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DATE News (chronologically)
03/07/15
wc

Wilson Takes GTS Pole for Pirelli World Challenge
Kris Wilson, of Monument, CO, set the fastest lap in the 30-minute GTS qualifying session at Circuit of The Americas, the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas brought to you by Motul. The session featured a hotly contested first 15 minutes with three drivers exchanging fast times.

First to post a fast time was Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, GA., driving the No. 73 RESET MD GTSport Racing, Porsche Cayman with a time of 2:17.322.

Five minutes in it was Baldwin, followed by Dean Martin, of Westland, MI., in his No. 50 Picture Cars East, Rehagen Racing, Ford Boss 302 with a 2:17.385. Third best was No. 32 Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, PA, in the No.32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance, Phoenix American Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302 timing in at 2:18.082.

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03/07/15
nassprint

Johnson sweeps final Vegas Cup practices
Jimmie Johnson looks fast
Jimmie Johnson looks fast
Getty Images for NASCAR

Jimmie Johnson swept both Sprint Cup Series practices Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, pacing the weekend's final practice with a best speed of 187.637 mph.

The six-time series champion appears to have his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in prime condition for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) as the only driver to hit 187+ mph in the last session.

Johnson was trailed by Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano (186.916 mph), Casey Mears (186.458 mph), Martin Truex Jr. (186.438 mph) and defending champion Kevin Harvick (186.342 mph).

Defending race-winner Brad Keselowski was ninth on the charts at 185.605, while Coors Light Pole Award winner Jeff Gordon was 14th at 185.306 mph.

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03/07/15
Nassprint

Johnson tops practice 2 in Las Vegas
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson vaulted to the top of the speed charts in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice of the day Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Johnson, driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, turned a fast lap of 191.891 mph on the 1.5-mile track in preparation for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX), the third event of the season and the first leg of the three-race West Coast Swing. The six-time series champion was two mph faster than any other driver, but below the track record of 194.679 mph set by Jeff Gordon in Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday.

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03/07/15
wc

Cadillac ATS-V.R Race Cars to Start on Fifth Row at COTA
The Cadillacs are no match for the likes of Ferrari
The Cadillacs are no match for the likes of Ferrari
AUSTIN, Texas
- Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim will start the Pirelli World Challenge Series Nissan Grand Prix at the Circuit of the America's from the fifth row in ninth and tenth this afternoon.

The all-new ATS-V.R race cars are making their competition debut this weekend at the track located southeast of Austin. Fifty GT class competitors will take the standing start this afternoon at COTA. O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) posted a qualifying time of 2:05.237 that has him ninth on the grid in his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R.  Teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) will start next to O'Connell in tenth in his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R. Today's race will mark the culmination of a two-year development program on the all-new ATS-V.R and its twin-turbo LF4.R engine.  The ATS-V.R is the racing version of the Cadillac ATS-V road car that goes on sale this spring.

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03/07/15
nasx

Dillon wins Xfinity Vegas pole
Auistin Dillon
Austin Dillon
With a lap of 184.322 mph, Austin Dillon has won pole position for today's Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dillon's Richard Childress Racing teammate Brian Scott was second with Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney and Brendan Gaughan rounding out the top-five.

NASCAR Sprint Cup start Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was sixth in the #88 JR Motorsports Chevy. Regan Smith, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola and Chris Buescher rounded out the top-10.

The green flag is scheduled for 4:16 p.m. ET with television coverage on Fox Sports 1. Starting lineup below.

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03/07/15
f1

Horner knows Mercedes is the team to beat
Christian Horner
Christian Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes that Mercedes has an advantage over its Formula 1 rivals, but says Red Bull is close behind. We think he is hallucinating.

Mercedes has been sandbagging in all three pre-season tests and still topped the charts with relative ease.

Horner thinks Red Bull has closed the deficit, but he really is only guessing.

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03/07/15
wc

Beretta Fastest on Friday at COTA
Beretta in the No. 61 Ferrari
Beretta in the No. 61 Ferrari

Olivier Beretta, of Monte Carlo, Ricardo Perez of Mexico City, MX and Colin Thompson, of Doylestown, PA, topped the charts in GT, GTA and GT Cup for the second practice session at the Circuit of the Americas and the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas brought to you by Motul.

In GT, Beretta, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia posted a 2:05.323. Guy Cosmo, of Palm Beach Garden, FL, in the No. 23 M1 Racing LLC Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Centers Audi R8 LMS ultra posted the second fastest lap of the session with a 2:05.609. Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC, in the CRP Racing Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS ultra posted the third fastest time with a 2:05.804.

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03/07/15
irl

Pagenaud and Newgarden interviews
Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden interviewed with Sports Talk Florida recently ahead of the upcoming Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Below, are links to the interviews.

Newgarden
Pagenaud

Comment
03/07/15
track news

NASCAR Track income dropping
 NASCAR tracks are raking in a lot of money from the NASCAR TV contract, but the net total income across all 3 companies is trending down.  If not for the TV money, the chart below would look horrible.

Net income by company

Company

2012 Net Income

2013 Net Income*

2014 Net Income

Change, 13 vs 14

Change, 12 vs 14

Speedway Motorsports Inc.

$42.12M

$82.58M

$31.11M

-62.32%

-26.13%

International Speedway Corp.

$54.58M

$45.29M

$67.38M

48.77%

23.45%

Dover Motorsports Inc.

$9.19M

$8.99M

$5.69M

-36.68%

-38.03%

Combined Totals

$105.88M

$136.86M

$104.19M

-23.87%

-1.60%



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03/07/15
nassprint

Helicopter company gets NASCAR waiver, will still lose money
Helicopters will be flying to and from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

But there won’t be as many passengers on them as originally planned.

The company that transports passengers to the speedway has received a waiver it sought to fly just before and after Sunday’s NASCAR race, but it will still lose business because of the regulations adopted to thwart terrorists.

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03/07/15
nassprint

Danica under the microscope
Danica Patrick is very attractive
Danica Patrick is very attractive
Any attempt to assess Danica Patrick’s progress competing in stock car racing’s major league becomes a bit ticklish.

A burden of proof remains, of course.

But maintain perspective and the analyst is likely to be dismissed as an apologist for a female driver whose willingness to confront a monumental challenge should not require an apology.

Patrick, early in only her third full NASCAR Sprint Cup season, enters a contract year with GoDaddy and Stewart-Haas Racing having taken admittedly small steps. Her detractors are demanding giant leaps.

NASCAR swooned at the marketing potential from having Patrick in a stock car while she was finishing third and fourth in the Indianapolis 500 (2009, 2005) and becoming the first woman to win an Indy-car race, in Japan (2008).

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03/07/15
automotive

Nissan expands recall to address Altima hoods that may fly open
Nissan Altima
Nissan Altima
Nissan Motor Co. expanded the North American recall of its top-selling Altima sedan to about 878,000 vehicles because a secondary hood latch may fail and cause the hood to fly up while the car is in motion, according to a company filing with U.S. safety regulators.

A secondary latch is meant to keep the hood down if the primary latch is not engaged. But Nissan said that in model years 2013 to 2015 Altima sedans made from March 6, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2014, the secondary latch may not hold.

Nissan has not yet found the root cause of the problem or how to fix it, and cannot definitely say whether the recall in North America will have to be expanded again.

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03/07/15
f1

Caterham F1 auction - place your bids now
Bids are due next week for all the Caterham assets.  Get your credit cards out.

Comment
03/07/15
nassprint

Keselowski crew caught in attempt to manipulate fenders
Logano: Your crew tried to do what?
Logano to teammate Keselowski: Your crew tried to do what?
Getty Images for NASCAR
Brad Keselowski was pulled from pit road just minutes before qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after NASCAR officials discovered the Team Penske crew had pulled out the fenders around the wheel wells on the #2 Miller Ford. Keselowski's crew was forced to return to NASCAR's template inspection room prior to returning to the track for the first round of qualifying, missing the first six minutes of the session.

"We got to the final round I just couldn't make anything of it," said Keselowski. "It was a decent effort today. It is better than starting last." In regards to being called back to tech, "I honestly don't know enough to speak intelligently about it so I will let the smart guys do that part."

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03/07/15
nassprint

Chevy Las Vegas post-qualifying quotes
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon
Harold Hinson/HHP/GM

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS – Pole Winner:

THAT WAS A STOUT LAP:

“Well, I didn’t come off the throttle much, if any; I know I had to blip it just the tiniest, tiniest bit. The lap before, in the second session, I was a little conservative and the car just stuck so good, I thought when I heard some of the lap times that were up there, I knew that we were going to go get the pole. You’ve got to be fully committed and just go for it. So, I drove it down into (Turn) 1; I may have come off of it just a tiny bit, but it wasn’t much at all. And it stuck so good, I was like okay. Do I run wide open through (Turns) 3 and 4? I don’t know. It was real close. There was a lot of wide-open throttle there. It was fun. What an awesome 3M Chevrolet. What a turnaround from last week. I’m just so proud of this team and keeping their heads up. Last week was a tough one, and this is a great, great way to start out weekend here in Las Vegas.”

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03/07/15
f1

Melbourne promised season opener, day race
Melbourne will always be a day race
(GMM)  Melbourne is guaranteed its place at the top of F1's annual calendar, it has emerged.

Local media Fairfax has revealed Melbourne's new race contract until 2020 stipulates the season-opening slot for the almost 20-year-old Albert Park race.

"We have clauses in there about (being) the first race of the season," Australian Grand Prix Association chief Andrew Westacott confirmed.

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03/07/15
f1

McLaren, Alonso hit back at 'creative' crash rumors
Alonso says rumors about his condition are wrong
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso and McLaren have hit back at reports about the severity of the Spanish driver's memory loss.

Spain's El Pais newspaper had claimed Alonso thought he was a 13-year-old kart racer when he regained consciousness after his mysterious testing crash two weeks ago.

"In a few days the championship starts and we ran (run) out (of) imagination," the McLaren-Honda driver hit back on Twitter.

"I propose a game with RT (re-tweet) to the most creative.  WhereDidYouWakeUpToday," he hash-tagged.

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03/07/15
wc

Sombra Mezcal to Sponsor Guy Cosmo at Circuit of the Americas
Guy Cosmo
Guy Cosmo
Austin, Texas  – Posting the second fastest time of the day with a 2:05.609-second lap, Guy Cosmo wrapped a successful practice day at Circuit of the Americas on Friday as the American racer prepares to kick off the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge championship with Rounds 1 & 2 at the Texas track this weekend. 

Encouraged by the strong lap times in practice, Cosmo got some even better news as Sombra Mezcal has joined the effort for the race weekend and will be on board the M1 Racing Audi as he makes his series debut. 

"We are incredibly excited and honored to partner with Guy Cosmo in the Texas Grand Prix and we wish him all the best,” said Sombra Mezcal Director of Marketing Devin Dutz. "Sombra Mezcal is the authentic agave spirit of Mexico, and fans can check out our story at www.sombramezcal.com."

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03/07/15
nassprint

Toyota NSCS Las Vegas Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes
Matt Kesneth was the quickest Toyota entry in qualifying at Las Vegas
Matt Kenseth was the quickest Toyota entry in qualifying at Las Vegas

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Starting Position:  6th

How was your qualifying run?

"The track gained a lot of grip, which I guess is to be expected. It's really fast. They took a little bit of downforce off the cars, but not nearly as much as the power they took away, so your mid-corner speeds are just way, way up. I thought I got a good lap. I knew I missed (Turn) 3 a little bit there. We just got a little too tight, but overall I thought we got three good laps and I thought I got everything I could out of the car there that last run and we ended up with a decent spot."

 What are your expectations for Sunday's race?

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