Scott Speed's career may be over Fired from F1 and sacked in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, a once cocky Scott Speed, has all but destroyed his career in NASCAR. Speed reached an agreement to drive in two Nationwide Series races for Kevin Harvick Inc. Speed will drive KHI's No. 33 in the Aug. 6 race at Iowa Speedway and Aug. 20 road course race in Montreal.
Speed was replaced at Red Bull Racing this season by Kasey Kahne, who will drive the No. 4 for one season before moving into the No. 5 at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
Speed finished 30th in the Cup standings last season and 35th in 2009, his only full schedules in NASCAR's premier series. He drove in 13 Nationwide races in 2009, collecting eight top-10s and 10 finishes in the top 13.
Speed's lone win in NASCAR's top three series came in a 2008 Truck Series race at Dover.
USAC racer McIntosh signs for USF2000 season Short-track racer Shannon McIntosh will join the Mazda Road to Indy in 2011 as part of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda. She'll drive the No. 2 Mazda for the 12 events for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
McIntosh, a 21-year-old native of Miamisburg, Ohio, and veteran of the USAC Ford Focus midget series, tested with a host of teams including Juncos Racing and JDC Motorsports before deciding on Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
The teams co-owners, brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape, have won five championships, three rookie of the year honors and amassed 54 wins and 68 pole positions in the USF2000, IMSA Lites and Cooper Series. The Capes have worked with drivers such as Kasey Kahne, JR Hildebrand and Andy Lally.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway enhances fan experience A $1.2 million Panasonic scoreboard and video system in the middle of the infield will be in place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the IZOD IndyCar Series visits in mid-August.
The scoreboard has three 32 x 18-foot TV screens on the top, providing impressive views of racing action and replays. Below the video boards will be a scrolling leaderboard with color graphics that gives fans running positions and lap times along with statistics and event information.
"From all of the fan feedback, including letters, emails and fan forums, a new scoreboard system has been the No. 1 request in regards to facility upgrades," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway. "Our chairman, Bruton Smith, listened to fans and is now giving them one of the best scoreboard systems in the world. This will truly enhance the live experience for our ticket-buying fans."
INDYCAR paces sponsorship resurgence North American-based companies will invest an estimated $3.51 billion in motorsports sponsorships this year - up 4.2 percent over 2010 -- according to an IEG Sponsorship Report released late last week. Following a 2.1 percent rise last year and a 6 percent decline in 2009, it's an encouraging sign.
The IZOD IndyCar Series has led the resurgence.
INDYCAR added 14 new major commercial partners bridging 2009 and 2010, including Fortune 500 companies Verizon, Sunoco, Philips and Starwood. Promotional spending doubled in 2010 over the previous year, with licensing revenue up 83 percent and merchandise sales ahead 71 percent over the calendar year. Additionally, TV ratings and race attendance grew.
Vautier joins JDC Motorsports for full Star Mazda season Frenchman Tristan Vautier will join top Star Mazda team JDC MotorSports in hopes of bringing the team its third Star Mazda Championship title in 2011.
The talented French racer will join the Minnesota-based team for the entire Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season, seeking to build on a race-winning rookie run last season.
"We are very happy to have concluded a deal with Tristan for the 2011 season," commented JDC MotorSports Team Principal John Church. "We feel that Tristan has the ability to run up-front and put our team back up in a championship position for 2011."
Doug Yates speaks about changes On Saturday, the sanctioning body requested teams disconnect air hoses to the radiator and air cooler. On Sunday, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's Vice President of Competition, said that teams will be required to have an opening maximum size 2.5 inches tall by 20 inches wide on the front grille opening and install a pressure-relief valve on the water system that will be set at 33 psi before they return to Daytona on Wednesday. Doug Yates, head engine builder for Roush Yates Engines, spoke with Ford Racing about the change ramifications for his operation and his lack of surprise if more changes are on the way.
Penske gives up on failed Smart Car venture Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz luxury carmaker will take over U.S. sales and distribution of its slow-selling Smart cars from Penske Automotive Group. The two companies said they were negotiating a shift in the distribution rights, management, sales and marketing activities of Smart USA from Roger Penske's conglomerate to Mercedes by June 30.
Penske also canceled the development of a five-door small car for Smart that was being provided by Nissan Motor Co.
In a joint statement, Penske and Mercedes said the shift reflected a reorganization at Smart's German headquarters.
But the Smart car has performed poorly in the United States. Smart sales fell 59.4 percent last year to 5,927 cars, in a market that expanded 11.1 percent.
Wal-Mart Inks Non-Exclusive Licensing Agreement With NASCAR NASCAR has signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Wal-Mart that will enable the world's largest retailer to make apparel, home goods and other products bearing NASCAR, driver and team marks and imagery. The deal, which is expected to be announced today, is Wal-Mart's first licensing agreement with a major sports property. NASCAR and Wal-Mart agreed to a three-year deal with options for an extension. Wal-Mart will pay a licensing royalty, but terms of that royalty were not available.
Wal-Mart plans to support its licensing agreement over the next two weeks with a special "Race Time" promotion that begins today in more than 1,500 stores nationwide. The "Race Time" promotion will feature nearly a dozen of NASCAR's sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Mars and Miller-Coors in a specially branded area of the store. Sports Business Daily
Ecclestone concerned about strife in Bahrain (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday refused to say the 2011 season opener in Bahrain next month will not be called off due to strife in the island Kingdom.
Inspired by recent anti-government revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, thousands of pro-democracy protesters are clashing with riot police armed with tear gas and batons, and three people have reportedly already been killed.
The vice president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights was quoted on Tuesday as warning that the grand prix next month "is not going to be peaceful".
Asked if the event might have to be called off, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said: "I have no idea. It's hard to establish exactly what is going in."
Felix da Costa to race GP3 with Status GP Rising Portuguese star Antonio Felix da Costa has signed to race with Status Grand Prix in the GP3 Series this year. The 19-year-old comes to the Formula One support series full time in 2011 having competed in two events last year, and has chosen to join Silverstone-based team Status GP for his title challenge.
Felix da Costa performed strongly with three wins in the Euroseries Formula 3 championship in 2010, and now joins fellow ex-F3 ace Alexander Sims at Status GP, which finished second in the both the GP3 Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships last year.
Man jailed after filming himself driving 140 mph A man who filmed the speedometer of his car while driving more than 140 miles per hour so he could post it on YouTube, ended up in jail on Saturday and the video confiscated, police said. Stanislav Vadimovich Bakanov was pulled over by police on Oregon Interstate 5 after he was clocked driving his black 2005 BMW at 118 mph. He filmed Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Postlewait as he approached the car.
When Postlewait asked why he was videotaping, Bakanov said he was filming his speedometer, and his arrest, to post on Youtube. The video later revealed that Bakanov had attained speeds in excess of 140 mph.
2011 IndyCar and Indy Lights Rule BooksUPDATE If the links below will not open for you right-click and choose Save Target As....
02/14/11 There has been some questions from fans about how come IndyCar has not published the 2011 rule books. Well they have and the following two links will download the PDF versions (they are large so give them time to download):
Celebration of Carnegie's life set for Tuesday, Feb. 15 at IMS A celebration of the life of longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway Public Address announcer Tom Carnegie, who died Feb. 11 at age 91, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, Feb. 15 at IMS.
IndyCar track designer trumps F1's Tilke Someone should call F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and convince him to let IndyCar’s Tony Cotman design some Formula One tracks.
That’s the first thing that should have popped into race fans’ minds after seeing the new 3.631-kilometre, 13-turn race course that will be the scene of Edmonton’s fourth IndyCar event at its City Centre Airport in July. The move to a new layout was forced by the closure of the old runways previously used for the race.
The new layout looks fast, but it will likely be tough on brakes and tires and offer several good overtaking zones. The circuit on the airport’s East runway has a 90-degree first turn and two hairpin corners on both sides of the circuit, all of which should offer good passing opportunities. All three are at the end of long straights, which should create plenty of action on track to keep fans interested during the July 22 race in Edmonton. The weekend also features the Firestone Indy Lights Series.
NASCAR Hires Taylor Executive Brett Jewkes As CCO NASCAR Friday announced it hired longtime Taylor executive BRETT JEWKES to be its Chief Communications Officer. Jewkes will oversee a roughly 35-person NASCAR Integrated Marketing and Communications division that he helped develop after completing a review of NASCAR communications last August.
Cosworth power on top in Jerez as F1 teams continue Spanish testing The second preseason test session concluded at the Circuito de Jerez on Sunday with Rubens Barrichello setting the pace in his Cosworth-powered AT&T Williams FW33. Barrichello’s pace-setting lap – a 1m19.832s – proved to be the quickest of the four-day test as teams continued to accumulate mileage on their 2011 cars.
Cosworth was represented by two of its three teams as AT&T Williams was joined at the test by the recently unveiled Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02, which made its track debut in Jerez at the hands of Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio. The Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team was not present at the test but released the first pictures of its F111 race car earlier in the week and will resume testing action in Barcelona later this week.
The main focus for the AT&T Williams team was to continue to add mileage on the new FW33, powered by the KERS adapted CA2011k V8 engine. The team completed 253 laps over the four days with new recruit Pastor Maldonado totaling 51 laps and Barrichello amassing an impressive 202 laps over his two days at the track.
Marussia Virgin Racing also enjoyed a productive first test with 216 laps over the weekend, indicating encouraging reliability with the CA2011-powered MVR-02. An issue with the oil pump was experienced on the final day, which will be inspected by Cosworth engineers in order to ascertain the root cause of the problem.
Testing resumes at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday for another valuable four-day session in preparation for the 2011 season which gets underway in Bahrain in less than a month. Cosworth PR
FIA pleased with Indian GP progress The FIA's Charlie Whiting has completed an inspection of the Indian Grand Prix venue and is reportedly pleased with its progress.
The base layer of the track and run off areas is down with the first layer of tarmac expected to be laid in March. The inaugural race will take place on October 30 and organizers JPSI are expecting work to be completed ahead of schedule.
Chevy to use high-end deck honing process of Camaro ZL1 engine
The 6.2L block is mounted in the bore sizing machine. Deck plates are installed with production cylinder head bolts on both block head decks. Main bearing caps have also been installed. All fasteners are torqued to their exact specification to duplicate normal distortions in the cylinder bores before the final honing process begins. The cylinder honing head (top left) is ready to begin honing the first cylinder.
Deck plate honing a cylinder block, a precision-machining process typically reserved for high-performance engines, will be used on the Camaro ZL1 6.2L supercharged V8, helping maximize engine life, reduce friction between engine parts and increase horsepower.
Deck plate honing refers to a machining process in which aluminum plates, sometimes called torque plates, are clamped to the block, simulating the cylinder heads, before the final bore and hone of the cylinders takes place. The clamp load of 10 bolts per head creates normal, minute distortions in the block and thus makes the bore slightly out-of-perfect shape or cylindricity.
While the simulated cylinder heads, or deck plates, are attached to the block, a boring machine does its work boring, and then honing each cylinder. Later, when the actual cylinder heads are assembled to the block under identical torque loads, the cylinder bores are near perfect for the engine’s lifetime of piston travel up and down in the bore up to 6,200 times a minute.
Porsche to hire 1,000 To keep pace with its planned model expansion and sales targets, Porsche AG will add more than 1,000 employees by 2015, Automotive News Europe has learned from Volkswagen Group sources. About 500 jobs will be added for production of Porsche's new compact SUV, codenamed the Cajun, which will go on sale in 2013 in Europe and in North America about six months later.
Porsche's supervisory board will make a decision on the production location of the Cajun in mid-March. The Cajun is likely will be built alongside the Cayenne full-size SUV and the Panamera sedan in Porsche's factory in Leipzig, Germany, according to VW group sources.
Porsche will spend between 500 million and 750 million euros ($673.8 million to $1.01 billion at current exchange rates) in new body and paint shops at Leipzig. The company will add at least another 500 employees, mostly engineers, at its development center in Weissach, near Stuttgart. Between 2015 and 2018, a further 500 jobs will be added, according to internal plans. AutoWeek
ESPN’S NASCAR Coverage Set to Take Green Flag at Daytona ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 NASCAR season launches with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 19, on ESPN2. The telecast is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at noon ET with NASCAR Countdown. The 300-mile race’s green flag flies at 1:34 p.m.
Thirty-three of the 34 races on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule this season will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. ESPN also will televise the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fourteen of the 17 races will air on ESPN, with three Saturday night races appearing on ABC. ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage begins July 31 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while the Chase begins Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Starting lineups for Gatorade Duel qualifying races Only Hendrick Motorsport teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have secured the front row for the Daytona 500. The starting lineup for the rest of the field for Sunday's race will be set through the Thursday Gatorade Duel Qualifying races.
Here are the starting lineups for Thursday’s Duels:
Toyota to race a different Camry in 2013 Toyota will race a Camry in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013, but it won't be the same Camry you see on the track today, Toyota Racing Development president Lee White told Sporting News on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. Expect Toyota to unveil a new-look Camry for the 2012 model year, one that will be incorporated into Cup racing for 2013, when all four manufacturers will introduce their new cars. "We're right there, pushing ahead," White said. "There's potentially a new car coming, a new Camry -- it's still going to be a Camry -- but at some point that look will be put into the new vehicle, and certainly for the '13 car. I think it's a '12 model that you'll see in the showrooms this fall, but the new car (for NASCAR) isn't coming 'til '13, so it's really how we deal with that -- if we do it with a decal package on the current car for '12 and then the whole new car which everyone's looking out for '13." All four manufacturers have been working on their designs for the 2013 cars in consultation with NASCAR. As is the case with the other carmakers, White expects the 2013 Camry to display more brand identity as well as a new look. "It's pretty sporty looking, I'll give you that, in my opinion," White said. Sporting News
NASCAR drivers are seeing red over the yellow-line rule If Saturday night's race had been the Daytona 500 instead of the Bud Shootout, the last-lap crash was coming. And the yellow line would have caused it, just as it has in so many restrictor-plate races since the boundary rule was implemented.
So why have it if the rule causes as many accidents as (or more than) it prevents? This is the "have at it, boys" era, right? Go for it, even at 206 mph in the Shootout.
All that tough talk doesn't apply when it comes to the yellow line at Daytona and Talladega. It's the line you can't cross. A driver can't have at anything if he passes someone below the line. All he gets is a black flag. The yellow line and "have at it, boys" don't mix. Call it a conflict of interest. Going for it only goes so far in the plate races if you break the yellow boundary.
NASCAR mandates changes to slow Daytona field NASCAR knew Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway, that the 206-plus mph speeds seen in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout were unacceptable for the rest of Speedweeks.
"What we know is, we can have good races at 100 miles an hour and 200 miles an hour and everything in between," Sprint Cup director John Darby said on Sunday evening. "I think we can agree, for both the competitors and NASCAR, that 206 was probably a little bit to the extreme side, so we'll do what we can do to probably cushion that, some."
NASCAR issued a bulletin Sunday that attempts to equate the four manufacturers' ability to control their engines' water temperatures. At the same time, it continues trying to limit their ability to engage in speed-building two-car drafts.
NASCAR Tweaks rules to limit drafting NASCAR officials announced two technical changes Sunday evening aimed at preventing the sustained two-car drafts that dominated Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said the body issued a bulletin to race teams with the following specifications:
" The maximum size for the air inlet for the cooling system will be 2½ inches tall by 20 inches wide. " The pressure release valve on the water system will be set at 33 pounds per square inch.
The intent is to set up the cars so they can't push each other in two-car tandems for extended runs without overheating. Teams try to line up drafting partners at Daytona and Talladega so they can overcome the limitations of the restrictor plates used to keep speeds down at those two tracks. "That will bring down the temperatures so the teams can't run at 290 or 300 degrees [without overheating] on the extended push of 30 or 40 laps," Pemberton said.
Pirelli Jerez test summary The second Formula One group test in Jerez has drawn to a close, with Pirelli PZero tires enjoying another faultless run over the four days of testing in the south of Spain.
Following on from the first official test of the year in Valencia, the Formula One teams again had the chance to sample the full range of Pirelli tires on a circuit with quite different characteristics, which last hosted a Grand Prix in 1997. There was a wide range of temperatures experienced and a sudden burst of rain only during the last 10 minutes of the final day, meaning that the teams focused on the dry compounds that they had previously selected to test.
Barrichello's Williams Cosworth finishes Day 4 on topUPDATE Fastest of the 4-Day test - Williams-Cosworth team quotes:
Sam Michael, Technical Director: Nothing was going to stop us from doing over 100 laps today! After limited running up to now, we concentrated on setup and long runs. Rubens was trying various things to learn about the Pirelli tires - some worked, some didn't. Now we’ve also gathered some data on the Pirelli wet tire after a small shower at the end of the session. At the next test we will also have KERS back on the car as we ran without it today.
We did suffer from a hydraulic leak during the middle of the day but overall, it's encouraging that we've had no major fundamental failures on the car – especially considering how tight the package is. All of the faults that have been causing our downtime in the recent days are small things that systems will quickly put right.
Jerez Day 4: Barrichello still on topUPDATE Times at 3pm local time
1. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m 19.832s 2. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m 20.601s 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 21.074s 4. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.213s 5. Bruno Senna Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 21.990s 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m 22.222s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.278s 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 22.773s 9. Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m 22.985s 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m 23.111s 11. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus-Renault 1m 24.023s
02/13/11 Rubens Barrichello stays quickest on the final day of F1 testing in Spain. Full lap times as of 1pm local time, on the fourth day of the four-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain.
1. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m 19.832s 2. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m 20.601s 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 21.074s 4. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.213s 5. Bruno Senna Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 21.990s 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m 22.222s 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.278s 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 22.773s 9. Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m 22.985s 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m 23.444s 11. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus-Renault 1m 24.023s
Drunk NASCAR driver Annett admits guiltUPDATE NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett admits he drank too much and got behind the wheel. Now he's apologizing for his "horrible" judgment and hopes to prove he can turn around his life.
Speaking to reporters at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Annett says he is "definitely owning up" to his mistake.
"I got behind the wheel. I had the keys in my hand. I turned the truck on," Annett said. "It was my choice, and it was a horrible one. It was a huge mistake. Just fortunate enough that nobody got hurt."
NASCAR Lowers Age Limit For Touring Series NASCAR announced it has lowered the minimum age for drivers competing in its regional touring series to 15. The change, effective immediately, will be applied to drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. In a corresponding move, the Learner's Permit License for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be applicable for all divisions at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. The Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR's national championship program for its more than 55 sanctioned short tracks across North America. NASCAR
Budweiser Shootout was a crash-fest The Budweiser Shootout might want to go back to its original name -- the Busch Clash. Known 32 years ago as the Clash, Saturday night's 33rd running of the race became the Crash.
Nearly half of the field had wrecked by the midway point.
One-quarter of the 24-car field was claimed on Lap 28 when three drivers darted for the same piece of real estate on the backstretch just before Turn 3.
Horner: Bulls followed cost reduction rules Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner has backed renewed efforts to cut spending in Formula One.
Horner claims talks by the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) aimed at introducing a cap on team budgets are "heading in the right direction."
Similar talks in 2009 led to a major dispute between the teams and the FIA, which wanted a £40million budget cap, and instead fairly limited restrictions, known as the resource restriction agreement (RRA), were introduced, covering such things as staff numbers and testing time.
Jerez: Barrichello shows Cosworth has plenty of power
Barrichello in the Williams Cosworth
Rubens Barrichello set early pace at Jerez for Williams-Cosworth as the second pre-season test at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain for F1 2011 moves into its fourth and final day. It was the fastest time of the 4-day test so far.
Full lap times as of 11am local time.
1. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m 19.832s 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 21.074s 3. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.682s 4. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m 22.207s 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m 22.222s 6. Bruno Senna Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 22.771s 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 22.773s 8. Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m 22.985s 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m 23.444s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m 23.602s 11. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus-Renault 1m 24.023s
Fernandes rejects $10m offer to settle naming dispute
Tony Fernandes has rejected a $10 million offer to settle the ongoing naming dispute over who has the right to use the Lotus name.
"It was £6 million for an out of court settlement," he told AFP. "Of course I would like to end it but the proposal by Proton would have bankrupted the company. We could not accept it."
Fernandes said that 250 jobs along with substantial investments by shareholders were at risk. "We never created the situation. We had a five-year agreement. Proton thought they can bully us out. We honestly worked hard to revive the Lotus name in F1."
The court hearing to decide the outcome is scheduled for March 21, but Fernandes said he was open to sensible offers and while it dragged on, potential investors were being put off. "I hope it will end soon," he said. "The legal row does not help. That's for sure."
Dodge supports move to fuel injection In response to NASCAR's announcement of the technology partnership with Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems to develop and integrate fuel injection systems into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012, Dave Bailey, Senior Manager of Dodge Motorsports Engineering, offered the following:
"Dodge Motorsports is very familiar with fuel injection technology from our production car applications and we are excited to see it implemented into NASCAR. Dodge Motorsports and Penske Racing have been working on integrating it into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series engine for over a year. Dodge is working closely with Penske, NASCAR, McLaren and several other partners to convert engines from carbureted to electronic fuel injection. The Penske Engine group has already engaged with McLaren's TAG (Techniques d'Avant Garde) Group. NASCAR has provided very clear and fair rules for fuel injection which will continue to foster a competitive environment." Dodge Motorsports PR
Stefano Coletti dominates sprint raceUPDATE Jules Bianchi is has been stripped of his fourth place finish in Abu Dhabi during the feature race on Saturday. The Frenchman has been given a time penalty of twenty seconds for ignoring yellow flags, thus falling to eighth place outside the points.
Bianchi has not been left completely empty-handed however, as he will now receive a point for posting the fastest lap time within the top ten runners. Compatriot Charles Pic and Racing Engineering driver Nathanael Berthon were the other drivers to given twenty second penalties, with the pair also failing to adhere to yellow flag rules.
The penalty for Bianchi means that he is no longer four points ahead at the top of the title-race, with his advantage over Romain Grosjean being halved after the stewards’ decision.
02/12/11 GP3 Series graduate Stefano Coletti led today’s Sprint Race at Yas Marina Circuit from pole position to checkered flag. The Trident Racing driver managed to build up and maintain a gap with his closest rival all through the race and crossed the finish line a winner for the first time in GP2 Asia Series.
All twenty-six cars were on the grid for the start of the sprint race of GP2 Asia Series Round 1 in Abu Dhabi today. When the lights went off, the Monegasque driver managed a better start than his rivals and kept the lead for the entire duration of the race. Behind him, Addax’s Giedo van der Garde made a great start from P4 to P2, but he was soon handed a drive through penalty – seconds before the green light, one of his team’s mechanics crossed the grid to collect a forgotten fan left by the side of the Dutchman’s car. Behind the two leaders, Sam Bird at iSport and Josef Kral at Arden were hot their trail while Bird’s teammate Marcus Ericsson recovered from a bad start to fifth position.
No restrictor plate change for Bud ShootoutUPDATE Typically when speeds cross the 200-mph barrier at Daytona or Talladega, NASCAR goes to a different restrictor plate that causes less air flow to the engines and slows the cars down. NASCAR officials elected not to in this situation but did make a small change. Air hoses that were added to the cars this week will not be allowed. Teams have reached higher speeds by lining up in two-car breakaways in which the rear car pushes the front car. That move quickly causes the rear car to overheat after a few laps, so teams were allowed to add additional air hoses to help cool the engines. Those hoses will be removed, which NASCAR hopes will cause the rear car to back off after a couple of laps. But no one knows for sure how it will work or whether it will limit the two-car breakaway runs. Restrictor-plate changes or other rule adjustments still could come before the Daytona 500 next weekend, depending on what happens in Saturday night's race and how fast the cars go next week in practice and the qualifying races. ESPN
02/12/11 NASCAR will NOT change the restrictor plate size for tonight's Budweiser Shootout, Cup Series Director John Darby said Saturday morning but NASCAR is making a change in hopes of slowing the cars. Ten drivers hit 200 mph or more_ led by Joey Logano's lap of 203.087 _ in Friday night's practice session at Daytona International Speedway. Drivers were aided by cooler evening temperatures, a resurfaced race track and the ability to run several laps in a row stuck in a two-car track, building momentum and speed around the 2.5-mile speedway.
NASCAR’s revised substance-abuse policy warns against mixing medications NASCAR has made several changes to its substance-abuse policy, including a longer explanation of the dangers of mixing medications and specifying who is subject to tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
The policy, expanded in 2009 to include random drug testing, is outlined in the 2011 Sprint Cup Series rule book.
Most of the changes are procedural. As far as the actual drugs listed, the only adjustment is the addition of synthetic marijuana, such as K2 or Spice.
While NASCAR had in its previous policy that the mixture of medications could cause a violation, it is much more defined with the new policy.
Jay Guy Named Crew Chief for TRG No. 71 TRG Motorsports has tapped veteran NASCAR crew chief Jay Guy to sit atop its No. 71 pit box for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Guy, who begins his new assignment this weekend in Daytona, will call the race for Andy Lally, who was announced last week as the driver for TRG Motorsports’ 500 entry.
“Jay comes to us highly recommended. We’re very happy to have him on board,” said Kevin Buckler, team owner. “He’s got exactly the kind of experience we’ve been looking for to lead the team and guide Andy through his rookie season. He’ll fit in well at TRG. He’s got the same kind of passion and desire to win that our team has from top to bottom.”
Roush launches output of EV chargers Roush Manufacturing Inc. has begun manufacturing home and commercial plug-in electric-vehicle chargers for Ecotality Inc.
Livonia, Mich.-based Roush will manufacture 10,000 wall-mounted chargers for residential use and 6,000 pedestal chargers for commercial use as part of its contract with San Francisco-based Ecotality, the company said during the ribbon-cutting of a new plant on Friday housed within Roush Enterprises Inc.'s headquarters complex.
Panoz Abruzzi under revision but should still race at Sebring The Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans GT race car should be on the grid for the American Le Mans Series season opener, the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, despite a major redesign now under way.
Georgia-based Panoz Auto Development has to revise the original car after discovering that the machine’s windshield area was not of sufficient size to meet European road-homologation requirements. That requires a whole new greenhouse area for the dramatic front-engine design.
Heidfeld ensures Lotus seat with top time in Jerez As AR1.com first told you before any other sources, Nick Heidfeld certainly proved to the Lotus Renault team Saturday that he is their man to replace the injured Robert Kubica by topping the time sheets on a busy day at the southern Spain circuit.
Jules Bianchi wins GP2 Asia openerUPDATE Added photos to story below.
Jules Bianchi in his Lotus ART machine leads
Jules Bianchi scored his first GP2 Asia win today after taking the lead at the start, suffering race-long pressure from pole sitter Romain Grosjean, and in spite of a red flag. Davide Valsecchi finished third giving Team AirAsia a podium finish on their race debut.
It was an all-French front row today at Yas Marina Circuit for the first race of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series, with Grosjean ahead of Bianchi. But the Dams racer was slower to take off at the start and it was the Lotus ART man who took the lead before the first corner. Bianchi kept Grosjean at bay in the following corners while Valsecchi managed to keep P3.
Video: I've Got A Secret: AJ Foyt & Ray Harroun June 1, 1961 AJ Foyt, 1961 Indianapolis 500 Winner & Ray Harroun, winner of the inaugural race of 1911 on I've Got A Secret from June 7, 1961. Foyt had scored the first of his 4 Indy 500 victories the week before. This was the 50th anniversary race.
Pirellis will improve racing says Jenson Button Jenson Button believes the new Pirelli tires will have a significant impact on racing this season, making Sunday afternoons more exciting for both drivers and fans.
From an early stage in its testing program, Pirelli has set out to improve the show by producing soft tires that have a more noticeable performance drop off and more stable harder compounds. The degradation is aimed at mixing up strategies and forcing drivers to consider tire management in their approach to qualifying and the race.
All four compounds were available to test - two of which will be brought to each race - and Button said the differences between them should ensure exciting racing.
Ford asks NASCAR to approve Mustang for Cup 2013 The Ford Motor Co. has informed NASCAR it would like to race the Mustang in the elite Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2013. "We have declared our interest to NASCAR that we would like to see the Mustang in Cup," Jamie Allison, director of Ford's North American Motorsports program, told The Associated Press on Friday. The approval process to replace the Fusion with the iconic muscle car could take all year, and depends on the Mustang being competitively equal to the sedan models entered by rival manufacturers Dodge, General Motors and Toyota. Ford's motive is to get a car on the track that resembles one that can be purchased off a showroom floor. "We are driving to make sure that the car we race is more consistent and more in context with the cars we sell," Allison said. "They have to look like the cars we sell." Ford, which is seeking its 600th win in the Cup Series in the season-opening Daytona 500, will continue to race the Fusion this season and next. Associated Press
Green Flag Drops for NASCAR on FOX's 11th Season NASCAR on FOX begins 11th season begins at Daytona International Speedway as FOX Sports jump-starts its 11th season of coverage on Saturday, Feb. 12 with the Budweiser Shootout in prime time (8:00 pm/et) and Daytona 500 Qualifying on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 1:00 pm/et. NASCAR on FOX host Chris Myers, along with analysts Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond provide prerace coverage with up-to-the-second reports and live interviews with drivers, crew and officials shaping the day's action. Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy will be alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for reports on teams and pit stops.
Annett allowed to race at Daytona despite DWI Team owner Rusty Wallace says he believes that Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett does not have a drinking problem and made a mistake when he ran into the back of another car and recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.32, which led to him being charged with driving while impaired. Among the sanctions Wallace has imposed on his 24-year-old Rusty Wallace Racing driver is that he cannot drink alcohol at all and will not get another chance beyond the one given him following his arrest Sunday morning.
Annett will be allowed to race in the season-opening Nationwide race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR put Annett on probation Friday and will require him to be evaluated by a certified substance abuse professional at NASCAR’s discretion as well as be subject to random alcohol and drug testing.
Jerez 1PM: Alonso and Ferrari on top on Day 3UPDATE Full lap times as of 1pm local time, on the third day of the three-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain.
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 20.493s 2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 21.054s 3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m 21.242s 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m 21.574s 5. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.790s 6. Nick Heidfeld Lotus Renault GP-Renault 1m 21.849s 7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.057s 8. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus-Renault 1m 22.793s 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m 22.945s 10. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m 23.063s 11. Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m 25.471s
Earnhardt Jr. draws pole for Budweiser Shootout Two-time Budweiser Shootout winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will lead the 24-car field to the green flag in the 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Earnhardt secured the top starting position through the random selection process that took place on Thursday night at the SPEED Stage.
The starting lineup was determined at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Friday night during which the participating drivers selected a Budweiser bottle featuring a number behind the Budweiser label. The number serves as the driver’s starting position.
Earnhardt was the 14th driver to participate in the annual draw party. Earnhardt will make his 11th start in the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night and is a two-time winner having scored victories in the annual event in 2003 and 2008.
“I had several bottles to choose from still so it really was just the luck of the draw,” Earnhardt said in reference to making the decision to select the pole-winning bottle.
“The race really can be won from any position so this really doesn’t change our strategy,” Earnhardt added.
The defending winner of the Budweiser Shootout and new driver of the Budweiser car, Kevin Harvick is attempting to score his third-consecutive Budweiser Shootout victory. Harvick won the 2009 and 2010 editions of the race and will have his work cut out for him Saturday night as he starts from the 18th position.
“It’s kind of like winning the home game with the Budweiser Shootout and Budweiser being on the car,” Harvick said of his new sponsor. “The Shootout has been good to us the last couple of years so hopefully we’ll make it three.”
The 33rd annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona is scheduled for an 8:10 p.m. EST start this Saturday. FOX will provide live television coverage of the event beginning with their pre-race show that will start at 8 p.m. EST. 33rd Annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 8:10 p.m. EST
NASCAR finally announces Fuel Injection for Cup cars The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today a historic technology partnership with Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems to develop and integrate fuel injection systems into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, targeted for the 2012 season.
Freescale will provide the processors for McLaren’s engine control units (ECUs) that will be used to manage the fuel and ignition systems in the engines for all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, replacing carburetors which have been used in the series since its inception in 1949. NASCAR and its top series teams will test the technology during the 2011 season with the anticipation of the systems being rolled out for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
10 drivers hit 200 mph at Daytona Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Kyle Busch eclipsed 203 mph in the final Budweiser Shootout practice Friday night at the newly repaved Daytona International Speedway.
Michael Waltrip hit 202 mph in the 1-hour session, which was interrupted for about 10 minutes after a portion of the speedway’s lights went out. Ten drivers ran at least 200 mph.
All of the top speeds came in two-car drafts, and there was no indication from NASCAR immediately following the practice on whether it would change the size of the holes in the restrictor plates to slow the cars for Saturday night’s 75-lap exhibition race. Officials said they would continue to monitor the situation through Saturday's scheduled practice sessions for teams preparing to qualify for the Feb. 20 Daytona 500.
Logano’s top lap speed was 203.087 mph, while Busch went 203.082.
Former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds is to work with Virgin Racing in a consultancy role.
Symonds has been absent from the F1 paddock since the end of 2009 when the Renault 'crashgate' scandal became public and he was given a five-year ban, which was subsequently contested. He then came to an arrangement with the FIA in which he agreed not to work full-time in F1 until the end of the 2012 season.
Symonds has his own consultancy, Neutrino Dynamics, which is retained by one of Virgin Racing's shareholders and the team has confirmed that it is looking forward to working with one of F1's most respected engineering figures.
The Virgin chassis is designed and built by Wirth Research. Symonds worked with Nick Wirth when the latter was technical director at Benetton in the late nineties, as well as with Mark Herd, who performs a key liaison role between the Wirth Research design team and John Booth's race team at the track.
Conquest Racing to test at Texas Motor Speedway Conquest Racing will once again be giving an up and coming driver the opportunity to test her skills behind the wheel of an Indy car when Pippa Mann takes part in a one-day test at Texas Motor Speedway on February 28.
The test will be the first in an Indy car for the London born race car driver who has competed in Firestone Indy Lights the past two seasons. Mann made history in 2010 by becoming the first woman to qualify on pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy Lights Freedom 100.
Remembering Tom CarnegieUPDATE Dario Franchitti “Tom Carnegie was a legend. He was such a huge part of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first time I went to IMS I heard his iconic, booming voice and I’ll always remember his commentary of the races. He will be missed.”
Derek Daly "Tom was my mentor for a 25 year television career during and after my days as a professional race car driver. He put me on television every evening from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1983 and his encouragement started a whole new chapter of my life. He was a great storyteller who became respected for his love of the sport and his devotion to engaging the fans every time he picked up a microphone. A true legend and we will all miss him"
Dallara to build road car Dallara will be unveiling a new road car in the next year to eighteen months.
The man who designed some of the greatest supercars ever including the Lamborghini Muira and De Tomaso Pantera (partially) has built up the most successful racing car manufacturer in history, and will turn that firm’s expertise to building the ultimate road car.
Schumacher finishes Day 2 on top Michael Schumacher took over the MGP W02 car in Jerez today for the second day of this week's test program and turned the fastest lap of the day ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
Running with the Mercedes KERS operational throughout the day to continue Michael's familiarization process, the team focused on system checks with shorter runs in the early part of the day, before progressing to set-up work and tire evaluations with the medium and super soft Pirelli tire compounds over longer runs.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher helped allay fears the Mercedes W02 might be a dud, by setting the fastest time on Friday morning at the second day of testing in Jerez.
Teammate Nico Rosberg batted away questions about the car's ultimate pace on Thursday evening, after registering the ninth fastest time on the opening day of the second pre-season test. He said he would not pay any attention to the timesheets until the final test in Bahrain when the Mercedes would feature its final aerodynamic specification.
And as if to prove that testing times should not be taken too literally, Schumacher clocked the fastest time of the week in the same car Rosberg drove on Thursday. But the best news for Mercedes is that the W02 clocked up over 55 laps without any sign of a reoccurrence of the hydraulic issues that have plagued the car so far this season.
Antiquated Goodyear continues to bleed red ink Goodyear’s sales grew 14 percent for the fourth quarter of 2010 and 16 percent for the full year compared with the same periods in 2009 as segment operating earnings improved substantially for the year. Despite the improved sales, however, the Akron-based tire maker continued to lose money: $177 million for the quarter, compared with net income of $107 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, and a $216 million net loss for the year, compared with a net loss of $375 million for the full year of 2009.
“Higher raw materials costs are our most significant challenge,” said Goodyear Chairman Richard J. Kramer during a Feb. 10 conference call to discuss the company’s results. The price of natural rubber alone, Mr. Kramer said, has risen 40 percent since October 2010 to $2.50 per pound.
BRDC seeks Silverstone investment The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has announced it is hoping to attract commercial investment to drive the continuing development of Silverstone.
The BRDC owns the track, which is one year into a 17-year deal to host Formula One's British Grand Prix, and a new pit and paddock complex is nearing completion ahead of this year's F1 race.
However, the BRDC has plans to "realize the full potential of Silverstone and its 760-acre estate" and has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to attract investment for a series of new projects including hotels, a hall of fame, young driver academies and an international-standard kart track.
Denny Hamlin announced Thursday he has a deal with Nike's Michael Jordan Brand. Jordan's famous "jumpman" logo will appear on Hamlin's firesuit, gloves and shoes. "It's a big deal for myself and really NASCAR," Hamlin said during the preseason media tour at Daytona International Speedway. "The Jordan Brand has never been in NASCAR before. It is a dream come true for me. To me the Jordan Brand represents excellence in sports."
Hamlin and Jordan developed a relationship after the six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer took over as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats last year. What Hamlin didn't realize until recently was that Jordan is a motorsports fan. "He always talked to me last year about how the race went, because he watched the races," Hamlin said. "I never knew he really kept track of racing that much until I dug a little deeper and found he's had his motorcycle team since 2004. He's always been an avid motorsports fan. He just never knew the right situation to get into NASCAR, and he felt like I was the right representative for him."
Said Jordan: "Denny's confidence and passion for racing along with his determination for excellence on the track make him a valuable addition to the Jordan Brand. We look forward to working with Denny as he continues to take his success to the next level." ESPN.com
Jimmie Johnson to appear on Real Sports With another Sprint Cup championship performance in 2010, Jimmie Johnson continues to make racing history by becoming the first driver to win five consecutive titles. Named 2010 Driver of the Year, Johnson and his #48 car and crew are clearly the sport's best, though they continue to hear criticism from unsatisfied fans and press. First covered on REAL SPORTS in 2008 and then the subject of a "24/7" reality series on the network in 2010, Johnson has raised his national profile while continuing to excel. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel reconnects with Jimmie Johnson as he prepares for the start of the 2011 season at Daytona. The episode premiere's on HBO, Tuesday, February 15 at 10:00pm/et, with many re-airs, see HBO.com for full schedule of shows.
Martin Not Rushing Decision Mark Martin is set for the 2011 season back behind the wheel of the Hendrick Motorsports #5 GoDaddy.com Chevy. But beyond that, Martin's not interested in discussing his future plans. The veteran driver is concentrating on his third year with Hendrick and a run at a Sprint Cup Series championship and does not intend to look beyond the coming year at this point. "I'm not talking about 2012 until I have something to talk about," Martin said. "I'm not worried about it. I am embracing 2011. I'm more exciting than I can remember being to get back to the race track where there competitors are, where the fans are. This is the best part. I'm living the best part of my life right now." Motor Racing Network
Ron Walker: Bernie Ecclestone 'offended' over Australian GP Australian Grand Prix chief Ron Walker has warned Melbourne that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone will not hesitate to kill off their race as the debate over its future rages on.
Ecclestone and Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle have been locked in a public verbal sparring match over the Melbourne event, with Doyle questioning its value to the city and Ecclestone more recently claiming the season "doesn't need" an Australian leg.
Walker, who said he speaks to Ecclestone "almost daily", said Ecclestone had been personally offended by Doyle's comments and that he was certainly not bluffing when he said the sport could abandon Melbourne when the event's contract expires in 2014 or perhaps even sooner.
Corvette Racing's twin Compuware Corvette C6.Rs ran the fastest laps in all four sessions of the two-day American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. After Jan Magnussen turned the quickest times in the first three sessions on the historic circuit in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R, Olivier Beretta posted the fastest lap of the test in the GT class with the No. 3 Corvette C6.R in the final session.
Magnussen piloted the No. 4 Corvette C6.R to a fast lap at 2:02.260 in the Wednesday morning session, and then improved to 2:02.235 in the afternoon session and 2:02.197 on Thursday morning. Beretta turned a 2:02.186 in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R in the final minutes of Thursday's rain-shortened afternoon session. That lap set the performance standard among the 16 entries in the GT class for the only official test before the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 19.
Schmidt to run Howard, Clauson and Daly Sam Schmidt said he has an agreement to run Jay Howard at Indy in May, although the program could be farmed out to Rahal Letterman Racing.
Schmidt also expects to field Bell in the Las Vegas race, plus three full-season Indy Lights cars and a car to be shared by U.S. Auto Club champion Bryan Clauson (ovals) and Star Mazda champion Conor Daly (road/street circuits).
Cunningham picks 4 races over Indy 500 Sam Schmidt is anticipating that former Firestone Indy Lights champion Wade Cunningham will make his Izod IndyCar Series debut this season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
Assuming final details are worked out, Cunningham will compete in four races.
"I'd call it 'locked and loaded,' " Schmidt said Thursday of the deal. "We're pretty close."
Greg Biffle, Roush close to new deal Greg Biffle said Thursday that he and primary sponsor 3M are close to reaching an extension with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle and teammate Carl Edwards are in the final year of their contracts with Roush Fenway. Biffle said negotiations on his deal are to the point that they could be concluded before the end of the first quarter of the season, or perhaps by the break that occurs after the third Cup race. Biffle would not reveal the length of the deal, but said he expects it to be in the two- to three-year range as most recent contracts are. He added that the value of the deal, because of economic conditions, will be "significantly" less than his last contract signed in 2008. "It'll be a big adjustment for a lot of people," said Biffle, one of eight Sprint Cup drivers who will be a free agent after this season. "Lots of us had some pretty rich deals in the heyday. It's going to get a reset." As an example, Biffle said that if sponsor dollars are down 40%, "that's got to come from somewhere." He added, though, that the 3M portion of the deal will surprise people, a suggestion that the length of the contract could be for more than three years. ESPN
Dreyer & Reinbold expanding racing operations Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is investing roughly $1.2 million to expand its Carmel headquarters by 12,000 square feet, the company says.
The addition to the existing 30,000-square-foot facility on West 99th Street near Michigan Road will house a new machine shop outfitted with high-tech milling machines manufactured by Hurco Cos.
Indianapolis-based Hurco is expected to sign on as one of the team’s sponsors for the 2011 IndyCar racing season that begins March 27 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Sixteen races are on the schedule, including the flagship Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
McLaren extends ExxonMobil partnership Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has confirmed a five-year extension to its agreement with oil and gas company ExxonMobil. The pair will be entering a 17th year as partners in the sport, with McLaren set to benefit further from ExxonMobil’s world-leading synthetic motor oil, as well continued support at Grand Prix events from the American-based company.
"Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and ExxonMobil are at the cutting edge of automotive technology," Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said after the renewal was announced. "Along with the other products used in our racing cars, Mobil 1 fully synthetic motor oil and lubricant technology help us meet the challenges of the race, weekend after weekend, enabling us to maximize our performance each and every time.
Johnson picked to win it all again After witnessing the NASCAR media pick four other drivers to win the past five Sprint Cup Series titles, defending champion Jimmie Johnson is the media’s overwhelming pick for this year’s Cup.
“I just hope they’re right,” the five-time defending champion said. “They’ve gotten it wrong a few times in the past, gone out on a limb.”
Kevin Harvick was picked to finish second, followed by Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, two-time champion Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, former champion Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer. Drivers earned points for being picked to finish among the top 10.
The 125 NASCARMedia.com voters predicted that Jamie McMurray and former champion Matt Kenseth will earn their way into the 10-race Chase for the Championship field. In yet another change to the format, the two winningest drivers not among the top 10 in points after Round 26 (at Richmond, Va., in September) will join the top 10 drivers in the Chase.
NASCAR excludes Trevor Bayne from rookie of the year award Trevor Bayne when he was told on Thursday morning that he is ineligible for this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year award.
“Nobody’s told me that,” he said, clearly caught by surprise. “I knew they were talking about it and trying to work something out, but I don’t know that anything had been decided. As of yesterday, nobody knew what was going on. Maybe they made the call in the last 30 or 40 minutes.”
He wasn’t far off. Only moments earlier, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed the decision that Bayne cannot run for the rookie honor this season. Tharp explained that since Bayne will race for the Nationwide Series title, he can’t earn Cup driver points in his 18 starts with Wood Brothers Racing. And if he can’t earn driver points, Tharp said, he can’t be rookie of the year.
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