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Hamilton admits he no longer talks to father
Lewis Hamilton (L) with his father Anthony in happier days
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has admitted his relationship with his father and former manager Anthony is currently "not all smiles and happiness".

At the McLaren driver's initiation, the pair split professionally earlier this year and Hamilton, 25, is currently seeking a long-term replacement as his manager.

Until the 2010 season opener, Anthony Hamilton had attended every race of his son's entire career, but Lewis admitted in Shanghai that they now rarely speak.

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KV Racing announces Paul Tracy for Indy 500
Paul Tracy, 2002 Indianapolis 500 runner-up, will return to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month for KV Racing Technology, driving the No. 15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race set for Sunday, May 30, 2010.

Tracy, the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, is one of the most successful drivers in the history of open-wheel racing with 31 career victories.  The Canadian native will be sponsored by GEICO Insurance for the second consecutive year. 

“It is exciting to have Paul Tracy and GEICO Insurance back together with KV Racing Technology for this year’s Indianapolis 500,” said KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “Paul is one of the greatest and most exciting drivers in the sport’s history, while GEICO Insurance is a leader in its industry.  I feel confident that Paul, with the support of GEICO Insurance, will provide KVRT with a very competitive entry in this year’s Indy 500.”

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Hinch developing new driving shoes for Alpine Star
Alpine Stars top secret shoe for speed-challenged drivers.
Yesterday after qualifying, we noticed some tape and writing on James Hinchcliffe's shoes (See photo). The shoes were modified with the words "stop" on the left foot, and "go" on the right foot. It seems Alpine Star is developing some sort of shoe for drivers who have trouble remembering which pedal is which. We know James doesn't have that problem, but we are impressed that he is willing to help others with this sad affliction. After all, we all need to give a little something back.


Gossage not a fan of start-and-parkers
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said the so-called start-and-park teams in each NASCAR race are "stealing money" and steps should be taken to stop them. A few teams enter Sprint Cup events each week with no intention of running the entire event. Some of them don't even have a pit crew or extra tires. They qualify for the race, run a few laps and park the car to collect the large purse money. "The start-and-parkers are simply stealing," Gossage said Saturday. "I don't blame them for finding the loophole, but they are going to steal a half a million dollars here tomorrow  of our money. "They add nothing to the show, not one darn thing. They're stealing. I want real racers, but they're not racing." Gossage pointed specifically to the #66 Toyota owned by Phil Parsons. The team has competed in six Cup events this season. The car finished 41st or worse in five races, completing less than 20 percent of the laps in those events. "NASCAR has an obligation to the fans to not allow this," Gossage said. "People are stealing in broad daylight in front of 150,000 fans in the grandstands and millions of people watching at home." Gossage has two suggestions for eliminating the problem: Reduce the Cup field from 43 to 36 cars (the last seven finishers a year ago at TMS made over $580,000 total), or change the way purse money is distributed. "Last place here Sunday is going to pay about $85,000," Gossage said. "That should be $10,000 and the rest of that money should go to the top finishers." ESPN


Hinchcliffe wins Lights pole
Canadian James Hinchcliffe has won the pole for this weekend's Firestone Indy Lights race. The winner at Barber, J. K. Vernay was 2nd and American Charlie Kimball third.


1. (2) James Hinchcliffe, 1:14.6261 (94.937)
2. (7) J.K. Vernay, 1:14.7829 (94.738)
3. (26) Charlie Kimball, 1:14.9094 (94.578)
4. (29) Sebastian Saavedra, 1:14.9761 (94.494)
5. (27) Martin Plowman, 1:14.9807 (94.488)
6. (49) Philip Major, 1:15.4126 (93.947)
7. (35) Tonis Kasemets, 1:15.5942 (93.721)
8. (10) Gustavo Yacaman, 1:15.8358 (93.423)
9. (28) Stefan Wilson, 1:15.8562 (93.398)
10. (6) Junior Strous, 1:15.9230 (93.316)
11. (22) Adrian Campos Jr., 1:15.9834 (93.241)
12. (11) Pippa Mann, 1:16.5272 (92.579)
13. (5) Joel Miller, 1:16.7151 (92.352)
14. (77) James Winslow, 1:16.9127 (92.115)
15. (40) Dan Clarke, 1:17.4979 (91.419)
16. (4) Carmen Jorda, 1:18.4485 (90.311)
17. (37) Niall Quinn,  no time (no speed)
18. (18) Rodrigo Barbosa, no time (no speed)


Rain in Texas
Practices for the Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway have been canceled for Saturday. The Nationwide Series race has been pushed back to approx 4:40pm/et..if the rain stops but could run Saturday night as the track has lights. Rain is also in the forecast for Sunday.


Power favored to win pole in Long Beach
Verizon Penske driver Will Power painted himself as the favorite to win the pole later today for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after dominating Saturday morning practice under clear skies and mild temperatures.

Power was the only driver to break below the 1m10s barrier with a lap of 1m09.9596s on the 1.98-mile street circuit.

Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti, who is the defending race champion, was 2nd quick at 1m10.3147s.

Power's teammate, Helio Castroneves was third, Justin Wilson 4th and yesterday's quick man, Ryan Hunter-Reay 5th.

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Philipp Eng secures Silverstone pole for race 2
Philipp Eng with Jolyon Palmer and Dean Stoneman in the post-qualifying press conference
Philipp Eng set the quickest time in qualifying two at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday) and will start tomorrow's second F2 race from pole position.

Provisional pole position changed hands no few than five times in the final twelve minutes as Sergey Afanasiev, Johan Jokinen and Jolyon Palmer were amongst those to have set a benchmark time at one stage.

The session took the familiar theme of drivers using worn tires for the first half of the session, before switching to new rubber for a shootout in the final stages. With five minutes remaining Jack Clarke led from Johan Jokinen and Tom Gladdis, but it seemed the trio had used their fresh tires too early.

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Old Champ Car fan still bitter about split
Dear AR1, As a longtime subscriber I am amazed how little reader comments or input is published. During the CART/Champ Car  vs. IRL, everybody had an opinion or comment on how CART/Champ Car should proceed to build the organization.

Constant was the criticism of the TV deals, lack of sponsorships, venue locations, media exposure, lack of driver recognition , etc.

I would surmise that a lot of followers who were passionate about true Indy Car racing and not what we have today have just checked out. Randy Bernard's comments about everything outside of Indy is" just vanilla" and we need to build some major events is insulting.  I travelled with CART for 13 years. Tell the people of Australia, Canada, Germany, England, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, etc, they are just plain vanilla and not on the national event stage.

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Hunter-Reay to pull double duty. No! UPDATE #3 We spoke to some reliable sources on this and it is a little bit complicated so read carefully. Scott Tucker is a gentleman racer who is very motivated to win a championship. As the rules were written, it was obvious that a two car team with three drivers would present an advantage, as a driver only collects points from one car, and you could pick the highest finishing car for your points. Scott Tucker has two hot-shoe drivers to compete with him in his two cars. Scott would have his two drivers qualify the cars, then start one of them. Then he would pit and jump in the other car, and take the highest finishing car. However, ALMS changed the rules at the last minute. In simplest terms, the rule now has made it such that there are certain minimum and maximum times in the car for all drivers, for each car, instead of total driving time for a given driver. This means that Scott Tucker would have to drive at least 30 minutes in each car now, to keep the other driver from going over their maximum. The other key point is that if a driver does not meet the time requirements, the driver is disqualified. Indirectly, this also disqualifies the car as each car is required to have two drivers.

So a rule change here has been made after a team has simply setup their operation and strategy. We have not heard the ALMS position on this, but it would seem quite unfair to do this after a team made an investment according the rules as written. What about all of that expense and investment? We await word from ALMS on this one, and will keep you posted. Scott Morris reporting from Long Beach

04/17/10 The previous update was not how the circumstances panned out and we will provide a further update.

04/16/10 Level Five Motorsports purchased the ORECA-Courage FLM09 for the inaugural season of LMPC competition and brought in ringer Ryan Hunter-Reay for this weekend's race.  Based on just 10 laps of practice Hunter-Reay probably would have had pole and won the race.  Under ALMS rules either driver can qualify the car and then either driver can start the race.  Bottom line with Hunter-Reay qualifying the entry then Tucker starting the race and handing it back over to Hunter-Reay after his minimum 30 min stint they would probably have won bar any mishap with slower GT drivers etc.  This scenario obviously occurred to the other entries and they complained and ALMS changed the rule again today (after the entries had been filed we believe, and perhaps after Hunter-Reay had already turned laps)... so word is the owner of Level V has pulled the #95 entry in protest, and we are checking on this.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay will pull double-duty at Long Beach this weekend, running in both the IZOD IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport and in the American Le Mans Series for Level 5 Motorsports

(ON RUNNING IN BOTH SERIES THIS WEEKEND)  "I guess I'm 'old school.' I'd rather be racing than doing anything else, so if I have a chance to run another during the weekend, that's fine with me. Don't get me wrong -- it's demanding, but it's workable. We don't have a lot of track time in the ALMS car this weekend, so I can handle it. You probably wouldn't sign on for it every weekend or at every track, but we'll be fine this weekend."

(ON RUNNING AT LONG BEACH)  "Long Beach is one of the cornerstones of our sport. If this were golf, I think Long Beach would be one of the 'majors.' It has so much heritage, so much history and such a great vibe. I don't think there is a single driver that doesn't want to have a Long Beach win on their resume. It means that much."


Gillette says RPM will recover from losing Kahne
Foster Gillett, the managing partner of Richard Petty Motorsports and son of team owner George Gillett Jr., said Friday the team will recover from #9-Kasey Kahne's decision to leave RPM after this year and sign with Hendrick Motorsports. Gillett said he knows Kahne's departure, along with some financial difficulties his family is experiencing, have caused doubts about RPM's future. "Many people last year were saying the same thing," Gillett said. "You know what? We're still here. We survived and thrived and we'll do it again. When change like this happens, it opens up opportunities for others. We are focusing on the opportunities we have more than what we lose." The move leaves RPM in limbo after losing its star driver. The other three drivers for RPM -- #43-AJ Allmendinger, #98-Paul Menard and #19-Elliott Sadler -- also have contracts that expire at the end of 2010. "It's a work in progress next season for our driver lineup," Gillett said. "That's not a secret. We are working to have the best drivers we can. Richard preaches to us to focus on building the best race cars we can and we'll have sponsors and drivers." Gillett said he hopes to keep Budweiser, which sponsors Kahne's car. "My family has a wonderful relationship with Anheuser Busch," Gillett said. "We will put out a maximum effort to keep them. If they ask me to run through this wall, I'll do it." George Gillett is in the process of restructuring a $90 million debt on a loan that's in default. The Gillett family also is trying to sell its interest in the Liverpool soccer team of the English Premier League. "It's no secret that my family is looking at all our options and doing all we can," Foster Gillett said. "The more liquidity we have, the better it is for NASCAR. This is a process we're trying to go through. We're nearing closure on that and I think good news is ahead. We've made a number of enormous changes to get better. I really believe in what we've done." Gillett had good things to say about Kahne and believes the No. 9 team will race well the rest of the season. Kahne ranks 26th in the standings, but made the Chase last year. "We are focused more on what we can do while we have him," Gillett said. "A lot of teams would take a 30-race contract with Kasey. He's one of the best guys in the sport and we are honored to have him. I know what a gentleman Kasey is. He's a quality person and he has great ability as a race car driver. If you give him great equipment he'll go win, and I believe we have a championship-caliber team in the 9. I know Kasey will do his best to uphold all his commitments." Gillett emphasized that he and his father are committed to NASCAR for the long haul. "My family made a choice to be in NASCAR," he said. "We've learned some hard lessons and I have to take responsibility for how things have gone. We've had some hardships, but we've gone through worse." ESPN.com


Chandhok moved down 5 grid places
Karun Chandhok will have a five-place grid penalty for the Chinese Grand Prix after a seal was broken on his gearbox on Friday night.

Any time that a team opens up the gearbox there is supposed to be an FIA official present, but Chandhok's HRT team conducted its work without an observer present. and the officials slapped Chandhok a five place grid penalty.


Force India beats outboard-mirror ban in China
(GMM)  Force India has become the first team to adhere to F1's new ban on outboard mountings for rear-view mirrors.

It emerged in Malaysia two weeks ago that, to boost driver's rearward visibility, mirrors would soon no longer be allowed on flimsy aerodynamic bodywork mounted away from the cockpit sides.

It was reported that the ban would come into effect this weekend in China, but in fact the teams were given until Barcelona to make the necessary changes to their cars.

As well as Force India, the teams with cars that will be affected by the ban are Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, Sauber and HRT.

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Both Mercedes cars used F-duct in qualifying
(GMM)  After qualifying seven tenths off teammate Nico Rosberg's time, Michael Schumacher on Saturday consoled himself by knowing the two W01 cars had not been identical.

We reported after qualifying in Shanghai that Schumacher had tackled the session with Mercedes' new F-duct rear wing, while Rosberg used the existing setup.

"We will certainly be wiser after the weekend and then know what to do for the future," said Schumacher.

But it turns out that both Schumacher and Rosberg did in fact qualify with the F-duct system aboard their grey cars on Saturday afternoon.

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Jolyon Palmer claims dramatic pole position
Jolyon Palmer claimed a dramatic pole position for the opening round of the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship at Silverstone today (Saturday), after the young Briton set the quickest time in the final seconds of the session.

Johan Jokinen looked to have claimed top spot on his F2 qualifying debut, but the Danish driver had to settle for second following Palmer's last gasp effort. Dean Stoneman led the session at the halfway stage, but ended up third at the finish.

"It feels fantastic," said Jolyon. "This year I feel a lot more confident, I've found more pace in the car and I'm really happy with that pole."

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Vettel expects rain on Chinese GP race-day
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel drove a spellbinding lap for pole position in Shanghai, and immediately turned his eyes to the skies for Sunday's Chinese grand prix.

"If you look at the weather, it (the forecast) looks quite bad.  It will rain, the only question is when," said the Red Bull driver, two tenths clear of his teammate and fellow front row sitter Mark Webber.

The 22-year-old German, however, warned that his team is "well armed" for either dry or wet weather.

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Buemi's cousin breaks leg in GT1 crash
(GMM)  In an unhappy coincidence, Sebastien Buemi's first cousin on Friday also had a scary incident on a motor racing circuit.

While Swiss Buemi, 21, emerged unscathed after his front suspension shattered during Shanghai practice, his female cousin Natacha Gachnang was not so lucky.

Her Ford GT car speared off the Abu Dhabi layout at full speed during qualifying for the new GT1 championship, striking a barrier head-on.

22-year-old Gachnang, who had to be cut from the mangled car, broke her right tibia (leg) in the crash that occurred at the end of the 1.2km straight, while a cameraman broke his nose.


Mika Salo to be F1 steward in 2010
(GMM)  Mika Salo has become the latest former driver to agree to become a fourth formula one steward in 2010.

The 43-year-old Finn contested more than 100 grands prix until 2002 with the likes of Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota.

"I was asked and I agreed to do a race this season," Salo, in Abu Dhabi this weekend to race in the GT1 category, is quoted as saying by Finland's Turun Sanomat.

He said he doesn't know when he will make his debut.

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Chinese GP: Webber tops practice 3
Australian Mark Webber topped the times in final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.  The Red Bull driver set a best time of 1m35.323s to beat Lewis Hamilton by over two tenths of a second ahead of this afternoon's qualifying.

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the second Red Bull, the German just edging world champion Jenson Button as McLaren and Red Bull set what looks to be a thrilling battle for pole.

Fernando Alonso completed the top five in the Ferrari, but the Spaniard was half a second off the pace set by Webber.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:35.323 +0.000 16
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.564 +0.241 12
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:35.691 +0.368 14
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.747 +0.424 14
5. Alonso Ferrari 1:35.857 +0.534 13
6. Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.913 +0.590 12
7. Schumacher Mercedes 1:36.262 +0.939 10
8. Kubica Renault 1:36.343 +1.020 16
9. Massa Ferrari 1:36.416 +1.093 11
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.634 +1.311 16
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.879 +1.556 17
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:37.031 +1.708 16
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.192 +1.869 18
14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.240 +1.917 18
15. Petrov Renault 1:37.339 +2.016 13
16. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:37.585 +2.262 13
17. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.664 +2.341 19
18. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:37.784 +2.461 14
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.579 +4.256 15
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:39.616 +4.293 17
21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.749 +4.426 13
22. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:39.776 +4.453 16
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:40.316 +4.993 19
24. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:41.141 +5.818 18


F-duct: McLaren call it RW80, Red Bull call it the 'f'ing duct'
(GMM)  The actual name for McLaren's so-called 'F-duct' is the 'RW80'.

It is believed the F-duct name was coined by the specialist media, either in reference to the mere shape and appearance of the air inlet, or the fact it is mounted on the red 'f' of the upper monocoque Vodafone branding.

'RW80', however, is the official name for the rear-wing stalling system, with McLaren describing its innovations with an acronym (Rear Wing) following by a number based on iterations.

Initially, some insiders jokingly tried to start a trend when the controversy broke by describing it as 'knee-gate' -- referring to the rumored way in which the McLaren driver's trigger the airflow.

The alternate F-duct descriptor then emerged when reporters tired of writing words along the lines of 'knee activated air inlet and rear wing system'.

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Hamilton defiant after criticism in drivers' briefing
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren boss sounded defiant after the 25-year-old was chided by his fellow drivers on Friday.

In the wake of his weaving in front of Vitaly Petrov's Renault in Malaysia two weeks ago, some of Hamilton's rivals rallied to make clear their view that he should have received an actual penalty rather than a mere warning.

The drivers confronted Briton during a meeting late on Friday, and are believed to have pushed FIA race director Charlie Whiting to impose drive-through penalties for similar driving infractions in the future.

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HRT signs Yamamoto as Friday driver
(GMM)  HRT has signed Sakon Yamamoto as a test, reserve and occasional 'Friday' driver.

It had been expected that team boss Colin Kolles would pay a driver to run during Friday practice sessions to gauge the competitiveness of the F110 car, as well as the pace of Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok.

Japanese Yamamoto, 27, contested 14 grands prix with Super Aguri and Spyker in 2006 and 2007.

"I hope I will be able to gather useful data whenever possible on Friday for the race drivers," he said in a media statement.

Kolles added: "I am confident that his input into the development of our car will be useful and means another reinforcement of our team as the European season starts in Barcelona."

tv news

Wind Tunnel Sunday
Featured Interview Aric Almirola (Camping World Truck Series Title Contender)

Camping World Truck Series title contender, Aric Almirola, will join Dave Despain in the studio as a featured guest this Sunday April 18th. After posting top 12 finishes in all 4 Truck Series races this year for Billy Ballew Motorsports, Almirola finds himself leading the series points.

We’ll talk to Aric about his strong start to the season and get a progress report on his return to the Sprint CUP Series where he drove Earnhardt Ganassi’s 8car until sponsorship dried up early last year and the team was forced to shut down.

Featured Interview John Andretti (2010 Indy 500 Competitor)

Veteran NASCAR and IndyCar racer, John Andretti, will also be a featured guest this Sunday. As one of the most versatile drivers over the past 25 years, Andretti has successfully raced in CART, IRL, NASCAR, NHRA, USAC and Grand-Am. He’s got 2 Sprint CUP wins, a CART win, a Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona victory, and 10 starts in the Indy 500 to his credit...where he had a best finish of 5th in 1991.

This year, he returns to Indy for the famed 500...but this time, he’ll be driving for his cousin, Michael, and his Andretti Autosport team.

This Week’s Races

Sprint CUP, Nationwide, and ARCA in Texas
Formula 1 in China
IndyCar and ALMS in Long Beach, CA
NHRA in Las Vegas
AMA SuperBike at Road Atlanta
AMA Supercross in St. Louis


Aston Martin tops opening ALMS practice at Long Beach
The confines of the historic Long Beach circuit proved friendly again for Adrian Fernandez. The Mexican star and veteran of 16 open-wheel and sports car races turned the fastest time in Friday morning’s opening practice for the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. He drove the Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin prototype coupe to a quick lap of 1:15.112 (94.323 mph) around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit.

Fernandez, last year’s LMP2 race-winner, is driving with Harold Primat in the first Long Beach race for the Lola-Aston Martin. Coming into the weekend, the team was unsure how the big prototype would handle the tight turns; the answer was to run as much downforce as possible.

Fernandez finished 1.082 seconds quicker than Simon Pagenaud in Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s HPD ARX-01c. The young Frenchman won last year’s race with Gil de Ferran, who beat David Brabham – now Pagenaud’s teammate.

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Biffle leads practice 1 in Texas
Pos No Driver Make Time Gap Speed
1. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 28.300 190.813
2. 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 28.391 0.091 190.201
3. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 28.486 0.186 189.567
4. 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 28.512 0.212 189.394
5. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 28.536 0.236 189.235
6. 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 28.537 0.237 189.228
7. 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 28.537 0.237 189.228
8. 82 Scott Speed Toyota 28.542 0.242 189.195
9. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 28.554 0.254 189.115
10. 12 Brad Keselowski Dodge 28.570 0.270 189.010
11. 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 28.571 0.271 189.003
12. 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 28.583 0.283 188.923
13. 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford 28.597 0.297 188.831
14. 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 28.601 0.301 188.805
15. 00 David Reutimann Toyota 28.617 0.317 188.699
16. 6 David Ragan Ford 28.622 0.322 188.666
17. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 28.630 0.330 188.613
18. 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 28.638 0.338 188.561
19. 20 Joey Logano Toyota 28.655 0.355 188.449
20. 9 Kasey Kahne Ford 28.667 0.367 188.370
21. 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet 28.675 0.375 188.317
22. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 28.688 0.388 188.232
23. 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 28.705 0.405 188.120
24. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 28.708 0.408 188.101
25. 13 Max Papis Toyota 28.726 0.426 187.983
26. 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 28.736 0.436 187.918
27. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 28.736 0.436 187.918
28. 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 28.736 0.436 187.918
29. 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 28.747 0.447 187.846
30. 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota 28.783 0.483 187.611
31. 09 Aric Almirola Chevrolet 28.794 0.494 187.539
32. 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota 28.804 0.504 187.474
33. 21 Bill Elliott Ford 28.821 0.521 187.363
34. 98 Paul Menard Ford 28.826 0.526 187.331
35. 37 David Gilliland Ford 28.838 0.538 187.253
36. 19 Elliott Sadler Ford 28.839 0.539 187.246
37. 55 Dave Blaney Toyota 28.894 0.594 186.890
38. 132 Reed Sorenson Toyota 28.928 0.628 186.670
39. 26 David Stremme Ford 28.935 0.635 186.625
40. 71 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 28.942 0.642 186.580
41. 34 Travis Kvapil Ford 29.013 0.713 186.124
42. 7 Robby Gordon Toyota 29.014 0.714 186.117
43. 66 Michael McDowell Toyota 29.046 0.746 185.912
44. 46 Terry Cook* Dodge 29.082 0.782 185.682
45. 38 Kevin Conway* Ford 29.187 0.887 185.014


Indy Lights Friday news from Long Beach
In Firestone Indy Lights practice, Sebastian Saavedra, driving the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport car, topped the time chart for the Grand Prix of Long Beach at 1:15.1732.

James Hinchcliffe in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling entry was second (1:15.4583), and Martin Plowman was third in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing car for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport.

Charlie Kimball, who posted a career-best second on the Barber Motorsports Park road course, was fourth quick (1:15.8785) in the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing Andretti Autsport. J.K. Vernay, who has won the first two races of the season, was fifth on the chart (1:15.9426) in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

Sebastian Saavedra
The top two drivers in today Indy Lights practice talked about the track at this year’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.

AR1: How is the track this year?
James Hinchcliffe: "The track has some good grip this year, I think because the IndyCar guys got out there before us. So the grip is good, but it is bumpier than last year, especially in the braking zones for turn 1 which has kind of a washboard thing going on. Turns 8 and 9 have some isolated bumps too that I don't really recall noticing last year.

Sebastian Saavedra: "Yeah, the track is a little bumpier than last year, but the braking points seem about the same, and the grip is good. We saw a lot of guys locking brakes over the bumps in the braking zones too. There are some good passing spots for these cars at this track. Turn one is always good, and 9 is obvious too, but if you are on top of things 6 and 8 can be good spots to catch people off guard."

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Martin insists he will drive the No. 5 in 2011
Mark Martin
Mark Martin says he has no intention of changing his plans to continue driving Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 car in 2011, and that he will race a Cup car in 2012, either in a full-time or part-time role with another organization.

Martin is in his second full season with Hendrick. He was originally scheduled to run a full season in 2009 and cut back to a partial schedule this year. The 51-year-old veteran signed a deal last September, however, to drive full-time through 2011, with sponsor GoDaddy.com.

But with Hendrick having signed Richard Petty Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne to take over the No. 5 ride starting in 2012, there has been speculation that Martin might opt to make 2010 his final full-time season to allow Kahne to take over the car in 2011.

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Franchitti becomes TW Steel ambassador
TW Steel, the Dutch brand specializing in oversized watches, announced Friday that reigning IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, Dario Franchitti, is to become a Global Brand Ambassador.

Franchitti, IndyCar Series Champion in 2007 and 2009, was announced as TW Steel’s latest ambassador as he began preparations to defend his ‘Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’ race title with this year’s event once again taking place on the streets of Long Beach, California, Friday 16th – Sunday 18th April.

TW Steel is delighted to announce that in addition to the 36-year-old Scottish racer becoming an ambassador for the brand, he will also be involved in the design and subsequent promotion of the ‘TW Steel Dario Franchitti’ edition – the first watch to sport the 2007 Indy 500 Winner’s name and official logo.

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Power tops opening LB practice
Penske Racing's Will Power topped opening practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race with a lap of 1m11.403s. He was followed closely by Castroneves, Dixon, Briscoe and Franchitti.



Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m11.4038s + 0.0000s
2. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m11.5044s + 0.1005s
3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m11.5430s + 0.1391s
4. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m11.5477s + 0.1439s
5. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m11.6379s + 0.2340s
6. Tony Kanaan Andretti 1m11.6410s + 0.2371s
7. Alex Tagliani Fazzt 1m11.7610s + 0.3572s
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m11.9261s + 0.5223s
9. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m11.9741s + 0.5703s
10. EJ Viso KV 1m11.9886s + 0.5847s
11. Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1m12.1321s + 0.5847s
12. Mario Moraes KV 1m12.1698s + 0.7283s
13. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.2397s + 0.8358s
14. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon/de Ferran 1m12.4120s + 1.0081s
15. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m12.4429s + 1.0391s
16. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m12.4582s + 1.0543s
17. Dan Wheldon Panther 1m12.5258s + 1.1220s
18. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m12.5832s + 1.1794s
19. Takuma Sato KV 1m12.6696s + 1.2657s
20. Graham Rahal Sarah Fisher 1m13.1848s + 1.7810s
21. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m13.3593s + 1.9555s
22. Mario Romancini Conquest 1m13.4407s + 2.0368s
23. Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne 1m14.0553s + 2.6514s
24. Bertrand Baguette Conquest 1m14.4159s + 3.0121s
25. Milka Duno Dale Coyne 1m19.5348s + 5.1188s


Johan Jokinen dominates Silverstone free practice two
Johan Jokinen has set the pace during the second free practice session of the day at Silverstone, after recording a lap time more than four tenths quicker than the rest of the field.

Such was Jokinen's dominance that the 19-year-old set two laps faster than his closest rivals, as he immediately bettered his own 1:37.9s benchmark to record a pacesetting 1:37.851s lap time with just over five minutes of the session remaining.

Jolyon Palmer and Sergey Afanasiev were second and third respectively - continuing their impressive pre-season testing form. Kelvin Snoeks proved to be the surprise package during the 30 minutes of action, as the Dutchman set the fastest first sector of any driver and finished fourth overall.

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Friday morning notes from Long Beach
The crowds mill around the beautiful Long Beach circuit
Aaron Rommel/AR1.com
Friday morning has dawned sunny and pleasant in Long Beach, California where the ALMS cars are currently on track practicing.

Pine Avenue was a big party for hundreds of race fans who headed downtown for Tecate Thunder Thursday.  Crowds on Thursday packed Pine Avenue between Broadway and 4th Street to get racers' autographs and watch a night of diverse entertainment ranging from live DJs and pit competitions to motorcycle stunts and roller derby exhibition to a Pit Stop Competition between IZOD IndyCar Series stars Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

"This is the biggest event we experience here," said one downtown restaurant owner. "There are festivals that draw the crowds, but not as big as this, so it's really a big thing here."

Chris Esslinger, Director of Communications of the Toyota Grand Prix, was impressed by Thursday's turnout.

"This place is stacked with people," he said. "All the restaurants are busy. Judging from this, and our ticket sales, we're going to have a pretty darn good weekend."

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Chinese GP: Friday Quotes


Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:35.217): "We may have topped the timesheets in each session, but I don't necessarily think today's times make us the favorites for this race. The car does feel good, but our pace looks pretty similar to some of the other cars on long runs. Everyone talks about us having a straight-line advantage, but that's not true - other cars have the same speed as us at the end of the straight. We're a little bit quicker than some teams, but, equally, they're able to run more downforce. It's about getting a good balance - and we feel we've got that. We're continuing with the good feeling we felt in Malaysia, but we've made some further subtle changes and they were encouraging. I come out of today with a positive feeling - we'll now keep our heads down and concentrate on gaining a strong qualifying position tomorrow."

Jenson Button (3rd, 1:35.593): "Today's been good. This afternoon was a little frustrating: on my new-tire run I ran into traffic - which you seem to get in every session - but the actual work we've done, and the direction we've taken, has been positive. There are a few more things we need to do, but we're almost getting the maximum out of the car - especially on the long runs. We're moving in the right direction. There are a few things we can still tweak over the course of this evening, but I think we've come here with a pretty good car from lap one. Of course, some of the teams haven't shown their hand yet, but you can tell from the long-run times that they're competitive. Maybe we're not on their pace yet, but we've got tonight to make further improvements to the car."

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Chinese GP: Friday Press Conference

Eric Boullier (Renault)
Colin Kolles (HRT)
Adam Parr (Williams)
Peter Sauber (BMW Sauber)

Q: Colin, tell us about your driver pairing, completely inexperienced when it comes to this race here in Shanghai?

Colin KOLLES: Well, we are a new team, new cars and rookie drivers, so it's not easy, for sure, but I think they've done quite a good job in the first three races, not making too many mistakes. Today also went quite well, at a different level to the top teams, of course, but I think that we are improving steadily, so we are making step after step.

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A day to remember for Andretti and Sullivan
Michael Andretti checks out his name in the sidewalk on Pine Ave. during the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame induction ceremony on April 15, 2010. The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach honored racing legends Danny Sullivan and Michael Andretti during the ceremony. Photo by Jeff Gritchen / Long Beach Press-Telegram (Jeff Gritchen/Press-Telegram)
The only father/son team to ever race to victory on the streets of Long Beach is now the first to be forever honored in the streets of Long Beach.

Two-time Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Michael Andretti, along with 1992 winner Danny Sullivan, was inducted Thursday into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on South Pine Avenue. Andretti joined his famous father Mario, a four-time Long Beach winner who was honored in 2008, with a 22-inch bronze medallion listing his accomplishments embedded in the concrete.

"Long Beach is very special, not only to me but my whole family," said Michael, who claimed the first (1986) and last (2002) victories of his career here. "This is a great honor and I will definitely cherish it."

Grand Prix Association of Long Beach CEO Jim Michaelian credited the Andretti family with giving the race respectability in the early years. Mario won in 1977-when Formula 1 still ran here-before Indy car victories in 1984, 1985 and 1987. Michael's victory in 1986 gave the Andretti family four consecutive Long Beach triumphs.

"The Andretti name helped solidify this event in terms of being an attraction," Michaelian said.

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Fox to offer extended post-race coverage online
Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Overdrive on FoxSports.com will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday's Sprint Cup race. The program will use Fox's entire nine-person broadcasting crew and consist of live interviews and analysis that will be streamed to its Web site.

"It's something we should have been doing all along,'' Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports, told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

"It's definitely a can't lose, especially when you take into account what the audience wants to see. We are trying to take care of an audience that has invested four hours into the race, wants more, and we can give them more.''


Buemi not afraid to return to Toro Rosso cockpit
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi insists he will have no qualms about returning to the wheel of his Toro Rosso on Saturday.

In initial practice for the Chinese grand prix, the 21-year-old Swiss had a scary incident when both wheels sheared off at high speed.

He appeared shaken once he had returned to the garage, and was "quiet" as he went off to the circuit medical centre for a routine check, his team boss Franz Tost revealed.

Buemi could not return to the track in the afternoon because his STR5 was still being repaired, but he insists he will not give a second thought to stepping back into the cockpit on qualifying day in Shanghai.

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Tracy calls team owners prostitutes
Some things never get old — like watching John Candy and Steve Martin in Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

Or like asking Paul Tracy why he isn’t racing full time in the IZOD IndyCar series. Because even at 41 years old, Tracy has as much fire in his belly to win again on the IndyCar circuit as he had 18 years ago when he strapped himself into a Chevrolet-powered Penske race car for his first go at the Indy 500 in 1992. Maybe even more.

Which leads us to a media event Saturday in California at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Tracy will announce that American insurance giant Geico will be on the side of his No. 3 KV Racing Technologies Dallara at the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

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Schu happy with new wing
Michael Schumacher was pleased with the general Mercedes package after finishing fourth on the Friday timesheets in China. With his best lap of 1:35.602 being just nine thousandths of a second slower than third placed Jenson Button, Michael admits that results exceed pre-session expectations.

It was a strong day for Mercedes with, not just its works team and McLaren locking out the top four places, but Adrian Sutil also making the top ten in his Mercedes-powered Force India. For the 7-time World Champion, things are on the up although Schumacher was affected by a tyre problem on Friday.

Today's practice sessions went better than I had expected," he admitted. "The handling was pretty much okay and it seems that we have made a small step forward.

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Bernie confident of 20 races in '11
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Friday confirmed there will be a record 20 Grand Prix races in the world championship next year with a race in India joining the calendar.

Ecclestone had been expected to drop one or two races to make room for India but despite rumors that the events held in Turkey and planned for South Korea were under pressure, he insisted they will continue.

Fresh from a visit to Yeongam in South Korea, Ecclestone told reporters at the Shanghai International Circuit, hosting the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, he was confident the first Korean Grand Prix would go ahead in October.

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Alonso plays down latest engine failure
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Friday played down the effect his latest engine failure could have on his bid to win the 2010 world championship.

The Spaniard also had a failure that put him out of the Malaysian grand prix two weeks ago, sparking concerns he might run out of his allocation of eight engines for the year.

But he told the Spanish news agency EFE that Ferrari will "continue with our original plan" for engine use for now.

The engine that failed in his F110 on Friday morning was the one removed after an overheating issue after qualifying in Bahrain.

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Chinese GP: Hamilton tops Practice 2
McLaren continued to set the pace in the second free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix but this time it was Lewis Hamilton (1:35.217) who headed the time sheets ahead of Nico Rosberg (1:35.465) and McLaren team mate Jenson Button (1:35.593).

Michael Schumacher maintained his level from first practice and finished up fourth quickest (1:35.602), with the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel (1:35.791) and Mark Webber (1:35.995) rounding out the top six.

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Mercedes F-duct 'promising' after Friday debut
(GMM)  Mercedes debuted a McLaren-like F-duct system on Michael Schumacher's car on Friday morning in China.

Team reserve driver Nick Heidfeld said a decision has not been taken about whether the device, activated in the cockpit by the driver and designed to spoil the downforce to the rear wing on straights, will stay on the W01 for qualifying and the race.

"It is now being analyzed to see whether we use it on both cars for the rest of the weekend," Heidfeld told the German broadcaster Sky.

The 32-year-old said he thinks the system works well, after the wind tunnel data looked "promising".

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China to stay on F1 calendar - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Friday said China is staying on the F1 calendar beyond this weekend's event.

The huge Shanghai facility has been criticized due to its low spectator numbers and lack of atmosphere.

One section of vast grandstands this weekend is spelling out a local 'Made With China' branding message, due to the low chance they will need to accommodate actual people.

"The contract is ongoing here," Ecclestone said.  "We renew every five years.  It will go on," F1 chief executive Ecclestone told reporters in the vast concrete paddock on Friday afternoon.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Icelandic volcano affects F1 world in China
  • Few miles for Ferrari's F-duct in China
  • Massa says no in-race team orders at Ferrari
  • Upright failure caused Buemi crash - team
  • Friday news briefs from China
  • Kolles plays down criticisms of HRT's Dallara car
  • De la Rosa not worried about rumors of losing seat

Icelandic volcano affects F1 world in China
(GMM)  An erupting volcano in Iceland has affected the world of formula one.

The dark cloud of smoke from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that is now shrouding most of north Europe forced thousands of flights to be cancelled.

BBC pundit Eddie Jordan is one high profile regular stranded in Britain due to the airport strife, and it is believed that Williams did not run its new F-duct in first practice because the parts could not be flown to China from the UK.

It is believed that Virgin is missing some staff and last-minute parts.

The situation could also affect the F1 circus' return to Europe after Sunday's race.

"For several days you'll have crews and planes in the wrong places," said a British Airways spokesman.  "It will take a few days to sort it out."

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Chinese GP: Button tops practice 1 as Buemi's suspension explodes
Jenson Button (1:36.677) topped the first session of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, round four of the F1 world championship with just a tenth of a second separating the reigning world champion, Nico Rosberg's Mercedes (1:36.748) and teammate Lewis Hamilton (1:36.775) in the second McLaren Mercedes.

The real newsmaker, however, was a dramatic incident involving Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso, which had spent much of the session in the pits with a leak in the brake system. Not long after Buemi re-emerged, the Toro Rosso both front suspensions exploded under maximum braking at the end of the main straight. The forces were such that the wheel tethers were torn away, with one of the errant wheels narrowly missing a camera man before bouncing over the retaining fence into a public area.

Buemi looked concerned and a little angry when he returned to the pits and the team was awaiting the return of its crashed chassis to further investigate the root of the problem.

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NBC Today Show to feature Risi's Tess Gape
Tess Gape
NBC’s Today Show will be on site for the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans at Long Beach race this weekend, producing a series on women working in traditional male jobs. Tess Gape, mechanic for the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT, is one of its feature stories. Weekend anchor Jenna Wolfe will come to Long Beach as the correspondent.
Gape, from Toronto, left high school and applied for the Fire Service. She was on a wait list, so she decided to go racing instead and trained at Mosport International Raceway’s race school as a mechanic. For four years, she worked in the Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights series before moving to Champ Car for another four seasons. Gape also did a year with the Winston West Series.

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Unfamiliar territory for AMR at Long Beach
Needless to say, designers at Aston Martin and Lola didn’t quite have the historic Long Beach street circuit in mind when they built Aston Martin Racing’s sleek closed-top Lola-Aston Martin prototype. Distance-wise, two laps at Long Beach is a little more than one pass down the famed Mulsanne Straight.

So that brings us to this weekend’s Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. Adrian Fernandez and Harold Primat will pilot the Aston Martin-powered Lola coupe around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit. One of the biggest questions of the entire event is just how the big prototype will maneuver around Long Beach on its first visit.

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Intersport Racing signs new driver
Putting adversity behind them, Intersport Racing heads to the 2010 Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach with one goal in mind; go to the front. Ready for a street fight, the team returns to Long Beach fielding entries in the LMP1 class and the all new LMPC division.

Beginning at Long Beach, driver Nikolas Konstant will join the team as co-driver in the LMP1 car sharing the driving duties with Clint and Jon Field for the 2010 season. Konstant comes to the team with a background in Formula racing and Indy Lights. Konstant had a very successful test in the LMP1 car earlier in the year during the American Le Mans Series winter test.

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Scary failure for Buemi, more engine problems for Alonso
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi had a major scare during Friday's opening practice session in Shanghai.

After a sudden and catastrophic double suspension failure on the Swiss' Toro Rosso under heavy braking, both front wheels sheared off the car and he was pitched into the barrier and gravel trap at high speed.

The incident brought out the red flags and caused dramatic scenes in the Faenza based team's pits, as Jaime Alguersuari's sister car was withdrawn from the session.

The early official word from the STR garage - where a shaken Buemi, 21, initially refused to discuss his crash as he stormed out - is that the team is not speculating about the cause until the damaged car is checked.

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