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Drug using NASCAR crewman caught  Mark Norman, a licensed crew member for the No. 09 team in the Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy.

On Aug. 21, Norman was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book.

Wanted: 24,000 F1 fans  The organizers of the Belgian Grand Prix at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit have only sold 46,000 tickets for this weekend's race. To break-even, they have to sell no less than 70,000, so, only days for the weekend, the organizers of the event are hoping to find 24,000 fans to travel to the Belgian Ardennes.

GP-organizer André Maes believes that his organization can still sell the 24,000 tickets during the coming days if the weather reports are correct. On Friday light showers are expected, but on Sunday there is only 1% chance that it will rain over the circuit. Of course at Francorchamps you never know.

Last year 52,000 fans showed up during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, which left the organizers with a deficit of €4 million. Despite 66.000 visitors in 2007, they also suffered a shortage of €2 million that year. More ...

Chicagoland Speedway plays key role in title race  Each of the past three years, Chicagoland Speedway has hosted the deciding race in the IndyCar Series driver championship. The ninth race on the action-packed 1.5-mile oval again will be a factor in determining the 2009 titleholder.

The PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 this weekend is the 15th of 17 events on the schedule, with Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe entering the 200-lap race with a four-point advantage over Dario Franchitti. His Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, is 20 points out of the lead.

It's the 12th time in 14 races that the margin between first and second has been 10 points or fewer, and the difference between first and third is the third-closest with three races remaining.

"The points championship looks like it's going to go down to the wire again, which we've been fortunate to have the championship do that for the last several years," Indy Racing League president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart said. "The contenders all have had issues to contend with early in the season, missed out on opportunities to score some important points. That's clearly something they have to avoid in the final races. You can't have any missteps from here on out; there just isn't any time to make that up." More ...

Support races for Abu Dhabi race  Spectators  at  the  inaugural  Formula  1™  Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have even more reason to look forward to a thrilling weekend of motorsport action at Yas Marina Circuit. Three of the world’s foremost racing series, the Porsche  Mobil1  Supercup,  GP2  Asia  Series,  and  Chevrolet  Supercars  Middle  East Challenge have been announced as support races to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Each  Formula  1™  Grand  Prix  weekend  has  a  program  of  high  profile  support  races, consisting of a single seat category such as GP2, and GT-saloon car categories such as Porsche and Chevrolet.

The  support  race  program,  whilst  adding  considerable  track  action  and  entertainment  for spectators, provides a platform for young drivers to develop and demonstrate their skill in front  of  the  Formula  1  fraternity. 

A  number  of  the  drivers  from  the  support  race  program progress to Formula 1 - the world’s premier motorsports championship. Mr. Richard Cregan, CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management said: “We are delighted to have the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, GP2 Asia Series and Chevrolet Supercars Middle East Challenge included on the race schedule for the Formula 1™ weekend. This is a world-class line up to have at our inaugural Grand Prix.”

IRL changes 2010 schedule  Indy Racing League officials today confirmed the date for the 2010 IndyCar Series event at Kentucky Speedway and announced changes to the dates for the 2010 IndyCar Series races held at Texas Motor Speedway and Twin Ring Motegi.

"We worked with our promoter partners to ensure they had race dates that fit their needs and worked for the series as well," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. “Both Texas Motor Speedway and Twin Ring Motegi came to us in recent weeks looking to make adjustments based on various factors and we were happy to work with them to make the appropriate changes." More ...
Hamilton: Spa should never be taken off the calendar  Reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton can't wait to travel to Belgium to race at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Briton is a big fan of the Belgian track and says the track should never been taken off the calendar. "It's also a magnificent circuit, a place where you can really push the limits of a Formula 1 car: driving through Eau Rouge, Pouhon or Blanchimont is an incredible sensation - your whole body is on the limit and you are still pushing to go faster still. I love Spa - I don't think it should ever leave the Formula 1 calendar.

"Like Monaco, Silverstone and Monza, it's one of the historic circuits that I grew up watching on television when I was younger - which makes it just that bit more special for me, because it's so easy to imagine the heroes of the past racing here."

Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen completely agrees. "I think everyone in Formula 1 looks forward to Spa. For the drivers, the circuit is a fantastic challenge: unlike some of the places we visit, Spa has real character, and it's a place where the confidence and commitment of the driver can make a difference. The big corners mean you need to be brave and take risks - and also mean you'll have a big accident if you get it wrong. I love this place, I think it's the best circuit on the calendar."

This weekend's Grand Prix weekend will be the 42nd time the track plays host to the Belgian Grand Prix since it first organised the race back in 1950.
Silverstone opens door to GP saviour deals  (GMM) At a meeting on Tuesday, the path was cleared so that Silverstone's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club can consider "offers" that could secure the future of the formula one race.

According to London's Evening Standard newspaper, the BRDC members voted overwhelmingly to open the door to considerations such as selling partial naming rights to the Northamptonshire track.

"The primary function of Silverstone will always be racing, hopefully, with a formula one grand prix," BRDC president Damon Hill said after the meeting.

The meeting follows Silverstone's attempts to retain the grand prix as Bernie Ecclestone issued a September deadline for contracted 2010 host Donington to get its funding in place.
Giancarlo Fisichella says Spa the favorite  
Giancarlo Fisichella
"Every driver loves Spa and, for me, it's the best circuit of the year. It's 7km long so you get a lot of different corners, from hairpins to fast sections and then obviously the best corner of the year, Eau Rouge. Actually this corner is not as exciting as it was a few years ago when you only took it flat in qualifying. Now we have more downforce and a bit less power with the V8 so you are usually flat out every time you go through. Even though it's not as challenging now, it's still very exciting. There's a lot of compression when you go down and then you have to jink left and right - it's a complete corner. The weather in Spa is always unpredictable as well. You can have rain in sector one and then it could be sunny in sector three so anything could happen. We are going there at the end of August this year, but we could have any type of weather!

"My first appearance at Spa was in 1997 with Jordan and I had a great result. I finished second, just behind Hakkinen - at the time it was my best career result. Then I went on to have some more good results and was third in 2001 with Renault. At the time the car was not too good but the team brought some new upgrades to Spa. I made a great start from eighth on the grid and going into the first corner I was fourth. For the rest of the race we were very competitive and I finished third, which was a fantastic result for the team.

"Valencia was a great result for Force India. We could really race in the midfield and seemed to have an advantage over quite a few teams and drivers now. The upgrades made a big difference and the car was nice to drive. Spa is a bit different to Valencia but it's still very quick so I hope we can transfer the performance this week. My aim will be to qualify well so we can start a bit further up the grid, have a strong race and finally score some points."

Sutil most improved in 2009  
Adrian Sutil
Adrian Sutil was perhaps not surprisingly the most improved driver in Valencia compared to 2008. He managed to go eight tenths quicker than in '08, when the average performance was six tenths slower.

He even bettered the improvement shown by Barrichello and Button who were in last year's Honda. He is now the only driver to have improved in every qualifying session so far '08 compared to '09.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Driver talks are taking place - Haug
  • Canada GP return still not confirmed - Tremblay
  • Germany must stay on F1 calendar - Ecclestone
  • Renault to announce 2010 drivers 'soon'
  • 46,000 tickets sold for Belgian GP

Driver talks are taking place - Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug has contradicted McLaren's team boss by confirming that talks with other drivers have taken place.

With Heikki Kovalainen's place for 2010 not secured, Martin Whitmarsh had insisted at Valencia last weekend: "At the moment we have not had, nor are we in, conversations with any other drivers."

But Haug, Mercedes' competition chief who is reportedly pushing for McLaren to sign German driver Nico Rosberg, is quoted as saying by Auto Bild: "We speak with drivers.  I speak with drivers.

"If that was not the case we would not be doing our job.

"At a certain time, but we are not going to say precisely when, we will make our decision about who is driving for us next year," added Haug.

Kovalainen, 27, had a better weekend at Valencia after Whitmarsh said the Finn needed to up his game.  But the British chief then said that while Valencia had been better, the driver still needs to work on his race pace.

Haug confirmed: "He did do a better job (at Valencia) than in some other races.

"He started on the first row of the grid so for sure fourth place is not exactly what he expects but it was his best result so far." More ...

France family moves closer to IMS as they prepare for future buyout  UPDATE The new leader of Indianapolis Motor Speedway hasn't committed to staging a sports car race on the facility's road course. But he hasn't ruled it out, either.

A preliminary test of nine Grand Am Series cars -- five Daytona Prototypes and four GT machines -- is scheduled Sept. 3.

"We don't have a race in mind for them, but we're trying to collect as much data as we can regarding cars on the road course," said Jeff Belskus, who last month replaced Tony George as chief executive officer of IMS Corp., the parent company of the Speedway and the Indy Racing League. "It is our centennial (celebration). Let's see what unfolds."

Belskus said using the Indy cars for a road course weekend has been discussed but is not under serious consideration.  "Like you, we have brainstormed about some good ideas for using the road course," he said. "My biggest concern for something like (that) is its potential effect on the (Indianapolis) 500." Indy Star

[Editor's Note: Scary to think that the new leadership at IMS would give higher consideration to a Grand-Am race that typically draws few fans over a 2nd IndyCar race at the Indy Speedway.  From Day 1 the France family has held two Cup races per year at their premier facility - Daytona - and that never took away from the top race the Daytona 500.  An IndyCar race on the road course at Indy would draw over 100,000 on race day.  That folks is a lot of race fans and would make it the 2nd most popular race on the IndyCar calendar.  The IRL is trying to promote a 50/50 split of ovals and road courses, so to run one race on the oval at Indy and a 2nd on the road course in September, makes perfect sense.  But a Grand-Am race?   Perhaps the eventual takeover of the Speedway by the France family is closer than we think.]

08/13/09 Grand-Am Road Racing, owned by the NASCAR France Family, announced today it will sanction a test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, Sept. 3, featuring nine cars from its Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The Daytona Prototype teams scheduled to test include defending series champion No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley, No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley and the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote. 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice is scheduled to co-pilot the No. 90.

The GT class teams expected to test include the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, No. 07 Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R, No. 57 BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R and No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8.

"We are very excited to have this opportunity to see the performance of our sports cars at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Grand-Am President Roger Edmondson. "I look forward to the overall reaction from our participants, fans and media, and determining the future possibility of our series competing at this iconic facility."

Fans and media are welcome to attend the test to see the teams testing on the F1 and MOTO-GP track configurations. The test will be used to gauge the level of interest of holding a sports car event at the facility among the fans, teams and media.

With NASCAR already entrenched at the Brickyard, the test is seen as another step for the Frances to get closer to Mari Hulman and Tony George's sisters who kicked him out of IMS, as they prepare their strategy for an eventual financial offer to the family in coming years, an offer that they probably won't be able to refuse.

NHRA announces 2010 Full Throttle Series schedule  
50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals Feb. 11-14 Pomona
26th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals Feb. 26-28 Phoenix
41st annual NHRA Gatornationals March 11-14 Gainesville (PSM)
Inaugural NHRA Nationals March 25-28 Concord, N.C.
11th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals April 9-11 Las Vegas
23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals April 16-18 Houston (PSM)
14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals April 30 - May 2 Madison (PSM)
30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals May 14-16 Atlanta (PSM)
22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals May 21-23 Topeka
13th annual United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals June 3-6 Chicago (PSM)
41st annual United Association NHRA SuperNationals June 10-13 Englishtown (PSM)
10th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals June 18-20 Bristol
Fourth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 24-27 Norwalk (PSM)
23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals July 9-11 Seattle
23rd annual Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals July 16-18 Sonoma (PSM)
31st annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals July 23-25 Denver (PSM)
29th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 12-15 Brainerd (PSM)
23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals Aug. 20-22 Memphis (PSM)
56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Sept. 1-6 Indianapolis (PSM)
Third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals Sept. 16-19 Concord, N.C. (PSM)
25th annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals Sept. 23-26 Dallas (PSM)
26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals Oct. 7-10 Reading (PSM)
10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals Oct. 28-31 Las Vegas (PSM)
46th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Nov.11-14 Pomona (PSM)
(PSM) - Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle
NASCAR fines Braun Racing crew chief  NASCAR announced Tuesday that Braun Racing crew chief Trent Owens has been fined $5,000 for improper spacing on the mounts of the rear-end housing on the No. 32 Toyota of David Reutimann.

The rules violation was discovered during inspection before last Friday’s Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and NASCAR confiscated the rear-end housing.

Upon further evaluation at its research and development center, NASCAR determined that the housing violated section 20A-12A of the Nationwide Series rule book. In announcing the penalty, NASCAR said that “mounting points on the axle housing must be evenly spaced and welded to prevent movement: mounting points were not evenly spaced.”

Belgian Grand Prix Preview Q+A - Pascal Vasselon  
Why is Spa so special?
For most of the drivers Spa is probably the best circuit in the world, with only Suzuka coming close. The reason for this is that Spa is one of the last natural circuits left in Formula 1, which means the lay-out is not artificial and it is dictated by the surroundings. Then you have the countryside around Spa, with the hills and forests which create a wonderful atmosphere. The other reason is that it is a fast circuit; drivers and spectators are fascinated by speed. Apart from Monaco, which is an exception to the rule, I have never heard a driver excited about a low-speed circuit. The combination of these factors makes it a really special place.

Is it still magical, even after the recent changes?
The Spa circuit has a long history and you could argue that it lost some of its magic with the big change in the late 1970s, when it went from being a very long circuit a little bit like the Nürburgring Nordschleife to the lay-out we know now. That first lay-out just seems crazy to us now because cars were going flat-out through villages and the safety standards were very far away from what we are used to today. At the time it was a magical place but it had to change. The current generation of Spa lay-out was adjusted recently but that did not really change the nature of the circuit and the attraction of the track has not been diluted at all. More ...

Yeley injured in Saturday night race  Former NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley reportedly suffered three broken vertebrae during a crash at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday night. Yeley was competing in a race in the Sprint Bandits Series at the half-mile dirt Lakeside track when he was involved in a wreck early in the feature event. Yeley's car flipped in Turn 1, said Lakeside owner Marc Olson. The flip did not look severe but Yeley complained about neck pain. Yeley was transported to a local hospital late Saturday night. From there, he was transported back to North Carolina. Racin Today
GM is dropping corporate logo from all vehicles  General Motors is dropping the GM logo on its cars and trucks.  "With the focus really turning toward our four core brands, the feeling was, let's gradually get away from the GM logo," GM spokesman Pat Morrissey says. The logos will be removed gradually, but GM provided no timetable.

Those inside GM say another reason to eliminate the badge is to distance GM's stronger brands, such as Chevrolet and Cadillac, from GM's image as a taxpayer-supported company just out of bankruptcy.

Inside Track: PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300  
Ratings rise for Bristol races  ESPN says its coverage of last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway and ESPN2’s coverage of the Nationwide Series race at Bristol drew increased ratings over last year for both events. It's the second consecutive week for an increase.

ESPN earned a 3.8 final national household coverage rating from Nielsen Media Research for Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 Cup race, an 8.6 percent increase over the 3.5 rating ESPN earned for the 2008 race. This year’s event averaged 5.323 million viewers.

ESPN2 earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5 for last Friday night’s Food City 250 Nationwide race, a 7.1 percent increase over the 1.4 ESPN earned for last year’s race. This year’s race averaged 1.956 million viewers.

Mercedes can supply four teams in 2010 - Haug  (GMM)  Mercedes-Benz has the ability to supply four formula one teams with engines in 2010, competition boss Norbert Haug has revealed.

It is believed Red Bull is on the verge of switching from Renault to Mercedes power at the end of the season, while Brawn is expected to re-sign with the Stuttgart supplier for 2010.

Mercedes is McLaren's works engine partner, and also has a long-term deal with the Force India team.

It is understood that, before the Red Bull agreement can be put in place, the FIA would need to agree, due to the rule permitting only a works deal plus a single customer arrangement per manufacturer.

For instance, special dispensation was required before Brawn's Mercedes deal could be signed off this year.

But Haug told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "From a capacity point of view we are able to supply a fourth team.  We have agreed with our negotiating partners not to disclose the progress of the talks."

The German magazine also said it is possible Williams will switch from Toyota to Renault power for 2010, which would throw into doubt the future of the Toyota-backed driver Kazuki Nakajima.

Hulkenberg, Bourdais join race for Badoer's seat  UPDATE (GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg on Tuesday clarified that while linked with struggling Luca Badoer's Ferrari seat, there has not yet been any contact with the Italian team.

His manager Willi Weber, who famously also handles the career of Ferrari's preferred Felipe Massa substitute Michael Schumacher, is quoted as saying the young GP2 points leader "would actually be the logical solution" should Badoer continue to trail the pace.

Hulkenberg, 22, told the German news agency DPA that he is "ready" to make the step up to F1.

"It is wonderful to hear that you are mentioned but there has been no contact from or with Ferrari," he insisted.

Especially due to his strong GP2 campaign so far, meanwhile, Hulkenberg - currently Williams' test driver - estimates his chances of a full-time place on the F1 grid next year as "realistic".

08/25/09 (GMM)  Add two more drivers' names to contention for under-fire Ferrari substitute Luca Badoer's race seat.

After the 38-year-old Italian struggled so badly at Valencia last weekend, even the Maranello team had to admit it may need to make other plans if he doesn't make a big step forward in Belgium.

Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg, who is leading the GP2 championship and managed by Michael Schumacher's long-time agent Willi Weber, has been mentioned as a candidate.

"Nico would actually be the logical solution," Weber is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper.

Another driver keen on the drive is Sebastien Bourdais, recently ousted by Toro Rosso but still managed by former Ferrari boss Jean Todt's son Nicolas, who also handles the career of the injured Felipe Massa.

"It's up to Ferrari," the Frenchman told French radio RMC, but he agrees that the famous team will be looking at its options if Badoer continues to struggle. More ...

Indian govt says no to GP funding  (GMM)  The Indian government turned down a request by constructors of a formula one circuit in Delhi for $36.5m in payments to the sport's officials.

We reported earlier that the boss of the promoters JPSK, who in November 2007 signed a contract with Formula One Management, met with the Indian sports ministry and "if need be, we will go again".

The Times of India newspaper now reports that the ministry has dismissed F1 as "entertainment" rather than sport that is worthy of the funding.

"It (F1) would have no impact on the development of sports in the country," a government official is quoted as saying.

"The proposed F1 race does not satisfy conditions which focus on human endeavor for excelling in competition with others, keeping in view the whole sports movement from Olympics downwards," the official added.

No KERS for Red Bull in 2009 or 2010 - Marko  (GMM)  Red Bull has finally ruled out using KERS at the forthcoming Belgian, Italian and subsequent grands prix.

In fact, the energy drink brand's motor racing advisor Helmut Marko is quoted in the Austrian media as saying the energy-recovering technology will not be used anywhere in 2009 or 2010.

In the face of denials, it has nonetheless been reported incessantly that the title-charging team is considering using KERS in its championship fight against Brawn this season.

Marko finally clears up the confusion.

"We will not use KERS this season or in the next," he told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

He repeated team boss Christian Horner's recent insistence that, so late in the season and amidst a championship contest, trying to make KERS work now "would be too risky".

KERS is strictly allowed according to the 2010 rules, but Marko referred to the "voluntary agreement" of the FOTA team alliance not to use the systems next year "and we will adhere to it".

Video: Philippe talks after accident  Nelson Philippe has a video on his Facebook site talking about his accident and how he is doing. Scroll down to "Yo from the hospital"


Audi to join Peugeot at Petit LeMans  For the first time since its victorious debut at Sebring in March, the technologically innovative Audi R15 TDI will again compete in an endurance race in the USA: On September 26, Audi Sport Team Joest will contest the 1000-mile "Petit Le Mans" race, which is part of the American Le Mans Series, at Road Atlanta (Georgia) with two cars.

The two diesel-powered racing sports cars will be driven by Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) as well as the two Germans Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner. DTM racer Mike Rockenfeller is planned to be the team’s reserve driver. More ...
Ollie Hancock joins Formula Two  Reigning British Formula Renault 2.0 BARC champion Ollie Hancock will contest the final three rounds of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship, starting at Oschersleben in little over a week's time.

The 21-year-old Briton has raced in Formula Ford 2000, finishing as runner-up twice in 2004 and 2006. He then graduated into the BARC Formula Renault UK Championship in 2007, where he finished third at the first attempt before winning the series in 2008, having taken five wins and nine podiums over the season. He had originally been hoping to contest the full season in Formula Two, but missed out due to the exceptional demand for the 25 available seats.

Ollie Hancock said: "Originally I wanted to do a full season of Formula Two this year but missed out. It's a fantastic package though, and I'm delighted to be contesting the final three rounds of the year. The plan is definitely to use these next races as preparation, and hopefully to come back next year and have a proper go at the title. More ...

Nelson Philippe/Will Power accident  
Q&A with Timo Glock  
The European Grand Prix marked the return to racing after a four-week summer break; were you relaxed heading to Valencia?
I had a great break, mainly just relaxing with friends and family near my home and I actually went to Valencia a little before I needed to so I could be completely rested and ready for action. As a Formula 1 driver you don't get much time to yourself so I was happy to have a quiet break and avoid travelling or anything like that. As well as relaxing I also did quite a bit of fitness work, especially cycling which I enjoy.

How tough was it to drive in such hot conditions?
It was really hot and you do notice that in the cockpit. I work a lot on my fitness so it doesn't cause any problems but it can be uncomfortable, especially at a track like Valencia where you have to concentrate hard with the concrete walls quite close by. At least this year was easier than last as I didn't have any illness, which made it less exhausting. Obviously before the race you need to drink a lot of water to compensate for the amount you lose through sweat and I did that so it was okay in the end. More ...

Pundits say up to Button to cure F1 'yips'  (GMM)  It's now up to Jenson Button, rather than the Brawn team, to step up and defend his dwindling lead in the world championship.

That is the assessment of triple world champion Niki Lauda, after Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello recorded his first win of the season at Valencia while the 29-year-old Briton finished just seventh.

The fact the Red Bulls had an even worse weekend cushioned the blow for Button, but Lauda insists any points lead would not be safe if a driver is no longer on form.

"The problem must be something within Jenson ... something must have gone wrong in his own mind.  He must find the solution within himself and I think he will," the Austrian said, according to the Mirror.

Button, who won six of the opening seven grands prix this year but has not featured since June's Turkish GP, admitted that with Brawn back on the pace at Valencia he must now look inwards for improvement. More ...

India seeking government help for 2011 GP  (GMM)  The organizers of an Indian grand prix are seeking government funds to push ahead plans for the inaugural race in 2011.

Sameer Gaur, boss of the promoters JPSK Sports, told the Times of India: "Yes, we went to the (sports) ministry seeking government concessions.  If need be, we will go again."

The outfit signed a contract with Formula One Administration in November 2007, after the Indian Olympic Association pulled out.

Other media reports say construction of a circuit in Delhi is underway.

"We are 200 per cent committed to the F1 race in India," Gaur confirmed.  "We are building a motor car racing track capable of holding an F1 race."

Dale Jr. looking for Kesolowski's replacement  JR Motorsports President Kelley Earnhardt confirmed that Kelly Bires is on the list of possible replacements for Brad Keselowski should the company and the driver part ways. Many in the garage have called Bires, who turns 25 Tuesday, the front-runner for the #88 Nationwide Series ride.  FoxSports
Fastenal to sponsor Edwards for 15 Nationwide races in 2010  Roush Fenway Racing says that Fastenal has agreed to a multiyear contract to sponsor driver Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, beginning in 2010.

Fastenal, an industrial supplier billed as one of North America’s largest fastener distributors, will appear on the No. 60 Ford for 15 races next season.

The sponsor leaves JR Motorsports, where it has been one of several rotating primary sponsors on the No. 5 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series in 2009.  More ...

tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Goes North of the Border for Montreal Event
The only international event on NASCAR’s calendar happens this weekend as ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the road course race at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. NASCAR Countdown begins ESPN2’s coverage on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 2 p.m. ET, and the race’s green flag is at 2:48 p.m. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC.

Marty Reid will be lap-by-lap announcer with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake.

ESPN2 airs same-day coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying from Montreal on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 9 p.m. More ...

Bridgestone inconsistent tire patterns to continue  Bridgestone has revealed which compounds of its Potenza tires will be used in the final four races of the season. The Japanese company has elected not to revert completely to the non-consecutive system of earlier in the year but continue to apply varying schemes for those circuits still to visit on the calendar. Since 2008 - unless the race takes place in wet conditions - drivers have been obliged to make use of two types of tire compound in a Formula One Grand Prix, with one being softer than the other; each of the four tires on the car must be of the same compound at any given moment with the softer (Option) type on offer over a weekend being recognized from the harder (Prime) by bearing a green painted sidewall.

Earlier in the season, with the exception of Monaco, non-consecutive combinations from Bridgestone's range of compounds (Hard, Medium, Soft and Super Soft) were taken to each Grand Prix meeting although this case will only apply for two of the remaining races of the year. We are pleased to release our final allocations," explained Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone's director of motorsport tire development. "Singapore is a street course and, based on our experience there last year, we feel that Soft and Super Soft is the best choice. For Suzuka, we will have a gap in compound hardness; this will be an interesting return to this great circuit as half of it has a new surface so tire usage considerations could be challenging.

"In Brazil, we also stay with the stiffness gap; it can get very hot in São Paulo and we usually see a good race there although I think we will struggle to have a race as exciting as the one we had last season. Abu Dhabi is a new destination for us; although it is technically a street course, we are bringing harder compounds than we use at the other street courses."

Three championship contenders square off on three ovals  Scott Dixon kicked off defense of his IndyCar Series title with 16th- and 15th-place finishes, but righted the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car for a string of 11 top 10s - including four victories that boosted him to the IndyCar Series career record - and into championship contention again.

In fact, he entered the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 23 atop the standings. He exited the 2.303-mile, 12-turn course in third - 20 points behind Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe and 16 shy of teammate Dario Franchitti. While his 13th-place result isn't going to be a title-breaker, opportunities to get a leg up on the strong competition are dwindling.

Three contenders, three oval races. On the docket are Chicagoland Speedway, Twin Ring Motegi and Homestead-Miami Speedway - whose only common characteristic lies in that they're measured at 1.5 miles.

"I'm happy to not lead now as long as we can lead at (the Oct. 10 season finale at) Homestead," said Dixon, who's been the runner-up the past two years at Chicagoland Speedway - where he's fallen short and clinched the driver championship. "We have a great run coming up with the three tracks at the finish. We won (at Homestead-Miami Speedway) last year and finished second at the others. If we can run like that we should be looking good. But it's a tough day when you have such a bad one and your competitors have such a good one. More ...

Sarah Fisher "goes pink" for season finale  IndyCar Series team owner/driver Sarah Fisher will be "going pink" for the season finale Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Sarah Fisher Racing will join with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Fisher's No. 67 Dollar General-sponsored race car will be pink for the Firestone Indy 300.

"We really wanted to partner with Komen to raise funds for breast cancer research and community outreach programs," Fisher said. "We're so lucky to have a sponsor like Dollar General that supports our community outreach efforts. Together, we can broaden our support of Komen for the Cure and further the fight against breast cancer." More ...

Ecclestone shows teams 18-race 2010 calendar  (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday showed formula one team bosses the proposed race calendar for the 2010 season.

The meeting took place ahead of the European grand prix at Valencia, and is believed to have pleased the teams with the confirmation of the return to the calendar of Canada.

The extra race means F1 will stage 18 grand prix events in 2010; one more than this year.

Contrary to speculation, Valencia will again stage the European grand prix but may have a date change, with organisers not happy its current August date clashes with Spanish holidays.

Ecclestone is hoping a solution can be found so that financially-embattled Hockenheim can host the German grand prix as scheduled, while Britain is assured a 2010 date, with Donington and Silverstone vying for the summer event.

Following the withdrawal of Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, Suzuka will host the 2010 Japanese grand prix.
Ekström and Kristensen join 2009 ROC  Sweden’s Mattias Ekström, the two-times DTM champion who moved to within a point of the lead in this year’s series following Sunday’s Nürburgring round, is the latest driver to sign up to compete in The 2009 Race of Champions, at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing on November 3- 4.  Fellow DTM driver and eight-times Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen, from Denmark, has also announced he will be competing, and together they will form a formidable pairing in The ROC Nations Cup, as Team Scandinavia.

The duo has represented Scandinavia in the event for the past four years, winning the ROC Nations Cup in 2005, when they defeated France, and then narrowly missing out on a double last year in the final against Team Germany’s Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. The pair is looking forward to November for the chance to exact revenge and seize back the ROC Nations Cup. More ...

NASCAR Bristol Truck Race TV Ratings  Speed television officials say Nielsen ratings for Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway were up 6 percent from last year.  The 2008 race on the cable network had a rating of 0.63, while this year’s event had a 0.67.  Speed also said overall ratings of the Truck series this season are up 7 percent over 2008, from 0.85 to 0.91.
Malaysian team aims for F1 by 2016  Malaysia's Meritus Racing has announced that it is targeting a Formula One race debut in seven years' time. The GP2 Asia squad is credited for having run of a number of future F1 drivers as it looks to make its first appearance on the grid no later than the 2016 season.

The plan to climb up the motorsport ladder to F1 would last for over half a decade for what is the only Asian team in the GP2 Asia series; the first task involves progressing to the main, European GP2 championship by 2011.

"Meritus are the only Asian team to be given an entry license to race in the GP2 Asia Series," explained team owner Firhat Mokhzani, who set up the outfit in 1996. "This is partly because of our engineering success, our 32 Asian motorsport titles and dominating Formula BMW and Formula V6 series for the last six years; these are the Asian stepping stones to racing in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One. More ...

Davidson to speak with Ferrari about replacing Badoer  (GMM)  Anthony Davidson has vowed to offer his services to the Ferrari team as a potential replacement for the struggling Luca Badoer.

"I will be speaking to Ferrari personally this week to put my name forward," said the 30-year-old Briton, who was BAR/Honda's long time test driver and raced for Super Aguri as recently as last year.

Davidson travels to all the races as a commentator for British radio, and due to his reserve duties for Brawn GP earlier this year he already has a current Super License.

He said Badoer, who at Valencia began substituting for the injured Felipe Massa, did not perform to the F60's full potential in Spain.

"Luca was not anywhere near scoring points and that car is capable of doing that," Davidson is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I'm ready and I think I'm better.  That's not being arrogant.  It's just what I believe.  I've got the necessary experience that I'll get my chance in formula one –- so why not at Ferrari?"

Massa to undergo more tests in US with former CART medical director  
Felipe Massa after surgery in Hungary
Formula One driver Felipe Massa will travel to the United States on Friday to undergo tests with a doctor renowned for treating injured race car drivers.

Massa, recovering from life-threatening injuries from a crash in his Ferrari at the Hungarian Grand Prix nearly a month ago, said on Sunday he will go to Miami to meet doctor Steve Olvey, a former medical director for CART and a specialist in racing injuries.

The Brazilian driver is expected to stay in the United States for two or three days before continuing his treatment at home in Sao Paulo.

Olvey was one of the doctors who helped treat Alessandro Zanardi after the Italian driver had both legs amputated following a 2001 crash.

Before travelling, Massa will undergo more exams in Brazil to check on his progress after sustaining multiple skull fractures in the high-speed crash in qualifying for the Hungarian GP on July 25.

Infineon IndyCar Sunday Notebook - 1  
It was a good crowd on Sunday
After morning cloud cover the skies have cleared and we have a perfect day for racing with a very good crowd on hand, the largest we have ever seen at Infineon for an IndyCar race.....Ran into Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach President Jim Michaelian who tells us early ticket sales for the 2010 race are solid and this year they started a few months earlier.  We hear the Thursday afternoon on-track action by ALMS probably won't happen next year due to protests by local businesses.  They may start as early as 7:30 AM Friday and Saturday so they can fit everything in.........Michael Andretti reiterated Sunday that they are very close to re-signing Danica Patrick, it's just a matter of getting all the details done.....Danica Patrick said that as a driver she was glad to know that the Andretti team is making changes from the top down and she again gave the impression she will be re-signing with Andretti......We ran into Simon Pagenaud who told AR1.com that Gil de Ferran said he can choose either to drive for him in ALMS or IndyCar next year, it would be his choice.  "If Gil is able to make it happen [IndyCar team] it will be a first class operation, that is the way he does everything.  Champ Car was a big jump up from Atlantics for me, and although I did well in Champ Car I felt like when it folded I still had not reached my true potential.  I really didn't have a chance to show what I really could do.  I have learned a lot from Gil this year.  He is a true professional."......Steve Sudler of Team 3G told AR1.com that they hope to make an announcement about next year in the next couple of weeks.  He hinted that Richard Antinucci will drive for them full-time in 2010 and they may even grow to a 2nd car....Dario Franchitti admitted after winning that this track was hard to pass on but it was a great track and the only think he might change is pushing the Turn 11 hairpin a bit further down the track toward the NASCAR Turn 11, but still leaving enough runoff because the IndyCars approach at 170 mph......Mark C. reporting from Infineon
Bridgestone Valencia Report  Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP Formula 1 Team) used a soft-soft-super soft strategy to achieve the 150th GP win on Bridgestone Potenza tires after a thrilling European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Barrichello took his tenth career win in a highly tactical race, where Bridgestone's soft and super soft tires were closely matched. He led pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) across the line by 2.3 seconds whilst Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver Kimi Raikkonen finished third. More ...
Hildebrand goes flag-to-flag at Infineon  Californian JR Hildebrand won the Carneros 100 Indy Lights race at Infineon Raceway Sunday in Sonoma, California. 

Hildebrand jump to the lead at the start and was never seriously challenged in another dominating performance by the Andretti Racing driver.

"It's pretty special to win here on 'home turf.' said Hildebrand.  "I think our strongest competition was going to be my teammate, Sebastian. He showed that by picking up as many spots as he did at the end after starting at the back with the engine change.

"It was a nice, clean race. I was able to just tick off the laps. We ran most of our laps with in a couple of tenths within the fastest lap I ran during the race. That's really what we were trying to do. That's been our strong point all year and it proved to be strong again here."  More ...

Ferrari confirms Badoer for Spa weekend  (GMM)  Ferrari on Sunday confirmed that Luca Badoer will contest his second grand prix for the Italian team this coming weekend in Belgium.

The team's 38-year-old test driver struggled notably at the wheel of injured Felipe Massa's car at Valencia, qualifying last and then finishing seventeenth while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen took the other F60 to the podium.

Moreover, Badoer made mistakes throughout his first F1 weekend since 1999, featuring four pitlane speeding fines on Friday, being overtaken in the pitlane during the race, and incurring a drive-through penalty for crossing the pit-exit white line.

Even so, team boss Stefano Domenicali on Sunday said Badoer retains the drive for the second leg of the double-header at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

"Luca managed to finish the race, thus completing this learning weekend, which served as an introduction course prior to tackling the Belgian weekend in the best way possible, next weekend," he said in a team document. More ...

McLaren says blotched pitstop not entirely to blame  McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh has said that Lewis Hamilton’s failure to win the European Grand Prix can not be solely blamed on the Briton’s pitstop problems

Hamilton was leading as the field headed into the final round of pitstops, but ultimately lost his lead to Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello after confusion reigned between McLaren’s race strategists and pit crew.

Despite this Whitmarsh is adamant that Hamilton, who eventually finished second, did not have the pace to match Barrichello and would have lost the race anyway.

Meanwhile, Heikki Kovalainen experienced a tough day’s racing, losing out on the final podium position to Kimi Raikkonen during the final pitstops. More ...

Bridgestone introduces tin wheel weights  Bridgestone has introduced new tin weights for its Formula One and GP2 Series wheel and tire balancing process from the European Grand Prix onwards. Processes have also been put in place to enable the recycling of these new tin weights. The use of tin as balance weights is believed to have less of an environmental impact than weights made of lead, as previously used.

Bridgestone uses almost a metric ton (1000 kg) of wheel balance weights over the course of a season. More ...

Barrichello wants to extend long F1 career  (GM)  Having recently raised the prospect of retirement, Rubens Barrichello on Sunday said he now wants to prolong his record-setting formula one career.

After a five-year winning drought, the oldest regular driver on the grid broke through with a strong victory at Valencia and declared he wants to add a seventeenth consecutive season to his unprecedented tally of approaching 300 grands prix.

Last month, Barrichello admitted that "five per cent" of his feeling when thinking about extending his career into 2010 is "why do you need it?"

But he said on Sunday: "I wish to carry on."

Barrichello admitted the 2010 driver market is currently a complicated one.

"It's early, there's lots of talking because of Alonso and this and that but it takes me 15 minutes to get out of the circuit because I talk to everyone and I love to talk to everyone, so I'm really leaving my chances open for next year," said the Brazilian. More ...

Renault apologizes for Vettel engine failures  (GMM)  Renault on Sunday apologized after Sebastian Vettel suffered his second engine failure in as many days at Valencia.

The German driver's first failure caused a delay during Saturday morning practice, and the fresh engine installed for the rest of the weekend expired during the European grand prix on Sunday.

Each driver is allocated just eight engines for the entire season, and it is believed Vettel only now has a single fresh V8 unit in the bag for the remaining six races of 2009.

Fabrice Lom, the Renault figure in charge of the customer engine supply to the Red Bull Racing team, described the Valencia event as a "nightmare weekend" for him.

Red Bull was already considering a switch of engine supplier for the 2010 season and beyond, with Mercedes-Benz believed to be the front-runner.

"I can only apologize to Red Bull Racing and Sebastian in particular for this reliability issue and assure them that we will work as hard as possible to ensure it doesn't happen again," Lom said in Spain.

"The end of the season will now be tough on the engine side for Sebastian," he acknowledged.

Valencia Race 2: Hülkenberg strolls to victory  
Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hülkenberg claimed his fourth win of the season after steering clear of the early race mayhem before walking away from Sergio Perez and Vitaly Petrov to claim an easy victory in race two this morning at Valencia.

The win was set up at the start: Hülkenberg made a storming start to put himself in the best position to capitalize on any problems ahead. It was a smart move: Luca Filippi made an equally impressive getaway from the dirty side of the track to edge past poleman Kamui Kobayashi, who tapped his real wheel and spun the Italian at turn one, blocking the track and causing a predictable mess and a visit by the safety car.

At the restart Kobayashi held on despite his broken front wing, with Roldan Rodriguez trying to get by and spinning himself into the wall instead, promoting Hülkenberg to second as the safety car made a return, which became the lead just ahead of Perez at the restart as Kobayashi answered the black and orange flag being waved for his front wing. More ...

Valencia Race 1: Petrov powers to third Valencia win  
Vitaly Petrov
Vitaly Petrov soaked up race long pressure from title rival Nico Hülkenberg to record his third win in as many years in Valencia after leading all the way from the second corner of the first lap all the way to the flag: the pair crossed the line together ahead of Sergio Perez, who recorded his first podium finish in the main series.

The win was set up at the start: despite Petrov's earlier fears he made a storming start from the dirty side of the track to be right with poleman Hülkenberg into the first corner, before pressuring the German into going wide at the next turn to relinquish the lead for what proved to be the remainder of the race.

Perez, who made an equally impressive getaway to force his way by Lucas di Grassi, also took the opportunity presented to him to get alongside the German, but had to give way a few corners later, while Alvaro Parente and Roldan Rodriguez looked in vain similarly for a way by the Brazilian. More ...

NASCAR Newscast: Sharpie 500 Recap  
Suzuka to host next three Japanese GPs  (GMM)  Suzuka will host the next three consecutive Japanese grand prix, the owners of the circuit announced in a statement on Sunday.

They had met at Valencia with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, to discuss how to move forward following the withdrawal from the calendar of the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway.

Previously, Suzuka - to host this year's Japanese GP - was scheduled to only annually alternate the race hosting rights with Fuji.

But in a statement, it was confirmed that Suzuka will now host the event also in 2010 and 2011.

"We are delighted that the Suzuka circuit will now safeguard one of our most important national sporting events by playing host to the Japanese grand prix for the next three years," said Mobilityland Corporation president Hiroshi Oshima.

Briatore says Alonso could have been on pole  (GMM)  Flavio Briatore claims a brake problem prevented Fernando Alonso from delivering pole position for the European grand prix.

The Spaniard entered qualifying eyeing a second row grid position but said that after Q1 he "realized that we were not going to be as competitive as we thought".

Alonso, 27, lines up eighth on the grid for his second home race of the season, but Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims he was slowed by a factory defect in his brakes that was only discovered after qualifying.

"Without the problem Fernando could have been on pole position," team boss Briatore said.

Alonso confirmed that he tackled qualifying with less than ideal brake bias settings, because the fronts were constantly locking up.

Gene ready to replace Ferrari's Badoer  (GMM)  Marc Gene at Valencia admitted he was disappointed when his Ferrari test colleague Luca Badoer was selected to replace the injured Felipe Massa.

The Spaniard is scheduled to travel to all the remaining grands prix in 2009 as reserve driver, but told German television ZDF that he is available if the Italian team wants to replace the struggling Badoer.

"I believe that I am prepared to race and it is obvious that I would have liked to have done it here before my public," Gene said.

Badoer, who at 38 is three years older than the 2009 Le Mans winner, has not been on the pace at Valencia and on Saturday qualified last by a big margin.

Gene is also more recently experienced than Badoer, having raced at Minardi in 2000 and then appearing to replace injured Williams drivers on a few occasions in 2003 and 2004.

"I remain at the team's disposal if they need me," he said at Valencia.

Ecclestone issues Donington five-week ultimatum  (GMM)  Donington has just five weeks to prove to Bernie Ecclestone that preparations are on track to host the British grand prix in 2010.

Speculation has dogged the Leicestershire venue since it signed a 17-year contract to take the formula one race away from Silverstone, but the F1 chief executive at Valencia confirmed that the track has not yet got its finances in place.

"They have got until the end of September to produce a bank guarantee and their contract depends on that.  If they don't it's adios amigos," the Briton told the Sunday Express.

A Donington spokesperson said: "We are unable to disclose any information about funding."

Ecclestone has said previously that if Donington cannot deliver, formula one will remain at its current British home at Silverstone.

The news comes just two days before members of the Silverstone-owning British Racing Drivers' Club vote on a plan to apparently sell the running of the track to a wealthy investor.

From the too funny department  Did you catch the funny banter between the commentators during IndyCar qualifying on Versus.

They were talking about Dario compared to Dixon and that Dario is a right-foot braker and Dixon a left-foot braker. They were debating which is better...etc.

But Robbie Buhl said that you should not try to change because it really doesn’t make any difference. He said that you should do whatever comes naturally for you, because your feet are "stupid" He said that your feet are stupid because they are so far from your brain.

Jon then replies "Well Robbie, you must have pretty smart feet" referring to him being vertically challenged, i.e. short.
J.R. Hildebrand wins Indy Lights pole  Qualifying Saturday for the Carneros 100 Firestone Indy Lights event on the 2.303-mile Infineon Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (26) J.R. Hildebrand, 1:23.0361 (99.846)
2. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 1:23.4642 (99.334)
3. (20) Ana Beatriz, 1:23.4824 (99.312)
4. (29) Felipe Guimaraes, 1:23.5818 (99.194)
5. (7) James Hinchcliffe, 1:23.6345 (99.131)
6. (21) James Davison, 1:23.7261 (99.023)
7. (37) Richard Philippe, 1:23.8510 (98.875)
8. (5) Mario Romancini, 1:23.8780 (98.844)
9. (35) Charlie Kimball, 1:23.9205 (98.794)
10. (15) Martin Plowman, 1:24.0296 (98.665)
11. (2) Andrew Prendeville, 1:24.0460 (98.646)
12. (28) Daniel Herrington, 1:24.0774 (98.609)
13. (11) Wade Cunningham, 1:24.1431 (98.532)
14. (24) Mike Potekhen, 1:24.2623 (98.393)
15. (16) Pippa Mann, 1:24.4394 (98.186)
16. (44) Gustavo Yacaman, 1:24.4789 (98.140)
17. (8) Juan Pablo Garcia, 1:24.8757 (97.682)
18. (9) X - Ali Jackson, 1:25.0625 (97.467)
19. (55) Y - Rodrigo Barbosa, no time (no speed)
X - Lost fastest lap for causing full-course yellow;
Y- Disqualified for causing two full-course yellows. More ...

iRacing.com to Put IndyCar Series Fans in the Driver's Sea  IndyCar Series racing fans won’t just be able to attend the Indianapolis 500 in person next year, or watch the broadcast at home – on the 2010 Memorial Day weekend anyone in the world who has a PC and a broadband internet connection will be able to drive in a stunningly realistic virtual version of the race. 

Under the terms of a multi-year agreement with the Indy Racing League, iRacing.com’s motorsport simulation service will offer fans the opportunity to compete in virtual versions of IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights races on a variety of tracks, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, beginning this fall. Additionally, iRacing will feature faithful digital reproductions of both series’ Dallara chassis. 

“This November, before the end of the first year of the Speedway’s 100th anniversary celebration, hundreds of thousands of fans who have attended the Indy 500 in person and millions more around the world who have watched this classic American sporting event on television will have the opportunity to sample for themselves the challenge of driving a Dallara IndyCar Series car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Dave Kaemmer, CEO & CTO of iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations.  “When our virtual version of Indianapolis Motor Speedway is completed next month, we will have in inventory or under construction 12 of the 17 venues on which the IndyCar Series will compete in 2009.” More ...

Philippe and Power injured in scary crash at Infineon  UPDATE #2 The Indy Racing League announced that Power officially has a fractured L2 and L4 vertebrae of the back and a concussion.  He is expected to remain overnight in the hospital.  Philippe has an open fracture of the left foot and a concussion.  He will remain overnight for observations

08/22/09 We spoke to Richard Philippe, brother of Nelson, and their father.  Nelson will be OK they told us and the foot injury includes a bad gash, but until it is x-rayed they do not yet know if it is broken.  Power was not unconscious we hear, and he is able to wiggle his toes, so there does not appear to be any nerve damage.  The team is preparing his backup car so someone at Penske thinks he may yet be back in the car this weekend.

08/22/09 Nelson Philippe spun his IndyCar at the crest of Turn 3a at Infineon Raceway this morning during IndyCar practice. His Conquest Dallara came to rest sitting sideways across the track between Turn 3a and 4.

EJ Viso was the first driver to come flying over the crest of the blind turn 3a and he dove left to avoid Philippe but clipped his front wing and spun off. Will Power was the next to crest the hill and he caught Philippe's car dead in the driver's side. Dan Wheldon also went off.

Both Philippe and Power were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial hospital with concussions. Phillipe also has a possible broken foot and Power is complaining of back pain. Philippe was knocked unconscious and remembers nothing from the accident his Conquest team owner Eric Bachelart told AR1.com.

Viso and Wheldon are fine and cleared to drive. Mark C. reporting from Infineon Raceway
Franchitti tops opening IndyCar practice at Infineon  
Pos Driver Diff Gap Best Time Best Speed
1 Dario Franchitti (10) --.---- --.---- 1:17.2196 107.367
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.2938 0.2938 1:17.5134 106.960
3 Mike Conway (24) 0.3473 0.0535 1:17.5669 106.886
4 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.3637 0.0164 1:17.5833 106.863
5 Scott Dixon (9) 0.6191 0.2554 1:17.8387 106.513
6 Graham Rahal (02) 0.6465 0.0274 1:17.8661 106.475
7 Marco Andretti (26) 0.6568 0.0103 1:17.8764 106.461
8 Franck Montagny (25) 0.6595 0.0027 1:17.8791 106.457
9 Ryan Briscoe (6) 0.6661 0.0066 1:17.8857 106.448
10 Mario Moraes (5) 1.0672 0.4011 1:18.2868 105.903
11 Tony Kanaan (11) 1.0806 0.0134 1:18.3002 105.885
12 Justin Wilson (18) 1.0862 0.0056 1:18.3058 105.877
13 Danica Patrick (7) 1.1830 0.0968 1:18.4026 105.746
14 Raphael Matos (2) 1.1937 0.0107 1:18.4133 105.732
15 Richard Antinucci (98) 1.2427 0.0490 1:18.4623 105.666
16 Will Power (12) 1.3346 0.0919 1:18.5542 105.542
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 1.3807 0.0461 1:18.6003 105.481
18 Robert Doornbos (33) 1.5753 0.1946 1:18.7949 105.220
19 Dan Wheldon (4) 1.8075 0.2322 1:19.0271 104.911
20 EJ Viso (13) 1.8240 0.0165 1:19.0436 104.889
21 Ed Carpenter (20) 2.1182 0.2942 1:19.3378 104.500
22 Oriol Servia (06) 2.6345 0.5163 1:19.8541 103.824
23 Nelson Philippe (34) 3.0409 0.4064 1:20.2605 103.299
24 Milka Duno (23) 5.0956 2.0547 1:22.3152 100.720
tv news
Wind Tunnel lineup Sunday  Krista Voda will be the host of Wind Tunnel this Sunday as Dave Despain is on vacation.

Special Host               
Krista Voda (SPEED Commentator)

With Dave Despain taking a couple weeks off to ride his motorcycle in Canada, SPEED Commentator and FOX Sports Sprint CUP Pit Reporter, Krista Voda, will be taking over the hosting duties this Sunday August 23rd.

Featured Interviews   
Ken Anderson (CEO and Team Principal, USF1)
Chad Hurley (CEO of YouTube and Primary Investor in USF1)

America’s new Formula One team, USF1, made some news this week...announcing YouTube CEO, Chad Hurley, as the team’s primary investor. Team Principal, Ken Anderson, and Hurley will be here to tell us all about the new deal and what it means for the future of this upstart team.

Expert Analyst           
Bob Varsha (Host, Formula One on SPEED)

As we continue to follow the building of the USF1, host of Formula One on SPEED, Bob Varsha, will join Krista in the studio to be part of our discussion on this week’s announcement.

Expert Analyst           
Rob D’Amico (Host, SPEED Radio with Rob D’Amico)

SPEED Radio’s Rob D’Amico will be a guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday to talk about Saturday night’s CUP race in Bristol and its impact on the Chase for the Sprint CUP.

This Week’s Races:

  • Sprint CUP, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks under the lights at Bristol
  • Formula One in Valencia, Spain
  • IndyCar in Sonoma, CA
  • NHRA in Reading, PA
  • ARCA on the dirt at the Springfield Mile in IL
  • AMA Motocross at Budds Creek, MD
Badoer said comparison with F1 newcomers unfair  (GMM) Luca Badoer on Saturday said it is not fair to compare his poor performance at Valencia with those of F1's other newcomers.

Although the 38-year-old Italian has 56 grand prix weekends of experience and has served as Ferrari's test driver for more than a decade, he has not faced any competitive F1 action since 1999.

But it is true that while Badoer might have been expected to struggle on his return to the sport at the wheel of injured Felipe Massa's car, he was also a long way from the qualifying pace of Romain Grosjean and Jaime Alguersuari, who between them have contested only a single formula one race.

Badoer said that comparison is not fair.

"One (Alguersuari) was already racing one time and the other one (Grosjean) was racing GP2 and knows this track," he said at Valencia.

"It's completely different situation, you cannot compare this situation," said Badoer.
Trulli denies arguing with Toyota about money  (GMM) Jarno Trulli on Saturday denied he is at loggerheads with Toyota about a new contract for 2010 over the issue of money.

As reported earlier, the 35-year-old Italian is at risk of losing his seat with the Cologne based team, according to quotes attributed to boss John Howett.

But Trulli said the uncertainty about his future is not simply due to a disagreement with Toyota about by how much his salary should drop.

"Money has never been an issue, absolutely not," he told reporters at Valencia. "At the moment there is a lot of cost cutting and I do believe in this part also the driver has to play his role and I am more than happy to."

Trulli admitted he is in talks, but the suggestion in F1 circles is that the 2010 driver market is unlikely to move significantly until major players like Fernando Alonso declare their hand.

"Every year there are a number of pivotal points during the season which determine what is going to happen in the drivers' market," McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said earlier this weekend.

"This year I think we all know that the Fernando/Ferrari move has a knock-on (effect) and that ripples through the other teams. Clearly the BMW withdrawal will also have an impact.

"So I don't think we see a need at the moment to rush into it," he added.
Barrichello in box seat for Valencia GP victory  (GMM) Despite McLaren locking out the front row of the grid for Sunday's European grand prix, it is actually Rubens Barrichello in the box seat for Valencia victory.

When the FIA published the qualifying fuel weights on Saturday evening, it was revealed that the veteran Brazilian's Brawn is carrying almost ten more kilograms of fuel than the pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

Barrichello, 37, qualified less than a tenth slower than Hamilton despite the heavier fuel load, and was fastest of all in the low-fuel 'Q2' session.

Heikki Kovalainen's sister McLaren, one place ahead of Barrichello on the grid in second position, is carrying 7.5kg less fuel than Barrichello. More ...
Vettel not penalized after engine oil spillage  (GMM) Stewards on Saturday decided not to penalize Sebastian Vettel after his engine failure in the morning practice session.

Race director Charlie Whiting submitted a report to the FIA officials after the German driver suffered a blown Renault engine but did not pull to the side of the Valencia street circuit.

The one-hour practice session was significantly curtailed under red flag conditions, as a street-sweeper truck, and marshals with white powder, tried to clean up the trail of oil that extended from turns 17 to 24.

The stewards met with Whiting, the Red Bull team manager and 22-year-old Vettel, but ultimately "decided that the incident requires no further action".
Infineon IndyCar Saturday Notebook - 1  Hello from a sunny and beautiful Sonoma, California where the Indy Lights and IndyCars are in action this weekend.  The weekend schedule is just two days, instead of the traditional three days, that road course events sometimes are.  IndyCar has gone to a 2-day format to most of its races to save the teams some money........The Historic Grand Prix F1 cars just finished their 30-minute session and it's always good to see the cars I grew up watching.  They bring back many good memories.......Ran into Memo Gidley who tells us he will probably drive in 2 of the final 3 Grand-Am races.  He won't be in the Montreal race because the team is going to run a couple of NASCAR drivers who bring much needed money to the team.  Between races Memo continues to race Jet Skis and Go-Karts.......For safety reasons the IndyCars do not run all the way down to the final hairpin turn like NASCAR and some other series do.  Instead another hairpin was created about 200-yeards up the road.  Too bad because the run down to the real final turn is a good place to overtake under braking.  I remember doing a lot of passing into that corner under braking when I raced the Jim Russell German F3 cars here last year.  More as the day progresses.  Mark C. reporting from Infineon Raceway
Stanley to pay out over $1 million if Sadler/Kahne win at Bristol  Richard Petty Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler and the #19 Stanley Dodge now have a million more reasons to win the Aug. 22 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Primary sponsor Stanley will make a $1 million donation to Children's Miracle Network if Sadler wins the 500-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the half-mile, high-banked track AND Stanley will donate $500,000 to Children's Miracle Network if Kasey Kahne wins Friday night's race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The incentives are part of the "Racing for a Miracle" program created by Stanley, the Ace Hardware Foundation and Children's Miracle Network. "Racing for a Miracle" is a multi-dimensional program that benefits sick and injured kids by raising funds for the hospitals that provide their care. In addition to the race, Sadler is encouraging Ace Hardware patrons to visit one of the country's 1,100 participating Ace Hardware stores during the month of August to buy a $1 "Racing for a Miracle" icon. All donations benefit a local Children's Miracle Network hospital. Kendrick Cohen, a 12-year-old patient at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., will attend the Aug. 22 race as part of a helmet design contest that he won. Elliott Sadler will present Cohen the helmet he designed and a second helmet will be auctioned off later in the season with donations benefiting Children's Miracle Network. RPM
Schu says no to imminent F1 comeback  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher on Saturday ruled out speculation he might re-double his efforts to be fit enough to replace Luca Badoer at Ferrari for forthcoming races.

Badoer, in his first qualifying session since he also qualified dead last at Suzuka in 1999, was multiple seconds off the pace as he began substituting for the injured Felipe Massa at Valencia.

Schumacher has intended to be driving the number 3 F60, but called off his comeback due to ongoing injuries he sustained in a motorcycle testing crash earlier this year.

But it hasn't stopped speculation that the German might still attempt to return in the near future; if not at Spa next weekend then perhaps at Monza in mid September.

"For the moment, definitely not," he told the German broadcaster RTL at Valencia.  When asked which Ferrari driver will be at the wheel of Massa's car at Spa, Schumacher added: "Luca, definitely." More ...

Lee White rips NASCAR over carburetors  Toyota's Lee White, head of the car maker's NASCAR operations told MikeMulhearn.net that fuel injection could easily be "implemented across the board in all three divisions (Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup) by next February at Daytona."

“Yes, I'm in favor of it," White said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I would vote for it, absolutely, without question."

White, like Chevy's Pat Suhy, says a changeover could be done very quickly.

“Any competent engine builder could go to Wolfgang Hustedt (motorsports manager for Bosch) and buy a controller and 10 injector nozzles and have it running in a couple of days, and have it ready to rock and roll in a couple of weeks.

“It's very easy to do, and it's very inexpensive to do.

“And if it's done correctly, there could be a revenue stream for NASCAR – because they could control and lease the units (to the teams)."

Why fuel injection? Why now?

“I think, if you want my opinion, that fuel injection is one of two or three things that NASCAR could consider, in conjunction with the four manufacturers – who are important to get engaged in the discussion – that could lower costs," White said. More ...
Brawn still no decision on drivers  Speaking in the official FIA press conference on Friday though, ahead of this Sunday's European Grand Prix at Valencia, the eleventh round in the 2009 F1 World Championship, Brawn refused to confirm what the situation is with his drivers for next year.

Brawn has said that his team are still in discussions with both current drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello about 2010 – and that the line-up for next year is a 'work in progress'.

Button has shined this season and currently leads the drivers'' championship, however with no deal yet confirmed the Brit could still move elsewhere. Although that is believed to be extremely unlikely, Rubens Barrichello position is far more precarious.

Indeed after his outburst after the German Grand Prix, when he claimed the Brackley-based operation had 'lost him the race', the Brazilian may well find this season is his final at the pinnacle of the sport.

"It is a work in progress. I am sorry but we are in discussions with our drivers," Brawn told reporters. "We are obviously very happy with their performance this year and it is not appropriate for me to talk about what we are doing with our drivers at the moment. But we will announce it in good time what is going to happen."

Valencia: Friday Quotes  


Heikki Kovalainen (10th, 1:40.738): "I am quite satisfied with my day's running. We ran exactly the program that we'd planned and the car feels pretty good. For me, this has been a much better start to my weekend than in Hungary and I feel like we're in good shape. The pace at the front is very close, but I think we're in the hunt. We now go into tomorrow fully focused on getting a good result."

Lewis Hamilton (20th, 1:43.214): "I touched the wall, but didn't even really feel the impact. I only grazed the front wing - but, unfortunately, it couldn't be repaired as we didn't have a spare one. Hopefully, we can get a new one for tomorrow, or else we'll have to make some changes - we don't have lots of these wings available. I didn't feel too happy with the car this morning, but the changes we made between the sessions were very positive. On my last lap, I was six tenths up and it was already looking quite good, so I feel positive for Saturday. It's a shame we missed out on so much track-time, but I still think we'll be okay tomorrow - that time can always be regained." More ...

No plans for Red Bull Racing to expand  Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye says there are no plans as of now for the organization to expand to three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams next season. Red Bull, in its third season in NASCAR's top series, currently fields entries for driver #83-Brian Vickers and rookie #82-Scott Speed. "There's really no goal to have a third team at this point, in my opinion," Frye said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We have to get our two teams both competing in the high levels every week before you would think about expanding. We've got one team [Vickers' #83 team] that's competing at a high level every week. Scott, obviously part of his development now, we're getting into phase two of that where we're going to race tracks for a second time, and obviously we need to see an improvement from the first races." Speed has just one top-10 finish, a fifth at Talladega, in 22 starts this season and has failed to qualify three times. Frye hopes Speed's results will improve as he gains more seat time and revisits tracks, such as last weekend at Michigan, where he had only competed once before. As for Red Bull's widely rumored switch from Toyotas to Chevrolets next season, Frye said negotiations are ongoing and didn't rule anything out. "Manufacturer-wise we're working really hard to get that done," he said. "That is the next step in our progression to lock that down for a few years. Again, Toyota has been a great partner, and we are working through a lot of different scenarios with them. I would anticipate everything being shored up at some point in the near future with them." SceneDaily
Badoer accepts blame for pitlane speeding  (GMM)  Luca Badoer accepted the blame for his run-ins with stewards at Valencia throughout his competitive return to F1 on Friday.

The 38-year-old Italian was caught speeding in the pit lane no fewer than four times during free practice, the latter infringement earning him an official reprimand on top of his more than 5000 euros in fines.

Some suggested that Badoer's Ferrari must have been suffering a fault with the pit lane speed limiter, but he confessed it was simply a matter of him struggling to adjust after more than a decade as a test driver.

"I am used to a 100 kph limit in testing and so when I pressed the speed limiter button at the usual point in the pit lane, it did not give the car enough time to slow to the right speed," he is quoted as saying by the British newspaper Express. More ...

Sutil fastest after Vettel engine blow  
Adrian Sutil
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil emerged with the fastest time in the final practice session before qualifying at Valencia on Saturday.

The session was one of two parts: before and after the apparent Renault engine failure suffered by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, which caused a lengthy red flag period to cover his spilled oil with powder.

"We don't know (what happened)," the German said.  "Suddenly I lost power and then got stuck.  I don't know any more than you."

The slower times set after the Vettel incident, which required a street sweeper to attempt to mop up the leaked oil, meant Sutil's Force India was followed on the time sheets by Kazuki Nakajima and Robert Kubica. More ...

racing news
Drivers sign workbench for charity auction  One lucky bidder will own a piece of racing history! Gladiator® GarageWorks has donated one of two workbenches signed by all 33 drivers from the 2009 Indianapolis 500 to be auctioned off at www.bidaroo.com starting today. The drivers signed the bench in the starting grid positions in which they qualified for the famed race. All (100%) of the net proceeds from the online auction will benefit breast cancer research.

Autographs include those of 2009 Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves as well as past winners Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon. The bench also features the autographs of popular drivers Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, A.J. Foyt IV and Sarah Fisher.

When asked by his associate sponsor, Gladiator® GarageWorks, whom he wanted as the beneficiary of this auction, Larry Foyt, (Team Director of A.J. Foyt Racing) didn't hesitate to designate Emerson Newton-John’s "Full Speed 2 a Cure” motorsport cancer awareness campaign and its charitable non-profit partner, Cure Breast Cancer. More ...

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