Team USA Drivers Play Starring Roles on Day One at Brands Hatch
West Kingsdown, England – Wow, what a day! Brands Hatch lived up to its reputation for changeable weather on Day One of the 42nd annual Formula Ford Festival, but Team USA Scholarship drivers Joey Bickers and Jake Eidson took them in their stride as they finished second and first in their respective heat races.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how Joey and Jake handled the day,” said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “The conditions were fluctuating throughout the day and both youngsters were faced with various curve-balls, but they handled them magnificently.”
Danica Patrick and her boyfriend kiss (the wall) Danica Patrick backed her car into the wall during practice Friday and will go to a backup car for the Sprint Cup race Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
The wreck occurred after Patrick had completed about 35 laps about 30 minutes into the 90-minute practice session on the 0.526-mile track. The damage to the rear of her car was too much for the team to repair.
Hal Needham dies Hal Needham, best known in the racing world as the co-owner of the No. 33 Skoal Bandit car once driven by Harry Gant and director of the film Stroker Ace, died Friday after a brief bout with cancer. He was 82.
Needham worked for years in the movie industry as a stunt double, working on movies such as How the West Was Won, Little Big Man, Blazing Saddles and Chinatown. He eventually moved on to filmmaking, writing and directing Smokey and the Bandit staring his friend Burt Reynolds.
After yesterday was completely cancelled, due to visibility problems grounding the medical helicopters, weather in Motegi had not improved by this morning. The sessions were once again cancelled, this time due to track conditions, and the entire paddock was forced to wait patiently.
Finally at 12h50 race direction deemed the track safe and the Moto3 class took to the Japanese circuit. Conditions slowly improved, although there was still a lot of standing water on track when the MotoGP class session began at 13h55. Race direction declared this session as an extended qualifying session with a time allowance of 75 minutes.
Eidson, Bickers Ready for the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch
Eidson and Bickers
Team USA Scholarship drivers Jake Eidson and Joey Bickers have completed their testing program and are primed and prepared for this weekend’s Formula Ford Festival event at the legendary Brands Hatch circuit in England.
The talented young Americans have continued their preparations this week with three days of testing on the short but challenging 1.2-mile road course aboard their pair of Ray Formula Ford cars fielded by Cliff Dempsey Racing. Eidson, 18, from Littleton, Colo., has been among the pacesetters all week in both wet and dry conditions, while Bickers, 21, from Moorpark, Calif., surprised even himself this morning by unofficially posting the fastest time in the wet.
Keselowski hasn't had his head knocked around enough
Don’t count Brad Keselowski among the drivers happy that NASCAR is mandating neurocognitive baseline testing starting in 2014.
The 2012 Sprint Cup champion has been skeptical on how standards are set for how drivers are cleared to race after a concussion, so it is not a surprise that he is hesitant about the new policy. "Doctors don’t understand our sport,” Keselowski said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. "They never have. Doctors aren’t risk takers. We are.
"That’s what makes our sport what it is. When you get doctors involved, you water down our sport. … This is not the field for doctors. Let them play in their arena and I’ll play in mine."
2013 sees downward IndyCar TV rating spiral continue (3rd Update)UPDATE #3
Danica Patrick smiles after learning her sponsor GoDaddy will be flowing all their sponsorship money her way and saying IndyCar sponsorship no longer makes financial sense due to their miniscule TV ratings
Getty Images for NASCAR
To underscore what we have been saying regarding the Hulman George family's decision to pocket the NBC Sport Network check rather than buy the air time to put all the races on ABC so teams can then secure their own sponsorship (i.e. stop being pennywise and pound foolish), GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving recently announced that they would not be returning to the series next season as the primary sponsor for driver James Hinchcliffe and his Andretti Autosport team. Irving even went so far as to say that his company remaining in Indy Car racing no longer made fiscal sense. Why? Just look at the TV ratings on NBC Sports Network.
One reader wrote criticizing us of being too negative. No, unlike other media who may drink the IndyCar Kool-aid while the sport gets run into the ground, AR1.com will always make certain its readers know what is really going on behind the scenes. We don't generate IndyCar's 0.1 and 0.2 TV ratings, the people who run the sport do by making the decisions they have.
India: Red Bull stays 1-2 in practice 3 Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull remained atop the charts in Indian Grand Prix practice Saturday morning, the Formula 1 world champion leading teammate Mark Webber in a shortened final session ahead of qualifying.
Vettel, quickest in both of Friday's sessions, needed just one lap on the softer tires to elevate himself to first place.
Webber finished second over 0.5 seconds behind his team-mate, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso the first of the non-Red Bull drivers in third, seven tenths behind Vettel.
Baltimore Grand Prix staffing costs for city: $1.4 million During its three-year run, Baltimore's Grand Prix IndyCar race cost the city about $1.4 million in increased staffing, overtime and related expenses.
City officials disclosed the staffing costs in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request filed by The Baltimore Sun. Related expenses include items such as feeding workers during the event and purchasing ear plugs for them. (See video)
When a major event is held in Baltimore, the city has to pay overtime for police, transportation workers, firefighters, paramedics and others to handle the needs of thousands of people in one place. During 2012's Star-Spangled Sailabration event at the Inner Harbor, for instance, the city paid $555,0000 for staffing expenses, including $161,000 for paramedics.
Dixon, Wilson nominated for Autosport Awards Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson are among the nominees for an Autosport Award in 2013.
Dixon is nominated in the International Racing Driver of the Year category. Wilson is among the nominees for British Competition Driver of the Year.
"It's such an honor to be nominated, but looking at the other nominees, it could be tough to win the vote," Dixon said. "I've never been to the Autosport Awards, so I'm hoping that I will be able to go over and attend."
The Pocono race was increased from 400-miles to 500-miles.
INDYCAR fans in the northeast will get more racing on July 4 weekend.
Pocono Raceway announced its IndyCar Series event will be called the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco, and add 100 miles (50 laps) to the series' return to the "Tricky Triangle."
"I'm very excited about these changes for 2014," said Brandon Igdalsky, Pocono Raceway President and CEO. "After last year's IndyCar Series race, droves of open-wheel fans immediately took to our social media channels, sent emails, called us to let us know they wanted more.
Pirelli threatens to quit F1 over lack of testing Pirelli has warned it will be forced to quit Formula 1 if it is not allowed any winter testing prior to 2014's new cars running.
Although the Italian tire manufacturer has a deal to continue in F1, it is growing increasingly frustrated about the lack of assistance it is being given in preparing for the challenge of next year's regulations.
It had hoped that the matter would get resolved at this week's Strategy Group meeting, but it appears that no solution to help on the testing front was forthcoming.
PitFit Training Adds Human Performance Expert to Staff PitFit Training announced today the addition of David Ferguson, Ph.D., as Sport Science Director to its staff. Ferguson will be responsible for development of driver evaluation protocols and human performance research.
“I met Dr. Ferguson through Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball and some of the work he was doing to assist Charlie with his diabetes management,” said Jim Leo, president of PitFit Training. “After David invited me to speak at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in Indianapolis this past summer, I was able to really sit down with him and pick his brain on things. I knew immediately we had to have him on our team.”
NASCAR to mandate baseline concussion testing starting next year (Update)UPDATE Let's not forget that Dr. Trammell and Dr. Stephen Olvey instituted ImPACT testing in CART more than 10 years ago as did Formula 1 and the other major FIA series. They were the first to begin routine testing in motor sports. Same with mandating the HANS device. CART was the first to do that as well. So as usual, when it comes to safety, NASCAR is last to the game, but the media that feeds at the NASCAR trough will make it sound like NASCAR invented another novel idea.
10/24/13 This morning, NASCAR announced that starting in 2014, the sanctioning body will mandate pre-season baseline concussion testing for all of its national series drivers like IndyCar has done for years.
The testing will be performed through the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) test, which focuses on evaluating verbal and visual memory, processing speed, and reaction time.
As this testing will take place before the season starts, doctors will be able to compare the baseline with post-concussion tests as they evaluate injuries and determine the proper time for a driver to return to racing.
Chime to acquire Just Marketing International communications and sports marketing group Chime has agreed to acquire Just Marketing Inc for a maximum consideration of $70.6m.
JMI is a global marketing firm focused on motorsports, operating primarily in Formula 1, NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and IndyCar.
JMI provides long-term sponsorship management and activation strategies, together with services including large-scale hospitality events, rights sales, and digital and experiential marketing initiatives.
Marussia signs Concorde agreement Marussia has become the final team to sign a commercial agreement with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, the outfit confirmed to GPUpdate.net on Friday afternoon.
The Banbury-based squad was isolated in not securing a new seven-year deal with Ecclestone as discussions over a new Concorde Agreement gathered pace earlier this season, but it has now put pen to paper after concluding successful discussions.
With Marussia's situation finally resolved, all 11 teams are now committed to the sport until at least the 2020 campaign, when the next series of renewals is scheduled.
Wilson heads home to begin recovery He has done it before, and he is eager to do it again.
IndyCar pilot Justin Wilson returned home to Colorado this week to begin his recovery process after suffering injuries in a lap 111 accident in the 2013 IndyCar season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California last weekend.
Justin suffered a pulmonary contusion as well as three fractures to his pelvis from the impact, which saw the front of a competitor’s car make lateral (t-bone) contact with the right side of Wilson’s DW12. The recovery process will require several weeks of inactivity for Wilson.
Poor weather conditions prevent action on day one at Motegi
Rain washed out Friday at Motegi
It’s been a frustrating first day at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit as relentless light rain and fog prevented any bikes taking to the track.
The decision was taken by race control to cancel both sessions due to safety concerns as the circuit medical helicopter has been unable to fly and is therefore not available in the event of an emergency, with the nearest hospital an hour away by road.
India: Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in opening practice
Sebastian Vettel started the weekend atop the charts at the end of first practice for the Indian GP. Teammate Mark Webber was second fastest, with Rosberg two tenths down on the Red Bull pair in third.
Romain Grosjean was 4th for Lotus, with Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top-5 for Mercedes.
Alain Prost to return to racing as Formula E team owner (Update)UPDATE
Alain Prost and Jean-Paul Driot, together with FIA President Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, CEO of series promoters Formula E Holdings.
Four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost has today joined forces with Jean-Paul Driot, founder of leading GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 team Dams, to enter the FIA Formula E Championship - competing as new team e.dams.
The new team launch, held at the L'Atelier Renault on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, was attended by racing legend Alain Prost and Jean-Paul Driot, together with FIA President Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, CEO of series promoters Formula E Holdings.
NASCAR Talladega TV Ratings (Update)UPDATE Though down only slightly from last year, Sunday’s NASCAR race from Talladega was the least-viewed in more than a decade.
Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Camping World RV Sales 500 from Talladega (AL) earned a 3.1 U.S. rating and 4.9 million viewers on ESPN, down 3% in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (3.2, 5.1M), and down 6% and 9%, respectively, from 2011 (3.3, 5.4M).
This marks the least-viewed edition of the fall Talladega race since at least 2001 (viewership prior to 2002 was not available). No other race over that span had dipped below five million viewers.
Dover Motorsports Cites Calendar Considerations For Revenue Dip Dover Motorsports today reported results for Q3, during which the company promoted a NASCAR triple-header. Revenues were $21.5M, down from $22.8M in Q3 '12, but Dover maintains results are not comparable as the annual Firefly Music Festival took place in Q2 this year, instead of Q3 in '12. The decrease in revenues was primarily due to the timing of the festival and lower NASCAR admissions revenue, partially offset by an increase in broadcasting revenue. Net earnings decreased to $4.2M, down from $4.5M in Q3 '12. Dover Motorsports
Jeff Gordon once had an F1 offer Four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon sat down with NASCAR RACE HUB host Danielle Trotta to talk about his career, and what big opportunity existed early on that car owner Rick Hendrick may not have known about.
Here is what Gordon had to say on Thursday’s (10/14) edition of the show.
Tom Cruise to play Carroll Shelby in movie A couple of decades after he played a NASCAR racer in "Days of Thunder," Hollywood trade newspaper "Variety" reports that actor Tom Cruise is set to get back behind the wheel on the big screen to play the legendary Carroll Shelby in "Go Like Hell."
Although Variety says the production has not been given the green light from 20th Century Fox, the film would be directed by Joseph Kosinski and be based on the 2009 book "Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their Battle For Speed and Glory at Le Mans" by A.J. Baime, which relates the story of the grudge match at Le Mans in the 1960s Ford and Ferrari, which followed Henry Ford II's unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Italian marque. Shelby was a key player on the Ford side in that fight, and was interviewed by Baime extensively for the book.
Variety says production will start next year pending final approval, with a theatrical release anticipated sometime in 2015. Racer.com
Mazda Road to Indy 2014 Schedule Confirmed Andersen Promotions, which will operate all levels of the Mazda Road to Indy next year, today unveiled the 2014 schedule of events for the three series comprising the ladder system – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. For the first time since the inception of the Mazda Road to Indy as the official development series of INDYCAR in 2010, all races on next season’s calendar will be run in support of the IndyCar Series.
Additional schedule highlights include doubleheader rounds for Indy Lights at all permanent road courses with a “sprint” race on Saturday of 40 minutes and a “feature” race on Sunday of 60 minutes just prior to the IndyCar Series main event. Pro Mazda will feature standing starts at all street circuits and USF2000 will once again host a tripleheader round.
All Indy Lights races will feature same-day coverage on the NBC Sports Network with international rights held by ESPN International. Pro Mazda and USF2000 will also be featured on the NBC Sports Network with a minimum of four highlight shows, which will also be broadcast on Motors TV in Europe.
“I am very pleased with our schedule for next season in that we have been able to align all of our races with INDYCAR ,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Our drivers strive to reach the IndyCar Series and Indy 500, and that is where our playing field will be next year. We also have reduced the number of oval races for Indy Lights, so USF2000 will have one oval race, Pro Mazda two and Indy Lights three now instead of five. Alongside the road and street course events, we feel this is a good blend to provide the proper training as drivers advance up the ladder system.”
On the race track, Mike Rockenfeller has already been ‘number one’ this year. And Europe’s largest automobile club has now made the Audi factory driver its number one as well: A panel of expert judges voted the DTM Champion “ADAC Motorsportsman of the Year 2013.”
Walter Rohrl, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel: This list of leading lights of German motorsport now includes Mike Rockenfeller as well, who, following his victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the 2010 season, has made another dream come true on winning the DTM title at the wheel of an Audi RS 5 DTM. “When I joined Audi, my aims were to win Le Mans and the DTM – and I’ve achieved both,” says the 29-year-old. “Now, being ADAC Motorsportsman of the Year on top of that is incredible. I know how valuable this accolade is and can only thank the judges – and of course all who have helped me win the DTM this year.” Among other things, the judges, in their supporting justification, recognized Mike Rockenfeller’s success, fair conduct and the fact that he stood his ground and prevailed in an extremely difficult sporting environment.
Zytek Engineering has announced the development of a 2014 LMP1 fuel flow regulation compliant engine. This incorporates technology from the V8 ZRS-03 units, used in the Renault World Series FR3.5 category, and draws on its long and successful history of designing cost effective, innovative racing powertrains.
A fuel-efficient 4500cc engine is currently undergoing tests with the objective of supplying customers in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The normally aspirated engine will benefit from advanced control / drive-by-wire technology and, following significant investment in ultra accurate fuel mass-flow measurement equipment, the application of direct fuel injection is also being explored.
In addition to the gasoline fuelled engine, an optional electric hybrid system will also be offered for teams choosing to pursue the competitive advantages offered by the 2 or 4 MJ per Le Mans lap Energy Recovery System (ERS) allowed within the regulations. This transmission linked system is based upon the successful Zytek F1 KERS derived package currently raced to great effect in Japan in the Honda SGT-300 CRZ and testing in high performance format in the 2014 SGT-500 Honda NSX test car.
Chairman and company founder Bill Gibson commented “Zytek are fully supportive of the drive to introduce and develop fuel efficient hybrid powertrains through the motorsport arena. The 2014 FIA / ACO regulations present the perfect opportunity to combine technologies developed across the Zytek Group to provide a single source of engine / ERS and control systems within the constraints a realistic budget.”
Yamaha Returns Home for Motegi Yamaha Factory Racing has arrived in Japan for the final overseas race of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit.
Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both spent today engaged in special but different activities.
Defending world champion Lorenzo joined the Spanish MotoGP riders in attending the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo. The riders gathered to celebrate the fourth centenary of the Keicho Embassy, the first Japanese diplomatic mission to Spain. Hasekura Tsunenaga crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1613, becoming the first Japanese ambassador in Europe and marking the beginning of 400 years of Spanish-Japanese relations.
Wood Brothers expect Bayne to return, similar schedule in 2014 As a NASCAR staple through seven decades, Wood Brothers Racing is among stock car racing's best-known and most popular teams. It's been around since 1953, when Glen Wood and his brothers, Leonard, Delano and Ray Lee began fielding shade-tree cars at short dirt tracks in southern Virginia and central North Carolina. In 1,405 Sprint Cup entries since 1953 the team has 118 poles and 98 victories, including Daytona 500s with Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, A.J. Foyt, Trevor Bayne and Tiny Lund. It has 337 top-five finishes, 521 top-10 finishes and has earned upwards of $50 million with 42 drivers. Even with that resume, WBR isn't exactly flush with sponsorship. It ran less than half the races in 2009, 2010 and 2012 (and exactly half in 2011), and Bayne will run only 12 of 36 this year. It's not ideal, but the Woods have little choice.
NASCAR, IndyCar Highlights 2014 Schedule at Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma Raceway will rattle the grapevines next summer, as the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend highlights its diverse 2014 motor-racing schedule.
In addition to NASCAR, the busy summer schedule will also include the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, IndyCar Series, FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.
NASCAR headlines the schedule as the series marks its 26th annual visit to Sonoma, June 20-22. The race has featured nine different winners over the past nine years, including Martin Truex Jr., who became the seventh consecutive driver to post his first Sprint Cup Series road-course victory in Sonoma. Race fans will also be treated to the NASCAR Pro Series West race on Saturday, as well as the premier air show on the NASCAR circuit during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday, June 22.
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