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2014 IndyCar predictions bakeoff (Update)  UPDATE R&T: What about that new Honda twin-turbo setup? Is it nastier than last year's HPD motor set?

Pagenaud: Well Sonoma is the lowest-grip track we go to, so it's always difficult to get around the corners without a loss of traction. But, for sure, the Honda engine has more power available. It seems like it's faster; it seems like there's more loss of traction (wheelspin due to huge Honda power)

In other words, Andretti Autosport made the right choice switching to Honda this year.  Now with two turbos instead of one, Honda is likely the engine of choice for 2014.  Cipolloni's predictions are looking good right now. More ...
Video: Hot lapping Sonoma Raceway with Simon Pagenaud  Thanks to Honda, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and driver Simon Pagenaud, RACER went for a ride with the two-time IndyCar Series race winner from inside the cockpit of his No. 77 car at Sonoma Raceway, and the Frenchman doesn't disappoint as he attacks to the 2.3-mile Californian road course.

More ...

'Penske Files' video feature  In this week’s episode, NASCAR driver Joey Logano learns that his teammate Brad Keselowski is pretty particular about his trophies.

Thursday night's Daytona Duels lineups  
Pos Car Driver Team
1 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet
2 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
3 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet
4 88 Dale Earnhardt. Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
5 17 Ricky Stenhouse. Jr. Nationwide Insurance Ford
6 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
7 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
8 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
9 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota
10 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
11 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
12 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
13 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet
14 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/USO Chevrolet
15 36 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet
16 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops Ford
17 30 Parker Kligerman # Swan Energy Toyota
18 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
19 55 Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
20 26 Cole Whitt # Speed Stick Gear Toyota
21 95 Michael McDowell K-Love Ford
22 98 Josh Wise Curb Records Ford
23 87 Joe Nemechek(i) 300 Rise of an Empire Toyota
24 23 Alex Bowman # Dr.Pepper Toyota
25 77 Dave Blaney Plinker Arms Ford

More ...
Allmendinger tops first Wednesday practice at Daytona  AJ Allmendinger was fastest in today’s first Sprint Cup practice session, which was cut short due to repairs that needed to be made to the catchfence -- which was reinforced in the wake of last season's Nationwide Series crash involving Kyle Larson's car. A Daytona spokesman said the fence performed the way it was designed, suffering "some minimal damage" along the frontstretch. One cable and some of the mesh fencing had to be repaired before a second Sprint Cup practice, a session that began at 6:15 p.m Eastern time.

The day's first crash forced both Vickers and Whitt to backups. A cowl flap from one of the cars involved in that incident stuck in the front end of Jeff Gordon's car, in the crease between the hood and the front grille. But the No. 24 team was able to repair the damage and did not move to a backup. More ...

Wreck takes out Daytona fence again  
Once again a wreck takes down the Daytona catchfence
Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports
Rookie Parker Kligerman went for a long slide on his roof after the front end of his No. 30 car got on top of the outside wall and into the catchfence as part of a crash that claimed several vehicles in opening Sprint Cup Series practice Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway.

The accident appeared to begin when Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth made contact in tight drafting practice, causing a number of vehicles to go sideways. Kligerman got the worst of it, riding up and over the car of Paul Menard, and then getting pushed from behind by the vehicle of Ryan Truex. The front end of the No. 30 car slid along the top of the wall and grinded against the catchfence, causing some damage to the mesh fencing. With Truex still behind him, Kligerman rolled over and slid on his roof before being extricated from the car.

Fortunately, no drivers were hurt in the accident, and no spectators were impacted by the damage to the catchfence. More ...

Dixon to race in 12 Hours of Sebring  Scott Dixon's season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona didn't go as planned -- the No. 02 Ford Ecoboost Riley finished 28 laps off the pace in 15th, but it appears Dixon will get another chance at the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

The reigning IndyCar Series champion said he will test Chip Ganassi Racing's prototype Friday at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway in preparation for next month's annual 62nd-annual 12 Hours of Sebring event.

“I think that's probably going to happen,” Dixon said of the ride. “I hope so.”

Bourdais ranks among 2014 IndyCar title contenders  
Sebastien Bourdais
Team Penske's Will Power, a three-time series championship runner-up, endorsed Sebastien Bourdais as a 2014 title contender. The four-time Champ Car champion won't dispute the forecast.

"I do feel like there is a lot of potential, unexplored potential," said Bourdais, who will drive the No. 11 KVSH Racing car. "Last year was an eye-opener when Tony (Kanaan) won the '500.' I think it's pretty much to the credit of KV. They worked very hard.  They have a great group of guys who really love racing, which is not so easy to find.  I could not put a strong enough point on saying that this group can win.

"I don't know how long it's going to take before we do it, but only because competition is so difficult in IndyCar these days.  You look at the number of cars you need to beat to just get there, it's really hard.  But at the end of the day everybody has the same equipment pretty much.  It's just a matter of how you use it, how much work you put into it to get it right." More ...

Rahal: National Guard sponsorship a game-changer  
Graham Rahal
Graham Rahal views the National Guard sponsorship awarded to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for the 2014 IndyCar Series season as a "game-changer" for the team on and off the racetrack.

Rahal, who enters his second season driving for the team co-owned by his father, was among the two dozen guests who spoke at INDYCAR Media Day at the Amway Center. The season kicks off March 30 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which Rahal won in 2008 and earned the pole position in '09.

"As a team, this elevates us to a whole new level us because it allows us to invest in the people, shock programs that we haven't had, that the Ganassis, Penskes, Andrettis of the world have," said Rahal, 25, who recorded a pair of top-five finishes in the Honda-powered No. 15 car in 2013. "I think it's going to help elevate us to a different level we haven't been in many years, probably since the team was a Ford factory team or funded by Miller or Shell in the old days. It kind of gets us back to that sort of level. More ...

Dixon rates 2013 series title as most enjoyable  
Scott Dixon celebrates in Fontana
Scott Dixon wasn't expecting to be in the championship hunt after finishing out of the top 10 in five of the 10 races to open the 2013 season. But a streak of three consecutive victories and a fourth of the season at Houston in October vaulted the New Zealander to his third title.

"I think the comeback for us as a team was huge," said Dixon, who has driven a Target Chip Ganassi Racing car since 2003. "The three in a row with Pocono and Toronto was the start of the swing. The strength that the team had throughout the remainder of the season, with the exception of some of the big ovals where we didn't have the speed.  All the road and street courses, we were qualifying in the top three or four every race.  For me, I think that was one of the biggest achievements was to keep strong. More ...

Technology improvements coming to IndyCar Race Control  Investments in technology will aid IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield and stewards during the diverse 18-race schedule this season.

Also, a mobile Race Control is likely to debut in 2015, according to INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker.

More cameras around race circuits, additional monitors, upgraded replay equipment and ability to review car data are among the additions.

"When I joined INDYCAR after the Indianapolis 500 last year, I had the pleasure of sitting in Race Control for pretty well all of the races thereafter to actually observe how it all happens, see dramas unfolding, how we tackle them," Walker said. "There were a couple of things that seemed pretty obvious. That was we couldn't always see what we needed to do for Race Control to be effective. It looked pretty obvious we needed to upgrade our equipment and needed to have more eyes on the job. More ...

Derrick Walker jokes about Kurt Busch possibly running the Indy 500  IndyCar’s Derrick Walker got the Twitter world stirred up Tuesday when talking about how the series would help get NASCAR driver Kurt Busch ready for the Indianapolis 500 if he chooses to participate.

“He’ll get plenty [of help],” Walker said at IndyCar’s preseason media day at the Amway Center. “We have to help those little taxicab boys come out and race real cars.”

Walker laughed as he said it, and it was clear he was joking. He said he’d help any non-IndyCar driver just as he did Juan Pablo Montoya by providing the new Team Penske driver five refresher days. More ...

BK Racing and Widow Wax announce partnership  As BK Racing embarks on its third season in NASCAR's premier level on February 23 with the 56th running of the Daytona 500, the team will have support from Hicksville, OH based Widow Wax.

Widow Wax offers the highest quality car-care products money can buy. They have made it a point to go above and beyond all industry standards while choosing key ingredients. They have brought products that offer the consumer the easiest application while delivering the most professional results. Widow Wax products are sold with 100% Money Back Guarantee, if the customer is not satisfied. More ...

tv news
A Daytona 500 Victory Could Mean Big Time Television Exposure for Sponsors  Jimmie Johnson's victory in last year's Daytona 500 enabled his sponsors to collect a combined $16.6 million of in-broadcast television exposure value, which ended up equating to 11.2% of the total amount garnered by his supporting brands during the entire 36-race season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast since the mid-1980s — Johnson's sponsors as a group appeared for one hour, 13 minutes, 40 seconds (1:13:40) during the live FOX telecast last February. The brands associated with Johnson were also mentioned verbally on 20 occasions throughout the broadcast. More ...

No quick fix for Red Bull admits Vettel  Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his Red Bull team will struggle to find and implement a quick fix for its pre-season problems.

The outfit, winner of the past four Drivers' and Constructors' titles, has endured a torrid test period thus far, completing 21 laps over four days at Jerez and only just reaching double figures on the first day in Bahrain.

Vettel, who caused one of four red flags on Wednesday, said: "Obviously we're not happy with where we are and we have a long way ahead of us. The first gut feeling from the car is OK, but we need more running. More ...

Carpenter to appear at Blend Bar & Cigar Friday  
Meet 2013 Indy 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter Friday at Blend Bar & Cigar in Indianapolis.
IndyCar Series driver/team owner Ed Carpenter will make an appearance this Friday at Blend Bar & Cigar in Indianapolis on behalf of team sponsor Fuzzy's Vodka. The two-time IndyCar race winner and 2013 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter will be at Blend, located 3981 E 82nd Street from 6-8 p.m.

AR1 Staff

Hulkenberg tops Day 1 in Bahrain  Nico Hulkenberg set the fastest time on the first day of the second pre-season Formula 1 test in Bahrain.

His 1m36.880s best on soft tires put him ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso who set the second fastest time, edging Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes with a late run.

World champion Sebastian Vettel eventually took to the track in the afternoon and set the fifth fastest time, before breaking down and causing a lengthy delay with the day's final red flag. More ...

Fox making tweaks to revamped NASCAR scoreboard  Fox Sports' attempt to modernize the scoring crawl is going back in for repairs.

The network ditched the usual rolling leaderboard at the top of the screen for a rectangular box on the right side of the TV screen.

Eric Shanks, Fox Sports chief operating officer and executive producer, says changes are coming after fans complained the new scoring screen blocked a portion of on-track action. He says the network has "some tweaks" that will adjust the layout for Sunday's Daytona 500. More ...

Red Bull fails to turn a lap on first morning in Bahrain  Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets on the first morning of testing in Bahrain, but once again the focus was on Red Bull's lack of running rather than the cars circulating on track.

Both Red Bull and Toro Rosso had failed to complete a single lap by the midpoint of the first day, with the sound of grinding carbon fiber coming from the Red Bull garage as the team fitted its new bodywork solutions to the car. The reigning champions completed just 21 laps over four days at the opening test of the season at Jerez, but the various problems with the RB10 appear to have spilled over to the first morning of the second test. Engine supplier Renault admitted some responsibility for the lack of running at Jerez, but is confident it has rectified the battery problems it had in its first week, which was borne out by the X laps completed by the Renault-powered Caterham on Wednesday morning. Toro Rosso's lack of running is understood to be down to an oil leak. More ...

Oliver Gavin signed up by Walkinshaw Racing  
Oliver Gavin
Multiple championship-winning British endurance driver Oliver Gavin has been signed by Walkinshaw Racing for the 2014 V8 Supercars Pirtek Endurance Cup, to partner Nick Percat in the Heavy Haulage Australia/Coates Hire Holden VF Commodore. 

The deal includes the Wilson Security Sandown 500, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600.

Gavin has previously raced V8 Supercars – he teamed up with Greg Murphy at the 2011 Gold Coast 600, finishing both races in the top six. He currently races for the Corvette Racing GT squad in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship in North America. More ...

Formula E CEO Agag Says TV Ratings Key To Series' Success  Formula E CEO ALEJANDRO AGAG sat for a Q&A with Tony DiZinno of NBC SPORTS, who noted Agag is a "veteran European Parliament politician who has expanded into motorsports in both Formula One and GP2." The FE season begins in September, "but testing will occur all year in preparation." Below are excerpts from the Q&A:

Q: Do you see FE as a trend-setter to shape the direction of global motorsport, or would your preference be to be unique as the only all-electric form of motorsport?
Agag: I think we will be on our own for a bit. ... To go full electric, we won't see that for quite a number of years. Also take into account we have an exclusive license from the FIA to be the only all electric global motorsport competition for formula cars. More ...
Ken Block to run three WRX races  
Ken Block is the latest driver to announce he will join the all new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy after the American star has confirmed he will compete in a minimum of three rounds in 2014.

Block who will drive a Ford Fiesta as part of the Hoonigan Racing Division will begin his World RX campaign in Hell, Norway from 14-15 June, and will also compete in Loheac, France (6 - 7 September) and Istanbul, Turkey (11 - 12 October).

This latest news follows on from last week’s announcement that former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will compete on the World RX grid which boasts a truly international and star studded line up.

Martin Anayi, Managing Director of World RX for IMG Motorsport a division of IMG, the global sport, fashion and media company welcomed the announcement as another positive story for motorsport’s fastest growing championship. More ...
Graham Hill's F1 Lotus 49-R8 car up for sale  The legendary F1 Lotus 49-R8, raced by Graham Hill, is to go up for sale. Introduced in the 1967 season, the race car is expected to fetch between $1.17million and $1.67million when it goes under the hammer in June a June auction.

Built on chassis number ’49-R8’, it was one of 12 cars and part of Gold Leaf Team Lotus’s motor racing armory. It was also one of the first cars to be fitted with the Cosworth-Ford DFV 3.0-litre V8 engine, producing between 400bhp and 500bhp.

Porsche reveals 919 LMP1 tech details  The Porsche 919 hybrid World Endurance Championship challenger is powered by a two-liter V4 engine, the German manufacturer has finally confirmed.

Confirmation of the configuration of the gasoline-powered component of the LMP1 racer's powertrain came at the same time as details of its hybrid systems were revealed.

It had previously only been announced that the car, which first ran in June last year, was powered by gas and was turbocharged. More ...

OAK Confirms Tudor Driver Lineup  Ho-Pin Tung will complete OAK Racing’s driver lineup in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, it was announced Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Chinese driver, who helped take the French squad to the Asian Le Mans Series championship last year, will join Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle as co-drivers to OAK’s season-long driver, Gustavo Yacman, in the No. 42 Morgan-Nissan entry.

Tung is slated to contest three TUDOR Championship events, with both Pla and Brundle each set for five additional rounds at the wheel of the Onroak Automotive-designed prototype, which finished sixth in class in last month’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. More ...

Ferrari world's top brand, but Apple makes the money  Legendary Italian carmaker Ferrari may have topped the list of the world's most powerful brand, but the iconic prancing horse's ability to monetize its desirability pales in comparison to the tech giant Apple.

According to the Brand Finance Global 500, which is an annual study conducted by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance, Ferrari scores highly on a wide variety of measures on Brand Finance's Brand Strength Index, from desirability, loyalty and consumer sentiment to visual identity, online presence and employee satisfaction.

But whilst Ferrari is the world's most powerful brand, its US$4 billion brand value puts it 350th in brand value terms and well behind Apple with a US$105 billion brand value. More ...

Money greedy NASCAR continues to gouge race fans  Why does every sport insist on playing night games and charging more and more at the ticket office for the fan to see?

The latest is NASCAR, which has not only moved its final practice for Thursday’s Budweiser Duel qualifying races to a night session but also the Thursday races will be prime time. Why do they need to be at night?

For ratings. Has nothing to do with the racing or the drivers involved, who will now qualify at night but race during the day. How does that determine who will have the fastest cars?

It does not. It just means more TV ratings. Which is silly for the track because it will likely lead to empty seats. Night races in the middle of the week are not easy on fans. It is much easier to decide to just watch them on TV. More ...

Armstrong Makes 2014 Nationwide Debut with Richard Petty Motorsports  
Dakoda Armstrong will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Daytona International Speedway this weekend with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). The team announced in December that Armstrong, along with sponsor WinField, would be joining RPM to compete in the NNS full-time in 2014.

Still considered a rookie in the series, the 22-year-old has seven NNS starts, one in 2012 and six in 2013. He has two starts at Daytona's two-and-a-half-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and two starts in the ARCA Racing Series. He earned his best finish of 19th at the track last year in the NCWTS race. Between the two series, Armstrong has a total of eight starts at superspeedway races, earning one ARCA win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2010 and one top-five at Talladega in 2013 in the NCWTS. More ...

Miller: Danica and Simona deserve more credit  Danica Patrick and Simona De Silvestro have been in the headlines this past week but not necessarily for all the right reasons.

Let’s start with the firestorm created when Richard Petty said Patrick could only win a NASCAR race if “everybody else stayed at home.” Her fans howled in protest and the old school USAC racers I dine with every Friday howled with delight.

So let’s try and do a little rational thinking about what seems to be a highly irrational topic.

First off all, King Richard’s assessment is 90 percent accurate. Unless there is a major pileup, DP is never going to win at Bristol, Darlington, Martinsville, Dover, Phoenix, Texas, Michigan, Charlotte, Atlanta, Pocono, Kentucky, Richmond, Loudon, Fontana, Watkins Glen or Sonoma. She’s not aggressive enough, can’t run loose enough, isn’t strong enough, you fill in the blank. More ...

Standing Start for Long Beach GP  
1983 Standing Start for final F1 race at Long Beach
The 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, set to take place April 11-13, will feature a standing start for the IndyCar Series race, the first time a standing start will take place for the featured race in Long Beach since the final Champ Car World Series race ran here in 2008 and just the second time since the Formula One era ended in 1983.

“One of the unique parts of IndyCar racing is its different formulas – racing on short ovals, superspeedways, street and road courses – and standing starts is another one of those components that in the right place at the right time is good to showcase,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “It’s a great location and I think the fans will like it. Long Beach has a history of standing starts, and in its 40th anniversary race this ties in with that tradition.” More ...

Transcript of Montoya Interview from IndyCar Media Day  
Juan Pablo Montoya spoke at length today about adjustment back Indy cars.
An interview with:


THE MODERATOR:  We have Juan Pablo Montoya rejoining the IndyCar Series. 
Juan, going through some testing already, your thoughts? 

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I'm really excited. I mean, I feel like I'm not where I want to be yet with the car.  I feel we have come a long way. It's weird.  Sometimes we're really good, some we're average.  The first Sebring test was horrible.  I feel like Sonoma was pretty good.  I was really happy. 

It's hard because the new tires are different than the ones I've been used to the last three years.  I'm starting to get it, but the problem is I don't get to put it all together. If you look at my laps, if you put my fast three laps together, everything is there, it's just a matter of putting it together in a lap.  I think it's just experience. I feel like we gaining on it.  I think I drive the car a little bit different than the other two.  I think Helio drives a little bit more like me.  Will just got used to driving the car in an awkward way to be quick.  We're just trying to make the car drive a little better. More ...

Notes from IndyCar Media Day  
Graham Rahal believes the National Guard partnership will take RLL Racing to a "whole new level."
Notes from IndyCar media day:
  • Graham Rahal said the National Guard signing will "take the team to a whole new level." He drew a parallel to the old CART days when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had Shell and Miller. Rahal also interestingly noted that he was going to seek cross-promotional opportunities with NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  • The subject of a second RLL car came up. Graham mentioned that he didn't want anything taking away from his program, and that the team may remain a single-car operation. (Editor's note: Graham's father Bobby did win three championships as a one-car team. However, those were very different times. And in this limited-testing, spec era, much of a team's development is done on race weekend, when it helps to have another set of data. For young Rahal to take a step forward, we at AR1 believe as second RLL car is not an option, but a necessity.)
  • Allan Bestwick has been confirmed as the play-by-play voice for ABC's IndyCar coverage in 2014. Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear will remain in the booth alongside Bestwick, with Jamie Little, Rick DeBruhl and Vince Welch in the pits.
  • Noting he "has been the quickest guy in testing," Team Penske's Will Power says he expects new KVSH Racing signee Sebastien Bourdais to be a championship contender. More ...
tv news
Bestwick to Remain with ESPN, Become Lead Voice for Indianapolis 500 Telecast  
Allen Bestwick
Allen Bestwick has agreed to a new multi-year deal with ESPN and will become lap-by-lap announcer for ABC’s telecasts of the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, in 2014. The veteran broadcaster also will branch into other sports beginning in 2015.

Bestwick, who has been part of ESPN’s NASCAR coverage since 2007, will continue as the anchor for the network’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series telecasts in 2014, the final year of ESPN’s contract to televise live NASCAR racing. More ...
Sports Illustrated released Danica "Selfie"  
Danica Patrick at Daytona one year ago.
Sports Illustrated has released some behind-the-scenes photos of Danica Patrick's 2008 swimsuit photo shoot. Apparently, one of the photos does not cover all of the NASCAR driver's nipple.

With Daytona this weekend, and the release of SI's swimsuit issue this week, we find the timing not the least bit coincidental. Say what you will about the tactics, but SI, Patrick and NASCAR are all masters of the publicity game. And there is no doubt this will generate headlines for not only this Sunday's race, but the release of the swimsuit issue.

For more see link

Williams confirms Petrobras return  (GMM)  Williams on Tuesday finally confirmed long speculation the Brazilian oil company Petrobras will return as a sponsor in 2014.

It has been rumored for some time that Petrobras, having backed the Grove outfit between 1998 and 2008, would be wooed back to Williams by the signing of Brazilian Felipe Massa.

The team announced the deal on Tuesday. More ...

IndyCar News and Notes, 2/18  

Luca Filippi impressed in limited action last season.
Luca Filippi:

While there has been no official confirmation, it has been assumed since late last season that Luca Filippi would be the guy driving the #98 Barracuda Racing entry in 2014. The diminutive Italian impressed late last season in appearances for the team at Mid-Ohio, Baltimore and Houston. Presumably, the holdup has been confirmation that the Bryan Herta-owned team would receive a Leaders Circle entry and/or finalizing sponsorship details, which the notoriously coy Herta has been characteristically quiet about.

Of course, many were surprised when it was announced the other day that Filippi would share testing duties this week with three-time 2013 Indy Lights winner Jack Hawksworth. Filippi is testing today for the team, while Hawksworth ran yesterday and will run again tomorrow. And considering Barracuda is the third team Hawksworth has tested for this of-season, one has to presume the talented Brit has some funding Fillipi may not. More ...

Hawk Performance Joins Team Penske IndyCar Program in 2014  Team Penske announced today that Hawk Performance Products Group, a division of Carlisle Companies (NYSE: CSL), will sponsor the No. 2 Dallara/Chevrolet driven by former Indianapolis 500 winner, former CART Series champion and former Formula One (F1) race winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, in the 2014 IndyCar Series.

Hawk Performance will serve as primary sponsor for the No. 2 Team Penske IndyCar at two events and three races in 2014 – the dual race weekend on the streets of Toronto, Ontario, July 19-20 and the series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 3.  The high-performance friction product manufacturer will also be an associate sponsor for the balance of the season and the company’s logo and branding will be featured on the front wing of the Team Penske machine driven by Montoya for the remaining 15 races that make up the 18-race IndyCar Series schedule in 2014. More ...

“A Frenchman In NASCAR” Comes Alive at Daytona  
Michel Disdier
While his story may be quite a bit different than the character Jean Gerard that Will Ferrell created in the popular movie “Talladega Nights” a real life Frenchman is coming to race at Daytona this weekend as Nice, France native Michel Disdier will get behind the wheel of the SS Green Light No. 07 Chevy Silverado for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opening Nextera Energy Resources 250 on Friday night at the Daytona International Speedway.

Michel visited the USA during a school exchange program years ago and he fell in love with the speed of the high-banked superspeedways. He has spent the last 20 years dreaming about running a NASCAR race at 180 mph on the 2.5-mile Daytona tri-oval. After attending the season ending race at Homestead-Miami in 2002, the French road-racer returned home and has worked twelve years to catch his break racing across the Atlantic from his native homeland. “I have some fans coming to Daytona from France so I hope to put on a good show for them.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Video-Gamer turned driver Jann Mardenborough
    Red Bull signs video-gamer for GP3 season
  • 'Lack of time' caused Red Bull crisis - Newey
  • Williams to reveal Martini livery in Bahrain
  • Horner doesn't want Bernie's job
  • Kingfisher Airlines CEO Aggarwal quits
  • Simona is good, but not F1 caliber New
  • Hamilton to open for Mercedes New
  • FIA confirms five second penalty and other F1 rule updates New
  • Pirelli preparing for tire blanket ban New More ...
track news
Donington back on track as Formula E replaces F1  The decision of Formula E's powerbrokers to locate the innovative series at Donington Park is bringing the final healing process to a venue scarred by attempts to lure F1 on a full-time basis.

The failed bid to snatch motorsport's premier class from UK rival Silverstone resulted not only in the potential end of racing activities at the Derbyshire venue, but left physical wounds to its landscape that even nature appeared to struggle to repair. Although the generosity of the Wheatcroft family again ensured that Donington would survive, it has taken a little longer for earthworks to cover over the damage that was done to its topography. More ...

2013 Auto GP runner-up Kimiya Sato lands GP2 seat  Kimiya Sato, the runner-up in the 2013 Auto GP championship, will be driving in the 2014 GP2 Series. The 24-year-old Japanese, born in Kobe, has been one of the frontrunners of the series last year, highlighting his control skills aboard a Zytek-powered 550-horsepower racecar. The experience made in the Coloni-promoted championship enabled him to a seamless transition to GP2, the supporting event for Formula 1 during the European weekend. And before joining the feeder series, Sato had lined-up for Sauber at Silverstone in the last round of rookie tests. Sato is following in the footsteps of other Auto GP greats including Romain Grosjean, currently the leading driver of Lotus Formula 1 Team and a former GP2 Champion, Kevin Ceccon and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. More ...
K-PAX to field McLarens in Pirelli World Challenge  
K-PAX McLaren
K-PAX Racing, winners of three GT class championships in the Pirelli World Challenge sports car series, announced Monday that it will field a pair of McLaren 12C GT3 cars in its quest to win a fourth championship in 2014.

Driving the McLarens will be Alex Figge, 33, a veteran sports car and open-wheel racer who has won five Pirelli World Challenge races in the last three seasons and Robert Thorne, 23, who most recently won a class championship in the 2012 U.S. Touring Car Championship.

The McLaren 12C GT3 made its competitive debut in multiple European race series in 2012, winning 19 times in 98 starts. In 2013, the car accounted for 22 victories in 101 races – a staggering winning percentage of more than 22 percent. More ...
Never ending search for MotoGP sponsors  Dorna Commercial Area Managing Dir Pau Serracanta said that the most difficult task in attracting new sponsors is convincing them that MotoGP is the right place to be. While MotoGP’s list of official sponsors, Grand Prix title sponsors, suppliers and service providers includes well-known brands such as BMW, Bridgestone, Red Bull and Hertz, the motorcycle series is always scouting for new companies and businesses that are interested in aligning themselves with the sport. Serracanta said, “We are always talking to companies. We never stop.”

This relentless pursuit has resulted in several new sponsorships in Southeast Asia and Russia, which are very important regions for the sport’s global expansion. For example, Malaysian energy drink brand Drive M7 has signed a deal as the official title sponsor of the Spanish Aspar MotoGP team. In addition, Kazakhstan’s Eurasian Bank has become an official sponsor of the Yamaha Factory Racing team. While neither sponsorship is with MotoGP itself, Dorna understands that team and rider sponsorships are just as important for the growth of the sport. More ...

Archer Racing announces TA2 program for Trans Am Series  As the Trans Am Series heads into 2014, a plethora of teams have expressed interest in joining the Series, with many of them already having made commitments to race in the 2014 Season with Trans Am.

Leading the way is Archer Racing, a Duluth, Minnesota based race team, making its way back into Trans Am.

“We are very excited about returning to the Trans Am Series and are ready to get moving in TA2,” said John Archer, owner of Archer Racing.  “It’s a great platform for racing and we think it has a bright future, as does all of Trans Am.” More ...

Danica must finish 15th or better Thursday or miss Daytona 500  
Danica Patrick's engine blows up
Getty Images for NASCAR
Danica Patrick feels a bit defeated as she prepares for the Daytona 500.

She doesn’t feel defeated for the Daytona 500. It’s more about what she has to do to earn a spot in the race.

Patrick, along with team co-owner Tony Stewart, will have to start their 150-mile qualifying races Thursday from the rear of the field after suffering blown engines in practice on Friday. And no matter where they finish in the Duels, they will start the Daytona 500 from the rear as well.

That is their penalty for having to change an engine prior to the qualifying race. NASCAR's interpretation of its one-engine rule for the Daytona 500 surprised Stewart-Haas Racing officials and competition director Greg Zipadelli spent part of Saturday and Sunday lobbying NASCAR to no avail. More ...

Test lineup for Sebring  There were 67 cars at Daytona, and the number jumps by one for Sebring with a few changes:

All Prototype (P) class cars from Daytona except the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP will continue onto Sebring, with GAINSCO missing for obvious reasons after the accident that injured Memo Gidley. An 18th P class car will appear from Millennium Racing, an ORECA 03 Nissan, which is intriguing because the Millennium-backed pair of drivers (Fabien Giroix, John Martin) are not listed with the second Action Express Racing car that was at Daytona. Watch this space.

The PC class adds two cars, with the planned debut for JDC/Miller Motorsports (No. 85) and a second BAR1 Motorsports car (No. 88) entered.
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), all 11 from Daytona are joined by the Team Falken Tire Porsche, in the first race for the 991-spec 911 RSR. Risi Competizione will need a new Ferrari F458 Italia chassis after its involvement in the GAINSCO accident. More ...

trck news
Pocono Raceway Simplifies Grandstand Seating Layout  Pocono Raceway announced today they have simplified the way fans will find their Grandstands seats while attending NASCAR and INDYCAR events at “The Tricky Triangle.” This announcement comes one year after the Raceway introduced way-finding signage throughout their facility. During this simplification process, the actual location of previously purchased and/or available Grandstand tickets will not change.

The Grandstands have been split into three towers with Petty Tower, named after our inaugural NASCAR race winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, France Tower, named after the founding father of NASCAR Bill France, Sr., and Donohue Tower, named after our inaugural open-wheel race winner Mark Donohue. The Grandstands have also been divided into three levels starting with a lower, 100-level closest to the racing action on the track, moving to the 200-level in the middle of the Grandstands and to the highest, 300-level with shaded seating and optimal views of the entire Raceway. More ...

Motopark splits with Russian Time following Igor Mazepa's death  Motopark, which operated GP2 champion squad Russian Time last season, has split with the team in the wake of founder Igor Mazepa's death.

Mazepa had created Russian Time for 2013 after taking over iSport's GP2 entry and bringing in Timo Rumpfkeil's Motopark squad.

Martin Plowman Is Set to Drive the Indy Double for Foyt  
Martin Plowman
IndyCar rookie Martin Plowman will do the “Indy Double” this May, thus taking part in the IndyCar Series’ newest race and, two weeks later, its most historic competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 26-year-old Englishman will drive the No. 41 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda in the Indianapolis 500 it was announced by the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team today.

The venture marks the first time that Al-Fe Heat Treating will be the primary sponsor of an Indy Car. The company began as an associate sponsor of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team in 2011. The Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based company has continued to build its involvement in the IndyCar Series over the past three seasons; Al-Fe started as an associate sponsor of the No. 41 car in the Indy 500 and became a season long associate sponsor on the No. 14 car in the IndyCar Series. More ...

Herta to test Hawksworth at Sebring  
Jack Hawksworth
Bryan Herta is one of the few IndyCar Series team owners that has yet to nominate a driver for the upcoming season, and while he's not quite ready to confirm the pilot of the No. 98 Honda, he is prepared to log miles at Sebring this week with Indy Lights driver Jack Hawksworth.

"Jack's going to drive the car Monday and Wednesday," Herta told RACER. "We're still very much working with Luca [Filippi], but Jack's expressed an interest and we've expressed an interest as well. It also gives us a chance to get out and test Honda's new twin-turbo engine and we get to evaluate Jack while we're finalizing our budgets and driver selection process." More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Rosberg expects to win a lot of races in 2014
    McLaren-Ferrari rivalry slides to winter Olympics
  • Brundle slams Villeneuve for F1 'boot'
  • Boullier exit 'a surprise' - Grosjean
  • Bahrain violence returns to F1 headlines
  • Court action threatens Kolles' F1 plans - report
  • Pujolar says Maldonado 'a great fighter'
  • Ecclestone no longer in race for Nurburgring
  • FIA legalizes 'donuts' for F1 winners
  • Williams and Oris Continue Long Standing Partnership
  • Prosecutors close file on Schumacher crash New
  • Rosberg expects to win 'a lot of races' New
  • Newey admits to Red Bull design flaws New More ...
USCC Sebring entries building  IMSA returns to action at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 20-21, with two full days of testing for both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

The testing will be in preparation for the next event on the IMSA calendar, the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 15. The weekend includes the second round of the Continental Tire Challenge on Friday, along with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, and Lamborghini Super Trofeo. More ...

track news
Indy Speedway ordinance will crackdown on race-day parking  Speedway, Indiana is poised to wipe away the quaint but unsightly race-day tradition of residents using tattered traffic cones and teetering sawhorses to hold street parking spaces.

But the town likely won’t continue a pilot plan that requires residential permit parking.

A task force has recommended the city crack down on residents who informally reserve parking spaces by placing furniture and other assorted objects on the street in front of their houses. But the Neighborhood Pride Implementation Team also says the council should scrap a permit parking plan used on a trial basis last summer.

“Many people said the permits were unfriendly and unwelcoming to visitors,” said Town Manager Barbara Lawrence. “Instead, the team recommended we enforce the ordinance that is already on the books that prohibits placing objects in the street.” Indy Star

tv news
FIA World Rallycross to be broadcast live on  Having televised the FIA European Rallycross Championship last year, British Eurosport has extended its relationship with FIA World Rallycross Championship Promoter, IMG Motorsport. All rounds bar Finland, Sweden, Canada and France will be shown live on either British Eurosport or British Eurosport 2, with most enjoying two hours of screening during primetime Sunday afternoon slots.

Highlights and repeats will also form part of the comprehensive package, with a season preview and review similarly in the pipeline. The commentary team will continue to be led by respected ‘Voice of Rallycross’, Andrew Coley. More ...
Audi welcomes LMP1 efficiency regulations  
The 2014 R18 e-tron quattro is the most efficient LMP1 sportscar Audi has ever built
The changes to the Technical Regulations of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the 2014 season can justifiably be called a revolution. For the first time, the output of a race car is no longer subject to targeted restrictions. Instead, limitations are imposed on energy consumption while new engineering freedoms are allowed. This way, technical creativity will be rewarded so that the most efficient race car may win at Le Mans on June 15.

“The LMP sports prototype class is ideal for demonstrating Audi’s efficiency technology in racing,” emphasizes Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “This category has systematically evolved into a class of technological leadership. The world’s most complex race cars are developed for it. That the efficiency targets in LMP1 racing largely match the requirements for current and future passenger cars perfectly fits Audi’s claim and commitment.” More ...
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