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TMS giving away IndyCar tickets for just $1 each  No one ever said Eddie Gossage doesn't know how to fill up a race track grandstands, even if it means giving the tickets away essentially free.  Come and get them folks!

IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves captured the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday and that performance has set the pricing for "Helio’s Blue Plate Special" promotion at $1 for 300 Bombardier Learjet 550k frontstretch tickets for the June 6 event at Texas Motor Speedway.  This special price will be limited to 4 tickets per customer.

"Helio’s Blue Plate Special" was a special promotion that tied the pricing of this limited supply of tickets to his qualifying performance for the Indianapolis 500, and Castroneves responded with his third career pole at the Brickyard to provide Indy car fans with a tremendous bargain for the upcoming Bombardier Learjet 550k. More ...

British f3
Formula 3 car project proves race cars can be environmentally friendly  Scientists unveiled on Tuesday what they hope will be one of the world's fastest biofuel vehicles, powered by waste from chocolate factories and made partly from plant fibers, but is it safe?  Can it withstand high speed impacts and protect the driver?

Its makers hope the racer will go 145 mph and give manufacturers ideas about how to build more ecologically friendly vehicles. The car runs on vegetable oils and chocolate waste that has been turned into biofuel. The steering wheel is made out of plant-based fibers derived from carrots and other root vegetables, and the seat is built of flax fiber and soybean oil foam. The body is also made of plant fibers and the entire car is built to Formula 3 specifications.  More....
Experts says NASCAR drug list should be public  A prominent authority on drug testing says the indefinite suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield further enhances his belief that the sport needs to provide a public list of banned substances to protect itself legally. Mayfield on Saturday became the first Sprint Cup driver suspended for violating the substance abuse policy. Sources close to the situation said Mayfield claims he took Claritin D, an over-the-counter allergy drug that contains pseudoephedrine, a substance banned by most sports. Mayfield said in a prepared statement that the positive test was the result of combining a prescribed and over-the-counter drug, a possibility the doctor who runs NASCAR's drug testing policy denied was plausible. More ...
Yeley to sub for substance abuser?  UPDATE Who will replace the suspended Jeremy Mayfield? That's the question on everybody's mind after Tony Furr, crew chief of the No. 41 Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports entry, rescinded earlier comments to FOXSports.com that J.J. Yeley was tabbed for the position.  Speaking on behalf of the team, Shana Mayfield said no decision has been made but Yeley is on the short list.

05/11/09 J.J. Yeley will drive the #41 Toyota for Mayfield Motorsports starting this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Yeley replaces Jeremy Mayfield, who was suspended  indefinitely from NASCAR on Saturday after violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy "We believe in J.J.'s talent," said crew chief Tony Furr. "He's available for every race. So we won't be changing drivers. J.J. has something to prove just like we all do. We want someone that's hungry just like us. Everybody on this team has at one time or another worked for a larger organization. We're all racers who are all hungry, who all want to make the most of second chances and J.J. sort of fits that mold." The team is expected to name an owner of record shortly.  FoxSports
Renault charges ahead with the all Electric Vectrix  Responding to the environmental challenge, ING Renault F1 has partnered up with Vectrix, the world's leading manufacturer of high performance, zero emission electric motorcycles. A number of special edition ING Renault F1 Vectrix VX-1 bikes have been unveiled and deployed for the first time at the Barcelona Grand Prix to provide the most environmentally friendly on-site and shuttle transport for the drivers and the team at all Grand Prix events this season.

The Vectrix completely fractures any pre-conceived ideas about electric transport being slow or short-range. Its electric vehicle technology delivers rapid, clean, comfortable and attractively designed transport for commuting and recreational needs. The pioneering bikes run exclusively on battery power from its nickel metal hybrid battery and with an acceleration of 0-80km/h in 6.8 seconds and top speed of 100km/h, the Renault F1 team won't be compromising on performance either. More ...

NASCAR drug addict resigns  Roush Fenway Racing says Ben Williams, who was suspended by NASCAR last week for violating its substance-abuse policy, has resigned and is no longer with the team.  Williams served as gas man on Roush Fenway’s No. 16 NASCAR Nationwide Series team, but a team spokesperson said he has resigned. The team had no other comment.  Williams, Sprint Cup driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield and Front Row Motorsports Cup crew member Tony Martin were all indefinitely suspended Saturday for violations of the substance-abuse policy.
Herbalife Expands Sponsorship of Viso  HVM Racing, E.J. Viso and Herbalife are taking their relationship a big step further.  The three parties are pleased to announce that the nutrition company is extending its personal sponsorship of driver E.J. Viso and beginning a new team sponsorship with HVM.  The new agreements begin with the Indy 500 and will cover the remainder of the 2009 IndyCar Series season.

Herbalife announced its personal sponsorship of Viso in March and soon after partnered with HVM in its “Gotta Be Fit to Be in the Pit” team weight-loss challenge.  With its expanded involvement, Herbalife will now have its name on Viso’s No. 13 Honda Dallara as well as additional assets for all 2009 races. More ...

Ford will issue 300 million shares to raise money  Ford Motor Co. will issue 300 million new shares of common stock in an effort to raise money to cover payments to a union-run trust that is assuming responsibility for the company's hourly retiree health care expenses.

"Today's equity offering is another example of the fast, decisive action we are taking as we build momentum on our plan, including further progress on improving our balance sheet," CEO Alan Mulally said Monday. "We continue to make strong progress on our transformation plan -- gaining retail market share with great new products, improving quality, reducing costs and positioning Ford for a return to profitability."

Citi; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; J.P. Morgan; and Morgan Stanley are managing the offering. Ford said it expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 45 million shares.

track news
Road America to Host Vintage Race and Family Tailgate Party  Road America will hold its 10th Annual Family Tailgate Party during its SVRA Spring Vintage Weekend. The Family Tailgate Party will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The Spring Vintage Weekend is a three-day event, May 15-17, 2009. 

The tailgate party will feature special guests Miss Wisconsin-Briana Lipor, Alice in Dairyland-Ashley Huibregtse, grilling buddies Mad Dog and Merrill, Nickelodeon's Patrick; the unveiling of Project GRILL; live music by the Ricky Raybine Band; kids' golf and milking demonstrations; craft projects; track tours; a fantastic car and motorcycle show; door prizes; and track-side viewing of the vintage races. Participation in the kids' big wheel contest is available by advance registration by May 13th at Community Bank & Trust offices. Space is limited. Event sponsors are Cedar Crest Ice Cream, Charter Communications, Community Bank, Lake 98.1, Jim Pankow Inc., Plymouth McDonald's, St. Nicholas Hospital, and the Sheboygan Press. Events run rain or shine. The tailgate party is 10 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Admission is free by entering Gate 5 on Hwy 67.  More ...

Conquest Racing signs another associate sponsor  Conquest Racing has welcomed a new partner to its family of sponsors for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 with Forté Healthy Energy Shot™ joining the team as an associate sponsor on the #34 Conquest car.

“We’re very happy to welcome Forté Healthy Energy Shot to our team and introduce them to the world of racing,” said Conquest team owner Eric Bachelart. “We look forward to making their debut in racing a good one.”

Forté Healthy Energy Shot™, an energy drink that provides smart nutrition and long-lasting energy, is the flagship product of Forté Energy Company. The organic, açaí-based Forté Healthy Energy Shot™ takes an entirely different approach to functional energy products by offering a nutritious combination of antioxidant-rich superfruits, critical antioxidants, New Vision's world-famous Essential Minerals®, and the company's fast-acting, proprietary energy blend. At just 3 ounces in size, the Forté Healthy Energy Shot is convenient, delicious, low in natural sugar, and a healthier alternative for life on the go. More ...

Conway released from Methodist Hospital  UPDATE
Mike Conway: “I’m feeling okay.  I just want to thank the safety crew and the IndyCar Series medical staff for recovering me from the car and for taking good care of me.  I’m feeling much better and recovering well after one day.”

Robbie Buhl, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner: “The most important thing is that Mike is okay.  We will get everything back together and be ready next weekend.”

Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner: “We are very happy that Mike is okay and that’s what counts.  The guys have done a great job in repairing the No. 24 Purex entry and we

Mike Conway
look forward to bump day weekend.”

05/11/09 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Mike Conway has been released from Methodist Hospital. He had been admitted in good condition following a crash during practice on May 10.

Due to a mild concussion, Conway will not be medically cleared to drive until he is evaluated by Indy Racing League doctors on May 15. He is not expected to resume participating in on-track activity until at least May 16.

Andretti, Mutoh head to Toronto on off day  Andretti Green Racing drivers Marco Andretti and Hideki Mutoh will spend part of this week in Toronto promoting the IndyCar Series' first visit to the city July 10-12.

Andretti and Mutoh will participate in a karting event with area media and Bud girls. Andretti qualified eighth for the Indianapolis 500, while Mutoh qualified 16th.  Rumor is they will be announcing that Budweiser will be a major sponsor for the event.

Familiar starting spot for Franchitti in Indianapolis 500 return  
Dario Franchitti
They say familiarity breeds contempt, but don't tell that to Dario Franchitti. The 35-year-old Scotsman is happy to be starting third in the Indianapolis 500, the same position he started in 2007 when he won The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

"It's very satisfying to be on the front row here," said Franchitti, who will start on the outside of Row 1 with Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. "It is a great feeling, especially Race Day to get in the car and have a clear view in front of you.

"This will be the third time I started outside Row 1, and it's worked out pretty well every time."

Franchitti started third two years ago when Castroneves also had the pole. Driving for Andretti Green Racing, Franchitti led 34 laps en route to becoming the first Scot to win the Indianapolis 500 since Jim Clark in 1965.

Franchitti went on to win the IndyCar Series championship. After the season, he decided to pursue a career in NASCAR, foregoing the opportunity to defend his Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series titles. More ...

tv news
Actor Patrick Dempsey quotes from Wind Tunnel  Television and movie actor Patrick Dempsey was a guest on Sunday’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED.  Dempsey, star of the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, joined Despain to talk about his love for racing, his driving career in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and his upcoming attempt to compete in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans with Team Seattle.  Following are quotes from the interview:

Despain: Where did this racing interest come from?

Dempsey: “My father was a big fan of racing.  He owned a short-track car in Maryland many, many years ago and we always grew up watching the Indy 500 and anything that was on television and I think it started there.”

Despain: Fast-forward a few years … you and your wife were sitting on the couch watching SPEED one night and according to the press release, what was it she said? More ...

racing news
Quotes of the Week  UPDATE "There was a longer line at Long's Bakery than there was to get in the Speedway," said the 1963 winner Parnelli Jones in Robin Miller's latest article referring to the 10,000 or so fans that showed up for Pole Day. "I thought unification would change everything." Unidentified IRL Executive who still does not want to accept the fact that the sport was destroyed by the split.

"I had the race in my hands and I was quite surprised when they told me they were switching Jenson to two [stop strategy]. I would like to understand why they changed that.  If that happens I won't follow any team orders anymore. I'm making it clear now so everyone knows."  Rubens Barrichello, Formula 1 driver, Brawn GP, commenting after finished 2nd in the Spanish GP because of team orders changing teammate Jenson Button to a two stop strategy, leaving Barrichello on a three stop strategy.  Barrichello believes that Ross Brawn changed Button's strategy to favor the championship leader over Barrichello. For six years at Ferrari, Barrichello was Michael Schumacher's 'number two', ceding to team orders on many occasions, including the infamous radio call of the 2002 Austrian GP.

"It's just that the car is no good, no grip. I had nothing. It's just a shame they (the team) have not given me a car to defend my championship. The car is that bad. I am driving the socks off it and there is just no hope. We're not even halfway through the season and the car is just really hardcore. At the moment, for sure, we don't have the car to win the championship, but the team have done a fantastic job and every weekend they do a fantastic job. We have great reliability and the morale in the team is high. It's just a shame." 
Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, McLaren, commenting on McLaren's poor performance this season, and essentially writing off any hope of defending his title.

“Barry [Green] had spent about $150,000 on attorneys fees, and at the end of the whole court proceeding we went away feeling pretty confident about it.  And a month later we got the decision that our appeal was not appealable.  I mean I was disappointed.  We were at the height of the war between CART and IRL.  The last two races previous, you had guys coming in on one-offs from CART and stealing the Borg-Warner away from the regular IRL crowd.  I just don’t think they wanted that to happen again especially with a guy who had been so supportive of CART and critical of the IRL.  Deep down inside honestly, I felt like I got screwed.  I walked away with, in some people’s minds would be a great accomplishment, a second place at Indianapolis.  But my whole career is ‘second place is the first loser’ in my eyes.  It’s all or nothing with me.  That’s probably been the defining thing of my career.  I’m like a shark.  Once a shark smells blood, it goes for its prey.”  Tracy completed this sentence by saying, Winning the Indy 500 would mean “redemption.”  Paul Tracy, IndyCar driver, KV Racing Technology, competing in the Indy 500 for the first time since the controversial outcome of the 2002 race when his team lost an appeal of the results when Tracy tried to prove that he passed Castroneves on the backstraight for the win before the yellow came out. More ...
NASCAR Darlington TV Rating  The overnight TV rating for Saturday night's Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Darlington was a 3.6/7 share, down 16.3% from last year's overnight rating on FOX of 4.3/8 share.
Danica Patrick's latest provocative TV ad to debut  
Patrick's GoDaddy Ad Set To Debut On ABC During Indy 500

When it comes to popularity at the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick is the big winner without even taking the checkered flag.

"Danica is the girl next door," said GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons, whose company is set to unveil its latest commercial featuring Patrick on ABC's telecast of the 93rd Indianapolis 500 on May 24. "Everybody identifies with her. There is no pretense. She is very attractive. She is very down to earth. She is a woman competing in a man's world and wins. Who doesn't like that?"

Patrick certainly has star power as she has combined the looks of a model with fiercely determined racing ability. She arrives at Indy with back-to-back top-five finishes in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway.

She has qualified 10th or better in all four of her previous Indianapolis 500s, and became the first female driver ever to lead the race when she led 19 laps her rookie season in 2005.

Her fourth-place finish that day was the genesis of "Danica Mania" -- the next frenzied chapter of which could be written in Saturday's Indy 500 Pole Day. More ...

Pagenaud wins at Spa  French sportscar racing star Simon Pagenaud is now a top class winner on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Three weeks ago the de Ferran Motorsports ace was celebrating victory in round three of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, sharing the race winning No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a with team owner/driver Gil de Ferran on the streets of Long Beach, California (photo right). Now the highly-promising 24-year-old from Poitiers has won the latest round of the European-based Le Mans Series staged at the daunting Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. It’s a remarkable double for Pagenaud who this weekend (15-17 May) will be back racing for de Ferran Motorsports in the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix, round four of the ALMS championship.

Making his debut for Peugeot as part of the Gallic team’s preparations for next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the Frenchman not only won Sunday’s 1000kms showdown at Spa – sharing the winning Peugeot 908 prototype with Nicholas Minassian and Christian Klien – but also showed his prowess by securing pole position and posting fastest lap during the race itself. More ...

More GM models canned  The model cull at General Motors continues apace, after the struggling US car maker announced late last week that it will be axing four more models from its line-up.

The Chevrolet Cobalt SS sedan, Chevrolet Impala SS, Cadillac STS-V and the Pontiac G6 GXP coupe are all for the chop.

GM officials have said that the decision to discontinue the G6 GXP coupe is nothing to do with the axe falling on the Pontiac brand as a whole in 2010, but rather part of an earlier plan to turn Pontiac into more of a niche brand.

Production of the front-drive V8 Chevrolet Impala SS and recently introduced turbocharged Chevrolet Cobalt SS sedan will cease due to a lack of demand for the models. More ...

F1 news in brief  
  • Williams to submit 2010 entry by FIA deadline
  • Briatore happy 'winner takes all' not in play
  • Domenicali offers to quit over Ferrari crisis
  • Hamilton doesn't feel like Spanish 'enemy'
  • Horner not sure if Renault staying in F1
  • 'No progress' on French GP future - Ecclestone
  • Final news briefs from Barcelona
  • Renault to assess Piquet in European season
  • Red Bull wants long-term deal with Vettel

Williams to submit 2010 entry by FIA deadline
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has admitted that he will not be joining the threats to boycott entering next year's world championship.

Toyota and Red Bull have already issued the warning, amid suggestions that most other big teams will be following suit after a forthcoming meeting of the FOTA alliance.

They are enraged about Max Mosley's voluntary 40m pounds sterling per-team budget cap.

But for smaller teams like Williams, Brawn and Force India, F1 is their core business, and threatening to not take part would be too great a risk to their very existence.

"We race.  What else can I do?" Williams, asked about the looming May 29 deadline for 2010 team entries, is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Briatore happy 'winner takes all' not in play
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has admitted he is relieved that Bernie Ecclestone's 'winner takes all' scoring system is not already in place.

The Renault boss insists that, with four out of a possible 'gold medals' already in the bag, Jenson Button would seem a sure bet to become the 2009 world champion.

Under the existing points system, the Briton's advantage over teammate Rubens Barrichello is 14 points, followed 4 points later by the chasing Sebastian Vettel.

"Thank god we don't have the gold medals," Briatore said in an interview with Spain's Diario AS newspaper.  "If we had that (system), he (Button) would almost be world champion."

However, the fact remains that, with only two points separating first and second places, Vettel could theoretically have to win the next seven races before he equalizes Button's points tally.

But under the 'medals' regime, the German could peg his British rival with wins in the forthcoming Monaco, Turkish and British grands prix.

Bernie Ecclestone wants the World Motor Sport Council to vote again on his proposal at their October meeting. More ...

Ferrari progress but still making mistakes  The Ferrari team showed performance gains over the weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen clearly making best use of aerodynamic upgrades. The race also presented new management/strategy mistakes, however, not least of which a shortage of fuel which led to Massa losing two places in the closing stages.

"We can take some satisfaction from this weekend but, at the same time, it has thrown up further concerns," admitted team principal Stefano Domenicali. "On the one hand we saw that the effort from recent weeks has born fruit in terms of improving the performance level of the car. Felipe was competitive at the highest level, as was confirmed on the clock - it's not by luck that we got the third fastest time in the race, which would have been far out of our reach in previous races this year."
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas released from prison  Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas was released from prison Friday after serving about 16 months for tax fraud and has received permission from a U.S. District Court judge to attend NASCAR races while on supervised release.

Haas’ projected release was Sunday, but the federal Bureau of Prisons’ Web site indicated that Haas was released Friday.

Haas was sentenced to two years in prison in November 2007 and entered a Lompoc, Calif., federal correctional facility Jan. 14, 2008.

He has asked the court, and received permission, to attend NASCAR races while on supervised release. The first race mentioned in the motion is the upcoming Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Conway and Tagliani crash at Indy  UPDATE Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, medical director for the Indy Racing League: #24 Mike Conway has been transported to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation. He is awake and alert. #34 Alex Tagliani has been checked and released at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center. He is cleared to drive.

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "Honestly, I don't know. We were just warming up the car. On the third lap, it was a pretty slow lap, 199 (mph), I got into Turn 1 and all of the sudden I lost the rear. It's pretty unfortunate. I don't think the car is too badly damaged. I looked at it when I got out of the car. We'll see if we can put it back together and try to qualify this afternoon."

05/10/09 British rookie Mike Conway crashed his Dallara Honda in Turn 1 at Indy in early Sunday morning practice and Alex Tagliani repeated the feat as soon as the track went green again, losing the backend and going rear-end first into the Turn 1 outside wall.  Tagliani got out of the car and appears OK.  No report on Conway's condition.

From Tim Wohlford at the Speedway - When a car hits the wall in the short chute at Indy, you can hear the "boom" all over the speedway.  In the cases of Alex Tagliani and Mike Conway, they made very loud booms. More ...

Briatore doesn't want cheap teams in F1  (GMM)  Renault is not yet joining the threats of a 2010 entry boycott, but team boss Flavio Briatore has made clear his opposition to a 40m pounds sterling budget cap.

It is expected that when the May 29 deadline for 2010 team entries closes, only Williams, Brawn and Force India will have submitted paperwork.

It is believed that all the other teams, to meet for another round of FOTA talks as soon as this week, will shortly clarify that they are not willing to accept Max Mosley's regulations as they stand.

Briatore, although a staunch supporter of radical cost-cutting in formula one, told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that his objection is to the opening of the door to cut-price outfits.

"Whoever has 20 or 25 million euros should not be able to operate a formula one team," said the Italian.  "If we make that possible, the brand will be worth nothing. More ...

'No chance' of Aguri return - official  (GMM)  There is "absolutely no chance" that Super Aguri could return to formula one even with a low budget cap next year.

That is the insistence of Fumio Akita, despite former co-owner and team boss Aguri Suzuki recently suggesting to the Japanese press that he is interested in reviving the collapsed project.

Akita told Reuters: "There's absolutely no chance.  Even without the world financial crisis and its effect on Japan's economy we couldn't afford it."

With Honda's technical and financial backing, Super Aguri operated on a small budget in 2006 and 2007, then folding after four races of last year's championship. More ...

Barrichello threatens to quit over team orders  (GMM)  The 'team orders' saga has heated up even more, with Rubens Barrichello threatening to quit Brawn GP if he is again the victim of team orders.

After the Spanish grand prix, the Brazilian veteran played down any comparison between the situation in Barcelona and his six years as Michael Schumacher's number two at Ferrari.

But with Ross Brawn the common denominator, a frustrated Barrichello, 36, clearly suspected that the switching of race-strategies penalized him while favoring his championship-leading teammate, Jenson Button.

"If I get the slightest sniff that the team are favoring Jenson, I'll hang up my helmet tomorrow," he declared to the American broadcaster Speed TV.

"I need to find out what happened.  I'm sure everything is ok," he added. More ...

Podium-boy Webber's father in hospital  (GMM)  After finishing third in Sunday's Spanish grand prix, Mark Webber sent a cheerio to his ill father.

Alan Webber, often a feature of the F1 paddocks and Red Bull garage, fell ill on the way to the Chinese grand prix last month, the Britain's Mirror newspaper reports.

The Australian is now in hospital, his 32-year-old son admitted in Barcelona.

"Dad's a bit iffy at the moment but we have our fingers crossed for him," Webber said.

Webber's third place in Spain moved him to fourth place in the drivers' championship, 7.5 points behind his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel spent almost his entire Barcelona race stuck behind Felipe Massa's KERS-equipped Ferrari, but team boss Christian Horner insists the Renault-powered RB5 again proved it is "quick enough to win races".

Rahal spins to avoid Andretti  UPDATE “We were just hoping for a smooth day of practice for the McDonald’s team and it was going good but with John’s incident there at the end we decided to call it a day.  I just had to react as quickly as I could.  When I was told the yellow came out I was going to go high then I saw the debris.  Stuff was flying everywhere, the car basically exploded when he hit.  So I tried to go to the high side and right when I went to the high side, he started to roll backwards into my path and I was going to T-bone him basically so I turned hard left and hit the brakes as hard as I could and it locked up the rears as I did and that’s why I spun. 

More than anything I was just lucky that I could keep it off both the inside and outside walls.  Keeping it off the inside wall was just luck because I took my hands off the wheel.  I got out of the throttle coming out of Turn 1 but of course you can’t hit the brakes too hard so I lifted as much as I could and tried to look ahead and see how to react.  When he hit, debris was flying everywhere.  There were wings flying and all sorts of things and I think I was hit by one of the tire ramps. I decided to go high and that’s where he went too unfortunately and I was just lucky that I could move to the inside enough to where I didn’t collect him.

I haven’t seen a replay but to be honest, I was really lucky.  We both were.  It was only a half of a second after it happened before I got to the scene and we’re just lucky it wasn’t uglier than it is.  The car is okay.  I think one of his tire ramps hit my left front suspension and bent it but we saved all the big stuff.  The only reason we couldn’t drive it back is because the right side tires are flat but I’ll happily take that.  It’s better than putting the McDonald’s car in the wall.” Graham Rahal

05/10/09 #43 J. Andretti did a quarter-spin to the right in Turn 1 and made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier with the right rear. The car did a three-quarter spin back to the left and made secondary contact with the wall with the right front. There was heavy damage to the right side of the car. #02 Rahal had to do a quarter-spin to the left in Turn 1 to avoid Andretti. Rahal did not make contact and stopped on the backstretch with flat right side tires. Andretti and Rahal climbed from their cars without assistance from the Delphi Safety Team. IndyCar.com
Jeremy Mayfield releases statement  UPDATE NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield's assertion that use of two allergy medicines led him to run afoul of the series' drug policy is not plausible, the person charged with running the program told USA TODAY.

"What we have is a clear violation of policy," said David Black, whose Tennessee-based Aegis Labs conducts NASCAR's random testing program. "In my many years of experience, I have never seen a violation like this due to the combination of over-the-counter or prescription products."

Black, citing NASCAR policy, declined to specify what caused Mayfield to test positive, saying it was "a drug of concern." NASCAR announced before Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway that Mayfield — the first driver tagged under the series' first-year mandatory testing program — had been suspended indefinitely. USA Today

05/09/09 NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield released a statement today after being suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy.

"As both a team owner and a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, I have immense respect for the enforcement policies NASCAR has in place. In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over the counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test. My doctor and I are working with both Dr. Black and NASCAR to resolve this matter.

Mayfield Motorsports remains committed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the organization will announce an interim owner and a temporary replacement driver early next week. Those roles will commence immediately beginning with next week's Sprint Open and continuing through Charlotte and beyond." Pete McCole
Hamilton blames car, not himself  After finishing out of the points in ninth place in the Spanish Grand Prix, won by compatriot Jenson Button for Brawn GP, the 24-year-old Lewis Hamilton said it was 'a shame' his team had not given him a competitive car and took no blame that his feedback might be lacking and therefore the car is horrible.

Hamilton said: 'It's just that the car is no good, no grip. I had nothing.

"It's just a shame they (the team) have not given me a car to defend my championship.

"The car is that bad. I am driving the socks off it and there is just no hope.' But he added that he was still impressed with the efforts of the team to improve the car and refused to concede his title defense was over.

"I am not going even to start thinking like that,' he said.

"We're not even halfway through the season and the car is just really hardcore.

'At the moment, for sure, we don't have the car to win the championship, but the team have done a fantastic job and every weekend they do a fantastic job.

'We have great reliability and the morale in the team is high. It's just a shame.'

tv news
Dempsey, Hamlin, Schrader, Gustafson, Castroneves guests on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE The following guests have been added to tonight’s guest lineup on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain:

Ken Schrader, SPEED NASCAR Analyst
Alan Gustafson, Mark Martin's Crew Chief
Helio Castroneves, 2009 Indy 500 Pole winner

05/09/09 The featured interviews on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday, May 10, 2009, will be Patrick Dempsey and Denny Hamlin.

Patrick Dempsey drives in the Rolex Grand-Am Road Racing Series.  Dempsey is an actor in the popular Grey’s Anatomy television show, and he’ll be producing and starring in the movie based on Garth Stein's terrific book “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”  Denny Hamlin, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, will also be a guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday to discuss the Sprint Cup All-Star race.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs Sunday night at 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.

22 cars qualify at Indy  In spite of great weather conditions -- 65 degrees, a light wind, and overcast skies -- bumping at Indy today proved to be a very trying exercise.  Especially, it turns out, if you're Scott Sharp. 

Scott Sharp has an ALMS race in Utah next weekend, so qualifying next week really complicates his life.  The forecast for Saturday at Indy calls for rain, and the ALMS race is on Sunday.  So, the pressure was on for Sharp to make the show today.   

Sharp tried twice to find the speed to make the field, but in both cases was too slow to lock himself into the field.  Sharp's first attempt was fast enough to bump Milka Duno from the field, but at 221.103 was not nearly fast enough to make the show today.  He later withdrew his car, and his second attempt was barely good enough at 221.333.  He was then bumped by AJ IV at 5:40 p.m., causing him to make his third attempt. More ...
Red Bull joins Toyota in 2010 entry boycott  (GMM)  Red Bull has followed Toyota in declaring that it will not enter next year's world championship under the current regulations.

Toyota's team president John Howett made the threat this weekend in Barcelona, as other teams including Ferrari and BMW also openly baulk at the governance of the sport by Max Mosley and his plans for voluntary budget caps.

"Conditions at the moment are not so, that we would enter a team for next year," Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, at the Spanish grand prix this weekend, said in an interview that will be published by Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper on Monday.

The billionaire suggested that the other "manufacturer teams" will also not take part.  "Of the teams now, only two or three will remain," Mateschitz added.

The FIA's deadline for 2010 entries is May 29. More ...

Sunday Update 2 from Indy  
[Editor's Note: See Home Page for Sunday Update 1]

"Where's Mark?" obviously referring to AR1.com President Mark Cipolloni.  That's Paul Tracy's question for AR1 after Tracy's second press conference this afternoon.

Paul Tracy requalified his car for the 2009 Indy 500, giving him a slightly better starting spot with an average of 4/10 mph faster.  In this press conference, he (like Tony Kanaan) talked about removing downforce from the cars to gain speed.  "You're dancing with the devil... taking your chances.  You have to take it all off here."

Also qualifying today -- thus creating a bump situation for positions 12-22 -- was Ed Carpenter.  "As upset as I was (Saturday), I'm that happy today. Today is a whole lot faster, the track is better, and we made the car better, too. I'm not sure what other people are going to do, but we're done qualifying. I'm happy to be in the race. We changed a little bit, but not much. Yesterday we were to the point that we were going to go out again at the end of the day, but we wondered was it worth the risk to go out there just to start 11th. We weren't even sure we could do that. It was coming down to the fact that we were just using up tires."  Ed qualified at qualified at 222.780. It was Ed's speed that gave Tracy's crew the idea that track conditions had improved, prompting them to make their second run. More ...
More anti-Hamilton racism in Spain  UPDATE (GMM)  A spokesperson for F1's governing body on Sunday confirmed that it is investigating a new incidence of apparent racism.

More than a year after last winter's incidents during pre-season testing at the same Circuit de Catalunya, pictures of a fan wearing shoe polish on his face and a McLaren t-shirt - presumably in derision of F1's only black driver Lewis Hamilton - were broadcasted ahead of the Spanish grand prix.

A FIA spokesperson said: "We are aware of it and we are looking into it."

The Paris body reacted furiously to the Barcelona testing incidents last year, launching an anti-racism campaign and warning that repeat occurrences could cost Spain its two grands prix.

A FIA spokesman said then: "Formula one is a global, multicultural sport and has never encountered such scenes before and will not tolerate them in future."

Also in the wake of the 2008 incident, operators of the Barcelona circuit said fans' banners and clothes would be checked at the gates. More ...

Spain GP stirs new 'team orders' controversy  (GMM)  As the sun faded behind the Barcelona grandstands, it was clear the old 'team orders' controversy had returned to the F1 paddock.

Rubens Barrichello, for so long Michael Schumacher's lackey at Ferrari, was again at the centre of the storm, refusing to rule out that his former Ferrari strategist Ross Brawn had deployed a strategy to favor his teammate.

In 2009, Barrichello's championship-leading teammate is Jenson Button, who like the Brazilian started the Spanish grand prix on a three-stop strategy.

At the end of the race, the 36-year-old made no secret of his unhappiness that Button had been moved to a two-stopper, with which the Briton won the race despite Barrichello passing him at the first corner. More ...

Hamilton, Massa, write off 2009 title chances  (GMM)  Last year's championship protagonists on Sunday wrote off their chances of contending for the 2009 crown.

In 2008, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa finished the drivers' title in first and second places respectively.

But this year, with Brawn and Red Bull leading the pace, the drivers' respective cars are no longer up to the task of joining the battle for the sport's new pecking order.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished the Spanish grand prix out of the points and ninth. More ...

Barrichello not willing to play second fiddle  
Rubens Barrichello - bridesmaid once again under Ross Brawn
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello on Sunday made clear he is no longer willing to play second fiddle to a teammate.

The Brazilian veteran finished second to Brawn teammate Jenson Button in Spain, after the team decided to switch the championship leader to a two stop strategy.

Barrichello, who passed Button at the first corner and led early, remained on his three-stopper.  "I had the race in my hands and I was quite surprised when they told me they were switching Jenson to two," the 36-year-old said.

"I would like to understand why they changed that," he added, explaining that his third set of tires also slowed him down. More ...

Top-5 speeds in Sunday morning Indy 500 warm-ups  
Pos. Car Name Time Speed
1. 4 Dan Wheldon 40.1492 224.164
2. 18 Justin Wilson 40.2072 223.841
3. 15 Paul Tracy 40.2409 223.653
4. 14 Vitor Meira 40.3814 222.875
5. 43 John Andretti 40.4066 222.736
Politics still in high gear at Spanish GP  (GMM)  McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday described the current political climate in formula one as "critical".

Before the Spanish grand prix, the teams were locked in a two-hour meeting of the FOTA alliance, following Toyota's suggestion that other competitors may join in not lodging an entry for the 2010 championship.

Afterwards, photographers captured an intense moment between John Howett, who in Barcelona had delivered Toyota's threat, and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Also in the paddock this weekend is Donald McKenzie, representing F1's owner CVC. More ...

Two-tier championships never worked in any series  The Executive Director of Engineering of the Renault Formula One Team, Pat Symonds, reflects on the team’s start to the season. He also discusses the regulations of the sport and the already controversial new budget cap in 2010 which will possibly lead to a two-tier F1.

Pat, the new regulations were designed to encourage overtaking – have they had the desired effect?
"To be honest I don’t really know. We’ve only had four races and a couple of those were wet races. Also, Melbourne is always a unique track where it’s difficult to draw conclusions. I have been quite impressed by the way the Brawns have overtaken us on a couple of occasions, so maybe it has worked or maybe they are just quicker than us. What is clear is that it is now easier to follow another car closely." More ...

Bankruptcy shakes Chrysler, GM shops  After 85 years in Bay City, Dunlop Pontiac -- like many auto dealerships across the country -- is preparing to close.

With bankruptcy looming over General Motors Corp. and many competing Pontiac stores in the area, Dunlop's sales have dwindled to about 12 cars per month.

Owner Mike Beattie, whose father began working at the dealership in 1941, had been fighting to keep the store open and its 26 workers employed. But dreams of surviving ended two weeks ago, when GM said it would kill its storied Pontiac division. More ...

IndyCar mechanic killed in car crash  
Bud Bivens
Bud Bivens, 44 of Crooked River, Oregon was killed in a car accident in Colorado on Saturday, May 2nd. 

Bud was a popular guy in the paddock...always smiling. His storied career as a racing mechanic included long stints at Patrick Racing and HVM Racing.  Bud will be missed.

Unfortunately there was not only one death in the HVM family recently. Bill Dieterle passed away after a long battle with cancer earlier this month.
Mortara wins first GP2 race  Edoardo Mortara held off the challenge of Romain Grosjean to claim the Sprint Race - and his first GP2 win - at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday morning.

The Italian, racing for Arden International, started on the second row of the grid - having finished sixth in Saturday's Main Race - but an excellent start saw him leap into the lead.

Jerome D'Ambrosio and Giedo van der Garde followed in second and third respectively, with Grosjean moving up to fourth ahead of pole sitter Kamui Kobayashi. Fourth quickly became third for Grosjean, who was the quickest man on track, and he then closed right in on Belgian D'Ambrosio, who only had eyes for the race leader. It did not take long for the French racer to get by his DAMS rival though, Grosjean stealing past by braking much later than his opponent. More ...
track news
Donington secures license to race  Racing at Donington Park is to continue with immediate effect after the circuit was given permission to resume track activities by the various regulatory bodies.

Officials from both the FIA and the MSA have issued the necessary licenses to the East Midlands circuit, which has been beset by issues in recent months as it seeks to prepare for the hosting of the 2010 British Grand Prix. Ongoing work at the circuit to create a tunnel between McLeans and Coppice to allow construction traffic to access the infield had led to the circuit having its license revoked, with the run-off on the exit of McLeans having been compromised as a result. More ...
Richard Petty shows up at Indy Speedway  UPDATE
Richard Petty at Indy Saturday
Chris Jones/IRL
Richard Petty was much more than a spectator Saturday when he returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Pole Day of the Indy 500.

“The King” came to the world’s most famous racing facility as a car owner this time with his driver, John Andretti, prepared to make the top eleven qualifiers on the first day of time trials at the Brickyard.  Andretti practiced in the No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara in the morning session, but he didn’t attempt a qualifying run Saturday afternoon.

Andretti and the three other Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers — Mike Conway, Milka Duno and Davey Hamilton — had their respective cars in line for qualifications late Saturday before the Speedway gun was shot at 6 p.m.  Andretti’s car will be third in line for Sunday’s time trials.  Conway, Duno and Hamilton’s machines are also set for early qualifying Sunday.

Petty kept busy in his four hours at the track Saturday by watching Andretti in practice, visiting the syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” for radio and television, holding a press conference, meeting with his old stock car rival, A.J. Foyt, and signing autographs for the racing fans.

The seven-time NASCAR champion met with Andretti, Window World executives and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing officials to discuss his Indy 500 program this month. Petty will return on Sunday, May 24, for the 2009 Indy 500. More ...

Gordon to have treatment on his back  Jeff Gordon said that he will have some treatment on his back on May 18, two days after the all-star race. Here's what he said about his back and how it's impacted him.
"(The treatment) is nothing invasive. it's just some injections that are going to do deal with the pain. They say it's sort of like an arthritis and it's excessive because of some of the trauma that my back has gone through, maybe through some wrecks or something. So that's what we're going to do. That's the plan.''
Q: What is the back pain you've been feeling?
GORDON: "I can't stand up for long periods of time. I can't sit. It's not like an excruciating pain. People have disc problems. I'm not one of those people. Mine is more nerves and muscular that when I'm in the car and really pulling Gs and using the steering wheel a lot and using the brake pedal a lot, it just really aggravates the muscle. There are a couple of tracks, like Martinsville and Bristol that have been really tough. I was actually pretty good last week. So far it's been good here this week. It's there but the things that I'm doing, the training, the massage, the stretching, those things right now are starting to pay off for me and right now I'm not having as much issues as I had at Bristol. More ...
Speed to run #87 for Nemechek  Scott Speed will drive Nemco Motorsports' #87 Toyota tonight in the Southern 500, a Red Bull Racing spokeswoman confirmed Saturday afternoon. Speed failed to qualify his #82 Toyota for the Sprint Cup race on Friday at Darlington after crashing in practice and going to a backup car. Red Bull worked out an arrangement with Nemco to have Speed replace driver Joe Nemechek.

Speed already seemed to rebound well from not qualifying for the Sprint Cup race, as he finished 13th in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Nationwide Series race Friday night at Darlington. Speed is driving a part-time schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in that series.

By putting Speed in the car, which will keep its regular logos, Red Bull will get the rookie valuable experience and Speed will earn the driver points. Team owner Joe Nemechek will get to keep the owners points. Depending on the financial arrangement, Nemechek also likely got some money for his unsponsored team to continue to go to races.
More Saturday news briefs from Spain  
(GMM)  At first glance, Toyota's doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli was in trouble: on a stretcher and being treated by ... hang on ... Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock?

In fact, the Italian's 300th grand prix appearance was being honored by the Japanese team.  After checking his blood pressure and then listening to his heart with a stethoscope, bosses Takashi Yamashima and John Howett presented Ceccarelli with a rear wing endplate bearing the words 'What's up, Doc?'


It is expected to rain early on race-day morning in Barcelona, but be completely dry for the Spanish grand prix.


Bernie Ecclestone is said to want the World Motor Sport Council to reconsider his 'winner takes all' scoring system at its October meeting.

After qualifying, drivers made clear their preference for the current system: even Jenson Button, who with three 'gold medals' already in 2009 would be in a commanding position under Ecclestone's regime.

The Brawn driver said: "Points have been the way for decades and, personally, to change is the wrong thing to do."

Grandstands only half-full at Barcelona  (GMM) Some grandstands were only half full on Saturday, despite the Circuit de Catalunya usually proving a sellout.

The Spanish crowd idolises its hero Fernando Alonso, but the economic crisis, perhaps coupled with the fear of swine flu, has caused many fans to stay away in 2009.

It is also impossible to ignore the fact that Alonso's is not a race-winning car.

Alonso, 27, agreed: "Because people know what the situation is at the moment they are not really that interested anymore." More ...
Indy Qualifying Notebook - 3  The Pole Day qualification "bumping" has begun at Indianapolis.

At 2:40 pm, Scott Dixon put his car solidly in the field at 223.781 mph.  A few minutes later, Tony Kanaan put a backup car -- complete with body panels from various Andretti Green Racing team cars -- into the field at 222.742.

Tony Kanaan's press conference was part philosophy session, and part comedy routine.  Not only did he borrow Hideki's backup car, along with bits from other AGR cars, but he also showed up at the morning team meeting wearing Hideki's driver uniform.  The backup car was at least 3 mph faster than Tony's primary car, and while not a pole contender was good enough to put him in the middle of row 3.

The good times for Kanaan, however, didn't last.  Kanaan's time was disallowed after tech inspection showed his car to be under the weight limit for qualification.  Earlier in the day Justin Wilson’s time was disallowed for "unapproved ballast location."  Perhaps the presence of NASCAR legend Richard Petty has inspired the IRL people in ways that were not intended... More ...
Vettel reassures Button after qualifying  (GMM) After qualifying, Sebastian Vettel reassured pole sitter Jenson Button that the Briton is favourite to win the Spanish grand prix.

Brawn's Button captured pole position for the Barcelona race, but until the FIA publishes the car weights, it is still unclear what role fuel loads played in the Q3 dash.

Red Bull's Vettel qualified just over a tenth behind Button.

"I am very happy with our performance but it is very, very close and I don't know what lap Sebastian is stopping on," Button said in the post-qualifying press conference.

Knowing the information would be made public anyway, Vettel was Willing to help.

"Lap 27," the young German told Button, who instantly smiled.

"We are ok then as we are (lap) 32. So it is all fine, bring on tomorrow," said Button.
Spanish GP starting car weights  
- Lightest car: Fernando Alonso / Renault - 8th - 645.0kg
- Heaviest car: Lewis Hamilton / McLaren - 14th - 683.0kg

Post-qualifying car weights:

1 - Jenson Button / Brawn = 646.0kg *
2 - Sebastian Vettel / Red Bull = 651.5kg **
3 - Rubens Barrichello / Brawn = 649.5kg
4 - Felipe Massa / Ferrari = 655.0kg *
5 - Mark Webber / Red Bull = 651.5kg **
6 - Timo Glock / Toyota = 646.5kg *
7 - Jarno Trulli / Toyota = 655.5kg
8 - Fernando Alonso / Renault = 645.0kg *
9 - Nico Rosberg / Williams = 668.0kg *
10 - Robert Kubica / BMW = 660.0kg *
11 - Kazuki Nakajima / Williams = 676.6kg
12 - Nelson Piquet / Renault = 677.4kg
13 - Nick Heidfeld / BMW = 676.3kg
14 - Lewis Hamilton / McLaren = 683.0kg
15 - Sébastien Buemi / Toro Rosso = 678.0kg
16 - Kimi Räikkönen / Ferrari = 673.0kg
17 - Sébastien Bourdais / Toro Rosso = 669.0kg *
18 - Heikki Kovalainen / McLaren = 657.0kg *
19 - Adrian Sutil / Force India = 675.0kg
20 - Giancarlo Fisichella / Force India = 656.0kg *

* Lightest of the team's two cars (first to pit in normal circumstances)
** Identical fuel load to team-mate

Note: Race entrants are displayed in provisional grid order

Indy Qualifying Notebook - 2  
- Two hours into Pole Day at Indy there are eleven cars that have completed qualification runs.  Ryan Briscoe continues his domination, and is on the provisional pole at 224.131 mph.  However, look for all of the top cars to make new attempts later on today if the wind abates.  The weather at Indy remains unchanged -- mid 60's, overcast, and winds gusting to 30 mph.  The skies look threatening, but there is absolutely no rain in the area, or in any areas that might predict rain for Indy.  Winds are not scheduled to abate until late tonight, so other teams might make runs before happy hour.

- Dan Wheldon parked his National Guard car in the exit of turn two after doing a half-spin and taking off the rear wing against the outer wall.  The car does not appear to be heavily damaged.  The car appears to have developed a push, and then caught the front wing after the wheels were cranked.  Then again, Dan might have a more colorful take on the spin.  Dan, always a fashion slave, has a driver's suit that mimics the camo pattern of National Guard troops -- green camo, and light brown driver's shoes.    Dan is fine, and will live to shop for shoes again. 

- Oriol Servia was seen in the Rahal Letterman Racing garage today, doing nothing to dispel rumors that he's tagged to drive this second weekend effort. 

- No word on who will drive Marty Roth's cars next weekend.  Marty is the only one that seems to know, or at least that's what Roth team members are telling AR1.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy
Indy Qualifying Notebook - 1  The usual suspects lead morning practice at Indy:  Team Penske (Briscoe, Helio), Team Ganassi (Dixon, Franchitti), and Penske addendum (Power) made up the five fastest times.  Mario Moraes (KVRT) was a surprise 6th fastest. 

- Pole day at Indy will once again be at the mercy of the weather.  While the temps will be ideal -- in the 60's -- the westerly winds are already gusting to 30 mph and are swirling around the track. More ...
Vettel carrying more fuel than Brawns  (GMM) Sebastian Vettel's jovial post-qualifying mind games were revealed on Saturday evening, after the FIA published the actual fuel weights of the Spanish GP field.

Red Bull driver Vettel had teased pole sitter Jenson Button in the post-session press conference, by revealing that he will be stopping for fuel on lap 27.

Brawn's Button outqualified Vettel by just over a tenth in Barcelona, and grinned as he hit back at the German by saying his first fuel stop will be five laps later, on lap 32.

"So it is all fine, bring on tomorrow," said the Englishman.

But the fallacy of the phantom one-stop strategies was soon revealed, when the FIA confirmed that the pair will be stopping much earlier than mid-race.

In fact, Vettel is carrying 5.5 kilos more fuel than Button, and also more than the sister Brawn of Rubens Barrichello, who qualified behind the Red Bull in third place.

Button, meanwhile, is carrying marginally less fuel than Barrichello.
Rivals praise Ferrari's step forwards  (GMM) Ferrari may have admitted to a "stupid" and "serious" error regarding Kimi Raikkonen's qualifying strategy, but the team was praised by its rivals on Saturday.

Barcelona has been the scene of some major car updates, and the constructors' champions seem to have made the biggest step forward of all.

With even more fuel than those ahead of him, Felipe Massa qualified fourth at the Circuit de Catalunya, within mere tenths of the ultimate pace.

"We can see that Ferrari have made a step forward, but overall the status quo has remained," Renault's Pat Symonds observed. More ...
Heidfeld didn't block me - Kovalainen  (GMM)  After failing to emerge from the fight for the bottom five grid positions in qualifying, Heikki Kovalainen said traffic was not to blame.

In his McLaren at Barcelona, the Finn was faster only than the tail-ending Force Indias in Q1, after following the BMW-Sauber of Nick Heidfeld towards the end of his final hot lap.

After the lap and cemented in eighteenth place, an engineer asked him over the FIA-monitored radio if Heidfeld slowed him down, and Kovalainen answered "a little bit".

But speaking with reporters a few minutes later, the 27-year-old changed his mind.

"Nick was a little bit ahead of me but I don't think he lost me a lot of time," Kovalainen confirmed.

"It's been quite a difficult weekend, I just couldn't find any grip today -- that's why the lap time was too slow."

Smith calls on track owners to drop lawsuit  The owner of Kentucky Motor Speedway called on the track's founding group to drop the antitrust lawsuit that's preventing him from adding the facility to next year's Sprint Cup Series schedule.

"They have a moral obligation to their state to get out of the way," Bruton Smith said Friday. "NASCAR understands that I will bring them an event from another speedway, but these people need to get out of the way. They have an obligation to Kentucky to do that." More ...
'Winner takes all' tale was mistake - FIA  (GMM) A spokeswoman for the FIA insists the 'winner takes all' rule was added to the 2010 regulations by mistake.

After the controversial rule appeared in the 30 April edition of the sporting regulations, in an update last week Article 6.1 had been revised.

"That was a mistake on our part that we have now corrected," a spokeswoman is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.

She insisted that the Paris body did not attempt to bring in the Bernie Ecclestone-favoured rule without consulting the teams.
Saturday news briefs from Barcelona  (GMM) Championship leader Jenson Button was fined for speeding on the roads of Dubai following his Bahrain grand prix victory two weeks ago.


Button's Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello has reverted to his familiar red and blue helmet design in Barcelona. It is understood that Button will also abandon his similar fluorescent features in favour of his usual helmet livery later this season, perhaps in Silverstone. More ...
Button excuses begin  Jenson Button fears his title rivals may be sandbagging ahead of a crucial start to the European season.

Championship leader Button finished Friday's practice ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix with the fourth quickest time, despite conceding to a balance issue with his Brawn GP car.

It has long been expected the major players in Formula One would rise again at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya following troubled starts to their year during the flyaway races. More ...
Wary Raikkonen ponders F1 future  Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has told BBC Sport he could quit Formula 1 over controversial plans to introduce a budget cap and a two-tier championship.

The sport's governing body, the FIA, wants to limit budgets to £40m in a bid to ease financial pressures on teams and make racing more competitive.

Raikkonen says it may drive him out of F1 when his contract expires in 2010.

"This is not F1 anymore. That's why there is a question mark. We'll see what happens," the Finn said. BBC
Goodyear tests at Daytona  The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company continued its summer testing program with a visit to Daytona International Speedway this past week. The tire manufacturer was at the famed speedway with 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams on Monday and Tuesday, testing several tire combinations that will help the cars drive with more stability while jockeying around in the draft. Participating in this week's two-day tests were Chevrolet drivers Aric Almirola. Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer; Dodge driver A.J. Allmendinger and Sam Hornish; Ford drivers Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard; and Toyota drivers Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Scott Speed. "We tested at Daytona this week because we're continually trying to improve the tire package there," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's Director of Race Tire Sales. "Even though its a superspeedway of two-and-a-half miles, it requires a good handling package. Now that we have more of a history with the COT at Daytona, we felt like we could give the drivers some more grip and enhance the cars' stability in the multi-car packs. The test went very well, and we accomplished a lot over the two days. The teams worked through all the tire combinations we brought, and I believe we've got some good options to review in determining the final tire set-up for July." Goodyear will finalize it's tire recommendation this coming week for Daytona's Coke Zero 400 scheduled for July 3-4. Goodyear PR
Heidfeld crashes in final Barcelona practice  (GMM)  Mechanics in Barcelona are busily repairing Nick Heidfeld's BMW-Sauber in the less than two hours before qualifying.

The German driver crashed at turn 12, causing heavy damage to the front left corner of his F1.09, during Saturday morning's final practice session.

With the same heavily revised 2009 package, however, his teammate Robert Kubica was a promising fifth quickest, behind the leading Ferrari and Brawn pace.

Also in updated cars, including an interim double diffuser, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen topped the practice timesheets, several tenths ahead of championship leader Jenson Button.

Button had said after Friday practice that he was not happy with the balance of his car.

"Rubens was very happy with the performance however we have experienced some issues with the performance of the (new) package on Jenson's car," team boss Ross Brawn confirmed.

Updated Ferraris show massive speed in Spain  
Felipe Massa in the new Ferrari
Ferrari brought its double decker diffuser to Spain
Ferrari brought its upgrade package, including its double decker diffuser, to Barcelona and appears set to blow away the competition.  The two Ferraris  were a comfortable one-two in the final practice session at Barcelona Saturday morning.

Felipe Massa topped the session by 0.082 seconds over teammate Kimi Raikkonen, with championship leader Jenson Button third for Brawn, nearly half a second down on Raikkonen's time.

Rubens Barrichello was right behind his teammate in the second Brawn, with Robert Kubica completing the top five for BMW.


Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Massa Ferrari 1:20.553 +0.000 18
2. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20.635 +0.082 22
3. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.050 +0.497 19
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.163 +0.610 17
5. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.239 +0.686 21
6. Trulli Toyota 1:21.256 +0.703 23
7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.346 +0.793 16
8. Glock Toyota 1:21.377 +0.824 26
9. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.424 +0.871 19
10. Alonso Renault 1:21.499 +0.946 17
11. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.519 +0.966 15
12. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.594 +1.041 20
13. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.629 +1.076 19
14. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.649 +1.096 19
15. Piquet Renault 1:21.685 +1.132 18
16. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:21.689 +1.136 18
17. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:21.909 +1.356 19
18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:22.043 +1.490 19
19. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.232 +1.679 19
20. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:23.457 +2.904 8

Today's Indy 500 qualifying order  
Order Car/Driver Order Car/Driver
1 #18 35 #10T
2 #21T 36 #8
3 #06T 37 #16T
4 #26 38 #98
5 #36T 39 #06
6 #18T 40 #00
7 #2 41 #9T
8 #5 42 #17
9 #36 43 #67T
1010 #12#12 4444 #91#91
11 #27 45 #02T
12 #4T 46 #44T
14 #7 47 #5T
15 #6 48 #16
16 #12T 49 #44
17 #23 50 #3T
18 #14T 51 #02
19 #2T 52 #27T
20 #67 53 #99
21 #11T 54 #20T
22 #13 55 #3
23 #21 56 #15
24 #26T 57 #10
25 #11 58 #48
26 #34 59 #19
27 #17T 60 #7T
28 #14 61 #24
29 #20 62 #25T
30 #41 63 #43
31 #4 64 #24T
32 #9 65 #34T
33 #25 66 #6T
34 #23T 67 #43T
Fans Can Join In Fun At 37th 'Last Row Party'  After a full schedule of activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Miller Lite Carb Day, Friday, May 22, race fans can eat, drink and laugh as three Indianapolis 500 drivers share the hot seat at the 37th Last Row Party.

The Last Row Party, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. (ET) at the pavilion at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, honors the drivers starting on the 11th and final row of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with a dinner and roast. Brickyard Crossing is located at 4400 W. 16th St., adjacent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Turn 2.

Tickets are $40 per person, or $375 for a table of 10, which includes entertainment, dinner, soft drinks and three beer tickets for party goers age 21 and older. A cash bar is also available. For reservations, call (317) 974-3000 or e-mail jlabalme.indypress@att.net. VISA or MasterCard is accepted. More ...

track news
ISC Implements Texting Service at all 12 Racetracks  International Speedway Corporation ("ISC") has partnered with InStadiumSolutions (“ISS”) to implement a text-message based communication system at all of its 12 major motorsports facilities. The service debuts this weekend, May 8 and 9, at Darlington Raceway® in South Carolina, host to the NASCAR Nationwide Series DHP 200 and Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com.

The text messaging system allows fans to communicate directly with the racetrack’s command post if assistance is needed in dealing with any special needs inside the facility.  A successful test of the text messaging technology was conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the 2008 Ford Championship Weekend. More ...

tv news
Dale Jr. & Mom to be interviewed  UPDATE A reminder that this interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his mother, Brenda Jackson, will be shown tonight, Saturday, May 9, during the NASCAR RaceDay program.  RaceDay will be aired at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm ET live from Darlington on SPEED.

05/08/09 In celebration of Mother’s Day weekend, Wendy Venturini will have an exclusive extended interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his mother, Brenda Jackson, as part of Venturini’s weekly “Real Deal” feature on the popular SPEED pre-race show NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot (Saturday, May 9, 5:00 p.m. ET LIVE from Darlington).
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