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DATE News (chronologically)
08/08/09
fil

Mid-Ohio: Davison wins Indy Lights pole
James Davison collected his second pole start of the season - on the course he won last year. The Vision Racing driver recorded a quick lap of 1 minute, 14.8673 seconds. James Hinchcliffe will start alongside the Australian in the front row.

1. (21) James Davison, 1:14.8673 (108.576)
2. (7) James Hinchcliffe, 1:15.1451 (108.175)
3. (26) J.R. Hildebrand, 1:15.1490 (108.169)
4. (5) Mario Romancini, 1:15.1639 (108.148)
5. (37) Richard Philippe, 1:15.5229 (107.634)
6. (28) Daniel Herrington, 1:15.6569 (107.443)
7. (11) Wade Cunningham, 1:15.8078 (107.229)
8. (15) Martin Plowman, 1:16.0135 (106.939)
9. (29) Felipe Guimaraes, 1:16.1953 (106.684)
10. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 1:16.4250 (106.363)
11. (2) Andrew Prendeville, 1:16.4424 (106.339)
12. (35) Charlie Kimball, 1:16.5875 (106.137)
13. (44) Gustavo Yacaman, 1:16.8226 (105.813)
14. (20) Ana Beatriz, 1:16.9416 (105.649)
15. (9) Ali Jackson, 1:16.9498 (105.638)
16. (24) Mike Potekhen, 1:17.3678 (105.067)
17. (19) Stefan Wilson, 1:17.5609 (104.805)
18. (16) Pippa Mann, 1:17.9514 (104.280)
19. (55) Rodrigo Barbosa, 1:23.0153 (97.919)

Read more & Comment...
08/08/09
alms

Mowlem fastest in ALMS warm-up
With its KERS-related issue fully sorted from Friday, Johnny Mowlem set the fastest time in Saturday morning’s 30-minute warm-up for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The British driver posted a lap of 1:37.308 (83.537 mph) in Corsa Motorsports hybrid-powered Ginetta-Zytek 09HS prototype, the first such achievement for a hybrid vehicle in the American Le Mans Series.

Mowlem, who is driving with Stefan Johansson, made the most of a wet session that ended under grey skies but no rain. The hybrid missed qualifying Friday and will start from the rear of the grid for the afternoon’s race.

Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Adrian Fernandez, who won in CART at Mid-Ohio in 1998, turned in a lap of 1:37.885 (83.044 mph) to place second overall and first in P2. Fernandez, who watched teammate Luis Diaz claim the LMP2 pole in qualifying Friday, leads the P2 championship with Diaz over Dyson Racing. 

Read more & Comment...
08/08/09
irl

Mid-Ohio: Wilson tops Saturday AM IndyCar practice
The 2nd practice for the IndyCars started out dry Saturday morning but with about 20 minutes to go a light rain began to fall and several drivers went off.  Justin Wilson, in the Dale Coyne entry beat the other top teams with a fastest time before the rains came.

Milka Duno was still dead last some 8 seconds (8-seconds, imagine that!) behind the leaders. 

Results

Pos

Driver Diff Gap Time Speed
1 Justin Wilson (18) --.---- --.---- 1:07.4779 120.466
2 Dario Franchitti (10) 0.7320 0.7320 1:08.2099 119.173
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.8643 0.1323 1:08.3422 118.943
4 Marco Andretti (26) 1.0670 0.2027 1:08.5449 118.591
5 Helio Castroneves (3) 1.1214 0.0544 1:08.5993 118.497
6 Graham Rahal (02) 1.2041 0.0827 1:08.6820 118.354
7 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1.3300 0.1259 1:08.8079 118.138
8 Tony Kanaan (11) 1.3421 0.0121 1:08.8200 118.117
9 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1.4135 0.0714 1:08.8914 117.994
10 Oriol Servia (06) 1.4840 0.0705 1:08.9619 117.874
11 Raphael Matos (2) 1.5968 0.1128 1:09.0747 117.681
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 1.6460 0.0492 1:09.1239 117.598
13 EJ Viso (13) 1.9760 0.3300 1:09.4539 117.039
14 Danica Patrick (7) 1.9973 0.0213 1:09.4752 117.003
15 Paul Tracy (5) 2.0397 0.0424 1:09.5176 116.932
16 Robert Doornbos (33) 2.3804 0.3407 1:09.8583 116.361
17 Dan Wheldon (4) 2.4890 0.1086 1:09.9669 116.181
18 Ed Carpenter (20) 3.0129 0.5239 1:10.4908 115.317
19 Richard Antinucci (98) 3.4173 0.4044 1:10.8952 114.659
20 Mike Conway (24) 3.5375 0.1202 1:11.0154 114.465
21 Milka Duno (23) 7.5504 4.0129 1:15.0283 108.343

Comment
08/08/09
irl
fil
alms

Mid-Ohio Saturday Notebook - 1
It is overcast here this morning in Mid-Ohio with an occasional sprinkle, but right now it is dry as the Indy Lights cars take to the track for the first time.  It will be interesting to see whether they are faster than the Atlantic times from yesterday (Summerton on pole at 1m12.970s).  It's early yet but the Indy Lights cars are lapping in the 1m18s range, but they will get faster as more rubber goes down and they dial in the cars.  They have a lot more HP but the Atlantic cars are more nimble.........Attendance was rather sparse yesterday but more campers are coming in as the and it's building.  A lot of people are expected on Sunday from the nearby Honda factories - Acura and Honda are sponsoring the entire weekend.  IndyCar practice and qualifying are on tap today as well as the ALMS race at 3PM ET...............Gil de Ferran says he's realized one objective and will pursue another with a two-car IndyCar Series team for the 2010 season.  De Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 champion, announced that he will retire from sports car driving at the completion of the American LeMans Series season to focus on de Ferran Motorsports entering the IndyCar Series.  "Throughout my career, I've always been driven by challenges," de Ferran said at a news conference at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. "While I've enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the No. 66 XM Radio DFM Acura ARX-02a, my main focus moving forward is to continue to build our team into a world-class motorsports organization.  I feel that by returning to the cockpit for the past year, I have been competitive and added value to our team as a driver.  Overall, I also feel we succeeded in developing this program to a point where I can now step down and dedicate 100 percent of my time to expanding our team.".................Robert Clarke, the former president of Honda Performance Development and now executive director of de Ferran Motorsports, also is dedicated to the program.  "It's been in the works since I came on board," Clark said of the IndyCar Series plan. "I think we have some decent prospects on sponsorship and some unique ideas that could be appealing to sponsors. We have a lot of energy for it; we're working around the clock."  Sponsorship details certainly don't escape de Ferran, who recently moved his family from the United Kingdom to the Miami area.  "(Running two cars in the IndyCar Series and ALMS) is a dream, and part of the reason I'm stepping out of the cockpit is to fulfill this dream," de Ferran said. "The (IndyCar Series) is so competitive that if we want to run well the sooner we start the better.  The secret of this sport, which is really no secret at all, is preparation. We need time, we need skilled personnel and we need money. If we start too late, our chances of being competitive from the start diminish.  "We have great partnerships today and you need good partners to move forward. Expanding to IndyCar is a natural. My background is mostly in Indy car, it's a sport I understand well and I know a lot of the personnel. I'm confident we can attract additional talented personnel to make this team work well, which is the key to our success."  Mark C.

Comment
08/08/09
f1

Schu to debut revised helmet after Massa injury
(GMM) The F1 helmet manufacturer Schuberth has reacted immediately to the injury sustained by Felipe Massa with a revised model.

Michael Schumacher will debut the updated version, revealed in the pages of the German newspaper Bild, when he makes his return to formula one at the forthcoming European grand prix.

Although Massa's carbon fibre Schuberth withstood the force of the 800 gram steel spring that struck at more than 265kph, the left visor mounting was knocked off.

Bild reports that Schuberth has reacted by adding a titanium disc to the mounting point.

"Felipe's visor only came off when the doctors pulled on it," Oliver Schimpf insists, "but we have inserted a titanium disc at the transition from the visor to the helmet where previously there was only plastic.

"It is a reaction to the accident," Schimpf confirmed, explaining that the mounting is now twice as strong.

Bild said Schumacher's Schuberth RF1, with a slightly modified livery for his F1 comeback, costs 12,000 euros.

Comment
08/08/09
f1

Teams right to block Schu test - Mosley
(GMM) Max Mosley believes it is right that Michael Schumacher was not allowed to test Felipe Massa's 2009 Ferrari before making his formula one return in Valencia later this month.

Ferrari asked its nine team rivals for an exemption from the strict in-season testing ban, but Williams and the two Red Bull-owned outfits said no.

"I think the test ban rule is unreasonable, but that's the way it is," the FIA president said in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper.

Mosley pushed for cost-saving restrictions including the testing ban to be replaced by catch-all budget capping, but the FOTA teams alliance resisted.

The 69-year-old Briton said that if a test ban is in place, it needs to be enforced.

"If a 19-year-old driver such as Jaime Alguersuari may not test before his first race, then you can't make an exception for Michael Schumacher," Mosley insists.

Comment
08/08/09
nnw

GM won't allow NASCAR to ruin Camaro
As we've reported previously, Dodge and Ford will race the Challenger and Mustang, respectively, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year, as the series transitions to the "Car of Tomorrow" platform. And as we have also reported, Chevrolet will not race the Camaro, opting to continue with the Impala. We asked Mark Kent, head of General Motors racing programs, why.

"We've looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn't be," Kent said. "We looked at NASCAR, for example--took a very hard look at running the Camaro in the Nationwide series. That was a request made of us by NASCAR, and we have had a tremendous partnership with NASCAR, so we took a very hard look at it.

"At the end of the day, because of the quest for very close competition and the need to have templated bodies in that series, we felt that by forcing the Camaro into the Nationwide templates that we were compromising the body lines of an iconic car. So at the end of the day we just could not get the Camaro in the Nationwide series to satisfy our requirements.

"We are looking at [entering the Camaro] in other series, the KONI Challenge series, for example, where the body is production--that's a slam dunk. In drag racing, in stock and superstock, we look forward to seeing it on the NHRA circuit. But other than that, we really don't see any need to continue to push the Camaro into the motorsports arena. There are other areas for us to promote the Camaro. We need to find ways to spread our marketing dollars around the Camaro, and expand the customer base beyond the mere motorsports enthusiast." AutoWeek

[Editor's Note: This is too funny. The NASCAR COT templates make the Impala look like an Impala?  Face it, NASCAR is now a spec series with decals that change the nose look from a Ford, to a Chevy to a Dodge to a Camry..  Who is anyone trying to kid here?]

Comment
08/08/09
alms

Greg PickettGreg Pickett Q&A
Trans-Am legend and Muscle Milk creator Greg Pickett returns to the American Le Mans Series this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course aboard the #6 Team Cytosport Porsche RS Spyder.

The only driver in the history of the series to win a race in four decades of Trans-Am competition, Pickett returns to Le Mans prototypes with German co-driver, - former Trans-Am championship winner, Klaus Graf.

Pickett and Graf return to the ALMS after recording LMP1 podium performances aboard a Lola in 2007 and competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008.

The pair finished yesterday's opening test session second fastest aboard the Porsche in the LMP2 class.

Read more & Comment...
08/08/09
nassprint

Hornish’s Goal: Brickyard 400 And Daytona 500 Wins
Hornish is a wanker on road courses, but on the IndyCar ovals, which are 99% car, he was the best
Sam Hornish Jr. experienced plenty of frustration and low points during his first six years of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Despite racing for two of the IndyCar Series' top teams - Panther Racing and Team Penske - for five of those years, Hornish finished the Indianapolis 500 only twice, several laps down, and never better than 14th place.

But then the legendary finish of 2006 occurred and Hornish gained immortality. He came back from a pit-lane penalty and loss of momentum on an attempted pass of Marco Andretti with two laps to go to successfully pass Andretti a few hundred feet short of the checkered flag.

Hornish, who dreamed of winning the "500" all his life, flashed across the finish line a mere .0635 of a second before Andretti in front of a stunned crowd, earning a title only 66 other men can claim: Indianapolis 500 Race Winner.

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08/08/09
ga

Video: Rolex Series Top Three WGI Interview
Grand-Am Rolex Series drivers Scott Pruett (l), Alex Gurney (c) and Max Angelelli (r) talk about the 2009 Daytona Prototype championship.



Comment
08/08/09
racing news

German publisher settles Mosley lawsuit
(GMM)  Max Mosley has settled his lawsuit with the publisher of Germany's largest newspaper, Bild.

Last July, the FIA president filed a $2.35m case against the publisher Axel Springer AG, who he alleged paid money for the News of the World's video and photos and falsely claimed his sadomasochistic session with prostitutes had a Nazi theme.

The Associated Press reports that a spokesman confirmed that Axel Springer has agreed to pay $290,000 to two charities as well as publish an interview with Mosley in Bild.

Before suing Bild last year, Mosley was awarded more than $100,000 in damages from Britain's News of the World, the original source of the sex scandal expose, as well as his legal costs in excess of $760,000.

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08/07/09
irl

Versus killing off the IRL UPDATE #2 The Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway earned a horrendous 0.14 national television rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating means just 165,000 TV households nationwide watched the race which aired on Versus cable channel starting at 8 p.m. (Saturday) Aug. 1.

08/04/09 Back to the go-to channel idea - how long has Speed TV been in business?  It still is not a go-to channel and never will be.  Nielsen Household Ratings for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stand-alone race from Nashville were up 59 percent year-to-year, as three-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. captured his record-setting fifth consecutive victory of the season Saturday on SPEED.  Even if it is up 59% the ratings are still a pathetic 0.59 (434,000 households) and peaking at 0.83 (614,000 households), the race broadcast topped last year’s average rating of 0.37 (268,000 households) and peak of 0.51 (368,000 households).  It is rare they get a rating of 1.0 for anything, and usually they are around 0.5 or less.  So where does that leave the IRL on Versus?  Does that give one confidence that the ratings will ever be respectable again.  At least the ABC races were getting 1.0 ratings +/- (and a 1.0 network rating is better than a 1.0 cable rating because network TV reaches more households) so there needs to be more races on ABC and less on Versus going forward.

08/03/09 As predicted the day the deal was signed, IndyCar racing would become invisible and fade into oblivion on Versus.  Not that Versus isn't trying hard, they are, but we don't care how hard they try, it is not going to work and the IRL signed a 10-year death sentence with them.

It was said that the Indy Racing League promos aired during the Tour de France would help the open-wheel racing series’ TV ratings.  Think again.  On the heels of the most watched Tour in four years, the Nielsen ratings for the IRL race July 26 in Edmonton were dismal....again.

Versus pumped its IRL coverage early and often during its hours-long daily Tour de France coverage in the month of July, sometimes once every 15 minutes or so.

And even with all that, national ratings for the Edmonton race were 0.24. That means 279,000 TV households tuned in across the USA. In the Indianapolis market, the race earned a 0.73 Nielsen rating, meaning 8,000 TV households watched.

The Edmonton ratings were slightly higher than the previous race aired on Versus. The Richmond race June 27 earned an even worse 0.22 national rating and 0.67 in the Indianapolis market.

The IRL has its next six races air on Versus, but it won't matter because Versus is not a go-to channel for TV viewers like a network channel is or well established ESPN are.  With hundreds of TV channels now available at each and every TV viewers fingertips it is impossible for any new channel to ever become a go-to channel, the numbers are just spread too thin now.

Versus will continue to do a fantastic job and the hard core fans will like it, but as for high TV ratings and the sponsorship that would bring into the IndyCar series - isn't going to happen.

Comment
08/07/09
irl

IRL fans continue to prefer road races UPDATE #3 The Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway (oval) earned a 0.14 national television rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating means 165,000 TV households nationwide watched the race which aired on Versus cable channel starting at 8 p.m. (Saturday) Aug. 1. The national ratings were down from the July 26 Indy Racing League race in Edmonton, which earned a 0.24 rating (279,000 TV households), according to Nielsen.

07/17/09 Sunday’s race at Toronto, which started at 1 p.m., earned a 1.0 rating, which equates to 1.1 million television households nationwide, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s higher than the 0.87 national rating the race at Watkins Glen earned a week earlier [And dwarfs the Versus TV ratings so far this year]. Start times were the same and both aired on ABC.

The Toronto race also beat the national ratings for the IRL’s races in Milwaukee (.6) on May 31 and Iowa (0.8) on June 21 (which both aired on ABC), making the Honda Indy Toronto the most watched race of the year, not including the Indianapolis 500.

The national rating for the Honda Indy Toronto was double what Sunday’s Formula One race earned, starting at 3 p.m. on Fox. According to Nielsen, the German GP earned a 0.5 rating, with 628,000 TV households tuning in.

In Indianapolis, the IRL’s Toronto race earned a 3.3 rating, with 37,000 TV households watching. That was higher than the 2.74 (31,000 TV households) the Watkins Glen race tallied locally. Sunday’s F1 race scored a 1.6 rating (18,000 TV households) in the Indianapolis market.

Honda Indy Toronto was the IRL’s last of five races on ABC. The remaining seven races will be broadcast on cable channel Versus, starting with the Edmonton race July 26. The green flag drops at 5 p.m.

Versus has been promoting the race heavily during its Tour de France coverage this month. With Lance Armstrong’s return to the Tour and ratings for that event on the rise, it could mean an increase to the meager cable ratings the IRL has earned so far this season. IBJ.com [If not, the IRL needs to kiss Versus goodbye]



07/17/09 The final TV rating for the Toronto race was a 1.0/3 share (over 1 million viewers) in the USA.  In Canada TSN drew 174,000 viewers for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto race, ranking as the 11th-most viewed telecast for the weekend.

07/14/09 IndyCar fans continue to prefer road races as the overnight TV Rating for the IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto Sunday on ABC was a 1.0 with 770,000 households tuned in. Except for the Indy 500, the oval races have not come close to this number (over 1 million viewers). NASCAR owns the ovals in the USA.

Comment
08/07/09
atlantic

Summerton smashes Atlantic record at M-O
Prior to qualifying for the first Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in six years, easily the most popular question in the paddock was “What will the Atlantic lap times be?”

Jonathan Summerton answered that question resoundingly with a blistering lap at 1:12.970 (111.399 mph) in the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine for Newman Wachs Racing to obliterate the previous Atlantic track record held by 2003 series champion A.J. Allmendinger and take the $1,000 Cooper Tire Pole Award for Saturday’s eighth round of the 12-race championship. Summerton’s lap was nearly three seconds faster than Allmendinger’s previous record of 1:15.668, giving him his third pole of the season and the fourth of his Atlantic career.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
irl

Mid-Ohio: Dixon tops opening IndyCar practice
Two-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon topped a 60-minute practice session as IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Dixon recorded a lap of 1:08.2298 (119.139 mph) in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. Justin Wilson, the winner at Watkins Glen International, was second (1:08.6425) in the No. 18 Z-Line Designs car for Dale Coyne Racing and Dario Franchitti (1:08.6760) was third in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

Tony Kanaan was fourth (1:08.8390) and Graham Rahal (1:08.9932) was fifth in the No. 02 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance and practice and qualifying for the Firestone Indy Lights' Mid-Ohio 100 is scheduled for Aug. 8.

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08/07/09
alms

BREAKING NEWS: De Ferran announces his retirement UPDATE De Ferran went on to say that "When I stepped back into the cockpit I was not looking to reestablish my driving career but I felt I needed to do that to help build my ALMS team.  I have accomplished that and now my time is done.  My sole focus from here on will be on developing and expanding my race team.

"When I stepped out of IndyCars (then Champ Cars) in 2003 that was it for me.  I only came back for a very specific reason.  I plan to finish out this season and my goal is to win my final sports car race just like I won my final IndyCar race in 2003."

Press Release

American Le Mans Series team owner/driver Gil de Ferran, a two-time CART champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner, announced Friday that he will step away from the cockpit at the completion of the 2009 American Le Mans Series season to focus on his role as President of de Ferran Motorsports (DFM), the team he formed in 2008 to compete in Series as the factory-supported Acura team.

“Ideally, in a perfect world, I would like to run two sports cars in the American Le Mans Series and two cars in the IndyCar Series,” said de Ferran, a three-time winner this season in the American Le Mans Series. “That is my dream, and part of the reason I am retiring from driving is to pursue this dream.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always been driven by challenges. While I’ve enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the No. 66 XM Radio DFM Acura ARX-02a, my main focus moving forward is to continue to build our team into a world-class motorsports organization.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
irl

Tracy to sub for Moraes UPDATE
Devil's Rock
KV Racing had to track down Paul Tracy before they could announce he was replacing Mario Moraes.  Tracy was at a Bike Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota with his son and headed over to Devil's Rock in Wyoming when he got the call from KV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser. Tracy had to ride his bike back to Vegas, get his motorhome packed up and then drive all the way to Mid-Ohio.  Tired from the drive, he had to drink a lot of Monster Energy drink to get him ready to drive his IndyCar Friday afternoon.

08/07/09 Round #13, 2009 IndyCar Series season – Paul Tracy will substitute for Mario Moraes, who remains in Brazil following the passing of his father, and drive the #5 Azul – Votorantim – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry this weekend at the Honda Indy 200, August 7-9, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

KVRT co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser said, “This is a very sad occasion and on behalf of the entire KV Racing Technology organization we extend our sympathy and condolences to Mario and his family.  After lengthy internal discussions, and in consultation with Mario, we decided the best course of action was to have Paul (Tracy), who has driven for the team and is familiar with our systems and personnel, step in and drive this weekend.”

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08/07/09
alms

Mid-Ohio: Pagenaud tops morning ALMS practice
Simon Pagenaud turned the quickest lap Friday in the first official practice session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Acura and de Ferran Motorsports. The sterling Frenchman’s best time was a 1:11.570 in the XM Acura ARX-02a that he will share with team owner Gil de Ferran.

The pairing has won three straight American Le Mans Series races dating back to April in Long Beach. They also are within 13 points of LMP1 championship leaders David Brabham and Scott Sharp of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing.

Brabham, part of the overall winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with Peugeot, was second overall with a lap of 1:11.570 in their Acura P1. The two were winners in the season’s first Acura-sponsored race – the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
f1

Burti: Helmet visors must be strengthened  
Former F1 driver Luciano Burti has called on the FIA to strengthen helmet visors in the wake of Felipe Massa's horrific Hungarian qualifying accident.

Massa is set to miss the upcoming Valencia and Belgium races, if not more the remainder of the season, as he recovers the injuries sustained when a spring came loose from Rubens Barrichello's car, hitting him on the visor and knocking him unconscious.

The accident, while deemed by many to be a freak incident, has already prompted FIA President Max Mosley to ask the FIA Safety Commission to prepare a report into Massa's debris-related accident.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
f1

Manager says Schu return not in doubt
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has played down speculation the 40-year-old might stumble at the fitness hurdle prior to making his sensational return to formula one later this month.

The German's official spokeswoman this week slammed the brakes on the comeback euphoria by warning that the seven time world champion still needs to pass medical and fitness checks before his Valencia participation is confirmed.

Sabine Kehm told German television ZDF: "It is not quite certain yet that his neck will hold and the comeback can be started."

But according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Schumacher's manager Willi Weber is already well-advanced in preparations for Valencia, including arranging for memorabilia and merchandise that celebrates his return to F1 after a nearly three-year absence.

Weber told FAZ: "It is pure speculation to say that Michael will not drive in Valencia. We are making all preparations for the fact that he will be there."

Schumacher on Thursday completed a second consecutive day of go-kart testing at the Italian circuit in Lonato.

"Arms, upper body, shoulders, neck -- an excellent practice indeed," he told his official website michael-schumacher.de. "In the next days I will keep practicing at home."

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08/07/09
f1

2010 team US F1 turns down pay-driver offers
(GMM) US F1 has turned down the opportunity to sign lucrative deals with pay-drivers for its formula one championship debut next year.

"We've been offered well over three quarters of our racing budget by two drivers already, neither of whom have raced in formula one but both have won races in GP2," said the American team's co-principal Peter Windsor.

"Both of them have massive sponsorship they can bring us from their home country," Briton Windsor, also revealing that neither of the pay-drivers are American, said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
f1

Brawn bets each-way on Button title, Schu win
(GMM) A victory during Michael Schumacher's temporary return to formula one is about as likely as Jenson Button taking the drivers' crown at the end of the season.

That is the vote of confidence offered by Ross Brawn, arguably the man closest to both top formula one racers.

"If I could put either ten euros on Jenson winning the championship or on Michael winning a race, I would put five euros on both of them," the Briton said, according to Germany's Bild Zeitung.

Throughout Schumacher's ultra-successful career at both Benetton and Ferrari in the 90s and 2000s, Brawn was the ever-present technical and strategic brain.

Now, in the wake of Honda's withdrawal from F1, the 54-year-old is the boss and team owner of his own outfit Brawn GP, for whom countryman Button leads the championship by 18.5 points after 6 season wins.

A poll on F1's official website shows that nearly 52 per cent of voters believe Schumacher, 40, will score points on his Valencia comeback, nearly 30 per cent predict a return podium, and almost 20 per cent believe the German can win the European grand prix.

Comment
08/07/09
f1

BMW snub is Sauber's biggest blow
(GMM) This week contained the "bitterest day" in Peter Sauber's long career in motor racing, which dates back to his Swiss hillclimb title of 1970.

The 65-year-old sold his Hinwil based formula one team to BMW at the end of 2005, but barely four years later, the German car manufacturer last week announced it is pulling out of the sport.

Sauber, still a 20 per cent shareholder, and team boss Mario Theissen, have spent the past days trying to convince the BMW board that it should approve a Brawn/Honda-style management takeover.

On Wednesday, however, the deadline to sign the new Concorde Agreement expired, leaving Peter Sauber to decry the "far too high" demands of BMW.

"I am incredibly disappointed and disconsolate," he is quoted as saying by the Independent newspaper. "For me this is the bitterest day in my 40-year career in motor sport. It is also a devastating setback for the team."

Sauber said signing the Concorde in BMW's wake would have guaranteed "payments worth millions" and "secured the future of the team".

Rescue efforts will now continue, also with the support of the FOTA alliance, but with the immense setback of no longer having an entry to the world championship beyond November's Abu Dhabi finale.

The Swiss newspaper Blick reports that the next deadline is the end of September, beyond which BMW's support for the hundreds of staff at Hinwil is in doubt.

Comment
08/07/09
alms

Mid-Ohio Thursday Notebook
Picket in Porsche RS Spyder
Greg Pickett is still on Cloud Nine and doesn’t look like he’s coming down anytime soon. He was just as effusive following his first on-track session as he was when Team Cytosport first tested its new Porsche RS Spyder a few weeks ago at Infineon Raceway.

“What a lovely, lovely car!” the former Trans-Am champion and team owner  boomed Thursday during the American Le Mans Series test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “It does everything so well. You really can’t describe how good it is. It’s still a little bit ahead of me but I’m catching up!”

There was a lot to celebrate for Pickett and Klaus Graf, who set the second-quickest LMP2 time Thursday at 1:13.549, a little more than a second behind Adrian Fernandez’s Acura ARX-01b. Support from Porsche Motorsport and Michelin never hurts, and the assistance from Dyson Racing (which campaigned the RS Spyder in 2007 and 2008) is chief among them.

Read more & Comment...
08/07/09
f1

Bourdais reaches settlement with Toro Rosso
(GMM)  Axed Toro Rosso racer Sebastien Bourdais will not issue legal proceedings against the Red Bull-owned team.

The Frenchman's manager, Nicolas Todt, told the sports daily L'Equipe that an amicable agreement was reached with Faenza based Toro Rosso shortly after his final race in Germany.

Four days after the Nurburgring race, when Toro Rosso said the 30-year-old would be replaced by Jaime Alguersuari, Bourdais announced that he has "instructed my lawyers to review the situation including the possibility of issuing legal proceedings".

Todt however revealed: "One week after the German grand prix, we reached an out-of-court settlement with the team.  They knew it (Bourdais' ousting) would not stand up in court."

Although Bourdais said he remained "strongly committed to my formula one project" in the wake of his Toro Rosso sacking, it is rumored his next move might be back to America, and the IndyCar series.

Comment
08/06/09
alms

Brabham goes quickest in Thur. test
Eager to add to Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s championship lead, David Brabham set the fastest time in Thursday’s test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The reigning overall winner from the 24 Hours of Le Mans set a fast lap of 1:11.826 (113.174 mph) around the 13-turn, 2.25-mile road course.

Brabham, teaming with fellow LMP1 title co-leader Scott Sharp in the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a, was 0.145 seconds quicker than Gil de Ferran. The former CART champion and Indianapolis 500 winner has won three straight Series races in de Ferran Motorsports’ XM Acura with teammate Simon Pagenaud.

Brabham and Sharp won the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg in April. They hold a 13-point championship lead over Pagenaud and de Ferran, who was the overall pole winner here last year as well as during the 2000 and 2001 CART seasons.

Read more & Comment...
08/06/09
irl

Rahal won't miss  Doornbos
Comments Graham Rahal made to his hometown newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, he’s not going to miss Robert Doornbos.

“I don't know what his deal is, but I've got to be brutally honest, I just don't care," Rahal told the Ohio daily. “We could certainly have a second driver who is more of a team player, if I could say it politically correctly. We can certainly use someone who is going to benefit the team more."

Comment
08/06/09
f1

Day 2 for Schumacher
One day testing in a kart at Lonato wasn't enough; he was back in training again today to make sure he is fit enough for his return to F1 behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

Kart The German racing driver is not allowed to train in the F60, which is the car Ferrari is currently racing. So in the run-up to the European GP in Valencia on 23 August, Schumacher once again opted for a kart to get used to being back in the driving seat. Just like yesterday, he took to the Lonato (Brescia) kart track today with Luca Badoer, one of the Ferrari test pilots, where he will train until 5pm, when the track closes.

Second home "This is like a second home to Michael. He has been training here for years, right from when he started out in F1 in the early 90's" officials at the Brescia kart centre explained. "He is always very polite, and he had his whole family here with him yesterday."

Comment
08/06/09
track news

SMI reports Q2 losses
SMI today reported a $22.1M loss from continuing operations in Q2, citing losses for Motorsports Authentics. Revenues for the period were $191.9M, down from $212.8M for the year-ago period (SMI). For the first six-months of '09, SMI reported an 11.6% year-to-year drop in revenues to $325.4M, down from $368M, citing the "recession, overhead and interest expenses associated with Kentucky Speedway" for the decrease  SCENEDAILY.com

Comment
08/06/09
atlantic

De Silvestro and Edwards Ready For Mid-Ohio
The Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first time since 2003 and the “prime time” race on Saturday night is sure to put the spotlight on the battle for 2009 title honors between Simona De Silvestro and John Edwards.

De Silvestro, the only woman competing in Atlantic this season, currently has the upper hand in the championship fight with a five-point advantage (119-114) over Edwards. She and Edwards are tied for the season lead with three victories apiece, and De Silvestro leads all drivers with three pole positions from the 2009 season. With her victory at Lime Rock Park last month, the 20-year-old racer from Switzerland became the winningest woman driver in the 36-year history of the Atlantic Championship. In short, De Silvestro has had an amazing season thus far in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine for Team Stargate Worlds.

Read more & Comment...
08/06/09
nassprint

Stewart can clinch chase spot
Tony Stewart can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend, yet another accolade in his dream first season as a driver-owner. If Stewart leaves Watkins Glen with a 781-point lead on the 13th-place driver, he clinches. He currently has a 726-point lead on 13th-place #18-Kyle Busch.

Comment
08/06/09
nnw

GM still saying No to NASCAR on the Camaro
As far as NASCAR and the Camaro now, at the moment this is Chevrolet's official line on NASCAR and Nationwide and the Camaro, from GM racing director Mark Kent:

"We've looked at racing the Camaro. And one thing we do not want to do is to force a car where it shouldn't be.

"As we looked at NASCAR, we took a very hard look at running the Camaro in the Nationwide series. That was a request made of us by NASCAR.

"We've had a tremendous partnership with NASCAR, so we took a very hard look at it.

"At the end of the day -- because of the quest for very close competition, and the need to have templated bodies in that series, we just felt that by forcing the Camaro into the Nationwide templates, we were compromising the lines of an iconic car.

"At the end of the day, we could not get the Camaro in the Nationwide series to satisfy our requirements."

Well, that was the line put out by former Chevy boss Ed Peper.

Now it's time for Brent Dewar to weigh in.

Or maybe – see some Mustang-vs-Camaro sales figures below – GM is simply going to concede another round to the Mustang. MikeMulhern.net

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08/06/09
nnw

No full time Nationwide Series for Kyle Busch in 2010
Kyle Busch joined members of the media on Tuesday night, Aug. 4, 2009 for dinner in Dover. During an interview he was asked about Nationwide plans for next season. "The plan was last year when we were winning all the Nationwide races and running really well. The plan was initially to go full season and then I felt like our Cup stuff sort of stalled. We cut it back. I didn't go to Milwaukee. I didn't go to Nashville, and I didn't go to a couple others...We thought about it and how our cars are really good and Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) said man wouldn't it be cool to have a Nationwide championship solely JGR owner and driver points, and so I said I want to do it. I want to win a Nationwide championship. Anybody would so our cars have been strong enough and that's why we have done it. We won six races this year. It's been good and maybe it's taken a little bit away from the Cup effort. I don't think it has but were already talking about next year and cutting it back and getting our Cup efforts back up to where they need to be. Hopefully we can get it down to about 22 or 24 Nationwide Series races, just companion stuff not flying all over the place." Dover Speedway PR

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08/06/09
nassprint

Reutimann still miffed at Hamlin over Pocono wreck
David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase. Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #47-Marcos Ambrose. He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position. "I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back. I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something." Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized. "If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong. In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots." Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th. ESPN

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08/06/09
superleague

Tristan Gommendy & female mechanic Sara Morgan
Sara Morgan
In a world mainly dominated by men, having a woman on your team is rare, especially as a Chief Mechanic in a high-profile championship. That is the case though for Superleague Formula by Sonangol team FC Porto and its driver Tristan Gommendy.

The French driver’s car is looked after by Hitech Racing, one of the few racing teams with a woman as a member of its squad, Briton Sara Morgan being Chief Mechanic for Gommendy’s car, making her unique in the paddock. In one of the few moments of peace the drivers enjoy prior to a tense one-hour qualifying session, the Frenchman, in between signing autographs for the fans, explained his relationship with the pit lane’s only female Chief Mechanic.

“Sara is a very reliable person. She does an excellent job of managing the team and is responsible for the car being at its best on track and able to fight at the front,” says Tristan. “From the very beginning she really surprised me. Not every driver has the luxury of working with a woman and having that female perspective in the pit lane.”

Read more & Comment...
08/06/09
f1

Schu trains for F1 return by karting
(GMM)  His test in a 2009 Ferrari F60 blocked, Michael Schumacher instead turned to an Italian karting circuit to continue his preparation for his formula one comeback.

Accompanied by Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer, the 40-year-old German travelled to the Lonato circuit in Italy.

"Karting has a very good training effect, that is why today I just jumped into a testing day of the Tony Kart team in Lonato," he said on his official website michael-schumacher.de.

"There is nothing better for my preparations at the moment -- in terms of steering wheel forces for example karting is even more difficult than formula one," Schumacher explained.

The high ambient temperatures, meanwhile, pleased the local photographers, who were able to capture the results of Schumacher's weight-loss and training efforts as he walked the paddock topless.

"The fact that it has been boiling hot here is simulating the temperatures expected for Valencia," Schumacher added.

Below Michael Schumacher karting at his hometown in Kerpen, Germany. Get's pushed off, but recovers for the win.

Comment
08/06/09
nassprint

T-shirt seller arrested at Pocono Raceway on counterfeiting charge
A Michigan man was arrested and charged with selling knock-off NASCAR shirts at Pocono Raceway on Monday instead of officially licensed merchandise. Michael Quatrine, 45, has been arrested for selling fakes before. According to Pocono Mountain Regional Police, Quatrine has been arrested in California, Delaware, Michigan and South Carolina and other states for trademark counterfeiting. "We do counterfeit enforcement at tracks around the country. If not watched it can become pervasive," said Tom Sullivan, NASCAR's manager of business communications. Although NASCAR was not inspecting at Pocono on Monday, track workers were on the lookout for fake merchandise. Pocono Raceway employee Roger Green told police he saw Quatrine selling counterfeit Pocono Raceway T-shirts and detained him until police arrived. While investigating the complaint, a man told police he had purchased two shirts from Quatrine for $5 each and showed police the shirts. They matched the shirts Quatrine had in his possession. According the criminal complaint, Pocono Raceway employee Looie McNally identified the shirts as fakes by comparing labels and also showing the Sprint/NASCAR markings were fraudulent and misbranded. He was charged with trademark counterfeiting, a third-degree felony as a repeat offense, and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Richard Claypool. Quatrine was being held in Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $5,000 bail. Pocono Raceway spokesperson Bob Pleban said the track had no comment on the arrest. "It's not just about the loss of revenue to drivers and teams," said Joe Mattes, interim president of Motorsports Authentics. As the largest licensee in NASCAR, a vendor for more than 80 drivers, Motorsports Authentics makes more than 90% of the diecast products fans find trackside and on stores shelves in Wal-Mart and Kmart. Pocono Record

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08/06/09
nnw

Nationwide Series Preview
NASCAR's Nationwide Series teams will join their Sprint Cup counterparts this Saturday and take on the challenge of Watkins Glen's road course during the running of the Zippo 200.

THE RACE BREAKDOWN

The Zippo 200 is 82 laps, 200.9 miles, around the raceway's 2.45, 11 turn, road course.

The race has 49 entries who will be vying for the 43 starting berths during the Saturday morning qualifying session. 

This race is tough on brakes, tough on tire wear and a severe strain on a driver's patience.

The race will be broadcast live by the ESPN2 Network beginning at 230 pm eastern time.

Read more & Comment...
08/05/09
irl

HVM Racing Signs Robert Doornbos
Robert Doornbos
HVM Racing will run two cars in the IndyCar Series for the remainder of the 2009 season after signing Robert Doornbos to drive for the team through 2010.  The deal returns the Dutch driver to the team for which he won Champ Car Rookie of the Year honors in 2007.
 
Doornbos will drive the No. 33 car beginning with this weekend’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The addition gives PDVSA HVM Racing team driver E.J. Viso a teammate to work with – a benefit he previously had for only one race this season when Nelson Philippe drove for HVM in the Indy 500.

The 27-year-old Doornbos drove for HVM Racing in 2007 when the team competed in Champ Car under the name Team Minardi USA.  He celebrated victories at Mont-Tremblant and San Jose, finished the season third in the championship standings and captured Rookie of the Year honors.

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08/05/09
irl

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing confirms Servia
Servia takes the win at Montreal for Newman/Haas Racing in 2005
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) announced today that Spaniard Oriol Servia, 35, will drive the team’s No. 06 entry at this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 7-9.  Servia will take over the ride previously piloted by Robert Doornbos.

“I’m very pleased about this opportunity for many reasons,” said Servia.  “First, I am excited to be back in the cockpit where I should be and, second, it reunites me with the team that I had the most success with in my career.  It’s not ideal in terms of preparation time but the last time we did this with the same amount of notice, we ended up on the podium so I don’t see why that can’t happen again.  I would like to thank Carl and Mike for thinking of me and I won’t let them down.”

Servia returns to the team after having served as the replacement driver for Bruno Junqueira, who was injured in the 2005 Indianapolis 500.  He finished third in his debut with the team at the Milwaukee Mile and went on to finish on the podium a total of seven times in 11 races including his win at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.  He earned his first series pole in Australia and made a total of four front row starts en route to a career-best second place rank in the 2005 season-ending standings. 

"Oriol did a fabulous job when he drove for the team in 2005 and I am confident he will do as well now,” said Carl Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing with Michael Lanigan.  “The combination of Oriol’s talent, energy and personality and the team’s excitement in having him back is as good as it gets.”

Comment
08/05/09
irl

Added tools serve as wildcard to road course races
Ryan Briscoe and Ed Carpenter used their allotment of 20 presses of the Honda overtake assist button during their duel to the checkers at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 1.

The option, which incorporates a 200 RPM increase (to 10,500) and a 5-20 horsepower gain based on fuel setting for a duration and frequency determined by Honda Performance Development for each venue, will be used for the first time on a road/street course this weekend at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance.

For the 85-lap race (1 p.m. EDT Aug. 9 on VERSUS), 15 presses for a duration of 20 seconds each will be built in, according to HPD Race Team Manager Roger Griffiths. There is a 10-second recharge time between availability, and there's a 100 RPM-per-second decline after the 20-second duration.  Add the Firestone alternate tire option introduced this year and there now are a couple more wild cards added to the deck.

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08/05/09
irl
alms

CARA Charities events this weekend at Mid Ohio
CARA is holding a couple of different events this weekend at Mid-Ohio.  I hope you can help us publicize them, even at this late date:  All events will benefit CARA Charities and the Hole In The Wall Camps Association.

Friday from 4pm-6pm at the Indy Fan Zone in the infield.  Fans can become a team sponsor and sign their names on decals that will be placed on select Indy Car and Indy Lights cars for their races. Suggested donation is $20.

Saturday 10am-6pm- There will be a silent auction of driver and team donated items in the Hole In The Wall Camps tent in the infield.

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08/05/09
f1

All teams signed new Concorde - FOTA
(GMM)  Four days after the FIA's similar announcement, the formula one teams association FOTA on Wednesday confirmed the signing of a new Concorde Agreement.

FOTA, although not officially representing Williams and Force India, said in a statement that every team except BMW has signed the document that binds them with the FIA and the commercial rights holder.

The commercial and regulatory agreement also guarantees "the teams' participation until the end of the 2012 season", read the statement.

It was also confirmed that "all formula one teams" have signed up for the voluntary cost regulation agreement, which replaces Max Mosley's controversial desire for cost caps because it will reduce spending to "early 1990s" levels by other means.

"FOTA's attention will now turn to other issues we believe to be in the long term interest of F1: racing at the best tracks, in front of the biggest audiences and expanding F1's reach," the statement concluded.

Comment
08/05/09
f1

Todt reveals changes if elected FIA president
(GMM)  Jean Todt does not plan to be directly involved with formula one if he is elected to become FIA president later this year.

In his election agenda revealed on Wednesday, the former Ferrari boss said he proposes "appointing a commissioner responsible for the (FIA's) day to day management and governance" of F1 and the federation's other championships.

"A system of commissioners will reduce the need for the FIA president, or deputy to become directly involved in any particular championship and give more time to the leadership to concentrate on the strategic management of the FIA as a whole embracing the twin pillars of both mobility and motor sport," Todt's agenda read.

Todt also vowed to establish a Stewards Review Group to "examine improvements to the stewarding system" in series like F1 "and also to explore the development of stewards training courses to encourage their professional development".

Also on the 63-year-old Frenchman's presidential agenda is to no longer use the World Motor Sport Council for disciplinary matters such as the Lewis Hamilton lying scandal, or the McLaren-Ferrari 'spy-gate'.

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08/05/09
nassprint

Kahne’s Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award
Kasey Kahne’s pit crew captured the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday’s rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

It was the first Tissot win of the season for the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports crew, which became the 14th different winner of the weekly competition.

Kahne’s Dodge Charger spent the least amount of time on pit road – 222.986 seconds -- during the 200-lap, 500-mile race. The quick work by the No. 9 crew helped Kahne post a fifth-place finish. 

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08/05/09
irl
nassprint

Castroneves and Johnson hit rarified air at Indy
Before the 2009 racing season even began, their on-track performances had already cemented their status among the best race drivers of all time. But Helio Castroneves' and Jimmie Johnson's performances at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009 took their careers to a new level . and set the stage for a potentially unforgettable 2010.

Of the 726 drivers who have competed in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race since the inaugural running in 1911, only nine have won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" three or more times. Castroneves joined that group - containing names such as Unser, Shaw, Rutherford, Mears and Foyt - on May 24 when he beat 2005 "500" winner Dan Wheldon to the finish line by 1.9 seconds.

Castroneves won the race for the first time in 2001 - one of only eight drivers to win in his rookie year - and joined yet another elite club by repeating in 2002. Only five drivers have won the "500" in consecutive years.

"It's the No. 3's this year for the guys that had the opportunity," said Castroneves. "Jimmie's a good friend of mine and I was happy he ended up winning the Brickyard. Indianapolis is a very tough place. Hearing the NASCAR guys talking about IndyCar, it's a nice touch. Everybody really respects that place (IMS), admires it, because not only it's history but it's challenge as well. I feel honored to be in such an elite, incredible group and I'm sure Jimmie feels the same way."

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08/05/09
f1

McLaren's new factory gets local consent
The plans for the new McLaren Production Centre have been cleared by the Planning Committee of Woking Borough Council.  "We are delighted that the scheme attracted significant support from the key statutory consultees and from the Borough Council," the team said. "Owing to the nature of the application, the decision will now be forwarded to the Secretary of State as required in such cases, prior to the anticipated issue of a consent notice from the local authority."

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08/05/09
irl

Track Facts: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio


Comment
08/05/09
nhra

Ford named official car and truck of NHRA
The phrase “Drive One” resonates much louder today in the corporate offices of NHRA as it was announced that the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body has signed a multiyear agreement with Ford Motor Company, designating the legendary automaker as the official car and truck of NHRA.

NHRA will be transitioning all official vehicles to the renowned blue oval. As official car and truck of NHRA, Ford will provide support vehicles for NHRA trackside, including the NHRA Safety Safari presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, to allow them to perform their important trackside duties.

“We welcome Ford Motor Company into NHRA’s family of official partners,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president-sales & marketing. “We are extremely excited to not only have such a strong brand as our official car and truck, but more importantly provide our fans with an opportunity to not only experience what Ford has to offer but ultimately drive one.”

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08/05/09
f1

Sore neck may prevent Schu return - spokeswoman UPDATE (GMM)  A lingering neck injury could prevent Michael Schumacher from making his sensational return to formula one this season.

The seven time world champion hurt his neck while testing a German Superbike in Spain in February, and Ferrari cautioned last Wednesday that Schumacher's return will only be confirmed after a round of intense training and medical checks.

Schumacher, 40, was hospitalized after the Cartagena fall, and it was 100 days before he returned to the saddle of a racing bike.

When he attended a F1 test in early March, moreover, observers said the German was not able to move his neck freely.

After his nearly 70 laps in a 2007 Ferrari last Friday, Schumacher said on his official website michael-schumacher.de this week that "my neck pinches a bit".

"We have to get a grip on that as health has priority -- that's the clear arrangement made with Ferrari and, by the way, with my wife, too," he added.

Now, his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm has told German television ZDF: "It is not quite certain yet that his neck will hold and the comeback can be started," adding that whether Schumacher will race at Valencia "depends on medical investigations".

His manager Willi Weber said those checks will take place next week.

Read more & Comment...
08/05/09
nassprint

Mike Ford Named Crew Chief of the Race
Mike Ford, crew chief for the #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. After waiting through the rain delay on Sunday and fighting emotions all weekend, Hamlin and his #11 team started the race on Monday with great optimism. Despite fighting an ill-handling race car throughout practice on Saturday, Hamlin and Ford knew they had made the right changes for a good shot at the win. A strong car kept Hamlin at the front of the field for most of the day, and after the last round of pit stops under caution with 20 to go, he found himself just outside the top five on the last restart. At that point, Hamlin knew he had the car to win and with encouragement from his crew chief over the radio, found the speed to take the lead with just nine laps to go. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season's end. Wypall PR

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08/05/09
f1
cc
irl

F1 copies Champ Car and IndyCar
Taking a page from Champ Car  and IndyCar, the F1 Rocks concept has been launched by Formula One Management and Universal Music Group with the first big event being in Singapore. LG, F1's official timing sponsor, is sponsoring the event, which will take place in Singapore’s Fort Canning Park. The concerts in Singapore will span all three days of the race weekend with the line-up including the Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, NERD, ZZ Top, Simple Minds and Chinese singer Jacky Cheung.

Bernie Ecclestone has also announced plans for two spin-off television programs designed to show off F1 to a wider audience. One will be an hour-long entertainment show, including celebrity interviews and aspirational and lifestyle features while the other will showcase the live music performances. Grandprix.com

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08/05/09
f1

Surtees hopes lessons will be learned from son's death
Former Formula One World Champion, John Surtees, has said that he hopes that lessons will be learned from his son’s death, to make racing safer.

In his first interview since his son’s death, given to the BBC , the 1964 World Champion said that he hoped progress would be made in improving driver safety.

“Why did that wheel come off and why was it able to travel at that velocity? asked Surtees.

“There are things to be learnt.  Bernie Ecclestone was on the phone this morning talking to me about that very same thing.  So we have got to make certain that his death isn’t in vain. There will be progress – this is the way that motorsport and competitive people are.”

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08/05/09
track news

Darlington cuts prices for 2010 NASCAR race
The continuing economic plight of NASCAR fans - along with empty seats at the Southern 500 this past May - has led Darlington Raceway to slice prices for more than half its seats.  Darlington president Chris Browning told The Associated Press on Thursday that the track "Too Tough To Tame" would offer reduced prices on about 35,000 seats for the 2010 event. Add that to the 9,000 or so seats reduced by $10 for last May's event, and 44,000 of the track's 62,000 would cost less than they did in 2008.

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08/05/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Massa leaves hospital to rest at home
  • Montezemolo was already working on Schu comeback
  • Renault - no comment yet on Piquet/Grosjean reports
  • Schu return helps Valencia ticket sales
  • Montoya reveals phone call from Williams
  • Campos denies struggle to launch 2010 team

Massa leaves hospital to rest at home
(GMM)  Felipe Massa checked out of Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital on Tuesday after a one-night stay and medical checks and will now rest at home, the Ferrari team confirmed.

The Italian outfit said the outcome of the tests were "negative", meaning that further surgery at this time is not necessary.

"The best thing for him now is to go back home, where he can calmly convalesce and rehabilitate," the 28-year-old's personal doctor Dino Altman said.

Altman also told reporters that a timetable for Massa's return to formula one cannot yet be devised.

Montezemolo was already working on Schu comeback
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that, even before Felipe Massa's crash, he was already planning to ask Michael Schumacher to return soon to formula one.

The Ferrari president told Italy's Oggi magazine: "I had been thinking for a long time of a third car for Michael."

Montezemolo said he therefore "immediately thought about" the 40-year-old German when he knew Brazilian Massa would need to be replaced at forthcoming races this season.

Montezemolo said Schumacher agreed immediately when asked to step in for the injured Massa, but F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he was surprised to hear the good news.

"I think I was as surprised as his manager Willi Weber," the F1 chief executive said.

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
irl

Miami’s Castroneves Returns to “Home Track”
The next time he returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway, Castroneves will be piloting his No.  3 Team Penske car—in a race for the IndyCar Series Championship (Oct. 10).
Helio Castroneves is looking to capture his first IndyCar Series Championship on Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but today he was at the wheel of four “Super Cars” for Maxim’s November “Dream Car” issue. Driving his “home track” had the Coral Gables resident pondering his own dreams….

“This is what it’s all about,” Castroneves said after test-driving vehicles including an Aston-Martin DBS, Ferrari 599 HGTE Fiorano, Hennessey/Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. “Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami would be awesome. Just to be back here in a relaxed environment is great.”

On Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Castroneves will be seeking both his first home-track win and his first IndyCar Championship. A victory would make him the first South Floridian to win at Homestead- Miami; Castroneves has recorded three Top 3 finishes but never has taken a Miami checkered flag.

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
automotive

BMW profits decline 76%
BMW has reported a 76% decline in second-quarter profit as a result of the recession. The company reported that Q2 revenues dropped 11% but profits were down to $174m, compared to four times that figure a year earlier. Much of the problem is in the United States where sales have dropped by more than 25% this year. One of the biggest problems for the company is that its competitors have been offering serious discounts to get rid of unsold vehicles. BMW has cut back on its production as a result. The company says that its decision to quit Formula 1 was not related to the economic situation.

Comment
08/04/09
ga

No seats available for Grand-Am race
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I've wondered in the past why some Grand Am DP races have no one in the stands watching and now I know why. You can't buy tickets for the race, at least at Watkins Glen this weekend you can't!  My father and I are going to the USAC Silver Crown and Midget race at Oswego Speedway in New York on Thursday (we live in Toronto Canada) and thought that on Friday on our way home we'd swing by Watkins Glen and watch the Grand Am race but we found out the only way we can get in to see the race is if we but a weekend general admission ticket in the amount of $80.00 for the whole Nextel Cup weekend. I emailed the series on the weekend to see if they could help but no response yet. I just thought I'd share this insanity with you.  Steve Baker, Toronto, Canada

Dear Steve, With Grand-Am ALMS is up against the same Voodoo economics that CART was up against with the IRL.  CART was a stranger in a VERY strange land. They were trying to conduct "business" on the normal principles taught in business school. You remember……."Profit and Loss", "debit and credit"; "expenditures and revenues"; but for the IRL it was "Voodoo Economics," ticket give-a-ways, empty side pods, empty grandstands, promoters who didn't promote and didn't care because they are guaranteed to make a profit.  Tony George may have won his "WAR against the Infidels, the Non Believers". But it was be a Pyrrhic Victory. ..Gettysburg 2003!  The fact that his sisters kicked him out for blowing all their money keeping the IRL afloat proves it was Voodoo economics indeed.  Likewise Grand-Am sells very few tickets and TV ratings cannot justify all the sponsorship plastered all over the cars.  Word is that sponsorship can be had in the Grand-Am for next to nothing because the same Voodoo economics are at work until the ALMS dies away.  So far it appears to be working.  Mark C.

Comment
08/04/09
nassprint

Top Ask.com NASCAR searches
With two of the top-10 NASCAR questions pertaining to Smoke’s love life, Stewart proves that winning is the way to the heart

With two of the top-10 NASCAR questions pertaining to how drivers use the restroom, is there any chance that Pampers becomes the next big off-season sponsor?

Check out the #1 question.  And who said NASCAR couldn’t thrive in the Northeast?

Top Ask.com Driver Searches
1.  Tony Stewart
2.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3.  Jeff Gordon
4.  Dale Earnhardt
5.  Jimmie Johnson
6.  Jeremy Mayfield
7.  Kyle Busch
8.  Mark Martin
9.  Michael Waltrip
10. Kasey Kahne

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
irl

Conquest signs Philippe
Conquest Racing confirmed today that it has signed 23-year-old Frenchman Nelson Philippe for the Sonoma and Homestead-Miami rounds of the 2009 IndyCar Series season. The team also announced its association with the I Drive Green program for these events.

Nelson Philippe, who made his IndyCar Series debut in this year’s Indianapolis 500, will be making a return to both Conquest Racing and the IndyCar Series. Philippe piloted the Conquest car in six races in 2004 before running a full season in 2005. The Frenchman also competed with Conquest in the final two races of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season.

Created by Nelson Philippe and Environmental Specialist Jean Paul Libert, the I Drive Green program aims to educate drivers with a more environmentally friendly attitude. The program uses expert training technologies to educate corporations and US families to reduce Co2 emissions. Such an initiative has a great appeal: increase safety, reduce fuel consumption, sustain a green lifestyle and cure one of the top American environmental priorities: Air quality. California being one of the greenest states in the US and with Miami positioning itself as the Greenest city in America, these two races are perfect markets for I Drive Green. Details of the I Drive Green Academy launch campaign will be released next week along with all its sponsors.

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
f1

Canada to host GP in 2010 - Ecclestone UPDATE (GMM)  The mayor of Montreal on Tuesday clarified that no deal to reinstate the Canadian grand prix in 2010 has been done.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was earlier quoted by the Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell as saying "I promise we will be in Montreal in 2010".

But mayor Gerald Tremblay told French language radio RDS that negotiations are still ongoing, and that Ecclestone has not modified his previous unacceptable offer.

Ecclestone also said on Tuesday that while an F1 return to Indianapolis is not on the cards, his sport could host a United States grand prix somewhere else "the year after (2011)".



08/04/09 (GMM)  Canada is set to return to the formula one calendar next year, Bernie Ecclestone has promised.

"I promise we will be in Montreal in 2010," the F1 chief executive told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event was omitted from this year's schedule after Ecclestone could not agree financial terms with race organizers.

But he has been under intense pressure to reinstate the race as soon as possible, especially as the crucial North American market is now completely missing from the calendar.

"Everyone in formula one loves the Canadian grand prix," Ecclestone admitted. 

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
motogp

Colin Edwards' Greatest Quips: The Best of 'Tornado Warning'
American MotoGP superstar Colin Edwards has participated in an exclusive interview series, "Tornado Warning," with the official Web site of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, www.redbullindianapolisgp.com, before every MotoGP event since early in the 2008 season.

The colorful, outspoken Edwards, from Houston, never shies from speaking his mind on a variety of topics in the world of motorcycle racing, usually with great insight and a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.

Edwards is visiting Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis on Wednesday, Aug. 5 to fire weapons, eat lunch with troops and participate in an armored car rollover procedure. He is often seen at races around the world sporting a U.S. Marines ball cap and is an avid supporter of the military. Edwards will return to Indianapolis Aug. 28-30 to race on his Tech 3 Yamaha in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with fellow American star Nicky Hayden and MotoGP stars Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and more.

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
nastruck
irl

IndyCar to run as support race to NASCAR truck race
When the Indy Racing League announced its schedules for the 2010 season, there was a new twist for Kansas Speedway's 10th anniversary. The IndyCar Series, for the first time, will run on a Saturday instead of a Sunday at Kansas Speedway. The IndyCar race will be Saturday, May 1; the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series, traditionally a Saturday event, will move to Sunday, May 2 (as the feature race). Because of television conflicts with Talladega, Kansas Speedway started the IndyCar and trucks races after 4 p.m. In 2010, they can start at noon or 1, Central time because the Sprint Cup series will be at Richmond on Saturday night, so there will not be conflicts on either day. "From the feedback we received from the fans, we were trying to move the start times earlier in the day, and this works out well," said Jeff Boerger, president of Kansas Speedway. "Fans were telling us we were starting the races too late. Saturday was not so much of a concern, but Sunday is a concern because people have to get back to work on Monday. "If we're starting the races at 4, by time they get out of the race track, it's 6 o'clock and they have some driving to do because so many of our fans come from outside of Kansas City. It's a switch that accommodates schedules and times, and something we all agreed to do to help the fans and accomplish what we want." Kansas City Star

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Schu loses 3 kilos in race for F1 fitness
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has already shed three kilograms as he pushes for race fitness prior to his formula one return in Spain later this month.

"I already lost three kilograms even if it is also important to me to build up muscles," the 40-year-old German said on his official website michael-schumacher.de.

He has done some testing and motorcycle racing and plenty of karting since retiring from F1, but his last grand prix was in Brazil at the end of 2006.

Schumacher, replacing the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari probably for the remainder of the 2009 season, ran nearly 70 laps in a two-year old F2007 last Friday at Mugello and it is believed he will be back in action in the car this week.

"All in all, the practice works pretty well," he explained.  "I only have to admit that my neck pinches a bit.

"We have to get a grip on that as health has priority -- that's the clear arrangement made with Ferrari and, by the way, with my wife, too," said Schumacher.

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Ferrari slams Williams over Schu test veto UPDATE (GMM)  Despite a spokesman earlier saying Williams' veto was "fair enough", Ferrari has now slammed its British team rival for blocking Michael Schumacher's test in the current F60 car.

Red Bull's two teams also did not support Ferrari's request for an exemption from the test ban for returnee Schumacher, but it was Williams who bore the brunt of the Italian squad's anger.

"Guess who opposed the test with the F60?" said Ferrari in a note titled 'Indiscretion' on its official website on Tuesday.

"A team that hasn't won anything for years and yet didn't pass over the opportunity to demonstrate once more a lack of spirit of fair play," the note charged.

Ferrari also played down the comparison with Jaime Alguersuari's recent debut without prior testing in Hungary, revealing that the Maranello team did give its approval for a pre-race run for the Spanish teenager.

"It seems even in this instance someone decided to stick to the precise wording of the regulations," Ferrari added.

08/04/09 (GMM)  Michael Schumacher and Ferrari have apparently accepted the fact they will not be able to test the F60 prior to the seven time world champion's formula one return in Spain later this month.

The Italian team had asked its nine on-track rivals and the FIA for an exemption from the in-season test ban so that Schumacher, 40, may acquaint with injured Felipe Massa's car.

Initially, Williams made clear its opposition to the plans, which amid the need for total unanimity was akin to a veto.

According to the Bloomberg news service, Ferrari's spokesman Luca Colajanni reacted: "If Williams says this, then fair enough."

Later, Red Bull's two teams Red Bull and Toro Rosso indicated they too would not be voting for the request for a dispensation, meaning that Schumacher's next test this week is likely to again be at the wheel of a two-year-old F2007 instead.

"From the beginning it was clear that in all probability there would not be a test with the new car," Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said on the Blickpunkt Sport program.

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Massa checks into Sao Paulo hospital UPDATE Photo of Massa added below.

Felipe Massa pictured at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo
08/04/09 (GMM)  Felipe Massa checked back into hospital on Monday after returning to his native Brazil.

The Ferrari driver spent the previous nine nights in Budapest's AEK hospital, after undergoing surgery for serious head injuries sustained in a Hungarian GP qualifying crash.

Massa, 28, returned to Sao Paulo by private plane on Monday, but according to the Associated Press was later admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital, where he is expected to remain for two days for tests.

The AFP news agency said the Brazilian was transferred directly to the hospital by helicopter from Sao Paulo airport.  Further reports said Massa walked into the hospital on foot.

His father Luiz Antonio Massa said the hospital stay would not be lengthy and involved only check-ups.

Comment
08/04/09
nascar

No speedometers planned for NASCAR
Some drivers would like a speedometer added to their cars, or have NASCAR's electronic timing system that records the pit row speeds refined to cut down on possible error. "I have wondered why we don't have speedometers," veteran driver Mark Martin said Friday. "The tachs are not quite as accurate as a speedometer might be. But the system works. It's just really devastating when you have one of the races of your life slip through your fingers."

Could NASCAR make the switch from RPM to mph on the dash?  Nope. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the tachometer was the most reliable factor in determining pit row speeds. "They get multiple usages out of a tachometer as an engine meter as well, without having to bother with the expense and the troubles of adding another piece of equipment to the car," Darby said at Pocono Raceway. "The tachometers today are so sophisticated that teams can actually program their pit road speed into the tachometer." Most teams have even added a lighting system to the tachometer. A green light means a driver's speed is in the clear, yellow signifies he is pushing the limit and red means the speed is over the limit.

Besides, if the cars had a speedometer the drivers would know their exact speed both on the track and on pit lane and NASCAR has a real reason why they don't want that.  It's the same reason why transponders are not allowed - so teams cannot get the cars actual speed out on the track.  In the end the speed of your car is what the NASCAR computers tell you it is.....so how can you dispute that?  After all, NASCAR would never use software that had, say, the F12 key programmed to deduct, say, 0.25 sec from your time while you were qualifying because your sponsor was disgusted and threatening to leave and needed the publicity that winning the pole brings or, say, the F9 key programmed to add 3 mph to your pit lane speed as you were coming down pit lane to put you over the speed limit.  Just ask Juan Montoya.  Absolutely not.  NASCAR would never do such a thing.

Comment
08/04/09
alms

Pagenaud goes for 4th straight
Simon Pagenaud
Many racing media members and fans were surprised when former Indy 500 champion Gil de Ferran named young French driver Simon Pagenaud as a driving partner for his new American Le Mans Series Acura team last year.

There was a long list of suitors for the coveted de Ferran Motorsports ride.  But the veteran de Ferran had done his homework.  The popular Brazilian legend had talked to racing people he trusted and interviewed dozens of potential drivers for the seat in the No. 66 Acura.

And he knew something about the 25-year-old racer who now lives in Indianapolis in the summer.  Pagenaud had proven himself in Formula Atlantic, beating Graham Rahal for the 2006 title.  And made some impressive runs in his rookie year of ChampCar.  But teaming with de Ferran?

Read more & Comment...
08/04/09
alms

Fernandez and Diaz talk about M-O race
For the first time this season, the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz seek to get back on the winning track in the American Le Mans Series’ LMP2 class. The pairing finished second with their Acura ARX-01b in the most recent round at Lime Rock Park but still own a considerable championship lead over Dyson Racing entering Saturday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The upcoming stretch of three races in four weeks will be critical in maintaining their title aspirations, both say.

Adrian Fernandez
“The consistency, not making mistakes and doing what we’re doing… I think everything we’ve been improving from last year is working. We just have to keep doing the same.”

Luis Diaz
“Obviously for us it will be the most important part of the season. It’s going to be the toughest because our competition is getting close and Mid-Ohio is a very nice place to drive. It’s a very complete track; you have all kinds of turns there and it’s a very fast place. We have had a good success with this team in Mid-Ohio and hopefully we can repeat the good result there and keep scoring points. That is the most important thing for us.”

Comment
08/04/09
superleague

Weekend Donington Superleague results
FC Basel claimed its maiden Superleague Formula by Sonangol victory by winning the opening race at Donington Park today.

The Swiss club’s Max Wissel (D) finished 2.18-secs ahead of the Glasgow Rangers machine of John Martin (AUS) in the 44 minute plus one-lap race around the 2.5 miles (4.02 km) parkland track in the Midlands area of Britain.

The heavy rain of yesterday which had caused qualifying to be abandoned; and cause minor damage to a section of the track; was thankfully replaced by sunny intervals encouraging a healthy crowd to attend.

Wissel took the opportunity to overtake Martin on lap 12 lap when the backmarker PSV Eindhoven car delayed Martin as the Australian attempted to lap the Dutch car.

SLF championship leader Adrián Vallés (SP), who started from his worst proper qualifying position of the season in 10th place, finished sixth – just a second behind the Tottenham Hotspur machine of Craig Dolby (GB).

The pole-starting Corinthians car of Antônio Pizzonia (BRA) finished third having led until pitting on lap nine but a slow compulsory pit-stop lost the Brazilian valuable time.

A second race, followed immediately by a Super Final, will be staged at the British venue later today with Flamingo’s Enrique Bernoldi (BRA) starting from pole-position after spinning out on the opening lap of race one which caused a brief Safety Car period which also saw the front-row starting Olympiacos machine of Davide Rigon (IT) retire with no oil pressure as the race resumed on lap five.

QUOTES:

FC Basel: Max Wissel (D)
“It’s a perfect result for FC Basel – I’m so happy for ‘my’ club. I pushed very hard but the car and pit-stop were all very good – I’m delighted.”

Glasgow Rangers: John Martin (AUS)
“I came out of the pits leading but was effectively robbed of a win due to a backmarker not getting out of the way. Nevertheless this is my second runners-up place in consecutive race weekends.”


British club Glasgow Rangers made “home” advantage pay to become the €100,000 “Weekend Winner” when John Martin (AUS) netted the concluding Super Final race honors in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol at Donington Park in Britain today (2 August). It was the Scottish Premier League club and Australian driver’s maiden SLF race victory.

FC Basel (Max Wissel) and FC Porto (Tristan Gommendy) were victorious around the parkland 2.5-mile track in the British Midlands in the earlier races. Liverpool FC’s Adrián Vallés (SP) heads for the fourth round of the six-venue series in Portugal next month with a reduced 10-points lead now over Basel.

Race 1 – FC Basel On A Swiss Roll
Swiss club FC Basel and Max Wissel scored their maiden SLF wins when the German, the youngest driver in the SLF field, comfortably led home Rangers’ Martin.

Martin got stuck behind the third-placed but yet to pit PSV Eindhoven car allowing Wissel, who set the race’s fastest lap, to sweep ahead. Vallés, who started from his worst “proper” qualifying position of the season in 10th place, finished sixth – one second behind the Tottenham Hotspur machine of Craig Dolby (GB).

Meanwhile the pole-starting Corinthians car of Antônio Pizzonia finished third having led until pitting on lap nine but a slow pit-stop lost the Brazilian valuable time.

FC Basel: Max Wissel (D)
“It’s a perfect result for FC Basel – I’m so happy for ‘my’ club. I pushed very hard but the car and pit-stop were all very good – I’m delighted.”

Glasgow Rangers: John Martin (AUS)
“I came out of the pits leading but was effectively robbed of a win due to a backmarker not getting out of the way at a critical moment with Basel right behind me.”

Corinthians: Antônio Pizzonia (BRA)
“Until my pit-stop everything was good but there was a delay at my stop which cost me any chance of a win.”

Race 2 – FC Porto Heads Home Double Delight For Portugal
FC Porto scored its first victory of the season when Tristan Gommendy (F) scored his and the club’s second ever SLF victory, coming through from 10th on the grid.

Sporting Clube de Portugal’s Pedro Petiz (POR) did well to fend off a hard-charging, back row starting FC Basel for second place in the latter stages of the race to earn Portugal a magnificent 1-2.

Flamengo (Enrique Bernoldi) had started from pole, after spinning out on the opening lap of race one, while the cars of Rangers and AC Milan collided causing a Safety Car period. Olympiacos (Davide Rigon) started from the pit-lane when he was unable to take up his front row slot when work on replacing the engine overran – but retired early – while RSC Anderlecht (Yelmer Buurman) non-started due to a gearbox issue with Flamengo retiring after a slow stop.

FC Porto: Tristan Gommendy (F)
“To get a victory again for Porto, and the first for this season, is fantastic. The car was very good. I gave it 100% and it all came together for me.”

Sporting Clube de Portugal: Pedro Petiz (POR)
“The previous races at Zolder had been a nightmare so to get a second place here is incredible. I had to handle the pressure from Basel.”

FC Basel: Max Wissel (D)
“To come from the back of the grid to third place is truly unbelievable. I am now second in the series – just 10pts behind Adrián Vallés so I think the next races in Portugal will be interesting.”

Super Final – Quick Repair Hands Maiden SLF Win To Glasgow Rangers and Martin 
FC Basel lined-up in “pole” for the five-lap “dash for cash”, the Rangers car fully repaired after its race two collision while Spurs claimed a place in the six-car line-up due to Basel, third in race two, having already qualified for the Super Final courtesy of victory in race one.

Basel led initially before a gearbox problem on lap three allowed Rangers in to the lead, Tottenham also taking second from the Swiss club on the same lap. The two Portuguese cars collided on lap two while Corinthians briefly went off the track in a separate incident. Wissel salvaged third place, 6.210secs behind Rangers at the checkered flag.

Glasgow Rangers: John Martin (AUS)
“This victory is very sweet. The team did an awesome job after my accident in race two – taking just half the time to repair it would normally. The car wasn’t perfect but it was still good enough to win!”

Tottenham Hotspur: Craig Dolby (GB)
“I’d only previously ever done a race standing start in a much less powerful car so that in itself was an interesting feature of the Super Final for me. I’m remain third in the championship standings, but now only 21pts off the lead, so to finish second in this race completes a great weekend for me.”

FC Basel: Max Wissel (D)
“I had the speed to win but the gearbox pressure died and I was left in fourth gear for a short while. This result is disappointing but in general it’s been a great weekend.”

Race 1 - SF Round 3 UK - Classification

POS No RACING TEAM DRIVER TIME GAP
1 10 FC Basel SF Racing Team M. Wissel 45:15.840 31 laps
2 17 Rangers FC SF Racing Team J. Martin 45:18.020 2.180
3 14 Corinthians SF Racing Team A. Pizzonia 45:18.961 3.121
4 3 AC Milan SF Racing Team G. Pantano 45:19.793 3.953
5 19 Tottenham Hotspur SF Racing Team C. Dolby 45:27.330 11.490
6 21 Liverpool FC SF Racing Team A Vallés 45:28.422 12.582
7 22 AS Roma SF Racing Team J. Kennard 45:32.255 16.415
8 16 FC Porto SF Racing Team T. Gommendy 45:32.693 16.853
9 15 Atletico de Madrid SF Racing Team H. P. tung 45:39.373 23.533
10 24 FC Midtjylland SF Racing Team K. Andersen 45:40.327 24.487
11 18 Sevilla FC SF Racing Team E. Guerrieri 45:41.679 25.839
12 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal Racing Team P. Petiz 46:21.063 1:05.223
13 4 Galatasaray SF Racing Team S. Mansell 45:17.559 1 lap
14 69 Olympique Lyonnais SF Racing Team N. Panciatici 45:24.269 1 lap
15 5 PSV Eindhoven SF Racing Team D. Muermans 45:31.924 1 lap
16 8 RSC Anderlecht SF Racing Team Y. Buurman 13:03.937 24 laps
17 9 Olumpiacos SF Racing Team D. Rigon 6:03.415 28 laps
18 7 Flamengo SF Racing Team E. Bernoldi - -

Race 2 - SF Round 3 UK - Classification

POS No RACING TEAM DRIVER TIME GAP
1 16 Porto FC SF Racing Team T. Gommendy 45:36.002 30 laps
2 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal SF Racing Team P. Petiz 45:40.693 4.691
3 10 FC Basel SF Racing Team M. Wissel 45:42.625 6.623
4 19 Tottenham Hotspur SF Racing Team C. Dolby 45:43.778 7.776
5 24 FC Midtjylland SF Racing Team K. Andersen 45:46.189 10.187
6 21 Liverpool FC SF Racing Team A. Vallés 45:47.542 11.540
7 15 Atlético de Madrid SF Racing Team H. P. Tung 45:53.470 17.468
8 14 Corinthians SF Racing Team A. Pizzonia 45:53.470 17.907
9 69 Olympique Lyonnais SF Racing Team N. Panciatici 45:53.909 40.632
10 22 AS Roma SF Racing Team J. Kennard 46:16.364 41.002
11 5 PSV Eindhoven SF Racing Team D. Muermans 46:17.004 54.946
12 4 Galatasaray SF Racing Team S. Mansell 46:30.948 56.634
13 18 Sevilla FC SF Racing Team E. Guerrieri 46:32.636 20 laps
14 7 Flamengo SF Racing Team E. Bernoldi 18:23.142 21 laps
15 9 Olympiacos SF Racing Team D. Rigon 17:02.665 27 laps
16 17 Rangers FC SF Racing Team J. Martin 5:22.601 29 laps
17 3 AC Milan SF Racing Team G. Pantano 1:41.393 -
18 8 RSC Anderlecht SF Racing Team Y. Buurman - -

Race 3 Super Final - SF Round 3 UK - Classification

POS No RACING TEAM DRIVER TIME GAP
1 17 Rangers FC SF Racing Team J. Martin 6:43.077 5 laps
2 19 Tottenham Hotspur SF Racing Team C. Dolby 6:46.827 3.750
3 10 FC Basel SF Racing Team M. Wissel 6:49.287 6.210
4 14 Corinthians SF Racing Team A. Pizzonia 6:50.920 7.843
5 16 FC Porto SF Racing Team T. Gommendy 7:14.710 31.633
6 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal SF Racing Team P. Petiz 7:18.086 35.009

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Spa selling 'a ticket per minute' for Schu race
Schumacher return a boon to race promoters
(GMM)  Organizers of Michael Schumacher's favorite race, the Belgian grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps, are reaping the benefits of the seven time world champion's formula one comeback.

After his return at the wheel of a Ferrari at Valencia later this month, the circus will move on one week later to Spa, where Schumacher made his F1 debut in 1991, recorded his first win a year later, and subsequently won six more times at the famous circuit.

According to the Belga news agency, organizers of the 2009 race on August 30 have already sold 35,000 tickets, following a sharp spike in the wake of the Schumacher announcement last Wednesday.

Quoting a spokesperson, Belga said that in the immediate period after the Wednesday announcement, "a ticket per minute" were sold.

Organizers are hoping for a race-day crowd of 70,000.  Last year's Sunday crowd was just over 50,000.

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Schu calls off Dutch motorbike race
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has called off his participation in a motorcycle race this weekend.

The seven time world champion was scheduled to take part in a Dutch Superbike race during the Rizla Racing Day at Assen in the Netherlands.

But due to his impending formula one return for Ferrari, the 40-year-old has informed the organizers that he will now not be in action, according to the De Telegraaf newspaper.

Schumacher will reportedly simply attend the event instead.

Comment
08/04/09
f1

Alguersuari test request was turned down - Red Bull
(GMM)  Red Bull did not agree to let Michael Schumacher test Ferrari's 2009 car because the same courtesy was not granted to rookie Jaime Alguersuari, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has revealed.

Most teams were willing to see the 40-year-old German drive the injured Felipe Massa's F60 car prior to his Valencia comeback, but it emerged on Monday that Williams, as well as both Red Bull-owned teams, would not be giving the same go-ahead.

Ahead of his Hungarian GP debut last month, teenager Alguersuari had no experience of a F1 car except for two straight-line aerodynamic tests, due to the total ban on in-season circuit testing.

"We asked for permission for a test for Alguersuari and it was turned down.  So why should we approve an exemption for a seven-time world champion?" Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso team boss Mateschitz is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

Comment
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