Managed racing pays off for Grand-Am Series Just how close is competition in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16? When Alex Gurney edged Scott Pruett by 0.759 seconds to win Sunday's Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, it was the sixth race of the season decided by less than one second.
After eight of 12 events on the 2009 schedule, the combined margin of victory is 54.526 seconds. That's less than one minute, after 46 hours of competition, covering a combined 1,487 laps.
The figure becomes even more impressive considering that Ricardo Zonta won the rain-soaked race at New Jersey Motorsports Park by 44.752 seconds over Max Angelelli. The next-widest margin was at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where Jon Fogarty passed Pruett with 22 laps remaining and won by 7.228 seconds.
Possible race promoter for Milwaukee Mile Principals representing Historic Mile LLC were revealed today as the potential group promoting auto racing events at The Milwaukee Mile speedway.
Historic Mile LLC was chosen last Thursday evening by the Wisconsin State Fair Board during a special session. The following morning, Fair Board Chair Susan Crane and Interim Executive Director Craig Barkelar executed a Letter of Intent for a License Agreement with Historic Mile LLC principals Tony Machi, Jim Beaudoin and Steve Jones, area gentlemen passionate about motorsports and keeping the legend alive at The Milwaukee Mile. Jones most recently was General Manager & COO of The Milwaukee Mile in 2009.
What is in place for the next 55-plus days is a Letter of Intent, which is not a promoter agreement, but does allow Historic Mile LLC to move forward exclusively to demonstrate it has sufficient financial resources available to fund operations at The Milwaukee Mile including sanction fees, license fees and overhead expenses.
Red Bull also opposes Schumacher test (GMM) Red Bull Racing has joined Williams in opposing Ferrari's attempts to clear a test in the 2009 car for formula one returnee Michael Schumacher.
With Ferrari needing an unanimous agreement to go against the strict in-season testing ban, the British team Williams on Monday said it would not consent to Schumacher trialing the F60 prior to the German substituting for the injured Felipe Massa at the European grand prix later this month.
According to the news agency Reuters, Red Bull boss Christian Horner sees it the same way -- even though it was earlier believed all FOTA team members, including McLaren and Toyota, were happy to see the Schumacher test happen.
Like Williams, Horner related the Schumacher situation to the fact that Jaime Alguersuari made his grand prix debut for Red Bull's second team Toro Rosso in Hungary last month without ever having turned a corner in a F1 car.
Carpentier to Return to the Driver's Seat of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Patrick Carpentier will return to the driver's seat of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for driver Michael Waltrip at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen International. Earlier this season, the Canadian driver produced an 11th-place finish for Waltrip at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. "Patrick is being rewarded for perseverance," said Waltrip, who has 22 starts that equate to one top-five, four top-10 and 14 top-20 finishes at the 2.45-mile road course. "At Sonoma, he drove for me and started out with a car he wasn't happy with. He worked with my crew chief Bootie (Barker) and my NAPA boys to get an 11th-place finish. We also had a little deal on the side. If he was able to finish solidly at Infineon Raceway and he deemed the experience of working with my team as fun and wanted to do again, then he and I would ask NAPA to allow him to drive again. We all agreed so Patrick will drive the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for NAPA and me at Watkins Glen." The NAPA Auto Parts team prepared for the upcoming event by testing with Carpentier at Virginia International Raceway on July 22nd. Michael Waltrip Racing
Piquet confirms Renault axe, slams Briatore (GMM) Nelson Piquet on Monday confirmed he has been ousted from the Renault team.
In a released statement, the 23-year-old Brazilian said it is with "with disappointment" that he has been served notice that he will be replaced.
"But, at the same time, I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career," said Piquet, who slammed his team boss and personal manager Flavio Briatore.
He said he received "no attention at all" during his debut season in 2008, and claims that occasionally he would be threatened with the sack "15 minutes before qualifying and races".
Piquet revealed that he was promised equal conditions with Fernando Alonso this season but remained Renault's clear number two, with a performance-based contract "requiring me to score 40 per cent of Fernando Alonso's points" by mid-season.
Ferrari's official version of Massa interview Ferrari have published the first interview with Felipe Massa after the Brazilian was discharged from a Hungarian hospital on Monday morning.
Q: How do you feel? What do you remember from the accident? FM: It is sort of a strange feeling. I know exactly what happened, that a spring came off Rubens' car and hit me on the helmet. I know that something happened to me, but I didn't feel anything when it happened. They told me that I lost consciousness at the moment of the spring's impact on my helmet and I ran into the barriers, then I woke up in hospital two days later. I don't remember anything and that's why what the doctors did had to be explained to me. When I saw Rob (Smedley, his race engineer), he asked me if I remembered Rubens, but the last thing I remembered was when I was behind him at the end of my fast lap in Q2, and than it's blank. It's difficult to explain. I'm feeling much better now and I want to recover as soon as possible to get back behind the wheel of a Ferrari."
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Ford to report sales increase Ford Motor Co. says it will report its first monthly sales gain in nearly two years tomorrow, thanks to a much-needed boost from the federal government's cash-for-clunkers program.
The Dearborn automaker would not provide specific figures until Monday and told The Detroit News that it could not tell if its sales would have increased without the federal aid to consumers. The program, which offered car buyers up to $4,500 to trade in their old cars for new, more fuel-efficient models, went into effect on July 24. It has since been suspended because high demand quickly used up the money allocated for it by Congress.
President Barrack Obama says he is hopeful that lawmakers will approve the funds necessary to restart the program soon.
F1 war ends as agreements finally signedUPDATE Under the new agreement, teams will receive 50% of the revenues from the "two main income streams" – TV income and fees charged to race promoters – up from 27% previously London Independent
08/01/09 (GMM) F1's breakaway war was ended definitively on Saturday, when the governing FIA revealed that its president Max Mosley signed the new Concorde Agreement.
The document, to legally bind the Paris federation to the 12 teams and the commercial rights holder until the end of 2012, was also approved by the World Motor Sport Council, a statement confirmed.
The FIA said the news heralds "a renewed period of stability" for F1, after months of fighting with the manufacturer-dominated teams alliance FOTA.
The statement said the teams had also "entered into a resource restriction agreement", brokered as an alternative to controversial budget capping, in order to get costs down to early 1990s levels.
"The FIA looks forward to a period of stability and prosperity in the FIA formula one world championship," said the FIA.
FOTA did not issue a statement on Saturday, but it is understood that all 12 teams entered into next year's championship, with the exception of BMW, have also signed the Concorde.
The BBC said the Hinwil based team currently known as BMW-Sauber has until Wednesday to also sign up, which would provide an open door for a successor to buy the team and compete next year and beyond.
Bruised Massa eyes return to Ferrari cockpit (GMM) Felipe Massa was nursing forehead wounds and a swollen left eye, but just nine days after his horrific Budapest accident he was on his feet as on Monday he boarded a private plane bound home for Sao Paulo.
"I want to recover as soon as possible to get back behind the wheel of a Ferrari," the Brazilian said in his first interview since the crash, with the team's official website.
Rejected 2010 team files EC complaint against FIA (GMM) An unsuccessful team applicant for 2010 has filed a complaint against F1's governing body with the European Commission. Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper said the Serbian company AMCO, after trying to obtain one of the three 2010 vacancies for 'Stefan Grand Prix', alleges that the FIA's unofficial requirement that new teams sign engine deals with Cosworth broke anti-competition laws.
The report said an EC investigation is now possible.
Fronted by chief executive Zoran Stefanovic, the AMCO complaint seeks an annulment of the team selection process, which saw the Cosworth-powered Manor, USF1 and Campos outfits granted entries for 2010.
A1GP News Update As the momentum continues to build ahead of Season Five of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Dutch fans are about to get their glimpse of the A1GP Powered By Ferrari car in Assen where the series will race for the first time on 14-16 May 2010.
The Dutch, who have proved one of the most enthusiastic and loyal set of fans, will be able to see the car of A1 Team Netherlands at the annual Rizla Racing Day at the world famous TT Circuit Assen on Sunday 9 August.
The event provides a unique atmosphere for race fans who get free access to the finest grand stands and enjoy a full day’s car, motorcycle and superkart racing and stunts.
A1 Team Australia’s John Martin, the driver most likely to be in the Australian cockpit for the Nitro SuperGP this October, took victory in the Superleague Formula event at Donington Park in Britain yesterday (2 August).
Motorsports This Week on ESPN NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Watkins Glen on ESPN
ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in high definition as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes road racing at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday, Aug. 9. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Degree V12 at 1:00 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag is at 2:18 p.m.
The final 17 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will air on the ESPN Networks, with the first six on ESPN and the final 11 on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
ESPN’s coverage from Watkins Glen includes a live telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m., and a telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 1:30 p.m., both on ESPN2.
Newspaper invented Massa interview - Ferrari (GMM) Quotes attributed to Felipe Massa by a British tabloid newspaper at the weekend were bogus, the Brazilian's team Ferrari has confirmed.
The News of the World, most notorious in formula one for the sex expose about Max Mosley last year, quoted the 28-year-old as having seemingly given his first media interview since crashing in Hungary and recovering in a Budapest hospital.
However, Ferrari made clear on Sunday that Massa's first interview was in fact given exclusively to its official website, to be published on Monday as he returns home to Brazil.
"The statements printed today in the English press were not his but (his brother) Eduardo's," the Italian team clarified.
Massa, who indeed checked out of the AEK hospital on Monday morning, made a brief press statement.
"Thank god, I'm feeling very well," said the Brazilian. "I've only a bit of swelling in the region of my left eye.
"It is important to be fully recovered before returning to the track."
His personal doctor, who with Massa's wife accompanied the Ferrari driver on the private plane back to Sao Paulo, echoed the view that the recovery process will not now be rushed.
"There's no hurry to bring him back to drive," Dr Dino Altman said. "The most important (thing) is to have him fully recovered, in a safe situation."
Gordon's back improving "Yeah, it's been really nice to not get asked too many of those questions these days, or it seems like it's tapering off a little bit which is kinda nice because it started to get a little bit too much (laughs). It's slightly improved since the beginning of the year and then it's just sort of leveled off where I'm just able to deal with the pain that's there, or the discomfort. At these types of tracks it's more discomfort than it is pain. At Bristol is where we're really going to find out just where I'm at. I was in a lot of pain there the last race and that seems to be the toughest race. But for this weekend, there shouldn't be any issues. We're in good shape." Jeff Gordon
Pocono race postponedUPDATE The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross 500 at Pocono Raceway has been postponed until Monday at noon (ET) due to inclement weather.
A wet Pocono
08/02/09 The NASCAR Sprint Cup Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 is being delayed after heavy Sunday morning showers at Pocono Raceway.
The engines were scheduled to be cranked at 2:08 p.m. EDT, but the rain did not end until about 12:45 p.m., and NASCAR officials had not been able to completely dry the track by 3:30 p.m. because of intermittent drizzle and weepers in the corners.
According to the National Weather Service’s Web site, there is a 70 percent chance of rain through 7 p.m. but the radar is showing the bulk of the current storm has passed through the area.
If the race is not run today, it will be run Monday.
Felipe Massa - 'I will race again' (GMM) Felipe Massa admits he is "lucky to be alive" but wants to return to the wheel of his formula one car.
In his first published interview since waking from a coma and recovering from serious head injuries, the 28-year-old Brazilian said he doesn't remember being struck on the helmet by a steel spring during Hungarian GP qualifying and crashing headlong into a barrier.
"I don't remember anything about the accident but I will race again," Massa is quoted as saying by Britain's News of the World newspaper.
Rejected 2010 team files EC complaint against FIA (GMM) An unsuccessful team applicant for 2010 has filed a complaint against F1's governing body with the European Commission.
Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper said the Serbian company AMCO, after trying to obtain one of the three 2010 vacancies for 'Stefan Grand Prix', alleges that the FIA's unofficial requirement that new teams sign engine deals with Cosworth broke anti-competition laws.
The report said an EC investigation is now possible.
Fronted by chief executive Zoran Stefanovic, the AMCO complaint seeks an annulment of the team selection process, which saw the Cosworth-powered Manor, USF1 and Campos outfits granted entries for 2010.
Raikkonen snubs SchumacherUPDATE The paddock rumor is that Ferrari could be shaping up to offload flop Finn Raikkonen – who is unrecognizable from the champ he was two years ago – before the season is much older, especially if Schumacher outshines him, which may be why Kimi snubbed Schumacher - he feels threatened by him.
It is all a far cry from 2005, when Raikkonen won seven GPs, finishing second in the World Championship to Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher. And, in 2007, the Finn just pipped Brit Lewis Hamilton to the title in the final race of the season, winning six GPs and racking up 110 points.
Raikkonen is doing little to improve on his slow-coach displays for his £30million-a-year wages, with just three points on the board.
08/02/09 Kimi Raikkonen has delivered an enormous snub to returning legend Michael Schumacher. The 29-year-old Finn, known as The Iceman, has come up with a distinctly frosty response to the German's decision to come out of retirement and sign up as his teammate from the European Grand Prix in Valencia in three weeks' time.
Most of the world has been in raptures since the seven times world champion said he would step in for the injured Felipe Massa - but not Raikkonen.
He said:” It makes no difference to me who drives the second Ferrari. It'll be nice to have a teammate. We've raced closely before."
The pair have their admiration for each other firmly under control.
Schumacher telephoned from retirement to congratulate Raikkonen as he climbed the steps of the podium to his first Ferrari win only to have the phone put down on him.
Bruton Smith plants foot firmly in mouth Bruton Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports Inc., owns Kentucky Speedway and seven other racetracks across the country, said the IndyCar Series race here in 2010 will be held Saturday night, Sept. 4. But while Smith is "absolutely thrilled" with the date change, he is no fan of many recent decisions made by IndyCar officials, including one to schedule more road and street circuits (nine) than oval tracks (eight).
"A mistake that will bite them in the rear eventually," he said prior to Saturday's Meijer Indy 300. "I don't know who is making those decisions, but they will find it's not the proper decision, in my very humble opinion."
"I think he's smarter than that," he said.
IndyCar spokesman John Griffin said George not only was involved in the building of the schedule, he embraces it as a byproduct of unification.
Barnhart very happy with rule changesUPDATE “Up until now, you could get within about two or three car lengths of someone and your car would get loose and you would have to get out of the throttle,” Ryan Briscoe said. “Now you can run down under people and get aggressive. That’s what made the racing so good. The aero changes, the tires, the push-to-pass – I don’t think you can put your finger on one thing that made it better. It’s always going to be a combination of things. It was so close. I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to touch wheels with Ed Carpenter here.’ It started getting closer and closer. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited crossing the finish line. It was very hard-fought out there.”
08/02/09 Brian Barnhart, President of Competition and Operations, Indy Racing League, expressed his satisfaction for the recent rule changes the league implemented to improve racing. The race was the first under new aerodynamic and power changes that revived an oval season that had been lackluster. Drivers used push-to-pass technology that allowed them 15-second bursts of extra horsepower, as well as several aerodynamic changes that helped the cars race side-by-side.
"I'm very pleased with the changes and the product we saw on the racetrack tonight. I hope the fans enjoyed it, because it certainly feels like the IRL is back, as Tony Kanaan mentioned there. It was kind of what we expected and hoped for, and at the same time it wasn't a surprised because it was known entities we were putting back on the race car, and the guys did a great job on the racetrack."
Can you, at this point, digest what might have been the biggest help in terms of improving the competition?
"I think it is a combination of things, and I don't know if you'll ever be able to know that because not everybody used the same things. Because the tire ramps, the side pod extensions, and the wheel (backing plates) were all optional, you don't know who had what on so you couldn't pinpoint all of them. And the push to pass - the overtake button - was a big help."
At this point, do you think we'll make any more changes or are we good for the year?
"I think we're always open to it, and I think the most important thing is, again, whether it's good or bad you don't want to make a knee-jerk reaction. Certainly what we saw tonight was very good, it's going to be doing our due diligence, and talk to teams and the drivers and continue to get feedback from them. We're always open-minded about what we need to be doing. Certainly it worked very well here at Kentucky Speedway. We go back to a road course next week at Mid-Ohio, then Infineon and then we come back to a mile-and-a-half at Chicago."
And keep in mind, the teams and drivers came into this race tonight with a very limited amount of track time.
"Well they did, and it shows you can do an event in one day with 75 (minutes of practice). Right away you saw that Ed had a great car tonight, the 20 car, he had a breakout race. It was as good a race as I've ever seen Ed drive, the team did a great job. Overall there was a lot of excitement to it, even the pit drama, the pressure on the teams in performing on pit road because in the last segment we had the top nine cars separated by about a second and a half. One little hiccup on pit road would have cost you a lot. But Ed was able to maintain his lead and the last 10 laps were quite a shootout."
Massa to fly home MondayUPDATE "I know I'm lucky to be alive - I don't remember anything about the accident but I will race again," said Massa.
He added: "When I woke up I didn't know why I was in hospital, so I was asking 'why am I here?'.
"I was pulling all the tubes and Eduardo, my brother, tried to stop me – so we had a fight. The accident was so unlucky but I know I'm lucky to be alive. I don't remember anything of what happened.
"It was my race, so when I awoke from the coma I couldn't believe it when they told me Lewis (Hamilton) had won and Kimi (Raikkonen) was second."
07/31/09 Felipe Massa will be discharged from the AEK hospital in Budapest and flown back to Sao Paulo in Brazil on Monday, according to the Brazilian’s personal doctor Dino Altmann.
Massa’s condition has continued to improve after undergoing surgery on a fractured skull, which was caused when a piece of debris collided with his head during Hungarian grand prix qualifying on Saturday, and has been deemed well enough to fly back to Brazil as early as Monday where he will continue to focus on his recovery.
Altmann said: "There is no need for Felipe to be taken to FIA Institute deputy president Gerard Saillant's clinic in Paris. He has to continue his recovery and go back racing as soon as possible, that's the plan," Altmann added. "He is in very good mood, he is in good shape. He wants to come back soon."
Lowe's drops Charlotte track naming rightsUPDATE #2 SMI owner Bruton Smith said Saturday he expects the home improvement chain to end its 11-year sponsorship of the 1.5-mile oval at the end of the season. "I think we'll miss them," Smith said.
07/31/09 Officials from Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Lowe's insist they are still talking in the wake of a report that the home improvement chain is ending its sponsorship of SMI's flagship track. The Sports Business Journal reported Friday that Lowe's will not renew its 11-year sponsorship of the 1.5-mile oval outside Charlotte, formerly known as Charlotte Motor Speedway. SMI president and CEO Marcus Smith said both sides are still negotiating and that he remains confident a deal will be completed soon.
07/31/09 Lowe’s Cos. Inc. has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after this year, ending an 11-year relationship that began as the first racetrack naming-rights sponsorship, the SportsBusiness Journal has learned.
After more than a year of renewal talks, the home-improvement retailer informed Speedway Motorsports Inc. the track’s parent company, of its decision within the last two weeks, industry sources told SBJ, a sister paper to the Charlotte Business Journal.
The initial 10-year, $35 million deal ran through 2008 and last year the two sides agreed on a one-year extension through 2009 when they could not finalize a long-term deal. Talks continued this year, but the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement.
Cunningham wins Indy Lights race Wade Cunningham passed Sebastian Saavedra for the lead exiting Turn 2 of Lap 55 and went on to win the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race.
Cunningham, driving the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, won under caution as the No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car of James Hinchcliffe spun on Lap 64 and the Lap 66 restart was waived off.
Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing, finished second for his third consecutive top five. Ana Beatriz posted her fifth top five in the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car and James Davison was fourth in the No. 21 People*s Liberation entry for Vision Racing. Davison has been running at the finish in 17 consecutive races - one off the series record by Nick Bussell.
Schumacher visits Massa More good news from the AEK hospital in Budapest, where Felipe Massa has been recovering since his accident at the Hungarian GP's qualifying exactly eight days ago. The Brazilian driver's condition is improving and his departure from the Hungarian capital has been confirmed for Monday when he will be taken to Sao Paulo do Brasil.
Today several friends came to see Felipe: Ferrari Vice President Piero Ferrari, Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher. "It was good to finally see Felipe, I feel better now" - Michael said - "Although I've been constantly in contact with him through Nicolas and Jean and I always knew everything, it's always better to see things with your own eyes. I'm surprised by how hood his condition is, considering that the accident happened last week. We've been together and spoke a bit about everything. I feel really relieved now."
As far as his own condition is concerned after yesterday's tests at Mugello Michael said: "I have to admit that I almost can't feel my muscles anymore, but that's normal after such a long time without any tests. Now I'm curious what's going to happen the next days."
Raikkonen rolls car in Rally, nearly kills himself Kimi Raikkonen's adventure at the Finland Rally came to an abrupt end this afternoon when the Abarth Grande Punto S2000 with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver ended up in a ditch and flipping over during the 19th special test, a couple of minutes after the Subaru Impreza with Mads Ostberg went off the road in the same spot. What a pity, because Kimi had a great race and was on the 15th overall position and the third in his class despite the engine problems which slowed him down in the morning and a suspension's broken spring. A video of his crash follows. He's lucky he didn't kill himself.......
Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Formula 1 rookie Jaime Alguersuari delivered his first Formula Renault 3.5 victory in the feature race at Portimao on Saturday.
The Spaniard was comfortably the fastest man in the race, but was made to work hard for the win by Tech 1 Racing’s Charles Pic.
Competing in only his third World Series round of the season, Guillaume Moreau completed the podium for newcomers SG Formula, harassing a flu-ridden Pic to the finish.
Alguersuari positioned his car at an angle on pole position to counter a possible attack from Pic away from the line. His efforts were in vain however, as Pic powered into the lead on the downhill run into Turn 1.
Alguersuari retook first position when the Frenchman ran wide at the back of the circuit, and made full use of a new set of tyres to build a cushion of 5.9 seconds.
A safety car period on lap 16, while the damaged cars of race one winner Jon Lancaster and Anton Nebylitskiy were removed, undid all of Alguersuari’s work. Pic seized his chance on the restart three laps later to briefly retake the lead, but the Red Bull driver put in an immediate, and successful, counter on the exit of Turn 1.
Justin Lofton won the ARCA RE/MAX 200 at Pocono Raceway capturing his second ARCA win in a row and his third victory of the season. Lofton also has four runner up finishes this year, including a second place finish at Pocono in Jun.
Prior to Pocono Lofton announced a new game plan for the ARCA season. "We have been in the points racing mode for too long," said Lofton "I feel like we've done enough points racing. It's time to win."
Lofton was challenged at the end of the race by Parker Kligerman as a restart with just a handful of laps bunched the field. Kligerman had won four of the last five races and was threatening Lofton when Steve Arpin got loose in turn 3 and tapped Kligerman sending him into the wall. Kligerman would finish 21st a full two laps off the pace.
Lofton also announced that he will running four NASCAR Nationwide races this year making his debut in Michigan and then following it up with events at Lowes, Texas and Homestead.
Lofton led for 65 of the 80 laps and the race was slowed 6 times for 36 caution laps. The most serious accident occurred on lap 9 when Tony Palumbo crashed and was subsequently taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Corinthians handed Donington “Pole” as Qualifying abandoned SC Corinthians will start the opening Superleague Formula by Sonangol race at Donington Park tomorrow from pole-position (2 Aug) after qualifying was abandoned due to a flooded track this afternoon.
The Brazilian club’s Antônio Pizzonia (BRA) headed the time trials in the opening Group A session staged on a dry track but rain midway through the session sent all cars in to the pits.
The following Group B qualifiers, now fitted with wet tires as conditions quickly deteriorated, was headed by Olympiacos’ Davide Rigon (IT) – the defending SLF champion and a winner of the corresponding Donington race last August. Quarter-final 1 was held in heavy rain and poor visibility forcing the organizers to suspend then ultimately abandon the following time trials due to the dangerous conditions on the 2.5 miles (4.02 km) parkland track.
The 18-car grid will line-up for tomorrow’s opening 44min plus one lap race in the order cars achieved in the opening 15-minute, Group A and B time trials. The nine GpA cars will take the “pole” side of the grid behind Pizzonia with Rigon alongside on the front row heading the GpB runners down the other side.
Three British soccer clubs, Glasgow Rangers, Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur, plus two British drivers, Jonathan Kennard and Scott Mansell, aim for “home rule” at Donington – the only British venue in the series.
Morning practice for Sunday's Pennsylvania’s 500 came to an abrupt end for pole sitter Tony Stewart as he wrecked his Old Spice Swagger Chevrolet on just his second lap in turn 3 of Pocono's tricky triangle. Stewart will start the race in his backup car and will need to start the race from the back of the field. Not to worry, Stewart started 43rd for the June race in Pocono and won the race.
Stewart's accident was a single car mishap, “I just…I screwed up. I got in too deep and got loose and couldn’t save it.” said Stewart after the crash "I tore up a really good race car today." Frank R. reporting from Pocono
Peter Sauber vows to try to save Hinwil jobs (GMM) Peter Sauber has ruled out returning to F1 as a team owner and boss, but amid BMW's impending withdrawal insists he will try hard to safeguard the Hinwil based outfit he founded in 1993.
The 65-year-old Swiss sold his independent outfit to the Munich manufacturer in late 2005, and admitted last Wednesday that BMW's decision to quit in the middle of its fourth championship campaign was a total surprise.
"One thing is clear: I will do everything possible to save the jobs of my former employees," Sauber is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Bild.
But despite his ongoing 20 per cent ownership in the team that still bears his name, warned: "I cannot perform a miracle, and no longer will I be the chief on the pitwall.
Mosley signs new Concorde agreement FIA president Max Mosley has signed a new Concorde Agreement, the document that governs Formula One racing, aiming to restore stability to the sport.
According to a statement issued Saturday, the new deal runs until Dec. 31, 2012.
The FIA said that Mosley signed the agreement late Friday after approval by the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council.
It said it hoped the new agreement would herald a renewed period of stability for the F1 World Championship, which appeared to be in disarray a few weeks ago when many of the top teams threatened to pull out of the 2010 event.
FIA investigates Schu test A spokeswoman for motorsport's ruling body confirmed to German Press Agency dpa Saturday that the FIA is concerned about the slicks used on the F2007 by Schumacher. The 40-year stated after the test day involving 67 laps at Ferrari's circuit that the slicks were those used in the GP2 Series as teams are banned from testing with tyres in use for the 2009 F1 season.
Q&A with Matt Kenseth from Pocono IN WAKE OF WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK AT INDIANAPOLIS, DO YOU THINK THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE WAY PIT-ROAD SPEED IS MEASURED? “I don’t think so. I didn’t know there was. The way it was presented to us when they started doing electronic timing – the speed limit is 55 and, to use that as an example, they give you a five-mile cushion, so if you go over 60 you get a ticket. So, I mean, the speed limit is really 55 and they’re giving you five miles an hour, obviously, as competitive as it is, everybody tries to take most of that five-mile-an-hour cushion. Really, you’re more than five miles an hour speeding whenever you get caught.”
FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT, IS IT SIMPLY SEEING SOMEONE ON PIT ROAD WHO IS CLOSE TO YOU IN POSITION ON THE TRACK AND JUST TRYING TO STAY IN FRONT? “You always try to get all you can, and there are time when you are not focused on your tach quite as much as you should be because you’re looking up for traffic or looking through pit stalls or whatever, but, again, that’s why they give you that five-mile-an-hour cushion, and I think that’s more than generous for NASCAR to give us that, it’s just that we all take what we can get and try to get closer to that. I’ve been caught speeding before, not paying enough attention or trying to get all you can get or what have you. It’s cost me races before. I was leading the All-Star race a couple of years ago and I got caught speeding in between the short segment there. I was looking more at the car next to me instead of looking at my tachometer and how fast I was going. So, that’s really part of it.”
Only days after Peugeot made official its entry into the 12th annual Petit Le Mans Powered by MAZDA6, SPEEDtv.com is reporting Team ORECA Matmut AIM plans to enter the American Le Mans Series’ cornerstone event. The 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic is scheduled for Saturday, September 26 at Road Atlanta and now includes two of Europe’s most elite prototype operations.
One of ORECA’s LMP1 entries placed fifth overall at this year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The result put the petrol-powered prototype ahead of four diesel P1s, a remarkable accomplishment for the French team.
ORECA has not competed in the American Le Mans Series since 2000 when it fielded the factory Dodge Vipers in GTS. The results: 16 class victories, five class championships: two driver titles for Olivier Beretta, a pair of team championships for ORECA and a manufacturer crown for Daimler-Chrysler in 1999.
De Ferran still hoping for first win at Mid-Ohio Fourteen years after he first contested a race at Long Beach, Gil de Ferran finally captured his long-sought first victory at the famed street circuit in April. Now he hopes history repeats itself next week in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The legendary Brazilian driver, both owner and pilot of de Ferran Motorsports’ XM Acura ARX-02a, first competed at Mid-Ohio in 1995. He was runner-up twice in CART and has three pole positions to his credit – including last year in the team’s Acura ARX-01b in LMP2.
So does that make Mid-Ohio de Ferran’s new Long Beach?
IndyCar 2010 Schedule transcript An interview with Terry Angstadt, Mark Simendinger and Jeff Ewing.
THE MODERATOR: Before we get started about the 2010 IndyCar Series schedule, I would like to introduce Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League; Mark Simendinger, vice president and general manager of Kentucky Speedway; and closest to me, Jeff Ewing, vice president with Zoom Motorsports, which is part of the Barber Motorsports Park effort.
Terry, if you would get us started with some comments on 2010.
TERRY ANGSTADT: It's hard to know where to begin. But we are very excited about making our announcement today. As we have said on a number of occasions, really developing a schedule is a pretty good challenge to a sanctioning body, it truly is.
We really look to serve the markets where we feel our racing product will be well-received, and we have a fan base or the opportunity to develop a new fan base. But it also takes really strong professional and motivated promoters to allow us to do what we do. And we never take that for granted at any venue in which we race.
So it really is that balance. It's really looking for the large DMAs, where can our product be successful, and where can we find strong, motivated promoters to help us race and bring our racing series to the general public.
No Milwaukee for IRL in 2010 Terry Angstadt's words provided a quick slap to reality for those who whose hopes were rising for the survival of big-time racing at the troubled Milwaukee Mile.
State Fair Park selected a prospective promoter for the historic track during a board meeting Thursday night and on Friday morning the park and the group signed a letter of intent to negotiate toward a deal.
But among the conditions laid down by fair management was said it wouldn't sign an agreement until the potential promoter has “fully secured race dates from the sanctioning bodies for the Indy Racing League and NASCAR.”
The IRL had said last month that it would be flexible with Milwaukee, meaning it would be willing to consider adding the Mile even after the 2010 schedule was announced.
Angstadt's comments, made at Kentucky Speedway during the schedule unveiling, indicate that's no longer the case. Apparently something about the group or its proposal for a race did not meet the league's demands.
FOTA says 'yes' to Schumacher testUPDATE (GMM) FOTA vice-chairman John Howett has confirmed that eight of the ten formula one teams are happy if Michael Schumacher conducts a one-off test at the wheel of Felipe Massa's F60 Ferrari.
The Italian team had made the request to the teams alliance, as well as the governing FIA and non-FOTA teams Williams and Force India, so that Schumacher has a chance to acquaint with the Maranello built car prior to his Valencia comeback next month.
"Toyota's understanding is that all FOTA teams have agreed to accept this request," Howett, also president of the Toyota team, is quoted as saying by Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"The situation for Felipe is very unfortunate, and this is a sporting gesture which I am confident Ferrari will respect," he added.
It is believed he is referring to the fact that the teams have asked Ferrari to ensure that Schumacher is simply acquainting with the red car, rather than conducting any sort of technical development work.
The Telegraph said the FIA received the approval of some teams, including Red Bull, "with conditions attached".
Ferrari confirmed that the request was made and said it is "waiting for a reply".
Schumacher, 40, lapped Ferrari's Mugello circuit nearly 70 times on Friday, at the wheel of a privately-owned 2007 Ferrari prepared by the team's 'F1 Clienti' division.
Q&A with Indy Lights boss Roger Bailey Roger Bailey, executive director of the Firestone Indy Lights, participated in a Q&A session this week, discussing the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race under the Indy Racing League banner. Below is his interview.
Q:This weekend marks the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race under the Indy Racing League sanction. Does it seem like it's been 100 races since the first one in July 2002?
A: "First, it seems like we reached 100 Firestone Indy Lights races much sooner than the last time we reached 100 races (in the CART-sanctioned Firestone Indy Lights). It seems like only yesterday that we came on board at Kansas and the time has really flown by. All the while, Firestone has been a great partner to me and the series since Day 1. Sometimes they don't get the credit they deserve because they are always there for us and we always expect them to be. But they've done a lot for us and achieved a lot for us."
Q. There have been numerous drivers that have stood out in the series since that first race. Who are some that stand out in you mind?
New Hampshire boss slams the IRL The following is a statement from New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Gappens on the Speedway being omitted from the 2010 IndyCar Series Schedule.
"For the second year in a row, I'm extremely disappointed for our fans who continue to hope for the return of IndyCar racing to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"Our discussions with series officials explored an early August date, but according to them, that turned out to be logistically challenging with the schedule commitments they had in place. Then, I offered to run on the traditional Milwaukee date if they decided not to return to that venue. The feedback I received on that option was that they were concerned about our ability to sell tickets three weeks out from our NASCAR LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend. That, in my opinion, was an insult to our team here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports. I assured them that we have the ability to promote and have a pretty good track record of selling tickets here. In fact, I told them that we would promote June as the "Month of Speed" in New Hampshire, opening with the IndyCars, followed by the 87th Annual Loudon Classic/Laconia Bike Week, and finishing with NASCAR. I think it would have created a lot of synergy. Unfortunately, they didn't give me that opportunity.
IndyCar driver react to Schumacher's return Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher will return to the wheel of a Ferrari later this month in place of the injured Felipe Massa. Several IndyCar Series drivers gave their reaction to Schumacher's return.
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "In some ways, I was a little shocked because he has easily achieved everything he could want to. But I guess the competitive instinct is still there for him, and he wants to do it. I'm really happy to see him back. I'd much rather see him drive an F1 car than those Superbikes because you can really hurt yourself on those things (laughs). It's obviously really sad with the way it all happened, with Massa hurting himself, but I hope Massa gets better soon and jumps back in the car. Who better to put in your car, to sub for Massa, than Michael Schumacher? It's definitely going to put the cat amongst the pigeons for the remainder of the races." (If you were in Schuey's position, would you have a hard time getting back out of the car once Massa is ready to return?): "I don't know, I guess I can relate having been away (from IndyCar) for a year. But him (Schumacher) and Massa are good buddies, I'm sure he'll be delighted if he comes back."
Dixon earns pole by default IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon will start from the pole after persistent "weepers" at Kentucky Speedway canceled all on-track activities, including PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying for the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Red Baron and Edy's.
The starting grid was set by entrant points, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dixon and Dario Franchitti side by side on the front row. Water was drawn to the racing surface in multiple locations by the afternoon sunshine, which kept Delphi Safety Team and track workers busy while drivers/teams waited out the delay. Team Penske teammates Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves will share Row 2 at the start of the race under the lights, while Andretti Green Racing's Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti will be on Row 3. Dan Wheldon of Panther Racing and Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing break up the teammate tag team on Row 4.
Firestone Indy Lights points leader J.R. Hildebrand will start from the pole in the Kentucky 100, the Firestone Indy Lights' 100th race under the Indy Racing League banner. Sebastian Saavedra will join his teammate on the front row.
Kentucky IndyCar qualifying rained out Qualifying Saturday for the Meijer Indy 300 IndyCar Series event on the 1.500-mile Kentucky Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver. Lineup set by entrant points after qualifications were cancelled due to track conditions (weepers).
1. (9) Scott Dixon, entrant points 2. (10) Dario Franchitti, entrant points 3. (6) Ryan Briscoe, entrant points 4. (3) Helio Castroneves, entrant points 5. (7) Danica Patrick, entrant points 6. (26) Marco Andretti, entrant points 7. (4) Dan Wheldon, entrant points 8. (18) Justin Wilson, entrant points 9. (11) Tony Kanaan, entrant points 10. (02) Graham Rahal, entrant points 11. (27) Hideki Mutoh, entrant points 12. (06) Robert Doornbos, entrant points 13. (2) Raphael Matos, entrant points 14. (20) Ed Carpenter, entrant points 15. (23) Milka Duno, entrant points 16. (5) Mario Moraes, entrant points 17. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Entrant points 18. (13) E.J. Viso, entrant points 19. (24) Mike Conway, entrant points 20. (12) Will Power, entrant points 21. (98) Jaques Lazier, entrant points 22. (67) Sarah Fisher, entrant points 23. (43) Tomas Scheckter, entrant points
IRL returns to The Glen July 4th, 2010 Fans can now begin planning their 2010 Independence Day holiday weekend at Watkins Glen International. Officials from the Indy Racing League (IRL) announced the 2010 IndyCar® Series Schedule today and confirmed that America’s premier open-wheel racing series will return to the twisted turns of Watkins Glen International during its traditional holiday weekend date. The 6th Annual Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen will take place July 2-4, 2010. Tickets will go on sale in November.
“We are thrilled to welcome the drivers, league, teams and our fans, back to our historic track on the 4th of July in 2010,” stated Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “While we were initially talking with the league about moving the date in 2010, it made the most sense for us to keep the race where it was and continue to build a new tradition for our race fans. We know we will be able to show our fans the same excitement that they have come to expect at Watkins Glen International, both on-and-off the track.”
Old Spice Swagger is a perfect match for Stewart Doug Belliveau /AR1.com
Qualifying is officially rained out at Pocono. Points leader Tony Stewart will start from the pole for Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Stewart was sixth fastest in the practice and will run an Old Spice "Swagger" paint scheme for the weekend.
Swagger seems appropriate for Stewart, leading the points by a whopping 192 points with just six races remaining in the chase. Stewart won at Pocono in June after starting dead last in the field.
Pocono Raceway announced that anyone holding a ticket for Friday's qualifying will receive a $10 credit towards purchase of a ticket for tomorrow's event.
07/31/09 The first practice session was cut short at Pocono by rain and qualifying is in doubt for later in the day. Mark Martin was fastest during the abbreviated practice with just four laps on the track. The remaining Hendricks team mates joined Martin as next quickest with Johnson, Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Gordon with just three laps each on the track. Kyle Busch was fifth fastest in practice.
Sam Hornish Jr was 10th fastest and made 18 laps at the tricky triangle, the most of any of the teams in practice..
Waltrip's primary car parked for the weekend Doug Belliveau /AR1.com
Michael Waltrip was forced to go to a backup car after spinning and winding up in the grass. The damage to Waltrip's seemed minimal but a quick trip to the garage forced the decision to move to the backup.
One bright note on the rain... With only 43 cars entered in the race all of the Sprint Cup teams will make it into the race on Sunday.
Quote of the afternoon was from Carl Edwards after climbing from his car and observing his crew struggle to hold down their tent in front of his hauler, "Man does it rain all the time here?"
Milwaukee promotion group a step closer to dealUPDATE See related story on hard facts about Milwaukee situation.
07/31/09 The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board unanimously agreed Thursday night to try to finalize a deal with a new race promoter for the Milwaukee Mile. The interested group, which fair officials said has local ties, was not immediately identified. Susan Crane, chairwoman of the board, declined to identify the group because of a confidentiality agreement.
The group was one of three that submitted letters of intent to take over from Wisconsin Motorsports. On July 20, the board terminated its agreement with Wisconsin Motorsports, saying that group was unable to make a rental payment of $15,000. Wisconsin Motorsports also owed more than $2 million to the Indy Racing League and NASCAR for races staged earlier this year.
Crane said she hoped a new deal could be worked out as soon as possible.
Water seepage delays IndyCar practice Practice for the Kentucky IndyCar Series has been delayed due to 'weepers' appearing at Turns 3 and 4. Skies are clear over but heavy overnight rain has left the ground saturated.
The Indy Lights practice session scheduled for noon local time has yet to take place.
Montoya has moved past Indy NASCAR has issued 75 "speeding tickets" this year during Sprint Cup races, the most notable perhaps coming last week at Indianapolis as Juan Montoya seemed to be cruising to a win when he was tagged with a penalty. Caught at Pocono by the media, how has it affected Montoya?
“Do I gain anything by wondering or saying or thinking was the speedometer right or the tach right, was NASCAR right, was I wrong? Who cares? I moved on, can’t change it. Even if they came to me today and said you know what we made a mistake it wouldn’t change anything. It is what it is. I’ve moved on and we’re here. For our team our focus is this week."
So has the transition from a high tech F-1 car to a low tech NASCAR been part of the challenge for Montoya and did it affect last week? A brutally honest Montoya replied "Get over it. It’s been three years. It’s not like I did it yesterday.”
Montoya brought last weeks dominate car from Indy to run this week at Pocono, but will it help?
“We actually brought the same car because the car we were going to bring here we’re not as happy with it as we thought we were going to be. The Indy car was in one piece so we brought it here. Does it mean we’re going to run as good as Indy, I really doubt it. I would hope so but you know this is very bumpy. I don’t know what people see similar between this and Indy.”
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Schu drives 2007 car on Friday, now eyes F60 test (GMM) Michael Schumacher kicked off his on-track preparations for his sensational formula one return on Friday, lapping the Mugello circuit near Florence (Italy) in a two-year old Ferrari F2007.
Because of the in-season testing ban, the test had to be handled by Ferrari's separate 'F1 Clienti' department, with the 40-year-old German at the wheel of a privately-owned single seater, albeit equipped with slick tires.
Behind the scenes however the Maranello based team was circulating a letter to its F1 rivals, asking for a special exemption from the test ban so that Schumacher may try the F60 prior to his Valencia return.
"If they wanted to be fair he should be able to test with the (2009) car at a Ferrari track," triple world champion Niki Lauda told the Die Welt newspaper.
Indeed, it is believed the FOTA teams, comprising every competitor on the 2009 grid except Williams and Force India, accepted Ferrari's request.
Detroit Big 3 vehicles are biggest clunkers A decade ago, the U.S. auto industry was rocked by the advent of the truck as the family car. SUVs ruled the road. Crew-cab pickups packed in adults and kids as well for all kinds of uses. Now a lot of those trucks appear to be coming back as clunkers.
Autobytel.com, one of the pioneers in online auto shopping, is finding that all but one of the top 10 models being checked out on its website by consumers for its eligibility for "cash for clunkers" is a truck. It says the list of models by popularity ranks like this:
1. Ford F-Series 2. Ford Explorer 3. Chevrolet C/K/Silverado 4. Jeep Grand Cherokee 5. Dodge Ram
6. Chevrolet Blazer 7. Jeep Cherokee 8. Dodge Grand Caravan (minivan) 9. Dodge Dakota 10. Ford Ranger
Those figures seem to jibe with what other sources are saying. Hyundai's U.S. CEO John Krafcik said a week ago that Fords were the top brand showing up as early clunker trade-ins, especially old Explorer SUVs.
One dealership, Paragon Hondland Acura in Woodside, N.Y., has been taking a closer look at the 33 clunker deals it has handled so far. It finds that the average mpg for clunkers trade-ins is 16, and the average mpg of the new cars that are being bought is 27. About 70% of the trade-ins are vehicles built by Detroit's Big 3 and 75% were SUVs, pickups or minivans.
The government site for the clunker program is www.cars.gov.
Pocono to construct world's largest solar energy project Pocono Raceway, which hosts two Nascar Sprint Cup races each year, plans to construct the world’s largest solar energy project at a sports facility.
Track officials said they would announce the project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, two days before the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the track in Long Pond, Pa.
“I think it’s unique,” Pocono Raceway’s president, Brandon Igdalsky, said in a telephone interview this week. “I think that the fact that it’s a raceway that’s going to be the sports facility that’s really going to go all out and do this, I think it definitely puts us in a league of our own.”
About 40,000 photovoltaic panels are to be installed on 25 acres across the street from the racetrack on property that had been used as a parking lot for races. The solar farm is expected to generate three megawatts once it is completed, in spring 2010, making it Pennsylvania’s largest such facility, Igdalsky said. The project is expected to cost $15 million to $17 million but more than pay for itself over time.
Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Postponed for 2010 Continuing to remain hopeful about the future of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, officials confirmed today that the event will be postponed for the 2010 season.
After bringing motorsports back to the Motor City with successful Labor Day weekend events in 2007 and 2008, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix was postponed this year due to the difficult economic climate in southeast Michigan and across the state. With the continuing economic challenges faced by the region, officials have postponed the event for next year with the hope of bringing back the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix in 2011.
New AR1.com poll We have a new poll up on our Home Page that asks you to rate Michael Schumacher's chances of winning an F1 race this year given the current Ferrari is a dog and he is now 40-years old. Meanwhile, here are the results of our last poll:
Kubica on the market Robert Kubica's manager says the Polish driver is "officially on the market" following BMW's decision to withdraw from Formula One. BMW announced on Wednesday that they would be pulling out of the Championship at the end of this season, leaving both Kubica and team-mate Nick Heidfeld without a 2010 race-seat.
But while Heidfeld's contract was set to expire at the end of the campaign, Kubica still had another year to run on his deal with the German manufacturer.
"There was no sign inside the team that something like this could happen. We take note of it," his manager Daniele Morelli told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
"Robert was under contract until the end of 2010, but now he's officially on the market."
BMW cancels Formula BMW in Americas From the coming 2010 season BMW will concentrate on running its Formula BMW Europe and Formula BMW Pacific series. Despite challenging economic conditions in 2009, the European Formula BMW series continued to maintain 26-strong grids in its second season. Formula BMW Pacific has also benefited from integration of Formula BMW into the supporting bills of Formula One Grands Prix, as attested to by a steadily increasing number of competitors.
However, Formula BMW Americas will bid the international motor racing calendar farewell after the 2009 season finale at Mosport (CAN) on 30th August. Since 2004 over 110 drivers have competed for points and victories in the series. In the current economic conditions it has proven difficult to establish the young driver program as successfully on American soil as managed by its sister series in their respective regions. Taken in combination with the - by comparison with Europe and Asia - vastly different motorsport infrastructures prevailing in the Americas, this led to the decision to cease promoting the series in future.
De Ferran team wants to win one for Jonesie Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud will be aiming to maximize 'home' advantage to score their fourth straight American Le Mans Series win in the Acura Sports Car Challenge to be staged at the challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington on Saturday 2 August.
The pace-setting pair start round six of this year's ALMS full of confidence and on a roll having taken the No.66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a to three consecutive victories in Long Beach, Salt Lake City and most recently at Lime Rock in Connecticut. A fourth consecutive success in the upcoming Acura Sports Car Challenge would be even more significant for the Indianapolis-based team as, despite those wins, it's still holds second place in the title race and also as four major Honda/Acura plants are located close to the circuit in Ohio.
Renault ban 'stupid and unjust' - Alguersuari (GMM) Jaime Alguersuari has become another formula one figure to question Renault's suspension from the forthcoming European grand prix at Valencia.
According to the stewards, Fernando Alonso's team received the ban for knowingly sending the Spaniard onto the track in Hungary last weekend with a loose wheel that ultimately fell off.
Commentator Martin Brundle, and Ferrari test driver Marc Gene, have linked the FIA stewards' decision with a reaction on the grounds of safety in the wake of the recent incidents involving Henry Surtees and Felipe Massa.
Alguersuari, a 19-year-old Spaniard who made his grand prix debut for Toro Rosso in Hungary, told the El Pais newspaper of the decision: "It is stupid and unjust."
Kubica to 'support Sauber' after BMW exit (GMM) Robert Kubica's manager says the Polish driver will be supportive of the BMW-Sauber team in the wake of this week's news.
On Wednesday, the German carmaker BMW said it will withdraw from formula one at the end of 2009. Team founder Peter Sauber retains a 20 per cent share in the Hinwil-based outfit.
Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "We will support Sauber with the rescue of the team."
Morelli added that Kubica, 24, is under contract until the end of next year but is now officially on the market.
Blick said long time sponsor Petronas, the Malaysian oil company, may be a takeover candidate.
Petronas said in a statement: "Petronas' involvement in F1 with the BMW-Sauber team has been that of a strategic partnership, to complement the company's branding and business marketing objectives through the areas of premium branding efforts."
Van der Steur Racing’s Radical SR9-AER at Mid-Ohio
With a podium finish in its first American Le Mans Series race of the season, van der Steur Racing’s Radical SR9-AER is bound for Mid-Ohio and next week’s Acura Sports Car Challenge. The LMP2 challenger placed third in class two weeks ago at daunting Lime Rock Park and will go up against the likes of Acura, Mazda and Porsche in the sixth round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series.
“It was great to be back. I hadn’t done an American Le Mans Series race since Mosport in 2007 when we had a suspension failure,” said Adam Pecorari, who will drive the Radical with team owner Gunner van der Steur. “We did a little bit of testing beforehand at Summit Point. It was very physically demanding and the traffic there is nothing like you’ll see the rest of the season. If you can tackle Lime Rock with no issues, you can handle anything on the schedule.”
The layout at Mid-Ohio will offer a different type of challenge. Traffic may not play as big a role at the 13-turn, 2.25-mile layout, which features a nice mix of high-speed sections peppered with enough twisty bits that put a premium on handling. Plus the elevation changes are dramatic.
Points leader Dixon faces new challenge Scott Dixon entered the 2008 race at Kentucky Speedway with a 65-point lead over Helio Castroneves in the championship standings. Then-Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon was third (115 points back).
Dixon doesn't have such a cushion this week as he seeks to successfully defend the race win in the Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Red Baron and Edy's. Dario Franchitti is three points back and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe is 14 points arrears with six races remaining.
There's been a different points leader after each of the past five races, and only Briscoe has led after two consecutive events (Texas and Iowa in June) all season.
Dover Motorsports reports loss Dover Motorsports today reported a 33.5% year-to-year drop in Q2 profit from $5.8M to $3.9M "despite having one more Nationwide race in the three-month period" than in '08. Dover ended the first six months of '09 with a net loss of $800,000, down from a $1.7M profit in the year-ago period. Admissions revenue for the first half of the year was down 18.9% from $14.7M to $12.0M, with event revenue down 28.9% from $12.4M to $8.8M SCENEDAILY.com
Dover sells Memphis track Dover today also announced that has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Memphis Motorsports Park to Gulf Coast Entertainment, which also owns a newly-proposed motorsports entertainment complex in Mobile, Alabama. Per the deal, Dover will sell all of the stock of subsidiary Memphis Int'l Motorsports Corp., which owns the track, to Gulf Coast for $10M in cash. Dover Motorsports
Q&A with Kimi Raikkonen on his rally goals There is still some way to go before we see a Formula 1 GP in Finland but Kimi Raikkonen will make his debut this weekend in a world championship home race with a racing car. But instead of an F1 contender, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver will start the Finland Rally behind the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto S200.
It will be the fourth time that Kimi has participated in a rally, after two races on ice and snow last winter, the Artic and Vaakuna, and the Rally della Marca Trevigiana, on tarmac in Italiz. His navigator is Kaj Lindstrom, who used to be partner to world champion Tommy Makinen.
Speaking to the press ahead of the event, Kimi had the following to say....
ISC gives IndyCar the boot at Richmond “Given the unprecedented challenging economic conditions facing all businesses, we at Richmond International Raceway, in partnership with our parent company International Speedway Corporation, have been closely reviewing our portfolio of events. Key factors of the review include prioritization of promotional spends, track resources and efforts, along with fan and industry feedback.
“After reviewing those key factors and due to increases in cost, including IndyCar Series fees to host an event, we have made the decision, in conjunction with ISC, to not host the IndyCar event at Richmond International Raceway in 2010. This was a very difficult decision but given all the factors considered, one that we’re confident will help us to continue providing the best entertainment for our guests, while at the same time meet immediate needs to position Richmond for long-term success.
“The IndyCar Series is a high-quality racing series and we have enjoyed hosting them at Richmond International Raceway. The series puts on good shows all over the world, but here at Richmond we just didn’t have the racing that our fans have come to expect. Nonetheless, the IndyCar Series continues to run entertaining events at other venues and we wish them all the best for the future.” Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz
Gossage puts his foot in his mouth again The Indy Racing League’s push-to-pass initiative is being met with mixed reviews. Some team officials said the bigger teams with the ability to study the push to pass and other technical changes announced this week will get the biggest boost.
The Button as it is known in open-wheel circles was tried a few years back by Champ Car, and was instituted by the IRL Tuesday in hopes it would bring about more passing. It will debut (for the very first time in the IRL) this weekend at Kentucky.
The electronic gizmo is activated by a button on the steering wheel, and is said to add five to 20 horse power (depending on fuel mix) and an additional 200 engine revs (Champ Car's added 50 HP and that increased passing only a little. Just 5 to 20 HP is a complete joke.).
Conquest Racing terminates Rubicon Conquest Racing announced today that it has ended its partnership with the Rubicon Sports Agency. The termination of the association, which included Rubicon’s Jim Freudenberg acting as Commercial Director for the team, is effective immediately.
Rubicon Sports Agency had been brought on by Conquest Racing in April and was responsible for the development of the team’s commercial platform including attracting new and maintaining existing commercial partners.
Conquest Racing will not attend the next two IndyCar Series races in Kentucky and Mid-Ohio, but an announcement regarding Conquest’s end of season plans is expected next week.
SPEED Q&A: Hornaday Going for Five-in-a-Row at Nashville Ron Hornaday Jr. made NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history last weekend with an unprecedented four consecutive wins. At age 51, his record-setting feat also tied him with Joe Ruttman and Harry Gant as the only drivers over age 50 to win five races in a single season. Hornaday and the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet team head to Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday (8 p.m. ET live on SPEED; NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda at 7:30 p.m. ET) looking to make it five successive wins on a track at which he has never visited Victory Lane.
Below are the thoughts of the SPEED on-air Truck Series team as Hornaday attempts to continue his winning streak:
Q: Drivers had won four consecutive races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series before. Why did it take so long to accomplish this milestone in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series?
“Judging strictly by the numbers, you would have expected it to happen in the Truck Series long before the others because we have fewer drivers competing each week. But I’d contribute the delay to the diversity of the Truck schedule. In the Cup Series, it’s easier to get your car and performance dialed in when you run Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte within a few weeks of each other, but in the Truck Series, we go to a variety of tracks in near succession, such as Mansfield, O’Reilly Raceway Park and Iowa, making it more difficult to win on a weekly basis. That’s what is so cool about Hornaday’s accomplishment – that he did it on a variety of venues.”
ISC www.premieresports.com today announced a multi-year license agreement International Speedway Corporation ("ISC") and Chicago-based Premiere Global Sports (www.premieresports.com) today announced a multi-year licensing agreement. In the five and a half year deal, Premiere Global Sports will license and operate ISC’s travel brand myRacetravel.com™. myRacetravel.com is the official sports/entertainment packaged tour provider for the ISC owned and operated racetracks and events, including the DAYTONA 500®.
“Motorsports travel and hospitality has been a major consumer and corporate focus of Premiere Global Sports and this agreement strengthens our position as a leader in this sector. We look forward to the opportunity to represent ISC’s facilities and to serve its racing guests,” says Daren Lucas, Vice President Sales and Partnerships of Premiere Global Sports’ Sports Travel Division in Cary, North Carolina.
Doctor confident Schu fit for F1 return (GMM) Michael Schumacher must get the green-light of a doctor before shifting his planned Valencia comeback into high gear.
The 40-year-old German, who retired in 2006 but has agreed to return to replace Ferrari's injured race driver Felipe Massa, is to undergo medical tests at the Bad-Nauheim sportklinic in Germany.
"It's only because Michael has worked so hard in recent months that all of this is possible," a confident Dr Johannes Peil, who treated the seven time world champion after he fell and injured his neck during a motorcycle crash earlier this year, told Bild newspaper.
It is also rumored that Schumacher may attempt some testing miles prior to Valencia, despite the official ban on in-season circuit testing.
The Tagesspiegel newspaper reports that while Ferrari is not allowed to run the F60 except in a straight-line, Schumacher may instead turn to the Italian team's 'F1 Clienti' department, which operates former grand prix cars for wealthy enthusiasts.
Possible venues for Schumacher's test were named as Imola or Mugello.
Renault presses ahead with Valencia ban appealUPDATE (GMM) The International Court of Appeal will hear the case against Renault's suspension from the European grand prix on the Monday before the Valencia race. The FIA on Thursday confirmed the August 17 hearing will take place in Paris at 10am, explaining that a decision is likely to be published on the following afternoon.
07/29/09 (GMM) Renault has made official its appeal against the Hungarian GP stewards' decision to ban the team from the forthcoming European grand prix.
Within one hour of the stewards' decision on Sunday evening, the French team lodged a 'notice of intention to appeal' with the FIA, together with the necessary deposit of 6000 euros.
"The FIA is hereby authorized to use this deposit as the fee for this appeal in compliance with the rules of the FIA International Court of Appeal," Renault said.
The formal appeal was lodged for Renault on behalf of the French motor racing federation the FFSA.
The detailed grounds of the appeal must now be lodged with the FIA within 8 days of the stewards' decision.
The Court of Appeal is yet to set a date for the hearing, which will take place in Paris.
Electric Vehicles Are the Future of the Auto Industry PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates in the latest industry-focused report that by 2020, pure electric vehicles (PEV's) could represent between two and five percent of the total output of light vehicles. PwC also warns that despite the benefits electric vehicles provide, several important challenges, such as the limited driving range due to relatively short battery life or the lack of an available network of charging stations (where is the federal government on giving incentives to add charging stations to commercial establishments like restaurants, hotels and office buildings?), remain that may slow and/or impede the penetration that these vehicles can achieve in the marketplace.
Because the concept of mass vehicle electrification is fairly new to the automotive sector, continued R&D funding is necessary to increase efficiencies and decrease consumer cost however with relatively new technology and low sales volumes, significantly higher costs will be incurred by consumers purchasing electric vehicles.
An appeal to consumers is that the cost savings realized from using electricity rather than gasoline will amortize quickly enough to offset the higher transaction price.
Schumacher should be able to get new F1 licenseUPDATE (GMM) The German motor sport federation Deutscher Motor Sport Bund (DMSB) has already sent off the application paperwork for Michael Schumacher's new formula one superlicense.
F1's governing body the FIA confirmed that even though the 40-year-old German is a seven time world champion, his mandatory superlicense expired at the end of 2006.
But it is believed receiving a new one is only a formality, given the clause allowing a driver to apply for a license if he has contested 15 grands prix within the past three year period.
"Under normal circumstances Michael Schumacher should get a superlicense," a FIA spokeswoman told the German news agency SID.
"So excited to see Michael Schumacher race again," cycling great Lance Armstrong, who recently pulled off his own sporting comeback, said on his Twitter page. "The greatest of all time!" the American added.
Felipe Massa's father also welcomed the news. "I am sure Felipe will be happy," Luiz Antonio said.
Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport said Schumacher will prepare for Valencia in the Fiat driver simulator in Turin.
"The whole of formula one celebrates," the newspaper said of Schumacher's return.
NASCAR in Argentina; Schrader to driveUPDATE The three NASCAR cars from Roush Fenway Racing team were shown to the Argentinean press during the presentation of the Turismo Carretera race that will be held next weekend at Potrero de los Funes circuit, located in the San Luis Province.
Several members of the press, plus thousands of fans, were present at the Juan Galvez building, the Turismo Carretera Racers Association headquarters (ACTC in Spanish,) in order to take pictures and get to know more details of the cars that arrived from the United States and will be driven by the famous American driver Ken Schrader, as well as the local drivers Matías Rossi (3M pilot) and Diego Aventín.
Oscar Aventín –ACTC President-, Antonio Osuna -3M President-, Juan Carlos Lucio Godoy - Río Uruguay Seguros- Rubén Gil Bicella –ACTC General Secretary-, Hugo Mazzacane –ACTC Vice-president-, Juan María Traverso –representing the San Luis Government- and the Turismo Carretera 2008 Champion, Guillermo Ortelli, were all present at the press conference.
The God of Racing returns! Michael Schumacher’s return to Formula 1 is the best news the sport could get, according to his brother Ralf.
“He was itching to come back. But no one expected that,” Ralf told German television network N-24. “After all the bad headlines on the sport recently this is absolutely great. Nothing better could have happened for Formula 1 than my brother coming back.”
“The God of racing has come back. The legend will drive again,” read Germany's Bild newspaper’s headline.
Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport also had the headline: “It’s Schumacher turn!” on its front page.
Indoor Racing Returns to Atlantic City Thrilling indoor auto racing is returning to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on January 30-31, 2010. High-powered, Three Quarter (TQ) Midget race cars will headline the two-day card for the eighth consecutive year. Some 100 drivers are expected to contend for the Gambler’s Classic title. Indoor racing is considered one of the most-competitive forms of motorsports. It is common for the cars to be separated by inches throughout an entire race. The exciting environment of racing indoors in front of several thousand fans attracts many top drivers. For the fans, the action is right in front of their eyes, not miles away, with replay shown on the hall's video screens.
Current and defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., won the most recent Gambler’s Classic feature.
Pocono Fan Friendly The excitement of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on August 2nd at Pocono Raceway is fast approaching. Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX Series race, the Pennsylvania 200, will showcase the greatest race car drivers and race teams in the nation. The atmosphere, drama and excitement of major league stock car racing are unparalleled in sports. NASCAR fans are the most loyal and passionate fans in the world of sports and taking care of our fans is a top priority at Pocono Raceway. Listed below is information that will help our fans while at the Raceway. The weekend schedule of racing activities is also included. Grandstand gates open at 8:00 AM Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM Sunday. Grandstand parking lots open at 5:00 AM Sunday.
If fans need assistance at any time during their visit, simply contact Fan Assistance at (570) 643-7184, email@example.com or text SOS then "your message" to 84444.
Pocono Vital to the Chase The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on August 2nd is Pocono Raceway’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a period of eight weeks. With both Pocono races in such a short span, it is vital that drivers fare well if they want to be in position to challenge for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. The top 12 drivers heading into the final 10 races of the year are eligible to capture the Sprint Cup.
There are only six races remaining in the Race to the Chase going into the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 with 16 drivers within striking distance of securing a spot in the top 12.
Eight of the 16 drivers have victories at Pocono Raceway: Jeff Gordon has four wins, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart each having two wins. Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman complete the list of Pocono winners with one each.
Hungary GP and Silverstone new additions for MotoGP 2010 MotoGP’s provisional calendar for 2010 has been announced by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, including new races at Silverstone, England, and Balatonring, Hungary.
The 18-race schedule begins with a night race at Qatar on April 11, and ends in Valencia on November 7. FIM said that if any of the circuits on the calendar was not ready to host its race, the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain would be the reserve venue on the same date.
Citroen, Ford commit to World Rally Championship Citroen and Ford have agreed deals to remain in the World Rally Championship for the next two years, bringing to an end speculation about the future of the teams’ presence in the series.
Autosport.com reports that Ford was the first to announce its renewed commitment for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
“I'm delighted to continue our partnership with Ford. The announcement is a further vote of confidence in M-Sport and displays the importance in which Ford holds the WRC,” said Malcolm Wilson, boss of the M-Sport team which runs Ford’s cars in the series.
Variety is the spice of life for Superleague Formula
Superleague grid at Zolder
This year’s thrilling Superleague Formula by Sonangol is living up to all expectations according to Competitions Director, Robin Webb. As the six-round football-themed race series reaches its halfway point at Donington Park in the UK on 1/2 August, four different clubs – Liverpool, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Al-Ain – have scored victories in the opening four races of the season.
The unpredictability of the racing is just one of the championship’s many attractions according to Webb. “Last year no fewer than eight clubs won races and, if anything, it’s looking even more competitive in 2009,” reports a delighted Webb. “The variety of winners is very appealing to all involved but that’s what we set out to create. The cars are technically identical and therefore very closely matched and the reverse grid that we use for the second race tends to mix things up giving others a chance of victory. The best drivers, though, still come out on top as they have to score as many points as they can often in two very different races: one which they start from the front, the other from the back.”
Champ Cars much faster than Superleague cars A lap time comparison of the 2007 pole winning time of Sebastien Bourdais in the Newman/Haas Panoz DP01 Cosworth to be 1:12.821 vs. this year's Superleague pole winning time by K. Andersen to be 1:19.254, or 6.4 seconds per lap slower. Too bad IndyCar didn't adopt the Panoz Cosworth when they bought out Champ Car. It was faster than today's IndyCars, cost much less to own and operate, was already turbocharged, and already had Push-To-Pass built in.
Donington Park to host F2’s final UK round The FIA Formula Two Championship heads to Donington Park on 15/16 August – and fans are set for a feast of F2 racing in the final UK round of the 2009 season.
As it is spectators’ last opportunity to see F2 compete on British soil this year, Donington Park and MotorSport Vision have teamed up to offer fans an exclusive 2 for 1 deal on tickets for the event. Raceday tickets are on sale now for just £16 for adults – equivalent to £8 per person with our exclusive offer – plus entry is free for children under 16.
Michael Schumacher’s return to Formula One is expected to see ticket sales for the European Grand Prix rise by as much as 20 per cent, with millions more watching worldwide.
The seven-time world champion, who recorded an astonishing 91 wins as he dominated Formula One for the best part of a decade, will stand in for Ferrari ‘for as long as it takes’ for Felipe Massa to recover from the head injuries he sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It is true that the Formula One chapter has long been closed to me,” said Schumacher on his official website, www.michael-schumacher.de. “The most important thing first: thank God, all news concerning Felipe is positive, and I wish him all the best again.
“This afternoon I met with team principal Stefano Domenicali and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and together we decided that I will take the place of Felipe. As the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”
More carmaker withdrawals won't destroy F1 - Mosley
FOTA wants qualifying format shakeup
Grosjean tests Renault on UK runway
Manager told Schu to snub comeback offer
Ferrari's 60 year F1 commitment goes on
Ferrari confirms Massa out of intensive care
Raikkonen risks Schumacher beating - experts (GMM) Michael Schumacher may be returning after nearly three seasons away from the formula one grid, but he may not be the most nervous member of the Ferrari camp at present, two experts have opined.
Niki Lauda is another who staged a sensational comeback in the 80s and even went on to win a third world championship, and is sure 40-year-old German Schumacher "will be brilliant" when he sits in injured Felipe Massa’s car.
"The most interesting thing will be to see him up against Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari -- who will be faster?" the great Austrian told Britain's Daily Mail.
"Put it this way: Kimi has to get his act together or be shown up," Lauda added.
Eddie Jordan, who gave Schumacher his debut in 1991 and is equally enthusiastic about Schumacher's impending return, agrees that the situation will be a "big wake-up call" for Finn Raikkonen.
"You will see a new Raikkonen because he will not want to be disgraced by Michael Schumacher," the Irishman told BBC radio Five Live.
More carmaker withdrawals won't destroy F1 - Mosley (GMM) The sport will survive even if rumors are true that more manufacturers are considering following Honda and BMW out of formula one, Max Mosley insists.
"If any more manufacturers quit we've got people who'd replace them. I think F1 will be very healthy with or without the manufacturers," the current FIA president told the BBC.
The 69-year-old was speaking in the wake of BMW's shock announcement that it will quit F1 at the end of 2009. The FIA issued a formal statement on Wednesday blaming the decision on the dithering of team bosses over cost cutting.
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