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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing complete 2-day test  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing completed a successful two days of testing at Barber Motorsports Park today in preparation for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.  Takuma Sato completed 52 laps in the No. 15 Honda-Dallara-Firestone race car on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn course today and ran a total of 219 trouble-free miles of testing over the two days.

“It was good to complete our first test in Barber,” said Sato.  “On the second day we had more mileage than yesterday. We tried various setups. They were not always the right direction but with a new car you need to explore both ends. It was positive that we experienced quite a few different things so I look forward to reviewing the Barber test data with the engineers in Sebring and continuing to improve the car. It was also good to work with everyone. It’s a great chance for all of us to go over the procedure with the new car together. Each time we test, we will work together better and improve our communication and I am looking forward to that.” More ...

Hendrick defends Knaus, calls NASCAR out  UPDATE
Rick Hendrick
Hendrick Motorsports is not satisfied with the process that resulted in Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 car failing inspection, and if a penalty is handed down – as NASCAR president Mike Helton has intimated – team owner Rick Hendrick would appeal.

At issue is how NASCAR deemed Johnson’s car to be “outside of what [its] tolerances are.” NASCAR’s determination Friday that the “C-posts” (the area under repair in the picture to the right) on Johnson’s No. 48 were incorrect came via a visual inspection, not by using a metal template or “claw” placed on top of the car.

This raised a red flag in the Hendrick camp. 

“We’re confused. We’re puzzled,” said Ken Howes, Hendrick’s vice president of competition. “Most of the time, we’re comfortable [with the inspection process]. NASCAR works hard; their officials work hard to make things fair – 99.9 percent of the time it works. And every now and then something happens to confuse you, and here we are.”

NASCAR’s inspection process is a slow and meticulous one that can take 10 hours and more than 80 officials to complete. Teams prepare the cars, present them to NASCAR for inspection, then watch as every nook and cranny is measured, using very precise tools, down to the tiniest fraction of an inch. Even slightly wrong is wrong.

With measurements this small, how can a car be determined out of tolerance with nothing more than a visual inspection? That’s a question Rick Hendrick is asking. More ...

Lotus to begin IndyCar season with just 5 cars  As the final few IZOD IndyCar Series teams work to find engine leases to make the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Group Lotus Motorsport Director Claudio Berro confirmed to SPEED.com that the British marque will begin the year with five engine leases in place.

“As of today, we have five teams,” said Berro. “It’s a good number for us to start. When we get to Indy, I suppose we’ll have maybe two or three more cars for the 500, probably. Some teams may also start their season around Indy.”

With one lease apiece for factory partners Bryan Herta Autosport, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and HVM Racing, and two for its most recent partners at Dragon Racing, Berro expects to see only those teams using its twin-turbo V6 at St. Pete.

The likely addition of Michael Shank Racing, which could make its debut at one of the following rounds, would bump the supply figure to six and Conquest Racing, which is targeting its season debut at Indy, could raise the count to seven.

AJ Foyt's Conway quickest on 1st day at Birmingham  After all the test times from Barber Motorsports Park were turned in last evening, Mike Conway posted the quickest lap of all with a top time of 1:10.7 seconds around the picturesque 2.38-mile road course outside of Birmingham.

Conway?s time was the quickest of the ten Honda-powered cars that attended the test. Reportedly, Will Power was the quickest of Team Penske?s two Chevrolet-powered cars with a lap time of 1:11.4.

?We had a really good day of testing yesterday,? said Larry Foyt, team director of AJ Foyt Racing. ?It was a lot of long nights of hard work to get ready for this test as all the teams are trying to figure out this new car as quickly as they can. Our guys did a really good job as the ABC Supply car ran well all day. I love the communication going on right now between the driver and the engineers. Mike was really smart, pushed the car to where it needed to be but didn?t go over that fine line. We made some good changes and learned a lot about the car.?

The teams continue to test today.

A.J. Foyt, who is still recovering at home from the staph infection he contracted following surgery on his artificial knee last month, received encouraging news from his physicians this week. He is expected to return to action in time for the first race in St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 25.
Michael Andretti 'Unanimous' team wins 1st 'Celebrity Apprentice task  UPDATE Michael Andretti, former IndyCar driver and current Andretti Autosport team owner, appeared on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice Sunday night. Mr. Andretti's men's team, "Unanimous," led by Paul Teutul, Sr. of Discovery Channel's show, American Chopper, won the task of the night in order to bring home much-needed money for charity.

Donald Trump's reality competition show on NBC, Celebrity Apprentice, pits successful men and women from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business, and elsewhere against each other in an effort to win money for their favorite charities. The show, now in its 5th season, had originally planned to have IndyCar driver Marco Andretti on board to compete for his cause, Racing for Cancer.

When IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon died in October, however, the whole racing community, but especially members of the IndyCar series racing family, were reeling from the shock. Marco Andretti lost more than a fellow competitor, however; he also lost a personal friend, as it happened, right after also losing his maternal grandfather just days before. With taping of Celebrity Apprentice set to begin hours after the crash, Marco's father Michael Andretti stepped up to take his son's place on the show. As reported in Lehigh Valley's Morning Call, the racer turned owner commented, "They still got an Andretti" for the show. IndyCar

Sunday, February 19
9 p.m. Eastern on NBC

Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti takes on the boardroom in NYC!

Tune in Sundays at 9/8c to catch all the action.

NHRA's future at Firebird International Raceway in question  There's a "1,000 percent" chance the 2013 Arizona Nationals will be at Firebird International Raceway. But, after that, it's increasingly likely there won't be an NHRA Full Throttle Series event in the state until 2015 -- and at a new location.

Raceway President Charlie Allen told The Republic, "I still don't know" if he'll be successful in exercising a seven-year option on his current lease with the Gila River Indian Community. The Community owns the land where the track is located, near Chandler, and the lease expires next spring. Allen said the early season 2013 NHRA weekend will happen "1,000 percent."

"We're constantly after them," Allen said of Gila River leaders. "We're communicating, our attorneys, their attorneys." More ...

Dodge will unveil 2013 car at Vegas  The 2013 Sprint Cup Series model of the new Dodge Charger will be officially unveiled on March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The reveal will take place in the speedway's Neon Garage at 10:30 a.m. Local prior to the running of the Kobalt Tools 400. Along with the 2013 Cup car will be a production 2012 Dodge Charger R/T, giving fans and media an opportunity to see the many features of the production Charger that have been incorporated into the new race car.

No one wants to give Sarah Fisher an engine to race with  UPDATE IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard has a problem. And it’s a big one.

The series’ only female owner—and one of its most popular people over the last decade, Sarah Fisher—can’t get an engine to go racing.

She has the money to pay for an engine. In fact, she has the sponsorship revenue to race a full IndyCar Series season this year.

Fisher has a promising American rookie driver—2011 Indy Lights Champion Josef Newgarden—a spiffy new Dallara chassis and a new shop being built on Main Street in Speedway.

The Ohio native’s team couldn’t be more all-American if it fueled its car with apple pie. Fisher couldn’t be more of a series loyalist if her last name was Foyt. More ...

Muller tops timesheets on day one of testing in Estoril  GP3 Series testing for 2012 opened under beautiful warm sunshine and clear blue skies at the Circuito do Estoril in Portugal today. Nico Muller for Trident Racing came out on top by posting the fast time of both sessions in a fiercely competitive day one of testing in Portugal. The experienced GP3 driver who has yet to sign with a team for 2012, captured the top spot in the standings within the final fifteen minutes of the afternoon session, after it looked likely Mitch Evans would head the pack after the first day. Müller ended the session with the smallest of advantages over the New Zealander, just 0.014s.

It was Evans for MW Arden who commanded the morning session by nearly half a second over Finnish driver Aaro Vainio. The young sophomore only ran 7 laps to complete the quickest time over his rivals. It was a successful morning for MW Arden with Matias Laine also in fourth. Marussia Manor Racing’s driver Tio Ellinas continued his good form from the winter testing in 2011 and was an impressive third fastest. More ...
Bud Shootout TV Ratings  Fox earned a 4.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, up 3% from last year’s race. The telecast was the top-rated program of the day and gave Fox a win in primetime among all networks.(Sports Business Journal), in 2011 the race had a 3.9 rating and in 2010 it was a 4.2 overnight.
Barcelona Day 1: Vettel fastest at end of day  
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull on top of the first day of pre-season testing at Barcelona.

The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W03 made its official debut today at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. After an early morning unveiling in the pit lane by Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, Michael then took the wheel for the day's running.

- A smooth morning session enabled the team to begin set-up comparisons with the new chassis

- A hydraulic problem identified during the afternoon session brought an early end to the planned program

- Michael completed 51 laps today, taking the F1 W03's total mileage to 782 km to date

Nico will take over the program tomorrow, with Michael back in the car on Thursday, and Nico concluding the test on Friday.

Michael Schumacher
"My initial feelings with our new car are certainly good. I'm happy with the different evaluations that we have done over the last week, but obviously with the rule changes, we won't know more until later. It's certainly an improvement and we have worked hard on the areas we had defined last year. The aerodynamics figures look good so I'm not worried about the shape of the nose! Even though we had the hydraulic problem today, I'm pleased with all the mileage we have achieved so far with the new car."

Romain Grosjean was in action at the Circuit de Catalunya for the first day of the latest pre-season test, putting the team's second chassis through its first shakedown.

However, his running was cut short after just seven laps when it became apparent that there was an issue with the car.

"We completed a few aero runs and then started timed runs, but I was very quickly aware that the car wasn't responding as it should," the Frenchman said.

"It's not ideal to lose track time, but fortunately we will have the chassis which ran perfectly in Jerez so I should get some good track time tomorrow. It's far better that we have an issue like this now rather than in Melbourne."

But while it isn't ideal, it also isn't a crisis according to team boss Boullier.

"This is a minor setback to our overall test program. Fortunately we accumulated good mileage in Jerez," he said.

"If this is the only issue we have during testing then we will still be well prepared for the start of the season. We'll be back on track tomorrow with chassis E20-01 and assessing chassis E20-02 back at Enstone."



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull 1m23.265s +0.000s 79
2. Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.440s +0.175 97
3. Hamilton McLaren 1m23.590s +0.325 114
4. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.618s +0.353 76
5. Alonso Ferrari 1m24.100s +0.835 75
6. Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.150s +0.885 51
7. Perez Sauber 1m24.219s +0.954 66
8. Senna Williams 1m25.711s +2.446 97
9. Kovalainen Caterham 1m26.035s +2.770 31
10. Grosjean Lotus 1m26.809s +3.544 7
11. Pic Marussia 1m28.026s +4.761 121

Indy drivers say new car will put up even faster speeds at Barber  A bigger, sleeker, more powerful car isn't the only difference fans will notice when the IZOD IndyCar Series returns to Barber Motorsports Park at the end of March.

The new car design that is being introduced this year will look different with its nearly enclosed rear wheels and it will perform differently thanks to enhance horsepower.

But it will also try to appeal to fans on a sensory level that's almost as important as how it looks.

"It's going to make a better noise," defending series champion Dario Franchitti said during a test session Monday at Barber where he crashed the tail heavy Dallara. More ...

Alex Job Racing switches form Porsche to Lotus in ALMS  
Alex Jobs Racing Lotus
Motorsports and Alex Job Racing are joining forces to compete for the American Le Mans Series GT (ALMS) championship beginning in 2012.  The team will be known as Lotus Alex Job Racing (AJR).  The factory-endorsed sports car team will focus its primary efforts in North America.

Lotus AJR will campaign the 2012 Lotus Evora GTE car beginning with the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix the weekend of April 14th.

"I am excited to announce the racing partnership between Lotus and Alex Job Racing in North America,” Alex Job, team principal of Lotus AJR said.  "Our efforts and ability to attract Lotus is a testament to the hard work that AJR has put in over the past several years. This partnership, along with our key sponsors WilliamRast, Battery Tender, and Yokohama represent a new chapter for our seasoned organization and for the ALMS. More ...

Carlin confirms GP3 Estoril test driver line up  Carlin will take part in the first GP3 Series test of the new season this week at Estoril with confirmed 2012 driver Alex Brundle who will be joined by Antonio Felix da Costa and Will Buller. The team will complete two days of official testing at the Portuguese circuit, before moving to Barcelona in March.

Confirmed 2012 Carlin GP3 driver Brundle will join the team in Portugal ahead of his first year racing in the highly competitive series. Brundle has spent a great deal of time at Carlin’s factory in Farnham where he has been getting to know his team and spending time on the simulator. The Brit competed in Formula two for the 2011 season and makes the step up to the GP3 Series after a season which saw him finish in a solid seventh position. More ...
Mercedes F1 team announces two new sponsors  As the F1 W03 car makes its official debut this morning, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS is delighted to confirm a new partnership with ISOFOTON, a specialist in the design, manufacture and delivery of solar energy solutions.

Based at the Andalusia Technology Park in Malaga, Spain, ISOFOTON began operations in 1981 producing photovoltaic cells based on silicon wafers. Thirty years on and now employing close to 800 people, the company expects to increase its manufacturing capacity to one GW over the next three years. The company’s mission is to be the world’s leading developer of solar energy solutions, providing an efficient, clean and economical source of energy. Its innovative products include solutions for the automotive industry such as electric vehicle solar charging stations and batteries. More ...

Creative Recycling Systems Joins NASCAR as Official Green Partner  NASCAR announced that Florida-based Creative Recycling Systems, Inc. (CRS), a leader in the processing of end-of-life electronics, has joined the stable of Official NASCAR Green Partners. CRS supplies small, mid-size and Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and concerned citizens with the best solutions for electronics reuse and recycling. By providing electronic asset disposition management, data security services and by utilizing state-of-the-art processing and separation technology, CRS prevents millions of pounds of electronics from entering the world's landfills each year. Since its 2008 launch, NASCAR Green has focused on three key areas: waste, emissions and power. Aside from a host of new partners joining the effort with substantive programming, many track and team operators have launched their own programs in areas such as recycling, advancing land and energy conservation, and adopting alternative energy sources. NASCAR/Creative Recycling
Baltimore Grand Prix's contract calls for keeping financials private  The new contract for the Baltimore Grand Prix calls for keeping the race's finances private, but race organizers say City Hall could choose to reveal that information.

In a section in the contract labeled "confidentiality," the draft states that the company's information will be kept private "to the fullest extent" permitted by laDale Dillon, one of three partners in Downforce Racing, the team picked to run the race for the next five years, said the company plans to keep financial details private. The company is required to file monthly financial reports with the city.

"It's a private company. ... It'd be like going to any business and asking them to open their books; it's a little unfair," he said. "We do have specific reporting times and devices that we owe the city. It's up to the city to disclose that." More ...

Manufacturers Anticipate Release Of 2013 IndyCar Aero Kit Regulations  
There is still hope for IndyCar where in 2013 we will see the hideous looking 2012 Dallara body kit replaced with Honda, Lotus and Chevy body kits.  2013 cannot come fast enough.
Amidst the rush to make the season-opening race at St. Petersburg in just over a month, IndyCar’s three engine manufacturers are also planning for 2013’s season opener.

With rules almost completed for the introduction of aero kits next year, Honda Performance Development Assist Vice President Steve Erikson gave SPEED.com an update on HPD’s plans to build its own bodywork.

“It’s very much an active area of interest,” he said. “We send e-mails to [INDYCAR VP of Technology] Will Phillips every couple of days inquiring when the aero kit rules will be released. Until we have them, it’s hard to do full investigations of what’s allowed within that framework.” More ...

Barcelona Day 1: Vettel fastest early  F1 lap times as of 11am local time, on day one of the four-day F1 group test at Catalunya in Spain.

1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 24.260s
2 Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.468s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 25.247s
4 Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 25.677s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 26.164s
6. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 26.809s
7. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 27.039s
8. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1m 27.051s
9. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 27.537s
10. Charles Pic France Marussia-Cosworth 1m 31.301s*
11. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 2m 01.595s

* 2011 car
Haug: Mercedes taking the right steps  Mercedes GP is making the steps that are needed to eventually get itself to the front of the Formula 1 grid according to Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug.

"We are in the building up process," said Haug as his team unveiled its new W03 at Barcelona on Tuesday. "We have been two times fourth in the last two years and our ultimate goal is to move up the ladder and go in the ultimate direction of first place.

"It takes time and a lot of effort, but we are working very hard and ultimately we can achieve it.

"We want to climb up the ladder. To beat Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren-Mercedes is quite a task, but ultimately we want to achieve that. We are still a young team, we need to learn and I think our learning process is underway. My feeling is we are heading in the right direction."

"I think our designers did a good job," he said. "With these stepped noses you need to get used to it, but wait and see. After a while the car that is winning races looks good, and I think our new Silver Arrows is a pleasant and nice car."

Lotus' pre-season hits Barcelona speed-bump  (GMM)  Lotus' impressive start to the 2012 season hit a speed-bump on Tuesday.

While the former Renault team's new E20 car set the pace at Jerez, Romain Grosjean had to retire early when the Barcelona test kicked off on Tuesday.

"I was very quickly aware that the car wasn't responding as it should," said the Frenchman.

Grosjean was shaking down the second E20 chassis, but it will now be sent back to Lotus' Enstone headquarters for investigation.

"Fortunately (on Wednesday) we will have the chassis which ran perfectly in Jerez so I should get some good track time," he said.

Team boss Eric Boullier played down the problem.

"This is a minor setback to our overall test program," he said.  "If this is the only issue we have during testing then we will still be well prepared for the start of the season."

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • What does the mail slot in the Red Bull nose really do?
    Dumping Trulli 'a no-brainer' - Jones
  • Rosberg's father says Mercedes delay 'a risk'
  • Red Bull admits to 'hidden secrets' in RB8 car
  • World champions assess Hamilton's 2012 so far
  • Economic situation saved Massa's seat - Keke Rosberg
  • 2012 cars 'not ugly' insists Alan Jones
  • Bahrain should stay on 2012 calendar - Hill
  • Rigon not third driver at Ferrari in 2012
  • Wurz returns to Williams as 'driver mentor' More ...
RLL and Sato Complete First Day of Testing  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing completed its first day of testing in preparation for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn scenic road course at Barber Motorsports Park.  Takuma Sato completed 38 laps in the No. 15 Honda-Dallara-Firestone race car and was within 1/10ths of a second of last year’s pole time at the track.

“It was a good start, especially since it was our very first day,” said Sato.  “It was nice to see all the boys and engineers and run through the things we prepared over the winter. Although it was a little bit of a slow start since the car was just shook down but I think that is natural. I am pleased to see the car runs straight away and we were able to check that every function is working. Barber is a very challenging track. Although I had a taste of the 2012 car at Sebring in December, there are quite different characteristics on this circuit. It seems that we adapted quickly and I am happy with the basic setup.  There is a lot of work to do but we will go over the data tonight and continue to work on it tomorrow.” More ...

Dodge sticks with the Charger for NASCAR in 2013  Dodge announced Monday that it would continue racing the Charger in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in 2013, when all four manufacturers will debut new body styles that are closer to the production vehicles they are named after. The new Charger will be shown at the Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Kobalt Tools 400 on March 11. The car will be displayed immediately after the drivers' meeting. Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Dodge's Street and Racing Technology division, said no other car was considered but the Charger, because it "fit like a glove." Ford has already debuted the 2013 Fusion as its race car, while Chevrolet and Toyota have yet to announce their plans. Gilles said they have been working on the new car for more than two years, in close association with NASCAR, which demanded "complete parity" of the four brands' designs, while still allowing the race car some brand identity. "You'll be shocked when you see it," Gilles said. "It looks like the street car with fat rubber on it. There is a lot of correlation between the race car and the street car." The new body styles will debut on track in a year, at the 2013 Daytona 500. AutoWeek
Former NASCAR star Mayfield indicted on charges of possessing stolen goods  Former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was indicted on Monday for charges of possession of stolen goods.

Mayfield was indicted for three counts of possession of stolen goods and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses.

PDF: Mayfield indictment

In November, Mayfield was arrested and charged with possessing methamphetamine.

Mayfield was arrested at his home in the town of Catawba, according to the Catawba County Sheriff?s Office. Deputies went to Mayfield's home with a search warrant after getting a tip that there were stolen goods in the house, officials said.

During the search, deputies said they found 1.5 grams of methamphetamine in a gun safe.

Mayfield has denied the allegations. wsotc.com
Alex Wurz Returns to Williams F1  Williams F1 today welcomed its 2007 race driver Alex Wurz back to the team to act as a driver mentor. Alex will start his duties at this week?s Barcelona test before accompanying the team to races this season.

Complementing Williams F1?s recent engagement with Michael Johnson to improve pitstop performance, Alex?s appointment will see the team draw upon his 18 years? experience as a race driver, 11 of which he competed in Formula One, to support its efforts in returning to the front of the grid.

Of his new role, Alex said, ?This is a great initiative by Williams and highlights just how hard the team is pushing to optimize its performance. Throughout my career as a sportsman, which started at the age of 12 in BMX racing, includes over a decade in Formula One and is still ongoing (racing in the World Endurance Championship), I am lucky to have gained so much experience. I grew up in a family business of driver training and naturally I enjoy helping fellow athletes to operate at their best. I?m really looking forward to using my expertise to help Williams at this important stage in its history.?

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer at Williams F1, commented, ?I am delighted to be working once more with Alex and look forward to his valuable input with the drivers as the whole team strives to continuously improve in all aspects of its operation.?
FIM confirms Estoril MotoGP round  MotoGP's ruling body FIM has confirmed Portugal has secured a contract to host a round of the championship in 2012.

The Estoril event was included on the provisional calendar revealed last year, but subject to the successful conclusion of a contract.

On Wednesday, FIM confirmed the event will go ahead as planned on May 6.

Portugal has been on the world championship calendar since the 2000 season.

GP2 Series graduates constitute half of the 2012 Formula One grid  With last week’s announcement of Vitaly Petrov joining the Caterham F1 Team, the number of GP2 graduates racing in Formula One for the 2012 season comes up to 12, representing half of the current grid.

The twelve former GP2 drivers who will race next to the F1 champions, are proof and confirmation that the GP2 Series has met its main objective:  to nurture and train young talents and lead them to the top of motorsport. Since its inception in 2005, the Series has constantly and regularly produced  drivers who have stepped up  to Formula One, starting from GP2 first ever champion Nico Rosberg to the latest crowned ace, 2011 champion Romain Grosjean. In fact, six out of seven GP2 champions are racing in F1 this season, reaffirming GP2 as the natural path to the pinnacle of motorsport. More ...
F1 testing lineup in Barcelona this week  Formula 1 track action continues in Spain on Tuesday, with Barcelona launching the first of two test sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya. Before the on-track drama begins, Mercedes launches its new F1 W03 in the pit lane.

Barcelona's timetable is as follows:

Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 5pm

Note: All times shown are local (GMT +1)

Teams and drivers testing: More ...

Pirelli deliver 1400 F1 tires for testing in Barcelona  
2012 range of Pirelli F1 tires
Two weeks after embarking on the first tire test of the 2012 season, Pirelli heads to Barcelona: the circuit on which the Italian Formula One tires have run the most, having accumulated several thousand kilometers on the Spanish track to date in private and official testing. 

But this is the first time that the definitive 2012 specification tires, as tested in Jerez a fortnight ago, will run on the Circuit de Catalunya. As well as being familiar territory for Pirelli, the track is very well known to the teams, who will be able to use all the circuit data they have accumulated over the years to judge the progress they are making with their 2012 cars. More ...

Bahrain Grand Prix tickets now on sale  Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East, alongside national carriers Gulf Air, proudly announced today an exciting program of events for the upcoming 2012 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.  The long awaited race weekend, which is loved by hundreds of thousands of racing fans from across the region, will be the eighth running of the event.

It is scheduled to take place between April 20 and 22 as the fourth round of a record-breaking 20-race calendar that makes up this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 60-day countdown to the Grand Prix weekend begins tomorrow (Monday, February 20), and as the event nears, excitement and anticipation [is mounting]. More ...

Sirotkin joins the AutoGP Series with Euronova Racing  
Sergey Sirotkin
Euronova Racing chose their first driver for the 2012 season of the Auto GP World Series: Sergey Sirotkin will drive again for the team managed by Vincenzo Sospiri, continuing the cooperation after a staggering 2011 that saw him clinch the F.Abarth European title. Being just 16, Sirotkin will hold the new record as the youngest driver to ever take part in the Championship but the Russian talent, who is part of the Lukoil Driver Development Program, seems more than ready to face the commitment: in 2011, his second season in single-seaters, he was dominant in F.Abarth, clinching five wins and five podium finishes. More ...
Clint Bowyer's car fails qualifying inspection  
Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer will be forced to the rear of one of Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona qualifying races after his car failed inspection Sunday.

Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota was found to be too low on the front left side during two inspections after qualifying for the Daytona 500. Bowyer's twenty-second fastest speed of the session will be thrown out and he will start last in his qualifying race.

"Really very surprised that we were, I don’t know if we got something stuck in the bleed hole in the shock, but the front just didn’t come back up,” said the team's Director of Competition Scott Mille. “It’s all the same stuff that we ran in practice, and it was coming back up. We’ll go over there and get to the bottom of it and see what happened.”

NASCAR said no further penalties will be levied for the infraction.

Bowyer begins his first season with MWR in 2012 after leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of last year. CBS Sports

Robby Gordon not selling NASCAR team  UPDATE Gordon later reconsidered his use of the word "stuck," saying he would prefer to stay in NASCAR on a limited schedule and take on investors. "The reality is, I don't want to be all the way out," Gordon said. "I would like to run about 15 stock car races a year. That would be my goal." That would allow him to continue pursuing his diverse racing interests outside of NASCAR -- and continue to build Speed Energy, which he insists is on its way to becoming a marketing success that can grow to take on the likes of industry titans such as Red Bull. NASCAR.com /AP

Robby Gordon
In one breath, #7-Robby Gordon is bemoaning the fact he couldn't quit NASCAR even if he wanted to. He has money tied up in a race shop and airplanes, with crew members depending on him for their livelihood. Minutes later, though, Gordon is talking with boundless optimism about the potential of Speed Energy, a brand of energy drink that he's trying to market on his own. And does he have a deal for you.

"Race team's for sale," Gordon said. "It's been up for sale. Really, what I'd like to do, I think the smartest thing for us to do as we're talking candidly here, would be to bring in investors that have more opportunity to [attract] big sponsor relations. Obviously, I can drive it, we can run it, but between doing that and operating Speed, we need people that have more relations than I have." Does he make money in NASCAR? "Right now? No," Gordon said. "We haven't made money in NASCAR in a long time." More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Start at Bahrain in 2010
    Keke Rosberg tips Caterham to step up in 2012
  • Bahrain disappointed to lose season open date
  • Red Bull has 'clever' exhaust solution - Caubet
  • Karter Senna injured, not Bruno Senna
  • Raikkonen wanted 2010 return 'for money' - Lopez
  • New HRT still yet to pass crash tests
  • Perez backer Slim not ruling out Ferrari future
  • 2013 France GP project 'not dead' - minister
  • Pirelli closer to deal for 2010 test car
  • Trulli proud of F1 career 'without help'
  • Early start for Mercedes' Barcelona test
  • Caterham F1 Team Announce Sibur As First Russian Team Partner More ...
Conor Daly to test with Lotus GP  American, Conor Daly, will drive for Lotus GP in the first two official GP3 test days of the 2012 season, February 21st/22nd, in Estoril, Portugal.

Daly, was fitted to the car during a recent trip to the French teams headquarters outside Paris, France. It will be Daly's second test with the team and his second time to test in Estoril, Portugal.

"The off season seems to have been long and I'm itching to get back behind the wheel", said Daly. "We continue to work to put the finishing touches on my full season program and while that continues, it’s important that I don't miss any of the official test days. Lotus GP is an outstanding team and my mission for the two days is to learn as much as possible".

Daly moved back to his London, England, base in early February to continue his preparations for the upcoming season.

NASCAR Gatorade Duel Twin 150's lineup  
Race 1


1 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal
2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard
3 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley
4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford EcoBoost
5 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
6 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1
7 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield "Helping Hungry Homes"
8 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Peak / Menards
9 34 David Ragan Ford Scorpion Truck Bed Liners
10 22 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
11 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
12 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
13 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
14 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target
15 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports
16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats
17 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com
18 32 Terry Labonte Ford C&J Energy
19 140 Michael Waltrip Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
20 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express
21 98 Michael McDowell Ford K-Love / Curb Records
22 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King
23 38 David Gilliland Ford MHP Power Pak Pudding
24 37 Mike Wallace Ford Poynt.com
25 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Mapei / Menards / Speed Energy

Race 2 More ...

IndyCar oval testing continues with new suspension to fix evil handling  Determining the aerodynamic package for the new IZOD IndyCar Series car on high-speed ovals in advance of a scheduled March 13 Open Test at Texas Motor Speedway is the objective of INDYCAR and three driver-car combinations converging on the 1.5-mile oval Feb. 21.

“It’s really important to figure out before we go back there so I’m pleased we’re working really close with the tech guys from INDYCAR to make it happen,” said KV Racing Technology’s Tony Kanaan, who volunteered for the mission.

Alex Tagliani of Team Barracuda BHA (formerly known as Bryan Herta Autosport) and Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske will join Kanaan, who celebrated his 2004 series championship at the track. A road/street course Open Test is scheduled for March 5-6 and 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway (the middle day for Firestone Indy Lights testing). More ...
Moss: Vettel is the modern Fangio  Sir Stirling Moss has hailed Sebastian Vettel as the modern day equivalent of five time World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. Speaking at a Motor Sport magazine event, Moss compared Vettel to other current Formula 1 stars before putting the 24 year old on the same level as the late Argentinean.

"Vettel is a modern Fangio, really, in Formula One," commented Moss. "I can't see, other than his natural ability, how he is that good, how he can be that good.

"I think Vettel is quite outstanding, but then he has got the best car, which is fair enough because normally the best driver gets the best car. Fangio went around and took what he wanted and one took whatever was left." More ...

F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello to test IndyCar again at Infineon next weekend  One of the biggest names in Formula One racing is coming to the Bay Area next weekend to test drive an IndyCar.

That's because Rubens Barrichello is thinking of making the jump from the Formula One circuit, which he's been an integral part of for nearly 20 years. It would be quite a coup for IndyCar racing, considering Barrichello's background.

He is the iron man of Formula One, playing both a leading and supporting role on some of the most famous teams in the sport. Perhaps most famously, he teamed with the great Michael Schumacher on the Ferrari dynasty of the early 2000s. More ...
Budweiser Shootout to return to more traditional roots  Next year the Budweiser Shootout will return to its original format of only being open to pole winners from the previous season. That was in place from 1979 until 2008 when NASCAR decided to muck with a good thing.

NASCAR has used a variety of different eligibility formats in recent years. The 2012 system saw last year's top 25 in the championship plus past Daytona race winners invited. Starting next year, the race will return to being open to pole winners from the previous Cup season, plus past Shootout winners who attempted to qualify for at least one race in 2012. More ...
'Difficult moment' leaves F1 without an Italian  UPDATE
Domenicali laments at the lack of Italians in F1 yet has overlooked bringing up and coming Italian American Alexander Rossi into Ferrari's Young Drivers Academy.  A clear case of watch what I do not what I say.
[Editor's Note: Domenicali talks out of both sides of his mouth. When was the last time Ferrari hired an Italian driver? Why have they overlooked Italian American Alexander Rossi?]  Italian Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has expressed his thoughts about the absence of Italian drivers in Formula 1 for 2012, branding himself 'very sad'.

"I am very sad that, after so many years there will not be an Italian driver in the Formula 1 world championship field," said Domenicali, who began his career as race director at Mugello. "I say this on the sporting front and on a personal level when it comes to Jarno, who only on a few occasions has had a car capable of showing off his talents.

"So here, I wish him all the best for the future, both in racing and away from the track. It's a difficult moment for our sport, partly for external reasons." More ...

Stewart tells Hamilton to stay at McLaren  
Jackie Stewart
Sir Jackie Stewart has advised Lewis Hamilton to stay put at McLaren, labeling the partnership as the ideal fit.

"I think McLaren are one of the best racing teams there's ever been in Formula One, they've got a facility second to none," the Scotsman said in an interview with Sky Sports News. "They've got a huge staff, they've got great knowledge and experience and have been competitive."

It has been rumored of the possibility that Hamilton might leave McLaren to join current rivals Red Bull, but Stewart maintained he could not see Hamilton with a more acceptable drive.

"At the end of last season Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could hardly have had a better car to drive - of course it's always greener on the other side of the fence, but where would he go? More ...

Upcoming IndyCar test schedule  21 IZOD IndyCar Series drivers (22 if you include F1 driver Barrichello) will turn laps in the next three weeks.  Below is a summary of what we were able to compile:

Dates Days Track Teams

20th & 21st

Monday & Tuesday Barber Penske Racing (Castroneves and Power), Rahal Letterman (Sato), Sam Schmidt (Pagenaud), Ganassi Racing (All 4 cars),
20th & 21st Monday & Tuesday Sebring A.J. Foyt Racing with Mike Conway, and Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson and  James Jakes
20th & 21st Monday & Tuesday Fontana Bryan Herta Autosport’s Alex Tagliani, KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan (Tuesday Only)
21st & 22nd Tuesday & Wednesday Phoenix Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti, Panther's JR Hildebrand (Wednesday Only)
23rd & 24th Thursday & Friday Sebring Rahal Letterman (Sato), Schmidt (Pagenaud), Ganassi (Dixon, Franchitti, Kimball and Rahal), Dreyer & Reinbold (Servia), HVM (Simona de Silvestro)
25th & 26th Saturday & Sunday Sonoma KV Racing (Barrichello and Viso), Andretti (Ryan Hunter-Reay), Panther (Hildebrand), Penske (Power and Briscoe) [Note: test open to public]
28th & 29th Tuesday & Wednesday Barber Dreyer & Reinbold (Servia), Herta (Tagliani)
March 5-9 Monday thru Friday Sebring Official IndyCar Spring Training (All Teams)

Adrian Newey interview - Red Bull Racing  Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey gives the lowdown on the team’s new car, the RB8 and explains some of the challenges that have been thrown up by the 2012 regulation changes…

Does recent success add to the pressure to maintain it or lessen it, as you have continuity?

Adrian Newey:
The last few years have been really good, really successful; it’s been an incredible journey to get there. It’s the fourth evolution of the RB5 this year, so obviously the pressure is to try and stay there if we possibly can. It’s a difficult task, we have lost the exhaust technology with the restriction exhaust outlet position that we were able to develop and perhaps be ahead of the pack on in the last couple of years, that led to a big re think over the winter. Whether that will affect us more than other people is difficult to know of course. We designed the RB7, last year’s car, around that exhaust position and were probably the only people to do so, so it may be that we’ve lost more than other people through that. Only time will tell, it will be good to get out to do some testing and to see where we get to. More ...

NASCAR Toyota Series Introduced In Mexico  In an official ceremony before members of the media at the Banamex Center, located northwest of Mexico City, a presentation was held to officially announce the NASCAR Toyota Series. For the past five years, Toyota has demonstrated interest and commitment to motorsports in Mexico and for the 2012 season the car manufacturer has signed on to become the title sponsor of the stock-car series, marking a significant moment for the NASCAR Mexico organization.

For more information en español, click here: www.nascarmexico.com.mx 

The unveiling of the new series name and logo was headed by Federico Alamán, CEO of NASCAR Mexico, and Guillermo Lira, marketing manager for Toyota, who, together, presented  the new look for this season. More ...

Qualifying Order Daytona 500  
Pos Car# Driver Manu Speed Speed Rank Points Rank
1 27 Paul Menard Chevy 192.810 5 17
2 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy 189.609 39 27
3 51 Kurt Busch Chevy 190.929 27 30
4 13 Casey Mears Ford 190.634 31 32
5 99 Carl Edwards Ford 192.489 10 2
6 20 Joey Logano Toyota 191.644 20 24
7 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 190.541 32 9
8 39 Ryan Newman Chevy 191.530 22 10
9 16 Greg Biffle Ford 193.395 1 16
10 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 193.349 2 19
11 14 Tony Stewart Chevy 192.707 7 1
12 10 Danica Patrick(i) Chevy 191.975 13 33
13 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 191.714 19 5
14 43 Aric Almirola Ford 192.641 9 15
15 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 189.342 40 29
16 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 193.150 3 8
17 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 191.640 21 20
18 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 191.967 14 3
19 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevy 191.849 16 21
20 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge 191.775 18 11
21 33 Elliott Sadler(i) Chevy 190.714 29 13
22 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 190.763 28 12
23 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(i) Ford 192.082 12 23
24 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 191.951 15 6
25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 192.806 6 7
26 83 Landon Cassill Toyota 188.009 45 25
27 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 191.522 23 18
28 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 192.649 8 4
29 78 Regan Smith Chevy 190.166 35 26
30 55 Mark Martin Toyota 192.263 11 34
31 5 Kasey Kahne Chevy 191.828 17 22
32 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 191.396 24 28
33 93 David Reutimann Toyota 187.527 46 14
34 34 David Ragan Ford 191.095 26 31
35 38 David Gilliland Ford 188.592 43 35

Not in Top 35 2009 Owners Points More ...
Knaus violation surprises NASCAR President Mike Helton  
Knaus caught trying to cheat again
NASCAR President Mike Helton said Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus likely will be penalized for the illegal C-posts found on Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 car Friday but stopped short of saying Knaus’ previous history would be considered when determining the penalty.

Johnson’s car failed pre-practice inspection at Daytona International Speedway Friday and NASCAR confiscated the C-posts because they had been modified outside of NASCAR specifications. The team replaced the C-posts and practiced the car Saturday as scheduled.

Helton said there is a “high likelihood” of Knaus being penalized.

“It fits in the category of prerace inspection issues that we’ve had in the past,” Helton said Saturday morning. “It will warrant a reaction from us more so than what you’ve seen already, … more than what we’ve done so far.” More ...

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing signs Japanese American development driver  Kyle Larson, a 19-year-old Japanese American driver who will race for the NASCAR Drive For Diversity team in 2012, has signed a development contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Larson captured 22 wins last year, including victories in the World of Outlaws series, all three U.S. Auto Club national divisions and the American Sprint Car Series.

In one night last year, Larson swept the races in the Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown divisions at Eldora Speedway. Larson will drive in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Series in 2012 for the diversity program’s Rev Racing.

Biffle, Roush Fenway Lead Pack at Daytona practice  For the second straight day a Roush Fenway Ford set the pace at Daytona International Speedway, with Greg Biffle leading both of Saturday’s practice sessions for next week’s Daytona 500. Biffle’s fastest lap of 193.395 mph was the fastest of the day. In addition, Carl Edwards was seventh fastest in the second practice, with Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. turning the 13th and 14th fastest times in the session. RFR’s Trevor Bayne was second fastest in the second practice session and fourth in the first session in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford.

“I feel really good,” said Biffle of the day’s performance. “It’s a testament to how hard these guys have worked…Matt (Puccia) and all these guys on the team who work at the track and the shop. They’ve worked really hard on these cars and the motors have been awesome.” More ...

Baltimore Lotus HVM Launch Photos  UPDATE
Photos from Lotus HVM Racing Season Launch

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that drafting a new contract to continue the Baltimore Grand Prix was the city's smartest move, even as others questioned why the deal didn't do more to recover losses to vendors and taxpayers from the 2011 race.

"It's in the best interest for our local economy, and the best interest of the city, that we move forward, but not move forward with any risk to taxpayers," Rawlings-Blake said during brief comments at City Hall.

Some were quick to agree with the mayor, portraying the five-year deal with new operator Downforce Racing Inc. as an economic boon for Baltimore. But others emphasized that the new contract takes no additional steps to help vendors and taxpayers recoup the debts left by Baltimore Racing Development, the previous operator of the Grand Prix. More ...

ALMS week in review  The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron’s annual Winter Test offered a sneak peak at several new cars that will make their debut at the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Some models even made their world debut at challenging road course on Feb. 8-9.  We caught up with teams to get their thoughts on the new equipment.


After an inaugural race which witnessed capacity crowds, the Baltimore Grand Prix announced this week a new partnership with Downforce Racing that confirms the continuation of the race in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for the next five years.

"We’re very pleased with the new partnership between the City of Baltimore and Downforce Racing confirming the continuation of the Baltimore Grand Prix," ALMS President & CEO Scott Atherton said. "The group is very qualified from both an operational and a financial perspective, making it a wise choice for the growth of this great event. The new agreement is in the best interests for all parties and sets a course for the long-term success of the race. We look forward to working with Downforce Racing, the Mayor’s Office and all involved to build on the success of the inaugural event. More ...
Yes, it really did snow in Maranello!  
Thick snowflakes fell on Rome recently, forcing the closure of the Colosseum over fears tourists would slip on the icy ruins, and leaving buses struggling to climb the city's slushy hills. Other parts of the country experienced frigid temperatures unseen in years.

The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1986, though lighter snowfalls have occasionally blanketed the city since, including in 2010. Since the capital is usually blessed with a temperate climate, heating in homes is only allowed by law for about 10 hours a day, to cut down on pollution.

The cold snap, with temperatures hovering around the freezing point, meant Romans were shivering in their homes, many with tile and marble floors.

Luca Fornetti owns the famous shop further north in Maranello across the street from the Ferrari factory known as Shopping Formula 1. He took these photos showing the front yard with the Ristorante Cavallino off to the right. Across the Abetone you can see the famous arch entryway of Ferrari. Now you know why the F1 press conference was cancelled.

Ferrari Enzo successor to make 920 hp  About a decade and a half after Porsche eschewed its lightness-and-small-displacement strategy and built a five-liter sports racer to take down Ferrari at Le Mans, a different sort of war kicked off between the two marques: a battle for supremacy in the super-supercar market.

In 1984, Ferrari built a radically modified twin-turbo 308 GTB with an eye toward Group B road-racing rules. Porsche countered the resultant 288 GTO with the mighty 959, which launched at about the same time as the 288's successor, the practically skeletal and infinitely loopier F40. More ...

Martin Truex Jr. on pole for Budweiser Shootout  
Truex draws for pole
Getty Images for NASCAR
Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole Saturday night in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The 75-lap exhibition race will feature segments of 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. There will be a 10-minute break between segments during which time teams may change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments.

Eligible for the race were drivers who finished in the top 25 in the 2011 standings and any race winner of a Cup points race at Daytona or the Budweiser Shootout. More ...

NASCAR confiscates parts from #48 car  UPDATE
Crew chief Chad Knaus reacts as crew members work on the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson after NASCAR confiscated C-posts due to a modification violation in an initial inspection
Getty Images for NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson said he hopes that the fact NASCAR allowed Hendrick Motorsports to fix the car that failed inspection and that crew chief Chad Knaus was not ejected is a sign that the violations found Friday are not too severe.

“I’m not sure what Tuesday after the 500 holds,” Johnson, a five-time Cup champion, said. “They’re letting us work on the car. Things seem OK. They just want the C-posts to be changed and to be put back to the other specs.

“We’ve done that and we’ll see what Tuesday holds. I don’t know if I’m reading it incorrectly, but if they’re really mad, Chad wouldn’t be here. The car would be impounded. They’re letting us work on it. I’m hoping that’s a good sign.”

Knaus has been suspended twice by NASCAR – in 2006 and 2007 – and even missed the Daytona 500 won by Johnson in 2006 because he had been ejected from the track earlier in the weekend. More ...

Pack Racing is back at Daytona, and with it the 'Big One'  
Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Tag Heuer Avant-Garde Chevrolet Chevrolet, got spun out by Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, causing part of the field to wreck
Getty Images for NASCAR
It appears that pack racing is back at Daytona International Speedway and with it, “The Big One.”
At least seven cars were involved in a wreck during practice for Saturday night’s Bud Shootout. Those involved were Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Keselowski and Allmendinger were forced to go to backup cars. (See video here)

The incident (watch it here) came 45 minutes into the practice session when Stewart clipped the back of Kurt Busch’s No. 51, setting off the minor melee. Prior to the wreck, the cars were traveling in a giant pack, which is a departure from the tandem racing that emerged during last year’s Daytona 500. More ...

Red Bull backs FIA over Bahrain GP  Red Bull boss Christian Horner has backed the FIA over Formula 1's planned return to Bahrain, with the Gulf State set to host the fourth round of the season on 22 April. Last year's race was ultimately cancelled following major political riots and violence, but Horner is extremely confident that the Grand Prix will take place as planned.

Formula 1 cars were last seen at the Bahrain International Circuit in 2010“As far as I'm aware we're definitely going (to Bahrain),” Horner explained. “We rely on the FIA - it's the FIA Formula One world championship after all - and Bahrain is one of the races on the calendar. They are far better placed to know what the issues are, and we trust their judgment, as we do the promoter, and we'll see how things develop." More ...

Move over, boys: it's Danica time  
In NASCAR, there is Danica, and then there is everyone else.  She is, without winning a single thing, now NASCAR's biggest star
You’ve experienced Tebow — no first name necessary — love, you are living Jeremy Lin love. Now welcome to Danica — no last name necessary — love.

Whether you are a gear head whose head hits the pillow dreaming of the surrealistic sounds and smells of NASCAR or if you aren’t even on the same planet, it’s a safe bet the media frenzy over Danica Patrick’s stock car debuts will engulf you in no time.

The building tsunami of interest was evident as it engulfed Thursday’s media day that opened Speedweeks leading up to the Feb. 26 Daytona 500. Patrick’s morning session with reporters drew an overflow crowd, surpassing even that of the sport’s crown prince Dale Earnhardt Jr. for whom Patrick will drive a full schedule in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series. More ...

tv news
Myers To Miss Daytona After Son's Death  FOX Sports NASCAR studio host and NFL on FOX sideline reporter Chris Myers will miss Daytona Speedweeks broadcasts due to the death of his son, Christopher.

“It is with tremendous sadness that the FOX Sports family acknowledges the passing of Christopher Myers, 19, son of NASCAR on FOX studio host Chris Myers,” said Eddie Motl, Manager of FOX Sports Media Relations.

Myers' son was involved in a fatal car accident in Southern California on Thursday.

John Roberts, Speed studio host, will fill in as the NASCAR on FOX studio host for the Budweiser Shootout, Daytona 500 Qualifying and the Daytona 500 and will be available until Myers’ return.

Finally, Brian France wins something in court  
Brian France
Britney Spears is coughing up some dough to settle a lawsuit in which she's accused of being a perfume traitor.

Britney was sued by Brand Sense Partners -- a beauty company that hooked her up with Elizabeth Arden to front her Radiance perfume.  Under the deal, Brand Sense was supposed to get 35% of Brit's profits.

But according to the suit, Britney and daddy Jamie entered into a secret deal with Elizabeth Arden and cut Brand Sense out of the deal.

The financial terms of the settlement are redacted, but the docs make it clear -- Britney paid Brand Sense commissions for a period of years, in addition to a lump sum. TMZ

Editor's Note: Finally, Brian France is a winner at something.  Brand Sense is Brian's company.  The front page of the website is, shall we say, different (www.bsp.com).

Whitmarsh sure nose concept not McLaren mistake  
Martin Whitmarsh
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh has played down fears McLaren has made a crucial mistake by overlooking the 'step nose' trend that will dominate the 2012 grid.

With the new Mercedes having now broken cover, and Pedro de la Rosa revealing that HRT's 2012 car also has a step nose, famous British team McLaren is all alone in keeping a smooth aerodynamic line from the end of the monocoque to the tip of the nose.

Every other team has decided that the best solution to the new rules forcing a lower nose is to plough ahead with having as high a chassis as possible, in order to maximize the flow of air underneath the car. More ...

NASCAR turns down 'General Lee'  UPDATE
General Lee car in Dukes of Hazzard
Former Georgia congressman Ben Jones, who starred as ace mechanic "Cooter" Davenport on the hit television series "The Dukes of Hazzard", issued a statement on Friday criticizing NASCAR for its decision to prevent the use of the popular "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger at the Phoenix Sprint Cup race in March.

"At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to 'political correctness' and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors," Jones said in a release. More ...

Langdon, Gray, Line race to No. 1 qualifying spots Friday in Phoenix  Shawn Langdon raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel Friday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway.

Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also took the provisional top spots in their categories at the second of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.

Langdon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a track record 3.754-second pass at 323.12 mph. It was the fifth-quickest run in NHRA Top Fuel history and moved the driver into the provisional top spot with two qualifying sessions left. If it stands, it would be Langdon’s second No. 1 qualifying position. More ...

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