first full-schedule effort. “This is a great opportunity for me,” said Earnhardt, son of former driver Kerry Earnhardt. “This sport runs in my family and it’s where I want to be every week. Racing with Johnny Davis and Gary Keller will give me a shot at running well every week and adding on the experience I need.”
Hoosier Racing Tire named Official Tire of the Trans Am Series
When the Trans Am Series takes to the track on March 2nd at Sebring International Raceway to begin the 2014 Trans Am Championship, it will do so with every car sporting a set of Hoosier Racing tires.
The Trans Am Race Company has announced a partnership that will see Hoosier Racing Tire designated as the spec tire manufacturer during the upcoming 2014 Trans Am Championship for all three Trans Am classes: TA, TA2 and TA3.
“In Hoosier Racing Tire we have a partner who has proven themselves time and time again in the racing world,” said John Clagett, President of the Trans Am Race Company. “When we began this process we wanted more than just a tire supplier, we wanted a partner with an eye to the future. I’m confident that Hoosier Racing Tire is that partner, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to grow the Trans Am Series.”
Whiting insists DRS beneficial for F1 The DRS, which allows a driver to open a slot gap in the rear wing to slash drag, was introduced in 2011 and Whiting does not believe it diminishes the skill of passing.
"I'm a great fan of it," said Whiting while giving the annual Watkins Lecture run by the Motorsport Safety Fund at AUTOSPORT International.
"I know some people are opposed to it and really think it is not pure enough. I completely disagree with that view.
"It still requires extreme skill from the driver. It is not as if it's turn on, overtake, go, done."
VW’s Audi, Porsche, Bentley report record sales in 2013 Audi, Porsche and Bentley sold more cars than ever as the Volkswagen AG luxury divisions rolled out new models to tap rising demand from the world’s wealthy.
Audi’s deliveries last year rose 8.3 percent to 1.58 million cars and SUVs, helped by revamps of the A3 compact, the company said today in a statement. Porsche reported a 15 percent jump to 162,145 deliveries as demand for the Boxster roadster and related Cayman sports car more than doubled. Bentley’s sales surged 19 percent to 10,120 units.
Bike rider found dead at Dakar Rally At 08:30 hours this morning, as the crew of the broom truck was plotting the position of bike rider 122 to pick him up, at kilometer 143 on the special of the 5th stage between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman they found the body of the Belgian rider Eric Palante (entrant no. 122).
The circumstances of Eric’s death are the subject of an analysis by the Judge Dr. Massucco of Belen [Catamarca province].
No alert was received by the organizers, and Eric’s water had been replenished in the afternoon.
Danica Patrick dumped her husband for new boy-toy Ricky Stenhouse (R)
Danica Patrick has risen to stardom based on her drop-dead good looks and leading a few laps of the Indy because others drivers pitted (when the green dropped they smoked her). in 2014 she's no longer a rookie in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This is the year she has to put up results, or shut up.
Patrick started from pole in last year's Daytona 500 (conspiracy theorists say she was put on pole for PR reasons) and went on to finish eighth, but failed to make the top 10 for the rest of the year.
She finished the season 27th in the standings for the Stewart-Haas team.
"I want to know what to do to be better," she said. "And I do think that the pressure builds more and more each year because there's less and less excuses.
Daytona International Speedway will use a redesigned crossover gate for the Daytona 500 after a crash during a Nationwide race last year scattered debris injuring at least 28 fans. Track president Joie Chitwood stressed the gate was in development for several years before Kyle Larson's Chevrolet sailed into the catchfence and struck a gate on the last lap of the Feb. 23 race.
Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway reinforced its crossover gates with extra cables after an engineering firm reviewed data from the crash and made recommendations. Chitwood said the new gate, which shuttles fans beneath the fence instead of using a staircase to go through it, was as safe as any of the reinforced gates, and its primary goal was to help usher a crowd of 10,000 more quickly off the infield grass after prerace concerts and festivities.
Chili Bowl to air live on MAVTV The Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, midget racing's Super Bowl, will be telecast live on MAVTV American Real on Jan. 18.
Starting at 8:30 p.m. ET and scheduled for three hours, it will be the first national telecast that is not pay-per-view for the iconic event. With 283 entries running indoors on a clay-surface quarter-mile track at the Tulsa Expo Center, the 28th Chili Bowl has four nights of qualifying races, Jan. 14 to Jan. 17, to establish starting spots for the final night.
MAVTV 's decision to broadcast the Chili Bowl finale live fits perfectly into the growing independent network's plan to offer more live events featuring grass roots motorsports in 2014. It also could be a ratings bonanza for the Chili Bowl, which runs before sold-out crowds of 15,500 each night and has the nation's best short-track drivers and teams plus an all-star field with NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kyle Larson entered.
Jeff Gordon feeling his age Q. When you look at the all‑time numbers in the Cup Series, like you and a bunch of old guys are up at the top.
JEFF GORDON: Thank you. I appreciate that. I shaved this morning because I had a beard that I had grown for about three weeks, and I looked in the mirror, and I was like, wow, man, I am really gray. I felt pretty old this morning. I was actually feeling a lot younger after I shaved until now.
Q. That was kind of my question. When you start a new season, do you feel like a veteran, experienced driver, or do you feel like a young guy with still a lot to prove?
JEFF GORDON: Well, this time of year I always feel rejuvenated because I've had a break. I feel excited because I see the things my team is working on, all the hard work they've done. It's a fresh start to the season. I feel young at this moment.
But when I roll out of the bed in the morning, I realize that I'm 42 because I have aches and pains that I didn't have 20 years ago. I'm reminded of my age. But when I get to the track, I'm still as passionate and as excited, if not more so, than I've ever been.
Q. Jeff, you've got star power, shaven or unshaven.
Tony Stewart vows to do job 100 percent upon return
Tony Stewart is confident he will be ready to race at full speed when the NASCAR season opens next month.
The three-time NASCAR champion has only been in a race car once, for a seat fitting, since breaking his right leg Aug. 5 in a sprint car accident. The broken tibia and fibula caused Stewart to miss the final 15 races of last season, and doctors won't clear him to race until Feb. 14, the day before the exhibition Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
The season-opening Daytona 500 is Feb. 23, just 10 days after Stewart will be cleared to get back in the car.
Effective immediately, David Wilson has been promoted to president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development).
Previously, Wilson, who has been with TRD since 1989, was acting president and general manager of the organization since last June. Prior to that, he held the title of senior vice president.
“David Wilson has been an integral part of the success of our Toyota Racing efforts, and we are pleased to promote him to this important leadership position at TRD,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. “We look forward to many more trophies in NASCAR, NHRA and other racing series.”
A must-see TV move no one saw coming There was a lot of genuine excitement associated with the opening day of NASCAR's 2014 Pre Season Thunder tests at Daytona. That was largely due to the fact that it meant the new NASCAR racing season had finally arrived.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and washed out the day's schedule. Air Titan, NASCAR's sophisticated track drying machine, topped the speed charts for the day.
However, that did not mean there weren't plenty of news stories coming from Daytona including this "Must See TV" bombshell.
It's now been confirmed that Steve Letarte, the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, will be departing at the end of the 2014 season and will join the NBC Sports NASCAR broadcast team next year.
Wayne Taylor Racing Announces New President and COO Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR), whose drivers Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor in September clinched the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype-class championship, announced the appointment of Michael Levinsohn as President and Chief Operating Officer of the organization, effective immediately.
Levinsohn is a seasoned corporate executive and entrepreneur with 25 years of experience running both public and private companies. He will be responsible for all commercial activities pertaining to WTR while Taylor focuses on the team’s racing program.
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