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DATE News (chronologically)
03/22/12
nastruck

Townley placed on probation by NASCAR after DUI arrest
John Wes Townley, NASCAR driver
Former Nationwide Series driver John Wes Townley has been placed on probation by NASCAR following his Feb. 7 arrest for DUI.

Townley, who was scheduled to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year, also was placed in NASCAR’s substance abuse program and will be subject to random alcohol and drug testing.

Townley, 22, was placed on probation through Dec. 31, 2012 for “actions detrimental to stock-car racing” as a result of his arrest by the Oconee County (Ga.) Sheriff’s Office following a crash at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.

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03/22/12
track news

SMI Unveils $4M In Upgrades To Charlotte Motor Speedway
Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials today unveiled $4M in upgrades to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Among the improvements are “The Hub,” a new private infield compound, and Champions Pavilion, a premium, all-inclusive indoor/outdoor ticket package. "The Hub" encompasses individual sites for motor coaches, tents and other mobile units with a private entrance, concierge service, pre-race pit access and 24-hour security.

The cost per 2,500-square-foot space is $7,500 per race weekend and $20,000 for the year. Race tickets are not included. Champions Pavilion is a new 12,000-square-foot building inside Turn 4 overlooking pit road. For the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 27, pavilion tickets are $1,000 a person. The cost covers catering, unlimited beverages including beer and wine, and access to a roof top observation deck to watch the race. Separately, SMI announced that children under age 13 will be admitted free to most events this year at the speedway, including Nationwide Series races. Sprint Cup races are excluded. SportsBusiness Journal

Comment
03/22/12
f1

Sepang weather update: Storms on the horizon
There is no doubt that the Sepang weekend will be soaked by thunderstorms on several occasions. Whether that happens during Formula 1 qualifying for Sunday’s 56-lap race remains to be seen, leaving question marks over strategies…

The F1 fraternity was welcomed by a wet paddock on Thursday, with many being caught out by a sudden shower. Storms are forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, although it is not yet known whether they will affect the track action or simply arrive at their standard late afternoon time. Ambient temperatures will range between 23°C (73°F) at night and daytime highs of 31-32°C (88-90°F).

Since Malaysia welcomed its first F1 event in 1999, the track has played host to a pair of wet races; the first was in 2001, when drops on Lap 1 soon became a torrential downpour which resulted in both leading Ferraris suffering off-track excursions at the same corner. In 2009, a late starting time caught out the organizers, as the race was red-flagged and ended prematurely when the track became saturated.

Comment
03/22/12
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

03/22/12
  • Force India boss Vijay Mallya
    Aerolab ruling to cost Force India millions - report
  • Caterham's midfield bid not dead yet - boss
  • Mercedes could speed ahead in Malaysia
  • Stewart tips Schumacher to race beyond 2012
  • No F-duct yet on dominant McLaren
  • Horner says no to Ferrari switch
  • Malaysia not committed to F1 beyond 2015
  • Ferrari denies Massa axe reports
  • Button, Alesi tip Lotus to shine at Sepang
  • Mercedes has breached teams' agreement - Red Bull New
  • Massa tries to ignore axe rumors New

    Read more & Comment...
03/22/12
f1

Aerolab and 1Malaysia Racing Team cleared by High Court in London
On 21/03/2012, the High Court of Justice in London handed down its judgment concerning Aerolab/FondTech, 1Malaysia Racing Team (Lotus Racing at the time the dispute occurred and now Caterham F1 Team) and Mike Gascoyne in the case brought against them by Force India Formula 1 Limited alleging the misuse of confidential information and related intellectual property rights.

Force India’s allegations of “systematic copying” of their designs and misuse of confidential information for the initial Lotus T127 wind tunnel model in August-September 2009 by Aerolab/FondTech and of a conspiracy to copy between Managing Director, Jean-Claude Migeot, and Chief Technical Officer of the Caterham Group, Mike Gascoyne, were entirely rejected by the Court on the basis of the evidence put before it at trial.

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03/22/12
irl

Firestone St. Pete GP preview
The alternate tire program, part of the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2009, calls for a second tire specification at a road- or street-course race weekend using the same tire construction as the primary specification, but with a softer tread compound to provide more grip and faster lap times while trading off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages. Firestone's alternate tires are easily identified by their bright red sidewalls.

The primary and alternate tire specifications are new for 2012. Both feature updated tread compounds applied to the same Firestone street-course tire construction as used in 2011.  The Firestone rain tire for this weekend is the same rain spec used in the last half of 2011.

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03/22/12
gp2

2012 GP2 Series Round 1 Preview – Sepang
Class of 2012
Click on the pdf link to learn all there is to know about the opening round of the 2012 GP2 Series in Sepang, Malaysia.
Click to
Download 2012Preview-01Sepang.pdf

Comment
03/21/12
nassprint
irl

Just call them the Geritol league
At the rate they are going, their fan base will die of old age before long.  Both NASCAR and IndyCar are being passed over by the young generation as their fan base become graybeards.  From Nielsen, the average age of TV viewers is shown below.  Of all sports, the only one with a higher average age is the PGA at 56.4 in 2011:

Year

NASCAR Daytona 500

IndyCar Indy 500

2011

50.2

55.4

2010

49.7

55.4

2009

48.2

54.4

2008

47.4

51.9

Comment
03/21/12
irl

IndyCar to move forward with Anti-Stall system
After talking about it for quite some time, IndyCar has decided the new Dallara IndyCars will incorporate new anti-stall technology provided by McLaren Electronics and AP Racing, starting with this weekend's season opener in St. Petersburg.

Teams have tested the software, which automatically disengages the clutch to keep the engine running on the racetrack and pit lane, at Sebring and Barber Motorsports Park in the past two weeks. The clutch is on the steering wheel, in conjunction with the paddle shift system, with the new Dallara car. The hope is that the anti-stall technology will reduce the number of caution periods for cars that run off course or spin.

“It's pretty cool," owner-driver Ed Carpenter said. "Anytime you get a new system it takes some time getting used to, but it's great technology and I think it will be good for the racing and more action for the fans.” Racer.com

Comment
03/21/12
f1

Italians call for Massa's head
Massa's days numbered
Felipe Massa's disappointing performance in the Australian Grand Prix has led to some sections of the Italian motoring media to call for him immediate removal from the Ferrari line-up.

The Brazilian endured a tough weekend in Melbourne, qualifying down in 16th place and then being forced to retire from the race late on, following a clash with countryman Bruno Senna while running outside the points. While team-mate Fernando Alonso transformed twelfth on the grid into fifth place at the checkered flag, Massa's malaise echoed Ferrari's pre-season preparations, with the F2012 looking distinctly uncompetitive.

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03/21/12
racing news

Paul Pfanner Reacquires RACER Magazine
Automotive media and marketing veterans Paul Pfanner and Bill Sparks have acquired RACER Magazine and Racer.com from Haymarket Media, Inc. RACER celebrates its 20th Anniversary in April with the release of the May 2012 issue. The purchase returns America's leading general interest motorsport magazine to its founding management team after 11years of majority ownership by Haymarket.

The acquisition also includes the company’s custom publishing arm, which produces SportsCar magazine for the Sports Car Club of America and the Racer Special Projects Division, which creates collateral, advertising materials, publications, websites, custom content and editorial management solutions.

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03/21/12
f1

Single DRS zone for Malaysian Grand Prix
Sepang Circuit
There will be just one DRS zone for this weekend’s second round of the season in Malaysia, with the FIA choosing the start/finish straight as its location.

For Sepang, the detection point will be 207 meters before Turn 15, the final corner of the lap. This will allow for an overtaking advantage on the following start/finish straight, with the activation zone beginning just five meters out of the hairpin.

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03/21/12
f1

Clutch problem hampered Hamilton’s Melbourne start
Hamilton blames clutch for getting beat in Melbourne
Lewis Hamilton suffered a clutch problem at the start of the Australian Grand Prix – a crucial factor which allowed race-winning team-mate Jenson Button to seize the lead on the run to the first corner.
Hamilton had notched up his 20th Formula 1 pole position but, despite Button selecting second gear too soon when the red lights when out, the 2009 World Champion was still able to overhaul his title predecessor. Hamilton then lost a further position when Sebastian Vettel took advantage of the Safety Car.

“Yeah, after the race in Australia it was difficult to understand exactly what happened,” Hamilton, whose dejection was clearly demonstrated on the Melbourne podium, explained in Malaysia on Wednesday.

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03/21/12
irl
alms

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Offers Military Discounts
The 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is honoring the men and women of our armed services – active or retired – with special discount offers to the April 13-15 event.

Service personnel can call the Grand Prix ticket office toll-free at (888) 82-SPEED, ask for the “Military Promotion” and, if qualified, will receive substantial discounts on Saturday and Sunday general admission tickets.  During race weekend, military personnel can show their identification card at the box office and receive the same offer.

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03/21/12
f1

Caterham and Aerolab found liable for using Force India intellectual property
Following the publication of Team Lotus wind tunnel model pictures in November 2009, Force India Formula One Team lodged a complaint with the Criminal Court in Italy and subsequently commenced civil proceedings in the UK High Court, citing concerns in respect of Team Lotus, Aerolab and Mike Gascoyne illegally copying Force India Formula One Team design intellectual property accessed from secure files held at Aerolab.

The case was heard at the High Court, London during January 2012 with Mr. Justice Arnold finding Team Lotus (now known as Caterham) and Aerolab liable for copyright infringement and using confidential information respectively. Some parts created using Force India confidential information were used on the Team Lotus race cars in the early part of the 2010 season.

The UK High Court judgment, in respect of the illegal copying, will now be referred for the consideration of Formula One's governing body, the FIA, whilst the Italian criminal case against Mike Gascoyne, Tony Fernandes and Jean Claude Migeot remains ongoing.

Comment
03/21/12
irl

Ed Carpenter Racing forms partnership with Hoosier Momma
Ed Carpenter Racing announced March 20 that Hoosier Momma, with a line of Indiana-made premium Bloody Mary mixes, has become of a corporate partner in 2012 for the Indianapolis-based IZOD IndyCar Series team which debuts this weekend in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Carpenter, the only team owner and driver in the IndyCar Series this year, will pilot the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet in all 16 races in 2012. Carpenter captured the last completed IndyCar race last October in Kentucky to record his first series victory.

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03/21/12
irl

Depth of IndyCar field will yield tight title chase
Franchitti going for four straight titles
A.J. Foyt holds the record of seven season championships (all under USAC sanctioning), with Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti ranking second with four each.

"You don't think I know that?" Franchitti says matter-of-factly.

He also knows that to tie Bourdais for most consecutive championships at four will require consistently strong results on a diverse set of racetracks against what many competitors have projected as the deepest IZOD IndyCar Series field of talent and ability since the series' inception. Franchitti is tied with Ted Horn (1946-48 under AAA sanction) for consecutive championships, while Bourdais' title from 2004-07 were under Champ Car sanction.

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03/21/12
nassprint

NASCAR fans prefer “Swamp People,” “Hillbilly Handfishin” and “Lizard Lick Towing”
Anyone who cares even a little bit about auto racing has to be saddened by the empty seats at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend and at other tracks on the circuit, as well as the sluggish ratings for broadcasts of races.

It can’t all be blamed on the economy. If people were true fans, and couldn’t afford to travel to races, wouldn’t they be tuned in at home in large numbers?

It can’t be blamed all on the race tracks, a criticism that Bristol gets from some quarters these days. Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth put on a Petty vs. Pearson kind of battle for the win on Sunday, a battle that should have been a crowd pleaser. But in an era when the pre-race TV promotions in general tend to focus on one wreck after another, the perception seems to be that anything less than a wreck-fest is boring.

An idea as to the whereabouts of the NASCAR fan base can be found in an article in USA Today last week.

In an article entitled ‘’Rednecks swamp TV as viewers seek grittier reality”, writer Carol Memmott took an interesting look at the reality TV shows that have become the rage of late, shows like “Swamp People” and “Hillbilly Handfishin” and “Lizard Lick Towing” that feature the same kind of “real people” that used to drive stock cars back in the day.

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03/21/12
automotive

Was the car of the future not ready for primetime? UPDATE
Karma Fisker.  One of the big car companies should buy Fisker's company sooner rather than later
That’s the allegation being levied against the $102,950 plug-in hybrid luxury sedan by a self-styled whistleblower who used to sell them, and claims that Fisker brought it to market before it was ready in order to qualify for government loans.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, John Hoffman says that four out of first five cars delivered to the Marin County Fisker dealership he worked at suffered from electrical glitches almost immediately. A number of Fisker owners have posted similar complaints about dead instrument panels and headlights going dark to online forums like Fiskerbuzz.com, while a Karma purchased by Consumer Reports went completely dead with less than 200 miles on the odometer, requiring its entire battery pack to be replaced for an unknown failure.

But Hoffman went further in an interview with Gigaom.com, telling the technology blog that “Fisker launched the car before it was market-ready in order to try to meet milestones from the Department of Energy for its loan.”

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03/21/12
automotive

Penske Automotive to Expand International Presence
Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an international automotive retailer, has formed a joint venture with Andrea Mantellini (and family), operator of a BMW/MINI dealer group located in Bologna, Italy. The newly formed joint venture intends to acquire and operate dealerships in northern Italy. Mantellini will manage day-to-day operations of the business, bringing his local expertise and successful business acumen. “I am very happy to partner with Penske Automotive Group as we look to expand the existing business in a market with many growth opportunities,” said Mantellini.

The joint venture has acquired the Mariani BMW/MINI dealership in Monza, Italy, a suburb of Milan. The Mariani acquisition provides an ideal opportunity for Penske Automotive Group to enter the Milan market. The greater Milan area is among the world's top 20 and Europe's top 10 business and financial centers with the highest average income rates in Italy.

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03/21/12
f1

Q&A with McLaren’s Jonathan Neale
Last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix was almost a clean sweep for McLaren with pole position and victory both wrapped up by the British team’s drivers. In a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ‘Phone-In’ session, managing director Jonathan Neale discusses the Melbourne event, the furor surrounding Mercedes’ innovative rear wing and Pirelli’s 2012-spec tires…

Q: Did the team expect to perform so well in Australia?
Jonathan Neale:
We knew it was going to be very tight. Everybody asks the team how it’s going to work out in Australia and it’s so difficult to predict. Through testing you have no idea what fuel loads people are running, they’re at the circuit at different times of day with different tires and everybody’s very circumspect. And I think for us that continued right the way through Friday to Saturday because we didn’t have dry running on Friday morning. Both drivers thought the car was really well balanced, but the circuit was still pretty green and there wasn’t a lot of grip. And then in the afternoon, of course, it was damp so that threw some of the test plans up in the air. You don’t really know until you go qualifying for real. And there are a number of teams there who have the ability to be up there or thereabouts. So it was a great present to be on the front row and it was a huge relief, but not something that we could have confidently predicted beforehand by any means.

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03/21/12
fil

Guerrieri Back With Schmidt In Firestone Indy Lights
Esteban Guerrieri
One of the strongest combinations in the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights series is back together in 2012 and should be a serious threat for the championship.

Team owner Sam Schmidt announced March 20 that Argentinean Esteban Guerrieri (@Esteban_Guerrieri) will be driving the No. 11 ACTC/PISTAS ARGENTINAS Sam Schmidt Motorsports car when the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights season starts Saturday, March 24 at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

In 2011, Guerrieri was one of the fastest drivers every race weekend by capturing six Firestone Pole Awards and winning three races driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM). He finished second in the Firestone Indy Lights championship to his SSM teammate Josef Newgarden, who moved to the IZOD IndyCar series in 2012.

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03/21/12
alms
wec

Audi continues LeMans test at Sebring despite crash
Audi testing both the regular R18 and the Hybrid version as shown at Sebring
Audi is continuing its test at the Sebring International Raceway this week, despite a serious accident late on Monday that hospitalized Timo Bernhard.

The German manufacturer, which started its traditional test the week after the Sebring 12 Hours with four cars, concluded that the technical problem that put Bernhard into the barriers at Turn 17 would not reoccur on the other cars and resumed running on Tuesday.

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03/21/12
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Jenson Button
    Spanish team HRT's car made in Germany
  • Button replaces 'crooked finger' with 'W for winner'
  • Modern F1 car amazes Salo at Suzuka
  • Raikkonen to be 'surprise of season' - de la Rosa
  • Williams 'not far' from top teams - Maldonado
  • Herbert continues steward role for Sepang
  • Massa gets new chassis for Malaysian Grand Prix

    Read more & Comment...
03/21/12
WC

Jack Baldwin, Hot Wheels team up to tackle Pirelli World Challenge
Jack Baldwin Hot Wheels livery
Jack Baldwin will pilot a Team Hot Wheels Pirelli Cayman Interseries-based Porsche Cayman S in the Pirelli World Challenge.

Jack Baldwin will have some Hot Wheels in his corner as he prepares for a title run in the 2012 Pirelli World Challenge sports-car road-racing series.

Baldwin and Hot Wheels sponsorship captured the 1992 SCCA-Pro Trans-Am Championship, and the pairing return 20 years later in search of more wins in a premier SCCA-Pro division.

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03/21/12
irl

Quote of the week
Is the new IndyCar nice to look at?

Team owner Bryan Herta: "I think in general it's a pretty ugly race car. But they all look good in winner's circle. Some of it's really nice, the problem is it's hard to get past a couple of the big warts to see the nice parts." Tampabay.com

Comment
03/21/12
irl

With Barrichello, IndyCar won't miss Danica one iota
Worldwide Barrichello has far more real racing fans than Danica Patrick, so his arrival at the time of her departure was just what the series needed
Rubens Barrichello is looking forward to seeing a lot of the USA this year, and the country's premier open-wheel circuit is looking forward to seeing lots of him.

The most experienced driver in Formula One history will begin his first full-time Izod IndyCar Series season Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. By September, the Sao Paulo, Brazil, native will have raced in Alabama, California, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Maryland.

Barrichello, 39, plans on soaking in every mile and not just those logged on the racetrack.

"I don't know America very well, and that's something that I've always had in my mind," he said. "I told my wife I have heard a lot of things that you can ride bikes in the Grand Canyon or camp or rent buses."

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03/20/12
irl

Detroit GP return lauded
Belle Isle
Open-wheel racing is returning to Detroit’s Belle Isle Park this summer and the man who played a major role in bringing it back was in the area Monday afternoon.

Bud Denker, the senior vice president of Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Corp., addressed the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber’s Legislative Forum here and said the arrival of IndyCar Series teams is great news for the region.

“Our biggest passion is Detroit,” he said. “We are the Motor City and our lights are back on and we’re very bullish about what’s going to happen here.”

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03/20/12
fil

2012 Indy Lights season begins on Streets of St. Petersburg
The Firestone Indy Lights kicks off its 11th season under INDYCAR sanction on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The challenging course has hosted Firestone Indy Lights events since 2005 and has been an indication of the series champion since 2007, where all but two race winners (Junior Strous in 2009 and Richard Antinucci 2008 Race 2) have gone on to win the series title. Will the trend continue in 2012?

Repeat for Sam Schmidt Motorsports?

Sam Schmidt Motorsports returns to defend its 2011 drivers championship with a stout four-car lineup featuring two veteran returnees and two promising newcomers. Race winners Esteban Guerrieri and Victor Carbone join newcomers Tristan Vautier and Oliver Webb at St. Petersburg. Can one of them be the third-straight Schmidt driver to win the title?

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03/20/12
nassprint

Shock and disbelief that Hendrick won a partial appeal
National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook on Tuesday overturned the penalties imposed on the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team stemming from opening-day inspection at Daytona last month.  Middlebrook rescinded the 25 owner and driver points, as well as the six-race suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec, who both remain on probation until May 9.

Following is reaction to the ruling from SPEED on-air personalities:

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03/20/12
fil

Happy Birthday, Oli
Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Oliver Webb didn't need a cake or a party. As he wrote on Twitter: "No better way to spend your 21st Birthday than racing around a beautiful Barber race track in an 200mph machine!"

The young Englishman, who recently relocated to Indianapolis, spent the milestone at Barber Motorsports Park learning his new machine before the season opener at St. Petersburg. On the final day of testing, Webb was one spot away from fastest in the second morning practice.

"For me, about 70-80 percent of the tracks I've never seen until the Friday of practice," Webb said. "So it's good for me to have the guys on the team [who have experience]."

Comment
03/20/12
fil

Saavedra leads final day of testing at Barber
It didn't take Sebastian Saavedra long to reacquaint himself with a Firestone Indy Lights car.

The former IZOD IndyCar Series driver, who will return to the Firestone Indy Lights with AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, posted the quickest time of both days with a 1:16:7046.

The 21-year-old Colombian, who spent time in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 and 2011, said he is getting more and more comfortable with the team, which he last drove for as a rookie in 2009.

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03/20/12
irl

Stooges? AA's driver dynamic is tight knit
James Hinchcliffe stealthly and quickly laid claim to Moe, which left teammates Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay to select from Larry, Curly, Shemp and Joe as nicknames.

There's not been confirmation from the Andretti Autosport duo, but maybe a couple of wigs will appear trackside before the initial practice session of the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg this week.

"We have sort of nicknamed ourselves the Three Stooges because we just walked right in and it's like we have been working together for years," said Hinchcliffe, the 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year who joined Andretti Autosport over the winter to drive the Chevrolet-powered No. 27 GoDaddy.com car. "The driver dynamic I think was the strongest element when I first got there. I had some learning to do with some of the engineers and mechanics, but I have known (Andretti) and (Hunter-Reay) for a long time. It was like going home."

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03/20/12
nassprint

Hendrick Motorsports set to make last-ditch appeal UPDATE Well this is a first, Hendrick got a partial win, but he lost the part that counts - it still cost Hendrick a cool $100K. Ouch! 

NATIONAL STOCK CAR RACING CHIEF APPELLATE OFFICER STATEMENT:
On March 20, 2012, the Chief Appellate Officer heard and considered the appeal of the penalties resulting from the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book "Actions detrimental to stock car racing;" Section 12-4(J): "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;" and Section 20-2.1(E): "If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications."
The results of the appeal hearing were as follows:
- Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points (for Jeff Gordon).
- Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points (for Jimmie Johnson).
- Rescinding the six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events suspension for the Crew Chief (Chad Knaus) and Car Chief (Ron Malec), however both will remain on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
- $100,000 fine remains in place for the Crew Chief (Chad Knaus).
John Middlebrook - Chief Appellate Officer. NASCAR PR

Read more & Comment...
03/20/12
f1

Raikkonen: There’s a lot of speed in the car and much more to come
Kimi Raikkonen
Qualifying in eighteenth position wasn’t quite part of Kimi Raikkonen’s plan for his comeback in Australia, but a storming drive through the field to seventh place showed that The Iceman is back. He reflects on his weekend at the season opener in Melbourne and looks ahead to the Malaysian grand Prix at Sepang.

How did it feel coming back to F1 after two years away? Did you find it easy getting into the groove with a new car, new tires and the DRS?
Kimi Raikkonen: To be honest it didn’t feel any different to when I last raced. There have been a few rule changes but the racing itself is very similar. The DRS is easier to use in the race than in practice or qualifying because there are only certain places you can activate it, whereas in the other sessions people will try to push the limits of how early they can use it which can easily lead to a mistake if you are too aggressive.

Given your performance and where Romain managed to qualify in Australia, how much potential do you feel the E20 has?
KR: The car feels very good. In the race I was stuck in traffic a lot so it didn’t show so much, and who knows what might have happened if we had a better grid a slot. There is a lot of speed in the car.

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03/20/12
ga

51st Rolex 24 At Daytona Scheduled For January 26-27, 2013
Daytona International Speedway and GRAND-AM Road Racing officials today announced that the next edition of America's most prestigious sports car race - the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona - will take place on January 26-27, 2013.

"We're still riding the wave of excitement from the historic 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 and we expect to keep that great momentum going as we head into next year's twice-around-the-clock challenge," said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. "This past January, we hosted one of the largest crowds in Rolex 24 history and all of those fans can look forward to another unforgettable weekend of world class sports car action at the ‘World Center of Racing.' "

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03/20/12
nassprint
irl

Penske Racing extends partnership with Auto Club
Penske Racing and the Automobile Club of Southern California, the nation's largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, announced that the organizations will extend their current partnership through the 2016 racing season. The multi-year extension of this sponsorship agreement means the Automobile Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs will continue to sponsor Penske Racing teams competing in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series.

The Auto Club will sponsor the #22 Dodge Charger driven by AJ Allmendinger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. The sponsorship includes AAA serving as the primary sponsor for the #22 car at the March 25 Auto Club 400 held at Auto Club Speedway as well as the April 22 race in Kansas. AAA will also be a co-primary sponsor for Allmendinger and the #22 Dodge May 6 at the Talladega Cup Series race and July 15 at the race at New Hampshire. In addition, the Auto Club will continue as a major associate sponsor on the #22 machine for the balance of the season. The Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs. For more information visit www.AAA.com  Penske Racing

Comment
03/20/12
racing news

PRI show sold to SEMA show
Performance Racing Industry (PRI), producers of the motorsports business magazine and trade show, finalized plans to be purchased by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). The transaction is set to close in late March 2012.

With 20-plus years of publishing and management experience at PRI, John Kilroy will serve as Vice President/General Manager of PRI and assume day-to-day operations for the group. All the operations, employees and offices will remain intact at PRI's current location in Laguna Beach, California. 

"Steve Lewis launched the PRI concept a quarter-of-a-century ago, as an organization totally dedicated solely to the racing industry," said Kilroy. "It was Steve's dream that PRI continue to serve the racing community, and to 'nest' PRI with an organization that clearly understands PRI's heritage and the role we play in how the racing industry conducts business. We are pleased to have found that strategic partner in SEMA."

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03/20/12
irl

Miller on issues facing the 2012 IndyCar season
The IZOD IndyCar Series takes to the track Sunday for its 2012 season opener in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla.  IndyCar embarks on the new season with a multitude of changes since the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Below, veteran SPEED open wheel reporter Robin Miller discusses some of these changes, the series’ first race since Dan Wheldon’s death at Las Vegas and the biggest storylines as the series kicks off its new season: 

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03/20/12
Announcement

Why AR1.com only has Apple apps for now UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I think this article out today sums up the Android marketplace and confirms what you previously published as to why AR1.com only has Apple apps for now.  And did you see what IndyCar did?  They bet the farm on Android apps and for Apple users their app is just a website and not a true app.  Some companies get it and other just don't. Thanks AR1.com!  Jim Davies

Dear Jim, Yes we saw what IndyCar did.  They are missing out on the hundreds of millions of Apple iPhone and iPad users worldwide, but that was a business decision I am sure they made to limit their growth.  Mark C.

AR1.com's popular iPad app
03/20/12 We have had some customers ask us why we only offer iPhone and iPad apps for AutoRacing1.com and not Android or Blackberry, so we thought we would provide everyone an explanation.

Apple has cemented its dominance as the most popular mobile platform among application developers while Google's Android has receded and Research In Motion's devices plunged anew, according to a quarterly survey that may signal sales trends for mobile devices.

The survey, which asked developers if they were interested in writing programs for various devices, showed Google's Android slipped even though sales of devices powered by the operating system surged (many Android installs are in car GPS systems, which skew the real numbers).

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03/20/12
nassprint

Ford EcoBoost to sponsor Kenseth's No. 17 at Fontana
Two-time DAYTONA 500 Champion, Matt Kenseth, will sport the primary colors promoting Ford EcoBoost at Auto Club Speedway this upcoming weekend.  This is the first time that the No. 17 entry for Roush Fenway Racing will carry the Ford EcoBoost paint scheme and comes at a track where Kenseth has achieved success at in the past; including three Sprint Cup victories.

Ford EcoBoost earned its first NASCAR victory as a primary sponsor at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 6 Ford.  Ford EcoBoost technology uses turbo-charging and direct gasoline injection to boost engine output, thus reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

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03/20/12
f1

Red Bull Opposed To FIA Intervention In Cost Control Talks
The Red Bull and Toro Rosso F1 teams are "opposing a push by the other Formula 1 teams to involve" the FIA in "policing the sport's cost-restriction agreement." The other F1 teams have "signed a letter asking the FIA to get involved in controlling costs." Red Bull team manager Christian Horner said that costs "should be controlled by the F1 'technical and sporting' rules." Horner: "(It's also not) one the FIA should really get involved in, because it's fraught with complications" BBC.co.uk

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03/20/12
irl

Panther Racing Joins White House, COC For Unemployment Initiatives
The Panther Racing IndyCar team has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration on two initiatives to address unemployment among National Guard members. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative, the COC's Hiring Our Heroes effort and the team will combine for PSAs, job fairs, at-track seminars and social media campaigns. In conjunction with Hiring Our Heroes, the team will host up to 50 local business leaders at each domestic Izod IndyCar Series event. JR Hildebrand drives the National Guard car in the Izod IndyCar Series. Panther Racing PR

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03/20/12
irl

St. Pete announces actor Wagner and Trebunskaya as its Grand Marshals
The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is pleased to announce actor and ABC’s Season 14 Dancing with the Stars competitor Jack Wagner and his dance partner Anna Trebunskaya as the Grand Marshals for the highly anticipated season-opening race of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, March 25. The pair will perform standard Grand Marshal duties, including giving the famous “drivers, start your engines” command to start the race. 

A talented actor and recording artist, Wagner has starred in multiple television series and TV movies, as well as more than 40 theatrical productions around the world. He first won the hearts of audiences in his iconic role as rocker Frisco Jones on ABC's daytime series “General Hospital”. After stints on Broadway and as part of the original “Melrose Place”, Wagner most recently joined the company of “The Bold and the Beautiful”.

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03/20/12
nassprint

Dale Jr. has a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
Dale Jr. is NASCAR's most popular driver, riding on the popularity coattails of his father Dale Sr.  The problem with racing in America today is that drivers become heroes because of who their father was or how sexy they look with their clothes off.  What happened to the day when talent meant everything, you know - what a sport is supposed to be about?
Another race, another strong car for Dale Earnhardt Jr. And another instance of not being able to seal the deal.

Junior is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings and off to a better start than he has had in years -- certainly better than any of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

But something always seems to jump up and bite up, something always seems to happen to turn a potentially winning day into just a good points day.

At Las Vegas a week ago he led 70 of the first 73 laps but ended up 10th after a dust-up with former teammate Mark Martin.

At Bristol on Sunday it was a run-in with a current teammate and a dumb mistake on pit road that cost him a shot at a top-five finish.

Earnhardt was racing side by side with Jeff Gordon when they made contact. It wasn't a hard hit, but Earnhardt's tail pipes ended up cutting down Gordon's left rear tire and he hit the wall.

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03/20/12
irl

Canada IndyCar fans gets improved coverage
Beginning this coming Sunday, and continuing through to the conclusion of the season on Sept. 15, TSN or TSN2 will televise all the 2012 IndyCar races, most of them live.

And there is bonus coverage around the Indianapolis 500 in May. Not only will we get to see the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but extended coverage of Pole Day qualifying is planned, as are the final hours of Bump Day (when cars already qualified for the 33-car Indy field can be bumped out by faster cars) as well as Carb Day activities two days before the big race when final practice for the 500 as well as the Indy Lights Freedom 100 classic can be seen.

Two of the series’ 16 races are in Canada – the Honda Indy Toronto and the Edmonton Indy – and a rising star is young James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., who took over the Go Daddy-sponsored ride at Andretti Autosport when Danica Patrick left for NASCAR.  Canadian fans should bookmark this page for race TV times in Canada

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03/20/12
wec

Dempsey back to LeMans in 2013
Patrick Dempsey
Four years after his maiden outing in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Patrick Dempsey will be at the start again in 2013. The actor announced the news on the eve of the Sebring 12 Hours, the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which takes place tomorrow. Exclusive video interview by lemans.org.

“Our aim is to enter for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s a magic race. When you’re at the start of this event, your dream becomes reality!” The American actor was all starry-eyed as he announced his intention to take part in the 81st Le Mans 24 Hours with his own team, Dempsey Racing, the year in which the Sarthe classic will celebrate its 90th anniversary!.

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03/20/12
tv news

SPEED Reporter Pereyra Returns to Adopted Home
Marianela Pereyra
Marianela Pereyra, TV host, model and actress, joined SPEED midway through the 2011 NASCAR season as a reporter on Trackside, Friday’s weekly, high-energy show broadcast live from every race track on the NASCAR circuit (Friday, March 23 at 9 p.m. ET).

Pereyra now spends her weekends getting to know NASCAR drivers and race fans in-person and via social media, bringing a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the sport’s personalities, drawing on her extensive experience in the music, sports and entertainment world in this new endeavor.

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03/20/12
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Is Hamilton already beaten mentally?
    More Britons watched BBC's delayed coverage
  • Coulthard worried Hamilton already beaten
  • Insiders insist no writing off Red Bull yet
  • FOTA complaints led to 'special deal' report axe
  • Praise and scorn for Williams' Maldonado
  • Alonso 'saved Ferrari from disaster' - press
  • Webber 'wary' of late rain in Malaysia

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03/20/12
irl

HPD promotes Berkman, names Art St. Cyr
Berkman (L) shakes hands with AJ Foyt above,  gets promoted
On April 1, HPD President Erik Berkman, who also served as Vice President of Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda, will become president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

In his new role, Berkman will be responsible for all North American new-vehicle design and development, including the all-new Acura NSX.

He will succeed Hiroshi Takemura, who will return to Honda Motor in Japan as Deputy Director of Automobile Operations.

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