Sam Schmidt Motorsports' ace J.K. Vernay started from pole and was never headed as he led the 40-lap Carneros 100 Indy Lights race from flag-to-flag Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Charlie Kimball was 2nd and James Hinchcliffe 3rd.
Vernay, in the No. 7 Lucas Oil machine, held off Hinchcliffe and later Kimball on two restarts and made it look easy, setting the fastest lap on the way. It was the 5th win of the year from the French rookie.
Vernay extended his point lead to 71 over James Hinchcliffe with just three oval races left on the schedule.
Vernay's hope is that he can win the title and then get a shot at IndyCar in 2011.
The 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n will go down as a season of remarkable growth and expansion. Already, the 2011 championship is shaping up similarly with Sunday’s announcement of next year’s schedule. Ten venues are on the docket including a familiar mix of high-profile street circuits and North America’s best permanent road courses.
“The combination of the record number of world-class cars present on our grids and an outstanding level of competition throughout 2010 gives us reason to be very optimistic for 2011,” said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “Each year we strive to put together a calendar that features the best road-racing facilities and major market street circuits with events organized by the best promoters in North America. I can say without any hesitation that we have accomplished that goal once again for 2011. And the fact that we are able to release our schedule earlier than ever before is a positive for everyone.”
Bristol almost sells out Bristol Motor Speedway narrowly failed Saturday to sell out the Irwin Tools Night Race, the second Sprint Cup race at the track this year before a less-than-full house.
Prior to the Food City 500 in March, the speedway had an unprecedented run of 55 consecutive sellouts for Sprint Cup races dating to August 1982.
But the estimated crowd of 155,000 at the 160,000-capacity speedway Saturday night (BMS does not release official ticket sales) showed that at least a few empty seats might be the new norm.
Saturday’s crowd easily topped the 138,000 in attendance in March – and is the second-highest in NASCAR this season behind only the 175,000 who turned out for the season-opening Daytona 500 – but BMS officials still weren’t satisfied.
NASCAR souvenir sales steady at Bristol Race souvenir sales might be down all over the country, but Bristol is an exception, said Chris Williams, vice president of trackside sales for Motorsports Authentics. The company, which takes 40 licensed merchandise trailers to races around the country, is seeing better overall sales this year than last, Williams said. Sales are off 15 percent to 17 percent this year, he said; last year they were off 35 percent.
But in Bristol, he said, sales are right on target.
Bridgestone won't help Pirelli They may not be competitors on the track but that doesn't mean Bridgestone will be handing over any information to Pirelli. Pirelli are set to take over from Bridgestone as F1's tire supplier next season and have already conducted their first test.
The Italian tire manufacturer spent two days at Mugello earlier this week with Nick Heidfeld using a 2009 Toyota chassis to test the tires. Pirelli already have further test scheduled and will need as much track-time as possible as they won't be getting any help from Bridgestone.
"I am sure as a supplier of GP3, Pirelli has already collected enough information for Formula One," a Bridgestone spokesman told motorsport-magazin.
Former FIA President Max Mosley thinks Ferrari should be punished severely
(GMM) Ferrari should receive a significant sporting sanction for breaking the rules at Hockenheim, according to the controversial former president of F1's governing body.
After the Italian team angrily slammed Niki Lauda for predicting a similar outcome at next month's FIA disciplinary hearing, Max Mosley waded into the debate during an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Race leader Felipe Massa moved over to let Fernando Alonso win the German grand prix in July and "both cars and both drivers should lose the points they achieved", 70-year-old Briton Mosley said.
"I will not make any recommendation, but on the facts at the moment there should have been some sporting sanction and not only a fine," he added.
NASCAR to cut race fees again NASCAR will cut the purses for the Nationwide Series by 20 percent next season, a move designed to make hosting the second-tier series a more profitable proposition for race tracks. It's the second consecutive year the purse will be reduced in Nationwide. NASCAR also cut the purses in the premiere Sprint Cup Series before this season.
"The health and maintenance of the tracks is essential to the health of the entire industry," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston told The Associated Press.
"Like in all facets of our business, we have made financial adjustments to ensure the long term strength of the sport."
Injured KV Racing crewmen back The two KV Racing Technology crew members who didn't go over the wall at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after being struck by driver Mario Moraes in practice are expected to do so today. Anna Chatten, who operates the air jack, has a badly bruised foot. Fueler Mike Briggs is still suffering the effects of whiplash. IndyStar.com
Danica The world’s 4th highest-paid female athlete In part: "Our No. 4-ranked female athlete is racing’s Danica Patrick, who pulled in $12 million. Patrick is the most popular driver in IndyCar. She has a lucrative deal with her team, Andretti Autosport, that allows her to share team revenues, a rarity in racing.
Patrick’s profile jumped this year when she started racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Patrick has struggled with the heavier stock cars with an average finish of 30.5 in her first six starts. Yet her sponsors – like GoDaddy.com, Peak Antifreeze and Tissot – have reaped the benefits of that added attention." Yahoo! Sports
Patron Highcroft team begs ALMS for rules break for slow Acura Patrón Highcroft Racing's challenge with overall straight-line speed was highlighted in qualifying at Road America today with David Brabham only managing to put the #1 HPD ARX-01c in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow's race.
While the Highcroft team moved to its low downforce Le Mans bodywork to improve its straight-line speed, the wide expanses of Road America provided the faster LMP1 cars with a massive advantage.
The LMP1 and LMP2 classes have been combined for 2010 under a plan to provide performance balancing between the more powerful LMP1 cars and the lighter LMP2 entries.
Eight Candidates Named for 21st Annual Team USA Scholarship The Team USA Scholarship enters its third decade of providing opportunities for talented young American race car drivers with today’s nominations for the “Class of 2010” who will vie for a pair of scholarships to contest the traditional end-of-season Formula Ford events in England in October and November.
In 2008, Team USA driver Josef Newgarden became the first American ever to win the prestigious Formula Ford Festival (Kent division) at Brands Hatch, while Conor Daly became the youngest winner of the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone. Last year Brett Smrz finished a sensational third at Brands Hatch, despite starting 27th, and Connor De Phillippi mirrored Daly’s success from the previous year, besting over 100 other drivers to win the Walter Hayes Trophy.
ABC alternative TV coverage of Bristol race Some ABC affiliates have commitments to NFL preseason games tonight and have made arrangements for NASCAR fans to be able to watch the race on alternate channels. The following markets will have alternate viewing options for ABC's telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol tonight (DT2 = Digital Tier 2): Detroit (WXYZ) will show 7:30 9 p.m. on its DT2 channel then switch to primary channel at 9 p.m. due to coverage of annual Woodward Dream Cruise. Houston (KTRK) will show entire race on its DT2 channel due to coverage of Houston Texans preseason game. Richmond, VA (WRIC) will show entire race on WUPV-TV (CW station in market) due to coverage of Washington Redskins preseason game. Weslaco, TX (KRGV) will show entire race on its DT2 channel due to coverage of Dallas Cowboys preseason game. Madison, WI (WKOW) will show entire race on its DT2 channel due to coverage of Green bay Packers preseason game. LaCrosse, WI (WXOW) will show entire race on its DT2 channel and in-market on CW station due to coverage of Green Bay Packers preseason game. Wausau, WI (WAOW) -- will show entire race on its DT2 channel and in-market on CW station due to coverage of Green Bay Packers preseason game. NOTE: Joplin, MO (KODE) and St. Joseph, MO (KQTV) are both showing Kansas City Chiefs preseason games. Neither station has DT2 channel and due to limited alternate clearance options in the markets, race will not air in either market. ESPN PR
Kasey Kahne rides along the wall after an accident with Justin Allgaier and Trevor Bayne
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kasey Kahne walked out of the infield medical center after a wild accident Friday night and will be OK to drive Saturday night in the Irwin Tool Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The accident in the Food City 200 occurred when Justin Allgaier hit Trevor Bayne and moved into the side of Kahne, whose Braun Racing car rolled onto its side and rode along the wall through turns 1 and 2.
“I was on the outside and had no more room and I guess the 12 [of Allgaier] didn’t know I was there or he got pushed up,” Kahne said after leaving the medical center. “I haven’t seen it. I was just kind of there and once he put me in the wall I was up on the wall and slid down the front straight away until it came to a stop.
Vernay the quick study, takes Indy Lights pole A week ago J.K. Vernay from France had never seen Infineon Raceway before. He took a Jim Russell Racing class for one day last week to learn the track and today he put what he learned to good use by winning the pole position for the Carneros 100 Indy Lights race. Vernay turned a quick lap of 1 minute, 23.5582 seconds in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car to earn the Sunoco Pole Award for the 40-lap Carneros 100.
Charlie Kimball, driving the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen entry for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport, jumped to second (1:23.5977) on his final lap.
James Hinchcliffe (1:23.6732) in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car will start third and Gustavo Yacaman recorded his best qualifying effort of the season (fourth at 1:23.7108) in the No. 10 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing car.
Vickers had heart surgery for blood clots Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers announced on Saturday he has been medically cleared to return to the Sprint Cup series next season. Vickers said in late May that he would take the rest of this season off after blood clots were discovered in his left leg and lungs. Since then a clot was discovered in a finger in his left hand. That led to extensive tests that determined he had a hole between the right and left atrium in his heart, as well as May-Thurner Syndrone, a rare condition that puts a patient at risk of more blood clots and possible stroke. Vickers said he had heart surgery to repair the hole on July 12. A stent was placed in a vein in his left leg a day later. The driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota said he will be off blood thinners prescribed for the clots by early- to mid-January and ready to return to NASCAR's premier series in time for the February Daytona 500. "[Doctors] gave me full clearance for next year," Vickers said from the media center at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I will be back in January. I'm real excited about that. They feel I'm probably in the best shape of my life." Red Bull recently announced that Kasey Kahne would drive one of its cars in 2011 as a stopgap before his contract with Hendrick Motorsports begins. General manager Jay Frye said at the time Kahne would drive either the 83, replace Scott Speed in the No. 82 or a third car would be added. Speed has one year left on his contract, but sources said there is an out if the driver ranks 16th or higher in points after this season. Speed currently is 27th. Speed told ESPN.com that there is more to the contract beyond the clause that could keep him in the #82. ESPN
Conor Daly, adding another layer of polish to an already gleaming season, won his 6th race from his 8th pole position in Round 11 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America. The Indianapolis native, who dropped back to 3rd on the opening laps but fought his way back into the lead by lap 5, survived a full-course yellow in the closing laps that led to a one-lap shootout and brought his #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda across the finish line 1.5 seconds ahead of the Venezuelan racer Jorge Goncalvez who started 3rd on the grid in the #9 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda. Rounding out the top-3 with his first-ever Star Mazda Championship podium finish was Californian Connor De Phillippi, who qualified his #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda on the outside of the front row, also his best-ever qualifying effort.
Dixon jumps to top in 2nd IndyCar practice Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, a previous winner here at Infineon Raceway, turned the fastest lap in Saturday morning practice in his Ganassi Dallara-Honda. His time of 1m17.4312s was 3/10ths faster than Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves.
Dixon's Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti was third quick. Alex Tagliani and championship point leader Will Power rounded out the top-5.
Kimball tops Clarke in 2nd Lights practice Andretti Autosport's Charlie Kimball remained on top in the 2nd Firestone Indy Lights Carneros 100 practice at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. He beat ex-ChampCar driver Dan Clarke who has shown steady progress in this his first full year in Indy Lights
James Hinchcliffe, J.K. Vernay and Sebastian Saavedra rounded out the top-5.
Kimball tops Hinchcliffe in opening Lights practice On a cool Saturday morning America Charlie Kimball nipped Canadian series points leader James Hinchcliffe in opening Firestone Indy Lights Carneros 100 practice at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. JK Vernay, who never saw this track before taking a Jim Russell Racing class last week to try and learn the track.
Dan Clarke and Sebastian Saavedra rounded out the top-5.
Drayson Racing’s Jonny Cocker made a late run to the top of the time charts Saturday in the first official practice session for the American Le Mans Series powered by eStar at Road America. The young British ace turned a lap of 1:51.173 in the Lola-Judd coupe that he will share with Paul Drayson. Cocker was the pole-winner for the last round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago.
Two closed-top prototypes held the first two positions with Guy Smith 1.324 seconds behind in Dyson Racing’s Mazda-powered Lola that he will drive with Chris Dyson. The pairing won overall at Mid-Ohio. The LMP championship-leading HPD ARX-01c of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Simon Pagenaud sat third with a lap of 1:53.704; he is driving with David Brabham.
Audi on DTM pole at Zandvoort The champion is back - and how! With a record lead of almost seven tenths of a second Audi driver Timo Scheider commandingly clinched the pole position for the DTM race at Zandvoort (Sunday, starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - on "Das Erste"). Audi thus continued an impressive string of qualifying results: for the fourth consecutive time an Audi A4 DTM will start from the pole position on the Dutch North Sea coast.
Timo Scheider had to wait for this moment exactly 60 weeks. The reigning DTM Champion clinched his last pole position on June 27, 2009 at the Norisring in Nuremberg. On his favorite track at Zandvoort, where he took his first DTM pole position in 2003 and his first as an Audi driver in 2007, Scheider delivered an impressive comeback. With a perfect qualifying lap he relegated last year’s winner Gary Paffett to position two by 0.696 seconds.
Conor Daly on way to pole position at Road America
Conor Daly, currently leading the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear points battle with five wins, captured his 8th pole of the season to start on the inside of the front row for this afternoon's Round 11 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase at Road America. On the 5th lap of the morning qualifying session, Daly turned a lap of 2:05.615 (116.012 mph) in the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda.
What made the qualifying battle interesting was the sudden emergence of the other Con(n)or in the field, Connor De Phillippi, as a credible challenger for this afternoon's 45-minute race, scheduled to get the green light for the series' traditional standing start at 1:00 pm. De Phillippi, after languishing mid-pack in testing and practice, jumped up to the sharp end of the time sheet in yesterday's final practice sessions and backed it up this morning with a lap of 2:05.932 (115.728 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda.
Q&A with Bristol Pole winner Jimmie Johnson THIS IS YOUR 24TH POLE IN THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, YOUR FIRST POLE AT BRISTOL. LOOKS LIKE THINGS ARE LINING UP FOR ANOTHER GOOD PERFORMANCE FOR YOU TOMORROW NIGHT
"Yeah, we definitely have things going right for us so far; a good qualifying effort. Race practice went well. We were near the top five on the fastest lap throughout most of practice. It felt like our car was very consistent and we were a bit puzzled on how much the groove has widened out and where we think the ideal line to race is, come race time. We spent a lot of time focused on the bottom of the race track, including qualifying and running our lap. There was a lot of question and concern in my mind. I went on top of the transporter and watched all the guys go and nobody made the bottom work until late when the No. 20 (Joey Logano) went out.
"So that gave me hope but I really couldn't change directions at that point because we'd set the car up to run on the bottom for qualifying and felt like it would be foolish to change things and introduce a different line with the set-up that we had kind of fine-tuned. We did things right there, but it's also the mindset in race trim. Typically the bottom is the place to be and we focused a lot working the bottom in race trim and some up top. But we'll just have to see in the race. I think my car drove easier the higher I went so I don't feel like I'm going to be out to lunch spending so much time being focused on the bottom. But it was an interesting day. This tire was a lot different. It laid down a lot more rubber. It seemed to be a little bit looser at the beginning but we did a good job adjusting to it."
Donny Lia and SS Green Light Racing Agree to Part Ways With nine races left in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule SS Green Light Racing and Donny Lia have mutually agreed to seek other opportunities for the remainder of the 2010.
The two-time Whelen Modified Tour Champion has run twelve of the first sixteen races of the 2010 NCWTS season for the Mooresville based team with a best finish of twelfth coming at Nashville earlier this month. The team has endured more than their fair share of bad luck having blown tires in no less than four of those races.
“Sometimes you can put a bunch of good people together and for whatever reason just don’t get the results you were expecting,” said SS Green Light Racing co-owner and general manager Bobby Dotter. “Donny and I sat down after the race at Bristol and decided it was in each of our best interests to look for new opportunities for the rest of 2010.”
Cold weather delays Indy Lights practice Saturday morning's Indy Lights practice originally slated for 8AM Pacific time here at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California has been delayed until 9:10AM Pacific Time due to 56-degree F temperatures and a light mist in the raw air. While a morning fog that burns off as the sun rises is not uncommon in this part of California, this year has been unseasonably cool. The harvest of grapes by all the wineries in Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley has been delayed by a month because of the cool temperatures, which has resulted in the grapes ripening later. Meanwhile the East Coast of the USA bakes in one of its hottest summers of the year.
JRM waiting on IndyCar schedule and Danica JR Motorsports expects to field a Nationwide Series car next season for Danica Patrick. JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt said Friday she's waiting for the IndyCar schedule to be released to determine how many races Patrick will drive in NASCAR. She's running a 13-race schedule this year for JRM that is built around her IndyCar commitments.
Patrick has a career-best finish of 24th at Chicago last month through her six races so far. Her average finish is 30.5.
"I think she's definitely had a difficult year getting used to these cars from where she's came from," Earnhardt said. "I think still everyone has to keep in check that she's ran six Nationwide races and pretty much six stock car races in her career. She's still very fresh and new at this and still has a lot to learn about the way these cars work."
Edwards plans to run full Nationwide schedule in 2011 Carl Edwards said Friday he has committed to racing the full Nationwide Series schedule next season. Edwards said he will drive the full season in NASCAR's second-tier series even if he's not eligible to race for the Nationwide championship. NASCAR is currently discussing rule changes to the Nationwide Series to develop its brand. One of the proposals is making full-time Sprint Cup drivers ineligible for the title. Edwards is in his sixth season running a full Nationwide schedule. He won the championship in 2007 and is currently second in the standings behind Brad Keselowski. Like Edwards, he's also a full-time Sprint Cup Series driver. Edwards doesn't like NASCAR's proposal of eliminating Cup drivers from Nationwide title contention because it only really affects a small handful of drivers. Edwards and Keselowski are the only two running the full schedule this year, although Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard are all ranked inside the top 10 in standings despite running only partial schedules. And, the last driver who was not racing in the Cup Series to win the Nationwide title was Martin Truex Jr. in 2005. Associated Press
Sprint Cup drivers puzzled by Bristol Goodyear tires NASCAR competitors expressed mixed reviews on the new Bristol tire combination that Goodyear brought to the track this weekend.
Goodyear decided to make construction changes to both the right and left side tire codes. Goodyear spokesman Mike Sibrini said the concentration on the right side tires was to bring them into line with speedway tires, as Bristol performs more like a larger racetrack despite its size.
Juan Pablo Montoya was one of four drivers that participated in a tire test at the short track in June. Denny Hamlin, David Ragan and Scott Speed were also in attendance. Montoya, who qualified eighth (122.248 mph) for Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race, says he hasn’t noticed much difference in the tire compound the teams selected from the time of the test until now.
Ferrari hits back at Niki "The Mouth" Lauda In a column published on its official website on Friday, titled the 'Horse Whisperer', Ferrari calls Niki Lauda a spade for his recent remarks saying the team had 'mocked' fans in ordering Felipe Massa to sacrifice victory in Germany.
The Horse Whisperer column stated: "After events in Hockenheim, a wave of hypocrisy swept through the paddock, with so many pundits, young and old, keen to have their say: some were promptly brought back into line by his master's voice, while others continue to pronounce sentence willy-nilly.
"The latest missive comes from Austria, from a person, who having hung up his helmet, has never missed out on a chance to dispense opinions left and right, even if, on more than one occasion, he has had to indulge in some verbal acrobatics to reposition himself in line with the prevailing wind.
Vernay prepares for Carneros 100 by going to school
Vernay drove the same Jim Russell German F3 car that AR1.com's Mark Cipolloni drove (above) in 2008
Even though J.K. Vernay is leading the Firestone Indy Light point standings, he tuned up for this weekend's Carneros 100 by heading to school.
The Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver took a one-day Jim Russell Racing School course at Infineon Raceway to familiarize himself with the 2.303-mile road course.
"It was a great experience," Vernay said. "I had a great instructor and drove a great car. I think it will be very helpful when it comes to racing here this weekend."
Vernay drove a car more similar to the F3 car he drove in Europe rather than his No .7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, the seat time he gained was invaluable, especially with only one day for practice and qualifying before the 40-lap Carneros 100 on Aug. 22.
Infineon boss Page bullish on IndyCar Infineon Raceway president Steve Page says the volume of foot traffic at an IZOD event in downtown San Francisco, the phone calls the track has received and the media coverage are testaments “to increased buzz” surrounding the IZOD IndyCar Series.
This weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – the sixth IZOD IndyCar Series event at the natural-terrain road course – is the lone event this year at Infineon Raceway in which advance ticket sales are up over the prior year, according to Page.
“So we’re definitely getting some traction,” he said. “Open-wheel racing has been in the wilderness for a few years, but we’re seeing real signs that it’s bouncing back. We’re very bullish on the series.”
Sauber drivers divided over Spa weather Just before the holidays, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, for the first time this season both drivers, Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, scored points.
Pedro de la Rosa: “It is a long time since I have raced in Spa, but it is a circuit you hardly ever forget. It is extremely challenging with the high speed corners. Eau Rouge nowadays will be flat out, and at the end of the following straight there is a good overtaking possibility. The track is extremely nice to drive and when it rains it becomes even more exciting. I think for a typical Spa weekend you have to have rain at some point. Racing in Spa is all about rhythm, as you need to keep the cornering speed very high. I enjoyed the holiday break, but I must say I prefer this after the end of the season. I did a lot of sports and can’t wait to go racing again, especially as our car is getting better and better. I am desperately looking forward to hunting for some more championship points.”
Renault to upgrade wind tunnel Renault has decided to upgrade its F1 wind tunnel so that in future it will be able to operate with 60 per cent models, rather than 50 per cent: “We will get our wind tunnel at the 60 per cent level during the off season,” team boss Eric Boullier confirmed to Auto Plus during the summer break.
Renault confirms F-duct for Spa race The Renault F1 team will debut its F-duct at the Belgian Grand Prix next week, it has been confirmed.
The Enstone-based operation is following in the footsteps of Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, Force India and Mercedes, who have all also adopted the device, which was developed by McLaren.
Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov will both evaluate the new update on the R30 in practice on Friday next week, and then a decision will be made about whether or not to use it for the rest of the weekend.
Power not concerned about 2011 contract Penske Racing's best driver Will Power already is the Izod IndyCar Series road course champion and holds a 41-point lead on Dario Franchitti in the overall standings with five races left in the season.
He is having the season of his career. What he is not having is anxiety over not having a contract for the 2011 season.
"What? Should I be?" he asked.
He paused to laugh, though he realizes he is the only Team Penske driver without a multiyear contract.
"Obviously, until you're signed up, you're not sure what's going to happen, but we haven't even talked about it, and I'm not even thinking about it," he said. "I'm focused on trying to win this championship.
"It would be unfortunate to win a championship and not have a ride (the next season)."
Spectacular Porsche Crash photos This happened this morning at Zandvoort during free practice of the German Porsche Carrera Cup. Stefen Wendt lost control of his Porsche, due to brake failure, and crashed his car into the tire retaining wall at Tarzancorner, flipping the car upside down to a rest and then walking away from the wrecked car, helped by a Marshall!
Michigan TV ratings continue NASCAR's fallUPDATE The final 'national' (vs. Cable) TV rating for the Michigan race was a 3.1, a full 25% drop from last year's 4.1. Houston (NASCAR), we have a serious problem.
08/17/10 ESPN’s live telecast of the Carfax 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway earned a final national household coverage rating of 3.6, averaging 4,916,636 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was down 12.2% from the 4.1 for last year’s race that also aired on ESPN and continues NASCAR's drop in TV ratings for a 4th straight year. ESPN’s live telecast of the CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at MIS on Saturday earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.4, averaging 1,799,711 viewers. The rating was the same as last year’s race that aired on ESPN2 but viewership was up 10%. ESPN
Racing icons: Mario Andretti, left, Danica Patrick, second from right, and many other IndyCar stars of past and present were in San Francisco on Thursday to promote Sunday’s race in Sonoma. (Mike Koozmin/Special to The Examiner)
Pulling a San Francisco trolley car into a crowd full of camera flashes and cheering fans is no easy task, even for racing legend Mario Andretti. But after a few jerks and stops, he realized that, when the gas is punched hard enough, the trolley moves like a race car.
The scene outside the Union Square Macy’s was full of excitement on Thursday as Andretti was joined by IndyCar Series drivers Danica Patrick, Will Power and many others to promote the inaugural year of the IZOD IndyCar Series Mario Andretti Road Championship.
“It’s fun to be part of something meaningful to people; the Indy Series is a big deal and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Patrick said. “It’s great watching people walk up and down the street and taking notice of something like this, hopefully it will help grow the series.”
Motorsport legend Bobby Unser has been named as Grand Marshal of Canada’s biggest sports car race of the year, the Mobil 1 presents The Grand Prix of Mosport, August 26-29.
Bobby, the older of the two famous racing brothers (along with Al, Sr.), established the family name many years ago by winning three Indy 500 titles - in 1968, 1975 and 1981. Unser’s first career IndyCar victories came at Mosport when in 1967 he took the checkered flag in both the twin 100-mile races.
“Mosport will always have a special place in my heart. The 1967 Mosport IndyCar race became one of the most important events in my whole life because it was my first IndyCar win. So it’s a real honor to be the Grand Marshal of the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport and to help the track celebrate their 50th anniversary season,” said Unser.
Carpentier back in the #26 at Atlanta When Patrick Carpentier climbed into the #26 Latitude 43 Motorsports Ford on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway the bar wasn't set very high. In fact veteran crew chief Frankie Stoddard said all the team wanted out of the 39-year-old Canadian pilot was a finish in the Top 35 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400. Carpentier finished 29th. For Carpentier it was a tough welcome back to NASCAR Sprint Cup oval racing in the heat of August. With high track temperatures all afternoon at MIS he said it was a physical challenge. "My neck is sore, my bum is sore and my arms are sore," he said when he got out of the car at the end of the race. "I forgot just how hard these (Sprint Cup) cars are to drive and how you have to battle every lap." The chemistry between Carpentier and the team was so good in fact, that there is a possibility that the Canadian could resume a full-time Sprint Cup ride in the #26 Ford. "We have had discussions," he said. "For sure I will race in Atlanta next month. But for me it I was very impressed with how these guys operate." Stoddard said that the team has had its eye on Carpentier since last season when he was driving the #10 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports. More at Toronto Star
Goodyear Bristol Tire Notes This is the first time NASCAR teams will be running either of these two Goodyear tire codes . . . this tire set-up came out of a tire test at Bristol on June 29-30 . . . drivers participating in that test were Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan and Scott Speed . . . compared to what was run at Bristol in the spring, this right-side tire code (D-4404) features a construction and mold shape change to bring it into line with what is run at other NASCAR speedways . . . this left-side code (D-4408) features a mold shape change to achieve a more optimum stagger when teamed with this new right-side . . . Bristol is the only track at which teams are scheduled to run either of these two tire codes . . . unlike on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, on which teams generally do not run inner liners, teams are required to run liners in their right-side tires only at Bristol . . . .air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 136-144 laps, based on fuel mileage.
Shakeup needed on Earnhardt team, should driver be canned?UPDATE This is yet another article by the regular NASCAR media who tries to blame everything else on the failure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. despite being with the best team in NASCAR, yet fails to question whether it may just be the driver that is the problem. Recall the disparaging remarks even his stepmother Theresa Earnhardt said about Dale Jr. before he left the family team. At the time we thought it was bad blood between the two but now it seems she was questioning whether he was cut out to do the job. Maybe Mother (or stepmother) really does know best.
08/17/10 With a 19th-place finish at Michigan International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for the third time in four years.
He drives for the best team in NASCAR and they even totally revamped his crew last year in hopes of getting better results.
Following Sunday's race, in which he struggled most of the afternoon and was in no mood to discuss his Chase chances after his fifth consecutive finish outside the top 15.
"I just want to go home," he said. "It wasn't good. We were junk all day. We weren't good. We worked hard."
IndyCars dilemma - More people know Mario than Dario IndyCar built its reputation on sexy cars and fast tracks, but a familiar conundrum continues to dog the series. More people know Mario than Dario.
Mario Andretti, a 70-year-old racing legend who retired 16 years ago, is a bigger draw for fans than Dario Franchitti, the reigning IndyCar champion and winner of the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
Franchitti – best known by casual fans as actress Ashley Judd's husband – also is the defending champion of this weekend's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. Despite strides on the race course, the open-wheel series is still trying to gain traction with fans and sponsors.
How can the series put open-wheel racing back on a fast track?
Chandhok still benched as Yamamoto keeps F1 seat for SpaUPDATE (GMM) Karun Chandhok will not be returning to the wheel of the HRT car at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend. The Indian rookie has sat out the last two races in deference to Sakon Yamamoto, who is rumored to wield more powerful personal sponsorship. But Chandhok, 26, held out hope that his sojourn might soon be ending when he recently attended the Hungarian grand prix.
"The long summer break is coming up and we'll have to see what happens for the rest of the season," he said last month.
A spokesperson said at the time that the driver lineup for Spa-Francorchamps and beyond is not finalized. But on Friday, HRT announced that Japanese Yamamoto will once again be Bruno Senna's teammate next weekend in Belgium. Yamamoto is not a newcomer to Spa with F1 machinery, having contested the 2007 event for Colin Kolles-led Spyker.
NASCAR could learn from IRL and F1 If there were a race between IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and NASCAR CEO Brian France to see who can bring more excitement to his series, Bernard's lead would be at least a straightaway.
While France is lofting one trial balloon after another about possible changes to the Chase, Bernard is thinking way outside the box.
Actually, he's taken a box cutter to the box, especially with his most recent move.
IndyCar announced this week that its summer race next year at Texas Motor Speedway will become two races -- twin 275-kilometer races of 114 laps each, each awarding half points.
Bernard's partner in this is Eddie Gossage, TMS president and prince of promotion. "Drivers have two shots at winning and fans get an opportunity to see not one but two great races in one evening," Gossage said. "It should be a tremendous show."
Off-Road organization gets wings clipped A federal agency suspended future event permits Thursday for the promoter of last weekend's off-road race in the California desert where eight spectators were killed by a racing truck. The Bureau of Land Management, which manages the territory where the crash occurred, said the suspension of permits for Mojave Desert Racing will remain in effect while an investigation of the accident is under way.
A call and e-mail message to Susan and James Williams, the couple who operate MDR Productions from their South El Monte home, were not immediately returned.
NASCAR Bristol Truck TV rating SPEED coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Bristol scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 0.69 (530,000 households), a three-percent increase from last year’s 0.67 (492,000 households) and up 10 percent from 2008’s 0.63 (460,000 households). Wednesday night’s race coverage peaked at a 0.79 (604,000 households).
Drayson's Crocker diary since LeMans It’s been a crazy time in terms of the schedule since Le Mans for us all at Drayson Racing. It seemed that no time had passed from us taking the checkered flag at Le Mans before we were going into three races in five weeks (Salt Lake City, Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio.)
I, the team and our Lola-Judd have been improving throughout the year and I think we really have made a step, especially since the Mid-Ohio race a couple weeks ago. As we saw at Mid-Ohio, where we were by far the quickest throughout the weekend and claimed our first pole position, that hard graft has really paid off. You don’t get these things for free, especially in championships like the American Le Mans Series. The Drayson Racing team have all worked really hard with Lola and Judd.
Newman wins Bristol Modified race Ryan Newman began his August race week on a high note taking home the victory in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday night after battling with modified legends Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik at the front of the pack all evening. After leading much of the event, Christopher's evening went up in smoke near the end of the race due to engine problems, leaving the door open for Stefanik to steal the win. Newman, however, had other plans and raced his way by Stefanik and in to victory lane. "This might be my best win here," Newman said. "It was a fun race, and a great race at Bristol. Glad I ended up in victory lane. It was a good race at Bristol." James Civali finished third, followed by Bobby Santos and Todd Szegedy. BMS
After screwing previous shareholders, GM applies for IPOUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I take exception to the comment that GM screwed their previous shareholders! Our illustrious leaders in Washington (Obama and his cronies) orchestrated that. Just as Whitacre got to resign after he made an unwise comment. Bill Marcel
08/18/10 After screwing all its previous shareholders out of all their money by bankrupting the company, General Motors Company today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed initial public offering consisting of common stock to be sold by certain of its stockholders and the issuance by the company of its Series B mandatory convertible junior preferred stock.
The amount of securities offered will be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of the offering. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.
Budweiser denies cutting back NASCAR sponsorship In joining Richard Childress Racing next season, Budweiser will become the latest primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup to reduce its schedule. Parent company Anheuser-Busch, though, says it isn't scaling back on NASCAR even though Budweiser will not be on the car every race.
"The reduction in races doesn't mean we're going to diminish our presence," says Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing. "Not having an investment in every race allows us to do different things. We're still going to support the sport to the same degree."
Wright says the company will invest more heavily in sponsorship activation through TV advertising, sweepstakes and social media campaigns that has been successful in other sports such as baseball. The company also is considering more track promotions such as its Party Porch, a fan viewing platform (including a 277-foot sign) on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway.
Dan Gurney leads the field in the Golden State 150 on April 4, 1970, at then-Sears Point International Raceway.
Twenty-five cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete this weekend on the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway circuit in pursuit of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma title. Forty years ago, 26 cars competed in the first Indy car race on the natural-terrain course.
Dan Gurney won the USAC Championship Golden Gate 150 at Sears Point International Raceway on April 4, 1970, in the Olsonite Eagle F69/Gurney Weslake Ford.
“Another champion came in second, and that was Mario (Andretti),” Gurney said last week at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “I have great respect for Mario. We were intense competitors whenever we drove in the same race. It was a great achievement to be able to hold him off in that race. I tried to get even because he beat me in the ’69 (runner-up to Andretti after starting 10th in the Indianapolis 500) at the Speedway but it wasn’t quite the same.”
Tony Kanaan has been difficult some tough times, including a divorce recently
At Indianapolis, Kanaan's team scrambled to get the No. 11 car into the 33-car field on the final day of qualifying. And with a half-hour left, Kanaan, after furious repairs to the vehicle, went fast enough to qualify 32nd and later salvage the event by finishing 11th in the race.
"It was interesting. But I think I learned a lot," Kanaan said. "You learn from the good times, but you learn also from the bad times. My whole career (at Indianapolis), I hadn't started worse than sixth, and I didn't even know the drama about making the race.
"I had no idea about qualifying on the second day. That had never crossed my mind. On the second day of qualifying, I was always on my bus, watching and saying, 'Geez, poor guys.' "
Tony Kanaan had two crashes in less than 24 hours as he tried to get his car on the grid for this year's Indianapolis 500. But in those tense final moments of qualifying, the veteran open wheel driver still believed he would be a part of the field for the IndyCar Series' signature race.
F1 wants V8 Supercars to support 2011 Singapore GP (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is working to install the Australian touring car category V8 Supercars as a support event for next year's Singapore grand prix.
Martin Whitaker, a Briton who has long been involved in F1 and was recently boss of the Bahrain track, is now CEO of the Australian series.
He told V8X magazine that formula one officials "want us (V8 Supercars) to go there (Singapore)".
"He (F1 chief executive Ecclestone) would love to have us there in an earlier timeslot. It's better for the spectators, better for the city and puts an extra four hours on to the show as far as Singapore is concerned," added Whitaker.
Mercedes may have to 'change some people' - Haug (GMM) Mercedes may soon have to turn its attention to making some personnel changes within its British based F1 team.
That is the warning of the German marque's competition director Norbert Haug, amid reports the Brackley outfit is now working almost exclusively on its 2011 car.
"We hope to return to success," he is quoted by Autosprint.
"However, if we fail to achieve the goals we have set, we may have to change some people," added Haug.
He is definitely not referring to Nico Rosberg, Mercedes' most consistently competitive driver this season, or seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, who is firmly under contract for 2011 and keen to win an eighth title.
(GMM) McLaren needs to get creative if it is to claw back its lead in the 2010 world championships, according to boss Martin Whitmarsh.
With clearly the faster car, Red Bull has taken over at the top of the points tables, but McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is only 4 points shy of leader Mark Webber.
In recent weeks, Woking based McLaren has been working on emulating Red Bull's blown floor concept, but Whitmarsh said the team's engineers also need to be more creative during the ongoing development of the MP4-25.
"We have not suspended the diffuser project, but we hope to invent something new," he is quoted by Autosprint magazine.
NASCAR's 2011 race schedules NASCAR announced today the 2011 schedule for its three national series, highlighted by several key changes for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“The adjustments and realignment of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will make for an exciting race season next year,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “The revised schedule provides better situated dates for the tracks, a more challenging lineup for the drivers and ultimately more intrigue for the fans.”
One of those changes comes early, as the second race of the season will be held at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 27, a week after the season-opening Daytona 500. PIR replaces Auto Club Speedway in Week 2. Texas Motor Speedway fills in the vacated Phoenix spot on Saturday, April 9 for what will be an exciting night race in the Lone Star State.
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