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DATE News (chronologically)
05/20/09
tv news
irl
Fisher guest on The Daily Show, other NY media appearances for Indy 500 starters  UPDATE #2 Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Dario Franchitti were on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show Monday night.  Watch Video

This is the video of Castroneves, Briscoe and Franchitti on "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet" Monday morning.  Note the lack of any crowd -- just a few disinterested people wandering by.  One guy does stick around and watch the interview while he's eating his breakfast!  He probably doesn't have a clue what's going on. 

This interview Sarah Fisher had Monday night on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was excellent.

05/17/09 A reminder that Sarah Fisher will be a guest Monday night, May 18, on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at 11:00 pm-11:30 pm ET on Comedy Central.  Please check your local listings for your time zone. More ...
05/20/09
alms
Aston Martin to run three cars at Le Mans  Aston Martin Racing has recruited three new drivers to run a trio of Gulf-liveried LMP1 cars at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, which marks the 50th anniversary of Aston Martin’s first victory at La Sarthe in 1959.

Joining the existing Aston Martin drivers, who are currently also competing in the Le Mans Series, will be Anthony Davidson (GB), Stuart Hall (GB) and Jos Verstappen (NL).

The three LMP1 cars will be numbered 007, 008 and 009 and the exact configuration of the crews for the race, which takes place on June 13-14, will be announced at a later date. More ...

05/20/09
f1
Monte-Carlo tech file  Monaco may be the most unique race on the Formula 1 calendar, but for the engineers the challenge remains the same: fine-tuning the car to achieve maximum performance around the demanding street circuit. It's an unforgiving place, and getting the most from the R29 around the twisty streets will require an unusual set-up and total commitment from the driver. As a street course, the track usually offers low grip in the early part of the weekend, but come Sunday, the track will be nicely rubbered-in and will continue to improve until the final lap of the Grand Prix.

Ride Heights
The roads in the principality may feel billiard-table-smooth at the wheel of a road car, but they are incredibly bumpy for the stiff suspension of a Formula 1 car. To cope with the variations in track surface, ride heights are raised between 5 and 7mm relative to the norm. The public roads are also sharply cambered and very slippery – especially on the traffic markings that are dotted around the circuit which require caution, especially if the track is damp. More ...

05/20/09
irl
Rahal on celebrity show "EXTRA" on Thursday  
Graham Rahal
McDonald's driver Graham Rahal will appear on entertainment news show "EXTRA" on Thursday, May 21 in a segment titled “Hottest IndyCar Series drivers.”  It is schedule to repeat on their weekend show as well.  Check your local listings for the network in your market.

Rahal will start fourth in the 93rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24.  The race will be broadcast live at 12 ET on ABC.

05/20/09
ga
Junqueira joins AIM Autosport at Watkins Glen  Coming off its best finish of the 2009 season, AIM Autosport is pleased to announce that Champ Car and Indy Car driver Bruno Junqueira will join the team for the next race in the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Junqueira (BRA) will join Mark Wilkins (CAN) and Burt Frisselle (USA) in the No. 61 Ford Riley for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen which takes place June 6th at Watkins Glen International in New York.

Discussions between AIM Autosport and the thirty-two year old Brazilian began earlier this year when Junqueira, after spending the last twelve years in formula cars, was said to be looking for opportunities to make the switch to sports car racing.  Bruno had one hundred and one career starts in Champ Car and five appearances in the Indy 500 between 2001 and 2008. He sat on the pole for the 2002 Indy 500 and after a successful career in Champ Car where he was championship runner-up three times, Bruno moved to the Indy Car Series for 2008. Junqueira returned to Indy this past weekend and qualified the No 36 Conquest Racing car 30th for this year’s Indy 500 starting grid.  [Editor's Note: Junqueira did a stellar job qualifying the Conquest car with very little practice time, only to be abruptly replaced after qualifying was set by his teammate, Alex Tagliani, for sponsorship related reasons.] More ...

05/20/09
f1
Ferrari confirms quit threat  Ferrari issued a statement this afternoon following their failed bid to stop the FIA introducing a voluntary budget cap to F1 in 2010. This is what the statement said.

Ferrari statement in full:
“Ferrari has noted the verdict of the Tribunal de Grande Instance with regards to the request to suspend with all haste the consequences of the decision taken by the FIA World Council on 29th April.

“The existence and validity of Ferrari's right of veto, as sanctioned in a written agreement with the FIA Senate, were recognized by the Court, as was the fact that this dispute is of a contractual nature. Consequently, it was also recognized that the dispute was not a matter for the internal tribunal of the FIA, but rather a matter for normal civil courts. The Court believed that the right of veto should have been exercised during the World Council meetings of 17th March and 29th April. It therefore chose to let the civil law courts rule on the urgency of the matter. More ...

05/20/09
irl
AGR re-signs Meijer  Andretti Green Racing announced today it has reached an agreement with Meijer to extend its sponsorship of the Indianapolis-based race team.

Meijer has been affiliated with Andretti Green since the start of the 2007 IndyCar Series season and currently serves as a primary sponsor of Marco Andretti's #26 car at a number of races, including IndyCar events at Mid-Ohio, Kentucky and Chicagoland. Meijer maintains a major associate presence with Andretti at all other events including Sunday's running of the Indy 500. More ...
05/20/09
irl
Rex Mays Classic returns to Milwaukee Mile  Forever linked to The Milwaukee Mile, former championship-winning Indy car driver Rex Mays has had his name tied to the traditional late May-early June open-wheel race held at The Mile from 1950 until 1983 at the historic speedway.

For the second year running, the Rex Mays Classic name returns to The Milwaukee Mile in a popular component on Sunday, May 31, as the marquee name of the speedway’s vintage Indy car event on The Mile’s double-header Indy Car Series and Firestone Indy Lights race day.

This year, over fifteen authentic vintage Indy cars will be featured, including one Mays captured the pole position with for the 1935 and 1936 Indianapolis 500. The main Rex Mays Classic on-track exhibition will take place on Sunday, May 31 from 12:45 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. - between the Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds 100 presented by Charter Firestone Indy Lights event and as a precursor to the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 IndyCar Series spectacle, which is set to take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. at America’s Legendary Oval. More ...
05/20/09
f1
Renault team tests at airfield  The Renault F1 team tested aerodynamic parts today at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge. The team performed straight-line tests, the only form of testing which is allowed until the end of the season.
05/20/09
irl
Lloyd's crew will dye hair pink to raise money for charity  Sam Schmidt Motorsports crew members, who have donned pink uniforms all month to coincide with the team's sponsorship by HER Energy drink, will dye their hair pink for the Indianapolis 500 to raise money for the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

For every $10,000 pledged to the charity, one team member will dye his hair.

"We have pink suits and a pink car," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "We may as well go all the way and dye our hair pink. We've gotten a lot of attention with our program this month, and we felt we should center some of that positive attention towards a good cause."

Alex Lloyd qualified the No. 99 car 11th for the race.

"Running the pink HER car, I think it'd be great to have crew with pink hair as well," Lloyd said. "The donations would go towards a great cause, and the benefits would be huge. Plus, it'll be a lot of fun for everyone involved."

05/20/09
atlantic
Atlantic Series race highlights from Utah  Here are a couple of videos from the Atlantic race over the weekend at Miller Motorsports Park.

05/20/09
irl
Tribute to America's veterans to expand in Indy 500 pre-race  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will continue its longstanding tradition of honoring America's military veterans during the pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500 with an expanded variety of tributes, including special recognition of a unique group of American heroes and a dramatic flyover.

Pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500 are scheduled to start at noon (ET) Sunday, May 24, with "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" starting at 1 p.m.

Among the veterans of America's armed forces to be honored will be nine members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

The Tuskegee Airmen enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II to become America's first African-American military airmen. They trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala., and compiled an exemplary record in combat service despite numerous acts of bigotry and racism committed against them at home and overseas. More ...

05/20/09
usac
Larry Rice very sick  UPDATE Larry Rice passed away at 1:45 PM today at home with family, he was a Dirt Car and Midget champion and co-rookie of year with Rick Mears at the 500.

05/11/09 AR1.com has learned that Larry Rice, former Midget and Dirt champ car Champion, is in the hospital with very serious lung cancer and may not make the week.  Our thoughts are with him and his family.
05/20/09
f1
News briefs from Monaco  (GMM)  A new sponsor name and logo, that of the Angolan company Ridge Solutions, will appear on the nose of Williams' F1 cars from this weekend's Monaco grand prix.

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BMW-Sauber's engine covers on Thursday are to feature 'Happy Birthday Mini' signage, recognizing the fiftieth anniversary of the first Mini to roll off the Oxford production line in May 1959.  The new-generation Mini, launched in 2001, is produced by the BMW Group.

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A mild and dry weekend of racing is forecast for Monte Carlo, whose practice action traditionally kicks off on Thursday morning, ahead of 'rest day' Friday.

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Likely to soak up the trackside glamour will be A-list actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are in town for the neighboring Cannes film festival.  It is also believed that Serbian tennis ace Novak Djokovic will be at Monaco.

05/20/09
track news
Lime Rock Memorial Day weekend events  The fastest race cars of the era from 1966 to 1983 – Formula 1 open-wheelers – have never raced at Lime Rock Park. Until this coming weekend. In fact, there will be two HGP F1 races, one on Saturday and another on Monday.

As part of the Memorial Day Road Racing Classic at Lime Rock Park, 22-25 May, which features the Grand-Am KONI Challenge series, restored F1 machines will be racing under the aegis of Historic Grand Prix, the group dedicated to the preservation and use of these great race cars.

Cars driven to success by some of the greatest racers in the world will undoubtedly come close to breaking the Lime Rock Park track record, in an unmatched demonstration of technical sophistication, power and handling. More ...
05/20/09
irl
Tracy lands ride with KV Racing for Canadian rounds  
Paul Tracy will compete in Edmonton and Toronto
KV Racing Technology will field a car for open-wheel superstar Paul Tracy at the two Canadian races on the 2009 IndyCar Series schedule.

Tracy, the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, is one of the most successful and exciting drivers in the history of open-wheel racing.  The a native of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, will compete at the Honda Indy Toronto on July 12 and the Rexall Edmonton Indy on July 26.

“I am pleased to announce that Paul Tracy will be joining KV Racing Technology for the two Canadian races,” said KVRT co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “Paul is one of the greatest and most exciting drivers in the history of the sport and has shown here at Indianapolis that he still has what it takes to be competitive.  We look forward to having him drive for KVRT in front of his countrymen.” More ...

05/20/09
f1
Alonso, Webber, slam F1 crisis  (GMM)  Two top formula one drivers on Wednesday hit out at the sport's state of dire politics, as more than half the current teams threaten to walk out over the dispute with the FIA.

As the governing body pushes ahead with controversial budget capping for next year, major competitors like Ferrari and Renault have vowed to quit, while legal action has been taking place in a Paris court.

"For me, it is strange no one sat down and thought how much we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the last two months," 2005 and 2006 world champion Fernando Alonso told reporters in Monaco.

Sympathizing with the confusion being felt by fans, the Spaniard admits that even he is unsure how the stand-off will end. More ...

05/20/09
nassprint
Gordon garners most TV exposure for sponsors  With seven top-10 finishes and a win to his credit through the first 10 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Jeff Gordon is easily winning the battle for television exposure on behalf of his corporate sponsors.  Gordon’s brands have appeared for 12.5 hours during TV coverage devoted to the races, nearly 1.5 hours more than sponsors received from the second-most exposure prolific driver, Jimmy Johnson.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media — 70 brands appearing on locations such as Gordon’s car, uniform and support crew’s uniforms have appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 12 hours, 27 minutes, 10 seconds (12:27:10) during television coverage of NASCAR’s first 10 official points races.  Additionally, those sponsors have been mentioned by Gordon or the announcers 103 times.  More ...

05/20/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - 2  
  • Ferrari pours scorn on 2010 F1 hopefuls
  • Raikkonen rejects latest Alonso rumors
  • Williams vows to 'fight' to keep Rosberg
  • Brawn replaces F1 commercial director
  • FIA hits out after Ferrari court bid

Ferrari pours scorn on 2010 F1 hopefuls
(GMM)  Having lost its bid to have the 2010 rules declared invalid, Ferrari openly mocked a band of teams wanting to enter formula one next year.

In addition to the teams already revealed by the media as clamoring for a budget-capped spot on the 2010 grid, names including Wirth Research, Epsilon Euskadi, RML and Formtech were leaked as likely to make the May 29 deadline for an official entry.

As already reported, letters from the hopeful teams formed part of the FIA's defense in the Paris hearing.

"Can a world championship with teams like them - with due respect - have the same value as today's formula one, where Ferrari, the big car manufacturers and teams, who created the history of this sport, compete?" a statement posted by Ferrari said.

"Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it Formula GP3?" the Maranello based marque added.

Raikkonen rejects latest Alonso rumors
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has moved to downplay the latest round of speculation about his Ferrari seat.

At a sponsor event this week, Fernando Alonso made no secret of his desire to one day race for the famous Italian team.

At the same event, the Santander chief Emilio Botin again openly hinted about his Ferrari sponsorship deal for 2010, adding that the icing on the cake would be to sit "the world's best driver" in the red car.

He then suggested coyly that there may be a vacancy for 2010, despite both of Ferrari's current drivers also having contracts that include next year.

"I don't know why there are always rumors about this.  I have a contract for next year.  For sure, I will be here (at Ferrari)," Finn Raikkonen is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Bild.  More ...

05/20/09
f1
Ferrari previews Monaco GP  
Felipe Massa at Monaco in 2008
Since the championship started in 1950, the Scuderia cannot consider the trip to Monte Carlo a truly profitable one, as the last victory for a Prancing Horse car dates back to Michael Schumacher’s win in 2001, the final one of five times that the German won here. In fact, after a victory for Gilles Villeneuve in 1981, Ferrari had to wait until Michael was first past the flag in 1997 to record another Monegasque win. When Niki Lauda took victory in an incident packed 1975 race, it was the first time the Scuderia had won since the 1955 win from Maurice Trintignant, in a race more famous for Alberto Ascari’s dive into the harbor.

Although there are no points handed out for a race fastest lap, it does say something about one’s real pace and in 2002, ’04, ’05, 06 and ’08, a Prancing Horse car did set the quickest lap in Monaco, which is an encouraging statistic to have on one’s side. In 2008, it was an all-red Ferrari front row, but still the Scuderia failed to win. In fact, in the past, it has often been the case that the dominant team of the year has failed to secure victory in the most famous race on the calendar, with a less fancied runner taking top honors. Could it be that, in 2009, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro fits that designation? This year will be the first time that the F1 teams arrive in the Principality without the benefit of having tested on a track configured to reproduce the demands of the slowest, twistiest circuit of the year. More ...

05/20/09
f1
Paris court declares 2010 F1 rules legal  UPDATE Ferrari has lost its legal challenge against the FIA in the Paris courts.

The team had been laying the ground for the legal challenge for a while and had set great store by the outcome. Now the legal route is closed to them, they will have to try to persuade as many teams as they can to stick with them and not put in an entry for the 2010 championship by next week’s deadline of May 29th.Although Ferrari felt they had a strong case, the FIA were more confident. Courts tend to go with governing bodies in disputes like this, and the FIA carries quite a lot of weight in a French court room. The court noted that Ferrari had the right of veto as a member of the world council, but did not exercise it on April 29th when the rules were voted through.

Reaction from the FIA has been swift in coming,
“No competitor should place their interests above those of the sport in which they compete, ” read a statement. “The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work to ensure the wellbeing of Formula One in 2010 and beyond.”

The team bosses are meeting under the umbrella of FOTA, (Formula One Teams Association) on Friday, which is a rest day in Monaco. This promises to be a highly charged affair with so much at stake. Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull have said that they will not enter the 2010 championships unless the rules are adapted. There is little over a week to rescue the situation and give everyone a win of some kind.

Bernie Ecclestone has already laid the ground for the post-lawsuit negotiation by saying that the idea of having a two tier F1 has been scrapped.

Now efforts will focus on adapting what the FIA has put on the table into a form which gives the dissenters a chance to say, “The rules have been changed to our satisfaction, we will enter,” while still holding true to what Max Mosley and some of the teams were aiming at, which is reducing the costs to a ’sustainable’ level for all parties. More at World Press



05/20/09 (GMM) A Paris court on Wednesday ruled against Ferrari, the famous Italian team that requested an injunction against the FIA's budget cap rules for 2010.

A one hour hearing was held on Tuesday at the Tribunal de Grande Instance, the equivalent of a high or crown court.

In the media statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the lead judge found that the published FIA rules do not prevent Ferrari from entering next year's world championship.

[Editor's Note:  Too funny.  Did Ferrari actually think they could beat Max Mosley in court?  When it come to legal matters with Mosley, it's game on!]

05/20/09
f1
Commercial Director leaves Brawn GP  Brawn GP's commercial director, David Butler, has left the team, joining Tribe Management as a director and member of its senior management board. Butler joined then Honda Racing F1 in October 2007 and played a pivotal role in forming Brawn GP, setting commercial program for the seasons ahead.

While Brawn GP's bills for 2009 have been paid by an generous payment from Honda, the team have struck some deals with sponsors, notable Henri Lloyd and Virgin, at knock down rates. The team are on the lookout for a title sponsor but, despite CEO Nick Fry's claims that there are multiple offers on the table, none has yet been signed.

Butler has been replaced by Bastien Hibon, formerly creative director at Friends of the Earth and in charge of their climate change campaign 'The Big Ask'. Born in Paris and brought up in Geneva, Hibon worked at Ogilvy PR with the then BAR F1 team.

05/20/09
f1
Monaco: Weekend weather forecast  The weather for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix will be mostly sunny and hot, with highest temperatures reaching 26°C early in the weekend. Although some cloud will threaten the otherwise constant sunshine, rain is highly unlikely with less than a 10% chance of precipitation over the course of the five-day event.

Although the track action doesn't kick off until tomorrow, teams, drivers and the media has gathered in Monte-Carlo for the usual pre-weekend engagements. Conditions today have been sunny, with some scattered cloud and temperatures reaching 24°C, setting the trend for remaining few days.

Tomorrow sees the traditional Thursday practice sessions kick off the track action, with temperatures expected to hit a weekend-high of 26°C during the afternoon. Once again, some scattered cloud will punctuate the Monaco skyline. Similar conditions are expected on rest-day Friday, with temperatures again set to high 26°C. More ...

05/20/09
automotive
f1
McLaren announces sports car factor  McLaren set out its plans to build a new road car factory today which - like the British firm's F1 operation - will be located in Woking, Surrey.

Planning permission for the new McLaren Production Centre have already been submitted. If the application is successful, a new modern sports car plant will be built on a plot of land that sits adjacent to McLaren's existing Woking base.

The factory will have capacity to build 20 cars per day, and McLaren claims it will be the UK's most modern and efficient automotive factory. More ...

05/20/09
irl
Mario talks about his Indy win  
Andretti taking checkered flag to win 1969 Indy 500
A parade is a special occasion to any 6-year-old, but initially it was a bit confusing when Michael Andretti was part of the procession in his hometown of Nazareth, Pa., to honor his father, Mario, who won the 1969 Indianapolis 500.

"I just remember trying to figure out why we're sitting on the back of a car waving at people going down the street," says Michael, was also remembers playing in the back yard of his Uncle Aldo's house with his cousins on Race Day. "I remember we were right behind the Green Monster. If you remember the Green Monster that they did for the Bonneville Salt Flats, I thought that was really cool at that time."

Such memories are occasionally brought up during family gatherings - usually at racetracks -- and are especially poignant on the 40th anniversary of Mario's 500-Mile Race victory. It was a seminal moment in the Hall of Fame career of Andretti, who made 29 starts in the Indianapolis 500 and placed in the top 10 11 times. More ...

05/20/09
usac
Richmond Int'l Raceway names event sponsor  Adding to an already stellar lineup of race entitlements during the open-wheel weekend at Richmond International Raceway, track president Doug Fritz announced today that the USAC National Sprint Car Series race on Friday, June 26 will be named the USAC Sprint Car Series Rotondo Weirich (ruh-TUN-doh WY-rick) Showdown.

The open-wheel weekend--June 26-27--will also feature the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race and the James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race on Saturday, June 27, as well as Friday's NBC12 Pole Qualifying for the IndyCar Series. More ...

05/20/09
fil
Donoso to drive Genoa's #36 in the Freedom 100  Genoa is pleased to announce that Firestone® Indy Lights™ veteran Pablo Donoso will be piloting the 36 car in the Freedom 100. From Santiago, Chile, Pablo has competed and won in South America, Europe, and the United States in Formula Renault, Formula BMW, World Series, Star Mazda, USAC Silver Crown, Indy Lights, and he’s tested an IndyCar with AJ Foyt. In 2008, he started Milwaukee from pole and he won at Infineon.

Know primarily as a worldwide leader in the export of fine wine and copper, Chile recently recognized Pablo as a national hero for his international exploits in professional car racing, naming him “Auto Racing Sportsman of the Year”. Chile is a long (2700 miles long … the distance from San Francisco to New York City!), narrow country in South America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. More ...

05/20/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • FIA would appeal 2010 rules injunction
  • Schu returns to Superbike saddle
  • Red Bull may shift focus to Vettel's hopes
  • Vettel hopes for seat at end of F1 conflict
  • Alonso urges Renault to not give up on 2009 car
  • F1 soccer team plays in Monaco

FIA would appeal 2010 rules injunction
(GMM)  Should Ferrari win its injunction against the 2010 budget cap, the governing FIA has indicated it intends to appeal.

Following a one-hour hearing on Tuesday, attended by three lawyers for the Italian team, Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance is set to announce its verdict on Wednesday afternoon.

In the event of an adverse ruling, however, FIA sources have indicated that they will exercise their right of appeal.

Neither side commented specifically about Tuesday's events, but it has emerged that forming part of the FIA's defense was a dossier of letters from several potential 2010 entrants who support the move to a budget cap.

The FIA's lawyer is also understood to have argued on the grounds of jurisdiction, insisting that it is the Paris body's mandate, not a civil court's or a team's, to set regulations.

Ferrari is thought to have hit back by arguing that the FIA has broken the team's afforded rights under a 2005 agreement, where changes to the rules must have the involvement of the F1 Commission.

The FIA responded that Ferrari did not object to the regulations at the appropriate time.

Another noteworthy element of Ferrari's defense is that it is unreasonable to ask teams to slash expenditures by 90 per cent in one hit.

One lawyer for the Maranello team, Henri Peter, said the biggest teams' annual budgets can top "400 to 500 million euros" at present. More ...

05/19/09
nassprint
All-Star race TV Rating  Speed says its coverage of Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.7, basically matching the figure reported for the 2008 event.

The cable network says the race was viewed by 2.691 million households, down fractionally from the 2.701 million that viewed the event in 2008. Those figures translate to a 3.68 rating this year, down from 3.74 in 2008.

05/19/09
fil
Milwaukee Mile names event title sponsor  The Milwaukee Mile welcomes the return of an old friend of the speedway, as Husar's House of Fine Diamonds of West Bend has stepped up to become the entitlement sponsor of the Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) event on Sunday, May 31, the precursor to that afternoon's IndyCar Series® race.

"Husar's House of Fine Diamonds in downtown West Bend has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with The Milwaukee Mile, and at various open wheel championship events throughout the country, as a trophy and awards producer. We are proud to be involved with the Indy Racing League and the top open wheel development series in North America as we headline the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 Firestone Indy Lights event on Sunday, May 31," said Husar's House of Fine Diamonds President Mike Husar. More ...

05/19/09
automotive
GM bankruptcy plan eyes quick sale  General Motors Corp's plan for a bankruptcy filing involves a quick sale of the company's healthy assets to a new company initially owned by the U.S. government, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The source, who would not be named because he was not cleared to speak with the media, did not specify a purchase price. The new company is expected to honor the claims of secured lenders, possibly in full, according to the source.

The remaining assets of GM would stay in bankruptcy protection to satisfy other outstanding claims.

GM has about $6 billion in secured debt, including a secured revolving credit and bank debt. More ...

05/19/09
irl
Gas companies rake Indy 500 fans over coals  Gas prices jumped about 30 cents per gallon Tuesday in central Indiana, reinforcing a common belief among Hoosiers that suppliers purposefully raise their prices right before the Indianapolis 500, but that may not be rooted in reality.

A gallon of regular unleaded gas at most stations increased from about $2.15 to $2.45 early Tuesday morning.

Suppliers deny that fluctuations in prices have anything to do with the race or the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but said larger forces are in play. Oil prices jumped to over $60 a barrel on Tuesday as concerns mounted that an economic rebound might spark demand for gas and other fuels.

Nationwide, retail gasoline prices have risen every day this month after lingering below $2 from December through most of March. More ...

05/19/09
irl
ESPN on Indy 500 Media Conference  A media conference call was held today to discuss ESPN on ABC’s live telecast of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 24, beginning at noon ET. Participants on the call were ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, Jed Drake, along with the three members of ESPN’s booth for the telecast: lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid and analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. this is the 45th consecutive year that the Indianapolis 500 has aired on ABC. A recording of the entire conference call can be heard HERE.

JED DRAKE:  I wanted to give everybody just a sense from the entire production team that is fortunate enough to be doing this event again this year and now for another four years, that it is truly a special event. There are very few events that you can just throw out their name and where there are images that stand in your mind that are vibrant and powerful and have that lasting memory. And the Indy 500 is absolutely positively one of those.

For me there are certain events that have that cache and for others I'm sure there are others. But given the nature of this event and its special quality that when virtually anybody hears the Indianapolis 500, it resonates a very powerful image for them. It certainly does for me and it certainly does for everybody that's involved in our coverage. More ...

05/19/09
irl
Inside Track: Indianapolis 500 Fast Facts  
05/19/09
irl
Sarah Fisher Racing adds Angie's List as sponsor  Indianapolis-based Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of ratings on local service providers, signed on to support hometown Sarah Fisher during the Indianapolis 500.

"I'm really excited about bringing Angie's List on board to Sarah Fisher Racing for the race this year," said Fisher, who will start 21st. "Finding the best home improvement contractors, doctors, etc., is always a chore unless you have some sort of recommendation from a friend. Angie's List can make that recommendation, and now what use to be a daunting task is easy."

Fisher, an Indianapolis resident, will make her eighth start in the event, driving the No. 67 Dollar General entry. In 2008, the Angie's List car, driven by Oriol Servia, finished 11th.

05/19/09
irl
Shaq joins Luczo Dragon as charity partner  Luczo Dragon Racing has partnered with NBA star Shaquille O'Neal to raise money and awareness for charity throughout the 2009 IndyCar Series season.

By partnering with champion athletes each year, Steve Luczo and Jay Penske, co-owners of Luczo Dragon Racing, have established a unique charity drive that has delivered more than $1 million to charitable organizations worldwide in two years. With the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps as their primary partners on the car in 2009, much of the team's charitable focus will turn to organizations that support fallen heroes and their families.

"We are proud to have Shaquille O'Neal join our team of champions," Luczo said. "Shaq has demonstrated that leadership, competitiveness, winning and compassion can all be achieved at the same time. As one of the most recognized champions in sports, and as a positive role model through his many community and social efforts, Shaq is the ideal individual to help Luczo Dragon Racing further its success. On top of that, his father is a military veteran, which is particularly relevant to our expanded mission of supporting wounded and fallen soldiers and their families." More ...

05/19/09
fil
Matos has first taste of milk at Fastest Rookie luncheon  
Raphael Matos
Twenty years ago, Raphael Matos sat on the floor of his home, watching on TV as the red and white No. 20 car of fellow Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi passed under the checkered flag to win the 1989 Indianapolis 500.

"Some day that will be me," the 7-year-old unabashedly told his father.

On May 24, Sergio Eustaquio Filho will be on pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch his son compete in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Matos, who posted a four-lap average of 223.429 mph in the No. 2 Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing car to qualify 12th, earned the Fastest Rookie Award presented by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

Six first-year drivers were in the running for the award, which has been presented since 1975, and five qualified for the race (Mike Conway, Robert Doornbos, Nelson Philippe and Alex Tagliani). More ...

05/19/09
irl
IndyCar Application for iPhone and iPod  The Indy Racing League today announced the launch of the official IndyCar application on the Apple App Store. The new app for iPhone and iPod touch offers fans compelling features including race action videos and the ability to monitor race leaders live on the track. The app is available in time for this season's Indy 500 weekend. The Indy 500 -"The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" - is the biggest motor racing event in the world.

"At the IndyCar Series, we're eager to provide our iPhone and iPod touch users with a unique, feature-packed experience on their revolutionary devices," said John Lewis, vice president of marketing and league development for the Indy Racing League. "We're excited about the new IndyCar app because it gives our fans the ultimate IndyCar Series experience on their iPhone or iPod touch."

"With the July powered app, IndyCar fans enjoy a unique iPhone and iPod touch experience that is rich on live event action and information," said Kelvin Rowlette, EVP, sales and business development at July Systems. "Mobile internet channels and applications powered by July Systems are user-centric - they result in significantly higher brand loyalty, premium advertising inventory for publishers, and the opportunity for advertisers to engage with users. We're delighted to expand our partnership with the Indy Racing League with this application." More ...

05/19/09
automotive
Daimler buys 10% stake in Tesla  During a press conference held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart this morning, Dr. Thomas Weber, the head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz, announced that Daimler is buying a 10% stake in Tesla Motors. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also on hand for the announcement. The companies did not specify the amount paid by Daimler, other than it was in the double digit millions. Daimler will be providing Tesla with engineering support and possibly parts that may go into the Model S. Tesla, meanwhile, will continue providing battery packs for the second-generation Smart ED starting later this year. Tesla will also focus on battery pack integration and battery management systems for Daimler going forward.

The deal will also give Tesla access to the automotive lithium ion cells being produced by Daimler's investment in Li-Tec, a joint venture between Evonik and Daimler. Weber announced that Daimler would commence series production of electric Smarts in 2012, with volume projections in the five digits.

Daimler's Prof. Herbert Kohler (who is in charge of e-drive systems at the German automaker) will take up a board seat at Tesla and oversee development at the California company. We live blogged the conference at AutoblogGreen this morning and the official press release is after the jump. More ...

05/19/09
f1
Ferrari court verdict set for Wednesday  (GMM)  A judge presiding over Ferrari's court action said a verdict will be declared on Wednesday.

In Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance on Tuesday afternoon, three lawyers acting for Ferrari requested an injunction against next year's formula one regulations, including the controversial budget cap.

The hearing took place over the space of one hour.

Judge Jacques Gondrand de Robert said the court's decision will be declared on Wednesday at 2pm local.

05/19/09
f1
Four cars to use KERS at Monaco  (GMM)  The Ferrari and McLaren teams have confirmed reports that their respective cars will feature active KERS systems throughout this weekend's Monaco grand prix.

Renault and BMW-Sauber have decided against utilizing the controversial energy reuse technology on the twisty confines and short straights of the famous street circuit.

"I would like to see the simulation (showing) that in Monaco you are faster with KERS," Renault's Pat Symonds said last week.

McLaren-Mercedes' is arguably the best of the four KERS systems seen at races so far in 2009, but even Heikki Kovalainen admitted that the advantage at Monaco is debatable.

"One of the questions will be whether we'll actually be able to use it to get past other cars -- as usual, KERS will be a benefit for us, but anything can happen in Monte Carlo," said the Finn.

In a media document, Ferrari agreed that the KERS advantage will be "more limited" in the Principality compared with the more flowing circuits.

"But given that the F60 was designed around carrying KERS and this is factored into its weight and distribution, it is logical to run it, no matter how minimal the benefit," the Italian team added.

05/19/09
f1
Ferrari drivers 'never forgotten' - Alonso  (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Tuesday gave the strongest indication yet that he sees his future with Ferrari.

The Spaniard, who currently races for Renault, was speaking at a sponsor event for Universia, a subsidiary of the Spanish bank Santander that backs his former McLaren team. More ...
05/19/09
f1
McLaren could meet FIA's May 29 deadline  (GMM) McLaren-Mercedes has not ruled out lodging a team entry for the 2010 championship by the May 29 deadline, Norbert Haug said on Tuesday.

Other outfits, including Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull, have made clear they are prepared to quit the sport if the budget cap rules for next year are not seriously revised.

But German Haug, boss of Mercedes' racing programmes, has repeatedly refused to join the rebels, while insisting broad support for the principles of the FOTA alliance. More ...
05/19/09
lms
LeMans 24 Hours - Pit lane allocation  The 55 pit boxes for the Le Mans 24 Hours have been allocated to the teams. Now it is time for the fans to see where their favorite teams are placed in the Le Mans paddock. Starting from pitbox 1 (first box from pit entry) to pitbox 55 (last box before pit out).

BOX 01 - #7 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL
BOX 02 - #8 TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL
BOX 03 - #9 PEUGEOT SPORT TOTAL
BOX 04 - #17 PESCAROLO SPORT
BOX 05 - #16 PESCAROLO SPORT
BOX 06 - #99 JMB RACING
BOX 07 - #6 TEAM LNT
BOX 08 - #23 STRAKKA RACING
BOX 09 - #97 BMS SCUDERIA ITALIA
BOX 10 - #85 SNORAS SPYKER SQUADRON
BOX 11 - #84 TEAM MODENA
BOX 12 - #10 TEAM ORECA MATMUT AIM
BOX 13 - #11 TEAM ORECA MATMUT AIM
BOX 14 - #70 IMSA PERFORMANCE MATMUT
BOX 15 - #76 IMSA PERFORMANCE MATMUT
BOX 16 - #77 FELBERMAYR-PROTON
BOX 17 - #4 CREATION AUTOSPORTIF
BOX 18 - #92 JMW MOTORSPORT
BOX 19 - #68 JLOC
BOX 20 - #13 SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH
BOX 21 - #33 SPEEDY RACING TEAM SEBAH
BOX 22 - #39 KSM
BOX 23 - #80 FLYING LIZARD MOTORSPORT
BOX 24 - #007 ASTON MARTIN RACING
BOX 25 - #009 ASTON MARTIN RACING
BOX 26 - #008 AMR EASTERN EUROPE
BOX 27 - #87 DRAYSON RACING
BOX 28 - #31 TEAM ESSEX
BOX 29 - #25 RML
BOX 30 - #83 RISI COMPETIZIONE
BOX 31 - #83 RISI COMPETIZIONE
BOX 32 - #72 LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES
BOX 33 - #73 LUC ALPHAND AVENTURES
BOX 34 - #63 CORVETTE RACING
BOX 35 - #64 CORVETTE RACING
BOX 36 - #78 AF CORSE SRL
BOX 37 - #81 TEAM ADVANCED ENG.
BOX 38 - #24 OAK RACING
BOX 39 - #35 OAK RACING
BOX 40 - #5 NAVI TEAM GOH
BOX 41 - #12 SIGNATURE PLUS
BOX 42 - #66 JETALLIANCE RACING GMBH
BOX 43 - #89 HANKOOK-TEAM FARNBACHER
BOX 44 - #3 AUDI SPORT TEAM JOEST
BOX 45 - #2 AUDI SPORT NORTH AMERICA
BOX 46 - #1 AUDI SPORT TEAM JOEST
BOX 47 - #41 GAC RACING TEAM
BOX 48 - #75 ENDURANCE ASIA TEAM
BOX 49 - #30 RACING BOX SRL
BOX 50 - #40 QUIFEL-ASM TEAM
BOX 51 - #32 BARAZI EPSILON
BOX 52 - #26 BRUICHLADDICH BRUNEAU
BOX 53 - #14 KOLLES
BOX 54 - #15 KOLLES
BOX 55 - #96 VIRGO MOTORSPORT

05/19/09
f1
Rosberg happy to stay with Williams  (GMM) Nico Rosberg has revealed he will be happy to stay with Williams in 2010 as long as the Grove team remains able to produce a tidy package.

The 23-year-old German is presently the subject of speculation that he is seeking a better option than the Toyota-powered independent team at the expiry of his contract.

But he told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell that he is happy where he is. More ...
05/19/09
atlantic
Mazda renews with Atlantic series  Mazda has renewed its contract as official sponsor and engine partner of the Atlantic Championship for three more years, taking a relationship that began in 2006 through to the end of 2011.

Under the agreement, all Atlantic Championship cars will continue to be powered by production-based, Cosworth-prepped 2.3-litre MZR engines capable of producing 300 horsepower, while Mazda will continue to actively promote the championship through its various marketing programmes.

“While we are most recognised for sportscar racing, Mazda has been involved in open-wheel racing since 1984,” noted senior vice-president Robert Davis, the man responsible for the brand's North American motorsports operations under the Mazdaspeed banner, “Along with our partners in the Atlantic Championship, Cooper Tyres, Swift Engineering and Cosworth, we look forward to the next chapter in Atlantic history.”
05/19/09
nastruck
Skinner gives sponsor real value  
A reader writes, Dear AR1, We all know that NASCAR teams will go a long way for sponsors, but Mike Skinner's efforts at Lowe's last Friday must be saluted.

His one-off sponsor for the weekend was a personal injury lawyer's firm from Orlando, FL. His spectacular wreck has surely given Rue & Ziffra an incredible ad... Tim Scott

05/19/09
nascar
Walk of Fame to Open in Mooresville  The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame (“NCARHOF”) is offering race fans yet another reason to visit Mooresville, NC also known as “Race City USA”. Historic Downtown Mooresville will be the home of the new attraction known as the North Carolina Auto Racing Walk of Fame. Comparable to Hollywood’s famous Boulevard of Stars, the sidewalks of Mooresville will feature markers honoring each of the past thirteen inductees into the NCARHOF. Each year, the new NCARHOF inductee will have their marker added to the Walk of Fame. More ...
05/19/09
nassprint
Doctor: Substance revealed to Mayfield  The administrator of NASCAR's drug-testing program said Monday he personally told Jeremy Mayfield what banned substance was found in his positive test. Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs the testing program, said he specifically identified the drug in several conversations with the Sprint Cup driver over a three-day period after NASCAR suspended him. "I spoke with him about his positive test result on the day he was suspended, and I spoke to him directly about the test result," Black told The Associated Press. "Yes, by name of what he tested positive for." On Saturday, Mayfield said he was never told what drug caused the positive test and has yet to receive a copy of the results. Black said he was not sure if Mayfield has seen the test results because a copy would be issued by NASCAR, not Aegis. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said he was not aware of any request by Mayfield to obtain the results. "We'd be happy to provide one if he wants it," Poston said. "We've done this in the past upon request for those who tested positive." Mayfield maintains the use of a prescription drug with over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D led to his positive result. Black has repeatedly rejected that explanation. Associated Press
05/19/09
f1
Monaco Grand Prix Preview Q&A - Jarno Trulli  
Jarno Trulli
Are you a fan of Monaco?
I am a big fan of Monaco and it is one of my favorite circuits, along with Spa-Francorchamps. It's a great circuit and a great challenge. There is really nothing like it and the driver probably makes more difference around Monaco than on any other track which always suits me. The atmosphere as well at Monaco is special because we are racing in the city so the fans are really close and you can feel the excitement. It is very enjoyable, although I must say I don't get many chances to experience the glamour of Monaco because it is a race weekend after all so there is lots of work to do.

What makes Monaco such a challenge?
The barriers are so close in Monaco you have absolutely no room for even the smallest error. At other tracks you can maybe run a little wide and not suffer, but in Monaco if you do that you are in the barriers so you need total concentration. Also, even though it is the slowest track we race on, it feels like one of the fastest because the barriers fly past you so quickly. You have to be completely focused to do a perfect lap and in the race it's quite challenging to stay so concentrated for the full distance, all the time knowing the smallest error will finish your race. I love this challenge and it really motivates me. More ...

05/19/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Also Schumacher backs Ferrari quit threat
  • Brawn to cruise to 2009 titles - Briatore
  • Ferrari court verdict set for delay
  • Mosley warns rebel teams of 2010 lock-out
  • Engagement looms for F1 champ Hamilton

Also Schumacher backs Ferrari quit threat
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher, who won five consecutive world championships for the Italian team, has voiced his support for Ferrari amid its battle with formula one's ruling body.

The 40-year-old German, who stopped racing at the end of 2006 but remained with the Maranello based team as a part-time advisor, echoed the backing already proffered by Ferrari's current drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen.

"I am in complete agreement with my team," Schumacher is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports daily Marca.

He said the ball is in the FIA's court to settle the dispute.

"Ferrari is very important to formula one, because without Ferrari, the championship would be a second-class competition.

"There must be an agreement that makes it possible for the Scuderia to remain.  F1 without Ferrari seems unimaginable to me," added Schumacher. More ...

05/19/09
irl
Versus great, but.....  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I have never been an IRL fan, nor a Tony George fan.  I think they have done so much to screw up the sport and I thought the Versus deal was another example of them doing something stupid.  It may be from a ratings standpoint, however after watching 4 solid days of coverage over the last two weekends I have been very, very impressed with the coverage. The interviews have been outstanding (Tracy, and Bobby Unser was hilarious).  The coverage has not been "dumbed down" and has been very intelligent and informative.  Most impressively, maybe they have figured out that most of the viewers don’t give a damn about Danica so we don’t have to have it be all about her.  It is similar to me to the Speed F1 coverage, which is aimed at the sophisticated race fan.  I hope it doesn’t go to hell when the network televises and dumbs down the race.  Steve Moore

Dear Steve, We concur, Versus has done an excellent job.  Unfortunately they do not reach enough households and are not a go-to channel for sports fans, so the ratings will remain low.  That's really too bad because we give them an A+ for effort.  However, with so many channels available today for the average viewer with Cable to Satellite TV, unless you are a go-to channel, you're fighting over the crumbs left behind by the big boys.  Mark C.

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