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Lack of exposure, household names clouds new IndyCar season  Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti are the only Americans confirmed to drive the full season in the Izod IndyCar Series. They're very marketable -- the world's best-known female race car driver and an emerging star with a royal racing lineage -- but will the American public, in person and on television, provide growth to a series with a primarily international field?

There's no question that established stars from outside the United States, like Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan, are capable of selling tickets and attracting viewers. They've all either won the Indianapolis 500 or an IndyCar championship or both. They've also been in the series long enough that they're not viewed as Brazilians or Scotsmen or Australian or Englishmen, they're viewed as drivers who have made their home in IndyCar and in the United States. Castroneves is even talking about becoming an American citizen. More ...

Kia Motors posts 39.5% increase in February Global Sales  Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales, and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs), and commercial vehicles for February 2010, recording a total of 143,267 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 39.5%.
Tire testing at Darlington with spoiler  Darlington Raceway was the latest site for a Goodyear tire test this past Tuesday. A total of five teams were on-hand to test tires at the legendary South Carolina track. #33-Clint Bowyer (Chevy), #47-Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and #19-Elliott Sadler (Ford) all tested their respective Sprint Cup Series rides while Aric Almirola and Timothy Peters tested their Camping World Truck Series vehicles in preparation for the series' return to Darlington on August 14, 2010. No speeds or incidents were reported. Tickets are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.
Sebring Cayman Interseries notes  
Jim McCormick takes the checker at Sebring

The Cayman Interseries kicked-off its first full season of official competition at this past weekend’s Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Sebring Endurance Challenge, presented by Classic Motorsports Magazine, at Sebring International Raceway, March 5 – 7, where No. 44 Porsche Cayman S driver Jim McCormick swept the weekend’s races despite a strong field of returning and all-new competitors.

Driving his Cayman that sports the classic livery of the famous Martini “Baby” Porsche 935, McCormick started from the pole in each of the weekend’s three races and split flag-to-flag victories in a pair of sprints with a Cayman-class win in Saturday’s three-hour endurance race.  McCormick and co-driver Mitch Pagerey led the 46-car enduro race overall and ultimately crossed the finish line in fourth place after a late race caution period.

“This was a fabulous start,” said McCormick, who has extensive winning experience in HSR and other historic and vintage racing series. “I couldn’t have hoped or prayed for what happened, but I am sure it is not going to be this easy all season. These guys are very dedicated and unfortunately – or fortunately enough – one is the target if one is in the position I am in right now.  I doubt very seriously if it is going to be this way every time and I am looking forward to some good tight racing.”

While the respective Saturday and Sunday sprints were trouble-free runs, the endurance race had its far share of excitement for McCormick and Pagerey. 

“We had a lot of drama in the enduro,” McCormick said. “We had a 90-second lead over the second-place Cayman and were first overall two hours in.  The only thing we didn’t want to have happen at that point was a double-yellow.  So not only did we get a double yellow at exactly the wrong time, some other competitors got to make their two required pit stops during that caution.  We were pretty depressed but I climbed the three flights to the tower to talk to timing and scoring and they said we were in the lead. Talk about drama. I went from totally depressed to totally elated.” 

McCormick’s Martini-themed ride is one of several front-running Caymans prepared by Porsche Napleton Racing, the in-house race shop operated by series organizers Napleton Porsche of Westmont.  Other Porsche Napleton Racing Caymans finished second to McCormick in each of the three races.  Will Conniff shared his No. 2 Cayman, which runs the yellow and red livery of the famous Martini “Psychedelic” Porsche 917, with Kevin Roush.  The duo finished seventh overall in the enduro and second in the Cayman class.

“The opportunities to learn in this car are amazing,” Conniff said. “The crew here and everything they to do to set it up is very good. The Caymans are practically fool proof and you really have to do something nasty to get it out of control.  This is a great start to this 2010 season.  Sebring was awesome and we had great weather. Last time we were here it rained the whole time, although these cars do great in the rain as well, but it was sure fun to see them run in the dry and great conditions.  The Caymans performed really well in the endurance race with McCormick taking fourth overall and I finished seventh overall, so the Caymans are a pretty formidable car.  They handle and brake like no other, so it is a lot of fun.”

Jim Bacus, in the familiar No. 3 purple and green Martini “Hippy” car, finished second in both sprints but had to persevere through a minor mechanical problem to garner some valuable championship points in the enduro.

“I was lucky to keep it together in the first race,” said Bacus, who was slated to share his car with Jack Baldwin in the endurance race.  “I lost second gear, but I gapped enough to keep the other guys behind me. We decided we couldn’t get it together for the enduro but realized there were some points to start the race and to finish the race, so we got those and 10th place points as well. Everyone from Napleton worked on my car until after 11 p.m., and when I got in the car Sunday morning and it was better than the first day.”

Bacus ran second from the drop of the green flag straight to the finish in the Sunday’s final sprint race.

“I went out there and did my best in the final sprint race but Jim McCormick runs strong,” Bacus said. “We still gapped the rest of the field and my Cayman was running strong.  We were running some older tires in the last race.  I didn’t want to use up all of my tires this weekend, but in the first three laps on Sunday I ran the fastest laps I had run all weekend.  As the race went on I was getting some over-steer, so I just managed it.  We were out up front so I just managed it and played around with it a little to learn some things for future races.  I can’t wait for Road Atlanta.”

The No. 80 Cayman S of Bill Riddell and Ron Zitza finished third in the endurance race, just one spot behind the Conniff/Roush entry in the overall order.  Riddell also brought his green and white striped No. 80 Cayman, themed after a David Piper Racing Porsche 917, home third in Saturday’s first sprint race.  Riddell’s Caymans are prepared by his own RACELINK race-prep shop.

The weekend’s other podium finisher was debuting driver Henry Davis who moved to third from fifth in the last two laps of Sunday’s sprint in his No. 21 Cayman S.  His CARS-prepared Cayman sports the classic silver Martini paint scheme as run on that team’s legendary No. 21 Porsche 917.

“This is the first time I have raced this car and the first time I have been involved with the Cayman Interseries,” said a delighted Davis after his podium result. “It’s a great series, the people here are wonderful, you get all kinds of support from the group and HSR has put on a tremendous event here. Only in my dreams did I think I would get on the podium in my first race weekend. I was down here in December with a 1965 Alfa but we only ran for a day and broke.  So really this was the first time I have been on the track for any extended period of time.  I am really proud of getting on the podium in my first real race here.  The Cayman is just a tremendous car and it is so much fun to drive.  We just took delivery of it about three weeks ago and the guys painted it and did this wrap to it and got it ready to go, but it is just a really fun car.”

Davis also showed well in the enduro and anchored a driving team that included fellow Interseries competitor Randy Cassling and Christian Coggins.  The trio drove the No. 21 to 10th place overall and fourth in the Cayman class.  Cassling also drove his own No. 18 Cayman S, which wears the red, yellow and black colors of the factory Shell Porsche 962s, in the Sebring sprint races.  He and Coggins also drove the No. 18 in the opening hour of the enduro before joining Davis in his car.

Next up for the Cayman Interseries is the 34th Annual Walter Mitty Race presented by Classic Motorsports Magazine and sponsored by Mazda at Road Atlanta, April 29 – May 2.
Historic GP at Grand Prix of Canada  Thirty or so of the open wheel cars that made history in the Formula 1 World Championship from the late sixties through the mid-eighties period, will be competing next June 11-13 at the Grand Prix of Canada, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Octane Racing Group, promoter of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, is please to announce the return of Historic Grand Prix racing for the Montreal race weekend, round 8 of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. Back in 2004, Historic Grand Prix brought an impressive field of 30 authentic Formula One cars to Montreal where the owners/drivers thrilled the crowd at the Grand Prix du Canada. Not only does this group race the legendary cars, but the owners/drivers also showcase their cars in a tent that is accessible to the general spectators in the support race paddocks.

"We are pleased to bring back to the Grand Prix du Canada, a group of passionate aficionados that offers a spectacular show and also enjoys taking the time to talk with fans that visit with them in the paddocks," said François Dumontier, president of Octane Racing Group and promoter of the event. "Each time they go on track, it is one of the most popular moments of the weekend. The list of cars entered is impressive. It is a true reflection of the history of the first decades of the Canadian Grand Prix. They include cars that our loyal fans can relate to and cars that were successful on Canadian soil."

"We have fond memories from our last visit to Montréal in 2004, and that is why we, at Historic Grand Prix, are thrilled to be invited to the 2010 Grand Prix du Canada," said James King, co-director of HGP. "Our owners/drivers are as enthusiastic about the sport as the fans attending the race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. We are quite accessible to the public and willing to share stories about our cars and the men who drove them in the day."

Historic Grand Prix intends to bring to Montreal on the weekend of June 11-13 close to 30 iconic makes, some of which are still competing in Formula One: Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Lotus which is back in the fold this year. Fans will also be able to see Brabhams, Tyrrells, Marchs, Shadows and other makes of a bygone era. Some of these F1 cars have actually been driven by World Champions Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter et Alan Jones.

"We plan on bringing two Gilles Villeneuve Ferraris to Montréal, his 1978 312 T-4 and the 1979 312 T-5. Both these cars were at the 2004 event and the reception from the Montreal fans was something none of us will forget. Several of us in HGP raced with and knew Gilles in his Formula Atlantic days and we hold him in very special esteem. He was a talent and a character second to none and we are honored to be able to bring some of his history back to Montreal," also added James King.

Historic Grand Prix includes several Canadian owner-drivers who plan to participate in the 2010 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada. Brothers Brad and Dean Baker from Oshawa respectively drive a 1973 BRM P-160 and a 1973 Brabham BT-42. Keith Frieser from Edmonton has a 1973 Shadow DN-1, and Ottawa resident Hamish Somerville drives a Williams FW-07B, the same model that enabled Alan Jones to win the 1980 Grand Prix of Canada and to be crowned that year's Formula 1 World Champion.

Roush statement of Carl Edwards probation  “We are satisfied that NASCAR fairly considered all the circumstances in its decision to discipline Carl (Edwards). We look forward to meeting with NASCAR, Roger (Penske) and Brad (Keselowski) in Bristol next weekend and it is our hope to put this behind us at that time. Missed in all of this was a really strong performance by Roush Fenway - and the Ford teams in general - at Atlanta last weekend and we are eager to continue to build on that moving forward.”
Firestone Brazil preview  

Race Distance: 195 mi./313.82 km (75 laps on the 2.6-mi./4.184-km temporary street course).

Television/Radio Broadcast: Live - Sunday, March 14, at 11:30 a.m. ET on VERSUS, IMS Radio Network, XM Radio 145 and SIRIUS Radio 211. Qualifying show airs at 2 p.m. ET Saturday on VERSUS.

Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall)
dry-condition slicks: 648, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires);
* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 318, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
* Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 364, each entry has five sets available. More ...

Rahal to drive Fisher's car in early races  Rahal will drive Sarah Fisher's Dollar General-sponsored car at two early-season races as he prepares his program for the rest of the 2010 season.

Fisher owns Indianapolis-based Sarah Fisher Racing with other members of her family. She is scheduled to enter the No. 67 car at nine races this season with Jay Howard driving a team car at five. Both plan to be in the Indianapolis 500.

Rahal, 21, is one of IndyCar's bright young stars. He won the 2008 race in St. Petersburg, Fla., one of the two places where he will drive Fisher's car this season. That race is March 28. The other is the April 11 race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Indy Star

Cheap Trick To Perform at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach  Cheap Trick, one of the most popular bands of all time and currently celebrating their 35th year together, will headline the Tecate Light Rock-N-Roar Concert Presented by KLOS, part of the weekend festivities at the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-18.

The concert, held on the Convention Center outdoor stage, follows racing activities on Sat., April 17 and is free to race ticketholders.

Since the 1970s, Cheap Trick has been blending elements of pop, punk and even metal in an instantly-catchy and recognizable format.  Their timeless classics, including such favorites as "I Want You to Want Me," "Dream Police," "Surrender," and the late-1980s favorite, "The Flame," have made Cheap Trick a musical institution. More ...

USA Today talks about Randy Bernard  Ed Note: Randy Bernard's presence seems to be helping the IRL already, as USA Today seems to think his hiring is newsworthy. That's a good start.

Randy Bernard will view his first Izod IndyCar Series race at this weekend's season opener in Sao Paulo, unusual for someone starting his 10th day running the sanctioning Indy Racing League.
Open-wheel fans concerned what that means for the sport might want to consider his track record building Professional Bull Riders into a mainstream sport that has claimed a 23% attendance jump through five events over this time last year. As 16-hour workdays immerse Bernard in his newest endeavor, he sees a similar opportunity but wants to learn as much as possible before making any changes.

"For only nine days on the job, I feel like I'm getting comfortable," said the former longtime PBR CEO, who succeeded IRL founder Tony George. "At this point I'm just trying to get a grasp on things. But (in the short term), I want to try and build our objective on making and building the drivers into bigger stars.

"We need sponsors to activate platforms, we need TV to build passionate story lines but we really need great competition to show what we're about." More ...

Cadillac distances itself from GM name  Cadillac, the luxury brand General Motors Co. acquired in 1909, is distancing itself from the Detroit-based automaker to avoid the stigma of the parent company's $50 billion U.S.-backed bankruptcy last year.

Cadillac is erasing the GM name from its marketing and dealerships, changing e-mail addresses to @cadillac.com from @gm.com and exiting companywide promotions such as the Red Tag Event, said Nick Twork, a spokesman.

"Cadillac, which has really turned itself around with new levels of quality and exemplary products, doesn't want to be associated with something that will drag it down," said John Grace, president of marketing consultant BrandTaxi LLC in Stamford, Conn. "With GM's bankruptcy comes lower credibility in the ability to build quality products."

Bolstering Cadillac is central to Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre's effort to revive GM, which is shedding half its U.S. brands as part of a post-Chapter 11 plan. Cadillacs such as the SRX sport wagon start at $33,330, a 47 percent premium over the Chevrolet Equinox, according to researcher Edmunds.com.

The recession and GM's slide into bankruptcy helped cut Cadillac's 2009 U.S. sales by 32 percent, compared with the drop of 30 percent for the biggest U.S. automaker. Cadillac's 14 percent gain this year is the worst among GM's four remaining brands and less than half of their combined 31 percent jump.

GM plans to boost Cadillac's U.S. sales by 28 percent to 140,000 units this year, said David Butler, general manager of Suburban Cadillac in Ann Arbor and Troy. Annual Cadillac deliveries last rose in 2005, climbing 0.3 percent to 235,002, according to Autodata Corp of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Instead of joining the annual year-end sale featuring discounted prices and cash rebates, Cadillac will run its own ad campaigns that probably will include lease promotions more popular with luxury buyers, said Twork.

A new Cadillac ad campaign will debut later this month before a model introduction at the New York International Auto Show on March 31, Twork said.

Cadillac is critical to GM's turnaround, said Jeff Schuster, a J.D. Power analyst in Troy. "Certainly from a profitability standpoint, it's important. But if you can raise the image of Cadillac, that will also buttress the GM brand." detnews.com

Brawn honored by Queen  
Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II for guiding his team to last season's Formula One championship.

The 55-year-old team principal of Mercedes GP received the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to recognize not only last year's F1 victory under the name of Brawn GP but also 30 years of service to the sport.

Brawn's talents helped Jenson Button win his first F1 drivers title last season but the British driver has moved to McLaren. USA Today

Nakjima's plan unclear  Kazuki Nakajima, whose Toyota links helped secure a Williams race seat from the last race of 2007 until the end of 2009, will now join the Japanese manufacturer in leaving F1.

Already out of a drive at Williams, the failure of Stefan GP to land a place on the 2010 F1 grid has brought at least a temporary end to Nakajima’s F1 career.

"With Stefan GP not gaining approval my plans are unclear," Nakajima told his official website. "I will keep looking forward and spend some time below the surface keeping busy and concentrating on how to secure a quick return."

After claiming nine points in 2008, Nakajima failed to score last season, when team-mate Nico Rosberg racked up 34.5 points. Rosberg has joined Mercedes for 2010, when Williams will field the all-new line-up of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg. Yahoo EuroSport

Nakajima’s exit leaves BMW Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi as the only Japanese driver on the 2010 F1 grid.

Rosberg likes Merc car more than Schu - brother  (GMM) Michael Schumacher's brother has added another voice to claims the 41-year-old German might not match the pace of the sister Mercedes car this weekend in Bahrain.

As the racing world gears up for the return to formula one of the seven time world champion, his manager Willi Weber warned this week that Schumacher does not enjoy the W01's tendency to understeer.

And team boss Ross Brawn said: "Nico (Rosberg) has felt a little better in the car (than Schumacher) in his test days."

Ralf Schumacher told Germany's Bild newspaper: "I've heard that Nico is getting along with the car perhaps a little better than my brother. But Michael is working.

"He does not like understeering cars, unlike some other drivers, such as Button, for example, who worked with the team last year," he added.
Check-out Bridgestone prepares for final F1 season  Having entered Formula 1 at the start of the 1997 season, Bridgestone will bow out of the sport at the end of the upcoming campaign after announcing that it will no longer continue as the sport's sole tire supplier, a role it has held since the departure of Michelin at the end of 2006.

After clinching its first F1 race win courtesy of McLaren's 1-2 finish in Melbourne at the start of the 1998 campaign, the Tokyo-based company looks forward to one final year in F1.

"This will be our fourteenth season in Formula 1 and we are anticipating a fantastic year ahead of exciting racing," commented Hiroshi Yasukawa, the Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "We will be welcoming new teams, the return of Michael Schumacher after three seasons away and the introduction of regulation changes, all of which will play a part in making Formula 1 a fascinating sport to follow this year."

For this season, each driver will once again be required to use two types of tire compound over the course of a Grand Prix distance, with the softer of the two on each weekend being indicated as usual by a green sidewall.

"There are both technical and logistical challenges for Bridgestone in 2010," added Hirohide Hamashima, the company's Director of Motorsport Tire Development. "No refueling means we have modified the tire construction and have all new compounds of dry tires.

"As well as cars which will be approximately 100 kilogram’s heavier at the start of the race, we will see different pit-stop strategies this season and the top ten cars starting with their qualifying tires brings many strategy considerations for teams too. In terms of logistics ,we have new teams and 19 races (the maximum in one season to date, equaling the amount of 2005)." GPUpdate.net

New teams' budgets 'not sufficient' - Ecclestone  (GMM)  The struggles of F1's small new teams is proof that EUR45 million is not enough to run a competitive team, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

Ferrari recently slammed Lotus and Virgin for lagging the timesheets in the February tests, while HRT is yet to turn a single lap.

"Ferrari is right," F1 chief executive Ecclestone is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

When the three new teams signed up for the 2010 season, they believed former FIA president Max Mosley's rules would afford them advantages for sticking to a low budget limit.

The subsequent political war, led by Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo, means they are now pitching their small budgets against the might of the establishment.

Ecclestone admits that the 45m cap "would have given them a chance". More ...

Kubica misses direct flight to Bahrain  (GMM)  The Bahrain pitlane and paddock was abuzz with activity on Wednesday, but one notable face was missing.

While Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock, Karun Chandhok, Vitaly Petrov and others were spotted under the desert sun, there was no sign of Renault's Robert Kubica.

It turns out the Pole missed his flight.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the 25-year-old instead opted for an alternate route to Bahrain, via Florence and then Dubai -- minus his luggage.

Asked how he will make the short hop from Dubai to his final destination, he grinned: "No idea!" More ...

Coulthard joins gang-up on new teams  David Coulthard has revealed he is worried about the debut in 2010 of three small new formula one teams.

The Scottish veteran, with 13 wins and almost 250 grands prix to his name, said it is the "standard" of Virgin, Lotus and HRT that is concerning him "greatly".

Coulthard, 38, wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph that he sympathizes with Ferrari, who were criticized recently for their scathing dismissal of the new teams.

"Well, I have to admit, I have some sympathy with Ferrari's point of view," said the former McLaren and Red Bull driver. More ...

Yorio to campaign new Piper chassis  
Jesse Yorio

Jesse Yorio will be back in 2010 in a brand new Piper DF5C chassis. Joining a 30-car F2000 Championship Series field dominated by Van Diemens, with expected new cars from Radon and Ralph Firman Racing, in addition to standing entries from Citation and Mygale, the new Piper will make it a season of chassis wars in the F2000 world. Yorio, out of New York, will be back for his fourth straight season, driving under the Company Motorsports banner alongside teammate Jeff McCusker.

“Doug Learned at Fast Forward Components and I wanted very much to put one of his show pieces on the grid this year, and with my new sponsor, NewSeed Advisors, we were able to make it happen,” commented Yorio. More ...
ACO bullish on GT2 class  The Automobile Club de l’Ouest specifies that for the “24 Heures du Mans” and the Le Mans Series (in Europe, in the USA and in Asia), the LM‐GT2 category, currently expanding rapidly, has a wonderful future beckoning for the coming years.

Indeed, the ACO had already taken 3 important decisions in 2009 concerning the future of the category: More ...

Mayfield's stepmother wants to depose reporter  Jeremy Mayfield's stepmother wants deposition from ESPN reporter in lawsuit against her son. Lisa Mayfield's attorney wants to take a deposition from ESPN.com reporter David Newton in her defamation lawsuit against her estranged stepson, NASCAR driver and former team owner Jeremy Mayfield. Lisa Mayfield had to ask the court for approval to take the deposition out of state in the case, which was filed last July in North Carolina Superior Court. "ESPN reporter David Newton and ESPN are essential and material witnesses to the facts and circumstances involved in this cause of action," Lisa Mayfield's attorney wrote in the request to take the deposition in Connecticut, where ESPN is based. An ESPN spokesman said the network has not been served with a subpoena in the case and therefore had no comment. Scene Daily
Jolyon Palmer to make Formula Two return  Jolyon Palmer has today (10/03) confirmed that he will return to the Formula Two line-up in 2010 for his second year in the F1 feeder series.

Jolyon, son of 1983 F2 champion and ex-F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, graduated to Formula Two last season after finishing third in the 2008 Formula Palmer Audi Championship. One of the youngest competitors in the 2009 F2 field, he made a promising start to the season when he recorded his first top ten finish in the second round at Brno in the Czech Republic.

Palmer, 19, went on to perform well at both Spa-Francorchamps and Brands Hatch, before scoring his first points of the season with a sixth place finish in the second race at Imola in September. More ...

Lola provides more details for it's IndyCar proposal  
One of Lolas two concepts
Lola today reveal fresh imagery of their 2012 IndyCars. Due to high interest and requests from the US open wheel racing fraternity, Lola, the worlds most prolific and successful race car constructor has released additional renders of its B12/00 and B12/01 IndyCars.

Head of Special Projects, Peter McCool gives further detail on the proposed Lola IndyCars for 2012.


One of Lolas two concepts
How will the Lola IndyCars improve the race action?

“After safety, improving the show is the next prime focus for our Special Projects team. The majority of the downforce will be generated by a large central underbody, this allows us to reduce the size of the front and rear wings creating downforce, which is less susceptible to variations when following another car closely. Lola are drawing upon their vast experience of open wheel design to ensure the cars look both spectacular and race in a close and exciting fashion. More ...

Junior Strous makes the transition to HVM Racing  
Junior Strous and Keith Wiggins
HVM Racing will participate in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season with a car driven by Junior Strous, with the intention of progressing the Dutch racer to the IZOD IndyCar Series.  The 23-year-old driver won two races and led the FIL championship standings in 2009 before having to stop his season early.  He will pilot the Shell/HVM Racing car, beginning with the series-opening Streets of St. Petersburg (Fla.) on March 28.

HVM Racing team principal and owner Keith Wiggins recognizes the benefits of a ladder system to develop drivers for the premier-level IZOD IndyCar Series and welcomes the opportunity to work with the young driver.

"Junior is a proven talent," Wiggins said.  "He's won races, so we know he has good skills behind the wheel.  We will start him in a (Firestone Indy) Lights car and plan to do some testing with him in the big car at some point this season also.  I have no doubt that with continued development he will be in an IZOD IndyCar Series car in the future." More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • French GP return unlikely in 2011
  • Name change for Sauber not planned yet
  • Senna happy with weather after arriving in Bahrain
  • Vettel - still no plans to hire a manager
  • Vettel has no problem with blunt teammate Webber
  • Horner admits 'danger' of new teams' slow debuts
  • Glock chose Virgin over Renault, Sauber for 2010
  • Heidfeld says Red Bull 'clearly' best 2010 car
  • No major backer for Sauber in Bahrain

French GP return unlikely in 2011
(GMM)  France is not on this year's F1 calendar and the situation is unlikely to change in 2011.

That is the admission of Nicolas Deschaux, president of the country's motor racing sanctioning body FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile).

Following the demise of the Magny Cours event and then proposed alternative hosts, he blames French politics.

"There is a time for sponsorships of the government," he is quoted as saying by the L'Equipe sports daily.

"When I see (Russian prime minister Vladimir) Putin announcing the support of (Vitaly) Petrov with Lada, I see the gap is huge compared to what happens in France.

"The (French) government has a view on this subject that is distorted by electoral considerations under the heading of the environment," Deschaux added.

He said Magny Cours, Paul Ricard, and the Sarcelles project are the three possible venues for a reinstated French grand prix.

"I am awaiting clarification of the financial feasibility of Sarcelles," said Deschaux, who also said he is in "very regular contact" with FIA president Jean Todt.

"But I cannot predict the year of the next grand prix of France.  It would be unrealistic to think it will be 2011," he added. More ...

Acceleration test rigged, Toyota says  Toyota Motor Corp. pushed back against its critics Monday, producing engineers who said a widely publicized experiment by a professor claiming to show unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles was rigged.

The engineers said professor David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University had rewired the circuitry in a way that would cause uncontrolled acceleration not only in Toyota vehicles but in all the cars they tested.

"Any circuit can be taken and re-engineered and rewired to perform what it is you want it to do," said Matthew Schwall, an engineer at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Exponent, a firm retained by Toyota to examine its vehicles. More ...

2010 schedule much easier on IndyCar teams  One change that has received praise from all factions of the IZOD IndyCar Series is the grouping of similar tracks in strategic clusters throughout the season.  The first four races of the season will take place on road and street courses while the following four are on ovals, another five events will be held on road and street races and the season will conclude with a stretch of four events on ovals.  From a time management standpoint, this has helped the teams immensely. 

“The way they have arranged the schedule this year is MUCH better,” said NHLR's Craig Hampson.  “From oval to road track, the car is totally different.  We use different suspension, brakes, wings, dampers and it’s also a different mindset for the engineering staff.  So a changeover from one type of track to the other is a massive undertaking, and extremely difficult to do if we have only a couple days between events.  The way they have arranged the 2010 schedule means we only need to do the road track to oval changeover (or vice versa) three times.  This is going to make it much easier on the team and the mechanics.” NHLR

With no testing, teams take different approach to Sao Paulo race  
Craig Hampson
Competing on a new track for the first time takes equal parts preparation and educated guesswork by a talented group of engineers.  The most-talked about element of the 2.6-mile street course in São Paulo, Brazil is the length of the back straightaway which is just short of a mile which makes it the longest straightaway in IZOD IndyCar Series history.  Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) Senior Engineer Craig Hampson explains the preparation process: 

“The São Paulo track is definitely a street circuit.  In it you can see elements of the Long Beach track, a bit of Australia, and even some of the Denver track.  But the only other places we had such long straightaways were (CART/Champ Car events in) Mexico City and Elkhart Lake.  We don't know how bumpy the pavement is going to be so that's an open question going into the event and will determine how stiff we will want to run the springs and dampers. More ...

Goodyear on hot seat again over tire issues  UPDATE
One of Goodyear's wonderful tires at Atlanta
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Elliott Sadler had no complaints for Goodyear, only for those drivers griping about the manufacturer. When asked what it meant that at least a dozen competitors faced tire trouble at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sadler was quick with a response: "Yeah, but there were 37 others that didn't," he said Tuesday at Darlington Raceway. Sadler and fellow Sprint Cup racers Marcos Ambrose and Clint Bowyer came to the track "Too Tough To Tame" to shake out the dormant raceway and give Goodyear some insight about what tire to bring to the Southern 500 in May. Sadler said those racers bothered by tire compounds should instead look to their race shops for better setups designed to minimize tire wear and maximize the rubber. Sadler acknowledged the complaints of some teams. "I know Denny Hamlin had one, he had a fast race car," Sadler said. "But he ran over something. To me, that's not a tire issue." Bowyer had more praise for Goodyear. He thought the tire brought to the California race last month showed vast improvement over what they've raced on there in the past. At Atlanta, "we were just as much to blame as them. Everybody was searching around for" the best air pressure levels. Associated Press/ESPN.com

03/08/10 Goodyear is facing more questions about the quality of its tires. At least a dozen drivers were affected by tire problems during Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, stirring up complaints that Goodyear supplied a compound that was good for speed but low on durability at the high-banked track.

"When they come here and test, you expect them to build a tire that we can abuse and that we can race hard with," said Jeff Gordon, one of those affected. "That obviously wasn't the case. There is a good chance we were too aggressive, but until we go back and analyze everything it's hard to say." More ...
Inside Track: Sao Paulo Indy 300  
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Toyota GP of Long Beach Charity Ball  Celebrating the art and precision of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach , the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach announced today it will once again host  the Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball evening gala during race week on Fri., April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Westin Long Beach.

Drivers from the various series running on Grand Prix weekend will be on hand to meet the Charity Ball guests, typically race enthusiasts who savor the stories and experiences that only the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can deliver.  Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball guests will also mingle with celebrities; enjoy live music from The Elm Street band, and an exceptional sit down dinner served by the Westin staff. More ...

Tagliani in "Score: A Hockey Musical"  
Alex Tagliani

Alex Tagliani got his first opportunity as an actor playing a small speaking role for the upcoming film, Score: A Hockey Musical.  Alex played himself in the film along with other Canadians such as Walter Gretzky, Marc Jordan and Margaret Atwood in a scene that was filmed at an ice hockey rink in Toronto.  Alex thoroughly enjoyed the experience although he wasn't certain he would give up his role as IZOD IndyCar driver anytime soon.

"This was an incredible opportunity," said Alex.  "I had so much fun doing this today!  I got to put on my hockey skates again and it's been quite awhile since I had those on my feet.  And I completely enjoyed meeting all of the actors and singers who are in the film.  I don't think I will be pursuing a career in movies, but I had a great time and was honored to be invited to participate in the film."

Score:  A Hockey Musical - which combines musical numbers with Canada's national sport - was shot in Toronto by director Michael McGowan (One Week and Saint Ralph) and features a story line about a teenage hockey phenom, played by Noah Reid, and his parents, played by Olivia Newton-John and Canadian singer-songwriter Marc Jordan, who are worried about the course the young hockey star's life is taking.  The film has been shooting in locations throughout Toronto since early February and filming wrapped March 8.  The film is set for release on October 22 in Canada by Mongrel Media.
Q&A with Mike Helton on Edwards/Keselowski accident  

HERB BRANHAM: Thanks, and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the first of today's two NASCAR Cams. For this first one, we're joined by NASCAR President Mike Helton. He's going to open up with a brief announcement before taking some questions from the media. Mike, it's all yours.

MIKE HELTON: Thanks. Good afternoon, everyone. Revisit just a minute on the incident between the 99 and the 12 car. Following that incident we asked the driver of the 99 to visit us in the hauler, and we made it very clear to him that these actions were not acceptable and did go beyond what we said back in January about putting the driving back in the hands of the drivers. We believe the driver of the 99 understands our position at this point. More ...

track news
Humphrey Named ISC Managing Director of Business Operations  International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”) today announced it has named Rick Humphrey as Managing Director of Business Operations. Humphrey accepts the role from his most recent position as president of Talladega Superspeedway.  W. Grant Lynch Jr., Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway and Vice President of Strategic Projects for ISC, will assume the responsibilities for day-to-day operation of the facility.

Humphrey, 41, is a 16-year veteran in the motorsports industry, serving most recently as president of Talladega Superspeedway since July 2007.  As president, he worked closely with the facility’s more than 50 employees to secure, maintain and operate the 2.66-mile, 3,000-plus acre complex, and presided over a significant number of upgrades and enhancements to the legendary race track.  More ...

Xtrac helps contain F1 costs  Xtrac, the transmission technology specialist and long-established supplier of gearbox components to almost every Formula 1 team on the grid, is supplying the Hispania Racing F1 Team and Lotus F1 Racing with a newly designed gearbox, designated as project 1044, developed for the 2010 season.
Including the aluminum casing, it's Xtrac's first total transmission system supplied into F1 since 1996, when the company previously supplied complete gearboxes and not just the vital internal components it has continued to supply ever since, which have enabled teams to build their own bespoke transmissions. More ...
More NASCAR drug suspensions  Matthew Huffstetler, a crew member for the #01 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and William Keith, a crew member for the #38 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. On March 5, both were found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2010 NASCAR rule book.
Rossi ready to racing front of F1 crowd  Two weeks after their Bahrain race one podium with Italy Luca Filippi, the Saudi / Malaysian owned team prepares for the ultimate and fourth round of the GP2 Asia season supporting the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix on their home track.

The team has revived hopes after its driver line-up of USA's Alexander Rossi  and Italy's Luca Filippi  showed  good speed and potential in the last outing.

Upon arrival following recent GP3 at Paul Ricard kick-off tests where he  topped the time sheets in three out of the four sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard, an impressive display by the young American , Alexander Rossi will be signing autographs to his fans at Seef Mall shopping on the last day of the teams Bahrain roadshow campaign where his car has been displayed. More ...

Bernard already setting a new tone...seeking fan input  Randy Bernard seems to be invoking a new culture, as most CEO's do when they take over the controls of any corporate machine, and especially one that needs a complete turnaround.

He has had an email sent out to all the IndyCar fans on their mailing list, seeking their input for the new chassis.

Make your voice heard here

We find this pretty interesting, as we doubt this was Barnhart's idea. We cannot recall a time when he sought out fan input, much less the input of the teams and drivers, especially on this issue. So our bet is that this initiative came from higher up.
Fans already lining up for Sebring...more than a week EARLY  
Fans are already lining up for 12 hours of Sebring

Even though the gates don’t open for another week, more than 100 vehicles with nearly 300 spectators are already in line awaiting the 58th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. At 6 a.m. local time on Wednesday, March 17th, spectators can enter the historic raceway in preparation for the 12-hour classic that starts at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 20th. The opening race of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n features the largest Sebring entry in four years.
Truex crew win Tissot award again  The over-the-wall crew for Martin Truex Jr. claimed another victory, earning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (March 7) Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The No. 56 crew’s performance places the team in first place in the Tissot standings with back-to-back wins (Las Vegas, Atlanta) after four races in the 2010 season.

Truex’s NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, out of the Michael Waltrip Racing team, spent the least amount of time on pit road – 349.623 seconds – during the overtime race, which was extended from 325 laps to 341. Race winner Kurt Busch’s No. 2 Dodge was second (352.887) and Paul Menard’s No. 98 Ford was third (353.488). More ...

McLaren taking alternate bodywork to Bahrain  (GMM)  McLaren has brought a spare bodywork package to Bahrain in case FIA scrutineers deem its rear wing illegal ahead of the 2010 season opener.

The British team's managing director Jonathan Neale on Tuesday said he was disappointed a flight delay from Sao Paulo meant Charlie Whiting could not as scheduled inspect the MP4-25 at Woking before the first race of the season.

Instead, that inspection will take place at the Sakhir circuit on Thursday, amid concerns from Red Bull and Ferrari that the intake of air to the rear wing via the airbox through the engine cover might not conform with the rules.

Neale said the Woking based team is confident the controversial specification is legal, but has prepared another just in case. More ...

F1 opener weather will be hot hot hot  Sweltering temperatures may seem a far cry from the wintry weather sweeping its way across Europe at present although that is exactly what the 12 teams can expect as they make the annual pilgrimage to Sakhir this weekend for what is the opening race of the 2010 World Championship. As Bahrain hosts the first Grand Prix of the year for the second time, having first done so in 2006 when Fernando Alonso won for Renault, bright days and clear nights are in store for the Formula 1 circus, coupled with good visibility.

Temperatures over the course of the weekend are expected to sink no lower than the mid-teens, with highs of some 35°C (95°F) looking to confirm a stiff challenge for the drivers - particularly the five newcomers - right from the start of the 2010 campaign.

Video: Porsche Production at Leipzig  For the production of the new four-door Panamera and the Cayenne sports utility vehicle, Porsche has developed a new logistic concept at its plant in Leipzig, Germany, one of the world's most modern factories. Via exactly planned procedures incorporating all suppliers, parts are delivered just one hour before they are further processed on the production line, virtually eliminating the need for expensive storage areas.

Rebellion team test report from Paul Ricard  On the 7th and 8th of March, REBELLION Racing attended the 2010 Le Mans Series official test days that were held at Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track.

For the first time this season, all of the Swiss team’s drivers were together:
Lola-Rebellion # 12 : Marco Andretti - Neel Jani - Nicolas Prost
Lola-Rebellion # 13 : Andrea Belicchi - Jean-Christophe Boullion - Guy Smith.

The team was satisfied with the first day of testing. The performance shown by both Lola-Rebellions met the team’s expectations, despite unusual winter weather. The fresh air and the cold track meant that it wasn’t possible to keep the tires at optimum temperature levels. As with all the other teams present, the tire testing program had to be limited. More ...

Paffett to be McLaren reserve early in 2010  (GMM)  Gary Paffett will be McLaren's F1 reserve driver at least until the 2010 DTM season starts.

With long-time primary tester Pedro de la Rosa returning to the grid this year with Sauber, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said recently that even though the Briton Paffett remains in his secondary role, McLaren needs "another driver".

28-year-old Paffett has occasionally tested McLarens for the past multiple years, but he is once again signed up to race with Mercedes-Benz in DTM in 2010.

The German touring car series' calendar kicks off at the end of April.

Before then, formula one will race in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China, and McLaren confirmed on Tuesday that Paffett will be the reserve driver at each of these grands prix. More ...

NASCAR Slashing Developmental Division Season-Ending Payouts For 2010  With economy woes continuing to hit motorsports hard, in January it was learned that NASCAR would be cutting purses in 2010 by about 10 percent for its three national divisions, the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. And NASCAR's developmental touring divisions, which include the locally run Whelen Modified Tour and K&N Pro Series East, won't be immune to the measures, though cuts will come in a different form.

NASCAR has decided to cut by 25 percent the amount of teams that will get paid in each division's end of the season points fund, which is the money paid out to teams based on their standings finish.

Teams on the Whelen Modified Tour received notification last week that the top-15 teams in 2010 will receive points fund money, down from the top-20 in 2009. More ...

RPM testing plans  Tests with the new spoiler on the Sprint Cup car would seem to be important, but Richard Petty Motorsports has opted to focus on tests other than the NASCAR test March 16 at Talladega Superspeedway. Richard Petty Motorsports won't send three of its teams to the one-day Talladega test, with #98-Paul Menard going and #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #43-AJ Allmendinger staying at home or going to a test somewhere else. It is expected that some of the other multicar organizations won't have all of its teams at the test, which NASCAR will use to set the size of the restrictor plate for the April race weekend at the track. RPM's competition director Robbie Loomis said that with four or five Fords at the test, RPM will be able to get all of the info it needs. Instead of going to Talladega, Kahne will be testing that week at Road Atlanta and the organization also has a test scheduled for Little Rock at Rockingham. SceneDaily
LeMans Series 2-day Paul Ricard test summary  The Test Days have been the final rehearsal before the season kicks off, and testing could scarcely have gone better for Team ORECA Matmut as Soheil Ayari was fastest overall with the ORECA 01 – AIM and Olivier Panis was second with the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.

Three names set the world alight in their respective class, but none of them is a big surprise. Danny Watts posted the best time in the LMP2 class, while Stefan Mücke ruled the GT1 class and Richard Westbrook did the same in the GT2 class.

The weather conditions have been difficult for both days, and high winds and very low temperatures affected driving. Nevertheless, no major incident disrupted the sessions as the track remained dry. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • McLaren check delayed, new innovation spotted
  • Drivers begin to arrive in sunny Bahrain
  • Rome to be on 20-race calendar in 2013 - Ecclestone
  • Renault 'not running smoothly' - Hulkenberg
  • Chandhok thanks Ecclestone for 'superb support'
  • Webber lost weight after final leg surgery
  • New teams to make practice 'more difficult' - Button
  • Gauteng terminates Sauber sponsor deal
  • Coulthard joins Ferrari in slamming F1's new teams

McLaren check delayed, new innovation spotted
(GMM)  An inspection of McLaren's 2010 car has been deferred until Thursday, the day of official scrutineering for the season opening Bahrain grand prix at the Sakhir circuit.

FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting accepted an invitation to visit the British team's Woking factory last Friday, following reports about the questionable legality of the MP4-25's rear wing design.

The issue had been brought to the public and media's attention by Red Bull's Christian Horner, who said Ferrari was also concerned.

But Whiting was unable to reschedule his McLaren visit after delays in the wake of a flight from Brazil.

It is believed the concerns about the wing relate to air channeled via the engine airbox above the drivers' heads through the 'shark fin' engine cover and exiting through a slot.

The innovation is believed to have contributed to McLaren's up to 6kph straight line speed advantage as seen at the final winter test in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has brought attention to yet another unique innovation on the Mercedes-powered car, to be raced this weekend by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Photos taken at the Barcelona test depict a small air inlet on the left-hand side of the upper monocoque, in front of the drivers' helmets.

The magazine speculates that Button and Hamilton may operate the intake, allowing or disallowing air to travel through the car and exit at the rear, by hitting a trigger with their left knees. More ...

Hans Herrmann Returns to Sebring  
Hans Hermann was still driving in the 60's.  Here at Sebring in a factory Porsche
Fifty-years ago Porsche (1960) scored its first major international overall victory at Sebring's 12-hour classic. Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien drove a Porsche RS60 to victory, finishing nine laps ahead of another Porsche driven by Bob Holbert and Roy Schechter.

Since then, Porsche has built an unsurpassed resume of records at America's greatest sports car race. The German manufacturer has accumulated 18 overall wins and 65 class victories in six decades of racing at Sebring. Porsche has led 4,198 laps (19,977 miles) at the legendary Florida circuit. More ...

BMW Group Commitment to Electric Vehicle Development Unwavering  Recent published reports have incorrectly stated that the size of the fleet of BMW ActiveEs that will be deployed during the BMW Group’s second-phase field trial in the US will be limited to 200 vehicles.  While the exact size of the fleet has yet to be confirmed, it will be at least as large as the MINI E fleet which is currently in operation.  There are 450 MINI Es on the road in the US right now.  They are being driven by a dedicated group of individuals and select fleet users. More ...
Straight ethanol for the cars in Brazil  The sugar cane ethanol that will fuel IZOD IndyCar Series cars this weekend won't be denatured with 2 percent gasoline (as in other race markets). It will be 100 percent ethanol with a red dye added that has no chemical properties other then adding color to the fuel.

The IZOD IndyCar Series is the only form of motorsports that utilizes a renewable and environmentally conscious fuel to power its engines.

Brazil race  holds special place in de Ferran's heart  
Gil de Ferran
The São Paulo Indy 300 will mark the IZOD IndyCar Series' first race in Brazil and its first trip to South America. CART hosted five races on a 1.864-mile oval in Rio de Janeiro from 1996 to 2000.

It will have special significance to Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports president and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, who grew up in Brazil and raced at the Rio circuit.

"All races count the same number of points and pay the same money, so why should I approach racing in Brazil any different, right?" he said. "This race, however, has many special landmarks for me personally. Although I have owned a (sports car) team for the past two seasons, it is my debut in IndyCars, a series that has had a great significance in my motorsports career.  In addition, racing at home at a location where in fact I learned to drive karts at age 6 will be quite special."

Beatriz gets noticed on Streets of Sao Paulo  
Ana Beatriz
Ana Beatriz, who will make her IZOD IndyCar Series debut in her home country this weekend in a Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-prepared car, had an early morning wakeup call to drive the Indy Racing Experience street-legal two-seater in sections of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It wasn't a simple morning commute. Under the auspices of the CET (Traffic Engineering Company of Sao Paulo), the operation incorporated about 400 people. There really isn't a time when streets in the largest city in South America are not congested. The helicopter hovered overhead as TV Bandeirantes filmed the five-mile ride for promotion of the race event.

"I would like to thank São Paulo City and Bandeirantes Group for believing in the making of this race," Beatriz said. "I have driven so many times by the Marginal (Tietê River road) at 40 kilometers an hour that I can hardly wait to ride here at 300 kilometers an hour without getting a ticket." More ...
Andersen Racing Signs Jorda  
Move over Danica, here comes one hot Carmen Jorda
Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that it will field a car for 21-year-old Carmen Jorda of Alcoy, Spain in Firestone Indy Lights this year.

Jorda, who will be based in Miami while racing in the United States, competed in the European Formula 3 Open and the European Formula 3 Open Copa de España series last year.  She had two podium finishes in the latter series, including a second at Magny-Cours, France.  She also made three starts in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans Series in 2009.

She competed in Spanish Formula 3 and Spanish F3 Copa de España in 2007 and 2008, becoming the first female driver to record a podium finish in either Spanish F3 class. More ...

NASCAR Sprint Cup engines pulled for inspection  Following Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR announced that the engines of race winner #2-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth, #83-Brian Vickers (random) and #55-Michael McDowell (start-and-park) would be taken to the NASCAR R&D center and torn down for observation. Busch and seventh-place finisher Vickers' chassis will also be taken to the NASCAR R&D center for observation. Racin' Today
Force and Hight Enjoy Time at Smokers Reunion  Over the weekend 2010 March Meet Grand Marshal John Force and 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champion Robert Hight enjoyed a trip down memory lane. The weekend started on Friday night with an appearance at the Smokers Reunion in Bakersfield. The tandem arrived just in time to hear a front engine dragster fire in the parking lot before they moved into the hall to talk with assembled club members.

The highlight of the evening was engineering and drag racing legend Ed Iskenderian “refunding” John Force half of his first sponsorship deal. Force was telling the crowd that Ed’s Isky Racing Cams was one of the first sponsors in his racing career. More ...

IRL extends invitation to President Obama  Officials for the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are hoping to roll out the red carpet for President Barack Obama—in May 2011.

Terry Angstadt, president for the IRL commercial division, said series officials are hoping Obama will accept an invitation to come to Indy for the Indianapolis 500.

If Obama accepts, it would be the first time a sitting U.S. president attended the Indianapolis 500.

IMS this morning confirmed that an invitation is being prepared, and will be sent to Obama this May, inviting him to the race in 2011—which marks the event’s centennial. More ...

Bruton Smith quotes on Edwards, more....  Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith stopped by SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub on Monday to promote the recently announced “Legends Million,” a Legends Car battle with a $1 million purse scheduled for July 15-17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The A-Main winner will take home an unprecedented $250,000. But he also weighed in on some of the hot topics coming out of the weekend NASCAR Sprint Series race in Atlanta. To see the full interview, NASCAR Race Hub airs at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m. ET.

On the incident between drivers Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski at Atlanta:

“… Keselowski took off into the air, destroyed the car and it gave him a serious headache after a while, but I’m sure that Carl did not mean to make him airborne. But it happened, and I think the summation is, ‘that’s racing.’ Of course, it’s caused everyone to be very busy in Bristol for the race that’s there. I would not miss that race. I would not miss Bristol because I don’t know what’s going to happen up there, but rubbing is a way of life up there, so we’ll see a lot of things happening in Bristol.” More ...

Alex Job Racing to Field Three GTC Racers  Alex Job Racing has added a third Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to his stable which will debut in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTC class for the season opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race to be run on March 20th.  The GTC category is brand new for 2010 featuring the popular Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

The No. 80 Car Amigo/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car will be piloted by the Mexican duo of Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez.  Diaz is the 2009 ALMS P2 champion.  On his way to the P2 championship he stood on the top step of the podium in eight of 10 races, including Sebring.  Gonzalez is an open-wheel standout that will be making his endurance racing debut next week.  Patrick Kelly (Minneapolis, Minnesota), a GT3 IMSA Challenge front runner, will be the third driver in the No. 80 for Sebring. More ...

Video: Edwards sends Keselowski airborne  UPDATE Brad Keselowski called for fellow Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards to be suspended for at least one race after Edwards wrecked him Sunday in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR, said the governing body would take its time in examining all the facts before deciding what to do with Edwards, whose #99 Roush Fenway Ford was ordered to the garage after wrecking the #12 of Keselowski and sending it airborne on the frontstretch on Lap 323 of what was a scheduled 325-lap event. Pemberton and other NASCAR officials, including president Mike Helton, met with Edwards following Sunday's race -- but Pemberton said they would discuss the incident further "internally" on Monday and Tuesday before announcing any additional penalties for Edwards by late Tuesday afternoon. "It looked like it could have been a payback from the #99 on the #12," Pemberton said. The two drivers got together earlier during Sunday's race when they bumped on Lap 41 and Edwards ended up getting shoved into the #20 Toyota of Joey Logano, effectively ruining both of their days. Keselowski, meanwhile, drove away from that incident and went on to put together a solid run for the day while Edwards spent much of the afternoon having his car repaired in the garage. Edwards returned to the track on Lap 190 after spending 150 laps in the garage, and appeared to purposely wreck Keselowski when Keselowski appeared headed for a top-five finish. "To come back and intentionally wreck someone, that's not cool," Keselowski said. "You could have killed someone in the grandstands. I know that it's a little ironic that it's me saying that, but at least I didn't do it intentionally [when it happened at Talladega]. It will be interesting to see how NASCAR reacts to it. They have the ball. If they're going to allow people to intentionally wreck each other at tracks this fast, we will hurt someone either in the cars or in the grandstands. It's not cool to wreck someone at 195 mph." Pemberton indicated that Edwards more or less admitted in the post-race meeting with NASCAR officials that he intended to wreck Keselowski, but that he did not mean to send him airborne. Keselowski's car ended up landing upside down, nearly crushing in the driver's side of the roof, and was completely destroyed in the aftermath. Keselowski was shaken up after the wreck and needed assistance getting removed from the car, but eventually was cleared at the AMS infield care center. "Carl said he got into him; he said he didn't expect the result," Pemberton said. Earlier, Edwards spoke briefly with the media and attempted to explain his thinking. "Brad knows the deal between him and I," Edwards said. "The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not at all what I expected. At the end of the day, we're out here to race and people have to have respect for one another and I have a lot of respect for people's safety. I wish it wouldn't have gone like it did, but I'm glad he's OK and we'll just go on and race some more and maybe him and I won't get in any more incidents together. That would be the best thing." Keselowski told reporters that he believed Edwards took "three swipes" at him before connecting, and that Edwards deserves to be suspended for at least one race. He also defended what had occurred during their first incident Sunday. "He cut down on me on a restart and I lifted; I couldn't lift fast enough for him," Keselowski said. "I lifted for him to let him in, but I was there. I don't know what more you can do. "[Keep the] car low, that's what they say. So I was underneath him, tried to cut him a break. It was too late, though; he turned down. I apologized to him, but there was nothing that I could do in that situation." NASCAR.com

03/07/10 Carl Edwards retaliates from earlier contact sending Brad Keselowski flipping down the track in Atlanta.  Edwards admitted he took Kesolowski out as retaliation for an earlier bumping incident and you can see his hands turn the wheel right, sending Kesolowski spinning and flipping.  As you can see from the video Keselowski’s car got airborne.  Had it landed in the grandstands and injured and killed people, lawsuits would have flown and Edwards career would be over. NASCAR parked Edwards immediately, but he should be parked for the year.

Sauber - where did all the money go?  Even above the usual curiosity about what the shape of the car would look like, the overwhelming thought when the new BMW Sauber was launched at Valencia in early February was how lacking in logos the car was. The car is almost entirely devoid of sponsorship, a legacy of BMW’s withdrawal from the sport and the uncertainty over the team’s entry – BMW’s decision not to sign the Concorde Agreement before it pulled out of the sport left it without its most valuable selling point, an entry for 2010. Fortunately Toyota’s withdrawal opened up an opportunity just as Peter Sauber was setting about saving his old team. More ...
Ferrari adds drivers to academy roster  Ferrari has announced that a trio of new names has been added to its driver academy (FDA) for this year. Joining F3 Euroseries Champion and GP2 driver are Mirko Bortolotti, Daniel Zampieri and Raffaele Marciello. With the school for up and coming drivers having been established by the legendary Maranello manufacturer last year, Frenchman Bianchi continues to be part of the academy following an impressive first GP2 pole position in the ongoing Asia Series.

20-year-old Bortolotti joins as Italian Formula 3 Champion of 2008, an achievement for which he was awarded with a Ferrari Formula 1 test at the end of that year. The Trento driver switched to the new-look Formula 2 championship in 2009, collecting one race win and a total of 50 points on his way to fourth in the final standings. Mirko will compete in the new GP3 series with the Addax team this year.

Zampieri, who hails from Italian capital city Rome, is set to turn 20 in May. He is the latest winner of the Italian F3 championship, having collected five pole positions and four race wins in 2009. He is currently competing in the GP2 Asia Series.

Marciello, whose current F1 inspiration is Robert Kubica - who spent many of his own junior years in Italy - has spent recent years in World Championship karting as well as Formula Abarth, a short stint in Formula Renault and testing in Formula BMW. GPUpdate.net

TCGR Brazil advance notes  
Chip Ganassi

Race:          Streets of Sao Paulo (March 14, 12:00 PM ET, Versus)

Track:          Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2.3 mile street course)

Location:      Sao Paulo, Brazil


Managing Director Mike Hull on Brazil: “Our Target group is energized to finally get the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season started with Brazil.  When you spend a Midwest winter like we’re having, it keeps every team member under the roof here in Indianapolis working to make our product better.

“The composition of the series has certainly changed with three street races and a natural terrain road track as the first four events. Unlike the wide-open ovals, it’s tough to pass on road & street tracks so it puts a premium on qualifying and race-craft.  The common denominator of Franchitti and Dixon is that they are two of the best in the business, who as teammates have won races by sharing the subtleties of the set-up. When you are comparing every bump on a street circuit - that makes a difference.” More ...

Rahal gives Bernard the thumbs up  
Randy Bernard

Graham Rahal recently gave Randy Bernard his own thumbs up approval, commenting on the impression Randy seems to be making.

"He's what we've needed for years...I've been talking to him and his enthusiasm, energy and ideas are what we've been needing for a long, long time. After talking to him I don't see any downside to him at all. He has a lot of energy, passion and excitement and you can tell that he's done a lot of research because he's suggested to me I call this or that company because they were a sponsor at the Speedway in 1964, for example. From what I can tell he's extremely well-connected and well-respected, which is a huge plus for us."

Bernard has his work cut out for him. Somehow, he has to all but reinvent the IndyCar wheel it seems, with a miniscule TV audience on Versus creating a huge sales and value hurdle for prospective sponsors. Even the IRL press corps is only about 6 full time people.

Right now the cost to run the series or even a team exceeds the actual value. That has to change somehow, and we hope Randy has a plan.

This could be the toughest bull he has ever seen...

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NHRA Gatornationals Light Up Sunday on ESPN2

The annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., is one of the biggest events of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, and ESPN2 airs three hours of final eliminations action on Sunday, March 14, at 6 p.m. ET. Gatornationals qualifying highlights air Sunday at midnight (late Saturday night), re-airing at 10 a.m. Sunday

The traditional East Coast opener, this event is one of the sport’s most revered with a rich tradition of history-making performances. This hallowed quarter-mile has entertained spring-break-loving fans for decades with such notable occasions as the first 260-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984 and the first 270-mph and 300-mph Top Fuel passes, in 1986 and 1992, respectively (all on the quarter-mile). Its 675-foot concrete launchpad is one of the longest on the tour.

Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at 11 a.m. to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action. More ...
Vettel names 2010 car 'Luscious Liz'  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has named his new RB6 formula one car 'Luscious Liz'.

The 22-year-old German and 2009 championship runner-up famously called last year's Red Bull 'Kate's Dirty Sister' -- because it was faster and more aggressive than its predecessor 'Kate'.

His 2008 Toro Rosso was called Julie.

Giving his cars a female name, emblazoned on the 'dashboard' of the single seater, is now one of Vettel's several F1-related superstitions.

Vettel religiously steps into his cars and dismounts from the left-hand side, and slides a lucky coin behind the laces of his boot.

"If I could design a superstar, Sebastian would be the result," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone writes in the latest edition of Auto Bild Motorsport.

"He is exactly what formula one needs: a young, super-talented driver who is intelligent but not arrogant, popular with the public and good with the media, normal but still very professional," added the 79-year-old.

No Friday role for di Resta in Bahrain  (GMM)  Paul di Resta will have to wait until free practice in Melbourne to kick off his season as Force India's Friday driver.

The Scottish rookie will take over one of the race driver's cockpits for the 90 minute Friday sessions at most grands prix this year.

But for Bahrain, the Silverstone based team has elected to keep Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi at the wheel of the two VJM03s, due to the change of layout for the 2010 season opener.

Force India confirmed that the pair "will need to learn the new track configuration" later this week.

"I think they have just made it much longer and slower and I'm not a big fan of this type of track as I love high speed corners and circuits," said Liuzzi. More ...

Stirling Moss in hospital after lift fall  (GMM)  1950s formula one great Sir Stirling Moss is in intensive care after a three-storey fall at his home in London.

The 80-year-old Briton, who won 16 grands prix, is not in a life-threatening condition but has broken ankles, feet and vertebrae damage.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported that, with the lift in his house malfunctioning and remaining at the fourth floor, Moss stepped into the shaft on the third floor and fell to the concrete base.

"Amazingly he did not suffer any internal injuries," confirmed British Racing Drivers' Club secretary Stuart Pringle, who said Moss has been operated on.

"Lady (Susan) Moss has just telephoned me and although Sir Stirling is not in good shape, he is no longer in danger," he added.

Podlesni Leads from Pole to Take Victory in Round Two  
(L to R) Ira Fierberg (3rd) Robert Podlesni (1st) and Scott Rarick (2nd)
Sunday dawned cool and cloudy and the rain held off until after the race and was brief at best enabling Robert Podlesni to claim victory in round two of the Sierra Tire Pacific F2000 Championship presented by Hankook Tires at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana as part of VARA’s  Route 66 Classic Formula Festival. Podlesni in the #84 Terminal Velocity Processing/Alpinestars/DFR Van Diemen, again started from the pole which he used to advantage to take the lead at the start. He led every lap as well as recording the race’s fastest lap on route to victory.

Just as was the case in Saturday’s event, Scott Rarick #34 PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen was Podlesni’s chief pursuer as the two gradually pulled away from the rest of the field to finish nearly 24 second ahead of third place. Rarick trailed Podlesni to the flag by merely 1.912 seconds. Though Rarick pressed him on several occasions Robert was able to respond and maintain enough of a gap to hold Scott at bay. More ...

Force India confident of improvement  
Force India drivers with their new car
2010 marks the third year of competition in the FIA Formula One World Championship for the Force India F1 Team. After a positive finish to 2009, the team is hoping this season will be the one that firmly establishes it as a strong, competitive outfit regularly challenging for points and podiums whenever possible.

Consistency has been the key this year: Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi are retained as drivers and the team's technical package is an evolution of last year's increasingly competitive car. Paul di Resta, from Scotland, strengthens the driver line-up as test and reserve driver. Paul will participate in some free practice sessions this year, although not Bahrain as the race drivers will need to learn the new track configuration.

Over winter testing the team fared well, completing 12 days of testing and more than 4,000km and is now looking forward to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. More ...

Green light for evolution version of the Audi R8 LMS  
  • GT3 race sports car has undergone further technical development
  • Delivery to customer teams has started
  • Annual production for 2010 is already sold out   

Audi R8 LMS
Ingolstadt – With the delivery of the first customer cars, Audi AG’S GT3 customer sport program has reached the next phase. By mid-April, 20 Audi R8 LMS vehicles will have been handed over to the teams that are planning to run the GT3 race sports car in various national and international racing series and in the two 24-hour races at the Nurburgring and at Spa-Francorchamps in the 2010 season.

After its successful 2009 debut year in which Audi Sport partners clinched three champions titles and 23 victories in 76 racing commitments the Audi R8 LMS will now be handed over to customers for its second season, as planned. Last week United Autosport from Great Britain was the first team to receive its two R8 LMS cars. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Massa plays down stance against new F1 teams
  • Established teams want Virgin to fail - Wirth
  • Sauber reveals red logo and likely new name
  • Mercedes' Haug says early podiums not likely
  • Qatar almost ready to join F1 calendar
  • Bahrain to be HRT 'shakedown' - Chandhok
  • Coulthard admits F1 comeback not possible
  • Alonso tips Red Bull as Bahrain favorites

Felipe Massa
Massa plays down stance against new F1 teams
(GMM)  Felipe Massa on Sunday played down reports that quoted him as saying F1's influx of three new small teams is "not good for the sport".

After Ferrari recently bitterly attacked the entrance of its struggling new competitors Virgin, Lotus and Campos, 28-year-old Massa appeared to be on message when his employer published a translation of an interview with Corriere della Sera.

"It's not good for the sport and not good for them: it's like two different series," he told the Italian newspaper, according to Ferrari's official website.

During a Santander sponsor event at Interlagos on Sunday, however, Massa said he is not opposed to F1 boasting a full grid of teams.

"I read the stories in the press that I spoke badly about the new teams," he is quoted as saying by Brazil's Globo.

"I didn't do that, I just said the (lap) time difference (to the established teams) is too big.

"It cannot be good for anyone if a car is three seconds slower: not for the sport, for the people who watch, or for the teams themselves.

"But I am in favor of new teams coming in, because the more cars racing the better," said Massa, who drove a 2008 Ferrari fitted with demonstration tires around the Interlagos circuit in his native Sao Paulo. More ...

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