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DATE News (chronologically)
05/16/09
nascar

Hornish, McMurray, Logano Advance to All-Star Race
Sam Hornish topped the field in Saturday night's 40-lap NASCAR Sprint Showdown to advance into the field for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Jamie McMurray finished second to advance to his fourth all-star race. Stremme finished third, followed by David Reutimann and Joey Logano.

Logano won the Sprint Fan Vote and will make his first start in the Sprint All-Star Race.

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05/16/09
irl

Indy Saturday Notebook - 6
Bruno Junqueira, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter and the 2002 polesitter, will drive the No. 36 Conquest Racing entry. The team has primary sponsorship from All Sport/Big Red.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 36 ALL SPORT/BIG RED): "At least I'm here. In years past I came here looking to start on the pole. Now I'm looking to make the field, but if you run the race you have a chance to win. I'm happy with the opportunity Conquest Racing gave me. I've been walking around here two weeks trying to find a ride, and I finally found it. The main thing is to make sure the car works fine today and put it in the field. Then you can work toward having a good race."

ERIC BACHELART (Owner, Conquest Racing): "We are very excited to have Bruno join the team. Bruno is a proven winner, and I am fully confident in his abilities to come out and do well despite the limited practice time. Bruno also brings with him a wealth of experience racing here at Indianapolis and we look forward to working with him."

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05/16/09
irl

Indy Saturday Notebook - 5
We have bumping at Indy.  At the end of qualifications, Milka Duno bumped former Indy 500 champion Buddy Lazier from the field with a speed of 218.040 for the first bump of the year.  Going into Sunday's qualification attempts, Nelson Philippe is on the bubble, followed by Milka in the 32nd spot.  Depending on last minute deals that might materialize, at least 3 cars will not make this year's 500 field. 

Milka was able to recover from an earlier run that almost turned into disaster.  In her second lap of that first run, she lost all front grip, nearly sending her into the wall.  Her later run had a lot more downforce put into the wings for what she called a "safe run."  Teammate Davey Hamilton has become something of a driving coach for her, providing constant feedback to her on her efforts.

"It's important to use everything you've got on your team, including your teammates," she commented in a press conference.  "You know, this race is so tough. Indianapolis is so fast. You have to have a good car and good balance. Everybody that's here is a good driver. Even for a super driver that won the race before, it's just pretty tough."

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05/16/09
starmazda

Christodoulou on Star Mazda pole at Miller
In an exciting qualifying session that saw the pole locked up on Lap 3, but the occupant of the outside spot on the front row change four times in the final sixty seconds, it was Englishman  Adam Christodoulou who put an exclamation point on his dominance of the pre-qualifying practice sessions with a lap of 1:43.761 (105.751 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports Mazda to take the top spot on the grid for this afternoon's Round Three of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Miller Motorsports Park.  Christodoulou, a rookie in the Star Mazda Championship, was the 2008 U.K. Formula Renault champion and winner of Star Mazda Round One at Sebring, was the only car to break into the 1:43 range; that record, 1:43.650, was set in 2008 by American John Edwards (who went on to win the race from the pole and win the championship).

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05/16/09
irl

Indy Saturday Notebook - 4
The first batch of qualifiers are done at Indy, and 30 of the 33 spots are filled.  Fastest among today's qualifiers is Robert Doornbos, at 221.692. 

Several drivers had runs which no doubt puckered the driver's gluteus maximus muscles to the point where Nomex underwear become thongs.  Buddy Lazier had a run which had the average speed falling by 2 mph on each lap.  John Andretti called it quits after 2 exciting laps as well.  Milka Duno put in a solid first lap, but almost collected the wall at the exit of turn 3, and her second lap was 7 mph slower as she no doubt hit the brakes to regain control. 

More and more it looks like 3 drivers will not make the show, providing of course no last-last minute entries present themselves.  Right now those are Hunter-Reay, Nelson Philippe and Buddy Lazier.  Alex Tagliani, Bruno Junqueira, Milka Duno, Mike Conway, John Andretti and Stanton Barrett are not yet in the show.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy

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05/16/09
alms

Brabham sets early pace in Utah
David Brabham turned the fastest lap in the first official practice session for the American Le Mans Series’ Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The LMP1 championship co-leader with teammate Scott Sharp toured the 15-turn, 3.048-mile Miller Motorsports Park circuit at 1:34.104 (116.603 mph) on his final lap of the Saturday morning session.

Brabham and Sharp were overall winners two rounds ago at St. Petersburg. The Australian star was 0.482 seconds ahead of Gil de Ferran (1:34.586 and 116.009 mph) in the de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a that was quickest in Friday’s test session. De Ferran will team with Simon Pagenaud, who was fastest Friday.

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05/16/09
irl

Saturday Indy Notebook - 3
- Word from IRL officials is that qualifications will begin at 3:45 pm.  The rain has left the area, temperatures have fallen by about 10 degrees, and a 10-20 mph breeze has set in.  At 3:20 pm cars are being wheeled into the pit road inspection area.
- The consensus in the garage area is that there are 14 cars that will attempt to qualify for the remaining 11 spots.  There appears to be no second car being prepared in the Foyt garage, and Marty Roth's cars are said to be in Gil de Ferran's garage now. 
- According to several sources, Roth was asking for $2 million for his race operations.  According to other sources, the actual selling price was $1.5 million. 
- HANS manufacturers were concerned with the performance of Mike Conway's HANS device in his crash last week.  According to officials, the straps on his HANS were some 2" longer than specified, and Conway's head almost hit this steering wheel during the crash.  HANS officials have given (sold?) him a newer device that has one strap that allows side-to-side movement (as opposed to two straps that inhibit side-to-side movement).  There are some drivers wearing a new HANS that are much higher as well, which perform much better in side-impact crashes.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy


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05/16/09
nassprint

Showdown qualifying cancelled due to rain
Qualifying for Saturday night’s Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been canceled by rain, giving Penske Racing’s David Stremme the top starting spot for the 40-lap exhibition event.

The rest of the Showdown field, out of which the top two finishers will transfer into the Sprint All-Star Race, was set according to the random qualifying draw held earlier in the day.

Kirk Shelmerdine, who drew the first starting spot, will drop to the rear because of post-qualifying adjustments not allowed under NASCAR's impound rule. Shelmerdine cut a tire and hit the wall in practice and was scrambling to get his car ready for Saturday.

Second-place starter Carl Long had a motor replaced and will also be forced to start at the rear.

The rest of the top 10 were Prism Motorsports' Dave Blaney, Tommy Baldwin Racing's Scott Riggs, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's Martin Truex Jr., Roush Fenway Racing's David Ragan, Penske Racing's Sam Hornish Jr., Germain Racing's Max Papis and Richard Petty Motorsports' AJ Allmendinger.

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05/16/09
atlantic

De Silvestro Scores First Career Pole
In Friday’s two practice sessions for the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at Miller Motorsports Park, Simona De Silvestro had a fairly comfortable lead over the rest of her competitors.

All of that changed in qualifying for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix, however, as the Team Stargate Worlds driver found herself in a battle for the pole position with Jonathan Summerton throughout the 30-minute session. Just as the checkered flag fell to end the session, De Silvestro knocked Summerton off the top of the time charts with a lap at 1:36.891 (113.249 mph) to earn the first pole of her Atlantic career in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/CME/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies/Maakoa machine.

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05/16/09
irl

Saturday Indy Notebook - 2
- Rain is delaying the start of qualifications.  Bands of rain are forming just west of Indy, and while the rain is not heavy it is enough to keep the track wet until the next band comes through.  As of 1:00 pm all cars are returning to the garage area, and the track appears to be "lost".
- AR1 is hearing that the Roth Racing's cars are NOT in Indy this weekend.  Rumor has it that Gil de Ferran has bought the team, and an announcement will be made following the Indy 500.  This also eliminates at least one possible qualification attempt on Bump Day.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy


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05/16/09
a1gp

A1GP announces race at Assen
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, has today announced A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will race in his country for the fourth time in Season Five. However, it will be new territory for the series when it visits the Assen track on 14-16 May 2010. 

A1GP has one of its largest and most enthusiastic fan bases in the Netherlands, and is now going to a track famous for its enormous crowds when the biking fraternity visits. To date the series has had its first race of the season there at the Zandvoort track in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09, when tens of thousands of orange clad fans have cheered on A1 Team Netherlands that has one of the country’s most successful racing drivers, Jan Lammers, as its Seat Holder.

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05/16/09
irl

Saturday Indy Notebook - 1
- Due to the weather, qualification attempts will begin 30 minutes later than scheduled, at 12:30 pm.  The weather is threatening, overcast and 70 degrees.

- Townsend Bell lead morning practice, followed by Oriol Servia.  Not in the top 11 in speed were Mike Conway and Stanton Barrett. 

- The official qualification list has 17 cars listed, including a second AJ Foyt car as well as a Marty Roth effort.  However, this does not include Tomas Scheckter, Alex Tagliani or Bruno Junqueira.  This means that perhaps 20 cars will try for the remaining 11 spots, making this the most meaningful bump day in years, if not decades.

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05/16/09
motogp

Pedrosa steals pole in France
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa made it three Le Mans pole positions in four years in a thrilling qualifying session for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of France. It was a riveting battle for supremacy that went right down to the wire and the 23-year-old Spaniard waited until the last possible second to grab top spot by just 0.005s, continuing his spectacular MotoGP qualifying record at the famous French track: Pedrosa was on pole for Repsol Honda in his debut MotoGP season in 2006, and again last year.

His Repsol Honda team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, also left his best until last this afternoon, putting a in last-gasp hot lap just 0.326s slower than Pedrosa to take fifth position. It was a highly-competitive qualifying session today with the front two rows were covered by only 0.356s. And though Dovizioso wasn’t able to repeat his timesheet-topping performance from yesterday, he was content with achieving a second-row starting position having shown consistent race pace on both Bridgestone’s soft and hard tire options.

This afternoon’s qualifying session was held in sunny conditions but, on a weekend when rain has been an ever-present threat, the MotoGP paddock knows it can’t count on a dry race when the lights go out at 14.00 local time tomorrow.

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05/16/09
f1

Mosley shames Howett after failed walkout
(GMM)  Max Mosley has named and shamed Toyota's John Howett as a "childish" team boss who was "ignored" by his formula one colleagues on Friday.

The FIA president revealed to the BBC that Briton Howett, president of the Toyota team, kicked off Friday's FOTA meeting by asking his colleagues to walk out when the controversial budget cap was to be discussed.

"I thought it was completely childish," Mosley said, admitting that the culprit had been "John Howett, the Toyota man".

When asked if the other team bosses heeded Howett's proposal, Mosley answered: "They ignored him."

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05/16/09
track news

Bruton Smith: 'I feel like a victim'
Just a few months ago, Bruton Smith was optimistic Kentucky Speedway would have Sprint Cup racing in 2010. Today, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), which bought the track in December, says he feels victimized as NASCAR finalizes the 2010 schedule for its top series with no Kentucky date in sight.

“I feel like a victim here, and I wasn’t even trying to be one” Smith told the Enquirer this week. “I bought this track with the full intention of having a Cup race in 2010, and I did not think it would be this difficult; I surely did not.”

Cup races feature NASCAR’s best drivers and are coveted by tracks. Kentucky has spent millions on infrastructure around the Speedway to help draw a Cup race, and tax incentives are pending that would help fund expansion should a Cup race come to Sparta.

But Smith is stuck in the middle of a four-year fight between NASCAR and the former Speedway owners from whom he purchased the track for $78.3 million.

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05/16/09
f1

Scheckter has considered handing back F1 title
Jody Scheckter leads Mario Andretti and Niki Lauda in the 1977 USA Grand Prix at Long Beach.  Andretti and Lauda got past a few laps from the finish and the American crowd cheered Andretti wildly.  It remains today as the only USGP won by an American
(GMM)  Jody Scheckter has revealed that he has considered handing back his world championship.

The 59-year-old South African, now a highly successful organic farmer, won his drivers' title for Ferrari in 1979 -- an achievement not surpassed until Michael Schumacher broke through for the Italian team 21 years later.

As formula one now grapples with the teams' major fight with the FIA over budget caps and governance methods, Scheckter told the BBC that he is appalled by the sport's leadership.

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05/16/09
irl

KV Racing announces new sponsor
KV Racing Technology announced today that Azul Tequila, will sponsor KV Racing Technology during the 2009 Indianapolis 500, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

Azul is the newest addition to the portfolio of tequilas from the world’s most-awarded tequila distillery – Gran Centenario.  Azul is Mexico’s fastest-growing 100% agave tequila brand, but is newly available in the U.S. 

“We are extremely excited about the partnership with KV Racing Technology,” said Elwyn Gladstone, Marketing Director for Proximo Spirits, Inc.  “Azul is fast becoming one of America’s most buzzed about tequilas; it’s smooth and well-crafted.  We are looking forward to watching Car #5 have a smooth run in the race.” 

KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said, “We are very pleased to announce that Azul Tequila has joined KV Racing Technology for this year’s Indianapolis 500.  This is a company that has been making award winning products for many years.  That is a model that fits perfectly with KVRT’s mission statement.”

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05/16/09
f1

Mosley repeats - F1 can live without Ferrari
Max Mosley essentially tells Ferrari to go pound sand
(GMM)  Max Mosley has repeated his claim that formula one could survive without its most famous name.

Bernie Ecclestone recently tried to defuse the FIA president's original comments, but after discovering that Ferrari has launched legal action to halt the 2010 rules, Mosley again suggested that the sport could survive without the Italian team.

"The idea that they are indispensable is nonsense," the Briton said on Friday.

"It's a little bit like poor Senna.  He was the most important driver in 1994 but when he very sadly got killed, formula one went on.  Lotus were very important once, so were Brabham," Mosley added.

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05/16/09
f1

Hülkenberg’s future depends on Rosberg - Williams
(GMM)  Nico Hülkenberg’s future on the formula one grid is not assured, Sir Frank Williams has revealed.

21-year-old German Hulkenberg is one of the most promising up and coming young single seater drivers, having won the 2006/7 A1GP series, and last year's F3 Euroseries championship.

Complementing his season in GP2, he is now Williams' test driver, and is openly hoping to graduate to motor sport's premier category in 2010.

Germany's Auto Bild asked Williams, the Grove team's boss and co-owner, if Hulkenberg can expect to make his debut next year.

"Obviously I can't directly answer that question," he said.

Tellingly, Williams then referred to the team's existing German race driver Nico Rosberg, whose contract expires this year.

He said: "A lot depends on what happens with our other Nico.  But Nico Hulkenberg is on our list, absolutely."

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05/16/09
irl

Conquest to run Junqueira in 500
Bruno Junqueira
Conquest Racing and All Sport, Inc. are pleased to announce that they will be fielding an entry for 2002 Indy 500 pole sitter Bruno Junqueira at this year’s Indianapolis 500.

“We are very excited to have Bruno join the team” shared team owner Eric Bachelart. “Bruno is a proven winner and I am fully confident in his abilities to come out and do well despite the limited practice time. Bruno also brings with him a wealth of experience racing here at Indianapolis and we look forward to working with him. We are also very happy to have this partnership with ALL SPORT®, BIG RED® and Gary Smith.”

Bruno Junqueira, who made 15 starts in the IndyCar Series in 2008, sat on pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002 with an average speed of 231.342 mph. The Brazilian will be attempting to qualify for his sixth Indy 500 this weekend and despite coming in at the last minute, he is confident he can do well and make the field.

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05/16/09
nassprint

NASCAR Closing in on getting 2010 Schedule done
Comments made by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France from NASCAR Transcript;

Q. There's been a couple of extensions or talk about extensions in next year's schedule, possible race date moves. Has that process or time period concluded now or is it still under consideration?

BRIAN FRANCE: There are no formal requests under consideration. We're closing in on getting the 2010 schedule behind us in terms of where things are going to be. That's not completed yet. But we're certainly way down the road at trying to figure out if there's going to be any changes. I'm sure you're referring to any realignment requests that have been made. We're past the deadline on that, that particular issue. But we're working with everybody as we would to figure out if realignment is an option for one of the track companies. That goes hand-in-hand with our sanction process, which is, as I said, getting far down the road. NASCAR PR

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05/16/09
nassprint

Truex Jr. hopes to make decision soon
Martin Truex Jr. said Friday a decision on his future with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be made “sooner rather than later.’’ But Truex isn’t revealing the options he is weighing. Truex is in the final year of his contract with the team, which came together this year following a merger between his former team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. It has been a difficult transition at times and Truex, who made the playoff Chase in 2007, is 19th in points through the first 11 races this year. Teams take a break from the regular schedule this week for the All-Star Race on Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “To be honest, I think we started the season probably a little farther behind than I thought we were gonna be with all that went on through the winter,’’ Truex said on Friday after signing autographs at Dale Earnhardt Inc. fan day. “The Ganassi bunch has really helped us a lot with our cars. We've gotten all of our cars on the same page as far as chassis and what we're running. Ever since we've done that, it's just been real easy for us. It was really just a bunch of hardware. We pretty much welded their front clip on there and we went to running fast. So that's been pretty neat.’’ Charlotte NASCAR Examiner

Comment
05/16/09
f1

Mosley confident of court success
Max Mosley likes a good court fight.  He never loses!
Max Mosley believes that Ferrari’s court action against the International Automobile Federation [FIA] will ultimately prove unsuccessful.

The Italian manufacturer is seeking an injunction in a French court against the FIA's planned 2010 regulations, which will see teams limited to a £40 million budget.

Ferrari believe the FIA is breaking the veto agreement they felt they had concerning F1's technical regulations, a charge Mosley denies.

"We will say first of all it is no longer in place and if they wanted to do a veto - they were in the (FIA) meeting on March 17 and they should have done it there if they didn't agree. Instead, they just sat there," said Mosley.

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05/16/09
motogp

Gibernau fractures collarbone in Le Mans crash
Sete Gibernau has fractured his collarbone in two places in a nasty Saturday morning highside, ruling him out of any further in the Grand Prix de France as he flies back to Barcelona for surgery.

The Spaniard fell heavily on his left shoulder in the crash, reinjuring himself after a preseason plagued with collarbone problems on the same side.

It is the third time that he has incurred a clavicle fracture in a fall.

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05/16/09
motogp

Edwards up the pace in Saturday AM practice
In a morning session at the Grand Prix de France which saw Sete Gibernau crash and rule himself out of the rest of the weekend due to a fractured collarbone, there was far better luck for another MotoGP veteran, Colin Edwards.

The American Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, who was on the podium last year at Le Mans, demonstrated his strengths at the French circuit again on Saturday morning as he laid down a 1’34.996 marker, a second faster than anything achieved on Friday and half a second up on his closest rival in the session.

Second best was the improving Dani Pedrosa who has a strong smaller class record at this circuit and is in good form at present as he overcomes a difficult preseason. The Spaniard was precisely 0.447s down on Edwards’ best time.

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05/16/09
f1

Ferrari files injunction to stop 2010 rules UPDATE The injunction filed by Ferrari against the FIA will be heard next Tuesday May 19th as the Italian manufacturer attempts to block the implementation of the controversial 2010 regulations adopted recently by the World Motor Sport Council.

Ferrari is also requesting that the French courts order the FIA to remove from its website all modifications pertaining to next year's regulations.

With the FIA having set a May 29 deadline for teams to register their participation in the 2010 season, Ferrari lawyer Emmanuel Gaillard explained the reasons behind the injunction.

"We have to register between May 22nd and 29th and that means accepting the new rules, but these rules do not conform with the commitments taken in regards to Ferrari," he told AFP. "We had no other choice."

05/15/09 (GMM)  Ferrari has stepped up the budget cap row by applying for an injunction in the French courts against the 2010 rules.

FIA president Max Mosley, who met with the F1 teams and Bernie Ecclestone at a Heathrow hotel on Friday, revealed the news as he emerged from the meeting.

Ecclestone also emerged from the meeting, as the FOTA group headed straight back into talks.

"The teams have gone off to see if they can come up with something better than the cost cap," Mosley told reporters.  "We are prepared to listen to what they have to say."

He said the meeting was "friendly", but added: "It became apparent that Ferrari have made an application to the French courts to apply for an injunction to stop us doing what we want to do."

Mosley said he had not agreed to compromise on his plans, and that he doubts Ferrari will actually quit the sport.

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05/15/09
tv news
NASSprint

Kahne, Newman, Waltrip guests on All-Star Special Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that this special All-Star edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will air on Saturday morning, May 16, at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm ET live on SPEED.

05/13/09 There will be a special All-Star edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Saturday morning, May 16.  Darrell Waltrip, FOX Sports and SPEED NASCAR Analyst, will join Dave Despain as co-host live in the studio.  Featured interviews will be Kasey Kahne, Richard Petty Motorsports, defending Sprint All-Star Race winner; and Ryan Newman, Sprint Cup All-Star, Stewart-Haas Racing. 

This special edition of Wind Tunnel will air on Saturday morning at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm live ET on SPEED.  The Sunday night edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will feature Jimmie Johnson as co-host with Bill Elliott and Marcus Smith as the featured interviews, and will be shown at its regular time of 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm live ET on SPEED on Sunday, May 17.

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05/15/09
nassprint

Jury clears Hendrick pilots in crash
Hendrick Motorsports pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison were not willfully and recklessly negligent in the October 2004 crash near Martinsville, Va., that killed 10 people, a federal jury has decided in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C. The decision, filed May 5 and entered into the court docket Thursday, ended the first phase of the trials surrounding the crash, which killed four members of the Hendrick family, two Hendrick employees, two others and both pilots. The verdict, which followed a 10-day trial, ended the first of two trials associated with the crash. The second phase will be a bench trial, which will begin July 7. The jury trial centered around a claim from widow Dianne Dorton, wife of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton, on whether the pilots’ estates could be held liable for the actions of the pilots. The jury decided that the actions of the pilots did not meet the negligence requirements for their estates to be held liable. The bench trial will cover five cases involving widows Dorton; Linda Turner, wife of HMS general manager Jeff Turner; and Tracy Lathram, wife of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane; HMS Holdings, parent company of Hendrick Motorsports; and the United States. SceneDaily

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05/15/09
atlantic

De Silvestro Quickest in Atlantic Practice
Approximately 13 months ago, Simona De Silvestro became the second woman in the history of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda to win a race when she triumphed at Long Beach.

She could be on the verge of her second victory in the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix on Sunday if her Friday practice times at Miller Motorsports Park are any indication. De Silvestro led both of the day’s sessions, posting an overall quickest time of 1:37.196 (112.894 mph) in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/CME/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies/Maakoa entry from Team Stargate Worlds.

De Silvestro was 0.382 seconds quicker in the afternoon session than her next closest competitor, John Edwards. She was 0.241 seconds faster than Jonathan Summerton in the morning session. Her performance was all the more impressive considering that she was battling a bit of a cold on Friday.

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05/15/09
lms

Electric racer will come with a whopping 2,000 Nm of torque
Not sure if an electric race car can technically meet all the requirements and specifications of Le Mans racing today, but GreenGT of Switzerland has designed an electric racer to do just that.

Meet GreenGT's first design study for a Le Mans prototype that could possibly compete in the 2011 24-hour race at Le Mans.

The Le-Mont-sur-Lausanne-based GreenGT team commissioned the young French designer Thomas Clavet of the ISD Valencienne Design School to create this Le Mans prototype.

The prototype is made up of an FIA-spec carbon chassis with a fiberglass body. It comes with 2 water-cooled electric motors each with 100 kW (2 x 100 kW) coupled to a differential gearbox patented by GreenGT. Power supply comes from flexcell photovoltaic solar panels (What? You don't know what those are?) and two lithium-ion batteries, each with 30kWh of juice. The whole thing weighs in at a ship-shape 860 kg.

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05/15/09
track news

Dover extends pits and wall
A long winter’s work has finally reached completion as construction crews at Dover International Speedway recently bolted the SAFER barrier into place to complete the renovation of the new pit wall.

With the steel tubing secured and the foam blocks installed, the new, longer and safer pit wall is ready for action when NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on May 29-31, 2009. The new improvements are expected to impact the competition on the track and pit road, and add another exciting element that will keep drivers guessing and fans cheering.

Dover modifications
The SAFER barrier (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) is supported by a new 1,592 ft. concrete wall that wraps from Turn 4 down the frontstretch to near Turn 1. The new pit wall is 432 ft. longer than the previous steel boilerplate wall. The SAFER barrier consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks, and reduces the force of the initial impact of a crash. SAFER barriers are currently in place in all four turns at the track and on the inside retaining walls of the one-mile, concrete oval.

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05/15/09
irl

Indy 500 notebook for Friday UPDATE #2 Raphael Matos and #02 Graham Rahal advanced from the Pit Stop Time Trials yesterday to join eight other entrants in the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge that will be contested Friday, May 22. They join #3 Helio Castroneves, #6 Ryan Briscoe, #7 Danica Patrick, #9 Scott Dixon, #10 Dario Franchitti, #11 Tony Kanaan, #21 Ryan Hunter-Reay and #26 Marco Andretti.

The entrants will compete in four rounds to determine the winner of a $40,000 prize.

***

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY CENTENNIAL ERA FACT OF THE DAY: When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909, the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series and Wintergreen won the Kentucky Derby. Other notable facts from 1909:

·        The cost of a postage stamp was 2 cents.

·        A bottle of Coca-Cola cost 5 cents.

·        A gallon of gas cost 6 cents.

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05/15/09
irl

Dixon 1st, KV Racing drivers 2nd & 3rd at Indy Friday
Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon topped the speed chart as qualified teams continued preparations for the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

Dixon recorded the fastest lap of the day, 40.3951 seconds, 222.799 mph, on his fifth lap of the day driving his qualified car. Mario Moraes, who was fastest May 14, was second fastest with a lap of 222.530 mph, also in a qualified car.

The non-qualified car of Townsend Bell and Team Penske front-row teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top five.

Bell, running a second-week sister program to Moraes' car, was the fastest among the drivers who have not yet qualified for the 33-car field. Bell's top lap was 222.139 mph.

Oriol Servia, Robert Doornbos, Alex Tagliani and Tomas Scheckter, making his debut for Dale Coyne Racing, also were non-qualified drivers who turned laps faster than 220 mph on a day that ended 17 minutes early due to loose bricks on the famed Yard of Bricks on the start-finish line.

The final 11 spots in the field of 33 cars (positions 22-33), will be available during Third-Day Qualifying on May 16. Bump Day is scheduled for May 17.

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05/15/09
nassprint

Craftsman and NASCAR® Announce Newest NASCAR® Award
Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR®, and NASCAR today announced the newest NASCAR® season-ending award -- the Craftsman Wrenchman Award, to recognize a team member from each of the three national NASCAR® Touring Series who best showcases core Craftsman attributes of Trust, Quality, Knowledge and Innovation when performing their job with the race team. 

The Craftsman Wrenchman Award is open to all crew members, whether they work at the track or race shop.  Teams will nominate one team member with a selection committee choosing the finalists.  A fan voting will decide the winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series side, while the selection committee will choose the winners from the NASCAR® Nationwide and NASCAR® Camping World Truck series.

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05/15/09
nassprint

Brian France says Mayfield was in serious violation
NASCAR chairman Brian France has classified Jeremy Mayfield's positive test as "a serious violation" of the sport's toughened drug policy. France will not reveal what substance Mayfield was caught using in a random drug test May 1. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the driver last week after his backup "B" sample also tested positive. Many drivers have called on NASCAR to disclose the drug, in part to clear up any confusion over what is banned under the policy. But France says NASCAR sees no benefit in revealing the substance. ESPN/AP

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05/15/09
irl

Dale Coyne Racing confirms Tomas Scheckter
The much anticipated weekend lineup for the final attempt at making the famed 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 has gained a strong entry in the Mona Vie, Dale Coyne Racing #19 driven by Tomas Scheckter. 

“We are excited to have Tomas as part of our team,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “He has shown great promise, and now with Mona Vie sponsoring his car, we anticipate a strong showing at this weekend’s race.”

Mona Vie is an energy drink designed to provide the antioxidants a body needs to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.  Mona Vie is proven to stimulate healthy joints and offers the nutrition needed to support the cardiovascular system.

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05/15/09
irl

Conway cleared to drive
Medical update from Dr. Geoffrey Billows, medical director for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: #24 Mike Conway was re-evaluated this morning at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center. He is cleared to drive.

MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "I wanted to get in (May 14), because you feel ready when you're ready. I feel good and will trim out the car today and see where we go. (Davey Hamilton) shook down the car (May 14) and made sure everything's OK. He said it felt the same as his, so that's the main thing."

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05/15/09
nascar

Sprint Showdown Qualifying Canceled
Friday evening's qualifying session for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Showdown has been canceled due to rain that washed over Lowe's Motor Speedway earlier in the afternoon.

The field for the 40-lap race will be set by the qualifying draw, giving Kirk Shelmerdine the pole, however he will have to drop to the rear of the field after wrecking his primary car in practice, putting David Stremme out in front when the field takes the green flag.

Dave Blaney, Scott Riggs, Martin Truex, Jr. and David Ragan round out the top five. The top two finishers from the Sprint Showdown will advance to the Sprint All Star Race later tomorrow night, along with a third driver who will advance via the Sprint Fan Vote.
Pete McCole at Lowe's Motor Speedway

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05/15/09
nascar

Truck Series Qualifying Rained Out
Rain washed out qualifying for Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and the field will be set by the owners points standings, giving the front row to Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner.

21 of the 39 qualifiers took to the track before a late afternoon shower passed over the speedway. Ron Hornaday, Jr. had the provisional pole, posting a top speed of 178.849 mph. He will start third in Friday night's race, followed by Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton.

Missing the show will be Wayne Edwards, Jon Wes Townley and Andy Ponstein.
Pete McCole at Lowe's Motor Speedway

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05/15/09
motogp

Rossi woos Paris ahead of Le Mans
It wasn’t quite a romantic stroll, by the Seine but there was definitely something memorable about MotoGP World Champion, Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi’s first blast past the Eiffel tower and Champs-Élysées with an YZF-R1. The Italian was taking in the tourist hot-spots of Paris ahead of pushing for his 99th career victory this weekend at Le Mans.

Rossi was the draw for hundreds of MotoGP fans and curious onlookers as the 30 year old carefully steered a special edition Monster Energy- livered R1 by the Arc de Triomphe, through nearby streets to a press conference and then – despite the rain – managed a burn-out in front of the French capital’s famous sky-line form.

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05/15/09
irl

Indy 500 pole day TV ratings
Even on a fledgling cable channel, the events surrounding the Indianapolis 500 continue to be an attraction—though I’m sure the Indy Racing League’s new TV partner was hoping for better. Pole Day qualifications drew a 0.35 Nielsen TV rating Saturday (May 9) on Versus (It used to be 1.0 or higher on ABC). That means about 385,000 TV households nationwide tuned in to the cable channel broadcast. It’s not exactly a Super Bowl type rating, but it’s as good as any Indy Racing League race so far this year.

Well, actually, Pole Day drew just less than the Long Beach race (388,864 households), but better than IRL races in St. Petersburg and Kansas earlier this year. Versus’ broadcast of the second day of Indianapolis 500 qualifications on Sunday nearly did as well, with 322,000 TV households tuning in.

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05/15/09
f1

Legal action complicates F1 row solution - Mosley
(GMM)  Ferrari's escalation of the budget cap row will complicate negotiations for a resolution, Max Mosley said on Friday.

The FIA president was speaking following a meeting in London, whereafter Bernie Ecclestone indicated that major progress had been made to placate furious formula one teams.

"I think the most important thing that upset everybody is the two-tier technical system, and I think it's been agreed that we shouldn't have that, we should just have one set of regulations," the F1 chief executive said.

"I think everybody is more or less happy with the budget cap, it's just a case of how much," Ecclestone added.

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05/15/09
nassprint

Petty CEO resigns
Richard Petty Motorsports Chief Executive Officer Tom Reddin has resigned for personal reasons, team sources confirmed Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Reddin had joined the team in February 2008 and oversaw the operations in the first full year with the team being owned primarily by the Gillett family. He also oversaw the merger with Petty Enterprises in January.

Reddin will remain with the team as a consultant. The RPM management team, including President Rick Russell and Chief Marketing Officer De Cordell, will absorb Reddin’s duties.

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05/15/09
lms

Team withdraws from LeMans, is replaced
The Russian team IPB Spartak’s Lamborghini Murcielago (LM GT1) will not be present at compulsory practice on 10th June.
 
In compliance with the ACO’s regulations the place left vacant by the Lamborghini’s withdrawal goes to the first car on the reserve list, no matter what its category, in this case the French team Barazi Epsilon’s Zytek 07S (LM P2).

Four cars are still on the reserve list for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours. As from 22nd May, no reserves will be called in to replace withdrawals.

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05/15/09
f2

Wickens tops official F2 test
Rob Wickens
The first official FIA Formula Two Championship test has concluded at Snetterton, with Canadian Rob Wickens finishing the day at the top of the timesheets with a time of 59.433s.

Wickens’ flying lap, which was set deep into the afternoon session, was nearly bettered immediately afterwards by fellow Red Bull junior driver Mirko Bortolotti, but the Italian missed out by just 0.168s. Six other drivers dipped below the one minute mark, with Formula Palmer Audi graduate Alex Brundle ending up third quickest.

Andy Soucek
Experienced Spaniard Andy Soucek was the only driver to set a sub-one minute time in both the morning and afternoon – his afternoon lap of 59.763s was good enough for fourth place. Philipp Eng and Milos Pavlovic were fifth and sixth respectively, but were unable to improve on their early morning pace. Julien Jousse, Sebastian Hohenthal, Mikhail Aleshin and Tobias Hegewald rounded out the top ten.

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05/15/09
motogp

Dovizioso sets pace in France practice
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was fastest in today’s opening practice for the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans in a session that was cut in half by a rain shower after 30 minutes. Both he and his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, were quickly on the pace this afternoon as they began the process of setting up the factory RC212V ahead of Sunday’s 28-lap race at the famous French venue.

Dovizioso lay in second place early in the session before going top at the halfway point, immediately before rain began to fall and the riders ducked into the pits. Though some riders returned to the damp track, they were unable to better Dovizioso’s fastest lap. Both Repsol Honda riders chose not to ride many laps in the damp conditions, preferring to preserve their allocation of wet tires.

Afterwards Dovizioso said, "I’m happy today because we have started in the right way here at Le Mans. I like this track and I was able to be fast right from the beginning of the session. Unfortunately it started raining in the middle of the practice and so we didn’t do many laps - only 16 in total. This meant we couldn’t test so many options on the machine but anyway, we were able to get some useful information and learn that we need to improve the set-up for corner entry. The lap times overall were not very fast today and I think they will come down by around two seconds - so today’s lap time is not indicative for the weekend. Regarding the race, I’ve had many podium finishes here so my expectations are high, but it’s too early to speculate about results. We just need to keep on working hard - and keep an eye on the weather."

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05/15/09
f1

F1 crisis meeting kicks off in London
(GMM)  The meeting between FIA president Max Mosley and the F1 teams, also involving Bernie Ecclestone, is currently taking place in London's Heathrow airport hotel conference rooms.

But the man at the centre of the furor, Luca di Montezemolo, is not in town, despite threatening on Tuesday to pull his famous Ferrari team out of the sport.

Montezemolo is also president of the F1 teams alliance FOTA, but it emerges that the 61-year-old remains in Italy due to the death of his father.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali is instead representing Ferrari in London, while it is believed that Toyota's John Howett is standing in as FOTA chairman.

"We have always been in support of the budget cap," Williams chief executive Adam Parr said as he entered the hotel, amid the ruckus of the world's media.

At the heart of Friday's agenda is not just the budget cap issue, but also the teams' concerns about the general governance of the sport.

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05/15/09
f1

Di Montezemolo missing F1 talks because father dies
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has threatened to pull his team out of Formula One unless the 2010 rules are changed, will miss Friday's crisis talks with Max Mosley after the death of his father.

The champions were represented instead by team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Friday's meeting with the FIA president, who has taken a low profile since the death of his son last week, will seek to end a standoff that threatens to tear the sport apart.

"I think this is a very important day, I think everybody feels we need to find a solution that makes sense for independent teams, manufacturers and the FIA," Williams chief executive Adam Parr said as he arrived at the Heathrow airport hotel. "Unfortunately we had an opportunity 12 months ago to do it in a more flexible and gentle way, and I fear time is running out."

The FIA want an optional £40 million cost cap, offering greater technical freedom than available to those teams staying on unrestricted budgets, that they say is needed for the sport's survival in the face of the global financial crisis.

Ferrari, and former champions Renault, say that will lead to a two-tier championship that they cannot accept and have both threatened to leave.

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05/15/09
f1

Stewart slams Mosley's budget cap plans
Sir Jackie Stewart, who hates Max Mosley (and the feeling is mutual we're sure) has slammed the FIA President's efforts to set a budget cap for Formula One teams.

Many of the car manufacturers involved in the sport have threatened to quit at the end of this season over the issue, and their plight has found support in one of F1's most famous names.

69-year-old Stewart, who won three world championships and in the 90s ran his own team, said the FIA should leave the teams to determine the size of their budgets.

"These are private enterprise companies that are run to make profit by building cars," the Scot told the Daily Express tabloid.

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05/15/09
nassprint

Mayfield allowed to drive after positive drug result
A day after learning Jeremy Mayfield failed a drug test for something other than a performance-enhancer, NASCAR allowed him to drive a race car at Darlington Raceway at speeds up to 173 mph. A person familiar with the test results told The Associated Press on Thursday that Mayfield's positive test was not for a performance-enhancing drug. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR won't reveal what banned substance was found in the random test, which ultimately resulted in Mayfield's indefinite suspension. Because Mayfield challenged the initial positive finding, as allowed under NASCAR's drug policy, the series did not take disciplinary action until his backup "B" sample also tested positive. That's why Mayfield wasn't barred from participating in two practice sessions and a qualifying session May 8 at Darlington. More at ESPN.com/AP

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05/15/09
irl

Indy 500 Notebook - Thursday
Both Helio Castroneves and Rick Mears drove to their third Indianapolis 500 poles in their ninth "500" start. Mears, the "Master of Faster," went on to win a record six poles in 15 starts. Mears earned his third pole at age 34 in 1986. Castroneves got his third pole the day before his 34th birthday in 2009.

***

Former IMS Radio Network anchor and ABC Indianapolis 500 anchor Paul Page will offer commentary during the IMS Radio Network broadcast of the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

Page will provide pre-race, mid-race and post-race comments. Page will join former IMS Radio Network anchor Bob Jenkins and current anchor Mike King for a pre-race commentary on past "500" radio broadcasts.

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05/15/09
f1

Renault selling off old parts
Alonso in his Renault at Monaco in 2006
Renault is putting various car and engine components up for sale this week, giving fans the chance to get their hands on parts from both the French team's Formula One cars of recent years plus those which made up the Renault V10 engines which took, notably, the Williams and Benetton teams to success in the 1990's.The online sale, taking place on the official RenaultF1 website, will only be in action until Monday as a result of the limited number of parts available; those featured include anything ranging from a 1991 conrod used on the Williams gearbox to a 2006 R26 exhaust, coming in at a cool €3,500. Also on offer is a sky blue front wing flap from 2005, or perhaps those searching for a cheaper artifact would be interested in a €40 'finger follower' from 1993?

For your chance to grab some of the memorabilia, proceed to the Renault website by clicking here.

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05/15/09
f1

Monaco GP prices go through the roof
Monaco
Despite the financial downturn and the appreciation of the euro against the British pound, Monaco hotels have hiked their prices for this year’s Grand Prix. It is also 20 times more expensive to moor a yacht in the harbor than it was just a few years ago. US$30,000 is now the minimum for a week’s mooring for even the smallest boat.

But the hotels are most guilty of extraordinary pricing. Thursday night is now considered a Grand Prix night, whereas before it was standard rack rate, and is now three times dearer, even at the more modest establishments. It is costing teams some US$3,000 for their riggers to stay for three nights before the Grand Prix.

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05/15/09
v8

Aussie Telecommunications giant signs for racing sponsorship
Telecommunications brand 3 will be an on-car sponsor of V8 Supercar team Dick Johnson Racing for the rest of 2009.

The deal is an expansion of the previous arrangement, under which 3, the brand owned by Hutchison 3G, had no on-car sponsorship. Its branding will now appear under the rear wing of the team's two cars, a position regularly captured by in-car cameras, as well as on DJR merchandise.

DJR is Australia's oldest touring car team, and has won six Australian Touring Car Championship titles, though the most recent was in 1995.

Hutchison 3G also has a sponsorship deal in place with Cricket Australia worth more than US$20 million.

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05/15/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hamilton likens F1 sagas to 'jail'
  • Hamilton 'not bothered' by budget cap fight
  • No Rome GP without Ferrari - mayor
  • Work to begin at 2011 French GP site
  • Stewart slams Mosley's budget cap plans
  • Briatore thinks criticism is positive - Piquet
  • Britain has a new favorite - Horner

Hamilton likens F1 sagas to 'jail'
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has likened his current state of mind in formula one to wrongful imprisonment.

As a diamond number '1' was unveiled on the top of his helmet ahead of the prestigious Monaco grand prix, the reigning world champion said the recent battering of his reputation has left him not overly enjoying his job.

From the criticism of his Swiss tax exile, his personality, and now 'lie-gate', the 24-year-old said: "It's got to be a similar feeling to anyone who goes to jail but feels they shouldn't be behind bars.

"That is the feeling I have had, although I know what happened in Australia was wrong," said Hamilton at the McLaren factory on Thursday, where the team's usual sponsor linkup for Monaco with a diamond company was announced.

"I just feel knocked about by it all," he is quoted as saying by The Times newspaper.  "I want to be a driver -- I am not in the sport to be a politician."

Hamilton insists the controversies have not affected his driving, but admits he is disillusioned with formula one because of its constant politics.

"It affects your life, it affects the way you are.  I used to enjoy formula one and part of that has been taken away from me," he explained.

"Unfortunately, it is the way the formula one world works for some reason.  It's much nicer in the lower categories, where all the people are there just to race and the teams are there just to race," added Hamilton.

Reporters have also noticed a marked change recently in Hamilton's attitude with the media, which now prioritizes his take on off-track sagas over his work in the cockpit.

"Talking to the media and having interviews on television used to be great fun, but it has changed.  I have no doubts in my mind I can enjoy formula one just as much as I did before.  Just not now," he said.

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