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Enders-Stevens, Schumacher, Capps collect Phoenix wins  
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher won a wild tire-smoking final round against Morgan Lucas Sunday to claim the Top Fuel victory at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Phoenix.

Schumacher raced to his 70th career victory and fourth at FIR when he was able to get his 8,000-horsepower U.S. Army dragster under control and finish just in front of Lucas' charging GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster. Both dragsters lost traction early in the side-by-side race and both drivers were on and off the throttle as they navigated the dragstrip. More ...

Bernie Ecclestone Skeptical of FIA's New All-Electric Racing Series  UPDATE
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag
The new FIA sanctioned all-electric racing series, Formula E, is still a work in progress, but Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said he is "extremely satisfied with progress until now."

Agag, a 42-year-old Spanish businessman, said a lot of work has to be done before the first race, "but everything [is] coming along nicely." Formula E is scheduled to debut in ’14, however, the racing series has only two confirmed host cities and one confirmed team so far. More ...
The crash video NASCAR does not want you to see  This video was taken by a fan in the grandstands as the Nationwide race finish crash unfolded.  NASCAR tried to block this video but YouTube denied them once it was determined no one was killed.

Video: Le Mans Disaster 1955  83 people were killed and 120 were injured. This sporting tragedy is the most catastrophic accident in motor racing history. Pierre Levegh's Mercedes crashed and blew up at 125mph, killing Levegh and sending debris flying in to the crowd. The Pathe cameras captured the disaster on camera.  Notice the little protection fans had back then.

Zetsche warns 'no miracles' for Mercedes in 2013  
Dieter Zetsche
(GMM)  Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has played down expectations ahead of Mercedes' fourth-consecutive season as a works formula one team.

The Brackley based team has made big changes for 2013; swapping Michael Schumacher for Lewis Hamilton, ousting Norbert Haug and installing Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff in upper management.

"It was evident in the last few years that we have had a good engine, maybe the best, and good drivers, but we were not competitive because of the chassis," Zetsche said in an interview with Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper. More ...

Toro Rosso teammates no longer friends  
Vergne (Top) and Ricciardo are not friends
(GMM)  Jean-Eric Vergne says he is no longer friends with his Toro Rosso teammate.

Until they were paired together at the second Red Bull team, Frenchman Vergne and Australian Daniel Ricciardo were friends.

They had been signed to the energy drink company's notoriously tough driver development program on the same day, thereafter working together in Formula Renault.

But now in the high-stakes world of F1, and fighting for a place at the world championship team, the friendship has ended.

"I don't know if it's because we are in F1 or he (Ricciardo) thinks he has definitely beaten me that we cannot have any relationship, but, no, we don't see each other away from the track and we are not friends," Vergne is quoted by the Melbourne newspaper The Age.

Vergne insisted, however, that their working relationship is intact. More ...

Daytona eyewitness says it was like a war zone  Terry Huckaby was 11 rows up from the frontstretch fence at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday when a long piece of flying metal gashed his brother's left leg.

The plumber from Hendersonville, Tenn., quickly ripped off his belt and wrapped it around the leg to stop blood gushing from a cut that went from his brother's left hip to the knee.

As he stepped back to let track emergency workers take care of his brother, 53-year-old Eddie Huckaby of Krum, Texas, Terry was overwhelmed by the chaos.

"Stuff was flying everywhere," Terry told ESPN. "It was like you was in a war zone or something. Tires were flying by and smoke and everything else. More ...

Blocking blamed for NASCAR's biggest wrecks  
Larson's car flies through the air
CIA Stock Photo
The horrific wreck that occurred at the end of Saturday's Nationwide Series race was one of the worst that NASCAR has ever seen.

Numerous fans were injured, several seriously, when a shower of debris from the wrecked car of young driver Kyle Larson, who was involved in a massive multi-car crash, flew up into the grandstands.

The motor of Larson's car pierced the steel cables of the catchfence and wound up on the walkway just steps from the front row of seating. More ...

Daytona Truck race postscript  The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opened up their 2013 season with the February 22nd running of the Next Era Energy Resources 250. By the time the race was concluded, it was clearly evident that NASCAR's tail gate brigade is well on the way to another amazing season.

THUMBS-UP. Johnny Sauter came to Daytona with four previous starts and four previous wrecks along with an average finish ratio of 25.75. He spent the first half of this race riding around at the back of the pack. Late in the event, when it was go time, Sauter got a push assist from team mate Todd Bodine that put him in the hunt for the win. Sauter left the track with his first ever win at Daytona, as well as his first top ten finish, along with his seventh series career win. It was sweet redemption for Sauter. This time last year he was "this" close to a Daytona win when he was taken out during a last lap wreck and the potential win became a 17th place finish. More ...
Steve O'Donnell, Joie Chitwood III press conference on Nationwide wreck  
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood (L) holds a news conference with NASCAR Nationwide Series President Steve O'Donnell
Getty Images for NASCAR
KERRY THARP:  I want to thank everybody for their patience and understanding here this afternoon here at Daytona.  At this time we have track president Joie Chitwood and also from NASCAR Senior Vice President For Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell that will update you on today's events.

First we'll hear from Joie, then from Steve.  We still have a lot of things going on tonight.  I hope you all understand that and take that into consideration.  We'll take a handful of questions.  We appreciate your cooperation, your patience and assistance.

At this time I'll call on president of Daytona International Speedway. More ...

Earnhardt fastest in Happy Hour  The stage is now set for the perfect NASCAR PR scenario.  It could not get any better if they tried.  Danica Patrick on the pole for the Daytona 500 and now, all of a sudden, Dale Earnhardt Jr's car, which was slow all week, gets fast just in time for the race.  Patrick and Earnhardt are of course the two most popular drivers in the series.  Danica, the biggest star in the sport, did not practice for fear she would wad the car up and not be able to start on pole, thereby missing a big PR moment for NASCAR.

Happy Hour Speeds

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Behind Gap
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet 45.319 198.592 ---.--- ---.---
2 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops Ford 45.358 198.421 -0.039 -0.039
3 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 45.399 198.242 -0.080 -0.041
4 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford 45.421 198.146 -0.102 -0.022
5 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 45.446 198.037 -0.127 -0.025
6 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 45.485 197.867 -0.166 -0.039
7 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford 45.533 197.659 -0.214 -0.048
8 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 45.534 197.654 -0.215 -0.001
9 56 Martin Truex Jr NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 45.573 197.485 -0.254 -0.039
10 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Best Buy Ford 45.584 197.438 -0.265 -0.011
11 39 Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet 45.586 197.429 -0.267 -0.002
12 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 45.742 196.756 -0.423 -0.156
13 36 JJ Yeley Golden Corral Chevrolet 45.914 196.019 -0.595 -0.172
14 26 Michael Waltrip Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota 45.949 195.869 -0.630 -0.035
15 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 45.982 195.729 -0.663 -0.033
16 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 46.128 195.109 -0.809 -0.146
17 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 46.153 195.004 -0.834 -0.025
18 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 46.187 194.860 -0.868 -0.034
19 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet 46.187 194.860 -0.868 -0.000
20 21 Trevor Bayne(i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 46.200 194.805 -0.881 -0.013
21 35 Josh Wise(i) MDS Transport Ford 46.403 193.953 -1.084 -0.203
22 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet 46.442 193.790 -1.123 -0.039
23 98 Michael McDowell K-Love/Curb Records Ford 46.486 193.607 -1.167 -0.044
24 78 Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet 46.521 193.461 -1.202 -0.035
25 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King Toyota 46.619 193.054 -1.300 -0.098
26 34 David Ragan Detail Doctor Ford 46.683 192.790 -1.364 -0.064
27 83 David Reutimann Burger King Toyota 46.726 192.612 -1.407 -0.043
28 33 Austin Dillon(i) Honeynut Cheerios Chevrolet 46.999 191.493 -1.680 -0.273
29 7 Dave Blaney Florida Lottery Chevrolet 47.017 191.420 -1.698 -0.018
30 27 Paul Menard Menards/Peak Chevrolet 47.041 191.322 -1.722 -0.024
31 95 Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing Ford 47.308 190.243 -1.989 -0.267
32 51 Regan Smith(i) Phoenix Construction Chevrolet 47.331 190.150 -2.012 -0.023
33 47 Bobby Labonte Kroger Toyota 47.558 189.243 -2.239 -0.227
34 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet 0.000 0.000 -0.000 -0.000
Honey Nut Cheerios sponsors Dillon at Daytona  Buzz, the official SpokesBee of Honey Nut Cheerios, will be featured on the hood of the No. 33 Chevrolet for the Great American Race. This marks the fifth year of Richard Childress Racing's partnership with General Mills, which is a major associate sponsor throughout the year in the Sprint Cup Series on the #31 Cheerios Chevrolet and driver Jeff Burton. Cheerios, America's No.1 cereal franchise, debuted in 1941 as Cheerioats. More ...
track news
Cellphones at Speedway get better reception  Race fans might notice better cellphone reception during this weekend's races. International Speedway Corp., which owns and operates 13 racetracks across the country, including Daytona International Speedway, inked a deal to install permanent cellphone antennas at the Speedway that will boost reception regardless of a person's wireless telecommunications provider. This weekend's races will be the first test of how well the system performs with a large crowd on site, and the Speedway will be watching how well it works, said Joie Chitwood III, president of Daytona International Speedway. "Any opportunity for fans to have enhanced coverage on property so they can use their smartphones and the like is good for us," he said. Daytona Beach News Journal
Violent crash injures 28,two critically, at end of Daytona Nationwide race  UPDATE #2 Good news - reports say the 2 fans in critical condition have now been stabilized w/ no life-threatening injuries.

02/23/13 At least 28 people (more than we originally reported) were injured, including two critically, after debris flew into the grandstands after a 12-car crash on the final lap of NASCAR’s DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway,

Kyle Larson's Clorox machine goes up into the fence
CIA Stock Photo
A violent 12-car crash at the end of the DRIVE4COPD 300 sent a tire and other debris flying over the grandstand fence at Daytona International Speedway, injuring at least 12 bystanders, some critically, among the crowds watching the race from the grandstands.

A Halifax Health Medical Center official confirmed just before 6 p.m. that 11 spectators are being treated in the hospital's emergency room and two of them are critically injured. Four others are on trauma alert and five are being treated as non-trauma cases, the official said. More ...

Slow-Motion video of Daytona wreck  Watch wheel fly into the grandstands.

Rain in the forecast for Sunday's Daytona 500  The Daytona 500 went green on its scheduled date for 53 consecutive years. Then came last year, when it was postponed from Sunday afternoon to Monday night because of steady rain.  Now, Daytona International Speedway officials have at least one eye on the weather forecast again, hoping to avoid a similar result Sunday for the 55th annual Daytona 500.

The forecast is more promising than the one a year ago, but it's far from perfect.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the mid-70s with a 54 percent chance of rain throughout the day. It’s expected to be mostly cloudy when it’s not raining. More ...

Kalitta, Grey, Edwards Top Phoenix Qualifying  
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel Saturday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also will lead their categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Phoenix. More ...
Video: Huge crash at Daytona  

track news
MIS part of the ServiceMaster Clean crew at the Daytona 500  
Four MIS team members and three of its ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers are at the Great American Race to assist
The focus of NASCAR is on Daytona International Speedway for the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. And Michigan International Speedway's maintenance team will take on a significant role as part of the spectacle as proud members of the ServiceMaster Clean crew.

The ServiceMaster Clean crew works with NASCAR and helps ensure the track stays clean, dry and ready for racing, driving and maintaining trucks and other track cleaning equipment.

Four MIS team members and three of its ServiceMaster Clean jet dryers are at the Great American Race to assist. More ...

Brawn Pleased With Mercedes W04 Progress  
Hamilton fast on Friday
Ross Brawn says he’s happy with the progress made by Mercedes with the W04 in Barcelona this week.

Although, as ever, times were of questionable value, Nico Rosberg was fastest on the first day and Lewis Hamilton paced the final day on Friday. Despite some more reliability issues, Brawn is upbeat.

"Overall, we’ve had a good week in Barcelona and achieved the program that we set ourselves for this second test," he said. "The rain today was a little unfortunate; however, we made the best of the conditions and were still able to take some useful data out of the day. Nico and Lewis are becoming more familiar with the car and its behavior as each day progresses, and Lewis is settling into the team very well. More ...

Matt Kenseth "auditioned" spotters before picking his new one  
Matt Kenseth
Spotter Chris Osborne didn't know at the time that he was part of a two-month audition process conducted by driver Matt Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff. But the man who goes by the handle @crazy_spotter on Twitter passed the meticulous test admirably and now is installed as spotter for Kenseth and his new #20 Toyota team at Joe Gibbs Racing.

One area of concern to the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, after he announced plans to leave Roush Fenway Racing and join the Gibbs organization, was finding a spotter to replace Mike Calinoff, who opted to remain with Roush Fenway. Calinoff and Kenseth had a rhythm and repartee that would be difficult to duplicate. That's why Kenseth and Ratcliff listened to hours of audio before making their choice. More ...
Reigning Auto GP Champion Quaife-Hobbs signs for 2013 GP2 ride  
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs buys GP2 ride
Reigning Auto GP Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs got some excellent news this week. The British racer, who cruised to title last season with the Super Nova Team, will be making his GP2 debut in the series' first 2013 test at Jerez de la Frontera. After having left a strong impression in the last Auto GP session of 2012, Adrian reached a full-season agreement with MP Motorsport to partner another Auto GP graduate, Daniel De Jong, in this season's GP2 competition.

Enzo Coloni:“I'm proud to see Adrian Quaife-Hobbs make such an important step towards Formula 1 right after winning our championship. Former champions Kevin Ceccon and Romain Grosjean had previously made the same move, with the Frenchman cruising to the GP2 title and getting a full-time Formula 1 ride. My best wishes go to Adrian, to Daniel De Jong, who will be back for the 2013 Auto GP races fitting into his GP2 schedule, and to MP Motorsport. They provided the needed continuity to their top-level developmental project started in Auto GP”.

Q and A with Danica and her Crew Chief  
Danica Patrick and Tony Gibson
DANICA PATRICK AND TONY GIBSON (CREW CHIEF), NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed starting on the pole for the 55th running of the Daytona 500, their strategy for the rest of the weekend and the Daytona 500 and other topics. FULL TRANSCRIPT:

DANICA: "The Duel was fine. I started on the bottom. Tony (Stewart) was right behind me if I started there, so we thought that was kind of the best place to be. We didn't really know that it was going to be so obvious that we needed to start on the top; that's why we will do that for the 500 on Sunday. Tony just stayed back there, so I just stayed with him. We just kind of fell back; we got three-wide a little bit at one point, and I just got out of it and let that pass and then dropped to the back. The car was pretty tight, so there wasn't a lot I could do anyway. Passing seems tough without a fair amount of help. And even when you get that, it sometimes get stopped-up by somebody dropping down in front of the lane, and slowing it up. So, it is going to be interesting to see how things end up working out on Sunday. Practice today was really the most amount race running I felt like I've had. We did 32 laps straight. I was running with great cars - Jeff (Gordon), Kasey (Kahne), Tony. I think Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) got in mix at one point. It was a good group of cars to be with. We stayed out there for a long time. Just got a feel for things. I don't think we even expected to do so much running. The car was good from the get-go. Tony (Gibson, crew chief) made some nice adjustments from the Duel to today. We're feeling much more comfortable and confident with the balance going into Sunday." More ...

Q and A with team owner Tony Stewart  
Tony Stewart
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed his outlook for the Daytona 500, his charity involvement, new sponsorship for three races, Danica Patrick, and more.  Full Transcript:

“We talked during the Media Tour about having nine races left to sell and we’re proud to announce this week that we’ve got three of those sold to Rush Truck Centers. They’re going to be on the car at Fontana, the spring Martinsville race, and spring Richmond races. We’ve had a relationship with them since 2010 and it’s obviously growing. It’s grown to three primaries this year. Mobil 1 will be the ‘b’ sponsor on the car for all three of those races. So, we still have six races of inventory left, but we’ve got three committed to Rush Truck Centers now.” More ...

Mark Reuss Names Honorary Pace Car Driver for Daytona 500  
Mark Reuss named Daytona 500 Pace Car driver as a Thank You for Chevy giving NASCAR so much sponsorship money
Mark Reuss, General Motors North America president , who was instrumental in bringing the new Chevrolet SS to NASCAR, will be the honorary pace car driver Sunday for the 55th running of the Daytona 500.

He will be behind the wheel of a 2014 production Chevrolet SS.

"Leading the Daytona 500 starting field to green driving a 2014 Chevrolet SS pace car on one of the most famous race tracks in the world will be a special honor for me," Reuss said. "I can’t wait to drive across the start/finish line and on into Turn 1. I know it will be difficult to turn down onto pit road when it’s over because I will want to make that moment last as long as possible." More ...

Brown, Gray, Edwards are opening-day leaders in Phoenix  Antron Brown raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway.

Johnny Gray (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Phoenix.

Five days after walking away from a spectacular crash at the season-opening event in Pomona, Brown powered his brand-new Matco Tools dragster to a leading time of 3.765 seconds at 314.83 mph. More ...

Bayne Wins NNS Pole  Roush Fenway’s Trevor Bayne started his campaign for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship in fine form, turning a lap 50.801 (177.162 mph) in his No. 6 Cargill Ford to win the pole for Saturday’s NNS kickoff race at Daytona International Speedway. His RFR teammate Travis Pastrana posted the fourth-fastest time in the session at 50.952.

The pole is Roush Fenway’s second NNS pole at Daytona and its ninth NASCAR pole at the World Center of Racing. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won RFR’s first Daytona NNS pole here last July. More ...

racing news
Join John Paul Jr.'s fight against Huntington's Disease  
John Paul Jr. many years ago
John Paul Jr. once ranking among the nation's top professional racecar drivers, winning in Indy cars and sports cars, but he was forced to retire from competition in 2001 when he noticed that his car would not respond the way he thought his hands and feet were telling it to while driving. Paul Jr. was subsequently diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a progressive neurological disorder.

“It was starting to invade my racing,” Paul Jr. recalls. “I was having to actually talk my way around the track. I was having to tell myself to turn, accelerate, brake, instead of it just flowing.” More ...
iSport GP2 team to fold  Former GP2 champion team iSport is on the verge of selling its GP2 cars and entry to avoid potentially going bust later in the season.

iSport took Timo Glock to the 2007 drivers' title and won the teams' contest in the same year.

Team boss Paul Jackson told AUTOSPORT that he is waiting on a deal to confirm whether or not a new outfit is to purchase his cars and take over his entry for the 2013 season. This scenario has arisen due to iSport being unable to attract fully funded drivers for 2013. It is not planning on contesting the series and will not attend next week's test at Jerez. More ...

Stewart-Haas Signs Rush Enterprises As Partial Primary Sponsor  Stewart-Haas Racing signed commercial truck dealer Rush Enterprises as a primary sponsor for three races on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 car. Financial terms were not available, but primary sponsorship of top drivers like Stewart typically sells for more than $500,000 a race. Rush Enterprises will feature its Rush Truck Centers brand on the hood of Stewart’s car during races at Auto Club Speedway (March 24), Martinsville (April 7) and Richmond (April 27). The deal reduces the total number of available races on the No. 14 car this year from nine to six. It expands on an associate sponsorship Rush Enterprises has had since '10 with Stewart-Haas Racing. The company services and provides the team with its haulers and rigs. Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Daily
Danica's Presence On The Pole Helps Fox Sell Out Ad Inventory For Daytona 500  Fox Sports on Thursday sold out of its Daytona 500 ad inventory. A network spokesperson in an e-mail wrote, “We definitely experienced an uptick in interest once Danica Patrick won her pole position last week, and that generated enough business to put us over the top this year.”

The network had sold 90% of its inventory as of last week. Fox signed several new advertisers, including Sonic, Peak Antifreeze, TurboTax and Disney, which will promote its movie “Oz the Great and Powerful.” It also experienced strong sales in traditional categories such as automotive, QSRs and soft drinks. All three of NASCAR’s manufacturers -- GM, Ford and Toyota -- plan to advertise. Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, Sprint, AT&T, McDonald’s, KFC and Taco Bell are returning as well. More ...

Barcelona Day 4: Driver Quotes  
Red Bull

Mark Webber: "It was cold out there today, I can't remember having a full test day this cold. But actually it was reasonably consistent; the conditions were pretty stable all day, although not very representative of a grand prix weekend. So, unusual conditions but I was happy with what we got done today. The mechanics were incredible in getting through everything. We got a lot of good stuff done today. The boys did a great job - the best I've seen them, I think, so all credit to them.


Felipe Massa: "From Jerez, the car is exactly the same. We didn't change anything really, no new pieces or anything, so the car is exactly the same as we finished Jerez. For sure we understood maybe the little details around the car that maybe we change again for here. It's like an evolution but not with new pieces or anything.

"Anyhow it's really the important time that we can bring new pieces to the car. The car is still 'green' so we need to make the car in a good shape for the first race. There is a lot to work on, there is a lot to do, and maybe it's a very important moment as well for people working on the aerodynamics, on the engine, on the chassis to put everything together in a good direction for the first race."


Romain Grosjean: "I spent a lot of time in the car again today, but this time it was in the garage and not out on track. It was certainly cold and slippery out on the circuit and the conditions were worse than we would expect during the season. This at least meant it was a good test of the performance of the wet and intermediate tires.

"I'm happy that we had no issues and the balance of the car is good in these conditions. I'm really looking forward to getting more laps in the car next week and seeing the latest upgrade package as I'm feeling very positive with everything I've seen so far."


Hamilton - Car lacks downforce
Lewis Hamilton: "The conditions today meant that we didn't complete as many laps we would have done in the dry but we have gone through the test items that we wanted to achieve this week. We have been working on our consistency over long runs and we managed one run this morning on dry tires; the car felt okay but the conditions were also very cool, so we cannot draw too many conclusions.

"Like I said in Jerez, I can feel that we have a good foundation with this car but there is still a lot to learn and we know that the name of the game is to improve our downforce. From a personal point of view, my relationship with the team is growing all the time and it's going really well. I'm happy working with the guys, we are working in the right direction together and I'm pushing to extract the most from the team, just like they are with me."


Esteban Gutierrez: "It was a very interesting day for me as well as for the team, because it was important to get some experience in wet conditions. For me it was the very first time I had driven a Formula One car in the wet. It was particularly interesting in the morning, when the track was wet to begin with and then started to dry out.

"I was able to drive with dry tires in very tricky conditions, which was a situation I could experience in a race. It was important for me to feel this change in conditions. In the afternoon I got the opportunity to compare the Intermediate tires with the Full Wets. I learned so much today. This was just what I needed.

Force India

Jules Bianchi: "It was good to be back working with the team today and to feel the car in all conditions when the track was both dry and wet. It's more useful experience for me. We did most of our dry running this morning and then did our aero work this afternoon when the track was wet. We didn't manage to do the long runs we planned because it was so wet, but we still managed to look at a lot of things."


Valtteri Bottas: "This morning we were focusing on pitstop practice and despite the weather we were able to achieve a lot. The key things to work on as a driver are breaking as late as possible for the pitlane speed limit to minimize the time lost, perfecting your positioning in the box and finally pulling away quickly and cleanly. It's really interesting as there are a lot of things to think about, but the better I get, the more trust you build with the pit crew which means they are able to react even quicker. We'll be doing a few more at the next test but then I feel I will be ready for Melbourne when it comes to pitstops."

Pastor Maldonado: "Today was pitstop practice but it's been good for me and the team to get some training in after the winter break. Overall, I am very happy with the last four days, as we've had no problems with the car and it is looking quite good. We achieved everything we wanted from this test so the whole team is happy. There is still plenty more work to do, but we have a good idea about what we need to do next so I'm looking forward to coming back here next week to continue developing the FW35."

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne: "Another productive day, even with the rain. We had many things to test, especially on the aero side and I feel we got some good answers. Later, it was useful for me to drive on the Extreme and Intermediate Pirellis and I got a good understanding of how they behave, even if the conditions were extremely cold, so it was actually surprising we had rain and not snow! Now I am looking forward to the final test, which will be very important for everyone."


Giedo van der Garde: "Despite today's weather it's been another relatively productive day. It's certainly been one of the coldest days I've had on track, but even with the cold track temps and the rain that stopped and started we were able to get through quite a bit of work.

"The cold weather meant it might not have been much fun for the fans in the stands, but it was useful to get some laps done on the intermediate tires as it was my first time in an F1 car in the wet, and to experience the car in the wet / dry conditions we had today. We also tried a couple more ideas to help improve the rear stability but, again, as the tires weren't really coming up to temperature we weren't able to push too hard today.

"Even with the weather today it's been a fairly good test for us. We're steadily working through the plan, making sure we're covering everything we need to and now we have a lot of information to help us prepare for the final test back here in Barcelona next week."


Max Chilton: "We've had four important days of running here in Barcelona in which we ticked a lot of boxes and gathered some very useful data. We may not have had the mileage that some teams have achieved, but we've have worked through a lot of different items and the detail of this work will be vital in preparing us for the next test here with the new aero package and ensuring we're in good shape for the opening race of the season.

"I'm looking forward to coming back next week and hopeful that we can achieve more mileage and explore the performance a little more. My thanks to the Team for a good week."

Barcelona Day 4: Hamilton tops time on damp day  
Lewis Hamilton
The conditions today meant that we didn't complete as many laps we would have done in the dry but we have gone through the test items that we wanted to achieve this week. We have been working on our consistency over long runs and we managed one run this morning on dry tires; the car felt okay but the conditions were also very cool, so we cannot draw too many conclusions. Like I said in Jerez, I can feel that we have a good foundation with this car but there is still a lot to learn and we know that the name of the game is to improve our downforce. From a personal point of view, my relationship with the team is growing all the time and it's going really well. I'm happy working with the guys, we are working in the right direction together and I'm pushing to extract the most from the team, just like they are with me.  More ...
Keselowski: "We're A House Divided And We're Making Bad Decisions"  
Brad Keselowski
Ahead of Sunday's Daytona 500, reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski offers a frank assessment of the state of NASCAR in a USA TODAY cover story. Keselowski: "The problem I see in the sport is that there are multiple entities that have to work together for us to be successful. We have sponsors ... tracks, the sanctioning body and the teams. Those are our four groups, and how well they cooperate dictates what we have as a product for our fans. ... We're a house divided and we're making bad decisions."

He also said, "We have to move away from team sponsors, because the way it's set up now encourages us to harm each other. And by doing that, we're hurting the sport." USA TODAY

track news
Indianapolis Motor Speedway greased politicians pockets to get 'free' money  In the middle of 2011 — with a decision to ask state lawmakers for financial help still months away — Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials began donating tens of thousands of dollars to political candidates.

By the time the election campaign had ended, the IMS had contributed more than $100,000 to Hoosier politicians and campaign committees -- 12 times more than speedway officials had donated over the entire previous 10 years when such contributions totaled about $8,500.

“We made a strategic decision,” IMS spokesman Doug Boles said, “that it was time to be more than a passive observer.” More ...

Williams' clever brake duct innovation legal  
(GMM)  Williams has impressed F1's eagle-eyed technical experts with an innovation aboard its new FW35.

Although designer Mike Coughlan's Coanda exhaust solution will have to be removed from the 2013 car, respected German correspondent Michael Schmidt reports on Friday that a clever brake duct solution is fully legal.

The British team probably got the idea from Red Bull, who were ordered by the FIA to remove a similar solution from the title-winning RB8 last year.

The governing body ruled that Red Bull was using the brake ducts as an aerodynamic aid, by channeling airflow through the wheel with the rim, hub and nut all playing a role.

But Auto Motor und Sport's Schmdit said Williams' version is legal, crucially because the exit holes for the airflow are stationary, meaning the layout cannot be deemed a banned moveable aerodynamic device.

Barcelona Day 4: Hamilton fastest early  Full lap times, as of 11am local time, on the fourth and final day of the F1 2013 group test at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona.

Cold and wet conditions saw multiple red flags for minor offs into the gravel, with Felipe Massa, Giedo van der Garde, Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne going off into the pea gravel.

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 1min 34.201secs (14 laps)
2. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 36.568secs +2.367secs (13 laps)
3. Jules Bianchi France Force India-Mercedes 1min 37.769secs +3.568secs (12 laps)
4. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1min 37.949secs +3.748secs (17 laps)
5. Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1min 39.471secs +5.27secs (21 laps)
6. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1min 40.068secs +5.867secs (10 laps)
7. Giedo van der Garde Netherlands Caterham-Renault 1min 48.215secs +14.014secs (6 laps)

Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso No time, 12 laps
Mark Webber, Australia Red Bull No time 7 laps
Valtteri Bottas, Finland Williams-Renault No time 6 laps
Max Chilton Britain Marussia-Cosworth No time 2 laps

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Luiz Razia
    Razia left out of Marussia's Barcelona test
  • Sutil hopes Mercedes helps for Force India seat
  • Hulkenberg changes shoes to fit in Sauber
  • McLaren struggling with 2013 car - Button
  • Pirelli plays down 'extreme' wear of 2013 tires
  • Canada GP contract delay over upgrade cost
  • Rosberg sure Mercedes can be race winner in 2013
  • Williams F1 Team and Oris Continue Their Long Standing Partnership New
  • Button fears he hasn't spent enough time in car as rain is expected at Barcelona on Friday New
  • Webber backs Red Bull's evolutionary approach New
  • Button: 2013 tires easier to understand New More ...
Why Danica Will Fail At NASCAR  
Danica Patrick is a star
I will admit it. Danica-Mania is already driving me insane. We are still 3 days away from the Danica 500 and I can't take it anymore. Yes, the fact that she won the pole is great for NASCAR. The added interest in the 500 around the country from the media is through the roof. But, the downside is that a lot of these media folks don't know racing. So, for example, Tony Kornheiser asks on PTI, "Is Danica the favorite in the 500?" Maybe if 35 other drivers quit racing before Sunday.

The unrealistic expectations for her drive me insane. People find her story so exciting that they are trying to will her into Victory Lane. Last year in the lower level Nationwide Series, Danica failed to finish in the top 5 once in 33 races. She had just 4 top tens for a race team that Martin Truex once won 2 Nationwide Titles. She is very far from a finished product when it comes to driving stock cars. More ...
Agency brings in sponsors, dollars to NASCAR  Jon Flack is probably one of the most important people in racing you have never heard about.

Flack, president and COO of Just Marketing International, is a rainmaker for motorsports, beating the corporate bushes for horsepower dollars that fuel professional racing.

Former race car driver Zak Brown founded JMI and continues as CEO. When Flack was hired in 2002, the agency had seven employees. Today the company has offices in Indianapolis and London and employs more than 150. More ...

Truck owner repossesses NASCAR driver's van  Truck Series racer Jennifer Jo Cobb thought someone stole her team's van following a promotional event at a Ponce Inlet restaurant, an official said.

It turns out the van wasn't stolen but taken in an attempt to repossess it by a man with whom Cobb is involved in a civil dispute, according to a Ponce Inlet police report. She could not be reached Thursday afternoon. More ...
Front row starters don't win Daytona 500 often  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Of course the front row starters don't win the 500 much, not when the grid is computer generated.  Did you see Danica Patrick, the greatest driver in the history of NASCAR (I passed half my baloney sandwich out my nostrils I laughed so hard when I read that on your site), in the first Daytona Duel yesterday?  Started on pole and was dead last by lap 12.  The computer generated qualifying speed doesn't help you in the real race unless they give you an extra big restrictor plate.  Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA

02/22/13 In the 54 previous runnings of the Daytona 500, only seven drivers have won from the pole position. Only two of these drivers accomplished the feat more than once -- Cale Yarborough (1968, 1984) and Bill Elliott (1985, 1987). Dale Jarrett was the most recent polesitter to capture the Harley J. Earl Trophy when he won the event in 2000. The other drivers to win the Daytona 500 from the pole were Fireball Roberts (1962), Richard Petty (1966), Buddy Baker (1980) and Gordon (1999). More ...
Bayne to use Brand-New Back-Up Ford Fusion for Daytona 500  
Regan Smith, #51 , Denny Hamlin, #11 , Carl Edwards,#99  and Trevor Bayne, #21 spin out
Getty Images for NASCAR
The scene in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane garage area at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday was a tale of two race cars. On one side of the aisle, there was a battered #21 Ford Fusion, one that led more than half of the first of two Budweiser Duel qualifying races, but was later wiped out in a crash. On the other side sat a brand-new Fusion, one that had never even been rolled on asphalt before it was unloaded from the Wood Brothers' hauler. More ...
Richard & Kyle Petty Dedicate Muscle Cars Forever Stamps  Raw power will get a stamp of its own when seven-time NASCAR National Champion Richard Petty will dedicate new America on the Move: Muscle Cars Forever stamps. On Friday, Feb 22nd at 2pm/et, Petty, joined by son Kyle, will dedicate the limited-edition stamps at the Daytona International Speedway where "King Richard" won a record seven Daytona 500 Championships. Typically equipped with big, powerful engines, these high-performance vehicles began roaring across America in the 1960s.

The stamps feature five iconic muscle cars: the '66 Pontiac GTO, the '67 Shelby GT-500, the '69 Dodge Charger Daytona, the '70 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda and the '70 Chevelle SS. Three classic muscle cars, '67 Shelby GT-500, '70 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda and '69 Dodge Charger Daytona will be in the Sprint FANZONE on Friday! Customers may view the America on the Move: Muscle Cars stamps, as well as many of this year's other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or at beyondtheperf.com.
UPS, NASCAR Work to Give Racing a 'Greener' Image  UPS is rolling out a new truck used for trackside deliveries in time for the Daytona 500. Beginning with this season's opening events at Daytona International Speedway in the lead-up to next weekend's Daytona 500, the UPS Trackside Services will operate using a diesel exhaust fluid, or D.E.F. system to reduce exhaust particulate emissions. The truck pulls a trailer that is equipped with solar panels to help generate sustainable energy needed to keep its operations going. UPS also uses a miniature package car that makes pick-ups and deliveries throughout the race weekend. This year, the mini car is battery-powered.

UPS has provided special pick-up and delivery services for race teams, sponsors, officials, vendors and news media at NASCAR events for years. In 2012 the company began developing plans to further reduce the environmental impact of its Trackside Services operation. The move reflects NASCAR's broader effort to develop a more environmentally friendly image. Wall Street Journal
New Porsche 911 RSR successfully concludes test drives  
Porsche RSR GTE
Stuttgart/Atlanta. The development of the new Porsche 911 RSR based on the current generation 991 model is nearly complete. On the Sebring International Raceway in Florida/USA the GTE race car from Weissach completed another successful test on Thursday. The successor to the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will be run exclusively by the Porsche AG Team Manthey works squad at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The vehicle celebrates its race debut on April 14 at the WEC season-opener in Silverstone. More ...
Budweiser Duel Race 1: Harvick finds his way back to Victory Lane  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Is it a coincidence that the Budweiser sponsored car of Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser sponsored Daytona Duel race?  Was it a thank you to Budweiser for being a sponsor in NASCAR?  Qualifying in NASCAR, be it the computer generated grids or qualifying races, appear very suspect.  Week in and week out the polesitter is usually either a new sponsor, a sponsor or manufacturer rumored to be leaving, a hometown driver (to increase ticket sales), a driver who has not run well and their sponsor is not getting enough exposure for the money they are spending, a manufacturer or sponsor that employs a lot of people in the area, or a driver who can pump up ticket sales and TV ratings like Danica.  Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA

Kevin Harvick wins again
It was deja vu all over again when Kevin Harvick beat Greg Biffle in Thursday's first Budweiser Duel at sun-splashed Daytona International Speedway.

Harvick and Biffle finished one-two in last weekend's Sprint Unlimited At Daytona. This was Harvick's first Daytona 500 qualifying race victory since he joined the Sprint Cup Series in 2001.

“We are having a good time,” Harvick said. “I'm relaxed.”

Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, started 13th in the 23-car field. He will start third in Sunday's Daytona 500 right behind pole-winner Danica Patrick. More ...

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