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DATE News (chronologically)
03/25/08
irl

Rahal Uninjured After Crash, Roth fastest at Homestead
Graham Rahal
Ron McQueeney/IRL
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal crashed at approx. 8:15 p.m. EST tonight while participating in Day 2 of the two-day IndyCar Series test for teams transitioning from the Champ Car World Series but was not injured.  He had set the fourth fastest time prior to attempting to pass another race car in Turn 1 when he lost control and made contact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 2.  The car sustained a large amount of damage to the gearbox, bell housing and three of four corners.  Following are his comments:

GRAHAM RAHAL, driver of the No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  "The car felt really good. I caught Oriol (Servia) and overtook him in Turn 1 and was almost past him. I was on a higher line than I had been taking and that was a lot bumpier with a little less grip. The rear stepped out on me and I caught it and then it did it a second time and I couldn't catch it and crashed."

Combined practice speeds

Rank

Car Driver Name Session Time Speed Total Laps
1 25 Roth, Marty Practice 2 25.1200 212.818 117
2 24 Howard, Jay Practice 2 25.2560 211.672 170
3 5 Servia, Oriol Practice 2 25.4360 210.175 180
4 36 Bernoldi, Enrique Practice 2 25.4470 210.084 186
5 8 Power, Will Practice 2 25.4840 209.779 265
6 06 Rahal, Graham Practice 2 25.4920 209.713 72
7 02 Wilson, Justin Practice 2 25.4930 209.705 129
8 34 Perera, Franck Practice 2 25.5560 209.188 172
9 33 Viso, Ernesto Practice 2 25.5680 209.089 134
10 18 Junqueira, Bruno Practice 2 25.6230 208.641 82
11 19 Moraes, Mario Practice 2 25.8420 206.873 162

Comment
03/25/08
nassprint

Kennedy Assumes Crew Chief Role for #55 team
Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Bobby Kennedy and Paul Andrews will switch managerial roles beginning with Martinsville Speedway. Kennedy will now serve as crew chief for Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota team as Andrews will continue in a leadership role to supervise Michael Waltrip Racing's test teams. "Paul did a great job in helping us reach our top-35 goal and I know he will continue his diligence with our test teams for the betterment of our organization," Waltrip said. "Bobby has always been there for me and my NAPA Auto Parts Toyota team to help with our decision making process. We have known each other for a very long time and I guess you can say that we are made for each other. Going to Martinsville with Bobby knowing we have the luxury of being in the top 35, is a relief. Now, it is all about being successful in the race." MWR PR

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03/25/08
irl

Paul Newman visits Homestead
Paul Newman at Homestead Tuesday
Ron McQueeney/IRL
The bustling garage grew more crowded after Paul Newman stealthily entered to have a look-see and greet drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal before the second day of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The Academy Award-winning actor, race car driver and the "N" in Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing visited the racetrack to watch the drivers complete their initial preparation for the season-opening GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300.

"Lots of cars," Newman said of the 11 on pit lane, which will be augmented by 15 for the 200-lap race under the lights March 29.

Newman recently signed a letter (along with fellow IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske) that has been mailed to former Indianapolis 500 ticket holders, asking them to join him at the 92nd running May 25. It will be the first time since 1978 that the 500-Mile Race will be contested under a unified sanctioning body.

"I'm privileged to have three great owners who are racers at heart," said Wilson, who joined the team for 2008 after a three-year stint with RuSPORT in the Champ Car World Series. "They've been very supportive and made me feel welcome, which is quite an important part when you join a new team." IndyCar.com

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03/25/08
atlantic

Bomarito tops Day 1 Atlantic MSR Test Times
Ray and Leslie Mathiasen knew the potential for their team to be quick when they tapped Jonathan Bomarito to test with their Mathiasen Motorsports squad at MSR Houston, but there was no way to expect they would see the team atop the charts so quick as the veteran racer posted the fastest lap in the first day of testing at MSR Houston for the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

In the afternoon session, Bomarito posted a lap at 1:19.431 (108.774 mph) in the No. 26 Mathiasen Motorsports Swift 016 to top the time chart. It was Jonathan’s first test day with the Mathiasen Motorsports team and his first action since Sebring.  He had to miss the Spring Training event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when the original Atlantic team with which he signed for 2008 elected to discontinue its Atlantic program. Jonathan quickly showed that these events had not slowed him in the slightest as he began the day second fast in the first session and moved to the top by days end.

Top-10 Times

Pos. Name Time
1. Bomarito 1:19.431
2. Lacroix 1:19.793
3. Hinchcliffe 1:19.833
4. Skerlong 1:19.922
5. Garza 1:20.012
6. G Mansell 1:20.226
7. Strous 1:20.255
8. Simona 1:20.480
9. Cameron 1:20.542
10. Muermans 1:21.017

17 cars turned afternoon times

Simona had hard-off mid day, damaged suspension but returned later in day and set personal best time.

Bomarito sat out from 1PM – 4:30 PM with mechanical issue, went out set fast time and backed it up within 0.1 second.

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03/25/08
atlantic

Strong Lineup of Atlantic Teams and Drivers Participating in Test
A strong contingent of 18 drivers and 19 cars are in the midst of testing their Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda machinery at MSR Houston for the final time prior to the 2008 season-opening Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18-20. The test is scheduled for today and tomorrow, March 25-26, and is being conducted by Atlantic Championship teams at the 2.38-mile road course near Houston, Texas.

The list of teams and drivers in attendance includes many who have already proven to be quick in Atlantic-sanctioned open tests earlier this year. Dane Cameron, who was quickest on both days of Spring Training at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month, is back in the cockpit of the No. 17 Genoa Racing machine at MSR Houston. The 2007 Star Mazda champion signed to drive for Genoa Racing for the full 2008 season on the heels of his impressive testing performance at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Cameron has been joined for the test by Atlantic veteran Alan Sciuto, piloting Genoa’s No. 27 Mazda-powered, Cosworth-shod Swift 016.a.

Forsythe Racing Inc. teammates James Hinchcliffe and David Garza, who swept the top-two spots on the time charts in the first open test of the year at Sebring International Raceway early last month, are also testing at MSR Houston. Hinchcliffe is driving the team’s No. 3 machine, with Garza in the No. 7. Hinchcliffe and Garza placed just ahead of American standout Jonathan Bomarito at the Sebring test.

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03/25/08
irl

Back to School Time for Conquest Racing Drivers
Franck Perera
It was an all new experience for Conquest Racing’s Enrique Bernoldi and Franck Perera yesterday during day one of the two-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s high-banked oval. And even though it felt like they were going back to racing school, the pair faired well in their maiden “left turn only” test.

The objective for day one: get comfortable with the new racing environment.

“It looks like I started racing just now,” said Perera of his first oval experience. “It’s a completely new feeling in the car. It looks so easy when you watch on TV but it’s not. On a road course you always try to brake later, to have maximum speed in the corners. Here it’s always the same (left turns) but everything and anything can happen!”

Enrique Bernoldi added to his teammate’s comments: “It was interesting! This was something entirely new to me but I enjoyed it. We didn’t try to go fast at first, we were just trying to get used to an oval. Once my comfort level increased, we were able to work on the set-up a little bit. Overall I think for the first time on an oval it went well, we progressed during the whole session and it was a very positive day for us.”

“It was like starting from scratch today,” explained Eric Bachelart, owner of Conquest Racing. “We really wanted to get the drivers acclimated to an oval track. It’s not just to have them go out there and turn laps. We spent time talking about things like their position in the car, the placement of their headrest, discussing the driving techniques for an oval and what kind of sensations to look for on the track. Both Enrique and Franck progressed really well, as expected from such experienced, professional drivers. However, now that they have found a certain comfort level, today we will turn our attention to finding more speed in preparation for the race this weekend.”

Perera’s fastest lap of 25.7620 seconds (207.515 mph) came on his 63rd of 79 laps and was only a fraction of a second behind his teammate Enrique Bernoldi. The Brazilian’s best lap of 25.6870 seconds (208.121 mph) was scored on his 40th of 54 laps. Bernoldi and Perera will now try to improve on these times when testing resumes at 4:00 p.m. today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It will be their last chance to soak up some more experience before this weekend’s Gainsco Auto Insurance Indy 300 which gets underway on Friday.

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03/25/08
cc

Aleks Syntek to perform at LBGP concert
Aleks Syntek
Race fans attending the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will have a chance to enjoy renowned Mexican pop artist and Latin Grammy winner Aleks Syntek at Friday night's Tecate Light "Fiesta Friday" Concert Presented by Lowe's on the Tecate Light stage, in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

And, best of all, the concert is FREE to race ticket holders!

Producer, arranger and composer; Aleks Syntek has recorded three multi-platinum albums and has achieved numerous nominations from the Billboard Awards, Latin Grammys, and MTV Latin America. In 1999 he received the Mexican Academy Movie Award for "Best Score" with the movie Sexo, Pudor y Lagrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears). Currently, Syntek is planning a mainstream crossover including several English versions of his original Spanish language hits.

"We know the importance of music in Hispanic culture, and are thrilled to provide consumers the unique opportunity to see one of the most talented Latin American artists during race weekend," said Arturo Vargas, Events and Sponsorships Manager for Tecate Light. "The 'Fiesta Friday' concert has been a huge success in previous years and we are confident that Aleks Syntek will draw a great audience at this year's event."   

In addition to the Friday celebration, Tecate Light is also proud to present Pennywise as the band for Saturday's "Tecate Rock and Roar" concert to be held on April 19 at 6:00 p.m. Following this performance will be the crowning of the "Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," featuring some of the most charming and beautiful women in Southern California.

Tickets for the 34th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are available now at the Grand Prix Ticket Office or by calling (888) 82-SPEED.  Ticket prices range from $25 for Friday general admission to $125 for 3-day reserved sitting. For more information on seating, parking, group discounts, one-day tickets, champ car paddock passes, super photo tickets, and the hospitality club, visit www.gplb.com

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03/25/08
irl

New era in American open-wheel racing begins March 29 UPDATE The familiar "i am INDY" marketing theme will have a fresh look in 2008 as it is being expanded to reflect the unification of open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner: "One series. All the stars."

The IndyCar Series' i am INDY marketing theme has become familiar to thousands of race fans and included in promotional materials in race markets across the country and around the world since being adopted by the series in 2006.

"This is an historic year for the IndyCar Series and the countless fans of open-wheel racing," said John Lewis, vice president of Marketing and League Development. "Everyone involved in the sport is genuinely excited to be racing in a unified series, and we want to reflect that spirit of excitement and optimism in the marketing strategies that we are implementing. I think 'One series. All the stars' really captures that."

While the new phrase won't be immediately seen by fans on all IndyCar Series materials, it will be extensively incorporated into electronic signage at race venues. The phrase has already been incorporated into the new Indy Fan Zone that will be traveling to all U.S. races and on indycar.com. IndyCar.com

03/24/08 A new era in American open-wheel racing begins March 29 when the 2008 season opens with a unified IndyCar Series.
 
The GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300, which will be contested under the lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will reunite former competitors such as Helio Castroneves and Bruno Junqueira as well renew family rivalries with next-generation drivers Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal.
 
“I’m extremely excited about having one series again,” said Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who made 79 starts in CART before his 97 career starts in the IndyCar Series. “I have always been outspoken about that. One strong open-wheel series is going to be the best for everyone, not only for the drivers, not only for the teams, not only for the press, but especially for all the fans.”
 
Fans will be rewarded when 26 cars take the starting grid for the 2008 season opener. The count represents 17 cars from teams that previously competed in the IndyCar Series and nine cars from five teams transitioning to the series.
 
The favorite in the 200-lap, 300-mile season opener - Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dan Wheldon will be looking for a record-setting fourth consecutive victory on the 1.5-mile, variable-banked oval. Last year, Wheldon, who recently got married, beat teammate Scott Dixon by more than six seconds at Homestead-Miami, but in 2006, he edged Castroneves by just 0.0147 of a second in the closest race in track history.
 
"One fan did tell me the more I keep winning the less likely each year I come back to be a repeat winner," Wheldon said. "I kind of ignored that one."
 
Following the Homestead-Miami race the unified series embarks on a schedule that is the most diverse in motorsports. The 2008 schedule will take the teams and drivers to short ovals, superspeedways, road and street courses, and of course the Indianapolis 500.  IRL PR

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03/25/08
a1gp

A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Regent Street Pit Stop
Ahead of the season finale at Brands Hatch on 2 - 4 May, A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will make a pit stop in London's West End on Sunday 27 April.

Lower Regent Street in London will be transformed into an A1GP grid with all 22 nations' single-seat race cars lining up. Visitors to one of London most iconic streets will have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the 22 teams and drivers - as well as meeting Formula One legends Emerson Fittipaldi and Alan Jones - in an exciting family-friendly festival atmosphere.

The event will boast a live stage with jumbo screens broadcasting A1GP's high-speed racing highlights and driver interviews from throughout the 2007/08 season. And to mark A1GP's partnership with Ferrari, two 599 GTBs used as the series' safety car will also be on display.

Display stands, interactive competitions along with food and crafts from competing nations will line the route and give a truly international feel to the day.

With action for all the family, the A1GP Regent Street Pit Stop will include tire change challenges, activities for the kids and the ever-popular A1GP grid girls. There will also be the opportunity to witness the roar of an A1GP car engine to start the day.

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03/25/08
irl

IndyCar opening starts IRL’s High-Def broadcasts
IndyCar Series Opener on ESPN2 Saturday as High Definition Coverage, Unification Signal Dawn of New Era in Open Wheel Racing

As a new era of IndyCar Series racing dawns this weekend at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway after the recent unification of American open wheel racing, coverage of the series also will reach new heights this year as ESPN televises all races in high definition for the first time.

ESPN2 will have live coverage of the XM Indy 300 from the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET, and all events in the series will appear on the ESPN networks.

The 2007 Indianapolis 500 on ESPN on ABC was the first IndyCar Series event to be televised in HD, and all cameras used in ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage in 2008 will be HD, including in-car cameras and those used in the pits and for other points of view. Included will be a new, high-tech HD onboard camera that can provide a rotating 360-degree view. 

Read more & Comment...
03/25/08
irl

Danica Patrick whining already over new IRL weight rule
Stripped of her unfair weight advantage, Danica Patrick is already whining
An Indy Racing League rule change has Danica Patrick feeling as if she'll be penalized for being petite — which the popular driver said wouldn't happen in other sports.

Starting this season, the minimum weight for IRL cars will include the driver, and Patrick is the series' lightest at 100 pounds according to the 2007 media guide (which lists other female drivers Milka Duno and Sarah Fisher at 120 pounds apiece; Ed Carpenter is the heaviest at 165).

"If someone's going to take the hit it's going to be me," Patrick said Thursday. "It's disappointing the league decided to do that. In so many other sports, athletes don't get penalized for being too strong, or too tall or too fast.

"(It's) just your God-given stature is being penalized. What am I going to do, though? It's not my decision. That's the people higher up (who) made their bed, and they've got to lay in it."

Patrick said she asked IRL officials about the reason for the change but said "they didn't really have one. I just follow the rules," she said. "Maybe I'll get more specific reasons somewhere down the line …"

IRL spokesman John Griffin said the rule was intended to reduce the difference between the lightest and heaviest drivers, which is a gap that can range from 75 to 100 pounds.

Read more & Comment...
03/25/08
f1

FIA 'happy' with Red Bull car - Webber
In Sepang the front suspension of the Red Bull car collapsed like a poorly designed assembly of toothpicks
(GMM)  Mark Webber is confident that Red Bull is getting on top of the design problems that cast a shadow over the team's 2008 season in Malaysia.

Off the back of several incidents involving crumbling suspension pieces at both Sepang and Melbourne a week earlier, FIA stewards last weekend ordered the team to explain how its Adrian Newey-penned single seater is safe enough to race.

It is understood that, in reaction to the problem, the team reinforced aspects of the suspension with stronger materials.

"The thing is the cars ran very well in the race, which is a booster for the factory and a little pointer to the FIA that we are going in the right direction for them," Webber, Red Bull Racing's Australian driver, wrote in his BBC column.

He added that F1's governing body also "seems to be happy" following the grand prix, and the technical report submitted on Saturday.

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03/25/08
f1

Webber: Hamilton's shine will wear off
Mark Webber
Australian driver Mark Webber believes Formula One motor racing wonderkid Lewis Hamilton's "novelty" value will wear off.

The Red Bull driver said Hamilton had a uniqueness in the sport but it had a "shelf life".

Webber also warned that the British McLaren star, who rocked Formula One last year by almost winning the championship in his rookie season, would have to get used to a downside in his career.

Hamilton, 23, finished second to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen last year and leads this year's series after his recent victory in Melbourne and fifth place in Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.

"His career has gone off like a rocket ship but it won't always be like that," Webber told The Independent newspaper.

"He's young and he's black which makes him unique in this sport, but that's got a shelf life.

"He won't stop being black but it will stop being a novelty.

"And he'll find that some of the column inches, maybe even this season, are totally negative and totally incorrect.

"That's not easy to deal with."

According to Webber, only the British are obsessed with Hamilton and comparisons with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher are more than a little premature.

"Look, he's talented, we all know that," he said.

"But he's been in the sport for five minutes. People compare him with Schumacher. There is no comparison.

"When he wins the championship, then he's got six more to win before he can be compared to Schumacher.

"Yeah, he had a great first year. It was extraordinary what he did. But great sports stars are measured by their longevity. Pele, Steffi Graf, whoever." stuff.co.nz

Comment
03/25/08
irl

Paul Newman to ask fans to return to Indy 500
Paul Newman
The Indianapolis 500 is getting a plug from an unlikely spokesman.

Actor Paul Newman, who stood firmly on the side of the rival Champ Car World Series during the 12-year split with the Indy Racing League, has signed a letter asking former 500 ticket holders to return to the event with him.

Newman will be returning to the 500 -- and the IndyCar Series as a whole -- as a co-owner of the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team that will field cars for Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal.

Fellow IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske also signed the letter that will be mailed today by Indianapolis Motor Speedway to fans who have not renewed their tickets in recent years.

"Unification has created a new level of enthusiasm," the letter reads, "but the hard work is just beginning. A major part of our efforts will be directed toward fans like you, ensuring that we build a strong, fan-friendly series for the future." Indy Star

Comment
03/24/08
racing news

Bridgestone Firestone teams with Mario Andretti -- again
Andretti had much success in his career on Firestone tires
Photo Courtesy IMS
The partnership between Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC and racing legend Mario Andretti keeps getting stronger. Bridgestone agreed to supply a range of Bridgestone brand motorcycle and motorbike tires for Power Sports Factory Inc.'s Andretti/Benelli premium motorbikes.  Benelli is the only brand of motorbike that Andretti, the longtime spokesman for the Bridgestone and Firestone brands, endorses.

"In testing, the performance of our motorbikes dramatically improved when we replaced the original equipment tires with Bridgestone tires," says Steve Kempenich, CEO of Power Sports Factory.

The Bridgestone Battlax BT45 Sport Touring tire offers a silica-enriched compound for tremendous wet and dry grip, while its edges offer performance while cornering. A larger crown radius contributes to great stability for touring at speed.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
nassprint

21 Crew chief leaves team UPDATE “We had a whole bunch of testing planned, to go out and just race more and go through some things and figure them out,” Dave Blaney said. “We needed the days to try to learn something, but we missed out on a couple.” Instead, the #22 Cat team will attempt to make up for lost time this week before going to Martinsville. Monday’s workout will be at a short track in North Carolina in preparation for Martinsville, while Tuesday and Wednesday in Nashville are for general testing. “We’ll try to learn all we can this week,” Blaney said. Since Bristol, the Cat team has added Gene Nead, who left a year ago to join another team. “He’s coming back,” Blaney said of the crew member whose role will most likely be that of engineer. “He’s very good,” Blaney said of Nead, who will help crew chief Tommy Baldwin in all phases. “If you can add some people to make your team stronger, no matter when, that’s a good thing. Hopefully, it’ll give us a little shot in the arm and turn it around.” Youngstown Vindicator

03/24/08 Gene Nead, crew chief for the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Sprint Cup car, has left the team, team officials confirmed Monday morning. Nead joined the Wood Brothers in November 2007 after a stint with Robby Gordon Motorsports. With a variety of drivers this year – Bill Elliott, Johnny Sauter and Jeff Green – the Wood Brothers have failed to qualify for four of the five events. The team is 44th in owners points and has had to qualify for races on speed but should be OK for the race in Martinsville because with Dale Jarrett’s retirement and Kurt Busch now being locked in with points, Elliott is expected to be the only past champion who isn’t locked into the field. The team has not yet named a replacement for Nead. SceneDaily

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03/24/08
british f3

Alguersuari Gives Himself a Great 18th Birthday Present
After the disappointment of missing out on a podium in round 1, Jaime Alguersuari converted his second pole position of the weekend into a race win, finishing ahead of Swedish duo Marcus Ericsson and Sebastian Hohenthal.  Brendon Hartley was the first driver past the checkered flag but was demoted to 4th after it was judged he overtook during a safety car period.  Andy Meyrick made it two out two in the National Class, finishing ahead of Salman Al Khalifa and Niall Quinn.

Alguersuari made a good start to lead the 27 car grid away for the second race of the weekend. Behind the Spaniard Esteban Guerrieri in the Ultimate Motorsport Mygale got a great getaway to move up into 2nd after the first corner from 5th on the grid ahead of Ericsson and Hartley.  6th placed Max Chilton had a poor start and ended up losing seven places on the opening lap.

At the front Alguersuari started to open up a gap to 2nd placed Guerrieri as the Argentine had to defend his position from a very determined Marcus Ericsson in the Fortec Dallara, this battle allowing the leader to move further ahead of the field.  At the end of lap 2 4th placed Brendon Hartley came under pressure from Ericsson’s teammate Sebastian Hohethal and in a demon move at Old Hall the Swede moved up into 4th place at the expense of the New Zealander.

For the next six laps the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed cars circulated the Oulton Park circuit separated by less than a second, with Guerrieri using his vast racing know how to keep the Fortec duo at bay.  However a mistake on lap 10 drop the Argentine down to 6th place behind Walter Grubmuller.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
british f3

Turvey Scores Debut British F3 Win
A snow shower 30-minutes before the opening round of the 2008 British F3 International Series caused a few headache for the 27 drivers as the wet track dried out during the 30-minute race.  Oliver Turvey (#17 Carlin) came through to take checkered flag after taking the lead off the line.  Max Chilton (#1 Hitech) took his first ever British F3 podium after teammates Jaime Alguersuari (#4 Carlin) and Brendon Hartley (#3 Carlin) went off after fighting for 2nd place.  Atte Mustonen (#26 Double R) finished 3rd after starting from a lowly 10th place on the grid.  Andy Meyrick (#56 Carlin) took the National Class win, making it a double for Carlin Motorsport.

Pole position holder Jaime Alguersuari, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Easter Sunday, held the advantage as the red lights went out to start the first race of the 2008 season, but his Red Bull sponsored Dallara got a slow getaway and was passed by Oliver Turvey and Max Chilton before the first corner at Old Hall.  Turvey led the pack down the hill as behind the leaders 9th place Nick Tandy span, breaking the nose cone of his JTR Mygale. Marcus Ericsson (#8 Fortec) also ran wide at Old Hall, dropping the Swede down a couple of places in the running order.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
track news

Salonpas renews with Long Beach
Salonpas, whose pain-relieving products can be found in more than 50 countries around the globe, will again be the "Official External Pain Reliever" for the fourth consecutive year at the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20.

Salonpas will utilize the race to promote its many products to the more than 175,000 race attendees and, through a variety of on-track signage, to a national TV audience. In addition, Turn 8 is known as "Salonpas Corner."

Salonpas originated in Japan in 1934 and was first introduced into the U.S. in 1987.  Today, Salonpas produces a wide range of external pain relieving products such as Regular Patch, Hot Patch, Cool Patch, Aerosol and Gel.

For more information, visit www.salonpas.us.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
irl

More fallout from IRL/Champ Car merger
More evidence that the Champ Car teams got the short end of the stick with regard to the so-called IRL/Champ Car merger (Merger?  Hardly)

Due to the sudden demise of the Champ Car World Series, Southern California-based Pacific Coast Motorsports would like to announce the availability of their services. We welcome the opportunity to put our exceptionally experienced and highly capable championship winning team to work on your motorsports project. We would like to speak with anyone looking at the IRL, Grand Am, ALMS, Atlantic, IPS and Formula Mazda or any other form of Motorsports. As an ultra professional organization with the facilities, personnel and equipment capable of competing at the highest levels of motorsport on this continent, racing is what we do best, and we would love to take you to the front of your respective field. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Tyler Tadevic, Team Owner: 760-831-0921
Michael Harvey, Team Manager: 805-760-1270

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03/24/08
ips

Gregory & Appel to sponsor “Securing Tomorrow” Award
Gregory & Appel Insurance will reward the Indy Pro Series driver who wins the most races during the 2008 season with a $5,000 award.
 
The Gregory & Appel Insurance “Securing Tomorrow” Award has previously been presented to Wade Cunningham in 2006 and Alex Lloyd in 2007.
 
"The Indy Pro Series has arguably the most talented young drivers found anywhere in the world and continually produces the future stars of the Indy Racing League," said Darren Hickey, Vice President and Head of the Motor Sports practice at Gregory & Appel. “To see Alex Lloyd win our award in 2007 and secure an IndyCar (Series) ride for 2008 is fantastic.”
 
Gregory & Appel is an Indianapolis-based insurance agency with a nationally recognized professional racing practice that is one of the largest in the nation, representing drivers, teams, marketing firms, transportation/logistics companies and other professional racing-related entities.

Comment
03/24/08
irl

New IndyCar Series Safety Car to be unveiled March 29
The IndyCar Series will unveil its new safety car – a 2008 Honda Accord Coupe – at its season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 29. The Honda Accord Coupe has been redesigned for 2008, giving it a sporty new stance to go with its V-6 engine and independent multi-link rear suspension. The safety car will also sport a new paint scheme this year – the result of a six-week design contest hosted on www.indycar.com that saw a team of Indy 500 legends select a red, white and blue design submitted by Ojai, Calif.-based artist Robert Clark.
 
Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser Jr. and Rick Mears, who have 13 Indy 500 victories between them, unanimously chose Clark’s design from three finalists. Not only will Clark’s safety car design pace the IndyCar Series field all season, but Clark and a guest will be flown to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a VIP race weekend at the IndyCar Series season-opening race, the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 on March 29.
 
“It was kind of a free-form layout,” Clark said. “Then I said let's submit it red, white and blue and show our colors. I've always been a big fan of IndyCars. The competition has been great and it inspired me to make the design as best as possible.”

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
nassprint

McDowell Makes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut
March 30th is significant to Michael McDowell because he will make his long-awaited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut with Michael Waltrip Racing in the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

"I can't believe the time is finally here," McDowell said. "I know I can't underestimate how difficult it is going to be. I can act confident and say it's going to be easy and jump in and do it, but we all know there have been a lot of great drivers that haven't been able to do it."

As the 23-year-old steps into the #00 Toyota Camry, Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership announces today that their partnership will continue with the Michael Waltrip Racing team through Richmond International Raceway.

"Aaron's has a longstanding relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and I'm proud they will be with me for my Cup debut," McDowell said. "They were an associate sponsor for my Nationwide Series debut (11/3/07 at Texas Motor Speedway) and it is cool to have them as a primary sponsor this weekend. They have had a lot of success with Michael Waltrip Racing and I look forward to delivering a solid finish for them this weekend at Martinsville."

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
racing news

DOJ approves Sirius-XM merger
XM and Sirius merger
The United States Department of Justice today approved the merger between Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., stating that the evidence does not establish that the combination of the two would "substantially reduce competition."

Official statement:

"After a careful and thorough review of the proposed transaction, the Division concluded that the evidence does not demonstrate that the proposed merger of XM and Sirius is likely to substantially lessen competition, and that the transaction therefore is not likely to harm consumers. The Division reached this conclusion because the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers for several reasons, including: a lack of competition between the parties in important segments even without the merger; the competitive alternative services available to consumers; technological change that is expected to make those alternatives increasingly attractive over time; and efficiencies likely to flow from the transaction that could benefit consumers.

"The Division's investigation indicated that the parties are not likely to compete with respect to many segments of the satellite radio business even in the absence of the merger. Because customers must acquire equipment that is specialized to the satellite radio service to which they subscribe, and which cannot receive the other provider's signal, there has never been significant competition for customers who have already subscribed to one or the other service. For potential new subscribers, past competition has resulted in XM and Sirius entering long-term, sole-source contracts that provide incentives to all of the major auto manufacturers to install their radios in new vehicles. The car manufacturer channel accounts for a large and growing share of all satellite radio sales; yet, as a result of these contracts, there is not likely to be significant further competition between the parties for satellite radio equipment and service sold through this channel for many years. In the retail channel, where the parties likely would continue to compete to attract new subscribers absent the merger, the Division found that the evidence did not support defining a market limited to the two satellite radio firms that would exclude various alternative sources for audio entertainment, and similarly did not establish that the combined firm could profitably sustain an increased price to satellite radio consumers. Substantial cost savings likely to flow from the transaction also undermined any inference of competitive harm. Finally, the likely evolution of technology in the future, including the expected introduction in the next several years of mobile broadband Internet devices, made it even more unlikely that the transaction would harm consumers in the longer term. Accordingly, the Division has closed its investigation of the proposed merger."

Comment
03/24/08
irl

NHLR Begins 2-Day Test Today at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) will make their on-track debut in the IndyCar Series today at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) for what will be a two-day refresher course of sorts for the team.  The Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series, scheduled the two-day test on the oval for teams making the transition from the Champ Car World Series (CCWS) in order to prepare for Saturday night’s GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 season-opener at the same track.

It will be the first time for the team to turn a wheel on an oval track since the 2006 CCWS event at the historic Milwaukee Mile.  NHLR driver Sebastien Bourdais drove to victory in what he considered the highlight of his season due to the struggles the team had had at their “home track” in previous years.  Ironically Bourdais finished ahead of second place Justin Wilson, who was named as his replacement at the team for 2008. 

McDonald’s driver Wilson has only made five starts on an oval track which is the same number of CCWS events held on this type of track since 2004. His first test in a Champ Car was with NHLR at HMS in October 2002 and although the test went well he elected to pursue a ride in Formula One for 2003 and didn’t join the series until 2004.

Hole in the Wall Camps driver Graham Rahal was classified as a rookie last season in the CCWS and finished fifth overall in the season-ending standings.  For the second consecutive season and second with NHLR he will again be classified as a rookie.  He will run laps around an oval track in a major-league open wheel race car for the first time beginning with the 4 – 10 p.m. practice session today.  While he was progressing through the open-wheel racing ranks, Rahal ran one oval event in a 2005 Star Mazda race at Pikes Peak and finished second.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
british f3

Carlin win again in race two at Oulton Park
Carlin Motorsport concluded a successful weekend at Oulton Park today, to take two further wins at the opening round of the 2008 British F3 International Series.  Having taken victory in the first race with Oliver Turvey and Andy Meyrick, the Hampshire based squad cheered home Jaime Alguersuari to his first F3 victory and Meyrick to a double win on his F3 debut.  Red Bull driver Brendon Hartley crossed the line fourth, with Sam Abay 11th and Oliver Turvey 12th.  National racer Kristjan Einar finished 6th in the National Class.  As the lights went out for the second race of the day, Alguersuari made amends for his start in the first race by making a lightening getaway to lead the field into the first corner.  From there, the young Spaniard dominated the race, to pull out nearly a second a lap from second placed man Marcus Ericsson and break the lap record on lap ten.  Behind him, the order remained unchanged for the other Carlin drivers, with Hartley maintaining fourth place, Sam Abay 11th and Oliver Turvey 14th.  The National Class was again led by Andy Meyrick with Kristjan Einar in 7th place.

Comment
03/24/08
nnw

Ambrose changes Nationwide Series crew chiefs
JTG Racing spokesman confirmed that crew chief Walter Giles has left the No. 59 Nationwide Series team and driver Marcos Ambrose. Gary Cogswell takes Giles’ place immediately, beginning with Monday’s test at Richmond International Raceway.

Giles, a native Australian like Ambrose, joined the team for the 2008 season. Giles had previously served as lead engineer for Martin Truex Jr.’s Cup series team for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Comment
03/24/08
cc
irl

Walker exposes Gore, Gore responds UPDATE #2 Some have asked for the link to the Gore Files website/blog.  Here is that link.  We take no responsibility for its accuracy as it is not affiliated with AutoRacing1.com in any way.

03/24/08 The following is a statement in total from Team Australia’s Craig Gore following on-going statements and accusations in the media from his former partner Derrick Walker.

This statement, while long, is a detailed list of events in chronological order regarding the history of the Team Australia program.

With Walker threatening future legal proceedings, this will be the final comment Gore will be making on this issue.

“Team Australia was created by Kevin Kalkhoven and myself in San Francisco - in late 2004 as a result of wanting to run David Besnard’s single Champ Car race in Surfers Paradise that year. Not by Derrick Walker as he has publicly stated,” said Gore.

“We ran the 2004 Surfers Paradise race with Walker Racing at the request of Kevin Kalkhoven. Kevin’s generosity continued when he requested I form a JV agreement with Derrick Walker because he was about to shut his doors. Kevin felt it best for the series and Walker Racing if we formed a partnership. Kevin Kalkhoven contributed on that basis alone. It must be Team Australia. I discussed this with Derrick Walker and he agreed. We created GORE FISH WALKER LLC.

”All sponsorship, funding and acquisition costs, development funding and marketing of the Team Australia brand and team during our entire tenor has been borne by myself, sponsors I provided, CCWS owners’ companies and Kevin Kalkhoven.

“Not at any time did Derrick Walker and or Walker Racing or anyone associated with him provide any permanent funding to the team, the branding of Team Australia or any other form of funding required for the team. This amounts to more than $US20 Million over a three-year period.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
British F3

Turvey and Meyrick win first round at Oulton Park
Carlin drivers Oliver Turvey and Andy Meyrick won in the International Class and National Class races at Oulton Park this morning, in a thrilling opening round to the 2008 British F3 International Series.  Racing Steps Foundation driver Turvey led the race from the start, having passed team mate Jaime Alguersuari off the line.  With Brendon Hartley moving up to third, Carlin looked to have secured a dominant 1-2-3 finish until a clash between the two Red Bull cars resulted in retirement.

National winner Andy Meyrick continued his dominant form from winter testing to take an impressive win at his home track.  Sam Abay and Kristjan Einar made impressive progress in their first F3 event, with Abay scoring points on his F3 debut in tenth place.  Kristjan Einar enjoyed some exciting racing on his way to fifth in the national class race. 

Race winner Oliver Turvey said, “It’s a fantastic result for everyone.  We’ve worked so hard over the winter; the team have done a great job with the car.  Obviously the Racing Steps Foundation have enable me to come to the first race ready to win.  I had a good start and I knew that I could win it when I got into the first corner first - I just had to be careful and try and control the race.  I was surprised not to see Jaime and Brendon behind me towards the end and from then on I was able to back off a little bit as there was a quite a big gap back to Max.”

Comment
03/24/08
irl

Road America hopes to stay in the loop for IRL race
George Bruggenthies wants Road America to be a part of the blended IndyCar Series - that's no secret - and he'd like to sit down soon to discuss the possibility.

But the track president also understands reality.

"It's a fire drill, I'm sure," Bruggenthies said Thursday.

"I'm sure they're concerned about their first event and the final Champ Car event at Long Beach. I'm sure they're scrambling to get teams to participate in that. I think that is the focus of both organizations. I don't know anything (beyond speculation), but I would run the business that way."

When unification of the two open-wheel series was announced last month, officials said they hoped to reach out within a couple of weeks to talk about future IndyCar races with promoters whose 2008 Champ Car events were scrapped.

Logistics have kept discussions minimal, said John Griffin, a spokesman for the sanctioning body, the Indy Racing League. The past month has been chaotic, at best, and even the '08 schedule can't be finalized until Champ Car's bankruptcy progresses further.

The IndyCar opener is set for March 29 in Homestead, Fla., and an IndyCar-points-paying Champ Car finale is set for three weeks later in Long Beach, Calif.

Although Bruggenthies would like to know as soon as possible whether the blended series will race at the 4-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, he doesn't envision real negotiations for a month or two. That will still give him time to plan.

"We're already building the '09 schedule," Bruggenthies said. "Usually by June I have a pretty good idea. By July, we've got a real good idea. And by August, we think we have a firm idea.

"Drop-dead stuff really happens in September. But then it can all change again." Milwaukee Sentinel Journal

Comment
03/24/08
ga

Barrett to Run Pontiac GXP.R in Grand-Am
Patrick Barrett
Team USA Scholarship winner and 2007 Pacific F2000 Champion Patrick Barrett will break into the professional sports car racing ranks with PR1 Motorsports in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16.

The 18-year-old Barrett will contest the premiere North American endurance sports car road racing series with the team that he dominated the Pacific F2000 Championship with this past season. He’ll share the Pontiac GXP.R with drivers from the PR1 stable, Canadian Mike Forest and Californians Thomas Merrill and Alan Sciuto. The team will make their Grand-Am debut in the GT class at the Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead Miami Speedway on March 29th.

Drivers in the dual class series share driving duties in the 2.75 to 24 hour races. Barrett will travel to Miami next weekend and standby as the team’s reserve driver. Then in April he’ll co-drive the Pontiac with Mike Forest at PR1’s 2nd event, the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday the 27th.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bernie wants night races in China, Korea
  • British press focus on Hamilton thirst
  • Alonso resigned to difficult season
  • Heikki heralded by Lauda, Gene
  • Todt objects to Schu's two-wheel racing

Bernie wants night races in China, Korea
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is now hoping to install night races in China and South Korea, after revealing on Sunday that Malaysia has finally agreed to floodlighting the Sepang circuit from 2009.

"We'll speak to the people in China, see what we can do there," the 77-year-old F1 chief executive is quoted as saying by the news agency Bloomberg.

Singapore will host F1's first ever night race in September, and South Korea is due to join the annual grand prix calendar in 2010.

"Obviously when we race in South Korea, it will be good to have a night race," said the Briton, who argues that night time events in Asia will bolster the key European television audience.

Ecclestone admits that he is having trouble convincing Australia to farewell daylight racing, but seemed unfazed at the prospect of a "divorce" with the southern country.

"There's no kids involved so we haven't got a big problem," he joked.

Malaysian organizers, on the other hand, "know it is necessary" to switch to a night race, Ecclestone said, flagging a later than 7pm start and insisting that Sepang bear the costs.

British press focus on Hamilton thirst
(GMM)  After ruing his qualifying penalty and botched pit stop, British media turned its attention to the thirst of championship leader Lewis Hamilton when the McLaren driver finished just fifth at Sepang.

23-year-old Hamilton, who is single-mindedly revered by his compatriot press corps, told reporters at the Malaysian circuit that his drink bottle stopped working during the hot race on Sunday.

"The great thing, though, is my fitness.  Physically I felt fine and was able to push all race," the Briton said.

BMW's Robert Kubica, not feeling well all weekend, also told reporters after finishing second at Sepang that he didn't have a drink all race because it was as hot as tea.

But the British press ran only with Hamilton's thirst, The Sun headlining that "Lewis suffers water torture", while The Times began its race analysis with the words "Lewis Hamilton battled dehydration".

The Evening Standard added: "Hamilton runs dry -- Kimi on top as Lewis is out of luck and water", and the Daily Mirror noted that the championship leader had "nothing to drink" but "loads of bottle".

Team boss Ron Dennis, though, seemed to played down his driver's thirst, insisting that the "only drama was (Hamilton's) seized wheel nut".

"Without that, Lewis would have been on the podium ... 100 per cent sure," he said, discounting the possibility that teammate Heikki Kovalainen could have retained third place.

Read more & Comment...
03/24/08
irl

Viso signs with HVM
Viso with team owner Keith Wiggins
HVM Racing is pleased to announce that Ernesto Viso, from Caracas, Venezuela will pilot the #33 entry for the 2008 IndyCar Series. 

Most recently, "EJ" competed in the immensely competitive GP2 Series, in which he won twice and finished six times on the podium. He can also add F1 test driver to his resume, joining with the former Spyker team in 2006. Before that, he raced in British F3 and Formula Renault after winning the Skip Barber Dodge in America. Ernesto tested with the team twice over the winter in Sebring, Florida in a Champ Car, in preparation for the Series in 2008. He immediately impressed team owner, Keith Wiggins. 

"Ernesto showed maturity and professionalism well beyond his years, and not only was he quick in the car, he was a very useful tool for the engineering staff. He gives good feedback and was quick to learn the DP01, and because of this I believe he will adapt to the Dallara very quickly as well.  We wanted to work together in 2008, but the arena in which we will work together has somewhat changed! So, this is obviously a new chapter for Ernesto, and the team, and we are thrilled to have him behind the wheel. Together we will face the significant challenges of this new season in American open-wheel racing, told Wiggins. 

Read more & Comment...
03/23/08
f1

Domenicali: "We wanted to show the reaction of Ferrari"
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Stefano Domenicali was understandably delighted with the team's performance after Kimi Raikkonen's emphatic 19.5s win in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Kuala Lumpur.

"We are very happy in a way, because of course we wanted to show the reaction of Ferrari after a very different weekend in Australia," he said. "That was not really our standard. So I'm very happy because we showed that the team can do a great job. I think the best thing that I have seen is that we kept cool and calm as we normally are, without softening, in a negative way, the pressure that is normal when you have such a difficult start. But that's the main reason why I'm happy, to be honest."

Was there a sense of relief that they had bounced back? "No," replied Domenicali, "I think the sense of relief is connected to the fact that we really showed our potential. We were strong all weekend, very good pace on both tire specs and that is, for us, the main thing that is positive. We knew that our car was good, so that's the reason why we are happy.

Read more & Comment...
03/23/08
f1

Malaysian GP Tire Strategies
In 2008, the tire regulations stipulate that the two dry tire specifications must be visibly distinguishable from each other. At the Malaysian Grand Prix, the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tire was marked with a white line in the second from inside groove. 
 
Team / Race Driver          Tire Choice by Stint*:Medium/Hard
Scuderia Ferrari         
Kimi Raikkonen              Hard-Hard-Medium
Felipe Massa                Hard-Hard-DNF

BMW Sauber F1 Team
Nick Heidfeld              Medium-Hard-Medium
Robert Kubica              Hard-Hard-Medium

ING Renault F1 Team               
Fernando Alonso            Medium-Hard-Medium
Nelson Piquet              Medium-Hard-Hard

AT&T Williams                     
Nico Rosberg                Medium-Medium-Hard
Kazuki Nakajima            Medium-Medium-Hard

Red Bull Racing                   
David Coulthard            Medium-Medium-Hard
Mark Webber                Hard-Hard-Medium

Panasonic Toyota Racing           
Jarno Trulli                Medium-Medium-Hard
Timo Glock                  Medium-DNF

Scuderia Toro Rosso               
Sebastien Bourdais          Medium-DNF
Sebastian Vettel            Medium-Medium-DNF

Honda Racing F1 Team               
Jenson Button              Medium-Hard-Medium
Rubens Barrichello          Hard-Medium-Medium-Medium

Super Aguri F1 Team               
Takuma Sato                Medium-Medium-Hard
Anthony Davidson            Medium-Medium-Hard

Force India Formula One           
Adrian Sutil                Hard-DNF
Giancarlo Fisichella        Medium-Hard-Hard

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes                           
Lewis Hamilton              Medium-Medium-Hard
Heikki Kovalainen          Medium-Hard-Medium

*  Teams do not necessarily change tires at pitstops
*  Includes drive through penalties

Comment
03/23/08
f1

Malaysian GP: Bridgestone race report
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) has won the second round of the FIA Formula One World Championship after using a hard-hard-medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tire strategy in the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

Raikkonen was joined on the podium by BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica, who registered his best ever Formula One finish with second place, finishing just under 20 seconds behind Raikkonen. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes) finished third whilst Jarno Trulli (Toyota) finished in fourth, holding off a charging fifth-finishing Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) at the end of the race.

Sixth spot went to Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), who set the race's fastest lap with a 1min 35.366secs on lap 55 with Bridgestone's medium compound. Seventh was Mark Webber (Red Bull) who held off eighth-finishing Fernando Alonso (Renault) at the end of the race.

There were a variety of tire strategies used in Malaysia. Every driver that finished the race made two stops for fuel and tires, but the order they used the two compounds differed according to individual competitor performance and preference.

Temperatures soared, but tire performance was strong from both compounds. Despite the threat of seasonal rainfall there was none and Bridgestone's wet and extreme wet tires were unused in this race.

Hamilton remains in the lead of the drivers' championship with 14 points from Raikkonen on 11 whilst McLaren Mercedes leads the constructors' championship on 24 points with BMW Sauber in second place with 19 points.

Read more & Comment...
03/23/08
f1

Dennis returned home for brother's funeral
Ron Dennis returned to England after last Sunday's Australian grand prix following the sudden death of his older brother Michael, it has emerged in the Sepang paddock.

The McLaren boss had told reporters in Melbourne that he would not be making the subsequent journey to Malaysia because he had to return to Britain to attend to an unfortunate personal matter.

It turns out that it was the funeral of his 66-year-old brother, who had died while Dennis was in Australia for the first race of 2008.

Dennis then decided at the last minute to make the 20-odd hour flight to Malaysia, despite the fact that he would only be present at Sepang for qualifying and Sunday's grand prix.

The move, however, gave the lie to continuing speculation that Dennis' commitment to fronting the Mercedes-powered team is beginning to wane.

"Before I embark on the next chapter of my life, I would like the McLaren Group to be completely stable and to have a complete resolution of all the aspects that have created the instability of the company," he is quoted as saying by the Mail on Sunday. Grandprix.com

Comment
03/23/08
f1

Ferrari vows to improve engines for customers
(GMM)  Ferrari has vowed to improve the service it provides to its F1 team customers, following a spat of engine problems so far in 2008.

The Maranello based works team's V8 failures in Melbourne attracted global headlines, but as reliability improved markedly this weekend following a frantic investigation back in Italy, customers Force India and Toro Rosso continued to struggle with apparently fragile engine specifications at Sepang.

"Our customers have to be satisfied, so if something can be improved from our side, we need to react," Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told reporters on Sunday.

F1's other supplier of customer engines, Renault, had an engine fail on Mark Webber's Red Bull on Friday.

But Fabrice Lom, who runs Red Bull's Renault engine program, pointed out that it was the first such blow-up since the two outfits joined forces last year.

Comment
03/23/08
f1

Massa - I lost the car
Felipe Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa on Sunday did not take the blame for his retirement from the Malaysian grand prix.

The pole sitter, who had fallen behind his teammate and grand prix winner Kimi Raikkonen through the first pit stops at Sepang, mysteriously spun into the gravel around mid-distance.

"I don't know what happened, I just lost the car completely," he was quoted as explaining to the British broadcaster ITV.

"There was strange behavior on the rear, so I don't know," the Brazilian added.

Massa's second retirement of 2008 means that while eleven drivers have scored points in the opening two races, the 26-year-old is now fourteen points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Comment
03/23/08
f1

'Best Easter present for our fans'
Luca di Montezemolo
It was a good day for the Scuderia Ferrari. Although Felipe Massa wasn't able to complete the Malaysian Grand Prix, teammate Kimi Raikkonen made up for this as he crossed the finish line first. At the end of the race President Luca di Montezemolo declared:

"I expected a reaction like this, because I know how strong and competitive our car and also our team is. I am especially happy for Stefano Domenicali, as it was his first win as Team Principal of the Scuderia Ferrari, but also for Kimi Raikkonen, who drove a perfect race. This is the best Easter present we could give to our fans."

Comment
03/23/08
f1

Hamilton - I did the best I could
Lewis Hamilton
Australian GP winner Lewis Hamilton said the best he could do was 4th in the Malaysian GP where Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen romped to an easy win.

"We got off to a very good start, I was happy with that to go from ninth to fifth," Hamilton said. "I was pushing Mark Webber along all the time, but following someone is very difficult, it doesn't matter how fast you are - he drove very well."

"I did the best job I could," he added. "I pushed very hard to get fourth at the end and believed I could get it but Jarno did a great job and drove very well. I think we just have to do a better job in qualifying next time."

Meanwhile, Robert Kubica was delighted with his first podium finish since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix as he fought back from a pointless Australian Grand Prix to finish second, just 20 seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen.

"A fantastic result for the team, a second, second place in a row for us," Kubica said after the race. "After a disappointing Australian race for me I'm very happy for myself and the team - my first podium since Monza in 2006."

Comment
03/23/08
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Sunday
Inside Grand Prix Malaysia 
2:00am-2:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 
2:30am-5:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nationwide Series Replay Pepsi 300 Nashville 
3:00am-5:00am (R) ESPN2
Barrett-Jackson 2008 
10:30am-1:30pm SPEED
Formula 1 Replay Malaysian Grand Prix 
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Confidential 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Featured Interview: Brian Carter (WoO)
Featured Interview: Jimmy Vasser (IndyCar)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED


All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com


Comment
03/23/08
speedcar

Alzen takes his second
Uwe Alzen scored his second Speedcar victory in the Sunday morning race at Sepang, having already won the second 'reverse grid' event at Sentul. The German touring car veteran chased early leader David Terrien, and eventually found his way past.

The grid saw the top eight line up in reverse order, with Saturday's eighth-placed finisher Terrien on pole ahead of Nicolas Navarro, Stefan Johansson, Ananda Mikola, Alzen, Mathias Lauda, Johnny Herbert and Saturday winner Jean Alesi.

There was drama even before the start as Ukyo Katayama pitted for attention to an apparent suspension problem, while when the grid moved away behind the safety car Navarro failed to get going, and was pushed to the pits. Both men subsequently joined the race from the end of the pitlane.

Read more & Comment...
03/23/08
f1

Gulf Air gears up for F1
Gulf Air yesterday unveiled a new Formula One look for one of its aircraft ahead of next month's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Nearly 32 artists and technicians spent more than 7,000 hours painting on the design, which incorporates the black and white checkered F1 flag and the color of Bahrain's national flag.

It was created by Gulf Air corporate development department aircraft analysis manager Bader Yousif Murad, an artist with a passion for aviation since his childhood.

Chief executive officer Bjorn Naf and senior officials attended a ceremony at the Bahrain International Airport VIP Tent on the occasion.

"The flow and direction of every angle in the design creates a virtual race track imagery, disappearing into infinity and reappearing continuously," said Mr. Murad.

"I am sure it will be an exceptional sight in the sky and on the ground."

Comment
03/23/08
tv news
irl
WoO

Jimmy Vasser, Brian Carter will be guests on Wind Tunnel
Jimmy Vasser, co-owner of PK Racing Technology, will be interviewed live via satellite on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Sunday night.  Brian Carter, World Racing Groups's new CEO, will be the in-studio guest on Wind Tunnel.  The program airs at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED. 

Comment
03/22/08
nnw

Bush spins, Wimmer wins in Nashville
Kyle Busch's loss was Scott Wimmer's gain.

Busch dominated Saturday's Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway but lost control of his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota off Turn 4 after leading 125 of the first 162 laps.

Scott Wimmer celebrates winning the Pepsi 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway
Padraic Major/NASCAR
That handed the lead to Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer, but RCR teammate Wimmer passed Bowyer for the lead with 20 laps to go to notch his first win in nearly five years.

Wimmer is also the first non-NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series race this season and the first since Jason Leffler won at O'Reilly Raceway Park last July.

"Stepping down and running a partial schedule in the Nationwide Series is not what I want to be doing, but those are the cards that are dealt to me right now," Wimmer said. "I'm with a great team with Richard
Childress Racing and have great teammates. You can struggle in a single-car operation or a lower-budget team, but that's not where any driver wants to be.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can for Richard right now, and hopefully, it'll fall that someday I can get back to racing Nationwide full time or Sprint Cup full time. But right now, I'm having a good time."

Read more & Comment...
03/22/08
irl
cc

Champ Car teams on pace with IRL teams? UPDATE #2 Champ Car employee Scot Elkins, who oversaw the design of the Panoz Champ Car, writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As you well know, I rarely speak about rumors and whatnot, but today's posting by D.B. Cooper requires a bit of a reply, and since I only have 39 days as a Champ Car World Series (CCWS) employee left, I thought "what the hell."

I cannot fathom where the urban legend that the DP01 is not a viable oval chassis began?  The fact is both the DP01 and the 016 Atlantic chassis incorporated the most recent safety features that all modern monocoque chassis require.  There is no "oval spec" vs. "road course spec" in regards to the crash test specifications.  It simply does not exist.  All modern monocoques are built to the same standard, and that standard is typically the FIA crash testing specifications for F1 and F3.  To give complete disclosure, the DP01 was built and crash tested to a combination of IRL, F1, and existing Champ Car test specifications, in order to obtain the safest car relative to the most current established regulations.  There are differing opinions as to whether a low or high nose configuration is better or worse for running over crash debris on ovals, but these are only opinions and no data supports either configuration.  So anyone that states that the safety levels of the DP01 or the 016 are not suitable for ovals, is making a very uneducated statement.

It is true that the aerodynamic configurations that both the DP01 and 016 currently use, may not be suited for ovals, but only from the standpoint that the cars have too much drag to have the "close" racing and high speeds that is typically expected when racing on an oval.  A few changes to items such as the wings and underbodies, would make both cars very competitive in an oval racing environment. 

Furthermore, the crash test specifications for the DP01 and 016 were determined by myself, Steve Sewell (Atlantic Technical Director) and the respective engineers at the chassis manufacturers. They were not in any way determined by any of the owners of CCWS.

Please forgive my rant, but the staff at CCWS worked very hard to create these cars to be the safest possible, regardless of the circuit, and I felt that the record needed to be set straight. Sincerely, Scot Elkins, Technical Director, Operations

03/22/08 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing.com, I am confused.  I went to the IndyCar site and there was news on the test at Sebring.  But there were only IRL teams testing at Sebring.  Have you heard the news?  Champ Car filed bankruptcy and is a thing of the past.  There is ONLY one top open wheel series in America now and it is called IndyCar and their teams referred to as IndyCar teams.  Forget IRL and Champ Car they are of the past.  INDYCAR is now and of the future.

As for the test times at Sebring please compare apples to apples.  The IRL Dallara was designed specifically for one thing, and one thing only, turning LEFT on ovals.  The IRL in its wisdom bent to market forces and adapted the Dallara to run on road and street courses.  On the other hand, the Panoz was designed specifically for one thing, and one thing only, road (and street) course racing.  Unfortunately, one of the minority owners of OWRS convinced Kalkhoven and company that when they designed the Panoz not to incorporate design and safety features that would make the DP01 a viable oval chassis.  Very shortsighted to say the least, but hey at least they were consistent.   

As for the transitioning Champ Car teams test times at Sebring again you need to compare apples to apples.  That test was held just after the 12 Hours of Sebring and there were two days of ALMS testing and 12 Hours of race rubber on the track.  A reasonable ‘guesstimate’ of the lap time improvement due to the different conditions would be about one second a lap.  The St. Petersburg race weekend will be a more reliable indicator of where everyone stacks up.  No one doubts Newman/Haas/Lanigan will be on the pace pretty quick and with Kalkhoven free of having to write tens of millions in welfare checks each year (some like Walker will be greatly missed, others like Rocketsports won’t be missed at all) indications are KK will now provide a proper budget to KV Racing Technology. With Vasser at the helm of KV Racing Technology and Chip Ganassi Racing mentoring them, KV Racing Technology will also be up to speed quickly.  The addition of quality drivers, teams, and owners to IndyCar will add substantially to the show and improve the product.  In this instance the sum is truly greater than the individual parts as around half the field this year will be entered by top professional respected teams.

After 12 years of open wheel war that all but destroyed open wheel racing in America, it is time for every fan of the category to bury their personal preferences/agendas and pull together to make this sport what it once was. 

Twelve years ago the first race of the year, the last before the split, was the Homestead Grand Prix of Miami on the exact same track that will usher in the dawn of a new era in American Open Wheel Racing next weekend.  The 1996 race had drivers with names like Zanardi, Vasser, Tracy, Fittipaldi, Rahal, Gordon, de Ferran, and Unser, Jr. In 1996 Tracy sat on the pole with a lap of 198.590 MPH leading a 26 car field. 

Twelve years later fans will watch another 26 car field take the green, (pole last year was 214.322MPH on now a much higher banked Homestead track) with names like Rahal, Andretti, Castroneves, Patrick, Hunter-Reay, Dixon, Wilson, Servia, and Wheldon so it really is ‘Back to the Future’ with a show that is every bit as good as it EVER was. IF the IRL really grasps the fact that fans primarily follow drivers, not a series, car manufacturer, team, etc., (something Champ Car never figured out) and PROMOTE the DRIVERS, this thing can and WILL work.

It is now a series with drivers and teams that deserve our support.  As the fan base grows, the spectator count will increase, the TV ratings will go up, Fortune 500 companies and other sponsors will realize the value they can get for investing their marketing dollars in American Open Wheel Racing and the category will once again occupy its rightful place in American Motorsports.  D.B. Cooper, Cooperstown, NY

03/21/08 It's hard to tell whether the Champ Car teams are adapting quickly to their new IRL machinery.  If the recent test times from Sebring are at all representative, the Champ Car teams won't be too far off the pace - Oriol Servia would have slotted in third quick and Will Power 5th quick. Recently the Champ Cars were turning laps in the 49 sec bracket, 3 full seconds faster than the IRL machinery, meaning around the Sebring track, the Champ Car would lap the IRL car every 18 laps.

Combined Champ Car Transition Team 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

Combined IRL Regular Driver Results:

Ps. Driver Team Chassis Time Speed
1. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Honda Dallara 52.4202 113.929 mph
2. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Honda Dallara 52.4531 114.617
3. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 52.8609 113.732
4. Hideki Mutoh-R Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 52.9513 113.538
5. Dan Wheldon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 53.0131 113.406
6. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 53.0286 113.373
7. Darren Manning A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 53.0433 113.341
8. Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 53.2452 112.912
9. Vitor Meira Delphi Panther Racing Honda Dallara 53.2467 112.908
10. A.J. Foyt IV Vision Racing Honda Dallara 53.3477 112.695
11. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara 53.3859 112.614
12. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman Racing Honda Dallara 53.4570 112.464
13. Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara 53.5015 112.371
14. Jay Howard-R Roth Racing Honda Dallara 53.8033 111.740
15. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara 54.0505 111.229
16. Ed Carpenter Vision Racing Honda Dallara 54.1869 110.949
17. Marty Roth Roth Racing Honda Dallara 54.4976 110.317
18. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara 56.4081 106.580

Comment
03/22/08
f1

50 per cent chance of rain on race day
Concerns about the weather at Sepang caused a number of teams to complete their qualifying laps earlier than they would have liked, guarding against being impacted by the rain which came down in buckets during the GP2 Asia race after qualifying on Saturday. 

Latest forecasts for race day at Sepang predict humidity will be around the 80 per cent mark in the early morning, rising to over 90 per cent during the course of the day. While temperatures are expected to climb to over 36 degrees Centigrade, the risk of isolated thunderstorms and sudden downpours during the race are currently at 50 per cent probable.

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03/22/08
f1

Kovalainen will win a race
The five-place starting grid penalty for the two McLaren drivers has to some extent overshadowed the good qualifying performance put in by Heikki Kovalainen who managed to edge out team-mate Lewis Hamilton on only his second outing for McLaren. In an interview with Motorsport Magazin adrivo.com, McLaren-CEO Martin Whitmarsh delivered this glowing report: "He came into this team with all the pressure that involves. And then to hold your own alongside someone like Lewis who is so strong and so familiar with the way we work, that’s excellent."

According to Whitmarsh, in his nine weeks at McLaren, Kovalainen has made fantastic progress: "His self-confidence has grown enormously. His performance has got stronger and we are just at the beginning of a long relationship." Whitmarsh is expecting even greater things from the Finn in the next few years: "I'm sure that he will win a race some time this year and that will be a further boost to his performance and his self-confidence. I'm convinced that he will go from strength to strength." Source: 'adrivo.com Motorsport Magazin'

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03/22/08
British F3

Double pole for Carlin at Oulton
The Carlin F3 team took pole position in both the International and National classes this morning, with Jaime Alguersuari and Andy Meyrick leading the six strong Carlin team.  Taking part in the first qualifying session of the season at Oulton Park, Alguersuari and Oliver Turvey form a Carlin front row, with Red Bull driver Brendon Hartley lining up fifth for his first F3 race.  Sam Abay will start 14th, with Meyrick leading the national class 16th overall.  Team mate Kristjan Einar will line up 4th in the National Class and 22nd overall on his F3 debut.

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03/22/08
Racing News

Fifties Racing Hero Hounded by State of Connecticut
John Fitch
John Fitch automobile safety advocate, 1950's auto racing star World War II Aviator and POW Camp survivor is being hounded to bankruptcy by the state of Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection for having unknowingly had a pair of 1000 Gallon Heating Oil tanks which developed leaks into the surrounding ground at his historic 241-year old Lime Rock home. 

The Ninety year old Fitch, after determining that the tanks leaked, duly dug them up and had them replaced. Upon performing this task, he notified the Connecticut bureaucracy who in turn have thrown the book at him, saddling John with massive costs for alleged hazmat mitigation!  This comes on top of John¹s burden of arranging for nursing home care for his dear and devoted wife. 

Personally, I recognize that "hazardous materials," are bad! But I have to wonder about a state that is one of the original 13 colonies applying what have to be draconian modern requirements against property that predates the Constitution of the United States! 

I was born and raised in Connecticut and as a youngster watched John Fitch race at Thompson Speedway and Watkins Glen (NY). I also attended the first races at Lime Rock Park, a circuit that John Fitch founded, designed and operated in 1957. I hitchhiked from Litchfield to Lime Rock for those races. (Not something I'd recommend today). 

Read more & Comment...
03/22/08
ga

Zogaib and Dalziel pair up for Samax Motorsport
Henri Zogaib and Ryan Dalziel will team up for Samax Motorsport for round two of the Rolex Sports Car Series season and the GAINSCO Grand Prix at Homestead Miami Speedway March 27-29.

The Homestead event will be the Rolex race debut for the driver pairing, which will also be utilizing a new powerplant as Samax Motorsport has moved to a Dinan-prepared BMW mated to  the Riley chassis. Zogaib and Dalziel already got the chance to  work together and get acclimated with the new package during two days of testing at the end of February during the Rolex open test at Homestead.

“I’m really looking forward to the Homestead race weekend and happy to have Ryan as my co-driver,” said Zogaib. “I feel very confident racing on this track and Ryan is of course right on his game. This new BMW motor is fantastic, and things went really well in testing. The whole Samax team has been working really well together, so we’re optimistic about this race weekend.”

Read more & Comment...
03/22/08
f1
SKOOX Cup

Schumacher stuns in Motorcycle debut
Sparks fly off knee of F1 superstar Michael Schumacher
F1 superstar Michael Schumacher bagged his first podium finish in a motorcycle race yesterday when he raced a Honda Fireblade to third place in the SKOOX Cup at the 4.5km Pannoniaring circuit in Hungary.

Clocking a fastest-race lap time of 2m 1. 309 (2m flat in qualifying), Schumacher was third behind winner Martin Bauer and Andreas Meklau in the superstock-rules championship.

Schumacher was riding a bike usually campaigned by IDM champion Martin Farmer in the German championship, but according to race watchers was aggressive on track right from the start - earning him the incredible podium finish in a fraught race.

Schumacher, riding a 1000 ccm Honda superbike, dominated the qualifying, grabbing pole position, although it should be noted that neither IDM rider had timing transponders and therefore started the race from the rear of the grid. Despite his pole position, Schumacher decided to join the IDM riders and start the race from the rear of the field. From here, he fought his way through the field to finish third overall.

Team boss Mike Wohner said that it was impossible to talk to Schumacher immediately before the race, because he was so nervous, he said: “I noticed that Schumi was extremely focused before the race. His tactics were pretty simple, he was going to ride the race completely on full attack. He also admitted to me that his nervousness level was high."

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03/22/08
f1

McLaren grudgingly accepts penalties
(GMM) Members of the McLaren team on Saturday evening accepted the stewards' penalties, but insist that the five place demotions were not entirely justified.

"I was pretty much out of the way," Lewis Hamilton said at Sepang, where it has been raining almost non-stop since the end of qualifying.

The stewards found that the 23-year-old Briton impeded Nick Heidfeld, while teammate Heikki Kovalainen was pinged for holding up Fernando Alonso.

Statements from race control accused the pair of "travelling at a very slow speed on the racing line".

Referring to Heidfeld, Hamilton said: "If I held him up then I apologise for that."

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh confirmed to reporters in Malaysia that the team will not appeal the verdict, but he thinks his drivers tried to get out of the way of the speeding cars.

"If you look at the footage, our guys squeezed in as much as they could," he said, only acknowledging that the slow moving cars would have been a 'visual' distraction to Heidfeld and Alonso.

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03/22/08
nhra

Funny Car veteran Hofmann, championship runner-up in 1995, dies
Former NHRA national-event-winning Funny Car driver Al Hofmann, a longtime fan favorite despite his take-no-prisoners exterior who gave John Force his most serious championship challenges in the mid-1990s, died March 20 of a heart attack at his home in Eustis, Fla. He was 60.

Hofmann, who won 15 times in 32 final-round appearances, was a regular in the NHRA top 10 from 1991, when he finished seventh, through 1996, highlighted by a five-win 1995 campaign in which he finished second in the standings to Force. He finished third in 1992 and 1994 and fourth in 1993 and 1996.

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03/22/08
irl

IRL soliciting input on 2009 schedule UPDATE We have added a new poll to our home page soliciting your input on which ex-Champ Car races should make it onto the 2009 IndyCar race calendar.

03/16/08 With the unification of American open-wheel racing for 2008, it's already time to start planning for '09. To that end, how about submitting your preferred list of 20 races for the 2009 IndyCar Series calendar. To drive home your points to Indy Racing League management, make the schedule realistic.  IndyCar.com

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03/22/08
f1

Hard and medium compound prove evenly matched
Felipe Massa will start the second round of the championship from pole position after using Bridgestone’s medium compound Potenza tire to go fastest in qualifying at Sepang for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Massa set a time of 1:35.748secs and was almost half a second faster than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who will join him on the front row for Sunday’s 56-lap race. McLaren Mercedes team-mates Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton will start on the second row.

The Malaysian skies over Sepang threatened rain for most of the day, but nothing of any consequence fell during the course of running, meaning that only Bridgestone’s dry weather grooved tires have been used today.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Tire Development
“Congratulations to Felipe Massa for his first pole position of 2008. Today it seemed that the medium compound had more grip when cars were running lighter in Q1 and Q2, but in Q3, when cars were running heavier, the difference between the hard and medium was small and some cars were quicker on the hard compound."

"We had heavy rain last night and the track surface started the day in a similar condition to yesterday after FP1. We saw a dramatic improvement in lap times as rubber went down on this relatively new surface through practice and qualifying today. Tire appearance on both compounds was good and teams will have to spend a long time analyzing the data we give them to decide which tire strategy will be best if it is a dry race tomorrow. If we see a wet race, the strategies could be very interesting as we have not seen any wet running here without traction control this weekend.” Source: Bridgestone

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03/22/08
Speedcar

The Jean and Johnny Show
Jean Alesi won a spectacular Speedcar race at Sepang on Saturday morning as the championship supported a Grand Prix for the first time. Many big names from the F1 world paid close attention to the action as Alesi won a race-long battle with his old friend and sometime Sauber team mate Johnny Hebert, finally getting the better of the Englishman on the last lap.

Winner of the first race in Sentul, Alesi took pole position ahead of Herbert, Mathias Lauda, David Terrien, Uwe Alzen and Ananda Mikola. Former F1 stars Ukyo Katayama, Gianni Morbidelli and Stefan Johansson were eighth to 10th, while at the back were series rookies Christian Danner, Alex Yoong and JJ Lehto, all of whom had very little time to get used to the car.

Among those who came to visit the cars on the grid were three-time World Champion Niki Lauda, and Toro Rosso boss Gerhard Berger, who was keen to wish his old pal Alesi well.

There was drama even before the start as Katayama and Morbidelli clashed as the field came through the corner onto the pits. The Italian spun, while Katayama retired to the pits with front end damage.

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03/22/08
GP2

Petrov wins Sepang GP2 race
Vitaly Petrov
It was a difficult start for the front row men of the day as Karun Chandhok and Romain Grosjean both stalled on the grid and left Bruno Senna to lead the race in front of Adrian Valles and Sébastien Buemi. However, in the opening lap, the rain started to fall and the iSport driver went wide while chaos happened at the back of the pack with five cars going off track. The race was stopped.

At the restart behind the safety car, Adrian Valles took the lead in front of Sébastien Buemi. The two men pulled clear of the rest of the pack where Grosjean and Senna fought their way back to the top. The Brazilian pushed a little too hard though and after he signed the fastest lap time, he went off track and had to retire. Behind the two leaders, Fauzy, Tung and Petrov were fighting for third place. The Trident Racing driver eventually spun and Petrov started to attack Fauzy, but the Super Nova Racing man chose that moment to pit. While Grosjean made his way to eighth, the leaders also came back to the pits, Buemi one lap before Valles. The FMS man got back to the track just ahead of the Arden driver. The Swiss pushed really hard to try and overtake the Spaniard and unfortunately crashed into his rival. Both men had to retire and left Petrov and Grosjean to lead the race in front of BCN’s Pavlovic who, on hot tires, overtook the Frenchman, but the two cars touched in the process and Grosjean had to go back to the pits for inspection.

Petrov became a clear leader after Fairuz Fauzy was held up trying to lap Nunes. Dams’ Jérôme d’Ambrosio fought his way from 16th to third place ahead of Durango’s Valsecchi and the other Dams driver Kamui Kobayashi. The championship leader finished 9th, but still managed to salvage one point for fastest lap time. Behind Grosjean, the drivers’ championship has drastically changed with Fairuz Fauzy and Vitaly Petrov taking 2nd and 3rd. Bruno Senna and Adrian Valles dropped to fourth and fifth.

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03/22/08
gp2

Malaysian Frustrations for Senna
Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna endured a frustrating day at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia today when he retired from the GP2 Asia Series main race, round five of the championship. His focus will now turn to tomorrow's sprint race, where he will try to finish in a points-scoring position to aid his championship bid in the ten round series.

Bruno hit the tricky Malaysian circuit for the first time in Friday morning's free practice session. It was Bruno's first visit to Sepang and the first time that the GP2 Asia Series ran on the same weekend as a Formula One race - the series supported the Malaysian GP. Bruno completed 13 laps of testing in the thirty minute session, recording a fastest lap of 1:46.777, just over half a second off the pace of session leader Romain Grosjean. In Friday afternoon's qualifying, Bruno continued his strong GP2 Asia form, setting the fourth fastest lap with a time of 1:45.094 to put him on the second row of the grid in fourth position for Saturday's main race.

Read more & Comment...
03/22/08
f1

Stewards give RBR green light to race at Sepang
(GMM)  Stewards allowed Red Bull Racing to return to action at the Sepang circuit on Saturday morning, following David Coulthard's suspension failure and crash in Friday practice.

Team chiefs had to submit a technical report to the FIA representatives in Malaysia, after the stewards suspected the Adrian Newey-penned RB4 could fall foul of the regulation about 'dangerous constructions'.

But, despite fears that the team could be prevented from racing here, the stewards on Saturday said that after a visual check of the cars, no action will be taken at this time.

"This matter will however be kept under review during the event," they noted.

Mark Webber and teammate Coulthard were fifth and sixth fastest in the pre-qualifying practice session at Sepang on Saturday morning.

Comment
03/22/08
f1

Teams push to change safety car rule
(GMM)  F1 teams are unhappy with the current safety car rules that can benefit or destroy a drivers' race.

Michael Schumacher this week commented that the rule, whereby the pitlane is automatically closed upon deployment of the safety car, should be changed.

Toro Rosso rookie Sebastien Bourdais benefited greatly from the SC's deployment at Albert Park a week ago, but Rubens Barrichello was adversely affected, and Heikki Kovalainen robbed of a podium place.

It is understood that the Bourdais situation, in particular, led some rival team managers to complain to race director Charlie Whiting in the pre-event briefing here at Sepang.

"I think the onus is on us to come up with something better," said McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh in Malaysia.

Whitmarsh thinks the FIA was right to do something about the previous situation, where drivers raced at full speed upon deployment of the safety car in order to pit.

"But I think we've got to come up with something better and I think the FIA is open to that," he added.

BMW's Mario Theissen agrees that "nobody" in formula one is happy with the current rules.

"There are discussions between Charlie and the team managers," he revealed.  "Let's see what the outcome is."

Comment
03/22/08
f1

Malaysian GP: Heidfeld puts BMW on top
BMW's Nick Heidfeld (1m35.019s) tops Saturday morning practice times for Sunday's F1 Malaysian GP in Sepang.    He was followed by the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen (1m35.262s) and Felipe Massa (1m35.388s).  Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber rounded out the top-5.

Saturday AM results

Pos

No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap
1 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:35.019
2 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.262 0.243
3 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:35.388 0.369
4 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:35.389 0.370
5 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:35.437 0.418
6 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:35.653 0.634
7 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 1:35.768 0.749
8 16 Jenson Button Honda 1:35.781 0.762
9 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:35.827 0.808
10 12 Timo Glock Toyota 1:35.911 0.892
11 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.927 0.908
12 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:36.068 1.049
13 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:36.183 1.164
14 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:36.229 1.210
15 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:36.490 1.471
16 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.529 1.510
17 4 Robert Kubica BMW 1:36.618 1.599
18 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 1:36.668 1.649
19 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:36.908 1.889
20 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:36.939 1.920
21 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.140 2.121
22 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:37.703 2.684

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