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Austin Lawsuit against comptroller over F1 subsidy withdrawn  A judge today granted a plaintiff’s request to withdraw a lawsuit against Comptroller Susan Combs over a $25 million state subsidy for a Formula One race planned at a racetrack southeast of Austin next year.

The withdrawal comes a week after District Judge Rhonda Hurley ruled that she would not issue a temporary restraining order halting the payment from the comptroller’s Major Events Trust Fund to Circuit of the Americas.

At the time, plaintiff’s attorney Bill Aleshire said that decision put the lawsuit in doubt.

The lawsuit, filed by three Austin-area residents, asserted, among other things, that the comptroller had promised local race organizer Tavo Hellmund the taxpayer money before she was legally authorized to do so. More ...

Heidfeld unimpressed by 'new' Silverstone  Renault’s Nick Heidfeld admits he has been left disappointed by the changes that have been made to Silverstone. The track has a new start-finish straight this year as part of the revamp and the construction of the Silverstone Wing complex.

On the new circuit, the first corner is Abbey which leads in to Farm Curve which leads into the Arena area of the track where previously drivers would have headed through Bridge and Priory.

While the complex itself may be impressive, Heidfeld is not convinced by the changes made to the track. More ...

tv news
TNT Rolling Out Enhanced Audio For Kentucky NASCAR Race  

TNT's coverage of Saturday night's Quaker State 400, the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, will feature a "special audio-enhanced telecast with 40 additional special effects microphones placed in multiple positions around the track." The mics will be located "on pit road, the front and backstretches and the turns, to boost the listening experience" for viewers  CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.

The net also will use increased audio from in-car communication between drivers and crews TNT PR.

Kentucky Trucks Race Keeps Rating Streak Alive  According to Nielsen Media Research, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Kentucky on Thursday night on SPEED scored a Household Rating of 0.66, up 22 percent from last year’s race on the same weekend (Iowa, 0.54), marking the seventh consecutive NCWTS race to show a year-to-year ratings increase (Texas +9%, Kansas +28%, Martinsville +4%, Nashville +18%, Dover +26%, and Charlotte +42%).  So far this season, The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is pacing up +6% in HHs (0.94 vs. 0.89) compared with events during equivalent dates last season.
Canceled: Cup Series qualifying at Kentucky  Twenty-two cars took their qualifying laps but it was all for naught as rain ended Cup qualifying early forcing NASCAR to go to final practice speeds to set the lineup. Kyle Busch gets the pole.

Juan Montoya and Kurt Busch will start 2nd and 3rd. More ...

IndyCar Toronto Friday Notebook  The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in the Honda Indy Toronto, an 85-lap race at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. Firestone Indy Lights will compete in the Toronto 100, a 50-lap race at Noon p.m. (EDT) Sunday.


This is the third IZOD IndyCar Series event at Toronto's Exhibition Place, but 25th IndyCar race in Toronto if you include all the CART and Champ Car years. Will Power won the race last year. Power holds the qualifying record with a lap of 1:01.6026, 105.397 mph set last year. Past Indy car race winners Power, Dario Franchitti (2009, 1999), Justin Wilson (2005), Sebastien Bourdais (2004) and Paul Tracy (1993 and 2003) are entered in the event. More ...

track news
Kansas Speedway to be repaved  Kansas Speedway, which opened in 2001, will repave its surface and add variable banking in the turns between the running of its two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2012, track officials announced today.

Kansas currently hosts Cup events in June and October. It is possible that its spring Cup race in 2012 could be moved to April or May to allow more time for the project to be completed.

In announcing the project, which will also include the construction of a road course, track officials wouldn’t comment on the 2012 race dates.  More ...

Will Power tops 2nd IndyCar Practice  
Will Power
Will Power eclipsed early pace-setter Scott Dixon in the final minutes of IZOD IndyCar Series practice to claim the quick time Friday in preparation for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto.  Power, the defending race winner on this downtown street circuit, edged ahead of both Dixon and third-fast Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti, winner here in both 2009 Sunday's ninth of 17 rounds.

Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe was fourth-fastest on the day, leading the six IndyCar rookies in the field, with Tony Kanaan rounding out the top five.  Action on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition continues Saturday with Firestone "Fast Six" knockout qualifying.  Sunday's 85-lap race starts at 2 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on VERSUS. More ...

Ex-Miss Sprint Cup Paige Duke hopes others learn from her ‘mistake’  Paige Duke, the former Miss Sprint Cup who was fired from her job after nude pictures she took six years ago recently surfaced on websites, is willing to tell her story to just about anyone in an effort to teach young women the implications of having such photographs taken.

She also says she won’t be talking to, or posing for, Playboy or other adult magazines.

For the past 18 months, the 24-year-old Clemson graduate was one of three Miss Sprint Cup representatives, serving as a face in victory lane and as an ambassador of NASCAR and Sprint.

Once the photos, which Duke said she sent to her then-boyfriend, began appearing, Sprint officials informed her she would no longer be a part of the company’s program. More ...

Slumping Team Penske shakes up team  
Roger Penske
Tim Cindric, who had been the race strategist for the No. 3 Team Penske car driven by Helio Castroneves since 2000, has moved to the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car for the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend and the remainder of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.

The move, proposed by team general manager Clive Howell, is simple: Will Power, who's in the championship hunt, has had some inconsistencies in the pits in recent races and would benefit from Cindric's leadership.

"Before we started running three cars, and even when we were running a partial season with three cars, Clive is the general manager of our organization and it really gave us a lot more depth when he was concentrating on those duties while the cars were running," said Cindric following the initial practice session in which Castroneves was second quick (1 minute, 1.632 seconds -- 0.0640 of a second behind Franchitti) on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn circuit. More ...

Villeneuve says no to IndyCar finale  Former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve won’t be competing in the IndyCar Series season finale at Las Vegas in October with its purse of $5 million being offered to any non-series driver who can take the win.

Villeneuve told Auto123.com on March 10, some four months ago, that he was only vaguely interested.

“That’s the kind of race that needs to be done right. It represents a huge challenge and you need to do things the right way. Additionally, it may be pretty dangerous out there as that race will turn into a dash-for-cash,” Villeneuve told us. More ...

Wilson tops Indy Lights practice  With limited time on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit, Stefan Wilson sought to make every lap count.

“We had a few things we wanted to try, see how the car is reacting, and had some good times,” said Wilson, who topped the time chart with a quick lap (of his 26) of 1 minute, 5.6385 seconds in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport car. “We found some good things to move forward. More ...

Sims dominates rain soaked GP3 practice  Alexander Sims keeps the British flags flying after topping the second GP3 practice session in Silverstone

The Status Grand Prix driver’s best lap of 2:11.573 was nearly one second quicker than fellow Brit Lewis Williamson, in a rain socked practice at Silverstone Circuit, which saw the young drivers battle with difficult conditions throughout. 

A torrential downpour during the earlier GP2 qualifying session ensured all the drivers headed out onto the track equipped with Pirelli P Zero wet weather tires, and it was MW Arden’s Mitch Evans who was first out the pits. Despite the rain having eased off, the drivers were still having to deal with tricky conditions which saw numerous spinning cars, but MW Arden’s Williamson and Sims managed to find enough grip to plant themselves at the top of the timesheet early on, together with this morning’s quickest man Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and his Marussia Manor Racing teammate Rio Haryanto. More ...
F1 title rivals row as FIA clampdown gets messy  (GMM)  Bosses of the rival Red Bull and McLaren teams rowed publicly on Friday as the FIA's blown exhaust clampdown took a twist at Silverstone.

It was scheduled that the governing body's rules clampdown would mean all teams would now have to limit their off-throttle diffuser exhaust blowing to just 10 per cent.

But trackside observers during practice on Friday noted that the Renault runners in particular, notably the dominant Red Bulls, sounded conspicuously loud under braking and in the corners.

Indeed, it emerged that the FIA had succumbed to the French engine supplier's argument that it be allowed to rev its power plants to 50 per cent off the throttle on the basis that it does not ignite the fuel in those circumstances. More ...

Toronto: Franchitti pips Castroneves in opening practice  Target Chip Ganassi ace Dario Franchitti knocked Helio Castroneves from the top of the timesheets on the last lap of the opening practice for the Toronto Honda IndyCar race on the streets around Exhibition Place. 

In a relatively incident free session, Franchitti's lap of 1m1.568s was just enough to beat the Penske driver who recorded a best lap of 1m1.632s.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson and Will Power rounded out the top-5. More ...

Bianchi tops rained out GP2 qualifying  
Jules Bianchi in the rain
Jules Bianchi claimed pole position for tomorrow's feature race in Silverstone after setting the fastest lap early in this afternoon's qualifying session before a torrential downpour brought an early end to the fight for the top spot: the Frenchman was just ahead of Alvaro Parente and Romain Grosjean on the timesheets.

The Frenchman's best lap of 1:58.531 was set on his second flying lap, with Parente crossing the line four tenths slower a few moments later. Bianchi and Grosjean were clearly on the pace immediately: the pair were swapping fastest sector times on their first flying lap, but Bianchi upped the ante next time round to give his rivals a new target. More ...
NASCAR's Pemberton and Darby discuss fuel injection testing  Transcript: Robin Pemberton And John Darby From Testing Session At Kentucky Speedway.
KERRY THARP: With this being kind of a special weekend here at Kentucky Speedway, the first time that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been on track, obviously we're having an extensive test session today here, we thought that it would be a good thing to bring in Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, and John Darby, who is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
Q. Robin, what else has to happen with fuel injection before next season? What about more tests scheduled?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: You know, we'll see what the racetrack has planned. We think they've done a great job here with the facility over the past few years getting things updated, getting enough seats in to hold the capacity crowd here. I understand they're sold out and it will be standing room only. We're all looking forward to that. For the rest of the year, we have a test scheduled at Phoenix that will be a tire confirmation test later in the year. That's about all we have on the schedule for right now. We do have some repaves that are on the books for next year and the year after. So we're still working on the schedules for all of those.  More ...
Toyota Racing EFI Testing Notes  Mike Skinner tested Electronic Fuel Injection in a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota at Kentucky on Thursday. Lee White, president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development.
Some quotes from both:
Q) How was the first testing session with the Camry outfitted with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)?
Mike Skinner "We started out a little rocky this morning -- we had some skips and a few bumps in the road. They've worked really, really hard. They've remapped this EFI system several times and they've got it running really, really good now. I think it's going to be competitive. I think the lap times were respectable for what we're doing and the car we're doing it with. I think we're far enough along now to put one of our full-time Sprint Cup drivers in it and get a second opinion and see what they think about it."
Q) Could you tell a difference between the EFI car and a non-fuel injected Camry?
Mike Skinner "I drove both today, as you know, and on the race track at first you could tell a lot of difference, but we didn't have this thing worked out. Each map change that they've made -- they went backwards, they went forwards, they went backwards and they went forward -- the last three runs have all been forward. On the race track now, I'm not so sure you can tell a big difference at all."
Q) How do you feel about the move to EFI?
Lee White "The injection thing, particularly at the level we're doing it here, is something we have three decades of experience with. It doesn't mean it's easy, because we want to do it right. We've spent a lot of time working together with McLaren and Freescale, and of course with NASCAR. We've had weekly meetings with NASCAR to try and contribute with everything around the ECU that McLaren provides: the looming; the sensors; connectors between the ECU and harness that is in the engine compartment; how you deal with heat; how you deal with crash damage; if you have to change out an ECU what kind of connector can you use; and tried to help them from our experience. We've done some track testing that the NASCAR guys have done with us and participated and collected data along with our own guys for our use. It's been a very cooperative project and I'm sure the other manufacturers have contributed, as well as engine builders that are out there -- with Hendrick, Roush, Yates, Childress, Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD. It's a very interesting program and we're moving forward with it." Toyota Racing
Brawn admits new Schumacher contract possible  (GMM)  Ross Brawn on Friday said he can imagine extending Michael Schumacher's contract beyond 2012.

Two weeks ago, the Mercedes boss triggered a wave of speculation by revealing that seven time world champion could if he wanted trigger a break clause in his three-year deal at the end of 2011.

But Schumacher, 42, said at Silverstone that he is definitely staying for his third contracted season next year, and Brawn on Friday suggested a contract extension is even possible.

"For us there is no time limit of how long Michael will continue driving," he is quoted by the German news agency SID.

"If we can give him the right car and he continues to enjoy driving and is successful, there is no reason to stop," added the Briton.

"Let's see what happens." More ...

British GP: Massa tops practice 2 as rain continues  
Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa turned a lap of 1m49.967s for Ferrari to take the top spot just as the wet 2nd practice session finished for Sunday's British GP.  His lap on a drying track dropped  Mercedes' Nico Rosberg to 2nd by 0.777 seconds.

Sauber repaired Kamui Kobayashi's car following his massive morning accident and he took third, ahead of McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, with Sutil sixth.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m49.967s +0.000s 9
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.744s +0.777s 16
3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.395s +1.428s 16
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.438s +1.471s 6
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.518s +1.551s 6
6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m51.738s +1.771s 18
7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m51.781s +1.814s 7
8. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m51.992s +2.025s 13
9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m52.169s +2.202s 12
10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m52.189s +2.222s 21
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m52.198s +2.231s 9
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m52.325s +2.358s 12
13. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m52.578s +2.611s 16
14. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m52.587s +2.620s 6
15. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m52.869s +2.902s 8
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m54.023s +4.056s 8
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m54.274s +4.307s 16
18. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m54.545s +4.578s 4
19. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m54.714s +4.747s 13
20. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m55.155s +5.188s 8
21. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m55.155s +5.188s 12
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m55.549s +5.582s 10
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m55.828s +5.861s 10
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m56.037s +6.070s 6

Brit Quaife-Hobbs leads the way in Silverstone  Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs started his quest for home glory this morning by topping free practice 1 at Silverstone Circuit.

The fourth round of 2011 GP3 Series kicked off this morning with the first of two Friday practice sessions at the Northamptonshire circuit and the British driver set the pace claiming the top spot  with a time of 1:52.066 nearly four tenths ahead of fellow countryman Lewis Williamson.

Under dark and ominous looking clouds, the thirty strong field went out on Pirelli P Zero wet weather tires to test the conditions of the drying track. MW Arden’s Williamson was the first man to set the pace, but no sooner had the Scotman gone top the field were back in the pits to switch to slicks. More ...
Penske can keep Danica in IndyCar  
Roger Penske might be key to Danica Patrick staying with IndyCar
Honda Canada threw a dinner for some of us in the media last night with Paul Tracy as the special guest and a major topic of conversation was Danica Patrick – will she or won’t she leave IndyCar racing in favor of NASCAR in 2012?

It’s pretty amazing when Tracy himself stands up to say a few words and asks the question that’s on everybody’s mind: does anybody know what Danica’s going to do?

The reason, of course, is that Danica Patrick is a celebrity, a lightning rod of conversation and controversy, and just about the only true star the IZOD IndyCar Series has.

Now, everybody knows who Paul Tracy is, and Dario Franchitti, and Marco Andretti – don’t they? More ...

Video: Kobayashi big crash Silverstone  It happened in the morning wet practice:

Brawn: FIA right to ban off-throttle diffusers  Ross Brawn has backed the FIA's decision to ban off-throttle blown diffusers, saying it has prevented the season from being marred by protests.

"Leaving things as they were, we were going to get protests and we certainly did not want that," the Mercedes GP team boss told Autosport.

"Fundamentally I would rather leave things alone, but what I would not want to see is a lot of protest and F1 getting into a mess and into issues and the appeal court.

"We have all been there, and we all know what happened with the diffusers a couple of years ago. This is different because the FIA were completely happy with the legality of diffusers, but now they are saying, 'somebody made a point and we can see it is a valid point so we want to control this'. More ...

Bird leads the way in home practice  Sam Bird has set the pace in this morning's free practice session in Silverstone, using his local knowledge to come out on top in changeable conditions to lead an iSport 1-3 ahead of Romain Grosjean and teammate Marcus Ericsson.

The Englishman's best lap of 1:41.763 was nearly two tenths quicker than Series rival Grosjean with Bird's teammate half a second off his best time, set with just three minutes remaining in a session that saw times tumble as the track warmed up. More ...
Kyle Busch goes last to first in Kentucky  Kyle Busch’s mastery of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series continued Thursday night when the Cup star racked up his fifth series win of the season during a green-white-checkered finish in the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

As is typically the case whenever Busch ventures into the Truck ranks, his No. 18 Toyota pretty much had its way with rivals as it picked its way through the field.

Busch, who qualified eighth, was forced to start from the rear of the field after missing driver introductions. More ...
Button adds sinus problem to injury list  (GMM) Jenson Button is also suffering with a sinus problem.

The 2009 world champion, who has never stood on the podium at Silverstone let alone won his home grand prix, banged his knee earlier this week during a media jet-skiing event in London.

"It was a stand-up jet-ski and we were told not to lean, but I did and fell in a strange way," said the Briton.

But it has emerged that the tweaked knee is not the 31-year-old's only problem this weekend.

"I've now got a sinus problem, so I can't swim, run or ride a bike. But I can drive an F1 car!" laughed Button.
TV News
NASCAR Coke Zero 400 TV Rating  TNT's NASCAR Summer Series coverage of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola topped the charts as basic cable's #1 program for the week, with 6.03 million viewers. It was also #1 for the week among adults 25-54 (2.7 million). Through its first four races, TNT's NASCAR Summer Series is averaging a 3.2 U.S. household rating, with 5.3 million viewers, up 6% over last year's performance. TNT PR
Racing News
Edwards named 2nd Quarter Driver of the Year  Carl Edwards was hot while it was still cool in the spring. As a result Edwards was voted the 2d quarter Driver of the Year 2011. Edwards who led the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, in the quarter ending June 26, was victorious in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and won three races in NASCAR's Nationwide series. In the voting Edwards took eight first-place ballots and totaled 98- points according to the Driver of the Year points system. The panel voted across the broad spectrum of professional racing with the NHRA's Del Worsham taking second place with 88 points and five first place votes. IndyCar's Scotland-born, Dario Franchitti, was third in the voting with 80 points and two first-place votes. Anyone driving on four wheels in US-based series or any American racing, globally on four wheels, is eligible, a total of 21 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. In its' 45th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 21 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Edwards will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch later this year. DOTY
British GP: Webber tops opening wet practice  Mark Webber went quickest in a very wet opening practice session for this weekend's British Grand Prix.

The Australian's best of 1m46.603s topped Mercedes' Michael Schumacher.  Rubens Barrichello posted the third quickest time for Williams, with Sergio Perez completing a promising session by finishing as fourth fastest.


Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m46.603s +0.000s 19
2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m47.263s +0.660 20
3. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m47.347s +0.744 23
4. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.422s +0.819 22
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m47.562s +0.959 13
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m47.758s +1.155 23
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m48.161s +1.558 16
8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.549s +1.946 21
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m48.598s +1.995 19
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.678s +2.075 22
11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m48.730s +2.127 18
12. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.778s +2.175 18
13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.794s +2.191 21
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m48.809s +2.206 17
15. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.841s +2.238 23
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m48.941s +2.338 20
17. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m49.603s +3.000 15
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.133s +3.530 17
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m50.222s +3.619 14
20. Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1m51.119s +4.516 17
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m52.470s +5.867 17
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m53.143s +6.540 20
23. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m53.469s +6.866 26
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m54.334s +7.731 24
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday  
  • Barrichello not ruling out switch
    Vettel set to 'pootle' to 2011 title
  • No early track debut for Williams-Renault reunion
  • Barrichello not ruling out team switch for 2012
  • Red Bull worried about FIA clampdown - Heidfeld
  • Mateschitz rules out McLaren drivers for Red Bull seat
  • Mixed reaction as F1 checks out new Silverstone
  • Rookie 'Rickardo' hopes to qualify for debut
  • Virgin steps could convince Glock to stay
  • Moss urges Hamilton to reappoint father/manager
  • Schumacher eyes third season of F1 comeback in 2012 More ...
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