Pigot Selected as Team USA Scholarship Winner Andretti Autosport driver Spencer Pigot has been selected as a winner of the 22nd annual Team USA Scholarship. As part of the program, Pigot will compete in the premier Duratec class at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in Kent, England on Oct. 15 and 16. He was also awarded the opportunity to drive in the final round of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain at Silverstone on Oct. 8 and 9.
Pigot and his teammate, fellow Team USA Scholarship nominee Zach Veach, made up Andretti Autosport's 2011 two-entry Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda effort. Pigot's rookie USF2000 season wrapped up on Sunday in Baltimore, with Pigot earning his third race win of the season and finishing second in championship points. Pigot and Veach also helped Andretti Autosport capture its second consecutive team championship in the series.
Large field expected for ALMS in Laguna Seca The race toward the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n championships moves to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patr¢n. It's the eighth and penultimate round for the 2011 championship and marks the ALMS' return to picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 39-car grid is the Series' largest at the track since the first event in 1999. In addition to the already stellar full-season field for the six-hour enduro, the Monterey round will feature the return of two high-profile entries. The first is Aston Martin Racing with a Lola-Aston Martin coupe for Adrian Fernandez and Harold Primat. They finished second in their most recent ALMS race at Long Beach in 2010 in the same car, and the factory entry will join Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing's Lola-Aston Martin on the grid.
MAZDASPEED driver Conor Daly, heads to Monza, Italy this weekend to close out his rookie GP3 season on one of the world’s fastest Grand Prix circuits. His plan is to continue the upward momentum that almost every race weekend has brought with Spa, Francorchamps two weeks ago being Daly’s best qualifying (6th) and race finish (5th) of the season,
He will carry to Monza some impressive credentials, despite the difficulty experienced during his first season of European racing. He has been recognized as “the best passer in GP3” by America’s Speed channel television announcer, Will Buxton, in recognition of the aggressive passing moves he has been making since Valencia, Spain, in June. Despite his aggressive style, his consistency has been impressive as he is one of only three drivers including the championship’s top two drivers, Finn, Valteri Bottas & Britain’s, James Calado, who have finished every lap of every race this season.
September 15th, 2012 is date for IndyCar Fontana returnUPDATE See the update in red below regarding Jimmy Vasser.
09/06/11 Mark your calendar for Sept. 15, 2012 – that’s when the thrill, excitement and speed of the IZOD IndyCar Series will return to Auto Club Speedway.
The stars of the series, which includes Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, along with high-profile owners Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, A.J. Foyt and Bobby Rahal will visit Southern California’s premier motorsports facility for the first time in seven years with the intense competition, high-energy show scheduled to be run at night under the lights.
Tickets for the highly anticipated event will go on sale on Sept. 12, 2011. Ticket pricing are as follows: Reserved Club area $60; Reserved $50; General Admission $30; Kids 12 and under free in General Admission with Lefty’s Kids Club membership and camping packages will be available from $255 to $330.
Sam Hornish Jr. won the Inaugural IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in 2002 in an exciting finish that saw him beat Jaques Lazier across the finish line by a mere 0.0281 seconds. The series continued to run at Auto Club Speedway through 2005 and provided race fans with speed and excitement each time it visited the speedway. Some of those highlights include:
October 28, 2000: During CART IndyCar qualifying, Gil de Ferran set the track record for fastest lap at 241.426 mph (388.537 km/h). This was also a world speed record for the fastest lap of a closed course.
March 24, 2002: Sam Hornish Jr. wins the first IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway by 0.0281 seconds over Jaques Lazier.
November 3, 2002: Jimmy Vasser won the final 500 mile race in CART/Champ Car (now defunct) history driving a BK01 Lola-Ford with Shell sponsorship. The race also set the track record (at the time) for average race speed at 197.995 mph (318.642 km/h). It stands as the fastest 500-mile race of all-time.
September 21, 2003: During the IndyCar Series race (Toyota Indy 400), Sam Hornish, Jr. set the track record for fastest average speed during a race at 207.151 mph (333.377 km/h) but it was a 400-miler, not a 500-miler. This is still the current track record.
September 20, 2003: IndyCar Series qualifying record set – (one lap): Helio Castroneves, 226.757 mph (364.930 km/h).
Colin McRae, his son, and two others killedUPDATE #3
Today, it was reported by British newspaper The Guardian that Sheriff Nikola Stewart has ruled Colin McRae to have flown at a dangerously low altitude while performing ‘reckless’ maneuvers in order to ‘thrill his passengers’. The 39-year-old has also been found to have not updated his documentation for flying the aircraft.
“He undertook significant maneuvering at low level and the helicopter seems to have encountered significant g-loading as a result, to the evident enjoyment of his passengers,” the sheriff comments.
“The deaths and the accident resulting in the deaths might have been avoided had Mr. McRae not flown his helicopter into the Mouse valley. Such a precaution would have been entirely reasonable. There was no necessity to enter the Mouse valley. There were no operational or logistical reasons to enter the Mouse valley.
This time, Oriol Servia was content with a runner-up finish.
Servia, who started 14th in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, slipped to second place in the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car on Lap 61 as the last of the lead pack cars peeled off for their final service stops.
Servia and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan pitted on Lap 43 during a full-course caution (Servia was 10th and Kanaan 11th in the running order) and stretched their 22 gallons of ethanol and Firestone Firehawk tires 32 laps on the 2.04-mile, 12-turn street circuit.
That contributed to neither being able to challenge eventual winner Will Power, but victories come in all sizes.
Wheldon showcases Mazda Road to Indy at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Dan Wheldon bounced and beamed like a child waiting to open their Christmas presents.
"Can I go out now? Are you guys ready? Can I go now?" he asked everyone in sight.
Though at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Wheldon wasn't getting ready to race in the Indianapolis 500. He wasn't even hopping into his own car, instead sliding into Spencer Pigot's Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda car and speeding down the road course.
He told the Andretti Autosport crew he was only going to run two laps to warm up the car. After 10 laps, it was clear the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion was having a good time.
Newgarden puts in championship performance in Baltimore
Josef Newgarden didn't clinch the Firestone Indy Lights championship at Baltimore, but he may look back on his performance on the 2.04-mile street course on Sept. 4 as the reason why he claimed the Firestone Firehawk Cup as series champion.
"This was probably the best moment of the year," said Newgarden, who went from 14th to second in the 35-lap Baltimore 100. "Certainly I'm pleased after what happened (in qualifying). It was difficult on me. I made mistakes yesterday and put ourselves in a very bad position for today. "
But Newgarden used a combination of patience, pace and guile to finish .4500 of a second behind winner Gustavo Yacaman. Races like these are what make champions and Newgarden now needs to just finish 13th or better in the next race in Kentucky to sew up the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights title.
AirAsia Pledges Further Support for American Driver Alexander Rossi
Team Rossi Motorsports is proud to confirm further support for American driver Alexander Rossi by Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia and his low-cost airline. Alexander is currently the senior driver for the AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Program and AirAsia is now also supporting Alexander’s aspirations of reaching Formula 1 through his participation in World Series by Renault: Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, racing for UK based Fortec Motorsports Ltd.
Earlier this year, Alexander formed a long term relationship with Team Lotus in his pursuit to reach Formula 1. Since he entered the Team Lotus Driver Development Program, both Team Lotus and Alexander have built a strong relationship and each has proven their intentions and commitment to see him become the next American in Formula 1.
Grand Prix takes Baltimore by storm The decision to host an auto race that required millions in public funding and snarled traffic for weeks leading up to the event drew some criticism, but the tens of thousands who jammed the streets Sunday for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix weren't complaining.
"I've never been to any race before, but all the grandstands and what they did to the whole city - what used to be a street is now a track - it's really nice," said Brad Herrmann, a 2010 North Carroll High School graduate who now attends York College. "I do mechanical engineering there, so I love to come down here and look at the engines."
(GMM) A win at Monza this weekend will prove Red Bull has erased its final lingering weakness.
Two weeks ago at Spa-Francorchamps, amid suggestions the RB7 will struggle for top speed from its Renault engine, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber duly finished first and second.
But the middle section at the fabled Belgian circuit is suited to Red Bull's cornering strengths, making the incessant flat-out runs at Monza's Autodromo Nazionale this week arguably the team's biggest test yet in 2011.
Vettel's win in the Adrian Newey-designed Toro Rosso in 2008 aside, the Red Bull cars have usually been vulnerable at Monza to their rivals' superior engine power.
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has defended Sebastian Vettel amid reports the reigning world champion is "not a real racer".
As the Red Bull driver runs away with his second consecutive title in 2011, former grand prix winner David Coulthard observed in his latest Telegraph column that doubts remain about the 24-year-old German's quality.
"He (Vettel) continues to sweep all before him, and yet there are still those who question Seb's driving," wrote the Scot. "As if he is simply fortunate to have found himself in a Red Bull. As if he is an average racing driver because he wins races from pole."
Coulthard however thinks Vettel could go on to be F1's "best driver ever", and Alonso - Ferrari's lead driver and also a two-time champion - also rates the young German highly.
IndyCar race fans prefer street and road coursesUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Could not agree more. Oval track races should comprise 25% of the schedule, not 50%. I would not want IndyCar to abandon ovals completely, but when you come off looking like a loser, it's time to face reality. They are giving away thousands of free tickets for the Las Vegas season finale just to save face. If people had to buy tickets for the race it would be a complete embarrassment. That race that needs to move to 'The Strip' or adjacent to it. If IndyCar eventually gets to a 20-race schedule, no more than 5 races (25%) should be on ovals. And besides the Indy 500, what are the other 4 oval races that can avoid IndyCar's embarrassment of empty grandstands? Maybe IndyCar should consider two races a year on the Indy oval. The Indy 500 Mile race and an Indy 500 Kilometer race. Lloyd Davidson
09/05/11 Contrast and compare attendance at IndyCar oval tracks (Indy excluded) with road and street courses and it's easy to see that IndyCar fans prefer road and street races. This idea that the series has to maintain a 50/50 split of ovals vs. road and street races is utter nonsense.
Racing on ovals with grandstands built for NASCAR results in IndyCar looking like a complete loser series because of all the empty seats. If IndyCar fans like oval races so much how come they are not buying tickets to the races in mass? Answer - Because the 50/50 split is a fallacy left over from the old-timers who cannot get over the fact that NASCAR monopolizes and signifies oval racing in America and IndyCar will always be a third cousin.
Even on TV, IndyCar fans prefer the road and street events. Versus told Baltimore race organizers that Sunday's event was its highest-rated IndyCar event, topping previous broadcasts by 59 percent and boosting the season's IndyCar ratings by 25 percent.
Drivers, mayor see Baltimore's first IndyCar race as success More impressive than Will Power's mastery of yet another street-road course was the crowd that gathered to watch him win Sunday's inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
"That's the best podium ceremony I've ever had in my career. Massive!" the Australian said of the rock-concert feel at the trophy presentation. "So many people. On my cool-down lap, I looked at every (grand)stand, absolutely full. They put on the best race we have had all year."
Race organizers estimated that 150,000 attended the three-day event, which ended with Power's Izod IndyCar Series-best sixth victory this season. Oriol Servia was second and Tony Kanaan third. The 2.4-mile, 13-turn layout — built for $6.5 million, largely from federal funds mandated for street improvements — wound through downtown streets past venues such as the Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Richmond
The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race under the lights in prime time this weekend at Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway and ESPN networks will have live telecasts of both events on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9-10.
The 400-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will air on ABC on Saturday night, Sept. 10, with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show at 7 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag at 7:43 p.m. The race is the final event in the NASCAR “regular season” and will solidify the 12 drivers who will be competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Falken Tires proving superior in ALMS Team Falken Tire and drivers Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler captured an impressive victory in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR this weekend at the 2011 Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, round seven of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n season. In what turned out to be a heavy fought street fight around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, the Falken Tire squad took their second GT victory of the year in front of a sold out crowd in what will no doubt become a marquee event in the ALMS schedule.
Pirelli pushing for 2012 tire regulation tweaks Pirelli is pushing for a change in the Formula One tire regulations to decrease the amount of unused tires left after each grand prix weekend.
Pirelli currently supplies six sets of harder compound tires and five sets of softer tires to each driver at each race as well as an allocation of wet-weather tires. However, it has found that at least one set of the harder tires per driver is not being used over the grand prix weekend and it has been destroying perfectly good tires after each round as a result.
Pirelli has therefore proposed that it should supply five sets of both dry-compound tires to each driver at each race in order to come in line with the teams' usage.
Johnny Herbert 'My problem was not Michael, it was Flavio' It doesn't take much to get three-time Formula 1 race winner Johnny Herbert to talk about his illustrious former teammate Michael Schumacher. Herbert, who is to be the drivers' representative on the stewards' panel for the Indian Grand Prix and raced in the 'Legends' category of the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup, set the record straight about his relationship with Michael Schumacher when the two were teammates at Benetton from the end of 1994 to 1995.
“My problem wasn't Michael,” said Herbert. “It was Flavio (Briatore).” Herbert spoke of the difficulty in getting a little extra help from the former Benetton team principal, who is now infamous for asking Nelson Piquet to deliberately crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help his Renault teammate Fernando Alonso.
MAYOR RAWLINGS‑BLAKE: I wished everyone when they were coming on stage good luck, but I really meant it what I said it to you. Congratulations! I'm so proud that Baltimore was able to host this event. We had an opportunity, with your help, to shine on an international stage, and I wanted to thank everyone who made this happen. There were so many people who, when we had traffic problems or parking problems or any delay, the nay sayers certainly had their day, until the race started, and I want to thank everyone that was involved to make sure that the nay sayers have been silenced.
People from around the country and all over have come to enjoy this race. It was an exciting race, a challenging course and I invite you back for next year.
WILL POWER: And we want to come back, we loved it.
NY Times: Baltimore Grand Prix Attracts Huge Crowds
Attendance: 75,000 on Sunday, 175,000 for the 3-day weekend
For the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, a three-day event featuring major IndyCar and Le Mans-style street races, downtown Baltimore was transformed into a festive street fair, with just a dash of disaster-movie quarantine zone.
A large patch of downtown became a fan village encircled by a 2.1-mile street circuit racetrack. Miles of temporary barriers and chain-link fences kept spectators a safe distance from the track and separated the fan village, which included Camden Yards, from the rest of the city, including the Inner Harbor.
Four narrow security gates allowed paying spectators passage between the two realms. Deafening engine roars echoed through the streets. Fans outside the barriers watched the races from tavern patios, interstate overpasses and high-rise rooftops. Spectators inside took mazelike paths along temporary stairways from grandstands to paddocks and autograph booths.
Kanaan and Castroneves in scary crashUPDATE # 4 When you go to the 58 sec mark of the video, during the slow-motion review of the accident, you can easily spot track-marshals on the left-hand side of the track in front of the concrete wall! During the first real live show you can hardly spot these 2 track-marshals, but when you look more carefully at the slow-motion you can just see how lucky these guys were! The City of Baltimore definitively escaped from a possible, very nasty accident before all the fun and games actually started!
09/05/11 Kanaan and Castroneves have lost their grid positions and are starting from the back row.
09/04/11 Here is the video:
09/04/11 Kanaan said afterward he completely lost his brakes.
09/04/11 Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan were involved in a scary accident in morning warm up for the IndyCars on the streets of Baltimore Sunday. Castroneves was leading Kanaan down the main straight heading to Turn 1. Kanaan was gaining on Castroneves when Helio for some unknown reason moved to the inside and then to the outside as they approached the braking zone. Kanaan, confused by the right and left movement appeared to miss his braking point and launched right up and over the right side of Helios car, flying past Helio as if he was standing still, and ran hard into the tire barrier in the runoff area. Both drivers are OK but their cars suffered considerable damage.
Andy Priaulx returns to the Race Of Champions Tin-top racing superstar Andy Priaulx MBE has signed up for the 2011 Race Of Champions at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on December 3-4.
Triple World Touring Car Champion Priaulx switched to endurance racing this year before he spearheads BMW’s arrival in the DTM series in 2012. He has also turned into a Race Of Champions regular with this appearance scheduled to be the sixth year in a row that he has taken part.
Not only has Priaulx reached the individual ROC semi-finals three times but for the last two years he has made the ROC Nations Cup final for Team GB – with newly-crowned F1 world champion Jenson Button at Beijing in 2009 then alongside fellow tin-top racer Jason Plato in 2010. In both finals Team GB was narrowly defeated by Team Germany’s Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Now Priaulx and Button – who recently moved to Priaulx’s home Channel Island of Guernsey – will be back together and looking for revenge in December.
Ribbs finishes 13th in Indy Lights, goes back into retirement
Willy T. Ribbs learns that open wheel racing is a young mans game
Willy T. Ribbs is going back into retirement.
Ribbs, who became the first African-American to race in the Indianapolis 500 in 1991 and hadn't raced in an Indy car in 17 years, finished 13th out of 16 drivers in the Firestone Indy Lights event Sunday. Ribbs quit after 28 laps.
"I physically ran out of gas," said Ribbs, 56.
Ribbs said that he lost radio contact with his Willy T. Ribbs/Starting Grid, Inc. team after two laps. Had he known he only had seven laps left, "I would have found a way to push the car across the finish line," he said a few hours later.
Tens of thousands party at Baltimore GP The first running of the Baltimore Grand Prix drew tens of thousands of people _ die-hard racing fans and neophytes alike _ to a festival that took over the city's downtown Sunday. The three-day event was expected to draw more than 150,000 people, but exact ticket sales numbers weren't available Sunday evening, said Baltimore Grand Prix and Baltimore Racing Development President Jay Davidson.
"There were definitely more people than we anticipated," Davidson said. "You can see on TV, it's just packed. Obviously that's a nice problem to have. The drivers and teams really thrive on that kind of environment and it makes for a good show."
The 2-mile, 13-turn course on city streets ran past the Inner Harbor and around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The IndyCar and the American Le Mans series headlined the event that also featured races from three other leagues.
Penske 'amazed at the turnout' for Baltimore Grand Prix
Roger Penske was impressed, and that's saying something
Roger Penske looked out his window in the Hyatt Hotel at the Inner Harbor and didn't believe was he was seeing. It was Saturday and the grandstands along the Baltimore Grand Prix course were packed solid with fans.
"I was amazed at the turnout," said the owner of Team Penske. "To see huge crowds like that on a Friday and a Saturday shows this event has great potential."
Penske, sitting in the team trailer and waiting for the racing to begin Sunday morning, was ebullient for a team owner who just watched his premier driver's car sheared by a flying competitor during morning practice. Tony Kanaan lost his brakes and soared over Helio Castroneves' car at the turn onto Pratt Street at about 8:45 a.m., badly scraping the right side. Neither driver was injured.
A jubilant finish for the Baltimore GP Tens of thousands of spectators trooped through crowded paddocks and grandstands, clutching ear plugs and checkered flags. Auto-racing teams praised the exciting twists and straightaways through roads normally choked with harried commuters.
And the cars, intricate and sleek, careened through downtown Baltimore, blazing what many hope is a new tradition in the city's collective life.
The inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix concluded Sunday, impressing spectators, participants and city officials. Perhaps it was only appropriate that the winner of the race — which followed months of elaborate preparations and traffic-snarling construction — was named Will Power.
First Baltimore Grand Prix had something for everyone If you're scratching your head right now and trying to figure out exactly what happened on the streets of Baltimore on Sunday, you're probably missing the point.
The Baltimore Grand Prix was never intended to make local sports fans turn in their Ravens season tickets and turn into instant gearheads. It was intended to be a great street festival that raises the international profile of the city. On that level, it's hard to argue with the outcome. This was about telling the story of Baltimore," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
I'll let others wonder whether it was worth the civic inconvenience or the public infrastructure money that was expended to get the Inner Harbor area ready for three days of qualifying and racing. Six million bucks is a lot of money when you've got struggling schools and a perpetual budget crisis, but it's still OK to have a little fun once in awhile.
Baltimore Mayor ecstatic about race turnoutUPDATE #2
The crowd was so big getting around the track was difficult
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — ensnared in a campaign to maintain her post — was mum on Sunday afternoon on changes the city would make next year to the Baltimore Grand Prix, but said she was "very, very proud."
In an interview during the closing moments of the inaugural open-wheel street race through the city's downtown streets, Rawlings-Blake said there were no major event-related incidents reported except for "a few rowdy people."
She said she was looking forward to doing a post-incident analysis in order to improve the event next year.
Rain delays Atlanta NASCAR RaceUPDATE NASCAR waited and hoped. But the rain wouldn't go completely away, and with Tropical Storm Lee entering the picture, Nascar has decided to postpone the race until Tuesday..
09/04/11 Rain in Atlanta, Georgia has delayed the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The rain has stopped and the dryers are on the track. They are hoping for no more rain.
Ecclestone cuts BBC F1 coverage Formula One executive Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the BBC will not broadcast full reruns of the 10 races which it is not showing live next year. From 2012, Sky will broadcast all races live while the BBC's live coverage will be restricted to 10 of the 20-race calendar.
In July Ecclestone confirmed to Formula One's teams that the BBC would broadcast every race in full after it has taken place. The McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, said "Bernie assured me, and I asked him several times, the deferred coverage will not be highlights, it will be a full race. That, to some fans, will be very important."
However,in a U-turn, Ecclestone said yesterday: "The BBC will broadcast 75 minutes of every race."
Some fans attending the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sunday were already planning their trips back next year.
Whether they lived inside the city, or came from outside of the state, they were enjoying the event enough to say they'd come again.
"I'll be back next year," said Tom Liberta, of Doylestown, Pa., who came to the event for the entire weekend with his two sons, Thomas and Dominick. "There's some wrinkles they have to work out, but it's one of the few IndyCar races that are near enough."
Liberta said he'll spend close to $1,500 when his trip is done. He and his sons stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites downtown.
Pigot Takes the Win in Exciting USF2000 Season Finale Andretti Autosport’s Spencer Pigot held off charging series champion Petri Suvanto in a last-lap shootout on the streets of Baltimore, Md., this morning to claim his third win of the season. Pigot, who started on pole in the #8 Team MAZDASPEED/Skip Barber entry, maintained his advantage at the start and fought off challenges from, firstly, yesterday’s race winner, Wayne Boyd, and then Suvanto to take the checkered flag just .314s ahead of the Finn.
Boyd, 20, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, vaulted from fourth to second at the start, followed by the youngest driver in the field, 15-year-old Luigi Biangardi, from Chicago, Ill. Suvanto, who started second, fell briefly to fifth place before sneaking past Zach Veach toward the end of the first lap. The caution flags then waved for the first time after local driver Bruce Hamilton, from Monkton, Md., found the wall in Turn Four.
Baltimore Sunday Pre-Race Updates RELAX, BALTIMORE, SUNDAY EDITION! More good weather. More big crowds, a combination of veteran Indycar fans, ALMS fans, and people who became racing fans this week. The paddock expected the new pavement, along with the newly constructed chicane, to be an issue – but so far, so good. There was a lot of apprehension by locals that their city would bad, followed by a sense of relief as the event unfolded yesterday, then followed by excitement as the racing was good. Some media noted that some fans were here that formerly attended places like Trenton and the ill-fated Washington DC races. Local press estimate today's crowd at 75,000 and reserved seating is sold out.
This isn’t to suggest that the race organizers don't have a zillion important details that have to be fixed for next year. For starters, there were crowd control problems after the race as fans waited for half an hour or more to cross the pedestrian bridges, and yes, there were some scuffles. There are reports of reserved seating tickets being sold for seats that didn't exist. Such things are easily forgiven in the first year of the event, especially when the racing and turnout were both incredible, but won't be forgiven going forward.
Simona de Silvestro is having a great weekend here at Baltimore. Not only hasn't she caught fire (Indy), or hit the wall (Milwaukee) or been refused entry to the country (last weekend), but she posted FASTEST PRACTICE SPEED in a crash-filled morning practice session. It doesn't help that her sponsor has put out the red carpet this weekend to its clients as well.
Not so lucky were drivers who met trouble in morning practice. Tony Kanaan will start the race in a backup car after a braking problem put him into Helio Castroneves in morning practice. Helio will also start in a backup car.
When practice resumed another incident involved Ana Beatriz, JR Hildebrand and James Jakes. Practice was concluded a few minutes early after that incident.
When talking to the Indy Lights drivers, it is clear that it's hot outside, that the track is very physical, and will punish mistakes. The fitness levels of drivers will be tested, which will benefit Indycar triathletes Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira. -- Tim Wohlford, reporting from Baltimore
Yacaman wins Baltimore 100 on Streets of Baltimore Gustavo Yacaman won the inaugural Baltimore 100 at the Streets of Baltimore Firestone Indy Lights race, inheriting the race as others in front of him made a series of mistakes. For the first 2/3 of the race, Conor Daly (yes, his dad is Derek) lead the race before Estaban Guerrieri passed for the lead and pulled away. However, Estaban made a mistake on lap 27, putting him into the tires and out of the race, setting up a 5 lap sprint race. Anders Krohn lead at the green flag, but spun a lap later, giving the lead to Yacaman. Josef Newgarden pressured Yacaman, but Yacaman was flawless at the end and won going away. While there were a few spins for the most part is was a clean, fast race.
After Conor clipped the wall on lap 25, his day came to an inglorious end when he clipped the wall and took off the front wing. This is likely his last Indy Lights race, perhaps the last in the IndyCar ladder. Conor has been racing in Europe for some time, and it's no secret that he's hoping for an F1 ride instead of an Indy 500 ride.
Victory and points’ lead for Martin Tomczyk For the third time this season, Martin Tomczyk has won a DTM race. In the seventh DTM season round at Brands Hatch (GB), the German crossed the finish line to win from his fellow Audi drivers Mattias Ekström and Edoardo Mortara (both Audi). With three races remaining, Tomczyk is now also on top in the drivers’ standings: with 50 points, he is one point ahead of his opponent Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz). In the race in Great Britain, the Franco-Canadian ended up seventh behind Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz) and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi). Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) claimed the final point-scoring position by finishing eighth.
Indy and MotoGP extend for 3 more years MotoGP commercial rights holders Dorna Sports has reached an agreement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which will see the iconic American venue host the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix for the next three years. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and CEO, Jeff Belskus, has been in attendance at this weekend's Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at the Misano World Circuit in order to meet with Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and they have agreed to extend the contract.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been hosting MotoGP since 2008 and the new agreement will see the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix feature on the MotoGP calendar until at least 2014.
Lorenzo wins Misano MotoGP race Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner looked poised to take the lead in turn one at the start of the Misano race, but defending World Champion Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) fought back and moved to the front in the first corner, holding onto the lead position until crossing the finish line to take his third win of 2011 and reducing the gap to Stoner in the Championship lead to 35 points.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) was third off the start, a deviation from his usual hole shot into the first corner, the Spaniard gradually gaining ground on his team mate until he over took the Australian on lap 22, to cross the line second. In an unusual bout of fatigue, 25 year old Stoner was unable to retaliate and finished the race in third.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) fell back to seventh on the start, then made his way back through the pack up to fourth, where he then engaged in a tussle with his rival Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), emerging ahead of his fellow countryman on the last lap to take fourth. Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), whose poor start saw the American drop to seventh on the second lap, caught the dueling Italians and looked capable and prepared to make the pass into fourth, but instead got baulked in the final corner to finish sixth behind Dovizioso.
ALMS thanks Baltimore The inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix featured one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds for an American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n event. The stands and paddock were packed all day as world-class racing took over Charm City…
Tim Pappas, Black Swan Racing “We came here not knowing what to expect, but man, what was accomplished on the track, with the people, police, fire department, and the fans. Everyone worked really well. I hope we're welcomed back. This was so great to see.”
Hamilton too accident prone say F1 legends (PVM) According to two legends of the sport Lewis Hamilton is one of the best Formula 1 drivers of this current generation, but both also say that he is making too many mistakes which are negatively impacting on his desire to win more titles.
Niki Lauda, the three times F1 world champion, told Sunday Express: “You can’t win championships if you are crashing. Look at Sebastian Vettel, he is not making any mistakes or crashing, and that is why he is going to win the title again this year.”
Indycar team owners left in dark over engines New engines will soon fire for the 2012 season. Several teams have deals with manufacturers; others feel they can't get them. Among the latter is Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, whose co-owner Robbie Buhl called the dilemma "disheartening." "And that's the nicest word I can use," he said Saturday.
Buhl won't say which engine manufacturer his organization would like to join, but it's clear it's not Lotus. Why? Because that manufacturer is deemed to be the weakest of the three. Each manufacturer is allowed to cap distribution at 40 percent of the field next season, although the exact number is not set.
Chevrolet has its allotment if Team Penske (three cars), Andretti Autosport (four) and KV Racing Technology (three) maintain their numbers. Panther Racing (one car) is expected to be a Chevrolet team as well.
Danica already goneUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Let's cut right to the chase and forget about all the BS. Since all the good Champ Car drivers came over to IndyCar, Danica is not good enough for IndyCars. She is a backmarker so she has to step down to NASCAR where there is less driving talent and where she has a chance. She knows it, her management knows and the entire IndyCar paddock knows it. In NASCAR they run 100% throttle most of the time, and they turn left. Even Danica can handle that. Besides, if she drapes herself half naked over a car in NASCAR the 'over beveraged' NASCAR fans will lust over her and she will make millions. In fact she may displace Dale Jr. as the most popular driver. She will be a hero, and perhaps go down as the greatest driver in the history of the sport, oops I mean circus. Bill Reese, Dallas, Texas
09/04/11 The closer it gets to the conclusion of the IndyCar Series season, the worse it appears Danica Patrick is running there.
After last week’s poor performance at Sonoma, Calif., she posted a message on her Twitter account that she would “redeem herself,” but in a car “with a hood.”
Sounds as if she has already left IndyCar, for all intents and purposes.
Williams F1 shares plummet The collapse has been driven by concerns over the outfit's race performance and turbulence on the world's stock markets.
Nearly €100m has been wiped off the market capitalization of the Oxfordshire-based team since it floated 24pc of its shares in March at a price of €24.38. It closed on Friday at €15 per share following a 10.7pc drop over the past month.
The biggest casualty of the falling share price has been Dutch investment firm Cyrte which was founded by the billionaire John de Mol.
Cyrte became the biggest single investor in the Williams flotation by buying 5pc of its shares.
Daly, not Yacaman wins Indy Lights poleUPDATE In Firestone Indy Lights, Conor Daly will make his first start from the pole in the 35-lap Baltimore 100.
The qualifications order was revised by Firestone Indy Lights officials, who determined that several drivers set their fastest laps while a local yellow was displayed on the course including Gustavo Yacaman who posted the quickest lap.
Peter Dempsey, driving the No. 26 Andretti Autosport car, will make his second front-row start of the season (Long Beach the other).
Baltimore Saturday 5:00 PM Updates RELAX, BALTIMORE, SATURDAY EDITION! The sun is shining, and the stands are full, as are the paddocks. Even during the light rain during Indy Lights qualification -- including lightning warnings -- the crows remained strong and enthusiastic. There were three teams of promoters that were fired before the current group was installed a few weeks ago, so the turnout -- and relative freedom from huge problems after the racing started -- is certainly a small miracle.
Drivers were quietly taking odds on how long the new pavement on the raceway -- some of which was laid down on Thursday night -- would last. Not only hasn't it had time to cure, but it's also very sticky and the cars are taking full advantage of the grip. However, through the first half of the ALMS race, the pavement is staying intact, but a lose manhole cover did cause a full-course yellow after 50 minutes of racing.
Having a big crowd means big traffic. Supposedly, a race promoter is all about "traffic, tickets and toilets" and this will no doubt be the hottest topic among locals in the coming weeks. Baltimore shut down 2 major streets as well as a portion of their light rail system for this event, so even without the crowds the traffic would be a problem.
Overheard in the Paddock -- Auto racing requires lots of money, and the economic woes have taken their toll. There is word that the Grand-AM event at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), which was viewed as a success last spring, might not be on the schedule next season. Likewise, the ALMS promoters are busy trying to keep their series alive. It is certain that the teams will race in LeMans in June, but everything beyond that seems to be subject to discussion and rumor. -- Tim Wohlford, reporting from Baltimore
Rockenfeller claims pole position at Brands Hatch Great joy for Mike Rockenfeller (Audi): in qualifying for the seventh DTM season round, the German claims his maiden pole position in the most popular international touring car series. With a lap time of 42.090 seconds in the fourth qualifying heat, the Audi driver was 0.198 seconds faster than Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz). The Brit will be starting from second place on the front row alongside Rockenfeller into his home race. For the race on Sunday, Martin Tomczyk (Audi) and Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) will be starting from the second row of the grid. Points’ leader Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz) ended up sixth in qualifying behind Mattias Ekström (Audi). However, the Franco-Canadian will be docked two places on the starting grid after having used an unmarked tire in free practice.
Stoner secures eighth pole of the season Today in San Marino, Casey Stoner took his 30th MotoGP career pole position and 8th of the 2011 season, and with it he broke his own record set here in 2008 by two tenths of a second.
It was a very hot qualifying session with air temperatures reaching 29 degrees and a track temperature of 39 degrees. Stoner spent the early part of the session working on set up for the hard tire, when he switched to the soft tire he was able to record the fastest lap seen at Misano with a 1'33.138 on lap 18.
Power and Franchitti stay on top in Baltimore Saturday morning practice for the IndyCars on the streets of Baltimore saw the same results as Friday - Will Power fastest, followed by Dario Franchitti. Graham Rahal moved up to third quick ahead of Scott Dixon and Sebastian Bourdais, who is slowing moving Dale Coyne's team closer to the front of the grid.
The only caution was caused by Marco Andretti who crashed in the chicane area just before pit entrance.
Sergei Afanasiev will be the poleman for the first race of the Auto GP weekend in Valencia, that will start today at 1.35 PM. The Russian driver posted a 1'23"436, a laptime that allowed him to take the top spot in the final stages of a thrillingly-close session that saw the top three drivers packed in just 0"08 and 12 competitors in just eight tenths.
So the DAMS driver managed to keep momentum after his impressive performances in Oschersleben, and got an ideal start to a weekend where his aim is to further reduce the gap from championship leader Kevin Ceccon. The Italian driver, anyway, won't make it easy for his rivals and in today's Qualifying he was 2nd: after going off track in the first minutes, causing the first of the two red flags that interrupted the session, he found a perfect feeling with the car and his best lap was just 0"03 shy of pole.
Kansas announces 2012 race date Kansas Speedway officials announced that the facility will again host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2012, albeit both will be held on different surfaces, and the spring event weekend has moved to April to ensure the recently announced track improvements are completed. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns with the inaugural SFP 250 on Saturday, April 21 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns with the STP 400 on April 22, 2012, which will be the final race at the facility under its current design and with the current racing surface.
When NASCAR returns to Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 on Oct. 20 and the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Hollywood Casino 400 on Oct. 21, 2012, race teams will need to throw out the notes they have cultivated over the past decade at the facility and prepare for a new racing surface that includes banking up to 20 degrees.
Remaining 2011 events at Kansas Speedway include the Hollywood Casino 400 on Oct. 9, the Kansas Lottery 300 on Oct. 8 and the Kansas Lottery 98.9 on Oct. 7 and tickets for all events are on sale now by calling 866.460.RACE (7223) or by logging onto kansasspeedway.com. Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverages. Kansas Speedway
Even with 1 race, Atlanta still cannot sellout With ticket sales soft fans looking for a great value and the opportunity to be up-close to the action, the Atlanta Motor Speedway $149 Start/Finish Line Package is the perfect option. For just $149, customers get an Upper Champions Grandstand ticket to both the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 4 and the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Sept. 3. Also included is a Sunday Pre-Race Pit Pass. This is a total savings of over $111. With NASCAR's changes to the pit road dress code for 2011, a variety of clothing options that were previously not allowed are now accepted for this year's AdvoCare 500. Fans can dress comfortably in shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless shirts, skirts and dresses for their visit to pit road. NASCAR night racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4. Tickets for the AdvoCare 500 start at $39 and $19 for students. Children 12 and under admitted free for the Great Clips 300 and the Good Sam Club 200 with an adult ticket. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Rain could hit Baltimore GP Officials for the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Baltimore Grand Prix are praying for sunny, dry weather Sunday, but they are prepared to change the format or schedule should heavy rains hit the city.
While Grand Prix CEO and president Jay Davidson said earlier this week that the race would go on in "anything short of another hurricane," it might take less than that for the highly anticipated race to either be shortened or postponed until Monday.
According to the latest forecasts, there is chance of showers and possibly thunderstorms after noon. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent, and while the forecast is for rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, higher amounts are possible in the event of thunderstorms.
In slightly cooler weather than the day before, the premier class set out in the final practice outing before afternoon qualifying, with Casey Stoner leading the way with a best time of 1’33.567, the fastest lap of the weekend. The Australian improved his time by close to a second with his quickest time set on his fourth lap, and was 0.099s ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, who bettered his time by over half a second from the previous day.
The Yamaha Factory Racing team had smaller improvements, with Lorenzo bettering his previous time by less than a tenth, posting a time of 1’33.890 on lap eight of 22, while Ben Spies improved by slightly less than two tenths, placing him fourth in the field.
UPS to cut back NASCAR sponsorship UPS plans to cut back dramatically on its support of Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford driven by David Ragan in 2012, SportsBusiness Daily reported. Sources familiar with the company's plan said it will drop its full-season primary sponsorship of the #6 car and sponsor 4-8 races at RFR in '12. The company is in talks to shift its sponsorship to Carl Edwards, who drives the team's #99 Ford. RFR president Steve Newmark declined to comment and said the team is still in discussions with UPS. The company did not return a call seeking comment. The move will further reduce the number of sponsors paying for their logo to appear in all 36 NASCAR races. UPS was one of seven sponsors slated to be on the same NASCAR hood for all 36 Sprint Cup races. The other full-season primary sponsors are #11-FedEx [34 races, Sports Clips at Darlington, Charter Comm at Atlanta], #20-Home Depot, #48-Lowe's, #27-Menard's, #2-Miller Lite and #56-NAPA Auto Parts. (Red Bull and Furniture Row own the teams that feature their logos.) Though UPS won't renew its full-season primary sponsorship at RFR, sources said the company is expected to renew its official partnership with NASCAR. It has been the sport's official delivery company since 2000. Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal
notes: #11-Hamlin scraped the wall, no major damage. #2-Keselowski hit something on the track and tore a whole in the oil cooler, plans are to pull the engine, replace the pan and put the same engine back in the car.
The results of this practice session will set the qualifying order, qualifying is scheduled for 5:10pm/et on Saturday, September 3rd on SPEED.
Dixon, Pedregon, Anderson and Matt Smith Top qualifying Larry Dixon, Cruz Pedregon, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith stood atop the ladder following the opening round of qualifying as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series rolled into Lucas Oil Raceway for the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and the final race before the Countdown to the Championship begins.
With bonus points - and potentially their championship hopes – on the line, teams on the bubble looked to race their way into the top 10 and those already locked in looked to improve their positions, with a total purse of over $2million awaiting the winners of one of drag racings most prestigious events.
Dixon, the defending winner in Top Fuel, led all qualifiers with a low ET of 3.883 at 315.56 mph, well below the track record he set here a year ago, as unseasonably warm temperatures led to slick track conditions and slow speeds even as qualifying stretched into the twilight hours.
“It was night qualifying, but we still had hot, humid conditions,” said Dixon. “I think Jason (McCulloch, crew chief) was shooting for a little bit more than that, but we ended up low (ET) which is a great job for the Al-Anabi team.
“That probably won’t stick for the pole, it might not even get you qualified, but for today we did well. It’s just one run that happened to be the best run of the day, but it won’t be the best run of the weekend”
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