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Prost: Schumi’s injury just an excuse  UPDATE Like we said, sour grapes on the part of Prost after getting destroyed by Senna and annihilated by Schumacher.  According to reports in the British press, the injuries sustained by Michael Schumacher in a motorbike accident back in February were a lot more horrific than anyone was led to believe with the German legend’s personal doctor explaining just why he was unable to return to the Formula One cockpit in Valencia this weekend.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Doctor Johannes Peil explained the full extent of the head and neck injuries the seven time world champion endured.

"He had a serious injury to the seventh vertebra of the neck, a fracture of the first left rib and a fracture at the base of the skull, roughly the size of a thumbnail but in a place supporting the whole weight of the skull. There was also a hairline fracture on the left side of the skull," he explained, adding that there was one of the two main arteries to the German’s brain was also damaged.

However, despite this, he still believes that Schumacher could be fit enough to return to racing in 2010, especially if the injuries continue to heal as well as they have been

1990 Italian GP podium, Aryton Senna (C) celebrates yet another cleaning of Alain Prost's (L) clock
Alain Prost has suggested that Michael Schumacher’s decision to abandon his Formula One comeback was more to do with the damage he might do to his reputation, should he prove uncompetitive, than any physical injury to his neck.

“It is questionable whether he only called his comeback off because of health problems,” Prost told the French newspaper Parisien.

“Perhaps, when he climbed back into the cockpit, he realized that there was an enormous task ahead of him. The body changes very fast when one stops driving, the reactions and awareness dull, [and] he has not driven an F1 car for three years, and had only three weeks of preparation [following Felipe Massa's injury].”

Schumacher’s entourage have rubbished the claims. Willi Webber, Schumacher’s manager said: “Unfortunately, I must disappoint Mr. Prost.”

“Michael’s times in testing at Mugello suggested different – his decision to call off his return was due only to the neck problem. He can now continue to work on his fitness in peace, without the pressure to prove anything. Perhaps then we will see the times.”

[Editor's Note: Just sour grapes on Prost's part.  When Aryton Senna was his teammate Senna destroyed Prost and later Michael Schumacher destroyed any records Prost had set.]

The ACO unveils the 2010 Le Mans regulations  In accordance with the undertakings given after this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, and to enable manufacturers to have more time to prepare for the coming season, the ACO, today, unveils the 2010 Le Mans regulations. An update inspired by two main criteria: stability and consultation.

Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO Sports Manager, says in the interview at the end, “Regulations have to evolve from one year to the next to adapt to the context”. The evolution follows on from the meeting with all the manufacturers on 29th-30th June at Le Mans. It is the result of a study carried out by the ACO technical directors and consultants in the light of the analysis of a lot of data - gathered by the ACO and supplied by the manufacturers - which was then validated by the ACO Sports Committee.

“In an unfavorable economic context, the idea was to modify the cars as little as possible, continues Vincent. All entrants want to be able to use their current cars in 2010, and possibly in 2011 and beyond*. It was necessary to make a few clarifications and to modify certain points in the regulations to prevent some entrants from investing in solutions that we consider too extreme, and which go against the aims we have set ourselves – to keep the cars’ lap speeds above 3m 30s at Le Mans.” More ...

VW recalling 13,500 vehicles  Volkswagen of America is recalling 13,500 vehicles to fix problems with a dual-clutch transmission that could lead to a warning on the dashboard.  The recall affects 2009 model year and a limited number of 2010 Jetta, Jetta SportsWagen, GTI and Eos vehicles built between September 2008 and August 2009. Volkswagen says some of the vehicles could have a faulty temperature sensor in the transmission, which could lead to the warning lamp lighting up on the dashboard. They said in rare cases, the transmission could shift into neutral.  Volkswagen officials say there have been no crashes or injuries reported. Owners will have their vehicles inspected and repaired if necessary. Customers can call (800) 444-8982 for more information.
NHLR faces possibility of shutout  Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing isn't dwelling on the prospect of going winless for the second time in 27 years because the remaining four IndyCar Series races leave opportunities for Graham Rahal and teammate Oriol Servia to break through.

But excuse the team if it's particularly focused on the season's final road course race Sunday in Sonoma, Calif. That stop plays to both drivers' strengths and provides perhaps the last and best chance to avoid being shut out for the first time since 1994, when legendary Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell combined for three poles, but no wins.

"It's not something we want to happen," said Rahal, eighth in points but 32 behind fifth-place Danica Patrick. "We've had several opportunities thrown away and hope for a good result this weekend. It would be unfortunate for the team and perhaps selfishly for me, but we should be better." More at USA Today

NASCAR Michigan TV rating  The final TV rating of last Sunday's CarFax 400 from Michigan on ESPN was a 4.1 cable rating, up 5.1% over last year's 3.9 final rating, also on ESPN. 

The final TV for the Michigan NASCAR CarFax 250 Nationwide race on ESPN2 was 1.4 with 1.642 million viewers tuned in.

Teams disagree over KERS rules for 2010  (GMM)  Some formula one teams are continuing to press for KERS to be removed from the 2010 technical regulations.

Next year's rules were published by the FIA earlier this week and the availability to use the energy-recovery technology remains.

The F1 teams' association FOTA, however, decided earlier this year to enter into a gentleman's agreement to not fit KERS systems to their cars in 2010.

But an awkward element to the situation is that Williams and Force India, and the new F1 teams, are not FOTA members and are therefore not bound by the FOTA ban.

Williams in particular is developing a KERS system and have not ruled out racing it in 2010. More ...

Badoer penalized after fourth speeding violation  (GMM) Luca Badoer was issued an official reprimand on Friday following a fourth pit lane speeding violation on his return to formula one action at Valencia.

As previously reported, Felipe Massa's Ferrari substitute collected a hat-trick of monetary penalties tallying 5400 euros for three times going over the 60kph speed limit during practice.

When he once again infringed the limit, however - this time by less than 2kph - the European grand prix stewards summoned both the 38-year-old Italian and Ferrari's team manager.

"Penalty: A reprimand," the stewards' report concluded.

The team's long-time test driver Badoer was last in the morning session and 18th in the afternoon, and acknowledged afterwards that it had been a "difficult day".

"It was vital that I did not make any serious mistakes so that I could get through the programme we had established," he added.

"The team has not set me any specific goal for this weekend and I am pleased about that consideration because it is important I return to having full confidence in the car and with the world of the grand prix weekend," said Badoer.
Alonso makes second visit to stewards  (GMM) Local hero Fernando Alonso made a second visit to the stewards' room at the Valencia circuit on Friday.

The Spaniard's first summons was in the morning, when he and new Renault teammate Romain Grosjean missed a mandatory autograph session due to a clashing sponsor commitment.

Following the afternoon practice session, he was then back in the company of FIA officials Lars Osterlind, Antonio Vasconcelos and Manuel Vidal, to explain his role in the collision with BMW's Nick Heidfeld.

"It was a normal incident that can happen during racing or free practice," said the double world champion, who shook hands with Heidfeld during the briefing despite the German driver initially expressing anger about the clash.

The stewards agreed, ruling that "the incident requires no further action".
Teammates to play role in newcomers' prospects  (GMM) With Romain Grosjean and Luca Badoer in at the deep end this weekend, their teammates could be set to play a crucial role.

Amid the in-season testing ban, both men are racing this weekend in less than ideal circumstances: rookie Grosjean straight in from GP2, and Badoer after a ten-year absence from the formula one grid.

Both, however, have highly rated teammates on the other side of their respective garages: double world champion Fernando Alonso in the case of Renault's Grosjean, and 2007 title winner Kimi Raikkonen alongside Badoer at Ferrari.

But when asked whether he is taking an active role in helping 38-year-old Badoer to re-acclimatise to F1 action, Finn Raikkonen told reporters: "No, I was busy with my own things but if he needs we can talk later. For sure he has the help that he needs (from the team)." More ...
Grosjean pleased with first day  Romain Grosjean was content after his first full day as a Formula One racing driving on Friday as the Swiss-French pilot wound up in a competitive thirteenth position for the Renault team in Valencia. The 23-year-old is now hoping to make the second round of qualifying on Saturday.Having accepted the role for Renault race seat after Nelson Piquet left the team, Grosjean gave up his GP2 title attack to achieve the goal of entering F1. "The day has gone pretty well," he said after the weekend's first two practice sessions.

"Your first time in a new car is always tricky but I did my best and having Fernando (Alonso) next to me meant I could see how he approached the sessions and that helped me a lot."

For the record, Piquet achieved ninth place in the same session last year although Romain is confident in moving forwards. "I think today I have made good progress and tomorrow I will aim to continue in the same way," he added.
Badoer fined three times for pitlane speeding  (GMM)  After a decade away from the formula one grid, Luca Badoer had an expensive return to competitive action on Friday.

Although not higher than 18th on the official time sheets, the 38-year-old Italian was consistently quick in the Valencia pit lane as he offended the 60kph speed limit not once but three times.

Three separate stewards reports show that Badoer was 2.7, 6 and 5.9kph above the limit at 2.11, 2.21 and 2.44pm respectively.

The first two offenses cost injured Felipe Massa's race replacement 2400 euros, but the final "third offense" drew the ire of the stewards, who imposed an additional 3000 euro penalty.

Badoer admitted in Spain on Thursday that, prior to Massa's crash, he was talking with the Maranello based team about a new contract for 2010.

"After Hungary everything is ... I don't know, I honestly don't know what will happen next year.  We will see," he said.

His comments were shortly followed by paddock rumors that Giancarlo Fisichella might replace him as the famous team's primary test driver next year.

Valencia: Alonso tops practice 2  Nick Heidfeld was unhappy with the local hero, but Fernando Alonso managed to please his Spanish supporters by capturing the top spot in afternoon practice at Valencia.

Before the chequered flag waved on the 180 minutes of Friday practice at the Spanish port city street circuit, Alonso's seemingly dominant Renault - although just ninth in the morning session - collided with the BMW of Nick Heidfeld at the final corner, throwing the latter into a near-roll.

Spectating from the Ferrari pitwall, Michael Schumacher was highly amused by the crash, but Heidfeld slammed it as "just plain stupid".

The Valencia heat is apparently working in Brawn's favor as the title-leading team returns to top form, but Sebastien Buemi was complaining on the radio of a burned right foot against his boiling-hot Toro Rosso carbon pedal.

Hungary winner Lewis Hamilton had been near the pace in the morning, but he had to sit out almost all of the final session when he damaged his prototype McLaren front wing. More ...

Renault drivers fail to show for autograph session  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso was summoned by the Valencia stewards on Friday after failing to turn up for a mandatory autograph session ahead of his home race.

A document released by the FIA officials confirmed that both Alonso and his new Renault teammate Romain Grosjean "failed to attend the autograph session" despite receiving notice about the event "on 31st of July 2009".

"The stewards remind the competitor (Renault) and the drivers concerned of the obligation to comply with article 35.2 of the 2009 F1 sporting regulations," the report read.

However, after meeting with Renault officials and the drivers, the stewards "decided that, exceptionally, the incident requires no further action", the report added.

Also on Friday, championship leader Jenson Button was fined 2600 euros for breaking the 60kph pitlane speed limit in the morning practice session by 12.7kph.

FIA candidates put forward ideas  Ari Vatanen has told the presidents of the FIA clubs that the organization needs more transparency.

"In order to achieve this, we must ensure that the entire justice system of the FIA is above any doubts regarding its independence," he said. "To be more effective in our government of the sport, we will actively seek for ways to make the organizational structure leaner and establish a more hands-on approach where possible. For myself, in case the member clubs chose to elect me as the FIA president, I envisage a role of direct and active involvement and a presence in the FIA's flagship championships wherever necessary and desired."

"It is time for the FIA to better serve the clubs. The FIA cannot have a life of its own; it has to be the office of services to its owners - the member clubs. In a rapidly changing world we cannot afford to continue with 'business as usual'." More ...

Indy 500 team owner dies  Jonathan Byrd, co-entrant in 1996 of Arie Luyendyk's all-time Indianapolis 500 record qualifier, passed away Aug. 20 in Greenwood, Ind. He was 57.

Byrd, who had been disabled by a stroke since 2004, was a "500" entrant from 1985 until 2001, having aligned himself with a variety of other entrants, including Leader Card, Inc., A.J. Foyt, Ron Hemelgarn, Dick Simon, Alex Morales, the Machinists Union, Clayton Cunningham, Dennis McCormack and Team Xtreme.

Strongly associated for many years with sponsorship of cars at the Indianapolis Speedrome short track, located on the east side of the city, Byrd even sponsored NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip at one point. He developed a very close friendship and partnership with Rich Vogler, which parlayed into several USAC Midget car titles and numerous wins, eventually taking the pair to the Indianapolis 500. More ...

Rosberg drugs-tested while on holiday  (GMM)  Nico Rosberg was drug-tested by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) while on holiday in Ibiza last week.

The WADA agent woke him up at 7am one morning, informing the Williams driver that he had been selected for a random drugs spot-check.

"My girlfriend took the call," the 24-year-old German recalled, "so it was lucky that the test took place at all because she doesn't like being woken up early while on holiday!"

Valencia Tech File  Situated in the marina area of Valencia, the European Grand Prix street course is one of the most exciting additions to the Formula One calendar in recent years. Hemmed in by concrete walls, the 25-turn circuit combines a mix of high and low-speed sections and presents a challenging layout for the drivers and engineers. Good straight-line speed and stability under braking are therefore paramount, as is good mechanical grip through the mix of low and medium-speed corners.

The track layout means that the teams run with medium levels of downforce with a similar set-up to that used in Shanghai and Bahrain earlier this year. This set-up is possible as there are no high-speed corners and good straight-line speed is important down the long back straight.

Fernando explains: “One of the most exciting parts of the lap is the final section from turns 17 to 25. You are flat-out almost all the way from the exit of 17 to the final corner, but there are so many kinks that you are constantly in a corner. Turn 25 is quite difficult because it's so slow and yet you approach it at over 300 km/h. So you have to brake as you are coming through turn 24, which makes it's easy to lock a wheel or make a mistake.” More ...

2010 Firestone Indy Lights schedule  Firestone Indy Lights will offer the challenge of one of the most diverse schedules of any developmental series in motorsports in 2010, with 13 races divided among five ovals, four temporary street circuits, and four permanent road courses.

The 2010 schedule includes 12 venues that hosted Firestone Indy Lights races in 2009 and the series' first race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. All races will be held in conjunction with the IndyCar Series.

"Our goal is to prepare Firestone Indy Lights drivers to become successful IndyCar Series drivers, and to reach that goal they must gain experience and succeed on all types of racing circuits," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Firestone Indy Lights. "The schedule offers that challenge to our drivers each year." More ...

A1GP news roundup  With just nine weeks to go before the first race of Season Five of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, the first construction milestone was reached in Australia ahead of the SuperGP on the streets of Surfers Paradise, 22-25 October.

The first steps in the construction for the this October’s event have been completed this week with the positioning of the first pedestrian bridge near Tedder Avenue

SuperGP General Manager Greg Hooton and Event Director David Bennett were joined on the Gold Coast Highway today by reigning TW Steel Miss SuperGP Mareika van den Berg in celebration of this milestone, and also unveiled the plans for the new pit facility which will be in place for this year’s event.

Hooton said he was pleased to be able to celebrate the beginning of construction and show the new plans, with business as usual for Australia’s Premier Motorsport event.

“It is really exciting to see the event moving forward into this next important stage of its development,” said Hooton. More ...

Valencia: Barrichello tops opening practice  Brawn GP's Ruben Barrichello topped opening practice for Sunday's European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.  Barrichello's lap of 1m42.460s was just fast enough to beat McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen who turned the 2nd fastest lap at 1m42.636s.  Kovalainen's McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton was 3rd.  Brawn's Jenson Button and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top-5.

Renault's Romain Grosjean was 17th - just over a second slower than his Renault teammate Fernando Alonso. The Frenchman could not feel worse than F1 returnee Luca Badoer.

The Italian Ferrari driver was slowest, 3.380s off the pace of Barrichello and more than two seconds behind his Ferrari teammate Raikkonen.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:42.460 +0.000 19
2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.636 +0.176 16
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.654 +0.194 18
4. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:43.074 +0.614 19
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:43.088 +0.628 17
6. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:43.209 +0.749 13
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:43.225 +0.765 25
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:43.243 +0.783 19
9. Alonso Renault 1:43.345 +0.885 18
10. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:43.384 +0.924 23
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:43.389 +0.929 30
12. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:43.419 +0.959 20
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:43.637 +1.177 30
14. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:43.746 +1.286 22
15. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:44.040 +1.580 23
16. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:44.126 +1.666 17
17. Grosjean Renault 1:44.356 +1.896 23
18. Trulli Toyota 1:44.638 +2.178 26
19. Glock Toyota 1:44.732 +2.272 28
20. Badoer Ferrari 1:45.840 +3.380 25

Massa seat is Badoer's for now  
Luca Badoer and Rob Smedley
Called up to replace Michael Schumacher after the seven-time world champion was forced to cancel his comeback because of a healing neck injury, 38-year-old Italian Luca Badoer said at Thursday's FIA F1 press conference in Valencia that he will continue to race the second Ferrari until Felipe Massa is fit enough to return.

"If I had only Valencia, only one chance, I would be very worried, and I would try to do everything, maybe with a lot of pressure and maybe with a lot of mistakes - but that's not the case because until Felipe comes back, the car is mine," he said. "So I have some time in which to improve, to develop the situation.

"My last race was 10 years ago more or less but I did in these 10 years close to 150,000kms with F1," he said.

"I am used to doing two races in one day because of the tests, sometimes we did two races in a day, so it is not that really I am worried for this aspect of the situation.

"I am used to the race as before I did a lot of races. If you think for somebody who had never raced maybe it is a problem but I know what it was in the past, so I have an idea.

"I am in a better position than somebody who didn't have a race, so at the moment I am very calm, very quiet."

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Webber not pushing to be Red Bull's no.1
  • Schu still in training for 2009 comeback
  • Fisi's name to disappear from GP2 grid
  • Vettel extends Red Bull deal through 2011

Webber not pushing to be Red Bull's no.1
(GMM)  Even after pushing ahead of his teammate in the drivers' standings, Mark Webber does not believe it is time for Red Bull to appoint a favorite for the 2009 title.

When Sebastian Vettel was the team's leading points scorer behind leader Jenson Button earlier this season, Australian Webber insisted it was too soon and closely matched for Red Bull to ask him to play a supportive role.

But Webber, 32, is now 4.5 points ahead of his German teammate, raising the suggestion that it might be time to be nominated Red Bull's number one for the remaining seven races of 2009.

"Ah, that particular question's now for me," he told F1's official website.

"If we are both slowly catching Jenson - which is still a tall order - then it's a good problem for the team to have because one of us will get him.

"If only one of us is catching, then maybe the roles will change a bit in the future," added Webber.

Schu still in training for 2009 comeback
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has not stopped his new physical training program even though he called off his formula one comeback.

"Michael thinks 'I am back in the rhythm so I might as well stay in it'," his manager Willi Weber told the German newspaper Bild.

Neck and other injuries sustained in a February motorcycle testing fall meant Schumacher, 40, had to cancel his planned return in Felipe Massa's car at Valencia.

But speculation is now rife that the seven time world champion, to be trackside at the Spanish port city street circuit this weekend, is still trying to prepare for a 2009 return.

"He was really pushing very hard," said Luca Badoer, Ferrari's Italian test driver who will instead be at the wheel of Massa's car number 3 until further notice.

"He was training a lot, he spent a lot of time (doing that) because he wanted to come back.

"He did everything, he tried everything, he lost three kilos in seven days, he was really pushing one hundred per cent because it was sort of his dream to come back and drive in formula one again," Badoer said in Valencia on Thursday. More ...

100th start for Corvette's O'Connell  
Johnny O'Connell
It’s more than appropriate to have Johnny O’Connell make his 100th start in the American Le Mans Series at Mosport International Raceway. Corvette Racing’s American star will make his 11th consecutive appearance at the Series’ lone Canadian stop, eager to add a record seventh victory to his Mosport résumé.

Next weekend’s Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport will see O’Connell and Jan Magnussen shoot for their third straight class victory at the circuit – they won in GT1 in 2007 and 2008 – and again turn back the clock to their prototype days. They were teammates on the Panoz factory effort and won together at Mosport in 1999. More ...

GP2 Series raring to get back into action  It’s been three weeks since the GP2 circus was in Hungary and since Nico Hülkenberg extended his lead even more after a historical hat trick. The summer break is now over, the dust has settled and everyone is looking forward to getting back into the action this weekend in Valencia.

After a bright start in the 2009 season, Romain Grosjean has left the Series to join the ING Renault F1 Team and Formula One double World Champion Fernando Alonso. He is replaced at Barwa Addax Team by Italian Davide Valsecchi who, in turn, leaves his seat at Durango’s to countryman Stefano Coletti.

While ART Grand Prix have imposed their pace and have dominated the Series since Silverstone, their German ace Nico Hülkenberg has become the man to beat in 2009. With Grosjean now gone, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi are the closest rivals to the Series’ leader, both of whom won races in Valencia last season whereas Hülkenberg will be discovering the long and challenging track this weekend. More ...

Speed and Papis to highlight PRI karting classic  
Scott Speed looks like a class clown with his oversized hat on crooked
NASCAR stars Scott Speed and Max Papis are among the first drivers to confirm their participation for what is sure to be a star-studded 4th Annual PRI CKI All-Star Karting Classic, to be held Thursday night, December 10, at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, in Orlando, FL.

Speed, the former Formula One driver, is currently second in the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Rookie of the Year standings and earned a season-best fifth at Talladega and qualified on the outside of the front row recently at Chicago in his Red Bull Toyota Camry.  He also has four top-10 finishes in eight Nationwide Series races this season.  More ...

AGR splits up, Andretti now sole owner of race team  UPDATE Michael Andretti told SPEEDTV.com that he expects to be a team owner for a very long time.

Michael Andretti is happy to go it alone
"I've learned a lot the last few years and I think I'm really ready to do it," said the 46-year-old native of Nazareth, Pa. who maintains a full-time residency in Indianapolis. "I liked it right away, I just wasn't as hands on as I am now. I'm here every day during the season and I have been since the end of 2006. I've got a lot of good people around me and the key is to let them to their job.  I love it. And I want to do it as long as I can, like Carl (Haas) and Roger (Penske). That's my goal."

Both AGR and Andretti Green Promotions will have new names for 2010, Andretti said.

08/20/09 The shareholders of Andretti Green Racing, Inc., Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, announced today that they have executed a letter of intent to split off Andretti Green Promotions and Andretti Green Toronto into a separate company from Andretti Green Racing.

Andretti Green Racing began competing in the Indy Racing League in 2003 and currently fields four fulltime teams in the IndyCar Series and two teams with AFS Racing in Firestone Indy Lights. Andretti Green Racing also campaigns A1 Team USA in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Andretti Green Promotions was formed in 2004, and owns and operates the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which served as the 2009 IndyCar Series season-opening event. Andretti Green Toronto owns and operates the Honda Indy Toronto IndyCar Series event which premiered this past July.

The letter of intent is subject to the execution of definitive agreements with an anticipated closing of October 2009. The terms of the letter will not be disclosed.  Upon the completion of the transaction, Andretti will wholly own and operate Andretti Green Racing while Green and Savoree will wholly own and operate the promotions business.

"Since becoming partners in 2002, we have been fortunate to see our companies expand and diversify quickly and successfully. All of us believe that this decision will maximize the potential of both companies in the future."
NCWTS Nielsen Ratings Up Again at Bristol  Nielsen Ratings for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on SPEED were higher for the second consecutive race as Wednesday night’s midweek event from Bristol scored a 0.67 (492,000 households), up 6 percent from last year’s .63 (460,000 households). The race, won by Kyle Busch, peaked at a Nielsen Rating of 0.79 (582,000 households), up 4 percent from last year’s 0.76 (550,000 households).

During ’09 to date, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is averaging a 0.91 (665,000 households), up 7 percent compared to the ’08 equivalent-date averages of 0.85 (615,000 households).

The popular pre-race show, NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda, scored a Nielsen Rating of 0.55 (407,000 households), up 175 percent from last year’s 0.20 (142,000 households). The NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race from Bristol scored a 0.45 (329,000 households).

The Trucks are back on the track next week as the final 10 events of the season begin with the 1.5-mile tri-oval of Chicagoland Speedway. NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, with race coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. SPEED also will provide coverage of NCWTS qualifying from Chicago (Aug. 28, 5 p.m. ET).

$250k Lamborghini a lemon  A judge declared that brake squeal makes a man's $250,000 Lamborghini a lemon.
Krohn Racing Withdraws from Montreal Event  Krohn Racing today has withdrawn their entry of the No. 76 car of Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jönsson from the forthcoming Montreal Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event.

Throughout 2009 Krohn Racing has continued without any technical assistance from Lola to improve the performance of the car and compete in all rounds of the Grand–Am Championship achieving victories and fastest laps, most recently at the last event at Watkins Glen.

Krohn Racing is a co owner of Proto-Auto LLC, an Official Constructor of a Daytona Prototype chassis.

Tracy Krohn:  “Regrettably Lola cars, also shareholders of Proto-Auto, have raised issues within Proto-Auto that they have chosen to pursue through their lawyers.” More ...

Grand-Am claims growth  Ratings and viewing households doubled over 2008 for SPEED's coverage of the recent Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International, Round 9 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

  In addition, spectator attendance for the Friday evening race was up 10 percent from 2008. A well-attended autograph session preceded the event, which started at 6:30 p.m. and was broadcast on SPEED at 8 p.m.

  While Krohn Racing's Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson edged out Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas for the victory, the TELMEX Chip Ganassi drivers broke a tie in the championship to forge a four-point lead in the Daytona Prototype standings ahead of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty with only three races remaining. SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle remain third, 14 points back. More ...
BMW exit has not spoiled Rosberg's future plans  
Nico Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg on Thursday indicated the impending withdrawal from formula one of BMW has not spoiled his plans for next season.

It was rumored that the Williams driver was eyeing a switch to the Hinwil based team next year, but the stronger speculation suggests a berth alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.

Asked by reporters at Valencia about the BMW news, Rosberg answered: "It's one clear option less, that's pretty obvious, but I am still very pleased with my situation."

He said he wouldn't mind partnering the reigning world champion Hamilton, whose current teammate Heikki Kovalainen's future at McLaren is under a cloud.

"I am close to having a clear picture now of what the options are, I'm still gathering a few bits and pieces," said Rosberg.  "I had a discussion with Williams last week to clarify what the situation is." More ...

Theissen admits own F1 future unclear  
Mario Theissen could disappear from F1 scene
(GMM)  Mario Theissen on Thursday admitted he might stay with the Hinwil based formula one team even after his long time employer BMW pulls out at the end of the season.

The German is BMW's motor sport director and has been with the Munich manufacturer for decades, but he is now working with Peter Sauber on securing the Swiss team's post-BMW future.

As for his future in the paddock, Theissen said at Valencia: "That's open and I'm not thinking about it.

"The first priority is to secure the future of the team in my current role with the team and then after the season we can see what will happen to me," he added.

Founder Sauber's takeover bid recently failed but Theissen said other options are on the table, and to that end BMW-Sauber AG submitted an application with the FIA last week for an official team entry for 2010.

"We did not have to show an engine supply contract but we have given some indication, we are talking to engine manufacturers and there would be a solution," he said.

As for finding a new majority owner, Theissen added: "There are several interested parties and we are just about to evaluate the individual proposals."

Porsche offices raided on suspicion of stock manipulation  Stuttgart. Investigative proceedings led by the public prosecutor's office have been carried out at Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, both in Stuttgart. This Thursday morning, officials from the public prosecutor's office in Stuttgart with judicial search warrants arrived at the administrative headquarters of the companies in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. The officials then searched the business premises of the companies, seizing numerous business documents in the process.

According to information provided by the public prosecutor's office in charge of investigations, there is a suspicion of breaching the publication duty as prescribed by the German Stock Corporation Act and furthermore of market manipulation.

Porsche is rejecting these allegations. The company is cooperating in the efforts of the public prosecutor's office and is offering investigating officials its full support in order to clarify the issue as quickly as possible.

VW Common Shares Fall for Sixth Day  Volkswagen AG common shares extended their decline in the past six days to 38 percent as Porsche SE exits the carmaker’s securities and short-sellers increase bets the losses may grow.

The ordinary shares slipped 3.7 percent to 140.64 euros as of 11:53 a.m. in Frankfurt. The preferred stock dropped 5.7 percent to 64.51 euros, paring its 15 percent jump yesterday. Porsche climbed 1.7 percent to 55.11 euros, a seventh advance.

VW’s common stock has retreated since Porsche, which held about 20 percent of options to buy the securities, said Aug. 14 it’s selling a majority of them to Qatar. The emirate paid 80 euros for the carmaker’s common shares, Manager-Magazin said yesterday, citing unidentified people close to Porsche. The magazine added that Porsche also held options on VW’s preferred stock and is selling them to Qatar. More ...

Europe: FIA Thursday press conference  Drivers: Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Luca Badoer (Ferrari), Jenson Button (Brawn-Mercedes), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes).

Q: Firstly, a question to you all. What have you been doing during the break?
Jaime Alguersuari: I was racing World Series by Renault, my other championship. I did a race in Portimão and it was really good. I won and after this I was back in Barcelona. I spent a couple of days in Ibiza with my family, that's all.

Q: Luca, I suspect you have got quite a story to tell?
Luca Badoer: I did not have a holiday. I just worked very hard in a physical way because after Felipe's accident and Michael tried to drive the car it was very clear for us that, if Michael was not able, then it was my turn. I kept really concentrating and thinking about everything I could do to be in the best position for the race. I did really a lot of training.

Q: So training every day in the gym. Any driving?
LB: I drove a go-kart because I think it is very good for general training. Obviously I did the special training for the neck with my special machine to improve all the muscle and the resistance of the heart, so I was pushing really hard.

Q: Lewis, what have you been up to since the last race?
Lewis Hamilton: Not too much really. Nothing particularly fancy. I spent some time with my family and then I spent the rest of my time in Los Angeles with my girlfriend, so just chilling at home. More ...

Piquet ousted due to team relationship breakdown - Alonso  (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Thursday said he believes his former teammate Nelson Piquet was ousted only because of a breakdown in his relationship with Renault management.

Brazilian Piquet, who has been replaced by the similarly 23-year-old Romain Grosjean for the European grand prix and beyond, branded boss Flavio Briatore an "executioner" but also said his specification of car was rarely up to date with Alonso's.

"We always had the same car –- this has to be clear," Spaniard Alonso told reporters in the Spanish port city Valencia.

Double world champion Alonso, 27, had his own falling out with McLaren team management prior to returning to Renault last year. More ...

Shaved Buemi to keep cap on at Valencia  (GMM)  Sebastien Buemi is likely to keep his cap on for the entire European grand prix weekend.

The 20-year-old Swiss driver confessed at Valencia on Thursday that his hair is so short due to a communications breakdown with his hairdresser at Faenza, near the Toro Rosso headquarters in Italy.

Kubica learned of BMW withdrawal via internet  (GMM)  Race drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld were not informed of BMW's decision to withdraw from formula one at the end of the season by the team's management, they told the media at Valencia on Thursday.

"I woke up in the morning, did some running, opened the internet and then saw it," said Pole Kubica, who is being linked with a move to Renault for 2010.

"Then I received an email with the decision," he revealed.

Kubica said he is not bothered about not receiving a phone call about the news.

"I'm just a small piece of this paddock.  One small tool of the team," he insisted.

The 24-year-old gave nothing away when asked by reporters about the possible identity of his future employer.

"I'm confident to find the right place to be next year," said Kubica.  "It's difficult to know which team it will be."

His teammate Nick Heidfeld meanwhile revealed that he heard the news about BMW's withdrawal not from team boss Mario Theissen, but the press officer Heike Hientzsch.

Honda Announces SCCA Runoffs Support  Following the launch of the Honda Racing Line program for the grassroots racing market, American Honda and Honda Performance Development have released details of their support program for Honda and Acura competitors at the 2009 Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs, Sept. 21-27 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to support SCCA racers,” said Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development, Inc. “Through the Honda Racing Line and its programs, we want to encourage our competitors to fulfill their racing dreams. In providing an incentive program for Honda or Acura racers competing in the SCCA Runoffs, we can recognize and celebrate their challenging spirit and racing passion.”

To be eligible for support, all Honda competitors must be enrolled in the Honda Racing Line program and display the required “Honda Racing/HPD” or “Acura Motorsports” decals provided by the SCCA at Road America. Registration for the Honda Racing Line will be offered on-site at Road America in the Honda Racing paddock area, located in the West Paddock. More ...

Massa's engineer Smedley to work with Badoer  (GMM)  Convalescing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa's regular race engineer Rob Smedley will work with Luca Badoer at the European grand prix and beyond, it emerged on Thursday.

Briton Smedley, 35, will remain in command of the number 3 Ferrari even in Massa's absence, as Italian test driver Badoer slips into the cockpit to replace his Brazilian colleague.

Smedley's F1 career began at Jordan before he moved to Ferrari's test team at the end of 2003.

In May of 2006, Smedley replaced engineer Gabriele Delli Colli, who had worked with Rubens Barrichello, due to a clash of personality with Massa during the Brazilian's first season as a Ferrari race driver.

The Smedley/Massa relationship subsequently became one of the highest profile and harmonious in formula one, with Smedley admitting after Massa's Hungaroring accident that he sees the 28-year-old as a "little brother".

McLaren raves about KERS advantage  (GMM)  McLaren-Mercedes' attitude towards the controversial energy-recovery technology KERS has changed.

Earlier this year, the Anglo-German outfit agreed with its fellow FOTA members to not use the systems in 2010, but a Williams spokesman recently sensed a change of heart, observing that "some FOTA members, notably Mercedes, look like they are reviewing their KERS policy".

Lewis Hamilton's win in Hungary a month ago was the historic first victory for a KERS-equipped car.

"There is no doubt now that KERS is an advantage," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh, according to the German news agency DPA. More ...

Final brief filed Mayfield injunction case  Jeremy Mayfield's legal team has filed its final reply brief in arguing against NASCAR's request that U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen, in light of a disputed July 6 drug test, reconsider his injunction that lifted Mayfield's suspension centering around his May 1 drug test. NASCAR suspended Mayfield for a May 1 drug test that it says showed a positive result for methamphetamines. Mayfield claims the test resulted in a false positive reading created by the prescription drug Adderall, which is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the allergy medication Claritin-D. Mayfield obtained an injunction from Mullen on July 1 to keep NASCAR from enforcing the initial suspension. Since then, NASCAR has gotten that injunction put on hold - leaving Mayfield suspended - by the U.S. Court of Appeals until the appeals court can hear arguments on the matter, a process that likely will last until at least October. Mayfield's filing Tuesday mainly focuses on the legal precedent on why Mullen should not rescinded the injunction. Mayfield's lawyers also argue that NASCAR expert Mace Beckson contradicts NASCAR's contention that Mayfield poses a danger to fans since Beckson indicates that no absolute conclusion about a person's medical condition can be based solely on a drug test. There is no deadline for Mullen to rule on NASCAR's request to have the injunction rescinded.  SceneDaily
Dodge committed to NASCAR, even if only 1 team  UPDATE Dodge president and CEO Mike Accavitti showed up Sunday in the Big Three’s backyard, Michigan International Speedway, to reiterate the company’s commitment to stay in the sport for the “foreseeable future”—albeit on a smaller scale than its competitors.

“We don’t have to sell it to anybody but myself,” Accavitti said. “And I have to believe that this is a wise investment. And as I have stated before, we feel that we are involved in NASCAR at the appropriate level.” “We want to continue to talk to the fans in NASCAR,” Accavitti said. “And we want to continue to provide them with good performance and exciting days at the races, which is what the Dodge drivers have been doing for us this year.”

In a sense, Dodge’s racing program faces some of the same big-picture questions the U.S. auto industry is coping with. Big, bold budgets are a thing of the past, so they have to figure out how to become leaner and meaner.

“We’re not a big organization,” Accavitti said. “We haven’t really been. We need to start acting like the organization that we are. We’re nimble and we’re smaller than the other guys. And we feel like if we focus our resources on fewer teams, that we can produce better results.”

Dodge currently backs only two major teams, Penske Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports.

Its NASCAR presence almost certainly won’t be expanding next season, and might even be shrinking from two major Dodge-backed teams to one. There is widespread speculation that the Petty team will defect to another manufacturer next season.

Accavitti said Dodge tried backing more teams in the past, but it spread their resources too thin.

“You really only need (about) three good drivers—good cars, I should say, good teams—and that would be sufficient for us,” Accavitti said. More ...

Newey denies title will trigger F1 retirement  
Adrian Newey
(GMM)  Adrian Newey insists that a world championship for his Red Bull car design will not necessarily compel him to quit formula one.

The 50-year-old joined the Milton Keynes based team from McLaren in 2006, and with this season's sweeping regulation changes his RB5 is currently in contention for the title.

But even though Newey has made clear in the past his desire to one day focus on another engineering challenge - for example America's Cup yacht design - he played down suggestions a Red Bull crown will be the trigger for the end of his F1 career. More ...

Drayson Racing debuting prototype effort  
Drayson Lola-Judd
The international stature and prominence of the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 grew even more Tuesday with the announcement that Drayson Racing will debut a new Judd-powered Lola B09/60 coupe in the American Le Mans Series cornerstone event. Team owners Lord Paul Drayson and Lady Elspeth Drayson unveiled the team’s plan to move to the pinnacle of motorsports – the LMP1 class.

Paul Drayson
Paul Drayson, Minister of Science and Innovation for the United Kingdom, and full-season teammate Jonny Cocker will race the closed-top prototype in the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic. They will be joined by two-time Le Mans Series GT2 champion Rob Bell on the Dale White-managed team. The car also will contest the Series’ season finale – the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. More ...
Rosberg says future clarity a matter of 'timing'  
Nico Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg was still giving nothing away as speculation once again reared its head on Wednesday about his future in formula one.

With it already rumored that he is McLaren engine partner Mercedes' preferred choice for 2010, the British team's boss Martin Whitmarsh on Wednesday acknowledged that Lewis Hamilton's current teammate Heikki Kovalainen needs to up his game.

We revealed some time ago that an option for the 2010 season on Finn Kovalainen's contract would expire at the end of July.  It has now emerged that McLaren indeed did not automatically extend its deal with the 27-year-old.

When faced with the lingering talk about his future this week, German Rosberg, who currently drives for Williams, said only: "Everything is a question of the right timing."

Alonso's grandmother passes away  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Wednesday paid his respects to his maternal grandmother, who has passed away at the age of 78.

According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the Renault driver travelled with his wife to his home town Oviedo, where his relatives had gathered at the San Lazaro church following the death after a long illness of Maria Luisa Martinez Lopez.

Badoer not worried about losing Ferrari seat  
Luca Badoer
(GMM)  Luca Badoer insists the Ferrari cockpit usually occupied by Felipe Massa will be his until the Brazilian recovers from his injuries.

Test driver Badoer, 38 - selected by Ferrari to replace Massa after preferred substitute Michael Schumacher pulled out - denied speculation that he was given the ride only until the Italian team finds a faster alternative.

He told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that his role in Massa's car number 3 is not for a specific number of races.

"There is no fixed date," Badoer said.  "I will stop when Massa is in a position to come back, and when that happens I will be very happy for Felipe.

"But until then the Ferrari is mine, and nobody else's," said Badoer, who in the article compared his opportunity to race for F1's most famous team to winning the lottery.

It has not been free from criticism, however, with 60-year-old Niki Lauda saying the Maranello bosses might as well have taken him out of retirement to replace Massa.

"That doesn't bother me.  Lauda speaks like that about everyone," Badoer said.

New F1 qualifying rules for 2010  UPDATE F1's governing body late on Wednesday published the sporting and technical regulations for the 2010 season.  The headline amendments are the removal of the highly contentious budget cap and two-tier elements, but it was also confirmed that Bernie Ecclestone has once again failed to have his 'medals' scoring system implemented.

'Q3' qualifying, meanwhile, will be contested with low-fuel, with the FIA confirming that refueling "during a race is forbidden".

A mooted increase in testing for 2010 has not materialized, with only eight straight-line tests and limited running on "promotional" tires excluded from the strict in-season testing ban.

Additionally, wind tunnel testing is limited to 60 per cent (or smaller) scale models, and tunnel speeds capped at 50 meters per second.

Tire-warming blankets, however, have survived, and the eight-engines-per driver regulation remains in force despite speculation of a move to five engines.

Also remaining the same is the one-gearbox-per-four-races rule, but the car-plus-driver limit has increased to 620kg, with KERS to remain officially legal in 2010 despite the FOTA agreement to not use the energy-recovery systems.

08/19/09 From the new 2010 FIA F1 Sporting Regulations published today, Q1 and Q2 will eliminate 8 cars each and Q3 will be contested with 10 cars and with low fuel, unlike the past two years that required Q3 be run with the fuel you would start the race with.

The session will be run as follows :

a) From 2:00 PM to 2:20 PM (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the eighteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 2:27 PM to 2:42 PM (Q2) the eighteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 2:50 PM to 3:00 PM (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track. The above procedure is based upon a Championship entry of 26 cars. If 24 cars are entered seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 and if 22 cars are entered only six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2.

Related to the Sporting Regulations are the new 2010 F1 Technical Regulations.  Each car's minimum weight has been raised to 1367lbs, to take into account the added weight of KERS – which will still be allowed under next year's regulations

Quotes from President Obama Interview on ESPN2's NASCAR Now  President Barack Obama was interviewed live during ESPN2’s NASCAR Now program originating from the White House in Washington, D.C., today. The President was honoring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as well as other current NASCAR drivers and some past champions of the sport in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Following the ceremony, the President joined NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske and ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty for the live interview.

Q - We just saw you honoring Jimmie Johnson and the 2008 Chase for the Championship contenders. Why was this something that NASCAR and the White House decided to do?

President Obama - NASCAR is a quintessential American sport. I think that its fan base is now worldwide, but when you think about its roots, when you think about all the people who have such an attachment to the drivers, and when you think about the fact that right now the U.S. auto industry is going through a tough time, we wanted to make sure we highlight the fact that this is a great sport, is a great brand for not just NASCAR itself but also for America, and we thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate some champions. More ...

racing news
Race Central Radio growing  Race Central Radio, the premier home for all forms of Motor sports in North America in a Partnership Syndication Agreement is bringing its unique, high energy and “A” lister brand of Radio programming to the Radio Colorado  Network and its 4 Stations blanketing Colorado  Friday nights in a one hour delayed broadcast  from 7 to 9 PM MTN. Race Central Radio is heard from its Flagship AM 1510 Mile High Sports Radio every Friday night in its normal Broadcast time slot from 6 to 8 PM MTN and now at an amazing 25,000 watts of Broadcasting  power bring even more new listeners to “The Blow Torch of Motorsports” every Friday night.

The Radio Colorado Network is the Rocky Mountains Region’s home for NASCAR and the Indy Car Series radio Programming as well as Performance Radio and Motor sports Radio Broadcasts. The Network also covers virtually all of Colorado on its 4 Radio Stations and extends The Race Central Radio brand into Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico.  The Radio Colorado Network Stations which now broadcast Race Central Radio are: AM 1060 KRCN Longmont/ Boulder, AM 1580 KKKK Colorado Springs, KVLE AM 610 Vail, KSKE AM 1450 Buena Vista/Saliada. More ...

racing news
Smrz Extends Jim Russell Championship Series Win Streak  American Brett Smrz continued his dazzling return to the Jim Russell Championship Series this past weekend (August 15-16), winning Rounds Nine and Ten from the pole position. The up-and-coming racing talent has now won all four races he has contested since rejoining the series.

A month after making a return to the Jim Russell Championship Series, Smrz was back behind the wheel of the Formula 3 equivalent FJR-50 car at Infineon Raceway in Northern California. The defending champion, despite missing Friday testing/practice, was immediately up to speed in qualifying on Saturday morning. Working on posting a fast lap on cold tires, Smrz turned the quickest lap of the session early on, eventually earning the pole position by seventh tenths of a second.

When the green flag waved for Round Nine of the 16-race series later in the day, Smrz proved to be a dominating force. The Idaho-based driver led every lap, routinely posting the fastest race laps, upwards of 1.5 seconds quicker than his nearest rival, en route to a comfortable eight second win. More ...

Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose Team Up  NASCAR stars Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose will team up to co-drive in the Montreal 200 on Aug. 29 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Round 10 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.

Edwards and Ambrose will make their Daytona Prototype debuts in Doran Racing's No. 77 Ford Dallara in the two-hour race on the 2.709-mile circuit. 

Aflac will be the primary sponsor, with Subway as a secondary sponsor for Edwards, and iRacing.com and Aussie Wines are secondary sponsors for Ambrose. More ...

De Ferran aims to bring Takuma Sato to IndyCar  UPDATE Gil de Ferran's next big race is against the clock -- and he's already behind.  The soon-to-be retired sports-car driver is embarking on the most ambitious challenge of his career: Getting a new IndyCar team up and running in less than seven months.

"Time is against us," de Ferran said. "For us to be competitive, there are a lot of things we need to do. Because it's our first foray into IndyCar racing, we'll probably have to do twice as much work."

Working overtime is no problem for de Ferran.

It's the catching up that worries the Brazilian.

De Ferran is scrambling to find sponsors in this tough economy, drivers who can give the team instant credibility, and crew members with enough experience to decode a car's secrets. Established IndyCar teams have spent years fine-tuning their cars, collecting reams of computer printouts to make adjustments and developing, even funding wind tunnel programs. More at USA Today

08/07/09 At Mid-Ohio Friday Gill de Ferran announced that he is working on starting a 2-car IndyCar team in 2010 and to expand his ALMS team to two cars. 

"Ideally I want to have a 2-car Sportscar team and a 2-Car IndyCar team.  There are some economies of scale.  We have 5 engineers on the team and obviously I want to increase that.

"For me expanding into IndyCars is a natural.  I know a lot of people from my time in the sport and I think I understand what it takes to be successful."

"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.  More ...

Fifteen seconds of added power  Honda Performance Development has allotted 15 presses of the overtake assist button for 15 seconds each for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend.

The overtake assist option, instituted for the race at Kentucky Speedway earlier this month, provides a 5-20 horsepower boost based on fuel setting and 200 RPMs (for a total of 10,500) for each time the system is engaged. A button is on each steering wheel. There is a 10-second recharge period between presses.
Forty years ago it was Woodstock and Andretti  Forty years ago, two very different festivals: Forty years ago this week, more than 400,000 people descended upon Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, N.Y., for a music festival billed as "An Aquarium Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music." It's more commonly referred to as Woodstock (though the town of Woodstock is 43 miles southwest).

Thirty-two acts performed during the rainy weekend in what's been hailed as one of the most pivotal moments in popular music history. During the same weekend, Mario Andretti continued his march to the USAC season driver championship.

On Aug. 17, Al Unser won a 200-mile race at The Milwaukee Mile in a Lola-Ford T/C at an average speed of 106.758 mph. The next day, Andretti won the 100-mile race on the dirt at Springfield in a Kuzma-Offy with an average speed of 96.642 mph. More ...
Furniture Row Racing to Compete Full-Time in 2010  Furniture Row Racing announced today that it will run the full 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in 2010. The race team also announced that Regan Smith will continue to drive the No. 78 Chevrolet Impala SS next season. 

The decision to return to a full-time schedule was based on the positive effect the race team along with NASCAR's popularity have had on the Furniture Row Companies marketing and advertising programs.

The Denver-based Furniture Row Companies is one of the largest family-owned specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers with more than 330 stores in 31 states. The company is comprised of four specialty store brands including: Sofa Mart, Oak Express, Bedroom Expressions and Denver Mattress, all of which reside primarily in their Furniture Row Shopping Center complexes. More ...
Kovalainen must perform to keep seat - Whitmarsh  (GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh on Wednesday played down speculation about a driver change at McLaren for 2010, but at the same time admitted that Heikki Kovalainen needs to up his game.

It is strongly rumored that German Nico Rosberg has been in talks with the Woking based team.

"I can confirm that contrary to some of the speculation we are not in discussions with any drivers outside this team at the moment," boss Whitmarsh said during a teleconference, amid rumors McLaren is under pressure from team partner Mercedes to finally hire a German national.

Kovalainen, 27, has had 5 failures to finish this year and just three points-scoring results, prompting suggestions McLaren might look around for a stronger teammate for Lewis Hamilton.

"By his own evaluation he hasn't raced as well as he would have liked, and we would have liked him to, this year.  I was just talking to him on the subject about three minutes before I came to this call, as he's in the factory at the moment," Whitmarsh said.

"He's working hard.  But it's true to say we haven't confirmed our driver lineup for next year.  A lot of us want to see Heikki get some good results this year and that will ensure that he will remain with us," the Briton added.

track news
MIS renovation work begins  
Suite demolition
Pedestrian Tunnel
Two days after the “Show Me the Carfax Race Weekend” at Michigan International Speedway, crews have begun demolishing the suite/media center at the racetrack.

Alro Steel’s suite on the south side of structure toward the racetrack’s Turn 1 was the first to go, thanks to a CAT backhoe operated by Blue Star, the demolition contractor our of Warren, Mich. Steel, glass, concrete and other materials from the 30-year-old building crumbled under the force of the enormous machine. The materials from the old building will be recycled.

“It’s very exciting to see a building fall, but to know that this is the beginning of eventually redesigning our entire infield and being able to touch so many different aspects of our sport — fans, drivers, crews, media and corporate partners — makes this project truly special,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “We are also directly contributing to the local economy by using Michigan-based businesses.” More ...

Q&A with Ho-Pin Tung  
Ho-Pin Tung
Superleague Formula: Estoril (5-6 October) is going to be your first round with Galatasaray. Is this make any change for you?
Ho-Ping Tung: Yes, it will be a completely new experience for me. Different racing team, different people and club. The time to prepare and adapt is really short but I am confident we will be able to catch up with the rest of the field and score a good result.

SF: You drove in different circuit series like GP2, A1 GP. Can you please tell us what you think of Superleague Formula?
H.P.Tung: It’s a really nice series. The cars are great fun to drive! They are very powerful (750bhp) and have a fantastic sound. Also the grip level is really high which makes the cornering speed very fast. There is a relaxed environment in the series, good contact between the drivers but with a healthy rivalry of course! The level of drivers is really high!

SF: In Zolder, with Atletico Madrid car, you were on the podium. All GS fans and the team are waiting from you again this success. Are these expectations making any pressure on you? 
H.P.Tung: No, not at all. I know it has been a difficult racing season so far for GS but I know the team has the potential to be a frontrunner. Sometimes people forget that being successful in racing is a team effort! All the puzzle pieces have to fit together in order to get a good result, little bad luck can also ruin a great result. But I am very confident I will be able to do a good job for the team. I’ve scored a 2nd place in Zolder for Atletico Madrid, now I want to win for Galatarasay! More ...

BMW drivers aim to prolong F1 careers  (GMM)  Mario Theissen insists the withdrawal of BMW at the end of the year will not also end the formula one careers of the team's current race drivers.

"Robert (Kubica) and Nick (Heidfeld) are fast, ambitious and experienced.  They will strengthen any team and will be at the start next season," the team boss told the German news agency DPA.

Pole Kubica is being linked with a move to Renault to replace the seemingly Ferrari-bound Fernando Alonso, while Germany's Sport Bild said Le Mans or DTM might be options for the 32-year-old Heidfeld.

But German Heidfeld told DPA he was already in talks with other F1 teams prior to BMW's withdrawal announcement.

"My experience helps me, of course," he said.  "After ten years I have a great deal of knowledge and technical know-how.

"Apart from the fact that I have beaten top drivers such as Raikkonen, Massa and Webber as teammates, it is now important to put in good performances in the next races.

"In formula one every grand prix is a job application," Heidfeld added.

Carpentier to run 4 more races  Four more races for Carpentier: Tommy Baldwin Racing has hired Patrick Carpentier for four additional races this year. Carpentier, who was scheduled to make two more starts for the team at Richmond and Dover, will now race at Atlanta, New Hampshire, Kansas City and California.
Jimmie Johnson to be honored by Obama  President Barack Obama will be interviewed live during ESPN2's NASCAR Now program originating from the White House in Washington, D.C., today. The one-hour program airs at 4:30 p.m. ET. The President is honoring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as well as other current NASCAR drivers and some past champions of the sport in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will cover the festivities live, marking the first time in ESPN's 30-year history that a regularly-scheduled ESPN program will originate and air in its entirety from the White House. Following the ceremony, the President will join NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske and ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty for a live interview. ESPN PR
Crew Chief change on No. 19  This weekend Elliott Sadler visits the Tennessee half-mile with a new face on his pitbox. Wally Rogers, the team's car chief, will serve as the interim crew chief for the Richard Petty Motorsports entry. Rogers, a multi-time winner as a crew chief in the Nationwide series, replaces Kevin Buskirk who will be reassigned to other duties within the Petty team. RPM
Alonso aims for podium finish in Spain  With Monday's appeal proving successful and Renault therefore taking part in this weekend's European Grand Prix, local hero Fernando Alonso hopes to repeat the strong form demonstrated in Hungary by clinching a podium finish in Valencia. With the team having been suspended from this weekend's Grand Prix - following an FIA punishment for the events surrounding the potentially dangerous loss of Alonso's wheel during the race at the Hungaroring - the former double World Champion can now concentrate on the job in hand with the news that Renault will be racing.

"Our performance in Hungary was encouraging as the car was quick and we managed to get pole, which was actually a bit of a surprise," the Oviedo-born driver admitted. "To retire from the race was disappointing but I'm looking on the bright side because I think that the car can be just as competitive in Valencia. Last year my race there was very short - less than a lap - so I'm really determined to make up for that this weekend and hopefully we can fight for the podium." More ...

track news
FIA reveals changes to Valencia track  (GMM)  F1's governing body on Wednesday revealed that changes to the Valencia street circuit have been made ahead of this weekend's second European grand prix in the Spanish port city.

The FIA said the pit exit has been "reworked to bring it to the same level as the track" while the wall separating the two has been removed.

Walls at the apexes of turns 3, 9, 10 and 14 have been moved back, the wall at the exit of turn 5 moved back by three meters, and openings at the apexes of turns 7 and 11 closed and relocated.

Additionally, artificial grass has been installed behind the curbs on the exit of turns 10 and 14, and the inner pit lane sealed with a high-grip resin.

Renault acted 'in good faith' in Hungary - FIA  (GMM)  Four rival teams backed Renault in the form of written letters at the Court of Appeal hearing earlier this week, it emerged on Wednesday.

Having overturned the French team's Valencia race ban, the FIA published the full reasons for the judges' decision, in which it was revealed that Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Toyota wrote letters of support.

In the ruling, the Court said it accepted that "there was no conscious wrongdoing on the part of anyone" in the incident involving Fernando Alonso's loose wheel in Hungary.

The judges said the stewards' claim at the Hungaroring that Renault "knowingly" released the Spaniard's unsafe car was "not appropriate".

Renault argued in Paris on Monday that the only person who decided to release Alonso's car was chief mechanic Gavin Hudson, and the Court accepted that he "was not aware of the potential danger". More ...

Grosjean says he's a French driver, not Swiss  
Romain Grosjean
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean has clarified that, as a formula one driver, he considers himself French rather than Swiss.

The 23-year-old, promoted to replace Nelson Piquet at Renault for the balance of the 2009 season, was actually born and still resides in Geneva, moving the Swiss media this week to hail Switzerland's second current F1 racer alongside Sebastien Buemi.

But keen eyed and eared observers will have seen only the French flag on Grosjean's overalls and heard only 'La Marseillaise' on the podium after his GP2 race wins.

Grosjean, whose father is Swiss and mother is French, holds duel citizenship and has both a Swiss and French passport, but his racing license is issued by the French federation FFSA. More ...

Haug issues jibe after cancelled Renault ban  
Norbert Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug said he is happy Renault will race this weekend, but pointed a glancing jibe at the FIA's International Court of Appeal.

With the so-called spy and lie-gate affairs still fresh in his memory, the Mercedes boss noted the Court's decision this week to overturn the ban on Fernando Alonso's team for the European grand prix at Valencia.

"It's good to see that a harsh punishment is sometimes reversed.  I would like to know what that's like," he said jovially during a teleconference with German media.

The German agrees that the stewards of the Hungarian grand prix "overreacted" after Alonso's wheel fell off following a pitstop.

"The penalty was too severe," Haug added.  "One week after Henry Surtees' fatal accident, and then Felipe Massa (being injured) on Saturday, it can happen that on Sunday you say: 'We must have a draconian penalty'.

"But it is good that you can then think about it again with the appeal," he said.

BMW-Sauber bids for 2010 team entry  (GMM)  The Swiss based team currently known as BMW-Sauber has lodged an application for the thirteenth and final spot on the 2010 grid.

Even though the outfit is currently an active competitor, initial attempts to secure the team's future failed following news that majority owner BMW is pulling out at the end of the season.

Peter Sauber's failed takeover meant the Hinwil based team could not meet the deadline to sign up for the new Concorde Agreement.

As a result, the FIA re-opened the selection process so that new teams, such as Epsilon Euskadi and Prodrive, may apply to fill BMW-Sauber's spot in next year's world championship.

However, without the rights afforded by the Concorde Agreement, and without even an official entry for the 2010 championship, BMW-Sauber's chances of finding a buyer would be almost nil.

Therefore, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, it emerges that the team actually met the Monday (17 August) deadline imposed by the FIA to lodge an application for the thirteenth team entry.

The magazine also said simply closing the team is an option for BMW, unlike Honda, who handed over the now Brawn team for a symbolic 1 British pound in order to avoid a huge bill in staff redundancy payouts.

According to Swiss labor laws, however, BMW would reportedly not be similarly liable.

In a team media document last week, the team vowed to perform "as well as possible" at the final seven races of 2009 because it "will promote their case for a future in the sport".

"Efforts are continuing behind the scenes to find a solution for the team," said team boss Mario Theissen.

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