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DATE News (chronologically)
04/15/09
motogp

Another company signs on with Rossi's team
Japanese manufacturer Exedy Corporation has signed a one-year deal with the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP team, which will see it become an official sponsor of the bikes of riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

The company will supply all clutches and related parts for the bikes for the 2009 season, which began this weekend and saw Rossi finish second to his rival Casey Stoner.

As well as its motorsport commitments, Exedy manufactures engine parts for passenger cars, heavy-duty trucks, agricultural tractors and industrial vehicles.

"Exedy Corporation will begin a night and day effort to win the MotoGP World Championship in cooperation with Yamaha Motor Co," said a statement from the company, which will provide US$200,000 in technical support.

Comment
04/15/09
irl

idegy Becomes Official Partner of Team 3G
Team 3G will look good throughout this year’s IndyCar Series season, sporting newly branded merchandise at the track which will feature a range of products from their newest partner, idegy.  The team gear showcases the latest designs of men's corporate apparel, as well as Team 3G branded articles such as hats, backpacks and travel gear. The team merchandise will also feature logos of team marketing partners such as Curb Records, Interush, and Honda.

"Racing teams and sponsors are seeking product offerings that are unique, strategic, and cost-effective" said Matthew Grossman, President and CEO of idegy. "We have over 15 years of experience in delivering the highest quality merchandise to Fortune 500 Companies. And, based on our success in other forms of motorsport, we felt that the time was right to build our brand in the IndyCar Series, and I’m confident Team 3G will be a great partner.”

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04/15/09
automotive

Oklahoma investor group makes offer for Saturn
A group of investors today says it has offered to acquire General Motors Corp.'s struggling Saturn brand, which is slated to be eliminated as part of the automaker's restructuring plan unless a suitor is found.

The group, which includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC, based in Oklahoma City, and several Saturn dealers, have approached GM to acquire the assets of Saturn Distribution Corp. Terms of the offer, which was submitted last week, were not released today. The group would initially provide vehicles from GM and eventually offer small, fuel-efficient vehicles from several manufacturers -- most of which would be sold under the Saturn brand.

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04/15/09
a1gp

A1GP Team Ireland Boss on Paying the penalty
A1 Team Ireland boss Mark Gallagher believes the 25-second penalty it was awarded after the Feature race on Sunday could prove pivotal in this season’s championship chase.  Ireland lost the lead of the championship in the stewards’ room on Sunday night, when it was awarded a 25-second penalty for passing the Australian car of John Martin under safety car conditions at the second restart of the race.

The infringement, which ultimately dropped them three places in the race from second to fifth, took the edge of what had been one of the best performances of Carroll’s A1GP career, fighting back from 15th after a jump-start penalty to score a medal finish.

It meant Ireland only scored seven points for the race rather than 13, and the championship battle has tightened up immensely.

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04/15/09
starmazda

Star Mazda Announces "Title Sponsor" Program
The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, in collaboration with Pizza Ranch and Iowa Speedway, today announced that the inaugural Pizza Ranch 100 at Iowa Speedway on July 10 will be the first event in the series' new "Title Sponsor" initiative that presents companies located in or near race venues on the 2009 schedule with a unique, cost-effective promotional opportunity -- to become the high-profile title sponsor of a Star Mazda Championship race.

The Star Mazda Championship Title Sponsor program, available for each of the remaining 9 weekends (11 races) on the 2009 Star Mazda Championship schedule, maximizes return on investment for companies involved in the program.  Elements include naming rights to the event, company decals on all the cars in the race, a pre-race public relations program, in-store and/or promotional event appearances by Star Mazda drivers and cars, VIP tours of the Star Mazda paddock for company executives/employees/ vendors/suppliers -- and a variety of other benefits.

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04/15/09
alms

GT1 Corvette about to end an era
GT1 Corvette
Corvette Racing will mark the end of an era Saturday in Long Beach, Calif., with the final U.S. appearance by the Corvette C6.Rs in the GT1 category of the American Le Mans Series.

The series will give a send-off to the GT1 Corvettes in a special post-qualifying ceremony in the Long Beach winner’s circle showcasing the championship-winning C6.R race cars and the production GT1 championship edition Corvette they inspired.

Later this season, the most successful sports car team in ALMS history will begin its transition to a new global GT class based on current GT2 regulations as GT1 is dropped.

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04/15/09
irl

Ganassi's Mike Hull discusses return to Long Beach

Q. What are your thoughts on Target Chip Ganassi Racing returning to Long Beach in a unified series?

MIKE HULL Long Beach is a major Southern California sports-branded equity event – the fan loyalty for motor racing started in 1975, and has grown from F5000 which had American and International drivers, F1 with the same, CART, Champ Car, and now the Indy Racing League. 

Long Beach has represented major motor racing to the world, and Indy Car can provide the California fan base with the same excitement as Redman, Hunt, Zanardi, Vasser, or Bourdais have done with the natural transition.

Q. Drivers like Al Unser Jr. (6) Mario Andretti (4), Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais (3) all won here multiple times…what did those guys have figured out?

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04/15/09
irl

Dollar General offers Indy 500 sweepstakes
Dollar General is celebrating its sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing in the Indianapolis 500 by offering customers a chance to win a trip to the race and meet driver/ team co-owner Sarah Fisher. The discount retailer is partnering with AMP and Frito Lay to bring customers the "Ticket to the Indy 500" sweepstakes from April 11-May 19.

“Ticket to the Indy 500" sweepstakes will award 10 grand prize packages that each include two tickets to the race on May 24 and a meeting with Fisher prior to the race. Also, one $100 Dollar General gift card will be awarded each day during the sweepstakes period.

To enter the sweepstakes, customers 18 years of age or older living in Dollar General\'s 35-state market area can purchase any AMP or Frito-Lay product at a Dollar General store, then visit www.dollargeneral.com to enter the required information from the cash register receipt. The sweepstakes will be in all 8,400 Dollar General stores.

"To have Dollar General in conjunction with AMP and Frito-Lay activating our IndyCar program in all 8,400 stores is huge for our small team," said Fisher, who will attempt to make her eighth start in the race. "We look forward to the opportunity of hosting Dollar General customers at the largest sporting event in the world."

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04/15/09
fil

Kimball partners with Novo Nordisk
Firestone Indy Lights driver Charlie Kimball has formed a partnership with Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, with the goal of showing that with proper management, diabetes does not have to be a roadblock.

"When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a year and a half ago, I knew I could not allow the disease to get in the way of me chasing my dream of being a race car driver," said Kimball, who uses Levemir, an insulin produced by Novo Nordisk to help manage his diabetes. "My goal is to win the Firestone Indy Lights title. With the combination of insulin and delivery devices, such as the Levemir FlexPen, I have learned that daily diabetes management and glucose control can be easily and successfully integrated into my busy life both on and off the track."

Kimball, who is the only American open-wheeled racing driver to talk publicly about his diabetes, has a history of breaking the mold. He made international history with a podium finish in the Formula 3 Euro Series in his first race after he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007.

"Charlie is a role model for anyone who feels inhibited by diabetes as he continues to accomplish remarkable achievements with the disease," said Camille Lee, vice president of diabetes brand marketing, at Novo Nordisk. "He proves that with today\'s treatment options, diabetes can be managed even in the most challenging circumstances."

Kimball has committed to working closely with his doctor, utilizing a regimen which includes  Levemir FlexPen, an up to 24-hour long-acting basal insulin administered in a prefilled pen; and NovoLog, a rapid-acting insulin that can be taken 5-10 minutes before a meal, to help manage his blood glucose levels.

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04/15/09
racing news

TW Steel Announces James Hinchcliffe
TW Steel, the Dutch watch brand specializing in oversized watches, is pleased to announce Canadian Indy Lights Series race car driver, James Hinchcliffe, as its latest Brand Ambassador.

The 22-year-old from Toronto will subsequently sport TW Steel branding during his rookie campaign in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights Series – in support of the IndyCar Series competing throughout North America, including a stop in his home town in July with the ‘Honda Grand Prix of Toronto’ and later that month at the ‘Rexall Edmonton Indy’, again in his native Canada.

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04/15/09
nnw

Montreal race keeps NAPA backing
Stock-Car Montreal is happy to announce that it has renewed its partnership with NAPA Auto Parts, a subsidiary of UAP Inc. The three-year deal, which runs from 2009 to 2011, secures NAPA Auto Parts the sponsorship title of the Montreal NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The partnership is the cornerstone of the featured 200-mile Nationwide Series race held each year on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve located in Parc Jean-Drapeau. This year’s Nationwide Series race weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 29-30, 2009, and will be run on an off weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers.

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04/15/09
nnw

Carpentier to drive for NAPA in Montreal
Patrick Carpentier with his NAPA car
NAPA Auto Parts is proud to announce that Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier will be a competitor in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 as the NASCAR Nationwide Series crosses the border for the third year in a row to compete at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Parc Jean Drapeau, August 30th. Patrick Carpentier and NAPA Auto Parts entered into an agreement allowing the Canadian driver to be at the wheel of the No. 99 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing.

The good news continues – Today, NAPA Auto Parts and Stock-Car Montreal announced that they have extended their agreement, making NAPA Auto Parts the primary sponsor for the event over the next three years until 2011.

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04/15/09
roc

Race of Champions moves to Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' Stadium
The Race of Champions - the ultimate end-of-season motorsport battle – will become the first major international sports event to be staged at China’s national stadium since the 2008 Summer Olympics when it takes place on November 3-4, 2009. The “Bird’s Nest” stadium will host the event, which moves from Wembley after a two-year run at England’s national stadium and three years at the Stade de France in Paris. The 2009 event, which will start just two days after the Formula 1 season reaches its climax in Abu Dhabi, will move from a weekend to a midweek event for the first time. The event will be staged over two days, with the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday, November 3 and The Race of Champions on Wednesday, November 4, to offer spectators a more extensive exhibitions line-up, plus the possibility of more competitors and teams than ever before.

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04/15/09
irl

Judge rejects mistrial in Castroneves case UPDATE Embattled IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves will have to wait at least one more day to learn the outcome of his federal tax-evasion trial, as jurors at the U.S. District Court in Miami went home for the day Wednesday--their fourth day of deliberations--without reaching a verdict.

04/15/09 A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a defense move for a mistrial in the tax evasion case of Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves, whose fate is being decided by a jury in Miami.

Castroneves, charged with failing to pay taxes on $5.5 million earned between 1999 and 2004, is awaiting the jury's verdict after a six-week trial. Defense lawyers for Castroneves moved for the mistrial late Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Donald Graham clarified his jury instructions on key legal issues. On Wednesday, the judge addressed the defense's concerns by making further changes to his instructions.

The changes dealt with the relationship between Castroneves and Penske Racing, which signed a contract with the Brazilian race car star in late 1999. But his licensing deal was actually between a Panamanian tax shelter and Penske, which is at the heart of the government's conspiracy case against Castroneves, his sister and his lawyer. Other changes dealt with the term ''binding agreement,'' with the judge instructing the jury that it may be ``written or oral.''

Graham recognized that the 12-member jury, now in its fourth day of deliberations, was struggling with the case's complex legal issues. He expressed frustration with Castroneves' lawyers as they pushed for more changes in the jury instructions on Wednesday.

''We're complicating matters because we keep raising new terms that require definitions,'' Graham said.

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04/15/09
f1

FIA ruling sends Newey back to factory
(GMM)  Red Bull designer Adrian Newey cancelled his flight to Shanghai following the FIA's confirmation that 'double diffusers' are fully legal, according to reports.

The Daily Telegraph said Red Bull's chief technical officer has instead opted to remain at the Milton-Keynes factory to push ahead with a version of his own Brawn, Williams and Toyota-style rear aerodynamic solution.

It is believed that the energy drink-owned team could be ready to debut the new diffuser in Monaco late next month, while Renault and BMW-Sauber might be ready to race similar solutions imminently.

Ferrari is said to be targeting the first European race of the season, the Spanish grand prix on May 10, for the debut of a double-diffuser.

The Daily Mail newspaper, meanwhile, said McLaren may be in a similar position to Renault and BMW in readying a rapid development to its current diffuser layout.

But Mercedes' Norbert Haug told Bild newspaper: "For Shanghai we have prepared only minor aerodynamic improvements.  Only in Barcelona will a larger step take place."

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04/15/09
irl

Patrick nears one-year anniversary of victory
One year ago, Danica Patrick traveled to Long Beach for a press conference in the United States following her first career victory hours earlier in Japan. She vaguely remembers hanging out in the interview room of the Long Beach Convention Center, groggy from celebrating during an overnight flight.  

But what made April 20, 2008, special occurred when Patrick was introduced as the winner of the IndyCar Series race at Twin Ring Motegi – becoming the first female to win a major closed-course auto race.

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04/15/09
irl

Castroneves defense moves for mistrial UPDATE Jurors in the tax evasion trial of Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves will resume a fourth day of deliberations on Wednesday in Miami federal court.

Defense lawyers for Castroneves moved for a mistrial Tuesday after a federal judge clarified his jury instructions on key legal issues during the panel's third day of deliberations.

Prompted by jurors' confusion over complex tax issues, U.S. District Judge Donald Graham provided further explanation of his original jury instruction on ''deferral of income.'' But in court papers, Castroneves' defense lawyers maintained his instruction was such a ''substantial'' change -- because it included new language about a ''binding agreement'' -- that it was grounds for a mistrial.

Graham did not rule on the defense motion for a mistrial, which came late Tuesday as jurors completed their deliberations. Miami Herald

04/14/09 The third day of jury deliberations in the Helio Castroneves' tax evasion trial ended without a verdict but not without some fireworks as the defense attorneys moved for a mistrial according to SPEEDTV.com.

Much of Tuesday's seven hours were spent with attorneys from both sides attempting to define and agree on three questions posed by the jurors about constructive receipt, deferred money and binding contracts.

U.S. district Judge Donald Graham's clarifications of jury instructions on some key legal issues forced attorneys Roy Black and David Garvin to move for a mistrial.

The defense counsel objected to trying the case by one set of instructions and then, they contend, have inconsistencies or changes with Tuesday's instructions to the 12 jurors.

After giving the government and defense counsel time to try and reach some common ground on answers to those three questions, Graham brought in the jury to try and simplify some very complex legal issues.

They were given a verbal explanation by Graham followed by a written version, which they studied until 4 o'clock when they went home for the day. Depending on the judge's ruling on the mistrial, deliberations are scheduled to resume Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. Full story at SPEEDTV.com

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04/15/09
f1

Ferrari to double efforts on diffuser design
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has taken note of the ICA’s decision to reject the appeal placed by Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro together with the ING Renault F1 Team, Red Bull Racing and the BMW Sauber F1 Team regarding the conformity of three single-seaters to the Technical Regulations.

“We are waiting to hear the reasons the ICA rejected the appeal,” said Stefano Domenicali, the Scuderia’s Team Principal.

“Unfortunately this decision forces us to intervene on fundamental areas of the car’s design in order to be able to compete on an equal footing with some of the teams from a point of view of the technical regulations, and that will take time and money. We will now double our efforts to get the team back to the highest level of competitively.”

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04/15/09
f1

We will accept the decision - Theissen
Following the hearing in Paris on Tuesday 14 April, the International Court of Appeal today confirmed that the controversial diffusers on the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars are fully compliant with the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "We will accept the decision of the International Court of Appeal. This ruling means we now have clarity regarding the application of the regulations. However, it does not achieve the reduction in downforce and cornering speed intended by the Overtaking Work Group when the new regulations were drawn up. At the same time, the decision means that seven teams will have to invest heavily in carrying out the necessary modifications to their cars."

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04/15/09
irl

Firestone IndyCar Series race preview - Long Beach
Race Distance: 163.3 mi./262.805 km (85 laps on the 1.968-mi./3.167-km temporary street circuit).

Television/Radio Broadcast: Live – Sunday, April 19, at 3:30 p.m. ET on VERSUS, IMS Radio Network, XM Radio 145 and SIRIUS Radio 211.

Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 702, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires);
Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 342, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 436, each entry has five sets available as needed.

Per IndyCar Series rules, each entry must declare to the league within one hour after qualifying on which dry-condition tire spec it intends to start the race. All cars must use at least one primary set and one new alternate set during the race, each for a minimum of two green-flag laps. Firestone Racing’s street-course tires in general feature the softest constructions and tread compounds available to assist cornering in the slow, tight turns and to enhance acceleration upon exiting the turns.  The alternate tires contain a softer tread compound which will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.

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04/15/09
f1

No quick fix to catch diffuser teams - rivals
(GMM)  Officials of the Renault and McLaren teams on Wednesday insisted there will be no quick fix now that Brawn-style rear diffusers have been deemed legal by the FIA.

With the Court of Appeal hearing now over, and seven teams all but obliged to now follow the path of the 'diffuser 3' clan, work at factories will be at fever pitch to make up for lost time.

It was rumored that Renault, one of the diffuser appellants, was ready to use some sort of new diffuser design as soon as this weekend in China.

But engineering boss Pat Symonds, referring to the Spanish grand prix next months, said: "It would be possible to have something done to our car by the first race in Europe."

To the Guardian newspaper, however, he warned that Renault's first 'double decker' diffuser version will not immediately close the gap.

"That could find us maybe three tenths of a second.  But in order to find the other two or three tenths necessary to put us on a par with the three cars carrying what I believed to be an illegal diffuser will require a substantial reworking of the rear of the car.

"Ironically, the three would have had a much easier job converting the other way," added Symonds.

Norbert Haug, boss of Mercedes' racing activities, agrees.

"What some did in nine months cannot be done by others in nine weeks," the German told Germany's SID news agency.

"Our sporting spirit tells us: 'it is time to get to work, we accept the challenge' but we are going to need some time," said Haug.

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04/15/09
f1

Anti-diffuser teams accept FIA ruling
(GMM)  The four teams who unsuccessfully objected to the legality of the 'diffuser 3' cars will not now take the matter further.

Ferrari, Renault, BMW and Red Bull took the matter all the way to the FIA's International Court of Appeal, arguing that the diffusers of the Brawn, Williams and Toyota teams contravene the 2009 rules.

The FIA court begged to differ, raising the prospect that the four unhappy teams would take the matter even further -- perhaps to the French civil courts.

But BMW's Mario Theissen said on Wednesday: "We will accept the decision of the International Court of Appeal."

The anti-diffuser teams insist the ruling has ramped up cornering speeds, contradicted the work of the Overtaking Working Group, and forced most F1 teams into expensive and significant mid-season car changes.

But, like BMW, Ferrari said it will also now simply work to rush out a version of the offending aerodynamic design.

"This decision forces us to intervene on fundamental areas of the car's design in order to be able to compete on an equal footing with some of the teams from a point of view of the technical regulations," the Italian team said.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quoted by the German press as also vowing to reluctantly "accept" the ICA ruling.

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04/15/09
irl

NHLR happy to be returning to Long Beach
McDonald’s driver Graham Rahal, 20, made history in his previous race in St. Petersburg by becoming the youngest pole winner in IndyCar Series history on April 4.  His teammate Robert Doornbos, 27, also ran well in his previous race but it was the A1GP event in Portugal last weekend (April 12), where he won the sprint race from a second place start.  Both will be hoping to carry the momentum to the streets of Long Beach for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing’s (NHLR) 26th consecutive event here. 

In their 25 previous races here, NHLR has won six races, earned 11 poles and finished on the podium a total of 14 times with Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais, who won three of the past four races here.  In contrast, eight of the 17 races on this year’s IndyCar Series schedule will mark only the second time for the team to compete at those venues.  Although experience on a specific track is always an asset, both drivers are cautiously optimistic that the team’s 25 years of experience will come in handy on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach course.

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04/15/09
irl

Will Power on key to winning at Long Beach
Will Power sprays the Long Beach crowd with champagne in 2008
Will Power won the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the final race run Champ Car World Series sanctioning. Power also finished third at Long Beach in 2007 and the Australian native shared his secrets about putting together a competitive run on the tight and bumpy 1.9-mile, 11-turn street circuit with indycar.com:

A balanced race car

"Long Beach is a typical street circuit with lots of bumps and bottoming. It's not a huge braking track, to be honest. Most of the corners flow; they are actually longer corners than you think. It's not stop-and-go like St. Petersburg. I've always found it's quite a tough track to get a good balance on because of the variance in corners and track surfaces and you have to have a good strategy in the race. Some teams like Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing seem to have that place nailed."

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04/15/09
irl
alms

Long Beach GP Promotions off and running
Throughout downtown Long Beach, "Welcome Race Fans" banners deck restaurants. Along Broadway, bars are festooned with checkered flags. In Belmont Shore, a merchant is getting ready to ferry visitors to and from the Shore and race track.

It can only mean one thing.

From special events to race-themed menus and "express" spa facials, businesses are gearing up for the tens of thousands descending upon the city this weekend for the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The four-day event, which begins Thursday, is the first year following the Champ Car and Indy Racing League merger. This year's event will showcase stars from both series, including Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti.

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04/15/09
nassprint

Andretti will drive 34 races
John Andretti wasn't sure how many Sprint Cup races he would enter when Front Row Racing offered him a ride for the Daytona 500. Turns out he will attempt all but two of 36. Andretti plans to miss only two races, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. He’ll be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for both weekends, one for qualifying and the other for the Indianapolis 500. His replacement for those events hasn't been named. ESPN Insider

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04/15/09
nascar

NASCAR Hall of Fame gets approval for companies to produce exhibits
Charlotte City Council unanimously approved $17.7 million worth of contracts Monday night for four companies to produce exhibits for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The city owns the hall of fame under a licensing agreement with NASCAR, and all contracts must be approved by the council. The total exhibit budget is $31 million. Kubik Maltbie will be the primary fabricator and installer of all exhibits. Its contract, including $1 million in contingency fees, is $9,991,527. Kubik Maltbie’s original asking price was just over $11 million before negotiations with the city. The firm’s past work includes projects at the Smithsonian Institution and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Electrosonic Inc. will do all of the audio-visual components and provide an on-site technician for one year for $6,652,859, including contingency fees of $500,000. Electrosonic’s original bid was about $6 million but did not include $1 million for a video screen and sound on the building’s exterior. Electrosonic, which has collaborated with Kubik Maltbie on numerous projects, has a long list of clients, including The Weather Channel sets, the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center and the World of Coca-Cola. Two much smaller contracts also were approved. Scene Daily

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04/15/09
f1

Diffusers legal says FIA appeal court
(GMM)  As was widely predicted, the FIA's International Court of Appeal on Wednesday said it decided to "deny the appeals" against controversial rear diffusers.

In a statement, and following an eight-hour hearing on Tuesday, the Paris body said the stewards had been "correct" to rule that the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars were legal.

"Full reasons for this decision will be provided in due course," said the FIA.

Toyota Statement

Toyota Motorsport is pleased to hear the FIA International Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Australian Grand Prix stewards concerning the rear diffuser on our car.

As we have maintained throughout, our team studied the wording of the new 2009 regulations in precise detail to ensure we interpreted them correctly.

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04/15/09
nassprint

Haas Automation back on the #39
In 267 Sprint Cup starts, Newman has collected 43 pole positions and 13 wins. He returns to Phoenix this weekend with his new Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team and the #39 Haas Automation Chevy. Stewart-Haas Racing PR

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04/15/09
f1

Klien, Wurz, to miss Spanish GP
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien will probably not travel to Barcelona for the Spanish grand prix next month.

The 26-year-old Austrian has been called up on that weekend to contest the 1000km Spa-Francorchamps sports car race for Peugeot.

BMW has agreed to release Klien, but he will need to abandon his Peugeot duties and rush to the Circuit de Catalunya should either Nick Heidfeld or Robert Kubica have to sit out the F1 race.

"All necessary precautions have been taken in advance should Christian be called upon to drive the formula one grand prix in Barcelona," a statement posted on his website confirmed.

Brawn reserve driver Alex Wurz will race another Peugeot at Spa on the same weekend.

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04/15/09
f1

Debut India GP will not be night race
(GMM)  An official of the future Indian grand prix says it is possible the race could be staged at night.

But Samir Gaur, managing director of the company in charge of construction of the New Delhi track, insisted that the debut event in 2011 will be held in the Indian daylight.

"We want to see the outcome of the first race after which we will see if we can do a night race," he said in an interview with Reuters.

A floodlit race in New Delhi would ensure an afternoon viewing time, instead of a morning one, for the bulk European audience.

Gaur, in charge of the JPSK Sports company, insisted the global recession will not affect plans for India's first formula one race, despite the fact the event was originally scheduled to join the calendar next year.

"The design stage is in progress and regarding construction, the investigations of the site have also started," he said.

The track is due to be completed in April 2011.

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04/15/09
f1

FIA set to announce diffuser verdict
(GMM)  F1's governing body will on Wednesday announce the verdict of the FIA International Court of Appeal hearing in relation to the diffuser saga.

In front of nearly 40 involved lawyers, officials and team personnel, the panel of judges heard the hearing for eight hours in Paris on Tuesday.

The future unity of the FOTA alliance came under intense pressure, as the technical arguments veered into personal attacks, with Brawn, Williams and Toyota accused of fielding illegal cars by their rivals.

Ferrari QC Nigel Tozzi led the charge for the appellants, accusing the team's former long-time technical director Ross Brawn of "supreme arrogance".

Brawn returned fire, accusing Ferrari designer Rory Byrne of making arguments that were "vindictive" and amounted to a "fishing expedition".

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04/15/09
f1

Williams aims to sell KERS technology
(GMM)  Williams is not only planning to use its unique 'flywheel' approach to KERS technology in formula one.

The British team, hoping to debut the energy re-use system aboard its FW31 some time later this season, has developed its KERS after buying a hybrid power company and renaming it Williams Hybrid Power.

"We are also looking at commercial applications for that technology," said the Oxfordshire based team's chief executive Adam Parr.

He told Malaysia's Star newspaper that the new approach, after always focusing exclusively on grand prix racing, is a reaction to the global recession.

"We are trying to diversify our business a little bit," Parr explained, admitting that designing the new F2 car is part of the same strategy.

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04/15/09
irl

A lap at Long Beach with Hunter-Reay
You start the lap on what is possibly the most famous straight in American open-wheel road racing, “Shoreline Straight” on Long Beach’s famous Shoreline Dr.  The straight actually isn’t very straight at all as it bends all the way down to the braking zone for Turn 1.  This is the best passing zone on the track as we brake; we go down through the gears from 6th to 2nd.

Turn 1 is much faster than it looks and requires lots of entry speed, you have to have a ton of faith in the balance of the car as the exit is extremely narrow, and the wall seems to jump out at you upon exit.

Next up is the short run up to the famous fountain corner (turn 3), which makes for the best pictures of the cars on-track.  This is a tight technical section where you have to be very careful not to lock a right front on entry, tidiness is key here.  This isn’t a passing zone, but I’d put money on it someone will try to stick a nose under the car in front on Sunday. 

From turn 3 it’s up to 4th gear then back down to 3rd for turn 4, which is a typical, fast 90-degree right hander and requires a hit of the apex curbing to get it right.  This whole section is extremely narrow and can bring on some mistakes from the driver’s as the race goes on.

Up to turn 5, which is a tricky, off-camber, falling-away corner, and usually requires a big jump over the apex curbing blocks.  This is where you will see the cars moving around the most, it feels as if the rear of the car is never stable here and you’re always flirting with smacking that left rear to the exit wall.  Exit speed is key here as we head down the third longest straight of the track up through the gears to 5th.

Read more & Comment...
04/15/09
racing news

Crane Cams Confirms Auction Sale Proceeding as Scheduled
The sale of Crane Cams is on! Today, Crane Cams announced that it is "...committed to its scheduled auction date of April 22, and is entertaining as many interested buyers as possible." Crane Cams further stated that "Crane has no agreement to sell its assets to Scorpion Performance, nor has it received any offer of any kind from Scorpion."

LiquiTec was retained by Crane Cams to conduct a public auction of the company's assets on April 22, 2009 and is also working to sell the assets before the auction to a variety of buyers who have expressed interest in the company's very well-established high-performance valve-train and ignition components and product lines. LiquiTec is handling all negotiations in connection with the sale of the Crane Cams' assets.

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04/15/09
alms

De Ferran loves, loathes Long Beach
Gil de Ferran
Gil de Ferran describes his relationship with the Long Beach street circuit as love-hate. He loves the track from a qualifying perspective, evidenced by three pole positions there in his CART days. Final results are another matter. That’s the part of the trend he is hoping to reverse this weekend at the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, de Ferran’s first race there since 2000.

“I certainly enjoy going to tracks that I feel are a part of motorsports heritage,” said de Ferran, owner and driver of de Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-02a that he will share with Simon Pagenaud. “When you look at the history of Long Beach, there is a huge amount of history associated it, going all the way back to the 70s with the track’s Formula 1 events.

“I also make a huge separation between street circuits and road courses. Street circuits are a place where a driver can express himself the most. Out of all the disciplines I’ve done, they seem to be the place where you really can extend your wings and dig a little deeper. I always seem to find to a little more there.”

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04/14/09
automotive

Jeep Recalling More Than 47,000 Models
Chrysler is recalling over 47,000 models, including the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, and Wrangler four-door that may have reversed wiring on the driver's airbag controller, a defect that may inhibit the airbag's deployment. Additionally, the 2002 and 2003 Jeep Liberty models sold in New England and much of the Midwest are susceptible to a loss of lubrication in their front ball joints due to salt. The remedy for both recalls is a trip to the dealer, who will inspect and make any necessary repairs. 

NHTSA Notice

Vehicle Make / Model, Model Year(S):
Jeep / Commander, 2009
Jeep / Grand Cherokee, 2009
Jeep / Wrangler 4-Dr 4x4, 2009

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04/14/09
motogp

Petronas pays $24 million to sponsor Rossi and Yamaha
Petronas, the Malaysian national oil and gas corporation, has become a major sponsor of the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP team after signing a three-year deal worth $8M per year for a total of $24M.

Petronas has worked with Yamaha for eight years in a variety of fields, but this marks their first collaboration in MotoGP. Petronas branding will appear on the Fiat Yamaha team's bikes, equipment and uniforms, including that of Valentino Rossi, the sport's biggest superstar, who finished second in the first race of the 2009 season.

However, rumors continue that Rossi may leave the team in 2011, with a year of the Petronas deal still to run. "I will ride until I’m 31 or 32 at most," the 30-year-old has said. "I will look for new stimuli in the next few seasons, but for now I am fully motivated."

Petronas quit as title sponsor of Carl Fogarty's World Superbike team in 2006 after the team struggled to compete with Ducati and Honda. The situation is very different at Fiat Yamaha, the MotoGP manufacturer's champions last season.

Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said: "This is a very exciting development for Yamaha and for the sport of MotoGP. Yamaha and Petronas already have a successful business relationship away from racing, and this new, long-term, business partnership will see the ties between the two multi-national companies strengthened further. It is especially good to see a global company of Petronas' stature making the decision to enter into our sport at this difficult time and we look forward to working hand in hand with them to develop a long and mutually beneficial relationship."

Comment
04/14/09
f1

Ross Brawn slammed UPDATE Ross Brawn denied his team's diffuser broke FIA rules, saying: "We didn't consider this to be a radical new design.  "It was an innovative approach of an existing idea, and Formula One is all about innovative design. It's a cornerstone and objective of the sport."

FIA technical director Charlie Whiting was also cross-examined, during which he and world motorsport's governing body were both accused of "getting it wrong, and not understanding the point".

Paul Harris, representing Brawn GP, noted: "What we have seen is a sideshow, irrelevancies, or to coin an English phrase, a red herring."

Brawn's assertion that the history of F1 is littered with such cases also took a twist when he made reference to a number of cars - including Ferraris - from recent years which could be construed as contrary to the regulations.

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04/14/09
irl

IndyCar Long Beach Fast Facts


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04/14/09
Formula Ford

American Newgarden Wins British Formula Ford Opener
Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden has exited the first-event of the 2009 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain as a race winner, following a superb victory in Round Three on Monday (April 13) at the Oulton Park Race Circuit in England. That being said, it was up-and-down season-opening tripleheader, as the American standout battled through a start-line incident in Round One on Saturday (April 11), before rebounding to a third place finish and the race win in Rounds Two and Three.

For Newgarden, his inaugural season of European race competition commenced on Friday via official series testing at the demanding Oulton Park Race Circuit, just outside of Cheshire, England. Given the speed and skill he had shown in the lead-up to the first-event of the season, it came as no surprise that Newgarden was immediately among the drivers worth watching.

Piloting the No. 21 Robo-Pong/Racer of Tomorrow Ltd./Joe Tandy Racing Mygale SJ08 Premier Power car that became further apparent in the lone qualifying session on the 2.692-mile road course. Newgarden posted the fourth fastest time overall, earning an outside row-two starting position for both Rounds One and Two.

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04/14/09
automotive

Ford Bonds at Seven-Month High
Ford Motor Co. bonds rose to the highest in almost seven months a day after Standard & Poor’s raised the automaker’s credit rating to reflect the completion of a $9.9 billion debt reduction.

Ford Motor Credit Corp.’s $1.5 billion of 8 percent notes due in 2016 climbed 1.4 cents to 71.5 cents on the dollar at 10 a.m. in New York, the highest level since Sept. 19, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The securities have surged 59 percent since March 5.

Ford, the only U.S. automaker to forgo federal government aid, said on April 6 that it cut debt by 38 percent through buybacks of term loans and bonds. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company said the reductions will cut annual interest costs by more than $500 million.  More at Bloomberg

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04/14/09
track news

Details of another South Korea track emerge
Details of a new motorsports complex in South Korea were released today by Wilson Sahara Motorsports, the company responsible for its design.

Alan Wilson, Principal of Wilson Sahara Motorsports, the Salt Lake City, Utah, track design team that designed and constructed Miller Motorsports Park, has revealed early details of the new Theme Auto Park Injae race facility to be built at Injae, east of Seoul in South Korea.

“We have been working on this project for several months, and now that the concept for the facility has been agreed with the developers, Korea Racing Festival, we have begun the detail design phase that will see the complex open in 2011,”  said Wilson.

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04/14/09
automotive

GM Statement Regarding Advanced Battery MEGA Announcement
General Motors encourages the localization of large-scale lithium ion battery cell research, development and manufacturing as a key element to achieving energy independence. Governor Granholm and the MEDC's actions today are a critical step in positioning Michigan as a battery epicenter in the U.S. and creating a green energy economy. We look forward to working with LG Chem and their Troy, Mich.-based subsidiary, Compact Power Inc. (CPI), to develop lithium-ion battery cells for the 2010 Chevrolet Volt.

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04/14/09
track news

Jim France will step down
Jim France will step down as chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation effective June 1 with Lesa Kennedy succeeding him in that role.

Jim France is the son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., brother of former NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. and uncle of current NASCAR chairman Brian France. Brian France is Lesa Kennedy’s brother.

Jim France will retain his role as chairman of ISC’s board of directors. Lesa Kennedy will remain vice chair of the ISC board.

“While I will miss being involved in the daily operations of ISC, I will continue to provide strategic oversight and support to Lesa and the rest of the ISC senior management team,” Jim France said in a memo to ISC employees. “Under Lesa’s outstanding leadership, the company’s Board of Directors has every confidence that ISC will remain a dynamic and successful company for many years to come.”

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04/14/09
f1

Rivals claim 'no doubt' diffuser illegal UPDATE #2 Nigel Tozzi QC, Ferrari’s legal representative at the FIA Court of Appeal hearing in Paris, has insisted that there is 'no doubt' that the diffuser used by Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota during the opening two races of the Formula One season is illegal. Speaking at the hearing in the French capital to discuss the ongoing saga, Tozi insisted that the three teams to have used the controversial device in the opening rounds of the season had exploited a loophole in the rules to use an illegal part.

"Anyone with a command of English will tell you it is a hole, so do not let someone attempting to be clever with words defeat the express purpose of the rules," Tozzi was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"The appeal is not because we [Ferrari] have not made the most of an opportunity, but because Brawn, Toyota and Williams have not acted within the regulations."

Tozi also claimed that Brawn GP chief Ross Brawn, who enjoyed years of success with Ferrari, was a 'person of supreme arrogance' for thinking he was right with his team’s diffuser design, while the FIA was accused of 'getting it wrong and not understanding the sport' for stating the diffuser was legal.

Renault’s legal representative Andrew Ford also hit out at the 'diffuser three', arguing that the part in question was similar to one that the regie had developed early last season before it was declared illegal.

"It is not that Renault missed the boat, as Brawn have pointed out, it is because the FIA said it was illegal," he said. "It was at that point the diffuser was abandoned." Brawn himself has already said he hopes 'common sense' will prevail during the hearing.

A verdict from Paris isn’t expected until Wednesday afternoon. Yahoo! Eurosport UK

04/13/09 Ferrari's design and development consultant Rory Byrne will represent the team alongside chief designer Nikolas Tombazis at tomorrow's International Court of Appeal (ICA) hearing it has emerged, as the legality of the diffusers on the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars is discussed further. Although not an active member of the Ferrari team, Byrne was at the forefront of the team's success with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s, having held the position of chief designer until 2004.

Rory Byrne
Byrne recently told Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport that he believes the diffuser designs are against the regulations, citing article 3.12.5 of the technical rules, which states that “fully enclosed holes are permitted ... provided no part of the car is visible through them...”

“It's a rule set at least 14-15 years ago, and that for many years everyone interpreted in the same way,” said the South African. “If you look at the Brawn car from underneath, you can see the suspension.”

Byrne worked alongside Ross Brawn throughout his time at Ferrari, with whom the team is now in dispute with.

It also emerged today that Ferrari has set up a special group to oversee the development of the F60 in Maranello, with team manager Luca Baldisserri giving up his trackside role for the group. Instead, Chris Dyer will fill Baldisserri's on-track role, as the team looks to recover lost ground at next weekend's Chinese Grand Prix. Helping them on their way will be a revised front wing and front wheel fairings.

04/12/09 Ferrari design legend Rory Byrne has added his opinions to the argument surrounding the diffusers used by the Brawn, Williams and Toyota teams. The three outfits are set to attend court on Tuesday to counter a protest from four rivals regarding the legality of their cars, of which Byrne also believes are not within regulations. South African Byrne, a leading designer and aerodynamicist behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari triumphs, is adamant that the trio should not continue with their cars' current configurations. "If you look at the Brawn car from underneath, you can see the suspension," he explained to Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport. His comments refer to article 3.12.5 of the sport's technical regulations, explaining that "Fully enclosed holes are permitted in the surfaces lying on the reference and step planes, provided no part of the car is visible through them when viewed from directly below." In simpler terms, the regulation states that the holes seen in the diffusers are legal, but only providing that no other parts of the car can been seen if looking at the vehicle from directly underneath.

"It's a rule set at least 14-15 years ago, and that for many years everyone interpreted in the same way," Byrne continued, who struggles to believe that the three teams' comments explaining that small holes in the underside are only to assist airflow. "Ross Brawn (Brawn GP owner) and I remain good friends, but one thing is personal relationships, another thing is the professional aspect - and I work for Ferrari," he added.

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04/14/09
irl

Scheckter deal falls through for Long Beach
Make that 100 percent on Tomas Scheckter not participating in this weekend's Long Beach Grand Prix.

Scheckter and Team 3G co-owner Greg Beck confirmed today that they still don't have a deal, although they continue to work toward future races.

Team 3G will just field Stanton Barrett's car at Long Beach.

Scheckter, who has won two IndyCar Series races, is disappointed.

"I had my bags packed," he said. The Indianapolis Star

Comment
04/14/09
f1

Renault, Piquet deny negative comments
(GMM) Renault on Tuesday strongly rejected reports that Nelson Piquet expressed frustration to the media about his role at the team.

By the Italian and Spanish press, and based on an interview with the British magazine F1 Racing, the 23-year-old Brazilian was quoted as musing negatively about his status alongside teammate Fernando Alonso and boss Flavio Briatore.

"The comments are completely distorted as a result of an extremely poor translation from English and were reported out of context as Nelson responded in a light-hearted manner to irreverent questions submitted by the magazine's fans," a statement issued by the French team said.

Piquet himself said he is "a very happy member" of the team, insisting his relationships with Alonso and Briatore are "excellent".

"I'm amazed how my words have been completely misrepresented by the press. It's a pity that I have to find myself clarifying what I said.

"I've never had any reason to believe that I was treated in an unfair way and I have no doubt about the team's support," he added.

Comment
04/14/09
irl

Conquest to Partner with Rubicon Agency
After a competitive weekend of racing in St. Petersburg last week, Conquest Racing continues to move forward with their 2009 plans. In another step towards achieving their immediate and future goals, the team today announced that it has called upon the services of the newly formed Rubicon Sports Agency to oversee the team’s commercial department.

Recently created by Rubicon Race Team owners Jim Freudenberg and Jason Priestley, the Rubicon Sports Agency focuses on the commercial elements of racing such as sales, marketing, sponsor activation and driver management. Conquest’s relationship with the agency’s sales and activation division will see Jim Freudenberg become the Commercial Director for Conquest Racing.

Read more & Comment...
04/14/09
f1

Alonso believes in Renault
Fernando Alonso has no doubt that Renault can turn their season around.

“I believe in this team and we saw last year that they know how to fight back and find performance from the car,” he argued.

”It's still very early days and everyone in the team is working hard to develop the R29 so that we can be more competitive in the next few races. I was disappointed not to score points in Malaysia as my aim is to score points at every race this season.

”Obviously it's difficult to change the car until we get back to Europe, but we have learnt a lot from the first two races and we certainly made progress in Malaysia.

”We need to take another step forward in Shanghai and hopefully score points.”

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04/14/09
f1

Shanghai International: Circuit guide
A top Formula One team reveals the key components of set-up for the third round of the 2009 World Championship in China.

The Shanghai International Circuit is one of the most impressive facilities on the Grand Prix calendar. Like most of the circuits designed by Hermann Tilke, it features a wide variety of corners, both fast and slow, as well as a long straight followed by a tight hairpin which provides an ideal overtaking opportunity.

Technically the circuit is a challenge for the drivers and engineers, not least the never-ending first corner which almost takes the cars through a full circle.

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04/14/09
nascar

Sellars announces sponsorship of Tommy Baldwin Racing
Sellars announced their product sponsorship of Tommy Baldwin Racing. Sellars and TBR joined together as teammates in their shared pursuit of innovation, efficiency and speed. Tommy Baldwin, co-owner of the Crew Chief Club LLC, and John Sellars began their relationship several years ago when Sellars shop towels became an official sponsor of the Crew Chief Club. Now Sellars has jumped on board to show their support of TBR. In exchange for product the Sellars logo will be placed on the #36 entry for the remainder of the season. They will also be placed on the TBR website as one of the official sponsors of TBR. Sellars is a leading manufacturer of shop towels, disposable wipers, and sorbents that are made with recycled fibers  Everest-Marketing / TBR PR

Comment
04/14/09
Racing News

Chuck Gaa dies
Charles 'Chuck' Wilson Gaa, 63, passed away at his home in Marshall, N.C. on Saturday, April 4, 2009. Chuck owned GAACO Enterprises in Atlanta and was contracted by Buick and Chevrolet to design and build a series of radically different NASCAR race cars for owners such as Junior Johnson and Travis Carter while serving as GM's suspension and chassis consultant. Chuck became involved in stock car racing with Jim Welty in USAC while still a teenager and served as chief mechanic for A.J. Foyt's USAC Championship winning Ford for Jack Bowsher while still in college.

Following graduation, he worked for two years for Petty Enterprises designing and fabricating cars and later he worked with Cotton Owens and Jim Ruggles before starting GAACO.

In his years in NASCAR, Chuck worked with drivers such as Richard Petty, Pete Hamilton, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant, and owners such as Jr. Johnson, Cotton Owens, and Travis Carter. In addition to his work in NASCAR, Chuck was commissioned by General Motors to build a number of road racing cars for both the IMSA and Trans Am series and served as a suspension consultant for Jaguar cars with their GTP car in IMSA. Chuck also designed and built the GTP 935 Porches driven to victories in the 24 hours of Daytona, the 12 hours of Sebring, and the World Endurance Championship by John Paul and John Paul, Jr. Following his retirement, he moved to Marshall, N.C. and found a home within the community and with Builders Express in Mars Hill, N.C.

In his spare time, he volunteered on the Madison County Arts Council. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his son, Adam Gaa of Opelika, Ala.; daughter, Rae Powers and husband Ian Randall of Brighton, England; brothers, John Gaa and wife Cynthia of Willis, Texas, James Gaa and wife Marilyn of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Thomas Gaa and wife Karen of Menlo Park, Calif.; and a precious grandson, Alex Powers Randall.

Donations may be made to the Madison County Arts Council, 90 S. Main St., Marshall, N.C. 28753.

An online register is available at ashevillemortuaryservices.com.

Comment
04/14/09
f1

Brawn: Shanghai to be much cooler now
Just six months after Formula One's last visit to China, the sport's calendar returns to Shanghai this week for Round Three of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship. Earlier in the season than its traditional autumn date, this year's Chinese Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 19 April at the Shanghai International Circuit, located 40kms from the city.

The spectacular venue which hosts the 5.451km (3.387 mile) race track was designed by renowned Formula One architect Hermann Tilke and hosted its first Grand Prix in September 2004. The inaugural race was dominated by Brawn GP's current drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button who finished first and second respectively.

The circuit layout follows the shape of the Chinese character 'shang' and is technically challenging with a combination of straights, including the long 1.1km back straight, and a range of differing speed corners from the long and tightening turns one to three to the fast left-right chicane at turns seven and eight. The layout of the circuit offers excellent overtaking opportunities which combined with unpredictable weather frequently creates an exciting race.

Read more & Comment...
04/14/09
f1

Force India Chinese GP Q&A
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
Did the first two races of the 2009 season pan out as you expected?
Before the start of the season, we said that the first four flyaway races would be somewhat of an extended test session for the team due to the lack of test mileage over the winter. However when we got to Australia and Adrian and Giancarlo were able to convincingly stay with the pack and so nearly got into the points, we were forced to re-evaluate our expectations. We know we still have some work to do, but I think we can be very encouraged by the speed, reliability and performance of the team.

The team made a lot of changes over the winter both technically and on an operations level. How do you now review them now, two races into the year?
2008 was very much a learning year for the team and, on the basis of these lessons, I made some changes over the winter. I am pleased to see the switch to a McLaren-Mercedes drivetrain has been very reliable and the drivers say the mechanical balance and grip has to date been very good. Nobody would count us out for points so I think this says we have made a good decision. Secondly, we made some changes on the management front. The team is now a much more cohesive outfit that's all pulling in the same direction and this is entirely positive. So yes, I feel our decisions have been vindicated by the improvements this year.

Have you been surprised by the field this year?
After winter testing, everyone expected the Brawn GP cars to be very quick and this has proved to be the case. Although the team started its 2009 preparations very early on last year and has significant resources, it is now effectively an independent team and I am very pleased that the team can operate at such a high level. It certainly gives us all some lessons. What we have seen further down however is that the field is still very close and we cannot predict the outcome. Under these circumstances I think we have reasons to be very positive about our own situation.

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04/14/09
f1

Q&A with Toyota's Pascal Vasselon
Can you explain why tires have such an impact on car performance?
Tires have a huge impact on car performance simply because they are the car's only contact with the ground. To make a car quick you have to be able to generate acceleration and these forces go through the tires. You can have anything you want on the car but if the tires are not able to generate the proper friction coefficient you get nowhere. In fact, this has developed to be one of the two major performance factors in Formula 1.

How different is the challenge when we have a one manufacturer, compared to when there is a tire war?
In the recent past, when we had competition between different companies, tires become the most important performance factor, followed by aerodynamics. At the moment Bridgestone are the sole supplier so we are not developing tires any more; you just have to use them properly. I would not say it is easy but it is one step less difficult than developing them. In this situation the performance ranking changes and aerodynamics become the most important, with tire handling second. Everything is easier because the tires are consistent and you have time to learn how to handle them; you are not in a process where you have to significantly update your knowledge constantly as you are when you develop tires. With spec tires as we have now, learning the behavior of the compounds is still very important but it is easier to get on top of the situation.

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04/14/09
alms

VICI Racing announces T-Mobile deal
VICI Racing™ is delighted to announce today an exciting new partnership with T-Mobile USA, Inc., to take up the challenge of one of global motor sports most professional championships, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). T-Mobile® and VICI Racing™ will kick-off the multi-year relationship, and the 2009 racing program, at the ALMS race in Long Beach, Calif., on April 18th. The team will run the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and then contest the remaining rounds of the premier sports car series.

Comment
04/14/09
automotive

GM Recalling 1.4 million Cars
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just announced a major recall covering nearly 1.5 million General Motors passenger cars from the late 90's and early 2000s. The recall affects various Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac models equipped with normally aspirated versions of GM's much-utilized 3800 3.8-liter V6.

Apparently, some of these engines can drop oil onto the exhaust manifold during hard braking. If that manifold has gotten hot enough and the oil dribbles below the heat shield, it can start a small fire. The flames can then engulf the plastic spark plug wire channel, potentially resulting in a full-on engine compartment fire.

The fix? Dealer service departments will be asked to remove said spark plug wire retention channel from the front of the engine bay, and then retrofit two new retainers.

Read more & Comment...
04/14/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Glock 'uneasy' as FIA settles diffuser saga
  • Cosworth return due to Max-Bernie 'deal' - report
  • Briatore cuts own pay, not Piquet's
  • Ferrari to leave Baldisserri at factory
  • FIA requests BBC interview over 'lie-gate'
  • Button, Branson in angry run-in - report
  • Williams to rethink practice strategy - Rosberg
  • More members add strength to GPDA
  • Piquet admits frustration with Renault role
  • Renault to assess KERS benefit race-by-race

Glock 'uneasy' as FIA settles diffuser saga
(GMM)  Timo Glock has admitted to having an "uneasy feeling" as the FIA prepares on Tuesday to settle the diffuser controversy.

The German and his Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli, along with the Brawn and Williams drivers, have among the fastest cars on the 2009 grid.

But their pace has been questioned by the affair, with four teams pursuing formal protests about rear diffuser designs, and every outfit except Toro Rosso and Force India to be involved in the Court of Appeal hearing in Paris.

It is almost guaranteed that the FIA panel will not rule against the stewards of the Australian and Malaysian grands prix, and the pre-season ruling made by Charlie Whiting, when the decision is published on Wednesday.

Ross Brawn said: "Even if they decide there is a different interpretation, I don't think they'll wipe out what went before (the race results) because we've been told our car is legal."

Team boss Brawn's long-time friend and former colleague Rory Byrne, however, staunchly disagrees that the diffusers are legal.

"If you look at the Brawn-Mercedes from below, you can see the suspension -- and that is forbidden," the Ferrari design consultant is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, because of the layout of the Ferrari rear suspension and gearbox, technical director Aldo Costa is believed to be targeting only June's Turkish grand prix for the debut of a double-diffuser for the F60.

Red Bull is apparently in a similar situation, while McLaren, BMW and Renault may be able to debut new diffusers at the start of the forthcoming European season.

Cosworth return due to Max-Bernie 'deal' - report
(GMM)  The possible return to the F1 scene of the British engine specialist Cosworth was reportedly facilitated by a deal brokered between Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone.

It has emerged in recent days that USF1/USGPE - the prospective American team entry for 2010 - is seriously considering using the homologated Cosworth V8 engine from next year.

At the end of last year, Cosworth won an FIA tender to supply a low-cost engine and transmission package in 2010.

To guarantee Cosworth's ability to finance the project, it was necessary for FIA president Mosley to garner the support of F1 chief executive Ecclestone.

To do this, it is reported by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that Mosley - keen for the Cosworth proposal to work in order to reduce F1's reliance on car manufacturers - decided to fully back Ecclestone's proposal for the 'winner takes all'-style scoring system.

In return for the FIA's support, Ecclestone promised to guarantee the viability of the Cosworth deal.

Read more & Comment...
04/13/09
tv news
motogp

Qatar MotoGP race to be televised Tuesday
The opening race of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar, which was rescheduled on Monday evening due to rain, will be broadcast on Tuesday, April 14, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm ET on SPEED.  It will immediately follow a replay of the MotoGP 250 race held in Qatar which will be aired at 1:00 pm-2:00 pm ET on SPEED.

Comment
04/13/09
irl

Castroneves jurors ask for transcripts
Jurors deliberating the fate of Brazilian race car driver Helio Castroneves, his sister and his attorney with evading U.S. taxes asked Monday for transcripts of testimony by two tax lawyers who were called by the prosecution to describe how Castroneves' finances were structured.

The first jury question focused on the timing of a taxpayer's rights to income, which would affect when tax liability is triggered. U.S. District Judge Donald Graham responded by reading the jurors a portion of U.S. tax law stating that liability begins when money is credited to the person's account, set aside or made available for withdrawal at any time.

The second question Monday asked for trial transcripts of testimony by New York tax attorneys Fred Feingold and Mark Berg, who were called by prosecutors to describe their roles in arranging Castroneves' finances. ThatsRacin.com

As he left the courthouse Monday afternoon, Castroneves addressed the assembled media. "It's very difficult, very stressful, very tiring and it's been so long that it's hard to express my feelings," he said.

"But the fans are making me strong right now. I want to thank all of them for supporting me and praying for me, We'll come back tomorrow and hope for the best."

[Editor's Note: The longer the jury deliberates, the better it is for Helio.  History has shown that the longer the jury deliberates, the better it is for the defense.  The fact that no quick verdict has been announced is a good thing for the defense.]

Comment
04/13/09
nastruck

Copart signs deal with Harvick team
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced today a new partnership with Copart, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRT), an online vehicle remarketing company that sells more than 1 million cars per year. Copart will serve as primary sponsor of KHI’s No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado driven by three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday for five of the 25 race events in 2009. 

“During these tough economic times we are proud to be able to foster new relationships and expose new businesses to the power of the NASCAR market,” said Kevin Harvick, KHI co-owner. 

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04/13/09
irl

Unser Jr. to be honored at Long Beach
For almost 20 years, Al Unser Jr. has been known as the “King of the Beach.” This year, when the IndyCar Series makes its debut in on the streets of the seaside city, Unser will add at least one more title.

Unser, who won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach a record six times between 1988 and 1995 while competing in CART, will be the grand marshal for the 35th running April 19. In addition, Unser will lead the professional contingent in the popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity race, and he and longtime rival (and former teammate) Bobby Rahal will be inducted into the Motorsports Walk of Fame.

“Southern California is always beautiful at this time of year, and the fans make Long Beach more than just a race,” said Unser, driver coach with the sanctioning Indy Racing League. “They love the single-seat open-wheel cars, and what I’m really excited about it is now it’s back to where they can see the Indy cars that will run the Indy 500 on the streets of Long Beach again, like it used to be back in the 1980s and ’90s. That’s what made it special.”

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04/13/09
irl

No clear favorites at Long Beach
When the checkered flag fell on the IndyCar Series’ season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla., April 5, the top 10 finishers came from nine teams. Picking a favorite to win the series’ first visit to Long Beach, Calif., is no easy task.

“I think it just proves the competitiveness of this championship,” said Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe, the winner at St. Petersburg and points leader heading into Long Beach. “You don't have to be with the biggest team or the team with the most experience to win races (in the IndyCar Series).”

The 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit is no stranger to the drivers and teams of the IndyCar Series. Twelve drivers and eight teams have participated at the circuit previously.

“I raced there in the ALMS a couple years ago,” Briscoe said. “It's a fun track. It's very challenging; it's fast. It's probably somewhere in between Surfers Paradise and St. Petersburg. You've got that crown in the road. It's got some fast corners, long straight down the front. It's going to be tough.”

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04/13/09
alms

Team Falken lands Cleveland Golf sponsor
Team Falken Tire and Cleveland Golf announced a partnership that will see one of the PGA Tour’s leading forces as the premiere sponsor of the Falken Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The team will make its American Le Mans Series debut this week at the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. Bryan Sellers and Dominic Cicero will drive the Porsche on the streets of Long Beach starting Thursday.

Both Cleveland Golf and Falken Tire take pride in leading innovation and technology practices within each of their respective fields. Cleveland Golf, a force in the PGA tour, embraces many of the same product development ideologies which Falken Tire Corporation applies to their Azenis RT Slick tires used for American Le Mans Series competition. Team Falken Tire’s efforts in the prestigious American Le Mans Series clearly reinforce their belief that the heat of competition ultimately produces the highest quality product for the end consumer.

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04/13/09
British F3

Daniel Ricciardo takes double win in British F3
Australia's Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a superb start to his Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series career at Oulton Park today (Mon), leading the championship's opening round from start to finish at the wheel of his Carlin Motorsport-prepared Dallara, and then repeating the feat in round two. Ricciardo's twin wins were also a magnificent return to the series after a 20-plus year absence for engine supplier Volkswagen.

Race 1
Ricciardo's job in the first of the day's races was made all the easier by a start line gaffe from his Carlin team-mate Max Chilton, who threw away his pole position advantage by jumping the gun at the lights. So obvious was Chilton's error that race stewards were quick to hand the young Brit a one-minute penalty.

Fortec's Daniel McKenzie took the National Class honors.

Chilton's start line gaffe left Ricciardo in no doubt that, though he was running second on the road, he was effectively the leader. "I made a good start but I noticed that Max misjudged the lights and jumped the start, so I knew he'd get a penalty," said Daniel. "So then I had to race my own race and not worry about him in front... Nick's pace was really good and mid-race it was really hard to keep him behind me. It's a great start, to win in my first race here is incredible."

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04/13/09
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series Under the Lights at Phoenix on ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to the desert this weekend for an event Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway, and ESPN2 will have a live, high definition telecast of the 200-mile race on Friday, April 17, at 9 p.m. ET. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Saturday, April 18, at noon on ESPN Classic.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage from Phoenix, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett, one of the founding drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by Jarrett in the ESPN pit studio.

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04/13/09
GT Masters

Chevy goes to Europe and crushes German manufacturers
Oschersleben (D), 12 April, ADAC GT Masters race 1
1 Hennerici/Ludwig (Chevrolet) 39 laps in 1h 01m 27.260s
2 Bergmeister/Schmickler (Porsche) + 5.625s
3 Hohenadel/Seiler (Chevrolet) + 5.940s
4 Moser/Outzen (Audi R8 LMS) + 14.388s
5 Lechner Jr./Nygaard (Ford) + 17.331s
6 Campanico/Armindo (Audi R8 LMS) + 46.714s
7 Abt/Williams (Audi R8 LMS) + 53.571s
...
12 Yamamoto/Mayer (Audi R8 LMS) - 1 lap.
Oschersleben (D), 13 April, ADAC GT Masters race 2
1 Ludwig/Hennerici (Chevrolet) 39 laps in 1h 01m 13.485s
2 Schmickler/Bergmeister (Porsche) + 17.025s
3 Giermaziak/Kechele (Lamborghini) + 28.107s
4 Nygaard/Lechner Jr. (Ford) + 29.250s
5 Ouzten/Moser (Audi R8 LMS) + 33.254s
6 Armindo/Campanico (Audi R8 LMS) + 40.201s
...
14 Mayer/Yamamoto (Audi R8 LMS) - 3 laps

Standings after 2 of 16 races: 1 Ludwig and Hennerici, 20 points; 3 Bergmeister and Schmickler, 16; 5 Nygaard, Lechner Jr., Moser and Outzen, 9; 13 Armindo and Campanico, 6; 15 Abt and Williams, 2.
Next race: Assen (NL), May 9

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04/13/09
irl

Castroneves jury resumes deliberations in tax case
A federal jury in Miami has resumed deliberations in the tax evasion trial of Indy race car driver Helio Castroneves and two others.  The 12-person jury went back to work Monday morning. Deliberations began Friday following a six-week trial for Castroneves, his sister-business manager Katiucia and his lawyer Alan Miller of Michigan.

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04/13/09
f1

Important day for Ferrari in Paris tomorrow
Tomorrow is a big day for Ferrari and the other teams not running the illegal diffusers.  We here at AR1.com have deemed them illegal from day 1.  From a non-technical standpoint they are against the spirit of the rules as F1 was trying to slow the cars.  Ferrari and others will make their case tomorrow on why they are illegal from a technical standpoint.
Tomorrow will be an important day, when the FIA Court of Appeal in Paris has to discuss the appeal presented by Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull and BMW against the decisions of the race stewards at the Australian and Malaysian GPs, who had decided the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams diffusers were according to the rules. Ferrari will be represented by Rory Byrne and chief designer Nikolas Tombazis. The decision will be made public by Wednesday afternoon, when all the teams will have arrived at Shanghai.

Apart from the ICA's decision the Chinese GP must be a turning point for the Scuderia after a bad start to the season. During the days after the return from Malaysia there was an air of retaliation: Montezemolo's and Domenicali's calls for each and every person to take responsibility for the parts they play were a great motivation for a group, which knew how to deal with very difficult situations in the past and turning them around.

From a technical and organizational point of view the F60's development program received some new stimulus. The goal is to anticipate as much as possible the introduction of new technologies to reduce the performance gap as fast as possible, which, apart from the question of the diffuser, seems to be there. A working party has been set up under the coordination of Aldo Costa, which will follow the development program at Maranello in close contact with the experience made on the track: a crucial element of this group is Luca Baldisserri. The Scuderia Team Manager will follow the single-seater's development step by step, while his role at the track will be covered by Chris Dyer.

There will be several new aerodynamic features at Shanghai, which have been tested by Marc Gené last week at the Vairano straight. The front wing will be modified next to the front rims and the deviators. The tires are the same as in Australia and the main job during the three hours of free practice on Friday will be to understand how the two types will run on the tarmac, which is completely different to the one at Albert Park.  Ferrari F1 PR

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04/13/09
a1gp

Olivia Ortiz Wins ‘Miss TW Steel Portugal’
TW Steel, the ‘Official Watch and Timing Partner’ of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport crowned its sixth national ‘Miss TW Steel’ winner in Portugal on Sunday, 12th April, as Miss Olivia Ortiz was selected at the stunning new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve outside Portimao.

The 22-year-old’s win, which included a prize of $1500 and her own TW Steel watch, followed on-track victories in A1GP for Robert Doornbos and A1 Team Netherlands, in the morning’s Sprint race, and Neel Jani for A1 Team Switzerland in the afternoon’s dramatic Feature race.

Ortiz, who hails from Guarda in Portugal, now moves forward to the ‘Miss TW Steel’ grand finale, set to take place this summer in the United Kingdom.  The national winners, all crowned at A1GP races held around the world this season, will go head-to-head for the title of ‘Miss TW Steel 2008-09’, $25,000 US in prize money and a photo-shoot with a leading lifestyle magazine.

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04/13/09
nascar

$10 Million, Just for Motor Oil
The most advanced piece of technology in a NASCAR vehicle these days isn't its engine, its suspension or anything made of carbon fiber. It's the motor oil. Joe Gibbs Racing has spent about $1 million a year over the past decade to perfect its motor oil. As a result, its engines have squeezed out an extra 10 horsepower, a roughly 2% increase that can be a serious advantage in NASCAR races.

With NASCAR increasingly cracking down on the use of technology in the sport to cut costs, motor oil is one of the last places teams can innovate without restraint. Companies like Shell, Quaker State and Mobil also make special oils packed with synthetic lubricants, new polymers and experimental molecules for the teams they sponsor. All this has spawned a culture of secrecy. Shell was so worried about protecting its motor-oil formula that it recently refused to allow used race oil to be sold as a souvenir to NASCAR fans. The concern, a spokesman said, is that someone could "reverse engineer" the used oil to see what its properties are.

Joe Gibbs Racing, one of NASCAR's richest and most-successful teams, won't say which company assembles its synthetic oil and will only identify the scientists who work on its formula as "William the chemist," who's in charge of formulating the oil, and "Douglas," who used to work for NASA and is in charge of analyzing the team's worn engine parts under a microscope. "I don't want other teams trying to find out who these guys are," says Lake Speed Jr., who runs the team's oil program. Wall Street Journal

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04/13/09
f1

Shanghai: A lap with Alex Wurz
The city of Shanghai is a bit too hectic for my taste. However the Shanghai International Circuit is a very impressive facility and an interesting challenge for the drivers and engineers.

The lap itself is fairly typical of a Herman Tilke design with a huge range of corners, starting with turns one and two which combine to form what seems like a never-ending right-hander. You arrive in seventh gear at 185mph and you only start to brake when you turn into the corner. You can't brake very hard, so you're braking for a long time as you slow the car down to second gear. To be quick around the whole circuit you need to have a neutral-handling car, which generally results in oversteer through here.

You approach turn three over a little jump downhill. It's a left-hander and can be entered in first or second gear, depending on your gear ratios. At this point the tires are still very stressed from the long first corner, so you're sliding a lot and it's difficult to make a good exit, which is very important because turns four and five are flat-out kinks and are followed by a straight.

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04/13/09
f1

KERS explained
Are you wondering exactly what KERS is, and how it works? Formula One outfit Renault have the answers.
2009 KERS Toro Rosso Bourdais - 0

The basics: what exactly is KERS?

Let's start with a definition: KERS stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System and was introduced by the FIA to direct the Formula 1 engineering community towards developing greener technologies. Kinetic energy is energy stored in motion and can be thought of as the energy that is required to stop that motion. For example, stopping a bicycle, a car or a train is all about removing its kinetic energy.

Most commonly kinetic energy is removed using friction brakes, turning the kinetic energy into heat energy that goes towards warming up our planet that little bit more. With KERS, that energy is not lost but stored somewhere to be used to drive the car - that somewhere could be in a battery (chemical energy) in a flywheel (mechanical), in an accumulator (hydraulic) and in many others ways too. This stored energy can then be reused to give extra power to the engine with the regulations allowing maximum KERS power of 60kW and energy release of 400kJ in any one lap. In simple terms this means 60kW for a little over 6 seconds to 'boost' the car each lap.

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04/13/09
irl

Hunter-Reay pays dividends for Vision Racing


Ryan Hunter-Reay lost his Rahal ride last year when sponsor Ethanol did not renew
Ryan Hunter-Reay was Indy Racing League rookie of the year in 2007. He won rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500 in 2008 after not competing in the event in '07. But his team, Rahal-Letterman Racing, lost its primary sponsor and withdrew from the IRL, meaning Hunter-Reay did not even have a ride in this year's IRL.

He didn't, that is, until a week before the season opener April 5 at St. Petersburg, Fla. That's when he reached an agreement to drive for Tony George's Vision Racing.

All Hunter-Reay did was go out and take second place at St. Petersburg, the highest finish for Vision Racing in its five years of existence. Ryan Briscoe won.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to race for Vision. They are a top-notch IndyCar team and extremely professional," said Hunter-Reay, a former Champ Car driver from 2003-05 who will compete in this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"We have a huge opportunity here to compete for wins all season, and (St. Pete) was an example of that. We've just brushed the surface and it's going to be exciting to watch our progression through the rest of the season."

Hunter-Reay refers to the Long Beach course as "The best American street circuit ever."  Press Telegram



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04/13/09
track news

Long Beach Thursday happenings
Those who want to get an early start on this year's fun can do so at no cost on Thursday, beginning at 11 a.m., when Al Unser Jr. - a six-time winner on the streets of Long Beach - and Bobby Rahal will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame at Pine Avenue at the Convention Center.

Unser and Rahal - whose son Graham is an IRL driver - will join past inductees Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, the late Paul Newman, Carl Haas, Chris Pook and Brian Redman.

Also Thursday, the American LeMans Series - one of the support races - will turn out practice laps from 3 to 5 p.m.

There will be no charge for admission into the track.

The Lifestyle Expo in the Convention Center will be open from 3 to 6 p.m. and then Thursday Thunder on Pine will begin at 6:30 p.m. between Broadway and 4th Street. It will feature freestyle motocross, BMX, live music and the Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach pageant.  Press Telegram

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04/13/09
automotive

Tesla CEO To Refund Buyers if Company Goes Under
Elon Musk, CEO Tesla Motors says he would refund buyers
Car buyers today fear the worst.  What would happen if you purchased a new vehicle from General Motors only to learn tomorrow that they declared bankruptcy and will not honor warranty claims and will not be able to provide parts to fix your vehicle?  The federal government vows that they will step in and take over the process, but what if a similar thing happened with a small start up company like Tesla Motors?

Possible Tesla buyers are concerned about this.  A buyer would have to purchase the rare Tesla Roadster for about $100,000, a significant investment for most buyers.  Then the buyer would have to rely on the company to support this one-off vehicle.  Certainly parts and repair facilities would be hard to come by.  But what if Tesla Motors went under?

In a candid interview with Car and Driver, Tesla CEO Elon Musk boldly stated, "Even in the worst case Armageddon scenario, I'll personally refund people their money if need be...but there's very little danger of that."  Whether Musk is referring to refunding a deposit or refunding those who have taken delivery already is unknown.  But he stands behind his product and will personally pay buyers back.

Tesla has gone through hardships in the past couple of years and buyers are cautious as talks of lack of funding surround Tesla Motors. Source: Car and Driver May 2009

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04/13/09
f1

Donington confirms FIA talks on Tuesday
Donington Park has confirmed that it is to hold further discussions with the FIA as plans to continue hosting national and international racing during the course of the earthworks designed to bring the circuit up to Formula One standard appeared to be heading for trouble.

Amid rumors that the four major safety licenses that it requires to stage meetings had been suspended, the circuit has revealed that it is to maintain a dialogue with the FIA - which would grant the necessary license for next year's Formula One return - after the Easter break. A planned inspection by the international governing body, due for last week, did not take place

After a last-minute temporary license was issued by the Motor Sport Association for the national-level MG Car Club and Historic Sports Car Club meetings last weekend, a permanent 'no passing zone' established under yellow flags between McLeans and Coppice - and later extended to include preceding corners as well - meant that 'racing' was badly affected, and led to criticism of both the circuit and the MSA for even allowing the events to go ahead.

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04/13/09
fil

After Victorious Start, Junior Is Still in Fast Lane
Junior Strous and a field of tulips in his home country of Holland.  He was there during the Easter break.  Strous is well funded as can be seen by the many sponsor decals on his driving suit.  He is eyeing IndyCars for 2010.
As the saying goes, “there is no rest for the weary.” But after winning the opening two rounds of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights championship, Dutch rookie Junior Strous really doesn’t mind the demanding schedule between races.

The driver of the No. 18 Shell V-Power/Knaus Dallara entered by Winners Circle Group Racing returned to his homeland after winning a pair of 40-lap Indy Lights races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. After a couple of days of well-earned rest, Strous flew to Holland on Wednesday and rarely slowed up after arriving on Dutch soil.

“I had a busy schedule,” Strous said, in a somewhat understated manner. “I had to coach the board of directors for the Dutch company, Ziggo Cable and Internet, at the Spa Francorchamps track in Belgium. They were having a race incentive there. There were also TV meetings with SBS6, a Dutch channel that will now air all of the Indy Light races in Holland and also do background stories.”

After visiting with his sponsors--Shell in Holland and Knaus in Germany--Strous made several appearances at the Dutch National Auto Show with the Knaus Aston Martin GT4 racecar he will drive in the European Championship. In addition to the appearances and meetings, Strous also found time to work with another promising young Dutch driver.

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04/13/09
racing news

Quotes of the Week
"I have no idea how he [Lewis Hamilton] has got so many punishments.  Slowly you start to ask yourself why it always happens to him.  Is it his skin color?"  Adrian Sutil, Formula 1 driver, Force India, has hinted that Hamilton's seemingly perpetual run-in with Formula 1's governing body could be a case of racism.

"I was distinctly uncomfortable about Lewis' demeanor on Sunday (in Australia). It was completely clear he was telling lies.  On Thursday (in Malaysia) I would say he was just doing what he was told to do.  The fact he came and apologized to me in Sepang sums it up pretty much.  He came to me and wanted to talk to me privately, and just said he wanted to apologize for everything he'd done, and he wouldn't do it again, that sort of thing.  Lewis did his best to fudge it, I would say, without responding completely and directly.  I reminded him that I had asked him twice in Melbourne, 'Did you consciously let him (Trulli) past?' And he'd said no, Trulli had just passed him.  I then said when the team asked you to let him past, you said 'I've already let him past'.  I said to him if you had been surprised by that, surely you would have said, 'He's passed me!' instead of 'I've let him past'.  Lewis didn't really have an answer for that. They were trying very hard to get off the important bit of the subject, and trying to divert the stewards' attention elsewhere.  That's the impression I got anyway."
Charlie Whiting, FIA Race Director

"If you look at the Brawn car from underneath, you can see the suspension.  It's a rule set at least 14-15 years ago, and that for many years everyone interpreted in the same way.  Ross Brawn and I remain good friends, but one thing is personal relationships, another thing is the professional aspect - and I work for Ferrari."
Rory Byrne, Ferrari design legend and aerodynamicist, whose comments refer to article 3.12.5 of the sport's technical regulations, explaining that "Fully enclosed holes are permitted in the surfaces lying on the reference and step planes, provided no part of the car is visible through them when viewed from directly below."  Byrne struggles to believe that the three teams' [Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota] comments explaining that small holes in the underside are only to assist airflow.

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