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DATE News (chronologically)
Martin leads Chevy 1-8 sweep in Fontana practice  
1 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 182.927 39.360 Leader
2 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 182.449 39.463 -0.103
3 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 182.320 39.491 -0.131
4 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 181.869 39.589 -0.229
5 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios / Hamburger Helper 181.639 39.639 -0.279
6 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 181.594 39.649 -0.289
7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 181.575 39.653 -0.293
8 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 181.566 39.655 -0.295
9 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 181.406 39.690 -0.330
10 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 181.118 39.753 -0.393
11 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Auto Club 180.864 39.809 -0.449
12 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 180.528 39.883 -0.523
13 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 180.433 39.904 -0.544
14 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge AAA Insurance 180.433 39.904 -0.544
15 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 180.279 39.938 -0.578
16 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 180.275 39.939 -0.579
17 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 180.180 39.960 -0.600
18 36 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Wave Energy Drink 180.081 39.982 -0.622
19 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 180.023 39.995 -0.635
20 82 Scott Speed Toyota Red Bull 179.991 40.002 -0.642
21 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Armor All 179.932 40.015 -0.655
22 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Old Spice / Office Depot 179.834 40.037 -0.677
23 98 Paul Menard Ford Energizer / Menards 179.762 40.053 -0.693
24 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 179.712 40.064 -0.704
25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy Juice / National Guard 179.686 40.070 -0.710
26 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 179.668 40.074 -0.714
27 6 David Ragan Ford UPS 179.623 40.084 -0.724
28 13 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 179.583 40.093 -0.733
29 9 Kasey Kahne Ford Budweiser / Team USA 179.542 40.102 -0.742
30 09 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Phoenix Racing 179.533 40.104 -0.744
31 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 179.256 40.166 -0.806
32 19 Elliott Sadler Ford Stanley 179.100 40.201 -0.841
33 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 179.024 40.218 -0.858
34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 178.869 40.253 -0.893
35 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 178.762 40.277 -0.917
36 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 177.936 40.464 -1.104
37 34 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 177.778 40.500 -1.140
38 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Warner Music Nashville / Whitney Duncan 177.730 40.511 -1.151
39 38 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 177.545 40.553 -1.193
40 190 Casey Mears Chevrolet Keyed-Up Motorsports 177.296 40.610 -1.250
41 135 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 177.052 40.666 -1.306
42 37 Kevin Conway* Ford Extenze 176.497 40.794 -1.434
43 55 Michael McDowell Toyota Prism Motorsports 176.471 40.800 -1.440
44 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 175.695 40.980 -1.620
45 46 Terry Cook* Dodge Whitney Motorsports 175.657 40.989 -1.629
46 26 Boris Said Ford Sacred Power 168.654 42.691 -3.331

* Denotes Rookie
Lopez takes his money to Campos  Earlier this week, reports in Lopez's native Argentina claimed that USF1's attempted venture into Formula One had come to an end, culminating in team boss Peter Windsor informing Lopez that his services are no longer required.

Finances have been blamed for USF1's aborted start, with the team reputedly unable to raise necessary funds needed to compete despite the millions Lopez would bring.

Bad news for USF1 but, reportedly, good news for fellow financial strugglers Campos Meta.

According to AutoWeek, the team has jumped at the chance of signing Lopez, who along with his father and advisor Felipe McGough met with Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday.

The F1 supremo played a huge role in hashing out a deal for the Argentine, who could be confirmed as a Campos driver as early as Friday.

"USF1 hadn't finished the car and we had promised everyone that we would be in the first race in Bahrain," a source close to Lopez told AutoWeek.

"That's why Felipe decided to reorganize everything, because we can't miss Bahrain. The only thing we want is that 'Pechito' drives in F1. Everything else is not important for us."
HPD begins shipment of FF engines  Honda Performance Development recently began shipping 1.5-liter Honda Fit engines to racers planning to run the engine in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Formula F competition.  Through its introduction to the category, HPD hopes to strengthen FF's position as the first step in American open-wheel auto racing.

The initial batch of fuel-injected Honda L15A7 overhead-cam engines was shipped to competitors who had previously secured their orders via cash deposit.  The Fit engine can be adapted for installation in existing FF chassis.

"This is an exciting day for all of us at HPD," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development.  "We hope that this foundational step in our grassroots motorsports initiative will help grow the FF class by making it more affordable and competitive." More ...

TV Rating for Daytona 500 continues to plummet  UPDATE The final TV rating for last Sunday's Daytona 500 on FOX was a 7.7, down 16.4% from last year's 9.2 final rating and down 24.6% from the 10.2 final rating in 2008.  This is bad news for NASCAR which continues to lose fans at an alarming rate.

02/16/10 The 2010 Daytona 500 earned a fast national rating of 7.7/16 (13.3 million viewers) yesterday for a race that was crippled by two lengthy delays for track repair. Yesterday's 7.7/16 is down -16% compared to last year's 9.2/19 and ranks as the lowest-rated Daytona 500 since 1991's 7.6/20 on CBS. The two track delays were excluded from the rating - Nielsen treats them similarly to a baseball rain delay - but the delays obviously had a sizable impact on the rating as the race's momentum was twice stopped cold. The two delays combined averaged a 6.5/14, a -16% decline versus the 7.7/16 for live racing. More ...
Carabante takes control of Campos team  
Jose Carabante
(GMM)  The troubled Campos team on Friday took a solid step towards next month's Bahrain season opener.

Although the original rumor also tipped the involvement of Volkswagen, it was officially announced that former Force India boss Colin Kolles has been appointed team principal and managing director.

He takes over from founder Adrian Campos, who has been bought out by existing shareholder and president Jose Ramon Carabante.

"I would like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who worked tremendously to support our efforts to keep the team viable," said Carabante, who now owns a controlling stake. More ...

Alonso feeling good about new Ferrari  
Fernando Alonso
It was a positive day today for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working, like the other ten F1 teams, at the third test session with the Formula 1 Championship in sight.

After two days of bad weather today the conditions improved, apart from a couple of hours in the morning, when there were still some wet sectors on the track. Eventually the cars could be fitted with tires for a dry track, with the tarmac temperature finally on acceptable levels.

Fernando Alonso started his fourth day of testing with his new team just after 9am and stopped driving around 20 minutes before the official end of the training session. During the day he drove 132 laps and got a good impression of the car.

"I’m satisfied by today, because we could drive many miles on the dry,” Fernando told Ferrari.com. "The results are positive, because we got to know the new car better. Also my place in the team is improving from day to day, as is my feeling for the F10. We can confirm that step by step we’re arriving at 100%.”

Fernando drove today’s second fastest lap, in a time of 1.21.115, while the fastest man on the track was Red Bull’s Mark Webber, the only driver remaining below 1.20 (1.19.299).

Alonso will be back on the track tomorrow, hopefully with more sun. The weather forecast is pretty good: sun throughout the day with possible showers in the evening.

Bruton Smith to foreclose on Wayne Newton home  Las Vegas Motor Speedway executive O. Bruton Smith is suing singer Wayne Newton, charging Newton is delinquent on a $3.35 million loan and seeking to foreclose on Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah ranch in Las Vegas.

The lawsuit was filed in Clark County District in Las Vegas Feb. 9 by Smith, chairman and chief executive of Speedway Motorsports Inc., against Newton, his wife, Kathleen McCrone Newton, Newton company Desert Eagle LLC and a Newton Living Trust dated Dec. 19, 2001.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Mark Ferrario and Brandon Roos of the Las Vegas office of the law firm Greenberg Traurig on behalf of Smith, whose company based in Concord, N.C., owns tracks around the country for NASCAR and other races.

Smith is also the chairman and chief executive of automotive retailer Sonic Automotive Inc. of Charlotte, N.C.

Virgin Racing Selects UST Global as its IT Service  UST Global® today announced that it has been selected as Virgin Racing’s IT Services partner for the 2010 Formula One season. Virgin Racing is a new team for a new era of Formula One. It combines the firepower of one of the most recognized, respected and exciting brands in the world with a racing team concept that looks to exploit and capitalize upon F1’s new economic dawn and the challenges of the resource restriction agreement that is redefining the sport.

UST Global® will collaborate with Virgin Racing on advanced technical projects as part of this operational partnership. In the cards for 2010 is a customized race management tool that will provide race engineers a 360 degree trackside perspective of each Grand Prix. This is made possible by integrating information streams from the FIA and FOM with the GPS positioning of the Virgin Racing cars plus FOM visual feeds to enable an optimal race strategy. UST Global will also integrate the Wirth Research simulator for the VR-01 to ensure a constant two-way correlation between both sets of inputs. More ...
Webber dominates Friday testing at Jerez  Mark Webber was back driving the RB6 and began the day on extreme wet tires, as conditions remained damp from overnight rain. He then switched to intermediate tires and by 1100hrs was running on dry tires. A small mechanical issue early afternoon cost the team around two hours of running time, but Mark was able to get back out on track with plenty of time remaining and completed a series of short and long runs to test various chassis set-ups and analyze tire degradation.

At the end of the session, Ian Morgan, Head of Race Engineering, said “It’s good to finally get some dry conditions and complete some proper runs on dry tires, which we’ve done very little of with this car so far. We did 115 laps today, which is pretty good; things look promising.”

Mark Webber said: “We’re certainly showing some good form in terms of reliability, but we always need to work on performance; you never know that the other teams are doing. We’re in a good position at the moment to build up to the first race – it’s close, but there’s also quite a way to go, as other teams have no doubt planned developments for Bahrain. We’re doing the work we need to do, in order to understand the car more.” More ...

Armaan Ebrahim returns to Formula Two  
Armaan Ebrahim

20-year-old Indian driver Armaan Ebrahim has today (18/02) been unveiled as the first of 15 drivers to have signed up so far for the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship. Further drivers will be revealed daily over the coming weeks.

Ebrahim returns to Formula Two after a promising 2009 campaign which saw him score several points paying finishes, including a standout weekend in Brno where he improved an incredible total of 24 places in the two races to claim sixth place in each. He also scored points in the first race at Donington Park, and recorded a number of top ten finishes during the season.

Such form confirmed Armaan’s growing reputation as one of India’s best young racing prospects - a standing first earned when he made history at the age of 16 by becoming the youngest ever driver to represent his nation in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. He has previously won races in Formula BMW Asia and Formula V6 Asia, where he finished as runner-up in 2007. He has also competed in the GP2 Asia series.

Armaan Ebrahim said: “I am really excited to be returning to Formula Two and I just cannot wait to get back into the car. Last year went quite well and we really started to get things together as the year went on. This season it is vital that I am on the pace from the word go – I feel much more comfortable and confident about my chances this year and my goal is to win the championship. Of course, it is difficult to make predictions but the title is possible – I just need to be more consistent and keep scoring points.”

Jonathan Palmer, Formula Two Series Director, said: “I’m delighted Armaan is back in F2 this year. He had some strong performances last season particularly at the Barcelona final event and I am quite sure he will build on his experience to be regularly in the top 6 and have a few podiums in 2010, maybe even a win.”

Kelvin Snoeks signs up for Formula Two in 2010  
Kelvin Snoeks

22-year-old Kelvin Snoeks is the latest name to be confirmed in the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship line-up.

Snoeks joins F2 after competing in last season’s International Formula Master series, where he finished sixth in the Rookie Cup standings. He spent the previous two seasons in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, competing against 2009 Formula Two race winner Tobias Hegewald and Williams F1 test driver Valtteri Bottas.

The Dutchman has already experienced Formula Two machinery, having taken part in winter testing in Portimão at the end of the 2009 season, and becomes the second driver to be announced in 2010. Fourteen others have already joined F2’s second season, leaving just nine seats available to complete the 24 car maximum grid.

Snoeks is well aware of his country’s illustrious motorsport past, and the Zwaanshoek-based racer is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Jan Lammers and Jos Verstappen. More ...

Stefan car 'ready' for track debut - Stefanovic  (GMM)  Stefan GP's 2010 car is ready to hit the track, boss Zoran Stefanovic announced on Friday.

The Serbian entrepreneur, who is pushing to receive an official entry for this season, has enlisted the backing of Toyota Motorsport GmbH and prepared the departed team's 2010 package from its Cologne base.

"We are ready," he said in an interview with Germany's motorsport-total.com, revealing that at 8am the S01 car was fired up in the car preparation bays.

"There were no problems, we could now go to the racing track, for example for a test.  However, we are waiting still for tires," added Stefanovic, who said the car is painted Serbian national red. More ...

Sato said no to Campos and USF1  (GMM)  Takuma Sato said no to making a return to formula one this year with the struggling new teams Campos or USF1.

The Japanese, who contested nearly 100 grands prix until 2008, announced this week he will race in America's premier open wheeler IndyCar series in 2010.

Sato, 33, said he was earlier "close" to securing deals with Toro Rosso, Lotus and Renault.

He told Reuters: "There were (other) seats available - with Campos or USF1 - but I don't feel it was appropriate.

"The name is F1 but I can't see those cars being competitive," added Sato, who debuted for Jordan in 2002 and also drove for BAR and Super Aguri.

After local floods, Jerez dry for Friday's test  (GMM)  Jerez has stayed dry so far for the penultimate day of this week's third test of the winter.

After rain disrupted both Wednesday and Thursday at the southern Spanish venue, torrential downpours caused local flooding in the sherry-producing region.

A shortage of dry running aside, it meant the F1 circus was further disrupted, for instance when a Lotus truck was unable to deliver a spare front wing to the circuit due to floods.

"Rain last night was like Malaysia," said team boss Tony Fernandes.

But although Friday dawned cold and the asphalt was still wet, the skies were mercifully blue when the morning green light shone.

After Saturday's final day of the test, there will be just four more days of pre-season testing at Barcelona next week prior to the Bahrain opener.

track news
Indy fans can bid on VIP package  An exciting VIP experience to the 2010 Brickyard 400 is the highlight among items added recently to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway online auctions to raise funds for American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.

All proceeds from the eBay auctions of racing memorabilia, which began Jan. 15, are being donated to Red Cross relief efforts for the devastating earthquake Jan. 12. Items are designated as part of the Haiti relief program. The auction site:


The winning bidder in the Brickyard 400 VIP package will receive four tickets in a luxury suite on qualifying day, Saturday, July 24, and Race Day, Sunday, July 25 for the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series classic at IMS. Also included are pit and garage passes (for guests 18 and over), a police motorcade escort to the track on Race Day morning and three nights' accommodations July 23-25 at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites. More ...
track news
Panel denies Kentucky Speedway suit rehearing  The appeal involving Kentucky Speedway’s founding owners suffered another defeat Thursday when a three-judge panel for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition for a rehearing. The same panel in December upheld a lower court’s summary judgment ruling for NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. in the antitrust lawsuit. “The panel has further reviewed the petition for rehearing and concludes that the issues raised in the petition were fully considered upon the original submission and decision of the case,” Thursday’s order reads. The only remaining option for the former owners is to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Cincinnati Enquirer
Edwards to have standby driver in case  Carl Edwards breathed a sigh of relief Sunday at Daytona when his wife Kate didn't have their baby. The hope was that Kate would deliver the baby sometime this week; if not, Erik Darnell has been hired as a backup for Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas should Edwards have to jump on a plane and head home. Frontstretch
Bitterness against Danica begins in NASCAR paddock  
When the male NASCAR drivers begin to resent all the media coverage Danica Patrick is getting, look for them to stuff her in the wall each and every race.
The male drivers in NASCAR are already beginning to resent how the NASCAR media is ga-ga over Danica Patrick because she is sexy and good looking.  When your biggest star isn't your best athlete, your race series is just a circus.

Her following was most evident in the press room at Daytona. After Patrick crashed, 90 percent of the media there to cover the race, barreled out of the media center in pursuit of a sound bite from Patrick. The crash itself was nothing spectacular. By NASCAR standards, it was pretty boring.

A short time later, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. flipped his car and slid down the front straight on his roof, nary a single media member left to immediately check on his condition or get a quote.

“The only thing I will say is that TV has been doing a horrible job because they’ve been covering her way too much …,” Kyle Busch told SpeedTV. “You’ve got all these people watching TV and they want to hear about Danica. Well then take advantage of that and show the less-funded team, the underprivileged people that want to have funding so they can race the rest of the year. Danica is only going to be here for 12 races or whatever it is this year. It would help the rest of those teams that want to try to make a full run at it get the coverage that they need and the exposure that they deserve to try to race the full season. Just my opinion.”

Button tops Friday morning testing in Jerez  
Morning Results

1  Button McLaren  1m21.435s
2  Webber Red Bull  1m21.684s  +0.249
3  Alonso Ferrari  1m21.771s  +0.336
4  Kubica Renault  1m21.916s  +0.481
5  Alguersuari Toro Rosso  1m22.973s  +1.538
6  Schumacher Mercedes  1m23.320s  +1.885
7  Sutil Force India  1m24.407s  +2.972
8  Hulkenberg Williams  1m25.691s  +4.256
9  Kobayashi Sauber  1m25.818s  +4.383
10  Di Grassi Virgin  1m31.670s  +10.235

Q&A with Heikki Kovalainen  
Heikki Kovalainen
Gary Parravani/AR1.com
So far the new Lotus T127’s first test has been going pretty well. The reliability seems to be there and it was only the enthusiasm of driver Heikki Kovalainen that cut short their Thursday session at Jerez, after he spun the car into the barriers. With no spare nose available, Kovalainen was forced to wait until Friday to return to the track, but that didn’t dampen the Finn’s mood when it came to the T127’s prospects…

Q: Heikki, what caused your excursion into the gravel this morning? Was something wrong with the car?
Heikki Kovalainen:
Nope, nothing wrong with the car. It was my mistake. Came out of turn two to turn three and went on the power too aggressively - lost the rear and tried to correct it, went into the gravel and into the wall. I missed the nose! More ...
di Grassi makes a fool out of Virgin team  Virgin Racing had that "Friday feeling" for all of five minutes before Lucas di Grassi crashed his VR01 at Jerez.

Tweeting, as the teams seem to be doing a lot in pre-season testing, Virgin praised their rookie race after he crossed the line with a 1:31.670 on his 11th lap of the morning.

"Good ol' Grassi has pulled a 1m31.6s lap out already! How's that for a Friday feeling!" said the team.

Five minutes later di Grassi crashed.

The Brazilian went off the track at the kink after the chicane, hitting the barriers and damaging his VR01.

The session was stopped for almost 20 minutes while the marshals returned his car to the Virgin garage with the rear covered.

But while testing resumed, one can only assume that Virgin's "Friday feeling" did not.

Q&A with Sebastian Vettel  
Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull
With rain, thunderstorms and strong winds, the weather at Jerez this week has been dire, and the dry and consistent conditions so important to teams testing have been in very short supply at the Spanish track. But even though his running over the last few days has been limited, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is still feeling upbeat, and is pinning his hopes on a last push at next week’s final pre-season test at Barcelona…

Q: Are you satisfied with your running over the last two days?
Sebastian Vettel:
It was wet and dry, and then in between, and then damp and wet again. There were some people doing more laps and some less. It was always too dry for inters or wets, and sometimes it was too wet to go out at all. It was a shame because you lose a lot of time and you have no chance to test all the things that you would want, so you end up testing all the little things, which is good, but I think no one was able to complete his program. So let’s hope that the next two days are better, when Mark (Webber) is in the car. So far the feeling is alright, but at the moment I would say that it is impossible to judge. As well as the difficulties of making a judgment with the different fuel loads, it is the unbelievable weather. At the moment the most important thing is that the car is reliable and we didn’t have any big issues. So let’s see what next week brings. More ...
Q&A with new IndyCar driver Taku Sato  One hour behind the wheel of a brutish IndyCar vehicle had Japan's Takuma Sato grinning from ear to ear and convinced him to put his Formula One hopes on hold.  The 33-year-old has joined KV Racing after exhausting potential options for a seat in Formula One for the forthcoming season.

"The whole concept is different," Sato told Reuters on Friday. "Oval racing particularly is completely unknown territory for me at the moment.

"I went to last year's Indy 500 and if you stand in the middle of oval at turn one the cars scream past you at 360-370 kph and into the apex the car just slides.

"It felt really scary to watch it. It was a big shock." More ...

Sauber hopes for major sponsor before Bahrain  (GMM) Sauber is working hard to secure a major sponsor prior to next month's Bahrain season opener.

When the Ferrari powered car was recently launched, it featured no obvious bodywork signage, with the exception of a small Certina decal on the side mirrors.

The only other signage was the names of the two drivers on the engine cover, and at Jerez this week those stickers have been replaced with the simple message 'See you in Bahrain'.

"The team is making efforts to get to Bahrain with a major sponsor," Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa is quoted as saying by the Motor21 website.

He clarified that, in the wake of BMW's departure along with many major backers, Sauber maintains the "capacity to develop the car" this year.

"But we are trying to get more sponsorship" for this purpose, the 38-year-old added.
Ferrari designs wheel nut for fast pitstops  (GMM) Ferrari has designed a new wheel nut in an effort to win F1's 2010 pitstop race.

With in-race refuelling not allowed this year for the first time since 1993, Williams hinted recently that tire pitstops in 2010 could be as short as sub-three seconds.

Spain's El Pais newspaper reports that Ferrari has responded to the challenge by designing a cone-shaped nut that integrates better with the wheel gun.

The nut also features the automatic triggering of its fastener, where previously it needed to be pulled manually by a mechanic.

"We have worked over the winter to speed up the process of changing tires," said designer Nikolas Tombazis.
Hopes high for better weather at Jerez  (GMM) Teams will be hoping the weather forecasts for the last two days of Jerez testing this week are accurate.

Near-constant showers and incredibly high winds at the southern Spanish venue on Thursday conspired to throw the worst weather of the short pre-season upon the congregated F1 field.

"The weather forecast is better for tomorrow (Friday)," revealed Sauber's test engineer Thomas Hunsicker.

However, quite a high chance of rain both on Friday and Saturday still remains.

Optimism was further diminished late on Thursday night, when a bad omen for Friday's action was a torrential night-time downpour. More ...

Force India pleased with di Resta's race driver pressure  (GMM) Force India is pleased that Paul di Resta's presence is putting pressure on the team's 2010 race lineup.

Scottish reserve driver di Resta, 23, has been signed for this season to drive the VJM03 on most Friday practice days.

The risk of the unique strategy, however, is that it will make Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi fear for their jobs.

"Internal competition is good," remarked the Silverstone based team's new chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

"We will benefit from this situation," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. More ...

Richards not surprised by new teams' troubles  (GMM) David Richards says he is not surprised to hear about the problems being encountered by F1's confirmed new teams.

Although a solution to Campos' financial problems appears to have been found and is set to be announced, it has been reported this week that the death knell is tolling for USF1.

Prodrive and Aston Martin chief Richards' application to join the 2010 grid was turned down, but he insists he had the right "infrastructure and finance" all in place.

"I am not too surprised at how difficult some of the teams are finding the challenge of both building the technical infrastructure and finding the finance to launch their F1 programs," he is quoted as saying by thesun.co.uk. More ...

Superlicense for Di Resta and Fauzy  Formula 1 test drivers Paul di Resta (Force India) and Fairuz Fauzy (Lotus F1) both qualified for a Superlicense on Wednesday. The duo completed over 300km in a Formula 1 car at Jerez, which is a requirement to obtain a Superlicense. Without a Superlicense a driver is not allowed to participate in any of the sessions during a Grand Prix weekend. Paul di Resta was pleased he ran over 300km on Wednesday.

He said after his day of testing at Force India: "Today was my first run in the new car and it felt pretty good. The objective was to get as much running as possible and we managed over 300km, which was a great effort, particularly given the bad weather conditions we had over the morning. It seemed to be drying out and then the rain would return again so you were in a sort of no man's land with the tires. Even with this type of weather though I could get an impression of the car. It seems stable and good all round, a genuine improvement on the car I drove last year. I'll be back in the car in Barcelona and am looking forward to it already. More ...

racing news
Dan Gurney and AAR cars to be featured at Monterey Historics  The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion enters a new dawn of historic racing by honoring one of the true legends of motorsports– Dan Gurney – the Cars He Built, the Cars He Drove – August 12-15 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“We are proud that Dan has accepted our invitation to be our first featured guest at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will feature a display of Gurney Eagle Racing Cars: Formula 1, Indy cars, IMSA GTP prototypes, Can-Am and Trans-Am machines. Gurney will share some of his favorite stories with the fans through public interview and autograph sessions on Saturday, August 14. More ...

Just Marketing signs Gordon  
Jeff Gordon
Indy based Just Marketing International announced Monday morning that it has signed a deal to represent NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

JMI will help Gordon, a four-time Sprint Cup and three-time Daytona 500 champion, land endorsement deals, as well as help with contract negotiations, brand and marketing strategy, and exploring other commercial opportunities.

Video: IndyCar crashes  
tv news
Wind Tunnel Sunday  
Featured Interview      Nelson Piquet Jr. (Camping World Truck Series Rookie)

Former Formula One driver and current Camping World Truck Series rookie, Nelson Piquet Jr., will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday February 21st.

As the son of 3-time F1 World Champion, Nelson Piquet, Nelson Piquet Jr. spent years in the open wheel racing ranks aspiring to follow in his father’s footsteps. His success in British Formula 3 and GP2 caught the eye of the F1 world and in 2008, he landed a race seat with Renault F1. But that seat lasted just a year and a half before he was replaced as Fernando Alonso’s teammate.

Shortly thereafter, Piquet Jr., was involved in a controversy with team boss Flavio Briatore in which Piquet claimed Briatore told him to deliberately crash at the end of the 2008 Singapore GP to ensure his teammate would win the race. This controversy yielded Briatore an immediate ban from the sport, which has since been over-turned, but it also seems to have painted Piquet in a negative light with the sport’s elders. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I agree 100% with Max Mosley and Jackie Stewart's comments (below) regarding the fatality at the Winter Olympic Games. Athletes crash, fall, and miss in all sports. That's why we have devices such as helmets, restraints, padding, catch fencing, and the multitude of other protective efforts put forth to protect competitors.  To allow an unrestrained occupant of a 90 mile per hour vehicle to impact a bare metal post standing only a few feet from the course is inconceivable. Speed was not the issue. It would have been the same result if he was going 60 miles per hour or even less. We learned in automobile racing many years ago that walls, trees, and other obstacles need to be padded or removed and that the vehicles must be kept inside the course if at all possible. We use guardrails and well designed fences. In Vancouver, what if the sled had left the track and hit one of the spectators/officials peering over the edge. Let's put the blame where it belongs and not on a world class athlete who pushed himself to the limit.

Stephen Olvey, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Division of Neurocritical Care
Director Neuroscience Intensive Care
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Founding Fellow FIA Institute for Motor Sports Safety

  • Di Resta to test again in Barcelona
  • More rain expected for Thursday's Jerez testing
  • Hakkinen not considering F1 comeback
  • New Ferrari better than 2009 Renault - Alonso
  • Schu 'clever' to cancel 2009 comeback - Andretti
  • Mosley, Stewart, slam luge safety standards
  • Vettel rues F1's refuelling ban
  • De la Rosa says offshore 2011 testing 'irresponsible'

Di Resta to test again in Barcelona
(GMM)  Paul di Resta will drive Force India's new car again at the last test of the pre-season.

The 23-year-old Scot, recently signed as the Silverstone based team's reserve and Friday driver for 2010, drove the VJM03 at Jerez on Wednesday.

He will have a busy year, continuing to race in the German touring car championship DTM and driving in practice at every grand prix except the new event in Korea.

Di Resta's running on Wednesday also qualified him for a mandatory FIA super license, and he will return to the Mercedes-powered cockpit in Spain next week.

"I'll be back in the car in Barcelona and am looking forward to it already," he said. More ...

Damiler cancels dividend on unexpected losses  Daimler AG, the second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, posted an unexpected fourth-quarter loss and said it plans to cancel the annual dividend, sending the shares down the most in almost 11 months.

Spending on a reorganization at the truck division and charges stemming from disposals at the financial unit led to a $478 million quarterly loss, Daimler said today in a statement. Analysts had predicted a profit of $345.5 million.

A revamped E-Class Mercedes-Benz sedan isn't doing as well as Daimler hoped and faces tough competition from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's new 5-Series car, which seems to be getting better reviews, said Stephen Pope, chief global equity strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in London. The firm lowered its recommendation on Daimler shares to sell from buy today.

Daimler plunged as much $4.23, or 9.4 percent, to $40.62, the biggest intraday drop since March 30, and was down 5.2 percent in Frankfurt trading. The stock has declined 16 percent this year, valuing the manufacturer at $45.1 billion.

Restored dividend planned
The automaker hasn't canceled the dividend since at least 1999, its first full year as the combined DaimlerChrysler AG following a merger, which was dissolved in 2007. Daimler, which paid 60 cents a share on 2008 earnings, aims to resume payouts for 2010 and subsequent years as profit is restored, Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said today at the annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, where Daimler is based.

The decision to halt the dividend foreshadows 2010 cash burn, said Adam Jonas, a London-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, in a research report.

Daimler's financial services unit took a charge of 100 million euros ($135.72 million) in 2009 related to exiting non-auto leasing businesses. The truck unit had a charge of 340 million euros for restructuring operations in Japan and North America, while the company had expenses of 388 million euros due to lower interest rates and 164 million euros for pensions. At least 75 million euros for the trucks reorganization was charged in the fourth quarter, as was most of the financial-services expense.

The fourth-quarter loss narrowed from a year-earlier deficit of 1.53 billion euros. Earnings before interest and taxes totaled 448 million euros compared with a loss of 1.95 billion euros a year earlier, holding back the Ebit loss for the full year to 1.51 billion euros. Uebber said a writedown on tax assets contributed to the net loss.

Sales beat estimates
Sales in the quarter fell 11 percent to 21.3 billion euros. Revenue exceeded the 20.8 billion-euro average analyst estimate.

The manufacturer said it expects to increase vehicle sales in 2010 and to report Ebit exceeding 2.3 billion euros. That compares with a 2.9 billion-euro average Ebit estimate of 26 analysts.

The earnings target isn't that impressive, Pope said.

Daimler slashed spending by 5.3 billion euros last year by building fewer vehicles and cutting pay in response to the recession. The reduction exceeded an original target of 4 billion euros. The automaker racked up 3.8 billion euros in losses during a nine-month span before reporting a profit in the third quarter.

Daimler began deliveries of the new E-Class last March and introduced a convertible variant in early 2010. The car, which overtook rival models from BMW and Volkswagen AGs Audi brand, will confront renewed competition when Munich-based BMW, the world's largest luxury-car maker, rolls out an overhauled version of the 5-Series next month.

Attack plan
Mercedes-Benz has an attack strategy aimed at outpacing industry sales growth of 3 percent to 4 percent this year and closing the gap with BMW while fending off Audi, Thomas Weber, Daimler's head of development, said in January.

Fourth-quarter deliveries at the Mercedes-Benz Cars division, which also includes the Smart city-car brand, increased 7 percent to 303,552 cars and sport-utility vehicles. Including trucks, buses and vans, Daimler's vehicle sales fell 8 percent to 441,038 units. That held back the full-year drop to 25 percent for a total 1.55 million vehicles.

"As unsatisfactory as our figures for the year as a whole are, we definitely picked up momentum in the course of 2009," Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said at the news conference. "We're emerging from the crisis generating a lot of torque."

Renault partnership
Daimler is investing more than 1.4 billion euros to expand its lineup of small cars. The carmaker is in talks with Renault SA, Frances second-biggest automaker, on a potential partnership to expand the Smart unit and produce components such as engines for a planned series of four compact models. Daimler intends to conclude discussions in the first half of this year.

The full-year net loss was 2.64 billion euros, compared with profit of 1.41 billion euros a year earlier, Daimler said today in a statement. Analysts had forecast a loss of 1.86 billion euros, according to the average of seven predictions in a Bloomberg survey.

Daimler has extended Zetsche's contract until the end of 2013. Weber won a similar extension and Wolfgang Bernhard was confirmed as head of production and purchasing at Mercedes-Benz.

Bernhard, who returned left Daimler in 2005 and returned last year to run the van division, has shown an ability to manage costs and understand auto markets and will contribute to an ideally positioned management team at Mercedes-Benz, Zetsche said today. Detroit News

Fauzy get superlicense, without power steering  (Ed Note: F1 cars should not have power steering anyway. Make the driver work for that giant paycheck.)

Lotus enjoyed a reasonable start to its new Formula 1 adventure on Wednesday when joining ten other teams at Jerez for the start of a four-day test. The Norfolk-based squad completed over 300 kilometers with res driver Fairuz Fauzy, which sees the Malaysian gain an FIA Superlicence despite suffering from power steering woes. According to Lotus' Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne, the lack of power steering was due to supplier issues but should be solved by Thursday, for when regular race driver Heikki Kovalainen is behind the wheel.

"It's been an excellent day for the whole team," Gascoyne said. "With the car we had no major reliability issues - a few niggles with overheating, which were quickly solved, and then the car ran pretty faultlessly.

"The power steering issue will be fixed for tomorrow, so all in all a very successful first day and a busy evening ahead, preparing the car for tomorrow." GPUpdate.net

Rubens tops Jerez testing  
Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello gave Williams a lift to the top of the timesheets in testing at Jerez on Thursday, as wet chilly weather continued to hinder the preparation for the start of the 2010 season.

The rain started early, and though there were dry spells, the surface never completely dried.

Barrichello set his best time approaching mid-date, when the conditions were driest, and his time stood as the track got wetter and slower through the rest of the day.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov hit the sweet spot too, to post the second quickest time, ahead of hot-shoe Sebastian Vettel, who did manage to complete a workhorse run of 70 laps for Team Red Bull.

Nico Rosberg was fourth quick for Mercedes GP, followed by Felipe Massa rounding up the top five in the Ferrari.

In contrast to the prior day, which saw Timo Glock complete just 10 laps due to a hydraulic gremlin, the Virgin team completed 72 on their way to the eighth on the board.

Glock's session, however, was highlighted by a couple of impressive off-track excursions that brought out red flags.

The Lotus team, who enjoyed a very promising day on its T127's maiden run yesterday, was not so lucky today when Heikki Kovalainen took over from third driver Fairuz Fauzy.

The Finn lost control of his car and impacted the barrier, damaging the front wing. With Lotus not having a spare part on track, the team was forced to miss the remaining part of the session, having completed just 30 laps.

Kovalainen admitted afterwards that he had simply made a mistake and was sorry for the valuable time lost.


Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:27.145 70
2. Petrov Renault 1:27.828 57
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:28.162 92
4. Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:28.515 57
5. Massa Ferrari 1:28.879 8
6. de la Rosa BMW-Sauber 1:29.691 33
7. di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:30.344 56
8. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:30.476 98
9. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:30.666 71
10. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.633 72
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.678 24
12. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:33.554 30
Five time Le Mans winner visits Lola base  
Sportscar legend, Emanuele Pirro was at the Lola factory today meeting his new team Drayson Racing and getting himself acquainted with the Lola LMP1 he will race at the Sebring 12 Hours next month.

The five time Le Mans 24 Hours winner joined his team mates Jonny Cocker and team owner Lord Paul Drayson in Huntingdon to get a seat fitting for a shakedown test in the UK tomorrow (Friday). Pirro, who will also drive at Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans endurance events for Drayson Racing, spoke to Lola about his first impressions of his new team and his new charge for the 2010 season. To listen to the interview please click and follow link (allow 60 secs for download) - http://www.lola-group.com/video_gallery.asp

Emanuele, how are you looking forward to the season and the three big races with Lord Drayson and the Drayson Racing Lola LMP1?

"First of all, after 31 years of motor racing experience, it is the first time that I visit the Lola factory. It’s been quite something to see. To go back in to prototypes is really a good opportunity for me. When I did my last season in ’08, I wasn’t ready to retire from prototype racing and I realized in 2009 that I was missing this kind of racing very very much, so when I got the proposal from Drayson Racing, I was thrilled and I think this is a very good operation which can give me very similar feelings to what I got in the past. It’s a bunch of high-quality and very motivated people and I am sure we can help out each other and do something quite good."

This is a completely different proposition to the Audi, of course. You are going to have to get used to an engine noise behind you as opposed to a whistling diesel?

"Actually, this is a good question because I haven’t driven a non-turbo engine for ages and I would probably appreciate the drivability of this normally aspirated engine. I have to say, in 1991 with the Scuderia Italia Dallara F1 that JJ Lehto and I drove, the Judd V10 engine was the grand-grandson of this engine in the Lola now. I was told by a lot of people that Lola is a nice and user-friendly and easy-to-drive car, so I’m looking forward to it, but all in all this is a passion-driven decision for me and I am sure I will be finding people who share the same motivation as I have, so I am looking forward to it. " More ...

Kovalainen wads up the new Lotus  (GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen ended Lotus' second ever test day on Thursday by crashing the newly launched T127 car.

The Finn, making his return to a F1 cockpit in the wake of his McLaren career, lost control of the green and yellow car on the exit of turn 3 on the wet Jerez track.

The impact damaged the car's front nose and wing, and the Malaysian team does not have a spare on hand.

"Had a crash and damaged front wing, session over for us," the 28-year-old confessed via Twitter in the early afternoon.

"S..t!  My mistake, tomorrow we go again," he added.

Kovalainen is indeed scheduled to return to the cockpit on Friday, before Jarno Trulli takes over on the last of the four-day session.

track news
Ontario Motor Speedway remembered  As the Sprint Cup circuit heads to Auto Club Speedway for the running of the Auto Club 500, the crew of the Wood Brothers #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion will be back in North Carolina preparing for their next race, the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 7. But that won’t keep the Woods and their long-time fans from doing a little California dreaming about the days when Cup races in the Los Angeles area were held just around the corner from the current track, at the old Ontario Motor Speedway.

When it was first built in 1970, the track was an ultra-modern replica of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a little more banking in the turns and the nicest facilities in motorsports. Competitors were awestruck upon getting their first glimpse of the speedway, as Leonard Wood, the Wood Brothers’ long-time crew chief recently recalled. “I remember we went up in the tower and looked down on the track,” he said. “It was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, with the winner’s circle and the way the garage was laid out. “I remember thinking, ‘It sure would be nice to win the first race here.’” More ...

Hinchcliffe signs Indy Lights deal  Canada’s James Hinchcliffe will return to the Firestone Indy Lights Series in 2010 having announced a deal to compete for Indianapolis-based Team Moore Racing. 

The 23-year-old from Toronto will kick-start his sophomore season in IndyCar’s official feeder series on Sunday 28th March as Round 1 of the 13-race championship takes to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Hinchcliffe enjoyed an impressive rookie season in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series, powering his way to fifth overall in the Driver Standings racing for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.  The Ontario-resident collected a string of podium finishes, including a popular third-place hometown effort at the ‘Honda Indy Toronto’ last July. More ...

New helmet for Kovalainen  
Kovalainen’s new helmet
Now Heikki Kovalainen on Thursday revealed a new helmet livery for the 2010 season.

Having used the same grey, red and black design as he raced for Renault and McLaren since his debut in 2007, the Finn displayed his new colors before making his track debut at the wheel of the green Lotus at Jerez.

The 28-year-old's new helmet, despite it not seeing much early action in the hard Spanish rain, is incandescent green and black.

Global Motorsports Group announces 2010 entry in ALMS GT-C  
Bret Curtis in the team's Porsche
For the past several seasons, Orange County, California-based Global Motorsports Group has defined European car performance in the competitive sprint racing of Speed World Challenge. While it will still continue with that program, GMG is expanding its racing operations to include a full time entry in the new Grand Touring Challenge class in the American Le Mans Series.

Bret Curtis will be partnered by James Sofronas in the No.32 GMG / Spectra Resources Porsche GT3 Cup, which will feature a full line of performance parts developed by Global Motorsports Group. More ...

Sato to drive IndyCars for KV Racing  
KV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser with new driver Takuma Sato
KV Racing Technology announced today in Japan that veteran F1 driver Takuma Sato will drive for the team during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season. 

“We are very excited to have been able to put this deal together with Takuma and his group," said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser.  "I can't wait to see what I know will be a extremely fast pace by Taku on the road courses and look forward to working with him and getting him up to speed on the ovals.  I have no doubt that Taku will be right on the pace immediately.  Taku's knowledge and experience will be a great asset and his great sense of humor and easy manner will add positive energy to our team. More ...

MotoGP Privateer teams get a break  In a meeting held in Barcelona today, the members of the Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna Sports, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Messrs Ignacio Verneda (FIM Sports Director), Javier Alonso (Dorna) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting) further defined the new Technical Regulations that will come into effect for the 2012 MotoGP season.

It was confirmed last December that the maximum engine capacity would increase to 1000cc for the start of the 2012 season with a maximum number of four cylinders and a maximum bore width of 81mm, and on Wednesday the GP Commission announced further specifications. More ...

Chicagoland switches to 2-day show  Chicagoland Speedway has changed its Nationwide-Sprint Cup weekend from a three-day to a two-day race weekend, track president Craig Rust confirmed Wednesday.

The track went to a Saturday night race in 2008 but has had Cup practice and qualifying on Thursday of its race weekend the last two years. This year, all Nationwide and Cup track activity will be condensed into two days July 9-10.

NASCAR asked Rust, who became the track president last year, to consider the change to help teams with costs. Rust did the research, and he believes it will help the track with costs but also will be better for fans. More ...

track news
Highway widening should benefit Vegas fans  Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials are expecting the smoothest vehicle flow ever for the NASCAR Weekend thanks to improvements made to Interstate 15.

A design-build project by the Nevada Department of Transportation has widened I-15 to four lanes in each direction between the U.S. 95 interchange and Craig Road. This project was completed well ahead of schedule and should improve ingress and egress for the Feb. 26-28 events. More ...

Parrott named Crew Chief for Kenseth  Veteran crew chief Todd Parrott has been appointed crew chief of Roush Fenway’s No. 17 Sprint Cup team with driver Matt Kenseth. Parrott will take over the role effective immediately.

Drew Blickensderfer, who has served as crew chief on the No. 17 since the start of the 2009 season, will assume a role in Roush Fenway’s research and development department. 

Parrott, who won a Sprint Cup championship with Dale Jarrett in 1999, is the third winningest active crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 29 career wins.

Tecate announces sponsorship of Long Beach Grand Prix  Tecate and Tecate Light announced today their renewed sponsorship of the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, set to take place April 16-18.
As the exclusive malt beverage sponsor of the three-day event since 2002, Tecate will complete racing fans’ experiences by launching a variety of consumer promotions, as well as a music and entertainment program.

“During the last nine years, Tecate Light and Tecate have experienced the importance of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach among racing aficionados and residents of Southern California. As we’ve witnessed Hispanic attendance grow from 6 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2009, it has become our mission as authentic Mexican cerveza brands to launch initiatives that go beyond simply adding our logo to the track barriers,” said Felix Palau, vice president of marketing for Tecate equity. “In mid-March, we’ll debut a complete activation program designed to connect with Spanish- and English-speaking adults. Whether it is through our discounted ticket promotions at retail, or the live performances on the Tecate Light stage, we’re ensuring that racing aficionados can enjoy every aspect of the event.” Tecate Light and Tecate will be offering a $100 discount coupon for a three-day reserved seating ticket with the purchase of a 12-pack or larger of Tecate Light or Tecate (additional details can be found on back of coupon) at select retail locations throughout Southern California. This offer was designed to make certain that as many fans as possible can partake in the weekend festivities, which include: More ...

Just nine places remain to complete the 24 car F2 grid  
The significantly upgraded Williams JPH1B F2 car
Following a very successful maiden season, interest in F2 has been high with over 40 drivers hoping to join the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship. Fifteen drivers have now been confirmed and they will be announced daily over the next two weeks.

Drivers will once again be competing for the superb prize of a full test with the Williams F1 team, whilst the championship top three will become eligible for an FIA Superlicense – required to compete in Formula One Grands Prix.

The F2 field can also look forward to piloting a significantly advanced Williams JPH1B F2 car, after substantial upgrades were implemented by both MotorSport Vision and Williams F1 over the winter period. The car has already proved it will be around three seconds per lap faster than its 2009 predecessor, now offering similar performance to Formula Renault 3.5 for half the budget. More ...

Servia still hoping to land 2010 ride  Oriol Servia wrote to let us know that he is still trying very hard to put together an IndyCar ride for 2010.  If you want to stay up with what Oriol is doing, check him out on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/oriolservia
Chicagoland Speedway goes to two-day format  Chicagoland Speedway has changed its Nationwide-Sprint Cup weekend from a three-day to a two-day race weekend, track president Craig Rust confirmed Wednesday.

The track went to a Saturday night race in 2008 but has had Cup practice and qualifying on Thursday of its race weekend the last two years. This year, all Nationwide and Cup track activity will be condensed into two days July 9-10.

NASCAR asked Rust, who became the track president last year, to consider the change to help teams with costs. Rust did the research, and he believes it will help the track with costs but also will be better for fans.

“[The fans] had to take two days off with qualifying moved to Thursday, so it put some pressure on them,” Rust said in a phone interview. “When I looked at the reports, things fell off [on Thursday]. … There’s obviously the economics of it.

“The teams don’t have to come in as early, [nor] the media, our sponsors, the same things for the fans. All the way around, it was the right move.”

Chicago becomes the seventh Cup weekend condensed to two-day show along with both Richmond races, Phoenix’s spring race, Darlington, Bristol’s summer race and Atlanta’s Labor Day race.

Of those tracks, Atlanta and Chicagoland are the biggest at 1.5 miles in length. That means a tight schedule on Friday with Cup practice, Cup qualifying, Nationwide practice, Nationwide qualifying and a Nationwide race all in one day.

“Operationally, we just have to be on our game a little bit more,” Rust said. “That’s not that big of a deal to be honest. … There’s a cost-savings to the track by doing this. Operationally, we’re going to save some money. But it’s also, NASCAR, the teams, the sponsors, the media, industry-wide it saves money.

“And even for our fans, it does. A lot of our fans traveled Wednesday because that’s when we opened our campgrounds. Now we won’t open it up until Thursday. We’re not talking millions of dollars, but it’s saving us a few bucks.”

Rust also said it was perfect timing for the change considering the track is no longer requiring fans to buy a season ticket. While there is a season-ticket option, fans can buy just the NASCAR weekend ticket or just the Indy Racing League-Truck Series ticket.

Now the NASCAR ticket is for two days with one day full of activity and another day for the Cup race.

“Putting qualifying back on Friday makes it a great night for the fans,” Rust said. “They get to see both sets of qualifying and the Nationwide race at night. … If we were still a Sunday afternoon race, I don’t know if we would have gone to a two-day show.

“It would have been a much tougher decision to drop a Friday afternoon qualifying.” Scenedaily.net

Kyle Petty/Victory Junction Ride Across America  Get ready to start your engines motorcycle enthusiasts, NASCAR fans and Victory Junction supporters.  Approximately 200 riders will join NASCAR driver, SPEED and TNT racing analyst and Charity Ride founder Kyle Petty for the 16th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, May 1 – 9, 2010. The Ride will travel from Indian Wells, Calif. to Victory Junction in Randleman, N.C., to raise awareness and funds for Victory Junction.  Founded by Petty and his wife, Pattie, Victory Junction provides a medically-sound camping experience to children with chronic and terminal illnesses. 

As they travel across the country, the Charity Ride participants will greet fans and supporters at overnight stops in North Las Vegas, Nev.; Richfield, Utah; Durango, Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Texarkana, Texas; Choctaw, Miss.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Asheville, N.C.

Since the Charity Ride’s inception in 1995, more than 6,400 participants have logged more than 9.1 million cumulative motorcycle miles, traveled through 48 states, and donated more than $13 million to Victory Junction and other charities that support chronically ill children.  The Petty’s opened Victory Junction in 2004 in honor of their son Adam, whose life dream was to help children with terminal illnesses. 

The year-round camp serves children, ages six to 16, whose health issues would typically prevent them from attending camp.  Campers attend at no cost to their families, and transportation costs are covered, if needed. The camp operates solely on the donations of corporations, organizations and individuals.  As a result of the Charity Ride, more than 7,000 children have attended Victory Junction free of charge.  Last year, the Petty’s broke ground on a second Victory Junction in Kansas City, Kan.

“With the economy continuing to struggle, these children and their families need our support now more than ever,” said Petty.  “Victory Junction provides life-changing opportunities for deserving children and their families and it’s our hope that we are able to raise funds to impact many lives, despite the current economic challenges.  Pattie and I are excited to hit the road with our fellow riders, sponsors and fans again this year.  Riding across America provides unforgettable memories and lasting friendships for everyone involved.” 

Fans and spectators are encouraged to create “Dream Teams” that work together to host fundraisers in advance of the Charity Ride to help send a child to camp at Victory Junction.  Dream Teams that attend one of the Ride “pit stops” will have the opportunity to present their donation to Petty, which helps to provide these children the memory of a lifetime. 

Petty continued, “Adam’s passion for helping children drove him to think of new ways to impact their lives.  His dream of opening a racing-themed camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses lives on today at Victory Junction.  Please join us this year in ‘Keeping the Dream Alive,’ honoring Adam Petty by supporting the Charity Ride.”

Sponsors of the 2010 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America include Coca-Cola, Pilot Travel Centers LLC, Racing Electronics, Wincraft Racing and FLUIDYNE Racing Products.  To inquire about additional sponsorship opportunities, please call the Kyle Petty Charity Ride office at (704) 714-4545.

About The Kyle Petty Charity Ride

Led by NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises awareness of and funds for Victory Junction and other charities supporting chronically ill children.  The Charity Ride is one of the most successful and popular charity events in the country.  Now in its 16th year, the Charity Ride has donated more than $13 million to Victory Junction and other children’s charities, with 6,400 participants logging more than 9.1 million cumulative motorcycle miles.  In 2010, celebrities, ride sponsors and motorcycle enthusiasts will travel from Indian Wells, Calif. to Randleman, N.C. from May 1-9.  For more information about the Charity Ride, please visit www.kylepettycharityride.com

About Victory Junction

Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children ages six to 16 with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.  Founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam, the camp is located in Randleman, N.C., with a second location opening soon in Kansas City, Kan.  Victory Junction offers programs for 24 disease groups and maintains strong relationships with 26 partner hospitals.  Victory Junction’s mission is to provide life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment.  As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous donors to provide this experience at no charge to children and their families.  For more information about Victory Junction, please visit www.victoryjunction.org.

St. Pete GP tickets on sale March 1  Reserved seat grandstand tickets for the Sunday, March 28 session of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will go on sale Monday, March 1 and will be available online at www.gpstpete.com.  Sunday’s schedule will feature a full slate of racing with five races planned, including the featured IZOD IndyCar Series event.
Hard economic times force IndyCar team to ask fans for money  Two long time names in open-wheel motorsports, former team owner Barry Brooke and Arciero Racing, will team up again to explore the possibility of entering a racing team for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Brooke, a team manager with the Championship Auto Racing Teams series, worked on several Indy 500 efforts, including our fourth place finish with Robby Gordon in 1999.  And teaming up with Brooke Racing is Arciero Racing Teams, who fielded cars for legendary drivers Dan Gurney, Al and Bobby Unser, and Parnelli Jones, last raced in Indianapolis in 1995. More ...

Strous signs with Indy Lights team, then terminated  UPDATE Team Moore Racing regrets to announce that due to circumstances beyond its control, it has terminated Junior Strous’s contract with the team for the 2010 season.

“This is obviously not what I wanted to happen, because I believe Junior is a very talented racecar driver,” said co-owner Mark Moore. “Unfortunately, there were some issues in the past month with his contract and we felt the most reasonable thing to do was to terminate the contract. The team and I wish Junior all the best.  We wish him only good luck in his racing future. He really is a talented young man.

01/17/10 Team Moore Racing is extremely pleased to announce it has signed Junior Strous to drive its number 2 Xtreme Coil Drilling - Shell car for the 2010 season. The 23 year-old Dutchman will drive for TMR in his second season in the Firestone Indy Light Series as part of the Shell Driver Development Program. His first season in Indy Lights included only five starts, but an impressive two wins.

A veteran of the Atlantic Championship, Strous has been a successful driver since his childhood karting days. In fact, Strous has won championships in multiple auto racing disciplines: Sprint, Regular and Endurance Racing, Drifting, and Rally. His impressive resume includes 177 race starts, 48 wins, 60 podiums, 45 pole positions, and 45 fastest laps.  More ...

Jerez Day 1: Vettel tops Hamilton  F1 testing in Jerez, Spain Tuesday was heavily affected by the wet conditions – heavy rain overnight and this morning meant a soaking track forcing initial runs on wet tires.

A break in the weather over lunch provided dry running in the early afternoon, before the return of the rain. The official timing system also shut down during which teams lost a few recorded laps, but it was clear by the end of the day that Sebastian Vettel had made the quickest time in his Red Bull car. More ...

Pirro to race Drayson's LMP1 Lola  Drayson Racing added another bullet to its top-notch lineup for its 2010 endurance sports car program with the addition of five-time overall Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro for three races this season. The former Audi factory driver will join Drayson Racing regulars Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) in the program’s Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1) entry.

Pirro will drive for the UK-based team at the season-opening 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 20. A winner 19 times in the American Le Mans Series, Pirro will drive the Drayson entry at Le Mans in June and Petit Le Mans in October to close the 2010 season. More ...

Lotus happy during first test day at Jerez  (GMM)  Deep into the afternoon on its first ever proper test day, Lotus had impressed the formula one world.

While fellow new team and arch rival Virgin struggled to get up and running at the same Spanish venue last week, Lotus' T127 quickly compiled more than 60 laps and counting in the hands of Fairuz Fauzy as the second Jerez test began on Wednesday.

"Without power steering Fauzy has done an awesome job," team boss Tony Fernandes, commenting on the Malaysian test driver's work in the often stormy conditions, said.

Fernandes noted that Fauzy's best time was "two seconds behind Williams and three (seconds) ahead of Virgin".

2009 could have been Webber's last in F1  (GMM)  Mark Webber has revealed he might have quit formula one if last year's Red Bull car was a "shit box".

He told The Australian newspaper that, with a broken leg and an expiring contract early last year, he was beginning to experience waning motivation.

Ultimately, the RB5 powered Webber, 33, to his first two grand prix wins, two fastest laps and eight podiums, putting into history his less successful seven previous seasons.

Asked if 2009 would have been his last season had he not driven to the front of the F1 field, Webber answered: "I don't know.  If we had a total shit box last year, maybe. More ...

Abu Dhabi circuit sold to government  Aldar Properties, owner of Yas Island which plays host to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, has sold Yas Island with its Formula 1 circuit to the Abu Dhabi Government it was reported on Wednesday. "This includes roads, utilities on the Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit which is home to the Formula 1 race track, Yas Marina and the Yas Yacht Club," Aldar's chief financial officer Shafqat Malek told Gulf News.

"The sale will improve Aldar's liquidity position and help the company settle its debts this year of around Dh4.5 billion (about £ 720 million)," said Nabil Farhat, partner with Al Fajer Securities. "They will also have enough cash to complete their projects." GPUpdat.net

Panther Racing statement on DeltaWing  UPDATE [Editor's Note:  The author of this article says exactly what we said in our Editor's Note below - a radical new car will not make IndyCar popular again - the athletes must be far more important that the car they drive.] Delta Wing’s proposal for a 2012 IndyCar Series rig sure is radical. Radical, man, radical! Dallara, Lola and Swift also have some very interesting ideas. Open-wheel insiders in every corner are hoping the snazzy chassis concepts will breathe new life into the sport. Sadly, I don’t think it will.

Sadder yet … the belief that it will show how many in the sport have missed the point all these years.

It’s not the horse, it’s the jockey. It always has been, and it always will be. Only true gearheads and race nuts can tell you what powered Mario Andretti or A.J. Foyt to victory.

It’s not the machines they piloted that attracted legions of fans to open-wheel racing. Same as it’s not Ford and Chevy that drove people in large numbers to NASCAR.

It’s the personalities behind the wheels that drove such incredible brand loyalty to the machines the drivers drove and the services and products they pushed.

I’m not saying the IndyCar Series chassis isn’t in need of an update. But acting like this is the savior of the sport is wrong-headed.

Men like Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty drove NASCAR into star status, the same way Foyt, Andretti, Rick Mears and the Unser brothers did in open-wheel. In its heyday, the series was full of colorful characters, from Gordon Smiley to the Whittington brothers—many of which never even made it to the winner’s circle.

Quite frankly, most of the people who packed the stands at Indy couldn’t tell you the difference between methanol and ethanol, or a stock-block or turbo-charged engine.

Those things didn’t drive people to the sport, and as kooky as the Delta Wing bat-mobile looks, it won’t either. Curious onlookers, yes, but those folks won’t stick around long enough to pay the bills. Maybe the new chassis will even garner a mention on ESPN SportsCenter (which is more than it’s gotten so far), but that exposure won’t be enough to build critical mass. More at IBJ.com

John Barnes barking up the wrong tree
02/14/10 With the much-anticipated unveiling of DeltaWing's IndyCar concept Wednesday afternoon at the Chicago Auto Show, Panther Racing team owner John Barnes and Panther Racing have released the following statement to the media:

John Barnes, Panther Racing CEO & Managing Partner:

"What has been proposed today by the DeltaWing group is a new light, a new vision, an open book, and a completely different approach to our sport. Today's announcement is not as much about this car as it is a new philosophy and a much-needed culture change in the sport of open-wheel racing. This is about becoming part of the 21st Century and not living in the 20th Century. Every industry in the country is refocusing their efforts to become more efficient and it is time for the IZOD IndyCar Series to do the same.

"Our sport is one of the greatest on the planet, and in order to ensure longevity, and a bright future, it takes bold decisions by people who are fearless and unafraid of making dramatic changes. Today, possibly more so than any other time in our sport, is that time. I applaud Chip Ganassi, Ben Bowlby and everybody associated with the DeltaWing group for their forward thinking approach to our sport. This is a game-changer for us." Panther Racing PR

[Editor's Note: As Champ Car found out, their new car didn't change the popularity of their sport one iota.  As with any sport, it's about the driver/athlete stupid.  All the huge PR down in Daytona this week is about Danica Patrick, not the Chevy she is driving.  So anyone who thinks a new radical car is going to change the popularity of IndyCar Racing has their head buried in the sand.  At the end of the day the popularity of any sport is about the people and the way the sport is promoted.  Does the IRL need a new fresh looking IndyCar?  You bet it does.  But if series officials think that a new car is going to be the silver bullet that puts them back on the map, they may as well shoot that bullet in their head.]

racing news
Menard engine group sold  Four respected members of the Indianapolis and open-wheel racing communities announced today its purchase of Indianapolis-based Menard Engine Group (MEG). IZOD IndyCar Series veteran driver Davey Hamilton will lead a group comprised of Scott Jasek, Joe Kennedy and Jeff Sinden - the three owners of Indy Parts, the Indy Racing Experience and Experiential Marketing Incorporated - in the acquisition of MEG. Hamilton will oversee all aspects of the new venture, including staffing, operations and branding.  SPEEDTV.com
Judge takes Ferrari as bail  It is not often that prosecutors ask that a Ferrari be included in a bail package. Then again, The New York Times’ John Eligon writes, the criminal case of Steven Mandala is nothing if not unusual.

Mr. Mandala, 29, is accused of lying about his qualifications to get a job with Merrill Lynch in April 2009. He greatly inflated how much money he brought in for the brokerage firm he had worked for, providing forged pay stubs and tax returns to back up his lies, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said in a statement Tuesday.

On the basis of those lies, Merrill Lynch hired Mr. Mandala and gave him a $780,000 loan, a perk customarily extended to lure top-flight traders and brokers, Mr. Vance said. More ...

Mercedes Benz voted most successful motorsports brand  Mercedes-Benz has been recognized as the most successful name in motor racing by the AutoMarxX car brand index. The ‘PKW Monitor’ survey is conducted by the German motoring organization ADAC for publication in its Motorwelt magazine, with around 4000 members of the public being quizzed. The latest poll in December 2009 put Mercedes-Benz ahead when the respondents were asked "Which manufacturer is the most successful in motor racing?" ensuring that the brand defended its top spot position from the 2006 to 2008 surveys. More ...
Skies open after Lotus track debut at Jerez  (GMM)  As was expected, it did not take long for the rain clouds to open as the penultimate test of the pre-season began on Wednesday morning.

It was not raining at Jerez when Lotus' newly launched T127 made its early morning debut in test driver Fairuz Fauzy's hands, but the track was already wet.

Within an hour of the four-day session, the umbrellas were out in force.

"We are off.  Lotus Racing is a go," team boss Tony Fernandes wrote on his Twitter page.

"Have completed 5 laps.  No problems," he added.

Teams clamor for pace in F1's new pecking order  
Felipe Massa at Jerez just before the skies opened up this morning
(GMM)  There are actually up to six teams close to the top of the new pecking order in F1, according to Norbert Haug.

The likes of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and now Fernando Alonso have stated that the four major teams - Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull - are closely matched after the opening two pre-season tests in Spain.

"But as close as it looks at the moment, there are easily another one or two (teams) who could be added (to that list)," Mercedes' Haug, amid rumors Ferrari and McLaren have their noses slightly ahead, is quoted as saying in the German press. More ...

Fisichella drives new Ferrari at Jerez  
Giancarlo Fisichella
(GMM)  Two rainy days of exclusive team "filming" at Jerez was actually Giancarlo Fisichella's first chance to drive the new Ferrari F10 single seater.

It had been reported that the Italian team's use of Jerez on Monday and Tuesday featured Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at the wheel of the red car.

But it was actually team reserve driver Fisichella, 37, who was in charge of the F10, proving that Ferrari is the F1 team arguably most adept at driving through the loopholes in the sport's tight testing restrictions. More ...

Testers to tackle certain rain at Jerez  
Felipe Massa in the wet at Jerez
(GMM)  It is almost certain that Wednesday's opening day of the penultimate pre-season test at Jerez will be badly affected by rain.

One local report in the southwestern Spanish region is forecasting a 100 per cent chance of rain throughout the day.

The same report said rain is 99 per cent likely to fall on Thursday, while the probability rises again to 100 per cent for the fourth and final day, on Saturday.

Friday is therefore the only day that could see some dry running, with a slightly more than 50 per cent chance of rain. More ...

Ferrari ready to test with second chassis and aero upgrades  After two days of promotional activities with Giancarlo Fisichella on the track for the first time behind the F10, the technicians and mechanics from the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro are back concentrating on the preparations of the third test session before the start of the GPs 2010.

The ten teams who took part in the previous sessions staid in Jerez and an eleventh, Lotus, arrived yesterday. The weather forecast is not encouraging for the rest of the week: high possibility of rain for all of the four test days. There was also lots of rain from Sunday until today on the "Circuito Permanente de Velocidad" here in Andalusia. More ...

New BMW M3 Coupe with Competition package  
BMW M3 Coupe
BMW has introduced a Competition Package for its class-leading BMW M3 Coupé to enhance the model’s unparalleled driving dynamics. He package will go on sale 20 March, 2010.

The new Competition Package comprises a revised Electronic Damper Control with a new Sport setting which, when coupled with the 10mm lower suspension, improves the standard car’s already dynamic handling.  A Dynamic Stability Control Plus system with subtly less electronic intervention than before allows for a more enthusiastic driving style. Exclusively designed 19-inch light alloy wheels, inspired by the popular E46 M3 CSL, complete the package.

The Competition Package is priced at £3,315 in addition to the standard BMW M3 Coupé’s £52,730 OTR price. More ...

Cadillac CTS-V lap of Nurburgring  
track news
Construction begins for Long Beach circuit  
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster poses on K-rail in what will be Turn 10 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race course
Andy Witherspoon/Grand Prix Association of Long Beach
Construction began today on the famed 11-turn, 1.97-mile street circuit that, in just 60 days, will host the cars and stars of the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster ceremoniously kicked off the construction by helping workers install concrete blocks on Shoreline Drive and, over the next two months, the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) will build what is essentially a small town for one weekend.

More than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the race circuit will be set in place, turning Shoreline Drive and downtown Long Beach into a comfortable circuit for more than 175,000 people to enjoy six racing events April 16-18.

"Race attendees will need everything from luxury suites to rest rooms to trash containers to hundreds of other little, but no less important, things," said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach director of operations Dwight Tanaka. More ...

Danica helps Nationwide race set new TV mark  With an average of more than 4.2 million people watching, ESPN2’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-opening race from Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13 has set a record as the most-viewed Nationwide Series race ever on cable.

The race telecast, which featured the NASCAR debut of open wheel racing star Danica Patrick, earned a fast national household coverage rating of 3.2, averaging 4,271,365 viewers in 3,170,109 households. The viewership numbers eclipse the previous Nationwide Series cable records of 3,954,798 viewers and 2,946,951 households set by TNT for its telecast of the 2006 Daytona race. More ...
Intersport Racing Extends Operations To UK  
Lola B06/10-AER
Photo: John Thawley

Intersport Racing, the longest running privateer team in the American Le Mans Series, has retained the services of Martin Dixon. Dixon will serve as Sporting Director for Intersport Racing for the upcoming 2010 American Le Mans Series season. As one of the original and founding members of Intersport Racing, Dixon is no stranger to the team or the American Le Mans Series.

In conjunction with his responsibilities at Intersport, Dixon will partner with former A1 GP Technical Director, John Travis, to coordinate and operate Intersport Racing UK. Intersport Racing UK intends to run 2 cars in the single seater series “Super League.” The Super League Series is supported by major soccer teams in the UK and Europe.

"I’m very excited to be returning to Intersport Racing with Jon and Clint Field, and the American Le Mans Series." Martin said. "Intersport Racing has seen fantastic growth as a team and have truly become a force to be reckoned with. Jon and Clint have become very close friends of mine. I have always admired both of them for what they have achieved and I'm confident that with their support the formulation of Intersport Racing UK with will benefit both programs." More ...
GM pushing for more E85 pumps  General Motors is spending $100 million each year to build vehicles flexible enough to run on E85 fuel -- yet most drivers don’t live near a gas station that sells the ethanol-gasoline blend, a top company executive said Monday.

Tom Stephens, General Motors vice chairman for global product development, is calling for more E85 pumps across the country. He said the nation needs to add 10,000 ethanol pumps to the roughly 2,000 already in place. More ...
Kovalainen: Lotus can be successful in three years  
Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen has claimed that Lotus could become 'a very professional and successful team' within a relatively short time, having thrown his lot in with the Malaysian-backed operation after being ousted from McLaren.

The Finn will line up alongside F1 veteran Jarno Trulli as Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne attempt to return the famous Lotus name to the top flight, and is clearly excited by what he has seen, both at the launch and at the Hingham facility in Norfolk which he has visited regularly since inking his deal before Christmas.

At the unveiling of the new T127 in London, Kovalainen spoke of his faith in both Air Asia boss Fernandes, who will guide the team into its maiden season, and the work that has already been completed, both on the car and preparations for 2010. More ...

Trulli reveals Lotus prevented F1 exit  
Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli has admitted that, had it not been for the lure of helping to guide Lotus F1's entry on the famous name's return to the top flight, he would have thought about moving on.

While conceding that the team's first major ambition for 2010 has to be to establish credibility among its peers, he reveals that he will have no trouble motivating himself for another year of trying to grind out respectable results. Many saw Trulli's appearance in a NASCAR stock car at the end of 2009 - where he joined former F1 colleague Mika Salo in trying a Michael Waltrip Toyota - as a hint that he was looking at an alternative career, but the Italian insists that he was merely satisfying a curiosity. More ...

Toyota to halt production at 2 plants  Toyota Motor Corp. plans to shut down production again at two U.S. plants, a company spokesman confirmed today.

The planned shutdown of the company's Kentucky and Texas plants for up to 14 working days, total, will follow a week-long shut down of six North American assembly plants.

That was prompted by the company's recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticky pedals, which forced a halt on Jan. 26 in sales of eight of the company's models, or 60 percent of its inventory.

As a result, Toyota's January sales fell below 100,000 in the United States for the first time since 1999. More ...

Porsche unveils Panamera  Porsche Cars North America today announced the addition of two new Panamera models, just three months after successfully launching the first four-door Gran Turismo in three V8 flavors: the Panamera S, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo.

The Panamera and Panamera 4, the model line's new entry level versions, will be in Porsche
dealerships in June 2010. Both feature a brand-new 3.6-liter V6 with Direct Fuel Injection (DFI)developing 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Panamera transmits its power to the road via the rear wheels, while the Panamera 4 comes standard with active all-wheel drive. U.S. models will include Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK), Porsche's new and revolutionary seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, as standard equipment. More ...

Montoya’s Crew Captures Tissot Pit Road Win in Daytona 500  Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42 over-the-wall crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday's (Feb. 14) Daytona 500.

Montoya’s Target Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road at Daytona International Speedway. The outstanding effort contributed to Montoya's top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup season opener.

“What a great way to start the season – the Team Target pit crew worked extremely hard this off-season and to have it pay off at the Daytona 500 is incredibly rewarding,” remarked Chip Goode, pit crew coach and rear tire carrier. “To win the Tissot award and post a top 10 in the season-opener is a huge momentum builder for this team, not to mention the fact our teammates (Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 team) were celebrating in Victory Lane.” More ...

Lotus team announces senior appointments  Following the unveiling of the Lotus Cosworth T127 on Friday night, Lotus Racing has this morning announced a strengthening of its senior management team. Team Principal Tony Fernandes has confirmed today that two of the team’s shareholders, S M Nasarudin and Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, will be joining Tony as Deputy Team Principals. These appointments give Lotus Racing’s leadership team a strong base from which to lead the company and assist each other through the challenges that lie ahead in driving the team from its current status as a newcomer to the grid to fight for victory on and off track.

Commenting on the appointments, S M Nasarudin said today ““We made this dream possible, turning it from a simple Malaysian dream to reality.  This was all made possible through passion, hard work and team spirit. As with all the challenges that we have had to face to get to where we are now, we embraced these challenges as a team and now are even more determined to finish what we have started. We are realistic of our goals and by no means will it be easy from this point onwards, but the belief is there. We will consistently bring with us a professional and confident set up to each of the races for this season. As team owners, and in our Deputy Principal’s roles, it further reflects our continued belief and commitment to this team.” More ...

Lotus to race with Malaysian license in 2010  (GMM)  A spokesman for the Lotus F1 team has confirmed that the Norfolk based outfit will race with a Malaysian license in 2010.

The T127 car, named in the traditional designation of the legendary Team Lotus outfit that competed between 1958 and 1994, was launched in British Racing Green in London last Friday.

Based in Norfolk like the original Lotus Engineering Ltd, the new Lotus team inspires memories of the famous Colin Chapman-founded outfit that fielded drivers including Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna.

At the T127's London launch was Chapman's widow Hazel and son Clive, and several historic Lotus F1 cars. More ...

Nick Fry remains CEO at Mercedes GP  
Nick Fry
(GMM)  Contrary to reports, Nick Fry has not left Mercedes GP.

The original internet report has been withdrawn by the website in question, even though it does appear that some restructuring of the former Brawn outfit has taken place in the wake of the takeover by the German carmaker.

Representatives of new shareholders Daimler and Aabar, including Norbert Haug, have joined a new executive committee, with the likes of Fry and Brawn lawyer Caroline McGrory believed to have stepped aside.

But a Mercedes GP spokeswoman said on Tuesday: "I can confirm that Nick Fry remains at the team in the position of chief executive officer."

Stefan GP wants new 14th team entry for 2010  (GMM)  Stefan GP is pushing to secure a fourteenth team entry for the 2010 season, boss Zoran Stefanovic has confirmed.

It has been reported that the Serbian outfit, not yet a feature of this year's official entry list, is hoping to be counted among the maximum 13 teams by waiting for beleaguered Campos or USF1 to drop out.

But FIA president Jean Todt warned recently that no team would necessarily gain automatic entry should the number of competitors diminish.

Like Stefan, Sauber pushed to become F1's 14th team late last season, but ultimately only achieved an official entry after Toyota pulled out of the sport.

Stefanovic is quoted by the British newspaper The Sun as confirming that he wants the FIA to open up an entirely new slot on the 2010 grid. More ...

track news
NASCAR not taking blame for Daytona delays  NASCAR Spokesperson Ramsey Poston spoke on Monday about the pothole issue at Daytona:

Q: Are you ready to tell the track now is the time to repave it since it hasn't been repaved since 1978?
POSTON: "We don't know whether it's time to repave. Obviously, this is something they're going to spend a lot of time with the track on and make an assessment to figure out if now is the time to repave the track or as Robin (Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway) said last night do you need to focus in on that spot or a couple of spots. This comes down to what is best for the safety of the drivers, what is best for racing and that, with the help of the track's engineers, is the decision we need to come to.''
Q: Why, with all the engineering experts, did it come down to using Bondo to patch the hole?
: "Bondo is very effective. It was effective last night for the laps we needed to get in. We've used some of these compounds I think in Montreal when we had a track problem in Montreal two years ago. Same thing, went out and I think that's what was used and it was very successful.''
Q: Was this preventable?
POSTON: "I don't know how many miles we've had at this track in the last 10 days, but we've had a lot. And the night before we had two major races and the morning of the Daytona 500 the track was walked as it was by track officials to inspect the track. There were no signs there and there was no indication any of the race prior to the Daytona 500 that there were any issues with the track. Obviously, it was very unfortunate. There were no warning signs.'' Virginian Pilot
Teams and drivers testing at Jerez this week  
Team Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Mercedes GP Schumacher Rosberg Schumacher Rosberg
Red Bull Vettel Vettel Webber Webber
McLaren Hamilton Hamilton Button Button
Ferrari Massa Massa Alonso Alonso
Sauber de la Rosa de la Rosa Kobayashi Kobayashi
Renault Petrov Petrov Kubica Kubica
Williams Barrichello Barrichello Hülkenberg Hülkenberg
Toro Rosso Buemi Buemi Alguersuari Alguersuari
Force India di Resta/Liuzzi Liuzzi Sutil Sutil
Virgin Racing Di Grassi Di Grassi Glock Glock
Lotus Fauzy Kovalainen Kovalainen Trulli
USF1 Shop For Sale  UPDATE The tenant, USF1, will transfer to whoever buys the building, i.e. the lease is part of the sale and is legally required to transfer to any new owner.

“USF1 has a long term lease on the building so there are no worries there,” a spokesperson for the team revealed. “It is absolutely USF1’s intention to compete this season.”

According to the sales brochure, USF1 has already spent more than $600,000 on renovations since moving into the property last year and has a five year lease.

02/15/10 Want to buy the USF1 race shop, in same office park as Robby Gordon Motorsports and BAM?  It is For Sale - see listing.  Here is the sales brochure.
Alonso moves house to be closer to Ferrari  
New Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has moved house in order to be closer to his new formula one employer Ferrari.

We reported rumors last year that the Spaniard was considering relocating to a different part of the tax haven because it would halve his commute to the Italian team's Maranello base.

While still driving for Renault last July, reports said the 28-year-old was on the market for a property in Lugano, an Italian-speaking region near the Italian border.

Alonso's previous Swiss abode was at Mont-sur-Rolle, nearly twice the distance to the Ferrari factory. More ...

Schumacher's doctor not at Jerez last week  (GMM)  The last shreds of doubt about Michael Schumacher's fitness dissolved in the days leading into the Jerez test last week.

At the first test of the 2010 pre-season at Valencia early this month, the German was accompanied by his doctor Johannes Peil.

Reports at the time said that while the 41-year-old felt fully recovered from injuries sustained a year ago in a motorcycle testing crash, Peil was on hand to check how his neck was standing up to the unique forces exerted by a F1 car.

Peil was then absent at Jerez last week. More ...

Heavy rain lashes Jerez on Monday  
Lewis Hamilton at last weeks wet Jerez testing
(GMM)  It rained at Jerez on Monday, as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa circulated the Spanish circuit alone for a day of sponsor filming.

It was an ominous sign for the week ahead, with similarly poor weather predicted in the sherry-producing region for the foreseeable future.

Ferrari will continue its exclusive filming on Tuesday, before a four-day F1 group test - the penultimate winter track outing - runs between Wednesday and Saturday with 11 of the sport's confirmed 13 teams in action.

"The weather wasn't good and it is getting worse," read an entry on Ferrari's official Twitter feed InsideFerrari on Monday.

"Next year it would be more efficient to go in another warmer and drier country for (pre-season) testing," the Italian team added. More ...

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