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Almirola leaves #09 team  Aric Almirola, who qualified for four of the first seven Sprint Cup races for Phoenix Racing, said Monday he has mutually agreed to part ways with the team and will focus on competing for the Camping World Truck Series title with Billy Ballew Motorsports. Phoenix Racing lost its sponsorship from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming prior to the start of the season and has dropped out of the four races with Almirola within 60 laps. "We both agreed it was time to do something different," Almirola said in a phone interview. "I am going to focus a lot more on my truck program, which is really important to me and Billy Ballew Motorsports and all the guys over there  Scene Daily
NASCAR start-park team decides to scale back  Keyed-Up Motorsports announced that it will be reducing its schedule for the remainder of the 2010 season. The team has scaled back on crew members and those who remain will be prepping cars for the limited schedule. The team will continue its efforts in securing a sponsor and will not start and park for funding. "I set out with this team to race, not start and park", said Key. "However, a reduced schedule will allow us to continue operations and focus our time on specific aspects of racing to make us stronger when we return to the track". Doug Richert remains at the helm as crew chief and will continue to lead operations. There is no set schedule for the remainder of the season as some potential sponsors could change what is tentative for the team however the #90 will not be participating at Texas next week.
Orbit racing joins ALMS GTC field  ORBIT Racing is the latest team to enter the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n’s GT Challenge class for 2010 with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry for Bryce Miller and John McMullen. The team will make its season debut at this weekend’s Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach in southern California.

The 2010 No. 48 Porsche will carry the colors of Marquis Jet, IPC Systems, TOTAL, Bergen County Auto Group and Macha Racing. More ...

F2 testing report - Jolyon Palmer on top  
Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon Palmer ensured he ended the final pre-season test of 2010 at the top of the timesheets after a series of blistering laps in the closing stages of the day.

Palmer's late surge meant fellow Briton Dean Stoneman had to settle for second spot, with Johan Jokinen and Philipp Eng close behind. The result completes an impressive pre-season for Palmer, who also topped the morning session today and the first day of testing at Snetterton. More ...

Driven to Race movie to premier at Long Beach  Movie stars and race cars are pretty much the norm for the Long Beach Grand Prix… except this time its drivers from the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear up on screen, and the graduation of Star Mazda standout, Joel Miller, to the ranks of Indy Lights with the Andersen Racing team.

Driven To Race, showing at the Art Theatre of Long Beach (2025 E. 4th St. / 562-438-5435) on Thursday, April 15 at 2:00 pm and again at 9:00 pm, is a feature-length documentary film that follows eight ambitious young male and female drivers from around the world (including Joel Miller) as they compete in the Star Mazda Championship.  Driven to Race also features interviews with Star Mazda graduates Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti and Raphael Matos, as well as such top drivers as Michael Schumacher and Nelson Piquet.  The film was produced by Jeffrey Krueger and directed and edited by Brian Spillane.  Admission to the film is $7 when accompanied by a flier that can be downloaded from the series web site www.StarMazda.com.  Admission is free to holders of IRL, ALMS and SCCA hard cards, as well as members of the Motor Press Guild and American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. More ...

skip barber
First female Skip Barber champion crowned  Ashley Freiberg became the first woman in the history of the Skip Barber Race Series to win an overall championship when she clinched the Southern Race Series title this past weekend at Sebring International Raceway. The 18-year old from Homer Glen, Ill. posted six wins and 10 podiums on her way to the title, besting runner up Dennis Trebing by 16 points in the final standings. Freiberg finished the season strong with a fourth and her sixth win of the season. Ashley Freiberg picked up 10 podiums (including 6 wins) on her way to the title There is no rest for the champion as Freiberg heads to Virginia International Raceway the weekend of April 23-25 for Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, where she currently sits seventh in the championship. Ashley isn’t the only member of the Freiberg family to pick up a championship this past weekend as her brother Brian clinched the 2009-2010 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Winter Tour title at Sebring.
Honda Indy Edmonton Grandstand Announcement  
2010 Honda Indy Edmonton Grandstands
One of the most sought after viewing areas in racing will be even more accessible to race fans at the 2010 Honda Indy Edmonton. A new site layout will position race fans even closer to the on-track action as new grandstands will be located at the start of pit row.

“A great deal of action, and sometimes the winning maneuver, takes place right in the pits,” Northlands’ Director of Major Events Mike Burton said, “and for this year’s race we’ve positioned a new grandstand at the start of pit row.”

“We‘re also going to place a grandstand at the end of the straightaway immediately before the cars enter pit row. Now, our fans will be able to see close up action from several fast-moving vantage points.” More ...

NASCAR Phoenix TV Rating  The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 600 Saturday night on FOX was a 3.4, up 3% from last year's 3.3 overnight rating.
Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race  The $10,000 prize is awarded after each IZOD IndyCar Series race to the driver who best utilizes his or her Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event. This week's nominees are Marco Andretti for his Lap 15 pass of Helio Castroneves for the lead, Helio Castroneves for a great restart on Lap 88 that resulted in his first victory of the season and Justin Wilson for setting the fastest lap of the race on alternate tires.Fans can vote at www.indycar.com.
Barber Indy - inside the numbers  Numbers to note following the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union, the third of 17 races in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

6 -Teams represented in the top 10 of the series point standings.

10 - Consecutive seasons with at least one win for Helio Castroneves - an IZOD IndyCar Series record.

12 - Positions improved by 11th-place finisher Dan Wheldon, the highest number of positions gained by any driver. Alex Tagliani gained 11 positions to finish in the top-10.

25 - Cars running at the finish. The first time in series history that no cars retired from an event.

35 - Consecutive top-10 starts for Scott Dixon - extending his IZOD IndyCar Series record.

58 - Laps led by Marco Andretti, the most he's led in any IZOD IndyCar Series race since he led 90 at Richmond in 2008.

75 - Top-five finishes for Helio Castroneves in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Castroneves has finished in the top-10 in 56.3 percent of his starts (75-for-133).

101 - Top-10 finishes for Helio Castroneves in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Castroneves has finished in the top-10 in 75.9 percent of his starts (101-for-133).

53,555 - Estimated attendance by race promoter Zoom Motorsports for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union.

84,126 -- Estimated three-day attendance by race promoter Zoom Motorsports for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union.

IZOD Indy Promotion announcement  Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation announced today that its IZOD brand, the official title and apparel sponsor of the IZOD IndyCar Series, had launched the Race to the Party sweepstakes. One lucky fan will win an all-inclusive package for four to attend the largest and fastest one-day sporting event in the world, the Indianapolis 500. By going to racetotheparty.com and entering online anytime between April 6 and May 11, or texting the word "IZOD" to 247365 from any wireless phone, fans have the chance to spend the 2010 Memorial Day weekend with the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series. The grand prize winner and guests will be given a one-of-a-kind IZOD IndyCar Series experience that includes: More ...
Settlement ends 'crashgate' scandal  (GMM)  The so-called 'crashgate' scandal is finally over.  F1's governing body on Monday announced that, after talks with Singapore race-fixing conspirators Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, a settlement has been reached.

Briatore and Symonds were banned from motor racing by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council for ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to crash during the 2008 Singapore GP, but the former Renault chiefs won an appeal against the decision in the French courts.

The FIA's appeal against that decision was pending.

But it was announced on Monday that the duo have now "expressed their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA".

In return, the Paris-based Federation has dropped its legal action, and Briatore and Symonds have agreed to "abstain from having any operational role in formula one until 31 December 2012".

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Texas on ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend and ESPN2 will have a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the 300-mile event on Saturday, April 17. NASCAR Countdown presented by Hellman’s airs at 3 p.m. ET, while the race telecast starts at 3:30 p.m. with the green flag at 3:46 p.m. ESPN2 is the home of the series all season, with selected races airing on ESPN and ABC.

Also from Texas, ESPN2 airs NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, April 16, at 2:30 p.m. and same-day coverage of final practice earlier Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN2’s race coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage. More ...

Scott Dixon mad about IRL call  Scott Dixon seemed more perturbed with the start of Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Alabama than he was with the finish, when he fell just short of a win.

IndyCar officials ruled that Dixon improved his position by two spots before reaching the start/finish line, including passing eventual winner Helio Castroneves. Dixon was sent back to his original fifth-place position but figures he actually crossed the line in ninth or 10th.

"The call to start the race was total B.S. We had a clean pass," said Dixon, who wound up second. "If they want us to just start single-file and stay that way, then that's what they should have us do." More ...

Alabama GP post-race press conference  IndyCar Series press conference from Alabama - An interview with race winner Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves Chip Ganassi team-mates, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our second and third place finishers in today's inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Target Chip Ganassi team-mates, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. For second place finisher Scott, this is the best finish of the 2010 season, and for Dario, this is his third consecutive top 10 of the season.

Also an interesting note for everyone: This is the first IZOD IndyCar Series event in our history where we've had all starters running at the very end of the race.

For both of you, can you talk about today's event and the strategy that propelled you guys to the podium?
Yeah, it was a tough weekend for both of us. This weekend obviously in qualifying we didn't get to the positions that we wanted to. And the car, to be honest, was a struggle throughout most of the sessions to get the most out of it, and it wasn't very consistent.

So I think I'm pretty happy. I'm sure Dario's pretty happy with us both ending up on the podium. I think the call at the start for me was total B.S. We had made a clean pass past both of those guys, and they made me get back behind Marco, obviously, to lose two spots. More ...
Newgarden confirmed at Carlin for GP3  Josef  Newgarden  has  been  signed  by  Carlin  for  the  inaugural  GP3  season.    The Formula Ford UK vice champion will partner McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Dean Smith in the British team 19 year-old Newgarden is fast becoming a driver to watch for the future, having won 10 races in Formula Ford UK last year, as well as taking four pole positions and an impressive  16  podiums.   

Newgarden  also  competed  in  three Formula Palmer Audi races in 2009, winning two. Carlin  are  the  current  British  F3 champions  and one of only ten teams granted an entry into the first season of GP3, which will support the European F1 events.  At the first  ever  GP3  test  at  Paul  Ricard  last  month,  Carlin  cars  finished  third  and  fourth quickest.  More ...

Ralf defends brother, still seeking F1 return  (GMM)  While defending the success of his elder brother's comeback, Ralf Schumacher has refused to rule out also launching a return to the sport.

Also driving for Mercedes, 34-year-old Schumacher has signed up for another season in the German touring car series DTM, having earlier admitted he would jump at the chance of a good F1 seat this year.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport asked the German on Monday whether, given the criticism attracted by the dubious success of his brother's comeback so far, he has now put the idea of a return on the back-burner. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ride height saga shows Red Bull 'feared' - Vettel
  • Drivers part of Sauber's problems in 2010 - boss
  • Piquet tips former teammate Alonso for 2010 title
  • Hakkinen - look deeper before slamming 'boring' F1
  • Rosberg's girlfriend designing Lotus motor home
  • USF1/Brawn trucks seized and put on eBay
  • Michelin demands tire war for F1 return

Ride height saga shows Red Bull 'feared' - Vettel
(GMM)  The FIA's rule clarification about adjustable ride-height mechanisms has no impact on Red Bull, boss Christian Horner and designer Adrian Newey insist.

Following speculation that the ride-height of the RB6 car is somehow being altered between qualifying and the race, the governing body said last week that such a system would theoretically be a breach of the regulations.

But Horner says the FIA is "completely happy" with the car after detailed inspections, adding that it will be transported to China in an identical mechanical specification to the one raced to first and second places in Malaysia.

And Newey told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "We have neither an illegal, automatic system, nor a legal one like Ferrari's which allows an adjustment at the pitstops."

However, it also emerges that while Horner said recently he would welcome an FIA rule-tweak to legalize a ride-height change between qualifying and the race, Red Bull actually voted against the proposal.

Auto Motor und Sport said a second team also vetoed the rule change.

But the reason for Red Bull's veto reportedly has nothing to do with a secret system aboard the RB6, but instead the fact that its design is more efficient than its rivals with both high and low ride-heights.

The team's German driver Sebastian Vettel told Sport Bild magazine: "It is always the case in formula one that the fastest cars are observed closely by the competition.

"There is always speculation and it's actually a compliment, because it shows that we are feared," the 22-year-old added. More ...

Rarick Survives Three-way Battle  Clear, sunny and windy weather greeted the Pacific F2000 Championship Presented by Corsa Car Care as the series returned to historic Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond for  round 3 as part of VARA’s High Desert Challenge. The temperature may have only been 56 degrees but the battle for the pole position was much hotter as three drivers all in the 1 minute 17 second bracket challenged each other during the 30 minute session.

Fierberg holds off Conner Ford
A resurgent Ira Fierberg secured the number one spot with a time of 1:17.418 a mere 0.172 of a second clear of Scott Rarick in second and series newcomer Conner Ford by 0.343 of a second. Fierberg and Rarick have several years of experience at this venue whereas Ford only saw the track for the first time during Friday testing, a remarkable result under the circumstances. After an excellent third place finish in round 2, this was the first pole for Ira and his #27 Barry I Goldstein, CPA/Sparco/DFR Van Diemen. More ...
Video: Basketball great Charles Barkley on Barber IndyCar race  
Alabama GP Sunday Notebook  Taylor Hicks, the 2006 "American Idol" winner, received an up-close and (maybe too) personal view of the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park circuit in the front seat of a Honda Accord Pace Car courtesy of Firestone Indy Lights driver James Hinchcliffe.

Hicks, a Birmingham, Ala., native, sang the national anthem before the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union.

"I've never been to an IndyCar race and this is the first IndyCar race for a lot of people in the state of Alabama," said Hicks, who is on tour in "Grease." "To be able to get out on this course and see what the IndyCars do, you feel like you're really there and feeling the turns. (Hinchcliffe) did a great job and I had a great time." More ...

Rossi wins opening race as Stoner chokes  World champion Valentino Rossi launched his title defense with victory at the Qatar Grand Prix after bitter rival Casey Stoner crashed out.

Rossi, on a Yamaha, won by 1.022sec from teammate Jorge Lorenzo while his Italian compatriot Andrea Dovizioso, riding a Honda, was 1.865sec off the pace.

Australia's Stoner, who was bidding for a fourth successive win at the floodlit desert venue, crashed out on the fifth lap having started on pole position on his Ducati. More ...

Audi R15 TDI wins in debut race  
Audi R15 on way to debut victory at Paul Ricard Sunday
The Audi R15 TDI, model year 2010 (internally labeled "R15 plus") has won its race début at Le Castellet (France) and in doing so left a strong impression.

The technically further developed diesel racing sports car ran the entire distance without the smallest problem during the test race. On the opening lap of the 8-hour race Allan McNish overtook the Peugeot which had started from pole position in the hands of Frenchman Stéphane Sarrazin and on the third lap the Lola-Aston Martin of Stefan Mücke. From then on Allan McNish and teammate Dindo Capello did not relinquish the lead. At the checkered flag after 266 laps the two Audi drivers held a five-lap lead from the Lola-Aston Martin of defending champion Stefan Mücke, Harold Primat and Adrian Fernandez. The Oreca team Peugeot finished fourth after succumbing to a technical problem during the opening stages of the race. More ...
Fierberg secures 2nd straight pole  Dave Freitas Racing driver Ira Fierberg has secured the pole for the second race of the Pacific Formula 2000 Championship at Willow Springs International Raceway.  Fierberg was also on pole for Saturday’s race 1 and finished second.  Fierberg will start ahead of Robert Podlesni in 2d, Conner Ford in 3d, Scott Rarick in 4th, Miles Maroney in 5th and David Cheng in 6th.
Vernay all the way in Lights win  
Winner JK Vernay
Rookie J.K. Vernay picked up a $5,000 bonus from Firestone for winning two Firestone Indy Lights races in a row winning the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Vernay, starting from the pole in the No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, held off Charlie Kimball by 1.1542 seconds to win the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park.

Vernay, who won the season opener on the temporary St. Petersburg street circuit two weeks earlier, joined Junior Strous (2009) in earning the bonus. He takes a 33-point lead over Kimball in the Firestone Indy Lights championship standings heading to Long Beach. Kimball, driving the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, recorded a career best finish. More ...

tv news
Wind Tunnel Sunday  UPDATE ADDED: TONY GIBSON – Crew Chief for Ryan Newman in the Sprint Cup Series, Ryan won the Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix last night with a two tire change on the final pit stop. Tony will be tonight’s Last Call.  ALSO ADDED - Helio Castroneves

Featured Interview      Doug Yates (CEO, Roush Yates Engines)

Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates Engines, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday April 11th. As a veteran of the sport, Doug helped his father run their Robert Yates Racing team since the late ‘80’s until the team merged with Richard Petty Motorsports during this past off-season. Now, Doug is concentrating on building the motors for all the Ford NASCAR CUP teams.

Featured Interview      Ryan Villopoto (AMA Supercross Title Contender)

AMA Supercross title contender, Ryan Villopoto, will also be a featured guest this Sunday. Currently 2nd in the standings behind Ryan Dungey, Villopoto has won 6 of the first 12 events this year with just 5 more rounds left in the season...including a round this week in Houston.

This Week’s Races

Sprint CUP and Nationwide in Phoenix
IndyCar and Rolex Series in Birmingham, AL
NHRA in Houston
MotoGP season opener in Qatar
World Superbike in Valencia, Spain
AMA Supercross in Houston

FAZZT racing is a new team...but not really.  We had a chance to sit and talk with Jim Freudenberg of FAZZT racing. They have hit the ground running, and of course any casual observer would wonder how a team like that gets to the front of the grid, when other teams spend years making any headway at all.

Well, as it turns out, their team is not new at all. They bought Marty Roth's equipment, and quickly recruited Rob Edwards who was with Walker Racing. Rob assembled a crew of people that work together especially well, and have been around the paddock for years.

One of the bigger factors is Allen McDonald who has championships on his resume with Franchitti, and a list of wins that puts him at the top of many people's list. Combined with a solid and experienced driver, they have been in synch from the start.

The team also has the core funding to give them the tools they need to be successful on the track and in the office. Freudenberg tapped many of his team from his days at Kelly Racing, and a couple of Champ Car people, and they seem to have a number of sponsorship prospects brewing that should keep the team moving forward.
Quote of the Week  Outside pole for Milka! After setting a qualifying time at St. Pete that would have placed the determined Venezuelan in the middle of the Indy Lights grid, I'm proud to announce that Duno, while still qualifying on the last row for the IndyCar race, put in a lap of 1:15.422 that was almost clear of J.K. Vernay, the fastest Indy Lights qualifier, who grabbed pole with a 1:14.872. At this rate of improvement, Robin Miller's favorite driver could be on pole for the Lights race at Long Beach next week. Marshall Pruett, SPEEDTV.com
Corsa Car partners with Pacific F2000  Beginning with this weekend’s second round at Willow Springs Raceway, Corsa Car Care will add its name to the series title, now known as the Pacific F2000 Series Presented by Corsa Car Care.  For the remainder of 2010 & 2011, Corsa Car Care will lend its support to the series that has had a hand in developing some the brightest future stars in American open wheel racing, led by current Indy Lights Champion J.R. Hildebrand.  Consisting of six double race weekends, the Pacific F2000 Presented by Corsa Car Care will have its marquee race of the year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the American Le Mans Series on May 22-23.

The Pacific F2000 Series Presented by Corsa Car Care offers cost effective and ultra competitive racing for both the young, up and coming driver as well as the dedicated weekend racer. More ...

Dario says his testing crash at Barber was 78g  We were chatting with Dario Franchitti today, because we had various stories about his crash. He said "I was coming out of turn 11, which is very quick, and I caught just a bit of curb and the car snapped to oversteer on me and I didn't catch it and made about a half turn and hit the barrier at nearly full speed. There were no tires there, and it was quite a shunt. It was a 78g hit. They have some tires there now."

He didn't go into detail, but obviously thinks that some further safety measures need to be taken.

He also said he doubts we will see much, if any passing in tomorrow's race, and pit and tire strategy will be crucial.

It is a gorgeous facility and the track seems to do well enough for other classes of racing, but with the high cornering speeds of high end formula cars, it needs some changes for competitiveness as well.
Toyota Top Fuel Drivers Dixon, Brown Run Fastest Side-By-Side Ever  Toyota Top Fuel drivers Larry Dixon and Antron Brown made history on Saturday as they combined for the fastest side-by-side run in NHRA history as both ran in the 3.77s to secure the top two spots in qualifying for Sunday’s Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Dixon (Al-Anabi Racing) won the pole with a 3.772 run, the second-quickest run in history and just ahead of Brown’s 3.777-second run – the third-quickest time ever.  Dixon’s 323.19 mph speed also was the second-fastest ever.

The two Toyota-sponsored drivers have dominated qualifying this weekend with each topping the time charts twice in the four qualifying runs.  With his pole run, Dixon has now qualified in the top three in each of the season’s first five races.  He has placed first once, second twice and third twice.  For Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), today’s showing was his fourth consecutive top-four qualifying performance.  He was the top qualifier at Gainesville, second today, third at Charlotte and fourth at Phoenix.  More ...

Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid finishes 3rd  Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) today offered its congratulations to Porsche AG following a successful race for the 911 GT3 R Hybrid which uses WHP’s magnetically-loaded composite flywheel technology. Although the car completed a full race distance in the opening round of the championship, today’s result marks the first occasion when the system has been operated at its full performance potential.

The 911 GT3 R Hybrid, driven by Joerg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler finished in 3rd place. Having completed 28 laps of the 20.8km track in the 4hr endurance race, the hybrid program had reached a major milestone in its development program, following a week of intensive testing on the demanding Nordschleife circuit. At the conclusion of the race Bergmeister said, “The hybrid system clearly helped us to save fuel. Moreover, it’s a great feeling to have those extra 120kW from the electric motors when you accelerate out of the corners.” More ...

Stoner wins pole in Qatar  
For the second consecutive year Casey Stoner will start the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in pole position, as he attempts to win the race for the fourth season running.  Casey Stoner’s strength at the Losail International Circuit was evident once again in qualifying practice on Saturday evening, as the Ducati Marlboro rider posted a best lap of 1’55.007 to place himself in pole position for the start of Sunday’s season-opening race.

Having won the floodlit race from pole position last season the Australian beat his qualifying time from 2009 by over two-tenths of a second, as he followed up his display as the fastest rider in free practice this weekend. More ...

Audi R15 plus on front row on its début  
Audi R15
The 2010-spec Audi R15 TDI (internally labeled "R15 plus") will tackle its début race from the front row of the grid. Dindo Capello recorded the second fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying for the 8-hour race at Le Castellet (France).

37 days after the roll-out of the R15 plus, the test race at Le Castellet marks the next phase in the development program of the diesel-powered sports race car. After aerodynamic tests at Homestead (Florida), a multi-day endurance test at Sebring (Florida) and tire tests at Monza (Italy) Audi Sport Team Joest uses the season opener of the Le Mans Series at Le Castellet to begin the detailed race-setup work on the updated LMP1 car. More ...
Vernay wins Indy Lights pole  Frenchman J.K. Vernay, driving the No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, earned the pole position for the 40-lap Firestone Indy Lights Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 11. Charlie Kimball will start on the front row for the first time in his Firestone Indy Lights career.

This is J.K. Vernay's first pole in Firestone Indy Lights. His previous best qualifying was second at St. Petersburg last week.

Charlie Kimball qualified on the front row for the first time in his Firestone Indy Lights career. His previous best qualifying effort was fifth at Watkins Glen and Homestead in 2009.

For Martin Plowman third is his career-best qualifying effort. His previous best qualifying was fifth at St. Petersburg last week and Indianapolis in 2009. More ...

Qualifying could decide winner on Sunday  Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama may very well be decided Saturday.  With passing on the 2.38-mile road course at Barber Motorsports Park expected to be at a premium, how well a driver qualifies Saturday may well decide the race.

“Qualifying is really important,” said Penske driver Will Power, winner of the first two races of the season and the fastest driver in both practice sessions on Friday.

“You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the pack if you have a fast car,” Power said.

Andretti Autosport driver Tony Kanaan, who was second fastest during practice, said qualifying will be “50 percent of the race,” but that’s not entirely because of the difficult nature of the track.

The closeness of the competition this season is just as significant.

“When you’re running a second apart on a 14-corner track, a second is nothing,” Kanaan said.

Indeed, lap times from Power’s 1 minute, 11.1857 seconds to Alex Lloyd’s 13th-fastest time were separated by about a second on Friday. More ...

IRL treads on NASCAR's southern roots  The lack of Dale Jr. caps on every other head, the high-pitched whine of the engines ... it was clear there was a new neighbor in NASCAR country.

Barber Motorsports Park officially hit the big time on Thursday as IndyCar kicked off its racing weekend, adding a second major series to the Interstate 20 corridor with the 40-plus-year-old Talladega Superspeedway of stockcar fame.

Despite their differences, IRL CEO Randy Bernard said at the heart of the two motorsports, their objectives aren’t that far apart.

“We’re entertainment,” he said. “I say there’s three parts to IndyCar: entertainment, competition and technology, and it’s our job to make sure we’re delivering the message out there. More ...

Indy CEO calls Barber spectacular  First-time visitor Randy Bernard was impressed with Barber Motorsports Park, taking in the tree-lined hills and picturesque surroundings Friday.  That's good news for track officials because Bernard is the new CEO of Indy Racing League.

"I've never seen a course this beautiful," said Bernard, who took over on March 1. "When they call it the Augusta of motorsports, I can see why. This is spectacular."

The track is tucked into a rural area on the fringes of Birmingham.

He also doesn't mind the location about 20 minutes from Talladega Superspeedway in an area known more for NASCAR than IndyCar. It provides an opportunity to expose new fans to open-wheel racing. More ...

Power continues to dominate  Will Power, who has dominated the early portion of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season with his two races victories and a pole start, topped the combined practice (two sessions) time sheet as teams began preparations for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union.

The Australian recorded a best lap of 1 minute, 11.1856 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park circuit. Tony Kanaan, who has started sixth and second the first two races in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car for Andretti Autosport, was second (1:11.3011).

Power's teammate, Helio Castroneves, was third (1:11.3697) and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (1:11.4243) was fourth. Another Andretti Autosport driver, Marco Andretti, was fifth quick (1:11.5446).

IZOD IndyCar Series Session:
Practice 2
April 9, 2010

Pos Car Driver Fast Time Speed BLead BPrev FLap Tlap
1 12 Power, Will 01:11.1857 116.315 --.---© --.---© 14 27
2 11 Kanaan, Tony 01:11.3012 116.127 0.1155 0.1155 22 25
3 3 Castroneves, Helio 01:11.3698 116.015 0.1841 0.0686 21 24
4 9 Dixon, Scott 01:11.4243 115.927 0.2386 0.0545 14 23
5 26 Andretti, Marco 01:11.5446 115.732 0.3589 0.1203 19 20
6 5 Sato, Takuma (R) 01:11.5818 115.672 0.3961 0.0372 25 26
7 6 Briscoe, Ryan 01:11.6081 115.629 0.4224 0.0263 16 23
8 06 Mutoh, Hideki 01:11.6658 115.536 0.4801 0.0577 24 26
9 24 Conway, Mike 01:11.7170 115.454 0.5313 0.0512 12 23
10 10 Franchitti, Dario 01:11.7740 115.362 0.5883 0.0570 15 25
11 37 Hunter-Reay, Ryan 01:11.8235 115.283 0.6378 0.0495 22 26
12 22 Wilson, Justin 01:11.9248 115.120 0.7391 0.1013 8 22
13 19 Lloyd, Alex (R) 01:12.1157 114.815 0.9300 0.1909 18 26
14 77 Tagliani, Alex 01:12.1313 114.791 0.9456 0.0156 22 24
15 78 de Silvestro, Simona (R) 01:12.1516 114.758 0.9659 0.0203 20 23
16 2 Matos, Raphael 01:12.1585 114.747 0.9728 0.0069 22 27
17 4 Wheldon, Dan 01:12.3549 114.436 1.1692 0.1964 23 28
18 67 Rahal, Graham 01:12.4357 114.308 1.2500 0.0808 14 25
19 7 Patrick, Danica 01:12.4721 114.251 1.2864 0.0364 21 23
20 32 Moraes, Mario 01:12.5085 114.194 1.3228 0.0364 20 25
21 8 Viso, EJ 01:12.5426 114.140 1.3569 0.0341 18 23
22 14 Meira, Vitor 01:12.6025 114.046 1.4168 0.0599 7 26
23 34 Romancini, Mario (R) 01:12.6652 113.947 1.4795 0.0627 23 24

Niall Quinn comes out of nowhere to lead Lights Practice 2  Niall Quinn made quite an impression during Firestone Indy Lights practice at Barber Motorsports Park.

It was the first extended competitive track time in the No. 37 Palm Beach Indy Racing car for the native of Dunboyne, Ireland (he tested with the team at Putnam Park in March). Quinn topped the time chart with a quick lap (the last of his 25) of 1 minute, 16.8500 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn course in preparation for the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 11.

“It feels pretty good,” said Quinn, who was the champion of the 2008 Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy and competed in British and German Formula 3. “It was pretty difficult, but I got comfortable on old tires and we tried new tires to simulate a qualifying run and I’m pretty happy. P1 is a good place to be and I want to stay there now.

“It was a surprise (to be on pace right away). I’ve race against a lot of these guys in junior formulas and I knew how competitive it would be. The team did a great job. We’re low on staff this weekend, but to do this shows how good they are.”

Charlie Kimball, driving the No. 26 Levemir Flexpen car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, was second on the combined practice sheet (two sessions) with a quick lap of 1:17.0378 in the morning practice.

"We were quickest this morning, and this afternoon we had a problem with track grip a bit," he said. "We ended up P4 in this session, though I know some of the other guys changed to new tires. As hot as it is and the way the track takes the grip out of the tires, that's a big advantage. The No. 26 Levemir FlexPlen car has been solid all day, and I think that'll make the difference when it comes to race time on Sunday."

James Hinchcliffe, the pole sitter at St. Petersburg two weeks ago, was third overall (1:17.0415) in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car. Qualifications are at 9:15 a.m. (ET) April 10.

“The track is actually a little bit difficult right now,” Hinchcliffe said. “It is a lot hotter here than when we tested back in February and since Grand Am hadn’t been running then.  It took us a little bit of time to lay down some Firestone rubber, but we are getting there and the track is coming to us. Second is obviously not a bad place to be in and the guy who was at the top ended up putting on new tires at the end. It’s a small victory and I think we have a great car for qualifying.”

Martin Plowman in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport was fourth quick (1:17.2388) and Sebastian Saavedra was fifth (1:17.2425) in the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta entry.

Firestone Indy Lights Series
Session: Practice 2 April 9, 2010

Pos Car Driver Fastest Time Speed BLead BPrev Blap Tlaps
1 37 Quinn, Niall (R) 01:16.8500 107.742 --.---© --.---© 25 25
2 2 Hinchcliffe, James 01:17.6110 106.686 0.7610 0.7610 10 21
3 29 Saavedra, Sebastian 01:17.6473 106.636 0.7973 0.0363 4 20
4 26 Kimball, Charlie 01:17.7298 106.523 0.8798 0.0825 4 22
5 27 Plowman, Martin 01:17.9231 106.259 1.0731 0.1933 12 24
6 7 Vernay, JK (R) 01:18.0720 106.056 1.2220 0.1489 6 20
7 28 Wilson, Stefan (R) 01:18.2527 105.811 1.4027 0.1807 11 22
8 40 Clarke, Dan (R) 01:18.2538 105.810 1.4038 0.0011 12 18
9 6 Strous, Junior 01:18.3826 105.636 1.5326 0.1288 12 24
10 35 LeDuc, Nic (R) 01:18.4957 105.483 1.6457 0.1131 23 25
11 10 Yacaman, Gustavo 01:18.6389 105.291 1.7889 0.1432 8 24
12 11 Mann, Pippa 01:18.7856 105.095 1.9356 0.1467 16 25
13 22 Campos Jr, Adrian (R) 01:18.9077 104.933 2.0577 0.1221 22 22
14 49 Major, Philip (R) 01:18.9852 104.830 2.1352 0.0775 7 22
15 77 Winslow, James (R) 01:18.9881 104.826 2.1381 0.0029 10 21
16 18 Barbosa, Rodrigo 01:19.5262 104.117 2.6762 0.5381 11 23
17 4 Jorda, Carmen (R) 01:20.5932 102.738 3.7432 1.0670 10 16
Alabama GP: Friday Notebook  Barber Motorsports Park is the largest philanthropic project in the history of the State of Alabama, with more than $54 Million of private funds contributed. The track is 2.38 miles long, 40 feet wide, with 16 turns and 80 feet of elevation change.

Viewing on TV or even driving the track on a simulator does not give an accurate feeling of the elevation change here. It is an immaculate facility nestled in rolling hills o manicured grounds, on a 740 acre parcel.

Vitor Meira, who made his series debut in 2002 at Kentucky Speedway (finished 15th), will make his 100th start this weekend in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Legacy Credit Union. Meira has 29 top-five and 58 top-10 finishes - including being the runner-up in eight races - with four teams. He jumped 13 positions to finish third in the season opener in Brazil on March 14 and led 12 laps at St. Petersburg on March 29 (his first laps led since Kentucky in '08) before finishing 15th.

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing): "A hundred starts is proof that I've been doing a good job because I never had to pay to drive, so I always had to prove that I could do the job that people were expecting," said Meira, who is in his second season driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. "I think that (100 starts) is one way to prove that and to feel good about it. There is a lot to be done still. I have not done nearly everything that I want to do so I'm still pushing with the same will I had at my first race." More ...

Mary Parks dies  Funeral services for Mary Mant Parks will be held on April 17, 2010 at 11 a.m., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, 2150 Bonita Canyon Drive, Newport Beach, California.  The building is located between the 73 freeway and MacArthur Boulevard.  For more information contact David Parks at 714-309-2001 or Richard Parks at 714-963-3557.

Mary was born January 6, 1917 and married Wally Parks in 1935.  She lived through the Great Depression, World War II and the recovery that followed.  Dad was a founding member of the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), becoming the president of the group in 1946.  He became the first professional editor of Hot Rod magazine and later founded the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).  They had two sons, Richard and David, five grandchildren, Scott, David, Michael, Mari and Tamara, four great-grandchildren, Allison, Jenny, Brock and Trevor, two daughter-in-laws, Epi and Barbara, three grand-daughter-in-laws, Michelle, Tara and Stacy, and one grand-son-in-law, Matt.  Mary Parks knew many of the old racers who were instrumental in creating both American land speed racing and drag racing.  She passed away on April 3, 2010 at the age of 93.

Casey Stoner tops opening MotoGP practice  The first hour of free practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar took place at the Losail Circuit this evening as the 2010 MotoGP roared into life.  Casey Stoner was 1/2 seconds faster than the rest on his Ducati.  Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were 2nd and 3rd for Yamaha.


Rider Time Nat Bike Team
1 Casey Stoner 1m 55.500 AUS DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1m 56.026 SPA YAMAHA Fiat Yamaha Team
3 Valentino Rossi 1m 56.028 ITA YAMAHA Fiat Yamaha Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 1m 56.698 ITA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Nicky Hayden 1m 56.793 USA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
6 Ben Spies 1m 56.818 USA YAMAHA Tech 3 Yamaha
7 Alvaro Bautista 1m 56.998 SPA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
8 Randy De Puniet 1m 57.031 FRA HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Mika Kallio 1m 57.059 FIN DUCATI Pramac Racing
10 Hector Barbera 1m 57.105 SPA DUCATI Paginas Amarillas Aspar
11 Dani Pedrosa 1m 57.133 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
12 Colin Edwards 1m 57.167 USA YAMAHA Tech 3 Yamaha
13 Loris Capirossi 1m 57.363 ITA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
14 Marco Simoncelli 1m 57.535 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
15 Aleix Espargaro 1m 57.605 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
16 Marco Melandri 1m 58.035 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
17 Hiroshi Aoyama 1m 58.082 JAP HONDA Interwetten Honda MotoGP

Alabama GP: Power leads Penske 1-2 in opening IndyCar practice  Will Power, who seems to have had an advantage throughout the early IZOD IndyCar Series season with his two races victories and a pole start, topped the combined practice (two sessions) time sheet for Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union with a best lap of 1 minute, 11.1856 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.

“The Verizon Wireless car definitely felt better during the second practice session," he said. "I think the fact that everyone was running around the track was better, because after the first practice session we were running on Grand Am rubble and it wasn’t real compatible. This was a good start to the weekend, but I am really aware that qualifying means everything around here.

"This track is very physical and demanding. To me, it’s really a driver's track because there is a lot of commitment and technicality involved. The blind corners leading into fast entries require commitment if you want to be quick." More ...

Barber: Kimball leads opening Lights practice  Team PBIR rookie Niall Quinn made a strong first impression by topping the combined practice sessions in Firestone Indy Lights. The Irishman, who recorded a lap of 1:16.8500 in the afternoon session, was followed by series veterans Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe. More ...
track news
Birmingham-area developers woo prospects at Barber Motorsports Park  Economic developers hope an open-wheel race car will help steer in Birmingham's next industrial recruitment prize.

The Birmingham Business Alliance is using the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama to woo more than two dozen prospects, corporate decision makers and site consultants during this weekend's races and at a swanky reception and dinner on Saturday night.

Birmingham has exclusive rights to the Indy Racing League event in the Deep South for the next three years, starting with Sunday's inaugural race. That means economic developers in Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte and Jacksonville won't have the same opportunity to court prospects.

"Any time you host in-bound prospects or consultants for these types of events, you're always looking for something different or a hook to get them to visit your community," said Patrick Murphy, head of economic development for the BBA. More ...

DB Schenker "Official Freight Logistics Sponsor" for IZOD IndyCar  The Indy Racing League recently announced an extension of its partnership with DB Schenker. As one of the world’s leading logistics providers, with operations in approximately 2,000 locations and 130 countries, DB Schenker is now the “Official Freight Logistics Sponsor” of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

DB Schenker and the IZOD IndyCar Series began working together in 2009 and have agreed to extend the partnership for the next three years. DB Schenker will coordinate logistics of transportation for the series’ four Honda Accord safety cars at events primarily across the United States and Canada in a specially-designed and branded transporter via DB Schenker’s USA operation based in Freeport, N.Y., and the DB SCHENKERsportsevents team. More ...
Danica gives GoDaddy most TV coverage value  In Danica Patrick's first three NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, where she finished 35th, 31st and 36th, her sponsor GoDaddy.com stood #1 among all primary team sponsors with 1 hour, 57 minutes, 51 seconds of TV time, 15 mentions and a Recognition Grade value of $1,340,880. Justin Allgaier (with finishes of 4th, 9th and 7th) and his Verizon entry ranked second with $561,600. Joyce Julius
Sprint updates All-Star race votes  Sprint announced the top vote recipients for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Fan Vote, which allows fans to place a driver into the field of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. As of April 5, the top 10 drivers in the Sprint All-Star Fan Vote standings (in alphabetical order) are #43-A.J. Allmendinger, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #16-Greg Biffle, #33-Clint Bowyer, #31-Jeff Burton, #21-Bill Elliott, #99-Carl Edwards, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #55-Michael Waltrip. Voting continues until one hour before the start of the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday, May 22. Fans can cast votes for their favorite eligible drivers using the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application, by visiting NASCAR.com or at the Sprint Experience, located in the midway at every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The driver accumulating the most votes, who also finishes the Sprint Showdown qualifying race, will earn a spot in the prestigious All-Star field. In addition to voting, fans can also use the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application to view the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in its entirety on Sprint devices. To download the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, which is free with any data plan, Sprint customers should text "NASCAR" to 7777. Votes may also be cast on Sprint devices by texting "VOTE" to 7777 (Standard text messaging and data rates apply.). Sprint PR
track news
ISC profit up  Net income edged slightly higher in the first quarter at International Speedway Corp., but results came sharply below Wall Street expectations as admissions revenue fell. Profit was $25.4 million, or 53 cents per share, in the three months ended Feb. 28, up 1 percent from $25.1 million, or 52 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. However, excluding unusual items, earnings were 45 cents per share, down from 56 cents. Analysts, who typically exclude one-time items from their estimates, were looking for 53 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue also fell short. While company boasted a capacity crowd at its marquee event, NASCAR's Daytona 500, overall revenue for the quarter slipped 8 percent to $152 million from $166.1 million, as admissions revenue fell about 19 percent. Analysts expected revenue of $161.7 million. AP
Sauber's new Technical Director knows what needs to be done  
James Key
"I'm looking forward to the first race with the team," said Sauber's new Technical Director James Key.  "I arrived in Hinwil after the Easter weekend and met a lot of people. I got a very good impression of what's going on. There is obviously work to be done, but the spirit within the team and the motivation are very high."

Key joined Jordan Grand Prix in 1998 spending several years as a Data Engineer, then became Race Engineer for Takuma Sato. Following a year in the Wind Tunnel he transferred to the Vehicle Dynamics department, eventually becoming the department head during the team's final few seasons as Jordan Grand Prix. Shortly after the team's ownership transferred to MF1 Racing he became Technical Director during the 2005 following a brief period as Technical Coordinator. He was one of the youngest Technical Directors of a Formula One team, at the age of 33 years, along with Sam Michael (born in 1971) who became the technical director of the Williams F1 team at the age of 33 during the 2004 season.

Key retained his position during the team's transition through Spyker F1 to Force India F1, but decided to leave his position prior to the 2010 season. He joined the Sauber team to replace outgoing Technical Director Willy Rampf in April.

"What is now beginning to emerge is the direction we need to go in. Everyone is pushing very hard, and we are making plans at the moment on the direction we should go in the future to keep developing. I haven't been to the track this year, so it's going to be interesting to see how things are run, learn a bit about the tires and talk to the drivers. It will be the first time I see the C29, so it will be good to have a close look at it along with Willy Rampf and go through it in detail.

"As far as the circuit is concerned, it's a fairly similar downforce level to what we have experienced on the past three circuits. It's another purpose built track with some interesting features. There's a very long straight, therefore downforce is a compromise. It's a fairly high grip track, which might mean taking a little bit of wing off. Braking stability and traction are very important, and you have those two snail like corners which are tricky for the drivers. We have to see how the cars and the tires deal with it. We hope for the best and will try to get some points."

Kia Motors Posts 41% Increase in March Global Sales  Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for March 2010, recording a total of 177,351 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 41.0%. In March, Kia posted impressive double digit year-on-year sales increases in all sales regions: 98.0% in China (28,792 units sold), 55.7% in general markets (35,114 units sold), 33.4% in Europe (40,471 units sold), 26.5% in Korea (38,015 units sold) and 23.6% in North America (34,959 units sold).
track news
Spa to re-open next week after tunnel collapse  (GMM)  Spa-Francorchamps will re-open at the end of next week, after an access tunnel beneath the Belgian GP venue collapsed in late March.

The circuit was closed after the collapse - which occurred near the famous Blanchimont corner - so that reported damage to the run-off area, guard rails and cracks in the track surface could be repaired.

The Belgian newspaper De Morgen reports that Spa is still closed, but will re-open after repair works are completed by next Thursday.

Races at the circuit, scheduled to host the 2010 Belgian grand prix at the end of August, will then be held next weekend.

Alonso not worried about running out of engines  
Fernando Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has played down reports he is already nearly halfway through his allocation of engines for the 2010 season.

FIA rules state that each driver may use just eight engines throughout the entire 19-race calendar, with ten-place grid penalties applying once the allocation is exhausted.

Spaniard Alonso had his first V8 changed due to overtaking after Bahrain qualifying, suffered no problems in Melbourne but then a sudden failure in Malaysia. More ...

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