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Marco says he can't cut it in NASCAR  Marco Andretti said he won't be driving stock cars. "I have trouble over-driving these cars," he said. "I'd probably be a disaster over there."
racing news
Historic Sportscar Racing Kicks Off 2010  
Historic sports cars
The Historic Sportscar Racing Series (HSR) has hit the ground running in 2010 with an updated schedule of eight classic historic races at five different circuits in the U.S. An announcement earlier this month about the restructuring of HSR and SVRA has breathed new life into the series. The two sanctioning bodies now manage their separate formats and unique histories independently and will use their cross ownership beneficially for positive synergy.

Additionally, HSR is increasing their public relations efforts and media outreach by hiring motorsports public relations specialist Barbara J. Burns.

HSR, celebrating its 20th year, is also expanding its exciting Daytona Continental Historic Races in November with an updated Camel GT Reunion event which will bring out many racing legends from the 1970’s, 1980s and 1990s. Celebrated drivers from an earlier sports car racing era expected to be on-hand  include Derek Bell, Andy Wallace, Bill Adam and Chip Robinson, to name a few. More ...
Hinchcliffe paces Indy Lights test  Four drivers who competed for the full season in Firestone Indy Lights last year have been projected to contend for the 2010 championship. During the series' only preseason Open Test. - they stood 1-4 on the time chart.

James Hinchcliffe, driving for Team Moore Racing, posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 14.9714 seconds to pace the 13 drivers participating in the test Barber Motorsports Park - a month before the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. More ...

Dynamic Sebring season opener for ALMS  With the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n concluding its annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway, the focus now shifts to the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The opening round of the 2010 season will see 35 of the world’s best sports car drivers, teams and manufacturers grace the grid for America’s greatest and most demanding endurance race.

Fifteen prototypes and 20 GT-class cars are on the initial entry list. Four closed-top coupes are among the entries in LMP1 – two diesel-powered factory Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs, Aston Martin Racing’s V12-powered Lola-Aston Martin and Drayson Racing’s Lola with Judd power. All four entries will also use Sebring as preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. More ...
Skip Barber Racing School and Bryan Herta Autosport announce partnership  Today Skip Barber Racing School announced that it has partnered with Bryan Herta Autosport to promote the Skip Barber National series and help identify and develop talented young racing drivers.

Throughout the upcoming Firestone Indy Lights season, Bryan Herta Autosport will host drivers from the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, giving them inside access to the team and its drivers at Indy Light race events. At the end of the season, the Skip Barber National Champion will earn a test in one of the team’s Indy Lights cars at a date and location to be announced. More ...

Buddy Baker Returns To Martinsville as Grand Marshall  Buddy Baker experienced a cheering crowd at Martinsville Speedway 31 years ago. He’ll get to experience it again on March 28 prior to the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.

Baker, the winner of the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway, has been named Grand Marshal for the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

“I’m so honored by this. When you think of NASCAR, you think of Martinsville,” said Baker, who has stayed close to the sport since retiring in 1992 as a TV and radio commentator.  He currently can be heard on Sirius Radio. “This is like when I got my invitation to go into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame … it knocked my socks off.” More ...

Total harmony at McLaren  Lewis Hamilton insists that he and fellow World Champion team-mate Jenson Button are maintaining a team effort at McLaren, as opposed to aiming to beat one another this season. The 2008 Champion finished eighth on the timesheets at Barcelona on Friday and will be handing the Mercedes-powered car back over to his compatriot as the weekend begins. The talking points on the run-up to the upcoming campaign, Hamilton remains confident that he and his new team-mate are preserving complete teamwork.

"I haven't seen him too much over the last few days but we get on really well," Lewis explained to GPUpdate.net at the Circuit de Catalunya. "Jenson is very open about his feelings and vice-versa.

"I'm really enjoying working with him and I think he's a great influence on the team. He's really very, very competitive and a well-rounded guy." GPUpdate.net
NASCAR Fontana TV Rating  UPDATE The final rating for last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race on FOX was a 5.6, down 7% from last year's 6.0 final rating, down 10% from the 6.2 final rating in 2008 and down 16.5% from 2007.  NASCAR does not appear able to stem its falling popularity, now in its 4th year.  If people are out of work it stands to reason they may not be able to afford race tickets, but they certainly can afford to watch on free TV.

02/22/10 The overnight TV rating for the Auto Club 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fontana Sunday on FOX was a 5.0, down 5.7% from last year's overnight rating of 5.3 and down 18% from the 6.1 overnight rating in 2008, also on FOX.
Schu apologized to Heidfeld after Merc seat clash  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher apologized for taking the race seat he was hoping to occupy in 2010, Nick Heidfeld has revealed.

With Schumacher returning to F1 this year, the German pair are united this year at Mercedes GP, with 32-year-old Heidfeld in the reserve role.

But prior to the seven time world champion Schumacher deciding to come back to F1 after three years in retirement, Heidfeld was the favorite for the Mercedes race seat, after putting his talks with McLaren on the back burner.

"McLaren wanted to have me," Heidfeld, who is tipped to succeed Pedro de la Rosa as the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, revealed in an interview with Sport Bild.

"The negotiations were very close to a conclusion," he said. More ...

Bell Micro joins Rahal-Letterman Racing  

The American Le Mans Series GT2 class is expected to be one of the most competitive in all of road racing in 2010, but the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team has gained an advantage on the field in computing power as San Jose©based Bell Microproducts Inc. [NASDAQ:BELM] has joined the team as a sponsor.

“We are pleased to again be associated with the Rahal Letterman Racing team,” noted Don Bell, president and CEO for Bell Micro. “The professionalism and competitiveness exhibited by the team is exceptional on and off the track.

The company is an industry recognized specialist in storage products and one of the world's largest storage centric value-added distributors.

From design to deployment, its products are available at any level of integration, from components to subsystem assemblies and fully integrated, tested and certified system solutions. The company is no stranger to American sportscar racing, nor is it to the Hilliard based Rahal Letterman Racing team, as Bell Micro was a sponsor partner of the RLR ALMS GT2 team in 2007.

“We are extremely pleased to resume our partnership with Bell Micro on the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team,” said team crowner Bobby Rahal. “The company has a passion for auto racing and any time that you can have an industry leader like Bell Micro in your stable, it does nothing but help the program. We welcome Bell Micro to the #90 BMW M3 and hope to carry their colors to the top of the podium again in 2010!”

The team is currently preparing for the 2010 ALMS Winter Test session, which takes place in Sebring February 22©23. The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team has already been on track at Sebring in 2010, having completed a 12©hour endurance test on the Florida circuit in January. The 12 Hours of Sebring, which is the opening race of the 2010 ALMS campaign, will take place on March 20, and can be seen live on SPEED beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Matos balls up DeFerran Luczo Dragon car  
Raphael Matos

Raphael Matos is the latest to go for a spin off the track. He wrecked the No. 2 Luczo Dragon/de Ferran car coming down the straightaway behind the Barber Motorsports Museum.

With just a coupe hours left in the session Matos is likely done for the day.

Will Power continues to have the fastest time at 1:10:0307. But Takuma Sato in the No. 5 for KV Racing is a surprise in second.

Q&A with Lotus's Mike Gascoyne  After their T127 endured a wet and windy test debut at Jerez last week, Lotus were back in action on Thursday at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. With the sun shining at the Spanish track, reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy managed to complete 76 laps. Although Fauzy ended the day as the field’s slowest runner, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is still feeling optimistic about the season ahead…

Q: Mike, after the wet conditions in Jerez last week, you have been treated to a dry opening day in Barcelona…
Mike Gascoyne: Yeah, it’s been very successful. We are continuing on from where we left off in Jerez on the last day with Jarno Trulli, when he completed the most laps out of all the runners. Again we didn’t have any mechanical issues on the car. We have been able to complete 76 trouble-free laps and worked through our whole program.

Q: It was Fauzy’s second day in the car, and he once again completed 76 laps…
MG: Well, I think it is pure coincidence. He is a very safe pair of hands. We’ve asked him to do a lot of background tests, as well as checking the control systems. He also did starts and some other system tests. He has completed some very useful mileage for us and ticked off a lot of behind-the-scene items that we need to complete before the first race.

Q: Although the team is just a few months old, there’s already a really strong bond between you all…
MG: We have a great spirit within the team and that is one of the advantages of setting up a new team from scratch. You don’t inherit any politics, and I think we have been able to recruit a very experienced team, with a lot of people I’ve worked with before. The spirit within the team has been fantastic and everybody seems to enjoy working with us. I must be careful not to smile too much - I might lose my ‘Rottweiler’ nickname.

Q: The Lotus team are clearly social networking devotees. Do you want your fans to feel closer to the action?
MG: I think it is very important to let the fans be part of the team. I think a lot of teams sort of overemphasize security. They could all be much more open, informative, and tell their fans what they are doing. I also think that to create a bond with the younger generation, it is crucial to communicate with them using their tools. The fans seem to enjoy it very much.

Q: Trulli will test over the next two days, whilst his team mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over the car on Sunday. What are your priorities over the next few days?
MG: First and foremost, we want to get more mileage on the car and to sort out any possible reliability issues before Bahrain. We will be shaking down some new gearboxes and components, and hopefully with some dry running, we can start to work on the performance of the car. In Jerez and on for the first day in Barcelona, we were concentrating on mileage, but now we will start to look for set-up directions, and of course we will try to improve the pace of the car. We are very happy with where the car is. We know we need to make it faster, and we are working in the wind tunnel to do that. But overall I think we have the pace of a very good Formula One car.

Di Grassi sets Virgin back with Barcelona 'off'  Virgin Racing’s at times painful initiation into the high-profile, high-pressure world of F1 continued on the opening day of the final pre-season group test at Barcelona in Spain yesterday, as Lucas Di Grassi crashed the team’s VR-01 heavily into the barriers – as fellow 2010 newcomer Lotus F1, by contrast, continued to make steady progress.

Di Grassi completed just 31 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, before coming to grief at turn nine. Whilst fears were initially expressed that the ‘off’ had been caused by another wing failure – after the Richard Branson-backed outfit had suffered a front wing failure at Jerez on its maiden outing at Jerez de la Frontera two weeks ago, confining Timo Glock to a mere eleven laps on that occasion. More ...

New Gullwing F1 safety car  
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
The silver F1 safety car this year will be the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

The unique 571 horse power gull-wing supercar, with its doors hinged on the roof that fold upwards, sped to formula one fame recently when Michael Schumacher drove a red model on the ceiling of a tunnel in a new TV commercial.

German Bernd Maylander, 38, will again be the full time safety car driver in 2010, according to Bild newspaper.
Rossi DNF in Bahrain GP2 Asia round  MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com drivers Luca Filippi and Alexander Rossi qualified fourth and fifteenth respectively for the start of the 34 lap first race in Bahrain. Qualify results put Filippi just four hundredths of a second off pole position in a very competitive session. But the best of the week-end was to come the following day when Luca Filippi finished in second position in the first race at Bahrain and went on the podium.

Indeed, it was a very special day today for the team. Not only the team raced a perfect race and finished 2nd. Filippi also clocked one of the fast laps in the first third of the race with 1.48.496. But today was also Team President and founder Peter Thompson's birthday a special birthday for him who turned 55 today in Bahrain. The drivers encountered mixed fortunes and the American Alexander Rossi experimented his first non finish of his season with MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com , damaging and loosing the floor of the car which brought the team to ask him for safety reasons to retire. More ...
Four drivers beat Webber's Thursday best before lunch  UPDATE Hulkenberg has now taken top spot.

Pos Driver team Time Behind


Hulkenberg Williams 1m20.614s +0.000
2 Alonso Ferrari 1m20.637s +0.023
3 De la Rosa Sauber 1m20.973s +0.359
4 Liuzzi Force India 1m21.056s +0.442
5 Vettel Red Bull 1m21.455s +0.841
6 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m21.571s +0.957
7 Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.689s +1.075
8 Hamilton McLaren 1m22.152s +1.538
9 Kubica Renault 1m24.912s +4.298
10 Trulli Lotus 1m25.524s +4.910
11 Glock Virgin 1m25.942s +5.328

Fernando Alonso
(GMM) No fewer than four runners at Barcelona on Friday morning put Mark Webber's impressive Thursday pace firmly in the past.

Led by Fernando Alonso, who was eight tenths quicker than the Australian driver's qualifying simulation of 24 hours ago, Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa was also significantly faster than the Red Bull had been on Thursday.

The all Spanish one-two delighted the partisan crowd, whose numbers surpassed Thursday's 15,000 after morning traffic jams set the scene for the day.

Before day two in dry Spain broke for lunch, Tonio Liuzzi (Force India) and Webber's teammate Sebastian Vettel had also lapped beneath Webber's Thursday time of 1.21.487.

In the Mercedes W01, Michael Schumacher - trying a new unpainted Schuberth helmet prototype - had not managed to beat Webber's time by lunch, but his teammate Nico Rosberg said he was not worried. More ...

Valsecchi clinches GP2 Asia title  Davide Valsecchi clinched the GP2 Asia title today by charging to victory in the Bahrain feature race.

The iSport driver passed Arden's Javier Villa and Meritus' Luca Filippi late in the race to claim his third victory in five rounds.

With Valsecchi's nearest rival and teammate Oliver Turvey delayed in the pits and unable to score, the win gave Valsecchi an insurmountable points lead.

Note: Alexander Rossi drove fastest lap during today's race, proving he has the speed to be the USA's next F1 driver, he just need more experience as he is very young.



Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Davide Valsecchi (I) iSport 1h02m05.146s
2. Luca Filippi (I) Meritus +2.792s
3. Javier Villa (E) Arden +6.067s
4. Giacomo Ricci (I) DPR +6.238s
5. Charles Pic (F) Arden +13.026s
6. Alvaro Parente (P) Coloni +17.777s
7. Sergio Perez (MEX) Addax +23.948s
8. Adrian Zaugg (SA) Trident +25.479s
9. Oliver Turvey (GB) iSport +29.253s
10. Jules Bianchi (F) ART +33.238s
11. Daniele Zampieri (I) Rapax +34.509s
12. Yelmer Buurman (NL) Ocean +39.513s
13. Sam Bird (GB) ART +40.415s
14. Christian Vietoris (D) DAMS +41.750s
15. Edoardo Piscopo (MC) DAMS +45.779s
16. Will Bratt (GB) Coloni +46.803s
17. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (BG) Rapax +48.577s
18. Max Chilton (GB) Addax +1m05.086s
19. Jake Rosenzweig (USA) Super Nova +1m06.211s
20. Fabio Leimer (CH) Ocean +1m23.385s
21. Josef Kral (CZ) Super Nova +1m53.049s
22. Plamen Kralev (BG) Trident +1 lap
23. Michael Herck (B) DPR +2 laps
DNF Alexander Rossi (USA) Meritus 26 laps

Franchitti wrecks his No. 10  Dario Franchitti's No. 10 was a twisted pile of metal (?) yesterday afternoon, suffering severe damage after the Ganassi driver drove off the course at Barber Motorsports Park.

Franchitti drove through the grass on the big sweeping turn at the end of the backstretch and the car had to be hauled back to the paddock on a hook. Franchitti had only turned two laps when the wreck happened.

Since there was no statement that he actually hit anything, and we were just told he drove through the grass, we wonder how so much damage was done...

BMW Sauber F1 Team agrees sponsorship for Mexican driver  
Esteban Gutiérrez
The BMW Sauber F1 Team is taking 18-year-old Esteban Gutiérrez under its wing. The Mexican driver will attend a number of the Grands Prix in 2010, observe the goings-on in the pits, listen in to the radio communications and be present at meetings. Added to which, he will be incorporated into the team’s driver development program. This means that he will follow the same training regime as race drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, and his physical condition will be monitored and evaluated in the same way.

“We view this link-up as a kind of sponsorship arrangement,” explains team boss Peter Sauber. “Nowadays you can only give young drivers a very limited amount of help in gaining a foothold in Formula One. With the limited number of testing opportunities, it is important for the teams to have the race drivers in the cars during those sessions. However, the world of Formula One is so complex that you can learn a great deal just by watching and listening to what’s going on. That’s the opportunity we’re giving Esteban. And we will also help him to get himself in F1-trim physically.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • F1 world impressed as Webber flexes Red Bull muscles
  • Ferrari tests 'shark fin' engine cover in Spain
  • Sauber not far behind top four teams - de la Rosa
  • Di Grassi not frustrated as Virgin struggles into F1
  • Mercedes tests Ferrari-like traffic light system
  • Petrov given until mid-season to score points
  • Alguersuari says Mercedes not title contender
  • New safety car to be gull-wing SLS AMG
  • Staying at Force India was 'sensible' - Sutil
  • Coulthard has not signed DTM contract - Haug

F1 world impressed as Webber flexes Red Bull muscles
(GMM)  Red Bull's dominance on the opening day of the final winter test in Barcelona on Thursday impressed the formula one world.

"That is a very good time, even with low fuel on board," said Sauber's technical director Willy Rampf.

He was referring to Mark Webber's 1.21.487, achieved during a qualifying simulation.  In front of an estimated crowd of 15,000, the next best time was almost a full second slower.

"Clearly we have the pace," the Australian driver told local media, "but your Spanish friend (Fernando Alonso) won't be far behind."

Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa told English speaking media that Webber's pace had been "impressive", and when speaking in his native tongue praised the "excellent" lap time.

33-year-old Webber added that he thinks the RB6 is "in better shape than the other teams", and Bernie Ecclestone told Kicker magazine that Webber's teammate Sebastian Vettel is "my tip for the title".

"This team is one of the best - if not the best - in the pitlane in terms of what we've done last year and what we're doing this year," Webber is quoted as saying by The Sun.

Webber later wrote in his new Twitter feed that the pecking order in Bahrain is "going to be tight".

The Adrian Newey-designed car has also broken down a few times at recent tests, including on Thursday, and Webber told reporters there is "no question" the team can improve its reliability.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug insists that reading into the testing timesheets at present is "just impossible.  It's guesswork."

"This time is not the benchmark.  It's early days, and I would not say that any team has made any serious qualifying efforts so far," said the German marque's motor sport chief.

Numerous teams, including Sauber, intend to do some qualifying runs at the Spanish circuit on Friday.

De la Rosa told the Spanish press that Hinwil based Sauber will indeed "show its cards" with low-fuel pace. More ...

Sato leads strong KV Racing test at Barber  
Taku Sato
KV Racing Technology held their second preseason test in preparation for the start of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season, participating in the two-day Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama February 24-25.

Despite very cold weather conditions that limited track time, KVRT put all three cars and drivers through their paces on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber permanent road course.

“I am very pleased with the results of the test,” KV Racing Technology General Manager Mark Johnson said.  “We came here with three new drivers, several new crew members and a lot of new equipment.  The entire team, engineers, crew, drivers and equipment all performed flawlessly.  I was especially impressed with the way everyone worked together to make this a successful test.  In the end we got through all of our work and collected the data we needed to move forward.” More ...

NASCAR suspends crew member  Kenneth Luna, a crew member for the R3 Motorsports team in the Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the NASCAR substance-abuse policy, the sanctioning body announced Thursday.

Luna is a gas man/fuel runner for the team and has various shop duties.

Team Statement regarding the suspension

NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Kenneth Luna, crew member for R3 Motorsports, for violating their substance policies. Luna was the team’s gas runner and second –can man on race day and has various shop duties during the week, as well. More ...

Beatriz to drive for D&R at IndyCar opener  
Ana Beatriz
Dreyer and Reinbold Racing announced today that Brazilian driver, Ana Beatriz, will join the team’s IZOD IndyCar Series effort at the season opener in Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 14th.

“We are excited about going to Brazil for the first time with the IZOD IndyCar Series as it makes its travels down to South America and putting Ana Beatriz in our car at Brazil adds another dimension to our program and we are happy to have her on board for the Brazil race.  We will be testing her at Sebring this weekend and we are excited to get her acclimated to the car.  She was a very talented Indy Lights driver and we are converting her over to IndyCar and we are excited to be the team that she makes her IZOD IndyCar Series debut with,” commented Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Co-Owner, Dennis Reinbold. More ...

Jake Elder dies  His name was J.C. Elder, but virtually everybody who knew him called him Suitcase Jake. Elder, one of the most successful crew chiefs in the history of NASCAR, died Wednesday. He was 73 years old and had been in failing health since suffering a stroke in 2006. Elder was the top wrench for driver David Pearson when Pearson won Sprint Cup championships in 1968 and ’69. Over a career that began in the late 1950s and stretched over the next 40-plus years, Elder worked either as a crew chief or leading mechanic for some of racing’s best drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Fred Lorenzen and Benny Parsons. He attended public schools for only three years, but he might have been the best “shade-tree” mechanic ever in NASCAR racing. During Elder’s crew-chief years, the job was more about preparing the car and less about organizing and scheduling, as is the case today. Elder’s main task was to produce durable, winning race cars. Elder also is remembered for one of the best quotes in the history of the sport. It was been repeated in numerous versions over the years, but after crew-chiefing for Earnhardt in his first win, Elder told the young driver: “Stick with me, kid, and we’ll have diamonds as big as horse turds.” Ironically, it was Elder who did not “stick with” Earnhardt. A season after helping Earnhardt win the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year title in 1979, Elder left the Earnhardt team for other pastures. It was a process, Elder, a committed perfectionist, would repeat many times during a career that saw him in more jobs than a normal resume sheet could hold. His frequent job-hopping earned him the nickname Suitcase Jake. More by Mike Hembree at SPEED
Busch favored to win Saturday  The Sports Book at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas has tapped hometown hero Kyle Busch (6/5) to win Saturday's Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year's winner, Greg Biffle, is listed at 4/1. The top seven drivers all are NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors who also are entered in the Sam's Town 300. Danica Patrick, who is set to make her LVMS debut, faces 75/1 odds.

Kyle Busch - 6/5
Denny Hamlin - 2/1
Kevin Harvick - 5/2
Carl Edwards - 3/1
Greg Biffle - 4/1
Brad Keselowski - 6/1
Brian Vickers - 8/1
Kelly Bires - 10/1
Jason Leffler - 15/1
Justin Allgaier - 15/1
Brian Scott - 20/1
Colin Braun - 20/1
Trevor Bayne - 25/1
Paul Menard - 40/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - 40/1
Brendan Gaughan - 50/1
James Buescher - 60/1
Steve Wallace - 60/1
Danica Patrick - 75/1
Field (all others) - 30/1
Italian F3
Chaves Enters Italian F3 with Eurointernational  
Gabby Chaves
Standout junior formula car driver Gabby Chaves will take the next step of his motorsports career in 2010 when he enters the competitive Italian Formula 3 Championship. Piloting a Eurointernational-prepared Mygale M-10 chassis, the talented American will make his European debut driving for the team that led him to a championship-winning season in 2009.

With the goal of ultimately racing at the pinnacle of motorsports – Formula One – Chaves has elected to make the move to European formula car competition full-time in 2010. After two very successful tests with leading F3 teams during the holiday season, Chaves and his supporters determined that the time was right to advance up to the renowned Formula Three racing ranks. As a result, the American racer has reunited with Eurointernational to contest the entire 2010 Italian Formula 3 Championship, one of the leading national F3 programs in Europe. Chaves won five races and never finished off the podium in his inaugural season with Eurointernational in 2009, capturing the final Formula BMW Americas title. More ...

Danica gets her own perfume brand  A new Danica Patrick perfume from Boston-based company, SA Fragrances, will hit the stores this spring. The industry expects it to pull around $10 million in sales for 2010 alone. We wonder if it will be GoDaddy green and what kind of racing car will be associated with the brand image. Will it have a roof and fenders?
MIS expects to keep race date  Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis has advice for fans worried about the 2-mile superspeedway losing a NASCAR Sprint Cup date in 2011: Don't worry. Rumors have ramped up that MIS is among the International Speedway Corporation tracks in jeopardy of losing a race now that it appears likely Kansas Speedway will get a second date. Curtis answered questions during a web telecast with fans Wednesday night. "That is completely false," Curtis said of the rumors. "I have been reassured by senior management at International Speedway Corporation that MIS will not be losing a date. We do sign our sanctioning agreements with NASCAR on a year-by-year basis, but I have not heard anything from NASCAR that would indicate that we are close to losing a date by their criteria. We have invested $55 million over the last few years, and we are going to invest a lot more. We are going to invest a lot more over the next three years and we are going to continue to improve things for fans." Curtis also was asked if MIS is considering putting up lights so the track could host a night race. He said don't expect that to happen any time soon. He pointed out that it would cost about $17 million to light up the track, and there are other areas that need to be addressed first.(MIS)
Webber and Red Bull blow away F1 competition again  Using Adrian Newey's latest creation, Mark Webber started this week's pre-season test at Barcelona on Thursday with the fastest lap overall.  The Red Bull Racing driver set his best lap of 1m21.487s during the morning session.

Ian Morgan, Head of Race Engineering for Red Bull said, “Today was always planned as a race weekend simulation day, so we did some testing along with P3 and qualifying in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. Everything went very well up until halfway through the race simulation, when something in the data made us decide to stop the car on track. It was nothing major though and we got the car repaired and back out until the end of the session. It went well today, apart from that small reliability issue.” More ...

Bianchi claims maiden GP2 pole  In what will go down in history as one of the most thrilling GP2 qualifying sessions ever, Frenchman Jules Bianchi snatched his first GP2 pole position in an extremely close battle with Series leader Davide Valsecchi today at Sakhir in the third round of the season. Bianchi placed his car on the top spot by just 0.003 seconds on his very last lap.

On a much cleaner track compared to this morning’s practice session, the ART man made a statement very early into the qualifying session, topping the timing sheet ahead of returnee Alvaro Parente and Javier Villa. On a different tire strategy and leaving the pits later than most, Valsecchi waited for a clear lap in the middle of the session to push back Bianchi in second place, while the Italian’s teammate Oliver Turvey moved up to third place. More ...

Webber still leads by wide margin at lunch break  Mark Webber topped the timesheets, Fernando Alonso was responsible for a red flag and Lucas di Grassi crashed into the barriers during an action-packed morning session in Barcelona.

The battle for the fastest time in the morning turned out to be a battle between Webber and the two Nicos. Williams' Hulkenberg challenged Webber with a 1:22.684 while Rosberg posted a 1:22.514. However, the Red Bull driver hit back and was the first one to dip under the 1:21 with Rosberg settling for second and Hulkenberg for third. More ...

Teams test rules to limit at Barcelona test  (GMM)  As ever in formula one, rules are being pushed to the limit, as the Barcelona pitlane revealed on Thursday.

The wheel covers that became commonplace in F1 last year have been banned, but at the Spanish circuit Ferrari was testing an innovation on the wheels of the F10 car.

Even though Fernando Alonso's progress was halted with an early technical problem, it was clear that his wheels have taken on a more aerodynamic shape since the Jerez test last week.

To ban the 2009-like wheel covers, this year's rules state that no devices may be physically attached to the wheels or wheel nuts. More ...

Rossi tops Thursday test times in Sepang  Twenty days after the previous MotoGP test at Sepang, the MotoGP teams picked up where it left off at the Malaysian circuit and continued their preparations for the upcoming season.

Valentino Rossi continued from where he left off at the last test in Malaysia today, setting the fastest time once again on the first day of the second pre-season outing at Sepang. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is not in action at this test as he is currently recovering at home in Spain from a hand injury.

It was a dry day in Sepang with temperatures reaching 37 degrees and 31-year-old Rossi made the most of it, completing 47 laps. He and his crew continued to work on the development of the 2010 YZR-M1 prototype, checking different settings and trying some new electronic maps. The Italian’s best time of the day was 2’01.068, just a fraction off his best time at the last test and 0.151 ahead of Casey Stoner in second place. More ...

The Photo of the Week?  
Fans either love or hate Kyle Busch, there is no middle ground - note graffiti on the wall
When it comes to NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch there doesn't seem to be any middle ground regarding fan appreciation levels. The fans either worship the asphalt he drives on or they cringe at the very mention of his name. But even Busch would probably be surprised to discover that his latest round of criticism was printed on the front stretch concrete retaining wall of the Auto Club Speedway by a not so impressed fan.

Prior to the start of the February 21st Auto Club 500, a fan took a black magic marker pen and drew a target on the speedway wall. Adjacent to the target were these words:


Some will say this is the work of a tagger with very limited artistic qualities. Some will say the author didn't have a cell phone to send this message via text or Twitter. Some might go as far to say this is another demonstration of freedom of speech.

But we really need to call it exactly what it is: defacing private property. The sooner I realize that the sooner I'll stop laughing.

Paul Tracy throws gas on fiery IndyCar debate  UPDATE A reader responds, Dear Autoracing1.com, Your old road is rapidly agin’  Please get out of the new one    If  you can’t lend your hand    For the times they are a-changin’  Bob Dylan

Paul Tracy needs to accept the reality that in today’s economic environment his well deserved reputation of ‘win or crash trying’ is an attitude that only the top two or three teams could afford even if they wanted to, and obviously they don’t.  It’s been over a decade since Tracy was shown the door by Penske and almost as long since Team Green grew tired of his antics and repair bills.

That old saying ‘be kind to those you meet on the way up because they’re the same ones you’ll see on the way down’ comes to mind.  PT wore out his welcome with a lot of good teams, to complain that they don’t want to re-hire him now doesn’t have much credibility.

Heck, Tracy drove for Dale Coyne in 1991 and Coyne has a full season seat available that he has offered to Graham Rahal (who for whatever reason thinks it is beneath him to drive for a team that had more wins than Rahal did driving for Newman Hass Lanigan last year) but obviously doesn’t have the appetite for Tracy’s inevitable repair bills or any interest in hiring PT. More ...

Webber on top early at Barcelona  F1's best designer, Adrian Newey is at it again.  With the morning almost over in Barcelona, his Red Bull F1 car is comfortably ahead of the competition, just as it was at the end of the Jerez test when they decided to lay down some fast laps.

Barcelona Times as of Noon Local Time


Driver Team Time Behind
1 Webber Red Bull 1m22.017s +0.000
2 Hulkenberg Williams 1m22.684s +0.667
3 Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.709s +1.692
4 de la Rosa Sauber 1m23.783s +1.766
5 Button McLaren 1m24.582s +2.565
6 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m24.968s +2.951
7 Liuzzi Force India 1m25.303s +3.286
8 Alonso Ferrari 1m26.401s +4.384
9 Di Grassi Virgin 1m28.109s +6.092
10 Petrov Renault 1m29.455s +7.438
11 Fauzy Lotus 1m29.795s +7.778

Q&A with Bridgestone on recent Jerez tests  They may be back on track for some much needed dry running at a sunny Barcelona circuit on Thursday morning, but Formula One racing’s official tire supplier, Bridgestone, are still contemplating the wet weather they faced at Jerez last week. Here the team’s assistant technical manager Jun Matsuzaki reflects on what they learnt at the sodden test…

Q: How much of a factor was the weather in Jerez?
Jun Matsuzaki: I think this is the most rain ever seen at Jerez, and on Thursday night it was almost impossible to leave the circuit as there was so much water on the roads. Fortunately, there was no more rain left in the sky so we had good dry running on Friday and Saturday which was very valuable. More ...

Charlie Kimball gets sponsor for Indy Lights go  
Charlie Kimball
California native Charlie Kimball has secured sponsorship from Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care. Kimball will pilot the No. 26 Levemir® FlexPen® car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport and will run a full 13-race schedule on the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights series.

Kimball, 25, is the only licensed racer with type 1 diabetes in the history of the Indy Racing League. Diagnosed in 2007, he monitors his blood sugar before, during and after each race, and uses Novo Nordisk insulin Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection) and NovoLog® (insulin aspart [rDNA origin] injection). The partnership with Novo Nordisk includes primary sponsorship of Kimball’s race car, racing suit and helmet. Kimball also will make appearances on behalf of Novo Nordisk throughout 2010. More ...

Alguersuari feels ready for F1 now  
Jaime Alguersuari
(GMM)  With the turmoil of his mid-season 2009 debut now behind him, Jaime Alguersuari feels ready to show the world his real talent.

"Last year was what it was, I could not do more," said the young Spaniard, who was called up to replace Toro Rosso's lackluster Sebastien Bourdais in July of last year.

But he too struggled to match the pace of his teammate Sebastien Buemi, and until very recently it was unclear if team owner Red Bull would also oust Alguersuari.

Looking back on his initial eight grands prix, the teenager told Spain's Diario Sport: "I was an employee of Red Bull and could say neither yes or no (to replacing Bourdais). More ...

No GP2 tires for Stefan, as the FIA inspects USF1  (GMM)  After hitting a dead-end for the use of Bridgestone's formula one tires, Stefan GP looked into making its test track debut with GP2 rubber.

"The (GP2) circuit is also under contract with the FIA, so we can't get their tires either," team boss Zoran Stefanovic said in an interview with Balkan Insight.

The Serbian outfit is pushing hard for clearance to race in the 2010 season, after preparing the withdrawn Toyota's 2010 package.

Stefan GP intended to test this week in Portugal but had to call it off due to the tire issue.

"We could get tires from other manufacturers similar to those used in the formula one circuit but these are not approved for formula one and we're not going to take any chances because we could have an accident in testing," Stefanovic said.

With the 2010 grid fully subscribed, Stefan GP's chances of an official entry seemed to take a step forward late on Wednesday with news that the FIA's Charlie Whiting was in Charlotte to inspect the beleaguered start-up USF1.

It is possible the FIA will revoke the American team's entry, because - as Germany's Auto Motor und Sport puts it - it has "neither a car nor money". More ...

Red Bull gets early test start at Barcelona  (GMM)  Red Bull made an early start to this week's final test of the 2010 pre-season.

The Milton Keynes based team had booked the Circuit de Catalunya one day early, ahead of the group test scheduled between Thursday and Sunday.

Red Bull's exclusive use of the Spanish venue on Wednesday was for private video filming purposes.

But the German language Speed Week, an on-car sponsor of the team, reports that the day was put to good use by Red Bull Racing, with Sebastian Vettel at full speed in the morning before Mark Webber took over the RB6 in the afternoon.

Red Bull's day meant that, after the bad weather of Jerez, the Barcelona group test was unable to be extended by another day. More ...

Sunny and dry as Barcelona test begins  (GMM)  With a few minutes to go until the final group test of the 2010 pre-season begins, the early morning skies above Barcelona are sunny and the Spanish tarmac is dry.

The weather should remain good throughout Thursday's running, with similar conditions forecast for Friday.

Day three of the four day test on Saturday, however, could be disrupted by one or two showers, even though the outlook is not as bad as it seemed earlier this week.

Sunday, to mark exactly two weeks until the 2010 world champion begins 5,000 kilometers away in the Kingdom of Bahrain, should be another dry day at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Only USF1 and Campos are missing from the test this week, and the star of the local crowd on Thursday will be Fernando Alonso at the wheel of the Ferrari.

2009 world champion Jenson Button will be in action for McLaren, with the likes of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton to wait until Friday to begin their final pre-season preparations.

Teams and drivers testing at Barcelona this week  UPDATE
Team Feb 25 Feb 26 Feb 27 Feb 28
Ferrari Alonso Alonso Massa Massa
Force India Liuzzi Liuzzi Sutil Sutil
Lotus Fauzy Trulli Trulli Kovalainen
McLaren Button Hamilton Button Hamilton
Mercedes Rosberg Schumacher Rosberg Schumacher
Red Bull Webber Vettel Vettel Webber
Renault Petrov Petrov Kubica Kubica
Sauber de la Rosa de la Rosa Kobayashi Kobayashi
Toro Rosso Alguersuari Alguersuari Buemi Buemi
Virgin tba tba tba tba
Williams Hulkenberg Hulkenberg Barrichello Barrichello

Team Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mercedes GP Rosberg Schumacher Rosberg Schumacher
McLaren Button Hamilton Button Hamilton
Ferrari Alonso Alonso Massa Massa
Renault Petrov Petrov Kubica Kubica
Williams Hülkenberg Hülkenberg Barrichello Barrichello
Toro Rosso Alguersuari Alguersuari Buemi Buemi
Force India Liuzzi Liuzzi Sutil Sutil
Virgin Racing TBD TBD TBD TBD
Lotus Fauzy Trulli Trulli Kovalainen
Grand-Am announces increased contingency awards  Contingency awards for the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will increase by 36 percent in 2010 over 2009, GRAND-AM officials announced today.

A total of 19 contingency partners will offer prizes to Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge teams this year. The increase in contingency awards is due in part to new contingency partners participating in the 2010 season, as well as some existing contingency partners making significant increases in their awards. More ...

track news
Test at Talladega Open To The Public  Talladega Superspeedway officials announced that the NASCAR Test Session on March 16 will be open to the public. This will give fans their first glimpse of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars circling the track using the new spoiler while confirming the restrictor plate size and gear ratio for the Aaron’s 499 race on April 25. It will also give fans the opportunity to experience the renovated frontstretch grandstands. Parking lots open at 8:30 am with the test officially kicking off at 9:00 am. The event is free to the public and food and beverages will be permitted. For questions on permissible items or tickets for the 2010 Aaron’s Dream Weekend, please contact the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. (TSS)
Holmatro Inc. to Sponsor Indy Racing League Safety Team  Holmatro Incorporated, an important resource for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights since their foundings, will be the sponsor of the Indy Racing League Safety Team, it was announced today during the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.

The Holmatro Safety Team unveiled its new look for the 2010 season that opens in Sao Paolo, Brazil, next month. Holmatro has provided trackside support at every Indy Racing League race since its January 1996 inaugural event at Walt Disney World Speedway. In 2010, the Holmatro Safety Team will accompany the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, at 17 events in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Japan. More ...
track news
Bristol Motor Speedway adds more SAFER walls  Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced the addition of more than 160 feet of SAFER barriers. Track operations personnel extended SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barriers at the exits of Turns 2 and 4. Work began last week and will be complete before NASCAR teams arrive for the Food City 500 weekend, March 19-21. "We believe with these modifications, we will not only increase driver safety, but will also create a different transition at the exit of the turns," said Jeff Byrd, BMS President and General Manager. "While we don't know exactly how this will impact the racing, the more confined racing area should create less elbow room and tighten up the racing groove at those points." A deteriorating track surface forced officials in the summer of 2007 to put down a fresh layer of concrete and an additional four feet of width to the racing groove was part of the change. The modifications will eliminate some of that added room. "Without question, this extra four feet added room and aided in creating three and, at times, even four-wide racing," Byrd said. "However, while it is breathtaking, many of our fans have responded that we went too far, in actuality, giving too much racing room to the greatest drivers in the world." For more information concerning tickets, please visit www.bristoltix.com or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865). BMS PR
No more smoking at MIS NASCAR race  (Ed Note: NASCAR has a fan base that has the highest percentage of smokers than any other sport's fan base. This is a really gutsy move, and we have a feeling that it will have some major backlash.  We wonder if the NASCAR executives and drivers will be going out behind the grandstands to smoke too...)

All grandstand seating, mezzanines, concession and restroom buildings, suites and chalets at Michigan International Speedway will be smoke-free, racetrack officials have announced. The ban comes on the heels of a state measure that will go into effect May 1, banning smoking in public places. "Not only are we adhering to the law, but we are addressing a growing number of concerns from our race fans who do not smoke," MIS President Roger Curtis said. "Race fans who smoke, can still do so in approved areas. We appreciate all our fans for their understanding and patience." Smokers may choose to smoke in open-air areas behind the grandstands, in the New Holland Fan Plaza and in campgrounds. The Champions Club, seating and adjacent patios will also be smoke-free. Anyone who does not adhere to the new smoke-free policy will be subject to fines by state and county enforcement officials who are on site during race weekends. Signs will be posted throughout the grandstands, reminding fans of non-smoking areas. Affordable tickets, wider seats, larger infield campsites and earlier NASCAR Sprint Cup start times are just a few of the fan initiatives in place at MIS. (MIS)

Bookies pick Johnson to win in Vegas  Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been selected as the odds-on favorite to win Sunday's Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Fred Crespi, Director of Race and Sports for The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, no doubt was influenced by Johnson's three consecutive victories at LVMS in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver will start Sunday's 400-mile race at 4/1 - ahead of local hero (and last year's winner) Kyle Busch at 7/1 and 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray at 35/1.  Veteran Mark Martin, who won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here in 1998 and was a solid championship contender in 2009, is ranked second at 13/2.

Jimmie Johnson - 4/1
Mark Martin - 13/2
Kyle Busch - 7/1
Jeff Gordon - 9/1
Denny Hamlin - 10/1
Tony Stewart - 11/1
Jeff Burton - 14/1
Greg Biffle - 14/1
Kevin Harvick - 14/1
Juan Pablo Montoya - 14/1
Clint Bowyer - 14/1
Kurt Busch - 15/1
Carl Edwards - 16/1
Matt Kenseth - 18/1
Kasey Kahne - 22/1
Brian Vickers - 22/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 25/1
Joey Logano - 25/1
Ryan Newman - 25/1
Jamie McMurray - 35/1
David Ragan - 45/1
Martin Truex - 50/1
David Reutimann - 50/1
Brad Keselowski - 65/1
Marcos Ambrose - 65/1
Sam Hornish - 65/1
Field (all others) - 35/1

GM sale of Hummer dies...shutting down the brand  General Motors today announced that Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd. (Tengzhong) was unable to complete the acquisition of HUMMER.  As a result, GM will begin the orderly wind-down of the HUMMER operations.

“One year ago, General Motors announced that we were going to divest HUMMER, as part of focusing our efforts on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac going forward.  We have since considered a number of possibilities for HUMMER along the way, and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances. "GM will now work closely with HUMMER employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner." 

GM will continue to honor HUMMER warranties, while providing service support and spare parts to current HUMMER owners around the world.
LVMS discounting tickets to fill gaps  Las Vegas Motor Speedway is offering a substantial discount – and other bonuses – to its weekend ticketholders. Tickets for the 2011 NASCAR Weekend will go on sale tomorrow and anyone who purchases or renews tickets for next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events prior to April 10 will receive a 10-percent discount off of 2010’s prices. Fans that renew their NASCAR Weekend tickets for 2011 will have the option to keep their present seat locations or upgrade them. LVMS is offering a three-payment plan for 2011 NASCAR Weekend ticket purchases or renewals. The first one-third is due at time of purchase (up to April 15) and the second and third installments will be charged to their credit cards on July 1 and Oct. 1. Fans taking part in this special offer also will receive an exclusive, commemorative poster of the 2010 LVMS NASCAR Weekend. To purchase tickets for the 2011 NASCAR Weekend – as well as tickets for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Shelby American and NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300
DeFerran Luczo Dragon adds car for Hamilton  
Gil De Ferran
Luczo Dragon Racing, fresh off its merger with de Ferran Motorsports, has strengthened its team by adding a second car and veteran driver Davey Hamilton for three races during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, it was announced today.

Hamilton, who joins 2009 Apex Brazil IndyCar Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos as the Luczo Dragon drivers, is scheduled to enter the Indianapolis 500, the Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway and another oval race. It will be his first multi-race IndyCar schedule since he retired with injuries in 2001. More ...

Rookie Calado sets pace in opening F3 test  
James Calado

Today was the first day of term for the new and old boys of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series as the pre-season testing ban came to a close and a field of 22 Dallara chassis tackled a damp and cold Snetterton to establish an early pecking order for the coming season.

And it was a new boy who emerged on top: 21-year-old James Calado (Pershore), the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver who moves up to British F3 after success in junior formulae. Calado and his Volkswagen-powered Carlin car emerged quickest in the wet morning session by three-thousandths and went faster still in the drier afternoon conditions to end the day on top. "It's gone well," said James, "and I've learned a lot from today, which is the key thing." More ...

Corporate Sales Strong for 2010 Honda Grand Prix  With just about 30 days left before the green flag drops on the 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, race officials have announced 100 percent of the inventory of corporate hospitality tents for the 2010 event has been sold and a limited number of corporate suite packages remain available.  “We are very fortunate to continue to receive outstanding support from the area business community for this event,” said Tim Ramsberger, Vice President of Green Savoree Racing Promotions and General Manager of the event.  “Year after year we are constantly trying to improve upon our overall race experience and the support we receive in this community goes a long ways toward helping us produce one of the most popular and successful events on the Indy Racing League schedule.
Rain in forecast for final F1 test  Rain is again in the forecast for the final pre-season F1 test of the season at Barcelona.

All the teams have been praying for some dry track time following plenty of showers during the previous two sessions in Jerez. However, it looks like their prayers will go unanswered.

According to the latest forecasts, light rain will fall on Thursday and again on Saturday. It's bad news for McLaren's Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in particular as they are scheduled to drive on both those days.

Unlike McLaren and Mercedes, Ferrari and the rest of the field have opted to give their drivers two successive days on the track.

Force India's Key resurfaces at Sauber  (GMM)  Less than 24 hours after he vacated his post at Force India, James Key has re-emerged as Sauber's new technical director.

The Swiss team announced the move on Wednesday, revealing that long time technical director Willy Rampf, 56, is stepping down.

38-year-old Key will start his new job in 1 April, as the formula one world embarks on its back-to-back dash between the Australian and Malaysian grands prix.

"I very much look forward to starting my new job," said the Briton, who will relocate his family from the UK to Switzerland.

Peter Sauber said Rampf and Key will devote the month of April to the "handover" of the role.

"I have done my job with a passion for ten years, but now it's time to hand over the baton," said Rampf, who will leave the Hinwil based team at the end of April.

Gordon's rainbow warriors win Tissot award  Jeff Gordon’s pit crew claimed top honors in Sunday’s (Feb. 21) NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif., winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award.

Gordon’s crew, a five-time winner in the Tissot competition last year, had another outstanding performance as the team’s DuPont Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road during the 250-lap, 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway.

"It's good to see the No. 24 team being recognized even though we did not have the finish we would have liked in California," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "The addition of new team members and the re-dedication of existing No. 24 team personnel during the offseason have led to solid stops so far in 2010."

Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front-tire carrier), Joe Slingerland (rear-tire changer), Matt Ver Meer (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can), Colin Fambrough (back-up tire changer) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The team’s pit crew coach is Greg Morin.

The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.
USF1 management lied to staff  A senior staff member at USF1 claims the new American outfit have done "very little in the way of planning" in the past few months.

The financial problems at USF1 though seems to go as far back as October, according to the staff member.

"Going back to early December, it was pretty evident that something was up, in as much as we kept expecting a big push in production starting some time in mid-December, but it never materialized," he told Autosport on condition of anonymity.

"Figure [that] we're all pretty experienced in various aspects of car design and build, and we all know what it takes from a time-line standpoint. So when it became apparent the drawing office wasn't releasing drawings at the rate we expected, it started to become clear we could be in trouble.

"All engineering decisions were having to be funneled through [Ken] Anderson before anything could be signed off. And that's where the hold up was. More ...

Hendrick concerned about axle problem  There is some concern at Hendrick Motorsports that the broken axle that left #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a 32nd-place finish on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway could be a more widespread problem. Earnhardt's crew chief, Lance McGrew, said the axle of race winner Jimmie Johnson was about six laps from breaking and that issues were discovered on other HMS cars during Saturday's final practice. "Oh, absolutely," McGrew told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "I'm sweating this weekend along with Atlanta, which is historically really bad on axles. To say there's not a stir about it would be an understatement." McGrew said so far no explanation has been found for the extreme wear. He said the problem first surfaced during Saturday's final practice when the left rear axle on Mark Martin's car, which shares a shop with the Earnhardts, looked "really bad." He said all four HMS teams replaced the axles before the race. "Ours wore out and [Johnson] barely finished the race," McGrew said. "There's no smoking gun, which is aggravating for us. But we'll get to the bottom of it." ESPN.com

[Editor's Note: Many in the NASCAR garage think the Hendrick cars are cheating the toe or camber gauges on their rear end housings?  Are we to believe that Hendrick all of a sudden does not know how to manufacture the same product that they have been reliably racing for three years?]

British F3
Buzaid completes Carlin’s British F3 line-up  
British F3 race winner Adriano Buzaid will complete Carlin’s F3 squad for the 2010 season.  The 21 year-old Brazilian will join already confirmed drivers James Calado, Jean-Eric Vergne, Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Jazeman Jaafar.  2010 will be Buzaid’s second season in Formula 3, following a strong rookie season in 2009. Buzaid put in an impressive performance as a rookie in British F3 last year, with four podiums, a pole position and a race win in Spa- Francorchamps to his name.  Before racing in F3, Buzaid raced in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship, taking five race wins and finishing third overall in 2008. Buzaid has raced with Carlin once before, in the British F3 National Class at Donington in 2008.  Competing in his maiden F3 event, the young Brazilian finished on the podium on his first attempt. More ...
Airline Qantas to title sponsor Australian GP  (GMM)  Qantas has been named as the new title sponsor for the Australian grand prix.

In the wake of ING's departure from the sport, it was feared that the Melbourne race would not locate a funding replacement for the Dutch bank.

The 2009 race at Albert Park recorded a controversial $40m loss.

"We greatly value the involvement of all our commercial sponsors -- their support reduces the cost of this event to the Victorian government," said major events minister Tim Holding.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation on Wednesday said Qantas, whose association with F1 in the country dates back to the 80s, will be the naming sponsor in 2010.

"We are pleased to reaffirm our support for this global sporting event, reaching formula one fans worldwide," said Alan Joyce, chief executive of Australia's national airline.

Qantas was also the Australian GP title sponsor between 1997 and 2001.

Media hits back after Ferrari's 'withering attack'  (GMM)  A column posted on Ferrari's official website on Tuesday caused more than a few raised eyebrows within the international media.

A response in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport was headlined 'Red card for Ferrari', after the Italian team slammed formula one's new and hopeful teams and blamed former FIA president Max Mosley for the loss of carmakers.

"I have rarely read such nonsense," wrote the magazine's columnist Michael Schmidt, slamming the attack as a "far-fetched conspiracy theory". More ...

Smith replaces departing Key at Force India  (GMM)  Mark Smith has been named as Force India's new technical director.

A media statement said James Key has left the Silverstone based team "to pursue new opportunities".

Smith, who has previously worked with Renault and Red Bull, was already Force India's design director.

Key has been with the team, initially as Jordan, since 1998 as a data engineer.

"We wish him every success in his future endeavors," said team owner and boss Vijay Mallya.

Key confirmed that the move was his decision.

"I felt the time was right for me to move on to new opportunities," he said.

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