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DATE News (chronologically)
03/21/08
nascar

Hazel Parsons dies
Hazel Parsons, mother of Phil and the late Benny Parsons, passed away today at Carolinas Medical Center. She died one day short of her 85th birthday.

Comment
03/21/08
f1

Dennis to attend Malaysia GP after all
Ron Dennis
(GMM)  Ron Dennis will attend the Malaysian grand prix this weekend, despite briefing reporters a week ago in Australia that he had to return home to England.

It is understood that the McLaren team boss did indeed fly back to Europe to attend to unspecified personal issues following last Sunday's Melbourne race.

He is now en route to Kuala-Lumpur and will be on the pitwall on Sunday, a team spokeswoman confirmed.

Dennis, 60, might even be at the circuit in time for Saturday qualifying, a source said.

Meanwhile, after missing the 2008 season opener last week, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone arrived at the Sepang circuit on Friday.

Comment
03/21/08
f1

Coulthard wants to return to RBR cockpit
David Coulthard
(GMM)  David Coulthard said he is happy to return to the cockpit of his Red Bull, despite the FIA's concern that the RB4 could be a 'dangerous construction'.

The Scot's front suspension shattered over a curb in Friday practice in Malaysia, forcing him to sit out the afternoon session and rousing race stewards' concerns about the integrity of the Adrian Newey-penned car.

"I am not worried about my safety," said Coulthard, as officials compiled a technical report that the team hopes will allow them to carry on at Sepang.

"Mechanical failures are part and parcel of grand prix racing unfortunately," the 36-year-old added.

Coulthard, and team boss Christian Horner, are adamant that the failure was a one-off.

"One jumbo falls out of the sky you don't ground them," Coulthard continued.

"I am glad it happened here rather than Spa through Eau Rouge otherwise you would be picking bits of me out of the grandstand right now.  F1 is a dangerous sport."

Comment
03/21/08
f1

Coping with the Malaysian heat
Lewis Hamilton practiced Friday for the Malaysian Grand Prix by using Bridgestone’s medium compound Potenza tire and set the day’s fastest lap time at a hot and humid 5.54 km Sepang circuit for the second round of the championship.

Lewis Hamilton set a time of 1:35.055s making him the fastest man by over a tenth of a second from Felipe Massa (Ferrari). The day’s fastest time came in the second of the two 90 minute practice sessions held today.

The morning practice session saw Massa go quickest, using the hard compound to set a time of 1:35.396s, over a second faster than his Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, who was second fastest.

Both Bridgestone’s hard and medium compounds were put through their paces on the track located 50km south of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The new track surface meant the teams were challenged for setup, whilst drivers had to control their cars without traction control or controlled engine braking, meaning many off track moments during today’s running. 

Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Tire Development
“We have seen hot weather here in Malaysia but both our hard and medium compound Potenza tires have performed well. The new track surface is different from the one we had before, and we have seen a number of drivers sliding as they discover the new grip levels."

"Our tires reacted better than predicted with the new track surface. Both compounds worked well with some drivers setting their fastest times today on the medium and some setting their fastest time on the hard which will make things interesting for the weekend. We will now check the wear rates of the compounds and give this data to the teams for them to decide their strategies for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Comment
03/21/08
nassprint

Cup teams test at New Smyrna
Mike Skinner was at New Smyrna Speedway [FL] on Wednesday testing at the half-mile oval in the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota, a car normally occupied by AJ Allmendinger. Skinner has been given the wheel for a short span of Sprint Cup races in an attempt to get the second-year race team a bit more competitive. That's it. "I'm a consultant," he said after dozens of test laps at NSS. "I'm trying to bring all my years of experience to help them find a balance in the car. I don't want AJ's job. Allmendinger was in attendance, dressed in street clothes, watching the telemetry screens, monitoring the chatter between Skinner and the crew. Skinner was running this show on pit road. "They're getting a lot of test data," said Skinner, who calls Daytona Beach home. "We're trying to give them a thicker notebook, a bigger playbook." The #84 car was joined at the session by the Red Bull test team, with Tim Fedewa behind the wheel, and the #43 Petty Enterprises Inc. Dodge, jockeyed by Bobby Labonte. Daytona Beach News Journal

Comment
03/21/08
gp2

GP2 Pole  for Romain Grosjean
The ART Grand Prix driver snatched his second pole of the season in Sepang today. iSport International Karun Chandhok will start next to him tomorrow on the grid of Race 1.

The leader of the 2008 GP2 Asia Series is back on top form this Friday: after he set the pace in this morning’s Free Practice, the RDD driver was once again quickest during qualifying in a 1:44.182. He will fight for a third win. Also back at the top: Karun Chandhok who signed the second fastest lap time of the day at the wheel of his iSport International car in a 1:44.965. As for Adrian Valles and his FMS International car, they were once again very competitive as they complete the Top 3.

Title runner-up Bruno Senna still has a very good chance to fight for the win as he will be starting from the fourth place. Sébastien Buemi and Fairuz Fauzy will place their Trust Team Arden and Super Nova Racing cars on the 4th line in front of TDP Kamui Kobayashi, Davide Valsecchi, Yelmer Buurman and Christian Bakkerud.

Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix): “This is a fantastic result! This pole position was one of my goals of the weekend. The second one is to win tomorrow on this beautiful track. I don’t feel any extra pressure from racing in front of the Formula One paddock: I just keep focused on my objectives. This is still a learning period for me.”

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
nascar

Motorcoach driver fails in second attempt at NASCAR lawsuit
A U.S. District Court Judge has dismissed a second lawsuit that David Scott, a black motorcoach driver who worked for Penske Racing, had filed against NASCAR stemming from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway.

The incident occurred when Scott was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the two motorcoach drivers involved.

Scott had claimed NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. discriminated against him by not granting him a vendor contract he sought and that NASCAR discriminated against him for not following through with an alleged promise to hire him following the incident. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York City.
       
Judge Deborah Batts ruled in January that the statute of limitations had passed for all of the allegations except for the vendor-contract situation. The judge had ordered Scott to re-file the lawsuit to assert a plausible claim and the grounds for it.

The judge then dismissed the remainder of the case Wednesday, ruling that the new complaint did not expand on the original one. More at Scenedaily.com

Comment
03/21/08
alms

Sebring benchmarks for 2008
The momentum for the American Le Mans Series continued to build as reports for attendance, TV ratings and website traffic trickled in following the 56th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida last Saturday.

The first round of the American Le Mans Series season set a new attendance record for the endurance classic. Sebring International Raceway officials announced attendance of more than 170,500 over the four-day event.

In addition, ratings for SPEED’s 11 hours of coverage increased 17 percent to 173,000 households with Tampa-St. Petersburg (.52 rating), Las Vegas (.49 rating) and Seattle-Tacoma (.47 rating) coming in as the highest-rated markets. SPEED also reported outstanding positive viewer response to both its Thursday night Live Sebring Special and the race broadcast itself, the first event ever shown in high definition on the network.

Web traffic, too, increased significantly with more than 407,000 page views, 107,000 visits and 54,000-plus unique visitors for the five-day Sebring event period. 

“I think these increases across most every measurable category, indicate that the American Le Mans Series is clearly adding to the momentum that was established last season,” said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “This is not an isolated occurrence; we are seeing significant growth across the board. I can’t thank our teams, drivers, manufacturers and corporate partners enough for the role they have played to establish us as the world’s premier sports car series. Our 10th anniversary season is off to a great start, and the best is yet to come.”

Comment
03/21/08
ustcc

Rod Rojas Takes Second Place in USTCC Series Opener
Rod Rojas
Rod Rojas, racing in his first United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race at Thunderhill Park Raceway in Willows, California had a rough start to his weekend missing Saturday qualifying due to mechanical gremlins. 

With Rojas's racecar out of commission, he was concerned about his quest in capturing the USTCC Championship.  "I figured my season was over before it even began”, said Rojas, “not scoring points in the first race of the season makes the rest of the season an uphill battle".

Graciously stepping in, Team Cobalt California offered Rojas a seat in their #48 machine, a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbocharged.  "When Tom Lepper, team co-owner of Team Cobalt California, offered me the seat I could hardly believe my ears, and jumped at the chance to drive the General Motors supported car." said Rojas. 

Having no practice time in the Cobalt SS, Rojas felt lucky to have secured 5th starting position in the March 9, 2008 Sunday qualifying session on Thunderhill’s 3 mile road course. 

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
nassprint

Jeff Gordon in Men's Vogue
In the April issue of Men's Vogue, Jeff Gordon talks about abandoning Dixie Land for Manhattan (he says, "I love the sport and I love the people in it, but I see them enough. I don’t need to see them during the week.  Unless I’m in Times Square, it’s very seldom I get recognized [in New York].")  About his refined taste in clothes he says he is a “Prada shoe guy.” And he wonders how racing can remain relevant in the face of global warming. “Absolutely,” Gordon says of driving a hybrid race car.  “I think we all want to be green, we all want to do things that are good for the environment, and racing isn’t necessarily what’s good for the environment.  So of course we should move forward with the rest of the world.”  More can be found at www.mensvogue.com.

Comment
03/21/08
irl
cc

Teams Logged More Than 1,000 Miles at Sebring
Six drivers representing three of the teams that are transitioning to the IndyCar Series following the unification of open wheel racing logged more than 1,000 miles in a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway March 19-20.

The test marked the first opportunity for the drivers and teams to test their Honda-powered Dallaras acquired less than three weeks ago on the racetrack.

KV Racing Technology drivers Oriol Servia and Will Power, who combined to turn 304 laps, sat atop the time sheet. Servia’s fastest lap of 52.7035 seconds, 114.072 mph was less than three-tenths of a second slower than the fastest lap set two weeks ago when the veteran IndyCar Series teams tested on the 11-turn, 1.7-mile course.

“I’m really proud of the team to arrive with the level of preparation that we did with the amount of time that we had to do so,” said Jimmy Vasser, co-owner of KV Racing Technology. “We pretty much ran error-free for two days and that was our goal. We ended up running reasonably quick I think for the conditions. The track was very rubbered in, so comparatively it’s tough to tell. We’re pretty happy to put that many miles under our belt and get started with this car.”

Adapting to a slightly different race car proved to be an easy undertaking for the drivers, both veterans and rookies alike.

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
f1

STR not worried about riding troubled Bull
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger on Friday said he is not anxious about shortly taking delivery of the very car that has put Red Bull Racing's season under a cloud in Malaysia.

Following a spate of suspension failures in Australia and now Sepang, where on Friday the front of David Coulthard's RB4 fell to pieces after a minor off in morning practice, stewards have warned the Austrian team to explain why they should not be excluded from the race weekend.

Toro Rosso, Red Bull's junior team that is now partially for sale, is scheduled to begin using the basis of the RB4 - to be rebranded STR3 for the Ferrari engine mounting - in a few races' time.

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
f1

Malaysian GP - Friday - Press Conference

TEAM PRINCIPALS: Gerhard BERGER (Toro Rosso), Mario THEISSEN (BMW Sauber), Martin WHITMARSH (McLaren Mercedes)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Gerhard, last weekend you must have been very encouraged by that performance, Sebastian Vettel's qualifying and Sebastien Bourdais' performance during the race itself.

Gerhard BERGER: Everything was fine. It was a good performance by the team but unfortunately we still had a couple of technical problems. When you start with the old car, obviously, that is exactly what you want to avoid. But you can see the team is still small, it is still at the beginning and mistakes are still happening. We had a failure on the drive-shaft and that is why we stopped two laps before the end. Obviously that is hurting a lot and that's some points that we lost. But nevertheless, if someone had told me before we went to Australia that you are going to have one car in the first 10 and one car in the points I would have been very happy.

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03/21/08
f1

Malaysian GP - Friday - Team Quotes


Ferrari

Felipe Massa (2nd, 1:35.206): "I am very happy with these two sessions. The car proved to be very quick and consistent on both types of tire. It's a shame I was unable to get the most out of the second set of soft tires, when I found myself behind Hamilton who was going slowly. We are working in the right direction for qualifying and the race."

Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:35.428): "This morning I lost time because of a communication problem within the team, but we made up for it in the second session. The car seems to be going well and I am pleased with the work we have done. I worked mainly on the harder tires, but I think that even with the softs, from what we have seen, we can be competitive. It is always difficult to say where we are compared to our rivals, but I think we can face the rest of the weekend with confidence."

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "The start of this weekend is reasonably positive. Kimi and Felipe reckoned they were happy with the way the cars went, both over a single lap and on a longer run, with both types of tire. From what we have seen and considering all the usual Friday unknown quantities, I think we will be competitive in qualifying and in the race."

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
f1

Vettel satisfied with stellar showing
Sebastian Vettel admitted his outstanding Friday practice performance in Malaysia that saw him spend much of the second practice session in the company of Ferraris and McLarens at the top of the timing charts – despite driving for the lowly Toro Rosso team in a modified version of last year’s Red Bull car.

“Lap times don’t always tell the full story, but I think we can be happy with the afternoon, when we did quite a lot of laps,” Vettel said. “Unfortunately, this morning we had a brake problem, but in the end it did not cost us too much time and we were able to continue with our program in the afternoon.

“We spent most of the time fine-tuning the car and finding the right balance, sorting out tire choice. It has been a good day and we have got plenty of data to study for tomorrow."

Read more & Comment...
03/21/08
cc

Walker selling his Panoz Champ Cars
Up for sale are Team Australia's two Panoz DP01 chassis. Only a year old, these cars will soon be extinct, and are the last remains of the Champ Car World Series. Whether you are a race car enthusiast or not, these will be collectors items for years to come.

They are in excellent condition and very well maintained and, again, only one year old.

· 2007 Panoz Champ Car DP01 chassis 005

Driven by Australian Will Power, this car made history as Power drove it to two victories (Las Vegas and Toronto-making him the first Australian to ever win a Champ Car event), 5 pole positions (Las Vegas, Houston, Edmonton, Surfer's Paradise and Mexico City), three podiums (Long Beach, Mont Tremblant, and Mexico City), and 9 front-row starts.

· 2007 Panoz Champ Car DP01 chassis 020

This speed machine was driven by 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Champion, Simon Pagenaud, who had the fourth highest qualifying averages, surpassing all of the rookies, and completed the most race laps in the 2007 season.

*Many spares are also included with the cars.

Contact – Gary Dausch, Marketing (gdausch@walkerracing.com)

Comment
03/21/08
irl

IRL has all the stars?
The IndyCar Series has added a new tag line to its slogan. It now reads: "I am Indy. One series. All the stars."  We wonder if NASCAR and F1 would have something to say about that?

Comment
03/21/08
irl

NHLR team to get some Sebring track time
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing didn't have its cars ready for this week's road course test at Sebring International Raceway due to a lack of parts, but the IRL has offered to find them some track time at Sebring during the scheduled Firestone Indy Lights open test on March 31 and April 1.  The IRL has changed the name of its Indy Pro Series to Firestone Indy Lights, a name CART used to use when it ran both the Atlantic and Indy Lights feeder series.

Comment
03/21/08
f1

Malaysia GP: Practice 2 Results - Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton snatched the fastest time of the Friday afternoon session in Kuala Lumpur, with a lap that was two-tenths faster than the best time that Ferrari's Felipe Massa could manage. The Brazilian was two-tenths faster than Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Jenson Button was fourth quickest in his Honda and Sebastian Vettel was a sensational 5th in his lowly Toro Rosso.

Sixth quickest was Jarno Trulli's Toyota, followed by Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren, Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber, Giancarlo Fisichella's Force India and Kazuki Nakajima's Williams.

POS DRIVER COUNTRY TEAM TIME
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.055
2. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:35.206
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:35.428
4. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:36.037
5. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.474
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:36.493
7. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.512
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:36.671
9. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 1:36.756
10. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:36.838
11. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:36.879
12. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:36.908
13. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:37.106
14. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:37.328
15. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:37.331
16. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:37.346
17. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:37.512
18. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 1:37.614
19. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:39.021
20. Anthony Davidson Super Super Aguri-Honda 1:39.361
21. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari No Time
22. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault No Time


Comment
03/21/08
f1

Malaysia GP: Practice 1 Results - Massa
Felipe Massa
Ferrari started the practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix  on top Friday morning session at Sepang with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen 1-2 in their Ferraris. Felipe Massa was fastest with a best lap of 1m35.392s, more than a second ahead of Raikkonen's best. Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren was third, just ahead of Nico Rosberg's Williams and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, while the two Renaults were a further four-tenths behind with Fernando Alonso just faster than Nelson Piquet.

Robert Kubica was eighth fastest, ahead of Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli.

It was a session with much drama as David Coulthard's Red Bull broke its suspension over a curb and Mark Webber's similar car caught fire. There were a number of spins and offs - Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastian Vettel and Nick Heidfeld. Adrian Sutil also stopped on the circuit in his Force India.

POS DRIVER COUNTRY TEAM TIME
1. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:35.392
2. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:36.459
3. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.556
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:36.578
5. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.626
6. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:37.022
7. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:37.034
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:37.218
9. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:37.282
10. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:37.540
11. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:37.649
12. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:37.649
13. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:37.776
14. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:37.782
15. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.219
16. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:38.232
17. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:38.707
18. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.798
19. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 1:39.046
20. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:40.178
21. Anthony Davidson Super Super Aguri-Honda 1:40.351
22. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 1:41.269


Comment
03/21/08
speedcar

Alesi takes pole in Malaysia
Jean Alesi timed the fastest lap at Speedcar Series' qualifying today, putting him on pole position when the first race of the weekend is flagged off.

Alesi clocked a best time of 2:11.342 followed closely by Briton Johnny Herbert, with a 1.39 second gap, leading by 0.01 second over Austrian Mathias Lauda.

The 45 minute qualifying session determined the starting grid for the first race of the weekend tomorrow morning. The top 8 finishers of the first race will be placed in reverse order on the grid for the second race on Friday.

Alesi currently leads the pack with the 18 points scored thus far in the inaugural season. Hot on his heels is German driver Uwe Alzen with 14 points and Mathias Lauda follows in third spot with 12 points.

Pos

Driver Team Time
1. J. Alesi Speedcar Team 2:11.342
2. J. Herbert Speedcar Team 2:12.732
3. M. Lauda G.P.C. Team 2:12.742
4. D. Terrien UP Team 2:13.414
5. U. Alzen Phoenix Racing 2:14.014
6. A. Mikola Speedcar Team 2:14.165
7. H. AL Maktoum UP Team 2:14.479
8. U. Katayama Speedcar Team 2:14.597
9. G. Morbidelli Speedcar Team 2:14.602
10. S. Johansson Speedcar Team 2:14.670
11. N. Navarro First Centreville 2:14.673
12. F. Giroix First Centreville 2:15.213
13. M. Lee Speedcar Team 2:16.508
14. C. Danner Phoenix Racing 2:17.072
15. A. Yoong Speedcar Team 2:17.436
16. J. Lehto Speedcar Team 2:17.740

Comment
03/21/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ferrari's problems continue in Malaysia
  • Todt exit opens Ferrari doors for Alonso
  • Hamilton - no plans to sack father-manager
  • Hamilton - still no plans to join GPDA
  • Symonds warns Ferrari of Latin crisis
  • Webber worried about RB4's suspension
  • Haug hints Heikki not first choice for 2008
  • RBR chiefs meet stewards over DC crash

Ferrari's problems continue in Malaysia
(GMM)  Despite topping the morning time sheets, Ferrari's Melbourne problems seemed to carry over into Malaysia, as free practice kicked off at the Sepang circuit.

Force India driver Adrian Sutil's Maranello built V8 engine appeared to fail, and reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen had to park his red car in a run-off area after losing drive.

It is understood that the Finn's problem is not an engine failure.

His teammate Felipe Massa told reporters in Malaysia that Ferrari's engine failures in Melbourne had been traced to broken valves.

"Speaking to the engineers it looks like we are very confident that we have solved the problem," the Brazilian said.

Meanwhile, David Coulthard had a big accident in opening Friday practice, ripping both front wheels off his Red Bull after running wide at the high speed chicane.

The crash brought out the red flags.

Red Bull's reliability woes also continued, with Mark Webber abandoning his RB4 after an apparent fiery Renault engine failure.

Toro Rosso ace Sebastian Vettel seemed to suffer a repeat of Webber's Albert Park problem, when the front right corner heaved black dust under braking before pitching him into the gravel.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, fifth quickest, did not return to the track after his McLaren coasted at low speed into the pits.

Todt exit opens Ferrari doors for Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso in Malaysia refused to rule out switching to Ferrari in 2009.

The Spaniard, however, would not be drawn on speculation that the departure at the helm of the famous team of Jean Todt - who has traditionally been opposed to negotiating with Alonso - means that Ferrari's doors are now wide open to him.

Asked about the Todt rumors and what they mean, the 26-year-old replied: "Nothing, nothing.

"We are at the second race of 2008 and it is too early to start talking about next year.  We must all be calm and see later," Alonso added.

Alonso has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave Renault at the end of this season if the French team does not meet certain performance targets.

He told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS at Sepang that he is not angry about the current lack of pace of his R28.

"I am in a good mood," said Alonso, accepting that 2008 is going to be difficult throughout.

"This is not a sport in which you can change one or two things and then everything goes well.

"To find a second (per lap) in formula one is something that sometimes takes years," he added.

Read more & Comment...
03/20/08
speedcar

Lehto and Lee join Speedcar Series in Malaysia
On the eve of Speedcar Series featuring as the support race at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, JJ Lehto and Marchy Lee are the Series' latest additions taking the wheel of the 620 bhp monster stockcars.

Finnish driver JJ Lehto raced in Formula 1 from 1989 to 1994, participating in 70 GPs. He started his racing career driving in Formula Ford at the age of 14 before he switched to single seaters that saw him win the British Formula 3 title. In 1989 JJ tested for Ferrari and made his Formula One debut racing for the Onyx team. A few years later he was signed by Benetton to partner Michael Schumacher in 1994. More recently he has featured in the German touring car championship, DTM and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Marchy Lee, a Chinese driver born in Hong Kong, enrolled in the inaugural China Formula Campus Championship and won, earning him a scholarship at the prestigious La Filière racing school in Le Mans, France. In 2004 he joined Team Meritus to race in the Formula BMW Asia Series. Lee swept the season, winning a record 12 races out of 14 making him the first Chinese formula racing champion in an international series.

Read more & Comment...
03/20/08
irl

Conquest Racing Wraps Up Testing in Sebring
SEBRING, Fla. Conquest Racing completed a satisfying first IndyCar® Series test today at Sebring International Raceway. The team’s second and final day of testing on the 1.66 mile road course was a more productive one than yesterday with both drivers posting competitive lap times. Unluckily for the team, track time was once again cut short, this time on account of morning showers.

Once the track went green, the Conquest Racing pair of Enrique Bernoldi and Franck Perera jumped into their Dallara/Honda/Firestone cars and combined to put in a total of 138 laps in what was cut down to a five hour session. Bernoldi, who was making his first appearance aboard his #36 Opes Prime Conquest machine, was the faster of the two with a lap of 53.2843 seconds (112.829 mph).

The Brazilian commented on his first IndyCar Series test: “It went well. It was good to get a feel for the car and the team and to get to work with my engineer Brandon (Fry). We lost a lot of time yesterday but we still did a good job overall. The guys did excellent work to get us here and we didn’t have any problems. There is still room for improvement but this was a good first test. The Dallara is fun to drive, it doesn’t have as much power as what I am used to but I enjoyed it. Now I look forward to driving on the oval with this car next week in Homestead, should be fun!”

Read more & Comment...
03/20/08
nassprint

Tums Top 10 from Bristol
The fifth stop of the 2008 season at Bristol Motor Speedway once again had the stars of the Sprint Cup Series experiencing indigestion-inducing incidents.  From drivers on the edge of the top 35 in owner points to late-race engine troubles, a fair share of big-name drivers proved to have several TUMS moments.  Each weekend, PRN lead anchor, Doug Rice, picks the Top-10 TUMS Moments from last weekend’s racing activities.

This week’s Top-10 TUMS honors go to:

10. For the second week in a row, the Nationwide race is a victim to weather.  The die-hard fans wait out a two-hour rain delay to watch 171 laps of action.  At least the race was entertaining.
9.  Jimmie Johnson fails to regain his championship form.  He runs in the top five for most of the race, but finishes 18th.  His average finish this year is a meager 17.8.
8.  Jamie McMurray has another rough day.  His Crown Royal Ford finishes last.
7.  After winning the Daytona 500, the magic seems to have deserted Ryan Newman. He is involved in a crash early and struggles to 33rd.
6.  Mike Skinners’ day literally goes up in blaze as his Red Bull Toyota is engulfed in flames.  Luckily, Mike is uninjured. 
5.  Dale Jarrett makes his last start in a point race and finishes an inglorious 37th. Thanks Dale for being such a great ambassador to the sport.
4.  Jeff Green, John Andretti and Patrick Carpentier don’t have a chance to make the show when qualifying is rained out.  I’m sure they could all use some Tums.
3.  Kyle Petty manages to finish 28th at Bristol, but has now fallen to 40th in car owner points.  He will now have to qualify on speed.
2.  Denny Hamlin’s car sputters on the green-white-checkered restart.  His chance at victory quickly evaporates.
1.  Tony Stewart dominates the race, but is crashed out by Kevin Harvick with only two laps to go.  Not sure if Tums makes anything for heartbreaking defeat.

Comment
03/20/08
atlantic

Mathiasen Motorsports to test Jonathan Bomarito
Mathiasen Motorsports is pleased to announce they will be testing Jonathan Bomarito in their #26 Swift 016 at the final pre-season test session scheduled for March 25-26 at MSR Houston.  The announcement has both the crew, from their new shop in Brownsburg, Indiana and owners Ray and Leslie Mathiasen , from their office in Encino, CA excited about this opportunity.  “We feel very fortunate that we will have had the opportunity to test two top caliber drivers like Jonathan Bomarito and Alan Scuito during the pre-season testing sessions this winter. Our entire team is extremely motivated as we position ourselves as serious contenders for the 2008 Atlantic Championship”, said team owners Ray and Leslie Mathiasen.

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03/20/08
irl

KV Racing Technology passing Sebring test with flying colors
Fourteen days and  5460 man hours of work after their first IndyCar Series chassis arrived at the KV Racing Technology shop, KVRT passed its first IndyCar test with flying colors.


Oriol Servia
Shawn Payne/IRL
The team completed its first IndyCar Series test, March 19-20, at Sebring International Speedway in Sebring, Florida holding down the top-two spots on the speed charts.  Oriol Servia, spotting a new number, KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone, was fastest after the two-days of testing on the 1.66-mile Sebring “short course” with a quick lap of 52.703 seconds (114.072 mph), while teammate Will Power, KV Racing Technology #8 Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone, posted the second fastest time turning a fast lap of 52.945 seconds (113.552 mph)

The test was a success for KVRT on two fronts.  In addition to topping the speed charts the team also logged the most laps of the three teams participating in the test turning a combined total of 304 circuits.  Servia, topped the list which, in addition to Power, included former Champ Car driver Bruno Junqueira, Atlantic Championship runner-up Franck Perera and two newcomers, with 174 laps.  Power, who posted the fastest time on the first day of testing, 52.968 seconds (113.501 mph), ran the second most with 130.

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03/20/08
ips

Guthrie Racing signs Wieringa for season opener
Indy Pro Series veteran Tom Wieringa has signed a one-race deal with Guthrie Racing for the season-opening Homestead-Miami 100 on March 29.

“I feel like part of the family again with Guthrie Racing,” Wieringa said. “They’re the best people I’ve ever been in contact with, and I’ve been on a lot of teams over the years. They’ve all known each other for 20-plus years and are good, honest, hard-working guys. I can’t wait to get on the track again because we have a great setup for Homestead.”

Wieringa made 12 starts for Guthrie Racing in 2007 with a best finish of 12th at Homestead. He hopes to put together a program with the team to run the remaining oval events.

“It’s great to have Tom back," team owner Jim Guthrie said. "He brings a unique perspective to the team and his fun-seeking spirit is contagious, but he is quite a competitor with a desire to win. Tom showed moments of brilliance last year running in the top 10 in many of the test sessions, and I’m looking forward to putting him in the top five this year.”

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03/20/08
irl

Transition teams complete second day at Sebring
Drivers Meeting with Brian Barnhart
Shawn Payne/IRL
Oriol Servia paced the final day of testing at Sebring International Raceway for teams and drivers transitioning to the IndyCar Series.

Six drivers completed 354 laps on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn circuit. The start of the day was delayed until noon after strong rains came through the area just before the scheduled start time of 9 a.m. The session also was interrupted for approximately 30 minutes in the afternoon when the No. 18 car driven by Bruno Junqueira made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 5. Junqueira was not injured.

Servia’s fastest lap was 52.7035 seconds, 114.072 mph, besting his KV Racing Technology teammate Will Power by 0.2416 of a second. Servia completed 174 laps over the course of two days – most of any of the drivers.

“Honestly, I don’t think we should give that much importance to the lap times themselves just because there was just 12 hours of a thousand cars running here, so there’s a lot of rubber,” Servia said. “I am happy with the balance of the car. Yesterday, we tried some things and I didn’t really like the car. But, today we tried some other things that really suit me and I like the car. We ended up fast. I’m very happy that both cars ran trouble-free over the two days. That’s a big accomplishment.”

The drivers and teams head to Homestead-Miami Speedway for testing under the lights on March 24-25. They will be joined on the oval by transitioning teams HVM Racing, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and Roth Racing drivers Marty Roth and Jay Howard, who did not participate in the Open Test in February.

Combined Results

Rank

Car Driver Name Session Time Speed Total Laps
1 5 Servia, Oriol Practice 2 52.7035 114.072 174
2 8 Power, Will Practice 2 52.9451 113.552 130
3 18 Junqueira, Bruno Practice 1 53.2339 112.936 77
4 36 Bernoldi, Enrique Practice 2 53.2843 112.829 76
5 34 Perera, Franck Practice 2 53.3159 112.762 89
6 19 Moraes, Mario Practice 2 53.9831 111.368 84

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03/20/08
irl

Twenty-six cars entered for IndyCar Series season opener
Twenty-six cars are entered for the IndyCar Series 2008 season opener, the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300, at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 29, marking the first time since 2001 that the season will start with that many cars on track and the first time since 2003 that a race other than the Indianapolis 500 has featured that many starters.

The increase in car count is a result of the IndyCar Series TEAM program that was introduced last October as well as the recent unification of open wheel racing. The TEAM announcement generated a two-car program by Roth Racing. Five former Champ Car teams have entered nine cars for the season.

The IndyCar Series opened the 2001 season at Phoenix International Raceway with 27 starters. That same season CART opened the year in Mexico with 28 starters – the last time that series began a season with at least 24 starters.

The initial entry list does not list any rookies. Eligibility for the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year award will be determined following a test on the oval at Homestead-Miami March 24-25 by the drivers transitioning to the IndyCar Series.

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03/20/08
irl

Power and Servia on top at mid-day in Sebring
KV Technology Racing drivers Will Power and Oriol Servia remain atop the speed charts at mid-day of Day 2 of testing for the three (of 4) ex-Champ Car teams who will be making he transition to the IRL in 2008.

Pos

Driver (No.) Behind Leader Best Time Best Speed
1 Will Power (8) ... 53.000 113.434
2 Oriol Servia (5) 0.0361 53.0361 113.357
3 Bruno Junqueira (18) 0.6552 53.6552 112.049
4 Mario Moraes (19) 1.0286 54.0286 111.274
5 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 1.1497 54.1497 111.026
6 Franck Perera (34) 1.3861 54.3861 110.543

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03/20/08
swc

Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Adds SPEED World Challenge
The on-track action at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be even more diversified and intense with today’s announcement that the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship has been added to the lineup at the August 29-31, 2008 Labor Day weekend celebration.

Joining a power-packed schedule that also features the exotic sports cars of the American Le Mans Series and the high-speed open-wheel machines of the newly-unified IndyCar Series, the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship will add to the excitement and competition on the two-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit.

Featuring such top production-based cars as the Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang Cobra and Porsche 911 GT3, SCCA SPEED GT includes coupes and sedans ranging in horsepower from 425-550 hp. A field between 22-25 cars is expected to race wheel-to-wheel in the added event at the picturesque Belle Isle circuit along the Detroit River on Labor Day weekend.

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03/20/08
nassprint

Lowe's Motor Speedway and UPS to Honor Dale Jarrett
Dale Jarrett will finally "race" the truck and Lowe's Motor Speedway is offering a special two-day ticket package for just $44 so fans can be on hand Saturday night, May 17, when Jarrett's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered Tour" culminates at the Sprint All-Star Race. Those are just two of several events and promotions that officials from UPS and Lowe's Motor Speedway announced Wednesday in preparation for the 1999 Sprint Cup champion's final career start. Jarrett unveiled the #44 UPS Toyota Camry he will drive in the Sprint All-Star Race which features a special paint scheme that pays tribute to several of the North Carolina native's career accomplishments. The unveiling marked the first time Jarrett viewed the metallic-gold design which unites the past with the present. The car displays design elements from both Jarrett's current #44 UPS Camry as well as the #88 Quality Care entry that he drove during the 1999 championship season.

But, before Jarrett straps into the #44 UPS Toyota Camry for the final time, he'll do something fans have eagerly anticipated, he's going to "race" the truck. After Jarrett is introduced prior to the Sprint All-Star Race, he will step into the UPS Race Truck from the UPS ad campaign and take one lucky fan for a ride around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In honor of Jarrett and in appreciation of the fans who have supported him, Lowe's Motor Speedway officials have created "DJ's Deal," a special Friday-Saturday (May 16-17) All-Star Weekend ticket package for only $44. The "DJ's Deal" package and tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600, can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. LMS PR

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03/20/08
nassprint

Yates still looking for sponsor
Max Jones, co-owner of Yates Racing, with drivers David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil, provides an update regarding the search for sponsorship and how he believes the season has started, during a Monday morning one-on-one interview with Ford Racing.

Jones has watched his teams get off to a solid start in 2008. Kvapil posted the organization’s first top-10 finish in only his third race with an eighth-place run at Las Vegas while Gilliland registered a ninth-place effort last weekend at Bristol.

MAX JONES, CO-OWNER – NO’S. 28 AND 38 YATES RACING FORD FUSIONS
BOTH DAVID AND TRAVIS HAVE TOP-10 FINISHES THROUGH THE FIRST FIVE RACES, SO HOW DO YOU FEEL THINGS HAVE GONE AT THE START OF THIS YEAR?
“I think they’ve gone really well. To have two top-10s in the first five races, that’s a tribute to all the guys and the effort they’ve put into an organization that’s only been around for four months. There were other opportunities and things that happened to us that would have ended with top-10s, so I think we run strong every weekend. So to come out of the gate strong like that is really good.”

DAVID MENTIONED THAT FREECREDITREPORT.COM ONLY HAD A RACE OR TWO LEFT AND THE SEARCH FOR SPONSORSHIP CONTINUES. HOW DO THINGS LOOK DOWN THE ROAD?
“We’re still searching like we did when we decided to do this on December 1. It’s not something you can just pick up the phone and call somebody, but there’s a lot of excitement around it and us running well has helped that. We’re moving up in the points and I think there’s a great opportunity for a company out there to showcase their products with a car that’s running up in the front every weekend.”

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03/20/08
irl

Tracy on sidelines as IRL season begins
It appears almost certain that Paul Tracy will not be on the starting grid when the IndyCar season kicks off next weekend in Miami.

The Toronto racer has yet to resolve his contractual situation with Gerald Forsythe, who previously announced he would not be fielding a car in the IRL. Tracy still has four years left on a five year deal he signed with Forsythe last season which calls for the Chicago businessman to field a car for him.

However, it looks like the only race Tracy will get a chance to compete in is the Champ Car swansong being staged a Long Beach next month.

Tracy says he approached a potential sponsor on behalf of Forsythe in the hopes of getting him back on track in 2008.

"I sent them the details of the proposal, but I didn't get a response for three weeks," Tracy tells the Toronto Star. "Finally I phoned Neil (Micklewright) and he told me Gerry wasn't interested."

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03/20/08
f1

Malaysia GP: Thursday Press Conference

Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Kazuki Nakajima, Felipe Massa and David Coulthard attended the opening press conference for the Malaysian GP weekend.

Q: Sebastian, you have been here before, haven't you, you did Friday last year.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, last year I was able to do the first free practice. I did around 39 laps - I just looked it up. After that I was banned! And I gave all the time on Friday morning to my teammates.

Q: So your thoughts about the race?
SV: Well, in the last race I only did about 500 meters maybe, so this time I definitely want to do more. I think we had a very strong performance last weekend in Melbourne, especially in qualifying. To be honest we didn't expect that, and hopefully we can keep up the performance and do similarly here.

Q: Is the atmosphere in the team a little bit different after Sébastien's result last weekend?
SV: No. In the end we were very lucky. It was a very strange race I think, and we were able to take two points still, for the team. I think he did a very good job. First of all the strategy was perfect to bring him in, and then he was fuelled to finish, and I think he would have been able to score five points, so bring back fourth position, but then we had a technical problem with his car. Of course, everybody was angry - two laps to the end and then the car breaks down, but anyway, we were lucky to get two points.

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03/20/08
f1

Berger wants to stay at post-Mateschitz team
Gerhard Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger on Thursday said he is hoping to keep his formula one team running after Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz sells the other 50 per cent share of Toro Rosso in 2009.

Speaking to the international press at Sepang, the Austrian said he was "very unhappy" that his great friend and countryman Mateschitz has decided to focus Red Bull's energy on the senior outfit in the future.

"But if Didi does not want to keep going, then obviously I have to see what are the possibilities that I can go on with the team," Berger said.

The former ten time GP winner said he will try to keep the Ferrari powered team going with a new partner, but denied suggestions that father and son Jean and Nicolas Todt could be behind a possible buyout.

Nicolas Todt is already linked with Toro Rosso through his management of Sebastien Bourdais, and his father this week stepped down as CEO of the Ferrari marque.

"No.  There never has been any discussion with them," Berger said, also ruling out buying out the remainder of the team from Mateschitz himself because he does not have the money.

"I don't think it is that he doesn't like the team, or anything like that," Berger said of the Austrian billionaire.

"It is just that if you have to build up two factories, two of everything, it is a big commitment."

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03/20/08
nnw

Said to own car dealership
Boris Said is teaming up with one of the country's largest automotive retail operations to bring Boris Said's BMW of Murrieta to the Temecula Valley, Calif in 2009. A joint venture between Said and Charlotte, N.C.-based Hendrick Automotive Group, the more than 50,000-square-foot facility will open off of Interstate 15 at the future French Valley Parkway exit in the fall of 2009. Hendrick Automotive Group will co-own and operate the dealership.

Occupying more than eight acres of property at the Murrieta Auto Mall, Boris Said's BMW of Murrieta will provide sales and service to what has been an under-represented region for the automaker. Construction will begin in the fall of this year. Hendrick Automotive Group currently owns and operates five BMW Centers in three different states that have achieved the manufacturer's Pinnacle CSI (customer satisfaction index) award 12 times since 2002. The honor is earned annually by the top 8 percent of BMW retailers in the United States. Hendrick Automotive Group PR

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03/20/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Regarding the new F1 TV deal in the UK noted below - The five-year deal, thought to be worth more than $400 million, covers TV, radio, broadband and mobile.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone announced the new contract on Thursday.

In a message on the official F1 website he said he was "delighted" to award the BBC the broadcast rights in the UK.

"I wish to thank ITV for their commitment to formula one and the high quality of their coverage," he continued.

"It is an exciting time in formula one and the BBC has some innovative new ideas to consolidate and expand our UK fan base."

03/20/08
  • McLaren to fix speed limiter glitch
  • Wet weather looms for Malaysian GP
  • Nico as good as Lewis - Williams chiefs
  • Massa caused Coulthard crash - Schumacher
  • Schu slams unfair safety car rules
  • Engines not to blame for Ferrari failures
  • Confirmed - Jean Todt to attend Sepang race
  • Honda progress will take years - Brawn
  • Kimi buys $1.5m house in Phuket
  • Brazil signs to keep GP until 2015
  • Willi Weber survives mid-air scare
  • F1 to switch British channels in 2009

McLaren to fix speed limiter glitch
(GMM)  McLaren will look into modifying its pitlane speed limiting system so that drivers do not lose time if they accidentally press the button during grands prix.

In his first race for the British team last Sunday, Heikki Kovalainen let pursuer Fernando Alonso past at Albert Park when he wrongly pressed the steering wheel button while tearing off a helmet visor rip-off.

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene pointed out this week that the Italian team's speed limit system can only be activated when a driver is in a low gear.

"We'll certainly look at changing it for the future," McLaren's engineering director Paddy Lowe is quoted as saying by The Sun.

"It shouldn't be something you can pick up by accident," he added.

Wet weather looms for Malaysian GP
(GMM)  Formula one teams should prepare for a wet Malaysian grand prix this weekend.

The Sepang circuit's press officer Azhar Ghazali said on Thursday that the official weather report for Friday through to Sunday is for dry mornings but afternoon thunderstorms.

Some drivers fear that wet races this year will be even more dangerous than before, now that electronic aids including traction control have been banned.

"It will be fun to watch how the drivers control the cars without traction control," Azhar said.

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03/20/08
automotive

Auto Hall of Fame Announces '08 Inductees at NY Auto Show
Eight individuals representing automotive racing, design, manufacturing, the aftermarket and management have been selected for induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame (AHF). The AHF Inductee class of 2008 includes Paul V. Galvin, Robert W. Galvin, Phil Hill, Bob Irvin, William Metzger, Mort Schwartz, Jack Telnack and John Willys.

The Inductees were announced today at the International Motor Press Association meeting at the New York International Auto Show (IMPA). IMPA is the oldest organization of automotive journalists and public relations professionals in the United States.

Formal induction ceremonies will take place at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

"As we build on a heritage of honoring those who have made substantial contributions to the motor vehicle industry, this year's class of Inductees once again stands out from the crowd," said AHF President Jeffrey K. Leestma.

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03/20/08
a1gp

A1GP Driver Congfu Cheng to Carry Olympic Torch
Congfu Cheng
A1 Team China driver, Congfu Cheng, is about to become part of history as he participates in the Olympic Torch Relay, a tradition that goes back to the year 766 BC, when the first recorded Olympic games were held. In an honor that is afforded to very few athletes, let alone racing drivers, he will be a Torchbearer for the Olympic Flame as it sets out on its path across Greece on Monday (24 March), its final journey before the Games of the XXIX Olympiad - Beijing 2008.

With the driver, who is usually known as 'Franky', coming from Beijing, it is obviously very special for him to be involved in the flame's final journey before it is officially handed over to Beijing:

'It is my great honor and a dream for all sports people to be nominated as one of the Torchbearers and to carry the flame in Greece. Hopefully my appearance in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay will help promote motorsport in China, and encourage more Chinese people to get involved in this exciting sport. I will try my best to bring more honors to my country in A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. I would like to welcome all the people going to my home town for this great event.'

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03/20/08
automotive

Ford falls short of buyout target
Ford Motor Co. appears to have fallen short of its goals in the latest -- and Ford says last -- round of company-wide buyouts for hourly workers, according to people familiar with the situation.

CEO Alan Mulally hinted as much during a speech to Wall Street analysts Wednesday morning, but said there are "other levers" the automaker can pull if necessary to further downsize its North American manufacturing base to match declining demand for its cars and trucks.

"We have a lot of different mechanisms to keep right-sizing the place," Mulally said during a speech at the Morgan Stanley Global Automotive Conference in New York. Although Mulally would not discuss what Ford might do to further reduce its U.S. factory work force, a person familiar with the situation told The Detroit News that the company might offer targeted buyouts at certain facilities or to certain categories of employees. That person stressed that Ford has no interest in another round of nationwide buyouts.

Labor expert Gary Chaison, a professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., said the automaker would have to sweeten the pot for those buyouts to be effective.

"The idea of targeted buyouts makes some sense," he said. "But they can only offer buyouts so many times." Detroit News

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03/20/08
f1

Alonso says up to Hamilton to join GPDA
Fernando Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Thursday opted against adding to the pressure on his former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton to join the F1 drivers' safety union, the GPDA.

Championship leader Hamilton's British compatriot David Coulthard today endorsed the view of Sir Jackie Stewart that Grand Prix Drivers' Association directors Pedro de la Rosa and Mark Webber are right to urge the 23-year-old to join the body.

Of the current F1 drivers, only Hamilton, Anthony Davidson, Adrian Sutil and world champion Kimi Raikkonen are not members.

But at Sepang, Alonso refused to criticize them for not signing up.

"Everyone has their own opinion," the Spaniard said.  "They can make their own decisions."

Alonso pointed out that the GPDA works closely with the FIA to improve the race circuits and the safety of private testing; efforts that benefit the entire grid.

But Alonso insisted: "If someone does not want to join, that's fine -- everyone has to decide for themselves.

"Naturally it would be nice if they did, but I will not say anything negative about them.

"Speaking for myself, I decided to join the GPDA because my life is at risk when I am driving the cars," he added.

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03/20/08
superleague

Rangers go racing with Superleague Formula
Scottish football club Rangers has added reason to celebrate today – fresh from their victory in the CIS Insurance Cup Final against Dundee United on Sunday, the Glasgow-based squad today became the first UK-based club to join Superleague Formula.

The club has won more major trophies than any football club in the world, and now Rangers have their sights set on championship success on the race track.

The club’s blue, white and red colors will adorn the 750 horsepower, V-12 powered Superleague Formula single seater in the new championship which kicks off at Donington Park in the UK in August this year.

Rangers are the sole remaining UK club doing battle in the UEFA Cup competition this season, and now, the club will now fight it out in Superleague Formula with European rivals AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund, RSC Anderlecht, FC Basel, Galatasaray SK and Sevilla, plus Brazilian greats Flamengo and Corinthians.

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03/20/08
f1

England's Team Pulse crowned champions
Team Pulse from Devonport High School for Boys, Plymouth, have been crowned 2008 F1 in Schools World Champions at World Finals in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

John Ware, 16, Samuel Wood, 15, Andrew Lees, 16 and Thomas Simpson, 17 fought off competition from 24 teams from 15 countries to claim the coveted Bernie Ecclestone World Championship Trophy and BEng Automotive and Motor Sport Engineering scholarships at City University London.

After 12 months of intense competition from over 7 million students, Team Pulse battled their way through regional and national finals to reach the World Championships. Here in Kuala Lumpur, the five lads from Plymouth fought of opposition from students of 28 nationalities in three days of intense competition.

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03/20/08
irl

Conquest Racing receives defective parts
“First of all, I want to give credit to the group of guys working on this team who have done an outstanding job to get us here,” said Eric Bachelart, owner of Conquest Racing after Wednesday's testing at Sebring. “Unfortunately, the day was a little short for us because we received some last minute, defective parts that serve to attach the dampers to the car. So we spent time resolving that issue.

“However, once we took to the track, Franck was quickly up to speed in only a few laps. Enrique wasn’t as fortunate and didn’t get as much track time but, now that everything is set, and if the weather holds up, we will be on track when it goes green in the morning for a full day of testing.”

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03/20/08
f1

Williams’ livery on an Airbus!
AirAsia today unveiled the world’s first commercial A320 aircraft with a Formula One team livery.

The aircraft, whose livery is an exact look-alike of the AT&T Williams racing car, was held to coincide with the Malaysian Grand Prix which starts tomorrow and to mark AirAsia’s extended three year partnership with the Williams Formula One team.

AirAsia’s Williams aircraft is a fitting tribute to Williams’ traditional racing colors of blue and white, whilst the ‘nose’ of the aircraft is designed to look like Nico Rosberg’s racing helmet. The aircraft AFW30 was named ‘Sir Frank Williams’ in tribute to Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of Williams.

Fans of the famed drivers came all the way around the region to seize the golden opportunity from the greet and meet session with the drivers. They were joined by Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad, Adam Parr, Williams F1 Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Board of Directors and also the local and regional media.

The session also saw both drivers touring the aircraft as well as setting the fastest lap time on AirAsia’s Williams Formula One simulator which was located at the LCCT concourse area. Fans also had the privilege of getting close to a Formula One car by taking part in a virtual race on AirAsia’s Williams Formula One simulator. The experience and unique chance to sit in the driving seat of a Formula One car provided them a whole new dimension to the game. 

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03/20/08
speedcar

Alex Yoong joins Speedcar Series ahead of Malaysian GP
Malaysia's most successful driver, Alex Yoong will drive for Speedcar Series in front of his home crowd this weekend at the support race to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix

The first ethnic Chinese to reach F1, Alex participated in 16 races in 2001 and 2002 driving a Minardi. Having then dabbled with the Australian V8 Supercar Series and Le Mans 24 Hours, he found his calling as the director and principal driver of A1 Team Malaysia. To date, Alex has won four A1 races.

Alex Yoong will share the track with F1 veterans Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson, Ukyo Katayama and Gianni Morbidelli, at Round 3 of the Speedcar Series inaugural season.

After Malaysia, Speedcar Series will feature next as the support race at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix before returning to home soil for the final round in Dubai on April 11 and 12, 2008.

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