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DATE News (chronologically)
05/14/12
f1
Massa disputes Spanish GP penalty  
Felipe Massa under fire to step down after 2012
Felipe Massa is disputing the Spanish GP penalty that cost him a shot at a top-10 finish on Sunday afternoon.

The Brazilian, who started 16th on the grid and worked his way up to 11th after just one lap, was hit with a drive-through penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

The penalty dropped him down the order and he was not able to recover, finishing P15.

"My race was affected by a penalty that I had to take on lap 28," the Ferrari driver said.

"Honestly, I don't think I did anything wrong and I believe it is better to look into the detail of what happened, because I was in the middle of a group of cars and I definitely did not try to overtake anyone. More ...

05/14/12
irl
All-American trio at top of Day 3 practice times at Indy  
The new IndyCar plows so much air the cars behind can grab a tow and gain a lot of speed.  The leading car doing the plowing will be a sitting duck.  Expect a lot of lead changes, which the crowd will love. Memories of Adrian Fernandez and Paul Tracy at Michigan flash back.  When a driver closes on another car, he feels the front downforce going away in the corner. But when Tracy passed Fernandez in turns 3-4 and then chopped back in front, Fernandez lost all front downforce in an instant, crashed into the wall and a spectator was killed by a flying wheel.....that is what we have to fear.
Speeds continue to climb as IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and teams took advantage of a third consecutive day of sunny and warm conditions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rookie Josef Newgarden topped the speed charts for the second time in three days in his No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda. The 21-year-old from Hendersonville, Tenn., recorded a lap of 40.4519 seconds, 222.486 mph, fastest of the month so far as teams used the final hour of practice to work on race setups.

Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay (221.639) and Marco Andretti (221.519) were second and third, respectively, in their Chevrolets with the Honda of 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon (221.499) and Chevrolet of Sebastian Saavedra (220.785) rounding out the top-five.

In all, 29 drivers recorded 1,199 incident-free laps on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Indianapolis 500 practice continues on May 15 from noon - 6 p.m.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It's another strong day. We're stepping through it each time, and we have a lot more to go still. Our good start is continuing to roll forward. So we're feeling positive." (About faster speeds today): "I think a lot of people did in the end. It looks like everyone was trying to race runs, and we kind of jumped in, as well. It was a lot of fun. It was good to run out there with the guys, and I think we need to do more of that probably and figure out how the car operates in the draft a little bit. Certainly learned a lot of the way it reacts today, and we just got to keep progressing with and trying to make it even more comfortable during the race. Obviously, that's the important time. So, yeah, we're feeling good about it, and everyone's just creeping up on it right now and the feel." (About Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team): "The team is good. No issues on the team. It's Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing; they've got a great group. We've obviously got a good car; we've come out really strong, as well. Really we just need to maintain that. I think it's a good. It's definitely a good sign that we started off strong. Hopefully that can continue, and normally when you do start off strong, you can normally hold your form, so we've just got to try to make that our case. It's been great having Dollar General back on with us, have a good-looking race car, and it's performing well, as well. Really pleased with where we're at at the moment." More ...

05/14/12
irl
Honda Indy Toronto secure through 2014  Kim Green attended the first IndyCar race in Toronto in 1986 as a mechanic. He came back as a team manager and then team owner.

Now he co-owns the race, set for July 8 this summer.

“Being biased as the (race) promoter, but it’s one of the favorite stops certainly for the IndyCar series and always was ... A great place to be,” Green said Monday.

Green and other organizers were at a news conference to announce that the Honda Indy Toronto has settled its immediate future via three-year contract extensions with the City of Toronto, Honda Canada, Exhibition Place, Tourism Toronto and IndyCar.

The deals cover the race through 2014. More ...

05/14/12
gp3
Andretti congratulates Daly after winning Barcelona  Mario Andretti was one of the first to congratulate American Conor Daly after he scored the biggest win of his career in Barcelona, Spain early on Sunday morning, May 13th, held just hours before the Spanish Grand Prix. Mario tweeted," Congratulations Conor, your win made us proud here in the USA - keep it up", just a short time after he took the checkered flag to win round two of the Formula One support series, GP3.

When the lights went out at the start, Daly got a perfect jump from his third place starting position. He was forced on to the grass on the run to the first corner by the pole sitter, Robert Visoiu, but he never lifted and grabbed second place at the brake zone for turn one. The other front row starter, Tio Ellinas, jumped the start and was given a drive through penalty. Once in the lead, Daly controlled the race inching further away with every lap while he carefully managed the Pirelli tire degradation. More ...

05/14/12
nassprint
NASCAR Darlington TV Rating  The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bojangles Southern 500 (Darlington) Saturday night on Fox was a 3.5, down 8% from last year's 3.8 overnight rating also on FOX.
05/14/12
automotive
Fisker fires back, refutes expert's theory on garage blaze  So what caused the Sugar Land, Texas, garage fire this week that destroyed a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid and two other cars?

The local fire inspector told Autoweek that the fire started in the Karma, but said he didn't know the exact cause. On Thursday, EV expert Jon Bereisa suggested to me that the Karma's cramped engine-bay packaging could have created conditions that led to the blaze.

Now Fisker Automotive has fired back, refuting Bereisa's speculation in a detailed statement to Automotive News. More ...

05/14/12
f1
Statement from the Williams F1 Team on fire  Following yesterday’s fire which occurred in the team’s garage after the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams F1 can confirm that a further two team members have now been released from hospital and have returned home having received treatment for smoke inhalation.

One member of the team remains in hospital in Spain having suffered burns in the incident. He is stable and will return to the UK within the next 48 hours to receive further medical care. His family are in constant communication and he is in good spirits.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are on-going in collaboration with the FIA and local authorities. More ...

05/14/12
irl
Lotus Fan Force United & Jean Alesi  
Jean Alesi lapping Indy in the new 'Walrus' looking IndyCar.  The hideous looking Walrus plows so much air, if you get anywhere near another car--even really far behind--it just pulls you forward like a big, tow. The problem is that last year, you would get close, get a tow, and you had to fight to get by because the hole wasn't as big. It sounds great having a big draft behind these cars, but you lose so much downforce on the front of the car. Way more than before. It's something to be concerned about in the race.  Just another 'feature' of the Walrus.
Some random thoughts on the Lotus Fan Force Indy 500 effort:

Tyce Carlson, yet another former IndyCar driver turned IndyCar team owner, which seems to be something of a trend. Possibly more former Indy 500 competitors as current team owners than ever before?

Fan Force United (FFU) is making the jump from Lights to IndyCar with a last minute program. Apart from well known issues, it's been a flawless and very well executed leap, with a well-put-together and experienced team, when many thought it was a recipe for disaster.

FFU full time Indy Lights driver, Armaan Ebrahim, is the first Indian to race a full schedule in a US racing series. Hopefully next year he becomes the first Indian to race the Indy 500.

FFU second Indy lights entry, Emerson Newton-John, the reason that Olivia Newton-John is coming to Indy.

With Alesi, Ebrahim, Newton-John, FFU is running three rookies at Indy. Alesi is out of semi-retirement, and Newton-John hasn't raced anything in 10 years.

Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria is returning as a sponsor of all three drivers after a seven year absence from Indy. Alesi and his proteges join a long line of Byrd's sponsored drivers to have qualified for the Indy 500: Rich Vogler, Stan Fox, Buddy & Jaques Lazier, Gordon Johncock, Scott Brayton, John Andretti, Davy Jones, Arie Luyendyk, and Mike Groff.  Jean Alesi joins an interesting collection of drivers in this regard.

05/14/12
irl
INDYCAR 36: Ryan Hunter-Reay  In the 3rd episode of INDYCAR 36 we follow Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay at the IZOD INDYCAR Series race in Long Beach California.

05/14/12
nassprint
Pocono test will end early for Prelude to the Dream  Tony Stewart's annual charity race, The Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, is scheduled for June 6. So is an afternoon of Sprint Cup testing at newly repaved Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The two tracks are 480 miles apart, and many Cup drivers participate in Stewart's dirt late model race, won last year by Clint Bowyer. To help with scheduling, NASCAR moved the start of the Pocono test session from 1 p.m. to noon ET. The test will conclude at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m., allowing drivers plenty of time to fly to Eldora before the start of the Prelude. NASCAR Wire Service
05/14/12
f1
Video: F1 personnel injured in huge Williams fire  UPDATE #3
Lotus garage fire in Sepang
This is the 2nd time an F1 garage has caught fire this year.  In the photo to the right the Lotus garage burns in Sepang in March.  F1 regulations allow for some fairly potent fuel mixes.  Perhaps they are volatile as well.  Imagine how many casualties there would have been had the fire broke out in the middle of a race with it full of personnel and guest dignitaries.  Look for F1 to implement a new rule to help prevent F1 garage fires by safely storing fire hazard materials outside the garage. (Note: See Williams fire photos in this week's Photos of The Week on our home web page or on our iPhone and iPad apps)

05/13/12 Governing body FIA said 31 people were treated by Catalunya Circuit medical staff, with seven of those flown out to a variety of hospitals to receive treatment.

Catalonia's regional government said in a statement that one of the persons was airlifted to Barcelona hospital with serious burn wounds, while the rest were being treated locally for smoke inhalation. More ...

05/14/12
f1
Maldonado carries cousin from fire  UPDATE
Race winner Pastor Maldonado carries his cousin to safety
Added photo of Maldonado carrying his cousin.

05/13/12 Pastor Maldonado turned from grand prix winner to hero on Sunday as Williams' celebrations for his debut victory went up in flames.

Just 90 minutes after being hoisted up on the shoulders of rivals Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen on the podium, having taken the checkered flag in the Spanish Grand Prix, Maldonado was forced to carry 12-year-old cousin Manuel to safety as a fire gutted the Williams garage. 

An electrical fault with the fuel rig is believed to be the cause of a fire that rapidly engulfed the garage, sending team members, photographers and cameramen running for safety at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. More ...
05/14/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Fire bellows from Williams garage
    Williams pits 'destroyed' by post-race fire - Stanford
  • 'Rambo' Schumacher punished after Senna crash
  • Unpredictable F1 became 'strange' in Spain - Alonso
  • Klien working in Williams simulator
  • Barcelona still hoping for annual F1 presence
  • Massa's problems 'in the head' - Alguersuari
  • Kimi left 'disappointed'  More ...
05/13/12
irl
BHA Announces Gumball 3000 Partnership  Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway proved successful for Team Barracuda - BHA, both on and off the track. While driver Alex Tagliani shook down the Barracuda Networks sponsored car and it's newly installed Honda power plant, the team announced a new partnership for the Indy 500 with Gumball 3000.

Gumball 3000 is a combination of art, automobiles, music and film to create a unique aspirational lifestyle brand. Headed by Maximillion Cooper, the Gumball 3000 group now operates eight companies with offices in Europe and the United States. With a pioneering spirit and an attraction that transcends social barriers, the Gumball 3000 mission is to build a global lifestyle brand of the future. More ...

05/13/12
irl
The Andrettis split for the Indy 500  
Michael Andretti (L) and son Marco (R) will not be on the radio together this month
IndyCar/LAT USA
The Andrettis have split up. Michael and Marco Andretti will not work together during this year's Indianapolis 500, and it's unclear if or when they might get back together for race day calls. Michael is now calling races for Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has won three times in the IndyCar Series, while Kyle Moyer is reunited with Marco.

"Dad has now moved to work on Ryan's car, but before that he was on mine and he got so hands-on that my engineer Allen McDonald and I had to literally justify every change we were making to the car," Marco wrote in a blog post that appeared online Saturday.

Team spokeswoman Ryann Rigsby said Sunday the change was actually made before the race in Brazil. Andretti finished 14th in that race, while Hunter-Reay finished second. More ...

05/13/12
f1
Schumacher docked five places on Monaco grid  Michael Schumacher was fully responsible for the crash which removed both himself and Bruno Senna from Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. This is the ruling from FIA stewards who investigated the incident in depth after the race.

While fighting for position on Lap 13, Schumacher appeared to completely misjudge his braking point and rammed Senna’s car into a spin at Turn 1. Whereas the furious Mercedes driver ended up in the gravel trap, the Williams was forced to pull off the circuit five corners further around the lap with a puncture. More ...

05/13/12
irl
Saavedra tops Day 2 at Indy  Young drivers continue to top the speed charts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Firestone Indy Lights point leader Sebastian Saavedra topped Day 2 of practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500.

Saavedra, driving the No. 17 Team AFS Chevrolet for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, recorded a lap of 40.6272 seconds, 221.526 mph, to set the fastest lap of the month. He also earned $5,000 from Grady Brothers Construction for setting the fastest lap.

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's rookie teammates Bryan Clauson and Josef Newgarden posted the second and third fastest laps, respectively, in their Hondas. Clauson recorded a lap of 40.6922, 221.173 mph in the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/RW Honda while Newgarden recorded a lap of 221.158 mph in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda. More ...

05/13/12
f1
Most Teams Switch To Primary Chassis At Indy  With the IZOD IndyCar Series restricting teams to possessing a single engine at any given time, the old practice of running multiple chassis at the same time has become a thing of the past.

Using primary and backup cars back to back was once the easiest way to try different setups and to find if a particular chassis was better around Indianapolis, but to do so today, changing engines is required.

Now the focus has shifted for some teams to spend opening day refining and quantifying their backup cars before switching over to spend the month with their primary cars. More ...
05/13/12
irl
Jay Penske still needs engines for cars at Indy  
Legge and Bourdais are engineless at the moment
Katherine Legge returned to America to race in the Indianapolis 500.

So far, she's been watching film, studying data and bugging engineers with questions. The problem: Legge and teammate Sebastien Bourdais were still looking for engines as practice opened Saturday.

Twenty-six drivers made it onto the 2.5-mile oval. Meanwhile, Dragon Racing's garage remained idle for the third straight day and will likely be following the same script Sunday afternoon when practice is scheduled to resume. More ...

05/13/12
nnw
Brake failure led to McClure's accident  NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Eric McClure said the brakes in his car were not working when he collided head on into the wall during a late-race accident last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
McClure, the driver of the No. 14 Toyota for TriStar Motorsports, spoke about his Talladega incident for the first time on Friday at Darlington Raceway, the site of this weekend's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races.

McClure suffered a concussion and mild internal bruising from the impact into the inside retaining wall in turn three at Talladega. Track safety personnel had to cut the roof off of McClure's car before they could pull him out and place him on a stretcher. The 33-year-old driver was airlifted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center, where he spent two days for treatment and observation. More ...

05/13/12
nnw
Newman, Busch called to NASCAR hauler after Darlington race  Several of #39-Ryan Newman's crewmen confronted #51-Kurt Busch on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway following an ill-advised decision by Busch to do a burnout through Newman's pit box. After Busch had a flat tire and crashed with six laps remaining - an incident which also collected Newman - the Phoenix Racing driver lost his cool and began yelling on the team radio. When Busch completed his pit stop to fix damage shortly after the wreck, he & did a loud, angry burnout while leaving his pit box.

The burnout startled fans in the stands and put up a huge plume of smoke, an expression of Busch's frustration at a promising night gone bad. But while doing the burnout, Busch drove through Newman's pit box as well - and several Newman crew members were still over the wall after recently completing service on the #39 car. More ...

05/13/12
nassprint
NASCAR to implement new rules for less downforce  UPDATE Tuesday's NASCAR technical bulletin, which contained a laundry list of rule changes in eight areas, was significant enough that crew chiefs immediately began booking wind tunnel time. Of greatest interest was the shortening of the side skirts on the Cup cars, designed to create greater ground clearance. NASCAR also has mandated use of superspeedway-sized stationary air deflectors (commonly known as "shark fins") on all tracks of two miles or more.

According to Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, the rule changes were inspired by work on the 2013 car, with an eye toward raising the speeds at which a car will lift off and become airborne. More ...

05/13/12
track news
Sponsor logos now line walls of Indianapolis Motor Speedway  UPDATE It can't be called a first because it happened in a different form last year, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway now has sponsor decals on its track walls.

As of Saturday's first practice, the decals of Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka and Shell (two each) were at the exit of Turn 3 and the entrance to Turn 4, but four more were to go in Saturday night. Eight more will be put up after that, bringing the total to 16 in the north end of the track.

Veteran drivers were shocked to see them, particularly the black Fuzzy's ad staring at them as they reached the Turn 3 apex. More ...

05/13/12
gp2
Razia storms to GP2 sprint win  Luiz Razia has rounded out his Barcelona weekend with a crushing victory in this morning's sprint race, leading from lights to flag with a controlled drive to take the win by over five seconds from Nathanael Berthon and Davide Valsecchi.

The victory was set up when the lights went out: poleman Razia made a smooth getaway while fellow front row starter Max Chilton bogged down and held up the pursuers for long enough to give the Brazilian an easy line through turn one, while behind him a fast starting Valsecchi couldn't quite get past Berthon and had to pull in behind to get through turn two ahead of Chilton, Giedo van der Garde and James Calado. More ...
05/13/12
gp3
American Conor Daly secures maiden GP3 win in Barcelona  
Conor Daly proudly displays the stars and stripes
American Conor Daly proudly celebrated with the stars and stripes flag aloft after claiming his first win in the GP3 Series with a faultless display in Race 2 at the Circuit de Catalunya. It was the first podium finish of his GP3 career and he was joined by Robert Visoiu (Jenzer Motorsport) and Matias Laine (MW Arden).

The race started under menacing dark clouds but the rain stayed away for the race with cooler temperatures than yesterday. Reverse Pole man was Visoiu but he was beaten at the start by a fast charging Tio Ellinas from the front row. Unfortunately for the Marussia Manor Racing driver, stewards found him to have made a jump start, therefore Ellinas served a drive through penalty and sacrificed the lead of the race. Carmen Jorda was also given a penalty for making a jump start. More ...
05/13/12
f1
Red Bull team bosses safe in jobs - Mateschitz  
Dietrich Mateschitz
(GMM)  The leading men at Red Bull's two formula one teams are safe in their jobs, according to Dietrich Mateschitz. The energy drink's billionaire mogul told Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten that he is happy with the performance of Franz Tost and Christian Horner. Austrian Tost and Briton Horner respectively head the two Red Bull-owned F1 teams, Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing.

"Regarding Tost, for me there is no discussion -- the same for Horner," he insisted.

"I have never doubted either of them even for a second," the Austrian, who turns 68 in a week, added.

05/13/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday  
  • Valtteri Bottas
    Salo believes Bottas to replace Senna soon
  • Ecclestone says Mercedes deal '80 per cent' done
  • Mateschitz, Montezemolo, to join F1 board
  • Harsh penalty for error-prone McLaren - reaction
  • Season of confusion to continue on Sunday

Salo believes Bottas to replace Senna soon
(GMM)  Former F1 driver Mika Salo believes his Finnish countryman Valtteri Bottas is being groomed by Williams for a race seat -- in 2012.

When the Toto Wolff-managed Bottas, 22, was announced as the British team's 2012 reserve, Sir Frank Williams said he would practice on 15 Friday mornings and then "most likely" be replaced with a "more experienced driver" for the rest of those race weekends. More ...

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