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04/29/10 We will be doing server maintenance tonight between 7 PM and 11 PM Eastern Time.  During that period the AutoRacing1.com server will be offline for at least 1 to 2 hours.
Keseloksi gets points penalty  
Brad Keselowski
Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski saw his Nationwide Series points lead shrink from 60 points to 10 points over Kevin Harvick after two 25-point penalties for having an unapproved left-front spring and an unapproved right-front shock in the car that he drove to victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

Keselowski will get to keep the win and his team will not appeal the penalty. More ...

IRL Rookies get their oval "chops"  
Takuma Sato
“It was so different,” said KV Racing Technology’s Takuma Sato, which could be the understatement of the year.

Sato was among four IZOD IndyCar Series rookies to participate April 28 in an orientation/test on the 1.5-mile, variably-banked Kansas Speedway oval. He was smiling afterward, which was the best indication that all (well, maybe a few points under 100 percent) went well under the watchful eyes of IZOD IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch and Indy Racing League consultant Al Unser Jr.. More ...
Coulthard talks about new Silverstone  
David Coulthard
David Coulthard gives his once-over of the new track and facility:

Club is now a very defined double apex. Before it just had one apex but now there is one apex, and then another one. So in the damp you can imagine someone having a bit of a wobble there.

"When you come out of The Loop there is another little kink [at Aintree Corner] and I'm hoping that won't be flat. If it is flat then it does nothing, but if it isn't then maybe someone can get a run down in to the braking area at Brooklands. More ...

Jackie Stewart hails Jenson Button  
Jackie Stewart
Stewart famously said last autumn that Button had entered a “lion’s den” in choosing to join McLaren, a team that brought Hamilton through the ranks of world motorsport and made him Formula One’s youngest ever world champion in 2008.

However, after two wins in his first four races for the team, Stewart says he was wrong about Button's move. “It is working much better than I think anyone could have expected,” said the three-time world champion, at the launch of Silverstone’s new Arena circuit on Thursday. More ...

Ferrari breaks silence about Tobacco sponsor  Today and in recent weeks, articles have been published relating to the partnership contract between Scuderia Ferrari and Philip Morris International, questioning its legality. These reports are based on two suppositions: that part of the graphics featured on the Formula 1 cars are reminiscent of the Marlboro logo and even that the red color which is a traditional feature of our cars is a form of tobacco publicity. More ...
Graham Rahal Autoweek article  Graham Rahal talks in his Autoweek column about his challenges and frustrations, and current plans and efforts. Read the article here.
Fox News talks about IRL triple title  Ed Note: Hey...at least the mainstream news is covering the sport now. That's always a good thing.

There's an old saying about bad things coming in threes. But the Indy Racing League is eager to disprove that theory with a new triple-title format for the IZOD IndyCar Series that begins with this Saturday's 300-miler at Kansas Speedway.

As announced earlier this week, the series will feature new oval and road/street course titles within the bigger overall series championship. The season's first four events (all on road/street circuits) have been counted retroactively, and the oval title fight will begin this weekend in the Heartland. More ...

Arabadzhiev clinches Race 2 in Brno, track record  Vladimir Arabadzhiev couldn't choose a better way to debut on the Lola B05/52 Auto GP car. The Bulgarian driver took the win in the second race on the Brno circuit, keeping Adrian Zaugg at bay, even if only half of a second adrift. Starting from the front row, besides Zaugg who was the poleman, Arabadzhiev did a perfect start and immediately took the lead, even ahead of the first braking zone. From then on, Arabadzhiev stayed in the lead, managing to resist to Zaugg's impressive pace and pressure. Behind them was Edoardo Piscopo, closing its Czech weekend with two podium finishes and with the lead of the championship, shared with Luca Filippi. Piscopo, starting from 7th, was involved in a close fight after the green light with Fabio Onidi and Duncan Tappy, but he was helped by his opponent's mistakes and bad luck. The first to go out of contention was Tappy, who had to serve a drive-through penalty for jump start, then it was the time of Onidi, stopped on track on lap 7 with an electrical issue. At that point of the race Piscopo was 4th and started pushing to catch Adrien Tambay in front of him. The frenchman was doing a perfect race and was ready to get a podium finish, but with just two laps to go he locked the front wheels and went in the barriers, luckily with no damages for him and just a broken wing for the car. Tambay's off meaned 4th place for a really fast Julian Leal: the driver from Bogota, starting from tenth, managed a great comeback, also clinching the third fastest time of the race. The overall fastest time was from Luca Filippi. The winner of the first race had a bad start in Race 2, and soon he was blocked in a duel for 11th place with Pantano and Iaconelli, so he decided to go back in the pits to mount new tires. Back on track, Filppi stopped the clocks on 1'43"260, which is the new official track record for the Brno track. Auto GP managed to beat the old record, 1'47"296 held by A1 GP with Alex Yoong at the wheel, by 4 seconds. With the fastest lap point, Filippi climbed on top of the standings with Piscopo. This means that the two will share 130.000 euros, which is the sum of the first and second place prize.

Vladimir Arabadzhiev: "Frankly, I was not sure about my chances to win because I was racing on old tires, with already 11 laps on them. Anyway, I did a great start, and from then on things were easy. The car was slippery and Adrian was gaining time in the fast section, but I was able to build up the gap in the other sectors, so it was good".

Adrian Zaugg: "I'm not happy about the start, but the race was good. I have to thank the team, because they guessed the right set-up for the race 2 track conditions, and this made my job easier. I tried attacking Vladimir, but when I got close I was losing grip, so passing was not possible".

Edoardo Piscopo: "Two podium finishes are great, you have to be consistent if you want to win races and this is a great start. I'm happy for the guys at DAMS, working so hard for me, and for myself. I needed some good results after being so unlucky in the last months".

Brno, Gara 2

1. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (Dams) 13 giri in 22'58"445
2. Adrian Zaugg (Trident Racing) +0"486
3. Edoardo Piscopo (Dams) + 2"304
4. Julian Leal (Trident Racing) +4"365
5. Walter Grubmüller (Charouz-Gravity Racing) +5"859
6. Jan Charouz (Charouz-Gravity Racing) +8"101
7. Jonny Reid (SuperNova) +9"025
8. Carlos Iaconelli (Durango) +12"227
9. Giorgio Pantano (SuperNova) +15"689
10. Celso Miguez (RP Motorsport) +20"204
11. Duncan Tappy (Dams) +22"869
12. Stefano Bizzarri (RP Motorsport) +26"179
13. Luca Filippi (Euronova Racing) +1'02"946
14. Adrien Tambay (Charouz-Gravity Racing) +2 giri
15. Fabio Onidi (Lazarus) + 6 giri
16. Tomas Kostka (Charouz-Gravity Racing) DNS

Strong Callaway-Corvette presence in FIA GT3  
Calloway Z06.R GT3
Callaway Competition starts into the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship with two Corvette Z06.R GT3 at this weekends season opener in Silverstone (GB). The two Corvette Z06.R, developed and built by Callaway Competition in Leingarten/Germany, will be driven in this years 12-race European Championship by Christian Hohenadel/Daniel Keilwitz (D/D) and Marius Ritskes/Bernard van Oranje (NL/NL). Bernhard van Oranje is a member of the Dutch royal family and makes this maiden appearance in a Callaway-Corvette in Silverstone. The strong presence of Callaway built Corvette is completed by four cars from Callaway’s latest customer Team Graff Racing from France and Toni Seiler Racing from Switzerland. More ...
Donington targets August re-opening  Donington Park has revealed that it has set a target of August to re-open circuit activities following the aborted plan to host the British Grand Prix.

Simon Gillett’s Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd had secured a 17 year deal to take the event to the East Midlands venue, but the plans lurched from one disaster to the next before DVLL entered administration in November and British GP moved back to Silverstone.

The aborted plans have left the famous Donington circuit in a state of disrepair and have seen numerous championships – including the British Superbike Championship – elect to take its races elsewhere as questions continued to be raised about the future of the venue.

With the likes of the BARC and Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision group having been linked with taking over the circuit, Donington owners the Wheatcroft family have now revealed that a target date of August has been set to reopen the venue for on-track activities.

Plans and costings to carry out the remedial work required are currently being worked out, with project advisors led by ex-Aggregate Industries director Philip Barltrop and Duncan Green of Pick Everard Consulting Engineers, having held meetings with John Symes of the MSA.

“We are currently finalising plans and costings for the works to repair the damage done in and around the race track at Donington Park,” Kevin Wheatcroft said. “We are confident that the new improved race track can be re-opened, subject to obtaining the necessary racing licences, during August 2010.”

The statement from the circuit also revealed that race director Robert Fearnall is already working on an appropriate race programme for 2010 which will be announced as soon as possible.

The British Touring Car Championship is due to visit Donington Park for the penultimate rounds of the season in September – with series director Alan Gow stating on more than one occasion that he was confident the event would take place – while the British GT Championship season finale is slated to take place the following month.

The announcement from Donington comes on the same day that Silverstone officially launched the new Arena circuit which will host the British Grand Prix later this year. YahooEurosport

FIA's Whiting approves 'Arena' layout for F1  (GMM)  Charlie Whiting has green-lighted Silverstone's new 'Arena' section for use at the 2010 British grand prix in July.

The FIA's race director, official starter and safety and technical delegate toured the 760 meter section - featuring six new corners - earlier this week.

The layout was then launched officially for dignitaries and the media on Thursday.

"Charlie Whiting was here yesterday," confirmed the track's managing director Richard Phillips, "and we walked the circuit and we've got our Grade A license for the next three years."

With MotoGP being held at Silverstone this year, it was decided that a new layout was necessary for safety reasons -- particularly the proximity of the famous bridge at the now-bypassed Bridge corner. More ...

track news
New Silverstone corners named  (GMM)  The corners making up Silverstone's new formula one layout have been named.

On Thursday at the Northamptonshire venue, the 700 meter 'Arena' loop - to be used not only for MotoGP but also for the British grand prix on July 11 - was officially opened.

The new section - essentially two new straights linked by corners that bypass the old Bridge corner section - now boasts stretches dubbed Village, The Loop, Wellington Straight and Aintree.

The launch of the Arena section, which cost 5 million pounds, was attended by the likes of Red Bull's Christian Horner and Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Mercedes' Nick Fry. More ...

Le Mans dress rehearsal for Audi at Spa  After the victorious test race at the Le Mans Series season opener and a successful 30-hour test at Le Castellet (France) the Le Mans dress rehearsal is now on Audi Sport Team Joest’s agenda: on May 9, the three Audi R15 TDI cars will contest the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).

"We will compete with exactly the same line-up at Spa as we will a month later at the Le Mans 24 Hours," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "For the team the race is primarily a dress rehearsal for Le Mans – but it’s a final assessment of where we stand as well."

Entries for 52 vehicles have been submitted for the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps including four Peugeot 908 cars. The first meeting of the "factory" teams from Audi and Peugeot with the 2010-spec vehicles is expected with a particularly high level of suspense and should provide a foretaste of the season’s highlight at Le Mans that is on the agenda exactly 34 days later.  More ...
Peter Sauber hints at deeper team involvement  (GMM)  Peter Sauber on Thursday hinted he might once again get deeply involved in his formula one team.

Swiss based Sauber's 66-year-old founder took back the reigns as team principal in the wake of BMW's departure, but he does not run the day-to-day operation at the Hinwil factory.

Instead, Austrian woman Monisha Kaltenborn was earlier this year appointed managing director, with Peter Sauber effectively only at charge at the grand prix tracks.

After a strong winter for the white 2010 car, the C29 has been both uncompetitive and unreliable so far this season, and with the exception of the new teams is the only established outfit yet to score a single point. More ...

BMW announces intention to contest 2012 DTM season  (GMM)  BMW will turn its premier motor racing focus to Germany's touring car championship DTM in 2012.

After ten years in formula one, the German carmaker ended its grand prix foray at the end of 2009.

In a statement on Thursday, BMW said its board has voted to race in DTM from 2012, pending "certain basic requirements" that the series' governing body ITR must now consider.

"The (ITR's) final decision is expected during the year," said the marque, whose motor sport activities are still led by former BMW-Sauber team principal Mario Theissen.

Said BMW board member Dr Klaus Draeger: "We see it as a consistent step to return to our roots after bidding farewell to formula one, and to expand our commitment to this discipline."

Williams to hold back major upgrades  While the majority of teams will make major changes to their cars for the Spanish GP, Williams have opted to delay their big upgrades until the Monaco GP.

It has been a trying season for Williams with the Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg picking up just six points between them in the first four races of the season.

The team's technical director Sam Michael says they will wait until Monaco before they take a few "bigger steps".

"We do have some stuff for Barcelona, and that's a good step, but I think the bigger steps will come for Monaco and Istanbul," he said. More ...

racing news
Letter from Alex Zanardi  Hi Friends,

As usual here I am to apologize for my silence, but by now you should know me...

If nothing is new on the cars side, there is quite a lot to tell on my new sportive passion, the hand-bike.

I left you the day after Rome's marathon. Since then I run three important races and took part in the "collegiale" of Castiglion della Pescaia, but first things first:

The Milan marathon has been my third seasonal race and my second victory.

In a cold and windy day, sting in the tail of this winter, together with Paolo Cecchetto and Mauro Cratassa (my rival in Rome and second there), we pulled away from the peloton and started a challenge between the three of us that would have last until the arrive should it have not been for Cratassa's bad luck. More ...

IndyCar drivers missing that rock star appeal  The glory days of American open-wheel racing were the original reality TV, millions of viewers tuning in each week to see if Foyt could hold off the Unser boys, Sullivan could chase down Mears, Rutherford could best Johncock.

The action was compelling, the actors iconic.

"Those guys were like rock stars," Canadian IndyCar driver Paul Tracy said.

The stars are still there, just not as red-white-and-blue as they once were.

Since the retirement in the early 1990s of the great American open-wheel racers -- seemingly all at once -- IndyCar has become a not-from-round-here affair. More ...

Bad tune-up for IndyCar's image  The series made another puzzling decision this week, deciding it is going to give titles for the oval-course races as well as the road-course races in addition to the series title.

While the move is confusing, the timing of the announcement is baffling.

It's not something that will happen in 2011 or 2012. Nope. It's being put in this year – four races into the season.

While you have to applaud new Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard for trying to shake up a sport that is quickly becoming an afterthought in the U.S., it's a desperate move.

Bernard doesn't see it that way. More ...

Button 'best F1 driver in wet' - Villeneuve  
Jenson Button has proven naysayers wrong
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve says he is happy for his former teammate Jenson Button, as the reigning world champion continues to lead the world of formula one.

The pair had an initially acrimonious relationship as BAR teammates in 2003, but Villeneuve has since declared his admiration for the Briton's talents.

French Canadian Villeneuve, 39, said he has been particularly impressed this year with Button's driving in the wet, including wins in Australia and China that have given him the world championship lead.

"Jenson was always quick in the rain but now he's becoming increasingly recognized as the best in the field," he told Canada's Rue Frontenac. More ...

Weekly NASCAR cheaters report  NASCAR issued fines and points deductions against the No. 22 Dodge team that won last weekend's Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Crew chief Paul Wolfe, who got his first career victory in the race, was fined $20,000 for violating a series of NASCAR rules. Trimmed to their core, they amount to using an illegal left front spring and an illegal right front shock absorber.

Team owner-of-record Jodi Geschickter (though Roger Penske actually runs the show), lost 50 Nationwide points for, in effect, not paying close enough attention to what her crew chief was doing. More ...

F1 tire choice between 2 companies  (GMM)  Formula one's tire situation for 2011 is unlikely to be resolved by the forthcoming Spanish grand prix.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, and McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh, said last week that with Bridgestone departing at the end of the year, the issue of tires for 2011 should be agreed by Barcelona.

"I think we will know something more, I would say 100 per cent, by Barcelona" next weekend, Domenicali said before departing Shanghai.

But after a FOTA meeting on Wednesday, Williams' technical director Sam Michael said he felt a decision by Spain was now unlikely. More ...

F1 teams offered low-cost KERS  
Sam Michael
(GMM)  The possibility of bringing KERS back to the formula one grid in 2011 was discussed at a meeting of the FOTA alliance on Wednesday.

Williams' technical director Sam Michael revealed that Ferrari and Renault have offered to make their existing KERS technology available to other teams for no more than 1 million euros.

"Renault will supply anyone who asks for it on the grid," the Australian is quoted as saying by the BBC.  "Ferrari will supply anyone who is running a Ferrari engine."

Michael's comments follow the Grove based team's announcement that it has upped its stake in its own flywheel KERS company to 78 per cent. More ...

GM to Bring Chevrolet to Korea  Chevrolet, General Motors Company’s leading global vehicle brand, will be introduced in Korea in 2011. GM Daewoo Auto & Technology President and CEO Mike Arcamone made the announcement today at a press conference held in conjunction with the opening of the Busan International Motor Show.

“The introduction of Chevrolet will enable us to provide our customers an array of exciting new vehicles from the brand’s global lineup, giving them more driving options,” said Arcamone. “This will help GM Daewoo increase our sales and market share in the domestic market while generating additional revenue, strengthening our employees’ job security, creating new jobs and resulting in additional investment in Korea. We regard it as a key to our long-term success.” More ...

GRAND-AM Drivers Storm New York City's Grand Central Terminal  Several GRAND-AM drivers and teams, many with ties to New York City, visited Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday to promote the upcoming Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races at Lime Rock Park. More ...
Scheckter happy to return to Indy  
Thomas Scheckter
Tomas Scheckter has always performed well at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2002, his rookie year at the historic 2.5-mile asphalt speedway, he led a race-high 85 laps and looked well on his way to victory before crashing his Red Bull-sponsored entry owned by Eddie Cheever, Jr. in turn four on lap 173.

A year later Scheckter again led the most laps, 63, before fading to a fourth-place finish in a Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

This year Scheckter, who will drive the No. 23 Mona Vie entry for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, is hoping to find some of that Indianapolis magic once again.

“I’ve got a great feel around the speedway, and also a good understanding of what gets put on the car and confidence in what we put on the car,” said Scheckter, a native of South Africa. “I can adapt to it very quickly.”

Scheckter, who drove for Dale Coyne at Indianapolis and Dreyer & Reinbold the rest of the season last year, said returning to the Dreyer & Reinbold for the Indianapolis 500 was a natural fit.

“I feel extremely at home,” said Scheckter. “We did a test towards the end of last year that went very well (and) that carried on the development. You know, as I think you’ve guys have seen on road courses for sure this year, with having Mike (Conway) and Justin (Wilson), they’ve done an unbelievable job.

“Now I suppose we’ve got to try and carry some of this momentum that they’ve built on road courses to the oval section. I’m hoping that they can carry on the same pace, but I’ve already been in the team working and, you know, going through run plans and what development stuff we’ve done to make sure that the Mona Vie 23 car is up there,” Scheckter added.

The 29-year-old driver, who has two IZOD IndyCar Series victories to his credit, openly admits he isn’t the biggest fan of qualifying at Indianapolis. He’d much rather race.

“I don’t (like qualifying at Indianapolis). I’ll be absolutely honest. I think I did five years in a row I qualified 11th. It’s a tricky situation to qualify round there. A lot of times it’s Russian roulette. You go in with a car that’s got negative rear wing and it’s just skipping around,” said Scheckter.

“The thing for me, physically and mentally, is the 500 miles. When you do a lot of testing you really feel comfortable in the car. For us, it’s just to try to get as many miles as possible, especially in race situations, and make sure the car is good over long distances, and also making sure I’m good focusing over long dances,” said Scheckter.  NSSN

Williams Sam Michael on F-Duct and KERS return  Sam Michael is not expecting Williams’s F-duct system to be fully up and running on its car for “a couple of months”, following its initial tests during practice in China.

The Grove-based squad was on of several teams to try out a basic form of the McLaren-pioneered rear wing-stalling system at the last round as squads look to get the innovative full duct on their cars as soon as possible. More ...

Firestone Kansas IRL preview  Several tracks have announced ticket deals and new race sponsorships in recent weeks.

Among the ticket announcements:

• Dover International Speedway is selling a $48 ticket for its Sprint Cup race May 16. With the $48 ticket, fans get a ticket to be a guest during a question-and-answer session with Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson.

• Charlotte Motor Speedway is donating 3,000 seats to soldiers for the Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600. Fans who want to send an additional soldier to the race can buy a ticket for $20 when they buy tickets to track events. And for every $59 a fan spends on tickets to events at CMS, the fan will receive a $10 voucher good toward entry to a local short track participating in the program.

The speedway also announced that its prerace show will honor veterans from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and more modern-day conflicts including Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as active military currently serving worldwide.

• Michigan International Speedway is randomly giving away 650 “golden tickets” to fans who buy regularly priced tickets to its events. Experiences will include garage passes, access to prerace ceremonies and driver introductions, pace car rides, VIP access at MIS concerts, etc.

Among the sponsorship announcements:

• The Sprint Cup race June 6 at Pocono Raceway will be named the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target.

• The Sprint Cup race Nov. 14 at Phoenix International Raceway will be named the Kobalt Tools 500. Kobalt also plans to remain a sponsor of the Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

• The Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway will be named the Royal Purple 200. Royal Purple manufactures synthetic oil.

Villeneuve still delusional about F1 comeback  
Jacques Villeneuve
A delusional Jacques Villeneuve on Wednesday confirmed he is still in training for his formula one comeback.

The 1997 world champion came close to returning to the grid in 2010, but the hopeful Serbian outfit Stefan GP was not granted an official entry.

"I'm pushing on anyway," said Villeneuve, who was among the 12 drivers confirmed as having been in talks with the outfit headed by Zoran Stefanovich.

Stefan GP has however reapplied for the vacant berth for next season, and 39-year-old Villeneuve on Wednesday told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he is working hard on staying race-fit.

The French-Canadian said he is also ready to replace a current driver in 2010, and is maintaining his fitness with the help of a bespoke EUR400,000 machine conceived by his famous trainer Erwin Gollner.

"Last year showed that teams change their drivers during a season," he said.  "And the return of Schumacher and de la Rosa is a sign that experience is appreciated once again."

Villeneuve also dismissed claims that Michael Schumacher's age is his problem.

"Look at hockey," he said.  "Guys in their late 30s are still at world-class level.  It's because we're all living much healthier and have gained ten years."

Slow NASCAR ticket sales prompt deal offers  Slow ticket sales seem to be at the stem of several tracks announcing ticket deals and related race sponsorships in recent weeks.

Among the ticket announcements:

• Dover International Speedway is selling a $48 ticket for its Sprint Cup race May 16. With the $48 ticket, fans get a ticket to be a guest during a question-and-answer session with Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson. More ...

Paralympics Athlete and Retired Soldier Takes Spotlight at NASCAR Race  When the 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers hit the track this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, they will all be racing to honor one man – Heath Calhoun. As the grand-prize winner of the Crown Royal® “Your Name Here” contest, Calhoun was awarded naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 1.  The race is officially titled “Crown Royal Presents The Heath Calhoun 400.”

The Clarksville, Tenn, native was unveiled as the grand-prize winner earlier this year during a patriotic ceremony at Daytona International Speedway.  This year marked the first that Crown Royal, a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), focused the annual promotion solely on military service members to honor their achievements.  Calhoun and four other military members were chosen as the top finalists after nominations were received from their friends, family and fellow soldiers for their ability to demonstrate the core values of the military in performing a selfless act that made them a hero.  Heath’s winning nomination detailed his determination and ability to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest, despite their injuries.

“The last few months have been a whirlwind,” said Calhoun.  “Since being announced the Crown Royal winner, I have competed in the Paralympics, met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, and will soon be living out any race fan’s dream by having my own race.  This has truly been an unbelievable experience.  Thanks to Crown Royal, I will have the experience of a lifetime.  I look forward to representing all the men and women who serve our country during the race weekend.”

Calhoun, 30, retired from the US Army when he lost both of his legs in an explosion in Iraq. For his efforts on duty, he received a Purple Heart, as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage. He works closely with the Wounded Warrior Project in an effort to help as many people as he can. Calhoun recently competed on the US Paralympics Team at the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games, where he scored an 8th-place finish in the Super-G and a 10th-place finish in the Men’s Super Combined alpine skiing events.  Calhoun was also selected by Team USA to serve as flag bearer for Opening Ceremonies. Growing up very close to Bristol Motor Speedway, Calhoun has always loved NASCAR and remembers listening to the races on the radio with his grandfather when he was young.

“We are extremely proud to have such a remarkable athlete and hero in Heath Calhoun representing Crown Royal,” said Rob Mason, senior brand manager, Crown Royal. “In addition to his personal sacrifices for our country, Heath is very deserving of having his name in lights as he embodies the character and core values that we celebrate as a brand.  We are confident that NASCAR fans at the track and at home watching the race will be taken aback by Heath’s accomplishments and his drive to make a difference.  We look forward to making Heath the king of the race and we hope to toast all the men and women that serve our country, in Victory Lane - responsibly.”

Calhoun will receive the royal treatment throughout the weekend.  His name will be incorporated into the race broadcast and has been included on all the race tickets and merchandise.  Some of his duties include serving as Grand Marshal, participating in pace-car laps, watching the race from the No. 17 pit box and delivering the trophy – emblazoned with his name – to the race winner in Victory Lane. Calhoun will be joined by his wife Tiffany and several close friends and family members. 

“Richmond International Raceway congratulates Heath and sincerely thanks him and all the members of our nation’s armed forces to whom this race is dedicated,” said Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz. “The partnership with Crown Royal and the ‘Your Name Here’ contest has been a huge success, and Heath is another great winner. We look forward to continuing this great tradition by having Heath join us for an exciting weekend at America’s Premier Short Track.”

Prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway, America’s Premier Short Track, Crown Royal driver Matt Kenseth, along with Doug Fritz and Heath Calhoun, will participate in a private luncheon with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  The event will take place as a special tribute to Heath, his upcoming race, as well as his service to the country and ability to make a difference despite his injury.

“It has been an honor to meet Heath as well as all the other finalists that took part in this program,” said Kenseth. “Crown Royal has given me and the team numerous opportunities to interact with race fans this season and it’s been a blast.  We look forward to this weekend’s race activities and continuing our involvement with Crown Royal throughout the season to ensure adult race fans always drink responsibly.”
Moss says Schumacher is washed up  UPDATE (GMM)  While some have rushed to defend Michael Schumacher, formula one great Sir Stirling Moss is not among them.

After scoring just 10 points compared to his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg's 50 so far in 2010, figures including Bernie Ecclestone, David Coulthard, Martin Brundle, Jacques Lafitte, Jochen Mass and others have argued the seven time world champion deserves more time before he is definitively judged.

Stirling Moss says Michael Schumacher is washed up
But 80-year-old Briton Moss, credited as the best driver never to have won a title, told the Sun: "People are going to say he's past it now, which he probably is."

And he told metro.co.uk that he does not understand the 41-year-old German's decision to end his three years of retirement.

"All he's going to do is damage his achievements," said Moss, whose first grand prix win was in 1955 in the famous Mercedes W196.

He said Rosberg is Schumacher's first "comparable" teammate. More ...

Lotus not yet meeting Trulli's expectations  
Jarno Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli has admitted his first season with the new team Lotus is yet to match his expectations.

No driver with any of F1's three new outfits is yet to score a point in 2010, but Trulli's teammate Heikki Kovalainen has at least finished three of the four races.

Italian Trulli, who with more than 220 grands prix under his belt is among the most experienced drivers in F1 history, said he knew driving for Lotus in 2010 would be difficult but "I had expected at least to drive".

He has managed to outqualify Finn Kovalainen, 28, at three of the races so far. More ...

Night racing a welcome change for Newman  
Ryan Newman
Now that Ryan Newman has had an opportunity to take a few deep breaths following Sunday's crashfest at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the U.S. Army driver is back to feeling buoyant about his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team.

According to Newman his accident and 35th-place finish at Talladega was only a momentum detour for his team, which had strong finishes in the three previous races, including a victory at the April 10 event in Phoenix.

Richmond International Raceway, site of Saturday night's Crown Royal Heath Calhoun 400 Sprint Cup race, is the kind of venue that Newman would like nothing better to see following a superspeedway race at Talladega. More ...
2010 NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge info  
The 2010 edition of the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will retain the same exciting format as it did a year ago.

The fan-friendly competition features the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ top pit crews and is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 19 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling Time Warner Cable Arena box office at (800) 495-2295.  SPEED’s broadcast of the event begins at 9 p.m. More ...

Honda posts big gains  Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced its consolidated financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010. Consolidated net sales and other operating revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, 2010 amounted to JPY 2,279.5 billion (approx. $24.31 billion), an increase of 27.8% compared to the same period last year, primarily due to increased sales in all business segments and the favorable impact of currency translation. For the Fiscal Year ended March 31, 2010, consolidated operating income amounted to JPY 363.7 billion (approx. $3.87 billion), an increase of 91.8% compared to the same period last year.
Ford posts another big profit  Ford shares reached a 5-year high on Monday, but they slipped in mid-day trading today after the Dearborn automaker reported a $2.08-billion profit for the first quarter. Shares of Ford were trading at about $13.87, down about 4% from Monday’s close of $14.46, which had been the highest closing price since January 2005. Despite the declines, Ford’s share price has been on an upward trajectory since late 2008, when it bottomed out at under $1.50 a share.
V8s still a big part of GM's future  General Motors Co. said Tuesday it will invest more than $850 million to upgrade five North American factories to make its next-generation V8 engines more fuel efficient.

The new V8s will differ from the current versions by using direct injection and a new combustion system, spokeswoman Sharon Basel said. The next-generation engines will also be lighter. GM will build them exclusively from aluminum, compared with the current versions' aluminum and iron makeup, Basel said. All of the engines will be able to run on E85 ethanol. More ...

Williams F1 Acquires Majority Share in Williams Hybrid Power  Williams F1 today confirmed that is has acquired a majority shareholding in Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), increasing its existing 40% stake in the company to 78%.

Williams F1’s original investment dates back to March 2008 when the company bought the minority share in Automotive Hybrid Power (subsequently re-named to WHP), a Norfolk-based provider of composite flywheels, when kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) were being introduced into Formula One. Although the WHP flywheel system has not been raced by the team, WHP’s magnetically loaded composite flywheel (MLC) technology continues to garner considerable interest outside of the sport. More ...

Sergey Afanasiev excited about Marrakech challenge  Sergey Afanasiev is eagerly anticipating Formula Two's next round at Marrakech, with the Russian admitting the challenging street circuit may mean care and consistency are just as important as raw speed when it comes to scoring points.

Afanasiev currently lies third in the overall standings, after a superb start to the season saw him claim a podium in race one and sixth in race two. Whilst he is looking to carry such form into Marrakech and indeed the rest of the season, Afanasiev admits precise driving may be just as important as outright pace when it comes to the Moroccan street circuit.

More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Teams work hard on refining own F-duct systems
  • Raikkonen still not ruling out F1 return
  • More Hamilton breaches will be penalized - Alonso
  • Valencia GP future not in doubt - official
  • Spanish official eyes sponsors for beleaguered de la Rosa

Teams work hard on refining own F-duct systems
(GMM)  Ross Brawn has conceded that Mercedes' full 'F-duct' system might not be ready to debut in Barcelona next weekend.

The Brackley based team introduced an initial "passive" version of the downforce-spoiling rear wing device in China, as efforts to fully emulate McLaren's innovative system continue at the factory.

Unlike McLaren's system, Mercedes' Shanghai F-duct was not operated by the driver, with air instead being cleverly 'flicked' at increasingly higher speeds through a slot in the rear wing.

"We're still working on the proper system which we're having in Barcelona or Istanbul.  There's no point in having it in Monaco," said Brawn.

"It is complicated to get to work properly," the team boss added.

It is a similar story at Ferrari, where only some parts of a full F-duct system appeared on the F10 car in Shanghai.

"We are working on the F-duct and more progress could be made for Barcelona, although that's not confirmed yet," Fernando Alonso is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

"It is not an easy system, but I know the team is working hard to make it available as soon as possible," the Ferrari driver added.

Meanwhile, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that a further development of Sauber's China-specification F-duct will be debuted on the C29 in Spain next weekend.

Williams also had problems with its initial F-duct in Shanghai, and technical director Sam Michael is not expecting a quick fix.

"I expect it will take us a couple of months to get it working properly," said the Australian. More ...

Barcelona – Ferrari technical look ahead  Barcelona not only marks the start of the much awaited European leg of the Formula 1 championship but the general consensus within the paddock, is that a car’s performance here will dictate a lot of what’s to come the rest of the season.  Thus, it’s no surprise that following the flyaway-race break, Ferrari along with all teams will look to separate, gain, improve and assert their performance at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The track is located in Montmelo¢ Spain, just north of Barcelona and is a popular venue for Formula 1 winter tests.

The 4.655 kilometer track’s position exposes it to more often than not gusty winds, making car setup and aero-balance a more critical factor. Challenging gradients as the circuit is positioned on a hillside overlooking the massive paddock complex don’t make the job easier. More ...

IndyCar news tidbits  Newman/Haas Racing's Hideki Mutoh will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and catch up with All-Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki before the Kansas City Royals host the Seattle Mariners on April 28. ......IZOD IndyCar Series rookies Mario Romancini and Bertrand Baguette (Conquest Racing), Takuma Sato (KV Racing Technology) and Simona De Silvestro (Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing) will participate in an oval orientation/testing day April 28 at Kansas Speedway. Last week's scheduled session was washed out. John Andretti, who will compete in an Andretti Autosport car at Kansas and the Indianapolis 500, also will get on the track in a refresher….... Following the day on the track, De Silvestro will be a guest on "The Race Reporters" at 7 p.m. (ET). Listen to the show at www.PowerUpChannel.com.
IndyCar stars to return to Surfers  UPDATE Ryan Briscoe expects a hearty ovation from spectators Oct. 24 as the last champion of an open-wheel race on the temporary Surfers Paradise, Australia, street circuit. That and because he's a Sydney native.

Team Penske's Briscoe and Will Power will be joined by IZOD IndyCar Series stars Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani and Dario Franchitti, and an international lineup of drivers for the revamped race in Queensland. The former Champ Car - and in October 2008 an IndyCar Series non-points race won by Briscoe - is now solely a round of the Australian V8 Supercar series.

"It will be a lot of fun racing against a bunch of big-name drivers all in foreign equipment that we're not used to," Briscoe said as he waited out the rainstorm that created an abbreviated testing day at Kansas Speedway. "It's actually a team I did two races with back in '06 - Holden Racing, the factory GM team down there - so it's really good. It will be fun going back to Surfers Paradise as the reigning IndyCar race winner. I'm sure there will be a lot of support." More ...

Teleconference Transcript: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tomas Scheckter  
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and welcome everybody to today's Indy Racing League teleconference call. We have two guests on today's call, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Tomas Scheckter, and later we'll be joined by the winner of the most recent Izod IndyCar Series event, Ryan Hunter-Reay. First we have Tomas Scheckter who will join Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the 2010 Indianapolis 500. Tomas, thanks for taking will time to talk to us today.


THE MODERATOR: I understand you have an announcement to make about your Indy 500 program, so go ahead and have the floor.

TOMAS SCHECKTER: Yeah, thanks, Arni. We're very proud to have on the Dreyer & Reinbold car Mona Vie back again. You know, this is a company that sponsored me last year for the Indy 500 and throughout the rest of the year. It's a product that I've been using now for a while, and obviously a product that I believe in and love.

To have them back on the car we're extremely happy and looking forward to a good Indy 500. The hype behind everybody at Mona Vie, it's certainly a company with a lot of energy and it's going to a lot of places very quickly.

They're spreading round the world. Just really happy to have them on board. More ...

IZOD IndyCar Series Q &A - Randy Bernard  Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League, participated in a Q &A regarding today's announcement that the Indy Racing League will hold separate oval and road title contests within the overall IZOD IndyCar Series driver championship beginning with the 2010 season.

Q. What was the seedling that bloomed into this initiative?

RANDY BERNARD:  After my first six weeks, I kept saying to myself we need to be able to deliver a consistent message about our sport that separates us from other forms of auto racing. What hit me is that we have the fastest and most versatile drivers and race cars in the world -- and no one can deny that -- and now we have to show why we're the fastest and most versatile. We have 17 events, but how do we create better storylines? More ...

Mears named to #36 ride  Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) has named Casey Mears driver of the #36 Chevy, team owner Tommy Baldwin announced. Mears will be behind the wheel of the #36 starting this weekend at Richmond International Raceway for the Heath Calhoun 400. Mears takes over for Johnny Sauter, whose two-race stint as driver of the #36 ended this past weekend at Talladega, where he finished 41st. "I'm excited to have Casey on board with the #36 and TBR," Baldwin said. "It's nice to have someone behind the wheel that is not only marketable but a proven driver as well. We look forward to getting out there at Richmond and seeing what we can do." Mears began the year driving for #90-Keyed-Up Motorsports and also served as #11-Denny Hamlin's backup driver after Hamlin's knee surgery. Mears is eagerly anticipating another chance in the Sprint Cup Series. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to go racing again," Mears said. "Tommy is working hard over at TBR and he is really looking to build something there. It's great to be part of that and I'm looking forward to this weekend at Richmond." Tommy Baldwin Racing
Indy highway construction headaches  For the next two years, hundreds of thousands of racing fans will be running their own obstacle course through highway construction zones to reach the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Road construction and utility projects will pinch some of the streets and interstates leading to the West 16th Street racetrack in Speedway, home to the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP motorcycle race.

But IMS officials, police and highway department leaders say road work will halt on race days so fans can make it to the track, even if it's through streets constricted by construction.

Interactive: Check all the projects planned for the 2010 construction season

"We will make it work, and we will do our best to make the flow in and out of the track as painless as possible," said Speedway Assistant Police Chief Chuck Upchurch. "But we are talking about major road construction. It will have an effect. But we can try to minimize it."

Construction in the Speedway area includes the $86.1 million removal and replacement of the heavily traveled interchange of I-465 with I-74 and Crawfordsville Road starting this year and continuing through 2011. Also, parts of Main Street in Speedway have been closed since last winter within blocks of the gates to the IMS for new sewers and a major redevelopment.

The projects are among hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of road and utility work that promises to cause headaches for Central Indiana motorists throughout this year's construction season.

Westside residents and businesses have become accustomed to road construction in recent years, as the state has worked to reconstruct the entire western leg of the I-465 loop.

The West 10th Street and West Washington Street interchanges have been under construction for a year or more as part of the Accelerate 465 project. Now the construction has moved to Speedway at I-465 and I-74 and to businesses in the Speedway Shopping Center.

"The biggest thing I hear from my customers is that they want to be able to find another way to get here," said Terry Davidson, general manager at the MCL Restaurant and Bakery. "We close on race days because you can't get in here anyway. But the rest of the year, this is a kind of community gathering place, so people will find a way."

IMS officials said they are pleased with the cooperation they have received from transportation officials to accommodate the travel of race fans, even though they still will be inconvenienced.

"The good news is that this (construction) will produce significant improvements," said IMS spokesman Fred Nation. "But no gain comes without some pain."

The state is requiring Walsh Construction, the primary contractor on the I-465 and Crawfordsville Road interchange, to pull work crews away on key dates, including the 500-Mile Race on May 30, the Brickyard 400 on July 25 and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP motorcycle race on Aug. 29.

Speedway's Main Street between 10th and 16th streets is still closed this week, but it is to reopen in time to be the staging area for the IndyGo buses that will transport fans on race day.

When work is completed in 2011, the Crawfordsville Road interchange will be much larger and have longer ramps, some of them extending through an area now occupied by the West Wind Apartment buildings and a Red Roof Inn, which are to be demolished.

Tunnels and walkways also have been built under I-465 for proposed hiking and biking trails.

And while the construction will inconvenience motorists, one bit of news could inspire taxpayers to do a victory lap.

Construction bids on the Accelerate 465 project have come in at $100 million less than expected, curbed by the down economy. The project, once estimated to cost $550 million, has generated final bids totaling $450 million, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation. Indianapolis Star

Reutimann's crew wins Tissot Pit crew Talladega round  David Reutimann’s over-the-wall crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (April 25) Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

The fast pit stops by the No. 00 crew at the 2.66-mile tri-oval helped Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) attain its third Tissot win of the season.  The No. 56 MWR crew for Martin Truex Jr. leads the Tissot standings with two wins.

Reutimann’s Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota spent the least amount of time on pit road – 208.560 seconds – during the 200-lap overtime race, which saw a maximum of three green-white-checkered restarts. David Ragan’s UPS Ford was second (214.115) and Kyle Busch’s M&M’s Toyota was third (238.719).

“It’s awesome too have the Aaron’s 00 crew get the Tissot award for Talladega,” said pit crew coach Greg Miller. “The entire 00 team has had its share of adversity this year, but they have kept digging and have never given up. The car has been great all year but we just haven’t been able to get the finish.  Hopefully this will be a change of luck for us and we can begin to realize the results these guys deserve.”

Reutimann’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ryan Langley (front-tire changer), Chris Hall (front-tire carrier), Eric Maycroft (rear-tire changer), Donnie Marvel (rear-tire carrier), Tony Cardamone (jackman), Aaron Pieratt (gasman), Jeff Seaberg (catch can) and Nate Kennedy (Eighth Man). The team’s crew chief is Rodney Childers.

The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.

Tissot has been the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR since 2006. The company is also the official timekeeper for a number of other sports, including the MotoGP World Championship, the Ice Hockey World Championship and the Cycling World Championship.

2010 Tissot Pit Road Precision Award Winners
Daytona, 2/14      Juan Pablo Montoya Team
Fontana, 2/21      Jeff Gordon Team 
Las Vegas, 2/28    Martin Truex Jr. Team
Atlanta, 3/7          Martin Truex Jr. Team
Bristol, 3/21          Brad Keselowski Team
Martinsville, 3/29  Clint Bowyer Team
Phoenix, 4/10        Matt Kenseth Team
Texas, 4/19          Dale Earnhardt Jr. Team
Talladega 4/25      David Reutimann Team

Delta Wing Wind Tunnel Test Report  UPDATE The Discovery Channel Canada covered the Delta Wing's Windshear wind tunnel testing. Here is a link to the segment: http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/daily-planet/april-2010/daily-planet---april-26-2010/#clip294528

04/08/10 DeltaWing LLC, of Indianapolis, today announced the initial results of its first full size model test in the state-of-the-art Windshear wind tunnel on April 6, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.

“The test was a huge success and confirmed the trends of our advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling,” said Ben Bowlby, Designer and Chief Technology Officer of DeltaWing LLC. “We are very pleased that the results in the wind tunnel support our CFD findings. This is a critical step for the project and allows us to move forward towards a final design with the growing confidence gained from these results. We continue to believe that the car will respond on the race track as our simulations have predicted over the past 16 months. We are more convinced than ever that the DeltaWing concept will meet or exceed the parameters that the IZOD IndyCar Series has established for the 2012 chassis.” More ...
Honda prefers V6 engine format  UPDATE #2 Honda talks more about future engine plans:

One of the first major things newly appointed Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard did upon joining was to form a committee to recommend a future chassis and engine formula for the Izod IndyCar Series.

With the unveiling of the Delta Wing concept car, as well as renderings of potential designs from four other manufacturers, the public focus has been on the new chassis. But the IRL intends to introduce new engine specifications, as well, and designing and developing an engine is a more time-consuming process than creating a new chassis. With high hopes for a 2012 introduction, the seven-man ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) committee certainly has a lot on its plate. More ...

FIA wants more women in racing  The FIA’s Women and Motor Sport Commission met for the first time yesterday and set itself the target of “facilitating the full participation of women in all aspects of motor sport.”

Like many branches of motor sport, few women have made a mark in F1 as drivers. The last woman to compete in F1 was Giovanna Amati 18 years ago.

However there are several women working for teams in both technical and non-technical roles, such as Sauber’s managing director Monisha Kaltenborn.

Jean Todt set up the commission shortly after becoming FIA president. He said:

"The FIA’s membership around the world comprises men and women; each has an identical part to play in sport. Like many international federations, we will support, promote and help advance the participation of women in motor sport to ensure equal opportunities at all levels."

The president of the WMC is former rally driver Michele Mouton, the only woman to win a round of the World Rally Championship. She said:

"Women already have their place in motor sport; they have proved it. But for many years people have asked me why there have been no women following in my footsteps. I really hope the Commission can help answer that question and that we can attract and support women in all areas of our sport."

This Week in Ford Racing: Interview with Richard Petty  
King Richard
Richard Petty has spent much of the season looking after his wife, Lynda, who has been undergoing cancer treatments at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC.  The King spoke about the progress she has been making and how he has been juggling the desire to take care of his wife while also following Richard Petty Motorsports.

Richard Petty has spent much of the season looking after his wife, Lynda, who has been undergoing cancer treatments at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC.  The King spoke about the progress she has been making and how he has been juggling the desire to take care of his wife while also following Richard Petty Motorsports. More ...

West coast swing sees another huge grid for Monterey  
ALMS has huge grids
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n’s first six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will feature the biggest grid for a Series event at the famed Monterey, Calif., venue in a decade and one of the largest for any professional championship at the circuit. It marks the third consecutive race that the Series has seen significant entry increases over the previous year.

Thirty-six cars representing four classes are on the initial entry list for the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n. In addition to a new six-hour format – compared to four hours from 2004 to 2009 – the event date shifts from fall to spring: May 20-22. More ...
IRL announces 2 championships in one  The Indy Racing League announced today plans to institute oval and road title contests within the overall IZOD IndyCar Series driver championship beginning with the 2010 season.

Using the current championship points system, the highest-scoring oval and road/street drivers will be crowned champion of their respective racing discipline.  The road title will culminate on Aug. 22 at Infineon Raceway, while the oval contest will conclude Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. The Oct. 2 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be reserved to honor the overall IZOD IndyCar Series champion.

Drivers will compete for bonuses presented to both category champions, with the purse to be announced at a later date. More ...

Ford reports solid profit  Ford today said it earned $2.08 billion, or 50 cents per share, during the first quarter of the year, providing more evidence that the Dearborn automaker’s turnaround plan is on track.
Ford’s profit also eclipsed its loss of $1.43 billion, or 60 cents per share, for the same January through March period last year.

Ford also easily beat Wall Street’s expectations. Before special charges, Ford earned $1.76 billion, or 46 cents per share. More ...

Renault offers fans a chance to race an F1 car  
Robert Kubica's Renault
Fancy taking an F1 car for a spin this summer? Now, you can belt up with the Renault F1 Team’s 'Feel It Program' to become a grand prix driver for the day! It’s not every day that an F1 team opens its doors and gives fans the chance to experience some adrenaline-fuelled laps in an F1 car, but that’s exactly what the Feel It Program offers.

It’s the chance to realize a lifelong ambition by stepping into your heroes’ shoes for a taste of life at 200mph. With 700 horsepower under your right foot, an F1 car needs taming and it’s all down to you. More ...

Record-Setting Day At Talladega Superspeedway  Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway yielded much more than Kevin Harvick's eventual, breath-taking victory in the Aaron's 499. Between green and checkered flags, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers established two all-time and track records, plus a top-10 all-time mark in margin of victory and one track record. Sunday's Aaron's 499 set all-time and track records for lead changes (88) and lap leaders (29). The previous highs were 75 lead changes (set on May 6, 1984) and 28 lap leaders (set on Oct. 5, 2008). Both previous records also were set at Talladega. Harvick's last-second pass of then-leader Jamie McMurray, just short of the checkered flag, produced the eighth-closest finish (.011 of a second) since the 1993 advent of electronic timing and scoring. Sunday's 200 laps (12 beyond the advertised distance of 188 laps) also set a new track record for the longest race at Talladega. Drivers made three attempts at a green-white-checker finish, with Harvick winning on the third and final attempt. The previous longest event at Talladega was 194 laps on May 1, 2005. NASCAR PR
Johnson takes blame for incident with Gordon  Jimmie Johnson took the blame for making a mistake that ultimately led to teammate Jeff Gordon's wreck at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson said he was trying to slide in front of Gordon late in Sunday's race so the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers could draft together toward the front. But, he said Gordon was coming too fast. Johnson's move instead had the effect of a block, and Gordon was forced off the apron in a defensive move. His momentum gone, Gordon slide back in traffic and was caught moments later in a multi-car crash. "I misjudged the closing rate," Johnson said. "We all make mistakes, I am no different. Certainly, that was my fault. I made the mistake there." Gordon, who drove his damaged car to a 22nd-place finish, was furious with his teammate after the race. "The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that," Gordon said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. "It takes a lot to make me mad." Johnson was involved in his own accident later and finished 31st. Johnson had already left the track when Gordon, also a four-time series champion, talked of his frustration with his teammate. "I would have stuck around if I knew what was waiting for me," Johnson said. But Johnson again dismissed any notion of a rift with Gordon. The two tangled a week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, but downplayed any potential tensions. "There's no doubt after the fact that frustrations are high, the wreck just compounded it," Johnson said. "I think he was speaking out of frustration. Associated Press
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • McLaren critical of FIA's ride-height saga handling
  • Button left team to prove critics wrong - Brawn
  • 'Intelligent' Button winning battle with Hamilton - Brawn
  • Sauber needs sponsors to boost 2010 car - de la Rosa
  • Renault, Kubica 'biggest surprise' of 2010 - de la Rosa
  • Alonso, Sutil, expect Red Bull to maintain 2010 edge
  • Only judge Schu after 'half a season' - Coulthard

McLaren critical of FIA's ride-height saga handling
(GMM)  McLaren has reportedly "gently criticized" the FIA over the governing body's handling of the Red Bull ride-height affair.

When the Mercedes powered team earlier suspected Red Bull of using a controversial ride-height adjustment system on its RB6 car, McLaren rushed to design its own for the MP4-25.

But while Christian Horner vehemently denied that Red Bull was running any such system, the FIA finally clarified that it would not be legal even in theory.

A report in the Daily Telegraph said McLaren is quietly critical of the FIA's handling of the affair because the lateness of the ruling wasted the team's time.

"It would have been nice if we had had a clear no at the outset but we didn't," boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as saying. More ...

The IRL needs to apologize for the split  UPDATE  ESPN's John Oreovicz expressed a similar sentiment back in January: History will record that for every positive thing Tony George did for the Speedway or the overall sport of auto racing -- such as funding the development of the SAFER barrier system now successfully utilized at almost every major oval track in the world -- there was a far more significant negative action. And at the top of that list is the creation of the IRL.

Ultimately, George's legacy will be defined by the IRL. And it's not a happy one. Don't believe me? Then check out a few of the reader comments posted in response to the news story reporting George's decision to vacate the IMS and Hulman & Co. boards. The vast majority of Indy-car racing's remaining loyal fans blame George and his creation of the IRL for the downfall of the sport they love. George -- with Bill France Jr. prodding him on one side and Bernie Ecclestone on the other -- was the man solely responsible for choosing to go into competition with CART, which since 1979 had led the growth and development of Indy-car racing, including the Indy 500.

So what are we left with? An IRL IndyCar Series that in many key respects is a virtual clone of CART in the '80s and '90s. Same teams, same mix of road racing and ovals, but now managed -- some would say mismanaged -- by IMS. But with a significantly diminished fan and sponsor base and no longer featuring George in the mix, other than as the owner of a midfield team created as a vehicle to put his stepson Ed Carpenter into Indy cars.

I'll close by repeating a thought I expressed in a column I wrote in January 2006, when George and the IRL retained KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his marketing company to represent the IndyCar Series. It's richly ironic that the anthem Simmons penned to promote Indy-car racing was titled "I Am Indy." Because Tony George seems to have thought HE was Indy, and clearly he wasn't. More ...

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