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DATE News (chronologically)
07/29/11
nassprint

Kenseth leads Roush Fenway power play during Brickyard 400 practice
Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth was the fastest driver overall on the opening day of practice Friday, July 29 for the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records.com, turning a top lap of 181.203 mph in the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford.

Kenseth was one of three Roush Fenway Racing Fords among the top five overall. Teammates Carl Edwards and David Ragan were fourth and fifth, respectively.

"Our first lap on the racetrack was our fastest lap today," Kenseth said. "Unfortunately, it's been kind of downhill since then. We really struggled in race trim with the Crown Royal car and have some work to do before Sunday."

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07/29/11
irl

All systems go for initial on-track IndyCar test
2012 IndyCar to start testing
Hearing the turbocharged engine as it went through the gears and seeing the road course prototype aero kit during a visit last week to Dallara Automobili in Parma, Italy, heightened Will Phillips’ excitement for the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series car. It also raised expectations.

“I continue to be extremely impressed with what I see. If it can deliver what it looks like it can, it will be fantastic and exciting,” said INDYCAR’s vice president of technology. Various parties put their pieces away and sorted out their issues and they’ll all come back together for the car completion the beginning of next month.”

The IndyCar Safety Cell will be shipped to the temporary Dallara facility in Speedway, Ind., for assembly (construction of the Dallara engineering and production facility, in conjunction with the Indy Racing Experience, is ahead of schedule and projected to be open by the end of the year). The initial on-track test, with reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon behind the wheel, is scheduled for Aug. 8-9.

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07/29/11
f1

Hungarian GP: Friday Press Conference
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES
Eric BOULLIER (Renault)
Graeme LOWDON (Marussia Virgin Racing)
Jonathan NEALE (McLaren)
Adrian NEWEY (Red Bull)
Rob WHITE (Renault Sport F1)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q. Rob, about the engine rules. Just exactly what does that mean to you, the new engine rules for 2014.

Rob WHITE: I think the first thing to say is that we are pleased now to have a fairly clear view of where we are going and the most important thing about the 2014 rules is that there are enough people who now understand them and know what we are getting into so that we can go ahead and do the work to deliver these engines in a sort of timely fashion and get all the cars on the grid prepared to go racing for the first race The fact that we made a bit of an adjustment from four cylinders in-line to six cylinders is, on one hand, a pretty major change. On the other hand it's a relatively modest change. The fundamentals of the rules stay as we had in mind with a double limitation on fuel consumption with a fixed amount of fuel for the race, a fuel flow limit, a big contribution from energy recovery systems, electric only traction in the pit lane. We have got many of the same fundamental building blocks, albeit with a different engine architecture and a program timing that I think suits more people better than the original program timing.

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07/29/11
AutoGP

Oschersleben:  Crestani pips Afanasiev to AutoGP pole
Fabrizio Crestani grabbed pole position for the Oschersleben round of Auto GP. The Lazarus driver was the quickest after a thrilling session, stopped with 3 minutes to go due to an accident for Francesco Dracone. Qualifying saw many lead changes: Adrien Tambay topped the sheets with the first set of tires, then at mid-session with the second set Kevin Ceccon took the lead first, then pipped by Sergei Afanasiev.

Both improved a few times but Fabrizio Crestani, who had been in the top spots for the whole session, did his best lap with 4 minutes to go, posting an impressive 1'17"084. This, apart from being the new official track record, was enough to leave Afanasiev behind by just one tenth: it was an impressive performance for Crestani, that already clinched three podium finishes in the last four races. From his side, the Russian driver of DAMS didn't have the best luck: "when the red flag came out my first sector was 29.7, four tenths better of the lap that was worth P2. So pole was definitely in my sight and I was a bit unlucky. On the other side, making the most of the potential was up to me and I wasted my first set of tires following slower cars, so I also did some mistakes".

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07/29/11
automotive

CAFE standards set to rise to whopping 54.5 mpg for 2025
President Barack Obama on Friday revealed ambitious plans to raise the corporate average fuel economy standard for cars and light trucks to 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year, a landmark move that will dramatically remake carmakers' product portfolios and consumers' buying habits.

Unlike the first CAFE standards passed by Congress in 1975, the Detroit automakers now publicly support the high requirements and have begun retooling their fleets to adapt the changes.

“[This] represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said in a morning press conference.

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07/29/11
f1

Sauber ends Money Service Group sponsor deal
(GMM)  A spokesman for Sauber on Thursday insisted the team had "no comment" amid reports of the demise of its sponsor Money Service Group.

A day later, the Swiss team axed the deal.

Sauber confirmed in a media statement that it ended its contract with the Liechtenstein based firm "in the light of recent developments".

A few days ago, Niki Lauda said he would commence legal action against his cap sponsor, amid reports its founder Michael Seidl was arrested on suspicion of commercial fraud.

Sauber said at the Hungaroring: "The MSG logos which have been appearing on the team gear, pit partition walls, backdrops and press stationery will be removed immediately after the Hungarian grand prix in Budapest."

Comment
07/29/11
f1

McLaren says F1 'sorry to see Turkey go'
(GMM)  More reports from the Hungaroring on Friday seemed to confirm that Turkey has been dropped from the 2012 calendar.

The Istanbul track made its debut in 2005 but it appears to have been deleted from the latest schedule for next year that is being circulated in the paddock in Hungary.

"I think it is always sad when you lose a grand prix.  We are sorry to see Turkey go," McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale told reporters on Friday.

The original 2012 calendar featured an unprecedented 21 races, but FIA president Jean Todt insisted last month that the final schedule will "absolutely not" feature more than 20.

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07/29/11
gp2

Luiz Razia powers to maiden GP2 pole in Budapest
Luiz Razia
Luiz Razia snatched his first ever GP2 pole position for Caterham Team AirAsia – also a first for the Malaysian squad, today at Hungaroring in a closely fought qualifying session that saw the young Brazilian go top in the dying minutes ahead of Luca Filippi and Marcus Ericsson.

The excepted thunderstorms were nowhere in sight as the pitlane opened and it was on a dry track and warm temperatures that the thirty minute session started. Already quick in this morning’s free practice, Fabio Leimer was the first one to set the pace in a 1:30.803. But ten minutes into the session two men looked like serious pole contenders: Romain Grosjean claimed the top spot but was edged out seconds later by Razia who bettered the Frenchman’s time by 0.02s.

As most of the drivers re-entered pitlane at mid-session for fresh rubbers, Filippi took advantage of a clearer track to go quickest by 0.2s before making his way back to the pits. When the action picked up again and the drivers went back on track for a last stint, Filippi was sitting pretty at the top of the timesheet, Giedo van der Garde in tow. The Dutchman however was once again stricken by mechanical gremlins and made his way back to the pits at a very slow pace. He rejoined with seven minutes left on the clock, but could not improve. In P3, Grosjean was looking for more but never seemed to find the extra pace on a busy track.

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07/29/11
f1

Red Bull plays down Vettel's hand injury
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is sporting a minor scrape on the palm of his right hand this weekend in Hungary.

The Red Bull driver, reigning world champion and 2011 championship leader reportedly cut his hand last week.

Television images captured the injury during Friday practice at the Hungaroring, with the 24-year-old's hand wrapped in athletic sporting tape.

"He's making a big fuss about nothing," Red Bull's official Twitter channel 'redbullf1spy' said jokingly.  "It's a very, very small cut.  A scratch."

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07/29/11
f1

Trulli delighted with new Lotus steering
Old man Jarno Trulli like power steering on his Lotus
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli began to put his formula one career back together on Friday.

The Italian veteran sat out last weekend's German grand prix as Team Lotus worked to install a new power steering system.

Trulli, 37, has been complaining about the T128's steering all season, as he was usually outpaced by Heikki Kovalainen.

But on Friday at the Hungaroring, he was half a second faster than his Finnish teammate.

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07/29/11
f1

Hungarian GP: Hamilton also tops practice 2
Lewis Hamilton topped the second practice session at the Hungaroring for Sunday's Grand Prix of Hungary in Budapest with a lap of 1m21.018s.  that was good enough to nip the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and McLaren teammate Jenson Button.

Mark Webber led the Red Bull charge in fourth with teammate Sebastian Vettel fifth, Felipe Massa sixth, Nico Rosberg seventh and Michael Schumacher eighth.

Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil were 9th and 10th for Force India.

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07/29/11
f1

Bosses to meet Ecclestone over British TV deal
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and Bernie Ecclestone
(GMM)  F1 team bosses are set to meet with Bernie Ecclestone as the paddock digests Friday's news about the television coverage in Britain.

It has been announced that subscription channel Sky will share live broadcasting rights with the BBC from 2012, meaning 10 races will not be shown on free-to-air television.

"Not impressed," BBC commentator Martin Brundle admitted on Twitter.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone however said the news was "super", insisting the sport will now enjoy "the best of both worlds".

But the teams are reportedly concerned that the deal is a breach of the Concorde Agreement clause about television coverage in key markets.

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07/29/11
f1

Video: Webber's morning crash in Hungary


Comment
07/29/11
f1

Barrichello says Williams updates not working
(PVM) Rubens Barrichello has revealed that development parts brought to the races by his Williams team are not working and the team is competing at a lower level than they are accustomed to, while last year updates to the car worked and thus the car improved.

Barrichello said, “If we don’t improve the fundamental problems of the car, we’ll score points, but not in the range that we deserve. It’s not down to a lack of effort because the team is bringing loads of new things to each race, but they’re not working. Last year, the things we brought worked and we were able to improve so much more.”

The veteran Brazilian explains why he ran without KERS in Germany, ” I like to test. When the team asked who wanted to race at the Nurburgring without KERS, I volunteered because I knew it would help the team with the weight distribution of next year’s car.”

But admits the experience was a huge challenge, “It was tough, defending all the time. It was like going into the boxing ring and knowing that the other guy is stronger than you. You can punch, but you break your hand because you don’t have any gloves on!”

Comment
07/29/11
gp2

GP2: Grosjean sets the pace in Practice 1
Romain Grosjean
A week after his sprint race success at Nurburgring, Series leader Romain Grosjean has once again picked up where he left off. He set the pace in this morning’s practice session at Hungaroring with a best laptime of 1:31.173 just ten minutes into the session.

A dry track welcomed the twenty-six cars with Fabio Leimer, Davide Valsecchi and Christian Vietoris quick in action as soon as the pitlane opened, all looking to top the timesheet, but it was Adam Carroll who found the extra pace to claim P1 at the wheel of his Super Nova car.

The GP2 returnee could not enjoy it for long however as Grosjean posted a quick laptime of 1:31.606, enough to put him at the top of the timesheet. He would lose it but only just temporarily when Vietoris improved, and with ten minutes gone on the clock the Frenchman was back in control and his best laptime was never bettered.

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07/29/11
f1

Warwick blasts BBC for scaling back Formula One coverage
Derek Warwick believes the BBC’s decision to scale back their Formula One coverage could see millions of fans turn their back on the sport.

The BBC has been the exclusive broadcaster of F1 in the UK since 2009 but, from next season, Sky Sports will show every Grand Prix live, with the terrestrial channel covering only half the races.

And Warwick told talkSPORT: "We all know Sky will do a brilliant job, the question for me is: why is the BBC allowing all their sport to disappear off the channel?

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07/29/11
nnw

Pastrana injured in X-Games, to miss NASCAR race
Action sports star Travis Pastrana crashed on back-to-back "TP Roll" attempts Thursday night in X Games 17 Moto X Best Trick, ending the Pastranathon during its first event. Pastrana, who was taken off on a stretcher and transported to a hospital for X-rays, broke his right foot and ankle, according to medical officials working with ESPN. He was discharged from the hospital Thursday night. The injury will require surgery at a later date, Pastrana's planned NASCAR debut on Saturday will be put on hold. He is also out of the X Games.

"I am sorry this happened and will be back in action as soon as I can. I look forward to Pastranathon 2012 at X Games 18," Pastrana told ESPN following his release from the hospital. Going into the X Games, Pastrana had planned to compete in Best Trick and Freestyle on Thursday and Friday, fly to Indianapolis to make his NASCAR Nationwide debut Saturday, then return to Los Angeles to compete in RallyCross on Sunday. X Games 17 will be the first X event since 2002 that Pastrana has been out of medal contention. Pastrana crashed while attempting the corked 720 that had made him a gold medal favorite in Best Trick. Riders usually get one shot each round at throwing tricks, but Pastrana tried the 720 twice after under-rotating the first time. His second attempt ended in identical fashion and he immediately grabbed his lower leg as medical staff rushed to his side on the landing ramp. ESPN.com

Comment
07/29/11
nassprint

Brickyard 400's star growing dimmer
There will be no hiding the obvious this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Brickyard 400 isn’t the draw it used to be. That’s not to say NASCAR isn’t popular in central Indiana, which remains a stock car hotbed. This is a case of ticket buyers becoming scarce.

Last year’s crowd was said to fill every other seat, but that might have been a stretch. Sunday’s crowd won’t be any larger, IMS boss Jeff Belskus said.

That means half-empty grandstands.

IMS is too big for this era of NASCAR, and insiders know it.

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07/29/11
gp3

Calado sets the pace in Hungary
The sixth round of 2011 GP3 Series kicked off this morning with the first of two Friday practice sessions at the Hungarian circuit, with the British driver topping the times sheets. The session was interrupted by a red flag following a crash involving Luciano Bacheta. The RSC Mücke Motorsport driver was uninjured. The remaining of the session was drama-free and Calado claimed the top spot with a time of 1:39.025 over four tenths quicker than Addax Teams Tom Dillmann in second.

The field hit the track with Pirelli P Zero slick tires, and Marussia Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto led the way early on in the damp and humid conditions ahead of Tech 1 Racing’s Aaro Vainio. The Finn went one better to claim P1, before RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker moved ahead. No sooner had the Dutchman taken control of the session, his teammate Bacheta was caught out in the damp conditions and barrel rolled over the barrier at turn 10. The 21-year-old emerged unharmed.

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07/29/11
automotive

Production of New Civic and Next Generation CR-V to Be Built at Honda's UK Plant
Honda has confirmed that both the new Civic hatchback for Europe and the next generation CR-V will be built at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Swindon, UK. In a further boost to HUM, weekly production will return to normal levels in early September after a period of parts supply interruption following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year.

The new Civic – designed exclusively for Europe and tested extensively on the region's roads – will be the ninth generation of the popular hatchback. Production of the small family car will start later in the year at HUM, ahead of the sales launch in early 2012.

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07/29/11
f1

Hungarian GP: Hamilton tops opening practice
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton turned the quickest lap to end up on top of first practice at the Hungaroring where the F1 circus is gathered for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.  Hamilton had a best lap of 1m23.350s.

Hamilton was 0.214s ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, with Fernando Alonso third for Ferrari and Mark Webber fourth in the 2nd Red Bull.

Jenson Button was fifth in the second McLaren, ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari, Nico Rosberg was seventh and Michael Schumacher eighth in the two Mercedes.

Sergio Perez ended the session in ninth, 1.270s down on Hamilton's time and Vitaly Petrov rounded out the top 10 for Renault.

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07/29/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Brawn admits his Mercedes is a dud again
    Red Bull reacts to grand prix defeats
  • Vettel says new Webber deal 'fine with me'
  • Brawn admits to own mistakes in Mercedes slump
  • Heidfeld admits DTM future 'imaginable'
  • Alguersuari not worried about F1 future
  • FIA ignored Webber/Alonso rule breach
  • Virgin in no rush to re-sign d'Ambrosio
  • At 30, Alonso has 'learned to live with' F1
  • Rosberg denies 'destroying' Schumacher in 2011
  • British viewers lose free-to-air coverage from 2012
  • Raikkonen has 'no news' about 2012 plans 

    Read more & Comment...
07/29/11
f1

Hungary: Thursday's FIA press conference
Thursday Press Conference
Jaime Alguersuari, Heikki Kovalainen, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Jenson Button faced the media in Hungary...

Q: Heikki, I guess you have got good memories of this circuit. Your win in 2008 from second on the grid?

Heikki KOVALAINEN: Yeah, of course a great memory for myself. It was the best day of my racing career so far but I think I am 110 per cent ready for the next one of those so waiting for that.

Q: Is this still a very popular race with your compatriots?

HK: Yeah, absolutely. There are a lot of Finnish people coming over here to watch the grand prix. It is very, very easy to get here from Finland I think and I think also, the Finnish people, they love the city. They come here for a holiday as well so always seem to be a lot of Finnish flags around here, which is great.

Q: So this is as close to home as it gets is it?

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07/29/11
f1

Hungaroring weather update: Rain due on Friday
Heavy showers are expected to hit the Hungaroring, scene of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, as the second practice session begins on Friday afternoon.

With the Formula 1 circus having already been greeted by rain on Thursday, forecasters predict a dry start to Friday before rain arrives at around 2pm.

Saturday and Sunday should stay dry in their entirety, despite some cloud cover, with ambient temperatures reaching maximums of 24°C (75°F).

The race on the outskirts of Budapest has only once been hit by rain, with showers having affected the 2006 Grand Prix which was won by Jenson Button and Honda.

Comment
07/29/11
track news

ISC Financial Results for the 2nd Quarter 2011
International Speedway Corp. (ISC) reported results for its fiscal second quarter ended May 31.

"Through multiple initiatives designed to enhance the long-term performance of the Company, we are pleased to report growth in operating income for both the second quarter and the first six months of fiscal 2011," said ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy. "The decrease in revenues year-over-year were primarily attributable to the event schedule changes at Kansas Speedway which last year hosted an IZOD IndyCar and NASCAR Camping World Truck series weekend during the second quarter. The performance of our events-to-date, coupled with the cost reduction commitments we outlined last year, continues to generate results in line with our expectations."

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07/29/11
f1

Why Bernie Ecclestone must leave F1
During Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal last month, the McLaren team arranged a special screening of the documentary Senna.

A night earlier, the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) held a fan forum where enthusiasts and insiders mingled to discuss the inner workings of the sport.

Both events punctuated the simple fact that it’s time for F1 commercial boss, Bernie Ecclestone, to go.

Now, there’s little doubt that the diminutive octogenarian and his business acumen has made many people in the paddock rich beyond their wildest dreams. The former Brabham owner turned F1 ringmaster has essentially run the commercial side of the sport since the late 1970s when he assumed control of its television rights.

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07/29/11
nassprint

Critical year for Brickyard 400
The grandstands at Sunday’s Brickyard 400 will generate as much attention as the on track action during NASCAR’s annual visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

That’s because since the Sprint Cup Series first competed at the historic Indianapolis track in 1994, attendance has virtually been cut in half.

As recently as 2005, 280,000 fans showed up for the Brickyard 400 but the numbers have been going downhill ever since. Estimates had about 140,000 on hand for the 2010 edition of the race however there is wide speculation this year’s crowd will be even drastically smaller.

The Charlotte Observer reported last week an internal NASCAR memo citing that “ticket sales are significantly behind from previous years," leaving many to believe an audience of 100,000 for Sunday’s 18th running of the 400 would be a major success.

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07/29/11
woo
nassprint

This is big!: Stewart Wins His First World of Outlaws Sprint Car Event
Tony Stewart gets first win.
Tony Stewart with Ohsweken owner Glenn Styres.
Dave Franks photo
Some say Tony Stewart is the greatest driver of his generation. No doubt he's become the most versatile. He proved it Wednesday night at Ohsweken Speedway when he fought off charging Sammy Swindell to capture the first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series victory of his career in front of a huge crowd at the Canadian track south of Hamilton, Ontario.

Stewart is no stranger to the World of Outlaws. He's won three championships as a car owner in the series to go with his driving titles in the NASCAR Cup ranks and the Indy Racing League. However, for a native of Indiana who as a kid idolized legendary World of Outlaws racers like Steve Kinser and Doug Wolfgang, winning with the Outlaws fulfills a dream.

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07/29/11
ga

Grand-Am-Ferrari F458 Italia testing for 2012 Daytona Rolex 24
The new Ferrari F458 Italia designed for competition in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series was turning heads before it even turned a wheel at Daytona International Speedway.
"The car looks like it's winning, standing still," GRAND-AM President Tom Bledsoe said. "It's a sharp-looking car."

Ferrari factory engineers spent part of the morning getting the car up and running before getting to work getting the suspension setup right for the unique 3.56-mile circuit that combines a high-banked oval with an infield road course. It was also the first time at Daytona for Ferrari factory pilot Jaime Melo, the lead driver at the two-day test that will end on Wednesday. Raphael Matos, GT winner of the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona, also turned some laps.

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07/29/11
automotive

Ferrari hits record half year sales in 2011
When someone mentions the term 'sportscar' the only color that comes to mind is red and the only name that comes to mind is Ferrari. Now, it's reflecting in Ferrari's sales as they hit record high sales in the first half on any year since the marque started manufacturing cars in 1947

Ferrari has delivered 3577 cars in the first six months of this year. A revenue of 1080 million Euros was recorded in the first half of this year which is 11.8% more than last year’s first half sales. Ferrari’s model line up currently consists of the superb 458 Italia and the California which have V8 engines, the 599 GTB Fiorano and the limited edition 599 GTO and SA Aperta.

In addition to Ferrari’s road going cars 176 track oriented versions of the 458 were sold for GT competitions across the globe.

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