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Sebring draws a crowd for testing Monday  Simona de Silvestro was warned that the Lotus group wanted to take advantage of every minute of available track time at Sebring International Raceway on Jan. 16. 

Eight hours and 161 laps later, the third-year HVM Racing driver was ready for a break. It was the third day of on-track development/testing for the 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged V-6 engine that's mated to the new Dallas chassis. Lotus, with de Silvestro behind the wheel, piled up 156 laps on the Palm Beach International Raceway on Jan. 13-14. She played golf on the interim day.

"It's definitely a busy place because there are no straightaways where you can relax," de Silvestro said of the Sebring short course. "But so far so good. We've had pretty much no issues and I haven't done anything wrong either. More ...

Team Stange Signs Lazaro Selgar for 2012 Star Mazda Season  
Brazilian driver Lazaro Selgar
Lazaro Selgar
Team Stange Racing, LLC Announced today that it has signed Lazaro Selgar to contest the entire 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear  with the team. 

Lazaro Selgar started his racing career racing KARTS in 2009, competing fully in KARTS until 2011 when he took another important step in the evolution of his career with tests in a Formula 3 car in South America.

Lazaro is a very professional and disciplined young man who is always seeking to improve his positive and negative aspects for victory. More ...

Nationwide owner Jay Robinson forms Cup team  Nationwide Series veteran team owner Jay Robinson will enter into his 12th year in the series and has partnered with Troy Blakeney of Houston, Texas to form Robinson-Blakeney Racing, LLC and will field a Sprint Cup Series car with Toyota as its manufacturer. The new team intends to run full time in both series this year. "I am very excited about our new venture into the Cup series", said team owner Jay Robinson" We have all of the cars and equipment in place. We will be running engines prepared by Race Engines Plus and are hoping to hire a driver very soon."

The #28 Nationwide car will continue into the 2012 Season with a variety of drivers throughout the season. Jeff Spraker and his Spraker Racing Enterprises group has been hired to head up the Nationwide efforts. Troy Blakeney, with offices in Houston and Fort Worth, Texas is relatively new to the sport and brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience which will certainly prove to be an asset in the venture. Robinson-Blakeney Racing will run Toyotas from their Monroe N. C. based. The team will soon be announcing their drivers, crew chiefs and sponsorships.  Robinson-Blakeney Racing

IndyCar sets open test dates in Sebring  IZOD IndyCar Series teams will participate in an Open Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on March 5-6 and 8-9.

Firestone Indy Lights teams will test at the facility March 7 (9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. ET).

The schedule, with times and teams scheduled to test:

March 5 (9 a.m.-noon; 1-5 p.m.) March 6 (9 a.m.-noon; 1-4 p.m.)
Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Dragon Racing, HVM Racing, Team Penske, Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

March 8 (10 a.m.-noon; 1-5 p.m.) March 9 (9 a.m.-noon; 1-5 p.m.)
A.J. Foyt Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport, Ed Carpenter Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, KV Racing Technology, Panther Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Michael Shank Racing Indy.

Fontana not as dangerous as Las Vegas for IndyCars  
CART used to fill the Fontana grandstands up before Tony George split the sport and destroyed it.  In the background is the grandstands just prior to starting of engines for an IRL race at Fontana.  Sad, isn't it?  Tony thought he had a better idea.
This is the year that Indy cars are to return to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. But with an Indy car fatality on a NASCAR track last year in Las Vegas, some — such as NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson — are saying that Indy cars are not safe racing on oval tracks.

However, Auto Club Speedway and Indy Car officials — along with another high-profile NASCAR driver — disagree. They all say there is no need for concern when Indy returns to Fontana on Sept. 24 and 25.

The disagreement stems from a tragic accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16 that took the life of Dan Wheldon.

However, there are differences between the two NASCAR tracks among other things that make Auto Club Speedway an ideal venue for Indy car racing, said track spokesman David Talley. More ...

IndyCar drivers get ImPACT baseline test  
J.R. Hildebrand
Ryan Hunter-Reay and JR Hildebrand crossed paths a few times in the narrow main hallway of the IU Health Infield Medical Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as IZOD IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy drivers completed mandatory physicals last week.

The preseason tests serve as a baseline for the year, according to Speedway medical director Dr. Geoff Billows.

“They receive a comprehensive physical that includes a 12-lead electrocardiogram, blood testing, hearing testing, drug screening, vision screening, and they also perform the ImPACT (computerized neurocognitive assessment),” he said. More ...

Engine builders pleased with fuel injection results  
On-track action during testing
There wasn’t much talk about fuel injection during the three-day test last week at Daytona International Speedway.

And for NASCAR officials, that’s a good thing.

After more than a year of work, they hope that teams are comfortable with the new system, which will debut in the Daytona 500 and be used throughout the 2012 season.

It appeared that for the most part, Sprint Cup teams were comfortable with their base packages during the three-day test. More ...

"Dragon Tattoo" Brands Lotus Works IndyCar Team  Lotus Racing is using the Autosport International racing show to announce that Dragon Racing will be its factory-supported entry in 2012 Izod IndyCar Series competition.

The team, founded in 2007 by Jay Penske and Stephen Luczo as Luczo Dragon Racing, will be rebranded as Lotus Dragon Racing.

The name of the team enjoys by association the public visibility triggered by the release last month of the movie Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the novel penned by Stieg Larsson and published after his death in November 2004. More ...

Another top Sprint Cup driver quits propping up the Nationwide series  
Carl Edwards
While a regular contender for NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards has also been a leading race winner in the second-tier NASCAR Nationwide Series with Roush Fenway Racing for the past seven years. That won't be the case in 2012, as Edwards, along with Kyle Busch before him, has decided not to run any Nationwide races – although he left open the possibility of changing that plan later in the season.

"The way we're approaching this season is, I'm not committing to any races right now," Edwards told NASCAR.com. "And as the season goes, if I decide I'm just a nervous ball of energy on Saturdays and I can't function without going and racing – because that might be the case – then we'll work to try to go Nationwide racing." More ...

Front Row Motorsports adds David Ragan to lineup  
David Ragan
Front Row Motorsports will follow up its best season in the team's young history by bolstering its line-up for 2012, adding race winner David Ragan to drive the No. 34 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  Front Row veteran David Gilliland will build off an impressive 2011 season, returning to the team behind the wheel of the team's second entry, the No. 38 Ford Fusion.

Ragan joins Front Row after completing a 2011 season that delivered his first Cup win (Daytona International Speedway in July), two poles, and four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.  The 26-year-old Unadilla, Ga., native is already a NASCAR veteran, first joining the national stock-car ranks at the age of 18 and quickly ascending to premier-level Sprint Cup racing.  His No. 34 team is locked in to the starting line-up entering the 2012 season, including a guaranteed starting spot in the prestigious Daytona 500 next month. More ...

Racing news
Japan's Sakai dies in high-speed crash  Female motorcycle speedway racer Hiromi Sakai died on Jan. 15 after crashing during a practice run at the Funabashi Auto Race venue here, officials said. She was 27.

Sakai came off her motorcycle at about 4:20 p.m. on Jan. 15, and hit a fence. She died shortly afterward in a medical office at the venue. Officials said her cause of death was a fractured skull, and police are investigating the cause of the accident. More ...

BMW Team RLL Names Driver Lineup For 2012  
BMW Team RLL car at Sebring in 2011
BMW Team RLL will return to the American Le Mans Series in search of its third consecutive GT class Team and Manufacturer championship with a team of experienced drivers. Dirk Müller (DE) and Joey Hand (US) will represent BMW Team RLL as reigning GT Driver champions. As in the past three seasons, Bill Auberlen (US) will also start in a BMW M3 GT. New to the team are 2001 ALMS GT champion Jörg Müller (DE) and Uwe Alzen (DE). The sixth driver, which will be used in selected endurance events, will be announced at a later date. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Ecclestone: Pay me now or pay me later
    New Ferrari, Sauber, pass FIA crash tests
  • Sutil to Lotus rumors 'a joke' scoffs Lux
  • Alternating races 'good' idea for Spain - Ecclestone
  • Di Resta, Ricciardo, face 2012 with eyes on future
  • Ferrari not ruling out Ferrari future for Newey
  • Video: Ferrari skiing and ice racing New
  • Force India-Aerolab court case begins New
  • F1 DRS zones to be adjusted for 2012 New  More ...
10 IndyCar drivers in Rolex 24  
IndyCar driver Scott Dixon
The Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona is traditionally the first big race in North America each year. The Rolex is in late January, while IndyCar doesn’t start its season until mid-March. This works well for the Rolex, and for IndyCar drivers: this year, 10 IndyCar stars will be driving in the Rolex.

The IndyCar drivers get track time, have some fun, and possibly earn the prestige of winning North America’s longest endurance race. The year 2012 being the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 24, a win this year brings even more glory.

Whatever the reasons, 10 different IndyCar drivers have rides in prototypes or GT cars in the 2012 Rolex. More ...

Krohn Racing commits to WEC  
Krohn Racing announced it will enter the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship with Team Owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn (center), Michele Rugolo (left) and Nic Jonsson (right) in a new Ferrari F458 in the GTE-Am Class.

The drivers are pictured here at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.

NASCAR close to finalizing Daytona package  Sprint Cup preseason testing ended at Daytona International Speedway Saturday afternoon with NASCAR saying it has a good handle on a workable rules package for February Speedweeks. Officials made numerous modifications during three days of testing at the 2.5-mile track with the aim of lessening driver dependence on the tandem drafting that have ruled racing at Daytona and Talladega in recent events. NASCAR and track officials seemed pleased with the results of the three days after drivers ran in single-car, double-car and pack formations.

NASCAR compiled stacks of data during the test runs and expects to issue a final rules package for Speedweeks soon. There is the expectation that Speedweeks events - particularly the featured Feb. 26 Daytona 500 - will see more traditional pack racing and less tandem drafting, although the cars' setups remain such that the two-car draft could decide the race over the closing laps. SPEED

Gianpiero Moretti Passes Away  
Moretti and Paul Newman years ago
Gianpiero Moretti, the man who helped define the term "gentleman racer," passed away Saturday at the age of 67 after a long illness at his home in Milan, Italy.

"He was definitely a great guy," said Kevin Doran, who partnered with Moretti for seven seasons. "He will be missed."

Moretti came to Daytona Beach for his first Rolex 24 in 1970, when his underfunded Ferrari team finished 32nd. He returned in 1979, and he could almost taste the victory lane champagne. Carlos Facetti put his Jolly Club Porsche 935 on the pole and led the race, but the car blew an engine. More ...

Swindell wins Chili Bowl; Stewart 10th  NASCAR star Tony Stewart returned from two days of testing at Daytona to finish 10th in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, while Kevin Swindell led wire-to-wire in the 55-lap main event en route to his third consecutive title Saturday night. A record crowd of 17,227 watched Swindell, from Germantown, Tenn., easily edge father Sammy Swindell, a five-time champion, in the indoor Midget event on the 1/5-mile dirt oval at QuikTrip Center.

After starting 10th, Tony Stewart made no errors, but couldn't advance on a night where cars played follow the leader. Kevin Swindell was chased all the way by his father, who started behind him in the second row. Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, Calif., finished third.

The main event, scheduled for 50 laps, was extended an additional five to honor Donnie Ray Crawford's # 55. Crawford, a Broken Arrow, Okla., resident, was scheduled to complete in the Chili Bowl on Saturday night, but was killed in a domestic dispute. Associated Press

John Hopkins has Finger-top Amputated  
John Hopkins
John Hopkins has undergone surgery to amputate the top of the middle finger on his right hand.

Following numerous surgeries and complications after his crash at the Brno MotoGP event in 2011, the Crescent Suzuki World Superbike rider is now positive that, after yesterday's operation in California, it will not adversely affect his Championship challenge this year.

He visited his consultant on Thursday and was given a set of options, the best being to remove part of the finger up to the first knuckle. This allows Hopkins to start physiotherapy in 10-11 days time and then be back on a bike in just three weeks. More ...

MotoGP grid expands to 21 bikes for 2013  Grid numbers in MotoGP will be at a four year high in 2012 after the FIM’s provisional entry list revealed 21 riders for the upcoming season. Not since 2007 have this many riders entered the opening race and the boost in competitors is largely down to the introduction of Claiming Rules Teams.

Nine of the bikes will be running to CRT regulations, with a number of teams entering the premier class for the first time. BQR, running under the Avintia Racing banner, will have two FTR-Kawasakis for Ivan Silva and Moto2 graduate Yonny Hernandez while Ioda Racing Project will run Danilo Petrucci with their own chassis powered by an Aprilia RSV4 engine. Speed Master, another outfit with a proven track record in the support series, will also have Aprilia power supporting Anthony West. Moto2 squad Forward Racing were one of the first to announce a CRT plan and will have the best possible rider for the new adventure in the ultra-experienced Colin Edwards. More ...

Dakar Stage 13: Peterhansel wins, Gordon flips  
Stephane Peterhansel
Stephane Peterhansel was on the brink of a 10th Dakar Rally title on Saturday after clinching the 13th and second to last stage, which gave him an overall lead of almost 43 minutes.

Cyril Despres looks certain to make it a French double celebration in Sunday's finale in Lima after being virtually handed the motorcycling title when closest rival Marc Coma became lost in sand dunes.

Peterhansel, driving a Mini, finished Saturday's 275km timed stage from Nasca ahead of South Africa's Ginel De Villiers in a Toyota.

The three-time car winner and six-time motorcycle champion has an overall lead of close to 43 minutes over Mini team-mate Nani Roma of Spain. More ...

Kubica falls, breaks leg  UPDATE
Robert Kubica
(GMM)  Robert Kubica is recovering from surgery on his right leg (tibia) following a fall on an icy street last week.

The news agencies Polska Agencja Prasowa (Poland) and Ansa (Italy) said the former BMW and Renault driver, who was already sidelined following his horror rally crash early last year, was operated on in Mantua, Italy.

Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli said the 27-year-old will remain in hospital for a few days.

"Now he just needs a little bit of rest," said Morelli in his first public comment about Kubica's latest injury setback. More ...

Day Three: NASCAR Preseason Thunder At Daytona  As the final day of Preseason Thunder wrapped, there was certainly no shortage of information NASCAR and the teams gathered during this three-day test as speeds continued to stand close to the 200-mph mark.

Kasey Kahne led the morning session with a speed of 201.545 mph, with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson also posting times near the top of the charts.

Teams continued to collaborate with NASCAR throughout the day, in particular with the afternoon pack drafting session, to work towards the goal of reducing the ease of the tandem draft and making it an exception instead of the norm.

“Once we leave here, obviously there will be a lot of energy spent on looking through all of the data that we’ve collected this week,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby. “Looking through lap times and speeds and watching film and footage. I would like to have the final rules package out as quickly as we can just to make sure the teams have enough time to react to everything.” More ...
racing news
Dubai 24H: Mercedes 1-2-3  
Mercedes 1-2-3
One year after the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 made its 24-hour race debut in the Dunlop 24H DUBAI, the sportscar with the gullwing doors locked out all three podium places in the seventh running of the endurance race for touring cars, GTs and 24H Specials. After 24 hours of action-packed racing at the 5.390 kilometers long Dubai Autodrome, German team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon claimed victory, its four drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi, Sean Edwards, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Thomas Jager having completed a total of 628 laps (3,384.92 km) to establish a new record distance in the Dunlop 24H DUBAI.

Second and third place both went to the Heico Motorsport team, with Bernd Schneider, Maximilian Buhk, Christiaan Frankenhout, Max Nilsson and Andreas Zuber finishing second from the team with the sister car consisting of Bernd Schneider, Kenneth Heyer, Andreas Simonsen and Rodolfo Gonzalez. Last year’s winning team, Saudi Falcons by Schubert, saw its drivers Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Faisal Binladen, Edward Sandström, Jörg Müller and Claudia Hürtgen with the BMW Z4 in contention for a podium finish for most of the race, but debris in the air intake with some three hours remaining made them drop to fourth, where they finished. More ...
Daytona: Kahne and Gordon top Saturday AM speeds  
Kasey Kahne
With a smaller restrictor plate, drivers saw their speeds decrease Saturday morning during testing at Daytona International Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon turned laps of 201.545 mph using a two-car draft, more than five miles per hour slower than the top speeds Friday afternoon.

NASCAR decreased the holes in the restrictor plate by 1/32nd of an inch for the Saturday morning session. The restrictor plate with holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter was the same as used at the start of the three-day test session Thursday. More ...

SPEED.com to Cover Rolex 24 Flag to Flag  

Race fans will be able to follow all of the action in the historic 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona through SPEED and SPEED.com.

SPEED will continue to be the television home of GRAND-AM Road Racing in 2012, televising all 13 Rolex Sports Car Series events either live or on a same-day delay basis. Coverage begins with 15-and-a-half hours of coverage from the Rolex 24, which will be enhanced for the first time by continued streaming on its web site. More ...

NASCAR Daytona Friday PM test speeds  Friday's afternoon test session saw Kurt Busch atop the charts as the five fastest drivers were:
Kurt Busch leads pack
Getty Images for NASCAR
#51-Kurt Busch 206.058
#78-Regan Smith 206.053
#18-Kyle Busch 205.813
#24-Jeff Gordon 205.747
#5-Kasey Kahne 205.747 More ...
NASCAR moving forward with 2013 cars  The 2012 season hasn't even started, but the move toward new car models in 2013 is well under way. Manufacturers that compete in NASCAR's premier series have targeted next year to roll out new vehicles that will provide the carmakers with more brand identity on the race track. That process will gain speed during the next month or so, beginning with wind-tunnel tests and eventually an on-track session sometime later in 2012, according to the sanctioning body.

"We'll be in the wind tunnel over the next 30, 45 days with the new prototypes as we do our evaluations on the submission cars, parts and pieces," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said Friday at Preseason Thunder. More ...

Team car max would prevent Earnhardt, Jr. from operating Cup team  
Dale Earnhardt. Jr.
Getty Images for NASCAR
Whenever there was talk about JR Motorsports possibly moving to Sprint Cup, team officials noted that not only would Rick Hendrick have to divest his interest in the team because of NASCAR's four-team cap, but possibly so would Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed that Friday at Daytona International Speedway, saying that if a driver owns a team but drives for another organization, then the total number of cars for both organizations counts toward the four-team cap. With Hendrick Motorsports already having four cars, Earnhardt Jr. cannot own a non-Hendrick Cup car. JR Motorsports is owned by Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr. Earnhardt Jr. signed a contract extension with Hendrick last year.

"It comes down to any attachments to more than four cars. & Dale Jr. with JR Motorsports, he drives for a four-car team, so a driver from a four-car organization can't fill a car," Helton said. "That would be considered a fifth car. Helton addressed the issue after Michael Waltrip expressed interest in competing in the Daytona 500 but possibly with another organization. Waltrip said earlier this week that if he wanted to drive for another organization, he would have to do it with a single-car team because he already owns three Cup cars. Scene Daily

Petty says sponsors didn't want Kurt Busch  
Kurt Busch
Getty Images for NASCAR
In between talking about how much fun he's having "old school" racing and how he needs to learn how to better handle adversity better, Kurt Busch let it be known that he's focused on the big "prize": 2013. "Yes, 2012 is going to be a unique year for somebody such as myself," Busch said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

"But to take a step back for me personally and look at all of this, this is what I need. And all along we're going to keep our eyes on the prize in 2013." And according to Busch, he could have several quality options. Busch said he talked to a number of team owners about 2012, including Richard Childress, Michael Waltrip and Richard Petty, who on Thursday said he didn't sign Busch because sponsors were leery of the 2004 champion. More ...

Knaus misses testing for vacation  
Jimmie Johnson
Getty Images for NASCAR
Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, coming off the worst season of his career, was without his crew chief when testing opened Thursday for the Daytona 500. But don't read anything into the absence of Chad Knaus, Johnson said. Knaus was on a Hendrick Motorsports-approved vacation to South Africa that most who know the tightly wound crew chief believe will help him over the course of NASCAR's grueling 11-month schedule.

"Chad had such a great opportunity to go on a great vacation and really do something for himself," Johnson said. "When he asked me what my opinion was, I was like, 'Buddy, if upper management clears it, I think you have to do it.' I took that vacation and it was good for me. He needs that. So I am real happy he is taking the time."

Johnson guessed it had been almost a decade since Knaus took his last real vacation -- in part because the #48 team ran poorly after Knaus returned from a little rest and relaxation. Associated Press/ESPN

Kenseth loses bet with Dale Jr.  Matt Kenseth grew a beard during the offseason-and it cost him. At Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 1970s-themed New Year's Eve party, Kenseth was sporting a Fu Manchu and mutton-chop sideburns. Earnhardt bet Kenseth he wouldn't keep the beard through this week's Preseason Thunder test sessions at Daytona. Through a series of subsequent text messages between the drivers, the ante grew to $2,500.

"I was actually going to (keep the beard), and it looked really stupid, but I hate losing any money, and he kept upping the money and upping the money until finally I said, 'OK.' I checked first to make sure I didn't have any photos, and then I get a call saying that I had a photo shoot here and an interview there--and anyway I guess I lost.

"Although technically this should count," Kenseth added, stroking the stubble on his chin. "It is three days old." That's not the way Earnhardt sees it. "He shaved his beard," Earnhardt said. "You guys can remind him. I told him to go to the bank, but maybe he forgot. "I want my $2,500." NASCAR.com

Geoff Bodine still looking for ride  1986 Daytona 500 winner, Geoff Bodine, said Wednesday he still hopes to have a deal in place to compete in NASCAR's premier race on Feb. 26, as well as the invitation-only Budweiser Shootout that will be held eight days earlier.

"We are cautiously optimistic we will be racing at Daytona," Bodine said during a stop in Jacksonville as he was driving back to his Melbourne, FL, home from Charlotte, NC. Bodine, 62, is looking to expand his participation in the Sprint Cup Series after competing in four events with Tommy Baldwin Racing last year. Prior to 2011, he had made just one start on the senior circuit since 2004. "We have the sponsorship. We'll be all right," he said.

"The wheels are in motion and hopefully soon we will be making some announcement." Bodine has sponsorship for a minimum of 15 Sprint Cup races from Luke & Associates, a Florida-based health care provider to the U.S. military. He and Luke & Associates had hoped to hook up with a team before the end of the year, with the sponsor also seeking an ownership role. In recent weeks several mid-tier teams have inked new deals, including Baldwin with David Reutimann.

Bodine wasn't concerned with some teams' recent announcement plans, saying, "All of the options that we were considering are still available." Having raced last year and being a former Bud Shootout winner and the 1986 Daytona 500 champion, Bodine is one of the 33 drivers eligible for the Shootout race. Elmira Star Gazette

NASCAR makes more rule changes  
Cars lineup on pit road waiting for Daytona testing to resume
Getty Images for NASCAR
NASCAR announced more changes for Sprint Cup Series teams after the second day of testing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. Teams will receive a smaller restrictor plate with an opening of 29/32nd of an inch, down from 15/16ths, to decrease the amount of air intake to the engine. The radiator opening was shrunk from 3.5-by-18 inches to 2-by-20 inches, or from 63 square inches to 40. And the pressure relief valve is now 21 pounds per square inch from the 25psi they used Friday. The top speed in Friday's test session was set 90 minutes into the afternoon by Kurt Busch. He ran a 206.058-mph average lap working in tandem with his regular drafting partner, Regan Smith. Busch hit 210.9 mph down the backstretch, the fastest portion of the track. Fox Sports

01/12/12 If NASCAR's objective was to eliminate tandem drafting at restrictor-plate racetracks, it remains a work in progress, based on Thursday's first Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway. Accordingly, in a meeting with crew chiefs at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday, NASCAR announced additional modifications to a restrictor-plate competition package that already had undergone major changes in the offseason. Even though Kyle Busch topped the speed chart in Thursday afternoon's Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway at 202.402 mph-in a tandem draft with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano-NASCAR will make the cars faster, less stable and more prone to overheating on Friday. The sanctioning body increased the diameter of restrictor-plate openings 1/32nd of an inch to 15/16ths inches, adding an estimated 26 horsepower to the engines. In addition, NASCAR has lowered the pressure relief valve settings from 30 pounds per square inch to 25 psi and narrowed the grille openings of the cars, thereby decreasing airflow to the engine. Both measures are designed to decrease the number of laps one car can push another without overheating. Sporting News
Legend George Follmer Tee-Shirts available  Mike Follmer Specialties - Fountain Valley, California, is proud to announce 8 brand new Limited Edition Tee-Shirts designs honoring Racing Legend – GEORGE FOLLMER.

Full color Tee’s are available in sizes S; L; XL, and XXL

S/L/XL Shirts are only $20.00 each and XXL Shirts are only $25.00 each.

Shipping is either via UPS or USPS and the additional shipping & handling cost is based on the order quantity and weight. More ...

LMP2 on way up in 2012  
No class in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron looks to grow more in 2012 than LMP2. As a new season continues to rapidly approach, new entries into the category should make P2 one to watch throughout the year.

Why the interest? A large reason is a rules package that aims to be as cost-effective and stable to warrant investment from independent teams. The regulations from the Automobile Clue de l’Ouest – the rulesmaker for the 24 Hours of Le Mans – mandate that a P2 car cannot exceed 345,000 euros (just shy of $440,000 US) for a chassis with a cap of $75,000 for an engine. More ...

McLaren 'taking controlled risk'  McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale says that the team is "taking controlled risk" as it builds towards the new season.

With Red Bull having had the fastest car for the 2011 season, McLaren is hoping to close the gap with the new MP4-27 this year. Until the first test at Jerez in February the teams don't know how competitive their cars are relative to the competition, and Neale said that he expected to see a number of different ideas when the new cars finally hit the track. More ...

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