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DATE News (chronologically)
03/31/10
f1

Sepang, a good track for Ferrari
This weekend will be the third round of the 2010 season and the twelfth edition of the Malaysian Grand Prix. When the circuit was first used in 1999, it was absolutely state-of-the-art and is still one of the best facilities on the calendar.

Ferrari's Malaysian adventure got off to a good start, with a trio of wins; Eddie Irvine being first past the flag in the inaugural 1999 event, followed by two victories for Michael Schumacher over the next two years.

The German won again in 2004 and Kimi Raikkonen was victorious in 2008. Current driver Fernando Alonso rates the Sepang circuit as one of his all time favorites and the Spaniard stood on the top step of the podium in 2005 with Renault and in 2007 for McLaren.

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03/31/10
grandam

Bennett Racing to debut Grand Am Ferrari 430
Bennett Racing will add a Ferrari 430 Challenge model to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series field for the April 24 Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.

Bennett Racing joins a recent run of new teams to the series, with Lou Gigliotti LG Motorsports joining the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 6. Marsh Racing joins the GrandAm field as well April 10 with a Chevrolet Corvette in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Owner-driver Skip Bennett will drive with Mike Skeen in an effort that is ultimately focusing on the 2011 Rolex 24.

Bennett is a relatively new driver, beginning his racing career only 5 years ago, at a Summit Point Raceway driving experience.

"We're looking forward to joining the Rolex Series and racing at VIR," Bennett said. "I've spent a lot of time at that track and am very familiar with it. Depending on how we do, we also hope to run at Watkins Glen and the Daytona race in July, and are also considering New Jersey Motorsports Park."

"This grassroots effort has developed very quickly, and our crew has put in a lot of hard work to make this possible, I'm sure we will learn a lot at VIR to help us prepare for future events."

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03/31/10
nassprint

Hamlin to have ACL surgery UPDATE
Denny Hamlin
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had successful surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee this morning.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina.
Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He is expected to make a full recovery and will be in Phoenix as scheduled for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 10. JGR will have driver Casey Mears on standby should Hamlin experience any complications while driving in the race and need to be replaced in the car.

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03/31/10
nnws

Wimmer joins Nationwide series in Danica's car
Scott Wimmer
Scott Wimmer, one of NASCAR’s top talents will be driving on Saturday, April 3rd at the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Nashville Superspeedway.  Wimmer will be driving JR Motorsport’s No. 7 Chevy Impala that Danica Patrick began the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series with.  That car – currently 30th in owner points – will enter every race this season with Patrick returning to the car in June at New Hampshire.

Earlier this week, Lifetime Television, NASCAR and JR Motorsports have entered into a multi-faceted partnership involving on-car branding and talent appearances during the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Nashville 300 on April 3, 2010, airing at 3:30pm (ET) on ESPN, as well as a major online sweepstakes to promote the season four premiere of the hit drama ARMY Wives.  Wimmer’s racing in the No. 7 Chevy Impala will be a key ingredient in this promotion.

“I'm really looking forward to getting back in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevy Impala this weekend at Nashville, and to promote Season Four of ARMY Wives on Lifetime Television,” said Scott Wimmer.  “I won at Nashville in 2008 and think the combination of that experience and the JR Motorsports team will give us a great shot at a positive result and pick up where we left off at Bristol.”

In again driving the No. 7 Chevy Impala the eyes of the racing world will again be on Wimmer.  Originally JR Motorsports was only going to enter the No. 7 Chevy Impala in thirteen races but then decided to expand that.  P1 Groupe, Wimmer’s management company, negotiated the deal that is letting Wimmer drive the No. 7 at Nashville. 

Under terms of the partnership between NASCAR, Lifetime, and JR Motorsports, ARMY Wives will serve as the official sponsor of JR Motorsports’ No. 7 car, driven by Scott Wimmer, which will be completely wrapped with ARMY Wives branding during the race in Nashville.  Additionally, Lifetime will bring the ARMY Wives Experience to NASCAR’s Fan Zone at the Nashville Superspeedway, where the program’s stars Brigid Brannagh and Wendy Davis will join Wimmer and fellow JR Motorsports driver Kelly Bires for an autograph session with attendees.  Lifetime is also launching the ARMY Wives Race of a Lifetime Sweepstakes on myLifetime.com, where visitors can enter to win an all-expenses paid trip for four people to a future NASCAR event this summer.  Winners will earn a meet-and-greet with JR Motorsports drivers or executives and be given a ride in the race’s official pace car, an exclusive tour of the speedway’s pit, garage and hauler areas, and complementary tickets for the entire weekend.

Scott Wimmer originally hails from Wausau, Wisconsin.  He carved his mark on the short tracks in the Midwest throughout the 1990’s and became recognized as the dominant force in racing throughout the Midwest.  Wimmer captured the eye of top NASCAR owners after he entered the American Speed Association (ASA) and claimed victories in the first two races he competed in.  Wimmer tallied two Top-5 and eight Top-10 finishes in his rookie year of the Busch Series that put him 11th in the championship standings.  In the 2007 season, Wimmer (along with teammate Jeff Burton) won the NASCAR Busch Series season owner points championship for Richard Childress Racing. The duo finished 3rd in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings in 2008, while Wimmer posted his 6th career NASCAR win.  In 2009, Wimmer ran races for Curtis Key Sr. and Key Motorsports as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr., and JR Motorsports.  He resides in North Carolina with his wife, Jody and son, Hayden.

Comment
03/31/10
miscellaneous

Lime Rock needs your help to prevent teen driving deaths...
Education is the best way to prevent teen-driver accidents. Lime Rock Park has long supported Survive the Drive, a high school program aimed at teen driver safety. Survive the Drive has made presentations to more than 10,000 high school students just this past year alone. Check out www.survivethedrive.org, and its  Facebook page is  www.facebook.com/pages/SurvivetheDriveorg/102661729769055

Here’s what we’re asking: Survive the Drive has a good chance to win a much-needed $50,000 grant from the Pepsi-Cola Company, as part of Pepsi’s Community Service Project.. But Survive the Drive needs your vote. The more votes it gets, the greater the chance that Pepsi will award Survive the Drive the grant.

Just click here to vote!  http://www.refresheverything.com/how-it-works 

Voting starts Thursday, April 1. You can vote as often as you want – once a day – throughout April. And please forward this to friends. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, spread the word. The more widely this is distributed, the more people will be voting repeatedly!

Comment
03/31/10
Skip Barber

Skip Barber moves karting shootout to Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway
SBRA shootout moves to Laguna Seca
Barber Racing School will head west to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this December for the 14th edition of its annual Karting Scholarship Shoot-out. The event, the largest and single most important event for karters transitioning to race cars, is scheduled for Friday, December 3rd through Monday, December 6th at the Salinas, Calif. facility.

“Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in early December is a win-win for both karters and the Shoot-out,” explained Todd Snyder, VP of Competition at Skip Barber Racing School.

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03/31/10
gp3

ART team 1-2 in GP3 testing
Esteban Gutierrez
Paul Ricard - As the afternoon session of the second official GP3 Series test concluded, ART Grand Prix continued to impress by topping the time sheets once again.

There were just two red flags all session, and the French team ART Grand Prix dominated throughout the afternoon with Esteban Gutierrez claiming the coveted top spot after posting a time of 1:20.707. The impressive reliability of the GP3 cars also continued with 1972 laps completed throughout the day, covering 7600 km. 

Posting the second fastest time of the afternoon was Guttierez’s teammate and last month’s testing master Alexander Rossi posting a time of 1:20.719. Next up was RSC Mucke’s Nigel Melker, closely followed by teammate Tobias Hegewald. Michael Christensen at MW Arden completed the top five. 

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03/31/10
f1

South Korea launches Grand Prix ticket sales
The Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) has started selling tickets ahead of the inaugural Korean Grand Prix this October. By launching the final trio of races, the event could play a vital role towards the outcome of this year's World Championship.

After Grands Prix in Malaysia, China, Singapore and Japan, South Korea will host the fifth and last Asian race of the 19-race 2010 season at the Korean International Circuit in Yeongam.

Tickets prices will range from 117,000 won (£68) to 920,000 won (£537) minus tax at the track which will hold a capacity 123,000 crowd. Those who make ticket purchases before the end of April can expect a discount in the region of 10 percent.

Ticket purchases and more information can be found on the Korean Grand Prix website

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03/31/10
irl

Petty and Andretti team for Indy 500
Petty, Andretti and Andretti teaming up for Indy 500
Andretti Autosport announced March 31 it will work in a joint effort with racing legend Richard Petty and Window World, Inc., to field a fifth IZOD IndyCar Series entry for veteran driver John Andretti, first at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 1 and then in the 2010 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 30.

After his debut run at Kansas, Andretti will attempt to make his 11th Indianapolis 500 start behind the wheel of the No. 43 Team Window World car. A successful qualifying attempt for Andretti on Saturday, May 22 or Sunday, May 23 will deepen the Andretti family legacy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he drives for the team owned by his cousin, Michael.

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03/31/10
f1

Petrov tribute to bombing victims
Renault's Vitaly Petrov will sport a black armband during the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend as a mark of respect to those who have lost their lives in suicide attacks in home nation Russia.

With a dozen people reported dead by mid-afternoon on Wednesday in the Russian city of Caucasus, the country remains on alert after bombings on the underground metro system in capital Moscow.

"This terrible news shocked me profoundly," Petrov said. "I would like to give my support to everybody who was affected by this tragedy. I will wear a black armband during the Malaysian Grand Prix in memory of the people who were killed or wounded at Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations.

"I'm sure organizers of this barbaric act will be found soon and brought to justice and I hope from all my heart that such a thing will never happen again." GPUpdate.net

Comment
03/31/10
f1

Schumacher's rewards
Schuey and Brawn
Michael Schumacher will get more satisfaction in his comeback year from helping Mercedes get to the front of the field, than he would have done had he returned to Formula 1 with an all-conquering car.

That is the view of the seven-time champion’s team boss and long-time colleague Ross Brawn, who reckons the German will achieve his ambition of enjoying his F1 return by playing a key role in improving his new team’s early-season form after it trailed its chief rivals in the first two rounds.

“I’m a keen fisherman as you know and there’s this story about a guy who turned up at a trout stream and just started catching massive fish every cast and realized it wasn’t enjoyable anymore,” Brawn said in Melbourne.

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03/31/10
nassprint

Bowyers crew wins Tissot pit crew award
Clint Bowyer’s over-the-wall crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday’s rain-delayed (March 29) Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the historic Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

The No. 33 crew helped Bowyer reach a seventh-place finish at the .526 mile paper clip-shaped oval, the shortest racetrack on the Sprint Cup schedule.

Bowyer’s BB&T Chevrolet Impala spent the least amount of time on pit road – 329.414 seconds – during the 508-lap overtime race. Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion was second (331.563) and Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet was third (332.340). 

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03/31/10
f1

Piquets launch libel suit against blackmail accuser Briatore
(GMM)  Sacked Renault driver Nelson Piquet, and his triple world championship-winning father of the same name, have launched a libel court action against Flavio Briatore.

According to the Daily Mail, the pair are seeking 200,000 pounds sterling, with the team's ousted boss Briatore - who was also 24-year-old Piquet's manager - summoned by the High Court in London.

The suit centers around the Singapore race-fixing scandal known in F1 circles as 'crashgate', where Piquet deliberately crashed during the 2008 Singapore GP and blew the whistle on his co-conspirators a year later when subsequently fired for his lack of performance.

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03/31/10
f1

Laude predicts Red Bull title already lost
Formula One legend Nikki Lauda believes Red Bull's reliability troubles in the opening two races of the season will cost them the constructor's title.

Sebastian Vettel was leading the opener in Bahrain before a spark plug fault on the 33rd lap cause a dramatic loss of power that saw him eventually limp home in fourth place.

It was an all too familiar story in Melbourne as, with Vettel in first place, an electrical fault saw him fly off into the gravel and out of the race, leaving the team to once again wonder what could have been.

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03/31/10
f1

Johnny Herbert to be F1 steward in Malaysia
Johnny Herbert
(GMM) Johnny Herbert will be the driver steward on duty at this weekend's Malaysian grand prix.

The Jean Todt-led initiative, with experienced former drivers sitting alongside the regular F1 stewards, is designed to give credibility and bring a new relevant perspective to their decisions.

Alain Prost kicked off the scheme in Bahrain, followed by 8-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen for last weekend's Australian grand prix.

Also touted for appearances in 2010 are Nigel Mansell, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Damon Hill and Alex Wurz.

45-year-old Briton Herbert won three grands prix during his F1 career spanning 165 races until 2000.

His last role in F1 was as sporting relations manager with Jordan and Midland in 2005/6.

Comment
03/31/10
f1

FIA insists 'no investigation' into Red Bull suspension UPDATE (GMM)  The FIA is currently not investigating the legality of Red Bull's formula one car.

After the Renault-powered RB6 dominated qualifying in Melbourne last Saturday, McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh hinted the car could be concealing a controversial ride-height adjustment system.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn then called for the governing body to look into the matter "just in fairness to Red Bull" due to the "accusations".

"I think it is necessary for the FIA just to clarify where we stand," he added.

Red Bull's Christian Horner, having denied the Adrian Newey-designed car features the system, said he would welcome the move.

The Swiss newspaper Blick, whose F1 correspondent is the vastly experienced Roger Benoit, reported this week that the FIA "is now investigating" whether the Red Bull is somehow adjusting its ride-height depending on the amount of fuel in the tank.

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03/31/10
gp3

Wickens after GP3 title
Robert Wickens
Rising Canadian star Robert Wickens has set his sights on becoming the first GP3 Series champion after signing to compete in this year’s series with Status Grand Prix.

Wickens, 21, from Ontario, will compete in the full 16-race Formula One™ support series during his third season racing in Europe, and running under the gaze of F1’s decision makers was a crucial factor in Wickens choosing GP3 as he moves towards his goal of securing a Formula One™ drive.

"GP3 is a very good fit for me because we're at F1 Grands Prix and it'll be a great way to highlight myself and show I'm ready to step to F1 in 2011,” said Wickens, who last year finished runner-up in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

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03/31/10
automotive

Cosworth Impreza announced
The result of one of the most eagerly anticipated automotive collaborations in recent times is heading fast towards Subaru dealerships.  The Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 officially goes on sale in June, and is set to offer performance-car fans the thrill of a lifetime.

Subaru has confirmed the car will boast an impressive 400PS (395bhp) at 5,750rpm, sufficient to dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in just 3.7 seconds (compared to 300PS / 296bhp at 6,000rpm,and 5.2 seconds for the standard Impreza WRX STI).  This ensures the Cosworth-tuned car will be one of the most accelerative all-wheel-drive hatchbacks ever.

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03/31/10
track news

MIS and WGI ticket package offered
For the first time ever, two historic tracks both known for their picturesque locations, Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway, have come together to offer race fans two great experiences for one low price.  As part of the new Heluva Good! ticket package, NASCAR fans get a total of five exciting races for ONLY $95 including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at MIS on Sunday, June 13, and the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on Sunday, August 8. Any fans that are ready to catch the excitement of the legendary twists and turns of WGI and the high-speed action at MIS simply need to call 800-354-1010 to order their tickets today.

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03/30/10
irl

Road racer Duno making excuses for poor performance UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1,  I couldn't agree more, a fantastic list of excuses there.  The fact is, no amount of testing will make a slow driver go faster.  Its a real shame that talented drivers like Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia, Bruno Junqueira are on the sidelines while Milka Duno, such a poor excuse for a driver, is racing in the IndyCar series, for no other reason than she paid to be there.  But what I can't understand is why Dale Coyne hired her in the first place?  I'm a huge fan of Dale Coyne and his team, as through even the worst of times he has always managed to field 2 sponsored cars with half decent drivers. You have to wonder why this year he chose a driver with zero talent, who is already causing great embarrassment to such a highly respected team. John Cook

Dear John, When in doubt, follow the money.  There is no more Hulman George family money to support the teams anymore, so they are all scrambling to keep the doors open.  Even Roger Penske's Briscoe and Castroneves cars lack a primary sponsor.  Mark C.

03/30/10
Duno was sideways every time we looked this past weekend
Let's not forget that Milka Duno came from a road racing background, including Grand-Am prototypes.  In fact she is not an oval specialist but a road racer, and never drove an oval until she came to the IRL.  Below is a press release making excuses for her horrible performance this past weekend in St. Pete.

IZOD IndyCar Driver Milka Duno was out early due to handling issues after only seven laps in today's rescheduled Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race, originally scheduled for Sunday, March 28, 2010, was postponed due to heavy rains and rescheduled for a start today at 10am EST.

Duno had improved from the first practice to qualifying by over three seconds in lap time - which is one of several goals on her street and road-course learning strategy. Her first four races of this year's 2010 schedule are on street and road courses that she has not been on previously in an Indy car.

"This weekend was an incredibly challenging and frustrating experience for me," said Duno. "To start the season with four consecutive races on tracks new to me in an Indy car, compounded by the change in the track conditions here due to the rain yesterday and the track still being wet at the start of the race today, proved difficult to overcome."

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03/30/10
pf2000

Maroney Signs with PR1 Motorsports for 2010
After competing in karts since he was four years old, Miles Maroney of Topanga, CA, has made the transition to cars in a big way. With several karting championships and wins on his resume, Maroney decided early on that the Pacific F2000 Championship would be the ideal arena to continue his racing career. However, he had not yet raced a formula car until the first round of the 2010 season at California Speedway earlier this month.

To make matters more interesting, Maroney had to make his debut in the wet. After qualifying the #22 Maroney Company/Alpinestars/PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen RF05 Zetec in tenth, Maroney methodically worked his way up to the front while several of his competitors fell victim to the soggy conditions. A potential top-5 and possible podium finish looked attainable until another competitor hit the #22 from behind causing an unfortunate DNF.

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03/30/10
irl

Power not counting his chickens just yet
Will Power is 2-for-2
Just in case Will Power wasn't cognizant of the calendar, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson - and a host of other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers - will quickly remind him that the 2010 season is a marathon, not a sprint.

There are still 15 races to be contested (eight ovals and seven road/street courses).

Power followed up his victory in the opener March 14 in Brazil with a 0.8244-of-a-second win in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29. The Verizon Team Penske driver  leads the IZOD IndyCar Series standings by 44 points over the second-place trio of Franchitti, Hunter-Reay and Wilson.

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03/30/10
fil

Solid debut for Yacaman, Cape Motorsport w/ Wayne Taylor Racing
Gustavo Yacaman could describe his debut with Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing as a wet and wild race.

The Colombian finished fifth in the opening round of Firestone Indy Lights on the streets of St. Petersburg after making two separate charges to the front. Yacamán started 10th and was able to avoid an incident on the first lap and found himself near the front of the field when the first full-course yellow flew on Lap 1.

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03/30/10
irl

Free Admission helps fill IndyCar stands UPDATE City estimates increase in Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg attendance: City of St. Petersburg officials are "extremely pleased" with attendance of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg despite an extra day of activity to contest the thunderstorm-delayed IZOD IndyCar Series event.

"The city's Police, Fire and Special Events staff are taking a look at the daily crowd estimates for the four days of the event and have not released a figure yet," said city Grand Prix Coordinator Kevin Dunn. "We are confident with the additional day of racing we met or exceeded the city-estimated attendance of 160,000 from last year."

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03/30/10
nhra

Force and McClenathan on WFO radio
John Force and Cory McClenathan, winners of the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, will headline tonight's WFO Radio NHRA Tuesday with Joe Castello, live at 7 p.m. ET.  To listen live or on-demand, go to http://www.wforadio.com

Force, a 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion, earned his 128th career victory in dramatic fashion by edging daughter Ashley Force Hood with a final elapsed time of 4.036 to 4.042 in the rain-delayed Funny Car final eliminations.  Force's win was the second of 2010 as he lengthened his points lead to 89 over Ron Capps, who finished third in the four-wide Funny Car finals.   

In Top Fuel, McClenathan qualified number one and won for the second time this season with a 3.820 elapsed time at 319.00 mph to defeat Doug Kalitta (3.825), Antron Brown (3.862) and Doug Herbert (4.268).  With the win, McClenathan now has a 52-point lead in the NHRA Full Throttle Series points standings over Don Schumacher Racing teammate and defending Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher

NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart also returns to WFO Radio to provide expert commentary of the NHRA Full Throttle and Lucas Oil Drag Racing series plus an analysis of four-wide drag racing.  Reinhart will take listener e-mail questions during tonight's show.

WFO Radio with Joe Castello can be heard every Monday - Thursday, 7 - 8 p.m. ET.  WFO Radio NHRA Tuesday, the only weekly talk show 100% devoted to NHRA drag racing, airs every Tuesday live at 7 p.m. ET.  Listen live or on-demand to entire shows or specific interviews at www.wforadio.com on either PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, Google Phone, Droid, Wii, or PS3.  WFO Radio is also available free of charge as a top-rated iPhone application and on iTunes by searching "WFO Radio".

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03/30/10
automotive

Nissan announces pricing for all-electric Leaf
Nissan plans to price its Leaf electric car as low as $32,780, when the automaker releases the vehicle later this year.

With a $7,500 federal tax credit, the Leaf’s base price would come down to $25,280. Nissan will lease the Leaf as low as $349 a month.

The tax rebates are even higher in certain states with state-sponsored tax credits for purchasing an electric vehicle.

Nissan will start taking orders for the five-door hatchback Leaf April 20, and deliver the car in select markets in December. Nissan will start selling the vehicle nationwide next year.

Nissan is renovating the Smyrna, Tenn., plant to build the 5-seat hatchback with the help of a $1.4 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The updated plant, which will also make batteries, will be built to make as many as 200,000 Leafs a year.

The Leaf’s price tag includes three years of roadside assistance.

The Leaf, which can run an average of 100 miles per charge, takes about 16 hours to charge up on a 110-volt outlet and 8 hours on a 220-volt outlet.

Comment
03/30/10
speedworld

GMG racing off to a strong start
GMG Racing got their 2010 World Challenge season off in almost the perfect way as two of the team’s Porsche 911 GT3’s crossed the finish line in St. Petersburg first and second on Sunday, grabbing their first win of the year.

Dino Crescentini, in the No.4 Centric Parts/Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 led teammate and team owner James Sofronas in the No.14 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 for the first one-two finish in the team’s history. Adding to GMG’s tally on the weekend was Sofronas’ strong third-place finish in Saturday’s season opener, for a total of three podium finishes on the weekend as well as the championship points lead for Sofronas.

2009 World Challenge Rookie of the Year, William Ziegler, had a difficult weekend as contact on both days thwarted his progress. His race on Saturday only lasted to the first turn, when he was caught up in a crash, while Sunday he was able to bring the No.05 Swisher Racing/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 home in 12th place.

Crescentini’s win was a welcome reversal after his race on Saturday ended prematurely with an electrical problem, but he made the most of his second-place starting position on Sunday as he converted it into the lead exiting turn one. Behind him, Sofronas had a malfunction with the launch control of his Porsche, leaving him to make up positions throughout the race. He made it up to third before a yellow-flag, which he used to pass the Volvo S60 of Andy Pilgrim into turn 1. From then on, it was a GMG one-two to the checkered flag.

“Coming out of St. Pete with a win, three podiums, and the points lead is a great way to get our season started,” said Sofronas. “After Dino’s problem on Saturday, the team worked hard to give him a great car for Sunday and they did; but Dino had to drive the perfect race to win, and he did.”

“St. Peterburg was an amazing way to start the season,” said Fabryce Kutyba of GMG Racing. “Dino’s victory and James’ two podiums once again showed the advantage of the GMG World Challenge (WC) line of Porsche performance products and Stoptech braking systems. We look forward to seeing what Dino, William and James can do with their Porsches at the next race in Long Beach.”

GMG Racing will be in action next at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-18. The team will compete in both the American Le Mans Series race, in GT-C, as well as with their three-car team in World Challenge. Sofronas is the defending winner of the race in Long Beach, and expects a renewed battle between the GMG Porsches and the Volvos.

“Long Beach will be a great show for the fans,” said Sofronas. “We know the Volvos are fast, but so are our GMG Porsches, as well as the Vipers and the Nissan GT-R’s. It could be anyone’s race but we have won there in the past and we’ll be aiming to put the GMG Porsches in the winner’s circle again.”

The races from St. Petersburg will air on April 18 on VERSUS from 2:00pm – 3:30pm.

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03/30/10
f1

Mark Handford on F1 overtaking
Recently Mark Handford was interviewed by Motor Sport Magazine regarding the debate on overtaking in F1.

"...Here’s a lesson for the FIA and Formula 1. In 1998 CART introduced a new rear wing called the Handford Device for its two 500-mile races on the high-banked Michigan and California superspeedways. It was used only at those two tracks and was the result of conversations between Newman/Haas aerodynamicist Mark Handford and CART’s technical director Kirk Russell about how to improve overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing..."

"...Handford is baffled by the FIA’s narrow thinking on this subject. 'There’s a very narrow view in F1. They need someone to say you have to get away from flat bottoms [on the cars] and put downforce in the underbody and take it out of the wings. If they did that I think it would become much more exciting to watch.'..."

Read the article here.

Comment
03/30/10
irl

NCAA Final Four offers key lesson for IndyCar survival
As I watch the madness overtaking Indianapolis with the NCAA men’s Final Four coming to town, a recent conversation—about IndyCar racing of all things—comes to mind.

One look at the fan fervor surrounding this 65-team hoops tournament, not to mention the business interests willing to spend cash to tap into that fan fervor, and I begin to wonder if auto racing fan and analyst Scott Morris might not have a solid point about how to develop a stronger open-wheel racing series.

Reading one of my posts last month about the dearth of American open-wheel drivers and the waning ranks of the Indy Lights series, Morris called me with an interesting idea. He says it’s high time for someone in the IndyCar Series to look seriously at launching the North American College Racing Association.

OK, I know. It sounds a bit off the wall at first. But then I began to listen, and after watching another NCAA basketball tournament unfold here, I began to wonder … could it work? My conclusion; it’s better than anything going right now.

“Colleges have corporate connections and they have endowments,” said Morris, a regular contributor for AutoRacing1.com. “Colleges have resources that would dwarf most Indy Lights and IndyCar teams.”

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03/30/10
irl

Junqueira to team with Tagliani for Indy 500
Bruno Junqueira
Former Indianapolis 500 Pole Winner Bruno Junqueira has been announced as the driver of the FAZZT Race Teams' #33 entry for the 2010 Indianapolis 500.  Junqueira will join the teams' full season driver Alex Tagliani in a second car for the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 30, 2010.

"I am thrilled with the opportunity to compete for the FAZZT Race Team at the Indianapolis 500," said Junqueira.  "The team will give me the resources and support to compete in a car that has the capabilities of winning at the Indianapolis 500.  To win at Indianapolis has always been a dream of mine.  I've had some very competitive opportunities at Indianapolis and in each year I've led laps and scored two top-five finishes at the speedway.  I hope that in 2010 I am able to complete my dream of a win at Indianapolis since I have been so close in the past."

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03/30/10
track news

Morocco street circuit construction on schedule
With just a month until the flag drops for the start of the second Race of Morocco, construction for the 4.54km circuit is in full swing. D3 Motorsport Development have been on the ground in Marrakech for the past few weeks, preparing the temporary street circuit that’s located in the newly developed, upmarket housing and hotel area of Agdal, just 10mins from the action packed centre ville.

The construction of this unique circuit involves placement of more than 2500 D3-designed concrete impact blocks, atop with the D3-designed debris fences to ensure the safety of both drivers and spectators during the thrilling on-track spectacle.

Further upgrades to the circuit are also being completed to accommodate the Formula 2 series that will run on here this year, these include widening of some turns, lengthening of runoff areas and re-asphalting.

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03/30/10
f1

Brake supplier not taking blame for Vettel spin
(GMM)  Red Bull brake supplier Brembo has issued a statement to clarify that its products did not cause Sebastian Vettel's retirement in Melbourne.

Pole sitter Vettel, 22, spun out of the Australian GP and said immediately on the radio that the RB6 had suffered "braking failure".

In the team's subsequent press release, the German said only that he had "some sort of failure" with the front left wheel, with boss Christian Horner adding that the problem was a "wheel related issue".

We then reported that a late night post-race analysis in the Albert Park garage showed that the wheel mounting had been damaged due to a vibrating wheel nut.

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03/30/10
f1

Heidfeld 'struggling' to adapt as F1 reserve
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has revealed his struggle to adapt to merely watching qualifying at the grands prix from the reserve bench.

After holding out for the race seat in 2010, the 32-year-old is instead Mercedes' reserve driver, due to Michael Schumacher deciding to mount a return to F1 following three years of retirement.

"It feels strange, especially when it's just before qualifying, I'm struggling with it," he told the German national newspaper FAZ.

"Before, it (qualifying) was always a moment where you had the adrenaline rush and then off you went.  I really miss it," said Heidfeld, who will be present for all 19 races this year in case Schumacher or Nico Rosberg are unable to race.

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03/30/10
f1

McLaren admits victory repeat in Malaysia unlikely
(GMM)  Two days after Jenson Button scored McLaren's first win of the 2010 season, the British team has warned that a repeat in Malaysia this weekend is unlikely.

The MP4-25 car was better suited to Melbourne than it had been at the Bahrain season opener, but reigning world champion Button said on Tuesday: "I think we travel to Sepang mindful that the characteristics of the (Sepang) circuit probably won't suit our car as well as it will suit some of the others."

Teammate Lewis Hamilton played up the situation, noting that this year's car "will be far better" in Malaysia than its predecessor was a year ago, when it qualified just 13th at Sepang. 

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03/30/10
f1

Todt to tell teams of local GP nation 'protocols'
(GMM)  FIA president Jean Todt will respond to the lingering saga following incidents involving Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber during the 2010 Australian GP event.

Lewis Hamilton was charged by local Victorian police for doing a burnout on his way out of the Albert Park circuit late on Friday, prompting Mark Webber to slam the "nanny state" that now exists in Australia.

Following high-level meetings in Australia on Tuesday, race promoter Ron Walker said Todt will respond by informing teams about the "protocol" of all the host nations they visit.

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03/30/10
superleague

Bourdais and Redon Motorsport join Olympique Lyonnais
After spending 2009 learning the ropes in Superleague Formula by Sonangol, Olympique Lyonnais returns for another crack this season with a new driver – Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais – and a new team – Laurent Redon Motorsport.

Although Laurent Redon Motorsport will be making its debut in the championship alongside 17 other identical single seaters powered by a 750bhp V12 engine, they can at least count on the experience of Bourdais who made an impressive series debut midway through 2009. The ex-Toro Rosso F1 driver and four-time Champ Car champion joined the grid with immediate success last year, winning the Super Final five lap shootout on debut in Estoril in the colors of Sevilla. The Frenchman then continued that winning streak in Monza, before also bagging a pair of podiums in Jarama.

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03/30/10
irl

Randy Bernard on Autosport radio tomorrow
Randy Bernard will be live on Autosport Radio tomorrow. You can either join us live at McGilvery's Pub & Eatery in Speedway (get there early for seating as there are some reserved areas), watch us live on the internet at www.autosportradio.com (click on Current Show), or watch it in archive later this week. The show starts at 7pm.

Comment
03/30/10
nassprint

NASCAR's orchestrated, setup racing
Jeff Gordon's comments seem to echo what many people in the sport have said for years; that NASCAR's racing is too orchestrated from the tower and flag stand. Gordon had the win in the bag when NASCAR threw the caution flag for a paltry incident behind him that had not even fully developed when the yellow flew. It was as if they had it in hand, waiting for any reason to wave it, to setup a good highlight reel finish.

"It was pretty obvious to me NASCAR wanted to do a green-white-checkered finish. There were cars blowing tires, hitting the wall, they weren't throwing the caution. One spins out and they threw the caution in the blink of an eye. I think it was pretty obvious what they wanted,'' said Gordon.

What is perplexing, is that the fans don't really seem to care all that much, and still come to the races and tune in. Is it really racing when someone who isn't even in the car, takes such a big hand in determining the result? We suggest that if Gordon is that upset with it, he should come over to IndyCar where you don't have the common mystery "debris caution" or a trigger-finger on that yellow button.

Comment
03/30/10
f1

Fans and press want instant Schumacher results
Fans and media expect Michael to win right away
Only after two Grands Prix, the media has already hit out at Michael Schumacher. The seven times World Champion made a comeback with Mercedes GP after retiring from the sport in 2006, but could not please the press by finishing 6th in Bahrain and 10th in Melbourne.

'The Times' wrote: "Schumacher cut a disconsolate figure as he swept out of Albert Park, having discovered that his reputation counts for nothing among the new generation. He became almost a sad postscript …. once the greatest exponent of overtaking simply had to accept a lowly tenth place."

The same story in the other British newspaper 'The Sun': "That's not what Mercedes have paid him to come out of retirement for. At this rate, Schumacher may not see out the first season of his three-year deal."

In Italy the press was even more brutal after the German decided to return to the sport with Mercedes and not with Ferrari. One of the leading newspapers in Tifosi land 'La Stampa' wrote: "The car is not the best, but one of its drivers - the one with seven titles and earning £30 million - seems to have lost the instructions. The proof? He was overtaken by the Virgin.

"Are we confident that Michael Schumacher is really under that red helmet? Perhaps Montezemolo was right when he said it is his twin."F1technical.net

Comment
03/30/10
f1

Hamilton: No rush for new Manager
Lewis Hamilton has calmed speculation claiming he is in a state of limbo following his managerial separation with father Anthony. The 2008 World Champion currently has no Manager but is confident that this is not affecting his on-track performances.

Following a difficult weekend in Australia which involved a global front page-making police incident on the road, an 11th place grid slot and disagreement with his team over race strategy, Hamilton admits that the Albert Park meeting was not his favorite. It was an interesting weekend," he smiled, quoted at saying in Malaysia by The Daily Mail"I am glad to be back in Malaysia and to be having a bit of space.

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03/30/10
f1

'Mercedes not far away from podium'
Michael Schumacher believes that Mercedes Grand Prix could have achieved better qualifying positions in Australia at the weekend but is confident in a car which continues to improve as Formula 1 heads to Malaysia - the German soon aims to be challenging once again for rostrum placings.

Having qualified seventh at the first two races of the season, 7-time World Champion Schumacher finished sixth at Sakhir first time out and tenth in Melbourne at an event in which he recovered from last following a first-lap pit-stop.

"I know that it might sound awkward but I take a lot of good aspects from the race weekend in Melbourne," Schumacher wrote on his website.

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03/30/10
nassprint

Gordon not happy with NASCAR, Kenseth
A third-place finish isn't bad but it wasn't good enough for Jeff Gordon on Monday. Gordon left Martinsville frustrated after it looked like he was about to win for the eighth time at this track _ but first since 2005.

Gordon was headed for the white flag when Kyle Busch's spin into the wall brought out the caution just before Gordon started the last lap. NASCAR's rule is that if the leader has started the final lap, there can be no attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. If the leader hasn't started that final lap, then you can have a GWC restart.

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03/30/10
f1

Video: Cosworth's return to F1




Comment
03/30/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Burnout car for sale as Hamilton puts Aus behind him
  • Schu's blocking suspicion 'nonsense' - Alonso
  • Horner insists title not over for Vettel
  • Technical rows 'part of the game' - Domenicali
  • Lotus to unveil new Malaysian sponsor

Burnout car for sale as Hamilton puts Aus behind him
(GMM)  Despite Lewis Hamilton being crassly branded a "d**khead" by the local roads minister, the car he used to do burnouts before it was seized by police outside Albert Park last Friday is now a sought-after item.

A Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman said "more than half a dozen" phone calls have been made by dealers on behalf of potential buyers for the $150,000 silver C63 AMG.

He confirmed that McLaren paid the fee to have the car released from the police garage on Monday.

On the same day, the British team's 25-year-old driver said he was no longer angry about being told to make an extra pitstop last Sunday, despite saying on the radio that it was a "freaking terrible idea".

"The team has explained to me their reasoning behind the second pitstop, and I can understand what they were trying to do in trying to cover both Mark and Nico for later in the race," said Hamilton.

Interestingly, Sauber's C29 car was hailed in the pre-season for being the kindest on its tires, but Pedro de la Rosa late on Sunday was ruing the decision not to make a second tire pitstop.

"In the end I really had no rear tires left.  I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me," said the Spaniard.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is now relaxing in Malaysia, relieved that the burnout saga and the fallout of the botched race strategy will soon be replaced by the buildup to this weekend's grand prix.

"It was an interesting weekend.  I am glad to be back in Malaysia and to be having a bit of space," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"It wasn't a great few days in Australia," Hamilton admitted.

He denied that the events are proof that he needs to quickly appoint a replacement for his former manager Anthony Hamilton.

"I'm leaving it for a while.  I am happy at the moment.  It's a big transition, and I have a lot of good people around me.  There is no need to rush," said Hamilton.

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03/29/10
irl

Moraes to undergo head surgery
Brazilian IndyCar driver Mario Moraes will undergo head surgery this week in Sao Paulo to have a cyst removed from an area near his ear canal. Moraes says the cyst was discovered after he underwent a battery of exams in the United States ahead of Monday's race in St. Petersburg.

Moraes finished 21st in the race, which was postponed from Sunday because of rain. He was caught up in a crash with English driver Dan Wheldon, who apparently had a mechanical problem and crashed into Moraes.

The Brazilian driver said in his Twitter feed that "it was very hard to concentrate" on the race after finding out of his health problem. USA Today

Comment
03/29/10
ga

19-year old signs to drive Daytona Prototype
Nineteen year old Professional Driver, Dion von Moltke has just signed a deal with Doran Racing that will see him driving Doran Racing’s #77 McDonalds/South African Airways/PR Newswire Ford Dallara throughout the remainder of the GRAND-AM season.  The deal was negotiated and finalized through Dion’s professional driver management company, P1 Groupe.  With this deal, this rising star of the GRAND-AM circuit who juggles racing with college studies, will have a permanent home with Doran Racing at the top level of GRAND-AM Racing.  Of the opportunity Team Owner Kevin Doran states “Dion has shown us a lot in just a short time in the Dallara.  We know he has a lot of ability and great feedback, but equally important is his interaction with the team, his co-driver Memo, media, and the fans.  We know we have a good set up for Barber coming up next weekend and are looking forward to see what Dion and Memo can accomplish there.”

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03/29/10
nassprint

Showtime to sponsor NASCAR race
Showtime Networks Inc. will sponsor Darlington Raceway's iconic Southern 500 NASCAR race.

Track president Chris Browning told The Associated Press on Monday that the cable network has agreed to a multiyear deal as title sponsor for the raceway's only Sprint Cup race.

The track has been searching for a sponsor since the end of last year's race.

Showtime executives say this is the first time they've lent their name to a NASCAR race.

The network debuted its "Inside NASCAR" program this year and says this is another step to connect with NASCAR. The Showtime Southern 500 will take place May 8.

Comment
03/29/10
track news

ISC promotes two in Kansas
International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) (“ISC”) today announced the promotion of two key executives in Kansas City to better position the Company to fully capitalize on strategic initiatives in the region. Jeff Boerger, former president of Kansas Speedway, has been named president of Kansas Speedway Development Corporation (“KSDC”). In addition, Pat Warren has been promoted to president of Kansas Speedway.

As KSDC president, Boerger, 45, will oversee ISC’s interests in the partnership that will develop the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.  KSDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ISC and 50 percent partner with Penn Hollywood Kansas, Inc., a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select Market: PENN), in the Kansas Entertainment, LLC, joint venture. Boerger will work with Penn National management on matters ranging from design and construction to integrating marketing and operations with Kansas Speedway. He will also manage all aspects of state and local public affairs for Kansas Speedway and the casino project. Boerger will report to ISC Vice President of Corporate Development Brian Wilson.

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03/29/10
f1

Massa should have been told to move aside
(GMM) Martin Brundle thinks Ferrari should have ordered Felipe Massa to pull aside for his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso during Sunday's Australian GP.

After spinning at the first corner, Spaniard Alonso clawed his way through the field and "found himself on the gearbox" of the sister F10, former grand prix driver Brundle told BBC Sport on Monday.

Brundle, now a commentator for British TV, said he dislikes team orders but believes Alonso, leading the championship by four points from Brazilian Massa, could have launched an attack on Robert Kubica in second place.

"If he failed then move Massa back in front," he added, arguing that Ferrari "will need every point they can" to win this year's world championship.

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03/29/10
starmazda

Conor Daly Wins Star Mazda St. Pete
American racer Conor Daly, driving the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. / Tom Lange Co. Mazda, scored his first victory of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, from the pole at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  This, the second victory from the pole of his Star Mazda career (he also won from the pole at New Jersey in 2009), added to his third-place finish in the Season-opener at Sebring last weekend, gives him the lead in the championship points battle with 82.

"This is a historic moment, a historic race in the history of modern open-wheel racing; the first 'Road to Indy' race with all the series involved competing on the same weekend and I'm honored and happy to have won," said Daly, son of F1/Indy Car/Sports Car racing legend Derek Daly.  "The two full-course yellows were a little bit of a worry, but they happened early in the race and I was able to pull out a bit of a gap in the later stages.  The Juncos Racing team gave me a perfect car and I was able to be very consistent and hit my marks on every lap.  The level of camaraderie and cooperation in the team is just fantastic and I'm looking forward to a very competitive season."

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03/29/10
racing news

Quote of the Week
"My indoctrination to IndyCar racing and all the politics within has been like drinking water from a fire hose."  New IRL CEO Randy Bernard, former head of the Professional Bull Riders

Comment
03/29/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Kovalainen to sit out practice after coin toss
  • Rain in Melbourne and Malaysia on Monday
  • World's press hails end of F1 boredom
  • Mercedes eyes Barcelona debut for 'F-duct'
  • McLaren supercar caused Mercedes split - Haug
  • Whitmarsh excuses Hamilton for Melbourne outbursts
  • Williams impressed with Barrichello
  • Team boss Fernandes not running Lotus team
  • Schu 'lost instructions' to F1 dominance - report

Kovalainen to sit out practice after coin toss
(GMM)  The loss of a coin throw means Heikki Kovalainen will sit out Friday morning practice ahead of this weekend's Malaysian grand prix.

With Lotus' locally-born test driver Fairuz Fauzy set to drive one of the green T127s on Friday, technical boss Mike Gascoyne proposed a coin toss to decide whether it was Kovalainen or his teammate Jarno Trulli who must give up their car.

"I picked tails," loser Kovalainen, 28, told Finland's Turun Sanomat.

Italian Trulli will be relieved to have won the throw, after missing the start of Sunday's Australian GP with a late hydraulics issue.

"We'll work now to fix that for Malaysia and I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do in Sepang," said the 35-year-old.

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03/29/10
f1

Final news briefs from Melbourne
(GMM)  Before finishing the thrilling Australian grand prix in second place, Renault's Robert Kubica had pleaded with a friend not to throw away a EUR100 bet on a podium finish for the Pole.  "I may have to give him the money!" Kubica laughed.

-

After trying a 2008 McLaren at Albert Park last week for a sponsor stunt, V8 Supercar driver Jamie Whincup is now eyeing a proper test in Europe.  "If it was totally my call, I'd give him an opportunity, for sure," said test team manager Indy Lall.

-

A minor spat has broken out in Australia, after the UK-domiciled Australian Mark Webber hit out at Melbourne's "nanny state" in terms of parking and speeding fines.  "It pisses me off coming back here, to be honest," said the Red Bull driver.  Victoria police's deputy commissioner Ken Lay hit back at the "insensitive" Webber, insisting he "needs to take a bit of responsibility for the road safety message".

-

Attendance at Albert Park last weekend was the highest since 2005, with 305,000 filing through the gates over the entire four-day event.

-

The damage bill for Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso after the Australian GP on Sunday topped EUR150,000, his boss Franz Tost told Swiss newspaper Blick.  Like Nico Hulkenberg, Buemi was taken out by Kamui Kobayashi, whose Sauber spectacularly lost control on the first lap after a third front wing problem for the weekend.

Comment
03/28/10
nhra

Rain postpones final NHRA rounds
Heavy rains washed out the final rounds at the NHRA Full Throttle Series Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway on Sunday, forcing officials to postpone the on-track action until Monday.

The final four were set in the Top Fuel and Funny Car Divisions, while Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle had yet to run their semi-final rounds before the skies opened up.

Cory McClenathan, the top qualifier in the Top Fuel division, advanced to the final round to face fellow Don Schumacher teammate Antron Brown. Also advancing to the final were Doug Kalitta and Doug Herbert.

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03/28/10
irl

St. Petersburg GP Sunday Notebook
Heavy thunderstorms forced the postponement of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, scheduled for Sunday, March 28, until 10 a.m. (ET) Monday, March 29.

The IZOD IndyCar Series race will be televised live on ESPN2.

Pole sitter Will Power will lead the field to the green flag on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit on the streets of St. Petersburg. Power is the series points leader after winning the season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300 on March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This is the first IZOD IndyCar Series to be postponed by weather since the Indy Japan 300 in April 2008 at Twin Ring Motegi, won by Danica Patrick.

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03/28/10
irl

St. Pete Race postponed to Monday UPDATE #3 Heavy thunderstorms forced the postponement of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, scheduled for Sunday, March 28, until 10 a.m. (ET) Monday, March 29.

The IZOD IndyCar Series race will be televised live on ESPN2.

Pole sitter Will Power will lead the field to the green flag on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit on the streets of St. Petersburg. Power is the series points leader after winning the season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300 on March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This is the first IZOD IndyCar Series to be postponed by weather since the Indy Japan 300 in April 2008 at Twin Ring Motegi, won by Danica Patrick.

03/28/10 Organizers have announced that they are shooting for a 4:30pm EST race start...we will hold our breath until then (especially since we are underwater)

03/28/10
Evacuation at St. Pete
A Severe Weather Warning has been issued and the grandstands have been evacuated and all attendees ordered to cover and safety areas due to heavy lightning. The rain is really coming down, making us wonder if this race will go off at all today. Some of the turns are a river.




03/28/10
A Wet St. Pete Race
The radar is showing light to moderate rain for the entire race today here in St. Pete, and the chatter is all about who that will help, and who it will hurt. It does seem to be hurting attendance. This is the second year in a row that it has rained on race day, which is kind of a tough break for an event that seems to be growing. It won't show in the attendance numbers unfortunately. We doubt anyone will be starting on dry tires today. A wet race will likely help Franchitti and Rahal. It will also be interesting to see how deSilvestro will fare.

Comment
03/28/10
usf2000

Sage Karam makes it 2 for 2 for Andretti team
Sage Karam of Nazareth, Pa. concluded a perfect weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday morning by leading all 20 laps of Round 2 of the USF2000 National Championship, which is presented by Cooper Tires and powered by Mazda.  By backing up his victory in Saturday's season opener with another triumph on Sunday, Andretti Autosport officials said Karam also gave Michael Andretti his 50th victory as a team owner.

Being the first race on Sunday's card that featured the IZOD IndyCar Series meant that the drivers had to be careful not to be too aggressive too early, since their Cooper tires were cold and the track was green.  That was no problem for Karam, and he had an even bigger margin of victory on Sunday than he had in Saturday's season opener for the series, which is part of both the Road to Indy and the MAZDASPEED Motorsports driver development programs.

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03/28/10
nassprint

Cup race postponed until Monday
The start of the Goody's Fast Relief Pain 500 at Martinsville will not begin Sunday. Rain has forced the postponement of the race until noon ET Monday.

Comment
03/28/10
irl

J.K. Vernay Wins St. Pete Indy Lights Race
J.K. Vernay races to a win
The Firestone Indy Lights race started out with a very optimistic move down the inside by Phillip Major who could not get the car slowed and collided with Hinchcliffe, handing the lead to Saavedra with Vernay and Summerton in tow.

There was quite a bit of dicey racing going on, when the yellow came out for Campos on heavy contact with the tire barrier in turn 8.

On the restart, Vernay dove under Saavedra for the lead. Saavedra lost momentum and also lost a spot to Yacaman. A very light rain started to fall, and you could see cars slipping and losing grip all over the track. Kimball tried to make this work for him, but got into Saavedra lightly in turn 4 and turned him around, and pinned himself in the process.

The red flag flew for all cars to the pits for a change to rain tires. When the field took the green, Vernay held the lead, followed by Yacaman and Heylen, who was steadily moving forward with a very solid drive. However, once the rains really started to fall, it seemed as though Heylen really had a handful of car, and fought to hold off several challengers. Yacaman dropped back, and Junior Strous got by Heylen for second before spinning in turn one a few laps later.

The top three was Vernay by almost 12 seconds, followed by Heylen getting hounded by Stefan Wilson.

Vernay's lead started to dwindle down to about two seconds, before opening it up again with some smooth and flawless driving, and won it going away, amidst severe weather warnings that ordered the grandstands and spectator areas cleared, and the podium ceremony moved into the media center.

If the Lights race is any indication, and the IndyCar race is not washed out entirely, it should be some fun racing to watch.

Results

Rank No Name Laps Gap Diff BL BLaptime Comment
1 7 JK Vernay 35 --.---- --.---- 30 1:19.6098
2 17 Jan Heylen 35 11.2338 11.2338 21 1:19.8169
3 28 Stefan Wilson 35 0.3447 11.5785 21 1:20.4354
4 26 Charlie Kimball 35 8.8256 20.4041 24 1:20.5875
5 10 Gustavo Yacaman 35 1.3972 21.8013 24 1:20.8780
6 27 Martin Plowman 35 1.2893 23.0906 21 1:20.8429
7 77 James Winslow 35 1.5830 24.6736 19 1:21.0278
8 40 Jonathan Summerton 35 21.3890 46.0626 24 1:19.9565
9 18 Rodrigo Barbosa 34 1 lap 1 lap 24 1:20.5998
10 6 Junior Strous 34 5.3581 5.3581 23 1:20.3075
11 4 Carmen Jorda 33 1 lap 2 laps 1 1:28.0352
12 29 Sebastian Saavedra 25 8 laps 10 laps 1 1:19.0338
13 11 Pippa Mann 6 19 laps 29 laps 2 1:29.3054 Mechanical
14 49 Philip Major 1 5 laps 34 laps 1 1:54.5644 Mechanical
15 2 James Hinchcliffe 0 1 lap 35 laps 0 0:00.0000 Contact
16 22 Adrian Campos Jr 0 2.3421 2.3421 0 0:00.0000 Contact

POST-RACE QUOTES:

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, fourth): "We just held on. I made a little mistake early, and I got into Saavedra. Sorry about that. He was just going a little slower on slicks in the wet than I thought he should. But then we came in, and the guys did a great job changing the car. After that, it was all about being smart. Just hitting your marks and doing every lap as clean as possible."

JONATHAN SUMMERTON (No. 40 Wasteco Deans Knight Special, eighth): "When it started drying out in the middle stint, I was really looking forward to it staying green. We had a great car when it was dry. When it started downpouring there again, the car started to have a lot of oversteer. But it was a different race. You couldn't see anything in the end there. It was just like you were looking at nothing."

GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 10 Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing, fifth): "It was a really hard and long race. I had a good start on the outside, and I was able to make up some positions. I was really cautious on the restart, but I was able to move up to second place before they stopped the race due to conditions. From then on, it was a really long race. I made a couple of mistakes going into Turn 4 that cost us a podium finish. But at the end of the day, I kept it off the wall and a finished a solid fifth. I really want to thank all my crew for their support and determination during the weekend. They did a great job."

PHILIP MAJOR (No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, 14th): "I made a mistake. I outbraked myself going into (Turn) 1, and I'm sorry it turned out the way it did."

STEFAN WILSON (No. 28 Bryan Herta Autosport, third): "I want to thank all my crew guys for working hard late last night. I started the weekend off pretty happy with my car. I was position one in practice and position three in the race. I thought it was going to be a good weekend, but it was a bit of a roller coaster in qualifying. We had a small mistake and it cost me a great amount, and I had to start from the back of the field in the race. That quickly changed when the rain started to come down. People started going off the road as it was pretty slick out there. The white lines on the runway were treacherous, and a lot of people started making mistakes in front of me. I was in the P5 position, and after we went green after the break, I started moving up."

JAN HEYLEN (No. 17 Team E, second): "I hope that there will be more entrants after this race. I hope we got people motivated. The conditions were difficult, especially in Turn 1. I think we made a bad setup on the car. It was too bad I couldn't give my good friend Stefan a run for his money during the race. It was nice being back in the car. I have not been racing for almost three years. So it's good to be back, and I really hope that I can race in some more this year. I very much enjoyed it."

J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner): "I am really happy today. It was a very good weekend since the start of practice. I didn't know this track, so I had to learn a lot. It helped with the work I did with my team. We had a great setup on the car. Practice after practice, I was pushing more and more, and we were there, so it was good. It was hard not to have the pole, but I was very careful on the first lap. I didn't want to crash at the start of the race. It was great to win in my first weekend in Indy Lights."



Comment
03/28/10
irl

Chip Ganassi talks about the Delta Wing
Chip Ganassi was looking up at the skies and chatted with us briefly about the Delta Wing and its chances. He said that with or without the Delta Wing, a broad sweeping change needs to take place to engage manufacturers, and address competitive issues

"The costs involved right now are just too high for the amount of funding that can be raised." he said "So something has to be done to address that...

He went on to say that manufacturers across the board just are not interested in making a racing V8 or even a V6. He also mentioned that the future of racing will not be one fuel or even one type of engine.

"The people who have taken the time to understand this concept and design, they get it"

We mentioned that the interest and loyalty of the casual fan will comprise the largest portion of the fan-base and racing economy if IndyCar racing is to get back to the top, and he shrugged and agreed, almost as if he knows that could be the weakness of the Delta Wing concept he is promoting and invested in...

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03/28/10
f1

Webber escapes penalty
Hometown hero Mark Webber will not be penalized after running into Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix. Instead, although FIA race stewards did lay the blame at the door of the Red Bull driver, he receives an official reprimand.

With the Ferrari of World Championship leader Fernando Alonso having been running fourth whilst struggling with grip issues, the Spaniard was caught by both Hamilton and Webber although the latter ran into the back of the McLaren after misjudging his braking point at Turn 13.

No time penalties or grid drops for Malaysia have been applied for Webber by Race Control which, starting this season, consists of one former or current racing driver alongside three other adjudicators - with this weekend the driver being Danish sports car star Tom Kristensen.

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03/28/10
f1

Fauzy to drive Lotus in Friday's Sepang practice
(GMM) Despite a couple of false starts, it is expected that Fairs Fauzy will drive a Lotus T127 during Friday practice at Sepang on Friday.

In the wake of earlier comments made by team principal Tony Fernandes, it had seemed possible the Malaysian driver would be in action in Bahrain or Australia.

But as was reported late in February, a concrete plan has always been in place to have the Kuala-Lumpur born 27-year-old at the wheel of the Malaysian-backed team's green car in front of the local crowd.

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03/28/10
f1

Vettel defect revealed - wheel damaged by loose nut
(GMM) In darkness at Albert Park very late on Sunday, Red Bull technicians identified the problem that ruined Sebastian Vettel's charge to victory.

A simple spark plug cost the 22-year-old the Bahrain win two weeks ago, and now it is confirmed that a damaged wheel mounting due to a vibrating wheel nut was the cause of another foiled run from pole position.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the left front wheel nut worked loose and damaged the mounting, which then speared Vettel into the gravel and retirement under braking.

The report said the garage inspection of the RB6 took just 15 minutes, involving head of engineering Ian Morgan, designer Adrian Newey and their boss Christian Horner.

Suspecting a problem with the fitting of the wheel in the pitstop, Horner said: "In 6000 kilometers of testing nothing like this happened."

That is small comfort for Vettel, who is now 25 points behind Fernando Alonso's early title lead.

"Of course it is annoying. Yet another defect," he said. "I could be going to Malaysia with 50 points."

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03/28/10
f2

Indian driver signs up for F2
Indian driver Ajith Kumar has become the 17th driver to confirm his place in the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship line-up.

Kumar is a huge film star in his native country and a keen racing driver, having previously competed in both Asia and Europe. He made his racing debut in 2003, where he contesting selected rounds of the Formula BMW Asia series, and he scored a top six finish during his maiden campaign before moving to the UK in 2004 to compete in the hugely competitive British Formula 3 series. He contested ten races in the National class and scored two podium finishes.

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03/28/10
miscellaneous

Drinking and driving doesn't pay
Police say they charged a Pennsylvania man with public drunkenness after he was seen trying to resuscitate a long-dead opossum along a highway.

State police Trooper Jamie Levier says several witnesses saw 55-year-old Donald Wolfe, of Brookville, near the animal Thursday along Route 36 in Oliver Township, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The trooper says one person saw Wolfe kneeling before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a séance. He says another saw Wolfe attempting to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Levier says the animal already had been dead a while.

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03/28/10
irl

De Ferran added to IndyCar chassis committee UPDATE #2 The rest of the advisory board is expected to be announced this week. Eddie Gossage, the president and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, has been offered the promoter representative position.

03/27/10 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard commented on the selection of Gil de Ferran to the IndyCar selection committee:

"I think the team owners made a great choice, here is a guy who was a driver, a team owner and he is an engineer and he is very articulate.  We have a winner here because he could look at the chassis and engine and really make sound decisions from every aspect.  The team owners really made a sound decision picking Gil."

Gil de Ferran
Our view - Gil does have a relationship with Roger Penske (he is co-owner of the Luczo Dragon team - with Roger Penske's son) so some think Roger's views will come through Gil at the meetings.  We certainly hope not.

03/26/10 Gil de Ferran, co-owner of Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports, was elected today to the ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) IZOD IndyCar Series Advisory Committee.

Fellow Leaders Circle team owners elected de Ferran by a majority to serve as their representative on the advisory committee, which will include individuals from key fields of the open-wheel racing industry tasked with reviewing, researching and recommending a future IZOD IndyCar Series chassis and engine platform to the Indy Racing League.

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03/28/10
f1

Mirror visibility 'worse than ever' - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has sided with fellow veteran Pedro de la Rosa in calling for better rear-view mirrors in formula one.

In the past few years, mirrors have increasingly become integrated with the aerodynamics of the car, often mounted outboard on flimsy bodywork rather than beside the drivers near the cockpit.

And with F1's three new teams struggling for pace, and more cars than in recent years now filling the circuits, the issue of traffic has been high on the list of drivers' complaints so far in Melbourne.

De la Rosa, reprimanded by stewards for impeding another driver this weekend, told reporters late on Saturday that he is pushing the FIA for a better mirror solution.

"Rear visibility on the current cars is worse than ever," Barrichello is quoted as agreeing to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The rules say drivers need to be able to read letters or numbers placed behind the car during scrutineering tests.

-

Following his brush with police on Friday night, hundreds of spectators screamed "burnout!" at the 2008 world champion during the driver parade at Albert Park.

But the Briton described the Australians' reaction as "cool", remarking that it had been "the best driver parade of my entire life".

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03/28/10
f1

Heavy rain expected for 'twilight' GP UPDATE (GMM)  With now less than two hours to go until the Australian grand prix, the skies above Albert Park are still grey.

The grass in the paddock is damp in the wake of regular drizzle and light rain so far, even though the track surface itself has never been very wet throughout the support races.

But specialist weather forecasters at the track, led by F1's expert service provided by Meteo France, are predicting a high chance of heavy rain around the time of the 5pm start time.

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03/28/10
nassprint

Dale Jr. still NASCAR's biggest earner
No surprise here: Dale Earnhardt Jr. tops a recent Forbes magazine listing of NASCAR's 10 highest-earning drivers. His estimated annual income (but really, who knows with these guys?) is $30 million.

Behind him in the top-five are Jeff Gordon at $27 million, Jimmie Johnson at $23 million, Tony Stewart at $19 million and Carl Edwards at $14 million. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin complete the top-10, jammed together between $11 and $13 million.

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03/28/10
irl

Unlike Danica, Penske likes direction of the IRL
Roger Penske, the iconic racing car owner, sat down Saturday afternoon in his trailer with a handful of media and fielded questions on a variety of subjects. Here are some highlights:


What's the financial state of IndyCar now?

We don't have the TV reach that NASCAR has. That's one of the things that Randy (Bernard) is looking at right now. … The good news is that the costs here, to run a team, are a third of what they are in NASCAR. And that's huge. Now we don't run as many races so that should cut it in half probably, but overall, I feel pretty good about how the economics of the sport are now.


Speaking of new Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard, what's your take?

The key thing is he's engaged every day, seven days a week, and that's important. Tony (George) did a hell of a job bringing this thing where it is, but he had other interests. He had a team. Randy doesn't have a team and he doesn't own a track. His job is seven by 24 to run the league, which is great. I really think he's a breath of fresh air. When somebody said we're going to hire the guy from the professional bull riders I said, "What the hell does that have to do with auto racing?" But when you sit down and listen to him, and what he's been able to accomplish, I think he's a friendly individual. I think he's going to be accessible.

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03/28/10
f1

Boss says McLaren should not manage 'fragile' Hamilton
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh has urged a "fragile and distracted" Lewis Hamilton to look outside of McLaren for a new manager.

Since the 2008 world champion split professionally with his father Anthony, he has been represented managerially by the Mercedes powered team.

But on the one-year anniversary of the 'lie-gate' scandal, 25-year-old Hamilton found himself in more hot water when he was charged with reckless driving on Melbourne's city roads.

The next day, he then failed to qualify inside the top ten, causing team boss Whitmarsh to make the "fragile and distracted", after Hamilton admitted to him that the incident left him "distressed".

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