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02/18/15
nhra

U.S. Army Racing looks to continue winning ways in Phoenix
Antron Brown winning in Phoenix last year
Antron Brown winning in Phoenix last year
U.S. Army and Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown return to NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel action this weekend looking to continue their victory streak at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix during the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.

The Army tandem has accounted for the two most recent event titles at Wild Horse Pass and both, along with their nine-man teams, head to the Valley of the Sun being part of an Army effort that makes a difference for America. Schumacher, the eight-time and reigning Top Fuel world champion and pilot of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster for DSR, raced to victory at Phoenix in 2013, defeating Brown in the semifinal with a holeshot, then Morgan Lucas in the Top Fuel final in a pedalfest. Last February at Phoenix, Brown, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion, picked up the first of his series-high six event titles behind the wheel of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster in 2014.

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02/18/15
nhra

Line Once More Bringing the Heat to Phoenix
Jason Line
Summit Racing's Jason Line started the 2015 season of NHRA's Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on a serious high note. That's nothing new, however, for the now 36-time NHRA Pro stock winner. Just last year, the two-time Pro Stock world champ kicked off the season with a win at the NHRA Winternationals, and this year he went ahead and replicated the fine feat with a decisive victory to leave Pomona with the points lead. Line will arrive in Phoenix for the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals with one hot race car and a deep desire to stay on top.

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02/18/15
v8

Shell sponsorship for Ambrose Ford
Marcus Ambrose and his Shell sponsored Ford for Adelaide
Marcos Ambrose and his Shell sponsored Ford for Adelaide
DJR Team Penske has unveiled a significant sponsorship partnership with Shell Helix for the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship.

The Shell brand, which is licensed exclusively to Viva Energy in Australia, has a rich history with Dick Johnson Racing in Australia and Team Penske in the USA. To highlight this association, the iconic #17 Ford Falcon FG X driven by Marcos Ambrose will roll out onto the track in full Shell Helix livery at the Clipsal 500.

Before a large contingent of media and guests Dick Johnson and Marcos Ambrose took the wraps off the car at the team’s headquarters in Queensland.

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02/18/15
irl

Mark Miles, what took so long?
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I have been a reader of AutoRacing1.com for the past 15 years.  You guys are the best and tell it like it is.  You guys have been saying for 15 years that the IndyCar season should start the weekend before Super Bowl (not the week after) and end on Labor Day.  IndyCar Racing has had their head stuck in the sand for 15 years and are just now starting to say, per Mark Miles, that he wants the season to start in early February and end by Labor Day. Is that how long it takes the gomers on 16th and Georgetown to digest and understand your recommendations? George Pillet

Dear George, Yup that long.  They are slow on the uptake, preferring to be a small blemish on NASCAR's posterior and never growing. Miles is still trying to figure a place to race on Labor Day weekend as their season finale. It will likely take them 15 years, after failing at another 5 venues on Labor Day weekend, before they just have to look out the window and the answer is 100 yards away - a 400 miler under the lights on the oval at Indy to end the season. It would be spectacular.  They are worried about college students being back to school by then.  Well that is an issue in any market.  Instead of figuring out that having all the kids back in college by then can be turned around and used to your advantage to bring them to the Speedway for a big party, they will test the waters in other markets and come out with egg on their face. 15 years later (2030) they will finally figure it out. Mark C.

Comment
02/18/15
irl

Jakes takes Schmidt seat over American Daly
A reader asks, Dear AR1.com, Why did James Jakes get the Schmidt Peterson IndyCar ride over Conor Daly? Jules Jacob

Dear Jules, When in doubt, follow the money.  Jakes brought sponsorship and Daly had none. Welcome to the world of IndyCar Racing today.  You want to race an IndyCar? Just bring a big check as the ride-buying cancer continues to destroy open wheel racing from the core. Perhaps IndyCar's new slogan should be, Have Money Will Drive Racing Mark C. for AR1.com

Comment
02/18/15
il
r2i

Indy Lights: Pigot quickest today at NOLA
Juncos Racing's Spencer Pigot led today's Indy Lights Presented By Cooper Tires testing session at New Orleans Motorsports Park. Full times below...

Pos No Driver Hometown Team BestTm Diff Gap BestSpd
1 12 Spencer Pigot (R) Pasadena, CA Juncos Racing 01:27.4298 --.---- --.---- 112.822
2 11 Ed Jones (R) Dubai, United Arab Emirates Carlin Motorsport 01:27.7948 0.3650 0.3650 112.353
3 51 Shelby Blackstock (R) Nashville, TN Andretti Autosport 01:28.7022 1.2724 0.9074 111.204
4 18 Kyle Kaiser (R) San Jose, CA Juncos Racing 01:28.7600 1.3302 0.0578 111.131
5 42 Jack Harvey Bassingham, England Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:28.7908 1.3610 0.0308 111.093
6 14 Max Chilton (R) Surrey, England Carlin Motorsport 01:29.6098 2.1800 0.8190 110.077
7 5 Juan Piedrahita Bogota, Colombia Belardi Auto Racing 01:29.9578 2.5280 0.3480 109.651
8 7 RC Enerson (R) New Port Richey, FL Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:30.7866 3.3568 0.8288 108.650
9 77 Scott Anderson Fort Collins, Colorado Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:30.9599 3.5301 0.1733 108.443
10 71 Ethan Ringel (R) Windermere, FL Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 01:32.8263 5.3965 1.8664 106.263
11 4 Felix Serralles (R) Ponce, PR Belardi Auto Racing 01:43.4083 15.9785 10.5820 95.389

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02/18/15
nassprint

Busch and Bowman fastest at Daytona today
Kyle Busch turned the fastest lap at Daytona today
Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch and Alex Bowman of Tommy Baldwin Racing led Daytona 500 practice sessions three and four respectively today at Daytona International Speedway. The early session was marred by a crash involving Danica Patrick. The driver of the #10 Go Daddy Chevrolet had contact with Denny Hamlin on the backstretch, which sent her into the retaining wall.

Michael Annett was also caught up in the crash. Neither driver returned to the track.

Next up for the Sprint Cup Series will be a practice session at noon tomorrow before the Budweiser Duel at Daytona qualifying races tomorrow evening.

Full practice results below...

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02/18/15
nastruck
nasx

NASCAR makes Daytona qualifying changes
NASCAR announced on Wednesday that it will update the procedure for this week's NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.

"We continue to work in collaboration with the industry to implement the most exciting and competitive qualifying format, especially as it relates to Superspeedways," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said. " As a result, we have made a few adjustments to the format for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series events later this week at Daytona. We will continue to review the qualifying format for future Superspeedway events."

For Camping World Truck Keystone Light Pole Qualifying (Friday, 4:45 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and XFINITY Coors Light Pole Qualifying (Saturday, 12:15 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1), the field will be broken into four groups with a quarter of the field in each group.

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02/18/15
karting news

Punsalan takes victory in MD Varsity Karting League
Ben Punsalan in kart #38 shortly before the start of the A-Main
(Jessup, MD - Feb.17,2015) Ben Punsalan of River Hill High School scored his first Maryland Varsity Karting League victory Tuesday.

Earlier in the evening Punsalan secured pole position with a blistering qualifying lap of 18.38 seconds on the Le Mans Circuit at Auto Club Speedway, good enough to edge Jemicy School's Brendan Stern by three-hundredths of second. Stern, who had won the first two rounds of the MD Varsity Karting championship would start the A-Main second alongside Punsalan with Jackie Ding of Sandy Spring Friends School third.

At the drop of the green flag, Punsalan got away quickly from the line and lead the field into turn 1. Ding, who was able to out brake Stern in the tricky turn 1 left-hander, slotted into second. Stern stuck on the outside fell back to fifth, as Thomas Gunther of Wye River and Leonidas Williams of Baltimore Lab School also got by.

From there, Punsalan was able to establish a gap of more than a second over Ding, leading every all 12 laps en route to victory.  Ding recorded his second second-place finish of the season, while Williams rounded out the podium in third.

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02/18/15
nassprint

Danica Patrick talks about Daytona crash
Danica Patrick
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS was involved in a multi-car accident during today’s first practice session and will go to a back-up car and start at the rear of the field in Thursday’s Budweiser Duel.

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ACCIDENT?

“It’s unfortunate. I know it was a car. I know it was a good coming from the shop. And with this new format that we have with qualifying and the race and everything, we knew we were going to have to race hard through the Duels anyway. That’s not going to change. It just makes extra work for everybody having to get everything ready with the other car. Hopefully we’ll get out soon and we’ll go make sure everything is all right and we’ll make sure it’s good on time.”

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02/18/15
nassprint

Hamlin on Wednesday Daytona 500 practice crash
Denny Hamlin
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How aggressive were drivers in practice?
"People say in practice that you can't make aggressive moves, but we also have to put ourselves in decent positions where we're going to have to figure out what our car is doing. I went through the middle and it was really wide – it just closed as soon as I had already got inside of her (Danica Patrick) and the lane closed. It knocked me into the 13 (Casey Mears) and we had some attrition after that."

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02/18/15
irl

Miles: Financially Healthy IndyCar Looking At 20 Races, Avoiding NASCAR Conflicts
Walker (L) and Miles (R)
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles yesterday at IndyCar media day said that "focusing on a schedule of 'about 20 races' positioned between early February and Labor Day would be in IndyCar's best interest if the open wheel series is to build off what he called 'nothing short of a fantastic year'" in '14, according to Brant James of USA TODAY. Miles: "Hopefully less and less conflicted scheduling with NASCAR."

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02/18/15
f1

F1 bans mid-season helmet livery changes
Sebastian Vettel was notorious for changing his helmet livery, sometimes every race.
(GMM)  Mid-season helmet livery changes have been banned, according to reports on Wednesday.

The respected German publication Auto Motor und Sport and the international news agency Reuters report that F1 drivers this year will have to start and finish the season with the same helmet colors.

German correspondent Tobias Gruner said it was a proposal by Bernie Ecclestone that was adopted by the governing FIA and team bosses at Tuesday's meeting of the F1 Commission.

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02/18/15
usac

Window World continues Primary Sponsorship of Andretti Short Track
Andretti  Autosport Short Track announced Window World will return as a primary sponsor of driver Jarett Andretti for the 2015 season. The team will enter a Window World car in 17 United States Auto Club (USAC) Sprint Car races and also the complete USAC Silver Crown pavement schedule.

Today’s announcement continues to define Andretti’s 2015 season, which will include over 50 races across the country in Sprint Car and Silver Crown competition.  Window World, a longtime friend of Andretti racing, has supported Jarett throughout his young career, including last year when he captured the 2014 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year title.

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02/18/15
fe
automotive news

The first electric hypercar
Rimac Concept One
(Croatia 17 Feb 15) -- If you’re in the market for a million dollar hypercar, your options have never been better. But before you place a deposit with Ferrari, McLaren or Porsche for one of the devastatingly quick La Ferraris, P1s or 918s, you might want to consider a fourth option. And to make this even more interesting, this new pretender – unlike its hybrid rivals – is fully-electric.

If you’ve been to a Formula E race, you’ll have seen one of these eye-catching beauties lapping the track emblazoned with Race Director’s Car logos. If this is the first time you’ve set eyes on the dark blue meanie, the answer you’re looking for is – the Rimac Concept One.

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02/18/15
r2i
usf2000

Jay Motorsports signs Augie Lerch
Palmetto, FL - JAY Motorsports is proud to announce the signing of Augie Lerch to its 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season. JAY Motorsports first entered the USF2000 Championship in 2012, claimed their first win in 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix Circuit and finished fourth in the 2014 overall Team Championship.

“I am really excited,” said Team Principal, Jay Green, on having Lerch join the team in 2015. “Augie fits the way the team approaches things. We’re basically a family run business and Augie understands that and appreciates it. I really believe that working together we will do what we’re trying to accomplish this season.”

Lerch has had a successful racing career so far. In 2013, he placed third in the S2 Championship class in the SKUSA SuperNationals. Last year, he raced in the F1600 series where he claimed one win, four podiums and finished third in the overall championship as a rookie.

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02/18/15
irl

IndyCar stars hit Mardi Gras
Ahead of the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana (April 10-12 at NOLAMotorsports Park), the Verizon IndyCar Series teamed with the legendary Krewe of Bacchus for a week of festivities. IndyCar racers James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden , Carlos Munoz and Sage Karam were joined by Mazda Road to Indy racers Aaron Telitz and Neil Alberico for a full-fledged schooling on all things Mardi Gras.

The following is Josef Newgarden's first-person account of the group's weekend in New Orleans.

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02/18/15
f1

Pascal Wehrlein to test with Sahara Force India in Barcelona
Pascal Wehrlein

Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Pascal Wehrlein will drive for the team at the upcoming testing session in Barcelona, Spain beginning on 19 February. The 20-year-old German, who is the official reserve driver of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and a works Mercedes AMG DTM driver, will spend two days behind the wheel of the team’s 2014 car, the VJM07.

Sahara Force India’s testing program will focus primarily on evaluation of the 2015 Pirelli tires. The test will also provide the opportunity for Pascal to continue his Formula One learning and build on the strong performance he showed with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS at the season-ending test in Abu Dhabi last year.

The test in Barcelona marks the beginning of Pascal’s association with Sahara Force India with the Mercedes-Benz junior driver also scheduled to participate in two in-season tests.

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02/18/15
f1

Champion trio to begin Barcelona action
Will Mercedes end its sandbagging?
(GMM)  Three world champions will bring F1 track action back into life on Thursday.

Reigning title winner Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and 2009 world champion Jenson Button will be among those in action on day one, as the second of just three pre-Melbourne winter tests begins in Barcelona.

Red Bull, Williams, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Sauber and even the absent-in-Jerez Force India are also busily setting up at the Circuit de Catalunya.

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02/18/15
f1

Hulkenberg, Perez prepare for Barcelona test
Hulkenberg and Perez
(GMM)  The absent-in-Jerez Force India team is busily setting up for this week's second pre-season test.

As earlier reported, despite rumors of financial and supplier trouble, the Silverstone based outfit is conspicuously among its eight other peers at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Missing, however, is the team's 2015 car, the as-yet-unseen VJM08, amid reports it is engine supplier Mercedes' reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein who will begin the running in last year's VJM07 on Thursday.

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02/18/15
f1

F1 Commission Rejects Early Revamp Of Car Regulations For 2016 Season (Update) UPDATE (GMM)  A rules revolution in formula one will have to wait, after the decision-making F1 Commission met in Geneva on Tuesday.

As the body - comprising the teams, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and race promoters, suppliers and sponsors - met, Ferrari unveiled its vision of the future.

The futuristic, computer-generated F1 concept car appeared radical, but Ferrari argued that although "aggressive-looking", it could be made a reality "without having to overturn the current technical rules".

"Minimal changes give the car a look that is way different from what we have been familiar with so far," the fabled Italian team added.

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02/18/15
automotive

Global 500: Apple remains world's top brand, Ferrari only 295th
Toyota is the world's #1 car manufacturer brand
Find out which car companies have the strongest brand in the top-500 Brand Finance 2015 rankings listed below. Japanese brand Toyota beats all those great German brands. Did the fact they smoked Audi and Porsche in WEC last year have anything to do with it?

Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand with a brand value of $128 billion. Detractors have been predicting the brand’s decline for years now and last year’s brand value results suggested a slight slowdown in growth. Critics have suggested the company has been relying on tweaks to what is effectively the same mobile hardware for the last several iterations of the iPhone. Many also criticized the price point of the iPhone 5c, seeing it as a missed opportunity for Apple to exploit the explosive growth of the smartphone market in developing economies. Without the charismatic presence of Steve Jobs it was suggested Apple was drifting. In 2013, Brand Finance downgraded Apple’s brand rating (an indication of the future potential of the brand) from the highest possible AAA+ grade to AAA.

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