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DATE News (chronologically)
05/14/09
track news
Daytona Int'l Speedway news  
The SunTrust car makes a pitstop in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona
The 48th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kickoff event to the Speedweeks 2010 and the season opener for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, is set for Jan. 30-31, Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig announced.

"The 2009 Rolex 24 produced the closest finish in race history and the competition is only going to get better for 2010," Braig said. "With Jan. 30-31 as the race date for the 2010 Rolex 24, America's most prestigious sports car race will stand alone as the premier sporting event for that weekend and sports car enthusiasts around the world will have a great opportunity to attend the Rolex 24 in person or view the action on SPEED Channel."

After the completion of the Rolex 24, the stock car portion of the Speedweeks 2010 will begin the following week with the Budweiser Shootout, Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 and Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger. More ...

05/14/09
irl
Thursday quotes from Indy  

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 17 The Rahal Letterman DAFCA Special): "It's been a crazy last three months. Everyone has been asking me today if there's any pressure being a last-week and reduced program. I haven't felt this relieved in a long time. Finally I am in a car, and I know I'm going to be in the race. I'm in a great team, and there are great people around me. I felt great right away from the first lap. We want to take one step at a time, but right now, I'm really excited and happy." (About showing speed so early): "When you are driving for Rahal Letterman, you better step on it. They won this race in 2004, and honestly, the car felt great the moment I stepped into it. That makes the job of the driver a lot easier. It's only our first day. Hopefully, we have another dry day tomorrow, so we can prepare for qualifying and just keep the focus on the last lap of a 500-mile race. It's probably the most important race of my life, so I'm very happy with the way things have started."

E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing): "Today we had a productive testing day. We started working on the race setups and longer runs and with traffic and more fuel, and so far things are going pretty well. Our car feels pretty comfortable in traffic, and that's important for this race." More ...

05/14/09
f1
Bernie must placate Ferrari  
Ecclestone knows if he convinces Ferrari to stay the other F1 sheep (teams) will follow.
Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone will attend a crucial meeting with the Formula One Teams' Association in London today to thrash out objections to Mosley's proposed two-tier category for Formula One next year.

This week, Ferrari, the sport's most influential team, joined with Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Renault in condemning Mosley's idea. Ferrari and Renault threatened to quit if the FIA president does not reconsider rules which will technically favor teams which sign up to a $60m (£39.5m) budget cap. Time is running out in the lead-up to closure of entries later this month for the 2010 world championship. The reaction from Renault, Toyota and entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz's two Red Bull teams are serious enough, but it is Ferrari's that has sounded all the alarm bells.

"The key to F1 is Ferrari," Ecclestone said. "They have been there for 60 years. They are partners of ours. They are the people we need to take into consideration. At the moment everyone is hanging on to their apron strings. Sort that out and we will be okay." More ...
05/14/09
irl
Moraes tops Indy practice Thursday  UPDATE Second-year Indianapolis 500 starter Mario Moraes, who led his first laps in the IndyCar Series in last year's "500" and qualified seventh for this year's race, paced the opening day of the second week of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (See related article)

Moraes recorded a best lap of 40.4061 seconds, 222.739 mph on the 2.5-mile oval. Ryan Briscoe was second (222.406), and pole sitter Helio Castroneves was third (222.395) as the 22 drivers who have already qualified for the race worked on their race setups.

“Today was great,” said Moraes.  “The KV Racing Technology – Votorantim team did a great job preparing the car.  This week we are working on the race setups and I am trying to learn how to handle the car in traffic.  Last year it was hard work, but this year I am looking forward to running at the front, so it is important for me to know what the car does in traffic.” More ...
05/14/09
irl
Servia fast out of the box  Rahal Letterman Racing made its first appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, and made a big splash right out of the gate as the #17 Rahal Letterman Racing DAFCA Special and driver Oriol Servia finished seventh overall after its first day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.

Despite not having turned a single lap in the RLR Indy Car, Servia’s quickest speed of 221.353 mph around the 2.5-mile oval not only put him seventh on the overall list, it was the fastest of any driver that has yet to qualify for the 500-mile event that will run on May 24.

“When you are driving for Rahal Letterman, you better step on it,” Servia grinned. “They won this race in 2004, and honestly, the car felt great the moment I stepped into it. That makes the driver’s job a lot easier. It’s only our first day. Hopefully, we have another dry day tomorrow, so we can prepare for qualifying and just keep the focus on the last lap of a 500-mile race. It’s probably the most important race of my life, so I’m very happy with the way things have started.” More ...
05/14/09
irl
Tracy to make trip to Friendly Town  Just a few days prior to taking the track for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, Indy 500 driver Paul Tracy will take a break and visit with students at ‘Friendly Town’ in Danville, Illinois.  The 2003 Champ Car champion will travel seventy-five miles from Indianapolis to make a May 19th visit at 9:00 AM (CT) at the Friendly Town facility. 

Established in 1970, Friendly Town is a safety education program for all children in Vermilion County (IL), ages four through nine.  The classroom and practical instruction are under the supervision of trained police officers. The objective of the Friendly Town program is to aid the child in coping with safety problems encountered daily in every community. 

Known for his colorful, outspoken personality, Tracy is a true gentleman.  Anyone who knows him will tell you that he cares deeply about children and will spend vast amounts of time taking photos and signing autographs for them.  More ...
05/14/09
irl
Roundtrip shuttle service to be offered for Indianapolis 500 fans  The Town of Speedway is facilitating roundtrip bus service for Indianapolis 500 fans Sunday, May 24 at three convenient locations, including two in downtown Indianapolis and one at Indianapolis International Airport.

Service will be provided by Transportation Management Services (TMS) and the Free Enterprise System, Inc. Both companies will serve fans with air-conditioned shuttles and handicapped-accessible vehicles on all routes. Shuttle details:

Indianapolis International Airport

.Location: Ground Transportation Lobby, Gate 1 at the airport
.Time: 7:30 a.m. to three hours post-race. Service will run hourly from 1-3 p.m.
.Roundtrip cost: $30 per person, cash only
.Parking: 10,000+ spaces at the airport, $7-11
.Provider: Transportation Management Services
.Contact: Colleen Cawley, (866) 923-8002

Downtown West Location

.Location: IUPUI Lot 73, 625 W. North St., Indianapolis (Blackford and North)
.Time: 8 a.m. to three hours post-race. Continuous shuttle loops to track until 1 p.m. Last shuttle to IMS departs at 1 p.m.
.Cost: $20 per person
.Parking: $5 per car
.Provider: Free Enterprise System, Inc. More ...

05/14/09
atlantic
Redesigned Atlantic-Championship.com Now Online  The official website of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda has been completely redesigned and is now online at www.atlantic-championship.com.

The redesigned site features news, results and photos, as well as a wealth of information on drivers, teams, sponsors and the series itself. Over the days, weeks and months to come, new features will be continually added, including items such as a photo gallery, video highlights and interviews.

“We are excited to relaunch Atlantic-Championship.com with a whole new look just in time for this weekend’s race at Miller Motorsports Park,” said Atlantic Championship Executive Vice President Vicki O’Connor. “The new look of the site enables us to once again establish our own identity. The beauty of websites is that updates and new features can be performed constantly, and this new site will evolve considerably.” More ...

05/14/09
irl
TDS partners with Conquest  Conquest Racing announced today that TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS™) has moved up to become associate sponsor on its #34 car at the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

TDS, whose logo is visible on the front wing of the car driven by Alex Tagliani, is a telecommunications company providing voice, Internet and entertainment services to rural and suburban communities nationwide, as well as leading-edge business technology. The company is present in over 30 states and is the eighth largest telephone company in the U.S.

“Performance, reliability and speed are what we strive for at TDS.  We believe our teams have a lot in common. We look forward to a great performance by Conquest Racing at the Indy 500,” comments Nick Ruskowski, TDS regional market manager.

“TDS first joined us last season, here at the Indianapolis 500, and we’re extremely pleased that they have chosen to pursue their journey with us as an associate partner for the biggest race of the season,” said Conquest team owner Eric Bachelart. “We started together last season and we look to continue building this relationship in the future.”
05/14/09
irl
IZOD rolls out 'Fast Indy' display on Broadway  To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation's (NYSE: PVH) IZOD brand is rolling out the black-and-white checkered carpet in New York City to welcome to Macy's Herald Square a historic exhibit from the Speedway's museum.

The exhibit, "In Pursuit of FAST: 100 Years of Indy Racing, Fashion and Design, " brings to life a century of American racing through archival elements. To visually tell the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indianapolis 500, hundreds of original photos, graphic designs and artwork from artists such as Leroy Neiman, as well as millions of dollars in vintage cars and memorabilia, will be put on display in the store's aisles and dress its windows on Broadway. The race cars to be on display cross several generations including the famous "Miller #34" of 1928 and the 1963 "Lotus Powered by Ford," are the stars of the largest display of museum assets ever to be seen inside New York. The exhibit will run from May 14-June 3, 2009. More ...

05/14/09
f1
Lola moves ahead with F1 project  Following completion of its evaluation of the technical regulations for cost-capped Formula One teams announced by the FIA World Motorsport Council on 29th April 2009, the Lola Group is pleased to announce that it will be submitting an entry for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship™. 

The original cap of £30 million, including engines formed the basis of Lola’s initial interest. The decision by the WMSC to revise the figure to £40 million plus engines, marketing, hospitality and driver fees led to a re-examination of the opportunity by Lola culminating in today’s confirmation that it will proceed with its Formula One project.

The Lola Group believes that the WMSC decisions relating to cost-capping and the provision of revised technical regulations to facilitate the entry of new teams into Formula One should be embraced. This is not only prudent considering the backdrop of global economics but also taking into account the need for new teams to be able to compete credibly against long established entrants. More ...

05/14/09
alms
John Anderson: In his own words  It’s hard to imagine someone with John Anderson’s pedigree being a “new kid on the block.” Yet a year ago, that’s exactly what Anderson – and a great majority of de Ferran Motorsports – felt like prior to its first Series race. Now not only is Anderson back at Miller Motorsports Park for the team’s one-year anniversary of a successful debut but the de Ferran crew also is coming off its first Series victory at Long Beach with Acura’s ARX-02a prototype. Anderson, a former championship-winning team manager with Dario Franchitti and Andretti Green Racing, shares some insight.

Question: How rapidly has the first year with de Ferran Motorsports gone since the debut last year at Utah?
Answer: Has it only been a year? (Laughs) The first year has passed so quickly. Gil created the team and we were immediately off and running to start competing. We were pleased with the results we had in ’08 with the LMP2 program, but even before the conclusion of that season, we were deep into the development of the new Acura ARX-02a LMP1 car. It has been a bit of a whirlwind, but a really rewarding experience.

Q: Was it common knowledge that there might be a chance to move up to P1 when the program first began?
A: No, it was not common knowledge; but given the competitive nature of Acura’s racing program, it soon became clear that the next logical step was to advance to the top tier of prototype racing. More ...

05/14/09
track news
Wind gusts do minor damage at IMS  A pre-dawn storm that packed wind gusts of 70 mph did some minor damage to team equipment around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A.J. Foyt's pit wagon, containing the computers the team uses to download on-board telemetry, was blown over on its side on pit lane. It took several crew members and a floor jack to right the cart.

The computers came through unscathed, according to team director Larry Foyt, but the antenna suffered damage.

In the adjoining pit, Vision Racing equipment suffered some cosmetic damage. More ...

05/14/09
f1
USA F1 Teams Short List of Potential Drivers  “We have a shortlist of guys that we are looking at,” said US F1 principal Peter Windsor. “There are some Americans doing quite well right now in single-seater racing from Ryan Hunter-Reay, Jonathan Summerton, Danica Patrick, Graham Rahal and A.J. Allmendinger.

“And then the next generation looks really strong! You’ve got four guys there: Gaby Chavez who is winning a lot of BMW races right now, Alex Rossi who is American and was the World BMW champion last year, Conor Daly, the son of Derek Daly, and Josef Newgarden who is winning in England right now.”

05/14/09
nassprint
Earnhardt’s Black No. 3 Chevy Unveiled at NC HOF  The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is now home to a black No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet made famous by the legendary Dale Earnhardt.

RCR President and CEO, Richard Childress, with whom Earnhardt won six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships from 1986 to 1994, was on-hand for the May 13 celebration in downtown Raleigh, N.C. The 2000 No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo was unveiled next to a 1963 No. 3 Chevrolet Impala made famous by pioneer NASCAR driver and car owner Junior Johnson. The race cars are on display in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History in the Sports Hall of Fame.

“To be able to put one of Dale’s cars into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame after everything he accomplished as a lifelong resident of North Carolina is a great honor,” said Childress. “Dale was inducted into the hall of fame years ago so we felt it was important to have one of RCR’s famous black No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevys on display there, too.” More ...

05/14/09
f1
Gascoyne wants F1 return with new team  
Mike Gascoyne
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne's desire to return to formula one was confirmed on Thursday, when a UK-based F3 team announced its intention to apply to enter a budget-capped outfit next year.

The Norfolk-based team Litespeed said it is collaborating with MGI, whose managing director is Gascoyne, the famous engineer for teams including Jordan, Renault, Toyota, and most recently Force India.

"We don't yet know whether the (budget) cap team rules will be changed, and obviously we don't know if our application will be accepted.  The cap may be dropped altogether," said Litespeed boss Nino Judge.

"The point is that there is not much time for the project to get on to the 2010 grid and we have to take some risks in order to maximize time for preparation," he added.

A colossal fight over the budget caps issue is already being played out between the governing FIA and major F1 teams including Ferrari.

But Litespeed said there has never been a better time to consider F1.

"There is space and a need in the arena for independent teams and the technical leeway given to the budget-capped teams allows for a competitive performance within the financial parameters," Judge continued.

Judge, who worked in F1 with Lotus in 1989-1991, said Gascoyne's company will act as technical consultants.

05/14/09
f1
Button to contest London Triathlon  (GMM)  Runaway championship leader Jenson Button, a lover of the athletic discipline, will take part in the London Triathlon in August.

The 29-year-old Briton announced he is participating both for his F1 fitness program and to raise money for charity.

The event covers a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run.  "I'm aiming to finish in the top 10 per cent, so no pressure," said the Brawn driver.

05/14/09
f1
Piquet better than Alonso in Spain - father  (GMM)  Nelson Piquet's famous father believes the Renault driver performed strongly at the recent Spanish grand prix.

Brazilian Piquet, 23, finished seven places behind Fernando Alonso in Barcelona, but he pointed out after the race that unlike his teammate he is not yet driving the "fully updated car".

Piquet was closer to the pace in practice and qualifying.  "For the first time Nelsinho was better than Alonso," triple world champion Piquet Snr, who has attended every race so far in 2009, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"He was missing a tenth to Fernando, but he (Piquet) was also missing the modified double diffuser, which only Alonso had.  That was worth two tenths," claimed 56-year-old Piquet Snr. [Editor's Note:  Too funny.]

05/14/09
f1
Ferrari, McLaren, to use KERS at Monaco  (GMM)  Even the lack of straights on Monaco's F1 layout has not convinced Ferrari and McLaren to drop their respective KERS systems for the Principality's famous grand prix next weekend.

Renault and BMW, on the other hand, have decided against fitting the energy recovery technology to their cars on the twisty confines of the street circuit.

"I would like to see the simulation (showing) that in Monaco you are faster with KERS," Renault's Pat Symonds is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

05/14/09
f1
Briatore plays down 'breakaway' likelihood  (GMM)  Flavio Briatore on Thursday played down speculation that leading formula one teams are shaping up to split with formula one to set up a rival 'breakaway' championship.

The Italian runs the Renault team, and Ferrari, Toyota, BMW and Red Bull have similarly threatened to quit the sport at the end of the 2009 over the budget cap spat with the FIA.

But Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport that the objective of the dispute is not to dispense with F1's governing body FIA.

"I must be clear that we, Ferrari and the others have no intention of breaking with FIA.  It (a breakaway) is a remote hypothesis that everyone wants to avoid.

"We want to be there, to participate, to preserve the future," said the 59-year-old.

Briatore explained that it is "logical" that teams want its governing body to be "simply the referee" rather than the dictator of new rules.

"We should write the rules, not have them imposed by (FIA president) Max (Mosley) without speaking to anyone," he said.

05/14/09
f1
BMW plan improved KERS for Turkey  UPDATE (GMM)  BMW-Sauber is set to make more steps forward, after the boost provided by a major aerodynamic upgrade for the recent Spanish grand prix.

The German squad is still not a player in 2009, but boss Mario Theissen insists Barcelona proved a "comeback" after the dire situation of the opening four races.

A double diffuser was not part of the Spain package, but the formerly controversial concept will be fitted to the F1.09 for the forthcoming Turkish grand prix.

"To be honest, I am looking forward to Istanbul," said Nick Heidfeld, who on his 32nd birthday moved up from 13th on the grid to score two points in Spain.

"This (in Turkey) is when we get another new package with the double-decker diffuser.  Hopefully we'll take another large step forward then," added the German.

It is also in Istanbul that BMW plans to reintroduce KERS, after taking the technology off its cars for Barcelona and next weekend's Monaco grand prix. More ...

05/14/09
f1
Ferrari thank fans for support  Since announcing their intention to quit Formula One if the controversial 2010 rules adopted by the FIA are maintained, Ferrari has been receiving generous public support for its position.

The Italian car manufacturer's Board of Directors confirmed their intentions on Tuesday, following which positive messages began to make their way to Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo. The Italian wrote a note of thanks on the company's website.

"I want to thank you personally for the numerous messages of support we received from all over the world over the last hours on our website and via email," he began. "It is important to know that we can count on the support of our fans all over the world and that our fans completely share the motivations, which brought us to take such a decision." More ...

05/14/09
British F3
Formula 3 team Boss Joe Tandy killed in car crash  British Formula 3 and Formula Ford team boss Joe Tandy died in a car crash yesterday afternoon. The 2005 Formula Palmer Audi champion and team chief of JTR, which runs Mygales in British F3 and FFord, was killed in a passenger car accident with a truck at a junction near his Bedfordshire home in Bromham, UK.
05/14/09
f1
First USF1 car could be running in '09  (GMM)  A principal of the prospective American F1 team entry has revealed that the first test car could be up and running as early as November.

American engineer Ken Anderson, in partnership with British broadcaster Peter Windsor, said the 2010 single seater is currently being designed by computer.

"At the time of the (entry list) closing around June 12 we will start to produce parts, as the (manufacturing) machines will be delivered by then," Anderson told F1's official website.

Wind tunnel testing will then begin in late September.  "Depending on the (make of) engine, we will be running the car in the first week of January. More ...

05/14/09
irl
Consistent Indy 500 qualifiers  Time will tell who wins the award for the most consistent qualifier at the 2009 Indianapolis 500, but Raphael Matos will be a prime candidate after a remarkable performance in his first Indy 500 appearance. The 27-year old rookie posted the second most consistent qualifying run in week one with just a 0.232 difference between his fastest and slowest lap. Matos had a top speed of 223.561on his first lap and slowest mark of 223.329 on his fourth. He recorded a 223.407 on his second and 223.417 on his third. Scott Sharp’s qualifying effort was the most consistent in the field with a 0.134 difference between fastest and slowest laps.  This of course is easy to do with 100% throttle race cars.

Driver

Fastest Lap Slowest Lap Difference
Scott Sharp 222.245 222.111 0.134
Raphael Matos 223.561 223.329 0.232
Justin Wilson 223.041 222.776 0.264
Hideki Mutoh 222.965 222.679 0.287
Scott Dixon 224.064 223.744 0.320
Will Power 223.279 222.921 0.358
Davey Hamilton 222.227 221.778 0.449
Marco Andretti 223.408 222.945 0.463
Paul Tracy 223.424 222.940 0.484
Graham Rahal 224.230 223.690 0.540

05/14/09
nassprint
Starr to attempt races at Lowe's  Camping World Truck Series driver David Starr will be driving the #06 Boys will be Boys Racing Dodge Charger the next two weekends at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Sprint Showdown and Coca Cola 600. Team owner Theresa Boys has announced Starr will attempt to qualify for the Sprint Showdown this All Star weekend and for the Coca Cola 600 next weekend. Boys will be Boys Racing is currently seeking sponsorship for these two events and for the remainder of the season.
05/14/09
nassprint
Elliott crashes attempting to topple NASCAR speed record  UPDATE The last thing Bill Elliott expected to be riding in on Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway was an ambulance. Elliott was at the track -- where he set the NASCAR qualifying record in 1987 of 212 mph -- in an attempt to break that mark. He was driving a Ford FR500C Mustang, a production racing model modified by Brent Hajek of Hajek Motorsports. The same car reached 252 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats last year. On hand for the occasion were Len and Eddie Wood of the Wood Brothers racing team and legendary NASCAR team owner Bud Moore. But it rained most of the day and by the time the sun came out and the track dried enough there was just time left for a couple shakedown runs to check the car out before taking a shot at the speed mark on Thursday. Elliott was on the second lap of the second run when the right front tire blew, sending him hard into the wall on the backstretch. "That's not what I was looking for," Elliott said of the ride back to the garage in an ambulance. "Only hurt my feelings." Hajek was disappointed his shot at the speed mark was cut short but said he might give it another shot on another day. "We'll have to determine what happened and see if we can fix it," he said. Alabama Live

05/09/09 The current NASCAR top speed record sits at 212.089 and was set by Bill Elliott at Talladega Superspeedway in a 1987 Ford Thunderbird. Brent Hajek apparently figures it's about time that 22-year-old record is topped. Next Wednesday, May 13th, Hajek will once again put Bill Elliott behind the wheel of a Ford at the famed Talladega oval in Alabama, only this time, the vehicle in question will be a Mustang FR500C modified to run on E85. This particular Mustang Cobra Jet has already managed to clock a 252 mile per hour top speed at the Salt Flats in Bonneville. On Wednesday, May 13, Hajek Motorsports will embark on its next challenge, with technical support from Ford Racing, when they attempt to break the 22-year-old NASCAR speed record held by Bill Elliott. Elliott himself will pilot Hajek's E-85 Mustang FR500C, which has been reconfigured to NASCAR specs, at Talladega in an attempt to break his 212.089 mph qualifying lap from 1987 at the same track. FIA officials will be on site to verify the attempt and to validate the record. The Hajek Motorsports E-85 Mustang is currently at Bill Elliott's race shop in Dawsonville, Georgia, going through final preparations. Early next week, the team will scrub tires and do initial testing, in anticipation of breaking the record on Wednesday afternoon.  autobloggreen.com
05/14/09
f1
FIA stands firm amid F1 quit threats  (GMM)  Officials of F1's governing body insist they have not been swayed by the threats of leading formula one teams.

The FIA wants to introduce budget caps next year, but key names including Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, BMW and Red Bull have objected stridently, particularly to Max Mosley's offer of 'two-tier' rules that would allow them to keep spending.

"Our position hasn't changed," a figure of the Paris based federation told London's The Times newspaper.  "The reasons for what we are doing are well documented."

In the German press, the FIA's message in the face of the quit threats was also clear.

"In principle there is nothing that is now in writing (from the teams) that wasn't already communicated to us verbally," a spokesman is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport. More ...

05/14/09
f1
Mosley, Bernie, to meet FOTA on Friday  (GMM)  FIA president Max Mosley's meeting with the F1 teams alliance FOTA has been fixed for Friday (May 15).

Amid major teams' threats to withdraw from the sport over the budget caps dispute, we have learned that the crucial meeting will take place in London, also in the presence of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone had previously backed Mosley's stance on cost-cutting, but on Wednesday he was taking seriously Ferrari's threat to quit at the end of the season.

The Briton also believes the famous Italian team is the key to a solution.

"They have been there for 60 years.  They are partners of ours.  They are the people we need to take into consideration," said Ecclestone.

"At the moment everyone is hanging on to their apron strings.  Sort that out and we will be ok," added the 78-year-old.

05/14/09
f1
Ferrari drivers told what to say - Barrichello  (GMM)  On the face of it, Ferrari's race drivers fully support the Scuderia's threat to quit formula one at the end of the season.

Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen both possess contracts for 2010, but official comments attributed to them this week suggest they will be happy to move to an unidentified lesser racing category next year.

"Since I was a child Ferrari has been the synonym for racing for me; that's why I'm convinced that even if the Scuderia is forced to leave formula one, there will be other competitions, where it will be possible to admire the reds on the track," said Massa. More ...

05/13/09
automotive
More evidence the internal combustion engine is a dinosaur  
I feel like one of the first pilots of jet-powered aircraft. They immediately knew that they were flying the future: there could be no going back to pistons and propellers.

Today I drove the car that, for me, spells the end of the piston engine for performance cars.

The car was the all-electric Tesla Roadster, and its performance – and the way it achieved that performance – was just so extraordinary that I am almost lost for words. That a start-up car company has created such a vehicle is simply unprecedented in the last century of automotive development.

For the Tesla is not just a sports car with incredible performance but also a car that redefines drivability. Simply, it has the best throttle control of any car I have ever driven. More ...

05/13/09
f1
Renault F1 sponsor cuts bonuses  The head of the supervisory board at Dutch banking and insurance giant ING yesterday issued a "moral appeal" to senior employees to give up their 2008 bonuses after the firm received state aid. "This is a moral appeal," Jan Hommen told the newspaper De Volkskrant. "We are asking 1,200 of our highest-level employees to do without their bonuses for 2008." ING's estimated 40,000 employees received bonuses last year worth about ¤300-million (US$410-million), Mr. Hommen said. While it would be impossible to cancel all of them, group managers are prepared to give them up, he added. He said ING would distribute no bonuses this year, adding "a new salary policy," which would offer bonuses "if ING's overall results are positive," would be drafted early in 2010. Controversy erupted in the Netherlands after ING said it would offer its future finance director, Patrick Flynn, a package of 100,000 shares worth up to $1.3-million.
05/13/09
track news
New emergency texting available to NASCAR race patrons  International Speedway Corporation has partnered with InStadiumSolutions to implement a text-message based communication system at all of its 12 motorsports facilities.  The service was introduced last weekend during the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

The system allows fans to communicate with the racetrack's command post if assistance is needed inside the facility. The technology was tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November during the final weekend of the NASCAR season.

Instructions will be posted throughout each racetrack and will be broadcast through audio and video public announcements.

Besides Darlington and Homestead-Miami, ISC owns and/or operates Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Kansas Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Watkins Glen International.

05/13/09
irl
Indy 500 Notebook for May 13th  Open-wheel veteran Oriol Servia was named to drive the entry fielded by Rahal Letterman Racing in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, team officials announced May 13.

Servia, from Spain, finished 11th in a KV Racing entry as an Indianapolis 500 rookie in 2008. He will drive the No. 17 Dallara/Honda/Firestone with sponsorship from DAFCA, a company dedicated to protecting the supply chain of micro-electronic goods from acts of cyber-terrorism through DAFCA's revolutionary "in chip" process.

"Sometimes being stubborn is not such a bad thing," Servia said. "I had a great season last year, and I feel I am at the top of my game. Although the season started without me having a ride, I knew that if I was patient enough something good would happen. I am really excited to announce this opportunity I have been given to participate in the greatest race in the world with one of the best teams in open-wheel history. More ...

05/13/09
roc
Portugal to stage first Race of Champions Regional Final  The Race of Champions will hold its first ever regional final this June as teams from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Monaco compete for the chance to race inside the Bird’s Nest stadium at The Race of Champions World Final, in Beijing this November.

With increasing numbers of motor sport countries keen to enter the end-of-season ROC Nations Cup, The Race of Champions South Europe, taking place at the Estádio do Dragão in Portugal on 6/7 June, will be the first of what ROC organizers expect to become several regional finals around the world in years to come.

As with The Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium and the Stade de France, an asphalt course will be built inside FC Porto’s stadium to accommodate the head-to-head, knockout racing action. Competition will start with ROC Portugal on Saturday, 6 June, when seven Portuguese racers, including A1GP star Filipe Albuquerque, rally ace Bruno Magalhaes and off-road champion Carlos Sousa, will take part in a knock-out competition to decide which three drivers will compete alongside Production World Rally Championship leader Armindo Ara£jo as Portugal battles Spain in Sunday’s ROC Iberia. More ...

05/13/09
f1
Drivers back Ferrari pullout  Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have both backed the team's decision to pullout of Formula One if rules changes are not overturned.

The Scuderia warned on Tuesday they would not enter F1 in 2010 under the FIA's present regulations, meaning the end of the drivers' multi-million pound contracts to race for the sport's most famous name.

However, Massa, who lost the 2008 world championship to Lewis Hamilton by a single point, described FIA plans to introduce a voluntary spending cap as "absurd".

"I understand the motivation, why the company got to this point," Massa said. More ...

05/13/09
irl
Foyt IV goes retro  A.J. Foyt IV is wearing an orange helmet at the Indianapolis 500, similar to the one his grandfather wore for many years.

After going winless in 1966 for the first season in his career, the elder Foyt switched to a simple-yet-distinct paint scheme dubbed Foyt Orange (officially Poppy Red) in the hopes of turning his fortunes. That it did; he won his first race with the orange No. 14 car - his third Indianapolis 500 - and five others in 1967. Overall, Foyt recorded 172 victories in all classes. He hung up the helmet in 1993 - at the Speedway.

Foyt IV is hoping for similar results. Foyt, who turns 25 on May 25, has made 82 IndyCar Series starts - including 34 in 2007 and '08 with Vision Racing - but was looking for a ride heading into May.

"I wore it growing up in go-karts and some even in the big cars but went to a more stylish helmet," said Foyt, who qualified 19th on May 10 with a four-lap average of 222.586 mph. "But I figured I'd get back to the basics. I did well with this helmet, and obviously my grandfather did well with the plain orange helmet with the gold A.J. on the side of it. We'll see if we can bring a little luck our way with that helmet."

05/13/09
fil
Speyer to drive Firestone Freedom 100 pace car  To honor his 35th anniversary with Bridgestone Americas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Firestone Indy Lights have announced that Al Speyer, executive director, Firestone Racing, will drive the official pace car for the 2009 Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday, May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 40-lap race is the marquee event for the Firestone Indy Lights, the essential stepping stone for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.

"This is both an honor and a responsibility," Speyer said. "To drive a pace car at any Firestone Indy Lights race is an exciting opportunity, but the fact that it's the Firestone Freedom 100 at the track that helped make the Firestone brand famous makes it incredibly special for me. I had the opportunity to practice with Johnny Rutherford in preparation for this event - what an experience that was!

"I want to thank Phil Pacsi, vice president, Consumer Tire Marketing, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO); Roger Bailey, Tony Cotman and Brian Barnhart from the Indy Racing League and Joie Chitwood of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." More ...

05/13/09
f1
Negotiations over Rosberg's future begin  
Nico Rosberg
(GMM)  Negotiations about the future of Nico Rosberg have begun, as the German eyes moving up the formula one pecking order next year.

The 23-year-old started his career with Williams in 2006, and Sir Frank Williams revealed in February that, after the 2007 season, McLaren had made an offer of "majestic proportions" to sign Rosberg to be Lewis Hamilton's teammate.

Rosberg, however, instead signed a two-year contract extension with the Grove team, to take him to the end of this season.

But despite always singing his praises, Williams figures whispered a hint of discontent with Rosberg after last weekend's Spanish grand prix. More ...

05/13/09
f1
Hamilton fined on Italian yacht vacation  (GMM)  Bad times struck even when Lewis Hamilton was vacationing, after scoring no points in last weekend's Spanish grand prix.

The British driver headed from the Circuit de Catalunya to a sun, shopping and jet-skiing holiday on a luxury yacht, off the coast of Italy.

But when reigning world champion Hamilton, 24, and his crew anchored the boat inside a restricted marine reserve, the Italian port authorities ordered the vessel to the nearby Savona port.

There, a 51 euro fine was issued, the daily La Stampa reported.

05/13/09
irl
Rahal team announces Servia for Indy 500  A veteran racing team with thousands of miles of experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will partner with a veteran driver with thousands of miles behind the wheel, as Rahal Letterman Racing and Oriol Servia will team up for the 2009 Indianapolis 500. 

Sponsored by DAFCA, a company dedicated to protecting the supply chain of micro electronic goods from acts of cyber terrorism through utilization of DAFCA’s revolutionary “in chip” process - that detects counterfeiting and system tampering at speed, in system, and in field, and prevents reverse engineering – the #17 Rahal Letterman Racing Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry will mark the team’s 12th year of competing in the Memorial Day Classic, which takes place on May 24.

“We have worked very hard all year in order to put this program together for the Indianapolis 500 and we feel like we have a package that will allow us to go to Indy and perform well,” said RLR co-owner Bobby Rahal. “The team’s experience, combined with a veteran talent like Oriol, should give us everything we need to be competitive throughout the event. We are extremely pleased to welcome DAFCA to the RLR family and look forward to giving DAFCA a great experience in their first visit to Indy.” More ...

05/13/09
f1
Mercedes not yet joining F1 quit threats  (GMM)  Mercedes-Benz's racing chief insists that rival teams' threats about quitting formula one are real, but for the time the Stuttgart marque is not following suit.

Renault issued its quit threat on Wednesday, following Ferrari on Tuesday and BMW, Red Bull and Toyota on the weekend of the Spanish grand prix.

But Mercedes, the majority owner of the 2008 drivers' championship winning team McLaren, is for now holding off -- perhaps because it recently narrowly escaped the wrath of the FIA over the 'lie-gate' affair.

Norbert Haug, vice-president in charge of Mercedes' motor sport programs, said: "All the teams agree that there cannot be a formula one with two different sets of regulations." More ...

05/13/09
f1
Mosley to meet with FOTA this week  (GMM)  A spokesman for the FIA on Wednesday confirmed that Max Mosley has committed to meeting with the F1 teams' alliance FOTA this week.

He did not say on which day the meeting with the Paris federation's president will take place.

The meeting comes amid the deteriorating political situation in formula one, with major teams including the legendary Ferrari threatening to quit over the budget caps issue.

Many observers have interpreted Ferrari's move as posturing, but the Maranello based team's stance has been backed fully by another major Italian sporting body.

Giovanni Petrucci, head of the Italian Olympic Committee CONI (Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano), said: "We stand side by side with Ferrari and its manager."

Elements of the Italian press are also taking the threat seriously, like Gazzetta dello Sport, who believe the prospect of an "alternative" series is growing.

The daily publication said Ferrari turning to competition with "Audi and Peugeot" in Le Mans sports cars is also possible, while Corriere dello Sport believes the Prancing Horse could go to an American series.

05/13/09
irl
Deal gives fans chance to buy stake in IRL team  E.J. Viso's next qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500 this weekend could include plenty of people with a vested interest.

A partnership launched Monday will offer fans a chance to buy into Viso's HVM Racing team, much like fans of the Green Bay Packers and other sports teams around the world have done. The alliance between HVM and iTeam Sports allows access and interaction with the IRL IndyCar Series team and ownership, among other perks. There’s a disconnect right now between fans and teams, and this lets us inside," said iTeam Sports founder and President Steve Levenson, whose company has introduced similar models in minor league baseball.

HVM is fielding a two-Honda effort at Indy with Venezuelan driver Viso and French rookie Nelson Philippe. The deal between HVM and iTeam Sports runs through the 2011 season; 10% of fees will go to charity. USA Today

05/13/09
irl
Marco Andretti looking forward to Toronto race  
Marco, Michael and Mario Andretti
Marco Andretti tried hard yesterday not to roll his eyes when asked about his dad's record seven wins at the newly coined Honda Toronto Indy.

"Was it really seven?" the 22-year old asked in mock disbelief as he was surrounded by a bevy of scantily-clad Budweiser girls in Toronto to promote the return to Exhibition Place of IndyCar racing on July 12.

Just a few meters away, Michael Andretti couldn't help but overhear his son's answer to the question about living up to racing's most recognizable family name.

"You know," Michael said. "I've never talked to him about (winning seven times in Toronto). It's hard enough just being who he is. I don't want to put any more pressure on him." More ...

05/13/09
nassprint
NASCAR All-Star race preview  
05/13/09
ga
Verizon Festival of Speed Preview  Last year's Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca produced a first-time winner in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype ranks, when Ryan Dalziel and Henri Zogaib teamed to give SAMAX its first victory.

With three of the last four Rolex Series races producing first-time winners in the Daytona Prototype ranks, will Sunday's Round 4 at the historic Monterey, Calif., road circuit see another new face visit victory lane? See it live on SPEED, starting at 4 p.m. ET.

In the most recent Rolex Series event, Krohn Racing's Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson teamed to give the Proto-Auto Lola chassis its first victory, and Zonta's first triumph in the series. John Pew and Ian James won for the first time for Michael Shank Racing in the 2008 season finale at Miller Motorsports Park. Darren Law scored his first Daytona Prototype victory in the 2009 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. More ...

05/13/09
nassprint
Hendrick set to return from illness  Sidelined the past several weeks by a fast-spreading sinus infection, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick plans to return to the track this weekend after a five-race absence. Hendrick has not been to the track since Jimmie Johnson helped his boss celebrate his 25th anniversary in NASCAR with a March 29th victory at Martinsville Speedway. He skipped the next two events, races in Texas and Phoenix, for personal and business reasons. Then he was stricken with a sinus infection that spread to both his chest and ears, keeping him away from the track another three races. He needed tubes inserted in both ears to fight the infection. "They say the tubes are for kids, so I guess I'm a 59-year-old kid with ear infections," he said Tuesday. "I've got a weak immune system, and this infection just jumped on me. I was a sick puppy there for about three weeks. But I am much better, feeling more like myself." More ...
05/13/09
nassprint
NASCAR Looking into decline in TV Ratings  A double-digit decline in ratings for NASCAR on Fox has officials researching why the audience is shrinking and what, if anything, can be done to reverse the trend. Through the season’s first 10 races, Nielsen ratings on Fox are down 11.5 percent and viewership is down 10.8 percent from 2008 numbers, which don’t include a 2008 rainout. Ratings for each of the last seven Sprint Cup races going into last week’s event at Darlington were down by double digits. Fox’s average rating for the season was a 5.4 with 8.9 million viewers prior to Sunday’s race at Darlington, compared with averages of 6.1 and 10 million for 2008. “As you look at the current snapshot, it’s been a challenging year,” said Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group. “That being said, we’re still the No. 1 sport on television six of the last nine weeks. Our position in the sports and entertainment landscape is strong. The biggest impact is with our TV partners and their commercial sales. We’re mindful of that. The flip side is that we hear great things, that it’s not a NASCAR issue. It’s a broader economy and advertising issue.” Brooks said NASCAR and Fox are looking at every angle, from the lack of compelling story lines on the track to the spacing and timing of commercial breaks. Broadcasters have traditionally gone to commercial during pit stops, but Brooks said that NASCAR fans want to see the pit stops.  See full article at the Sports Business Journal
05/13/09
motogp
Bayliss back on bike  
Troy Bayliss completed his first day of testing on board the Desmosedici GP9 at Mugello today alongside regular factory test rider Vittoriano Guareschi. 

It was a first outing for the Australian on a MotoGP bike since the final round of 2006, when he followed up his second World Superbike title by competing in the final Grand Prix of the season at Valencia, scoring a sensational one-two for Ducati with victory ahead of his team-mate Loris Capirossi.

Today was also Bayliss' first taste of an 800cc MotoGP machine and his first track action of any sort since ending the 2008 WSBK title-winning season, and his legendary racing career, with a double race victory at Portimao. More ...

05/13/09
nassprint
Ambrose to help promote iRacing.com  Australian motorsport legend Marcos Ambrose, twice winner of the Australian V8 Supercar series, has agreed to endorse online motorsport simulator, iRacing.com.

The website offers users the chance to, 'test and train in much the same way that top Formula One drivers and other professionals do... all with a degree of accuracy and authenticity that turns virtual practice into real-world results.' The service has cost more than US$25 million to develop.

The company, which was launched last summer, claims to have more than 12,000 subscribers, including a number of professional drivers. It has been praised by Justin Wilson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Ambrose, who currently drives in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, will be joined by a number of V8 Supercar drivers as the company seeks to spread awareness in Australia and New Zealand. More ...

05/13/09
f1
F1 world not convinced by Ferrari quit threat  (GMM)  The FIA, Bernie Ecclestone, expert pundits, the press and fans alike are unconvinced about Ferrari's threat to quit formula one at the end of the year.

The famous Italian team is enraged by the concept of low budget capping, and unimpressed by the sport's governance processes, warning on Tuesday that unless it all changes, they will not race in 2010.

"I'm not one to talk about perfect marriages," said F1 chief executive, who is going through a divorce with his wife Slavica, "but this is a perfect marriage.

"It's as simple as that and it is not going to change," he said on Tuesday.

"I hope Ferrari don't decide to go, something can be sorted and everyone will be happy but it won't be easy," added Ecclestone. More ...

05/13/09
f1
Schu ready to make bike racing return  (GMM)  A day after it emerged that Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a pre-season fall, the seven time world champion announced that his return to two-wheeled race action is close.

The 40-year-old German fell at a Spanish test circuit and was briefly hospitalized in February, and Switzerland's Blick newspaper on Tuesday claimed Schumacher was severely concussed and broke ribs.

But Schumacher's manager Willi Weber told the German newspaper Bild: "Michael is going to test shortly.  He plans to start his (German Superbike) season on May 29 at the Nurburgring."

The boss of his Superbike team, Jens Holzhauer, dismissed fears that Schumacher may be returning to action before he is ready.

"He drove for 20 years in formula one," the Holzhauer Racing chief said.  "If he says he is fit, he is fit."

05/13/09
f1
Massa to become father this year  
(GMM)  Felipe Massa, who turned 28 last month, is set to become a father for the first time later this year.

It has emerged that the Ferrari driver's wife Rafaela is pregnant with a boy that is due to be born in November.

The Brazilian pair married in Sao Paulo in November of 2007.

05/13/09
f1
Alguersuari working with Toro Rosso  (GMM)  New F1 reserve driver Brendon Hartley was not the only Red Bull-backed youngster becoming integrated with formula one last weekend at Barcelona.

Also trackside at the Circuit de Catalunya was the 19-year-old Spaniard Jamie Alguersuari, who has moved from British F3 to the Renault World Series for 2009.

But at the Spanish grand prix, he was wearing Toro Rosso team gear, where according to the Diario Sport newspaper he was tasked with learning as much as he can about the operation of the team.

"It was a good experience to work with Franz Tost's team and to become integrated with a team at a grand prix," Alguersuari commented.

It is reported that he will be back in the Toro Rosso garage next weekend, where the World Series by Renault is a support race for the Monaco grand prix.

05/12/09
f1
Full Ferrari statement on quitting F1  "The Board of Directors examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the FIA during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April 2009. Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter, the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula One, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.

"The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula One in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari's uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years – the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 – would come to a close.

"The Board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams. More ...

05/12/09
f1
Ferrari to quit F1? (Never Happen)  UPDATE #2 Ferrari's cars could be absent from the race grid next year.  Speaking on Jeff Randall Live, the former motor racing team owner, Eddie Jordan, said the Italian team has more to lose from such a move than the sport's organizers.

"Formula One used to need Ferrari, I think now it's got so exciting with young teams coming through, I think Ferrari needs Formula One.

"Overall I think this is a bit of posturing.

"My guess is Ferrari will never go because they are linked to this, they are absolutely joined at the hip with Formula One. It is their only marketing program." Sky News



05/12/09 (GMM) As predicted as the budget cap row escalates, Ferrari on Tuesday threatened to quit formula one if the FIA does not do a u-turn on its proposed rules for 2010.

The threat follows those of Toyota, Red Bull and BMW, amid rumors that other FOTA alliance members will also shortly follow suit.

It is expected that only Brawn, Williams and Force India will meet the FIA's May 29 deadline to lodge official entries for next year's world championship.

"Ferrari confirms its opposition to the new rules imposed by FIA and does not intend to register cars for the 2010 world championship," part of a statement issued by Ferrari, after a board meeting in Maranello on Tuesday afternoon, said.

Unlike some other teams, 2008 constructors' champions Ferrari are fundamentally opposed to the idea of budget capping, although it is the 'two-tier' element of next year's rules that is outwardly causing the most uproar.

It is also suggested that the unorthodox way in which the budget cap was pushed through - at the FIA meeting called only to probe the McLaren 'lie-gate' scandal - has caused unease.

"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA's endeavors to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance ... are the priorities for the future," Ferrari said.

05/11/09 (GMM)  Ferrari's executive board will meet to discuss "governance developments" and the future of formula one at Maranello on Tuesday, the Italian team has announced.

It is expected that, following Red Bull and Toyota's announcements that they will not lodge 2010 team entries with the FIA by the May 29 deadline, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo will then make a statement about the current political situation.

Part of the afternoon board meeting will be devoted to "current situation analysis" related to F1, a Ferrari statement said on Monday.

05/12/09
irl
Thinking Pink: Lloyd to launch "PinkLloyd.com"  
A Pink Lloyd cocktail, T-shirts and umbrellas. What's next, a summer tour as a Pink Floyd tribute band?

While Alex Lloyd does play guitar, the logical next step to the mushrooming attention of Lloyd's pink firesuit/helmet and No. 99 HER Chip Ganassi Racing/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car for the Indianapolis 500 is a Web site. Coming soon: www.pinklloyd.com.

Lloyd's father, David, initially mentioned it and minutes later Brett Jacobson, CEO of primary sponsor HER Energy, texted Lloyd about the idea.

"It seems everybody was on the same page because it seems to be taking off," Lloyd said. "We thought we could get a Web site up and running and have a little fun with that during the month." More ...

05/12/09
fil
7 Firestone Indy Lights graduates qualify for Indianapolis 500  When the field of 33 cars takes the green flag for the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, several drivers will be linked by a common bond - the Firestone Indy Lights.

Seven drivers who have competed in at least one Firestone Indy Lights event earned starting spots in the famed race during the first weekend of qualifying.

"It's great to see so many graduates of the Firestone Indy Lights in the field for the Indianapolis 500," said Roger Bailey, executive director for the Firestone Indy Lights. "It's very gratifying to see our last two champions, Alex Lloyd and Raphael Matos, in cars capable of running with the best IndyCar Series teams." More ...

05/12/09
irl
Fans snatch up Helio's $1 TMS tickets quickly  Apparently IndyCar Series fans had quite an appetite for "Helio's Blue Plate Special." (Who wouldn't when they are essentially free?)

"Helio's Blue Plate Special," in which 300 frontstretch tickets for the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway were priced at $1, lasted all of 13 minutes Tuesday as fans gobbled up the bargain that was brought to them courtesy of IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves.

The special, which began at 9 a.m. CT and limited to four tickets per customer, was only available by calling the TMS ticket office or by visiting in person.

"I know of 300 fans specifically that may give Helio a standing ovation when he comes through the stands during pre-race introductions for the Bombardier Learjet 550k," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "I was encouraged to hear that 45 percent of those fans who purchased tickets were new customers. It was a tremendous price point in this economy for potentially new fans - in particular families - to experience our sport and hopefully they will get hooked by the experience." More ...

05/12/09
track news
M-O Sports Car Course and Mansfield Motorsports Park Join Forces  Local motorsports facilities, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Mansfield Motorsports Park, are joining to offer discounts to race fans during the dual-event weekend of June 19-21, 2009.

For every weekend general admission ticket purchased at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, fans will receive a discount voucher that grants them $5 off each weekend general admission ticket bought at Mansfield Motorsports Park for the June 20th Inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA-RE/MAX 200.  The same offer is available for fans who visit Mansfield Motorsports Park before Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The tracks decided to collaborate on this offer to assist motorsports fans in a down economy.  More ...

05/12/09
nassprint
Truex’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Darlington  Martin Truex Jr.’s crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s (May 9) NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Truex’s crew, out of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stable, became the season’s ninth different winner of the Tissot pit road competition. The win came as a result of Truex’s Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road – 411.199 seconds.

The No. 1 pit crew’s performance lifted Truex to a sixth-place finish at Darlington’s daunting 1.366-mile track.

“I’m very proud of the guys for working hard at their pit stops,” said No. 1 team crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion. “The Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats team is a very solid group of guys, and they work well together. We aim for perfection, but we ask them to control penalties and mistakes.  We can’t go fast if the lug nuts are not on tight or if a wheel is loose, so we work on being smarter when it comes to finishing our stops.” More ...

05/12/09
automotive
GM execs dump shares as bankruptcy looms  General Motors Corp. reported that six executives sold shares in the company, as the largest U.S. automaker said it’s more probable than previously thought that it will need to file for bankruptcy.  Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and North America President Troy Clarke sold all their holdings in the Detroit-based company, according to regulatory filings today.

The sales were in a window when such transactions are allowed, following the company’s quarterly earnings report on May 7, said Julie Gibson, a spokeswoman. The period may be the last for the executives before the government-imposed June 1 deadline for GM to restructure or file for bankruptcy, she said.

Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson made the comment about the probability of bankruptcy on a conference call today. He declined to specify its likelihood. Henderson also had said bankruptcy was “more probable” on March 30, after former CEO Rick Wagoner was ousted by the Obama administration, and made the same point in a conference call two weeks ago.

“It should be clear now where they’re headed,” said Mirko Mikelic, who helps manage $19 billion, not including GM shares, at Fifth Third Asset Management in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “There are too many competing interests. They’re definitely going there. Everyone is positioning for bankruptcy now.” More ...

05/12/09
nnw
RCR replaces Nationwide Series Crew Chief  Richard Childress Racing has made changes to the crew chief positions of the No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express team and No. 2 Chevrolet team.

Doug Randolph will assume the crew chief duties for RCR’s No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet while Dan Deeringhoff, who led Clint Bowyer to the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, will move over to head up Austin Dillon’s driver development program. 

Former crew chief, Rich Lavalette, will serve as Dillon’s car chief under Deeringhoff.

Randolph, who began his stock car racing career in 1984, has been a crew chief in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series ranks since 2000. His resume includes stops at Chip Ganassi Racing, ppc Racing, MB2 Motorsports, Petty Enterprises and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Most recently, Randolph served as crew chief for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet with driver Aric Almirola.  More ...

05/12/09
f1
Lauda backs Mosley in budget cap row  (GMM)  Niki Lauda, a former team owner and triple world champion, has sided robustly with FIA president Max Mosley over the budget caps row.

The off-track political situation is revving out of control, with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone wanting a 40m pounds sterling limit, and big teams like Toyota and Red Bull threatening to leave the sport.

Lauda dismisses the teams' stance against Mosley as "absolute rubbish", accusing them of being so foolish as to found the FOTA alliance "rather than sign a new Concorde Agreement".

"Now just a piece of paper regulates the entire sport," he said in an interview published by Germany's Sport Bild.

Lauda called the 40m budget cap the "most sensible thing I have ever heard in my life".

"All the teams asked for this," the great Austrian explained, "and now suddenly Ferrari is on the other side.  It's totally stupid.

"I see it as a blessing that Mosley and the FIA are so brutally and mercilessly implementing this.  The measures are completely reasonable because the 40 million is just for the cars, purely for the technology.

"The drivers' salaries and all the marketing activities are all to the side, so in the end the teams will still have budgets of between 80 to 100 million (euros)," added Lauda.

Moreover, the former Ferrari and McLaren driver claims that the 'two-tier' element of the rules, where teams are still free to spend vast sums but with less technical freedoms than their capped rivals, is simply a clever ploy by Mosley.

"Three years ago Ferrari signed an agreement with the FIA and Bernie, and Mosley is using this (two-tier) situation to be in the clear legally," he said, suggesting that Ferrari was promised basic rules stability.

05/12/09
f1
Shit hits fan, Spanish GP crowd down 42%  Ferrari has announced that it will not be entering the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. This is unquestionably a political maneuver to put pressure on the FIA to change its budget cap proposal, but it will create all kind of negative publicity that the sport can do without. The teams, the FIA and the Formula One group should be concentrating on how to avoid a repetition of the Spanish GP where the crowd was down 42% on last year and not finding over how much and how long the budget cap should be. It is clear that this is not about the money, but rather about the exercise of power. The FIA will see it as an attack on its sovereignty and will no doubt refuse to back down. This means that everyone is betting the farm on winning. This means that the sport – and the fans – will lose out.

What happens next? The FIA can try to go ahead and organize a World Championship without Ferrari. In all probability if Ferrari does not enter, other teams will follow suit. Thus the FIA may have to do something drastic and redesignated the GP2 championship as the World Championship. Will this fill the grandstands? Will that cause the Formula One group to lose money and default on its debts? The alternative is that a compromise will be found and the FIA will agree to lower the budget cap or introduce a “glide path”, with the budget cap coming in more gradually. The third option is that there will be a revolt within the FIA and Max Mosley and his supporters will be ousted.

We have no idea which of these will happen, but we know that the fans are going to be the victims of all this. Joe Saward Blog

[Editor's Note: Any sport is all about the heroes.  This we have written endlessly.  When the Spanish hero Alonso is doing bad, fans lose interest.  NASCAR hero Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't winning and NASCAR nosedives.  Period, end of story.]

05/12/09
track news
Former Kentucky track owners slam Bruton Smith  A former Kentucky Speedway owner said that current owner Bruton Smith is mischaracterizing the track’s ability to get a Sprint Cup race.

Smith, however, maintained his stance Monday that the only way for him to bring Sprint Cup racing to Kentucky Speedway in 2010 is for the former track owners to drop their antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR – and that they have a moral obligation to do so.

“It’s in their hands,” Smith said. “They have the control of whether we bring a Cup race to Kentucky Speedway or whether we don’t.”

Richard Duchossois, chairman of Duchossois Industries, said he resented Smith’s tactics, which included speaking publicly in an effort to persuade Duchossois and the four other original track owners to drop their lawsuit against NASCAR.

“This is NASCAR’s way of trying a force a settlement,” Duchossois said. “Bruton Smith has the power to move that Cup date to Kentucky with or without the lawsuit still alive. By going to the press to say it’s our fault is absolutely wrong. This is something that’s going on between NASCAR and Bruton Smith.” More at Cincinnati Enquirer

05/12/09
f1
Q&A with Timo Glock  
Timo Glock
How do you sum up your Spanish Grand Prix weekend?

It was a tricky weekend and in the end it was really disappointing. We all hoped for a lot more from the Spanish Grand Prix so to finish in 10th place was way below our expectations. Clearly our performance in the race did not meet the high standards we set earlier in the season but we are working flat-out to respond in the next races.

What can you say about the upgrade package the team took to Spain?
The guys back in Cologne worked incredibly hard to prepare several upgrades to the car, and I'm grateful to them for such a big effort. When you see how much work went into this you can really appreciate the dedication and commitment we have. We had some mechanical and aerodynamic upgrades which we tested on Friday. It's a bit different for us this year because of the testing ban, which means we have to try out new parts on Friday when anyway we are pretty busy working on set-up, tires and strategy. In the end we decided not to use the aero upgrades but we did use some of the mechanical stuff. More ...

05/12/09
f1
Raikkonen to contest another rally  (GMM)  Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen is set to contest yet another professional rally.

The 2007 world champion entered two rounds of the Finnish rally championship in the winter, driving a Tommi Makinen-prepared Fiat Abarthe Grande Punto.

The Finnish media now reports that Raikkonen, 13th in the 2009 drivers' championship, will race the same car in the Rally della Marca on the weekend between the forthcoming Monaco and Turkish grands prix.

To take place in northern Italy's Treviso region, it will be Kimi's first asphalt rally.

05/12/09
f1
Design nearly done on USGPE F1 car  Even though the budget cap rules are still not 100% guaranteed, the USGPE team is convinced it will be standing at the grid next season. The US Formula 1 team has finished its first drawings of the car and according to the team's sporting director Peter Windsor the team is confident it has a future in F1. The first thing that needs to be said is that we are very impressed with the way in which the FIA has made it easier for new teams to come into Formula 1," Windsor told GP Week in an interview. "We wouldn't be here now unless that was happening. Obviously there need to be growing pains with any new system.

"But from our point of view it doesn't change much. We are who we are, we're doing what we're doing and we've been planning this for three or four years to the budget at which we're currently operating. We haven't changed our budget and it perfectly dovetails with a lot of the numbers that are currently being mentioned. We've got our heads down, we've just finished the CAD drawings of the car and it's all very exciting." More ...

05/12/09
nassprint
Why NASCAR TV ratings continue downward death spiral  According to the MikeMulhurn.com webpage, the Fox TV brass don’t have a clue as to what’s happening to the viewers! We have an idea, though. The fans would get excited about a good feud, take for example Kyle Busch. He’s the perfect villain and can get the young and the old fans riled up. But, nobody’s really challenged him? Compounding the problem is NASCAR constantly threatens the drivers with retribution such as penalties if they misbehave on the track. NASCAR racing is in the entertainment business, pure and simple. And things have not been entertaining on the track.

Here’s something else. The old-time fans feel tuned out. As we have said before, NASCAR blundered when they chased away the old guard viewers in favor of getting the new younger crowd. Let’s face facts. The younger crowd can’t really afford the best tickets in the house. The question is, would they still go if they could buy the tickets? And why are they not watching it on TV? Some will tell you that it’s a short attention span. The younger crowd, as fickle as they are, deserted NASCAR. More ...

05/12/09
automotive
Mazda posts $733-million loss  Mazda Motor Corp. sank to a loss for the fiscal year that ended in March, sharing the fate of other Japanese automakers battered by the global slump and strong yen.  Hiroshima-based Mazda, Japan's fifth-biggest automaker, reported today a $733-million loss for the fiscal year ended March 31, as sales plunged 27% to $26 billion.  A year earlier, Mazda, which makes the Miata roadster and RX-8 sports car, had reported a $943-million profit.
05/12/09
automotive
Nissan reports first loss in decade  Nissan Motor Co., Japan's No. 3 automaker, reported a 233.7 billion yen ($2.4 billion) annual net loss, its first yearly loss in a decade -- but expects the red ink to lessen in the current fiscal year.  "We are beginning to see some signs of improved access to credit, the impact of government stimulus packages and a gradual return in consumer confidence," said Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, while remaining cautious about the future.  "The crisis is ongoing and market conditions are still volatile," he told reporters at Nissan's Tokyo headquarters.
05/12/09
automotive
Honda Insight Hybrid Best-Selling Car In Japan  For the first time ever, a hybrid vehicle is the best-selling car in Japan. But the champ is not the new Prius, but rather the newcomer 2010 Honda Insight. Green is big in Japan.

Excluding Kei cars, the Honda Insight and Honda Jazz (Fit) took the top two spots with 10,841 units and 9,443 units, respectively. The Insight is just starting to show up on dealer lots here in the U.S.

05/12/09
f1
Whitmarsh still praising Hamilton  McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has again been left thanking his lucky stars he has Lewis Hamilton on his side.

Hamilton may have finished a lap down on race winner Jenson Button, but that was harsh on the world champion and his efforts in a woeful McLaren did not go unnoticed.

"I always said it would be our worst race, and I truly believe and hope it is the case," remarked Whitmarsh. "But I think there are positives to take out of it. We have come a long way from where we were eight weeks ago and the other positive is look at Lewis." More ...

05/12/09
motogp
Repsol Honda aim for another step forward in France  
Andrea Dovizioso (L) and Dani Pedrosa (R)
Andrea Dovizioso says he has been motivated by his team-mate Dani Pedrosa’s recent good results

Honda’s factory pairing of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso arrive at round four in a confident mood, following the former’s surge in form at the last two races.

Pedrosa is still fighting back from injury following winter crashes and surgeries, but his excellent efforts at Motegi and Jerez saw him cause a surprise with back to back podiums, giving motivation to Dovizioso as the two riders simultaneously try to improve the RC212V Honda race package.

Le Mans offers a different challenge to the tracks visited in the opening three rounds characterized by a ‘stop-and-go’ style of racing following a rapid first corner, but Pedrosa has a good record at the French track having taken victory there for three years consecutively in the smaller classes from 2003 to 2005. More ...

05/12/09
motogp
Juan Martinez rejoins Ducati as Hayden Crew Chief  
Casey Stoner hopes to benefit from Ducati changes
Ducati are taking several steps to improve the performances of Nicky Hayden and their satellite riders.

Since the Gran Premio bwin.com de España, where there were disappointing results for Ducati other than Casey Stoner’s best ever Jerez result, the Italian factory has taken several steps to improve their overall competitiveness.

A three-day test commences on Tuesday at Mugello, where Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi will be joined by Troy Bayliss to focus on using the data from the opening three rounds of the season to further develop the GP9.

Also, some additional measures will take effect as of this weekend’s Grand Prix de France, with former Ducati employee Juan Martinez returning to the ‘family’, to work with Nicky Hayden after a spell with Kawasaki, and with a new approach being taken to the electronics set-up of the GP9 after some recent close data analysis. More ...

05/12/09
nastruck
Newman to run Truck race at LMS  Ryan Newman will be making his second career start in the Camping World Truck Series in the #4 Charter Chevy owned by Kevin Harvick Inc for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Newman's first career Truck Series start came last October at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he drove a Kevin Harvick Inc.-owned truck to victory in the E-Z-GO 200. This will be the first race in 2009 that the #4 Chevy will not be driven by KHI rookie driver, Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is scheduled to return to the seat on June 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick Inc. PR
05/12/09
nassprint
Transformers scheme for Kyle Busch  Kyle Busch’s #18 M&M'S car in the Sprint Cup Series will sport a special “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”-themed paint scheme during the June 21, 2009, race at Infineon Raceway, where Busch took the checkered flag last year. The special paint scheme features movie title decals on the hood, trunk and TV panel and the M&M’S® Brand “Red,” “Green” and “Yellow” characters modified into “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” characters. BusinessWire
05/12/09
f1
Ecclestone not worried Ferrari will quit  
Anyone with any common sense knows this controversy over budget caps in F1 is created to keep F1 in the media (free PR) and will all disappear like all the other F1 controversies disappear when the time is right.
(GMM)  Ferrari's executive board is meeting on Tuesday to discuss formula one, but Bernie Ecclestone is not worried the Italian team is planning to call time on its long association with the sport.

The meeting comes amid other teams' 2010 entry boycott threats, and Ferrari and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo's fierce spat with Max Mosley over planned budget caps.

But Ecclestone, 78, told London's Times newspaper: "Ferrari are not stupid.  They don't want to leave formula one and we don't want to lose them, so we'll get to grips with it."

He suggested that the main gripe is with the 'two-tier' element of the FIA's proposed rules for 2010, but that the prospects of that are "slowly disappearing". More ...

05/12/09
nassprint
Southern 500 Video Recap  Mark Martin survived Darlington Raceway for his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the season and second Southern 500. Hear from Martin, runner-up Jimmie Johnson and find out whether Jeff Gordon was able to keep his lead in the point standings heading into NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend.

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