LE MANS, France – Don Panoz again has captured the Spirit of Le Mans. This time, one of the world’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs is pairing his newest automotive masterpiece with the legacy of the world’s greatest auto race. The Panoz Abruzzi “Spirit of Le Mans” broke cover today at the Circuit de La Sarthe, an appropriate venue for the world debut of a ground-breaking automobile with a very appropriate delivery and acquisition program for its customers.
“This is culmination of equal parts time, effort and dreams,” said Panoz, founder of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. “The Panoz brand always has prided itself on hand-building and delivering an exotic automobile and experience to our customers. Our new offering takes this to a completely new level.”
Paul Clapprood Named Interim Crew Chief for Labonte TRG Motorsports announced today Paul Clapprood has been named interim crew chief for the No. 71 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Labonte in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The change is effective immediately.
Clapprood, who takes over the crew chief duties from Doug Randolph, will be on top of the pit box for this weekend's Helavua Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR TV show fails NASCAR’s attempt to ride the wave of “docu-soap” dramas hit a glitch when “NASCAR Wives” never made it to the air and the project was eventually canceled.
TLC had ordered at least eight half-hour episodes of “NASCAR Wives” last year, including a one-hour launch show in 2009, with production handled by NASCAR Media Group. But the project was dropped because the shows weren’t controversial enough.
“The network wanted situations created that were not true to how these women normally act. They wanted conflict, and we just weren’t willing to go down that road,” said Jay Abraham, NASCAR Media Group’s COO.
Chevrolet Awards Detroit Pitcher Corvette for Near Perfect GameUPDATE General Motors’ presentation of a $53,000 Corvette convertible to Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga last week following his “almost” perfect game earned the automaker national praise, some political criticism and an impressive $8,934,885 of media exposure value.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc., which has specialized in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media for 25 years, General Motors and its Corvette give-away were referenced during 714 television programs from last Thursday’s on-field presentation through this past Sunday. When compared to the cost of reaching the same size audience through traditional advertising, GM garnered an in-broadcast television exposure value of $999,885.
Joyce Julius also monitored mentions of Corvette and Galarraga in print articles and on the Internet. All told, the car brand appeared in more than 151,000 publications and web entries over the four-day period, leading to another $7.9 million of exposure value.
Mattias Ekström Confirmed for Road-Course Race in Sonoma Two-time Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) champion Mattias Ekström will take over the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 18-20 (Father’s Day weekend), team officials announced today.
Ekström will take over the seat from Casey Mears, who has been filling in for Brian Vickers while Vickers recovers from blood clots.
“First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31.
The father of Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano will not have his NASCAR credential pulled for the second time in a year after being called to the hauler for his behavior following Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway. But Tom Logano was told strongly by NASCAR officials that he crossed the line when he allegedly shoved a television broadcaster out of the way -- an allegation he disputes -- while his 20-year-old son tried to get to Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick on pit road.
"...Simona de Silvestro is one of IndyCar’s best stories in 2010, but she showed us last Saturday night that being cool under fire is also part of her DNA. De Silvestro earned an "A" for her poise and professionalism during and after the fire. The court of public opinion has given the safety team entrusted with her care a much lower grade.
Simona de Silvestro’s speed, race pace, consistency and savvy on the smallest team in the paddock is obviously one of IndyCar’s best stories in 2010.
But she showed us last Saturday night that being cool under fire is also part of her DNA.
The talented 21-year-old from Switzerland escaped a scary encounter with a rescue mission gone wrong after crashing in the Firestone 550K at Texas Motor Speedway..."
Busch crew snags Tissot Pit Crew prize at Pocono Kyle Busch’s crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
It was the first Tissot win of the season for Busch’s crew, which became the 11th different winner of the award in the first 14 races of the 2010 season.
Busch’s No. 18 M&Ms Pretzel Toyota Camry spent the least amount of time on pit road – 485.618 seconds – during the 204-lap, 510-mile race. The quick and steady work on pit road helped Busch to a runner-up finish in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500.
“That was a really nice job by those guys on pit road today,” Busch said following the Pocono race. “I think the M&M’s team is the best week in and week out on pit road. They are fast. They don’t get the credit they deserve. I say it every week – those guys win me a lot of races and get me a lot of good finishes. Today was another one of those days.”
Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Nick Odell (front-tire changer), Brad Donaghy (front-tire carrier), Jake Seminara (rear-tire changer), Kenny Barber (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fender (jackman), Tom Lampe (gasman), Jason Hinson (catch can). The team’s pit crew coach is Mike Lepp and the crew chief is Dave Rogers.
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.
The pit crews for Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon share in a three-way tie in the Tissot standings with two wins each.
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.
2010 Tissot Pit Road Precision Award Standings
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
T4 18 Kyle Busch 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 Pocono, 6/6 Kyle Busch Team
Chrysler recalls over 800,000 vehicles Chrysler is recalling almost 600,000 minivans and Jeep Wranglers in the United States and another 100,000 elsewhere because of brake or wiring problems that could create safety issues, the company and federal regulators said Monday.
Chrysler said it is recalling 288,968 Jeep Wranglers from the 2006 through 2010 model years due to a potential brake fluid leak.
It also is recalling 284,831 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from the 2008 and 2009 model years because a wiring problem can cause a fire inside the sliding doors.
Another 76,430 Wranglers and 34,143 minivans are being recalled in Canada, Mexico and other international markets, Chrysler said.
Neither problem has caused any crashes or injuries, Chrysler Group LLC said.
It was the second notable recall in the past week for Chrysler. The company recalled nearly 35,000 Dodge Calibers and a limited number of Jeep Compasses last week to fix a potential problem with sticky gas pedals, the same issue that has afflicted millions of Toyotas.
In the latest recall, the front inner fender liners on the Jeeps can rub against the brake fluid tubes and cause a leak. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the leak could lead to a partial brake loss.
The minivans can have improperly placed wires that can come into contact with sliding door hinges that could cut through the insulation, Chrysler and NHTSA said.
Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said the defect could lead to a fire inside the minivan door "in rare instances."
Chrysler will notify owners and dealers about the repairs, which will be made free of charge. The recall is expected to start later this month.
The Wranglers affected by the recall were made from May 15, 2006 through Aug. 9, 2010, according to NHTSA. The minivans were made from February 2007 through September 2007. Detroit News
Liuzzi switches to older chassis Liuzzi reverting to an older VJM03 chassis in Canada this weekend, with damage having been discovered on the latest design, which dates back two races to Monte-Carlo.
Whereas team-mate Adrian Sutil experienced a rocky start to the 2010 campaign, Liuzzi scored points in both Bahrain and Australia before retiring from the following three Grands Prix. There was a ninth place finish in Monaco although no more than 13th could be extracted from Turkey after being eliminated in Q1 qualifying.
Consequently, Force India have elected to revert to usage of a previously used chassis as Formula 1 returns to Montreal; the tub used in later races, meantime, will be analyzed at the team's Silverstone facility.
"The last few races have been pretty tough as we've been struggling with a general lack of grip that makes it hard for me to give the maximum," Tonio explained. "Monaco was okay and I thought we had solved the issues, so it was quite frustrating in Turkey that I couldn't make the most of our new development items.
"We've put in some long hours at the factory and found some minor damage on the chassis that we picked up in Monaco; we thought we had fixed it but, as a precaution, we are switching back to the chassis I used in the first four races.
"We'll look at the chassis again back in the factory and see if we can find any other areas we need to address."
Rossi injury update Dr. Roberto Buzzi, head of Trauma at the CTO Careggi (Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico) in Florence, Italy, made the following statement about Valentino Rossi today:
"Today Valentino underwent another small operation to close the wound, which is looking good. We closed it with 15 stitches and our overall medical judgment is positive. We used a short general anesthetic and when he woke up he was in good shape. The healing process of the injury is going well and as expected in Valentino's condition."
Rossi crashed on Saturday in practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, breaking his lower right leg.
Engineer got Button hold-station prediction wrong - McLaren (GMM) An engineer was wrong to tell Lewis Hamilton that his teammate Jenson Button would not overtake during the recent Turkish grand prix.
A video edit of the Istanbul Park race released by F1's official website revealed that Phil Prew, the British team's principal engineer, answered 'No Lewis, no" when Hamilton asked if Button would overtake him.
Conspiracy theorists interpreted the news as 2009 world champion Button having ignored a veiled team order.
But team boss Martin Whitmarsh explained on Tuesday: "Phil gave an opinion to Lewis, and as it turned out his opinion was wrong. It's as simple as that.
"They were being told to look after fuel, (and) as a consequence of that Phil Prew had the opinion that Jenson wouldn't overtake," he told reporters during a teleconference.
De Silvestro cleared to drive IZOD IndyCar Series driver Simona De Silvestro was re-evaluated by Indy Racing League medical personnel June 7 and has been cleared to resume racing activities without restrictions.
Dr. Geoff Billows said De Silvestro suffered a minor burn on her right hand in a fiery accident when her No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing car made contact with the wall on the backstretch during the Firestone 550K at Texas Motor Speedway on June 5.
Apple announces the iPhone 4 Apple CEO, Steve Jobs introduces iPhone 4 at the company's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Of course the AutoRacing1.com AR1 iPhone app will also run on this new device.
The 78th running of the world’s greatest race the 24 Heures du Mans will have 10 Lola-designed and built sports cars on the grid this weekend. Five different configurations of Lola LMP design, five different powerplants, eight teams and 30 drivers representing 10 nations will aim to complete the toughest endurance sports car race on the global motor sport calendar.
After achieving a richly merited fourth overall and second in LMP2 at last year’s 24 Hours, Huntingdon-designed and built LMP cars will once again be the most represented customer sports car on the grid this weekend.
Drayson Racing and Rebellion Racing have made no secret of their aim to be the first petrol powered car home in 2010. Both privateer teams have shown outstanding flashes of speed this year so far and with stronger and more experienced drivers in all three of these V10 normally-aspirated powered Lolas, many eyes will be following the green of the UK and the gold and red of Switzerland.
Aston Martin Racing and Signature Plus will maximize their V12-powered Lolas this weekend. Each of the AMR -entered Lola B09/60 LMP1 Coupes have new faces on the driving side but the team has continuity on the pit wall and much more experience of the Lola this time around.
Kia Motors Posts 23.4% Increase in May Global Sales Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for May 2010, recording a total of 175,098 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 23.4%. In May, Kia posted healthy year-on-year sales increases in all sales regions: 59.3% in general markets (37,318 units sold), 28.9% in China (26,101 units sold), 19.5% in North America (37,162 units sold), 18.7% in Europe (34,503 units sold) and 5.0% in Korea (40,014 units sold).
Wind Tunnel Sunday Featured Interview Forrest Lucas (Co-Founder, Lucas Oil)
Forrest Lucas, the Co-founder of Lucas Oil and major supporter of American motorsports, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday June 13th. From drag racing and tractor pulls to off-road racing and motocross, Lucas Oil sponsors them all and a lot more. So how did Forrest become such a big fan of motorsports and how does his company benefit from sponsoring such a wide array of events? We’ll ask him.
Featured Interview Ken Block (World Rally Driver for Ford Motor Company)
World Rally and Rally America driver, Ken Block, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. Growing up as a youngster, Block was always a fan of rally racing but it wasn’t until his friend, Travis Pastrana, got into the sport that Ken got involved as a racer.
Canada GP weather forecast Scattered thunderstorms could affect Formula 1's return to Montreal this weekend, according to current local weather forecasts. Although practice and qualifying are expected to remain dry, despite being perhaps overcast, rain could hit the venue over Saturday night and into Sunday.
Canada took a year off last season although the popular venue, frequently a sell-out, now returns to the calendar after handing the sport first-time winners in Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica in 2007 and 2008.
In terms of temperatures, figures in the low to mid-20s will mean t-shirts and shorts will provide comfortable viewing for spectators - not least on Friday, when sunshine is expected for the majority of the day - although a slim chance of thunderstorms on Saturday night is predicted to translate to a genuine chance on race day.
IndyCar drivers to test There's a break in the IZOD IndyCar Series race schedule this week, but that opens the door for testing at venues that will play host to upcoming events.
Hideki Mutoh, who has finished third and second the past two years at Iowa Speedway, will get in laps on the 0.875-mile oval June 9 in the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic car for Newman/Haas Racing car.
"I feel very comfortable running there," Mutoh said. "High banking, small racetrack. I think that's the best combination."
Mutoh will be joined by Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Will Power at Iowa, which plays host to the fourth Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 20.
The Franchitti Indy 500 Champ media tour continues
It seems just about everywhere Dario Franchitti ventures these days he's greeted with the sounds of bagpipes. Not that the Indianapolis 500 champion minds.
Franchitti began his whirlwind Indy 500 victory tour June 7 in New York, joining national and local media outlets - and a bagpiper - for a lap around Central Park on an open-air double-decker bus. A second brief concert was conducted for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver and passers-by on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a good deal for the bagpiper; a couple of tunes for an autograph from the two-time 500 Mile Race winner.
"It was nice to see such a good turnout for the New York media tour," Franchitti said. "We're keeping busy and it's great to see such a high level of interest in the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD IndyCar Series."
Last year I achieved one of my career ambitions by winning the historic Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot Sport. That outright race win followed GT1 class victories in 2007 and 2008 with Aston Martin Racing.
This year I return to France in pursuit of making it four in a row as I race for the first time with the team I took the American Le Mans Series championship honors in 2009, Highcroft Racing, contesting yet another class – LMP2.
Building up to the 2010 race, a lot of people have asked me if I am disappointed not to be fighting for the overall win. Just to compete at Le Mans is an honor and, for me, it doesn’t matter what class you are in. When you win that class it feels like you have won the race.
IndyCar comments on deSilvestro fire response The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, issued the following statement today regarding the response to the oil fire in Simona de Silvestro's car during Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway:
First and foremost, we make the safety of our competitors a priority when on the track. The primary hose on the series' safety truck malfunctioned, so the safety team had to go to the backup of the bottles. All equipment is checked prior to going on track before every race. We are examining why the hose malfunctioned to ensure this equipment failure will not happen again.
NASCAR investigating potential Kvapil violation NASCAR is looking into an issue with the Front Row Motorsports No. 38 car following the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Monday.
Poston would not disclose the issue with the car. The car was driven by Travis Kvapil to a 22nd-place finish in the race.
Tylenol exits NASCAR on heels of huge recalls Tylenol, which has drastically cut its marketing and advertising in the wake of three product recalls in the last six months, will not renew its official partnership with NASCAR.
The sport’s official pain reliever since the start of the 2007 season, Tylenol’s current deal with NASCAR runs through the 2010 season. But its parent company, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, has already notified NASCAR that it won’t continue its official partnership, a spokesman for the company said.
Bigger restrictor plate for Daytona in July NASCAR has announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will use carburetor restrictor-plate openings of 1 1/32 inches for the July 3 event at Daytona International Speedway. The previous plate at Daytona last February was 63/64-inch. Monday's announcement pertains only to next month's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola the last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on the current Daytona asphalt. The 2.5-mile, high-banked superspeedway will be repaved prior to the 2011 Daytona 500. Each restrictor plate contains four openings which restrict air flow to the engine, thus slowing cars. Larger openings mean more air, and more speed. "We think this will be a needed boost due to the additional drag we've picked up since switching from a rear wing to a rear spoiler," said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. Rule changes, announced Jan. 21, mandated switching from a wing mounted on the rear deck lid of NASCAR's new car, back to a more traditional stock-car spoiler. The March event at Martinsville Speedway marked the first race for the new spoiler. Carburetor restrictor plates are used only at Daytona and 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. The 1 1/32-inch size openings will be the largest since the one-inch mandate in 1988, the first year the horsepower-reducing plates were mandated for yearly use in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition at Daytona. Teams used openings of 15/16-inch for this season's spring race (April 25) at Talladega. That size was determined following a March 16 test at Talladega that helped answer several mechanical questions, among them, spoiler height and the restrictor-plate openings. NASCAR
Mike Conway will miss at least three months of the Izod IndyCar Series season because of a compression fracture in his back suffered in the horrifying crash at the end of the Indianapolis 500.
Conway suffered the injury, along with a lower leg injury, after his car climbed over the left rear tire of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car and flew into the turn-three catch fence.
Conway’s team owner, Dennis Reinbold of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, said the lower leg injury mostly involved the driver’s left ankle. He said doctors likened it to an injury suffered from “jumping out of a building.”
Conway was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on June 4.
New Indy engine rules - no Delta Wing? Many have read the new engine rules and assumed that they rule out the prospect of a Delta Wing design competing in the IndyCar series. However, we must all be careful to note that the rules talk about a maximum of 6 cylinders and 2.4 liters. That is not to say the engine must be so.
The main point of note is that the rules do not specify a stressed member or not.
Gordon Kirby's latest article talks about this as well as the engine formula in general. Check it out here.
Kahne livid with teammate Allmendinger In the latest version of teammates not treating each other like teammates, Richard Petty Motorsports' AJ Allmendinger blocked Kasey Kahne to trigger a spectacular eight-car crash on the final lap of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Allmendinger forced Kahne into the grass, and Kahne’s car turned and spun up the track, getting hit by the cars of Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. The collision lifted Kahne’s car so high off the track that its wheels were atop the Pocono Raceway wall on the straightaway between turns 2 and 3.
Quote of the Week - Logano threatens to kill Harvick “You (his pit crew) better be with me here. That’s all I’ve got to say. I’m going to [expletive] kill him. I don’t know what his problem is with me, but it’s probably not his fault. His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do. It’s probably not his fault. He let me go in the middle of the straightaway and then decided to dump me in the next turn.” A livid NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano after an on-track altercation with Kevin Harvick at Pocono Sunday.
Rossi admits desire to race third Ferrari in F1UPDATE Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo given his regards to Valentino Rossi after the reigning MotoGP Champion broke his right leg in a practice session crash on Saturday. The former has also reminded Rossi that 'the door is always open', should he wish to test a Ferrari Formula 1 car once again.
"You will return stronger than ever," said di Montezemolo, with Rossi having undergone an operation on Saturday afternoon. Everyone at Ferrari is with you at this difficult time. We are sure that you will be back on-track soon, even stronger than before. "If, during your convalescence, you feel you would like to do some training on four wheels, then remember that the door to Maranello is always open to you."
(GMM) Valentino Rossi has expressed interest in driving a third Ferrari in formula one. The multiple champion of MotoGP racing has long been linked with a switch to F1 with the Italian team, who have been pushing strongly for a change of rules to allow three-car entries.
Italian Rossi, 31, is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as indicating he does not want to enter formula one as one of Ferrari's two main drivers.
"To have a strong team like Yamaha's (in MotoGP), Ferrari should hire Sebastian Vettel alongside Alonso," he said. "I would like to explore the possibility of a third car for myself," added Rossi.
Penske still focused on bringing IndyCar race back to Belle Isle Even though the race lost a lot of money, Roger Penske said he was hoping to return the Detroit IndyCar event to the IndyCar schedule in 2011. That might not be entirely realistic at this point, but he's not ruling out anything.
"I think what we really have to do as far as Detroit is concerned and Belle Isle is just see what the general economy is in Detroit," Penske said Sunday before the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway. "I think there's been an uptick, certainly Mayor Bing is an advocate to bring more sports into Detroit. We'll have a new governor at that point, and we'll see what we can get from the MBDC (Michigan Business Development Center) to support us because it is a Detroit event.
F1 return possible but rallying more fun - Raikkonen
New Montreal surface should suit F1 in 2010
Ecclestone still pushing for higher Turkey race fee
Di Grassi happy with place at Virgin
Webber could have prevented Vettel crash - Berger
Crash 'excellent marketing' for Red Bull - Coulthard
Alonso laments Ferrari's slow progress with F10
Pirelli contract to be ready for signing soon
Webber signs 1-year extension with Red Bull team
Red Bull drivers must let each other pass - Marko
F1 return possible but rallying more fun - Raikkonen (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has admitted a return to formula one is "possible".
But in an interview with Austria's Kleine Zeitung, the 2007 world champion also sounded more than happy with his new foray in world rallying, and not keen to immediately switch back to the grand prix grid.
During an event for his sponsor Red Bull, the 31-year-old Finn answered "Sure, anything is possible" when asked if he is open to launching a second F1 career.
But when asked if he still feels like 'Raikkonen, the F1 driver', he said: "The past is what it is -- over. I don't miss it."
And Raikkonen raved about his new job with Citroen.
"I love this job and the whole environment. But I have much to learn and I want to be good at what I do. With a relaxed setting you do not go far."
Asked whether he would like to add a rally title to his F1 championship, Raikkonen admitted: "No one can see into the future, but yes, it is a dream.
"Now it is the time to learn; my formula one past does me no harm."
He said rally is a more difficult discipline than F1.
"Because it's constantly changing; the weather, the surface, the track. You have to be flexible, adjusting and responding quickly."
When asked which is more fun, he did not hesitate: "Rally! Because there are always new challenges."
Video: IndyCar Safety crew chokesUPDATE #2 Another reader writes, Dear AR1.com The IRL safety team looked like Laurel and Hardy as they almost caused Simona to be barbequed. The CART/Champ safety team was awesome. The IRL looked like clowns. Zanardi would be dead with those guys. Mordichai Rosen
06/06/10 A reader writes, Dear God, driver extrication and flag marshal training MUST be an immediate top of the chart concern! We almost just watched a driver get burned alive on national TV due to stupidity and inept crisis management. Derek Hughes
06/06/10 Intense moments as Simona De Silvestro was stuck in a burning car during the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night. Watch as she suffers some burns to her right hand because the IndyCar Safety Crew was totally unprepared and looked like a bunch of rank amateurs.
"The safety crew should be ashamed of themselves," said Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing Team Principal. "That was a scary moment and we are glad she is alright."
Bruce Ashmore makes his pitch for new IndyCar This is a big week for Bruce Ashmore and partners Alan Mertens and Tim Wardrop. The three, who have formed BAT Engineering, will make a presentation Sunday in Indianapolis to the advisory committee helping IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard choose a new spec car, expected to being competing in 2012.
Ashmore is the former chief designer for Lola and former president of Reynard North America. Mertens was chief designer and engineer for March and also designed and built the Galmer race car, which won the Indianapolis 500 with Al Unser Jr., in 1992. And Wardrop is a respected longtime open-wheel racing engineer.
The trio hopes to beat out concept cars from Lola, Dallara, Swift Engineering and Delta Wing to become the next IndyCar.
Following is a Q and A with Ashmore, conducted by RacinToday.com in Indianapolis last week:
IndyCar Texas race pannedUPDATE #2 Another reader writes, I raced in an IRL feeder series race, and the IRL sent a "chaplain" who was part of what I found out was something called IRL ministries. The chaplain was in the driver's meeting, and was given time to offer a prayer which ended in "we ask this in Jesus' name" or however they do this. Later, at the series trailer, I noticed that the flyers for the ministry which clearly existed to use racing to proselytize. I, among others, was struck by how brazen and inappropriate this was. Many of us thought that if they were to allow someone into the driver's meeting, that a base requirement would be that any prayer or whatever is non-denominational and respects the basic fact that not everyone is a Christian. If they want to "do their thing", they are free to do so for those who choose to attend, which is pretty standard. I suppose the boneheads at the IRL never thought to consider this point. It is, however, incredible that this is officially sanctioned by a professional sporting series and Jesus would be crammed down our throats in the drivers meeting and on the grid. Its pretty shameful, but typical for the IRL. It was very offensive for many people. I respect that everyone has their beliefs, but there are, naturally, a variety of faiths. Guess the IRL hasn’t figured this out.
http://www.irlministry.com/ Note that they encourage you to "remember the IRL ministries in your will or trust" Name Withheld by Request
06/06/10 Another reader adds, The HOLMATRO Safety Crew should turn in their gear as they were a MAJOR disgrace last night in Texas. NEVER in my long years of going and watching all forms of racing did I ever witness any safety crew act like they did just not knowing what to do. Thank God she is alive and well for the most part. Bring back the best crew in the business, the Champ Car safety Crew. Joe Steber, Albrightsville, PA
06/06/10 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I have never seen such an amateurish Indy Car event in my time. Another single file start. Drivers that have no idea how to use, or what a mirror is. Spotters should be banned and drivers need to learn how to drive on their own. Ridicules pit work and stops. Keystone Cops for a fire / safety crew......... Disgusting. Were we ever told what the first "Nascar Mystery Yellow" was for? Drivers should not be allowed to put the car in gear until it is on the ground. If Indy Car had capable pit stewards one should be assigned to each car and they alone tell the driver when to leave, it is obvious the team members can't handle that job. Name Withheld - Former IndyCar and Indy 500 driver
Notes from TNT's Coverage of Sprint Cup Series Racing from Pocono Countdown to Green Lindsay Czarniak (host), Kyle Petty (analyst) and Larry McReynolds (analyst)
Petty on the recent success of Kyle and Kurt Busch: “We started the year and it was Jimmie Johnson, Jimmie Johnson, Jimmie Johnson was all we heard. Then we heard all about Denny Hamlin. Now all we hear is the Busch brothers. What I like about it is it adds the Penske organization to the mix. First Hendrick and Gibbs, now we’re talking Penske. If they (Kyle and Kurt Busch) can grind it out then they do have a shot at the championship.”
McReynolds on the increased focus of Kyle Busch: “Obviously he and his new crew chief have messed well but I think the biggest difference is a lot of the distractions are behind him. He finally got the Nationwide Championship and got engaged to Samantha and the biggest thing is he decided to stop racing all over the country (in Nationwide) and said my focus is on this Cup car and trying to win the 2010 championship.”
Valtteri Bottas repeats Masters victory In front of a 43,000 strong crowd, Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (ART Grand Prix) has successfully defended his title in the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3. This made the best-placed rookie of the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series, who is currently fourth overall in the drivers’ standings, the first driver in the 20-years’ history of Europe’s most important Formula 3 event to do so. Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix) and Marco Wittmann (Signature) in second and third place completed the success of the Formula 3 Euro Series at the 4.307 kilometers long track in the North Sea dunes of Zandvoort.
A slight drizzle set in just before the start of the exciting and action-packed race. Apart from Roberto Merhi (Mücke Motorsport), all drivers on the first couple of grid rows opted for slick tires. After the start, which took place behind the safety car for safety reasons, the Spanish driver had the upper hand and soon took the lead. However, as the track dried out, he no longer had a chance. Alexander Sims and Valtteri Bottas overtook him. But the new leader Sims wasn’t able to hold on to his first place for a long time either and Bottas went past. In the remaining laps, the Finn drove a safe victory home.
Victory from pole at Mugello for dominant Pedrosa Dani Pedrosa rode a start-to-finish victory at Mugello on Sunday as he took his maiden win of the 2010 campaign at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. The Spaniard, who had only converted three of his previous 14 premier class pole positions into wins prior to this race, never looked like relinquishing the lead he held from Turn 1 of the opening lap and crossed the finish line 4.014s clear of the rest of the field.
World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) took second place to extend his lead at the top of the standings, ahead of third-placed Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) who gave the home crowd a podium to cheer after Valentino Rossi was ruled out of the race on Saturday following his crash in practice. Casey Stoner took fourth as he beat Marco Melandri and Randy de Puniet in a last-lap dash.
McLaren told Hamilton that Button wouldn't pass (GMM) The Red Bull crash hogged all the headlines, but a dice between another pair of high profile teammates in Turkey could also have spiraled into an intense controversy.
While Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber spectacularly crashed, it is believed McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button actually clanged wheels when they also fought for first place at Istanbul Park.
Television images of boss Martin Whitmarsh's face captured the horror reaction of the all-British team that had effectively called off the fight for victory.
Button and Hamilton's engineers had told the pair they needed to save fuel.
"Jenson is closing in on me, you guys," Lewis Hamilton told his team via car-to-pit radio, according to the race review video posted at F1's official website.
IndyCar teams to test at The Glen Several IndyCar teams will test at Watkins Glen International on Wednesday in preparation of next month's race. Andretti Autosport will test series newcomer Adam Carroll, an Irish driver who won the A1 Grand Prix championship. It is possible he, and not Hunter-Reay, could drive the No. 37 car in the July 4 race. Why? Because American companies do not support American drivers like foreign companies support their drivers. After the Texas race last night Hunter-Reay is out of IZOD money unless they change their mind or another sponsor steps up.
IndyCar rebuild starts now Following Dario Franchitti’s superb Indy 500 win we were sobered by the dismal 3.8 million TV rating – a new low – and the fact that for all the talk of crowds returning there were large swaths of empty grandstands. These unhappy truths emphasized the point that Indycar’s new boss Randy Bernard faces a steep uphill climb, but he appears entirely capable of pulling off the miracle required. He’s been in the job for only three months, but has already transformed the attitude within his organization and this week made the first in a series of announcements as he works to recast and relaunch IndyCar racing over the next two to three years.
Bernard plans to drop non-performing venues and move to either new tracks – like the Baltimore street circuit confirmed for an August debut next year – or return to more traditional road courses such as Elkhart Lake and ovals like Milwaukee or New Hampshire. Next year’s IndyCar calendar is expected to look considerably different, and that’s a good and necessary thing.
Indy Toronto free for fans on opening day For the first time in its 24-year-existence the three-day IZOD IndyCar Honda Indy Toronto will be free for race fans on opening day Friday, July 16.
The Ontario Honda Dealers Association — who is also the primary sponsor for Paul Tracy’s No. 15 KV Racing Technology entry — will underwrite the entire cost of the event.
“We are very pleased to make this opportunity available to everyone in Ontario and beyond,” Jim Proskos, owner of Cobourg Honda, speaking on behalf of the OHDA, said. “For anyone who has never seen open-wheel racing up close and personal, we encourage them to take advantage of this no-cost opportunity to see some of the world’s top race drivers tackling the streets of Toronto.
A few details on new IndyCar specs Brian Barnhart, IndyCar's president of competition, said the optimism in IndyCar right now is based on the engine guidelines announced last week: a maximum of six cylinders and 2.4 cubic liters.
Both the engine and chassis configurations will be in place for four years, Barnhart said. Other rules will be finalized once participants are known.
Engine manufacturers have until the final race of the season -- Oct. 2 -- to announce their intent to participate in 2012. At present, Honda is the only expected commitment.
'Merc's F-duct not yet working properly' Ross Brawn has revealed that Mercedes GP still have some way to go on their F-duct system, admitting they are not getting the "full benefit" from it.
Mercedes GP first used the system, which was introduced into Formula One by McLaren giving the Woking team a clear straightline speed advantage, at the Chinese GP. Since then they have continued to develop it in the hope of closing the gap to McLaren, however, Brawn admits they are still lacking in speed as they are getting too much drag down the straights.
"I think when you get the F-duct working properly you have both," the Mercedes GP team boss told Autosport.
"You have the downforce in the corners and then turn drag off on the straight. At the moment we are not turning off enough drag on the straight.
"As we said before, McLaren were clever enough to come up with the concept and have a lot more experience of it.
New IndyCar may be ready for 2012 IndyCar officials begin hearing presentations from five potential chassis manufacturers today in Indianapolis, a three-day run of meetings aimed toward an announcement by June 30. Details of those meetings are confidential due to agreements signed by the seven committee members, but Bernard is more confident than ever that new cars will be in place with the new engines for the 2012 season. "We've made significant progress," he said. "Before we were 50-50 (with odds to implement) for 2012, today we're probably 70-30."
Series CEO Randy Bernard said Saturday that the committee will hear presentations in Indianapolis from chassis manufacturers on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, then begin deliberations. He wouldn't go into details about the design.
Gordon says team will persevere after failing to qualify Robby Gordon, in Ensenada for the Baja 500, learned from afar that Ted Musgrave failed to get his Robby Gordon Motorsports car into the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono Raceway. Gordon’s Sprint Cup team is outside the top 35 and was not guaranteed a spot in the field Sunday. Gordon was scheduled to fly back Sunday for the race.
“I want to personally thank Ted Musgrave for his help yesterday practicing and attempting to qualify our Cup car as well as our team members for their hard work,” Gordon said in a statement. “Despite missing the race, Ted and team made a valiant effort to get the No. 7 into the race.
“I believe that all successful companies go through times like this – they have highs and lows. I remember Penske Racing missing the Indy 500 with three cars in 1995 and Paul Tracy just last month [with another team]. We will recover from this just like Penske did, and we will be stronger because of it.”
Gordon still needs sponsorship for several races this year. “What remains through all of this is Robby Gordon Motorsports’ commitment to the success of our diversified racing programs,” Gordon said. SceneDaily.com
IZOD IndyCar fans have spoken and they believe four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt should be recognized as the greatest Indy car oval driver.
Fans selected Foyt as the honoree for the oval championship trophy with 43.6 percent of the vote through a poll on indycar.com, the official website of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Rick Mears was second with 30.1 percent of the vote. Other nominees were: Mario Andretti (18.8 percent), Bill Vukovich (6.4 percent) and Ted Horn (1.1 percent).
Foyt was one of the most successful Indy car drivers with 67 victories -- 64 of which were on ovals. Of those oval wins, 24 came on dirt -- the most at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (6). Foyt scored most of his paved oval victories at Ontario Motor Speedway (5).
Operation for Rossi after Mugello crashUPDATE Valentino Rossi underwent a successful operation at the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy this afternoon to repair his fractured right tibia. The injury was sustained when he crashed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello this morning.
He was operated on by Dr. Roberto Buzzi of the CTO, assisted by Dr. Claudio Costa of the Clinica Mobile. Dr. Buzzi made the following statement following the 2.5 hour operation:
"We received Valentino Rossi at the Careggi Hospital, where we made detailed checks in order to rule out any other injuries, and the results were satisfactory. We therefore decided to proceed with the surgery for the exposed fracture of the right leg. We performed a spinal block (epidural) and cleaned and washed the fracture, which was then aligned and stabilized with a pin. The surgery had good results; the alignment was good and the bone is now stable. The wound remains open, as is usual in these cases, and it will be stitched in the next few days with another short surgery. We are confident that Valentino will be able to leave the hospital in a week to ten days, able to put weight on the leg with the aid of crutches.Read more & Comment...
All top Ford drivers to have latest engine at Pocono Sunday will be a red-letter day for Ford's new FR9 engine, with Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and AJ Allmendinger all set to run it in this weekend's Pocono 500.
The engine, which has been used only occasionally since it was first rolled out almost 18 months ago, has been something of a mystery, apparently even to most of the Ford drivers.
This month has been targeted since January by Ford racing boss Jamie Allison as the point for the full rollout of the new motor, which is not only a new design but with all new parts throughout.
Pocono to replace inside guardrail with SAFER barriers Following recommendations from NASCAR and the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Pocono Raceway will replace the inner guardrail of the facility with SAFER barriers between turns 1 and 2 as well as turns 2 and 3.
Construction of the SAFER barrier will be completed for the 2011 races at the track, according to a track news release.
Pocono added SAFER barriers to sections of its outer wall in 2004.
Autocon Motorsports return to Le Mans 24 Hours as the sole US representative in LMP this year. Team owner/driver Michael Lewis-– splitting time with Tony Burgess and Bryan Willman next week - took time out of his busy schedule to speak to lola-group.com about the teams aims for the coming week at Le Mans.
1. What are your aims and objectives heading to your second Le Mans 24 Hours? “The number one objective is to finish. Number two is to run a flawless race with no mistakes or problems. In an ideal race we’d aim for a top 10 finish with our Lola-AER. Those are my ‘team owner objectives. My ‘driver’ objectives are a little more selfish. I’d like to turn a lap in the mid 3m30’s and consistently run in the high 3m30’s in the race.”
British driver Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix, 1:30.956 minutes) was the fastest driver in the two qualifying sessions of the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 at the 4.307 kilometers long Circuit Park Zandvoort. As a result, Sims, who is currently placed fifth in the points’ standings of the Formula 3 Euro Series will be starting from pole position into tomorrow’s race, arguably Europe’s most important Formula 3 race. Valtteri Bottas (ART Grand Prix, 1:31.112 minutes), Marco Wittmann (Signature, 1:31.463 minutes) and Roberto Merhi (Mücke Motorsport, 1:31.641 minutes) completed the top 4. Thus, the teams from the Formula 3 Euro Series occupied eight places in the top ten and again underlined the top position of the Euro Series in the European Formula 3 scene.
EuroSpeedway broadcast We have just learned from Volkswagen Motorsport that Sport1 will BETA test their live streaming video with the Scirocco-R Cup from EuroSpeedway. This event will be carried live via the Internet starting at 9:00am CST at the following website:
Sticky pedals force recall of '07 Dodge Calibers worldwide A bad batch of parts that triggered a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into sticky pedals has led to the recall of 34,600 2007 Dodge Calibers and 90 Jeep Compasses around the world.
The recall, confirmed Friday, includes about 25,300 Calibers sold in the United States and almost 5,600 in Canada -- all equipped with an automatic transmission.
Ford loses $445M case against IRS Ford has lost a federal court challenge against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service arguing the automaker was owed $445 million in interest from a tax dispute. The ruling involves an arcane corporate tax law allowing businesses to avoid steep interest payments if they’re found to have underpaid taxes on returns going back decades.
In the early 1990s, Ford had paid the IRS to stop the clock on any interest due for taxes it might have owed between 1983 and 1994, and later asked the IRS to consider that money a tax payment. When the IRS later found that Ford had overpaid its taxes, it gave the automaker a refund with interest.
Pedrosa grabs pole at Mugello Dani Pedrosa will start the 2010 Gran Premio d’Italia TIM from pole position at Mugello after a superb late lap in qualifying pushed him to the front of the grid. Securing his second pole of the season – his 15th in the premier class – with a time of 1’48.819 on the 23rd of his 24 laps, Pedrosa beat Jorge Lorenzo to the top spot by 0.177s.
The current World Championship standings leader had taken prime position with ten minutes of the session remaining, becoming the first rider of the weekend to get under the 1’49” barrier by four-thousandths of a second, but Pedrosa’s effort means Lorenzo will go for his third straight win of the campaign from second spot.
Martin not interested in ownership Mark Martin talked to the media at Pocono is talked about ownership and 2011 plans:
TALK ABOUT CAR OWNERSHIP. HAS YOUR TIME AT HENDRICK MADE YOU MORE INTERESTED IN OWNERSHIP? "I am not that interested in ownership. You know, I wouldn't make too big of a deal out of that. I am all set in 2011 and am driving the 5 car and about this time next year I will weigh out what the options are for me to do what is exciting and rewarding for me to do and I will pursue that but for now I know what I am going to do next year and I am open to anything that is fun, challenging and exciting in 2012 and on." Team Chevy Driver Press Conference Transcript
Was Coyne cheated out of $205K by the IRL? Dale Coyne, who owns Dale Coyne Racing, still isn't convinced his driver, Alex Lloyd, should have been placed behind Marco Andretti in the final Indy boxscore. IndyCar officials ruled that Andretti maintained the required average speed to keep others, including Lloyd, from passing him on the final lap under caution.
Chief steward Brian Barnhart said Andretti averaged 65 mph from the timing line at the exit of turn four to the finish line. Coyne argued that Andretti went from 84 mph to 50 mph; the requirement was 65 mph. The difference between finishing third and fourth was $205,200, which is more than Helio Castroneves got for winning the pole ($175,000).
Hunter-Reay's future still in doubt Ryan Hunter-Reay already has a victory in his six races this season for Andretti Autosport. He is the highest-ranked driver on the team that also has former IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and Danica Patrick.
"He's been great for our team. He fits right in, the other drivers love him," team owner Michael Andretti said. "He's putting in the results in the races as well, he's just done such a great job. I couldn't have asked for anything more so far."
And yet, the Andretti team might not be able to keep Hunter-Reay in the cockpit after Saturday night's race at Texas. There is a lack of sponsorship to keep the No. 37 car funded for the rest of the season.
Conway and Hunter-Reay medical updateUPDATE Medical update from Dr. Mike Olinger, Indy Racing League medical director: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Mike Conway was discharged this afternoon from Methodist hospital.
MIKE CONWAY: "I'm feeling fine at the moment, all things considered. I'm just thankful that I came out of it alive. I want to thank all of the medical staff at Methodist Hospital, as well as the IRL safety team and all of those at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that pulled me out of the car. They've all done a fantastic job. I also want to thank my parents, friends and race team for all of their support and all of those that have sent on their well wishes. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery and I'm already looking forward to being back behind the wheel of a race car," said Conway.
05/31/10 Indy Racing League Director of Medical Services Dr. Michael Olinger gave the following update regarding IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay:
Mike Conway had surgery Sunday night to repair fractures to his lower left leg. He also has a soft tissue injury to his lower left leg and is anticipated to have another surgical procedure later this week. Additionally, Conway has a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae and is being fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months and will prevent him from racing. Ryan Hunter-Reay is scheduled to have surgery today on his left thumb. After surgery, he will be fitted with a carbon fiber splint, which should allow him to participate at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Further medical updates will be given when available.
Dixon tops night IndyCar practice in Texas In conditions that should mimic tomorrow night's race at Texas Motor Speedway, Scott Dixon lead the final practice session in what should be a precursor to tomorrow night - 100% throttle racing for 550 kilometers and may the best car win.
Drivers will have the availability of the Honda overtake assist 20 times during the Firestone 550K for 12 seconds each. There is a 10-second recovery period between pushes.
Former NASCAR Driver Arrested for Attempted RapeUPDATE #2 New day, new arrest for former NASCAR driver Jimmy Neal -- who was busted in Orange County, CA today for alleged drug possession ... it's his third arrest in less than a month. On Monday he was arrested for attempted rape. Cops tell us Neal just bonded out of jail for that last night.
According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, today's arrest came after Neal's bail bondsman allegedly observed him in a motel with methamphetamine and narcotic paraphernalia.
The bail bondsman alerted police, and Neal was picked up -- again -- for possession. Neal's second arrest also came hours after getting out of jail for his first arrest -- for speeding ... way back on May 18th. TMZ
06/02/10 Check out the mug shot for former NASCAR driver Jimmy Neal who was arrested and booked for attempted rape and burglary over the weekend.
This is Neal's second close-up shot for cop cameras in less than a month.
TMZ broke the story about the alleged incident which went down just a couple of hours after Neal was released from jail in Orange County, CA.
He was serving time for speeding at 140 mph last month.
05/31/10 Former NASCAR driver Jimmy Neal got out of jail early this morning -- and now he's headed right back ... after he was arrested hours later for attempted rape.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Neal got out of jail at around 1:30 AM -- after serving about two weeks for felony evading while driving recklessly. We're told Neal then went to the home of a woman in Lake Forest, CA at around 3:00 AM and police were called three hours later for a disturbance.
When police arrived, we're told the woman (who claims she had only met Neal once before) told officers Neal attempted to rape her.
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