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DATE News (chronologically)
03/26/15
f1

Malaysian GP: Rosberg tops practice 1 as Hamilton falters
Nico Rosberg

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg comfortably topped the opening practice session for this weekend's Malaysian GP in Sepang.

Meanwhile Rosberg's Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton had an engine problem and missed most of the session.

The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were 2nd and 3rd 4/10ths of a second behind Rosberg.

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03/26/15
motogp

Marquez tops opening practice in Qatar
Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez started the 2015 season like he finished 2014, topping the first practice session in Qatar.

Marquez topped Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa by just 0.076 seconds.

Aleix Espargaro was the third-fastest time, 1m55.685s, and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was fourth while Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top-5.

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03/26/15
irl

Sage Karam medical update
Sage Karam
I spoke with Sage tonight at the rained out welcome party at the Dali Museum.  Sage was wearing a brace on his right wrist.  Recall he had that hard crash in Birmingham last week while testing and came out into pit lane icing down the wrist.  He said that he thought that his wrist was broken during the crash but medical said it was not. 

Turns out that he really does have a small bone that is broken and it is causing him some pain, but he is not passing up the change to drive this weekend.  It might be a bit challenging since almost all the turns are right handed. Lucille Dust, reporting for AR1.com in St. Petersburg

Comment
03/26/15
v8

Humbled Ambrose feared 'dragging team down'
After years of 'lazy' racing in NASCAR, Ambrose no longer has the quick reflexes needed to win at higher levels of motorsports
After years of 'lazy' racing in NASCAR, Ambrose no longer has the quick reflexes needed to win at higher levels of motorsports
Marcos Ambrose has vowed to return to the V8 Supercars Championship later this season after the “humbling experience” of stepping out of his full-time seat at DJR Team Penske.

In an extensive interview with Speedcafe.com, the 38-year-old detailed his reasons for making the move, which shocked the V8 Supercars community when it was announced last week.

Ambrose says he has struggled to “get a feel for” the current generation V8 Supercars since rejoining the championship last December and refuses to “drag the team down to my level” while it tries to develop.

Planning from early in 2014 to quit NASCAR, Ambrose had played a key role in uniting DJR and Team Penske, committing to the program before the squad confirmed in December that it would scale back to one car.

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03/26/15
irl

Gordon and Herta to be Inducted into LB Motorsports Walk of Fame
Bryan Herta
Two motorsports legends with a proud history at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Robby Gordon and Bryan Herta – will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Thursday, April 16.

The public is invited to the free, 10th annual induction ceremony, which will be held at 11:00 am on South Pine Avenue in front of the Convention Center, along the route of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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03/26/15
irl

Marco Andretti looking for more success in his 10th IndyCar racing season
Marco Andretti found speed this week at Sebring
Marco Andretti found speed this week at Sebring
Marco Andretti was driving up I-75 from Sebring to St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday evening, and it was obvious by the sound of his voice that he was happy.

"We were really far off at Barber and New Orleans, but we made some huge strides this week at Sebring," the 28-year-old third-generation Indy-car driver from Nazareth said. "We're looking forward to St. Pete all of a sudden."

Speed. It's the only thing that counts in Andretti's world. You can never have enough of it.

The Verizon IndyCar Series opens its 2015 season this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race, which is set for Sunday, is run on a street course.

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03/26/15
irl

Thursday evening report from St. Pete
Life is good in St. Petersburg, FL
Hello from a warm, sunny St. Pete. As you might expect, everyone here is in a cheerful mood, and excited to be back at the track after a long off-season. There are rain and thunderstorms anticipated for tomorrow, so we'll see how that affects the first day of practice. 

We ran into new Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud. He told us that the Hondas were quicker at the Sebring test earlier this week. Of course, you probably remember the Barber test, where the Chevy teams seemed to have their way. Also, many have predicted that Chevy could be dominant particularly at the start of the season. However, the sense here is that the Honda teams have already made some strides since Barber.

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03/26/15
il

Belardi Auto Racing Ready to Begin Indy Lights Title Defense
Felix Serralles testing the new Lights car
PETERSBURG, FL – It’s been seven months since Belardi Auto Racing was crowned the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champions following the exciting 2014 series finale in Sonoma, CA. Since that day, they’ve been working diligently with the goal of defending the title and, this weekend, the chase will begin once again. The team’s drivers – Juan Piedrahita and Felix Serralles – will contend Rounds 1 and 2 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the downtown street circuit on the Gulf Coast of Florida. They will also take their new Dallara IL-15 racecars into wheel-to-wheel battle for the first time, as the state-of-the-art machine will make its competition debut.

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03/26/15
f1

Alonso throws McLaren under the bus
Alonso (Head down center) throws McLaren under the bus
Fernando Alonso, on his return to F1, has immediately gone off-message regarding McLaren’s position on the cause of his testing accident at Barcelona in February that left him hospitalized with concussion. Upon being asked about the accident in the Thursday press conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Alonso stated: "Definitely we had a steering problem in the middle of turn three. It locked into the right and I approached the wall."

McLaren has declined publically to respond to its driver's position – but privately team insiders are dismayed with what he said in the conference, having understood from him beforehand that he would be supporting its position that nothing in the data suggests a mechanical problem.

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03/26/15
track news

Speedway exploring new 125-room hotel for Turn 2
Hotel Rendering
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to build a 125-room hotel with apartments and a restaurant along Turn 2 of the track.

Local developer Browning Investments Inc., on behalf of the IMS, put out requests for proposals, which were due March 20. (The image below is just a mockup for the RFP; the eventual project likely would look different.)

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03/26/15
ta

Trans Am Series announces additional broadcast dates, independent TA2 races
The Trans Am Race Company has released a full slate of additional broadcast dates on CBS Sports Network for the 2015 Trans Am Championship, with eight races at five locations over the course of the year.   In addition to the originally planned six-event broadcast, Trans Am’s TA2 class will receive three independent broadcasts and races at the Road Atlanta, Lime Rock Park and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course events. 

"We’ve seen remarkable growth in TA2 yet again this year," said John Clagett, President of the Trans Am Race Company.  "When you pair that with the growth of the Series overall, it can make for some extremely full racetracks.  It’s the opinion of TARC that we take advantage of this growth and give TA2 a chance to shine on its own, allowing Trans Am to hold multiple races over the course of the weekend.  It’s better racing for our drivers and more action for the fans.  In turn, we have the opportunity to give TA2 their own broadcast at those locations as well, giving fans at home a double dose of Trans Am as well."  

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03/26/15
irl

Hitachi to sponsor Castroneves in selected races
Hitachi sponsored No. 3

Building on one of the most successful INDYCAR partnerships in recent memory, Team Penske and Hitachi Group announced today that Hitachi will return as a sponsor for all of the team's cars competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet will be driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. The Hitachi logo will once again adorn Castroneves' IndyCar this season, and in the future under the terms of the multi-year partnership extension.

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03/26/15
irl

Walker: New aero kits bring series 'back to the future'
Derrick Walker
Derrick Walker
In summer 2010, when Randy Bernard led IndyCar, a concept was unveiled.

'Aero kits' became the sport's buzz words.
 
Five years later, reality hits. Chevrolet and Honda have visually distinguished themselves with different bodywork designs. The kits include wings, sidepods and all coverings; they serve as the dressings on Dallara’s DW12 chassis; and teams have more freedom to chase a competitive advantage.
 
The official aero kit debuts March 29 at the season-opening street race in St. Petersburg, Fla. IndyCar president Derrick Walker is eager to see if Bernard’s idea transforms the sport or simply costs it money. We were eager to ask him the following:

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03/26/15
nhra

NHRA Mello Yello Series continues to see increases in TV viewership, attendance
Television viewership on ESPN/ESPN2 and event attendance for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continue to increase in 2015 after a year-over-year increase in 2014.

Television viewership for the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals, the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals was up 30 percent overall for Sunday’s eliminations shows and 50 percent for Saturday’s qualifying shows.

The trend continues to build on positive television viewership numbers that the NHRA Mello Yello Series saw in 2014. Bolstered by three live shows, Sunday’s eliminations shows in 2014 were up by 9 percent over the previous year.

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03/26/15
nassprint
nasx

NASCAR issues penalties to No. 33 Cup team, Xfinity team
The No. 33 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection March 20 at Auto Club Speedway.

This infraction is a P4 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;

20.14.2: Rear Suspension: Truck Trailing Arm

E. The left and right side truck trailing arms must be mounted to the truck trailing arm mounting brackets using a one-piece, minimum ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel bolt.

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03/26/15
fe

Three practice sessions for the Long Beach ePrix
Formula E will use a shortened version of the iconic Long Beach street circuit
There will be a change to the usual Formula E event format for round six of the series – the Long Beach ePrix on April 4.

Due to the layout of the track and the location of the paddock, there will be three 25-minute non-qualifying practice sessions instead of the usual two.

Benoit Dupont, Sporting Manager at Formula E, said: “In Long Beach we are using part of the IndyCar circuit along Shoreline Drive and a similar style pitlane with the garages in a remote paddock. To maximise charging time and allow teams more time to manage the cars in between sessions we altered the timetable to include three shorter sessions.”

The timetable for the Long Beach ePrix is as follows:

08:15-08:40 – Practice 1

09:25-09:50 – Practice 2

10:35-11:00 – Practice 3

12:00-12:55 – Qualifying

16:00 – Race (39 laps)

Formula E

Comment
03/26/15
track news

DIS Begins Taking Down Iconic Tower Amid Daytona Rising
Daytona Sprint Cup Tower
Daytona Sprint Cup Tower
The iconic Sprint Cup Tower that has been at Daytona Int'l Speedway "for almost three decades" began its "white-flag lap" yesterday. A crane "started picking off pieces of the signature structure" as part of the ongoing Daytona Rising renovation project. The tower for 27 years has "housed corporate gatherings, the media and NASCAR officials on race weekends." Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL

Comment
03/26/15
f1

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

03/26/15
  • Bottas back for Malaysia this weekend
    Manor told it must run cars in Malaysia
  • Mosley tells moaning Red Bull to 'live with it'
  • Now Force India signs low-profile development driver
  • Williams confirms Bottas return
  • FIA declares Alonso 'fit to race'
  • Alonso declares 'locked steering' caused crash
  • Bottas tweaks car after back injury
  • Williams signs Sutil as 2015 reserve New
  • Red Bull fracas just 'frustration' - Ricciardo New
  • Vettel turns down Rosberg's debrief invite New
  • Manor fires up Ferrari engine at Sepang New

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03/26/15
irl

Andretti Partners With R&D Agency For Interactive Media
Kinetic Vision, an industry leader in innovative product and process development, has begun an exciting partnership with Andretti Autosport in the launch of its new website at AndrettiAutosport.com.

"We're excited to announce our associate sponsorship and role as the Official Digital Marketing Agency of Andretti Autosport," said Jeremy Jarrett, Kinetic Vision Vice President.

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03/26/15
irl

St. Pete -- Track facts and previous winners
St. Petersburg Street Circuit
TRACK FACTS

Surface: Asphalt/Concrete
Length: 1.8 mi (2.9 km)
Laps: 110
Turns: 14
Lap record: Sebastien Bourdais (1:00.928, Lola B02/00-Ford Cosworth, 2003, Champ Car)
Most wins: Helio Castroneves-3
Most wins by team: Team Penske-6
Most poles: Will Power-4

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03/26/15
f4
r2i

DeFrancesco joins Carlin
North American karting Champion Devlin Defrancesco has joined Carlin, completing an extensive programme with the British based squad. The Miami based driver is completing a season long schedule comprising of simulator and on track testing in preparation for races in the FIA Formula 4 model.

Defrancesco will take part in a comprehensive programme which includes physical training as well as an extensive simulator programme. Alongside learning in a simulator environment, Defrancesco will also test on track in Carlin's school car, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 4 cars.

The recently turned 15 year-old racer is a Champion in his native Canada and the USA (after spending his childhood residing in Florida) and in Europe, where Defrancesco raced in the KF-Junior and also finished on the podium overall in the CIK European Championship. Defrancesco's season was curtailed by a previous hand injury, which after long term pain required double surgeries.  Now building up strength in the hand and wrist ahead of his debut in car racing, the young American is well on the road to full recovery.

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03/26/15
irl

Chevrolet Ready for Verizon IndyCar Series Season-Opening
  • A new era dawns in Verizon IndyCar Series with racing debut of Chevrolet Aero Kit.
  • New Aero Kit gives a distinct look to the Chevrolet 2.2-liter, V6-powered cars and differentiates Team Chevy competitors from other manufacturers
  • Streets of St. Petersburg (Florida) is race one of 16-race 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season
  • Stage set for Chevrolet to begin campaign for fourth consecutive Manufacturer Championship
  • Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, starts the season with the No. 1 on his car signifying he is the defending series champion

 

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03/26/15
nassprint
tv news

Fox tested virtual reality system in Fontana
Fox Sports is exploring virtual reality with NextVR, a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences.

The network tested the experience last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California, where NextVR enabled the live streaming of the race in virtual reality. NextVR's software application, which is embedded in a mobile phone that is then connected to a Samsung Gear VR headset, enables viewers to experience the event as if they were there.

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03/26/15
nassprint

NASCAR sends Fontana-used tires for further evaluation
NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that it sent some of the tires used by teams at Auto Club Speedway for further evaluation in a third-party review. The tires of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman were taken after Sunday's Auto Club 400 and brought to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., as part of what NASCAR deems a "tire audit."

NASCAR wouldn't confirm which tires were sent for more examination, nor where they were sent. Goodyear is uninvolved in the process. The decision to confiscate the tires for further scrutiny was made independent of the tire supplier and unrelated to durability. Goodyear occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway).

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03/26/15
wec

Toyota unveils its Porsche and Audi slayer for 2015
2015 Toyota TS040
2015 Toyota TS040
TOYOTA Racing enters the 2015 World Endurance Championship ready to start a new era with the defense of its two titles.
TOYOTA became the first Japanese company to win the World Championship during a very successful 2014 season, which saw Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi also win the drivers’ title.
In a period where energy efficiency is a key performance factor, the TS040 HYBRID proved to be the class of the field, taking five wins from eight races.

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03/26/15
f1

Williams Announces Adrian Sutil as Reserve Driver for the 2015 Season
Adrian Sutil
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING is pleased to announce Adrian Sutil as its official Reserve Driver for the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship season.

Adrian made his Formula One debut in 2007 with the Spyker F1 team before continuing to race with the team under their new guise of Force India from 2008 until 2011. He returned to the sport in 2013, again with Force India before contesting the 2014 season with Sauber.

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03/26/15
irl

Penske team gets deeper with Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud is the new new guy.

Last year, Team Penske welcomed back with open arms Juan Pablo Montoya, who, after seven years on the NASCAR circuit, returned to the IndyCar Series. The 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, Montoya finished fourth in the 2014 series standings.

So, as this year's key addition for Penske, Pagenaud already has some lofty expectations heading into Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the 1.8-mile street-course race that opens the 2015 season.

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03/26/15
irl

IndyCar opens season with new-look cars
Bourdais in the new Honda
Bourdais in the new Chevrolet Kit-Car
For 2015, IndyCar has 'transformed' its cars into a look straight out of the popular toy line that changes robots into futuristic vehicles.

Sunday's season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will mark the debut of the much anticipated aero-kits from Chevrolet and Honda. The 110-lap Verizon IndyCar Series race, on the 1.8-mile street circuit in the Florida gulf coast city, will be broadcast live on ABC at 3 p.m. The green flag waves at 3:37 p.m.

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03/26/15
r2i

Mazda Road to Indy launches app for opener
On the verge of the season-opening races on the streets of St. Petersburg this week, Mazda Road to Indy TV today rolled out the “Official App” for the three series comprising the ladder system to the Verizon IndyCar Series – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

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03/26/15
il

Carlin ready for racing debut in Indy Lights
Ed Jones in the Carlin #11 in testing at Barber
After strong pre-season preparations, Carlin drivers Ed Jones and Max Chilton are in Florida this week for the season opener of the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Series.  The duo will race for Carlin as the team take part of their first race in the Road to Indy Series.

Having announced late in 2014 that the team would be racing stateside, Ed Jones was the first driver to be announced by the team and topped the Carlin's first ever Indy Lights test in Homestead, Florida.  Also joining Carlin for development purposes ahead of his debut with Nissan in the World Endurance Championship is Max Chilton.

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