"This is my first title in the premier category and my dream has come true! This is really the maximum a motorcycle rider can achieve in his career so we have to celebrate and enjoy these hours, minutes and seconds like it's the end of the world. You imagine this moment in your head your whole life but when it comes you don't know how to act or what to say. I am trying to be relaxed, to speak clearly and not say anything crazy! I'm so tired right now; I just need to be alone in a room for a few minutes, just thinking about what I've done!
I want to thank so many people, it's difficult to find the words but I have to mention Yamaha, all my team, Bridgestone and everyone involved. And of course thank you very much to my fans, who have been with me every step of the way.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC The Chase Is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Prime Time from Charlotte
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship continues Saturday night, Oct. 16, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in prime time under the lights in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race will air live on ABC with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag 7:46 p.m. ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. as well as a practice session that day at 3:30 p.m. and practices on Friday, Oct. 15, at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
ESPN2’s season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues at Charlotte with a telecast of Friday night’s 300-mile race. NASCAR Countdown airs at 7:30 p.m. with the race telecast, presented by Hellman’s, at 8 p.m. The green flag flies at 8:16 p.m. ESPN2 also airs NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at 3 p.m. Friday.
Superleague forced to cancel final Beijing race Alvaro Parente (FC Porto) clinched victory in race 2 at the Beijing International Street Circuit but the packed crowds were denied the chance to see Superleague Formula by Sonangol’s exciting Super Final as the five-lap dash-for-cash was cancelled due to deteriorating track and weather conditions.
Rain, fog and fading light meant that stewards took the sensible decision not to run the event-ending race, meaning that the €100,000 check for the ‘weekend winner’ was handed to Earl Bamber (PSV Eindhoven), who scored most points from the two 40-minute feature races, for the second time in seven days. Unbelievably, the New Zealander takes home the cash having started last on the grid for race 1.
(GMM) Christian Horner on Sunday said he "knows" the inaugural Korean grand prix will take place as scheduled in two weeks.
There has been great uncertainty about the health of the event due to delayed construction at Yeongam, but Bernie Ecclestone and some other bosses are now openly bullish.
Indeed, ahead of Charlie Whiting's inspection early this week, the latest photographs show that the top layer of asphalt is now laid, curbs installed and the main grandstand complete, even though some supporting infrastructure is unlikely to be ready for late October.
Jorge Lorenzo was confirmed as the 2010 MotoGP World Champion on Sunday at Sepang, as the 23 year-old Fiat Yamaha rider rode to a third place finish in the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. It was a thrilling race which Valentino Rossi won as the Italian took his first victory since the season opener in Qatar, on a day on which his great rival and current team-mate celebrated his first premier class title.
Pole holder Lorenzo got off to a fantastic start and led into turn one as the race got underway, but Rossi’s getaway from the starting grid was not so swift and he had dropped as low as 11th on the opening lap. A candidate for the race victory Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) suffered a huge disappointment when he crashed out on the opening lap, bringing to an end his race.
Jorge Lorenzo has become Spain’s first MotoGP World Champion since Àlex Crivillé in 1999, by finishing third after starting from pole position in Malaysia on Sunday. Having battled with team-mate Valentino Rossi and Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso in the last knockings, the Mallorcan eventually elected to play it safe.
With closest challenger Dani Pedrosa out of action once again this weekend due to his broken collarbone, Lorenzo’s winning of the title ends a two-year victory streak for Rossi, who triumphed in a race today for the first time after returning from a broken leg.
10/09/10 Danica Patrick was headed to her best NASCAR finish by far Saturday afternoon when her car was struck from behind nine laps from the finish, knocking her out of the Nationwide Series' CampingWorld.com 300. Her No. 7 Chevrolet was running 14th, and on the lead lap, when it was turned around by NASCAR rookie James Buescher's No. 11 Toyota coming out of Turn 2 on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in an accident that also collected Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ricky Carmichael.
"We were all just pushing hard at the end," said Patrick, whose best Nationwide finish remains 24th at Chicagoland. "On that restart, I kind of got high into that car (Buescer's) that turned me. I didn't mean to, it was totally my fault."
Petrov penalized, Massa escapes Vitaly Petrov has been slapped with a five-grid slot penalty for the Korean GP for causing an accident in Sunday's Japanese GP.
Petrov crashed into Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the Suzuka race, putting both himself and the Williams rookie out of the race. The Russian later claimed he had to move across the track to avoid being hit by Nick Heidfeld.
"I was going passed Hulkenberg with Heidfeld on my right when he started to move left and so I also had to move left to avoid him," said the Renault rookie. "Unfortunately I hit the side of Hulkenberg's car and this is why I crashed."
Pre-Season testing at Daytona in January Daytona International Speedway's new racing surface will receive its NASCAR christening next January, during a three-day NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test. The session, known as NASCAR Preseason Thunder, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22. Sunday, Jan. 23 is the rain date. The 2011 edition of NASCAR Preseason Thunder will help teams acclimate to the new pavement, plus speed their preparation for the 53rd Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 - the series' traditional season-opener. The repaving project - only the second in track history and first since 1978 - began immediately after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on July 3. All NASCAR Preseason Thunder sessions begin at 9:00am/et and end at 5:00 pm/et, weather permitting. Each includes a lunch break from noon until 1:00pm/et.
IRL already looking ahead The champagne celebrating Dario Franchitti's third IndyCar Series title was still bubbling Saturday night when team haulers began chugging out of Miami Homestead Speedway and into the humid South Florida night.
Even as the 37-year-old Scotsman told reporters he wanted to enjoy the moment, it was already passing.
The sooner the series gets to the future, the better.
Franchitti's somewhat anticlimactic victory -- he overtook budding Team Penske star Will Power when the Australian limped to a 25th-place in the season finale while Franchitti settled for eighth to win the title by five points -- served as a perfect symbol for a series in transition.
Even as the cars whizzed by at 210 mph, it was hard not to think about what lays ahead.
There's a new boss in CEO Randy Bernard. A revamped schedule in 2011 that includes a road race in Baltimore and a likely season-ending visit to Las Vegas. And officials are hoping a redesigned car set to debut in less than 18 months will further stoke interest in a series still struggling to get out of NASCAR's considerable shadow.
Austin Planners play 30 questions with F1 promoters Local promoter Full Throttle Productions maintains it is racing toward a December groundbreaking on a planned Formula One track, and will be ready to host its first event in 2012, but a joint land-use review committee made up of city, county and state planners has waved a caution flag that reads:
We got some questions. Actually, quite a few of them.
In a four-page memo sent to Full Throttle, the planners peppered the promoter with questions about the 900-acre project. The breadth of the queries suggests the plan to bring the international race to Austin in two years is still some distance from satisfying the government bureaucrats who will need to sign off on it before any concrete is poured — an assessment confirmed by Joe Gieselman, executive director of the Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources Department.
“They’re getting there,” he said. “But they still have a way to go.”
Tavo: Mexican driver could mean 20,000 fans The announcement that Mexican driver Sergio Perez (pictured) would be getting a ride in Formula One next year. With an eye toward 2012, when Austin is slated to host its first Grand Prix, Hellmund said, “I think it will mean 20,000 fans for sure. I think it’s really going to create a lot of interest.”
Hellmund said the best thing for an F1 race here would be to have a Texan driving. But there are no U.S. drivers or teams currently in F1. Mexico hasn’t had a driver since Hector Rebaque in 1981. Mexico, however, does have a history of F1 racing. Hellmund’s father, Gustavo, helped to bring the sport back there in 1986 and it remained in Mexico through 1992.
Perez, 20, will be driving for Sauber, joining Kamui Kobayashi.
“I’m really excited for Sergio,” Hellmund said. “I’ve talked with him and he is over the moon.”
Jenson Button: "I spent the qualifying session talking to the mechanics and playing yo-yo - jumping in and out of the car, just in case the track conditions improved enough for us to run. Moving qualifying to Sunday won't really change my preparations: it just means it will be a bit closer to the race itself, and that we'll be at the track earlier on Sunday morning. But it won't be a problem to focus on both quali and the race in a single day. It's far tougher for the mechanics: they worked tirelessly overnight and they'll have to work really hard to prep the car between quali and the race. For the drivers, it's less of a problem - it's actually quite fun to have something a bit different to do. The circuit is likely to be drier tomorrow. It's not supposed to be raining, just wet from overnight showers. So I feel pretty sure we'll be able to run, and that we'll have qualifying. This is a big shame for the fans - they've not seen us drive today, which is very disappointing for them. But there's nothing we can do in conditions like these: you're not actually driving the car, you're floating!"Read more & Comment...
Video: 1994 CART Laguna Seca Mario Andretti's Last Race Mario Andretti runs his final IndyCar race at the age of 54 years old. An era comes to an end as America's greatest ever driver hangs up his helmet.
Parente snatches last-gasp Beijing pole Álvaro Parente (FC Porto) belied his lack of track time and late arrival in China to take a superb pole position for Superleague Formula by Sonangol’s first-ever street race in Beijing.
The Portuguese driver only arrived in the Chinese capital late on Thursday evening having resolved the visa issue which ruled him out of round 10 at the Ordos International Circuit last weekend, but missed Friday’s practice session to catch up on some sleep.
Having managed a handful of laps in Saturday morning’s re-scheduled practice session, Parente was immediately on the pace before breezing through qualifying Group B with the fastest time of the entire session, a 1:04.875.
A comfortable quarter-final victory over Paul Meijer (Atletico Madrid) was followed by a semi-final triumph against Robert Doornbos (Corinthians) which set up a Pole Shoot Out with the day’s other fastest driver, Craig Dolby (Tottenham Hotspur).
Can Mark Martin turn Danica Patrick from a backmarker to a winner?
Danica Patrick has spoken with NASCAR's #5-Mark Martin about working with her and says she's open to any help she can get in figuring out the nuances of driving stock cars. "It would be nice if somebody could help me, whoever it is -- I would take any help," Patrick said. "Like Martin said, you need somebody to get in the car and say this is the setup, go drive it after they've driven it. It's one thing to say drive this line, do this or that, but when you don't have maybe the car that can do that, it's just words, so it would be nice for someone to throw me in a car after they've driven it so I get a real feel for it." Patrick's part-time foray into NASCAR hasn't gone particularly well as she's tried to get a feel for the harder-to-drive stock cars. She ran the first three Nationwide races of the season, finishing no higher than 31st, and added four more races when she had breaks in the IndyCar season with similar results. Now that the open-wheel season is over, Patrick is slated to run the final six Nationwide races, starting Saturday at Auto Club, and hopes the consistency of no longer flip-flopping between series will turn out better results ESPN/Associated Press
NASCAR to meet with Nationwide owners NASCAR is holding a meeting with Nationwide Series owners next Tuesday to discuss a variety of issues for 2011. While NASCAR has taken an informal poll of owners and principals in the Nationwide garage to gauge the sentiment of competing against Cup drivers in the feeder tour, series director Joe Balash says, "We'll discuss everything we have on the table" at an off-site location. Some current Nationwide owners are delaying next season's rosters until NASCAR solidifies its rules. With a new car for 2011, rising costs and a shrinking pool of sponsors, full-time owners have a difficult time competing against Sprint Cup regulars and are looking for relief. FoxSports
Cars free to be worked on before ‘new’ qualifying No car will enter Parc Fermé conditions following the failed attempt to get qualifying underway at Suzuka on Saturday, meaning that teams are free to work on their vehicles until after the rescheduled session on Sunday morning.
Usually, all cars are placed immediately under Parc Fermé conditions in their respective garages – surveyed by the FIA with CCTV cameras – between qualifying and the race although, with no qualifying having taken place so far, this will not apply today.
Parc Fermé conditions will apply as usual after the 10am qualifying session on Sunday morning, though, with no work able to be done before the race begins.
MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has lashed out at Formula One, Dorna (head of MotoGP) and Bernie Ecclestone, FOM chief, because this weekend’s MotoGP round in Malaysia, being held in the same time zone as the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix, will be raced at a time when the monsoonal weather is likely to hit.
Formula One experienced for themselves that running the event too late in the afternoon saw drivers forced to cope with Monsoonal weather conditions and the event was actually stopped just over half way. This year it was put back an hour so that they would miss the heavy rain and see the race through to the end.
However, due to the fact that Formula One is racing in Japan on the same weekend that Moto is being run in Malaysia, means that the two are clashing, television audience wise and Moto is being left out in the cold as a result, something Rossi is far from happy about.
MotoGP Sepang - Qualifying Jorge Lorenzo set himself up in perfect style for his tilt at the title tomorrow by taking a stunning pole position, his sixth of the season, at Sepang this afternoon. His team-mate Valentino Rossi was hopeful of a front row as well but was unable to improve his time in the closing stages and will start from sixth position tomorrow.
With temperatures in the high 30s it was a sweltering session for the riders but Lorenzo was on imperious form throughout, using the new specification M1 engine today for the first time since qualifying in Motegi. The 23-year-old spent several stints at the top and with ten minutes to go it looked like no one was going to catch him, before he was knocked off pole by Nicky Hayden with four minutes remaining. Lorenzo set out to redress the damage but with three quarters of his final flying lap gone he was still down on the American and it looked like it might stay that way. A superb final split from the Spaniard however saw him snatch pole position back and he will start tomorrow's race, from which he needs just seven points to secure the title, from the perfect position at the front of the grid.
New Japanese GP Start Procedures Scuderia Toro Rosso has decided to exclusively reveal new rules regarding the start of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix.
(a) Minimum Visibility There must be at least one nautical mile visibility over the entire race course and there must be no forecast or other reason to believe that there will be any lesser visibility on any part of the course or its vicinity throughout the expected duration of the race.
(b) Procedure for Starts I. The distance between the muster area and the first turning buoy on a rolling start must be at least one nautical mile. II. The muster area will be defined in Race Instructions and further explained at the drivers‟ briefing. Boats should proceed to the muster area as described at the drivers‟ briefing. Competitors are reminded to comply with the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea and local bylaws whilst proceeding to the muster area.
Damp Suzuka track likely for Sunday qualifying (GMM) With clothes and spirits still sodden late on Saturday afternoon, the latest weather forecast is that a damp track is likely for the delayed qualifying session on Sunday morning.
"It will probably still be damp, so that will be interesting," said Mercedes' Ross Brawn.
Having called off Saturday's proceedings following an 80 minute delay, the FIA announced that the circuit will be inspected at 9.30am on Sunday before a scheduled green light a half-hour later.
"The forecast is for conditions to improve and for there to be a dry race," added Brawn.
Indeed, the latest forecast from Suzuka is that the incessant rain that began shortly before Saturday morning practice will ease early this evening, becoming progressing lighter into the night.
Japanese GP - Rain washes out practice Incessant rain was the main feature of the final hour of free practice this morning at Suzuka, which hosts the sixteenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. After completing an installation lap, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso then waited out the entire session hoping the weather might ease up to allow them out on track, but in vain. Only two drivers set times, Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso (1.55.902) and Timo Glock in the Virgin (2.07.497.)
Whiting admits Sunday qualifying likely (GMM) Charlie Whiting has admitted qualifying will not take place in Saturday afternoon's heavy rain.
With the session already officially delayed for 90 minutes beyond the scheduled 1400 start-time, the FIA will wait until 1630 - when the light will be fading - before announcing the postponement of qualifying to 10am on Sunday.
But as bored drivers and team personnel pushed makeshift boats down the pitlane stream, the BBC ceased its live broadcast and the Virgin drivers played poker in the garage, race director Whiting all but admitted the Sunday postponement is now a certainty.
FIA delays qualifying at sodden Suzuka (GMM) Suzuka qualifying has been delayed for at least 30 minutes by the FIA. The session had been scheduled to begin at 2pm local, but after an inspection by the safety car, race director Charlie Whiting has decided on the delay to give the torrential conditions a chance to subside.
Just before 1430, the FIA will inspect the circuit again, and teams will be given 10 minutes notice of a session start.
If the conditions are still too unsafe, a series of 15 minute delays might then be commenced, and if the conditions are still too unsafe at 1630, the session will be postponed altogether due to fading light.
If that happens, qualifying will be held at 10am on Sunday morning, when the rain is scheduled to have stopped.
"I imagine qualifying will be tomorrow," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told BBC commentator Martin Brundle at 1400 precisely.
World champion Jenson Button added: "If it carries on like this, we're not going to be out today."
Whiting wants to begin qualifying at 2pm (GMM) Charlie Whiting will be poised to begin qualifying as scheduled at 2pm local.
But under the pouring Suzuka skies and with rivers of water running down the sloped pitlane, British television BBC reports that if the FIA race director believes the conditions are not safe at 2pm, he will delay the start of the session for 15 minutes.
FIA reserves Sunday morning slot for Suzuka qualifying (GMM) With drivers reporting undriveable conditions and the local radar predicting even heavier rain ahead, the FIA has reserved a 10am timeslot for Sunday morning qualifying at Suzuka.
"I really don't think there is going to be qualifying," said Sebastien Buemi's race engineer, just before Toro Rosso's Swiss driver entered the circuit and spun during Saturday morning practice.
Green light for very wet final F1 practice (GMM) A few minutes before Suzuka's final practice session was due to begin on Saturday morning, the safety car was deployed to check the track conditions.
The decision was taken as constant rain at the venue became much heavier just before the 60-minute session, amid reports a huge storm will hit the Japanese track between now and qualifying in three hours.
"May be no green light to start the session," predicted Lotus' Mike Gascoyne on Twitter, as a stream of water trickled down the sloped pitlane.
Wood Brothers name Donnie Wingo NASCAR veteran Donnie Wingo has been named crew chief of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. Wingo will assume the role immediately and will be atop the No. 21 pit box next weekend in Charlotte.
“It’s really an honor to be on top of the pit box for the No. 21,” said Wingo. “Anyone in NASCAR knows the historic significance and what the Wood Brothers have meant to NASCAR. The No. 21 is iconic in this sport and it’s a great privilege to be associated with this team. I’m eager to get to Charlotte next weekend and see what we can do as a team.” Wingo most recently served at the crew chief for Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Sprint Cup team with driver David Ragan. During his 27-year NASCAR career, he has worked with drivers ranging from Dick Trickle, Ricky Rudd, Jimmy Spencer, Juan Pablo-Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Morgan Shepherd.
The No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion and driver Bill Elliott will be back on track next week in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kia Motors Posts 20.6% Global Sales Growth in September Kia Motors Corporation announced its global sales figures for passenger cars (export sales, domestic sales and sales from overseas plants), recreational vehicles (RVs) and commercial vehicles for September 2010, recording a total of 187,251 units sold. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 20.6%. In September, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in all regions of the world – 44.4% in general markets (41,425 units sold), 33.2% in North America (34,816 units sold), 24.8% in China (31,645 units sold), 8.7% in Europe (39,174 units sold) and 3.0% in Korea (40,191 units sold).
Jaguar announces the release of two new mobile applications The iConfigurator app for the iPhone (and iPad) allows users to experience the full vehicle configuration process and to explore the Jaguar model range with access to the latest images and specification details.
Available free on iTunes, the iConfigurator showcases the full Jaguar Range, including the new XJ, XK and XF to full UK and US market specification. The app also allows users to share their configuration on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as allowing configured vehicles to be saved to the iPhone photo gallery.
10/07/10 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton kicked off his weekend at Suzuka with a crash.
With big rain clouds reportedly on the horizon, the McLaren driver lost valuable dry track time at the Japanese circuit on Friday morning.
Repeating a common error by F1 drivers at Suzuka, Briton Hamilton ran wide at Degner and hit the barriers at the other side of the notoriously small gravel trap.
It caused big damage to the left side of his MP4-25, but arguably bigger damage in the eyes of the media, after promising reporters on Thursday that he would be pushing hard after crashing out of the last two grands prix.
Force India to miss out on $4.7m in sponsorship The Force India F1 team looks set to miss out on almost 5 million dollars (just under 3 million pounds) in damage after the Court of Appeal in the UK ruled that Etihad Airways and Aldar were entitled to end their sponsorship deals with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Both Abu Dhabi companies had signed a three-year agreement with the team in 2007, albeit when it was known as the Spyker F1 team. Following the purchase of the team by Dr Vijay Mallya and re-named Force India neither were consulted and the court ruled this gave them the right to walk away.
Force India has now been ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings, while the matter has also been referred back to the Queen's Bench Division. Etihad Airways and Aldar could both be awarded damages.
Toyota makes service plans standard Toyota Motor Corp., aiming to restore customer trust after a recall crisis, is launching two new U.S. service plans that will come standard with Toyota and Scion brand vehicles. Called Toyota Care and Scion Service Boost, the plans will offer free factory scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, the company said Wednesday. The plans take effect immediately.
Toyota said the offer makes it the first full-line brand to provide a complimentary maintenance plan as a standard feature. No-cost maintenance plans were rolled out last spring as part of an initiative to win back buyers following an outbreak of recalls, mostly for unintended acceleration.
But the Japanese carmaker said it decided to make the plans standard after 73 percent of the customers with the support service said it improved their confidence in Toyota. The company will publicize the new plans through a nationwide advertising blitz that began Wednesday. AutoWeek
South Korea GP “will be given green light” Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO), race organizer of the 2010 South Korea grand prix, said yesterday it is confident the circuit will pass its final inspection next week.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said last month the final inspection of the track had been left dangerously late and the race, due to take place on October 24, could yet be cancelled.
Charlie Whiting, FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) race director, will visit the circuit on Monday, the day after the Japanese grand prix and less than two weeks before the Korean race. Whiting’s August visit to the coastal Yeongam circuit was postponed because the construction team had not finished laying the final track surface.
Di Resta takes step away from Force India debut (GMM) Paul di Resta on Friday appeared to have taken a step away from his formula one debut.
It was believed the Scottish rookie, already the Silverstone based team's reserve and 'Friday' driver this year, had agreed a deal to race with Force India in 2011.
But deputy team principal Robert Fernley at Suzuka answered "yes" on Friday when asked if the team's same drivers, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi, will also be at the wheel of next year's Mercedes powered cars.
Di Resta is also a top driver in the German touring car series DTM, but Mercedes' Norbert Haug said he cannot control whether the 24-year-old will be placed in F1 in 2011.
Superleague in Beijing - another disaster It has been confirmed by Superleague Formula governing body the FIA that this weekend’s rounds of the championship in Chinese capital city Beijing have been declared non-championship, due to the circuit being deemed too narrow in one place.
The area of track in question is between Turns 5 and 6, with its dimensions not allowing the track international status and therefore the non-championship grade being applied in order to avoid a complete cancellation of the event.
Although no points will be racked up, driver prize money can still be received in China, including the 100,000 euro (87,600 pound) gong for picking up the final race honors on Sunday.
Rossi on top as Malaysian GP practice begins Valentino Rossi was the fastest MotoGP rider in the first practice session at Sepang on Friday with a best time of 2’02.724 on his Fiat Yamaha M1 machine. The Italian, who sealed last year’s title in Malaysia, was just over a tenth of a second clear at the top of the timings as he started his weekend in promising style.
Andrea Dovizioso had led the session but his best time of 2’02.833 left the sole Repsol Honda rider for this weekend in second position, as he continued to show the kind of form which secured him his first premier class pole in the previous round. Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who could take the title this weekend with a finish of ninth place or higher in the race, was third in the session and the final rider under 2’03”.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber maintained Red Bull's one-two domination in the second Friday practice session at Suzuka for Sunday's Japanese GP F1 race.
Vettel topped Webber's 1m31.860s time on soft tires with a 1m31.465s also on soft tires.
Lewis Hamilton's crash in the first session meant his damaged McLaren was not ready to take to the track until there were just eight minutes left. The Briton was only 13th, two seconds slower than Vettel.
After its unimpressive morning, Fernando Alonso led the way for Ferrari but ended up fourth, 0.8 seconds off the pace, and just ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa.
"I am sure there is speed to come for tomorrow," said Alonso. "Always on Saturday you put everything on the car – the best pieces and the best set-up etc. but I guess for them there is more to come as well.
Japanese GP: Vettel tops Practice 1 The Red Bull F1 team topped opening practice at a dry and sunny Suzuka, Japan. Last year's Japanese Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel led teammate Mark Webber.
Lewis Hamilton crashing heavily at Degner halfway through the session, when he ran slightly wide at the first part of the fast, downhill double right-hander, then plowed through the gravel and damaged the car's left front against the barriers.
2010 IndyCar TV Ratings up but still dismalUPDATE To put the numbers in perspective, the 2010 IndyCar season on Versus averaged more viewers than the 2009-10 NHL regular season on the same network (297,000), the 2010 WNBA regular season on ESPN2 (258,000) and the 2010 Major League Soccer regular season on ESPN2 (257,000 through August 17). In other words all sport events on Versus have horrible TV ratings. IndyCar could stay on Versus and collect the money, or just order the flowers now and plan the funeral.
10/07/10 The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series' second season on Versus averaged 366,000 viewers for 12 telecasts, an increase of 16.2% from 315,000 viewers last year, but still a long way from the 778,000 viewers that ESPN/ESPN2 averaged in '08 for 11 races. With 366,000 per telecast (infomercial levels) how does a team justify the return on investment to a sponsor? How many years will it take for the IRL to get back to the 778,000 viewers they had with ESPN. 5 Years? 10 Years? Can IndyCar wait that long.
Sao Paulo Indy 300
Streets of São Paulo
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg*
Streets of St. Petersburg
Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Barber Motorsports Park
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Streets of Long Beach
Road Runner Turbo Indy 300
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway
Iowa Corn Indy 250
Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen
Watkins Glen Int'l
Honda Indy Toronto
Streets of Toronto
Honda Indy Edmonton
Edmonton City Centre Airport
Honda Indy 200
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County
Peak Antifreeze Indy 300
Indy Japan 300
Twin Ring Motegi
Cafes do Brasil Indy 300
NOTE: * = race was scheduled for ABC, but was rained out on Sunday and run on the following Monday on ESPN2. Data by SportsBusiness Daily
de Silvestro looks forward to 2011 with HVM Walking off the Championship Celebration stage Oct. 3 with the Tony Renna Rising Star Award, Simona de Silvestro felt a sense of accomplishment for the 2010 season and determination to improve in her second year.
The 22-year-old Swiss driver finished 19th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings (second in Rookie of the Year chase) with two top-10 finishes and a suitcase full of experience. She’ll return with HVM Racing for the 2011 season.
“I’m really thankful to Firestone for giving me this award,” said de Silvestro, who also was voted the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after advancing eight positions to finish 14th. “It shows that we really worked hard this year with HVM Racing. It’s just great to be part of a team like that because they really believed in me and they let me be who I am.
“The series is just great and I’m looking forward to being back next year.”
Power joins field for RoboPong 200 IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up Will Power has joined the all-star lineup for the RoboPong 200 Presented by Bridgestone go-kart race on Oct. 10 at New Castle Motorsports Park.
Power will team up with Simon Pagenaud – the ALMS Prototype champion and his former teammate at Walker Racing – in the No. 12 cart.
Mario Andretti joins Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour Racing legend Mario Andretti will join the group of past, present and future Indianapolis 500 drivers who will visit Europe and the Middle East in January as part of the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour.
Andretti, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, will join fellow Indianapolis 500 winners Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser Jr., Indy 500 veterans Graham Rahal and Davey Hamilton, and Firestone Indy Lights veteran Martin Plowman on the trip.
Longtime IndyCar television announcer Jack Arute and IndyCar President, Commercial Division Terry Angstadt also are making the trip, with Arute serving as the moderator and leading panel discussions at all stops on the trip. The group will meet with between 10,000 and 15,000 troops during the 10-day trip.
This is a sketch of a new car Nissan is developing for Smart USA. (Daimler)
Smart USA said today it has reached an agreement to sell a small car made by Nissan starting late next year so it can add a larger car to its lineup.
Smart is distributed exclusively by Penske Automotive Group in the United States through its subsidiary, Smart USA. The Smart brand is owned by Germany’s Daimler AG, and it currently sells just one car, the two-passenger Smart ForTwo minicar, in the United States.
“Now we have the good fortune to meet the needs of what our dealers and our consumers have told us they want,” said Smart USA President Jill Lajdziak. “They love the Smart brand. They would just like a little more seating capacity, and this vehicle allows us to meet the needs of the consumers.”
GP2 Asia Series 2011 Calendar revealed GP2 Series organizers are pleased to reveal the calendar of the fourth GP2 Asia Series, a category that previously crowned Romain Grosjean, Kamui Kobayashi and Davide Valsecchi. This season, the Asia Series will consist of three rounds, all based in the Middle East – Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, including one as a support race of the 2011 opening Formula One Grand Prix at Sakhir in March. Prior to the GP2 Asia 2011 season kick-off, all twenty six drivers will get their first taste of the new GP2/11 car on Pirelli tires during pre-season tests in Abu Dhabi.
Teams will receive their first car on October 18th and 19th and a shakedown will take place on November 18th at Circuit Paul Ricard. All cars will then be shipped from Europe to Abu Dhabi mid-December and will arrive one month later in the Middle East.
Kansas TV ratings continues NASCAR's downward spiral Ratings for the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway dropped 28 percent, from 3.2 in 2010 to 2.3 in 2009, according to ESPN. The 2009 race was on ABC while Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 was on ESPN, but an ESPN executive said last week that the recent trend in Chase rating drops was not the result of the switch from network to cable.
The rating for the first Chase race at New Hampshire Sept. 19 also dropped 28 percent, from 3.2 to 2.3. The rating for the second Chase race Dover fell 23 percent, from 3.1 to 2.4.
On average, the three Chase races have dropped 26 percent.
The Nationwide race from Kansas drew a 1.2, the same rating as a year ago. Both races were on ESPN2.
Despite unemployed fans, ISC profit healthy ISC today reported total revenues of $160.2M for the third quarter, down 7.9% from the $172.9M in revenues the company generated in the same period last year. It attributed the decline in revenues to the economy, the loss of an IndyCar race at Richmond and the loss of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Darlington, among other factors. Ticket revenues during the quarter fell to $42.5M from $52.3M.
Despite the decline in revenues, operating income during the period increased to $21.6M from $15.6M. The company plans to cut an additional $20-30M in expenses beginning in '11. Net income for the quarter was $3.6M compared to $4.4M a year ago. Net income for the nine months ending Aug. 31 was $39.3M compared to a loss of $2.2M a year ago. Ticket revenues year-to-date are $116.75M, down 18% from $143.8M during the same period in '09.
NASCAR, Evernham dispute Mayfield allegation NASCAR says there is no evidence of a black flag issued to Jeremy Mayfield during the 2006 Brickyard 400 and that Ray Evernham, who owned the team Mayfield drove for at the time, was the one who ordered him to park his car during the race, according to a court filing Wednesday. The filing came in response to Mayfield’s claim last week that NASCAR Chairman Brian France had him black-flagged in the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mayfield made that claim in asking U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reconsider a May 2010 ruling that dismissed his lawsuit against NASCAR over a May 1, 2009, drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. The allegation surrounding the 2006 race at Indy comes in part from declarations of France's former in-laws, whom France sued last year when trying to evict them from a home he owned. NASCAR uses Mayfield's 2006 lawsuit against then-team owner Evernham as corroborating evidence that the black-flag story is false. Mayfield filed suit in the days following the Indy race after Evernham fired him. In none of those documents does Mayfield say he was black-flagged by NASCAR. In affidavits filed with NASCAR's response Wednesday, Evernham and then team director (crew chief) Chris Andrews said no one from NASCAR asked them to pull the car from the track. In affidavits filed by Mayfield, both of France's former in-laws say that France, after drinking scotch while in California to be with his pregnant wife during the race, called NASCAR President Mike Helton in the control tower at Indy and asked that Mayfield be black-flagged. When Mayfield got to the pits no NASCAR official ever looked at the car, Mayfield alleges. In its filing Wednesday, NASCAR produced travel records and hotel records indicating that France was in Orlando that day, not California. Scene Daily
Renault F1 team picks up minor sponsor Renault F1 has announced that it will be sponsored by Russian vodka producer Flagman for the remainder of the 2010 season. The deal comes through Vitaly Petrov’s role at the team, as the country’s first ever Grand Prix driver, this year.
Flagman has now established itself as a leading brand for the highly popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Russia, having been launched in 1998.
Nowadays, the company enjoy annual sales of over three million cases.
“We are delighted to welcome Flagman vodka to the Renault F1 Team for the remaining races of the 2010 season,” commented team Chairman Gérard Lopez.
“We have worked hard this year to develop new relationships in Russia and we are pleased to see this effort bearing fruit.”
Alonso, Webber, doubt Massa key to 2010 title (GMM) Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber do not agree that Felipe Massa is a key figure in the now four-race battle for the 2010 world championship.
While Webber's teammate Sebastian Vettel is still in the hunt, as are both McLaren drivers, Alonso is able to count on the support of his Ferrari teammate Massa from now until next month's Abu Dhabi season finale.
IndyCar Miami TV Rating The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series concluded Saturday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway with Dario Franchitti winning the series championship for the second year in a row and the third in his career. Unfortunately not many people saw the Scotsman’s consummation of another brilliant season. The announced attendance was 12,000 fans. The IndyCar Series race wasn’t even the most watched program on Versus last week because that honor went to World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), which is a promotion also owned and operated by the owners of the UFC. The WEC show held last Thursday night drew 486,000 viewers and the IndyCar season finale only drew 360,000.
You can run an infomercial about baby buggies and draw more viewers than that. Versus continues to deliver dismal TV ratings for IndyCar and remains the biggest albatross around Randy Bernard's neck. Although he wasn't around when the IRL signed their death warrant with Versus, Bernard can only hope that the Comcast deal to buy NBC will lead to at least half of IndyCar's races on NBC. How the potential Comcast (owner of Versus) and NBC merger could affect IndyCar’s television rights package for the future remains to be seen. The series took some baby steps this year and the 2010 product was better than the 2009 product, but it still has a LONG way to go.
Maxwell Paper Racing Announces Expansion to American Le Mans Series Maxwell Paper Racing is proud to announce that it will contest the American Le Mans Series’ GTC class in the 2011 season.
Fresh off a strong season in the Patron GT3 Challenge presented by Yokohama, in which Ross Smith captured the Platinum Cup championship while brother Kendall Smith finished second in the Gold Cup championship, the team is now prepared to move up to the highest level of North American sports car racing with the Smith brothers sharing driving duties in the 2011 season.
It has been confirmed today that Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa will not take part in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Pedrosa underwent surgery on Saturday to fix a titanium plate to the collarbone he broke during practice for last weekend’s Grand Prix of Japan. After the successful operation, there was a very slim chance that the Spaniard would be fit enough to make the journey from Barcelona to Malaysia and attempt to take part in this weekend’s MotoGP race.
Superleague set for thrilling street circuit debut in Beijing
Superleague Formula by Sonangol concludes its fortnight tour of China this weekend around the city streets of Beijing where a temporary road course will test the championship’s drivers to their limits.
Situated in Mapo Village of the capital’s Shunyi District, the 2.733km, 14-turn track passes through the Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Park which helped play host to the 2008 Summer Games. It will be the first time ever that Superleague Formula has staged a city race and also marks the inauguration of the Beijing International Street Circuit.
This is the Beijing street circuit Champ Car would have raced on had it not merged with the IRL
Drivers will once again have a share of €280,000 to play for in the Super Final where the weekend’s top six performers will battle it out across five laps. And if the Ordos finale, which mixed wheel-to-wheel racing, non-stop action, incident, controversy and a fairytale victory for Earl Bamber, is anything to go by then Beijing’s installment should be a cracker.
Beijing Guoan head into their second home round in as many weekends again amongst the favorites for victory despite not completing a single racing lap in Ordos, where significant damage sustained in a race one start-line incident prevented John Martin from contesting the second.
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