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DATE News (chronologically)
07/06/09
nassprint

Mayfield not on Chicago entry list
NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield's name isn't on the entry list for Saturday's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Mayfield, whose drug suspension was overturned by a federal judge last week, still could attempt to qualify for the race. Under NASCAR rules, teams have until one hour before the first practice to register. That gives Mayfield until Thursday afternoon, but he would have to pay a penalty. Mayfield admitted in court filings that his Mayfield Motorsports team is struggling financially. He also could make the race if hired to drive for another team. Associated Press/ESPN.com

Comment
07/06/09
f1

Q&A with Pat Symonds
Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds talks about Silverstone and shares his thoughts on the upcoming German GP.

Q: How do you look back on the team's performance at the last race at Silverstone?
PS: We had certainly hoped for a better result. In free practice we were more or less in our usual position, but in the third part of qualifying we did not perform at the level we expected to. Then we had a poor start to the race and spent a lot of time stuck in traffic, which made it very difficult to recover. However, when we did have some clean air the car's pace was about where we expected it to be and so while the result wasn't good enough, it's perhaps not as bad as it appeared.

Q: Where is the team concentrating its efforts to improve competitiveness?
PS: As always we are concentrating our attention on aero as it's still the fundamental element that brings the most speed to the car. But rather than just putting parts on the car, we're also working on the usability of that aero: exploring the aero mapping so that we get the most from the car in every corner.

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07/06/09
irl

Dale Coyne revels in first victory
An extremely popular win for the Dale Coyne Racing team at Watkins Glen
Seneca Lodge patrons put down their salad forks and Labatt's Blue bottles to applaud when Dale Coyne and his wife, Gail, walked through the door with the winner's laurel from the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen.

It's certainly well-deserved and well overdue. Dale Coyne Racing recorded its first victory; not only in the IndyCar Series but overall. Driver Justin Wilson, who signed before the start of the season, delivered the package Coyne has been waiting 25 years and 558 races for.

"Congratulations to Dale on his first IndyCar win," said Roger Penske, who pensively watched one of his drivers, Ryan Briscoe, attempt to reel in Wilson over the final six laps on the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International course. "Dale has been a great friend and a great competitor for many years and we are very happy for him and his team. They worked very hard for this. I thought Justin Wilson drove a great race and he certainly deserved the victory."

Dale Coyne Racing's previous best finish in the IndyCar Series was third in the season opener at St. Petersburg, and its best overall in open-wheel racing had been second with Bruno Junqueira in a 2007 Champ Car-sanctioned race at Zolder, Belgium.

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07/06/09
irl

Antinucci to continue with Team 3G
Richard Antinucci will drive the No. 98 Novicomm Team 3G in the Honda Indy Toronto this week and the Rexall Edmonton Indy on July 26.

Antinucci finished 19th in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on July 5 - his IndyCar Series debut for the first-year IndyCar Series team. Antinucci, 28, won at Watkins Glen International in 2008 on the way to a runner-up finish in the Firestone Indy Lights championship.

"I am really excited to be working with Team 3G again for the Canadian events," said Antinucci, who lives in San Diego. "This is a young team made up of very experienced guys who are just as passionate about competing as I am. We are working hard to hopefully build a long-term program together. I would love to keep driving for these guys."

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07/06/09
f1

German politician cancels Ecclestone meeting
Ecclestone offends Germans with his disturbing remarks
(GMM)  The future of the German grand prix at Hockenheim, as well as the viability of Bernie Ecclestone's long-standing role at the head of F1's commercial rights, fell under a dark cloud on Monday.

In the wake of the 78-year-old F1 chief executive's extraordinary interview with the Times of London, in which he spoke about dictators including Hitler, a German politician has cancelled a planned meeting with the Briton.

We reported late last week that Ecclestone was due to meet with Baden-Wurttemberg state premier Gunther Oettinger at the Nurburgring this weekend, in a bid to rescue embattled Hockenheim's formula one round.

But in the wake of the controversy, a spokesman for the Oettinger government says the meeting has been called off.

Spokesman Christoph Dahl is quoted by the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur as confirming that it is the controversy surrounding Ecclestone's comments that sparked the decision.

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07/06/09
irl

Sunday Watkins Glen Notebook - Race Postscript
After the race Tony George was smiling ear-to-ear and was one of the first to congratulate the Dale Coyne Racing team on their first win before Justin Wilson had brought the car into Victory Lane........It was really special to see the Coynes get their first victory. Imagine how hard it would be to compete in 558 events and not get discouraged that you would really win someday........Evidently the IRL has never had their winners show up at Seneca Lodge on Lake Seneca. It's possible they are clueless. It's possible no one told them about the tradition. There are a number of F1 driver wreaths hanging which include Emerson Fittipaldi's, Nikki Lauda, Graham Hill, etc. from the '70s. When someone reminded the Coynes about this tradition, they celebrated their victory with a team dinner at the Lodge....openwheelworld.net reports that Justin, his wife & daughter, his parents and his brother Stefan entered the lodge through the main doors, and patrons immediately applauded. Soon afterward Dale & Gail Coyne made the same entrance to a standing ovation, Dale wearing the winner's wreath and carrying the victory circle champagne.  After a symbolic exchange of the wreath from owner to driver, Wilson slipped behind the bar, as many of the most famous names in open wheel history had done before him many decades ago, to hang his victory wreath on the wall, the bright green leaves a sharp contrast to the long since dried out wreaths of days gone by.  Beckoned by the now large, and loud, gathered crowd, Dale joined Justin behind the bar, both still beaming from the day's events, for an impromptu photo op for those lucky enough to be there.........On another note one of the local journalists happened to tell us they had heard that the ISC owned Watkins Glen wasn't interested in renewing their contact with the IRL as a general trend. From our viewpoint the crowd was very good.  Based on what you have read on Autoracing1.com, the new head of Watkins Glen is interested in renewing the contract with the IRL so that is good news........Some were surprised most people want a fall race in the vote, probably because it is a beautiful time of year in the Finger Lakes region.  Only problem is a much higher chance of rain  We were told when the race took place in June it was too early and when it took place in the fall, it was too late. Weather-wise the 4th of July weekend seems like a great time for everyone...............In closing, wasn't it great that finally, a non-red and white car has won?  Mark C. reporting from Watkins Glen

Comment
07/06/09
f1

New aerodynamic components for Renault
Like BMW and championship leaders Brawn GP, the Renault team will introduce several new components to its car at the Nürburgring this weekend. Currently seventh in the constructors' championship, Pat Symonds is aware that a large performance jump is necessary in order to move up the pecking order. Driver Fernando Alonso has already commented this week that at least half a second must be found in order for the R29 to have a real chance of threatening at the front this year and the team's director of engineering is also not hiding the fact that the contender remains off the leading pace.

"We had certainly hoped for a better result," said Symonds of Renault's Silverstone weekend. "In free practice we were more or less in our usual position but in the third part of qualifying we did not perform at the level we expected to. Then we had a poor start to the race and spent a lot of time stuck in traffic, which made it very difficult to recover."

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07/06/09
f1

Further upgrades for Toyota
Panasonic Toyota Racing makes the very short journey south of its Cologne base for the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Only around 80km separates the team's technical centre from the legendary track, which first hosted Formula 1 in 1951 and has done so 37 times, most recently as home to the European Grand Prix.

Toyota has a strong record in qualifying at the Nürburgring, having qualified at least one car in the top 10 on all of its six previous visits, but only finished in the points once; Jarno Trulli's eighth place in 2005.

“The Nürburgring is such a famous track in motorsport and it is fantastic to go there and see the old Nordschleife. The new track is a bit different to say the least but in its own way it is still a challenge,” Jarno said. “It is actually a track I know really well and I have had some good days there, particularly in 1999 when I finished on the podium for the first time in Formula 1.”

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07/06/09
track news

Atlanta Motor Speedway suing Pep Boys UPDATE Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pep Boys have reached an out-of-court settlement of the track’s lawsuit against the auto parts retail chain over the title sponsorship of the Sept. 6. Sprint Cup race at the track, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The settlement was not filed with the court, but an AMS spokesman indicated that the race will remain being called the Pep Boys Auto 500 this year. SceneDaily

05/07/09 Atlanta Motor Speedway is suing Pep Boys over payment on a contract that called for the auto parts chain to pay $3 million for a two-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race sponsorship, according to court documents.

Pep Boys has allegedly stopped making payments for the 2009 race, according to the lawsuit filed April 30 in Georgia Superior Court in Henry County, Ga.

The suit says the deal was worth $1.4 million for the track’s 2008 fall race and $1.6 million for the 2009 fall race. According to the complaint, Pep Boys did not make the $800,000 payment due March 1, 2009, and the track is owed $1.6 million for the 2009 race.

Although the contract states that the sponsorship is for “a fall NSCS Event,” SMI says in its complaint that Pep Boys did not object to the 2009 race being moved to Labor Day weekend before it was announced. According to the complaint, Pep Boys sent a letter saying it could terminate the contract because the track breached the agreement since the 2009 fall race is now “during the summer.”

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07/06/09
nassprint

Stewart, Newman, Earnhardt To Visit IMS This Week
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series superstars Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will meet with media on two days this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as preparations continue for the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 24-26.

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates and Indiana natives Stewart and Newman are coming to IMS on Wednesday, July 8, while Hendrick Motorsports driver Earnhardt will be at IMS on Thursday, July 9.

Two-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Stewart and Newman will participate in a question-and-answer session with the media from 10:15-11 a.m. (ET) Wednesday in the Economaki Press Conference Room at the IMS Media Center.

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07/06/09
f1

Vettel powering high German GP interest
Sebastian Vettel
(GMM)  In an economic recession and in the post-Michael Schumacher era, organizers of this weekend's German grand prix see Sebastian Vettel as a godsend.

The young German, who last Friday celebrated his 22nd birthday, dominated the recent British grand prix and is seen by many as Jenson Button's most likely challenger for the 2009 world championship.

Formula one races in Germany suffered a slump in interest following Schumacher's retirement in 2006, as fans looked to other native drivers, or marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to fill the void left by the most successful F1 career in history.

The Nurburgring is therefore making the most of Vettel's burgeoning form, like renaming a grandstand alongside the 5km layout after the likeable Red Bull driver.

"Quite honestly, Sebastian Vettel is a gift to us," circuit managing director Walter Kafitz told the German news agency SID.

Other grand prix venues have recorded alarming slumps in terms of trackside attendances this season due to the economic situation, but Kafitz said tickets have been selling "on the level of 2007" on the back of Vettel's successes.

Comment
07/06/09
atlantic

Summerton back with NWR
Newman Wachs Racing announces today the return of Jonathan Summerton to their Atlantic Championship operation for the remainder of the 2009 season.   

Summerton, who drove for NWR in 2008, finished 3rd in the Championship after claiming two wins for the team (Edmonton and Road America) in addition to a pole position at the season finale at Road Atlanta. He has spent the first part of 2009 competing in the Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) series as well as the Atlantic Championship on a race by race basis.

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07/06/09
nassprint

Date set for 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
NASCAR announced that its premier short-track racing showcase, the 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, will be run Jan. 29-30 at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). The seventh running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America for the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing," will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race. The schedule also includes a 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race. Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports-car event. NASCAR PR

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07/06/09
automotive

GM asset sale approved late Sunday
General Motors Corp. won approval late Sunday to sell its best assets to a government-owned company, paving the way for a stunningly swift emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy less than 40 days after GM filed for court protection.

Once the sale closes, which is not expected before noon on Thursday, the 100-year-old automaker will be majority-owned by the U.S. Treasury Department. The government will have a 60.8 percent stake after providing more than $50 billion in financial aid to keep the iconic American company from liquidating and becoming perhaps the greatest industrial failure in the nation's history.

"GM cannot survive with its continuing losses and associated loss of liquidity, and without the governmental funding that will expire in a matter of days," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber wrote in his 95-page opinion. "As nobody can seriously dispute, the only alternative to an immediate sale is liquidation -- a disastrous result for GM's creditors, its employees, the suppliers who depend on GM for their own existence, and the communities in which GM operates."

Read more & Comment...
07/06/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone says Hitler storm a 'misunderstanding'
  • Cosworth embroiled in new FIA controversy
  • Drivers enjoy another F1-free weekend
  • Rossi admits 2011 F1 switch 'could happen'
  • Alguersuari admits 2009 F1 debut 'possible'
  • Montoya sympathizes with struggling champs

Ecclestone says Hitler storm a 'misunderstanding'
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed as a "big misunderstanding" the international furor created by his recent interview with London's Times newspaper.

Not only was the F1 chief executive's apparent defense of Adolf Hitler condemned by Jewish groups, it is believed sections of the formula one world argue it is evidence the 78-year-old should retire.

"All this is a big misunderstanding," Ecclestone told Germany's Bild newspaper.

"In the interview we were talking about structures and that it can sometimes be good to act and make strong decisions without reservation," he explained.

"I wasn't using Hitler as a positive example, but pointing out that before his dreadful crimes he worked successfully against unemployment and economic problems," said Ecclestone.

The wide-circulation German newspaper asked the Briton if he felt the need to apologize.

"It was never my intention to hurt the feelings of any community," Bernie replied.  "Many people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I would never attack a minority," he added.

Cosworth embroiled in new FIA controversy
(GMM)  F1's governing body reportedly selected only new teams with no ties to car manufacturers to make their grand prix debuts in 2010.

Britain's Daily Telegraph cites disgruntled bosses who missed out in the FIA's selection process as alleging that only a commitment to independent engine supplier Cosworth ensured a spot on next year's grid.

US F1, Manor and Campos, all to be powered by Cosworth, were included on the 2010 entry list, despite more established names including Prodrive and Lola also applying to race.

It is believed some of the rejected teams planned to tie up for engine supplies with Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault, as F1's car manufacturers warred with the FIA about the future of the sport.

"We were told that if we wanted to take up the 2010 grid slot we would have to sign a three-year engine contract with Cosworth," one unsuccessful team applicant told the newspaper.

Another wrote in a letter that he "had a real possibility of obtaining a Renault, Mercedes or Ferrari engine.  It was made very clear to me that it was considered a mandatory condition from the powers that be that Cosworth was the engine supplier".

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07/06/09
a1gp

Swiss and Ireland head-to-head
A1 Team Ireland and A1 Team Switzerland are the winners of the past two A1GP championships. We took their seat holders – the people who make all the key decisions in putting the team together – aside to ask them a few no-holes-barred questions on their success in A1GP, and their future with their star drivers.
Mark Gallagher, seat holder, A1 Team Ireland
Max Welti, seat holder, A1 Team Switzerland

So let’s start easy. What makes your team so successful?
MARK: “Well, I guess it’s understanding all of the millions of things that have to come together to make it work. But most of all, it’s getting the people to work together. One of the great points about A1GP is that given that the technology is the same for everyone, it really is the people and how they work together which determines the success or failure. We reached the point where we had a perfectly formed team of people who knew how to work together.”
MAX: “It is consistency and a very good atmosphere in the team, plus a brilliant driver and engineers. It really is, as boring as it might sound, all about team work.”

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07/05/09
motogp

Pedrosa wins USGP MotoGP race
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa took a dominant win at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday in the Californian sunshine.

After more than a year without a victory for Honda, since his own win at Catalunya last season, Dani Pedrosa triumphed at Laguna Seca on Sunday, taking the holeshot from fourth on the grid and not looking back - to cross the finishing line ahead of his closest rival Valentino Rossi.

Following a string of crashes and injury problems Pedrosa was finally back to his very best, lapping at a pace which none of his opponents could match. At one stage he had built up a significant gap at the front and although Rossi chased him down on the final lap there were no mishaps this time.

Pedrosa still has some way to go if he is to challenge at the head of the standings however, as current leader Rossi picked up more good World Championship points in second place, whilst Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner were third and fourth respectively.

Read more & Comment...
07/05/09
racing news

Quotes of the Week
"It was the most important win of my career and I am really happy to give Dale [Coyne] and his wife Gail their first win.  I was in downtown Watkins Glen the other night and I saw the names of all the famous drivers that have won at the Glen and it makes me proud to now join that elite group.  It feels fantastic.  This is the most important win in my career; winning with Dale and showing what we can do. I was grinning from ear to ear on that last lap. We've worked all year to improve on the road courses, and to dominate like this is fantastic."  Justin Wilson, IndyCar driver, Dale Coyne Racing, thrilled after winning the Watkins Glen race for Dale Coyne who is competing in his 25th year of open-wheel racing as a driver and owner

"This year, with my luck, if I had a duck it would drown." 
AJ Foyt, IndyCar team owner, AJ Foyt Enterprises, commenting after his driver Ryan Hunter-Reay ran into the back of a slowing Raphael Matos during the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen

"
In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done.  In the end he got lost, so he wasn't a very good dictator because either he had all these things and knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it... so either way he wasn't a dictator."  Ecclestone also sharply criticized democracy claiming: "It [democracy] hasn't done a lot of good for many countries - including this one." 
Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

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07/05/09
British F3

Van der Zande and Christodoulou win British F3 races
Renger van der Zande and Riki Christodoulou were the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series race victors at Snetterton today (Sun), the Dutch driver dominating round nine after starting from the pole, and the young Englishman taking his maiden British F3 win in round 10 after making an inspired start. Daniel Ricciardo was a podium visitor in both races to extend his championship lead.

Race 1
Van der Zande staged a masterclass display of Hitech Racing and Mercedes superiority in round nine at Snetterton, leading from pole position to checkered flag.

Renger blasted into a one-second lead within the first couple of laps, and thereafter his second race win of the season was beyond doubt... His pursuers were racing for the second step of the podium.

Read more & Comment...
07/05/09
irl

Sunday Watkins Glen Notebook - 1
Sunday 1st Turn crowd
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
A perfect day weather-wise in Watkins Glen as the IndyCar race got underway in front of a crowd estimated at 40,000.  Although the main grandstand was only 25% full, the crowd elsewhere around the track was good and estimated to be 50% of the 85,000 NASCAR crowd.......Driving in this morning from Corning we noticed the early morning fog draped over the cool green hills and it brought flashbacks of the F1 races of the 1970s when we first admired the Finger Lakes Region of upper NY State.........Watkins Glen draws a large camping crowd and the smell of bacon and sausage was noticeable as fans emerged from their tents and campers and began to cook breakfast......Graham Rahal was still smarting after his car failed post-qualifying tech inspection Saturday because it was 4.5 pounds underweight..........Milka Duno crashed for the third time in the morning warm-up which had many rolling their
Batmobile
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
eyes.  Meanwhile Castroneves was on top of the charts with the fastest lap anyone turned all weekend........Justin Wilson liked his chances to win today because he had two sets of new red tires to use for the race, having saved one set in qualifying......The Batmobile from the late 60s/early 70s was a big attention grabber in the infield............Marlboro is still backing Penske Racing's 2-car effort almost 100% (estimated to be $15M per year) even though they have no sponsor logos on the cars or team uniforms.  How do they justify such expenditure?  They invite thousands of cancer susceptible cigarette smokers to off-site hospitality where they have a captive audience with them.

Comment
07/05/09
automotive

VW to invest heavily in electric cars
Volkswagen AG hopes to introduce its first electric cars on the market in 2013, the German automaker's chief executive said Friday.

In a speech to an industry group, Martin Winterkorn criticized the German auto industry for failing to invest sufficiently in research and development of electric technology and said VW was working on going electric with its Up line of micro cars.

"It will significantly influence the future of individual mobility," Winterkorn said of electric technology. He said the key was developing a sufficient battery that would not need more than two hours to charge.

"The German automobile industry did not work consequently enough in developing electric technology," Winterkorn said, according to a written version of the speech released by VW.

Comment
07/05/09
f1

Jewish group calls for Jew to resign
Appaently unaware that Bernie is one of them, The World Jewish Congress is calling for Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to resign after he was quoted as saying that Adolf Hitler “got things done”.

In an interview with the UK's Times newspaper, Ecclestone also said democracy “hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries – including this one”.

In a statement issued in the US today, Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said Ecclestone was not fit to serve as head of Formula One and called on teams, drivers and host countries to suspend their cooperation with him.

Ecclestone, who owns F1’s commercial rights, has drawn criticism before.

He once said women should dress in white “like all other domestic appliances”.

Comment
07/05/09
f1

Hartley says he chose to quit F1 reserve role
(GMM) Former Red Bull reserve driver Brendon Hartley has revealed he decided to relinquish the role in order to focus on his burgeoning race career.

The New Zealand teenager's role on standby for both Red Bull Racing and its sister team Toro Rosso meant he was more statistically likely than any other reserve driver to step onto the formula one grid in the near future.

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07/05/09
irl

Team 3G Selects Richard Antinucci for Toronto and Edmonton
Richard Antinucci
Team 3G today announced that IndyCar rookie Richard Antinucci will continue as the driver of the #98 entry for Team 3G at the upcoming IndyCar events in Toronto and Edmonton.  Richard qualified for his first IndyCar event today at Watkins Glen, and will make his IndyCar race debut at tomorrow’s Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.

As the 2008 Indy Lights Championship runner-up, Richard is considered one of the best American drivers in the IndyCar Series.  2009 is the inaugural IndyCar season for Team 3G which posted their best result of 12th at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. 

“Richard has done a great job for us this weekend, and he has proven that he belongs in this series” said Team 3G co-owner Greg Beck.  “We knew after our first test together that he was the kind of driver that will be very successful in an IndyCar”.

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07/05/09
f1

Q&A with Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel
This is the first time you’ve come to the Nürburgring as a Formula One driver. Is it a good feeling?
"Yes, I have a lot of good memories of the Nürburgring. I’ve already done a lap on the Nordschleife behind the wheel of a kart and I’ve done a lot of races here in Formula BMW, F3 and the Renault World Series."

Which was your first race here?
"It was in 2003 in the Formula BMW."

And your most successful?
"Wins in the Formula BMW when it was a Formula One support race, wins in the Formula 3 Euroseries, wins in the 3.5 World Series by Renault."

Does a home race still mean an advantage nowadays?
"Yes, I’d say it’s like a soccer match when you play on your home ground. You always give 100%, but in a home race you’re even more motivated, because at home you feel comfortable. Not far from the Nürburgring, in Kerpen, I got a lot of kart experience which is why I have many friends in this region."

Are drivers influenced by the spectators during a race?
"During the 90 minutes of the race I do not think about which country I’m in, because I am concentrated on racing. But before and after, this is special because being at home is the best place to stay."

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07/05/09
British F3

British F3 to get triple boost
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series is set to underline its position as the world's leading training ground for Grand Prix stars of the future with the announcement of a radical plan to increase the number of races in 2010.

It is proposed that next season each of the championship's 10 meetings will feature a trio of full-length races, bringing to 30 the number of rounds over which the country's most prestigious track title will be decided - a 50 per cent increase over this season.

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07/05/09
nassprint

Mayfield releases letter; hopes to be a Chicago UPDATE Mayfield Motorsports' #41 Toyota hasn't been on the race track since the May 24 Coca-Cola 600. One week after that race, the Mayfields were forced to lay off their team members, including crew chief Tony Furr. Gaining sponsorship money to revive the team is their primary goal. Furr, who was at Daytona working as a consultant with owner Larry Gunselman's #64-Sprint Cup team -- which was sent home Friday when qualifying was rained out -- said he had a meeting set with Mayfield for Monday and that he saw no problem being ready for Chicagoland or anywhere else. "I want to figure out what he wants to do, because all the stuff is still there at the shop," Furr said. "We're a day-and-a-half away from having [a car] ready to go to wherever. The full crew worked for a week after the Charlotte 600 -- everyone worked together and left together." Furr said he'd continued to speak to his former Mayfield Motorsports co-workers and that getting them back together wouldn't be difficult. "I could have a team in place in less than an hour," Furr said. "There are a lot of people out on the street right now and most of the guys that were there to start with will come back -- I've talked to every one of them and been in touch with them since this [judge's] ruling. NASCAR.com

Jeremy Mayfield thanks fans for their support
07/04/09  To all my fans, friends and fellow competitors:

First and foremost, Shana and I want to thank all of you who have supported us. To say that the last two months have been two of the worst months of my entire life is an understatement. The only event I can think of that brought me even greater pain was the loss of my father in 2007.

Last Wednesday's ruling by Judge Mullen was a giant step towards clearing my name and getting the 41 car back on the track. Our hope was to bring our team to Daytona this weekend to qualify and race in the Coke Zero 400. For those who know me well, there is nothing in the world that I would rather do than race for you all on the 4th of July. Following Judge Mullen's ruling, we had less than twenty-four hours to prepare the car, assemble a team, get sponsorship and travel to Daytona. Ultimately, we were unable to get this done in time. We've received several phone calls from friends and fans as well as friends in the media wondering if we would be coming to Daytona this weekend, anyway. We've decided that our time is best spent back here in North Carolina working around the clock to try and secure the funding needed to get the 41 car to Chicago and beyond. Shana and I as well as everyone at Mayfield Motorsports will do everything in our power to race next weekend.

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07/05/09
nassprint
irl

NASCAR fans want Danica
NASCAR fans would be thrilled to have Danica join their series
Danica Patrick received a near-unanimous endorsement to join NASCAR next year should she leave the IndyCar circuit when her contract runs out at the end of this season.  That was the result of an informal poll of NASCAR fans taken prior to Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Patrick is one of the Indy Racing League’s most popular racers, though she’s only won one race in her career.

The fact that she’s been featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition and been featured in several television ads makes her one racing’s recognized faces and biggest draws.

But would she garner the same attention if she switched sides and got behind the wheel of a stock car? More importantly, does the petite 5-foot-2 driver have the physical ability to endure the heavier race car?

“I think she could handle it, though it might take her a little while before she adapts to this style of racing,” said Andrew Averill, 24, of Tampa. “It’s a totally different world, different cars and there’s a lot more to the stock cars. But I think in time she would be OK.

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07/05/09
nassprint

Teams start and park for the money
Walk down pit road a few minutes before the green flag dropped on Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400, and it was easy to tell which of the 43 teams have no intention of running the whole 400 miles.

In the pit stall, those teams — called "start and parkers" — have a small rolling tool chest, two or three crewmen, and here's the guaranteed tipoff: Teams that hope to run the whole race have glued lug nuts onto the wheels of the spare tires, which makes it easier and quicker to change the tires during pit stops.

Start-and-parkers don't plan to change tires, so they don't glue the lug nuts onto the wheels.

There are three such teams here: The No. 36 Toyota driven by Patrick Carpentier and owned by Tommy Baldwin Jr.; the No. 87 NEMCO Toyota driven and owned by Joe Nemecheck; and — the king of the start-and-parkers — the No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota, with driver Dave Blaney, owned by Phil Parsons, the former racer and current TV broadcaster.

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07/05/09
motogp

Lorenzo hopes to race from pole today
Polesitter Jorge Lorenzo hopes to be able to start today's U.S. Grand Prix but has delayed the final decision until this morning at Laguna Seca in California.

The Spaniard was thrown off his Yamaha into a massive high-side with just three minutes of the qualifying session left Saturday and suffered acromial separation to his right clavicle and a contusion to his right foot.

Lorenzo had suffered another crash 20 minutes earlier at the same spot, Laguna Seca’s Turn 10.

“I was trying to push but first I had some traffic and then the tires were cold, and I wasn’t in the right shape to try to improve my time,” Lorenzo said. “I’m disappointed for these two crashes but I am OK and I am optimistic that I will be able to ride tomorrow. Now the American doctors and the Clinica Mobile are working together to try to help me as best they can and make me more comfortable. Thanks to all the American people here for their support!”

Comment
07/04/09
track news

Cameron and Jean Argetsinger inducted into “Legends of The Glen”
Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, announced Saturday that Cameron and Jean Argetsinger are the newest inductees of the “Legends of The Glen” Class of 2009.  It was the hard work and dedication of Cameron and Jean Argetsinger that brought road racing to Watkins Glen, N.Y., for the rebirth of the first sports car road race in the United States after WWII.  The now late, Cameron R. Argetsinger developed the original 6.6-mile circuit through the streets of Watkins Glen, and later served as the executive director of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix committee.  Jean Argetsinger accepted the award, and was joined by her sons, J.C. and Peter Argetsinger, as well as her daughters-in-law. 

“What started in 1948 as a lark is a major industry now,” said Jean Argetsinger.  “Cameron and I have been so proud of what racing has done for the community, and for what Watkins Glen has come to mean to the sport.  Cameron’s first interest was as a competitor, and despite becoming best known as an organizer and promoter, he never lost his driver’s perspective and enthusiasm.”

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07/04/09
irl

Interview with Barnhart, Angstadt and Morgan
The feature article on our Home Page on the State of the Union of the IRL now includes a full transcript of the media conference.

Comment
07/04/09
motogp

Lorenzo takes Laguna MotoGP pole, then crashes
Jorge Lorenzo will need a medical check on Sunday to see if he is fit to race, after he crashed twice in qualifying at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix but still ended up in pole position.

Further medical checks will be required on Sunday for poleman Jorge Lorenzo after a dramatic qualifying session at Laguna Seca, which ended with the Spaniard being stretchered away having set the pole position time - a 1’21.678 hot lap.

Fiat Yamaha’s former 250cc World Champion Lorenzo was unaffected by a lowside crash on the fourth corner with 20 minutes to go, jumping on his second M1 to grab pole for Sunday’s race, before a massive highside crash saw him taken away from trackside and straight to the medical centre. Initial tests showed a partially dislocated right shoulder and a bruised right foot, but Lorenzo will not be passed fit to ride, or ruled out of action, until Sunday morning.

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07/04/09
nassprint

Bill Lester gives up on Sprint Cup
Bill Lester
The good news for Bill Lester: He's back, racing at Daytona International Speedway . The bad news: His race starts at 2 p.m. He'd really rather be racing at 8 p.m. Lester is entered in the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am race, teamed with Orlando's Ryan Dalziel, a former Champ car driver, in the Riviera Beach-based Orbit Racing Dinan BMW in the Rolex series. At 48, Lester knows he is likely to finish out his racing career where it began, in sports cars, instead of his ultimate goal: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Lester became the first black driver to compete in the Cup series in 20 years when he made two starts in 2006 for Bill Davis Racing. Most of his NASCAR career, though, was spent in the Camping World truck series, where he made 142 starts, won three poles and had seven top-10 finishes. He would liked to have raced longer, and more often in NASCAR, "but I've been fortunate do be able to do what I have on the limited amount of support and funding that I've been able to find." Even when his driving career is over, Lester said he doesn't plan to stray far from motorsports, possibly working to fund minority drivers for the future. "I'd definitely be interested in working with a developmental project, maybe helping find the next Bill Lester, Willy T. Ribbs or Wendell Scott." Orlando Sentinel

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07/04/09
fil

Hildebrand wins Lights race at The Glen
JR Hildebrand
JR Hildebrand held off polesitter James Davison to win today's Firestone Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen.  Hildebrand passed Davison on a restart about halfway through the caution riddled 30 lap race and from there was never headed despite several restarts.

Afterward Hildebrand said, "It doesn't get any better (than an American winning on the Fourth of July). This race win couldn't have happened at a better time for us. I knew we had a strong car going into this race. We were sitting there thinking, 'We cannot accept defeat today.' It's America's birthday. I can't be more happy with it."

More to follow......

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07/04/09
f2000

Inge Takes Pole as Records Drop
American Matthew Inge lowered the track record at Watkins Glen further en route to taking pole position for tomorrow's F2000 race. Inge set a quick lap of 1:53.015 early in the session that only Chris Miller could come close to, but he'll have to settle for second with a lap of 1:53.168. Miller was stuck in slower traffic for much of the session.

"The session was really good," commented Inge, who earns his first career pole and three championship points. "I learned from my mistakes yesterday and St. Clair gave me a great car so I was able to just put my head down and go for the pole."

Inge won his first F2000 race a few weeks ago at Mosport and was running in the top three yesterday until an incident with Remy Audette cost him his front wing on the back straight. Once St. Clair repaired the car Inge was laps down and out of contention, costing him valuable championship points in what appears to be a three-man fight for the title between him, Chris Miller and Remy Audette.

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07/04/09
tv news

Power, Logano, Miller, Allen and Miller guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE Robin Miller, Rick Allen and Alan Miller have been added as guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Sunday night, July 5. 

Robin Miller, open wheel racing analyst for SPEED, will join Dave Despain in a phone conversation to discuss the repercussions of Tony George's resignation from the IRL.  Rick Allen, NASCAR announcer for SPEED, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel.  Allen has a vote for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and will reveal his picks.  Also joining Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel will be Alan Miller, attorney, to discuss the NASCAR/Jeremy Mayfield substance abuse situation.

07/03/09 Will Power, IndyCar Series driver, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Sunday night, July 5.  Power recently announced a five race deal with Penske Racing.  Also joining Dave Despain as a special guest will be Joey Logano, driver for Joe Gibbs Racing and the youngest winner ever in Sprint Cup competition.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs on Sunday, July 5 at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.

Comment
07/04/09
ga

Rojas Puts Lexus On Pole At Daytona
Memo Rojas captured the pole position for Saturday’s Brumos 250 at Daytona International Speedway to give Lexus its fourth pole of the season in Grand-American Rolex Sports Car Series competition.

In addition to the four pole positions, the #01 Telmex Lexus has now qualified on the front row for each of the past six races since the season-opening Rolex 24.

Joining Rojas and co-driver Scott Pruett in today’s field are Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Scott Speed in a second Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus.  Despite just one previous test session, Busch improved throughout the morning qualifying session to an eventual 11th-place starting position. 

Today’s race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., prior to the evening’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event.  More later.....

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07/04/09
irl

Briscoe tops Franchitti in opening practice
Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe topped opening IndyCar practice at Watkins Glen Saturday morning.  Dario Franchitti was 2nd and Marco Andretti 3rd.

Several incidences highlighted the session included two offs by Milka Duno, Mike Conway backed it into the Armco, and a spin by EJ Viso. Mario Moraes apologized to Dario Franchitti after the session for chopping him.

Robert Doornbos lost most of the session due to a suspension problem but liked the track.  "This is a lot like Spa," said Doornbos. 

Results

Pos

Driver Start Pos Best Time Best Speed Diff Gap
1 Ryan Briscoe (6) 8 1:29.7715 135.143 --.---- --.----
2 Dario Franchitti (10) 15 1:29.9424 134.886 0.1709 0.1709
3 Marco Andretti (26) 12 1:30.0892 134.667 0.3177 0.1468
4 Graham Rahal (02) 4 1:30.2503 134.426 0.4788 0.1611
5 Mario Moraes (5) 21 1:30.3020 134.349 0.5305 0.0517
6 Justin Wilson (18) 3 1:30.4157 134.180 0.6442 0.1137
7 Tony Kanaan (11) 14 1:30.4338 134.153 0.6623 0.0181
8 Scott Dixon (9) 16 1:30.4947 134.063 0.7232 0.0609
9 Helio Castroneves (3) 6 1:30.5572 133.971 0.7857 0.0625
10 Hideki Mutoh (27) 17 1:30.5979 133.910 0.8264 0.0407
11 Danica Patrick (7) 7 1:30.6576 133.822 0.8861 0.0597
12 EJ Viso (13) 18 1:30.8014 133.610 1.0299 0.1438
13 Dan Wheldon (4) 11 1:30.8392 133.555 1.0677 0.0378
14 Robert Doornbos (06) 5 1:31.1722 133.067 1.4007 0.3330
15 Richard Antinucci (98) 10 1:31.6809 132.329 1.9094 0.5087
16 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 19 1:31.7804 132.185 2.0089 0.0995
17 Paul Tracy (15) 9 1:32.0303 131.826 2.2588 0.2499
18 Mike Conway (24) 1 1:32.3092 131.428 2.5377 0.2789
19 Raphael Matos (2) 20 1:32.3355 131.390
20 Ed Carpenter (20) 2 1:32.8942 130.600
21 Milka Duno (23) 13 1:34.4816 128.406

Comment
07/04/09
irl

Danica and Marco chime in on Indycar processions
Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti have admitted that the quality of oval racing in the IndyCar Series has declined sharply, and have given their verdicts on potential short- and long-term solutions. In her column for next month’s RACER magazine, Patrick writes: “I think that until we get more manufacturers in the IndyCar Series and get some separation in performance between cars so they have strengths and weaknesses in different areas, we’re stuck in a rut. Back when I started IndyCars in 2005, there were more variables – different chassis and engine combinations.

“That mix forced everyone to try different setups. As I recall, because the Honda was so good, we’d add downforce and maybe not work so much on mechanical grip because we knew we had the speed to pull bigger wings through the air. Toyota drivers would set their car up to have more mechanical grip, but because they were trimmed out, their cars would behave differently in traffic. Those little things shook the order up a lot more.”

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07/04/09
wsr

Mansell drives World Series car
1992 Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell tested his son Greg’s Ultimate Motorsport Formula Renault 3.5 Series Dallara-Renault at Silverstone today.  The elder Mansell is set to carry out a demonstration run on Sunday, and got down to a 1m40s, six seconds off the fastest time of the practice day, as he embarked on some exploratory laps.

“It was very good of Greg to let me borrow his car before qualifying,” said Nigel Mansell. “We have a few witnesses that the car is in one piece and I didn’t stall it or spin it. I won my world championship with Renault power, so it always good to feel their engines behind you again.

“My memories whenever I go down Hangar Straight are of the days in qualifying with 1000hp, so you always want a bit more power. I gave myself a bit of a fright today when I went to hit the brakes for Becketts, I moved my right foot across and ended up hitting the accelerator. I managed to slow the car down in time as I wasn’t going flat-out, after that the left-foot braking took a bit of getting used to.

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07/04/09
f1

Ecclestone fills news void with bizarre interview 
Ecclestone makes offensive and frightening statements
UPDATE
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has opened the door to a tirade of condemnation by decrying democracy and defending the world's most universal tyrants Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

In a highly controversial and bizarre interview with Britain's Times newspaper, the F1 chief executive said democracy "hasn't done a lot of good for many countries" and then went on to talk about some well-known despots.

"Terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people able to get things done," the 78-year-old said.

Ecclestone also slammed Britain's decision to support the US in overthrowing Iraq's Hussein because "he was the only one who could control that country".

As for the Taliban in Afghanistan, "it was the same".

FIA president Max Mosley was enraged at the recent suggestion he is a dictator, but Ecclestone said being decisive is a positive trait.

Read more & Comment...
07/04/09
irl
f1

New poll on Tony George situation
Below are the results from our previous poll.  A new poll regarding Tony George's removal from IMS and the IRL is on our home page.

Will a split all but destroy F1 like it did IndyCar?
Yes 67%
Not Sure 10%
No 23%


Comment
07/04/09
f2000

Miller Takes Third Victory at the Glen
Chris Miller made it the perfect day by setting fast lap and cruising to his third win of the season at Watkins Glen for JDC MotorSports. The race that saw multiple caution flags ended three laps early under red flag conditions, with Phil Lombardi finishing second just inches ahead of Remy Audette, who was missing a front wing.

“It was a great race, and for the championship it is even more important given where the other guys finished,” said Miller in post race tech inspection. “I have to thank Miller Milling, JDC and John Church for all their support. Remy (Audette) got close to me on a few restarts but was busy trying to keep Matt (McDonough) behind him so I was able to stretch my lead.”

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07/04/09
nassprint

Childress Nominated for Inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame
In his 40th anniversary as a team owner in NASCAR’s top division, Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, is one of 25 nominees for the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class.

A 21-person committee that consisted of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners selected the rich list of candidates that was released by NASCAR this week.

“I’m honored to be nominated for the first-ever Hall of Fame induction class and to have my name recognized with some of the sports greatest pioneers is humbling,” stated Childress. “I’ve said all along that race fans are what drive this sport and having them involved in the voting process is great. I enjoy spending time with the fans and I encourage them to go online and vote.”

Childress, who competed as a driver in NASCAR’s premier series from 1969-1981, turned a small race team into one of the most distinguished organizations in motorsports history. During that span, his teams have earned 12 NASCAR championships – six Sprint Cup Series titles with fellow Hall of Fame nominee Dale Earnhardt, five Nationwide Series championships and one Camping World Truck Series title. Childress was the first team owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.

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07/04/09
nassprint

Hornish Jr.: "I Am Right Where I Want To Be"
Sam Hornish Jr. glad he switched to NASCAR
"I didn't make the move to NASCAR on a whim or without being fully committed to becoming a successful stock car driver," said Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Dodge.  "When I made the decision to come to NASCAR, I considered myself a stock car driver and have ever since".

"There was never any question in my mind if I would return to open wheel racing," continued Hornish.  "I am right where I want to be."

"Roger Penske let me run a few Nationwide races while I was still competing in the IndyCar Series and in 2007; we made a couple of Cup starts as well," said Hornish.

"He (Penske) wanted me to see if it was something I liked and we both knew that I had to do it full-time if I wanted to succeed."

As a result, Hornish said farewell to IndyCar racing and hello to full-time NASCAR Cup racing.

"I knew how hard it was going to be," continued Hornish. "I wanted to challenge myself."

Hornish continued,  "I told myself this could be the biggest mistake that I ever made.  But I had a taste of this, and wanted more."

Comment
07/03/09
automotive

Chevrolet Camaro outsells Ford Mustang in June
Despite having fewer model variations on the market, pent up demand for the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro appears to have been enough to send the bad Bowtie past Ford's redone Mustang in June. Sales figures for the month are beginning to trickle in today, and General Motors says it shifted 9,320 Camaro units last month, as compared to the Blue Oval's 7,632 Mustangs.

Whether Chevrolet's victory will be sustainable over the long haul remains to be seen, but as The General has a backlog of 10,000 sold orders to fill (equating to less than a seven day supply), the streak is likely to continue for at least the next few months. Presently, GM offers just two main Camaro models, the V6 RS and the V8-powered SS, while the Ford Mustang has more body styles and trims than you can shake a stick at (arguably making the Camaro's achievement seemingly that much more impressive).

Sales of the third leg of 2009's pony car table, the Dodge Challenger, trail far behind, with just 1,369 units cleared last month.

Comment
07/03/09
irl

NY State Governor to serve  as Honorary Starter
Watkins Glen International announced that the Governor of New York State, David A. Paterson, will be the Honorary Starter for this year’s Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on Sunday, July 5.  The Governor is scheduled to wave the green flag to officially start the 60-lap event at 1:20 PM.  The Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen is one of only five IndyCar Series races to be broadcast live on ABC in 2009. 

“It is an honor to serve as the Honorary Starter for this year’s Camping World Grand Prix and a great way for so many New Yorkers, including myself, to celebrate this holiday weekend,” said Governor Paterson. “Watkins Glen International offers so many fun filled activities for New York’s families and tourists. I hope that all New Yorkers consider taking advantage of the 2009 season at Watkins Glen International.”

“I’d like to thank the Governor for joining us during this weekend’s race,” stated Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “This is the only stop in the state for the IndyCar Series, and we are proud to host him as our guest.”

Comment
07/03/09
motogp

Rossi leads opening practice at Laguna Seca
In perfect conditions at the Laguna Seca circuit on Friday afternoon, with blue skies, Californian sunshine and temperatures of 24°C, the MotoGP riders got the eighth race weekend of the year underway – the World Champion Valentino Rossi putting down the fastest time late in FP1.

The current MotoGP ‘big three’ were on top again as the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix commenced, Rossi followed on the timesheet by his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati’s Casey Stoner.

Rossi’s 1’21.981s lap around the shortest track on the MotoGP calendar, on the last of his 32 laps, was enough to put him 0.112s ahead of the young pretender to his crown Lorenzo.

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07/03/09
fil

Davison wins Lights pole
James Davison
Ron McQueeney/IRL
James Davison earned his first pole start of the season and second of his Firestone Indy Lights career July 3 with a quick lap of 1 minute, 37.1780 seconds (124.843 mph) on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International course for the Corning 100 on July 4.

The Vision Racing driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Saavedra, who posted a quick lap of 1:37.2694 (124.726) in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing. 

James Hinchcliffe (1:37.3383) in the No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car will share Row two with series points leader J.R. Hildebrand (1:37.3384), driving the No. 26 ARPRO car for ARPRO Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing.

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07/03/09
nascar

France defends NASCAR's drug policy
Brian France says NASCAR's drug-testing policy is a fair system that protects its competitors and fans from the dangers of an impaired driver on the race track. The NASCAR chairman says the drug policy is still the best in professional sports, despite a federal judge's decision to reinstate driver Jeremy Mayfield. France says in the interest of safety, NASCAR should be able to suspend a driver who has a positive drug test result.

Comment
07/03/09
irl

Doornbos picks up minor sponsor
Brand new internet start-up Flogs.com just signed a sponsoring agreement with IndyCar Series race team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and race driver Robert Doornbos. Flogs.com offers the largest range of digital calendars. The company was founded in 2008. In order to grow in the enormous American market Flogs.com has chosen the IndyCar Series and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing as carrier for their first campaign.

"We are happy that we can join the successful Newman/ Haas/Lanigan Racing team at this moment," said Toon Timmermans, founder and chairman of Flogs.com.

"The team is gaining momentum and is knocking on victory's door. Outside this we are proud to become a partner of Dutch superstar Robert Doornbos (Bobby D), the only Dutch race driver in the IndyCar Series in 2009. Flogs.com has ambitious plans and we are convinced that this partnership will help us achieving our goals." "We welcome Flogs to our sponsor family and look forward to having the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Indy car program help in growing Flogs' business in the US and worldwide," said Carl Haas, founder and co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing with Michael Lanigan.

Comment
07/03/09
motogp

Rossi wins Superkart race
Reigning MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi made a winning start of this racing weekend at Laguna Seca. However, he did not do it on two wheels, but on four, as he took the chequered flag in the SuperKart ‘exhibition’ race on Thursday. The Italian ace competed against three MotoGP legends during yesterday's event, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and Kenny Roberts Sr. The four MotoGP champions all used to ride for Japanese manufacturer Yamaha – Rossi still is – and competed in a one-lap sprint on the Laguna Seca circuit.

Just like it happened during Rossi's 100th MotoGP win at Assen, the Italian crossed the finish line way ahead of his competitors. The reason for that, argued Rainey afterwards, was Rossi's breaking the deal between the 4 riders prior to the race.

“We had a plan, and it didn’t quite work. We were all going to stay together, but suddenly we looked round and said ‘where did Valentino go?” said Lawson, according to MotoGP's official site.

“It was a lot of fun, getting to race against these guys, and against Valentino for the first time. I maybe wasn’t so fast today…fourth fastest,” added Lawson. Hopefully for Yamaha, Rossi will build on his Thursday success and reiterate his first place at the chequered flag on Sunday also, as he is currently caught in a thrilling battle for the championship with teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati's Casey Stoner. The Italian is leading the championship only 5 points ahead of Lorenzo and 9 ahead of Stoner.

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07/03/09
nhra

Drag racer turned drug addict
A former professional drag racer was arrested on drug charges Thursday during a raid on the North side of Indy.  Jeff O'Neill, the 2007 International Hot Rod Association's Rookie of the Year, was held without bond in the Marion County Jail on initial charges of dealing a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, records show.

O'Neill, 28, and another man were arrested when police served a search warrant on suspected narcotics dealers who they believe had been selling near McDonald's, 37 W. 38th St., said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell.  Police arrested O'Neill and Charles Reynolds, 58, in the parking lot, Duhamell said.

Comment
07/03/09
f1

Backmarker BMW team hoping new diffuser works
With just eight points from the season to date, BMW Sauber head to their home Grand Prix at the Nurburgring next week determined to try and close the gap to the front runners.  This year the team went from being a frontrunner to a backmarker almost overnight.  The drivers cannot do anything, the car is a dog, much like the McLaren.

With just three points finishes in the first eight races, the team hope that its latest double-decker diffuser design will help turn around their fortunes, something that Team Principal Mario Theissen seems relatively confident of.

"Going into the German Grand Prix, we cannot be happy with the season so far," admitted Theissen. “After three successful years, this recent period has been the first set-back for our team - and is one we will overcome. After all, this is the same team in Munich and Hinwil that has delivered continuous improvements since the team was founded."

"We are all absolutely determined to start moving forwards again and I expect us to experience an upturn in form," he continued. 

"It is certainly not easy to make up lost ground without the chance to do any testing, but that is what we’re aiming to do."

Head of Engineering Willy Rampf is keen to put the team’s latest disappointment behind them and put on a good show for the German fans. The German however remains more cautious.

“We will be bringing a modified version of our double-decker diffuser to the Nurburgring, and we have also made improvements on the mechanical side. Much will doubtless depend on how successful we are at getting the tires to work...”

Comment
07/03/09
nassprint

Cup drivers earn brownie points with NASCAR
Jeremy Mayfield didn’t bring a racecar to Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, which means he won’t be on the track Saturday night to compete in the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup race. But he likely will return at some point now that a federal judge has granted a temporary injunction allowing Mayfield to race again after he was suspended on May 9 for failing a NASCAR drug test.

The news was met with both discomfort and disinterest in the NASCAR garage.

Mayfield had tested positive for methamphetamines, although he claims the test was faulty and he never took the drug. That doesn’t necessarily ease the mind of at least one driver who will have to race against him.

“I would say that if my car was starting next to his I would wonder about the first lap,’’ driver Ryan Newman said on Thursday at Daytona. “If I was in a position where I was racing him I would potentially question that judgment but I don’t know how to actually do that until that happens.’’

Read more & Comment...
07/03/09
track news

Milwaukee Mile closes its doors, plan the funeral
The Milwaukee Mile office is closed, and all 12 staff members have been laid off at least temporarily. Whether the oldest auto racing facility in the country lives to see its 107th birthday is in grave doubt even among its biggest boosters.

''It depends totally if I'm able to get some investors," promoter Claude Napier said Thursday in a telephone interview from Texas.

''I knew I was going to be short of money."

Napier, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin Motorsports, admitted to the Journal Sentinel for the first time that he had no other financial backers when he entered into a deal in February with State Fair Park, where the track is located.

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07/03/09
irl

Power to drive Penske Truck entry
Penske Racing announced today that driver Will Power will compete in five upcoming IndyCar Series races behind the wheel of the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.

Power is scheduled to drive for Penske Racing at IndyCar Series events in Toronto (July 12), Edmonton (July 26), Kentucky (August 1), Sonoma (August 23) and Miami (October 10).

Upon joining Penske Racing prior to the start of the 2009 season, Power drove for the team throughout pre-season testing and in three of the first four events on the IndyCar Series schedule. He produced solid results, earning a pole position, two top-five and three top-10 finishes.

“Will has done a terrific job for Penske Racing and he has earned the opportunity to compete in more races,” said Roger Penske. “Will is a great asset to the team and we are excited to have him compete at these additional five races in the Penske Truck Rental Indy car.”

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07/03/09
irl

Earlier start time for Glen race to help fans
In the first four IndyCar events at Watkins Glen, the start of the race had been later in the afternoon. Last year it started at 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, the race will start two hours earlier. The move was made after feedback the track received from fans.

The previous late starts were done primarily to provide a better fit for the Sunday television schedule and also to avoid being in direct competition with other major sports' traditional broadcasts. The late start times, however, weren't convenient for fans attending the event, especially those who had long trips home.

The green flag will wave for Sunday's 60-lap race at 1:30 p.m. With a projected finish of around 3:30 p.m., this will allows fans time to get home earlier Sunday evening.

Comment
07/03/09
nnw

Penalties revised for crew chief
NASCAR on Tuesday revised its penalty against Nationwide Series crew chief Bryan Berry and will lift his indefinite suspension on July 7.

Berry was indefinitely suspended June 11 for the use of a racial slur directed toward driver Marc Davis following a race at Nashville Superspeedway.

NASCAR officials confirmed at the time that Berry, crew chief for series rookie Brendan Gaughan, had a verbal confrontation with Davis, who is black. Berry, who is white, used a racial slur on his way to confront Davis as the two exchanged words about an incident between Gaughan and Davis on pit road.

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07/03/09
irl

NHLR drivers Rahal and Doornbos welcome road courses
McDonald’s driver Graham Rahal and teammate Robert Doornbos have been looking forward to this weekend’s Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen since the start of the 2009 IndyCar Series season.  The 11-turn, 3.4 mile permanent road course is the first of its kind on the 17-race schedule so far this season and both drivers are excited to get back on a road course for Round 9. 

“I would say that everyone on the entire team is looking forward to some road races,” said Rahal, who is looking to carry momentum from his highest finish of the season to date of third last Saturday in Richmond where he became the first transition team driver to earn a podium on an oval.  “We have momentum on our side and I think that over the next few races the opportunity for a win for our team is very high. We ought to be amongst the best on the road and street courses.”

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07/03/09
f1

Dallara looks forward to F1 challenge
Even though the IRL feels compelled to stick with just Dallara for its next IndyCar, Dallara has no such allegiance to the IRL.  They are involved with many series, including now F1.

Gian Paolo Dallara says building a Formula 1 car for the Campos Meta team will be a 'fascinating' challenge for the Italian company.  Dallara will design the Cosworth powered car the Spanish squad will use next year.

"I've accepted this opportunity with enthusiasm," Dallara told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's scary, but it's exciting for me and for my entire company, because this is a fascinating challenge that tests energy and creativity.

"We've been working for three months already."

"[The goal is] having the car running around January 10. Let's hope it's quick. I mean for Campos, but also for us," he added.

"We have strong people with fresh experiences like Gabriele Tredozi, who for years was the technical head at Minardi, and like Ben Agathangelou, aerodynamicist for Red Bull and Ross Brawn's Honda. And then there are our people, all of them good," Dallara added.

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07/03/09
motogp

Rossi switches to four wheels
MotoGP World Championship leader Valentino Rossi made an early foray onto the Laguna Seca tarmac today, taking part in a Superkart exhibition alongside fellow Yamaha legends Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey. The foursome made four laps in Superkarts powered by a specially-prepared Yamaha TZ 250 engines, which lap the 3.601km California circuit just a couple of seconds slower than the MotoGP bikes.

The Italian and the three Americans hold an impressive 18 Grand Prix World Championship titles between them, including three each for Yamaha.

Valentino Rossi
“Honestly I was bit nervous about the Superkarts before because I know how fast these things are! I sometimes drive one in Italy with friends, just for fun, but I know that Kenny, Eddie and Wayne like to race and they’re quite serious! Also this isn’t the easiest track… Anyway, it was great fun and I enjoyed myself a lot. The kart is quite incredible; the gearbox is very good and in the hard braking areas it’s really impressive. It feels very fast and it’s possible to have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike tomorrow however!” 

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07/03/09
nassprint

NASCAR questions Mayfield's urgency to get back to track
Jeremy Mayfield
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Jeremy Mayfield's absence from the track Friday called into question the argument his attorneys used in requesting a preliminary injunction on NASCAR's drug suspension. Here's what Poston said: "Jeremy and his legal team asked for a preliminary injunction for emergency relief because it was necessary apparently to come and compete here in Daytona. Apparently he’s not here and it appears as if he’s not going to compete this weekend which would raise some questions on how much of an emergency it really was."  Orlando Sentinel

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07/03/09
nascar

NASCAR plans no immediate changes to drug policy
NASCAR does not plan any immediate changes to its substance-abuse policy in light of Jeremy Mayfield's victory in obtaining a preliminary injunction forcing NASCAR to lift his suspension for an alleged positive drug test for methamphetamines, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday. Part of Mayfield's case questions the guidelines that NASCAR must follow in its drug-testing policy. Mayfield argues that NASCAR must follow the guidelines for federal agencies; NASCAR contends that it does not have to do so. NASCAR will continue with its random drug-testing policy, which it implemented this year, during this weekend's events at Daytona International Speedway just as it has done all year, Poston said. Poston said he is not aware of any challenges from any crew members suspended this year under the policy, and he did not think the ruling would prompt challenges. SceneDaily

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07/03/09
f1

Valencia street course reduces capacity
(GMM)  Organizers of the European grand prix at Valencia have reduced the seating capacity of its city street circuit ahead of next month's event.

The venue made its formula one debut last year but tickets for the 2009 race are "not selling as fast", promoter Jorge Martinez Aspar, of Valmor Sports, admitted.

Last year we reported that the event sold out after offering 112,771 seats, with Aspar indicating he would consider increasing the capacity of the grandstands for subsequent events.

But he is now telling the Spanish news agency EFE that approximately 35,000 fewer seats will be available for the August 23 race "although we are still investigating".

Aspar added that the reduction in demand was anticipated after seeing significantly fewer tickets sold for the Spanish grand prix in Barcelona in May.

He also laments the FIA-FOTA war, criticizing those who "spoke too much".  "My hope is that from now on the last months can be forgotten," Aspar added.

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07/03/09
irl

Watkins Glen Challenge awaits Tracy
Even racing veterans such as Paul Tracy have roads yet untraveled.  His lies in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York at Watkins Glen International, a 3.4-mile, 11-turn layout that was on the Toronto native's radar early on. The trouble was, the circuit was absent from open-wheel racing by the time Tracy reached the premier level, which is why he's eager to see what he missed in Sunday's Camping World at The Glen IndyCar Series race.

It marks the first of three consecutive road- and street-course events for the series and for Tracy, driving a second KV Racing Technology Dallara/Honda since finishing ninth in the Indianapolis 500 in May. After Watkins Glen, the series moves to Toronto's streets July 12 and Edmonton's airport July 26.

"I want to do well there, but I've got to focus on running well as opposed to winning," said the 2003 CART champion, still seeking a full-time ride.

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