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Logano cruises to 8th straight JGR Nationwide win at Fontana  Fighting off challenges from a succession of rivals, Logano, the Coors Light Pole Award winner, gave JGR its eighth consecutive Nationwide Series victory at Auto Club Speedway in winning the Royal Purple 300 by 1.066 seconds over runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The victory was Logano's first of the season, second at Fontana and the 10th of his career. Logano is the first Sprint Cup Series regular to win a Nationwide race this season.

"It's important to keep the streak going," said Logano, who survived a wild restart with 12 laps left and pulled away for the win. "You don't want to be the guy who didn't win it and broke the streak. Obviously, it makes me work extra hard -- not that we don't work hard any other weekend; we try to win every one of them -- but to keep a streak going like that is important for our whole company." More ...

Polesitter Tristan Vautier wins Indy Lights race  Tristan Vautier  avoided on-track issues with other competitors, handled three restarts flawlessly and went on to a 1.0391-second victory over Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Esteban Guerrieri. Sebastian Saavedra moved up one position to claim third place in the No. 27 Team AFS car and Oliver Webb was fourth in his series debut in the No. 7 Lucas Oil Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

Vautier is the 10th driver to win his debut race in the series and the sixth who has won his debut at St. Petersburg (Marco Andretti, Raphael Matos, Junior Strous, J.K. Vernay and Josef Newgarden). More ...

Robby Gordon scaling back Cup program  
Robby Gordon
Robby Gordon said he likely will not race at Martinsville Speedway next week after failing to qualify for the previous three Cup races.

He was too slow to make the field two weeks ago at Las Vegas and then burned an electronic control unit in the new fuel-injection system that resulted in his car never getting on the track at Bristol. He also failed to qualify for the race Friday at Auto Club Speedway.

Gordon said he planned to race at Martinsville if he qualified Friday in California, but even if he had made the races at California and Martinsville, it was unlikely he would go to the next Cup race at Texas. More ...

Pigot Holds Off Brabham to Win USF2000 Race 1 at St. Petersburg  
Spencer Pigot
Round Three of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda turned into another intra-team battle as Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham waged a race-long duel throughout the first of this weekend’s USF2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products.

The pair of 18-year-olds, both of whom drive for St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, finished as they started after an intense 30 minutes of racing with only one brief caution period, with Pigot taking a narrow victory to close within two points of Brabham in the championship standings. More ...

Jerez day two, affected by rain  The second day of MotoGP testing in Jerez was shortened by rain and mixed weather conditions, but proved an opportunity to test the new 1000cc bikes in these circumstances.

American Nicky Hayden was fastest. More ...
Pagenaud tops final IndyCar practice  Simon Pagenaud put the HP sponsored Sam Schmidt car on top of the speed charts for final practice on the streets of St. Petersburg. Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were 2nd and 3rd. Dario Franchitti and Mike Conway rounded out the top-5.
Vautier nips Guerrieri for Indy Lights pole  Tristan Vautier has won the pole for the St. Petersburg Indy Lights race with a lap of 1m06.455s, which was enough to bump Esteban Guerrieri from Argentina off the top spot late in the qualifying session.

The top-9 cars were separated by less than 1-second.

More to follow..... More ...

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

Mike Gascoyne would pick Button
  • Gascoyne would choose Button over Hamilton
  • Schumacher not expecting Sepang pole
  • Alonso has 'samurai' tattoo - report
  • Lotus' Lux reveals - 'I forgive Sutil'
  • F1 agrees new Concorde with 'majority' of teams
  • Paddock abuzz with Concorde intrigue New
  • Mercedes goal is 'third force' for now - Haug New
  • Austin F1 organizers hope to avert potential permit snag New
  • Street festival planned downtown during Austin F1 weekend New
  • Framing for main Austin grandstand at F1 circuit has begun New More ...
Malaysia GP practice 3: Rosberg on top  
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg looked set to challenge for pole position in qualifying for the Malaysian GP after topping the final session of free practice by 0.45s.

The long straights of the Sepang circuit appear to suit Mercedes' trick DRS-operated 'F-duct' and the silver arrows have constantly set the pace in the first sector, where straight-line speed is important.

The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were second and third quickest, but only hundredths quicker than the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. More ...

New curbs on track draw frowns from IndyCar drivers  Add another new element to the new cars and new engine manufacturers for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: curbs.

Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay said Friday morning that he and other racers were concerned about new, raised curbs at Turns 2, 4 and 9. Turn 4 is the intersection of Second Avenue S and First Street SE, Turn 9 the intersection of Central Avenue and Bay Shore Drive NE. More ...

Luiz Razia flies to Sepang GP2 win  
Davide Valsecchi (DAMS), Luiz Razia (Arden International), Max Chilton (Carlin)
Luiz Razia is a happy man: a perfect get away from the front row and a flawless drive meant he took a lights to flag win today in the Sepang Feature Race. It was also the first win for the Brazilian’s team Arden International, since Charles Pic in Barcelona Feature Race in 2010. Razia crossed the finish line an impressive 7.8s ahead of Davide Valsecchi. Max Chilton in third pocketed his and Carlin’s first GP2 podium.

It all happened at the start: poleman Valsecchi was slow to get away and dropped to fourth. It was Razia who took the lead entering into Turn 1 and he would never be seen again. Behind him, Fabio Leimer made a perfect start from P5 to pass Valsecchi, Chilton and Stefano Coletti, the Monegasque driver slotting into P3. The young Brazilian rapidly built a 2.3s gap to his closest rival. The battle for P2 commenced and Coletti made a move on Leimer only to make a small mistake which opened a gap for Valsecchi to pass him. More ...
Lotus building burns down at Sepang  UPDATE
Lotus Fire in Sepang
(GMM)  The drama at Sepang continued even through the night, as the hospitality building occupied by the Lotus team burned down.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was caused by a faulty fridge.

"The firemen arrived soon and put everything under control.  Our hospitality was only invaded by smoke," Ferrari revealed on Twitter.

Lotus added: "Luckily we've found a new base!"

03/23/12 The Lotus F1 team hospitality kitchen caught fire last night in Malaysia but other teams helped to extinguish the fire.  The fire engine arrived 40 minutes later.
NASCAR competitors perplexed by Hendrick ruling  Analyzing the fallout from the shocking decision by NASCAR’s Chief Appellate Officer to rescind severe penalties against Hendrick Motorsports this week might be harder than getting a car through NASCAR inspection.

Drivers and teams are perplexed by CAO John Middlebrook’s decision Tuesday to rescind the six-week suspensions for Hendrick crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec and the 25-point penalty for driver Jimmie Johnson, while upholding Knaus’ $100,000 fine.

Just how bizarre was Middlebrook’s decision? More ...

Johnson says appeal proves car was legal, disagrees with NASCAR  
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson is pleased to get his 25 points back and that he didn’t lose crew chief Chad Knaus for six weeks after Hendrick Motorsports won its appeal Tuesday.  But pleased is as far as Johnson will go. Not ecstatic. Not vindicated.

“I don’t feel vindicated because I feel like everything should have been overturned,” Johnson said Friday at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Knaus and car chief Ron Malec were suspended for six weeks and Johnson docked 25 points after NASCAR officials found what it said were illegal C-posts on Johnson’s car at Daytona Feb. 17. Knaus also was fined $100,000. More ...

NASCAR President defends appeals process  
Mike Helton
NASCAR president Mike Helton said he believes in the sport's rules inspectors and the overall appeals process, despite the decision Tuesday that overturned most of the penalties imposed on Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy from a body-alignment issue at Daytona last month. "We think the decision made this week supports the inspection process with the elements of the penalty that were upheld," Helton said Friday at Auto Club Speedway.

"It indicates they did their job correctly." NASCAR originally penalized the #48 team 25 points and suspended both crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six races, along with fining Knaus $100,000. Before the car went on the track at Daytona, inspectors said the C-posts (on each side of the rear window) were not within the tolerances of the rule book, but the car was not measured on the templates. More ...

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Announces PNC Bank Free Prix Day  The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (CDBIGP) today announced that the return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City, June 1-3, will include a series of free events presented by PNC Bank.

“We are excited to continue the long-standing tradition of ‘Free Prix Day’ thanks to support by PNC Bank,” said Bud Denker, event chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We’re committed to hosting one of the most thrilling, memorable events in the racing world the first weekend in June.”

The Grand Prix will feature “PNC Bank Free Prix Day” on Friday, June 1 when race fans can enjoy free admission for the day’s activities on Belle Isle. On-track events on the picturesque 2.1-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course will include: More ...

tv news
Wind Tunnel Sunday  With the debut of the much-discussed 2012 IndyCar occurring at this weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, we will talk to this Sunday’s race winner as well as our ‘go to’ man on-site, Robin Miller.

PLUS, Dave Despain will have the final word of the weekend on the Chad Knaus penalty issue that remained a top NASCAR story this week.

Featured Interview IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Winner

Expert Analyst Robin Miller (SPEED Open Wheel Racing Reporter) More ...

Guerrieri tops St. Pete Indy Lights practice  
Esteban Guerrieri
Esteban Guerrieri led the two practice sessions for the Firestone Indy Lights' St. Petersburg 100. Guerrieri, who finished second in Firestone Indy Lights in 2011, turned a lap of 1:07.3874 in the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. Gustavo Yacaman of Team Moore Racing was second and Sebastian Saavedra of AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport was third.


ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "We weren't pushing 100 percent because we want to save that for qualifying. We were just trying to work on the car and try to be a bit quicker, the track is getting better, we put a bit better tires and went out to do two laps with those tires and then that's it. So, here we are, and at least we have good information to analyze tonight and for tomorrow's qualifying." (About St. Pete circuit): "It's special always when you drive around the walls, you know? It's like you got to get used to going so close to the walls. The track actually is quite nice, they said it was bumpier but I don't feel like at all. Probably a bit bumpy in the first corner but it has good grip here. We are going quicker already than last year's pole, and so I think it's fun." (Does you have to change your driving style): "A little bit, yeah. Actually now it's harder because you can't risk it, but if you missed the apex and before you could go off the brakes and jump the loaves, now if you try to jump one of the curbs you probably are in trouble. You have to be more precise, which is more challenging." More ...

Pigot tops USF2000 practice in St. Pete  
Spencer Pigot
Scott Morris/AR1.com
Spencer Pigot will start on pole for tomorrow’s third round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda after posting the fastest time in an intensely fought half-hour qualifying session this afternoon on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

Scott Rettich, from Camden, Ohio, secured top honors in the equally hotly contested National Class with the Alliance Autosport team’s Formula Enterprise Van Diemen-Mazda. More ...

ALMS Sebring TV Rating  UPDATE The final TV rating for the American Le Mans Series Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring highlight show on ABC last Sunday was a disappointing 0.4, which proves when the cars are the stars instead of the drivers you can't build a huge fan base.

03/21/12 The 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on the ABC network posted a very strong 13 percent ratings increase over last year’s broadcast, making it the most-watched Sebring race ever.

According to Nielsen’s preliminary overnight ratings, this year’s opening race of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron achieved a 0.51 rating versus a 0.45 in 2011 (These numbers are small for network TV). That translates to well over a half-million U.S. households that tuned in. No figures for online viewership on ESPN3 or ESPN3 via Microsoft’s X-Box LIVE were immediately available, so the total viewing audience is expected to increase still further when those figures are taken into account. More ...

Bristol TV Ratings  UPDATE The final TV rating for last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol was a 4.4 with 7.3 million viewers tuned in.  That compares to a 4.3 final rating in 2011, a 5.3 final rating in 2010 and a 5.5 final  rating in 2009.

03/19/12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX posted a 4.0/10 overnight/fast rating/share Sunday afternoon for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, up +3% over last year’s 3.9/9 for the same race despite airing opposite the NCAA TOURNAMENT. Yesterday’s increase marks the first time this season that a NASCAR event on FOX has posted a year-to-year increase. Through four races, NASCAR on FOX is averaging a 5.3/11 in the meters, now off -7% from last year’s 5.7/12.
Mid-day update from St. Pete  - The noon practice session is over. Topping the charts are Dixon, Briscoe, Power, and Franchitti. Top Lotus-powered car was Oriol Servia, in 19th. The Chevys and Honda pretty much spliit up the top 18 spots evenly.

- The new car continues to be the story. In the pits, long-time IndyCar fans are struck with the low volume levels of the new motors at idle, and the overwhelming smell of new parts being run for the first time. Oh, and did I mention the huge front and rear wings?

- The new car has been crash tested. While Dallara did crash test the tub (years ago), and computer-simulated crashes with the rest, the entire package has yet to be crashed. Today, Charlie Kimball nosed this new Dallara into the tires in turn 10.
NASCAR faces a shaky future  Individual sports are always volatile, and after being the next big thing, NASCAR's popularity has stalled.

A lot had to do with the economy. In a sport that depends on sponsorships and rich owners — like those good buddies Mitt Romney kicks tires with —– NASCAR was especially vulnerable.

And as for fans, when it became cutback time, they had to think twice about gassing up those big old RVs and driving a far piece to sit in those ear-shattering stadiums.

So, NASCAR invested $5 million in research to find out how to get back out of the pits. To me, the most fascinating finding was that all those old, white guys, who were the bread-and-butter NASCAR constituency, were not being replicated by their sons and grandsons. Frankly, the younger generations don't care to mess around with cars. (See related Hot News Story) More ...

IndyCar rookies for 2012 named  New IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield has put the rookie tag on three drivers, but one of those -- former American Le Mans Series champion Simon Pagenaud -- doesn't feel like one.

The Schmidt Hamilton Racing driver competed in 14 Champ Car races -- the complete 2007 season -- and three IndyCar races last year. He has lived in Indianapolis for six years, attending the 500 every year but one.

Having been Gil de Ferran's sports car teammate, Pagenaud knows most everyone in the IndyCar paddock. But he understands a lack of oval-track experience is what makes him a rookie.

"I always wanted to do (ovals), but the year I got into Atlantics (champion in 2006), they stopped them," he said. "I got into Champ Car the next year, and they stopped the ovals. It was unfortunate." More ...

Domenicali: No easy fix to our Ferrari  
With his job on the line, Domenicali is scrambling
Ferrari are working flat out to fix their new car but have no magic wand to improve performance for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, team principal Stefano Domenicali said on Friday. 

“We have identified issues on the car and we are working at home to solve it,” he said after the first day of practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“At the moment we need to maximize what we’re doing on the track and that’s it.

“In the race everything can happen, so we need to be focused then. And of course with no magic stick you can’t do anything,” added the Italian. More ...

Raikkonen hit with 5-place grid penalty  Lotus F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has been handed a 5-place grid penalty for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, after being forced into a gearbox change this afternoon.

The technical issue stems back to last weekend's Melbourne season opener, where an off-track excursion led to slight structural damage. As a result, it has been decided that to avoid risking a retirement, his gearbox will be switched prematurely.

"A bit more work for Kimi's crew this evening," the team explained via its official Twitter feed. "An issue with Kimi's gearbox so we're changing it now."

In accordance with the FIA's stringent sporting regulations, gearboxes must last for a total of five race weekends before being changed without a punishment.

KV Racing picks up BSN sponsorship  KV Racing Technology w/ SH announced today that Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc. (BSN) will join the team for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

BSN, makers of the popular N.O.-XPLODE brand, will adorn the #11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology w/SH Chevrolet/Firestone entry piloted by IndyCar series superstar and fan favorite Tony Kanaan for all 16 events during the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

“It’s no secret to us at BSN that hardcore IndyCar fans embrace cutting edge products that produce results, and that’s why we made the decision to jump into the sport,” said BSN President Charles Hemmingway." Kanaan is a champion at heart and we’re proud to fuel him and the KVRT w/ SH team in its pursuit to “Finish First” in 2012." More ...
Red Bull admits dominant era over  (GMM) Make no mistake, the era of Red Bull's utter dominance is over.

After McLaren ruled over last weekend's Malaysian grand prix, Friday in Malaysia indicated the British team will stay on top in the Sepang heat.

Over a single lap, world champion Sebastian Vettel admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "McLaren is too strong for us."

On long runs, Adrian Newey's RB8 is closer. More ...
racing news
Honda to race new NSX  
Acura NSX
Honda plans a motorsports future for the next-generation Acura NSX hybrid sports car unveiled in concept form at January's Detroit auto show.

Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman revealed that plans to race the mid-engined car are already under discussion. He said that Honda will most likely develop the NSX to take on Ferrari, Porsche and Chevrolet in accordance with the Le Mans GTE rule book.

“The new NSX is being designed and built in America and will be developed for racing in the U.S. by HPD,” he said. “I think it will be raced in GTE, but that is being studied right now. We are looking to see how many variations of the car we can do for various classes. More ...

Davide Valsecchi bags Sepang GP2 pole  
Davide Valsecchi
Davide Valsecchi set the quickest laptime early in today’s qualifying session with a 1:45.494 on his third lap and was never bettered although his rivals came mighty close with the top five drivers finishing within the same tenth of a second. Luiz Razia and Max Chilton completed the top three.

The first qualifying of the 2012 season kicked off with Esteban Gutiérrez taking to the track first and setting the early pace, but his laptime was improved by one hundredth by Johnny Cecotto. Valsecchi claimed P1 and provisional pole in the first third of the session dipping under 1m46. His teammate Felipe Nasr moved up to P2, but only temporarily as a flying Fabio Leimer clocked a laptime good enough to edge out the Brazilian and close in on Valsecchi, a mere 0.09s slower than the Italian. More ...
Malaysian GP Practice 1: Hamilton fastest as Mercedes challenges  Lewis Hamilton took up where McLaren left off in Melbourne when he headed the first session of free practice for Sunday's Malaysian GP.

Hamilton lapped just over half a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull.

The Mercedes F1 W03s of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were third and fourth quickest. More ...

Malaysian GP Practice 2: Hamilton again fastest  
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton remained on top of the timesheet after the second session of free practice for the Malaysian GP, round 2 of the 2012 F1 World Championship.

McLaren looks strong and consistent on both the prime and option Pirelli tires, as quick on the prime tire for the first half of the session as anyone else was going on the option.

In the final analysis, Michael Schumacher again showed the Mercedes has pace in qualifying trim to go second overall, just two thousandths of a second clear of Jenson Button's McLaren. Nico Rosberg was 4th in the second Mercedes. More ...

Jolyon Palmer quickest in Free Practice  The 2012 season could not have started better for iSport’s Jolyon Palmer: the young Brit set the fastest laptime of the free practice session this morning at Sepang International Circuit with a 1:46.514. His closest rival Davide Valsecchi finished 0.1s behind.

The first free practice session of the eighth GP2 Series season opened in hot temperatures as the twenty-six drivers took to the track. Johnny Cecotto Jr was the first one out of the pitlane at the wheel of his Barwa Addax machine, but it was Valsecchi at DAMS who set the early pace in 1:48.049 – 0.2s quicker than Esteban Gutierrez. More ...
Thursday IndyCar notebook  
- “We won’t know what we have until Sunday” commented IndyCar owner Kevin Kalkhoven. Kalkhoven went on to say that both the car and the motors have been in a constant state of change over the winter, and no one seems to be sure of what they’ve got. Therefore, Kalkhoven said, anything he said now, “Would be based on nothing.”

- The most amazing parts of the new IndyCar might not be the “Kardashian” rear fenders. In person, one is struck by the huge front and rear wings on this car -- they might larger than the circa 1972-era wings. Also striking is the new telemetry systems, which have a lot more data than the old system.

- Also back in fashion are covers and blankets over the cars. I tried to take a photo of KV crew members working with the rear cover off, and was strongly encouraged to take pictures of the front end of the car instead (panic in eyes, relief when I deleted that pic, etc). When aero kits are introduced next year, no doubt we see the return of wing covers as well.

- Recession? Hard to get sponsors? Pfffft! This weekend has 26 IndyCar entries, 17 Indy Lights entries, 21 Star Mazda entries, and a whopping 35 USF2000 cars. Oh, and 50 or so Pirelli World Challenge cars, and – get this – 23 Ferrari Challenge cars. A year’s ride in F2000 costs around $200k, a year in Star Mazda goes for around $500k, and Indy Lights around $1 million a year. Therefore, a driver can expect to spend about $2 million to be considered for an IndyCar ride. Tim Wohlford reporting from St. Petersburg
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  
  • FIA says Red Bull 'engine trick' not illegal
  • Alonso 'more complete' than Schumacher - de la Rosa
  • Button impressed with new Sauber
  • Raikkonen admits 'minor doubts' about return
  • Glock happy fans still rate ability
  • Sauber battered after Melbourne fall
  • HRT car 'dangerous' in Australia - de la Rosa
  • Red Bull car 'a construction site' in Australia - Vettel
  • Race contract key to Singapore floatation - report
  • Sauber denies Ferrari moving to poach Perez
  • Grosjean hoping for long stay at Lotus
  • Senna to lose practice seat to Bottas in 2012 More ...
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