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DATE News (chronologically)
03/16/09
Atlantic

Team Stargate Partners with Hilton
Atlantic Championship series competitors Team Stargate Worlds announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens hotel to provide lodging services for the team during its recent stay for the series test session on March 9th -10th. 

Located in the heart of Palm Beach Gardens the newly built lavish hotel features 175 spacious  rooms, 17 suites, and is surrounded by restaurants and shopping destinations.  The convenience and top-notch service provided by the facilities and staff of the hotel impressed Team Stargate Worlds and further discussions led to both groups discussing future opportunities to partner up.  As Florida becomes more of a hub for racing with events at Sebring International Raceway, Palm Beach International Raceway, Homestead, Daytona, the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens hotel  is welcoming the opportunity to cater to that type of clientele and teaming up with Team Stargate Worlds is part of that plan.

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03/16/09
track news

Unser Jr., Rahal To Be Honored
1991 LBGP podium (L to R) Eddie Cheever (3rd), Al Unser III, Al Unser Jr. (1st) and Bobby Rahal (2nd)
The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will honor racing legends Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal at the fourth annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame induction ceremony.  The event will take place on Thursday, April 16, during the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach week.

"I'm delighted that we will add two more racing legends to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame," said Mayor Bob Foster, who will be presenting the medallions to the honorees.

The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, located on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center.

"This year's inductees represent not only great drivers, but individuals that have contributed much to the success of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach over the years," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.  "That's why 'Little Al' is known as the 'King of the Beach' and Bobby has achieved great success at Long Beach not only on the track but also as an owner."

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03/16/09
automotive

Camaro article video
An informative video has been added to the 2010 Camaro article on our home page.

Comment
03/16/09
nassprint

Longtime Daytona 500 invocation preacher dies
The Rev. Hal Marchman, a Baptist preacher who delivered the invocation before the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959 and continued as the Daytona International Speedway's unofficial chaplain through 2004, died "unexpectedly" on Sunday at Indigo Palms Memorial Care Facility in Daytona Beach, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Marchman, who was asked by his friend and NASCAR founder Bill France in 1959 to deliver the inaugural invocation, was a familiar sight at the speedway throughout the years for fans and drivers alike. NASCAR former champion Darrell Waltrip told the News-Journal that Marchman was "a servant and a shepherd" that "took good care of his flock."

Waltrip also told the News-Journal that he imagined Marchman is "in heaven alongside Mr. (Bill) France."

According to the story on the Web site, Marchman had been fighting dementia and memory loss for years, but it was a sudden bout of illness that ended his life Sunday, his daughter Anne Marchman-Jones said.

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03/16/09
irl

Foyt Racing, Team 3G substitute private tests for Barber
A.J. Foyt Racing and Team 3G will substitute private tests for the Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.

A.J. Foyt Racing and driver Vitor Meira tested March 10-11 at MSR Houston, a permanent road course less than 100 miles from the team’s shop in Waller, Texas.

“We’re fortunate to have MSR Houston so close,” team director Larry Foyt said. “We think the track is more applicable to the street courses because of its surface and its tighter corners, plus we were able to configure the MSR track to mimic some corners at St. Pete and Long Beach.

“Since we didn’t have to wait for yellows, track inspections and traffic, we were able to get a lot done in the two days we were there. We made some significant gains, learned a lot and now we’re going through the tons of data that we acquired which will help us throughout the season. So for us, it was very worthwhile. We followed it up with some wind tunnel testing; the things we learned there will make it even more worthwhile for our future tunnel tests.”

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03/16/09
irl

Green flag in orbit with Discovery
The green flag that will be used to start the 2009 IndyCar Series season April 5 at St. Petersburg, Fla., is taking a circuitous trip to the temporary street circuit.

On March 15, the flag blasted into orbit with Navy Cmdr. Tony Antonelli aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The shortened STS-119 mission will put him back on the ground in time to attend the race as a guest of Michael Andretti.

The Discovery crew of seven will deliver and install the S6 truss segments and the final set of solar arrays providing additional electrical power to the International Space Station.

During the mission, Antonelli – who grew up in Greenwood, Ind., and Fayetteville, N.C. -- will monitor systems and control one of the shuttle’s robotic arms that will install the truss. He’ll pilot the shuttle as it undocks from the International Space Station.

“We are a tiny part of a big team,” said Antonelli, referencing the thousands of people who are related to the space shuttle and space station programs. “It’s a big team and it’s nice getting to be a part of that team. It’s really nice being a member of that team that gets to ride on the rocket.”

Comment
03/16/09
nassprint

Will Junior win a Cup title?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won only once in 40 starts with Hendrick. He's qualified worse than teammates Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Casey Mears in all four races this season. His best finish has been 10th at Las Vegas. He's 24th in the points standings. Earnhardt Jr.'s first season with Hendrick (one win, 12th in points) was at least acceptable because it was a period of adaptation and adjustment. That's not the case this season. Several reasons why Earnhardt Jr. has not reached the achievement level expected of him have been voiced. Among them: He's not focused. He has far too many outside interests that absorb his time and attention. They include his television shows, his broadcast production company, his JR Motorsports Nationwide Series team, his DEJ Realty firm (with the housing market bottoming out, it doesn't seem to be a good time to be in real estate), his Whisky River nightclub - and more. He's being pulled in so many directions it distracts from racing. And then there's Tony Eury Jr., the crew chief. It's been said -- often, by the way -- that he's the root of the problem. He's a capable pit boss, but not with Earnhardt Jr., his cousin. In the past, Eury Jr. has been criticized for making adjustments during a race that made Earnhardt Jr.'s car worse rather than better. This year, there have been bad breaks. Sure, Earnhardt Jr. didn't have his head in the game at Daytona, but then, there was an engine problem at California and the lost lap at Atlanta - after a green-flag pit stop -- when the yellow flag flew after JTG Daugherty crewman Jimmy Watts decided to dash into the front infield to retrieve an errant tire. SceneDaily.com

Comment
03/16/09
nassprint

Furniture Row Racing Announces Revised Cup Schedule
Furniture Row Racing announced today a revision of its 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule.

The Colorado-based team has added one race to its original 12-race Cup schedule and has revised three of its upcoming race locations. The April 5th race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is the recent addition, bringing the current team's schedule to 13 events.

The team is dropping the two road races -- at Sonoma, Calif (June 21) and Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Aug. 9) plus the May 31st race at Dover, Del. Those three races are being replaced with Darlington, S.C. (May 9), Long Pond, Pa. (Pocono -- June 7) and Indianapolis (July 26).

The No. 78 Furniture Row team with driver Regan Smith entered two of the first four Cup races with Smith finishing 21st in the Daytona 500 and 20th in Las Vegas. The team's next race will be at Texas.

"We all sat down and re-evaluated our schedule to see what suits our racing program the best," said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing's general manager. "Since we're a sponsor-owned team we have the flexibility to move in and move out of race markets. We will most likely make additional changes as the season progresses. 

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03/16/09
skip barber

Bachelart to Compete in Skip Barber National Series
Promising young driver Eliott Bachelart will be returning to the seat of a Skip Barber car this week when he takes part in the BF Goodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda races at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20.

"I couldn’t be happier to race right now. I’ve been looking forward to this event for the past month and I’ve been preparing very hard both mentally and physically,” expressed Eliott.

The son of Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart will be competing in his second Skip Barber National event. His first came at Cleveland in 2007. Although the younger Bachelart will be making his first Skip Barber start at Sebring International Raceway he is no stranger to the course.

“This is an important year for me and I will have to give it my best. I can't wait to get back in the car after a few months of focusing on school. I've tested here at Sebring before in the Skip Barber Car so I know the track already and that should help coming into the first practice day on Tuesday.

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03/16/09
scca

ECR earns first sports car victory
An Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engine powerplant dominated the GT1 field March 8 at the 31st annual Tom Nehl National hosted by the Sports Car Club of America’s Buccaneer Region at Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, Ga.

The win was the first for ECR Engines outside of NASCAR competition.

Owner/driver Terry Giles put the No. 85 H2O Overdrive/ECR Engines/Base Race Fuel Corvette C6 on the pole during qualifying and led every lap. Giles earned back-to-back South Atlantic Road Racing GT-1 championships in 2007-2008, and boasts more than 100 victories and more than 200 podium finishes in his road racing career. 

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03/16/09
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC

NASCAR Nationwide Series from Bristol on ABC

The NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its first appearance of the 2009 season on ABC this weekend when ESPN on ABC has live, high definition coverage of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 21, beginning at 2 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Sunday, March 22, at 8 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

ESPN2 will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at Bristol on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. along with same-day coverage of final practice airing Friday, March 20, at 6 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lap-by-lap announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett, one of the founding drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a winning team owner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.

NASCAR Star Jeff Burton to Appear on ABC’s General Hospital

NASCAR driver Jeff Burton drives into Port Charles and the ABC daytime drama General Hospital in an episode that airs Wednesday, March 18, at 3 p.m. ET.

In the storyline, Burton visits neighborhood tavern Jake's where he has a conversation with bartender Coleman (Blake Gibbons) when Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) arrives and despite being a race car enthusiast, the neurosurgeon does not recognize the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star and a comedic beat ensues. 

ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour was on set with Burton to capture the racer in action. Alipour’s story is available at http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3974929.

Burton on receiving the call: "My initial reaction was, why do they want me?" Burton said. "Because I'm certainly not a good actor, and I don't have a Hollywood face by any means. When I go to the beach, whales gather around."

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03/16/09
f1
nascar

Toyota Announces Plans To Continue Racing In F1, NASCAR
Toyota Motor Corp. today announced that it “plans to keep racing in Formula One and NASCAR,” despite the company forecasting its first loss in 59 years. Toyota F1 team Principal Tadashi Yamashina today at a press conference said, “For an automaker, it’s very meaningful to continue in motor sports activities, even under the severe environment.” Tadashi added “winning is one of the conditions” to keep competing in F1.  Bloomberg News

Comment
03/16/09
alms

O’Connell looks back on 100 races
Johnny O’Connell
As the 100th American Le Mans Series race approaches with Saturday’s 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, Johnny O’Connell reflects on racing at Sebring and the evolution of America’s greatest sports car race.

“I go back at Sebring long before the American Le Mans Series, and I have always had really good success there,” said O’Connell, the all-time leader in victories at Sebring with seven class wins. He also ranks among the  “I love every aspect of it, and that it’s an endurance race run with a sprint race mentality. If there is one race a sports car driver wants on his resume as a win, to me it’s always been Sebring, more than Daytona, more than anything; it’s our most special race.”

Sebring ranks as O’Connell’s favorite event. He remembers a time when sports car racing in the U.S. lacked leadership and direction. When Dr. Don Panoz formed the American Le Mans Series a decade ago, it marked a true renaissance for the sport. Since the first Series race on March 20, 1999 at Sebring, the aura of the event has grown annually. So has the competitive level of the drivers and teams, along with the technology that is the hallmark of the Series’ platform.

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03/16/09
irl

IRL to re-launch new web site
Re-tooled, re-launched or re-skinned. Whatever the description of indycar.com 2.009 - the official Web site of the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights - enhanced is at the forefront.

Sure there is a bold color scheme and the latest in Web-based technological tools. Of course the site is continually updated with news, feature stories and race weekend coverage complemented by daily video shows and features. Naturally, there are comprehensive statistics, social networking portals and complete event and multimedia information for race ticket holders and fans at home.

Click it: Check out the beta | Provide feedback

Then there are some of the enhanced areas of the site, which will be launched March 24:

• IndyCar Nation, the official online community of indycar.com. With the free registration, members are given access to fan forums, IndyCar Race Control, are entered into a season-long grand prize sweepstakes and have access to participate in the official IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Fantasy Racing League. The game brings together the excitement of weekly driver selections and players will accumulate points based on their driver's performances to redeem for prizes from INDY DownForce, the official fan club of the IndyCar Series.

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03/16/09
nhra

Budweiser drops NHRA and Bernstein Racing sponsorship
“Anheuser-Busch today announced the 2009 season will be Budweiser’s last as official beer sponsor of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and as primary sponsor of Kenny Bernstein Racing and the Budweiser Top Fuel dragster.

Budweiser has sponsored the NHRA since the early 1980s and is celebrating its 30th season with Kenny Bernstein Racing. The Budweiser-Bernstein relationship is the longest running in motorsports history, eclipsing Scientifically Treated Petroleum’s (STP) 28-year sponsorship of Richard Petty in NASCAR. Kenny Bernstein Racing, one of the sport’s most consistent winners, aims to continue racing if new sponsorship is secured for 2010.

“The NHRA and Kenny Bernstein Racing have been world class partners and we’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” said Dan McHugh, vice president, Media, Sponsorship and Activation, Anheuser-Busch. “For three decades Budweiser helped grow the sport while its association with the NHRA and Kenny Bernstein provided a unique opportunity to market to adult beer drinkers.”

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03/16/09
f1

Alonso leads Day 2 at Jerez
Final F1 test times for Monday at Jerez, Spain.  Jenson Button took over the driving responsibilities of the Brawn GP001 for the afternoon and began a race simulation before a gearbox problem stopped the car out on the circuit and brought his running to an early conclusion after 12 laps.

Pos Driver Team Car Time Behind Laps
1. F. Alonso Renault R29 1:18.343 +0.000 103
2. R. Barrichello Brawn GP BGP 001 1:18.398 +0.055 62
3. J. Button Brawn GP BGP 001 1:18.892 +0.549 12
4. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-24 1:19.513 +1.170 87
5. N. Rosberg Williams FW31 1:19.783 +1.440 127


Comment
03/16/09
f1

Brawn insists no cheap pace for sponsors
(GMM)  Ross Brawn has plainly rejected speculation his Brackley based team is artificially topping the test timesheets.

Ever since the BGP001 recently made its debut, it has stunned the F1 world with its pace, raising suggestions the speed is being achieved with low levels of fuel.

Another suggestion is that the Mercedes-powered car may also be running beneath the official minimum weight of 605kg plus driver, in a desperate bid to attract sponsors following Honda's withdrawal.

But team owner and boss Brawn told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "I am looking for long time partners, not sponsors who want to buy a cheap spot (on a F1 car) because of fast lap times."

Even F1's cynics are coming around to the realization that the car is genuinely quick no matter the configuration, with the exclusion of underpowered Honda engines another factor at play.

"Just the driveability of the engine is a dream," Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello, referring to Brawn's customer deal with Mercedes-Benz, said.  "Finally, when I accelerate, I have the feeling of knowing what to expect.

"The power is wonderfully manageable and predictable," he added.

Comment
03/16/09
f1

BMW wants higher F1 car weight
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber would like to see formula one's minimum car weight increased.

Despite the voluntary introduction of heavy KERS energy re-use systems this year, the FIA has left the existing minimum car weight of 605kg the same.

But because the figure includes the weight of the driver, the KERS factor has led to widespread weight loss this winter, with some commentators concerned that F1 is heading the route of ski-jumping.

"In order to prevent formula one from becoming a jockey's competition, we are pushing for an increase of the minimum weight in the future," team boss Mario Theissen revealed.

BMW's F1 team is an interesting example, with the very tall (and thin) Robert Kubica unhappy about his KERS disadvantage, and diminutive teammate Nick Heidfeld further strengthening his advantage by also losing weight this pre-season.

Theissen on Monday said the team's KERS system is ready to debut at Melbourne, but he clarified that the final call about the technology's deployment in 2009 will be made "on a driver-by-driver, circuit-by-circuit basis".

Comment
03/16/09
f1

Barrichello stays top at lunchtime in Jerez
Testing continued this morning in Jerez, with Brawn GP, Renault, McLaren and Williams all in action for the week's second day in southern Spain. Just like yesterday, it's been a glorious morning, with persistent sunshine and ambient temperatures already in the twenties. On the timesheets, it's been a similar story also, with Brawn's Rubens Barrichello setting the pace, with a time of 1m18.398s.

The Brazilian's lap, clocked less than an hour into the day, was set on a run of over five laps, suggesting that the team is yet to fully test the potential of the BGP001 on a single qualifying flyer. Nevertheless, the time is the fastest recorded by a 2009-spec machine, beating the previous best of 1m19.055s set by Sebastian Vettel at the beginning of the month. Barrichello now hands over to team-mate Button who will complete the rest of the day's running.

Elsewhere in the pitlane, Fernando Alonso had a trouble-free start to his final day on-track, while former team-mate Lewis Hamilton got McLaren's running underway in the MP4-24. Nico Rosberg was also on duty for Williams, taking over from test driver Nico Hülkenberg.

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03/16/09
a1gp

Salaquarda victim of bizarre paddock attack
Former A1 Team Czech Republic driver Filip Salaquarda was involved in a violent incident at a test session in Valencia earlier this month, it has been revealed. The 25-year-old was reportedly attacked by circuit security following a handbrake spin-turn by the driver on one of the venue's car parks.

Salaquarda was present at the Valencia circuit for a test session for the ISR team as they look to prepare for the start of the Formula Master championship. However, the start of the session went far less than smoothly for both Salaquarda and team-mate Erik Janis when an incident broke out between them and security guards at the Spanish track.

"On arrival to the circuit we collected the car, which had been left on a large car-park near to the main access gate," Salaquarda recalled. "We were at the end of the car-park and nobody was around so I spun the car around using the handbrake. We then continued to the gate at about thirty or forty kilometers per hour."

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03/16/09
starmazda

D'Agostino to Join Andersen Racing
Joe D'Agostino can't quit smiling. 

Why is he so happy?

After two years with limited opportunities to race, he'll be driving a car prepared by the 2008 championship-winning team, Andersen Racing, at the 2009 Star Mazda season opener this Friday at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

The Brownsburg, Ind.-based driver sees it as a perfect opportunity to get back into the form that saw him record six top-10 finishes in the Atlantic series in 2006 driving for Newman/Wachs Racing.

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03/16/09
f1

Q&A with BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen
Mario Theissen
The BMW Sauber F1 Team has covered 9,445 kilometers in testing with the F1.09 in Valencia, Sakhir, Jerez and Barcelona in preparation for the team's fourth season in Formula One. Working out the relative performance levels of the teams has probably never been trickier. Basic rule changes have produced fundamentally different cars. The opening race of the World Championship will take place in less than two weeks - on 29th March - in Melbourne, Australia.

Mr. Theissen, is the BMW Sauber F1 Team well prepared for the new season?

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Yes, things are looking good after all the testing. The drivers and the engineers have given positive feedback. We are heading in the right direction with the BMW Sauber F1.09."

What have been the biggest technical challenges?

Theissen: "The engineers have had to adjust to fundamental changes in four different areas. There are new developments to be considered in terms of aerodynamics, tires and KERS technology. Plus, the engines have to cover twice the mileage this year compared to 2008. Never before in Formula One have they had to last so long. The changes to the cars' aerodynamics are so fundamental that the engineers really did have to start again with a blank sheet. The introduction of KERS brake energy regeneration technology into Formula One also represented new territory. This has been a huge challenge, one which we have taken on with great drive and determination. When I look back at how far we have come in such a short space of time, it really is very impressive. Here, Formula One has taken on the role of technology accelerator for series production cars of the future."

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03/16/09
automotive

OPEC to maintain production of crude
OPEC tried on Sunday to nudge oil prices up by urging its members to stop overproducing, but the cartel decided not to cut output levels, which could have driven prices sharply higher.

Explaining the decision, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri spoke of his organization's concern over "ugly" global economic times that overrode the desire to achieve a quick fix by setting a lower overall output for the 12-nation producer's club.

"We see people who are out of work, we see people in tents in the most rich countries," he told reporters. While OPEC's goal remains higher prices for its product, "the time is not right" for more radical measures, he said.

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03/16/09
f1

The Story of the FW31
Williams FW31
“This could be our most important season for a decade,” says Frank Williams. “The rule changes give Williams F1 a chance to re-establish itself.” Whether the team returns to its former championship glories, only time will tell, but such is the extent of the regulation changes for 2009 that the team has an opportunity to move up the order.

There are very few carry-over parts from last year’s car – only the fuel-flap activators, some hydraulic manifolds and the gearbox internals – and the FW31 is conceptually very different to any Williams of the last 30 years.

The new rules were ratified in October 2007, since when the design of the FW31 has been paramount in the minds of the team’s design, aero and engineering departments, led by Williams F1’s Director of Engineering, Patrick Head and Technical Director, Sam Michael. Work on the car started in November ’07 and the first wind tunnel test took place between Christmas and New Year the following month. Thereafter, the amount of resource placed on the FW31 increased progressively and by mid-’08 this car was the sole focus of the R&D department at Grove. The three main points of focus were aerodynamics, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the return of slick tires.

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03/16/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Last winter testing this week
  • Brawn's diffuser design also disputed
  • Coulthard museum shutting down
  • Teams pushing on amid crisis - Ecclestone

Last winter testing this week
(GMM)  One of the last days of pre-season winter testing will take place at the Jerez circuit on Monday.

Following the winter's final group session at Barcelona last week, four teams - Brawn, Renault, Williams and McLaren - scheduled one final outing at Jerez, located in the sherry-producing southwest of Spain.

The test began on Sunday, when Rubens Barrichello resumed Brawn's astonishing pace ahead of Fernando Alonso, who did not manage a full day's running due to a crash.

In ideal weather conditions, test driver Nico Hülkenberg’s Williams rounded out the Sunday timesheet, with McLaren only due to join the action from Monday.

Brawn's diffuser design also disputed
(GMM)  Brawn GP is the third team whose diffuser design for its 2009 car has been questioned by F1 rivals including Renault's Flavio Briatore.

That is the suggestion of the Cologne newspaper Express, following Briatore's comments that the rear diffusers of three unnamed teams "do not conform to the regulation".

It is reported that Brackley based Brawn, who have astonished the formula one world with their test pace in the wake of Honda's withdrawal, has taken the controversial Williams and Toyota-like diffuser interpretation even further.

Express claims the BGP001 design effectively links the floor with the diffuser in a curved fashion, with the result of radically increased rear downforce.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali on Saturday was quoted as dividing F1 teams into two camps: those (including Ferrari) who applied the 2009 rules "to the letter" and those who took "a different approach".

"The FIA has to dissipate any doubt; let's hope they'll do it fast and clear," the Italian added.

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03/16/09
cc
irl

Jerry Hudson dies, ex-IndyCar team member
Hudson
Jerry E. Hudson, "The Old Man," beloved dad, 77, passed away Tuesday, March 10, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. He was a resident of Franklin, IN. He was born March 20, 1931, to Albert and Mary Lois Hudson (Beaver). He married Bonnie Rae Nutter in 1954. She passed in 1993.  He had been a resident of Franklin since 1960.

He is survived by one daughter, Jeri Dayle Fox; one son, Jerry Gene Hudson; three granddaughters, Melissa Fox-Butler, married to Michael Butler, Angela Fox-Dannehold, married to Byran Dannehhold, and Raina Fox-Hester, married to James Hester; and six great-grandchildren, Hunter and Saylor Butler, McKenna, Ireland Isabella and Ellie Kate Dannehold and Ethan W. Hester.

Mr. Hudson served in the U.S. Army, achieving rank of E6, sergeant first class. He was a Korean War veteran who landed at Inchon Bay under John Eisenhower's command. He was wounded twice and was a prisoner of war in North Korea.

He moved to Franklin in 1960 as a recruiter. He was in the trucking business from 1963 to 1981 and managed Johncock/Brayton Redi Mix in Coldwater, Mich., for three years. He returned to Franklin and finished his career at IMI Concrete.

His passion and work was Champ Car/IndyCar racing for many years. That work was highlighted by being a crew member on Gordon Johncock's 1982 Indianapolis 500-winning team.

During his racing career, he worked with and befriended such notables as Gordy, Mario Andretti, Richard Petty, Jim McGee, Pat Patrick and everyone whom he met at a race track.

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03/16/09
tv news

SPEEDTV Notes UPDATE A reminder that a special edition of This Week in NASCAR featuring the upcoming opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be aired tonight, Monday, March 16 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm ET on SPEED.

03/12/09 SPEED will air a special edition of This Week in NASCAR on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The one-hour special, hosted by Steve Byrnes, will focus on the upcoming opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Joining Byrnes will be NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelly, who will give viewers a construction update and talk about exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays going into the Hall of Fame.  In addition, Kelly will provide an update on the NASCAR Plaza/office tower, the NASCAR Hall of Fame brick program, as well as explaining the criteria for gaining induction to the Hall and introducing the panel members who will choose the class each year.

SPEED personalities Dave Despain and Mike Joy, as well as longtime Associated Press motor sports writer Mike Harris are set to participate and debate the possible candidates for the inaugural class.

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03/16/09
racing news

Quotes of the week
“F1 must have rules that apply equally to everybody. It’s not fair that certain diffusers are made one way and others in another way, because I don’t think it’s right that every team has its own rule book. It seems that there are two sets of regulations: those which allow certain teams to have a diffuser made in a certain way that is forbidden to others because they consider it illegal. That’s not what we expect. We want black and white rules that are the same for everybody. I wouldn’t want it to end up like it did with the engine freeze, where we respected it and found ourselves 50 horsepower down on the others. This is the same story.”  Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault, complaining that rival teams are flouting the spirit of F1’s rules with controversial diffuser designs, and warned that his team may lodge an official protest at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"We haven't got a spare date. We're in trouble.  We need a date.  We're going to be in trouble if we do have Donington. We left there because I'm trying to improve facilities throughout the world, and when I get people to build new circuits to the standard which we're trying to reach, how can we go back to Silverstone? I negotiated a deal for them many years ago to give them enough money to build what we wanted.  They didn't build it." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association, insisting that Donington's failure would mean Britain no longer would be included on the F1 calendar, perhaps for good.

"I don't think we have done a good enough job, there is no point hiding from that face - we just have to get our heads down and work hard to fix it. We will rectify the problem as quickly as we can, even though that might not be as quickly as we would like." Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal, Renault, commenting on the new Renault MP4-24 being significantly off the pace in recent testing

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03/15/09
wrc

Citroen's Loeb wins Cyprus Rally
A perfectly controlled display on the final day of the 2009 Cyprus Rally enabled Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena to claim the WRC’s first mixed-surface round since 1996. The crew of the N°1 Citroën C4 WRC led from flag to flag to notch up the 50th world class win of their career. Fourth place for Dani Sordo Dani Sordo and Marc Marti has taken Citroën further clear at the top of the Manufacturers ’ World Championship standings.


The third day of action of this year’s Cyprus Rally took crews back into the Troodos Mountains, but today’s tests threw up their own special challenge. The leg kicked off with the 30-kilometre Foini stage which was followed by a 15-minute remote service break. Competitors then faced the longest test of the weekend which took the form of the incredibly twisty 40.54km Anadiou stage. The event finished with a return to Anadiou Dam (11.70km) which crews had already contested on Saturday.

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03/15/09
ARCA

Inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200 set for June 20 at Mansfield
Tim Richmond in Victory Lane - 1981 ARCA 200
MANSFIELD, Ohio - Mansfield Motorsports Park officials announced today that the June 20 ARCA RE/MAX Series race will be named in honor of the on-track accomplishments of the late Tim Richmond, a notable racecar driver and Ashland, Ohio, native who died of AIDS in 1989. The Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200, race No. nine of the 22-race ARCA RE/MAX Series, will roll off at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.

"2009 marks the 20th anniversary of Tim's death and I believe it is time to share his memory with new fans and give his still-existent fan base an opportunity to remember many of his great and precious moments," said Richmond's sister, Sandy Welsh. "This celebration will also provide us the opportunity to draw attention to AIDS, the disease that cut Tim's life short, and assist those that are suffering from this cruel disease. We want to do what we can to motivate the discovery of a cure for AIDS and give Tim's life even more meaning."

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03/15/09
f1

Q&A with Williams drivers Rosberg and Nakajima
Williams endured a tough 2008 campaign, finishing the constructors' championship in eighth place, and finishing outside the points on regular occasions. However, having sacrificed the development of their 2008 machine to focus on 2009, they are hoping for an improvement in fortunes, and at the team's media day in late February, race drivers Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima talked about the challenges ahead.

Nico Rosberg
Q: What are you expecting from the team this season?
Nico Rosberg: The rule changes are a fantastic thing for us. We've started from scratch and come up with lots of innovative new ideas. When you are given a whole new set of rules to work from it really does give you an opportunity to go away and do something special. You have to be ingenious. We have lots of great people in our aero and design departments and I have a lot of faith in their abilities. As a really strong team in general, this is a great opportunity for everyone at Williams to show what we can do.
Kazuki Nakajima: I agree with Nico's comments, the rule changes provide a good opportunity for us. It's too early to work out where everyone is; we will have to wait until we get to Melbourne to see how the land lies, but the team have done a good job over the winter and there is definitely a positive atmosphere at the factory, so I'm looking forward to the new season.

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03/15/09
f1

Alonso crashes R29
Fernando Alonso
The ING Renault F1 Team began its final pre-season test today at the Circuito de Jerez in the south of Spain as Fernando Alonso completed 40 laps of the Spanish circuit. Unfortunately for the team, the Spaniard made a mistake after only a few lap, requiring some repairs to the car.

Warm and sunny conditions greeted the team today giving ideal conditions for testing, however the team’s running was cut short in the morning when a trip through the gravel trap called for some repairs to the front end. The afternoon was more productive as Fernando began the team’s aero program and completed some practice starts.

Fernando remains in the R29 for his final day tomorrow when he will continue working on the set-up of the car and preparing for the Australian Grand Prix.

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03/15/09
f1

Barrichello tops today's test times from Jerez
Rubens Barrichello in the Brawn
The last week of F1 testing for the year began today in Jerez, Spain.  Once again the Brawn GP team showed the way with Rubens Barrichello 0.583s clear of the Renault of Fernando Alonso.

Barrichello was at the wheel of the BGP 001 and completed 107 laps, posting the fastest time as he completed a series of set-up and tire evaluations, in addition to a number of race start simulations.

Rubens will continue his running tomorrow morning before teammate Jenson Button takes over in the afternoon session for the remaining day and a half of the test.

Barrichello debriefs with Ross Brawn
"We had a good day of testing today completing over a hundred laps of the Jerez circuit," said Barrichello.  "It is hotter in Jerez than it was in Barcelona last week and therefore more representative of the temperatures that we can expect for the first few races, so it is good preparation for myself and the car. The car ran very well once again and we are increasing our understanding of its characteristics every day."

Sunday Times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Behind Laps
1. R. Barrichello Brawn GP BGP 001 1:19.236 +0.000 102
2. F. Alonso Renault R29 1:19.819 +0.583 40
3. N. Hülkenberg Williams FW31 1:20.013 +0.777 69


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03/15/09
IMSA
Lites

IMSA Lites Sebring Round 2
Matt Downs, Butterfield, Minn., started first and finished first in the 75-minute round two of the IMSA Lites presented by Frisby Performance Tire at Sebring International Raceway.

The race was not an easy one for Downs, who was passed on the first lap by Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, Ontario, and round one winner, Joel Feinberg, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Downs was consistent the first half of the race and credited his win to a great car.

“Kyle had some mechanical problems and my car never went away. My grandma could have driven this thing,” Downs explained. “I spun coming onto the front straight and I thought I was done. I didn’t know if I was going to take tires before the spin. I’m glad I spun before the pit stop so I made the decision to take tires.”

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03/15/09
atlantic

Australian champion Winslow lands Atlantic series ride
James Winslow
The United States of America is already a home to two former Australian Drivers Championship winners - and now a third is on his way.

2009 Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship winner James Winslow yesterday announced that he has signed a deal with Conquest Racing to compete in the 2009 Atlantic Championship, one of the USA's premier Open Wheel development series'.

2002 Gold Star winner Will Power and 1998 champion Scott Dixon have already forged successful careers in the USA with both having success in IndyCar competition; Dixon winning last year's Indianapolis 500-mile race, one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Whilst both Dixon and Power won their titles before Formula 3 was granted Gold Star status in 2005, Power - like Winslow - achieved notable success in Australian F3 when he finished second in the championship in 2002.

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03/15/09
track news

SMI 'will consider all options' to obtain a Cup date for Kentucky
Speedway Motorsports Inc. has requested that a Sprint Cup race be moved to Kentucky Speedway and “will consider all options” to get one there as soon as possible, according to its annual report filed Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

SMI Chairman Bruton Smith said March 6 at Atlanta Motor Speedway that he had not yet requested the realignment but wanted a Cup date there in 2010.

“The Company has requested realignment of a Sprint Cup Series race at the earliest possible time and will consider all options if NASCAR denies such realignment request,” the company stated in its filing.

It does not elaborate whether “all options” would include legal action. SMI spokesman Scott Cooper said he could not elaborate on the wording in the annual report.

The Kentucky Speedway founders are suing NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., alleging that they conspire to keep independent tracks from obtaining Sprint Cup dates. NASCAR, a privately held sanctioning body owned by the France family, and ISC, a publicly traded track-operating company whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, deny those claims. SMI is considered a co-conspirator in the case.

The case is in U.S. Appeals Court in Cincinnati with the Kentucky Speedway founders appealing a U.S. District Court judge's ruling that there is not enough evidence to have a trial. The earliest a hearing could be held in the case is April 20, and NASCAR typically begins its sanctioning process for the upcoming year in May. A decision from the appeals court could come anywhere from a few weeks to a few months following the hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

“We are unable to predict whether the KS litigation will be decided in favor of KS, and, until a Sprint Cup Series race is held at KS, we are likely to incur cash and non-cash operating losses that negatively impact our future financial condition, operating results and cash flows,” the company states in its filing.

SMI is looking at getting the track, which currently has 69,000 seats, ready for a Sprint Cup event. 

“Depending on the amounts and limits of passed tax incentives, the Company is contemplating expanding permanent seating at KS by 50,000, significantly modernizing and expanding concessions, camping, restrooms and other speedway facilities, and reconfiguring and expanding on-site roads, available parking, traffic patterns and entrances,” the company wrote. “The contemplated expansion and improvements may involve material capital expenditures over several years in amounts that have not yet been determined.”

• SMI earned 83 percent of its total revenues from NASCAR-sanctioned events. Last year it was 82 percent. Of its revenues, approximately 28 percent came from NASCAR’s television package.

• SMI has 828 full-time and 286 part-time employees. Last year, the company reported 770 full-time and 214 part-time employees, but that was prior to the purchases of New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

• Smith owns approximately 68 percent of the voting stock in the company, compared to 67 percent a year ago.

• SMI’s long-term debt is $686.5 million, down from $728.5 million reported last year.

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03/15/09
alms

Stuck to return to Sebring with Vici Porsche
Hans-Joachim Stuck
58-year old sportscar legend Hans-Joachim Stuck will return to the Sebring 12 Hours for the 15th time this year for the first time since 2001 in a GT2 class Vici Racing Porsche, alongside his son Johannes Stuck and Vici regular Nicky Pastorelli.

At Sebring, Stuck claimed victories in 1975, 1986 and 1988, the first with the 3.0 CSL, and the second two with Porsche's powerful 962s.

The son of the great prewar Auto Union ace of the same name, Stuck made his name as a touring car driver for Ford and BMW in the early 1970s, his victories including the 1972 Spa 24 Hours. With the support of BMW he moved to single-seaters and in 1974 he finished second in the European Formula 2 series to Patrick Depailler. He made his F1 debut that year with the March team and he continued to drive for the team on an irregular basis until 1977, while also continuing to compete for BMW in touring car racing and in IMSA. In 1977 he joined the Brabham-Alfa Romeo team after the death of Carlos Pace and scored splendid third places in the German and Austrian Grands Prix, plus a fifth in the British. He was storming away with the rain-soaked US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen until he crashed out of the lead.

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03/15/09
f1

F1 lenders worried F1 will not be able to meet payments
Lenders to Formula One and Manchester United, two of the biggest names in British sport, have been selling on loans taken out by the two businesses at deeply distressed prices as they grow concerned about the ability of heavily indebted companies to meet interest payments through a recession.

Despite enjoying one of its best seasons on the pitch, with five trophy wins still a prospect, Manchester United's financial future looks far from rosy. Huge amounts of debt were heaped on the club's books as part of a private equity-style buyout led by US entrepreneur Malcolm Glazer in 2005. The senior (high priority) debt is now being traded at 70p in the pound.

Discussions about refinancing loans through a securitization of future gate receipts have been shelved, as the market for such products has in effect closed. Meanwhile, two months ago AIG - itself rescued from collapse by the US taxpayer - confirmed it would end a shirt sponsorship deal at the end of next season. The club is unlikely to match the record four-year contract with AIG, worth £56.5m.

At Formula One, debt investors have even deeper concerns. Senior debt issued to fund private equity firm CVC Capital's 2006 takeover of the sport's commercial rights is trading at 51p in the pound.

The company, run by Bernie Ecclestone, was shaken by the shock exit of the Honda team three months ago. The move has led to speculation that others could also drop out and investor concerns that a greater share of earnings from the sport may have to be passed on to struggling teams.

"Sport will undoubtedly be affected by the downturn in the economy as discretionary spending becomes more problematical," said Philip Long, partner at PKF accountants and business advisors. The Observer

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03/15/09
automotive

Dealer sues GM
A rural Alabama dealership is showing how difficult it could be for General Motors Corp. to follow through on its restructuring plan to reduce its sprawling network of more than 6,200 U.S. dealerships by about 25% by 2012.

Abercrombie Chevrolet of Hartselle, Ala., has filed a lawsuit against GM and its minority-held finance arm, GMAC, claiming a conspiracy by the two to unlawfully break its franchise agreement "in an effort to shut down dealers and avoid paying franchise buyout fees."

Reducing Detroit's dealer network, which is necessary as U.S. sales shrink, has bedeviled the industry for years because automakers face state laws and individual franchise contracts that make the process costly and slow. It's also an emotional process for many dealers who have had the business within the family for generations.

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03/15/09
automotive

Chrysler faces major July cash shortage
Even if Chrysler LLC gets additional government loans, it could face another cash shortage in July when revenue dries up as the company shuts down its factories for two weeks to change from one model year to the next, its chief financial officer said.

CFO Ron Kolka, in a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press, said the company planned for the $4 billion it received Jan. 2 to last through March 31. The company is talking with the Obama administration's auto task force about getting another $5 billion, and faces a March 31 deadline to complete its plan to show how it can become viable and repay the loans.

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03/15/09
automotive

Mercedes grabs top BMW designer
Karim Habib, the exterior designer of the new BMW 7-series, has been lured to Mercedes-Benz where he will head up the advanced design studio on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany.

Habib will work under Mercedes-Benz's new design boss, Gorden Wagener.

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03/15/09
IMSA

Joel Feinberg wins IMSA Lites race
Joel Feinberg
Joel Feinberg, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., came into the opening round of the IMSA Lites presented by Frisby Performance Tire with his sights set on a winning season. He got off to the right start by winning the 30-minute opening round of the 14-round series.

Feinberg started second in his Primetime Race Group Elan DP02, but was overtaken by series newcomer Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, Ontario, going into turn one as Matt Downs, Butterfield, Minn., led the start of the race.

“Going into turn one I figured I had the advantage being on the outside,” Feinberg said. “They took the inside line, so I went to turn and they were there. I really didn’t have a choice but to lift and tuck in behind Kyle.”

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03/15/09
gakoni

Randy Pobst and Christian Miller in GA Koni race
A day after missing the pole position in Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge competition by only 0.003 seconds, Randy Pobst and Christian Miller took the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si to victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the second closest finish in KONI Challenge history.

Pobst fought Tom Long in a seesaw battle that saw both drivers lead multiple times over the final half hour of action on the 2.3-mile, 11-turn track, but a pass in Turn 11 on Lap 89 of 92 gave Pobst the lead for the final time. He held onto the point for the final four laps to earn his fifth career overall and class victories, while giving Miller his first win.

The margin of victory, which stood at 0.129 seconds, was the second closest finish in KONI Challenge history. Only the race at Watkins Glen International in 2004 was closest (0.050 seconds). The race's average speed was 84.418 mph, the second fastest KONI race at the track.

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03/14/09
track news

Huge motorsports complex planned for The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia risks losing the multimillion-dollar sport of motor racing as approval for a massive $650 million complex remains knotted in red tape.

The massive facility housing all motorsports, had been earmarked for Norwell.

The complex would comprise professional testing tracks and facilities for amateurs, a hotel and industrial facilities.

The cost of the project was estimated at $650 million and, if approved, would essentially become a satellite city for all motorsports.

Approval for the I-METT project is pending, with a decision on the project expected later this year.

The proposed motor racing circuit will be designed by world-famous Architect, Herman Tilke.

The track will be constructed to the latest international FIA and FIM specifications, catering for international and national events involving cars, motorcycles, rally and other.

With top quality spectator facilities, the track will have permanent ‘stadium-style’ seating.

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03/14/09
nassprint

Jeff Gordon at Zolder, Belgium UPDATE Below is a video interview of Jeff Gordon at Zolder.

Jeff Gordon giving an interview in the Zolder pits
03/12/09 During the regular Thursday test days at Zolder there was an interesting spectator in the person of Jeff Gordon, who paid a short visit to the track.

His wife’s family lives close to the Zolder track, and Jeff was being invited by a local driver who has good contacts with the Vandebosch family.

Jeff Gordon
Hardly anyone in the pitlane recognized the famous four time NASCAR Champion, who also paid a visit to Spa-Francorchamps yesterday. It is not known whether he has driven there. Only one guy from the Belgian Pitstop TV internetsite, who used to cover Champ Car for Eurosport two years ago recognized him and did a short interview.

Christian Lahaye from the Belgian Touring Car Series and the founder of the VW Funcup Beetle series who was also present in the pitlane offered him a drive for the Spa 25 Hours later this year, but “unfortunately he was too expensive” joked Lahaye.  AR1.com

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03/14/09
nassprint

Sprint Pit Crew Challenge takes place May 14th
The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsmen will take place on May 14 at the Time Warner Cable Arena at 7:00pm and will be aired at 9:00pm that evening on SPEED. The event is celebrating its fifth year and was just recognized as the Best Public Event under 20,000 by the International Special Events Society. The competition is the only indoor event sanctioned by NASCAR and leads into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The finishing order of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will determine the order of pit selection for the race that each competing team is eligible for (The Sprint Showdown or The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race).

The current eligible teams are as follows: #96 Ask.com; #99 Aflac; #07 Jack Daniels; #33 General Mills; #88 Amp/National Guard; #12 Penske Racing; #11 FedEx; #16 3M; #31 Caterpillar; #24 DuPont; #48 Lowe’s; #20 Home Depot; #9 Budweiser; #29 Shell; #2 Miller Lite; #18 Mars; #5 Kellogg’s/Carquest; #17 DeWalt; #39 Army; #14 Office Depot/Old Spice/Burger King. Tickets for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring over the wall, head to head competition between the top 24 pit crews in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are on sale now. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 495-2295. Jay Howard Events PR

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03/14/09
f1

Team boss: Toyota nearly pulled out of F1
Toyota Motors' decision to stay involved in Formula One went right down to the wire, a Toyota executive told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Tadashi Yamashina, chairman of the German-based Toyota Motor Sports Gmbh (TMG), said in a teleconference interview on Thursday that Toyota was on the brink of pulling out of F1 after Honda's decision on Dec. 5 to pull the plug on the money-consuming circuit.

Toyota executives deliberated right up until the Dec. 22 press conference--at which the company announced it would stay in the sport--before deciding the pledged support of main sponsor Panasonic gave it the necessary resources and money to stay in the sport.

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03/14/09
f1

Brawn team stirs up the odds
The newly formed Brawn GP team are causing quite a stir, not only in testing in Barcelona but in the betting world too, both the team and its drivers have been slashed with Coral bookmakers to finish on top at the end of the Formula One season.

"With some incredible times in testing this week the Brawn team, and both it's drivers Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello have been backed at all odds for the world title and will cost us a six figure sum if they go on to achieve that feat, they are now one of the front runners to be crowned champions," said Coral spokesman Gary Burton.

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03/14/09
nassprint

Different format for All-Star race
The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will have a different format in 2009, Lowe’s Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith confirmed Friday, but he declined to elaborate. Following a news conference to promote the second annual burnout contest and announce that retired wrestler Ric Flair would be the honorary all-star race director, Smith talked in vague terms about how this year’s format will be different. During the news conference, it was just referred to as a 100-lap event. Last year, the event was split into four 25-lap segments. “We are working on some changes that will be forthcoming – some neat things that we’re going to be changing up,” Smith said. “They’ll be exciting for the fans.” A NASCAR spokesman also declined to comment on potential changes to the non-points event. “We’re talking about some different things that we’ll be able to announce in a few weeks,” Smith said. “The all-star race has a tradition of making changes. … We’ve had great conversations and experience with the folks at Sprint, and [television partner] Speed and NASCAR. We’ll be able to talk about that in a couple of weeks.” This year’s event will be the 25th running of the all-star event, and it will include a Montgomery Gentry concert. SceneDaily

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03/14/09
f1

New rules 'disadvantaged' Ferrari - boss
(GMM)  Ferrari is facing "a slight disadvantage" heading into the 2009 season, its team boss Stefano Domenicali has admitted.

First, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton's employer McLaren this week admitted its new MP4-24 is not ready to win races, and now the 2008 constructors' title winner has spoken with a similarly cautionary tone.

"Who, like us and our main competitors, was working until the last moment on the development of the 2008 car, might have a slight disadvantage compared to those who gave up last year and dedicated themselves and their resources to a new project," Domenicali said.

Maranello based Ferrari was believed to hold a slight edge on a close group of rivals this winter, but Domenicali admits last week's Barcelona test - remarkably dominated by the former Honda team Brawn - has blurred the picture.

Asked where Ferrari stands, Domenicali answered: "I don't want you to think that I'm avoiding an answer, but it's more difficult than ever to say anything about the levels on the track.

"Until a couple of days ago there was a great equilibrium between the different teams - some expected and some a bit less - and then there was Brawn GP's exploit.  Their performance was incredibly surprising and they have to be watched with care.

"We think that we're part of the more competitive teams, but there are still many unknown factors to consider; we have to wait for Melbourne to get the answers," the Italian added.

Domenicali also commented on Flavio Briatore's assertion that up to three teams may be circumventing the new aerodynamic regulations in the area of the rear diffuser.

"We think that we've applied the modified regulations - after the works done by the OWG (overtaking working group) together with the FIA - to the letter," he said.

"It might be that others took a different approach; the FIA has to dissipate any doubt; let's hope they'll do if fast and clear."

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03/14/09
starmazda

Joel Miller Re-signs with JDC MotorSports
After narrowly missing out on the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear title in his rookie season, Joel Miller has announced that he will return to the highly-competitive junior formula car series in 2009. As part of a talented driver line-up at JDC Motorsports, one that features fellow returning series standouts Alex Ardoin and Caio Lara, as well as Masters class race winner Gerry Kraut and Michael Guasch, the Californian will seek to add to his win total en route to providing the Minnesota-based squad its second championship crown in three years.

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03/14/09
nassprint

Talladega Superspeedway Enticing Fans
Talladega Superspeedway is encouraging race fans traveling to Alabama for the Aaron's Dream Weekend to bring their golf clubs and hit the links on the legendary Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (RTJ).  The new Fairway to Speedway offer gets race fans two tickets to the Aaron's 499 and two rounds of golf playable at 9 of the 11 RTJ championship golf courses for only $200, a savings up to 25% off peak prices.

"Talladega Superspeedway and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are nationally recognized venues in the great state of Alabama," said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey.  "It's only natural that we combine the strength of our two great brands to welcome visitors from around the country with the Fairway to Speedway offer.  Free overnight parks open on Tuesday of race week, leaving race fans Wednesday and Thursday to play golf and enjoy some of the wonderful attractions our state offers.  Friday through Sunday can be all about enjoying the thrill of Talladega Superspeedway."

Golf rounds are valid at all Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses, with the exception of Ross Bridge and Lakewood.

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03/14/09
f1

Bernie rules out Silverstone return
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has ruled out formula one returning to Silverstone, even if it means the historic British grand prix must fall off the calendar altogether.

The F1 chief executive has inked a ten-year deal to see Donington upgrade its facility and begin hosting the race beginning next year.

But amid skepticism the circuit can deliver its promises for 2010, British motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart believes F1 should safeguard the country's place on the calendar.

He thinks that if the Donington deal falls through, Silverstone should host the event by default.

"Well, I think Bernie is a Brit and a proud Brit and I don't think he really wants to see no British grand prix," Stewart recently told the BBC.

"I think that (Britain no longer having a grand prix) would be a very negative thing on him and the people around him."

But Ecclestone on Friday insisted that Donington's failure would mean Britain no longer featuring on the calendar, perhaps for good.

His plan is for a 20-race calendar, but events in South Korea and India are already lined up, as are a group of prospective venues.

"We haven't got a spare date," the 78-year-old told The Guardian.  "We're in trouble.  We need a date.  We're going to be in trouble if we do have Donington."

Ecclestone said that if Donington does not join the calendar as scheduled, it will provide a place for another host nation, not for Silverstone.

"We left there because I'm trying to improve facilities throughout the world," he explained, "and when I get people to build new circuits to the standard which we're trying to reach, how can we go back to Silverstone?

"I negotiated a deal for them many years ago to give them enough money to build what we wanted.  They didn't build it," added Ecclestone.

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