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Grubb named Wypall crew chief for California  Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet driven by Tony Stewart, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for Sunday's Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in California.

It's the second consecutive week for Grubb to win the award and fourth time this season.

After running up front most of Sunday's race, Stewart was caught speeding on pit road with fewer than 100 laps to go and lost a lap. A debris caution on lap 186 allowed Stewart to stay out, putting him back on the lead lap in 24th. Then, when the race leaders came in with 25 laps to go, Grubb chose to keep his driver out in an effort to gain track position. More ...

Another NASCAR drug user suspended  Robert Good, a crew member for the No. 26 Brian Keselowski Racing team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance-abuse policy.  Good’s violation came on Oct. 9.
Roush axes NASCAR Truck team  Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush said Tuesday his team, which has 50 victories in the series, will not return next year.

“I don’t see a presence in the Truck series for Roush Fenway for 2010,” Roush said.

“It’s been a happy time in the Truck series. It’s a worthwhile series. When Chrysler came in in the ‘90s and Toyota came in just after the turn of the century and brought their sponsorships, it discounted the sponsorships that other non-automotive affiliations would make,” Roush said.

“Dodge stepped into one of my sponsorship arrangements. When they came in and offered two trucks that [were] half the price for what was required to run one of my trucks, they basically discounted 75 percent.”

The cost of finding adequate sponsors has simply gotten too high, Roush said.

“All that was created by NASCAR’s insistence that before these manufacturers came in and went into the Cup side that they had to spend so much time on the Truck side,” Roush said. “Since they didn’t have sponsors, they had to pay for it themselves. That left the rest of us with a bill for paying the difference between what a sponsor would no pay and what the costs were that were just too big.”

track news
Steel construction under way for MIS infield project  Construction crews have begun erecting steel at the site of Michigan International Speedway’s $17 million suite and media center building project.

“First steel is always an important landmark in a project like this because everyone gets a better sense of the size and scope of what is being constructed,” said Allen Blower, Project Director for Clark Construction which is serving as General Contractor for MIS. “We are very pleased with the progress that has been made to date which has served to keep us on schedule for completion in time for the 2010 season at the track.” More ...

In his own words: Duncan Dayton  Patr¢n Highcroft Racing celebrated the team's 2009 LMP1 championship victory in grand style in Monterey, CA tonight - collecting a host of silverware at the American Le Mans Series Night of Champions.

Not only did Scott Sharp, David Brabham and team owner Duncan Dayton collect the driver's and team's championship awards - the Danbury, CT-based squad also scored the IMSA Cup trophy - presented to Team Manager, Robin Hill and Technical Director, David Luckett.

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing mechanic Raffi Aroyan was also awarded the American Le Mans Series LMP1 Mechanic of the Year Award.  More ...
ALMS 2009 award winners  Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Luis Diaz and Corvette Racing’s Doug Fehan were the big winners Sunday and received highly sought after awards voted on by fans of the American Le Mans Series. Diaz, reigning LMP2 champion, received the Most Popular Driver Award while Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager, won his second straight From the Fans award.

Both honors, based on input from Series fans worldwide through americanlemans.com, were among many special honors presented at the Series’ annual awards banquet in Monterey, Calif.

Diaz’s award went along nicely with the LMP2 driver championship trophy he picked up later in the night alongside teammate/team owner Adrian Fernandez. Fehan was singled out by fans as being the person who made the greatest contribution to the Series and sports car racing in the past year.
Snow Racing’s Melanie Snow, who won three Challenge class races and shared the driving title with husband Martin, won the 2009 Rookie of the Year award. Joel Feinberg, from Primetime Race Group, won the Founder’s Cup as the leading gentleman driver in the championship. More ...
racing news
Saudi Arabia supports Vatanen's FIA bid  The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) has come out and backed Ari Vatanen in this month's FIA Presidential election.

"We looked long and hard at all the proposals and studied what was on offer from both sides," said Mishaal Al-Sudairy, SAMF president.

"We reached the decision that the policies to be followed by Ari Vatanen and HRH Prince Feisal fitted better with the future plans of the ambitious Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and we will support Ari Vatanen in the election. We are looking forward to working behind the new president in a unified FIA.

"After meeting with Ari Vatanen, we realized that the rumor that he was going to give more voting power to larger clubs was totally unfounded. Only the General Assembly can change the detail of the voting system. More ...

A lap at Interlagos with Adrian Sutil  UPDATE Interlagos is the third anti-clockwise circuit in the calendar, and situated in the city of Sao Paulo around 800m above sea level. This altitude means a normal atmospheric pressure of around 930mb and so a loss of nearly 10% of an F1 cars aerodynamic and engine performance.

The layout features a relatively tight infield section with gradients unsighting some of the corners, for example the double right Ferradura, combined with a long curved flat-out section uphill from Juncao, probably the most critical corner on the lap.

It's quite testing mechanically as the circuit can be bumpy and the apex speeds low in places, but sectors 1 and 3 require a lower drag set-up between somewhere like Barcelona and Spa. It's always an exciting race with a football stadium atmosphere.

10/12/09 This weekend the Formula 1 drivers will travel to Brazil for round 16 in the 2009 Formula 1 world championship. Adrian Sutil enjoyed two Brazilian Grand Prix weekends before. The Force India driver talks us a lap around Interlagos.

We start on the long pit straight, reaching about 320kph before the first corner. You have to try not to brake too hard as it's quite a wide turn that tightens at the end. You're in second gear by in the end but you have to be careful not to lock up the inside right wheel. There is a lot of camber in the road at this point and is quite steep downhill. The exit into turn two is very important as you need to carry the speed into three and onto the long straight.

Turn four is a fourth gear corner, pretty nice but not too difficult, where you can take a curb inside. Turn five is flat out into six and seven, which is a double right hander in fourth or fifth gear. The mid corner speed is very important as the exit is just 100m long so you can concentrate on getting a good entry to turn eight, which is another second gear right hander.

For nine you can use the camber but have to try not be too aggressive - it's a bit of a stop and go corner. Corner 10 is very similar to eight, a tight second gear right hander with wide curbs. Then there's a downhill left hander with a lot of camber again, which can be tricky in the rain as there may be rivers on the track and you can get aquaplaning. Then we go into the last corner, which is in third gear but the exit is crucial as we go onto one of the longer straights of the calendar and you can lose a lot of time if you don't get it right.

NASCAR again accused of fixing races  The phantom debris issue has come roaring back behind #9-Kasey Kahne's accusation that NASCAR threw a bogus caution Sunday to bunch up the field and avoid a boring runaway win by Jimmie Johnson at Auto Club Speedway. Kahne was likely headed to a top-10 finish when he was wrecked on a restart with 12 laps to go. Kurt Busch started the accident when he bounced off the wall and into Kahne. The contact sent Kahne into Greg Biffle, and both cars spun through the grass with enough damage to ruin their race. "It's disappointing that we had a bad race because of a caution to put a show on for the fans. That's a good part of the sport - we have to keep the fans excited - but sometimes it ruins people's days," said Kahne. There's one small problem with Kahne's contention. There was clearly debris on the track. "There was debris on the track, it was talked about on the (NASCAR) radio, it was identified as something being there and the caution was thrown," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Monday. And if NASCAR had been wrong, and there was nothing on the track? Oh well. "NASCAR is always going to put the safety of the competitors first, and when it comes to identifying something on the track, we're always going to err on the side of caution," Poston said. And that's what will forever keep this issue alive. Because sometimes there may not be debris on the track, competitors and fans will always form their own opinions on NASCAR's intent at the time of the caution. Associated Press
Danica Patrick doesn't belong in NASCAR, period  Dario Franchitti won his second IndyCar Series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday by using a smart fuel mileage strategy call by team owner Chip Ganassi that allowed him to go from third to first, win the race and secure the title.

This past season was the first full one for Franchitti after trying his hand in NASCAR. The foray into NASCAR was nothing short of disastrous for the Scotsman who won the 2007 IndyCar title.

While Franchitti was winning his race Sunday, the rumors in NASCAR again centered on Danica Patrick’s continued flirtation with the sport.

Despite widespread reports that she has signed a contract with her current IndyCar team, the talk around the NASCAR garage was that Patrick is still considering giving NASCAR a try.  More ...

Tires 'on way'; A1GP seeks court reprieve  

MORE than 500 tires are en route to Australia and two new A1GP teams are set to line up on the grid at this month's SuperGP, according to event organizers.

Having overcome a series of hurdles to the race making the starting grid, series bosses have told The Bulletin that all of its race gear is on its way or about to be shipped to Australia.

A1 general manager Paul Cherry said seven sets of tires for each of the 20 teams lining up for the Gold Coast SuperGP were already headed our way.

"The tires are already on their way, they are coming directly from France," said Mr. Cherry from London.

"And I've just been out at Stansted Airport where half of our equipment is now in containers ready to be sent to the Gold Coast. More ...

Brazilian Grand Prix Preview - Q&A with Toyota's Pascal Vasselon  
What are the characteristics of Interlagos?
A few years ago we used to say it was extremely bumpy and we would spend the weekend working on the suspension to absorb the bumps. But we saw in the last years that after the latest work, Interlagos is now no bumpier than most other tracks so that is no longer a feature. What we are left with is a very interesting lay-out which presents quite a challenge, with low, medium and high-speed corners as well as a long straight. This means you have to compromise in terms of downforce and drag level to get strong performance on the infield and give yourself a chance to pass at the end of the start-finish straight.

Will Interlagos suit the TF109?
We have always been quick in Brazil so we expect to be very competitive. In terms of aerodynamic efficiency Interlagos is close to the baseline configuration we run in the wind tunnel so our car is very well optimized to this kind of track. Last year we definitely had the pace to finish on the podium after Jarno qualified second with quite a lot of fuel on board. We had the race pace as well but it turned out to be a little bit difficult because of the rain. In the end we missed the podium and Timo did very well during those famous last laps on dry tires when it was raining. Overall he gained a position and finished sixth but we were a little bit disappointed because we had the speed to be on the podium. More ...

Sato eyes F1 race return for 2010  
(GMM)  Takuma Sato is confident he can bounce back into a formula one race seat, after departing the paddock with the failed Super Aguri team mid last year.

After some tests with Toro Rosso over the pre-2009 winter period, the Japanese driver made his first paddock appearance of this season at Suzuka last weekend.

A Japanese sports newspaper said the 32-year-old veteran of 93 grands prix with three separate teams was "job hunting", sensing some opportunities with the turmoil of the 2010 driver market.

Sato told the Reuters news agency that he is in talks not only with the new teams but also existing ones, and also considers switching to the American open wheeler series IRL an option for 2010.

"I'm putting the same weight towards F1 and IRL," he revealed, admitting his appearance at Suzuka was to ensure his face is remembered at a time when teams are contemplating their line-ups for the following season.

"I've found sometimes you can't control all things by yourself ... You can't afford to be forgotten," said Sato.

Rainy week forecast as F1 lands in Brazil  (GMM)  A miserable weekend of weather could color the outcome of Brazil's penultimate round of the 2009 world championship.

With Jenson Button only needing a third place at Interlagos to guarantee the drivers' title, weather forecasts are predicting a rainy week for the surrounding area of the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

"If it rains in Interlagos, driving will be very tricky as there is lots of standing water on the track.  So I'm hoping for good weather," said BMW's Robert Kubica.

Heidfeld frustrated with modest 'image'  
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has expressed frustration that, while his teammate Robert Kubica has secured a seat with Renault, he is still working to find a place on the 2010 grid.

24-year-old Pole Kubica is one of the most highly rated drivers in formula one, but he has actually scored only 9 points compared with Heidfeld's 15 so far this season.

Moreover, the veteran Heidfeld, 32, trails Kubica only slightly in the qualifying stakes, having outqualified his Polish teammate 7 times ahead of the 15 races so far in 2009.

"In terms of the public perception, I am behind drivers who are not as good as me," the German complained to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Last year, Heidfeld struggled notably at BMW-Sauber, but in 2007 he clearly had the measure of Kubica. More ...

racing news
Quote of the Week  UPDATE An update from Marcus on his exact quote:  "The truth is that we both were going side by side through Corkscrew and both were racing aggressively for the position which unfortunately cost
Marcus Niemela
her the race and also bent my car. I made it clear in both, on the podium and in the press conference, that it was not my fault nor hers. Naturally I apologized that it might have cost her championship and said that I didn't want to be involved in the championship fight in this way."  Marcus Niemela

10/11/09 "I do not know where she is now, but if I was her, I would be up here smacking me upside the head for what I did" Markus Niemela at the Atlantic Series podium interview, after he totally screwed up on lap 1 and took out then point leader Simona De Silvestro in the Corkscrew, as she never saw him coming. Of course the championship for her was gone then.
Star Mazda Races on South American TV  The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and P-UNO Motorsports TV today announced the signing of a contract with SPEED Channel Latin America to broadcast seven races of the 2009 STAR Mazda Series Presented by Goodyear championship.

Seven of the Star Mazda Championships 13 races from the 2009 season are part of the package, including the season-opener at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway and Rounds 4 and 5 from the Mazda Formula X double-header at New Jersey Motorsports Park as well as Rounds 8 and 9 from the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda double-header at Autobahn and Round 10, the legendary street race in Trois Rivières in Quebec, Canada. More ...

skip barber
14 year-old sets track record at Lime Rock  American open-wheel teenage sensation, Sage Karam, captured both poles in qualifying and followed it up with a race victory in the Skip Barber National Series at Lime Rock Race Park. Karam’s first pole in qualifying was in the dry and he backed it up the following day with a pole in the rain. Sage later went on to win the main feature event race by over 2 seconds.

Karam’s Oso*Fresh and Michael Fux Foundation sponsored car was adorned in pink trim and ribbons to raise awareness towards National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “I dedicated this victory to a tremendous teacher and coach that is friends with my dad at Liberty High School (Bethlehem, Pa). Ginnie Rohn is a fantastic individual and is showing amazing determination in her fight”. More ...

Donington granted extension  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has issued yet another deadline to Simon Gillett, despite the Donington boss breaching the contract to host next year's British grand prix by not coming up with the money for the track refurbishments in time.

After a discussion with Gillett on Monday, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told British media that Donington has two more weeks to remedy the contract breach.

At the same time, the 78-year-old Briton vowed to kick off talks with alternative venue Silverstone about the 2010 event, and seemed open to BRDC president Damon Hill's requirement of more than a one-race deal.

"Donington are in breach of contract and they have 14 days to remedy that breach," Ecclestone told the Guardian newspaper.

"We have an agreement with Silverstone that in the event of a breach we will talk to them and we will be discussing this.

"Of course it is no good for them (Silverstone) having a one-year job, for sure," he added, explaining that the track will have the opportunity of "exactly the same contract as Donington".

In the Financial Times, Ecclestone cautioned that F1 "can't enter an agreement (with Silverstone) until the other (Donington) contract is bye-bye".

In a media statement, Donington's Gillett confirmed the new two-week deadline, beginning on Monday.

Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Tickets on sale  Barber Motorsports Park and Zoom Motorsports announced that tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Spectators can select from variety of tickets for the April 9-11 event weekend, ranging in price from $15 to $600 and are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance as prices will increase the week of the race. In addition to tickets, spectators can also purchase tent camping, motorhome camping and on-site parking. Limited quantities of these options as well as the Speed Pass ticket and Billy's Sports Grill Club ticket are available

One ticket option is the 3-Day Admission, which provides one general admission ticket for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Spectators can select to sit on a hillside or in a grandstand; both options are first come, first serve. The 3-Day Admission tickets are available for $70. More ...

Rideless, Franchitti caps return with second title  Dario Franchitti left the IndyCar Series following his 2007 championship looking for new challenges. He returned to the series this season learning the grass isn't always greener and those lessons helped him claim his second IndyCar Series title.

"In '07 there was a lot of satisfaction in getting that one done," Franchitti said. "And now to come back from where we were a year ago, I think that's what makes it sweeter."

Where he was a year ago was out of a job after his effort with Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team was shut down. A meeting at the IndyCar Series event at Detroit's Belle Isle led to dinner in Detroit where Franchitti agreed to contract terms written on a napkin that would see the 2007 champion drive for Ganassi's IndyCar Series team in 2009. In returning, Franchitti felt he could win races but not the title so quickly. More ...

Rahal, Hildebrand honored with Firestone's legacy awards  Graham Rahal and J.R. Hildebrand never got the opportunity to race with either Tony Renna or Greg Moore, but the two rising stars will have their names Indy Racing League drivers will be linked with awards given in their honor.

Rahal, driver of the No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, was named the winner of the Tony Renna Rising Star Award on Sunday night at the W Hotel in South Beach. Hildebrand, who claimed the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights championship for ARPRO/Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing, was honored with the Greg Moore Legacy Award.

"Greg and Tony competed only on Firestone tires at the top levels of open-wheel racing - in Firestone Indy Lights, CART and the IndyCar Series - and both were a close part of the Firestone family," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing, which presented both awards for the second consecutive year. More ...

Speed and CBS team to televise 2010 ALMS races  The American Le Mans Series, which boasts a worldwide television audience of more than 650 million homes, has announced its domestic television partners for the 2010 season.

SPEED, recognized as the leader in motorsports programming, will telecast seven races for the world’s leading sports car championship beginning with the 58th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 20. It will also air the Series’ stop at America’s premier street course race, the 38th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17.

CBS takes over May 22 for the six-hour Monterey Sports Car Championships at one of America’s most revered sports car courses - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. CBS also will broadcast Round 6 on August 7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. More ...

Renault F1 teams gets Russian boost  The RenaultF1 team has received a commercial boost with the news that Russian mobile phone operator MegaFon, a partner of the team since June, is to expand its sponsorship of the team for the last two races of the 2009 Formula One season.

The company has taken advantage of the team losing title sponsor ING and Spanish insurer Mutua Madrilena in the wake of the 'crashgate' scandal, which saw team principal Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds leave the team in disgrace. MegaFon, a major sponsor of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, will have increased branding for the races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi over the next three weeks. Its logos will appear on the floor and nose areas of the car. More ...

tv news
SPEED to air Prelude to the Dream  For the third consecutive year, SPEED™ has secured exclusive basic cable replay rights for Tony Stewart’s “Prelude to the Dream” dirt late model race, with the first airing scheduled for Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. ET.

Two-time NASCAR champ and current Chase contender Stewart headlines a list of drivers including three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano, and NHRA drivers Cruz Pedregon and Ron Capps. The all-star lineup competed at the Stewart-owned half-mile track located in Western Ohio in 2,300-pound dirt late model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower. More ...

Massa 'ready to race' after Fiorano test  (GMM)  Felipe Massa on Monday said he felt back to his old self after driving a formula one car for the first time since sustaining serious head injuries in July.

79 days after his qualifying crash in Hungary, the Brazilian was at the wheel of a privately-owned two-year-old F2007, complete with slick GP2-spec tires, at Ferrari's private Fiorano test track.

"It felt as if the incident never happened," he said.  "I'm in good shape physically, I'm the same bastard as before," Massa, 28, joked.

"I had no problems and I'm ready to do a race, or two races in a row."

Ferrari has ruled out a return to the cockpit of his car number 3 at the last two races of 2009, but confirmed Massa as Fernando Alonso's teammate for next season.

"Obviously I'll take my time as a precaution, you have to respect that, but having got in the car I can tell you that I'm just as I was before the accident," said Massa.

Another disappointing crowd at Fontana  NASCAR hoped moving the second California race from Labor Day weekend to October would help it become a better draw in the crowded southern California sports calendar. Despite near perfect conditions with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, there were plenty of empty spaces in the stands at the 2-mile oval, where the grandstand seats 92,000 had about 65,000 people in them.

That didn't seem to bother track president Gillian Zucker. She was pleased with the turnout, particularly in the lower seats, which she said were sold out [Many were free giveaways].

"We deserve a race in the Chase and we deserve two races at this race track," Zucker said. "The fans have responded but there are other factors that play into this."

Massa back on track at Fiorano  (GMM)  79 days after sustaining life-threatening head injuries in a Budapest qualifying crash, Felipe Massa on Monday morning returned to the wheel of a formula one car.

Photos depicted the 28-year-old Brazilian driver at the wheel of a slick-tired F2007 Ferrari, at the Italian team's own test circuit Fiorano.

The ANSA news agency said Massa completed a single installation lap early in the morning before returning to the track for more laps.

NASCAR Newscast: Chase Race 4 Auto Club Recap  
New NASCAR start times pose difficult dilemma for IRL  The Indy Racing League is already facing a difficult decision for 2010.

The IRL is expected to release its television schedule this week, but NASCAR beat them to the punch with the announcement that the stock car series is going to an earlier, uniform start time for its races. That move will put NASCAR in direct conflict with several IRL races; notably St. Pete, Long Beach, Kansas, Iowa, Edmonton and Mid-Ohio.

If the goal is to avoid NASCAR Cup races, the IRL may need to move its start times. But not everyone agrees adjusting the times is the best course of action. More ...

Latest on Danica to NASCAR  Michael Waltrip Racing is interested in Danica Patrick and while she has a connection through her sponsor GoDaddy.com to JR Motorsports, talks with MWR have progressed to a point where team believes it has a shot. MWR vice president and general manager Ty Norris said Sunday he met with Patrick a couple of months ago and has talked to her people in the last week about a possible partial Nationwide program for next year. He said MWR might be able to offer her more manufacturer support, focus more on her development and also has room under the four-team Sprint Cup cap other than some of the other teams with which she has talked. Patrick wants a car that has points so she wouldn't have to qualify on speed, said Norris, who has talked with Patrick's representatives in the last week. MWR's Nationwide program has been a mix of drivers in recent years. "In recent weeks, I would say the discussions have become a little bit more detailed and intense to where you're talking about ifs, ands and buts," Norris said. "When you get to that level, you try to figure out what are the next steps, if there are next steps. Any owner of a Nationwide team or a Cup team with a racing operation would love to have Danica there after you talk to her because of her passion to race." Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday his JR Motorsports team has talked with her. Roush Fenway Racing officials have said they have talked with her but the talks fizzled over what it would take financially to build a program around her. Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Sunday that it would be hard for his team to put her in a car for next year because it would likely need to be a third car. SceneDaily
Reutimann needs additional sponsorship  Michael Waltrip wants to race next year but the priority at Michael Waltrip Racing is to fill the sponsorship for Sprint Cup driver #00-David Reutimann next year, MWR vice president and general manager Ty Norris said Sunday. Depending on how deals fall in the next few weeks, Reutimann could have as many as 12 races open. Aaron's is going to be the sponsor for half the season for Reutimann. "We may be as few as six or as many as needing 12," Norris said prior to the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. "It depends on how contracts fall the next couple of weeks. & We are going to make some announcements in the next two or three weeks on a number of other sponsors." SceneDaily
NASCAR takes Johnson and Martin's car back for more inspection  For the third consecutive week, NASCAR officials will take Jimmie Johnson's and Mark Martin's cars to the Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates hold down the top two spots in the Chase standings, with Johnson leading Martin by 12 points. Johnson's #48 Chevy cleared a post-race inspection after winning the Pepsi 500 Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. The winning car and the engines of the top two finishing cars always are taken to the R&D Center. Johnson won at Dover two weeks ago and Martin was second. After closer inspection at Concord, both teams were warned about being too close to the edge of the allowed tolerances at several places on the car bodies. Martin finished seventh last week at Kansas and Johnson was ninth, but both cars again were taken the R&D Center. Both cars were cleared after inspections in Concord. Martin finished fourth Sunday, but NASCAR officials again elected to take the #5 Chevy back to the R&D Center for additional tests. ESPN.com
tv news
New NASCAR TV Show to debut  SPEED will open its week of expanded coverage from the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the premiere of a new nightly show, NASCAR Race Hub, on Oct. 12 at 7:30pm/et. NASCAR icon and Hall of Fame nominee Richard Petty will be the featured guest. NASCAR Race Hub will be a 30-minute show scheduled to air Mondays through Thursdays at 7:30pm/et. In addition to the new nightly show, SPEED will offer a full day of coverage from Voting Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where the inaugural class will be announced at 4:00pm/et on Oct. 14. SPEED. SPEED PR
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari rules out 2009 race return for Massa
  • Loeb not sure he's ready for F1 debut
  • Mosley warns lawyers to prepare for his memoirs
  • Earlier Monaco date solves 2010 calendar concerns
  • Ecclestone admits not all new teams will debut
  • Ecclestone still prefers 'medals' scoring concept
  • Glock's back injury 'will heal' - doctor
  • Barrichello's Williams switch not decided yet
  • Prost still interested in Renault team boss role
  • Alguersuari's grandfather dies aged 90

Ferrari rules out 2009 race return for Massa
(GMM)  Ferrari has ended speculation that Felipe Massa could make a return to the cockpit of the number 3 F60 in Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks.

The Brazilian driver has said the chance of a 2009 comeback from his serious head injuries is very low, but on Monday he will test a 2007-spec formula one car at Ferrari's Fiorano test track.

His eyesight has been given a clean bill of health by the FIA, and Ferrari also revealed at the weekend that neurological tests in Paris had a positive outcome.

"Talk of a proper return to formula one can wait until the start of the 2010 season and only at that time will the medical checks be carried out, as required by the FIA in order to allow someone who has been injured to return to racing," the team said in a statement.

Ferrari also played down Massa's F2007 test, insisting it is not "a proper test session" and that he will only do "a few laps".

The Maranello based team also insisted that the results of the "informal" medical checks in Paris in the last days were positive but "not enough to endorse a return to competition in the next two months".

Loeb not sure he's ready for F1 debut
(GMM)  Sebastien Loeb has admitted that inexperience may be the biggest obstacle to his desire to make his F1 debut for Toro Rosso in Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks.

In changeable weather, the multiple and current champion of world rallying drove a GP2 car at the series' group test in Jerez last week but was slightly off the pace.

In an interview posted afterwards on his official website, 35-year-old Loeb admitted he is not sure he feels ready to line up on a formula one grid.

"Today, I cannot say," the Frenchman answered.  "I know that I lack driving with this type of (single seater) car.  The inexperience is a handicap.

"Just now I don't know how good I would be if a possible opportunity to participate in a grand prix presented itself," Loeb added. More ...

Shrinking Homestead crowd  UPDATE Another reader writes, As much as I enjoyed Saturday afternoon's IndyCar race, I keep asking myself: How could 3 cars lap the field twice? Only 3 cars? And with the pit stop they finished a lap ahead.  Did Honda give them something special for the season finale? Is this IndyCar's way of generating excitement with supposedly equal engines in equal cars in front of a sparse crowd? Mike Seidenman

10/11/09 A reader writes, I was watching this 1996 CART IndyCar race at Homestead, Florida.  Look at the size of the crowd compared to what we saw at Homestead for the IRL IndyCar finale.  Yesterday's attendance was about 1/4 of what CART got back in 1996 when it controlled the IndyCar series. Tell us one more time why CART was so bad and the IRL had to take over IndyCar Racing. 

The people responsible for destroying the sport I love should be held accountable for what they did.  Oh wait, Tony George was already fired.  Why is he still allowed in the paddock at all?  He should be run out of town along with all the minions he surrounded himself with.  And where are all the new engine manufacturers they touted, or the series title sponsor? Mordichai Rosen P.S. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

Edwards and Summerton score a 1-2 for Newman team  John Edwards picked up his fourth Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda victory of the season and leapfrogged both Jonathan Summerton and Simona De Silvestro to become the youngest champion in the 36-year history of the series with a dominating performance at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday afternoon.

Edwards started from the pole position and led throughout the 50-minute race in the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy machine from Newman Wachs Racing, beating Summerton to the stripe by 1.380 seconds to get the victory. He and Summerton ended the season tied with 182 points and four victories apiece. Edwards took the title based on the fact that he earned four second-place finishes to Summerton’s three runner-up results. More ...

Adam Christodoulou Wins Star Mazda Championship  English racer Adam Christodoulou, starting from the outside of the front row in the #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule / Miller Milling Company / Alpinestars Mazda, won the season finale, the Rookie of the Year award -- and the overall 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear – today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  It was Christodoulou's third victory of the season and earned him a fully-sponsored ride in the 2010 Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder.  He will also collect a check for $100,000 at tonight's Series award ceremonies.  More ...
Franchitti collects $1M bonus on South Beach  A day after winning the 2009 IndyCar® Series championship, Dario Franchitti was honored for his second title in three years. Franchitti and Firestone Indy Lights® champion J.R. Hildebrand - along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers - were recognized during the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration poolside at the W Hotel on South Beach. Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series, presented Franchitti with a $1 million championship bonus check and a mini IndyCar Series championship trophy. A mini IndyCar Series championship trophy also was awarded to Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi.

"In '07, there was a lot of satisfaction in getting that one done, and now to come back from where we were a year ago is very satisfying," said Franchitti, who used fuel strategy to beat Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske and his teammate Scott Dixon to win the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway by 4.788 seconds to clinch the championship. "I think that's what makes it sweeter is we've got everybody together, and you've got a more balanced schedule, as well. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari confirms Massa to test on Monday
  • Ecclestone wants Monday tests after races
  • Grosjean admits 2010 seat not assured
  • Red Bull set for engine decision in Brazil
  • Silverstone doesn't want one-off 2010 GP deal

Ferrari confirms Massa to test on Monday
(GMM)  Felipe Massa is all set to make his return to the wheel of a formula one car.

The Brazilian, who has not driven grand prix machinery since sustaining serious head injuries during qualifying in Hungary in July, is scheduled to occupy a two-year-old F2007 at Ferrari's Fiorano test track on Monday.

FIA medical checks in Paris on Friday showed his eyesight is back to 100 per cent, and neurological exams on Saturday had a "rather positive" outcome, Massa's Ferrari team said.

The Italian squad confirmed that the 28-year-old will drive the 2007, run by Ferrari's F1 Clienti customer department, on Monday.

Ecclestone wants Monday tests after races
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that a novel approach to reducing testing costs will be adopted by formula one in the near future.

This year's in-season testing ban has been controversial, not because the teams have struggled to develop their cars, but because it has all but ended the test-driver era as well as made it difficult for newcomers to enter the sport.

"I am sure that in the future we will test on the Monday after races," the F1 chief executive said in an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"The cars are already there, the people as well.  The costs will be kept within limits and we can give young drivers a chance.

"The failure of the current system is that it is virtually impossible to test young drivers," Ecclestone explained.  "That protects the established drivers, but it is absolutely wrong." More ...

NASCAR tweaks wave-around rule for Cup, Nationwide  NASCAR has tweaked its rule on wave-around cars under caution. The new rule now dictates that cars under penalty at the time of the caution are ineligible for the wave around. The change began last week with the Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway after a situation came up in the Nationwide Series race that was new to the double-file restart system instituted in June. In the Nationwide race, Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards was penalized for speeding under green, and then the caution came out. He stayed out and didn't pit and then was among those cars on the end of the lead lap. He then got the "wave around" the caution car (along with the rest of the cars that had stayed out and were on the end of the lead lap) to get to the rear of the line of lead-lap cars. Edwards then went to the end of the line to serve his penalty. That move would not be allowed anymore. The driver would not get the wave around and would start a lap down at the rear of the field on the restart, the penalty for a driver who had a speeding penalty under green but never served it before the caution came out. The new rule in general is any driver under penalty is no longer eligible for the wave around. SceneDaily
Cracked vertebra forces Glock to miss Brazilian GP  Panasonic Toyota Racing regrets to announce that Timo Glock will not participate in the Brazilian Grand Prix due to injuries he suffered in qualifying at Suzuka.

Timo was initially diagnosed with only a minor cut to his leg following his accident in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, but subsequent medical checks in Germany have revealed a cracked vertebra. Doctors have therefore ruled him out of this weekend's race.

As announced earlier today at the Motor Sports Japan festival, third driver Kamui Kobayashi will replace Timo at Interlagos. Kamui took part in Friday practice at Suzuka while Timo recovered from illness and acquitted himself well despite difficult conditions. More ...

Castroneves to become father  
Helio Castroneves and his girlfriend Adriana Henao seen outside Radio City Music Hall in NY City.  Henao, who has been dating Castroneves for the past year, is part Colombian and speaks Spanish.
The Indianapolis 500 champion is about to become a daddy.  Helio Castroneves confirmed today that he and his girlfriend, Adriana Henao, are expecting a child in January. The baby is a girl, and her name will be Mikaella.

"We thought about calling her 'Indy,' but we thought that might be a little too much,'' Castroneves said at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of today's season-ending IndyCar Series race, the Firestone Indy 300.

Castroneves, 34, has the sparkle in his eye over the news he received two days prior to winning the pole for the 500 in May. He has kept it a secret until telling his Team Penske crew members this weekend.

Castroneves and Henao have not started making plans to marry, but he said that's "the natural next step." Indy Star

Sharp announces Ferrari GT2 team  Champion race car driver Scott Sharp, who has made his mark everywhere from Trans-Am and Champ Car to IndyCar and the American Le Mans Series, announced Saturday his latest venture in motorsports. The Patr¢n Highcroft Racing star has created and will own a new race team called Extreme Speed Motorsports that will compete in the American Le Mans Series’ GT2 class.

The team will race a Ferrari 430 GTC and be sponsored by The Patr¢n Spirits Company (Tequila Patr¢n) and supported by Ferrari Corse Clienti. Sharp has also named the team’s first driver - Ed Brown, currently a Patr¢n GT3 Challenge by Yokohama driver and American Le Mans Series GT Challenge class driver with ORBIT Racing. Co-drivers will be announced at a later date. More ...

Plowman joins Andretti Lights team  AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing announced today that driver Martin Plowman will join the team's roster for the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season.

  The 22-year old native of Tamworth, England, comes to the team after posting two top-five and eight top-10 finishes during his rookie year in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.  Plowman's driving career began at the age of 12 when he claimed the British Formula Yamaha Open title.  

  In 2003 Plowman was credited as the first Briton and youngest winner of the French International Open Championship and was elected as a member of the British Racing Drivers' Club's Rising Star program after capturing four wins and seven podiums in just 10 events.  After proving himself a natural-born competitor, Plowman was selected by motorsports legend Alex Zanardi as a sole works driver for Team Zanardi's world championship karting team.  He proved himself further by claiming the coveted CIK/FIA Asian Pacific Championship in Team Zanardi's third outing. More ...
Castroneves wrecks  Helio Castroneves wrecked his primary car near the end of the second IndyCar practice session.

Sparks flew from the rear of Team Penske's No. 3 as Castroneves exited turn 2, sending him sideways down the back straightaway before the car's left rear hit the SAFER barrier at turn 3 and sustained heavy damage. He climbed from the car without assistance and was cleared to return, eventually qualifying 11th.

"The left rear suspension collapsed, and we ended up hitting the wall," Castroneves said. "When you have three wheels, normally it doesn't go well."

Grand-Am Road Racing Announces 2010 Schedule  UPDATE Grand-Am Road Racing announced today its 2010 schedule for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, featuring 12 Daytona Prototype and GT class combined-races in a dozen family-friendly weekends of world famous sports car racing.

The 11th season of competition will include several staple events, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen endurance races, as well as exciting and significant changes to a pair of sprint races at Lime Rock Park and Barber Motorsports Park.

The series will continue its focus on building fan-friendly events that appeal to the whole family and offer unparalleled access to the racing experience, including the pit road fan walk and direct access to drivers, team members and race cars. All Grand-Am events include driver autograph sessions, a pit road fan walk and access to the team paddock, as well as new activities to be introduced in the 2010 season. More ...

NASCAR shrinks restrictor plates at Talladega  NASCAR will reduce the size of the restrictor plate and allow teams an optional change as a way to slow the cars and try to keep them from getting airborne at Talladega. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby [said] Friday at Auto Club Speedway that the restrictor plate will be reduced 1/64 of an inch. The new size will be 59/64 of an inch. Darby estimates it will shave 12 horsepower off the engines. Teams also have been given an option on side wickers, something they hadn't been allowed to use before at Talladega. Darby said that teams "will be able to add the same little side wicker to the end plate on the rear wing much like they do at the downforce tracks. If you look at all the cars in the garage right now on that end plate, all the way out on the back edge they've got a little half by half piece of aluminum. That's eight inches long. It helps in yaw or when the cars are turned. It kind of settles the back of the car down a little bit." Virginian Pilot
Earnhardt Jr. says Danica Patrick would excel in NASCAR  Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday he has the utmost respect for Danica Patrick, the driver he hopes to sign to race a few Nationwide Series events next season for his JR Motorsports team.

"I like Danica a lot," Earnhardt said. "I consider myself friends with her. It's interesting to see her interest in NASCAR. It's interesting for all of us. If we're a piece of that and we play a part in that, we'll have to see going down the road."

"Kelley's been managing the conversations between Danica and our team," Earnhardt said. "It's still in the early stages. I haven't really gotten in the middle of it.

"We've been working like hell to focus on this car [the No. 88 Chevy Cup car Earnhardt drives for Hendrick Motorsports], so I'm not as involved in it as much as I'd like to be. I have to call and get updates, but Kelley is going to do a good job. She always has." More ...

Ripples From J.C. France's Arrest  The arrest of Jamison Colfax France by Daytona Beach police after a hearty round of street racing with his roommate has produced some interesting ripples within the racing community.

If you go to the Grand American Road Racing Web site, there is no official mention of the incident, or the penalties imposed on the driver. The site has a "forum" area and every time somebody tries to link a J.C. France story, the thread of information is deleted by the sanctioning body, which is wholly owned by NASCAR, which is wholly owned by the France family.

That the story keeps getting booted from the Grand-Am site is testing the nerves of sportscar First Amendment advocates. Someone by the user name of HawksNCards left this frustrated post on Friday, which I read before it was deleted:  "Since NASCAR owns Grand Am I suppose we can expect the ivory tower mentality to go from the streets of Daytona to the message boards at Grand Am." More ...
Donington not confirming scuppered GP hopes  (GMM)  A spokesperson for the British circuit Donington on Saturday would not confirm that funding is not in place for the 2010 British grand prix.

It emerged earlier that track boss Simon Gillett had missed Bernie Ecclestone's latest deadline for the finances to be in place.

Multiple reports said the F1 chief executive has indicated that Monday is now Donington's final opportunity to come up with the money for the refurbishments at the Leicestershire venue.

The Financial Times quoted a Donington official as saying: "There hasn't been confirmation that funding is not in place.  We hope to be able to clarify the situation very soon."

Massa cleared after vision test  (GMM)  Medical tests overseen by the FIA have shown that Felipe Massa's eyesight will not delay his return to formula one.

Ferrari confirmed after the tests at Paris' Pitie Salpetriere hospital that the 28-year-old, seriously injured in a Budapest qualifying crash in July, has fully "recovered the functions of his left eye".

The neurological and ophthalmological exams precede Massa's return to the wheel of a formula one car, with a two-year-old F2007 with GP2-spec tires, probably on Monday at the Fiorano test track, depending on the weather.

After "positive" outcomes from the first FIA tests, he was due to continue the medical tests on Saturday afternoon.

Scenes from the new Yas Marina F1 circuit  Photo's of the 2-seater 'test day' at YAS Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this week, with BBC commentators David Coulthard and Martin Brundle behind the wheel.

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AbuDhabi8.jpg AbuDhabi9.jpg AbuDhabi10.jpg AbuDhabi11.jpg AbuDhabi12.jpg
AbuDhabi13.jpg AbuDhabi14.jpg AbuDhabi15.jpg AbuDhabi16.jpg AbuDhabi17.jpg

Homestead Friday News Tidbits - 2  
Numerology: The number 10 could take center stage this weekend if Dario Franchitti wins this event and the IndyCar Series championship for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Franchitti drives the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.  A victory by Franchitti would be the 10th in the IndyCar Series this season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.  The season-ending Firestone Indy 300 takes place on Saturday, Oct. 10 - 10/10.


Olympic and world champion sprinter Usain Bolt's need for speed - and victory - is shared by Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan. Maybe 2004 IndyCar Series champion Kanaan can channel some of Bolt's energy this weekend in the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bolt, from Jamaica, gave Kanaan an autographed pair of his track spikes through a mutual friend in Miami. In August, a year after setting world records in the Beijing Olympics, Bolt lowered the 100- and 200-meter world records to 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds, respectively, at the World Championships. In the Summer Games, Bolt became the first male to win gold medals in three sprinting events (also the 4x100 relay) at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984 at Los Angeles - and the first to set world records in all three. More ...
Donington misses Ecclestone's latest deadline  UPDATE (GMM)  Donington's hopes of hosting the British grand prix appear all but over, after boss Simon Gillett missed yet another deadline to demonstrate his financial ability to refurbish the Leicestershire venue.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has put in place a sequence of missed deadlines in recent weeks, the latest of which was late Friday, and his patience may now be at an end.

Britain's Daily Express and Times newspapers, as well as the PA news agency, all report that Donington's absolutely last chance is now Monday, with traditional Silverstone to thereafter get the green light to prepare for next July's race.

"It's not good, is it?" Ecclestone told The Times.

"Even if they get the money, I cannot see how it will all be ready in time to go.  It is very disappointing because we thought it would happen, but they cannot go on missing deadlines.

"They could still come to us saying they have the money, but there is no way the circuit would be ready at this late stage.  It looks as though we will have to start planning again," said the Briton. More ...

Romancini Wins a Nail-biter Lights Race  
Mario Romancini
Photo and Story by Scott Morris/AR1.com
Mario Romancini won the closest thing to a home race in front of a contingent of Brazilian fans, family and friends in the second closest finish in Indy Lights history, and one of the closest finishes in the Indy Racing League History.

Romancini started tenth and rocketed to the front, crossing the line in third by lap four, and going 3 wide into turn 1. There was a lot of 3 wide racing today, but it seemed to merely allow the trailing drivers to close, making things even more interesting.

Polesitter Davidson and front row starter Cunningham faded around mid-way, finishing 5th and 6th respectively, with a couple of yellow flags tossed in to keep things interesting. More ...
USTCC on Final Drive TV  Final Drive TV presents Nitto Tire US Touring Car Championship. Watch a great battle between the BMW of Andy Chittum vs. the Acura of Tom Lepper vs. the Dodge SRT-4 of Curt Simmons. Plus see the fight between the Mazda of Michael McColligan and the Mini Cooper of Vince Parker. Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA. August 2009.

You can use the link here: http://www.finaldrive.net/fdtv_watch.html or you can go here: http://www.vimeo.com/6878019 and click on embed

Homestead Friday News Tidbits - 1  In an unprecedented battle down to the wire for a championship in any series, Grand-Am is looking at a 6 way title chase for Sundays event.

Max Angelelli, Brian Frisselle, Alex Gurney, John Fogarty, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas all competing with a gap of 10 points to the title.

Well...not quite. The real story is it is a 3 way battle, since the top teams put the same two drivers together for the season, each scores the same points (barring any penalties) Since that has happened before, it is not entirely unprecedented, but still makes for a great show.

Fogarty stepped out in front of the pack today and captured the pole handily with almost a 3/10 second gap to Brian Frisselle in second, with Memo Rojas having a little trouble and languishing  back in 7th.

Ryan Hunter Reay showed well, pulling double duty this weekend from his full-time IndyCar ride, taking the 5th qualifying spot in a car he doesn’t even drive every weekend, which is impressive.

Regarding JC France being arrested, one crew member on a team that shall remain nameless, said, "just because some one has a lot of money doesn't mean they are not trailer trash.  We saw that one coming a long time ago."

Nelson Piquet Jr. was seen milling around the track today...not too far from the Brumos transporters...

Could there be a big-news substitution in play (for J.C. France who is in jail...especially since he is looking at the Truck series... Scott Morris reporting from Homestead

IndyCar finale: Dixon again on top in practice 2  
Pos Driver Diff Gap Best Time Best Speed
1 Scott Dixon (9) --.---- --.---- 25.1097 212.906
2 Ryan Briscoe (6) 0.0336 0.0336 25.1433 212.621
3 Dario Franchitti (10) 0.1736 0.1400 25.2833 211.444
4 Graham Rahal (02) 0.2551 0.0815 25.3648 210.765
5 Alex Lloyd (402) 0.2925 0.0374 25.4022 210.454
6 Mario Moraes (5) 0.3241 0.0316 25.4338 210.193
7 Raphael Matos (2) 0.3352 0.0111 25.4449 210.101
8 Danica Patrick (7) 0.3355 0.0003 25.4452 210.099
9 Ed Carpenter (20) 0.3360 0.0005 25.4457 210.094
10 Tomas Scheckter (43) 0.3415 0.0055 25.4512 210.049
11 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.3512 0.0097 25.4609 209.969
12 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.3992 0.0480 25.5089 209.574
13 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.4346 0.0354 25.5443 209.283
14 Milka Duno (23) 0.4716 0.0370 25.5813 208.981
15 Marco Andretti (26) 0.4758 0.0042 25.5855 208.946
16 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 0.5596 0.0838 25.6693 208.264
17 EJ Viso (13) 0.5989 0.0393 25.7086 207.946
18 Dan Wheldon (4) 0.6594 0.0605 25.7691 207.458
19 Mike Conway (24) 0.7065 0.0471 25.8162 207.079
20 Justin Wilson (18) 0.7239 0.0174 25.8336 206.940
21 Sarah Fisher (67) 0.9363 0.2124 26.0460 205.252
22 Jaques Lazier (98) 0.9479 0.0116 26.0576 205.161
23 Robert Doornbos (33) 0.9516 0.0037 26.0613 205.132
Jay Howard to drive for Sarah Fisher Racing  
Fisher and Howard
Scott Morris/AR1.com
Sarah Fisher had a birthday this week, but that wasn't the big celebration in her life.

Her IndyCar Series team is expanding -- again.

Sarah Fisher Racing will be a two-car team in 2010, and Fisher will drive in more races than she has in a season since creating the small, family-owned organization two years ago.

Fisher, 29, will compete in nine races, three more than she will have been in this season after Saturday night's Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In four of those, including the Indianapolis 500, she will have Jay Howard as a teammate.

Fisher's No. 67 car will continue to be sponsored by Dollar General with help from Tire Kingdom, which will be the primary sponsor on Howard's No. 66 car.

Fisher isn't even trying to conceal her excitement.

"We're going to get to bring a couple of more people on board (as employees), and to see us grow, it's really incredible," she said in preparation for today's official rollout at Homestead. Indy Star

GM officially sells Hummer to China  General Motors has reached an agreement to offload Hummer onto China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, with Tengzhong taking an 80 percent stake and a private investor consuming the rest.

Details on the deal include Hummer contacting vehicle manufacturing from GM, with the General's Shreveport and Mishawaka plants continuing to produce vehicles through June of 2011, with a possible extension until 2012. A recent report says the sale will net GM around $150 million, although the transaction still has to be approved by both U.S. and Chinese regulatory agencies, which could come later this year or in early 2010.

Tengzhong, which only produces commercial trucks and industrial equipment, has never entered into consumer vehicles before, but according to Yang Yi, chief executive officer of Tengzhong. "We are excited about some of the initiatives already underway at HUMMER that we believe our investment will be able to accelerate, particularly related to the creation of the next generation of more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet not only future regulations but also customer expectations."

Copart to sponsor Edwards in Nationwide Series  Copart and Roush Fenway Racing announced today that they have entered into an agreement for Copart to sponsor Carl Edwards and the No. 60 Ford. Copart, a leading online vehicle auction, will appear as the primary sponsor on the No. 60 for 16 races beginning in 2010 and will appear as an associate sponsor on the Ford entry for the remaining races.

“I’m very excited about the Copart relationship," stated Edwards. 

"It will be fun to help them grow their business and make people aware of how many cars they sell through their online auctions.  Speaking with the folks at Copart I realized that my father and I used to buy cars from an auction in Columbia, Missouri that is now owned by Copart. We used to fix the cars up and get them re-inspected and sold. We bought 10 to 15 cars from those folks and I didn’t realize at the time I was learning Copart’s business and I can say that it was really great for us. It will be fun to get the word out on what they do and how many vehicles are out there and available at really great prices.”  More ...

Dixon draws first blood  Scott Dixon was quickest as coincidentally the three title contenders led the way in Friday morning practice for the IndyCar finale at Homestead.



Driver Team Time Gap
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 25.1968s +0.0000s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 25.2191s +0.0223s
3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 25.2267s +0.0299s
4. Mario Moraes KV 25.3245s +0.1277s
5. Helio Castroneves Penske 25.3527s +0.1559s
6. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 25.3665s +0.1697s
7. Ed Carpenter Vision 25.3698s +0.1730s
8. Alex Lloyd Newman/Haas/Lanigan 25.3769s +0.1801s
9. Sarah Fisher Fisher 25.4296s +0.2328s
10. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 25.4495s +0.2527s
11. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 25.4700s +0.2732s
12. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 25.4857s +0.2889s
13. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 25.5109s +0.3141s
14. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 25.5127s +0.3159s
15. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 25.5233s +0.3265s
16. Dan Wheldon Panther 25.5516s +0.3548s
17. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 25.5759s +0.3791s
18. Justin Wilson Coyne 25.5931s +0.3963s
19. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt 25.6460s +0.4492s
20. EJ Viso HVM 25.6465s +0.4497s
21. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 25.8506s +0.6538s
22. Robert Doornbos HVM 25.9817s +0.7849s

Labonte teaming with Stavola Brothers  Sports Business Journal reports that semi-retired driver Terry Labonte and former team owner Bill Stavola are both getting back into NASCAR full-time as co-owners of a new race organization. StavolaLabonte Racing will field cars in the Sprint Cup Series, possibly next year, with Labonte driving initially. Bill Henneberry, the former VP/Marketing at Hertz and a former MLB marketing consultant, also has an ownership stake and will run the day-to-day operations of the race team.
Football League probes Briatore, Qadbak  
Briatore's day's of pushing his weight around in F1 are over
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has been asked to respond to English soccer's governing Football League as it contemplates banning the disgraced formula one chief from his involvement with the London club Queens Park Rangers.

After being banned for life by F1's governing FIA over the crash-gate affair, the League's board on Thursday met to consider whether Italian Briatore, 59, meets its "fit and proper persons" guidelines.

"The Board will seek responses from Mr. Briatore before commenting further," part of a media statement issued afterwards read.

It is believed that lawyers on behalf of Briatore said at the meeting that he should not be banned from football while there is a possibility his F1 sanction might be challenged.

Arguably of more interest in F1 circles is the Football League's parallel investigation into the new owners of the Notts County club, who have been taken over by the same mysterious Qadbak group that has bought BMW-Sauber.

The FIA is apparently not similarly interested in knowing more about the consortium of mainly anonymous European and Middle Eastern families, but the Football League has revealed that they have been provided more information about Qadbak.

"We are very grateful to Notts County for providing us with further information in regard to its ownership structure," said the League.

"Meetings to clarify a few outstanding issues will occur during the next few days, with a view to concluding matters in the near future."

Massa rules out 09 return  UPDATE (GMM)  Felipe Massa on Thursday said there is a "really, really low" chance he could be back up to speed in time for the 2009 season finale in Abu Dhabi in three weeks.

The recovering Brazilian flies to Paris on Friday to be checked by FIA doctors, ahead of his expected test in a two-year-old Ferrari single seater early next week.

He will be at his home race at Interlagos next weekend only to wave the checkered flag, but holds out faint hopes that he might be in a position to fast-track his return from injury ahead of his new pairing with Fernando Alonso in 2010.

"I hope that I'll be back soon, but I also know that the best thing is that I'm coming back 100 per cent at the start of the next season," Massa, 28, told one of his fans via the official Ferrari website.

"My dream would be to race in Abu Dhabi, but the possibility is really, really low," he added, but he also tellingly revealed that one of three tracks he has driven in simulators this week was the new Yas Marina layout. More ...

Chaparrals turn back the clock  
Gil de Ferran car leads the two Jim Hall Chaparrals
The white surroundings of a Chaparral suited Gil de Ferran just fine. His last weekend as a driver started out like a dream – behind the wheel of Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2 around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The American Le Mans Series’ Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n marks the final race of de Ferran’s outstanding career. But Thursday showed that even the most legendary of figures can still find new thrills.

Jim Hall, Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud
“I can’t tell you the emotions of the entire experience,” said de Ferran, who flanked Hall’s Chaparral 2E with Simon Pagenaud on the other side in de Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-02a. All three cars were the famed Chaparral white, de Ferran’s tribute to the man who gave him his break in North American motorsports. De Ferran drove for Hall’s IndyCar team in 1995 and 1996, with the pairing’s first victory coming at Laguna Seca in 1995.

“Being here for my last race, Jim being here, driving a Chaparral for the first time…it’s just great,” de Ferran said. “I could still be in the car now and be quite happy about it.” More ...

De Ferran out front in Thursday testing  
Gil de Ferran
On his final weekend of competitive driving, Gil de Ferran turned in the fastest lap in testing Thursday for the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n with a lap of 1:12.557 (111.041 mph) around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. De Ferran, driving the XM Radio Acura ARX-02a with Simon Pagenaud, announced in August that he is stepping out of the cockpit after the season to focus on growing his de Ferran Motorsports operation.

The de Ferran Acura is running this weekend in a striking all-white livery in honor of Chaparral founder Jim Hall, who gave de Ferran his break into North American open-wheel racing in the mid-1990s.

The Brazilian legend was 0.316 seconds better than David Brabham in Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Acura. The reigning Le Mans winner is driving with season-long teammate Scott Sharp with the pairing on the verge of the LMP1 championship. They lead de Ferran and Pagenaud by 21 points heading into the weekend and need to complete 70 percent of the overall winner’s distance to score points. Twenty-five points go to class winners. More ...

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