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DATE News (chronologically)
01/14/15
usac

Flying Andy Granatelli's Indy 500 Race Cars on a TWA Boeing 707
The very last picture from Jim Clark in the new wedge Lotus STP Turbine, in the '68 Indy 500 tests. 8 days later Jimmy would be fatally injured in a Formula Two race at Hockenheim

Here's a little background about a wonderful encounter I had with racing legend Andy Granatelli in the late 1970's. At that time, I flew for Trans World Airlines on their Boeing 707 and 727 aircraft.

In April and May of 1978, my regular assignment (trips for the month) was to fly a 707 freighter from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Typically, we would launch very late in the evening around midnight, and arrive in Indy at around 6:00 am local time. A day-and-a-half later, we'd fly a return flight to Los Angeles at 6 pm. That gave us a 36-hour layover in Indy. On our first trip of the month, I got to the airport quite early, as I had been on vacation the previous month and had lots of accumulated paperwork to attend to. At about nine in the evening, I bummed a ride with a TWA mechanic from the hangar to the TWA cargo facility on the other side of the airport - probably the most harrowing part of my three-day trip.

As we arrived at the air freight terminal, I noticed two large box vans - both painted with the legendary STP logo. The TWA mechanic and I walked over to the vans and looked inside… one was filled with tires, crated engines, tool boxes, and other motor racing equipment. The second van had two Indy 500 race cars inside!

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01/14/15
uscc

53 entries for Rolex 24
IMSA has released the entry list for next weekend's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, which will feature a total of 53 entries.

ENTRY LIST: Rolex 24 at Daytona

The opening round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup sees a 16-car field in the Prototype class, led by Corvette DP entries from Action Express Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing and VisitFlorida.com Racing.

A pair of Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DPs will be fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, while there are three BMW Dinan-powered Riley DPs on the grid for RG Racing, Fifty Plus Racing and Starworks Motorsport.

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01/14/15
dakar

Dakar Day 10: Barreda lights the fireworks as Al-Attiyah strengthens his grip
Joan Barreda

Joan Barreda wanted a stage win on the road to Cachi to put several days of bad luck behind him. Today, the Spaniard got his way in a special in which he was head and shoulders above a nonetheless impressive Marc Coma. Nasser Al-Attiyah produced another virtuoso performance on the road to Salta today to clinch his fourth stage and expand his already wide lead in the general classification. Buenos Aires looms on the horizon.

Joan Barreda, frustrated by a streak of bad luck which sounded the death knell for his overall ambitions in stage 8, was determined to grab as many stage wins as possible to finish the Dakar in style. The Spaniard, possibly the most talented rider in the field, claimed his third win since the start in Buenos Aires after setting an infernal pace throughout the entire special and finishing 1'39" ahead of Marc Coma in Cachi. Coma himself was the other big winner of today's stage, as he increased the gap separating him from his closest rivals.

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01/14/15
il

New Mazda-Powered Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Shines During Initial Test in Florida
Scott Hargrove was fastest
Jupiter, Fla. - If the drivers' comments following the first test of the new Mazda MZR-R-powered Dallara IL-15 are anything to go by, this year's Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season is likely to be a barn-burner. A total of eight drivers representing five teams took part in the two-day test at the 2.034-mile Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla., and all were ecstatic about the pace, consistency and reliability of the new car which will make its race debut on the streets of St. Petersburg on March 28/29.

At the conclusion of the first day the top four drivers and teams were separated by a hair over two tenths of a second. The top two drivers from last year's Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires were the initial pacesetters, with second-place finisher Scott Hargrove, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, driving for Enzo Potolicchio's impressive 8Star Motorsports team, edging out series champion Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) by a scant 0.0643s. Hargrove's best time on the opening day after completing 46 trouble-free laps was 1:06.8606.

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01/14/15
irl

Brian Carroccio interviews with Indy Race Reviewer
AutoRacing1 columnist Brian Carroccio did an interview recently with Brett Smithson of Indy Race Reviewer, looking ahead to the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Check it out here.

Comment
01/14/15
nassprint

NASCAR drivers hit the road to promote Daytona 500
As we get closer to the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be hitting the road to promote the season's opening points race with the Road to the Daytona 500 Tour.

The cross-country media blitz will feature 11 cities and feature nearly 20 drivers. Each city on the tour will host a driver for a day of special events and media availabilities, all to promote the 57th running of "The Great American Race."

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01/14/15
f1

Mercedes pays record fee to enter 2015 season
Mercedes pays dearly for its domination
(GMM)  Mercedes is paying the highest ever fee to enter the 2015 world championship.

The German team may have triumphantly dominated last year's titles, but one unpleasant consequence is a hefty FIA bill to the tune of almost $5 million.

The cost of merely entering the world championship was changed in recent years, when instead of a flat fee teams were also asked to pay per point scored in the previous season.

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01/14/15
motogp

Honda HRC renews relationship with Casey Stoner
Casey Stoner
Honda Racing Corporation have retained the services of two-time World Champion Casey Stoner through 2015.

The 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion will test for two days in Sepang between the 29th and 31st January, prior to the first Official IRTA pre-season test.

A second test will take place towards the end of the year, but no date is confirmed at present.

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01/14/15
il

Indy Lights Teams Prepare for First Official Dallara IL-15 Test
Dallara IL-15
Jupiter, Fla. - Five Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams and eight drivers are set to conduct the first official test of the brand-new Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 at Palm Beach International Raceway, in Jupiter, Fla., today and tomorrow, January 13 and 14.

After winning the championship in 2014 with Colombian-American rising star Gabby Chaves, Indianapolis-based Belardi Auto Racing will lead the way, fielding one new car for Puerto Rican Felix Serralles, a standout in European Formula 3 competition for the past two years.

"It's very exciting," said team owner Brian Belardi. "Andersen Promotions and all their partners, everybody who has been involved in this program including Mazda, Dallara and Cooper Tires, has done a fantastic job putting everything together. It's exactly what this series needs and I'm sure we'll see a big jump in numbers. It's been long overdue and it's a proper race car. The team is excited and the engineers are excited to get to work on the car and building on the success we had last year."

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01/14/15
nassprint

Tire changer sues MWR
A former top tire changer for Michael Waltrip Racing sued the Cornelius-based motorsports team on Tuesday, claiming he was fired a day before undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury suffered when he was struck by a car during a NASCAR race. Brandon Hopkins helped Michael Waltrip Racing to its first Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award in 2012. He contends team officials "blacklisted" him after his surgery by falsely accusing him of stealing a pit gun used to remove lug nuts.

As a result, he lost an unpaid internship with another NASCAR Sprint Cup team and paid work with a NASCAR Truck Series team, Hopkins says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Charlotte employment law lawyer Joshua Van Kampen in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Hopkins is suing for damages, citing breach of contract, defamation, intentional interference with a contract and violation of the N.C. blacklisting statute, according to his lawsuit.

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01/14/15
nassprint

Childress employee accused of stealing racing suits
An employee of Richard Childress Racing in Welcome is accused of taking a driver's suit and three crew member suits and selling them on eBay. Kenneth Lane Wilkes, 65, of 266 Glenn Link Road, was released from custody Friday under a $10,000 unsecured bond. He has been charged with a count of felony larceny by employee. Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said the driver's suit was valued at $3,000 and each crew member suit at $1,000. The suits were not marked with a particular driver or team, according to the sheriff's office. The sheriff explained he couldn't comment on whether Wilkes has been fired. It was unclear Monday in what capacity Wilkes was employed with Richard Childress Racing. A spokesman with Richard Childress Racing declined comment. Lexington Dispatch

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01/14/15
nassprint

Witness testifies that Kurt Busch's ex-girlfriend said "I will destroy him" (Update)
UPDATE On both Monday and Tuesday, Busch said he still believes Driscoll is a trained assassin, despite some of his doubts and questioning by friends.

"Everyone on the outside can tell me I'm crazy, but I lived it on the inside...," Busch testified. "Sorry I'm the last one to the party."

Busch offered up specific examples of her returning from missions, sometimes with bruises.

Once, he said, they were in El Paso, Texas, where Driscoll had left that night in camouflage and boots. She returned later to the hotel at which he was staying wearing a trench coat. Under it she was wearing an evening gown splattered with blood and other matter, Busch testified.

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01/13/15
f1

Vergne spends first day in Ferrari simulator
Vergne at Ferrari
Recently-signed Ferrari test driver Jean-Eric Vergne has officially started work at the team.

The Frenchman, who lost his Toro Rosso race seat at the end of last season, has been given a simulator-based test role by the manufacturer.

He spent Tuesday at the outfit's Maranello factory, meeting management and engineers, before getting some virtual mileage under his belt.

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01/13/15
dakar

Dakar Day 9: Rodrigues shows panache, Roma saves his rally
Honda HRC rider Helder Rodrigues

After a disastrous day on Monday on the way to Iquique losing more than 3 hours, Helder Rodrigues reacted like a champion in Calama with a splendid and irrefutable victory. Second placed Paulo Goncalves maintained the pressure on Marc Coma. Deprived of all hope of winning a second consecutive Dakar from the very first stage due to a technical problem with his Mini, all which remained for Nani Roma was several prestigious stage victories to put the smile back on his face and extend his roll of honor. It is now mission accomplished thanks to a fine show of force in Calama.

Out of the reckoning for the general standings, Helder Rodrigues has nothing to lose. The Honda HRC rider had ample scope to go on all-out attack over the 450-km special finishing in Calama to open up a major gap on his rivals. In full control, the two times stage winner on the Dakar 2015 finished almost four minutes ahead of the runner-up, his team-mate Paulo Goncalves. This was of no worry to the second placed rider in the general standings however, since he was satisfied with regaining 3'43" from Marc Coma and now seems to be the only rider able to trouble the KTM rider after nine stages.

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01/13/15
f1

F1 team McLaren changes name to reflect its tech focus
As of this morning, McLaren Group have become 'McLaren Technology Group' so it will appeal to its growing clientele in the oil and gas, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, aviation and financial services who rely on it for data services.

A new 57,000 square meters 'applied technology centre' is awaiting planning permission, the racing team announced today, alongside new aerodynamic research facilities, workshops offices and training spaces which will double McLaren's estate. It did not specify where this would be.

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01/13/15
GRC

Red Bull GRC announces 2015 schedule
Red Bull Global Rallycross is pleased to announce a 12-race schedule, its largest ever, for the 2015 season. Once again featuring marquee stops in major urban environments, the race calendar kicks off in sunny Florida on May 31 and ends with a return to the bright lights of Las Vegas on November 5.

"The 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross schedule stands to be our best yet," said Colin Dyne, Red Bull GRC CEO. "The combination of one of the strongest calendars in all of motorsports, as well as one of racing's best broadcast packages, thanks to our partnership with NBC Sports Group, is one that will take the racing world by storm this year. With more races and points on the line, we expect to see a thrilling chase for the championship. We are grateful to our many partners for their support throughout the 2014 season, as well as NBC for a fantastic job in their event broadcasts, and we look forward to bringing these relationships into 2015."

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01/13/15
nnw

Former GM sues Kyle Busch Motorsports
Rick Ren, a former competition director and general manager at Kyle Busch Motorsports, is suing the team for $390,000.

Ren was released from the organization following the 2013 season as KBM scaled back its operations to eliminate its Nationwide Series team.

In a lawsuit filed last month in North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville (N.C.), Ren alleges he and his consulting company are owed a $35,000 bonus from 2012 and $355,000 in commissions from two sponsorships he landed for the organization.

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01/13/15
il
r2i

Hargrove paces Lights test at PBIR
Scott Hargrove
Canadian Scott Hargrove led this morning's Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires test session at Palm Beach International Raceway. Cars are currently on track for session #2. Below are session 1 times:

1 8 Hargrove, Scott (R) 01:09.2536
2 77 Harvey, Jack, 01:09.4473
3 7 Enerson, RC (R) 01:10.0012
4 71 Ringel, Ethan (R) 01:12.1817
5 4 Serralles, Felix (R) 01:12.9643
6 12 Pigot, Spencer (R) 01:22.7748
7 51 Blackstock, Shelby (R) 01:22.8977
8 18 Kaiser, Kyle (R) 01:47.7714

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01/13/15
nastruck

BKR 2015 Team Lineup
Brad Keselowski Racing today announced its team lineup in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The organization will field two full-time entries in the 23 race series.  Cooper Standard returns as primary sponsor of the No. 29 Ford F-150 while Broken Bow Records and Cequent Performance (through its Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog brands) will share primary sponsorship of the No. 19 truck.

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01/13/15
uscc
wec

Why sports car racing receives so little mainstream coverage?
Above is the Audi R18 LMP1 prototype. It has a 4.0 L V6 turbodiesel engine with an independent double wishbone suspension. It’s a beautiful, powerful machine with cutting-edge technology. However, as our editorial staff argues, such technological relevance is not enough to draw fans to the sport.
(Editor's note: This article from England's Motorsport Magazine asks why mainstream media pays so little attention to sports car racing. See our notes at the end of the story, as to our thoughts on the article.)

Think about what it missed! Most significantly, thanks to Lewis Hamilton and Anthony Davidson, there are British world champions in both the two leading motor sport genres, and that has happened just once before, in 1992 when Nigel Mansell and Derek Warwick became F1 and World SportsCar Champions respectively. This year Brits also ruled GP2 and GP3, a clean sweep of which there was no mention.

There was also the small matter of a factory-run Porsche prototype winning at the highest level for the first time since 1998 and the retirement of Tom Kristensen, certainly the greatest sports car driver of his era and, for those who believe you can compare across the generations, perhaps of all time. Emerson Fittipaldi even came out of retirement for the race, but I guess I can forgive them for missing that.

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01/13/15
imsa
uscc

IMSA Establishes Technical Committee, Hires Carter
The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today announced the addition of motorsports veteran Geoff Carter to its Daytona Beach-based management team in the role of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series Manager, reporting to IMSA Managing Director, Racing Operations Simon Hodgson.

Carter also will become a member of the newly established IMSA Technical Committee. The committee will be responsible for the administration of technical aspects of IMSA racing platforms including the Adjustment of Performance (AoP) associated with the TUDOR Championship.

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01/13/15
nassprint

TaxAct To Sponsor Danica Patrick's No. 10 In Sprint Cup Series
Stewart-Haas Racing this morning unveiled a deal with online tax solutions company TaxAct to sponsor Danica Patrick's No. 10 Sprint Cup Series Chevy. The company will serve as the co-primary sponsor with GoDaddy for the Feb. 14 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona Int'l Speedway and appear on the C-post of the car during the rest of Budweiser Speedweeks. TaxAct also will be Patrick's primary sponsor for the March 29 race at Martinsville Speedway.

The company will activate the deal by running an online sweepstakes on TaxAct.com/Danica, in which the first-place winner gets a behind-the-scenes meet-and-great with Patrick. Other prizes include an autographed firesuit plus a match of up to $2,500 on an IRS refund or balance due for a TaxAct-filed return. Sportsbusinessdaily.com

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01/13/15
f1

No more 'unusual' looking F1 cars - Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says noses like this one on the 2014 Lotus may be a thing of the past
(GMM)  Valtteri Bottas thinks the odd look of formula one cars is about to end.

Last year, unseemly 'anteater', 'vacuum cleaner', 'walrus-tusked' and other descriptively-derided solutions filled the grid as designers made the most of the new aerodynamic rules and loopholes.

Those regulations have been tidied up for 2015, and Williams' Bottas thinks the outcome will result in "a far neater appearance" at the front of all the cars this year.

"The rules are quite strict now," he is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3, "so I think they will all be basically similar.

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01/13/15
f1

Marchionne expects Ferrari form in late 2015
Sergio Marchionne addresses media in December
(GMM)  Sergio Marchionne has warned Ferrari fans yet again that 2015 will be a difficult season for the fabled Scuderia.

Speaking at the Detroit auto show on Tuesday, he refused to wade in deeper on a war of words with the Italian marque's ousted long-time president, Luca di Montezemolo.

"Unfortunately we have dropped back, but I will not argue with those who want to make a controversy," Marchionne is quoted by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We start behind but we will keep our heads down and try to win."

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01/13/15
r2i; il

Rising Star Racing's Spencer Pigot Targets First Steps toward 2015 Indy Lights Championship
Spencer Pigot

Indianapolis, Ind. (12 January 2015) - The holiday decorations might all be put away, but for Rising Star Racing driver Spencer Pigot, it's understandable that he might feel like Christmas is still one day away.

Pigot will get his first laps aboard the all-new Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 this week with two days of testing at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR). He looks to take his 2014 championship-winning momentum along with him as he makes the next step up along the Mazda Road to Indy.

The test is the kick off to the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season as the series works to facilitate the deployment of the all-new Dallara that will debut this season. Pigot has twice had the opportunity to test in Indy Lights machinery,  but this week's two day open testing at PBIR will mark his first exposure to the new specification chassis.

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01/13/15
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Azerbaijan Circuit
    Azerbaijan Circuit
    Tilke defends Baku track design
  • Lynn edging towards Formula 1 test role
  • Frijns expects FIA to be flexible over licenses
  • Toro Rosso STR10 passes crash tests
  • Watson: Several years for McLaren recovery

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01/13/15
nassprint

Banks forgive NASCAR 'white elephant' loan while still foreclosing on homeowners
The city of Charlotte's tentative deal with Bank of America and Wells Fargo to erase $17.6 million in NASCAR Hall of Fame debt has left some homeowners angry after they said they struggled to restructure their loans and fight foreclosure.

The city was supposed to pay the $19.1 million loan with proceeds from NASCAR hall commemorative brick sales and corporate sponsorships, but revenue fell far short of expectations.

The hall opened in May 2010, and the city never made a single payment on that debt.

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01/13/15
uscc

FOX To Lead Rolex 24 Broadcast Coverage
A two-hour FOX broadcast network telecast kicks off more than 15 total hours of live FOX Sports television coverage of the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25.

The FOX telecast begins at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 24, moments before the green flag waves for the first round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patr¢n North American Endurance Cup. It is the second consecutive year that the Rolex 24 telecast has opened on the broadcast channel, which is widely distributed in approximately 115 million homes in the United States.

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01/13/15
automotive

GM to invest $12 billion to fund new Cadillac models by 2020
General Motors, working to revive its slumping Cadillac luxury brand, plans to spend $12 billion to develop eight new models by 2020 and two more in the next decade, the brand’s chief said.

Cadillac will focus on the so-called crossover SUV segment, Johan de Nysschen said today at the Detroit auto show. Cadillac currently has just one, the SRX, while rival BMW has five and Audi has three in its lineup. De Nysschen said GM will add three SUVs as part of the expansion.

GM is spending on the brand to fund a new-car renaissance at Cadillac, whose U.S. sales fell 6.5 percent last year. The brand does about half of what rivals BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz sell in the U.S. Luxury SUVs is one area where Cadillac is lagging, de Nysschen said.

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01/13/15
irl

AJ Foyt's condition improves
AJ Foyt

For A.J. Foyt,  turning 80 this Friday may be one of his greatest accomplishments in a lifetime defined by record-setting milestones.

The only man to win the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Daytona 500 continues to recover from serious complications sustained following his triple bypass heart surgery November 12, 2014.

Foyt was discharged from a Houston hospital December 2nd but was readmitted a week later. He spent an additional two weeks in the hospital to have several procedures performed related to post-operative complications. He is expected to make a full recovery.

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01/13/15
nassprint

Kurt Busch court hearing resumes, defense attacks Driscoll's credibility (Update)
Busch and ex-girlfriend Driscoll
Busch and ex-girlfriend Driscoll

UPDATE A hearing on a request by the ex-girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch for a no-contact order resumed Monday with defense witnesses attacking her credibility.

Patricia Driscoll says that Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September and that she still fears for her safety.

Busch's attorneys have denied the assault allegations and have tried to portray Driscoll as a scorned woman out to destroy Busch's career after he ended their relationship shortly before the Dover race.

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