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DATE News (chronologically)
01/26/10
alms

Genoa Racing Hires Ragan as Crew Chief
Genoa Racing is pleased to announce that it has hired Steve Ragan as crew chief for its entry into the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) division of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) this year.

The announcement was made today at the team headquarters in Zionsville, Ind., by Thomas Knapp, the team manager.

Ragan served as a crew chief and a project manager for de Ferran Motorsports the last two years.  That team finished second in the ALMS' LMP1 class last season with five victories and seven pole positions.

Prior to joining de Ferran Motorsports Ragan served as team manager for Hattori Woodland Racing's ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car programs, as well as Conquest Racing's Atlantic program.

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01/26/10
tv news

SPEED Sets Daytona Speedweeks Schedule
SPEED will open its 2010 Daytona Speedweeks coverage Feb. 4 with live coverage of Budweiser Shootout practice, the Budweiser Shootout Selection Show and the Fourth Annual SPEED Performance Awards.

“There is something a little insane about Daytona Speedweeks,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “… and SPEED gets caught up in it just like everyone else. In fact, it’s our job to put fans smack in the middle of it. When we say, ‘NASCAR on SPEED – Be There!’ it’s not just a marketing slogan, it’s how we do business.”

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01/26/10
automotive

GM to add jobs in Baltimore
General Motors will invest approximately $246 million in the Baltimore Transmission plant to construct a high volume electric drive manufacturing facility that will in 2013 produce U.S. designed and manufactured global rear-drive electric motors, a core technology for hybrids and electric vehicles.  The plant will be the first electric motor manufacturing facility in the U.S. operated by a major automaker.

By bringing this capability to the U.S., GM will create approximately 200 jobs.  Local and state incentives, along with the Recovery Act funding announced in August 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy, are helping to make this facility expansion and job creation possible.

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01/26/10
scca

Yokohama Tire Corporation Returns to SCCA as Contingency Sponsor
Yokohama Tire Corporation is returning to the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) as a contingency sponsor for the 2010 Tire Rack® SCCA Solo National Tour and Solo National Championships. Yokohama’s ADVAN Neova® AD08 ultra high-performance tire is now eligible for the SCCA’s contingency program for the series and championship.

“It’s great to be back with the SCCA,” said Duane Sampson, Yokohama brand manager. “The drivers that compete in the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour and Solo National Championships definitely know, understand and appreciate ultra high-performance tires like the Neova AD08. This is an excellent place to showcase the capability of the tire and support grassroots motorsports.” 

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01/26/10
ga

Turner Motorsport Announces 2010 Continental Tire Driver Line Up
When the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge season takes the green flag this Friday afternoon, Turner Motorsport will look to start the ten-race championship on the right foot with a successful defense of the team’s race-winning effort from last year as the iconic blue and yellow BMW M3 machines take to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the Fresh From Florida 200.

Turner Motorsport, which recently announced a maiden campaign in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT Class with a BMW M6 entry, will once again post a full season two-car Grand Sports (GS) Class campaign in the newly-renamed Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge championship. The two GS machines are expected to be joined by the Turner Motorsport Street Tuner (ST) class 328i in select outings as well.

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01/26/10
geandam

Spirit of Daytona Racing ready for Rolex 24
Spirit of Daytona Racing makes final preparations for its season debut at the Rolex 24, excitement is in the air. Following a year focused on development of the No. 90 Porsche-based Coyote, the team is ready to see their work pay off. Defending Rolex co-champions Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia signed on with Spirit of Daytona mid-season in 2009 and will return as full-time drivers for the season. They will be joined in the Rolex 24 effort by NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series star Paul Menard and IndyCar talent Darren Manning. Although the four drivers have never shared the same cockpit, their relationships go back many years.

Most are aware of the Rice and Garcia partnership and 2009 Rolex victory, but may not realize that Darren Manning refers to Rice as his "sparring partner" following their IndyCar competition through the years. Paul Menard has driven with Spirit of Daytona in a winning event on more than one occasion, enjoying his chance to rejoin them in hopes of adding a 24 hour win to his resume.

Spirit of Daytona team owner and manager Troy Flis is quite encouraged by the progress the team has made in development.

"Last season our team had the goal of getting us to a more competitive level, and I think we are there. We've made great strides in developing the Porsche based V8 and I'm pleased with the results," Flis said. "We learned a lot in the test days and will continue to look for improvements, but with our progress and the driver lineup we have, I expect a strong finish for Spirit of Daytona in this year's 24 Hours and for the 2010 season."

Buddy Rice acknowledged the changes, saying "Things are a little different -This year I'll be able to come back and defend, but it'll be with the Spirit of Daytona team. I'll also be driving full time with them in the series so I think there are a lot of new things to consider. It's great to be with the new Coyote and the new Porsche V8 for the season. We've done quite a bit of development in the off season, and there's still work to be done, but it's going to be an exciting year. With the drivers we have here, we have a strong shot at a podium or even a win." Fellow full-time driver Antonio Garcia joined Rice in seeing good things on the horizon, both for themselves as drivers and for the Spirit of Daytona Team.

Of the many changes made for this year's Rolex 24, perhaps the most obvious to Spirit of Daytona fans will be the new look of their car. After signing Paul Menard for the Rolex effort, the team also adopted the classic Menard paint scheme for the race. The unmistakable bright yellow will make the No. 90 car easy for fans to spot on track and follow throughout the evening hours. Menard has enjoyed his seat time in the DP car in testing, and regardless of the color of the car, obviously feels right at home in the No. 90. He is looking forward to his return to Daytona and to getting back to the business of racing.

When Darren Manning got the call from Troy, he didn't hesitate.

"Buddy and I have known each other a long while and raced against each other, but never driven with each other," he said. "The Spirit of Daytona #90 car is pretty new, plus, it's a new car and engine package to me, but it feels very good. I'm really encouraged with the little bit of time I've had in it already. I see there's a lot of potential there. I know there's a lot of competition in this race, but every time we go out in the car we're on the top of the time sheets, and that means we're going to bring a big fight to those guys. It's all about the 24 hours, it's not just a one lap deal. The team's getting stronger and stronger and I'm really proud to be a part of their effort".

The 48th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will begin at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, with the checkered flag falling at 3:30 PM on Sunday. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED with pre-race coverage beginning at 3 PM. Coverage continues until 10 PM, then resumes at 7 AM on Sunday through the end of the event.

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01/26/10
grandam

XTrac renews partnership with Grand-Am
Recognizing the success of its participation in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 both on and off the track, Xtrac has agreed to extend its relationship with GRAND-AM through the 2012 season. The sponsorship is active in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes, which will be back in action this Saturday and Sunday as the 2010 Rolex Sports Car Series season takes the green flag with the 48th Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The contingency structure provides rewards in every round of Rolex Sports Car Series competition, going to both the winning Xtrac-equipped Daytona Prototype and GT-class machines, as well as to the Xtrac entries that finish fourth.

"Xtrac is very pleased to be furthering our relationship with the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, by providing the top teams with the highest quality, yet affordable transmissions and driveline components," said Andrew Heard, Vice President, Xtrac, Inc.

With the belief that competition is the engine that drives its business forward, Xtrac has a proven record of performance and reliability on racetracks across the nation and in some of the sports biggest events, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"We are very pleased to extend this relationship with Xtrac, as they are a key component for so many of our teams' winning efforts," said Kevin Hindson, GRAND-AM Vice President, Marketing and Communications. "GRAND-AM is motivated to continue to grow the paddock with suppliers and partners that not only deliver on the track, but also bring the support services that our racers require to be successful. We are pleased to see that Xtrac values its involvement with the series, and we are looking forward to the future with them."

The contingency program is just one of over 20 such sponsorships in place for GRAND-AM drivers and teams to take advantage of, with the family of GRAND-AM marketing partnerships that continues to grow in both the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.

Comment
01/26/10
automotive

Audi booth catches fire at Detroit Auto Show
An electrical fire above the Audi exhibit forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the Detroit auto show on Thursday. There were no injuries, and the show reopened later in the day.

Officials were still trying to determine the cause of the fire. The damage was minor, and none of Audi's cars on display were harmed. Audi revealed another version of its E-tron concept at the show and displayed its new flagship sedan, the A8.

The primary cleanup involved removing soot, auto show spokesman Sam Locricchio said.

Audi spokesman Christian Bokich said the company's cars were covered quickly when the fire broke out.

“There's minor damage to the stand,” he said.

As of 3:15 p.m., the concourse at Detroit's Cobo Center was calm and orderly. Emergency vehicles were parked outside with their lights flashing, and police officers were directing traffic.

Show-goers who didn't want to wait around for the floor to reopen will be issued tickets to attend another day. The show runs through Sunday.

Sandra Fawcett, 67, of the Detroit suburb of South Lyon, Mich., traveled downtown for the show with some friends. She was in the basement checking out the electric vehicles when the evacuation began.

“I think it was pretty orderly,” she said while standing outside Cobo Center.autoweek

Comment
01/26/10
grandam

TDI Cup Drivers throughout Rolex 24 grid
One of the main goals of the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series is to develop the top young talent in motorsports. Five of the series alumni will show their skills on a larger stage this weekend at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. The drivers will be taking part in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Fresh From Florida 200.

The green flag on the race falls on Friday, January 29 at 1:45 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on Speed-TV, February 13 at 7 pm ET. Former Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup drivers racing this weekend include:

Josh Hurley – The 2008 Jetta TDI Cup Champion is returning to APR Motorsport in 2010 to drive the #181 Volkswagen GTI. Hurley earned series “Rookie of the Year” honors driving for APR in 2009.

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01/26/10
f1

Minardi bids to enter Italian politics
(GMM)  Former F1 team founder, owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi is vying to enter the world of politics.

A report at Brazil's globoestporte.com said the 62-year-old Italian, who sold his Faenza based team to Paul Stoddart in 2001 before it became Toro Rosso in 2006, wants to be the next mayor of the Italian city southeast of Bologna.

With the slogan 'Faenza torna a correre' (Faenza races again), Minardi is said to have the support of centre-right coalition parties.

"It was a difficult decision," he is quoted as telling the Il Resto del Carlino newspaper.  "I'm 62 and have never been interested in politics.

"I have always lived in the sporting world, but you learn a lot there.  I made the decision because I have the support and Faenza is in an extremely difficult time.

"I know people nationwide and I can use it for the city.  I need to change my way of working, but that does not scare me.  I will bring a team of young professionals and want to deploy the methods used in the sport with Minardi," he added.

Minardi was born and still lives in Faenza, having brought his team into F1 in 1985.

Comment
01/26/10
tv news

24/7 Jimmie Johnson - tonight on HBO
HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise presents its first non-boxing series with the all-access show 24/7 JIMMIE JOHNSON:  RACE TO DAYTONA.  Debuting TUESDAY, JAN. 26 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT & 9:00 p.m. CT), the four-week series spotlights one of racing’s biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing.

Episode #1

Debut:  TUESDAY, JAN. 26 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)

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01/26/10
f1

Q&A with Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher & Nico Rosberg
If ever a driver line-up had that certain smell of success, this is it. There may be 15 years between Mercedes GP drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, but they are united in their attitude towards making the ‘Silver Arrows’ a success through teamwork. Whether it really is a match made in heaven, only time will tell…

Q: Nico, it’s always the number one priority of every driver to beat your team mate. You are up against a seven-time champion. How do you see your season?
Nico Rosberg:
First of all I think it's important to say that we are racing together for Mercedes GP Petronas and it's also important that we achieve success for the team. And then obviously it's important for me as a driver to beat my team mate, so definitely it's going to be a big challenge this year. It's not going to be too easy. But I'm confident that I will be strong this year, so it shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, for me it's a fantastic opportunity to have Michael as a team mate. I look forward to working with him. I'm sure we will work well together. Definitely he has a lot of experience so there's a few things that I will be able to pick up from him.

Q: Michael, the father of the man sitting next to you said after ‘Rascasse 2006’ that the sport could do without you. How do you feel now driving with the son of the man who described you in that way?
Michael Schumacher:
Good.

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01/26/10
ga
nascar

NASCAR Drivers to drive in Rolex 24 at Daytona
Eight NASCAR drivers will crossover to sports cars and compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing; #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will be joined by #26-Jamie McMurray and #13-Max Papis race on the TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry. In addition, #43-AJ Allmendinger will drive Michael Shank Racing, #98-Paul Menard will be on the Spirit of Daytona team, #71-Bobby Labonte will be in a TRG Porsche and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Colin Braun returns with Krohn Racing. Other current/former NASCAR drivers include Boris Said, Bill Lester, Dario Franchitti, last years winner David Donohue, Butch Leitzinger, Andy Lally, Anthony Lazzaro, Davy Jones, Jack Baldwin, Mike Borkowski and Buddy Rice. The 48th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will begin at 3:30pm/et on Saturday, Jan. 30th with the checkered flag falling at 3:30pm/et on Sunday, Jan. 31st. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED which will cover 16 hours of the event on TV. More info about the race at grand-am.com

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01/26/10
nassprint

#36 team names crew chief
Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced that Kevin Buskirk will serve as the crew chief for the #36 Chevy driven by Mike Bliss. "I'm excited to have Kevin Buskirk on board as he brings a lot of experience to the race team," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "It's nice to have someone I have full confidence in working on the #36. Now I can relax a little on the car side of things and shift more of my focus to building the Tommy Baldwin Racing business." Buskirk most recently served as crew chief for the #19 Richard Petty Motorsports car driven by Elliot Sadler in 2009. Buskirk is a NASCAR team veteran and also has previous experience with Robert Yates Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. He won two races as race engineer at Robert Yates Racing with Elliot Sadler in 2004 and was part of six race victories with the #29 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Kevin Harvick. Buskirk's victories at Richard Childress Racing include Harvick's Daytona 500 victory in 2007. Tommy Baldwin Racing

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01/26/10
automotive

GM To Be First Major U.S. Automaker to Manufacture Electric Motors
GM announced it will be the first major U.S. automaker to design and manufacture electric motors, a key enabler for hybrid and electric vehicles
John F. Martin for General Motors
GM will expand its in-house electric vehicle development capabilities by becoming the first major U.S. automaker to design and manufacture electric motors, a core technology for hybrids and electric vehicles.

By doing so, GM will lower costs and improve performance, quality, reliability and manufacturability of electric motors by controlling design, materials selection and production processes. The first GM-designed and built electric motors are scheduled to debut in 2013 in next-generation, rear-wheel-drive Two-mode Hybrid technology.

“Electric motor innovation supported the first wave of automotive growth a century ago with the electric starter, which eliminated the need for a hand crank, and revolutionized automotive travel for the customer,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations. “We think the electrification of today’s automobiles will be just as revolutionary and just as beneficial to our customers. Electric motors will play a huge role in that.”

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01/26/10
f1

BMW Sauber F1 Team and Certina continue partnership
The BMW Sauber F1 Team announced the extension of its partnership with CERTINA. The Swiss sports watch brand has been an Official Partner to the team since 2005 and will take the cooperation forward into the 2010 season. The CERTINA logo will occupy new space on the wing mirrors of both Formula One cars, as well as appearing on the helmets, overall cuffs and gloves of the two drivers Kamui Kobayashi (JP) and Pedro de la Rosa (ES). CERTINA will also supply team members with its precision sports watches.

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01/26/10
f1

Ricciardo, Hartley, to be Red Bull reserves
Daniel Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley were on Tuesday announced as Red Bull's joint reserve drivers for 2010.

The energy drink company said the respectively Australian and New Zealand-born drivers will alternate their duties "on a race by race basis".

Ricciardo, 20, is the new British F3 champion, who impressed during his F1 test debut last month by setting the fastest time at Jerez in the RB5.

"It's very exciting," he said on Tuesday.  "It was an email I was hoping for since the test in December, but I wasn't sure whether it would come at all.

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01/26/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • USF1 confirms Lopez for debut season
  • Fisichella, Heidfeld, were seat contenders - Sauber
  • Schumacher bites back during media questioning
  • Whitmarsh hints Heidfeld could be McLaren reserve

USF1 confirms Lopez for debut season
(GMM)  USF1 on Monday confirmed Jose Maria Lopez as its first driver for the 2010 season.

Lopez, 26, a former Renault tester and GP2 driver, reportedly comes to the new American team with sponsorship backing from his native Argentina and even the support of the government.

He returned from European single seater racing to Argentina in recent years, achieving success in domestic championships.

"He became a major star as a result and, in turn, the Argentine nation - a country where F1 is second only to soccer - has got behind him," said USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor.

With Lopez in attendance, his contract was announced by Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at government house in Buenos Aires, and according to the Sun newspaper, former F1 driver turned politician Carlos Reutemann was also instrumental.

The British newspaper also said Reutemann, a winner of 12 grands prix and a member of the same political party (Partido Justicialista) as Fernandes de Kirchner, was a friend of Windsor.

Fisichella, Heidfeld, were seat contenders - Sauber
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has admitted that Giancarlo Fisichella was a contender to be Kamui Kobayashi's teammate at his Swiss team in 2010.

Sauber, 66, ultimately signed long time McLaren tester and Zurich resident Pedro de la Rosa, after speculation that powertrain supplier Ferrari had pushed hard for its reserve driver Fisichella to be appointed.

"We were not a B-team, but there would have been a certain dependency," he said in an interview with Tuesday's Motorsport Aktuell.

"If something went wrong with one of the race drivers, Fisichella would have been sitting in the Ferrari.  That would have been very bad for us," Sauber explained.

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01/26/10
f1

Video: Toyota F1 says goodbye
Toyota Motorsport GmbH bids farewell to Formula 1 with an offering to all those who supported it during eight emotional seasons at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Fans, media and sponsors alike can relive memories from the team in the form of exclusive photos and videos, including an eight-minute video retrospective featuring exclusive footage of moments which variously made us laugh, smile or shed a tear.

Since our first season competing in Formula 1, in 2002, we have experienced a whole spectrum of emotions but through the highs and the lows, we have been fortunate to enjoy the valued support of partners, media and fans.

There have been so many sponsorship campaigns, media collaborations and distributor initiatives it is impossible mention individual cases but we would like to sincerely thank all those partners, media and fans who have been part of our Formula 1 adventure.

Comment
01/26/10
nhra

John Force Mustangs test at Firebird
Robert Hight
At the end of the day on Monday the trio of John Force Racing Mustangs that ran down Firebird International Raceway all rang up positive numbers. Led by 2009 Funny Car Full Throttle Champion Robert Hight’s 4.05 second run at over 310 mph in the Auto Club 2010 Ford Mustang every JFR Mustang clocked a time quicker than 4.10 seconds. It was the maiden voyage for Hight underneath his new Mustang body and the Full Throttle Funny Car champ was all smiles at the top end after the run.

“This place is very tricky. It was perfect timing for that run because it was the first run with the 2010 Mustang body. I knew it was a good run. It felt good the whole way. It was pretty awesome. It was cool to hear the excitement of the guys on the radio. It has been a while since we have had some excitement over the radio,” said Hight. “(Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) says if you hit it right could run 4.03 out here. Hitting it right is the trick. This track will produce huge ETs but you have to hit it right. Every little thing counts. After that run the engine ran fine and the clutch came together nice. We have a pretty good baseline going into Pomona.”

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01/25/10
f1

US F1 Team announces Jose Maria Lopez as driver for 2010 season

Peter Windsor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and José Maria Lopez

Argentine star to race in US F1’s Debut Campaign

Charlotte, N.C. (Jan. 25, 2010) – US F1 Team announced today that they have signed the former Renault F1 Team test driver, Jose Maria "Pechito" Lopez (26), to race with them in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. Lopez will be the 24th Argentine* to race in Formula One, sustaining a heritage that began sixty years ago when Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilan "Pepe" Gonzalez took the F1 world by storm.

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01/25/10
grandam

Krohn Racing ready for Rolex 24
Krohn Racing
Ford Proto-Auto Lola

Krohn Racing returns this week to the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida for the Grand-Am Rolex Series’ Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance sports car race. The 48th running of the twice-around-the-clock historic enduro will be held January 30-31, 2010.

Krohn Racing owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn has entered one car, the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Proto-Auto Lola. A familiar driver line-up includes Krohn, team regular Nic Jönsson, former Formula One racer Ricardo Zonta and NASCAR Nationwide Series competitor Colin Braun.

Zonta is returning after having raced in a second Krohn Racing car with teammate Jönsson the past two seasons in Grand-Am, capturing two victories and one pole. Braun returns to the team where he got his start as a full-time professional race car driver in 2006-07, before moving into the NASCAR ranks. Jönsson starts his sixth full season with Krohn Racing and eighth working with Tracy Krohn.

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01/25/10
nassprint

Ambrose promotes NASCAR down under
Thanks to Marcos Ambrose’s success in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series last year, his popularity is soaring in his home country of Australia.

So is NASCAR’s.

“This year was amazing,” said Ambrose, who finished 18th in Sprint Cup points last season. “I’m bigger now in Australia than I was when I left.

“I won two championships in a row [there], but with live TV for [Cup] practice and qualifying and the races – and we’re doing TV work for some stations down there – the fans are more aware. It has gotten a big following.” 

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01/25/10
f1
automotive

Ecclestone in bid to buy Saab from GM UPDATE #4 It was just announced today that Genii Capital has ended their bid for Saab, and Ecclestone will not pursue the company any further. It looks like we have lost an iconic Scandinavian brand.

01/17/10 A group led by Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital is still in the running to acquire Saab from GM, the group's Swedish frontman says.

Amid media reports that Dutch sports carmaker Spyker was the last bidder for General Motors' loss-making Swedish unit, businessman Lars Carlstroem told AFP on Sunday: "No such information has been given to us. We are going on with our process and looking into things that we could eventually formalize better for GM."

"We are looking forward to a dialogue with GM next week. We don't see any obstacles or problems... we haven't had those kinds of indications at all," Carlstroem added.

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01/25/10
irl

IZOD IndyCar reveals some Brazil race details...
Sao Paulo track should have some passing spots, making for better street racing.
The IZOD IndyCar Series just announced some details for their March 14th season debut on the Sao Paulo street circuit.

A portion of the 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit courses through the Sambodromo which has permanent grandstands along the route that are used annually for the Carnival celebration parades. This area will include the start/finish line and extend onto one of the three lengthy straight-aways. The backstretch is 9/10 of a mile, with a tight right-hander into the Sambodromo.

"Two of the long straight-aways have relatively slow corners leading onto them," said track designer Tony Cotman "There are some good 90-degree turns at the end of the straights, and on one occasion a little tighter than that.

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01/25/10
f1

Q & A with McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh
With their car launch set for Friday and its on-track debut a week away, McLaren’s Woking factory will no doubt be a hive of activity as the British team complete last-minute preparations. Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, however, has found time to answer some pressing questions about their 2010 campaign. Will they miss the input from BMW Sauber-bound tester Pedro de la Rosa? Will fellow world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button get along? Is the MP4-25 a winning car? Whitmarsh reveals all…

Q: How is progress going with the 2010 car? What are your plans for testing?
Martin Whitmarsh: Clearly, the absence of testing in January has eased the car-build schedule to a certain degree, but we’re still working as hard as ever at the McLaren Technology Centre. We’ll be launching the car at Vodafone’s UK headquarters in Newbury on January 29, and we’ll be running one MP4-25 at the first test at Valencia on February 1. Obviously, Pedro (de la Rosa)’s decision to sign with Sauber will have a slight impact on our test program, but we’ll overcome it. We’re very happy that Pedro has got a race drive for 2010 - he’s been a great asset to our team and, above all, a very dear friend to all of us. As has become customary with most teams, the first tests will be about establishing a baseline of performance, allowing the engineers and mechanics to learn and understand the new car and the impact of the new regulations. And, as in previous years, we’ll introduce a series of upgrades at one of the later tests, and that will be the car we take to the opening race.

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01/25/10
automotive

Ed Whitacre Jr. to stay on as GM Chairman
Ed Whitacre Jr.
Chairman
General Motors
Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., has agreed to continue as chairman and CEO of General Motors, it was announced today.

Speaking at a press conference at GM’s headquarters, Whitacre also expressed the GM board’s commitment that the company will pay back in full the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian and Ontario government loans by June.

Whitacre’s appointment reflects GM’s progress since the new company was formed last summer.  “The board of directors asked if I would be willing to stay on at GM and help continue the company’s road back to success,” Whitacre said.  “Having spent the past few months learning the business, meeting with our employees, customers and dealers, and working with the GM leadership team, I was both honored and pleased to accept this role.  This is a great company with an even greater future, and I want to be part of it."

“We’ve made significant progress in the past couple of months, so much so that I can confirm with certainty that we will pay back in full the U.S. Treasury and Canadian and Ontario government loans by June,” Whitacre said.  “This represents a significant milestone in our journey back to being a profitable and viable company.”

Comment
01/25/10
f1

Toro Rosso confirms 1 February launch
(GMM)  Toro Rosso on Monday confirmed recent reports its 2010 car will be unveiled on 1 February.

A spokeswoman for the Faenza based team said more than a week ago that the Ferrari powered STR5 was scheduled to make its debut on the opening day of next week's Valencia test.

Toro Rosso announced with a media statement on Monday that the car will be in the pitlane of the Spanish circuit for a photocall at 9am.

The drivers, as well as team boss Franz Tost and technical boss Giorgio Ascanelli, will also be at the Ricardo Tormo circuit to meet with the press.

Comment
01/25/10
f1

Buemi to give new Toro Rosso track debut
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi will give Toro Rosso's new car its track debut at Valencia next Monday.

The Faenza based team, this year producing its own car for the first time after years of using essentially the Red Bull chassis, announced on Monday that the STR5 will be launched at the Spanish circuit on 1 February.

"At the moment, the plan is for Sebastien Buemi to give the TR5 its maiden voyage around the track, continuing to drive on the Tuesday, before handing over the steering wheel to the recently reconfirmed Jaime Alguersuari, for Wednesday's session," said the team.

Comment
01/25/10
f1

Bahrain to use extended layout
(GMM)  The layout of Bahrain's formula one circuit has been lengthened ahead of the 2010 season opener.

Organizers of the March 14 grand prix - to be the sixth in the island Kingdom - announced on Monday that the track has been increased from 5.4 to 6.3 kilometers.

The new loop, installed in 2006 and used for an endurance event that year, sweeps left out of the existing turn 4 and into eight new corners before rejoining the original circuit.

"With the changes to the regulations, the teams and the driver lineups in formula one this year it is the perfect time to evolve the circuit with this new challenge and new overtaking opportunities," said circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani.

Comment
01/25/10
irl

Olympics hampers Tracy's sponsor search
the Thrill from West Hill
Paul Tracy
When the Olympic torch finally reaches Vancouver next month, Paul Tracy will assume his role as Captain Canada, cheering every time this country's athletes hit the ice or snow in search of gold.

But excuse him if he wishes the event could have been held when the economy wasn't in the dumpster.

"Right now I am beating the bushes looking for more sponsorship to try to run as many of the IZOD IndyCar Series races as I can," Tracy said Sunday. "We have our deal (with American insurance giant Geico) for the Indy 500 set and we are in serious talks (with Honda Canada) to come back with us for the Honda Indy Toronto and the Rexall Edmonton Indy." 

Read more & Comment...
01/25/10
racing news

Narain Karthikeyan awarded Padma Shri
“The Fastest Indian in The World”, Narain Karthikeyan has been honored by the Government of India by bestowing upon him the Padma Shri Award in recognition of his distinguished contribution in the sphere of sports. This is a great honor, not only for Narain himself, but also recognizes Indian Motorsport for the first time in history. Up to 2009, only 2,255 people have been granted this distinct honor. (The Padma Shri in India could be equated to the OBE in the UK)

Read more & Comment...
01/25/10
f1

Rosberg agreed to swap numbers with Schu - boss
(GMM) Ross Brawn on Monday said Nico Rosberg agreed to relinquish his race number to Michael Schumacher.

Rosberg, 24, had been assigned the lowest team number (3) before seven time world champion Schumacher agreed to return to F1 this year with Mercedes GP.

"Michael is a bit superstitious when it comes to odd and even numbers -- although he certainly has nothing against an eighth title," team principal Brawn smiled at the launch of the 2010 livery for Mercedes' new MGP W01 car.

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01/25/10
f1

No plans yet for 2011 common car launch - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  Plans to revive the common car launch concept for 2011 are not yet in place, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh said on Monday.

The Briton and McLaren boss, who was attending the launch of the Mercedes GP livery in Stuttgart, said the event to launch all the 2010 cars at the same time was called off because too few teams would have been ready by late January.

As for whether the teams association will try again for 2011, he said: "We haven't yet discussed it for 2011.

Read more & Comment...
01/25/10
f1

F1 teams considering another new points system
F1 teams are planning a further change to the 2010 points system to give even more points to those who finish in the lower half of the top ten.

However the revised system, which has already been changed once since last year, would also cut the value of a second place finish, according to Autosport.

Here’s how the second proposal for the 2010 F1 points system compares to the new system announced last month and the two that preceded it:

Read more & Comment...
01/25/10
f1

Heidfeld/Mercedes deal not announced on Monday
(GMM)  The launch of the 2010 Mercedes GP team concluded on Monday without mention of Nick Heidfeld as reserve driver.

Reports at the weekend suggested the 32-year-old German had been signed to the role, but team boss Ross Brawn said a final decision is yet to be taken.

But the Briton, together with Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Norbert Haug and even McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh at Mercedes' Stuttgart museum, indicated that the decision about the reserve driver is likely within the next several days.

Mercedes' Haug will return the favor to Whitmarsh on Friday by attending the launch of McLaren's 2010 car in the UK.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old Schumacher's F1 return began cheekily, when a video was played at the beginning of the Mercedes launch showing him stepping out of a red road car and winking.

The German's helmet will also remain incandescent red in 2010.

F1 photographers will skip Ferrari's launch and head straight to McLaren late this week, after not being invited to the unveiling of the famous Italian team's car on Thursday.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni also would not be drawn on speculation that, despite its 281 codename, the 2010 Ferrari will officially be named the F2010.

"As usual, the name of the car will be revealed the day of the launch," he said ahead of the Maranello event.

Comment
01/25/10
nassprint

Earnhardt top earner
He may have had his struggles on the track, not winning a Sprint Cup Series race in 2009, but Dale Earnhardt Junior was still able to smile all the way to bank last year.

According to Sport’s Illustrated’s Fortunate 50, a list of the 50 highest paid American sports stars, NASCAR’s most popular driver banked $26,611,290 in 2009. That’s $4,611,290 from salary and winnings and $22,000,000 from endorsements.

Those earnings were just below the NFL’s Peyton Manning who was 10 with $27,000,000 and just above NBA player Dwayne Wade at $26,410,581.

Earnhardt Junior, who was voted the sports most popular driver for the sixth straight year last year was 11th on the list in 2008.

The only other NASCAR driver to make the list was Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon fell form 14th in 2008 to 21st in 2009 with combined earnings of $20,944,140. Examiner.com

Comment
01/25/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Massa nearly 2.5s quicker than Rossi in Spain
  • Rosberg expected to be Button's teammate
  • EUR8m spent on failed Flins foray
  • Barrichello denies saying title 'closer than ever'
  • Toro Rosso owns Alguersuari contract for five years
  • Coulthard to test Mercedes DTM car
  • New Force India heading for February 12 debut
  • Ecclestone says USF1 and Campos 'have problems'
  • Three channels to broadcast Mercedes livery launch
  • BMW, Williams engineers join Campos

Massa nearly 2.5s quicker than Rossi in Spain
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has put a dampener on reports that Valentino Rossi would be ready to make an immediate switch to formula one.

The reigning and multiple MotoGP champion tested for two days in a 2008 Ferrari last week in Barcelona, setting a best time quicker even than the fastest lap of the 2009 Spanish grand prix.

But team regular and 2008 title contender Massa, 28, put the performance into context a day later when he took a turn at the wheel of the car fitted with GP2 slicks.

It is rumored the Brazilian's best lap was a 1.19.5, which is nearly 2.5 seconds quicker than Rossi's 1.21.9.

Rosberg expected to be Button's teammate
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has revealed that he expected to be reigning world champion Jenson Button's teammate in 2010.

When the 24-year-old German signed his contract to switch from Williams, the Brackley based team had yet to be sold to Mercedes-Benz.

Rosberg insists he will share equal billing with Michael Schumacher this season, but admits he did not expect Briton Button to make room for the most successful driver in F1 history by moving to McLaren.

"Frankly, I expected to be in the same team as Jenson Button," he said in an interview with France's L'Equipe.  "At the time there was no talk about Michael.

"It surprised me when he (Button) moved.  Now my teammate is Schumacher, but I have nothing to lose against him.  I'm in a team with the best driver."

Read more & Comment...
01/24/10
f1

Renault: Money not motive for Petrov interest
The Renault team denies that money is the reason for its interest in Vitaly Petrov as a possible team-mate to Robert Kubica this season. Team Principal Eric Boullier, who replaces Flavio Briatore following last year's 'Crashgate' race-fixing scandal, insists that talent is number one priority.

"I am not just talking to five drivers but actually to everyone who does not have an F1 contract," Boullier explained to ESPN. "I have been speaking with Nick Heidfeld (now confirmed as Mercedes' reserve driver) and also with Takuma Sato, Christian Klien and Romain Grosjean, amongst others.

Read more & Comment...
01/24/10
imsa

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Test at Sebring
With their eyes on the radar and their feet on the pedals, the drivers of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship risked a little rainwater to get out and put down some miles at Sebring International Raceway. But the intermittent weather turned out to be a great opportunity for the Cooper Tires to demonstrate their performance.

The Promoter Test day, on January 22nd, began with some sudden showers, but that didn’t deter the teams from making the best of a wet situation. Being careful to maintain control of the car at almost 100mph while still pushing it to the limit is no easy task. But all the drivers showed great talent and calculation, and their Cooper Tires showed just as much tenacity.

Read more & Comment...
01/24/10
starmazda

Daly Leads Day Two of Spring Training
Spring Training for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear resumed on Saturday (January 23), with the cars returning to Sebring International Raceway road course in Florida.

With heavy fog in the area, day two of the lone official pre-season Star Mazda test commenced with a total 22 cars taking to the historic Sebring road course for morning session. While the session was briefly halted for cars off-course, the vast majority of the race pilots were able to quickly get up to speed. When the checkered waved, the top three on the time charts had all bettered the Mikael's Grenier's quick time from day one. Returning race winner Conor Daly led the way, turning a fast lap of 2:01.128 in his Juncos Racing entry.

Read more & Comment...
01/24/10
f1

Lower number to be irrelevant in Bahrain - Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has played down the significance of swapping his race number for the 2010 season with his famous teammate.

Mercedes GP said last week that it had met Michael Schumacher's request to wear '3' on his car this season, despite 24-year-old Rosberg having already been assigned the lower team number.

"When I win in Bahrain, people will care not about the number that is on my car, but about the driver who is inside," he told the French sports daily L'Equipe.

The German also insists he is excited rather than disappointed about sharing a team with the most successful driver in F1 history.

"I am next to the reference of F1, so you cannot have better than that.  I have been given the assurance we will have the same materials.

"All the attention will be on him, while I have the time to concentrate on my work," Rosberg added.

Comment
01/24/10
nascar

NASCAR moves to make puppets of the media, drivers
One of the themes of the just-ended NASCAR Media Tour is the idea that there has been way too much criticism of the sport by the folks who depend on it for a living. Drivers, TV broadcasters and others have been either chided or reminded that their critical comments might cause fans to tune out and not show up. Team owner Jack Roush was especially critical of TV broadcasters.

But the word was also being spread by NASCAR during meetings with drivers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in one of the meetings and talked about his impressions this week. He was critical of NASCAR last August at Michigan, saying NASCAR needed to do much more to add excitement to the sport.

He was asked whether -- after the drivers’ recent meeting with NASCAR -- he would make those same comments today.

Read more & Comment...
01/24/10
irl

In IZOD IndyCar has the perfect sponsor
Finally, IndyCar has landed a series sponsor that understands what NASCAR has made its sponsors understand for decades, activation of their product around the race series or driver they sponsor.  It's a simple proven formula that has worked for NASCAR.

IZOD is running broadcast IndyCar ads MORE THAN 50 X a DAY!  Never, that we know of, has any sponsor associated with American open wheel racing done this type of activation - mainstream advertising on network TV for the sport.

Their first wave of TV commercials are creating awareness and excitement for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series.  Between January 15 and the end of the month, they’re running an average of more than 50 IZOD IndyCar Series commercials a day.  You may have seen it last weekend, during the Golden Globe Awards pre-show on E!

This weekend, don’t miss the ad during the NFL playoffs on CBS and Fox.  In the week ahead, the ads will run during The Grammy's, The NFL Pro Bowl, Good Morning America, and CNN’s Larry King and Andersen Cooper, as well as airings during popular shows on ESPN, E!, Versus, Golf, G4, Speed, and Style.

Comment
01/24/10
track news

Bill would tax Kentucky speedway admission
Gallatin County Fiscal Court could collect a ticket surcharge for races at Kentucky Speedway under a bill introduced earlier this month in the state House.

The proposal by Rep. Royce Adams, a Democrat from Dry Ridge, would enable fiscal courts in counties home to fewer than 10,000 residents and a privately owned entertainment venue with 50,000 or more seats to levy up to a 3 percent surcharge on tickets sold for events at that facility, according to the Legislative Research Commission.

Gallatin County would meet the eligibility criteria. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, it has about 8,000 residents. Kentucky Speedway has 66,089 permanent grandstand seats.

Read more & Comment...
01/23/10
nhra

John Force Racing First Day of Testing in Phoenix
Saturday was a true shake down day for John Force Racing. The goal of the day was to knock the rust off the teams and begin to put the pieces together to win an unprecedented 17th team Full Throttle Funny Car world championship.

2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight’s Auto Club Mustang made two passes with the final lap of the day covering the race track in 4.11 seconds at 302.21 mph. Not to be outdone Ashley Force Hood’s Castrol GTX Mustang followed in his tracks recording a 4.11 at 302.75 mph on her second pass. Team leader John Force only made one run on Saturday but it was JFR’s first full pass when the 14-time champ clicked it early and tripped the lights at 4.19 seconds and a diminished 242.06 mph.

Read more & Comment...
01/23/10
track news

NASCAR Honors Martinsville Speedway
Martinsville Speedway and Darnell Communications were honored by NASCAR Friday with the first-ever “Fan Recognition Award” for making the fans the grand marshal and honorary starter for last fall’s TUMS Fast Relief 500.

It was the first time in the history of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing that the fans had been given the duties of grand marshal and honorary starter. To make sure it was an authentic experience, every fan was given a replica green flag to signal the start of the race. And when the race began, the grandstands were a sea of green.

“It was a moving moment for me to see all of those green flags waving. I’ve been around this sport all my life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before,” said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell.

Read more & Comment...
01/23/10
nassprint

No changes to the Chase
After tinkering with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase the first few years of its existence, NASCAR went a third consecutive year without changing it. "We had other things to look at,'' NASCAR CEO Brian France said, alluding to a push to make the racing on the track closer. "We still like to look at the Chase over the longest period that we can. We will make changes to the Chase. We already have. We went from 10 to 12 (teams in 2007). It's all inter-connected how the rules packages affect the racing, affects how close things can by. My sense is that we'll look over the offseason for 2011 and see how it plays out and look at the totality of all the other things that we have to consider before we change or adjust the Chase. We like, obviously, the format style. The question is can we make it a little bit better.'' Virginian Pilot

Comment
01/23/10
f1

Boss 'worried' Rossi to make F1 switch
(GMM) The boss of Valentino Rossi's MotoGP team is worried the charismatic Italian will be lured to formula one by Ferrari.

Amid rumors the 30-year-old has received an offer for the 2011 season from arch rivals Ducati, Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio said: "The greatest danger is Ferrari."

Rossi tested a two-year-old F2008 at the Circuit de Catalunya this week, ostensibly as a reward for his latest title on two wheels.

But the Italian posted impressive times, amid rumors Ferrari would gladly give Rossi a formula one drive if only the rules were changed to accommodate third cars.

Read more & Comment...
01/23/10
track news

Size no longer matters
Size no longer matters.  The days of "build it in NASCAR and they will buy tickets" are over.

Tracks that host NASCAR events are shrinking. Daytona International Speedway is 12,000 seats smaller than it was a year ago for the Great American Race. Charlotte Motor Speedway is down about 25,000 seats over the past year.

Texas Motor Speedway: down by 19,000 seats. Phoenix: 20,000. Michigan: 12,500. Richmond International Raceway: 12,000.

Read more & Comment...
01/23/10
nassprint

Petty's wife is sick
Lynda Petty, wife of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, under went a medical procedure Friday to determine the underlying cause of an ongoing medical condition. "My family has always been my number one priority. I hate to miss any racing or racing-related event but at this time being with my wife Lynda is where I need to be," Richard Petty said. The Petty family is thankful for the support from family, friends, fans, and all those in the racing community and asks for the continued respect for their privacy during this time. Richard and Lynda Petty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009. NASCAR.com

Comment
01/22/10
f1

Massa enjoys test in 2008 Ferrari
(GMM)  Felipe Massa on Friday enjoyed his test at the wheel of the Ferrari formula one car he raced in 2008.

The Brazilian travelled to Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya for the session after MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi tested the F2008 earlier this week.

So that the test conformed with F1's current winter testing ban, the car is two years old, run by the separate F1 Clienti department and fitted with demonstration tires.

In perfect weather, 28-year-old Massa - who missed the last seven races in 2009 following his Budapest accident - completed 400 laps of the venue that will host May's Spanish grand prix.

"It was a perfect way to optimize my form here in Barcelona," he said.

"I'm really happy that I had this new opportunity to get behind the wheel of a formula one single seater on a race track.  I can't wait to sit in the new car and get stuck in."

Comment
01/22/10
irl

George will go down in history as the man who destroyed Indy-car racing
Tony George....his I am Indy slogan may go down in history as the dumbest slogan ever invented.  Ironically the man who singlehandedly destroyed IndyCar Racing has been run out of town by his own family.  He has no control over Indy anymore.
No matter how true the statement actually is, Tony George will go down in history as the man who effectively destroyed Indy-car racing.

Since George inherited leadership of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1989 at the age of 29, Indy-car racing went from being a successful sport on the rise to a struggling, directionless entity, dwarfed in this country by stock car racing and virtually invisible in the overall sports spectrum.

Even the Indianapolis 500, the powerful trump card that George used in an attempt to gain overall control of Indy-style racing, is a shadow of its former self, a poor second cousin to NASCAR's Daytona 500 in terms of impact and prestige.

Fueled by an enticing combination of veteran American drivers with names like Andretti, Unser and Mears and an incoming wave of international Formula One stars including Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell, Indy car combined the best elements of traditional American oval racing and F1 and reached its peak from 1990 to 1995. By every measurable statistic -- little things like sponsorship, attendance and television ratings -- it was a match domestically for NASCAR and starting to worry F1 on the world stage.

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
track news

Great new items added to IMS auctions to benefit Haiti relief
Exciting new items continue to be added to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway eBay auctions to benefit American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti, as the motorsports world shows its care and concern for the victims of the devastating earthquake Jan. 12.

All proceeds from the eBay auction of racing memorabilia, which began Jan. 15, are being donated to Red Cross relief efforts. Items are designated as part of the Haiti relief program. The auction site:

http://shop.ebay.com/ims_online/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25

Memorabilia contributed by race teams and drivers continues to pour in, including these items added to the auctions by Friday afternoon, Jan. 22:

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
ga

Pirelli P Zero Club Members Eligible For Lucrative "Roll Over" Awards
The payday for first-time winners in 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 got larger today when officials from GRAND-AM and Pirelli Tire North America announced the P Zero Bonus program for members of the Pirelli P Zero Club.

Teams that finished inside the top 10 in the final 2009 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT points standings are eligible for membership in the Pirelli P Zero Club for 2010. When one of those teams in either class earns its first victory of the 2010 season, that team will earn the $5,000 Pirelli P Zero Bonus. If a P Zero Club member does not win or if a race winner has already won the P Zero Bonus, the $5,000 will not be paid and will "rollover" into the P Zero Bonus for the next race. The bonuses will continue to roll over until a new P Zero Club member team wins.

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
nassprint

Video: Jimmie Johnson race to Daytona


Comment
01/22/10
alms

ALMS Notebook for Jan. 22nd
Kyle Marcelli, who will join Joel Feinberg in Primetime Race Group's Le Mans Prototype Challenge entry for 2010, has landed sponsorship from Barrie Trim & Mouldings Inc., and Spherion Staffing Solution. ... Patr¢n Highcroft Racing's David Brabham has been announced as the National Race Coach for the new MSA Team UK driver education and development scheme, which forms the pinnacle of the MSA Academy structure created in 2009. The MSA Academy is designed to guide young drivers from eight years old through to world championship level, while the new Team UK designation reflects the creation of a national squad of the country’s most promising drivers, aged 17-24, from the previous Elite Race and Rally schemes. ... Three of IMSA's development series - the Patr¢n GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship and Star Mazda will be testing today through Sunday at Sebring International Raceway. Tickets are $10. Overnight camping and parking are not allowed, and there is no public paddock access.

Comment
01/22/10
alms

Q&A with Drayson's Jonny Cocker
Jonny Cocker ended 2009 with the overall pole position for the Asian Le Mans Series event at Okayama, Japan.

If Jonny Cocker’s 2010 season continues like 2009 ended, it will be a banner year for Drayson Racing’s young ace pilot. The team’s move to LMP racing late in 2009 and confirmation of a full American Le Mans Series entry for this year have fans buzzing on both sides of the Atlantic. Lolacars.com caught up with Cocker for a brief Q&A.

Q: Jonny, since that great weekend in Okayama last autumn (his first career pole position in Le Mans-style racing) what’s been happening –how have you been preparing for this year?

JC: Unfortunately there is not a lot that you can do really over the last month but I have been doing as much as I can be - especially in the gym - to ensure that I am as fit as possible in preparation for next year. You also get other things sorted as well, all the little bits really; getting your kit sorted, that sort of thing.

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
nascar

NASCAR lists banned substances
NASCAR has added a list of banned substances for its drug testing policy to the 2010 rulebook that all teams have been provided, the body's vice president of racing operations said on Thursday. "What we've done is taken the list of substances we provided to owners at the beginning of last year," Steve O'Donnell said. "We've included that in the rulebook. We've also, for a clarity standpoint, included our entire policy in the rulebook for 2010 as well. We're going to continue to vigorously and aggressively defend ourselves on behalf of the teams and facts that are out there believing we have the toughest policy in sports. If we can make that better we will, and I believe we've done that this year," O'Donnell said. The list was added a year after the drug-related suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield. At the time, several drug-testing experts questioned the validity of the policy because it lacked a list. Attorneys representing Mayfield, who was suspended after testing positive for methamphetamine, also challenged the validity of the policy without a list. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston strongly disagreed. "The policy remains the same," he said Thursday. "The misuse or abuse of any drug is a violation. That remains today. That's still the policy. What we sent to the teams was a sample of what those substances are." ESPN

Comment
01/22/10
nastruck

Waltrip comfortable with stepping down
Michael Waltrip had announced in July he wasn't going to return to full-time racing. He released his 2010 Sprint Cup schedule on Wednesday night at MWR during the 2010 Media Tour at - the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500. "I'm comfortable with that," Waltrip said during the Sprint Media Tour. "I talked to Billy Ballew about running some Camping World Truck Series races. I definitely am going to run a couple of those. When I think about going to Daytona, I get excited because I know I know how to win that race.  When I think about the next Cup races at California and Las Vegas, I just haven't performed at a level that makes me say, 'I'm going to go out there and win.'" Replacing Waltrip in the full-time ride will be #56-Martin Truex Jr. from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and also new is Pat Tryson from Penske Racing to be the crew chief for Truex. The last time Tryson was seen in the garage, he was crew chief for Kurt Busch on the track but wasn't allowed in the Penske Racing shop except for a weekly meeting because of his pending departure to MWR. Tryson was no longer wanted in the Penske shop, but Penske also didn't let him start at MWR until Jan. 4. Tryson seemed to shrug off the late start with his new team. "The communication here is better than anywhere I've ever worked, between the crew chief, ownership, between the management," Tryson said. "It's really open, and everybody talks to everybody about everything. That's the way it needs to be. Martin is fun. We went testing, and he was fun to be around. He's a great guy." Truex will drive the #56 this year, while Waltrip will drive the #51. Neither car will have the #55 that Waltrip used ever since he started MWR in 2007. "The 55 was getting a little heavy," Waltrip said. "I hadn't won with it. I felt real comfortable coming close to winning a couple of times. But I just wanted a change of pace. The 15 I once drove was available, but I didn't feel like that was right. I wanted a variation of the 15, so I went with the 51." SceneDaily

Comment
01/22/10
alms

Drayson Racing & Jonny Cocker Q&A
Johnny Cocker

If Jonny Cocker’s 2010 season continues like 2009 ended, it will be a banner year for Drayson Racing’s young ace pilot. The team’s move to LMP racing late in 2009 and confirmation of a full American Le Mans Series entry for this year have fans buzzing on both sides of the Atlantic. Lolacars.com caught up with Cocker for a brief Q&A.

Q: Jonny, since that great weekend in Okayama last autumn (his first career pole position in Le Mans-style racing) what’s been happening –how have you been preparing for this year?

JC: Unfortunately there is not a lot that you can do really over the last month but I have been doing as much as I can be - especially in the gym - to ensure that I am as fit as possible in preparation for next year. You also get other things sorted as well, all the little bits really; getting your kit sorted, that sort of thing.

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
nascar

Driver suing NASCAR after exclusion from "Drive for Diversity"
A blond, blue-eyed Puerto Rican driver claims NASCAR excluded him from its "Drive for Diversity" program and derided him as "the poster boy for the Ku Klux Klan" because he doesn't fit its idea of what a minority should be. Michael Rodriguez says he was unanimously chosen by a NASCAR selection committee to drive in a Combine at South Boston Speedway in Virginia, a two-day event to assess driving skills and train driver for media exposure. But when he arrived, he says, he received nothing but disdain and scorn from event officials, most of whom were black, and he was barred from participating. Through Drive for Diversity, NASCAR and co-defendant Access Marketing & Communications promised to provide opportunities for female and minority drivers, with the goal of facilitating the trickle-down diversification of NASCAR's audience base. But Rodriguez says that during a meeting where NASCAR and Access selected drivers, his photo was placed on a projector and one official said, "He is the poster boy for the Ku Klux Klan and we can't have him at the Combine." Rodriguez seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations. Courthouse News Service

Comment
01/22/10
f1

Donnelly, Purnell, leave new Todt-led FIA
(GMM)  Controversial FIA figure Alan Donnelly will reportedly not be involved with formula one matters in 2010.

Previously close to Max Mosley, the governing body's new president Jean Todt first made Donnelly's role as chief steward redundant, and Autosport reports that he has now been moved into a position not connected with motor racing.

Donnelly became embroiled in controversy last year when he appeared to break neutrality by getting involved with the establishment of the new Manor/Virgin team.

Also in 2009, amid the political turmoil, the F1 teams association FOTA called for Donnelly to be stepped down for pushing for some members to abandon plans for a breakaway series.

A spokesman for the FIA also confirmed reports that technical consultant Tony Purnell has left the Paris organization.

Comment
01/22/10
f1

Toro Rosso confirms Alguersuari for 2010
(GMM)  Toro Rosso late on Friday announced that Jaime Alguersuari is staying with the team for 2010.

The official news comes after much speculation about the future of the teenage Spaniard, who made his grand prix debut following Sebastien Bourdais' mid-season ousting last year.

"Considering that he made his debut only halfway through 2009 with no prior testing, he did a good job, making steady progress throughout the second half of the year, with a mature approach considering he is still only 19," said team boss Franz Tost.

Toro Rosso had already said the Swiss youngster Sebastien Buemi would again drive with the Faenza based team next year.\

Comment
01/22/10
f1
lmes
alms

Brabham cultivating tomorrow's British Champions
David Brabham

David Brabham has long been regarded as one of motorsport’s leading sportscar drivers but the Le Mans 24 Hours winner and American Le Mans Series Champion is also an established driving force in developing the next generation of racing stars.

During his recent action-packed visit to Autosport International, Brabham was announced as the National Race Coach for the new MSA Team UK driver education and development scheme, which forms the pinnacle of the MSA Academy structure created in 2009.

The MSA Academy is designed to guide young drivers from eight years old through to world championship level, while the new Team UK designation reflects the creation of a national squad of the country’s most promising drivers, aged 17-24, from the previous Elite Race and Rally schemes.

Read more & Comment...
01/22/10
f1

Title sponsor HQ to host McLaren launch
(GMM)  McLaren's 2010 car will be launched at title sponsor Vodafone's UK headquarters next Friday.

The British team announced last week that the MP4-25, to be raced this year by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, will be unveiled publicly on the morning of 29 January.

The location of the event was not previously known, but on Friday it emerged that it will take place at Vodafone's Newbury headquarters, about 50km from London.

3,000 employers work at telecommunications giant Vodafone's 100m pounds sterling base, which was opened in 2002 and is located in the county of Berkshire.

It is a state of the art campus of seven three-floor buildings.

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01/22/10
irl

Davey Hamilton to run 3 IRL races
Two-time IndyCar runner-up Davey Hamilton and his sponsor, Hewlett Packard, will compete in at least three races this season, including the Indianapolis 500, with a team to be named later. One of those races is at Texas Motor Speedway, where he suffered severe foot injuries in 2001. IndyStar

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01/22/10
f1

After key departures, Belskus eyes new hires
Jeff Belskus
Quietly, the search is on for a chief executive officer for the Indy Racing League.

The Indianapolis-based series has been without such a person since Tony George resigned in June. Brian Barnhart and Terry Angstadt are the presidents of the competition and commercial divisions, respectively.

Jeff Belskus officially is CEO of the IRL, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions and Radio Network, and that's a lot for one person.

"Jeff Belskus can play only so many roles," Belskus said Thursday.

The situation was created when Joie Chitwood resigned as IMS president and chief operating officer to join International Speedway Corp., and Charlie Morgan, the president and CEO of IMS Productions, moved to Emmis Communications.

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01/22/10
f1
dtm

Davidson eyes up switch to DTM
Anthony Davidson
Anthony Davidson has admitted that he is now considering a switch to German touring car series DTM with Audi for this season as his chances of remaining in Formula 1 decrease. The Englishman was last seen on the F1 grid with the now defunct Super Aguri team at the Spanish Grand Prix of 2008.

After making his F1 debut as replacement to Alex Yoong at Minardi for the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hemel Hempstead's Davidson remained at the Italian squad for the following race in Belgium. His next race appearance arrived when deputizing for B.A.R's Takuma Sato in Malaysia three years later.
After a full season with Super Aguri in 2007 plus the first four races of 2008, Davidson is yet to return to Grand Prix racing. "I would definitely be interested in racing in the DTM, it's something I've got my eye on," he told Autosport after testing for Audi in Spain earlier this week.

"If I was given a chance to do it, I would; they invited me to come and do the test and you can't turn down a company like Audi."

The BBC radio 5 live F1 commentator does admit, however, that touring cars is not his ultimate goal. "I've tried very hard to get back into F1 and I'm still trying," he stressed, "but with the chances of finding something diminishing there I've decided to look at opportunities elsewhere - I've always wanted to drive a DTM car, so this has been a good experience."

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01/22/10
f1

Five problems F1 designers face in 2010
F1 cars will weigh almost 225 pounds more at the start of a race this year compared to last.  That is a huge increase for a car that weighed about 1100 pounds.

That presents a host of challenges to F1 designers such as brake wear, ride height, weight distribution and tire wear. Any team which doesn’t get a grip of the problems will find themselves playing catch-up like McLaren did in 2009.

We’ll find out what their solutions are when the 2010 F1 car launches start next week. How might they try to solve them?

The starting point for most of the challenges facing F1 designers this year is the banning of refuelling. Instead of having cars weighing up to 660-700kg at the start of a race and 605kg at the end, that variation will be more like 800kg to 620kg.

That has major repercussions for the design of the cars in several key areas:

  1. Brakes
  2. Ride height
  3. Fuel Consumption
  4. Weight Distribution
  5. Rear Packaging

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01/22/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief

  • Rossi plays down latest F1 switch reports
  • Rosberg happy to be Schu's teammate - Haug
  • Petrov paying EUR15m for 2010 F1 debut
  • Raikkonen to decide F1 future in mid-2010 - manager
  • Kovalainen says reputation damaged at McLaren
  • Two teens get boost on road to F1
  • Virgin car to have black livery - di Grassi

Rossi tested an F1 car again.  It's just a PR stunt for Ferrari and another 'toy' to play with for the rich MotoGP star
Rossi plays down latest F1 switch reports
(GMM)  Valentino Rossi insists he is not set to switch to formula one.

The multiple and reigning MotoGP champion, whose Yamaha contract ends this year, is back in the F1 headlines after a two day test in a 2008-spec Ferrari.

On Thursday at the Circuit de Catalunya, with his father and Felipe Massa in the garage, 30-year-old Rossi lapped even quicker than the fastest time during the 2009 Spanish grand prix, despite being fitted with GP2 slicks.

But he told the El Periodico newspaper: "When I could come to F1, I will be too old.  There are wonderful drivers there.  I'm fine in my world, which is bikes.

"This is just a diversion, some fun, and I am grateful to everybody for the opportunity," said Rossi.

After reports that Ferrari would like to field a third car in F1 for Rossi, the Italian told Spain's AS newspaper that the proposal "is fun, but not feasible".

"Tomorrow I am a MotoGP rider again," he insisted.

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