Scheckter returns to Conquest Racing Tomas Scheckter will be back behind the wheel of the #36 Conquest Racing car, which will have primary sponsorship from Norcote International, for this weekend’s Kentucky Indy 300.
Conquest Racing will be welcoming Scheckter for a second consecutive race. The South African made his debut with the team last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, where he was unfortunately taken out of the race after five laps.
“We’re very happy to have Tomas back with us for this weekend at Kentucky Speedway,” expressed team owner Eric Bachelart. “Sadly his race was short-lived at Chicagoland but in the little time he had in the car over the weekend he did an excellent job and we’re looking forward to having him in the car again. His experience on ovals was of great help to the team.
Ferrari recalling burning 458 Italia's Ferrari is recalling 1,248 copies of the 458 Italia to replace an adhesive prone to catching fire. The adhesive is used in the wheel-arch assemblies. If it overheats, it can ignite.
Ferrari says it has received five reports of 458s catching fire; some of those burning cars have become Internet stars.
The Italian automaker began looking into the situation in August after five 458s caught fire in California, Paris, Switzerland, China and one other unnamed location. Ferrari is asking the owners of all 458s built before July 10 to take them to the dealership to have the glue removed and fasteners installed.
If it's too late and your 458 was damaged by fire, you will get a new one, Ferrari said. AutoWeek
ORECA unveils its LM P2 Oreca has expanded its activities by launching the ORECA 03.
ORECA has been a constructor since the end of 2007, and it has already made a name for itself with the ORECA 01 racing in LM P1, and the Formula Le Mans prototypes. The Signes-based Group has used the experience gained with these two cars to build the ORECA 03. This new prototype will be on sale for teams wanting to race in 2011 in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the different Le Mans Series in the LM P2 category.
"ORECA wants to expand its activities as a constructor and we liked the 2011 LM P2 regulations," begins Hugues de Chaunac. "This is why we're unveiling the ORECA 03 today, which has got Le Mans in its genes! It will also take advantage of the know-how we've acquired with the ORECA 01, a prototype that's both quick and reliable, as we've proved on several occasions, in particular in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours in which it finished fourth overall and in 2009 when it came home fifth."
F1 now a race of computers, not drivers Former Grand Prix winner Thierry Boutsen believes that technology now plays too great a role in the sport, having joined Formula 1 in 1983 before his retirement a decade later. The Belgian also feels that the championship is now lacking in the kind of driver camaraderie which featured throughout the 1980s.
After making his debut with Arrows before switching to Benetton but picking up three race wins for Williams at the 1989 Canadian and Australian Grands Prix plus Hungary 1990, Boutsen drove for Ligier in 1991 and 1992 prior to his exit from the sport after ten races with Jordan in 1993.
“There is a big difference,” the 53-year-old explained to India’s F1Pulse.com when comparing the two eras. “Technology has taken over, completely. When I was in F1 at the beginning, we didn’t have any computers - laptops didn’t even exist! We had a really different way of working.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Team Penske Advisor Rick Mears will be the grand marshal for the IZOD IndyCar Series 200th event and give 27 drivers the command to fire their engines for the Sept. 4 “Kentucky Indy 300” at Kentucky Speedway.
The open-wheel racing luminary serves as spotter for three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and will add a unique element to the grand marshal role by delivering the command from the spotters stand high atop the Kentucky Speedway frontstretch.
More than a decade since his last race, Mears remains one of the most successful racers in history. Many of his records have weathered the years since his retirement in 1992. Among the most significant:
While competitors are down, Chrysler is up Chrysler defied the industry trend with a 7% increase in new vehicle sales in August from a year earlier when Cash for Clunkers inflated most of its competitors’ sales. Once again, the Jeep brand led the way with a 17% year-over-year jump, helped by a 57% sales improvement for the Patriot and 56% increase for the Liberty.
But Chrysler’s year-over-year comparison benefited from the fact that it did not capitalize on last summer’s Cash for Clunker incentives because it had very little inventory of its smaller models.
Hinchcliffe hopes to ride high line to success at Kentucky James Hinchcliffe used to watch Greg Moore drive around competitors on ovals and dream of making high-side passes like his racing hero.
Now a highly regarded racer in his own right, Hinchcliffe has used the inspiration of the late Indy Lights and CART star as a template for success on ovals, applying those lessons throughout his two years in Firestone Indy Lights, including his first oval win at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28.
"I learned a lot watching Greg Moore when I was growing up," the 23-year-old Canadian said. "Greg used the high line, and I was awe struck watching him on an oval. Not for a second, am I pretending to have the gift that Greg had, but I sort of turned (running the high line) into my thing."
200th Race - First street race special to Andretti One in a series highlighting the 200th Indy Racing League IZOD IndyCar Series points-paying race this weekend.
With four (and occasionally five) drivers competing for Andretti Autosport, it's understandable if Michael Andretti might be hard-pressed to select one event that stands out in eight seasons of IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
But the former Indy car racing champion is up to the task (after a brief grace period for deliberation).
"Although it is tough to say that anything would be bigger than winning our first Indy 500 in 2005, I actually think the sweep at St. Pete earlier that year is biggest in my mind," Andretti said of the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series street circuit race. "It was the first race we ever promoted, we won the pole and the race with Marco (Andretti) in Firestone Indy Lights, we won the pole with Bryan (Herta), the race with Dan (Wheldon) and we swept the top four spots in IndyCar.
Miami fans can see IndyCars for free Homestead-Miami Speedway will host IndyCar Series Testing in advance of the 2010 NextEra Energy Indy Championships Weekend, Oct. 1-2, at THE Championship Track. Testing is THIS MONDAY, Labor Day, Sept. 6th, and fans are welcome to watch drivers take to the 1.5-mile, variable-banked oval for FREE from 1 pm to 9 pm from both infield and grandstand seats.
Drivers scheduled to attend include reigning-Champion Dario Franchitti, two-time Champion Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe—who fell 12 points shy of the 2009 title—and Will Power, who missed last year’s Championship in Miami while recovering from a career-threatening back injury. In a remarkable comeback, Power enters the season’s final stretch—four consecutive oval tracks culminating at Homestead-Miami—as the leader in the 2010 IndyCar points standings.
GM sales drop 11 percent General Motors Co. announced an 11 percent drop in auto sales in August for its four core brands compared with a year-ago when sales were fueled by the government's Cash for Clunkers incentives. Factoring in the brands that have been dropped, the automaker saw a 25 percent decrease in total sales for the month.
Retail sales, excluding fleet sales, for all eight brands were down 29 percent.
But the month was not a strong one, with GM's four viable brands reporting a 7 percent drop-off from July, suggesting the road to recovery continues to be a long and sputtering one.
Ford sales drop 10.7% Ford’s new vehicle sales dropped 10.7% in August from a year earlier as sales of smaller models such as the Focus, Fusion and Escape fell sharply from last August’s levels that were inflated by the Cash for Clunkers program.
Some of the Cash for Clunkers hangover was eased by consumers’ revived appetite for big, heavy SUVs as gas prices moderated or fell in recent weeks. Sales of the Expedition and Mercury Navigator large SUVs rose 57.5% and 29.5%, respectively.
Sales of Ford’s highest volume product, the F-Series pickup trucks also were up 4.5%.
Taurus sales improved 50.7% to 5,122 in August.
From a profitability standpoint, Ford benefited from a 9.4% increase in sales of its Lincoln luxury brand. Sales of the Ford and Mercury brands fell from a year ago by 10.7% and 22.5%, respectively.
Jeffri becomes youngest F1 test driver The Imperial War Museum runway at Duxford played host to the youngest ever test driver in Formula One™ history today, with 16 year old Nabil Jeffri seeing his F1™ dream come true as he conducted a day of aero testing for Lotus Racing on the museum’s Cambridgeshire runway.
ALMS confirms Baltimore with IndyCar The Baltimore Grand Prix announced today that the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n, has been added to the inaugural auto racing event scheduled for September 2-4, 2011. Baltimore City Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with Baltimore Racing Development (BRD) President Jay Davidson and American Le Mans Series President and CEO, Scott Atherton, officially announced the world’s leading sports car series will join the IZOD IndyCar Series to headline the “Festival of Speed” on Labor Day Weekend 2011.
The American Le Mans Series, based in Braselton, Ga., includes multiple classes of cars – Prototype and Grand Touring – which race on the track at the same time to create compelling race action and constant passing. The Series has more automobile marques involved than any other major race series in the world as manufacturers develop relevant technologies on track that transfer directly to the customer showroom.
“From the beginning we wanted to create an entire weekend racing experience and the addition of American Le Mans Series does just that,” said Davidson “We’ve been talking with the Series team for a while now and have always wanted them to join the IZOD IndyCar Series to enhance our event. This is a great addition to the weekend and we believe fans will be eager to see these amazing cars in action.
The Baltimore Grand Prix will be a combination of racing and festivities that will begin Friday morning and culminate on Sunday with the IZOD IndyCar Series race. The event is billed as a “three-day festival of speed”, and organizers are now in the process of planning a variety of non-racing activities such as a family fun zone, go-karting, beer gardens, extreme sports demonstrations and professional beach volleyball. Live music will be available all weekend, from local artists performing throughout the day to nationally known acts in the evenings. The event offers something for all Marylanders, and organizers intend for the event to be very family-friendly.
“By adding the American Le Mans Series, one of world’s leading sports car championships, we are greatly enhancing what is being offered to fans during the Baltimore Grand Prix weekend,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “The American Le Mans Series will attract more racing fans to Baltimore, and will make the Grand Prix and even greater success for the City.”
The Baltimore Grand Prix is expected to attract more than 100,000 people to the area and have an estimated economic impact of $70 million, based on visitor spending on hotel nights, meals, tickets and other purchases. The racetrack will be a 2-mile temporary circuit constructed around the streets of downtown Baltimore, including sections by Oriole Park at Camden Yards, West Pratt Street and along the Inner Harbor on Light Street. Tickets for the event will go on sale this fall and will be offered at a variety of price levels to make the event affordable for all fans. A title sponsor is expected to be announced soon and a wide range of sponsorship and hospitality opportunities are available.
(GMM) Christian Horner has hit back at claims Red Bull were slowed down at Spa-Francorchamps due to succumbing to the flexible wing saga.
McLaren's Jenson Button had said before leaving Belgium that the pace of the previously dominant RB6 had been "affected" by the more stringent deflection test, with the new floor tests to possibly have "even more of an effect" at Monza next weekend.
Button's boss Martin Whitmarsh, and Mercedes' Ross Brawn, also said they thought the front wings on the Red Bull and Ferrari cars were flexing less visibly than they had in Hungary earlier in August.
"I can categorically tell you that they are the same wings (at Spa) that ran in Hungary a month ago," Red Bull team boss Horner is quoted on Wednesday by the Telegraph.
"Whether that is the same for our competitors I can't say," he added.
Horner suggested it was the McLaren cars that were using different wing designs in Belgium.
"I would be very interested to know -- and you might find it was a silver wing that was most flexible (at Spa)," he said.
Hellmund, head of Full Throttle Productions, unveiled the track layout Tuesday in a meeting with the American-Statesman.
The 3.4-mile track has 20 turns, a maximum elevation change of 133 feet, a back straightaway that is three-quarters of a mile long and a width that will vary between 39 and 52 feet.
Hellmund said the F1 cars should be able to reach a top speed of 200 mph on the track.
He also estimated the cars might be roaring by the grandstand at 180 mph on their way to a tight, uphill corner at Turn 1, one of the highest points on the track. Hellmund said Turn 1 could be the circuit's signature corner and that it would also be one of the four designed spots to give drivers their best chance for passing, or overtaking as it's called in F1.
"Everybody will pull out and probably go three-wide into that braking turn," Hellmund said.
Fernando Alonso admits that next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza is likely to be make-or-break in his quest for the 2010 world title, having failed to score in Belgium on Sunday. The Champion of 2005 and 2006 now lies 41 points behind new leader Lewis Hamilton with six races remaining.
With this year’s championship looking to boast one of the most exciting climaxes of all time, Alonso’s crash at Spa marked his third non-scoring Grand Prix of 2010 after Sepang and Silverstone.
“I have always said – and I repeat it now – that, over the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so let’s hope that from now on it’s payback time!” he commented.
Graham Rahal is re-teaming with Sarah Fisher Racing for this weekend's IndyCar Series race at Kentucky. Rahal drove for Fisher's team at St. Petersburg, Alabama and Long Beach early in the season, then finished 12th at the Indianapolis 500 for his father Bobby's Rahal-Letterman Racing team. The Ohio native also drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at Iowa and has signed to drive six of the final eight races for Newman/Haas Racing. Fisher is also scheduled to drive at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.
It's Chip Ganassi Day in Pittsburgh This is "Chip Ganassi Day" in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh City Council approved the proclamation this morning, honoring Mr. Ganassi's racing team for being the first to win the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 in a single year, auto racing's so-called "triple crown." Councilman Bill Peduto also honored Mr. Ganassi, a Westmoreland County native and Duquesne University graduate who has an office Downtown, for his commitment to local charity. Mr. Ganassi, who appeared in council chamber to accept the honor, was low key. "I'm a Pittsburgher," he said. "We don't toot our horns too much." Mr. Ganassi said he's had a special career. "Mario Andretti said to me one time . . . 'None of it matters till they know about it at home.'" Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Conway and ExtenZe Racing sign with RGM for rest of 2010 Kevin Conway, the leading 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year driver, and ExtenZe Racing announced that they will be teaming with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) for the balance of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season beginning this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. For Sunday's running of the Emory Healthcare 500, fans will find Conway behind the wheel of the #7 ExtenZe Racing Toyota. Conway heads into the Atlanta race weekend leading Terry Cook in the Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie Standings by 154 points (192-38) and looks to better his 31st-place finish at Atlanta earlier this year.
Auto sales may hit 28-year low With America losing faith quickly in President Obama's ability to get the economy back on the right track, U.S. auto sales in August probably were the slowest for the month in 28 years as model-year closeout deals failed to entice consumers concerned the economy is worsening and they may lose their jobs.
Industrywide deliveries, to be released tomorrow, may have reached an annualized rate of 11.6 million vehicles this month, the average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the slowest August since 1982, according to researcher Ward’s AutoInfoBank. The rate would be 18 percent below last year’s 14.2 million pace, when the U.S. government’s “cash for clunkers” incentive program boosted sales.
Andrew W. Browne Photo courtesy of Will County Adult Detention Facility
A Burbank man has been charged with misdemeanor theft after allegedly trying to steal four racing car tires Saturday night from the winning team at the Chicagoland Speedway.
Andrew W. Browne, 30, of the 8500 block of South New England Avenue, allegedly took an unattended Target Ganassi IndyCar tire cart while Driver Dario Franchitti and his team were celebrating their Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 win.
Joliet Deputy Police Chief Mike Trafton said crew members spotted Browne with the cart around 10:30 p.m., pursued him, and held him until police arrived.
Though the tires were estimated to have a total value of $10,000, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office felt the charges were appropriate given circumstances, said spokesman Chuck Pelkie.
Browne, who had no prior criminal history, was free today on $3,000 bail. A pre-trial hearing was set for Sept. 27.
Miller Slams IRL owners In this SPEEDTv.com article Robin Miller unloads on the IndyCar team owners for trying to mess up the IndyCar series just as they have done for the past 15 years. Miller defends Randy Bernard, and rightfully so, for being the hardest working CEO IndyCar racing has ever had. His closing quote - "Yet to think he busts his ass and may not have the owners’ unanimous support is as ignorant as it is maddening. Just remember this: he’s trying to clean up the mess you’ve helped make of open wheel racing. And six months ain’t nearly enough time to find a big enough mop."
USF2000 Series Announces $71,400 in Special Incentive Awards Andersen Promotions, the administrator of the "Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda," is pleased to announce a number of special incentive awards valued at $71,400 that will be available to top amateur and semi-pro formula car drivers desiring to advance to the professional ranks for the 2011 season.
"Now that the IZOD IndyCar Series has a clearly defined ladder system in the Road to Indy, it's important that the world's top junior formula car drivers are competing in the first North American pro step, the USF2000 National Championship," said Dan Andersen, chief executive officer of Andersen Promotions. "We hope these awards will help many amateur and semi-pro drivers compete in the USF2000 National Championship next year.
RCR and Shepherd to finish out the year Richard Childress Racing and Morgan Shepherd’s Racing for Jesus have formed Shepherd Racing Ventures, a partnership to run the No. 21 Nationwide Series car for the remainder of the 2010 season, according to an RCR news release.
FordParts.com livery for Woods, Tasca For the second time this season, Wood Brothers Racing and Tasca Racing will switch from their familiar red-and-white Motorcraft schemes to the blue-and-white colors of FordParts.com. Tasca and the Wood Brothers are bringing the FordParts.com liveries to compete in their respective NHRA and NASCAR races over the Labor Day Weekend, September 3-6.
Launched in June, FordParts.com allows repair shops, body shops, fleets, and do-it-yourselfers to order Genuine Ford and Motorcraft® parts online. Once a part is ordered, consumers have the flexibility of choosing in-store pick-up or having the parts delivered to their home or shop. FordParts.com takes the guesswork out of ordering with VIN-search look up for over 280,000 parts and more than 22,000 detailed technical diagrams of parts and assemblies.
200th IndyCar race for the IRL The Kentucky Indy 300 marks the 200th IZOD IndyCar Series race. There have been 86 IZOD IndyCar Series (and its title predecessors) races with a margin of victory of less than one second. That's through 199 events. Of those, the pole sitter has won only 28 percent of the time.
The above numbers point out how close the competition has been throughout the existence of the Indy Racing League's top division.
The first race was Jan. 27, 1996, at Walt Disney World Speedway (Buzz Calkins winner) and the 100th race was Aug. 29, 2004, at Nazareth Speedway (Dan Wheldon winner). Race No. 200 is this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
IndyCars to test at New Hampshire todayUPDATE Tony Kanaan drew a comparison between New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he completed the first segment of a two-day Firestone tire test, and Chicago Motor Speedway, where he competed in CART, in helping decide downforce parameters for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series return to the 1-mile oval.
IRL driver Scott Dixon gets into his car during tire testing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway yesterday in Loudon. Note the massive 70,000 seat grandstands that will look near empty come race day
The conversation with IZOD IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch and Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon is just what Firestone Racing senior project manager Dale Harrigle wanted to hear. It helps his cause as Firestone engineers went through their due diligence to discern a direction for the tire specification.
"Especially coming to a track we haven't run at in a long time, we want to bring veteran drivers who can tell us what they feel in the car and give us a direction," Harrigle said. "We want guys who have driven different downforce levels and different racetracks that can help us hone in on where we want to be for this race."
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Paul Tracy participated in a Q&A session today to discuss his return to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's #24 car and his return to oval racing this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Below are select quotes from his interview.
Q. Let's talk a little bit about the announcement today. I know when we last saw you at Edmonton you thought maybe your season was done. Talk about getting back into the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team.
PAUL TRACY: Obviously, working with Robbie (Buhl) and Dennis (Reinbold) and the whole team was a great experience for me at Watkins Glen. I felt we had a pretty good weekend and a good result for just jumping into the car last minute.
We've had some ongoing conversations of what their options were going towards the end of the season and where Mike was at with his rehabbing to get back in the car.
You know, an opportunity for both myself and my sponsor, Motegi Racing Wheels, was presented to us from D&R. It really just kind of made sense to keep trying to build the brand of Motegi, get the awareness out there about it, you know, from there, just get an opportunity to get a couple more races in.
Belskus: Fatal accident not IMS fault Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials will review the decision to continue hosting junior-level motorcycle races as part of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, but the track's leader said Monday that the tragic accident that killed 13-year-old rider Peter Lenz could have happened anywhere.
"It didn't involve our facility," said Jeff Belskus, chief executive officer of the Speedway and its parent company, IMS Corp. "It wasn't like he hit one of our walls.
"One rider ran into him and that can happen anywhere, as unfortunate as it is. (Motorcycle riders) do run into each other from time to time."
Lenz, Vancouver, Wash., died of traumatic injuries after being struck by another competitor, 12-year-old Xavier Zayat, Flushing, N.Y. Lenz fell on the warm-up lap near the exit of the road course's fourth turn, which is where the riders transition back onto the oval track in the south short chute. He was struck as he stood up to indicate he was uninjured. "Turn four is one of the slower parts of the track," Belskus said. Indy Star
ESPN2 Airing 11 Hours of NHRA U.S. Nationals Coverage The biggest event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will have 11 hours of coverage on ESPN2 this weekend with the running of the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Expanded qualifying and eliminations telecasts will culminate with five consecutive hours on Labor Day Monday, the final day of competition.
Each Labor Day weekend, NHRA racers and fans descend on O’Reilly Raceway Park for the biggest, oldest, richest, and most prestigious drag race in the world, and many racers feel that no career is truly complete without a win at drag racing’s grandest event. The fabled strip is regarded by many as one of the smoothest on the circuit, and the stakes are indeed high. As it did two years ago, this event now serves as the kickoff for the Countdown to 1 playoffs and the six-race run to the Full Throttle championships.
Indy would be better served by a 2nd IndyCar race Attendance fell for the second straight year at the Indianapolis MotoGP, days after it was announced that the motorcycle-racing event would return in 2011. A total of 136,184 spectators attended the three days of action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sunday's total attendance of 62,794 fell from 75,130 last year, when the combined total for the weekend was 146,680. The three-day total for the first event in 2008 was about 170,000. IBJ.com
Editor's Note: F1 failed at Indy on the road course and MotoGP is not doing much better. The Speedway would be much better served by holding a 2nd IndyCar race each year, not on the oval but on the road course. We predict race day attendance would be well over 100,000. The Midwest fans love IndyCars at the Speedway and they would come out in droves to see them on the road course. What is IMS thinking? What is the IRL thinking? Even Daytona, NASCAR's biggest event, holds two NASCAR Sprint Cup races a year.
Dyson racing to give Grand-Am another go Dyson Racing, in conjunction with Godstone Ranch Motorsports, will be returning to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series for the season-finale September 10 -11 race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. The team will be campaigning the #16 Lola Daytona Prototype powered by a Roush-Yates Ford V8.
"The Dysons have amassed an enviable record in both motorsports and the Grand-Am series and we feel we are partnering with racing royalty," stated John McCutchen II, principal of Godstone Ranch Motorsports. "This pairing will further our mission to raise funds for the Texas Heart Institute founded by Dr. Denton Cooley. Our goals off the track and our desire to be competitive on the track mesh perfectly."
13-year-old motorcycle racer dies after crash at IndyUPDATE The U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union said it plans to review its rules and safety requirements after an incident in which a 13-year-old motorcycle racer was killed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Peter Lenz of Vancouver, Washington, died of “traumatic injuries” on Aug. 29 after he crashed during a warm-up lap before a race and was run over by another rider. Lenz was the first person killed at the track since IndyCar driver Tony Renna in October 2003.
Stewart Aitken-Cade, a spokesman for the USGPRU, said it will review all aspects of the incident.
“Will it be a ‘formal’ review? Yes, in that we will sit down and look at the rules we enforce, what we regulate, control, and require of these racers and tracks to see if there is anything that we can do to make things safer,” Aitken-Cade said in an e-mail. “Will I have some sort of outside agency come in to do some independent review? No, not at this time.”
Matos has struggled transitioning up to the IndyCars
The de Ferran Dragon racing team learned what bittersweet tastes like at the Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. On the one hand, Davey Hamilton returned to his first mile and a half oval race in nine years and produced an inspiring run, while teammate Raphael Matos was taken into the wall by a chain reaction crash early in the race.
“It’s awfully disappointing on one end because Rafa had a good car and a great chance tonight,” managing partner and team president Gil de Ferran said. “On the other hand, I’m very happy for Davey. He really did a great job. It’s extremely difficult to race that close at over 200 miles an hour for full time drivers. For Davey to come in and do it after a long layoff is really remarkable. You could see him really get into the groove as the race went on.”
Sebastian Vettel has choked under the pressure in 2010, bringing into question whether he is championship material. His ego cannot accept the fact that his teammate Mark Webber is every bit as good as he is. He certainly has beaten Vettel on more than one occasion.
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel should not have been penalized for losing control at Spa-Francorchamps. That is the opinion of an unlikely supporter of the 23-year-old Red Bull driver: Marc Gene.
Spaniard Gene is Ferrari's occasional test driver, who said the drive-through penalty after Vettel crashed into Jenson Button on Sunday "was totally disproportionate".
"It is true that he was too aggressive, but for there to be a penalty ... he did nothing wrong, it was an incident of the race," Gene wrote in his El Mundo newspaper column.
Niki Lauda's is a harsher critique, predicting that one more mistake for the young German will end his 2010 title chances.
"You're an absolute super-talent but you've taken excessive risks," the former triple world champion wrote in Bild newspaper.
Vairano test shows Ferrari pushing ahead with F10UPDATE (GMM) The Italian press rounded on Fernando Alonso after the leading Ferrari driver dropped more than 40 points off the championship lead last weekend.
After showing early promise with the F10's latest upgrades in practice, the team newcomer qualified just tenth at Spa-Francorchamps before being taken out on the first lap by Rubens Barrichello.
Ferrari then fitted intermediate tires that had to be changed shortly afterwards, before Alonso lost control over a curb and crashed.
"An Alonso flop. While Kimi Raikkonen always drove brilliantly at Spa, his successor slipped on a puddle," remarked the Milan-published Il Giornale.
The sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport said Ferrari's championship chances "are now gone".
(GMM) The flexible cars controversy slowed down the previously dominant Red Bull team at Spa-Francorchamps, according to Jenson Button.
Although the Austrian owned team claims the long straights of the Belgian circuit simply did not suit the RB6, McLaren's Button suspects Adrian Newey had to modify the car to meet more stringent bodywork flexibility tests.
Button's boss Martin Whitmarsh, and Mercedes' Ross Brawn, said last weekend that they thought the front wings on the Red Bull and Ferrari cars were flexing less visibly than they had in Hungary earlier in August.
"I think Red Bull's pace was affected by the new tests," said the reigning world champion.
Ganassi adds to stellar season with Grand-Am title
Chip Ganassi has a lot to smile about this year
TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates clinched the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Team Championship with their eighth win of the 2010 season in Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last Saturday. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas led 35 of 62 laps to pick up the team’s fourth Championship in seven seasons in the Rolex Series. Pruett and Rojas can clinch the Driver Championship by spending at least 30 minutes in the car at the final race in Salt Lake City on September 11th.
In addition, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. celebrated yet another historic landmark in 2010 by breaking the team’s record for wins in a single season with 15. Saturday’s win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the Rolex Series marked the 15th win in 2010, besting the previous record of 14 set in 2009. The team quickly added win number 16 to the season tally with Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti’s IZOD IndyCar Series win at Chicagoland Speedway later that same night.
IndyCar solution - open it up to mothballed cars?UPDATE I have to respectfully disagree in the strongest terms that we learned a single owner for a series is the way to go. When the owners controlled the sport, as dysfunctional as some of their management was at times, they produced the best product in North America, a product that was ahead of NASCAR and starting to rival F1. That is until someone decided a single owner of a series was the way to go. That single owner of the series is the reason the sport of IndyCar is in ruins and team owners are pleading with the series to not burden them with increased financial costs of a new car b/c it just doesn’t make fiscal sense. I mean you think the ride buyer state of the series is sickening, increased financial stresses will all but assure most if not all teams will have to rely on drivers who bring a large bank account with them. Solution?
McLaren aim to overtake glamour team Ferrari as Formula One's leading brand within the next 20 years, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said. The 52-year-old Briton, who took over at the helm from Ron Dennis last season, told reporters at the German Grand Prix that what might once have been a fantasy could become a reality in his lifetime.
McLaren, he suggested, were riding a wave of support driven by British drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the last two world champions who are first and second in the standings. "The biggest brand in Formula One today is Ferrari, and I acknowledge and accept it," he told reporters in the McLaren 'Brand Centre', an imposing glass-fronted structure in the Hockenheim paddock.
Meanwhile, Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton crashed his McLaren in practice for the German Grand Prix yesterday while Ferrari and Red Bull rivals demonstrated their speed. Hamilton had to sit out all but 12 minutes of the afternoon session, which ended with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on top, after skidding off and smashing sideways into the tire wall before lunch. - Reuters
F1 fan starts grassroots F1 education in Austin Watching sports at a bar on a weekend afternoon is nothing new in Austin.
But the several dozen sports fans who gathered at Cool River Cafe in Northwest Austin on Sunday afternoon were not into football or baseball. Far from it.
The bar and restaurant has become host of Austin's Formula One Grand Prix Watch Party, where a diverse set of automobile enthusiasts and racing fans gathered to watch the high-speed action and heart-stopping crashes of the Belgian Grand Prix. Although the race was televised on the Speed Network at 6 a.m., the Cool River crowd watched a recording during the afternoon.
With three to go, IndyCar title race is anyone's to win After winning for the fifth time this season at Infineon Raceway, Will Power told nearly everyone with a digital recorder and video camera that he wasn't ready to claim the IZOD IndyCar Series championship for his own.
"There's a lot of racing to go," he said. "Really, whatever the buffer is, you can lose a lot of that in just one race."
The Verizon Team Penske proved to be somewhat clairvoyant. Power's 59-point lead shrunk to 23 after Dario Franchitti, won the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 28, the second of three consecutive weekends of racing.
NASCAR to create an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department Following a comprehensive review of its communications function and public relations activity across the industry, NASCAR announced today that it will move immediately to create an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department that will better position the sanctioning body to lead best practices and provide overall thought leadership in the communications space for the entire industry.
“Our sport has unique challenges and very diverse constituencies and it has become clear that NASCAR must be a catalyst in this space to help all stakeholders find greater value,” said Brian France, NASCAR’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“This is a major investment for the company at a critical time and represents an elevation of this highly-important function for NASCAR and the industry. We are confident this evolved approach will yield immediate and long-term value for NASCAR, its media and business partners and the industry as a whole.”
Webber looking to resurrect Tasmanian challenge (GMM) Mark Webber is looking to resurrect his outdoor adventure challenge. The Australian's last multi-discipline charity event in Tasmania, comprising cycling, trekking and kayaking in harsh terrain, took place after the 2008 season.
Webber badly broke his leg in a mountain bike stage, which derailed his winter testing program and threatened his entire career, amid rumors it was Red Bull Racing who ordered the event be cancelled for subsequent years.
But the 34-year-old said at the time that it was actually the global financial crisis that caused the event to lapse, due to the expiry of major sponsorship contracts.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN Drag Racing’s Biggest Event, NASCAR Doubleheader at Atlanta
ESPN2 Airing 11 Hours of NHRA U.S. Nationals Coverage
The biggest event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will have 11 hours of coverage on ESPN2 this weekend with the running of the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Expanded qualifying and eliminations telecasts will culminate with five consecutive hours on Labor Day Monday, the final day of competition.
ESPN2’s coverage of the first event in the NHRA’s Countdown to 1 playoffs begins Sunday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m. ET with a one-hour qualifying program. At 11 a.m., NHRA RaceDay presented by Lucas Oil brings viewers up-to-date with the latest NHRA news and sets up the rest of the day’s action. Immediately following at 11:30 a.m., ESPN2 will telecast 2 ½ hours of U.S. Nationals qualifying. More qualifying coverage airs for two hours starting at 5 p.m.
Korea track ready for first race Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), promoter of the upcoming 2010 FORMULA 1 KOREAN GRAND PRIX, today announced the Korea International Circuit (KIC) will stage its inaugural event on September 4th and 5th as finishes touches are put to the country’s first ever international motorsport facility. The “Circuit Run 2010” will mark the 50-day countdown to the country’s first ever FORMULA 1 Grand Prix, as work continues to ensure the facility’s readiness for the October date.
“Circuit Run 2010” will include a lap of the new circuit by Formula One World Championship leaders Red Bull Racing, with Karun Chandhok at the wheel of the team’s running show car, as well as a variety of car and motorcycle performances, parades and shows.
Whitmarsh: Vettel belongs in junior formula with other 'crash kids' Although Martin Whitmarsh insists Sebastian Vettel did not crash into Jenson Button on purpose, the McLaren boss reckons the German is becoming known for his accidents.
In Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, Vettel effectively put two Championship contenders out of the running for points when he crashed into Button on lap 16 as he attempted to find a way past the reigning World title.
But instead of passing Button, Vettel hit a bump at the Bus Stop chicane that caused him to spear into the side of the McLaren driver.
2011 will be learning year for 'show' compromise - Pirelli
Liuzzi, Kobayashi to stay with current teams in 2011
Renault's Boullier denies Red Bull/Mercedes reports
Ferrari running through 2010 engine allocation (GMM) As well as improving the F10's pace and fending off the World Council's wrath next month, another headache for Ferrari could be in the engine department.
The next race, Monza, is among the toughest on engines, and at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, the newly-installed Ferrari engine in Pedro de la Rosa's Sauber had to be replaced.
With seven races to go, the unscheduled change tipped the Spaniard over his allocation of eight engines for the season, resulting in a grid penalty.
And a cursory look at the allocations of F1's other cars at Spa shows that while most drivers are now on their fifth new engine, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have used six.
"I see no reason to worry," said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Barrichello/Alonso crash deemed racing incident It has been confirmed by FIA race stewards in Belgium that no penalties or cautions will be handed out for the first-lap coming-together involving the Williams of Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari of championship contender Fernando Alonso.
The two cars came into contact at the Bus Stop Chicane when, as rain began to fall and with all runners on Slick tires, the Brazilian rammed the back of the Spaniard’s car, causing a loss of the left-front wheel for the former and a spin for the latter.
The official FIA report from the four stewards, one of whom is 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell, reads as follows:
‘Concerning the incident between cars no. 8 and cars no. 9 on Lap 1 at Turn 19, the Stewards of the Meeting, having heard from both drivers, having viewed the video evidence and having taken into account the sudden change in weather and track conditions, consider it to be a racing incident and therefore decide to take no further action.’
Alguersuari penalized, loses only point Jaime Alguersuari has lost tenth position and therefore the point he scored for Toro Rosso in the Belgian Grand Prix, having been handed a post-race penalty of 20 seconds.
The Barcelona driver, who first scored in Malaysia and Spain earlier this season, had been delighted after holding off Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India although the Spaniard is now officially classified in 12th place.
The penalty, which was given by FIA race stewards including 1992 title winner Nigel Mansell, comes for skipping the Bus Stop Chicane on Lap 42 of 44.
Ferrari not sure Red Bull to be 'weak' at Monza (GMM) Stefano Domenicali is not yet writing off Ferrari's championship chances, but he also doubts Red Bull is set to suffer a performance dip.
Red Bull figures are predicting that Monza in two weeks will be the Austrian team's weakest venue of the season, but on the similar Spa-Francorchamps layout this weekend, Mark Webber secured pole and drove to second place.
"I hope it's true, but I don't believe it," the Ferrari team boss told reporters in Belgium. "They have a very good car; perhaps it's part of the tactical game."
Dani Pedrosa narrowed the gap on Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo to 68 points with seven rounds of the 2010 season remaining by winning the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday. It was the Repsol Honda rider’s third win of the campaign, the first time he has achieved three wins in a season in the premier class.
Starting from the second row Pedrosa was on the pace early on and a fastest lap on lap two lifted him into second position, as he set his sights on pole holder Ben Spies. On the end of the seventh lap the Spaniard overtook the rookie on the start/finish straight and never relinquished the lead, eventually crossing the line 3.575s clear of Spies.
IndyCar team owners reject new IndyCarUPDATE This SPEEDTv.com article goes into great detail about the entire owners revolt. Bottom line is that the owners cannot afford the new car and want to delay it a year or two until hopefully the economy picks up and there is more sponsorship available.
08/25/10 The economy is still bad, the housing market (which is a major driver of the economy) is in the toilet and no one has confidence in the administration in Washington. Because of this lack of confidence people are not spending and businesses are not hiring.
So we cannot be surprised to hear SPEED.com reporting that the owners within the IndyCar series last weekend in Sonoma delivered a near unanimous message to IndyCar - They don’t want a new car for 2012. Why spend money on a car they cannot afford if sponsors are not spending?
“Yep, that’s what they told me,” acknowledged Tony Cotman, who has been hired to write the new rules for the 2012 car and engine. “I told them I didn’t agree but my job is to put together a new car deal and not respond to an owner’s revolt.
Tilke insists Korea 'will be ready' for GP (GMM) Hermann Tilke on Sunday backed reports that Korea will be ready to host its inaugural formula one race in October.
Earlier at Spa-Francorchamps, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone played down the rumors about lagging construction at Yeongam, as photos depicting asphalt finally being laid did the rounds in the paddock.
"Korea will be ready," F1's regular track architect Tilke is quoted by Williams' official website.
Adrian Tambay, son of former F1 driver Patrick Tambay
Adrian Tambay has put in one of the drives of the season to take victory in Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps.
On a tricky track with most parts wet and few dry, the Manor Racing driver on slick held off a charging Alexander Rossi on wet tires to take his maiden win in the Series. The American’s second place finish helped seal the Teams’ title for ART Grand Prix with one round remaining.
Overnight penalties meant Jenzer Motorsport’s Simon Trummer started on reverse pole. The Swiss driver made a good start when the lights turned green, but before the end of the first lap the #24 car was shown a black and orange flag for a mechanical problem and had to return to the pits. Meanwhile Carlin’s Dean Smith slotted into second ahead of a slow starting Pedro Nunes for ART who then clashed with Status GP’s Robert Wickens putting the title contender down into twenty-fourth position and way out of the points. By lap 2 Series leader Esteban Gutierrez had already made his way up into ninth spot after starting sixteenth.
Ambrose beats Villeneuve for pole in Montreal Marcos Ambrose and Quebec native Jacques Villeneuve played their own version of “Can you top this” Saturday afternoon, but Ambrose had the last word.
Twice after Villeneuve knocked Ambrose out of the top qualifying spot for Sunday’s Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Ambrose responded with a faster lap and ultimately won the pole for the race that has eluded him for three years.
Hamilton denies demanding payment for autograph (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has backtracked after initially refusing to sign a helmet for organizers of Abu Dhabi's formula one race. It emerged earlier this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps that every driver on the grid had signed the helmet that will be used for a prize, with only the 2008 world champion demanding to be paid. But Hamilton, recently listed as F1's highest earner behind Fernando Alonso, has now vowed to add his autograph, after initially misunderstanding what the helmet would be used for.
"I would never ask for money to sign anything," he is quoted by News of the World.
"The only thing I ever ask is whether it is for charity."
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh confirmed: "Lewis has said he will sign it.
"Both Lewis and Jenson do more signature signings than any driver I have ever witnessed and they do it with good grace. They never ask for money," he insisted.
Blown diffuser still not working right - Brawn (GMM) Mercedes is still having problems with the ongoing development of its 2010 car. Although the German marque's focus has already switched to the design of a better car for next year, Mercedes recently introduced a blown diffuser that has been troublesome.
At recent races, the hot fumes were burning and distorting the diffuser shape, and improvements were brought to Spa-Francorchamps for this weekend's event.
"Our developments have worked better here than in past races," said Michael Schumacher on Saturday to Auto Motor und Sport.
But team boss Ross Brawn is less upbeat.
"We are still having problems with the diffuser with heat. It's still not working the way we want it to, which is a little frustrating," he admitted.
Red Bull's size and status 'hurts' F1 rivals - Marko (GMM) Rival teams are pointing fingers at Red Bull not only because the RB6 is quick, according to Dr Helmut Marko.
Team consultant Marko, Austrian team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man, is referring to the fact that powerful F1 rivals have been complaining all season about the alleged illegality of the Adrian Newey-penned car.
"It is not just our success," he is quoted by Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
"We have at most the third biggest budget in formula one. We are a private team, not a car manufacturer, and that hurts them even more," added Marko.
He said he has "lost count" of the number of legality tests carried out by the FIA that the RB6 has always passed.
Fans carry umbrellas into Spa for thrilling race (GMM) Spectators filed into the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday morning carrying rain jackets and folded umbrellas.
There have already been a couple of early morning showers in the Belgian Ardennes, and although the asphalt is currently drying under overcast skies, the likely weather for the race at 2pm is anyone's guess.
The safest prediction at present is for an unpredictable wet and dry 44 laps.
"I'd like it to be dry to start with to make up some places, then a few showers as I don't mind driving in the wet at all," said Jenson Button, to start from fifth on the grid.
"If that is the case then anything could happen," he added.
Grid penalties shuffle final Spa grid The FIA has published a revised grid for Sunday's race following the penalties dished out to Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock and Sebastien Buemi after qualifying.|
Pedro de la Rosa
Lucas di Grassi
* Five-place penalty for gearbox change ** Three-place penalty for impeding Rosberg *** Five-place penalty for impeding Yamamoto *** 10-place penalty for Barrichello incident in Hungary
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