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Kurt Busch to compete at NHRA event
2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch will return to his drag racing roots during the 41st running of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals March 11-14 at historic Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway.

The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing is set to get behind the wheel of his rebuilt 1970 Dodge Challenger next weekend to compete against a field of between 70 and 90 veteran "Super Gas" racers who no doubt will be champing at the bit to line up against one of the biggest names in motorsports.

Busch will make a minimum of three "time trial" passes on Thursday March 11 and the field will return Friday morning, pair off, and begin eliminations.

"Gainesville is one of the marquee events on the NHRA calendar and it's a privilege to compete against the best Sportsman racers out there," Busch said.

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Quotes of the Week
The controversy born when Carl Edwards spun and eventually wrecked Brad Keselowski Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway continued to generate buzz Sunday night on NASCAR Victory Lane on SPEED.  SPEED analysts John Roberts, Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace discussed the situation with Petty calling for Edwards’ suspension at Bristol.  Following are excerpts from Sunday’s NASCAR Victory Lane concerning Edwards’ contact with Keselowski:

Kyle Petty (watching replay): “That’s just flagrant.  That’s flagrant.  They throw people out of basketball games for that.  It’s called a ‘T.’ ‘Go to the locker room.’ We heard a lot over the winter how we were going back to basics.  This is not going back to basics, people, I don’t care what you say.  This is not going back to basics.  We heard from NASCAR over the winter – it’s NASCAR’s sport, it’s the competitors’ sport, it’s the fans’ sport.  It’s our sport and we’ve got to protect it.  Something needs to be done there.”

Kenny Wallace: “Green-white-checkereds have saved NASCAR.  But let me tell you what else has saved NASCAR.  It’s back in the drivers’ hands.  It’s not about the race car anymore.  We’ll be talking about this one all week.  Why? Because we’ll show you some replays. It’s a shame that Carl had white gloves on. If Carl would have had black gloves on, everything might have been okay. (watching replay) … this is what we hear on the scanner.  This is why NASCAR called him to the trailer.  So, what do you think, Kyle, would black gloves have helped him?”

Kyle Petty: “No.  His fingerprints are all over this.  He can’t wear any gloves.  Let me tell you something and I started to say it before.  If this is our sport and we depend on NASCAR and we want to put on the best show for the fans, we’re in this together.  This is a black eye on the media.  This is a black eye on NASCAR.  This is a black eye on the competitors.  This is a black eye on everybody.  I don’t care.  This is wrong.  This was a blatant, flagrant foul and he ought to be parked.  He shouldn’t show up at Bristol and that’s just my opinion.  Brad Keselowski said the ball’s in NASCAR’s court.  We’re going to see if they’ve got a pair now.  I’m just throwing that out there.  They need to park him and send him home.”

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Hitler talks about Rahal and IndyCar


Loeb Dominates Rally Mexico
Sebastien Loeb dominated days two and three to win his fourth Rally Mexico and move into the World Rally Championship lead on Sunday as Citroen privateer Petter Solberg beat Citroen Junior driver Sebastien Ogier to second by half a second in a final stage shootout

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen had to settle for fourth while F1 refugee Kimi Raikkonen's tormented rally career continued in an incident-packed rally that ended for him in a large accident Friday afternoon..

Loeb dominated from first stage Saturday morning as he benefited his improved road position to go from 27 seconds behind overnight to lead by 55 seconds that evening. "Finally a victory and back in the lead of the championship," the world champion enthused.

"It was important after Sweden to win here. It's only the start of the championship but I'm really happy. We had a really good drive yesterday.

Solberg dominated Friday's running from Ogier before the pair fought to the end for second once Loeb moved ahead, with Solberg reclaiming second in the final superspecial when he took 1.1 seconds off his young rival to beat him by all of half a second!

Hirvonen benefited team orders to pass teammate Jari-Matti Latvala for fourth. "It was a very difficult weekend for the whole team," Hirvonen rued. "We never really had the speed. Lots of small mistakes on my side as well. In the end I'm glad we got the points we could and I just want to leave it behind and go on to the next rally."

"I am the second driver this year and that's part of my job," Latvala confirmed. "Mikko needs these points more now for his title against Loeb. We want to give him as good a chance in the fight as possible."

Henning Solberg took sixth for Stobart Ford ahead of  Federico Villagra's Munchis Ford after the field was decimated by a number of problems through the weekend. Citroen number two Dani Sordo broke his car's suspension on the same stage that claimed .

Raikkonen's bent a steering arm on the opening stage before a fuel system fault cost half an hour and then he rolled out of contention albeit after showing good pace

WRC Mexico Final Results
Sebastien Loeb Citroen C4 3:42:41.7
2. Petter Solberg Citroen C4 + 24.2
3. Sebastien Ogier Citroen C4 + 24.7
4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Focus + 1:47.5
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Focus + 2:15.1
6. Henning Solberg Ford Focus + 2:48.0
7. Federico Villagra Ford Focus + 10:13.4
8. Xevi Pons Ford Focus + 18:44.4


Cheng Takes Victory in Wet and Wild Pacific F2000 Opener
David Cheng
The predicted rains came just in time for round 1 of the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Terminal Velocity Processing and Sierra Tire at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana as part of VARA’s Route 66 Classic Formula Festival and David Cheng a Chinese born Seattle resident demonstrated driving in the wet at its finest by taking victory in a heavy downpour.

The morning qualifying was dry as Robert Podlesni, two time and defending series champion took pole position by over half a second over Scott Rarick with a lap of 1:39.307.

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NASCAR Las Vegas TV rating plummets UPDATE The final TV rating for the NASCAR Las Vegas Sprint car race on FOX was a 4.4, down 32.3% from last year's 6.5 final rating, also on FOX and down 38% from the 7.1 final rating in 2008.  No matter how you slice it and dice it, no matter how many excuses they manage to come with, the fact remains that NASCAR's popularity is waning.

03/01/10 Opposite the toughest competition it has ever faced, NASCAR ON FOX tumbled to a 4.1/8 yesterday for racing from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That 4.1/8 is down -25% compared to last year's 5.5/10 and is the lowest overnight ever for FOX's Las Vegas race. The obvious culprit was enormous competition from the gold medal hockey game at the Vancouver Winter Olympics (17.6/33). FOX's race failed to crack an 8 share opposite the hockey game, then immediately jumped up by nearly +20% in rating once the exciting game was over, going from a 4.2/8 at 5:30 to a more respectable 5.0/9 at 6:00.

NASCAR has obviously taken its share of lumps opposite the Olympics, with the three races facing the Olympics down -14% year-to-year (5.4/11 vs. 6.3/12). Next week's race in Atlanta will provide the season's first clean ratings comparison, and will be a better gauge of where NASCAR truly stands compared to last year


Atlanta attendance horrible
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, The amount of empty seats on the front stretch at today's Atlanta Sprint Cup race is HUGE. My bet is that they never show that shot again. I bet they tell us it's a sell out!  Tim DeCesaro

Another reader writes, I flipped on the NASCAR/France owned Grand Am race yesterday it was dark but when the cars came down the main straight -away that there was no one in the stands.  Oh maybe a few people but can you tell me why does the Grand Am series continue when there is so little interest from the fans?  What a waste of time and money to run a series that draws so few fans to the track?  The France family is wealthy  but there to come a point in time when they say enough is enough. I predict that as soon as they kill off the ALMS the France family will deep-six the Grand-Am series.  That must be the only reason this series exists.  Mike Bauer, Indiana


Massa worries that new teams will make racing unsafe
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa fears that the slow pace of Formula One's new teams could be a danger to the rest of the cars. The 2010 championship will feature three all-new entries in the shape of Virgin, Lotus and Hispania Racing.

Virgin and Lotus have been regulars at the bottom of timesheets during pre-season testing while Hispania - originally called Campos Meta - are yet to turn in a lap with their new car.

"I hope they won't be a danger," he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"There are six to seven teams one second apart while those teams are four seconds behind. It's not good for the sport and not good for them: it's like two different series.

"They'll suffer. And we'll suffer too, when we have them in front of us during qualifying."


Red Bull eyes sub-two second pitstops in 2010
(GMM) F1's new race for lightening-fast tire-only pitstops has stepped up another notch.

Observers marveled earlier this winter when, after Williams admitted that sub-3 second stops would be commonplace in the wake of the refueling ban, even quicker turnarounds were witnessed as teams practiced at the February tests.

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Ecclestone welcomes Chandhok, Massa slams new teams
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has welcomed Karun Chandhok to the cockpit of the new formula one team HRT.

The Spanish outfit is in the midst of an intense scrabble to Bahrain after nearly collapsing before a wheel was turned, but has signed Indian GP2 driver Chandhok to be fellow rookie Bruno Senna's teammate.

At the same time, one of F1 chief executive Ecclestone's acknowledged objectives is to better encapsulate the potential of India's huge population and burgeoning market.

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Hamilton not worried about McLaren wing saga
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton insists he is neither surprised nor worried about the controversy surrounding the legality of McLaren's rear wing.

FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting was scheduled to visit the British team's headquarters at the weekend, after Red Bull and perhaps also Ferrari asked for clarification about whether a drag-reducing innovation conforms to the rules.

"I am not surprised that it (the issue) has come up, it is part of the game, but I'm not afraid of anything," 25-year-old Hamilton told Spain's Marca sports newspaper.

In Britain, meanwhile, the focus of the newspapers just a week from the 2010 season opener has been on Hamilton and his countryman Jenson Button, who are paired together at the Mercedes-powered team.

Some reports got into the detail about the duo's pre-Bahrain travel plans, like Hamilton's dash to Los Angeles to see his girlfriend Nicole, while Button is headed to Abu Dhabi to be with his girlfriend Jessica.

Others quoted Hamilton first as admitting he mishandled his fiery relationship with Fernando Alonso in 2007, and then that he almost quit after last year's so-called 'liegate' scandal.

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NASCAR takes four trucks for chassis measurements
NASCAR took four trucks back to its research and development center in Concord, N.C., following Saturday’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The trucks will undergo detailed chassis measurements at the facility and NASCAR plans to use the data it collects when considering future rule changes. NASCAR took one truck from each manufacturer, according to NASCAR spokesman Denise Maloof.

The trucks taken were the Chevrolet of race-winner Kevin Harvick (Kevin Harvick Inc.), the Toyota of Mike Skinner (Randy Moss Motorsports), the Ford of Jennifer Jo Cobb (Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing) and the Dodge of Jason White (SS Green Light Racing).


Mansell tips Hamilton for early edge
Motor racing legend Nigel Mansell believes Lewis Hamilton has the edge in the battle of the Britons when the Formula One championship gets under way at Bahrain next Sunday.

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, teams up with reigning champion Jenson Button, the new boy at McLaren, in the most eagerly anticipated season for years.

Mansell said: "I'd give Lewis the edge only because he's been there for a couple of years but Jenson will settle down and hopefully prove what a great world champion he is and compete very strongly.

"I think they are both number ones in the same team. I give Lewis the edge for the first six races because he knows the team and the people and the car.

"Jenson will take a few races to get up to speed with the car but after that they should have total parity." Sporting Life


Bruton Smith Rips NASCAR's Chase
Bruton stressed again his desire for NASCAR to change the purse structure so there is a much greater difference between first-place money and the rest of the field to encourage drivers to take those extra chances to win races. He does not like the concept of points racing and says the sport should put half the point fund money into the purses to make it about winning instead of running for a title.

Asked if he would dump the Chase, Bruton said: "I'm not saying that we do yet, but that might be in the future because we've got to get rid of this point racing crap. If it takes that, then do it. Let's make racing better. Let's put the money out there and they go racing.''

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Hamlin claims Toyota engine lagging
The president of Toyota Racing Development doesn't agree with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin that the Toyota Sprint Cup engine is behind other manufacturers in terms of power and reliability.
"In Denny's case, at the end of the 2009 season he was being hailed as the heir [to Jimmie Johnson] by the media and he came into the season with extremely high expectations," Lee White said on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "He's had a rough start and he's disappointed, and he'll get over it as soon as he moves up front with his 19-year-old teammate."

White was referring to Joey Logano, who is eighth in points and coming off consecutive top 6 finishes. Hamlin is 22nd and Kyle Busch, the other JGR driver, is 12th.

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Goodyear tires again a question mark
The big question mark for most drivers heading into this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 remains the tires. After repeated complaints about tire wear in Atlanta, Goodyear has brought another combination for Sunday's race. "Goodyear's hardest job is to figure out what makes the best race," Burton said. "When you have 40 drivers, you have 40 opinions. For me, I like a tire that makes good grip and keeps a fair amount of grip during the run." Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr. and Sam Hornish spent two January days testing for Goodyear at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and all of them agreed that the new tire should offer better grip - and in turn, much better racing - than in recent memory. "Goodyear brought a tire that will be an improvement over what we had last fall," Martin said Friday. "The cool weather is going to be favorable for the cars' handling, and this multi-groove race track makes for a lot of fun." AMS

track news

NHMS wants to build casino/hotel
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway wants to build a casino, a hotel and a racing museum on its Loudon, NH track site. But the plans are contingent on the state legalizing expanded gambling this year, something that's far from certain. The speedway added its voice to the Legislature's gambling debate yesterday, during a Senate hearing on a bill that would allow slot machines and table games at six sites across the state. The news surprised many people, including Loudon town officials, other gambling advocates and casino opponents. But the entry of such a well-known - and well-funded - organization to the discussion could significantly shift the terms of the debate. "What we're basically saying is, we want a seat at the table because we know we could do a good job and be a responsible partner with the state on this," said Jerry Gappens, general manager and executive vice president of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We're the largest sports and entertainment facility in all of New England. We've got a great infrastructure here. And (gambling) would just complement what we already do." Gappens said that track officials were still working on their plans but that they would likely center on a new hotel-casino complex. He said the track was also in talks with the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame about building a permanent home for that institution at Loudon. He said the track had hired consultants to design the year-round casino facility as well as assess the potential economic impact the addition of gambling would have for the track and for state revenue. Concord Monitor


No TV for Indy Lights
More fallout from the Versus deal and the split and destruction of open wheel racing in the USA.  Atlantics, the best development series the USA ever had, is dead and now VERSUS will not have the Indy Lights on TV in 2010.  All races will  be streamed online at indycar.com.

Meanwhile, rumor has it that the man responsible for the destruction of the entire sport of open wheel racing, is off to Grand-Am.  He was Indy.


Smith still confident Kentucky will get its Cup date
Bruton Smith
Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith says he is confident that Kentucky Speedway will get a Sprint Cup date in 2011.

For that to happen, Smith needs track co-founder Richard Duchossois to agree not to appeal a federal antitrust case against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. to the Supreme Court. Duchossois and track co-founder Jerry Carroll, the managing partner of the original ownership group, are embroiled in a lawsuit over whether the case should continue.

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Martin tops Sprint Cup Happy Hour
Hendrick Motorsports driver Mark Martin posted the fastest lap during the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Martin, who qualified fourth, ran a fast lap of 185.524 mph. Polesitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports) was second with a lap of 185.517 mph.

Martin Truex Jr. (Michael Waltrip Racing), Paul Menard (Richard Petty Motorsports) and David Ragan (Roush Fenway Racing) rounded out the top five.


Hornaday Takes Atlanta Truck Series Pole
Ron Hornaday topped the field in qualifying for Saturday's E-Z-Go 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, posting a qualifying speed of 177.721 mph to score his 24th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole.

Hornaday's top speed in the no. 33 Chevrolet was enough to knock Matt Crafton off the top spot. Kyle Busch then took to the track but came up short of the pole, posting a fast lap of 177.306 mph.

Crafton held onto the third qualifying spot with a speed of 177.028 mph. followed by Hornaday's truck owner Kevin Harvick (176.853 mph) and Austin Dillon (176.145 mph).

Saturday effort was Hornaday's third career pole at Atlanta, a track where he has scored just one checkered flag, back in March of 2005.

Pete McCole


Conor Daly to Compete with Juncos Racing in 2010 Season
Conor Daly has announced his plans to compete with Juncos Racing in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  After topping the time sheets at the first official series test in Sebring at the end of January with the fastest overall time of 2:00.588, the 18-year-old is more than ready to return to the Championship this season where he will race his lucky #22 car in Juncos Racing colors.

"I am just thrilled to finally get our 2010 season plans confirmed," said Daly.  "This has been a difficult winter trying to piece everything together.  I had a great three-day test with Juncos Racing in January, and I want to thank them for being so patient while we worked with sponsors and investors.  This will be the first time that I have returned to a series, and I personally feel better prepared for this racing season than any time in the past.  I have never seen a team so dedicated to success, and I very much look forward to the first race in Sebring."

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Melbourne admits F1 race relocation possible
Albert Park
(GMM)  A relocation of Australia's F1 race is supported not only by the FIA but also Bernie Ecclestone and potentially also the organizing government.

We reported last week that the FIA has commissioned a feasibility study into $200m private sector plans to host the grand prix near Avalon airport, a 45 minute drive from Albert Park.

Albert Park's current contract runs through 2015, but the event is increasingly controversial due to spiraling running costs that are picked up by the taxpayer.

A report to be published in Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun newspaper quotes Victorian state premier John Brumby as admitting the race could move away after 2015.

"One (choice) is to keep it at Albert Park, the second would be to terminate the grand prix or the third would be to move it somewhere (else)," he said.

Ecclestone was unavailable for comment, but a spokeswoman said the F1 chief executive supports any move to stage Australia's race under floodlights.


Whiting did not inspect McLaren wing on Friday
Some feel the McLaren rear wing is illegal
(GMM)  Charlie Whiting did not as scheduled visit McLaren's headquarters on Friday.

The FIA's technical delegate had been invited to Woking to inspect the rear wing design of the MP4-25 car.

The controversy about the legality of the design, with air reportedly channeled through a 'slot' to increase straight line speed, was revealed earlier this week by Christian Horner, who said Ferrari was also seeking a clarification.

Sources said the Friday inspection did not occur because Whiting's flights from Brazil were delayed.

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Winning in NASCAR doesn't help manufacturers sell cars
As these results show, Chevy Impala winning the first three races of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season has not resulted in Chevy Impala sales in the showroom.  In fact just the opposite, it's not even one of the ten best selling cars in America.

Top 10 best-sellers for February 2010

1. Ford F trucks 32,895
2. Honda Accord 20,024
3. Chevrolet Silverado trucks 19,822
4. Toyota Corolla 16,996
5. Toyota Camry 16,552
6. Honda Civic 16,471
7. Ford Fusion 16,459
8. Nissan Altima 16,198
9. Ford Escape 15,156
10. Chevrolet Malibu 15,150


Corvette Racing chooses Michelin again
Corvette Racing made a big move in the second half of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, leaving behind the GT1 category where they had dominated the competition. They will not have that problem joining the uber-competitive ALMS GT category where they face factory-supported teams from Porsche, Ferrari, BMW and Jaguar.

Developing the new GT Corvette, the Corvette Racing team has made a number of changes. The new GT Corvette has new production-style bodywork, a new aero package based on the Corvette ZR1 supercar, a smaller 5.5-liter GM small block V8 engine and steel disc brakes in place of the carbon brakes used previously in the GT1 class. 

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Raikkonen crashes out of Rally Mexico
Washed up ex-F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has crashed out of Rally Mexico. Raikkonen, who swapped F1 for rallying when Fernando Alonso replaced him at Ferrari, rolled his Citroen C4 six times on the final gravel stage of day one. Both Raikkonen and his co-driver Kaj Linstrom were unharmed, but the car was destroyed in the accident and he was forced to retire.

He finished 30th in Rally Sweden last month after a number of mistakes dropped him well down the order. He was also out of contention before his big accident in Mexico, but showed real potential on an asphalt stage when he set the fifth fastest time.

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Info on the spoiler coming together
There are still many unknowns in the advent of the transition from wings to spoilers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but the pieces are coming together. Teams have received retro-fit pieces to adjust the template grids for the change from the wing to the spoiler which will measure four inches on intermediate and down force tracks and 4.5-inches at Talladega and Daytona. A two-inch "ear" will be at the ends of 64.5-inch spoiler for Talladega similar to the construction on the truck spoilers. All spoilers will mount on to the cars at exactly 70-degrees without adjustability, thereby preventing modification by individual teams. Although NASCAR is preparing for the roll out of the new spoilers at Martinsville Speedway on March 26, teams will be responsible for manufacturing their own spoilers for the test scheduled on March 16th at Talladega Speedway. NASCAR template guru Billy Berkheimer anticipates each team having at least two spoilers by the time NASCAR rolls into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the test following Bristol on March 22nd. Spoilers will be distributed to teams at the same time so one team does not gain an advantage over another. Following the initial distribution, teams will be able to place orders for additional spoilers. Despite initial wind tunnel reports of the spoiler providing more downforce than the wing on the new car, Berkheimer said, "If this works the way I expect it will, the downforce numbers will the same with the spoiler and the wing." Most of the top organizations have tested cars with spoilers at tracks such as Walt Disney World Speedway (1 mile), Rockingham Speedway (1.017 mile) and Little Rock (0.526 mile). FoxSports


Schumacher can't wait to restart F1 career
Michael Schumacher
The much-anticipated 2010 Formula One Season gets underway in Bahrain next week and marks the return of a Mercedes-Benz works team to the sport for the first time in 55 years. The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team go into the season with the prestige of being the current Constructors’ World Champions, after buying out the defending champion Brawn GP led by Team Principal Ross Brawn, and with one of the most exciting driver line-ups on the grid as seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher returns to the sport to partner the talented Nico Rosberg.

“Finally the season will start! I feel like a child looking forward to Christmas," said the seven-time world champ Michael Schumacher. 

"The decision to make my comeback feels like a long time ago now and I can hardly wait for the season to get underway in Bahrain. It’s funny to think that I will be competing in Formula One again when just a few months ago, I would have declined the opportunity categorically. But sometimes things change and the right circumstances come together."

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Even Big Oil Execs Think We're Headed To An Electric Future
[Note: All predicted right here at AR1.com long ago]  Within the auto industry, we can attest that attitudes about electric vehicles are radically different than they were just a decade ago. But finding out that a Big Oil executive has predicted electric vehicles (EVs) will become a huge future chunk of the world vehicle market? That still has our hair standing up a little bit.

At the Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference, in Santa Barbara, California, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser anticipated that in 2050, 40 percent of all vehicles, globally, will be electric.

By that time the total number of vehicles, globally, will have doubled; so that could still result in more vehicles using gasoline today. Of course, it's likely that by then that even the dinosaur juice-burners will continue to become much more fuel-efficient than they are today.

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It's official: Atlantic Series dead UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, As a loyal subscriber to AR1, I read your footnote on the demise of the Atlantics regarding Tony George and OWR  " Maybe we should write a book detailing the destruction of open wheel racing in America".

Where do I send my down payment check on your book?  Name names.  Tell the story about big name owners and their disloyalty to the sport.  Tell the story about the reasonable owners, especially those who aren't participating anymore due to lack of sponsor value.  Make it a "coffee table book" with pictures.  Bob Pagels, Downers Grove, IL

03/03/10 Due to the downturn in the global economy and the subsequent shortage of funded drivers, the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will go on hiatus until global conditions improve. The Atlantic Championship has and always will be committed to providing the best driver development series available to the world’s next generation of top-tier driving talent. Unfortunately however this experience cannot be upheld through 2010. Series officials will continue working throughout the year to develop new ideas for the future that will add value to drivers and also lower costs associated with competing in a world-class racing series like the Atlantic Championship.

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Pelican Joe on the Mend
Two-time USAC national champion Joe Leonard is recovering from a heart attack and quadruple by-pass surgery in a San Jose Hospital. “Pelican Joe is doing better each day, eating well, taking a few steps and they should move him out of ICU tonight,” said Steve Gregory, one of Leonard’s best friends.

The 77-year-old motorcycle and Indy-car legend suffered a heart attack on Feb. 25 and had his operation on Tuesday.

Leonard’s old rival and buddy A.J. Foyt called him on Thursday to wish him well. “That really made Joe’s day, he’s been telling A.J. stories ever since he woke up,” said Gregory. SPEEDTV.com


Alexander Rossi shows again why he's America's best F1 hope
Alexander Rossi
Today marked the conclusion of the first ever GP3 Series test in Le Castellet, and the mood in the paddock as the teams began packing away was a positive one after two days of hard work.

The on track action was non-stop during the final three hours, with top honors eventually claimed by ART’s Alexander Rossi. He topped the time sheets in three out of the four sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard, an impressive display by the young American who set a final best of 1:20.013.

Rounding out the top three were yesterday afternoon’s quickest man and Rossi’s teammate Esteban Gutierrez, followed by Carlin’s Max Chilton. The three drivers were separated by just 2 tenths of a second, while the top twelve runners were all within 1 second of each other. 

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Arute to host roundtable discussion on new IndyCar
With its emphasis on delivering in-depth coverage of all things motorsports, RaceFanRadio.com announced today that IndyCar veteran reporter JACK ARUTE, the award-winning commentator and Pit Strategist for Versus TV's coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage, will host a one  roundtable discussion / forum on RaceFanRadio.com Thursday night, March 11, 2010 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST.

Follow the latest updates on Jack's new site at: www.JackAruteOnSports as this special edition program brings together principals from the four chassis manufacturers with design submissions for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.  The panel will discuss their ideas while giving detailed background about each project allowing  fans to get a deeper perspective on the possible future direction of the sport.

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New Spoilers Will Take Martinsville Action Higher
On a weekend dedicated to old-school racing, NASCAR is doing its part to help with the theme.

NASCAR officials have indicated that the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28 will be the first race the old rear spoiler will reappear on Sprint Cup cars, replacing the controversial wing that came with the Car Of Tomorrow three years ago.

Between official NASCAR test sessions and countless team test sessions, everyone has come to the same conclusion: the racing should be racier with the move back to the spoiler.

“What it will do to the race cars is create a looser driving race car,” said Kurt Busch, who won the 2002 Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. “The rear end won’t stick as good to the race track and maybe it will provide for better racing when cars get into traffic.”

Clint Bowyer was a little more direct in his assessment of the new-old spoiler.

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Another IndyCar concept coming UPDATE undefined

03/05/10 Three veterans with impressive resumes in open wheel racing have joined the scrum to design and build the next Indy car.

Bruce Ashmore, Alan Mertens and Tim Wardrop will unveil their car and plans Friday to join Dallara, Lola, Swift and the Delta Wing in the bid for the new chassis of 2012.

“We’ve all had success at Indianapolis, we all lived through the whole development program of the Indy car and we believe we’ve got the technical and business savvy to come up with the best car,” said Ashmore, whose company is known as BAT.

“We’re going to have a go and, hopefully, they (IndyCar) will listen.” More at SPEEDTV.com


Toyota woes continue
About 731 owners of Toyota vehicles not covered by two recent recalls have reported sudden acceleration complaints to U.S. auto safety regulators in the past six weeks, a Free Press analysis found.

The growing crowd of complaints, representing about half of the 1,460 received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since Jan. 15 about Toyota models and sudden acceleration, adds to evidence that Toyota still hasn't identified all possible causes of the problem.

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Robert Kubica on Renault readiness
Team Renault Drivers

With pre season testing now behind us, teams and drivers are packing up and making their way to Bahrain for the 2010 season opener that will take place on the Sakhir circuit next weekend.

Renault racer Robert Kubica has spoken to the French based squad’s official website about his thoughts on how testing went and explained that he now feels confident for the first race of the season.

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The $22 Million Ferrari
Ferrari 250 GTO  - 4675 Series II GTO

A Ferrari 250 GTO with a celebrity past is up for sale for $US20 million ($A22.2 million). And it’s 47 years old.

The 275km/h Ferrari has a 3.0-litre V12 engine, and is one of just 36 cars ever made. No wonder its pricey.

The car is owned by a Japanese collector who is selling it through the European branch of Canadian-based specialists RM Auctions.

"The Ferrari GTO is unquestionably one of the most iconic and coveted cars in the world," says Max Girardo, managing director of RM Europe.

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Gainsco Team leads opening GrandAm practice
GrandAm Homestead Practice 1 Times

Pos Car Cls CPos Drivers Team Make Time Next Behind
1. 99 DP 1 J.Fogarty, A.Gurney Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley 1:11.844
2. 01 DP 2 S.Pruett, M.Rojas Chip Ganassi Racing w/F.Sabates BMW Riley 1:12.315 0.471 0.471
3. 59 DP 3 D.Donohue, D.Law Brumos Racing Porsche Riley 1:12.389 0.074 0.545
4. 95 DP 4 R.Hunter-Reay, S.Tucker Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley 1:12.471 0.082 0.627
5. 10 DP 5 M.Angelelli, R.Taylor SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara 1:12.502 0.031 0.658
6. 6 DP 6 Br.Frisselle, M.Valiante Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 1:12.514 0.012 0.670
7. 9 DP 7 T.Borcheller, J.Barbosa Action Express Racing Porsche Riley 1:12.556 0.042 0.712
8. 75 DP 8 N.Jonsson, T.Krohn Krohn Racing Ford Lola 1:12.752 0.196 0.908
9. 60 DP 9 O.Negri, J.Pew Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 1:12.833 0.081 0.989
10. 55 DP 10 C.Bouchut, S.Tucker Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley 1:13.030 0.197 1.186
11. 61 DP 11 Bu.Frisselle, M.Wilkins AIM Autosport Ford Riley 1:13.078 0.048 1.234
12. 90 DP 12 A.Garcia, B.Rice Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote 1:13.183 0.105 1.339
13. 77 DP 13 M.Gidley, D.von Moltke Doran Racing Ford Dallara 1:13.335 0.152 1.491
14. 8 DP 14 R.Dalziel, M.Forest Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley 1:13.411 0.076 1.567
15. 7 DP 15 I.James, B.Lester Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley 1:13.825 0.414 1.981
16. 67 GT 1 S.Pumpelly, E.Saravia Toriello TRG Porsche GT3 1:18.303 4.478 6.459
17. 07 GT 2 L.Reese, P.Edwards, S.Russell Banner Racing Corvette 1:18.389 0.086 6.545
18. 70 GT 3 J.Bomarito, S.Tremblay SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 1:18.568 0.179 6.724
19. 30 GT 4 T.Lamb, J.Taylor Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 1:18.774 0.206 6.930
20. 68 GT 5 A.Christodoulou, J.Edwards SpeedSource/Newman Wachs Racing Mazda RX-8 1:18.778 0.004 6.934
21. 57 GT 6 A.Davis, R.Liddell Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R 1:18.792 0.014 6.948
22. 44 GT 7 J.Potter, C.Stanton Magnus Racing Porsche GT3 1:18.915 0.123 7.071
23. 69 GT 8 E.Assentato, J.Segal SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 1:18.946 0.031 7.102
24. 66 GT 9 T.Ballou, A.Lally TRG Porsche GT3 1:18.993 0.047 7.149
25. 43 GT 10 J.Nonnamaker, Wa.Nonnamaker Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 1:19.200 0.207 7.356
26. 97 GT 11 J.Magnussen, G.Schaldach Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R 1:19.489 0.289 7.645
27. 40 GT 12 P.Dempsey, J.Foster Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 1:19.523 0.034 7.679
28. 41 GT 13 J.Gue, L.Keen Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 1:19.669 0.146 7.825
29. 48 GT 14 L.Hines, B.Miller Miller Barrett Racing Porsche GT3 1:19.873 0.204 8.029
30. 28 GT 15 K.Collins, E.Lux LG Motorsports Corvette 1:20.379 0.506 8.535
31. 42 GT 16 Wi.Nonnamaker, J.Sahlen Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 1:20.710 0.331 8.866
32. 46 GT 17 S.Lewis, R.Zahn Autohaus Motorsports Porsche GT3 1:20.884 0.174 9.040
33. 72 GT 18 C.Grant, M.Grant, K.Grant Grant Racing/901 Shop Porsche GT3 1:22.499 1.615 10.655
34. 94 GT 19 B.Auberlen, P.Dalla Lana, J.Hand Turner Motorsport BMW M6 1:42.653 20.154 30


Team Stargate Worlds partners with BRM Timepieces
Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing is very pleased to announce a multi-year partnership with Bernard Richards Manufacture (BRM), a worldwide leader in luxury timepieces.  In addition to becoming Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing’s official timepiece provider and Associate Sponsor for the team, the multi-faceted and unique partnership will allow BRM and Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing to take advantage of the synergies that all parties bring to the motorsports world. 

One of the most exciting aspects to the partnership is that BRM has committed to producing 78 customized watches in honor of Simona De Silvestro and her #78 Stargate Resistance entry.  The limited edition model will have De Silvestro's signature emblazoned on the back and will be available to the general public for sale later this year.  “I am honored that BRM has chosen me and Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing for this extraordinary honor.  The watch is stunning, unique and its quality, as all of BRM's other watches, is unquestionable”, states an elated De Silvestro.

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Ian Phillips to leave Force India
(GMM) Director of business affairs Ian Phillips has left Force India.

Late in 2009, the Silverstone based team slammed its long-serving employee for confirming speculation that Giancarlo Fisichella was imminently due to switch to Ferrari.

Team boss Vijay Mallya reacted by issuing a media statement that said Phillips was not "authorised to speak to the media. His comments should therefore be ignored".

Six months on, Force India announced late on Friday that Phillips, who joined Jordan at its inception in the early 90s, is leaving the team.

"The team would like to wish Ian every success in his future endeavours," it said.


Stefan GP slams negative media reports
(GMM) Without mentioning its failure to be granted an official entry to race in 2010, the Serbian outfit Stefan GP on Friday slammed reports that questioned the credentials of its parent company AMCO.

In two separate reports, the Cologne newspaper Express this week questioned AMCO's claims that it worked with Germany's Federal Defence Force (Bundeswehr) on flight drones and contributed to the European Space Agency's orbit launch rocket Ariane 5.

Zoran Stefanovich-led Stefan GP reacted by insisting that the reports are "not founded on facts but on speculation and bad translation".

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HRT should be quicker than Virgin and Lotus - Senna
(GMM) Its grey-liveried car might have been launched with just a week to go until free practice in Bahrain, but HRT could be set to immediately leap-frog F1's other new teams Virgin and Lotus.

That is the claim of Bruno Senna, the Spanish team's Brazilian driver and nephew of arguably the most revered world champion of all time.

After studying the data from the most recent Barcelona test, the 26-year-old notes that the new Virgin and Lotus cars appeared only about a second faster than a contemporary GP2 car -- which is built by Dallara Automobili.

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Chinese auto sales continue to soar
China's passenger car sales climbed 45 percent in February from a year earlier, slowing from the month before as buyers stayed away during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The China Passenger Car Association reported that passenger car sales totaled 881,085 units for the month, citing data from automakers. Sales had jumped 84 percent year-on-year to 1.22 million units in January.

Official data on total vehicle sales for February are due next week.

China's total vehicle sales soared 45 percent last year to an estimated 13.6 million, overtaking the U.S. as the world's biggest auto market. Most analysts expect growth to exceed 10 percent this year, but to fall short of last year's stunning recovery.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Lopez to return to Argentina without F1 role
  • HRT car to make track debut in Bahrain - Kolles
  • Alguersuari wishes for Red Bull Racing switch
  • Villeneuve vows to wait for 2010 race seat
  • Baguette hopes for 2010 debut at Belgian GP
  • Carlos Sainz to be F1 commentator in 2010
  • FIA's Whiting to inspect McLaren wing on Friday
  • Kovalainen managing his own F1 career
  • Massa denies needing glasses for F1 driving
  • F1 better off with Todt in charge - Gracia

Lopez to return to Argentina without F1 role
(GMM)  The launch of the new HRT team on Thursday spelled an end to Jose Maria 'Pechito' Lopez's chances of a role in formula one this year.

Although the current feature on the failed USF1's website is the Argentine's deal to make his grand prix debut next week, 26-year-old Lopez has since terminated that contract.

His management has been in talks about instead becoming the reserve driver at the former Campos team, but on Thursday the grey HRT car was revealed to the public without Lopez in sight.

"All the possibilities for Pechito to be in formula one have been frustrated," his manager Felipe McGough was quoted as saying by the Argentine news agency Telam.

Other reports in the Spanish-language media said HRT did not accept the financial terms offered by Lopez, after USF1 apparently refused to give him back an advance payment in the amount of $830,000.

Moreover, some of the sponsors that were keen to see Lopez on the Bahrain grid were not so keen to see him in the non-driving reserve role.

Lopez's father said: "I will not go further in this nonsense.  I'm tired.  Yesterday afternoon I called it quits.  The story must finish because they are burning my son's head."

It is now rumored that the Lopez entourage will sue USF1 for the return of the advance payment, even though keeping the money is not technically a breach of the contract.

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ART tops inaugural GP3 test
Gutierrez fastest overall
After months of anticipation the GP3 Series was off to a flying start in Le Castellet on Thursday with all 30 GP3 cars taking to the track in the morning session of the first official test in the history of the series.

Stormy conditions the day before the test thankfully cleared overnight and the young drivers were left with a dry, almost sunny morning in the South of France, albeit with very low temperatures. Driving on a 3D configuration layout, first to take to the track were Buzaid and Chilton from Carlin, but they were quickly followed by the remainder of the field.

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tv news

Wind Tunnel Sunday
Featured Interview Eli Gold (Veteran NASCAR Broadcaster)

Veteran NASCAR broadcaster, Eli Gold, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday March 7th. As a member of NASCAR’s Motor Racing Network since 1976, Eli’s voice is one of the most recognized in the sport. In addition to spending decades covering NASCAR races, he is in his 27th year hosting the network’s weekly NASCAR Live radio call-in show which airs each Tuesday evening on over 450 stations.

We’ll talk to Eli about his time in the sport, his passion for University of Alabama athletics, and hear about Saturday’s Rolex Series race in Homestead which he will be calling for MRN.

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Villeneuve left on the outside looking in again
Following much speculation, 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will not return to the Formula 1 grid in 2010. The French-Canadian had hoped to make a comeback with Stefan GP but, as governing body the FIA released the official entry list on Wednesday evening, it became clear the team will not be allowed to enter the sport this year.  Of course it's disappointing," Villeneuve told SpeedTV. "The car and team looked very promising but we always knew that there was a risk without having the entry and it was running late. So it's not a full surprise but it's still disappointing.

"There was a lot of potential in the car. It was built and it was a full-blown project. It wasn't something started from scratch and it was going to be competitive.

"It's a shame because it would have been a new team which could have run properly, but that's the way it is."

Even though Villeneuve won't be racing in Bahrain next weekend, he still hopes for another opportunity in the near future. "Who knows, there might be some driver changes during the year, as the teams are not all fully secure," Jacques concluded. "And there's still 2011..."


HRT launches their new F1 car
HRT Dallara Cosworth car, drivers (Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna)and team principals
Hispania Racing F1 Team is on the doorstep of making history as it prepares to enter the F1 hall of fame on its debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Despite the lack of pre-season testing, the team is confident in its potential and is well prepared for a successful weekend at the Bahrain round, its first outing on F1’s world stage.

At the official presentation Hispania Racing F1 Team in Murcia, near Alicante (Spain), HRT F1 Team, "Hispania Racing F1 Team" unveiled the Dallara car, equipped with a Cosworth engine, at the Auditorio de Murcia in front of Mr. Ramon Valcárcel, President of the Region of Murcia, and Mr. Carlos Gracia, President of the Spanish Motorsport Federation.

The following is the full technical specifications of the new car.....

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Andretti team signs Karam for USF2000
Andretti Autosport announced today it has signed 15-year-old Sage Karam to drive for the team in the 2010 USF2000 National Championship.

The entry marks Andretti Autosport's debut in the Indy Racing League's new 'Road to Indy' driver development program. Comfort Revolution, a developer and distributor of specialty bedding mattresses and accessories, and The Michael Fux Foundation will sponsor the effort.

Karam, a native of Nazareth, Pa., has spent the last few years competing in the Skip Barber National championship, a part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder program, as well as the World Karting Association (WKA). He was the only American driver to compete in both a national karting championship and an open-wheel professional series full time in 2009. 

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Historic Sportscar Racing Series Opens 20th Season at Sebring
The Historic Sportscar Racing Series (HSR) opens its 20th season with the Sebring Endurance Challenge presented by Classic Motorsports at Sebring International Raceway (SIR) in Sebring, Fla. March 4-7.

“We’re very excited about having HSR open up the month of March with its annual event and it’s a great way to kick off the race month for us. We have enjoyed this relationship for two decades and look forward to many more years of having HSR here. The vintage element is always a very special event at Sebring and will always continue to be. We are very happy to have them here this weekend,” said Tres Stephenson, President and General Manager of SIR.

Sebring International Raceway is the oldest road course in North America. Portions of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit were originally a World War II B-17 training base. After major renovations in the 1990s, Sebring is now one of the premier road circuits in the U.S.

        “This year marks the 20th season of HSR, an important milestone. We’re delighted to be starting the season at Sebring, home of one of our first events in 1991,” said Ken Fengler, HSR Vice President of Race Operations. “The series has really grown over the years and we continue to make the cars the stars. HSR has a vast appeal to a wide range of fans through our numerous classes of historic racing cars and diverse activities.”

Highlight of the Sebring weekend will be the Al Holbert Memorial Enduro featuring GTP, WSC, DP and historic endurance cars in a three-hour feature race starting at 1:25 p.m. Sunday.

Championship drivers in the GTP/WSC event include former professional drivers Bill Adam, George Robinson and Elliot-Forbes Robinson. 
More than 200 entries in nine classes are expected for the opening race. Classes competing will be Vintage Production, Historic Production, Open Wheel, Cayman Interseries, Historic GTP/Group C/WSC/DP, Championship of Makes, Historic Stock Cars, IMSA Historic GT and Klub Sport Porsches.
The variety of race cars competing includes everything from 1950s-era production and sports cars to former IMSA and Trans-Am racers, NASCAR stock cars and current production Porsches.

The Sebring Endurance Challenge is the first of eight HSR events in 2010 on five different race tracks throughout the eastern United States.

The new Cayman Interseries will make its debut, featuring 2009-2010 Porsche Cayman S cars painted in famous historic Porsche racing paint schemes. These modern-day cars will sport historic livery familiar with race fans such as the Gulf Porsche 917, Lowenbrau Porsche 962, Rothmans Porsche 956 and Martini-Rossi Porsche 935 Turbo.

        “A lot of planning, preparation and good old-fashioned man hours have gone into the launch of the Cayman Interseries and we can’t wait to begin our first full season of competition this weekend at Sebring,” said Ron Barnaba, Cayman Interseries General Manager.  “The fact that we will conduct our first official points-paying race in concert with HSR on a Sebring track that has produced so many great Porsche memories makes it the ideal venue to begin a new era in the marquee’s rich racing heritage.”

Also making its debut will be the “Circle of Champions Trophy” presentation. Winning trophies from past championship drivers will be rededicated along with a donation to the former winner’s favorite charity. The “Circle of Champion” trophy at Sebring will be Elliot-Forbes Robinson’s Can-Am winning trophy from his 1978 victory at Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, Canada. The trophy will be awarded as part of the Klub Sport Challenge on Friday, featuring Porsches from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Two non-racing activities also be part of the event. Six students from the Full Sail Film School in Orlando, Fla., will be creating a documentary film at the HSR event as they follow the competitors, race officials and race activities using handheld and in-car cameras.

The Chiera Foundation will host kids with cancer at the race. The foundation, celebrating its 17th year, raises money to send kids with cancer to R.O.C.K. camp (Reaching Out to Kids with Cancer) in Eustis, Florida and offers cancer survivors college scholarships. The kids will be part of the pre-race ceremony before the Sebring Endurance Challenge 3-hour race on Sunday. HSR has partnered with the Chiera Foundation to raise more than $50,000 over the past few years, sending more than 50 kids to camp. The Chiera Golf Classic and auction will be held April 18-19, 2010 in Delray Beach, Florida. This year’s R.O.C.K and Roll themed event and live auction will feature items and events with HSR regulars Derek Bell, the 5-time LeMans winner, and AC/DC front man Brian Johnson.


Milka Duno to drive for Dale Coyne
Milka Duno
IZOD® IndyCar Driver Milka Duno has signed with Dale Coyne Racing for the full 2010 IndyCar Series Championship schedule. While this will be Duno’s fourth consecutive season in IndyCar – it will mark her first full-schedule season.

“I look forward to competing with Dale Coyne Racing. I’ve had the chance to speak with Dale and the team to discuss goals for the season and we are in harmony in all areas”, said Duno.  “For the past three seasons I’ve only run partial schedules and I’m anxious to be competing in all the races this year. Doing so builds momentum and maintains consistency that I feel is a key factor to good results. The full schedule includes seven races at tracks that I have yet to compete on so I will be doing my absolute best to learn these new tracks as quickly as possible. This full season will be challenging – but I’m very thankful for the opportunity!”

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Patron Highcroft team a mirror image of team owner
The Highcroft Team

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s early success in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n may have caught some by surprise. But not the man who has been the lead driver for Duncan Dayton’s team since its first full-season effort in 2007.

“If you look at the team underneath Duncan, it represents him – professional, open and very easy to get on with but very much business-like and get-on-with-the-job,” said David Brabham, who shared the Series’ 2009 LMP1 championship with teammate Scott Sharp. “The entire team is like that, and full credit to him for putting this team together.”

Brabham told WFOradio.com’s Joe Castello that Patr¢n Highcroft is well-positioned for another championship run in the Series’ combined LMP class for 2010 with a Honda Performance Development ARX-01c. Young French star Simon Pagenaud will partner Brabham in the full season with Marino Franchitti on board for the team’s endurance events including the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n and Petit Le Mans.

“The last couple of years, he (Pagenaud) and I have had some titanic battles on the race track,” said Brabham, who also won overall at Le Mans in 2009 with Peugeot. “He’s a very tough competitor and one of the top young stars coming through motorsport right now. Both he and Marino are so young and enthusiastic, and they bring a whole new energy to the team.

“Duncan is a fantastic boss,” Brabham added. “He has a real passion for the sport and was a very, very good driver in his time. When you look at our team, it’s absolutely spotless. It’s come quite a long way from even five years ago when he started Highcroft as a historic racing team.”


Marcelli lands Century Craft as sponsor for LMPC effort
Kyle Marcelli
Primetime Race Group

Announced today, Canadian race car driver Kyle Marcelli is pleased to have support from Century Craft Custom Builders Inc as he campaigns in the 2010 American LeMans Series co-driving the #11 with Joel Feinberg for Primetime Race Group. Century Craft’s president Carmen Apreda has been a long time race enthusiast and fan of the American LeMans Series. He made a special appearance during the ALMS official winter test last week where he enjoyed catching up with Kyle and meeting the Primetime Race Group. “It’s the local support that means so much for me to have. Century Craft has been with me from the start, they have been so positive and excited to be involved. I’ve shared many proud moments with them since our relationship began in 2007 and I look forward to sharing many more throughout 2010 as I complete in the American LeMans Series.” Said Kyle Marcelli “Century Craft is proud to be back again as a supporter of Kyle Marcelli and his upcoming 2010 season in the American LeMans Series. We are confident that he will excel in the upcoming season, as he has so often proven in the past. We wish Kyle all the best and look forward to an exciting season ahead.” Carman Apreda - President, Century Craft Custom Builders Inc.


F2 agrees partnership with McLaren Autosport BRDC Award
The F2 Series
McLaren Autosport
Award Driver
Dean Smith

The FIA Formula Two Championship will play a pivotal part in the 22nd McLaren Autosport BRDC Award after today (04/03) announcing a partnership to supply six Williams JPH1B cars for the final driver assessment process.

The prestigious award – previously won by David Coulthard and reigning FIA Formula One World Champion Jenson Button - is set to undergo one of the biggest enhancements in its history thanks to the link-up with Formula Two. The move to supply six F2 cars will transform the driver assessment process as there will be enough machines to enable all of the finalists to be on the track at the same time – something that had proved impossible in the past.

Formula Two will now provide the cars and the engineering support for the award, whilst there are also plans in place for a frontrunner from the 2010 championship to provide a benchmark for the six MABA finalists. There is the potential to change the format to include qualifying runs, race simulations, pitstops and technical feedback appraisals.

The McLaren Autosport BRDC Award is the world’s premier young driver award, aimed at rewarding the best young racing drivers from the UK, where a final shortlist of six drivers are evaluated both in and out of a number of racing cars. An experienced panel of judges decide on a winner who is then awarded a £50,000 cash prize and a test in a McLaren Formula One car.

Formula 3 had previously been used for the single seater element, but a lack of cars often meant that drivers were assessed at different times and in differing weather conditions, whilst a number of drivers also gained an advantage by testing an F3 car prior to the shootout.

Jonathan Palmer, Formula Two Series Director, said: “The single seater is the most important part of the evaluation, but it’s frustrating to have to run drivers in batches because of the resources that have previously been available.

“Even if we tested in Spain the track conditions would vary with temperature. Comparing drivers in different weather conditions and at different times complicates the whole process. Using six F2 cars will allow the judges to compare drivers in the same cars at the same time.

“This gives us a real opportunity to get creative with the appraisal. We can do more running and give the judges a huge amount more data with which to evaluate the drivers.”

Long-serving MABA judge and veteran commentator Ian Titchmarsh said: “Just like F2 itself as a racing category, the introduction of F2 cars into the Award test days will provide a much more level playing field, while at the same time offering the opportunity to test the finalists in ways which have simply not been possible previously.”


Lada to sponsor Renault team UPDATE Photo added showing the Renault and their new logo for Lada.

Lada logo now on Renault
03/04/10 Renault has confirmed a sponsorship agreement with Russian car manufacturer Lada.

The deal, that will see branding feature on the team's cars, was signed earlier this week and publicly endorsed by Russia president Vladimir Putin.

With the country still hoping to host a Formula One grand prix in the future, this is a further sign of their increasing involvement in motorsport.

Lada has recently featured in the World Touring Car Championship, while Vitaly Petrov will become the first Russian to compete in F1 this season with Renault.

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Campos becomes HRF1
Team developments continued in Murcia near Valencia. Following Jose Ramon Carabante's acquisition of the team earlier in February, on March 2nd, Campos Meta 1 was renamed "HRF1" Team, "Hispania Racing F1 Team" and the new chassis name becomes HRT.

After the team visited Mr. Carbante's office at Edifico Hispania in Murcia for the first time, the presentation took place  at the Auditorio de Murcia in front of an impressive  number of key officials including  the presence of Mr. Ramon Luis  Valcárcel, President of the Region of Murcia, accompanied by Mr. Carlos Gracia, President of the Spanish Motorsport Federation.

Dr Colin Kolles, Team Principal, commented, " I am  very pleased to use the Murcia site to officially unveil our car livery today that reflects the Murcia identity. We also  complete the driver's team line up with the Indian Karun Chandhok at the wheel of the car for our first ever season. We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2. India is a great country. It will be great for the sport to have an Indian driver on the grid for the first Indian Grand Prix. Murcia is part of the roots of the team. Everything is now in place after an impossible race against time to register the team's name and I truly believe that we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010 performance. Now, we need to work together. We need to learn together and keep developing as a team."

Jose Ramon Carabantes, Chairman of the HRT F1 Team, Hispania Racing F1 Team: “The new HRT F1 Team, "Hispania Racing F1 Team" is born in Murcia. I am proud to welcome you in Murcia where the team has its roots and to have given to my country the pride of the first ever Spanish Formula 1 team. The name of the team contains the word Hispania, which is not only the name of one of my companies, but Hispania was also the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. That reflects now our team's new identity. 2010 will be a major debut for the team and drivers  at the wheel of our HRT F1 Team, car."


Californian's just don’t get NASCAR's thing
Ed Note: This article says just what we at AR1 have been saying for years that Californians just don't buy NASCAR's roundy-round thing. The Grand Prix of Long Beach has always had a loyal following, even in the open-wheel war years. The Sonoma race seems to do well though, which just supports this theory. We bet even going to one race wouldn't sell out...

Bigger isn't always better. For evidence, we present Los Angeles. The major metropolitan area that has managed to live without an NFL team looks as if it couldn't care less whether or not it has NASCAR races there.

It's ironic when you think about it...an area that grew thanks to its love-affair with the car...doesn't turn out to watch cars race.

What should we blame? The economy? That's a factor. The weather? Be serious.

In fact, part of Auto Club Speedway's inability to draw fans has to with factors beyond its' control.

First, there's location. The greater Los Angeles area is massive. Even though Fontana is part of "greater" L.A., it really isn't close to L.A. at all. And, none of it is easy to navigate through. Speed limits on the freeways...they're often pipe dreams.

Second...when you have an area of this kind of size and scope, there are entertainment options galore...most much closer to where you live.

Look, I understand NASCAR's need to be in Los Angeles. And, I agree with it. But, the twice a year experiment has been a failure.

Cut back to one race...make it an annual event for the Southern California fans. Don't give them the option of saying, "maybe I'll wait for the next one".

Empty seats don't attract fans...they turn them off. They let them make last minute decisions whether to go or not. They also send the message to prospective fans that this is not a big event.

And, that affects not just the fans locally, but those across the country as well. It plants a negative seed that just may sprout when NASCAR comes to a track near them. Performance Racing Network


Will NASCAR Learn From US Fidelis Collapse? UPDATE US Fidelis, once regarded as the nation's No. 1 seller of extended auto service, and a former sponsor with Rusty Wallace Racing, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in St. Louis.

According to court documents, Rusty Wallace Racing is among the 20 creditors holding the largest unsecured claims against the company. Court documents show that US Fidelis owes $535,439.18Rusty Wallace Racing .

US Fidelis was listed as the primary sponsor on Steven Wallace's car for 25 of the 35 Nationwide races last year and on teammate Brendan Gaughan's car in 10 of the 35 Nationwide races last year.

03/04/10 It was June 20, 2009 when the TDP column titled "Trouble Brewing for Rusty Wallace and US Fidelis Sponsor" was published. Click on the title to read the column and the viewer comments attached.

We used content from the Today Show and many other sources to shed light on a tragic situation that NASCAR was making much more tragic. You might ask how NASCAR could be involved when it was only Rusty and Steven Wallace actually on the screen selling the product in 2009?

The answer is that perception sells when a product is associated with a known celebrity or athletic figure. The perception was that in the middle of a NASCAR race or a NASCAR TV program here were two NASCAR guys standing in front of a NASCAR Nationwide Series car telling you to buy US Fidelis because you are a NASCAR fan.

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Kurt Busch to go drag racing
Kurt Busch
going from left-turns
to no turns

The Lucas Oil NHRA Drag Racing Series and Super Gas division in particular, are sitting on a potential media home run.

To hear some of the discussions in drag racing circles, the prospect has flown over the heads of many who profess to be drag racing experts.

This potential media payday is the prospect of NASCAR star Kurt Busch racing Super Gas at the upcoming NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

The possibilities are endless. The media exposure the sport of drag racing and one of its most obscure sportsman divisions could obtain staggers the mind. Kurt Busch gets coverage serving hamburgers in Atlanta while the world of drag racing struggles to get mentions of actual racing events.

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McMurray apologizes to Montoya
Montoya was a little miffed, but says all is good now...
Juan Pablo Montoya was incensed with teammate Jamie McMurray on Sunday after they wrecked together at Las Vegas. Montoya yelled on the radio that McMurray moved him up into the wall and that McMurray was not a very good driver (in a more colorful way). He didn't really let off when he was interviewed on Fox about the incident.

According to this story, things are better between the two. Montoya, speaking at a media event in Bogota, Colombia, where he's taking part in his celebrity pro-am golf tournament, was asked about the wreck.

Montoya said McMurray texted him after the race, that according to Montoya, said "Hey, I'm sorry, I'm sure you're mad at me, you want me to call you and talk through things?'' Montoya said he texted McMurray back: "Don't worry, it happened, yes I was real mad, but let's move forward.''

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2010 truly a new year for Team Falken Tire
Wolf Henzler

Although Team Falken Tire dipped its proverbial toe in the water during 2009, its progression to a full-season entrant in this year’s American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n will make 2010 seem more than just a new season.

Truth be told, driver Bryan Sellers says, it’s almost a completely new program with a new 2010-spec Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, new tire developments and compounds, plus the addition of Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler as a teammate. It’s meant that the Team Falken Tire squad has been as busy as ever in the lead-up to the season-opening 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, where it will compete in GT2.

Wolf Henzler tries out Team Falken Tire's 2010-spec Porsche at the Sebring Winter Test.

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Larry Dixon on 4-wide drag racing
Larry Dixon has some experience in four-wide racing, but that was back when he was growing up in Van Nuys, Calif.

“The only time I’ve ever gone four-wide anything,” said Dixon, last season’s runner-up in the National Hot Rod Association’s Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings, “was (running) in a track meet in high school.” thatracin.com

Dixon and his NHRA counterparts will get a faster – and louder – version of four-wide racing March 25-28 at the Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex.

For the first time in NHRA history, competitors in all four classifications – Top-Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – are scheduled to race four-wide, rather than in the more conventional and traditional two-wide format.

Dixon, who stopped by zMax on Wednesday, said he doesn’t know what to expect.

“I’m ignorant of the whole deal,” said Dixon, who is third in points as the circuit heads to next week’s Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

“To be honest with you, the thought (of four-wide) has never crossed my mind. I don’t think I’m the only one, either. As a drag racer, you race just one guy.

“In our world, this is so far out of the box, out of our thinking that you don’t really think about it.

"So everybody will come out here to zMax to see how it plays out. All I know is I’ve never pulled up to a starting line with three other people.”

Dixon has had limited success at the Concord track. In the track’s first event in 2008, he qualified first, defeated Doug Foley, then lost to eventual winner Tony Schumacher in the second round of eliminations.

In 2009, he beat Terry Haddock, then lost to the eventual winner again, this time Cory McClenathan.

Those were two-wide races.

“As many questions as there are about this, we’ll get answers,” said Dixon. “It might become an option. It’ll be fun, but you’ve got to be serious about it because it could decide a championship.”

Still, going four-wide is a drastic change. The future of the format is far from secure.

“Hey, there are haves and have-nots, those that wish and wish-not,” said Dixon.

“We’re talking about it, and that’s fine. That’s good for the sport.

"We raced Funny Cars against dragsters once. That sounded great, but it didn’t take and we’re not doing it any more.

"But you’ve got to go try it.”

Besides, if Dixon wins, he said there will be an added bonus.

“Then you get to ‘smoke off’ three guys instead of one,” he said of a drag racer’s traditional tire-burning celebration.


Schu would have driven third Ferrari - manager
(GMM)  Had Ferrari got the go-ahead to field a third Ferrari in 2010, Michael Schumacher would have driven it.

That is the admission of the 41-year-old's long time manager Willi Weber.

"I believe had the third car been there, with all respect to Mercedes, Schumacher would have been promoting Ferraris, not Mercedes," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in January.

In conversation with Germany's Auto Bild, Weber confirmed Montezemolo's suspicion by answering "of course" when asked if the offer of a third Ferrari would have taken precedence.

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Chandhok confirmed, HRT car to be maroon
(GMM)  The team formerly known as Campos on Thursday confirmed reports that Karun Chandhok will be Bruno Senna's teammate in 2010.

Now called HRT, the team was set to be launched in the Spanish city of Murcia, amid rumors the Dallara car will be liveried deep maroon and yellow.


USF1 denies signing Lopez's teammate
(GMM)  The failed American team USF1 has denied it had two drivers under contract to contest the 2010 season.

The plight of the Argentine government-backed Jose Maria Lopez, and his subsequent extrication from the contract, is well known.

But it was also reported in recent days that the Briton James Rossiter, or perhaps the Serbian Milos Pavlovic, had signed to be Lopez's teammate.

"We had discussions with other drivers but did not have anyone (else) under contract," USF1 team boss Ken Anderson told Germany's motorsport-total.com.

Anderson also revealed that, out of the Charlotte based team's European headquarters in Spain, USF1 would have used motor homes purchased from Brawn GP.

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FIA publishes final F1 2010 entry list
The full, final F1 2010 entry list is as follows:

1 Jenson Button Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
2 Lewis Hamilton Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team Mercedes-Benz
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team Mercedes-Benz
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing Renault
6 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing Renault
7 Felipe Massa Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari
8 Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari
9 Rubens Barrichello AT&T Williams Williams-Cosworth
10 Nico Hülkenberg AT&T Williams Williams-Cosworth
11 Robert Kubica Renault F1 Team Renault
12 Vitaly Petrov Renault F1 Team Renault
14 Adrian Sutil Force India F1 Team Force India Mercedes
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India F1 Team Force India Mercedes
16 Sébastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso STR-Ferrari
17 Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso STR-Ferrari
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus Racing Lotus Cosworth
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Racing Lotus Cosworth
20 TBA HRT F1 Team HRT Cosworth
21 Bruno Senna HRT F1 Team HRT Cosworth
22 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber-Ferrari
23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber F1 Team BMW Sauber-Ferrari
24 Timo Glock Virgin Racing Virgin Cosworth
25 Lucas Di Grassi Virgin Racing Virgin Cosworth


Wing-gate controversy begins in F1 UPDATE (GMM)  McLaren on Thursday played down reports the FIA is contemplating the legality of the rear wing on its 2010 car.

Reports in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail quoted Christian Horner as saying a slot in the wing is designed to cut drag and increase straight line speed.

"We've asked the FIA for clarification although I think Ferrari are probably more excited than we are to be honest," said the Briton.

In reaction, a McLaren spokesman said: "We're very confident our car is entirely legal -- and we're not aware of any protest."

He questioned Horner's claim that Ferrari are "more excited" about the issue than is Red Bull.

"In fact, we've spoken to Ferrari this morning, and they're not aware of any protest either," said the McLaren spokesman.

Subsequent reports said the FIA is not currently concerned about the MP4-25, but has accepted an invitation to study the rear wing in detail.

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Wickens fired up about 2010 GP3 Series
Rising Canadian star Robert Wickens is joining the Status Grand Prix team’s driver line-up for this week’s first-ever test for the GP3 Series, the new single-seater championship which will run on the support-race bill at Formula One™ Grands Prix across Europe in 2010.

With the series for 280hp Renault-powered Dallara cars under the gaze of F1’s decision makers, Wickens has targeted GP3 as his next step towards his goal of becoming Canada’s new F1 star. For the two-day test at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit in southern France on 4th and 5th March, he will drive with Status Grand Prix, the team with which he enjoyed much success racing under the A1 Team Canada banner in 2007-08, when he became the youngest ever winner of an A1GP World Cup of Motorsport race.

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Gutierrez is Ready for his Debut in the 2010 GP3 Series
After it was announced that BMW Sauber F1 Team will take Mexican driver Esteban Manuel Gutierrez under its wing as part of their driver development program, Esteban arrived yesterday in the French city, where the first official GP3 Series training will take place. 10 teams and 16 drivers out of 30 confirmed will gather on March 4-5 to begin 2010 pre-season testing.

Last week, Esteban gathered with his team, ART Grand Prix, in their facilities located in the city of Villeneuve La Guyard, about one hour south of Paris. Esteban was very pleased with the way they welcomed him and with how motivated they are. Esteban Gutierrez, Alexander Rossi (USA), and Pedro Enrique (Brazil) will be the drivers of the talented French team, which expects to conquer the championship of the GP3 Series in its debut year of 2010.

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Rosberg insists Schumacher not faster
As has happened in the past in Schumacher's younger days, Nico Rosberg doesn't think Schumacher will make him look like a wanker too
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has refused to acknowledge that Michael Schumacher outpaced him throughout February's winter tests.

The 24-year-old German, who in his four seasons on the grid so far has recorded just two podiums, is this year teamed at Mercedes GP with Schumacher, the most successful formula one driver of all time.

But when asked by Bild newspaper who was the quickest occupant of the W01 this winter, Rosberg answered: "Hard to say.

"We were seldom on the same track on the same day.

"I think Michael respects me a bit more after these tests, which is important to me.  Above all, I wanted to show the team that the car runs equally well when I am at the wheel."

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Stefan GP parent company's credentials questioned
(GMM)  The credentials of Zoran Stefanovic's Serbian engineering company AMCO have been called into question, according to the Cologne newspaper Express.

Before supporting Stefanovic's formula one foray Stefan GP, Cologne based Toyota Motorsport was told AMCO was involved with space and military technology.

AMCO claimed it worked with Germany's Federal Defense Force (Bundeswehr) on flight drones and contributed to the European Space Agency's orbit launch rocket Ariane 5.

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