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NASCAR.COM Launches New Driver Gauge Feature  Today, NASCAR.COM announced a new enhancement to the site. The Driver Gauge is an aggregator of different content across NASCAR.COM formulated to capture driver “buzz” from week-to-week. The feature continues fans’ engagement and interaction with driver-related content on NASCAR.COM, while rallying each driver’s fanbase to engage in healthy debate over the weekly ratings.

The Driver Gauge ratings captures weekly driver “buzz” based on fan votes on NASCAR.COM and site participation, drivers’ race results, Superstore sales, Fantasy lineup changes and site traffic to determine who the top five fan favorite drivers are for the week.  Fans can vote for their favorite driver and discuss their picks with friends and other fans on Facebook.

Follow the link to see the new Driver Gauge feature: http://www.nascar.com/gauge/

Four teams represented in top five of IndyCar standings  Will Power's 42-point lead after four road/street course events has dwindled to 26 after the first oval race of the season.

A victory in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 vaulted Scott Dixon to second in the championship standings - and first in the oval title chase. Helio Castroneves is 28 points back and Ryan Hunter-Reay is 31 points behind Power, who finished 12th at Kansas Speedway.

Dario Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion, is fifth (minus 38) in the championship. Four teams are represented in the standings heading into Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

Unser gives rookies high overall marks on first oval  Four drivers competed in their first IZOD IndyCar Series oval race -- the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway -- on May 1. Three were running at the finish, while the fourth - KV Racing Technology's Takuma Sato - was challenging for a top-10 finish until being involved in a two-car crash on Lap 186 of 200.

Conquest Racing's Bertrand Baguette finished 20th, De Silvestro of Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing was 21st and Conquest Racing's Mario Romancini was 22nd.

Overall, IZOD IndyCar Series driver coach Al Unser Jr. said, the first-year drivers acquitted themselves against the competition and without much preparation time. They received five hours of track time April 28 to digest information and assimilate the nuances of the 1.52-mile racetrack plus one 105-minute practice session (reduced from two sessions because of rain) on April 30. More ...

John Andretti posts best IZOD IndyCar Series finish  
John Andretti
As tune-ups go, John Andretti is good for another 500 miles. Andretti, competing in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway as a prelude to the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, finished ninth in the No. 43 Window World entry for Richard Petty/Andretti Autosport -- his highest IZOD IndyCar Series oval finish.

"I can't be disappointed with this," said Andretti, who has competed on the 1.5-mile oval in four different racing series. "I felt if we finished in the top 10 that would be better than I could expect and we finished ninth. We ran up there, we ran good and we ran good on the long runs.

"Like everybody, I think we wish (Scott) Dixon hadn't caught it quite so good because then we could have finished a little better, but I'm pleased. We weren't perfect, but it was good for me. I had a good time."

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers test at Kentucky Speedway on May 4th  For the past three years, Davey Hamilton's routine in May has been to practice, qualify and race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This year, he'll get some preliminary seat time.

Hamilton will join Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports' regular driver Raphael Matos and other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers for a May 4 afternoon test session at Kentucky Speedway. Fans are invited to watch free of charge from a designated area outside the Turn 3 Fan Center located off of I-71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North.

"I've been out of the car since Indy last year and haven't had a lot of laps in the last three years so this test will be important for me as we get prepared for Indy," said Hamilton, who has recorded plenty of laps as driver of the Indy Racing Experience two-seater. "It's also the first time working with the team and I'm looking forward to that. I may have experience, but Rafa has been in five races already and has knowledge of how the cars have been reacting this season so his input will be invaluable to me. More ...

Mazda Reports Increased Sales for April  Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today reported its seventh consecutive month of sales increases with April 2010 sales of 18,935, an increase of 17.3 percent versus April 2009.MAZDA3 recorded its best April since 2005. Winner of ALG's Residual Value Award for highest retained value after three years in service, the MAZDA3 reported increased sales of 27.6 percent with 9,320 units sold. Mazda's crossover SUVs – CX-9 and CX-7 – also posted strong April sales. CX-9 reported its best April sales ever with sales of 2,219 units, up 88.2 percent, while CX-7 sales jumped 79.2 percent with 2,237 units sold. Rounding out the North American market, Mazda Motor de Mexico (MMdM) had a very strong sales month with a 59.6 percent increase in sales compared to April 2009 with 8,152 units sold.

Mazda Canada Inc. (MCI) reported 8,338 units sold, up 1.7 percent compared to last April. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in the United States in 2010, Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

USF1 engineer, Warren, back in NASCAR  Dr. Eric Warren will return to the NASCAR circuit starting on Monday. Warren, who worked as an engineer with Evernham Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing before joining the fledgling U.S. Formula One effort, will handle simulation projects for Richard Petty Motorsports. FoxSports
Newman's team wins Richmond Tissot pit crew round  
    Newman's crew gets it done
Ryan Newman’s U.S. Army over-the-wall crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s (May 1) Crown Royal Heath Calhoun 400 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.

The Army crew put together a string of fast pit stops which helped Newman post an eighth-place finish in the 400-lap, 300-mile race at the .75-mile short track. More ...
Calloway Corvette wins in Silverstone  
Calloway Corvette
Callaway Competition started with a victory into the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship. Christian Hohenadel (D) and Daniel Keilwitz (D) won the second of two races on Sunday in Silverstone with a Corvette Z06.R GT3, developed and built by Callaway Competition in Leingarten/Germany. Also Saturday’s first race brought success for a Callaway built Corvette, Toni Seiler (CH) and Dino Lunardi (F) finished second in a Corvette of Callaway customer team Toni Seiler Racing. More ...
Schu on pole for kart races in Germany  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher moved to shake off more of the rust of his three year retirement at the weekend by racing karts.

After finishing just tenth at the wheel of his Mercedes in China, the seven time world champion reverted to 40 horse power at the Erftlandring circuit in Germany and set pole position in a Tony Kart for the 125cc KZ2 class.

The 41-year-old German won the first of two heats, but was beaten in the second.

Not only will Schumacher's W01 chassis be a new one in Barcelona this weekend, the package has been updated for a longer wheelbase that should satisfy his desire for a less understeering car.

"I am hoping for a better race than I had in China and of course I would not mind having had better results so far," he said.

Latest F1 news in brief - 2  
  • Key unlocking 'small restructuring' at Sauber
  • Senna not as good as uncle says Brundle
  • Buemi tests Toro Rosso, applauds Alguersuari's progress
  • Cautious approach pays off for Toro Rosso's engines
  • Virgin confirms only one modified car for Glock

Key unlocking 'small restructuring' at Sauber
(GMM)  One of James Key's first tasks as technical director will be to oversee a "small restructuring" of the struggling Sauber team.

In the wake of former owner BMW's departure and founder Peter Sauber's return as privateer, the Hinwil based squad has struggled notably with the pace and reliability of the C29.

Key, newly arrived in long time technical director Willy Rampf's wake, said on Monday he has completed his initial analysis after switching from Force India.

"It requires a slightly new approach to the way certain areas work to make better use of the size the team is now," he said.

"In the short term there is going to be a small restructuring within the technical group, which I have just started instigating.

"This should allow the team to be more in tune with the smaller organization it is now, particularly in terms of the efficiency of its operation," added Key. More ...

Motorsports This Week on ESPN  NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Darlington on ESPN2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series races under the lights in prime time at Darlington (SC) Raceway on Friday night, May 7, and ESPN2 will have a live, flag-to-flag telecast. NASCAR Countdown presented by Hellman’s airs at 7 p.m. ET, while the race telecast starts at 7:30 p.m. with the green flag at 7:45 p.m. ESPN2 is the home of the series all season, with selected races airing on ESPN and ABC.

Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Dr. Jerry Punch. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage. More ...
What goes into an F1 hospitality unit?  After four long-haul events living out of containers, flight cases and rented hospitality units, the FIA Formula One World Championship now sees a return to Europe and the relative comfort of the teams' own trucks kitted out with their own unique, made to measure equipment and workspaces. With the distances between races being shorter teams also bring their own bespoke hospitality units designed to fit their individual needs. Force India is no exception. More ...
Audi's 1Q revenues rise 23.3 percent  Audi AG, the maker of luxury cars including the TT, A5 and A8, said Monday that its first-quarter operating profit and revenues rose on demand in the U.S., China and parts of Europe.

The company, which is a unit of Volkswagen AG and based in Ingolstadt, said that its operating profit in the first quarter was euro478 million ($636.5 million), up 32 percent from the euro363 million it reported a year earlier. It did not provide net profit figures. Operating earnings exclude financial items such as interest and taxes, as well as one-time gains and losses.

Revenues rose by nearly 24 percent to euro8.3 billion in the January-March period compared with euro6.7 billion last year.

For 2010, Audi said it expects to increase deliveries of its cars to more than 1 million and cited growth in Asia and the Pacific and a "significant recovery" in the U.S. market.

The outlook comes ahead of plans to launch its next-generation A8 along with versions of its A7 and A1 models. Detroit News

Germany wants 1 million electric cars by 2020  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top executives of the country's main carmakers and energy companies are meeting in Berlin to launch a new initiative to develop electric vehicles.

The so-called "national platform for electric mobility" being started Monday comes after Merkel pledged to have one million electric vehicles on the road within the next decade.

Merkel says there needs to be greater independence from natural resources. She is pushing sustainable technologies that will help limit the effects of climate change. More ...

Ford sets date for new engine switch  The Fords of Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports will switch to the FR9 engine beginning with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3 and race it for the remainder of the season - with the exception of Watkins Glen and Bristol Motor Speedway. The Roush and RPM teams will all race the engine at the Sprint All-Star Race. Ford originally submitted the engine for approval in the summer of 2008 and used it for the first time at the fall Talladega race. However, they rushed it before it was fully developed. The overall cost for the project - the first purpose-built racing engine for NASCAR - ran between $15-20 million. FoxSports
United and Continental to merge  For all you race folks who have frequent flier mileage on both airlines, Continental Airlines and United airlines today announced a definitive merger agreement, creating the world's leading airline with superior service to customers, expanded access to an unparalleled global network serving 370 destinations around the world, enhanced long-term career prospects for employees, and a platform for improved profitability and sustainable long-term value for shareholders. The all-stock merger of equals brings together two of the world's premier airlines, creating a combined company well positioned to succeed in an increasingly competitive global and domestic aviation industry.
Schumacher, Hight, W.J., Phillips win at Midwest Nationals  Tony Schumacher, Robert Hight, Warren Johnson, and Michael Phillips collected wins at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals after a wild and wacky day of final eliminations at Gateway Int’l Raceway. It was Johnson’s first Pro Stock win in more than four years.

The seventh stop of the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series was packed with upsets in both Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle and a busy day for Jeg Coughlin, who reached the final in both Pro Stock and Top Dragster. Coughlin was shooting for both his 50th career Pro Stock win and to become the first driver since Pat Austin in 1992 to win in both a Pro and Sportsman class at the same event; Austin accomplished the rare feat in Topeka in 1991 and in Phoenix in 1992, winning both in Top Fuel and Top Alcohol Funny Car. More ...

Technical Director James Key talks about his first month in Hinwil  
James Key
Question: What are your first impressions of the team?

James Key: "The first impressions are very good. We have an excellent group of people here, and the expertise and the knowledge are at a very high level. And, of course, the facilities are state-of-the-art. There is enormous potential. Everything is here that needs to be here to ensure the team can move forward. On the other hand there is also much work to be done. The team is still recovering from its uncertain situation in the second half of 2009. It requires a slightly new approach to the way certain areas work to make better use of the size the team is now.

Question: Where was your main focus in the first month with the team?

Key: "My main focus in the first week was to get around and meet as many people as I could in the technical group to understand where they felt they were, how they operate their departments and how they fit in with other areas. I'm a strong believer that, particularly in a small team, you have to be able to read into how the operation ticks and how it works and fits together. I asked them questions about where they see things heading at present, and what they think their department's strengths and weaknesses are. All that allowed me to piece together a picture of the team.

"The second part was to focus on where we are with the current car. The race weekend in China really helped, because I was able to see the car running and talk to the drivers and people at the track in more detail. From all of that I am forming a plan of the way we go forward, which fundamentally is attacking our known weaknesses and investigating areas we don't understand so well yet. The good news is the team is well aware already of some of the deficits that the car has compared to where it should be. I've been able to reinforce that and introduce a few other directions and ideas as well." More ...

Q&A with Toro Rosso drivers  The Spanish GP signals the start of the European part of the season: a good time to the Toro Rosso drivers and team principal about the season so far and expectations for the upcoming races.


Are you looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix?
“Yes, because every time I have raced here it is has been special as it is my home track and there is plenty of support for me, making for a great atmosphere. This will be the first time I race in the Spanish Grand Prix and I expect there will be a lot of my friends and fans coming to watch, also because there are several Spanish drivers on the grid this year. One important factor is that this is the first track of the season I have driven on before, so that should make life easier for me.”

Will you treat this race differently to any other?
“No, because after all, it is just one more round of the championship. However, as a home race, all the support from the fans will make a slight difference, in the same way that football teams have an advantage playing a Home match. But in the way we will go about doing our work, it will be the same as all the others.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Klien eyes F1 return with new manager
  • Rosberg 'close' to maiden F1 win - Brawn
  • Schu motivated as more rumors predict comeback collapse
  • Grosjean not happy with new Silverstone layout
  • Alonso would repeat 'risky' Massa passing move
  • Rookie lineup 'a disadvantage' for HRT - Kolles
  • No anti-Hamilton 'witch hunt' insists Webber
  • Full Mercedes F-duct not ready for Spain

Klien eyes F1 return with new manager
(GMM)  Christian Klien has begun working with a new manager.

The former formula one driver is Peugeot's Le Mans reserve this year, after a career spanning 48 grands prix and recent stints as test driver with departed Honda and BMW.

Austrian Klien, 27, wanted to return to the grid in 2010, and was previously managed by his father Johannes.

"Already last year it became obvious that talent and speed are by far not a guarantee for a permanent race seat in the current economic climate," said the former Red Bull and Jaguar racer.

It is believed Klien was in the running for the HRT 'Friday' driver role that instead has been secured by Sakon Yamamoto.

"On two occasions I missed out on a contract literally last minute because other drivers had a more attractive sponsor package to offer," said Klien.

He did not confirm reports that he was among the drivers considered by hopeful Serbian team Stefan GP.

"In formula one you normally do not talk about unlaid eggs.  It may always weaken somebody's position in ongoing negotiations," insisted Klien.

"I would like to ask for everybody's understanding that I refuse to comment on anything the rumor mill spits out.  As a matter of fact we are in talks with several teams on a regular basis," he added.

Klien's new manager is German 28-year-old Roman Rummenigge, of the Rummenigge Sport Marketing company. More ...

Quotes of the Week  "He's certainly a talent - oh, my goodness.  The way he drives is off the charts. I see the telemetry graphs, I can't drive like that.  It's too much risk." Helio Castroneves admitting he is inferior to his Penske teammate Will Power, formerly from Champ Car, who has proven to be the fastest driver on the IndyCar circuit.  It's not too often you see a driver admit he is inferior.  We bet he dances better than Power though.

“I’ve got more dandelions in my yard than there were people in the grandstands.” The Kansas IndyCar crowd was woeful, estimated at less than 15,000, which brought the quote of the day from SPEED cameraman Brian Clark

Lorenzo rides to first victory of 2010 at Jerez  Jorge Lorenzo moved to the top of the MotoGP World Championship standings after the second round at Jerez with a victory that delighted the home Spanish crowd, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) making it a Spanish one-two after a pulsating end to the race. Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha team-mate and defending World Champion Valentino Rossi placed third to maintain his early season quest for the 2010 title, and now lies in second place in the standings.

A rapid start to the race saw pole holder Pedrosa lead into Turn1, with Rossi rising from fourth on the grid to follow the Spaniard and Hayden also shooting up from the second row as the riders all battled for early positions.

On the third lap Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) crashed out and shortly after Aleix Espargar¢ also fell. The Pramac Racing rider managed to return to the track however, but Capirossi’s race was finished, and on lap eight Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) pitted and retired with a front tire problem on his M1 machine when competing inside the top ten. More ...

Eng takes hard fought race two win  
Philipp Eng
Philipp Eng recorded an extremely hard fought win in the second race at Marrakech, the Austrian withstanding heavy pressure from a charging Dean Stoneman to clinch his second victory of the year and extend his lead in the championship standings.

Stoneman, who has been a frontrunner all weekend, got a bad start from second and had to work his way back past Johan Jokinen before he was able to mount a race-long pursuit of Eng. He closed several times but was unable to find a way through, despite some dramatic moments in the final few corners of the race.

Will Bratt inherited third after Jokinen suffered a collision with the barriers at the first chicane along the back straight, although the Briton made a great move on Kazim Vasiliauskas earlier in the race. More ...

Contractors say Kyle Busch owes them  
Kyle Busch
A subcontractor who helped build NASCAR driver Kyle Busch's new multi-million-dollar headquarters has filed a lien against the project, and four others also say they're owed money. Collectively, the contractors say they are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by the building's owner and general contractor. As small business owners, they said, they can't afford to go for months without being paid. Paul Davis of Creative Carpets LLC said he filed a mechanic's lien against the general contractor Friday. Davis said he is owed $60,000 for installing roughly 18,000 square feet of carpet and flooring. "As a business, I can't function," he said, adding his suppliers won't give him more materials until he pays them. "I'm spending more of my time chasing my money than making it. And in this economy, I can't do that." Davis said he filed the lien because he'd grown worried that he might not get paid the full amount he is owed. He said Busch's attorney told him "one group was going to walk away unhappy." The building is owned by L.B. Builders Construction Group, which also is overseeing construction. It is being built for KB Investments, a Kyle Busch-related entity. The subcontractors said they've been told by L.B. Builders that they haven't been paid because Kyle Busch owes nearly $3 million. On Friday, a blue tarp was taped over a sign outside the building that says KBM. Attorneys representing Busch and L.B. Builders confirmed a "construction dispute" over the building's cost, and said the groups are working to resolve it. A meeting to discuss the issue is set for mid-May, they said. More at the Charlotte Observer
Button makes it onto rich list  Reigning Champ Jenson Button has broken into the top ten on the Sunday Times Sport Rich List with an estimated £43m.

However, the McLaren driver is by no means leading the way on the motorsport list as first place belongs to Johnny Dumfries, heir to one of Scotland's oldest aristocratic families, and his £190m. Dumfries made a name for himself in motorsport, starting his career as a van driver with Williams Grand Prix Engineering and he even had a brief stint racing for Team Lotus in 1986.

Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine is Britain's second richest on the motorsport list, followed by Jody Scheckter, Dave Richards, David Coulthard, Nigel Mansell and then Button. More ...

Fisichella tests Ferrari F-duct at Vairano  (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella on Saturday tested a refined version of Ferrari's own F-duct solution. The Italian team's test and reserve driver was at Vairano, where what Ferrari described as the "management system for the blown rear wing" was run along with the entire Barcelona-spec package.

Ferrari said that "depending on how things go in the two free practice sessions next Friday, a decision will be taken as to whether or not to use all the updates for qualifying and the race".

The updated F10 also features inboard rear mirrors, in accordance with the ban that kicks off in Spain next weekend. Fernando Alonso told Corriere della Sera newspaper that he thinks Ferrari can catch F1's pacesetter.

"Red Bull is stronger in qualifying and they are very fast, but we can catch up in the race.  (And) McLaren knows how to develop its cars very fast, but we're not joking either," he said.

Philipp Eng seals pole in frantic second qualifying  Philipp Eng sealed his second pole of the year with a blistering effort in the second qualifying session in Marrakech this evening.

It proved a frantic qualifying session, with the lead changing hand nine times, but Eng's late effort was enough to take pole. Dean Stoneman and Johan Jokinen rounded out the top three.

The session got underway in bizarre circumstances when Lukoil-backed Sergey Afanasiev hit a cat on his out lap. The session was briefly red flagged but the cars were soon back on track and it was Lithuanian Kazim Vasiliauskas setting the early pace. More ...

tv News
Wind Tunnel Sunday  
Featured Interview      Ricky Johnson (Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series Title Contender)

2-time AMA Supercross champion and current Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series title contender, Ricky Johnson, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday May 2nd. After retiring from motorcycle racing, Ricky moved on to off-road truck racing...taking over driving duties for his friend, 4-time CUP champ, Jimmie Johnson. There he won the championship and claimed 2 Baja 1000 crowns.

In addition, he also ran some Camping World Truck Series events as well as ASA stock car races. Currently, Ricky is 2nd in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series championship.

This Week’s Line-up

Featured Interview      J.D. Gibbs (President, Joe Gibbs Racing)

Featured Interview      Ricky Johnson (Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series Title Contender)

Pedrosa takes pole in Spain  Dani Pedrosa went fastest a thrilling qualifying session to take pole position for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, as his time of 1’39.202 led a MotoGP field in which the top ten riders were separated by less than 0.9s.

The Repsol Honda rider’s 23rd of 25 laps on board his factory RC212V placed him at the head of the grid and sent the Spanish crowd into enthusiastic raptures, with the front row completed by fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) and Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner.

Fiat Yamaha’s Lorenzo had led the session for a period but his best time was eventually 0.285s off the pace of Pedrosa, with Stoner a further two-hundredths down the timesheet as he secured third spot. More ...

Tom Bledsoe named Grand-Am Road Racing president  Tom Bledsoe has been named president of GRAND-AM Road Racing, it was announced today by the sports car sanctioning body.

Bledsoe has served as GRAND-AM's chief operation officer and vice president since December 2007, and has been acting president since Roger Edmondson took a leave of absence earlier this year due to health reasons.

The board of directors promoted Bledsoe to the highest position within GRAND-AM Road Racing based on the effectiveness and leadership qualities he has demonstrated during this season, while building on the stability of the overall company. More ...

Gustafson, Knaus sign extensions with Hendrick Motorsports  
Chad Knaus (L) and Jimmie Johnson (R) are shooting for a 5th straight title
Crew chiefs Alan Gustafson (to a four-year extension through 2014) and Chad Knaus (to a five-year extension through 2015) have signed multi-year contract extensions with Hendrick Motorsports, the organization confirmed Friday. Gustafson, 34, is in his sixth season as crew chief of the #5 Chevy and has nine wins heading into Saturday night's event at Richmond International Raceway. The Ormond Beach, Fla., native joined Hendrick Motorsports 11 years ago as a chassis shop employee before being moved to the #5 team in 2000. He served as the shock specialist for two years and was named the lead engineer of the #5 car driven by Terry Labonte in 2002. In 2005, Gustafson took over as crew chief. "I'm extremely happy," Gustafson said of the extension. "I love this company. I love working for Hendrick Motorsports. I love Rick Hendrick (team owner) -- everything he has done for me in my career -- and to continue that on into the future is everything I've wanted. I truly love what I do."

Now in his ninth season, Knaus is continuing his record-setting run as crew chief the #48 Chevy. With four consecutive Sprint Cup championships under his belt, the 38-year-old Rockford, Ill., native has etched his name in NASCAR's history books. Like Gustafson, Knaus' NASCAR career began with Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus took his first job with Hendrick in 1993 working with the #24 Chevy and crew chief Ray Evernham. Knaus did everything from fabricating pieces to changing tires prior to leaving the organization in 1997. He became crew chief for driver Stacy Compton in 2001 before returning to Hendrick Motorsports the following year to establish the #48 team with then-rookie Jimmie Johnson. Since partnering in 2002, Knaus and Johnson have turned into a dynamic duo, winning the most prestigious events on the NASCAR circuit, including the 2006 Daytona 500 [Darian Grubb served as the crew chief, 1st 4 races of 2006] and three Brickyard 400s (2006, 2008 and 2009) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I'm pretty pleased, obviously," Knaus said. "I've spent the majority of my life at Hendrick Motorsports, since 1993, and I'd have a hard time thinking I would ever go anywhere else. This (No.) 24 team and this (No.) 48 team are very important to me, and I'm glad to be a part of it. I hope I'm here for a long time to come." HMS PR

Webber careful not to put his foot in mouth on Schu  
Mark Webber chooses his words carefully
Mark Webber believes the verdict on Michael Schumacher can only be delivered after the Monaco GP later this month.

Schumacher, who returned to F1 with Mercedes GP after a three-year lay-off, has come in for some stick from all quarters, although it must be noted that none of that has come from those currently in the paddock.

While past drivers, such as Sir Stirling Moss, have recently written off the German, saying he's "probably" it, Webber reckons it's too early to judge.

However, he concedes that time to up his game is running out for the 41-year-old as the upcoming Spanish and Monaco races should give an indication of whether his naysayers are right or wrong. More ...

Bernard likes both ovals and road courses  Kansas is the first of eight oval tracks on the 2010 schedule, with nine street and road circuits mixed in.

Randy Bernard said he likes that blend and conveyed it to officials representing the Kansas track and Chicagoland Speedway in a pair of Friday meetings.

Proof, the series' new CEO said, is the new awards to be given out this year: champions of the ovals and non-ovals.

"For that to work we've got to have a good mix of tracks," he said. "But we need to be at the ones who want us most."

Bernard didn't mention tracks by name, but New Hampshire Motor Speedway has shown the most interest the past two years.

Former Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood, now the vice president of business for International Speedway Corp., which owns Kansas, Chicagoland and others, attended those meetings. He said he likes Bernard's "energy" and will support his cause if it makes business sense.

A crowd estimated at 40,000 is expected for today's race [which is way down from when IndyCar first started to race there]. Indy Star

Schumacher cautions about expecting too much  
In a team press release prior to the Spanish GP Michael Schumachers said not to expect his Mercedes team to be fighting for victory just yet.

"I see a lot of potential here especially as our team has been reacting very well over the past four races," said Schumacher in a team preview ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

"We have worked on general improvements to the car, as well as specific developments in downforce and efficiency, and I am confident that we have room to make further progress in the future.

"Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways but it would not be realistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front."

"I am hoping for a better race in Barcelona than I had in China and of course I would not mind having had better results so far," he said.

"However the good news is that after three years away, I am feeling extremely motivated. So I am clearly ready to take this challenge."

Lorenzo tops final practice before hometown fans  Jorge Lorenzo was fastest in the final free practice session before qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Pos Rider Team Time Behind
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m39.089s +0.000s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m39.549s +0.460s
3. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m39.719s +0.630s
4. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m39.917s +0.828s
5. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m39.982s +0.893s
6. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m40.012s +0.923s
7. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m40.092s +1.003s
8. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m40.246s +1.157s
9. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m40.370s +1.281s
10. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m40.413s +1.324s
11. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m40.588s +1.499s
12. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m40.741s +1.652s
13. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m40.836s +1.747s
14. Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1m40.846s +1.757s
15. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m40.925s +1.836s
16. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m41.065s +1.976s
17. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m41.223s +2.134s
Australia proposes tough cigarette packaging rules  Australia said Thursday it will force tobacco companies to strip all logos and color from their packaging, a move that will leave cigarette packs decorated with only a few words and graphic warning images of shriveled, diseased lungs or gangrenous toes.
The government said the move would make Australia the world's toughest country on tobacco advertising and is aimed unashamedly at driving more people away from the habit.
"The new branding for cigarettes will be the most hard-line regime in the world and cigarette companies will hate it," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told a news conference at which he waved a mock-up packet bearing a large photo of a gangrenous foot. More ...
tv news
NASCAR Talladega TV ratings  UPDATE The final TV ratings for the NASCAR Sprint Cup: Aaron's 499 at Talladega on Fox was a 5.2, up 15.5% from last year's 4.5 final rating.

04/26/10 The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 earned a 4.9 overnight Nielsen rating on Fox yesterday, up 9% from last year, and marked the highest-rated sports telecast of the weekend.
tv news
NASCAR TV ratings  The final TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung Mobile 500 (rainout makeup) run  4/19 on Fox was a 2.1
Kansas IndyCar Friday notebook  The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300, a 200-lap race at 1 p.m. Saturday.


For the first oval race of the season, Firestone has introduced a new specification that was developed at the tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in January.

The spec uses the same construction as the Firehawks used in the October 2009 Homestead-Miami Speedway race with new compounds on the left and right sides. The goal was to improve grip. The tire will be used during the Open Test at Kentucky Speedway on May 4 and the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway on June 5.

Each car received eight sets of tires for the race weekend. More ...

Keselowski Storms To Richmond Win  
Brad Keselowski celebrates
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
After a late caution turned a runaway into a challenge for Brad Keselowski, a late four-tire call proved decisive, as Keselowski stormed to the front from fourth place during a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win Friday night's Bubba Burger 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

Keselowski, who led 189 of 252 laps, had an advantage of almost two seconds when Paul Menard slammed the Turn 2 wall on Lap 245 of a scheduled 250 at the .75-mile short track.

"I'm coming," Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe, steering his car toward pit road for a four-tire stop.

Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier stayed out on old tires, while Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle each took two. Busch led the field to green on Lap 251 with Allgaier beside him, McMurray on the inside of the second row and Keselowski alongside in fourth. More ...
Dixon tops opening IndyCar practice in Kansas  
Rank No Name Laps Gap Diff Best Lap Time Best Lap Speed
1 9 Scott Dixon 59 --.---- --.---- 0:25.7271 212.69 MPH
2 6 Ryan Briscoe 56 0.0716 0.0716 0:25.7987 212.10 MPH
3 4 Dan Wheldon 39 0.0161 0.0877 0:25.8148 211.97 MPH
4 32 Mario Moraes 74 0.0397 0.1274 0:25.8545 211.64 MPH
5 12 Will Power 76 0.0026 0.1300 0:25.8571 211.62 MPH
6 10 Dario Franchitti 60 0.0187 0.1487 0:25.8758 211.47 MPH
7 14 Vitor Meira 56 0.0064 0.1551 0:25.8822 211.41 MPH
8 7 Danica Patrick 72 0.0142 0.1693 0:25.8964 211.30 MPH
9 77 Alex Tagliani 65 0.0143 0.1836 0:25.9107 211.18 MPH
10 3 Helio Castroneves 70 0.0008 0.1844 0:25.9115 211.18 MPH
11 2 Raphael Matos 70 0.0466 0.2310 0:25.9581 210.80 MPH
12 11 Tony Kanaan 76 0.0023 0.2333 0:25.9604 210.78 MPH
13 8 EJ Viso 89 0.0034 0.2367 0:25.9638 210.75 MPH
14 24 Mike Conway 63 0.0022 0.2389 0:25.9660 210.73 MPH
15 26 Marco Andretti 72 0.0373 0.2762 0:26.0033 210.43 MPH
16 43 John Andretti 69 0.0213 0.2975 0:26.0246 210.26 MPH
17 06 Hideki Mutoh 78 0.0072 0.3047 0:26.0318 210.20 MPH
18 67 Sarah Fisher 53 0.0020 0.3067 0:26.0338 210.18 MPH
19 66 Jay Howard 51 0.0100 0.3167 0:26.0438 210.10 MPH
20 22 Justin Wilson 61 0.0046 0.3213 0:26.0484 210.07 MPH
21 5 Takuma Sato 78 0.0055 0.3268 0:26.0539 210.02 MPH
22 34 Mario Romancini 56 0.0464 0.3732 0:26.1003 209.65 MPH
23 78 Simona de Silvestro 83 0.0195 0.3927 0:26.1198 209.49 MPH
24 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay 54 0.0271 0.4198 0:26.1469 209.27 MPH
25 19 Alex Lloyd 65 0.0101 0.4299 0:26.1570 209.19 MPH
26 36 Bertrand Baguette 90 0.0382 0.4681 0:26.1952 208.89 MPH
27 18 Milka Duno 67 0.1147 0.5828 0:26.3099 207.98 MPH
T-Mobile signs with Ganassi/Franchitti  
Dario Franchitti
Target Chip Ganassi Racing today announces that it has partnered with T-Mobile USA, Inc. to become an associate sponsor on Dario Franchitti’s No. 10 Target Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series during the 2010 racing season.  As part of the relationship, T-Mobile will have prominent logo placement on the rear wing of Franchitti’s car throughout 2010. 

Along with the rear wing, T-Mobile’s logo will be prominently displayed on both driver and crew uniforms, the transporters and pit equipment.  In addition, Dario will make multiple appearances on behalf of T-Mobile. More ...

Rain, hail halt IndyCar activity in Kansas  IndyCar Practice at Kansas Speedway is delayed because of wet track conditions.  Some hail was falling for a period.
Stoneman captures f2 pole  
Dean Stoneman
Dean Stoneman secured his maiden F2 pole in the first qualifying session in Marrakech, the Briton running well throughout to eventually finish just over two tenths clear of the rest of the field.

Behind him Jolyon Palmer and Jack Clarke made it a British top three - the first qualifying clean sweep for any country in the new era of Formula Two.

Stoneman had proved to be a consistent frontrunner throughout the day, and also led the opening qualifying session during the early stages. A flurry of quicker laps were set shortly before the midway stage however, as Will Bratt, Nicola De Marco, Sergey Afanasiev and Johan Jokinen all enjoyed a brief spell at the top of the timesheets. More ...

Stoner starts Jerez weekend strongly  Casey Stoner was the pace setter in the opening MotoGP practice at Jerez as he set about building the foundations for a strong weekend. Looking to bounce back from his disappointment in Qatar the Australian led the times as he went round the Andalusian circuit in a best lap of 1’39.731, before sliding out at Turn 9 with two minutes to go – a fall that resulted in no ill effects.

Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, who has started the past two races at the circuit from pole position, was second fastest of the session as he lapped at just over a tenth of a second off Stoner’s pace. The Ducati Marlboro rider’s team-mate Nicky Hayden completed the top three times as he set out on a positive foot, pacing at a fraction over 0.4s off his colleague’s lap time. More ...

Lotus showing with substantial car updates  
Lotus T127
Lotus are bringing several major new parts for their T127 at next week’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Technical director Mike Gascoyne explained what will change on the car in Barcelona:

All the teams will have upgrades for Barcelona, but we’re hoping that ours is even more significant than our rivals because we received our entry so late and had to freeze the initial specification of the car very early in the design process. We do expect it to be reasonably significant – we have an aero package with revised sidepods, front wings and brake ducts, and a number of mechanical changes, but obviously we’ll have to wait and see what step forward our rivals will also make.
Mike Gascoyne

Gascoyne says the team has bedded in at its Norfolk base and is beginning to think about longer-term developments:

It’s very gratifying to see the whole factory in full operation, with every department now nearly fully staffed but starting to work to their full potential. This means we can now look at more long-term development and R&D programmes, and start thinking about future cars. We’re through the hardest part of the team’s growth and we’re on a very good footing for the future.
Mike Gascoyne

Jarno Trulli has only finished twice this year – and at Sepang he was five laps down after significant car trouble. He’s hoping his luck will turn around once the updated car arrives:

I think I’ve had a fair bit of bad luck so far, but I’m looking to put that behind me and see how much further forward we can go with the updates. I’ve kept in close touch with the team about the tests they’ve put the car through, and am encouraged by the results they’ve had. I think we’ll take a good step forward in Spain.
Jarno Trulli

Lotus are the only new team to have beaten one of the established teams in a race this year, Heikki Kovalainen leading Nico Hülkenberg home in China.

But on pure pace they are up to 3% slower than the tail end of the midfield. We’ll see how much of that gap they can reduce next weekend. F1Fanatic

Stoneman tops final Marrakech F2 practice  
Dean Stoneman
Dean Stoneman put in an accomplished performance to finish fastest in the final free practice session in Marrakech, the Briton bettering his own benchmark several times as he topped the timesheets for much of the 30 minutes of running.

Nicola De Marco looked set to clinch the top spot after setting purple sector times in the first two sectors, but ultimately had to settle for second after losing time in the final sector. More ...

McLaren F-Duct car especially suited for Spain  
McLaren MP4-25 with their innovative F-Duct
McLaren is confident its MP4-25 will be more suited to the Circuit de Catalunya circuit than recent predecessors have been, as the team looks to close the pace gap to the front on Formula 1’s return to Europe.

The Woking squad dominated the Spanish Grand Prix between 1998 and 2001 with Mika Hakkinen, and took a further victory there courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen in 2005, but in recent years has trailed rivals despite producing title-challenging cars in both 2007 and 2008.

The aerodynamically-demanding circuit tests a car’s performance in high-speed corners to the limit and McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh concedes this has not been one of his squad’s stronger areas over recent years. More ...

Brabham to run Aussie V8 series  
David Brabham
David Brabham has been behind the wheel of a Formula One car and been crowned champion in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Now Brabham is about to slip back behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar.

Brabham, the youngest son of three-time F1 world champion Jack Brabham, has agreed to drive alongside Alex Davison in the Stone Brothers Racing Irwin Ford at the Phillip Island 500 and Bathurst 1000.

In addition, Brabham will also be the team's compulsory international driver at the revamped Armor All Gold Coast 600. More ...

No F-Duct for Red Bull in Spain  Red Bull will not have an F-duct on its 2010 car at next weekend's Spanish grand prix.

While admitting the Milton Keynes-based team is working on the McLaren-pioneered downforce-stalling innovation, driver Mark Webber told the BBC that it is still in development.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said before leaving China amid the volcano-induced traffic chaos that the RB6 could be equipped with a F-duct in Barcelona "providing we make it back to Europe" quickly.

Ultimately, the ash cloud subsided and teams have not been overly delayed in preparation for the first European race of 2010.

But Australian Webber said on Friday: "As soon as possible would be nice, but it's not going to be Barcelona, that's for sure.

"We don't know when we're going to have it, but we are looking at something, as I'm sure all teams are," he added.

China GP contract extension talks to be 'fierce'  The extension of China's formula one contract beyond 2010 may not be as simple as was recently suggested by Bernie Ecclestone.

The F1 chief executive had been asked in Shanghai about rumors that the race could now drop off the calendar, despite it being a crucial market for carmakers and sponsors.

"The contract is ongoing here.  We renew every five years.  It will go on," said the Briton, blaming poor attendances on the local promoters but insisting that the government is "fully supportive". More ...

France sues ex-wife  NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has taken his ex-wife to court -- on allegations that she recorded their phone conversations.

In a lawsuit filed in Volusia County on Thursday, the grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. asked for a court order to bar Megan France from "additional intercepts of wire communications." More ...
track news
Korea receives 1,600 marshal applications  The Korean International Circuit has received no less than 1,600 applications from those wishing to be voluntary race marshals ahead of the country's inaugural Formula 1 race this October.

24 October 2010 will see South Korea's Yeongam-based track play host to F1 for the first time; for the premier Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, the Yas Marina circuit invited a selection of British race marshals although Korea is accepting requests for a team of its own. More ...

Silverstone could eclipse Monza as F1's fastest track  The revised Silverstone circuit revealed yesterday could take Monza’s place as the fastest track in Formula 1.

Though F1 cars will hit higher top speeds at Monza, the projected average lap speed for F1 cars at the new Silverstone is 4kph faster than that achieved at Monza last year. Here’s why.

Fastest lap speeds in F1

Fastest average lap speeds for each track (highest in italics):


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Monza 248.95 253.66 259.83 258.56 262.24 260.03 256.75 256.34 248.68 251.40
Spa 226.71 233.36 241.66 - 239.86 236.24 - 239.98 237.79 241.28
Silverstone 215.95 230.06 234.28 232.88 236.57 235.68 230.62 233.82 232.69 236.92

Speed-limiting rules hit Monza hardest

Rules brought in to slow F1 cars down have cut average speeds at Monza more than they have at tracks like Spa and Silverstone. More ...

Tom Kristensen’s exclusive Le Mans countdown – part 9  In a weekly column Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen gives some exclusive insights behind the scenes of the world’s most famous endurance race and the preparation by Audi Sport Team Joest.

"The Le Mans 24 Hours have been held since 1923. And over the years the question of which car can cover the longest distance in 24 hours has made Le Mans develop into one of the world’s biggest sporting events that keeps attracting increasingly large crowds.

Over 230,000 fans flock to Le Mans every year. Traditionally, they’ve included a particularly large number of Brits, fans from the Benelux countries and Frenchmen. But Denmark has been represented with a large turnout that’s out of proportion for the size of the country for some years as well. This time, more than 25,000 of my fellow countrymen are expected at Le Mans! That’s incredible for a small country like ours. My team-mates keep joking that Denmark must be pretty empty in mid-June ... More ...
Andretti team signs Adam Carroll  
Adam Carroll
Andretti Autosport has signed 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport champion Adam Carroll to drive a limited schedule of IZOD IndyCar Series events in the second half of the season.

Carroll, a native of Portadown, Northern Ireland, had victories, six poles and eight podiums in seven rounds on his way to winning the 2008-2009 A1GP World title for Team Ireland.

Andretti Autosport has yet to determine Carroll's schedule or car assignment.

"We're very excited that Adam is on board,” Andretti Autosport chairman, president and CEO Michael Andretti said. “He is a special talent and someone who we believe will have a bright future with us at Andretti Autosport. It was important for us to give him an opportunity this year and start building for the years to come. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do later this year." More ...

Dale Jr. to drive No. 3  Through a joint effort between Richard Childress Racing, JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Wrangler®, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will pay tribute to his father's upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame by driving the No. 3 Wrangler® Chevrolet Impala in the July 2 Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

The announcement and car unveiling was made today at JR Motorsports and to the fans at Dale Earnhardt Inc., both in Mooresville, N.C. In attendance were Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kelley Earnhardt of JR Motorsports, Teresa Earnhardt of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Craig Errington, vice president of Wrangler® marketing. The No. 3 Wrangler® Chevrolet Impala is an RCR entry but built and prepared by JR Motorsports. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Lotus set to run AirAsia logos in Spain
  • McLaren most reliable team, Sauber at bottom of pile
  • Ferrari rejects 'subliminal' cigarette branding reports
  • Silverstone coffers 'stretched' by circuit changes
  • Schu lacks energy to return to top form - Hakkinen
  • Donington aims to repair GP bid damage by August
  • Schumacher, Fernandes, awarded France's Legion d'honneur

Lotus set to run AirAsia logos in Spain
(GMM)  The logo of team boss Tony Fernandes' AirAsia airline could soon feature on the 2010 Lotus car.

We reported last month that because the logos are already seen prominently on Williams' FW32, Fernandes was instead content to advertise his investment firm Tune Group on the green T127.

But according to a report in Finland's leading newspaper Turun Sanomat, the situation might be different when the heavily updated cars emerge from the pits in Barcelona next week.

The report said the AirAsia logo "will be displayed" on the Lotus in Spain.

Meanwhile, we also reported in March that the logos of the Brazilian oil company Petrobras might be added to the T127's livery in Barcelona.

But Turun Sanomat said the deal has not been done in time to debut at the Spanish grand prix. More ...

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