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DATE News (chronologically)
10/26/08
racing news
Quotes of the Week  
"We will speak with Mosley; we must remove this hypocrisy. The important thing is that you do not harm the others, but for the interests of the team, in a team sport, I think it is a beautiful thing. Just think of cycling when his teammates gets their sprinter to the line." Luca di Montezemolo, President of Ferrari, commenting on Formula 1's current ban on team orders.

"I would have thought, 'I am 22 and I have won the world championship, got poles and set fastest laps. Now what?'  I think it was good I didn't win it last year.  If I had done it too early I am sure it would have affected me permanently. Perhaps I wouldn't be pushing so much now and in the future." Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 driver, McLaren Mercedes, contender for the 2008 World Drivers Championship

"The pressure from the fans only helps. It's always better to have it.  I've always liked racing at home. You can absorb everything positive from the fans and that helps you do your best. It doesn't help with the driving [power of the mind], but if it makes you calmer, if it helps your preparation, then it's valid. The important thing is to always keep up your hopes and do your best, which for me means to win the race. Perhaps it will not be enough, but it is the only thing I can control, so I intend to try to achieve it." Felipe Massa, Formula 1 driver, Ferrari, contender for the 2008 World Drivers Championship

"I think it's undoubtedly related to motor racing, it's just a question of who. I've got some shrewd ideas. I've got my eye on them, let's put it like that." Max Mosley, FIA President, repeating his claim that he was set up by someone in motorsports when he was revealed to be a prostitute-visiting sadomasochistic.  More ...
10/26/08
irl
IRL wants more money to return to Surfers  Indy Racing wants more money if it is to return to Surfers Paradise next year, according to government and racing connections.

A highly-placed Government source has told The Bulletin the Indy Racing League has placed a higher price tag on its appearance on the Gold Coast in the future, but still predicated on getting a date that suited them.

IRL chief Tony George confirmed that money was one of the issues on the table.

"It (money) is a factor but not the only factor," he said yesterday.

"Obviously, depending on the situation, money may then become a factor after we work out a date. A date is the first issue, money is second."

Mr. George seemed genuinely impressed with the Surfers race, but said the scale and professionalism of the event had not influenced his negotiating position.

"It has certainly lived up to everyone's billing," he said. "But no, nothing has really changed. There are still a few issues we have to come to agreement on before we can make a decision on the future."

Even if the parties can reach agreement on dates and the bill to bring IndyCars back Down Under, there will be the further issue of whether the race would count towards the championship. More ...

10/26/08
nascar
automotive
GM's Chevrolet `Significantly' Cutting Sports Sponsorships  General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet brand is ``significantly'' reducing spending on sports sponsorships because of falling sales and the economic slowdown.

Chevrolet will stop promotions tied to college sports and only advertise during games, said Philip Caruso, national promotions manager. The brand will also eliminate partnerships with some of the smaller sports such as skiing, he said.

``The economy is making us re-look at everything we do,'' Caruso said in an interview after awarding Major League Baseball's Roberto Clemente Award at the World Series in Philadelphia. ``It's cutting back mainly spending in the sports area and promotions as a whole, and then reallocating in some of those areas that help grow our business.''

General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker, and Ford Motor Co. have reduced sports marketing as a way to cut costs amid falling sales and plummeting stock prices. U.S. auto sales slid 27 percent in September and deteriorating consumer confidence and a slowing economy may erode them further. More ...

10/26/08
motogp
Michelin says adios to MotoGP  Sunday's season-ending grand prix at Valencia will be Michelin's final MotoGP race, with the sport moving to a single tire supplier (Bridgestone) for 2009.

Michelin released the following statement:

"The spirit of competition has always been at the heart of Michelin. Racing has been a part of the company history and the company has been a part of racing history. MotoGP now becomes a one-make tire championship. Michelin is leaving MotoGP because there is no longer competition in the area of tires.

"After 36 years of MotoGP World Championship racing, Michelin would like to thank all the teams and pilots who put their trust in the Group during this period.

"Prior to the last MotoGP event in Valencia this coming weekend, 42 pilots won at least one race riding on Michelin tires, giving the brand 360 victories in Premier Class racing.

"In 1973, Jack Findlay became the first pilot to lead Michelin to a Premier Class Grand Prix victory during the mythic Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man. He was also the first to test Michelin's Slick technology. It was then on Michelin slick tires that Barry Sheene won his first Grand Prix 500 title in 1976. More ...

10/26/08
motogp
Stoner wins 6th race of 2008  
Casey Stoner storms to another dominating win
Casey Stoner ended the 2008 season as he began, victorious onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP8. The Australian took the win at the Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana in emphatic fashion, breaking away from pole for triumph number six of the year.

Runner-up in the overall standings, Stoner was riding for pride in the final race of the campaign, once again competing through the discomfort of a scaphoid injury that will be treated almost immediately following Monday and Tuesday’s post-race test. Setting circuit records along the way, Stoner eventually crossed the line some 3.390 seconds clear of any challenge to his superiority.

2007 race winner at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa was unable to repeat the feat in 2008 –despite his best attempts. The Repsol Honda rider had taken the holeshot after his trademark speedy start off the line, but was left taking a back seat to Stoner as the pace quickened. Nonetheless, the Spaniard treated the home fans to another podium finish, his eleventh of the year.

Valentino Rossi had claimed on Saturday that he was not fast on race or qualifying tires in the dry at Valencia, but proved himself wrong with his own mercurial performance with the Yamaha M1. The 2008 World Champion also added a further notch to his podium tally with third place, his ninth in succession and sixteenth of the campaign.

One week on from his first MotoGP podium, Andrea Dovizioso earned fourth place in a similarly closely-fought battle to that of Sepang with Nicky Hayden. The JiR Team Scot rider got a chance to further inspect the factory bike with which he will test on Monday and Tuesday, edging out his American rival but unable to take the Rookie of the Year prize. He handed his satellite machine to his replacement, Yuki Takahashi, on returning to the garage. More ...

10/26/08
f1
How Hamilton can win title  UPDATE (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton will win the 2008 world championship if he finishes fifth or better at the Brazilian grand prix in one week.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver's only title opponent is Felipe Massa, whose task to secure his own maiden championship is more complicated, given his 7 point deficit with just the season finale to run.

"Yes it's true I have a tougher job than Lewis in terms of the points situation but my own objective for the weekend is much more straightforward than his," the Ferrari driver insists.

Massa reckons that, because his main option is to win the race and then await problems from the Hamilton camp, his mind can be more focused at Interlagos.

His comments are a rejoinder to Hamilton's recent claim that because Sao Paulo is the Brazilian's home city, the bulk of the pressure will fall on Massa's shoulders.

"For sure, Lewis will try and put pressure on me, but I have zero pressure, because I have nothing to lose," Massa responds.

"I have my people behind me and all the pressure will be on him, especially when you think about what happened at this race last year," he added.

Hamilton however told Britain's News of the World newspaper on Sunday that he is not disappointed he did not win the title on his first attempt in 2007.

"I would have thought, 'I am 22 and I have won the world championship, got poles and set fastest laps.  Now what?'

"I think it was good I didn't win it last year.  If I had done it too early I am sure it would have affected me permanently.

"Perhaps I wouldn't be pushing so much now and in the future," Hamilton said.

10/25/08 Lewis Hamilton may not be about to sit back and gift Massa the win at his home race in Brazil, but if he did, the British ace could still become world champion.

Here are the permutations that would see the McLaren ace crowned the youngest ever world champion, and the first British driver to claim the top honors since Damon Hill in 1996.

Lewis will be world champion if:
He wins
He finishes second
He finishes third
He finishes fourth
He finishes fifth
He finishes sixth and Felipe is second or lower
He finishes seventh and Felipe is second or lower
He finishes eighth and Felipe is third or lower
He fails to score and Felipe is third or lower

Felipe will be world champion if:
He wins and Lewis finishes sixth or lower
He finishes second and Lewis is eighth or lower

If the pair are tied on points on Sunday afternoon, Felipe would win the title by virtue of more victories (six to Lewis’s five) or second-place finishes (three to Lewis’s two).  Source: McLaren

10/26/08
tv news
Johnson, Miller and Hunt on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE A reminder that Alan Johnson, Robin Miller and Sarah Jane Hunt will be guests on Wind Tunnel tonight.

10/24/08 Alan Johnson, 7-time NHRA Top Fuel championship-winning crew chief, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday.  With two races remaining in the 2009 season, Johnson and his driver, Tony Schumacher, are going for their fifth consecutive Top Fuel title.

Joining Dave Despain and Alan Johnson will be SPEED’s Open Wheel Racing Analyst, Robin Miller, to discuss this year’s final (non-points) IndyCar Series race which will be run Saturday night in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

SPEED World of Outlaws Racing Analyst, Sarah Jane Hunt, will also be a guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday night to prepare us for next week’s World of Outlaws season finale, the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live Sunday night at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.
   

10/26/08
atlantic
fil
Jensen: Atlantic teams eye move to Indy Lights  There's no doubt that the international economic crisis is having a negative effect on the world of motorsport:

FIA czar Max Mosley met this week with Ferrari chair Luca di Montezemolo, who represented the new Formula One Teams' Association, to discuss cost cutting. Mosley is frantic that F1 participants will soon have to make do with only dozens of millions of dollars instead of the hundreds of millions they're used to and that some will go out of business as a result.

NASCAR sponsorship became the subject of major news stories this past week. Some smaller teams say they have no sponsorship guaranteed for next season while other, multi-car teams have only enough for one or two cars. Short fields are expected next year.

The commercial director of the Indy Racing League told the Indianapolis Star this week that one of the two potential title sponsors he'd been negotiating with for 2009 had called off the talks for financial reasons. That was for the series; sponsors for the cars are another matter. Even shorter fields are expected.

Who really knows what the situation is at the grassroots level? Local racers depend on local sponsorship – as do the speedways where they race – and those deals are usually done in the run-up to the new season. But prospects don't appear to be too good.

So it's all doom and gloom out there, right? More ...

10/26/08
irl
v8
Surfers Sunday Notebook  While Power met an unfortunate end, the polesitter in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series was untouchable - with the Gold Coast's Jamie Whincup following up his pole and race one victory with two race wins today.

The results saw Whincup undeniably clinch his tenth career round win and further establish his championship lead over fellow Ford driver Mark Winterbottom and Holden driver Garth Tander.

While Whincup relinquished the lead for a short period early in the first of today’s two races, the majority of the weekend saw him well and truly in the leading position where, despite a continuously challenging Tander.

When it came to round wins in the Carrera Cup, the only support category to race today, it was James Moffat who stood on the top step, with David Wall second and the season champion Craig Baird – the Gold Coaster secured the championship before this weekend’s final round – in third.

Almost 300,000 people enjoyed the four days of the Nikon Indy 300 this week, with a crowd of 94,465 fans coming through the gates today to see the total figure to 297,288.  Not as big as when Champ Car race here, but sizable nonetheless.
10/26/08
nassprint
Petty unhappy with Boston Ventures 2009 plans  This weekend, Tradin' Paint on SPEED welcomed  NASCAR Scene reporter Bob Pockrass back to the program in Atlanta as the media guest. It was cold outside and Kyle Petty wore a Petty Enterprises jacket and a black baseball hat for his #45 car and its sponsors. Only this week, TV viewers saw that something was different. Petty had a black band firmly placed right through the numbers on the front of his baseball hat. It was clear for all to see that the #45 car that Kyle had clung-to in memory of his late son Adam was no longer his. The frustration emerged on a day when it was reported that Boston Ventures CEO David Zucker had said the company Petty Enterprises would field two cars for 2009, but that Kyle Petty was not going to be involved with either effort. "Part-time if a sponsor could be found" was the phrase used to describe Petty's future opportunities. Petty's words on that topic came out during a Tradin' Paint discussion about mergers. "I have not seen an acquisition help any team in the sport yet," said Petty about the new wave of outside investors. "I have not seen Boston Ventures help Petty Enterprises be more competitive now than what they were at the beginning of the year. When you look at it and ask what do they get (in mergers), I don't have a clue what they get," continued Petty. "You are taking two organizations who are falling or stable and just putting them together. Sometimes, warm water and warm water combined just gets colder." Daly Planet
10/26/08
tv news
Weekend USA TV Reminders  UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Sunday
Nationwide Replay Kroger On Track For The Cure 250 Memphis 
1:30am-3:30am (R) ESPN2
Craftsman Truck Replay E-Z-GO 200 Atlanta 
2:00am-2:30am (R) -Pre-race
2:30am-5:00am (R) -Race SPEED
NASCAR Now 
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Atlanta 
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Atlanta 
11:00am-1:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Pep Boys Auto 500 Atlanta
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) -Pre-race
2:00pm-6:00pm (L) -Race ABC
Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup VIR 
2:30pm-3:00pm SPEED
Championship Off Road Racing   
2:30pm-4:00pm NBC
Formula Drift Series Long Beach 
4:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
MotoGP 250 Valencia 
5:00pm-6:00pm (SD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Valencia Grand Prix
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
Movie: Le Mans (1971)
6:00pm-8:00pm TCM
Check local listings for your time zone
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Atlanta 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Alan Johnson (NHRA Crew Chief)
Robin Miller (Open Wheel Racing Analyst)
Sarah Jane Hunt (WoO Racing Analyst)   
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now 
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
Movie: Days of Thunder (1990)
10:00pm-11:30pm ESPN Classic
Check local listings for your time zone
IndyCar Replay Nikon Indy 300 - Streets of Surfers Paradise Australia 
11:00pm-1:00am (R) ESPN2
Monday (Partial)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay Pep Boys Auto 500 Atlanta 
2:30am-5:00am (R) ESPN2
IndyCar Replay Nikon Indy 300 - Streets of Surfers Paradise Australia 
8:00am-10:00am (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay Pep Boys Auto 500 Atlanta 
10:00am-1:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Replay E-Z-GO 200 Atlanta 
12:00pm-12:30pm (R) -Pre-race
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) -Race SPEED
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com
10/25/08
nhra
Mopar extends its long-running sponsorship of Denver event  Mopar, longtime sponsor of NHRA Drag Racing, has renewed its multiyear entitlement agreement through 2011 with the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series race held annually at Bandimere Speedway near Denver.

The 30th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, which represents the traditional launching point for the three-races-in-three-weeks Western Swing through Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma, will be held July 10-12, 2009, at Bandimere Speedway.

"This ensures that one of the longest continuous title-rights sponsorships in motorsports will continue on, and it speaks volumes to the value proposition in the NHRA [Full Throttle] Drag Racing Series," said NHRA Senior Vice President-Sales and Marketing Gary Darcy. "It's also a credit to the entire team at Bandimere Speedway for their commitment to nurturing, growing, and retaining such a marquee sponsor as Mopar for so many years." More ...

10/25/08
nnw
Carl Edwards wins Nationwide race  Memphis Motorsports Park is quickly becoming known for providing unique races. Last year there were 25 caution flags, just one shy of the record 26, and this year, the NASCAR Nationwide Series race saw only seven cars on the lead lap at the end of the Kroger 250.

That left little competition for Carl Edwards as he claimed his fifth win of the season and cut 80 points off of Clint Bowyer's lead in the championship standings. He now trails by 116 with three races remaining.

Neither Edwards nor Bowyer had turned a single lap at Memphis prior to the start of the 250-lap race, having flown in from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in Atlanta.

The difference between the two was the handling on their machines. Bowyer struggled with a tight condition all race long while Edwards owed thanks to Bobby East for a spot-on setup in his No. 60 Ford. East practiced and qualified in place of Edwards. More ...
10/25/08
irl
Attorney Alan Miller pleads not guilty in Helio Castroneves tax case  Alan Miller – an attorney who represents NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer – has pled not guilty to tax fraud charges.

Miller entered the written plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Miami.

Indicted earlier this month in connection with the case against Penske Racing IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves, Miller is asking for a jury trial. He faces a maximum prison term of 20 years if convicted on all four counts.  No trial date has been set.
10/25/08
nassprint
Petty team announces 1-race sponsor  Petty Enterprises announces today that the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be the primary sponsor of the No. 45 Dodge, driven by Chad McCumbee, for the upcoming race at the Texas Motor Speedway along with new partners, TheGPSStore.com and Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation.

“Christmas shopping sneaks up on me every year,” said ‘The King’ Richard Petty.  “It seems like I’m always buying something at the last minute.  This paint scheme will remind the fans that it’s never too early to start their shopping.  For a true race fan there is no better gift than the Richard Petty Driving Experience.”

TheGPSStore.com and Garmin are continuing their long-standing associations with McCumbee.  The GPS Store.com, which is headquartered near McCumbee’s hometown of Supply, N.C., has been a primary sponsor of his past NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entries from 2006-2007.

“We think Chad is an extremely talented driver who has proven himself at every level of competition,” said Drew Reger, president of TheGPSStore.com.  “Chad just missed getting his first truck win last year at Texas, so we are looking forward to returning there as his sponsors.  We are very pleased to establish a relationship with an organization such as Petty Enterprises with its long standing tradition of excellence.”

10/25/08
motogp
Stoner wins pole in Valencia  As the track in Valencia dried this afternoon, it was Casey Stoner who capitalised on the situation, and will start tomorrow’s final round of the season from pole position.

The Australian’s time of 1’31”502 was marginally quicker than his closest rival, Dani Pedrosa, who will start the race from the center of the front row, alongside his Repsol Honda teammate, Nicky Hayden. More ...
10/25/08
f1
Q&A with Heikki Kovalainen  After a trying second half of the year, McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen insists he has only one thing on his mind as he gears up for the Brazilian GP: winning.

How has your knowledge of the car and the team developed over the 2007 season?
“It didn’t take too long to find where I wanted to be with the team, but it’s taken longer to get used to the MP4-23. Sometimes I’ve pushed the set-up in the wrong direction but, over the year, I’ve found a better direction. I’ve been particularly pleased with my qualifying pace; even from the first race, I was competitive. Now I’m working hard to improve my knowledge of the tires and everything is headed in the right direction.”

With the 2008 season almost finished, how are you approaching the winter?
“It’s been a good season overall. I’ve done a lot of learning throughout the year and I already feel much better prepared for next year. I now understand how to make the car fast and what I need to do to get the most out of it. I thought this year would be more difficult, but I feel I’ve done a good job.”

What are your aims for the last race of the year?
“To win it, obviously! With the championship as it is, things are a little different going to Brazil. Clearly, I want to be able to help the team and Lewis wherever necessary - but the easiest way to do that is to be running at the front. The team knows I will play my part, but we are also targeting the constructors’ championship. We may be 11 points behind Ferrari, but there are 18 points available in Brazil and we go into the final race still looking at securing both world titles - that has to be our aim.”

10/25/08
f1
Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug Q&A  Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren F1 CEO and Mercedes' VP of Motorsport Norbert Haug look ahead to the title deciding Brazilian Grand Prix. The team trail Ferrari in the constructors' championship by 12 points, but hold a seven point advantage in the drivers' championship with Lewis Hamilton.

Whitmarsh and Haug admit that the team may be cautious in its approach to the race in the knowledge that a race win is not needed for Hamilton to clinch the title.

Martin, How do you assess the balance between McLaren Mercedes and Ferrari going into the last round of the 2008 world championship?
MW: "While Ferrari was able to out-perform us at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, we feel relatively confident that the situation will be different this year for several reasons. Firstly, looking at the trends of the season, the characteristics of our car should be better suited to Interlagos than they were in 2007. Also, the weather was exceptionally warm last year - something that tends to favor Ferrari - and the chances are that it won’t be quite so hot next week. These elements should create a very tight competition, which is good for everybody."

Are there any other unusual variables to take into consideration at Interlagos?
MW: "The track is fairly bumpy, so there’s a greater premium placed on finding a good, drivable balance. The track itself is situated at fairly high altitude, which has a knock-on effect on engine horsepower and downforce, both of which are a little lower than at a regular circuit."

"For this race, we’ll also be looking at the possibility of running Lewis’s engine in a safer setting so it has a bit more margin than normal. It’s something we do throughout the season but, clearly, there’s a greater need to be safe this weekend." More ...

10/25/08
f1
Jordan to Hamilton - 'take Massa out'  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton should fight fire with fire if his championship rival Felipe Massa resorts to hostile tactics in Brazil next weekend, a famous observer insists.

As the 2008 season gets set to go down to the wire, former team owner Eddie Jordan recalls Massa's penalized move on Hamilton at the recent Japanese grand prix.

"People may not like me for saying this," the 60-year-old told the British newspaper the Daily Express, "but if Massa tries to take him out as he did in Japan in order to steal the title then Lewis has to be ready for it."

Jordan believes that, should Massa make a similar move at Interlagos, Hamilton's 7 point gap gives him the distinct advantage.

"If he tries that on then Lewis has to turn his wheel into Massa to ensure he does not finish the race either -- he has to take his wheel off," he said.

10/25/08
irl
v8
Surfers Saturday Notebook  Graham Rahal will compete in the Nikon Indy 300 for the second time, and is visiting the venue for the third time.

“My dad finished second twice in Australia and raced there many times,” said Rahal, who won in his IndyCar Series debut in April on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. “He didn’t win there so it’s up to me to get a win for the Rahals in Australia. I went there once as a kid in 1998, the last year my dad was racing in CART. It is a great place; absolutely beautiful. I was only 9 or 10 so I missed the best part, which is the girls. I wasn’t paying attention to them then. My dad was knocked out right away so I didn’t see much of the race. I went back to the hotel and jumped in the pool.”

***

Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon have a rooting interest in the Rugby World Cup opening-round match Oct. 26 in Sydney when Australia and New Zealand face off.

“I follow it when it’s World Cup and certainly wish the worst for the Kiwis,” Briscoe said.

***

The themed helmet that Conquest Racing’s Alex Tagliani is wearing for the Nikon Indy 300 is already spoken for after the race.

An auction during the Indy Gala Ball on Oct. 24 raised $25,000 (Australian), with proceeds designated for the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation Children’s Ward.

The design, which is based on the Conrad Jupiters Gold Coast Casino and Hotel, features casino-themed imagery such as slot machines, casino chips and a roulette table on the sides. The back of the helmet has Conrad Jupiters slogan “What will you get up to?’’ as well as four aces – one each that contain the names Bronte and Tagliani.

“I wanted Bronte’s name on the cards because I hit the jackpot when I met her,” said Tagliani, who met his wife at Surfers Paradise in 2001.

There’s also company for Richard the Lionhearted on Dan Wheldon’s helmet. He has a beach motif, featuring a surfer, on the side of the helmet.

****

Jamie Whincup led Garth Tander and Mark Winterbottom to the checkered flag for their first race today
Edge Photographics
Also flying the flag for the home state was Jamie Whincup in the Australian V8 Supercar Series – with the Ford driver leading the 27 lap race from start to finish despite earnest challenges for the lead from Holden driver and championship contender Garth Tander over the closing five laps of the race with Mark Winterbottom also in hot pursuit.

Whincup was able to hold off Tander, who was close enough to almost touch in the closing three laps while the leaders negotiated lapped traffic, to claim the race win from pole position and continue his fast form of the weekend.

Also continuing to be on the pace was the Gold Coast’s Craig Baird in the Haymans Electrical Porsche Carrera Cup, with the V8 Supercar Endurance Driver who secured the 2008 championship in the Porsche series last month now holding two wins from three this weekend, with the final jaunt to be run tomorrow morning.

Set to have a day off from racing tomorrow are the Coates Aussie Racing Car and Formula 3 categories, with both wrapping up their rounds today with their third and final races for the weekend.

V8 Supercar driver Paul Morris took the round win in the Aussie Racing Cars, with the Gold Coaster steering the smaller of his two Supercheap Auto Racing cars (Morris is also competing in the V8 Supercar Series this weekend).

John Martin took the round win in the Formula 3, but the reigning Champion of the category James Winslow claimed the final and dramatic race of the round at Surfers Paradise after Martin won the previous two after topping the qualifying session earlier in the Event.

Today saw 83, 337 people come through the date, which combines with yesterday’s crowd numbers of 63,124 to give a three day total of 202,823.

Jamie Whincup: #88 Team Vodafone Ford Falcon BF – V8 SUPERCARS
“Obviously it was a tough race, but we got off to a great start,” said Whincup.

“We led all the way going into turn one and had a great pit. I believe Garth had some lapped traffic coming out of the pits, which was an advantage to us.

“The car wasn’t as quick (as the cars of Tander and Winterbottom) and we didn’t get the maximum power out of it, Garth and Mark were coming on pretty strong and they had quicker cars.

“We’ll have to make a few tweaks overnight and we also had a few issues in the cabin – it just wasn’t as smooth-sailing as we would have liked, but we did come out with maximum points at the end.

“It was all the championship contenders battling it out at the front… And that’s what it is all about.

“I’m pretty happy with myself. We obliviously won and got maximum points, we’ve got to improve the car tomorrow… but we’ve got the right tools to do that.”

10/25/08
nastruck
Truck series loses another entry  Roush Fenway Racing driver Erik Darnell and his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series sponsor Northern Tool + Equipment will continue their partnership next season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the team announced on Friday.

The 2009 season will be the sponsor’s fourth year with Darnell and Roush Fenway.

“I’m really happy to be continuing the next stage of my racing career with Northern Tool + Equipment," Darnell said. "Our partnership over the past few years has been tremendous on and off the track. The support they have given me has certainly made my job on the race track a lot easier. Representing a company that connects with the NASCAR fan base is something I truly value.”

[Editor's Note: Despite signing a new long-term series sponsor, NASCAR needs to deep-six the truck series, which draws very few fans.  In addition all the manufacturers, except perhaps Toyota, have hinted the truck series should die.  If NASCAR thinks manufacturers will continue to supports all three of their series in these tough economic times, they have their head stuck in the sand.]

10/25/08
irl
Wilson predicts crash at Nikon Indy start  After years of using rolling starts and having a crash in Turn 1 of the Nikon Indy 300, Champ Car switched to a standing start and it worked perfectly.  Justin Wilson predicts Sunday's rolling start to the Indy 300 will cause “chaos” at the first turn.

The British driver finished second last year to Sebastien Bourdais in what turned out to be the final Champ Car race in Australia using the standing start.

The Indy Racing League, which the Australian race is part of this season, uses a rolling start, meaning the cars will be traveling at a higher rate of speed down the straight and into the first chicane.

The first turn has been the scene of numerous accidents over the 17-year history of the event. Drivers are expected to be traveling at about 270 kph (170 mph) before braking for the turn.

“Anything can happen in this race, especially with a rolling start here,” Wilson said Saturday after qualifying ninth for Sunday's race.

“It's going to be chaos at Turn 1. We can still be very smart and work this out because it's by no means over. We can still win this race and show what we are capable of.”

10/24/08
irl
Surfers: Wilson over Power in practice 3  
Justin Wilson on the streets of Surfers Paradise
Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Justin Wilson topped local favorite Will Power to lead final practice for the IndyCar Series' non-championship season finale at Surfers Paradise.  KV Racing driver Power had dominated Friday practice, ending the opening day over a second clear of the field, but he couldn't quite match Wilson's 1:34.5072 Saturday morning.

Scott Dixon and his Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti were 3rd and 4th with  Helio Castroneves completing the top five.

IRL heroes Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick still struggled in 21st and 23rd places, their aspirations for F1 diminishing by the day.

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Behind
1. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:34.5072
2. Will Power KV 1:34.6523 + 0.1451
3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1:35.0784 + 0.5712
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1:35.1053 + 0.5981
5. Helio Castroneves Penske 1:35.7208 + 1.2136
6. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 1:35.8260 + 1.3188
7. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1:36.0483 + 1.5411
8. Oriol Servia KV 1:36.1073 + 1.6001
9. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:36.2337 + 1.7265
10. Alex Tagliani Conquest 1:36.5997 + 2.0925
11. EJ Viso HVM 1:36.6073 + 2.1001
12. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne 1:36.7597 + 2.2525
13. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 1:36.9109 + 2.4037
14. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 1:37.0313 + 2.5241
15. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 1:37.7170 + 3.2098
16. AJ Foyt IV Vision 1:38.2213 + 3.7141
17. Vitor Meira Foyt 1:38.4132 + 3.9060
18. Dan Wheldon Panther 1:38.6506 + 4.1434
19. Jaime Camara Conquest 1:39.0564 + 4.5492
20. Ed Carpenter Vision 1:39.2413 + 4.7341
21. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 1:39.3099 + 4.8027
22. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 1:39.3450 + 4.8468
23. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 1:39.8326 + 5.3254
24. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold 1:41.0120 + 6.5048

10/24/08
nastruck
Truck qualifying rained out too  Qualifying for Saturday’s E-Z Go 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was canceled due to wet conditions at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With morning rains and seepage slowing track-drying efforts for most of the afternoon, NASCAR officials pulled the plug shortly after 6 p.m. As a result, points leader Johnny Benson (Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Toyota), a winner a week ago at Martinsville, will start on the pole with Ron Hornaday (Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 Chevrolet), starting on the outside of the front row. Kyle Busch (Billy Ballew Motorsports No. 51 Toyota), Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing No. 88 Chevrolet) and Todd Bodine (Germain Racing No. 30 Toyota) will start third through fifth.
10/24/08
nnw
Montoya to run two Nationwide races  Chip Ganassi Racing has announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya will compete for the team in two of the season’s remaining four Nationwide Series races.

Montoya will drive the Ganassi-owned No. 40 Dodge in the Nationwide events at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1 and Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 15.

Montoya will be the sixth driver to run at least one race in the car this season. Texas will mark Montoya’s first Nationwide start since August 2007 at Watkins Glen International.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a Nationwide car,” Montoya said. “I haven’t driven one in awhile, so it will be fun. I’m driving the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge in Texas, and I love the fast mile-and-a-half tracks. ... Hopefully we can run up front in both races and contend for wins.”
10/24/08
nassprint
Cup qualifying rained out again  For the third straight week, NASCAR has been forced to line the field up by points as rain washed out Friday’s qualifying session for Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500 Sprint Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole for the third consecutive week, followed by Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer.

With four races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Johnson came into Atlanta with a 149-point advantage over Biffle, riding a wave of momentum from his dominating victory last weekend in Martinsville and looking to pad his lead here at Atlanta, where he is the defending race winner with three top-two finishes in his last four Atlanta starts.

Rain moved in during the early morning but tapered off by the afternoon as teams prepared to begin their first practice session. As jet dryers dried the track, practice was pushed back into the evening, but no sooner had the cars hit the track at about 5:00 pm that a light mist began to fall over the track, forcing NASCAR to finally cancel the session at 6:00 pm.

Kevin Harvick will start from the sixth starting spot on Sunday, followed by Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

Missing the race were Bryan Clauson and Joey Logano. Pete McCole reporting from Atlanta
10/24/08
f1
Brazilian GP sold out  The possibility that Ferrari driver Felipe Massa may become the first Brazilian to win the Formula 1 World Championship since 1991 has increased anticipation around the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix: 10 days before the race, it was sold out, and only a few tickets were available for qualifying sessions. Tickets for the November 2 race at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo have been sold out for several weeks, although there were still some available for the qualifying session a day earlier, which is set to define the grid.

"We still have a few places on Saturday for Sector F (the most expensive, going for close to 200 dollars), that is all," businessman Tamas Rohonyi told the daily Folha de Sao Paulo in an article published Friday.

The 2008 edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix is already guaranteed a record number of spectators: 75,000 are expected to gather at Interlagos.

10/24/08
irl
A war of words has erupted in Surfers  A WAR of words has erupted between Bartercard Australia and Bartercard International over a key Indy sponsorship deal.

After a stinging attack yesterday by Bartercard International boss Wayne Sharpe on Indy race organizers and politicians and a claim the 2009 Indy would not proceed next year, Bartercard Australia quickly distanced itself from the comments and reconfirmed its commitment to the event.

Bartercard Australia chairman Murray d'Almeida dismissed the comments and said Mr. Sharpe played no role in Bartercard Australia -- a major sponsor of the event.

"Let me make this very clear and unequivocal -- Mr. Sharpe is not directly associated with (us), is not a shareholder and has made a statement that was totally unauthorized and does not reflect this company's opinion," said Mr. d'Almeida.

"Bartercard International has not put one dollar into this event, this event has been 100 per cent funded by Bartercard Australia."

Mr. Sharpe had told The Bulletin that Indy Racing League officials had no intention of returning to Surfers Paradise and he already had plans to switch sponsorship to European motorsport events.

The Monaco-based businessman, who founded the company on the Gold Coast, claimed millions of dollars in sponsorship and the future of the institution of Miss Indy were on the line. More ...

10/24/08
nassprint
Red Bull NASCAR team fires supervisor  Red Bull Racing has fired a supervisor and reprimanded several other employees for their involvement in the violation that resulted in major points penalties and suspensions for Brian Vickers' team, general manager Jay Frye said on Friday.

Vickers was fined 150 driver points and crew chief Kevin Hamlin was indefinitely suspended and fined $100,000 after NASCAR officials determined during a random post-race inspection at Martinsville that the sheet metal did not meet the minimum thickness specifications.

Frye said Hamlin and Vickers had no knowledge of the violation that also resulted in the indefinite suspension of car chief Craig Smokstad and the loss of 150 owner points to Dietrich Mateschitz.

"It was an isolated incident and somebody made the decision without the appropriate people knowing," Frye said. "These people are good veteran guys. They should have known better. They just made a poor decision. More ...

10/24/08
motogp
Tentative 2009 MotoGP calendar  

Date - Grand Prix -Circuit
April 12th* - Qatar - Losail
April 26th - Japan - Motegi
May 3rd - Spain - Jerez
May 17th - France - Le Mans
May 31st - Italy - Mugello
June 14th - Catalunya - Catalunya
June 27th** - Netherlands - Assen
July 5th*** - United States - Laguna Seca
July 19th - Germany - Sachsenring
July 26th - Great Britain - Donington Park
August 16th - Czech Republic - Brno
August 30th - Indianapolis - Indianapolis
September 6th - San Marino & Riviera di Rimini - Misano
September 20th - Hungary - Balaton
October 4th - Portugal - Estoril
October 18th - Australia - Phillip Island
October 25th - Malaysia - Sepang
November 8th - Valencia Ricardo Tormo - Valencia
* Evening race
** Saturday race
*** Only MotoGP class
10/24/08
irl
Angry Gore lashes out at IRL management  Surfers Paradise is the second biggest Indy event after the Indianapolis 500 itself, but Indy Racing League management has failed to realize it, says Indy team owner Craig Gore.

In an unusual broadside at some of the IRL management team yesterday, in which he threatened to axe his team if the Gold Coast race was dumped, Mr. Gore said while IRL supremo Tony George probably recognized the scale and importance of the race in the Indy schedule, his 'lower management' just didn't get it.

"I think Tony George's management has a huge influence over his decision-making process and in business you employ people to give you advice so you can understand the path forward," said Mr. Gore. "I just don't think he has the best people advising him." 

In what seemed a dim take on the IRL negotiating team, Mr. Gore said although Mr. George would have a better understanding of the significance of Indy here by Sunday evening, his management probably would not.

Mr. Gore said the Surfers race was 'far and away' the second most important race on the calendar and must be retained at all costs.

"I just hope that Tony George and the rest of his boys of the IRL see sense and recognize that this is probably like throwing away the Indy 500," said Mr. Gore. More ...

10/24/08
automotive
Chrysler to cut 25 pct. of salaried work force  Chrysler LLC says it will cut 25 percent of its salaried work force starting next month.  The company says the cuts are in addition to those previously announced and will be done through involuntary layoffs and voluntary retirements and buyouts.

Chrysler has about 18,500 white-collar workers.

The company said in a statement Friday that employees also were told to cut discretionary and overhead expenses and reduce capital expenditures not related to major products.

Chrysler's owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, is in talks to sell the company or merge with another. Discussions are under way with General Motors Corp. and the combined Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA.

We expect to hear soon about their cutbacks or withdrawal from NASCAR.

10/24/08
motogp
Repsol Honda team 1-2 in Valencia practice  Repsol Honda RC212V rider Nicky Hayden made a perfect start to the 2008 season finale at Valencia today, heading both morning and afternoon practice sessions. His teammate Dani Pedrosa was a close second quickest, giving the Repsol Honda team a one-two start to the weekend.

Fittingly, for the last race of the wettest GP season in living memory, both of today’s sessions were run in the wet, Hayden showing his mastery of the slippery Valencia circuit on his Michelin-equipped RCV. This morning’s outing was run in heavy rain, conditions improving slightly this afternoon, with less surface water on the track, which allowed Hayden to better his first session time by almost two seconds.

Nicky Hayden, fastest, 1m 45.777s
“It was pretty soggy out there, just rain all day. The bike, the team, everything was on point today, now we’ve just got to keep it rolling, because nobody’s going to remember who was quickest Friday come Sunday night. The bike and tires and everything worked pretty good straight away today. We’ve been using basically the same rain settings I’ve been using since Sachsenring, they’ve worked at different tracks and they’re working good here, though this track doesn’t have a lot of grip, so to go any faster we need to sweeten it up a bit. I like being fastest and if it means staying wet all weekend then that would be fine for me, but honestly I hope it dries up. It’s going to be a hard weekend, just trying to stay on top, everybody’s pushing hard, but we’re off to a good start and I’m having fun. If it dries up tomorrow we don’t think finding a set-up should be too difficult, because the last couple of races we’ve been using relatively the same settings. The main thing is going to be tire choice, that’s going to be real tough, because there’s not going to be much dry time, but it’s the same for everybody.”

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager
“Nicky did a very good job today, he and his crew found a good set-up very quickly, so they could be fastest in both sessions. Michelin tires are working very well here in these difficult conditions. The latest weather forecast suggests that conditions will improve tomorrow, so Nicky and his team will have to come up with a dry setting, working towards the race on Sunday.”

FREE PRACTICES
1 N. HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team 1'45.777
2 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 0.087
3 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 0.182
4 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team + 0.293
5 C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team + 0.483
6 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 0.745
7 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 1.030
8 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 1.278
9 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 1.537
10 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1.706
11 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1.843
12 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 2.238
13 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team + 2.660
14 J. HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team + 2.692
15 A. WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team + 2.727
16 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 2.994
17 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 3.315
18 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 6.094

10/24/08
v8
irl
V8 boss says IRL must agree to long-term deal  American IndyCar officials have been accused trying to hold Australia to ransom by threatening to turn their back on the Gold Coast.

V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane is urging the US Indy bosses to sign a long-term deal to retain the Gold Coast IndyCar race, instead of trying to force the Queensland Government and local organizers into a suicidal date change.

Instead of the traditional late October timeslot, the Americans want the race switched to late September or early October, which would put the event head-to-head with the AFL or NRL grand finals.

Their attitude is seen as disrespectful to Australia, which has hosted the US open-wheelers for the past 17 years and stuck with the sport through a damaging decade-long Super League-style split.

Cochrane, whose V8s share the bill with the IndyCars at the Gold Coast, went on the offensive, accusing the Americans of a complete lack of respect for their long-term hosts.

"For many years this government and this organization have paid out an awful lot of money for the open-wheelers to come out from America and enjoy this fantastic atmosphere," Cochrane said.

"It's a little bit rich when they suddenly turn up and want to change the date, with no respect for the local community, V8 Supercars and the host broadcaster.  More ...

10/24/08
irl
v8
Surfers Nikon Indy: Friday Notebook  Local drivers have continued to rule on day two of the Nikon Indy 300, with Queensland’s Will Power and Jamie Whincup topping the fields in the IndyCar Series and V8 Supercars respectively.

Toowoomba’s Power showed the rest of his open-wheel counterparts exactly how it should be done as the international visitors took to the track for the first time this week for two practice sessions.

While half of the 24 strong field have previously competed on the Streets of Surfers Paradise (including three Gold Coast race winners – Dario Franchitti, 1999; Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2003 and Bruno Junqueira, 2004), Power was untouchable, lapping at an average speed of 106.130 mph (1m 34.8084s) compared to the next fastest Helio Castroneves at 104.637mph (1m 36.1609s).

Setting the fastest statistics straight out of gate today, Power is certainly looking strong ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying, which will take place from 1.10pm after a morning practice session.

One person who doesn’t have to worry about putting their car on the pole starting position tomorrow is Whincup in the Coffee Club V8 Supercar Challenge. The current championship leader held off last year’s Gold Coast winner and reigning Series champion Garth Tander and Paul Dumbrell to take the top spot. More ...

10/24/08
irl
v8
Queensland Premier says V8s not enough for Surfers  Queensland Premier Anna Bligh does not want the Gold Coast Indy to turn into a V8-only event if IndyCar bosses decide to abandon the annual carnival.

With the future of the Indy 300 still in doubt, Premier Bligh said the attraction of Indy was the combination of open-wheeler and hard-top racing.

``We certainly see the V8s as an on-going variable part of it, but we said from the outset that we think the success of this racing festival is the combination of open-wheelers and V8s,'' she said from the Surfers Paradise Nikon Indy track.

`That's what we will be fighting to achieve.''

Indy bosses and Queensland Sports Minister Judy Spence are to meet over the weekend in an effort to resolve a dispute over race dates for 2009.

10/24/08
f1
Ferrari boss is hallucinating  Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo claims his team has no regrets about rejecting Fernando Alonso four years ago. The Spaniard was desperate to move to Ferrari but the team chose to retain Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, until the end of the 2010 season at least.

Speaking with Gazzetta dello Sport about how the team could have signed Alonso, di Montezemolo said: “That could have been the case four years ago, now I’m happy as we are.

“We are trying to win the title with a different driver from last year and both of them are winning the constructors’ for us. If there is one thing giving us no problems, that’s the drivers. Except for a non-elating second half of the season for Raikkonen, Massa has done an extraordinary season.” 

Di Montezemolo has no choice but to back Massa and Raikkonen, but frankly we don’t believe that he doesn’t wonder how Ferrari might have fared this season with Alonso at the wheel.

The feeling in the paddock, confirmed by Martin Brundle during the Chinese Grand Prix, is that Ferrari’s car is strong enough to win the title - but neither Massa or Raikkonen have got the job done; Massa has improved, no doubt, but he has still made too many mistakes, whereas Kimi has defended his title with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Many observers suspect that had Alonso been at Ferrari, he’d already be world champion.

Still, we’d bet a large chunk of money that Alonso will be at Ferrari in 2010. Gridcrasher.com

10/24/08
automotive
Daimler: Chrysler's not worth anything  As Daimler AG sees it, Chrysler is worth nothing.

The German automaker has depreciated its stake in Chrysler to zero from $268 million at the end of June, the company said Thursday. A little over a year ago, the company valued its 19.9% stake in Chrysler at $2.2 billion.

The announcement came as part of Daimler's quarterly financial release on a day when Consumer Reports scolded the Auburn Hills automaker's quality and Chrysler announced plant cuts that will halt hybrid vehicle production -- all as majority owner Cerberus Capital Management talks with General Motors Corp. about a merger that could result in 30,000 job cuts.

Chrysler indicated Thursday that it had a net loss of $662 million in the second quarter of this year, meaning the automaker and its financing arm, Chrysler Financial, lost more than $1 billion in the first half of the year. The bulk of the $662-million losses -- $572 million -- was attributed to the automotive business.

The Auburn Hills automaker announced it will close its Newark, Del., assembly plant a year earlier than expected and eliminate a shift at its Toledo North Assembly Plant, cutting 1,825 jobs between the two.

"The pain level must be extraordinary over there -- Cerberus and Chrysler and Daimler. You can just imagine how tortured they are," said Gerald Meyers, a University of Michigan business professor and former American Motors chairman.

Daimler officials said they continue to negotiate with Cerberus for the private equity firm to acquire its final stake in Chrysler.

Combined with previous statements, Thursday's announcement indicates that Chrysler's automotive and financing businesses lost $1.17 billion through the first half of the year. During the same time, Ford Motor Co. lost $8.6 billion while General Motors Corp. lost $18.7 billion. Detroit Free Press

10/24/08
automotive
Cuts signal deepening woes at GM  General Motors Corp.'s move to force out white-collar employees for the first time in about 20 years and cut benefits underscores the deepening problems facing the automaker. The escalating challenges are driving a possible acquisition of rival Chrysler LLC, analysts said.

GM's cost-cutting moves coincided with fresh signs of the devastating impact of the global financial crisis and the worst auto sales market in 15 years on Detroit's Big Three automakers.

On Thursday, Chrysler said it plans to cut 1,825 more factory jobs and accelerate the closure of a sport utility vehicle plant in Delaware. News of the cuts came as Daimler AG said it had reduced the book value of its almost 20 percent holding in the Auburn Hills company to zero -- a stark sign of the U.S. automaker's deteriorating fortunes.

GM is in negotiations to acquire Chrysler from owner Cerberus Capital Management LP, but it may have trouble raising money to finance a deal. The Detroit automaker's worsening financial problems suggest it is in desperate need of aid, analysts say. That helps explain the insistence by Michigan's congressional delegation that the Big Three be included in a $700 billion Wall Street rescue package and why GM is seeking cash from outside investors and, possibly, government aid.

GM did not disclose how many more salaried workers it plans to cut, but a GM official said the number depends on a range of factors, including whether GM acquires Chrysler.

"All the troubles going through the economy are hitting the auto industry at warp speed," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

10/24/08
f1
Canadians go to London to save GP  UPDATE #2 Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay reiterated upon his return to Canada on Thursday he is confident the Canadian Grand Prix will be held in Montreal next year.

"We had a very good meeting with (F1 boss) Bernie Ecclestone and I think the signs were encouraging and it is possible we will hold a Grand Prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years," Tremblay said.

"We have a better understanding of the issues and the challenges we are facing."

Tremblay was not alone in trying to persuade Ecclestone to restore the Montreal race to the F1 calendar. He was accompanied at the two-hour meeting in London by federal International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand.

Bachand ruled out the event posting a deficit and suggested that Montreal hotels and merchants should become involved in making sure the race is held. 

"We must find a promoter, someone to run the event," Bachand told reporters at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

Fortier said finding a promoter was one of the primary issues in ensuring a Canadian GP in 2009.

"If the F1 survives, who will be the promoter, the organizer?" he said.

"That's the question."

None of the three politicians wanted to specify how much money needs to be put up to ensure the race goes ahead, although Bachand said a number of businesses have expressed interest in helping support a 2009 Canadian GP.

According to some sources, a promoter would need to spend up to $30 million a year over five years to keep the F1 in Montreal. The race generates $15 million in net revenue annually, so governments and business would have to make up the $15 million shortfall.

"We must come up with a responsible financial project that makes sense to Mr. Ecclestone and to Montrealers," said Bachand.  More at Canoe Sports

10/23/08 Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay is still holding out hope his city will once again host the Canadian Grand Prix after opening talks with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.  Tremblay, federal International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand met with Ecclestone in London today to discuss the future of the race.

Tremblay says the two-hour meeting was constructive but that a lot of work remains to be done. More ...

10/24/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Di Grassi admits 2009 debut possible
  • Eddie Jordan set for F1 return with BBC
  • Brazil GP not F1 farewell - Barrichello
  • Lewis has learned from 2007 defeat - Briatore
  • Canada GP needs new promoter - official
  • Modena court confirms Ferrari sabotaged

Di Grassi admits 2009 debut possible
(GMM)  Lucas di Grassi has admitted there is a "good possibility" he will step up to make his formula one race debut with Renault next year.

The 24-year-old Brazilian has been the team's test driver in 2008, while racing as a frontrunner in the support series GP2.

"There is a good possibility that I will be in F1 next year," he is quoted as saying in Sao Paulo by Reuters.

Di Grassi, who would replace Renault's current drivers Fernando Alonso or Nelson Piquet, said staying with the team is his "first option" but refused to rule out making his F1 debut elsewhere.

"The option is up to Renault.  They have the possibility of extending my contract, so I am waiting for their decision to see if it will be with Renault or if I will have permission to negotiate with other teams," he said.

Eddie Jordan set for F1 return with BBC
(GMM)  Eddie Jordan, the flamboyant former formula one team owner, is tipped to return to the sport in 2009.

The 60-year-old, who sold his Silverstone based team at the end of 2004, could assume a role when the BBC takes over as Britain's F1 television broadcaster next year.

When asked about the speculation by the Daily Express newspaper, Jordan declined to comment, but "insiders say he has been selected for his expertise both on and off the track".

A BBC spokesman said: "We have not confirmed our lineup yet."

It is also expected that Martin Brundle and retiring veteran David Coulthard will have roles in the BBC coverage from next year. More ...

10/23/08
irl
Will Power tops opening practice in Surfers  
Will Power #8 leads thru one of the chicanes
Jim Haines/IRL
On a bright sunny beautiful morning, Australian Will Power gave the local fans something to cheer about early by turning the fastest lap of 1m36.33391s Friday morning in opening practice for Sunday's Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia.  Fellow former Champ Car driver Justin Wilson was 2nd at 1m36.5607s.

Ganassi teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon were 3rd and 4th while Tony Kanaan rounded out the top-5. 

Power's KV Racing teammate Oriol Servia was eighth fastest despite missing the end of the session after hitting the tires at the first chicane and damaging his suspension.

Also in trouble were Rahal Letterman's Ryan Hunter-Reay, who tagged the wall early on and caused the weekend's first yellow, Helio Castroneves (who ran down an escape road), and Ed Carpenter who crashed his Vision Racing Dallara.

Top speed last year on Friday for the Champ Cars was 1m30.862s - over 5 seconds per lap faster than the IndyCars.

Results

Pos

Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Total Laps
1 Will Power (8) 1:36.3391 104.444 21
2 Justin Wilson (02) 1:36.5607 104.204 21
3 Dario Franchitti (10) 1:36.9904 103.742 15
4 Scott Dixon (9) 1:37.0052 103.726 17
5 Alex Tagliani (36) 1:37.0625 103.665 14
6 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:37.0650 103.662 16
7 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1:37.3127 103.399 13
8 Oriol Servia (5) 1:37.4146 103.290 9
9 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:37.5896 103.105 20
10 Graham Rahal (06) 1:37.6370 103.055 20
11 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:37.6514 103.040 18
12 E.J. Viso (33) 1:38.3860 102.271 20
13 Mario Moraes (19) 1:39.1186 101.515 19
14 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:39.1631 101.469 17
15 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:39.4673 101.159 21
16 Vitor Meira (14) 1:39.7604 100.862 22
17 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 1:40.1178 100.502 28
18 Marco Andretti (26) 1:41.1604 99.466 24
19 Buddy Rice (15) 1:41.1624 99.464 29
20 Dan Wheldon (4) 1:42.0197 98.628 15
21 Danica Patrick (7) 1:42.5072 98.159 21
22 Townsend Bell (23) 1:42.6594 98.013 14
23 Jaime Camara (34) 1:42.8451 97.836 23
24 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:43.0083 97.681 19

10/23/08
alms
Corvette Racing prepares to step down to GT2  The start of the 2009 American Le Mans Series will mark the end of an era for Corvette Racing. GM’s factory team will focus on its transition to a new GT2 program that will debut in the second half of the season. Program manager Doug Fehan shed some light on the project after last weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n.

The team announced plans in September to move from the GT1 class that it has dominated since 2001. Corvette Racing has won eight consecutive team championships, and its drivers have won seven straight titles in the American Le Mans Series. There also is the matter of five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the quest for a sixth will be the final race in GT1.

Fehan says the debut of the GT2 entry likely will come at Mid-Ohio. It will revolve around a next-generation Corvette C6.R that again will compete on cellulosic E85. The car will have steel brakes, a smaller wing and a little less horsepower than the current GT1 car. Other than that, Fehan said, it will look exactly the same as now. More ...

10/23/08
Announcement
Server maintenance tonight  At some point tonight we will be bringing our server down for maintenance, which should take no more than 1 hour we hope.  We apologize for any inconvenience.
10/23/08
swc
New SPEED TC Rules Package to Cut Costs, Development  
SCCA Pro Racing has released changes to its 2009 rules package for the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship, designed to reduce both engineering development and cost to race teams.

“When I first took on this job less than a year ago, one of the main things that was evident was the need to scale back the investment necessary to run at the front of Touring Car,” SCCA Technical and Competition Director Ken Tripkos said. “The racing at the front of the series is outstanding and we have dedicated teams doing an excellent job. However, both real and perceived costs have diminished the size of the overall field and that needs to be addressed.”

The new rules package reduces both permitted suspension modifications and overall power output of the engines. More ...

10/23/08
nascar
Automakers Apply Brakes to NASCAR  For decades, the success of NASCAR's brand of high-octane, fender-banging stock-car racing has been intertwined with the fortunes of the U.S. automotive industry. NASCAR victories represented a nod to Detroit's ingenuity. And showroom sales, in turn, were credited to the exploits on race day. As the marketing adage went: "What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday!"

But with the Big Three U.S. automakers struggling to survive, they have begun to dramatically scale back their financial involvement in NASCAR, threatening the economic model that has driven the sport's popularity. Other corporate sponsors that helped transform stock-car racing from a workingman's pastime into the country's dominant form of auto racing also are scaling back their investment as a result of the sagging economy. Some companies may not renew their commitments -- many of which run more than $10 million -- when current contracts expire.

"The U.S. enjoyed a pretty robust economy that enabled the sport to grow, but that has changed significantly in the last six months," said Terry Dolan, manager of Chevy Racing. "And it's probably going to drastically affect what the sport may look like 12 months from now."  More at Washington Post

10/23/08
nassprint
NASCAR Martinsville TV Rating  UPDATE ABC’s live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Martinsville Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.3, down from last year’s 3.7, also aired on ABC. The race had an average viewership of 3,776,618. Through six races, ratings in the Males ages 35-54 demographic are up five percent in ABC’s coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as compared to last year. ESPN PR

10/20/08 ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Tums QuikPak 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned an overnight rating of 2.9, down 12.1 percent than last years 3.3 overnight rating, also on ABC.
10/23/08
ga
Valiante and SunTrust/Wayne Taylor Racing Split  
Michael Valiante
In light of this constantly evolving world of motorsports, I regret to inform you that I will not be returning to the SunTrust Racing team of Wayne Taylor Racing in 2009.

I thoroughly enjoyed driving for and representing SunTrust and Wayne Taylor Racing. We overcame incredible challenges this past season, not the least of which was the introduction of a brand new Dallara race car, several significant and damaging incidents on the track that were not because of any fault of our own, and, of course, the fire that burned the team’s transporter to the ground. One of my proudest and most thankful moments in all my career was to see the entire Grand-Am community rally to help the team after the fire.

Despite it all, we finished on a high note with a win and two seconds in the last three races. For that, I feel very proud, as well.

Unfortunately, things did not work out with the SunTrust team and Wayne Taylor Racing for the coming season, but I wish all the best for the team and the crew and the great sponsors of that program.

I continue to look forward with great anticipation to 2009, whatever the future holds.  Michael Valiante

10/23/08
ga
Penske, Forsythe Set for Next Week’s Grand-Am test  Four new teams, including two of the biggest names in North American open-wheel racing, are set to test Daytona Prototypes at Daytona International Speedway next week during the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Cask No. 16 October Test Days.

The three-day session will be held Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 27-29, and will include evening sessions both Monday and Tuesday. The sessions will be open to the public, with fans able to view testing from the Sprint FANZONE with a $10 Daytona 500 Experience tour-only ticket. Fans who have already purchased tickets to the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona will be admitted free.

A total of 22 cars - 11 from each of the Daytona Prototype and GT classes - have registered for the session.

Penske Racing, which finished third in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona when it partnered with Wayne Taylor Racing, has entered a Porsche Riley for Romain Dumas.

Forsythe Racing will run the No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote as the session, which will use 2008-specification Pirelli tires. Alberto Costa will be joined by Christian Fittipaldi.

Orbit Racing will step up to the Daytona Prototypes with the No. 45 InterMedia BMW Riley. NASCAR veteran Kyle Petty and IndyCar Series regular Darren Manning lead the driver lineup, joined by Leo Hindery Jr., Michael Riolo and Lawrence Stroll. More ...

10/23/08
a1gp
Ireland Bounce Back from Zandvoort Disappointment  A1GP World Cup of Motorsport was in action again today in Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK with some teams taking the opportunity to get some extra track time ahead of the second round of the season A1GP Chengdu, China 7 – 9 November.

A1 Teams France, Brazil and Switzerland had no pre-season testing before arriving in Zandvoort for the season-opener earlier this month.

However, it was A1 Team Ireland who set the pace, with Adam Carroll putting the disappointment of spinning out of both Zandvoort races behind him, to clock a superb lap of 45.554-seconds right at the end of the day. The lap was more than two seconds quicker than the previous best A1GP lap on the National layout, set by India’s Narain Karthikeyan in testing one year ago.

Carroll said: “To get a couple of hours of running this afternoon is great, because I haven’t really had much time in the car and I didn’t get a whole lot of racing in at the weekend. It actually feels like it’s been a while since I was last in the cockpit. It only took me a few laps to get back into it though, but the car felt really good. Every time I drive the new car it just gets more and more impressive, with the speed and downforce both very good.”

Reigning champion Switzerland was just a fraction behind, with Neel Jani setting a lap just 0.148 seconds slower than Ireland. However, Jani is confident that there is much more speed to be found in the car. More ...

10/23/08
track news
Milwaukee Mile accused of mismanagement  The Milwaukee Mile is being mismanaged and needs to go in a different direction in order to keep racing alive, the former chairman of the track says.

Marcus Lemonis, chairman and chief executive officer of Camping World/Freedom Roads, the nation's largest recreational vehicle and outdoor retailer, became chairman of the Mile in July.

But weeks later, Lemonis walked away, saying he was unhappy with the direction of the struggling track.

"I was not comfortable with what was reported to me as it relates to the financial stability of the business," Lemonis said. "Second, I wasn't sure I agreed with the direction of the majority owners. I'm not sure they were ready to make the financial commitment."

Unhappy with the course of events, Lemonis pulled out, and asked the Mile and the ownership group that manages it to take down his company's signage.

Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the ownership group, called Lemonis' comments "baseless accusations."  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

10/23/08
f1
McLaren to test at new Portuguese venue  
Algarve Motor Park
(GMM)  Top formula one team McLaren looks set to head to Portugal for winter testing in December.

"This is almost confirmed but not yet," said Paulo Pinheiro, chief executive of the new Algarve Motor Park.

He added that most other F1 teams have also been in contact with the circuit, which is located in the southernmost region of mainland Portugal.

We reported earlier this year that the track was being planned with a budget of around 200m euros, and hoped ultimately to win a spot on the world championship calendar.

Pinheiro told the local newspaper The Resident that Algarve Motor Park has now gained FIA approval, paving the way for F1 testing to take place.

"It is very important for F1 cars to be able to use the track because F1 is the highest level of motor racing, and it is a very important label to have, the one that confirms we meet F1 standards," he said.

Le Mans, A1, FIA GT and Superbike races are in the planning, but there is no guarantee that formula one will also come to the circuit to race.

"We have done our part; that was to build a top level facility that is able to receive F1.  Having a F1 race or not is not something we can decide or do something about," Pinheiro said.

10/23/08
automotive
Cerberus favors single buyer for Chrysler  As Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management continues merger talks with General Motors Corp., one option not being considered is splitting up the Auburn Hills automaker among different buyers, the Free Press was told Wednesday.

Cerberus' preferred play is merging Chrysler LLC with GM in a deal that gives the private equity firm a stake in the combined company and a greater share of GM's financing arm -- GMAC.

People familiar with those talks said Wednesday they believed Cerberus was tepid toward an alliance with Renault-Nissan, another Chrysler suitor that is thought to seek only a minority stake in the company.

GM believes it can find billions in possible savings by merging with the No. 3 U.S. automaker, and GM executives are drooling over the idea of tapping into Chrysler's pile of cash, a person familiar with the thinking said.

Chrysler has reported it had $11.7 billion in cash at the end of June.  More at Detroit Free Press

10/23/08
irl
Conquest Racing Signs Sponsorship Deal  Conquest Racing announced today that it has signed a title sponsorship with Sanctuary Cove, Australia’s leading lifestyle residential community development, for this weekend’s Nikon Indy 300.

Sanctuary Cove’s logo will be displayed prominently on the side pods, rear wing and engine cover of the #36 Conquest Dallara driven by Alex Tagliani. The partnership is fitting for this Canadian driver as he calls Australia his second home thanks to his marriage to Australian model Bronte Tagliani.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Sanctuary Cove to the Conquest family for this weekend’s race,” expressed Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart. “Sanctuary Cove has high quality standards that very much resemble those needed by a race team like ours and we are proud to be associated with them.” More ...
10/23/08
irl
Surfers Nikon Indy: Thursday Notebook  A cool change took many Gold Coasters by surprise this morning following a sharp drop in temperatures overnight. A dry, southerly flow (remember this is the Southern Hemisphere and the colder air comes from the south pole) over south-east Queensland sparked the drop, with temperatures falling to as low as 54F at the Seaway and Coolangatta last night. At 10am today temperatures had still not risen out of the teens with a recorded temperature of 68F at the Seaway.

The first day of action got off to a flying start (literally) on the Streets of Surfers Paradise today.

The IndyCar Series team of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing have prepared for their first appearance on track on Friday in a unique way, taking part in a two-part activity with the Australian Defense Force yesterday and today.

Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal
JustDave Photography
Wednesday afternoon saw NHLR drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal, along with 20 of their crew, head to the launch pad with the Army Aviation Brigade for a flight aboard two Black Hawk Helicopters over the Gold Coast.

Captain Nick Kelly flew the Black Hawk with co-pilot Captain Greg Smalley to give Wilson and Rahal an entirely different perspective of the Surfers Paradise coastline, including a birds-eye view of the Nikon Indy 300 circuit.

“It was a great experience to be able to view the track from a totally different angle, to fly around the buildings and look down at the track was awesome and its another great memory I will always have from Surfers Paradise,” said Rahal.

Members of the ADF enjoy a personal tour of the IndyCar Series car of Graham Rahal
JustDave Photography
To return the favor extended to them by the Army Aviation troopers, the team opened its garage to them in SEEK Pit Lane today to allow them to get up close and personal with Wilson’s Honda/Dallara/Firestone in the garage with some even having the chance to sit in the car while others checked out Rahal’s machine in pit lane.

“That was a great opportunity for us and all the guys, I am really thankful for the team to let us get up close and personal with the cars as this is something we never normally would have had the chance to do – and it is good to see them in the flesh after seeing them from up in the air,” said Major Andrew Mitchell.  More ...

10/23/08
V8
irl
V8 contingent says Surfers will thrive without IndyCar  The open wheeled IndyCars are only a support act to the locally grown V8 Supercars at the Gold Coast Nikon Indy - or at least that's what the V8 drivers want us to believe.

With the future of Indy car racing on the Gold Coast still in serious doubt, the top five drivers in this year's V8 championship said the event would not only survive but would flourish with them as the headline act.

``Champ Car guys in the past were a great support race for us and the IndyCar guys will be a great support race for us this weekend,'' said defending V8 champion Garth Tander, half-seriously.

``If they don't decide to come back next year, we will have a great event here on the Gold Coast at the end of the year.

``I think you only have to look at the merchandise walking around the Indy precinct - that tells you who the fans are here to see.''

Event organizers will meet with Indy Racing League administrators over the weekend, with the aim of extending the relationship for a further five years. More ...

10/23/08
irl
Indy pays tribute to Paul Newman  
Paul Newman
Gold Coast Nikon Indy race organizers will pay an emotional tribute to Paul Newman on Sunday.

Shortly before the race, racegoers will observe a one-minute silence to honor the legendary actor, Indy enthusiast and race team owner who died last month of cancer.

The tribute will also include a video memorial to Newman who began racing competitively in 1972 and formed the Newman/Haas Champ Car racing team with Carl Haas in 1983.

Graham Rahal, a driver with the Newman Haas Lanigan race team, said the loss of Newman was a huge blow to the team and had created a very different vibe among its members.

``It's obviously a very different atmosphere not having Paul around, but the best thing we can do for him is win this race,'' Rahal told the annual Indy drivers' breakfast at Conrad Jupiters this morning. 

``I think one of the last races he saw was when Justin (Wilson) won in Detroit which was fantastic.''

Newman was a huge supporter of the sport and the team who had huge respect for the actor and philanthropist.

"I think the team looked at him as more of a friend than a team owner," said Rahal.

10/23/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari to test young F3 runners
  • FIA tries to topple Brundle's BBC switch
  • Montezemolo hopes for late title effort
  • Montezemolo slams team order ban 'hypocrisy'
  • Schu cheers for Massa but also rates Hamilton
  • Dennis expects Force India linkup to occur
  • Single engine would be reason to quit - Toyota
  • Alonso '99pc sure' of 2009 team
  • Bourdais has 'chance' of 2009 seat - Todt

Ferrari to test young F3 runners
(GMM)  As reported recently, the formula one team Ferrari plans to test young Italian F3 contenders.

In collaboration with Italy's motor racing governing body ACI-CSAI, the test day will take place at Fiorano late in November.

The top three finishers in the Italian F3 series, Mirko Bortolotti, Edoardo Piscopo and Salvatore Cicatelli, will drive the famous Maranello based team's current F2008.

"I hope this initiative can contribute to the development of young drivers and also to the regeneration of motor sport in our country," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

FIA tries to topple Brundle's BBC switch
(GMM)  F1's governing body is reportedly not happy about the continuing commentating career of former grand prix driver Martin Brundle.

It is widely expected that the popular 49-year-old, who currently occupies the ITV commentary box, is set to switch over to the BBC from next year as the sport's broadcasting rights in Britain change hands.

But despite winning six Royal Television Society Awards for his role, Brundle is not popular among FIA figures.

The Briton revealed last year he has been the subject of the Paris body's complaints to ITV that his "commentary is not up to standard".

The World Motor Sport Council last year also cleared the path for the FIA to pursue Brundle for libel for a newspaper column he wrote suggesting the spy scandal was akin to a "witch hunt".

The British newspaper Daily Mail now reports that FIA delegate Alan Donnelly, who represents Max Mosley at grands prix, "has been trying to dissuade BBC executives from  employing Brundle".

Martin Brundle contested nearly 160 grands prix for teams including Tyrrell, Williams, Benetton, McLaren and Jordan. More ...

10/23/08
f1
Ferrari boss satisfied with cuts  Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said he was pleased by a meeting with Formula One's governing body on future cost-cutting measures.

Montezemolo, who is also Formula One Teams Association president, met FIA boss Max Mosley and Toyota's John Howett in Geneva on Tuesday.

"Finally we will have an economical Formula One," Montezemolo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Next year we will lengthen the life of engines to three races (from the current two). This will translate into a total of 25 engines that for the smaller teams will cost 10 million euros (£7.86m) a season."

Mosley had said that, even without the global credit crunch, the sport had become unsustainable at the current level of spending and faced serious problems if costs were not slashed by 2010.

The season-ending Grand Prix takes place in Brazil next week and a further meeting between the teams and the FIA is planned after the race.

"We have decided with president Mosley that we will meet again after Brazil to talk again about limits to the chassis and engines in the future," Montezemolo added.

10/23/08
alms
Rahal Letterman Racing Announces Technical Partnership  As Rahal Letterman Racing continues to prepare for its first year with its new BMW GT2 program in the American Le Mans Series, it today announces that it has partnered with RAYS Wheels in a technical agreement that will see the high-end wheels used on the new BMW M3 next season.

“We are proud to become technical partners with Rahal Letterman Racing and BMW North America,” said RAYS Overseas Marketing Director for RAYS, KJ-Yamaguchi. “We pride ourselves with providing the best performing wheels on the highest of motorsport stages and the Rahal Letterman team provides the perfect match to our first entry into ALMS.”

The new BMW M3, with RAYS Wheels, is set to make its 2009 racing debut in the American Le Mans Series’ season kickoff event – the historic Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring – to be held March 18-21. More ...

10/23/08
track news
Nepotism causes turmoil at SMI  From the departure of Humpy Wheeler in May to Lauri Wilks' resignation last week, three of Speedway Motorsports Inc.'s top executives have left the company in less than five months.

Wilks, a 15-year veteran with Lowe's Motor Speedway, was executive vice president whose responsibilities included tickets, operations, events, camping, communications, guest services and logistics, as well as investor relations. She was No. 2 in charge at the speedway after track president Marcus Smith, and said she was leaving without another job but hopes to find a position after taking some time off. Roger Slack, the speedway's vice president of events, left in August.

Bruton Smith, 81, said the turnover was not a concern.

"Not at all," he said. "There's no story there."

But those such as Slack say this kind of fallout was inevitable after Wheeler's messy exit in May, when a rift between Wheeler and Smith was exposed. Wheeler had been with the company for more than 30 years and many within SMI were loyal to him.

"When you lose a leader like Humpy, that forces you to look at a lot of things in your life," Slack said. "A lot of people figured we'd never leave as long as Humpy was there. The people who are leaving had worked really hard there for a long time." More ...

10/23/08
irl
If Surfers stays non-points race Penske won't be back  Team Penske is bringing a Dallara-Honda to Australia for Helio Castroneves, who has been cleared to race there while federal tax evasion charges are pending.

The team probably would have taken only a car for Ryan Briscoe if Castroneves weren't granted permission, but Penske President Tim Cindric says the team won't take any cars in 2009 if Australia remains an exhibition event.

"We don't have any interest in non-points races," Cindric said. "You're putting a lot of people at risk, and we're spending money to race essentially for just pride."

Cindric said the team understood the Indy Racing League's dilemma in making Australia a non-points race in its absorption of Champ Car. Because unification happened just before the season, the schedule didn't afford room for Australia.

Australia isn't on the '09 schedule, but Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division, said two slots are open, and a date could be set this weekend. USA Today

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