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DATE News (chronologically)
08/26/11
irl
nascar

Q and A with Danica Patrick from Infineon
Danica Patrick Friday at Infineon
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
IZOD IndyCar® Series driver Danica Patrick (No. 7 Andretti Autosport) hosted a media availability at Infineon Raceway today in advance of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.  Below are a few select quotes from Patrick’s press conference:

What do you look forward to on and off the track here in Sonoma?
DP
: On the track, I feel this is a real rhythm track, and if you get in a good rhythm with the car, and you’re aggressive and you put it where you want it, it can be a good weekend.  Off the track, I look forward to the wine.

About the transition to NASCAR:
DP
: I had to think about what would make me happiest and where I would have the most fun. I really enjoy racing those (stock) cars.

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08/26/11
irl

Franchitti tops Friday IndyCar practice
Dario Franchitti
Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti turned the fastest lap in IndyCar practice Friday at Infineon Raceway.  Looking to extend his point lead this weekend, Franchitti's lap of 1m19.4269s was enough to top last year's race winner Will Power who had a 1m19.5633s lap.

"We obviously were quick right out of the trailer today, much quicker than when we [previously] tested here," said Franchitti.  "So it's a good start to the weekend, but we have to keep improving the car, and keep up with the track as it changes over the weekend.  With 28 cars here, starting up front will be critical to getting a good result in the race Sunday."

“We are very close to getting the car where we need it, it just comes down to sorting out the fine details,” said Power, who won the pole, led the most laps at won at Infineon Raceway last season. “The team will try to think about the changes we can make tonight and see where we can go tomorrow. We tested here last week and it is for sure a driver’s track. It is all about getting the different sectors to come together. It can be tough to get the balance just right. My weekend here last year was perfect and those are pretty hard to come by, but Verizon Team Penske is definitely aiming for that this weekend.”

Read more & Comment...
08/26/11
automotive

Chevrolet Cruze Eco Averages 64 MPG Over 9,552 Miles
Cruze Eco
Behind the wheel of an unmodified Chevrolet Cruze Eco an Australian couple set a fuel-efficiency record for the 48 contiguous states. During the 23-day, 9,552 mile trip sponsored by Shell Oil, John and Helen Taylor averaged a remarkable 64.42 miles per gallon.

That is 50 percent better than the EPA estimate of 42 miles per gallon highway for a Cruze Eco manual, already the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car in the United States, excluding hybrids and diesels. To achieve its segment-leading fuel economy, Cruze’s engineers focused on aerodynamic performance, mass optimization and powertrain enhancements. 

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08/26/11
nassprint

Stewart looking for driver to split ride with Danica
Tony Stewart is searching for a driver and sponsor that will split the 2012 Sprint Cup schedule with Danica Patrick, who announced on Thursday she will drive eight to 10 races next year for Stewart-Haas Racing. The purpose would be to keep Patrick's car ranked in the top 35 in points, guaranteeing her and sponsor GoDaddy.com a spot in the starting lineup each week. "We'd love to,'' Stewart said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "If we can put together a package to run somebody in the rest of the races we'd love to do that. It's in everybody's best interest to do that. It would be good for us as a team to be able to go ahead and run that car full-time if that opportunity presents itself.'' Among the drivers who have surfaced is Mark Martin, who is driving the GoDaddy.com Cup car for Hendrick Motorsports this season. Sources said the key for Martin would be finding a sponsor. GoDaddy.com CEO and founder Bob Parsons was noncommittal when asked if he would sponsor the remainder of the season for the third SHR car. Stewart said he has not set Patrick's Cup schedule yet, although Patrick said the odds of her debut coming in the 2012 Daytona 500 were good. ESPN

Comment
08/26/11
nassprint

ABC alternative TV coverage of Bristol race UPDATE On Saturday is the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The NASCAR Sprint Cup event was originally scheduled to run on Channel 13 in the Houston, Tx area beginning at 6pm, but because of the Texans/San Francisco coverage, the race will be shown on their digital channels. For more info and the channels in Houston area, go to abclocal.go.com/ktrk.

08/22/11 WKRN, Nashville's News 2, will NOT air the Bristol Sprint Cup race due to Tennessee Titans preseason game against the Chicago Bears. The NASCAR race at Bristol on August 27, 2011 will air on ESPN 2 from 6:30pm to 10:00 pm/et assuming that is just local Nashville for ESPN2. wkrn.com

Due to some ABC affiliates carrying telecasts of NFL pre-season football games or other programming on Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol will air regionally on ESPN2 in eight markets: Nashville, Tenn.; Duluth and Rochester, Minn.; Phoenix; Casper, Wy.; Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.; and Weslaco, Tex. In Houston, the race will air on the local ABC affiliate's digital tier station. ESPN PR

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08/26/11
f1

Kubica preparing for final surgery
Robert Kubica faces one last operation in the next few days, some seven months after the Polish Formula One driver suffered life-threatening injuries in a rally crash, his Renault team boss said on Friday.

"Robert has another surgery to go through so we have to wait now until he's fully recovered," Eric Boullier told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix when asked about the driver's future.

"I know this is the last one and then he will be starting, finally, the full rehabilitation," added the Frenchman.

Read more & Comment...
08/26/11
irl

Another sponsor for Baltimore GP
Under Armour has inked a deal to sponsor next weekend's inaugural Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix, "securing branding on the 2.1-mil track's hairpin turn near the Maryland Science Center and elsewhere across the event." The apparel company "locked up hospitality at the Grand Prix's VIP balcony, where it will entertain employees and clients." Race execs staffers and volunteers "will wear shirts bearing Under Armour's name during the weekend." UA joins a list of "some 30 sponsors"

Comment
08/26/11
nassprint

Edwards tops opening Sprint Cup practice at Bristol
Carl Edwards, a two-time winner at Bristol Motor Speedway, led Friday’s first Sprint Cup practice session at Bristol, posting a lap of 121.528 mph.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver, currently fourth in the points standings, was followed by Mark Martin (Hendrick Motorsports) at 121.412 mph.

Matt Kenseth (Roush), Brad Keselowski (Penske Racing) and Kasey Kahne (Red Bull Racing) completed the top five.

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08/26/11
nassprint

Harvick says he will kick Busch's butt
Kevin Harvick added fuel to the fire in his ongoing feud with Kyle Busch Friday, saying that Busch “might get [his butt] whipped again.”

Busch, who had a physical altercation with Harvick earlier this year at Darlington, tangled on the track with Kevin Harvick Inc. driver Elliott Sadler during the Truck Series race at Bristol Wednesday night.

Busch spun Sadler, who was competing in the event for team owner Joe Dennette, just past the midpoint of the race following contact between the two just a few laps earlier.

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08/26/11
irl

"The IndyCar Team Up-Fronts" Business of Speed Seminar
Phoenicia Sport & Entertainment, hosted their third and final 2011 edition of their industry successful, "Business of Speed Seminar - IndyCar Upfront mini-conferences" yesterday afternoon at the prestigious Fairmont San Francisco Hotel, in downtown San Francisco, CA. The event is in conjunction with this weekend's IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. The speakers included, Speedway Motorsports (SMI) Vice President of National Sales & Marketing, Michael Burch; IndyCar Vice President of Marketing, Greg Grunning, Eight-time IndyCar World Championship team Newman/Haas Racing Executive Vice President, Brian Lisles and Phoenicia Sport & Entertainment Founder & CEO, Chris Lencheski.

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08/26/11
Motogp

Stoner tops practice 2 at Indy
Casey Stoner
MotoGP's points leader has staked a claim for being the motorcycle rider to beat in Sunday's Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

Australian Casey Stoner, who crashed out last year and called the 2.6-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course the worst in the series, sped to the top of the lap-time chart in this afternoon's practice session. The 2007 world champion turned a lap of 1 minute, 40.724 seconds on his No. 27 Honda.

Stoner surged to the top late to unseat American Ben Spies, the 2010 Indy polesitter and runner-up who had been No. 1 in today's morning practice session. Spies turned a lap of 1:40.918 on his No. 11 Yamaha.

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08/26/11
motogp

Spies leads opening practice at Indy
2010 pole-sitter Ben Spies was quickest in the opening Friday practice session at Indianapolis. With a best effort of 1:43.260 on the new track surface, the Yamaha rider topped the timesheets from championship leader Casey Stoner, with fellow Americans Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden also in the top five.

With conditions ideal, crowds were delighted to see the three national riders highly placed, with only the Ducati of Stoner and Gresini Honda of Marco Simoncelli spoiling the symmetry. Italians Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso occupied the next two spots, with Spaniards filling places eight to eleven.

Stoner led the way with 90 seconds to go although Spies soon retook the top spot, just under a comfortable three tenths of a second quicker. With championship contender Jorge Lorenzo managing no more than ninth, Dani Pedrosa was seen entering the pits several times en route to tenth.

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08/26/11
f1

Schumacher reflects on his 20 years in F1
Arguably the sport's greatest driver ever, Michael Schumacher reflects on his 20 years in Formula One...

Q: 25th August 1991, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps: your first Formula One race. How did that come about?
MS: At the time, it was a combination of circumstances. Jordan driver Bertrand Gachot was sent to prison, which left his cockpit vacant in the run-up to the Belgian GP. There was some discussion about me possibly racing, but it was by no means a done deal that I would actually get to drive. It was only on the Thursday evening before the weekend that I was told I would be taking part in the next day's practice session and making my Formula One debut. That was my entry ticket into F1, which even back then was organized for me by Mercedes-Benz. From today's perspective, I can say that I have now returned to the family who gave me the opportunity to launch my career.

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08/26/11
alms

ALMS Road America TV Rating UPDATE The final rating for last weekend's ALMS race on ABC was a 0.7.

08/22/11 The overnight TV rating for the American Le Mans Series at Road America taped delayed on ABC Sunday was a 0.6

Comment
08/26/11
starmazda

Star Mazda series developing much needed American racing talent
With the influx of international drivers into the IndyCar Series during the 1980s, American drivers are now the minority in a series they once dominated.

There are several reasons for this turnaround. When international drivers — who had no place to move up in their homelands — saw an opportunity to compete in a world class series in the United States, they began migrating to IndyCar.

With the emergence of NASCAR, more young American drivers decided to turn to stock cars.

Another reason is many young American drivers became confused about which step to take after competing in go-karts to get to IndyCar.

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08/26/11
nnw

Nationwide crew member injured
Cory Howe, a crew member of the No. 50 MAKE Motorsports Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series was injured performing adjustments underneath the car this morning during practice at the Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Howe was transported to Wellmont Health System in Kingsport, Tenn. where he underwent  treatment and tests for his minor injuries. All tests for severe injury came back negative and he is listed in Good condition.  The team will have further updates on his release once available.

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08/26/11
f1

Spa: Webber tops dry Practice 2
Mark Webber made the most of a drying track to set the pace in Friday's second practice at Spa, topping Fernando Alonso.

The session began on a rather wet track with drivers lapping in the 2:10s. However, as the dry line began to form, more set times, times tumbled and the P1 slot swapped hands several times.

Webber, though, was the man who finished on top with a 1:50.321 with Alonso 0.140s off the pace. Third place went to Jenson Button, who was almost half a second down on the Aussie.

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08/26/11
f1

Downbeat Hamilton expects more Red Bull speed in 2012
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is cutting a downbeat figure at Spa-Francorchamps as he recovers from a summer illness.

"I was refreshed but caught a bug when I got back," he said, referring to his travels in the US with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

The McLaren driver's gloom was apparently compounded with the realization that the dominance of the Red Bull team could be set to enter yet another season in 2012.

"It could still be that case for the next year or so that they dominate from early on and we have to catch them up," Hamilton is quoted by BBC Sport.

"They have had from 2009 almost the same car.  It has just evolved in that same design.  It has just got better and better.

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08/26/11
f1

Force India tweaked format to help Sutil
(GMM)  Force India changed its usual grand prix weekend schedule at Spa-Francorchamps in an effort to help Adrian Sutil.

Usually, reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg takes over one of the Mercedes-powered cars for Friday morning practice.

But for Belgium, it emerged on Thursday that the team's regular lineup Paul di Resta and Sutil would be driving in the morning, before Hulkenberg takes over a cockpit in the afternoon.

When German Sutil emerged as the driver who missed out, it sparked speculation Force India was trialing its potential 2012 race lineup in representative conditions on a truly drivers' circuit.

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08/26/11
GP2

Romain Grosjean sets the early GP2 pace in Spa
Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean has started to put pressure on his rivals on what could be his weekend to glory in the eighth round of the 2011 GP2 Series season. The Dams driver set the quickest laptime of this morning’s free practice in Spa-Francorchamps ahead of local hero Michael Herck and Marcus Ericsson.

The track conditions that greeted the twenty-six drivers were damp, but they chose to get their first taste of the Belgium track on slick tires. However, the session was soon red flagged as Jolyon Palmer lost control of his Arden car at La Source and crashed into the barrier. When the track was clear, almost ten minutes had already gone and it was Johnny Cecotto who set the first quickest flying lap. Soon enough, Grosjean moved up to the top of timesheet with a fastest laptime of 2:00.634.

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08/26/11
irl

Go Daddy signs with Andrettis
Go Daddy signs all three Andrettis - Mario, Michael and Marco will all be spokespersons for the internet hosting company
Go Daddy is committing to IndyCar for another two years ... joining forces with three generations of a family synonymous with racing legend. Today, Go Daddy announced it has signed Mario, Michael and Marco Andretti as spokespeople and will also sponsor one of the Andretti Autosport IndyCar entries, with its driver and car to be revealed later this season. The deal officially begins next year and extends through the 2013 season. 

"Three generations of Andrettis - now that's just plain cool," said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons, who was a big fan of open-wheel racing as a child. "Deciding to stay with IndyCar was a pretty easy decision. The fans are great.  Imagine the marketing potential. Mario is an absolute icon. Michael has been Go Daddy's partner as a team owner for five years now and Marco is a young man who is already in the racing record books. This is not your 'everyday' sponsorship, that's for sure."

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08/26/11
f1

Video: Senna crashes at Spa


Comment
08/26/11
f2

Bortolotti goes quickest in opening practice session
Bortolotti in Austria
Mirko Bortolotti headed the timesheets during the opening free practice session for rounds 11 and 12 of the FIA Formula Two Championship at a sweltering Red Bull Ring.

The 21-year-old title leader was the first to get to grips with the new 4.3km Austrian circuit lapping with a best time 1:23.312s. His nearest rival Christopher Zanella ended the 45-minute session second quickest with Brands Hatch winner Jack Clarke in P3.

Romanian Mihai Marinescu and Ramon Pineiro rounded out the top five with all drivers lapping in the 1min 23s.

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08/26/11
f1

Spa: Schumacher tops wet Practice 1
(PVM) Wet and miserable would best describe the weather on the opening morning of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, rendering any running in the ninety minutes meaningless while claiming a number of rookies out.

Just short of the hour mark, Renault debutant Bruno Senna slammed the barrier exiting turn nine which brought joy to the heart of Nick Heidfeld who was laughing like hell..

About 15 minutes later, Paul di Resta also lost it out of nine slamming the barriers, but this time prompting a red flag situation.

Early on Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg set the early pace and remained top of the timing screens because the rain started to pound down about ten minutes into the session and thus precious track time went down the drain.

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08/26/11
gp3

Valtteri Bottas tops GP3 times in Spa
Bottas
Lotus ART driver Valtteri Bottas shot a warning to his rivals during today’s 45-minute long free practice and proved he will be one to watch at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. The Finn set the pace this morning claiming the top spot with a time of 2:14.546 just 0.280 seconds ahead of MW Arden’s Mitch Evans.

The penultimate round of 2011 GP3 Series™ kicked off this morning under clear blue skies, with newcomer Richie Stanaway setting the first quick lap time for his new team Lotus ART. RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker briefly took the top spot, but as the drivers got to grips with the 7.004 km track it wasn’t long before Bottas showed who’s boss – the Lotus ART driver set his quickest time of the session after fifteen minutes moving 0.946 seconds ahead of Melker.

Read more & Comment...
08/26/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Bruno Senna riding on his uncle Ayrton's coattails
    Senna lacks Heidfeld's 'driving skills' - Sauber
  • Boullier unhappy with F1's income distribution
  • F1 cannot always be exciting - Mosley
  • Boris Becker slams Schumacher critics
  • Rosberg - fonder F1 memories of Hakkinen over Schu
  • Alguersuari sees 'no problem' with Japan trip
  • F1 to be unhurt by Gribkowsky affair - Mosley
  • Split TV deal is 'good news' - Mosley
  • Hulkenberg to drive in afternoon, not morning
  • Boullier has 'no interest' in Raikkonen comeback
  • No mind games but Button wants Vettel to worry
  • Spa straights may or may not suit Red Bull

    Read more & Comment...
08/26/11
irl

Ding dong, Danica era is dead
Danica Patrick has become a bad distraction for the IndyCar Series.

As much as she’s done for the open-wheel series, she’s been a real pain for the series the last three years. She hasn’t been terribly competitive on the track, and the focus on the ‘will she or won’t she’ leave scenario is taking attention away from where it should be, on the real front runners, and the sponsors that power them.

Dealing with the annual rumors of Patrick’s departure will at long last come to an end today when Patrick and her sponsor—Go Daddy—publicly announce her plans to drive over to NASCAR full time next year.

There is no shortage of media outlets pontificating on how Patrick’s departure will lead to the demise of the IndyCar Series. Like a band-aid covering a scab, it’s time to tear Patrick away from the series. Be done with it.

Read more & Comment...
08/25/11
IRL

Team Penske responds to Power penalty
Team Penske today issued the following statements on the penalty announced by INDYCAR on driver Will Power.

“Team Penske does not condone or approve of the actions taken by Will Power in the aftermath of the restart that was subsequently aborted in the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Clearly Will, like many of the drivers in the field, was very frustrated with the decision that was made by race control to restart the race under dangerous conditions and he let his emotions get the best of him. The team has addressed this incident with Will and we are ready to move forward.” Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing

“I accept the penalty administered by INDYCAR and I understand that the series has to make a reasonable effort to ensure that this type of behavior will not be repeated by anyone else in the future. I have expressed my feelings about the incident that prompted my poor behavior and I’ve apologized and continue to regret the inappropriate gesture I made as well. Now, I am just looking forward to getting back on track this weekend and trying to earn the best possible results moving forward for Team Penske." Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske IndyCar

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08/25/11
f1

Heidfeld takes legal action
Nick Heidfeld who still has a valid contract as main driver with LRGP is set to continue legal proceedings before the High Court of London after LRGP has temporarily been allowed to let Bruno Senna drive in Nick's place until a final decision at a full trial which will take place after the Monza Grand Prix.

Nick's legal representative Dr. Stefan Seitz, Cologne, Germany: "The interlocutory decision of the court does not infringe on the fact that Nick has a valid contract to be one of the two main drivers of the team. This position is disputed by the team for apparently purely financial reasons. We do not intend to rest before Nick's legal position has been fully restored."

Nick's manager Andre Theuerzeit: "I am disappointed that the team is allowed to let another driver take Nick's seat for the next weekends. However, I certainly am confident that we will be able to enforce a fair solution for Nick in the further proceedings. We all hope that Nick will be back in the cockpit in Singapore."

Also Nick Heidfeld stated his view: "I was surprised by the Team's intention to replace me and regret that things have developed this way. I just wanted to be in the cockpit to get the best result for the team and me. I still have a clear contract and I want to drive."

Comment
08/25/11
nassprint

Statement from Tony Stewart on Danica
"We're very excited to have Danica Patrick and Go Daddy join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 for a limited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule with the intention of us running her full-time in Sprint Cup in 2013. We're proud of the fact she wants to come and be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing and what we've built with Ryan Newman and myself and all of our partners. Having Danica and Go Daddy as a combination at SHR is something we're really looking forward to. The thing you see in Danica right away is how determined she is to be good at what she does. She's very dedicated to taking the time and effort to make the transition from Indy cars to stock cars. She has talent, she has the right mindset and she has the proper drive and determination. It doesn't matter who it is you're looking for, those are the key attributes that you look for in a driver, and Danica's got them." Stewart Hass Racing PR

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08/25/11
irl

Power fined $30K for giving Barnhart the finger
Izod IndyCar Series officials on Thursday announced that they fined Team Penske driver Will Power $30,000 for flashing two middle fingers toward race control after the Aug. 14 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Power learned of his fine earlier this week.

Power made the gesture after crashing out of the New Hampshire race. He was angry that the officiating team restarted the race as rain fell on the track.

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08/25/11
irl

A lap of Infineon with Ryan Hunter-Reay
Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay takes us thru a lap of Infineon Raceway.



Comment
08/25/11
irl

IndyCar CEO comments on Danica leaving
Randy Bernard issued the following statement regarding Danica Patrick's announcement today.

"Danica has always been a great ambassador for INDYCAR, and there is no doubt  she has left a positive impression on our sport.  She has touched millions of fans and many that were new to motorsports. Danica attracted a fan base that every athlete and sports property in the world would love to have. We should give her a great farewell the rest of this season as she opens a new page in her career and wish her continued success with her new direction. "

Comment
08/25/11
Racing news

Warwick replaces Hill as BRDC president
Former racer Derek Warwick has been elected president of the British Racing Drivers Club, who own the Silverstone Formula One circuit, in place of Damon Hill.

Warwick, a Le Mans 24 Hours winner and sportscar driver, competed in 147 F1 grands prix.

Hill, the 1996 world champion, had announced earlier in the year that he was stepping down.

BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt said in a statement that Warwick had the unanimous support of the board.

Comment
08/25/11
nassprint

Dollar General to promote NASCAR Chase in stores
Dollar General today announced a one-year sponsorship of NASCAR that will result in an in-store promotion around the Chase for the Sprint Cup at all 9,000 of its retail outlets. The company this weekend will unveil a "Race in to Win" sweepstakes that offers customers the chance to win more than 9,000 prizes highlighted by a trip to Las Vegas for NASCAR's championship celebration and a $250,000 giveaway. It is the first time a national retailer has run a promotion around the Chase. Dollar General plans to have "Race in to Win" promotional materials on its shelves, flyers and receipts. The in-store promotion will incorporate several of NASCAR's consumer-package-goods sponsors, such as Unilever, which will promote Hellman's; Coca-Cola, which will promote Powerade; and Kraft, which will promote Oreos. Dollar General will use driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has a relationship with Hellman's through his Nationwide Series team, as the face and voice of the program in stores, online and in radio advertisements. SportsBusiness Daily

Comment
08/25/11
nnw
nassprint

Danica Patrick jumps to NASCAR
The worst-kept secret in motorsports is a secret no more. Danica Patrick, arguably the country's best-known racer, will jump from IndyCar to NASCAR full-time beginning with the 2012 season.
Wearing the same leather-jumpsuit and high heels from her commercials, Patrick, alongside GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons, made the announcement in Phoenix at a flash-and-dazzle event that was more GoDaddy rally than press conference.

"For breaking news that will shock the world, we are excited to finally announce that GoDaddy will be taking me full-time into NASCAR next year," Patrick said. "Very exciting. I'm just excited to finally say it."

Read more & Comment...
08/25/11
irl
fil

Video: IndyCar vs. Indy Lights
Have you ever wondered what the actual difference is between an Indy car and an Indy Lights car? Well this video will show you from the onboard perspective of an Indy car and an Indy lights car at Watkins Glen.



Comment
08/25/11
irl

Andretti IndyCar team bids Danica goodbye
Andretti Autosport and Danica Patrick announced today that they have a mutual agreement to part ways at the conclusion of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series. 

Patrick, who has driven for Andretti Autosport since 2007, will pursue other interests in 2012.   

Michael Andretti, president and CEO of Andretti Autosport, said he wishes Patrick nothing but the best in her upcoming endeavors and that she is always welcomed to come back to his organization. 

"Danica enjoyed the most success ever by a female driver in the world of motorsports and was a leading marketing force within IndyCar," said Andretti. "I wish her only continued success in her career. I want to thank Danica for her valued time with our team. "

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08/25/11
nassprint

Conway, Front Row settle lawsuits
Kevin Conway, his marketing company and sponsor Extenze have settled lawsuits with Front Row Motorsports with no money going to either side, Conway attorney Sam McGee said Wednesday.

Front Row had sued for $3.6 million, including $2.754 million in sponsorship fees, it alleged was owed by Conway, Conway’s company and Extenze for the 2010 season. Conway drove 21 races for the team from February-August 2010.

Conway had also filed complaints against Front Row for about $340,000 in salary, purse money and rookie program money he alleged he was owed.

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08/25/11
irl

Pantano ready for IndyCar return
Giorgio Pantano
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is rested and ready to race.  The team is eager to turn their luck around and make the most out of this weekend at the famous Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.  This will mark the team's seventh time to compete at the 12-turn 2.303 mile circuit and who better to do it with than with racing pros, Giorgio Pantano, who will pilot the No. 22 TranSystems machine, and Ana Beatriz, who will get behind the wheel of the No. 24 Ipiranga car.

The team feels additionally prepared this weekend because they had the opportunity to test at Infineon Raceway last week with Beatriz and Pantano.  Last year DRR finished 6th with Wilson and 24th with Hildebrand, 3rd with Mike Conway in 2009, 11th in 2005 with Roger Yasukawa, and 11th in 2008 with Buddy Rice.

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08/25/11
f1

Heidfeld at Spa and still under contract
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has made an appearance in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock as he bids to hold on to his Renault race seat.

Although still wearing a team shirt, the veteran German has been dropped for Belgium and also Monza in two weeks in deference to Bruno Senna, who is reportedly carrying some Brazilian sponsorship.

But Heidfeld told reporters his contract remains valid.

Both Senna and also Renault on Thursday referred to "legal issues" that are holding up the confirmation of Vitaly Petrov's new teammate for the remainder of 2011.

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08/25/11
f1

Senna to also replace Heidfeld at Monza
(GMM)  Bruno Senna will definitely return to the wheel of axed regular Nick Heidfeld's Renault in two weeks at Monza.

His teammate, Vitaly Petrov, let the cat out of the bag in the form of a message of congratulations to Senna in front of masses of international media at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Senna, the nephew of great triple world champion Ayrton Senna, will this weekend resume his F1 race career after his rookie season with HRT in 2011.

It is believed the two-race deal for Brazilian Senna is a compromise, while Heidfeld's management press a legal claim to the seat.

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08/25/11
f1

Critics 'paid to open mouths' - Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has moved to ridicule those pundits who think he should quit.

Television pundits Niki Lauda, the triple world champion, and former team owner and boss Eddie Jordan, recently derided 42-year-old German Schumacher's performance so far in his return to formula one.

"Of course I would prefer not to have to deal with it and that some people would keep their mouths shut," the Mercedes driver told FAZ newspaper.

"On the other hand, I know that these people are paid to have their mouths open.  But if everyone who is driving on my level had to quit, there would not be many left."

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08/25/11
f1

Rain and shine at typical Spa
(GMM)  Sunshine gave way to rain at Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday, as F1 prepares for a typically unpredictable Belgian grand prix.

In the notoriously fickle Ardennes region, the sport's figures were surprised as they arrived at the fabled circuit to find a bright and dry paddock.

"Good news -- really warm and sunny at Spa," said Virgin Racing on its official Twitter channel.

Shortly afterwards, Mercedes GP reported: "Oh wait ... it is now raining."

The Telegraph's Tom Cary was more eloquent as he described how the "blue skies and sunshine have given way to thick white cloud and fine mist-like rain".

The official forecast is for a probably wet Friday ahead of potential rain for qualifying, with Sunday likely to be better.

But championship leader Sebastian Vettel said the most predictable forecast is for a weekend "full of surprises".

"Spa can be raining one minute and then the sun can be shining the next."

Agreed Force India's Adrian Sutil: "We should probably expect some more rain showers this weekend."

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08/25/11
nascar

All-Star Showdown gets canceled
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, an annual event at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale that started in 2003 and attracted the top developmental drivers in the country, has been canceled. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and David Gilliland have won the All-Star Showdown before moving up the stock car ladder. X-Games star Travis Pastrana made his NASCAR debut at the All-Star Showdown this past January. Bob DeFazio, the vice president and chief operating officer of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, said he was not surprised that NASCAR cancelled the All-Star Showdown.

"It didn't come out of nowhere," DeFazio said. "Negotiations have been ongoing with NASCAR and Toyota. I'm sure the economy had something to do with this." The Showdown was one of the more popular events at Irwindale, attracting sell-out crowds. It was televised nationally on Speed. The Showdown started as a one-day, two-race event and was eventually expanded to three races over two days. DeFazio added that the contract between Toyota and NASCAR expired at the end of the Showdown in 2011. The two sides were negotiating a deal before the Showdown race in 2011. Ultimately, NASCAR could not work out a deal with Toyota and no other sponsor stepped forward to take its place, DeFazio said. ESPN

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08/25/11
nassprint

RCR Releases pit crew coach UPDATE RCR has replaced Clark with Eric Wilson. Wilson is currently the jackman for Harvick's #29 pit crew and was a jackman and coach for Richard Petty Motorsports last season. NASCAR Insiders

08/22/11 Less than one day after Kevin Harvick had trouble on pit road at Michigan International Speedway, Richard Childress Racing released pit-crew coach Matt Clark, SPEED sources confirmed Monday. Clark, who had the title of Director of Human Performance and Leadership Development at RCR, had been with the team since January 2008. In that position, he was charged with assembling and coaching RCR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series over-the-wall pit crews. The 40-year-old Clark previously had worked with Hendrick Motorsports in a variety of capacities from 2001 to 2007. Prior to that, he was with Team Rensi and had worked in the athletic departments of both Albertus Magnus College and South Central College, both institutions in New Haven, Conn. Calls to RCR seeking comment were not immediately returned.  SPEED

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08/25/11
lmes

Kimi Raikkonen to test Peugeot 908 UPDATE 2007 F1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen has completed his maiden test in Peugeot’s 908 Le Mans car, which it is rumored the Finn could race next year. The outing came at MotorLand Aragon, just over 100 kilometers from the Spanish city of Zaragoza.

Raikkonen toured for 35 laps and was present alongside Simon Pagenaud plus fellow former F1 racers Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny.

“I have enjoyed the test with Peugeot and racing would be great,” Raikkonen explained to Finland’s Turun Sanomat. “It’s really fun driving the 908.”

“Kimi adapted very quickly to the car and gave us a valuable technical feedback,” added Sporting Director Olivier Quesnel. “It is always interesting to get inputs from drivers such as Kimi.

“This test session was planned for a long time in order to prepare the rest of the season, on top of which we have allowed Kimi to discover the 908. As of today, nothing has been scheduled or planned for the future.”

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08/25/11
irl

IndyCar news bites
IndyCar race engineer Scott Raymond has joined the Motorsports Engineering Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) as a faculty member. The B.S. in Motorsports Engineering degree program began in 2008 at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI.  For information, visit: www.engr.iupui.edu/motorsports/. … Al Unser Jr. threw the ceremonial first pitch at Cashman Field in Las Vegas Tuesday night before the 51s' game. … Tony Kanaan has the best average finish of the five drivers who have competed in all six races at Infineon Raceway at 5.67 (1st in 2005, 11th in 2006, 4th in 2007, 3rd in 2008, 8th in 2009, 7th in 2010). ... Chris Nodine, a member of the Holmatro Safety Team, has been recognized with Frank D. Gilbert Jr Paramedic of the Year for Indiana.

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08/25/11
nassprint

Danica Patrick to fit right in at NASCAR
In professional sports the biggest stars are the best athletes.  For example, you are not going to start at quarterback for the NY Giants because you have a pretty face, or pitch for the NY Yankees if you posed half nude for a magazine, or play basketball for Chicago just because you are Michael Jordan's son.

But in American motorsports you can be a 'star' if you fit one of those categories.  Take Dale Earnhardt Jr. for example.  He's a star not because he is the best driver, far from it, he's the son of Dale Earnhardt. Sr.

Danica Patrick, 29, has been something of an underachiever since arriving in 2005. Consider, for a moment, that she is one of a small group of drivers who have started 100 or more IndyCar races since that rookie season of hers.

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08/25/11
irl

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh among owners on IndyCar racing team
Jim Harbaugh
There's a reason Panther Racing's car number is 4. That was the uniform number of Jim Harbaugh, one of the team's founding owners, throughout most of his NFL career.

Harbaugh is still part of the IndyCar Series team's ownership group, but he has been a little preoccupied lately as the 49ers' new head coach. In fact, he won't be able to attend Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. (He'll be busy dissecting game film from Saturday's exhibition game against Houston.)

So first-year driver JR Hildebrand came down to the 49ers' training facility Wednesday to be introduced to one of his bosses.

"Glad to finally meet you," Harbaugh told him as they shook hands. "How's the knee?"

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08/25/11
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Michael Schumacher
    Renault to divulge more on Heidfeld/Senna saga
  • 'Stubborn' Schumacher admits mistakes of past
  • Buemi admits 'enormous pressure' for F1 survival
  • Title situation 'worrying' for Vettel's rivals
  • Toro Rosso truck crashes on way to Spa

Renault to divulge more on Heidfeld/Senna saga
(GMM)  Renault on Thursday is set to release more details about the loss of Nick Heidfeld's race seat.

In a brief statement on Wednesday, following intense speculation, the team announced that Bruno Senna will be driving alongside Vitaly Petrov this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

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