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DATE News (chronologically)
06/04/10
irl
Texas too easy  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com,  Texas must be the simplest track in the world to drive in an IndyCar.  Just 4 tenths separates the entire field in practice?
Every driver has qualifying laps that vary, not by tenths per lap, but generally only hundredths and even 10 thousandths per lap?
The Andretti Autosports teams qualifies perfectly in order of driver weight? Does that hold up with other teams? Duno sure seemed to do uncharacteristically well.
I'm sure the race will be thrilling. Foot to the floor, no skill involved, drive the shortest line around the track, follow the leader racing. Derek Hughes
06/04/10
alms
Jonny Cocker diaries: Mazda Raceway Patron 6 hr  
Jonny Cocker
Drayson Racing's Jonny Cocker continues his accounts of the 2010 season at the wheel of the green Lola-Judd prototype to americanlemans.com and lola-group.com, looking back at the six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n and ahead to the 78th 24 Heures Du Mans.

Laguna was a challenging weekend because the weather was very cold which meant low grip but the engineers worked really hard in the last test session and we were fastest on full tanks, so that was really encouraging for all of us at Drayson Racing.

We knew that we had a good race car at that point as well, which is obviously important going into a long race like a six-hour event. Paul did a really good job qualifying the car and did well at the beginning of the race, so we had a strong starting position. He had a little spin unfortunately but got the time back and was running some really good times, very competitive and right there with the leaders, so that was a really good start for us.

Once Paul had done his hour-and-a-half, we pitted and I jumped in the car. The Lola-Judd felt lovely; the tyres were lasting really well and I think we were the only prototype to be double-stinting the tyres. Disappointingly we had a gearbox failure in my second stint, which put an end to our race but I think we were on for a podium position at least and the way things panned out with people having all the problems it would have most probably have been P2.

Le Mans is going to be so exciting. After Laguna the car came back to Lola’s HQ in Cambridgeshire and we went to Rockingham where I shook down the car for a final check before going to Le Mans this weekend.

It’s going to be fantastic going back to Le Mans in a P1 car this year. It’s going to be a great gauge of where we are because everybody is there, the best teams in the world, so there really is nowhere to hide and I think that is good thing, something I really relish. The opportunity for the team and me to show what we can do and challenge for the fastest petrol-powered LMP.

I still know that I have got limited experience when it comes to Le Mans. It’s only my second event and I’m driving against guys who have been there for 10 years or more. I just take every opportunity with both hands and then ensure that I come out of it whatever it is by learning as much as possible. We have got a good team, like I say good experience with guys like Emanuele (Pirro). I feel more mentally prepared than last year and I am sure we will be right on the pace.

As for the event itself … well it’s just absolutely magic. For a driver it’s still very important to conserve your energy and to try and just be sensible about how much you’re doing pre race. But the parade is incredible and amazing to be involved with and something that you have to enjoy as much as you can because you only get the opportunity once a year. The fans are sensational and I look forward to seeing them all next week.

Jonny Cocker

06/04/10
irl
Edmonton seeking private operator for Indy race  Some Edmonton city councilors hope a private company will step up to the plate and take over the Indy race if Northlands backs out.

“Given the value of the race, finding an independent operator to take on the responsibilities would be terrific,” said Coun. Tony Caterina.

“It would solve a lot of the problems we have faced for the last three years.”

Northlands is rumoured to be cutting loose from the event after this year’s race. The race lost $5.3 million in 2008 – its first year in Edmonton – and $3.9 million the following year.

Government officials predict the upcoming and final race in the city’s current three-year contract to host the event will still lose money, but the predicted losses will be significantly less due in large part to Honda’s sponsorship of the event.

A private operator of the event could invest in a tarmac and bleachers that the Indy Racing League could count on for future events, said Coun. Bryan Anderson. Meanwhile, the city could stay on as a “gold sponsor” with a contribution of $1 million, he added.

Caterina stressed that Northlands has been a good partner and any problems that arose from the event were not their fault.

“The city had asked them to run this for us. This wasn’t their race, they did it out of the goodness of their hearts to accommodate us, and it was certainly very stressful on their operations both in terms of labour and using their resources,” he said.

“Reputation-wise, I think they were unjustly saddled with some of the negatives when really they weren’t responsible for it. They didn’t ask for it. It was us.”

Mayor Stephen Mandel also defended Northlands as good organizers for the event and credited them for keeping the cost of the event down this year as well as gathering community support for the race. However, he declined to comment on rumours that Northlands was bowing out.

Northlands spokesman Brian Leadbetter indicated that Northlands has informed the city of its “corporate position” on the Indy beyond 2010 but refused to reveal what that decision was.

“As city council has not made a decision on the future of the race at this time, it is premature for Northlands to speak to any details on future operations,” he said.

The Honda Indy Edmonton runs from July 23 to 25 this year. Edmonton Sun

06/04/10
irl
Duno sixth in practice at Texas???  
Ed Note: This is not entirely a surprise, as the higher banking is significantly easier to drive (especially at 100% throttle) than the flatter Indy track. But we will be happy to SEE how she does and give her full credit at the end of the race.


A surprise of sorts was Milka Duno in sixth (214.727 mph) in the No. 18 CITGO car for Dale Coyne Racing.

In three races at Texas, Duno has advanced her starting position twice (eight places in 2008 and 10 in '09).

"We've worked really hard to address issues that hurt us at Indy and we're all hoping to do well here," said Duno, was did not qualify for the Indy 500 on Bump Day.

Dario Franchitti, who is seeking to be the third consecutive 500 Mile Race winner to win at Texas in the same year, was ninth in the 65-minute practice session.
06/04/10
irl
Dixon tops opening IndyCar practice in Texas  Scott Dixon, the 2008 race winner at Texas Motor Speedway, topped the speed chart in the afternoon practice session preceding PEAK Performance Pole Award qualifications for the Firestone 550K.

Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, had a quick lap of 216.387 mph (24.2066 seconds) on the 1.5-mile oval. Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Team Penske car was second (216.098 mph).

The 26 cars were separated by 0.4222 of a second. Will Power (215.887) was third and KV Racing Technology's E.J. Viso was fourth (215.107). Dan Wheldon, the Indy 500 runner-up, was fifth quick (215.033). More ...

06/04/10
irl
Kanaan to race in Prelude to the Dream  
TK is going to get dirty
Following his impressive performance at the 2010 Indianapolis 500, Andretti Autosport driver Tony Kanaan will compete in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream charity race on June 9 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. 

Kanaan, driver of the #11 Team 7-Eleven car in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will join drivers from all types of disciplines. Kanaan, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Travis Pastrana, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Gordon and others will team up to race 2,300-pound Late Model stock cars on the dirt track at Eldora. The field will be broken up into four teams, with drivers competing in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature. More ...

06/04/10
nassprint
Coca Cola 600 TV Rating  UPDATE Fox earned a 4.0 final rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Fox averaged a 4.8 Nielsen rating (7.58 million viewers) for 11 telecasts of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, which excludes races rained out and run on Mondays. That average is down 5.8% from a 5.1 rating (8.68 million viewers) for 12 telecasts last year.

06/01/10 Fox earned a 4.0 overnight rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway, down 9.1% from a 4.4 rating in ’08.  Last year's race was rained out.
06/04/10
irl
Indy 500 TV Rating  UPDATE #3 The final rating for the IRL's Indy 500 On ABC last Sunday was a 3.6, down every year since the IRL took over.  It is so sad to see given the Indy 500 when CART was the featured series was as high as 15 or 16 rating points and regularly garnered a 10 or higher rating for the Indy 500.

06/02/10 A reader writes, Dear AR1, You hit the nail on the head, pennywise and pound foolish.  Despite IZOD the great promotion of the series they are doing, with the Versus deal and its low TV ratings the IRL has become invisible and hence irrelevant.  Sure there are a few ABC races, but week in and week out they are invisible.  Even the NASCAR Nationwide Series gets more network TV coverage.  When the team owners like Roger Penske, Michael Andretti and Chip Ganassi are more popular than the drivers, that is a real problem.  Jeff Hampton

06/02/10 The overnight Nielsen TV ratings are in for this year’s Indianapolis 500 … and the news isn’t great.  The race, which aired on ABC (WRTV-TV Channel 6) on Sunday, earned a 3.68 rating, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. Each rating point represents 1.1 million homes nationwide, meaning just over 4 million households across the U.S. tuned to this year’s race.

This year’s national rating was down from a 3.96 last year, or about 4.36 million TV households.  In the central Indiana market, the race predictably scored much higher, earning a 12.2 rating. Locally, each rating point equals 10,720 TV central Indiana households, meaning 130,784 tuned in. That means 22 percent of all TV households in this market watched the race (which is tape delayed here).

The local numbers too were down, from a 14.6 rating in 2009 and a 26 percent audience share.

The Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet, televised locally on WTHR-TV Channel 13 the night after the race, also saw a rating drop from 12.1 in 2009 to 8.0 this year. WRTV officials think part of this year’s drop can be attributed to a 2009 rating spike in Indy 500 programming.  IBJ.com

06/01/10 The 94th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday earned a 4.0 overnight Nielsen rating on ABC The overnight is the lowest for the race since it began airing live in '86. It is down 4.8% from a 4.2 rating last year, and down 21.6% from a 5.1 overnight for the '08 race, which was the first following the IndyCar-Champ Car merger.
06/04/10
nascar
Danica Patrick is now NASCAR's biggest star?  Based on her stellar NASCAR performances to date, Danica Patrick is now NASCAR's biggest star.  Nothing against Danica Patrick personally, because it is not only her, but something is terribly wrong with a sport when the best athletes are not the biggest stars, like in all other sports.  This is a dilemma racing must address if it is to be sustainable.

Here is the full top 35 of the ever-growing list of NASCAR-related tweeters, ranked by number of followers (The rules: Only drivers, crew members, owners and wives/girlfriends/family members are eligible; drivers who have accounts in their names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. but do not tweet for themselves are not eligible. The list does not include public relations, sponsor representatives and media).

1 (1 last month). Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick): 161,075 followers – "It's not my fault" that she's at the top of the Twitter rankings this month.

2 (2). Juan Pablo Montoya (@jpmontoya): 147,798 – Has Montoya's worldwide appeal slowed? We're not sure why he isn't gaining as many followers as he used to.

3 (3). Nelson Piquet Jr. (@nelsonpiquet): 118,056 – Notice a theme here? The top three drivers are not traditionally from NASCAR. They gained huge followings elsewhere before trying stock-car racing.

4 (4). Kevin Harvick (@kevinharvick): 40,437 – The first NASCAR-only driver to top 40,000 followers. Not bad, considering he got a relatively late start compared to wife DeLana.

5 (5). Michael Waltrip (@mw55): 39,647 – No wonder this guy continues to pile up the sponsors. He appeals to many different types of race fans. More ...

06/04/10
motogp
Rossi leads the way in opening Mugello practice  The defending World Champion was the only rider under the 1’50” mark as he got his home GP, the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, off to a strong start in the first practice session. Jorge Lorenzo made it a Fiat Yamaha one-two.

Valentino Rossi laid down an opening warning to the rest of the MotoGP field by setting the fastest time in the first practice at Mugello. The Italian is going for his eighth premier class win at the circuit this weekend, and was almost four-tenths of a second faster than his team-mate and Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi and Lorenzo established themselves at the forefront of the timesheet early on and Rossi continually improved his time as the session reached its climax. Inside the final ten minutes he finally broke the 1’50” barrier, setting a hot lap of 1’49.751. More ...

06/04/10
irl
FAZZT Announces New Chief Operating Officer  The FAZZT Race Team announced today that team General Manager Rob Edwards has been named Chief Operating Officer of the FAZZT Race Team.  Those responsibilities will include overseeing the commercial operations and sales division of the FAZZT Race Team.  Edwards replaces former COO Jim Freudenberg who resigned his position earlier this month for personal reasons. 

"We are looking forward to continue to grow and develop the commercial operations side of the FAZZT Race Team," said Edwards.  "The team has a very strong commercial platform with a number of very strong partners and we will continue to strengthen those partnerships and create new ones." More ...

06/04/10
f1
Lotus trying a low-downforce version  The Lotus Racing team will be introducing a new low downforce package at the Canadian Grand Prix Mike Gascoyne has revealed. Lotus' technical director furthermore said the team is hoping to make it to the checkered flag once again.

"Canada's a race we all look forward to," Gascoyne said. "It's a great city and a great race and we're all glad to be going back to Montreal. It's a temporary circuit where you often see quite a few people hit the wall, bringing out the safety car more than it's usually seen. It's one of those races where it's possible to pick up points, and we've got to put ourselves in a position to do that. We've got two very experienced drivers in the car which will help us be there at the finish and that's the primary goal.

"It's going to be hard on brakes, but we've had no problems in that area. We're also bringing a few more new parts, including a low downforce package specifically for Canada, so overall we want to build on the performances we've been putting in, aim for bullet-proof reliability, and have two cars see the flag." GPUpdate.net

06/04/10
irl
Blundell: IndyCars should be required to finish with some fuel in tank  Double Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and former Marlboro 500 winner Mark Blundell have called on the IZOD IndyCar Series to act to curb teams employing fuel-saving strategies on ovals in the aftermath of Mike Conway's accident.

Blundell – now Conway's business manager – believes that the series should consider introducing regulations to prevent a similar accident in the future, adding that the 26-year-old Conway – who will require a further operation following the five-hour one he had on Monday – could not have avoided hitting Hunter-Reay.

"What happened on Sunday could have been avoided," Blundell told AUTOSPORT. "There could have been a fatality, not just on track, but also in the crowd. More ...

06/04/10
irl
Barnhart argues against 'orchestrated NASCAR' green flag finishes  Brian Barnhart's argument for not using a NASCAR-like overtime session to end Izod IndyCar Series races under green, if possible, played out in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 when Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed as the leaders were starting their final lap.

Had Barnhart, as the race's chief steward, let the rest of the cars circulate Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the extensive cleanup played out, most of those low on fuel, including leader Dario Franchitti, likely would have been forced to relinquish their positions to pit or risk running out of fuel on the track. More ...

06/04/10
nassprint
Frightening incidents on pit road during Coke 600  UPDATE #2 Rear tire carrier Kevin McDowell was treated and released from the hospital following an incident on pit road during last Sunday's race. X-rays showed nothing broken and McDowell is expected to return to his pit crew duties in two to four weeks. While he is recovering, 3M team member and backup tire-carrier Eric Wallace will fill in. RFR

05/31/10 Racing crewman Kevin McDowell was examined and released from an area hospital early Monday morning after X-rays taken showed no broken bones, a team spokesman said Monday.  McDowell, the rear tire carrier for Greg Biffle, was taken to the hospital after being clipped by Tony Stewart on pit road during the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McDowell was doing his work on pit road and Stewart hit him as he was leaving his pit. He was awake and alert while being treated on pit road.

05/31/10 Roush Fenway Racing crewman Kevin McDowell was taken to a local hospital after being clipped by Tony Stewart on pit road and Joe Gibbs Racing crewman Nick Odell found himself on top of his own driver’s hood during the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

McDowell was awake and alert when he was taken to the infield medical center after getting hit by Stewart. He was taken to an area hospital for observation. The rear tire carrier was doing his work on pit road when Stewart hit him as he was leaving his pit. More ...

06/04/10
f1
'Politics' explains Red Bull crash blame - Verstappen  
Jos Verstappen
(GMM)  Jos Verstappen thinks Sebastian Vettel should receive "the full blame" for the crash with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in Turkey.  Dutchman Verstappen, 38, contested more than 100 grands prix until 2003, most famously as Michael Schumacher's teammate at Benetton in the mid 90s.

He wrote in his latest column for De Telegraaf newspaper that Australian Webber was not at fault for the collision on lap 40 at Istanbul Park.

"Vettel had the momentum and the slipstream, but he then made a crucial error by moving quickly to the right and hitting his teammate," Verstappen wrote in Italy, where he is accompanying his 12-year-old son Max at a kart event.  More ...

06/03/10
nassprint
Interstate Batteries renews with Gibbs  Interstate Batteries has agreed to a long-term extension of its sponsorship package with Joe Gibbs Racing, continuing an affiliation with the team that started when JGR entered Cup racing in 1992.

The sponsorship will continue to include six races as primary sponsor of the No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch as well as one Nationwide Series event each season. In addition to the seven total primary sponsorships, Interstate Batteries will continue to have promotional rights with JGR drivers Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.

“We have been blessed by our relationship with [company founder] Norm Miller and Interstate Batteries,” said team owner Joe Gibbs in a news release. “They took a chance on us 19 years ago as our founding sponsor, and the partnership has been outstanding ever since. They are a great example of the type of relationships we seek to build with our partners, and we’re thrilled to have them continue with us.”

Interstate Batteries was on the JGR car Dale Jarrett drove in winning the 1993 Daytona 500 and was with Bobby Labonte when he won the 2000 Cup title.

“After almost 20 incredible years in our sponsor relationship, we’re thrilled to continue working with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Kyle Busch,” Interstate Batteries Vice President Jane Koenecke said.

06/03/10
f1
Q&A with Team Hispania F1 Dr. Colin Coles  Q: As we are now nearing the 8th Grand Prix of the year, what can you say about this season up until now?
CK: The first objective was to arrive in Bahrain which was a tough start. Since then we were trying to stabilize the team and to reach a more normal way of working. We are making progress in all the areas which is positive.

Q:  What are your impressions of the car’s progress up until now?
CK: We have it now in our hands and we have our own development program. We will have some updates on the current car. For 2010 we have to take a rather pragmatic approach. Regarding 2011 development program we will have an announcement very soon.

Q: What can you say about HRT F1 Team Drivers, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna? Are you happy with the drivers development?
CK: Karun and Bruno are very talented young drivers which developed well in the first races. Bruno had quite a good qualifying and race in Istanbul, Karun a good race in Monaco. Unfortunately Bruno has been stopped by a fuel pick up problem and Karun by a race incident, to get a good result in these races. I am confident and  looking forward Bruno and Karun  doing a good job in the coming races which will improve the overall performance of the team. More ...

06/03/10
alms
Another packed grid at Utah for ALMS  
ALMS at Miller Motorsports Park, Utah
A new class at the venue and the debut for one of Formula 1’s biggest names highlight the entry list for next month’s Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The fourth round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n is set for July 9-11 at Miller Motorsports Park just outside Salt Lake City.

A field of 35 cars are entered for the two-hour, 45-minute race on MMP’s 3.048-mile, 15-turn perimeter circuit. Among them is a Ferrari F430 GT for Toni Vilander and Ferrari F1 regular Giancarlo Fisichella – a veteran of 231 Grand Prix starts and three World Championship victories. The pair will drive a second Ferrari for Risi Competizione and make an epic GT class even more so.

Also new for the Utah round is the LMP Challenge class, featuring ORECA’s FLM09 prototype. Seven of the prototypes are entered in the class including championship leaders Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut in one of two Level 5 Motorsports entries. More ...

06/03/10
automotive
At One Year, Camaro Leads U.S. Sports Car Segment  Consumers made the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro the best-selling sports car in the U.S. for the first full year of sales. From May 2009 to May 2010, Camaro posted 99,872 total sales, outselling its closest competitor by nearly 20,000 vehicles. Camaro continues to bring new customers to Chevrolet dealerships – at home and overseas. 

In the U.S., the 2010 Camaro’s first full month of sales was May, 2009. Camaro took the lead in monthly share of segment a month later and led the sales race for 11 of the last 12 months.
“It’s remarkable how quickly consumers connected with the new Camaro, and pushed it to the top of the segment,” says John Fitzpatrick, Camaro marketing manager, “especially considering our key competitors offer both coupe and convertible models. More ...
06/03/10
automotive
Mazda shows sales increases  Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today reported a 35.2 percent jump in sales for May 2010 with 22,605 vehicles sold. Through the first half of the year, MNAO has sold 97,481 vehicles and is outpacing last year's sales at this time by 12.5 percent. MAZDA3 (up 53.8 percent) and CX-7 (up 55.2 percent) both more than doubled in sales when compared to last year with 11,536 and 2,513 units sold, respectively. CX-9 celebrated its best-ever May with sales of 2,518 units, accounting for a 41.1 percent increase over last year, while MAZDA6 (up 29.9 percent) and MAZDA5 (up 19.0 percent) also posted strong gains.
06/03/10
f1
Canadian GP continues open house tradition  Octane Racing Group, promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix, is pleased to announce the return of 'Open House Day' at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Thursday, June 10 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Following a tradition dear to Montrealers, the organizers will allow the general public to stroll down pit lane in front of the World Championship team garages. The wide-open team garage doors will enable everyone to see what is going on inside the F1 teams weekend workplace where they are busy readying the open wheel Formula 1 cars prior to their first laps on track the next day. Armed with their cameras, fans will be able to immortalize their presence in proximity to the most spectacular racecars in the world.

"We are very satisfied of the co-operation that the FIA, FOM, and the F1 teams have demonstrated this year as we were staging this fan favorite," explained François Dumontier, President of the Canadian Grand Prix and Octane Racing Group, and promoter of the event. "The 'Open House Day' is of course a popular tradition at the Canadian Grand Prix, but I think that visitors will especially appreciate this year's experience. These past few months, all those involved in F1 expressed their enthusiasm on the return of Formula 1 to Montreal. The 'Open House Day' will be their first contact in a couple of years with their Canadian followers and I am really convinced that they will all be ready for this reunion."

Those who attended previous "Open House Day" gathering at the Canadian Grand Prix have always been especially impressed by the availability of team members who are always willing to answer their questions. Fans have often been surprised by unexpected appearances from drivers.

Supporting events racecars and a Ferrari driven by Gilles Villeneuve
Besides the visit down pit lane in front of the F1 garages, the public will also be able to see the supporting events racecars displayed by teams running at the Grand Prix - the beautiful and powerful Ferraris 430, the Quebec crowd favorite open-wheel Formula 1600 and the Historic Grand Prix cars. These are authentic F1 cars that ran from the late sixties through the mid-eighties. For a few dollars, those who wish to support the Gilles Villeneuve Museum can have their picture taken by one of the Ferraris driven in Montréal by the late Gilles Villeneuve.

Those who intend to be part of the 'Open House Day' celebrations at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve must use the Montreal subway system (Métro) to reach the Jean-Drapeau station located on Ile Sainte-Hélène. The public will then be directed to the Circuit via the Cosmos Bridge. Once on Island Notre-Dame, visitors will be transported to the pit lane by shuttle buses. Fans will be asked to leave the pit area at noon the latest to return to their point of origin, using the same shuttle buses. Tickets are not required this year to attend the event.

The 2010 official Canadian Grand Prix program will be available on Thursday, June 10 for those attending the 'Open House Day'. For $10, the official program is the ideal collector's item for every Formula 1 fan. It contains a full description of every team and driver entered in the 2010 World Championship, an exquisite spotter's guide and includes many fully illustrated feature stories on Formula 1. A signature Canadian Grand Prix clothing line and other memorabilia will also be on sales that day.

There are still grandstand and general admission tickets available for those wishing to attend the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. Fans can reach the Canadian Grand Prix box office at 514 350-0000, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. They can also visit www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca, at any time to order online. Still also available are corporate packages for both small and large companies and other groups who wish to attend the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix in a luxury trackside suite. To make a reservation, they must contact Julie Rioux-Paquette or Marie-Claude Boucher at 514 350-4731.
06/03/10
f1
Domenicali and Brawn says tire testing is needed for new Pirellis  
Ross Brawn
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali and FOTA chief Ross Brawn agrees there must be some testing for Pirelli, the newly announced 2011 tire supplier.

In the interest of safety, they both said there should be some testing in the "late summer and early winter".

A Mercedes reserve driver raised his hand to do some tire testing in the "interest of safety for all" which was of course mightly nice of him.

"Yes, this is what we have to discuss with the tire manufacturer as soon as we have decided and we know who will be the supplier for next year," he said.

"Clearly we need to have some specific testing to make sure the tires are sorted properly," agreed Brawn.

"It may take a few iterations to get where we want to be and undoubtedly there will be a degree of conservatism at the beginning because we can't afford to have any problems with compounds.

"But we're all there to help the new tyre supplier and I think we've got a good chance of success," he added.

06/03/10
grandam
nassprint
Johnson double-dips to run at the Glen  
Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson may have walked into a hornet's nest when he decided to double-dip this weekend between his regular NASCAR Sprint Cup gig at Pocono Raceway and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International.

The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup and defending Series champion is stepping into a long-time Grand-Am Rolex Series rivalry between Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team. That rivalry heated up in the series' most recent event at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on Memorial Day.

Johnson has teamed with GAINSCO Racing regular drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty for the past three Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance contests, earning a second-place overall finish together in 2008. He'll join them again for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, which begins at 2 p.m. More ...

06/03/10
nassprint
Dale Jr.'s bones have been picked clean  
Dale Jr.
Much has been written about the disappointing performance of Hendrick Motor Sports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who many dub as "the face of NASCAR" due to his incredible popularity and famous last name.

This weekend's 22nd place finish in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway did nothing to stem the picking of the flesh from Junior's bones, with speculation aplenty as to what ails this particular driver and team.

In fact, Junior's performance has been so poor that he continues to slide in the points standings, currently down to the 17th position.  If this continues, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was promised the moon when signing with Rick Hendrick, will be outside the championship chase, looking in once more. More ...

06/03/10
skip barber
Pigot retains Skip Barber lead  A motorsports star in the making, Spencer Pigot continued his pursuit of the 2010 BF Goodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda title in fine fashion over the Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) with two runner-up finishes at Lime Rock Park. With these important podium finishes in Rounds Seven and Eight of the 14-race series, the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver from Florida continues to lead the championship fight after four events. This particular outing tested Pigot’s resolve, as it was not without incident, but the maturing driver showed impressive poise and focus to fight back for two strong finishes. More ...
06/03/10
f1
Mosley blames Webber for Vettel collision  (GMM)  As Red Bull drew a line under the matter on Thursday, former FIA president Max Mosley waded into the debate about the collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Turkey.

After a meeting in Milton-Keynes on Thursday, the team issued a statement that included a jovial photo of the teammates with the caption 'Shit happens'.

"I'm sorry for the team that we lost the lead of the race.  Mark and I are racers and we were racing," German Vettel, 22, is quoted as saying.

With the blame-game apparently put to bed, Mosley however told the German newspaper Die Welt that he thinks the crash was Australian Webber's fault. More ...

06/03/10
ga
nassprint
Johnson drives into a Grand Am feud  Jimmie Johnson may have walked into a hornet's nest when he decided to double-dip this weekend between his regular NASCAR Sprint Cup gig at Pocono Raceway and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International.

The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup and defending Series champion is stepping into a long-time Grand-Am Rolex Series rivalry between Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team. That rivalry heated up in the series' most recent event at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on Memorial Day. More ...

06/03/10
f1
Domenicali backs moves for specific tire tests  (GMM)  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali agrees there should be some specific track testing for F1's new 2011 tire supplier.

FOTA technical chief Ross Brawn said in Turkey that despite the in-season testing ban, there should be some running exempted for the development of the new tires in the "late summer and early winter".

Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld recently put his hand up to do some tire testing this year, as current supplier Bridgestone is set to be replaced by either Pirelli or Michelin for the 2011 season.

Domenicali agrees that tire testing will be a priority. More ...

06/03/10
motogp
Victoria extends MotoGP deal  The Australian MotoGP will be held in the southern state of Victoria until at least 2016, with the option to extend until 2026.

It had been suggested Sydney could poach the event, with the New South Wales government declaring interest in hosting both the Australian MotoGP and Formula One grand prix.

"We are delighted to be announcing the contract extension," Australian MotoGP chief executive Drew Ward said. More ...

06/03/10
racing news
Jota Sport sign multi-year Aston Martin Racing agreement  British racing team Jota Sport has finalized a multi-year agreement to become an Aston Martin Racing Official Partner Team.

The Kent-based squad, which was formed in 2008 as a new division of the highly established and successful British sportscar racing outfit, Team Jota, has successfully raced in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, SPEED Series and European VdeV Championships in recent seasons. More ...
06/03/10
f1
Red Bull Team clears the air  
Shit Happens.....
Getty Images
Red Bull Racing drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel met with Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Dr. Marko at the Red Bull Racing factory today in Milton Keynes, UK.

It was a positive meeting, which draws a line under the incident that happened on lap 40 of the Turkish Grand Prix. The team is now fully focused on next week’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel: The team had got us into a great position and it wasn’t good for them what happened – so I’m sorry for them that we lost the lead of the race. Mark and I are racers and we were racing. We are professionals and it won’t change how we will work together going forward. We have a great team and the spirit is very strong. I’m looking forward to Canada. More ...

06/03/10
automotive
McLaren to open 35 car dealers in 2011, 35 more in 2012  UPDATE McLaren Automotive has unveiled ambitious worldwide plans for a network of up to 70 dealers for its new range of supercars.  Claiming to be represented by "the world's best automotive dealers", the firm said its UK outlets would be in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

It will have a total of 35 outlets – variously described as "partners" and "retailers" – in 19 countries in 2011 with further growth planned from 2012. The firm said it would confirm details of its first 23 outlets ahead of the global debut of its MP4-12C supercar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, in July.

Other European retailers will be in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Brussels, Monaco, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid and Zurich. North American outlets will include Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, while those in the Middle East will include Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh and Dubai. The firm will also have a presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. More ...

06/03/10
f1
Interview with Kamui Kobayashi  
Kamui Kobayashi
Kamui Kobayashi had a difficult start to what will be his first full season in Formula One. He suffered from technical problems, and was the innocent victim in accidents which forced him to retire from five out of the first six races. But in the seventh Grand Prix he hopes he has seen the light at the end of the tunnel. By finishing tenth in Istanbul the 23-year-old Japanese scored the team's first championship point of the season.

What does scoring this point mean to you?
Kamui Kobayashi:
"The team did a really good job that weekend. We had some very difficult situations in the previous races, so it was really nice to bring both cars home in Istanbul and get this point. But it is only a single point, and that is not something we should be satisfied with. It can only be the first step." More ...

06/03/10
irl
Racing fraternity debate new IndyCar designs  UPDATE IRL boss Randy Bernard said the series plans to have a decision on its new chassis by June 30th.

05/26/10 Drivers could be racing cars that look more like landspeeders from "Star Wars" or something that looks like it came out of "Batman" or "Speed Racer." League officials could opt for Lola's more traditional style or they could approve several chassis designs and let everyone choose their favorite look.

Yes, America's biggest open-wheel series wants to make innovation cool again.

"One thing I will say is that the five chassis out there have created a bit of a buzz and that has helped," league CEO Randy Bernard said.

Bernard embraces any such talk these days. More ...

06/03/10
f1
Ecclestone unhappy Pirelli green light taking so long  
Ecclestone wants a decision
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is not happy that the formula one circus departed Turkey last weekend without resolving the issue of tire supply for 2011.

The sport touched down at Istanbul Park amid strong speculation that Pirelli had been selected and would be confirmed as F1's new supplier by the time the event was over.

But according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, it was FOTA's powerful teams McLaren, Ferrari and Renault who invited Michelin's Nick Shorrock to make a presentation to all the teams on Sunday.

Indeed, Shorrock indicated to Auto Hebdo in an interview that Michelin's proposal had not substantially changed. More ...

06/03/10
f1
Red Bull set to meet as crash intrigue deepens  
Mark Webber in Turkey
(GMM)  Red Bull's clear-the-air meeting, to be attended by both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, will take place at the team's Milton-Keynes headquarters on Thursday.

The meeting comes amid new developments in the wake of last Sunday's collision of the two RB6 cars whilst they led the Turkish grand prix.

While team figures have backed away from pointedly blaming Webber for the incident, isolated as a scapegoat could be his race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam.

Already heavily criticized by Dr Helmut Marko, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims that Pilbeam not only failed to pass on information about the charging Vettel, but actually told Webber to use his overtake button to repel the attack. More ...

06/02/10
irl
Franchitti and Ganassi Get Surprise Visitor  
McMurray flew to Indy to be in the photo with Franchitti so NASCAR could steal some of the IRL's thunder
After finishing second in the Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway late Sunday night, 2010 Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray flew to Indianapolis early Monday morning to congratulate his Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti on his Indianapolis 500 win and to honor team owner, Chip Ganassi, for doing something that no other car owner in the history of auto racing had ever done; win the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season.

“I thought it was cool of Jamie to show up on Monday morning while we were out taking celebration photos,” said Franchitti.  “It shows what a class act Jamie is to have raced until almost midnight in the Coke 600 and then turn around and fly to Indianapolis the following morning.  It was nice to celebrate our combined accomplishments together with Chip.  It meant a lot to see him show up here.” More ...

06/02/10
nnw
Earnhardt team hires Ron Fellows  Ron Fellows, who two years ago drove a JR Motorsports car to victory in the Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, will be back in a JR Motorsports car for at least two of the three road-course races in 2010.

JR Motorsports announced that Fellows will drive the No. 88 car sponsored by AER Manufacturing in the June 19 race at Road America in Wisconsin and the No. 88 car sponsored by Grand Touring Vodka in the Aug. 7 race at Watkins Glen.

The team is still working out its driver and sponsor lineup for the Aug. 29 Montreal race, and Fellows could be in one of the team’s two cars for that event as well. More ...

06/02/10
irl
IRL announces new 'equivalency based' engine formula, leaves many unanswered questions  UPDATE “I think our guys are impressed with Randy’s leadership and where he wants to take things and Ford still sees value in the Indianapolis 500,” said Ford spokesman Kevin Kennedy.  “What was announced today was pretty broad and it’s too early to say, ‘yea or nay’ but our position is that it’s worth listening to more of what they have to say.”

IndyCar CEO Bernard said there will be a press conference Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway where more specifics might be discussed. We predict it will be done the way Grand-Am does it whereby you put the engines on a dyno and you make the power and torque curves as identical as possible using air or fuel restrictors, and then you spot check the engines throughout the year to make certain no one has made changes and are gaining an advantage, within, say, 2%.  What we do not yet know is whether the engine will be a stressed member of the car or not.  The Delta Wing concept is based on the engine being unstressed.

“It’s exciting news but it’s so wide open and there are still some major questions to be answered,” said Ian Bisco, former racing manager at Cosworth. “Will there be a RPM restriction? Will it be an air flow restriction or a fuel restriction? Will the engines be stressed or a non-stressed member? I’m sure these things will be decided after they do some testing but they’re all very crucial.”

“We’ve been in an open and engaged dialogue with the league now for two years,” Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development told SPEEDTV.com. “And the whole idea of trying to come up with something that wouldn’t exclude anybody – but you have to exclude something. Are we going to allow rotary? Are we going to be able to bring a Honda jet turbine-powered car back to the Brickyard? The idea was, I think, to embrace a range of solutions and I think the league is still going through that process, as you know, with the chassis manufacturers still holding court.

“As far as the League’s direct communication with other manufacturers, that being encouraged, we'd like to see some competition come back on the engine front in the series. So we don't want to paint it too narrow. Of course, you heard our advocacy for a six-cylinder engine. Others have indicated that they have less interest in that format and would rather go with a four cylinders. So whether we’re restricting air or restricting fuel or restricting some way more, we, hopefully, can say, look, however you want to make that power, build it and bring it for 2012.”

“If there's a three cylinder idea out there or if there's – if somebody says, ‘Well, I don't really want to use 2.4L – can I use something different, less?’ Again, you think they might be leaving something on the table but one thing that the IndyCar Series does have to specify, however, is the fuel or they have to decide the fuel is open or whatever they're going to do.” More ...

06/02/10
elms
25 Hours of LeMans coverage on SPEED  SPEED and SPEED.com are scheduled to present 25 hours of live and uninterrupted coverage from this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race at Circuit de la Sarthe, France’s most famous racing circuit.

At 8:30 a.m. ET on June 12, SPEED begins coverage from the 78th annual endurance classic with the race’s opening laps. Once the linear network leaves Le Mans to broadcast Michigan International Speedway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (12:30 p.m. ET), the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from MIS (NCWTS Setup at 1:30 p.m. ET & VFW 200 at 2 p.m. ET) and qualifying for Formula One’s Canadian Grand Prix (4:30 p.m. ET), www.SPEED.com continues full coverage with live streaming starting at 12:30 p.m. ET. SPEED rejoins Le Mans at 6 p.m. ET to its completion – which will include overnight and the finish. More ...

06/02/10
automotive
Big-3 sales are up again  Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. posted double-digit sales increases last month thanks to new vehicles and strong fleet sales.

Ford sales rose 23 percent compared to a year earlier while GM sales climbed 16.6 percent.

Excluding castoff brands Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn, sales of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles rose almost 32 percent compared to May 2009. Last month, GM sold 223,822 vehicles and posted the fifth consecutive month of double-digit sales gains for the four core brands. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Texas taxpayers to pay $25 Million for F1 race  Texas taxpayers will be footing the first $25 million of the tab to bring the new Formula One United States Grand Prix to Austin.

The Austin American-Statesman reports Wednesday that the money will pay London-based Formula One Group the sanctioning fee it charges to host the first of 10 annual F1 races planned for Austin starting in 2012.

State officials had said last week that the money would go to local governments to reimburse them for costs incurred in hosting such large sporting events.

State officials consider the money an investment that will be repaid when several hundred thousand race fans flock to Austin to watch the racing event.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says it's going to be wonderful for Texas. USAToday.com
06/02/10
nassprint
NASCAR drivers comment on safety changes at the Glen  #24-Jeff Gordon, #31-Jeff Burton and #47-Marcos Ambrose, tested tires for Goodyear on Tuesday at Watkins Glen International. Gordon said he put in about 50 laps Tuesday. He appreciated the upgrades put in place partly in response to last August's Sprint Cup race in which cars crashed into the guardrail at the exit of Turn 9 and ricocheted back onto the track. The biggest one involved Gordon, Sam Hornish, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano and others, causing nearly a 20-minute red-flag delay as NASCAR officials cleaned up the mess. The Glen paved runoff areas in Turns 9, 10, 11 and the Inner Loop, and it installed Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers in Turn 11 and the Inner Loop. Gordon, Burton and Ambrose will continue testing at the Glen on Wednesday. Elmira Star Gazette
06/02/10
nassprint
Roger Craig Named Grand Marshall of Toyota/Save Mart 350  
Roger Craig
Photo - Getty Images
Legendary San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig has been named Grand Marshall of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 18-20.

Craig, who helped guide the 49ers to three Super Bowl victories, will be honored on Friday, June 18, at the Children’s Champions Grand Marshall’s Banquet at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The gala is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.

He will also take part in pre-race activities on Sunday, including participating in the official command of, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.” More ...
06/02/10
automotive
GM sales increase 32%  For the fifth straight month, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac together posted a double digit sales gain, with combined sales increasing 32 percent over last May. Year-to-date sales for GM's four brands have risen 31 percent to 874,749 units – an increase of 206,994 units compared to last year, which is almost twice the volume lost from brands the company has discontinued. Since 2005, crossover sales as a percentage of industry sales have almost doubled. During the same time, sales of GM's crossovers as a percentage of the company's sales have more than tripled. May sales of GM's crossovers – Chevrolet Equinox, HHR and Traverse; Buick Enclave, GMC Terrain and Acadia; and Cadillac SRX – were up 83 percent compared to May 2009, and are up 81 percent year-to-date. Through May, GM leads all automakers in total crossover sales.
06/02/10
f1
Todt: F1 needs KERS to be credible  
Jean Todt
FIA president Jean Todt has underlined the importance of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) making a return to F1 to boost the sport's green credentials and make it "credible".

After engineers struggled to get the energy-recovery technology to work effectively without compromising car design last year, the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) collectively decided to stop using KERS in order to cut costs. However, FOTA is now in talks to reintroduce the technology in 2011, possibly with a single supplier and standard unit.

"I am not happy the teams voted unanimously against using KERS for the 2010 season," Todt said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport. "I am personally committed to having this position reconsidered for 2011." More ...

06/02/10
f1
The financial health of F1  Anyone who claims to fully understand the financial structures of CVC’s Formula 1 investment should be treated with considerable caution. It is a wildly complicated business with different companies – some of them in places where financial statements are not publicly available – being used simply to service debt in a tax efficient manner. Just to put that into perspective one should understand that Formula One Administration, the main operating company, is owned by SLEC Holdings Ltd (Jersey), which is owned by Alpha Prema UK Ltd, which in turn is owned by Alpha D2 Ltd, a subsidiary of Delta 3 UK Ltd, a subsidiary of Delta 2 (Lux) Sarl in Luxembourg. This is owned by Delta Topco Ltd (Jersey), which is controlled by CVC Capital Partners.

What is clear is that CVC is still busy paying off the $2.45 billion loan that was taken out in December 2006. This seems to be reducing but with companies within the group borrowing off one another it is very hard to follow exactly what is happening. It is believed that the debt will probably have gone by the end of 2011.

What is clear is that Formula 1 is not getting any cheaper for race promoters, TV companies and advertisers. Turnover in 2009 seems to be about the same as in 2008, although the Formula One Administration (FOA) accounts for 2009 suggest this is up nine percent. The 2008 figure for Delta 3 (UK) Ltd, the main holding company of the group, was $1.06 billion. As all these companies between Delta 3 (UK) Ltd and FOA seem to be holding companies of one form or another, it is fair to surmise that the turnover is actually about the same, even if the FOA figure taken in isolation indicates that there is an improvement. This is confirmed by the fact that payments to the Formula 1 teams – which are carefully monitored and strictly 50% of the revenues – went up from $521m last year to $544m. It is clear from this that things are moving in the right direction, despite there being only 17 races in 2009 compared to the 18 in 2008. Average revenue from each race has gone up accordingly, largely due to the big new pay out from Abu Dhabi. The profit and loss statements are entirely dictated by the debt-juggling and so reports of an increase of 29.7 per cent in FOA’s operating profits should be judged accordingly. Debt restructuring meant that FOA ended up with a paper loss of $2.9 billion after it wrote off a $3.4 billion investment in its subsidiary Petara Ltd (Jersey), which is the entity which owns Formula One Management Ltd.

One area where the sport did not do as well as might have been hoped was in its VIP hospitality, which comes under the Beta Holdings Ltd company (There are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and even Gamma companies in the structure). Revenues in this division fell by 18% from $183.4 million to $150.5 million. There were cost-savings as less money had to be spent on running the Paddock Club, but clearly the business has been affected by the recession. It may be even more significant a drop as Beta Holdings also deals with trackside advertising and official supplier deals and these have probably increased in value with big new deals such as LG included in the accounting period.

As I said, trying to analyze it all when you are not an accountant and do not have the full facts is a dangerous business… Joe Saward's Grand Prix Blog

06/02/10
irl
It's official: IRL adds Baltimore to 2011 schedule  Baltimore Racing Development (BRD) formally announced June 2 that the Baltimore Grand Prix will be part of the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule beginning in 2011.  The inaugural event has been scheduled for August 5-7, and will be contested on a 2.4-mile temporary street circuit around the scenic Inner Harbor area of downtown Baltimore.

BRD also announced that the event will be an annual fixture on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule for at least five years, thanks to multi-year contracts with the Indy Racing League and City of Baltimore. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Button receives MBE  
Jenson Button
World Champion Jenson Button became the proud holder of an MBE after being credited with the honor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London on Wednesday. The event confirms that both McLaren drivers have now received the tribute, courtesy of their individual title successes in 2008 and 2009.

Like former Team Principal Ross Brawn, Button's name was revealed on the latest New Year's Honors List, with the former having picked up an OBE in March.

Button collected his MBE on Wednesday morning, having returned from Istanbul after finishing second in the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday. More ...
06/02/10
irl
Has IndyCar flatlined?  As much as it pains me, it might be time to pull the plug on the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the IndyCar series.

I grew up loving Indy cars and especially the Indianapolis 500. I remember how I would be oh so tempted to watch the evening news to see who won. Back then, the race was taped so the networks would warn you before spoiling the prime-time broadcast with the results.

I remember the thrill of going to a track in New Jersey and wanting to be like the great Bobby Unser.  After all, we shared the same first name and that combined with his hard charging style was enough for a small child. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Williams looking into clutch issues  Much like crashes causes were analyzed followed the Monaco Grand Prix, Williams are now examining the clutches of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg's cars following Sunday's race in Istanbul. Technical Director Sam talks of the team's race as well as preparations for Canada in two weekends' time. How much was the performance of the FW32 compromised by use of the old front wing at Istanbul Park?

Running the old front wing cost us approximately one tenth per lap, but it worked well in the high-speed corners. We will have the next evolution of the front wing on both cars in Montreal next week. More ...

06/02/10
irl
Alex Lloyd talks about strong Indy run  
Alex Lloyd
Alex Lloyd recently talked about his strong showing at Indy, expressing his feeling that it could be a start of a turnaround for the team, which has had a slow start to the year, striking a last minute deal for the season.

Lloyd turned a deep qualifying position into a run at the front end of the pack and was mixing it up with the powerhouse teams at the end of the race.

"We're excited to have this bit of momentum...We needed it, because we've had a tough start to the year. But we showed that the small teams can go out there and mix it with the big guns." More ...
06/02/10
nnw
Villeneuve to drive for Braun Racing in Montreal  Braun Racing is pleased to announce that former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota in upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada and at the inaugural event at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin). Both tracks hold special meaning to Villeneuve. He earned his first career CART Series win at Elkhart Lake and the return to Montreal will mark his third career Nationwide Series start at the world-renowned road course named after his father, Gilles Villeneuve, also a legendary F1 racer. More ...
06/02/10
f1
New Force India tech boss defects to Lotus  (GMM)  Force India's newly-appointed technical director is switching teams to Lotus, it was announced on Wednesday.  Lotus, F1's new Malaysian-backed team, said in a statement that Mark Smith will become technical director "at the end of his Force India notice period".

The news is an embarrassment to Silverstone based Force India, who promoted Smith to the role of technical director in late February as the Sauber-bound James Key's replacement.

The teams are set to battle one another in the courts, with Force India accusing Mike Gascoyne and Lotus of basing the T127 on a model left behind in an Italian wind tunnel. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Lotus announces new hires  Lotus Racing has today confirmed the appointment of Mark Smith to the role of Technical Director, completing the senior technical structure and giving the team an excellent platform from which to achieve its goals of long-term success in the FIA Formula One™ World Championship.

Reporting to Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne, Mark will start at the end of his Force India notice period, and joins Lewis Butler (Chief Designer) and Marianne Hinson (Head of Aerodynamics), also from Force India, at the Anglo-Asian squad. These appointments, alongside Keith Saunt (Chief Operating Officer), Dieter Gass (Deputy Technical Director), Elliot Dason-Barber (Head of Vehicle Dynamics), Frank Ramowsky (Head of R&D), Rob Reeve (Head of Electronics) and Jody Egginton (Chief Engineer), complete the technical senior management structure. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Pirelli tire deal imminent  Michelin’s last ditch bid to win the F1 tire contract for 2011 and beyond seems to have failed to impress the teams, and a deal with Pirelli appears to be a formality.

It is now apparently a question of finalizing contractual and legal issues before confirmation comes from the FIA in the coming days.

Although Pirelli had already appeared to have already secured the contract, Michelin’s Nick Shorrock addressed the team bosses in a FOTA meeting in Istanbul on Sunday morning. However rather than put anything new on the table, he merely reiterated what had been said in earlier proposals. More ...

06/02/10
f1
Williams to use new rear wings in Canada  Williams F1 Technical Director Sam Michael has explained that the Grove team will be debuting brand-new rears wings on the cars of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg at next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

The former World Champion squad was forced to run with old version front wings in Istanbul - after the newest specifications had been destroyed in separate accidents at the previous Monaco Grand Prix - which lost both cars at least 5.8 seconds over the total race distance in Turkey. More ...
06/02/10
f1
No Friday action for di Resta in Canada - Force India  (GMM)  Paul di Resta will sit out a third successive Friday morning practice on the sidelines of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next week.

Force India's rookie reserve driver took over the 2010 car for initial practice in Australia, Malaysia, China and Spain.

But in the interests of maximizing the regular race drivers' practice time, the Scot did not drive in Bahrain because of the altered track configuration, or in Monaco "due to the challenging layout of the circuit".

And Adrian Sutil or Vitantonio Liuzzi also did not have to give up their cockpit at Istanbul Park last Friday, because the VJM03 was fitted with "some new development items", including the F-duct. More ...

06/02/10
nastruck
Kyle Busch shuts down 1 truck team  Kyle Busch shut down one of his financially strapped Truck Series teams Tuesday after driver Tayler Malsam accepted a promotion to the Nationwide Series.

Malsam will drive the No. 10 Toyota for Braun Racing starting Saturday at Nashville. Kyle Busch Motorsports announced it will no longer enter the No. 56 Toyota, which doesn't have a full-time sponsor, in the Truck Series the rest of the season.

Malsam is the second KBM driver to leave for the Nationwide Series in a month. Brian Ickler, who had been splitting time with Busch in the No. 18 truck, accepted a job with Roush Fenway Racing. More ...

06/02/10
nassprint
Red Bull makes crew changes  Red Bull Racing Team officials announced the swap of crew chiefs and supporting personnel between the #82 and #83 Toyotas, effective immediately. "Due to the circumstances of our current situation, we have an opportunity to experiment with different personnel combinations," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team General Manager and Vice President. #82 driver Scott Speed is paired with crew chief Ryan Pemberton, and #83 driver Casey Mears with crew chief Jimmy Elledge, who previously worked with Mears at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2003-2005, earning two poles, four top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes. Red Bull Racing Team
06/02/10
automotive
NHTSA probes floor mats in '10 Ford Fusion, Milan  Federal regulators opened an investigation into nearly 250,000 Ford Motor Co. vehicles and warned drivers not to use unsecured all-weather floor mats.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today that it had opened a preliminary investigation into 249,301 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles, saying "an accessory floor mat may entrap the accelerator pedal."

The agency warned owners of 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles not to place unsecured floor mats -- made by Ford or anyone else -- on top of the standard, carpeted floor mat in the driver's side foot well. More ...

06/01/10
irl
Final details of Baltimore GP to be announced  Baltimore Racing Development and the IZOD IndyCar Series will hold a press conference and luncheon Wednesday to announce final plans for the Baltimore Grand Prix to be run around the Inner Harbor in August 2011.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Jay Davidson, president of Baltimore Racing Development, and IndyCar officials will be on hand to make the announcement.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard announced in May that the Baltimore race will be on the schedule next year. The race would be the series' only event in the Mid-Atlantic region, since the league left Richmond, Va., last summer.

Only one problem, it is very hot and humid in Baltimore in August, which means fans will stay away in droves unless a lucky cool spell hits.

06/01/10
irl
Simona De Silvestro is Indy 500 ROY  After a whirlwind 2 weeks of Pre-Indy 500 media activities, finally concluding it with a respectable 14th place finish, the momentum continues for Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing rookie driver Simona De Silvestro.  It was announced at the 2010 Indy 500 Awards Banquet that the talented 21 year old had been selected to be the recipient of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Award.

Simona follows last year’s award winner Alex Tagliani, as well as respected racers Mario and Michael Andretti, Rick Mears, Jacques Villeneuve, and Nigel Mansell as winners of the award. More ...
06/01/10
irl
Texas IndyCar Entry List  
Car Driver Hometown Car Name Entrant
2 Raphael Matos Belo Horizonte, Brazil HP Luczo Dragon de Ferran Dragon Racing
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske Team Penske
4 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England National Guard Panther Racing Panther Racing
5 Takuma Sato (R) Tokyo Lotus-KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology
6 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia Team Penske Team Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport
8 E.J. Viso Caracas, Venezuela PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT KV Racing Technology
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Dario Franchitti Edinburgh, Scotland Energizer Target Chip Ganassi Racing
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil Team 7-Eleven Andretti Autosport
12 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Verizon Team Penske
14 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil ABC Supply Co A.J. Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises
18 Milka Duno Caracas, Venezuela CITGO Dale Coyne Racing
19 Alex Lloyd (R) Manchester, England Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing
22 Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Team Z-Line Designs/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
24 TBA TBA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Team Venom Energy Andretti Autosport
32 Mario Moraes Sao Paulo, Brazil KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology
34 Mario Romancini (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Conquest Racing Conquest Racing
36 Bertrand Baguette (R) Verviers, Belgium Conquest Racing RACB Conquest Racing
37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Boca Raton, Fla. Team IZOD Andretti Autosport
66 Jay Howard (R) Basildon, England Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing
67 Sarah Fisher Commercial Point, Ohio Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing
77 Alex Tagliani Lachenaie, Canada FAZZT Race Team FAZZT Race Team
78 Simona De Silvestro (R) Thun, Switzerland Team Stargate Worlds HVM HVM Racing
06 Hideki Mutoh Tokyo Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman/Haas Racing
06/01/10
nassprint
Jeff Gordon’s Crew Grabs Tissot Pit Road Award  Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race of the season.

The pit road win lifted Gordon’s crew into a three-way tie for first place with two victories. The other teams with two wins are the No. 56 crew for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 17 crew for Matt Kenseth.

Gordon’s No. 24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevrolet spent the least amount of time of pit road – 350.435 seconds – during the 400-lap, 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The effort helped Gordon to a sixth-place finish in the Memorial Day weekend classic. More ...

06/01/10
irl
Hunter-Reay to race with thumb splint  IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay has had successful surgery on his left thumb and is being fitted for a carbon-fiber splint that will allow him to race Saturday at Texas.

The American has won one race this season and his deal with Andretti Autosport is to expire after Saturday's race. He is the only driver to reach Victory Lane not driving for Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi.

Hunter-Reay hurt the thumb on pit row during Sunday's Indianapolis 500. He also was involved in the frightening crash with Mike Conway on Lap 199, but was not injured in that collision. More ...

06/01/10
f1
USF1 equipment on auction block  USF1 is on the auction block. Here is a list of all of the equipment up for grabs. Get a deal while you can! http://www.asset-sales.com/

Featuring Machinery All Manufactured New in 2009!

HAAS VF7 4-Axis Vertical Machining Center
HAAS VF5/40TR 5-Axis Trunnion Vertical Machining Center
(2) HAAS VF4B 4-Axis CNC Vertical Machining Centers
HAAS VF2TR 5-Axis Trunnion Vertical Machining Center
C.R. ONSRUD F122HD 5-Axis “Extreme Duty Series” CNC Router
HAAS 12” and 8” 4-Axis Tables
HAAS TM-1 Tool Room Mill
HAAS TL-1 CNC Lathe
HAAS SL30T CNC Turning Center
(2) HAAS SL20T CNC Turning Centers
All Manufactured New Between 8/2009 and 10/2009:
STRATASYS FDM Maxum Rapid Prototype System (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Horizontal and Vertical Band Saws including COSEN SH-4030 – mfg. 3/2008
FMB Mitre Band Saw – mfg. 2008 and (2) DAKE V-24 Vertical Band Saws – mfg. 2009
DAKE 40 Elec-Draulic Press
AMERICAN 5’ x 10’ Autoclave – mfg. 2009
GERBER 6’ x 24’ CNC Static Cutter – mfg. 2009
Mezzanine and Enclosure
Metal Stairs, Approximately 14’ x 27’ – installed 2009
MICRO AIR Clean Air System Model CPF-160 10 HP Dust Collector
INGERSOLL-RAND 15 HP Rotary Screw Air Compressor
Sanders
Over 25 New KENNEDY Multi-Drawer Cabinets
Pallet Racking
BAYCAST 95” x 190” Base Layout Plate
WILSON B2000 Electronic Hardness Tester
Forklifts
Truck
06/01/10
nassprint
Gordon Rainbow Warriors win Charlotte Tissot Pit Crew round  Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race of the season.

The pit road win lifted Gordon’s crew into a three-way tie for first place with two victories. The other teams with two wins are the No. 56 crew for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 17 crew for Matt Kenseth.

Gordon’s No. 24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevrolet spent the least amount of time of pit road – 350.435 seconds – during the 400-lap, 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The effort helped Gordon to a sixth-place finish in the Memorial Day weekend classic.

Finishing second was Ryan Newman’s U.S. Army crew (351.822) and third went to Mark Martin’s No. 5 CARQUEST Auto Parts crew (360.771).

"We had to make some calls in an effort to gain track position on Sunday night, and the pit crew did a great job of adjusting to those last-second instructions," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevrolet.

Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front-tire carrier), Joe Slingerland (rear-tire changer), Matt Ver Meer (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can), Colin Fambrough (back-up tire changer) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The team’s pit crew coach is Greg Morin.
The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.

Tissot has been the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR since 2006. The company is also the official timekeeper for a number of other sports, including the MotoGP World Championship, the Ice Hockey World Championship and the Cycling World Championship.

Pos Team No. Pit Crew For Wins Prize Money
T1 56 Martin Truex Jr. 2 10,000
T1 17 Matt Kenseth 2 10,000
T1 24 Jeff Gordon 2 10,000
T4 42 Juan Pablo Montoya 1 5,000
T4 12 Brad Keselowski 1 5,000
T4 33 Clint Bowyer 1 5,000
T4 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 5,000
T4 00 David Reutimann 1 5,000
T4 39 Ryan Newman 1 5,000
T4 1 Jamie McMurray 1 5,000

2010 Tissot Pit Road Precision Award Winners
Daytona, 2/14      Juan Pablo Montoya Team
Fontana, 2/21 Jeff Gordon Team 
Las Vegas, 2/28 Martin Truex Jr. Team
Atlanta, 3/7 Martin Truex Jr. Team
Bristol, 3/21 Brad Keselowski Team
Martinsville, 3/29  Clint Bowyer Team
Phoenix, 4/10 Matt Kenseth Team
Texas, 4/19 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Team
Talladega, 4/25 David Reutimann Team
Richmond, 5/1 Ryan Newman Team
Darlington, 5/8 Jamie McMurray Team
Dover, 5/16 Matt Kenseth Team
Charlotte, 5/30 Jeff Gordon Team

06/01/10
irl
Bernard say IRL does not need circus side-show of green-white-checker rule  Randy Bernard was asked if IndyCar needs a green-white-checker rule. He responded promptly "It’s not what anybody wants to see, obviously, but Indy doesn’t need the circus sideshow of green-white-checker. It’s a 500-mile race, it’s still pure and the deserving driver won it on Sunday."
06/01/10
f1
Williams announces Power Plate partnership  Power Plate International today confirmed a new licensee partnership with WilliamsF1, to produce Williams branded Power Plate® machines to be sold globally through selected exclusive retail partners

The limited edition Power Plate pro6™ machine, finished in the distinctive Williams livery, was officially launched at Harrods department store in London, on Friday 28th May. It was also previewed to the Formula One community during the Barcelona and Monaco Grand Prix events

The Williams name has been synonymous with performance in the motor‐racing world since the late1970s, while Power Plate International, global leader in Acceleration Training™ technology, has seethe standard in vibration training equipment since its launch a decade ago

Frank Williams, Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team, says, “We are delighted to welcome Power Plate as a new Williams F1 licensee. Power Plate is committed to delivering technologically innovative products making this new partnership a natural fit for both parties.” We are thrilled to be working with Williams. Formula One drivers are elite athletes and we are well-placed to offer them access to a cutting‐edge fitness technology that can help them gain that all-important competitive edge. We are also delighted to offer armchair Formula One fans around the world the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and improve their fitness on their own limited edition Williams Power Plate machine,” says Guus van der Meer, Founder and Chairman of Power Plate International

As the result of two companies committed to performance through design and technology, it is fitting that the limited edition Williams Power Plate pro6 machine is equipped with the newest fitness innovation, proMOTION technology

It is available to purchase exclusively from Harrods department store and directly from Power Plate International from 28th May 2010. Each model is individually numbered and accompanied by a signed certificate, stating its authenticity

06/01/10
f1
Red Bull crisis to have no quick end  UPDATE Red Bull Racing has moved to retract previous comments suggesting that Mark Webber was to blame for the collision between its two drivers in the Turkish Grand Prix, with team principal Christian Horner stating that it was a 'racing accident'.

Team advisor Helmut Marko had been the most vocal supporter of Sebastian Vettel following the incident while the pair battled for the lead in Istanbul despite the vast majority of onlookers blaming the German; who turned across Webber as he attempted to take the lead.

In a question and answer released by the team, Horner admitted that Red Bull ‘wins and loses as a team’ and the incident wasn’t solely down to either driver. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Marko, Horner blame Webber and engineer for crash  UPDATE (GMM)  Helmut Marko no longer thinks Mark Webber was to blame for the collision that foiled Red Bull's one-two finish in the recent Turkish grand prix.

Marko, the energy drinks company's motor sport advisor, had initially blamed the Australian driver for the crash, despite most experts, pundits and former drivers believing his teammate Sebastian Vettel had turned into the side of Webber's sister RB6.

In an interview provided by the Milton Keynes-based team on Tuesday, team boss Christian Horner said he blames both drivers for the crash. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Alonso growing frustrated with Ferrari  
Fernando Alonso
Reports suggest that Fernando Alonso is becoming more and more disillusioned by Ferrari's failure to compete at the front of the field.

After a fast start to the season in which Alonso won the season-opening Bahrain GP, Ferrari have tailed off of late, with the team forced to settle for eight and ninth spot in Turkey, a race that was supposed to be a celebration of their 800th race in the sport.

Reports now suggest that Alonso is becoming highly frustrated with the teams' lack of progress.

"I'm told that Fernando Alonso is very frustrated by Ferrari's rate of development. Compared to his time at McLaren in 2007, when the British team had updates for every race, Ferrari's flow of new parts this season has been very slow, with no more than little tweaks here and there so far," explained BBC commentator Jonathan Legard.

"The result is that the car that started the season right on Red Bull's heels is now, in Alonso's words, 'the fifth quickest'.

"It seems Ferrari have a major upgrade for the European GP at the end of June - a copy of Red Bull's downforce-producing exhaust system, and a new diffuser. But the fear is that it will not leapfrog Ferrari back up the grid because their rivals will have at least kept pace. The team are also puzzled as to why the car is competitive on softer tyres but well off the pace on the harder compound," he added.

Legard's remarks have been solidified by Alonso's admission that even with their planned upgrades, the Italian team will not be at the front of the field.

"We know that McLaren and Red Bull are very far away and we don't know if that's enough. We have to work hard," said Alonso.

"We don't know how long it is going to take, but the truth is that we are almost eight tenths from Red Bull and 6 or 7 tenths from McLaren, and these developments [for Valencia] are not going to give us that much."

Having earlier in the week said that Ferrari could not cope with the developments of the 'bigger teams', team boss Stefano Domenicali remains confident that there is still time for Ferrari to mount a title challenge.

"We are not going to stop developing this car - we are not throwing away these races so far," he said.

"We will continue working on the F10 until the end of the season. The championship is still open and we have seen that anything can happen in the races. We will not give up," he added.  PlanetF1.com

06/01/10
f1
Lotus denies misconduct in Force India dispute  Lotus has responded to word that it is being sued by the Force India team with regards to its car design. According to reports in the German media, the Vijay Mallya-owned squad feels that the 2010 debutants have copied their plans via wind tunnel company Aerolab.

A disagreement involving Aerolab and Silverstone's Force India first emerged in November, with the team - which was involved in technical partnerships with the Italian company in November 2008 and September 2009 - having been entangled in a legal dispute with the wind tunnel operator, which described 'serious and persistent' breaches of contract.
Also in November, Force India hinted that a copy of its design by Lotus could be possible, judging by early photos which were released by the latter of its 2010 car.

However, Lotus stresses that it is solely caught up in a spat which is principally involving the other two parties.

"Lotus Racing has been joined as a co-defendant in civil proceedings which are principally between Force India and Aerolab/Fondtech," a Lotus spokesperson explained to GPUpdate.net on Tuesday morning.

"These proceedings do not allege any wrongdoing on the part of Lotus Racing. Aerolab/Fondtech vigorously denies any wrongdoing and have provided Lotus Racing with a full indemnity in relation to the claim." GPUpdate.net

06/01/10
f1
No more Russians in F1 anytime soon  
Vitaly Petrov’s manager, Oksana Kosachenko, say she does not see another Russian driver who can join her client in the Formula 1 any time soon.

Kosachenko said her client had five offers from five different Formula 1 teams ahead of the 2010 season. The Russian’s move to Renault became possible only because of her close relations with the chief of the Renault team.“Renault chief Eric Boullier is an old friend of mine. Our friendship was not related to motor racing. And once I called Eric on the phone and he said: ‘When you are in Paris next time, let me know.’ And I was in Paris at that very moment, not far from him. As a result, we met in 15 minutes, and Boullier said: ‘I’m being appointed as Renault F-1 chief. I’m thinking of inviting Petrov,’” Petrov’s manager explained to Sovetsky Sport newspaper. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Red Bull will not use F-duct in Canada - Marko  (GMM)  Red Bull might not test its new F-duct system on the long straights of Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next Friday.

The team took its initial version of the downforce-stalling concept off the RB6 after Friday practice in Turkey, after Sebastian Vettel reported that it had not functioned perfectly.

"We need to work on getting the right effect," said the German.

It had been expected that the team would test the innovation again during Friday practice in Canada, where the straight-line speed boost will be a big advantage on the fast layout. More ...

06/01/10
irl
1500 fans treated at Indy 500 35 hospitalized  Many fans found relief in the shade under grandstands or at scattered misting stations Sunday as the mercury neared 90 and temperatures close to the track went even higher.

Track officials said more than 1,500 people sought treatment at the infield medical center, a majority of them for heat-related illnesses. About 35 who were stricken by the heat were taken to local hospitals for additional evaluation.

Tammy Barrett of Columbia, Mo., had her 60-year-old mother rushed to the track's infield hospital after she showed signs of heat exhaustion in their second turn seats in the full sun.

"Usually she's pretty good about not being bothered by the heat, but it's just so hot today," Barrett said. "We're all hot." SI.com

06/01/10
irl
Is Danica image right for IndyCar?  
Danica Patrick
Shortly after Sunday’s 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 concluded, runner-up Dan Weldon, during his post-race interview, told ABC-TV, “I’d like to thank IZOD for making Indycar racing cool again.”

Ahhhh, not so much.

All auto racing has reached a time of crisis ... a palpable loss of fan interest.

Ever since Indycar racing was surpassed by NASCAR’s Sprint, nee Winston, Cup back in the ’90s, the open-wheeled division has unsuccessfully struggled to catch up.

Some might conclude that one possible reason might be a statistic that was revealed early in yesterday’s race.

The field of 33 cars included drivers from 13 countries ... and only nine Americans.



That’s not to say auto racing  fans are xenophobic - though some would argue that Sprint Cup is decidedly red, white and blue to say nothing of All-American behind the wheel. Indycar’s real problem is marketing.

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

After all, NASCAR has a problem of its own ... declining popularity.

Sprint Cup racing’s numbers have taken a dive in ticket sales, television ratings and merchandise purchases.

THEN THERE’S coverage.

Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is normally the biggest racing day of the year.

USA Today used to put out a special section previewing Indy and NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600.

This weekend, “the nation’s newspaper” offered a Page 1 tease to the sports section which had a short story out front, a piece on each race on Page 10 and a small sidebar on Danica Patrick’s fans turning on her for dabbling in NASCAR.

New England newspapers were unmoved by both of Sunday’s races, several smaller ones with no advance stories on either race and some running the starting grid of one or the other, but not necessarily both.

ANYWAY, back to Indycar’s marketing.

Last year’s  Indianapolis 500 TV ratings were the lowest since ABC began broadcasting the race live, 25 years ago.

Worse, they were off 40 percent from Danica’s rookie year of 2005.

The problem, of course, is that Patrick is the series’ most popular driver ... the one to whom Indycar has hitched its star.

But that took a tarnish with her foray into NASCAR and last week, after she criticized her car’s setup during qualifying, Danica was actually booed.

Who knows what the TV ratings might have been had she gone out early in yesterday’s race.

But she didn’t ... Patrick was a very respectable fifth, the best finish of the record four women in the field.

That said, the telecast was funded by her sugar-daddy sponsor, godaddy.com, which ensured Danica, by far, had the financial backing to  drive the best car with the most accomplished crew of any of the females in the race.

Still, it’s worth noting that rookie Simona de Silvestro finished a solid and safe 13th, one of 17 cars on the lead lap, fellow first-year driver Ana Beatriz was a lap down in 21st while veteran Sarah Fisher was 26th after engine problems took her out.

Significantly, none of them was involved in the eight crashes that claimed nine of their male counterparts.

AS FOR the race, it was all Danica, all the time ...  commercially. And none of those ads focused on her driving skills ... but rather her appeal as an attractive young woman.

That’s a dangerous hook on which to hang a racing series’ future.

Fact is, Sunday’s Indy 500 was terrifically entertaining with eight different leaders, 14 lead changes and a spectacular last-lap crash in which Mike Conway’s car disintegrated when it hit the wall, flipped upside down and skidded several hundred yards down the track.

In another era, the crash would have been a guaranteed fatal.

Instead, Conway, who injured his leg, figuratively walked away.

In the long run, if it’s to happen, that kind of triumph of man over mishap will bring fans back to Indycar ... not a driver, no matter how sexy.

Oh yeah, as we were frequently reminded on yesterday afternoon, the race was won by Ashley Judd’s husband. Oleantimesherald.com

06/01/10
automotive
Big-3 slash warranty claim rates  Detroit's Big Three have slashed warranty claims more than 40 percent in recent years -- further evidence that the automakers, long plagued by repair problems and consumer perceptions that their products are inferior, are narrowing the quality gap with foreign competitors.

The reduction in warranty claims saves the automakers much-needed money -- perhaps several hundred dollars per vehicle sold -- and boosts resale values. Those savings, in turn, contribute substantially to the operating profits of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, and are helping repair their reputations among consumers.

"That's pure operating profit," said auto analyst Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting in Short Hills, N.J. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Renault F-duct to be tested 'soon' - boss  (GMM)  Renault's F-duct will be seen at a grand prix circuit "soon", according to team boss Eric Boullier.

Earlier this year, the Enstone based team said it would not waste resources on the downforce-stalling innovation.

But given that several of Renault's key rivals including Mercedes, Sauber, Williams and Force India have implemented the McLaren-pioneered system, Boullier revealed in April that the team is now "actively working" on an F-duct design. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Red Bull crisis veils big step forward for McLaren  (GMM)  With the Red Bull-fight raging, it is easy to overlook that the whole episode was triggered by the major step forward made by McLaren in Turkey.

The entire F1 paddock had predicted another race of utter dominance from the energy drinks-owned team.

But although Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were leading at Istanbul Park, it was the pressure applied by the chasing Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button that revved up the urgency of Vettel's ill-fated overtaking move.

"We were quicker than the Red Bulls," said Button.  "It's amazing how much of a leap we've made.  We've bridged the gap and the rest have stayed back." More ...

06/01/10
f1
Red Bull must move on as McLaren looks to pounce  (GMM)  After the lost tempers and the blame game, Red Bull is now moving to put its championship campaign back on track in the ten days before reconvening in Canada for the next grand prix.

Turkey not only staged a crash between teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel whilst leading, it triggered a hotbed of intrigue as fingers were pointed and garage divisions were revealed and strengthened.

Australian Webber, now the clear championship leader but at odds with both his team and his apparently favored teammate, indicated he wants to patch up and move on.

"We'll probably have a difference of opinion about what happened until we go to our graves, but we're both adults and we need to find a way of racing together that doesn't compromise the team," he wrote in his column for the Australian newspaper Daily Telegraph. More ...

06/01/10
f1
Ferrari not giving up on 2010 car  (GMM)  Ferrari is not prepared to give up on its 2010 car, despite falling off the pace last weekend in Turkey.

Fernando Alonso failed to make the Q3 qualifying session at Istanbul Park, while Felipe Massa was the Maranello team's highest placed finisher -- behind the Red Bulls, the McLarens, the Mercedes and the Renault of Robert Kubica.

Ferrari's F10 will feature a specific low-downforce bodywork package in Montreal next weekend, before a big update of changes is debuted at Valencia later this month.

Spain's AS newspaper believes the Valencia update will include a major repackaging of the rear end and exhaust system. More ...

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