Buddy Rice Joins Panther for Indy SPEEDTV.com reports that Buddy Rice will partner with J.R. Hildebrand next month for Panther Racing in the Indy 500.
“I’m pumped to be at Panther, and the intention is that we’ll be able to run more than Indy, but this is the first step, and I’m here to help JR Hildebrand and help the team,” Rice said. “The whole key for me coming back is that I wanted to be in competitive equipment and have a chance to win. I didn’t want to come back to Indy just to pound out laps, and given how competitive the series has become that’s how it has to be. I’ve had offers in the past that didn’t work out for different reasons, and I wasn’t coming back and driving unless I had the chance to run up front – that’s always been my goal. Panther is a team that can win the race so when I had the opportunity, I couldn’t say no.”
Hyundai quarterly profit up 46% to $1.75B Hyundai has had a big year, and the results are showing in the form of healthy profits. According to BusinessWeek, the Korean automaker earned $1.75 billion in the first quarter, up 46 percent versus the first quarter of 2010. Overall revenue was up 21 percent to $17 billion.
Sales volume was higher as well, as the 922,000 units sold globally represented a nine percent increase. Much of that increase occurred in plants in the U.S. and China, where output climbed by 14 percent. A richer model mix also buoyed Hyundai's profits, as pricing per model rose by an impressive 14 percent in overseas markets and 2.5 percent in its Korean home market.
Hyundai's impressive quarterly performance helped rally stocks in Korea, and the automaker saw a 7.5 percent gain on the day. For the year, Hyundai's share price has risen a meteoric 44 percent.
SportsCenter Celebrating 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 As Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 with the May 29 “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” ESPN’s flagship news and information program SportsCenter will join the celebration throughout the Month of May.
Starting Sunday, May 1, and running every day through the morning of the race, SportsCenter will televise a series of Indianapolis 500 Centennial Moments. The video segments will look back on some of the greatest moments and biggest heroes over the history of the race. There will be a new segment each day and each will run a minimum of three times a day, included in the daytime, prime time and West Coast prime time programs. The moments also will be available for viewing on ESPN.com.
The Indianapolis 500 will air on ABC for the 47th consecutive year on May 29. Coverage is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins at 11 a.m. ET.
With business down, NASCAR announces big shakeup To drive strategic priorities and overall industry growth, NASCAR today announced key additions to its executive leadership team and several organizational changes designed to better position the sanctioning body for long-term growth and to meet the immediate needs of key industry partners. The changes are effective immediately.
BROADCASTING Sports television veteran Steve Herbst has joined NASCAR Media Group (NMG) as vice president of broadcasting and global media strategy and will report to NMG President Paul Brooks. Herbst, who will be based in NASCAR’s New York City office, most recently held the position of executive vice president and general manger of CBS College Sports Network from 2008-2010. While there, he was responsible for managing all aspects of the 24-hour network. Under his leadership, the network’s subscriber base grew by 75 percent and advertising sales increased by 56 percent.
Richards joins DSR as crew chief Tim Richards, world-champion tuner, today joined Don Schumacher Racing as the crew chief for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driven by Ron Capps and will be part of the team this weekend at the 24th annual NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway outside of Houston.
According to Don Schumacher, Richards brings championship-caliber tuning to the team and is a perfect addition to the DSR organization.
“Tim’s track record is exemplary,” said Schumacher. “He has won championships throughout his distinguished career and I believe he can provide the technical expertise and championship-quality leadership to put the NAPA car into the winner’s circle on a consistent basis.
Lon Bromley Joins Circuit of the Americas Circuit of the Americas has hired Lon Bromley as Director of Safety. A 20-year veteran of the racing world, Bromley is considered an expert in the field of motor sports safety and on-track rapid response.
Bromley will oversee the development of safety procedures and policy at Circuit of the Americas. He will also be responsible for track maintenance programs and assist in the development of emergency protocols. Additional responsibilities will include overseeing procurement and maintenance of rescue equipment, coordination of track marshals and volunteers, and safety planning with local ambulance, fire, EMT, and paramedic services.
SCCA T&S Chief Peplowski Passes Away Suddenly Sports Car Club of America and SCCA Pro Racing Timing and Scoring Chief Constance “Con” Peplowski, of Summerville, S.C., died suddenly Wednesday, after a suspected heart attack while preparing for this weekend’s SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Series race at Road Atlanta. She was 61.
Peplowski served as the Chief of Timing and Scoring for the MX-5 Cup series, but also spent considerable time working with SCCA Pro Racing’s other series, including the Pirelli World Challenge, Trans-Am, Spec Racer Ford Pro and Pro Formula Enterprises. Additionally, she was the Chief of Timing and Scoring for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, which concluded a three-year run in 2010. Outside of professional racing, Peplowski was a former Divisional (2004-2006) and National (2005-2007) Administrator of Timing & Scoring for SCCA Club Racing. She served as Chief of Timing and Scoring at the National Championship Runoffs as the National Administrator and was instrumental in implementing transponder timing as well as live internet timing and scoring at that event.
Pay-per-view F1 will be bad, says Blundell Mark Blundell is adamant that pay-per-view F1 television coverage would prove highly unpopular. Talk of such a happening was generated last week as reports circulated that BSkyB owner Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation could soon buy into the sport.
“Pay-per-view is nothing new for Formula 1 in the UK,” Blundell told GPUpdate.net via telephone, referring to Sky's F1 Digital+ package of 2002.
“We’ve seen it before and it didn’t work, basically. I think it would be a crying shame if it went to that – I think it should be free-to-air access and I think that’s probably what appeals to most of the sponsors and manufacturers.
Duno Set to Make Short Track Racing Debut at Salem Speedway 2011 is a year of new beginnings for Milka Duno and her Sheltra Motorsports team, and this weekend will be no different as Duno is set to make her first-career short track start in Sunday afternoon's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200. Duno will pilot her No. 63 CITGO SUPERGARD Dodge to her short track debut at one of the most difficult tracks on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards circuit - Salem Speedway.
Salem's 0.555-mile oval is sure to present a challenge as it is a track that is difficult for veterans and rookies alike. To say the renowned speedway has a lot of character doesn't even begin to describe what racing at Salem is like. With a rough, bumpy surface to go along with the fast, unforgiving high-banks, Salem Speedway has challenged some of the most legendary names in auto racing and Milka Duno is ready to add her name to that list.
New TDI for Audi LeMans effort The new Audi R18 TDI with which Audi targets its tenth victory in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11/12 is ready today with "tomorrow’s" technology. During development of the new LMP1 sports car the integration and future electrification of the powertrain and various possible concepts for energy recuperation have been taken into account.
"We are very conscious of such systems," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "In our opinion, just as soon as this technology proves to be the most efficient we will use it at Le Mans."
Although diesel engines have been repeatedly restricted by the regulations since their victorious introduction in 2006, Audi relies on TDI power once again for its new LMP1. "Audi invented the TDI engine and is convinced that this technology remains one of the most efficient and modern forms to power a car - especially at Le Mans where engines with high specific power, low fuel consumption and low emissions are a necessity."
Corvette replaces Goodyear with Michelin tires, lap times drop 3 sec Chevy engineers have replaced the Goodyear tires on the Corvette with superior Michelin tires and the results are dramatic. When combined with the Corvette’s exclusive Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology – which manages torque delivery for maximum performance – the tires are expected to help set new benchmarks for Corvette performance. Engineers estimate an 8-percent gain in maximum lateral acceleration, to more than 1.1g, and improved braking distance. Testing at Virginia International Raceway has demonstrated improvement of approximately three seconds per lap.
Aston Martin to miss Spa Aston Martin will not compete at next weekend's Spa 1000km.
"We could go to the Spa 1000km race in May, but this race meeting will set an agenda for us that doesn't allow us to achieve what we need to accomplish," said Aston Martin Racing chairman David Richards.
"We need to complete our testing at our own pace including engine, aero and long distance tests."
Roger Penske driver Helio Castroneves had better keep it clean this weekend
Helio Castroneves will be on double-secret probation this weekend, when the IZOD IndyCar Series travels to his native Brazil for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.
Castroneves’ No. 3 Dallara/Honda was involved in two separate incidents within five laps of each other during the series’ most recent event, the 37th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17. The first incident involved the No. 22 car driven by Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
The other occurred on a Lap 66 restart in which Castroneves had difficulty braking entering Turn 1 and created a logjam by impeding the progress of Team Penske teammate Will Power and Oriol Servia. Scott Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry also sustained rear suspension damage when it ran over Castroneves’ front wing.
European Electric-Car Race Series Will Have 2 California Events In 2011
Electric Open Wheel racer
If you love the thrill of motor racing but the carbon footprint of Nascar and Formula 1 is getting you down then the decidedly lower-emissions all-electric racing offered by the 2011 EV Cup may be for you.
Conceived a few years ago and attracting entries from former competitors in The American Le Mans Series as well as Formula One British champion Damon Hill and former BBC Top Gear Stig Ben Collins the first year of races have now been confirmed.
Starting in August this year, the EV Cup will hold with five races in Europe before finishing in the U.S., cumulating in a race at the California Speedway on December 17, 2011.
Goodyear reschedules tire tests for Indy, Kentucky A Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday prior to this week's Richmond race has been rescheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday because of a forecast of bad weather.
Another Goodyear tire test, slated for May 17 test at Kentucky Speedway, has been moved to June 1 while upgrades to the track, including to the backstretch inside wall, are completed.
The drivers originally scheduled for both tests are tentatively scheduled to test on the new dates.
Forbes releases 2011 Worst Cars on the Road list Forbes has released its 2011 Worst Cars on the Road list, and the outcome is not pretty for American manufacturers. With the exception of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 2011 Smart ForTwo and the 2011 Nissan Titan, the cars on the list are all American-made. Worse than that, they all come from two manufacturers: General Motors and Chrysler. Ford managed to avoid the list completely.
To determine which cars get the dubious honor and which don't, Forbes compiles results from six studies by Consumer Reports including the Most Reliable Cars Report, Best and Worst Safety Performance Survey, Best and Worst Fuel Economy, Highest Cost of Ownership, the Best and Worst Values Report and Consumer Reports' overall scores for new cars.
Honda reports good results despite earthquake Despite the impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 and the unfavorable currency effects due to appreciation of the Japanese yen, consolidated operating income for the fiscal fourth quarter (January 1, 2011 through March 31, 2011) was 46.2 billion yen primarily due to the expansion of motorcycle and automobile businesses in emerging markets and the contribution of financial business in North America.
Consolidated operating income, income before income taxes, and equity in income of affiliates for the fiscal year 2011 (April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011) increased considerably compared to the last fiscal year, primarily due to increased unit sales in motorcycle, automobile and power product businesses and continuing cost reduction efforts, offsetting the impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the unfavorable currency effects due to Japanese yen appreciation, and increased R&D expenses. Net income was 534.0 billion yen, which almost doubled from the last fiscal year.
Will Power must also win on ovals to win IndyCar title
Will Power pits at Texas last year
It's going to surprise no one when Will Power runs well Sunday when the IndyCar Series heads to Brazil for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. No driver in the circuit runs better on road courses than the Team Penske driver, who won the series' road-course title last year.
It's when the Indy cars take to the oval course that will decide whether the Australian will be able to snare his first IndyCar championship.
"We know we've got to do better on the ovals than we did last year," Power said. "I don't think that will be a problem."
Rolls-Royce Phantom App Now Available On App Store
Nowadays there is an iPhone or IPad app for everything
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today announced the Rolls-Royce Phantom App is now available on the App Store. The Rolls-Royce Phantom App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch allows clients and Rolls-Royce enthusiasts to create highly bespoke virtual models, including the ability to apply unique color and interior trim combinations.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom App also features an image gallery showcasing bespoke features such as seat piping, veneer inserts, humidor and picnic sets. Rolls-Royce prides itself on a palette of 44,000 colors for Phantom and the app lets users create the most esoteric and individual of exterior finishes. The Bespoke Color Match feature allows limitless and unique single and two-tone paint designs. Using an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch camera, users could capture - for example - the color of a favorite lipstick or luggage then apply it directly to the exterior of their virtual Phantom.
Visit Orlando sponsors IndyCar It may go by at speeds of more than 100 mph, but Visit Orlando’s “Orlando Makes Me Smile” tag line is going to another level.
The Central Florida convention, tourism and visitors bureau agency announced its first-ever sporting sponsorship that includes being on Formula racer James Jakes’ No. 18 car for the Izod IndyCar Series race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 1.
Renderings of the car’s design show it sporting the Visit Orlando orange and blue colors and the tagline “Orlando Makes Me Smile” in English and Portuguese.
Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix 2011 - James Davison Interview Third generation driver James Davison talks about his family racing history and future plans. James drove a car owned by his Uncle Richard in the Formula 5000 support races at Albert Park over the Australian Grand Prix Weekend.
RCR still looking for sponsorship in a few races for #33 car Clint Bowyer, was the guest on the NASCAR Weekly Video Teleconference. One question concerned sponsorship of the #33 in 2011:
Q. I was watching the Texas race, and you ran real well there, and afterwards when you were doing an interview, you were sort of inviting other people, or companies, to come and sponsor your car. I just wondered if you could talk a moment about the landscape for getting sponsors, how difficult it is, how challenging it is, in these economic times.
CLINT BOWYER: Very challenging. It's challenging for every race team. I mean, everybody is -- haven't been on easy street really, but for lack of a better term, things have been pretty easy to come by sponsors and things over the years. And through the economy the way it is and a lot of things happening, you know, it has made it a lot more difficult, and we do have some open races toward the end of the year. It's important to me to make sure that I do everything I can possibly do, not only in the race car but like I did there at Texas outside the race car to make sure that I help Richard and everybody at RCR sell sponsorship. We're as big a part of it as anybody, and if we're not doing our job, it makes their job even more difficult.
Testing at Indy next week Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led #22 Penske Racing team are among those teams testing for Goodyear at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week (May 4-5) in preparation for the July 31 Brickyard 400. They will have their "PRS-750" and "PRS-738" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Chargers on hand for the testing. "The '750' is a brand new car and the '738' is the car we raced at Phoenix," said crew chief Addington. "This is one of the most important tests of the season and we're happy that we'll be one of the teams there helping out our friends at Goodyear."
Ferrari offers scheduled maintenance program for 7 years Ferrari has started offering a free, seven-year maintenance plan for customers in Europe. The plan covers all 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, California Spyder or FF models bought at an authorized Prancing Horse dealership. For now, the program is only available across the pond, but will make it to these shores later in the year.
According to Ferrari, the plan is attached to each individual car, which means it's transferable to different owners if the vehicle is sold within its first seven years. Coverage includes the cost of labor and original replacement parts, as well as oil and brake fluid.
When the program goes global, Ferrari says it will be the first maintenance plan of its kind to be offered around the world. With any luck, the new perk will help Ferrari gain back some consumer confidence after the bad publicity surrounding the 458 Italia's annoying propensity to burst into flames. Read the full Ferrari press release after the jump. Top tip, Don! Source: Ferrari
Chevrolet rolls out high-performance tires and wheels for the 2012 Corvette The introduction of high-performance tires and racing-style wheels for the Z06 and ZR1 models is the major change to the Chevrolet Corvette for the 2012 model year, according to information being posted at Corvette fan sites on the Internet.
Info is leaking out as Chevy is set to officially talk about the 2012 Vette during the annual C5/C6 Bash fan event at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., this weekend. Look for some official news on April 28.
Chevrolet has disclosed that there will be a Centennial Edition package for the 2012 Vette, available on all trim levels of the sports car. That car will be available only with a black exterior. And it appears that's the only black on the Corvette color palate for 2012, according to some ordering information posted by Montana Chevy dealer Ken Fitchner at www.corvetteforum.com.
Based on that information, Chevrolet is making it easy for Corvette buyers to equip their Z06 and ZR1 Vettes for use at track day and club events. AutoWeek
Volvo Group Announces Q1 2011 Financial Results During the first quarter of 2011, the Volvo Group had strong sales growth with significantly improved profitability. Sales amounted to SEK 72 billion, an increase of 22% compared with the year-earlier period. Operating income rose to SEK 6.5 billion, with an operating margin of 9.1%.
Michael Annett’s DUI Arrest Highlights ‘Daddy’s Cash’ Drivers Okay folks, time for multiple choice.
You get to ride shotgun with one of two people.
A) Randy LaJoie driving a golf cart around after sucking on a doobie.
B) Michael Annett doing his best Mel Tillis/Terry Bradshaw “Cannonball Run” impersonation (6:37 mark).
Say all you want about banned substances, but Nationwide driver Annett’s DUI offense back in February (See related story) was much worse than two-time Nationwide champ-turned-broadcaster LaJoie accepting a joint while shuttling patrons around at last year’s Coca-Cola 600. Alcohol is a regulated substance, which means when used improperly it becomes just as illegal as Mary Jane.
Did Castroneves avoid penalty for his driving because he is Brian Barnhart's favorite actor?
Will Power called on Izod IndyCar Series officials to be consistent with their officiating after Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves wasn't penalized for running into him late in the April 17 race at Long Beach, Calif.
Former driver Al Unser Jr., a member of the officiating team, said Castroneves wasn't penalized because he and Power went to the back of the field as a result of their spins.
Power said that's not right, even though he said Castroneves simply made a mistake in locking up the brakes in a battle with Oriol Servia.
Norbert Haug has been making excuses for Mercedes for years
(GMM) The Renault might be more efficient but Norbert Haug says he is happy with the perception that Mercedes' is the most powerful engine in F1.
Renault Sport F1, powering the Renault team as well as Red Bull and Team Lotus, claimed recently that the RS27 is "extremely good" in the area of consumption, saving 10 per cent more fuel than usual to burn through customer teams' blown exhausts.
The boast was a counter to the general perception in F1, pressed by Red Bull who have in the past coveted the German power, that it is Mercedes' V8 that is the best on the grid overall.
"I don't know the numbers of our competitors," said the Stuttgart marque's motor racing chief Norbert Haug, "but our engine as well as our KERS are repeatedly referred to as the yardstick in the industry.
HVM Racing Brings Back Popular 'Join the Ride' Video Series HVM Racing is proud to announce the return of its unique, all-access and widely-popular video series, Join the Ride.
First introduced during the 2009 season, Join the Ride is an insider's look at race weekends and other interesting, upcoming events. In 2010, episode three featured Simona de Silvestro in her first race with HVM in Brazil. With Join the Ride, fans get to witness everyday events as they unfold as 'insiders' with the team and driver.
Ford engineer explains NASCAR engine differences Much has been made about the improved Ford Racing performance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and some of the credit goes to the FR9 engine, which debuted on a full-time basis last June. Equally impressive in 2011 has been the way the new Nationwide version of the FR9 has run. Carl Edwards has won two of the last three series races, including last weekend in Nashville, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is tied for the points lead going into Friday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Ford Racing engineer Dave Simon took a few minutes earlier this week to talk about the development of the FR9 Nationwide engine and how it has done since debuting at Daytona in February.
Kanaan hopes to continue strong start at home race
Tony Kanaan at Long Beach
Lotus driver Tony Kanaan will be looking to continue his strong start to the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season when he ventures to his native Brazil for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestlé, April 30 – May 1, on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil.
Teammates Takuma Sato and E. J. Viso will also be looking for strong performances this weekend as both drivers try to move-up in the championship standings.
Kanaan, who will pilot the No. 82 Itaipava – KV Racing Technology – Lotus for his home race, currently sits third in the championship race with 87 points just 28 points out of second place and 35 out of first. The 2004 IndyCar Series Champion is one of just four drivers to finish in the top-10 in each of the first three events of the 2011 season placing third in the season opener at St. Petersburg, sixth at Barber Motorsports Park in round two and eighth two weeks ago in Long Beach.
Changes to Sao Paulo course should improve raceUPDATE
Brazil IndyCar circuit
Alex Lloyd's recent tweet -- Make sure all your fillings are securely in place (paraphrased) -- was sound advice for the five IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who will compete for the first time over 75 laps on the 2.6-mile street circuit in São Paulo, Brazil, this weekend.
Hopefully, according to circuit designer Tony Cotman of NZR Consulting, a bone-rattling racing surface won't be an issue for the second visit of the series to South America's largest city. Multiple city government-backed infrastructure upgrades have been completed for the benefit of competitors and spectators.
"The entire course has been paved, and unlike last year when we were really struggling with time this year it's been paved with the Interlagos mix so the pavement will hold up much better," said Cotman, referring to the permanent road course in the southern part of the state of São Paulo. "But it's a difficult thing. You pave and one hour later there are cars running on it. One day later you've had 30,000 cars travel over it."
Because of that heavy traffic - there are 7 million vehicles in use in the city -- the event will be held on the weekend only.
Chevrolet Will Expand Military Discount in May Chevrolet will honor National Military Appreciation Month by expanding the industry-leading GM Military Discount to military spouses and retirees; offering an exclusive “Honor” badge to anyone who buys an eligible Chevrolet through the program, and by donating $100 to Cell Phones for Soldiers for each eligible vehicle sold with a military discount.
“We are committed to offering military professionals and their family members the best value in the industry,” said Dan Akerson, General Motors Chairman and CEO. “As a former Navy man, I hold the highest regard for the men and women of our Armed Forces – past and present – who help keep our country safe and preserve our precious liberties.”
Sun Drop Citrus Soda Designated as Co-Primary Sponsor of Hunter-Reay
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) and Andretti Autosport announced today that Sun Drop Citrus Soda will join DHL as the co-primary sponsor of Andretti Autosport's #28 entry for the remainder of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Sun Drop, along with DHL, was positioned as the co-primary sponsor of the car driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay during the first three events of the season.
Sun Drop is part of a broader marketing effort employed by Dr Pepper Snapple Group with Andretti Autosport. Venom Energy Drink occupies the primary sponsorship position on the #26 car of Marco Andretti, while Snapple is an associate sponsor of both Andretti and Hunter-Reay.
"Our partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group is something we are very proud of and excited about," said John Lopes, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Andretti Autosport. "Its iconic brands are a great fit with our program and we are grateful for the enthusiasm that everyone at Dr Pepper Snapple Group shows toward our team. Our mission is to continue developing unique and impactful programs that lift sales for brands such as Venom and Sun Drop among our fan base."
New sponsor for Allmendinger at Richmond Nautica, a part of VF Corporation and a leader in branded quality apparel, will serve as primary sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports' #43 Ford for Saturday evening's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. "We feel good that an organization as well known as Nautica has decided to showcase its brand on the #43 Ford," said team owner Richard Petty. "We welcome them to the RPM family and look forward to showing them everything the sport has to offer this weekend in Richmond. The #43 team has shown great promise this season and AJ is a force to be reckoned with every week. We're excited to have Nautica here this weekend and we think NASCAR's legions of fans will be enthusiastic as well." The #43 Ford will carry the familiar Nautica logo all weekend at the three-quarter-mile track. Allmendinger has made eight starts at the track and posted his career best finish of eighth at the venue last fall after starting from the third position. Founded in 1983, Nautica is a leading global lifestyle brand ranging from men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories to a complete home collection.
Thermal Motorsports Track & Club Approved by County Planning Board Palm Springs, CA – April 2011 – The members-only Thermal Motorsports Track & Club announced they received approval by the county planning board. This approval is one of the last approvals needed in order for the Track & Club to break ground.
On April 20th the Riverside County Planning Commission gathered in La Quinta, CA, where the commission approved land-use modifications for the Thermal Motorsports project. The approval by the planning board leaves just one final approval needed to break ground – approval by the board of supervisors.
“We are elated that Thermal has received the county planning board approval” said Blake Miraglia, partner in Thermal Motorsports.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN NHRA Action from Houston on ESPN2, ESPN3.com
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series races this weekend in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston. ESPN2 will air action from qualifying on Saturday, April 30, at 6 p.m. ET and coverage of eliminations airs Sunday, May 1, at 7 p.m. NHRA fans also can watch the full day of eliminations live on ESPN3.com starting Sunday at noon.
Royal Purple Raceway benefits from incredible atmospheric conditions because of its proximity to Trinity Bay, which feeds the facility cool air. The track’s first NHRA national event, in fall 1988, established RPR as one of the sport’s quickest with NHRA’s first four-second Top Fuel quarter-mile pass and a new national record. Since then, the track has hosted a dizzying array of record runs, including the first sub-4.5-second Top Fuel quarter-mile pass by Larry Dixon in 1999. Pro Stock Motorcycles and Pro Mods will also compete at the event.
Lotus aims for points at Spanish GP Lotus is targeting points finishes with a major update to its car, set to be introduced over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
The team has shown signs of progress so far this season after closing the gap to the midfield teams and finishing ahead of a Williams at the Chinese Grand Prix. The rear of the car will be significantly updated at the Spanish Grand Prix next month and technical director Mike Gascoyne believes it will give his team the best chance yet of breaking into the top ten.
"With the three races coming up our major update will come at Barcelona, which will be a major update to the diffuser and rear end of the car - it will bring quite a lot of performance to the car," he said in a team video. "I think if we look at scoring points we have to look at Barcelona onwards, I think the updates to the car are going to be very significant."
1st Quarter Driver of the Year named Kyle Busch won races in all three of NASCAR's top divisions tallying the most first-place votes in the 1st quarter Driver of the Year 2011 balloting by leading broadcasters and journalists in the United States. The driver of the #18 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup series, #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing and is the owner/driver of the #18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck series credited his teams for his early 2011 success. "It's been a great start to the season in all three series' and that's because of the great people we have at JGR and KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports)," said Busch.
"This award is testament to all of those guys. Each of my teams have done a great job bringing me good cars to the racetrack each week and if we haven't won, we've been in contention more times than not. In particular, Dave Rogers and all the guys on the M&M's Toyota team and everyone at JGR are working very hard and we hope to have a shot at bringing home a Sprint Cup championship at the end of the year." Busch, 25, won the Bristol Motor Speedway Sprint Cup race, four Nationwide races and one Camping World Truck race in the first quarter voting.
Bid on VIP package to hang with A.J. at Indy A.J. Foyt Racing is offering an Indy 500 VIP Weekend to the highest bidder in the Continental Airlines OnePass Online Auction. It is the seventh consecutive year for the popular program.
The winner and a guest will receive two race tickets and two Bronze Badges for the race weekend May 28-29. On May 28, the guests will meet A.J. Foyt and driver Vitor Meira, and see the No. 14 ABC Supply car as it is being prepared in the team’s garage in Gasoline Alley at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It just happens to be "A.J. Foyt Day" at the Speedway.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with many special activities planned for race fans.
NASCAR appeal claims Mayfield trying to avoid responsibility NASCAR says Jeremy Mayfield's legal appeal to his suspension for a failed drug test is an "attempt to entirely avoid any responsibility for, or consequence from, testing positive for methamphetamine," according to its response filed Monday in federal appeals court. Mayfield, who claims in court documents that his May 2009 drug test was a false positive from a mixture of over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D and the prescription medication Adderall for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is suing NASCAR for breach of contract, unfair trade practices and defamation. U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen ruled in NASCAR's favor in May 2010, and after having requests for Mullen to reconsider the ruling denied, Mayfield filed his appeal last month. More at SceneDaily
Smokey Yunick (pictured) and Mario Rossi were two 'Yankees' from New Jersey who went to Daytona and NASCAR and gave the 'rebels' of the south a real run for their money in the 1960's. Both were friends of AR1.com owner Mark Cipolloni's uncles, one of whom worked for Petty Enterprises for awhile
The last remaining portion of legendary race car builder Smokey Yunick's former garage complex was destroyed Monday night as smoke and flames poured from the building onto North Beach Street.
"It's a shame to see it go," said Carrol Smith, who lives nearby. "That corner will be really empty."
The relic of the innovative mechanic burst into flames about 7 p.m., according to fire officials, and by 8:30 p.m. little of the building remained with the exception of portions of the block walls. Smoke was so thick at times the fire trucks battling the blaze couldn't be seen through the plumes.
"I think this is it," Smith said to a friend sitting with her on the back of a pickup at the Riverside Trailer Park. "There was Smokey's, the Streamline Motel where NASCAR was really born, and their was a garage in Ormond Beach that's just marked with a sign that it used to be there."
Bolling, Blattler Join Milwaukee 225 Staff AB Promotions, promoter of the Milwaukee 225 IZOD IndyCar Series race set for June 18-19 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park, has announced the addition of Keri Bolling and Tom Blattler to its staff for the Milwaukee Mile racing spectacular.
Bolling has been named Vice President, Marketing and Promotions, while Blattler will serve as Media Relations Director at the nation’s longest running auto racing facility (since 1903).
The Milwaukee 225 weekend, a INDYCAR classic won by the likes of A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, Tom Sneva, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy and all three Unsers, features seven unique competitions this year with action from the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Road to Indy Mazda Series, US F2000, USAC Silver Crown, USAC Midgets and USAC .25 Midgets (on a special short track).
CVC suffers $200M headache with money-losing F1 Formula 1's corporate hospitality operation Beta Holdings saw pre-tax losses grow to $5.2 million, according to accounts for 2010.
Despite the addition of new races in Canada and South Korea, revenues stalled as sponsors cut spending on corporate hospitality. F1 is majority owned by private equity firm CVC and the accounts reveal that it has racked up a combined $200 million loss since it was acquired in 2006.
Beta Holdings' turnover last year nudged up by just $3.2 million to $153.5 million, but this was not enough to compensate for a 3.3 per cent rise in costs.
The increase in the number of races boosted the overheads, which include transporting 40,000 glasses, 30,000 plates, 10,000 cut flowers, 5,500 magnums of champagne and 200 tons of tents to each event.
Kentucky Speedway bulking up for first Sprint Cup race
With 40,000 more seats, when the IndyCar series returns to Kentucky in October the grandstands are going to look deserted
Kentucky Speedway officials are making sure their facility is ready when it hosts its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in early July.
Improvements to the facility have been ongoing since September in anticipation of the Quaker State 400 on July 9.
The construction of two new 20,000-seat grandstands will bring the track’s seating capacity to 106,000. Several acres have been cleared to accommodate more campgrounds, and pit row has been moved closer to the stands.
Speedway Director of Communications Tim Bray used an analogy to describe the immensity of the current construction project.
“We’ve taken nearly every seat in Great American Ball Park and added them to the seats we already had here,” he said with a smile.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith initially estimated the track’s capacity to be 117,000.
“If Bruton says it, it’s probably true,” said Mike Schmaltz, the Speedway’s director of integrated marketing. “I don’t doubt anything he says. He’s made a lot of very positive changes around here in a relatively short amount of time.”
“We’ve put about $70 million into improvements so far,” General Manager Mark Simendinger said, “but Bruton’s coming in here next week, so you never know. Every time he shows up, he adds something else.”
When Smith saw how much the new grandstands would alter the fans’ view of the pit area and track, he had pit row moved 200 feet closer to the stands.
“It costs a lot of money to move pit row. Not just the asphalt, but the lights as well,” Simendinger said. “We went to Bruton and explained that it would cost a lot of money to move it. And he said, ‘Look, I am not building 40,000 seats and then having pit road be in the wrong place. If we’re going to do this, we need to have pit road where it needs to be.’
Derek Daly (L) is guiding the career of his son Conor (R)
MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly dominated the Star Mazda championship last season setting new records in just about every category. 2011 has started off in a similar fashion having just completed a remarkable start to his season between testing GP3 in three different countries, a grueling transatlantic travel schedule and winning the Firestone Indy Lights race on the famed streets of Long Beach after missing Friday’s practice.
His Long Beach success in addition to his second place finish at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida, has vaulted him to the top of the Indy Lights championship. Daly will however now walk away from his championship lead and move to Europe where he will concentrate on the Formula One support series, GP3 with the British based Carlin team. He recently answered questions about his career decisions and direction.
IndyCar Series makes deal with popular Facebook game The IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have signed a licensing deal with California-based Cie Games to have the open-wheel racing cars and drivers featured in the popular Facebook game “Car Town.”
Financial terms of the deal made earlier this month were not released, but the marketing bounce for the series could be substantial.
Car Town, launched in August 2010, attracts 8 million players, with 46 percent of its gamers playing at least once every three days, making it one of the most in-demand games available on Facebook, according to officials of the social network.
IndyCar Series officials said they were drawn to the deal with Cie Games and Facebook by the game’s growing following and demographics. Eighty percent of Car Town players are 35 or younger, according to Cie officials.
The deal could also lead the IndyCar Series to partnerships with Car Town’s growing list of sponsors, including Honda Motor Co. and Farm Bureau Insurance Co., among others.
The licensing agreement gives the IndyCar Series its first gaming partner in more than three years, series officials said. It represents Cie Games' second major motorsports deal this year. It signed a deal with NASCAR in February.
The game gives players an opportunity to build garages and buy and race cars against other players.
Car Town this month started showcasing several IndyCar-branded features and drivers.
Car Town users can enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Gasoline Alley and garage area where they can select a car driven by IndyCar Series drivers and complete the Indy 500 Challenge with the help of a pit crew they select from among their Facebook friends or by spending in-game points. Players can also race against the clock and compete against other Car Town pit crews, striving to top the Indy Pit Stop Challenge leader board.
The game will feature the cars of 13 IndyCar drivers, including Danica Patrick, Dario Franchitti, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, and the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Event Car, which honors the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500.
“We’re only scratching the surface in terms of the ways the virtual world of social gaming can bring new experiences to players and new marketing opportunities to companies and brands across the spectrum,” said Cie Games Chief Creative Officer Dennis Suggs in a prepared statement. “We think the sky’s the limit in terms of the creative executions brands can deploy to break through to new audiences using social media and social games.”
Additional IndyCar features are scheduled for release throughout the 2011 Izod IndyCar Series season, Suggs said.
IndyCar officials said the Car Town deal marks the beginning in a new era of marketing for the series.
“Car Town is not the end of our push into gaming,” said Casey Kohler, IndyCar Series marketing director.
The game was attractive to the series’ marketing efforts, Kohler said, because it offers a cost-effective way to tap a fast-growing media vehicle with a built-in automotive fan base. IBJ.com
The latest in a line of IndyCar drivers from the most popular racing family in the Lehigh Valley will see his name attached to the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, which has announced a marketing agreement with 24-year-old Notre Dame Green Pond graduate Marco Andretti.
The popular indoor karting venue is permitted to use Marco's likeness in advertisements and promotional materials. The agreement also calls for Marco to hold a fundraiser at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix within the calendar year.
"Most professional drivers got their start in karting," said Michael McCreary, president of Lehigh Valley Grand Prix. "Marco Andretti, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Danica Patrick — they all started their dream in kart racing. Marco's presence at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix gives our young karting enthusiasts someone to look up to and something to strive for."
Special delivery to Brazil for race More 400,000 total pounds of freight were swallowed April 25 by two Atlas Air 747-400F planes for the 5,000-plus-mile ride between Indianapolis and São Paulo, Brazil - the initial logistical stage of conducting the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
Race cars, pit equipment, tools and consumables were weighed, wrapped, stacked and set in a staging area on Good Friday at Indianapolis International Airport by INDYCAR and DB Schenker personnel in a free-form ballet of fork lifts and 18-wheelers.
It was loaded (seeking an even distribution of weight in the cargo bay by the loadmaster) for the flight to Viracopos-Campinas International Airport in the state of São Paulo. Firestone Firehawk tires departed via ocean cargo vessel last month.
Vitor Meira's ebullience was clear during a phone conversation (partly because of the birth of his daughter Juliana on Easter Sunday morning) to discuss the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
The third-year A.J. Foyt Racing driver secured a podium finish in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season opener and is bolstered by two top-10 finishes in three events heading into the May 1 race on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil.
"It was a very important race because not only was it the first race of the season, but it was the first race of IndyCars in Brazil and my first race after the crash at Indianapolis," said Meira, who gained 13 positions to finish third in the No. 14 ABC Supply car. "There were a bunch of things to be put in place in that race, and to come out with a very positive result was almost a dream. I couldn't choose a better place or better time to have things going my way. It was a wonderful weekend and one I'll never forget."
IndyCar CEO to speak IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard will speak at a free luncheon Tuesday. Bernard will discuss the magic of marketing during the noon luncheon, which will be part of the fifth annual Excelerate Hendricks County presented by State Bank of Lizton.
Excelerate Hendricks County will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, 1900 E. Main St., Danville, Indiana.
Slow Corvette team thinks LeMans test a success Corvette Racing completed a successful test day at Le Mans on Easter Sunday. Corvette Racing's four full-season American Le Mans Series drivers - Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Olivier Beretta and Tommy Milner - used one of the team's European customer cars to collect valuable data for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11-12.
The immense 8.468-mile circuit includes sections of public roads in the Sarthe region of western France, so the reinstatement of the traditional test day after a two-year hiatus was welcomed by the team and drivers alike. Although Corvette Racing will compete in the 24-hour race in the GTE-Pro class - reserved for professional teams - today the team used Larbre Competition's No. 50 Corvette C6.R that is entered in the GTE-Am class - for one-year-old cars with at least one gentleman-driver - and came away fastest in the category.
Wins for Nasr and Christodoulou at Oulton Park Felipe Nasr extended his Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series points lead to 34 at Oulton Park this afternoon thanks to a faultless pole-to-flag victory by the Brazilian Carlin driver in the sixth round of the championship. Earlier in the day, Riki Christodoulou became the second British driver to win a round in 2011, the Midlands-based 22-year-old leading home his team-mate Pietro Fantin for a Hitech 1-2.
In the Rookie class, Dutch driver Bart Hylkema overcame his rival Kotaru Sakurai to take twin wins and further extend his points advantage.
Round 5 race report Christodoulou’s win was a lights-to-flag affair for the Volkswagen-powered Hitech Racing team at Oulton Park this morning. Riki profited from a bungled start by pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen, the Dane creeping and then stalling as the lights flashed off. Christo’s start wasn’t great but he managed to hold off a determined challenge into Old Hall from his Hitech team-mate Pietro Fantin. Riki pulled a second clear of his Brazilian pursuer on the opening lap and kept the gap steady all the way to the checkered flag to record his second career British Formula 3 win; his first was at Snetterton in 2009 for the Fortec team.
Ecclestone: I’ll quit if Murdoch comes in Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that he will depart Formula 1 if a takeover bid for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation proves successful. At present, Ecclestone serves as commercial rights holder for the sport as head of CVC Capital Partners.
First reported by Murdoch-owned Sky News last week, his group is in the initial stages of discussions for a potential takeover of the sport, potentially meaning that the United Kingdom’s television coverage could switch from free-to-air to pay-per-view.
However, Ecclestone has suggested that he would not work alongside the News Corp CEO, who is also 80 years of age.
Pole position no longer key to winning races - Horner (GMM) Pole position is less important in 2011 than in previous years, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Sebastian Vettel secured a clean sweep of poles so far this season in China recently, but was beaten to the checkered flag by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who focused conservatively all weekend on his tire strategy for the race.
Similarly, Vettel's teammate Mark Webber bowed out in Q1 in Shanghai, but with his cache of fresh tires was able to scythe through the field and finish on the podium and within sight of the pole-sitting sister RB7.
Foresti jumped to an early lead and was never headed
Lucas Foresti came of age as a driver in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series this afternoon at Oulton Park, the Brazilian leading Round 4 of the championship all the way from pole position to checkered flag. The Mercedes-powered Fortec Motorsport driver increased his advantage on every lap and broke the circuit lap record for good measure.
It was a brilliant showing from the 18-year-old, who claimed his first British Formula 3 podium finish only last weekend at Monza. His countryman, the championship leader Felipe Nasr, placed second ahead of his Carlin team-mates Jazeman Jaafar and Carlos Huertas. T-Sport’s Bart Hylkema overcame early class leader Kotaro Sakurai to win the Rookie division.
NASCAR star Waltrip gets smoked by rookie teammate
(L to R) Kaufman, Aguas and Waltrip. Aguas the rookie smoked his two teammates immediately
Michael Waltrip Racing co-owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman spent Sunday at the historic Circuit de la Sarthe in France testing the AF Corse Ferrari F430 they will race in the 24 hours of Le Mans on June 11-12. After arriving at the track on Friday, the Americans rode bicycles around the 8-mile circuit learning the layout. It was the first time on the track for Waltrip and Kauffman who prepared by studying videos. Their teammate Rui Aguas of Portugal started the morning session in the #71 Ferrari. He did the 10 laps required to race as a rookie at Le Mans setting his fastest time at 4m.09s.351. Like his NASCAR teammate, he had never raced on the track either, but was so much faster than NASCAR star Waltrip we know who will carry this team in June for the race.
Rain on part of the track delayed Kauffman's initial stint behind the wheel, but once he started he improved his laps times from 4m.47s.452 down to 4m.41s.650. He was forced to pit with a puncture in the right rear tire. With a new tire he returned to do a time of 4m.34s.241, before another flat tire ended the session.
Dale Earnhardt, who died needlessly 10 years ago because NASCAR refused to mandate the HANS Device, is still loved by his many fans
Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced 2011 Dale Earnhardt Day on Friday, April 29th, at the DEI Facilities in Mooresville, NC. An annual celebration of the extraordinary life and legacy of Dale Earnhardt, this event is held annually on his birthday. Fans will be treated to special access to extra exhibits, including the never before exhibited private oil painting of Dale Earnhardt by renowned artist Denny Dent.
Dent was known for his remarkable "Two-Fisted Art Attack" style of painting. This original portrait permanently hangs in the Corporate Offices of DEI and will be placed on public display for the first time, accompanied by the 5-minute video of Dent actually painting the portrait on stage during a special event. The DEI Museum will be opening a new display on that day of many of the gifts and tributes that were sent to and left at DEI and in other venues across the nation in honor of Earnhardt's life. There will be a national unveiling of the 2011 "Intimidator" Camaros, by Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet.
New Audi tops LeMans Test Day The Le Mans 24–Hours test day has been a great success from a popular, sporting and technical point of view.
Without a doubt, the enthusiasts were looking forward to the revival of the test day on the Le Mans circuit as much as the teams. The attendance figure was 24 987 spectators who flocked to the Sarthe circuit to thrill to the sight and sound of the cars that they will see in seven weeks at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The test day provided a lot of interesting information from a sporting point of view. Tom Kristensen in the no. 3 Audi R18 set the quickest time, and the 8-time Le Mans 24-Hours winner lapped the unique circuit in 3m 27.687s, an average speed of 236,687 km/h, just under 8 seconds slower than last year’s pole (3m 19.711s). Mike Rockenfeller in the no. 1 Audi R18 was second quickest in 3m 27.815s proving that the German engineers have got their sums right.
Q&A with Paul di Resta Despite failing to score for the first time this season in China, Paul di Resta is feeling "positive" about his prospects in his debut campaign...
Q: Paul, you qualified eighth and nearly made the points again in China. Bearing in mind there are big upgrades coming, is it encouraging to have started the season so well? PdR: There's good things to come, and we'll stay positive about that. We did a very good job in qualifying, but at the same time we had a Mercedes and two Renaults behind us, quick cars, plus Mark Webber's Red Bull! So it was always going to be tough to stay in a points' position. We came very close, but we just ran out of tires at the end. Maybe the strategy wasn't right. But I think that what didn't help my weekend was the fact that we missed all of FP2.
'Lewis Hamilton wants to stay with McLaren' insists Martin Whitmarsh
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said he is confident Lewis Hamilton will remain with the team for a long time to come, despite persistent rumors leading into the season the former world champion was looking to move on. The speculation was fueled by the lack of a contract tying Hamilton to the team beyond the end of 2012.
"Lewis has a long career ahead of him and I think he's intelligent enough to realize that the environment he has here is good for him and plays to his strengths," Whitmarsh said.
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