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DATE News (chronologically)
08/18/10
nnw
Road America not thrilled with NASCAR date  Just when we thought NASCAR would zig, it zagged with its schedule.

Not with its whole schedule. Most of what was announced Wednesday (see below) was expected or even released ahead of time: Chicagoland Speedway starts the Chase, Kansas adds a second Sprint Cup date, Kentucky gets its first, California and Atlanta each lose one and Phoenix moves ahead.

But it did switch its plans for the Nationwide Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake. The track liked the original proposed schedule better, although why you might think. More ...

08/18/10
motogp
Leno to be Grand Marshal  Jay Leno’s motorcycle collection has landed him a new gig — grand marshal of the Indianapolis MotoGP.  He will meet with the MotoGP teams on race day, Aug. 29, and then present the trophy to the winner after the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It will be something of a return trip for the late-night television host who drove the pace car for the 1999 Indianapolis 500.

This time, Leno will be watching, not driving. He plans to keep his motorcycles, and cars, at home in what he calls the "Big Dog Garage." In July, Leno showed off his collection to current and former MotoGP riders before the race at Laguna Seca.

08/18/10
As rnassprint
As rumored, Mears to replace Papis  Beginning with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5th, NASCAR star Casey Mears will slide behind the wheel of the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry.

Mears will be entered as the driver of the #13 GEICO Camry in the seven remaining GEICO sponsored races in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  The 2011 season will feature Mears and the Gecko in the #13 Germain Racing entry at 18 events. More ...
08/18/10
nastruck
Papis to run full truck schedule in 2011  Max Papis, who has occupied the seat of the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will take a new opportunity to race full-time in NASCAR.  Papis will be piloting the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2011. 

The effort is fielded by Germain Racing, who, aside from winning the 2006 Truck Series championship, currently holds the points lead in the Truck Series with driver Todd Bodine. 

Papis will turn his attention to the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra effective immediately beginning this week in Bristol.  In addition, Papis will compete in three additional races of the remaining 2010 Camping World Truck Series season in an effort to lay a solid foundation heading into 2011. More ...
08/18/10
nassprint
2011 Brickyard 400 date moved as expected  The 18th annual Brickyard 400 will take place Sunday, July 31, 2011, according to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule released Aug. 18.

The annual NASCAR mid-summer classic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the 20th of 36 races on the 2011 Sprint Cup Series schedule.

"We're excited to maintain our end-of-July date for the Brickyard 400," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO. "The 2011 race again will be one of the true marquee events in NASCAR, as the Brickyard 400 is steeped in history, tradition and great drivers in Victory Lane." More ...

08/18/10
nassprint
nnw
Watkins Glen NASCAR weekend changes as expected  The 2010 season at Watkins Glen International has not yet come to an end but the excitement continues to build for 2011.  Officials for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule earlier today and confirmed that the Zippo 200 will join the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the new event weekend, August 11-14, 2011.  The Zippo 200 has been paired with the Sprint Cup Series since 2005 and will be held on Saturday, August 13.  Tickets are scheduled to go on-sale to the general public in November, while fans that purchased tickets in 2010 can renew their seats or camping in September.  More ...
08/18/10
nassprint
MIS announces 2011 NASCAR races  When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Michigan International Speedway in 2011 for two weekends of racing, the events will have a different look.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series race, traditionally held in conjunction with the Sprint Cup Series event in August, will move to June. That move means the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event will be held in August.

“The date swap between the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events for 2011 will give our schedule a different look, but still give fans amazing Saturday racing in both June and in August,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “June guests will finally see the Nationwide Series and the many Sprint Cup drivers that race in the event, while August fans will finally get to see the Truck Series, in what I think is some of the best racing at MIS each and every year.” More ...

08/18/10
nnw
Weekly NASCAR cheating report  NASCAR has fined Joe Nemechek’s Nationwide Series crew chief Mike Boerschinger $5,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year for carburetor venturies that were too big. The violation was found during opening-day Nationwide Series inspection last week at Michigan.
08/18/10
nassprint
Newman still ticked at Logano  
Turnbull: "Last week, you had the well-documented incident with Joey Logano in the race. I know you probably have a lot of opinions about it. One that was expressed by Logano was that you were racing too hard, too early in the race. A lot of fans, when I wrote about that quote told me they were completely in favor of racing hard the whole time. What is your take on that? Do you, in fact, race too hard? Is there such a thing?"

Newman: "I don't know that there is such a thing as racing too hard. There's a level of respect out there that every driver expects. And I guess racing too hard was what I was doing for Joey with that many laps to go. Four races to go before a Chase, and we are trying to get ourselves back in that top 12. He's not smart enough to understand this position, but he needs to take the time and realize that it's not all about him". More ...
08/18/10
nnw
Almirola signs with JR Motorsports  Aric Almirola, a strong contender for this season's NASCAR Camping World Truck series championship, is moving up in 2011.

Almirola signed a multi-year deal to drive JR Motorsports' No. 88 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series fulltime beginning next season.

The 26-year-old Tampa native has 32 career Nationwide starts, including one for JR Motorsports in which he finished third at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind., in July. More ...

08/18/10
tv news
Austin F1 promoter on Wind Tunnel  NASCAR RACE HUB: The Hub (7 p.m. ET Monday-Thursday) and its newly-named fulltime host, Steve Byrnes, continue to welcome guests to the show’s brand-new set this week.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France appeared Tuesday night via satellite from Texas to discuss the upcoming changes to the 2011 schedule, as well as the overall landscape of the sport this year.

On his primary focus heading into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup:

“We think the racing action is the best in many years,” France said.  “I don’t think there’s even a dispute about that.  Everywhere we go, there are some interesting storylines changing around that we’re watching.  The Hendrick cars have been so dominant, and especially into the Chase, are not on their best game right now, so there might be some opportunities for someone else to knock the door down.  There’s a number of good candidates, so just making the Chase is going to be a feat with the way it’s shaping up.”

On whether returning the sport to the drivers’ hands has played out the way he had envisioned:

“Well I think it has,” France said.  “Obviously when we said that, it goes without saying there are limits to that.  But generally speaking, we can sometimes over-regulate the sport as we enforce the races week in and week out.  We wanted to make sure we weren’t doing that.  And we wanted to make sure the drivers really can mix it up and express themselves and felt good about that.  That’s why we said what we did and they have.  Sometimes a little too much, in the Carl Edwards situation and some others, and when it’s that case, we’ll rein them back in. We’re happy (with) the direction and they’re mixing it up, there’s no question about that.”

08/18/10
fil
Ellis to make Firestone Indy Lights debut at Infineon  Up-and-coming driver Alex Ellis will make his Firestone Indy Lights debut with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in conjunction with the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. The 18-year-old Canadian was awarded a one-race deal to run the Carneros 100 at the Infineon Raceway on Aug. 22 after winning the Jim Russell Race of Champions, a six-race series held at Infineon Raceway. More ...
08/18/10
irl
usac
cart
Texas not the first IndyCar doubleheader  
Indy Car Racing doubleheaders with race winners

USAC sanction

July 1, 1967: Mosport, Canada (road course; Bobby Unser and Bobby Unser)
Aug. 6, 1967: St. Jovite, Canada (road course; Mario Andretti and Mario Andretti) More ...
08/18/10
f1
How soon we forget  What is comical about what Peter Windsor says below about how F1 has overlooked American drivers is the fact that his failed USF1 team did not hire any American drivers, but instead went with the Argentina driver Jose Marie Lopez who brought a suitcase full of cash. Tell us what you really think Peter. Like we always say, when in doubt follow the money, and that is no truer than in racing.
08/18/10
automotive
Video: Worse cars ever made  
08/18/10
f1
Windsor cannot understand why American F1 talent overlooked  Peter Windsor has admitted that he cannot comprehend why F1 team bosses and talent-spotters have repeatedly overlooked young American drivers in recent years, adding that he is mystified as to why Danica Patrick was never given a shot to prove her worth at the highest level.

Though chastened by the whole sorry experience of USF1, Windsor clearly stands by his staunch belief that there is a place for a Stateside team at the pinnacle of international four-wheeled motorsport and with that a driver from across the other side of the Pond too.

Patrick was lined-up for an F1 test with Honda in late 2008 prior to the Japanese manufacturer's sudden and unexpected departure from the grand prix grid, and Windsor similarly considered the 28-year-old Wisconsin native for the ultimately stillborn USF1 effort, but despite commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone's palpable desire to recruit her to the ranks, the IndyCar Series pin-up has never truly been taken seriously by the top flight. F1's loss, the former Williams and Ferrari team manager contends. More ...

08/18/10
irl
nassprint
More on Texas Motor Speedway 2011 schedule  Texas Motor Speedway unveiled dynamic and historic changes to two of its marquee races during a special 2011 race schedule announcement extravaganza Tuesday night before a standing-room only crowd of more than 1,600 at the House of Blues in Dallas. The Samsung Mobile 500 will become the first Saturday evening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the 15-year history of Texas Motor Speedway when the event runs on April 9. The event also will be the first night race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The news highlighted Tuesday evening's special event hosted by Texas Motor Speedway for its season-ticket holders and the production had the atmosphere of an awards ceremony with an array of special guests and entertainment. More ...
08/18/10
Automotive
Safety belt latch prompts GM recall  General Motors Co. said Tuesday it is recalling 243,000 crossover vehicles over concerns their second-row safety belts could be defective.

GM said the recall covers 243,403 vehicles -- the 2009-10 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook -- "to inspect second-row safety belts for damage that in rare cases could make an occupant think the belt is properly latched when it isn't."

The Detroit-based automaker says it has received no reports of accident or injuries stemming from the recall.

About 207,000 of the vehicles are in the United States; the rest are in Canada, Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries.GM said it discovered damaged second-row safety belt buckles among warranty returns.

08/18/10
irl
Firestone Infineon Raceway IndyCar preview  Race Distance: 172.5 miles/277.6 km (75 laps on the 2.303-mile/3.706-km permanent road course).

Television/Radio Broadcast: Live - Sunday, August 22, at 5 p.m. ET on VERSUS, IMS Radio Network, XM Radio 145 and SIRIUS Radio 211.

Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall)
dry-condition slicks: 756, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires);
* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 366, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
* Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 468, each entry has five sets available as needed. More ...

08/18/10
nassprint
NASCAR Noise Levels Pose Long-Term Hearing Risks for Fans, Crews, Drivers  Stock car racing is growing faster than any other U.S. spectator sport, attracting more than 75 million TV viewers while another 8 million rabid fans crowd the stands, pits and infield at the almost 100 races each year.

But those NASCAR fans, as well as the pit crews and drivers, are being exposed repeatedly to extremely dangerous levels of noise -- as high as 140 decibels -- according to extensive studies of three popular race tracks by federal investigators.

Decades of research at scores of different work settings led scientists, physicians and safety specialists at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to determine that the most noise workers can be exposed to on the average eight-hour work day is 85 decibels. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration adopted that level as the national maximum, legal noise level. More ...
08/18/10
irl
IndyCar to run doubleheader in Texas  Texas' annual IndyCar event will remain at night right after the Indy 500 but the 500-kilometer race will be split into the Firestone Twin 275s, a pair of full-field races with two winners being crowned.

The June 9 doubleheader is the first in the 15-year history of the Izod IndyCar Series. The Firestone Twin 275s will be only the 18th time for dual races in the history of major Indy-car racing (which encompasses the USAC, CART and Champ Car series). The last twin race was a CART-sanctioned event at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1981, one of nine oval doubleheaders (the first twin IndyCar race was at Mosport road circuit in 1967).

Each of the Texas races will award one-half the finishing points of a standard IndyCar event with the combined points equaling a full race.

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said he began discussing the concept with IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard in January.

"The concept has Indy-car history to it, but at the same time provides a new dynamic event to our fans as well as the drivers," Gossage said. "Texas traditionally has hosted some of the series' most exciting races, and the format should provide plenty more in the future."

08/18/10
nassprint
Texas NASCAR race to be run at night  Texas Motor Speedway will play host to the first Saturday night Sprint Cup Series race in its 15-year history with the Samsung Mobile 500 on April 9.
08/18/10
irl
Randy Bernard addresses several IndyCar questions  
Randy Bernard
On the latest IndyCar Weekly radio Podcast series CEO Randy Bernard had this to say:

Why companies should pick IndyCar over NASCAR/F1 he stated that IndyCar has a great mix that no other series has.  The oval events have a mid-America feel vs. road/street courses with international flavor and have different demographics for advertisers. He reiterated the fact that IndyCar has the fastest, most versatile cars & drivers in the world.

As for a much needed Video game they are pursuing several opportunities and hope to get one out in a year or two, but he forgets that iRacing already is there for fans.

They're going to try and fix the blocking rule that was a big controversy in Edmonton. More ...

08/17/10
f1
The first images of Toyota-Pirelli  
Pirelli shod Toyota at Mugello Monday
This is the first image, taken by Autosprint, of the Toyota F1 car shod with Pirelli tires that was running Monday at Mugello. Nick Heidfeld was trying different types of the Italian tires that next year is the sole supplier of the F1 grid.  Heidfeld meanwhile, agrees with the Mercedes, not to create problems for any favoritism, he left his role as third driver of the Mercedes to devote himself body and soul to the development of Pirelli tires.
08/17/10
racing news
Bell Europe acquires Bell North America  UPDATE Added photo of Martine Kindt Cohen - CEO Bell Racing Europe and CEO Bell Racing USA below.

08/17/10 Bell Racing Europe SA has reached an agreement with Bell Sports, Inc., a division of Easton Bell Sports, Inc. to extend Bell Europe’s exclusive license to manufacture, distribute and market auto racing helmets and accessories under the Bell Helmets trademark to the territories of North and South America. Easton Bell Sports will maintain operational responsibility for Bell Racing Company until September 30, 2010, at which time; Bell Racing Europe will assume marketing and distribution responsibility for auto racing helmets and related accessory products sold under the Bell brand in these territories. “Bell Racing Europe has been an outstanding partner in executing our European strategies and we feel this extended partnership will allow synergies that benefit both organizations while strengthening the Bell brand across multiple countries,” said Steve Bigelow, EVP & GM, Bell Sports, Inc. “The decision to expand our relationship with Bell Racing Europe is based on their experience in working with the FIA and our collaborative efforts to develop a new line of auto racing helmets for Bell Racing Company.” More ...
08/17/10
track news
Pink slips at ISC as attendance, profits, plummet  International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”) today announced the implementation of broad-based strategic organizational and structural changes that will create a leaner and more responsive organization, enabling the Company to remain the leader in motorsports entertainment.  Included in these changes, Roger VanDerSnick, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (“COO”), has left the Company.  As part of the changes to the organizational structure, there are no plans to replace the COO position and the primary responsibilities of this role will fall under ISC’s President, John Saunders.

As the economic recovery expected earlier in 2010 has not materialized, the Company will initiate additional organizational and structural changes through the remainder of its fiscal year.  These changes will have a positive impact on the Company’s financial position and will include streamlining of corporate services, optimization of event and ancillary business models, and process improvements that will result in a reduction of workforce and operational costs.  ISC anticipates these initiatives will lower its direct operating expenses, beginning in 2011, by $20 million to $30 million in sustainable reductions.  These changes will result in the Company recording a pre-tax charge to earnings of between $1.5 million and $1.9 million, or approximately $0.02 and $0.03 per diluted share, in its fiscal 2010 results.  Additional non-material cash and non-cash charges will be incurred in 2011 and 2012, depending on the timing of other business changes.  More ...

08/17/10
nassprint
Petty team confirms Ambrose  In preparation for the 2011 season, Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that driver Marcos Ambrose has signed a multiyear agreement with the organization to drive the No. 9 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Long-time RPM sponsor Stanley Black & Decker will be the primary sponsor of the No. 9 team.

"I'm very excited to join Richard Petty Motorsports," said Ambrose. "It's an incredible honor to be able to race for a legend like The King and be a part of this organization. I'm also happy to be back with Ford Racing. The No. 9 team has been a very successful team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the support of Ford and everyone at RPM, I believe we can continue that tradition of success. I'm also excited to join forces with Stanley." More ...

08/17/10
nascar
irl
More stock cars coming to Indy to dilute IndyCar  A new motorsports series may be coming to an arena near you—and soon.

MZD, a local advertising agency which has a division specializing in franchising, has been hired by Arena Racing USA to find operators of the series here in Indianapolis.

MZD officials are in the process of talking to the folks with the Pepsi Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Conseco Fieldhouse. Those talks have yet to heat up, but already, Rick Fuson, who is in charge of Fieldhouse operations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, loves the idea.

Arena Racing was founded in Virginia, and has been very popular there and in Grand Rapids, Mich. It is expanding to the heart of NASCAR country (Charlotte, NC) next year, and series founders also want it in Indianapolis in 2011. More ...

08/17/10
fil
Miller to Drive for Bryan Herta Autosport at Sonoma  American driving talent Joel Miller will contest his second career Firestone Indy Lights Series race this weekend driving for Bryan Herta Autosport in the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway. His #28 entry will be sponsored by Doug Mockett & Company, Lamborghini Travels, Blanco Basura Clothing, Valli Construction and Paradise Landscape. Miller will assume the seat held by Stefan Wilson in nine races to date this season while Wilson and BHA work to secure the funding to return Wilson to the cockpit for the remaining races on the schedule.

“We are excited to welcome Joel to the team this weekend,” said team co-owner Bryan Herta. “Joel has worked hard and creatively to put together the budget to compete at Sonoma and we want to provide him with the best opportunity to showcase his talents as he focuses on a full Indy Lights campaign next year. More ...

08/17/10
nnw
Free fan day announced for Montreal race  Stock-Car Montreal, the event organizing body of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge, is pleased to announce that it has once again added an admission-free "Discovery Day" on Friday August 27 to its NASCAR Nationwide race weekend program. The general public will be allowed to enter park Jean Drapeau's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve free of charge from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and discover the fascinating world of motor racing and experience the festive atmosphere of a race weekend. The organizers will also repeat a fan favorite event which will see Quebec racecar drivers sit for an hour-long autograph session beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the infield portion of the track. More ...
08/17/10
nassprint
France family keeps season finale for themselves  Despite heavy lobbying from Bruton Smith to move the season finale for NASCAR to Las Vegas, for the 10th consecutive year, France family controlled ISA has allowed Homestead-Miami Speedway to once again serve as host to NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend in 2011. South Florida again will be the site when NASCAR crowns its Champions in all three of its top national divisions—the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series— the weekend of Nov. 18-20, 2011.

“It’s a unique privilege to host the Championship finales of America’s No. 1 spectator sport for a 10th year running,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer.. “No other city in any other sport can claim such a string: Consider that the Super Bowl, college football’s BCS, the World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals all rotate their Championship-crowning events from city to city each year. In hosting NASCAR’s Championship for 10 straight years, we’re appreciative of all that South Florida fans and businesses contribute to the success of a weeklong schedule of events leading up to Ford Championship Weekend.” More ...

08/17/10
nassprint
Stewart’s Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award at Michigan  Tony Stewart’s pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

It was the first Tissot win of the season for Stewart’s No. 14 crew and the 15th different winner of the weekly pit-road competition.

Stewart’s Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road – 205.605 seconds -- during the 200-lap, 400-mile race. The speedy pit stops helped Stewart post a sixth-place finish. More ...

08/17/10
irl
Baltimore GP moved to Labor Day weekend  UPDATE Added diagram of new track layout to this article.

08/16/10 Per our rumor from two weeks ago, the first Baltimore Grand Prix will be run over Labor Day next year instead of Aug. 5-7, the city and Baltimore Racing Development announced today.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and BRD announced the move today, and also said they will make a series of improvements to the track layout to allow for more fan attractions.

"We are very excited to be able to schedule the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix for the weekend that we originally wanted," Jay Davidson, president of the Baltimore Grand Prix and Baltimore Racing Development, said in a release today. "We have always planned to market the Baltimore Grand Prix as a destination event, and we are expecting race fans from throughout the region and around the world to travel to the race. Having the Grand Prix on Labor Day weekend makes it even easier for fans to make travel plans to attend this action-packed 'three day festival of speed' in downtown Baltimore." More ...
08/17/10
nassprint
irl
Midwest market over-saturated  With Bruton Smith looking to add at least 50,000 seats to Kentucky Speedway it's no wonder races in the Midwest have lots of empty seats.  The NASCAR race fans, many of whom are on welfare now, are tapped out.  The number of NASCAR race seats the Midwest is trying to fill are as follows:

116,000 Kentucky Speedway
257,000 Indy
  75,000 Chicago
129,000 Michigan (at each of the two races)
80,000 Kansas (at each of the two races)
866,000 seats in the Midwest market for races within about 90 days of each other and tracks within hours of each other, too.

Plus places like Iowa Speedway, will have two Nationwide weekends next year, O'Reilly Raceway Park with a Nationwide/Truck event plus Truck Series and other NASCAR events, which put the number over 1 million tickets that need to be sold.

Most of these tracks are trying to sell IndyCar tickets, too, s no surprise that IndyCar racing is hurting.

08/17/10
nassprint
Budweiser Hands the Keys to NASCAR Driver Kevin Harvick  Budweiser has a rich NASCAR tradition, sponsoring some of the sport's most celebrated drivers, including Bobby Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne.  Today, Budweiser announced Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick will become the next star to take the wheel of the iconic Budweiser car when the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins in February.

"Budweiser's involvement in NASCAR dates back more than three decades, and we're excited to have as successful a driver as Kevin Harvick to usher in a new era for Budweiser," said Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports & entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch.  "Kevin also benefits from having the support of a highly respected owner in Richard Childress and the great people of Richard Childress Racing, who will help put the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet in a position to challenge for Sprint Cup championships." More ...

08/17/10
automotive
Buyers give GM, Ford top marks |  Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. bucked an industry-wide decline in consumer satisfaction, and the automakers' Lincoln-Mercury and Buick brands were tops with buyers, according to a report released today.

Lincoln-Mercury and Buick received the highest customer-satisfaction scores and topped an annual list of automakers for the first time, gains that coincided with steep declines by Korean and Japanese automakers, notably Toyota Motor Corp.

Chrysler Group LLC, meantime, continued a history of poor scores; its Dodge and Jeep brands were at the bottom of the list, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which was founded by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. More ...

08/17/10
irl
v8
Castroneves to race Supercar Gold Coast 600  One of the great names of motorsport's recent era, Helio Castroneves, is the latest international star to be included on the entry list for this year's Armor All Gold Coast 600 on the streets of Surfers Paradise from October 22-24.

The three-time Indy 500 winner and current IZOD IndyCar Series star will co-drive with talented youngster Tim Slade in the Wilson Security entry, prepared by Stone Brothers Racing.

Castroneves was originally unavailable when invitations were first issued to what is shaping as the world's greatest touring car event, but his "dance card" was empty when asked if he could be a replacement for former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who retired from active competition this week. More ...

08/17/10
f1
Rosberg as good as Vettel, Sutil a surprise - Berger  (GMM)  Nico Rosberg is as good as Sebastian Vettel, but Adrian Sutil has been a real surprise of the season.

Those are the opinions of Gerhard Berger, given during an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The Austrian and ten-time grand prix winner, 50, acknowledged the highly rated skills of Vettel, with whom he worked as a rookie at Toro Rosso in 2008.

"He is incredibly mature," said Berger.  "It is true he is still making mistakes, but I put that in the category of lacking experience.

"His biggest problem is that he probably underestimated Mark Webber." More ...

08/17/10
f1
Heidfeld leaves Mercedes, testing Pirelli on Tuesday  
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has left his post as Mercedes' reserve driver.

The 33-year-old German on Tuesday kicked off Pirelli's 2011 tire development program at Mugello, at the wheel of a 2009 Toyota.

A statement issued by Mercedes confirmed that Heidfeld "has been released from his contract" so that he can work with the Italian marque.

"It would be great to see Nick in a competitive car in next year's world championship and I am sure his leading role in the new tire development puts him in a good position for the remaining seats," said Norbert Haug. More ...

08/17/10
f1
Heidfeld's third child born on Monday  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld's third child was born on Monday night.

The Mercedes reserve driver, who is believed to be testing new F1 supplier Pirelli's tires at Mugello on Tuesday and Wednesday, said the baby boy has been named Justus.

"We are all well," the 33-year-old German said on his website.

With his partner Patricia, Heidfeld lives in Switzerland along with daughter Juni (4) and son Joda (2).

08/17/10
f1
Heidfeld to begin Pirelli testing on Tuesday  
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM)  Pirelli's first formula one test will begin at Mugello on Tuesday.

It was previously reported that the Italian marque would get up and running at the circuit near Florence on Monday, with Nick Heidfeld at the wheel of the 2009 Toyota TF109.

But reports now indicate that the test is in fact just a two-day schedule, to conclude on Wednesday.

Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen was earmarked as a potential test driver, but the Finn wanted to concentrate solely on his rally program.

The report said the eventual selection of Heidfeld will boost the German's chances of returning to the grid in 2011, after initially signing as Mercedes' reserve driver for this year. More ...

08/17/10
motogp
f1
Ducati moves Rossi closer to F1 - father  (GMM)  Valentino Rossi's switch of MotoGP teams has moved him closer to formula one, according to his father.

The flamboyant motorcycle rider will move from Yamaha, his team for the past seven years, to the Italian marque Ducati for 2011 and 2012.

And his father Graziano, also a former motorcycle world championship rider, thinks the switch moves his son closer to F1.

"Valentino is not yet able to stop with the motorcycles," Rossi Snr told Italy's Sky Sport.

"But if in three or four years he will get into formula one, then what better road than with Ducati?" Graziano added.  "This seems like a big step forward." More ...

08/17/10
f1
Stuck leaves hospital after head surgery  (GMM)  Hans-Joachim Stuck has left hospital after recovering from head surgery.

The German former grand prix driver and now Volkswagen's competition representative had a hematoma removed just over a week ago, caused by a heavy crash in an Audi R8 at the Nurburgring.

The 59-year-old was recovering in hospital in the German town Neuwied, but has now left the St. Elisabeth-Krankenhaus, according to the news agency SID.

"Finally I can check out -- man, I'm glad about that," he is quoted as saying, thanking the staff for their "excellent care". More ...

08/17/10
f1
Red Bull to 'lose out' on Spa straights - Horner  (GMM)  Christian Horner is concerned that F1's forthcoming rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza could be tough challenges for the 2010 Red Bull car.

The RB6 was utterly dominant on the tight curves of Hungary recently, but the famous Belgian and Italian circuits - featuring long stretches that favor the strongest engines - could not be more different.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the Red Bull's advantage is most noticeable at circuits that require high levels of downforce.

But at Spa, only moderate aerodynamic grip is required.

"It is in the twisty second sector that we will have to make up time," team boss Horner said. More ...

08/17/10
f1
F1 factories begin to re-open after shutdown  (GMM)  Formula one factories began to re-open this week after serving mandatory closures.

Within the one-month gap between the Hungarian and Belgian grands prix, teams agreed to close their doors for two full weeks as a cost-cutting measure.

The first teams to shut down at the stroke of midnight after the Hungaroring race were McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Sauber, so those teams were eligible to re-open on Monday.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett marked the end of the shutdown by working in the Woking based team's simulator, and he will be back in action on Tuesday. More ...

08/17/10
f1
USF1 should have used Toyota car for debut - Windsor  (GMM)  Peter Windsor has admitted USF1 should have considered racing Toyota's 2010 package this season rather than close its doors.

A principal of the ill-fated American outfit, British journalist Windsor has resurfaced as a new writer for the online F1 magazine GP Week.

He was asked in an interview if he regretted not pursuing the Toyota option more seriously once the Charlotte-based team's plans for its own chassis began to founder.

"Yes, it would have been better than doing nothing at all, in retrospect," said the former Williams and Ferrari team manager. More ...

08/16/10
alms
ALMS special TV rating  The overnight TV rating for the "Road Warriors": American Le Mans Series at Mid Ohio taped delayed on CBS was a 0.6.
08/16/10
irl
Power applauds safety improvements at Infineon  
The Indy Racing League, in cooperation with Infineon Raceway, has enhanced the warning systems in Turn 3A of the 2.303-mile road course for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma race weekend Aug. 20-22.

Two strobe lights were added for a total of four - with black backboards for additional visibility - and sets of LED lights facing the track (much like the strings of lights on catch fence poles facing spectators at Texas Motor Speedway to alert them to caution periods) have been installed.

Along with the existing corner flag stand, in-car caution lights, spotter radio communication and Race Control audio, drivers will have multiple overlapping warnings to potential danger ahead. More ...

08/16/10
irl
Brian Lisles slams the IRL  Brian Lisles is general manager of Newman/Haas Racing. Lisles has been with the team for more than twenty years and started his racing career in his native England as an engineer with the Tyrrell F1 team. As Newman/Haas's general manager Lisles is in charge of balancing the team's books so he's very aware and well-informed on everything from sponsorship to engineering. Lisles is a very professional, reserved individual who speaks quietly, measuring his words with care. He speaks out only when he feels seriously wronged or frustrated and this is one of those times.

Lisles is among many IndyCar engineers and team owners who were big supporters of the Delta Wing concept and were deeply disappointed when the Delta Wing was rejected along with three other contenders for the new Indy car of 2012 in favor of a renewed Dallara-Honda combination. Lisles thinks the 'Iconic' committee did a poor job of making the car selection and believes that IndyCar needs help on many fronts. In particular, he thinks Randy Bernard urgently needs to hire an experienced racing man with plenty of engineering knowledge, a man very like Dan Gurney in fact. More ...

08/16/10
motogp
Lorenzo tops times on Brno test day  MotoGP riders took to the Brno race circuit again today to complete the scheduled day of MotoGP testing that traditionally follows the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic. The day was cut short by rain shortly after 3pm, but the factory riders still managed to amass some valuable mileage.

Official Lap times

Rider Team Time

Jorge Lorenzo

Fiat Yamaha 1:56.269
Casey Stoner Marlboro Ducati 1:56.844
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1:56.944
Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1:57.129
Colin Edwards Yamaha Tech3 1:57.512
Ben Spies Yamaha Tech3 1:57.575
Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda 1:57.691
Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 1:57.700
Nicky Hayden Marlboro Ducati 1:57.991
Hector Barbera Aspar MotoGP Team 1:58.017
Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda 1:58.070
Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda 1’58.091
Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1:58.612
Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda 1:58.830
Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1:58.926
Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki 1:59.454

08/16/10
nassprint
nnw
7 straight for ECR Engines  Kevin Harvick's win Sunday at MIS was ECR Engine's 15th victory in NASCAR's top-three touring series this season. It was the sixth win in the Sprint Cup Series -- Harvick has three, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray has two (the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400) and his EGR teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, has one. ECR has also earned three Nationwide Series victories (Harvick, two; Tony Stewart, one) and six Camping World Truck Series victories (Harvick, three; Austin Dillon, one; Ron Hornaday, one, Elliott Sadler, one) in 2010. Harvick became the first driver to clinch a spot in the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

It will be his fourth time in the past five seasons that he and RCR's No. 29 team have earned a spot in The Chase. ECR Engines earned a total of five top-10 finishes this weekend alone. In addition to Harvick's victory, Montoya finished seventh in the Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. Harvick finished seventh in Saturday's CARFAX 250 Nationwide Series race at MIS, and Hornaday and Dillon finished third and fifth, respectively, in Saturday's Too Tough to Tame 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. More ...
08/16/10
Racing News
Villeneuve and Tagliani to race Down Under  Organizers from Australia’s Gold Coast event have announced an impressive list of drivers for the Gold Cost 600 race including Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve and Alex Tagliani.

There will be 18 international drivers making a guest appearance in this one-off event. For years the V-8 Supercar series, Australia’s version of road racing stock cars, were the supporting event for the Gold Coast Indy Grand Prix. With IndyCar failing to renew a new event has been born. More ...
08/16/10
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live in Prime Time on ABC

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series appears on ABC for the first time this season when it races for 500 laps in prime time under the lights at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Aug. 21. The NASCAR Countdown pre-race show kicks off the evening at 7 p.m. ET with the race telecast at 7:30 p.m. The race’s green flag is at 7:43 p.m.

Also from Bristol, coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying airs Friday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Marty Reid will call the action with analysis by Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Andy Petree. Two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, while pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. 

NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion driver Rusty Wallace, three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty, a team owner in the series. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race. More ...

08/16/10
nassprint
Newman and Logano feud after MIS race  
Newman spins after Logano (right) gets into the back of him
Getty Images for NASCAR
Ryan Newman and Joey Logano were physically separated by NASCAR officials after an exchange following Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

Newman approached the Joe Gibbs Racing driver about 10 minutes after the 200-lap event as the two were leaving the garage. The Stewart-Haas driver apparently was upset over an incident on Lap 148 in which the 20-year-old Logano got into the back of his car in Turn 4.

Newman, who began the day 14th in points and 83 behind the 12th spot for the Chase, spun out. He finished 23rd to fall 103 points behind the final playoff position with three races to go.

NASCAR officials stepped into the argument when it appeared Logano brushed Newman with his hand.

"Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" Newman said. More ...

08/16/10
f1
Belgian GP organizers worried about future of Francorchamps race  André Maes, the Director of Spa Grand Prix, is worried about the future of the Belgian Grand Prix. The organizers are hoping to extend the contract for the race at the historic Spa-Francorchamps venue beyond 2012, but are aware of the immense interest of other countries to host their own F1 race.

André Maes said to the Belgian newspapers: "There is no lack of candidates to host a F1 race. Even France lost its Grand Prix, so Belgium will have to be very careful and apply for a contract extension before 2012."

08/16/10
racing news
Deadly off-road race spurs criticism  Fans of desert racing say nothing beats the danger, dust and noise of watching 3,500-pound trucks roaring past — close enough almost to touch — and then rocketing into the air over treacherous jumps with nicknames such as the “the rock pile.”

The off-road derbies, which occur in remote stretches of the Mojave Desert, draw thousands and exist a world apart from the urban sprawl of Southern California. There are no guardrails, no enforced rules and no police to hold spectators back as they lean over the track with cell phones, snapping photos of oncoming trucks.  More ...

08/16/10
racing news
Off-road race accident victim dies  One of the injured spectators at the off-road race accident near Lucerne Valley Saturday night was flown to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs where he died, the Riverside Coroner's office has reported.

The spectator, identified as 34-year Michael Dickinson, was from Spring Valley.

The accident, that claimed the lives of seven other spectators, occurred about 8:45 p.m. Saturday when a truck careened off the track into a crowd of onlookers.

Dickinson was pronounced dead at 10:41 p.m.

08/16/10
nnw
Chevy officials: No plans for Camaro in Nationwide Series  Despite buzz around the Nationwide Series' addition of the Challenger and Mustang, Chevrolet officials said Sunday there are no plans to bring the Camaro into NASCAR's second-tier circuit.
The new cars, which feature front ends more similar to their production counterparts, made their debuts at Daytona last month and returned Saturday at Michigan. The next-generation model will be used full time next year.

Ford (Mustang) and Dodge (Challenger) elected to introduce their muscle car brands, and both manufacturers are considering elevating them into the Sprint Cup Series in the future.
NASCAR encouraged Chevrolet to bring the Camaro to Nationwide in tandem with the new car, but the company decided the racing version wouldn't be similar enough to the street model. Much like the next-generation Sprint Cup car, the new Nationwide car has many standardized features that are designed to streamline rule enforcement and enhance safety but also can preclude brand identity. More ...

08/16/10
f1
Bahrain reverts to original layout for 2011 GP  (GMM)  Bahrain's formula one circuit will revert to its normal layout for 2011.

This year, the length of the track was lengthened from the usual 5.4 to 6.3 kilometers, with the new loop of eight corners having been installed in 2006 for endurance races.

"Nothing but tight corners," Mark Webber said after seeing the layout ahead of the 2010 season opener.  "Accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake ... "

The circuit said in a media statement that the use of the extended layout was only to celebrate F1's "diamond jubilee of the oldest and most prestigious racing series".

"The 2011 ... grand prix will therefore feature the original track layout", added the statement.

08/16/10
nassprint
NASCAR plans to take engines after Michigan  UPDATE NASCAR took 16 engines from Sprint Cup teams during the Michigan International Speedway race weekend to conduct horsepower tests. NASCAR typically checks the horsepower of engines at least once a year to make sure that no manufacturer has a significant advantage - it's called Managed Racing.

Chevrolet engines taken were those from Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Engines), Tony Stewart (Hendrick), Kevin Harvick (Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies) and Juan Pablo Montoya (ECR).

Toyotas taken were Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing engines), Reed Sorenson (Toyota Racing Development), Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota Racing Development), Marcos Ambrose (Toyota Racing Development), Joe Nemechek (Triad) and non-qualifier Dave Blaney (Triad). More ...

08/16/10
f1
Berger, Piquet, say Ferrari right to favor Alonso  (GMM)  Two former F1 drivers have defended Ferrari's right to favor Fernando Alonso for the 2010 world championship.

The Italian team faced the wrath of spectators and the media recently after moving Felipe Massa out of the way for Spaniard Alonso at Hockenheim.

Ferrari will again be defending its actions at a World Motor Sport Council disciplinary hearing next month.

But Nelson Piquet Jr believes it is up to his Brazilian countryman Massa to prove that he is the driver Ferrari should be backing.

"It's hard for Massa that Alonso came into the team later but is faster," Piquet, who was Alonso's Renault teammate in 2008 and early 2009, told the Brazilian newsmagazine Istoe. More ...

08/16/10
f1
Schumacher blames car for comeback struggle  
Schumacher in his slow Mercedes
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher insists that his struggle to get up to speed in his formula one comeback season is due to Mercedes' 2010 car.

The seven time world champion is just ninth in the drivers' championship after 12 races, 56 points behind his teammate Nico Rosberg and yet to stand on the podium.

"Looking at the points table then of course we cannot be satisfied," German Schumacher, 41, told his sponsor DVAG in an interview.

"But there are reasons why the deficit is so great," he explained. More ...

08/16/10
f1
Red Bull making mistakes but on track for title - Berger  (GMM)  Red Bull are set to canter to the 2010 world championships, according to Gerhard Berger.

The 10-time grand prix winner, friend and Austrian countryman of the team's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz, said the Adrian Newey-penned RB6 is in a league of its own.

"For some reason, Sundays just don't work out right for me," said Sebastian Vettel, after Bild am Sonntag ran an article pointing out how many more points the German youngster should have collected at grands prix so far in 2010.

Said Berger: "They can make many mistakes and still be in front." More ...

08/16/10
f1
Korea F1 track to host first races next month  (GMM)  Korea's new formula one circuit is scheduled to host its first motor races at the end of next month.

The scheduling is the latest rebuttal to constant rumors that the track in South Jeolla province will not be ready for its inaugural grand prix in late October.

The Asian Festival of Speed, with Asian GT and junior single seaters on the bill, was originally set to take place at the South Korean venue at the end of this month.

Event organizers said in a statement that the rescheduling was due to construction delays "caused by bad weather". More ...

08/15/10
nhra
Dixon Takes Toyota To Victory At Brainerd NHRA  Larry Dixon ran a blistering 3.786-second run in the final round to win Sunday’s NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.

The victory is the ninth of the season for Dixon and gives him the momentum as he heads into the Countdown to the Championship playoffs as the number one seed.

In what may have been the most competitive Top Fuel event of the season, Dixon was challenged throughout the day, but once again came away dominant.  Each of his last three opponents made a 3.874-second or better pass only to see Dixon make runs of 3.823, 3.794 and a 3.786 – the quickest pass of the day – in the final three rounds to come away victorious.  The two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion defeated the number one, three and five qualifiers during the event
08/15/10
motogp
Ducati signs Rossi for 2 years  
Italian Rossi will be trading in his Yamaha (above) for the Italian Ducati team.  The Italian are delighted
Ducati and Valentino Rossi have signed a two-year agreement for the nine-time World Champion to race with the “Rossa” of Borgo Panigale in the Ducati Team from 2011.

The arrival of Valentino in Ducati opens a new and exciting chapter in the Italian factory’s sporting history and, indeed, of the whole MotoGP Championship. The opportunity of lining up such an extraordinary rider and character is considered by Ducati to be of huge value to the whole Ducati MotoGP project.

“We are delighted to announce that Valentino Rossi will be with us from 2011,” commented Gabriele Del Torchio, president of Ducati Motor Holding. “He is a paragon of excellence in the world of motorcycling, coherent with our Italian company which is a standard bearer for ‘made in Italy’ excellence. These are key values for success in technology, design and sportsmanship. In addition to the strong and passionate intent of both parties, this agreement has been made possible by the committed support of our shareholder Investindustrial and all the sponsors associated with the Ducati Team, sponsors which have believed in this opportunity and share and support our choices.” More ...

08/15/10
British F3
Vergne is British F3 champ  Jean-Eric Vergne took the British F3 Series crown today with his 12th victory of the season at the home of British motorsport, Silverstone and became the first ever Frenchman to take the title.  The Red Bull Junior’s points tally of 344 is unbeatable in the remaining six races. 

Vergne’s championship win is the sixth F3 title for the Carlin team and the third consecutive win.  Vergne follows in the footsteps of 2008 champion Jaime Alguersuari and 2009 champion Daniel Ricciardo.  Vergne led home teammate and race two winner Adriano Buzaid in second, with James Calado fourth, Lucas Foresti fifth and Rupert Svendsen-Cook sixth.  Jazeman Jaafar crossed the line 13th having started 23rd.  Vergne’s charge to the Cooper Tires British F3 title has been an impressive one.  More ...

08/15/10
irl
IndyCar gets it right  The IZOD IndyCar Series has hired NZR Consulting's Tony Cotman as a consultant to serve as project manager for the development of its 2012 technical program. 

Cotman will be responsible for leading the 2012 car project, including writing technical regulations for both engine and chassis, coordinating with suppliers and manufacturers and communicating with teams. He will work with the IZOD IndyCar Series' technical and safety staff as well as outside engine and aerodynamic experts during the process.

"Now that we have unveiled our 2012 car strategy, we need to move swiftly to complete the rules package as we engage potential manufacturers and prepare our teams for the transition," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer, IZOD IndyCar Series. "The timing of completing these rules is critical to the development process. By bringing Tony on board to focus solely on the 2012 car, we can let Brian Barnhart and the competition staff focus on completing the current race season while preparing for next year." More ...

08/15/10
motogp
Lorenzo wins 7th 2010 race at Brno  
Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo’s phenomenal 2010 form continued at the Cardion ab Grand Prix Czech Republic on Sunday where the Fiat Yamaha rider won his seventh race of the season. A front row start was converted into another 25 points by the Spaniard, who maintained his record of having finished inside the top two in every race so far.

The sun was shining in stark contrast to the fears of poor weather that had preceded the race as just over 148,000 enthusiastic fans packed out the Brno circuit, and Lorenzo engaged in an early battle with rival Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) – who started from pole position – for the lead. More ...

08/15/10
irl
nassprint
100% throttle racing masks drivers shortcomings  AR1.com has long mocked IndyCar's 100% throttle high downforce oval racing as a way to put on a 'show' (recall all those artificial side-by-side finishes) but not a sport where the athlete's talent made the difference.  In our view 100% throttle racing is 100% car and engineer and 0% driver.  The driver is just along for the ride.

Because it is so easy, it masks a drivers talents, or shall we say lack of talent, which explains the struggles of drivers like Sam Hornish Jr. who was a star in IndyCar, but is a complete backmarker in NASCAR. More ...

08/15/10
nassprint
NTSB issues preliminary report on Roush crash  The National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report on Jack Roush's plane crash that happened last month at Oshkosh, Wis. The report does not assign blame for the incident but does provide a few more details of what happened. In the report, it states that Roush's "airplane appeared to overshoot the runway centerline during this turn (a left turn for the runway) and then level its wings momentarily before entering a slight right bank simultaneously as the nose of the airplane pitched up. The airplane then turned left toward the runway centerline and began a descent. During this descent, the airplane's pitch appeared to increase until the airplane entered a right bank and struck the grass area west of the runway in a nose down, right wing low attitude.'' The report -- remember this is a preliminary report, a final one will come later -- did not mention the traffic "conflict'' he encountered upon landing that he said contributed to the incident. Such details are likely to be examined in the final report. The preliminary report stated that air traffic controllers were interviewed, amateur video was reviewed, the NTSB spent two days examining the plane before giving it back to Roush and found "no preimpact malfunctions or anomalies'' in the on-scene inspections of the "airframe structure, flight control systems, or two turbo-fan engines.'' The report also states that "several non-volatile memory devices were removed from the airplane and were retained for future download. A cockpit voice recorder was recovered and shipped to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Division in Washington, D.C. for readout." Hampton Roads
08/15/10
nassprint
Kyle Busch to Make Off Road Debut  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch is scheduled to make his Pro 2WD off-road racing debut in the Traxxas TORC Series Presented by AMSOIL Aug. 24-25 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion will face drivers such as seven-time AMA champion Ricky Johnson; off-road star Rob MacCachren; and motocross legend Jeremy McGrath, who is being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America that same week. Many drivers have raced in off-road prior to their careers in NASCAR, Brendan Gaughan and Jimmie Johnson to name a few. Busch has previous dirt racing experience, driving a dirt late model in the annual "Prelude to the Dream" race founded by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. The event, held the same week as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' and IZOD IndyCar Series' events at the speedway, puts the Traxxas TORC Series and its drivers right in front of a whole new group of enthusiastic motorsports fans. TORC PR
08/15/10
nassprint
The call for Petty to hang it up  While Richard Petty might be just the titular head of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race team that bears his name, the time has come for him to give it up and head for the nearest rocking chair.

The team, owned in reality by racing debt-ridden George Gillett Jr. and his son and managing partner Foster Gillett, is in shambles.

It's down to one driver for next season, A.J. Allmendinger, who recently signed a multi-year extension. Kasey Kahne is headed for Red Bull next season before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Paul Menard has signed with Richard Childress Racing for 2011, taking his sponsorship with him, and Elliott Sadler has no intention of returning.

Also, Budweiser, which is sponsoring Kahne, is leaving at season's end for RCR. More ...

08/15/10
nassprint
nastruck
Mears to replace Papis  UPDATE Germain Racing’s Max Papis expects to remain a GEICO-sponsored driver but whether he competes in another full Sprint Cup race with the sponsor this year remains to be seen.

Casey Mears is expected to replace Papis in the No. 13 Germain Racing car in the Sprint Cup Series for the next sponsored race in September at Atlanta. The insurance company also is expected to sponsor Mears for a part-time Cup schedule in 2011.

Papis could end up in the Camping World Truck Series with GEICO sponsorship. The company has sponsored him for 18 Cup races this year, and Papis has been to the rest of the races to start-and-park. More ...

08/15/10
nassprint
Big NASCAR teams having hard time finding sponsors  As many Sprint Cup teams are discovering, finding new sponsors during tough economic times is a daunting challenge.  NASCAR TV ratings have been on a downward spiral for 4 straight years and some race tracks have seen attendance drop 50% during that same time period.

NASCAR is no longer in demand by sponsors like it once was.  The economy is to blame for sure, but so is NASCAR's oversaturation of the TV market, races that are too long, ticket prices that rape race fans, 1950's technology cars, and managed racing (debris yellows, etc.).  The race fans have had it and they are running for the door in record numbers.

Throughout the Sprint Cup garage there are high-profile teams that still need sponsors for next season.

Tony Stewart is losing Old Spice after this season and needs partial sponsorship for both his Cup teams.

Richard Petty Motorsports is losing Budweiser and Menards and must sign or re-sign sponsors for its Sprint Cup program, which features four teams this year but could scale back to one or two next season. More ...

08/15/10
nassprint
NASCAR's fuzzy math  
Top Photo
Empty seats take up much of the grandstand at Pocono Raceway just after the start of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 on Aug. 1
David Kidwell/Pocono Record
The crowd estimated at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 1 fell far below the 100,000 people announced by NASCAR.

How far?

On-the-ground estimates of crowds are notoriously unreliable, say crowd counters like Clark McPhail, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Instead, aerial photos capture the true density of a crowd, which can be calculated by factoring in the dimensions of the space in which people are gathering.

To count how many people attended the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 1, the Pocono Record took 110 aerial photographs from a height of 3,000 feet with a telephoto lens at the start of the race.

The entire raceway was photographed for context, as were swaths of each section of the grandstands and the infield. The clearest 38 photographs were selected, with substantial overlap from one image to the next to ensure there were no major gaps. More ...

08/15/10
racing news
8 Killed 12 Wounded in California Off Road Race  An off-road truck plowed into a crowd and scattered "bodies everywhere" moments after sailing off a jump at a California race, killing eight people and injuring 12 others, authorities and witnesses said.

The crash came shortly after the start of the California 200, a Saturday evening race in the Mojave Desert, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.

Bachman said eight people died and 12 were injured, several of them seriously. Seven ambulances and 10 emergency aircraft responded to the scene. Most of the injured were airlifted from the area to Loma Linda University Medical Center or St. Mary's Medical Center. More ...

08/15/10
f1
Rosberg tired but happy after first triathlon  (GMM)  Nico Rosberg was exhausted but happy after contesting his first full triathlon.

The Mercedes driver, now a triathlon aficionado like Jenson Button, completed the full Olympic distance of the world championship round in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Button recently completed the comparable London triathlon in 2hr14mins, and 25-year-old Rosberg finished the swimming, cycling and running event in Austria in 2hr7mins, according to multiple German media reports. More ...

08/15/10
nassprint
Sadler still working on 2011 plans  
Elliott Sadler
Elliott Sadler said he's trying to find a Sprint Cup ride but would consider driving in the Nationwide or Camping World Truck series if those were his only viable options. Sadler announced a month ago he didn't expect to be back at Richard Petty Motorsports after this season. Although an RPM official said publicly that the team had interest in keeping Sadler, the Virginian said he's not had much dialogue with the organization. Sadler said that some plans have fallen through in the last month and that he's focused talks with one Cup team that he wouldn't name. Sadler said that plans are being put together to have him run a few more truck races for Kevin Harvick Inc. next season. If his Cup plans falter, Sadler said he would look to other series. "I'd rather go somewhere and win then go somewhere and just ride around,'' Sadler said. "If I have to go back to Nationwide or go back to the Truck (series) and get my chance and opportunity to win races, you'll see Elliott Sadler do that instead of go somewhere where there's a start-and-park (car) or ride around. That's not me. I'm way too competitive for that. I don't have a big enough ego to where I have to be labeled a Cup driver. I want to be a driver that's competitive.'' Roanoke Times
08/15/10
tv news
Wind Tunnel Sunday  UPDATE They have added one more guest to Sunday night’s line-up. FOX Sports’ Dick Berggren will join Wind Tunnel to talk about the CUP season and preview this year’s Chase.

Guest Host                  Leigh Diffey (SPEED Anchor)
Featured Interview      Mark Webber (Formula 1 Title Contender, Red Bull Racing)
Featured Interview      Jerry Carroll (Former Kentucky Speedway Owner/Developer)
Featured Interview      Dick Berggren (FOX Sports’ NASCAR Reporter)



08/12/10 Dave Despain will be on vacation this week...SPEED’s Leigh Diffey will be hosting Wind Tunnel for the first time. In addition to F1 points leader Mark Webber, former Kentucky Speedway owner, Jerry Carroll, is confirmed as a guest to talk about Kentucky Speedway’s big announcement this week about obtaining its first CUP date. Jerry sold the facility to Bruton Smith in 2008.

Guest Host                  Leigh Diffey (SPEED Anchor)
Featured Interview      Mark Webber (Formula 1 Title Contender, Red Bull Racing)
Featured Interview      Jerry Carroll (Former Kentucky Speedway Owner/Developer)

08/14/10
nassprint
Gordon commits to 4 or 5 more years  39-year-old Jeff Gordon, a four-time Cup champion who is second in the current Cup standings, said sponsors are not hesitant to talk to him even though he might have only three, four or five years left in his career.

“I don’t think too many sponsors are apprehensive about having a four- or five-year commitment because sometimes they might want to make a change after that, too,” Gordon said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “When I was going through some of my back issues [last year], it was, ‘Is it going to be three, four, five years?’

“I think we have gotten past that hurdle pretty good. But they ask, definitely. … I feel like I am making a commitment to myself, the team and sponsors for four or five years.”

08/14/10
starmazda
Conor Daly wins pole in Trois-Rivieres  
Continuing his string of pole position qualifying efforts, Indianapolis native Conor Daly, the current series points leader with five wins and seven poles, will start on the inside of the front row for tomorrow's Round 10 of the 20th anniversary 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the 41st annual GP3R at Trois-Rivières.  Daly earned his position on the grid with a lap of 1:01.617 in his #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda.  Starting alongside Daly, appropriately enough, will be the Norwegian racer who is currently second in the championship battle, Anders 'The Viking' Krohn.  He turned a lap just 8/100ths of a second slower, 1:01.698, in his #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda. More ...
08/14/10
British F3
Calado leads Carlin sweep  James Calado made the best of the treacherous track conditions in a shower-hit 22nd round of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Silverstone this afternoon (Saturday), to snatch victory from the clutches of championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne. Their Carlin team-mate Lucas Foresti was third to claim his maiden British F3 podium, and Mexican newcomer Juan Carlos Sistos triumphed in the National class for Motul Team West-Tec.

Vergne’s hopes of recording his 12th win of the season and edging even closer towards the championship title took a knock at the start of the 16-lap race, the pole man failing to get away cleanly and handing the advantage to Foresti. Jean-Eric recovered quickly to seize the lead from his team-mate on the opening lap. More ...
08/14/10
nassprint
Ganassi's NASCAR Operation back on track  
Juan Montoya
Two years ago, Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR operation was a mess. Ganassi, one of the most successful team owners in the history of IndyCar racing, was failing miserably at stock-car racing.

He had started out with a bang, winning two races and nearly capturing the Cup championship with veteran driver Sterling Marlin in 2001, the year after he purchased the majority of the team from Felix Sabates.

In 2002, he won two more races with Marlin and discovered a gem in Jamie McMurray, who won in just his second career start in relief of the injured Marlin. More ...

08/14/10
nassprint
NASCAR returns to Michigan in 2011 on June 19 and August 21  Michigan International Speedway will hosts its 84th and 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2011, track officials announced Friday.

The track’s opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in 2011 will be a return to Father’s Day on June 19. The series will visit Michigan later that summer on August 21.

“We are pleased NASCAR recognizes the significance of the hundreds of thousands of fans who continue to come to MIS from all over Michigan, the Midwest and Canada even in these challenging times. It is because of our fans’ great loyalty and support that MIS continues to host two NASCAR weekends,” track President Roger Curtis said. “Michigan International Speedway has a long tradition of creating lasting memories for every fan who attends our events. We can’t wait to continue that tradition and bring new fans and new guests to MIS who not only love NASCAR but who love MIS.” More ...

08/14/10
f1
Pirelli to begin F1 track tests on Monday  (GMM)  Pirelli will reportedly begin its formula one track testing program on Monday. According to the Spanish daily AS, the sport's new tire supplier for 2011 will be running at the Mugello circuit near Florence in Italy.

The sports newspaper said Nick Heidfeld will be at the wheel of a Pirelli-shod 2009 Toyota. It is expected that German Heidfeld, 33, will vacate his existing role as Mercedes' reserve driver.

The initial Mugello test will reportedly be for three days, until Wednesday 18 August.  The next Pirelli test will then take place at Jerez, followed by Monza, Le Castellet and then back to Mugello, the Diario AS report added.

08/14/10
motogp
Pedrosa on Brno pole as rookie American Spies stars  
Dani Pedrosa
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa took his third pole position of the 2010 season in emphatic style today in a gripping and action packed qualifying session at Brno. With just two minutes to go, the 24-year-old Spaniard banged in a lap that was an impressive 0.338s clear of his nearest rival in a session that, up until that point, had been extremely close at the top. His factory Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was also at the sharp end of the qualifying contest and came within 0.3s of his second front-row start in succession, the Italian eventually settling for the second row and sixth quickest time today, with a gap of 0.609s to Pedrosa.

Pedrosa was fastest in both of today’s MotoGP track sessions and has been on impressive form since arriving at the Brno circuit. Working on race set-up this afternoon, he spent most of the second half of the session in top spot despite the best efforts of his rivals to dislodge him. Twice in the last 20 minutes Ben Spies snuck ahead by fractions of a second, only to be demoted once again almost immediately by Pedrosa. In the final moments, attempts first by Jorge Lorenzo and then Valentino Rossi ended in the gravel trap before Pedrosa put pole clearly out of their reach. More ...

08/14/10
nassprint
Hendrick still working on sponsorship for Gordon  Jeff Gordon was asked about the status of sponsorship for 2011 Saturday in Michigan:

Q: Are you getting close to sponsorship and knowing what it is going to look like next season?
A: "Yes. We're getting close to the timing of it. We don't have anything to announce yet. You'll know when we know man, we don't know much yet. We've been continuing to have our conversations with DuPont, Pepsi and everybody. We're going through the processes right now trying to figure out what we are going to do." Chevy PR
08/14/10
f1
Dennis supports possible Villeneuve team  McLaren’s Ron Dennis has said it would be good for Formula 1 to see Jacques Villeneuve return to Formula 1 with his own team. The Canadian is hoping to enter Formula 1 with Durango in 2011.

Speaking about Jacques Villeneuve’s bid to enter the sport next season Ron Dennis told Rue Frontenac: "Everyone in the world of Formula 1 hopes it will work. It is always good to keep former Formula 1 champions in the sport. But it won’t be easy.
08/14/10
track news
DIS paving hits snag  The winning streak could not last forever. The repaving of Daytona International Speedway's famous 2.5-mile tri-oval hit a minor snag Wednesday after heavy showers washed away some of the exposed lime rock base in Turns 3 and 4.

"It's no big deal," project manager Bill Braniff said Thursday. "We'll go back, re-grade it and repack it again. We expect things like that to happen, and it underscores the importance of not removing the old asphalt in Turns 1 and 2."

"We've been lucky with the weather so far, so we don't have any room to complain. Over in Turns 3 and 4, we just need to dress it back up where the water eroded the base." More ...
08/14/10
cc
Students convert Champ Car to electric  
A group of high school students from the DeLaSalle School in Kansas City, Mo., and their mentors, including engineers from Bridgestone Americas' Technical Center in Akron, Ohio, have just concluded tests on a student-built electric car at Bridgestone's Texas Proving Grounds – and may have set a world record for efficiency.

The all-electric vehicle was built as a class project under the direction of instructor Steve Rees. With the help of automotive mentors, the students have created a plug-in electric car based on the chassis of a 2000 Lola Indy Car. The students have developed a driveline, electric propulsion system and full, ultra light-weight aerodynamic body.

The car, which is mounted on Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 tires, showed remarkable results in testing— test runs reported efficiency levels that would be the equivalent of more than 300 miles per gallon. Steve Rees is currently petitioning Guinness World Records to consider the students' accomplishments as a new world record.
08/14/10
nassprint
Jack Roush lost one eye in crash  NASCAR team owner Jack Roush was back at the racetrack Friday, having permanently lost vision in his left eye but otherwise feeling lucky to survive yet another plane crash. And yes, he expects to fly again. Roush, who crashed his jet just over two weeks ago while trying to land at an air show in Wisconsin, said he ruptured his left eyeball in the crash and doesn't expect to ever be able to see out of it again. "Everything will come back, except for the eye," he told reporters at Michigan International Speedway. Roush then joked that he uses his right eye to examine spark plugs anyway. Wearing sunglasses and his trademark Panama-style hat, Roush was present on pit road for qualifying. He had left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., earlier this week. In addition to his eye injury, Roush said he broke his jaw, sustained a compression fracture in his back and hurt his left cheek. Associated Press
08/14/10
track news
100 Year Indy 500 Logo unveiled  
The logo for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 – the 100th anniversary of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – was unveiled simultaneously Friday, Aug. 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and CEO Jeff Belskus revealed the logo during festivities at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum, while three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser performed the same honor at Pebble Beach, Calif., with Indy 500 winners Parnelli Jones and Danny Sullivan and legendary American open-wheel driver Dan Gurney also participating.

The 2011 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 29 at IMS. It is the centerpiece of the final year of the three-year Centennial Era at IMS. Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday, May 30, 1911. More ...

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