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DATE News (chronologically)
07/02/09
irl

Meira to attend Watkins Glen event
Indy car driver Vitor Meira will attend his first IndyCar Series race this weekend since sustaining two broken lower vertebrae in his terrifying accident in the Indianapolis 500 in May. Meira arrives at Watkins Glen (NY) International Friday afternoon.

"The reason I want to go to Watkins Glen is first of all to be with the team, with ABC Supply and A.J. Foyt Racing," said Meira in a telephone interview from his home in Key Biscayne, Fla. earlier today. "They've been giving me a lot of support since the accident and most of all, they're all my friends and I want to be with them. Second of all, to be at the race track, that's where I always want to be and that's where I love to be. I don't want to be at home if I can be at the race track. If I have to choose, I'm definitely going to be at the race track."

Comment
07/02/09
f2000

Slow Start at Watkins Glen in the Rain
Watkins Glen , NY – After a very damp morning, the dark clouds moved away to give the huge F2000 field a few minutes of dry running before the skies opened again, making it a very short opening practice session for rounds seven and eight of the season.

The very short session saw championship points leader Matthew Inge top the charts with a lap of 1:58.461, which is quite a few seconds behind last year's track record of 1:53.874.

“The car felt good but we're going to make some changes,” said Inge, who is coming off his first career win at Mosport. “I hate the rain and when it started raining there were people passing me left and right acting like they had rain tires on, it was very entertaining watching them all slide off the track.”

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
irl

Versus driving IRL into obscurity
Saturday’s Indy Racing League race—the SunTrust Indy Challenge—posted the second worst national TV rating for an IRL race this year. Only the April 26 race at Kansas scored a lower rating.  The national rating for the Richmond race—which began at 8 p.m. on Versus—was 0.22, according to Nielsen Media Research, meaning that 248,000 U.S. households tuned in.

Even more surprising was the Indianapolis market rating, usually one of the IRL’s strongest. In central Indiana, the Richmond race posted a 0.67 rating, equating to 7,000 households.

It does not make us happy to say this by any means - but as we told you when the Versus deal was announced, the IRL was being pennywise and pound foolish.  Sure Versus pays them money, but what good does it do you if your sponsors get near-zero exposure and then do not renew? 

Comment
07/02/09
f1

Senna behind the wheel of an historic McLaren at Goodwood
Motor racing star Bruno Senna will be appearing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend where he will be driving his late uncle’s legendary McLaren Honda MP4/4.

Bruno has been invited by McLaren Racing to drive the McLaren Honda MP4/4 at Goodwood during the first two days of the festival, allowing fans the opportunity to see at close quarters the Formula One car which dominated the 1988 season in the hands of Alain Prost and Bruno's uncle, the late Ayrton Senna. Together they won all but one race in that year's championship.

The car that Bruno will drive is a part of the McLaren Collection which is displayed at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, and last week Bruno visited the factory to be fitted into the car by some of the mechanics who worked with Ayrton in that Championship winning year.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
irl

Mari Hulman George uncertain about IRL's future
Mari Hulman George is not sure about IRL's future
Tony George's resignation as chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League this week came as a surprise to his boss.

George's mother, Mari Hulman George, the chairman of the board for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp., said Wednesday she still can't explain why Tony George vacated the position after being replaced as president and chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. and Hulman & Co.

"I was surprised, and I'm still surprised," George said in a telephone interview from her home in Terre Haute. "I don't really understand. I'm disappointed that he didn't want to continue."

Tony George declined to comment until he posts a statement next week on Vision Racing's Web site. He co-owns the IndyCar Series team with his wife, Laura.

Jeff Belskus
Tony George, who retains a board seat at IMS Corp., is expected to negotiate a contract with the board to serve as a consultant to the IRL and perhaps the Speedway. Both subsidiaries will report to his successor at IMS Corp., Jeff Belskus.

Mari Hulman George said her son didn't want to be an intermediary between IRL presidents Brian Barnhart (competition) and Terry Angstadt (commercial) and Belskus. Tony George hired them.

"He's got a lot of confidence in who he's got, and he just felt he didn't want to get in their way," she said. "It really wouldn't be like that. There are other things to do."

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
f1

LG ready to ramp up its Formula One sponsorship
Consumer electronics brand LG could be on the verge of ramping up its involvement in Formula One.

As the Formula One championship’s official technology partner, LG already sponsors Formula One Management (FOM) to the tune of a reported US$12 million to US$15 million a season. That deal was signed in November and still has another four and a half years to run but has already been deemed so successful that the company is considering backing a team as well.

In an interview with the Motor Sport Business Forum, Andrew Barrett, LG’s vice president of corporate sponsorships, refused to rule out the possibility of sponsoring a team in the near future. When asked how close he had come to sponsoring a team before signing the original FOM deal Barrett replied, “I can’t talk specifically because we aren’t necessarily done with those discussions. We decided to make our first foray into Formula One by sponsoring the league and establishing this as the foundation of our relationship with the championship. But I don’t think we’re done yet.“

He added: “I wouldn’t say we’re going to do a team deal, but I wouldn’t preclude it either.“

Through its Indian branch, LG India, the electronics firm is a significant backer of the International Cricket Council, spending some US$8.5 million a year on its sponsorship of major international cricket events.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
nascar

Ask.com scores big with foray into NASCAR
Ask.com made the call last December to throw nearly all of its marketing resources into NASCAR in the first half of 2009, making it one of the rare brands to invest during the heart of the recession. Up against search-engine titans Google, Yahoo and MSN, the company's leaders decided they had to be aggressive, harsh economic times or not.

Six months later, a new head of the company is facing a new decision: Whether to stay in the sport.

Examining the early returns, and despite the late start and a short 65-day window to conceive an activation program that launched at Daytona in February, the decision to leap into NASCAR seems to have paid off for Ask. Nielsen Online data shows Ask's market share has grown from 1.9 percent to 2.2 percent from January to June, although Ask remains fifth in the category behind ever-dominant Google (63.2 percent), Yahoo (17.2), MSN (9.4) and AOL (3.9). Another Internet measurement company, comScore, has Ask fourth in the category.

"We've seen very strong results," Ask president Scott Garell said. "It shows the activation is working."

Comment
07/02/09
f1

Williams and Force India outside FOTA discussions
With an FIA compromise having removed threats of a breakaway series, the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) has revealed that no meeting is yet planned to confer the reintroduction of Williams and Force India to the group, meaning that the two teams remain outside of cost-cutting discussions. With Williams and Force India having submitted full, unconditional entries to the governing body in May and June respectively, the teams explained that - budget cap or not - contractual obligations with the FIA meant that no alternative options were available but to put their entries forward, against the wishes of FOTA.

With the other eight teams having held back and the budget cap since abandoned, however, all current teams will be competing next season despite wrangling still ongoing with the FIA.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
irl

Q&A with Richard Antinucci

Richard Antinucci
Richard Antinucci participated in a Q&A session this week, discussing his IndyCar Series debut with Team 3G at Watkins Glen International. Below are select quotes from his interview.

Q. You've raced at The Glen and recently tested the Team 3G car there. What did you learn from the test?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: "I was very impressed with the IndyCar; it's been the fastest car I've had a full day to test in and will race in. I had a great day. My fitness isn't exactly like Scott Dixon's might be at this point because I haven't been racing. I've been training and preparing as much as I can without driving the car. As they say, the best training is driving the car. I covered about a race distance, and working with the team we just started immediately picking up where I left off last year professionally and they get to work with someone with experience on a road course. We made immediate inroads and set a decent pace. I'm competitive so I always want to do better, and I left there with ideas and notes that we can pick up where we left off and hopefully gain another big chunk. "

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
nascar

4 NASCAR teams at Goodwood
Four NASCAR teams will participate in the annual Festival of Speed this weekend at Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, England, as Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Red Bull Racing and Rusty Wallace Racing will all be represented.

Held since 1993, the festival celebrates historic cars from all forms of racing. The three-day event, hosted by the Earl of March at his family's estate, features a 1.16-mile hill-climbing competition for all classes and types of race cars and motorcycles, plus a 2.5-kilometer course for historic-rally cars. The festival runs Friday through Sunday.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
starmazda

Joel Miller joins Anderson Racing
Andersen Racing's 2009 driver roster, which is already oozing with some of the most talented young formula car drivers in the world, garnered another top name today with the announcement that Joel Miller has joined the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's Star Mazda squad, effective immediately.

Joel Miller, 21, of Hesperia, Calif., finished second in the 2008 Star Mazda presented by Goodyear  Championship. He's currently third in the 2009 driver point standings with five top-five finishes in the first six races of the 13-race season.

His first race with Andersen Racing, the defending Star Mazda team champions, will be on Friday, July 10 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Miller's Star Mazda campaign is sponsored by Fader Higher Production, eSoles Custom Footbeds, Doug Mockett & Co., Burns Truck & Trailer, Brazos Bend Energy Services, ClassicStone Distributors and Sparco.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
f1

No regrets despite rough season - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton does not regret the events of 2009, because the reigning world champion believes the challenges have developed his character and helped him mature.

Until this season, marred by the 'lie-gate' scandal and the uncompetitive MP4-24 McLaren, the Briton's career largely consisted of a series of plaudits and successes.

"Hard times help to build your character," the 24-year-old told Germany's Sport Bild.  "In the last few months I've grown up a lot because I learned how to deal with setbacks.

"In that way this year has probably helped me in a personal sense more than any other before it," said Hamilton.

Not only is he for the first time in his racing career at the wheel of an uncompetitive car, Hamilton's personal image took a major hit when he and sacked McLaren manager Dave Ryan were caught lying to stewards in Australia and Malaysia.

Read more & Comment...
07/02/09
racing news

He said it.....
"I have taken roads that I wished I had not traveled on. And I'm traveling on some pretty exciting ones, too. Just hope when you get to that great racetrack in the sky, that the balance will tip slightly into those things that you'd be proud of." Paul L. Newman

Comment
07/02/09
automotive

Glimmer of hope in dismal auto sales
Chrysler Group LLC reported vehicle sales fall of 42 percent in June compared to the same month last year.  However, the Auburn Hills-based carmaker attributed the sales drop to a 95 percent reduction in fleet sales and noted a 1 percent market share increase in retail sales compared to last June.

"We are proud our new company starts out its first month with increasing market share and continued strong retail sales," said Peter Fong, Chrysler brand president and lead executive for the company's sales organization.

Overall, Chrysler sold 68,297 vehicles in June. Out of the 26 vehicles Chrysler's brands offered, none saw an increase in sales in June and for the year, Chrysler sales have fallen 40 percent.

General Motors Corp. offered more positive news, saying more people are coming back into dealerships.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/09
irl

Firestone bringing new tire to Watkins Glen
Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 648, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires);
* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 318, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
* Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 404, each entry has five sets available as needed.

Per IndyCar Series rules, each entry must declare to the league within one hour after qualifying on which dry-condition tire spec it intends to start the race. All cars must use at least one primary set and one new alternate set during the race, each for a minimum of two green-flag laps. Firestone Racing is bringing a new primary tire specification to Watkins Glen, while alternate tires will be used here for the first time.  The rain tire is the more durable, "road course rain" specification.  The primary spec is a durable road course compound and construction, designed to withstand the high speeds encountered on the IndyCar Series' longest permanent road course. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries but contain a softer tread compound which will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/09
irl

Tracy back with KV Racing for 3 races
Paul Tracy

KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone, will be making the first of three consecutive starts, all on road/street circuits, for KVRT this weekend.  The 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, who will be competing for the first time on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins permanent road circuit, is also set to race for the team at the Honda Indy Toronto, July 10-12, and Rexall Edmonton Indy, July 24-26.  Tracy, who drove for KVRT at this year’s Indianapolis 500, qualifying 13th and finishing ninth, will be contesting his fourth IndyCar event.  In addition to the 2009 Indy 500, he ran at Indy in 2002, finishing second and competed at Edmonton last year qualifying 15th and finishing fourth.

“I am excited to be racing at Watkins Glen this weekend,” Tracy said.  “It feels a little strange that in all the years I have been racing I have never competed at the Glen.  I want to thank GEICO Insurance, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser for this opportunity.  I enjoyed the month of May, but we were on a limited program.  Now I can settle in, work with Mark Johnson (KVRT General Manager), the engineers and crew for three straight races.  I have said before and I will say it again…at this point in my career I am not just out there to finish races, I am out there to win.”

Comment
07/01/09
nassprint

Just 2 NASCAR races remain on TNT
TNT’s groundbreaking Wide Open Coverage will return for the third consecutive year during the network’s exclusive coverage of the primetime Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 4th. The format provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and features 22% more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast by using a letterbox widescreen format.  In place of the national ads, the telecast features a variety of animated sponsor messages, unique branded content and distinct on-screen graphic elements.  Wide Open Coverage debuted on TNT during the 2007 Daytona 400 race and continued in 2008 during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona; the two races resulted in only 12 missed laps of green flag racing.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/09
Miscellaneous

Raffaele De Rosa's Amazing Knee-Riding Save

Raffaele De Rosa's Amazing Knee-Riding Save - Watch more Funny Videos

Comment
07/01/09
nassprint

Allstate 400 ticket giveaway
Fans of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will want to stay logged on to the IMS pages on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace as IMS will soon give away pairs of Allstate 400 at the Brickyard tickets via these social networking Web sites.

The giveaways will take place at multiple, random locations in and around Indianapolis. Some sets of tickets feature the autographs of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and more.

For each ticket giveaway, IMS staff will use one of the three Web sites to alert fans of the location of the giveaway and other necessary information to claim the tickets. The first person to locate the IMS staff member at the location will win two tickets to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26.

The ticket giveaway is part of an ongoing IMS commitment to continue to innovate and be a leader in the growing world of social networking. The Indianapolis 500 in May was the most accessible sporting event to fans across the world as IMS and many teams, drivers, bloggers and fans made information available via the Web and social networks on an unprecedented level.

Comment
07/01/09
automotive

BMW X1 confirmed for USA
It was confirmed today that the BMW X1 is planned to debut in the United States in calendar year 2011. The X1 has been conceived with the flexibility to offer traditional rear-wheel drive and xDrive all-wheel drive configurations, as well as a wide variety of gasoline and diesel powertrain choices. In light of rapidly evolving US market demands, fuel prices, and regulatory standards, elements of the X1’s US launch plan, including engine and drivetrain configurations, will be forthcoming closer to the time of launch.

Comment
07/01/09
nassprint

Judge rules in favor of Mayfield
Ruling puts Mayfield back on track
A federal judge this afternoon lifted the suspension of NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, who tested positive for methamphetamine in May.

US District Judge Graham Mullen cleared the way for Mayfield to race at Daytona this weekend, saying that Mayfield "had sufficiently alleged irreparable harm."

Mullen didn't rule on whether NASCAR had botched the drug test of Mayfield, as Mayfield alleged in court earlier today. That will be decided when Mayfield's lawsuit against NASCAR goes to court.

Mullen pointed out that NASCAR can re-test Mayfield if they believe drug use is a problem.

Before the judge's ruling, NASCAR lawyers said they worried about the safety of other drivers, teams and fans if Mayfield was allowed back on the track.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/09
track news

Minor track changes for Singapore GP
After consultation with the FIA, changes at different turns on the five-kilometer track to increase the potential of overtaking, road surface improvements and revisions for pit lane entry and exit points would be undertaken for the Singapore F1 street circuit night race, said Colin Syn, Deputy Chairman of the Singapore Grand Prix, here on Wednesday.

“It was my 20-year dream to bring F1 to Singapore after a long break. It was a spectacular night race last year at the Marina Bay with a live audience of over one million.

“The drivers will notice the difference on the track this September. It’s a new beginning for us. Hopefully, by the third year, all aspects would be perfect,” added Syn at a promotional event.

The Singapore GP will be held on September 27.

Comment
07/01/09
f1

Kovalainen headed to Kremlin
Heikki Kovalainen may be suffering a frustrating season on track along with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but the Finn is heading to Russia to show off the championship winning MP4-23 outside of the Kremlin.

“I’m really looking forward to the demonstration in Russia,” Kovalainen stated. “Moscow is one of the world’s most magnificent cities and this opportunity to showcase Formula One machinery to so many people, and in such an amazing place, is an incredible opportunity.”

The McLaren racer will take to the streets of Moscow on Sunday 19th July just ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix along with Williams Toyota and Red Bull Renault who are also taking part in the demonstration. 

“For everybody who attends, this should be an absolutely amazing demonstration of the worldwide appeal of Formula One to a country that is looking forward to hosting its first Grand Prix in the near future,” Kovalainen added.

Comment
07/01/09
irl

Watkins Glen Inside Track


Comment
07/01/09
nassprint

TNT suspends announcer Bill Weber UPDATE #2 Bill Weber will not be part of TNT's NASCAR coverage of the Cup Series for the network’s last two races. Ralph Sheheen will handle play-by-play duties for The Coke Zero 400 in Daytona and the LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland. Sheheen will be calling the races alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth. TNT PR

06/30/09 During Monday night's "Doin' Donuts" radio show Tom Bowles from SI.com and Frontstretch.com reported that TNT will replace Bill Weber again on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway for the broadcast of the Coke Zero 400.

Bill Weber
06/28/09 TNT suspended play-by-play announcer Bill Weber for Sunday's Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The Charlotte Observer reports witnesses saw Weber get into a confrontation over the weekend at his hotel in Manchester, N.H.

Turner Broadcasting confirmed in a statement that Weber would not participate in Sunday's broadcast and Ralph Sheheen would fill in.

"Bill Weber will not be part of TNT's NASCAR coverage of the Cup Series from New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend," said Sal Petruzzi, senior vice president of public relations for Turner. "As this is a private issue, it's the policy of the company not to discuss personal matters involving our employees."

Comment
07/01/09
irl

Indy Star credits Tony George with "inventing" CART's Safety Team idea
"Tony George, a former race car driver, brought NASCAR, Formula One and MotoGP to the Speedway, founded the IRL, oversaw the redevelopment of the facility and led the way on such safety initiatives as the SAFER barrier and the Delphi Safety Team, a group of medical personnel that travels to each IndyCar Series race."  IndyStar

Comment
07/01/09
nassprint

NASCAR New Hampshire TV rating
TNT's telecast Sunday of the Sprint Cup Series' Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway earned a 4.1 cable rating and 5.555 million viewers, up 2.5% and 1.1% from last year's 4.0 cable rating and 5.495 million viewers.  TNT is averaging a 4.0 cable rating and 5.502 million viewers, down 4.8% and 3.7% from a 4.2 rating and 5.715 million viewers last year

Comment
07/01/09
irl

George's exit could hurt the IRL
Tony George's decision to resign as CEO of the Indy Racing League is expected by many to have an adverse impact on the series' ability to attract additional sponsorship.

We don't think Tony George leaving his position has an impact on the league losing sponsorship money. He doesn't bring a commercial value. 

Some surmise that knowing the IRL probably cannot survive without that money is what made George resign as chief of the IRL as well.  He probably did not want his name on the sinking ship when it finally goes belly up.

Another possibility is that the rumor we have heard regarding NASCAR being interested in buying the IRL would mean that George would be ousted sooner rather than later so rather than risk the embarrassment of being fired twice, first by his sister as IMS boss and then as IRL boss, he simply stepped away. 

Tony is very passionate about Indy Car and he ultimately accomplished what he set out to do, destroy CART, and in return get full control of IndyCar racing.  He accomplished that goal, CART, and later Champ Car are dead.

Let’s face it, am I the only stranger in a strange land. Many loved CART, but CART was a stranger in a VERY strange land. They were trying to conduct "business" on the normal principles taught in business school. You remember……."Profit and Loss", "debit and credit"; "expenditures and revenues"; but now it's "Voodoo Economics," ticket give-a-ways, empty side pods, empty grandstands, promoters who don't promote and don't care because they live for their NASCAR race.  The split brought IndyCar racing so low that NASCAR now rules the roost.  Tony may have won his "WAR against the Infidels, the Non Believers". But it was a Pyrrhic Victory. ..Gettysburg 2009!

Comment
07/01/09
f1

Bourdais spotted washing cars
Sebastien Bourdais was seen washing the cars of McDonald's drive-thru customers in Austria last Friday as the Toro Rosso pilot took part in a charity event. The speeds of service may not have been up to Formula One pit-stop standards, although the Frenchman enjoyed the experience of helping to raise all-important money. With the popular fast food chain running its Car Wash Day for 2009, Bourdais was on hand with a number of celebrities from the media, political and sporting worlds in order to help clean the cars and check the tires of surprised and unsuspecting customers.

All funds raised will go to Ronald McDonald Childcare, which has been assisting over 9,000 critically ill children in Austrian families for over two decades.

Comment
07/01/09
f1

Alguersuari replaces Hartley as Red Bull reserve
Red Bull has announced that reigning British F3 driver Jaime Alguersuari has taken over as the reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, replacing Brendon Hartley who has occupied the role since the Spanish Grand Prix. Alguersuari became the youngest winner of British F3 last year, and is currently racing in the World Series by Renault.

With the ban on in-season testing, Red Bull views the appointment of a third driver as part of its Young Driver training program, allowing a driver to follow all activities of the F1 teams over a race weekend, attending technical briefings and listening in on the pit to car radio conversations. Having benefited from this experience over the first half of the year, Hartley will now concentrate on his own racing program in the European F3 series.

Read more & Comment...
07/01/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bridgestone scraps 2009 'gap' policy
  • New hope for Hockenheim after Ecclestone meeting
  • Dennis possible for FIA president - Chandhok
  • Vettel still not Red Bull 'no.1' - boss
  • US GP boss Tony George resigns
  • Vettel to face first Nurburgring home crowd

Bridgestone scraps 2009 'gap' policy
(GMM)  Bridgestone has scrapped its policy of leaving a gap between the two types of tire compounds supplied to formula one teams in 2009.

At the remaining rounds of the season following next Sunday's German grand prix, the sport's official tire supplier will instead revert to supplying consecutive compounds.

Fernando Alonso had hit out at the situation earlier this year, slamming the policy as in the interests of a false spectacle while making the drivers look "ridiculous".

"We have made the change to the tire allocation concept based on the data we have collected from races so far this year combined with our knowledge of the tracks we visit for these (next) races," director of tire development Hirohide Hamashima said.

He said continuing the 'gap' policy would have caused problems at the next five races, including the twisty Hungary and Valencia, cool Spa-Francorchamps and Monza in Italy.

New hope for Hockenheim after Ecclestone meeting
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone may have intervened to save the German grand prix at Hockenheim in 2010 and beyond.

Last week, citing annual losses, the circuit-owning city said it would no longer be the promoter of the event, raising the prospect that F1 will not return to Hockenheim and Germany will be left off next year's calendar.

But mayor Dieter Gummer left the door open to investors or a new promoter, and bookmarked a forthcoming meeting with F1 chief executive Ecclestone.

That meeting took place in London this week, Gummer afterwards telling the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that he thinks a solution has been found to "keep formula one with us in the next years".

"We discussed the different options," Gummer explained, "and now we as well as Bernie Ecclestone need to do our homework."

The German news agency SID said two solutions are most likely: that Ecclestone becomes the promoter or finds an investor, or that the Briton simply reduces the race promotion fee.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
ga

Dalziel Back To Daytona Prototypes
Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel will be back behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype race car this weekend, Saturday 4th July, at the ‘Brumos Porsche 250’ at Daytona International Speedway, Florida, having been signed to see out the remainder of Orbit Racing’s season in the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16.

The 27-year-old from Lanarkshire has made just two starts in the series this year and recently announced his plans to bolster his on-track activities having also signed to compete in the 2009 Koni Sports Car Challenge, sanctioned by Grand-Am, with Virginia’s Motorsport Technology Group.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
f1

Bridgestone changes F1 tire policy
Bridgestone has announced its tire allocations for the four rounds of the championship from Hungary to Italy.

After much criticism from the drivers, notably Fernando Alonso, it has ceased its practice of bringing tires two stages apart on its performance spectrum.

As last year, Hungaroring and Valencia will be tackled with its softest tires. But for Spa Bridgestone will bring tires one stage softer than last year.

For Monza Bridgestone is changing back to the combination of medium and soft tires in used in 2007. Last year it brought hard and medium - but heavy rain meant the race was mostly run on wet weather tires anyway.

Tire allocations for rounds 10 to 13

Circuit

2009 tires 2008 tires
Hungaroring Soft and Super Soft Soft and Super Soft
Circuito Urbano Valencia Soft and Super Soft Soft and Super Soft
Spa-Francorchamps Medium and Soft Hard and Medium
Monza Medium and Soft Hard and Medium

Comment
06/30/09
irl

Antinucci to Team 3G for Watkins Glen
Richard Antinucci
This weekend, Richard Antinucci will make his IndyCar Series debut for Team 3G in the fifth Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen. Series veteran Jaques Lazier had driven the past three oval races.

A full day of testing helped the 28-year-old with the transition and confirmed he was the correct choice on the course.

"I was very impressed with the IndyCar; it's been the fastest car I've had a full day to test in and will race in," said Antinucci, who recorded nine top-five finishes, including two victories, in the '08 Firestone Indy Lights season. "I had a great day. My fitness isn't exactly like Scott Dixon's might be at this point because I haven't been racing. I've been training and preparing as much as I can without driving the car. As they say, the best training is driving the car.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
irl

IRL make aero changes for Kentucky
The IndyCar Series will provide aerodynamic options to teams for 1.5-mile oval racetracks with a goal of improving performance, specifically overtaking.

Tools include tire ramps and sidepod extensions, and brake backing plates for Kentucky Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Utilized with other track-specific aero packages, the changes would add about 300 pounds of downforce to the cars and potentially create more overtaking opportunities.

The options will be available for the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Red Baron and Edy's on Aug. 1 at Kentucky Speedway. The IndyCar Series competes on three consecutive road/street courses in July.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
irl

It's Official - Tony George axed, quits IRL too UPDATE The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced June 30 that a new management team comprised of veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman-George companies effective July 1.

Brighton, currently executive vice president and chief legal counsel, will become president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Belskus, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer for the companies, will become president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.

Tony George axed from IMS, so he quits IRL too
They will replace Tony George, who will no longer serve as president and chief executive officer of the Hulman-George companies but will remain a board member of the Hulman-George companies.

"Our board had asked Tony to structure our executive staff to create efficiencies in our business structure and to concentrate his leadership efforts in the Indy Racing League," said Mari Hulman George, IMS chairman of the board. "He has decided that with the recent unification of open-wheel racing and the experienced management team IMS has cultivated over the years, now would be the time for him to concentrate on his team ownership of Vision Racing with his family and other personal business interests he and his family share.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
nassprint

Johnson’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Crew Award
Jimmie Johnson’s crew grabbed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (June 28) NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was the second Tissot victory of the season for the No. 48 crew, which also won at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March.

The win lifted Johnson’s crew to sole possession of third place in the Tissot standings. The crews for Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle lead the weekly competition with three wins each.

The No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road – 136.490 seconds -- during the New Hampshire rain-shortened event. The pit crew effort helped Johnson to a top-10 finish (ninth).

"As always, the (No. 48) pit crew did a great job on pit road last weekend,” said crew chief Chad Knaus. “Greg (Morin, pit crew coach) and the guys work hard week in and week out to be one of the best teams on pit road and it's nice when they're recognized for their work and dedication."

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06/30/09
f1

New components for Brawn in Germany
The Brawn GP team is remaining watchful of Red Bull Racing after the latter scored more points for the second consecutive race at Silverstone. With Brawn having won three quarters of 2009 races so far and Red Bull the fourth, Ross Brawn knows that there is still time for any eventuality to take place this season as the Brackley team debuts number of new parts at the next race. With eight races down and nine remaining, team principal Brawn is fully away that either of the Red Bull drivers can successfully catch Jenson Button, who currently leads the championship by 25 points from the nearest Red Bull, with Vettel in third place overall. "Red Bull have been pretty close all year so I think we have got to find some performance because they made a good step at Silverstone," Brawn admitted.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
nassprint

Independent lab confirms Mayfield drug use
Jeremy Mayfield
NASCAR filed court documents Monday night that show an independent laboratory found an illegal substance in the urine sample that led to Jeremy Mayfield's suspension for a failed drug test.

The documents, part of NASCAR's response to Mayfield's lawsuit to have his indefinite suspension lifted, show that Medtox Laboratories in Minnesota tested both his "A" and backup "B" samples last week and "confirmed the presence" of a substance that is blacked out in the filing.

Both sides are due in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, and Mayfield is hoping a judge reinstates him in time to travel to this weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR, which is countersuing, argued in its filing Monday that the "safety risk is simply too significant to let Mayfield back on the track."

"No one but Mayfield knows whether his (drug name redacted) use was an isolated event," NASCAR said in its brief.

Comment
06/30/09
f1

FOTA looks for return to North America
The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) is pushing to host a race in the United States, as the sport continues its second year of having no American Grand Prix on the calendar. According to FOTA, racing in the USA is 'absolutely crucial' for any World Championship.

With Formula One having last been seen at Indianapolis in 2007, the loss of the Canadian Grand Prix after last year's event means that this year's World Championship will not be travelling to North America, a key player in the worldwide car industry. "It's absolutely crucial," FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo told the official Ferrari website. "North America presents, for us, part of our history with important historic victories for Ferrari at Sebring and Daytona (in sports car racing)."

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06/30/09
f1

Webber, Newey, enjoy sporting break from F1
(GMM)  Mark Webber is filling F1's three-week calendar break by taking a first-hand look at a range of other sports.

First, the Australian lover of outdoor activities took in a weekend of speedway and superbikes, before joining a training session of the Australian cricket team led by his friend Ricky Ponting.

"Ricky invited me down here, so it was a good opportunity to come across and say hello," Webber, who drives for Red Bull, said from Worcester.

His next stop will be Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, Red Bull's car designer Adrian Newey got behind the wheel last weekend as he contested the Britcar Spa Euro Race at fabled Spa-Francorchamps.

Read more & Comment...
06/30/09
f1

Sauber tried to sign Button in 2002
(GMM)  Jenson Button could so easily have now been at the wheel of a BMW-Sauber.

The Swiss team's founder, Peter Sauber, revealed in his latest column for the newspaper Blick that he tried to employ the Briton at the end of 2002.

"Button entered formula one in 2000 as a super-talent," Sauber, who sold the Hinwil outfit to BMW at the end of 2005, told the Swiss publication.

"Somehow after that however he always managed to find the right team at the wrong time.  His star was faded," he explained.

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06/29/09
USTCC

Hartanto Pulls Out a Victory
Photos by Ryan Cristobal
Andrie Hartanto managed to stay unbeaten this season in the Nitto Tire US Touring Car Championship by winning the Infineon round on June 28, 2009.  The victory was somewhat surprising because Andy Chittum was quickest in every session in his BTM Motorworks/LeMans Karting BMW 328ti.  Chittum started on pole and managed to not only take the lead but also to start to pull away from Hartanto who was his closest challenger. 

Chittum managed to set the fast lap of the race but credit Hartanto for not giving up in the RedZone Performance Acura TSX.  They say in racing you never know what can happen so you must push until the checkered flag waves.  Hartanto did just that and he knew that working traffic was going to be an issue today.  With two laps to go Chittum lost a little momentum and went a little wide at Turn 7 while passing some lapped cars.  Hartanto took advantage of the opportunity and took the lead and about 4 minutes later, the checkered flag. 

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06/29/09
automotive

Ford to gamble on ramped up production
Ford Motor Co., which is increasingly optimistic about a turnaround in the U.S. economy, plans to increase third-quarter production by 15,000 cars and 10,000 trucks in the July-September period, a company spokesman said today.

The company now plans to produce 485,000 vehicles in the third quarter, or 16% more vehicles than it produced last year during the same period.

Automakers are slated to report monthly sales on Wednesday.

Ford top sales analyst George Pipas estimates that for the first time since last September industry sales of new cars and trucks in the United States will decline less than 30% compared with the same year-ago period.

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06/29/09
nhra

MAR team secures new sponsor
Mike Ashley Racing (MAR) and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team, whose driver Antron Brown heads the National Hot Rod Association points table, have secured a new sponsor.

SpongeTech's backing of MAR began this weekend at the third annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio. Brown heads the Top Fuel, the most prestigious NHRA series, by more than 50 points from second place Larry Dixon Jr.

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06/29/09
racing news

Peter H. Kuhn dead at 54
Franklin Township, NJ - Peter H. Kuhn, age 54 years, of Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, NJ, died on Thursday, June 25, 2009 in Southern Ocean County Hospital, Stafford Township, NJ.

Born in Summit, NJ, April 14, 1955, son of Elizabeth "Lib" Dowd Kuhn of New Bern, NC and the late Jean Henry Kuhn, he had resided in Franklin Township since 1995, having formerly lived in Basking Ridge, NJ and Chatham Township, NJ.

Peter was an accomplished race car driver, having attained multiple titles in the 1978 Formula Ford Northeast Driving Championship and the 1980 BOSCH Formula Super-Vee National Driving Championship. In 1980, he won both the USAC and SCCA Formula Super-Vee championships. Following these IndyCar racing successes, Peter was a driver in the CART World Series and later became the executive vice president and general manager for ROBCO Racing Team and an American Les Mans Series team owner.

Peter became a self-employed contractor after leaving the world of motor sports to focus on his family. He was a wonderful husband and father, an avid surfer, a talented musician and a friend to all he met. It is impossible to assess the continued impact Peter’s death will have on the many who loved him.

His sister, Beth Clark, pre-deceased him in 2004.

Surviving in addition to his mother, are his wife of twenty-four years, Sarah Elliott Kuhn; two daughters, Carson Kuhn of Asbury Park, NJ and Tate Kuhn of Franklin Township, NJ; his mother-in-law, Beverley Elliott of New Hope, PA; a brother-in-law, Dr. Charles Clark of Ann Arbor, MI; two sisters-in-law, Rebecca Rude of New Hope, PA and Abigail Gergasko of Santa Fe, NM; a brother-in-law Michael Gergasko, of Santa Fe, NM and several nieces and nephews, Peter Clark, Laura Clark, Jessica Landry, Daniel Rude, Eric Rude, Emily Gergasko and Martha Gergasko.

A celebration of Peter's life will be held on Wednesday, July, 1, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, 2 Race Street, Pittstown, NJ. A reception will follow. Interment will be private in Locust Grove Cemetery, Quakertown, NJ at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Peter’s name to the NORWESCAP Food Bank, 201 North Broad Street, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865, 908-454-4322, www.norwescap.org

Arrangements are by Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, Flemington, NJ. Please visit www.holcombefisher.com for further information or to send condolences.

Comment
06/29/09
speedcar
a1gp

Speedcar series dies, A1GP not far behind
The Speedcar Series has come to a close after just two seasons, it has been announced. With the championship having supported Formula One events in the Middle East and other Asian regions for the last two years, 2009 has turned out to be the last for the financially strapped competition. Featuring such ex-F1 names as Jacques Villeneuve, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Johnny Herbert - who clichéd the title in 2008 - the Speedcar Series was run by Union Properties, which has now regrettably elected to pull the plug on the project.

"Everything is closed and everyone is gone, including me," series director Claudio Berro said to Autosport. "If everyone had worked together, Speedcar would have been a success; the problem is politics and that there is no culture of motorsport in the Middle East. "I am convinced that the Middle East needs a series, but I am not sure that Speedcar was that series."

The A1GP series is suffering similar ills - little income, huge expenses.  See related news item.

Comment
06/29/09
f2

Adrian Newey impressed after touring the F2 setup
Newey gets doused on the Silverstone podium
Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has hailed the FIA Formula Two Championship after taking a tour of the series’ operation at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend (27/28 June).

Newey was competing in the Britcar Spa Euro Race at the legendary F1 circuit, but took time away from his racing schedule to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the F2 setup from MotorSport Vision’s Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer.

Adrian Newey said: "I was impressed with what I saw in Formula Two - it seems to satisfy the criteria we set as a Formula One team. When we are developing a car we are looking to develop a driver's ability to describe what the car is doing. The key thing is that drivers are able to work with engineers and give good feedback; if they're going to become F1 drivers then understanding what the car does and how to describe that to your race engineer is absolutely key. From what I saw, Formula Two is a great way to develop young drivers."

Read more & Comment...
06/29/09
nhra

Now that is acceleration!
One top fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500.  It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 6,000+ horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels.
 
Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.
 
A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster's supercharger.
 
With 3,000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed  into a near-solid form before ignition.

Read more & Comment...
06/29/09
automotive

GM and Toyota won't renew agreement
"As part of its long-term viability plan, General Motors has decided that its ownership stake in the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota will not be a part of the 'New GM’. After extensive analysis, GM and Toyota could not reach an agreement on a future product plan that made sense for all parties. Accordingly, NUMMI will end production of vehicles for GM in August, and there are no future GM vehicles planned for the joint venture at this time. Given that, GM believes it is in the best interest of the ‘New GM’ and its stakeholders that we place our ownership interest in NUMMI in 'Old GM’. We have enjoyed a very positive and beneficial partnership with Toyota for the past 25 years, and we remain open to future opportunities of mutual interest.” GM PR

Comment
06/29/09
irl

Gene Simmons named grand marshal
The IRL's Gene Simmons, the perfect role model for every race fans kids
Gene Simmons, bassist/vocalist for classic rock stalwarts Kiss, has been named grand marshal for the Toronto Grand Prix on July 12, organizers announced Monday.

Simmons, who co-founded Kiss more than 35 years ago, was involved in the global marketing of the IndyCar Series for several years through his partnership in Simmons Abramson Marketing.

"Gene Simmons is one of the most recognizable figures and groundbreaking businessmen in the world and we are pleased to have him be a big part of the 2009 Honda Indy Toronto," Kevin Savoree, president of race promoter Andretti Green Toronto, said in a statement.

Simmons's business resume is almost as impressive as his rock catalogue.

Comment
06/29/09
irl

Dixon keeps championship pace with milestone win
Scott Dixon wasn't thinking about tying the IndyCar Series' victory record during the closing laps of the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. More pressing was keeping Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti behind his No. 9 entry.

Dixon remained the leader following a Lap 260 restart on the 0.75-mile oval and went on to win by 0.3109 of a second - his second victory at the D-shaped oval (2003), his third victory of the season (Kansas, Milwaukee) and the 19th of his career (tying Sam Hornish Jr.).

"Achievements like that are something you can look back at someday and treasure," said Dixon, who's embroiled in a points battle at the midpoint of the season. "There will be many years, hopefully, in my career that I can try to build on that. But there are a lot of people like TK (Tony Kanaan) and Helio (Castroneves) that are pretty close. I have to stick at it for a long time to try to keep that going."

Read more & Comment...
06/29/09
fil

Philippe joins Team PBIR
Richard Philippe
Team PBIR announced it has signed Richard Philippe for five of the final eight races of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights schedule beginning this weekend with the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International.

"It is an honor to have Richard driving for our two-car team," said Kane Williams, PBIR Vice President of Motorsports. "He is an extremely talented driver and has a wealth of experience to pass along to the team."

In addition to this weekend's event, Philippe, who competed in the first four races of 2009 with Genoa, will drive the No. 37 Team PBIR entry at Edmonton City Centre Airport, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. He recorded a season-best second place finish at Long Beach in April.

"I am really excited about this opportunity," said Philippe, who tested with the team at Indianapolis in May. "The team's crew is experienced and I think that will build my confidence, get the car setup right and we will be competitive with the rest of the field right away."

Comment
06/29/09
f1

Spanish motorsport chief backs Mosley
The head of the Spanish motorsport federation Carlos Gracia has publicly backed Max Mosley’s allegation that FOTA showed disrespect to the FIA in recent days.

The Spaniard said that Luca di Montezemolo’s infamous snipe that Mosley was a ‘dictator’ were tantamount to insulting the democracy at work within the FIA.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Gracia said: “I don’t support Max Mosley to the death, but I do support respecting institutions, and what Luca di Montezemolo has done was show a lack of respect to the FIA and the World Council.’

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06/29/09
f1

Raikkonen to contest Rally Finland
Kimi Raikkonen
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen will shortly step up his foray into the world of professional rallying.

After recently contesting three minor events in Finland and Italy, the 2007 world champion and Ferrari driver has now signed up for Finland's round of the World Rally Championship at the end of July.

The 29-year-old Finn will again be at the wheel of his Tommi Makinen-prepared Fiat Abarthe Grande Punto S2000, with Kaj Lindstrom alongside.

"It's always a great rally and for Kimi it's of course an even bigger thing because this is his first time," Lindstrom told the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti.

"It's one of the world's fastest rallies and double the length of for example the Arctic rally," he added.

Comment
06/29/09
nnw

NASCAR Nationwide race TV rating
The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World RV Sales 200 Saturday on ABC Saturday was a 1.2

Comment
06/29/09
usac

Tyler, Toyota Win Richmond Silver Crown
Brian Tyler took the lead on Lap 87 of 100 and went on to give Toyota its first USAC Silver Crown victory of the 2009 campaign Saturday night at the Richmond International Raceway.

After qualifying fifth, Tyler moved his Team 6-R Racing Lucas Oil/Fatheadz Sunglasses Toyota through the field before he eventually caught race-leader Bobby East on Lap 87.  He made the race-winning pass going into Turn Three and led the final 14 laps on the three-quarter mile Virginia track.  Tyler has now scored all three of Toyota’s Silver Crown victories since the manufacturer entered the series early last season.

Joining Tyler in the top-10 was Jacob Wilson, who placed seventh in the WBR/Team 6-Racing Toyota.  Wilson had an overall solid weekend with a ninth in Friday’s qualifying.  Unfortunately, the rest of the Toyota contingent didn’t fare nearly as well in the race.  Reigning series champion Jerry Coons, Jr. placed 15th, Kody Swanson was 17th and Shane Hmiel finished 18th.

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06/29/09
f1

Campos on track despite no budget cap
(GMM)  The 2010 debut of the new Spanish formula one entrant Campos is still on track despite the scrapping of budget cap rules.

The Spanish outfit signed up for next year's championship on the basis of the FIA's published regulations to limit technical spending to 45m euros per team per season.

But according to Gian Paolo Dallara, boss of the Italian racing car design outfit bearing his name, news of the FIA's agreement with FOTA has not put a spanner in the works of the Campos project.

"We are continuing as if nothing had happened," he told GP Week, explaining that the design of the 2010 Campos-Dallara began three months ago.

Despite the published 2010 technical regulations, it seems Dallara took the (ultimately correct) gamble that the 'two tier' elements of the rules would ultimately not proceed.

"Our car will be 2WD without the possibility to refuel and without KERS.  We have worked on 2009 specification adding the extra fuel capacity required for 2010," said the 72-year-old.

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06/29/09
f1

Coulthard - I quit F1 one season too soon
David Coulthard
(GMM)  David Coulthard believes he might have quit formula one at least a season too soon.

The Scot, 38, contested nearly 250 races over 17 seasons, before retiring at the end of 2008.

But despite the success of his successor Sebastian Vettel, Coulthard told Scotland's Daily Record that he thinks he could have handled the pace of 2009.

"In such a high-pressure sport you have to be able to recover and come back and deliver each time.  I questioned whether I still had the energy to do that," he said.

However, this year's regulations are demanding less of the drivers: for example, in previous years a three-week calendar gap would have meant incessant on-track running, but the class of 2009 is instead enjoying an extended holiday at present due to the total ban on in-season testing.

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06/29/09
f1

Politics confuse new F1 entrants
Manor Motorsport team owner John Booth has admitted that the current manner in which the future of Formula One is being presented is confusing to the new entrants. Due to kick off its first F1 campaign in 2010, the team has admitted that the current wrangling between teams and the FIA is a 'difficult' situation.

Joining the grid along with USF1 and Campos next year, Lewis Hamilton's junior formulae team of 2002-2004 will be making the jump to F1 for the first time. With governing body the FIA and FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) still unsettled, though, a final compromise and knowledge of the regulations would be a sight for sore eyes at Manor.

"Every time you think you've got it sorted out it all changes again - it's like walking on quicksand," Booth, boss of the Sheffield-based squad, said to Autosport. "We'll see what the Concorde agreement is, if they ever sign it, then we'll comment."

Read more & Comment...
06/29/09
automotive

It's back to basics for new Toyota president
There is trouble in Toyota land, and Akio Toyoda, the 53-year-old grandson of the company's founder and the new president, has pledged to reverse the company's first loss in 59 years with a "back to basics" approach that puts more emphasis on consumers and less on the company's growth. Having lost $4.8 billion in the year ended March 31, the world's largest automaker expects to lose another $6.25 billion in the six months from April through September. Last week in Tokyo, Toyoda warned the company might not be back in the black until the year ending March 31, 2011.

While global demand has plummeted, Toyota is hurting, particularly in the United States, where it captured 16.2% of the market this year through May, down from 16.8% a year earlier. Production at its plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico is down 47% from a year ago.

That's a smaller drop than Chrysler's 70% or General Motors' 54.5%, but it is greater than either Ford's or Honda's. More at Detroit Free Press

Comment
06/29/09
nassprint

Notes from TNT's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage
NASCAR on TNT Live! from New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH

Marc Fein (host), Larry McReynolds (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst)
 
McReynolds on the parody in the Sprint Cup Series this season: “It’s been a very unpredictable season.  When we were at this point last year, it was pretty obvious that the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) were the dominant forces.  If you go back to 2007, no question it was the Hendrick group with No. 24 Jeff Gordon and No. 48 Jimmie Johnson.  But right now, I just don’t see anyone that’s dominating our sport, which is a great thing.”
 
Petty on this week’s Pride of NASCAR series featuring a profile of the Wood Brothers: “It’s all about family with (the Wood Brothers).  Ford is their family and their family is the center of their life.  Everyone who has driven for them is a part of their family.  I’m proud to say that I was a part of their family for a while and I still consider myself (part of their family).”
 
Petty on the rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports is exploring options on manufacturers for 2010: “If you’re Richard Petty Motorsports and you are going to explore your options, explore them after you win a race like they did last week (in Sonoma) because that’s when there is the most interest.  I do think that because of everything that’s going on in Detroit right now in the automobile industry, there are a lot of teams that are exploring options right now.”

Read more & Comment...
06/29/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Mosley claims 'pressure' to stay FIA president
  • Ferrari-Le Mans foray now 'impossible'
  • Ferrari to focus on 2010 car 'soon'
  • Refueling still to be banned in 2010
  • Cosworth engine no advantage in 2010 - head
  • Kubica eating through engine allocation

Mosley claims 'pressure' to stay FIA president
(GMM)  Max Mosley insists he is not only personally aggrieved, but that he is also "under pressure" to retain his role at the top of F1's governing body the FIA.

After committing only last Wednesday to stepping down, however, it is an unhappy prospect for the rebel FOTA teams, but the 69-year-old Briton has no sympathy following their reaction to the Paris peace deal.

"It's no good the teams getting a PR agency to claim I am dead and buried when I am standing here as large as life," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Mosley said the teams' reaction is a threat to the authority of the federation and claims he is therefore "under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election".

He said the media briefings given by FOTA after the deal contained "complete lies".

"That was obviously very annoying and not just for me.  It has given the impression to the member clubs of the FIA that the car industry had dictated who the president could be and what the president should do.  That caused uproar," Mosley explained.

He denies the events after Wednesday have simply given him an excuse to prolong his controversial FIA reign.

"I do genuinely want to stop," Mosley insisted.  "But if there is going to be a big conflict with the car industry ... I will do whatever I have to do.  It's not in my nature to walk away from a fight," he insisted.

Interestingly, Mosley also revealed that the peace deal was only going to be set in stone if FOTA "could strike an agreement with the Williams and Force India teams ... and the three new teams".

Read more & Comment...
06/28/09
nassprint

Q&A with Joey Logano
By the grace of the NASCAR gods, hometown favorite Joey Logano came back from two flat tires to win the Cup race in NH.  He was also on pole in the Nationwide race.  Praise the lord, it could not have been more timely.
Camry driver Joey Logano earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win in today's rain-shortened race at his home track of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The Middletown, Conn.-native becomes the youngest winner in NSCS history at 19 years, one month and four days. Logano's win marks the 15th victory for Toyota in the Cup Series and came in his 20th career NSCS start.

How do you feel about winning your first Sprint Cup race?
"I never thought I would be the one.  It kind of bit us in Charlotte - we had the same opportunity to do this and we didn't do it.  This was the opportunity we had and we didn't have anything to lose.  Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) made a great call.  I have to thank Home Depot, I have to thank Sprint and all the fans and Toyota.  This is a dream come true and this is the best race track that we ever could have had it at."

Does winning this race at your home track make it even more special?
"It makes it that much more special.  I think your first win no matter where it's at is huge.  Obviously it's not the way you want to win your first race, in the rain, but 20 years down the road when you look in the record books, no one will know the difference.  I'll take them any way I can.  This is my home track and where I watched my first Cup race.  And Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief), all of the guys, a lot of the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing are from the northeast, so it's cool to get a win here."

Read more & Comment...
06/28/09
racing news

Quotes of the Week
"First of all I'm very pleased (about) the (FIA) agreement.  I was not surprised because I understand the spectators are pissed off with all these polemics.  We need stability.  We need peace.  Now stop with all the polemics, because we love F1.  We don't want to contribute to taking away the big charm and the unique elements of F1."  Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari President and Chairman of FOTA

"I have given 35 years of my life and more to Formula One.  My marriage broke up because of Formula One.  So I am sure as hell not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing.  If that (breakaway series) started, everybody would be suing everybody else and there would be no other series.  There would be nothing.  Everyone would spend a fortune on lawyers and nothing will happen." 
Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

Read more & Comment...
06/28/09
EuroF3

EuroF3 driver punches out another driver
Jules Bianchi
Stefano Coletti
Photos by Willem J. Staat
A bizarre incident happened this past weekend at the first F3 Euroseries race at the Norisring between ART Grand Prix driver Jules Bianchi and Prema F3 driver Stefano Coletti after the rostrum ceremony.

On their way to the press center Bianchi appeared to have said “You are a gay driver” to Coletti.  Coletti immediately punched the Frenchman in his face. Race winner Bianchi refused to attend the press conference at the media center. The steward immediately took action and excluded the Prema F3 driver from the meeting.

The case has been forwarded to his local ASN at Monaco, who has to report this to the FIA.  As we left the Norisring this afternoon we understood Coletti faces far more serious consequences for his actions and his participation in the F3 Euroseries for the remainder of the season is in doubt.

Comment
06/28/09
superleague

Liverpool FC wins opening round feature race
Adrian Vallés victorious in Super Final race
Liverpool FC came out on top in the new “Weekend Winner” contest when Adrian Vallés comfortably won the Super Final at the opening rounds of the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Magny Cours in France today (28 June).

The British club also heads the championship standings courtesy of the Spaniard claiming a victory and sixth place in the opening two 45-minute races of the exciting single-seater series. Reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano took honors for AC Milan in the second race watched by a crowd of 12,000 in hot and humid weather conditions.

Olympique Lyonnais, the first French soccer club to compete in the SLF, head for the third and fourth rounds of the 12-race series at Zolder in Belgium (18-19 July) placed 14th in the standings. Frenchman Nelson Panciatici, from Reims, making his SLF debut, registered 13th place in both races on “home” soil – the 17-corner, 4.41km Circuit de Nevers circuit having hosted the French F1 Grand Prix between 1991-2008. Le Chesnay-based Tristan Gommendy, the only other French driver, netted 16th – having been involved in a first lap accident and then picking-up a puncture in race one – and seventh for FC Porto, the Portuguese club he drove for in SFL’s inaugural season.

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06/28/09
f2

Tobias Hegewald is the star of Spa
Tobias Hegewald has won his second race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, after another superb lights-to-flag victory this afternoon (Sunday).

The German driver got a good start and went on to extend his lead by around half a second per lap; he eventually won the race by more than seven seconds. Andy Soucek claimed second place after seeing off the attentions of Robert Wickens midway through the 15 lap contest.

Wickens completed the podium - the Red Bull-backed Canadian's car had to be repaired overnight following heavy damage sustained in a start line shunt yesterday, but showed little ill-effect when he battled past Alex Brundle at Eau Rouge on the first lap. Having initially lost third position to the young Briton at La Source, Wickens responded with a banzai move at the legendary corner. He went on to pressure Soucek, before settling for third and six championship points.

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06/28/09
irl

Reader finds Patrick commercial offensive
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, you probably were not subjected to the latest Danica Patrick commercial for her mobile sponsor. This one has fat men with excessive breasts coming up to her, squeezing their oversized breasts together, and her signing them. It happens twice during the commercial.

Now, if IndyCar is marketing itself for a young adult audience only, this kind of thing might work. The disgust factor would be seen as funny. However, I wasn't watching it alone, but with my six- and five-year old sons and wife. My six-year-old took great interest in the commercial, making comments and asking questions about it. My wife's comment was that she has lost all respect for Danica.

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06/28/09
f1

FOTA Press Conference Transcript
The full transcript of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) press conference held after Wednesday’s World Motorsport Council hearing in Paris. FIA President Max Mosley has subsequently accused the teams of misrepresenting the outcome of the peace deal brokered with the FIA and says he is under pressure to re-stand as president of the governing body in October.

Luca di Montezemolo (FOTA President): All of us have been really surprised by the enthusiasm that we have received from spectators, fans, in the FOTA side, the team side, the web side and in the press side from the public. I don’t want to say anything because I have already spoken in Paris, but I like that all FOTA members starting from John Howett, vice-chairman, can say something to you and be ready to answer all your questions. As I said yesterday, I want to thank in a very deep way all the FOTA members, because they have been able to work together and today after less than one year, FOTA is an important association that has done a lot of work for the sport, for F1 – starting from important cost reductions.

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06/28/09
nassprint

NASCAR throws competition yellow
NASCAR threw the caution after lap 35 of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  The competition caution was so teams could check Goodyear tire wear as overnight rains had washed rubber off the track.  Teams were not allowed to fuel the cars from the start of the race until the competition caution. Teams were informed of the competition caution during the prerace drivers meeting.

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06/28/09
irl

Michael Jackson remembered at Richmond 
Mario Moraes drove the Richmond IndyCar race with a specially made silver glove in tribute to Michael Jackson
UPDATE
Mario Moraes, KV Racing Technology, was a huge fan of Michael Jackson.  As a tribute to the passing of his idol, Moraes drove the SunTrust Indy Challenge race with a specially manufactured pair of driving gloves flown into Richmond.  Moraes wore a silver driving glove on one hand, like the glove Michael Jackson made famous, instead of his regular blue driving gloves.

06/28/09 Almost everyone of legal drinking age in the state has a Michael Jackson moment in their head this weekend -- a song, a performance - at Richmond International Raceway.

The King of Pop, whose album "Thriller," 27 years ago altered the direction of pop music and videos, died June 25 in California. He was 50. Jackson was preparing for 50 shows scheduled at London's O2 Arena this summer.

"When I was young and he was in his heyday, my mom and I would drive all over whenever he used to come to Texas," A.J. Foyt Racing team director Larry Foyt said. "We would catch the show in Houston and then go to Dallas. A.J. used to make fun of me for liking him. If it's not country and western, it was 'Why are you listening to that?' ''

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06/28/09
superleague

Liverpool FC claims first blood
Liverpool FC claimed first blood in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol when Spaniard Adrian Vallés comfortably won the opening race at Magny Cours in France today (28 June).

Dutchman Yelmer Buurman in the Anderlecht car, despite being involved in an opening lap multiple car accident, came home second after successfully defending from the Tottenham Hotspur car of Britain Craig Dolby – the pair separated by less than a second at the checkered flag.

The pole-starting SC Corinthians car of Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) ultimately finished fourth after reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano dropped from fourth to 12th place after spinning his AC Milan car at high speed with less than five minutes remaining.

A second 45-minute race, with the 18-cars lining up in the reverse of the opening race finishing order, plus a new three-lap non-points scoring “shoot out” for the top-three in races one and two, are staged later today.

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06/28/09
nnw

Nationwide race to feature double file restarts
NASCAR announced Friday it will begin using double-file restarts with lead-lap cars for the Nationwide Series beginning with next Friday’s race at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR instituted the system for the Sprint Cup Series earlier this month at Pocono Raceway and it has been considered successful in increasing competition. In the past, lead-lap cars started beside lap-down cars but now all the lead-lap cars start double-file in front of the lap-down cars.

NASCAR said its officials chose to gauge the format on various configurations before instituting double-file restarts in the Nationwide Series.

"This is going to be extremely exciting for the NASCAR Nationwide Series," Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash said in a news release. "As they have done in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, double-file restarts – shootout style will add to even more close competition in our series and offer more excitement for our fans. The format will also help give us more standard restarts every time."

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06/28/09
nastruck

Hornaday Dominates Second Straight Truck Race
Ron Hornaday Jr., driver of the #33 Longhorn Chevrolet, leads the field during the MemphisTravel.com 200
John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR
Ron Hornaday Jr. took home his second straight Elvis trophy with an overpowering victory Saturday in the MemphisTravel.com 200 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Hornaday led 175 of 201 laps on the 0.75-mile track. The driver of the Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet had a commanding lead over Brian Scott's Toyota before a late-race caution forced a green-white-checkered finish. Hornaday pulled away on the final restart and won by 0.653 seconds over Scott.

It was the second straight week Hornaday has led almost from start to finish. Hornaday led 180 of 200 laps at Milwaukee, where he took the points lead. Hornaday expanded it to 76 over Matt Crafton at Memphis with his third victory of the season and 42nd of his career, tops in the history of the series.

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06/28/09
irl

Vision Racing relaunches its website
Vision Racing has re-launched its Web site at www.visionracing.com. The newly updated Web site includes the standard features such as team news and information, driver and crew profiles, results, statistics, sponsor profiles, but will also take visitors beyond the traditional motorsports website experience by inviting them into Vision Racing's world through its special "For the Fans" satellite site and social media integration.

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06/28/09
irl

Team 3G announces another sponsor
Team 3G announced that eco-friendly lighting technology manufacturer Novicomm will become a marketing partner for the remainder of the 2009 IndyCar Season. The Novicomm logo will be displayed on the Team 3G car beginning this weekend with driver Jaques Lazier.

"We are honored that Novicomm has selected Team 3G as a platform for marketing cutting-edge and eco-friendly products that preserve the environment and saves money for both companies and consumers" said Team 3G co-owner Steve Sudler. "We look forward to introducing their LED lighting systems to environmentally conscious IndyCar fans."

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