Video: Vergne Monza crash Jean-Eric Vergne was the first retirement from the Italian Grand Prix, spinning out at the Rettifilo Chicane before flying into the air over a curb. As a result, the Frenchman’s back and head took a knock and he was checked over in the circuit medical centre.
“I was taken from the accident to the Medical Centre but, apart from a bit of pain in my back and my head, I am fine,” he said. “I don’t know why I crashed. All I can remember is that, when I braked, I completely lost control of the back end of the car.
Gordon recovers to beat Busch for final Chase spot Jeff Gordon’s hopes of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup looked to be almost over at one point Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
But, after a long rain delay, Gordon and his team made adjustments and his car became a rocket ship. After the rain stopped and the race continued he drove to the front while Kyle Busch struggled with an ill-handling car and faded from contention.
Those factors, as well as a loose lug nut that cost Busch valuable seconds on his final pit stop, resulted in Gordon earning the final wild-card spot in the Chase.
Busch finished 16th while Gordon finished second, giving Gordon a three-point edge for that wild-card berth. Gordon finished second in the final two regular-season races to move into wild-card contention.
Valsecchi back on top in Monza sprint David Valsecchi kept his countrymen smiling by claiming the second Italian win of the weekend with a commanding drive in this morning's sprint race in Monza, controlling the pace and his rivals to ease home ahead of Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer.
The Italian's win was set up at the start when he split front row starters Stefano Coletti and Palmer with a storming start as the lights went out. Leimer followed Valsecchi after running inside Coletti at turn one and easing into P2, while behind them Esteban Gutiérrez came together with Johnny Cecotto, and Marcus Ericsson missed his braking all together and had to run straight at the chicane.
Does F1 need shorter, later races? Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was in the Monza paddock on Saturday and spoke late in the afternoon on a number of subjects. One of them was the idea of refreshing the format of F1 Grands Prix, so they are shorter and start later in the day.
Currently a Grand Prix is 300 kilometres, which can take anything from 75 minutes to almost two hours in the case of Singapore. There have been calls in the past to make F1 races shorter or to split them into two events. Many casual fans who are interested but not hooked, often say that they watch the start then tune in later to see what happened. Would they stay to watch the whole race if it was on at the end of the day and lasted only an hour?
Ellinas wins as Evans becomes Champion The final round of the 2012 season was a weekend you could not script. Ahead of Race 2, only one man could stop the New Zealander claiming the GP3 Series crown and that was Daniel Abt, who had to win the race with a no score from Evans to steal the honours. The German was leading whilst Evans had a problematic race but with a few laps remaining, Marussia Manor Racing driver Tio Ellinas romped home to his debut victory after passing the Lotus GP driver in the Series which clinched the title for the MW Arden driver in a nail-biting finish.
Westbrook, Balzan Earn Rolex Series Poles Richard Westbrook, whose first of two victories of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season came from the No. 1 starting position, won the pole for Sunday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda.
Westbrook, driving the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP with Antonio Garcia, upstaged both pre-pole favorites with a lap of 1:21.042 (99.415 mph) around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 11-turn, 2.238 mile track.|
Westbrook had been fifth fastest in the previous day’s practice, dominated by defending race winner Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and Rolex Series championship leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
Gurney’s No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP stable mate Jon Fogarty settled for the second spot on the grid with a fast lap of 1:21.213 (99.206 mph). Rojas managed a fifth-place qualifying effort in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley.
“I didn’t think we had the pace to match the (No.) 99 so I was a bit surprised, but the car was perfect,” said Westbrook, whose victories came at Barber Motorsports Park in March and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June.
Alessandro Balzan won the GT pole in his first GRAND-AM appearance driving the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 to a fast lap of 1:27.594 (91.979 mph). His driving partner Olivier Beretta had been fastest in Friday practice.
“I’m very proud to race here in the U.S. This track is very famous in Italy and it’s always been my dream to be here,” said the 31-year-old Italian. “I really have to thank my team for the opportunity. It’s been a great start and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Eric Foss qualified the No. 73 Neo Synthetics/Carbotech Performance Porsche GT3 second fastest.
The GT-leading No. 69 FXDD/Motorola Ferrari, which suffered suspension failure in Saturday morning practice, qualified seventh with Emil Assentato at the wheel of the car he shares with Jeff Segal.
Times for two GT cars were disallowed following post-qualifying inspection. The No. 03 Tequila Patron Ferrari 358 driven by Mike Hedlund was too low. The rear wing of the No. 57 Stevenson Autosport Camaro GT.R of John Edwards was too high. Each will start at the rear of the 27-car grid.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Festival will be televised live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio.
Abt sole challenger in title fight with win in Monza
Two wins in seven days. Daniel Abt claimed his maiden win in Spa and now pockets a further 25 points at Race 1 in Monza, the final round of the season. The win was vital for the German, as it has kept his championship hopes alive in a race where Series leader Mitch Evans failed to finish, and Antonio Felix Da Costa and Aaro Vainio didn't score, thus ending their championship chances with one race remaining. Tio Ellinas and Matias Laine joined Abt on the rostrum.
Evans started from pole position but it was teammate Laine who made the best getaway, moving into P1 with Ellinas sneaking into P2. Evans ran wide at the first chicane, running over the curb and suffering damage to the car, forcing him into the pits. The team were unable to fix the car, with the New Zealander having to watch forlornly and wait for the performances of his rivals to know whether he would become GP3 Series Champion.
Wind Tunnel Sunday Sprint CUP title contender and points leader heading into Richmond, Greg Biffle, will join Dave Despain and Bob Varsha in the Wind Tunnel studio Sunday night to talk about this year’s Chase for the Sprint CUP.
Robin Miller will preview next week’s IndyCar finale in Fontana, CA where Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be attempting to win their first series championship.
Featured Interview Greg Biffle (Sprint CUP Title Contender) Co-Host Bob Varsha (Host, Formula 1 on SPEED) Expert Analyst Robin Miller (SPEED Open Wheel Racing Reporter)
Filippi returns to GP2 and wins at home Luca Filippi has claimed a dominant win on his return to the series with a strong start and some judicious overtaking at his home circuit to take the checkered flag in this afternoon's feature race in Monza, ahead of Johnny Cecotto and Marcus Ericsson.
The win was set up with a solid start as poleman Max Chilton moved across to cover his rivals: the Italian was the first man to the Rettifilo, but was unable to slow down enough to make the second part of the chicane. Filippi ceded ground to the Briton but led Ericsson, Davide Valsecchi and Cecotto around his home circuit as he waited for the pitstops.
Ambrose hopes to return to the #9 in 2013 Marcos Ambrose admitted Thursday that his contract status remains unsettled for next season and beyond at Richard Petty Motorsports, which fields his #9 Ford. "Does that worry me? Yeah, that worries me a little bit," Ambrose said.
"I've had a pretty good season, and I want to be in NASCAR. I'm working with RPM. Hopefully I can be with them for a long time to come, but there is no guarantee. Obviously RPM has been through a lot this season, as they have the last few seasons. And I'm here to help them get to where they want to go, and hopefully it works out for me."
Mitch Evans has one hand on the GP3 Series championship trophy after flying to pole position in Qualifying today for Round 8 of the 2012 season. Series rival Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin) was just 0.020s shy of the New Zealander with David Fumanelli of MW Arden in third.
Gorgeous weather set the scene in the Monza paddock ahead of GP3 Qualifying on the day where the GP3 Series crown can be clinched. There was a flurry of action in the pitlane as the drivers ventured onto the circuit to set their installation laps and then the pace intensified. Tio Ellinas was first to set a hot lap, with Evans and William Buller also topping the timesheets in the early part of the 30 minute session.
Gainsco car tops Grand-Am practice In preparation for the team’s 99th GRAND-AM Rolex Series race, Alex Gurney drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP to the quickest practice lap of the day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, while Olivier Beretta led the GT class in the second of two Friday practice sessions.
Gurney turned a best lap at 1:21.285 (99.118 mph) around the 2.258-mile circuit in the car he shares with Jon Fogarty to lead the way on Friday. Daytona Prototype points co-leader Scott Pruett – who led the Friday morning session – was second quick in the afternoon at 1:21.657 (98.666 mph) in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley he co-drives with Memo Rojas.
Dale Jr. wins Richmond pole as Hendrick cars dominate
Dale Jr. on pole in one of the last races uses the rear steer car
Getty Images for NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. did exactly what was necessary to win the pole for Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway -- and teammate Jeff Gordon did more than enough to make Kyle Busch very nervous.
The 44th of 45 drivers to make a qualifying attempt in Friday's time trials, Earnhardt toured the three-quarters-mile speedway in 21.526 seconds (127.023 mph) to claim his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at Richmond and the 11th of his career.
But it was Gordon who put himself in position for a last-ditch attempt to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a second-place run at 126.981 mph. Gordon can dislodge Busch from the second provisional wild-card position by winning the race (if Tony Stewart remains in the top 10 in the standings) or by beating Busch by more than 12 points, if no wild-card contender with one victory wins on Saturday night.
Tony Eury Sr. released by JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team Tony Eury Sr., competition director for JR Motorsports, has been released from his family’s team, the organization announced Friday. Eury Sr. is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s uncle and served as crew chief for his nephew’s two Nationwide Series championships in 1998-99 and 15 of his NASCAR Cup victories from 2000-2004. Earnhardt co-owns JR Motorsports with Rick Hendrick and Tony Eury Jr., who is the crew chief for Danica Patrick at JR Motorsports. The team cited the competitive struggles of the organization as the reason for “amicably” parting ways with Eury Sr. after nearly five years together.
“I can’t think of anyone who has impacted my career and development as a driver more than Tony Sr.,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “I know my dad ultimately put me in the Nationwide Series car back in the ’90s, but Tony Sr. was the one who convinced him to do it.
Video: Castroneves and Power dance During a break in testing yesterday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Dancing with the Stars’ Helio Castroneves took some time to teach teammate Will Power how to dance on pit road. The results are priceless (including some breakdancing moves). The drivers return to Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15 for the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale, where Will will battle Ryan Hunter-Reay for the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship.
Ferrari working through Alonso gremlins Fernando Alonso was halted by no less than three reliability issues in Italy on Friday, but remains confident that Ferrari can still enjoy a productive weekend. In first practice, the Spaniard pulled off-track as the old engine he was carrying was about to expire. In the afternoon came a left-rear brake problem as well as a broken gearbox, losing him around half an hour of running time. The latter also sparked concerns of a grid penalty.
“Sometimes we just push parts to the limit on Fridays, to get some mileage and experience, but it was a bit strange with the mechanical failures today,” he admitted. “We just need to take care and remember how important these things are.
F1 Friday quotes from Monza McLaren Lewis Hamilton, P1 - 1:25.944, 6th; P2 - 1:25.290, 1st “Monza is a beautiful circuit and the whole place has such great history - you really feel it as soon as you drive through the gates. And, of course, it’s an absolutely stunning place on which to drive - the speeds are incredible and, when you get the flow right, it feels simply amazing. It’s very, very quick. It’s somewhat deceptive, too: a map of the track makes it look quite simple, but it’s actually incredibly technical. It’s also bumpy, which means it’s incredibly difficult to nail those final thousandths on a quick lap. And that’s really what today has been all about: we’re trying to fine-tune the balance and find the tiniest amounts of time. It’s extremely tight. Overall, today has been quite productive, and everything has gone smoothly. Hopefully, we’re not in a bad position, although there are still things we can improve on the car for tomorrow.”
Chilton powers to GP2 pole in Monza Max Chilton maintained his Free Practice pace to clinch his second pole position of the season with a late surge in this afternoon's qualifying session in Monza, storming to the top spot ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Johnny Cecotto.
The Briton's best time of 1:31.886 was set with just six minutes remaining in the session, and although van der Garde was able to narrow the gap to just 0.067 seconds next time across the finish line, his rivals were unable to push Chilton off pole.
The entire field were straight out on track when the lights went green, with the hot and sunny conditions soon allowing their times to tumble. Cecotto (who loses five places on tomorrow’s starting grid following a penalty picked up last week in Spa), Fabio Leimer and Fabio Onidi all sat briefly on the top of the time sheets before van der Garde staked his claim for pole, settling the best time so far just seven minutes in, and holding on through the pitstops.
Montezemolo in no rush to release Massa Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari, insists that there is no rush to decide whether or not Felipe Massa will remain with the team in 2013. The Brazilian’s future is a key factor in the current F1 driver market, with several rivals waiting for an answer.
With Massa at Ferrari and Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, but both men possibly leaving those posts ahead of next season, a handful of midfield drivers await decisions from the front end of the grid. At the same time, others – such as Jaime Alguersuari and Adrian Sutil – are looking to re-enter the sport.
Italian GP: McLaren 1-2 in practice 2 Lewis Hamilton led a McLaren one-two in the second Friday practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza with a 1m25.290s lap on soft tires. Ditto for Spa winner Jenson Button's 1m25.328s lap in second place in the sister McLaren.
By contrast Fernando Alonso ran a 1m25.348s on hard tires, just 0.058 seconds off the pace.
Chilton sets the pace in Monza GP2 Practice Max Chilton has opened his weekend in fine style by setting the pace in this morning's free practice session in Monza, leading from the front as he put himself at the top of the timesheets for most of the session and finishing four tenths ahead of Felipe Nasr and Luca Filippi.
The Briton's best lap of 1:31.850 was set just before the field returned to the pits for fresh tires, claiming all three fastest sectors to blow away anyone else's chances of improving in the hot and sunny conditions at the famously fast circuit.
Heh British journalists, stuff it. He may be an old man by F1 standards but Schu beat Nico Rosberg yet again and was fastest in the mediocre Mercedes
Given the crappy car he is driving, at 43 years old he may still be the best driver in F1. Michael Schumacher set the fastest time for Mercedes in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
With speculation started by the British media that Lewis Hamilton may replace him at Mercedes, Schumacher shut their mouths with a 1m25.422s lap that no one could get within 0.3 seconds of.
Second was Belgian GP winner Jenson Button (McLaren), followed by the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in third position.
New Zealander Mitch Evans took first blood in the title fight which is set to rage this weekend at the final round of the 2012 GP3 Series in Monza, Italy. The MW Arden ace was quickest in Free Practice ahead of his teammate Matias Laine and Series rival Aaro Vainio.
Temperatures of 20 degrees greeted the GP3 paddock as the forty-five minute practice got underway with Dmitry Suranovich and Fabiano Machado first out to set installation laps. One of the four Italian drivers racing this weekend, Kevin Ceccon (Ocean Racing Technology) headed the way in the early part of the session whilst Tio Ellinas was an early stoppage after two laps when his Marussia Manor Racing car stopped at turn 2.
Video: Alex Zanardi winning gold in London 2012 Paralympic GamesUPDATE Alex Zanardi interview after winning Olympic Gold at Brands Hatch: "If what I do pleases people and makes them smile I will say 'thank you' and lift my cap. But I do what I do for Alex Zanardi. You can find good things every day. Every day can be a new opportunity to add something to your life. Winning the gold may be my best achievement – or most satisfying – and I laugh when I think of having grandchildren sitting on my legs, what's left of them anyway, and saying, 'Grandad went to London and won an Olympic gold medal'."
09/07/12 Alex Zanardi, former F1 racer wins gold in H4 hand cycling, Jonas Jacobsson of Sweden wins gold in shooing. Italy's Assunta Legnant wins shot put gold, Oliver Hynd beat his older brother Sam in the pool. Iran's Siamand Rahman lifted 280kg in powerlifting and the Dutch Sonar team won gold in sailing.
NASCAR changes rules, will hurt Dale Jr. Dale Jr was a backmarker until this year when the Hendrick team came out with their trick rear suspension that fit Dale Jr's driving style. Amid complaints about a perceived advantage by Hendrick Motorsports and other teams, NASCAR has implemented a rules change that will make it more difficult for teams to set up their cars to give their driver better rear steer.
The new rule will go into effect next week when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway. The new rule places parameters on the truck arm front mounting bushings, which will be allowed to only have a maximum of a quarter-inch in total movement in one direction.
The bushings — pieces of rubber or other material near the mounting points — must be designed to move freely and not lock in one position.
The claim that "everything is bigger in Texas" will likely gain further credence later this year, when the speed limit on a stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio hits 85 miles per hour — the highest limit in the country.
Constructions crews on Wednesday began posting 85-mph speed limit signs along a pending section of toll road on Texas' State Highway 130. This 41-mile stretch of highway, which will open for traffic by Nov. 11, is on the east side of Austin and heads southwest toward San Antonio.
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