2011 PRI Trade Show Booth Count Already Exceeds 2010 Looking for more positive signs for racing industry sales this year? Take a look at this ‘behind-the-scenes’ news from PRI:
•More booths were plotted in the initial floor plan layout for the 2011 Performance Racing Industry Trade Show than the entire number of booths in the 2010 PRI Trade Show.
•There are already over 110 racing companies committed to the 2011 PRI Trade Show that did not exhibit last year. Over 70 of these companies are past exhibitors absent in the last few years due to challenging economic conditions but are returning in 2011 to Orlando this December. (All of these figures are as of February 28.)
Kevin Conway claims Robby Gordon punched himUPDATE
“It is unfortunate that Conway has chosen to use this insignificant event as a means of attracting publicity to himself, and it is particularly unfortunate that he has done so by making a series of false reports to others,” Robby Gordon Motorsports said in a statement.
“Contrary to Conway’s account, no punches were thrown. The simple truth is that Conway voluntarily and aggressively engaged in the exchange with Robby Gordon, and neither man was injured.”
Conway, in an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio earlier in the day, said that Gordon was the aggressor and had told Conway team owner Joe Nemechek that he was looking for him.
“He was actually in Joe’s hauler and came out and I was standing by Joe’s garage stall and, more or less, … [he] came up and it wasn’t really much of a verbal altercation or anything,” Conway said. “He basically just grabbed me, and grabbed me by the throat and got me down on the ground. And it was pretty crazy but pretty short. … It was a blatant attack.”
Two teams that have had a great deal of success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will team up this May in hopes of giving a young driver his first shot at glory in the Indianapolis 500.
2004 Indy 500 winners Rahal Letterman Lanigan will partner with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which has won a record-setting five Freedom 100 Indy Lights events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to campaign former Firestone Indy Lights champion Jay Howard at this year’s Indy 500 driving the #88 Service Central Indy Car.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan has made 22 starts in the Memorial Day classic, and has nine top-10 finishes to its credit including Buddy Rice’s victory in 2004. The Ohio-based team has had great success with young drivers at Indy as well, carrying Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay to Indy 500 Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Gears Up for the 2011 with Andretti Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) and Andretti Autosport team up again to bring energy and passion to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Venom Energy will continue as the primary sponsor of the #26 car driven by Marco Andretti. Venom Energy is an exciting brand that delivers unique flavors, in a unique re-sealable package that is as iconic as the Andretti Autosport family.
"Andretti Autosport has been a great partner," said Jim Trebilcock, executive vice president of marketing, Dr Pepper Snapple Group. "Marco Andretti and Venom Energy make a winning combination as they both bring a unique, hardcore energy that delivers results."
Dr Pepper Snapple Group will also continue its associate sponsorship of Ryan Hunter-Reay with Snapple and at the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Sun Drop Citrus Soda will make an appearance with newly-announced co-primary sponsor DHL on the #28 car.
"Dr Pepper Snapple Group knows how to build brands, leverage partnerships and deliver results at retail," said John Lopes, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Andretti Autosport. "We are excited to continue this partnership in 2011 and look forward to sharing our success in the winner's circle."
TranSystems renews with Dreyer & Reinbold Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is excited to announce that they have renewed their partnership with TranSystems. The Kansas City-based engineering firm will be represented on the No. 22 DRR machine of Justin Wilson for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
TranSystems is a global engineering firm focused on delivering solutions across the entire transportation world. To achieve this, TranSystems consulting services span all modes, including architectural, engineering and planning, management and supply chain, transportation security and transportation real estate consulting services.
FIA announces latest F1 rule updates The FIA has revealed a sequence of modifications to the sporting regulations on Tuesday, following a World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Paris. The changes include tweaks to the usage of tires, with Pirelli hoping to introduce an evaluation tire to help development throughout the year. Added to this, an extra set of Prime tires will be made available for teams to use during Friday practice.
The Safety Car rules have also been adjusted ahead of the upcoming campaign, with two key alterations being made. There will now be a predicted ‘40 percent decrease in lap time’ when the Safety Car is deployed, with a limit on speed enforced over two laps rather than one. The FIA has also clarified that drivers will not be permitted to use the pit lane if the Safety Car is on-track, unless a tire change is required.
Marrakech round to be replaced The race event in Marrakech, that was meant to be the second round of the Auto GP 2011 Championship together with the World Touring Car Championship, has been cancelled and will be replaced. The decision was taken today by the FIA World Motor Sport Council after the local promoter was not able to secure the financial support required to keep the event going. The staff is already at work in order to secure a replacement event for WTCC and Auto GP. The new event should take place in the same date on a track in Central Europe, and the final decision should be announced within one month.
Enzo Coloni: "Marrakech would have provided a staggering background for the Auto GP action and was a much awaited challenge for our drivers, but such an event can't be held without the right support from the local institutions. So we fully support the decision made by FIA and WTCC; our cooperation is very close and I'm sure that a replacement event will be announced very quickly".
Hunter-Reay gets a new sponsor in DHL for 2011 and beyond
DHL, the world’s leading logistics company, and Andretti Autosport today unveiled the new DHL branded IndyCar to be driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay during the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series at DHL Regional Headquarters in Plantation, FL. Executives from DHL along with Michael Andretti, owner of Andretti Autosport, and driver Hunter-Reay were on hand to give DHL employees and guests a first look at the car and celebrate this exciting new sponsorship.
“The new #28 DHL IndyCar is a true representation of the attributes that DHL and Andretti Autosport live and breathe every day,” stated Christine Nashick, vice president of marketing, DHL Express US. “The speed, reliability and dedication exemplified by Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay and the DHL IndyCar team are truly an ideal fit with DHL. As the official shipping and logistics provider for Andretti Autosport, we are looking forward to building the relationship and a very successful 2011 IndyCar Series.”
Webber ends up Day 1 on top in Barcelona Mark Webber turned the fastest driver on day one of testing at Barcelona after Sergio Perez’s best time was deleted. Perez was originally credited with the fastest lap. But his time of 1’21.176 was deleted after it was discovered he had cut a corner in his lap. His actual best time of 1’24.117 put him fourth.
Webber set his benchmark time in the morning, lapping two seconds faster than the other cars on the track. The test began on a damp but drying track.
FIA might change some tracks The FIA has announced that it will be looking in to the layout of circuits as it seeks to increase overtaking in Formula One.
Following a World Motor Sports Council meeting, it was announced that "the Circuit Design Group is examining Grand Prix Circuits to identify the possibility of increasing the opportunities for overtaking."
Formula One figures past and present have highlighted track designs as a key area to improve chances to pass, with the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh particularly critical of the layout of the newer circuits on the calendar.
The FIA's announcement comes before new measures brought in to aid overtaking this season have even been seen in a race scenario, further adding to the belief that KERS and the movable rear wing may not have a major impact on overtaking.
Pirelli gets green light for Friday testing Pirelli has been given the green light to give teams 'experimental' rubber to test at Formula 1 race weekends this year.
The Italian tire-maker wants to keep up development of its rubber throughout 2011, but with in-season testing banned it has been forced to look for an alternative solution to continue its evaluation.
After proposing to teams that extra tires could be made available for first free practice sessions at some races, the move has now been approved by the FIA.
A statement issued after Tuesday's meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris said: "At certain events, one additional specification of dry weather tire may be made available to all teams for evaluation purposes.
Webber fastest in morning Mark Webber comfortably clocked the fastest lap time on the first morning of the final pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona.
The Red Bull was one of just eight cars taking to the track on Tuesday, with Ferrari, Mercedes, Williams and HRT all deciding to delay their running by one day. McLaren, meanwhile, has opted not to run on Thursday and will test on the two days either side. The teams that chose to skip Tuesday would have been feeling rather smug when their rivals were greeted by dark clouds and spits of rain in the morning. Once again the temperature was much lower than the heat expected in Australia for the first round of the season and the effect on the Pirelli tires was visible, with familiar signs of wear as the rubber struggled to reach its operating temperature.
Malaysia eyes night race Malaysia's Grand Prix chief Tuesday voiced interest in hosting a night race at the Sepang circuit, saying it would help reverse declining audiences for the Formula One event.
"I think a night race will be interesting. The F1 race at night will be cooler," Sepang International Circuit chairman Mokhzani Mahathir told reporters as he kicked off a month-long ticket sales drive.
Mokhzani in 2008 ruled out a night race because of the heavy cost of lighting the circuit.
Ford Motor Co. plans to investigate complaints that the employees of a supplier in China are working under very hazardous conditions.
“We take these allegations seriously and are investigating the situation. Ford has a strong commitment to human rights and workplace safety, and we expect our suppliers to comply with local laws and our Code of Basic Working Conditions,” Ford said in a statement.
“We require all of our suppliers to ensure that our products – no matter where they are made – are manufactured under conditions that demonstrate respect for the people who make them,” added Ford spokesman Todd Nissen.
After a century of having its tires run in the Indianapolis 500 races, picking up 64 first-place finishes along the way, Firestone will bow out of the IndyCar racing circuit after this season, the parent company, Bridgestone, said Monday.
Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations said its Firestone brand will cease being the exclusive tire sponsor and supplier of the IZOD IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights racing series, and will end production of the Firestone Indy racing tires at its technical center in Akron, Ohio.
Bridgestone would not say whether the 40 or so hourly workers and 20 salaried employees involved in Indy car tire production would be laid off or assigned to other duties within the company's operations.
Robby Gordon, Kevin Conway have altercation in garageUPDATE #3
Kevin Conway released a statement Monday evening: "I don't mind stiff competition, but I want to make sure the hard facts are told. First and foremost, I love being a part of NASCAR and have worked very hard to earn the privilege of competing in the Sprint Cup Series. On Friday night, Robby Gordon, who has a long history of issues in NASCAR decided to ambush me in the garage area at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, completely unprovoked. Robby even confronted Joe Nemechek, my car owner, on pit road during Cup Series qualifying shoving him and telling him that he was looking for me and going to assault me. We have many witnesses including a crew chief that signed a police report documenting the truth of his physical attack on me. Situations like this are not good for our sport. It's one thing if we were racing each other and I wrecked him or he wrecked me, that's an entirely different situation. It's very unfortunate that he chose to physically attack me to address his rage. Our fans, sponsors and NASCAR expect and deserve more from our competitors than this bullish, illegal behavior that was displayed by Robby against me." ExtenZe Racing
Fox to air Daytona 500 documentary NASCAR and FOX Sports announced that the Sprint Cup Series' open weekend in mid-March will now deliver a never-before-seen look at the 2011 Daytona 500. Co-produced by Emmy Award winning NASCAR Media Group and FOX Sports, "The Daytona 500: The American Dream" will be a one-hour documentary special delivering fresh and never-before-seen footage from Trevor Bayne's historic run to Victory Lane. "The Daytona 500: The American Dream" will air on Sunday, March 13 at 1 p.m. ET. A few highlights of the documentary:
Waltrip Signs Extension with FOX Sports FOX Sports' Darrell Waltrip has signed a two-year contract extension to continue as lead analyst for the network's Emmy Award-winning NASCAR on FOX coverage. Waltrip's agreement with FOX Sports now extends through the network's current rights agreement with the sport, which expires in 2014. As a legendary stock car driver turned broadcasting fixture with race fans, Waltrip remains committed to entertaining viewers through his candid analysis and homespun analogies each and every weekend during the NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup schedule. The two-time NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee and three-time NASCAR Champion is thrilled to continue "double duty" as a NASCAR on FOX prerace and race analyst, a rare duel role in sports broadcasting. "Being part of the NASCAR on FOX team has given me an opportunity to share my passion and love for NASCAR. I never thought there would be anything that could replace the thrill of driving race cars. I was wrong. Bringing that thrill to the fans at home every week is just as exciting!" exclaimed Waltrip. Fox Sports
The Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) announced today a major perk for winning the 2011 USTCC Drivers’ Championship. The 2011 champion will earn a free test with Proteam Motorsports, one of the top teams competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
Proteam Motorsport will be racing three BMW cars in the 2011 WTCC. The Italian team was set up in 1997 by Valmiro Presenzini. Since then, they have become one of the top teams in the paddock, winning three Independent Team titles in the process.
F1-related group raises $12.5 million from investors An entity connected to the proposed Formula One race in Austin has raised $12.5 million toward the planned $250 million project, according to documents filed today with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. The $12.5 million comes from 10 investors and is part of a $20 million funding push by Austin Formula 1 Racing and Entertainment LLC, documents show.
The group’s SEC filing did not give specifics about how the money would be used and gave no information about the investors.
Officials last May announced plans for the race in Austin, to be known as the United States Grand Prix, and plans for its venue, which is scheduled to open for an inaugural race in 2012. Work began in December on the site, a 970-acre tract southeast of Austin near the town of Elroy.
The project will include a 3.4-mile track, facilities for race teams, grandstands for 120,000 fans, and other hospitality and entertainment components. The Statesman
Sam Schmidt Motorsports adds Guerrieri to driver lineup Esteban Guerrieri, who won six races in the 2010 World Series by Renault, will compete in Firestone Indy Lights this season for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
"Well, coming to race in the U.S. is a big change of direction in my racing career," said Guerrieri, 26, of Argentina. "I take it as a new big challenge for myself. I want to learn as much as I can from every single new experience, and I am with the right team to do that. Sam Schmidt Motorsports' record speaks for itself. I am looking forward for the season to kick-start with many test days during the coming weeks and the first race at St. Pete at the end of the month."
IZOD IndyCar Series fields to be capped at 26 cars In an effort to provide more consistency across its events this season, INDYCAR announced that it will cap starting fields at a maximum of 26 cars for all IZOD IndyCar Series races, excluding the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
During those 15 race weekends, 24 starting spots will be filled through qualifications based on time, with two provisional positions available if needed.
"This new procedure will ensure that our fans see the best drivers and teams in every race we stage, while adding more drama to the qualifying process," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for INDYCAR. "Many of the tracks we compete at can only accommodate a maximum of 26 cars and that is our limit when traveling to overseas events, so those two factors are what really helped us land on this number. We feel that a consistent starting line-up number will help our tracks and teams better prepare for events, improve conditions on pit road and elevate the level of competition on track."
INDYCAR adds fan-friendly features at track, re-launches INDYCAR Nation It takes a village to attract and grow the masses, which is what INDYCAR's racetrack fan initiatives are addressing for 2011.
An interactive INDYCAR Fan Village and garage area stage, plus additional large infield video screens will entertain and inform spectators at IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights race weekends. Combined with fans as young as 9 years old having the opportunity to go behind the scenes, the re-launch of INDYCAR Nation and the complimentary ticket program to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships, the sport will instantly jump on the fan- and family-friendly meter.
IndyCar creates NFL-style "scouting combine" to seek new talent Grassroots racing stars with an eye on the IZOD IndyCar Series have a new way of jumping on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
INDYCAR announced today that it will host the first Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine this fall with the winner having a chance to race in the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship in 2012.
"The Mazda Road to Indy's goal is to develop formula car drivers, and forming a link to karting is essential in achieving that," said Jason Penix, manager of grassroots marketing for INDYCAR. "Karting plays such an important role in the career of a young driver, and the Scouting Combine will give someone the chance to make the step into cars. Hopefully, we will find several young drivers ready to make the Mazda Road to Indy their next racing home."
Newman/Haas team to again test Servia and Hinchcliffe Eight-time Indy car champions Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) are looking forward to continuing their preparation for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season at the IZOD INDYCAR Series open test at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) March 14-15. Oriol Servia, who brought NHR a win and seven podium finishes, and James Hinchcliffe, who was runner-up to the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights champion will participate in the series’ open test on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn permanent road course in Birmingham, Alabama.
The test is a continuation of NHR’s off-season testing program that included two days of running in December 2010 for Servia and Hinchcliffe at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway road course. The team returned to the track for another two-day test with Hinchcliffe in January. The test at BMP will be the first time for both drivers to run the course in an Indy car.
Charter renews with Dreyer & Reinbold Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is pleased to announce that they have renewed a multi-year partnership with Charter Communications.
Charter is a leading broadband communications company, and the nation's fourth-largest cable operator providing broadband entertainment and communications services that includes advanced Charter TVTM, Charter Internet access, and Charter Phone to homes and businesses across 25 states.
"We are very pleased to renew our partnership with Charter, a company with innovative solutions that benefit consumers' needs today and tomorrow," said Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner. "We believe this is a great business relationship for DRR and for Charter; offering value-add opportunities to our entire sponsorship network."
Wednesday of this week will see a selection of IndyCar drivers enjoying addition pre-season testing at the Sebring International Raceway, home of the legendary 12-hour endurance race, ahead of the official championship presentation for 2011 at the Barber Motorsports Park across next Monday and Tuesday.
In action at Sebring will be a variety of familiar names, with championship returnees Mike Conway and Charlie Kimball being joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay, Danica Patrick, Martin Plowman, Justin Wilson, recently-signed Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro and Ed Carpenter.
Also in action will be Frenchman Sébastien Bourdais, former Formula 1 driver and Champ Car World Series title winner of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Bourdais is again expected in a Dale Coyne car.
Following the dramatic postponement of what should have been this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 now returns to Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya for a divided arrangement which will see eight teams running between Tuesday and Friday as Ferrari, Mercedes, Williams and HRT elect for a Wednesday to Saturday program.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course sale leaves room for hope
Dario Franchitti at Mid-Ohio in 2010
I would have lost this wager. If someone would have bet me a north central Ohio race track was going to be sold this spring, I would have picked the one that hasn't had a real season since 2008, the one fighting the tax man, the one that likely will be quiet in 2011.
Today Mansfield Motorsports Park remains in the hands of Mike Dzurilla, while Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School are under new ownership.
Wednesday afternoon TrueSports, Inc., which has owned the Lexington road course since 1981, and President Michelle Trueman Gajoch, who ran the track for the better part of two decades and founded the school, cashed out.
Sebastien Loeb dominates the 2011 Rally Mexico in the end after teammate Ogier crashed out of the lead Sunday morning
Sebastien Loeb won his fifth WRC Rally Mexico in dominant style once teammate Sebastien Ogier had crashed out on the lead Sunday morning. The works Citroens dominated the rally with Ogier ahead for most of day 1 despite consistent pressure from Loeb, who took charge on Saturday with Ogier then running first on the road.
But Loeb picked up a 50-second penalty for being 5 minutes late into SS15 after a gearshift issue to put Ogier back ahead after he escaped penalty for entering a service park early Friday lunchtime. But the younger works Citroen Sebastien, Ogier crashed out of Sunday's first stage, leaving Loeb to cruise to the 63rd win of his incredible WRC career.
Quaker State to Sponsor Inaugural Kentucky Sprint Cup race Quaker State®, the racing oil that has enjoyed an unprecedented level of success under the hood of Hendrick Motorsports cars, announced today it will be the title sponsor of the first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway. The Quaker State 400 will be held at the first new track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule since 2001.
"The entire Quaker State team is very excited to be a part of this historic moment for NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway," said Chris Hayek, Quaker State Global Brand Manager. "We are very happy to be involved with what is sure to be a great race."
Bologna welcomes Ducati riders A crowd of over 38,000 people came to Bologna's Piazza Maggiore on Friday night for a special "Ducati night" to wish Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and the team luck for the forthcoming MotoGP season.
"We'll do everything we can to finish at the front and do a good job," said Rossi, who will ride for Ducati for the first time in his career this season. "Thanks for the great support; the bikes that you make here are beautiful. Please keep doing a good job, and we'll try to do the same on the track."
Hayden added: "It's really special to be here. I've worked for other companies, but Ducati is unique; the bike is special, and the people who work here are special. Now let's hope we can give you the results that you all deserve." Video follows.....
Klien still in running to buy his way into HRT seat
Christian Klien still in running to buy HRT seat
(GMM) Christian Klien insists he is still in the running to secure the last race seat on the 2011 grid. After they tested recently with HRT, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Giorgio Mondini are considered the favorites for the cockpit.
But Austrian Klien, who impressed on his few outings for the struggling Spanish team last year, revealed: "My manager Roman Rummenigge is in permanent contact with the (HRT) team's management."
He told his official website that he does not think Liuzzi and Mondini are better placed to secure the ride due to their recent test outings.
Lewis Hamilton has warned the new Pirelli tires will make the cars slower in 2011.
"Formula One does seem to have slowed down," Hamilton told the Guardian newspaper in the UK. "The cars are slower on a race distance. Last year we had to make tires last with heavier fuel load and now it's even slower. I did run the other day and it was painfully slow, it really was. Just not exciting, to be honest."
Pirelli, who took over as Formula One's sole tire supplier at the start of the season, has been under fire lately because the speed its tires have been degrading. And Hamilton added his voice to the critics.
Only in NASCAR do competitors collaborateUPDATE #2 NASCAR's Robin Pemberton says no changes planned for radio rules for Talladega April 17th. Mike Mulhern [Editor's Note: Only in NASCAR. Maybe next year the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers can have radio communication into the other team's huddles during the NFL Super Bowl and collaborate on each play. Is NASCAR a sport or a circus?]
03/06/11 Drivers were able to communicate with non-teammates for the first time during the Daytona 500, which added an intriguing element to NASCAR's biggest race. Because there was a need for two-car tandems to work together while the race was going on, many drivers set their radios up so they could speak with their competitors. But some drivers believe the practice should be banned. "I think NASCAR should step in on drivers getting on other teams' radios," Kurt Busch said. "... We shouldn't be able to communicate with radios." Mark Martin had only four drivers among his options for chatting: His three teammates and AJ Allmendinger. But the veteran agreed with Busch, saying he hopes his competitors "clean the radios up." Paul Menard said he had 12 different drivers on his radio during the Daytona 500 - and was just fine with continuing the practice for future restrictor-plate races if NASCAR doesn't pass a rule against it. Carl Edwards backed the open radio communication between drivers based on safety reasons, calling it "necessary." SB Nation
02/26/11 Drivers were able to communicate with non-teammates for the first time during the Daytona 500, which added an intriguing element to NASCAR's biggest race. Because there was a need for two-car tandems to work together while the race was going on, many drivers set their radios up so they could speak with their competitors. But some drivers believe the practice should be banned.
"I think NASCAR should step in on drivers getting on other teams' radios," Kurt Busch said. "... We shouldn't be able to communicate with radios." Mark Martin had only four drivers among his options for chatting: His three teammates and AJ Allmendinger. But the veteran agreed with Busch, saying he hopes his competitors "clean the radios up." Paul Menard said he had 12 different drivers on his radio during the Daytona 500 - and was just fine with continuing the practice for future restrictor-plate races if NASCAR doesn't pass a rule against it. Carl Edwards backed the open radio communication between drivers based on safety reasons, calling it "necessary." SB Nation
Employee sues Earnhardt Ganassi over testing tunnel Jesus Hernandez, a former NASCAR diversity driver, is suing Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, claiming in his lawsuit that he was fired from his job as a test team mechanic after questioning whether a EGR testing tunnel had proper ventilation. Hernandez filed the lawsuit after his claim was rejected by the North Carolina Department of Labor, which cited that there was not enough evidence for it to prosecute a violation under the law. Hernandez went to the tunnel three times in 2009, his suit says. He claims in court documents that he suffered symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. Scene Daily
[Editor's Note: See rumor AutoRacing1.com broke years ago about Ganassi's secret test tunnel]
Ford Wins NASCAR "Driving Business Award" Ford Motor Company was honored with the 2010 NASCAR Driving Business Award Friday at the first NASCAR Fuel for Business Council Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. Ford Motor Company, which has been racing in NASCAR since 1949, has been a proud member of the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council since 2007. The NASCAR Fuel for Business Council is a proprietary platform exclusive to NASCAR's Official Partners that fosters business-to-business (B2B) development, maximizes resource efficiencies and strengthens the community between NASCAR's top Partners. Since becoming part of the NASCAR B2B Council, Ford has sold 20,000 vehicles to NASCAR official partners. PCGCampbell/Ford Racing
Marcos Ambrose knows very well that the path to the top of NASCAR is tough, and now he is using his years of experience to assist young up and coming Australian drivers through the North American stock car ranks. Based in the motorsport hub of North Carolina, Marcos Ambrose Motorsport has been set up to field Late Model stock cars in the UARA Stars Touring Series, with the team set to field 24 year old Australian George Miedecke in the Jeld-Wen Australia sponsored #9 racer. The program has been developed to equip drivers with the best possible race machinery, give exclusive access to Ambrose's advice, guidance and industry connections, as well as to his marketing and public relations team. Marcos Ambrose Motorsport
68 to lose job with Firestone departure from IndyCar Race tire production at Firestone's plant in Akron will come to an end later this year — Bridgestone Americas is pulling out of IndyCar racing.
The announcement late Friday afternoon means 46 members of Steelworkers Local 7 who build race tires for Bridgestone Americas' Firestone facility will be out of a job by either September or October. An additional 22 salaried employees also will lose their jobs, according to the company.
Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, owner of the iconic Firestone brand, said it ''mutually agreed'' with the Indianapolis-based IndyCar Series to end the Firestone brand sponsorship and supply contract at the end of the 2011 race season in the fall. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Firestone tires in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race.
Audi and Peugeot Renew Sebring Rivalry Over the past four years, Audi and Peugeot have been the two titans battling for supremacy in international sports car endurance racing. That rivalry continues on March 19th at the 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. America's premier sports car race features a stellar 56-car field headlined by Audi and Peugeot diesel-powered prototypes. These two manufacturers will face several challengers, including an Aston Martin coupe, Toyota powered Lola coupe, Pescarolo Judd, Mazda Lola and the defending series champion Highcroft Honda Performance Development entry.
Firestone Brand To Exit INDYCAR After 2011 Season Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) announced today that it has mutually agreed with INDYCAR to allow its Firestone brand sponsorship and supply contract with the sanctioning body's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights to expire at the end of the 2011 season.
The partnership between the Firestone brand and INDYCAR has been one of the most successful in all of motorsports. And while this was a very difficult decision, it is in line with the company's goal of ensuring the long-term growth of its business and its brands, including Firestone.
Dutchman Kelvin Snoeks has his sights firmly set on a championship top three finish in 2011, after confirming he will return to the FIA Formula Two Championship for a second season.
Snoeks, who has a background competing in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and International Formula Master, enjoyed early success in his first season in Formula Two as he took a maiden podium on the streets of Marrakech.
Further points followed in the second race in Morocco and also at Zolder, before his season was disrupted by a moped accident which forced him to miss Brands Hatch with a broken ankle. Despite the injury Kelvin returned sooner than predicted, demonstrating remarkable determination and bravery to take five points finishes in the last six races – including a superb fourth place at Oschersleben – to end the season 13th overall.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Z-Line Designs will return to the team for the 2011 season. The San Ramon, California-based furniture corporation will be a primary partner on the No. 22 DRR machine driven by Justin Wilson at five IZOD IndyCar events in 2011, which will include Long Beach, the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, Texas, Toronto and Edmonton.
"Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is extremely excited to have Z-Line Designs return this year and we are looking forward to sporting the classic Z-Line Designs colors at five important events for DRR. We cannot think of a better brand to be associated with, especially for the Centennial celebration of the Indianapolis 500. I'd like to personally thank Jim and Monica Sexton for their continued support," commented Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Co-Owner Robbie Buhl.
Nico Müller quickest on final day at Paul Ricard Jenzer Motorsport’s Nico Müller was the fastest man on track for the final day of testing at Circuit Paul Ricard today, after setting the quickest time in this morning’s session.
The GP3 Series was back on track today for the second and final day of pre-season testing at Circuit Paul Ricard. After yesterday’s downpour, teams were greeted with much improved conditions in Le Castellet, albeit with low temperatures and a wet track. Status Grand Prix’s Antonio Felix Da Costa was first to complete a benchmark lap with the rest of the field in hot pursuit. Together with Atech CRS GP’s newcomer Nick Yelloly, Da Costa mastered the damp conditions, and the pair topped the time sheet for nearly all the opening part of the session.
Mario Andretti: My grandson should be given a shot at F1
Is Marco Andretti ready for F1 when he cannot win on a consistent basis in IndyCar? Mario Andretti thinks so.
Racing legend Mario Andretti is convinced that his grandson, IndyCar race-winner Marco Andretti, is good enough to emulate his achievement of winning the F1 World Championship.
The 1978 champion is adamant that his opinion is a non-partisan one, but rather based upon speed and ability alone – and he is confident that Marco is fast enough, fit enough and committed enough to succeed.
“I think he really would, and I know people will say it’s biased but it is really based on pure facts and I would say the same if he wasn’t related to me,” the four-time IndyCar Champion announced. “He’s a typical modern driver – extremely fit, totally immerses himself in whatever he’s doing and he learns circuits quickly.
'I'm not racing to make friends' - Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has revealed he is more than happy with life at Ferrari and admitted he is not in the sport to be popular.
"I'm not racing to make friends but to achieve many titles," he told the Spanish Marca newspaper. "Let's see if I win enough to be remembered. If not, I will also retire very happy, proud of the experience."
Turning to Ferrari, where he is about to start his second season, he said he "expected a team of legend and magic and it has been a pleasant surprise, even better than I expected". Asked how long he might stay in F1 and with Ferrari, Alonso answered: "I am in no hurry to go; here, I even enjoy finishing second, eighth and 23rd."
Indian Grand Prix tickets to go on sale this month Tickets for the Indian Grand Prix in October are likely to go on sale online by the end of March, according to race organizers. The capacity of the purpose-built venue is around 110,000.
"We will open online booking for the event within a month," a spokesman said. "The ticket prices will also be fixed soon. Ticket slabs are likely to ensure entry for students as well as corporate entities, as we want to attract racing enthusiasts from every strata of the society."
The organizers also stressed the need to purchase tickets from authorized sources only following a number of recent events in which fake tickets had flooded the market.
Work on the circuit, which is located at Greater Noida, around 25 miles from the centre of Delhi, is continuing and is reported to be on schedule, with the track expected to open in July. ESPNF1
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel claims he was joking when he mused recently about desperately wanting to switch to Ferrari.
The reigning world champion triggered international headlines when he joked that he would pay Fernando Alonso to go on holiday for a whole year if he could secure the Spaniard's seat at the famous Maranello based team.
Asked about those comments by Germany's Auto Bild, he explained: "I was asked what I would do if for some reason I couldn't drive for Red Bull.
NASCAR, ARCA, INDYCAR and GRAND-AM all make stops in Alabama during April, with only one week and 30 miles separating the events. Earnhardt-Ganassi drivers McMurray and Dixon will get a chance to experience what each race offers when they take turns driving each other's cars at their respective venues - McMurray will drive Dixon's #9 Target Honda Indy car at Barber Motorsports Park and Dixon will drive McMurray's # 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway. The event takes place starting at noon on March 16, but is not open to the public. Talladega PR
Dreyer & Reinbold shop expansion IndyCar team Dreyer & Reinbold is adding a 12,000-square-foot addition to the team's shop in Carmel.
The plan is to include an apartment for visitors. The project is targeted for a May completion. Team manager Larry Curry told the Indy Star the expansion is part of an overall plan "to change how everyone looks at us."
The team has announced two cars/drivers for next year and is trying to add a third for either Tony Kanaan or Dan Wheldon. Kanaan could also end up at any number of teams including Dale Coyne, while Wheldon has been in talks with KV Racing.
NASCAR drivers chicken out of IndyCar challengeUPDATE "We're reaching out to a variety of people to make sure we can build a schedule that does its best to accommodate drivers from all different forms of racing over the three days we are on track at Las Vegas," he said. "We are taking everything into consideration to make sure that if these drivers want to participate we can make it happen."
He also emphasized that the guest drivers would be well prepared for the race.
"We are going to provide ample testing time at Las Vegas for the five selected drivers to make sure by the time they get to Las Vegas they are up to speed," Bernard promised. So what excuses will the NASCAR drivers come up with next?
02/25/11 Let's see how many excuses why a NASCAR driver is afraid of taking on the $5 million IndyCar challenge at the October 16th Las Vegas race.
“It’s just impossible logistics-wise,” said Montoya, considered one of the candidates for pulling off the feat.
The IndyCar finale is Oct. 16 in Las Vegas but that effectively rules out the participation of any NASCAR Sprint Cup driver because they’re booked to race the night before at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It’s possible for a driver to be at both races, but it doesn’t work in terms of practice time.
“If you were really going to go to try and win the $5 million, you would have to get all the practices down and do it right,” Montoya said. “It’s intriguing and I think it’s intriguing for a lot of people.
“I think a lot of people are going to going 'Ohhh,' but being realistic it’s impossible. Are you going to show up on Sunday and race without practice and hope for the best? Who the heck is going to win that?”
Ford settles Ferrari lawsuit (GMM) Ford on Friday called off its legal action against formula one team Ferrari. The American carmaker had filed the action after Ferrari called its 2011 car the F150, in tribute of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. But F-150 is a trademarked model of Ford's famous series of full-size pickup trucks.
Ferrari has since renamed the 2011 car 'F150th Italia'.
Ford on Friday confirmed that it has filed a notice with the US District Court in Detroit for dismissal of the case.
"We are pleased we were able resolve this issue amicably," a Ford spokeswoman told the Detroit Free Press. "This resolution ensures that Ford's famous and distinctive F-150 trademark will be protected," she added.
Same old story every year - hotels rip off NASCAR race fans Room rates and minimum-night stays occupy the minds of NASCAR track executives these days almost as much as tickets and traffic.
A recent sign that makes the trend clear: Bristol Motor Speedway officials, working with tourism leaders, have persuaded six more hotels to lower room rates and drop the minimum stay to two nights from three for 2011. Track spokesman Kevin Triplett says the Tennessee track, which hosts the March 20 Sprint Cup race, had a total of 11 hotels participating, with more to be added.
To be sure, that leaves plenty of hotels not in the program, but it represents a major shift that any rate adjustments are being made for the Bristol races, where sellouts became routine for many years. The newfound cooperation on rates and minimum stays reflects yet another change brought on by the slumping economy in recent years.
Craig Dolby: “I have unfinished business in Superleague Formula”
In 2010 Craig Dolby, driving the Tottenham Hotspur car, finished the Superleague Formula Championship in runner-up spot, just two agonizing points adrift of series Champion Davide Rigon. We spoke to him about last year and his hopes for 2011.
1. What were the highlights for you of the 2010 Superleague Formula season?
The highlights of 2010 was winning the first round and also winning the Beijing round, although sadly that did not count for points. If it had...
Fernando Alonso did not ask to sabotage Hamilton's car, he asked the team to stop giving Hamilton a better car than he was getting. When they did not he revealed that McLaren had stolen secrets from Ferrari and taught the team a lesson - don't ever screw with me
Alonso happy with long life at Ferrari
KERS cost rule 'poorly written' - Magneti Marelli
Nannini wants to be mayor of Siena
Brazil says no talks for GP date delay
Verstappen doubts Alonso sabotage claims true
Villeneuve questions Schumacher 'motivation'
No quick fix for Korea 'love motel' problem
HRT not rushing to name F1's final driver
De la Rosa admits recent Renault talks
Whitmarsh defends Pirelli after tire criticisms
Mercedes now 'a second off' the pace - Brawn
Alonso happy with long life at Ferrari (GMM) Fernando Alonso has revealed he is more than happy with life at Ferrari.
2011 is the two-time world champion's tenth season in formula one, but only his second with the famous Maranello based team.
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