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DATE News (chronologically)
04/09/15
track news

Panasonic Provides Video Boards For IMS
Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans will now be able to experience the high-intensity, heart-pounding excitement of events up close and personal, courtesy of 20 newly installed networked high-definition (HD) LED video display boards from Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, an industry leader in engineering and technology solutions and the newest official partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series.

For thousands watching from the stands and infield of the legendary racetrack, the high-end digital displays will deliver unparalleled clarity and resolution, bringing fans even closer to the action.

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04/09/15
nassprint

NASCAR again announces changes to Sprint All-Star Race format
The 2015 Sprint All-Star Race will feature 20 more laps than last year's event and for the first time include all former all-star race winners and Sprint Cup Series champions who are full-time active drivers -- not just those from the past 10 years.

NASCAR announced the changes on Wednesday morning.

"These updates were made to ensure that our fans have every opportunity to see the best drivers in one of our crown jewel events and give them even more on-track action," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "Expanding this field and adding laps delivers that to our fans, raising the competition level and ensuring that this race continues to be the biggest all-star event in all of sports."

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04/09/15
f1

Chinese GP: Mercedes 1-2 in Practice 1
Lewis Hamilton
As expected, Lewis Hamilton has returned Mercedes to the top of the timesheets for the first free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, the defending champion emerging more than 0.5 seconds ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and 1.1secs ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in third.

Hamilton lapped the Shanghai International Circuit, in 1min 39.033secs on a cool, but sunny start to the day.

Hamilton was more than a second clear of Malaysian Grand Prix winner Vettel in the Ferrari, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen remained a further half second adrift to leave Mercedes comfortably out front for now.

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04/09/15
f1

Robert De Niro cast as Enzo Ferrari in new film
Robert De Niro cast as Enzo Ferrari in new film  In one of Robert De Niro's early defining roles, he portrays a young Vito Corleone as a man climbing up the ranks of the New York underworld in flashbacks during The Godfather: Part II. Soon, we might see De Niro stepping into the shoes of a godfather from the Italian sports car industry in a biopic about Enzo Ferrari.

According to The Guardian, De Niro recently told an Italian newspaper that the film would go into production soon and would shoot in Italy. This project apparently holds a high priority for him, and in addition to starring, De Niro's company is co-producing. It could be a while before we see the film in theaters because the script is still being written. We're also told that Clint Eastwood might sit in the director's chair, if he likes the story.

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04/09/15
scca

Sparks Sits Atop Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Practice One Time Charts from NOLA
AVONDALE, La. – Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, was the top driver following the first official practice session of the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, and Dean Copeland, of Bowie, Maryland, completed the podium positions, in that order.

Sparks wheeled his No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Sick Sideways MX-5 to a best lap of 1:57.500 (81.804 mph) at the 13-turn, 2.67-mile permanent road course. As this is the first race event for the Mazda MX-5 Cup at the country club-style circuit, Sparks said that most of his time during the session was devoted to learning the nuances of the course.

"It's a pretty exciting track," Sparks said. "Looking at the track map, you think to yourself 'I'll have this figured out in no time.' But, once you're out there you start finding the little bumps and imperfections on the track. The apex curbing is a little different than when we tested here before the season, so that took some time to figure out.

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04/09/15
f1

Frustrated Perez braced for 2015 'pain'
Sergio Perez
(GMM)  Sergio Perez is bracing to end the 'pain' of his current situation.

The Mexican on Thursday admitted to feeling frustrated after the early phase of 2015 with the struggling Force India team.

He had to sit out most of the winter amid the delayed 2015 car, and is once again now waiting for a 'B' car to pull Force India back up to the midfield.

The VJM08B was initially scheduled for a Monaco debut, but it emerged this week that it is not due now until Austria a month later.

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04/09/15
f1

Stevens hoping to race in China
Will Stevens
(GMM)  Will Stevens is hoping 'third time's a charm' in China.

After Manor stayed in the pits in Australia, teammate Roberto Merhi got up and running in Malaysia but British rookie Stevens could not qualify or race due to technical problems.

But the 23-year-old Briton, who actually made his grand prix debut for Caterham in the 2014 finale, says the resurrected Manor team should now be ready to push him to his grid hatching in Shanghai.

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04/09/15
f1

Alonso to retire as McLaren-Honda driver
Fernando Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has admitted he will regret his move to McLaren-Honda if Ferrari wins the 2015 title.

After five years at Maranello, the Spaniard revealed on Thursday he eventually lost his "trust" in Ferrari.

Alonso is now at the back of the grid with an uncompetitive McLaren, while his successor in red, Sebastian Vettel, won the Malaysian grand prix.

So far, Alonso - like everyone wearing grey - is remaining remarkably upbeat.

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04/09/15
f1

Red Bull switches brakes for China
Ricciardo hopes a switch back to their previous brakes will help
(GMM)  As announced by Dr Helmut Marko after Malaysia, Red Bull has switched brake suppliers for the Chinese grand prix.

Sebastian Vettel always disliked the feel of the Hitco brand, so when the German fled to Ferrari over the winter, Red Bull decided to use the brakes for its 2015 car.

But in Malaysia, brakes were a major issue for Red Bull, so Marko announced that the team will revert to Brembo for China and beyond.

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04/09/15
f1

Williams working to cool 2015 car
Williams happy for cooler temps in Shanghai
(GMM)  First, the good news about Valtteri Bottas -- he is no longer worried about his bad back.

"It is not giving me any more trouble," the Finn said in Shanghai on Thursday.

"With the new seat, I am using different muscles, because the legs are positioned differently."

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04/09/15
f1

Vettel can help Rosberg's title quest
Rosberg can't be helped, Hamilton is too good for him
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg is looking on the bright side of his defeat to not one but two drivers in Malaysia.

The German has been outpaced by teammate Lewis Hamilton so far in 2015, and at Sepang both silver-clad drivers were beaten by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

But Rosberg said Vettel's form can actually "help" his quest to be 2015 champion.

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04/09/15
track news
nassprint

New permanent high-def video boards at Talladega
The fan experience at Talladega Superspeedway just got bigger and better for the upcoming GEICO 500 and Winn-Dixie 300 weekend, May 1-3. Some of the Sprint Vision Digital High-Definition Video Screens that line the frontstretch, giving those in attendance a spectacular view, have increased in size while some will be permanent structures at NASCAR's Most Competitive track.

The large video boards, which were introduced at Talladega a year ago as part of an International Speedway Corporation (ISC) initiative (multi-phase plans are to implement video boards at other ISC facilities over the next few years), will showcase pictures that will be bigger, brighter, crisper and clearer. In addition to the five screens on the frontstretch, a video screen will be placed along the Alabama Gang Superstretch.

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04/09/15
irl

INDYCAR Mandates Structural Upgrades to Manufacturers' Bodywork Components
INDYCAR announced it has mandated structural upgrades to strengthen designated Honda and Chevrolet bodywork components in advance of this weekend's inaugural race at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La. The modifications include the addition of components that will improve the overall strength of the bodywork for both manufacturer entries. The components have been redesigned by each manufacturer and approved by INDYCAR for implementation for the balance of this season.

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04/09/15
nassprint

RCR Statement on Appeal of NASCAR Penalties
"Our appeal is scheduled for Thursday, April 16. We feel confident we have a very compelling case to present to the appeals panel. We strongly believe in the intent of the rules and the integrity of our own teams while following those same rules. Out of respect for the appeal process, we will have no further comments until after the hearing."

Comment
04/09/15
irl

IndyCar Series statistics
Below, are 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series statistics, driver-by driver performance and prize money after the opening round in St. Petersburg, Florida.

STATISTICS

Lap Leaders

1 Will Power 75
2 Juan Pablo Montoya 27
3 Jack Hawksworth 5
4 Simon Pagenaud 2
5 Helio Castroneves 1

Wins

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04/09/15
irl

Chevrolet strengthening IndyCar front wings, too
A day after Honda announced it will strengthen parts of its new IndyCar Series aero kit, Chevrolet said it will do the same ahead of this weekend's race in New Orleans.

A senior Chevrolet official told The Indianapolis Star on Wednesday that the base of the vertical piece of the manufacturer's front wing will be strengthened. Six of them broke in the season-opening race March 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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04/09/15
irl
promazda

Rising Star Racing Heads to Inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana
Neil Alberico will look to continue his winning ways at NOLA
New Orleans, La. (8 April 2015) – Rising Star Racing drivers Neil Alberico and Josef Newgarden will be back in race action this weekend for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana event. Held at NOLA Motorsports Park, the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires series will stage Rounds 3 & 4 of its championship and the Verizon IndyCar Series will feature Round 2 of the championship at the 13-turn, 2.74-mile road course.

Alberico will target a return trip to the podium after having dominated the streets of St. Pete two weeks ago. Driving the No. 3 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry, he qualified on the pole and led every race lap of the weekend to take victory in Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship.

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04/09/15
irl

New livery for Ganassi cars in New Orleans
The livery for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams drivers Sage Karam's No. 8 COMFORT/REVOLUTION and Scott Dixon's No. 9 Brita Chevrolets for this weekend's Verizon IndyCar Series race at NOLA Motorsports Park.

Dixon Livery Karam Livery

Comment
04/09/15
automotive

Mercedes sales rise 16% in March to monthly record
The C-Class is selling well
Sales at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand rose 16 percent in March to 183,467, the highest-ever level recorded for any month in the automaker's history. The double-digit gain was driven by robust demand in Europe, China and the U.S. and strong sales of the C class, as well as Mercedes' compacts and SUVs.

European sales rose 16 percent to 89,041 last month, while China deliveries grew 21 percent to 30,124, Daimler said in a statement today. Deliveries in the U.S. were up 9.2 percent to 29,921.

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04/09/15
wec

Davide Rigon ready for WEC season opener
Ferrari 458 Italia in GTE class
The FIA WEC 2015 Championship is almost ready to start. For Davide Rigon and his teammate James Calado this weekend will open the doors of second GT Championship’ s season, with the 6 Hours of Silverstone.

After the official tests at Le Castellet, the driver from Veneto is ready to go back to drive his Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE-Pro # 71. Ferrari presented the new livery during the tests, they want to defend the Constructors title and the 2014 Drivers' and Team titles, both won by the team of Amato Ferrari and the partners "Gimmi" Bruni and Tony Vilander.

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04/09/15
wec

ByKOLLES RACING Ready For Silverstone Debut
ByKolles Racing No. 4
ByKolles Racing No. 4
Following the successful prologue at Paul Ricard, Austria’s first LMP team, ByKolles RACING is set to take on the world’s finest endurance teams at the FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone this weekend (10th-12th April). 

With former F1 driver Vitantonio (Tonio) Liuzzi (IT) and former GP2 driver Simon Trummer (CH) at the wheel, the CLM P1/01 will be pitted against a field of 31 other cars at the six-hour endurance race on Sunday.

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04/09/15
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Hamilton still not re-signed by Mercedes
    Hamilton admits contract saga 'a pain'
  • China could leave Ferrari cold in Merc battle
  • FIA puts fuel flow spotlight on Ferrari, Mercedes
  • Ricciardo admits 'whole package' below par
  • Renault can catch up without rule change
  • Manor gets '2015 program' underway - Booth
  • Rosberg denies need for 'number 2' role
  • Cheerful Button sees 'great future'
  • Infiniti Red Bull Racing Partners With Hisense

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04/09/15
irl

Gabby Chaves - not your average IndyCar rookie
Gabby Chaves
Gabby Chaves
Where's your father? 

When IndyCar rookie Gabby Chaves walked out of an office for an interview at Nola Motorsports Park recently, the natural reaction was to think he was the son of one of the crew members for Bryan Herta Autosport rather than the sole driver for the team. The youngster was coming to say when Chaves or his engineer would be available, right?

Nope.

Chaves, 21, looked considerably younger than his age and even sported a pimple. He is not the youngest driver on the IndyCar circuit — that honor goes to 20-year old Sage Karam, who competed in the Indianapolis 500 last year — but the thought of this cherubic-faced "kid" racing against veterans driving more than 200 miles per hour is jarring at first.

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04/09/15
v8

NZ V8 Touring Cars, V8 SuperTourers Set To Merge From '15-16 Season Onward
The V8 SuperTourers and New Zealand V8 Touring Cars will line up side by side this weekend for the first time since '12, in a race that could "foreshadow the merger of both competitions," according to Shaun Eade of STUFF. Dwindling driver numbers have "plagued both racing series over the past year," so having more than 25 cars line up on the starting grid of the United V8 Spectacular at Pukekohe Park Raceway will be a "welcome sign for Kiwi motorsport fans."

NZ V8 Touring Cars Dir Ian Booth said the races "will be the first of many where the TLX series and the SuperTourers compete together." Booth: "After this meeting onwards we are merging the groups together. From the 2015-16 season onwards, the SuperTourers and TLX groups will be together and the TLs will be what we will call a development series."

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04/09/15
irl

IndyCar: Chevy NOLA preview
Can Montoya make it two-in-row?
Can Montoya make it two-in-row?
Major league motorsports has not visited the state of Louisiana since 1995. But all of that changes this weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park (NOLA) when the Verizon IndyCar Series takes to the track for the running of the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.  All 12 of the Chevrolet IndyCar V6-powered drivers and teams have tested their Chevrolet Aero Kit IndyCar V6 2.2 liter cars at NOLA  to prepare for the challenge of a new venue – a 2.74-mile, 13-turn permanent road course.

Chevrolet opened the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season two weeks ago on the Streets of St. Petersburg with a solid debut of the Chevrolet Aero Kit.  Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya brought home the victory and was followed by a precession of Chevrolet V6 powered drivers sweeping the top sixth finishing positions and bringing home seven of the top 10 spots.

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04/09/15
nassprint

Ernie Elliott's wife charged with aggravated assault
The wife of famed NASCAR engine builder Ernie Elliott remained in custody Tuesday, nearly a week after she was arrested for reportedly trying to run him over. Magistrate Judge Tony Tarnacki set Sheila G. Elliott's bond at $10,000 during her first appearance hearing on April 1. The 63-year-old Dawsonville woman may have no contact with her husband, according to the conditions of bond. Court records show that she also is required to stay away from business property on Elliott Family Parkway, where the alleged incident occurred. A preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court is set for April 29. Dawson News

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04/09/15
tv news

Steve Byrnes hospitalized
Fox Sports' Steve Byrnes, who has been on leave from the network while battling Stage 4 head-and-neck cancer, is currently hospitalized. Byrnes tweeted Wednesday morning,"I am in ICU with pneumonia and a Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot) in my lung. Kind of a perfect storm on top of cancer. Thanks for prayers."

Comment
04/09/15
f4

Schumacher's son Mick completes first Formula Four test drive
Mick Schumacher
Michael Schumacher's manager has called for calm and realistic expectations as the seven-times Formula One world champion's son Mick stepped into the media spotlight with a Formula Four test.

"My message is to be realistic with expectations," Sabine Kehm, who is also managing the 16-year-old's first steps on the motorsport ladder, said from the Oschersleben circuit in Germany on Wednesday.

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