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DATE News (chronologically)
04/04/11
irl

Long Beach/Las Vegas ticket offer
The IZOD IndyCar Series is offering race fans a winning deal: two races for the price of one!

Fans who purchase a Sunday, April 17 ticket to the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – or a race day ticket at any other IndyCar event this season - can get a FREE Sunday General Admission ticket good for unreserved seating at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship race on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

At Long Beach, ticket holders can claim their Las Vegas race ticket from Friday through Sunday, April 15-17 at the IZOD IndyCar Fan Village in the free Lifestyle Expo.

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04/04/11
irl

Edmonton Indy Opens Up Office at City Center Airport
The new Edmonton track layout
François Dumontier, President of Octane Motorsports Events Inc, promoter of the Edmonton Indy, is proud to announce the opening of Octane's Western Canada office in Edmonton and the appointment of two key members of its team. Tamara Fahlman, Director of Communications, and Daryl Zelinski, Sales & Business Development Agent, have hit the ground running and joined Octane's team of 25 employees.

"When we were first invited to take over the promotion of the Edmonton Indy, our plan was always to set up an Edmonton office with talented, local people and we are now extremely proud and excited to add Edmontonians to our team at Octane Motorsports Events. Tamara Fahlman and Daryl Zelinski are real achievers in their respective areas. We have had the opportunity to discuss the future of the Edmonton Indy and I fully appreciate their knowledge of Edmonton, the community and our customers. I am confident that they will be a great contribution to the success of the upcoming Edmonton Indy," said François Dumontier, President of Octane Motorsports Events. "Now that we have opened our office in Edmonton, I invite the business community, the media and the fans to get in touch with them, as well as with our General Manager Anne Roy."

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04/04/11
USF2000

Mr. Veach goes to Washington
Zach Veach, who drives for Andretti Autosport in USF2000, will address lawmakers April 5 at the U.S. Capitol as part of the American Public Health Association's celebration of National Public Health Week.

The focus of National Public Health Week is injury and violence prevention, and the 16-year-old Veach's speech will focus on bullying and distracted driving. He'll include selections from his recently released book, "99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16."

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04/04/11
gp2

Ocean Racing announces 2011 GP2 lineup
Johnny Cecotto Jr.
Kevin Mirocha
Ocean Racing Technology has placed its confidence in Johnny Cecotto Jr. and Kevin Mirocha to defend the team's colors in the 2011 GP2 Main Series. The GP2 Asia Series showed that Ocean Racing Technology has the potential to battle it out with the best of teams but it will be a big challenge for both of these young drivers this year where the F1 feeder series will be introducing a new single-seater, as well as new tires provided by Pirelli.

Johnny Cecotto Jr. is a 21 year old driver with dual German-Venezuelan citizenship. This young driver is the son of former moto world champion and F1 driver Johnny Cecotto, and he began his auto racing career in 2005. His experience racing in the GP2 Series with Trident and Supernova allowed him to demonstrate that he is a fast driver, and ready for the highest levels of auto racing. After learning the ropes in Formula BMW and Formula Renault, he climbed the podium in the German Formula 3 championship in 2008 before moving up to the GP2 Series.

Now only 19, Kevin Mirocha got his start in karting at age 13, and quickly climbed the ranks of auto racing. In 2010, Mirocha was one of the fastest drivers in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, a championship in which he brought home one win and three podiums in seven races.

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04/04/11
f1
nastruck

Kimi Raikkonen, Left Turns Equal Right Move At GMP
Reporters and photographers were the first to open the gates at Gresham Motorsports Park this morning as they awaited the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen, former F1 Champion. Raikkonen arrived in America this past weekend to make his first test run at GMP today. He has signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports to run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series and will make his NCWTS debut at Charlotte on May 20, 2011.

The 2007 Formula One Champion is a native of Finland and currently drives in the World Rally Car Series since leaving Formula One in 2009. Raikkonen will be a familiar face to some of the NASCAR drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya and Nelson Piquet Jr., who were both former F1 drivers. "Gresham Motorsports Park is proud to have Raikkonen choose this track for his first-ever NASCAR test," said Gresham Motorsports Park's General Manager, Dan Elliott.

"We know that Kimi will be successful no matter where he competes." Raikkonen plans to run a two-day closed test at GMP in preparation for his NCWTS debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Education Lottery 200 on May 20, 2011. Gresham Motorsports Park

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04/04/11
irl

Milwaukee IndyCar race gains some sponsors
Time Warner Cable and  Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Barb-B-Que Restaurants are the latest event sponsors for the upcoming Milwaukee 225 IZOD IndyCar Series event set for Father’s Day weekend, June 18-19, on the famed Milwaukee Mile oval at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Both Time Warner and Famous Dave’s, who join other race sponsors such as Coors Light, David Hobbs Honda, Comfort Inn & Suites, Cantaloupe and the Milwaukee Bucks, will provide special race packages for the exciting 185-mile-per-hour action on the historic one-mile oval track.

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04/04/11
f1
nastruck

Bob Varsha Analyzes Raikkonen's Move to NASCAR
It may have been one of the shortest-lived rumors in NASCAR.

It took only a couple of days for last week’s rumblings of Kimi Raikkonen’s move to NASCAR to become fact.  Kyle Busch Motorsports announced over the weekend that the 2007 Formula One champion, currently competing in World Rally Championship after leaving a nine-year F1 career at the end of 2009, will debut in a KBM Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the May 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (live on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET; NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda at 7:30 p.m. ET).

        Below, Bob Varsha, voice of Formula One on SPEED, weighs in on the news that took him by surprise, and shares what he saw Monday morning at Raikkonen’s NASCAR test at Gresham Motorsports Park near Jefferson, Ga:

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04/04/11
irl

Foyt Signs Junqueira For Indy
Bruno Junqueira
Veteran Indy car driver Bruno Junqueira has been hired to drive A.J. Foyt Racing’s second entry in the Indianapolis 500, the No. 84 ABC Supply Dallara powered by Honda.

Junqueira, the 2002 Indy 500 pole winner, reached an agreement with Team Director Larry Foyt last Thursday to be a teammate to Vitor Meira, who drives the team’s No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara.

“I am very happy,” said the 34-year-old Brazilian. “First, because I love the race; second, because the biggest champion in that race is A.J. Foyt – he won as a driver, he won as a team owner, and third, I’m going to have Vitor as my teammate who is a good friend and a good driver so I think it’s a perfect combination.”

Team owner A.J. Foyt is enthusiastic about his son’s newest hire.

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04/04/11
automotive

2012 BMW M5 revealed
Below are the official images of the new 2012 F10 BMW M5 concept and it looks like a larger version of the M3.

Unveiled in Munich in a private gathering for select journalists over the weekend, the new super-saloon concept shown here features a deeper front bumper, subtly-wider front wings and signature, chrome-rimmed air vents and LED repeater lamps.

Other external details include M-specific 20-inch alloys (clad in 265/35 ZR20 tires at the front and 265/35 ZR20 tires at the back) and M-specific lowered suspension.

At the rear, the concept sports a lip spoiler and a re-profiled bumper with central diffuser to further enhance downforce levels.

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04/04/11
f1

KERS 'not necessary' for Red Bull in Australia - Marko
(GMM) Red Bull did not use KERS in Australia because it was "not necessary", the team's advisor Dr Helmut Marko has admitted.

Officially, the team said its decision to run without the energy-recovery technology to dominate in Melbourne was due to its system not being fully reliable.

But Marko told Auto Bild in Germany: "Just look at the problems the others have had with KERS. Why should we use it if it's not necessary?"

In Malaysia this weekend, KERS might be necessary, given the long run to the first corner and the other long straights at the Sepang circuit.

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04/04/11
f1

Vettel-Hamilton pairing 'difficult' for Red Bull - Horner
(GMM) Putting Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in the same team would be "difficult", Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has admitted.

Team advisor Helmut Marko last week reignited speculation about McLaren driver Hamilton's future by admitting the 2008 world champion "must always be a topic" when considering a possible successor for Mark Webber.

"Our philosophy is to have the quickest drivers together in our team," he said.

But Horner told the BBC that a Hamilton-Vettel combination could be a recipe for disaster.

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04/04/11
TV News

Motorsports This Week on ESPN
NASCAR Nationwide Series in Prime Time from Texas

ESPN2 continues its coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the 300-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tex., in prime time on Friday night, April 8. NASCAR Countdown airs at 8 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 8:46 p.m. Also from Texas, ESPN2 airs NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday at 5 p.m.   

Marty Reid will call the action with analysis by Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, while pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. 

NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, a team owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

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04/04/11
f1

Pirelli expecting 'three to four' stops in Malaysia
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembrey has said he is expecting teams to have to make more pitstops in Malaysia than they did in Australia.

The majority of drivers stopped two or three times in Australia two weeks ago. Hembrey said that while Pirelli was pleased with its debut, it was expecting much more difficult conditions at Sepang for his tires.

"We were absolutely thrilled by our grand prix debut in Australia," Hembrey said. "But we're aware that Malaysia should be a very different proposition, with higher temperatures and increased degradation. We said all along that we would be seeing two to three pit stops in Australia, but in Malaysia I think that figure is likely to increase to three to four. They say that it's never a question of if it rains at Sepang but when, so the performance of our wet tires could be crucial this weekend and we're certainly looking forward to seeing them out on track."

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04/04/11
lmes

Pescarolo wins first Le Mans Series race
The 1st place No. 16 Pescarolo-Judd car leads  the 2nd place No. 13 Rebellion Lola Toyota

The opening round of the 2011 Le Mans series has come to a close and what a race it was. The event was held at The Castellet circuit in France and spectators were treated to six hours of intensely exciting racing. The Henri Pescarolo Team was eventually victorious thanks to brilliant drives from the team’s drivers of Christophe Tinseau, Julien Jousse and Emmanual Collard.

The racing was action packed right from the get go. The first start was aborted but then the number 12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota gained the lead of the race. Unfortunately it then suffered from a loss of gearbox pressure. Its sister car suffered from a problem with its door fixation and the Quifel-ASM Zytek 09SC then suffered from a puncture allowing the number 16 Pescarolo-Judd to come back from the back on the grid and into first place.

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04/04/11
f1

Cosworth: Malaysia a real test for engines
Malaysia is all about heat and humidity, which has a big implication on engine power output. We run specific engine settings to counteract these effects where possible, as we do at other venues with this sort of climate, such as Singapore. The high water vapor content displaces air which could otherwise be combusted with fuel, thereby reducing the power of the engines.

Cooling can be an issue, mainly due to the high ambient temperatures. In this instance the humidity actually helps, because the high water content acts to increase the coolers’ efficiency. The circuit has an interesting blend of corners, some quick and some slow, with two very long straights. The driver spends over 10 seconds at full throttle along each. As such, it is a good test of the overall engine package, as well as drivability, in terms of both useable torque and engine map robustness.

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04/04/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Ron Dennis cried when he watched Senna film
    Virgin eyes 'plan B' should Turkey upgrade fail
  • Dennis cried after seeing new 'Senna' film
  • Lotus didn't showboat in winter testing - Gascoyne
  • US GP site 'bare' but still on track
  • Todt targets 2013 for electric FIA series
  • Horner predicts return to form for Webber
  • Vettel repeats F1 driver strike threat
  • Mercedes not ready to challenge Red Bull - Marko
  • Alesi feels sorry for 'poor' Kubica
  • Todt not ruling out second term as FIA boss
  • Aero upgrades for Williams in Sepang
  • Teams to test extra hard Pirelli tire in Malaysia

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04/03/11
PF2000

Score One For Youth and One For Experience at Willow Springs
As expected, this weekend’s opening two rounds of Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care at Willow Springs International Raceway boiled down to a battle of youth vs. experience.

Honors ended up being shared equally as Conner Ford – at a mere 14 years of age – and top Masters (aged 50 and above) contender Bob Negron each claimed a pole and a win.

The first race on Saturday afternoon saw youth take the upper hand as Ford qualified his #77 PR1 Motorsports Van Diemen on the pole. He then made a perfect start, led the entire race and set fastest lap to earn a maximum 34 points.

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04/03/11
nassprint

Video: Truex Jr., Kahne get into violent wreck


Comment
04/03/11
lmes

Video: Start Chaos 2011 Le Mans Series at Le Castellet
Pure chaos at the start of the 2011 LMS season. The cars are ready for the start the lights go green but the Safety Car is still on track! Crashing and wrecking behind with lots of damaged cars.



Comment
04/03/11
f1

Washed up F1 drivers flock to NASCAR UPDATE A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Why is it that not a single NASCAR driver has ever won an open wheel race?  And I am not talking about guys like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, and Juan Montoya - they are all open wheel drivers who went to NASCAR and won.  I have yet to see a driver that came up through the stock car ranks, won in NASCAR and then won an open wheel race.  I cannot think of a single one.  Are NASCAR drivers that inferior?  Mordichai Rosen, LA, California.

Dear Mordichai, We cannot think of any either.  Driving a stock car is not easy, car control while letting the tail hang out is key. Is it because they are inferior that they have never won in open wheel, or just afraid to try and fail, and in the process damage their pristine image? Mark C.

04/03/11
Not fast enough to win in F1, Piquet is having a go at NASCAR
What do Scott Speed, Nelson Piquet Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, and now Kimi Raikkonen all have in common?  They are drivers who could no longer cut it in F1 and had to resurrect their careers in NASCAR where the France family monopoly on USA racing is flush with money.

"It'd be kind of neat if Mr. Schumacher (another F1 driver well beyond his prime) would come over and give it a try," Dale Earnhardt said with a laugh Saturday. "We'd all be thrilled to see that. Whether you thought it was a great (thing) or right or wrong, we'd all be watching.

"It's neat to see some of those guys have interest in our sport, because there's definitely such a big difference between what we do in America and what happens in Europe. They have such an appreciation for what they're doing. We're very proud of what we do. It's cool when the two get to check each sport out. It's nice to see their impression of our sport — often a lot more intricate and impressive to them than they first assumed."

Rest assured that no top F1 drivers is coming over to NASCAR anytime soon.  Only the washed up ones.

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04/03/11
f1

No updates for backmarker Virgin until Turkey
Timo Glock leaves the pits in his Virgin MVR-02 in Melbourne
Virgin Racing are set for two very tough Grands Prix in Malaysia and China over the next fortnight, after it was revealed by team principal John Booth on Friday that no new car updates would appear on the MVR-02 until the Turkish Grand Prix in May. With the 107% qualifying rule back in force for 2011, Virgin face the real possibility of not being on the grid in the next two Grands Prix, with those out in front expected to bring new parts to both races.

Lead driver Timo Glock said last week that he was concerned about the 107% rule, given that team-mate Jérôme d’Ambrosio was only four tenths within the cut-off time in Australia. The high-speed sweeps of the Sepang International Circuit won’t make life any easier on the downforce-deficient MVR-02.

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04/03/11
motogp

Lorenzo reigns in Spain
Jorge Lorenzo on his way to victory
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) took victory in the wet MotoGP race at the Gran Premio bwin de España after Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) crashed whilst leading. It was a Spanish one-two with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) claiming second position and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) in third.

The current MotoGP World Champion started from the front row and was able to pick up 25 points and claim his first victory of the 2011 season at the Gran Premio bwin de España. This result was his second successive win at the Andalusian circuit and a replica one-two with Pedrosa. The Mallorcan finished a clear 13.256s over his fellow compatriot after a chaotic race which was unpredictable until the very last lap.

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04/03/11
nassprint

Drivers fear Goodyear tires could ruin race (again)
For the second time in three weeks, drivers have complained that the track is not “rubbering up.” When that happens, tires wear out quickly and there’s just one groove of racing, both of which could result in a bevy of blown tires, cars sliding into other cars and a plethora of wrecks. In other words, a whole lot of carnage. It’s going to be insane tomorrow,” Kyle Busch said after Saturday’s truck race. “There’s going to be a lot of hurt feelings and a lot of beat-up fenders.”

As Dale Earnhardt Jr. explained, instead of rubber being ground into the track, the shredded marbles from the tires are just sitting on the track. That’s creating swathes of loose rubber that, essentially, are turning tires into roller skates.

“If you got in the marbles, it would ruin you,” he said. “Once you got in the marbles, you ruined that set [of tires]. I mean, there is no way to get them off. We don’t go fast enough here to really grind them off. It was messy. It was just real messy all day.”

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04/03/11
nastruck

Q and A with Kyle Busch on Raikkonen deal
Kyle Busch hires washed up F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen.  Raikkonen will try to resurrect his failing driving career in lowest NASCAR series
Kyle Busch spoke to the media at Martinsville Speedway following the announcement of his deal to run Kimi Raikkonen in a limited schedule this year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Q. How did the deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Kimi Raikkonen come together?

Kyle Busch: Agents... that's how it came about. I have yet to speak to Kimi myself. Apparently there's an interest in him that he wants to run in NASCAR. He's shopped it around to quite a few teams and apparently we won the war.

It's exciting for us at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Kimi, from what I understand, was real adamant about trying to work with me and our teams and being able to put a deal together to go out there and try to get him success in NASCAR. With our trucks, the way we've been running this year, he felt like that was a good place for him to come.

Q. Will this shine a spotlight on Kyle Busch Motorsports?

KB: That's not a reason that we do this stuff. We do this stuff because we enjoy racing - we love it and we want to do it. Certainly that is part of it and that would essentially happen, but that's not one of our first thoughts that we looked at. I think it does lend some worldwide exposure. I think with a guy being as talented and as good as he's been in the realms of motorsports that he's competed in - certainly I would like to expect that he runs well here in NASCAR as well. Maybe this could lend to a longer relationship than just a few races.

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04/03/11
irl

Indy Racing CEO ready to put his plan in motion
Randy Bernard
Randy Bernard promised to shake things up when he took over the Indy Racing League last year.

Bernard was tasked with making open-wheel racing relevant again in the U.S. Still, it’s a sport overshadowed by NASCAR, which vaulted into the lead soon after the IRL went one way and Championship Auto Racing Teams went another in 1994.

The former CEO of Professional Bull Riders Inc. was busy during the winter. He approved several changes, including the IndyCar Series severing ties with International Speedway Corporation.

The series dropped races in Chicago, Kansas, Miami and Watkins Glen. Bernard opted for Speedway Motorsports Inc. race tracks in New Hampshire, Milwaukee, Las Vegas and Baltimore.

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04/02/11
nastruck

Kimi Raikkonen to test truck on Monday UPDATE
Raikkonen may try to race one of Kyle Busch's truck in Charlotte in May
“He’s got the talent to race,” team owner Kyle Busch said Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. “He’s Formula One, he’s obviously a world champion over there, and he’s done real well in the rally stuff, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t be successful in our equipment.

“I think [his rally experience] will help him because he’s gone from something that’s the ultimate amount of downforce and grip to something that is essentially no downforce, no grip and you’re in the air sometimes. I think that will be something that he’s had the best of both worlds. NASCAR is the best of both words. We do have a lot of downforce but yet sometimes we are slipping and sliding all over the place.”

“I have yet to speak to Kimi myself, but apparently there’s an interest with him that he wants to run in NASCAR and he’s been shopping around to quite a few teams, and apparently we won the war,” Busch said.

“It’s exciting for us at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Kimi, from what I understand, was real adamant with wanting to work with me and our teams and put together a deal. I don’t know where the money is coming from. My contract is with Kimi himself.”

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04/02/11
nascar

Harvick calls Goodyear Tires 'crap'
While NASCAR and Goodyear officials had hoped that the Martinsville Speedway surface would get rubbered in during the Camping World Truck Series race Saturday, it failed to do so and several drivers complained about the tire afterward. Goodyear brought a different tire to prevent grating on the left-side tires as they slide across the concrete and then added grip to the right-side tires to compensate for the change in grip of the lefts.

That has resulted in teams cording some right-side tires until they can find the correct camber on the 0.526-mile track, made even tougher because it has the concrete in the corners with asphalt on the straightaways.

Kevin Harvick finally got his truck going right after substantial camber adjustments but still corded his right-side tires at the end of the race.

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04/02/11
irl

Penske to run Tracy in 5 races
Paul Tracy
Paul Tracy confirmed more races to his Izod IndyCar Series schedule today in announcing a five-race deal with the reconfigured Dragon Racing.

The team, led by Jay Penske, will have Tracy in its car beginning with the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 17.

Tracy previously signed an Indianapolis 500 deal with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

“It feels like a little bit of a homecoming because I’m back under the Penske umbrella and I’ve known Jay since he was a teenager and we both got into our fair share of trouble with his dad,” said Tracy.

“I asked Jay what his dad said about us teaming up and he told me Roger said: ‘Oh great, the two guys who gave me the most problems in my life are getting together.’”

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04/02/11
motogp

Stoner storms to pole at Jerez
Casey Stoner on pole
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner took his second pole of the 2011 MotoGP season for the Gran Premio bwin de España in an eventful qualifying session which saw many riders involved in crashes. He will be joined on the front row by his team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).

The Australian set the fastest time of the weekend with a 1’38.757 which was just 0.158s ahead of his team-mate who had set the early pace this morning. Stoner was unable to stop his bike in time at turn one and ended up having to have a trip through the gravel trap in the last minutes of qualifying, this however didn’t affect him from starting tomorrow’s race from his 24th pole in the premier class.

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04/02/11
nastruck

Kyle Busch Motorsports signs Kimi Raikkonen
Former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen has signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports and plans to run next month's Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Raikkonen drove for Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari in F1. He was teammates with current NASCAR star Juan Pablo Montoya when they both drove for McLaren.

There had been reports this week that Raikkonen was going to give NASCAR a try, but Busch did not mention his involvement in any deals when asked about the Finn driver Friday at Martinsville Speedway.

KBM then announced Saturday that the 31-year-old driver had signed with the team. No sponsorship details were given, and Raikkonen's schedule is to be released at a later date. AP News

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04/02/11
f1

Rossi accepted into Team Lotus driver development program
Young American Alexander Rossi was today announced as one of the drivers that have been accepted onto the AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Program.  

The AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Program was launched today in Malaysia with the aim of nurturing driver talent from across Malaysia, Asia, Europe, North America and throughout the world.  The program covers racing in a range of formulae from karting up to World Series by Renault and is designed to provide aspiring young racing drivers with the support required to make it to the top level of motorsport.

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04/02/11
f1

Mercedes team preview of Malaysian GP
Schumacher has had success at Sepang, winning in 2004
• The 2011 F1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix will be the 13th edition of the race since 1999
• 2011 marks the third time that the race has been scheduled for a late afternoon start
• Sepang has one of the lowest Safety Car probabilities with just two deployments in the past 10 years
• MERCEDES GP PETRONAS scored its first podium at Sepang in 2010, with Nico Rosberg finishing third
• The Malaysian Grand Prix is the home race for the team’s title partner PETRONAS

Michael Schumacher
"Let’s put it like this: we consider Malaysia as one of our home Grands Prix, so it obviously gives us a big boost to go there and have the support of PETRONAS and the Malaysian people. The track itself is great as it gives you a wide variety of possibilities during every lap. You can take multiple lines through some of the corners, which is something you can do hardly anywhere else. I have always liked driving there, and I look forward to doing it again."

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04/02/11
dtm

DTM drops Shanghai for 2011
The DTM has dropped its season finale Shanghai street race from its calendar for this year.  The race was scheduled to take place on November 6 this year, but a statement from the DTM said: "The motorsport authorities didn't grant permission for the race to take place on the originally scheduled date of November 6th due to a date clash with the World Touring Car Championship in China."

Hans Werner Aufrecht, boss of series promoter ITR, added that the series plans to return to China in 2012.

"The cancellation of the Shanghai race is regrettable, but due to the given situation, it can't be changed for 2011," he said. "However, I am certain that this is not the end of our plans in Asia for the near future.

"Together with the car manufacturers and [Shanghai race promoter] the BCG, we are putting our effort into having a race in China again from 2012."

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04/02/11
nassprint

Gibbs team pinpoints engine issues
Kyle Busch says Joe Gibbs Racing has determined that problems with two of its engines last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California were valve-related. #20-Joey Logano's team switched his the morning of Sunday's race when valve leakage was discovered. Logano's team didn't think the engine would last for 400 miles. Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue, leaving last year's Chase runner-up with a 39th-place finish that dropped him to 21st in points. Busch said Friday that identifying the problem is a huge step in the right direction for JGR, which has had engine issues in all five races this season. "Is there concern? Of course," Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations, said earlier this week. "We've had a lot more issues than we'd like to see, this early in the season especially. Probably the bigger issue is for the most part they are non-related. That makes things harder to figure out. If you had the same thing happening over and over again you could focus on it." Makar said only Hamlin's failure on Sunday showed signs of a potential bad part. He said the batch that the part came from would be quarantined for this weekend's race at Martinsville to see if any issues arise. Associated Press

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04/02/11
irl

IndyCar on its way back
At the very first race Randy Bernard attended, the Sao Paulo 300 in March, 2010, Mario Moraes’ car ended up right on top of Marco Andretti’s, and Andretti luckily escaped without injury.

“It was at that point I realized how dangerous, and yet how exciting the sport really is,” exclaims Bernard, the former head of the Professional Bull Riders, who became CEO of the IZOD IndyCar series in March of 2010.

The crash was symbolic of how far the sport had fallen since it split in 1995 when Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George announced plans for an open-wheel racing league, with the Indianapolis 500 as its cornerstone, to compete with the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). George wanted a league that accepted drivers based on talent, not financial strength. Competitive drivers such as now five-time NASCAR Cup Champion, Jeff Gordon, were turned away in the early 1990’s. Since INDYCAR’s split with CART, which was eventually named Champ Car in 2004, revenue, ratings and spectatorship dipped. They lost between 15 million and 20 million fans.

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04/02/11
irl

B. Unser, Rutherford Among Legends Signing Autographs May 28 At IMS
Johnny Rutherford at Indy in 1980
Legendary winners Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford lead a growing number of drivers from the “roadster era” of front-engine cars at the Indianapolis 500 who are returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 28 for the “World’s Largest Autograph Session.”

The “World’s Largest Autograph Session” is comprised of two signing groups May 28, one from 9-10 a.m. and another from noon-4 p.m. Every living driver from the Indianapolis 500 has been invited to IMS to participate in this special autograph session to celebrate the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.

The morning group will feature all 33 drivers in the starting field of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 plus most of the 27 living winners of the “500,” including Unser and Rutherford.

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04/02/11
f1

AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Program
Team Lotus F1 car
AirAsia, the world’s best low-cost carrier, today formally announced the continuation of its involvement in Formula One™ by extending its partnership with Team Lotus for the 2011 season.

The announcement, made at the AirAsia Team Lotus live street demonstration event in Putrajaya was attended by Team Lotus Team Team Principal Datuk Seri Dr. Tony Fernandes and Team Lotus Deputy Team Principal Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd Chief Executive Officer, Azran Osman-Rani, Team Lotus Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat and AirAsia Regional Head of Commercial, Kathleen Tan.

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04/02/11
f1

Todt decides against an F1 commissioner
Jean Todt (R)
The FIA will not be appointing an F1 Commissioner, Jean Todt said today.

At the time of his election as FIA president in Autumn 2009, the Frenchman promised the introduction of a commissioner to represent the FIA at Grands Prix and oversee F1 on a day to day basis.

This led to speculation as to who the ideal candidate to fill this powerful new role might be, with various names bandied about, including Gerhard Berger.

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04/02/11
tv news

Sunday on Wind Tunnel
Featured Interview        Arie Luyendyk (2-time Indy 500 Winner)

Featured Interview        TBA

Expert Analyst              Ray Dunlap (SPEED Camping World Truck Series Reporter)

This Week’s Races

·        CUP and Camping World Trucks in Martinsville

·        NHRA in Las Vegas

·        MotoGP in Jerez, Spain

·        AMA Supercross in Arlington, TX

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04/01/11
irl

INDYCAR sets field for first Mazda Road To Indy scouting combine
The field has been set for the first Mazda Road to Indy Scouting Combine as INDYCAR has identified the six regional karting series that will send a representative to the three-day driver evaluation program later this year.

One driver each from the SKUSA Central States Challenge, Florida Karting Championship Series, TAG - World Championships, Eastern Canada Karting Championship and Cal State Karting Championship Series will join The Heartland Sprint Series as part of the combine.

"The response was overwhelming," said Jason Penix, manager of grassroots marketing for INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy. "We filled the grid in less than 72 hours and received inquiries from many of the top regional series in North America. We are already looking at ways to expand the program for next year."

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04/01/11
automotive

Mazda Sales Jump 33.3 Percent In March
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today reported March 2011 sales of 30,905, an increase of 33.3 percent versus March of 2010. Through the first three months of the year, Mazda's sales are up 15.4 percent, with 64,559 vehicles sold.

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04/01/11
automotive

Toyota increases U.S. prices an average of 1.7 percent
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., coping with a rising yen and an earthquake-shattered supply chain, announced price increases today that average 1.7 percent for many 2011 Toyota, Scion and Lexus models.

The increases range from $65 for the small imported Scion xD, to $900 for two of its larger vehicles, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia SUVs, as well as several Lexus models.

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04/01/11
irl

IndyCar Series St. Pete race produces highest-rated broadcast in more than 3 years UPDATE #2 The final TV Rating for last Sunday's St. Pete IndyCar race was a 1.2 on ABC.  Not as good as the 1.4 overnight rating, but still better than in recent years.

03/29/11 The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Ch. 28 Sunday drew a healthy 1.4 overnight television rating, the highest rating for an IndyCar race other than the Indianapolis 500 since July 2007. The 1.4 rating equates to about 1 million households. That's not a great number compared to, say, the NCAA Tournament, which usually has nearly 9 million viewers, or even NASCAR, which drew a 4.1 rating (about 3.2 million households) for Sunday's race in California. But the 1.4 is well above the 0.8 rating that ABC's IndyCar races drew last year.

03/28/11 ABC's broadcast of the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27 delivered its highest overnight rating in metered markets for a race since 2007.

The 1.4 rating for 56 markets was surpassed only by ABC's telecast of the July 2007 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Final ratings for this broadcast are expected on March 31.

"I'm very encouraged by the ratings for several reasons," said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "First of all, it was standalone. It wasn't in the late time slot, during which there typically is more household viewership. Second, it's our highest-rated non-Indianapolis show since 2007, but even that show had a great lead-in with the British Open (with Padraig Harrington defeating Sergio Garcia in a four-hole playoff).

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04/01/11
automotive

Ford beats GM in March sale
General Motors posted its seventh consecutive sales gain for the month of March, with 206,621 total sales. A good month, no doubt, but Ford had a better month for just the second time since 1998. Ford last bested GM in February, 2010. The Blue Oval posted sales of 212,295, thanks in part to a 21 percent jump in truck sales.

That's a victory of 5,674 units for the Dearborn, MI-based automaker, but the real drubbing came in the ongoing battle of Ford Versus Chevrolet. The Bowtie brand moved 148,197 units, compared to 203,794 for Team Ford. That's a 28 percent sales jump for the Blue Oval, which admittedly amped up fleet sales for the month, but retail sales were also up 14 percent for the month. Ford had plenty of hot products moving off dealer lots, with 53,272 F-Series sold, a record 9,787 Fiesta sales and record March sales for the Escape and Fusion. One factor holding back GM sales was a $700 per vehicle cutback in incentive spending, though that will probably help the automaker's bottom line more than a few extra Malibu sedans rolling off the line.

While Ford was victorious in March, GM is still up for the year by 97,000 units. Stay tuned to Autoblog for our monthly By the Numbers update, which will lay out sales totals for all major automakers. Automotive News

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04/01/11
irl

Staind to headline Miller Lite Carb Day concert with special guest Papa Roach
Hard rock superstars Staind with special guests Papa Roach will provide a powerful bill at the Miller Lite Carb Day concert on Friday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The concert, free with Miller Lite Carb Day admission of $20, will start at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on the Miller Lite Stage in the IMS infield. Miller Lite Carb Day tickets are available now at www.IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com/carbday.

"We're excited to welcome Staind and special guest Papa Roach to the Miller Lite Stage at the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. "This high-energy concert will definitely put Race Weekend into top gear for our loyal fans."

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04/01/11
motogp

Jerez: Pedrosa tops Practice 2
Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner had a positive start in Jerez, with both riders sharing the top positions on the time sheets on the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Spain.

They were the only riders capable to set 1'39 which was also under the Circuit Record of 1'39.731 set by Pedrosa in 2010. The Australian was the fastest rider in the morning session with 1'39.551, followed by Pedrosa with a marginal gap of 0.028, then the Spaniard took the top spot in the afternoon with a lap time of 1'40.101 this time followed by Stoner in second with 1'40.289. The strong wind preventing improved times in the second session.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) was third followed by Marco Simoncelli to fourth.

Valentino Rossi was fifth.

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04/01/11
f1

Schumacher not ready to write-off 2011 season just yet
Michael Schumacher is confident that Mercedes GP can remain in a position to win races this season, despite the Mercedes having suffered a miserable start to the season in Melbourne last weekend. Heading to Malaysia, the seven-time World Champion is confident of a better result.

At Albert Park, Schumacher was forced to retire following a hit from Jaime Alguersuari, and team-mate Nico Rosberg was taken out of the race by Rubens Barrichello. However Schumacher, three times a winner in Malaysia, warns that the team should not be cast aside.

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04/01/11
MotoGP

Jerez: Stoner nip Pedrosa in Practice 1
Casey Stoner nipped Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa in first MotoGP practice session at Jerez Friday morning in southern France. Stoner got down to a 1m39.551s to beat Pedrosa by just 0.028 seconds, as the duo continued their early domination of the 2011 MotoGP season.

Valentino Rossi, still recovering from off-season surgery, took third place ahead of Marco Simoncelli's Gresini Honda, and Jorge Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso was a disappointing sixth on the third factory Honda, 0.8s off the pace. Trying to hard he then crashed at Turn 11 on his final lap, but was unhurt.

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04/01/11
f1

F1 team owner receives British CBE award
Tony Fernandes with his award
Tony Fernandes, business entrepreneur and Team Principal of Team Lotus, has been presented with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. It recognizes his ‘services to promote commercial and educational links’ between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.

“I am extremely humbled to have received this award today and I would like to thank Her Majesty The Queen for bestowing such an honor upon me,” commented Malaysia’s Fernandes, head of the Tune Group which also owns airline AirAsia.

“More than a personal honor, it will serve as a catalyst to further enhance relations between the UK and Malaysia, particularly in the areas of business, culture and education.

“I receive this award today not on my behalf, but on behalf of all the incredible people I work with, wherever they may be around the world. It is their dedication, passion, enthusiasm and hard work that drives me on every single day and it is also my great honor to have the privilege of working with them.”

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04/01/11
nnw

Canadian buys Baker Curb Racing team
Toronto businessman Steve Meehan bought Baker Curb Racing Nationwide team in a deal that closed following the Mar. 19 race in Bristol, Tenn. Driver J.R. Fitzpatrick is a key element in a planned all-Canadian NASCAR outfit that promises to take him to the Sprint Cup. "I think it's fantastic. Steve is a really good guy, he's Canadian and he really wants to see Canadian corporate sponsorship and Canadian drivers, so I mean it's really cool," Fitzpatrick said.

"He really believes in me and that's what I really like. Given that I do need the experience and the time at the tracks and, even if it can't be a full year, he is definitely going to push my career along and I am glad to be a part of it."

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04/01/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Vettel not a fan of KERS
    Vettel no fan of KERS or 4-cylinders for F1
  • Moveable wings F1's 'most stupid idea' - Lauda
  • Virgin speed worse than 2010 debut - Glock
  • Bahrain reshuffle could push season into December
  • Raikkonen to NASCAR reports 'a joke' - Varsha
  • Malaysia to be Pirelli's toughest test - Hembery
  • F1 will still 'sound good' in 2013 - White
  • Kobayashi expecting tire issues in Malaysia

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