Tony Renna Scholarship applications being accepted PitFit Training Accepting Scholarship Applications, Indianapolis, IN – PitFit Training (PitFit), the recognized leader in developing driver-specific fitness, nutrition and human-performance programs to expressly address the physical and mental demands of the motorsports industry, today announced it is now accepting applications for the PitFit Training Tony Renna Scholarship.
“Sadly, in the sport of auto racing, death is a constant reminder that drivers are risking their lives every time they strap into the racecar,” noted Jim Leo, President and fonder of PitFit Training. “Tony Renna was my closest friend and embodied the drive, character, and spirit all up and coming drivers should possess.”
TV ratings for Charlotte Cup raceUPDATE ESPN says ABC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final national household rating of 3.5, down 7.9 percent from 3.8 for last year’s race. The race averaged 5.485 million viewers.
ESPN2’s coverage of Friday night’s Dollar General 300 earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.4, averaging 1.712 million viewers. The figure was up 27.3 percent from the 1.1 for last year’s rain-delayed race.
10/19/09 ABC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a 3.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.
The rating from the nation’s largest television markets is 14.3 percent lower than the 3.5 ABC earned for 2008 fall race in Charlotte, which was run a week earlier than this year.
U.S. F2000 National Championship Is Being Revived with IRL's Sanction Dan Andersen, co-founder and co-owner of the popular U.S. F2000 National Championship in the nineties, announced today that he is re-establishing that series and has reached an agreement for it to be sanctioned by the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.
The revived series for career-minded drivers of two-liter formula cars will again be called the U.S. F2000 National Championship. The series will be operated by Andersen Promotions, LLC, a new company owned by Andersen and his brother, John.
Star Mazda Awards $1.5 million Hours after concluding the 2009 season in the most dramatic fashion possible, with a hard-fought, championship-clinching victory by English racer Adam Christodoulou, drivers, teams, crew and officials of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear gathered at the Chateau St. Julien winery in the scenic Carmel Valley for the Series awards presentation ceremony.
In addition to the fully-sponsored ride in the 2010 Atlantic Championship won by the Series champion, the $575,000 in cash and prizes presented to the top-15 finishers and various other prizes awarded both at the ceremony and on a race-by-race basis during the season, the 2009 Star Mazda Championship prize fund totaled $1.5 million.
KENT, ENGLAND (October 20, 2009) – Josef Newgarden’s hopes of a repeat win at the historic Formula Ford Festival in England unfortunately ended prematurely over the weekend (October 17-18). The British Formula Ford runner-up and Rookie of the Year failed to finish a lap in the Final, when an overheating engine forced the American into pit lane after a superb start.
One year after becoming the first American to win the renowned Formula Ford Festival, taking the Kent class honors, Newgarden was back behind the wheel of a FF at Brands Hatch taking part in the trophy event. Piloting the same No. 21 Robo-Pong/Racer of Tomorrow Ltd/Joe Tandy Racing/Mygale SJ09 Premier Power entry that led him to nine wins – three at Brands Hatch - in the British Formula Ford title fight, the American teenager entered the 2009 edition of the FF Festival as one if not the, favorite for the Duratec class win.
Newgarden appeared ready to live up to those expectations in pre-event testing, turning the quickest times around the Indy Circuit configuration on Wednesday and Thursday. When official practice got underway on Friday, things however did not go according to plan, as a gearbox issue not only prevented Newgarden from posting competitive times, but also forced him to miss the final session as the JTR crew repaired the car.
When qualifying for the Heat race got underway on Saturday morning, the 18 year-old was focused on turning some quick laps, seeking a good starting position for the always competitive 15-lap opening race of the event. While Newgarden managed to post the fourth fastest time, he was disappointed in the effort, believing he and the car were capable of battling for the pole position.
IndyCar Team owner makes more headlinesUPDATE Here is a link to the scandalous article. Below is a video of Letterman's secret lovers appearance on his show. The affair continued even after he was married according to the National Enquirer.
10/20/09 Just what the IRL needs, more bad PR. Check out the October 26, 2009 issue of the National Enquirer. It's on the newsstands now. David Letterman, in his Rahal Letterman Racing shirt, and his mistress are on the cover at the Indy 500. The photo was taken in 2006. The headlines read:
David Letterman Lover's Story He promised her a baby Gave her $2 million Caught! Dave & mistress at Indy 500
The story says that Letterman put his girlfriend in charge of his Indy car team which she knew next to nothing about. We realize this is the sleazy National Enquirer, but this story is not going to go away.
Vatanen starts legal action against FIAUPDATE (GMM) Ari Vatanen on Tuesday agreed to end legal action against the FIA.
The presidential candidate last Friday petitioned Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance to "impose a number of measures" ahead of this Friday's FIA elections.
The 57-year-old had questioned the trustworthiness of the apparently democratic process, but the FIA protested that its own procedures "already provide more safeguards than those he is asking the court to impose".
Vatanen, as well as his opponent Jean Todt, met with the incumbent Max Mosley on Tuesday, and "Ari Vatanen has withdrawn his court application", the FIA said afterwards in a media statement.
"Both candidates endorsed the fairness of the FIA's proposed voting procedure," the governing body added.
10/16/09 (GMM) Ari Vatanen on Friday commenced legal action against the FIA ahead of his bid to be elected president of F1's governing body.
In a press release, the Paris federation said the Finn, who is taking on Max Mosley's preferred successor Jean Todt in next Friday's ballot, has asked the local Tribunal de Grande Instance to "impose a number of measures" for the election.
Vatanen has been questioning the trustworthiness of the apparently democratic election process, but the FIA press release insists that its own procedures "already provide more safeguards than those he is asking the court to impose".
"The FIA is therefore at a loss to explain the purpose of this legal action, if not merely to generate further negative publicity and to attempt to raise doubts about the honesty of FIA staff," said the FIA.
How much notice did you have that you would be racing in Brazil? Were you well prepared? I was told almost a week before while I was in Japan for a fan event so I had a few days to prepare. That was more time than I had in Suzuka when I had less than two hours to get ready for practice! I felt quite well prepared when practice started because I had worked hard with the team to in the previous few days to confirm everything. And the experience at Suzuka was quite helpful as well because at least I had the chance to get a feel for the car as it is now, because it has changed and improved a lot since my last tests with it in February.
Were you excited or nervous when you heard the news? I was definitely excited but not really nervous. As a racing driver you have to be confident otherwise you make more mistakes; and I am confident. I knew the weekend would be a big challenge, probably the biggest challenge I have had in motorsport, but there was no reason to be nervous. I really believe that if you are going to be successful in anything, you have to be confident so that's how I approached the weekend.
How did you learn the track? I had a basic knowledge of the lay-out from playing video games but that doesn't help a lot; basically I was starting from scratch. The first thing I did when I got to Interlagos on Wednesday was to take a scooter around the track for a few laps just to understand more about each corner. Still, it doesn't replace the experience of driving properly around the track so really I was learning the track on Friday. Even though it is a short track, it is a difficult one to learn so I tried different lines and different braking, that kind of thing, to find what was best.
Football League also waits on Briatore action (GMM) UK soccer's governing Football League on Tuesday said it will wait on the outcome of Flavio Briatore's court action against the FIA before making its own decision about the future of the disgraced former Renault boss.
Briatore, 59, is still a director and co-owner of the London club Queens Park Rangers, after being banned for life by F1's governing body for his involvement in the crash-gate scandal.
The Italian has this week commenced legal action against the FIA, and his bid to overturn his ban on running teams or managing drivers is likely to also have an impact on his future involvement in football.
"The Football League will await the court decision before taking any further action," read a media statement.
Unique Abu Dhabi track hotel full for F1 weekend (GMM) Things are looking up for a big crowd at F1's season finale next weekend, as Abu Dhabi enters formula one with a race at the unique Yas Marina track.
Although the championships were decided in Brazil last weekend, it has emerged that occupancy of the on-site Yas Hotel will be 100 per cent, as the circuit prepares to host F1's first day/night race.
Aldar Hotels managing director Paul Bell said the track hotel, with part of the pit exit actually running underneath, is full.
"We are full in the hotel over the race weekend; there are no rooms available in the hotel," he said in an interview with Hotelier Middle East.
Bell explained that every room boasts a view of the circuit, and visitors with F1 passes - namely drivers, team personnel and media - will be able to access the paddock directly.
All cars cleared after post race inspection All of the cars that NASCAR took back from Lowe's Motor Speedway following Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 Sprint Cup race have cleared inspection and there are no issues. The cars of race-winner Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin and Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle were inspected Monday, and all were cleared, according to a NASCAR spokesman. Officials typically take two cars (the winner and at least one other) back to the sanctioning body's research and development center in Concord, N.C., for a closer look, and the two it took back after Dover - Johnson and Martin - were legal but pushed the limits of certain tolerances, NASCAR officials said. In the three weeks since that race, NASCAR has taken the Johnson and Martin cars, as well as others, back to the center. SceneDaily
Trulli says Sutil is crazy The dust is still yet to settle after the race-ending incident of Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso in Brazil at the weekend. All three cars were out of action on the first lap at Interlagos, something which the Italian is particularly angry about. Having started third and fourth on the grid, Trulli's Toyota attacked the Force India of Sutil on the outside heading out of Turn 5, the Subida do Lago, before seemingly placing his right-rear wheel onto the grass and spinning into Sutil; with the Toyota heading off into the outside wall at the sixth corner, Ferradura, the German's car would only come to rest after plowing across the infield and taking out the Renault of innocent Alonso.
"I'm not angry because of the result but I'm angry because of the maneuver which was extremely, extremely dangerous," commented Trulli, who was later fined $10,000 by the FIA for his trackside actions. "We know it's an easy flat-out corner and he (Sutil) should have given me enough space not to go on the curbs; we were in sixth gear and were lucky that no-one was injured - it was something really bad."
Double trouble for Williams in Brazil The Brazilian Grand Prix saw, not only the first non-finish of the year for Nico Rosberg, but a double retirement for the Williams team. Chief Operations Engineer Rod Nelson talks of the race in São Paulo as well as the final meeting of the season in Abu Dhabi on 1 November. How competitive was the FW31 at Interlagos?
The FW31 showed particularly good pace in the wet, but was also competitive in the dry race.
Did you have any tire issues in the wet or the dry?
Most drivers had problems with the intermediates; struggling to get the fronts to work in the wet and dry conditions.
Childress Celebrates 2007 Daytona win...but wants to win championships with someone other than Kevin Harvick
Team owner Richard Childress has never shied away from shaking things up when he deemed changes necessary to make his organization better. It appears that more changes are on the way. Childress, speaking on Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, addressed the struggles of Richard Childress Racing and the possible departure of Kevin Harvick when the driver’s contract expires at the end of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Harvick, along with RCR’s other three Cup drivers, failed to make NASCAR’s Chase For The Sprint Cup this season and Harvick is mired in the midst of the longest winless streak of his career. RCR, which expanded to four teams this season, placed all three of its cars in the Chase in 2007 and 2008 but none this season. The organization is also still searching for its first Cup victory of 2009. “All I’ve got to say is we are making a lot of changes,” said Childress, who won the last of his six Cup championships with the late Dale Earnhardt in 1994.
Button celebrated title alone in hotel (GMM) Despite his description by some as the "playboy world champion", Jenson Button did not celebrate wildly after securing the 2009 title in Brazil on Sunday.
The Briton had been scheduled to return to Europe on Sunday evening for a PR commitment, but his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello offered the use of his private jet so that he could stay another night in Sao Paulo.
But it emerges that Button, 29, stayed less than an hour at the team's party before returning to his hotel.
"I wanted a bit of alone time," he told British reporters, drinking a glass of white wine and wearing a t-shirt that read 'What goes around, comes around'.
"We all celebrate it in different ways, and for me to just chill on my own was the best thing for me. I was on the phone to my girlfriend, my family as well, my mum, so I was up until about 4am just lying in bed with a big grin on my face," said Button.
He also responded to reports that he is locked in a dispute with Brawn bosses over the size of his 2010 retainer, despite chief executive Nick Fry saying the Briton is very likely to stay with the Brackley based team.
"I don't know what's going to happen in the future, and at the moment I don't care because I'm not thinking about it," said Button.
Newly-crowned F1 world champion Jenson Button has paid a glowing tribute to his team principal Ross Brawn. Button, who took the world title yesterday, admitted during his celebrations that he would not be champion if it were not for the Brawn GP founder.
“This team would not exist if Ross was not here,” said Button. “The car has his name on the side, and that is a lot pressure on a person. So for him to win today both the constructors and the drivers championship is exceptional.”
Brawn was clearly emotional after the checkered flag, and many suspect the championship to be the most important for him, despite the fact he has won other titles with Benetton and Ferrari. Button said that Brawn’s strength had seen both the team and him personally through the troughs in the season.
“The guy deserves a medal. He has won many world championships and he has also seen tough seasons. He has been in every situation, he knows that normally winning the world championship is not easy and you have many dark days. He has been helpful. I don’t think anyone could have done it without him.”
Button himself will make a hero’s return to the UK this evening, before appearing in public tomorrow at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent for Virgin Media.
Williams falls in line with FOTA over KERS ban (GMM) Williams has agreed to drop its plans to use a KERS system in 2010.
Despite the technology again appearing in the technical regulations for next year, the formula one teams association FOTA had reached a gentleman's agreement to drop KERS after the forthcoming season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The fiercely independent Grove based team Williams, however, was suspended by FOTA amid the recent breakaway war, and was therefore not technically bound by the other teams' pacts.
Moreover, the British squad - although not using KERS at all this season - has been a strong advocate of the energy recovery technology, jointly developing an electrical as well as an uniquely flywheel-based system.
Engineering director and co-owner Patrick Head told the German website motorsport-total.com that at the last meeting of the technical working group, Williams was the only team still wanting to use KERS in 2010.
After that, Williams was invited to re-enter the FOTA alliance.
"We were conscious that one of the conditions was that KERS is not permitted in 2010," the Briton said. "We expressed that we think it is the wrong decision, but accept the rules of the club."
Lauda defends Button amid more criticism (GMM) Niki Lauda, a winner of F1's most coveted prize on three occasions, insists Jenson Button deserves to enter the history books as the latest world champion.
Although the British press turned the corner on Sunday to mainly hail its latest sporting star, 29-year-old Button has been criticized in recent weeks for enjoying a championship lead but not driving like a true title winner.
Sections of the international media picked up a similar theme when reflecting on Sunday's Brazilian grand prix, where the Brawn driver put his rivals Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel out of mathematical contention by finishing fifth.
"This strange world championship has rewarded the calmest driver," observed Italy's Corriere dello Sport.
Tuttosport added: "Button, master of the championship to forget", while Spain's Marca called the Briton a "transitional champion" before McLaren and Ferrari return to full strength in 2010.
Lauda said: "First of all a world champion is a world champion. In the end, nobody cares how or why you do it, so you have to give him your full respect.
"But I agree we have seen some other world championships won in a more steely and more competitive way over a season," the great Austrian added.
Paris court confirms Briatore action to begin (GMM) Flavio Briatore's threat of legal action against the FIA was not an idol one, with a spokesman for the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris on Monday confirming the filed papers.
In a media statement at the weekend, the former Renault boss vowed to challenge his lifetime ban from motor racing over the crash-gate scandal, accusing the Max Mosley-led FIA of being used as a "tool to exact vengeance on behalf of one man".
The court spokesman told wire news agencies that court formalities will begin on Tuesday.
Reports said the 59-year-old Italian is also seeking damages of between 500,000 and one million euros.
(GMM) Close to tears as his 2009 championship challenge ended, Sebastian Vettel admitted that mistakes marred his push for formula one's biggest prize.
Even an impressive run through the field from 16th to fourth at Interlagos - ahead of the new world champion Jenson Button - could not keep the 22-year-old in the fight as the sport presses ahead to its Abu Dhabi finale in two weeks.
"The bottom line is that there were too many races that were not good enough," the German told Auto Motor und Sport, while other reports stated that Vettel was wiping away the odd tear as he spoke immediately after the race in Brazil.
"We were not consistent enough. There have been mistakes, I have made mistakes, when there shouldn't have been.
"We still have a lot to learn, but this year has been very, very good for us and I think we can get even better," Vettel added.
Brawn brand exposure tips scales at $255m (GMM) The brand exposure enjoyed by the Brackley based formula one team Brawn GP in 2009 was worth at least $255 million, according to the media analysis company Margaux Matrix.
Unlike the bulk of the competitors, fielded by carmakers and commercial enterprises like the Red Bull drinks company, the exposure is of limited value to new champions Brawn, whose core business is grand prix racing.
But the commercial success of the achievement must be giving pause to the Japanese car manufacturer Honda, who sold the outfit to team managers headed by Ross Brawn amid the brunt of the slump in new car sales late last year.
Margaux Matrix came up with the $255m figure by analyzing the race broadcasts of the initial 15 grands prix this season against advertising rates in 18 countries.
The Brawn cars were featured in nearly 9 hours of international coverage in those races, which was more than the famous Ferrari team and three times more than Honda's exposure of 2008.
Gracious Barrichello helps Button party in Brazil (GMM) Jenson Button was able to celebrate his world championship in Brazil on Sunday night, following an astonishing gesture of generosity by his defeated rival and friend Rubens Barrichello.
Sao Paulo local and Interlagos pole sitter Barrichello had hoped to take the title down to the wire in Abu Dhabi in two weeks, but instead must travel to the United Arab Emirates now battling to retain just second in the drivers' standings.
Button must be back in Europe early this week for a Virgin sponsor commitment, meaning a British Airways flight before he had a chance to celebrate his achievement on Sunday evening.
But when word reached the Brawn camp that Button and his father's flight was delayed, 37-year-old Barrichello was so magnanimous in defeat as to offer the use of his private jet for a flight on Monday morning.
"I'm truly pleased for Jenson as a friend and he is a great champion," said the Brazilian.
IHRA makes major changes for 2010 drag racing season Drag Review Magazine, the official magazine of the International Hot Rod Association, recently sat down with IHRA President Aaron Polburn to discuss the changes for the 2010 season and beyond. Below are the highlights from that conversation.
DRM: What are the changes that are planned for the IHRA in 2010?
POLBURN: The first major changes that you will see are the number of days that we race at a Nitro Jam event. A majority of them will be going from three days to two days because there is not much we can’t do in two days that we can do in three days. There is an economic factor to look at for the racer, there is an economic factor to look at for us and it just makes financial sense to do that. By far the biggest change will be in the format. Let me start off by saying that there will be no changes in the sportsman format other than the amount of time they have to spend at the race track. Everything will apply, the Tournament of Champions, qualifying rounds – basically everything that you see and have seen will remain. We will always have an unwavering commitment to sportsman racing within the IHRA.
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GP fiasco claims Terry MackenrothUPDATE Former deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth will quit as the boss of the Gold Coast's ill-fated Super GP after the weekend's motorsport event.
Premier Anna Bligh, who was overseas as it emerged that the A1GP cars would not be racing in this weekend's event, said this morning Mr. Mackenroth had told Sports Minister Phil Reeves and the race board of the decision over the weekend.
Mr. Reeves, whose portfolio includes responsibility for the Gold Coast race, told ABC radio this morning he had not spoken with Ms Bligh on the weekend .
A1GP cars which were scheduled to run on the Gold Coast are locked up in London because of unpaid debts, and V8s will become the key racing category because of the open-wheeler's non-appearance.
10/19/09 It is certain someone needs to be held accountable for the Gold Coast's humiliation. On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Hooton and Mr. Mackenroth cut desolate figures as they stood behind Sports Minister Phil Reeves as he announced the A1GP race series was dead.
They knew people would be calling for their heads to roll -- and they were right.
Yesterday, Opposition Leader and Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek called for the sacking of Mr. Mackenroth and Mr. Reeves.
Mr. Langbroek initially flagged problems with the A1GP team in September, but was ignored.
"Anna Bligh should come back and demand the head of Terry Mackenroth and Phil Reeves on a platter," said Mr. Langbroek.
"They assured us it would go ahead and now they have egg on their faces and we are an international laughing stock ... the event is in absolute disarray."
Mr. Hooton, who is the vice- president of event underwriter IMG as well as sitting on the Gold Coast Motor Events Corporation board which selected A1GP to replace Indy, was this weekend clearly worried his head also would o be on the chopping block.
But he maintained his only focus was on salvaging the SuperGP.
"My future here is concentrating on the event ... I haven't even considered the fact people might infer I should resign," he said. "That is not even in my thought process."
Button: The best race I've ever driven World Champion Jenson Button has described the all-important Brazilian Grand Prix as the best race of his entire motorsport career. By finishing fifth with car number 22, the Englishman follows in the footsteps of compatriot Lewis Hamilton by wrapped up his first Formula One crown at Interlagos. Fighting from a lowly 14th place on the grid, Button achieved a top five result in Brazil after passing several cars into Turn 1. "Today was the best race that I've driven in my career and I'm really going to enjoy this moment," the Brawn GP man said.
Jackman injured in pitsUPDATE Michael Waltrip Racing jackman Tony Cardamone was taken to a local hospital after colliding with another crew member during a pit stop for Michael Waltrip during the NASCAR Banking 400 on Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team and NASCAR officials said. An MWR spokesman reported that Cardamone suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out for the remainder of the season. SceneDaily
10/19/09 Michael Waltrip Racing jackman Tony Cardamone was taken to a local hospital after colliding with another crew member during a pit stop for #55-Michael Waltrip during the NASCAR Banking 400 on Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team and NASCAR officials said. The nature of his injuries were not specified, but he was awake and alert when he was taken to the infield medical center. SceneDaily
Brands Hatch, England - Team USA Scholarship drivers Brett Smrz and Connor De Phillippi couldn't quite emulate Josef Newgarden's victorious performance in the 2008 Formula Ford Festival but they certainly put on a great show for the fans today at Brands Hatch.
Smrz, 18, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, finished a sensational fourth after starting 27th on the 28-car grid, while De Phillippi, 16, from San Clemente, Calif., rose from 15th to fifth before tangling with a rival.
The opening Semi Final this morning did not go to plan. De Phillippi got the better start and was challenging the leader, Rory Butcher, before encountering a gear-shift problem entering the notorious Paddock Hill Bend with five laps remaining. De Phillippi carried too much speed into the corner, ran wide into the gravel at the exit and could only manage an eighth-place finish. He would have to start 15th in the Final but had already established his credentials by posting the fastest race lap.
A cordial Rubens Barrichello has said Jenson Button and family members may happily borrow his private jet in order to fly home to the United Kingdom on Monday morning. With Button's scheduled flight having been cancelled, the new World Champion remains in Brazil for longer than expected after Sunday's race.
With the Brawn team having celebrated into the night at Interlagos, greater reason to stay put for Jenson Button is that his transatlantic British Airways flight home had been cancelled all together.
Ever the gentlemen, Barrichello offered to lend his team-mate his own plane in order for the Englishman to celebrate his glorious success with friends and family back home in Frome, Somerset.
On Tuesday, Jenson will attend the famous Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, with a huge turnout naturally expected.
Ever since the news first broke on May 27 that Indy Racing League founder Tony George was being ousted as CEO of the family-owned Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Corporation it was as if “Chicken Little” was running around screaming “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
Concerned IndyCar Series team owners led by former Panther Racing partner Gary Pedigo and Dreyer & Reinbold owner Dennis Reinbold even signed and circulated a letter of support from all IndyCar team owners. It was sent to George’s mother and IMS, Corp. Chairman Mari Hulman George asking that her son be retained in his position as the man who made the final decisions for both the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
George was offered a choice to stay as the Indy Racing League CEO but when he ultimately decided to step aside completely and remain as a board member of IMS and team owner of Vision Racing on June 30, it only fueled the “Chicken Littles” of the IndyCar Series paddock. Rumors began to fly that George’s three sisters – Nancy, Josie and Kathi Conforti – were entertaining offers to sell the Speedway. That everyone from the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) -- controlled by NASCAR’s France Family – to John Menard were interested in buying the “World’s Greatest Race Course.”
But these rumors were fueled by panic. And after talking to George’s sisters at Sunday night’s Indy Racing League Championship Celebration at the W Hotel on South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, let’s make one thing perfectly clear:
The sky is NOT falling in regards to the future of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In a private chat Sunday night, “The Sisters” remain committed to the family-run business and the Speedway that was saved by their grandfather, Tony Hulman, when he purchased the track from Eddie Rickenbacker in November 1945. More at Versus.com
Aryton Senna crash was good for F1 - Ecclestone Formula One supremo and commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone has launched another controversy by stating during that Brazilian Grand Prix weekend that the fatal crash of Ayrton Senna in 1994 has proved "good" for Formula One. "He was unfortunate. But the generated publicity was so much...
It was good for Formula 1", said Ecclestone in an interview that publishes the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo today. In a further attempt to explain his beliefs, the Briton added: "It is a pity that we had to lose to Ayrton, but it happened. The actual event interested so much people who did not know about this sport and gained interest in Formula One because of it".
Ecclestone further added that recent changes in Formula One have successfully dealt with the financial downturn of this and last year: "People talk about the crisis, but there is money out there. I just talked to a guy who wants to buy one of those teams," said Ecclestone, adding that he would be "very happy" if there were 13 teams in next season.
At the same time, he flatly ruled out any possibility of allowing a team to run three cars in the Formula One championship. It is known that this is a wish of Ferrari for 2010 to enable them to run Michael Schumacher alongside Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso: "It's stupid. It will not happen. Forget about it".
Trulli and McLaren fined, Raikkonen with sore eyes (GMM) Jarno Trulli has been fined $10,000 and officially reprimanded for his behavior after a first-lap incident with Adrian Sutil at Interlagos on Sunday.
The Italian crashed at the start of the Brazilian grand prix after losing control of his Toyota whilst trying to pass Sutil's Force India.
Trulli, 35, was seen running from the site of his crash to German Sutil's similarly stricken car, before the pair almost came to blows.
The stewards ruled that the clash had been a "racing incident", but took a dim view of veteran Trulli ignoring marshals' instructions to leave the track and instead "aggressively confronting" Sutil.
Said Sutil: "Jarno was furious and said it was my mistake but I just told him what had happened to me."
Also fined after the Brazilian grand prix was McLaren, who must pay a $50,000 penalty for unsafely releasing Heikki Kovalainen with his fuel hose still attached during a pitstop.
Kovalainen was also given a 25 second race time penalty, but the Finn did not finish in the points.
Driving behind the McLaren at the time was Kimi Raikkonen, whose Ferrari was splashed with fuel and briefly engulfed in flames.
"I ended up with some drops of petrol in my eyes and even now they are still burning, but I'm alright," he said.
Queensland gets egg on face for replacing IndyCars with A1GP Queensland premier Anna Bligh should immediately sack sports minister Phil Reeves over his handling of the A1GP debacle, the state opposition says.
The A1GP component of next weekend's Gold Coast SuperGP race meeting was cancelled on Saturday because of financial problems, with the popular domestic V8 series expanding its program to fill the gap.
Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek accused Reeves of lying to parliament, and said both the sports minister and event chairman Terry Mackenroth, a former deputy premier, must go.
"The best way to get people coming to the V8 Supercars next weekend is to show the door to the people who presided over this financial bungle," Langbroek said.
He said international participation in the event was key, and after failing to keep the Indy series and now the apparent collapse of the A1GP, Queensland's bid to host the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 must now be in jeopardy too.
A happy Jenson Button (R) and Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello (L)
(GMM) After not speaking to the world's media in the regular post-race press conference because he didn't finish in the top three at Interlagos, F1's governing body convened a special press conference for the new world champion Jenson Button.
The 30-minute conference at Interlagos, however, took place in front of an only half-full contingent of reporters, but not as few as those who gathered earlier to hear the race winner Mark Webber.
Part of the reason for the low attendance at Button's conference was the time difference back to Europe, F1's bulk audience, as the Sao Paulo clock showed a time three or four hours earlier than in western Europe, where print deadlines loomed.
Briton Button, 29, finished the Brazilian GP fifth after starting fourteenth, hailing the drive as perhaps the best of his entire career.
He also deserved a trophy for repetitiveness, uttering the words "world champion" beyond the tallying powers of those present.
"I'm going to be saying that all night!" he grinned.
Video of Simona de Silvestro and Markus Niemela crash A video related to these two letters on the crash between Marcus Niemela and Simona de Silvestro in the corkscrew at Laguna Seca during the Atlantic Series finale can be found on our Home Page.
Dear Jensen Motorsport, Quite frankly, after viewing the video several times, both at normal speed and frame by frame, I feel that Markus Niemela deserved a far more stringent penalty than that which he received. It was, in my opinion, an utterly awful display of poor judgment on his part. Simona de Silvestro was clearly ahead of him before they even turned in for the first part of the corkscrew, and he had ample opportunity to avoid contact. Instead, (and you can clearly hear it in the audio of the video) he accelerated and attempted a highly ill-advised pass on her by straight-lining the second part of the turn, and in my mind it completely responsible for the collision that followed. He spilled the milk on the entry, and tried to get it back in the bottle at the exit. Even if contact were avoided and he somehow could have regained his position (which I doubt, given how far behind De Silvestro he was at that point) he should have received a penalty for driving off course in an attempt to advance. As evidence of the fact that De Silvestro had clearly already passed him, thus making him the overtaking driver (and thus making him responsible for making any subsequent passing attempt a safe on) if evidence was needed beyond our own eyes, is the fact that his left front clipped her right rear. That should NEVER happen, and you all know it full well.
Markus is very fortunate to receive only a 30 second penalty. He deserved to be excluded from the race entirely, and possibly fined as well. Michael P. Gonos, San Francisco, CA
Thanks Michael for taking the time to write. One terrific result created by this incident is the amount of passionate racing fans who have taken the time to view our in-car video from Markus' perspective, and then to voice their opinion about who was at fault..
My personal view - albeit not unbiased - is that Simona is culpable for not leaving enough track for Markus in the right hand portion of the corkscrew. Markus left room for Simona in the left hand portion, and Markus remained beside Simona going down the hill. If Simona had left enough room for Markus, she still would have had the advantage as the next corner is a left-hander and there she surely would have completed the pass successfully.
But regardless of our opinions, much credit goes to both Simona and Markus. In Formula One and IndyCar, racing fans are rarely treated to such on track passing action. So, thanks to them both for entertaining us with their bravery and talent. It is an incident like this, in the world famous Laguna Seca corkscrew at the final race of the 2009 Atlantic Championship season with a $1 million dollar prize on the line, which is the reason why racing fans enjoy following our sport. Eric Jensen, President - Jensen MotorSport
Acura LMP2 race car to compete at Le Mans next season The British Strakka Racing team has made a deal to purchase an LMP2-class Acura ARX-01b prototype from Fernández Racing and will campaign it in 2010. Strakka, which ran in LMP1 with a Ginetta-Zytek in 2009, will run the car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the Le Mans Series in Europe. The Fernández team, which won the 2009 LMP2 championship in the American Le Mans Series, looks certain to close its doors after team boss Adrian Fernández stated that his organization has no hope of finding a deal to keep it going--at least not before a self-imposed Nov. 1 deadline. AutoWeek
(GMM) Jenson Button will not be celebrating his world championship this evening in Brazil.
It has emerged that the Brawn driver, who clinched his childhood dream at Interlagos on Sunday, must return to Europe almost immediately in order to attend a PR function for the team sponsor Virgin early this week.
His father John, himself a former rallycross champion, will be aboard the late Sunday flight with his 29-year-old son, who first got at the wheel of a go-kart at the age of 8.
"I'm a bit drained," John Button, 63 and a constant figure in the paddock since his son's debut in 2000, told British television BBC.
"The last seven or eight laps, we were all crying like little girls. I'm all washed out at the moment, I've got to accept where he is now, up there with all those great names. I haven't got my head round it."
Hulkenberg 'will be outstanding' in F1 - Head (GMM) Patrick Head has hinted strongly that Nico Hulkenberg, the new GP2 champion and Williams' reserve driver, is set to make his formula one debut with the British team in 2010.
The Grove based outfit's engineering chief and co-owner was careful not to confirm that the 22-year-old German is assured a place for next season, but indicated that the team is convinced Hulkenberg is ready to move onto the F1 grid.
"The drivers who have won GP2 in their first year - Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton - are all pretty outstanding, and I think Nico will be outstanding as well," said Head.
The 64-year-old Briton, whose team is expected to lose Rosberg to Brawn and sign Rubens Barrichello for 2010, admitted that Williams can no longer afford to appoint F1's best established drivers with Ferrari-style retainers.
He therefore dropped a strong hint that Williams intends to cement its ties with Hulkenberg, also a recent champion of the F3 Euroseries and A1GP, while he is an aspiring star.
"If Nico proves in the future that he is at that (top) level, I hope by that time we're able to still be running him because our finances are strong," said Head.
If it stays dry, harder Bridgestones best Although much of the weekend in Brazil has been dominated by rain so far, a chance still remains that the race in São Paulo could be run in dry conditions when the red lights go out on Sunday afternoon. Bridgestone's Hirohide Hamashima explains which tire to be on for the best grip at Interlagos.
In Formula One, Slick tires (non-grooved tires for use in dry conditions) are divided into four compounds (Hard, Medium, Soft and Super Soft), two of which must be used during a fully dry Grand Prix. This weekend in Brazil, the Medium and Super Soft types are available. The softer of the two available compounds (known as 'Option') is indicated with a green-painted sidewall. The harder of the types is often described as 'Prime'.
Rain expected for Brazilian GP From the FIA's Patrick Behar: Rain is expected later on today for the race, but now as hard as yesterday for the qualy. In an hour the drivers parade with Rubens on pole, should be something, then grid preparation and the start of the GP.
Hamilton hopes McLaren/Merc stick together (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is not sure if McLaren and Mercedes are set to stay together in the future.
It is expected that the German carmaker will switch its primary allegiance to Brawn as soon as the exclusive McLaren contract runs out at the end of 2010.
There are strong rumors that Mercedes wants to start its intensified Brawn partnership immediately, with an Abu Dhabi partner of the parent Daimler AG to hold a 75 per cent stake in the British team until a deal can be formalized.
McLaren and Mercedes have already stopped collaborating on road car projects, and reports have indicated that chairman Ron Dennis is keen to adopt a similarly independent strategy even for the F1 team's engine.
"I can only hope they (McLaren and Mercedes) stick together, at least I have been told they will stick together -- but who knows?" reigning world champion Hamilton, under long term contract to the Woking based squad, told the Mirror newspaper.
Shanghai wants better deal for money-losing China GP (GMM) A Chinese GP official has indicated the Shanghai race's organizers want to extend the contract with formula one, but with more favorable terms.
The existing deal ends after next year's race, and another official admitted recently that an "assessment" about whether to press ahead with staging the loss-making events is taking place.
According to the current contract, there is an option to simply extend the deal to include the period 2011-2015.
"We are looking for a different strategy to see how we can cover the costs and one day maybe break even," official Leon Sun told Reuters.
"Any type of negotiation is trying to pay less and get more. We don't know how it's going to end, but, from my heart, we're going to try and make this continue," the race organizer’s general manager added.
Briatore to fight motor racing ban in Paris court (GMM) Flavio Briatore will commence legal action in Paris on Monday to challenge the FIA's imposition of his lifetime ban, a French newspaper reported on Sunday.
The former Renault boss is also seeking a million euros in damages from the FIA according to the action to be filed in Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance, the Journal du Dimanche said.
His lawyers will reportedly base his case on European Union law and the principles of the European Court of Human Rights.
The report said Briatore, who has never admitted any involvement in the crash-gate scandal, is challenging particularly the fact that no time limit on his penalty has been set.
His friend and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone agrees, observing: "Giving somebody life -- they don't even do that for murder."
Casey Stoner’s dominance of his home circuit continued on Sunday as the Australian won at Phillip Island for the third year in a row, leading Valentino Rossi over the finish line by a margin of 1.935s.
In his second Grand Prix back after a three-race absence, the 24 year-old celebrated his birthday weekend with an impressive win from pole position, his third race victory of the season, which took him to third in the championship standings.
A frustrating weekend for Jorge Lorenzo was compounded when the Spaniard crashed out at turn one of the first lap after touching bikes with Stoner’s Ducati Marlboro team-mate Nicky Hayden. Having struggled through the practice sessions and qualifying with both rear-grip issues and illness, Lorenzo was unable to continue after sliding off, although Hayden climbed back aboard his Desmosedici GP9 to finish 15th.
Button angry but boss excited by Abu Dhabi showdown (GMM) Jenson Button was angry after qualifying just 14th at Interlagos, leaving him likely to be fighting down to the wire with his teammate in two weeks and wondering if his car specification had been identical to the sister Brawn driven to pole by Rubens Barrichello.
Asked whether he had the same pressures in his wet tires as Barrichello when struggling to progress through the Q2 session, the Briton answered: "I don't know.
"You will have to ask the engineers. I haven't asked that question yet, I have been too pissed off to ask any serious questions," said the Brawn driver.
Button, 29, entered the weekend needing just third place to seal the title in the event that Barrichello wins; a task made very difficult by the outcome of the marathon qualifying.
The weather forecast for Sunday is for more uncertain conditions, but the chance of sustained afternoon rain is smaller than on Saturday.
RCR making big changes; to drop team Team owner Richard Childress, speaking on Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, addressed the struggles of Richard Childress Racing and the possible departure of Kevin Harvick when the driver's contract expires at the end of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "All I've got to say is we are making a lot of changes," said Childress. "We'll probably be announcing more changes next week coming. We're using these last races to get prepared for 2010. We know we have to be better. We've seen some improvements. I think if you look, we've been up front with the different RCR cars in the last few weeks. This new car is very touchy and right now Hendrick Motorsports is right up on top of it. They've got it figured out for the most part. Kevin's going to be with us next year and sponsor Shell's going to be with us. "We'll just see how everything plays out in the future. I didn't see his interview at California. I've heard some comments on it but whatever happens, happens. We just move forward." Moving forward may not be an option with #07 entry of RCR's Casey Mears without sponsorship for 2010. The departure of Jack Daniel's, which has revealed its intentions to leave the company at the end of the season, leaves Mears without a sponsor. Without sponsorship in place by the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the #07 team will likely go away next season. "Right now we're meeting with companies. We've had several meetings," Childress said. "As you know, the economic times are tough right now for sponsorship. We've got interest in it. We're wanting to run it. We can't turn it into a park and start. I don't want to do that. We've got some sponsorship for a few races next year but to be competitive that isn't the way to do it, so we're kind of weighing our options to see what we're going to do." Childress seemed pleased with the progress of Mears, who joined the organization this season. Despite being 19th in the standings, Mears has notched three top-15s in his last four starts. "We're working hard," Childress said. "We're doing a lot of capital investments moving into next year on some new stuff. We're making changes in our personnel, we're going to be making more changes in the next weeks to come." SceneDaily
Raikkonen wants 'more money' for Toyota switch - Howett (GMM) Toyota boss John Howett on Saturday said Kimi Raikkonen's management is asking for more money before the Finn agrees to switch to the Japanese team in 2010.
Earlier today, Spain's Diario AS newspaper insisted that the Finn, who turned 30 on Saturday, actually signed for McLaren almost immediately after agreeing to leave Ferrari at the end of the season.
But Howett told British TV BBC at Interlagos: "His manager has asked for more money and we've said we think we've put enough money on the table."
Briton Howett also admitted that putting injured Timo Glock's substitute Kamui Kobayashi in the race seat full time is an option for 2010, but that a decision has not yet been made.
Button holds off contract talks amid title contest (GMM) Jenson Button at Interlagos revealed he is holding off talks with Brawn about his 2010 contract until after the championship contest is over.
The Briton, who qualified an awful 14th in qualifying making it likely the battle for the drivers' crown will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi, is said likely to be joined at the Brackley based team next year by Nico Rosberg.
But his manager Richard Goddard is pushing for the retainer, slashed amid the management buyout last winter, to be pumped back up for 2010, and so far it is suggested the team bosses are holding out.
"We are going to save it until after the end of the season," 29-year-old Button is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail newspaper.
"That's the best thing. They have given me a lot, but I've given a lot back as well," said the championship leader, with the constructors' title likely to be sealed in Brawn's favour on Sunday.
"This is where I would want to be in the future but I am not going to talk about that until after the end of the season," he insisted.
Advantage Barrichello as Button rues strategy blunder (GMM) Jenson Button and his team boss Ross Brawn admitted to making a crucial strategy error, as Rubens Barrichello clinched pole in a crucial and excruciatingly-protracted qualifying session at Interlagos.
Taking more than 160 minutes to complete after lengthy rain delays, the session puts Button an awful 14th on the grid, his 14 point championship lead facing a massive reduction on Sunday with just the Abu Dhabi finale to follow in two weeks.
"We thought the wets would hold up and they didn't," Brawn said on British television BBC. "It was a poor call in the end.
"We thought it was about not making a mistake, but perhaps we were too conservative," said the Briton, renowned as the arguably best strategist in F1.
Button, similarly ruing the decision not to switch to intermediates in Q2 but also simply not up to speed with some of his rivals, refused to hit out, insisting it was a "team effort" rather than someone's fault.
So with his family in the pits and on home soil to please his drenched countrymen, the Paulista Barrichello's title tilt is firmly on track.
He admitted that pipping Mark Webber to pole could be the result of having "less fuel" aboard his Brawn.
Sebastian Vettel's already slim championship hopes are now all but in ruin with his 16th grid place, but he is still not giving up, vowing to "go out with the knife between our teeth" over 71 laps on Sunday.
Rosberg tops rain shortened practice 3 Torrential rain at Interlagos shortened the final practice session before qualifying.
The hour-long session scheduled at 11am had to be delayed because the medical helicopter could not take off as extremely hard rain fell on the circuit in Sao Paulo.
The rain eventually eased and there was a short period of action, but the red flags had to be waved again when Romain Grosjean spun before becoming airborne over the bumpy grass and making heavy contact with the barriers.
For the record, Nico Rosberg did the most laps (9) and topped the time sheets ahead of his Williams teammate Kazuki Nakajima and championship leader Jenson Button.
The other title protagonists, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel, were 14th and 15th respectively, completing just 4 laps apiece.
Canepa released from hospital Niccolo Canepa has left the Melbourne hospital after a surgery on Friday evening. The Italian crashed in Friday's free practice session at Phillip Island and was flown to the hospital in Melbourne. The skin transplant went well and Canepa will have to be checked up again on Monday to understand if he will be able to ride in next weekend Grand Prix in Malaysia.
Speaking about his surgery Canepa said: "Surgery went well. I spent a night in the hospital but tomorrow I will be at the circuit to support my teammate Mika Kallio. Now I feel much better but only Monday, when I will be back at the hospital to get checked up, I will understand if I'll be able to ride in Malaysia. Of course I'll do all possible to be fit to ride but with this type of injuries we have to be careful. I want to thanks the doctors that took care of me in these last 24 hours."
Massa receives damaged helmet (GMM) On his return to a formula one paddock, Felipe Massa has been handed back his damaged helmet by F1's governing body.
After sustaining serious head injuries in Budapest qualifying in late July, the FIA confiscated the Brazilian's damaged Schuberth helmet for investigations.
The German news agency SID reports from Brazil that Massa, 28, was given back the helmet at Interlagos.
"The hole is impressive," Massa is quoted as saying. "It was a big impact," he added, although he has no memory of being hit by the 800 gram steel suspension spring that had fallen off his countryman Rubens Barrichello's car.
The Ferrari driver said he will keep the damaged helmet intact with its "blood and everything broken".
Brazilian GP: Friday Press Conference Q. Felipe, can we have an update; a progress report. How are you?
Felipe MASSA: Very good. I mean it would be better to be driving the car but I am quite happy that things are going quite well. The recovery was really great, so I can say I am the same as before. In the last three weeks, which was after the second operation, I started to do fitness and I have to say now I am really the same I was before the accident in terms of the physical side. I did the simulator, not really one day, it was 100kms in Fiorano in the 2007 car and it was very good. To be honest, I was pushing, I was not really slow, everything was normal. Even the consistency was good. Everything was really normal and I am really, really happy.
Q. What is the next step. What more do you have to do?
FM: Now I can do everything, like I was doing before. The only big issue is that everything needs to be 100 per cent ready as our sport is a risk sport. We can have another accident. I hope not, but we can. It is better to be 100 per cent ready to recover from another accident. That is why we are waiting a little bit more and it will be better to wait until next year.
De Phillippi, Smrz Impress in Testing After three days of testing on the short but demanding Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Team USA Scholarship drivers Connor De Phillippi and Brett Smrz are ready to see how they shape up against some tough European competition during this weekend’s 38th annual running of the Formula Ford (Kent) Festival.
The two talented American teenagers will drive a pair of identical, patriotically liveried Ray GRS08 cars prepared by Ireland’s Cliff Dempsey Racing. Both youngsters are aiming to replicate the feat of Josef Newgarden, who last year became the first American ever to win a Formula Ford Festival final.
"We’re in the ballgame, let’s put it that way," said team owner Cliff Dempsey, coyly, after testing was concluded this afternoon. "These two guys, they’re just great – a pleasure to deal with. I couldn’t be happier."
While Dempsey was reluctant to talk about lap times, De Phillippi, 16, from San Clemente, Calif., and Smrz, 18, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, were a little more forthcoming after turning laps in a variety of weather conditions.
Only in America are the worst drivers the most popular. The IRL and NASCAR suffer with the same problem
Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't sound like a driver who was sure Lance McGrew should be his crew chief in 2010. In fact, he didn't sound like a driver who was sure about anything: "I'm about to the end of my rope," he said. NASCAR's most popular driver, who for months has been upbeat about the progress he was making under McGrew, appeared as low as he's been all season Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Yeah, I feel like I don't have any control, you know," Earnhardt said before practice for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Rick Hendrick has put me in a great position, but I haven't made the most of it or for whatever reason we're just not getting it done. I don't know what to do. We were top-15 in practice and we go out to qualify and we were one of the worst cars here. ... It's like really encouraging one day and the next day it's equally discouraging. That gets really old. I'm about to the end of my rope on it." Earnhardt isn't in favor of switching crew chiefs during the last six races, but he didn't give McGrew the ringing endorsement he has in the past. Hendrick recently said he planned to meet with his driver about the crew chief following this weekend's race. "I don't have the credentials to make the call," said Earnhardt, who made the switch to McGrew at midseason after a struggling start with Tony Eury Jr. "If I told you that I wanted to be with Lance next year I wouldn't be telling you that out of my knowledge of expertise and talent. I'd be telling because it's fun hanging out with him. Hell, you don't even know if Lance wants to do it. Hell, I wouldn't want it. It's a tough job." Earnhardt said whomever he works with needs to be a dictator like Tony Eury Sr., who was his crew chief for 16 of his 18 victories. Asked if McGrew wasn't that type of crew chief, Earnhardt said, "I didn't say that." Earnhardt added that Eury Sr. would have no interest in moving from his job as the crew chief for the #88 Nationwide Series team at JR Motorsports. Earnhardt is 22nd in points. His teammates are first, second and fifth. They have 11 wins among them. He has none. More at ESPN.com
[Editor's Note: We told you years ago Earnhardt was ridding on his daddy's coattails and in fact he can't drive nails. His fans blamed the car, the crew chief, and everyone else. Well now he is with the best team in NASCAR and has turned out to be the worse driver on the team, and if you gave him a hammer today, he still can't drive nails. What or who will his fans and the 'ga-ga' journalists who write about him every day blame next?]
NASCAR Fontana TV ratings continue downward slideUPDATE #2 That 3.6 final rating is the lowest TV rating for a NASCAR race at California's Auto Club Speedway in several years. But the good news is the California ratings are the best in the first four chase races, following a 3.2 at Loudon, NH, a 3.1 at Dover, Del., and a 3.2 at Kansas City.
However all those ratings are down from 2008 and 2007. This year's chase TV ratings are averaging 3.3; the first four chase races last year averaged a 3.6 TV rating, and the first four chase races in 2007 also averaged 3.6. So this year's chase on TV has ratings down are down nearly 10 percent from last year.
That 3.6 last Sunday at California may perhaps not directly comparable to the 2008 race, which was run Labor Day weekend and pulled a 3.9. The 2007 California Labor Day weekend race pulled a 4.3. (For comparison, the Atlanta 500 was run that weekend this year and pulled a 4.1.)
The February California 500 in 2007 pulled a 6.7, in 2008 a 6.2, and in 2009 a 6.0. The Charlotte 500 was run the second weekend in October in 2007 and 2008, and that Saturday night event pulled a 4.2 in 2007 and a 3.8 in 2008.
10/16/09 ABC's live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 11, earned a final national household rating of 3.6, the highest rating so far this season in four races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The telecast averaged 5,952,978 viewers. There are no direct comparisons to 2008 as the race was previously run Labor Day weekend and aired on ESPN. ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Fontana on Saturday, Oct. 10, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.1, averaging 1,406,452 viewers. The race was run Labor Day weekend in 2008 and also earned a 1.1 rating on ESPN2.
Casey Stoner will start Sunday's Australian Grand Prix from pole position. The Australian was clearly the fastest man on track at Phillip Island. Stoner will be joined on the front row by Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa.
The Ducati Marlboro rider remains on course for a hat-trick of Phillip Island victories after securing pole position at his home circuit.
Having enjoyed wins in the past two seasons at the Australian track, Stoner's best time of 1.30.341 on his Desmosedici GP9 was just 0.050s faster than nearest rival Valentino Rossi.
The battle with Rossi - who will take his place on the front row for the ninth consecutive race - throughout Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was an engrossing affair, as the fastest time swapped hands towards the end of the session.
Dani Pedrosa survived a crash to secure third place, a 0.679s margin behind Stoner, with a second bike, after his RC212V lost its nose going into Southern Loop, whilst Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo took fourth spot.
Lorenzo had third place snatched off him by the Repsol Honda rider by a thousandth of a second, thus depriving the Spaniard of a front-row start for the first time this season.
Making up the second row on Sunday will be Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards - just 0.025s off Lorenzo's time - with Alex de Angelis following up impressive practice sessions with sixth place, despite an early spill in qualifying.
Stoner's Ducati Marlboro team-mate Nicky Hayden, LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet, Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) all made the top ten as well.
(GMM) A slight stomach upset is not the only complaint bothering Jenson Button ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian grand prix.
After Brazilian comedians threw a toy black cat at Lewis Hamilton prior to his big race a year ago, the same funny-men erected a ladder over the entrance to Button's chosen restaurant on Thursday evening.
The Brawn driver tempted fate by walking through the unlucky entrance, insisting he is not superstitious.
But his detractors have noted that because he hasn't won a race since June, the bigger risk is of being remembered as a champion who all but crawled to the sport's coveted prize.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the Mirror newspaper that he hopes Button dawdles one more time on Sunday, before winning like a champion in the Abu Dhabi finale in two weeks.
"That would be doing it in style. People would remember that," he said.
(GMM) Nelson Piquet has admitted his visit to the Interlagos paddock this weekend is partly to find a drive for his out-of-work son.
Triple world champion Piquet Snr said earlier in Brazil that his 23-year-old namesake, ousted by Renault earlier this year before the crash-gate saga, nearly switched to Toro Rosso ahead of the 2009 season.
Piquet, 23, was in America earlier this week for a NASCAR pick-up truck test, but has not given up on resurrecting his formula one career.
His father, already linked with funding a drive for Piquet Jr with one of F1's new teams, told Globo television that he chose to attend this weekend's race in Sao Paulo to "reconnect with friends and look for work for Nelson".
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