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DATE News (chronologically)
06/23/09
f1

FIA's sand trap
A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, There is little doubt that if FOTA does end up splitting away, the FIA will be the big loser. Both Ecclestone and Mosley are dogged by recent personal and public scandals, and under their direction Formula One has begun to whiter.

Disagree?

F1 in the US? Nope. Canada, no again. Anywhere in the Americas besides Brazil? Silverstone, the German Grand Prix… gone - lost to politics and Bernie’s retirement fund. Are costs out of hand? Not if teams can afford it. To cap the highest pinnacle in Motorsport with the FIA’s plan is asinine: It cuts the heart out of what ‘Formula One’ is all about. Like water, Grand Prix budgets seek their own level, i.e. it will fix itself.  No surprise that Williams - who have struggled to field a competitive car for far too long – want to rearrange the deck chairs. Ditto for Renault who have had one foot out of F1 for the past few years.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
nassprint

NASCAR Infineon TV Rating
TNT’s telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway on Sunday earned a 4.0 cable rating and 5.788 million viewers, down 7.0% and from last year’s race, which earned a 4.3 cable rating and 6.015 million viewers. For three Sprint Cup races to date, TNT is averaging a 3.9 cable rating and 5.483 million viewers, down 9.3% from a 4.3 rating and 5.780 million viewers last year. Sports Business Daily

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06/23/09
irl

Inside Track, SunTrust Indy Challenge


Comment
06/23/09
ga

Grand-Am Rolex Series Awards Banquet Set
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will crown its 2009 champions at a new location, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2009.

The Grand-Am Rolex Series will conclude its 12-race 2009 campaign with the Oct. 10 running of the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The season finale on the 2.21-mile road circuit will start at 1 p.m. ET and will be televised live on SPEED.

Monday's Champions Banquet will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a sit-down dinner and awards program which will honor the top drivers, teams and manufacturers in the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. Fans will also be invited to purchase tickets for the event.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
f1

F1's Raikkonen, Hamilton on Forbes sports list
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen is the world's highest-earning racing driver, Forbes magazine claims in its latest athletes rich list.

Equal with American basketball players Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, the Finn ranks second behind sport's highest earner Tiger Woods ($110m).

Forbes said Ferrari's Raikkonen, Jordan and Bryant each earn $45m per year, including retainers, personal sponsorships and other interests.

29-year-old Raikkonen ranks ahead of famous footballer David Beckham, with $42m in annual earnings, while motor racing's second-highest paid star is Valentino Rossi ($35m).

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton makes an appearance at 13th with his $32m.

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06/23/09
f1

Williams happy with current driver lineup
(GMM)  Kazuki Nakajima's stock is rising within the Williams team, technical director Sam Michael has revealed.

With key Toyota backing, the 24-year-old Japanese, with a famous father, is often overlooked in formula one and usually put in the shade by his star teammate Nico Rosberg.

But there are some in the paddock who rate Nakajima highly, and - at least until Sunday's 60-lap British grand prix - this faith was borne out by his performance at Silverstone.

He was quick in the practice sessions, and then faster than German Rosberg in Q1, Q2 and Q3, and fastest of the entire field in the initial low-fuel qualifying segment.

Nakajima lined up fifth on the grid but with a light fuel load, and ultimately could not keep up the necessary pace to make the strategy work and finished just eleventh.

But Michael, Williams' Australian technical boss, is increasingly impressed by Nakajima, and rumors at the British event indicated that the Grove team is keen to preserve its entire race lineup in 2010.

"Kazuki has been continually improving since Barcelona and it's pleasing to see him helping to move the team forward," Michael said.

"The major difference is that he is now contributing directly to the setup process over a race weekend.

"He is definitely improving," Sam Michael continued, "and he really helped the team with setup direction this weekend."

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06/23/09
f1

Mosley ready to sue 'dissident' F1 teams
(GMM)  Max Mosley on Tuesday insisted he is not going to be pushed out of his role as FIA president.

As the 69-year-old is deadlocked in negotiations with the major formula one teams, Britain's Times newspaper suggested that - in the interests of settling the crisis - Mosley was prepared to quietly step aside at Wednesday's World Motor Sport Council.

But despite previously indicating that that he fancies entering retirement rather than contest another FIA election, the Briton wrote to the body's membership on Tuesday insisting he is not about to give in to the dissident FOTA group.

"In light of the attack on the mandate you have entrusted to me, I must now reflect on whether my original decision not to stand for re-election was indeed the right one," he said in a letter leaked to sections of the specialist media.

FOTA chairman and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo will attend Wednesday's meeting, at which it is rumored he will be pushing hard for the FIA member clubs to move against Mosley.

Mosley wrote: "It is for the FIA membership, and the FIA membership alone, to decide on its democratically elected leadership, not the motor industry and still less the individuals the industry employs to run its formula one teams."

And after indicating at Silverstone on Sunday that legal proceedings against Ferrari and FOTA may not now be pursued, Mosley revealed in his letter that the FIA remains ready to launch action "to discourage any dissident formula one team from engaging in illegal acts".

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06/23/09
f1

Hamilton to drive Senna McLaren
Lewis Hamilton will have the privilege of driving the McLaren MP4-4 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next Sunday. With the annual event showcasing a fantastic collection of motorsport memorabilia, a mix of Champions past and present will be mingling with the public as the 2008 title winner drives the most dominant car to have ever been seen in Formula One. The 1988 season will forever be remembered for the crushing defeat of the opposition by the McLaren team, winning all but one race with the very capable hands of Alain Prost and eventual Champion Ayrton Senna at the wheel. "After a busy few weeks I will get home, relax and do some proper training for the second half of the season," explained Hamilton, who finished a disappointing 16th in his home Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday. "I think we have more things to look forward to in the second half of the year and I want to be fully fit to make the most of them.

"Before that, I have a bit more fun on my schedule - I'm going to the Goodwood Festival next weekend, on Sunday 5th July, to drive Ayrton's 1988 McLaren up the hill. Whenever I go to the MTC (McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey), there are two cars that I love the most - the first is the McLaren F1 that I've set my heart on winning (promised by Ron Dennis in the event of Lewis emulating Senna's record of three World Championship titles) and the second is Ayrton's MP4-4."

With Gerhard Berger's victory in Italy for Ferrari being the only race not won by McLaren during the season 21 years ago, the dominant Honda-powered McLaren allowed Senna to clinch wins in half of the year's Grands Prix. "Even today, it still looks like the car to be racing!" Hamilton added. "About a month ago, I went down and sat in the car while the guys were preparing it for Goodwood - that is going to be a pretty cool moment!"

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06/23/09
f1

Defiant Mosley to run for re-election
A defiant Max Mosley has told the FIA that he now has no option but to consider standing once again as president, in light of what he sees as an ‘unjustified’ attack on the governing body by Formula 1 teams and manufacturers.

Ahead of what is being viewed as a key meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday, where the governing body is expected to react to plans by F1 teams to create a breakaway series, Mosley has made it clear that he will not be forced to walk away by the wishes of teams.

In a letter that Mosley sent to all FIA member clubs on Tuesday, he insisted that it was entirely up to the members of the governing body to decide if it wants him to continue to help stave off the threat posed by teams.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
nassprint

Gillett sells Montreal Canadiens to keep NASCAR team afloat UPDATE George Gillett, Jr., sold the Montreal Canadiens for $500 million on Saturday, and it's a good thing because he needs the money to keep his NASCAR team going. Don't laugh. I didn't see him sell the race team to keep the Habs going, did you?

Gillett, the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports in partnership with the King, has seen his NASCAR Sprint Cup team flirt with insolvency several times since the beginning of the season.

Their manufacturing partner, Dodge/Chrysler, is in bankruptcy protection and whatever money they'd been promised to help run the team's cars (Kasey Kahne, A.J. Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson and Elliott Sadler, drivers) either hasn't materialized or turned out to be a lot less than expected.

Earlier this month, the team laid off nine people and the remaining employees all had to take a pay cut. And remember, there had already been substantial layoffs as the result of the winter-time merging of Petty's outfit with Gillett's previous team that he'd shared with Ray Evernham.

So the sale of the Canadiens coupled with Kahne's timely victory [By the grace of God, these things just happen in NASCAR] in the Toyota/SaveMart 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., yesterday has given the team some breathing room. The fact that Allmendinger finished seventh and Sadler was 10th means three Petty-Gillett cars finished in the top 10 and that race yesterday really was a ka-ching! affair. [Thank God] Wheels.ca

06/21/09 George Gillett, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, has agreed to sell his 80 percent interest in the Montreal Canadiens to three brothers of the Molson family, according to a team news release.

The sale of the team, the Gillett Entertainment Group and the Bell Centre is estimated to be at least $462 million U.S, according to a report on the Rue Frontenac Web site.

The National Hockey League would have to approve the sale. The sale is expected to close in late August.

“Our family has been very proud to be associated with the Montreal Canadiens over the past eight years,” Gillett said.

Comment
06/23/09
nascar

NASCAR Fans Log 750,000 Votes for Favorite Drivers
Race fans know who their favorite driver is and are not afraid to voice their opinion – especially with their computer mouse.  Voting for the 2009 NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Chex Most Popular Driver Award has now surpassed 750,000 online votes. 

Fans have been voting at www.chexmostpopulardriver.com since the NASCAR Sprint Cup season began in February.  The full field of 44 drivers will remain eligible for votes until after the Richmond International Raceway event on September 13, when the 10 drivers with the most votes will be announced as “Top 10” finalists.  At that time, the vote count will reset to zero and fans will have 10 race weeks to cast their votes to determine the 2009 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver.  Voting will conclude November 23 at 11:59 PM CT and the winner will be announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon in New York City in December.

Fans can vote once day at www.chexmostpopulardriver.com.  Voters can also visit Victoria Lane’s blog at www.theracinggal.com each week to see which five drivers are on the bubble to break into the Top 10.

Comment
06/23/09
automotive

Tesla lowers production costs significantly
The next Tesla, the Model S, will sell for just $49K when it goes on sale in late 2011
The CEO of Tesla Motors said Monday that the material cost of the electric car company's Roadster sports car has dropped to about $80,000 (U.S.), which should help the company reach profitability next month.

Elon Musk said in a blog post on Tesla's website that the material cost, which is the total cost of the parts and components that make up each vehicle, was as high as $140,000 in the summer of 2007.

The car currently has a starting sticker price of $109,000.

"Combined with a steady production volume of 20 to 30 per week in the third quarter this year and a good take up rate of the higher priced Roadster Sport, we expect to cross over into profitability next month," Musk wrote in his blog post.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
irl

IndyCar 2-seater ride for fans today for The Glen
The IndyCar two-seater promotional car will offer rides to racing enthusiasts at two Elmira locations today.  Rides in car will be offered from 8-10 a.m. at Backyard Broadcasting at 2205 College Avenue and from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Pembroke Pines' live remote at the corner of Main and Grey Streets.

Fans must be 18 year of age or older to ride in the car with IndyCar driver Davey Hamilton. The car is street legal and Hamilton will be driving around the streets of Elmira to promote the upcoming Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen.

The Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen weekend is July 3-5 at Watkins Glen International. Tickets for the race weekend can be purchased at the WGI ticket office, by calling (866)-461-7223, or online at www.TheGlen.com.

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06/23/09
a1gp

A1 Team Australia the ‘Pit Stop Kings’ UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, An interesting article on the Aussie teams pit stops, and it covered the crews strategy very well.

But the 'perceived pit stop' and the possible gain or loss in track position has, in fact, 4 main parts that contribute to the gain/loss. And only one of these 4 is dependent on the crew....the other 3 are a direct consequence of the drivers actions.

1.  The driver has to put in a fast in-lap....all round the track, in the pit entry lane, right up to the speed limit line.
2.  the driver has to be very fast into his pit box AND place the car very accurately.....hit his marks.....no sideways, no stopping short or long etc.
3.  The crew performs a fast tire change and car release.
4.  The driver has to make a fast box exit, and then put in a very fast out lap on cold tires.

The #4 item really shows the driver who is better able to drive and control his car on cold tires.

Our team lost a certain win when the driver came in for a final pit stop, in the lead, and he made a mistake at pit in and lost time. When he rejoined in 3rd position after everyone’s pit stops, it looked like the crew had performed a slow pit-stop.

And if refueling is involved, then there is the added 5th element which is driver dependent......if he is racing fast AND saving fuel, then his pit stop is shorter because his car needs less fuel added during the stop.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
automotive

Tesla Motors Co-Founder Sues CEO For Libel UPDATE Shortly after Tesla Motors co-founder Martin Eberhard filed a lawsuit against Tesla Motors and its Chairman, Product Architect and CEO Elon Musk, the Silicon Valley automaker had this to say:

This lawsuit is a fictionalized, inaccurate account of Tesla's early years -- it's twisted and wrong, and we welcome the opportunity to set the record straight. Incidentally, Tesla will also be filing counterclaims and in the process present an accurate account of the company's history.

On the official Tesla blog, here are some choice lines:

"The facts are that when I requested through AC Propulsion to meet Eberhard, he had no technology of his own, he did not have a prototype car and he owned no intellectual property relating to electric cars.

"At the time [early 2004], "Tesla Motors, Inc." consisted of Eberhard, Tarpenning and Wright, plus an unfunded business plan and they were looking for an initial round of funding to create a more advanced prototype than the AC Propulsion Tzero. While there was a basic corporation in place, Tesla hadn't even registered or obtained the trademark to its name and had no formal offices or assets."
Source: Elon Musk / Tesla Motors]

From Elon Musk:

"To save legal fees, we just copied the SpaceX articles of incorporation and bylaws for Tesla and I invested $6.35M (98%) of the initial closing of $6.5M in Series A funding. Eberhard invested $75k (approximately 1%). In another crossover, I had the same people who created the SpaceX logo also create the Tesla logo.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/09
irl

IRL doesn't understand power of internet
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, With most IndyCar races restricted to Versus and its tiny audience, it puzzles me why the TV shows aren't streamed live online. These days the distinction between broadcast platforms has just about disappeared, and there's lots of motorsport that's broadcast both on TV and online - DTM, WTCC, A1 GP, World Superbikes, etc. Champ Car used to stream the TV coverage, with a choice of the US and international feeds, for a modest subscription. Why can't IndyCar do the same?

IndyCar.com does have its free Race Control feature, but that doesn't include the TV coverage. Worse, it's actually blocked to anyone who doesn't have their computer screen set to the required resolution. It's one thing to warn that the service is "optimized" for a certain resolution so that it may not work perfectly otherwise, but it's ridiculous to stop people using it altogether.

As one of Justin Wilson's investors, I want to watch him racing, but I don't have Sky (which shows IndyCar in the UK) so I have to rely on the internet. IndyCar's failure to understand how to make use of the internet means I'm restricted to watching the timing & scoring display and listening to the radio commentary.

Doesn't IndyCar want an audience? Carol Stanley, UK

Dear Carol, It is crazy, especially given the limited international TV distribution for races not on ABC.  We suspect it has something to do with their Versus TV deal that precludes internet broadcasting.  With Versus IndyCar TV ratings already below infomercial levels, they cannot afford to see that number drop further.  Mark C.

Comment
06/23/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Button sure Silverstone was title blip
  • Ferrari pushes ahead with FIA legal action
  • French GP revival hopes take new hit
  • Alonso admits 'magic' Renault step unlikely
  • Toro Rosso falls behind Red Bull development

Button sure Silverstone was title blip
(GMM)  Jenson Button's famous smile was missing on Sunday afternoon, but the championship leader insists his 2009 campaign remains on track.

The Briton's 32-point lead over Sebastian Vettel reduced by 7 points at Silverstone; an event utterly dominated by Red Bull, while Button finished just sixth.

It is suggested that one of the 29-year-old's problems on home ground was the cool temperatures and the fact that his smooth driving style could not generate enough heat for the tires.

And the Brawn driver said: "We are stronger than the Red Bulls under braking, but there is no braking at Silverstone.

"You never hit the pedal that hard there.  There were lots of reasons why we were not competitive.  I've lost seven points to Vettel, which is disappointing, but then again I gained 10 points when he put it in the wall in Monaco," added Button.

He is upbeat about the next two stops in Germany, with the Nurburgring and the Hungaroring two of the harshest for braking.

Button's optimism notwithstanding, his friend David Coulthard is not so sure the Briton's astonishing start to the season is now going to be prolonged.

"I said a couple of weeks ago that Jenson had as good as wrapped up the drivers' title, but the emphatic nature of Red Bull's victory at Silverstone has forced me to revise that opinion," the Scot, a consultant to the energy drink company's main team, wrote in his Telegraph column.

Coulthard added: "I still believe Jenson will prevail ... but we could well have a chase on our hands; a few races during which Red Bull chip away at Brawn's lead."

He believes one reason for the shake-up could be former Honda squad Brawn's struggle to keep up with the development rate of better-funded rivals.

"We haven't really seen any visible modifications to their car yet - as we have with Ferrari and Red Bull say – and it will be fascinating to see how they (Brawn) respond in Germany," said Coulthard.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
nassprint

Childress Denies Reported Lawsuit Against GM
The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing regarding allegations that RCR has filed a lawsuit against General Motors:

“I would like to set the record straight that RCR has NOT filed a lawsuit against General Motors and I do not appreciate anyone suggesting otherwise. As is standard practice in bankruptcy proceedings, RCR has made a filing which is common among creditors in these situations. As previously stated as recently as this past weekend in Sonoma, RCR is proud to be associated with General Motors and we are working closely with them during these difficult economic times.” RCR PR

So just as Dodge owes RPM a lot of money, it appears GM owes RCR and perhaps other teams money, or they would not put themselves on the creditors list.  Call it a lawsuit, call it what you might, things are not well in NASCARland.

Comment
06/22/09
irl

Two top-10s for Dreyer & Reinbold
When the green flag dropped to start the Iowa Corn Indy 250, there was no holding back for Tomas Scheckter. The IndyCar Series veteran, making his third start for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, rocketed his No. 23 MonaVie entry past six cars into the top 10.

Scheckter spent most of the 250 laps in the top 10, including three stints running in second. He ended up sixth, his best finish since 2007.

"It was a good race," Scheckter said. "I made up a lot of positions in the beginning, and I just have to thank everybody at MonaVie. The car looks beautiful. Everyone on the team did a great job."

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
f1

Webber to have surgery before next race
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg is heading to Ibiza, while championship leader Jenson Button will spend some of F1's rare three-week break before the next race holidaying with his girlfriend in Tokyo.

Australia's Mark Webber, however, is taking the opportunity to have some surgery, following his winter cycling accident.

"I'm having the two locking screws at the bottom of my right shin taken out," the Red Bull driver said after finishing second in Sunday's British grand prix.

Webber, 32, said the main titanium rod is staying put.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
f1

Sellout crowd gives Silverstone send-off
(GMM)  After most of the spectators in Turkey two weeks ago were disguised as empty seats, the atmosphere for what was potentially Silverstone's last ever British grand prix was electric.

Not even 20,000 showed up for the Istanbul race; 100,000 fewer than the sellout Sunday crowd at the self-proclaimed 'home of British motor racing'.

Just as impressively, 105,000 flipped the turnstiles for qualifying, and even 85,000 were trackside for Friday's routine practice sessions.

On race-day, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told any reporter who would listen to him that, if Donington is not ready to take over next year, Silverstone is very much on standby.

Williams' Patrick Head said the 78-year-old's comments went some way to healing the "lack of respect" displayed to the Northamptonshire venue in recent years.

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06/22/09
irl

Humpy Wheeler Wind Tunnel transcript
Racing promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, formerly of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, joined guest host Mike Joy Sunday night on "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" on Speed. Wheeler discussed the Indianapolis 500, his potential interest in promoting the world's best-known race, Danica Patrick and more. Following is a transcript:

Joy: For the past month, “Tunnel heads” have wanted to have you on the show to hear about your trip to the Indy 500 and what it was like …

Wheeler: “I had a ball up there. I’ve been to the Brickyard and all that but the Indy 500 is such a special … I’d been competing against it for all those years. I’d call Tony George the morning of every race and say, ‘We’ve got as many people as you do up there because what I did was let everyone who was walking down the street come and sit on the fans’ laps.’ He’d laugh and I’d say, ‘Is it raining yet?’

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06/22/09
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series on ABC from New Hampshire

The Magic Mile, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., hosts the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend, and the race will air on ABC with a live, high definition telecast on Saturday, June 27, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Sunday, June 28, at 3 a.m. on ESPN2 and again at 10 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

Marty Reid will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN on ABC’s coverage, with analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
f1

Latest F1 News in Brief
  • Diffuser cars not allowing overtaking - Massa
  • MotoGP boss denies 'breakaway' involvement
  • FOTA to rev up breakaway plans this week
  • Montreal wants peace before new F1 deal
  • Bernie tells Argentina to build new F1 track
  • Ferrari boss rues F1's KERS 'flop'
  • F1 eyes rare lull in 2009 calendar

Diffuser cars not allowing overtaking - Massa
(GMM)  F1's new-look cars of 2009 are travelling more closely together, but it seems they are no easier than before to overtake with.

After the British grand prix, it was the double diffuser in the spotlight for spoiling the efforts of the Technical Working Group to radically amend this year's cars for the benefit of the spectacle.

"Just as was planned by the FIA, the cars did produce less downforce," said Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

"But with the decision to allow the double diffusers, this plan was turned upside down," the Brazilian told Auto Motor und Sport.

Toyota's Timo Glock adds that even the moveable front flaps this year are not providing a benefit to aid overtaking.

"When you're in the turbulence of the cars ahead, all your grip is lost.  You're sliding on all four wheels," the German said.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
nastruck

SPEED Quotes: Johnny Benson on Injuries
Johnny Benson
Johnny Benson, reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion who was injured June 13 in a Super Modified race at Berlin Raceway, joined guest host Mike Joy Sunday night on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED.  Benson discussed his injuries and recovery, as well as his search for a Truck Series ride.  Following is a transcript of the conversation:

Joy:  How are you feeling?

Benson:  “A little bit beat up is all but it’s definitely nice to be near your own house and your own chairs, so it’s good to be home for sure.”

Joy:  The report says three broken ribs, broken right wrist, left scapula and you broke your collarbone where it connects to the sternum.  Sounds like you’re in just about as good of shape as that race car right now …

Read more & Comment...
06/22/09
superleague

Reigning GP2 Champion joins AC Milan for 2009 Superleague Formula
Giorgio Pantano
Former Grand Prix driver and reigning GP2 Series champion Giorgio Pantano is the latest star driver to join Superleague Formula. The 30-year-old Italian has signed to race for his favorite team AC Milan in this year’s eagerly anticipated championship, which kicks off at Magny-Cours in France on 28 June.

AC Milan was one of the front-runners throughout the inaugural season when Dutchman Robert Doornbos (another man with F1 pedigree now racing in IndyCars) won three races and took the club to third place in the final standings – a result the highly respected and experienced Pantano is hoping to better in 2009.

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06/22/09
nassprint

TNT TV notes from Infineon
Petty on how drivers feel about conserving fuel during a race: “I don’t want to hear anything about race mileage, I just want to drive the car as hard as I can especially at a place like this, but it is an issue at a place like this. Starting to save from the very beginning (of the race), it’s a little bit of an advantage. I know that sounds stupid, but it changes your pit cycle if the race track goes green and that’s the way these guys have it figured. But fuel mileage? It’s all his (the crew chief’s) problem. Once I stick my butt in the seat it’s all about shifting gears and turning that wheel.”

Petty on trying to balance a family with NASCAR: “I think it’s really tough and I admire what Larry (McReynolds) does with his family because this guy is on the road all the time. But growing up with Adam and Austin and Montgomery Lee, trying to cut time in for baseball, basketball, football and dance class, there is a lot of stuff these guys on pit road as drivers and car owners and mechanics, that they miss that everyone sitting at home watching us gets to experience. It’s a price to pay and it’s a heavy price and it’s a big price, but at the same time it’s something we all love.”

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06/22/09
f1

Bridgestone tires were perfect at Silverstone
Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel scored his second race win of the season after he used a two stop, soft - soft - hard tire strategy to win a fast-paced British Grand Prix in cool and cloudy conditions at Silverstone.

Vettel finished fifteen seconds ahead of team-mate Mark Webber, who used the same strategy. The final podium position went to Brawn GP Formula 1 Team driver Rubens Barrichello, who used a soft- hard-soft tire strategy. Bridgestone's soft tire proved to be the superior race tire here for most competitors, giving a faster lap time than the hard, and giving good consistency too.

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06/22/09
superleague

Martin shooting to be in a league of his own
John Martin
Buoyed by a strong test session, John Martin heads into his Superleague Formula debut at Magny Cours this weekend with measured confidence.

The 24-year-old Queenslander completed 21 laps of Zolder last Thursday, primarily as a shakedown of his Alan Docking Racing (ADR) engineered Rangers FC machine. The test also provided an opportunity for Martin to familiarize himself with the 750 horsepower, V12 powered beast at the 4.011km track before it hosts round two of the series on July 18/19.

“Normally you have little issues on shakedown,” said Martin. “But it was a good day; the car ran perfectly, nothing fell off or broke.” 

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06/22/09
f1

Tensions keep rising as Mosley fears for job
(GMM)  Max Mosley has dismissed as a joke his reference to some members of the FOTA teams alliance as 'loonies'.

With tensions already high between the group and the FIA president, Toyota's John Howett on Sunday said the Mosley jibe was "unhelpful" and "unnecessary".

Mosley had also said Flavio Briatore "sees himself as the Bernie" of a breakaway series, to which the Renault boss replied: "I never get personal.  Max should stop insulting people".

It is suggested that the 'loonies' dig was also directed towards Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo: "Montezemolo and I have known each other nearly 40 years and I get along with him fine on a personal level," Mosley said.

"Flavio is great on a personal level but obviously sometimes when you have got something as complex as formula one, you can have disagreements about how things operate within the sport.  But on a personal basis we've always got along fine."

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06/21/09
racing news

Quotes of the Week
"They haven't seen the movie, have they, about when you split something up, what happens when you do that despite the best intentions or whatever.  It's a shame because I don't quite get it why anyone would be against spending as little money as possible.  Having been over there [Team Principal of Jaguar Racing F1 team], I do know that the people who have the power don't want to share the power.  It's all about a meritocracy there, and their whole view is: 'Get your own.  You're not going to get some of mine.  You've got to go get your own'."  Bobby Rahal, IndyCar team owner, Rahal Letterman Racing, commenting on the Formula 1 controversial budget cap and possible breakaway series

"Flavio Briatore wants to create a new series and decide everything.  Luca di Montezemolo has a problem with the FIA president.  With John Howett, I wonder: what does he want?  I'm not even sure he knows himself.  Everyone else just wants it all to stop so they can concentrate on the sport once again."  Asked why the standoff continues even though the two warring sides seem basically agreed about drastic cost-cutting, Ecclestone explains: "Because it's not about that, it's about power."  Ecclestone does not believe the threats about a breakaway championship are serious.  "Can you really imagine going to the boards of these car companies and saying 'I need money for my new car, and I need the same amount again for our new series'?" 
Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

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06/21/09
nnw
nassprint

Edwards to run full-time in Nationwide and Cup series in 2010
After earning his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season at the Milwaukee Mile, Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards said he plans on running full time in the series again in 2010.

“This is my fifth year of running both series full time, and we’re planning on doing it next year,” Edwards said. “I don’t know how it’s all going to work out, but I enjoy it.”

Edwards has won 16 Cup and 21 Nationwide races over that five-year span. He also won the championship in what was then known as the Busch Series in 2007 and has never finished lower than third in the series standings.

“I enjoy it because of my guys,” Edwards said. “I get to race for championships with a great group of guys and drive these cars that [co-owner] Jack [Roush] lets them build. It’s cool. I enjoy it.”

Comment
06/21/09
f1

Schumacher revealed as BBC's The Stig
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher was unmasked as the BBC car program Top Gear's mysterious 'The Stig' on Sunday night.

The enigmatic white-overalled, gloved and helmeted figure, who for years has anonymously tested cars for the TV show, appeared on the floor of the British program after breaking its test-track record at the wheel of the Ferrari FSX supercar.

Asked by host Jeremy Clarkson to take off his helmet, The Stig reluctantly obliged, revealing F1's now 40-year-old seven time world champion Schumacher.

Clarkson jokingly asked the famous German what his name was before he became famous as The Stig, but Schumacher answered: "You have to have some secrets".

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06/21/09
f1

Hamilton thanks fans with naughty 'doughnut'
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton was lightly admonished after performing an illegal 'doughnut' for the British public at the end of what could have been Silverstone's last formula one race.

Having won by more than a minute last year, the 24-year-old returned this weekend as reigning world champion but qualified next-to-last before being lapped on Sunday.

FIA stewards frown upon 'doughnuts', but Hamilton lit up his tires after only delivering sixteenth place for his compatriots in the race.

It also annoyed his McLaren engineers, protective of the V8 unit that will have to be used elsewhere this season.  Hamilton confirmed with a smile that "the team were moaning a little bit".

He had said after qualifying that the local fans "are the ones who are really helping me to get through" the misery of his current lack of competitiveness.

"I tried to show my appreciation on the (slowing down) lap and I had a little bit of fun," said Hamilton.

Comment
06/21/09
f1

FOTA 'loonies' hit back at Mosley: no deal
(GMM)  As Max Mosley expressed hope for peace on Sunday, a word he uttered earlier at Silverstone echoed around the race-day paddock.

When told on the grid that the FIA president described him and some of his fellow FOTA bigwigs as "the loonies", Flavio Briatore replied: "What?"

Mosley believes that while some in the breakaway group are hoping a solution to the political standoff, others are determined to see the sport split -- perhaps buoyed by polls like the one conducted by Sky Italia, showing 91 per cent support for FOTA's plans.

Another figure not at all unhappy about the idea of a rival championship is Toyota's team president John Howett, who after hearing that Mosley is hoping for a peace agreement explained that he is optimistic but "in the other direction".

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06/21/09
f1

Red Bull cars now have triple diffuser
Sebastian Vettel douses Adrian Newey with champagne after a dominating win at Silverstone
Starting the season most F1 cars only had a single air diffuser at the rear.  The Brawn team was one that found the loophole in the rules and dominated with their double diffuser.  Whereas now the other F1 cars have a double diffuser too, the Adrian Newey designed Red Bull has made a leap forward and is now equipped with a triple diffuser. 

That gives them added downforce at the back and their new shovel front nose gives them added downforce in the front to balance the car.

Comment
06/21/09
nassprint

Busch says cars not as good as last year
Kyle Busch was NASCAR's hottest driver at this time last year, winning on the road course at Sonoma for his fifth Sprint Cup Series win of the season. This year Busch is tied with Mark Martin for a series-high three wins. He hasn't won since May at Richmond, and he's had just one top-10 finish in the five races since. But a team meeting last week - sans teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano - has Busch convinced that Joe Gibbs Racing can get back on a roll. Owner Joe Gibbs, president J.D. Gibbs and Busch sat down with the crew chiefs and engineers from the three-team organization. "We just all sat down and talked about what my feelings were in the car and where I felt like we were struggling at and why I felt we were struggling," Busch said. "We need to get our cars better, that's the biggest thing. Our cars aren't as good as they were last year. Hopefully, the meeting we had will solve some of that and we can continue to get better and learn from some of the mistakes we've made this year."

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06/21/09
f1

Mosley calls FOTA a bunch of "Loonies"
Max Mosley has blasted the rebel FOTA leaders and told them: "You're all loonies."

Mosley said: "It is the nature of the loonies that you don't really have a leader, that you are all loonies together."

Comment
06/21/09
f1

Gold Coast confirms breakaway race interest
(GMM)  Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke has confirmed reports that Surfers Paradise is keen to host a round of FOTA's breakaway series.

Rumors of a 17-race calendar for 2010 did the rounds at Silverstone on Sunday, with Surfer's Paradise as well as former Australian grand prix venue Adelaide both mentioned.

It is believed that Melbourne would be unable to host a round due to its exclusive contracts with Bernie Ecclestone's FOM.

The coastal suburb Surfers, located in Queensland, hosted IndyCars on a street circuit for many years, and late this year will stage a round of the A1GP series.

"We couldn't do this sort of bid on our own but if Queensland Events backed us we would be very interested," said Clarke.

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06/21/09
f1

Ecclestone: FOTA would destroy the sport
Bernie Ecclestone congratulates British GP winner Sebastian Vettel.  He predicts FOTA would destroy the sport
Bernie Ecclestone told Britain's Daily Star newspaper on Sunday that he fears for the breakaway.

Despite earlier sympathizing with the teams' dislike of the proposed budget cap, he now believes unfettered spending "could be the curse of our sport".

"It could ruin it.  It would be a disaster and they'd destroy the sport," he said.

"I would hate to see any kind of takeover happen because it would be badly managed.  They can't even run their own teams.  They can't agree on anything.  If the teams owned it they would destroy it," Ecclestone, 78, added.

Comment
06/21/09
f2

Soucek takes Race Two win in Brno
Andy Soucek has won his first FIA Formula Two Championship race in Brno, Czech Republic, this afternoon (Sunday).

Front row starters Henry Surtees and Mikhail Aleshin did not get away from the line, which allowed Nicola De Marco into the lead. Soucek leapt from fifth on the grid up to second after he passed Julien Jousse around the outside at turn one.

The opening lap drama continued at turn two as seven cars were involved in a collision, which left Alex Brundle, Henri Karjalainen, German Sanchez, Pietro Gandolfi and Carlos Iaconelli out of the race. Jens Hoing and Robert Wickens were able to continue, although Wickens later retired.

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06/21/09
f1

Mosley drops legal threat and wants FOTA talks
(GMM)  Max Mosley on Sunday said the FIA will not proceed with legal action against the FOTA teams, indicating he would rather reach a deal to stave off the threat of a breakaway championship.

"There won't be any writ.  I think we would rather talk than litigate," the president of the Paris body said before walking the Silverstone grid.

Mosley, who in an earlier interview this weekend dismissed the FOTA figureheads like "the Bernie" Flavio Briatore as "loonies", said there is actually very little the teams and the FIA is arguing about.

He invited the disgruntled rebel teams to "sit down and iron out the last few difficulties".

"It's definitely getting better -- but these things take time," he explained.  "The problem is we have eight teams and some want to sit down, some don't.  No doubt, eventually they all will."

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06/21/09
tv news

Joy, Wheeler, McGriff guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that Mike Joy will be the guest host on Wind Tunnel tonight while Dave Despain is on vacation.  Mike Joy will be joined by featured guests H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler and Hershel McGriff.

Wind Tunnel will start 30 minutes later tonight.  It will air at 9:30 pm - 10:30 pm ET live on SPEED.

06/18/09 Mike Joy, veteran motorsports anchor, will be the guest host on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, June 21, while Dave Despain is on vacation.  Mike is the host of FOX's NASCAR broadcasts in addition to being one of SPEED's reporters on the very popular Barrett-Jackson car auction shows. 
       
H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, former President and GM of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday.  "Humpy” Wheeler is known as being one of the best racing promoters the industry has ever seen. So if he were in charge of the IndyCar Series, what would he do to get the series more exposure and gain fan interest?

Hershel McGriff, veteran NASCAR racer, will also be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel.  81-year old Hershel McGriff is an inspiration to all those ‘old’ guys out there that just want to have some fun! He raced in the very first NASCAR race at Darlington in 1950 and he'll be racing a NASCAR Camping World West Series race this weekend in Sonoma.

Please note that Wind Tunnel will air 30 minutes later than normal this week. The show will air live on Sunday, June 21 at 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm ET followed by the live Wind Tunnel EXTRA internet show airing from 10:30 pm – 11:00 pm ET on SPEEDTV.com.

Comment
06/21/09
f1

Ecclestone doesn't see breakaway series happening
What consequences does Ecclestone see teams facing in the event of the breakaway going ahead? "Legally a lot of trouble, but nothing's stopping them," he admitted. "All they are saying is that they want to have a bit more of a say in the regulations. I'd be surprised if there was a breakaway, but it is still possible."

Ecclestone explained how Max Mosley, as FIA president, is naturally involved in such conflict. "Everyone is talking to each other all the time," said the head of Formula One Management (FOM) to BBC Radio 5 Live. "People have their own ideas about what should happen but there's enough time until next year - I have no problems with anyone, but Max has got himself into this position because he wants to bring down the costs; so rather than wait for that to happen, he introduced the budget cap - he's the president of the FIA, he has to be part of it."

Comment
06/21/09
irl

Road America still wants IndyCar race
George Bruggenthies isn't giving up hope of the Indy Racing League coming to Road America in the future. The track's president and general manager remains hopeful that America's largest open-wheel racing circuit will one day return to the area.

"The conditions would have to be right," Bruggenthies said Saturday at the SCCA's June Sprints. "It would have to fit in the schedule and work financially. Right now, there's a market saturation."

Road America has been without an IndyCar event since Champ Car and the IRL merged before the 2008 season. Champ Car last ran here in 2007 and had a more than a 20-year relationship with the track.

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06/21/09
f1

Vettel smoking competition at Silverstone
Polesitter Sebastien Vettel has jumped to an early lead in his Red Bull in the British GP at Silverstone.  Ahead by 1.5 seconds after lap 1, Vettel has been pulling away from the Brawn of Rubens Barrichello at over 1 second a lap.  He is setting fastest lap on each successive trip around the fast British circuit and after 10 laps leads by a massive 10.8s.  His performance has the other media members in the press room shaking their heads in amazement, and as we have said, this youngster has all the makings of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna all rolled into one.

Comment
06/21/09
scca

SCCA Driver dies at Road America
Thomas Thrash Jr., 48, of Houston, Texas, was pronounced dead late Saturday morning at St. Nicholas Hospital (Sheboygan, Wis.). Thrash was involved in a single-car incident Saturday at Road America during the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned Chicago Region June Sprints event. The cause of death is under investigation. Witnesses reported that Thrash lost control of his E Production class Mazda RX-7 before Turn Eight, with the car entering the gravel trap and coming to rest against the tire wall. A 12-year veteran driver in SCCA competition, Thrash was the 2007 SCCA National Champion in E Production and a two-time Runoffs polesitter. Thrash had qualified his car on the pole position for Saturday afternoon’s race before the incident. “We are deeply saddened to have lost Tom Thrash, a great champion and individual that epitomized the spirit and competition of SCCA racing, and most importantly, a member of our SCCA family,” SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

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06/21/09
f2

Surtees claims pole
Henry Surtees took pole position for Race Two this morning at Brno, Czech Republic, just ahead of Red Bull Junior driver Mikhail Aleshin.

Henry, with his father John Surtees watching on, set his benchmark time with little more than two minutes of the session remaining. Russian Mikhail Aleshin responded immediately, but fell short of taking pole position by just over a tenth of a second.

Race One winner and championship leader Mirko Bortolotti was third, but drops five places down the grid following a sporting infringement yesterday.

Nicola De Marco set a time only 0.002s slower than Bortolotti, whilst Julien Jousse enjoyed his best qualifying run in Formula Two so far - the Frenchman was fifth, ahead of Andy Soucek. Three tenths of a second covered the top six drivers, with the top 17 drivers separated by less than one second.

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06/21/09
f1

Button to celebrate title with engagement ring
(GMM)  Jenson Button would celebrate winning the world championship by proposing marriage, his girlfriend has revealed.

Japanese model Jessica Michibata, 24, has accompanied the Brawn driver to most of the races in 2009.

She told the British tabloid The People: "If Jenson wins the title in November we will celebrate a lot and it will be by him getting down on one knee."

Currently, Jessica is based in Tokyo while Briton Button, 29, lives in Monaco.

"He flies me first class to meet him whenever we can grab time together," she admitted.

Comment
06/21/09
irl

Saturday IRL Notebook from Iowa
Each IndyCar Series car receives eight sets of Firestone Firehawks for the two-day weekend.

The tires are the same compound used at last year's race at Iowa Speedway.

AL SPEYER (Executive Director, Firestone Racing): "The racing at Iowa was much better last year than the year before, we believe, in great part because of the updated Firestone tire specification that we developed for the 2008 event. That's why we decided to bring back that race-proven spec again this year. Because of the uniqueness of the Iowa track - a short oval that demands a tire more like a superspeedway because of the constant high speeds and loads - this is the only venue where this Firehawk spec will be used this season. We're confident it will help provide the exciting racing that the enthusiastic Iowa Speedway crowd saw last year and deserves again in 2009."

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06/21/09
f1

Williams skeptical of breakaway plans
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams is skeptical the FOTA teams will carry through their threat to establish an alternate series.

His Grove based outfit broke ranks with the rebel alliance recently and signed up to the FIA championship for 2010, raising the prospect that Williams will be stranded in the inferior category.

But at Silverstone ahead of the British grand prix, the 67-year-old did not sound worried about FOTA's breakaway plans.

"Which races are we talking about?" he told The Times newspaper.  "How much TV coverage will there be?  Who's putting up the money?  Where and how much?  No one is talking about that."

Williams believes a solution will ultimately be found to reunite FOTA with formula one, the governing FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.

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06/21/09
fil

Beatriz beats the boys in Iowa
Ana Beatriz earned her second career Firestone Indy Lights victory, passing Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Wade Cunningham with nine laps to go in the Miller Lite 100.

Cunningham, who finished second at Iowa in 2007 after leading 105 of 115 laps, passed pole sitter J.R. Hildebrand for the lead on Lap 4 and led the next 103 laps. He and Beatriz caught up to Sebastian Saavedra on the backstretch on Lap 107, and Beatriz was able to get past on the high side while Cunningham was forced to slow.

The night was a success for team owner Sam Schmidt as his drivers recorded the first 1-2-3 finish by teammates in series history. James Hinchcliffe was third.

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06/21/09
f1

Montreal wants F1 turmoil fixed first
Montreal's mayor says Formula One needs to resolve its own legal woes before any deal is signed to bring back the Canadian Grand Prix.

But news that Formula One's governing body, FIA, is suing eight teams that have threatened to split and create a rival series hasn't stopped the discussions aimed at returning the race to Canada.

"It's important to us that the Grand Prix returns to Montreal and we'll see how it goes in the coming weeks and the coming months," Mayor Gerald Tremblay said Friday. "They'll solve their problems, but when we sign a contract with someone, we want to ensure that they are in control of the situation." Anne-Sophie Desmeules , a spokeswoman for Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, echoed those sentiments.

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06/20/09
f1

Vettel won pole despite heavy fuel load
How good is Sebastien Vettel?  So good that he took pole despite running the heaviest fuel load of the front runners.

Pos Driver Weight (kg)
1. Sebastian Vettel 666.5
2. Rubens Barrichello 657.5
3. Mark Webber 659.5
4. Jarno Trulli 658.0
5. Kazuki Nakajima 652.5
6. Jenson Button 657.5
7. Nico Rosberg 661.5
8. Timo Glock 660.0
9. Kimi Raikkonen 654.0
10. Fernando Alonso 654.0
11. Felipe Massa 675.0 *
12. Robert Kubica 689.5 *
13. Heikki Kovalainen 695.5 *
14. Nelson Piquet 682.5 *
15. Nick Heidfeld 665.5 *
16. Giancarlo Fisichella 668.0 *
17. Sebastien Bourdais 687.5 *
18. Adrian Sutil 692.0 *
19. Lewis Hamilton 666.0 *
20. Sebastien Buemi 672.5 *

* declared weight

Comment
06/20/09
f1

"F1 driver's" bid to cart off ATM foiled
A man dressed like a Formula One driver repeatedly rammed a forklift into an ATM booth at a petrol station in Subang Jaya, but abandoned the “smash-and-grab” effort after his machine got stuck in a glass panel.

A closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage showed the man, in an all-white jump-suit and full-faced helmet, speeding towards the station in Serdang Jaya and ramming his forklift into the booth’s glass panel for about 10 minutes.

“However, as soon as the alarm went off, the man panicked and left the forklift that was stuck in the panel,” said Subang Jaya police chief Asst Comm Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar.

He said the petrol station was closed during the 3.45am incident yesterday.

Comment
06/20/09
ga

Pruett and Rojas come from lap back to win
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas overcame three early pit stops and falling a lap down in their #01 Telmex Lexus to win today’s EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Starting from the second position, Rojas came into the pits under caution on Lap 2 to satisfy the mandatory pit-stop rule requiring a stop within the first 45 minutes of the race.  During his stop, the team took on fuel, but it was determined by Grand-Am officials that the race had yet to complete a green flag lap.  The ruling resulted in a stop-and-go penalty with the team being held in the pits for an additional 10 seconds with Rojas falling to the back of the field. 

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06/20/09
irl

IndyCar qualifying cancelled
Heavy rains in central Iowa yesterday led to the late-afternoon appearance of "weepers" -- underground pools of water soaking through to the track surface -- Saturday at Iowa Speedway, leading to the cancellation of IndyCar Series qualifying.  As a result, the grid for Sunday's Iowa Corn Indy 250 was set based on team entrant points, giving the pole to Helio Castroneves.

Lineup

Pos Driver Team
1. Helio Castroneves Penske
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske
3. Scott Dixon Ganassi
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi
5. Danica Patrick Andretti Green
6. Dan Wheldon Panther
7. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green
8. Marco Andretti Andretti Green
9. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan
10. Justin Wilson Coyne
11. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green
12. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon
13. Ed Carpenter Vision
14. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan
15. Mario Moraes KV
16. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold
17. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt
18. EJ Viso HVM
19. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold
20. Jaques Lazier 3G

Comment
06/20/09
f1

New AutoRacing1.com Poll
We have a new poll on our Home Page regarding the potential F1 split.  Below are the final results of our last poll:

Tony George Poll
Should Tony George be replaced as CEO of the Indy Speedway?
Yes, what are they waiting for 73%
Maybe 6%
No, Without the track the IRL will lose its cash cow and die 21%

Comment
06/20/09
nastruck

Postponed truck race to run today
The Camping World Truck series race at the Milwaukee Mile was postponed by rain on Friday and is rescheduled for Saturday afternoon. Heavy showers swept through the Milwaukee area for the second night in a row, forcing series officials to postpone the race until 12:30 p.m. CDT. The previous night's storms also flooded a portion of the Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park.

Comment
06/20/09
irl

Iowa: Dixon tops practice 1
Scott Dixon led a Ganassi one-two in morning practice for the Iowa Speedway round of the IndyCar Series.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 17.7135s +0.0000s
2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 17.7498s +0.0363s
3. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 17.7920s +0.0785s
4. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 17.8025s +0.0890s
5. Ryan Briscoe Penske 17.8192s +0.1057s
6. Dan Wheldon Panther 17.8223s +0.1088s
7. Helio Castroneves Penske 17.8243s +0.1108s
8. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 17.8385s +0.1250s
9. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 17.8499s +0.1364s
10. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 17.8530s +0.1395s
11. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 17.8701s +0.1566s
12. Mario Moraes KV 17.8814s +0.1679s
13. Ed Carpenter Vision 17.9178s +0.2043s
14. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 17.9323s +0.2188s
15. EJ Viso HVM 17.9335s +0.2200s
16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt 17.9415s +0.2280s
17. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 17.9709s +0.2574s
18. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 18.1397s +0.4262s
19. Justin Wilson Coyne 18.6046s +0.8911s
20. Jaques Lazier 3G 18.7945s +1.0810s


Comment
06/20/09
irl

Iowa: Franchitti tops practice 2
Dario Franchitti kept Ganassi in front in the final free practice session ahead of IndyCar Series qualifying at Iowa Speedway.

Only 19 cars took part in the session as AGR is working to prepare Marco Andretti's back-up car following his heavy accident that broke his primary chassis.

Pos

Driver Team Time Gap
1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 17.6805s +0.0000s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 17.6896s +0.0091s
3. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 17.6928s +0.0123s
4. Helio Castroneves Penske 17.6953s +0.0148s
5. Dan Wheldon Panther 17.7616s +0.0811s
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi 17.7770s +0.0965s
7. Mario Moraes KV 17.7802s +0.0997s
8. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 17.8206s +0.1401s
9. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 17.8387s +0.1582s
10. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 17.8465s +0.1660s
11. EJ Viso HVM 17.8611s +0.1806s
12. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 17.8713s +0.1908s
13. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt 17.9699s +0.2894s
14. Justin Wilson Coyne 17.9704s +0.2899s
15. Ed Carpenter Vision 17.9706s +0.2901s
16. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 17.9802s +0.2997s
17. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 18.0450s +0.3645s
18. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 18.0581s +0.3776s
19. Jaques Lazier 3G 18.5106s +0.8301s
20. Marco Andretti Andretti Green - -

Comment
06/20/09
f1

Late July is next crisis deadline - Whitmarsh
(GMM) The next deadline in the FIA/FOTA standoff may be several weeks away, according to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.

His fellow FOTA-affiliated chiefs met again on Saturday to discuss how to proceed in the wake of announcing the decision to plan a breakaway series.

But after the FIA postponed for the time being publishing a definitive entry list for the official world championship, many observers are now wondering what time pressure exists for a peace deal to be brokered.

On Friday, FIA president Max Mosley predicted the tensions could continue until early 2010, when the first race of next season is looming large.

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06/20/09
f1

Hamilton admits $400M McLaren cars are junk
Hamilton admits McLaren slowest in F1 (GMM) Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton on Saturday admitted that the $400M budget McLaren has produces cars that are junk and deserved to qualify on the last row of the grid for the British grand prix.

Media reports said the Briton's career-worst qualifying result in front of legions of his fans was at least partly due to the red flag triggered by his friend Adrian Sutil's big crash.

But Hamilton, 24, insists the car is simply "dead slow" (so what does it prove to have a $400M budget then. Mosley is dead right).

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06/20/09
f1

BMW drops KERS for rest of 2009
(GMM) Mario Theissen on Saturday announced that BMW-Sauber has decided to drop KERS for the rest of the 2009 season.

The German squad recently ceased using the controversial energy re-use technology in order to focus on aerodynamic improvements, and Theissen confirmed at Silverstone that the policy will also continue throughout the season's final nine rounds.

"We have in the past weeks considered what is possible in terms of aerodynamic development with KERS and without KERS," said Theissen.

"We decided that more progress can be made without the installation of KERS," he explained.

With McLaren also not using KERS this weekend, and Renault having quietly dropped its system some races ago, only the two Ferraris feature active KERS units at Silverstone.

But having voted recently to retain the option of using the technology in 2010, Theissen insists KERS cannot be characterised as "a flop" for F1.

"There has been success in the transfer of technology (to BMW's road car division)," he said.

"Our engineers are supporting the research and development in Munich and that will continue for some time. What has been learned can be used not only for hybrid cars, but also for electric and conventional cars," said Theissen.

But he confesses that, without a rule mandating KERS, the systems are destined to "disappear" from formula one.

"I regret that, because we would have had a chance to position formula one as a technology innovator."

Comment
06/20/09
f1

Rosberg would leave Williams for breakaway
(GMM) Nico Rosberg on Saturday suggested that, without a solution to F1's political crisis, Williams will likely lose its main driver ahead of the 2010 season.

The 23-year-old German is out of contract and openly looking for a new seat, but is actually happy with the Grove squad's FW31 car and also in talks with Sir Frank Williams.

But because Williams is on the other side of the row with the rebel FOTA outfits, Rosberg would risk racing in a series devoid of the star teams and drivers if he committed to the British team now.

"If all the big teams and drivers are there, I believe the FOTA championship would be more attractive than the formula one championship," he said at Silverstone on Saturday.

Comment
06/20/09
f1

Button rules out British GP victory
(GMM) After qualifying a season-worst sixth on Saturday, Jenson Button all but ruled out winning his home British grand prix.

The runaway championship leader has struggled at the wheel of his Brawn at Silverstone, and is now resigned to seeing his 26-point advantage reduced at the end of Sunday's 60-lap race.

"It's going to be pretty difficult for me (to win)," he told reporters at the Northamptonshire track. "Almost impossible. I think a podium is also difficult."

The Briton's struggles had not only his teammate Rubens Barrichello smiling, but also the quicker occupant of the front row, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who trails Button in the drivers' championship by a full 32 points.

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06/20/09
f1

Despite $400M budget, Ferrari admits cars are junk
A tough season has not got any easier for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro this weekend who spend money like drunken sailors and have little to show for it, proving having unlimited budgets is ludicrous.  Getting beat by small teams like Brawn and Red Bull has opened the eyes of many who see the money being spent in F1 by the big teams while people go hungry and unemployed as irresponsible.  The money would be better spent giving to charitable causes in Italy.  This is what Ferrari had to say about today's qualifying:

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa will start what could be the last British Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone, from the fifth and sixth rows of the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen lining up ninth, directly ahead of teammate Felipe Massa in eleventh place.

Three words sum up the problems faced by our duo, the same problem that has dogged them for much of this year – lack of grip. Running the same Bridgestone tire compounds as in Turkey a fortnight ago, but at much lower ambient and track temperatures, getting them to work was always going to be difficult, as the F60 in its current form isn’t generating enough downforce from its aero package to stick the tires to the track surface and make them work at their best.

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06/20/09
nascar

NASCAR Hall of Fame announces opening date
The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced May 11, 2010 as the official grand opening date for the state-of-the-art facility under construction in Charlotte, N.C. “This is a very exciting time in the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“We’re less than a year away from opening the doors that will give visitors an unparalleled experience of the energy, excitement, technology and incredible history of NASCAR – a sport that is so closely tied to our city, our region and our rich heritage in racing.”

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06/20/09
irl

Q&A with Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti
Quotes from 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti below when interviewed by the Des Moines Register newspaper.

ON THE ECONOMY

“With the real kick that everybody took with the economy last year and the fact we’re still fielding – I mean, this weekend’s only 20 cars, but other than that we’ve been at 23, 24 cars. To still be fielding that many cars in a really troubled time – without the unified series, I don’t know what kind of shape we’d be in right now. It’s pretty impressive.”

ON TIRES AND RESTARTS

“One of the tough things we have is because we’re on a superspeedway tire at Iowa, is getting temperature quickly into those tires on starts and restarts. That’s not a Firestone problem. That’s just because of the demands of this track, that’s the tire to bring. Those tires work perfectly at all other tracks under any conditions, it’s just here, on such a short track, its getting them up to temperature. And we want it instantly. With as aggressive a setup as you run here it’s difficult to do that.”

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06/20/09
f1

Ecclestone proposes F1 budget cap be dropped
Ecclestone proposes dropping budget cap and let the teams waste money like drunken sailors if they commit to F1 for the next 5 years
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone believes major teams should not be subject to a budget cap next year.

While admitting that the controversial Max Mosley has done "a lot of good things" for formula one, the F1 chief executive's proposal would undermine the FIA president's position but end the FOTA standoff.

"I say, provided they confirm they will be in the championship for five years, they can spend what they like," the 78-year-old said at Silverstone on Saturday.

Ecclestone did not say how dropping the budget cap provisions would affect the small teams that have signed up for 2010, including new entrants Campos and Manor.

But clearly the Briton is most concerned about the big names including Ferrari and McLaren, who are refusing to lodge unconditional entries for next year's championship and vowing to establish a rival series.

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06/20/09
f2

Bortolotti wins opening race at Brno
Bortolotti leads at the start
Mirko Bortolotti has won the opening race this afternoon at Brno, Czech Republic, and taken the points lead in the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship.

Fellow Red Bull Junior driver Mikhail Aleshin was second, whilst Philipp Eng finished third after intense battles with Carlos Iaconelli, who spun off into retirement at Turn 8 on Lap 14, and later Henri Karjalainen.

Bortolotti led the field down to Turn 1 on the opening lap, and was able to hold off an attack from Aleshin during the early stages of the race. The Italian then set about establishing a gap back to Aleshin, and went on take his maiden F2 victory in commanding fashion. Aleshin went on to take a comfortable second, as several drivers squabbled behind him for the final podium position.

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06/20/09
f1

Donington or Silverstone for 2010 - Bernie
(GMM)  The future of the British grand prix took a huge step forwards on Saturday, as Bernie Ecclestone guaranteed the country will not drop off the calendar in 2010.

After Donington inked a 17-year deal beginning next year, F1 chief executive Ecclestone had warned that - even if the Leicestershire track is not ready for 2010 - his sport will not return to Silverstone.

However, a day after the 'breakaway eight' threatened to abandon his series, the 78-year-old has changed his tune, clarifying that if Donington is not in a position to deliver, Silverstone will "for sure" host formula one in 2010.

Meanwhile, as for the FIA/FOTA war, Ecclestone vowed to "try" to restore peace to the sport.

"Bernie is the key," former team owner Eddie Jordan said.  "If Bernie moves to the teams, that's the end of the game, but he hasn't, so Max (Mosley) remains strong."

Earlier at Silverstone, Red Bull's Christian Horner revealed that Ecclestone is not fond of the disputed 2010 rules.

Ecclestone confirmed: "I sympathize with the teams because they should spend what they like.

"We'll do our best.  I'm sure we'll find a way.  I think in the end people will have to see sense and not bust all this business, for what?  Basically, nothing."

Comment
06/20/09
f1

McLaren scraps KERS for British GP
(GMM)  For the first time in 2009, neither McLaren will feature a KERS system in qualifying and the race at Silverstone.

The British team experimented during Friday's practice sessions by not using the energy recovery system on the car driven by Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren confirmed that the "benefits of using KERS are less pronounced" at the circuit, and on Saturday morning removed the system on Heikki Kovalainen's MP4-24.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug said: "Silverstone is a circuit where you do not brake too often: you get less of a benefit from the system here than you would on heavy-braking circuits."

The decision means the only KERS-equipped cars at Silverstone are the two Ferraris.

Comment
06/20/09
f1

Chance of rain for British GP weekend UPDATE (GMM)  A damp track greeted drivers at cold Silverstone for the final practice session before qualifying on Saturday.

It rained overnight at the Northamptonshire venue, and another rain shower is predicted for this afternoon -- about the time of the qualifying session at 1pm local.

Brawn has had a low-profile round of practice sessions ahead of the British grand prix, with team boss Ross Brawn predicting the Red Bulls are so quick they're "going to be trouble" this weekend.

Less trouble will be posed by BMW's Robert Kubica, who finished two out of the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday dead last.

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06/20/09
gp2

Grosjean takes GP2 pole at Silverstone
Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean has claimed his third pole of the season in blustery conditions this afternoon here in Silverstone, finding a clear lap while his rivals tripped over themselves in traffic to take the top spot ahead of Alberto Valerio and Alvaro Parente.

Grosjean set a best time of 1:25.899 on a clear lap after exiting the pits with fresh tires ahead of the remainder of the field, cutting two tenths out of Valerio's time to claim pole while his rivals tripped over each other trying to beat him.

The fight for the top spot between the pair was intense: the Brazilian set the early pace until Grosjean bested all three sectors to slot in ahead, but with much of the field coming in to the pits halfway through the session one last, clear lap for Valerio looked to have solidified him at the top, until Grosjean escaped ahead of everyone else and stole it back.

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06/20/09
f1

British GP: Rosberg on top in final practice
Nico Rosberg topped final practice yet again Saturday morning at Silverstone, this time leading his teammate Kazuki Nakajima in a Williams one-two.

Their late surge pushed Jarno Trulli back to third, with yesterday's pace-setter Sebastian Vettel fourth for Red Bull.

Jenson Button's low-key weekend continued as the championship leader managed only 12th position, one place behind fellow home driver Lewis Hamilton's McLaren.

A damp track early meant serious running did not occur until 23 minutes into the session.

Behind Trulli and Vettel, the two Ferraris completed the top six, ahead of Timo Glock. Fernando Alonso was eighth for Renault, ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello in the quicker in his Brawn.

Timo Glock had a wild trip across the grass at Becketts late in the session.

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06/20/09
f1

Two more TV broadcasters worried about split
(GMM)  Another TV broadcaster has indicated its interest in joining the 'breakaway eight' in leaving formula one at the end of the year.

It has already emerged that Sky Italia and Britain's BBC are concerned about being left in an official F1 series devoid of the star names.

Germany's RTL is also worried about its contract.  "We would have to examine whether there is an exit clause," spokesman Matthias Bolhofer told the DPA news agency.

A spokesman for Premiere said the German Pay-TV broadcaster will also be keeping "close contact" with the relevant parties in the midst of the political crisis.

Comment
06/20/09
f1

Breakaway hopes for more than eight teams
(GMM)  FOTA teams are already in talks to expand the grid of a breakaway world championship to more than sixteen cars.

"I think that certainly eight teams would be enough but we would welcome any new teams or existing teams for that matter," said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh at Silverstone.

It was rumored at Silverstone that Lola, N.Technology and even Prodrive, who applied to field budget-capped teams in the official series but were turned down, have already been talking with FOTA.

"Certainly there has been an expression of interest from some of the names you just mentioned," Whitmarsh confirmed.

Lola and N.Technology have now withdrawn their FIA applications, the latter slamming the FIA for its "highly questionable" selection processes fraught with "many irregularities", "wrong actions" and "objectionable management methods".

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06/20/09
f1

Mosley prepared to crush FOTA, and he will
Mosley, in his element, will 'spank' the FOTA teams
Motor-racing supremo Max Mosley, who NEVER loses in court, has threatened to sue all eight teams vowing to quit the FIA and set up their own championship, and don't think for a minute that he won't prevail.

British legend Jackie Stewart also weighed in to demand Mosley steps down before the entire sport self-destructs.

But Mosley, 69, broke his silence to come out punching - refusing to budge from his position as president of the FIA and setting in motion a £1bn legal battle.

Jenson Button's Brawn GP team, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso have all refused to accept Mosley's proposed £40million spending cap for next season (plus driver salaries, etc, putting the number over $100M).

"It is in the interests of the teams to be in the F1 world championship and there's actually no fundamental or important issue that is stopping them taking part. It is all about personalities and power and who can grab what from whom - which is easy when nothing is at stake but when it gets to the first race and it is make-your-mind-up time, they'll be there."

Earlier, the FIA issued a dramatic statement from their Paris HQ, insisting their lawyers "will be issuing legal proceedings without delay".

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