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Volkswagen Pockets $23,000 When You Buy That New Porsche  One could forgive Volkswagen executives for only wanting to drive their fleet of Audis, Bentleys, Porsches, and Lamborghinis. The German giant’s luxury offerings are outperforming its pedestrian passenger cars, both on roads and off.

For every Porsche it sold last year, Volkswagen booked about $23,200 in operating profit, for a margin of 18 percent, according to an annual report it released this morning. Bentley wasn’t far behind Porsche, and the Audi brand, which includes the Lamborghini badge, posted $5,200 in profit per vehicle at a 10 percent margin. That compares with an $850 return, at a 2.9 percent margin, for one of VW’s mass-market machines, such as the Jetta or Passat. More ...

2014 McLaren P1 - Jay Leno's Garage  It's pretty much a road-going Formula One car, and after a factory visit to see how it's made, Jay is the first person outside McLaren to test-drive this extraordinary 903 hp plug-in hybrid.

Bristol race under red-flag  The Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is currently under a red-flag condition due to rain.

Drivers have completed 124 laps of the 500-lap event on the 0.533-mile track.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth was leading when rain returned. 

Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing), Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports) were running second through fifth when the race was halted. More ...

Ricciardo disqualified, Red Bull to appeal (Update)  UPDATE
Christian Horner not happy
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has insisted that Daniel Ricciardo's RB10 was within the fuel flow rate during the Australian Grand Prix.
"These fuel-flow sensors that are provided by the FIA to measure fuel have proved problematic down the pitlane since their introduction in testing," Horner said.

"There have been discrepancies and they have been unreliable - indeed some cars may well have run without them in the race itself or failed in the race itself. We had a fuel-flow sensor that was fitted to the car that we believed had an error. Based on our calculation on the fuel that the injectors are providing to the engine, which is a calibrated piece of equipment and is consistently standard across the pitlane, there is zero variance." More ...

IMSA Admits it made bad calls for 2nd race in row (Update)  UPDATE Alex Job admitted his frustration after the end of Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, when one of his GT Daytona cars was assessed a penalty it should not have been.

“It’s just mind-boggling to me that five different people looked at the video and couldn’t figure out it was the 911 RSR, not the WeatherTech car,” Job told Sportscar365.

“When they take action like that, I would like to see them take more input from the team that is disputing the penalty and then take more effort to double check it,” Job said. More ...

Oriol Servia itching to make a statement at Barber  
Oriol Servia ready to set a fast time at Barber with Honda's latest engine
Oriol Servia, 39, will compete in his 14th season in a major open wheel series and will make his second appearance in a RLL-prepared entry. He competed for the team in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 and was in ninth place halfway through the race when a mechanical failure led to his retirement in 26th place. He was previously Rahal’s teammate for four races late in the 2009 season at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

"It's great to have ‘spring training’ with all cars and teams participating. You could think that some would hide a bit of their true potential and only show it in St. Pete but I can assure you that is not the way it works. For some reason we all feel --  drivers and teams -- that it is the opportunity to send a message to the rest of the paddock and everybody’s message wants to be the same ‘Hey, this year you better count me as the reference!’  Only one driver will be able to send that message at the end of the test."

"The last time I drove an Indy car was for the last race of the season at Fontana. Many drivers have tested since then. It has been too long and cannot wait to get in the car again. In general terms you always miss driving an Indy car as they are really fun and challenging to drive. On this occasion I am even more excited as it will be my first and only test with the new team and will become a reference point for the year." More ...

Kenseth suggests satellite teams helping Penske  Michael McDowell calls Matt Kenseth's suggestion that McDowell has tested for Team Penske's benefit a matter of "sour grapes." Kenseth raised the issue after qualifying Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway when asked about Penske's success this season. Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have started no worse than the second row in the last three races and Keselowski swept last week's Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas. Kenseth pointed to McDowell and Leavine Family Racing with helping Keselowski and Logano. "Without opening a can of worms, it's my understanding that they (Team Penske) got to do a lot of testing - I think they've been to all three tracks with their 'satellite teams' - Michael McDowell and cars like that I think in the Penske trailer," Kenseth said. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • A sad Fernando Alonso knows the Domenicali led  Ferrari team has once again produced an inferior car
    Cautious Alonso targets mere Melbourne finish
  • Mercedes duo to battle 'within limits' on Sunday
  • Ecclestone doubts Susie Wolff will race in F1
  • My 'servant' days are over - Massa
  • Mercedes wins but Red Bull crisis ending New
  • Bernie Ecclestone postpones Russian GP night race New
  • Massa calls for Kobayashi ban New
  • Ricciardo under investigation for fuel flow breach New
  • Magnussen thrilled by debut podium New
  • "We cannot be happy" says Kimi Raikkonen New
  • Vettel: It's going to be a long season New More ...
First Volvo victory in 17 years: McLaughlin continues streak  Kiwi Scott McLaughlin became the first Volvo Australian Touring car winner in 17 years since Jim Richards and like the New Zealand great, famously booed on the podium at Bathurst, fully expects the 'haters' to scrutinize his continuing success.

McLaughlin won the final race of the MSS Security Challenge at the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix when double points also gave him the overall win. It followed his amazing second in an epic last lap battle with Jamie Whincup in Adelaide a fortnight ago.

He benefitted from Shane van Gisbergen, who won the first three races, who suffered a broken roll bar on the warm-up lap and went backwards through the field as a result. It left McLaughlin with the win from Red Bull Racing Australia's Craig Lowndes and Beyond Blue Nissan pilot Michael Caruso. More ...

Final Australian GP Starting Lineup  Gearbox penalties for Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez sees them lose 5 grid spots.

Bottas was 10th fastest and therefore falls to 15th. His Williams ran into gearbox trouble early in final practice.

The Finn's demotion helps Vettel, but the reigning F1 world champion will still only start 12th after software issues hampered him in qualifying. More ...

Busch wins 3rd straight at Bristol  
Kyle Busch
Getty Images for NASCAR
Kyle Larson had a plan in mind for the finish. But Kyle Busch has it all figured out at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch became the first driver in history to post 16 victories at a single track in NASCAR's three national touring series, pulling away from the field after the final restart with nine laps remaining, to win Saturday's Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 presented by Lilly Diabetes.

Busch, a five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at Bristol, won for the sixth time in his last eight NASCAR Nationwide Series starts on the 0.533-mile track. More ...
Shane van Gisbergen wins again in Melbourne  Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen could be the first man since Russell Ingall in 1998 to clean sweep the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix. But with double points on offer today, he’ll have to watch out for fellow countryman Fabian Coulthard.

The Lockwood racer finished second today and is just 37 points behind the Team TEKNO VIP Petfoods driver, who has scored the maximum available points at the event.

Points go towards the MSS Security Challenge event win, with a trophy awarded after today’s 12-lapper around Albert Park. More ...

Sebring Standings after 10 Hours  
Sunset at Sebring
Night has fallen at Sebring International Raceway and Memo Rojas has the lead in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, but any of eight or nine Prototype class cars could capture the overall win.

Joao Barbosa led at the nine-hour mark in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, while each of the top eight Prototypes were on the same lap.

Eighth-hour leaders Extreme Speed Motorsports’ No. 2 HPD ARX-03b driven by Johannes van Overbeek made contact with Bryce Miller’s No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS on exit to Turn 17, with the ensuing cosmetic damage sending the ESM car to the pits. More ...

Sebring Standings after 9 Hours  The 2014 12 Hours of Sebring is heating up, with the ninth hour going by without major incident in the second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race.

At the 3/4 mark (9 hours) of the 12 Hours of Sebring the Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais Action Express Corvette DP has moved back into the lead ahead of the Morgan Nissan of Pla/Brundle/Yacaman.

It was the Prototype class which gave the most action, with Alex Brundle in the OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan who quickly dispatched Scott Sharp in the Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD and set his sights on the leaders. More ...

Sebring crashfest: Standings after 7 Hours  At the 7-hour mark the No. 9 Corvette DP driven by Br.Frisselle/Bu.Frisselle/Jon Fogarty lead the Sebring 12 Hour classis over the Wayne Taylor Corvette DP but the race is still up for grabs.

The crashfest of a race was under the eighth full-course caution at the halfway mark of what’s been an accident-filled race thus far.

At least four Prototype Challenge cars have been destroyed, the latest two coming in a Turn 16 wreck between the No. 87 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Gaston Kearby and Alex Tagliani’s No. 08 RSR Racing entry.

Kearby spun and rejoined in front of the open-wheel star, who was running inside the top-three at the time. Both drivers climbed from the car, although team owner Paul Gentilozzi said Tagliani may have a hand injury. More ...

Schmidt Peterson signs Juan Piedrahita for Indy Lights  Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has confirmed its third of likely four drivers for the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires campaign.

The team has signed 21-year-old Colombian Juan Piedrahita, and he’ll join teammates Jack Harvey and Juan Pablo Garcia. Ex-GP2 driver Luiz Razia has also tested for the team throughout this winter.

Piedrahita has spent two years in Pro Mazda and a year in USF2000 before that, so he moves up to Indy Lights with three years already under his belt in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

“After two successful full seasons in Pro Mazda, I feel that I’m ready to take another step and race in Indy Lights,” Piedrahita said in a team release. “And it doesn’t get any better than to take this big step with a championship-winning team like Schmidt Peterson Motorsports!”

Sebring Standings after 5 Hours  
Action Express leads at 5-hour mark
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was briefly red flagged just past the four-hour mark after an accident involving two PC class cars. But at four hours and 22 minutes, though, the race was put back to yellow flag conditions.

David Ostella ran wide in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 on the exit of Turn 17 and smacked the outside retaining wall. After the contact, his car careened into to the path of Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09, who had nowhere to go.

Due to the accident and time needed for repairs, IMSA put the field under a red flag at the four hour and 14 minute mark.

Both drivers climbed from the car under their own power and were taken to the infield care center. More ...

Sebring Standings after 2 Hours  
Top-16 Click to enlarge

Alonso has admitted that Ferrari already behind  
AR1.com has told you for years that Ferrari's pull-rod front suspension was one reason the car is not as fast as it could be.  Well Stefano Domenicali's design team went with a pull-rod setup yet again in 2014.  Somehow Domenicali still has a job!
A new season might be underway but a familiar picture is emerging at Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso admitting after qualifying for the Australian GP that they have a clear performance deficit to pacesetters Mercedes.

The Spaniard lines up in recognizable territory for Sunday's race: fifth on the grid. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen's first qualifying session since his return to the Scuderia ended when the Finn spun his F14 T in wet conditions, wiping off the car's nose.

Rain descended upon Albert Park during Q2 and with Alonso sampling the car in the wet for the very first time, he admitted that he found it difficult to judge the conditions.

"The conditions were right in the middle; some people took the inters and they did well, like [Daniel] Ricciardo, and some took the inters and it was a bad decision, like Felipe [Massa]," he said. 

"It doesn't make a great difference in our position. Fifth is the position we were around all of the weekend in practice in dry and wet conditions, so I'm happy." More ...

HPD's Roger Griffiths resigns  According to Marshall Pruett’s Sebring notes at Racer.com, Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths, who was an integral piece of Honda's sports car and Indy car programs, not to mention its success in both realms, tendered his resignation on Thursday. According to HPD, a replacement for the Briton has yet to be nominated.
NASCAR Drivers pleased with change to qualifying  Qualifying [at Bristol] went without a hitch. No wrecks, no traffic jams, no apparent problems with cars cooling their engines. Drivers universally praised NASCAR's decision this week to permit cool-down boxes on pit road, eliminating the need for cars to cruise the lower apron of the track at slow speeds in an attempt to cool their engines.

"That rule change has removed danger and replaced it with opportunity," #2-Brad Keselowski said. "Being able to go out there and make multiple runs is a lot more plausible because of that scenario (with additional cooling capability). That rewards the teams and the fans as well." More ...

NASCAR Las Vegas TV ratings (Update)  UPDATE For the third straight week, 'final' ratings and viewership dropped for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas drew a 4.5 final rating and 7.2 million viewers on FOX, down 4% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.7, 7.5M), and down 14% and 15%, respectively, from 2012 (5.2, 8.5M). The 4.5 rating is the third-lowest in the history of the race (dates back to 1998), ahead of only 2010 (4.4) and 2000 (4.0). So far this season, all three Sprint Cup telecasts have had declines in ratings and viewership compared to last year. The races have each fallen to multi-year lows. As is typical, NASCAR was the top sporting event of the weekend. The final round of golf's WGC-Cadillac Championship was a distant second (2.8, 4.1M).

03/11/14 The 2014 Sprint Cup season has not gotten off to a great start on FOX. Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas drew a 4.1 overnight rating on FOX, down 11% from last year (4.6), down 23% from 2012 (5.3), and tied with 2010 as the lowest overnight ever for the race since it moved to FOX in 2001. Overnights have declined for the first three Sprint Cup telecasts this season. The numbers have not just declined, but in fact have hit historic lows. Final ratings for the Daytona 500 were the lowest ever, and the final rating for Phoenix was the lowest for the second race of the season since FOX acquired rights. Keep in mind that Sunday's final rating could still end up surpassing the FOX low of 4.4 set in 2010. Despite the lower numbers, the race earned the highest overnight of the weekend for a sporting event on broadcast. Sports Media Watch
Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday  
  • Lauda: Mercedes buying championship with money
    Mercedes upped budget to succeed in F1 - Lauda
  • Renault still 'a month' behind - Taffin
  • Sport is 'formula engine' now - Lauda
  • Mercedes have discussed team orders in Melbourne
  • Newey finds loophole to hide FIA nose camera
  • 2014 rules expose 'huge safety risk' - Stewart
  • Software issued hampered Vettel
  • Bottas and Gutierrez handed grid penalties
  • Vettel sees bright side to unlucky 13 More ...
Australia GP: Rosberg tops final practice  
A happy Nico Rosberg
The Mercedes cars continue to dominate in Melbourne.  Nico Rosberg topped the times in the final practice for the Australian GP.  Jenson Button in the McLaren Mercedes was 2nd 1.4 seconds back.

So fast are the Mercedes that with 10 min to go in the session Rosberg got out of his car and dared anyone to beat him.  No one came close.

Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari ahead of Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. More ...
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