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Unlike Goodyears, Firestone tires have no problem at Indy  Unlike the Goodyear tires that NASCAR uses and that can't run more than 10 laps without going up in dust or blistering, Firestone Tires used by the IRL have had no such problems on the diamond ground Indy surface.

Despite the rainy weather that's plagued Indianapolis 500 practice this week, the new specification Firestone tires have already shown that they are up to the task of taking on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More than 9,700 issue-free miles have been turned on the Firehawk racing radials heading into pole day qualifying Saturday.

Firestone Racing developed an updated tire spec for this May that features a new compound formula at all four tire positions, as well as a slight change to the right-front tire construction to assist in reducing understeer. Through today's practice session, a total of 3,902 laps have been completed on the 21/2-mile oval and driver feedback regarding the Firestone tires has been overwhelmingly positive. More ...

Indy 500: Did you know?  The Borg-Warner Trophy, one of the most recognizable trophies in all of sports, has been awarded to the winner of every Indianapolis 500 Mile Race since 1936. Crafted out of sterling silver by Spaulding-Gorham of Chicago, it was unveiled at a dinner in New York in February 1936, featuring bas-relief sculptures of every "500" winner up until that time. The new winner has been added every year since, and in 1986 (the trophy's 50th anniversary), the final space became filled. The solution for 1987 was to add a base, but this too became filled, and in 2004, an even larger version replaced it, this one with enough spaces to last through 2034. The only sculptured face not of a winning driver is that of the late Speedway owner Tony Hulman, whose likeness, in gold, was placed on the base in 1987.
Scheckter looking for ride at Indy  Seven-time Indianapolis 500 starter Tomas Scheckter was in Gasoline Alley today. Scheckter never qualified lower than 12th in his seven starts (2002-08) and finished as high as fourth in 2003.

"Indianapolis is home for my heart, and just coming here in the Month of May and not being in a car and watching the cars go around; it's been extremely tough," said the South African.

"But I've had some good runs here, and I'm definitely pushing hard to get back in a car. We're just looking at everything at the moment and just seeing what's out there." More ...

More Friday news briefs from Spain  (GMM)  A curt Lewis Hamilton told reporters on Friday he remains downbeat about McLaren's chances of taking a step forward in Barcelona.

After the silver cars were more than a second off the pace in practice, the world champion was asked how effectively the latest modifications to the MP4-24 had worked.  "They didn't," he answered.

Asked if the car is at all better in Spain compared to two weeks ago, the Briton added: "Nope."


Red Bull designer Adrian Newey revealed it will be "touch and go" whether a double diffuser solution will adorn the RB5 at Monaco in two weeks.

"It's very tight for us, I must say," he admitted in the Circuit de Catalunya paddock, "but we're hoping to have it there."

Newey also admitted that it is possible Red Bull will not use a KERS system at any point this season. More ...

Darlington rain forces NASCAR schedule change  

Friday, May 8TH       
                        LINE-UP SET PER THE RULEBOOK 
5:10 PM        NSCS    ** HOT PASS IN EFFECT **     
7:30 PM        NNS    RACE (147 LAPS, 200.8 MILES) 
8:00 PM        NSCS    GARAGE CLOSES 
8:00 PM        NNS    REGISTRATION CLOSES  More ...

Team Penske drivers poised to take Indy 500 pole  UPDATE Roger Penske could be in line for his record 15th On the final practice day before Pole Day, Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves recorded the fastest laps on the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ryan Briscoe
Briscoe was fastest with a lap at 39.8263 seconds, 225.981 mph, while Castroneves was second with a lap at 225.438 mph. Briscoe earned $10,000 from F.E. Harding Asphalt Companies for the fastest lap on Fast Friday.

The past two race winners, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Dario Franchitti (2007) and Scott Dixon (2008), were third and fourth, respectively, while Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick was fifth.

The top 11 positions in the 33-car starting field will be determined Saturday. The pole winner has gone on to win two of the last three "500s." Positions 12-22 will be filled Sunday. The remainder of the field will be filled May 16, and Bump Day is scheduled for May 17. More ...

Bridgestone soft tire best choice in Spain  Bridgestone's soft tire proved to be the fastest rubber on track at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona for the first day of the Spanish Grand Prix. In warm and sunny conditions, Nico Rosberg's AT&T Williams set the fastest lap time in the afternoon practice session, a 1min 21.588secs.

Track conditions improved throughout the day and 38 degrees Celsius was the hottest track temperature recorded. Brawn GP driver Jenson Button was the fastest driver in the morning session, using the soft compound to set a time of 1min 21.799secs. This was the first time that the current hard compound has been used in Barcelona, although this compound was previously used at the Malaysian Grand Prix. More ...
Sharp slams Indy wall  At 2:30 p.m. ET this afternoon Scott Sharp crashed his No. 16 Panther Racing entry in Turn 2. Coming out of Turn 1, Sharp lost the back end of his car spun out (just like he did in Turn 1 on the very first lap of the Indy 500 when he sat on the pole - how embarrassing?)  low on the short chute and the car then went back up the track and hit the SAFER Barrier hard, resulting in heavy right-side damage to his Dallara Honda.

Sharp jumped out of the car almost immediately and into the safety vehicle for the ride to the infield care center.

Tim Mayer to leave IMSA and ALMS  
Tim Mayer
IMSA and the American Le Mans Series announced today that Tim Mayer, the Chief Operating Officer of the companies, will be leaving his post as of the end of May 2009, after five and a half years with the company. Mayer’s duties will be re-assigned amongst various personnel and departments within the organization. Following the transition at the end of May, Mayer will continue in an advisory capacity.

“Tim has been a great asset for the company and we will certainly miss his day-to-day presence,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “He has been an integral part of the success of many parts of our company, especially the growth of the American Le Mans Series and the addition of several new racing series that IMSA also now sanctions.” More ...

F1 pressure still high for grieving Mosley  (GMM)  In the high-stakes world of formula one, every player is often giving and taking pressure at the same time.

That is definitely the case this week for Max Mosley, who cancelled his scheduled visit to the Spanish grand prix following the death of his eldest son Alexander.

The FIA president had been due to front a media conference to discuss his vision for F1's budget-capped future, but also would have been similarly hounded by concerned - and angry - teams.

Not long after it emerged on Wednesday that economist and restaurateur Dr Alexander Mosley, 39, had died in his London home, the F1 teams association FOTA issued a statement calling for "urgent consultations" with the FIA.

No mention - for example a note of condolence - was made of Mosley, even though BMW's Mario Theissen said in Barcelona that the world of formula one would "respect that situation" amid the political climate.

But the situation remains highly charged, and the urgency remains. More ...

Foyt, Doornbos hit wall at Indy  Practice was delayed for a few minutes after A.J. Foyt IV kissed the wall exiting the first turn.

At 12:30 p.m. Robert Doornbos made hard contact with the turn two wall. He climbed out of the car and walked away without assistance.

It looks like rain, but until there's precipitation, the drivers will get in as many laps as possible in time for pole day tomorrow for the 93rd Indianapolis 500.

Grosjean storms to Barcelona pole  Romain Grosjean has taken the first points of the 2009 season by claiming pole for tomorrow's race one in Barcelona, just ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Vitaly Petrov.

The Frenchman stopped the clock at 1:27.510 in the fifth minute of the session, but the Brazilian ran him very close: di Grassi's best time was just 0.021 behind, with Petrov a further five tenths further back.

With temperatures in the pitlane soaring as the session got underway, the majority of the field were immediately on track to take advantage: Giacomo Ricci and Pastor Maldonado set the early pace before Grosjean laid down the challenge, and the fight was on. More ...

Richmond TV ratings tank  UPDATE The final TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Richmond last Saturday night was a 4.0/8 Share, down 11.2% from last year's 4.5/9 share.

05/04/09 NASCAR on Fox posted an overnight 3.7/7 share for primetime racing from Richmond Saturday night, off -12% from last year's 4.2/8 share.
Karthikeyan lands LeMans 24 Hour ride  
Narain Karthikeyan
India's most famous and successful racing driver, Narain Karthikeyan, has been successful in clinching the Le Mans 24 hour seat with Team Kolles after having been invited to test the Audi R10 TDI LMP1 Sportscar. Narain will also compete in the European Le Mans series (LMS) with Team Kolles, the next race is at Spa 10 May 2009.   

Along with the Monaco GP and the Indianapolis 500, The 24 Hour Le Mans endurance race is one of the holy trinity of international motor races. Held annually since 1923, over the 2nd weekend in June, it is the ultimate test of automotive endurance. There are four categories of cars which participate in the race. Two classes of purpose built prototype racers (LM P1 & LM P2) and two categories of Gran Tourisimo cars (LM GT1 & LM GT2), which are started their lives as street legal sports cars, but have been specifically modified to meet the rigorous demands of endurance racing. The value of this racing is so great, that even in these times of a worldwide financial crisis, no fewer than eight manufacturers (Audi, Peugeot, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Chevrolet & Mazda) are directly involved with entries in the 2009 24 Hour Le Mans race.

Big speeding fine for Mark Webber  (GMM)  Mark Webber received a big fine for speeding in Friday's second practice session.

In the 60kmh-limited Barcelona pitlane, the Red Bull driver was caught by FIA stewards at 91.5kmh.

His fine totaled 6,400 euros.

On the actual track, Webber, 32, was faster than his teammate Sebastian Vettel in both practice sessions.

FIA deletes 'winner takes all' from 2010 rules  (GMM)  Now you see it, now you don't.  The controversial 'winner takes all' scoring system has now been erased from the 2010 sporting regulations.

After the recent World Motor Sport Council meeting, the FIA published the rules for next year, and Article 6.1 of the sporting regulations said the drivers title "will be awarded to the driver who has been classified first in the greatest number of races".

The governing body tried to introduce Bernie Ecclestone's favored system this year, but the late change was vetoed by the F1 teams alliance FOTA.

It seems that the Article 6.1 inclusion of 30 April was simply a mistake.  The article now explains that the drivers' title "will be awarded to the driver who has scored the highest number of points".

Barcelona: Williams team 1-2 in Practice 2  
Nico Rosberg
Williams revived its tendency to impress the practice timesheets this year by dominating the second Friday session in Spain.

The British team's Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima captured the top two spots at the Circuit de Catalunya, ahead of local hero Fernando Alonso.

Elsewhere, despite the abundance of major package upgrades throughout the field, Barcelona 2009 is proving business as usual: the Brawns and Red Bulls are quick, while grandees Ferrari, McLaren and BMW struggle.

The only glitch in that theory on Friday was the pace of the Toyotas, who after locking out the front row in Bahrain two weeks ago proved the tail-end of the practice order. More ...

Scott Sharp talks about Indy preparations to-date  Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Scott Sharp filed his latest blog entry to americanlemans.com following Thursday’s first full practice for the Indianapolis 500. He is driving a Patr¢n-sponsored entry for Panther Racing his first 500 since 2007.

I’m pretty pleased with the way the day went but I would have liked to have been a little further up the leaderboard with the Tequila Patr¢n Panther entry.

With a whole day of good weather, we didn't concentrate on going for an outright time today. However, it did amaze me how many guys got into full-on qualifying mode in their first day on the track. By the end of the day guys had their aero completely trimmed right out but we never got to that stage.

With the Panther guys today we worked on a baseline set up and made quite a few changes throughout the day. During happy hour at the end of the day the guys made a bunch of changes. We went out to take a shot at a quick lap but we really ran out of time before the checkered flag came out.

We got out with about 10 minutes to go but I really only got two laps in. It would have been really nice to finish the run and really see what we had but I think there is a lot more speed in the car. I think we should be in pretty good shape Friday. More ...

Toyota sees losses deepening this year  Toyota Motor Corp. lost 765.8 billion yen ($7.7 billion) in the January-March quarter -- a bigger loss than General Motors reported -- resulting in its worst fiscal year since the Japanese automaker was founded in 1937.

Toyota also warned Friday that because of the global auto slump its net loss would deepen in the year through March 2010 to 550 billion yen ($5.55 billion) from 436.94 billion yen ($4.4 billion) in the just-ended fiscal year.

President Katsuaki Watanabe said the devastating results were caused by "the significant deterioration in vehicle sales particularly in the U.S. and Europe," the strong yen and the rising cost of raw materials. Detroit News

China car sales soar  Car sales in China soared by 37% over the last year, figures out today reveal.

Overall vehicle sales rose by a quarter in April from the year before to a record monthly high of 1.15 million. Around 831,000 of them were passenger cars.

After slowing late last year as the impact from the global financial crisis deepened, China’s car sales have risen for five straight months. In March, vehicle sales hit a monthly record high of 1.11 million units.

A large share of sales in April were of small cars and crossover vehicles promoted by tax cuts and other policies favoring vehicles with engine displacement of 1.6 liters or less, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. More ...

Brawn GP also partners with Willans  Brawn GP is pleased to confirm that the team has agreed a new partnership with Willans, the world's leading brand of racing harnesses, who become a Team Supplier for the 2009 Formula One season.

Manufactured by Stockbridge Racing in the UK, Willans harnesses have been used as essential safety equipment for all forms of motorsport since 1967. From Formula One to NASCAR and IRL to Rallying, the company has supplied top motorsport teams around the world and to date supported 19 Formula One World Champions and achieved 252 Grands Prix victories. More ...

Brawn GP signs sponsor for Barcelona  In advance of the worldwide release of the highly anticipated motion picture Terminator Salvation, Brawn GP will join Sony Pictures Releasing International to feature imagery from the film on the team’s Formula One cars over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. Terminator Salvation will be released in the US on 21 May and globally from 27 May.

The Brawn-Mercedes cars of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will carry the distinctive Terminator Salvation imagery on the  rear  wing  throughout  the  Spanish Grand Prix weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The unique one-race sponsorship builds anticipation for the red-carpet European premiere of the film on 28 May in Paris, France. The partnership reunites Sony Pictures Releasing International and Formula One following Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous appearance at the 2003 British Grand Prix to promote T3 Rise of the Machines. More ...
Toro Rosso to design own car for 2010  (GMM)  Toro Rosso is ramping up its efforts to become a full constructor in 2010, team boss Franz Tost has confirmed.

From next year, the regulations will no longer condone the current situation, where the Faenza based outfit sources its basic chassis from the same designer as sister team Red Bull Racing.

"We are developing the infrastructure so that next year's car is designed in Faenza," Tost told reporters in Barcelona, revealing that the workforce will need to increase from 200 to about 235.

The 2010 rules will allow Toro Rosso to continue to use a Red Bull Technology transmission, and some other parts, but Tost revealed that the team is to appoint its own "chief designer".

Adrian Newey will therefore concentrate mainly on Red Bull Racing, although Toro Rosso will continue to use the Red Bull wind tunnel in Bicester (UK).

News briefs from Barcelona  UPDATE More news briefs from Barcelona.......

Fernando Alonso's vast popularity proved frustrating to the former double world champion at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday.

When attempting to meet his fans and sign autographs, the Renault driver found himself amid a frantic crush in the paddock, and ultimately escaped to the sanity of a rival team's garage.

His bodyguard tried fervently - and physically - to give 27-year-old Alonso some space, but the enthusiasm of some members of the press actually led to one or two minor fisticuffs.

Dismayed by the lack of order, Alonso himself raised his voice and demanded calm, before scurrying for cover.


Local forecasts predict a more than 50 per cent chance of rain for Sunday's Spanish grand prix.  After earlier predictions of a dry race meeting, it then rained overnight before the event officially kicked off on Friday.


Sebastian Vettel's entire family is trackside at the Spanish grand prix.  His father Norbert is a paddock regular, but also at the Circuit de Catalunya is mother Heike, sister Stefanie and his 10-year-old brother Fabian.  Asked if the extra attention was a distraction, the 21-year-old German answered simply: "No.  There's only one seat in my car."

05/08/09 (GMM)  Fernando Alonso, who fainted after the recent Bahrain GP, revealed in Barcelona that a failed drinks bottle and faulty radiator made him lose nearly 6 kilograms in the Sakhir desert two weeks ago.

After his winter weight loss of 4kg, it means that after Bahrain the gaunt Spaniard was carrying a total of nearly 10kg less than at points during the 2008 season.


In the same spirit of divulging weight details, Kimi Raikkonen in Spain revealed that he tips the scales with 10 kilos of extra weight than his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.

Massa, to get Raikkonen's special light-weight F60 chassis at Monaco, is believed to be about the same weight as Nick Heidfeld, who told reporters on Thursday that he weighs 59 kilograms.

"59 kilos!" an astonished world champion Lewis Hamilton, who said he weighs 67kg, exclaimed. More ...

No 'silly season' for BMW in 2009 - Theissen  (GMM)  Mario Theissen has counted BMW-Sauber out of any early driver speculation.

The 'silly season' seems to kick off earlier and earlier each year, but Theissen said contemplating the occupants of the Hinwil built cars is currently a minor priority.

"Once we have a car that is capable of winning races, then we can talk start talking about the drivers again," the German said at the Circuit de Catalunya.

BMW figures at the Spanish venue also affirmed paddock speculation that the target is to have a 'double diffuser' up and running by the Turkish grand prix after Monaco.

Theissen admitted that an initial version of the concept did not prove its worth during recent wind tunnel testing.

Spanish GP: Button tops Practice 1  (GMM)  Championship leader Jenson Button topped the practice time sheet as the first Friday session for 2009 on European soil took place in Spain.

The Briton's Brawn was apparently fuelled light for his best lap of the Circuit de Catalunya, as his teammate Rubens Barrichello trailed by a full second.

The two BMW drivers, whose cars are visibly heavily revised for the Spanish grand prix, were third and fourth, behind Toyota's Jarno Trulli.

The Italian's TF109 featured a new 'shark fin' engine cover, whose tip reaches as far back as to actually touch the rear wing. More ...

RBS F1 sponsorship extended to Green Flag  RBS and the AT&T Williams team today announced that Green Flag, the rescue and recovery experts, will become part of RBS’ F1 sponsorship as the Bank seeks to widen the benefits of this association across the Group’s businesses.

Allan Watt, Head of Group Brand Communications at RBS, said: "The RBS association with Williams is set to run until the end of 2010, but as part of an ongoing review of our sports sponsorship activity, RBS is taking the opportunity to broaden the benefit across the Group to the Green Flag business. Green Flag was a natural choice to utilize the F1 partnership
for the benefit of their customers and employees in the UK and Europe as well as for new customer acquisition.

“Williams have been very supportive in finding ways for us to maximize this sponsorship and reduce costs over the course of this season and 2010. The RBS brand will remain in place alongside Green Flag on the car and remains an effective means of talking with our customers in Asia and beyond.”

NASCAR drug addict found dead  UPDATE Grubb, who had 174 career starts in what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series, died Wednesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the Alpine Motel in Richmond, according to an Henrico County police report.

05/07/09 Suspended Nationwide Series driver Kevin Grubb was found dead on Wednesday in a Richmond, Va., area hotel. He was 31. Henrico Co. Lt. Richard Cosby said Grubb was discovered at the Alpine Motel just outside of Richmond at 11:30 a.m. The cause of death has not been released pending the notification of next to kin, but Cosby said no foul play was suspected. Grubb was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Sept. 11, 2006 after his second violation of NASCAR's substance abuse policy. Grubb, the younger brother of former NASCAR driver Wayne Grubb, began his Nationwide career in 1997 with four starts for Grubb Motorsports. He ran in 16 Nationwide events for his father's team in 1998 with a top finish of second at Dover. Grubb drove for Brewco Motorsports from 1999 through 2001, collecting 18 top 10s. After several failed seasons with two other teams he was scheduled to drive for Team Reno Motorsports in 2004, but failed a substance abuse test in March and was suspended. The suspension in 2006 came after Grubb refused to take a drug test following a second-lap crash at Richmond. Failure to take the tests is considered an automatic failed test. The next day Grubb claimed that he declined the test because of a concussion suffered during the accident and offered to take a test at that time. He reportedly claimed no memory of the refusal due to the head injury. Grubb was a native of Mechanicsville, Va., a suburb of Richmond. ESPN
track news
Mid-Ohio to host Woman's-only driving program  The Mid-Ohio School, owned and operated by TrueSports, Incorporated, will host its second annual Women’s-only Honda Adult Defensive Driving Program on Saturday, June 13.

The class, held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will provide the opportunity for women motorists to learn new defensive driving skills and better understand the principles of safe driving through drill repetition and classroom sessions.  A great way to practice collision avoidance, driving in inclement weather and vehicle control, the one-day program will include an emergency lane change drill utilizing Honda Odyssey minivans.  Further drills will include wet braking and skid car, with the ABS turned on and off. These drills will replicate the risk conditions that are encountered in every day driving situations and address the necessary responses to them. More ...

track news
Bright House Extends Relationship with Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete  Andretti Green Promotions, which owns and operates the Honda Grand Prix and Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, announced today that Bright House Networks has extended and expanded its sponsorship role with the popular event, which wrapped up its fifth edition last month.

Bright House Networks will continue as the Official Cable, Internet and WiFi Provider for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“Bright House Networks continues to be a great partner to our event and has played a big role in helping us grow the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to its current level of success,” said Tim Ramsberger, vice president and general manager of the event for Andretti Green Promotions. “We’re excited about extending this partnership and enjoying more success together in the future.” More ...

Danica Patrick now a "Got Milk?" girl  
Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick is the latest celebrity to join the multi-faceted National Milk Mustache "got milk?" campaign created in 1995 to promote the health benefits of milk. A poster unveiled at the Speedway, with Patrick wearing the milk mustache and a black "cat suit," will be included in the ongoing advertising program.

The Body By Milk education program, part of the overall campaign, encourages milk consumption for its protein and mix of nutrients, proper eating habits and staying active for optimal health and vitality. Jeff Gordon (1997) is the only other race car driver to have appeared in the national campaign. More ...

Indy 500: Did you know?  The Pagoda located across the start/finish line was completed in time for the 2000 Indianapolis 500. The 10-story structure houses Timing & Scoring, television broadcast booths and Race Control. It replaced the glass-and-steel Master Control Tower, which was built in the winter of 1956-57.

Prior to that time, a Japanese-style pagoda had occupied the spot. The first was built in 1913 and served through 1925. It stood fairly close to the track and was replaced in 1926 for safety reasons.

Barcelona tech file  The Grand Prix circuit near Barcelona is one that every F1 team knows well from the hundreds of kilometers of testing carried out there over the winter. Few venues offer such a variety of medium and high-speed corners and it is widely acknowledged as the definitive aero circuit that provides a stern test of an F1 car. With few big braking zones and so many high-speed corners, overtaking remains extremely difficult and a good qualifying performance and sensible strategy are paramount for a successful weekend.

Aerodynamic efficiency is always a key factor at Barcelona, although the introduction of the chicane at the end of the lap in recent years has replaced on of the most critical high-speed parts of the lap and means the track is not as demanding as it once was. Even so, the circuit remains the ultimate test of a car's aero package and teams will run with high downforce levels to ensure competitiveness over the whole lap.

Fernando: “There are lots of high-speed corners where good aero performance is critical. A good example is turn 9, a fast right hand corner taken in fifth gear at about 230km/h. You have to be very precise with the car as there is there is no room for error on the exit and it's important to carry good speed onto the back straight.” More ...

Marco Andretti paces Thursday practice  
Marco Andretti
32 car/driver combinations totaled 2,199 laps in preparation for Pole Day Qualifications at Indy Thursday. "Saturday will be very exciting," said two-time race winner and two-time pole sitter Helio Castroneves.

Six different teams were represented in the top 10 on the speed chart, with Andretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti recording the quickest lap of 30.9152 seconds (225.478 mph) in the No. 26 Team Venom Energy car.

"It's definitely a good start," said Andretti, who has finished second and third in three 500-Mile Race starts. "It definitely shows that we have the speed. On our own we're still not quite sure. We got a lot of tows today, which is a good thing, but a lot of times we don't know where we truly stack up.

"But I'm really happy with the car's balance. And I think that's the key - getting the balance right and being able to take a trim. That's the name of the game. We'll have to see if we can keep up with it, if not get a little better."

Castroneves again showed he's ready to challenge for the pole with a quick lap of 225.237 mph (39.9579 seconds) set with 38 minutes left in the session. Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe (224.837; 40.0290) was third and Scott Dixon, the 2008 pole sitter and race champion, was fourth (224.448; 40.0983) in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. His teammate and 2007 Indy 500 champion, Dario Franchitti, was fifth-quick (224.160; 40.1499). More ...

Andretti tops Indy practice 1 hour before track closes  With one hour remaining before the track closes, Marco Andretti sits atop the speed charts at Indy Thursday afternoon.  It is mostly cloudy but the rain has held off for the most part so far.

Pos Driver Best Time Best Speed
1 Marco Andretti (26) 39.9152 225.478
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 39.9781 225.123
3 Scott Dixon (9) 40.0983 224.448
4 Dario Franchitti (10) 40.2362 223.679
5 Robert Doornbos (06) 40.2518 223.592
6 Ryan Briscoe (6) 40.2793 223.440
7 Dan Wheldon (4) 40.2867 223.399
8 Danica Patrick (7) 40.3130 223.253
9 Graham Rahal (02) 40.3647 222.967
10 Paul Tracy (15) 40.4184 222.671
11 Tony Kanaan (11) 40.4700 222.387
12 Hideki Mutoh (27) 40.5797 221.786
13 Sarah Fisher (67) 40.6037 221.655
14 Scott Sharp (16) 40.6039 221.654
15 Will Power (12) 40.6282 221.521
16 Alex Lloyd (99) 40.6833 221.221
17 Mario Moraes (5) 40.7684 220.759
18 AJ Foyt IV (41) 40.7747 220.725
19 Ed Carpenter (20) 40.8021 220.577
20 John Andretti (43) 40.8130 220.518
21 Mike Conway (24) 40.8419 220.362
22 Davey Hamilton (44) 40.8589 220.270
23 Raphael Matos (2) 40.8669 220.227
24 Ryan Briscoe (12) 40.8943 220.080
25 Vitor Meira (14) 40.9206 219.938
26 Justin Wilson (18) 41.0005 219.510
27 Nelson Philippe (00) 41.0110 219.453
28 Milka Duno (23) 41.0288 219.358
29 Alex Tagliani (34) 41.1587 218.666
30 EJ Viso (13) 41.1679 218.617
31 Ryan Hunter-Reay (21) 41.2221 218.329
32 Stanton Barrett (98) 41.4985 216.875
iRacing.com Named Official Motorsport Simulation of SCCA  Sports Car Club of America, Inc. and iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, LLC have jointly announced a multi-year partnership naming iRacing.com the “Official Motorsport Simulation of SCCA.” As part of the overall partnership, iRacing.com has also introduced the SCCA Spec Racer Ford to its service.

The partnership includes reciprocal marketing initiatives to promote both companies as well as a robust contingency program for SCCA Club Racing and Tire Rack® SCCA National Solo events.

“We’ve been working with iRacing.com since before the product was publicly launched and feel that it is the best simulator for driver training and the best value available,” SCCA VP of Marketing & Communications Eric Prill said. “Not only are there organized racing series that subscribers can join and participate in for a Championship, but there is unlimited testing time with any of the cars and tracks offered, including this year’s National Championship Runoffs venue—Road America.” More ...

Hunter-Reay crashes  28-year-old Ryan Hunter-Reay was unhurt after crashing in Turn 2 during practice for the Indianapolis 500.  His car hit the outside wall and the front end of his car lifted briefly and came down amid a shower of sparks.  He was taken to the infield hospital for a routine examination and cleared to drive.
Heavily revised BMW spotted in Barca  (GMM)  After the initial four races of the season, BMW-Sauber's was the most visibly changed car in the Barcelona garages.

The German squad had a dire start to the 2009 championship, and like most teams has prepared a major upgrade for the Spanish grand prix.

The revised F1.09 features radical treatment on the main element of the rear wing, and a notably straightened and raised nose.

Additionally, speculation proved correct that the team would drop the 'Active Hybrid' rear wing signage now that the cars no longer feature KERS systems.

The rearward-facing element of the rear wing now reads: 'Connect'.

On the rear-wing endplates of the Brawn car, meanwhile, is advertising for the forthcoming 'Terminator Salvation' film.

Doornbos fastest in early Thursday Indy practice  Rookie driver Robert Doornbos was the fastest during early Thursday practice for the Indianapolis 500.  Practice began about 20 minutes after its scheduled start because of a still-wet track, but by midday Doornbos was at more than 223 mph, just ahead of Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and two-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves. Defending champion Scott Dixon and his Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti were right behind at more than 222.
Alonso misses the push of a top teammate  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Thursday said he misses being pushed to the limit by a top teammate like Lewis Hamilton.

The pair were teammates at McLaren in 2007, before Spaniard Alonso fell out with the Woking based team's management and returned to Renault.

Since then, the sister Renault has been piloted by Nelson Piquet, but in 22 starts the Brazilian is yet to outqualify his illustrious teammate.

Recalling his season with Hamilton in the adjoining garage, 27-year-old Alonso said in Barcelona: "We had a good competition which helped each other to find our limits.

"I can say that maybe I am missing that competition in a way because, as I said, it was quite fun to really push and find new limits from ourselves," he added. More ...

Drivers side against Mosley's F1 politics  (GMM)  F1 drivers on Thursday sided strongly against Max Mosley, after the FIA president suggested the sport could live without Ferrari.

The powerful teams, using their commitment to F1 as their weapons, are locked in a fierce political battle with the governing body over the controversial budget cap plans.

"Without Ferrari it's not formula one anymore," said Giancarlo Fisichella at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso agreed that contemplating F1 without the famous Italian team is "impossible", while 2008 title winner Lewis Hamilton said he "couldn't imagine it".

"It was a bit strange hearing that from him," said BMW's Nick Heidfeld, "because I thought people were looking and listening to fans worldwide.  And Ferrari obviously is the biggest name in F1 with the main supporters." More ...

Purex Returns To Dreyer & Reinbold Racing For Indy 500  Ready to restore their past glory with the #24 IndyCar entry, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing is proud to announce that they have entered into a primary sponsor partnership with the Purex Laundry Care Brand for the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500.

For Purex and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, their reunion at this year’s Indy 500 will be a celebration of their ten year anniversary when Purex first adorned the team’s #24 entry at the 2000 Indianapolis 500.  Purex went on to partner with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing as primary sponsor for several seasons with current team co-owner Robbie Buhl as the driver.

“For so many years, we enjoyed a terrific sponsor and business relationship with the Purex brand.  Throughout their involvement with us and the IndyCar Series, Purex has always used their presence and involvement with our team and the IndyCar Series strategically,” stated Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing co-owner. More ...
KV Racing Technology announces Bell and Herbalife for Indy 500  KV Racing Technology will field a car for IndyCar veteran Townsend Bell, sponsored by Herbalife, at the 2009 Indianapolis 500, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

Bell will pilot the #8 Herbalife – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry beginning the second week of qualifying.  He will join Mario Moraes, #5 KV Racing Technology – Votorantim Honda/Dallara/Firestone and Paul Tracy, #15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone, in a three-car effort for the team.  The 2009 Indy 500 marks the opening of the Centennial Era for the Speedway and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the facility.  The 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will be in 2011. 

“I am pleased to announce that Townsend Bell and Herbalife will be joining KV Racing Technology for the 2009 Indianapolis 500,” said KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “Townsend is a proven talent who will provide valuable experience and knowledge to the team during the month of May.  I also want to welcome and thank Herbalife for joining our effort.  Herbalife is an outstanding company and we appreciate their support of Townsend and KVRT.” More ...

Huge new 'motor homes' for Ferrari  
(GMM)  Every season, the first European race is an opportunity for at least one team to show off an impressive new motor home.

In 2009, as F1's paddock regulars throng the Circuit de Catalunya, the main talking point on Thursday was Ferrari's new paddock presence, seen for the first time.

Side by side, the two huge structures standing multiple stories high are a match for the most majestic offerings of grandee rivals BMW and McLaren.

Marlboro red and with furtive mirror windows, glass frontage and top story terraces, the structures will stand at the foot of the paddock - second only to the FIA area and Bernie Ecclestone's motor home - for the entire European season, thanks to Ferrari's constructors' title triumph of 2008.

KERS 'not big advantage' - Heidfeld  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld on Thursday admitted that BMW-Sauber has taken KERS off its cars for performance reasons.

Team boss Mario Theissen said earlier this week that, for Barcelona, it was a case of opting either for keeping the energy re-use technology, or installing a major aerodynamic update.

"The tuning time on Friday would be too short," he said, amid reports that the KERS batteries simply did not fit into the new sidepods of the F1.09.

"We may come back to KERS in Turkey.  From a technical point of view, the results are positive.  The (KERS) system has worked flawlessly up to now," he added.

But to reporters in the Circuit de Catalunya paddock, German driver Heidfeld gave a different account.

"We have found that KERS is not yet as large an advantage as we thought," he is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.

Now without KERS, it remains to be seen whether the team leaves its 'Active Hybrid' signage on the rear wing this weekend.

After a mainly uncompetitive start to the season, Heidfeld admitted his fingers are crossed that recent efforts in the Hinwil factory will bear fruit in Spain.

Referring to the upgraded package, the 31-year-old said: "We hope we see on the track what we saw in simulation and in the wind tunnel."

TV Show Goes Behind the Scenes with HVM Racing  Racing fans will get an all-access look at how a team prepares on race day when KNBC-TV follows HVM Racing behind the scenes on this week’s episode of “Whipnotic.”  The automotive-themed show airs Saturday in the Los Angeles area and online.

A TV crew from L.A.’s NBC affiliate followed the HVM crew for the entire race-day morning at the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19.  The crew captured all the meticulous work that went into preparing the No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara from the moment the car was rolled off the truck to its arrival on pit road.  The crew interviewed members of the team and driver E.J. Viso to paint a comprehensive picture of all that goes into getting a car ready for the green flag. More ...

GP2 ready for series kick off  This weekend in Barcelona marks the start of the fifth season of the GP2 Series, now generally seen as the strongest feeder category for Formula 1.

On April 23rd 2004 the first season of the GP2 Series kicked off in Imola, starting one of motorsport’s most exciting ventures. As the series celebrates its fifth anniversary we look forward to providing ever more excitement for our fans, as the best young drivers in the world fight for their place alongside the cream of racing talent in Formula 1.

Following on from last year’s successful launch of the second generation car, 2009 sees the GP2 Series pick up where it left off. The GP2 Series organizers had just two considerations in mind when they were working on the 2009 update kit: will any changes improve the package, and will they be economical to run. Given the current economic climate the second issue is an obvious consideration, while the first issue leads to the second as well: the update had to avoid change just for the sake of change. More ...

Wickens to run Euro F3 series  Team Kolles & Heinz Union, a newcomer on the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series grid, now has signed a driver for its second Dallara-Volkswagen single-seater: Robert Wickens will contest the 2009 season as team-mate of Dutchman Carlo van Dam.

Robert Wickens is going to contest his first full Formula 3 Euro Series season but has competed in some of last year’s races. From the Pau weekend he replaced previous Signature-Plus driver Stefano Coletti. His best results: the win at Le Mans and a runner-up finish at Nuremberg’s Norisring. In the end, he finished 15th in the Championship and secured sixth position in the rookie ranking despite having entered the season late.

Williams team signs Hell Energy Drinks  
Will Williams run a pink car like Alex Lloyd's IndyCar above?
The AT&T Williams team today announced a significant new sponsorship agreement with Hell Energy Drinks. The Hungarian energy drink brand, which has aspirations to be the number two international energy drink, is joining the team as its official drinks partner from the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend.

Bucking the adverse economic climate, the engagement is one of the few on-car level sponsorship agreements to have been concluded recently. Hell Energy Drinks will appear on the team’s race cars on the rear wing endplates as well as claim a novel position in the pitlane with the team’s re-fueler firesuits.

The brand, with offices in Europe, Australia and the Asia Pacific, has an established reputation for avant garde field marketing and events. It will use this most significant new marketing venture to date to open up new markets in Europe, China and Russia. More ...

Brawn GP partners with Willans  Brawn GP is pleased to confirm that the team has agreed a new partnership with Willans, the world's leading brand of racing harnesses, who become a Team Supplier for the 2009 Formula One season.

Manufactured by Stockbridge Racing in the UK, Willans harnesses have been used as essential safety equipment for all forms of motorsport since 1967. From Formula One to NASCAR and IRL to Rallying, the company has supplied top motorsport teams around the world and to date supported 19 Formula One World Champions and achieved 252 Grands Prix victories.

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of Brawn GP said: "We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with Willans to use their racing harnesses in the Brawn-Mercedes cars this season. Driver safety is absolutely paramount in Formula One and the sport is continually taking steps to improve our safety record. We are very proud to be working closely with one of the most successful and dedicated harness manufacturers in motorsport."

GM posts another huge loss, plan the funeral  General Motors Corp. posted a $6 billion net loss in the first quarter and revenue plummeted 47 percent amid a global economic downturn and low sales that have helped pushed the automaker to the brink of bankruptcy.

GM spent $10.2 billion more than it took in during the first quarter, a cash burn that was partially offset by $15.4 billion in federal loans that has kept the company afloat since December. GM ended the quarter with $11.6 billion in cash and marketable securities, down from $14.2 billion at the end of 2008.

Stick a fork in GM, they're done.

Nationwide Richmond TV rating  ESPN2's telecast of the Lipton Tea 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Richmond International Raceway on May 1 earned a final household coverage rating of 1.2, even with the rating earned when the race aired on ESPN2 in 2007. Last year's race was simulcast on ESPN Classic and SPEED. The race averaged 1,554,436 viewers. ESPN2 is averaging a 1.7 rating through six NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts, slightly down from the 1.9 average through this same point last year but above the 1.5 average for the full 2008 season. ESPN PR
Letterman "I was worried the Tesla would magnetize my nuts"  
HER Energy drink to sponsor Alex Lloyd  
Alex Lloyd looking Pretty in Pink
HER Energy drink announced today a new partnership with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing as the new sponsor of the No. 99 Dallara/Honda driven by Alex Lloyd in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Lloyd was the fastest rookie on the track at last year's Indianapolis 500, which is fitting, as HER Energy is one of the fastest growing energy drinks on the market.

"HER is honored to be involved with two prestigious racing organizations." said Brett Jacobson, CEO of HER Enterprises Inc. "Both Chip and Sam are pioneers in the world of motorsports and their eye for talent over the past two decades is unprecedented. Alex Lloyd represents the qualities that HER strives to embody and with the support of Chip Ganassi Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports he is sure to become one of the next Indy greats."

HER, "Healthy Energy Revitalizer", is a refreshing pink lemonade flavor energy drink reminding women of all ages that a beverage can taste great, as well as deliver that much needed boost for whatever life throws your way. HER is fortified with B vitamins, calcium, ginseng, plus antioxidants while providing half the caffeine to achieve a sustained surge of energy without the typical crash of other energy drinks. So whether you're sweating it out at the gym, scrambling to gets the kids to school, cramming for that final exam or just need a pick me up, HER delivers the nutrition and energy necessary for every woman’s busy lifestyle. More ...

formula BMW
Formula BMW Update  
  • Double victory for Vilarinho at the VIR.
  • Thompson and Haryanto claim maiden Formula BMW Pacific victories.
  • New date for the second Formula BMW Pacific weekend.
  • Formula BMW Europe completes its preparation program.
  • Formula BMW careers: Tom Milner.
  • News in brief. 

Double victory for Vilarinho at the VIR.

Brazil’s Giancarlo Vilarinho dominated the second race weekend of the Formula BMW Americas season with two impressive start-finish victories. The Eurointernational driver won races three and four of the current season from pole position at the “Virginia International Raceway” in Danville (US). The two wins take him to within 15 points of the overall leader, team-mate Gabby Chaves (CO). Third place and sixth place were enough for Formula BMW Junior Alex Ellis (CA) to take over at the top of the Rookie Cup standings on 32 points. He follows James Kovacic (AU, Team Apex), who now ranks second on 28 points, still well within striking distance.

In the first race of the weekend, Vilarinho was initially forced to fend off numerous attacks from Chaves, but was eventually able to build up a six-second lead before the race had to be drawn to an early close following several incidents. The second race at the VIR painted a similar picture, as Vilarinho dominated proceedings from the start. However, the finish was closer than the previous day: Chaves would not give up the fight, and came home less than one second behind after eleven laps.

Formula BMW Americas travels to the “Miller Motorsports Park” from 15th to 17th May, competing in the support program of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for the first time this year. Together with the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team, which is striving for victories and points with two BMW M3s in the GT2 class, Formula BMW Americas forms a joint motorsport appearance, which is rounded off nicely by the integration of production cars in the public fan area. At the same this event also marks the halfway point in this year’s Formula BMW Americas season. More ...

Q&A with Alonso and Piquet Jr. ahead of home GP  

Fernando Alonso

Fernando you had a physically draining race in Bahrain, but you still came away with a point…
Yes, my drink pump failed and so it was a tough race and I was a bit dehydrated when I got out of the car. It was good to score a point, but we were hoping for more after all our hard work over the last couple of weeks. I didn’t make a good start and lost ground which decided my race because all the cars around me were running similar strategies. I think it’s fair to say that we were the eighth fastest car and so finishing eighth is representative of our performance at the moment.

This weekend it’s your home Grand Prix in Barcelona. How special is it to race in front of your home crowd?
It’s always very special to race in Spain and I’m lucky to have two races at home this year in Barcelona and Valencia. Seeing the support of the fans always gives me a boost and I just hope that I can make them happy and have a strong weekend. It will be difficult to fight for the podium, but hopefully we can qualify well and score some big points in the race.

Tell us about the Barcelona circuit and how you expect the R29 to perform there?
All the teams know the track well as we do so much testing there in the winter. We tested there in February, but obviously we have developed the car a lot since then so we will need to work on the set-up during free practice. We are still missing some performance at the moment but the team has really improved the car already this season so we are certainly moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can take another step forward this weekend.

Nelson Piquet Jr.

Nelson, we’re a quarter of the way into the season. Sum up your feelings as we return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix…
It has been a difficult start to the year for me, but I feel I’ve learnt a lot from the first four races. The wet races in Malaysia and China were quite frustrating and we couldn’t really judge the performance of the car, but I’m feeling a lot more positive after Bahrain where I raced with the new diffuser. It would have been great to finish in the points, but all the cars are very competitive and reliable this year so to finish tenth was probably the best result that was possible on the day.

Barcelona is probably the track where you’ve driven the most. Do you enjoy racing there?
It’s the circuit that I know the best, but it’s not one of my favorites because it’s not especially challenging for the drivers. It’s all about having a good aero package and a well balanced car to cope with the high-speed corners. It’s therefore difficult to overtake, so you need to qualify well to be able to choose a sensible strategy for the race. Barcelona is also really demanding for the tires and so we need to see how the different compounds perform during long runs on Friday.

How much has the R29 improved since the start of the year?
We’ve definitely improved the car by fitting the new diffuser and the team did a great job to react quickly and adapt the car. We also had an update to the front wing in Bahrain and the car is now much easier to drive than it was at the beginning of the year. I know the whole team is working really hard to find more performance and now that we are back in Europe it will be easier to bring new developments to the races.

Sorenson Completes Test at Infineon Raceway  Reed Sorenson visited Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone his skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Sorenson came to the track for the one-day test session in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day). Sorenson has competed twice on the challenging road course (2006, 2007), with a best finish of 29th in 2006. He was joined by his crew chief, Mike Shiplett, at the test. “This is my favorite of the two road courses we visit because it’s more technical. We don’t run as fast, but it’s fun to race here,” said Sorenson.

“There are a few places where we can get better on the track. I have to learn not to go too fast.” Sorenson, driver of the #43 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports, piloted a late model stock car supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. He was coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook and completed approximately 90 laps in the full-day test. “Reed’s only 23 years old, but I consider him a veteran. It doesn’t surprise me that he picks things up really well. We’re just trying to practice the track as perfectly as we possibly can,” said Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter, Paul Menard and AJ Allmendinger. Infineon Raceway PR
Yarborough and Waltrip Added To Darlington Legends Walk  
Fans attending the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com this weekend will be able to take a trip down memory lane at Darlington Raceway.

Monuments honoring the careers of Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip have been added to the Darlington Legends Walk behind the Tyler tower grandstand behind the frontstretch.

Each marker is made of granite and marble, resembles a Goodyear racing tire and old style pit board and weighs nearly 2,300 pounds.

“Adding Cale and Darrell to the Darlington Legends Walk is the perfect way to honor their respective careers at Darlington Raceway,” said track president Chris Browning. “We hope fans enjoy reading about Cale and Darrell’s careers at Darlington Raceway and reminiscing about their place in history at Darlington.” More ...

Q&A with New Jersey Grand-Am winners  An interview with:

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to this week's NASCAR Grand-Am teleconference in advance of the May 17th, Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.  Joining us today from Krohn Racing are Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta, drivers of the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford-Lola in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal. 

Nic and Ricardo braced a relentless rain to win Sunday's Verizon wireless 250, giving the Proto Auto Lola chassis, its first Daytona Prototype victory.  It was the third victory for Jonsson in Rolex Series competition.  He won an SRP2 race in a Lola at Phoenix in 2002 and won the Savings Six Hours of Watkins Glen in 2005 with car owner Tracy Krohn, giving Krohn Racing its first victory. 

Zonta has won three major championships, including the 1998 FIA GT.  He also tested and competed in Formula One from 1999 through 2006 and moved to the Rolex Series full-time in 2008 for Krohn Racing.  More ...

track news
SMI profits drop 34.1%  Speedway Motorsports Inc. remained profitable but saw a 12.7 percent drop in admissions revenue and a net income drop of 34.1 percent during the first three months of 2009, the company reported today.

In addition to the drop in admissions revenue, event-related revenues dropped 23.8 percent while NASCAR broadcasting revenue increased 1.2 percent. Total revenues were $133.5 million, compared with $155.2 million a year ago for a drop of nearly 14 percent.

Net income dropped from $30.9 million to $20.3 million, 47 cents per share compared with 71 cents per share a year ago. More ...

Mark Martin to run full 2010 schedule  
Mark Martin
Hendrick Motorsports' Mark Martin will return to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for the entire 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2010.

It will be the 22nd full-time Cup campaign of Martin's career and his second with car owner Rick Hendrick.
Last July, Martin signed a two-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports covering one full Sprint Cup season in 2009 and one part-time schedule of 26 events in 2010. The revised agreement was signed this week.
"Week in and week out, Mark continues to be one of the best race car drivers in the world," Hendrick said. "He's already made an incredible contribution to Hendrick Motorsports, and our entire company is excited about running another full season and winning races with him in 2010." More ...

No rain in Spain, Kovalainen corner tweaked  (GMM)  Mild and often cloudy weather but no rain is forecast for this weekend's Spanish grand prix in Montmelo, located north of Barcelona.

A number of changes have been made to the Circuit de Catalunya since last year's race.

Notably, the rear of the gravel trap at the fast turn 9, where Heikki Kovalainen crashed heavily in his McLaren in 2008, has been raised by 1.5 meters.

Finn Kovalainen said he has qualms about returning to the circuit a year on.  "I've already done some testing there, and I've had no flashbacks.  I've no bad memories from there, no trauma at all," he said.

Meanwhile, most of the gravel trap at the high-speed turn 3 left hander has been asphalted, and nearly 4kms of new tire barriers erected around the track.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Abu Dhabi denies new F1 delay rumors
  • FOTA reveals budget cap 'concerns'
  • New teams to be selected carefully - Ecclestone
  • Test cuts 'suck' for aspiring drivers - Hartley
  • Vettel to win 2009 Bandini trophy
  • Vettel working with McLaren doctor
  • Carmakers not considering F1 exodus - Haug
  • AT&T Williams Signs Hell Energy Drinks

Abu Dhabi denies new F1 delay rumors
(GMM)  The developer of the new Abu Dhabi formula one circuit has played down reports of a dispute that could threaten the completion of the project.

The local Arabian Business publication reports that a row has broken out between top consultant companies working on the track, which is scheduled to host the 2009 season finale in November.

Apparently 12 key staff, advising on details of the grandstands and pit buildings, have walked out over wage disputes with another sub-contracted company.

The managing director of the consultants in question confirmed that his employees left the project "because they were not getting paid".

It also emerged recently that Abu Dhabi's F1 management company has undergone a fundamental shakeup, with Richard Cregan replacing Philippe Gurdjian as CEO.

A spokesman for developers Aldar said: "Everything is on schedule.  We are happy with the progress on the track.  We don't comment on minor issues between sub-contractors." More ...

tv news
Michael Waltrip tapes episode of My Name is Earl  UPDATE #2 A reminder that Michael Waltrip will appear in Part 2 of 2 of "My Name is Earl" tonight, Thursday, May 7.  The show airs at 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm ET on NBC.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.

04/30/09 A reminder that Michael Waltrip will appear in an episode of "My Name is Earl" tonight, Thursday, April 30.  The show airs at 8:00 pm - 8:30 pm ET on NBC.

Michael Waltrip
What does a Sprint Cup driver do on an off weekend? If he's Michael Waltrip, driver of the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, he's headed to Hollywood! The two-time Daytona 500 champion, who is known for his comedic personality, is appearing in an episode of the NBC sitcom, My Name Is Earl. Waltrip's opportunity to be on the show came shortly after the airing of an Auto Club Speedway commercial he appeared in with actor Greg Germann. The speedway's President Gillian Zucker, who has many connections in the entertainment industry, recommended using Waltrip to her friend, Greg Garcia, the creator and executive producer of My Name is Earl. "This experience is going to be a lot of fun for me," Waltrip continued. "I play myself and I help Earl and his brother Randy get out of a big jam." Waltrip will be in California through Saturday. The episode featuring Waltrip is scheduled to air on Thursday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET - which happens to be Waltrip's 46th birthday.  Michael Waltrip Racing PR
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