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Wickens Embracing F1 Reserve Driver Role  Canada’s Robert Wickens has enjoyed a hectic July – kick starting the month with another double-header outing competing for Carlin in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, part of the ‘World Series by Renault’ event program, before going on to attend the British and German Grand Prix in his role as a reserve driver with the Marussia Virgin Racing team in Formula One.

A busy month draws to a close with this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the 11th round of the 2011 Formula One World Championship.  Wickens, who currently sits second in the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series – just four-points off the lead, will again be attending as part of Marussia Virgin Racing. 

The 22-year-old from Toronto took time out prior to heading to Hungary to review his season to-date and his opportunities within Formula One now that he is a reserve driver: More ...
Penske interested in partnering with Porsche for its return to Le Mans  
Roger Penske
Penske Racing has “thrown its hat into the ring” to run Porsche's forthcoming LMP1 prototype when the German manufacturer returns to top-level sports-car racing in 2014, according to team president Tim Cindric.

Cindric was elaborating on comments team boss Roger Penske made on television. Penske said his organization wanted to follow up on its success with the Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series in 2005-08.

“With the recent announcement of Porsche going back to the Le Mans 24 Hours, we hope we can be a part of that program,” Penske said. “Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller have been stars over there [with Audi], and we'd like to get them back in a Penske Racing Porsche and see if we can't take on Le Mans.” More ...

Wheldon to present Brickyard 400 winner's ring to McMurray  Two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will present the 2010 Brickyard 400 winner's ring to Jamie McMurray at 9:40 a.m. (ET) Friday, July 29 on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
$1.1M Monaco crash  
Hundreds of tourists quickly descended on the scene, snapping photos of the drivers' misfortune.
SWNS VIA Splash News
Car aficionados, you might want to avert your eyes.

The wealthy French Riviera city state of Monaco was the scene of a pileup involving five luxury cars with an estimated value of more than $1.1 million.

The collision, involving a Bentley Azure (worth an estimated $400,000), a Mercedes S Class ($120,000), a Ferrari F430 ($230,000), an Aston Martin Rapide ($230,000) and a Porsche 911 ($130,000), occurred in front of Monaco's Place du Casino, according to Sky News.

The British TV network reported that the incident began when the Bentley scraped the side of the Mercedes before plowing into the Ferrari. Then, the Bentley proceeded to run into the Aston Martin and the Porsche. More ...

Ned Jarrett to be Brickyard 400 Grand Marshal  
Ned Jarrett
2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ned Jarrett will serve as the grand marshal of the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com Sunday, July 31.

Jarrett won NASCAR Sprint Cup championships in 1961 and 1965 and 50 races during his illustrious career. He was named one of NASCAR's "50 Greatest Drivers" in 1998.

In 1965, Jarrett earned 13 victories in 42 top-five finishes in 54 starts. He won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway by 14 laps, still the largest margin of victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup history.

"We're honored to welcome Ned Jarrett as grand marshal for the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief executive officer. "He's one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, a great ambassador for the sport and a true gentleman." More ...

IMS confirms Crown Royal for Brickyard 400  Crown Royal will become the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Crown Royal "Your Hero Here" 400 at the Brickyard is part of Crown Royal's continuing effort to provide race fans with an unrivaled experience and honor all of the nation's heroes. The race will serve as an expansion of the annual "Your Name Here" program and honor all of our nation's heroes, including U.S. service men and women.

"We look forward to an exciting partnership with Crown Royal and an opportunity to showcase our appreciation for those who make a difference in our communities," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. "It is great to have a partner like Crown Royal to provide race fans with an exciting and unique race experience at the Brickyard." More ...

Two teams penalized for Edmonton infractions  Firestone Indy Lights officials have penalized the No. 5 car of Andretti Autosport and the No. 12 car of Jensen Motorsports for failing post-race inspection following Saturday's Edmonton 100 Race #1 at Edmonton City Centre Airport.  The teams have been docked five entrant points each and fined.
Wilson sees glimmer of hope  
Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson gained three positions in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings with a season-best fifth place in the Edmonton Indy. Now 14th (29 points out of 10th), the "what ifs" regarding the first half of the calendar emerge.

"We managed to stay out of trouble and no one hit my car for a change, so that's a bonus," said Wilson, who started 15th in the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "I think we were finally able to show what we should have been showing all year. It wasn't our strongest performance, but it was our best result, so it feels good."

On the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit, Wilson was running ninth by Lap 32 of 80 and was sixth after the final round of pit stops. He inherited fifth place when Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe had to pit for a splash of fuel on Lap 79, and finished six-tenths of a second behind Tony Kanaan in the No. 82 GEICO KV Racing Technology-Lotus car. More ...

Drivers put on show for fans at Mid-Ohio test  "One more, Scott?" Dana Gruninger asked on behalf of his 8-year-old son, Tomas, who held an IZOD IndyCar Series and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course cap in each hand.

What was Scott Dixon to do? "Sure," said the two-time race winner at the natural-terrain course, seeking temporary shade under the Target Chip Ganassi Racing's transporter lift door as he affixed his name to both items. "Have a great day."

Indeed it was for the lad from Bellevue, Ohio, who spent a few hours in the stifling heat watching 21 drivers test on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit in advance of the Aug. 5-7 Honda Indy 200. He'll be back for the race with his father, "and maybe Grandpa would like to come. I like it," he said, eyeing Sebastian Saavedra for his next autograph. More ...

Pollock's Pure tabs Gilles Simon for F1 role  (GMM) Craig Pollock's 2014 engine supplier Pure has signed up Gilles Simon.

The Frenchman is most famous for being Ferrari's former engine boss, but most recently he was the FIA's powertrain chief.

He has now left the latter role to become technical director of BAR founder Pollock's new F1 engine supplier foray.

A statement confirmed that Simon will start his new job in August.

"This opportunity is a fantastic challenge and allows me to go to back to my passion -- designing engines," he said.
Marko wants Ricciardo to beat Liuzzi  
The target is on Liuzzi
(GMM) F1's newest driver Daniel Ricciardo on Thursday acknowledged his bosses expect him to perform "sooner rather than later".

The Australian said Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has not set concrete targets, but he knows beating his HRT teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi is the obvious goal for the very near future.

"He doesn't say, 'by tomorrow you have to out qualify him or that is it'," Ricciardo said at the Hungaroring when asked about Marko's expectations.

The 22-year-old said both HRT and Toro Rosso are potential teams for his 2012 season. More ...
Heidfeld vows to fight for F1 future  
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld felt the heat of the media on Thursday.

Recent reports have hinted Renault team boss Eric Boullier is disappointed with the veteran German and considering replacing him with either Romain Grosjean or Bruno Senna.

p Senna walked the Hungaroring circuit on Thursday ahead of his Friday practice drive in Heidfeld's car.

"It doesn't mean he's going to get my seat," Heidfeld, who revealed he has scheduled a meeting with Boullier on Friday to discuss the situation, insisted. More ...
M&T Bank signs on as a sponsor for Baltimore Grand Prix  M&T Bank will be a sponsor of the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, race organizers announced this morning.

M&T becomes the first bank to join as a sponsor and the deal includes signs on the race course and green flags to be given to fans near the start/finish line, among other promotions.

"We are very excited to have M&T Bank as one of our sponsors," Jay Davidson, president and CEO of the Baltimore Grand Prix, said in a news release. "This partnership is significant as it ties one of our leading institutions into this new and exciting event for our city." More ...

Stewart wins first World of Outlaws race  Tony Stewart has won his share of races on the IndyCar and NASCAR circuits. The auto racing legend can add a World of Outlaws sprint car victory to the resume.

Stewart won his first career race with the famed sprint car series Wednesday night at Ohsweken Speedway. Stewart owns Eldora Speedway, a dirt car track in Rossburg, Ohio, and World of Outlaw sprinters currently driven by series champions Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser. But Stewart had never won a feature with the Outlaws until Wednesday night.

He passed Brad Sweet on the 10th lap and led rest of the way to collect $10,000. Sammy Swindell finished in second place. Jason Meyers, Sweet and Jason Sides rounded out the top five. Schatz finished in sixth place, and Kinser was 11th. Oklahoma City native Wayne Johnson finished 15th — one spot behind Jessica Zemken, who is Stewart's girlfriend.

McNish to serve as Steward in Hungary  
Allan McNish (Center)
Former Toyota driver Allan McNish will be back in the stewards’ office for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Scot, now a Le Mans driver with Audi, also served as FIA driver steward at the Monaco Grand Prix of May.

McNish competed in Formula 1 for a single season with Cologne-based Panasonic Toyota Racing in 2002, stepping up from the test role he previously held with the squad. The 41-year-old achieved his best result at the Malaysian Grand Prix, finishing in seventh place.

Boss of Sauber sponsor arrested  (GMM)  The boss of embattled Sauber sponsor Money Service Group has been arrested.

A few days ago, Niki Lauda ended his cap deal with the Liechtenstein based firm, and Die Presse reports that the great Austrian has now commenced legal action.

Sauber is also backed by the company, whose founder and chief Michael Seidl recently departed.

Die Presse reports on Thursday he has been arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of commercial fraud, with the Liechtenstein chief prosecutor confirming he is suspected of "fraud, embezzlement and other offenses". More ...

NASCAR already trying to undermine IndyCar in Baltimore  While Baltimore gets all gussied up for its IndyCar debut on Labor Day weekend, the people who have turned NASCAR into America's favorite motorsport want you to know that they love Charm City, too.

That's why NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace was acting as an impromptu tour director on the Annapolitan II in the Inner Harbor on Tuesday morning, entertaining a boatload of racing fans with his North Carolina drawl and his admittedly limited knowledge of Baltimore and its history.
Well, they weren't all racing fans. There was also a large contingent of tourists from Boston, sweating through their Red Sox T-shirts and gloating over Monday night's 15-run onslaught at Camden Yards, but Wallace was just as nice to them. Apparently, there isn't anything NASCAR won't do to increase its fan base.

"Baltimore is an important market for us," said Dennis Bickmeier, the new president of the Richmond International Raceway. "This city is fifth in the number of [ticket] accounts with us, so we're trying to reach out to Baltimore." More ...

Erection of track draws crowds in Baltimore  The sight of a forklift lowering a 9,300-pound concrete slab onto Pratt Street attracted a crowd Monday night at the Inner Harbor.

Curiosity-seekers joined organizers running the first Baltimore Grand Prix as the second phase officially began in constructing the downtown race course that will be used for the Labor Day weekend event.

Martyn Thake, the Baltimore Grand Prix's director of operations, said that the first phase, resurfacing and repairing many of the city streets that will be part of the two-mile course, has been completed. More ...

Danica Patrick could give NASCAR an energy boost  Jeff Gordon turns 40 Aug. 4th, joining Tony Stewart in the 4-0 club. Both probably have at least 5 more years of quality racing in them.

Nine of the other top 12 Sprint Cup drivers are in their 30s, prime time for racers. At 26, Kyle Busch is the kid in the bunch.

While the Cup series has more than its share of stars and the quality of competition in most races is strong, many observers, including yours truly, believe the series needs fresh new talent.

Regular readers have seen this before: hel-lo, Danica. More ...

Mid-Year NASCAR Driver TV Exposure  
When it comes to TV exposure Kyle Busch is king
Kyle Busch was mentioned more often and collected the most on-screen time, verbal references and exposure value for his sponsors than any other driver during race telecasts chronicling the first half of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons -- Busch’s sponsors as a group appeared for 12 hours, 31 minutes, seven seconds (12:31:07) during live and replayed telecasts of the season’s first 18 races. When also factoring in verbal mentions (142) of Busch’s sponsors, the Cup Series points-leader at mid-year amassed nearly $38.4 million of in-broadcast exposure value for his backing brands. More ...

Gold Coast 600 celebrates 21 years with all-star lineup  
Current Formula One star Tonio Liuzzi will be racing alongside Tony D'Alberto
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 celebrates its 21st birthday this year – in a celebration that will include 28-high profile international drivers, the best local talent and a star-studded entertainment line-up.

In what is shaping up to be another spectacular race and rock extravaganza that will deliver a major boost to the local tourism industry and economy, the event (to be held October 21-23) was launched today at an iconic Gold Coast location, the Palazzo Versace.

The launch included the announcement of talent both on and off the track – with seven new drivers and the much-anticipated entertainment line-up.

This year’s talent line up on the track will include 28-high-profile international drivers, teamed up with local V8s champions, in one of the most unique formats in world motorsport. More ...
NHRA fuel supplier Evan Knoll faces federal fraud charges in alleged tax scam  DECATUR — The owner of a now-defunct racing fuel company in Van Buren County filed false tax refunds that bilked the federal government out of more than $80 million, then used that money to gain approval for large loans from a local bank, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

The complaint, filed Wednesday in Grand Rapids, charges Evan W. Knoll, 51, with bank fraud and false, fictitious and fraudulent claims that are alleged to have occurred between September 2004 and February 2008.

Knoll, court documents show, owned General Sales and Service Inc. in Decatur and did business as Torco Racing Fuels Inc.

Knoll also did business under the names Knoll Gas, Knoll Gas Motorsports Inc., EWK, LLC and eRaceFuels Inc. More ...

Doublemint Gum Is On the Search for Kyle Busch's Twin!  Doublemint® will double NASCAR fans' fun this summer with a search to find No. 18 Doublemint Camry driver Kyle Busch's twin. One lucky fan who most resembles Busch will win the opportunity to meet with him during a special experience at the September 18 Chicagoland Speedway Sprint Cup race.

"It doesn't get any better than pairing one of America's most iconic chewing gums with one of the sport's most recognizable drivers and race teams," said Victor Mehren, a senior marketing director at the Wrigley Co. "What better way to celebrate our partnership with No. 18 Doublemint Camry driver Kyle Busch while also bringing a unique and fun experience to NASCAR fans than through a search for Kyle's twin?" More ...

Great live music lineup for fans this weekend at Brickyard 400  Fans can enjoy an impressive variety of live music from 12 national, regional and local acts during the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com July 29-31 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with every show free to ticket holders each day at the track.

Leading the lineup will be Race Morning performances by Big Machine Records country artists Reba, Rascal Flatts, Justin Moore, The Band Perry and more Sunday, July 31, and a hard-rocking show by chart-topping stars Hinder at Brickfest, Saturday, July 30.

Another national artist performing at IMS is multi-platinum R&B, hip-hop and reggae fusion star Iyaz, who will headline the Brickyard Beach Bash in Turn 3 of the IMS infield on Race Day. More ...

Kenny Francis to join Hendrick Motorsports for 2012  Veteran crew chief Kenny Francis will lead the #5 Sprint Cup Series team when driver Kasey Kahne moves to Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season. Francis will join the organization after the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR schedule. The 41-year-old Francis has 11 Sprint Cup victories as a crew chief, with all but one coming with Kahne behind the wheel. Since being teamed for the first time in the final race of the 2005 campaign, the pair has posted 10 wins, 13 pole positions, 34 top-five finishes and 71 top-10s at NASCAR's elite level.

"Our people have a lot of respect for Kenny and what he's accomplished," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.

"We know the chemistry is already there with Kasey, and there's no doubt Kenny will communicate very well with our folks. He's a character guy who brings an awful lot to the table as a crew chief. When we look at 'fit factor,' it's a great situation." More ...

Brickyard 400 fans: Plan ahead for Race Day traffic  Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are encouraging fans to plan ahead for their trip to the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com on Sunday, July 31.

IMS officials recommend that fans leave early for the track on Race Day. Fans can get all the latest traffic information and updates on Twitter at either @IMS or @Indstatepolice.

Fans also are encouraged to leave early and plan routes accordingly during the entire race weekend due to the major construction project on the west corridor of Interstate 465 in Indianapolis.

Due to construction on I-465 southbound, the eastbound Crawfordsville Road ramp is closed (northbound is still open). Also due to construction, 38th Street is restricted to two lanes. Motorists are encouraged to use the eastbound 10th Street ramp from I-465 as the main route to the track. More ...

TV News
Wind Tunnel Sunday  Robin Miller will be in-studio this Sunday to make another hosting appearance as Dave Despain is on vacation. IndyCar champ, Dario Franchitti, will be joining Robin in the Wind Tunnel studio to Co-Host the program for the first time. Sir Jackie Stewart will be a guest on this Sunday’s show via telephone from the U.K…he will not be via satellite or in studio in case anyone is wondering. This will be Jackie’s first appearance on the program. Sam Hornish Jr. will be making his first appearance on the show since 2006 and is coming off his career-best Nationwide finish. More ...
Pirelli extends World Superbike supply deal  Infront Motor Sports, which owns the Superbike World Championship, has renewed its deal with Pirelli for a further three years. The Italian manufacturer will supply tires to the series until the end of the 2015 season, as well as supplying the second-tier Supersport World Championship.

Paolo Flammini, chief executive, of Infront Motor Sports, said: “We are delighted to be able to renew the contract with Pirelli until the completion of the 2015 season. Eight years of working together have provided results that go way beyond our highest expectations. Once again we can count on a tire supplier, whose commitment to the product, service and development is second to none."

Uberto Thun, managing director of Pirelli's motorcycle division added: “This new contract confirms our dedication to WSBK, to the sport’s competitiveness, and to a flexible but continued tire development guaranteeing the best racing tires are made available.”

The World Superbike championship visits Silverstone for the British round this weekend.

Judge dismisses fuel additive company lawsuit against NASCAR  A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a fuel and oil performance additive company against NASCAR concerning a $6.295 million deal.

Advanced Fluids Solutions, which wanted to market its new EXP4 fuel and oil performance additive through the “NASCAR Performance” program, had agreed to pay the amount during a period of seven years, beginning in 2010.

According to the complaint, the company never paid its original $500,000 payment due at the execution of the contract in October 2009 but alleged that NASCAR did not give proper written notice before terminating the agreement in December 2009.

U.S. District Court Judge Anne Conway ruled that NASCAR was within its right to terminate the contract and dismissed the suit Tuesday. The suit was filed in Florida court before being moved to federal court in January 2011. More ...

NASCAR Nationwide Series prerace prayer another black eye for sport  I first saw it on CNN's "Headline News" on Sunday morning and then again Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" while waiting for a delayed flight.

It made me laugh -- and cringe -- at the same time.

We're not talking about a breaking story from the White House involving national security, an update on the sagging economy or another twist to the Casey Anthony saga as these shows typically dwell on.

We're talking about the prerace invocation given by pastor Joe Nelms before Saturday night's Nationwide Series race at Nashville Speedway.

And I use the term "invocation" loosely. More ...

Brickyard 400 events calendar  
Jimmie Johnson leading Brickyard 400
The Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com Race Week is packed with activities, both at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From July 29-31, the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will practice, qualify and race on the famous 2.5-mile oval at IMS.

All events on Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31 at IMS are free for Brickyard 400 ticket holders that day, with the Hauler Parade on Thursday, July 28 in downtown Speedway, Ind., free for everyone.

Fans are encouraged to plan their routes to the track in advance and arrive at the track early. Gates open at 8 a.m.

Here is a calendar of the great events and features of action at the Speedway during the Brickyard 400 that make it one of the most exciting and prestigious events on the annual NASCAR schedule: More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday  
  • Romain Grosjean
    'Three teams' eyeing Grosjean for 2012 - Boullier
  • 2012 Ferrari to be very different - Tombazis
  • Texas yet to release US GP funding - report
  • New wheel nut caused Massa pitstop problem
  • Vettel still 'clear favorite' for Hungary - Lauda
  • Spa-Francorchamps not ruling out circuit sale
  • Ecclestone offers Hungary deal for Nurburgring
  • Hamilton calls for British national anthem to be extended
  • Cooler conditions expected in Hungary  More ...
Motegi Circuit Gets Clean Bill Of Health  UPDATE
MotoGP and IndyCar will both use the Motegi road course this year, which crosses under the oval twice and is a completely separate circuit from the oval
Added aerial photos of the Motegi circuit showing the road course that both MotoGP and IndyCar will use.  The Japanese fans will like the road course better.  It's really too bad that this will be the last year for IndyCar at Motegi.

07/26/11 MOTO GP’s governing body received the same message Tuesday that INDYCAR has about racing at Motegi: It’s safe and it’s a go.

Following an independent study of radiation levels at the track after last March’s nuclear power station crisis, the health risk was deemed as “negligible” so the top level of professional motorcycle road racing got the green light to run Oct. 2.

“It’s the same thing we heard from our State Department,” said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR., whose series is set to compete on the Honda-owned track on Sept. 17. “Their job is to protect the American people and they’re giving us the best evaluation of whether we should or shouldn’t go.

“They provide us with weekly reports and as long as they continue to be positive, we’re going.”  SPEEDTV.com

Chrysler loses $370 million in 2Q  Chrysler said today it lost $370 million from April to June even though its sales and market share increased in the U.S. and Canada.

But excluding the costs to refinance its debt and repay its loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments, Chrysler said it would have earned a profit of $181 million in the second quarter.

The company lost $172 million during the same period last year. More ...

tv news
TNT hopes to build on modest NASCAR ratings gain  First the good news: Fox and, now, TNT have both recorded viewership gains for their portions of the NASCAR season.

And the bad? After five years spent losing a quarter of its audience, NASCAR and its TV partners really had nowhere to go but up. Still, networks must be breathing a sigh of relief and hoping the modest gains signal 2010 as a bottoming-out year with more growth ahead in the next several years.

TNT’s six-race portion of the Sprint Cup schedule generated gains of 3 percent for total viewers, household ratings and the number of households. Total viewers grew to 5.13 million in 2011, compared with 4.99 million a year ago. More ...

Brian France drops request to seal documents in suit against ex-wife  
Brian France
NASCAR Chairman Brian France has withdrawn his request to have all the documents sealed in a federal lawsuit against his ex-wife accusing her of taping his telephone calls to extort money from him. France did not give a reason in his one-page notice to withdraw his request to keep the documents secret. The notice came about a week after Megan France responded to her ex-husband's request to seal the documents.

"Megan P. France does not agree that such a draconian step is necessary to protect the legitimate privacy concerns of her, her children and her ex-husband," Megan France's attorneys said in their response to the motion to seal. Megan France's attorneys, however, said their client agrees that documents referring to the Frances' separation agreement should be placed under seal. That agreement involves the Frances' property settlement as well as the terms of child support, child custody and alimony. More ...

Snow-Robertson represent first all-female ALMS pairing  Robertson Racing will field the first all-female driver pairing in the history of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n at the upcoming Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.

Regular driver and team co-owner Andrea Robertson will be joined by highly experienced GT driver Melanie Snow in the No. 40 Doran Ford GT. Andrea’s husband and fellow co-owner/driver David Robertson has taken the decision to stand down for the two-hour, 45-minute enduro set for August 6 

Mid-Ohio will be Snow’s first ALMS event since 2009 when she shared the inaugural ALMS Challenge championship with husband Martin. The pair scored three class victories in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Melanie Snow currently is a leading contender in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama’s Platinum Cup standings, having won the 2009 Gold Cup championship. It has been 12 years since her first and only main GT class appearance when she won in her debut at Sebring in 1999. More ...
Improved TV rating for Edmonton IndyCar race  UPDATE Proving once again that IndyCar fans do not prefer oval track racing, viewership of VERSUS' broadcast of the Edmonton Indy on July 24 doubled over the 2010 race at City Centre Airport.

The 80-lap race on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn circuit won by Will Power registered a 0.60 'final' rating  -- the highest-rated IZOD IndyCar Series race on VERSUS this season, and up from last year's final rating of 0.31.

Through seven races, VERSUS has seen a 25 percent ratings increase over its 2010 season average. It will televise the Honda Indy 200 at 2 p.m. (ET) Aug. 7.

"While I'm excited as we all are to see it I'm not surprised by it," said Robby Greene, president and COO of IMS Productions. "We have a fantastic product that gets better each week.

"From the support and leadership we receive from VERSUS through the strategic thinking of our producers and directors to the hardest-working group of professionals in the business actually making it happen on the course, we have an unbelievable opportunity here.

"While this does represent our highest rating thus far, we are seeing the signs regularly that growth is happening and an explosion is imminent. New sponsors, new cars, new tracks and promoters mixed with the fastest and most versatile seat in motor sports, what doesn't spell growth in that formula?" More ...

IndyCar teams head to Mid-Ohio for test  Twenty one of the 27 cars entered in the Honda Indy 200 will be on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28 to run through setup programs for the second natural-terrain road course race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.

The test is open to the public and free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with viewing from the infield and the Keyhole. Spectators are welcome to bring food and coolers. The Honda Indy 200 is Aug. 5-7.

"You still have to focus on the areas that you think the car needs improvement or development pieces, but there's nothing better than having your competition there to sort of gauge how that's going," said Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who has top-five finishes in each of the past four years at the facility that's celebrating its 50th anniversary, including victories in 2007 and '09. More ...

NASCAR’s Kyle Busch wins Oxford 250  Kyle Busch didn’t take a weekend off because there wasn’t a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on that schedule. Instead, he competed at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway, winning not only a Pro Stock support race but the TD Bank Oxford 250 as well, much to the chagrin of the other short track racers who consider this particular event their “Daytona 500″! Busch carted out 25 G’s plus another $6,800 in lap money from that state. The OPS short track had expected entries from seven states and two Canadian Provinces, but certainly not Busch.
Racing News
Ken Block rolls out new hybrid Rally Car  Ken Block revealed his newest weapon—a multi-purpose race car, built specifically to compete in stage rally, rallycross and gymkhana events—this past weekend at the Gymkhana World Tour in Los Angeles, California. The Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle (H.F.H.V.), or just ‘Hybrid’ as it has been dubbed, gets its name not from its method of propulsion, but instead from its ability to transform and race at the highest level for each of these motorsport disciplines, making it one of the most unique and versatile competition vehicles ever built.

“Many people may not realize this, but despite the fundamental similarities between stage rally, rallycross and gymkhana, in order to be the best at each, you must have specific built vehicles,” says Block. “My WRC Fiesta just can’t do what my Gymkhana Fiesta can, and vice versa. But having to campaign three separate cars is a nightmare, so we built one car that can be transformed to suit each form of racing I do on the highest level.” More ...

Ford profit falls  Ford Motor Co., hurt by rising commodity prices and higher product-development costs, reported a decline in second-quarter profits on Tuesday.

The automaker said net income was $2.4 billion on revenues of $35.5 billion, excluding Volvo, during the second quarter.

A year ago, Ford posted net profits of $2.6 billion on revenue of $35.07 billion, including Volvo. Excluding Volvo, Ford's revenue in the second quarter of 2010 was $31.3 billion.

"We delivered very good second-quarter results while growing the business globally and serving more customers in every region," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement. "Despite an uncertain business environment, we further strengthened our balance sheet and continued to invest for the future."

BMW gets new North America boss  Veteran BMW executive Ludwig Willisch, who has led sales operations in Europe and Japan, will take over as CEO of BMW of North America on Oct. 1.

The 54-year-old German will replace Jim O'Donnell, 61, who is retiring.

O'Donnell, a native of Scotland, has held the job since July 2008. Willisch will arrive in the United States on Sept. 1 and work alongside O'Donnell during a one-month transition.

Since May 2009, Willisch has been head of BMW Group's European sales outside of Germany. Before that he was president of BMW M GmbH, the brand's performance division in Munich. More ...

Force India to announce 2012 lineup in December  (GMM)  Force India will wait until long after the 2011 season before finalizing its driver lineup for next year.

Team owner and boss Vijay Mallya is openly keen to hang onto impressive Scottish rookie Paul di Resta, whilst also having long-term driver Adrian Sutil on the books along with significant Medion sponsorship.

And in the wings is Nico Hulkenberg, the team's current Friday and reserve driver whose F1 career began promisingly with Williams in 2010. More ...

Red Bull to expand in motoring beyond F1  (GMM)  Red Bull is set to expand its motoring foray beyond the championship winning formula one team.

Autocar reports that the Austrian energy drink company will use its recent F1 team sponsorship with Nissan's luxury division Infiniti to expand beyond the sport.

Team boss Christian Horner is quoted as confirming Red Bull wants to use its "expertise outside F1".

"Red Bull used to be known only as an energy drink company, but now it is recognized as an engineering team.  It's a natural evolution for us to get involved in road car engineering," he said.

The first step will reportedly be a co-developed sports adaptation of an existing Infiniti car.

IndyCar trumps NASCAR in Alabama  The Honda Indy Grand Prix has been named the 2011 Alabama Event of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department.

The second event at the Barber Motorsports Park featured the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy. I first have to thank Mr. (George) Barber for his vision for Barber Motorsports Park. In addition, without the combined efforts of the public and private sectors, this event would not be possible, nor would it have seen the success it has enjoyed,” said Gene Hallman, president of ZOOM Motorsports (promotional group of Barber Motorsports Park).

“The fact that IndyCar is racing in Alabama, as the only stop in the Deep South, is an example of what we can do when we work together. We look forward to many more spectacular years of IndyCar at Barber Motorsports Park.” More ...

Race gets high marks from IndyCar brass, drivers  Before the race was even underway, Randy Bernard, the IZOD IndyCar Series chief executive, was doling out high marks for the Edmonton Indy.

“Overall, even before this event happens, I’m giving it an eight,” Bernard said Sunday morning.

The Edmonton race, under the management of Northlands in 2010, was about to be removed from the IndyCar calendar when the Montreal-based Octane Management stepped up to run the race for this year and the next two.

Toronto and Edmonton are the only two Canadian stops, and there are no immediate plans to expand on this side of the border. More ...

Mercedes gives stats on latest F1 engine  The 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix will be a race of anniversaries, including 100 Grands Prix for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS driver Nico Rosberg and 200 for the Mercedes-powered 2009 World Champion Jenson Button. But it will also mark a technological milestone for the sport, as the 2.4 liter V8 engine, competes in its 100th race. Here's a summary of what the engine has achieved since its very first appearance at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix...

What has been the history of the 2.4 liter V8 engine since it was introduced in 2006?
Although the engine architecture and capacity has remained the same for the past five and a half seasons, the V8 engine has been operated under a wide variety of regulations. In 2006, development was free, although the engine had to last for two race weekends. For 2007, the engine was homologated (the start of the 'frozen' era) and had to last for two race weekends only including Saturday and Sunday - teams were free to use a different engine on Friday, to encourage them to run during practice, and ran to a maximum rev limit of 19,000 rpm. These rules remained in force for the 2008 season. Since the start of 2009, each driver has been able to call on a pool of eight engines for the entire season, and the maximum engine speed has been fixed at 18,000 rpm. In both the 2009 and 2011 seasons, the engine was also adapted to incorporate the KERS hybrid system. More ...

Speed to drive 3 races in the #37  
Not fast enough for IndyCars or F1, Scott Speed has to turn back to NASCAR for a career
Max Q Motorsports has signed Scott Speed to drive the #37 Ford. The team will start running Speed this weekend in Indianapolis, at the 18th annual Brickyard 400. The 28-year-old former Formula One driver Scott Speed, who drove for Red Bull Racing in the Sprint Cup Series the last two years, will make his first start since 2010.

Speed has 76 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, with one top-five and three top-10s, eight top-10s in 13 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and one win, four top-fives and nine top-10s in 16 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team will be running Speed in a Ford Fusion with the FR9 Roush Yates engines. The duo plans to run at the next three races - Indy, Pocono and Watkins Glen with hopes of continuing the rest of the 2011 season pending sponsorship. Scott Speed PR
Interview with Force India’s Vijay Mallya  
Vijay Mallya
Force India’s Vijay Mallya has been ‘greatly encouraged’ by Adrian Sutil’s sixth place finish in the German Grand Prix, beating both Mercedes works cars on merit. The Team Principal and CEO now looks on to Hungary with much optimism.

Would you agree that, in terms of pure performance, Germany was one of the best races the team has had?
It was certainly one of our better performances. Over the last few years F1 has become ever more competitive. The gap between the cars has reduced quite a lot from what it was a few years ago. So in this new scenario we’ve shown that we are truly competitive. We could race with Mercedes, which I think is a big achievement for a team that probably operates on a quarter of their budget! So we’re feeling really good. More ...

Edmonton a mere shadow of its former self  UPDATE #3
Q. I know Indy doesn't reveal attendance numbers - but what was your approx. number in the stands on Sunday?

A. By my count there were about 23,000 seats plus the suites, motor home spots and general admission crowd which stood three and four deep in places. So I'm guessing close to 50,000 [much higher than Curt Cavin's estimate from the Indy Star]. All but the general admissions were sold on a three-day buy, so it would put it around 100,000 with the rain Friday and the iffy day Saturday. But that's such a guess, I didn't feel comfortable throwing that number in my coverage. So let's label it that way. Terry Jones, Edmonton Sun

Indy Star's Curt Cavin stated (as we published below) that Edmonton has the second lowest number of seats (in the IndyCar series) to Mid-Ohio. Not true. Toronto had even fewer seats than Edmonton.

What follows is an estimate of seats, the methodology, and gross income (Sunday Only) at Toronto.  Friday was a free day but Saturday did generate some revenue, which is not included in the analysis below.  Nor is revenue from concessions and suites.

What is clear in Toronto, if Honda was not present, the race would not happen. Having only a potential gross of about $2 million (when that's a tad less than the sanction fee) means that there is not sufficient demand by the public to hold the race, or the race is not being promoted correctly as it regularly drew over 60,000 in the CART days.

As many of you are aware, the Honda Indy Toronto website provided detailed seating plans as well as the number of unsold seats.

Counting the seats, one-by-one, for the July 10, 2011 race, the seats available for sale online were 14,189.

If all of the seats available online were sold at the non-discounted adult “Sunday-only” price, the gross revenue from those seats would have been $1,551,885.

The majority of the unsold seats were in the five lower rows of a grandstand.

By no means, should the information contained herein be considered definitive. For example, some of grandstands started their numbering at Row No. 3. Thus, there could be large groups of tickets that were not publicly available online. Further, there was no online information concerning the number of suites seats or GA sales. Lastly, all grandstand seats were also available for sale both as “Saturday-only” as well as “Saturday-Sunday”.

Toronto Analysis

Grandstand No. Seats Adult Price Revenue Per Grandstand
Turn 9 694 $ 65 $45,110
Turn 9/10 1,210 $ 65 $78,650
Dr. Pepper 1,540 $ 90 $138,600
Shick/Hydro 694 $ 90 $62,460
Turn 3 810 $ 115 $93,150
Silver 3,132 $ 105-125 $ 351,200
Gold 6,109 $ 125-135 $782,715
TOTAL 14,189 - $1,551,885*
*Does not include revenue from Saturday or revenue from suites and concessions.  Real number is at last $2 million.

07/25/11 The Champ Car Series first raced in Edmonton in 2005 with huge success. The three-day crowd in the first year broke attendance records for the series, as 200,052 people filled the stands over 3-days. While the number of bums in the seats decreased in subsequent years, the event continued to be one of the best draws on the old Champ Car circuit. Getting fans in the stands wasn’t much of an issue in the first few years, with the worst weekend attendance in the three years Champ Car raced in the city adding up to 160,000.

IndyCar added the race to its calendar when it swallowed rival Champ Car just prior to the 2008 season and it’s been running with the new series since. IndyCar does not release attendance figures.

However, as stated below, there were less than 16,000 seats this year in Edmonton, equating to perhaps a 3-day crowd of 30,000.  Another tragedy in the legacy of Tony George, who did more damage (by creating the IRL) to the sport of IndyCar racing in 10 years than World War I, World War II and the great depression combined.

Castrol Raceway adjacent to the Edmonton International airport has a drag strip, short oval, go-kart track and this 2.7-km road course under construction.  At 1.6 miles that road course is too short for IndyCars, but there appears to be enough land to lengthen it.
07/25/11 IndyCar and Octane Motorsports Events have two years left on the contract to race at City Centre Airport. After that, the site won't be available; it will be developed as a residential property.  That means the city is going to have to find another venue and it's assumed it will be as we previously rumored.

It would take perhaps $5 million for Castrol Raceway to whip its venue into shape for an IndyCar road race.  Castrol owner Rob Reeves met last month with Mayor Stephen Mandel and Northlands officials to discuss the merits of such a construction project. But Reeves, who came up with the $5-million figure based on the needed infrastructure on the site near Edmonton International Airport, doesn't want to finance it all on his own. In fact, he won't spend a minute or a dime on the proposal Mandel asked him to produce until he knows what kind of political and financial backing the race is likely to receive in the future.

07/24/11 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I was astonished to see that the average Indy Car qualifying speed for the Edmonton airport circuit is just 101 mph and just 3 mph faster than the Indy Lights cars.  That is slower than a street circuit.  What was once a great track is now Mickey Mouse. Watching the cars go so slow is like watching paint dry.  Granted, I recognize that the current IndyCar is a slug, but 101 mph?

To make matters worse, I just read that there are less than 16,000 grandstand seats in Edmonton. The largest two sections are in turn one, each possessing 4,200 seats. Down toward turn five are a pair of grandstands with 1,200 seats in each.

There are 1,344 folding chairs set up for viewing in the front straightaway suite section, and there's a 2,400-seat grandstand at the pit entrance. The only other section is in turn 13, and it has 1,440 seats. The total: 15,984 seats. Pathetic. They used to get 70,000 on race day in the Champ Car days. Kiss this race goodbye. Dwight Hughes

Helio signs up for V8 race  
Champ Car and IndyCar drivers love going back to Surfers.  IndyCar should have never left
Stone Brothers Racing has scooped the pool in the lead-up to this year’s Armor All Gold Coast 600 with the signing of a second Indy 500 champion for the October 21-23 event.

Brazilian and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves will re-join Tim Slade in the Lucky Seven Falcon this year, while two-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon was announced as part of a Kiwi Super Team alongside Shane Van Gisbergen in the SP Tools Ford last week.

The third SBR IRWIN Tools Falcon will be shared between Alex Davison and German hot shot Marc Lieb.

Both Castroneves and Dixon had previously driven open wheel cars on the streets of Surfers Paradise before being a part of the new Armor All Gold Coast 600 format last year where International drivers were teamed up with regular V8 Supercar stars. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Sweet revenge for Whitmarsh
    Chandhok expects 'more chances' in Lotus car
  • Jury out on Vettel rivals' title chances
  • Korea to be Michael's last race with Williams
  • Axe reports made Nurburgring win sweet - Whitmarsh
  • Heidfeld not fulfilling leadership role - Boullier
  • Austin track receives funds from Texas
  • FIA confirm Hungaroring DRS zone
  • Williams to run KERS on both cars  More ...
Video: Commercializing the NASCAR Invocation  UPDATE Pastor Joe Nelms defended the invocation he gave before Saturday night’s Nationwide race where he gave thanks for the different car manufacturers, Sunoco, Goodyear and, in taking a line from “Talladega Nights,” he also gave thanks for his “smokin’ hot wife.’’

Nelms was on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint’’ on Monday and talked about the invocation he gave. Here is part of what he said in the interview conducted by Rick Benjamin and Chocolate Myers.

On the prayer:

NELMS: I never seem to be able to rehearse the prayer. This is my fourth time doing the invocation in the last two years at the Nashville track and I’ve never had it in mind. I think that’s part of why it goes over well with the fans and with the drivers because they can tell it’s not staunch and rehearsed, it’s something that’s coming from the heart. I’ve been a race fan ever since I can remember. That was a Sunday afternoon tradition at our house, come in, eat Sunday afternoon lunch after church and sit around the living room watching racing.

“I always said if I get a chance after God told me to preach … to pray at one of the events of the track, I don’t want to do the cookie-cutter prayer, not that we don’t need to thank God for our military men and women, absolutely, we wouldn’t be here without them, not that we don’t desire safety for all of the of the officials, workers and drivers, we certainly don’t want anything to happen to anybody out there. We need a safe race. But it’s the same prayer week in and week out and I’m not sure anybody is even listening to it anymore. So I said, I want to get somebody’s attention, so that’s been our desire every time we’ve been up there, to try to make an impact on the fans and give them something they’ll remember and maybe they’ll go home on a Friday night or a Saturday night and say, “Maybe I ought to get up and go to church in the morning.’’ More ...

tv news
ESPN's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coverage Launches at Indianapolis  ESPN begins its coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 31. ESPN’s multimedia platforms will surround the race telecast on television, radio, online and on mobile devices and ESPN will be introducing several new television production elements into its NASCAR coverage.

The race telecast from Indianapolis is presented by Golden Corral and follows the one-hour NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at noon, with the race’s green flag at 1:19 p.m. The Indianapolis race is the first of 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup events on ESPN networks to close out the 2011 NASCAR season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Of the 17 races, 14 will air on ESPN and three on ABC. More ...

Track Construction Underway For Baltimore GP  Preparation for one of the largest events ever to come to downtown Baltimore took another big step on Monday, July 25, when cornerstone track walls were set-up in front of the Inner Harbor Amphitheater for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.

The work signals the first segment of construction of the 2.0 mile, 13-turn street circuit that races around Camden Yards and the Scenic Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.  Jay Davidson, President and CEO of the Baltimore Grand Prix, as well as Martyn Thake, the circuit designer and Director of Operations, along with the staff of the Baltimore Grand Prix were on hand for the ceremonial event.

"This is an exciting day for the Baltimore Grand Prix," said Jay Davidson. "All of the years of planning are now truly coming to fruition before our eyes.  This event also brings home the fact that in 40 days, there will be thousands of fans lining these streets to see the spectacular sight of racecars going 180 miles per hour down Pratt Street so Martyn and his crew definitely have their work lined out." More ...

Castroneves feels like winner after Edmonton  
Beaten again by his faster Penske teammate, Will Power, Helio Castroneves was just happy to be back on the podium
Mopping perspiration and maybe a tear of joy from his face after a physical and hard-fought 80 laps on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit, Helio Castroneves couldn't conceal the broad, unforced smile behind the towel.

A runner-up finish to Team Penske teammate Will Power in the Edmonton Indy - where victory in 2010 was snatched away in the closing laps by penalty issued for blocking the challenge of, ironically, Power - was his most-satisfying result in an otherwise disappointing IZOD IndyCar Series season.

Castroneves is still looking for a victory to extend his series record to 12 seasons, but this payoff was a fine consolation prize after starting ninth. It was Castroneves' 28th second place (two behind Bobby Unser, Al Unser Jr. and A.J. Foyt on the all-time list), and he and Tony Kanaan (fourth place) tied Johnny Rutherford for 12th on the career Indy car racing list with 99 top-five finishes. More ...

Interview with Williams’ Sam Michael  Williams endured a frustrating Sunday afternoon in Germany, with Rubens Barrichello retiring due to an oil seal problem as Pastor Maldonado took the checkered flag in 14th place. Technical Director Sam Michael talks through the race.

The team took various upgrades to the Nürburgring. What were they and how did they perform?
We took a new front wing to Germany which we raced on Rubens’ car. We also took a new rear wing, but we had a structural issue during Friday practice so we decided not to race with it. We will have that new rear wing again in Budapest to test again. We also had some suspension upgrades at the Nürburgring, but we also didn’t race these as we will do further testing with them in Hungary. More ...

Lambert Named Interim Crew Chief for RCR's No. 31 Caterpillar Team  Luke Lambert has been named interim crew chief for Richard Childress Racing's No. 31 Caterpillar/Chevrolet team with driver Jeff Burton in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Lambert replaces veteran crew chief Todd Berrier.

"Todd has been an important part of RCR's success for many years," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "He is still employed and under contract and his role with RCR will be determined in the near future."

Berrier has been an RCR employee since 1994. More ...

German GP USA TV Rating  The overnight TV rating for the F1 Santander GP of Germany taped delayed Sunday on Fox was a 0.9.
Cal Wells leaves Michael Waltrip Racing  Michael Waltrip Racing and Calvin Wells have mutually agreed to part ways it was announced by co-owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip. The separation is effective immediately. "We want to thank Cal for his strong contribution to getting Michael Waltrip Racing to where it is today. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors, " said Kauffman. "We plan to go forward now with the solid management team that is in place, and bring MWR to the next level."(MWR) Wells had been Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the team. Before joining MWR he was owner of PPI Motorsports' #32 Cup team.
Alonso has a career after racing  Yesterday morning Fernando Alonso showed us during an interview on BBC's F1 Nürburgring buildup program his future ambition, to be "The Amazing Alonso." A future Las Vegas star in the making?

Bernard likes the passion in IndyCar  Bernard has informal media chats at most events, and Sunday's biggest topic was the sparks flying between some of the drivers.

Will Power had been at odds with Dario Franchitti; Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal are still firing verbal jabs.

"What I like about it is their passion is coming through," Bernard said. "If it's just vanilla all the time, it doesn't show the fan base that they really want it."

Bernard has only been at IndyCar's helm for 17 months, but he knows the sport has a history of such conflict. Lately, he said, the passion has been "behind closed doors" and toned down by sponsor and media attention.

"I don't want to see fistfights or cussing, but showing a little passion is good," he said. Indy Star

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Kamui Kobayashi
    Kobayashi has no nuclear fears for Suzuka
  • Rain in Hungary as F1 circus moves on
  • Talks 'on' to alternate Spanish venues - Ecclestone
  • Williams lineup 'not necessarily' same for 2012
  • Nurburgring talks with Ecclestone 'positive'
  • Teams consider single in-season test for 2012
  • No 'emergency meetings' after Nurburgring - Horner

Kobayashi has no nuclear fears for Suzuka
(GMM)  Kamui Kobayashi is the first formula one driver to announce he has no fears about travelling to his native country for October's Japanese grand prix. More ...

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