Vettel says Mercedes doing their usual sandbagging Sebastian Vettel is still viewing Mercedes as a serious threat for pole position in Singapore, despite comfortably topping the overall practice timesheets on Friday.
The Red Bull driver, who finished 0.604 seconds clear of team-mate Mark Webber and over a second faster than Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, says although his pace was a surprise, the Silver Arrows will be "very strong" in qualifying.
"It was quite busy; it's pretty hot out there, good fun and a nice place, but for all of us it's quite hard work," Vettel began after his day behind the wheel. "The time we set was a surprise today. I got a good lap in, but I don't think it's completely representative.
Rain washes out Fall Nationals Quals Persistent rain showers and the threat of more rain forced NHRA officials to cancel the first day of qualifying at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex. The storms that began rolling through North Texas on Thursday night continued all day at the Ennis, Texas facility. Qualifying for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals will begin on Saturday with Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars at noon and 3 p.m.
Texas Motorplex will honor all Friday tickets and will upgrade all Friday tickets to Saturday or Sunday southside tickets with a pit pass. Fans will be able to bring their Friday tickets to the front gate and exchange them instantly for a Saturday or Sunday southside ticket with a pit pass. Parking details will be announced later. For more information, please call the Motorplex at (972) 878-2641 or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.
Fans can attend IndyCar Championship Celebration The stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights will cap the 2013 season with the Championship Celebration Oct. 20 at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in Universal City, Calif.
The Championship Celebration will take place the day after the INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and will be streamed live on www.indycar.com at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
The festivities at Universal Studio's Globe Theatre, a multi-purpose facility near the entrance of the theme park, will be highlighted by the presentation of the Astor Cup and $1 million bonus to the IZOD IndyCar Series championship-winning team and driver. The Firestone Firehawk Cup will be presented to the championship-winning Firestone Indy Lights team and driver.
NASCAR and IndyCar together on NBCSN A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Here's an observation for you. If Indy Car fans (and open wheel fans in general) want to see what life will be like on NBCSN once Nascar comes over, this weekend offers a great example. Saturday's F1 Qualifying from Singapore will not air until 1 AM SUNDAY morning due to conflicts with English Premier League soccer and College Football.
Where will Indy Car and Formula One fit into their scheduling priorities once Nascar comes over and as the network most surely will continue to add other stick and ball programming? I don't see it being impossible that an IndyCar race could air tape delayed at Midnight someday. Certainly Mark Miles must be aware of this? Brad Stevens, North Canton, OH
Dear Brad, AR1.com strongly urged IndyCar to run from NBCSN as fast as it could and go to ESPN for this very reason. All IndyCar races should be on the ABC/ESPN family of networks for all the obvious reasons. However, as we often say, when in doubt, follow the money. The payouts to IndyCar ramp up much higher in the final years of the NBCSN contract so IndyCar isn't about to forego putting that money in their pockets even if it means TV ratings remain at infomercial levels and races get taped delayed to midnight. Mark C.
Tudor USCR series announces 2014 schedule Continuing its commitment to revolutionize sports car racing in North America, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today announced a 12-race schedule for the 2014 debut season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship starting with the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26.
“We have created a premium schedule for sports car fans, taking our new championship to some of the best road racing facilities in North America,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “Our event lineup also underscores the cooperative spirit of the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n (ALMS). The ‘best of both worlds’ approach, our shared guidepost throughout the merger process, is certainly evident when you look at the 2014 schedule.
Vettel tops Practice 2 in Singapore Sebastian Vettel topped Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in Friday's second Singapore Grand Prix practice session. Championship leader Vettel and Webber swapped the top spot repeatedly until Vettel blew Webber when he moved onto supersofts and lapped in 1m44.249s.
Webber tried to respond but hit the wall near the end of the lap, leaving him 0.604s down in the end.
Third-placed Nico Rosberg was a second off Vettel's pace ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
F1-Themed "Rush" Debuting In U.S. With Staggered Release The F1-themed film "Rush" opens today in five U.S. locations "before going wide next weekend," and the limited release is "meant to help lift the film's profile for Stateside audiences." The Ron Howard-directed movie "received 'highly favorable' ratings from 92% of the opening U.K. audience." Universal said that the "platform release was done to capitalize on the buzz coming out of the Toronto Film Festival, as well as build on positive early reviews" VARIETY.com
Jolyon Palmer picked up where he left off earlier today: the Brit dominated an eventful and tricky qualifying session at Marina Bay with a blazing lap time of 1:53.600. He beat teammate Felipe Nasr by two tenths. Series leader Fabio Leimer finished third, a hair’s breadth off the Brazilian.
Alexander Rossi and Nasr were leading the pack when the track went live. All drivers opted for the Super Soft Pirelli tires. In the opening stages of the session, Nasr was quick to set the early pace in 1:54.244, his teammate in tow but two tenths slower. Mitch Evans locked up at Turn 10 and crashed into the barrier. The yellow flags came out and the track was cleared with eighteen minutes left on the clock.
A decision as to whether Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone should be tried on bribery charges has been postponed until next year by prosecutors in Germany. In July, a Munich court filed charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust against Ecclestone, relating to a payment of $44 million issued to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky. The latter is now serving an eight and a half jail term for corruption.
Having originally claimed that a decision over whether and when the case would go to trial was not going to arrive before mid-September, a court statement on Friday said it is currently waiting for the promised responses from Ecclestone's lawyers, while an alteration to the panel of judges means a verdict "can no longer be expected" in 2013.
Ecclestone, who has consistently protested his innocence throughout the legal proceedings, has been involved in the management of Formula 1 since 1978.
Harry Scott discusses plans for #51 team From an interview at Frontstretch: "Right now, I'm sitting at Phoenix Racing. We're fortunate enough to be in a position that we have secured substantial sponsorship for next year and we know we'll be running full-time. We know we're going to be able to raise the bar and continue to be increasingly more competitive. There's enough sponsorship where we'll be able to make the investments in infrastructure and people and those kinds of things to be more successful, with an eye towards a longer-term goal of being a championship contender. We will more than likely have a single driver in the seat next year, but we may occasionally run a second Cup car in select races, which will obviously be with a different driver.
Jolyon Palmer wasted no time to put pressure on his rivals: the Brit set the best lap time in today’s free practice in Singapore in 1:55.912, two tenths faster than Series leader Fabio Leimer. Marcus Ericsson finished third.
The session opened in high temperatures and humidity. James Calado was the first driver to feed onto the track on Pirelli soft tires as soon as the pitlane opened. The ART man set the early pace, but Felipe Nasr bettered the Brit’s lap time and sat at the top of the standings until his teammate set a time of 1:56.607 ten minutes into the session.
Waltrip apologizes for Richmond incident after NAPA pulls out Shortly after sponsor NAPA announced that it was pulling its sponsorship from his organization, team co-owner Michael Waltrip apologized for crossing the line of fair play at Richmond International Raceway Sept. 7.
Michael Waltrip Racing was fined a record $300,000 and MWR drivers Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. were docked 50 points each for the organization trying to manipulate the outcome of the final regular-season race at Richmond. Truex, NAPA’s driver, also was kicked out of the Chase after MWR made two questionable moves to try to get him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Level 5 Motorsports Leads ALMS Testing At Circuit of The Americas
Level 5 HPD ARX-03b
Level 5 Motorsports topped the time charts in test sessions on both Tuesday and Thursday afternoon ahead of this Saturday’s inaugural American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron race at Circuit of The Americas.
The team’s No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b posted the best lap of testing on Thursday afternoon at 1:55.423 (106.045 mph). Ryan Briscoe and team owner Scott Tucker will share the driving duties in Saturday’s two-hour and 45-minute race.
NAPA Auto Parts Drops Sponsorship Of MWR After Manipulation Scandal (Update)UPDATE The AP's Jenna Fryer reports the loss of a primary sponsor, "particularly with only nine races left in the season, will be a crippling blow to the Waltrip organization." It will be a "tremendous challenge to quickly replace the money," estimated at $15M a year at least, because NAPA is a "rare sponsor that covers that entire 36-race Sprint Cup schedule." AP
NAPA drops MWR sponsorship
NAPA Auto Parts today dropped its sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing and said it will evaluate its future in motorsports. The decision follows MWR’s effort to manipulate the end of NASCAR’s recent race in Richmond in order to get NAPA driver Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. NASCAR last week penalized MWR $300,000, removed Truex from the Chase and suspended MWR GM Ty Norris. In a posting on Facebook, NAPA said it “believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR.
Outback staying with Stewart-Haas Outback Steakhouse will remain with Stewart-Haas Racing and serve as a primary sponsor for Kevin Harvick for two races in 2014 and another two in 2015, the team announced Wednesday.
There had been speculation that Outback might move with Ryan Newman to Richard Childress Racing but the company opted to stay at SHR and sponsor Harvick and his No. 4 car. Budweiser will sponsor the car for 20 races, and the team has not announced sponsorship for the remainder of the schedule.
When you think of Formula 1, Michael Schumacher probably comes to mind. NASCAR, possibly Richard Petty. And IndyCar, maybe even Dario Franchitti. But when you think of all three, in addition to practically every other race series, only one name should come to mind: Mario Andretti.
Starting his life in Montona, Italy, Andretti always had an interest in motor racing. Exposed to his first race at the 1954 Italian GP before coming to the United States, he was given the spark he needed to pursue what would become a monumental career. He is a four-time IndyCar National Champion (1965, 1966, 1969, 1984), Formula 1 World Champion (1978), Daytona 500 winner (1967), Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner (1969), Three-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner (1967, 1970, 1972) and more.
U.S. Treasury speeds up sell-off of GM stock Washington —The U.S. Treasury is accelerating its sell-off of stock in General Motors Co., which likely will be free of the moniker “Government Motors” by spring.
The taxpayers’ ownership stake in the Detroit-based automaker, once more than 60 percent, is now down to 7.3 percent.
According to documents filed Tuesday on the Treasury’s website, the government has 101 million remaining shares, and it intends to sell them by March.
American Alexander Rossi is the top GP2 rookie with two venues (4 races) remaining in the 2013 season - Singapore and Abu Dhabi - this in spite of driving for the backmarker Caterham Team. How good is Rossi? Of the 65 points scored by the team, Rossi scored 63 and his more experienced teammate (Sergio Canamasas) just 2.
In Europe, your goal is to destroy your teammate when you are stuck with a backmarker team and Rossi has done just that. As good as he is, if he moves up to F1 with Caterham, he will be a backmarker as the team has no hope of ever running at the front. So with two USA F1 races in 2014, what will American fans have to cheer for?
Chevrolet today began shipping the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray Coupe to dealers.
“It’s an amazing sight to see the transporters filled with Stingrays heading to customers in all corners of the country,” said Dave Tatman, plant manager of General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly plant. “The pride at Bowling Green is overwhelming and it shows in the tremendous quality and attention to detail going into each one of these new Corvettes.”
McLaren to announce 2014 drivers 'pretty soon' (GMM) McLaren on Wednesday shed little further light on one of the last major talking points of the 2014 'silly season' -- the British team's drivers for next year.
On the face of it, the Woking based squad is heading towards simply re-signing Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.
But it emerged recently that McLaren let the 'options' on the duo's existing contracts expire, which triggered speculation alternatives like Felipe Massa or even Fernando Alonso might be considered.
Until now, McLaren has been reluctant to comment, but Button said on Wednesday that he and McLaren will be "racing together in 2014".
Button, McLaren 'will be together' in 2014 (GMM) As the class of 2014 shapes up towards the end of a frantic 'silly season', McLaren is still yet to announce its driver lineup for next year.
Boss Martin Whitmarsh has indicated Jenson Button and Sergio Perez will be staying put, but at the same time rumors have linked drivers including Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa with the Woking based team.
A McLaren spokesman told us this week: "We don't comment on media speculation with regard to rumored driver movements."
Nationwide to terminate NASCAR Series Title Sponsorship Nationwide Insurance will exit its title sponsorship of NASCAR's secondary series following the '14 season, but the company plans to increase its spending in the sport by sponsoring a Sprint Cup team, buying media, cutting track deals and maintaining its position as NASCAR's official insurer. Nationwide is in the sixth year of a seven-year series title sponsorship. The title rights and media package cost approximately $8M a year. Nationwide CMO Matt Jauchius said the deal, which was signed in '07, had helped the company expand its business and earn the respect and trust of avid NASCAR fans. By increasing its sponsorship in the Sprint Cup, where it currently sponsors Roush Fenway Racing driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and continuing to endorse and feature Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in advertising during Cup races, he hopes the company can expand brand awareness with casual NASCAR fans.
GP2 and GP3 Series renew with Pirelli GP2 Series organizers are pleased to announce that they have renewed a multi-year deal with Pirelli for both GP2 and GP3 Series. The two F1 feeder categories and Pirelli have enjoyed a strong relationship since 2010 and the inception of GP3 Series. The following year, the Italian manufacturer also became GP2 Series unique supplier and for the past three seasons has helped young drivers to get ready for the next step: Formula One.
GP2 and GP3 Series CEO Bruno Michel said: “I am very happy to have renewed our deal with Pirelli for the forthcoming seasons. Our relationship, which started when we launched GP3 in 2010, has always been strong and healthy. It was then natural to choose them for GP2 Series since they also had become F1 sole supplier and it has always been our philosophy to use the same tire supplier as F1’s. For the past three seasons this partnership has provided some of the best races in our history. It is great working with Pirelli: they are very reactive and understanding of what needs to be provided in order to make our categories extremely competitive.
“As sole tire supplier to both our Series, Pirelli prepares young drivers for the next step where tire management is key, but also fully supports them in the development of their career: the GP3 Champion will again receive a check of 200,000 Euros from Pirelli should he graduate to GP2 whilst the GP2 Champion will be offered a day of tire testing behind the wheel of a Formula One car.”
Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “We're delighted to continue supplying our tires to both the GP2 and GP3 championships, which have proved to be an effective ladder of opportunity for those wishing to compete at the top levels of motorsport. It is the perfect training ground and we've already witnessed several drivers progress up the ranks to compete in Formula One, which just goes to show how important these championships are. GP2 and GP3 also allow drivers to learn how to deal with important issues such as tire management on some of the world's most challenging and famous race circuits. The competitive edge in both championships has been evident throughout the season with a record number of different race winners. There is no doubt that GP2 and GP3 will continue to form an integral step in any racing career, and we look forward to continuing to work with some of the world's most promising drivers in the years to come. Part of our philosophy at Pirelli has always been to cultivate the champions of the future, which is why our participation in GP2 and GP3 is so important to us."
Hawksworth enjoys first test in Indy car (Update)UPDATE
Firestone Indy Lights rookie and title contender Jack Hawksworth, 22, got his first laps in an Indy car today at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway short course and was as impressed with the Dallara-Honda-Firestone IndyCar Series racing package as the team was with him. He completed 123 laps and set a best lap time that was comparable to others who were also testing.
“It was great, it was fantastic just to get into an Indy car for the first time,” said Hawksworth. “Just to get to drive one is like a dream come true. I really enjoyed the first session and enjoyed how much downforce the car had and how much you can attack with this car because it’s just got so much grip you can really be aggressive with it. You can push really, really hard and get down to the limit with it which was really fun.”
Wayne Taylor Racing working on two-car DP program Wayne Taylor, owner the championship-leading Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype program, tells RACER he's is intent on expanding his team to two cars for the upcoming United SportsCar Championship. " Running two full-time cars next year is my greatest priority," he said in a RACER exclusive. "We've had a fantastic year with our No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette, but it's clear that other manufacturers are making a big push for next year in Daytona Prototype and for us to maintain our position, moving to two cars – two sets of data, doubling the driver pool, giving ourselves two opportunities to win – is a requirement as far as I'm concerned."
"We've got two cars; the second car is at Pratt & Miller Engineering to get all of the parts and pieces that will be available to us next season, our facility is outfitted to run multiple cars and we've earmarked the personnel we want to join the program," he added. "This isn't something we're taking lightly, and we've committed the resources to get everything ready to add a sister car to the No. 10." More at Racer.com
Ed Carpenter: Villains and rivalries go against the IndyCar culture
Ed Carpenter is the only team owner/driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series, having formed the team in 2011 in association with Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka.
Carpenter and his new team won in its first year at the 2012 season finale at Auto Club Speedway. In an exclusive interview with SB Nation, Carpenter discusses everything from an IndyCar dirt race, villains in open-wheel racing and his eventual plans to expand to a two-car operation.
The complete interview can be found below.
SB Nation: We'll start off with a softball question -- do you have any unique pre-race rituals?
Angry Maserati owner destroys $430,000 car with sledgehammer A man hired “smashers” to help him pound his car to a pulp outside the Qingdao Auto Show on Tuesday in what he says was a protest against bad service by the dealership, the China Car Times reports.
The owner was apparently unhappy with Furi Group, the company responsible for Maserati distribution in the Qingdao area, because they allegedly repaired his $430,000 Quattroporte with second-hand parts rather than the new parts he paid for and did not make all the repairs he requested.
Men smash a Maserati with hammers outside the Qingdao Auto Show in Qingdao, China, on Tuesday. The owner of the car was upset with what he says was shoddy repair service.
Fed up, the owner and his assistants showed up at the Auto Show’s opening to hammer their point home.
Hunter-Reay to support cancer charity IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will participate in the annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge as part of Team AutoNation.
The DCC is a two-day cycling event with 10 ride options from 13-170 miles. The ride, which benefits the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, will take place in South Florida on Nov. 2-3. It is a collaborative effort between the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, with 100 percent of rider-raised funds going directly to cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Montoya Return Seen As Boost For IndyCar (Update)UPDATE ESPN.com's John Oreovicz writes the return of Montoya with his fan base is "a boost for Indy car racing as a whole." Montoya "probably more than any other driver on earth ... relishes the opportunity to beat" Ganassi. Being "brash and aggressive, the 2000-era Montoya was anything but Penske material."
But the "2013 version -- much more polished in terms of sponsor and media relations from his time in Formula One with Williams and McLaren and NASCAR with Ganassi -- is fully capable of handling the off-track demands of being a Penske driver."
The signing is "a win/win for Montoya too: He's highly motivated to return to Indy cars, he's coming back by joining the sport's most prestigious team, and he maintains the ties with Chevrolet that he has built in NASCAR over the past seven years." ESPN.com
Candy lovers rooting for Busch Mars Chocolate North America Friday announced that if driver Kyle Busch wins NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup the company will give away 1 million free bags of M&Ms. M&M's is the primary sponsor of Busch's No. 88 Toyota.
NASCAR Chicagoland TV Rating ESPN/ESPN2 earned a dismal 1.6 overnight for a rain-delayed Geico 400 from Chicagoland Speedway -- the first race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. The race aired from 3:15-6:00pm on ESPN and then from 10:00-pm-1:15am on ESPN2.
Mastering new venue vital in IndyCar championship race With three races to go in the IZOD IndyCar Series season, a doubleheader at Houston's Reliant Park - the series' newest venue - may seem like a curveball for the 10 drivers eligible for the title.
But new venues late in the season aren't a rare occurrence. The series' first stop at Baltimore in 2011 and the return of Auto Club Speedway to the schedule in 2012 are among the recent races that have played a role as the series decided its champion.
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