Orlando Sentinel calls Daytona 500 "Great American Disgrace" Daytona Beach does have its own newspaper, but it is more like a small town publication. I cant recall the last time I read anything negative about NASCAR, even when certainly deserved. However, most of the major media in the market originates out of Orlando, which is about 40 minutes down I4. Orlando also sees a lot of business from the Daytona events, as Orlando has a lot nicer hotels and other diversions to enjoy.
Unlike much of the media, and especially the motorsports media, the Orlando Sentinel has always been quite fearless when it comes to singing the truth about one of the biggest economic (and political) forces and families in Central Florida.
Mike Bianchi, the Orlando Sentinel sports columnist, is not shy about praise for NASCAR, maybe even optimistically. But this morning's Orlando Sentinel, he let them have it, and called the race the "Great American Disgrace" Check out the article here.
DIS president apologizes for another NASCAR black eye Ed Note: We were discussing the very same thing. You have never seen the Indy500 stopped for a pothole, and they are up north and have to contend with frost heaving and all kinds of other challenges. They haven't repaved that place forever. We are glad to see them be humble about it and take all the blame...well...who else would you blame? But to say it publicly is good to see. Now they need to make sure it never happens again.
Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig apologized for a hole developing in the track that resulted in two delays for a total of 2 hours, 25 minutes Sunday during the Daytona 500.
Track workers failed in their first attempt to patch the hole – 9 inches wide by 15 inches long by 2 inches deep – after the race was stopped and had to try at least two other materials during a delay of 1 hour, 40 minutes on lap 123. The hole got twice as big and the race was stopped again at lap 162 for another 45 minutes. DIS used putty to fill the hole enough to run the remainder of the event. The hole was in the racing groove between turns 1 and 2.
“We’re the world center of racing,” Braig said. “This is the Daytona 500. This is not supposed to happen. … I apologize for it.
“This is hallowed ground. We understand that. We accept the responsibility.”
With none of the teams having pulled a 'Brawn' so far in pre-season testing, Fernando Alonso reckons we'll have to wait until Bahrain to see who's on top.
Ferrari dominated the opening test at Valencia with Felipe Massa and Alonso setting the pace on all three days while at Jerez four different teams; Mercedes GP, Sauber, Toro Rosso and McLaren; each had a day where they finished on top.
But with the cars carrying anything from 160kgs of fuel to nothing but fumes, there is no way of knowing how much fuel each driver was carrying at the time.
All IndyCar concept car proposalsUPDATE #3 With today's announcement by Lola whereby they finally showed renderings and details of their proposed IndyCar concept car (See home page article) they have made a huge jump from last place to 2nd place in our poll. Seems fans think having a common chassis for both series is a great idea.
IRL hires new PR firm The Indy Racing League has hired a Chicago-based public relations firm. GolinHarris will promote the IRL by focusing on media outlets that usually do not cover the open wheel circuit. The IRL plans to keep its own public relations team, despite hiring the Chicago firm.
IRL officials have confirmed that several agencies had been seeking the deal.
Sports Business Journal reports IndyCar and its title sponsor Izod decided to go with GolinHarris after returning from the Super Bowl in Miami.
NASCAR.com sets new records NASCAR.COM hit the track this weekend at full speed delivering record traffic for its online coverage of the Gatorade Duel and Daytona 500. On Sunday, NASCAR.COM had the highest number of daily unique visitors and video streams ever for a Daytona race day with 1.5 million unique visitors and over 807K video streams, according to Omniture. The storylines on and off the track included the climatic finish to the ‘Great American Race’ between Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr on Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the debut on Saturday of heralded rookie Danica Patrick in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. RaceBuddy in partnership with SPEED and presented by Gillette, was also made available for the first time for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.
We noticed that someone pointed out that the figure on top of the Daytona 500 trophy looks a lot like the Delta wing car, and absolutely nothing like a stock car. Isn't that enough to take a pass on that design?
Motorsports on ESPN this week The NASCAR Nationwide Series races for 300 miles Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and ESPN2 will have a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the second event of the 2010 season. ESPN2 is the home of the series, with select races airing on ESPN and ABC.
NASCAR Countdown airs Saturday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m. ET. The race telecast starts at 5:30 p.m. with the green flag at 5:46 p.m. Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN2’s race coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN pit studio, with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a team owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Evernham, Craven, Smith on NASCAR Now Roundtable
NASCAR on ESPN analysts Ray Evernham and Ricky Craven and NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith will be panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
Mike Massaro hosts half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now airing Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. Massaro also hosts the one-hour weekend edition that airs Sunday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Nicole Briscoe and Angelique Chengelis will report from the speedway. .
NASCAR Now is hosted by Massaro, Bestwick and Manske and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include reporters Marty Smith, Shannon Spake and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. The NASCAR on ESPN team event coverage team of Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Marty Reid, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, and Vince Welch also make frequent contributions to NASCAR Now.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in Phoenix
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series races this weekend in the Lucas Slick Mist NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, and ESPN2 will air highlights of qualifying and eliminations. Qualifying action airs Sunday, Feb. 21, at 2 a.m. ET, and coverage of eliminations airs later that day at 7 p.m.
NHRA’s annual duel in the desert has been a Southwest fixture since 1985, when it joined the tour in a late fall slot. Since 1990, it has been the second stop on the tour’s westward march and a place for teams to redeem mistakes made at the opener. Charlie Allen, a former Funny Car racer, constructed a track that makes people forget it sits at 1,100 feet above sea level. The facility is also known for its annual preseason tests and Tony Schumacher’s historic 330-mph quarter-mile blast in 1999.
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
ESPN Classic Revs Up with Classic Riverside, North Wilkesboro Races
Two of the great NASCAR racetracks of the past will be featured on ESPN Classic this week as highlights of races held at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway and North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway air from the archives.
The famed Southern California road course held NASCAR races for nearly 30 years before being shuttered following the 1988 Budweiser 400. Highlights from that race, won by future ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace, air Monday, Feb. 22, at noon ET.
One of NASCAR’s original tracks, the 5/8-mile North Wilkesboro track produced classic short track racing until it was closed in the late 1990s. Fans can go back in time with highlights of the 1986 First Union 400 on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 1 a.m.
ESPN Classic also airs an episode of its signature series SportsCentury featuring Richard Petty on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 8 a.m
REBELLION Racing are proud to announce the full driver lineup for the #13 Lola- Rebellion LMP1 in the forthcoming 78th edition of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. The 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours winner will reinforce the REBELLION Racing squad. Guy Smith will drive the #13 Lola-Rebellion alongside Andrea Belicchi and Jean- Christophe Boullion during the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours race.
REBELLION Racing now has a hugely talented and highly experienced trio aboard the #13 Lola-Rebellion LMP1 car. With their new recruit the Swiss team is, once again, demonstrating its ambition for success at Le Mans. Guy will also join Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion during the 8 Hours of Paul Ricard, the opening round of the 2010 Le Mans Series from 9 to 11 April, in order to maximize the #13 squad’s competitiveness in this long distance race and to be better prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Kimi crashes out of Swedish RallyUPDATE Kimi stuffs it into a snow bank...
Kimi Räikkönen remains upbeat after competing in his first World Rally Championship event at the weekend. The 2007 Champion switched from Formula 1 with Ferrari to the Red Bull Junior Team for 2010, finishing 30th overall in Sweden.
Having started off in the top ten on Thursday's opening super special stage, Finn Räikkönen continued to set impressive times but eventually finished over half an hour down on winner Mirko Hirvonen's Ford after leaving the road and becoming grounded on a snow bank on Friday. Kimi, however, remains positive.
Nelson Panciatici has signed for the Lotus Racing Junior outfit for his first season in the World Series by Renault Formula 3.5 this year.
The 21-year-old French driver, who finished as runner-up in the Spanish F3 in 2008 and competed in GP2 and the Superleague Formula last season, appeared together with the outfit at the launch of Lotus Racing, which will make its highly-anticipated return to the Formula One grid this season, at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on Friday afternoon.
The Lotus Racing Junior outfit, formerly known as MOFAZ Racing, will enjoy close links with the F1 squad, something Nelson admits was a huge attraction in joining the team.
Hole in asphalt halts 500 twiceUPDATE Greg Biffle hit it on three consecutive laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scraped his car across it several times. Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and others blamed it for damage.
The hole between turns 1 and 2 took center stage at NASCAR's marquee event, marring an otherwise spectacular Daytona 500 and prompting officials to apologize for more than two hours of delays that had some fans heading home.
The stoppages came at a critical time for NASCAR, which began this season by making several on-track changes designed to boost sagging TV ratings.
"This is not supposed to happen," track president Robin Braig said. "But we can come back from this. We know how to fix it. ... We know how to do it right. I apologize for it. This is hallowed ground. We understand that. We accept the responsibility."
Whether the hole damaged the sport's credibility will play out over the next few weeks and months. Drivers, crew chiefs and owners said the frantic finish - with Jamie McMurray holding off Earnhardt on the final lap - certainly helped overcome the two delays that totaled 2 hours, 24 minutes.
02/14/10 A hole approximately 3 feet long had developed in the lower groove of Turn 2 at Daytona International Speedway, forcing NASCAR officials to halt the Daytona 500 twice Sunday. The track is in dire need of resurfacing and this should ensure it happens now.
Officials initially stopped the race with 78 laps remaining in the 200-lap opener. Cars parked on pit road for about 30 minutes, then NASCAR allowed drivers to get out of their cockpits for a break. Track workers patched the hole, which was about 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, using blowtorches to heat the pavement.
It didn't last, though as they had to stop the race a 2nd time and this time they fixed it with fast setting concrete.
Rahal Letterman Racing LLC v. Ceallaigh Group LLC Rahal Letterman Racing filed a lawsuit ob February 2nd in Ohio Southern District Federal Court against the Ceallaigh Group and DAFCA claiming they paid only $90,000 of the $200,000 owed for putting their logo on a car and team clothing in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 for a car driven by Oriol Servia.
Dixon, Force Win Winternationals After failing to qualify for last year’s NHRA Winternationals, Larry Dixon stormed back this season to win the 50th annual Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
The Toyota-sponsored Dixon had the fastest pass in each of the four elimination runs today, eventually edging out Doug Kalitta in the final for his fourth career Winternationals title.
Earlier in the event, Dixon eliminated Tony Schumacher in the most exciting run of the day in a virtual dead-heat in the semi-finals.
John Force broke the longest dry spell of his historic career opening the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season with an emotional victory at the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals. Force was the model of consistency on race day defeating veteran Bob Bode, daughter Ashley Force Hood, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps with an average elapsed time of 4.123.
Dale Jr. seeks woman to make babies Dale Jr just said in an interview before the Daytona 500 on Fox, when asked about a family and other life beyond racing, that basically he is looking for a Baby Mamma. He said he thinks having a child or a son is the biggest thing you can accomplish in your life, but it’s the marriage part he can't handle. He said he is not sure the public would be ready to have a Dale Jr as a dad and not a husband.
No kidding, as that flies in the face of the NASCAR 'lily-white bible belt' image.
Tonight on SPEED Report 7PM ET Featuring: Studio Hosts: Bob Varsha, Adam Alexander NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Reporter: Bob Dillner NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Reporter: Ray Dunlap Monster Energy AMA Supercross Reporter: Erin Bates Open Wheel Analyst: Robin Miller
The Report returns tonight; February, 14th at 7pm ET
Lynda Petty diagnosed with CNS LymphomaUPDATE Richard Petty updated his wife Lynda's condition on Sunday, saying doctors are confident she can defeat cancer. Lynda Petty is being treated at Duke University Medical Center for central nervous system lymphoma, a form of brain cancer. "She's already had a couple of treatments and she went through them real good," Petty said. "Yesterday she looked at me and said, 'Get up and get out of here and get on to Daytona.' So I know she's doing pretty good. They [her doctors] feel like they can completely wipe the cancer out." Petty, who shares the Sprint Cup record of seven championships along with Dale Earnhardt Sr., is the co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty said he hasn't been involved with the team much since Lynda became ill. RPM merged with Yates Racing last month. "Since November I've spent a lot of time with Lynda Gale," Petty said. "After more than 50 years together, I thought that's what I needed to do. I've still been involved in all major decisions [at RPM]. But some of the PR stuff I put on the back burner. She is more important than racing right now." Petty said his wife started showing systems of vision problems a year ago, but it took doctors a long time to diagnose the problem. "It took until December for them to really understand the problem and the way to treat it. They have operated on both her eyes to make sure they are in good shape when the cancer goes away." Petty said he's thankful for all the interest and support his family has received from fans and friends. "Just keep us in your prayers," he said. "We've been real fortunate. We appreciate everybody thinking about her."(ESPN)
02/04/10 Richard Petty's wife, Lynda, has been diagnosed with CNS (Central Nervous System) Lymphoma. Mrs. Petty will be treated at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center.
"We are thankful for the medical team at Duke. My wife Lynda is in good hands," Richard Petty said Thursday in a team statement. "The doctors and our family are very optimistic that the treatment for this cancer will be successful."
The Petty family appreciates the support from family, friends, and fans as well as the continued respect for their privacy during this time.
A lesser known rookie in the stock car media frenzy this weekend, but far more deserving of the attention...Nelson Piquet had a strong NASCAR Truck Series debut in the season opening event at Daytona, finishing sixth in an incident-packed event from a 22nd starting position.
Piquet, who drove the #1 Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing, survived a number of incidents during the race, had worked his way into second place, finally settling into 6th at the finish.
"It was an amazing feeling," said an excited Piquet following the race. "I'm just so happy to be able to finish the race and staying out of trouble, sort of - I had my touches and bumps here and there, but I managed to keep the truck in my hands. It was really tough.
A: I was up high and the cars came together in front of me and I held my line and slowed down and they went from crashing in front of me to sliding down the track so I missed it. In that incident on the front straight I did the same thing. I could see something happening I don’t remember what car it was, some car got sideways, and I slowed down in the middle of 4 because I saw it, I thought we were all under control again and then all of a sudden you see smoke. I literally couldn’t see a thing. That’s the problem. If we could figure out how to make the tires have no smoke there’s be a lot less crashed race cars but that’s the inevitable. So it’s also a product of racing so close together you don’t give yourself any gaps to take some open space or see anything. I was caught up in an accident like so many other people get in these big speedways.
Recall won't slow Toyota's NASCAR involvement A Toyota executive said customer service is the priority for the world's No. 1 automaker during its ongoing recall problems, and the company is undergoing a top-to-bottom review of its quality control.
"We have a singular focus today -- taking care of the customers on an individual basis. That's everything that we are doing," Toyota group vice president Bob Carter said Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. "Quite frankly, nothing else is important."
Carter was in Florida for today's season-opening Daytona 500, where Toyota has 13 Camrys qualified for the 43-car field.
Carter said Toyota's participation in NASCAR will not be affected by the recall, no matter the financial hit the automaker takes. The company views NASCAR as a valuable marketing tool, particularly at a time it needs to regain consumer confidence.
Burton hits 195 mph in final practice Jeff Burton was at the top of the speed charts and teammate Kevin Harvick was next Saturday after the final practice for today's Daytona 500.
Burton posted a fast lap of 195.194 mph. Fellow Richard Childress Racing driver Harvick was second, followed by a pair of cars prepared by Michael Waltrip's team -- Marcos Ambrose and David Reutimann -- and defending race winner Matt Kenseth.
Mercedes Grand Prix team principal Ross Brawn is positive about the team's work in Jerez. The Briton looks back at a difficult week weather-wise but was pleased with the team's progress and believes the team will be fully prepared for the first race in four weeks time. Commenting on the team's F1 test in Jerez last week Ross Brawn said: "It's been a difficult week weather-wise for all of the teams out in Jerez however we have achieved a significant amount of mileage in both the wet and dry conditions and completed some important test items on our pre-season testing program.
"This week has enabled us to increase our understanding of both the car and the tires and our focus for the final two tests will be to continue to develop the performance of the MGP W01 and ensure the team and our drivers are fully prepared for the first race."
Recession? Americans still love gas guzzlers The biggest and costliest Cadillac SUV isn't exactly the kind of vehicle that you'd think would be in short supply. But General Motors officials say, to their surprise, that they need more Escalade Platinums.
GM sold 1,237 Escalades overall, including the super-premium edition, in January, Autodata reports. That makes the 'Slade the third most popular luxury SUV, a shrinking category as crossovers become more popular. The Platinums are even more exclusive:
The fancy version of the hulking SUV starts at $81,625 and are packed with every amenity that GM can get on board. Everything about the vehicle should be wrong for the time -- the weak economy, focus on global warming and general disregard for bling. Like, when is the last time you heard anyone even talk about bling?
Campos designer Dallara's F1 project 'slowed down' (GMM) Dallara owner and boss Gian Paolo Dallara has confirmed the Italian constructor is pushing ahead with its F1 plans for 2010.
The Parma based outfit, famous for its F3 chassis as well as for its involvement in the IndyCar, GP2 and other junior series, was commissioned by the new Spanish entrant Campos to pen its 2010 car.
Campos' other problems, however, have been well documented, amid rumors Dallara is growing impatient with the wait for invoices to be paid and is now beginning talks with Stefan GP and perhaps also USF1.
Referring to the Campos project, Dallara said: "I can say with pride that we have done a good job in design and development, all safety (crash) tests have been passed and production has gone ahead.
"Unfortunately, factors outside our control are slowing the process down, but I am confident that we can find solutions so that our work is not lost," the 73-year-old added.
Again many kilometers for the F10 on the fourth day of testing at the Circuito Permanente de Velocidad" in Jerez in Andalusia. After a start on wet tarmac already in the late morning the situation improved and the ten drivers present at the track could finally use the slicks. Today it was again Felipe Massa behind the wheel to push ahead the F10’s development.
The Brazilian driver from the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro started working on the car’s behavior on the wet, followed by an endurance test on the dry, which was positively concluded before the lunch break. In the afternoon Felipe dedicated himself to comparing the three different types of slicks the teams have at their disposal here in Jerez. In the end Felipe drove 160 laps, the fastest in a time of 1.21.485, the seventh fastest time of the day, almost two seconds slower than the 1.19.684 driven by McLaren’s Hamilton, although it’s questionable how valid these lap times here at the tests are.
After rain yesterday, Lewis Hamilton set fast time on Saturday in the dry
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton languished at the bottom of the time sheets for the majority of winter F1 testing at Jerez, but at the end of the final day the McLaren team drained the fuel tank and he went out and put in a series of fast laps to finish at 1m19.583s.
Up until that time Jamie Alguersuari's 1m19.919s Friday morning stood as the best time of the test.
Weather has played a part is this test, but in only 4 days testing resumes at Jerez on Wednesday.
Nemechek picks up another 1-race sponsor NEMCO Motorsports today signed a co-primary sponsor for driver Joe Nemechek in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. England Stove Works, Inc. of Monroe, Va. will adorn the hood of Nemechek's No. 87 Camry.
“It’s neat to have people wanting to help and to be able to turn around and help their industry by putting their name on our car for the 500,” Nemechek said. “Ron England, with England Stove Works, actually overheard me talking to some fans about looking for sponsorship and he came up to me at the track and said he wanted to help. It’s really great to find people with small companies who want to get involved.”
Kansas Speedway gets final approval and license for casino International Speedway Corp. got its gambling license Friday, the final step toward building a casino on the grounds of Kansas Speedway. Getting the permit was the final hurdle for the project, approved in principle in December and being built in conjunction with Penn National Gaming.
As part of its casino proposal, track owner International Speedway Corp. said it will ask NASCAR to move a second Cup date to Kansas for 2011. NASCAR approval for the addition of a second Cup race is considered highly likely because the France family operates NASCAR and also owns a majority of voting stock in ISC.
“The casino is just a starting point of all the good things to come as we fulfill our commitment to seek a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, build a road course and host a Grand-Am race and allocate 1 percent of the casino’s revenue in support of the various organizations that make up the fabric of our community,” ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy said.
NASCAR returns to DirecTV NASCAR HotPass is available only on DIRECTV and it's now free to all DIRECTV customers. Experience every turn, every lap, every checkered flag of the Sprint Cup Series. With four dedicated driver channels all available in HD NASCAR HotPass puts you right in the middle of the action, from the driver's seat to under the hood. More info at directv.com
Voting begins to again pick Earnhardt With Speedweeks officially under way, voting is now open for the 2010 NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award. Once again, the competition will include a 10-week playoff at season's end, with the top 10 vote-getters vying for the final prize. Fans can visit www.HelpersMostPopularDriver.com and vote once a day for their favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. Following the race event at Richmond International Raceway, voting for the full field of 41 drivers will end on September 11 at 11:59pm/ct. At that point, the 10 drivers with the most votes will be announced as finalists and the vote count will reset to zero. Fans will then have 10 race weeks to cast their vote once a day to determine the 2010 NASCAR NMPA Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver winner from the final field of 10 drivers. Voting will conclude November 22 at 11:59 pm/ct and the winner will be announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon in December. New title sponsor Hamburger Helper is eager to get involved with this fan-favorite activity.
Petty to lead field on Sunday for Daytona 500 Richard Petty will find himself in a very familiar place on Sunday afternoon, leading the field in the Daytona 500. Petty, who holds the NASCAR record with seven Daytona 500 victories, has accepted the role as "Pace Car Driver" for the 52nd running of "The Great American Race," and will pace all 43 cars to the green flag behind the wheel of a special edition 2011 Mustang GT, powered by Ford's all-new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Petty is back as a member of the Ford Racing family after Richard Petty Motorsports merged with Yates Racing during the recently concluded off-season. "The King" previously drove for the blue oval in 1969 and won nine races that season in a Ford Torino. Ironically, the last and only other time Ford served as pace car for the Daytona 500 was one year later when a Ford Torino GT convertible started the 1970 event. In addition to the special paint, this year's Mustang pace car features a Brembo brake package, Ford Racing suspension, strut tower brace and mufflers, unique 19-inch painted wheels, and summer-only tires. The actual car that Petty will drive recently was sold for $300,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., with all proceeds above the MSRP being donated to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. DIS PR
Barrichello leads morning times at a drying Jerez It's been yet another morning of mixed conditions in Jerez at the final day of this week's test, with a wet track slowly turning dry as the day progressed. Only in the last hour have teams been able to venture on-track with slick tires, having spent the majority of the morning on wet-weather tires with rain from last night and this morning resulting in a damp start to the day.
By 12.50 local time, Williams' Rubens Barrichello had set the quickest time of the morning, a 1m22.319s just over 30 minutes prior (In the early afternoon Michael Schumacher is now the fastest at 1m20.613s), followed closely by Felipe Massa on a 1m22.641s. Massa had been the first to venture out on slicks just over an hour ago, and has thus far completed an impressive 94 laps before stopping on-track at 12.50 bringing out the second red flag of the day after a long-distance run.
The first red flag period was caused by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel at 10.00 when he stopped out on-track. At the time of Massa's stoppage, disruption to other teams was minimal given that most were having their lunch break in preparation for the afternoon.
In the Virgin camp, Lucas Di Grassi has only recently taken to the track for the first time today, as the new team's woes continue, completing just a single installation lap.
Gordon to run for BAM Racing BAM Racing on Wednesday announced Robby Gordon as driver of the #7 Warner Music Nashville Toyota for the following races: Auto Club Speedway on Feb. 21; Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7; Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21. "We are thrilled to be associated with such a talented driver as Robby Gordon," BAM owner Beth Ann Morgenthau said. "After Daytona, BAM Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports will jointly field the #7 at select races. While Tony and I will miss our beloved #49, it will be good for our sponsor, Warner Music Nashville, to have a car that is guaranteed a starting position in the first five races." After evaluating the joint venture between BAM Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports which was announced earlier this year, it was decided to consolidate the effort by running one car with Robby Gordon as the driver of the joint BAM/RGM entries. Morgenthau also announced an association with Wounded Warrior Family Support, an organization that helps families by providing them with vacations and retreats at no cost. Warner Music Nashville stars -- Larry the Cable Guy, Blake Shelton, Gloriana, Whitney Duncan, Jessica Harp, James Otto, Jason Jones, and others yet to be named -- will be featured on the #7 BAM/RGM Toyota and in the BAM Racing/Warner Music Nashville VIP Fan Experience during the 2010 Sprint Cup Season. The VIP Fan Experience allows fans unprecedented access to Warner Music Nashville recording artists and the Sprint Cup Race Team. NASCAR.com/BAM
New FIA president visits Singapore to check progress Jean Todt was elected president of the FIA - the world governing body for motor sports - in October 2009. He is now making his rounds visiting various affiliate clubs, and was in Singapore to meet officials from the Singapore Motor Sports Association.
The 63-year-old Frenchman started his South East Asia tour with a one-day stop-over in Singapore to discuss the progress of the sport here.
Singapore has made huge strides in motor sports, including staging the F1. And Mr. Todt said that the return of Michael Schumacher will have a big impact.
Rahal and other drivers talk about DanicaUPDATE Look at this feature on SportsIllustrated.com where the other drivers talk about Danica. Many of them don't have many complimentary things to say either. We especially love Tony Stewart's comment: ""I can't believe I'm getting interviewed today. She must have finished early." 02/13/10
We like the guts the Orlando Sentinel has always shown in accurately reporting on the NASCAR world. They have even published stories that had them banned from the speedway in the interest of the true story and journalistic integrity. So we were not really surprised to see this non-complimentary interview that was published today.
Anyone who has not had their head in the sand (or snow) knows that Danica Patrick was brought up through the open wheel ranks by Bobby Rahal and the Rahal-Letterman Racing team. She led the race her first IndyCar season, and won Rookie of the Year with the Rahal-Letterman team.
Dixon Sets Fast Time At Pomona, Lucas Second on Friday Toyota-sponsored drivers ran first and second in Friday’s NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel qualifying as Larry Dixon and Morgan Lucas ran the two fastest times on Friday with Dixon taking over the provisional top spot in qualifying for the 50th annual Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Dixon, who failed to qualify for last year’s Winternationals, ran a 3.795 at 317.95 mph, while Lucas had a 3.823-second run at a career-best 316.90 mph to move up to third in provisional qualifying. Dixon earned three bonus points for his effort, with Lucas registering his first two points of the season.
Michael Schumacher joined the Mercedes GP team in Jerez for the second day of this week's four-day test. After Wednesday’s downpours, the weather stayed dry throughout the day enabling the team to complete a comprehensive test program with the MGP W01 car.
Michael spent the morning evaluating the different tire compounds provided by Bridgestone alongside some chassis set-up work, before working through a race simulation program in the afternoon. Michael completed 124 laps making the most of the available dry track time.
"I am very happy with how the day went today even if we could not finish our schedule completely due to red flags. However I managed to complete a lot of laps which is very precious to me. A new car, a new team and new conditions, therefore our first goal has to be to make the car reliable. Days like today help massively in that respect, especially as the weather forecast for the next few days isn't looking quite so rosy. I felt very comfortable driving the car and it was good fun today."
Nico Rosberg will be back in the car today for the third day of the test.
TV ratings up for Daytona qualifying races Coming off record Nielsen Household Ratings earlier in the week for coverage of the ARCA Racing Series opener and the Bud Shootout edition of NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED scored another ratings increase with Thursday’s live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. The twin qualifiers for Sunday’s Daytona 500 earned a 1.99 (1,495,000), up seven percent from last year’s 1.86 (1,363,000 households). Coverage peaked at a 2.56 (1,926,000 households), up 11 percent from last year’s peak of 2.31 (1,691,000).
“This is a great way to get the 2010 NASCAR season rolling,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “The racing yesterday afternoon was awesome … it was a blast to televise.”
Camping World Truck Series race rained out The Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 has been rained out, and postponed to 6:30 PM EST Saturday and televised on SPEED with Jason White and Elliott Sadler on the front row.
Nationwide qualifying rained out -starting grid set NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying was rained out. In fact, it was also so chilly that one would not be surprised to see snow coming down, just like it did for the Roar Before the 24.
Instead of using practice times from the last practice like most series do, NASCAR uses a combination of owner's (car) points and a random draw to determine the grid. Since JR Motorsports purchased another team, the points from the purchased team transfer to JR Motorsports and Danica Patrick's car. She will start 15th. This puts her right in the middle of everything, in a field that has many of the Sprint Cup top drivers around her. If she makes ground in this field, she will have earned it.
Kyle Busch, the Nationwide champion, and Carl Edwards will start on the front row at 1:15 p.m.
Cosworth back on track Cosworth has continued pre-season preparations with two of its customer teams in action at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain this week. Unusually inclement weather conditions have prevented teams from carrying out much dry-weather running during the week so far with just one day of testing remaining on Saturday.
Nonetheless, the AT&T Williams team took to the track for their second pre-season session with the all-new Cosworth CA2010-powered FW32, while the fledgling Virgin Racing team joined them to become the first of the new teams to join an official test.
Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello have shared testing duties for AT&T Williams this week while Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi have been on hand to test the Virgin-Cosworth VR-01.
Jerez Test - Day 3 Date Friday 12 February Track Circuito de Jerez Driver Nico Rosberg
No of Laps 53 laps Best Lap Time 01:22.820 Kilometers Covered 234 km Track Length 4.428 km
Weather Dry start then cold and wet Ambient Temperature Maximum 8°C Track Temperature Maximum 11°C
Nico Rosberg was back at the wheel of the MGP W01 car in Jerez today for the third day of this week's test session although the rain returned to southern Spain to once again interrupt the track activity.
Nico had just one short run on the dry track early this morning before the rain began to fall pretty much continuously throughout the day. Adapting the test program for the wet conditions, Nico evaluated the intermediate and wet Bridgestone Potenza tires, alongside with race simulation exercises.
Lotus unveils new F1 car Lotus launched their new challenger for the F1 World Championship in London on Friday.
New team Lotus' formula one car for the 2010 season is called the T127.
Colored deep green with yellow trim in recollection of the famous British name's evocative history, the Malaysian-owned team launched the car in London on Friday evening.
With USF1 and Campos yet to unveil their cars, the mere presentation of the T127, shakedown debuted at Silverstone earlier this week, is a feat in itself, given that Lotus was the last outfit to be granted an entry for 2010.
"I'd just love to finish every race," the Malaysian-owned team's boss Tony Fernandes said.
Tissot continues NASCAR sponsorship Tissot, the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR, will continue to recognize Sprint Cup pit crews in 2010 with the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award.
The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award will be presented in each of the 36 Cup races to the team whose car spends the least amount of time on pit road and finishes on the lead lap.
The winning pit crew in each race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.
The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award is coming off a competitive 2009 season which saw 18 different teams claim the weekly competition. The championship went to Greg Biffle’s No.16 3M pit crew, which won a season-high of six times.
“We look forward to another exciting season with the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award,” said Sharon Buntain, President, Tissot U.S. “With 18 different winners last year and the championship going down to the final race of the season, the pit crew competition was a huge success.”
"The world of motorsports and the world of watchmaking champion the same values, which include cutting edge design, precision and innovation," added Buntain. “Tissot has been recognized as an innovator in the watch world since 1853. We are in admiration of the teamwork that goes into a NASCAR performance, and this award is a symbolic way for Tissot to reward NASCAR teams for their precision and timely performances.”
Tissot has been an official partner of NASCAR since 2006 and is the official timekeeper for a number of other sports, including the MotoGP World Championship, the Ice Hockey World Championship, the Cycling World Championship and the Fencing World Championship.
NOTES FROM THE NASCAR NATION: IT'S TAIL GATE PARTY TIME AGAIN By Dave Grayson
The Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR's official tail gate party, roars into its 11th season this Friday night at the Daytona International Raceway with the running of the NextEra Energy Resources 250. The first of 25 races for the 2010 season will feature some rather interesting rule changes, the return of some highly motivated series' veterans and champions along with some optimistic new comers.
THE STORY BREAKDOWN
Adding to the already growing level of anticipation to Friday night's race is the fact that the series will officially debut the implementation of NASCAR's double file-shoot out style-restart policy. Considered by many fans as being one of NASCAR's better ideas in recent years, the two by two return to green flag racing is guaranteed to bring the fans to their feet during this race.
Danica Mania in NASCAR...why not in IndyCar? The Indianapolis Business Journal published an editorial piece today. Take a look at it here. It asks why there is such a huge media wave in the stock car world around the Danica Patrick presence, and why the same thing did not really happen for IndyCar.
Well, there was a Danica wave in IndyCar that was scaled to their size of media exposure, and it faded over time. She has been there several years now, with only 1 win that came from some lucky fuel strategy.
But beyond this, I think there are a couple of reasons for the huge difference in Danica Mania, and they are fairly simple.
When Max Papis arrived in Daytona for NASCAR Speedweeks, he was, for all intents and purposes, a rookie at Daytona International Speedway. While the 2004 Grand-Am Series Champion has recorded two wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, he had not turned even a single lap in a stock car prior to his arrival last week; strange considering Papis’s storied career and success at Daytona in other disciplines of racing.
After posting a qualifying speed that left the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the 40th position after Pole qualifying, Papis and the GEICO team would need to race their way into the Daytona 500. The Gatorade Duel 150’s would give them that opportunity and they would seize it.
Danica is curtailing NASCAR's downward spiral Daytona Speedway President Robin Braig said that IndyCar driver Danica Patrick’s presence has “increased ticket sales” for Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Race. “The Danica effect has been tremendous. We’ve see a big jump” FLORIDA TIMES-UNION
By all measurements, Danica Patrick’s stock car debut last weekend in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards was a smashing success. Danica supporters were no doubt pleased with her 6th-place finish, cable network SPEED enjoyed its largest audience ever to watch an ARCA event, and her team sponsor GoDaddy.com amassed nearly $230,000 of in-broadcast exposure value in the process.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc., which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media, Danica’s name was mentioned 25 more times than the winning driver, and in turn, GoDaddy.com was verbally referenced six times during the live race telecast.
Additionally, logos associated with Danica and her crew appeared clear and in-focus for 15 minutes, 43 seconds (15:43). The on-screen time, a direct result of the Danica storyline, is especially impressive considering the top-10 team sponsoring brands during last year’s ARCA Daytona race averaged just 5:10 of camera time.
Tony Kart West unveils 2010 Race Team The 2010 racing season will be an ambitious one for Tony Kart West. The west coast arm of the world-famous brand of Tony Karts will compete in no less than four of the country’s premier karting championships. The nationwide Championship Karting International, as well as the regional Gatorz Challenge of the Americas, ProKart Challenge, and IKF Region 7 will all see the Buddy Rice-owned team compete with stout driving talent and a fleet of Tony Karts.
Success has already come in the early season for the team as they grabbed their first wins of 2010 when the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas visited the home track for Tony Kart West– the Formula K Raceway in Phoenix. Gustavo Menezes took the win in the competitive Rotax Senior class on Saturday, thoroughly dominating the day. A week later, Menezes backed up that victory with a pole position and victory in TaG Senior at the Pro Kart Challenge season opener. Menezes will also be competing in the Pro Kart Challenge and Championship Karting International for Tony Kart West.
Rule changes to spice up British F3 The Cooper Tires British F3 International Series is to feature an exciting new race and qualifying format for 2010, as well as a revised points system, to accommodate the expansion from 20 to 30 races.
Draft sporting regulations, just published and yet to be rubber-stamped by the FIA, propose differing lengths for the three races to be held during the course of each Formula 3 weekend. The first race will follow a single 30-minute qualifying session on the first public day of each meeting, and will run to the half-hour format seen in previous seasons.
On day two, a 20-minute "half points" sprint featuring a "semi-reverse" grid will open proceedings. The meeting will be brought to a thrilling conclusion by a 40-minute feature race designed to place the emphasis on driver stamina, racecraft and mechanical reliability.
Lorenzo injures hand in training accident Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo has undergone surgery in his right hand following an accident whilst training near his home in Barcelona yesterday, Thursday 11th February.
The 22-year-old was riding his motocross bike at the practice course near Montmel¢ during a routine training session as part of his pre-season preparation. He fell in a slow corner, doing approximately 30km/h, and hurt his right hand as he landed.
Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello have swapped seats this season, with Rosberg moving to Mercedes (formerly Brawn) and Barrichello taking the German’s seat at Williams. For both, the move means not just a new team but also a new engine, although it’s Barrichello, in his Cosworth-powered FW32, who may have tougher task. However, the Brazilian is hopeful the engine supplier’s three-year absence from Formula One racing has not dented his chances…
Q: Rubens, when did you know there wasn’t a future for you at Brawn? Rubens Barrichello: I took a decision before that, really. They were going to take too long and I liked the idea of going to Williams very much.
Q: Last season you blossomed. How hard was it to say goodbye to a team that made you a winner again? RB: Life is good, and we have to be thankful every day. It was a good four years together, as it was a good six years at Ferrari, but sometimes change is a good thing.
Q: When you were at Brawn the public policy was that both drivers were treated equally. Was that your experience in 2009? RB: It was. Early in the season I had brake problems and by the time I solved them - that was at the Silverstone race - Jenson (Button) never qualified ahead of me again. We were treated equally.
Q: What do you think about Michael Schumacher’s return? And have you got any advice for Nico Rosberg? RB: It was a surprise, for sure. I don’t have any real advice for Nico, and everything that was written about me having said this or that was said with a wink. I just wish him good luck.
Q: Were you surprised Ross Brawn decided to have an all-new driver line-up in 2010 and didn’t try harder to keep Jenson? RB: I think he tried really hard to keep Jenson.
Q: What is your verdict on the FW32? RB: It is hard to judge a car with lots of fuel. I like the team very much though. They are hard workers and I am sure they will give me a good car by the first race.
Q: When did you start to negotiate with Williams? Was it always definite that you’d race in 2010? RB: For sure the ’09 season is hard to top. And yes, it was always clear for me that I wanted to stay in F1 so we started to negotiate very early.
Q: Everybody is anxious to see how the Cosworth engine is doing… RB: It is doing well at the moment. I was able to complete almost 1,000 kilometers in two days at the Valencia test, and Nico (Hulkenberg) managed about the same mileage so far without any major issues. We need more time, for sure, but my feeling is that they will be very good.
Q: You will race alongside a rookie. Are you expected to be a winner or a tutor? RB: A winner for sure...
Q: The bigger fuel tank is one of the main changes this season. How does that feel? RB: It’s heavy for sure and it is a completely new challenge for us all. It will be interesting to see what different strategies the different teams come up with.
Q: Ross Brawn has said Mercedes will bring a major update to the first race. Is that what Williams are planning too? RB: I guess that is the plan for almost every team... I hope our upgrade is better than everyone else’s though!
Watch your rear’ is the demand of the season - your rear tires, that is. With the ban on refueling meaning heavy fuel loads of up to 170 kilos at the start of a race in 2010, looking after your rubber could well make the difference between winning and losing. World champion Jenson Button is renowned for his ability to manage tire wear, making him a hot contender for another title - especially as he has now remolded the McLaren cockpit to his liking…
Q: Jenson, how are you doing in the car? Jenson Button: My day was good actually. Yesterday as well. It is always interesting working in the wet because the finer details you really need to work in the wet because you have a lot less grip. So we did a lot of work to make sure that I felt one hundred percent good in the car and I must say that my ‘new home’ feels comfortable and I feel great in the cockpit now. My two test days have been very promising. In the wet we did a lot of set-up work and tried to come to terms with two different types of tires - the wet tire and the intermediate. Today in the dry it was easier and for the first time I felt good in the car - good enough to do set-up work and find a balance with the car and work with different components. It was positive, although there is still a lot of work ahead of us. The basic car is a good base line I think. Jumping in the car this morning it immediately felt great, but I have no illusions that there is still a long way to go before we have a car that is capable of winning races. Most of the day the car was reliable until a little hiccough at the end, but it was nothing severe. I had a warning light so I stopped the car and now we have to find out what the reason was - probably a sensor issue. There was no damage.
Double grid penalty for engine changes Formula 1 governing body the FIA has announced several changes in the new sporting and technical regulations, released on Friday. From 2010 onwards, drivers can be handed a 10-place grid penalty for use of a second extra engine on one weekend, which will be applied for the next Grand Prix. Following the rule introduced last year, each driver will be permitted to make use of eight engines over the course of a Grand Prix season, forcing teams to carefully elect which unit should be used for specific races, with the number increasing from 17 to 19 this year.
However, the FIA has now announced that use of a second additional engine (such a using a ninth and tenth powerplant on one weekend) will result in a grid penalty for the following race as well.
'Each driver may use no more than eight engines during a Championship season,' the regulation states. 'Should a driver use more than eight engines he will drop ten places on the starting grid at the first Event during which each additional engine is used.
If two such additional engines are used during a single Event the driver concerned will drop ten places on the starting grid at that Event and at the following Event.'
Crew Member Suspended Due To drugs William Wheeler, a crew member for the #57 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. Wheeler violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2010 NASCAR rule book. NASCAR PR
Jaguars' Jones-Drew wants to be NASCAR team owner What little Maurice Jones-Drew knew of NASCAR he learned on the drive Thursday from Jacksonville to the Daytona International Speedway. By the time the Gatorade Duels were done, he wanted to part of the sport. "I want to be an owner," he said. "I think that would be exciting." The Jaguars running back was the grand marshal for the second 150-mile qualifying race that set the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow gave the command to start engines for the first race. Jones-Drew had never been to a race. He rode with Jaguars assistant equipment managers - and big NASCAR fans - George Pellicer and Cory Fancher and they tried to get the all-pro up to speed. Jones-Drew believes he'd be a great car owner. "The key to being a good owner is who you have with you," he said. "I don't think any one person can run a race team. You need to have a lot of good people. I would get all the good people I can and I would give them the very best of what they needed. But we'd also have rules. We'd have a way to do things and you'd have to follow that." Florida Times-Union
Gordon to a backup car for Daytona 500 Jeff Gordon was involved in an accident in the first Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway when #51-Waltrip had a tire go down, causing #78-Smith to slow and Gordon's Chevy hit Smith's car, doing damage to the nose of the #24 car. The team will go to a backup car for the Daytona 500. #24 Crew Chief Steve Letarte reports: "The nose is pushed up and we sent our Shootout car that we wrecked on the last lap (Saturday night) home, and they've already repaired that, so that car is as good as new. So we're better off just bringing that car out. So the Shootout car has already been back to the shop and been repaired and come back down." SO THE DECISION IS MADE TO GO TO THE BACK-UP? "Yeah, it's not worth it. You've worked all month long to try to win the Daytona 500 and we're not going to beat the side out and mud it and just try to go for 20 spots on the grid. If you can't win from 43rd but you could have won from 20th, you didn't have a chance anyway." GM Racing
F2 Insight: Williams JPH1B testing analysis Following an extensive upgrade package implemented by MotorSport Vision and the Williams F1 team, the revised Williams JPH1B F2 car found significant gains over last year's car during recent tests in Barcelona and Portimão.
Among the many upgrades installed over the winter, the car boasts a significantly improved aerodynamic package that has increased maximum downforce by 30% and aerodynamic efficiency by 24%. To see a full technical guide of the upgraded car click here.
The aerodynamic improvements, coupled with a reduced operating weight, increased power and several other revisions, meant the car was almost three seconds a lap faster than its 2009 predecessor during testing - despite less than ideal track conditions and with further development and set up improvements to come. In the wake of that success, formulatwo.com takes a deeper look at the statistics to see how the Williams JPH1B currently matches up against last year's F2 car.
No regrets as Heidfeld begins idle year as reserve
Schumacher expects to fight for 2010 title
More bad weather likely for Friday at Jerez
Williams to buy more of own hybrid power company
Cosworth 'better' than Toyota's F1 engine - Hulkenberg
Newey doubts Virgin's no wind tunnel route
Button, Brawn, nominated for Laureus awards
Alonso calm amid Massa's Spanish media spat
Coulthard testing Mercedes DTM car in Spain (GMM) David Coulthard has this week been gearing up for his debut test at the wheel of a DTM car.
The Scot, who is contemplating returning to the race cockpit with the German touring car series, has been at Spain's Circuito Monteblanco.
His mount is the Mercedes C-Class of the Mucke team, according to Speedweek.
The test was reportedly scheduled to run for four days between Tuesday and Friday.
Hill slams Silverstone's new 'Arena' layout (GMM) Silverstone's new 'Arena' layout is not exciting enough, according to the president of the circuit-owning British Racing Drivers' Club.
It was announced on Thursday that the new 760m loop, featuring effectively two new infield straights in the place of the famous 'Bridge' corner section, will be used for July's British grand prix.
But 1996 world champion Hill said the addition, designed for the arrival of the MotoGP race, is a "frustrating compromise" that risks "destroying the essence of what brought fans to formula one in the first place".
"If you are asking me to say it's fantastic, I'm afraid I am not going to do that," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"I am not satisfied that we will be providing the best facility we could," the Briton added.
Hill said the Arena layout is a compromise due to the Northamptonshire facility's financial position.
"It is fast, exciting corners that drivers love. It is what fans love. So, it's illogical not to concentrate on developing the sporting challenge," he continued.
"I have the idea of my perfect, fantasy track and that's not what we are building," said Hill.
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