New IndyCar again fails to meet speed goal at IndyUPDATE #3 “A racecar is a racecar. I was flat in turn one on my first lap, so we’re close there,” Marco Andretti said. “But I think where we’re going to have to work is in traffic. I’m the only one so far who’s run these things in traffic. I ran behind (Justin) Wilson a little bit, and it’s not pretty right now.”
Tony Kanaan was 100% throttle from lap 1 and still the car would not go fast enough
Tony Kanaan didn’t go a whole lot faster in Wednesday’s test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than he did last November but he’s not sure it’s all that important.
"They did a good job with the changes, it’s 90 percent better to drive,’’ said the 2004 INDYCAR champion, referring to the suspension, aero and weight distribution changes to the new Dallara chassis. "I know people are always talking about speeds but most of them can’t tell if we’re running 215 or 230.
"We killed somebody running 225 so maybe we need to start at 215 and figure things out.’’
Marco Andretti (Chevy), Scott Dixon (Honda) and Kanaan (Chevy) all topped 218 mph during the roughly six hours of running but that came courtesy of some help in traffic.
"I had a mega tow on that lap,’’ admitted Andretti, last year’s winner at Iowa who has a second and two thirds in his six starts at Indianapolis. "The best I could by myself was 216 and we’re not setting the world on fire but it’s only the first day.
"As a driver I want to run 240 but the car is fun to drive and it’s the same for everybody.’’
With a smaller rear wing and the changes mentioned above, the hope had been that 220 mph would easily be achieved. The fastest unofficial lap from the last test was 214 mph.
"I’m convinced when we come back we’ll be over 220 for qualifying,’’ said Will Phillips, the vice president of technology for INDYCAR. "It was a good day for feedback, the engine manufacturers found some issues early on that took a while to get on stop of but they did a good job and everyone was able to run this afternoon." Speedtv.com
Dodge SRT Viper Returning to ALMS’ GT ClassUPDATE Two identical SRT Viper GTS-Rs will compete in the production-based GT class in the series. Four drivers currently are signed to drive including Dominik Farnbacher, from Ansbach, Germany; Marc Goossens from Geel, Belgium; Ryan Hunter-Reay who was born in Dallas and lives in Ft. Lauderdale (when it does not conflict with IndyCar races) and Kuno Wittmer from Montreal. Additional driver and team announcements will be forthcoming.
04/04/12 Intent on recapturing the form that made it sports car racing’s dominant GT force in the early days of the ALMS, SRT Viper will return to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n this season. SRT Viper Racing is set to debut its competition-ready SRT Viper GTS-R later in 2012, Chrysler Group officials announced today at the New York Auto Show.
The company also unveiled its road-going 2013 SRT Viper at the auto show. The focus later turned to the racing version of the V10-powered snake. Two of them are set to join the ALMS’ highly competitive GT class later this season against high-performance entries from BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Lotus and Porsche, among others.
Grand-Am Barber TV ratings up, but still miniscule According to Nielsen Media Research, last Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race from Barber Motorsports Park on SPEED was up 13-percent with Households (0.34 vs. 0.30) versus a year ago.
Saturday’s race also scored up 77-percent with M35-54 (0.46 vs. 0.26) and 64-percent among M18-49 (0.23 vs. 0.14) when compared to last season’s equivalent-weekend race from Homestead. When compared to last year’s race from Barber, which aired one week later on the schedule, this year’s event was up 55-percent with HH (0.34 vs. 0.22), 77-percent with M35-54 (0.46 vs. 0.26) and 64-percent among M 18-49 (0.23 vs. 0.14).
The next Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race is slated for April 29 at 1 p.m. ET live on SPEED.
Rahal provides surprise for Education Program participants "How much do you make?" " What kind of (personal) car do you drive?" "How tall are you?"
Graham Rahal discovered that kids do say the darndest things when he met fourth-graders during the first of the 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program's Study Trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 4.
"It's great to be out here and spend some time with these kids because they are the future fans of the sport," said Rahal, driver of the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car ("the red, white and blue one" as he pointed out to students). "You get a wide variety of questions, but that's to be expected with 10-year-olds."
Richard Childress Racing makes deal to keep No. 33 car running When the season began, Richard Childress Racing had just five races scheduled for the No. 33 Cup car—the Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler and then the next four with Brendan Gaughan.
The car, locked into the first five races thanks to a 13th-place finish in 2011 with Clint Bowyer behind the wheel, has remained in the top 35 in owner points, the cutoff for a guaranteed spot.
Team owner Richard Childress didn’t have enough sponsorship to run Bowyer, but he obviously would like to have the car available if grandson Austin Dillon is ready for Cup in 2013.
Nissan, Hyundai set March sales records; fuel-efficient sales also boost Big 3 Detroit's automakers posted another month of big sales gains in March as consumers returned in throngs to dealerships, lured by the promise of looser lending and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
Overall industry sales were up 12.7 percent in the United States last month on volumes of 1.4 million units. That translated into a seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 14.4 million vehicles — down sharply from February's figure of 15.1 million units, but still way ahead of where the industry was a few months ago.
"This was the real litmus test for 2012," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, who said March's numbers were impressive — even if they fell a bit short of the most optimistic forecasts. "They show real strength on the retail side. … It's the best month we've seen since August 2007, back when times were good."
Fisker delays production of next-gen family sedan Fisker Automotive Inc. said it is delaying production of its next-generation family sedan and may not build the vehicle in Wilmington, Del., after suffering several setbacks with its first plug-in hybrid batteries.
CEO Tom LaSorda added that Fisker may move production outside the United States.
"We're proceeding on where the best costs will be," LaSorda told reporters after the unveiling the company's next-generation vehicle, the Fisker Atlantic. "We're looking at alternative options to the U.S., of course."
In 2010, Fisker won $529 million in low-cost Energy Department loans, and has drawn $193 million, mostly for use in developing the Fisker Karma that was designed and engineered in the United States, but assembled in Finland.
Annual checkup finds IndyCar in good health Today's local and vocal Long Beach Grand Prix/IndyCar edition of The Sporting Muse:
Taking the temperature of IndyCar has become an annual endeavor that for too many years was the equivalent of cleaning your teeth with a shard of glass.
The Champ Car/Indy Racing League split, the failure of both spinoffs to reclaim an audience, and the slide in media attention far behind NASCAR were just three of the aches for a sport that clearly had no business trying to split the business.
But IndyCar has made strides. Even with the 2012 schedule featuring just 16 events, there are a lot of positive signs that the sport has regained its footing.
For starters, the series that makes its annual stop in Long Beach next weekend has a full complement of teams and cars a few years after fields often creeped as low as 16 entries and the number of thriving race teams could be counted on a four-cylinder engine, with a cylinder left over.
There are 16 race teams in 2012. As always, the Penske, Ganassi and Andretti teams dominate with 10 cars between them, but there are 11 one-car teams featuring prominent drivers and tradition.
Magnussen tops Renault 3.5 Series test Tuesday Best time Tuesday for Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) at Catalunya, for the first of two days testing session in Formula Renault 3.5 Series. American Alexander Rossi struggled to make the backmarker Caterham team car fast, some 2.5 seconds off the pace. He did beat his teammate, however.
Ryan Dalziel rejoins CORE autosport for Long Beach 12 Hours of Sebring class winners Ryan Dalziel and CORE autosport will be reunited for the second round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n on the streets of Long Beach.
This event marks the tenth anniversary of Dalziel’s U.S. racing debut in the U.S. – his first was at Long Beach in 2002, driving a Toyota Atlantic Championship machine.
Dalziel will be paired in the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) class #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 with lead driver and Sebring winner, Alex Popow. Dalziel and Popow are teammates in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Starworks Daytona Prototype team, and have co-driven with that team and others throughout the U.S. and the Middle East since they were first paired in early 2011.
Barber showed that the 'best of times for IndyCar' is returning
All the top drivers in IndyCar are from CART/Champ Car and on road and street circuits Will Power is the best of the lot.
Midway through Sunday’s Izod IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park, crew chief Tim Cindric called driver Will Power to the pits. At the time, Power was fifth. He wasn’t low on fuel and his tires weren’t shot, so the call was firmly strategic. Power eventually found himself leading and winning the race, a consequence of Cindric’s clever and timely decision.
These days, “clever” and “timely” are buzz words for Roger Penske’s IndyCar team, which helped orchestrate the reintroduction of Chevrolet to the series with unforeseen success. Wins in the first two races have Team Penske ahead of its rivals while helping Chevy make amends for an uncomfortable series exit six years ago.
The series has ushered in an era of new engines and chassis with two unpredictable, entertaining races. The adage of “What’s good for Penske is good for IndyCar” has been turned sideways: What’s good for IndyCar is strategy, unpredictability and unusually competitive racing. So far, that’s also been good for Team Penske.
BMW i8 Concept Spyder plug-in hybrid brings the future closer
What's most stunning about the BMW i8 Concept Spyder the German automaker revealed today isn't the 350-hp plug-in hybrid technology, the laser-powered headlights or the auto-show touches such as folding electric kickboards. It's that BMW plans to build something with most of these features, in a car looking much like this, within a few years. This is not a dream.
The latest evolution of BMW i-Series concepts expected at this week's New York auto show wears an exterior that while still futuristic, represents a viable look at what BMW will build in two years. When BMW chief designer Adrian von Hooydonk told us in Detroit the production i8s would strongly resemble the concepts, this -- the layered bodywork, the laser headlights and the tri-tone accents -- was what he meant. Even the i8 Concept Spyder's scissor doors look less showy than purposeful here.
New Speedway bodywork gets first on-track test After a few test days and two races -- all on road and street courses -- Ed Carpenter is eager to stretch out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during an April 4 test session of new aerodynamic components to be used at the 2.5-mile oval for the Indianapolis 500 and at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15.
Specifically, INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips and the INDYCAR engine group will gather data and feedback regarding handling characteristics and performance levels from the nine participants driving Chevrolet- and Honda-powered cars producing about 550-570 horsepower for the oval.
"I'd be disappointed if we didn't get to that 220-222 (mph) range, and that last little bit will come as teams dial the cars in to the track during the week of Indy and 225 is the target," said Phillips, who over the race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, met with officials from the three engine manufacturers regarding the framework of 2013 aero kit regulations.
Team owner wants to field car for suspended NASCAR driver Mayfield If suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield can avoid jail time, he could have a job back behind the wheel of a racecar later this year.
ARCA team owner Roger Carter said Tuesday that he wants to put the embattled Mayfield in one of his cars.
He hopes to field a car for Mayfield in the June race at Pocono Raceway, but Carter is not sure if Mayfield can compete that soon in the Midwest-based stock-car series.
Carter currently operates Carter 2 Motorsports and has a long history of involvement in racing, including with the Sadler Brothers Racing team that put Mayfield in a Cup car for the first time in 1993.
Two motorcyclists die on track at Charlotte Two people died after their motorcycles collided at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday. A third person was injured in the accident. Officials said 66-year-old Alan Richard Mockus and 71-year-old Thomas Franklin Hollingsworth were killed in the accident. Deborah Lynn Mockus, 56, is still in the hospital, officials said. Witnesses said the two men were not following the track rules laid out by the organizers of Saturday's Vietnam Veterans celebration. The victims were seen riding at excess of 70 mph.
Their bikes were traveling at the top of track, from opposite directions and collided head on when both drivers attempted to come down to avoid each other. Both drivers were killed and a female passenger on one of the bikes was taken to the hospital with major injuries. The crash happened right after a "Homecoming for Vietnam Veterans" event at the speedway. The bikers apparently joined in on the procession independently and were not affiliated with a veteran's bike group. Larger groups, like Rolling Thunder and the Patriot Guard, said they sent out emails to all members telling them not to ride above the white line on the track and to maintain speeds below 35 mph. WSOCtv.com
Papa John's Pizza party ticket package at Charlotte Race fans who love pizza will get a double treat as Papa John's is offering a VIP experience with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Coca-Cola 600, on May 27, with the Papa John's Pizza Party at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Papa John's pizza boxes throughout the Carolinas and Virginia will include an offer for a pizza party race package for $99. With the package, up to 1,000 fans will get a frontstretch ticket for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 and exclusive access to a VIP party that includes appearances by the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers. At the party, fans will also be treated to two slices of Papa John's pizza, beverages and a goody bag with gifts from Papa John's and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The promotion will run through late April or while supplies last. To get the ticket package for the Papa John's Pizza Party at the Coca-Cola 600, order from Papa John's or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/papajohnsparty.
Barber was real racing A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have been an IndyCar fan since the 60s and I can tell you that the hard racing and numerous passes I saw at Barber Motorsports Park this past Sunday was real racing. I saw drivers fighting the wheel and pushing the car to the limits. Watch their hands in the cockpit as they fought to keep their car under control. While there were not many passes for the lead on the track, passing was happening everywhere else. A sport is all about the athlete and the drivers on Sunday who can really drive put on a fantastic show. I'll take a good road race like we saw on Sunday over an oval any day. A driver cannot compensate for an evil handling car on ovals. They are at the mercy of their engineers and how the car is setup. And the 100% throttle, even Danica can do it, stuff is for the birds. And my last thought is that although the new IndyCar is butt ugly, it appears to race well. I can't wait until next year's now body kits, which will hopefully change the sidepods and rid the cars of the bubble bodywork in front of the rear wheels. Dan Peters
Dear Dan, Could not agree more. When Firestone bring s the right tire, like they did at Barber, the new car appears to be very racy and we have criticized the 100% throttle dangerous oval racing for years. Give us more race tracks like we saw Sunday. A good crowd, great racing, and the best drivers at the front. Randy Bernard was asking for more passing zones at Barber. We say leave it just the way it is. Mark C.
Hamm Named Chief Steward of SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Morris Hamm will serve as the Chief Steward for the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series, the sanctioning body announced today. Hamm is a 40-year SCCA member with more than 25 years of stewarding experience.
The Santa Rosa, California resident will be responsible for the officiating of the 46-year-old Trans-Am Series. Hamm’s SCCA Pro Racing experience includes Chief Steward of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and its predecessor SCCA Pro Racing Mazda Miata Cup, and five years as the Assistant Chief Steward of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.
“Morris has worked as a Steward with SCCA Pro Racing for a number of years, and will continue to do a great job with the Trans-Am Series,” Tom Campbell, SCCA Pro Racing President, said. “We’ve got the right steward in place to move the series forward in this transitional year.”
Drug use is blamed for Mayfield going from NASCAR hero to NASCAR zero
Suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, who faces nine criminal charges in two North Carolina counties, is scheduled to have his property sold at auction April 30.
Mayfield, suspended since May 2009 for what NASCAR says was a failed drug test for methamphetamines, took out a $3.1 million mortgage in July 2006 and has failed to make his payments, according to the foreclosure initially filed in December in North Carolina Superior Court in Newton, N.C.
That has resulted in the lender, Carolina Farm Credit, calling for Mayfield to pay the balance of $2.387 million, plus more than $415,000 in interest and fees, according to the filing.
IndyCars to test at Infineon April 9th Race fans will be treated to a free INDYCAR test session at Infineon Raceway on Monday, April 9, when several teams from the IZOD IndyCar® Series head to Sonoma to test the all-new 2012 race car.
The one-day test will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and will allow drivers to test the new race car, which features a new body, new engine and new chassis for 2012, among other enhancements. This marks one of the only times teams will test in advance of the Indy® Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug 24-26,
Drivers and teams currently scheduled to attend the test include:
IndyCar drew good crowd at Barber Sunday’s IndyCar race—the third for the series at Barber—drew 52,879, just a bit below the inaugural race. Race organizers were thrilled with the 81,378 who turned out for the weekend’s activities despite stormy weather.
“I’m extremely pleased,” said Gene Hallman, an Alabama-based sports marketer who helped run the event. “It exceeded our expectations. You’re always concerned in the third year there’s a certain sense of complacency that sets into the market, and the newness wears off. We actually saw a resurgence. And corporate support was up.”
Wind Tunnel Sunday With NASCAR being off this week, a couple CUP personalities will be joining Dave on the show this Sunday. Of all the times Greg Biffle has been on the show, he has never been on the show as the current CUP points leader! We’ll talk to him about the hot start to his 2012 season and his quest for that elusive first CUP championship.
Tommy Baldwin has gone from winning CUP crew chief to underdog CUP team owner. He’ll talk about that transition and share his take on the controversial finish in Martinsville when his driver, David Reutimann, brought out the final caution after limping around the track for several laps.
In the heart of 'Dixie' beats a 2012 title contender Encumbered with slow starts the past few seasons, Scott Dixon isn't about to downplay the efforts of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew in developing the new car and Honda engine package this young season.
In fact, sitting second in the championship after two events is his best foundation since winning the second of his IZOD IndyCar Series titles in 2008. Runner-up in both races - the latter for the third year in a row at Barber Motorsports Park - has Dixon two points arrears of front-runner Helio Castroneves (84) heading to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15.
Will Power, who finished 3.3709 seconds ahead of Dixon in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 1, has 77 points.
Silverstone adds two new grandstands for 2012 A pair of new grandstands are being set up at Silverstone ahead of the 2012 British Grand Prix. Due to high demand in ticket sales, already up by 10 percent in comparison with this time last year, a number of stands are already sold out.
The new stands will be named ‘Luffield Complex Grandstand’ and ‘Silverstone Grandstand’ and located in the Luffield Complex and the National Pits Straight, respectively. In total, an extra 3,500 fans will be able to enter the venue. Seats in the Luffield stand will be part of the ‘Gold’ category, whereas those in the Silverstone stand will fall into the ‘Silver’ ticket category.
Nissan DeltaWing heads to Europe for testing The Nissan DeltaWing will kick off the next phase of its development for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in Europe after departing Don Panoz’s Elan Motorsports Technologies in Georgia yesterday.
After a week of testing at the world’s toughest sportscar course, Sebring International Raceway, the car headed to Atlanta for final preparation prior to its scheduled European test program.
It was a whirlwind month of March for the Nissan DeltaWing team. The program kicked into high gear on March 13 with the launch of the Nissan partnership in London followed by the official unveiling of the race car at Sebring two days later on March 15.
Motorsports This Week from ESPN NASCAR Now Schedule
Tue., April 3
Wed., April 4
Fri., April 6
Fri., April 6
Tue., April 10
NHRA Action on ESPN2 Saturday The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series has the weekend off but drag racing fans can catch a one-hour program of highlights from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series on Saturday, April 7, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The program will feature drag racing action from the recent event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Motorsports on Other ESPN Platforms
ESPN Radio -- Each weekend morning, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay starts its engines at 6 a.m. ET with host Pat Patterson. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, ESPN Radio’s RaceDay listeners get an hour of news, previews and analysis, as well as profiles and interviews with NASCAR’s biggest names and newsmakers and the involvement of listeners via calls and e-mails.
Video: Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Bowyer Crash Check out the Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer wreck at the end of Sunday's Martinsville NASCAR Sprint Cup race on our iPhone and iPad apps. Also note all the empty seats, it was far from a sellout.
New IndyCar is strong, takes knocks and keeps on running Coming from a world of fragile F1 cars that break with even the slightest contact with another car, Rubens Barrichello is finding that the new IndyCar can take its fair share of knocks and keep on ticking.
"I first need to say thank you to the crew and thank you for my first top-10 finish, It's hard to be happy with a top-10, but starting so far back and at some points in the race even further back, I think it was a positive that I was able to work my way back through the field. By the end of the race, I had one of the fastest running cars, so I think it was enjoyable to watch and for me to race. People race hard over here, but they were fair. I had many knocks and bumps, but the cars are so robust in this series that we can luckily get away with it. I enjoyed my day and thank my sponsors, BMC and Embrase and my team once again."
Robert Wickens and Roberto Merhi join Mercedes for DTM assault Mercedes-Benz is expanding its successful young driver program in the 2012 season with a junior team for the German Touring Car Masters (DTM). Roberto Merhi (Spain, 20, Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Persson Motorsport), Christian Vietoris (Germany, 23, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé, HWA) and Robert Wickens (Canada, 22, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Mücke Motorsport) will be contesting the world’s most popular touring car series behind the wheel of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé as members of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Team.
Serving as role model and mentor to the Junior Team will be Michael Schumacher; the veteran MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 driver will bring all his experience to bear from seven world championship titles and 91 Grand Prix victories. Schumacher himself also benefited from the Mercedes-Benz program in the years 1990 and 1991, when he lined up alongside Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger with Sauber Mercedes in the Sports Prototype Championship. Schumacher, Frentzen (156 Grand Prix starts, 3 wins, 1997 World Championship runner-up) and Wendlinger (41 Grand Prix starts) all succeeded in making the step up to Formula One.
Video: Sergio “Checo” Perez introduces his car team Sergio "Checo" Perez introduces the team behind the driver. Starting with his Race Engineer, Checo presents the staff that works closest with him and that made his 2nd place podium finish at the 2012 Grand Prix of Malaysia possible. Get to know his Car Chief and other team members working on Sergio's car during the races. Catch a very personal and funny side of Checo and the Sauber F1 Team in this "trashy" hip-hop style video.
Baldwin, Reutimann comment on late race caution Team owner Tommy Baldwin walked through the garage toward the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hauler, summoned there by officials after one of his cars caused a race-altering caution near the end of Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. In his hand, Baldwin carried a broken part wrapped in a white towel, and said driver David Reutimann did nothing wrong when he stopped on the track with three laps to go in the race.
"He didn't have a choice (to stop)," said Baldwin, who owns the #10 car. "The steering broke and he couldn't get on pit road, and about 15 laps before that, he was complaining about the motor. It just happened at the same time. I mean, we just looked at it down there - it won't start, it won't do nothing. There's nothing we could have done." Reutimann's stalled car at the end of the frontstretch forced NASCAR to wave the yellow flag, which set up a late restart. Leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson then spun out when Clint Bowyer made it three-wide into the first corner, and Ryan Newman ultimately won the race instead. SB Nation
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