Daly shines in the wet at Silverstone American MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly, second-generation formula car racer, completed what can only be described as an epic run, overcoming a challenging start to the weekend to secure his place at the front of the GP3 Series field. As can always be expected, the English countryside just north of London delivered unsettled weather and changing conditions. During the second lap of qualifying Daly hit a curb resulting in a damaged floor, which seriously compromised the down force levels of his car. Making matters worse, the track was drying so each lap got faster. With the field knocking off time, Daly would have to start last on Saturday for Race One.
Interview with Williams' Sam Michael Williams duo Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado left Silverstone empty handed on Sunday afternoon, with both drivers enduring difficult races at the iconic British venue. Technical Director Sam Michael discusses the weekend, before looking ahead to the German Grand Prix which takes in just under a fortnight’s time.
The team brought lots of upgrades to the British Grand Prix. How did they perform?
All the new parts we brought to Silverstone - the exhaust, diffuser, front wing and suspension - all performed as expected, so we ran them on both cars for qualifying and the race.
Kentucky NASCAR fans can drive into good deal at Brickyard 400 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has provided great fan experiences for the largest auto racing crowds in the world for 100 years, is offering special Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com promotions worth up to $50 for ticket holders from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race July 9 at Kentucky Speedway.
Fans who present a ticket from the Kentucky Sprint Cup race at the IMS Ticket Office or remote ticket locations will receive one free admission to Brickyard 400 practice Friday, July 29 or will be admitted to Brickyard 400 qualifying Saturday, July 30 for just $5.
Kentucky Speedway offering free tickets to fans stuck in traffic Kentucky Speedway is offering a ticket exchange to fans who were stuck in traffic and missed the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race at the track.
Traffic jams before Saturday night's Cup race left fans in their cars for hours as they attempted to get into the track. Many fans said once they got to the gate, they were turned away because there was no more parking.
"To those fans that were not able to attend the Quaker State 400, we offer our sincerest apologies," said Mark Simendinger, general manager, Kentucky Speedway. "We'd also like to apologize to all of our fans who endured challenging conditions during our event weekend. As we said earlier, we're committed to working with NASCAR, state and local officials and traffic experts to address Saturday's traffic issues to ensure that we never have this type of experience again."
Puccia replaces Erwin as No. 16 crew chief Matt Puccia will be the crew chief of the No. 16 3M Sprint Cup team at Roush Fenway Racing effective immediately. Puccia has been with Roush Fenway Racing since the end of 2004 and was most recently assigned to the research and development program. Prior to this season, Puccia was crew chief of the No. 98 Paul Menard entry throughout the 2010 Nationwide Series season, leading the team to 19 top-10 finishes and fifth place in the point standings.
IndyCar notebook Danica Patrick will be a presenter at the ESPY Awards on July 13 in Los Angeles. Franchitti is a nominee for Best Driver. … The Baltimore Convention Center will be home to the VIP Balcony Club in the Camden Lobby, which will offer broad views of Turns 5, 6, 7 and the entrance to pit lane among other exclusive features during the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 2-4. The convention center also will be the site of the paddock for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights Series, Star Mazda and USF2000. Go to www.baltimoregrandprix.com or call 877-4-FLY-TIX for info about the VIP Balcony Club or race weekend tickets.
Toronto race weekend shows gains The third IZOD IndyCar Series race - the 25th anniversary of Indy car racing on the streets of Toronto - helped raise more than $16,000 from spectators attending the Free Friday session (with matching funds from Honda Canada). The event was sponsored by the Ontario Honda Dealers Association.
Overall, the race weekend saw attendance gains over 2010 and an upswing in corporate hospitality and sponsorships.
"We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate 25 years of racing on the streets of Toronto," said Charlie Johnstone, vice president and general manager of the event for Green Savoree Toronto. "We are confident that the next quarter of a century will bring a growing amount of entertainment and satisfaction to our core race fans, customer base, sponsors, partners in the racing community and general public. There is indeed progress on all accounts." [Editor's Note: That all is all well and good. The event is a mere shadow of what it was when it was a CART race.]
IndyCar Drivers refuse to give up on streets of Toronto There was a moment during the Honda Indy Toronto, where Vitor Meira thought "Game over."
The 85 rough and tumble laps on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn street circuit knocked out six of the 26 starters via contact, while a dozen others were able to make quick repairs and rejoin the fray. Meira, whose No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing incurred a few scars from a Lap 47 shunt while running ninth, was among the handful of drivers who actually benefitted.
"It was a big wreck but that's where we really got lucky," said Meira, who started 14th and finished a season-best fifth. "We had to change the nose, but when everything was OK I got hopeful again. That's how it is; you never give up. The day you give up, you don't deserve to be here."
Panoz names lineup for Mosport Panoz Auto Development and Tom Milner’s Prototype Technology Group today announced the addition of Edward Sandström to drive for the team next week at Mosport International Raceway. He will join Ian James who has been working with Team Panoz and PTG as lead development driver since the testing program began last year.
The 32-year-old Sandström, who hails from Örebro, Sweden and is a regular in the FIA GT3 championship in Europe, is looking forward to the challenges of Mosport. A past Swedish Junior Touring Car champion and Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup champion, he is excited to try his hand in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.
Panoz and PTG first showed the Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans at Petit Le Mans last October at Road Atlanta. It did turn a processional lap prior to the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour event and was the centerpiece of the Panoz display in the main paddock. The Abruzzi “Spirit of the Le Mans” racer and its road-going counterpart sat alongside the Panoz GTR-1, LMP-01 prototype and the Esperante street car in a Panoz family tree.
Red Bull to decide 2012 Toro Rosso lineup - Tost (GMM) Franz Tost has admitted team owner Red Bull will decide Toro Rosso's 2012 driver lineup.
A mid-season driver change had been expected for the energy drink's secondary team this year, but Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi duly upped their game and have kept their places for now.
Red Bull's rising star Daniel Ricciardo therefore made his debut last weekend for the struggling Spanish team HRT, but a full-time place at Toro Rosso is regarded as likely for the 22-year-old Australian next season.
"He can't drive for Toro Rosso (in 2011) because we have two race drivers who are doing a good job," confirmed team boss Tost to redbull.com.
"What our driver pairing will be in 2012, I don't know yet. This will be decided by Red Bull at the end of the season."
Dale Jr. can't sneeze without the NASCAR 'groupies' in the media corp reporting about it
Although Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36, has another year remaining on his deal with Hendrick Motorsports, he didn't want the next contract to become a distraction.
That's why he enlisted his sister/confidant/business manager, Kelley, to expedite the process. I'm not in the middle of it," Earnhardt said. "Kelley and Marshall (Carlson, HMS president and Chief Operation Officer) are talking it out. I haven't even been in discussions. I called Rick and I said, 'Let's get this going,' and he said, 'Cool.' I told him, 'I'm going to let Kelley do my end,' and he said, 'I'm going to let Marshall do my end,' and they're handling it. I'm fortunate that I have good people around me that I trust enough to handle those kind of things. I could let Kelley do it from the ground up and not even worry about it, just not even have any questions or doubts. Even when she's finished with everything, I don't go in there and go, 'Man, I would have done this different,' or "I think this number should be different or should be better or worse.' She comes to me and tells me what's going on and I say, 'That sounds great! Keep going,' (laughs).
Kia Motors Posts 17.4% Global Sales Growth in June Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants) for passenger cars, recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for June 2011, recording a total of 216,106 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 17.4%. In June, Kia posted strong double-digit year-on-year sales increases in all of its overseas regions – 38.0% in North America (52,121 units sold), 26.6% in China (33,749 units sold), 24.8% in Europe (44,422 units sold), and 10.0% in general markets (43,614 units sold), while sales in the home market of Korea declined by 5.0% (42,200 units sold).
McLaren and Sauber fined McLaren and Sauber have both been slapped with fines for unsafe releases during pitstops at Sunday's British Grand Prix. McLaren were handed a €5,000 fine after Jenson Button's front-right wheel was not properly secured during a stop. Button had barely made it out of the pit lane when his team realized the wheel was still loose and he was immediately ordered to stop his car. The Briton was forced to retire from the race.
Sauber received a stiffer penalty of €20,000 after Kamui Kobayashi was released in front of Pastor Maldonado following a visit to the pits. The Japanese driver just managed to miss the Venezuelan's Williams, but collected the Force India air line on his way out of the pits.
Governor pledges to work with Speedway to fix traffic problems Gov. Steve Beshear said Sunday he will work with officials at Kentucky Speedway to address the traffic flow and parking problems that plagued Saturday's Quaker State 400.
A bottleneck traffic jam at Interstate 71's Exit 57 onto Ky. 35, the road that runs by the track, left thousands stuck in traffic for six hours in many cases and ultimately too late to see the race. Many ticket holders also said they were turned away when they eventually arrived after the race began because there was no more parking left at the track.
"There is no question that the entire week at the Kentucky Speedway was a big success, but it's also clear that there are issues, such as traffic flow, which must be addressed before next year's event," Beshear said in a statement. "We will work with track officials to determine what can be done to address these problems, so that next year's NASCAR event will be even bigger and better."
Q and A: Kentucky Speedway GM discusses traffic mess The mass traffic congestion entering Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 on Saturday was the dominant story of the first Sprint Cup race in Sparta. Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger talked about the issues that caused the traffic jam.
Question: Were you expecting people to have so much trouble getting into the track?
Answer: "Um, no, we weren't. We're learning a lot today."
Bunch of angry Indy drivers slam each other Honda Indy Toronto officials couldn’t have found a better guy than Dan Aykroyd to start Sunday’s race.
The Kingston native was, after all, one of the stars of The Blues Brothers, the 1980 comedy that featured dozens upon dozens of cars crashing into each other.
Indeed, only minutes after Ackroyd gave the command, “Drivers start your engines!”, the carnage began. And by the end of the race, there were more angry and bitter drivers on Lakeshore Blvd than there usually are during a typical Toronto rush hour. Yes, the race was that hairy.
The Indy featured non-stop crashing and even more bitterness, and when the smoke cleared (literally) IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing managed to hold on for the victory, although the Scotsman certainly didn’t escape controversy or contact.
Statement from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France "While NASCAR was thrilled by the incredible response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Kentucky, we also are extremely disappointed by the traffic problems and inconveniences endured by fans who wanted to be part of our races at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR will be in close communications with Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to see that they work to resolve the issues. This situation cannot happen again."
Video: Huge Crash at the Nürburgring BMW Alpina B6 GT3 flies over barriers 2011 ADAC GT Masters. Watch the Port-O-John go over. Let's hope no one was in there at the time. Can you image what would have spilled all over them?
Aykroyd pulled over for speeding before Indy Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, the grand marshal of the Honda Indy Toronto, said he was pulled over for speeding on his way to the race. Aykroyd drew laughs when he said he had been stopped Sunday as he was "racing to the race."
"You know when you see these races, you want to get into your vehicles and drive home and you do it trying to imitate the driver. That won't be me this afternoon," said the 59-year-old actor, adding the police officer let him off with a warning.
The Ottawa native, who was an original cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and famous for movies such as "Ghostbusters" and "The Blues Brothers," also proposed changing the traditional race intro "Gentleman, start your engines" to "Drivers, start your engines."
IndyCar driver Justin Wilson's younger brother Stefan Wilson won his first Indy Lights race on the streets of Toronto Canada in convincing style. He opened up a lead of over 10 seconds before a late caution flag for the crash of David Ferreira closed the field up and the race ended under caution.
A happy Stefan Wilson was glad to get the monkey off his back and get his first win after 3 years.
"I love street courses and I love Toronto," said Wilson. "Thanks to the Andretti team for giving me a good setup today. I could have won by 15 seconds if not for the caution flag at the end."
Father tells Hamilton to keep McLaren 'together' (GMM) Lewis Hamilton's estranged manager, father Anthony Hamilton, has advised the 2008 world champion to commit his future to McLaren.
26-year-old Hamilton's career is now handled by pop star manager Simon Fuller, who instructed the Briton to hand over a business card to Red Bull's Christian Horner a few weeks ago in Canada.
Amid the ensuing speculation and all the talk about Hamilton's current focus and criticism, his father Anthony - who now manages promising Force India rookie Paul di Resta - said he would advise his son to stick with McLaren.
Vettel extends lead with Red Bull team order (GMM) Sebastian Vettel managed to extend his championship lead yet again, despite failing to win the British grand prix.
The Red Bull driver finished behind Fernando Alonso, who achieved Ferrari's first win since Korea last year.
Vettel, meanwhile, crossed the line just ahead of his teammate Mark Webber, who was ordered by boss Christian Horner in the closing stages to call off his challenge and "maintain the gap".
"I can understand Mark's frustrations but we cannot give away a load of points," Horner told the BBC, despite arguing staunchly against the entire philosophy of team orders when Vettel was chasing down the leaders in 2010.
Kentucky: NASCAR fans' Hillbilly Hot Tub NASCAR fans from Bullitt County, Ky. create a "hillbilly hot tub" -- a mobile pool in the back of a pick-up truck -- as they party at the Kentucky Speedway campgrounds Saturday in Sparta, Ky.
NASCAR fans steaming mad over Kentucky race traffic Speedway Motor Bruton Smith was kidding when he said he expected most fans to return home from the track's inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Saturday night "by Tuesday."
Considering how difficult it was for people to get into the track, Tuesday may have been a bit generous.
The 1.5-mile oval's long-awaited Cup debut was marred by a massive traffic snarl that left fans stuck out on Interstate 71 for miles even as the green flag dropped. Cars were still slowly streaming into the parking gates more than 125 miles into the 400-mile event as nearby interstate turned into a massive parking lot.
Even those that made it to their seats well before the race were less than thrilled.
Bruton Smith calls Kentucky Derby attendance a lie As he's done before, Kentucky Speedway owner Bruton Smith directed a zinger at Churchill Downs Friday by challenging the attendance figures the horse track announces for the Kentucky Derby.
In 2010, the announced crowd for the Derby was 155,804. This year, Churchill said the Derby attendance was an all-time record 164,858.
The Quaker State 400, Saturday's inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway, has already sold out the 107,000-seat grandstands.
With patrons in the infield, the backstretch campground area and standing-room tickets, it is expected the total attendance will be around 120,000.
More newspapers dropping NASCAR coverage The latest steps in the slow death-march of newspaper coverage of NASCAR racing continues: the Tampa, Fla., paper has abruptly dropped its NASCAR beat, and the Greensboro, N.C., Norfolk, Va., and Roanoke, Va., papers are also dropping the NASCAR beat.
That will apparently leave only the Charlotte Observer and USAToday as major American papers still with full-time NASCAR journalists covering the sport, during what can only be described as a full-scale massacre of the corps of veteran NASCAR stock car journalists.
In recent years, in a stunning round of body blows to the sport's news coverage, newspapers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia, Richmond, Raleigh, Nashville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Daytona Beach, St. Petersburg, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Birmingham, Ala., and Indianapolis have all either eliminated NASCAR beats entirely or severely cut back coverage to just a few events. Mike Mulhern
(L to R) Dani Clos (Racing Engineering), Romain Grosjean (Dams), Giedo van der Garde (Racing Engineering)
Romain Grosjean has solidified his lead in the title race after fighting his way to victory in this morning's sprint race in Silverstone, muscling his way past Dani Clos and Giedo van der Garde before easing away from his rivals for his third win of the season.
The Frenchman had some work to do from fifth on the grid, but his job was made easier as the lights went out when front row starter Stefano Coletti stalled, giving poleman van der Garde a clean run to the first turn ahead of Clos, Sam Bird, Grosjean, Christian Vietoris and Marcus Ericsson: the lead pair were soon banging wheels until the Spaniard took the top spot at turn 4, with Grosjean dispatching Bird behind them.
MW Arden’s Lewis Williamson won his first GP3 Series race today in front of his home crowd at Silverstone Circuit. The Scot finished ahead of Addax team’s Dean Smith and Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims to lead an all British podium, and was the eighth different winner this season.
The dry conditions for race two this morning were a far cry from yesterday’s pre-race downpour. Poleman Smith held onto his lead when the light went off, whilst Williamson made a bad start off the line dropping to fifth allowing James Calado up into second and Nick Yelloly into third. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs’ weekend went from bad to worse when a mechanical problem prevented him from pulling away from fifth on the formation lap and starting from the pitlane.
Mid- Season Realignment Pays Off Dale Coyne Racing Former three-time IndyCar Toronto winner Sebastien Bourdais narrowly missed making the Firestone Fastest Six Saturday afternoon and will start seventh for Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy Grand Prix on the 11-turn, 1.75-mile downtown street circuit in Toronto.
After a mid-season review, the Dale Coyne Racing team realigned some of its engineering staff. Seasoned engineer Neal Fife joined the team to oversee the #19 Boy Scouts of America car. With Neal’s efforts, along with all with rest of the engineering staff, it has shown a marked improvement here this weekend in Toronto.
“I think the addition of Neal, the hard work of Scotty Raymond and an outstanding team effort was the reason for our success today,” said Bourdais. “This was a great day for the #19 Boy Scouts of America car. This our best starting position of the season and should give us an excellent opportunity to put us in contention to win the race tomorrow.”
Nico Müller took his first GP3 victory of the 2011 season in a rain affected race at Silverstone Circuit today. The Jenzer Motorsport driver finished 2.8s ahead of Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims and Atech CRS GP’s Nick Yelloly.
Any hopes the enthusiastic crowd had of a British winner today were dashed when the heavens open seconds before the formation lap. Nineteen of the of the thirty cars chose to enter the pits instead of joining the starting grid to switch to wet weather tires, and thus starting the race from the pitlane. Jenzer Motorsport had made the bold decision to send Müller out on wets earlier despite the relatively clear skies leading up to the start of the race, and the Swiss driver effectively started on pole from sixth place on a half empty grid.
Jules Bianchi has claimed his first GP2 series win in mixed conditions in this afternoon's feature race at Silverstone, leading almost all the way from pole position to take the victory by four seconds from Christian Vietoris and Marcus Ericsson.
Yesterday's torrid weather revisited the famous circuit just before today's start, with the rain so heavy that the race had to be delayed by ten minutes and ultimately started behind the safety car. The field circulated twice before going live on lap 3: Bianchi led Alvaro Parente, Vietoris and Dani Clos across the line, while behind them Ericsson snuck past Max Chilton for fifth behind them.
Wind Tunnel Guests for July - Update Don Garlits and Darrell Gwynn will be guests on the show at a later date, there was some confusion on the date that they would be available. They will not be on the show on Sunday 7/17 as the previous email had indicated.
Roger Penske (Owner, Penske Racing)
Zak Brown (Founder & CEO, Just Marketing International)
Chris Carr (7-time AMA Grand National Flat Track Champion)
Honda Civic Debuts Tomorrow as Indy Series Safety Car Honda Motor Co. says it reached an agreement under which its redesigned 2012 Civic Si coupe will be the official safety car for the Izod IndyCar Series starting with tomorrow’s race in Toronto.
The car maker says the new ninth-generation Civic Si coupe was worked over by its Honda Performance Development racing unit to make it track-ready and able to keep up with the demands of safety-car duties. The safety car marshals and paces the field of competitors before the green flag falls. When collisions or other emergencies happen on the track, the safety car is used to get the field back to together for restarts.
IMS completes repaving of infield road course The repaving of the infield section of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course is now complete, and the new surface awaits the MotoGP series on Aug. 26-28.
Workers repaved 1.5 miles of the circuit from turn five through turn 16. They ground the existing asphalt and then repaved with fresh asphalt to create a surface consistent with the other sections of the course. MotoGP riders complained in the past that the circuit was too inconsistent and bumpy, and many found themselves falling from their motorcycles in recent events at the Speedway.
"It's always great when the track is investing and making the surface better for the riders," American MotoGP star Ben Spies said. "I'm much happier that it's been repaved, and I'm very much appreciative of Indy doing that. It will make it a little more consistent for us riders."
Esteban Guerrieri wins Toronto Indy Lights pole Esteban Guerrieri earned his third consecutive Sunoco Pole Award, blazing the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place circuit in 1 minute, 2.986 seconds.
He'll be joined on the front row by Stefan Wilson in the No. 5 Andretti Autosport car (1:03.245), who lost his quickest lap (1:02.8714) and his first pole start because of a local caution on the course.
Teammate Peter Dempsey, who topped the morning practice session time report in the No. 26 car, will join Anders Krohn on the second row. Josef Newgarden and Gustavo Yacaman will be on Row 3, and Duarte Ferreira and Bruno Andrade will share Row 4. Andrade, driving the No. 29 Bryan Herta Autosport car, is making his Firestone Indy Lights debut.
IndyCar announces partnership with MGM for Las Vegas finale
(L to R) MGM's Scott Voeller, Randy Bernard and MGM's Josh Swissman
MGM Resorts International will serve as host and promotional partner for both the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships and the inaugural Monster Energy Cup on Oct. 15-16 in Las Vegas, Nev.
"It is great to have the promotional power of the MGM Resorts brand behind the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer, INDYCAR. "We want to deliver the best entertainment at the best value to all of our fans that make the trek to Vegas and this partnership with MGM Resorts, along with the added excitement of the Monster Energy Cup, will help enhance the fan experience during our championship weekend."
"We are excited to join forces with MGM Resorts in an effort to showcase the inaugural Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas," said Charlie Mancuso, President of Feld Motor Sports. "Historically, MGM Resorts has played a pivotal role in supporting the most prestigious entertainment events in Vegas. We are delighted to work with them and INDYCAR on providing fans from around the globe the ultimate motor sports weekend."
Formula 1's best design engineer, Adrian Newey describes how he was fired from his first job in racing
My first race as an engineer at Silverstone was in 1982, a year and a half after I’d left university. I’d moved on from my first job at Fittipaldis to March, where basically I wore two hats, one as a junior draftsman in the drawing office during the week and the other as a race engineer on the March Engineering Formula 2 team. We hadn’t actually done any pre-season testing – well we had, but I hadn’t been there – so the first time I ever put on a set of headphones was for that Silverstone race. I was engineering Christian Danner. It was a very wet weekend and I had never been on that side of the pit lane before, let alone worn a set of headphones, so I was completely out of my depth. I didn’t really know what I was doing. In the race, Christian ran out of fuel. Initially, I think he thought I hadn’t put enough fuel in the car when in fact the problem was actually a fuel leak, I’m glad to say. Anyway, in the immediate aftermath, the outcome was that I was fired and Christian asked if he could have a different engineer. So that was my first experience at Silverstone!
As a driver the experience was a little more positive. My first race as a hobby driver was in my Ford GT40 in a one-hour race. You could either do it as two-driver or one-driver and I did it as a one-driver event, with a compulsory pit stop in the middle. It was the first year of Silverstone Classic and it was the main GT race for pre-‘65 cars – and I won it! So, as a driver, my debut was a bit more successful than as an engineer.
Jenson Button baffled as the gap to Red Bull is even larger after the rule change his team for to slow dominant Red Bull actually hurt his team more. Watch what you wish for.
(GMM) Pole position took a back seat to political machinations and so-called 'exhaust blowing' on Saturday at Silverstone.
Some commentators called the situation a farce, with team bosses storming out of meetings wearing a variety of expressions and spectators getting to grips with an apparently confusing mid-season rules change.
"I think the real shame is for the fans, not really knowing what's going on," said Sebastian Vettel, whose pole run ended on Saturday as his teammate Mark Webber mastered the changeable conditions.
But the real effect is still unknown, even though it appears McLaren has lost out, it's business as usual for Red Bull, while Ferrari is smiling.
"Those that end up at the front will probably end up happy and those that are disadvantaged won't be, and Ferrari seemed to come out of the meeting more smiling than some others," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC.
Before he ran into the tire barriers trying to go even faster, Andretti Autosports driver Mike Conway turned the fastest lap in Saturday morning practice for the Toronto IndyCar race slated to run on Sunday.
Conway's lap of 1m00.047s was enough to top Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti, all within just 0.4s of each other.
Ryan Briscoe, Graham Rahal and EJ Viso rounded out the top-10.
Rogers SportsNet to carry ALMS races in Canada The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n has reached an agreement with Rogers Sportsnet to carry six of the Series` remaining 2011 races live in Canada. The live broadcast schedule will begin with today`s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park and includes the upcoming Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
In addition to the races at Lime Rock Park and Mosport International Raceway, the agreement between Rogers Sportsnet and ALMS includes live broadcasts of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, the Road Race Showcase at Road America, the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, and the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey Patr¢n at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Rogers Sportsnet will also air a season-ending highlight program produced by Greenlight TV.
"Ever since we announced the TV package for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n, we have been working hard to increase our distribution internationally. Canadian audiences have always been some of the most passionate consumers of ALMS racing which has long been anchored at Mosport International Raceway. Adding Rogers Sportsnet to our growing spectrum of international TV carriers is great news for our loyal Canadian viewers," ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton said. "We are thrilled to partner with Canada`s leader in live HD event broadcasts."
IndyCar planning for Danica's replacement Danica Patrick has refused to dignify this speculation of her moving to NASCAR with a response. But certainly the folks who run IndyCar racing are concerned about the prospect of Patrick taking her act to NASCAR next season. Forgive Randy Bernard for his crassness, but he acknowledged in an interview that he’s even more concerned about losing Go Daddy’s estimated $50 million in racing sponsorship.
“What’s more important to me than losing Danica is if we can keep Go Daddy in the series,” said Bernard, who added that recent discussions with Go Daddy’s chief marketing officer have left him “optimistic” about the prospects of at least some of that money staying put.
The chief obstacle of attracting such cash, of course, is a truth even Bernard doesn’t deny: Patrick aside, Indy-style racing has lacked star power for a while now.
“We need to do a better job of developing (stars),” Bernard said. “I think it’s a sin that you have someone like Dario Franchitti, who has won so many races, and he’s up there (in terms of public profile), but he’s not, in my opinion, where he could be . . . He’s married to Ashley Judd. He’s very opinionated. (On Thursday) he did 23 different interviews. He’s a hard worker for us. He’s committed. I think we just have to do a better job.”
Still, it won’t be easy. IndyCar, once bigger than NASCAR, is a niche sport still recovering from a ruinous split in the series that was only mended in 2008. And star-making is no science. Witness the wide appeal of Patrick, who brings, in Bernard’s estimation, “a different demographic to the track. She’s not bringing the purist or the traditionalist. She brings more women, and more kids.”
It’s not as simple as replacing Patrick with another woman; the series has been graced by the presence of a handful of female drivers, none of whom has had the impact of Patrick.
“When you come to the race on Sunday, you’re going to see a lot of kids wearing Danica Patrick shirts. Now, will they switch to (Swiss driver) Simona De Silvestro, or will they pick another person? That’s the unknown question right now,” Bernard said. “We’ve got some other great drivers out there. But will they appeal to that same demographic?”
Patrick’s demographic is one that certainly isn’t hung up on results; their hero has enjoyed just that one victory, and she’s had one top-five finish in nine starts this season. Still, while some have likened her to the Anna Kournikova of the tarmac, a mediocre competitor made mega-famous by swimsuit-model appeal, Patrick continues to earn respect, if not titles. A couple of weekends ago, driving an Indy Car that weighs about 1,500 pounds on a short oval track in Iowa, she finished 10th. A week later, driving a NASCAR Nationwide stock car that weighs about 3,400 pounds at Daytona’s super speedway, she finished 10th again—only this time she was among the stars of the show, leading laps down the stretch before some tough luck near the end. And come Sunday she is expected to be a credible contender at the Honda Indy, where she’ll drive that 1,500-some-pound Indy Car on the makeshift street circuit by the lake. That’s impressive versatility, albeit by an also-ran.
“Danica’s a great ambassador to our sport. But it’s like any major sport — when you lose a big name, the sport’s going to go on,” Bernard said. “I mean, the day Wayne Gretzky retired from hockey, hockey continued on, and I think that’s the way we’re looking at it.”
The problem for IndyCar is that Patrick’s not retiring, she’s moving up in racing’s ranks. So while the CEO is bullish on next year’s introduction of a new-model IndyCar, not to mention the kickoff of competition between engine manufacturers Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus, certainly Bernard wouldn’t be averse to Patrick, say, returning to race annually in the Indy 500. Whatever she’s famous for, she’s beloved for it, too.
“Anytime Danica wants to come over, whether it’s one race or 17 races, it’s still a benefit. Because she does have a good fan base,” Bernard said. “We’re not going to burn any bridges, whichever decision she makes. She’ll always be welcome here.” Toronto Star
Kentucky Speedway track surface an issue The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway is off to a bumpy start. But depending upon whom you talk to, that's not necessarily a bad thing. After a decade-long wait replete with lawsuits and an ownership change, the 11/2-mile oval finally joins the Sprint Cup schedule tonight with the Quaker State 400.
But the wear and tear from a decade of use by other series has some drivers complaining about the racing surface.
"It's kind of weird in NASCAR when you go to a new track and it's an old track," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will start 29th tonight behind pole sitter Kyle Busch. "Normally we are going to new tracks and they're new, but this place has got a lot of races on it and the surface is used up pretty good."
Will two-by-two racing continue at Daytona/Talladega? From a NASCAR Transcript of a Q&A held at Kentucky Speedway: Q. Last week was another two-by-two race at a restrictor plate track. Some drivers were critical of that style of racing again. Are you satisfied enough with it to the point where there's still no changes planned or do anything that would break that up, or is that being looked at or considered at all?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: That's a good question and it's a tough question. I think if you look over time, whether it was two-by-two, single-file, pack racing, whatever you want to call it over the last number of years, you will always have critics no matter what you do. But we have had great statistics. We've had a lot of leaders, a lot of lead changes. The competition is great. I think it's too close to the checkered flag from the Coke Zero 400 other than us gathering our thoughts about that, you know. But I'm sure we'll put some folks together and we'll talk about it. But there will always be those that will be critical. I never saw anybody or a driver get out of a car after a wreck and compliment how things were going. I haven't seen it yet.
NASCAR Officials discuss adding races From a NASCAR Transcript of a Q&A held at Kentucky Speedway:
Q. With Iowa rumbling about wanting a Cup race, are we still at the point where 36 is a number? If anyone is going to add a race, is it going to come to somewhere else?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: We're pretty thin right now with what's available out there for off time or adding races. I mean, the statement has been made we are at the limit at 36, plus two non-points races. As you've seen Atlanta move a date to here, we've moved things around over the past few years, whether it be Wilkesboro, Rockingham, California Speedway. Everybody knows the routine that those dates need to be moved around or traded amongst the ownership groups that are out there. So we'll see what happens moving forward. But right now I believe the company line is we are, today, happy with the number of weekends that we spend at the tracks. NASCAR
Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull Racing on top in the first dry practice session of the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.
After all of Friday's running was pretty much a waste of time for all involved, Vettel put in a 1m31.401s to knock Ferrari's Fernando Alonso off the top spot by just 0.063 seconds.
Vettel looked set to top his best lap the next time around, but he backed off in sector 3 as the rain increased yet again.
Mark Webber had been quickest early on, then lost a lot of track time the middle part of the session while repairs were carried out to his Red Bull. He ended up third, ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has claimed his first GP3 pole position in Silverstone today after setting the fastest lap in today’s qualifying session.
The Marussia Manor Racing driver’s best lap of 1:51.190 was nearly fourth tenths clear of second place man Lotus ART’s James Calado ensuring an all British front row for Race 1 at Silverstone Circuit this afternoon.
In stark contrast to yesterday’s torrential conditions, this morning the teams were greeted with dry and bright conditions, albeit with a slightly damp track, and all thirty drivers headed out on track with Pirelli P Zero slick tires. Carlin’s Tom Dillmann was the first car to complete a flying lap and go top until the rest of the field got up to speed.
Horner furious as FIA withdraws exhaust concession
Christian Horner is smoking mad
(GMM) Red Bull figures are furious ahead of qualifying after the controversial 50 per cent concession for their exhaust blowing solution was withdrawn.
Team boss Christian Horner praised the FIA's Charlie Whiting on Friday as he clashed with his McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh, when it emerged that Renault-powered teams had been allowed an exception to the 10pc clampdown.
But it was Whitmarsh who was smirking on the Silverstone pitwall a day later, with Horner and Adrian Newey storming out of a meeting with Whiting in the wake of a further technical directive issued shortly before Saturday practice.
"I'm not going to say anything," Horner told BBC Sport.
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