While Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Conor Daly (Dale Coyne Racing) and Max Chilton (Chip Ganassi Racing) were on track and learning in the cockpit during the recent promoter test at Phoenix International Raceway, fellow Verizon IndyCar Series rookies Alexander Rossi and Spencer Pigot were acclimating to the teams they will compete with in 2016.
Both Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth visited PIR for the first time yesterday. Both drivers enjoyed running at the one mile oval track of which Sato said, “It's great to be back in the car especially on the oval-- the sensation of speed is very exciting. Phoenix is a quite challenging track. I like that Turn 1 and Turn 4 are very different in character. It’s great fun!”
The cars ran a daytime session (12 - 3pm) and a night session (5-8pm) both days which allowed them to test the cars in track conditions they will have for qualifying (daytime) and the race, which starts in the early evening (around 5:30pm).
US Grand Prix "Will Happen" This Year Says Ecclestone
Ecclestone knows the money is coming or there will be no race
Formula One’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone says that the United States Grand Prix in Texas will take place in October despite the race facing a $5.5 million cut in state funding according to Christian Sylt of Forbes.
The future of the race, which is held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track in Austin, the capital of Texas, has been in doubt since November when it came to light that its funding would be cut.
Roush Yates already prepping for Stewart-Haas addition The addition of Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford in 2017 will mean an increased workload for Roush Yates Engines, the company that supplies Ford power to teams in all three of NASCAR's national series. But it means much more than the 60 or so additional engines the supplier will have to produce, according to CEO Doug Yates.
"For us, that's four more top-notch cars, opportunities to win races and championships," Yates said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"But the work starts now because we've got to get ready for next year."
NASCAR Race Partnership leaves Folds Of Honor with Scholarship Shortfall Staring out at the infield of Atlanta Motor Speedway last year, Mike Beltz said he remembers thinking how "phenomenal it was" to see a folded American flag - the logo of the Folds of Honor organization - painted on the grass for NASCAR's inaugural Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race. He also recalls the prophetic words of Chuck O'Dell, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip Corporation.
"This will be a two-edged sword," O'Dell told Beltz, acting President of Folds of Honor. "He was absolutely right. He saw it coming."
A Georgia man who burglarized race-team trailers at Daytona International Speedway and other tracks and kept trophies of his misdeeds, including the racing credentials from "Dr. McDreamy," was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison.
Steven Garry Sanders, 55, of Macon, Ga., must also serve five years probation once he gets out of prison. But Sanders must first finish the five years in prison he is currently serving for thefts from a raceway in Manatee County. Sanders must also pay restitution of about $15,000 to the victims of his crimes and nearly $10,000 in the cost of investigation to the Daytona Beach Police Department. Sanders was also trespassed from Daytona International Speedway.
I talked with Josef Newgarden after the first practice session and asked what he thought about the downforce in the current cars on the mile oval. He had been the fastest in that session until Simon Pagenaud took over the top spot.
"I don't think the downforce is too much. The car is really fast. I liked it until Pagenaud passed me up on the charts," Replied the driver for Ed Carpenter Racing.
'What They're Saying' from the Phoenix Promoter Test Day 2 Following Saturday's first session in the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Promoter "Test in the West," 16 of 21 drivers had posted times that bested the Phoenix International Raceway track record of 19.608 seconds (183.599 mph) set by Arie Luyendyk in 1996. Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, recorded the fastest time at 19.298 seconds (190.747 mph). Select quotes from drivers participating in the test and Andretti Autosport rookie (not testing) Alexander Rossi follow.
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 98 Andretti Autosport Honda, who is not testing this weekend but is still kind of getting the full immersion experience with your new team, getting to check a lot of things out. Firstly just tell us how excited you are for this opportunity for the season. We know that it's been a long road trying to get you involved in the Verizon IndyCar Series. It almost happened last year, but finally things came together for you this year.
Saturday morning update from Phoenix UPDATE The Firestone tire issue from yesterday seems to be caused by debris. The IndyCars have so much downforce, they are pulling things onto the track from between the walls resulting in cuts in the tires. Remember this tire is the same compound at used in Milwaukee but stronger. Lucille Dust reporting live from Phoenix
02/27/16 Another sunny and clear day here in Phoenix. Only about 70 degrees here now but will warm up to mid 80s this afternoon. If you followed the testing sessions yesterday, you are aware of quite a few yellow flags. Most of them were due to cut tires. I will get an update this morning on what Firestone thinks was the issue.
Other talk in the paddock is that the cars are generating too much downforce here and the drivers are 100% throttle for a full stint. This requires near-zero talent, so Bill Pappas is looking to reduce downforce so as the tires wear the driver will have to feather the throttle. If the car slides a bit this will also require talent.
Matt Crafton will lead the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field to the green flag in Saturday’s Great Clips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after taking the pole in the morning qualifying session.
Crafton finished fourth on the opening round of qualifying behind Christopher Bell and wasted little time jumping to the top of the speed charts in the second round, knocking Cameron Hayley from the pole with a speed of 179.790 mph.
It was Crafton’s first career truck series pole at Atlanta and 12th of his career.
KVSH Racing renews with Hydroxycut for Bourdais car
Same sponsor, new livery for Bourdais
KVSH Racing announced today that Hydroxycut will be the co-primary sponsor of the No. 11 Team HYDROXYCUT – KVSH Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry
“Having Hydroxycut, a world class brand that’s been chosen by millions, back on board with us is a huge piece of the puzzle,” said KVSH Racing co-owner James “Sulli” Sullivan. “I believe we are positioned for a banner year with the Hydroxycut Machine.”
Just a few hours after he had his Sprint Cup pole taken away, Kyle Busch was back with another pole award, taking the top qualifying spot for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Busch led a Joe Gibbs Racing sweep of the top three positions after knocking off his teammate Erik Jones for the pole in the third and final round of qualifying on Saturday morning. Busch covered the 1.5-mile distance with a lap 185.499 mph to earn his fifth-career Atlanta Xfinity Series pole and the 49th of his career.
Haas thinks American sponsors will support a French and Mexican driver
Gene Haas is not worried by the lack of sponsors on his team's new F1 car, the VF-16, as his team has not competed in a grand prix yet.
Haas' 2016 challenger broke cover this week and enjoyed an encouraging first test despite a number of reliability issues. In Barcelona there has been a notable lack of sponsors on the car and racesuits other than those brought by drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
Haas says money, and not interest, has been preventing other deals so far.
AR1.com team wins St Petersburg GP kart race again Every year the St. Petersburg Grand Prix holds a media event before the event weekend to promote the race. They pair media teams with professional race drivers in go-karts at Anderson Raceway Park in Palmetto, Florida.
The AR1.com team had won the race 3 of the last 4 years. The year we didn't win we finished 2nd. On Tuesday our team won again despite the organizers stacking the other teams with the best IndyCar and Indy Lights drivers they could find. Our team was paired with a Pirelli World Challenge driver - Colin Thompson.
With Brian France's gimmicks the Daytona 500 drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than every game of last year's NBA Finals, World Series, Final Four and College Football Playoff, horse racing's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the final round of The Masters
Ratings for the Daytona 500 neared a record-low despite the closest finish in race history. The 2016 Daytona 500 earned a 6.6 'final' rating and 11.4 million viewers on FOX, down 14% in ratings and 15% in viewership from last year (7.7, 13.4M) but up 18% and 23%, respectively, from 2014, when coverage was delayed to primetime due to rain and faced the Winter Olympics (5.6, 9.3M).
Denny Hamlin's narrow win was the second-lowest rated Daytona 500 since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979, ahead of only 2014. That spot was previously held by the 1990 race (7.3).
It also scored the second-smallest audience for the race since 1991 (10.9M), again ahead of only 2014.
Five of the ten lowest rated Daytona 500 telecasts have taken place in the past seven seasons. Compared to other sports, the Daytona 500 drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than every game of last year's NBA Finals, World Series, Final Four and College Football Playoff, horse racing's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the final round of The Masters. Sports Media Watch
If AR1.com sources are correct and SHR is moving to Ford in 2017 because the Roush team is packing it in, even Harvick appears unaware and confused
Kevin Harvick spent part of Friday morning working with JR Motorsports. He's driving an Xfinity Series car for the team this weekend, and for him it appeared business as usual in a Chevrolet working with an affiliate of Hendrick Motorsports. He then went to the Sprint Cup garage to his full-time ride for Stewart-Haas Racing, also an affiliate of Hendrick Motorsports.
If anyone knows how to handle lame-duck situations, it's Harvick. It leaked in November 2012 that he would leave Richard Childress Racing for Stewart-Haas Racing after the 2013 season. The fact that SHR has announced it would leave Chevrolet for Ford after 2016 didn't seem to affect Harvick in his routine at Atlanta Motor Speedway, except for reporters following him through the garage -- even waiting outside a bathroom -- to see whether he was upset over the move as a driver who has driven a Chevrolet his entire Sprint Cup career.
If the AR1.com rumor source turns out to be accurate, the grid will get even smaller when the Roush team packs it in after this year
All eyes will be on the guys up front during Sunday's NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It might be worth taking a look at who's running toward the back. Or, more accurately, who isn't there. Only 39 cars showed up for the second race of the Sprint Cup season, the lowest number of entries in more than two decades. It marks just the third time since NASCAR standardized the fields in 1998 that there aren't enough cars to fill every available slot.
While the reduced numbers won't affect front-runners such as Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin - after all, we're talking about low-budget drivers who probably would've been lapped early in the race - it does drive home the end of an era. Farewell to those penny-pinching teams that merely want to go fast enough in qualifying to hang around through the weekend. This season, NASCAR will be hard-pressed to get the new maximum - 40 cars - on the track each week. By the end of the year, it wouldn't be surprising to see as few as 37.
Low downforce package means changes for Goodyear NASCAR's new low-downforce aerodynamic package debuts this weekend at Atlanta and it comes with a "significant change" in the tires Goodyear will bring for the Sprint Cup Series each week. The adoption of the package to all tracks except the superspeedways meant extra work for Goodyear.
The tires NASCAR and Cup drivers most wanted to use with the aero package provide more fall-off (increased wear).
Fernando Alonso is staying positive on the back of his and McLaren-Honda's first pre-season test, despite a series of reliability issues.
Alonso was limited to just a number of installation laps on the last day of the first test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya owing to a coolant leak, however the Spaniard completed 119 laps on Tuesday in the MP4-31.
Jenson Button also suffered reliability woes in the form of a hydraulic issue on Wednesday, with the Briton completing just 51 laps.
Rossi talks to deFerran in Phoenix Friday. Rossi was the best American to go through the 'Europe' ladder system in decades and even he was overlooked by the anti-American Haas team There won't be another in decades to follow after they see all the money Rossi spent and got nowhere.
Haas owner Gene Haas says fielding an American driver in the future would be the "ultimate" but not an essential, as it prepares for its debut in Formula 1 this season.
Alexander Rossi, the only American driver with links to Formula 1, was overlooked as Haas favored Romain Grosjean and Gutierrez for its maiden campaign in the sport.
"You know I think that would be the ultimate," Haas explained to gathered media when asked if signing an American driver was the goal.
"But like anything else, we want to the best pieces and we felt like having a really experienced driver like Grosjean, who's French, was the best nut to put on the steering wheel.
As long as Steiner is running the Haas team there will never be an American driver on the team
"We're not kind of looking at nationalism when we put this team together, we're looking at obtaining the best possible people, products, engines and transmissions that we can, so that we can win races.
Vettel had the fastest lap on the Ultra-Softs but that was because Mercedes never ran the Softs or the Ultra-Softs
Over the past four days, 23 drivers took to the track for the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Sebastian Vettel set the overall standard with a 1:22.810 on Pirelli's new Ultra Soft tire, while 4,121 laps were completed, equivalent to 19,181 kilometer's. GPUpdate.net compiled all the key statistics.
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery says that the company was pleased with the data it received during Formula 1's pre-season test in Spain last week, believing the tire performance to be as expected.
(GMM) Rio Haryanto's manager has clarified reports the Indonesian rookie might not complete the entire 2016 season.
We reported this week that, although backed by Indonesia via the state-owned oil company Pertamina, Haryanto's entourage is still looking for more sponsorship to deliver everything promised to the Manor team.
His manager Piers Hunnisett, however, denied the claims, telling GMM on Saturday: "All is confirmed for a full season."
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