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Rolex 24 Hour 8: Other Brumos Porsche in front  At the 7-hour mark Scott Dixon had put the Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley up front but by Hour 8 Joao Barbosa had the No. 29 Brumos Porsche up front by 3 seconds over Dixon.

The Penske Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard was right behind Dixon in third while Ryan Hunter Reay had moved the Michael Shank Racing Ford up to 4th.

Max Angelelli rounded out the top-5 in the SunTrust Ford Dallara. More ...
Rolex 24 Hour 6: Brumos Porsche leads  Problems suddenly struck two leading Daytona Prototype contenders. AJ Allmendinger was leading the race on lap 155 when his race-leading No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley slowed to a stop in the infield - leading to that car's retirement. Then, the third-place No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola suddenly lost power, with the team looking for the cause of the problem.

Just before the six-hour mark, defending race winner Memo Rojas hit a curb, sending the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley to the garage. The team lost one lap making repairs, putting Rojas in 10th position, the first car one lap down.

At six hours, Buddy Rice led in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley, followed by Scott Dixon in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Christophy Bouchot in the No. 55 Supercar Life BMW Riley and Hurley Haywood in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley. More ...

tv news
Weekend USA TV Reminders  UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below. 
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Bodine Bobsled Challenge -NASCAR Drivers
Lake Placid, NY 
3:00am-5:00am (R) SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 24 at Daytona
7:00am-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR: The Ride of Their Lives
History of NASCAR, narrated by Kevin Costner 
9:00am-10:45am (R) Showtime
Check local listings for your time zone
AMA Supercross Houston
12:30pm-1:30pm (1/24/09) CBS
Dakar Rally Review Argentina-Chile 
3:30pm-4:30pm VS
Bodine Bobsled Challenge -NASCAR Drivers
Placid, NY 
4:00pm-6:00pm (R) SPEED
AMA Supercross Lites Houston 
6:00pm-7:00pm (1/24/09) SPEED
The SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Monday (Partial)
A1 Grand Prix Taupo, New Zealand 
7:00am-10:00am (R) Setanta Sports
SCCA Runoffs -2008 Topeka 
12:00pm-1:00pm -American Sedan
1:00pm-2:00pm -Formula Enterprises SPEED

For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com
Rolex 24 Hour 3: Penske Porsche takes lead  
The No. 16 Penske Riley Porsche out front
Team Penske, Brumos Porsche and Target/TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates continued to pace the field three hours into the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Romain Dumas held the lead in the No. 16 Penske Racing Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Porsche Riley, followed by the No. 02 Ganassi Lexus Riley of Dario Franchitti and the 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley of Darren Law.

Farnbacher Loles Racing ran one-two in GT, with the No. 87 Porsche GT3 of Wolf Henzler leading the No. 86 of Kevin Roush. More ...

Rolex 24 Hour 2: Porsche 1-2  
The No. 58 Brumos Porsche out front
David Donohue and Timo Bernhard dominated the second hour of the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona. Donohue pitted the pole-winning No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley very early in the second hour, turning the lead over to Bernhard in the No. 16 Penske Racing Porsche Riley.

Bernhard led laps 33 through 53 before his second routine pit stop of the event, when he turned the car over to Romain Dumas. That put Donohue back in the lead, which he held through his lap 66 pit stop.

Scott Dixon then assumed the lead in the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, but pitted after pacing one lap. That put the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley back in the lead, although Darren Law had replaced Donohue. More ...

NHRA mandates 2009 testing policy for Top Fuel, Funny Car  In an ongoing effort to assist in curtailing escalating costs associated with the operation of professional nitromethane category vehicles (Top Fuel and Funny Car), NHRA has implemented the following testing limitations for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.

Unlimited testing for Top Fuel and Funny Car teams will be permitted until the 2009 season opener at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 5, 2009. At that point, and during the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season (Feb 5 to Nov 15), professional nitromethane teams will be limited to a maximum of four (4) one-day test sessions. This policy applies to both the team and driver. More ...

Winds in Valencia slow BMW team  With gusts reaching 70 km/h, the weather again called for changes in the scheduled BMW F1 team's test program. In the morning Nick Heidfeld concentrated on system checks for the new BMW Sauber F1.09. In the afternoon the engineers' focus switched to collecting more data on the car's mechanical components. "Although the test had to be interrupted once when the wind blew some debris over the track, I managed to do some long runs in the afternoon," Heidfeld said. "I finished the day with some race start simulations on different tire compounds."

BMW Sauber's Managing Director Walter Riedl added: "After Tuesday's shakedown in Valencia we went on to complete four days of testing. Covering a total of 1,887 km, the new BMW Sauber F1.09 was running without any noteworthy problems, which meant we were able to carry out a comprehensive test program on each day. At first it was a matter of testing the individual systems, after which we focused on set-up work. We managed to collect a great deal of data and have already made initial progress. Although the strong winds made testing difficult during the last two days, we benefited from the fact that the track was dry throughout and outdoor temperatures were higher than during our tests in December, which meant we were able to glean some valuable insights concerning the tires as well. We have already used the 2009 version of the V8 engine with its rev limit of 18,000 rpm, as well as employing KERS. Overall we are very happy with the testing, particularly with regard to the high reliability of the new car. Now we are naturally very keen to see where we stand in terms of the competition, but we will have to wait for the next test to gain a first impression."

Joe Gibbs flips opponent in match race  It may have been just for fun, but NASCAR team owner and Hall-of-Fame coach Joe Gibbs made good on his promise to refuse to lose in Friday night's Arena Racing match race at the Hampton Coliseum. Gibbs started second in the one-on-one 10-lap race against friend and longtime team sponsor Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries. Gibbs fell back slightly at first, then caught Miller and bumped him a few times to the delight of the crowd of an estimated 4,000 fans -- many wearing Washington Redskins gear. With about 2 laps remaining, Gibbs cut low in Turn 3 and smacked the left fender of Miller's car. Miller flipped. Gibbs drove by and crossed the finish line first. Miller was unhurt and jovial after the race. The Arena Racing half-scale stock cars compete on a 1/10-mile aluminum track, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. The founder of Arena Racing USA is Richmonder Ricky Dennis, a former stock car racer and son of Bill Dennis, who was a NASCAR standout. Bill Dennis was 1970 Cup series Rookie of the Year. Richmond Times Dispatch
Herbert takes his first win in Bahrain  
Johnny Herbert
Johnny Herbert won the second Speedcar Series race held in Bahrain this afternoon. It was a win that came down to the wire with Gianni Morbidelli in second spot and a surprise podium for new driver Thomas Biagi in third.

The reverse grid for Speedcar Series' second race put Giovanni Lavaggi on pole position which he lost almost immediately into the first lap. Biagi took the early lead for the initial lap but was put back to second by Gianni Morbidelli while Johnny Herbert moved in to third after having started sixth on the grid

The first three drivers maintained their positions for most of the 40 minute race until Herbert gained a position on Biagi in the 12th lap. Gianni Morbidelli looked strong in the lead but with just 6 minutes to go the Season 1 Champion inched closer to the Italian closing the gap to less than a second. More ...
Sirius XM confirms rate hike coming  If you love your Sirius or XM satellite service, now is the time to re-up your subscription for another three years. The newly unified Sirius XM is charging $2 for additional subscriptions and adding another $2.99 fee for Internet radio. The Internet radio feature does add a 128k premium feed option, which is nice. Subscribers can avoid the price hike by locking in their service before March 11. The increases are seen as a way for Sirius XM to raise money to fund its massive piles of debt. The satellite radio conglomerate wins either way; if you rush to lock in rates, the company gets an immediate cash infusion. If you wait and subscribe for more money, your individual subscription will bring in more money than it did before. Autoblog
Ford announces dual clutch PowerShift gearbox for 2010  

The dual clutch gearbox installed in the Lincoln Concept C and Volvo S60 Concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show is now officially coming to Ford's lineup. The Getrag-supplied PowerShift gearbox was hinted at on the Fiesta micro-site that Ford recently launched and will be available in the new sub-compact when it launches at the end of the year. Like the DSG units used in a number of Volkswagens, the PowerShift allows full automatic control or clutchless manual shifting. Ford's first PowerShift is already available in the current European Focus with a 2.0L diesel engine. That unit is a wet-clutch system like most of the current VW DSG boxes. The new unit set to debut in the Fiesta is a dry-clutch system that's both lighter and more efficient. The 6-speed PowerShift weighs 30 lbs less than the 4-speed automatic currently offered in the U.S.-market Focus and should deliver 9-percent better fuel economy. More ...
Abu Dhabi on course for debut GP  The revolutionary new circuit that will be located at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is well on schedule to be completed by the time it is to host the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Chief executive of Aldar Properties who are in charge of developing the new circuit, John Bullough, has expressed positive views that they will be more than ready to hold the season ending Grand Prix, possibly even by months before the actual race date.

Bullough told Abu Dhabi newspaper 'The National': "All of the Yas Island phase one will be finished this summer, with obviously the Formula One Grand Prix circuit, the infrastructure, seven hotels, a major marina, the yacht club, a golf course.

The Yas Marina will be flooded in the spring. Everything is going to be finished well ahead of the race."

Webber hopes to stay with Red Bull team  
Mark Webber
Mark Webber would be happy to see out his Formula One career with Red Bull, the Australian driver said on Friday.

"I am happy with Red Bull and I hope Red Bull will be happy with me," the 32-year-old told the autosport.com website.

"If I keep my consistency and get everything out of the car, I will have no worries for the future. I plan to stay on with Red Bull long term. In fact I do not see me working with any other team."

Webber, whose contract expires at the end of the year, will have young German Sebastian Vettel as his team mate this season.

The Australian, recovering from a broken leg he suffered in a bicycle accident in Tasmania in November, expected the team to do well and said he was on schedule to resume testing in Spain on Feb. 11.

"The car looks extremely good, we have all the key people for success. I am sure we will run with the top (teams) this year," said Webber.

Renault-powered Red Bull were seventh last year. Webber has yet to win a race. Reuters

Alonso loses weight to improve car performance  
A trimmer Fernando Alonso unveils the new Renault F1 car
Fernando Alonso has lost 3.5 kilograms since the last race of the 2008 season, according to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

Whereas last year he tipped the scales at more than 70 kilograms, the 27-year-old now weighs 67kg, after an intense training program designed to maximize his chances with the new regulations allowing relatively heavy KERS technology.

Alonso's training of choice was four hours of cycling per day, bringing him close to the team engineers' ideal driver weight of 65 kilograms, the newspaper said.

"I have worked with cyclists and Fernando is very strong, more than ever," his personal physio Fabrizio Borra said. "He cannot lose any more weight, because if he does he starts to lose strength and that is not what we want." More ...

Break for St. Pete Ticket buyers  In what is sure to be some of the best news you've heard in awhile, ticket prices for the fifth Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from April 3-5 -- the opening race weekend of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights season -- have not changed from last year.

General admission tickets start at $25 for adults/$10 for children 12 and under. The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg also is offering a free IndyCar Series paddock pass to groups purchasing 10 or more three-day reserved tickets. Group purchases are only available through the HGPSP box office in downtown St. Pete. More ...

RB5 to be 'beautiful' car - Webber  (GMM)  Red Bull is set to buck the trend by revealing a handsome 2009 car next month, according to Australian driver Mark Webber.

The 32-year-old, still on crutches and recovering from his broken right leg, said designer Adrian Newey has managed to create a "beautiful" RB5 despite the unseemly new mandatory dimensions of this year's cars.

On a visit to Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz's native Austria, he told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: "(The RB5 is) perhaps the most beautiful of the 2009 class, which under the new regulations was pretty difficult."

While at the Kitzbuhel ski resort, Webber was also quoted as saying he is happy at Red Bull Racing and willing to remain with the Milton-Keynes squad for the balance of his career.

He told Salzburger Nachrichten that few teams have decided if they will commence the 2009 season with KERS.

"The teams will be developing in both directions," Webber said.  "But whoever goes to Melbourne with KERS will probably be very brave."

Buemi happy to have secure ride  
Buemi on a wet Algarve track
Heavy rain meant the final day of this week's F1 test in Portugal was a complete wash-out. Toro Rosso rookie Sebastien Buemi did a couple of installation laps in the F1 car in the morning, then in order to evaluate the track conditions again, he later went out for a further two laps in a road car. He may have been quicker in the road car!

“Being confirmed as a race driver for next year doesn’t change anything once you’re alone at the wheel, but in terms of working with the team, it brings an added sense of confidence, as the engineers and mechanics know they will be working with me all year,” commented the Swiss driver after the session. More ...

France has no plans on leaving the sport soon  
Brian France talks about his future with NASCAR
Brian France - click image to watch interview
NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn't plan to leave the sport, which has been run by a member of his family since it began in 1949, anytime soon. France's intentions came under question after he said last month at a motorsports marketing forum in New York that he would not be in the sport for 30 years like his father, Bill France Jr. That, along with speculation from a few years ago that the 46-year-old France might relocate an existing NFL franchise to Los Angeles, had some questioning his dedication and effectiveness. But France insisted on Thursday during the final stop of the NASCAR media tour that he plans to be around the sport founded by his grandfather, Bill France Sr., for a long time. "This gets misunderstood whenever I say something like that," France said.

"It simply means that my father [spent] 32 years as CEO and president of NASCAR. All I said was that's not in the cards for me, I don't think it's a smart thing for the sport. It doesn't mean I won't have a long run. I hope I do. I hope I'm doing what I'm doing. I really like what I'm doing and like working in the industry." But France didn't rule out the possibility that the sport could one day be run without a France in charge. ESPN.com

ethanolIRL mentioned in George W. Bush report  The Indy Racing League made Pres. George W. Bush’s final report, highlighting his eight-year term’s accomplishments and results. On page 26 of the report, Bush writes about his work with renewable energies. The photo in the report shows Bush with the American ethanol sponsored car parked along an ethanol production facility.

Unfortunately the car in the photo won’t be on the track this year. And in an ironic twist, IRL officials recently partnered with a Brazilian ethanol producer when the American ethanol group the open-wheel series had partnered with backed out of its deal with the series late last year. More ...

F1 almost lost Williams team  It appears as if Formula One almost lost one of its greatest independent teams due to the current economic crisis, the fact that the FIA introduced all the new cost cutting regulations the main thing making them decide to continue on.

The team almost lost was none other than Williams F1 with Sir Frank Williams revealing to the Financial Times just how close they were to walking away from the pinnacle of Motorsports after losses in the past two years, but now it is as if he has been given a fresh start…..

“[Given] the financial pressure we are under, the consequent changes to the rules to reduce the cost of racing are a major benefit,” Williams told the Financial Times. “We need to make a profit. To be successful and to be certain of staying in business, we need to be successful financially too. So, we need to make a profit every year. We’ve lost in the last two years, or three, I think, but we have the reserves and resource to manage that.” More ...

Robby Gordon scores pole position  NASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon earned the pole position for the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge Friday as he powered his No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500 to a fast time of 6 minutes, 43.72 seconds during qualifying for SCORE Trophy-Trucks averaging 64.6 miles per hour around the abbreviated 6.25-mile loop.

The season opener of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series, is being held near the banks of the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nev.

The unique race, split into two parts, will start Saturday and finish Sunday, running from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the 17 classes divided into five race groups running multiple laps each day. The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division will race at 1 p.m. each day followed by the unlimited Class 1 cars at 3 p.m. Both classes will run eight laps each day. More ...

Auberlen, Bell win Fresh From Florida 200  In a fierce battle during Friday's season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway in the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge, Bill Auberlen led 22 of the final 25 laps to give himself and Matt Bell the victory in the three-hour race.

Auberlen passed Ken Wilden on Lap 70, then fought off Hugh Plumb for a lap before the caution flag flew on Lap 72. That gave Auberlen his second GS victory in three races and Bell his first-ever GS triumph in his first career class start. The duo drove the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3.

Meanwhile in ST competition, Lawson Aschenbach took the lead from Kristian Skavnes on Lap 71, and kept him at bay just moments before the yellow flag flew for Steve Jenkins' stalled car on the backstretch. Aschenbach took over from Pete Iannucci, who was making his first-ever auto race start after competing previously only in karting. The duo drove the No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt. More ...

Wind blows BMW off course at Valencia  Blustery conditions disrupted BMW Sauber’s testing schedule for the second day running in Valencia on Friday, when Nick Heidfeld got his first opportunity to sample the new F1.09.

With gusty winds topping 30mph, the team had to switch its focus from set-up to reliability work in the morning, as it had been forced to do the previous afternoon when Robert Kubica was at the wheel.

Heidfeld was reassured to find that the car responded to set-up changes as expected.

“Finally I could drive the F1.09 for the very first time,” he said after completing 92 laps. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making progress with each kilometer and the reliability is already there.  Overall the F1.09 handles quite differently to last year’s car.  Fortunately I managed to work on the set-up in the afternoon.  The most important result after my first day of testing is that the car reacts as intended to set-up changes.”

tv news
Again no side-by-side commercials for NASCAR  Thanks to reporter Dustin Long, ESPN's top motorsports executive has spoken about the topic no network will touch. That is why side-by-side commercials work on the IRL races but not on NASCAR events.

As the Vice President of Motorsports, Rich Feinberg has presided over an often turbulent re-entry into NASCAR by the various ESPN television networks. He has been responsive to viewer issues and made many changes to on-air staff and production agendas over the past two seasons.

Here are some excerpts from Feinberg's conversation with Long about who is responsible for making the side-by-side concept work. Is it the network, the sponsors or NASCAR?

"It has to come from all three," Feinberg said. "We as a broadcast entity have to believe that it's something that is good. The sponsors have to be on board because, let's face it, they foot the bill for the whole thing, right? So, their interest in dual messaging, in one box is my commercial, which I paid you millions to run for your viewers to hear and in other box is competition. They've got to buy it, and NASCAR has to buy it."

"The reality of the question of why not in NASCAR and you are doing it in open-wheel, the simple answer to that is that our rights agreement with NASCAR precludes us from doing that." More ...

Head relishes the 'engineering challenge' of F2  
Patrick Head
Patrick Head, who has led a six-man team in the design of the new F2 car, has declared the project as both ‘exciting’ and a ‘serious engineering challenge’.

With just a few weeks until the car's initial shakedown test, Williams F1’s Director of Engineering has spoken about his involvement in the project: “The F2 project is both exciting and very interesting,” said Head. “We have obviously known Jonathan Palmer for a very long time and we initially discussed creating a much higher spec Formula Palmer Audi. Then when the possibility of F2 came up, it became clear that we would have to significantly upgrade the whole operation because the car would have to pass the 2005 Formula One crash test rules, which is a serious engineering challenge.” More ...

Team 3G and Kester Racing Combine  IndyCar racing’s newest team, Team 3G announced today that they will partner with Kester Racing to field entries in the Star Mazda Championship in 2009. The new team will become the first rung in the development ladder for drivers, engineers, and sponsors to move with Team 3G to the Indy Lights and IndyCar Series.  The Star Mazda team will continue to be based at the Texas World Speedway, with experienced brother and sister drivers J.C. and Kristy Kester.

Team 3G was formed by industry veterans Greg Beck and Steve Sudler following the unification of open-wheel racing and is determined to create a winning development academy for drivers, engineers, and marketers, leading them to the famous Indianapolis 500.  Former NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett will pilot the Team 3G car for the 2009 IndyCar Series season. More ...

South American F-3 champion will test Indy Lights car  Brazilian racing driver Nelson Merlo, 25 years old, will be testing on next Monday, January 26, for Indy Lights Sam Schmidt Motorsport team at the Palm Beach (FL) circuit. Merlo will be in the USA during the whole week with the team, during pre-season tests at Palm Beach and Homestead circuits.

After that, he hopes to do a good job and get a chance at Indy Lights this year. “I know that what I will do at the track is very important. So, I’ll try to do my best for the team and get positive results,” says Merlo. This test is part of his reward for winning the South American Formula 3 championship last year, in the last race of the season, at Interlagos circuit. Merlo is the only one driver in Brazil with three formula racing series titles in his career: Formula São Paulo, Formula Renault, and the last one, Formula-3 South America.

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing excited about LMP1 Acura  Patr¢n Highcroft Racing is set to unveil its new LMP1 Acura ARX-02a entry at next week's American Le Mans Series 'Wheels Down' winter test at Sebring International Raceway.

The three-day test will be the first time that the new Acura entry has run in public.  The test is a crucial stepping-stone in preparation for the car's debut at this year's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 21.

After a highly successful 2008 season with the LMP2 Acura ARX-01b, Patron Highcroft Racing was selected along with de Ferran Motorsports by Acura and Honda Performance Development to represent the brand in its graduation to the premier American Le Mans Series class.

The Patr¢n Highcroft Racing pairing of American Scott Sharp and Australian David Brabham scored four LMP2 victories last year including an overall win - Acura's first - at Lime Rock Park. More ...
NASCAR won't budge on Roush 4-car limit  With teams scrambling to find sponsorships and raise enough money to run full schedules in this economic crisis, Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith thinks NASCAR should reconsider its four-car limit in the Sprint Cup.

Not a chance, according to NASCAR president Mike Helton. “We have not changed our mind on this," Helton said. "As a matter of fact, it's probably stronger than it's ever been, and we believe it's the right thing to do. That move of a cap of ownership on cars ... was a piece of a bigger puzzle."

Roush Fenway will have five Sprint Cup cars this season for the final time before it has to meet NASCAR's car cap in 2010.

Smith, speaking to reporters at the Sprint Cup media tour, believes the recession will make it difficult for that divested fifth car to survive with a smaller team. More ...

ALMS Winter Test Preview  A group of the most anticipated new entries to the American Le Mans Series will make their public debuts next week at the annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. It’s one of many reasons to look forward to the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the start of the Series’ second decade of sports car racing.

The highlights? There are plenty:

• Three brand new prototypes grace the entry list.  The pair that fans are perhaps the most eager to see are Acura’s two ARX-02a sports cars in LMP1.  De Ferran Motorsports and
Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, which finished second in last year’s LMP2 championship and won four times in class, each will field one of the new cars. More ...

Alesi wins Race 1 in Bahrain  
Jean Alesi
Jean Alesi won the first Speedcar Series race of the weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Frenchman who started second on the grid was joined on the podium by Heinz Harald Frentzen in second position and Johnny Herbert in third.

Heinz Harald Frentzen had a bad start and left the door open for Alesi to go through and take the lead. Johnny Herbert and Gianni Morbidelli also took the opportunity to slip past, leaving Frentzen in fourth.

Season 1 champion Johnny Herbert was defending his line and position while Gianni Morbidelli stayed on his tail pushing him hard on every turn. In a three way battle Morbidelli was punted out of the way by Frentzen who gained a position to third place. By the 5th lap The German had gained ground on Herbert and with a clever inside move, got the better of him. For the rest of the race, the top 3 positions were maintained by Alesi, Frentzen and Herbert. More ...
Nemechek Announces 2009 Driving Plans  
Joe Nemechek
Joe Nemechek is gearing up for the 2009 NASCAR season.

The driver and owner of NEMCO Motorsports said that he is planning to run the full Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series schedule, beginning with next month's season openers at Daytona International Speedway -- the Daytona 500 and Camping World 300.

Nemechek will drive the No. 87 Toyota Camry in the Cup Series and the No. 87 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in the Nationwide races.

"We are confident about acquiring sponsorship for 12 Cup races," said Nemechek. "We're working to secure sponsorship for the remaining 24 events and also for a number of Nationwide races. We have an excellent opportunity for a company interested in pursing a cost-effective motorsports sponsorship. Anyone interested can e-mail us at sponsorship@joenemechek.com. We want to race and put people back to work in these tough economic times." More ...

McLaren loses long-time sponsor  
No more Schuco for McLaren Team
(GMM)  McLaren has lost a long-time sponsor of its formula one team, in the form of window and solar company Schuco.

For years, the Schuco logo appeared on the overalls and rear wing endplates of the Mercedes-powered cars.

But the name is missing from this year's newly launched MP4-24, and the German language newspaper Neue Westfalische revealed that it is because Schuco did not renew its contract beyond 2008.

McLaren and Schuco first teamed up in 1999.

"The formula one (sponsorship) was very good for us," said Schuco spokesman Thomas Lauritzen, denying that the global financial crisis is the reason for the split.

Vasser energized for Rolex 24  
Jimmy Vasser in 2002
For Jimmy Vasser, this is his Super Bowl weekend.

The 43-year-old will be driving the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing Pontiac with Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ Jimmie Johnson in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Rolex 24 at Daytona, the season opener on the 2009 Grand-Am schedule, is the Super Bowl of sports car racing in North America and kicks off a busy month of racing at Daytona International Speedway in Florida - a stretch that concludes with NASCAR's Super Bowl, the Daytona 500.

"It has great history'' said Vasser, who will be driving for a team that features crew chief and Pleasant Valley native Link Smith, and crew member and Dutchess County resident Glenn Feather. More ...

Senator wants Chrysler loans canceled  Chrysler LLC should be forced to pay back its $4-billion loan from the U.S. Treasury should Fiat S.p.A. take control of the automaker, a U.S. senator told President Barack Obama today.  In a letter, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said he did not want “American taxpayers paying to prop up the foreign auto industry.” Under the terms of the deal announced Tuesday, Fiat will take a 35% stake in Chrysler, and has the right to increase its stake to 55% if the two companies work well together.

While Chrysler has received a $4-billion loan and is asking for $3 billion more from the Treasury, Fiat did not inject any cash into Chrysler as part of the deal, nor made any commitments to do so. The Treasury has the power to review and reject any transaction at Chrysler of more than $100 million.

“I am asking you to address the potentiality of foreign control and require the immediate payback of the loans already dispersed should such a scenario present itself,” Menendez said. “I am sure you would agree that the responsible action is to ensure that American taxpayers are not financing foreign automakers.”

Frentzen fastest on day one  Heinz Harald Frentzen topped the hour long Speedcar Series practice session on Thursday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of two races to follow this weekend on Friday and Saturday.

The German driver came in ahead of Gianni Morbidelli by less than a tenth of a second while Jean Alesi classified in third spot lagging by 0.252. Frentzen is currently in second in the driver championship standings after having finished second in the last race in Dubai. He commented on his practice timing, "This is a very good circuit and I enjoy the layout. It's not a simple track though and it is easy to make mistakes."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, winner of the last race in Dubai and currently leading the driver championship classified in 4th place. The new drivers to Speedcar Series Thomas Biagi, Giovanni Lavaggi and Enzo Panacci timed 9th, 12th and 13th respectively. More ...
Halt in Portugal, progress at other tests  (GMM)  Ferrari's decision to abandon the Portimao circuit earlier this week paid off on Thursday, as abysmal weather scuppered the hopes of the five teams present for the test in Portugal.

Thursday's weather meant that race drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Kazuki Nakajima are yet to get any running at the controls of their respective 2009 mounts, but tire supplier Bridgestone's technical manager Tetsuro Kobayashi said the situation - with in-season testing banned - is not yet a concern.

"For Bridgestone we are confident that there will be sufficient testing for teams before the season starts to enable good, safe, racing," he said.

With the medical helicopter unable to fly due to the conditions in Portimao, Ferrari on the other hand finally got in some dry running for its new F60 at Mugello in Italy, despite an hydraulic glitch late in the day.

"Given the conditions experienced in Portimao, I think the decision to come to Mugello was the right one," said Felipe Massa, who managed a full 102 laps before the technical problem.

The Spanish weather for BMW-Sauber's exclusive Valencia test, meanwhile, remained dry on Thursday, and Robert Kubica also collected lots of laps, but the collection of performance data was hindered by the strong winds.

Test ban leaves Asmer, di Grassi, out in cold  (GMM)  The total ban on in-season testing this season has stalled the formula one careers of Estonian Marko Asmer, and the impressive GP2 driver, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi.

The pair both had albeit limited roles with BMW-Sauber and Renault respectively in 2008, but have been excluded altogether from the teams' plans for this year.

Renault has instead plumped for Romain Grosjean, di Grassi's test colleague in 2008, as its third driver, who slots into the loophole allowing some testing for young drivers who have done less than four days of running in the last two years.

Like di Grassi, 24-year-old Asmer also does not qualify for the 'young drivers' in-season test loophole, because he tested five times last year.

"As far as I know BMW-Sauber was very satisfied with the work I did for them last year," a frustrated Asmer told the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

"It is clear that the test ban makes it much harder for young drivers," he said.

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