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Paul Tracy added to IndyCar booth  NBC Sports Group’s extensive coverage of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series will feature 13 races, doubleheaders in Houston and Toronto, the season finale from Fontana, and two new members of its broadcast team, including decorated former IndyCar and CART and Champ Car driver Paul Tracy. Coverage begins with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Tracy joins NBC Sports Group’s Verizon IndyCar Series coverage as an analyst for six races over the course of this season, beginning with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Tracy won four times, including the first of his 31 career victories in 1993. Tracy brings more than 20 years of experience to the broadcast booth, including a second-place finish at the 2002 Indianapolis 500. More ...

What happened to the DW-12?  Evidently IndyCar has dropped the Dan Wheldon chassis designation.  According to this official box score, it has been renamed: "All Cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series Chassis (IR-12) and Firestone Tires"

We'd love to know the back-story on this.  Why?  The series made such a big deal about naming the chassis after Dan.  Now they quietly rename it otherwise.  Why now do they not want to be associated with him?  A memorial with an expiration date?  How greasy.  Meanwhile Dan is still dead..... Steve Heckard
MotoGP Increases Worldwide Television Coverage For 2014 Season  Dorna Sports announced that MotoGP has increased its worldwide TV coverage to 83 networks for this season. In the U.K., BT Sport will be showing live coverage of the championship over all platforms each Grand Prix weekend. ITV4 will also be broadcasting an hour-long program at 8pm local time on the Monday after each GP weekend. In Italy, new broadcaster Sky Italia has launched a MotoGP channel that will air live from Thursday through Sunday evening. Spain will see a similar model this year. Movistar TV will launch a new MotoGP channel, the 18 Grand Prix, from Thursday through Sunday night. Australian viewers will see Fox Sports Australia return to MotoGP in the '14 season, together with Ten Network in a deal that combines pay- and free-TV. City TV in Colombia will air the MotoGP race from each round and the Chong Qing Satellite Channel in China will broadcast all MotoGP Races live or on a same day delayed basis for the first time. MotoGP
Bahrain F1 Protesters Labeled As 'Enemies Of The State' By Top MP  Bahrains who call for people to boycott the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix have been labeled as "traitors" and "enemies of the state" by a top MP, according to Sandeep Singh Grewal of GULF DAILY NEWS.

Radical opposition groups "have planned a series of protests" against the race and are "actively using social media to try and build up support for their campaign in the international community."

The Coalition of February 14 "urged public to burn their tickets and sabotage billboards" featuring F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone ahead of the race. But parliament's human rights committee Chair MP Ahmed Al Sa'ati said that "sports should not be mixed with politics or human rights."

Sa'ati: "There are conflicts all around the world, but that does not mean banning or stopping sports activities as it has nothing to do with those issues. Those who are opposing the F1 race in Bahrain are enemies of the state ... they are traitors." GULF DAILY NEWS

Todt Concerned About F1's Future, Afraid Series Could Lose Teams  
Jean Todt knows that F1 is in deep trouble - the car noses are hideous, the engine noise is horrible and the new expensive power units are pricing teams out of the sport
FIA President Jean Todt "is concerned about the future of F1," according to BILD. Todt said, "I'm afraid that we'll lose teams." In an interview, Todt "defended the cost-reduction measures."

He said, "Everyone wants this budget ceiling. It has to be put down in writing. Then it's mandatory for all." Todt added that a lot of teams approach him and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and "beg them to finally introduce a budget cap."

Sources said that "Sauber and Williams are in trouble." Lotus "has reportedly failed to pay one of its drivers." Todt: "Many scream for help. It is our job to hear those screams."

There "has to be a solution by the end of June." The Frenchman and former Ferrari team principal said, "Pollution, financial crisis and dwindling resources -- those are undeniable problems. If F1 wants to stay the pinnacle of motorsports, it will have to change." BILD

This week's edition of the "Penske Files"  Team Penske wants to share with you the latest edition of the "Penske Files" video feature. After last week’s unveiling of the Penske Starch product line, we debut our new infomercial in this week’s episode.

With no money to buy an IndyCar ride, Daly to run GP2  Formula One support series, GP2, will open its season this weekend at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain, and American Conor Daly will be on the grid. Daly will join Frenchman, Nathanael Berthon in the Italian based, Lazarus GP team. After six days of preseason testing in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain in March, Daly feels well prepared for the season opener.

"This is one serious roller coaster life for me right now with a lot of air miles across multiple continents, but I am stoked to jump back in the GP2 car. We were consistently fast in the Bahrain testing in March and if we keep working hard, together we can have some serious results this weekend," said Daly. More ...

Bobby Rahal to Attempt to Qualify for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500  
Bobby Rahal
Although the 1998 season was billed as “Rahal’s Last Ride,” 1986  Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time Indy car champion Bobby Rahal has decided to come out of retirement to participate in the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.  Details of the sponsorship for the No. 61 entry, to be fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, will be unveiled in the near future.

"I really wanted to be part of the special field of drivers competing in this year’s Indy 500 and felt that this was the last possible chance for me to do so,” said Rahal, 61. “If Dave (Letterman) can sign up for the National Guard at his age, then racing in this year’s 500 isn’t out of the question for me. I look at this as a statement for senior citizens everywhere that it’s not too late to pursue your dreams. If Kurt Busch can give it a try and Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya can come back after so many years away, why not me?" More ...

Jimmie Johnson's brother-in-law killed in skydiving accident  The brother-in-law of six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was killed Sunday after a skydiving accident near San Diego, Calif.

According to local reports, Jordan Janway, brother of Johnson's wife Chandra, was a "senior parachute rigger and instructor" for Skydive San Diego, and "was teaching a group how to skydive when the incident occurred."

While performing an aerial maneuver, Janway hit another skydiver and may have been knocked unconscious. Although he normally jumped with a safety device in his parachute that deploys when a diver is falling too fast, Janway removed the device for maintenance prior to Sunday's jump. More ...

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

Ricciardo appeal still on
  • Red Bull denies dropping Ricciardo appeal
  • No diet as Hulkenberg admits eating McDonald's
  • Friend Saillant 'not talking' about Schumacher
  • Alonso happy to be beating Raikkonen
  • Webber: People will get over engine noise
  • Williams F1 Team Sells Hybrid Unit to GKN for $13.3 Million New
  • BMW congratulates Paul Rosche: The “father” of the F1 engine New More ...
Video: Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch Wreck on Pit Road  Brad Keselowski gets sandwiched in between Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch, causing heavy damage to the No. 2 car. Also note many empty grandstands seats.

Yet another GP2 champion passed over by F1  
In the cancer stricken world of open wheel ride-buying, Leimer is the latest GP2 champion that could not buy his way up into F1.
REBELLION Racing is pleased to announce that 2013 GP2 Champion Swiss driver Fabio Leimer will drive one of the team’s LMP1 cars during the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship and the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.

Fabio Leimer born April 17, 1989 in Rothrist in Switzerland, started his career in karting in 2003 and won the Swiss Junior Championship that year. After successful years in karting he moved to single seaters in 2006 with the Formula BMW championship.

After Formula Renault in 2007, Fabio progressed to International Formula Master in 2008 winning three times in the season. In 2009, he won the championship, secured with six wins.  In 2010, he won one race in his first season in GP2 and won twice in 2011.  In 2013, Fabio won the GP2 championship, winning three times as well as taking  seven podium finishes. More ...

Marco Andretti slightly injured in St. Pete crash  
Marco Andretti
Will Power went to Victory Lane on Sunday in the Verizon IndyCar Series' season-opening race, but controversy followed him there.

Power led the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg when the first restart came on Lap 82. He slowly rounded the corner coming to the green flag and then seemed to slow even more.

Drivers behind Power were not sure what to do. Those closest to him slowed, including teammate Helio Castroneves in second, but those farther back were not so fortunate. A pileup ensued. More ...

NHTSA to require backup cameras on all vehicles  
Typical Backup Camera
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a proposed regulation Monday requiring all light vehicles-- including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans -- to have "rear-view visibility systems," in effect, requiring backup cameras.

The rule applies to all vehicles with a gross weight rating up to 10,000 pounds -- from the smallest subcompact to commercial vans. It begins phasing in 10% of vehicles after May 1, 2016 models, 40% a year later and 100% in May 2018.

The rule follows an outcry from consumer groups and families that have been touched by tragedies involving back-over accidents, especially those involving children in parking lots. They had been pushing hard against delays in implementing tougher standards. NHTSA says it has been listening. More ...

4 Decades of Racing Exhibit to Provide  History of the GP of Long Beach  
Race fans attending the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 11-13, will have an opportunity to take a walk down memory lane and get the autographs of three of racing’s greatest drivers at the same time!

A special "Four Decades of Racing in the Streets" display is available to the public in the Promenade Atrium of the Long Beach Convention Center.  Admission is free with race ticket.

And, Mario Andretti and Al Unser Jr. - who, between them, won ten Toyota Grands Prix of Long Beach - will be available for autographs in special 45-minute sessions, along with Dan Gurney, legendary driver, car builder and co-founder of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

  • Andretti will sign autographs on Sat., April 12 from 11 a.m. -11:45 a.m. in the Atrium. 
  • On Sunday, Andretti, Gurney and Unser will sign in a 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. session.

The display features 39 eight-foot boards highlighting each of past races, compete with a winner's circle photograph and the race's commemorative poster. More ...

No slowdown on St. Petersburg's controversial restart  Derrick Walker said he and his three race stewards had no problem with Will Power's initial restart in Sunday's Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg which resulted in an incident in the back of the field. But they weren't happy with the eventual winner's final restart on lap 87.

"We all thought that first restart looked very slow but, after looking at the replays and car data following the race, there was no brake checking by Will or slowing down," said Walker, IndyCar's president of competition and operations. "He brought the field down at the pace car speed and accelerated exactly where he was supposed to and it was a good restart. And Johnny (Rutherford, pace car driver) did exactly as we asked him and pulled off late. More ...

Austin Formula 1 tickets go on sale Friday  Get ready, race fans: Tickets for the 2014 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix go on sale at noon on Friday, April 4.

Three-day passes include tickets to Friday's practice sessions, Saturday's practice and qualifying sessions and Sunday's grand prix. Single-day passes go on sale this summer.

General admission three-day passes will sell for $169. Reserved seats start at $299 and can cost as much as $1,200 for reserved premium seats.

Go here or here to purchase tickets. You can also purchase tickets over the phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Power surges into history books with St. Pete win  
Will Power
LAT/Russell LaBounty for Chevy Racing
Will Power and Gordon Johncock now have something more in common than 20-plus Indy car victories.

On March 30, Power matched Johncock (1977-78) as the only drivers in the modern era (since 1946) to win the final two races of one season and the opener of the next.

Power backed up his efforts on the temporary course in Houston and the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in October with a dominating victory in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. More ...

Rahal Foundation auctioning off Rahal helmet from 2013 finale  The Graham Rahal Foundation is auctioning the helmet that Graham Rahal wore in the 2013 MAVTV 500 to raise money for children's charities.

The auction, held on Rahal's celebrity eBay page, began on March 31 and runs through 9 a.m. (ET) on April 7. Proceeds benefit both of the Graham Rahal Foundation's charities, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children's Network.

Rahal, driver of the No. 15 National Guard Honda for Rahal Letterman Racing, held a contest for fans to design his helmet for the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series finale. Fans voted for the winning helmet design, which features Rahal interacting with kids, and it was painted by Art Rotondo, who provides the artwork for all of Rahal's Bell helmets.  More ...

SCCA Names Noble President & CEO  The Sports Car Club of America’s board of directors has selected Lisa Noble as president and chief executive officer. Noble has served as interim president and CEO since October 2013.

"We had a number of outstanding candidates for the position, and in the end, we unequivocally concluded that Lisa was the ideal selection,” said John Walsh, chairman of the SCCA board of directors. “She has the right mix of vision, leadership, understanding and passion to drive our organization forward."

"As I look back on my decades of membership and service to the SCCA, and the joy this has brought me, I’m humbled at the opportunity to lead the best amateur motorsports organization in the country,” said Noble. “I’m proud to have had the opportunity over the last few months to work with a great staff and base of volunteers to develop dynamic programs that will grow our organization." More ...

Todt denies favoring Middle East races  (GMM)  Jean Todt has denied F1's Middle Eastern races are receiving preferential treatment.

Two of the three pre-season tests were held in Bahrain, the troubled island Kingdom, and after the grand prix is held there next weekend, teams will stay in the Gulf for a post-race test.

FIA president Todt, however, argues there is no reason F1 should not call Bahrain home.

"All over the world there are political problems -- in Asia, the Middle East and even in Europe," he told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper. More ...

A Thank-You Letter from Memo Gidley  
Memo Gidley
Hello everybody and thanks so much for your support!  I wish I could respond and say thank you individually to everyone who has written and posted well wishes on various websites and forums... but recovery and healing have been absolutely non-stop for me.

I have gone through a lot of difficult and painful things in my life and on the journey to the top of racing. But these last two months, since my Daytona crash, have easily taken the cake as the hardest and most painful. However, as difficult as this has been, I feel so unbelievably lucky because I am confident I can heal and get back to the Gidley I was before.

As lucky as I feel, I also know my journey ahead will require so much dedication and commitment.  More ...

Red Bull, FIA deny Vettel swearing rebuke  (GMM)  Red Bull and the FIA have denied rumors Sebastian Vettel was rebuked after swearing about F1's new engine noise.

When the reigning world champion was asked in Malaysia about the milder tone of the turbo V6s, he replied bluntly: "It's shit".

"A rumor then began circulating that FIA president Jean Todt had contacted Vettel to warn him about bad language," the Telegraph's new F1 correspondent, Daniel Johnson, revealed on Monday. More ...

Audi drivers test RS 5 DTM at Budapest  
Audi RS 5 DTM of Jamie Green, Mattias Ekstrom, Miguel Molina and Timo Scheider
The winter break is finally over. Today, the eight Audi drivers start testing their RS5 DTM cars on the race track at Budapest. The first official ITR track tests in Hungary mark the beginning of the countdown to the DTM’s season opener at Hockenheim on May 4.

At the Hungaroring, Audi is presenting the liveries of the four Audi RS5 DTM cars driven by Mattias Ekstrom, Jamie Green, Miguel Molina and Timo Scheider to the public for the first time. The DTM fans will be seeing the two-time Champions sporting the same look as before. Ekstrom will be competing in a car featuring the colors of partner Red Bull for the 13th year, while Scheider’s black Audi RS 5 DTM is again emblazoned with the logo of the special-interest magazine AUTO TEST. The bright red of Miguel Molina’s car has remained as well. Jamie Green is starting his second season with Audi in 2014 in a car sporting the conspicuous colors of the new partner Hoffmann Group. More ...
War of words between Keselowski and Busch  
Kurt Busch takes the checkered flag
HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing
If you want to find a driver who isn't particularly thrilled with Kurt Busch's victory in Sunday's STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, look no farther than the #2 Team Penske garage stall. Brad Keselowski felt he had a potential race-winning car, but his chances disappeared early in a pit-road collision with Busch. Keselowski took his Ford to the garage and lost 31 laps while his crew made repairs. He finished 38th. After the race, Keselowski questioned Busch's judgment in driving aggressively on Lap 42 of 500. "If you're going to be aggressive, wreck yourself, don't wreck me," Keselowski said. "I'll remember that when it's Lap 50 and he needs a break, and he'll find his ass turned around in the wall. Just like he tore my car up.

Busch was surprised at the vehemence of Keselowski's reaction to the incident, especially after Keselowski tried to exact payback on the track. "Yeah, I can't believe he overreacted and he's as upset as he is," Busch said. "The 5 car (Kasey Kahne) was trying to pull into his box. Brad ran into the back of him. I steered right to go around Brad and then he clobbers our left-side door, and it's like, OK, accidents happen on pit road. It's congested. It's not a place to race, because of all the pit crew guys down there and I didn't think much of it, and then once we were back out running, he targeted us. He was aiming for us. He tried to flatten all four of my tires. That's a no-fly zone. That's a punk-ass move and he will get what he gets back when I decide to give it back." NASCAR Wire Service

Danica disappoints at Martinsville  
Danica Patrick struggled in Martinsville
Danica Patrick's burst of momentum, much like her No. 10 Chevrolet, lost forward progress on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

The heightened expectation made it only more disappointing, as Patrick finished 32nd and six laps down at a track where she had shown an unexpected aptitude recently.

"It was a disappointing day," she said. "We ran so well at Martinsville last year, but we struggled all race long today."

Patrick finished 12th and 17th last season at the .526-mile short track, a tricky venue requiring patience and pace that does not come easily. After producing her best non-restrictor plate qualifying position of her Cup career -- 10th -- on Friday, expectations increased further. But the No. 10 Chevrolet was not responsive in race conditions, a problem crew chief Tony Gibson never had a chance to address because both practices were canceled due to rain on Saturday. Teams had not raced Martinsville with a new setup package mandated this season by NASCAR. More ...

Verizon IndyCar Series technology partnership ad  A new ad promoting Verizon's partnership with the IndyCar series.

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Hamilton touting his horn: "I blew Nico away"
    Hamilton claims he 'blew Rosberg away'
  • Rivals say Mercedes not easily caught
  • More fuel flow problems for Red Bull
  • Drivers stall over new boss for F1 union
  • Marko keeps pressure on 'sick' engine supplier
  • Williams to discuss team orders with Massa
  • Alonso pinpoints Ferrari frailties
  • Rosberg/Vettel bickering continues More ...
Video: Power causes accordion wreck in St. Pete  Team Penske's Will Power was late on the gas going into a restart during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, causing cars further back in the field to accordion and wreck.

Penske, Ganassi against faster speeds in Indianapolis 500  
Penske and Ganassi against record breaking speeds at Indy.  Maybe they have been watching too much taxicab racing.
As Indianapolis 500 executives push to have speed records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway broken by the 100th race in 2016, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske are among those pushing back.

Safety is one of their concerns, cost is another.

The track records have stood since 1996, and challenging them again is seen as a way to increase interest in the event specifically and the sport generally.

"I think it's a nice idea; I think it's meant well; I think it's exciting," Ganassi said as the Verizon IndyCar Series prepares for Sunday's season-opening race, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. "I think there's a lot of baggage that comes with it, and I'm not interested in carrying that baggage.

"Maybe someone else is." More ...

Video: Robin Miller with Verizon CEO Dan Mead  Robin Miller interviews Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon, about the wireless company's plan behind its title sponsorship of the IndyCar Series.

More ...

Veach Dominates Lights Race in St. Pete  
Zach Veach scored his first Indy Lights win today at St. Pete.
Zach Veach had to be content with a starting position on the outside of the front row when qualifying yesterday for the St. Petersburg 100 was canceled due to inclement weather. He more than made amends this afternoon as he took the lead from polesitter Gabby Chaves at the start and was never seriously challenged in the opening round of the new Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

Veach, 19, from Stockdale, Ohio, began his second season in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport precisely as he would have wished by taking advantage of a slight mistake by fellow series sophomore Chaves (Belardi Auto Racing) in Turn One and slipping into the lead. The yellow lights flashed on moments later after rookie Scott Anderson (Fan Force United), who started fifth, endured a heavy impact with the wall in Turn Three.

After six laps behind the pace car, Veach took off into the lead with the #26 RePLAY XD/The Young Marines/Ads IT Solutions/Zakosi Data Back Up Dallara and soon began to edge clear of Chaves. The Colombian-American maintained the deficit at a little less than two seconds until Lap 16, but then Veach's admirable consistency began to pay dividends and the gap increased slowly but steadily. Veach finally took the checkered flag with a 5.4610-second advantage after 39 laps. More ...

ECR joins forces with Preferred Freezer Services  
J.R. Hildebrand
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 30, 2014)  Ed Carpenter Racing today announced a partnership with Preferred Freezer Services for the team's No. 21 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race entry driven by 2011 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year J.R. Hildebrand.

Last week, the ECR team announced Hildebrand will join team owner/driver Ed Carpenter in a two-car effort in the May 25 racing classic known as the "Greatest
Spectacle in Racing."

Hildebrand will drive the blue and white Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet-powered IndyCar with the temperature controlled refrigerated warehouse storage and logistics company's legendary polar bear logo as part of its dynamic look in this year's 500.

"I am thrilled to team up with Ed Carpenter, a respected Indianapolis racer who has a passion for the Indy 500 and quality and JR Hildebrand, an experienced American driver, which is in perfect harmony with how we run our company," commented John Galiher, CEO of Preferred Freezer Services. More ...

Miles and Verizon CEO to hold press-conference today  UPDATE Mark Miles and Dan Mead of Verizon are meeting with the media now. We'll have a full transcript of the press later. But here are a few highlights of the press conference.
  • Mead believes Verizon is ideal for "complementing" through their technology.
  • Says decision to join forces with IndyCar was made "independent" of rival Sprint's title sponsorship of NASCAR.
  • Mead noted that IndyCar was a quality organization and that he and Miles did not exchange one phone call in the negotiating process. He also said that if any other corporate sponsors were looking for a platform to showcase their product, he would recommend IndyCar.
  • They showed a Verizon IndyCar commercial which at first glance was very good. I imagine we will get a video of it at some point and display on AR1.

Brian C. reporting from St. Pete

Mark Miles
Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR, and Dan Mead, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Verizon Wireless, will hold a press conference at noon in the deadline room of the Media Center.

The first Verizon national TV spot featuring the Verizon IndyCar Series will be shown during the press conference.

IndyCar PR

pro mazda
Pigot Wins Pro Mazda Race 2  
Spencer Pigot (C) sweeps the weekend at St. Pete.

In another dominating performance, Spencer Pigot of Juncos Racing claimed a wire-to-wire victory in today's Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St Petersburg, his second win of the weekend in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

The 20-year-old Pigot, driving the #7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/Vitamin-D Pro App/California Scents entry, started the race from pole position. He extended his lead with each lap, leaving the fight of the race to the four cars just behind him. Californian teammate Kyle Kaiser worked hard to maintain contact with Pigot, as Scott Hargrove (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), Pipo Derani (Team Pelfrey) and Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) battled for the final podium spot, with Derani getting around Hargrove for third position on the second lap. More ...

Munoz leads final morning warm up  Andretti Autosport rookie Carlos Munoz led the morning warm up session for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, as Honda-powered cars swept four of the top five positions. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden was second, with KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais the fastest Chevrolet in third.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal was fourth with Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti fifth...

Mercedes wary of improving Red Bull - Lauda  
Red Bull and Vettel are getting closing and Mercedes knows it.
(GMM)  Mercedes' one-two on Sunday was the first since Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi dominated the 1955 Italian grand prix.

Almost six decades have passed since that day at Monza, but F1's twenty-first century force - Red Bull - made clear Mercedes' new advantage might not last long.

Sebastian Vettel was 24 seconds behind winner Lewis Hamilton at Monza, but he was within shouting distance of the other W05, driven by Nico Rosberg.

"At some stage it looked like we are pretty similar, pretty evenly matched," said Vettel, "but then it's like he found another gear, he was pulling away." More ...

Good Morning from St. Pete  
R.C. Enerson wins St. Pete USF2000 race.
There is a more than slight breeze.

But the sun is shining, the temperature is in the low 60s, and 17-year old Florida native R.C. Enerson just took the checkered flag in the USF2000 race.

And considering the forecast is for sun and the temperature reaching the high 60s by the green flag drops on the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, suffice to say: it’s good to be in St. Pete right now.

In about 10 minutes, the Indy Cars will take to the track for the morning warm—the final practice session for today’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

We just got word from Ed Carpenter Racing Communications Director Tom Blattler that ECR will hold an 11:30 a.m. press conference regarding this year’s Indy 500. We presume this is the official announcement that J.R. Hildebrand will be running a second car for the team. We wonder if sponsorship details will be announced. More ...

Ricciardo handed 10 place grid penalty  
Ricciardo nailed again
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was handed a 10 place grid penalty for next week's Bahrain Grand Prix after Formula One stewards ruled he had left the pits in an unsafe manner in Sunday's Malaysian race.

The Australian driver, who had been in fourth place, pulled away from a stop before his front left wheel was fully attached with engineers sprinting down the pitlane to push him back and fix the issue. More ...

Williams having financial problems - Todt  
Not only did F1 implement so much technology it is bankrupting the race teams, the engines sound horrible and those anteater noses are the laughing stock of the racing industry.  As one pundit put it, F1 really stepped on their dick this time.
(GMM)  Jean Todt has named Williams as one of the teams "crying out" for a budget cap.

The FIA president was asked by Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper about the highly controversial cap, opposed by many top teams as unworkable in practice.

But Todt claims: "They all want this limit and it must be in writing.  Then it will be binding.

"The teams came to me and Bernie Ecclestone and implored us to finally introduce a budget limit.

"Lotus has reportedly not paid its driver.  I hear that Sauber and also Williams have problems.  It can't go on," the Frenchman insisted. More ...

Massa ignores Williams team orders in Malaysia  
Massa ignored orders
(GMM)  Sepang is fast becoming the 'team orders' capital of formula one.

Last year, not only did Red Bull's infamous 'Multi 21' affair make the headlines, Nico Rosberg was also controversially ordered to stay behind his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The same did not happen in 2014, as Hamilton easily dominated the grand prix ahead of Rosberg.

The new 'team orders' storm has been triggered by a tussle over mere seventh place, after Felipe Massa was asked by Williams to move over. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday  
  • Red Bull, Mercedes spat over Rosberg 'block'
  • F1 driver 'passed out' in Malaysia
  • Ecclestone on a mission to make more noise
  • Raikkonen to retire after Ferrari stint More ...
Franzoni Makes Light of Treacherous Conditions to Claim Season Opener  Brazilian rookie Victor Franzoni started the "regular season" Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in exactly the same way as he began the recent Cooper Tires Winterfest preseason mini-series - with a victory. The 18-year-old from Sao Paulo started Afterburner Autosport's #17 Vhero/Aflex/E-QUAL/Novac Sports Van Diemen-Mazda from the pole position but was made to work extremely hard for his victory in the Peninsula Pipeline Grand Prix of St. Petersburg by 16-year-old RC Enerson from New Port Richey, Fla. More ...
Pigot Makes Winning Start to Season, Takes Victory for Rising Star Racing  Rising Star Racing driver Spencer Pigot delivered a perfect performance on Saturday as he won the opening race of the 2014 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires season with a dominating flag to flag run to victory after starting from the pole position. The race was staged as part of the big Verizon IndyCar weekend, which will see the Pro Mazda machines back in action for Race 2 on Sunday ahead of the IndyCar season-opening race (ABC, 3PM ET).

Pigot, who entered the race weekend with some positive momentum after winning the Winterfest Championship, had to withstand the pressure of two restarts after yellow flag periods. But like clockwork, hit his marks on the restarts with the No. 7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/Vitamin-DPro App/California Scents/Juncos Racing entry, growing his advantage to win by nearly three seconds after 17 laps on the temporary street circuit. More ...

IndyCar penalizes Huertas and Pagenaud  INDYCAR has penalized the #18 Dale Coyne Racing entry of Carlos Huertas with a $1000 fine for violating rule 4.4.5 and the #77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing entry of Simon Pagenaud with a $1,000 fine for violating rule 7.2.9.

4.4.5. Radio Communication - During all Track Events, radio communication between the Driver and the Entrant's pit is required at all times. At INDYCAR's Discretion, a Car may be black flagged and ordered to repair the radio.

7.2.9. Checkered Flag - The practice session, qualifying session or Race is completed. All Drivers must enter the pits after receiving the checkered flag.

Enge, Baldwin Take St. Petersburg Poles  Tomas Enge, of Liberec, Czech Republic, has captured the Motul pole position for the opening round of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge Championships season, the Cadillac Grand Prix of St. Petersburg brought to you by StopTech. The race is part of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend.

After leading both Friday practice sessions, Enge improved his time by more than a second on Saturday morning at the 1.8-mile street circuit.

Enge, in the No. 25 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, improved to a new track record of 1:13.429 at a speed of 88.248 mph. More ...

Rain Washes Out Qualifying For Kroger 250 At Martinsville  The new Air Titan 2.0 was the only truck to take to the track on Saturday morning, as rain washed out Keystone Light qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

The weather caused the field to be set by the rulebook, giving the pole position to Darrell Wallace, Jr. in the No. 54 ToyotaNo1ForEveryoneSalesEvent Toyota.

Grubnic Out, Todd In For Kalitta  Beginning with the third round of qualifying for this SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, J.R. Todd will take over driving duties of the Kalitta Motorsports Bounty Hunter Top Fuel dragster previously driven by David Grubnic.

Todd will drive the Connie “The Bounty Hunter” Kalitta-tuned Top Fueler beginning with third qualifying session scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PT). Todd, a 32 year-old resident of Lawrenceburg, Ind., has accumulated six wins in eight final round appearances in NHRA Top Fuel competition. More ...

Chaves Claims First Pole of the Season After St. Pete Rain-Out (Update)  UPDATE Gabby Chaves will start from the pole position for tomorrow's St. Petersburg 100, the first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race of the season which will be held on the streets of St. Petersburg. The Miami, Fla.-based Colombian, who finished a close second in last year's Indy Lights title-chase, achieved the feat without turning a lap this afternoon after a severe storm warning caused the scheduled half-hour qualifying session to be canceled. Officials instead decided to form the grid for Round 1 using combined times from the previous two practice sessions.

Ohio's Zach Veach, who in common with Chaves is contesting his second season of Indy Lights, will line up on the outside of the front row for Andretti Autosport. More ...

Latest from St. Pete  
Ok, we have a revision of the earlier revised schedule.

3:30-4 Stadium Super Truck
4:10-4:30 Track Drying/Cleaning
4:40-5:10 USF2000 - race 1
5:20-6:30 INDYCAR qualification
6:40-7:10 Pro Mazda - race 1

Track activity to resume at 3:30 p.m. ET  
We just got word in St. Pete that the track will reopen at 3:30 p.m. ET. Below, is the revised schedule for the remained of the day:

3:30-3:50 Stadium Super Truck Race

4:00-4:50 Pirelli World Challenge Race 1

5:00-6:10 Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying

6:20-7:30 Pro Mazda Race 1 and U.S. F2000 Race 1

Rain Delay in St. Pete  UPDATE
We just got word from IndyCar that the racetrack will reopen for activity at 3:30 p.m. ET. No word as to whether qualifying will begin then, or how exactly this affects the rest of the schedule.

The grandstands have been evacuated here in St. Pete. No word yet as to when racing activity will resume.
So much for our aspiring careers as weather forecasters.

Yes, mere hours after one member of AR1’s on-the-ground staff here at The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg predicted rain would not be a factor in today’s event, we are in a rain delay with a severe weather evacuation advisory.

The delay began right as Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires were headed out for their qualifying session. Just in the last few minutes the rain has intensified, and as of 2:20 p.m. ET, Indy Lights qualifying, Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying, and races for Pirelli World Challenge, Pro Mazda and U.S. F2000 are all on hold.

How exactly, the rest of the day will play out, we don’t know yet for certain. We imagine the powers-to-be in IndyCar are attempting to sort matters, and will pass along any information when we receive it.

Heavy rain, tornadoes, may interrupt IndyCar qualifying  A tornado watch has been issued for the St. Petersburg, Florida area this afternoon.  Scattered thunderstorms during the morning becoming more widespread this afternoon, especially between 2 PM and 4 PM. A few storms may be severe. High 77F. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
St. Pete P3: Briscoe on top  Ryan Briscoe, driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, posted a lap of 1:02.68 to lead practice session 3 of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Helio Castroneves of Team Penske was second in the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Practice session 2 leader Takuma Sato rounded out the top-3 in the #14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda.  More ...
Highlights of IndyCar rule changes for 2014  
Race Control

There will be a three-steward system comprised of the Race Director Beaux Barfield, IndyCar VP of competition Brian Barnhart and Johnny Unser will determine infractions and issue the penalties.  The senior Steward, as appointed by Derrick walker before each race, will determine each penalty.

On-Track procedures:
  • Any of the stewards can call for a review if competitor (s) is considered to have committed an infraction
  • All available camera views, timeline data and rulebook references are at the stewards' disposal.
  • Any penalty is determined by penalty guidelines and race director decides severity. Penalty guidelines contain, for example:
  • Rule as defined in the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook
  • Severity scale of the minimum and maximum penalty
  • If the penalty is appealable or not
  • If it's considered as accidental or deliberate
  • If it affects a competitors race result More ...
Good Morning from St. Pete (Update)  UPDATE Mark Miles hired longtime Ford marketer C.J. O’Donnell last year as the series’ marketing chief. He has developed a campaign, "Rivals," that highlights drivers and competition on the track.

Is the controversy brewing between the Ganassi and Penske teams (noted below) be part of that "rivals" program?

Will Power will aim for his fifth straight St. Pete pole position today.
It’s about 8:45 a.m., on a humid, overcast day here St. Petersburg. The sun is beginning to peak out as the Pirelli World Challenge series is wrapping up their qualifying session. Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires will take to the track at 9 a.m., while the Verizon IndyCar Series will have final practice at 10 a.m. before this afternoon’s qualifying session at 2 p.m.

Weather reports are calling for around a 60% chance of rain. However, our AR1 Weather Team reports the rain (if it does come) will hold off until around 1 p.m. And if the rain does come, it will be relatively short, and shouldn’t cause any major delays or disruptions. More ...

Chaves tops final Indy Lights practice  
Pos Car Drive Time Speed Diff Gap BL Laps
1 5 Chaves, Gabby 01:08.4529 94.664 --.---- --.---- 16 19
2 26 Veach, Zach 01:08.7067 94.314 0.2538 0.2538 22 27
3 83 Brabham, Matthew(R) 01:09.1145 93.757 0.6616 0.4078 13 15
4 22 Ghirelli, Vittorio(R) 01:09.3087 93.495 0.8558 0.1942 22 28
5 24 Anderson, Scott(R) 01:09.4814 93.262 1.0285 0.1727 17 18
6 42 Harvey, Jack(R) 01:09.6148 93.084 1.1619 0.1334 14 19
7 7 Razia, Luiz(R) 01:09.6659 93.015 1.2130 0.0511 16 21
8 4 Baron, Alex(R) 01:09.7228 92.939 1.2699 0.0569 10 21
9 2 Meyer, Zack(R) 01:09.7747 92.870 1.3218 0.0519 22 27
10 10 Garcia, Juan Pablo 01:10.0272 92.535 1.5743 0.2525 20 30
11 77 Piedrahita, Juan(R) 01:10.0448 92.512 1.5919 0.0176 20 24
12 28 Read, Lloyd(R) 01:10.4329 92.002 1.9800 0.3881 19 27
Schedule for today  
Below is today's schedule for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:

9-9:45 Indy Lights Practice

10-10:45 IndyCar Series Practice

11-11:30 USF2000 Qualifying

11:45-12:15 Pro Mazda Qualifying

1:15-1:45 Indy Lights Qualifying

2-3:10 IndyCar series Qualifying – Firestone Fast Six

4:40-5:20 USF2000 Race 1

5:35-6:15 Pro Mazda Race 1

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

  • Horner: Fuel flow meters do nothing to improve the sport
    FIA rules out scrapping fuel flow sensors
  • Conspiracy theorists leap on F1 criticism
  • Ecclestone working hard to turn up the volume
  • Rosberg admits team orders 'inevitable'
  • Heavy drivers deliberately dehydrating - Button
  • Maldonado still smiling despite disastrous Friday for Lotus
  • Mercedes fixes flaw in Hamilton's failed engine
  • Horner: F1 needs to scrap fuel flow meters New
  • Vettel: We can win if it rains New More ...
racing news
Zylon visor strip makes the super-tough helmet tougher still  
Helmet visor reinforced with Zylon strip
Black, mean and no-nonsense - the helmet pictured here is the zenith of driver head protection. A mere 1,200 gram carbon-fiber shell that can withstand the crushing force of a 55-tonne tank without deforming, and an 800 degree Celsius fire for 30 seconds without its interior rising above 70 degrees Celsius. This FIA-prescribed 8860 racing helmet reached such a peak after years of research and development led by the FIA Institute and leading helmet manufacturers.

It is a remarkable piece of kit, supplied to race (and rally) drivers by Arai, Schuberth and Bell since 2004. Yet the quest for perfection is unceasing. And this season all 8860 helmets will feature a new refinement, a Zylon strip across the top of the visor (also indicated, right, but in prototype carbon-fiber form) that will significantly enhance protection in one of its unavoidably weaker areas - the visor, a polycarbonate medium that of necessity isn’t as strong as the overall shell. More ...

Malaysian GP: Friday Press conference  
Federico GASTALDI (Lotus)
Paul HEMBERY (Pirelli)
Graeme LOWDON (Marussia)
Cyril ABITEBOUL (Caterham)
Monisha KALTENBORN (Sauber)
Franz TOST (Toro Rosso) More ...
NASCAR Sees Decline For Auto Club 500 TV Rating (Update)  UPDATE All five NASCAR races this season have declined in ratings and viewership. Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 from Fontana earned a 4.4 final rating and 7.1 million viewers on FOX, down 6% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (4.7, 8.0M), but up 16% and 15%, respectively, from rain-affected coverage in 2012 (3.8, 6.2M).

The 4.4 rating is the second-lowest for the Sprint Cup at Fontana since 2000, ahead of only 2012. So far this season, all five NASCAR Sprint Cup races have declined in ratings and viewership. The season has seen the lowest rated and least-viewed Daytona 500 ever, the lowest rated second race of the season since 2000 (Phoenix), the third-lowest rated Las Vegas race ever, and now the second-lowest rated Fontana race in fourteen years.

03/24/14 Fox drew a 4.0 overnight the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 from Fontana Sunday afternoon, down from a 4.5 overnight for the same race last year.
Malaysian GP: Rosberg fastest as Mercedes dominates practice 3  
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix as Mercedes continued to dominate the 2014 F1 season.

Rosberg finished ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton as the duo topped the timesheets throughout the hour.  Hard or medium compound tires, it did not matter, they dominated a whole second ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at a hot and overcast Sepang International Circuit.

Both the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo sat out most of the beginning of the session, only coming out halfway through the hour. Vettel's late lap gave him the fourth quickest time, two positions ahead of his teammate. More ...

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