NASCAR eyes more foreign manufacturersUPDATE A reader asks, Dear AR1.com, How real are the chances that foreign manufacturers such as Mercedes or BMW would come into NASCAR? Peter Duffel
Dear Peter, Slim to none. In fact there isn't a chance in hell that a Mercedes would ever enter NASCAR and dumb its imagine down to that of a Chevy or Ford. They still run carburetors in NASCAR. That's 1920's technology and there are not too many companies willing to dumb themselves down that far in this high-tech age. NASCAR is on a downward spiral because it's the wrong product for today.
You have to build cars in the USA to get approved by NASCAR and that leaves foreign companies like Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai and BMW with the X6, though in Hyundai and BMW's case they just assemble them here. Honda is the only one that might consider the move, but we doubt it for all the reasons we state. In fact worldwide stock car racing is pooh-poohed as amateur racing. The Speedcar stock car series in the Middle East featuring ex-F1 drivers is about to die, its owners stating that without a major cash infusion there won't be a another season. NASCAR failed in Japan and the only reason they are still in Canada and Mexico is because they prop it up with major infusions of cash.
And last, it will be a cold day in hell before NASCAR's bubba crowd takes to foreign carmakers who put them and their families out of a job. Have you ever seen a #3 or #88 or any other popular NASCAR car number on a BMW, Mercedes or Audi?
Brian France is drinking Kool-Aid. NASCAR is between a rock and a hard place. Mark C.
06/15/09 NASCAR continues to have contact with foreign-based carmakers who are not yet involved in stock car racing but have manufacturing plants in the United States and may want to market through NASCAR, sanctioning body chairman Brian France said Sunday. "Clearly there are some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have been there in the past," France said. Of NASCAR's four current manufacturers, Chrysler and General Motors are in bankruptcy and Ford has reduced its expenditures on racing. Toyota, though its worldwide passenger car sales have been lagging, stands now as the strongest supporter of NASCAR among manufacturers. But other brands could help fill the void if the traditional American carmakers should weaken further and reduce if not eliminate their NASCAR participation. "We have companies that are interested in particular in developing the North American market as robustly as they can," France said. "And we're all aware that there are lots of foreign manufacturers producing cars here in America. That was part of the rationale that Toyota used" to get involved in NASCAR. Other such companies with U.S. plants include Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But, "I'm not going to name names," France said. "We have been talking to people off and on for a long time. These are decisions, in terms of new manufacturers joining the sport, that will take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So this isn't something that if we turn the light switch on tomorrow morning it would happen. But of course, we're the preeminent place in America for car manufacturers to build their businesses with an auto racing group. We remain that." ESPN.com
With Saturday behind them, Team Stargate Worlds drivers Simona De Silvestro (pictured right) and Frankie Muniz arrived Sunday morning looking to improve their results from Saturday's race. With clouds dotting the beautiful blue New Jersey sky, the 13-car field lined up with Simona in front of the pack. During the last race De Silvestro had a misstep at the start which cost her greatly. For this race she was determined not to let that happen again.
As soon as the green flag waved, De Silvestro got a great launch off the starting line and put the second place starter Jonathan Summerton behind her. She had built a 1.1 second gap between her and Summerton by the time the first lap was completed. De Silvestro continued to build up her lead incrementally and by lap #5 her lead increased to 1.5 seconds. Summerton was not about to let De Silvestro walk away from this race unchallenged and midway through the race he managed to eat away at her lead. He was now only 0.7 seconds away from De Silvestro and kept his lap times evenly matched with hers. Nevertheless, De Silvestro drove a flawless race and sliced her way around the track perfectly, never allowing Summerton to take advantage of a mistake. De Silvestro would cross the finish line first, capping off a successful weekend. This is her second victory this year with Team Stargate Worlds and her third career victory in the Atlantic series. She leaves New Jersey leading the Atlantic Championship by eight points.
Danica, Andretti and Franchitti Headline Indy Paddock Zone Whether you know Danica Patrick from racing in the IndyCar Series, appearing in magazines like Sports Illustrated and FHM, or acting in GoDaddy.com and ESPN commercials, chances are you do know the headlining guest in the Indy Paddock Zone fan hospitality area at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 27. She will be joined by fellow IndyCar Series drivers Marco Andretti and Dario Franchitti, as well as USAC Silver Crown Series defending champion Jerry Coons Jr. and track president Doug Fritz. Their question-and-answer sessions are part of the indoor, festive fan hospitality environment fans can enjoy prior to the SunTrust Indy Challenge IndyCar Series race as part of the Indy Paddock Zone package.
Kyle Busch, Scott Speed to Make Rolex Debut for Ganassi Three-time Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype team champion Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field a second entry for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch and Scott Speed in the July 4 Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
The race will be televised live on SPEED at 2 p.m. ET.
The duo will make their Grand-Am Rolex Series debut piloting the No. 02 Waste Management Lexus Riley alongside defending Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley. The team is the defending winner of the Brumos Porsche 250, with Pruett executing a last-lap pass in the trioval to beat Alex Gurney to the checkered flag last July. Pruett and Rojas won their first race of 2009 at Watkins Glen International last weekend to capture a share of the Daytona Prototype point lead.
Ganassi: Father is 'a mentor beyond all mentors' Members of the IndyCar Series community will celebrate Father's Day June 21 at Iowa Speedway. That includes Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi, who is often joined by his father Floyd at the racetrack.
Through the years, father and son have shared the ups and downs of motorsports and life. Through the years, Floyd says he's seen his role as simple: support his son.
"Having not been a racer, the difference between what I did and what Chip was doing would be the difference between a sack of cement and a two-by-four," Floyd said. "My only encouragement was I wanted to see him do well, and I didn't want to see him get hurt. It took some of the pocketbook encouragement as well.
"Now (as an IndyCar Series team owner) it is exciting and different from normal business; it's different from what I did in the aggregate business. It's probably a diversion I needed because I'm not really that good at golf. I'm here to support Chip and enjoy myself at the same time."
Rahal visits Ohio State New Albany, Ohio resident Graham Rahal says his earliest childhood memories involve racing - being at the track, following his dad's illustrious career. But he'll tell you that rooting for Ohio State football is a close second in his memory bank.
"We've always followed (Ohio State)," Rahal said. "We'd have parties and stuff like that at the house to watch the games. It's been going on forever. The thing is, around here, everybody does it."
On June 15, Rahal got to combine those passions with a visit to the Ohio State campus as part of promotional efforts for the Aug. 9 Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Tracy to driver for KVRT at the Glen KV Racing Technology announced today that open-wheel superstar Paul Tracy will compete for the team at the Camping world Grand Prix at the Glen, July 3-5, at Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen, New York.
Tracy, the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, is one of the most successful and exciting drivers in the history of open-wheel racing. The native of Canada will be sponsored by GEICO Insurance and pilot the #15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry. Tracy will team with Mario Moraes, #5 Azul – Votorantim - KV Racing Technology, in a two-car effort for KVRT
“I am pleased to announce that Paul Tracy and GEICO Insurance will be joining KV Racing Technology for the race at Watkins Glen,” said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “Running Paul at The Glen with Mario gives us the opportunity to maximize our efforts on a very challenging road course and provides Paul with a tune-up race before he competes in front of his hometown fans in Toronto. I want to thank GEICO for stepping forward and making this possible and I think I can speak for everyone at KVRT when I say that we are all very excited.”
Grand Prix of Catalunya - Monday MotoGP Test Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso topped the timesheets today as the MotoGP teams returned to the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona for a day’s testing. After coming within millimeters of securing his first podium for Repsol Honda in yesterday’s Grand Prix of Catalunya here, the Italian and his crew made full use of the track time to test the latest developments of the factory RC212V.
Dovizioso, who lies fourth in the World Championship standings, lapped consistently fast, with a best time of 1m 42.230s - comfortably quicker than the fastest lap from yesterday’s race (Casey Stoner: 1m 42 858s) and also inside the existing lap record of 1m 42.358s set by Dovizioso’s Repsol Honda team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, in the 2008 race here.
Pedrosa did not take part in today’s test. His pain-defying efforts at the weekend left him exhausted following yesterday’s 25-lap race and it was decided that he should take some well-deserved rest at home ahead of the next race at Assen in just under two weeks’ time.
Yates would like reduction in horsepower on cars Support appears to be growing to cut Cup horsepower, thus cutting corner-entry speed, thus making for more side-by-side racing. David Hyder, crew chief for #21-Bill Elliott and the Woods, says putting restrictor plates on engines at tracks like this two-mile oval and California's Auto Club Speedway would greatly improve the racing. And Doug Yates agrees. "Nobody likes plates, but here [Michigan] you're going into the corners at 215 mph, which is ridiculous. And then you've got the tire problems at Indianapolis…..It's all just a physics equation - how fast you go into the corner, how much grip you have, and what that does to the tires. So I'm an advocate of taking some engine power away and making the racing better. Take at least 50 horsepower way. These Cup cars are overpowered today. We definitely need to take some power away. Every engine builder in this garage has made gains of 15 to 20 horsepower every year for 20 years…and we're going to gain another 15 horsepower next year. And it will cost us more money. The fans in the stands don't care if we've got 700 horsepower, 800 horsepower or 900 horsepower or 1,000 horsepower, they just want to see a good race. If we could take some power away, put more grip in the tires, it would make for better racing." mikemulhern.net
NASCAR Mexico driver killed Driver Carlos Pardo has been killed in a crash during the final laps of a NASCAR Mexico race, organizers said. Pardo was leading the race in the 97th lap when his car was nudged by a competitor from behind and slid sideways into a wall at the entrance to the pit lane at about 200 kph (120 mph) on Sunday. The car disintegrated as a result of the impact. He was removed from the wreckage and sent by helicopter to a hospital. The NASCAR Mexico Web site reported that he died 45 minutes later. Pardo was later declared winner of the race in Pueblo, east of Mexico City. Pardo won the series championship in 2004 and had 10 career victories in 74 races. Associated Press / USA Today
Doornbos voted top A1GP rookie Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver Robert Doornbos was voted A1GP Best Rookie or New Driver for the 2008-09 season via a poll on the international series' Web site.
Doornbos, driving for Team Netherlands, recorded three podium finishes (including winning the sprint race in Portugal) and one pole start (feature race in Portugal) in his five starts.
Team Netherlands, which finished fourth in the standings, also was voted the fans' favorite team.
"It goes beyond saying what a great driver and talent Robert Doornbos is," team principal Jan Lammers said. "He definitely contributed to the spirit in our team and drove all of us, including (lead driver) Jeroen Bleekemolen, to the best of our abilities. He truly deserves this award and we are proud that he was able to do it with our team."
Also nominated were Marco Andretti from Team USA, Zahir Ali (Indonesia), Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Felipe Guimaraes (Brazil), Daniel Morad (Lebanon), Clivio Piccione (Monaco) and Danny Watts (Great Britain). Andretti also was nominated for Best Overtaking Move. IndyCar.com
FOTA, 2010 entrant, point fingers at FIA (GMM) F1's political crisis has intensified yet further, as major formula one teams accuse the governing FIA of improper behavior.
Sunday's Corriere della Sera newspaper in Italy said the teams association FOTA, comprising every team except Williams and Force India, wrote a letter complaining about FIA president Max Mosley's race representative Alan Donnelly.
The FOTA letter said it was inappropriate for Donnelly, also head of the three race stewards, to actively seek the FOTA members to abandon their stance and sign up for the 2010 world championship in Turkey two weeks ago.
F1 names miss Laureus plaudits in 2009 (GMM) Formula one drivers have failed to win coveted Laureus sports awards in 2009.
Lewis Hamilton won the World Breakthrough of the Year award last year, but although nominated in 2009, Sebastian Vettel has missed out, while Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington picked up the prize in London.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was nominated for this year's World Sportsman of the Year, having won the 2008 title at the final corner.
But it was the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt who received the prize, also ahead of MotoGP's Valentino Rossi, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis' Rafael Nadal.
FIA suspects FOTA 'element' thwarting solutionUPDATE A FIA statement read: "During the meeting FOTA acknowledged that the FIA wanted to encourage the introduction of new teams in the Championship to maintain its vitality and economic viability in the long term.
"Agreement was reached on technical regulations for 2010 which offered assistance for new teams from the currently competing teams in several key areas. It was also agreed that the objectives of FOTA and the FIA on cost reduction were now very close, and that financial experts from both sides should meet at the earliest opportunity to finalize the details.
"It was proposed by the FIA that any perceived governance and stability issues could best be eliminated by extending the 1998 Concorde Agreement until 2014, thus avoiding lengthy negotiations for a new agreement. This was well received by those present who undertook to report the suggestion to the other FOTA members.
"The FIA believed it had participated in a very constructive meeting with a large measure of agreement. The FIA was therefore astonished to learn that certain FOTA members not present at the meeting have falsely claimed nothing was agreed, and that the meeting had been a waste of time.
"There is clearly an element in FOTA which is determined to prevent any agreement being reached regardless of the damage this may cause to the sport. The FIA will publish shortly a detailed and documented account of the facts in its dealings with FOTA."
After defeat, Audi vows to fight back Audi finished on the podium for the eleventh time in succession in probably the world’s toughest endurance race. The quotes after the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Obviously we are a little disappointed about the result. We didn’t manage to extract the full potential of the Audi R15 TDI in the race, which we had seen during testing. In addition, we had several technical problems that really caught us by surprise. As a result, we could only get one car onto the podium. Peugeot produced a fantastic performance and certainly deserved the victory. We will analyze the problems we had to ensure we come back stronger in 2010."
Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #1): "I don’t think we should have any regrets because we did our best. The competition was stronger than us this time. Losing serves a purpose and can help to improve something which we previously believed to be the best. We are well aware that we can improve still further. I’m convinced that from tomorrow everybody – including the drivers – will work to be as strong as usual."
Matthew Inge Wins At Mosport Bowmanville, ONT – Matthew Inge passed Chris Miller on the outside going into turn eight with two laps to go at Mosport and held on to take his first F2000 win. Inge, driving for St. Clair Motorsports, narrowly missed out on a win at VIR and finished second in yesterday's race and has been a front-runner all season.
“I passed Chris (Miller) with two laps to go,” said the American, who had never seen Mosport until Friday morning and moves into the points lead. "From there I just put m head down and told myself there was no way Chris was getting by. I was waiting for him to make a mistake the entire race but he never did."
Q&A with Sam Michael Q: Are you pleased with how the FW31 has performed at recent races? SM: Our performance as a team is measured by our position in the Constructors’ Championship. We’re lying in sixth at the moment but I don’t think the FW31 is the sixth fastest car; I think we’re faster than that, as we’ve proved many times in qualifying and with the positions the drivers have run in during the race. If we look at our gaps to the fastest times in qualifying, we were 0.4s off in Melbourne, 0.6s off in Malaysia, Shanghai and Bahrain, 0.3s off in Barcelona and, in Monaco, the gap was down to zero. We didn’t run at the end of Q2 in Monte Carlo but, when we were on track, we were setting the quickest times. In Turkey, the gap reverted back to 0.4s, so we’re gradually getting closer to the front.
Q: How much of an advantage is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System? SM: At faster tracks, such as Silverstone, the car needs the right weight distribution through the quick corners. If by running KERS you hurt the tires too much through these corners, you’ll lose out in the race, so the best track for KERS so far has probably been Monaco. We’re still pushing as hard as we can to get our KERS onto the FW31. We’re developing both the flywheel and the battery systems, but we’ve put more effort into the flywheel program over the last 18 months and we’re making progress on reliability every week. We want to race it as soon as possible, but we’re not going to put it on the car until it’s fully reliable.
Richard Kent Wins Star Mazda Race 2 in NJ Completing a return to form that has seen stops and starts to his Star Mazda Championship season, Englishman Richard Kent won Race 2 of the double-header Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Mazda Formula X weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Kent led every lap from the pole after smashing the existing Star Mazda Championship lap record at New Jersey Motorsports Park by more than 4/10ths of a second in the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka / Lafarge N.A. / Allied Interior Products Mazda.
Connor De Phillippi Wins Twice. Again. Connor De Phillippi only led three of a total of 34 laps in the two BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda races at New Jersey Motorsports Park – and won them both. Kyle Marcelli was second and Court Vernon third in Saturday’s race, while Sage Karam and Brett Smrz were two-three in Sunday’s race. With six of 14 races in the books, De Phillippi, who in March won twice at Sebring in the National’s opener, has a 21-point lead over Felipe Polehtto in the championship
"Before the start, I used a French cycling analogy to describe the crew of the No. 8 car as 'sprinters', the No. 7 crew as 'road sprinters' and the No. 9 drivers as 'warriors'. Today, it was the 'warriors' who won. I really sense that the public and Automobiles Peugeot wanted this result. We faced a huge challenge and we succeeded in rising to it. We were here as challengers, and our mission was to try to topple the favorites. And that is exactly what we did, essentially by steering clear of the different potential pitfalls in our path. It turned out to be a terrific race, and Peugeot Sport is a truly magnificent team. I am so proud of all the people who were involved in this project. This win is Peugeot Sport's win." Olivier Quesnel, Peugeot Sport Director, commenting about Peugeot's dominating win of the 24 Hours of Le Mans after years of getting beat by the mighty German Audi team.
"Today we weren’t so faultless as usual. All sorts of things happened to us. The crews worked fantastically well and effectively ironed out all the mistakes that occurred in engineering and the organization. They are to thank for the third place we took. Congratulations to Peugeot! They demonstrated what is usually said about us, namely a mistake free race. You just have to accept and analyze such, then you emerge from it 100 per cent strengthened. We should view it like this, and next year we’ll win the big trophy again!" Ralf Jüttner, Technical Director, Audi Sport Team Joest
"A lot of people enjoyed it. A lot of people hated it. I guess those are the ones with 88s tattooed on their arms, or maybe still 8s. I got no issues with Junior; it’s his fans that are crazy.” Busch said he never thought the guitar smash “would get that much attention” and added “it certainly drew the ire of the fans. “I said I was going to buy two guitars after the race, but I didn’t know it was going to be in the spirit of both of Sam Bass’s personalities" Bass smiled for pictures with Busch in victory lane but later said publicly that he was shocked and heartbroken over his broken artwork. Busch said all the uproar about the incident “made me think about it, but in the end, I’m kind of like, no, I don’t regret it. It was fun, and while I was doing it was fun.” Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, saying he didn’t regret smashing the one of a kind Gibson trophy guitar after winning the Nationwide Series race at Nashville last weekend, and added a shot at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fans.
A1GP award winners announced A1GP World Cup of Motorsport fans have chosen their winners from the 2008/09 season. After a series of accolades were put up for grabs on the series’ website, A1GP.com, fans from across the globe voted to decide who they thought should be rewarded in four special categories.
Most Improved Team Winner: A1 Team Malaysia Nominated: A1 Teams Australia, Lebanon, Portugal, Mexico, Netherlands
Best Overtaking Move Winner: Earl Bamber (NZL) Nominated: Marco Andretti (USA), Daniel Morad (LEB), Filipe Albuquerque (POR), Dan Clarke (GBR)
A1GP.com Readers’ Favorite Team Winner: A1 Team Netherlands
Best Rookie or New Driver Winner: Robert Doornbos (NED) Nominated: Zahir Ali (INA), Marco Andretti (USA), Earl Bamber (NZL), Felipe Guimaraes (BRA), Daniel Morad (LEB), Clivio Piccione (MON), Danny Watts (GBR)
Le Mans winner named as Campos F1 candidate (GMM) 2009 Le Mans winner, Ferrari test driver and veteran of 36 grands prix Marc Gene has been named as a possible driver for a new Spanish formula one team.
Campos Grand Prix, headed by former Minardi driver Adrian Campos, was nominated by the FIA last Friday, alongside US F1 and Manor, as one of the winners of three new places on the 2010 grid.
The Spaniard confirmed that the team, launched in 1998 and having contested series including GP2 and European F3, will prioritize targeting Spanish drivers.
Spain's AS newspaper said Campos, 49, has not made any decisions about 2010 but mentioned Gene, McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa, GP2 youngster Javi Villa and former Force India tester Roldan Rodriguez as potential candidates.
"I will speak with them," Campos confirmed.
"I will try to support Spanish drivers, but that does not mean that anyone is going to drive for us just because he is Spanish."
30-year-old reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano, an Italian, said at the weekend that he is hoping for a Campos seat in F1. He drove for the team in GP2 in 2007.
Campos Grand Prix will be based in Madrid and Valencia and its car will be designed by Dallara.
In a team also including Alex Wurz and Sir Jack Brabham's son David, 35-year-old Marc Gene won the Le Mans 24 hour race on Sunday driving a Peugeot prototype.
Pondering F1's current political crisis in his recent blog for Spain's El Mundo, he wrote: "Any driver who dreams about F1 thinks of Ferrari, McLaren, Renault. Nobody dreams about a private team."
Patrese, Panis, slam F1 politics (GMM) Two former formula one winners have expressed dismay at the current state of formula one politics.
While eight existing teams are threatening to abandon the championship and race elsewhere, on the other side of the dispute, the FIA president Max Mosley is refusing to drop his insistence that a budget cap be applied from 2010.
"Everyone understands the risk of a disaster, but at the same time nobody is doing anything to prevent it," Italian Ricardo Patrese, who for many years held Rubens Barrichello's record for the number of grands prix contested, told Germany's Die Welt.
New US team to select drivers 'soon' (GMM) Having secured a spot on the 2010 grid, new formula one entrant Team US F1 expects to select drivers for the North Carolina-based outfit "pretty soon".
Co-founder Peter Windsor, a British formula one journalist and the voice at official qualifying and race press conferences, said even though the FIA only confirmed the team's application last Friday, a shortlist of potential American drivers already exists.
"We already have had the first of our week of evaluation of young Americans, and there are some very good American drivers out there.
"We will be making a decision about that pretty soon," the 57-year-old told BBC radio.
France hopes manufacturers continue to play a role NASCAR Chairman Brian France concedes General Motors' decision to scale back its funding of racing teams will hurt, but he remains confident manufacturers will continue to play an important role in NASCAR's future.
“Obviously, everything they’re doing, every program is being affected and we’re no different,” France said before Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway. “We were hoping to have the most minimal of the impact with the decision to restructure their business and the details aren’t all out yet, but obviously, we are affected.
GM has discontinued funding for teams in NASCAR’s Nationwide and Truck series. GM officials are expected to meet with Sprint Cup teams on Wednesday to discuss what - if any - cuts will be made to those organizations, sources told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com.
Carl Long to make final appeal Monday On Monday, June 15th, #46-Carl Long will present his second and final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, Charles Strang, regarding the penalties his team received. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. The hearing will begin at 2 PM Eastern. Carl-Long.com
Andrew Ranger wins NASCAR Dickies 200 race Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., won the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Dickies 200 at Mosport International Raceway today but he did it as much with his front bumper as he did with his right foot.
Ranger bashed into not one race leader but two to move them out of his way en route to winning the 51-lap event around the legendary 2.459-mile circuit at an average speed of 79.224 mph. Anthony Simone, of Holland Landing, Ont., finished second in this third race of the 13-race Canadian Tire Series season while J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge was third. D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas and Ron Beauchamp Jr. of Windsor rounded out the top five.
De Silvestro Takes Over Points Lead with New Jersey Victory Twenty-year-old Swiss racer Simona De Silvestro climbed to the top of the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda point standings with her second victory of the season in Sunday’s second race of the Mazda Formula X presented by Cooper Tires weekend doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Driving the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies entry for Team Stargate Worlds, De Silvestro parlayed her second pole position of the season into the victory, just as she did last month at Miller Motorsports Park. Unlike the race at Miller, however, where De Silvestro drove away from the field from the moments the lights went out for the standing start, De Silvestro had a good view of Jonathan Summerton in the No. 19 Barker Specialty/Geller Group/Genoa Racing in her mirrors throughout the 45-minute race.
While Summerton kept the pressure on, however, De Silvestro was more than equal to the task of keeping him at bay and went on to win by 0.910 seconds. It was her third career Atlantic Championship victory and it gave her an eight-point lead in the championship standings over Summerton, 68-60, with one third of the 12-race season now in the books.
Johnson and Biffle run dry, Martin wins Mark Martin led just one lap, but it was the one that counted at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.
Martin took advantage of better fuel mileage to win the LifeLock 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Martin was running third going into the thrilling final lap, but he was able to cruise by race leaders Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle, who both ran out of fuel.
Braun, Bourcier, Varsha guests on Wind TunnelUPDATE SPEED’s Leigh Diffey will not be able to be on Wind Tunnel tonight due to having lost his voice during last night’s broadcast of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bob Varsha, SPEED Commentator and Co-Host of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans broadcast, will take his place to talk about the big race and Peugeot’s exciting win.
06/13/09 Bones Bourcier, Veteran Motorsports Journalist, returns to Wind Tunnel on Sunday night to comment on Dave Despain’s "My Take" from last week on 'Green Racing.' Should the Indy 500 become a showcase event where automakers around the world market their new and creative propulsion systems?
Colin Braun, Camping World Truck Series Driver, Roush Fenway Racing, will also be a guest on Wind Tunnel to tell Dave Despain all about his big Camping World Truck Series win in Michigan on Saturday. It was his first win in the series and his second top 3 finish in the past two events.
Leigh Diffey, Expert Analyst and SPEED Commentator, will also join Dave Despain to bring us up to date on this weekend’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs on Sunday night, June 14, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.
Brilliant Rossi takes 99th triumph on final corner
They do not call Valentino Rossi "the professor" for nothing and he proved it again on Sunday
An amazing head-to-head battle between Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo saw the Italian take his 99th Grand Prix victory by a 0.095s margin at Catalunya.
In front of nearly 90,000 fans in Barcelona the reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi took a superb win, battling with his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo throughout the 25 lap MotoGP race to secure the win on the last corner.
Despite some slight cloud cover close to the Mediterranean coast, air temperatures of 40°C meant it was a draining experience for the premier class riders but Rossi and Lorenzo threw everything into their duel, with The Doctor executing a superb move right at the death to take maximum points.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) was on the podium again, to maintain his World Championship challenge, with the result leaving Rossi, Lorenzo and the Australian all tied on 106 points at the head of the standings – the Italian on top as the possessor of the most recent victory.
Hamilton worked to win rivals' respect (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has admitted that his opening two years in the sport left relationships with his F1 rivals in tatters.
As his ultimately successful title bid drew to a close last year, straw polls among his competitors showed little support for the 24-year-old Briton, following his two seasons at the wheel of a race-winning McLaren.
Interviews with the British media reveal that world champion Hamilton accepts he was partly to blame for the negativity.
"I just kept myself to myself when we went to drivers' briefings and I think they took that as a sign of disrespect, but I never meant that.
"I've worked hard this year to try and rebuild those relationships and I think it's better now.
"I think they do respect me more but maybe because I'm not winning!" Hamilton added.
Meetings roll on as another F1 deadline looms (GMM) Formula one bosses' glut of meetings will roll into yet another week on Monday, as the rebel FOTA alliance jets into Heathrow airport.
After the May 29 entry application deadline, and the June 12 publication of the 2010 entry list, the next 'D-Day' is for Friday June 19, and the governing body's latest demand that teams' conditional entries be dropped.
The hope for the next London summit must be that the seemingly ever-deteriorating, ever-improving crisis can be resolved before the Friday close-of-business deadline, when the cars are due to be practicing at Silverstone ahead of the British grand prix.
The F1 drama intervened even at Le Mans this weekend, where the French circuit played host to the world-famous 24 hour sports car race.
FOTA chairman and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was on hand to start the fabled event, and took another opportunity to warn that the teams are serious about abandoning the current grand prix series.
"If it is necessary, the big manufacturers are ready to organize an alternative world championship," he told Italy's Sky television.
As for the coincidence of the F1 crisis and his visit to the Circuit de la Sarthe, Montezemolo admitted: "A Ferrari at Le Mans? Why not?
"If we can no longer race in F1 this would definitely be an option."
Johnny Benson injured at Berlin RacewayUPDATE Spectrum Hospital tells 24 Hour News 8 that Benson is in serious but stable condition at the hospital and "he's expected to be fine." woodtv.com
06/14/09 Johnny Benson Jr. came off Turn 3 at Berlin Raceway and met up with another car during Saturday's ISMA Supermodifieds race. Then came the sight no one wanted to see at the track: Benson's car bursting into flames. When Benson's car came to rest between Turns 3 and 4 after the collision with Larry Lehnert, the wing of Lehnert's vehicle was knocked sideways and Benson's car drove airborne over Lehnert's car. Once on the track, the main cab of Benson's supermodified vehicle caught fire. Track personnel raced over to the vehicle and put out the flames as quickly as possible. Benson was awake and alert when pulled from the car and was transported to an area hospital. Berlin owner Mike Blackmer could not specify which hospital Benson was sent to, citing privacy laws. Michigan Live
Bruton says 2010 Cup race at Kentucky 'doubtful' Hours before the NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 was to go green at Kentucky Speedway, the big question to track owner Bruton Smith was whether there would be a Sprint Cup race at the track next year. Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., sounded as pessimistic that it would happen, and Smith is not known for being pessimistic. "I would like to say, 'Yes,' but I don't know," Smith said. "It's doubtful that we get it done. It would take a tremendous cooperation from NASCAR." NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston would not totally close the door on Kentucky's Cup chances for 2010, but indicated that it is doubtful. "As we've said, there can be no consideration of a Cup date for Kentucky while the litigation is pending," Poston said. "Having said that, the sanctioning process is currently under way." Once he gets a commitment to a Cup race, Smith said he would add about 50,000 seats to the track, which currently seats 69,000, as well as add additional roads to and from the facility. He would also move pit road closer to the grandstands - "You saw what I did in Vegas," Smith said. Scene Daily
At midday (local time), with only three hours of racing remaining laps, the two front-running Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs now enjoy a cushion of seven laps after the N°1 Audi spent almost 15 minutes in its pits. The N°9 Peugeot in the hands of Gené/Wurz/Brabham continues to represent Team Peugeot Total's best chances of victory, with the N°8 sister car (Sarrazin/Montagny/Bourdais) providing rearguard support in second place.
Barring any major problem, Peugeot is going to finally reclaim an over al LeMans title.
No. 63 Corvette catching the No. 63 sister car
The Brabham/Gene/Wurz No. 9 Peugeot continues to lead but the No. 8 Bourdais/Montagny/Sarrazin pole sitting Peugeot is closing with just 3 hours to go.
The Corvette factory team continues to run 1-2 atop the GT1 class and two Porsche Spyders run 1-2 atop the LMP2 class.
Meanwhile the Risi Ferrari still leads in GT2 ahead of the BMS Scuderia Ferrari.
Jonathan Summerton wins at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Rising American racing star Jonathan Summerton returned to Victory Circle for the first time since last August and brought Genoa Racing its first Atlantic win since 1994 in the first race of the Mazda Formula X presented by Cooper Tires at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon.
Summerton started Genoa Racing’s No. 19 Barker Specialty/Geller Group/Genoa machine from the pole position and led lights to checkered flag en route to a 7.334-seconds victory Simona De Silvestro. It was Summerton’s third career Atlantic Championship victory, and his first since winning the second race of a doubleheader at Road America last year. It was Genoa Racing’s first win since 1994, when Greg Ray drove a Genoa Atlantic machine to Victory Lane at The Milwaukee Mile. Summerton starts second in tomorrow’s second half of the Mazda Formula X doubleheader.
LeMans: Peugeot leads Audi at 9-hour mark After nine hours of racing, and with the French circuit now well and truly engulfed in darkness, Peugeot continues to lead the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, while the front-running N°9 908 HDi FAP passed the 2,000km threshold on the stroke of midnight!
The N°9 car is currently a lap clear of the most threatening Audi (N°1), and the N°8 car has also recovered a place to 3rd after relinquishing the lead shortly before 9pm. The Pescarolo-run Peugeot (N°17) is running well in fourth place, and the N°7 Team Peugeot Total car is back in the top-10 again after falling back to 51 st spot at the beginning of the race. Minassian (N°7) established a new fastest race lap (3m24.628s)
Yamaha teammates 1-2 in MotoGP qualifying Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo kept up his 100% front-row qualifying record for the season with another pole position at his home track this afternoon, his third of 2009. Valentino Rossi made a welcome return to the front row after a three-race absence, qualifying just 0.013 seconds adrift of his team-mate in second place.
After Rossi had ruled the roost in practice yesterday, it was Lorenzo's turn at the top during this morning's session while the Italian slipped to third behind Andrea Dovizioso. Temperatures climbed even higher than yesterday throughout the early afternoon and when the Qualifying session began it had reached 38 degrees at Montmel¢.
Lorenzo held the top spot for most of the first forty minutes before Rossi sprang into the lead with 20 minutes to go, sparking another entertaining battle which saw the Yamaha pair trading places with Casey Stoner and Dovizioso. For the second race running however it came down to the last couple of laps to decide the final line-up and with four minutes to go Rossi re-took pole. Inside the final sixty seconds however his Mallorcan team-mate edged him off with a stunning lap, cheered on by his home fans. The World Champion's answering challenge fell just over one hundredth of a second short, leaving Stoner to secure third place a further 0.439 seconds off.
Audi loses No. 2 car At 9:30 p.m. the race at Le Mans for the Audi R15 TDI with start number two ended. Lucas Luhr left the track entering the Porsche Curves and slammed heavily backwards into the tire wall. Although the German still tried to bring the car back to the pits, the stewards, however, prohibited Luhr, who shared the cockpit of the diesel sportscar with Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner, to return to the track for safety reasons because the car was losing oil. A technical defect can be excluded.
Lucas Luhr: "I still can’t exactly explain the reason for the accident. I braked normally for the Porsche Curves when the rear suddenly stepped out of line. I tried to correct and collect the car, but the sector is simply too fast for this. The car spun around before slamming into the tire barrier very hard. Even though the Audi was still running the corner workers didn’t allow me to return to the track. We now have to analyze just exactly what happened there. I’m bitterly sorry for everybody who has worked so hard for this race, and of course especially my teammates."
His bright green #22 Andersen Racing / College Network / Indeck / Cytomax Mazda leading the way from start (more or less) to finish, Conor Daly, son of racing legend Derek Daly, began growing his own legend with a win from the pole in Race 1 of a Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear double-header weekend at the Mazda Formula X Event at New Jersey Motorsports Park. It was his first victory of the season and vaulted him to 4th from 7th in the championship points.
Leading Daly into Turn 1, but giving up the lead in Turn 3 and ultimately following Daly across the finish line was Englishman Adam Christodoulou, the current championship leader and winner of two races so far this season. He started his #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda on the outside of the front row. The final podium finisher, scoring his first top-3 finish of the season, was Canadian racer Mikael Grenier, who was fast in practice but qualified 8th after a late-night setup adjustment to his #17 Andersen Racing / NAPA Auto Parts / CAA-Quebec / HS Telecom Mazda went awry.
Luca di Montezemolo makes high-profile visit to Le Mans
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo made a high-profile visit to the Le Mans 24 hours today and was the official starter of the event.
His visit had been planned for some time and was highly symbolic; the Le Mans 24 hours is not sanctioned by the FIA and with the fall out over Formula 1 entries for 2010 Montezemolo was keen to show that there is life beyond the current set up in F1.
FOTA has made it clear in the last 24 hours that it wants to see reform of the way in the FIA is and is urging the body to act against it’s president Max Mosley. Filing that, he made it clear that a breakaway remains an option.
“Everybody sees what is happening in Formula 1. I do not understand the reason,” he said. “Anyway I think our conditions are constructive, are very clear: governance, stable rules – the people don’t understand any more rules that change every six months, one day it’s KERS, another day it’s standard engines – and looking ahead to have a balance between cost and revenues, to let new commerce enter.
LeMans: Peugeot leads Audi by 1 lap at 4-Hour mark
After four hours of racing at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, the Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs are pulling away from the rival Audi R15 TDIs. Polesitter Stephane Sarrazin in the #8 Peugeot now has a one-lap lead over the leading Audi of McNish and Kristensen, and another 1 seconds over the No. 9 Peugeot.
As the evening sets in, Sarrazin's fastest race lap so far is a 3:25.106 and he is continuing to lap at a faster pace than the other front-runners.
In the LM P2 class, the two Porsche RS Spyders are literally in a class of their own: the Team Essex and NAVI Team Goh entries may only be separated by about 30 seconds, but they are two laps ahead of their nearest P2 challengers.
Peugeots take early lead at LeMans The start of the 24 Hours of Lemans at 3pm sharp local time under the official Rolex clock confirmed the strength of two Peugeots (Franck Montagny with the #8 car and Petro Lamy with the #7) jump into an immediate lead. Behind them, Allan McNish who was in front line along Franck for the start is now third. Five minutes after the start, three Peugeots pulled into the lead as Wurz managed to pass McNish, now in fourth. More updates later....
Ecclestone calls for calm amid F1 war (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has called for calm as the row between eight of formula one's existing teams and the governing FIA widened in the wake of the publication of the 2010 entry list.
Italy's La Repubblica said Ferrari and the Red Bull teams' inclusion on the official list against their will on Friday was a "provocation", leading more of the world's car manufacturers to "declare war on Mosley".
The newspaper was referring to the statement issued by ACEA, an association of European carmakers, following a meeting in Brussels.
Comprised of manufacturers including Ford, GM, Porsche, Peugeot, Volvo and Volkswagen, ACEA fully backed FOTA by insisting that F1's "current governance system cannot continue".
Another Italian publication, Corriere dello Sport, agreed that the mood of the dispute has now moved to "calling for Mosley's head".
Britain's The Times interpreted FOTA's attempt to bypass Mosley and appeal directly to the World Motor Sport Council as "further evidence that the manufacturers have had enough of Mosley and want him to be removed or restrained".
Ecclestone, chief executive of the presently war-trodden sport, said: "I would just ask everyone, instead of throwing mud at each other in public or behind each other's backs, to just be quiet and let things settle down a bit."
Accavitti new CEO of Dodge Amid all the hoopla over General Motors and its bankruptcy and its future, and its future in NASCAR, and the hot debate in the past few days about the fate of Chrysler and its NASCAR Dodge teams, a huge piece of news seemingly slipped through the cracks: Mike Accavitti (Italian), the long-time Dodge racing director, has just been promoted to president and CEO of Dodge itself (by Italian firm Fiat), a jump up of about three huge rungs on the Detroit ladder. Accavitti, who hasn't made it to a NASCAR track in some time, has been a strong supporter of NASCAR racing, so his promotion would seem to bode very well for the sport. mikemulhern.net
Haug: McLaren unable to win at Silverstone Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president Norbert Haug doesn't expect any miracles at Silverstone next week. The German remembers Hamilton's fabulous victory at Silverstone last year when the Briton finished one minute ahead of the rest but the 2009 British Grand Prix the team is not in a position to win says Haug. "Silverstone is a great track with a unique layout," said Haug. "We have fond memories of this traditional circuit with Lewis's superb victory in the rain, more than a minute ahead of the second finisher last year, certainly being the most memorable moment. One year later, however, we will not be in a position to win. Since the beginning of this season we are in a catching up process. This is because we have not yet managed to get the best technical package out of the new rules in contrast to what we achieved with the old regulations in previous years when we built a winning car which we fought for the world championship with and won it.
"Nevertheless, everybody in the team is highly motivated to further reduce our gap to the top - particularly on fast circuits. We are currently experiencing tough times, but this is not new for us: after a year without victories in 2006 we missed our target to win the title by one point in 2007 and then, a year after, we clinched the world championship with Lewis in 2008. We all work in a calm, focused and concentrated way to get our job done. And we will manage to do so - but certainly not overnight."
[Editor's Note: Meanwhile the little Brawn GP team using the same Mercedes engines is blowing the doors off McLaren......proving you don't need a massive budget to have very good F1 cars that the fans will love.....hence why Max Mosley is telling the FOTA teams who don't like his budget caps starting in 2010 to go pound sand.]
Verstappen: Diesels hiding true speed Aston Martin Racing’s Jos Verstappen believes the Audis and Peugeots have not yet shown their true pace at Le Mans, but remains optimistic about his team’s chances of a podium finish.
“They are still very quick on the straight, although they’re running more downforce than us,” he told AUTOSPORT. “Maybe they’re hiding their speed a little. But for sure they can’t pass us on the straight - our top speed is really good.
“When you follow them into the Porsche Curves, their speed through there is massive compared with us. It’s not how it should be, but they have everything sorted and their engines are so strong.”
“I’m happy with how things are going. The car is reliable and working with Anthony [Davidson] and Darren [Turner] has been fantastic. That is how it should be.
“You never know what can happen in a 24-hour race. During practice I saw a Peugeot smoking and going into the garage; anything could happen if we have a trouble-free run. Our car is reliable, so we’ll see. It would be fantastic for us to be on the podium.”
Kyle Busch has no regrets smashing guitar Kyle Busch said Friday at Michigan Speedway that he didn’t regret smashing the trophy guitar after winning the Nationwide Series race at Nashville last weekend and added a shot at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fans.
“A lot of people enjoyed it,” Busch said of the reaction to the incident. “A lot of people hated it. I guess those are the ones with 88s tattooed on their arms, or maybe still 8s [Earnhardt Jr.’s current and former car numbers].
“I got no issues with Junior; it’s his fans that are crazy.”
Busch, speaking at Michigan International Speedway, said he never thought the guitar smash “would get that much attention” and added “it certainly drew the ire of the fans.”
He also seemed to take a jab at guitar artist Sam Bass, who smiled for pictures with Busch in victory lane but later said publicly that he was shocked and heartbroken over his broken artwork.
“I said I was going to buy two guitars after the race, but I didn’t know it was going to be in the spirit of both of Sam Bass’s personalities,” Busch said.
Busch said all the uproar about the incident “made me think about it, but in the end, I’m kind of like, no, I don’t regret it. It was fun, and while I was doing it was fun.”
NASCAR Tree-Planting Program To Capture Carbon Emissions NASCAR announced “NASCAR Green Clean Air” – a program to help capture the carbon emissions produced by racing. Under a pilot program that will expand significantly next year, NASCAR will plant ten new trees for each green flag that drops during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. The tracks participating in the tree-planting program – eleven this year and every venue visited by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 – will mitigate 100% of the carbon emissions produced by the race cars competing in their Sprint Cup Series events. Over time, rolled out across all three national series, NASCAR and its partners will be planting approximately 20 acres of new trees each year. Michigan International Speedway, which is at the forefront of green initiatives, is matching the carbon-capturing planting effort at its track. A tree stores approximately one ton of CO2 over its lifetime, which means that the entire CO2 emissions from a typical race will be offset during this time. NASCAR PR
[Editor's Note: Why doesn't NASCAR try switching from their big pollution emitting carbureted V8 engines (yes, they still use antiquated carburetors - imagine that!) to a more fuel efficient less polluting powerplant for their race cars. Heck it wasn't until 2 years ago that NASCAR finally switched to unleaded fuel. They cannot plant enough trees to come close to making up for the amount of pollution they spew into the atmosphere every year throughout all their racing divisions. We're surprised the EPA doesn't haul them away to court.]
Scary moments for Kristensen and Werner Audi Sport Team Joest named the drivers who will sit at the wheel of the three Audi R15 TDI to start the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Starting driver of the Audi R15 TDI with start number "1" is the Scot Alan McNish, who was the fastest Audi driver in Thursday evening’s qualifying with a lap time of 3m 23.65s (240.925 km/h). The other two Audi R15 TDI are driven at the start by Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Prémat.
As is usually the case at Audi Sport Team Joest, the Audi drivers will then complete their stints during the race in alphabetical order:
Audi R15 TDI #1: McNish > Capello > Kristensen Audi R15 TDI #2: Rockenfeller > Werner > Luhr Audi R15 TDI #3: Prémat > Bernhard > Dumas
The Audi R15 TDI will pit for refueling as planned about every 45 minutes. Subject to strategy two or four stints in succession are planned before the tires and drivers are changed.
During Saturday morning’s warm-up Audi Sport Team Joest concentrated on checking the race set-up of the cars. All nine drivers drove. Furthermore, driver and tire changes were also practiced.
There were heart stopping moments for both Tom Kristensen and Marco Werner: The Le Mans record winner had to drive through the gravel bed at the Dunlop Chicane because a cable became detached in the pedal box of his Audi R15 TDI and jammed the throttle pedal open. Marco Werner spun at the chicane before the start-finish when he had to swerve to avoid a GT2 car.
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