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DATE News (chronologically)
10/07/08
automotive

GM to cease production in Europe
General Motors Corp.'s European unit plans to reduce production by about 40,000 vehicles by the end of the year as credit-market turmoil causes a drop in car sales. The Adam Opel brand's factory in Eisenach, Germany will start a three-week production halt next week, while the plant in Bochum, Germany, is completing a two-week closure, Andreas Kroemer, a spokesman for the Ruesselsheim, Germany-based division, said today in a telephone interview.

``The financial crisis is impacting demand,'' Kroemer said. ``We don't want to stockpile.''

The cuts are equivalent to 2.3 percent of the 1.74 million vehicles that Detroit-based GM built in Europe last year. Auto- industry sales in the region dropped 16 percent in August, the biggest monthly decline since 1999, with GM brands reporting an 18 percent drop. Competitors such as Ford Motor Co., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG have been reducing production in recent weeks in response.

General Motors' temporary shutdowns also affect plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton, in England, as well as Zaragoza, Spain, reducing production of the Astra, Corsa and Zafira models, Kroemer said. The U.K. plants make cars under the Vauxhall brand. Opel's Ruesselsheim factory had already scaled back production to prepare assembly lines to build the new Insignia, he said.  Bloomberg

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10/07/08
PF2000

Terminal Velocity Processing to sponsor Pacific F2000
Les Phillips, founder and president of the Pacific F2000 Championship, announced today that Terminal Velocity Processing, an innovative credit card payment processing company, will take over exclusive title sponsorship of the series, beginning with the 2008 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 18/19. The deal also encompasses the entire 2009 season.

TVP specializes in providing cost-saving services for card-not-present (CNP) mail order/telephone order and Internet merchants.

In addition to backing the #84 Terminal Velocity/DFR Van Diemen of current Pacific F2000 series front-runner (and ‘06 champion) Robert Podlesni, the Agoura, Hills, Calif.-based company recently announced it will support the Team USA Scholarship, which is aimed at furthering the careers of talented young American racer car drivers.

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10/07/08
nassprint

Smith: No Regrets on 'Going for it' at Talladega

Question and Answer with Regan Smith on the most exciting 18th place finish of the NASCAR season.

Q. Coming to the white flag on Sunday what was going through you mind as the race winded down with you in second place with a teammate in the No. 15 car behind you?

Regan Smith: “I really felt good about our situation. I drug the brake some going through that last corner and Paul (Menard) tucked in behind me and gave me a great push. I knew at that point we’d have a chance to get by Tony and that is a pretty exciting feeling. We’ve worked so hard this year and had a lot of things to overcome. To be in that position – to win the race, it is what you are there for and it was a great feeling. I can honestly say in a five minute period there I completely ran the full spectrum of emotions. They say in racing you have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and I felt all of that in a pretty short period of time.”   

Q. Did you ever consider staying in line and settling for the second-place finish?

Smith: “No, not at all. I knew that I had to go for the win. If I had just sat back there in second place, I would have had 400 people at Dale Earnhardt Inc. mad at me. The guys at DEI and ECR engines built me a great car, and I owed them a chance at the win. All you can ever ask for is a chance and we had that. When you have that type of opportunity, you have to go for it. I told the guys on the plane coming home that I’d much rather finish 18th going for the win than finish second by not trying for the win, and they all knew exactly what I meant. If I had to do it again, I’d still go for it."

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10/07/08
f1

Technical insight with Pascal Vasselon - Japan
The Panasonic Toyota Racing team travels to Japan for it's home race at the Fuji Speedway. Last season, the race was spiced up by torrential rains which only made the Fuji challenge more difficult for the drivers. Pascal Vasselon gives us some technical insight in the Japanese race.

Pascal Vasselon
What did you learn from Fuji Speedway last year?
"I had been there many times with GT and Touring cars but it was my first experience of the lay-out change. It has every type of corner; slow, medium and high speed, plus a very long straight. In terms of setting up the car it is challenging because you have to be able to deal with all these situations, although in general you can say that the track requires medium downforce. Depending on what the driver prefers you might move a bit higher or a bit lower but it is broadly medium downforce. It is medium grip and it shows no special severities in terms of tires or brakes. One other thing we learnt last year was that the weather, clearly, can be awful! Fuji Speedway has a long history of terrible race conditions and last year provided confirmation that at that time of the year we can have very heavy and constant rain. Even if it doesn't rain we expect quite low temperatures and we are geared for that type of Grand Prix."

Does the wet weather last year mean the team is lacking information on dry running?
"We had some running in the dry so we know pretty much what to expect. Obviously we didn't run a full weekend on dry tires but we have enough information and based on that the soft and medium Bridgestone Potenza tires should be in the right ball park."

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10/07/08
irl

Danica Patrick one of most influential
Patrick among BusinessWeek’s most influential: BusinessWeek magazine has cited Danica Patrick as one of the 100 most influential people in sports.  Patrick ranks 50th in the list topped by golfer Tiger Woods. She is the highest-ranked woman on the list.

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10/07/08
f1

Revised 2009 F1 calendar
On Tuesday Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, released an amended calendar for the 2009 world championship. A provisional schedule was issued in June.

The revised calendar sees the Turkish Grand Prix changing from its original August slot to a June date, while the Canadian race has been dropped. In another revision, the Italian and Belgian races have swapped positions, with the Spa event now taking place on August 30, two weeks before the Italian Grand Prix on September 13.

2009 FIA Formula One World Championship:
29 March Australia
5 April Malaysia
19 April Bahrain
10 May Spain
24 May Monaco
7 June Turkey
21 June Great Britain
28 June France
12 July Germany
26 July Hungary
23 August Europe (Valencia)
30 August Belgium
13 September Italy

27 September Singapore
11 October Japan
18 October China
1 November Brazil
15 November Abu Dhabi

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10/07/08
nassprint

Elliott Returns to the No. 21
NASCAR past champion Bill Elliott, will be back behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 on October 11th. Elliott has 57 starts at the 1.5 mile quad-oval and two career wins in 1984 and 1987. He also holds four pole awards, 11 top-5 and 22 top-10 finishes at the track.

1987 was a notable year for Elliott as he earned six victories and Lowe’s Motor Speedway was one of them.  He led 62 laps of the October race and brought home the checkered flag.  Another significant moment was one that Elliott had involvement in at the All-Star Race earlier that year. The legendary “Pass in the Grass” resulted from a close finish between the “Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt and Bill. After the green flag dropped with 10 laps to go,  Earnhardt, in his known aggressive manner, knocked the leaders out of the way but, when he and Bill battled for the top spot, Bill pushed Earnhardt into the grass on the front stretch. Earnhardt was able to get the car under control and stayed on the gas to pass Elliott and ultimately won. Although it was a frustrating finish for Elliott, it’s one of his most memorable and is still considered to be one of Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s most talked about incidents.

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10/07/08
f1

World Council proposes the end for Hoosein
Nazir Hoosein, a longtime ally of Max Mosley at the FIA, has been fighting for his survival in the corridors of power in recent months over the question of the sporting power in India. The FIA decided in the summer that Hoosein's Motorsports Association of India (MAI) should be ousted but Hoosein then won a decision in the FIA International Court of Appeal as the necessary processes had not been done correctly. The FIA wants to transfer the power back to the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), which Hoosein once led. When he was kicked out by the Indians, the FIA agreed to the formation of MAI, stripped the FMSCI of its power, and Hoosein was even allowed to sit on the World Council representing China. This very odd situation ended in a compromise with Hoosein regaining the World Council seat for India and the FMSCI agreeing to work with MAI. However that compromise was not a success and it seems that Hoosein may have overplayed his hand. Grandprix.com

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10/07/08
irl

Matos lands IndyCar ride
Champ Car's Atlantics Champion in 2007 and the Indy Racing League's Indy Lights Champion Raphael Matos has landed a ride in the IndyCar Series for next season.

Matos, the 27-year-old Brazilian, will drive the No. 12 Luczo Dragon Racing car co-owned by Stephen J. Luczo and Jay Penske, replacing Tomas Scheckter, who may be out of the series after many years of mediocre performance.

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10/07/08
tv news

Truck race hits 1 million viewers on SPEED
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from Talladega broke the million-household mark at its peak and continued a strong, season-long trend of NCTS ratings increases on SPEED.

The event scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.11 (816,000 households), an 18-percent increase from last year. Race coverage peaked at 1.36 (1 million households), a 15-percent increase over last year’s peak of 1.18.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events on SPEED have enjoyed double-digit Nielsen Ratings increases in 10 of the last 14 races.

Other programs scoring well over the weekend included NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying (.90, 660,000 households), NCTS Setup (.82, 600,000 households) and NASCAR RaceDay (.78, 570,000 households).

As the championship battle heats up, the NCTS action on SPEED continues Oct. 18 at Martinsville with the popular pre-race show NCTS Setup with Krista Voda at 2:30 p.m. ET, and race coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

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10/07/08
f1

2009 Canadian GP dropped
(GMM)  The Canadian grand prix, staged at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal since the late 70s, has been left off the latest F1 calendar.

After a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, the sport's governing body issued an amended 18-race calendar, omitting the race previously scheduled for 7 June.

Instead, the Turkish grand prix has been moved from 9 August to June, creating an August summer break.

Another significant development to come from the Extraordinary meeting is to allow "teams to equalize engine performance across the field for 2009, pending the introduction of cost-saving measures from 2010".

Meanwhile, in the FIA's row with the German racing federation ADAC, the FIA vowed to ensure that the associated authority DMSB "is truly independent of the ACAC and capable of running the sporting power in the country".

FIA president Max Mosley was also given authority to negotiate with the F1 teams' alliance FOTA and introduce "radical measures to achieve a substantial reduction of costs in the championship from 2010".

And in a Formula Two development, the top three drivers in the new low-cost feeder series "will qualify for an FIA Superlicence", the Paris based body said in a statement.

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10/07/08
automotive

News gets worse for auto manufacturers
Fitch Ratings downgraded Ford Motor Co.'s credit rating deeper into junk status Monday as economic worries dragged down auto shares along with stock markets around the globe.

The credit rating agency said it reduced the issuer default rating one notch to "CCC" from "B-" for both Ford and its finance arm, Ford Motor Credit Co. Both ratings are noninvestment, or junk, grade. Fitch analyst Mark Oline said the growing impact of the credit crisis on auto sales, supply chain financial risks, the financial health of dealerships and the capital advantage of its Asian competitors were all factors in the downgrade.

Meanwhile Toyota Motor Corp. fell to the lowest in more than four years in Tokyo, losing its spot as the world's largest automaker by value to Volkswagen AG amid rising concerns that global growth is slowing following the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market.

Toyota declined 4.9 percent to 3,710 yen, the lowest since March 2004, at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, giving it a giving it a market capitalization of $124.3 billion. Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen's value was $127.5 billion at today's exchange rate.

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10/07/08
f1

New rules to hurt reliability - Webber
(GMM)  Car reliability will take a hit when sweeping new regulations come into effect next year.

That is the opinion of Australian driver Mark Webber, when referring to the incoming slick tires, KERS systems and major aerodynamic changes, like moveable wings and the ban on appendages.

"I think we're going to have cars that are unreliable at the start of the year," said the 31-year-old, who drives for Red Bull.

"We're going to have a long winter testing program in front of us.  The cars are going to need a lot of sorting because there's so much new stuff," he added, after watching his countryman Casey Stoner win the MotoGP race at Phillip Island.

"The regulations have been stable for the last four or five years but we've got such a new slate next year and that's going to be the challenge for the teams," Webber told the Melbourne newspaper The Age.

He also said the regulations may open the door to a competitive shakeup on the grid.

"No one knows who's going to have the best package," Webber admitted.

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10/07/08
nassprint

NASCAR clarification on passing below yellow line
At yesterday's Drivers Meeting, NASCAR reiterated the rule about passing under the yellow line and provided the same information to all drivers and crew chiefs in a hand out, as we've done in past Daytona and Talladega races. The verbatim language is: "This is your warning: race above the yellow line. If, in NASCAR'S judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position, you will be black-flagged. If in NASCAR's judgment you force someone below the yellow line (in an effort to stop him from passing you), you may be black-flagged."

The No. 01 definitely went below the yellow line to make the pass
CIA Stock Photo
"During the last lap of yesterday's race at Talladega Superspeedway the driver of the #01 violated NASCAR policy by driving under the yellow line to improve his position," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. "In NASCAR's opinion he was not forced below the yellow line. NASCAR correctly took immediate action to enforce the policy by penalizing the #01 and scoring the #20 as the race winner."

Helton continued, "Since the end of the race there has been some confusion as to what is allowable during the last lap at Daytona and Talladega. To be clear, as we go forward, there will be no passing under the yellow line at any time during NASCAR races at Daytona or Talladega, period. This includes any passing below the yellow line near the start/finish line on the final lap," said Helton. NASCAR PR

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10/07/08
team usa

Team USA drivers dominate Skip Barber season finale
The latest in a long line of Team USA Scholarship winners, Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, dominated proceedings this past weekend in the final two rounds of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda at Virginia International Raceway.

Daly, 16, from Noblesville, Ind., won from the pole on Saturday at VIR and added a second-place finish Sunday to clinch the championship and a $350,000 bonus that will enable him to progress along the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder system and compete in next year’s Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear. Daly hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Team USA Scholarship winners Dane Cameron (2006), who went on to win the Star Mazda title in 2007 before graduating into the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, and Joel Miller (2007), who leads the 2008 Star Mazda points table prior to the final round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Newgarden, 17, from Hendersonville, Tenn., won Sunday’s race to secure second in the championship standings. Newgarden also claimed two other race wins and a series-high six poles during the 14-race season.

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10/07/08
f1

A lap of Fuji with Alex Wurz
Fuji track
Honda Racing test driver Alexander Wurz may not get to race on the Fuji International circuit this coming weekend, however the Austrian driver is looking forward to the first of the back to back events in Asia and takes us on alp of the very famous Japanese track….

"Fuji Speedway is a big challenge for a driver. It's probably more difficult to achieve a good lap time there than it is at Suzuka, which is more of a high-speed and ballsy track. You need to be very gentle with the car at Fuji as a little mistake through the twisty final sector can cost you 0.5s.

"The reason why errors get punished so hard at Fuji is due to the lack of downforce on the cars. It's a twisty track, but you can't run Monaco wing levels because you'd be far too slow along the 1.5km pit straight. When you add the very slippery asphalt to this aerodynamic compromise, you're presented with a very tricky circuit.

"You arrive at Turn 1 at more than 306kph (190mph). The braking point is just before the 100-metre board and you change down from seventh to first gear. The corner has a slightly downhill approach, so it's easy to lock up and miss the apex. You then floor the throttle at the exit and go through a slight kink in the road before coming to Turn 3, which is a really tricky left-hander. It's a blind corner and you have to smash the car over the curb on the inside to be quick. If you miss your apex by as little as 10cms, you are on the grass at the exit.

"Then you come to the best corner on the lap, the long right-hander at Turns 4 and 5. It's a double-apex bend, which, depending on what you want to achieve, is flat in fifth. Sometimes a slight lift mid-corner can make life easier on the left-front tire and it helps keep the car on the inside, which gives you a better line into the next corner. Whatever you do through here, it's high speed and you're pulling high Gs, so it's good fun.

"Turn 6 is a left-hander which is third-gear and you approach it over a crest that makes it blind. If you've lifted through Turn 5 and have the car far over to the right side of the track on the approach, you can be a lot faster. A couple of kinks follow, before you brake hard for the first-gear chicane at Turn 10. Grip levels are better on the inside, so you want to keep a very tight line. You then have a little burst of acceleration before turning into the left-hander, where it's very slippery on the exit. You might change up to second gear to ease the wheelspin under acceleration. Another kink follows, which is enough of a corner to pose a problem without traction control this year.

"Now you're into the final section of the lap, where four corners are all interlinked. If you make a mistake through the first one, you'll carry that speed deficit all the way to the final corner, so it's important to be very precise with your line. The first of these corners is Turn 13, which you approach over a crest. The rear goes very light and although it's only a third-gear right-hander, you have to be very gentle with the car. Then you're into the left turns before heading up hill into Turn 16, which is the last corner. You need to find a good rhythm through here to ensure you get a clean exit for the long pit straight.

"The weather can play a huge part in the weekend at Fuji. Last year it rained all weekend and it's sure to rain again this year at some point. I hope it's not too cloudy because I love the mountains and it's great to see Mount Fuji. I've seen it a few times in the past and it's one of the most stunning mountains on the planet. Every morning I wake up feeling excited to open the curtains, wanting to see if the mountain is there or whether it's hidden in the clouds."

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10/07/08
f1

Button prefers Suzuka
As F1 prepares for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, Honda driver Jenson Button has openly said he prefers to race at the former home of the Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka.

"The Japanese Grand Prix is always a special weekend for the team as our second home race of the season," said Button in reference also to Silverstone and the British Grand Prix being the first home race for the Brackley-based team. "Racing for a Japanese team, we always have fantastic support and the fans are so enthusiastic that it makes for a great atmosphere."

"For me, the true home of the Japanese Grand Prix is Suzuka, which is just one of the best circuits in the world, and I can't wait to return there next year," Button added. "However I did enjoy driving at the Fuji Speedway last year and the circuit has a nice mix of twisty corners and the high-speed pit straight. A lot of the corners have a very late apex, which is quite unusual. It will be a busy week for me."

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10/07/08
f1

Heidfeld recovery led to re-signing - boss
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld's recovery from a difficult mid-season phase convinced BMW-Sauber to keep him on board for the 2009 season.

That is the explanation of team boss Mario Theissen, who it was believed was in talks with Fernando Alonso about replacing the 31-year-old German.

"We wanted to decide about our drivers in the summer," Theissen confirmed to the German news agency SID.

The German said the decision about 2009 was therefore postponed to see if Heidfeld could quickly recover from the slump.

"We saw very good progress in the last races," Theissen continued, albeit declining to answer a question about whether BMW simply could not reach an agreement with the former double world champion Alonso.

Theissen said Heidfeld's problems were essentially limited to his performance in the qualifying hour.

"The weakness was not really about his speed in the races, and not at all about his qualities with overtaking, but the fact that he could not get the car right in qualifying.

"We worked with him very intensively on this, particularly on warming up the tires."

Since the Canadian grand prix in June, Heidfeld has scored the third-highest number of points among the entire F1 field, and ranks behind Kimi Raikkonen for the total number of fastest race laps.

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10/07/08
f1

Ferrari scraps 'traffic lights' system
(GMM)  Ferrari has decided to bring back the pitstop 'lollipop' for the three final races of the 2008 championship battle.

Following problems with the Italian squad's unique 'traffic lights' system in Singapore and also elsewhere, team principal Stefano Domenicali confirmed to Sky Italia that Ferrari will fall in line with the rest of the formula one teams for the decisive races in October and November.

He insists that the traffic lights system usually delivers "significant time savings" at pitstops.

"But we are going back to the old system, with a lollipop, because we have recognized that the team needs to be calm," Domenicali said.

At the last race in Singapore, when a mechanic wrongly pressed a button while Felipe Massa's car was still being refueled, the Brazilian driver ripped the hose from the rig and dragged it the entire length of the pits.

Instead of taking the championship lead from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, he fell a potentially terminal seven points behind with just the Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian grands prix to go.

Domenicali continued: "At this stage of the season and with all the tension, it is better for everyone who works in the heat of the battle to do so with as little stress as possible."

He acknowledges that Massa's points position now makes the title less likely, but vowed to push hard to the finish.

"I am convinced that we have the right ingredients to win the next three races," Domenicali said.

"It will not be an easy task, but it is definitely not impossible either," he added.

Comment
10/06/08
nhra

NHRA, Full Throttle unveil new series logo
The transformation of NHRA's top Professional series from POWERade to Full Throttle, which began earlier this year, has reached another milestone as the new NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series logo was unveiled.

Full Throttle and NHRA collaborated to create a signature logo design that brings together the essence and personality of the brand and the sport in an iconic way.

"This logo represents the next generation of NHRA Drag Racing," said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president-sales & marketing. "Our partnership with The Coca-Cola Co. has been one of the longest and most enduring series sponsorships in all of motorsports, and we are confident that aligning NHRA with Full Throttle is a move that makes enormous strategic sense for the future growth of both brands."

NHRA's top Professional series, consisting of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle, first partnered with The Coca-Cola Co. in 2001, and the association was recently extended through 2013. POWERade, which has been the title sponsor of the series since the inception of the partnership, will remain the series lead through the end of the 2008 season.

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10/06/08
nastruck

Harvick and Sprague split up
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced today that driver Jack Sprague has been released from the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado.  KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick will assume driving duties of the No. 2 Chevrolet for the upcoming Truck Series event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on October 18th. Details on the driver lineup for the remainder of the season will be announced at a later date.

“The performance of the No. 2 team was not up to either Jack or KHI’s standards,” said Kevin Harvick, co-owner of Kevin Harvick Inc. “My main goal now is to prepare the team to run for a championship in 2009.  I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel in Martinsville. It should be a lot of fun.”

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10/06/08
nassprint

Allmendinger to drive No. 00 at Lowe's
AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend.

Allmendinger will have to qualify the car on speed to make the field for the race Saturday night because the team is ranked 36th in owner points.

"I think this is a great opportunity," Allmendinger said. "Over the past couple of months the organization has really picked up with how everyone has been running. Hopefully, I can go out there and do a good job and get the team back inside the top 35."

Kenny Wallace raced the car to a season-high 12th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Now MWR is turning to Allmendinger, who is looking for a full-time job since he was let go by Red Bull Racing two weeks ago.

Read more & Comment...
10/06/08
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
The Chase is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live in Prime Time from Charlotte on ABC

With the only prime time event in the Chase, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs continues this week with the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the series visits Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., for racing under the lights. ESPN on ABC’s high-definition telecast of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 begins at 7 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ABC will have live coverage of all 10 races that make up the Chase.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air live, prime-time coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying from Charlotte on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m., and coverage of final practice on Friday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

The race will re-air Sunday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. on ESPN Classic.


NASCAR Nationwide Series Live in Friday Prime Time

ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live, prime-time telecast of the 300-mile event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Oct. 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. After the Charlotte event, only four races will remain in the 2008 season for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will join lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch for the race telecast, with pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race show with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.

ESPN2 also will have live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice from Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m., and coverage of qualifying on Friday at 3 p.m.

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10/06/08
track news

Tickets on sale for '09 Long Beach GP
Tickets for the 35th Anniversary edition of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-19, 2009, are now on sale.

The 2009 Grand Prix features the Long Beach debut of the IndyCar Series, with such stars as Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal battling wheel-to-wheel on the historic 1.97-mile, 11-turn seaside street circuit.

The weekend will again roar to the continuous action of six racing series, including the popular Team Drift Challenge and Firestone Indy Lights.  Highlights on Sat., April 18 will include the fan-favorite American Le Mans Series and the 33rd Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. 

One additional racing series will be announced shortly.

Read more & Comment...
10/06/08
f1

Q&A with Force India ahead of Fuji race
With just three rounds remaining this year, Force India Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne and Team Principal Colin Kolles look back on the season and talk of their hopes as the season reaches its conclusion.

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer - From an engineering perspective, what challenges does Fuji present for the team?
MG: "Fuji is a unique circuit in having a very, very long straight - the longest on the calendar - but the new part of the circuit is very tight with lots of slow corners so it's very much a balance between getting the straight-line speed without compromising the need for speed on the rest of the circuit. We'll obviously run a compromise set-up as you need a balance of what is going to give you a quick lap time in the slower sections with being able to overtake or defend your position on the straight."

The weather in Japan could be very changeable. The team has shown in previous races it isn't afraid to take a chance. Do you think this could also be an opportunity for the team?
MG: "The weather at this time of year can be, as we saw last year, very wet and this did play into our hands in 2007 when Adrian drove a great race in the wet conditions. We will have our normal weather predictions and radars to monitor incoming weather, but it can be very variable. This flexibility is something we will factor into our normal race preparation."

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10/06/08
f1

Singapore GP by the numbers
As the FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix celebrates the success for the first-ever floodlit night race in Formula One history, here are a few of the numbers behind the story.

1.

Fernando Alonso. The first night race winner in Grand Prix history.
5.067km The lap distance of the Marina Bay Circuit
61 laps The race distance (308.95 km) completed by Fernando Alonso in 1 hour 57 minutes 16.304 seconds
99 The age of the historic Anderson Bridge, just before Turn 13. Built in 1909, it was originally designed to handle bullock-carts.
104.014 seconds Fastest qualifying lap (1m 44.014s), set by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa in Q2.
172.740 km/h Average speed for the fastest lap of the race. 1m 45.599s set by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
220 meters Distance calculated that Felipe Massa dragged his refueling rig - and the distance the Ferrari mechanics had to sprint to retrieve it!
298 km/h Fastest speed recorded. Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren Mercedes at the speed trap on Raffles Boulevard, between turn 6 and turn 7.
800 The Singapore Grand Prix was the sport’s 800th World Championship race
1,500 The number of 2,000 watt lighting units, used to illuminate the track
4,000 The number of raceday guests in the exclusive Formula One Paddock Club.  A sell-out and a record number at a Grand Prix.
100,000+ The sell-out, capacity crowd, who watched the Singapore Grand Prix trackside on Sunday evening.
30 million The number of TV viewers in the five main European markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, estimated to have watched the live coverage of the Formula 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
27 September Date of the 2009 FORMULA 1™ SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

Comment
10/06/08
f1

Q&A with Toyota team ahead of Fuji race
Jarno Trulli

What are your thoughts heading to Fuji Speedway?
For us it is an important event in general because it is definitely a home race for us and we want to enjoy a strong result in front of our home fans. So we are all looking forward to going to Fuji Speedway and hopefully we will be competitive, with a good performance and a good result. The final races this season are vital in the fight for fourth in the Constructors' Championship and we have to make the most of every opportunity to score points. It is a race I am really looking forward to.

Do you enjoy driving at Fuji Speedway?
It is an interesting circuit and the facilities there are really good. As a track the main characteristic is the exceptionally long straight, but then you also have a twisty infield so you have to make a compromise on set-up between high speed on the straight and good grip in the corners. That makes it quite challenging, and I enjoy a challenge!

Do you enjoy a lot of support from the Japanese fans?
As a team we get a lot of support from the Japanese fans because Toyota originates in Japan. Also, they have always big fans of me personally and they have given me great support throughout the years. They always give me a fantastic welcome to Japan and they are really warm and supporting. I really enjoy going to Japan because I have a lot of support and my fans in Japan are very close to me. Every year we meet and have an evening together; we have a chat and spend time together. It's great fun and it's wonderful to enjoy such loyal support. It gives extra motivation for me to get a good result for them.

Read more & Comment...
10/06/08
nassprint

Exploding Goodyear tires put a dent in Chase contenders' chances
Wrecked Chase contenders, two red flags, record lead changes and a Tony Stewart victory on a controversial finish.

The Amp Energy 500 was a show for the ages. Unfortunately, it also was a Goodyear tire explosion waiting to happen.

Sound familiar?

Once again, Goodyear tires were a major issue in a 2008 Sprint Cup race, and no one knows why.

Three times tires exploded off the wheel. It could have ruined a spectacular day, and did ruin the day for about a dozen drivers.

"I was worried all the way back when the 88 [Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.] blew a tire in practice," Jimmie Johnson said. "When you run over something, you cut a tire. These Goodyear tires exploded. In my opinion, something was wrong. It was in the back of my mind all day." 

[Editor's Note: How much longer is NASCAR going to put up with Goodyear's exploding tires before they pick a better tire manufacturer?  We hear Bridgestone/Firestone would love to take over and fix the problem.]

Comment
10/06/08
f1

Van der Drift wins Honda F1 test
Dutchman Chris van der Drift claimed his sixth win of the season and the Formula Master championship title this weekend in Monza. The Formula Master champion will get the chance to complete a full day of testing with the Honda Formula 1 team.

Chris van der Drift will most likely complete in the GP2 series in the upcoming season. The brand-new Formula Master champion can't wait to claim his prize: a test with Honda Racing F1.

"It's amazing to get the chance to test a Formula 1 car," Van der Drift said. "I have always wanted to and to get that opportunity by winning the Formula Master Series is fantastic. I really can't wait to until I can get in the car!"

Comment
10/06/08
f1

BMW team announce same driver lineup for 2009
The BMW Sauber F1 Team has opted for continuity and will once again line up with Poland's Robert Kubica (23) and Germany's Nick Heidfeld (31) as its race drivers in the 2009 season. The Austrian Christian Klien (25) will remain the team's test and reserve driver.

"We see Nick and Robert as a strong driver pairing and Christian as an experienced test driver. We are in no doubt that we will again achieve our ambitious aims with them in the team's fourth year," explains BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen.

Comment
10/06/08
nassprint

Why Stewart was awarded Talladega win
Comments from NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 5, "You cannot improve your position anytime you go below the yellow line. In our judgment, he (Regan Smith) improved his position and the penalty for that is a pass thru, so he was moved back to the tail end of the longest line or 18th position. At the driver's meeting, we clearly state that you cannot improve your position by going below the yellow line. We do not feel he was forced below the yellow line. Anytime you get into a situation like this, there are going to be two different opinions. We respect Regan's view, but we made the call, we think it's the right call and the finish is final. NASCAR has to maintain some kind of control – and that's the reason we say, you cannot advance your position by going below the yellow line. If he had not improved his position, he probably would have been awarded 2nd place."

Comment
10/06/08
f1

Red Bull acknowledge widespread Vettel interest
Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz believes that many of the teams in Formula 1 want to sign up their young star Sebastian Vettel.

The 21-year-old recorded his and Toro Rosso's maiden victory at the Italian Grand Prix last month, and has scored 27 of Toro Rosso's 31 Constructors' Championship points this season.

Vettel has signed a deal with Toro Rosso's parent team Red Bull to partner Mark Webber in 2009, but Mateschitz suggests that other teams have already made enquiries.

"Half of the F1 grid is chasing him," Mateschitz told Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten.

"But Sebastian does not have any thoughts of moving out of Red Bull, nor have I. He is part of our family.

"We would be disappointed if he would propose to leave. However, he has earned a right for one of the best cars in one of the best teams, so we are obliged to offer him this at Red Bull Racing next season."

Comment
10/06/08
skip barber

Daly wins again and takes National Championship
Conor Daly (C) receives check for $350K to run in Star Mazda next year
After posting his fifth Series win of the season on Saturday October 4th at VIR, Indeck/Cytomax driver Conor Daly won the Skip Barber National Championship presented by Mazda with a second place finish on Sunday October 5th.  With the championship on the line going into the final round, Daly just had to finish 11th or better if Brazilian pole sitter Felipe Polehtto managed to win the final race. After leading much of the race, Daly settled for a safe second place to championship runner up, Josef Newgarden.

The championship prize of $350,000 towards a drive in the Pro Mazda series for 2009 was presented by Mazda Motorsports manager, John Doonan.

On October 11th, Daly will travel to Europe for the following month where he will join Newgarden as part of Team USA. They will contest the Formula Ford Festivals in Brands Hatch and Silverstone.

Comment
10/06/08
f1

F1 fans asked to complete survey
(GMM)  F1 fans are being urged to participate in a global survey about the sport.

The online questionnaire, carried out by Renault's title sponsor ING and to be published in F1 Racing magazine, is now live.

It is currently the only worldwide poll of its kind, asking fans to share opinions on favorite drivers, races, next year's rules, and more.

The results will be published later this year.

The survey can be found at: http://www.ingf1racingmagazinefansurvey.com

Comment
10/05/08
racing news

Quotes of the week
"I'm going to treat this matter like a challenging race.  I'm very disappointed that IRS matters have to be decided in court.  I do not understand about income tax rules.  That's why I hire attorneys, experts, accounters [sic] to take care of it.  And again I know the difference between right and wrong, and I did not do anything those guys are saying.  I am a race car driver.  I am going to treat this like a race.  I have faith in these guys and I have faith in God.  I'll be strong and I'm going to win this race."  Helio Castroneves, 2 time Indy 500 winner, Team Penske, talking to reporters outside the courthouse in Miami after pleading not guilty to seven charges of tax fraud and conspiracy.

“This race belongs to the team. To get 16-17 people from both crews on that and get it repaired when I thought we were out, they did something I didn’t think was possible. No one in our team does the work to finish second. There’s no question in my mind that when we got in the position at the end that I was going to do everything I could do to win this race. If it took us to the top step, then it was just desserts for the team."  Allan McNish, ALMS driver, co-driver on winning Audi team at Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta

"It was more than a good race. Allan [McNish] would not have been happy with a normal win. He had to crash the car to make it extraordinary. With team strategy and the yellows we were able to bring the car back. It was a real treat and I was pleased to share the car on this day. It really was a dream race and a lot of people deserve this race.”  Emanuele Pirro, ALMS driver, co-driver on winning Audi team at Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta

"I knew with three DEI cars behind me, it was going to be tough to hold on. Man, it's one thing to get back to Victory Lane -- but to do it at Talladega -- this is one of four places I haven't won a Cup race, and talk about one to win. I wanted to win here for so long." Tony Stewart, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, commenting on his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Talladega

"I think it's wrong that a tabloid editor can destroy a family and wreck a life without being answerable to anybody just to sell newspapers. Anyone who is a victim of this situation has to publicize all over again the very thing they are trying to keep private.  If I had been notified first, at least I could have challenged it in front of an independent person." Max Mosley, President, FIA, is set to wage war on the English privacy laws.

"All this is humiliating for F1 and it is an aspect I want to talk about with the other teams in the next few weeks." Montezemolo slammed the event as a "circus" track at which only the appearance of the safety car lottery could spice up. Luca di Montezemolo, President, Ferrari, commenting on the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix

“If the Ferrari president is right about the Singapore Grand Prix being a circus, then we have to be grateful to him for providing the clowns. After the weekend Ferrari had, their president should have shut up and kept his head down. If Massa loses the world championship, he will know the team were responsible. He would have destroyed everybody in Singapore if he had kept going.” Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

"It was like he took his brain out and said 'let's have an accident'.  This year will be different. Lewis will have learned from what happened, but you have to remember he was only 21 then and you remember what you were like at 21!" Eddie Irvine, former Formula 1 driver, referring to how Lewis Hamilton threw away the Drivers Championship a year ago.

"We are such spendthrifts with our lives," Paul Newman once told a reporter. "The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out." The final paragraph of Paul L. Newman's obituary in the New York Times

Comment
10/05/08
nassprint

Carpentier blamed by crew chief
After the Gillett Motorsports #10 Dodge failed to qualify on speed at Talladega Superspeedway, crew chief Mike Shiplett decided to put good judgment aside and lash out at team driver Patrick Carpentier in the Tow Truck in a Box team trailer while the doors were open, allowing anyone in the paddock to witness the skirmish. This gesture was not appreciated by the Canadian driver. "I think it's a complete lack of respect," said Carpentier. "I never was shy to take the blame when I thought it was my fault, but here, everybody knows that it's like driving in a straight line. The driver just has to keep the steering wheel straight. He should have taken a time out and calmed down before he spoke."

Shiplett accused Carpentier of going too low down on the last straight, which he claimed made the front of the car rub against the ground. "It's bulls**t," said Carpentier. "I've looked at the timing data and we were already three-tenths below the time we needed to qualify when I went below the line. I went low because I felt we had to try everything. I gave it all I had, but now he blames me? This is totally unacceptable. It's not as if my teammates were on the first row! They both ran slower than me! " #9-Kasey Kahne (41st) and #19-Elliott Sadler (43rd) posted times that were slower than the Carpentier (39th). It is their positions in the top 35 point standings that allowed them to be in the starting lineup of AMP 500. Sadler was using the new generation of the Dodge / GEM chassis. Kahne was also using the new chassis until when he damaged his primary car during practice. For Carpentier and the #10 Tow Truck in a Box Dodge, the only option given by GEM was to use an old generation Dodge Charger chassis.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
irl

Damage to Helio's image could be serious
Helio Castroneves
The last place we expected to see Indy 500 and 'Dancing With The Stars' champion Helio Castroneves was in a courtroom, shuffling across the floor in shackles.

His feet usually are working the pedals of a car or the steps of the tango.

Castroneves, possessed of a sunny personality, wept throughout his hearing Friday.

Castroneves, accustomed to glowing attention from the media, was peppered with questions about how he got himself into such a mess.

He stands accused of evading taxes on more than $5 million in income. He and his sister and a lawyer were indicted for planning to use an offshore shell corporation in Panama to hide the money in a ''pernicious'' scheme, according to the federal prosecutor.

Castroneves pleaded not guilty, and of course he is innocent until proved otherwise. But the Internal Revenue Service isn't known for filing flimsy cases.

A conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of 35 years, could put the brakes on Castroneves' career. Already his image has been tarnished.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
a1gp

Miss TW Steel Holland Crowned at Zandvoort

TW Steel, the ‘Official Watch and Timing Partner of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport’, celebrated the opening round of the 2008-09 A1GP season at Circuit Park Zandvoort by crowning Miss Nancy Broersma as its first ‘Miss TW Steel Holland’.

Broersma, along with the 29 other ‘Miss TW Steel Holland’ entrants present on Sunday, faced an enthusiastic crowd of race fans hosted by Dutch racer Tim Coronel, a TW Steel Brand Ambassador, and a judging panel including TW Steel’s Managing Director, Jordy Cobelens, and 1991 IndyCar World Champion, Michael Andretti – his Andretti Green Racing squad now running A1 Team USA. The 24-year-old from Arnhem is the first winner to secure her place in the ‘Miss TW Steel 2008-09’ final in Great Britain, at the season-closing A1GP event at Brands Hatch in May, where a $25,000 prize awaits the overall winner along with a professional photo-shoot for FHM Magazine.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bernie fires back at 'circus' jibe
  • Hamilton in Grenada deal probe
  • Santander may stick with McLaren
  • Mateschitz thinks again on STR sale
  • Sauber urges caution on F1 night races

Bernie fires back at 'circus' jibe
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone, the chief mastermind of the night racing concept for F1, has hit back at Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo's claim that the Singapore grand prix was akin to a "circus".

Also lashing out at the lack of overtaking opportunities at new street circuits, and the farcical safety car rules, Montezemolo said last week that "all this is humiliating for F1".

But Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, hinted to Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper that the attack by Montezemolo was perhaps to divert attention from Ferrari's woeful showing under the city-state's floodlights.

"If the Ferrari president is right about the Singapore grand prix being a circus," he said, "then we have to be grateful to him for providing the clowns."

The 77-year-old is undoubtedly referring to title rival Felipe Massa's botched pitstop, when the Brazilian ripped the fuel hose from the rig and pulled it the entire length of the pitlane.

Ecclestone continued to fire: "After the weekend Ferrari had, their president should have shut up and kept his head down.  If Massa loses the world championship, he will know the team were responsible."

The British billionaire also slammed Ferrari's unique pitstop gantry lights system, used instead of a traditional lollipop, as "over the top".

"Why do you want to have some other piece of technology that can go wrong?" Bernie wondered.

Hamilton in Grenada deal probe
(GMM)  A deal whereby Lewis Hamilton this year invested millions of dollars in Grenada, the home of his paternal grandfather, is under investigation by the Caribbean island's government.

We reported in July that the McLaren driver was set to invest in a luxury beachside hotel development.

The $35 million deal reportedly included secret talks with then prime minister Keith Mitchell about acquiring adjoining lands, and significant tax breaks.

But with Tillman Thomas becoming Grenada's new prime minister just a few days after the deal was brokered, it now emerges that the government has ordered an investigation.

The news agency Associated Press reports that the deed to Hamilton's property includes $15 million in lands "free from encumbrances", in exchange for Grenada being able to use the Briton's image to promote the island nation.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
superleague

Beijing team wins race 2 at Zolder
Beijing Guoan’s Davide Rigon bounced back from a race 1 disaster to win race two of round three of the Superleague Formula championship today at Zolder in Belgium.  Rigon started on the outside of the front row of the reverse grid race and challenged pole man Robert Doornbos (AC Milan) at the start and edged away on the opening lap. The pair made contact in race one - eliminating both cars at the first corner.

Corinthians Antonio Pizzonia suffered a spin on the opening lap in race two, bringing out the safety car. When racing resumed after six laps, Rigon sprinted away in the lead to extend a large gap.

Track conditions continued to take their toll on the field with Galatasaray (Alessandro Pier Guidi)suffering a spin and dropping to the back of the field.

Race one winner Liverpool (Adrian Valles) and Aletico Madrid (Andy Soucek) were the first to pit but Rigon held a 10 second lead over AS Roma’s Enrico Toccacelo after ten laps.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
f1

Ecclestone slams Ferrari chief
F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has slammed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo for his condemnation of the Singapore Grand Prix.  The Italian was scathing about the course and the organization in Singapore, calling it a ‘circus’, but was speaking after the embarrassment of seeing his world championship challenger Felipe Massa drive away from the pits last Sunday with several meters of fuel pipe still attached to his car.  Ecclestone condemned di Montezemolo’s quotes as sour grapes, insisting that Ferrari’s mistake could have caused danger for other drivers.

“If the Ferrari president is right about the Singapore Grand Prix being a circus,” Ecclestone told The Mail on Sunday, “then we have to be grateful to him for providing the clowns.”

“After the weekend Ferrari had, their president should have shut up and kept his head down,” he continued.

“If Massa loses the world championship, he will know the team were responsible. He would have destroyed everybody in Singapore if he had kept going.”

Comment
10/05/08
Superleague

Liverpool claim Race 1 victory at wet Zolder
Adrian Valles
Liverpool FC Superleague Formula driver Adrian Valles scored his club’s first series victory with a stunning second stint on rain tires at a damp Zolder in Belgium today.

RSC Anderlecht’s Craig Dolby grabbed the early lead, passing pole-sitter Paul Meijer from BVB on the opening lap. 
high res available from media site

Liverpool’s Valles settled in third place while behind him championship leader Beijing Guoan (Davide Rigon) and AC Milan’s Robert Doornbos collided at the first corner - Beijing losing their rear wing and AC Milan suffering serious damage to the right front suspension.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Duncan Tappy was also in early trouble, suffering a flat tire and having to make an early pit stop.

Sevilla FC’s Borja Garcia brought out the safety car on lap 4 when he spun and struck the inside wall while running in fourth place.

When racing resumed five laps later, the pit stop window had opened and a number of clubs took the opportunity to make early stops, eliminating the chance of being caught out and losing track position due to possible later safety cars.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
automotive

GM to close Ohio SUV factory
General Motors says it will close its SUV plant in the Dayton suburb of Moraine on Dec. 23.  Spokesman Chris Lee says the some 1,100 remaining workers were informed this afternoon of the closing date. The automaker earlier this year announced plans to close the plant by the summer of 2010 or sooner, then accelerated shutdown plans as part of companywide cost-cutting moves.  Union leaders said they expected the plant to close in January or February.  The company recently reduced operations to a single shift. A customer move away from sport utility vehicles to smaller vehicles amid high gas prices led to the shutdown plans.

Comment
10/05/08
nassprint

Labonte Humbled by Talladega Walk of Fame Induction
Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, welcomed his induction into the Talladega Walk of Fame this evening in a ceremony at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in Talladega, Ala.  He joined 1960 Sprint Cup champion, Rex White, in the 2008 class of inductees. 

Benny Parsons, who was already a member of the prestigious group, was honored with a permanent plaque for his years of service to the Talladega Walk of Fame, which included serving as emcee for the annual induction ceremony. 

“This is a great honor because it is voted on by the fans,” said Labonte.  “Since coming to Petty Enterprises and seeing firsthand how “The King” Richard Petty appreciates all the fans, it is important to me to continue to do the same.  To be able to be a part of a celebration that included two great champions like Rex White and Benny Parsons is pretty special because I have a lot of respect for those that came before me and helped paved the way for what we enjoy today.”

This is the second consecutive year that a Labonte has been inducted into the Talladega Walk of Fame.  Terry Labonte, who will compete in Sunday’s race in the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge, went in last year.  This adds to an already impressive list of accomplishments for the Labonte brothers, including the fact that they are the only brothers to both win the Sprint Cup Series title.

“I’ve always looked up to my brother as one of my heroes,” continued Labonte.  “The fact that we will both be racing for Petty Enterprises on Sunday is definitely a cool way to celebrate my induction.”

Comment
10/05/08
irl

Why is Helio immune from public scorn?
When Michael Vick was led toward a federal courthouse, weighted down by handcuffs, leg shackles and several charges involving the depraved sport of dogfighting, protesters and unaffiliated citizens stood on the sidewalk and hurled invective at the doomed NFL quarterback.

When Helio Castroneves was led toward a federal courthouse Friday in Miami, also weighted down by handcuffs, leg shackles and felony charges of tax evasion, curious onlookers and IndyCar fans around the country prayed that the charges were false, and that Castroneves would eventually be found guilty of nothing more than ignorance.

So where's the righteous rage this time?

Part of the disparity in the way America has reacted to these stories has a racial tint. I would like to think, though, that most of this is a reflection of the way we view the crimes in question.

In Vick's case, we've all seen the underground dogfighting footage, usually on one of the undercover TV news shows, of pit bulls let loose on one another and tearing each other apart for the entertainment and wagering pleasure of the subhumans involved.

In Castroneves' case, there's no blood, no clear victim, no underground footage. This is as pasty as white-collar crime gets. While there are victims any time a rich man hides his money from the government, those victims are not readily identifiable. And keep in mind, there is a segment of society that despises the government and specifically the Internal Revenue Service, and in whispered voices they are saying, "Yeah, stick it to those SOBs."

I would like to think that if Castroneves was indicted on dogfighting charges and Vick was hit with tax-evasion charges, our reaction would reflect the crime, and not the skin color of the men charged with the crime.

Is that naive? More.....

Comment
10/05/08
a1gp

Malaysia wins wet A1GP Sprint race
A full grandstand watches in the pouring rain
A1GP
A1 Team Malaysia has won the first race of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season at Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands. In a rain-soaked Sprint race, Fairuz Fauzy came from fourth on the grid to take the team’s first victory since Season Two, which was 27 races ago. After initially taking the lead from The Netherlands, Earl Bamber put in a great drive on his race debut for A1 Team New Zealand to take second place with Loic Duval storming through from 11th on the grid to take the final podium position for A1 Team France. Pole-sitter Jeroen Bleekemolen struggled in the extremely tricky conditions finishing fourth as the red flag came out to end the race.

In a thrilling start to the new season, the drama began before the cars even crossed the start line after doing two laps behind the Safety Car due to the atrocious conditions. On an extremely wet track, Ireland spun in the final corner with Monaco’s Clivio Piccione running into him, so putting the pair out the race before it had even started. As the new Powered by Ferrari cars came down the pit straight for the rolling start, the action behind gave the front row duo of the Netherlands and New Zealand a comfortable gap as they came across the start line for the first time.

Lebanon’s Daniel Morad ran wide in the first corner, narrowly avoiding USA’s Charlie Kimball, as both drivers made their race debut for their respective nations. A lap later, Korea’s Jin Woo Hwang collided with John Martin at the first corner while making an ambitious move down the inside of the Australia car which left both in the gravel and Korea out the race and with a fine and a drop to the back of the grid for race two for causing an avoidable accident and trying to overtake under a yellow flag.

Fairuz Fauzy leads in the pouring rain
A1GP
Malaysia and Switzerland battled it out for third with Neel Jani getting ahead of Fauzy on lap four. From 16th on the grid, and having only done a few laps this weekend, China’s Ho Pin Tung was putting in a stunning drive to challenge Italy for seventh by lap five. China claimed the position taking the inside line through turn 11 and began chasing down South Africa.

Out at the front the race was really on with new-comer Bamber pushing the Netherlands for the lead. On lap seven the 18-year-old made a great move trying to go around the outside of Bleekemolen through the chicane. The Netherlands ran off the circuit while trying to defend the position but with a better run out the corner Bamber grabbed the lead.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
motogp

More on Stoner's 2nd-straight win in Australia
Casey Stoner produced a true World Champion’s performance to destroy the MotoGP field on his Ducati and win the 2008 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island for the second year in a row.

The Australian star, who will turn 23 in 11 days’ time, rocketed off his eighth pole position of the year to lead from first to last, his margin at the end of the 27 laps some six-and-a-half seconds from second-placed Valentino Rossi.

Rossi Chasing

Rossi produced a stunning ride of his own to come from 12th on the grid, his worst-ever qualifying effort at the Island, to his 14th podium of 2008.

The Yamaha star caught Nicky Hayden’s Honda in Turn 1 on the final lap as the American claimed only his second top-three finish of the year in third to complete an all-World Champion Island podium.

The main incidents in the race came on the opening lap: Andrea Dovizioso ran wide on the grass in the opening few meters, Dani Pedrosa crashed out when his Honda ran wide into Turn 2, Aussie Chris Vermeulen's Suzuki stayed upright as it careered across the grass and Sylvain Guintoli also did well to stay in touch with his satellite Ducati as it too went off-track.

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10/05/08
alms

Michelin claims 10th straight Petit LeMans
Michelin celebrated an historic 10th consecutive win in the prestigious Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in a dramatic 1,000-mile race won by a car that was not yet on the track when the race began.

Audi’s Allan McNish, embarrassed by a spin on his installation lap approximately one hour before the start of the race was two laps down when his repaired #1 Audi R10 TDI finally emerged from the Champion Audi compound to join the fray. That made the victory before a record weekend crowd of 113,000 all the sweeter, as McNish and co-drivers Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro battled to regain the lead lap and salute their heroic team by claiming the victory.

The race featured a stunning 29 lead changes as five different manufacturers: Audi; Peugeot; Porsche; Acura, and Zytek each led the race at various stages, but it was McNish’s daring move on the race leading Peugeot 908 of Christian Klien with just 30 laps remaining that proved decisive. The victory extended Audi’s streak at Petit Le Mans to nine consecutive wins.

Michelin technical partners from Audi; Peugeot; Penske Porsche; Dyson Porsche; De Ferran Acura; Corvette Racing; Risi Ferrari; Flying Lizard Porsche; Tafel Ferrari, and Team LNT Ginetta Zytek combined to claim the top 14 positions in the star-studded 38 car field which shattered the previous track record by over 2.5 seconds.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
motogp

Stoner goes flag-to-flag in Australia
Casey Stoner storms to a home track win on Phillip Island
In front of 50,541 spectators at Phillip Island, Casey Stoner repeated his 2007 home victory in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The Ducati rider led the race from start to finish after taking off from pole, and eventually crossed the line some six seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Stoner’s fifth victory of the year, combined with a first lap crash from Dani Pedrosa, means that last year’s MotoGP World Champion is all-but assured of the runner-up spot in the standings in 2008. Pedrosa picked up a contusion to his left leg in the fall, but was otherwise unharmed in the incident.

Stoner’s future Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden attempted to keep up with the local hero over the course of the race, but the Australian proved too hot to handle in the final third. From then on Hayden had to be aware of the threat of newly crowned MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi lurking in the shadows, as the Fiat Yamaha stalked the man who beat him to the title in 2006.

Rossi overtook Hayden on the final lap, and held off the American’s attempts to re-pass him as the checkered flag loomed. Starting from his worst position on the grid of the entire season, Rossi’s move up to second from twelfth was nothing short of majestic.

Read more & Comment...
10/05/08
nastruck

Bodine bumps Busch out of way for Truck win
Todd Bodine celebrates his third consecutive restrictor-plate race, taking the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Winn-Dixie at Talladega Superspeedway
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
With a brilliant last-lap move through the tri-oval at Talladega Superspeedway, Todd Bodine won Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race with a much-needed assist from new points leader Ron Hornaday Jr.

Bodine was pushing Kyle Busch through the final corner, but contact from Bodine's No. 30 Toyota loosened Busch's No. 51 Tundra enough for Bodine to dodge to the outside and pick up a push from Hornaday, who crossed the finish line second, .075 seconds behind the race winner.

Busch came home third, followed by rookie Colin Braun and Mike Wallace. Landon Cassill, Brian Scott, T.J. Bell, Mike Skinner and Chad McCumbee completed the top 10.

"I knew if we could get ourselves position at the right spot at the end of the race, we'd have a chance," said Bodine, who picked up his second victory of the season, the 14th of his career and his third straight on a restrictor-plate speedway, dating to the Talladega event last October.

"I went with Kyle (on the last lap), and at that point, I'd conceded the win, and I was going to push him. . . But I knocked him sideways and went on to the win. That's not what I was trying to do. It's a good thing he's a great driver, because he was able to save it." 

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10/05/08
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Gordon, Kendall and Stewart on Wind Tunnel UPDATE Joining Dave Despain and co-host Jeff Gordon on Wind Tunnel tonight will be Tommy Kendall and James Stewart.  Tommy Kendall is a 4-time Trans-Am Series champion and host of SPEED’s ‘Test Drive’ show.  James Stewart, 2008 AMA Motocross champion, recently became only the second rider in the history of the series to score a perfect season, winning every moto en route to his first Motocross championship.

09/29/08 Jeff Gordon, 4-time Sprint Cup Champion, will join Dave Despain in the studio to be the co-host on Wind Tunnel this Sunday night, October 5.  Jeff has 3 top 10’s in the last 4 races, and is just 143 points out of the lead with 7 races remaining. This week, he will be racing at Talladega where he's had six victories.  Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live on Sunday night at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.

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10/05/08
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Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Sunday
NASCAR Now
 
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Talladega
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Talladega 
11:00am-1:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy 500 Talladega
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) -Pre-race
2:00pm-6:00pm (L) -Race ABC
Star Mazda Millville, NJ 
2:00pm-3:00pm (9/13/08) SPEED
Championship Off Road Racing  Chula Vista 
2:30pm-4:00pm (R) NBC
Superbike World Championship France
3:00pm-4:00pm (SD) -Race 1
4:00pm-5:00pm (SD) -Race 2  SPEED
MotoGP 250 Australia 
5:00pm-6:00pm (SD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Australian Grand Prix
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Talladega 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)
James Stewart (2008 AMA Motocross Champ)
Tommy Kendall (4-Time Trans-Am Champ) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now 
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com

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