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DATE News (chronologically)
09/24/09
nassprint

Overnight NASCAR New Hampshire TV Rating plummets UPDATE ABC's live telecast of the Sept. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway earned a final national household rating of 3.2, averaging 5,044,391 viewers and up from the 2.5 overnight rating revealed on Monday. The race was the first event of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The final rating was down from the 3.8 rating for last year's race, which also aired on ABC. The race earned a 3.3 rating in 2007, also airing on ABC. ESPN PR

09/21/09 ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway earned a 2.5 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 21.9 percent lower than the 3.2 ABC earned overnight for the race in 2008.

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09/24/09
nassprint

Braun Racing to compete in five Cup races in 2010
Team owner Todd Braun said his Braun Racing team will attempt five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races next year, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Braun, which fields three teams in the Nationwide Series, entered a Cup car for two races in 2005. The team plans to run a Toyota in 2010 while determining plans for 2011. "We're going to run some Cup races next year," Braun said. "What it holds on our future, we don't know. If I want to long-term survive in this sport, I'm going to have to go Cup racing at some point. I don't think I can maintain forever being a Nationwide-only guy unless something happens in the series that I don't see right now. I wish I could." Braun said he was happy with his team in the Nationwide Series but could need to move to Cup to survive financially. The driver will be determined, though Braun said his current Nationwide driver, Jason Leffler, is a candidate. Other candidates, he said, could be Reed Sorenson, Bobby Labonte or Jamie McMurray, depending on available Cup rides next year. Braun said he has a sponsor for the five Cup races, though he didn't name the company. He also prefers to hire a crew chief with experience working with the new model Cup car. SceneDaily

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09/24/09
f1
f2000

USF1 to use F2000 as a feeder series
Team Principal Ken Anderson and Sporting Director Peter Windsor released the following statement on behalf of the USF1 race team:

"On behalf of the USF1 Team we would like to congratulate everyone involved in F2000 in the United States. One of our goals is to take American drivers back into Formula One, and then to produce the next American F1 World Champion - and it is because of series like F2000 that we feel confident that we can do this.'

The USF1 Team is therefore delighted to announce that it endorses the F2000 championship as one of its official "feeder" series. For too long the path to F1 for young American drivers has been clouded by a lack of respect for single-seater racing and for those talented drivers who lack the financial wherewithal to take the expensive route to the top.

Jeremy Shaw's Team USA has done - and will continue to do - a fantastic job of encouraging new talent; we look forward now to working with both Team USA and F2000 towards the new frontier."

Comment
09/24/09
nascar

NASCAR and Petty renew agreement
Few names are more intertwined than Petty and NASCAR. Fewer, still, have been as connected in the public consciousness for more than 50 years.

With the announcement that Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) and NASCAR have extended the term of their licensing agreement thru 2012, these iconic brands will continue to offer fans the opportunity to get inside of a Petty race car for the very best in “Authentic NASCAR Entertainment.”

On the race track and off, Richard Petty – “The King” – has been the very embodiment of the sport’s finest attributes. With 200 wins in NASCAR’s Cup series - a record that will likely never be broken - seven Cup Championships and seven Daytona 500 victories, Petty has accomplished more than any other driver in NASCAR history.

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
atlantic

Atlantic Series dying a slow death
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It's sad to see the once great Atlantic Series is down to just 10 cars in Road Atlanta this weekend and that is with the former drivers Bomarito and Mansell they brought in a field fillers.  They have had a marginal field all year.  It's time to fold it up and have all the teams join the Indy Lights Series, as sad as that is for me to say.  Robin Sweet, Toledo

Comment
09/24/09
atlantic

Summerton Takes Series-Leading Fifth Pole
American racer Jonathan Summerton took sole possession of the lead in one important statistical category in the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda today, taking his fifth pole position of the season in qualifying for Friday’s race at Road Atlanta.

He’s hoping to move to the top of two other important categories – namely race victories and the championship standings – when the checkered flag falls on tomorrow’s penultimate round of the 12-race 2009 Atlantic Championship. Driving the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine for Newman Wachs Racing, Summerton posted a best lap at 1:15.166 (121.651 mph) to take another $1,000 Cooper Tire Pole Award. Perhaps even more importantly, Summerton earned a bonus championship point, closing his gap to 11 points behind leader Simona De Silvestro, 160-149, and just three behind teammate John Edwards, who is second in the standings heading into tomorrow’s race.

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09/24/09
f1

Title sponsor ING axes Renault backing
(GMM)  Renault's title sponsor ING late on Thursday said it has terminated its contract with the French team "with immediate effect".

Mere hours after Spanish insurance backer Mutua Madrilena pulled its logos from the R29 for the same reason, the Dutch bank ING said it has also decided to end its association with Renault because of the crashgate scandal.

It is believed that both sponsors cite a clear and serious breach of contract, due to clauses requiring the Enstone based team to comply with FIA rules and regulations.

"ING is deeply disappointed at this turn of events, especially in the context of an otherwise successful sponsorship," a media statement issued late on Thursday read.

The statement went out to the world's media in the dead of the Singapore night, after team mechanics had throughout Thursday worked on the fully ING-branded cars in the pits of the Asian city-state's street circuit.

All team equipment as well as personnel and driver apparel also carried prominent ING branding as per usual on Thursday, the day before official practice for the weekend's Singapore grand prix begins.

Like Mutua Madrilena, ING had previously decided not to stay in formula one beyond 2009.

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09/24/09
alms

Peugeot fires back
Peugeot Sport began flexing its muscles Thursday morning with the top two spots during the day’s first official practice session for Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. Stephane Sarrazin was the quickest driver around Road Atlanta with a lap of 1:08.138 in the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 HDi that he will drive with Franck Montagny.

Sarrazin, the first driver in history to win three consecutive pole positions at Le Mans, was 0.904 seconds better than Nic Minassian in the second Peugeot. Minassian, a former Petit Le Mans pole-winner, is driving with Pedro Lamy. Peugeot is at Road Atlanta for the second straight season but first as Le Mans champion.

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
nassprint

NASCAR extends testing ban
NASCAR officials have decided to extend the NASCAR-wide ban on testing through the '10 racing season. But there was a "slight change” in the policy, as testing for the three national series – plus the Camping World East and West regional tours – will be "allowed at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks that host a regional touring event but do not host a national series event." Testing was not allowed in '09 at tracks that host a regional or national event  Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL

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09/24/09
f1

Sponsor leaves Renault after crash-gate scandal
(GMM)  As a direct consequence of the crash-gate scandal, Renault sponsor Mutua Madrilena has cancelled its sponsorship of the French team with immediate effect.

The Madrid based insurance company, whose deal with the formula one team was estimated at 3.5 million euros, already intended to leave the sport at the end of 2009.

Spanish news agency EFE reports that the firm wrote a letter to Renault in the wake of Monday's World Motor Sport Council hearing pointing out that it is no longer contractually bound to the team because Renault had broken the sport's rules.

Mutua Madrilena requested that the contract be terminated immediately, and indeed in the Renault garage on Thursday the Singapore-specification R29 cars no longer featured the company's logos on the monocoque sides.

Comment
09/24/09
f1

Alonso hopes to know 2010 employer 'soon'
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Thursday revealed he has made his mind up about his employer for the 2010 season, but not yet signed a contract with that team.

It is now perpetually speculated that the Renault driver will move to Ferrari next year to replace Kimi Raikkonen.

In typically theatrical fashion, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo admitted 24 hours ago that Felipe Massa's next teammate will be either Finnish or Spanish.

"My mind is already made up," Alonso, 27, told reporters in Singapore when asked about his next team in F1.

However, he said a contract has not yet been signed, meaning he is not sure what color uniform he will be wearing at the Bahrain season opener next March.

"Hopefully I will know soon," he added.

Raikkonen was also asked about the rumors on Thursday, and in light of Montezemolo's latest comments admitted that the identity of his team for 2010 is now less certain than before.

"I have a contract and I guess they want to talk about it, but nothing has really changed since the last race or the race before," said the Finn.

Comment
09/24/09
nnw

NASCAR Nationwide Dover Preview
NASCAR's Nationwide Series will be taking on the challenge of the Dover International Raceway this Saturday afternoon with the running of the Dover 200.

PRE RACE NOTES OF INTEREST.

With eight races remaining in the Nationwide Series' 2009 season, Kyle Busch has a 201 point lead over fellow Sprint Cup double duty driver Carl Edwards and a 297 point lead over series regular Brad Keselowski in third.

One would think that Busch's lead seems insurmountable and NASCAR may as well begin the process of engraving his name on the champion's trophy. But series history states that even a huge lead like this one can be counter acted in the eleventh hour. You only have to look back as far as this time last year to see proof of that.

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
f1

Ecclestone extends Donington's F1 deadline
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday said he is prepared to slightly relax an end-of-September deadline for Donington to have its plans all in place for the 2010 British grand prix.

The F1 chief executive said recently that the circuit has until the end of this month to guarantee its funding, and it is believed that the September deadline is also enshrined in Donington's F1 contract.

"Their problem is a financial one, it is (a matter of) them getting the money together," Ecclestone told reporters at an event in Singapore.

"Everything was done and ready and when this (global financial) crisis arrived the banks pulled the plug on them.

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
f1

Kubica admits Renault still an option for 2010
(GMM)  Robert Kubica on Thursday admitted to following the crash-gate saga more closely than many of his on-track rivals would have.

Following BMW's announced departure from the sport, the Pole was closing on a deal with Renault until the Singapore 2008 scandal cast a cloud above the French team.

"Of course, maybe I was a bit more interested in what would be the outcome with the FIA (hearing) than normally from all these (scandal) stories that we have had over the last two years," the 24-year-old told reporters in the Asian city-state.

Renault has lost its leading managerial and engineering heads in the form of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, but Kubica said he is happy that the carmaker itself at least remains committed to F1.

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
f1

Webber will not replace ousted manager Briatore
(GMM)  Mark Webber on Thursday said he has no plans to go on the market for a new driver manager.

At the end of the Renault crash-gate scandal, the World Motor Sport Council earlier this week banned Flavio Briatore for life and said drivers under his control will no longer be offered the mandatory Superlicense credential.

Alongside figures including Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen, Australian Webber is contracted to Briatore's management firm FFBB.

The 32-year-old, who drives for Red Bull, must now sever those ties before the next Superlicenses are issued early in 2010, but indicated he will now handle his own affairs.

"I've had Flavio looking after me for 11 years I have never looked at the contract from the day I signed it, and there's not many other people in the paddock you could say that about," Webber told reporters in Singapore.

"I won't work with anyone else in the future if I can't work with him," Webber, whose career is also managed by his partner Ann, added.

Comment
09/24/09
nassprint

New chassis for Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch doesn't believe the new chassis he'll use in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway is a risk. The 2004 Cup champion said the chassis has been ready since the Atlanta race on Labor Day weekend, "but we didn't want to change our program... because of how the car raced there in March when we won." The Penske Racing team picked Dover because it has similar characteristics to Atlanta. "The aerodynamic numbers of chassis 700 showed up to be the same for what we ran in June, and June was a great finish for us at the Monster Mile where we finished fifth," said Busch, recalling the first Dover race. "We ran competitively all day and so the body being a given... we can really understand what this new chassis is going to bring to us. If you rely on your engineering department, everybody behind the scenes at Penske Racing, they'll tell you that it's better," he said. "It's lighter, it's faster, so we can't be wrong in bringing it." ESPN Insider

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09/24/09
f1

Renault's focus mainly on 2010 admits Bell
The Renault Formula 1 team has scored just twenty points so far this season, all by Fernando Alonso. The team's new principal, Bob Bell, admitted on Thursday that the team's main development focus is on the team's 2010 contender rather than this year's car. "We do have developments planned for some of the remaining races and they will come along in due course," reveals Bell. "There's nothing major but they are sensible upgrades that are already in the production process. Our main development focus is now completely on the R30 and getting ready for 2010."

Comment
09/24/09
f1

Ecclestone warns Briatore against legal action
Ecclestone warns Briatore, but when did Briatore ever listen to Bernie?
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday urged his friend and business partner Flavio Briatore not to take his gripe against the FIA to the civil courts.

Briatore, the ousted former Renault boss, was banned from motor sport for life by the World Motor Sport Council, while his more apologetic co-conspirator Pat Symonds can return to F1 in five years after admitting his role in the crash-gate scandal.

At an event in Singapore, F1 chief executive Ecclestone accused Briatore of handling "the whole thing badly" by not confessing or apologizing.

Briatore, 59, is quoted by Italy's La Repubblica newspaper as vowing to legally contest the decision, and "at the end when I have won I will have a big party".

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09/24/09
alms

Will Road Atlanta dry out for Petit LeMans?
Don’t know if this is true or not, but there is a rumor going around that there has been a run in the bookstores around Braselton, Ga., early this week. Reports were that gentlemen in driving suits were picking up Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” in droves … or should that be in driving rain storms.

Stein’s novel about sports car racing talks about how great drivers learn that racing isn’t as much about going fast as it is learning special techniques - such as driving in the rain - and those that learn it well become the great ones. While the book’s theme is about how to successfully navigate life’s trials, those driving at Road Atlanta’s 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 this week may need to take note of the art of racing in the rain.

Rain has not let up in the Atlanta area since last Wednesday. More than 10 inches have fallen and up to another six are expected by end of day Tuesday. So what does this mean for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans?

Read more & Comment...
09/24/09
superleague

GT Cars and Superleague to share Monza weekend
Italian motorsport fans will have the chance to enjoy a very special racing event on 3/4 October when the legendary Autodromo Nazionale in Monza, near Milan, hosts the first ever International GT Open and Superleague Formula joint weekend. The event will bring together the excitement of both GT and single-seater racing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Despite both being relatively young, the series’ have been hailed as two of the most interesting developments in their respective categories throughout world motorsport in recent years.

The International GT Open, launched in 2006 by GT Sport Organizaci¢n, has grown steadily to become one of the most exciting platforms for GT2 and GT3 pro-am racing. The series’ format is built around a race of 70 minutes on Saturday and one of 50 minutes on Sunday, with Monza being the sixth round in an eight-event calendar. All the most prestigious GT marques, such as Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Corvette, Dodge, Sun-Red, etc are represented in the International GT Open, alongside some of the top teams and drivers from around the GT world.

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09/24/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Nakajima admits he might lose Williams seat
  • Rosberg expects challenging Singapore in rain
  • Mosley - Vatanen not ready to run FIA
  • Singaporeans still betting despite F1 race-fixing
  • Hamilton, Rosberg, disagree over Piquet escape

Kazuki Nakajima
Nakajima admits he might lose Williams seat
(GMM)  After arriving in Singapore, Kazuki Nakajima said he is hoping to retain his Williams seat for the 2010 season.

The 24-year-old Japanese has not yet scored a single point this season and is strongly backed by Toyota, who are expected to be replaced as the Grove team's engine supplier.

"Nothing has been said yet and I hope to stay in the team ... maybe that will not happen, but I don't think this will be my last time in Singapore and I'm confident I'll be back next year," Nakajima told the Singapore newspaper Today.

Nakajima's current teammate Nico Rosberg is expected to move to either Brawn or McLaren for 2010, to almost certainly be replaced by Williams' current test driver and the newly crowned GP2 champion, Nico Hulkenberg.

"He obviously has got talent and he managed to climb up by showing speed and finding someone to back him," Nakajima of the rookie German.

Read more & Comment...
09/23/09
alms

Petit LeMans Wednesday Notebook
Jörg Müller marked his return to Road Atlanta and the American Le Mans Series with an impressive showing in Wednesday’s test session for the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. The Series’ 2001 GT champion was second quickest in GT2 behind the wheel of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team BMW M3 that will share with full-season partners Dirk Müller (no relation) and Tommy Milner.

Müller and Andy Priaulx did the initial testing of the M3 in late 2008 prior to its race debut in March at the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida.

“I was back in the car five weeks ago in Hungary,” said Jörg Müller, whose last race in the Series was Petit Le Mans in 2001 – a runner-up finish in a factory BMW M3 GTR. “It felt good to be back in the car and to be back at Road Atlanta. This is one of the big events in the world, and Sebring is another, so it is very good. You need to be at a race like this, and of course I am very happy with the track and the car.”

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09/23/09
starmazda

Star Mazda Wed Practice Road Atlanta
Finally taking the measure of themselves, their machines and the track on the second day of pre-race testing, the drivers of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear started turning some serious practice times during Wednesday's single on-track session.  As was the case on Tuesday, the quickest driver in the session was also the championship points leader and winner of four races so far this season, Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey.

Improving from his 1:20.344 of yesterday to a 1:19.538 on Lap 10 today driving his #3 Juncos Racing / The Collection / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda, Dempsey and the rest of the front runners are still well shy of the lap record 1:18.328 set last year by – Peter Dempsey.

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09/23/09
alms

Patr¢n Highcroft squad begin on-track Petit assault
After several days of drenching rain, Road Atlanta provided the American Le Mans Series with a dry track and as Patr¢n Highcroft Racing kicked off it's assault at Petit Le Mans in testing today at Road Atlanta.

David Brabham and Dario Franchitti both took to the track - Brabham undertaking initial set-up work and IndyCar ace Franchitti re-acclimatizing himself with the Acura ARX-02a in the 90 minute session.

Brabham's fellow LMP1 championship leader Scott Sharp will join them in the cockpit tomorrow for three official practice sessions at 10:05am, 3:20pm and 7:20pm.

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09/23/09
nassprint

Tire testing at Daytona
Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers wrapped up a two-day Goodyear tire test on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. In between rain showers, drivers shook down tires for Goodyear in advance of the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14. "I think the Goodyear tires the last year or two have been pretty competitive," #6-David Ragan said after the first day of testing. "We haven't had any issues with them. It's just a deal where Goodyear tries to fine tune on their tires and combinations to make it right. I'm sure this won't be the last (test) before the Daytona 500 in February." Ragan participated in last September's Goodyear tire test at Daytona while #20-Joey Logano and #47-Marcos Ambrose were among a group of drivers who tested tires in May. "We tried a lot of different tires," Logano said. "I think we had about five or six different ones that we put on, just trying different things that Goodyear has come up with. We had some good ones and some that weren't as good. You pick what you want and I'm sure they'll change a few things. I know they are going to come back here again and do some drafting." The test gave Brad Keselowski his first opportunity to work with his new #12 team for the 2010 season. Keselowski, who competes for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will join Penske in 2010 for his first full Sprint Cup Series season. DIS PR

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09/23/09
atlantic

Summerton Quickest in Practice Day at Road Atlanta
In the first official practice day for Friday's Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race at Road Atlanta, Jonathan Summerton led another one-two sweep of the top two positions for Newman Wachs Racing.

Summerton posted the day's fastest lap at 1:15.446 (121.199 mph) in the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine to lead the session. The 21-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla. brings considerable momentum with him to Road Atlanta, with victories in two of his last three series starts, including a win from the pole in the most recent round at Mosport last month. He is currently third in the championship standings and he is looking to erase a four-point deficit to teammate John Edwards and a 12-point disadvantage to points leader Simona De Silvestro.

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09/23/09
f1

Renault puts Bell in charge
With former boss Flavio Briatore and Director of Engineering Pat Symonds having been ousted for their involvement in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix race-fix scandal, the Renault F1 Team announced that Technical Director Bob Bell has been named as Team Principal, in addition to other changes brought to the chain of command.

"Following the unfortunate recent events, the Renault F1 Team has reacted swiftly by implementing a new temporary management team structure, which will be in place from today until the end of the 2009 season," the statement read.

Bob Bell, currently Technical Director, takes on the duty of Team Principal and Chief Technical Officer.

Jean-François Caubet, currently Director of Marketing and Communications, takes the role of Managing Director.

Both men will report to the Renault team's President, Bernard Rey. 

From now on and until further notice, Bell's responsibilities will also include representing the team before the media on sporting and technical questions.

"The Renault F1 Team is now ready to concentrate on the future and wishes to stress that no further comments or statements will be issued relating to the events of Singapore 2008."

Comment
09/23/09
irl

HVM signs with Flogs.com
HVM Racing is now a fan of Flogs.  The team has announced a partnership with Flogs.com, a site that provides free digital calendars of sporting events, concerts, CD releases and other events that can be synchronized to a user’s own personal calendar application.  Users visit Flogs.com to choose which schedules to download to their PC, Mac, Smartphone or other device and then integrate them with Outlook, Windows Live, Gmail calendar or other applications.

Flogs.com has been a personal sponsor of HVM Racing driver Robert Doornbos throughout the 2009 IndyCar Series season and will now also partner with the team.

“Working with Flogs.com is a good opportunity,” said Keith Wiggins, team principal and owner of HVM Racing.  “Their technology is exciting and is certain to grow as more people learn about it.  We’re happy to be a part of it.”

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09/23/09
f1

Vatanen critical of Piquet Jr immunity
FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen believes that Nelson Piquet Jr should have been punished for his role in Formula One's "Crashgate" affair.  Vatanen told CNN: "I do not understand why Nelson Piquet Jr wasn't punished. For me his immunity was not correct."

"He only went public after he was sacked," Vatanen said. "He should have said no in the first place. If someone is crazy enough to propose something like that you say no. He should have been given a sentence."

Much of the criticism until now has focused on the perceived leniency of the Renault team's punishment of a two-year suspended ban plus paying the costs of the investigation. But Vatanen thinks that they have been treated fairly.

"It would be wrong to punish a team severely who is totally unaware of what a few individuals are doing. In that sense the verdict was right."

Vatanen prefers to look at the "Crashgate" punishments from a different perspective. The question, he thinks, shouldn't be why did Renault get off so lightly? But rather, why were McLaren treated so severely two years ago?

"In the light of the Renault punishment, McLaren [who were fined $100 million for spying on rivals Ferrari] received a gross miscarriage of justice," Vatanen said.

Comment
09/23/09
f1

Mosley predicts less friction if Todt wins
Max Mosley F1 will see a period of less confrontation with the governing body if Jean Todt wins next month's presidential election.

"Jean will do a much better job than me in many, many ways," said Mosley, who has publicly endorsed Todt's bid to become president. "And in some ways he will upset the F1 teams less because he probably won't come up with the next big idea.

"He will make sure it all runs like clockwork and is completely fair, honest, open and transparent - and that is what you need."

"All of those things Jean did were within the rules, as they were at the time, and were in the best interests of his team," said Mosley.

"The thing about Jean is that when he was Peugeot he was 100 per cent Peugeot. When he was Ferrari he was 100 per cent Ferrari. And when he is FIA he will be 100 per cent FIA.

"There will be no old ties or loyalties to Ferrari, or Peugeot or Citroen. He will be totally down the line. And that is the good thing about him. He is absolutely open, absolutely honest. Sometimes he upsets people because he says it as he sees it. He is not a politician in telling people what they want to hear - and that is what we need."

Comment
09/23/09
f1

Ferrari to choose Massa's 2010 teammate soon
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo on Wednesday admitted for the first time that the identity of Felipe Massa's Ferrari teammate for 2010 has not yet been decided.

Both Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have contracts for next year, but intense speculation has linked the latter Finnish driver with a move elsewhere, to make way for the Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Referring to Massa and his head injuries sustained in a crash earlier this year, Ferrari president Montezemolo said in Florence: "We will have a Brazilian driver because he deserves another chance, given that he is well.

"Regarding the rest (the other seat), we are reflecting upon the best choice, but we still have time.

"We will decide within a few weeks," he said on Wednesday morning at an opening at the Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche, according to the publication Tuttosport.

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09/23/09
racing news

Newgarden Wins Twice at Brands Hatch
Josef Newgarden
Josef Newgarden resumed his pursuit of an inaugural European championship title over the weekend (September 19-20), with another superb performance in the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.

The talented American teenager was the first driver to the checkered flag in both Rounds 22 and 23 at the Brands Hatch circuit. Unfortunately his win in race one was subsequently disallowed during technical inspection over an interpretation of regulation 8A of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain rules. This decision is now under appeal by the JTR Team and awaiting a decision from the MSA.

Despite the setback, Newgarden stayed focused on the task of just winning races, scoring a resounding victory in race two, bringing his win total to an impressive nine during his rookie campaign with one more still under appeal.

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09/23/09
f1

Q & A with Renault's Bob Bell
Q. Bob, Fernando scored four points in Monza. How did you view his performance?

Bob Bell: I think the result showed the potential of the car and Fernando certainly got 100% out of it. We were fortunate to gain a few places in the race but overall I think that fifth place was a fair reflection of our competitiveness and brought us the sort of points that we should have scored in the last few races.

Q. Romain has done three races now. How is he progressing?

BB: He has settled in very well and all of the engineers that have worked with him have been very impressed. He's clearly quick and over the Monza weekend he was just two or three tenths off Fernando, which is what we would hope to see. He has been unfortunate that he hasn't really had a clean race so we're yet to judge his true race pace, but he's clearly got a lot of potential.

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09/23/09
superleague

Superleague young guns shooting for the stars
Cast an eye across the Superleague Formula paddock and you’re likely to recognize a few familiar faces; former F1 drivers, a multiple ChampCar champion, GP2 title-winner and host of other famous names now playing their part in the football-themed series. Look past the star attractions however and you’ll find two young drivers who have shown their more esteemed peers the way forward in 2009.

They might not be household names yet, but Tottenham’s Craig Dolby and FC Basel’s Max Wissel are staring down the barrel of a bright future if their second seasons in Superleague are anything to go by. With two rounds left, both remain in League title contention, despite their lack of experience at this level.

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09/23/09
Automotive

Volvo Cars Takes on Safety Challenges Involving Electric Cars
Click image to watch video
Volvo is currently conducting extremely wide-ranging and thorough analysis of a variety of safety scenarios for cars with electric power. Through advanced automatic monitoring of battery status and by encapsulating the battery and protecting it effectively in a collision, the result is a comprehensive safety package. Everything from the way the cars are produced, used and serviced to the way they are recycled is analyzed thoroughly and the information obtained is used to shape the development of the final production car. All Volvo's existing safety systems will also be available in the company's electric cars. However, electric power also adds new possible safety scenarios to the overall picture and these too must be dealt with.

Comment
09/23/09
superleague

Craig Dolby Q&A
Craig Dolby
Tottenham’s Craig Dolby currently lies second in the Superleague Formula by Sonangol standings as he prepares for the championship’s penultimate round at Monza on October 3/4. Here, the Melton Mowbray driver discusses his year so far and just how he became one of the series’ hottest properties.

Superleague Formula: You went straight from racing in French Formula Renault to Superleague Formula. How did you find the transition?

Craig Dolby: “It was so exciting when we first went to Donington last year. It was unbelievable going from 200bhp to 750. But surprisingly I got used to it quite quickly. I actually enjoyed the additional power because you could use it to control and set the car up better. Any young driver, when they’re given a big car, is going to have a grin on their face and enjoy it so that was an amazing feeling. But after the first couple of laps it’s back to focusing on the job in hand, trying to get the best out of the car and myself. It was a mega experience though. Those first couple of laps were just mind blowing.

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09/23/09
nassprint

Montoya still not happy with Martin
From a NASCAR teleconference Tuesday:

Q: Can you talk ... more about the deal with Mark Martin and whether you had a chance to chat with him after the New Hampshire race.

Montoya: "No, I haven't, first off, I haven't really talked to Mark at all. I think he did an awesome race and he did what he had to do to win the race. I wasn't the happiest guy. I did some interviews this morning and I said that. It's fun when you do it to someone else but it's not when they do it to you but it's part of it. For the Chase, you know, we have to bring our A Game, and we did. There's no holding back, nothing, we have to go. We have to try to go every week. Some weeks are going to be better than others but it's time to go." NASCAR PR

Comment
09/23/09
nassprint

Vaseline Men Lotion on the #1 at Dover
Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer products companies, announced on July 23, 2009 that Vaseline MEN Lotion would be an associate sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. As part of that relationship, Vaseline MEN will be the primary sponsor of the #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. at this weekend's race at Dover International Raceway. Earnhardt Ganassi PR

Comment
09/23/09
nassprint

No. 18 car too low in post race inspection UPDATE #2 A statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: "The situation was caused when the left front spring became dislodged. This resulted in the left front corner of the car to be lower and resulted in a change to the car's handling which had to be compensated for during the race. Consequently, the car measured low during post-race inspection. We accept NASCAR's ruling on the issue today." JGR PR

09/23/09 NASCAR has issued penalties to the #18 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a result of a rule infraction found last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The #18 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8 1B (the height of the car at the left front fender did not meet the required specification; too low in post-race inspection) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. Crew chief Steve Addington has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Driver Kyle Busch and car owner Joe Gibbs have been penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points, respectively. NASCAR PR

09/21/09 Kyle Busch, who missed making the Chase by just eight points, finished 5th in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But the left front of the #18 M&M's Toyota was too low in post-race inspection, and he could be penalized by NASCAR this week, usually announced on Tuesday afternoons. ESPN/Associated Press

Comment
09/23/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • No deal yet after Canada GP meeting
  • 'Witness X' sealed ousted Briatore's fate
  • Italian press slams conspiracy, revenge
  • Briatore was invited to crash-gate hearing - FIA
  • Ecclestone doubts Briatore can revive 'breakaway'
  • Singapore confirms track changes for 2010
  • New teams Campos, Manor, join FOTA

No deal yet after Canada GP meeting
(GMM)  A meeting in Bernie Ecclestone's London office on Tuesday moved Canada closer to returning to the formula one calendar in 2010.

The Montreal race has been allocated a provisional date on next year's schedule, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone said after the meeting that all the documents still have not been "signed properly".

"The issues that we had were minor, but I think we've managed get around them," he is quoted as saying by cbc.ca.

The Briton met with Michael Fortier, representing the Canadian levels of government central to the return of the event to be held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"Negotiations continue," he said.

'Witness X' sealed ousted Briatore's fate
(GMM)  A mystery Renault F1 employee, described by the World Motor Sport Council as 'witness X' and by the French team as 'the whistle blower', sealed the outcome of the crash-gate scandal.

The person, whose identity was protected in order to encourage the cooperation of whistleblowers in future, told Renault and the FIA that he was present at a meeting in Singapore last year when Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore mentioned the plan for Nelson Piquet Jr to crash deliberately.

The meeting took place supposedly before Piquet knew about the conspiracy, in the hours after qualifying.  However, both Symonds and 'witness x' contend that the conspiracy was actually the Brazilian driver's idea.

Witness X, whose existence was revealed in the publication by the FIA of the World Motor Sport Council documentation, said Piquet "suggested the idea of a deliberate crash to atone for his poor performance in qualifying".

"(Witness X) objected to the idea (of the deliberate crash)," Renault said in its written submissions to Monday's hearing in Paris.

Witness X also told the FIA during interview that "Mr. (Flavio) Briatore was involved in the conspiracy".

Departed engineering director Symonds, who had declined the FIA's offer of immunity and also the invitation to appear in Paris, did submit a letter to the Council, in which he sadly acknowledged "my role in this incident".

In recordings of the hearing also released by the FIA, Renault's lawyer Ali Malek QC confirmed that the team - but not Briatore - has withdrawn its French criminal proceedings against Piquet.

Malek also admitted that Renault had given "very serious consideration" about its commitment to F1, but ultimately decided to stay in the sport.

In answer to a question by Bernie Ecclestone, he also confirmed that Briatore and Symonds would have been sacked if they had not voluntarily resigned.

It also emerged that Sir Frank Williams, who has historical links with the French carmaker and may also be coveting an engine supply for 2010, wrote a letter to the Council in support of Renault.

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09/23/09
alms

Petit Le Mans Is First Endurance Test for GT2 Corvette
The GT2 version of the Corvette C6.R will face its sternest test yet at Road Atlanta on Saturday, September 26, in the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, the ninth round of the 10-race American Le Mans Series. The grueling race on the Georgia road course will be the first test of endurance for Corvette Racing since the debut of the second-generation C6.R in the GT2 category. Although the new-generation Corvette race car has finished on the podium in the last three sprint races -- including its maiden win three weeks ago at Mosport International Raceway -- Petit Le Mans will be the longest race yet for the Corvette ZR1-based machines.

Corvette Racing has seven wins in the GT1 category at Petit Le Mans, scoring victories in 2000-02, 2004-05, and 2007-08. Now the team is making its transition to the ultra-competitive GT2 category to test and develop the second-generation Corvette C6.R race cars in anticipation of a run for the championship in 2010.

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09/23/09
f1

F1 sponsors cut back
Corporate invitations to this year's Formula One race in Singapore have slowed down amid the recession, The Business Times (BT) reported on Wednesday.

At last year's first night race and Singapore's inaugural Grand Prix, tickets for hospitality suites and grandstand seats were distributed freely by numerous corporate sponsors. This year, that generosity seems to have virtually disappeared in light of the financial turmoil.

BT added that motor-related companies and banks which had F1 programs in 2008 have scaled back or completely cut down on such activities.

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09/23/09
atlantic

Three-Way Atlantic Championship Title Fight
One year ago, a three-driver battle for the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda title was decided in a thrilling race at Road Atlanta, which was the 2008 season finale. While there is one more round following this year’s Atlantic Championship race at Road Atlanta, there is once again a three-driver battle, and Friday’s race could go a long way in determining who will win the 2009 championship.

Simona De Silvestro leads the championship into the penultimate round by eight points, 160-152, over John Edwards, with Edwards’ Newman Wachs Racing teammate Jonathan Summerton another four points back. There are a handful of scenarios in which De Silvestro could feasibly clinch the title on Friday afternoon. If De Silvestro were to win the race and take a bonus point for either starting from the pole position or by improving the most positions in the race, she would clinch the title if Summerton finished fifth or worse and Edwards came home sixth or worse.

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09/23/09
nhra

Prudhomme puts Snake Racing up for sale
Year No. 47 for Don "The Snake" Prudhomme in NHRA drag racing will be the last if his team doesn't find a buyer or sponsor by year's end, Prudhomme announced Saturday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

Snake Racing has fielded Top Fuel and Funny Car entries at varying times for 15 years. This year it has run a Top Fueler for rookie Spencer Massey, who has one win and is seventh in points with a spot clinched in the Countdown for 1 playoffs.

"Over the past few years our sport has seen expenses for all professional teams escalate significantly, making it impractical to continue doing business as usual," Prudhomme said.

Comment
09/22/09
nassprint

Broken Crankshaft cause of Kahne's blown engine
The conspiracy theorists are out in force, and this time their focus is Kasey Kahne and that Richard Petty Motorsports engine that blew up last weekend at New Hampshire. Certainly everyone at RPM would deny that the engine was the victim of sabotage. They see each other work hard every day and wouldn't be able to fathom that anyone they call a friend or a colleague would do such a thing. That's the way Bill Pink, who directs RPM's engines at the track, thinks. But he says there's more than just the feeling that no one would do something to hurt the engine. He says the engines were built and done and ready for New Hampshire before the announcement of the merger Sept. 7. And he says that the crankshaft has been broken five times in tests, just never in a car on the track, and that everyone in the engine shop has known that the crankshafts were ticking time bombs. "We all know these cranks do not work," Pink says. "But we got painted into a corner where we had to use them with the R6 engine. ... Unfortunately, we've got more of them just like it sitting here. Everybody was saying this was going to happen sooner or later. Fortunately, it happened later because we got in the Chase. We've been all holding our breath. And if the team owners Gilletts wouldn't have announced the merger, the crank still would have broke." In fact, Kahne will use the old R5 engine at Dover this week until some new, stronger crankshafts that have been in the process of being made are ready. SceneDaily

Comment
09/22/09
nassprint

NASCAR strikes another blow against Mayfield
NASCAR filed affidavits Monday in U.S. District Court from three Kentucky residents and a deposition from a former brother-in-law who said they have seen suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield use methamphetamines at least 50 times since 1997.

The affidavits were part of a request asking the court Monday for a mental and physical examination of Mayfield to determine if he suffers from a substance-abuse disorder and/or adult-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mayfield has sued NASCAR for suspending him for a May 1 drug test that it says was positive for methamphetamines but Mayfield claims produced a false positive reading as the result of the prescription drug Adderall (for ADHD diagnosed earlier this year) and over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D. He is also suing for defamation.

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09/22/09
f1

Beyoncé, Aerosmith set for Abu Dhabi F1 race
US singer Beyoncé and rock group Aerosmith will be performing in Abu Dhabi as part of the Formula One racing weekend at the end of October.

Beyoncé will open the Grand Prix festivities on October 29, the National reported, citing sources close to the organizers.

Meanwhile, Aerosmith, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band'', will perform after F1’s first day/night race on November 1, according to the same report.

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09/22/09
track news

Glimmer of hope for Milwaukee Mile
The future of auto racing at the Milwaukee Mile got a little brighter on Monday.

The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board's executive committee met in closed session Monday to discuss a proposed lease agreement with Historic Mile LLC, the latest group that wants to promote races at the historic racetrack.

The proposed agreement, which the full Wisconsin State Fair Park Board is expected to consider next Monday, calls for a considerably smaller license fee than the previous two race promoters were asked to pay. 

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09/22/09
alms

SPEED Set for Flag-To-Flag Petit Le Mans Coverage
SPEED, the definitive network for motor sports and the automotive lifestyle, will provide ten-and-a-half hours of live ‘flag to flag’ coverage from this year’s American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Petit Le Mans fall endurance classic starting Saturday, Sept. 26 at 11 a.m., ET, from picturesque Road Atlanta, just north of the city.

The race, despite being only a little more than a decade old, has quickly moved up the totem pole of prestigious motor sports events – drawing interest from top-notch competitors throughout the world. It’s become the third spoke of the big three international sports car endurance races (The 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.), Le Mans 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans) that fall under the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) rulebook. The Petit Le Mans winner receives an automatic invite into next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

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09/22/09
nastruck

NCWTS TV Ratings Up 40 percent at Loudon
Nielsen Household Ratings for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series continue to be up year-to-year on SPEED, as the race from Loudon scored a .74 (546,000 households), a 40-percent increase over last year’s .53 (387,000 households) from the New Hampshire track. The telecast peaked at a .86 (635,000 households), a 21-percent increase over last year’s .71 (518,000 households).

In addition to the continued growth of the NCWTS audience on SPEED, the popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay, has recorded ratings increases for nine of the last 10 weekends and is up year-to-year, as is NCWTS Setup, the Truck Series pre-race show.

The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED is Saturday from Las Vegas, with NCWTS Setup beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET and race coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Comment
09/22/09
f1

Australia happy without 2010 season opener
(GMM)  Organizers of the Australian grand prix insist they are happy despite not hosting the first race of the 2010 season.

The Melbourne event has always coveted its traditional spot at the top of the annual schedule, but next March it will have to wait until after the Bahrain opener to welcome the formula one circus to Albert Park.

It has been reported that the date-swap with Bahrain is to take advantage of Melbourne's new 'twilight' race time, and the fact that later in March the daylight saving zones in Australia and Europe will briefly overlap.

"This is the best of all worlds from a promoter's point of view -- Melbourne will attract worldwide media attention early in the season and we can leverage off the first race action in promoting the Australian grand prix at Albert Park," said the Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Drew Ward.

Comment
09/22/09
f1

Williams intends to race KERS in 2010
(GMM)  Technical director Sam Michael said on Tuesday that Williams intends to use KERS next year.

The energy recovery technology is permitted in the actual technical regulations for 2010, but the carmaker-dominated FOTA has voluntarily agreed to ignore the opportunity.

After a dispute with the teams alliance earlier this year, Williams has been re-admitted to the body.

But Australian Michael said in a document released to the press: "We fully support the use of KERS and always have done.

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09/22/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • New race date for Bahrain could lead to major F1 test
  • Piquet not punished but F1 return unlikely
  • Briatore demise 'sad' - Mosley
  • F1 world lashes out at crash-gate leniency
  • Crash-gate over but clouds remain over Renault

New race date for Bahrain could lead to major F1 test
(GMM)  The road has been cleared for Bahrain to host a major pre-season test before the 2010 championship kicks off in the island kingdom.

Melbourne is the traditional host of the formula one opener, but the first officially published calendar for next year showed on Monday that Bahrain's Sakhir track will kick off the 2010 season in mid March.

The last time Bahrain hosted the first race of the season was in 2006, and it led to most teams taking the opportunity of a major test at the circuit before the championship began shortly thereafter.

Track boss Martin Whitaker however acknowledged that new rules mean that overseas testing is not allowed.

"The new regulations are there, but there is every opportunity now to encourage teams to come here and test," he told the local Gulf Daily News.

"Certainly now, we have an opportunity to talk to teams about it, given that we are the first race," he added.

Piquet not punished but F1 return unlikely
(GMM)  As the 'crash-gate' scandal ended on Monday, a contrite Nelson Piquet Jr said he now wants to resurrect his formula one career.

Having blown the whistle on his ousted bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the 23-year-old Brazilian was not punished by the World Motor Sport Council on Monday despite admitting to crashing on purpose during the 2008 Singapore grand prix.

The immunity granted to him by the FIA means he is now technically free to look for a new employer in the paddock, but many observers believe he is damaged goods.

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09/22/09
f1

Q&A with Toyota's Pascal Vasselon
Were there any surprises last year in Singapore with Formula 1's first night race?
We took it very seriously and we had very solid preparation for this night race, including illuminated pit boards, additional lighting around the garage and other precautions like changing the team schedule. In the end the event ran smoothly without any particular problems associated with the timing. The only point to mention is something that both drivers commented on after the race; it was more tiring for them to drive under the lights because of the visual effect of driving so quickly underneath hundreds of lighting units.

How does the different timetable affect the team in general?
You are totally out of synch with local life in the city which is a very unique experience. The whole team stayed on European time and this worked very well with no problems at all but it is quite a strange situation to be in. You end up looking for a restaurant for dinner at 2am and going to bed when the sun is rising. Luckily I can sleep quite easily so that was no problem; it is just unusual to be wishing people 'good morning' in the middle of the afternoon!

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09/21/09
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Dover on ABC

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for 400 miles on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Monster Mile, Dover (Del.) International Speedway. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race will air on ABC and is presented by Burger King. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 1 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag is at 2:15 p.m.

ESPN’s coverage of the final 11 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will air on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. ESPN’s coverage from Dover includes NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Sept. 25, at 3 p.m. on ESPN2, and a same-day telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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09/21/09
alms

Fans can still vote for most popular sports car driver
Out of more than 60 eligible American Le Mans Series drivers, nine remain in this year’s Most Popular Driver contest. The final voting is now open to fans around the world through Paddock Pass at americanlemans.com.

This final round of voting will remain open through midnight ET on Sunday, September 27 to coincide with the close of the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 weekend, the cornerstone event for the American Le Mans Series.

Fans also can still vote in this year’s From the Fans poll, an award that goes to the person or group that has made the biggest impact this season in the American Le Mans Series or sports car racing. It will likewise remain open through midnight ET on Sunday.

The winners will receive their awards at the season-ending banquet in Monterey, Calif., on Sunday, October 11.

Comment
09/21/09
f1

Briatore forced to wind up management firm
Flavio Briatore is out of F1 forever
Despite resigning from his role as managing director of the Renault F1 team, Flavio Briatore still manages a number of high profile drivers. The findings of the World Motor Sport Council, which has banned him indefinitely from the sport, mean that he will no longer be able to continue driver management in any FIA sanctioned series and that any driver associated with him will not be eligible for a superlicense.

Briatore’s firm, FFBB, manages Heikki Kovalainen and Mark Webber as well as Renault Development Drivers such as Romain Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi. In the past he has managed Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, amongst others.

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09/21/09
irl
f1

Button a guest at IndyCar race
In a Honda PR move, Brawn GP driver Jenson Button, leader of the Formula One championship, was a guest at the Motegi IndyCar race this past weekend. He competes in Singapore next week.  Asked if he has any interest in driving IndyCars someday, he was non committal.  Didn't sound like it.

Comment
09/21/09
atlantic

Bomarito and Mansell Set for Return to Atlantic Championship
Greg Mansell (L) and Jonatham Bomarito
Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda paddock at this week’s penultimate round of the 12-race 2009 championship as Jonathan Bomarito and Greg Mansell will compete in Friday’s race at Road Atlanta.

A five-time Atlantic Championship race-winner, the 27-year-old Bomarito will drive the No. 77 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine for Team Stargate Worlds alongside points leader Simona De Silvestro, who drives the team’s No. 78 entry. It will be Bomarito’s first Atlantic start since the 2009 season-opener at Sebring and will be the 44th start of his Atlantic career overall. In addition to this week’s race at Road Atlanta, Bomarito will also drive the No. 77 car in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in his hometown of Monterey, Calif.

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09/21/09
f1

FIA legalizes equalization of engines
F1 governing body the FIA has announced that engine manufacturers may now ensure that engines are of equal power by making use a new rule for equalization. As all engines have been frozen in development since the start of 2007, more powerful units may now be downgraded in order to match the horsepower of rivals' products.

With the engine freeze of two years ago having been introduced in a bid to cut costs, teams have suggested this year that companies such as Mercedes have moved ahead on engine power and, furthermore, that the freeze prevents others from being able to catch up.

Renault was granted special dispensation to increase its power last year although the FIA has now stated that figures may be matched but only by bringing down the power levels of the more powerful units as opposed to increasing the less powerful ones.

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09/21/09
irl

Stage set for "Winner-Take-All" race in South Florida
Stage set for "Winner-Take-All" race in South Florida: Last month, when the IndyCar Series transitioned from the road/street course to the oval portion of the schedule, reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon predicted that the driver title would be decided in the season finale.

"It's what we expect for IndyCar," he said. "It's going to come down to the final lap, the final corner of Miami."

For the fourth consecutive year, it will be a shootout for the championship. Dixon enters the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 570 points. Teammate Dario Franchitti is second with 565, and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe has 562.

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09/21/09
a1gp

2009/10 A1GP calendar announced
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has announced its Season Five calendar and a long term deal with IMG Sports Media to market its worldwide media rights for the next three seasons.

The deal with IMG Sports Media will represent all exclusive TV broadcast, VOD, In-flight and Ship-at-Sea rights and non exclusive mobile rights for the live races and event highlights packages.

This news for the series was greeted enthusiastically by A1GP Chairman, Tony Teixeira, who said: “I have always had a long wish list of deals we wanted to make our series one of the most well known on the sporting calendar.

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09/21/09
nassprint

Jack Daniels drops RCR NASCAR sponsorship
Brown-Forman, one of the largest American-owned companies in the wine and spirits business, will conclude its Jack Daniel’s NASCAR program and will not extend its sponsorship with Richard Childress Racing’s No. 07 team.

A change in Brown-Forman’s spending priorities led to the decision to conclude the sponsorship that began in 2005. The Brown-Forman/Jack Daniel’s partnership with RCR will continue for the remainder of the 2009 racing season and the entire team is committed to being competitive on the track each and every race.

“Jack Daniel’s has enjoyed a good five-year run with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and NASCAR, and we are pleased with the overall performance of our sponsorship program,” said Tim Rutledge, vice president and brand director for Jack Daniel’s. “We have enjoyed building strong relationships with the people in Richard’s organization and throughout NASCAR.  While it is difficult for us to end our formal relationship with RCR, the current economic environment has compelled us to revaluate our spending and we’ve concluded that other areas in the marketing mix require additional investment.”

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09/21/09
f1

Korea and Canada join 2010 F1 calendar
(GMM)  Korea and Canada are featured on the first officially published formula one calendar for the 2010 season.

At Monday's meeting in Paris of the World Motor Sport Council, the 26-member body approved 19 race dates for next season, beginning with a season opener in Bahrain rather than Melbourne as per usual.

Canada, missing from the 2009 schedule following a commercial dispute with Bernie Ecclestone, is listed for 13 June next year, alongside an asterisk.

In a FIA statement, it is explained that the Montreal return is "subject to the completion of contract negotiations with Formula One Management".

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09/21/09
f1

Nelson Piquet Jr. Crashgate Statement
Nelson Piquet Jr. is likely out of F1 forever as well
I am relieved that the FIA investigation has now been concluded.  Those now running the Renault F1 Team took the decision, as I did, that it is better that the truth be known and accept the consequences. The most positive thing to come from bringing this to the attention of the FIA is that nothing like it will ever happen again.

I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it.

I don’t know how far my explanation will go to making people understand because for many being a racing driver is an amazing privilege, as it was for me. All I can tell you is that my situation at Renault turned into a nightmare. Having dreamed of being a Formula One driver and having worked so hard to get there, I found myself at the mercy of Mr. Briatore.  His true character, which had previously only been known to those he had treated like this in the past, is now known.

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09/21/09
f1

Renault Crashgate Statement
Renault issued the following statement:

Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Renault F1 Team president Bernard Rey issued the following statement to the media gathered in Paris:

"We are very sad to find ourselves in front of the Word Motor Sport Council today.

"By way of background, as a result of our own enquiries, we informed the FIA last week that we would not defend the charges and we accepted our responsibilities in relation to the incident in Singapore and we immediately took appropriate action inside the team.

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09/21/09
f1

Renault escapes ban, Briatore banned for life
(GMM)  Renault escaped Monday's 'crash-gate' hearing with a two-year suspended disqualification, but Flavio Briatore was banned from motor sport for life.

The French team attended the Paris meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in fully cooperative mood, admitting the Nelson Piquet crash conspiracy, apologizing, and offering to pay for the FIA's investigation and make a "significant contribution" to the governing body's safety projects.

The Council noted the "unparalleled severity" of the incident and said it merits "permanent disqualification from the FIA formula one world championship".

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09/21/09
f1

Crash-gate hearing over in 90 minutes
(GMM)  Renault's so-called 'crash-gate' hearing of the World Motor Sport Council on Monday took less than two hours.

With the French team already effectively admitting the guilt of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds and not contesting the conspiracy charges, a decision is expected to be published by the FIA before the end of business hours.

Briatore and Symonds did not appear, but notably present were the two Nelson Piquets and Fernando Alonso.

Also at the Paris hearing was Renault's F1 president Bernard Rey and head of communication Jean Francois Caubet, as well as Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone.

Comment
09/21/09
f1

Warwick tells FIA: Ban Piquet for life
Nelsinho Piquet should be banned from motorsport for life for his role in the ‘Singapore-gate’ scandal that is threatening to drive Renault out of Formula 1 – that is the view of one of the Régie’s former drivers Derek Warwick, who is adamant that the young Brazilian should simply have said ‘no’.

According to Warwick, though the whole situation could have been avoided had Piquet simply stood his ground in the first place, rather than acquiescing to the flagrantly unreasonable demands of an employer who he feared was about to let him go.

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09/21/09
f1

Renault chief blames Briatore and Symonds
Renault chief Patrick Pelata blames team boss Flavio Briatore and technical chief Pat Symonds for the race-fixing scandal, he told French radio station RTL.

There has been many twists and turns in the saga so far and now, Pelata said that he Briatore felt responsible for the controversy.

"Flavio Briatore considered he was morally responsible and resigned," Pelata told RTL.

"We don't want a fault by two people to reflect upon the whole company and the entire formula one team.

"I don't know all the details but there was a fault and a fault requires a sanction."

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09/21/09
f1

Brundle foresees 'a sizeable fine'
Former F1 driver turned commentator Martin Brundle is predicting a "sizeable fine" for Renault when they face the World Motor Sport Council today.

"Renault must go in with their hands up, admitting guilt having addressed the issue with the departure of Briatore and Symonds," he told The Times.

"They must also demonstrate that they will install a new team principal of perceived integrity.

"I foresee a sizeable fine for the FIA coffers and a points penalty that will pain the team into next year in regard to revenue and pit lane position."

Comment
09/21/09
f1

Briatore not present for crash-gate hearing
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore did not as expected turn up for the start of Monday's World Motor Sport Council hearing into the 'crash-gate' affair.

The 59-year-old Italian has already departed the French team, as has former engineering chief Pat Symonds, who is reportedly currently holidaying in Spain.

Renault will not deny the race-fixing allegations in Paris, but it had been expected that the viability of Briatore's ongoing role in charge of his driver management company FFBB would be probed.

For Briatore, the collapse of his formula one career has been spectacular, with Max Mosley suggesting during the recent breakaway crisis that the Italian saw himself "as the Bernie" of a new championship.

"Many believed he was Bernie Ecclestone's natural successor and if Bernie was run over by a bus then Flavio would have had my vote," Martin Brundle wrote in his latest column for the Sunday Times.

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09/21/09
f1

Force India wants to keep Sutil in 2010
(GMM)  Force India official Simon Roberts has strongly hinted that the Silverstone based team has no plans to replace Adrian Sutil ahead of the 2010 season.

With Vitantonio Liuzzi promoted to the other race seat at Monza, it looks increasingly likely that Force India will field an unchanged lineup next year.

German Sutil, 26, had a strong weekend at Monza just over a week ago and also has some of his personal sponsors backing the team.

"We are very, very content," Roberts told Auto Bild Motorsport when asked about Sutil.

"We have known for a long time that he is a fantastic driver and now we are finally giving him a good car.

"He trains so hard and works very well with the engineers.  He pushes himself and is always motivated and in the past years matured very well.

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09/21/09
f1

Rosberg names Brawn and McLaren as 2010 options
(GMM)  For the first time, Nico Rosberg has named Brawn and McLaren as his two alternatives to remaining with the Williams team for the 2010 season.

Asked by the German magazine Sport Bild about the Brawn and McLaren links, he said of the two Mercedes-powered outfits: "I admit that I have had contact with these teams.

"In addition I am talking with my team Williams.  My contract runs out this year and every driver has the obligation to seek the best option for his future," said the 24-year-old German.

Rosberg admitted that one obstacle at present to Williams' chances of retaining him is the uncertainty about the British team's engine supply plans.

The Grove outfit is currently supplied by Toyota, but Renault and Cosworth are touted as alternatives.

"Who supplies the engine is of course an important factor that I need to know," said Rosberg, who added that he hopes to have his plans for 2010 clarified within the "next four weeks".

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09/21/09
f1

F1 holds breath for Renault's day in court
(GMM)  On the day Renault is to be judged by the World Motor Sport Council, Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that the French team can expect a $50m USD fine and exclusion from the constructors' championship standings.

In addition to a swathe of lawyers, the outfit will arrive for the Paris hearing with its F1 president Bernard Rey, Flavio Briatore and Fernando Alonso.

The Piquets are also slated to attend.

Pat Symonds, currently on holiday in Spain, will not attend, with his testimony not deemed necessary given that Renault has indicated it will not deny the race-fixing charges.

Another pre-hearing rumor is that Ferrari - although with a vote on the 26-member Council - will abstain as a mark of respect to its fellow FOTA member.

"I think we need to show balance," said Bernie Ecclestone, another Council vice-president.  "What they did was very serious.  But they have acted to get rid of the culprits," he told the Daily Mail newspaper.

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09/21/09
f1

No more engine caution for Vettel
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel will revert to a normal free practice preparation for the remaining four grands prix of the 2009 season.

The German had been limiting his mileage at recent races due to his diminishing supply of fragile Renault engines.

But after a bad Italian grand prix, where the Red Bull driver's points deficit to leader Jenson Button dropped to a near-insurmountable 26 points, the team will instead throw caution to the wind because there little to lose.

"It is no longer going to help us if we drive defensively," the energy drink company's racing advisor Helmut Marko is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said after Monza that the championship dream is now over, but Vettel told F1's official website that he will push to win the last four races of the season.

"I will fight to the last breath and minute," said the 22-year-old.

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