NASCAR Las Vegas TV Rating (Update) UPDATE After a series of double-digit declines to open the season, NASCAR's ratings fell only slightly last weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Las Vegas drew a 4.4 final rating and 7.2 million viewers on FOX last Sunday afternoon, down 4% in ratings and 7% in viewership from last year (4.6, 7.7M).
Compared to 2014, ratings dropped a tick and viewership increased a fraction of a percent (7.20M to 7.23M).
Jack Roush Jr. Wins Round 4 GTS Race, Sweeps Weekend
Jack Roush Jr.
Jack Roush Jr. swept the weekend in GTS winning Saturday's Round 4 race at the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Brett Sandberg finished second, while 15-year-old rookie Parker Chase finished third. The 50-minute race was held under sunny, 78-degree weather.
From the standing start, 16-year-old Nate Stacy had a tremendous launch to the front from third-on-the grid into the lead through turn 1. Pole sitter Sandberg, in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 and fourth-on-grid Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Camaro Z28 slotted in behind Stacy in second and third respectively. Roush Jr., who had started second-on-the grid in his No. 60 Roush Performance Ford Mustange Boss 302 followed in fourth.
Busch dominates Phoenix Xfinity race Kyle Busch continued his XFINITY Series dominance by capturing his third straight victory, this time in Saturday's Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Busch has won the last three XFINITY races, with Chase Elliott's win at Daytona serving as the only contest that has eluded Busch
Luo takes U.S. F2000 Race 2 Pabst Racing’s Yufeng Luo took the lead from Parker Thompson with 5 laps remaining. From there, the Beijing, China native held off teammate Jordan Lloyd to secure the second Pabst Racing1-2 of the day in the Hi-Tide Boat Lifts Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Andersen RacePark. Earlier, Lloyd scored the win and Luo was second.
Team Pelfrey’s Jordan Cane was third, followed by Thompson and Luke Gabin.
D'Ambrosio on pole for Mexico Dragon Racing's Jerome D'Ambrosio has won pole position for today's Mexico City ePrix. The Belgian will be followed on the grid by Nicolas Prost, Lucas, di Grassi, Daniel Abt and Sebastien Buemi.
Buemi again dominated practice and the first round of qualifying. However, as he had in the previous two ePrix, Buemi made an error in superpole qualifying, this time locking up at turn 4.
The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season-opening Indy Lights Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Lucas School of Racing turned out to be a race of two halves. Returning series veteran Zach Veach looked to have the spoils within his grasp until hindered by a mechanical problem, whereupon Felix Serralles, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, took full advantage and sped on to a clear victory.
Two weeks ago, Patricio “Pato” O’Ward wasn’t even sure whether he would be competing in the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. After concluding a last-minute arrangement to rejoin Team Pelfrey for the first four races of the season just a few days before last weekend’s Spring Training pre-season test at Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Ala., the second-year driver romped to an impressive maiden victory in today’s Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PRO SERVICES, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway to discuss yesterday’s qualifying incident. Full Transcript:
HOW DO YOU FEEL? “I feel good, just very thankful that I drive in an era with such safe driver compartments, softer walls, HANS device all those things. Years ago that would have probably been a concussion at a minimum and to feel as good as I do and no sore spots or aches or pains is really good. It’s a good time for the drivers of today.”
Penske Chevy driver Will Power turned the fastest lap to lead the final practice Saturday morning as the teams prepare for Sunday's Firestone St. Petersburg GP IndyCar street race. After topping the Friday times, Power got down into the 1-minute range at 1m00.897s.
Jack Hawksworth was the only other driver in the 1-minute range with a time of 1m00.980s time in his AJ Foyt Honda.
Juan Montoya (Penske Chevy), Graham Rahal (Rahal Honda) and Helio Castroneves (Penske Chevy) rounded out the top-5.
Lloyd wins U.S. F2000 race 1 In an accident marred race, pole sitter Jordan Lloyd led teammate Yufeng Luo in a Pabst Racing 1-2 to capture victory in the opening round the Cooper Tires U.S. F2000 Series Powered by Mazda. Team Pelfrey's Robert Megennis was third.
Race 2 for the U.S. F2000 series is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m. ET today.
Kaiser takes Indy Lights pole With a lap time of 1:05.873 Juncos Racing's Kyle Kaiser took Indy Lights pole position at St. Petersburg this morning. The Belardi Auto Racing pair of Felix Rosenqvist and Zach Veach was second and third. Shelby Blackstock and Scott Hargrove rounded out the top-5.
The green flag for the season opening Indy Lights race is scheduled for 12:55 p.m. ET today.
Simon Pagenaud on the streets of St. Pete Friday. He's correct, who likes the boring Mercedes parade in F1
Simon Pagenaud has no hesitation in comparing IndyCar racing to Formula One.
“IndyCar is a pure racing series,” said the 31-year-old Frenchman this week. “Formula One is not as exciting. You have the first two or three cars racing, and the rest, well, it’s just not as exciting.”
Pagenaud is a spectacular driver and brutally honest competitor. He starts his second full season for Team Penske on Sunday in the opening round of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida.
Jack Roush Jr. Scores His 1st Pirelli World Challenge GTS Victory Friday
Jack Roush Jr.
St. Petersburg, Fla. – Jack Roush Jr. won Friday’s GTS Round 3 race at the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Brett Sandberg finished second, while Nate Stacy finished third.
When the green flag flew, pole sitter Roush Jr, in the No. 60 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302, launched cleanly and into the lead through turn 1. Behind him, second-on-the-grid Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Camaro Z28, went door-to-door through the opening corner with Sandberg, who had started third in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4. Aschenbach was able to hold the position with Sandberg slotting into third.
O'Ward wins Pro Mazda pole Pato O'Ward edged Aaron Telitz in leading a Team Pelfrey 1-2 in Pro Mazda qualifying this morning at St. Petersburg. The Cape Motorsports pair of Jake Eidson and Nico Jamin followed n third and fourth with the Team Pelfrey car of Weiron Tan fifth.
O'Ward will lead the field to the green flag in the opening round of the 2016 Pro Mazda season at 10:50 a.m. ET.
Penske says France can endorse who he pleases As an executive of a multinational corporation employing more than 50,000, as participant in a sport that relies on sponsor largesse and therefore values image management, Roger Penske figured to have an opinion on NASCAR chairman Brian France endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Penske does: France is free to do as he pleases, but he should have understood the potential outcomes.
Advance Tickets Sales Start For Inaugural Grand Prix Of Boston (Update) UPDATEBoston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has backed down and OK’d the sale of IndyCar tickets despite promoters still lacking a single permit from the city and state to turn the Seaport District into a noisy, high-speed race course.
Walsh last November had blocked Grand Prix of Boston from selling tickets to the Labor Day weekend event, saying they needed to get signed final approvals from the city and state.
Hitzinger Departs Porsche LMP1 Program Porsche will head into the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season with a shakeup in its management team, with LMP1 technical director Alex Hitzinger departing the German manufacturer.
Hitzinger, who had played a pivotal part in the development of the Porsche 919 Hybrid since the program’s inception, has taken a new job outside of motorsport.
Penske expects to work closely with Stewart-Hass next year
Legendary team principal Roger Penske has welcomed Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford's NASCAR lineup for 2017, and suggested that there will "be some collaboration" between the two. Speaking to the media at the IndyCar Series opener at St Petersburg, Penske said the numerical advantage of more Fords was only one aspect of the potential benefit of SHR joining Ford's roster.
"If you have four of one thing you're going to be better than if you had two, and I think what Ford looked at is the number of cars Chevy and Toyota had," said Penske.
(GMM) Mercedes will ease the rules of engagement between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for their 2016 battle.
Team boss Toto Wolff ended last season with a warning that more bad feeling between the warring teammates could prompt a change to the driver lineup.
The tension between the silver-clad drivers was obvious during Friday's pre-season event in Stuttgart, with Hamilton at one point saying his 31 years are catching up with him as driving is "physically harder and harder".
Friday driver quotes from St. Petersburg JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Overall it was a pretty good first day. I'm pretty happy that we were able to get in a lot of running with the Verizon Chevy and we worked on a lot of things. I had too much understeer in the car but we will work on that and make it better for qualifying tomorrow."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “The No. 3 Hitachi Chevy ran strong this morning. We decided to go a different direction in the afternoon and we learned a lot of things. We ran over something on track in the afternoon session but there wasn't any damage to the car. The Hitachi boys will keep working on it and we're looking forward to Saturday when we can improve even more."
Firestone Racing donates $10,000 to Racing For Kids 5K run Firestone Racing, through the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, is donating $10,000 to support Racing For Kids prior to tonight's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 5K run. Founded in 1989, Racing For Kids is a unique national charity that draws on the popularity of motorsports to bring attention to the health care needs of children and child health institutions.
Hinchcliffe joins his hometown Blue Jays for spring training game
James Hinchcliffe Friday at St. Pete
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe, a native of suburban Toronto, met up with his favorite Major League Baseball team in the Florida sunshine March 10. Hinchcliffe attended the Blue Jays' spring training encounter with the New York Yankees at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
Before the game, Hinchcliffe met Toronto catcher Russell Martin, who presented the "Mayor" with a Blue Jays jersey embroidered with his name and No. 5, the same as the Arrow-sponsored Honda he drives in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Gehl and Graham Rahal Set to Continue Long-standing Relationship
Bobby and Graham Rahal
When star Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal launched his professional career, one of his first sponsor partners was the Gehl brand. Today, Manitou Americas, Inc. and Rahal announced that their relationship is set to continue into the future.
Manitou Americas is the manufacturer of Gehl, Manitou and Mustang equipment. This year marks a decade of working together, it is a relationship that has greatly benefitted both the Gehl brand and Rahal.
Will Power dug himself a hole by crashing in the first practice session for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Team Penske driver redeemed himself by soaring to the top of the leaderboard in the second session.
Power's lap of 1 minute, 0.9431 of a second (106.329 mph) was best among the 22 Verizon IndyCar Series drivers competing in the 2016 season opener on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit by Tampa Bay. The lap came within three-tenths of a second of the track record Power set last year on his way to winning his fifth pole position at the track.
Video: Q&A with Art St Cyr at St Pete IndyCar Race From the AutoRacing1.com YouTube page, Honda HPD boss Art St. Cyr talks about the changes Honda made in the off-season to catch up to the Chevy teams. He talks about the aero changes as well as the engine upgrades that Honda made. He also talks about what Honda was looking for from IndyCar before renewing their contract lately. Read more & Comment...
St. Pete: Rosenqvist tops Indy lights 2nd practice
The Indy Lights series has increased the number of entries since last season. Fueled by Dan Andersen, of Andersen Promotions, the car count has gone from 11 cars, for most of 2015 races to 16 for 2016, with another chassis being prepared.
Their second practice just finished for today with 5 different teams in the top 5 positions.
The Lights will have 2 races this weekend. Race 1 will be at 12:55 on Saturday. Race 2 will be at 9:45 am on Sunday.
Michael Lewis scored the GT pole for Saturday’s Round 3 race at the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Martin Fuentes and Sloan Urry will start on pole in GTA and GT Cup respectively. The 20-minute qualifying session was held under sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures.
Early on, Michael Cooper, in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. went to the top of the charts with a 1:13.964, followed by Alvaro Parente in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 with a 1:13.985.
IndyCar Focused On Growing Audience As New Season Begins
The Verizon IndyCar Series season begins Sunday in St. Petersburg, and though the series is "not quite" out of the woods, it is "starting to piece together a map, and there appears to be a bit of light shining through the trees up ahead," according to Mark Glendenning of RACER.com. Hulman Motorsports CMO C.J. O'Donnell is "one of the key figures working to chart the series' new course."
He said, "We're trying to re-establish IndyCar as the premier overall form of motorsport in the country; taking on a higher-end, more prestigious position relative to the competition. As we move forward and develop our strategies I think that's going to become more evident, particularly our audience, and the growth of our audience, versus fans of NASCAR and other areas."
Penske Racing's Simon Pagenaud turned the fastest lap in opening practice for the 2016 IndyCar season on the streets of St. Petersburg. A.J. Foyt Racing's Jack Hawksworth was second, a mere six-hundredths behind Pagenaud, with Team Penske's Helio Castroneves third. Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top-five.
Two-time Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Will Power brought out a red flag midway through the session with a crash in turn 9. The #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet sustained significant damage to the right suspension.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will be back on track at 3:40 p.m. this afternoon for practice 2.
GM to Acquire Cruise Automation to Accelerate Autonomous Vehicle Development General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) announced today it is acquiring Cruise Automation to add Cruise’s deep software talent and rapid development capability to further accelerate GM’s development of autonomous vehicle technology.
“Fully autonomous vehicles can bring our customers enormous benefits in terms of greater convenience, lower cost and improved safety for their daily mobility needs,” said GM President Dan Ammann.
Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly concluded this week’s pre-season testing on top of the timesheets: he lapped the Spanish track in an impressive laptime of 1:27.386 during this morning’s session ahead of Norman Nato and Antonio Giovinazzi. Rapax driver Gustav Malja was quickest in the afternoon session.
Day 3 opened this morning under blue skies with cold temperatures. When the pitlane turned green, Status Grand Prix’s Meindert van Buuren was the first man to feed onto the track on Hard Pirelli tires. In the opening stages, Daniel de Jong set the early pace in a 1:30.121 but Nicholas Latifi was the first man to dip under 1m30s to take the top honors.
Good Morning from St. Pete After a rather lengthy process of getting into the track this morning, we are enjoying another beautiful sunny day here in St Petersburg. The U.S. F2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights series have already been out on track this morning, with the Verizon IndyCar Series scheduled to run at 10:50 a.m. ET.
Today should be interesting to watch how the aero changes made in the off-season are going to affect the Honda-Chevrolet rivalry.
We will update you later today on new developments.
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