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Jean Alesi says he feels ‘unsafe’ in slug Lotus  Jean Alesi says his slow car is making him feel "unsafe" at Indianapolis 500 practice. It’s yet another blow to engine-manufacturer Lotus, which has been far slower than Honda or Chevrolet all season. In the last month three teams have ditched Lotus, and Dragon Racing filed a $4.6 million lawsuit against the company.

Only two Lotus cars are trying to make the 33-car field and they were the slowest again Wednesday. More ...

Dodge extends partnership with NASCAR Canada  For the sixth year in a row, Dodge - in partnership with NASCAR Canada - returns to the racetrack as the official vehicle of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Featuring the country's top drivers, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is Canada's only national racing series and runs across the country from May to September. Complete coverage of the 12-race season airs exclusively on TSN, TSN2 and in French on RDS2.

"Dodge and Mopar are a major force behind one of the fastest-growing spectator sports in Canada, which is NASCAR stock car racing," said Ed Broadbear, Vice President of Marketing, Chrysler Canada. "The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series sponsorship helps us connect with motorsports fans across the country, who are just as passionate about their rides off the track as they are about watching the racing teams on the track. It's a perfect fit!" More ...

Indy Day 5: Newgarden fastest, then spins  
Josef Newgarden before he spun and brushed the wall.  It's nearly impossible to lose control of the new IndyCar, it's easy flat lap after lap.
Rookie Josef Newgarden learned a valuable lesson about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500 continued.

The 21-year-old Tennessee native's respect for the racetrack grew with 16 minutes left in the six-hour practice session May 16 when his car bobbled in Turn 4, did two complete spins and struck a glancing blow on the pit lane retaining wall. It was the first incident of contact of the month.

Other than a scare, it was a positive day for Newgarden, who topped the time chart for the third time this month.

Newgarden's best lap of 40.3977 seconds (222.785 mph) led Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti (222.108 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (221.763) and James Hinchcliffe (221.638) as teams continued working on race set-ups with the new Dallara chassis. More ...

With six months to go, Austin on track for F1 race  Six months.

That's all the time remaining until Austin and Circuit of the Americas host the first Formula One Grand Prix in the United States in five years.

The scramble to welcome the world in November could turn out to be more frantic than the U.S. Grand Prix itself. After all, the 3.4-mile track has yet to be poured, the buildings are only shells, the traffic plan is still a work in progress, hotels are waiting for the big rush on their high-priced rooms, and race tickets for the general public aren't yet for sale.

But then, the uncertainty and the intrigue that have surrounded the circuit and its F1 race are part of what has made the $300 million project so fascinating for Austinites to follow. More ...

Dragon To Run Thursday With Chevy Power  Not sure what the legal ramifications will be but Dragon Racing and Katherine Legge is "scheduled" to be on track Thursday morning with a Chevrolet engine. Chief steward Beaux Barfield confirmed Wednesday that Legge will be allowed to begin her rookie test at 8 a.m. and have 90 minutes of running in Jay Penske's car.

What happens to Sebastien Bourdais and Legge after that remains to be seen because Dragon and Lotus are embroiled in a contract dispute.

Penske is suing Lotus for $4.6 million and wants released from his contract and Lotus supposedly wants a monetary settlement from the son of the 16-time Indy 500 winning owner. More ...

Race On, Andretti Motorsports become third team to lead race efforts in Baltimore  A pair of local investors who have teamed with racing star Michael Andretti's promotions company on Wednesday became the third group to be given control of the Baltimore Grand Prix race.

The city's spending board voted to approve a contract with Race On, a company founded last month by financier J.P. Grant III and concrete contractor Greg O'Neill. Race On will work with Andretti Sports Marketing to plan all aspects of the Labor Day weekend event, which is less than four months away.

City Comptroller Joan Pratt, who had voted against the city's previous Grand Prix contract with another group in February, backed the latest agreement, citing her confidence in Grant. More ...

Lotus/Judd cars so slow drivers need extra boost just to pass rookie test  Here’s one way to make a Lotus-powered car go faster at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Turn up the engine’s boost level.

The Star confirmed today that Lotus drivers Jean Alesi, a rookie, and Simona De Silvestro made significant jumps in speed over the past two days thanks to increased boost levels allowed by IndyCar.

The boost level was based on what all teams will receive Friday in preparation for weekend qualifying. IndyCar has projected its worth at 4-5 mph. More ...

Dan Wheldon's car restored, will take ceremonial Indy 500 lap  (WISH) - The IndyCar driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will be a feature at this year’s race, after Wheldon died in a crash in Las Vegas last year.

Crews restored the car and brought it to the Hall of Fame Museum at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

IMS officials say the car will play a crucial part in Indy 500 festivities on May 27. An engine will be placed in Wheldon’s car so it can be driven around the track for a ceremonial lap. More ...

Is that The Donald with Mario Andretti?  
Mario Andretti and Donald Trump on the streets of Manhattan Tuesday
Not much turns heads on the streets of Manhattan. But spotting Donald Trump in the back seat of an Indy car – with Mario Andretti driving – now that brings out the Verizon phones to snap a photo.

Andretti pulled up in front of Trump Tower on a rainy day to chauffeur Trump to his next appointment.

“In my opinion, safer than a taxi,” Andretti said. “Through the streets of New York we went in the rain – and not a hair out of place.” More ...

Why McLaren is testing at Abu Dhabi instead of Silverstone  McLaren sporting director Sam Michael has confirmed McLaren carry out their young driver test in Abu Dhabi rather than at Silverstone.

The test has usually taken place after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but some teams are planning to test at Silverstone after the British GP, due to logistical problems of getting from the United Arab Emirates to the new United States Grand Prix in Texas.

Red Bull and stable-mate Toro Rosso have also state their intension to run in Abu Dhabi. More ...

Newman, Busch incident after Darlington race  UPDATE Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 by NASCAR on Tuesday for reckless driving on pit road at Darlington and a post-race altercation with Ryan Newman's crew members.

Busch was also placed on probation through July 25 for his actions Saturday night, which began when a flat tire caused him to wreck with six laps remaining in the race.

He headed to pit road for repairs, and, as he left, he did a burnout through Newman's pit box. There were crew members over the wall and on pit road at the time, and they complained they could have been injured by Busch's actions.

Busch also ran into Newman's car on pit road after the race, and several of Newman's crew members confronted Busch. More ...

Budweiser back at Indy  UPDATE Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (SCCGR) announced today a partnership with Budweiser that will see the King of Beers’ logo on Graham Rahal’s No.38 Service Central Honda during the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), culminating in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 (12:00 noon. ET, ABC).

Budweiser will have billboards throughout the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area to activate the partnership, as well as point of sale and personal appearances by Rahal over the course of the month.

05/09/12 For those who haven't seen or heard, Budweiser is back at the Indy 500 this year, better yet w/ a Rahal as the driver! This according to a tweet by Graham Rahal.  It is an associate sponsorship, not primary.
Kaltenborn receives a third of the stake of Sauber  
Monisha Kaltenborn
In the interests of continuity, Peter Sauber has taken the decision to transfer a third of the stake in the Sauber Group to CEO Monisha Kaltenborn. Sauber, the Team Principal and President of the Board of Directors of all Sauber Group companies, will retain the remaining two thirds.

“When BMW pulled out of Formula One in 2009, Monisha Kaltenborn was instrumental in the team’s survival and since then she has been doing outstanding work in her capacity as CEO,” says Peter Sauber. “Transferring one third of the stake to her represents an important step for me in providing continuity. My desire is to ensure that the company continues to be led as I would want over the long term. Monisha Kaltenborn and my son Alex, who joined the company as Marketing Director in 2010 and has since also been a member of the Board of Management, both embrace this aim. It means we can offer our employees a positive outlook for the future.”

CEO Monisha Kaltenborn adds: “For me this step is a mark of the greatest possible trust, which I will do everything in my power to justify.”
Rahal Letterman move to Indy  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing still is headquartered in Hilliard, but in its recharged pursuit of Indianapolis 500 glory, its IndyCar base of operations now is in the Indianapolis suburb of Brownsburg.

“The reality is it is very difficult to attract (IndyCar engineering and crew) talent outside of Indianapolis,” Bobby Rahal said. “Everybody is dug in there, they have families, they have kids in school, wives that work, and to ask them to move to Ohio, it’s tough.”

The team’s championship-winning BMW effort in the American LeMans Series is still based in the Hilliard shop. But when Rahal rolled his company’s IndyCar effort out of semiretirement this past winter, he opted to take it to where the skilled labor was. More ...

Interview with Williams’ Mark Gillan  Victory in Barcelona marked, not only Pastor Maldonado’s maiden win in Formula 1 and the first for Williams since 2004, but the first time the team had triumphed under the technical leadership of Mark Gillan. The Englishman, Chief Operations Engineer for the Grove-based outfit, shares his feelings after a highly dramatic weekend.

Mark, how much satisfaction do you derive from Pastor Maldonado’s victory in the Spanish Grand Prix?
This is a massive result for Williams and of course it is incredibly satisfying, especially given the tribulations of the 2011 season. However, this business is all about continuous improvement and it is important that we continue to deliver. More ...

MWR rewards crew with helmet stickers  Few weeks in the 10-month NASCAR Sprint Cup season put as great of a spotlight on pit crew members as the next two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. At Michael Waltrip Racing, success is measured on the crew helmets. This year MWR began awarding helmet stickers like college football teams.

The #55 helmets carry Aaron's Lucky Dog stickers, the #15 crew earns 5-hour ENERGY bottle decals and the #56 team receives NAPA Battery logos. "I'm a big fan of Ohio State football and have always liked the way the coaches reward big plays with buckeye stickers on the helmets," said MWR's pit coach Greg Miller. "We wanted to do something to reward the guys when they do something special on the crew." More ...

Jimmy Spencer to retire, move back to PA  
Jimmy Spencer
Jimmy Spencer, a former NASCAR driver and current television personality who goes by the nickname "Mr. Excitement," has never backed down from speaking his mind. And at Darlington, he wasn't about to change. His subject wasn't racing, religion, politics or anything of the sort. It was much more personal.

"I am going retire. That's it. I am going to put my house up for sale and move back to Pennsylvania where I was raised," said Spencer, who won twice in 478 Sprint Cup starts with such team owners as Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson and Travis Carter. Spencer also competed on several other NASCAR circuits. His record includes 12 Nationwide Series wins and 15 victories on the Modified Tour. More ...
track news
Kentucky Speedway boss confident traffic, parking woes solved  Mark Simendinger, general manager of Kentucky Speedway, might be looking forward to the June 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 more than anyone else in the state. Even at a feel-good event, Tuesday's unveiling of the new 2013 Ford Escape pace vehicles built at Louisville's Ford Assembly Plant, even with Daytona 500 champ Matt Kenseth on hand to hype the event, the talk eventually turned to traffic.

"I cannot wait," Simendinger said. "I used to play sports a lot. I played a lot of baseball, and there were certain pitchers that I couldn't hit, and I wasn't too thrilled about going up and facing those guys. But when I knew I was going to be able to hit somebody, I couldn't wait to get up. And that's the way I feel right now because we are ready to go." More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Sochi track layout
    Russia has GP preparations 'on back burner' - source
  • Alguersuari says 2013 return '100 per cent' sure
  • Pirelli ready to supply qualifying tires - Tronchetti
  • Vettel defends Schumacher after Senna crash
  • New winner Maldonado looks for Monaco repeat
  • FIA had to disqualify Hamilton in Spain - Whiting
  • Sponsor seeks millions from F1 driver Doornbos
  • Final Williams member returns to UK More ...
New IndyCar plow produces same effect as Handford Device  
$100 Handford Device created the same huge hole in the air and allowed cars behind to 'tow-up' on the cars ahead.
The big hole in the air that the new IndyCar makes through the air as its massive bodywork plows the air aside is producing the same effect as the Handford Device that CART used for the ovals back in 2000.  The cost of the Handford Device, which was really a flap of carbon fiber on the rear wing, was about $100.  To produce the same effect the teams had to spend over $200,000 on the new IndyCar.  $100.  $200,000.  You decide.

The new IndyCar is slow, period.  Wide open, easy flat, and you might get 217 MPH out of it around Indy with no draft (possibly more when the increase turbo boost for qualifying).  However, behind other cars and the massive hole in the air they create, the new IndyCar is able to get a huge tow and make significant gains on the car in front. All the top speeds of the week have been with massive tows.  More ...

HoneyBaked Ham of Bloomington to Sponsor Clauson in Indy 500  
Bryan Clauson
IZOD IndyCar Series rookie driver Bryan Clauson loves to eat the Paradise Club sandwich at HoneyBaked Ham of Bloomington, Ind., and this May his favorite sandwich shop has stepped up to sponsor his No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/RW Dallara/Honda/Firestone car in the Indianapolis 500.

HoneyBaked Ham of Bloomington has been a strong supporter of Clauson throughout his racing career, and the relationship will continue when Clauson debuts in the biggest race of his career.

“I had the privilege to sponsor Bryan in his Firestone Indy Lights car as well as his sprint and midget cars last year, and I am excited to be part of his IZOD IndyCar series debut with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in Indianapolis this month,” said Phil Randall, owner of HoneyBaked Ham of Bloomington. “Bryan is a very talented driver, and I’m looking forward to watching him perform in this year’s Indy 500!” More ...

Maldonado's F1 win stirs controversy in Venezuela  
Pastor Maldonado
Images of Pastor Maldonado celebrating his Formula One victory in the Spanish Grand Prix are being replayed to patriotic music on Venezuelan television. President Hugo Chavez is also heaping praise on the driver.

But while F1 fans on both side of Venezuela's polarized political landscape are lauding Maldonado's performance, some critics have been questioning how many millions of dollars Venezuela's state oil company has spent in sponsorship money for the team.

Chavez opponent Yon Goicoechea called it ironic that Petroleos de Venezuela SA has been financing the Williams team in "a sport of elites," while the government claims to represent the interests of the poor.

Chavez campaign manager Jorge Rodriguez on Tuesday criticized Goicoechea's remarks as "fascism."

Firestone tire spec designed for more grip  IZOD IndyCar Series teams are using a new Firestone Firehawk tire specification at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Almost 5,000 tires are available for the month, with each entry receiving 33 sets for all of practice, qualifying and the race. Pole Day top-nine qualifiers will receive an additional set for the pole shootout in the final 90 minutes of the May 19 session.

“Once again, our unmatched race tire development group has produced what we believe to be an even better tire specification for Indy than the specification run here the past two years that received rave reviews,” said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing. “The 2012 Firehawks for Indy feature updated tread compounds at all four tire positions applied to the same body construction used on last year's tire.

“We expect these new compounds to provide slightly more grip for the left side, but with all four tires retaining the great durability and set-to-set consistency that the Firestone tires of past years have achieved.”

Marco Andretti fastest on Day 4 at Indy  
Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti, driving the No. 26 Team RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport, led the way in Indy 500 practice Tuesday with a lap of 40.2367 seconds (223.676 mph) – a high through four days of practice.

“I don’t think anybody is going to be able to lead for more than a couple of laps,” Andretti predicted. “It’s going to be a great show for the fans.”

The top 25 cars were separated by 1 second as teams continued working on race set-ups and simulations on the 2.5-mile oval. They’ll turn their attention May 18 to set-ups for qualifications as they’ll be afforded an extra 40-50 horsepower via turning up the boost of the turbochargers. More ...

Williams fire investigation still ongoing says Gillan  Williams chief operating engineer Mark Gillan says the team is still assessing the damage following Sunday’s pit fire in Barcelona – and has yet to determine the cause.

The fire started right behind the area where all the telemetry equipment and servers were located, and Gillan confirmed that replacing the IT infrastructure in time for Monaco is a major challenge.

“I would like to reiterate our thanks to everyone in the paddock who helped the Williams team on Sunday to control the fire,” Gillan said in a team Q&A. “There were a number of people who attended the circuit medical centre, mostly as the result of smoke inhalation. One team member remains in hospital having suffered burns, but he is in a stable condition and in good spirits and has returned to England today for further medical care. More ...

The Obama Economy Is Wrecking NASCAR  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has been considered America’s fastest growing sport, quickly becoming a national phenomenon. But a new economic study shows even NASCAR’s powerful engines haven’t been able to keep up with the Obama-era economy.

The study, from the pro-market think tank Public Notice and Race Fans 4 Freedom, finds that the economic downturn of the last several years has directly affected how NASCAR fans watch and enjoy their sport. Since 2009, race attendance per year has fallen below 4 million people, and the number has been declining severely as the unemployment rate has skyrocketed. The cost of attending—with higher gas prices, less disposable income, and diminished financial security—has increased. More ...
NASCAR Nationwide Darlington TV Rating  ESPN2’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Friday night, May 11, earned a 1.2 household coverage rating (1.0 U.S. rating), averaging 1,590,786 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company.

The rating was up from last year’s Darlington race, which earned a 1.0 coverage rating.

NASCAR Nationwide Series ratings are up seven percent across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC this season compared to last year at this point and up 23 percent over this point in 2010. Of the eight races run so far this season that aired on ESPN networks last year, six have shown ratings increases.

Barcelona Williams garage close to repair  
Williams Garage after fire
Just two days after the dramatic fire which brought the curtain down on the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, repair work is already almost complete on the Williams garage of the Circuit de Catalunya. The cause of the raging inferno is yet to be identified.

Shortly after Pastor Maldonado, Sir Frank Williams and other members of the team had celebrated the Venezuelan’s maiden victory and the squad’s first since 2004, fuel canisters at the back of the garage appeared to ignite in rapid fashion. Although the flames were quenched in around three minutes, thick and acrid smoke continued to fill the vicinity. More ...

'Culinary Rock Star' Fieri To Drive Indianapolis 500 Pace Car  
Guy Fieri
Restaurateur, best-selling author and host of the Food Network's hit show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" Guy Fieri will drive the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Pace Car to lead the field of 33 drivers to start the 2012 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fieri is an avid classic car collector. He owns a red 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible that is featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Among others, Fieri also has a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454, 1967 Chevrolet C10 pickup, 2006 Chevrolet Kodiak C4500 4x4, 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV.

"There are races and then there are races," Fieri said. "And without a doubt, the Indy 500 is the race that I've always wanted to attend. And now, to be driving the Corvette Pace Car ... this is going to be unbelievable." More ...

TV News
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Iowa on ESPN 
The NASCAR Nationwide Series races this weekend at Iowa Speedway near Des Moines and the race airs live on ESPN on Sunday, May 20. NASCAR Countdown airs at 1:30 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 2:24 p.m. 

Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree.
Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake.

NHRA Topeka Action on ESPN2, ESPN3
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will compete in the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas, this weekend and drag racing fans can watch action on both ESPN2 and ESPN3. All NHRA programming on ESPN2 and ESPN3 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets through WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app. More ...

tv news
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Week TV Schedule  SPEED rolls into its sixth season as the exclusive home to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19 with live coverage of the day beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET with a special All-Star edition of fast-paced news program SPEED Center.

“This is an event that not only is highlighted on all NASCAR fans’ calendars, but on the SPEED calendar as well,” said SPEED President Scott Ackerson. “It’s our biggest event of the year, it’s being held in our own backyard and we plan to cover the week better than we have ever done before … it simply doesn’t get any bigger than that.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Williams denies cigarette caused Barcelona blaze
  • Massa's F1 career on brink of collapse
  • Vettel shrugs at F1's 'crazy' pecking order
  • Alonso 'stands out' amid 2012 chaos - Klien
  • McLaren sure gaffes won't hurt Hamilton talks
  • Felipe Massa fumes at drive-through penalty
  • Button: I need to solve setup problems
  • Ferrari must not become complacent - Stefano Domenicali
  • Williams F1 fire exposed incompetence of fire crews
  • Red Bull have 'lots to understand' More ...
New sponsor, same car number for Matt Kenseth  Fifth Third Bank will sponsor Matt Kenseth this weekend and also back Kenseth at Kentucky, Indianapolis and Michigan. The news answered the question many race fans had been debating since last week when the team sent out a press release regarding a sponsorhip program and "an announcement regarding the new number on Matt Kenseth's Sprint Cup Ford Fusion."

Turns out that "new number" will be the company's 5/3 logo on the hood and quarter panels of Kenseth's car.

“Roush Fenway Racing is excited to partner with Fifth Third Bank and help drive their business through a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth's team. They are a well respected,innovative financial services organization with a long and rich history thatshares our company's passion for excellence and commitment to winning,” said Jack Roush, owner and founder of Roush Fenway Racing.
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