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Chicagoland Day 1 IndyCar notebook  
Honda overtake assist

Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make be used for the second time at Chicagoland Speedway in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.

For the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway

20 uses                                       

12 seconds duration each use

10-second recharge period between uses More ...

IRL IndyCar event switching to night race  Iowa Speedway’s 2011 IndyCar Series race will come with a new backdrop.

Instead of a blazing sun over head, an array of lights will bathe the track for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, which is slated for Saturday night, June 25.

“This is what I’ve wanted from Day One,” said the track’s vice president and general manager Craig Armstrong. “It’s been a goal to find a way to convince them to give us a night race, and I think it will be very dramatic.” More ...

Kirk Shelmerdine Racing Assets to be Sold at Public Auction  It was announced Wednesday that Kirk Shelmerdine will sell his current race team assets at public auction on September 14th. Shelmerdine is best known for his role as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt from 1984 until 1992. After his successful campaign with Earnhardt and Richard Childress, Kirk decided to retire, and later became a Cup series driver and team owner. Citing the lack of sponsors and technology currently available to independent teams, Kirk has decided to sell his entire operation at public auction. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve built and accomplished here over the years. But the time has come for a completely new business model.” He is selling his race shop located at 468 Industrial Drive in Welcome, NC, plus a Featherlite car hauler, 3 Cup COT cars, pit equipment, shop equipment, vehicles, parts and etc. Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc. has been commissioned to conduct the auction. Iron Horse Auction Co. and its predecessor Thomas McInnis and Associates have conducted many of the leading race equipment auctions held in the Southeastern United States since 1980. The auction will take place Tuesday, September 14th at 11 a.m. on the premises in Welcome, NC. Complete information is available at www.ironhorseauction.com. For further information, contact Thomas McInnis at 910.997.2248 or 800.997.2248 or go to www.kirkshelmerdine.com.
Dumas tops ALMS practice  In his first laps driving the Porsche RS Spyder since 2008, Romain Dumas set the fastest lap in testing for the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport. The Frenchman set a time of 1:07.801 (130.564 mph) in the Porsche prototype he will drive with Klaus Graf.

Dumas set the four fastest times on the day and was 0.627 seconds clear of Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith. He is driving the team’s Mazda-powered Lola coupe with Chris Dyson. More ...
Stoner tops opening Indy practice  The Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend began in hot and sunny conditions today as the MotoGP teams rolled up the garage shutters for the first practice session ahead of Sunday’s 28-lap race.  Casey Stoner was fastest on his Ducati.

Practice Results

Pos Rider Time Nat Bike Team
1 Casey Stoner 1m 40.884 AUS DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1m 41.109 SPA YAMAHA Fiat Yamaha Team
3 Nicky Hayden 1m 41.405 USA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
4 Dani Pedrosa 1m 41.421 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Valentino Rossi 1m 41.623 ITA YAMAHA Fiat Yamaha Team
6 Colin Edwards 1m 41.664 USA YAMAHA Tech 3 Yamaha
7 Andrea Dovizioso 1m 41.683 ITA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
8 Ben Spies 1m 41.722 USA YAMAHA Tech 3 Yamaha
9 Aleix Espargaro 1m 41.992 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
10 Marco Melandri 1m 42.147 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
11 Marco Simoncelli 1m 42.268 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
12 Hector Barbera 1m 42.368 SPA DUCATI Paginas Amarillas Aspar
13 Mika Kallio 1m 42.600 FIN DUCATI Pramac Racing
14 Alvaro Bautista 1m 42.696 SPA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
15 Loris Capirossi 1m 42.790 ITA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
16 Hiroshi Aoyama 1m 42.874 JPN HONDA Interwetten Honda MotoGP
17 Randy De Puniet 1m 42.987 FRA HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
IMSA implements revised pit lane procedure at Mosport  Yellow-flag caution periods will have a different look this weekend when the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n races at Mosport International Raceway. The substantially large grid of 30 cars will mean a realigned pitlane and operation for Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.

How will it work? The pit entrance will be closed immediately under full course caution, as is standard practice. Once the Safety Car has the overall leader and field in tow, IMSA officials will open the pits with LMP and LMPC cars only allowed to pit on the first lap. On the next lap, all GT and GTC cars may pit. For subsequent laps, any car may come in to pit lane. More ...

Daly tops final practice in Mosport  Continuing a high-speed duel that began last weekend when they  qualified side-by-side on the front row for Round 11 at Road America, Star Mazda Championship leader Conor Daly did a last-lap flier in the final practice session for Round 12 at Mosport to top the time sheets and bump Connor De Phillippi down to second… but it was a close thing; Daly's lap of 1:15.413 (117.386 mph) in the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda was the fastest lap of the weekend so far, but only 2/10ths quicker than De Phillippi's 1:15.567 (117.007 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda.  More ...
Tambay tops wet GP3 practice  The first GP3 session of the weekend was delayed by over thirty minutes after an eventful GP2 qualifying session ran long. Torrential downpours all weekend meant that all thirty GP3 cars hit the track with wet weather tires for just the second time this season putting their rain skills to the test.

On his first flying lap of the session Series leader Esteban Gutierrez set the pace for ART Grand Prix, closely followed by Tambay and teammate Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. Antonio Felix da Costa was also quick in the first half of the session for Carlin, and all three Jenzer Motorsport drivers were up in the top ten including Simon Trummer – the Swiss driver making an impressive comeback after missing two rounds. More ...

Red Bull passes latest wing flexibility tests  (GMM)  Red Bull's car was declared legal on Friday after undergoing the latest wing and floor flexibility tests at Spa-Francorchamps.

Amid suggestions the front of the RB6 is too low at the front when at speed, the FIA ramped up the wing flexibility test for the Belgian event.

This was carried out on championship leader Mark Webber's car, as well as the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, after Friday practice.

The FIA confirmed that the cars' wings and floors "were found to be in conformity" with the regulations. More ...

NASCAR Bristol TV Rating  UPDATE #2 The final NASCAR Nationwide Bristol national rating, was not a 1.6 as ESPN reported below, but in fact a 1.3, so it was down from the 1.5 last year.  You must be careful when reading the ratings and cannot confuse a cable national rating (ESPNs number) with an overall national rating (1.3).  There are more overall households with TV sets than households with cable TV.  So when you look at total households with TV sets the rating number is lower than just cable TV household ratings.

08/25/10 The live telecast of Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Bristol International Raceway on ABC earned a final national household rating of 3.5, averaging 5,841,952 viewers, down 8% from last year's final 3.8 rating on ESPN.  However, the number of viewers this year, because it was on network TV instead of cable, was up from the 5.3M viewers in 2009.

ESPN’s live telecast of Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.6, averaging 2,053,490 viewers. The rating was up from the 1.5 for last year’s race that aired on ESPN2. Five of the last eight Nationwide Series races have seen ratings growth over the corresponding event last year, while the other three were even. ESPN’s NASCAR Nationwide Series ratings are up 6% compared to this point last year.

08/23/10 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup: Irwin Tools Night Race on ABC Saturday was a 3.0, which is very bad news yet again for NASCAR.  Last year's final rating was a 3.8 but that was on a cable channel (ESPN).  A 3.0 represents an 11.1% drop, but more importantly it is another major blow to NASCAR.  While one can understand why their grandstands have empty seats (people out of work are not going to buy expensive NASCAR tickets), TV is free, so even if you are unemployed you would still watch the NASCAR race on TV.  Right?  Wrong?  NASCAR has been losing TV viewers for four straight years now and this is an ominous sign.  And when you lose them for a popular race like Bristol, it is even more bad news.
Pecking order unclear as more rain falls at Spa  (GMM)  The pecking order is unclear after three hours of practice at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday.

After a mostly wet day of running, even though the Belgian track was drying in the afternoon session, Mercedes' Norbert Haug was asked who he thought was looking quickest so far.

"Nobody knows exactly," he told German Sky television.

He said the timesheets threw up a few clues, with Red Bull "stronger than they seem" and also Force India's Adrian Sutil apparently in the running.

"Ferrari and McLaren will be good," added Haug, confirming that Mercedes is running a modified F-duct system this weekend. More ...

American Ben Spies replaces Valentino Rossi  Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd is delighted to announce that current Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies will move to the Factory Team for the 2011 MotoGP season.

The 26-year-old American, who won the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha in 2009, is enjoying an impressive first season in MotoGP. He is currently the leading rookie and the top satellite rider, lying seventh in the championship.

“We’re delighted that Ben will join the Factory Team for next season,” said Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “Ben has shown great promise in his first ten MotoGP races. He has learnt rapidly and recorded strong results, including a well-deserved podium finish at Silverstone – impressive for someone in their first full season. More ...

Ohio State electric car hits 307 MPH  A team of Ohio State University students that set out to build the fastest electric car on the planet is heading home with a broken clutch and a big grin.

The Buckeye Bullet was clocked on Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds averaging 307 mph, which could set a new record if it is verified by the governing body of motorsports. The old record for an electric car was 246 mph.

"We've been at this for 16 years now and have our newest lithium-ion powered vehicle out," team manager David Cooke said by cell phone from the salt flats, about 100 miles west of Salt Lake City. "Our vehicle was capable of going much faster." More ...

Alonso fastest all day at soggy Spa  
Fernando Alonso was on top all day Friday at a wet Spa circuit
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso was fastest in both of Friday's practice sessions at Spa-Francorchamps.

But after emerging from his Red Bull with the 18th quickest time in the afternoon, championship leader Mark Webber warned observers not to read too much into the first day's results.

Indeed, the track was wet for most of the running, and when the sun was shining at the end, the red flags were waving due to spectators climbing a perimeter fence.

But on a late dash on dry tires, Alonso followed up his wet morning time with the best time of the day in the afternoon, causing HRT driver Karun Chandhok to describe Ferrari's pace as "ominous" on BBC radio. More ...

track news
Donington Park granted new race license  Donington Park has been given the green light to host national and international motorsport events after it successfully regained its racing license following the failed attempt to wrest the British Grand Prix from Silverstone left it physically scarred.

The Leicestershire circuit passed a safety inspection carried out by FIA and Motorsport Association representatives on Thursday [26 August], and will now be allowed to stage car racing alongside the two-wheeled action already assured by the recent granting of ACU license. The latest news It means that Donington Park Racing, the company now operating the circuit, is free to host a full list of events for the remainder of the year, including the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race next month.

Contractors have also reshaped the track’s famous Esses and lengthened the main straight at Goddards Corner.

Project director Duncan Green, a partner at construction consultants Pick Everard, led the team responsible for the redevelopment work and welcomed the inspectors’ decision.

“We have worked closely with the MSA and FIA to ensure that we do everything we need to ensure that the track is up to standard, and I am delighted that they have granted us our racing license," he noted, "It is excellent news for everybody connected with the circuit and is testament to a great deal of hard work that has delivered a compliant track within such a tight timescale.”

Kevin Wheatcroft, chairman of Donington Park Racing, shared Green's sentiments, admitting that the granting of a race license will allow the company to press on with the next stage of the rescue.

“Reinstating the MSA and FIA track license now allows us to develop and implement plans for the future of the circuit and for the Donington Park estate," he commented, "There is still a great deal of work ahead of us, but we already have a full line-up of races over the next few months. We have an exciting future.”

The first car racing event of 2010 coincides with the circuit's grand re-opening, with the Masters Historic Racing Festival over 3-5 September followed by the BTCC meeting on the weekend of 18-19 September.

Cosworth Present Rubens with 300th Gift  
On the eve of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Cosworth presented AT&T Williams driver Rubens Barrichello with a special gift – a state-of-the-art Cosworth branded Storck electric bike - in commemoration of his 300th Grand Prix.

The one-of-a-kind electric bike, manufactured by German specialists Storck Bicycle GmbH, carries Cosworth branding with a livery based on the Williams-Cosworth FW32, as well as being adorned with the special logo created by the team to honour Barrichello’s landmark of 300 Formula One races.

The bike was presented to Rubens by Cosworth engineers Dave Lamb and Phil Barrett during a well attended celebration organised by AT&T Williams and hosted in their hospitality unit. The gift was commissioned by Cosworth one month ago and  personally delivered to the Spa paddock by Storck company founder Markus Storck. More ...
Maldonado tops red flagged practice  Pastor Maldonado was on top once again this morning in a very wet free practice session in Spa Francorchamps, setting the fastest lap in a small break between heavy showers to finish ahead of Dani Clos and series returnee Alvaro Parente.

The Venezuelan set a best time of 2:16.498 halfway through the rain affected session: he was the first man on track to be sure of a clear view, and was constantly fastest in a session that was not likely to see too much action, given the conditions.

With all of the drivers determined not to create a drama for their mechanics there was not much in the way of action, although Michael Herck and Johnny Cecotto both stopped on track early in the session. More ...

Mad Croc begins Sauber sponsorship  Sauber Motorsport has announced a new sponsor for its Formula 1 team, starting with this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Joining the Hinwil outfit is Mad Croc, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer of energy gums, chews and drinks.

Originally planned for the two Spanish races, Burger King logos are also back on the Sauber cars in Belgium although the latest branding sees Mad Croc extend its motorsport connections, already with link-ups in rallying and sports car racing.

“It is clear the products of Mad Croc fit perfectly well with Formula 1,” says Sauber Team Principal Peter Sauber. “We are very much looking forward to this refreshing collaboration which has been agreed for all the remaining races of the 2010 season.”

Spa: Alonso tops opening practice  Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari turned the fastest lap in opening practice for the Belgian Grand Prix that was run in typical Spa conditions - rain.

Alonso's time of 2m00.797s was 3/4 of second up on Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull). More ...

Toro Rosso working on blown exhaust - Buemi  (GMM)  A Red Bull-style blown exhaust and diffuser layout is "in the works", according to Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi.

Although still owned by the energy drinks maker, Faenza based Toro Rosso is now going it alone from a technical perspective, no longer receiving updates from Red Bull Technology in the UK.

Toro Rosso is the lowest ranked of the established teams in the constructors' championship, and concerned about falling further off the pace.

With all F1 teams except the newcomers now running a blown floor, Buemi said the innovation is "in the works" for the Ferrari-powered STR5. More ...

Webber believes F1 still heading to Korea  (GMM)  Red Bull's 2010 title charge would be easier if F1 dropped a race, but Mark Webber is confident the sport is still headed to Korea.

There have been widespread doubts about the readiness of the new Yeongam venue for its inaugural October 24 date; one of the remaining seven rounds this season.

Australian Webber is currently leading the drivers' championship by a slender 4 points, and he admitted on Thursday that he would be feeling more comfortable if there were fewer races still to run. More ...

Hulkenberg not yet in 2011 talks with Williams  (GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has revealed that talks about staying at Williams in 2011 have not yet taken place.

It is believed the British team is planning to keep both the reigning GP2 champion and veteran Rubens Barrichello next year, but actual deals are not yet in place.

Rookie German Hulkenberg, who turned 23 in August, said recently he would be "disappointed" to lose the race seat, albeit admitting that his bosses "expected more points" from him in 2010. More ...

Heavy rain at Spa on Friday morning  (GMM)  Just over two hours before opening practice at Spa-Francorchamps, it is raining heavily at the famous circuit.

A very poor day of weather in the Belgian Ardennes is forecast, with both of F1's 90 minute practice sessions likely to be affected.

"I hope the weather clears up as it doesn't look so great out there at the moment," Lewis Hamilton told reporters on Thursday.

Earlier, it seemed there was the prospect of some sunnier spells at Spa this weekend, but local reports now predict the chance of variable rain throughout the event.

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