GM Sets New Monthly Sales Mark in China General Motors and its domestic joint ventures set a new company record for monthly sales in China in April. Driven by growing demand for the Buick and Wuling portfolios, domestic sales jumped 50.0 percent on an annual basis to 151,084 units.
Shanghai GM, one of China’s leading manufacturers of passenger cars, recorded a domestic sales increase in April of 34.7 percent year on year to 55,245 vehicles. Demand for its Buick lineup rose 63.6 percent to 38,071 vehicles. Sales of the Excelle lower-medium sedan increased by more than 120 percent to 22,078 units, while sales of the new Regal upper-medium sedan – which was introduced at the end of last year – totaled 6,368 units. Among the joint venture’s Chevrolet products, the all-new Cruze compact sedan got off to a good start with 3,739 sold in its first month on the market. Sales of the Lova compact sedan, Chevrolet’s most popular model in China, totaled 8,687 units.
Kurt Busch has a solution to the tire problem at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- repave the track.
Goodyear Tire Co. has tested extensively since last year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, an extremely problematic race for teams in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. In the first Brickyard race in NASCAR's new racecar, drivers were unable to compete at speed for more than a few laps without the danger of a blowout.
Busch, who will participate in a 12-team tire test at Indy in mid-June, says repaving the track would ameliorate many of the problems. He doesn't expect that to happen, though, because the much lighter IndyCars perform well on the present surface, and, after all, the Indianapolis 500 is the marquee event at the speedway.
Darlington lowers concession prices In an effort to reduce costs for fans attending the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com Darlington Raceway and Americrown, the track’s concessionaire, have reduced prices on some food and beverage items and added value meals to the menu. Highlights of the new menu include:
· Reduced price on regular all-beef hot dog to $3, a 25% savings · Hot dog and fry combo meal for $5 – a $2 savings · Cheeseburger and fry combo meal for $7 – a $2 savings · Kids Value Meal with peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cookie, fruit roll-up and half pint of milk for $4 · Reduced price on Dasani bottled water to $3, a 25% savings
In addition to the reduced prices fans will also notice two new signature Darlington items on the menu, the Darlington Super Slaw Dog and the Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich with Coleslaw. Priced at $5, the Darlington Super Slaw Dog is 1/3 pound, all beef hot dog served with coleslaw and other hot dog condiments. Also new for 2009 in the Carolina pulled pork BBQ sandwich with coleslaw served on a Kaiser roll with a choice of mustard style BBQ, vinegar style BBQ or Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ and is priced at $6.
As part of the celebration of 60 Years of Racing at Darlington Raceway, Cale Yarborough will serve as the honorary pace car driver to start the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com announced track President Chris Browning. “We couldn’t be more excited to have Cale pace the field for the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com,” said Browning. “Cale’s record of five Southern 500 wins makes him the perfect candidate to pace the field for the return of the Southern 500.” Yarborough, a native of nearby Timmonsville, S.C., is tied with Jeff Gordon for the most wins in the Southern 500 with five. In addition to Cale Yarborough several other former Darlington Raceway winners will be honored during pre-race ceremonies prior to the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. All-time Darlington victory leader David Pearson, Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker and Sterling Marlin will also be honored along with all active Darlington winners. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com. Darlington Raceway PR
Alan Jones tips Button to be champion F1 legend Alan Jones has tipped Jenson Button to finish what he has started – and win the world championship. The 1980 champ said Brawn GP star Button is making those who wrote him off during his dark years with Honda look foolish.
And asked to predict this year’s title-winner, he replied: "I’m going to stick my neck out and say Brawn could keep up the momentum.
"They have got out of the starting gate very well and have built a bit of a gap. And I reckon Jenson’s looking OK to be world champion, to be honest."
Asked if he rated Button before this year, a candid Jones replied: "Not really."
Evening F1 ratings up 300% According to Bernie Ecclestone the television figures during the evening races in 2009 have increased up to 3 times in comparison to last year. This of course doesn't help the drivers, which were complaining about the lack of visibility during the afternoon events, since the FOM is in hot pursuit of the ever increasing European audience.
"All our TV figures up to now have been up 300 per cent. We have been getting more than 50 per cent of the market share," 'The Independent' quoted FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying.
A revolution at Fiat (Chrysler and GM) The European car industry could be turned on its head if a deal being proposed by Fiat's chief executive Sergio Marchionne comes to fruition. Marchionne has done a good job in recent years reviving Fiat, but the company still has debts of around $8.8bn. Marchionne wants to save the day but accelerating out of the recession rather than hunkering down and saving money. His goal is to put together a new automotive empire by combining Fiat's automobile operations with GM's European assets and the remains of US giant Chrysler. If Marchionne dreams come true it would create the world's second biggest automobile company - after Toyota - with annual sales of around six million cars. The plan involves Fiat spinning off its automotive business into a new company, which would be publicly traded. This would include the rights to exploit the Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands. Reports suggest that Ferrari would remain with the Fiat parent company and that Alfa Romeo subsidiary Maserati would also be held back and might be reintegrated into a smaller luxury car group with Ferrari. That did not work the last time it was tried and caused Ferrari considerable losses.
The new company would be able to generate economies of scale that would make it much more viable. Marchionne is hoping that various European governments will help fund the new plan, in order to save jobs. Ferrari is likely to be able to stand on its own two feet. It is expanding its sales in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East, while also building up its non-automotive products. The company will open a new store selling merchandise on London's Regent Street later this week. Grandprix.com
SMI prepared to move Cup date to Kentucky Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials say they have made an official request with NASCAR to add Kentucky to the 2010 Sprint Cup Series schedule. SMI is willing to give up a date at one of its seven other race tracks to get Kentucky on the schedule. SMI chairman Bruton Smith agreed to pay $78.3 million last year for the Sparta track.
Kentucky's former ownership group filed a 2005 antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. over Kentucky's failure to land a Sprint Cup date. The suit was dismissed in early 2008, but the case is on appeal.
NASCAR has said it will not consider Kentucky for a race until the suit is dropped. Smith says he has so far been unsuccessful in trying to persuade the group to drop the appeal.
First test for Corsa Hybrid Tuesday The next step toward the debut of Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek hybrid prototype comes Tuesday with a key shakedown in England. Johnny Mowlem, who will team with Stefan Johansson in the ground-breaking GZ09SH project at next week’s Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix, will do the testing honors at Silverstone for the Steve Pruitt-owned team.
“The car (with the hybrid system engaged) has not turned a wheel in Europe,” Pruitt said. “So it’s a lot of hope and faith. Our engineers say everything is moving along well in getting the car put back together. It has a lot of peculiar facets and unique things that haven’t been tried.”
That’s for sure. The Corsa Ginetta-Zytek will employ a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that enables the collection and conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy. It permits the use of an electric motor resulting in more efficient power and a lower carbon footprint. How the car performs and behaves with KERS engaged is still a big mystery to Pruitt.
Conquest to unveil new sponsor (King Tut)UPDATE Conquest Racing and Rubicon Sports Agency announce the signing of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as a major associate sponsor for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 with the upcoming King Tut exhibition “Tutankhamen: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” as the focal point of the partnership.
The #34 Conquest Racing entry, driven by Alex Tagliani, will wear King Tut exhibition branding on the engine cover, nose cone and front wings of the car for the month of May. The car will be unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tuesday at noon. Additionally, a 25-foot statue of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis will be on display in the outside lot at the Speedway Museum during race week, paving the way for the blockbuster exhibition coming to Indianapolis in June.
“I have been working with exhibition organizers for several months to help spread awareness about the King Tut exhibition locally, and I am thrilled that they will be joining our team for the month of May,” stated Jim Freudenberg of Rubicon Sports Agency. “This is an incredible opportunity to expand the reach of IndyCar Series racing into realms that reach far outside sports media and showcase an incredible exhibit that Indianapolis is honored to be hosting.”
Force India to race Mercedes KERS in July (GMM) Force India will begin using a KERS system at grands prix as of mid July, team owner and boss Vijay Mallya has announced.
The Indian billionaire told the online magazine GPWeek that the Mercedes-Benz system currently used by McLaren will be fitted to the VJM002 for the ninth round of the 2009 championship at the Nurburgring.
"In Germany we will introduce KERS, because the car is KERS enabled and we have a contract with Mercedes for the KERS," Mallya said.
In Bahrain nearly two weeks ago, eight drivers - for the McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and BMW teams - were equipped with active KERS systems.
But Mallya thinks post mid-season is the best time for Force India to begin using the controversial energy re-use technology.
"By that time the KERS will have been sorted out, McLaren will use their experience and the KERS system will have been debugged if there were any bugs," he explained.
GM to proceed with efforts to sell Saturn General Motors is proceeding to the next step with respect to the sale of Saturn. A number of potential buyers have surfaced and expressed interest in the Saturn brand and retailer network. GM will be reviewing expressions of interest from the potential buyers and will look to secure an agreement with a specific buyer later this year. S.J. Girsky&Co. has been retained by GM as advisor for this transaction. Saturn will continue to keep its retailers updated on its progress throughout this process.
As a kid at the age of 10, when his grandfather bought him his first go-kart, Alex Tagliani never thought that he would one day sit in an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now, 26 years later, when he straps himself into his Conquest Racing Dallara on May 5 for rookie orientation, that long time dream will become a reality.
The Canadian driver, who was confirmed today by Conquest Racing as the driver of its #34 entry for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, will be turning his first laps around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval as he begins preparations for this year’s race.
“It’s every drivers dream to be at the Indianapolis 500. As a kid I never thought I would make it here and even later on in my career because of the split, so it has always remained a dream of mine. It’s the one race that has always sat atop my list.
Electric cars rolling off assembly line soon The all-electric car -- which had a brief heyday less than a decade ago before the car companies killed it -- is about to make a comeback.
Charged up with lighter, more efficient batteries and competitively priced with gasoline-driven vehicles, the new offers will be marketed and sold primarily as second cars.
These silent electric autos will be plugged into home outlets and will be able to travel 100 miles or more without stopping for a charge.
Nissan said recently it has developed a mass-market electric car, due out by the end of next year, that will seat five and can have its battery charged to 80 percent of capacity in 26 minutes. It will have all the amenities buyers want, Nissan says, such as navigation, super stereo and heated seats, and will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
The company is not alone. Ford, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Subaru, among others, are planning to introduce electric vehicles over the next year, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group.
Busch aims to match Petty's 200 wins With his Nationwide Series win at Richmond thrown into the tally, #18-Kyle Busch has 50 wins across NASCAR's top three divisions including the Cup and Truck series. When he was reeling off victories at a record pace last season, Busch said that 200 in his career was his goal. But even he knows despite flying high now that might be a lofty expectation. "It could if I can keep this pace up," he smiled. "But I know the older I get I'll start slowing down some way. You know, hopefully I can achieve that goal. It would be sure nice to get that. I know it's not 200 Cup victories like Richard Petty has. It will still be a phenomenal mark for me. I don't know how long I'll be in the Truck Series or Nationwide Series, but hopefully for as long as [owner] Joe [Gibbs] will let me in the Truck Series, and as long as there's a Nationwide car at Joe Gibbs that we can run, I'll be there running races and fulfilling some duties and deals there." CBS Sports
Circuit de Catalunya: A lap with Alex Wurz Enjoy a spin around the Circuit de Catalunya, venue for next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, with a less-than-impressed Alex Wurz.
Over the years, the Circuit de Catalunya has lost some of its edge because it is no longer the high speed challenge that it once was. All of the fast corners have gone, except turn three, which still has big G-force - very fast and very demanding.
Of course, the track still remains an interesting place to drive. The key to a quick lap is to find a good rhythm and to make sure that your car works well in slow-speed corners, which is most of sector three.
In days gone by, Barcelona required a high-speed car set-up, whereas now it needs a slow-speed set up, and I think that's disappointing.
Brawn GP drivers get upgrade this weekend Jenson Button: "Although the team only completed four days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in March this year, I know the track inside out and it feels very familiar to be heading back there for the start of the European season this weekend. You need to have a car with good downforce for a really quick lap there and we are fortunate that our car behaves so predictably which enables you to feel completely confident when committing to high speed corners.
"This can be a very difficult circuit for overtaking so you have to make the most of the run down to the first corner to capitalize on any opportunities at the start of the race. I visited the factory last week to join the team for a small celebration of our successes to date and catch up on the progress with our latest developments. We know that we have a real fight on our hands from here to maintain our lead in the championships but I am confident that we are well prepared for the challenges ahead."
Good weather forecast for Spanish GP Weather conditions for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend are set to be warm and dry - but not scorching. After a rain-hit start to the season the Spanish Grand Prix is likely to be free of precipitation. However rain is expected in the Montmelo region on Saturday night.
Worsham, Brown, Coughlin, Krawiec collect victories in Madison Del Worsham scored his first victory for the new Al-Anabi team and was joined in the winner's circle at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals by Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), who all had previously scored victories this season. It only took new team owner Alan Johnson seven events to put both of his fledgling Al-Anabi/Alan Johnson Racing fuel teams into the winner's circle as Worsham followed Top Fuel teammate Larry Dixon, a winner in Gainesville in March, to the NHRA Full Throttle winner's circle.
The teams were racing not only to beat one another Sunday afternoon, but also the rain that threatened to cut action at Gateway Int'l Raceway short as it had during Friday qualifying at the event, the seventh of the 24-race 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
The Top Fuel final was a rematch of the season's second event, in Phoenix, and the result was the same as it was in February with Brown collecting the win, his fourth in the class and 20th overall, in impressive fashion, defeating Brandon Bernstein with a 3.85 at 318.02 mph – the fifth fastest speed ever at 1,000 feet – to Bernstein's 3.88 at 310 mph. The victory boosted Brown into the points lead ahead of Tony Schumacher.
"This was a phenomenal race," said Brown. "Any time you line up against [Brandon] Bernstein, you have to be on top of your game and we were. Rob Flynn is the crew chief over there and I know what he's capable of. He won this race last year with my [former] teammate, Rod Fuller. We figured that they would run a 3.85 or 3.86 and we knew we'd need to match that.
BMW may not have double diffuser in SpainUPDATE (GMM) It is not certain that a 'double diffuser' solution will be ready to be added to the 2009 BMW-Sauber package for this weekend's Spanish grand prix.
"Whether it will be there or not is not yet definite," team boss Mario Theissen is quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild.
The Hinwil based team has had a difficult start to the 2009 season, with hopes now pinned on a major upgrade for the struggling F1.09 car in Barcelona.
Sport Bild claims that designers did devise a double diffuser for the single seater, but that computer simulations raised doubts about its effectiveness.
The drivers, including Robert Kubica who is yet to score a single point, are not optimistic.
The Pole told Sport Bild: "We will make a step forward in Barcelona, but whether it will be big enough is improbable."
Teammate Nick Heidfeld added: "We did the first four races without big changes on the car, while the other teams constantly had new parts and went further ahead than us."
Not to be missed: "Truth in 24"UPDATE #3 The documentary "Truth in 24" will be shown on Monday night, May 4, 11:00 pm - 1:00 am ET on FX. Please check your local listing for your time zone.
03/20/09 A reminder that the documentary "Truth in 24" about the 24 Hours of LeMans will debut tonight, Friday, March 20 on ESPN at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on ESPN.
03/16/09 A reminder that this film will be shown on Friday, March 20, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on ESPN.
01/13/09Audi of America announced Tuesday that ESPN will debut the NFL Films documentary "Truth in 24" on Friday, March 20. The broadcast marks the first public distribution of the award-winning film. It will air during primetime from 8 to 10 p.m. ET the day before the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the first race for the 2009 American Le Mans Series and Audi's new R15 TDI/
TW Steel, the ‘Official Watch and Timing Partner’ of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport crowned its seventh and final national ‘Miss TW Steel’ winner at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday with Kimberley Cooper winning the UK round as the 2008-09 A1GP season concluded with title success going to A1 Team Ireland.
The 19-year-old from Bromley triumphed from a group of 15 finalists competing for a TW Steel watch, $1500 US prize money and more importantly the last slot in the grand finale of ‘Miss TW Steel’ to be hosted in the UK in June – details of which will be announced shortly. The overall winner will become an ambassador for TW Steel while celebrating $25,000 US in prize money and a photo-shoot with a leading lifestyle magazine.
The judging panel at Brands included TW Steel CEO, Jordy Cobelens, Dave Room from SWICO, TW Steel’s UK distributor, and Lee McKenzie, BBC’s Formula One pit-lane reporter, Chris Hockley, motorsport correspondent for The Sun newspaper and Andrew Van de Burgt, editor of Autosport magazine.
“We’ve had a great time here in the United Kingdom this weekend,” said Cobelens. “I think Kimberley is an excellent choice to represent her country in the Miss TW Steel final. We now have seven very worthy winners from around the world and we’re looking forward to hosting them all in June at what will be a stunning event. I’d also like to pass on TW Steel’s congratulations to A1 Team Ireland for winning the A1GP title – it’s richly deserved with Adam (Carroll) winning both races today.”
"It's like Israel and the Palestinians -- always about to reach an agreement but never quite signing it." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association, has likened F1's perennial Concorde agreement dispute to one of the world's longest-running political conflicts.
“How many people have to be listed in ‘guarded’ or ‘critical’ condition before we say that's too much? Is it lead changes? If we have fewer than five fans hurt for every lead change, is that acceptable? Does somebody have to die before we've decided we don't have control?” David Poole, late NASCAR racing journalist, criticized NASCAR for not doing enough to make racing at the Talladega Superspeedway safer for the drivers and the spectators in his final column just hours before his death.
"Racing is a dangerous sport in general. Certainly, Talladega has created some very exciting racing and exciting finishes and along the way there have been some incidents that people have been rather outspoken about. We've had several caution-free races here, too. The racing here is unique. I don't think anything drastic needs to happen. It's something we hang our hat on, the sheer excitement. I'm not talking about 12-car pileups. I'm talking about the closeness of the race. My gosh, we have been asking all year for a race like this. Now we get one and it's not appealing to anybody. I thought it was an exciting Talladega race. We'll continue to have discussions to see what, if anything, needs to be done. The answer is not to blow the place up and start over." Rick Humphrey, track president, Talladega Superspeedway, responding to comments about the last lap accident during the Aaron's 499 when Carl Edwards car was airborne and sailed into the safety fence injuring eight spectators from debris.
Great Turnout For "Drive The Mile” Sunday On a picture-perfect afternoon, there was a great turnout at The Milwaukee Mile for the famed speedway’s annual “Drive The Mile” event, which allowed passenger vehicles ranging from motorcycles to minivans to large dump trucks, to take moderated laps around America’s Legendary Oval.
Part of the admission to this race season kick-off event was a donation of two or more non-perishable food items for the Hunger Task Force of Wisconsin. An event record 3,333 pounds of food, up from 3,000 pounds a year ago, was collected. In addition, $400 cash was donated to help the Hunger Task Force with their growing need to support Milwaukee families.
Phoenix Racing plans car for Keselowski in all-star race Phoenix Racing plans to field a car for Brad Keselowski in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in two weeks, crew chief Marc Reno said Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Keselowski became eligible for the main event when he won the Aaron’s 499 last week at Talladega Superspeedway. Although he won in a Phoenix Racing car, Keselowski indicated Friday that he wasn’t sure who would enter a car for him in the all-star event. But Hendrick Motorsports Vice President Doug Duchardt said Saturday that Hendrick would not field a fifth car in the event for Keselowski. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said that the team could have a fifth car since it was a non-points event and it would not count against Keselowski’s seven races for the team as a development driver. Phoenix Racing had hoped to buy a car from Hendrick Motorsports for the race, but the re-certification process would take too long, Reno said. Instead, Phoenix will use the car that it had planned to use for Keselowski at Richmond. Keselowski’s Nationwide team wanted him to concentrate on that series because it was a one-day show Friday, so Mike Bliss competed in the Cup event Saturday. Scene Daily
Indiana, Michigan pilots win Centennial Era Balloon Festival races
Balloons rise above the famous Indy Speedway
Indiana balloonist Al Hansen and Michigan balloonist Paul Petrehn won the two races May 2-3 in the Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both races used the "hare and hound" format in which competitors followed the lead Indianapolis Motor Speedway balloon (the hare), with the balloonist who tossed a beanbag closest to the hare's landing zone winning. The Centennial Era Balloon Festival took place May 1-3 in honor of the first competitive event in IMS history, a balloon race June 5, 1909, more than two months before the famed 2.5-mile oval was completed.
Hansen, piloting the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation balloon, won the Founders Race on Saturday, May 2 with a winning distance of 26 feet from the mark. Hansen, whose balloon features a wheelchair-accessible basket (riding compartment), is a resident of Winamac, Ind.
A brace of scintillating Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International races kept the Silverstone crowds enthralled today (Sun), with visiting Dutch driver Renger van der Zande enjoying a dream debut in the championship to win on his maiden outing and Australian Daniel Ricciardo scooping victory three laps from home in the second race, extending his championship lead in the process.
Race 1 Van der Zande led the championship's third round all the way from lights to checkered flag to score a resounding victory for the Hitech Racing team.
The 23-year-old, whose Hitech drive was confirmed a matter of hours before the meeting, displayed immense confidence on a circuit he had never before raced to claim the team's first victory since its championship-winning season in 2007. It was also the first win of 2009 for engine supplier Mercedes.
Monsoon conditions in NJ It is raining very hard here in southern NJ where the Verizon 250 Grand-Am race is 1h21m into its 2h45m total race time. We have had very little green flag time because of many incidents on a very wet and treacherous track.
A crowd of more than 120,000 fans at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit witnessed a victory for Valentino Rossi in the first European race of 2009.
Rossi took his first win of the season at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España on Sunday, beating Dani Pedrosa to the line by a 2.7s margin in front of a huge Spanish crowd in Andalusia.
Pedrosa led for the first half of the race having made one of his trademark strong starts from second on the grid, but Rossi took the lead with ten laps to go and did not look back there and his triumph gives him an 11 point lead in the general standings.
The rostrum was completed by Casey Stoner, who trailed Rossi by 10 seconds, the Ducati Marlboro rider moving into second place in the championship. It was the Australian’s first podium appearance at the southern Spanish track.
As was the case in the 250cc and 125cc races the Spanish rider who got underway in pole position crashed out when Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo lost control riding in fourth place with three laps to go, losing ground in the championship race.
Brawn won't get Honda's F1 income - Ecclestone (GMM) The Brawn team will not receive the commercial revenue owed to a competitor named Honda in 2009, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed.
Amid Flavio Briatore's recent rant about Ross Brawn and the Brackley based team, the Renault boss - also in charge of FOTA's commercial arm - said he will be proposing to the F1 teams alliance that millions in Honda prize money not be released to its new guise.
The Independent newspaper claims that the funds in dispute amount to 20m pounds sterling.
New teams are usually not immediately eligible for F1 commercial revenue, but before the Brawn buyout was finalized, it was reported that the current teams were happy that Honda's new owners could receive the 2009 income.
Subsequently, however, the FIA ruled that Brawn was in fact not simply Honda's renamed guise, but an entirely new entry.
To the Independent, Ecclestone reportedly revealed that the Honda money "will not be paid to Brawn" and actually might not "be paid out at all".
"We can keep it," said the F1 chief executive, referring to a scenario where the other teams do not unanimously agree what to do with the disputed money.
In the same interview, 78-year-old Ecclestone revealed that he opposed the application to change Honda's official team name to Brawn GP. The Briton said it is "not a good name, doesn't mean anything to the public".
Luczo Dragon month of May preview Raphael Matos will attempt to keep Luczo Dragon's perfect Indianapolis 500 Pole Day qualifying record intact. In two previous appearances at the Indy 500, Luczo Dragon has qualified seventh and 11th to land in the first day field. In their only race in 2007, Ryan Briscoe qualified seventh at 224.410 mph, while Tomas Scheckter grabbed the final spot in 2008 with a 223.496 average speed.
Raphael Matos joins Stanton Barrett, Mike Conway and Robert Doornbos as the four rookies in the field at the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Doornbos has the early lead in the rookie point standings with Matos running second. The foursome will enter the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program with first practice set for Tuesday, May 5 from 2-5 p.m. The second practice session will be Wednesday, May 6 from 9-2 p.m. Upon completion of the program they will join the rest of the field for practice from 2-6 p.m. Will Power was the fastest rookie in the first session in 2008, while Alex Lloyd claimed the top spot in the second rookie practice. Ryan Hunter-Reay was the 2008 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
Goodyear still can't fix Indy wear issuesUPDATE Those NASCAR tire testers hit the track at Indianapolis again on Wednesday but, unfortunately, Goodyear failed again.
“I would say it was a small gain,” said the Chevrolet representative, Ryan Newman trying to be politically correct. “It was a small gain in respect to the number of laps we could run. The tires still are not ideal.”
“The soft tires rubber the track up, but then they blister when you get running too fast,” said Matt Kenseth, the Ford representative. “For some reason, the hard tires don’t have enough stick to them and they don’t stick to the track and they just turn into dust (Goodyear tires turning into dust, are you surprised?). So it’s been a little bit of a struggle.”
Those two drivers, plus Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson, have done the bulk of the testing recently. A larger test, which is supposed to be the final trial, comes in mid-June. The tire they tested this week lasted 18 laps, up from 10 a week ago. If that test fails there will probably be no time for another test and perhaps NASCAR will have to cancel the race, which would be the final nail in Goodyear's coffin.
Army Official says sponsorships worth the money The U.S. Army will pay Stewart-Haas Racing $11.6 million to sponsor Ryan Newman's #39 car for 23 races this season, and the Army official who oversees it says the money is worth it. Army and National Guard (#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were the only branches of the military that served as primary sponsors for cars in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley said the Army looks at different ways to determine if the sponsorship is worthwhile but admits it comes down to one thing. "At the end of the day, for the Army, it's does someone join the Army or not," Freakley said. He said 41 people agreed Saturday at the Army's booth at the track to be interviewed by an Army recruiter. "That's powerful," Freakley said. Army sponsorship is a year-to-year agreement. Because Congress controls the money that goes to the military, the budget can fluctuate from year to year. That, Freakley says, makes it challenging to do multi-year deals. He said he won't know his budget until this summer. He said he and his group have started to assess the sponsorship and what they want to do for 2010 but no decisions have been made. Hampton Roads
Keselowski, Tracy guests on Wind TunnelUPDATE #2 A reminder that Paul Tracy and Brad Keselowski will be the featured interviews on Wind Tunnel tonight, Sunday, May 3. Robin Miller and Bob Varsha will be the co-hosts while Dave Despain is on vacation.
04/30/09 Brad Keselowski, last week's Cup winner in Talladega, will also be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, May 3.
04/30/09 Paul Tracy, 2003 Champ Car Series Champion, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday night, May 3. Paul recently announced that he will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to race in this year’s Indy 500. Tracy hasn’t raced in the event since he nearly won it back in 2002.
Brad Keselowski, last week's Cup winner in Talladega, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. In just his 5th Cup Series start, Keselowski made a last-lap move on Carl Edwards to take the lead and the win as a blocking Edwards spun out and went airborne into the retaining fence. It was one of the most exciting finishes in NASCAR history.
Guest co-hosts will be Robin Miller, SPEED Open Wheel journalist; and Bob Varsha, Formula One on SPEED host. Dave Despain will be on vacation this week.
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs on Sunday night at 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.
GM won't pay dealers for franchises, will buy back parts, vehicles In a special broadcast to dealers yesterday, General Motors' sales chief, Mark LaNeve, explained that the automaker would buy back unsold new vehicles and parts from dealerships slated to be phased out by the end of 2010, but GM wouldn't pay off dealers for their franchises.
As reported earlier this week, GM plans to cut it U.S. dealerships by 42% by the end of next year, reducing the total number of retailers from 6,246 to 3,605. Beginning this May, GM will begin sending letters to around 1,200 dealers informing them that their franchises will not be renewed and "they will not be part of a reinvented GM going forward."
Pontiac dealer offers to buy brand Davison, MI, Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealer Jim Waldron isn't ready to give up on the Pontiac brand just yet. During a local news program on Flint ABC affiliate WJRT-12, Waldron revealed that he had made an offer to General Motors to buy Pontiac. Earlier in the week, GM announced that the Pontiac brand would be shut down no later than the end of 2010.
However, GM VP for North American Communications, Tom Pyden, later told the station that no deal would happen since the brand is not for sale. The latest viability plan put forward by the automaker makes no provision for spinning off Pontiac like it does with Hummer and Saturn.
However, if someone offers cash for Pontiac, it seems hard to imagine GM turning a blind eye to the deal. This would be especially true if the potential buyer offered to take over some closed factories to use for manufacturing, as Waldron intends to do. However, it's even harder to imagine that Waldron could make a going concern of a stand-alone Pontiac. Source: WJRT 12
Road America Partners with James Hunt Racing Road America is pleased to announce a partnership with James Hunt of James Hunt Racing, LLC. Hunt will serve as an ambassador of the track as he participates in multiple, national race events. He will promote the Road America experience, presenting the historical legacy of the famous circuit and the enduring loyalty of racers and fans to premier road racing in the venue's natural, park-like setting.
As an aspiring racer, Hunt will specifically reach out to the younger audience to educate them about road racing, club racing and opportunities in mechanics and race car preparation within motorsports. Visits to Road America will include on-track racing activities, media events and school visits. Hunt will be on-site for the SVRA Spring Vintage Weekend and Family Tailgate Party, May 15-17; and the Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series, August 13-16.
We need a favor from all the friends of Davey...the man responsible for his death was at a pre-trial hearing in a courtroom in Indianapolis on Tuesday the 28th to plead guilty to a plea bargain of Voluntary Manslaughter.
The prosecutor felt this was the way to go because putting the case in front of a jury of 12 unknown people has a very uncertain outcome. The defense would try to prove it was a bar fight gone wrong and that their man never meant to kill Davey. They would use whatever means necessary to convince the jurors that Davey and the other people there were just as responsible for what happened as the defendant. The prosecutor would try to prove that the disagreement inside was over and the thug continued on his own and intentionally inflicted the blow that killed Davey. Best case scenario, the prosecutor wins and he goes to jail for a long time...worse case scenario, the defense wins and he gets off on a simple assault charge with little or no jail time. I'm sure we all don't agree with the turn of events but it is what it is and for better or worse that part of the tragedy is over. There will be no trial.
The next court date will be his sentencing on May 21st where the judge can sentence him to a maximum of 20 years.
Pilgrim tops Pobst in New Jersey Leading from start to finish, Volvo driver Andy Pilgrim beat his teammate by just 0.433s to win Saturday's SPEED World Challenge race at a wet New Jersey Motorsport Park Track. The two Volvo teammates were the class of the field.
Rain hits NJ track Rain has begun falling at New Jersey Motorsports Park after the SPEED World Challenge GT race got underway forcing the drivers to pit for rain tires. Currently the Volvo team runs 1-2, Andy Pilgrim leading Randy Pobst. Next up is 15-minutes of qualifying for the Rolex Daytona Prototypes. The short time slot requires all cars to get out there and go for a fast time from the drop of the green flag. They have only got 15-minutes to lay down a fast lap, putting a premium on getting your tires up to temperature quickly. Mark C. reporting from South Jersey
Spanish riders start 1-2 in front of cheering home crowd
An exciting MotoGP qualifying session at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España concluded with Motegi race winner and series leader Jorge Lorenzo on pole in Jerez.
The man of the moment in MotoGP Jorge Lorenzo delighted the home crowd at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in beautiful conditions on Saturday afternoon, as he repeated his 2008 pole for the Gran Premio bwin.com de España.
In stark contrast to the appalling weather at Motegi a week ago which saw qualifying cancelled, the growing Spanish crowd at the Andalusian track were bathed in some typical Iberian sunshine as the MotoGP riders put on a great show on their 800cc prototypes.
Lorenzo and his big Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa did battle for pole position during the 45 minute session, with the Fiat Yamaha rider eventually emerging on top with a 1’38.933 hot lap on the 18th of his 21 turns of the track.
Saturday morning’s fastest rider Pedrosa again demonstrated his improving form and fitness on his Repsol Honda RC212V machine, lapping just 0.051s behind his young compatriot.
TV Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey takes his racing very seriously
El Grado Spirits is teaming up with Mazda-powered Rolex Sports Car Series competitor Dempsey Racing beginning with the May 1st round of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in Millville, New Jersey.
For this weekend's event and at least 3 others during the 2009 season, the Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT will be sporting the El Grado brand as the Texas-based company launches its new line of Ultra-Premium Tequila in high speed and style.
"El Grado Spirits is proud to announce our sponsorship of Dempsey Racing," says Ashly Kubicek, Co-Owner & Marketing Director of El Grado Spirits.
"As we launch our brand; we are excited to find a partner like Dempsey Racing who shares our belief that integrity matters."
G. Page Brockman, Co-Owner and Sales & Distribution Manager for El Grado Spirits adds "Dempsey Racing is a team on the rise, El Grado Tequila is a spirit on the rise; we look forward to the growth of both of our brands".
Boss positive amid Donington GP negativity (GMM) In the face of growing fears about the health of his British grand prix project, Donington's Simon Gillett insists the 2010 debut is on track.
Recently, it was reported that the debenture funding scheme was severely delayed, the circuit's racing license had been revoked, Gillet was being sued by the landowners, and that the council planning permission for the F1 works was in danger.
Then, it emerged that Goldman Sachs has withdrawn its financing commitment, leaving millions in necessary funding in doubt.
But to the UK tabloid Express, Gillett insists: "I'll take a tenner now that the British grand prix will be here next year."
Talladega winner on the bench for Richmond Talladega NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Brad Keselowski, met with media in Richmond to explain why he is not racing in tonight Richmond Sprint Cup race.
IS IT FRUSTRATING SITTING HERE KNOWING AFTER YOU WON LAST WEEK YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING IN THE CUP RACE ON SATURDAY? “Frustrating as far as not running, it really hasn’t soaked in that I won. It’s hard to get frustrated when you don’t even picture yourself as a winner yet. I feel like I can run over there right now and be competitive but the opportunity isn’t there and until the opportunity is there it is what it is. There’s a lot of talent over there and you can’t take that away from those drivers that run over there every weekend. I’d love to be running over there. I’ve raced against 15 or 20 of the same guys over here on the Nationwide side so it’s very similar and I think I could run competitively but the opportunity is not there so I’m not really thinking about it. I’m thinking about the Nationwide car.“
Dramatic morning for Dutch A1 Team Netherlands continued to set the pace in free practice at Brands Hatch, despite managing just five complete laps in Saturday morning practice.
Jeroen Bleekemolen set a superb lap of 1m 12.804 seconds, before spinning the Dutch car out at Druids hairpin.
“I was just pushing a little bit too hard,” Bleekemolen admitted. “I had some oversteer and I made a mistake. I was trying to find limits and the tires are getting older but I made a mistake. But I won’t get distracted by this. We should be strong for this afternoon.”
His lap was just 0.091 seconds quicker than a surprise second place holder – Satrio Hermanto of Indonesia.
Hermanto used his one practice PowerBoost lap to set the time, testing it ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying, where teams get to use one such lap in any of the four qualifying sessions.
Daytona Coke Zero tickets reduced A limited number of tickets in the Oldfield and Lockhart Grandstands will be rolled back from $55 to $40 for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 4, Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig announced.
The $40 tickets for the Coke Zero 400, which go on sale today, is the lowest ticket price for the Independence Day holiday classic since 1998.
In addition to the $40 tickets, DIS has other special ticket offers available including:
NASCAR takes 6 Nationwide engines to test NASCAR took six engines from Nationwide Series teams to test on the dynamometer, series director Joe Balash said Friday night following the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Engines represented six engine builders as they were taken from the cars of Joey Logano (Joe Gibbs Racing), Jason Leffler (Triad Racing Technologies), Jeff Burton (Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies), Brad Keselowski (Hendrick), Justin Allgaier (Penske) and Matt Kenseth (Roush-Yates).
NASCAR occasionally takes engines to test horsepower and see if any rule changes need to be made.
Balash said the group tested four restrictor-plate engines last week after Talladega. Those tested engines came from the cars of D.J. Kennington (Ernie Elliott engines), Carl Edwards (Roush-Yates), Kevin Harvick (Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies) and Joey Logano (JGR). Balash said he was pleased with the results of that test.
2010 F1 rule changes summary Yesterday the FIA published the finalized 2010 F1 regulations, confirming a raft of new rules for the sport, along with the controversial £40m voluntary budget cap. Here is a summary of all the rule changes to take effect from next year.
Even though F1 would lose 60% of its fans it could live without Ferrari if they were to walk away in protest at the introduction of a budget cap, according to International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley.
In an interview published in Saturday's Financial Times, Mosley said that he was locked in a power struggle that he intended to win.
He made clear that he would not be backing down over allowing teams to compete with a voluntary 40 million pound ($59.56 million) cap in 2010 in exchange for greater technical freedom than others remaining with unrestricted budgets.
The move, described by Mosley as "by far the biggest development in my time in the sport", has been welcomed by potential new entries as well as independent teams pitted against big-spending manufacturers.
Williams hope upgraded car will make a difference Despite showing their potential in the Friday practice sessions, where Nico Rosberg frequently was the fastest man on track, the German and his team mate Kazuki Nakajima only scored 3.5 points for the Williams F1 Team. The Grove-based outfit hope for a fruitful weekend in Spain next week.
The Circuit in a nutshell
Familiarity breeds consent…Teams and drivers conduct much of their winter testing in Barcelona and baseline set-ups are established long before cars take to the track on the Friday morning of a Grand Prix weekend. Normally, only detail alterations are required to tailor chassis to suit prevailing weather conditions, wind direction and the like. It is invariably a straightforward two-stop race that throws up fewer surprises than most.Read more & Comment...
Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo made a dramatic early exit from today's qualifying session for the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, the Australian sliding off the track and into a gravel trap to dent his hopes of a position at the sharp end of the grid for Silverstone's third round of the championship.
Ricciardo's Carlin Motorsport teammate Max Chilton made the most of Dan's absence from the track in the closing stages of the session to bag pole position - his second of the season - with what he described as a 'near perfect' lap in his AON-backed Dallara-Volkswagen.
"It was very nearly perfect," said Max. "I made perhaps a couple of very small errors but I got a couple of good tows, which helped. Now I have to concentrate on making a perfect start to the race..." Chilton's last time on pole, at Oulton Park, ended in a disastrous jump start.
The No. 16 Ford of Greg Biffle is one of several cars to carry a decal honoring the late Charlotte Observer reporter David Poole who passed away earlier in the week
Several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are carrying logos honoring the late David Poole this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The four Hendrick Motorsports cars are carrying a logo that has "DCP" for David Carl Poole and is in Carolina blue in honor of his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, in remembrance of the reporter who covered NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer and also hosted a program on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Stewart-Haas Racing’s cars are also carrying a decal honoring the writer. The logo on the Stewart-Haas cars reads, “In Memory of David Poole 1959-2009” and includes images of a fountain pen and a microphone. Cars for Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing are among others also carrying decals.
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