Ron Dennis is driving a £400m plan to take on the likes of Ferrari Ron Dennis likes winning and is not shy about it. There is more silverware in the car-strewn “boulevard” outside his office than in the Manchester United boardroom.
Even the tacky cups are on display — two in the shape of giant sherry bottles. But there won’t be any more baubles for a bit. Dennis, who quit Formula One in April after his McLaren team was embroiled in one of the worst scandals in the sport’s history, has a new goal. The king of the pit lane wants to be king of the fast lane.
Dennis, 62, is sinking the millions he made with McLaren, whose drivers include world champion Lewis Hamilton, into a new firm, McLaren Automotive. He believes it will create the best sports car in the world, outclassing Ferrari and Lamborghini.
“It has an iconic design, like the E-type Jaguar and, on all performance parameters and price, will be better than our competition,” he said.
The MP4-12C — which will be formally unveiled on Wednesday — is a small, wedge-shaped two-seater with a high-revving V8 engine, a seven-speed gearbox, a carbon-fiber chassis and “gullwing” doors that open upwards, not outwards. More at the Sunday London Times
BMW to use extra small rear wing in Italy BMW Sauber will be making use of a smaller rear wing in order to cut drag and lessen downforce levels on the rapid Monza circuit next weekend. Although the parkland track does feature three significant chicanes, the lap is spread out by elongated straight sections. With a lack of downforce for the straights always yielding an overall greater advantage than much downforce would for the corners, Monza also sees teams bringing several race-specific parts in order to gain the most from the quick Italian Grand Prix.
"This is the last genuine high-speed track left on the calendar," explained Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering at BMW. "The four long straights mean that keeping the drag level low is crucial, so we run the cars with less downforce here than anywhere else during the season; this involves using a modified front wing and a new and extremely small rear wing.
"An additional challenge for the drivers and engineers is to give the cars a mechanical setup which ensures good braking stability and allows the curbs to be taken aggressively, as this is absolutely essential in setting a fast lap time. I'm very much looking forward to the race as there's always a very special atmosphere at Monza."
Paul Di Resta to start from pole position at Brands Hatch For the first time this season, an AMG Mercedes C-Class is on pole position. In qualifying for the seventh DTM season round at Brands Hatch, Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) claimed the best grid position. In the fourth and final qualifying heat, he climbed up into first place with a lap time of 41.750 seconds. DTM champion Timo Scheider (Audi) will be starting from second place alongside Di Resta. Tom Kristensen (Audi) and Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz) will be starting the race from the second row. The fastest driver with a year-old car in qualifying was Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz). For his home race, the Briton will be starting from eighth place.
Jeremy Mayfield sued for engine bill Suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield is being sued by Arrington Manufacturing for $71,000 in unpaid engine bills for four events, according to a complaint filed last week in North Carolina Superior Court in Newton, N.C.
Arrington provided engines for Mayfield Motorsports for the Sprint Cup races at Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond, Darlington, and Charlotte as well as the Sprint Showdown race that preceded the all-star event. Prior to each event, Mayfield and Arrington Manufacturing agreed on a price, according to the complaint. The price was based on how many miles were actually put on the motor.
Pizzonia and Corinthians take Estoril pole Antonio Pizzonia flew the flag for Brazil at round 4 of Superleague Formula by Sonangol by taking pole position for Corinthians for Sunday’s Race 1 at Estoril.
On a weekend in which the world of football has turned its attention to International fixtures, Pizzonia might also allow himself a wry smile after defeating Argentinean driver Esteban Guerrieri in the Pole Shootout, just a few hours ahead of the crucial Argentina v Brazil World Cup Qualifier this evening.
The Pole Shootout proved to be the most exciting head-to-head battle of the knockout stages as less than 0.2 seconds separated Pizzonia and Guerrieri, who was driving for Greek club Olympiacos for the first time following a summer transfer switch from Sevilla.
Robby Gordon fastest qualifier in Off-Road race A crowd of 10,000 fans welcomed back an old friend during qualifying for the 40th running of the World Off-Road Championship. Robby Gordon marked his return to Crandon, Wisconsin; his last appearance was in 1989. This weekend the team unveils the brand new Polaris PRO 2WD, hoping to drive it into victory lane on Sunday. The #007 Polaris PRO 2WD qualified in the second group. Gordon posted the fastest qualifying lap of 1:25.962. Although Gordon posted the fastest qualifying time, he will start mid pack on Sunday. The top six competitors have earned their start position through season point's standings. RGM PR
Denny Hamlin's car stolen Cornelius, NC Police released surveillance video to help catch brazen burglars who stole a car from a NASCAR driver's Lake Norman home. Police said about two weeks ago, a group of thieves went into the Peninsula neighborhood with their eyes on stealing a car. Neighbors said their target was a car on Peninsula Point Drive that belonged to Denny Hamlin, one of NASCAR's rising stars. "It's bold because he lives in the very back of the cul de sac surrounded by all these homes and all these extravagant homes have a lot security," said neighbor Sandy Van Everly. Hamlin's house is no exception. The burglary was all caught on his home surveillance system. The video, captured at 1:30 a.m. on August 18, 2009, shows a car pull up in front of Hamlin's driveway. Two men got out of the car and walked through the open front gate. Moments later, the two men backed out of the driveway in the black Lexus LS 460-L. The camera captured a woman get out of the passenger side of the waiting car, get into the driver's seat and both cars pull off. Cornelius Police hope by releasing the video, someone will recognize the burglars and help put them behind bars. If you have any information about the stolen Lexus, call the North Mecklenburg County Crime Stoppers at (704) 896-7867. WSOCTV.com
Andy Soucek scored a dominant victory in the opening race at Oschersleben today (Saturday), converting pole position into his fourth win of 2009.
The Spaniard made a clean getaway from the line to lead the pack into the first corner, but behind him several drivers were caught out as Tobias Hegewald made contact with Robert Wickens, tipping him into a spin.
Wickens had initially got the jump on Mirko Bortolotti, but the Italian responded by sneaking back through on the inside. Hegewald tried to follow suit, but he made his move too late and clipped the Canadian's Red Bull-backed car. A multi-car accident followed as several drivers tried to take avoiding action - the incident left Hegewald, Julien Jousse, Jens Höing, Miloš Pavlović and Philipp Eng out of the race, whilst Robert Wickens, Jolyon Palmer and Jason Moore had to rejoin towards the rear of the field. Mikhail Aleshin was also lucky to continue after briefly becoming airborne.
Stewart: Danica will make move to NASCAR In this Orlando Sentinel/AP article, Tony Stewart says he's convinced that Danica Patrick will eventually make the jump to NASCAR.
Stewart said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that he knows Patrick has talked with "a lot" of NASCAR teams about moving to stock cars. He said there's little doubt she wants to race in NASCAR some day.
The rumors are that she will race some Nationwide Series races in 2010 where her IndyCar schedule allows, to get a taste of stock car racing. and to see if she can do it. Front engine race cars have a different feel than rear engine cars. Whereas Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart came up driving front engine USAC sprint and midget cars, so NASCAR's front engine cars were not difficult to master, Danica Patrick has driven rear engine go-karts and race cars all her life. Some drivers are never able to make the transition successfully (going either way).
Buurman sets the pace in Estoril free practice Anderlecht’s Yelmer Buurman topped the aggregate free practice times today at Estoril ahead of qualifying for round four of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol season. The Dutchman lapped the 4.182km Portuguese venue in 1m26.968 during the morning’s first session, becoming the only driver throughout free practice to break into the 1 minute 26s.
Dry, warm conditions greeted the teams and drivers for the morning’s first session at 10.30 (CET). Impromptu running on Friday meant that everyone had already familiarized themselves with Estoril’s demanding layout, although it was Buurman who would put that experience to best use over the opening 45 minutes. The former GP2 driver, who currently lies 12th in the Superleague standings, produced a staggering time to remain the fastest of all throughout the three sessions.
Rossi Steals the Pole in Misano Qualifying at the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini went down to the wire, but Valentino Rossi ultimately emerged on top.
Having crashed out at Indianapolis last Sunday Valentino Rossi is fighting back in style at his home event this weekend and he took pole at the end of an intriguing qualifying practice at Misano on Saturday afternoon.
The Italian legend has been the fastest rider in every session so far this weekend and his last gasp 1’34.338 lap put him in pole position for the sixth time this season in the Rimini sunshine.
Maiden pole for Aleshin in frantic second qualifying
Mikhail Aleshin took a superb maiden pole position in changing conditions today (Saturday), taking advantage of a drying track to set a time well clear of the rest of the field.
The session started in wet conditions after a heavy rain shower, but continued to dry until a clear dry line meant drivers made the switch to slick tires with eight minutes remaining. Mikhail Aleshin was able to make the best of the changing conditions to set a time of 1:22.131s, before a late red flag brought the session to a close with many drivers on hot laps.
Julien Jousse set the second fastest time, although the Frenchman admitted he may have been relegated further down the field if the session had not been halted. Spaniard Andy Soucek again showed great consistency to take third, whilst Mirko Bortolotti will join him on the second row.
ESPN College Football Announcers Take 200 mph ride With three big sporting events on the ESPN networks originating from Atlanta this weekend, ESPN college football announcers Brent Musburger and Lisa Salters took a 200 mph look at one of the sports today at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Musburger, who will call ESPN on ABC’s telecast of the Virginia Tech-Alabama game Saturday night from the Georgia Dome, and sideline reporter Salters went for high-speed rides around the 1.5-mile superspeedway in a special two-seater stock car with NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin at the wheel.
Hamlin will compete in Sunday night’s 500-mile race that will air live on ESPN. In addition, ESPN2 will have live coverage of Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at AMS.
Wind Tunnel Sunday Featured Interview John Force (14-time NHRA Funny Car Champion) SPEED takes the first cameras inside the Eric Medlen Project as we air an exclusive multi-part interview with 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force on Sunday’s edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (note special time – 10 p.m. ET). The undeniable face of American drag racing for the last quarter century, Force will take Despain and SPEED viewers behind the scenes of The Eric Medlen Project at his race shop in Brownsburg, Ind., discussing what changes the team has made and continues to make in the wake of Medlen’s tragic death during a testing accident in 2007 and Force’s near-fatal wreck just months later in Dallas.
“At the end of the line, I am not getting any younger,” Force tells Despain during an interview session at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, site of the upcoming U.S. Nationals. “But I am fit to do the job, and I’ll probably go another three to five years … that’s my plan. You’ve got to understand this … nobody has made more runs in a Fuel Funny Car than me. With all the testing going on and all this new technology and things to learn, I can really accomplish a lot more than winning a championship or winning a race – even though I want to do that, too. But maybe I can help build the future of cars that are safe; because if one gets crashed out there, I hope I am in it so I can tell what took place and be a part of the change to build better race cars.”
Andy Soucek recorded an emphatic pole position for race one at Oschersleben today (Friday), producing an inspired lap to finish more than three tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field.
Mikhail Aleshin set the early pace, but Soucek hit the top inside the opening ten minutes. Robert Wickens then began to trade blows with Soucek for pole, but the Spaniard had the final say - setting a scintillating 1:20.402s lap time.
With four minutes of the session remaining, Italian Mirko Bortolotti inched out Robert Wickens for second by just 0.005s. Wickens could not respond as he had already used his prime set of tires when an unfortunate red flag was thrown in the final ten minutes.
Brawn fined for speeding in Britain (GMM) Ross Brawn on Friday escaped with a $1300 fine and driving license demerit points after admitting to speeding at more than 100mph in late May this year.
The formula one team owner and boss did not appear in the Plymouth Magistrates Court (UK) to answer the charge of breaking the A30 speed limit by 30mph at the wheel of his Mercedes E320.
His lawyer said the 54-year-old Briton, who could have lost his license for the offence, had been late for an appointment due to being stuck earlier in heavy traffic.
"The traffic (on the A30) was light," Brawn's lawyer told the court, according to local British media reports. "He fully cooperated with the police. He apologizes."
On top of the fine, magistrates ordered that six points be added to Brawn's license. British drivers' licenses have a maximum of 12 points, and the former Ferrari technical director already lost 3 in February.
Six-time champion Mladin quits France run series Mat Mladin will end his final AMA Superbike season with a seventh championship, but that isn't why it's easy to walk away from the sport he dominated. The Australian, who has four more titles than any other rider and a record 82 wins, wouldn't be interested in staying even if he had anything left to prove.
"The people running the show are doing things I don't agree with," Mladin says of leaving his Suzuki after the season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
"We're heading backward. Leaving with the No. 1 plate is nice, but the way things are going I don't want to be a part of it." [The France family dumbs down all the racing series they buy. Apparently they think Americans are too dumb and can't understand vehicles they have too much technology.]
The self-described "old school" rider is displeased bikes have become production-based. He also isn't satisfied with track safety and won the title despite sitting out a round in Topeka.
"Many guys complain constantly about safety, but none of them stand up and do what a man should," says Mladin, 37. "My call was to step out. Everyone else (raced), and that's their call. But from this point, whatever track they go, they can't complain."
Mladin won't be complaining about retiring to his home outside Sydney to run a motorcycle parts import company.
"We've had a fantastic run, but I want to spend time with family," said Mladin, married with two young daughters. "I'm actually looking forward to it." USA Today
Nelson Philippe and Will Power medical updateUPDATE #7 Sunday night on The SPEED Report, they will have a feature with Robin Miller and Will Power shot on Thursday afternoon in Indianapolis….The two basically walked around Will’s neighborhood and talked, so this confirms he is in pretty good shape, but his back just needs to heal.
Two cripples, Philippe and Power
09/04/09 Given the severity of Power's injuries, this report appears to be questionable. Nelson Philippe reports that he had lunch with Will Power, "we looked like 2 dumbasses.. Both young and very fit usually, now limping around like 80 somethings." Upon further investigation we learned Power was lapping the housing complex walking.
09/03/09 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Yesterday we had a Will Power sighting here in Indianapolis. He was seen lapping the housing area where he lives doing amazing lap times of 2.5 minutes a lap. (another Power lap record) Flying in the face of the dreaded reports going around in the press that his condition is worst than originally stated, he certainly did not show any signs of that last night. After lapping the complex several times and posting his own personal and complex lap record. Then if that was not enough, he hosted a large party of racers who spent the night talking shop and eating Mexican food brought by none other than Robin Miller. So the message is, Will is doing fine, in good spirits and is waiting for the call from the Captain to get back in the saddle. Regards, Deep Throat.
09/03/09 Nelson Philippe reports, "They have to put a cast on my right leg, turns out it's broken, not just a hairline fracture that would have just required a brace."
08/26/09 The following is a medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, Indy Racing League director of medical services:
Conquest Racing driver Nelson Philippe has been released from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif., and back at his South Florida home. On Saturday during IndyCar Series practice at Infineon Raceway Philippe suffered a concussion and an open fracture of his left foot. He underwent surgery to have the foot fracture washed out and repaired. After further examination, it was found that Philippe also suffered a hairline fracture of his right fibula and he was fitted with a brace.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Gustavo Yacaman met with Dr. Trammell in Indianapolis on Tuesday and he was diagnosed with a minimally compressed fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebra. Yacaman was involved in a Lap 1 incident during Sunday's Firestone Indy Lights race when his right-front tire of Yacaman's car made contact with the left-rear of Daniel Herrington's No. 28, shooting Yacaman's car off the concrete retaining wall in Turn 11.
Vatanen announces FIA VP choices Vatanen's choices are not well known in the motorsport world and include Ivan Dibos from Peru, Mike Harris from Australia, Earl Jarrett from Jamaica, Niklaus Lundsgaard-Hansen from Switzerland, Peter Meyer from Germany, Tim Shearman from Canada and Maria Spetz from Sweden.
"This is a first-class team and all its members came on board spontaneously because they all want to make a change together with me", says Vatanen. "We have people from all regions, north and south, east and west, bigger and smaller clubs, so the team is well-balanced."
The choice is significant in that it is the first time a woman has been nominated for the role.
Jean Todt has yet to nominate his choices for Vice President. Grandprix.com
Sam Abay's fathered was obsessed Michael Abay was obsessed. From the moment son Sam showed promise as a go-kart driver, Michael Abay dedicated himself to the dream that one day his boy would race Formula One cars. So obsessed was he that his family business suffered and had to be sold in 2005, the Herald Sun reports.
But the proud dad continued to pursue the dream - setting out to find sponsors and benefactors to enable Sam to race in Asia and Europe and working in a furniture factory to pay the bills. And when the money ran out, Michael Thomas Abay turned to extortion.
Now Abay will have to watch his son's career from afar. He was jailed after pleading guilty to two counts of making demands with threats to kill.
Abay tried to extort a total of $100,000 from two people, including retired plastic surgeon to the stars, Leo Rozner. More at news.com.au
KERS to be advantage at fast Monza (GMM) KERS will be a real advantage at the Monza circuit next weekend, Heikki Kovalainen said on Friday.
Along with his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari duo, the Finn is one of just four drivers on the F1 grid still equipped with the energy-recovery 'boost' system.
BMW is one of the teams that began the season with KERS but has since removed it, arguing that the set-up, weight, braking and handling compromises more often than not are not worth the extra 82 horse power for six seconds per lap.
For the first time in a while, however, BMW-Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld, whose team performed well in the unique medium-downforce configuration at Spa last weekend, will miss his special button during the Italian GP weekend.
Rossi quickest in first Misano practice Local hero Valentino Rossi delighted Italian fans by claiming the top spot in first practice ahead of this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. The Fiat Yamaha rider beat team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to the top spot by just over a tenths of a second as Dani Pedrosa's Honda finished a further three quarters of a second further back. Rossi topped the timesheets on a bright morning in Italy with a best effort of 1:35.304; the Italian, alongside with Lorenzo and Chris Vermeulen, also set the highest number of completed laps with 29 to his name. The 1-2 order for Yamaha at the top matches that of the race finishing positions last year as Rossi comes into Misano with a 25-point advantage.
The Honda duo of Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso were also in the top five but separated by the Gresini satellite entry of Alex de Angelis with Colin Edwards again amongst the leaders for Tech3 Yamaha. If being slower than Rossi by seven tenths of a second was not enough of a worry for Pedrosa, the Spaniard's bike stopped on track when a component appeared to break away.
Fisi feels sorry for Badoer Giancarlo Fisichella may be crowing about his newly-signed Ferrari deal but that doesn't mean he's forgotten the man he's replaced.
Ferrari confirmed on Thursday that Fisichella had been released from his Force India contract and would take the Scuderia's second race-seat for the remaining five races of the Championship.
Fisichella's joy has come at the expense of Luca Badoer, who had initially been chosen to replace the injured Felipe Massa.
But the Italian's failure to make an impact, except in adding the unfortunate benchmark of being the only Ferrari driver in history to qualify at the back of the grid in two successive races, saw his racing days come to an abrupt conclusion.
Fisichella, though, has some sympathy for his fellow Italian.
"I'm very sorry for Luca," said the 36-year-old Roman.
"I know how much he cared to race in Monza behind the wheel of a Ferrari, because this is the best thing that can happen to an Italian driver, to drive a red car in front of our fans."
Foyt to miss Motegi The team will be getting ready for their trip to Japan. It’ll be the first year that I don’t make the trip. I’ve had a problem with one of my legs this last month and the doctors don’t want me to make the trip. They’re worried about blood clots. It’s a 14 hour flight from Houston. So even though I feel I should go, I’m listening to my doc this time. I don’t want to have a problem in Japan. That’d be a helluva note—can you picture me in a Japanese hospital? It’s probably best for Everyone that I stay home this year.
So I’ll be watching the race on TV just like everyone else. Well, I will if Direct TV and Versus come to an agreement. I can’t believe that deal or lack of one. If they don’t get it figured out before Sept. 19th, I might switch providers. Or I might watch it on my computer.
And yep, along with keeping track of my stocks, I have figured out how to watch IndyCar racing on my computer. You don’t have to say it…I’m pretty impressed too!
Ross Brawn set to appear in court Ross Brawn is expected to attend a court hearing on Friday afternoon after receiving speeding charges whilst on the road. It was first revealed that the Brawn GP team owner faced a driving ban a month ago.
It is believed that the Englishman's Mercedes road car reached approximate speeds of 100mph on a 70mph stretch back in May; the car was clocked on the A30 dual-carriageway near Okehampton in Devon.
Having been out of the country on 3 August and therefore not able to travel to Plymouth Magistrates Court for the originally set date of the appointment, Brawn was granted adjournment with the hearing now due to take place at 2pm local time on Friday (BST / GMT +1).
Carl Edwards crashed out of the Montreal Grand-Am race on the pace lap. He forgot in road racing you have to turn right too.
From crashing a sports car before a race even received the green flag last Saturday, then being surprised with a silver platter win on Sunday to breaking his foot while playing Frisbee on Wednesday, it's been a rather bizarre week for NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards.
The fracture is on the right foot, the one used for the gas pedal, and has the championship caliber driver on crutches for awhile. However a medical team from the University of Missouri has cleared him for driving in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series this weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Edwards' totally bizarre week began this past Saturday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal-Canada where he and fellow Sprint Cup driver Marcos Ambrose were scheduled to make their sports car racing debut in the Grand American Rolex Series. The team qualified seventh. However, prior to the start of the race, a rain shower left the road course wet and slippery. During the pre race warm up laps the Ford Dallara got away from Edwards, spun off of the track and hit the tire barriers. Despite the severity of the wreck the driver was not hurt. The same could not be said for the car and the day was over before it actually began.
Grand-Am sports cars bring new sights, sounds to IndyUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, It will be a cold day in hell before the France family lets the IRL race at Daytona (their crown jewel) because they do not want IndyCars to show up their stock cars. However, it seems the Hulman George family is stupid enough to let all the France family series race at what was once hallowed ground for IndyCars - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And each time they add a race they diminish the importance of IndyCar Racing. A few hundred people showed up to watch the Grand-Am test Thursday. Big s#!%. You can test lawn tractors at IMS and get two hundred people to show up. Given Grand-Am's limited popularity I don't get the purpose of this test. The race isn't going to draw a large crowd. It must be that the France family is willing to pay the Hulman George family millions to rent the track for a race. It is all about the money now isn't it? I would prefer to see a 2nd IndyCar race on the Indy road course instead. It would be a big hit. What are they thinking? Mordichai Rosen, LA, California
09/03/09 Only four days after playing host to the world's top motorcycle racers in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the site Sept. 3 of the first Grand-Am Rolex Series-sanctioned test in track history.
Five Daytona Prototype and four GT cars participated in the test on the IMS road course. The cars used the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Formula One road course for the two-hour morning session. The drivers navigated the 16-turn, 2.621-mile MotoGP layout for the first 15 minutes of the afternoon session before switching back to the Formula One layout for the remaining one hour and 45 minutes. In both sessions, the cars were traveling clockwise, the opposite direction of the oval events.
The teams that participated in the test:
.Daytona Prototype: No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley with drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas; No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley with drivers Michael Valiante, John Pew and Michael Shank; No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara with Wayne Taylor and Ricky Taylor; No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche Coyote with Buddy Rice, Ed Carpenter and Jonathan Klein; and No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley with Jon Fogarty and Bob Stallings.
Bobby Labonte Signs with TRG Motorsports for 7 races Bobby Labonte has signed a seven race deal to drive the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS starting this weekend in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 to be run at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday evening, September 6th.
The 2000 Sprint Cup Champion brings a wealth of NASCAR experience to TRG Motorsports. Labonte will keep his streak of 568 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts intact, the first of which dates back to the 1993 Daytona 500. Labonte has a lot of respect for his new team.
"This whole thing came together over the last 24 hours," Labonte said. "Slugger (Richard "Slugger" Labbe, TRG Motorsports crew chief) called me yesterday morning and had an idea and wondered if I would be interested or not. I had some openings I wasn't planning on, so it just kind of worked out. I am just trying to go to the rest of the races full-tilt. I talked to Kevin (Buckler TRG Motorsports team principal) a couple of times yesterday and he seems very committed and I think it will work out for both of us."
Roush Fenway Racing confirms today that Carl Edwards fractured his right foot yesterday. He is working with doctors at the University of Missouri who have cleared him to drive for this weekend’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide events at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is currently on crutches to assist with walking but will race the No. 99 Aflac Ford and No. 60 Save-A-Lot Ford in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races respectively this weekend.
“I know this probably sounds ridiculous to a lot of people and I could hardly believe it myself,” said Edwards from his home in Columbia, Mo. “I was playing Frisbee with a couple of buddies and we both went for the Frisbee at the same time. I put my foot on it, my friend dove for it, and the next thing you know…we all heard a pop. I knew it was broken and we all kind of looked at each other in disbelief that of all things, I would break my foot playing Frisbee. I immediately went to the doctor and have been working with a great team of people at the University of Missouri who work with all the college teams here. They have me on crutches to help me walk but said I could race in both races this weekend and shouldn’t have a problem using the accelerator.
“I guess you never know when something is going to happen. This is obviously an unforeseen accident and even though I am not going to miss work, my Aflac policy has me covered. I’ve now seen first hand how Aflac works and it’s clear that no matter how big or small the accident is Aflac is there for their policyholders.”
Kyle Busch leads the 2009 Nationwide Series standings, but he doesn’t expect to return to the series full time in 2010 – even if he doesn’t think running both series has impacted his Sprint Cup performance this year.
“Maybe it has taken a little bit away from the Cup effort,” Busch said Aug 4. “I don’t think it has, but we’re already talking about next year and cutting it back and getting our Cup efforts back up to where they need to be.
“Hopefully, we can get it down to about 22 or 24 Nationwide Series races, just companion stuff, not flying all over the place.”
Busch holds a 212-point lead in the Nationwide standings on Carl Edwards, who already has committed to run the full 2010 schedule, but has not matched last year’s success in the Sprint Cup Series. Busch had eight Cup wins at this point last year, but has just three this season and has struggled to stay in the top 12 in points, sitting 13th entering the Aug. 10 race at Watkins Glen. More at Scenedaily.com
Disrespectful Kyle Busch smashes expensive Gibson guitar after Nashville win
Kyle Busch and the Kyle Busch Foundation has donated $30,000 to the National Alliance for Public Education toward the purchase of 150 guitars to be donated to several Nashville schools, apparently as atonement for smashing a classic Gibson guitar in an embarrassing "rock star-style celebration" after a June Nationwide Series victory. But Busch refuses to put his mouth where his money is. He declines to apologize for the guitar-smashing incident that drew widespread criticism and added to his image as the brat-boy of racing. Nashville music producer Mike Curb who co-owns the Baker Curb Racing team, helped facilitate the Busch donation. Racin' Today
EA Sports: 'No plans' for new NASCAR game The future of EA Sports' NASCAR franchise of racing games has been in doubt since February, when The Sporting News reported the publisher wouldn't be making a new installment of the series this year. Speaking with GameSpot for a Dreamcast retrospective on next week's episode of the HotSpot podcast, EA Sports president Peter Moore has removed all uncertainty from the equation. "There are no plans right now for NASCAR from EA," Moore said. "We had a great relationship over the years that I thoroughly enjoyed when I first got here. Unfortunately we had to make some tough trade-offs. We've had to redeploy some of those folks. A number of the NASCAR team has moved over now to EA Sports MMA, which will be shipping next year. We're still a huge fan of NASCAR, but no plans right now to develop any further games for NASCAR from EA Sports." Gamespot
Tom Cruise to narrate Hendrick Documentary Film "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story," NASCAR Media Group's documentary-style film chronicling the history of the eight-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship team, will air Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1:30pm/et on ABC prior to the network's Pepsi 500 race coverage from [Auto Club Speedway] Fontana, CA. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise and presented by Pepsi, "TOGETHER" employs exclusive interviews, never-before-seen archival footage, thrilling racing sequences and rare family photography to detail the personal relationships and emotional events that have shaped one of NASCAR's most decorated organizations. The official "TOGETHER" trailer is available at www.refresheverything.com/hendrick. The Web site will feature regular updates of content from the film and provide fans the opportunity to upload video messages about their favorite Hendrick Motorsports moments. Select fan-generated clips will be shown during the Oct. 11 broadcast on ABC. The full-length version of "TOGETHER" with bonus material will be released Oct. 31 on DVD, and it will become NASCAR Media Group's first officially licensed title available on Blu-ray Disc. A portion of Hendrick Motorsports' proceeds from those sales will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Cruise, an auto racing enthusiast who starred in the 1990 NASCAR-themed motion picture "Days of Thunder," completed the narration work for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" in Los Angeles last month. The script was co-written by Emmy Award winners Shawn Truax and Ray Didinger. Film director Rory Karpf has spearheaded such projects as the Dale Earnhardt biopic "DALE," now the best-selling sports DVD in history, and the critically acclaimed "Ride of Their Lives." The NASCAR Media Group production team responsible for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" earned back-to-back Sports Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Beyond the Wheel" and "Quest for the Cup." HMS
Memorabilia store in Canada forced to change nameUPDATE "It's unfortunate to read the articles about Mr. Nicholson's store, as they do not tell the whole story", responded Van Colley, Darrell Waltrip's longtime Business Manager. "The truth is DW first came up with Boogity Boogity Boogity and then the name of the store appeared. "Mr. Nicholson only used Boogity as a result of DW's earlier use on FOX. In my opinion, it is not a coincidence that DW started his broadcasts with Boogity, Boogity, Boogity in March of 2002 and then 9 months later, with his business partner, Richard Poulin, that Mr. Nicholson incorporated a company called BOOGIDDY BOOGIDDY RACING INC on November 6, 2002. He then changed the corporate name to Boogity Boogity Boogity Racing Inc on March 3, 2003. That company was dissolved on July 25, 2008. Then the store operated under the name Boogity Sportswear. The shop went as far as applying for DW's trademark of Boogity, Boogity Boogity which was rejected in late 2007 by the Canadian Trademark Office. My point is there is no way Mr. Nicholson should be surprised about what has happened. It is odd that the shop filed for DW's trademark. Whether Mr. Nicholson is a small business owner or the owner of a large corporation is irrelevant to the matter. You simply can't take some one's legally trademarked intellectual property and attempt to profit from it. Common sense tells me that I can't simply throw up some golden arches in my front yard, hang a sign that says McDonalds on it and fire up my grill to attempt to sell some hamburgers simply because I want to. We appreciate Mr. Nicholson being a NASCAR fan and his selling of legally licensed NASCAR merchandise in his store. We also wish no ill will to Mr. Nicholson, despite his comment of wanting to "tear out DW's wind pipe." At the same time, I won't apologize for protecting DW's legal rights. We, like NASCAR, the drivers and teams in our sport fight this kind of thing all the time." Darrell Waltrip Motorsport
09/02/09 A New Brunswick businessman and long-time racing fan has been forced to change the name of his tiny memorabilia shop under the threat of a lawsuit by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip. Randy Nicholson, who has sold NASCAR merchandise in Woodstock since 2001, has been accused of infringing on a trademark that wasn't registered by Waltrip until four years after Nicholson's store was established. Borrowing from a catchphrase issued by the Fox Sports commentator at the start of every race, Nicholson initially called his business Boogity Boogity Racing, and then later changed the name to Boogity Sportswear. On Friday, he received a cease-and-desist letter from an Ontario law firm representing Waltrip, a former Winston Cup champion who says, "Boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go racin', boys" each time the green flag drops. Waltrip registered the catch phrase as a trademark in Canada on Oct. 31, 2005. "My first instinct was that I was going to fight (him), but I don't have the means,'' Nicholson said Tuesday as he stood behind the counter in his store, which also sells hockey, wrestling and ultimate fighting souvenirs. "I am in no position to fight Darrell Waltrip. He has deeper pockets than I do." Nicholson said he registered his business with the federal government in 2001, and paid more than $1,200 to cover the cost of a search that was conducted to ensure the name wasn't being used in Canada by anyone else. At one point, he also operated stores under the Boogity banner in Moncton and Saint John, but he never received a complaint until last week, when a sheriff delivered a letter from MBM, an intellectual property legal group in Ottawa, sent on Waltrip's behalf. "From a trademark point of view, he is infringing Darrell Waltrip's registered Canadian trademark,'' Scott Miller, the head of the litigation group at MBM, said Tuesday. "Taking intellectual property without permission is as reprehensible as taking anything else." Nicholson argues that he has never infringed on Waltrip's rights. He says he has never sold anything that carried Waltrip's trademark, and the few Boogity-related items he sold bore a logo that he developed on his own. Nicholson has until next Tuesday to wipe his shop clean of the word "boogity" and has already taken down his signs. Until he comes up with something better, he will call his business R&B Embroidery, to accentuate the fact that he does printing and embroidery and manufactures vinyl signs. Nicholson said it will cost him between $5,000 and $8,000 to register a new name, put up signs, change his business cards and letterhead, order new checkes, change the way his phone is listed, and set up a new website. Telegraph Journal
Atlantic Championship to Test Cosworth Power To Pass With an eye toward the 2010 season, all Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda teams and drivers participating in the promoter test day at Road Atlanta on Tuesday, September 22 will have the opportunity to test Cosworth Power To Pass in the day’s first session. The session will run from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. ET.
Cosworth pioneered the technology in 2004 for use in the turbocharged, 2.65-liter V8 engines used exclusively by the Champ Car World Series. Drivers utilize Cosworth Power To Pass by pressing a button on their steering wheel, which increases the engine’s rpm and horsepower for a pre-determined amount of time.
“Looking forward, we believe the addition of Cosworth Power To Pass will bring about more overtaking opportunities during our races,” said Atlantic Championship technical director Eric Haverson. “The system worked very well on the Cosworth-powered Champ Car and really helped provide for some exciting racing. It offers the driver another tool to use during the race when trying to pass and should bring some interesting strategy into play for the teams as well.”
GM to close 46 Canadian Saturn stores Canada's Saturn stores will close by the end of the year as a result of automotive entrepreneur Roger Penske's purchase of the brand, General Motors Co. spokesman Stew Low said today.
"After careful and thorough analysis, it was determined that the business case did not support distribution of Saturn vehicles in Canada," Low said today in an e-mail.
GM and Penske made the decision jointly, said Tony Pordon, a spokesman for Penske Automotive Group Inc.
"There was a study done, essentially, in terms of a thorough and careful analysis on a business case in Canada," Pordon said. "We decided, both General Motors and Penske, that we can't go in Canada."
GM announced the decision last week to the 46 Saturn dealers in Canada. The company will move Saturn's customer service, parts and warranty operations to other GM dealerships, Low said.
WRC leader Hirvonen to compete at 2009 ROC FIA World Rally Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen will join the biggest stars from world motorsport in Beijing this November, when The Race of Champions takes place in the Bird’s Nest Stadium on November 3 & 4.
Hirvonen, who currently heads last year’s Race of Champions winner Sébastien Loeb in the WRC points after winning three consecutive rallies, is the first driver to be confirmed as racing for Team Finland in this year’s event. He and his yet-to-be-announced teammate will compete for national pride in the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday 3 November, before going for individual glory in The Race of Champions on Wednesday 4. “It's a pleasure to be invited to the Race of Champions in Beijing this year,” said Hirvonen.
“I've never competed at the event before, only watched it as a spectator and so it will be interesting to see how it works and to drive the different cars. I'm also looking forward to visiting the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium; it looked like a spectacular venue when I watched the Olympics.
Fisichella to be Ferrari reserve driver in 2010 (GMM) Stefano Domenicali confirmed on Thursday that Giancarlo Fisichella will be Ferrari's reserve driver in 2010.
The team boss was speaking to the Ferrari website on the day the 36-year-old former Force India driver arrived at Maranello from Rome to begin preparing for the last five races of 2009.
Domenicali indicated that Fisichella's role for next year was a factor in his choice as Luca Badoer's race replacement.
"He will be the reserve driver in 2010. We considered what could be his role inside the team in the near future, also taking this year's experiences into account," he said.
Before ending his long race career and slipping into the test role, Fisichella will replace the struggling Badoer at the wheel of injured Felipe Massa's number 3 F60, beginning at his home race at Monza next weekend.
One of his first tasks on Thursday was to climb straight into the cockpit of the red single seater so that technicians could begin to modify the seat and controls to his liking.
Force India release Fisichella to join FerrariUPDATE Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that it has appointed Giancarlo Fisichella to drive car number 3 from now to the end of the 2009 season.
“We have chosen Fisichella because we can expect him to make a valuable contribution in this final part of the season,” commented Stefano Domenicali. “Giancarlo has shown, throughout his long career, that he is fast and competitive and we are therefore proud to be able to run an Italian driver in our home race. We wish to thank Luca Badoer for the team spirit he demonstrated in these circumstances: it is a shame he was unable to show his true worth in these last two races, tackled under conditions which anyone would have found difficult.” Ferrari PR
09/03/09 Following extensive discussions over the past 24 hours, the Force India Formula One Team has agreed to release Giancarlo Fisichella from his contract to join the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team for the remainder of the 2009 season, starting with immediate effect.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal, commented, 'Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari. For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No one should stand in the way of this. Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo's long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardize this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India.
'We would like to stress that we have not agreed any financial settlement with Ferrari. This agreement has been made in good faith and for the good of Giancarlo and the sport in general. A competitive Italian driver in a Ferrari for Monza is a positive story for Formula One, which can only help raise the sport's profile in these difficult times.
Dovizioso to use Ohlins at Misano Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso will use Ohlins suspension on his factory RC212V at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend and for the rest of the 2009 season. The decision to change supplier follows the successful test that took place after the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno in the middle of August. Showa has kindly given its consent to this switch, which forms part of HRC’s ongoing development plan for the RC212V race machine.
Pedrosa will continue to run with Showa suspension, which he has used with considerable success since his MotoGP debut in 2006, including seven premier class wins - the last of which was at the US Grand Prix in July. Pedrosa’s front-running pace this season, coupled with the fact that rain at Brno limited the testing time available to him, made it a natural decision for the Spaniard to continue with Showa.
No Monza test could affect GP order - Hamilton (GMM) Monza could be the scene of another shaken-up formula one grid, according to reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.
After teams like the previously struggling Force India and BMW had surprisingly good weekends at Spa-Francorchamps, the sport is now set to move on to the even faster Monza circuit.
The Italian track is by far the quickest on the calendar, necessitating special low-downforce wing and bodywork packages that are not used at any other event on the annual calendar.
In previous years, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza has hosted a pre-race test, but all in-season running outside of grand prix weekends is now banned.
"That (test) allowed you to get the balance right and, as a driver, to get yourself prepared for the high speeds of the track," said McLaren driver Hamilton, 24.
"Now, we'll be arriving 'cold' on Friday morning and it will take a bit of work for everyone to get their cars working properly and just to get used to the lack of downforce that you need to run at Monza," the Briton said in an interview posted on his official website.
"That could have a very interesting effect on the order, particularly if the weather affects running, like it did last year."
Judge denies request to lift injunction on Mayfield U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen has denied NASCAR's request to permanently lift the injunction he issued July 1 that had allowed suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield to race. Mullen released his decision Tuesday, a decision he made on procedural grounds because NASCAR had already filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ordered a stay on the injunction July 24 until the appeal could be heard. A hearing on the appeal is not expected until at least October, and Mayfield is suspended until the appeal can be decided. Because NASCAR had filed an appeal, Mullen said he has lost jurisdiction as far as the injunction. Mullen did state in the order issued Tuesday that because of new factual developments in the case and a new preliminary injunction standard recently introduced by the U.S. Court of Appeals, he would have been inclined to grant NASCAR's request. In Mullen's court, the lawsuit is proceeding into the investigation and trial phase, with a trial scheduled to start no earlier than September 2010. SceneDaily
Renault pushes Williams to re-join FOTA (GMM) Renault reportedly wants Williams to re-enter the formula one teams association FOTA before it agrees to supply the British outfit with engines for the 2010 season.
Probably due to the uncertainty about Toyota's participation beyond 2009, Williams is on the lookout for an alternate engine supply and is believed to be eyeing the Renault deal currently used by Mercedes-bound Red Bull.
"The engine situation is still a work in progress but I think we are relatively clear on which direction we want to go in," chief executive Adam Parr said.
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, however, Flavio Briatore has told his Williams counterpart Frank Williams that he must re-join FOTA before the engine deal is signed.
Valencia would welcome GP date change (GMM) Valencia would welcome a late June race date on the 2010 formula one calendar, the mayoress of the Spanish port city Rita Barbera has confirmed.
On an apparent copy of a provisional calendar that did the rounds in the Spa-Francorchamps media centre last weekend, the European grand prix venue has been moved from a hot August date this year to June 27 next season.
Barbera told the Spanish news agency EFE that late June is a "magnificent" time for Valencia to host formula one because it will not be as stiflingly hot.
She said she would support the date change to June 27 "totally".
That is what the sports car world had in mind for GT2 this season in the American Le Mans Series. The Corvette vs. Ferrari vs. Porsche vs. BMW show that was GT2 on Sunday at Mosport International Raceway was chock full of edge-on-your-seat, wheel-gripping action that served as a taste of what is to come later this month.
Corvette, Ferrari, BMW, Porsche and Ford each ran in the top-five at Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport, a race Corvette Racing won by 0.331 seconds over Risi Competizione and Ferrari, which drove from the rear of the grid to a near victory.
The only thing better than two hours and 45 minutes of such high-speed racing will undoubtedly be 1,000 miles or 10 hours of high-speed racing around Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. The cornerstone event for the American Le Mans Series is Saturday, September 26.
ESPN2 Airing 10 Hours of NHRA U.S. Nationals The biggest event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will have more than 10 hours of coverage on ESPN2 this weekend with the running of the 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Expanded qualifying and eliminations coverage will culminate with six 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. The fabled strip is regarded by many as one of the smoothest on the circuit. The event is the last in the NHRA Countdown to 10 that sets up the final battle for championships in the four NHRA professional classes.
Force India rules out KERS (GMM) Boss Vijay Mallya has ruled out adding KERS to Force India's car package with five races to go in 2009.
After the privateer Silverstone based team's maiden pole position, podium and points at Spa-Francorchamps, it is suggested that rival teams Ferrari and McLaren will have a significant advantage at Monza next weekend due to their energy-recovery KERS 'boost' systems.
Force India's technical deal with McLaren-Mercedes means that arguably the best and lightest KERS unit would be available to the team, and it is believed the VJM02 would accommodate the system with only minor modifications necessary.
But also considering that KERS is not to be used by FOTA members next year, Mallya told the Indian news agency PTI that introducing the technology now is "impossible".
"It weighs a good 30 kilos, changes the entire balance of the car and just for five races, well, I think it's useless," he said.
Can American Josef Newgarden beat the Brits again?
James Bearne Photography
Rising American talent Josef Newgarden resumes his chase of a European championship title this holiday weekend (September 5-6), with Rounds 19, 20 and 21of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain at the famed Brands Hatch Circuit. The Joe Tandy Racing rookie enters the first of back-to-back events at the English race circuit second in the championship fight, and as a six-time series race winner.
For Newgarden, the seventh event of the 2009 British Formula Ford season marks his return to the track where he scored the most significant victory thus far in his burgeoning race career. As a member of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship program, Newgarden made history last fall at Brands Hatch, when he became the first American to win the world renowned Formula Ford Festival, earning the Kent class victory. The 18 year-old followed up that historic moment this past spring with two additional wins at the high-speed road course, taking two of three in the season-opening Formula Palmer Audi Championship as a guest driver.
Shakeup at RCR Richard Childress Racing has reorganized the management of its competition department to provide its race teams and sponsors with consistent improvement in on-track performance.
“This reorganization is the result of a process that took place over the past few months to improve our performance,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “On-track performance is the lifeblood of RCR and everything we do is impacted by how competitive our cars are week-in and week-out. Our common goal remains the same: win races and compete for championships. The creation of these new processes and priorities, with greater accountability, will improve our performance and every aspect of our organization.“
Video: Schumacher reviews the new Ferrari 458 Italia Who says Michael Schumacher is no longer having a love affair with Ferrari? Here's proof he's still having Italian auto lust issues.
In this new video released today by Ferrari, the exceedingly buff and hot looking celebrity racing driver retiree gives a video interview about the performance if the new Ferrari 458 Italia. While Schumacher may be posturing to make women drivers hearts race, it's the exotic car that makes all who see it (ladies and gentlemen alike) feel the urge to own one.
Indy fans welcome to watch Grand-Am testUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Grand-Am cars at Indy? Hell is going to freeze over. If I wanted to watch paint dry I have a room in my house that needs painting. Mordichai Rosen, LA, California.
09/02/09 Fans can watch the Grand-Am Road Racing sports car test Thursday, Sept. 3 from two locations at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Turn 2 Viewing Mounds and South Terrace Grandstands, both adjacent to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
Admission is free. All fans should enter Gate 2 (main gate) to access these viewing areas.
The first official sports car test at IMS will take place from 10 a.m.-noon (ET) and 1-3 p.m. on the road course. Five Daytona Prototypes and four GT class cars will test.
There will be no public access to the garage area during this test.
Gone Fishin' Reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion Skeet Reese was a guest of the Indy Racing League and VERSUS pit reporter Robbie Floyd at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
"I had no idea how cool open-wheel racing was," said Reese, who toured the garages and watched much of the race from pit lane. "I've seen it on television of course, but to enjoy a race from up close was totally different. Watching the efficiency of the crews as they turned out 6- to 10-second pit stops and the speed those drivers pushed those cars to was mind blowing. I'm definitely a fan of Indy racing now; I can't wait to watch more."
The next day, Reese invited Indy Racing League president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart and IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch to his workplace - Clear Lake near Kelseyville, Calif., which is the largest freshwater lake in the state.
Almost 30 bass in the 3- to 5-pound range were landed, with Reese taking honors for the day with a 7-pounder.
"We had fun all day, but there was a three-hour period that we seemed to catch them fairly steadily," he said. "It was a great day, and I made some new friends as well."
Matsuura prepares for Motegi at Chicagoland Kosuke Matsuura, who hasn't competed in an IndyCar Series car since 2007, took refresher laps on the Chicagoland Speedway oval Sept. 1 in the Conquest Racing car he'll drive in the Indy Japan 300 on Sept. 19.
"We don't have a lot of track time during the race weekend in Japan so it is important for me to get some seat time before in order to get used to this open-wheel environment once again," said Matsuura, the 2004 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year. "I look forward to working with the Conquest team and I can't wait for the Indy Japan 300 to race in front of my home crowd."
Conquest Racing wants to make sure Matsuura gets as much preparation as possible.
"With Kosuke being out of the car for a while, we wanted to give him some extra track time before we head to Japan," team owner Eric Bachelart said. "It's a very important race for him, as well as for us, and as we all know, preparation is one of the most important aspects. We're really looking forward to this first trip to Twin Ring Motegi."
Lloyd to race for NHLR at Homestead Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing announced today that 2007 Indy Lights Champion Alex Lloyd, 24, will drive the team’s second entry at the 2009 IndyCar Series season-finale, the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on October 9-10, 2009.
The Firestone Indy 300 will mark Lloyd’s second race this season after having competed in the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year where he qualified 11th and finished 13th in the historic event. Lloyd holds the distinction of being the only driver to win on both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course (Indy Lights, 2006) and famed oval (Indy Lights, 2007). He won eight of the 15 races en route to the 2007 Indy Lights championship including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway after starting second. He also won five poles, finished in the top-five 13 times and led a total of 399 laps during his title-winning season.
Lloyd’s championship in the 2007 Indy Lights Series and his terrific drive at the 2009 Indianapolis 500 bodes well for what he and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing hope to accomplish together.
Ecclestone eyes Indian sponsors for F1 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone will attempt to stir the interest of the Indian corporate world when he visits the country next month.
The F1 chief executive in October is scheduled to review the progress of the site of the future Indian grand prix, but he has vowed to take the opportunity to also look into how to attract more Indian sponsors to the sport.
2009 is the second year of Vijay Mallya's Force India team, but it is still predominantly the Indian billionaire's own alcohol and airline brands that adorn the livery of the VJM02.
Ecclestone played down the impact of the global recession on F1, but he admitted his interest in tapping into one of the world's most strident economies.
"When I come to India in October I will meet with people and see what is the best way to move forward," the Briton told the Indian press agency PTI.
F1 lost a wave of sponsors amid the recent height of the global financial crisis, but Ecclestone insists the worst of the impact is now past.
"Sponsorship was obviously a problem as a lot of big names were reconsidering but it is better now and sponsors are coming back," he said.
We enjoyed first success with car using KERS On Sunday, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro scored his first win of the season thanks to a victory of Kimi Raikkonen and the historic venue of Spa-Francorchamps. It was the Finn’s eighteenth career victory, the fourth at this track.
Kimi Raikkonen: "I really like to win and I love the Spa circuit. It was great coming back to win here at this track. After such a difficult season my goal was to gain at least one success with this car and we did it. This is definitely the most beautiful moment of the year!
"The F60 wasn’t easy to drive with an empty tank, so after Q1 I though it might be difficult to get into Q3. But in Q2 I managed to drive a good lap qualifying myself for the next round. I drove well in Q3, but as the cars were all pretty close I couldn’t do better than position six on the grid. Saturday afternoon I had a really good feeling: I knew that I could fight for the win. Naturally the KERS helped us a lot at the start and when the safety car came in. That doesn’t change the victory’s value, but we enjoyed the first success with this car using the KERS.
Misano up next as MotoGP returns to Europe The thirteenth round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend as the riders and their teams visit Misano for the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
Although World Champion Valentino Rossi has a special relationship with Mugello this is his true home event with the Misano circuit lying just 14km from his beloved hometown of Tavullia. The Italian maestro will again enjoy massive support from the home crowd as he attempts to repeat his 2008 victory at this event and get his title defense immediately back on course after his Indianapolis disappointment.
Rossi’s Indy DNF was the first time he has failed to finish a MotoGP race since Valencia at the end of the 2007 season, but he is unlikely to dwell on his Sunday crash for too long as he focuses on increasing the 25 point advantage he holds over his talented young Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo with five rounds to go.
For Lorenzo his championship dream has been revived by the results at Indianapolis, with the Spaniard bouncing back spectacularly from two consecutive DNFs at the previous two rounds to take a superb victory and halve the deficit at the top of the standings. The man from Majorca won the 250cc race at Misano two years ago from pole position and last year he was second in the MotoGP race.
F1 reject Bourdais lands in SuperleagueUPDATE (GMM) Sebastien Bourdais' first move to resurrect his motor racing career after losing his formula one seat is to the Superleague Formula series.
The open-wheel category that began last year combines motor sport with football, and the French daily L'Equipe reports that Bourdais, 30, has agreed to drive for the Spanish La Liga team Sevilla FC.
The Frenchman was recently ousted by Toro Rosso in favor of Jaime Alguersuari, and now he replaces Sevilla's Argentine driver Esteban Guerrieri.
Bourdais will make his Superleague debut at Portugal's Estoril track this weekend.
09/01/09 Four times Champ Car champion and F1 reject Sebastien Bourdais replaces Esteban Guerrieri at Sevilla, according to French newspaper l'Equipe. The Frenchman was left without a drive after being ousted at Toro Rosso.
It was expected that Bourdais would return to the US to race for the former team of Dutchman Robert Doornbos NHL Racing.
Another Frenchman will return to Superleague Formula, as Franck Perera moves to AS Roma. Perera made his SF debut last year, also at Estoril.
FIA probes Renault beyond 'crash-gate' claims (GMM) The FIA's investigation into Renault runs even deeper than the sensational rumor that Nelson Piquet was told to crash on purpose during the 2008 Singapore grand prix.
The Independent newspaper in Britain quoted a source within the sport's governing body as saying "other issues above and beyond Singapore are also to be looked at".
The investigations reportedly began at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, with engineering boss Pat Symonds and Fernando Alonso among "senior Renault figures" interviewed multiple times, the source added.
The Daily Express newspaper, reporting that team boss Flavio Briatore was also interviewed by a lawyer in Belgium, said Renault executives have already denied the Piquet claims to the FIA.
SPEED will air an exclusive multi-part interview with 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force on Sunday’s edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (note special time – 10 p.m. ET). The undeniable face of American drag racing for the last quarter century, Force will take Despain and SPEED viewers behind the scenes of The Eric Medlen Project at his race shop in Brownsburg, Ind., discussing what changes the team has made and continues to make in the wake of Medlen’s tragic death during a testing accident in 2007 and Force’s near-fatal wreck just months later in Dallas.
NASCAR catches 3 more drug users Mike Hennessy, a crew member for the #199 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Gary St. Amant, a crew member for the #199 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Richard Henninger, a crew member for the #6 team [Roush Fenway Racing] in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. All three were found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. Hennessy's violation came on Aug. 27, while Henninger's and St. Amant's both came on Aug. 28. NASCAR Public Relations
Dover announces 2010 race dates Historically, Dover International Speedway's spring race dates depend on where the Memorial Day holiday falls [since 1987, from 1974 thru 1986 May 14-21 range was the date of the 1st race]. Through the years it's varied between late-May or early June, and because Memorial Day comes late in 2010, Dover International Speedway's spring race weekend has been moved to May 14-16, 2010, three weeks earlier than this year's dates to accommodate a busy spring NASCAR schedule. Tickets for the May 14-16, 2010 tripleheader weekend featuring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series go on sale to the public on Monday, Oct. 12, 2009. Fans that have already renewed their seats and have questions or concerns about the date change are encouraged to call the Dover ticket office at 800-441-RACE for more information. "Dover is traditionally the first stop for NASCAR in the Northeast and it will continue to be that way in 2010," said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. "With Memorial Day falling on May 31 next year, June becomes very crowded and we felt it was better to make this one-time move and preserve our position as the first race in the Northeast. Our dates will return to the slot after Memorial Day in 2011." Dover's fall "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" race weekend remains unchanged and is scheduled for Sept. 24-26, 2010. Tickets for the Sept. 24-26, 2010 races will go on sale on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. Great seats remain for this year's fall race at the Monster Mile coming Sept. 25-27. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com
Will Power's injuries worse than expected Penske Racing IndyCar Series driver Will Power was examined in Indianapolis Monday by series orthopedic specialist Dr. Terry Trammell. Power was injured in a practice accident at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. California on Saturday, August 22.
Dr. Trammell determined that Power suffered fractures of his second, third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, and a fracture of his fifth thoracic vertebra, in the accident (initial reports said just the 2nd and 4th lumbar vertebrae). Surgery will not be required as Dr, Trammell expects Power to recover with rest and rehabilitation. Power will continue to wear a back brace during an expected recovery period of at least four months. Power, who also suffered a concussion and a chipped left front tooth in the incident, will begin physical therapy for his back injuries this week.
After completing his rehabilitation, Power is expected to be ready to compete by the IndyCar Series season-opening race in March of 2010.
Formula Two set for Germany debut this weekend Andy Soucek will be looking to increase his lead in the overall standings as the FIA Formula Two Championship arrives in Germany for rounds 11 and 12 this weekend (4/5/6 September).
The Motorsport Arena Oschersleben will play host to the event as F2 reaches a critical stage in the 2009 campaign. Soucek extended his championship advantage at Donington Park last time out as the Spaniard took his third victory of the season, whilst his main title rival Robert Wickens failed to score points in either race during a frustrating weekend. Whilst the Canadian was able to maintain second place in the standings, he will be keen to get his championship challenge back on track in Germany. Wickens has raced in various categories below F2 this season to gain as much race experience as possible to bolster his championship challenge, and the 20-year-old enjoyed success at a round of the Formula Atlantic Championship last weekend, scoring a strong fourth place finish at Mosport in his homeland.
GM sales spike up due to clunkers program General Motors continued to rebuild sales momentum in August as dealers in the United States delivered 246,479vehicles, far and away the company's highest total and retail sales performance of 2009. The August total, when compared with a very strong sales performance in August 2008 and lower fleet sales this year, was down 20 percent. Retail sales were down 17 percent while fleet sales declined 29 percent. However, when comparing GM's strong August total sales with July, volume was up more than 57,000 vehicles, or 30 percent month-over-month. The hugely successful Federal "Cash for Clunkers" program contributed to the increase, and GM has announced it will ramp up production to restock already tight dealer inventories.
Coulthard not buying latest headline grabbing F1 conspiracy theories (GMM) At Spa last weekend, the most ludicrous paddock theory was that F1's authorities had somehow given struggling teams a secret boost.
With Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella on pole and the podium and Toyota and BMW also doing well in their moment of need, wild speculation did the rounds that the teams had been given higher rev limits, stickier Bridgestone tires, and/or a lower minimum weight limit.
David Coulthard, a grand prix-winning veteran and now commentator for British TV, wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph that he doesn't believe the hype.
"Those scenarios would require the complicity of Bridgestone, mechanics/team personnel, the FIA. It would be impossible to keep such subterfuge under wraps," wrote the Scot.
Coulthard, currently Red Bull's reserve driver and also a consultant to the energy drink-owned team, said even the suggestion that Nelson Piquet crashed deliberately in Singapore last year to help his teammate Fernando Alonso win the race is not likely.
"Morally ... it is off the scale," he said. "It would (need) the complicity of a number of people -- the only evidence I can envisage would be radio communications, which are openly available to the FIA and the team.
"Someone would surely have said something by now. As I say, I don't buy it," the 38-year-old added.
Penske confirms Keselowski Penske Racing announced today that Brad Keselowski, one of NASCAR’s rising stars, will compete for the team full-time, beginning with the 2010 NASCAR season.
Keselowski, a 25-year-old native of Rochester Hills, Mich., will drive the No. 12 Penske Dodge in the NASCAR Cup Series next season. He will also run a full-season schedule in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he will compete for a championship with the team.
“We are very excited to welcome Brad to the Penske Racing family,” said Roger Penske. “Brad has shown terrific success on track the past several years and has quickly established himself as one of the top young stars in racing. He comes from an impressive family background in motorsports. He is a proven winner and a welcome addition to our team.”
South Korea secures F1 project funding (GMM) After a long period of silence, organizers of a South Korean grand prix said on Tuesday they have lined up nearly half of the necessary funding.
Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), a part-private venture involving the South Jeolla government, said agreements for loans totaling about $159 million represents about 46 per cent of the cost of building and operating the circuit.
"With the contract, we have secured enough funds to accelerate preparations for the country's first F1 race," the AFP news agency quoted KAVO as saying in a statement.
The report said the circuit 320 kilometers south of Seoul is already under construction and set to be completed next July.
South Korea did not however appear on the leaked provisional 2010 F1 calendar that was doing the rounds in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock last weekend.
IRL loses DIRECTV customers In yet another blow to the Versus deal with the Indy Racing League, DirecTV has announced that they were not able to reach agreement with Comcast by the August 31st deadline, and with today being September 1st, Versus will no longer be broadcast to DirecTV customers. This will be another blow to IndyCar TV ratings, already below infomercial levels.
Just last week IRL Commercial president Terry Angstadt said he was "very confident" that Versus will continue to be broadcast by DirecTV.
Should the IRL order the flowers and plan their funeral (remember the Versus deal is for 10, count them, 10 years), or will this be their way out of the contract?
IMS pleased with MotoGP weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO Jeff Belskus came away impressed by last weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix and said he sees a future for MotoGP at the track.
One year remains on the contract, but the new Speedway boss spoke with optimism about motorcycle racing remaining at IMS beyond that.
"We think this has a bright future," he said. "We may be in the third year of an original three-year agreement, but I hope there are many years to come on it."
Talks have not begun on an extension, Belskus said. But because races are planned more than a year in advance, a MotoGP decision is expected to be made before next year's race on Aug. 29, said Speedway spokesman Ron Green.
Belskus, who succeeded Tony George on June 30, said prior to Sunday's race that it was an important year for MotoGP at Indy in terms of the Speedway evaluating what it had.
Hurricane-like conditions shortened last year's inaugural race to 20 laps, but it drew more fans than this year's run in pleasant conditions. Sunday's crowd count was 75,130, or 15,934 behind 2008, according to Dorna, MotoGP's commercial rights holder. Overall, the three-day event had 27,372 fewer tickets sold.
Belskus was not discouraged by those numbers, particularly in a struggling economy.
"I'm very pleased with the weekend. It was a satisfying event for us and the city," he said. "Our tickets were off a little bit, but from what we've seen from other sporting events and most motor sports events, we're still satisfied with the attendance of this event. I had a good feeling this weekend." Indy Star
On a day turned from gloom to glory, Englishman Richard Kent, who won the pole in morning fog and rain, converted his advantage to a dominating race win in Round 11 of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Mosport. In doing so, he became – along with Peter Dempsey and Adam Christodoulou – one of only three multi-race winners so far this season driving the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka Allied Interior Products Mazda. Kent, who has started from the pole four times this so far this season – the most of any driver – also won from the pole in Round 5 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
"I was pushing hard right from the start and my win was a combination of a good car and good luck," said Kent. "I made a small mistake in turn 5b that allowed Conor to pass me on the outside in turn 8 and I wasn't able to close the gap. When I saw the nose of his car disappear into the grass in Turn 10 about mid-way through the race, I knew the race was mine. Its been an off-and-on season for me, but hopefully this will give me some momentum headed into the final two races and give me a shot at the championship."
Extra Grandstand Seats Added to Meet Demand Singapore GP Pte Ltd announced today that extra grandstand seats will be added to the previously announced 82,000 per day inventory (grandstands, walkabout and corporate) on account of strong sales over the past few weeks.
Of the available grandstand and walkabout capacity for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, more than 80% has been sold to date. Of these, 94% of the tickets sold are three-day tickets. As of today, 81% of the Pit Grandstand has been taken up, while 83% and 86% of the Bay and Esplanade Waterfront Grandstands, respectively, are sold. Both Sunday and Saturday Single-day walkabout tickets are completely sold out with the three-day walkabout ticket expected to be completely taken up by mid next week.
“The increased momentum in sales as the race dates approach is something that we expected might happen as other FORMULA ONE circuits traditionally experience the same buying pattern. Whilst we never thought we would eclipse the remarkable attendance of our inaugural race we are delighted with such positive sales and we still have a little under a month to the race” said Mr. Michael Roche, Executive Director for Singapore GP (SGP).
Gillett went to Spa to confirm Donington GP plans (GMM) Donington boss Simon Gillett travelled to the Belgian grand prix last weekend to tell Bernie Ecclestone that plans for his circuit's formula one race are on track for 2010.
Gillett's plans to host future British grands prix at Donington have been dogged by speculation, causing F1 chief executive Ecclestone to issue a September ultimatum and put Silverstone on standby.
The biggest uncertainty has been about how Gillett can raise the necessary millions to so substantially upgrade the Leicestershire venue by a July 2010 race date.
"It has been difficult with the global financial markets the way they were but things are very positive now," he told the Daily Express following his visit to Spa-Francorchamps.
"Now (construction company) McAlpine are on site and a huge amount of work is going on," Gillett added.
No Sauber team clarity for 'weeks' - Theissen (GMM) It is going to take "a few more weeks" to determine whether the Hinwil based F1 team currently known as BMW-Sauber has found a savior for the 2010 season and beyond.
In the wake of BMW's announced departure at the end of the season, the German manufacturer recently turned down an offer by minority shareholder and team founder Peter Sauber.
As a consequence, the team could not sign the new Concorde Agreement, and is currently vying for a place on the 2010 grid with several other applicants for the thirteenth pitlane garage.
Team boss Mario Theissen said recently that the process of looking through multiple expressions of interest in the team has just began.
"It will take a few more weeks to have a clear view as to whether we will be able to find a successor who really can take the team through the coming years," he said.
Ferrari seat for Alonso at Monza 'impossible'UPDATE (GMM) After Flavio Briatore dismissed the scenario as "impossible", Fernando Alonso has now hammered the last nail into speculation he might be drafted in to replace Luca Badoer at Ferrari for the last races of 2009.
"No, definitely not," the Renault driver said on Spanish radio Cadena SER in the wake of last weekend's Belgian grand prix.
The newspaper Diario AS however insists that conversations between Briatore and his Ferrari counterpart Stefano Domenicali did take place in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock.
It is believed that Briatore ruled out the switch, even though Alonso appears set to move anyway to Ferrari in 2010, because it might damage Renault's current search for a title sponsor for next year.
Ecclestone speaks as 'crash-gate' erupts (GMM) Amid the deafening silence from the Renault and Piquet camps, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone went on an overnight media offensive as his sport's latest scandal erupted.
"It is not good for the sport. It all seems very strange to me but I do not know the truth, I have no idea," said the 78-year-old, who gave quotes and seemingly also information to multiple British newspapers. [Editor's Note: Could this be the next pre-planned F1 controversy to keep the sport in the daily headlines? After Schumacher did not return to the cockpit, F1 needed an alternate story to grab the daily headlines.]
The new reports indicate that the source of the accusation is Nelson Piquet and his famous father and namesake, furious that the 23-year-old driver was ousted by the French team after the Hungarian grand prix last month.
It is also suggested that the saga, which might go all the way to a hearing of the World Motor Sport Council, could prompt Renault to quit the sport no matter the outcome and end Flavio Briatore's F1 career.
"I think it will piss off Renault," Ecclestone said. "Them leaving the sport is a danger, obviously."
Ford to supply own Super Duty diesel engines Ford Motor Co. today announced plans to produce its own diesel engine for Ford Super Duty pickups.
The 6.7-liter turbocharged V-8 will debut on the next-generation 2011 F-Series Super Duty and is expected to offer "significant improvements in torque, horsepower and fuel economy while adding more fueling flexibility and easily meeting stringent new emissions requirements," the company said.
"This all-new diesel engine has been so extensively tested both in the lab and in the real world that we're confident we're giving our customers the most reliable and productive powertrain available today," said Derrick Kuzak, head of global product development at Ford. "Our Super Duty customers demand reliability and durability in their trucks so they can deliver the best results for their business and their customers. That's exactly what this engine delivers."
Ford's diesel engines will replace the current ones being supplied by Navistar International Corp
Quote of the week "The racing was worse than “South Boston, Hickory, Myrtle Beach” put together, all tracks where the series put on caution-filled races in the past. At least at those tracks, we tried to race each other. I’m sure it was good on TV. Let’s be honest, there’s only about four drivers that know how to drive in the rain. We don’t know what we’re doing.” NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace describing the NASCAR Montreal race run with rain tires in the rain
HOF to sever ties with Yates Hall of Fame Racing would like to keep Bobby Labonte as its NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and likely will not be affiliated with Yates Racing next year, team co-owner Tom Garfinkel said Monday.
The organization signed Ask.com as a sponsor and Bobby Labonte as a driver in January for the 2009 season and then landed a deal with Yates Racing for Yates to field the cars. Seven of the final 12 races were unsponsored, and Yates Racing has opted to put Erik Darnell in the No. 96 Sprint Cup car instead of Labonte.
Garfinkel, in a phone interview, said his organization is still in discussions with Ask.com for next season but doesn’t anticipate the Yates Racing relationship to continue. The organization is looking for other teams to partner with and is in discussions with other sponsors as well, Garfinkel said.
Moraes posts career-best finish Opportunistic throughout the 200-lap PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, Mario Moraes wasn't about to pass up the chance for a career-high finish.
Team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven laughs with joy as KV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser hugs their driver Mario Moraes after the race
So the No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KV Racing Technology car slipped out of the draft of Dario Franchitti's car on the white flag lap and overtook the championship contender for third place a few hundred yards from the finish line on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval. Another lap and he might have challenged for the victory. Ryan Briscoe beat Scott Dixon to the checkered flag by 0.0077 of a second (the fourth-closest finish in IndyCar Series history). Moraes was 0.0699 of a second back..
In the past two races, Moraes has posted career bests on a road course (fourth at Infineon Raceway) and now an oval. He's started in the top 10 at three of the four 1.5-mile ovals, including eighth at Chicagoland.
"I would like to say thank you (to) KV Racing. They did an amazing job," said Moraes, who was running sixth as late as Lap 197. "The guys had perfect pit stops. The entire KV Racing Technology team has been working really hard for this all season and I'm really pleased with a third-place finish."
Chicagoland IndyCar attendance plummets 67% Maybe Chicagoland Speedway should reconsider its decision to install lights this season because the net impact has been the smallest crowds at what was once a very successful facility.
The crowd at Saturday night’s race was the smallest IndyCar crowd at Chicagoland Speedway as the late starting time, colder than normal temperatures in the mid-50s with windy conditions and a lack of promotion in the Chicagoland area all added up to an estimated at 20,000 spectators.
The same crowd attended Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and somehow that crowd was estimated at 40,000, which leads one to wonder who is actually doing the estimating. Although the suburban newspapers fully staffed this race, there was virtually no mention of the event on the Chicago television station newscasts making it an “invisible” event.
Dixon not ready to give up after narrow defeat Give Scott Dixon an extra tenth-of-second or so at Chicagoland Speedway and the IndyCar Series championship race would have a different complexion.
Dixon was runner-up by 0.0077 of a second (the fourth-closest finish in series history) to Ryan Briscoe in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 on Aug. 29 at the 1.5-mile oval. It was Briscoe's third victory of the season, and combined with the one bonus point for the pole and two for most laps led (71) increased his championship advantage to 25.
Dario Franchitti, who finished fourth in the 200-lap race, is second in the standings with two races remaining. The narrow loss resulted in a 10-point swing for Dixon, whose second place for the fourth consecutive year left him 33 points back. During the past two season, Dixon had been the points leader after 15 of 17 races.
IRL meets with team owners We summarize this Versus article about IndyCar Team owners who had a chance to quiz IndyCar Series officials on Saturday afternoon in Chicagoland at a regularly scheduled owners meeting on a variety of topics, including next season’s race at Brazil and the latest on new equipment expected to be implemented in 2012.
“It was a good general update,” said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division of the IndyCar Series. “We talked about the schedule – some of the tweaks we made to that, some of the things we still have to do to that. We talked about how we ended up at the schedule that we have and what our goals are for future schedules. We talked about sponsorship updates – some of the official categories we are filling in and our progress for a title sponsor. We talked about TV, which was a separate subject and an update on engine/chassis package and when we plan on announcing the rules for 2012.”
Angstadt spoke to the team owners along with IndyCar Series president, competition division, Brian Barnhart and outgoing president of broadcasting Charlie Morgan, who is leaving the series to work for Emmis Communications in Indianapolis (Was he asked to leave because if the Versus deal?).
* The current television package that includes 12 races on VERSUS and five on ABC (The IRL believes Versus when it says it will grow the ratings.) * Late-starting times, such as Saturday night’s 9:10 p.m. local start at Chicagoland Speedway: (Only 20,000 showed up on race day, the lowest ever for Chicagoland, but they did it because Versus told them the TV ratings would be higher. We await the results.) * Status of the season-opening race in Brazil. (He and Cotman hope to sign the deal this week in Salvador, Brazil) * Getting financial relief for the team owners from engine and chassis manufacturers: (The new 2012 car and engine should be less expensive for team owners. Until then costs will not go higher for current equipment.) * A title sponsor: (For the 3rd year in a row he is 90% sure they will land one) * Any chance to reconsider New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the future? (No) * How many cars can the TEAMS program maintain before it becomes a financial issue? (22 to 24. Team numbers above that number won't get it) * Danica Patrick staying in the IndyCar Series: (He thinks it is important. She looks to be staying) * Getting Phoenix back on the schedule at some point: (ISC does not want them unless it's essentially free)
DOHC V8 out of Legos You are looking at a "working" Lego V8 engine. And the details are stunning. Pistons pump, valves open and close, rocker arms rock, the fly wheel spins -- there's even two bundle'o'snakes headers that flow into twin collectors, though we don't like how they get reduced and choked. But hey, if you really don't like it, you can build your own – with straight pipes!
Childress, Harvick Put 2010 Season Rumors to Rest Kevin Harvick will drive Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in 2010 for his 10th season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series despite rumors to the contrary.
“Rumors about Kevin not driving for RCR next season have been flying around the garage area and in the media,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “We want to put the rumors behind us by stating together that Kevin will drive RCR’s No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. RCR continues to work on the overall performance of the No. 29 team, like we are with all of our teams, and the plan is to end the season on a high note. Kevin and the No. 29 team are also preparing for next season with the goal of making a run at the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.”
Nationwide team has lost its sponsor for 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jason Keller has declared himself a free agent after his Baker Curb Racing team learned recently that its sponsor would not return to the No. 27 Ford for 2010.
Kimberly-Clark said it was moving to the JTG Daugherty Racing Sprint Cup Series team next year, leaving a sponsorship void for Baker Curb.
“Their scheme of things changed a little bit, from the K-C side,” Keller said. “They’ve been a great sponsor of mine, on and off, the last several years. A lot of the personnel changed, and their whole sponsorship package [changed], what they thought they needed.”
That leaves Baker Curb looking for a sponsor – and Keller looking for a ride. He said Saturday he’s already talked to other prospective team owners, in case Baker Curb can’t keep him.
Wave Energy Drink to Sponsor Carpentier Wave Energy Drink, LLC announced today that it will sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 36 Toyota and driver Patrick Carpentier in six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season.
Wave Energy Drink branding will appear on the No. 36 for the following six races: Atlanta, Richmond, New Hampshire, Dover, Kansas and California. “The partnership between Wave Energy Drink and Tommy Baldwin Racing will provide the brand with immediate access to a significant number of the core target audience vital to the brand’s success,” said Jason Wolter, V.P. of Marketing for Wave Energy.
Copart to sponsor Fontana race The NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway on October 10 has been re-branded as the Copart 300. The race was previously called the Camping World RV Service 300. All advertising and print material associated with the race will include the Copart name and brand. Copart PR
Darnell replacing Bobby Labonte for 7 races Yates Racing, announced that former NASCAR Camping World Series Rookie-ofthe-Year and current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Erik Darnell will be behind the wheel of the #96 entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for seven races this season. Darnell will make his Sprint Cup Series debut Labor Day weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the #96 Academy Sports & Outdoors Ford Fusion. He also is slated to pilot the #96 at Loudon, Kansas, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Darnell will carry the familiar colors of Northern Tool + Equipment for the Loudon and Kansas races. Academy Sports & Outdoors will be Darnell's primary sponsor at Atlanta, Talladega and Texas. Bobby Labonte will continue to race the#96 Ford under the Hall of Fame Racing banner with Ask.com and DLP as his primary sponsors at Richmond, Dover, Fontana, Charlotte and Martinsville. "This is a move that will be beneficial to Yates Racing surviving this difficult economic time," said Bobby Labonte. "Of course, I'm disappointed that the sponsorship environment is so challenging right now, but I intend to make the most out of the remaining races that I'm behind the wheel for Ask.com, DLP and Hall of Fame Racing." Yates Racing PR
FIA probes claims of deliberate Piquet crashUPDATE GMM) Renault and its sacked former driver Nelson Piquet on Monday would not comment on reports the FIA is investigating the Brazilian's crash in the Singapore grand prix last year.
On Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps, it was reported by Brazil's TV Globo broadcaster that Piquet, replaced by rookie Romain Grosjean before the recent European grand prix, crashed in Singapore because he had been asked to.
The incident brought out the safety car and triggered the strategy chaos that sped his teammate Fernando Alonso to the top of the podium.
Without mentioning the night race or the French team specifically, the FIA told media that "an investigation is underway regarding alleged events at a previous world championship race".
The spokesperson's quote was given directly in response to enquiries about the Piquet/Singapore claims.
In an article on Monday by the British newspaper The Guardian entitled 'Renault may quit formula over new cheating claim', representatives of both Renault and Piquet, 23, did not comment.
"A spokeswoman for the (Renault team) said today that there would be no comment," said the report, adding that spokesmen for Piquet also "said he would be making no comment".
08/30/09 (GMM) The FIA has confirmed it will investigate claims that Nelson Piquet was ordered to deliberately crash during last year's Singapore grand prix.
After the sport's first ever night race last September, we reported that it was "ironic" that the Brazilian's heavy crash brought out the safety car and triggered the strategy chaos that sped his teammate Fernando Alonso to the top of the podium.
"I lost the rear of my car. I hit the wall heavily," said Piquet at the time, but he has since been ousted by the Renault team and is furious at his treatment by his former boss and manager Flavio Briatore.
SPEED Quotes: Danica Patrick on Wind Tunnel IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick, recent focus of intense media scrutiny over her potential jump to NASCAR, joined guest host Tommy Kendall (four-time Trans Am champion and host of Test Drive on SPEED) Sunday on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED. She discussed returning to Motegi, Japan, where she made history with her first series win last year, her attitude change, her contract negotiations with Andretti Green Racing and recent shake-ups within the organization.
Following is the transcript from the interview:
Tommy Kendall: I remember having to get on my scooter and going almost to another zip code to visit your paddock in Montreal. But now you’re harder to get to for another reason. You’re close by but you’re hard to get into to see. Do you ever long for the days when things were a little simpler, you weren’t scrutinized as heavily and it was just all about driving?
Danica Patrick: There are some perks to that because it’s a little bit more calm and quiet. But after the race ended in Chicago last night, I got back to my bus and as I’m scootering back to my bus, there are people with big stand-up cutouts of me and posters and I cross by them. I go stand at the bus and I’m in hometown Chicago and there are 30 people standing there and a couple of people I hadn’t seen. So, I had to hurry up and buzz into the bus before people just started getting collected at the bus wanting autographs and then I’d spend all the time doing that instead of talking to my family and friends. So, there are times when I definitely feel trapped in the bus but it’s short-term and predictable at the race track.
Schu races karts but insists not comeback training (GMM) With the media ready to pounce on any new development, Michael Schumacher has immediately ruled out claims he did not travel to Belgium this weekend because he is stepping up preparations to return to formula one.
With Ferrari openly contemplating whether or not to replace the struggling Luca Badoer ahead of Monza, Schumacher at the weekend was racing at the kart track at his German birthplace Kerpen.
He finished the two finals second and first respectively.
"My neck is okay, I still feel it a little bit but by far not as much as after the F1 (test) day," Schumacher told his official website michael-schumacher.de.
"But I could go karting even in the week after that day, as the stress is much less here," the seven time world champion added.
Whitmarsh admits Alonso loss a 'massive regret'UPDATE #2 (GMM) Martin Whitmarsh "apologized" for declaring recently that Fernando Alonso is set to switch to Ferrari for the 2010 season.
"Martin apologized for that," the Italian team's boss Stefano Domenicali said during an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.
"If there was a clear position from our side, we would announce it," he added.
In the interview, Domenicali also admitted it is Ferrari's fault it is currently effectively a one-car team following the injury sustained in Hungary by Felipe Massa.
"Yes, that is a weak point of ours," he said, referring to the team's need to turn to its struggling test driver Luca Badoer.
Alonso is happy to be rid of McLaren team that so heavily favored Lewis Hamilton
"In the last years Ferrari missed the opportunity to install a young driver program, but we are going to work on that," the Italian announced.
Domenicali also confirmed that both Renault and McLaren support Ferrari's efforts to allow three car entries beginning next year.
08/28/09 (GMM) Martin Whitmarsh on Friday laughed as he played down wild rumors that Fernando Alonso might be set to return to McLaren. Although the Spaniard is expected to move to Ferrari, we reported this week that McLaren may have made a last ditch bid to convince sponsor Santander to stay put by asking if Alonso returning to McLaren might change their mind.
Asked about the rumor by BBC's Five Live radio, McLaren team boss Whitmarsh laughed as he began saying: "I don't think he'll be coming back here quite so soon. I haven't spoken to Fernando or his management."
Grosjean upsets rivals with Spa crash (GMM) Jenson Button was unimpressed with F1's newest rookie after the pair crashed out of the Belgian grand prix.
The Brawn driver's title lead over his teammate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel shrank by 2 and 6 points respectively on Sunday, when multiple cars tangled at the Les Combes corner on lap one.
The stewards ruled that no penalties should be applied, but rookie Frenchman Romain Grosjean claimed that Button "took me out".
When told by reporters about the 23-year-old Renault driver's assessment, Button responded: "I can't believe he's blaming me but, to be fair, I don't really care.
"It's not really important. I didn't score any points, and that's what's important."
Video: Ambrose chokes in Montreal Carl Edwards caught Marcos Ambrose on the final turn to win a caution-filled NAPA Auto Parts 200 while local favorites Andrew Ranger and Jacques Villeneuve finished third and fourth at the NASCAR Nationwide event Sunday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
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