10/10/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Was a 0.1 TV Rating what Tony George envisioned when he created the IRL, split the sport and destroyed it. Given the 0.1 rating perhaps the IRL should be the .1RL. Dan Black, Chicago
Cotman on IndyCar catch fencing and the Houston crash In this Racer.com article Tony Cotman discusses catch fences and the issues around making them safe for the race fans without obstructing their view.
“To be able to retain a vehicle at that speed is bloody hard, I don't care what kind of a fence you have,” said Tony Cotman, the former Indy car team manager and Champ Car chief steward who now makes his living designing and building racetracks while also assisting with the new Indy Lights program.
“The chassis did a fantastic job of protecting Dario. Did the fence do a good job? Without question. But while the car stayed within the confines of the racetrack, it's not perfect.”
Travis Kvapil will drive BK Racing entry at Charlotte (Update)UPDATE The following is a statement from BK Racing regarding the allegations against driver Travis Kvapil:
"BK Racing understands the severity of the situation and we don't condone the actions that Travis has been accused of," commented Ron Devine, co-owner of BK Racing. "We feel it's important to let the system take its course. For that reason, we have elected to support Travis and his family and keep Travis in the car for this weekend's race. Further comment will be available as additional information becomes available."
Dixon, Kanaan chasing Fuzzy's Triple Crown bonus Indy 500 champion Tony Kanaan and Pocono Indy 400 winner Scott Dixon have their eyes on a special prize next Saturday night (Oct. 19) in the MAVTV 500 at the Auto Club Speedway as part of the final leg of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown.
Not only will the winners seek to capture the coveted 500-mile contest, the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale, but they will hope to collect the $250,000 bonus established by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka.
"Pocono was a dream weekend for us, obviously, sweeping the podium with all three Ganassi cars. Target Racing won its 100th race and Honda won its 200th and it was I think my 30th career win," Dixon said.
Ford EcoBoost V6 Engine Powers to New Speed Records at Daytona (Update)UPDATE Video of the record run. They failed months ago, then it was back to the drawing boards. Now they finally broke the record. Still much slower than a CART Champ Car from the early 2000s, but not bad.:
Jason Line Unhurt in Crash During Test Session Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line was uninjured in a crash earlier today at a private test session at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.
Line's silver Chevrolet Camaro abruptly made a hard right turn from the left lane just past half-track, slammed into the right guard wall, and barrel-rolled several times before coming to a stop. Line emerged unhurt.
"At this time, we're not 100 percent sure what caused it," said Line's KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson. "It was the first pass down the track, and [the car] got very loose out in the middle, so Jason lifted at about the 1/8-mile mark and was basically just coasting to the finish line when it turned sideways, went straight into the right hand wall and barrel-rolled. There was a lot of damage to the car, but we will regroup. The main thing is that Jason is okay."
Franchitti released from hospital, headed to another Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti was released from Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center in Houston today. He will be traveling to Indianapolis where he will be reevaluated over the next few days and ultimately await a second surgery to his right ankle, which had previously been stabilized.
"I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and I'm thankful to have such a great family and such wonderful friends and fans. Thanks to everyone at the hospital and the track who took such good care of me during my stay in Houston. I look forward to watching Scott, Alex and the Target team next weekend on television, and will be pulling for them as they go for another championship." - Dario Franchitti
IndyCar's de Silvestro not getting props she deserves
Simona de Silvestro, 2nd in Houston
In sports, it’s never a bad time for a good performance.
Still, the timing of IndyCar driver Simona de Silvestro’s best result wasn’t ideal.
Last weekend, she made a bit of history, though by most news accounts, you’d barely know it. With the spectacular crash that marred the IndyCar race on Sunday and the shake-up in the overall series standings, then the come-from-behind Indianapolis Colts victory on Sunday and all the noise about the city’s bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, few here have heard much about de Silvestro’s rise.
In Houston on Saturday, she scored the second best finish by a woman driver in IndyCar history, finishing second on the road course adjacent to Reliant Stadium.
Danica Patrick won an IndyCar race in Japan in 2008, and Sarah Fisher took second in Miami in 2001.
Kvapil charged with assault (Update)UPDATE Details on the incident are in short supply but what's known publicly is enough. Kvapil, whose team is supporting Domestic Violence Awareness month, is married to wife Jennifer and the couple have three children. Police were called to their home Tuesday night and according to a police spokesman, Kvapil was taken into custody at that time because officers felt there was probable cause of an assault. His next court date is undetermined at this time but as charges have already been filed against the driver it's clear that the responding officers saw enough to proceed with or without the victim's cooperation- an important point in any domestic violence case. understand the gravity of what took place it's worth looking at how the state of North Carolina defines the charges involved. First, in statute 50-B-1 NC law defines domestic violence as:
Simona de Silvestro, drives the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Car
Areva had more than its new Charlotte HQ during the past week. The IndyCar series car Areva sponsors with others in the nuclear-power industry had its best-ever finish Saturday, coming in second at the Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
It was the first time on the winners podium for Simona de Silvestro, driver of the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Car. And she got some space in The New York Times on Tuesday to talk about her support for nuclear energy and the possibility of electric-powered race cars down the road.
Formula One and the $100 coat hanger In London, Kevin Eason reported it is a "little-known fact that F1’s 11 teams have to pay race promoters for their hospitality suites, down to the hire of cutlery and even coat-hangers, which angered one team manager to the point of fury." Teams face an average charge of almost £186,000 ($296,500) "just to go racing at each of the 12 'flyaway' events from Brazil to Japan."
That equates to £1.8M ($2.9M) a race on average "collected from the 11 teams by circuits desperately trying to offset the fees" -- ranging up to £25M ($40M) annually. A source said, "We are effectively paying a tax on racing. The promoters have to make their money somewhere and they make it from the teams.
Independent F1 Teams heading toward bankruptcy Sources said that they "fear Formula One is headed slowly but surely towards a series formed of manufacturer and customer teams," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. The news that "private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, Formula One’s largest single shareholder," took a $865M dividend in '12 caused "much eyebrow-raising within the F1 paddock."
CVC, which paid roughly $1B for the sport in '06, has now gained more than $2B from it "in the last 24 months, while reducing its stake" from 63% to 35%. It has "been able to do that" because F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has "made the sport so commercially successful."
NASCAR Chase stunts Busch's Nascar plans (Update)UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Did you notice how good Kurt Busch began to run in NASCAR after he showed interest in IndyCar? The backmarker team all of a sudden was fast and he made the Chase. Like everything else in NASCAR's managed racing series, was this made to happen so Busch would 1) Not have time to try IndyCar and 2) Help him to lose interest? Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA
10/09/13 Kurt Busch's hopes of running an open-wheel race this year have taken a back seat to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The 2004 NASCAR champion said during a test at Martinsville Speedway that due to his Furniture Row Racing team's playoff run, he won't compete in the Oct. 19 IndyCar season finale at Fontana, Calif., as he had hoped. Busch is currently seventh in the Chase, 47 points behind leader Matt Kenseth, after a runner-up finish last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr. Set To Make 500th NASCAR Sprint Cup Start Only 33 drivers have started 500 races in their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series careers, but this Saturday in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to add his name to that elite list. Fourteen years ago in May 1999, the Kannapolis, N.C., native made his series debut at his home track. The then-24-year-old driver started eighth in the No. 8 Chevrolet owned by his father, seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt - who, it so happens, also made his series debut at the 1.5-mile track. The younger Earnhardt finished the 1999 Coca-Cola 600 16th, three laps off the lead lap. Earnhardt also scored his first career pole at CMS, in 2000.
IndyCar manufacturer's race to be decided in finale Scott Dixon, driving the Honda-powered No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, won Race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. Will Power won Race 2 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car with a Chevrolet engine.
That means the IZOD IndyCar Series manufacturer's title will be decided in the final race of the season Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The manufacturers enter the finale tied in their championship points duel. Both have nine victories.
Tagliani to Substitute for Franchitti in IZOD IndyCar Series Finale at Fontana Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) announced today driver Alex Tagliani will substitute for Four-time Series Champion and Three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Dario Franchitti at the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in the IZOD IndyCar Series season finale as Franchitti continues to recover from injuries sustained at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston last weekend.
Alex Tagliani, Driver, No. 10 Target Honda: “As a driver you never want an opportunity like this to come under these circumstances, but I’m up for the challenge and looking forward to working with my friend Scott and the whole Target team. I’m thinking of Dario as everyone else is, and wishing him a quick recovery. This team has a championship on the line and I’m ready to step in a help them win it.”
Chip Ganassi, Owner, Target Chip Ganassi Racing: “Obviously the situation is not ideal with Dario being unable to compete in Fontana. As we look to the season finale we needed a driver with experience and the ability to step in and get the job done in the No. 10 car, and Alex was a logical choice for us.”
Ray Scheetz dies (Update)UPDATE A memorial service for legendary auto racing mechanic Ray Scheetz, who passed away on Monday morning, will be held at 1:00 PM on Monday, October 14th, at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. Rose Hills is located at 3888 Workman Mill Road. The services will take place in the Sky Rose Chapel. Everyone is welcome to attend and when you arrive at Rose Hills, please enter at gate #1.
Following the service, a reception will be held at the Swiss Park Banquet Center, which is only a couple miles from Rose Hills. Directions from Rose Hills to Swiss Park will be passed out at the service. At the reception there will be a slide show on Ray’s life and all of his family and friends will be able to share stories, thoughts and smiles on him.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ray’s name can be made to the American Lung Association.
Allmendinger to race for Team Penske in Fontana Team Penske has announced that AJ Allmendinger will race for the team at the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., October 18-19.
Allmendinger will drive the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet at the two-mile superspeedway as he looks to close the season with a strong finish in his return to open-wheel racing in 2013.
“I’m looking forward to racing the IZOD Chevy in the INDYCAR season finale,” said Allmendinger, who will make his sixth IZOD IndyCar Series start for Team Penske this season when he takes the green flag in the 500-mile MAVTV 500 on Saturday evening, October 19. “It’s always a great opportunity to compete for Team Penske and I had great time and a solid result racing the IZOD car in the last 500-mile race back in May at the Indianapolis 500. Hopefully, we can close out the season with another good finish for Team Penske and for Chevrolet.”
Honda unveils Dakar Rally model - the new CRF450 RALLY Honda has released official photos of the new CRF450 RALLY model designed specifically for rally racing. TEAM HRC (the Honda works motorcycle rally team) will use the CRF450 RALLY at the upcoming '2014 Dakar Rally -Argentina, Bolivia, Chile- in January 2014.
TEAM HRC returned to the Dakar Rally in January 2013 for the first time in 24 years, with a Prototype of CRF450 RALLY based on Honda’s commercial CRF450X enduro racing model. The 2013 Dakar Rally generated valuable data in key areas such as engine output, aerodynamic performance, durability and maintenance requirements, which was used as the basis for further design modifications and enhancements.
De Silvestro talks Franchitti crash, Houston podium on SportsDash After a weekend in Houston that saw her earn her first IZOD IndyCar Series podium result but also witness the aftermath of Dario Franchitti’s devastating crash, KV Racing Technology’s Simona de Silvestro visited NBCSN’s SportsDash (See video) with Yahoo! Sports to discuss both of those matters.
Echoing the opinions of several other drivers, De Silvestro said the Franchitti crash reminded her of the infamous accident that killed Dan Wheldon in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, she maintained that INDYCAR is doing all it can to make improvements to the safety of the sport.
Ashley Judd rushes to estranged hubby Dario Franchitti after crash
Dario and Ashley after Dario won the 2012 Indy 500
Ashley Judd, who rushed to the side of her estranged husband Dario Franchitti after he crashed badly Sunday at an IndyCar race in Houston, thanked fans Monday for their support.
"Thank you for the prayers for @dariofranchitti," she tweeted Sunday. "I have only clothes on my back & the dogs but that's all that we need & we are on our way."
Franchitti suffered a concussion, two fractured vertebrae and a broken ankle in the final-lap crash, which saw his car go airborne into a catch fence and shatter. With debris flying everywhere, including into the stands, 13 spectators and a series official were also injured.
Positioning Of Grandstand, Course Setup Questioned Following Houston IndyCar Wreck IndyCar driver Will Power "questioned the bumpy track surface and the position of the grandstand in the area of the street circuit involved" in Sunday's final-lap crash at the Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, according to Jeff Olson of USA TODAY.
Power said, "Next year they'll have to grind that section of the track down (to make it more smooth)." Olson notes debris from the wreck as well as a piece of the catchfence entered the grandstand. The grandstand's positioning -- "on the outside of a high-speed, sweeping turn -- also came under fire after the incident."
Simona de Silvestro Says the Future of Racing Is Electric
Simona de Silvestro
A woman has yet to win the Indianapolis 500, but Simona de Silvestro, the Swiss-born driver, could be the first. In last Saturday’s race at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, she came in second to Scott Dixon, her best finish ever (and first podium) in the Izod IndyCar Series.
“I’ve been waiting for that kind of finish for a long time, and to have it come in 2013 near the end of the season was a great feeling,” de Silvestro said. “I had a pretty fast car, but Dixon had a bit faster one. I couldn’t quite catch or pass him, but we were competing until the last corner.”
Not a bad result for the green entrant in the race. Zero-emission Indy cars are quite a bit down the road, but de Silvestro said that her racing team was carbon neutral because of offsets acquired on her behalf. De Silvestro drives a car sponsored by a nuclear industry initiative, and she’s passionate about the benefits of the harnessed atom.
Would the Houston fence post have killed Franchitti a la Wheldon?
With no closed cockpits as long proposed by AR1.com, IndyCar is lucky Dario Franchitti did not go into the fence posts head first in Houston. If he had IndyCar may have had the death of another of their superstars on their hands - blunt force trauma to the head. It's like rolling the dice. Let's hope they don't come up snake eyes anytime soon.
As for this ugly pontoon appendages hanging off the back of the Dallara IndyCar - time to get rid of them. They don't do their job. This is not the first time a car went up and over the car in front since those costly things have been added. We wonder if they are there so Dallara can charge the teams more money in the initial purchase of the car as well as replacements when they break.
Jeff Burton is nearing a deal that will keep him in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season. Burton is splitting after this year with Richard Childress Racing. Ryan Newman is taking over the team's #31 Chevy beginning next season. During a break in testing Tuesday at Martinsville Speedway, Burton said he's close to a deal that will keep him at the Sprint Cup level next season -- though he declined to specify exactly where. "I actually have a lot of clarity, I just can't talk about it just yet," he said.
"I can almost talk about it, but I just can't. I don't know when I'll be able to - it's going to be a couple of weeks. A lot of stuff happened toward the end of last week and into (Monday). So yeah, it's getting real clear to me what's going to be going on. But I'm just not at the liberty to discuss it right now." Burton did confirm the ride would be at the Sprint Cup level. NASCAR.com
Tony Kanaan: Crash in Houston doesn't discourage IndyCar fans
Tony Kanaan said IndyCar fans were made Sunday in Houston despite Dario Franchitti’s late-race crash.
Kanaan and Scott Dixon went to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston to visit Dario Franchitti and what injured spectators they could find following the crash Sunday. They also saw the IndyCar timing and scoring official whose nose had been cut by flying debris.
The first thing Kanaan noticed was a lack of significant injuries among the spectators, 13 of which were treated either at the scene or the hospital.
Wilson rides to support Patrick Dempsey organization
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson will ride his bike this weekend in the Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen to raise funds for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, Maine.
Wilson, who carried a Dempsey Challenge decal on the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing entry in the Baltimore Grand Prix, incorporates cycling into his training.
Dixon seizes control of championship with Houston performance
The IZOD IndyCar Series' championship scenario is easy to digest for new points leader Scott Dixon, who finished first and second in the 90-lap races Oct. 5-6 that constituted the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
Finish fifth in the 250-lap twilight MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 19 and, no matter the result posted by Helio Castroneves, he'll secure his third series title.
It's the eighth consecutive year that the series champion will be decided in the season finale.
NASCAR Kansas TV rating ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 6, earned a 2.6 U.S. household rating, averaging 4,162,371 viewers, according to Nielsen Media.
The rating and viewership for the fourth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup were up from last year’s race, which earned a 2.5 rating and averaged 3,896,638 viewers. It was the highest-rated and most-viewed race so far in this year’s Chase.
Nasty France divorce case comes to an end The nasty court battle between Brian and Megan France has come to an end.
At one time they were NASCAR’S golden couple. He was the CEO, and she was the wife and mother.
They married for a second time in October of 2005, had a couple of kids in 2006, and the fairy tale came to an end in April of 2008. Since then, they have battled it out in court over money.
For years, much of that legal fight was hidden to the public because a judge sealed the France file.
We at NBC Charlotte felt that was a privilege not granted to anyone else using the court system, so we and our partners at the Charlotte Observer waged a two year battle to open the file, finally winning in May.
Earnhardt arrested on DUI Racer Bobby Dale Earnhardt apologized to fans, friends and family on Tuesday following his arrest in West Virginia on a drunken driving charge.
"I wanted to let you all know I made a terrible mistake last night drinking and driving and I am thankful nothing bad happened from my stupidity and I know It could have," Earnhardt wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
"I'm sorry for letting all my fans friends and family down," said Earnhardt.
The 25-year-old is the son of Kerry Earnhardt, nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt.
Lotus pilot Kimi Raikkonen looks head to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix and after a second place finish in Korea on Sunday, the Finn is at the top of his game heading to one of his favorite circuits, Suzuka...
Suzuka is up next; what are your thoughts on the circuit?
Normally it doesn’t make too much difference to me where we race – as long as we have a good result then I’ll enjoy it – but Suzuka is a track I look forward to every season. It’s a proper circuit that’s been around for a many years, and you can understand why as it’s a challenge for the drivers and usually makes for some good racing too. It’s fast, technical and there are some good places to overtake, which to me is what racing should be about.
New World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier joins ROC field Fresh from becoming World Rally Champion for the first time, Sebastien Ogier has signed up for the 2013 Race Of Champions, to be held at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on the weekend of December 14-15.
Ogier is still smiling after sealing the title on home soil at last weekend’s Rallye de France with a fine drive to victory – more than enough to grab the single point he needed to end up on top. The result crowns a glorious year for the Volkswagen driver, who has dominated the World Rally Championship with no fewer than seven wins.
Cheating MWR hoping to unveil new plan soon Michael Waltrip Racing majority owner Rob Kauffman told FOXSports.com on Sunday he hopes to unveil the company's reorganizational plan "relatively soon." The moves will come following MWR's penalties for attempts to manipulate the outcome of the Richmond International Raceway race on Sept. 7 and the subsequent announcement from NAPA to pull its sponsorship from the #56 Toyota team. "We're working on an announcement," Kauffman said.
"I think it's been a week since we last spoke, so we're trying to get it all together. But we have a couple of good options. I think rather than use the word "release,' I'd prefer to say allow guys to explore all their options - just as we're exploring all of our options.
Video: Many dead after monster truck plows into crowd at Mexican air show At least eight people died and nearly 80 were injured – dozens critically – when an unwieldy monster struck hurtled into a crowd of Mexican air show spectators, officials said Sunday.
Francisco Velazquez, the driver, lost control of the truck after leaping over two cars late Sunday afternoon about 230 miles south of the U.S. border in Chihuahua, Mexico.
He was detained Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and authorities are investigating whether safety regulations were properly enforced before the show.
Franchitti injury update It seems the Scotsman had more broken bones from the flying wreck in Sunday's Houston race than originally thought. Reports are now that he suffered two broken vertebrae in his spine, a concussion, a broken right ankle and now they are saying he also has two cracked ribs.
The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner underwent surgery on his ankle Sunday night. He is expected to have another operation on the ankle but doctors said his spinal injuries would not require surgery.
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