Marco Andretti wins pole for IndyCar finaleUPDATE See full story on our home page.
09/14/12 Marco Andretti won his fist pole in a long time for tomorrow night's MavTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Ryan Briscoe was the only other driver to top 216 mph and will start second. Point leader Will Power will start third and his title contender Ryan Hunter-Reay struggled in 17th.
Marco was happy to be on pole.
"Yeah, thanks man. It means a lot. Just what we have been going through this year. Me in particular just been a very trying year for me and my career. Its good for the confidence, but we still got to get a race car under us tonight which I think we can do. But credit to the whole RC team, but the whole Andretti Autosport is just taking a huge step up this year. And let the best man win tomorrow."
(On his season) "Toughest part of my career. It is inspiring me to work harder outside the track and work harder in the car and still try to see what I need in the set up to get me quick, because I am not going to be quick on these tracks. And a little bit of leading luck will help."
Randy Bernard speaks, California edition In what has been a regular event at IndyCar weekends, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard addressed the media, holding an informal question and answer session. Recapping the highlights:
- Yes, Randy does read AutoRacing1.
- The controversial engine rule, which penalized drivers 10 spots should they change an engine before the proper number of miles is reached, was to address the engine manufacturers cost concerns. In that respect, it has succeeded. Randy didn't say whether or not it would be continued, but he was definite that the costs must be contained.
- "No doubt" there will be enough engines for the 2013. Chevy and Honda are excited about next season, and Lotus has not formally indicated they want out of their 4-year agreement (Lotus did attend a meeting of motor reps yesterday).
Saavedra wins Indy Lights pole Sebastian Saavedra earned the pole for the Firestone Indy Lights Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100.
Saavedra, who also is competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series race, posted a two-lap average speed of 189.640 mph in the No. 27 Team AFS car. He was 0.2636 of a second quicker than Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport.
Esteban Guerrieri, who enters the 50-lap race 11 points behind Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Tristan Vautier in the championship standings, will start on Row 2. Vautier will start fifth in the title-deciding race.
More engine change penalties for IndyCar teams at Fontana INDYCAR provided an update today regarding the status of fresh engines remaining for each team for the MAVTV 500, the final event of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Officials also announced 10 grid spot penalties for the following cars for this weekend's event at Auto Club Speedway: #3 Castroneves (Fitting sixth engine), #12 Power (Fitting sixth engine), #28 Hunter-Reay (Fitting sixth engine), #9 Dixon (Unapproved engine change), #14 Cunningham (Unapproved engine change), #15 Sato (Unapproved engine change), #18 Wilson (Unapproved engine change), #38 Rahal (Unapproved engine change), #67 Newgarden (Unapproved engine change), #78 De Silvestro (Unapproved engine change), #83 Kimball (Unapproved engine change), #77 Pagenaud (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine), #98 Tagliani (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine), #27 Hinchcliffe (Unapproved engine change/Fitting sixth engine).
Circuit of The Americas issues statement regarding Schwantz lawsuitUPDATE #2 Kevin Schwantz, the 1993 500cc world champion, has taken another shot at Circuit of the Americas and MotoGP’s rights holder, Dorna.
Schwantz, an area resident, is currently suing the circuit in Travis County, claiming that it undermined his contract with Dorna to stage a MotoGP race at the track that is currently under construction in southeastern Travis County.
Friday’s Auto Club Speedway Practice Results Morning practice at ACS was interrupted briefly for a one-car crash, with Justin Wilson hitting the wall. Wilson, winner of the Texas race in June, was working up to speed when his car snapped around and hit the wall. Justin later commented: “I was going into Turn 1, and I was on new tires. I was starting my second lap. I’m not sure why it didn’t stick. It’s disappointing; it set our whole weekend back. We’ll just have to work on trying to get the car ready for tomorrow now.”
Leading the speed chart was Ryan Briscoe, followed by Ed Carpenter and Dario Franchitti. Points leader Will power ran 4th, about 8/10 of a second faster than rival Ryan Hunter-Reay (who was 16th on the speed chart).
Friday morning notes from Fontana Health reports -- Charlie Kimball fractured his right 5th metatarsal in a wreck at Mid Ohio a few weeks ago. That's the hand bone directly above the pinkie. Sporting splint and showing off a small scar, he says he's ready to race this weekend. IndyCar has cleared him, but the splint remains kinda as a precaution. Kimball says that his diabetes actually helped his recover, since he's used to taking doctor's orders serious and has a strict diet as part of the diabetes management.
Also back in action is Josef Newgarden, who broke his hand in a nasty wreck in the Sonoma race. His hand brace is bigger than Kimball's, and the scar much more noticeable, but he too has been cleared to race.
The consensus is in -- drivers say that the cars at California, er, Auto Club Speedway, are fun to drive, a complete handful. AR1 caught up with Justin Wilson, who won the similar Texas event back in June in one of the biggest surprises of the season. Wilson is smiling again this weekend, a sign that he's confident that he has the equipment to run competitively. The sentiments were echoed by James Hinchcliffe, who also had some concerns. Hinch told AR1 that it's entirely possible that, at the end of 500 miles, that only 5 cars will be on the lead lap, and that it will be tough to avoid going a lap down early if your car isn't set up for the evening conditions. Getting a lap back will be tough, since Hinch anticipates long green flag segments, like we had at Texas when Scott Dixon was stinking up the show in the first half.
Poor weather disrupts first day in Misano The end of the summer brought with it some sporadic light showers to the Adriatic Coast and interrupted the track action on the first day of free practice for the San Marino Grand Prix, thirteenth round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
Riders ventured out for a few laps in the afternoon.
ExxonMobil Expands Partnership with Porsche ExxonMobil announced a multi-year expansion of their partnership with Porsche AG that includes technical support of Porsche’s return to LMP1 endurance racing in the World Endurance Championship racing series in 2014.
Recognizing a shared commitment toward leveraging technical innovations to deliver outstanding performance, Porsche selected Mobil 1 as its factory-fill and recommended engine oil in 1996. During the ensuing 16 years, the two companies collaborated on technical programs resulting in victories for Porsche racing teams as well as many of Porsche’s new and innovative offerings to the sport utility vehicle and gran turismo categories, such as the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, respectively.
NASCAR introduces sport's first official iPhone app As the on-track action heats up with NASCAR's postseason set to begin, NASCAR, Sprint and Turner Sports announced on Thursday the launch of the sport's first official app for iPhone and iPod Touch. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile App allows fans to follow their favorite drivers and stay on top of all the Chase for the Sprint Cup race action, including access to race day content, schedules, standings, breaking news and more.
iPhone customers with a Sprint Unlimited Data Plan will have access to extra features, including:
-- Live MRN and PRN race radio broadcasts
-- Live in-car audio for all 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers
-- Live RaceBuddy in-car video and track camera views
-- Live in-race highlights and alerts
-- Live post-race press conferences
-- Real-time leaderboards and Pit Pass telemetry data
2004 was the beginning of the end for the IRL at Fontana. With small crowds the race was a money loser
The IndyCar racing series returns to Fontana this week for the first time since 2005, and the two drivers with a shot at the circuit’s title going into this Saturday’s final race of the season agree on one aspect of the banked two-mile oval.
“I haven’t been here since ’03 (for a race that was subsequently cancelled because of wildfires), and I was just surprised when I got back on at how bumpy it was,” said Ryan Hunter-Reay during an interview session Wednesday morning. “It feels like there’s been some pretty hard winters here in Southern California, but that’s not the case. Usually you get that with tracks up north.
Hyundai Returns To WRC in '14 Korean car manufacturer Hyundai "will return to the FIA World Rally Championship in '14.'. Hyundai plans to compete part-time in '13 to gain experience. There is an increasing number of signs signaling that Hyundai "will officially announce its WRC return at the Paris Motor Show" (Sept. 29-Oct. 14). Hyundai participated in the WRC from '00-03 before it discontinued its rally program. The model that Hyundai "will use for its rally comeback after a 10-year hiatus is reportedly the i20." The i20 is a three-door car with a 1.6 liter turbo diesel. An anonymous source said, "Hyundai will return to the WRC, and the announcement will take place in Paris. We still have a lot of testing developing ahead of us. However, a full season in '14 is secured" Motorsport-Total.com
Muscle Milk tops opening day at VIR With an eye toward regaining the form that won it five straight races earlier this year, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing set the fastest time in testing Thursday at VIRginia International Raceway for the weekend’s VIR 240. The No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a turned a best lap of 1:37.457 (120.792 mph) with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr sharing seat time.
Saturday’s four-hour race – the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n championship – is the first at the venue for the ALMS.
Grand-Am Fines No. 8 Starworks Entry Grand-Am Road Racing has issued a fine and penalty to the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series as a result of a rule infraction found during post-race inspection following Sunday’s (Sept. 9) race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The No. 8 team was found to be in violation of 8-1.1 of the Daytona Prototype regulations (overall width) of the 2012 Grand-Am Rule Book.
As a result, the team has been fined $3,000 and has been placed on probation until Dec. 31.
The team with drivers Alex Tagliani and Ryan Dalziel, finished third in the race.
RLL team to honor Roembke Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has competed in all 10 previous Indy car races at Auto Club Speedway (one victory by Jimmy Vasser in 2002, four podiums). The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the 20th Indy car entry for the team at the track.
The team will honor Scott Roembke by placing decals with his initials on the race cars and by wearing black armbands at the IZOD IndyCar Series event and the American Le Mans Series event at Virginia International Raceway. The team COO died Sept. 9.
INDYCAR Championship Banquet to be held Dec. 6 The stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights will cap off the 2012 season by celebrating at racing's most iconic location, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 2012 INDYCAR Championship Celebration will take place Dec. 6, in conjunction with the opening night of the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Pagoda Pavilion will serve as the venue for the awards ceremony, which will be followed by a reception in the famed Pagoda.
Castroneves-Dixon duel for third place Castroneves, who has two pole starts and has finished in the top 10 six times in eight starts at Auto Club Speedway from 1998-2005, is seeking to remain third in the final IZOD IndyCar Series standings.
It would mark his best championship finish since 2008, when he was runner-up to Scott Dixon. Castroneves holds a one-point lead over Dixon entering the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR Championships at Auto Club Speedway.
Conway retires from oval races AJ Foyt Racing announced today that Wade Cunningham will replace Mike Conway in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda for the MAVTV 500 IndyCar race this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The decision to hire Cunningham was reached after Conway asked to sit out this weekend’s event.
“I’m truly sorry for putting the team and our sponsors in a difficult position, but this is the hardest decision I have ever made in my racing career,” said Conway. “I’ve come to realize I’m not comfortable on the ovals and no longer wish to compete on them. I want to stress that I am not finished racing and to this end, I would love to continue with Foyt Racing, but that’s something we need to discuss in the future.”
IndyCar title contenders know point scenarios After 14 races, more than 1,700 laps and 3,000 miles of intense racing competition this season, the race for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship has come down to battle of two of INDYCAR's best drivers: Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Power leads Hunter-Reay by 17 points, 453-436, entering the Sept. 15 MAVTV 500, the season-finale of the 15-race season. The race broadcast starts at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network. The winner of the title will earn a $1 million bonus.
Harvick criticizes NASCAR Kevin Harvick criticized NASCAR for the timing of implementing new regulations on rear suspensions for Sunday's Chase for the Sprint Cup opener at Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick said the modifications will invalidate countless hours and money spent on research and development by teams trying to catch up with Hendrick Motorsports, which has four cars in the Chase.
"I think it shows (NASCAR is) a little out of touch from what happens on the competition side," Harvick said. "I think the NASCAR trailer misled a lot of competition directors and team owners to believe the rules weren't going to change until we got to 2013.
"There's been millions of dollars spent on a rule that they changed leading into the Chase."
Power tops Penske trio in Fontana testing Will Power paced Team Penske’s efforts at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway Wednesday as all three drivers finished in the top-six during a day-long test session leading into Saturday’s MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships season finale.
The IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader going into the final race of the 2012, Power’s best lap of 215.761 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet was the third best of the eight-hour test. The series-leading five-time pole winner in 2012 spent most of the day in top spot on the timing chart before finishing with the third-quickest lap.
Record results for Ferrari for first half 2012 The Board of Directors of Ferrari S.p.A. met today under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo to examine the company’s financial results for the first six months of 2012.
As of June 30th, Ferrari once again registered a record in revenues and in the numbers of cars delivered. Revenues reached 1,208 million euro (+11.9 per cent), while a total of 3,664 homologated road cars were delivered to dealerships, an increase of 7.4 per cent.
Trading profits rose 13 per cent to 152.2 million euro, while net profits hit 100.8 million, an increase of 10 per cent.
BMW to sponsor Lime Rock Grand-AM race Grand American Road Racing, BMW of North America, LLC and Lime Rock Park announced today that BMW of North America will be the presenting sponsor of the September 28-29th GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series.
Bianchi tops all three 'young driver' F1 test days
Formula 1 testing concluded at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours this afternoon following three trouble-free days for Scuderia Ferrari, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Sahara Force India at the French venue.
Morning running was limited after light overnight rain left track conditions damp for the 9am start, though the teams were able to complete a number of medium-length runs before lunchtime.
And though dark clouds continued to linger above the track no further rain would fall, ensuring the remainder of the session took place on a dry circuit. In fact as running continued into the afternoon there were increasing expanses of blue sky and sunshine above, allowing the teams to up their workloads and add further mileage to that accumulated earlier in the week.
Tributes pour in for late F1 doctor Sid Watkins (GMM) Tributes are pouring in as the world of formula one grapples with the loss of Professor Sid Watkins, who has died aged 84.
F1's medical delegate between 1978 and 2004, the British neurosurgeon not only helped to revolutionize safety standards in the sport and save countless drivers' lives, his was an infectiously lovable personality.
A wise-cracking lover of cigars and whiskey, he saved drivers including Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen, was there when Roland Ratzenberger and his great friend Ayrton Senna died, and he nursed Sir Frank Williams back to health after his car crash.
"I remain forever grateful to him," Williams said on Thursday.
David Coulthard added: "Sid Watkins was one of the best men I have met in my life."
Watkins died on Wednesday evening after a battle with cancer.
Mowlem rejoins Dyson Johnny Mowlem will rejoin Dyson Racing for the VIR 240 American Le Mans Series sports car race as the team pushes towards consecutive team and driver championships. Mowlem will team with defending LMP1 driving champions Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in their B12/66 prototype Lola racer. Mowlem has driven with the Dyson/Smith duo during longer endurance races this season.
“I’m delighted that Chris Dyson has asked me back to help support him and Guy Smith as they go all out to try and retain their ALMS championship,” Mowlem said.
JR Motorsports hires former Cup crew chief Ryan Pemberton Ryan Pemberton, a former crew chief for several Sprint Cup teams, has joined JR Motorsports. Pemberton takes a similar role to what Tony Eury Sr. had as competition director for the organization, although the team has not yet announced whether he will hold that title.
Eury Sr., the uncle of team co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt-Miller and the father of co-owner Tony Eury Jr., was released last week.
“He started Monday and he’s come in to help Kelley, help us with some ideas on what direction we can go to get better,” Earnhardt Jr. of Pemberton.
IndyCar drivers feel better about ovals at finale ''We feel better because of the changes to the formula,'' IndyCar points leader Will Power said. ''For the past however many years we had that pack racing and had gotten lucky and there had been some horrific accidents and horrific injuries, but no one had been killed. Eventually, in the law of averages, someone is going to be (killed) when you race like that.
''I feel great, and after Texas, I wouldn't have minded if every race was like that, with that formula, because that was the most fun I've had.''
It's a huge difference from three months ago, when the debate over the rules package raged deep into the race weekend at Texas. The drivers were unanimously opposed to the pack-style racing that was cited as a factor in Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but finding a solution wasn't so simple.
FIA and FIA Institute Statement of Condolence for Professor Sid Watkins The FIA and the FIA Institute extend their sincere condolences to the Watkins family on the sad news of the death of FIA Institute Honorary President Professor Sid Watkins.
Throughout his life Sid made a unique contribution to motor sport, particularly in improving safety for F1 drivers, officials and spectators around the world.
He was highly respected as an acclaimed neurosurgeon, F1 medical delegate, chairman of the FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee, and as the first President of the FIA Institute.
Sid's experience, intelligence and endearing humor will be forever greatly missed.
Reserve driver Ma Qing Hua will enjoy another practice session with HRT in Singapore next Friday. The 24-year-old from Shanghai made history at Monza last week by becoming the first ever Chinese driver to compete in an official F1 weekend session.
“I'm very happy to drive the F112 for a second time in a row and I really appreciate the opportunity HRT is giving me,” he says on Thursday. “It will be very exciting to drive an F1 car around the streets of Singapore.
Firestone Preview of MAV TV 500 Race Distance: 500 miles/804.672 kilometers (250 laps on the 2-mile/3.219-kilometer superspeedway oval).
Television/Radio Broadcast: Live – Saturday, September 15, at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, IMS Radio Network, XM Radio 94 and Sirius Radio 212. A qualifying recap/championship preview show airs at 7 p.m. ET Friday, September 14 on NBC Sports Network.
Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
· A proven Firestone specification with 1,772 total tires is available, with each entry receiving 15 sets (60 total tires) for the race weekend. The tire spec selected for Auto Club Speedway is identical to the spec used for the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in June.
Olympic Champ Tyler Clary Declines White House Invite
Clary (in car) talks to Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary -- the guy who smashed Ryan Lochte's backstroke record -- turned down an invite to chill with President Obama at the White House ... all so he can race cars instead.
If you didn't know ... POTUS and the First Lady invited all the 2012 Olympic athletes to the White House for a special get together on September 14th ... the shin-dig includes time with the president ... a VIP reception ... the works.
Dr. Sid Watkins diesUPDATE #2 Here are some photos through the years of Dr. Sid Watkins.
09/12/12 Professor Sid Watkins, former Formula 1 Medical Delegate, has passed away at the age of 84. A renowned neurosurgeon, the Englishman played a vital role in increasing motorsport safety and saving numerous drivers’ lives.
Watkins began his motorsport career in the early 1960s and was offered a job by Bernie Ecclestone. He was instrumental in driver rescue and recoveries following accidents, such as the serious incidents of Didier Pironi in 1982, Martin Donnelly in 1990, Karl Wendlinger in 1994 and Mika Häkkinen in 1995. Hailing from Liverpool, Watkins was a close friend of Ayrton Senna whose life he attempted to save when the Brazilian had suffered fatal injuries at Imola in 1994.
Lapped 30 times A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I see where the new IndyCar lapped Fontana today at 214 mph. This compares to the Champ Car record of 241 mph set by Gil de Ferran. That is 27 mph slower than a Champ Car. By my calculations after 2 hours of racing at Fontana Saturday night the Champ Car will have lapped the IndyCars 27 times. By the end of the 500 mile race the Champ Car, despite towing the Hanford Device around, would have put the top IndyCar 30 laps down. Without the Hanford Device wing? I estimate the Champ Car would lap the Indy Car 50 times in 500 miles. DeFerran was hitting 260 mph that day on the backstraight. At that speed he would blow past today's IndyCars so fast he would suck the decals off them. Oh how I long for the days of real men in real racing cars. Jeff Dennis
Kanaan hopes history repeats itself at Auto Club Speedway Tony Kanaan's history at Auto Club Speedway shows three podium finishes, five top-five finishes and a pole position in his previous five starts on the 2-mile oval.
So he enters the MAVTV 500 with hopes of ending the year on a high note by producing KV Racing Technology's first win since 2008 and earning the A.J. Foyt Trophy as the IZOD IndyCar Series' oval champion.
"I've been on the podium three times before, so coming back to (Auto Club Speedway) is a good feeling, especially in the situation we are in with the oval championship," he said.
Test day shows the importance of contenders having help James Hinchcliffe has a single focus entering this weekend's MAVTV 500 - help Ryan Hunter-Reay win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
"I told Ryan the day after Baltimore that I'm racing for you now. I've got less to fight for, so my No. 1 goal is to help Ryan win this championship," Hinchcliffe said.
Hinchcliffe and his teammate Marco Andretti got off to a good start in achieving that goal on Wednesday at Auto Club Speedway turning in some of the fastest laps among the drivers and teams preparing for the MAVTV 500. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon topped the test at a little more 216 mph.
Pirelli Wants To Continue Its F1 Involvement Official F1 tire manufacturer Pirelli has "no intentions of leaving the racing series." Pirelli Motorsports Dir Paul Hembery said, "Hopefully we can continue. We always emphasized that we understand our F1 involvement as a mid-term project. And if promoter and teams want to continue to work with us, we are more than willing to do so." Pirelli's three-year contract with the racing series "expires after the '13 season" REIFENPRESSE.de
Ducati has announced that it has signed an agreement with American Ben Spies and Italian Andrea Iannone to compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship. Having already confirmed Nicky Hayden and announced Andrea Dovizioso for the Ducati Team, the Italian manufacturer now reaffirms its confidence in and commitment to the MotoGP World Championship, finalizing its line-up for next season with two riders who are fast and competitive, already protagonists in the MotoGP and Moto2 World Championships.
Bruggenthies: "IndyCar asking price 'crazy'" Road America would seem a slam dunk based on the clamoring between drivers and fans alike to return. But, as track president George Bruggenthies says, there has to be something IndyCar can bring to the table beyond the desire to scarf a double brat at the St. John's stand in the infield.
“We're very open to it, but it's out of my hands,” he explained. “My understanding is that Michael Andretti has got an exclusive Wisconsin deal here (with Milwaukee). Until he's happy, there's only gonna be one IndyCar race in Wisconsin. There's nothing I can do about that.
IndyCar title contenders have their eye on $1M prize It's more than the $1 million carrot that drives IZOD IndyCar Series heavyweights Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay entering the Sept. 15 MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).
"The approach is the same every weekend. You go into the race to win it," said championship front-runner Will Power. "When you look at the overall season, you are going to have your ups and downs. It's the downers that you need to make the most of -- those days where it's just not looking good, but you get like a sixth place or something is what makes up a strong championship.
Hunter-Reay hits wall at Fontana Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact with the wall in Turn 2 during testing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. today. Hunter-Reay was in low downforce qualifying trim when the backend came around.
"The car was pretty loose on the first run and we went for a second run on it," said Hunter-Reay.
"We probably got a little greedy with it as light as we were running on downforce. Just came around. Qualifying trim. It happens. It's part of it. The good news is the car is not that bad."
Bianchi sets pace at colder Magny-Cours The second day of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours saw significant ground covered by the participating teams, with all three undertaking valuable development work at the French track.
Leading the way in the endurance stakes were Scuderia Ferrari who completed a total of 165 laps over eight hours of running, with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Sahara Force India also making full use of the morning and afternoon sessions.
Last Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza delivered the ninth points finish of the year for Williams, with Bruno Senna having passed a struggling Daniel Ricciardo in the final meters of the race. Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan reviews the weekend.
How would you sum up the performance of the FW34 at Monza? Overall our ultimate pace was not quite as strong as we have seen in some races but it was good to see both drivers pushing hard throughout the race. Both had good starts and ultimately we finished a combined 14 places higher than we started, with Bruno securing a point in 10th and Pastor just behind in P11, having started P22.
Kansas Speedway To Unveil Road Course In Wednesday GRAND-AM Test GRAND-AM Road Racing will help Kansas Speedway cut the ribbon on its new road course Wednesday morning prior to a special compatibility test, preparing for a perspective race event in 2013.
Three teams will test on the new configuration, which includes three turns on the 1.5-mile progressively banked tri-oval and six turns in the circuit infield.
NASCAR lays off 15% of Production staff NASCAR yesterday laid off 15% of the 210 employees in its NASCAR Productions division, which was previously known as NASCAR Media Group. The 32 staffers were told yesterday that their positions were eliminated. The cuts were part of a strategic change, and not a move to cut costs. NASCAR is hiring in its marketing, digital, and integrated marketing and communications divisions. The sanctioning body has been planning to layoff some of its NASCAR Productions team since it reorganized and renamed NASCAR Media Group last June. As part of that change, NASCAR's Production division ceased production of college sports and other content and began focusing exclusively on NASCAR programming. Many, but not all, of the employees who were laid off worked on non-NASCAR productions. Among those being let go are NASCAR Business Development Directors Chris Stuart and Beej (Brian) Gefsky, and News Center Producer Chuck Howard. The final days of staff who are being let go vary. SportsBusiness Daily
Frenchman Vautier seeks second Mazda Road to Indy title Tristan Vautier once tried in vain to find a golf cart he had ridden on during a race weekend because he felt bad he left a piece of litter on it.
After an autograph session at Long Beach, where navigation between Fan Village and the paddock was anything but convenient, he made the trek back through the crowds to return a Sharpie he had accidentally taken.
But the courtesy the young Frenchman shows off the track isn't shown to his competitors on the track.
Penske teams testing at Nashville The Penske Racing teams of #2-Keselowski & #22-Hornish, Jr. are testing at the Nashville Superspeedway today. "It's a group effort to try several things," said Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon. "Many of the guys on the #2 car team will be there and several of us from the #22 team are attending. Sam will be there with us and getting seat time. The test is really not focused on preparation for a particular upcoming race; we're just using it to take a closer look at several items we've wanted to evaluate." Tom Roberts PR
NASCAR adds practices at Kansas With Kansas Speedway's track reconfiguration project this summer, NASCAR has added extra practice time to the schedule for teams and Kansas Speedway will open its gates to fans free of charge on Wed. Oct. 17 and Thu. Oct. 18, but is requesting a donation of $5 to March of Dimes' Bikers for Babies campaign. Volunteers will be at the gates to collect donations. On Wed., Oct. 17, parking lots will open at Noon and gates will open at 12:30 PM with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars scheduled to be on track from 1 PM - 5 PM. On Thur., Oct. 18, parking lots will open at 7:30 AM and gates will open at 8 AM with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars scheduled to be on track from 8:30 AM -12:30 PM and then NASCAR Nationwide Series cars will be on track from 1 PM 5 PM. Tickets for the Oct. 21 Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Oct. 20 Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Oct. 19 Kansas Lottery 98.9 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race are on sale now by calling 866.460.RACE (7223) or visiting www.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.
Bianchi tops first day of Magny-Cours young drivers test
The three-day Formula 1 test at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours got off to a busy start today as Scuderia Ferrari, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Sahara Force India completed significant running at the French venue.
Piloting Ferrari’s F12012 at his home circuit, Jules Bianchi recorded the best time of the day with a lap of 1m18.070. The 23-year-old will switch to Sahara Force India tomorrow with Italy's Davide Rigon taking his place in the famous red machine.
NASCAR Richmond TV ratingsUPDATE ABC’s live telecast of Saturday night’s rain-plagued NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway won the night across all broadcast and cable networks, ranking as the most-viewed program among households and total viewers. The telecast earned a 'final' 3.3 rating, averaging 5,078,987 viewers in 3,720,390 households, according to the Nielsen Company.
Due to rain, the start of the race was delayed more than an hour, and then a red flag for more rain delayed the finish until past 1:30 a.m. ET. The rating was down from a 3.7 for last year’s event, when the race was run and telecast as scheduled, but up from a 3.1 for the 2010 race.
F1 movie director Howard to be guest at Circuit of Americas Circuit of The Americas and the Circuit Events Host Committee today announced that two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard (2013’s Rush) will be the special celebrity guest at The Starting Grid, the official kick-off luncheon for festivities leading up to the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™. The luncheon is set for Thursday, Nov. 1, at the downtown Hilton Hotel, located at 500 East 4th Street in Austin. KTBC FOX 7 Sports Anchor Dave Cody will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. CST.
Ron Howard has become an entertainment legend as a director, producer and actor. He has directed worldwide blockbusters including A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Backdraft, Cinderella Man, Cocoon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Parenthood, Ransom, Splash, The Da Vinci Code, and many more. He received Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture in 2001 for A Beautiful Mind and was nominated for Best Director in 2008 for Frost/Nixon.
Penske Racing adds Nikon sponsorship Nikon Metrology Inc. and Penske Racing today jointly announced a multi-year partnership agreement that makes Nikon Metrology the Official Supplier of Dimensional Metrology Products and Services to Penske Racing.
Penske Racing, known as the “New York Yankees of motorsports” with over 23 national championships, including 12 in Indy Car racing, is the standard for excellence in motorsports. In its efforts to achieve continuous improvement, Penske Racing wanted to further enhance its advanced technology and manufacturing methods and the organization followed that to the conclusion of the need for a premier Metrology provider. That search led to Nikon Metrology.
RCR loses appeal A three-member NASCAR panel on Monday denied the appeal of suspensions issued to two Richard Childress Racing crew members over an illegal frame rail used by Paul Menard last month at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR had penalized Menard 25 points and the team 25 owner points. It suspended crew chief Slugger Labbe for six weeks, fined Labbe $100,000 and suspended car chief Craig Smokstad and engineer Grant Hutchens each six weeks.
Petty Motorsports swaps crew chiefs With both of its cars out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Richard Petty Motorsports will shake up its driver-crew chief lineup for the rest of the season.
Mike Ford and his crew will move from Aric Almirola’s No. 43 team to Marcos Ambrose’s No. 9. Todd Parrott and his crew will work with Almirola for the rest of the season. Ambrose is 15th in the Cup standings while Almirola is 22nd heading into the final 10 races. It will be the second crew-chief change for Almirola, who started the year with Greg Erwin before Ford joined the team in April.
IZOD IndyCar championship at a glance After 14 races, more than 1,700 laps and 3,000 miles of intense racing competition this season, the race for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship has come down to two of INDYCAR's top heavyweights: Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Power leads Hunter-Reay by 17 points, 453-436, entering the Sept. 15 MAVTV 500, the season-finale of the 15-race season. The race broadcast starts at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network.
The winner of the title will earn a $1 million bonus.
Track repairs begin on Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix courseUPDATE Repair work began today on the road surface at Belle Isle Park in preparation for next year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, which will be hosted May 31-June 2, 2013.
After a very successful return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City earlier this summer – the first Grand Prix run on Belle Isle since 2008 – there were issues with the track surface that arose in the second half of the IZOD IndyCar Series race. Track workers repaired the trouble spots and the race was successfully completed but event officials pledged that repairs would be made this fall and that work began in earnest on Monday.
Alonso unhappy with Vettel’s deliberate blocking tacticUPDATE Sebastian Vettel has repeated that he did not deliberately try to edge Fernando Alonso off the race track in Italy. In what was almost a carbon copy of an incident between the pair last year, it was this time the Ferrari which bounced down the grass verge.
Last year, when battling for the lead, Vettel had placed two wheels onto the grass to pull off a dramatic overtake for the lead in the early stages of the race. On this occasion, the roles were reversed as Alonso was pushing to move towards the front on Lap 26. Unlike 12 months ago, the entire car was off-track as the Spaniard reacted angrily.
When asked if his subsequent drive-through penalty was fair, Vettel replied:
Pippa Mann to drive AutoGP car at Sonoma race IndyCar driver Pippa Mann said on her Facebook page, "I'm getting back in a racing car. Joining Campos Racing for the Auto GP race at Sonoma in two weeks!"
Ferrari were worried Alonso might not finish Ferrari staff were worried that Fernando Alonso could have failed to make the end of the Italian Grand Prix following his off-track clash with Sebastian Vettel. While attacking at the Curva Grande, the Spaniard was forced to bounce down the grass verge.
At its home race, the team had already suffered brake, gearbox and anti-roll bar gremlins with Alonso's car across Friday and Saturday, as this was a new chassis. The previous one had been written off in the Belgian Grand Prix, when Romain Grosjean triggered a dramatic first-corner pile-up.
Planned new 2013 Sprint Cup car testing Teams say Detroit car makers have yet to release any of the 2013 steel body sheet metal. So crew chiefs say the upcoming tests could be all but meaningless, since drivers will be driving cars with plastic-molded bodies, with much different center-of-gravity than the real race cars will have. "Detroit, and that whole 2013 project, is way behind," one top crew chief says. "So at those tests, we'll all be running just 'show cars'"
Razia & Gonzalez join Bianchi for young driver test with Sahara Force India Jules Bianchi, Luiz Razia and Rodolfo Gonzalez will test for Sahara Force India at the upcoming young driver test session in Magny-Cours, France.
Jules is the team’s third driver and has completed seven free practice sessions for the team already this season.
23-year-old Luiz Razia is currently second in the GP2 Series standings. The Brazilian will drive the VJM05 on Tuesday 11th September with Jules taking over for the second day of running on Wednesday.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN Chicago Kicks Off Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 16, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the 400-mile race on the 1.5-mile track. NASCAR Countdown airs at 1 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 2:16 p.m. Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland also airs on ESPN, with NASCAR Countdown at 3 p.m. and the green flag at 3:46 p.m. Also from Chicagoland, ESPN2 airs NASCAR Sprint Cup practice sessions on Friday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at 2:30 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Announcers: Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick (Sprint Cup); Marty Reid (Nationwide Series); analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree. Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch. NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty (analysts).
Hawksworth Wins Star Mazda Championship at Mazda Raceway Jack Hawksworth, the dominant driver in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, survived a 'Zanardi moment' in the Mazda Raceway corkscrew on the last lap of today's Race 1 to collect his eighth win of the season in the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda -- and clinch the battle for the series championship. Gabby Chaves, running hard on Hawksworth's tail for the entire race in the #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda initiated the last-lap pass attempt that nearly collected them both, but survived to finish second and move up to 2nd in the points. During the race, he also set the fastest lap, winning the PEAK Performance Pole Award the inside front-row starting spot for tomorrow's Race 2. Rounding out the podium was 3rd-place finisher Connor De Phillippi, who won this race from the pole last year and remains fourth in the championship points driving the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda.
Chaves Wins Star Mazda Race 2 at Mazda Raceway Colombian racer Gabriel 'Gabby' Chaves scored his first-ever victory in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in today's Race 2 at Mazda Raceway. Starting from the pole and leading every lap in the #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda, he took the checkered 15 seconds ahead of yesterday's winner and 2012 series champion Jack Hawksworth in the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda. With his victory, Chaves became the sixth race winner of the season, including Hawksworth, Sage Karam, Connor De Phillippi, Martin Scuncio and Camilo Schmidt.
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