Atlanta Motor Speedway Introducing New Ticket Specials For spectators looking to enjoy a great racing event experience at a favorable cost, Atlanta Motor Speedway is rolling out new ticket specials for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Two frontstretch Lower Petty or Lower Winners grandstand tickets will be offered for $99 while they last for the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 2. Fans will have a view of pit road and will see the high-speed racing action up close as the cars race down the frontstretch.
Napa, CA -- In September 2012, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) will make history by having its first race ever in the United States at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Racing alongside their bigger bother will be the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC). The American touring car teams and drivers will be the opening act for the international teams and drivers when they take the stage on September 21-23, 2012.
Last year the WTCC officials decided that the World Championship needed to have a race in the United States. "The US market is very important for car manufacturers and this is why we are seriously taking into consideration the idea to hold a WTCC event here," said Marcello Lotti, WTCC Promoter. The WTCC is having great success recently with many manufacturers providing support including Chevrolet, Ford, Seat, BMW and Honda.
Bristol only half full, changes comingUPDATE #2 After more than a week of studying requested fan input, Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, announced he has ordered the go-ahead to make changes to the track surface at Bristol Motor Speedway. "The race fans have spoken," Smith said. "We had input that included a wide range of opinions. But the majority we heard from said they wanted to see changes made. As a result, I have ordered the equipment and work will begin within the next two weeks to allow time to have everything ready for August." Smith said an announcement regarding the scope of the work will be made soon. "The question we wanted to answer as quickly as possible was 'Is something going to be done?' Smith said. "The answer to that is 'yes.' We will have the details in two weeks as to what that 'something' is. BMS
Bristol crowd not what it used to be
03/24/12 Some Sprint Cup drivers like the old Bristol, others like the new Bristol.
And to some, it just doesn’t matter because they don’t think they will ever race on the old Bristol again.
Bristol Motor Speedway was resurfaced and reconfigured in 2007, with progressive banking added to the new surface. Since then drivers have been able to race two-wide on the track, not having to resort to as much beating and banging to move cars out of the way and pass.
Team Chevy Racing ready for Birmingham hilly road course Following a successful debut for the Chevrolet V-6 in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is the next stop for the five organizations and 11 drivers campaigning the Chevrolet twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 2.2-liter engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel.
Helio Castroneves won the series’ season-opener at St. Petersburg last Sunday to pace four Team Chevy drivers in the top-five.
“Clearly at St. Petersburg, what we learned is that we do have an opportunity to vie for the wins every week,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “We had some work to do, so we got right back at it on Monday after the race to be prepared for our next event in Alabama. I’m very pleased with the teams and the drivers that are on the Chevy roster. I’m very pleased.”
Mothers Polishes Returns As Sponsor of Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach As the Official Car Polish Sponsor of the 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15, Mothers® Polishes/Waxes/Cleaners is embracing a long-standing tradition of participating in enthusiast events that have been instrumental in its history.
On Sunday of race weekend, fans can see nearly 250 fast, exotic cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and Lotuses – many of them automotive classics - in the free Mothers® Exotic Car Paddock, located across the Firestone Bridge between turns 9 and 11.
The Mothers Exotic Car Paddock will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
INDYCAR sets test at Indianapolis on April 4 INDYCAR announced today that it will hold a test of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series car on April 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. Teams will be limited to one car each at the test.
"What was originally scheduled to be a manufacturers' test has been expanded to provide each team the opportunity to send one car to the test," said Will Phillips, vice president of technology for INDYCAR. "Dallara has worked hard to make sure all the required parts are available to allow teams to test the new package."
Rookie drivers will not be part of the April 4 test as Rookie Orientation Program is slated for May 10 at the Speedway.
Webber ripped radio connection out of helmet Mark Webber has revealed that, like Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, he suffered major radio problems during the Malaysian Grand Prix. In fact, his issues were so off-putting that the Australian ripped the connection cord out of his helmet.
“After the race was stopped, I saw there were a few jokes that the canopies the teams erected on the grid made it look like a village market,” Webber wrote in a column for BBC Sport. “I can see what people mean, but there is a very sensible reason for it. We learnt a lesson last year in Canada, where we all got drenched, that we were very exposed when it's absolutely chucking it down.
Race Distance: 214.2 miles/344.7 km (90 laps on the 2.38-mile/3.83-km, 14-turn permanent road course).
Television/Radio Broadcast: Live - Sunday, April 1, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, the IMS Radio Network and XM Radio 94 and Sirius Radio 212.
Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: * Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 692, each entry gets five sets (20 total tires); * Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 366, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires); * Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 468, each entry has five sets of the street-course rain tire available this weekend.
Three major NASCAR publications go belly up Things are not good in NASCAR. In fact one might conclude things are getting dire. Grandstands are half empty at many races and TV ratings are down. Now comes another telltale sign. Three major NASCAR Publications, that tried to ride the coattails of dead NASCAR hero Dale Earnhardt, and wrote stories everyday about Dale Earnhardt Jr. even though he never wins, have gone belly up. First it was the demise of the NASCAR Scene publication. Once the dominant publication in the sport, last owner American City Business Journals (ACNJ) never "got it" during the digital transition and in the end Scene was closed and staff members terminated.
STP signed their first deal with Richard Petty in 1972, forever changing the motorsports sponsorship landscape. This year they are proud to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with “The King.”
As part of the celebration, STP will be back on the No. 43 Ford Fusion for the second consecutive year during the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. The No. 43 STP Ford Fusion will feature the iconic Petty Blue and STP Day-Glo Red colors and will be piloted by new Richard Petty Motorsports driver, Aric Almirola.
“When I signed with Richard Petty Motorsports for the 2012 season I was honored to be driving for a legend of our sport,” said Almirola. “Being able to sit in the driver’s seat of the No. 43 STP car with an iconic paint scheme, just like ‘The King’ himself did, is the icing on the cake and it would be amazing to drive it to Victory Lane on April 22.”
Even in his CART days, if his personal jet could not fly him to the race (and he had to, therefore, fly commercial airlines) Roger Penske was always against them. China is fast becoming the world's No. 1 economy yet Penske speaks against IndyCar going there.
Every time Roger Penske opens his mouth to the media it seems IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has to do damage control.
In the wake of IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske telling selected media members at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that Lotus was in danger of dropping out of the North American open wheel racing loop, the British-based firm emphatically denied any such plans and Bernard did too.
Group Lotus director of motorsport Claudio Berro told autosport.com he is confident his firm will be on equal footing with Chevrolet and Honda by the end of next month.
“We have enough engines,” Berro said. “We had eight engines in St. Petersburg, and we will have another two at Barber to take the total to 10. The plan is to have 25 engines for the season.”
Dario Franchitti snoozes before St. Pete race, oblivious to the commotion around him
A new race car being used in the IndyCar series this year means there's no clear-cut favorites for at least the next few races, including the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15, reigning champion Dario Franchitti said Tuesday.
"It blows it wide open for the teams, and that's a positive for the fans," Franchitti, who won the Long Beach street race in 2009, said in a telephone interview. "It's absolutely a whole new game."
After using the same car and engine for several years, the Izod IndyCar Series rolled out the new car this season and teams can now choose engines from three manufacturers: Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus.
Helio Castroneves of Penske Racing won the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, while Franchitti -- a four-time IndyCar champion overall who drives for Target Chip Ganassi Racing -- struggled all day and finished 13th.
Telmex and Sergio Perez Dear AR1.com, After watching the F1 race and both GP2 races in Malaysia, I couldn’t but remember how Champ Car had a huge opportunity of creating a relationship with TELMEX and Carlos Slim but instead they made the guy feel cheated, now he and his son (the one that loves racing) are pretty much funding Sauber (almost every sponsor in those cars are part of the Slim Corporation) and they are also funding another Mexican at the GP2 level.
Seeing Sauber’s best result in their history (not counting when the team belonged to BMW), seeing their GP2 driver also finishing in 2nd place (in the Sprint Race that Sunday) made me think about all they could have done for Champ Car, and now Champ Car doesn’t exist, and Indy Car is having many of the problems CC and CART had back then and all that TELMEX money is somewhere else. Jose Arrambide
The 28th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will provide some additional incentive for drivers to win one of the four segments heading into the final 10-lap shootout, as the emphasis on winning and pit road strategy have never been more prevalent in this special night of NASCAR star-studded competition. Through the annual Sprint Fan Vote, under way now, fans can again cast ballots for their favorite eligible driver.
The driver receiving the highest number of votes will earn a spot in the field. The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race set for Saturday, May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (SPEED, 7 p.m.), will consist of four 20-lap segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. This year's format will place a higher premium for drivers who win one of the four segments, however, as the winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up 1-4 prior to the field coming to pit road for the final mandatory pit stop.
Bahrain chief keen to prove safety A chief representative of the Bahrain Grand Prix is eager to welcome Formula 1 back to the country, keen to prove that the race is not set to be cancelled for the second consecutive year. Mixed messages continue to come out of the country, but Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa argues that this is nothing new.
“There are disturbances and they are youths who need to be handled and led in a proper and right way,” Al Khalifa, President of the Automobile Federation of Bahrain, told PA Sport.
“They need to know if they have concerns, problems; there are proper channels and procedures that can deal with them. They will not achieve their goals by disrupting the lives of family, friends, neighbors or anybody who comes to the country. But then we've had these youths doing what they are doing since 2004.
Pruett and Galles to be Inducted into Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will honor racing legend Scott Pruett as well as the legendary racing team of Galles Racing at the seventh annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame induction ceremony.
"Scott Pruett and the Galles Racing team have made legendary contributions to the field of motorsports, and they deserve to be honored in the Motorsports Walk of Fame," said Mayor Bob Foster, who will be presenting the medallions to the honorees. “Scott Pruett is one of the most decorated American road racers in the history of motorsports, and the Galles Racing team has five consecutive wins at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.”
KVRT statement regarding Kanaan DNF in St. Petersburg
After an exhaustive investigation into the loss of power suffered by the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry driven by Tony Kanaan at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 25, the team has diagnosed the problem as battery related.
“When the car arrived back at the shop in Indianapolis, we immediately conducted a thorough investigation into the cause of the loss of power suffered by the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine on lap 21 of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. After reviewing the results of that investigation we have determined that the power loss was a result of a battery related issue and have taken the necessary steps to rectify the problem,” said KV Racing Technology General Manager Mark Johnson.
KVRT will be back on track this weekend for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, March 30 – April 1, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 2:00 p.m. (ET).
Fittipaldi Gives Us His Thoughts On Last Weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix This season is shaping up to be a classic. Have you been on the edge of your seat too?
The racing is better than last year and it’s good to see the teams closing in and in some cases being even faster than the Red Bulls. Of course it’s a great field with six world champions and a lot of new talent.
Just two races in, and Kimi Raikkonen looks like he’s lost none of his speed. Are you surprised how quickly he’s got back to grips with F1?
I am surprised that it has taken no time for Kimi to be back at the top of his form. Michael Schumacher is on form this year too, but it took him two years to get back in the groove. Kimi was on it from the very first test.
ALMS Bringing Full Field to Long Beach Fresh off a record-setting season opener at Sebring, a full grid from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n heads west to America’s premier street racing festival. A total of 35 cars are set for the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, tying 2010’s field as the largest of any kind at Long Beach in more than 15 years.
The ALMS has become a staple of Long Beach’s Saturday activities. If you think variety is the spice of life, have we got a show for you. The ALMS grid features sexy, exotic prototype sports cars and the world’s best GT racers, ready to tackle the streets of Long Beach for a sixth consecutive year. There are 11 auto and chassis marques represented among the five classes … and that doesn’t count four tire manufacturers!
Eighteen drivers confirmed for Silverstone F2 test Eighteen drivers from 11 different countries will take part in tomorrow's (Wednesday 28 March) official FIA Formula Two pre-season test session at the Silverstone GP circuit.
Among them is a wide variety of new and returning drivers all eager to begin preparations for the 2012 and fourth F2 season, which gets underway on 14/15 April at the 5.901 km Northamptonshire venue.
2011 runner-up Christopher Zanella heads a number of returning drivers which includes former race-winner Mihai Marinescu along with Comma-backed Luciano Bacheta, James Cole, Parthiva Sureshwaren, Plamen Kralev and José Luis Abadin.
Local Officials Expect Briefing On Status Of Austin F1 TrackUPDATE Travis County commissioners today will discuss several items related to a Formula One race planned in November at the Circuit of the Americas, a racetrack under construction in southeastern Travis County.
Commissioners plan to discuss a draft of a letter to circuit officials regarding a mass gathering permit, improvements to several roads surrounding the circuit, and proposed public safety and traffic management plans, according to the meeting agenda.
The items will be discussed in executive session.
A circuit attorney last week told the American-Statesman that organizers plan to apply for the mass gathering permit, which is required under state law and can apply to events in unincorporated areas that attract, or are expected to attract, more than 2,500 people for five hours or longer.
Lotus insists its IndyCar engine supply is under control Lotus is confident that it will be able to meet its supply requirements for the remainder of the IndyCar season, despite admitting that it is still playing catch-up from its late arrival in the series.
A lack of engines meant that the Lotus-powered teams had to share a single car during the opening phase of pre-season testing, and the problems extended right up to the eve of last weekend's opening race in St Petersburg, with Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais not receiving an engine until the day before the first practice session.
But Group Lotus director of motorsport Claudio Berro told AUTOSPORT that he was confident that the manufacturer will breach the gap.
"We have enough engines," he said. "We had eight engines in St Petersburg, and we will have another two at Barber to take the total to 10. The plan is to have 25 engines for the season."
Chiquita inks deal for NASCAR Plaza space Chiquita Brands International has signed a lease for more than 130,000 square feet in the NASCAR Plaza building uptown, real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced Monday.
The banana giant announced last year it was moving its corporate headquarters from downtown Cincinnati to uptown. Chiquita will occupy six floors in NASCAR Plaza by September.
"We are pleased to finalize the location of our new global headquarters in Charlotte," said Fernando Aguirrre, chairman and chief executive officer. "NASCAR Plaza is the perfect location to base our global operations, and we look forward to joining the vibrant business community in the Uptown Area."
Interview with Williams’ Mark Gillan Williams scored its first points of 2012 in Malaysia, with Bruno Senna picking up eight for sixth place which is already more than the team scored throughout the whole of last year. The result could have been even better, but Pastor Maldonado suffered Renault engine problems. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan shares the latest.
How would you sum up the overall performance of the FW34 around Sepang? Overall I am very pleased. It was a difficult weekend to manage due to the weather, especially in the race, but both the car and drivers did well in the changeable conditions and it is pleasing to come away from Malaysia with eight points. The FW34 was particularly strong on the green, drying track.
Bruno drove well to go from 23rd at the restart to sixth. What were the decisive moments in the race for him? Bruno had an excellent drive and critically he managed his Intermediate tires very well on the drying track, which allowed us to extend this stint and switch to the Medium dry tire at the optimal moment.
A123 will replace defective battery packs, takes blame for Fisker Karma glitch A123 Systems is replacing lithium-ion battery modules and packs that could fail due to a manufacturing defect, a problem that recently led to the high-profile shutdown of the Fisker Karma luxury sedan during testing by Consumer Reports magazine.
A123 said it discovered defects in certain cells made at its plant in suburban Detroit that CEO David Vieau said can "result in premature failure of the battery module or pack, including a decrease in performance and reduced battery life."
Travis Pastrana was in downtown Detroit on Monday to announce a partnership with Dodge and SRT Motorsports in this year's Global RallyCross Championship Series. The popular 28-year-old will be behind the wheel of a Dodge Dart rally car on this circuit, which begins May 26 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Pastrana also said he's going ahead with plans for his Nationwide debut at Richmond International Raceway on April 27.
"I drive a lot of different types of vehicles," he said. "I love to drive. Everything that you drive brings a completely different audience."
Man gets three speeding tickets in one hour Traffic officers along Interstate 84 in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge say a lead-footed driver was in such a hurry to make a court date on a meth possession charge that he racked up $2,000 worth of speeding tickets in an hour.
Police say 34-year-old Jose Romero-Valenzuela of Las Vegas, Nev., was zooming west Wednesday morning and got pulled over three times - first at 105 mph, then at 98 mph and finally at 92 mph.
Police say the last ticket appeared to have an effect.
Police confirm he was indeed scheduled for a court appearance later Wednesday in Oregon City, south of Portland. wacbtv in Portland Oregon
Air Dates and Times for Mazda Motorsports Hour Air dates and times for the first broadcasts of the Mazda Motorsports Hour on Velocity TV have been finalized. To find which channel Velocity is on in your area, go to www.StarMazda.com and click the Star Mazda TV / Velocity icon. Half way down the page on the right side is the Channel Finder. Enter your zip code and cable provider and click Submit. Information is correct as of March 27, but is subject to change, so double-check as we get closer to the air date.
Swift auctioning off Atlantic Series cars Swift Engineering in California, designers of the last Champ Car Atlantic car, are auctioning off an entire series worth of cars for anyone looking to start a new series. Details can be found here.
Everywhere Rubens Barrichello turned on pit lane before climbing into the No. 8 BMC-Embrase-KV Racing Technology Chevrolet for the start of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, he was greeted with handshakes and cheers from spectators waving Brazilian flags in the grandstand.
Barrichello, who was making his IZOD IndyCar Series debut after 19 seasons in Formula One, reciprocated throughout the pre-race festivities - soaking in the scene and sun with a smile.
It was a new setting for Barrichello and his wife, Silvana, but they felt right at home.
St. Pete win washes away '11 finish for Castroneves
An uncharacteristic 2011, in which Helio Castroneves' streak with at least one victory ended at 11 seasons and the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion finished a career-low 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings, is as much history as yesterday's headlines.
The Team Penske driver said during the Sebring Open Test in early March that there was something missing, though his confidence never wavered.
"We never stopped believing," said Castroneves, who received a championship points jump by winning the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25. "It's important for us as a group to know that we can do it. Having the entire crew believing in me and never give up, it just proves this is a great group of guys. We need exactly everybody saying, 'We know what we can do.'
Sergio Perez: “We have to push hard and stay realistic” In what was only his 19th Formula One race Sergio Perez achieved his first podium in the highest echelon of motorsport. The 22-year-old came second in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday and is on his way back to his home town of Guadalajara in Mexico.
Sergio, has it sunk in that you have just had your first F1 podium finish?
Sergio Perez: “I must say it is a bit difficult to accept it because in Formula One everything happens so quickly and, although I had to leave straight after the race, I’m still not at home in Mexico and have not really celebrated yet. I am just having a stopover in the US, at Dallas. For sure it was a great race and in a way a great feeling. But initially I was a bit disappointed because I thought maybe I could have won it, although nobody knows what in the end would have happened if I had managed to attack Fernando (Alonso) and whether I would have got by him or not. Meanwhile, of course, I realized that having come second is also a great result for us and is a perfect boost for the entire team, which is working very hard. I am happy for everybody in the Sauber F1 Team.”
Appeals court refuses to reinstate Mayfield's lawsuit against NASCAR A federal appeals court in Virginia has refused to revive former racecar driver Jeremy Mayfield's lawsuit against NASCAR over his suspension for failing a random drug test. Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications led to the positive test at Richmond International Raceway. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Monday that U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen in Charlotte, N.C., did not abuse his discretion in dismissing Mayfield's complaint. After his 2009 suspension, Mayfield sued NASCAR; its owner, Brian Zachary France; and a drug testing company for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and negligence. Mullen tossed out the lawsuit because Mayfield had twice, as a driver and an owner, signed documents waiving his right to sue. Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications led to the positive test at Richmond International Raceway. The Republic/Associated Press
NASCAR Statement: Statement from Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Operations: "NASCAR is pleased that today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court's original decision in May 2010 in Jeremy Mayfield v. NASCAR. This case was never about anything more than NASCAR's ability to keep the sport clean and our competitors safe." NASCAR
Ecclestone reaches agreement with majority of teams
Bernie Ecclestone has announced that he has reached agreement with “the majority” of Formula One’s teams over commercial terms post-2012, although Mercedes’ name was conspicuous by its absence in the statement released on Saturday by the sport’s chief executive.
After a week of speculation and intrigue, triggered by the leak of an unsigned version of the Concorde Agreement which appeared to suggest that Ferrari and Red Bull would be offered favorable terms in the post-2012 era, Ecclestone made the announcement on Formula One’s official website.
"I am very pleased to announce that we have reached commercial agreements with the majority of the current Formula One teams, including Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing, about the terms on which they will continue competing in Formula One after the current Concorde Agreement expires at the end of this year,” he said. The statement raises a number of questions. Which teams constitute the majority to which Ecclestone referred?
Have McLaren ‘agreed’ to the same version of the Concorde Agreement leaked last weekend or have they been able to secure more favorable terms in the interim?
And what are Mercedes' intentions? The Brackley-based team have been one of the most vocal supporters of the Formula One Teams Association, the umbrella group which was blown apart by the withdrawal of Ferrari and Red Bull in December. Guardian.co.uk
A Woman Empowered at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
A little over a year ago, British racing driver Katherine Legge returned to the United States in an attempt to realize her dream of returning to American open-wheel racing. Giving up a job as a factory driver, which is the dream of most of her European counterparts, seemed like insanity to nearly everyone she encountered in the past 14 months. Yet here Legge was today in her inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, after what must have seemed like the pinnacle of the most difficult climb in motorsports – an entire year without competitive racing.
Aschenbach Kicks Off TruSpeed’s World Challenge Season In Style The same three Pirelli World Challenge Championships drivers crossed the finish line first in this morning's second half of the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg doubleheader as they did in Saturday evening's season opener, but unlike last night, all three drivers took undisputed victories.
Lawson Aschenbach, of Darnestown, Md., took the GT class victory in a dominating performance, while Justin Bell, of Los Angeles, Calif., parlayed a late-race pass into a second GTS triumph and Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y., dominated Touring Car for a doubleheader sweep.
And so a new, and well-deserved nickname is born; 'The Hawk'... for despite Connor De Phillippi's championship-caliber performance in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Spring Training at Barber Motorsports Park (fastest time), pre-race practice for the Grand Prix of St. Pete (fastest in every session), qualifying for Race 1 (on the pole) and Race 1 itself (won the race), it was English racer Jack 'The Hawk' Hawksworth (center), driving the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss / EXA Networks Mazda, who left the season-opening Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with the championship points lead.
NASCAR race threatened by rainUPDATE The race has begun with no rain so far but there is a wall of rain about 10 miles west of track with 70 of 200 laps run.
03/25/12 Rain could be an issue on Sunday, March 25, 2012, for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
The Weather.com forecast: Becoming cloudy with occasional rain during the afternoon. Thunder possible. High 58F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.
The National Weather Service forecast: Patchy fog in the morning. Chance of rain in the morning...then rain in the afternoon. Highs 55 to 63. Areas of winds south 15 to 25 mph. Gusts to 35 mph in the afternoon.
Cucumber Karthikeyan penalized for contact with Vettel Following a stewards’ inquiry, Narain Karthikeyan has been punished for the incident which resulted in Sebastian Vettel’s puncture during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
On Lap 47 of 56, the World Champion was lapping the HRT when his left-rear wheel clipped its front wing, resulting in a puncture; this dropped the Red Bull out of the points. Vettel also suffered radio problems.
"Most crucially we lost radio communication and that makes it very difficult in these conditions to know what’s going on," he explained. "Nonetheless, we did our maximum today and got up to fourth. To then lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to look more where they are going."
Second-year Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda contender Spencer Pigot used his experience to excellent effect this morning as he took his second USF2000 St. Petersburg Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products race win in as many days.
Pigot, 18, from Orlando, Fla., pulled off a brave outside maneuver at Turn One on the opening lap to edge ahead of pole-sitting Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Matthew Brabham and, later, had to muster all of his defensive capabilities to keep Brabham behind him when the race resumed following a full-course caution. The interruption had been caused by a three-car melee in Turn Three involving Scott Hargrove (JDC MotorSports), Luigi Biangardi (ArmsUp Motorsports) and Neil Alberico (JDC MotorSports), who became entangled with a lapped car while at the same time being embroiled in a terrific fight for third place.
De Phillippi wins from pole Connor De Philliippi, winner of this race last year, repeated the feat with a clean, green run, leading from flag-to-flag in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season-opener at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Starting from the pole in the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda, De Phillippi experienced only one moment of real drama in the race when, on the final lap, Jack Hawksworth in the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss / EXA Networks Mazda, made a passing attempt in Turn 13 that just missed... and wound up costing him a couple of car lengths. Forced to settle for 2nd place, he crossed the finish line just 0.486-seconds back. He did, however, turn the quickest lap of the race and thus won the PEAK Performance Pole Award and the prime starting spot for tomorrow's Race 2.
James Calado wins Sprint Race 2011 GP3 Series runner-up James Calado has again proven today that he has adapted quickly and strongly to the GP2/11 car. The British sensation took a lights-to-flag maiden GP2 Series win in the first Sprint Race of the 2012 season in Malaysia. Starting from pole position, he controlled the rest of the race keeping his teammate Esteban Gutiérrez at bay and preserving his tires until the checkered flag. In third, rookie Felipe Nasr scored his first GP2 podium.
When the lights went out in scorching temperatures, Calado and Gutiérrez made perfect gateways and both men were side by side at the entrance of Turn 1. The Brit however managed to keep the lead. Further behind, Nasr also made a great start and chose to take the outside of Turn 1 to pass Stefano Coletti. The Monegasque driver tried to regain his position a couple of corners later but went too wide and dropped to P9 behind Davide Valsecchi, but would pass the Italian and Luiz Razia before the end of Lap 1 to fight his way back to sixth.
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