Hamlin and Logano feud not over Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have exchanged text messages since their final-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway last weekend that left Hamlin hospitalized with a fractured vertebra, but Hamlin says the exchange did not go well.
"The conversation was both short and unproductive," Hamlin told The Associated Press.
The feud between Hamlin and Logano intensified March 17 when Hamlin spun Logano at Bristol Motor Speedway and Logano confronted Hamlin after the race, prompting a scuffle between the two teams. Hamlin's comments indicate that their feud is far from over.
Graham Rahal will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities on April 11.
Rahal was selected for displaying a demeanor both on and off the track that exemplifies the meaning of sportsmanship. In June 2012, he appeared headed to his second career IZOD IndyCar Series victory before his ill-handling car brushed the wall. The bobble handed the lead and eventual victory to Justin Wilson. Following the race, Rahal handled situation as a true professional.
Legendary two-sport athlete Bo Jackson to be Barber grand marshal
Bo Jackson had to choose between playing football or baseball
Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson will serve as grand marshal for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 7.
"We are honored to have such a well-respected athlete as our grand marshal and his presence will add to the fun-filled weekend," said Rick Humphrey, vice president of ZOOM Motorsports, the exclusive event promoter of the Barber Motorsports Park. "It will be exciting to see one of the fastest athletes in the world ride in the 'Fastest Seat in Sports.'"
Vettel apologizes to Red Bull staff members Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel visited the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes earlier this week to apologize to members of staff for his actions in the Malaysian Grand Prix, team boss Christian Horner has revealed.
Vettel, who made an appearance at the team's factory on Tuesday, ignored team orders to pass teammate Mark Webber for victory at Sepang. Having apologized immediately after the race, the German has now addressed the workforce in person.
Merc extension ends Force India's McLaren deal (GMM) Force India has extended its engine deal with customer supplier Mercedes.
When the Silverstone based team was considering its 2013 driver lineup, many observers saw Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi's respective links to Mercedes and Ferrari as among the keys to Force India's final choice.
Ultimately, Force India signed the reportedly Mercedes-linked German Sutil.
On Thursday, the team said in a statement it has indeed extended its Mercedes deal for the "long-term", beginning with the start of the new turbo V6 era next year.
From 2014, this will include the supply of Mercedes' engine, energy recovery system, gearbox and hydraulics.
Red Bull issue is settled, Vettel out to take title again Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has claimed that the Malaysian Grand Prix controversy surrounding his drivers is now a closed matter, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber said to have shaken hands at the end of an extensive post-race debrief.
Vettel ignored team orders to pass teammate Webber in the closing stages of last weekend's race, applying further tension to their relationship. But Marko says discussions behind closed doors have allowed a line to be drawn under the situation.
Force India signs new deal with Mercedes Force India has signed a new, long-term deal with Mercedes-Benz to use the German manufacturer's powertrain setup from the 2014 season onwards. Having initiated their partnership in 2009, the extended agreement includes the supply of primary engine units, the Energy Recovery System (ERS) and transmission.
As the sport prepares to enter its new turbocharged V6 era, the renewed technical tie-up will serve as a key area of consistency for Force India, which is currently competing in its fifth Formula 1 campaign with Mercedes-Benz powertrains.
Daytona crash investigation continues The investigation into a last-lap crash at Daytona International Speedway that resulted in injuries to at least 28 fans has yet to be completed, according to NASCAR officials and those affiliated with the 2.5-mile facility. The car of development driver Kyle Larson was launched into the catchfence along the frontstretch on the final lap of the Drive4COPD 300, and debris from Larson's car was thrown into the grandstands.
"As far as the accident at Daytona, we're still in the middle of it and trying to see how everything falls together," Wayne Auton, NASCAR Nationwide Series director, said March 26. Thus far, he said, a determination has not been made as to whether changes will be required before the series returns to the facility later this year.
IRS probes OXYwater founders Two Columbus Ohio entrepreneurs who came up with an oxygen-enhanced water that landed a NASCAR sponsorship are in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is investigating Preston J. Harrison, a former Ohio State University football player, and Thomas E. Jackson Jr., founders of a Westerville business that makes and distributes OXYwater. An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus says that IRS agents recently seized a 2009 Cadillac, a 2009 BMW and a bank account as part of an investigation into the financial dealings of Imperial Integrated Health Research and Development at 470 Olde Worthington Rd., Suite 200. Harrison and Jackson are the founders of Imperial Integrated.
Brian France says Fontana was prototype for future There was a wild, last-lap battle for the lead, capped by a dramatic finish. There was a crash on the final lap. And then a scuffle and confrontation between two drivers on pit road after the race. Except for the unfortunate injury to driver Denny Hamlin, NASCAR Chairman Brian France says Sunday’s Auto Club 400 was a near-perfect NASCAR race.
"What I know is when the racing is tighter and there's more passing, there's just more excitement and more contact and more things that happen," France said in an interview with ESPN.com. "That's kind of what NASCAR is all about.
Vettel signs as Infiniti’s Director of Performance
Three-Time Formula One World Champion Vettel to play an increased role in developing new Infiniti models. New York – March 27th, 2013: On the opening day of the New York International Auto Show, Infiniti announced Sebastian Vettel, Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver and triple Formula One World Champion, as Director of Performance for the premium automotive brand.
This latest announcement extends and enhances Vettel’s relationship with Infiniti which formally began in 2011. In this capacity, Vettel already has played a crucial role in developing Infiniti’s vehicle line-up, starting with the exclusive Infiniti FX Vettel Edition and most recently with the all-new Infiniti Q50.
Speed gets rookies attention The speed arrested Tristan Vautier’s attention quickly on the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. Sure, he competed on ovals in Firestone Indy Lights last season, winning at Milwaukee and garnering four top-five finishes in an equal number of races.
His first session on a superspeedway in an IZOD IndyCar Series car, though, was “eye opening.”
“Everything happens to you faster, but I think it feels that way when it’s your first time in a new car on a new track until your brain gets used to it,” said Vautier, who drove the Chevrolet-powered No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car on March 27.
Vautier, who made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut last weekend at St. Petersburg, was joined by AJ Allmendinger in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car and Carlos Munoz in Marco Andretti’s car for their rookie oval orientation. The session was a prelude to the formal Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 11.
Logano, Hamlin exchange texts Roger Penske said Wednesday that Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have exchanged text messages since their final-lap crash at Fontana last weekend that left Hamlin hospitalized with a fractured vertebra. Penske said he's also sent text messages to Hamlin, who is expected to miss at least six weeks. Penske and Logano, one of his drivers, were playing in the pro-am leading up to his week's PGA Houston Open. Logano twice turned down interview requests.
"I've texted back and forth with him and said that we're thinking about him," Penske said. "Obviously, we're hoping for a speedy recovery. It's never good to have a driver out for a period of time." He didn't know what Logano and Hamlin said to one another in their text messages. NASCAR returns to action April 7 at Martinsville Speedway, and Penske said it's time for everyone to "settle down." Associated Press
Lauda does not agree with team orders Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has expressed his disappointment at Ross Brawn's decision not to let Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fight it out for position at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Rosberg was told to stay behind his team-mate over the final few laps rather than fight for third spot as Hamilton was looking to conserve fuel.
The German did as was requested of him and came home in fourth while Hamilton claimed the final spot on the podium. Speaking after claiming his trophy, Hamilton stated that his team-mate should be the one taking home the honor as he had a better race.
France takes responsibility for decision to fine Hamlin NASCAR CEO Brian France has been busier than usual to start the season. He met with reigning champion Brad Keselowski in late February to discuss questionable comments the Penske Racing driver made in a newspaper article. Then came a suspension of Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements for using a racial slur in front of an MTV reporter, followed by a $25,000 fine to Hamlin for criticizing the new Gen-6 car and the quality of racing at Phoenix. France acknowledged it was primarily his decision to penalize Hamlin, and he stood by that decision.
NASCAR looking at making Safer Barriers mandatory for all walls Denny Hamlin's crash at Fontana that broke his back “raised the question of why there weren't SAFER barriers on the inside retaining wall where his car hit, and why tracks aren't required to have SAFER barriers everywhere.” France said that NASCAR is “studying Hamlin's crash carefully, and that if experts recommend SAFER barriers are needed where it occurred, the governing body will make that recommendation to the track.” But he added that the solution “is not as simple as putting barriers everywhere.” France: "There's not a one-solution-fits-all-problem with the wall. Some walls, it might sling the car back into the racing groove at the wrong time. They'll never put SAFER barriers up everywhere because that's not the best approach.” France also believes that the “quality of racing is better than ever” with the new Gen-6 car. Still, he “didn't rule out tweaks in the future or a change in the package for restrictor-plate racing at Daytona and Talladega” ESPN.com
NASCAR's France Happy With Tighter Racing Aside from driver Denny Hamlin suffering an injury, Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway is just what NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France “wants the sport to look like,” according to David Newton of ESPN.com. France yesterday said, "What I know is when the racing is tighter and there's more passing, there's just more excitement and more contact and more things that happen. That's kind of what NASCAR is all about.”
Hamlin’s wreck with Joey Logano during the Auto Club 400 marked the “second time in two weeks the drivers were involved in an on-track incident.” But France said that he has “no plans to talk to them about settling their feud.” France: “What they did in the last 20 laps is exactly what we would have expected them to do. This is a contact sport. It's always been a contact sport, especially late in the race.”
No penalties for Fontana Kerry Tharp, NASCAR Director of Communications, tweeted Tuesday, "NASCAR will issue no penalties from last weekend's events at [Auto Club Speedway]".
UPDATE: Sprint Cup Series director John Darby addressed the media Tuesday afternoon and discussed the decision to not issue fines; Q. Going back to the decision not to penalize anybody there, Stewart did cut off Logano on pit road, and started an incident there. Can you tell me why the governing body decided there was nothing wrong there?
Waltrip on SAFER Barrier Debate After Hamlin's Accident Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR on FOX & SPEED analyst and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, weighed in on the debate about whether or not all tracks should have SAFER barriers around the entire racing surface. Following are his comments:
"Knowing what we know today about safety, there is no excuse for not having SAFER barriers all the way around every track. It would have made all the difference in the world for Hamlin at Fontana. That boy wouldn’t have a hurt back now if there were SAFER barriers in place there. He would have climbed out of the car and just been mad at Joey Logano over their wreck.
Marco Andretti ventured to Europe in the offseason to get pointers from a driver coach, pored over data from Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay's car, watched race video and even changed car numbers.
It all was in an effort to improve his street/road course game and luck. The early report is it's worked.
Andretti, driving the No. 25 RC Cola car, started seventh in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and overtook both Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro in the final laps to earn his first podium finish in a street/road course event since Toronto in July 2011.
IndyCar St. Petersburg TV RatingUPDATE #2 It was also the second-best season opener for NBC Sports Network's IZOD IndyCar Series coverage behind the 2010 race from Sao Paulo, Brazil (411,000). Unfortunately NASCAR 2nd and 3rd tier support series - Nationwide and Trucks get 3 to 5 times more viewers. The Cup series gets 19 times more viewers per race. So any NASCAR marketing rep, or NASCAR team marketing rep can walk into the IndyCar paddock and make a compelling case for spending their sponsorship dollars in NASCAR instead.
If there were to be an all-out assault on IndyCar sponsors by the NASCAR fraternity, all the IndyCars would end up with near-zero sponsors. Hence why we have been saying that even this big increase in the St. Pete rating to 0.26 is still pathetic and leaves IndyCar vulnerable to a fatal gouging of its sponsors. We are not criticizing NBC Sports Network production of the race, it is good, but if the channel cannot produce ratings needed to survive, it must go. Has anyone at IndyCar done this risk analysis?
Texas test offers IndyCar rookies chance to acclimate on ovals A.J. Allmendinger, Tristan Vautier and Carlos Munoz will be on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on March 27 for their oval rookie orientation.
The session is a prelude to the formal Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 11. All three will be entered in the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26, and at least Vautier will compete in the Firestone 550 on June 8.
Six other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers (Ed Carpenter, Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud and James Jakes) are scheduled to participate in a team test later in the day at the speedway.
Road America Announces Partnership With Pepsi Road America and Lakeside Pepsi Cola announced today a five-year partnership that names Lakeside Pepsi Cola as the exclusive provider of carbonated beverages and select non-carbonated beverages served at Road America. Lakeside Pepsi Cola beverages, including iconic brands such as Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Sierra Mist, plus other beverages such as Gatorade, Rockstar, Lipton Tea, Ocean Spray Juice Drinks, Aquafina Water, Starbucks Iced Coffee and Frappuccino, will be exclusively served at the track, with Pepsi named as the official soft drink of Road America.
Video: Webber gives Vettel the Chop Dramatic new footage showing Mark Webber cutting across Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel after the end of the controversial Malaysian GP has been released.
Fresh evidence highlighting Webber's anger at what he felt was the unjust nature of the World Champion's victory last Sunday, the new clip shows how the Australian chopped in front of the sister car after the pair had taken the checkered flag at the end of the tense 56-lap race.
After doing a celebratory 'weave' to crossing the line to claim his 27th career victory, Vettel, as is customary, pulled towards the Red Bull pitwall to acknowledge his success with the team.
Logano: He’ll think twice before he does something next time
In Joey Logano's book, 'paybacks are a bitch.' Logano said. “I guess we’re even now. He’ll think twice before he does something next time.”
Dr. LaTanya Lofton, M.D., Director, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine from the Carolinas Medical Center, spoke to co-host Danielle Trotta on tonight’s edition of FOX Sports’ SPEED NASCAR Race Hub.
Dr. Lofton talked about the injury and rehabilitation process that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin is anticipated to undergo before returning from a compression fracture of his vertebrae as a result of his incident with Joey Logano this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Hamlin released from hospitalUPDATE #2 The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said he immediately knew "I was in big trouble" after he felt a pop in his back following a violent collision with the wall – the result of a crash triggered by contact with rival Joey Logano as the two raced for the win on the final lap.
"The position I was in, I couldn't breathe at all," Hamlin said. "I'm still having a hard time breathing. Literally, when I felt a pop, I couldn't move at all and I knew I had to get flat to my back to be able to breathe again. That's why I rushed out and just laid flat on the ground to start breathing again."
Hamlin, who was en route to fly home to North Carolina, said he had to be 100% straight – no bending at all. Otherwise, he said, "I run out of breath."
Hamlin said he will meet with Dr. Jerry Petty near Charlotte on Wednesday or Thursday for further evaluation.
NASCAR Drivers Delivering Drama, Ratings With Dust-Ups In Early Races NASCAR drivers five races into the season are “feuding, fighting and wrecking,” which is “exactly what NASCAR has been looking for,” according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. This is what NASCAR officials “have been asking the drivers to do in recent years.”
The “verbal barbs, on-track bumping and a few punches" seen at Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 are "all things NASCAR hopes can help inject some excitement into the sport.” The fans at the track on Sunday “roared when the screens showed”
Tony Stewart’s altercation with Joey Logano. Overnight ratings for the race on Sunday were up 32% “one week after Logano feuded" with Denny Hamlin following the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Driver Brad Keselowski said of the fans, “They want to see us be human, and humans are emotional.” USA TODAY
(GMM) With the full consequences of Sunday's Red Bull one-two still unclear, Mark Webber's father has ruled out claims the Australian's position is now untenable.
Although it was Sebastian Vettel who ignored the team order to win at Sepang, it could be argued that the only real issue is that Webber, 36, is refusing to accept his status as the reigning champion team's de-facto 'number 2'.
Alan Webber, however, insisted his son has the full support of Red Bull's most influential figure -- Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz.
IndyCar can't blow the 'Turbo' opportunity In the Mark Miles interview on Saturday we suggested to him that IndyCar run ads in movie theaters that would air before the movie. He agreed and said they were looking at that. IndyCar must exploit that movie in every way possible to connect IndyCar with Turbo to make the sport more well known with the average person/kid on the street. Dario Franchitti has this to say about the movie:
IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti said, “The one really positive thing I see this year is the introduction of the animated film from DreamWorks, ‘Turbo.’ That to me is going to be huge.” He added of the movie characters, “A couple of the drivers will see bits and pieces of other drivers. It’s quite funny. I’ve been involved with it as a consultant, so I’ve been sitting and laughing at different bits. I’ve seen about 80 percent of the film now, and it’s incredible. It’s like working with a race team, a bunch of engineers. The attention to detail these guys have is incredible.” N.Y. TIMES
RaceCraft 1 Expands Offerings as Dealer for Top Racing Simulators
Stage 5 Full Motion Racing Simulator
Indianapolis, IN – RaceCraft 1, a top racer development and training program headquartered in Indianapolis, today announced that the company, already a training facility for IndyCar drivers such as Josef Newgarden, has become an official dealer for the SimXperience line of racing simulators and Ultraforce Simulations G-seats.
"Becoming an official dealer for SimXperience and Ultraforce is the first step in our plan for transforming RaceCraft 1 into a completely unique center of technical innovation in racer and race engineer training," says Kelly Jones, principal of RaceCraft 1 and a former F-16 pilot, mission commander, and instructor with ten years of experience and more than 2200 flight hours.
Fox Sports Signs Multi-Year Deal For Broadcast Rights To MotoGP Fox Sports announced that it has signed a "three-year extension" with Dorna Sports for U.S. media rights to the MotoGP World Championship, with races to air on SPEED/Fox Sports 1 in '13, according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Specific terms of the deal, which runs through '15, "were not released." Fox Sports is "paying a rights fee for the property, as it has in previous deals." The schedule includes three races in the U.S. The events are "usually televised live on Sunday afternoons in one-hour windows" SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL.
FOX SPORTS reported the season opens April 7 on the SPEED channel with the Grand Prix of Qatar live at 3pm ET. For U.S. rounds, "Bob Varsha hosts; Ralph Sheheen and Jonathan Green split play-by-play duties; Scott Russell provides analysis and Greg White reports from the pits." The team of Gavin Emmett and Nick Harris call int'l races, with Varsha, Sheheen, Greg Creamer and Dave Despain "sharing the role of studio host" FOX SPORTS
Despain & Petty Discuss SAFER Barriers in Light of Hamlin's Injury In the Q&A below, SPEED analysts Dave Despain and Kyle Petty discuss their perspectives on the Denny Hamlin/Joey Logano incident Sunday at Auto Club Speedway and SAFER barriers at race tracks in light of Hamlin’s back injury:
What is your position on some tracks not having SAFER barriers all the way around the racing surface?
Despain: “Typically safety improvements are made in response to a perceived need, so if nobody had ever hit there before, the logic is nobody ever will hit there and we don’t need to protect it. But once someone hits there, it’s a great shock and everyone assumes they must protect that area. I guess I can see the logic in that given the expense of safety enhancements like the SAFER barrier, which isn’t cheap, but my attitude is it’s only a matter of time until someone hits there, so it probably makes sense to go ahead and implement the SAFER barriers everywhere. But that’s easy for me to say because it’s not my money.”
Larry McReynolds & Elliott Sadler on Fontana Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Army National Guard Chevrolet SS earned 1st place in the Sprint Cup Standing with his 2nd place win Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Auto Club Speedway in the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Army National Guard Chevrolet SS raced to 2nd place and Kurt Busch, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS came in 3rd Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Auto ClubSpeedway in the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. Earnhardt jumped to 1st place in the Sprint Cup Standings.
IndyCar season-opener shows depth of field will fuel competition James Hinchcliffe fessed up. Tears, not sweat from 110 taxing laps, began to blur his vision as his Chevrolet-powered No. 27 GoDaddy.com car glided across the finish line 1.0982 seconds ahead of Helio Castroneves in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The tears were from joy, relief and gratitude.
It was the second-year Andretti Autosport driver's maiden IZOD IndyCar Series victory, the first by a Canadian in Indy car racing since Paul Tracy in 2007, and in the adopted hometown of 2005 race winner Dan Wheldon.
Race Day Turn 3 Infield Parking On Sale For IMS Oval Events Race Day Turn 3 infield parking will be available for purchase for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and Crown Royal presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
Sold on a first-come, first-served basis, Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes are ideal for all fans looking to park inside the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoy tailgating. Front-row parking spaces are available for $75 each, with additional general parking spaces available for $25 each.
Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes go on sale Monday, March 25 and can be purchased in person at the IMS Ticket Office, by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fans may also purchase Race Day Turn 3 infield parking passes at www.ims.com/tickets.
NASCAR Auto Club TV Ratings Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 from Auto CLub Speedway earned a 4.5 overnight rating on FOX up 32% from last year's rain-shortened race (3.4), and up 10% from 2011 (4.1). The 4.5 overnight is the highest for the race since 2010 (5.0), when Fontana was still the second NASCAR event of the season. So far this season, four of the five NASCAR Sprint Cup races have had increases in overnight ratings compared to last year. Three of the races Daytona, Las Vegas and Fontana have had double-digit increases. For the weekend, the Auto Club 500 was the top non-NCAA sporting event by a wide margin. Sports Media Watch
Logano: "I guess we’re even now" - Breaks Hamlin's backUPDATE Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week. JGR
03/25/13 Denny Hamlin was airlifted to a local hospital Sunday after he and rival Joey Logano wrecked while battling for the lead on the final lap at Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin and Logano, who nearly came to blows after Hamlin wrecked Logano last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, collided and crashed while battling for the lead, allowing Kyle Busch to squeeze by them to win the race.
Logano was on the inside of Hamlin as they raced into Turn 4 on the final lap while Busch had a run on the outside.
Kubica will kill himself in a rally car yet Watch Robert Kubica, who was almost killed in a previous Rally Crash that left him severely injured, crash again this weekend in the Rally Canarias, this time nearly going through a guiderail and down a steep embankment to near certain death. If he ever hopes to return to F1 he needs to give up on rallying. Three strikes and he may be out.
Team owner Roger Penske staunchly defended #22-Joey Logano after his Sprint Cup driver was involved in a pair of controversies near the end of Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway.
"I'm 150% behind my driver, and I think he's a real star on the team," Penske told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Sunday night after returning to his home in Michigan. Logano wrecked with Denny Hamlin while racing for the lead in a final-lap incident that sent Hamlin to the hospital for overnight observation after his #11 Toyota sustained heavy right-front impact with an inside wall not covered by a SAFER barrier.
Dale Jr recommends small change to Auto Club Speedway Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked: Q. A lot has been said this weekend that the track hasn't been resurfaced or redone in a while. Some people are calling it character like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. What's your take?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: I think it's great. Do everybody a favor, whoever owns this place, and pave the back straightaway. If you pave the back straightaway, there's some real bad bumps, we all watched it on TV in the Nationwide race and I'm sure you saw it today. It's just going down the back straightaway. It probably doesn't cost much to pave the two lanes that we race in, and that would really cure any complaints that I got. I think the corners are perfect. I wouldn't pave anything or change anything about the turns. This place has got -- this is the age of asphalt that I think tracks strive for. This is what places like Michigan and Phoenix look forward to, you know, when they get a good 10, 15 years on their asphalt. This is really right in the ballpark, right in everybody's wheelhouse. I think everybody that runs in the Cup garage really likes the surface. It's just real bumpy down the back straightaway for some reason, and it doesn't have to be, and I think they can fix that with a couple lanes of asphalt on that outside toward the wall, and like I said, the corners, man, you couldn't ask for a better racetrack."
Joey Logano said he “did what he had to do to win the race” – and that meant taking no prisoners. Logano blocked three-time champion Tony Stewart on the final restart with 10 laps remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 on Sunday and traded paint for the second time in as many weeks with Denny Hamlin before finishing third at Auto Club Speedway.
After the dust cleared and the race ended with Kyle Busch in Victory Lane, Hamlin ended up being airlifted to a local hospital and an entourage from Stewart-Haas Racing — including Stewart — took off after Logano’s crew on pit road.
Brabham and Andretti Autosport Enjoy Perfect Weekend in St. Pete ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – No one could touch Matthew Brabham on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg. The 19-year-old third-generation racer – grandson of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham and son of sports car champion Geoff – won both legs of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to claim a commanding lead after four rounds of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock (#28 Team Starstruck) finished a career-best second this afternoon after starting from the pole position, backing up his third place from Saturday, while Round 1 winner Diego Ferreira finished a distant third in Juncos Racing’ s #57 Team Vi5o Venezuela/Mindeporte entry.
Video: Rosberg on being told to let Hamilton finish in front of him Germany's Nico Rosberg would have stood on the Malaysian Grand Prix podium had he taken a leaf out of compatriot Sebastian Vettel's book and ignored his team's orders on Sunday.
Instead, the Mercedes Formula One driver finished a frustrated fourth behind Lewis Hamilton but earned his teammate's thanks and recognition.
"I don't feel great sitting here. I think Nico deserves to be sitting where I am now," Hamilton told reporters at a post-race news conference for the top three.
"I guess the team thought that with the positions in the championships, it was logical to stay in the positions we were in. I have to give congratulations to Nico as he drove a smarter, more controlled race than I did today."
After the 2002 season, FIA announced that "Team Orders that could influence the outcome of a race" were banned, although they were sometimes still implemented discreetly. For example, this has sometimes been achieved as easily as a team getting on the radio to the slower driver and pointing out that his teammate is quicker. The slower driver then lets the quicker driver through without the need for an overt "directive" from the team. This happened, for example, at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, where Mark Webber was asked to slow down when his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel was closing in. Webber disregarded the order, and the pair collided, each refusing to accept blame for the accident. Similarly, at the 2010 German Grand Prix, Felipe Massa's race engineer was heard to say to his driver "Fernando (Alonso) is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message?". Moments later, Massa eased back and allowed Alonso past.
At the end of the season, the FIA conceded that the team orders rule wasn't working and needed to be reviewed. As of 2011, the team orders rule no longer appears in the sporting regulations.
Roush feels confident Ford engine woes over To contend at Auto Club Speedway, Greg Biffle will have to come from the rear of the field due to an engine failure in opening practice on the 2-mile track. And car owner Jack Roush believes his driver has enough under the hood to do it. Roush said Saturday the engine failures suffered by Biffle and Ford stable mate Brad Keselowski appeared to be due to lost bearings, and the No. 16 car's strength in practice Saturday gave him confidence the issue would not rear its head again in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. "Both of those problems are something we characterize as an infant mortality problem," Roush said after Biffle topped the first of Saturday's two practice sessions. "The fact that we've gotten the rest of the practice today, that we had one practice today and had no further problems, gives me confidence that we're going to be OK. We have adequate spare engines, and if we have more trouble in practice, we can make changes. But right now, I'm believing it's behind us." NASCAR.com
Hunter-Reay tops morning warm-up in St Pete With heavy fog beginning to roll in off the Gulf of Mexico, Ryan Hunter-Reay turned the fastest lap in the 30 minute warm-up session for today's IndyCar race in St Petersburg. Charlie Kimball was second just 0.08sec behind and Scott Dixon third. The session was dry throughout.
Ganassi frustrated with Honda's IndyCar performance Before qualifying for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Saturday, team owner Chip Ganassi questioned Honda's commitment to being victorious in the Izod IndyCar Series.
"I don't know if they want to win bad enough," Ganassi said. "They talk about everything at Honda but winning."
Ganassi's drivers qualified 10th and 20th, not some he is accustomed to.
"I think Honda has some work to do, but I think they know that," Ganassi told USA Today, who also was critical of his engine supplier toward the end of last season. "They were mission accomplished last year, at the right time, when it counted most. To have to rely on that again is a tall order. They need to understand the task at hand a little more."
(L to R) Felipe Nasr (Carlin), Stefano Coletti (Rapax), Mitch Evans (Arden International)
He wanted it so badly! Stefano Coletti took a lights-to-flag win in this morning’s Sprint Race at Sepang International Circuit and made up for yesterday’s disappointment. The Monegasque driver made a stunning start from sixth on the grid to claim the lead, then kept Felipe Nasr at bay to cross the finish line eight tenths ahead of the Brazilian. Mitch Evans scored a podium finish on his first GP2 race weekend with third place.
Stephane Richelmi made a good start from reverse pole, but not as good as Felipe Nasr and Mitch Evans who both attacked the Monegasque driver at the entrance of Turn 1. Coletti had his own agenda however: he made a blazing start from sixth and made his way round the outside of Turn 1 to take the lead. He immediately put his head down and tried to build as much of a gap as possible. Behind him, Nasr had disposed of Richelmi and started to hunt down the leader. Unfortunately for the Carlin man, Coletti managed a two second gap and stayed in control of his pace and tire degradation.
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