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Vettel oblivious to 2008 title role  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel said after finishing the Brazilian grand prix fourth that he had "no idea" overtaking Lewis Hamilton almost within sight of the chequered flag nearly cost the Briton the 2008 world championship.

Had Toyota's Timo Glock not dropped off the pace and fallen behind Hamilton at the final corner of the dramatic 71-lap race, Felipe Massa would have secured the drivers' crown.

"I had no idea in what position we were racing.  I was totally focused on the race and didn't watch my pit board once to be honest.  It was incredibly slippery out there on track and I needed every second to focus on the track," Toro Rosso driver Vettel said afterwards.

"Hamilton ran a bit wide after Kubica overtook him and I could pass him quite easily, but I didn't have a clue what consequence it could have for Hamilton," he explained.

"I was just fully focused on my own result."

Germany's Glock, meanwhile, who had not changed to dry tires in the closing laps despite the rain, put a stop to any conspiracy theories that his dramatic loss of pace and positions on the last lap could have been deliberate.

"I was on dry tires at the end of the race when it was raining quite badly and it was just impossible on the last lap," he said.

"I was fighting as hard as I could but it was so difficult to just keep the car on the track and I lost positions right at the end of the lap," said Glock.

The incredible last-gasp action must have delighted the sport's ringmaster, Bernie Ecclestone, but former team owner Eddie Jordan believes McLaren made heavy weather of bringing Hamilton to the title in Brazil.

"I don't want to be critical of Ron Dennis because it's a big moment for him, but by being defensive he allowed Ferrari to take the upper hand today," the Irishman told Sky News.

"And by a fraction of luck at the very last moment he just got it back.  I don't think he'd get away with that again," Jordan said.

team USA
American Conor Daly Wins Walter Hayes Trophy  
Conor Daly celebrates
Conor Daly capped an extraordinarily successful Team USA Scholarship foray to England by winning the Walter Hayes Trophy this afternoon at Silverstone, the Home of British Motor Racing.

The victory came two weeks after teammate Josef Newgarden won the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

Daly, who started fourth on the 36-car grid for the 15-lap Grand Final, which was held in cold, wet and extremely treacherous conditions, took the lead at half distance when Scottish Formula Ford Champion Graham Carroll slid off the road at Luffield corner. Newgarden also had made a mistake after leading the opening lap.

Daly, 16, from Noblesville, Indiana, controlled the remainder of the race and set the fastest lap for good measure. He became the youngest driver ever to scoop the Walter Hayes Trophy, which is named after one of the originators of Formula Ford. The presentation was made by Walter Hayes’ widow, Elizabeth, in the Clubhouse of the famed British Racing Drivers Club.

“It feels very good,” said Daly, who won this year’s BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda before being awarded a Team USA Scholarship. “It feels like I have a monkey off my back [after some niggling problems earlier in the week and at Brands Hatch]. Now I can go home happy.” More ...

Toyota Racing Bids Farewell to Richard Cregan  The Panasonic Toyota Racing on-track team paid tribute to Team Manager Richard Cregan at Interlagos today, on the occasion of his final Grand Prix wearing the Toyota uniform.

The Irishman, 47, will leave Toyota at the end of this month to become Team Manager of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, spearheading preparations for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009.

All race team members joined together to pay tribute to Richard in the Interlagos pit lane as Chairman and Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina presented him with a personalized Panasonic Toyota Racing race overall, produced by Alpinestars, before a group photo.

Richard said: "This has been a weekend of very mixed emotions because on the one hand I am excited by the future but on the other I am sad to be leaving my friends at Toyota.

"I have had a fantastic time with this team; we have had highs and lows but we have stuck together throughout and I am very proud of what has been achieved. Even though I will not be with Toyota after November, I will always be a team member in my heart. More ...

Heavy rain expected in Sao Paulo  UPDATE (GMM)  Rain is very likely to disrupt Sunday's decisive round of the 2008 world championship in Brazil.

It was drizzling at the Interlagos circuit, located outside downtown Sao Paulo, as thousands of fans filed through the gates hours before the 3pm local start time.

There were dry periods until late morning, but an 80 per cent chance of heavy showers is forecast for the period of the Brazilian grand prix.

It has been an intense build-up to the season finale, with even British prime minister Gordon Brown weighing in to wish his compatriot Lewis Hamilton well.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone neatly summarized the likely outcome of the 71-lap race.

"Felipe will win the race, Lewis will win the title because he has that seven point lead, doesn't he?  The mathematics favor him all the way through, don't they?" he said.

11/02/08 The latest weather forecasts predict heavy rain and even thunderstorms around the Sao Paulo area. It is expected around the end of the afternoon, but it is at this moment uncertain whether or not it will influence the Brazilian Grand Prix this afternoon.  The rain clouds are slowly moving towards Sao Paulo at the moment but on Sunday morning the weather is still dry at Interlagos.
tv news
John Henry, Bob Varsha and Robin Miller on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE A reminder that John Henry, Bob Varsha and Robin Miller will be guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight.

10/31/08 John Henry, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing and principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday. As an avid racing fan, Henry made a significant investment in NASCAR by partnering with Jack Roush in 2007 to form Roush Fenway Racing.

Bob Varsha, Expert F1 Analyst and Host of Formula One on SPEED, will join Dave Despain to recap the Formula One season finale from Brazil where the World Drivers Championship will be awarded to either Lewis Hamilton or Felipe Massa. 

A Special Feature on Wind Tunnel this Sunday will be the “Excellent Dale Jr. Adventure” where SPEED's Open Wheel Racing Analyst, Robin Miller, got the birthday present of a lifetime -- a ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr. around the Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past Wednesday!

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

tv news
Earnhardt Jr. takes critic Miller for a spin  UPDATE A reminder that Robin Miller's unforgettable ride with Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be shown on Wind Tunnel tonight. So did Robin walk away with a new appreciation for NASCAR, or did he just walk away with a dirty pair of Wranglers? Tune in to find out.

10/31/08 Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dave Despain teamed up Wednesday to give SPEED analyst Robin Miller an unforgettable 59th birthday present and a different perspective on NASCAR.

Sunday’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (9 p.m. ET on SPEED) will feature Earnhardt driving the veteran motor sports journalist around Lowe’s Motor Speedway in excess of 180 miles per hour.

The hot laps are part of a birthday present Despain gave Miller last Sunday on Wind Tunnel consisting of Earnhardt memorabilia and a message from the driver, inviting Miller to meet him at the track Wednesday for a ride.  The motivation behind the gift was to provide Miller, a regular guest on Wind Tunnel and open critic of NASCAR for years, a fresh take on the sport in hopes his appreciation for it would increase. 

“He definitely gave me the A-ticket ride so I could experience what it was all about at speed,” Miller said.  “I was surprised at the G-loads and how well a 3,500-pound car stuck to the track and can only imagine what an Indy car must be like going 30 miles per hour quicker through the corner. But Dale drove it in hard and I got the picture.” More ...

Vettel won't be easy on Hamilton  Sebastian Vettel has said he won't be careful when Formula One championship candidate Lewis Hamilton will be fighting him this Sunday in the Brazilian Grand Prix. The German has said it is Hamilton who needs to be careful. "I don't have to be careful, he has to be careful," Vettel was quoted by our colleagues at autosport.com. "In the end I am doing my race, we are here to race and unfortunately we are not fighting for the title for a couple of races now but we will do a normal race. I don't care if a car of whatever color is in front or behind me. I will try to overtake, or stay in front."
Earnhardt team lost $2M  There are predictions now in the garage that anywhere from 750 to 1,000 Sprint Cup crewmen might lose their jobs at the end of the season, as team owners pare down to the new economics. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that his Nationwide/Busch team has lost $2 million a year the last two years, so next season that team will run a limited schedule and many crewmen will be leaving.

"Not only is there a lack of interest in sponsoring a Nationwide team -- and that will probably get worse over the next year -- but a guy who does come in might have a product that conflicts with a sponsorship you already have," Earnhardt said.

"I read that this was a correction more than a recession, that we've been living beyond our means … and we were simply employing more people than we needed. We had 80 to 100 people for two Nationwide teams, and that's just too many.

"A lot of us in this sport have lived in that excess." Winston Salem Journal

Beijing extends championship lead  Beijing Guoan's Davide Rigon scored his third victory of the Superleague Formula season with a stunning win at Vallelunga in Italy today.

Racing on home soil, Italian Rigon started third and trailed race leader Liverpool FC (Adrian Valles) and Robert Doornbos (AC Milan) in the opening laps. Rigon was one of the first to make his compulsory pit stop on lap nine while Liverpool and Milan pitted a lap later.

The Reds suffered a slow stop allowing Milan ahead but Doornbos was unable to hold off Rigon who made a pass while Doornbos was bringing his tires up to speed on his out lap.

From that pass onwards, the Italian ace was untouchable and Rigon took his third win – backing up his previous victories from Donington Park and Zolder.

Beijing Guoan now holds a 60 point lead in the championship over AC Milan who have now risen to second place. More ...

Wider tires not expected any time soon  A lot of talk in the garage has been about the possibility of Goodyear introducing a larger, wider tire to better handle the loads this car creates and improve handling. Well, don't expect it any time soon. "It's a science project that we're involved in with Goodyear,'' said John Darby, Sprint Cup series director. "Obviously, a change that major would probably never see a race track for five years.'' Darby said such a change to the tires would require major changes elsewhere: "You've got tire technology, you've got wheel manufacturers, and you've got brake manufacturers. It's just so many components on something like that that it would be as big a change as when we left bias-ply and went to radial tires." Roanoke Times
Racial Lawsuit against NASCAR to remain in New York  The Mauricia Grant sexual and racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit will remain in New York. NASCAR had requested to move the case to either North Carolina or Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled that because NASCAR has a marketing office in New York City, federal court in Manhattan is an appropriate venue for the case. Batts also cited the facts that Grant worked races at Watkins Glen, alleges discriminatory practices occurred while in New York and was allegedly disciplined and demoted while working in the state of New York. "Courts are not required to determine the 'best venue' but merely a logical one with a substantial connection to the litigation," Batts wrote. The sides expect a trial to last two weeks but no trial date has been set. Scene Daily
Brawn criticizes Hamilton race strategy  (GMM)  Ross Brawn has criticized the fuel strategy with which Lewis Hamilton qualified just fourth for the decisive Brazilian grand prix.

The McLaren driver must finish just fifth to be crowned world champion on Sunday, but Brawn - renowned as the cleverest strategy brain on the pitwall - doubts the wisdom of fuelling Hamilton for the second row of the most important grid of his career.

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis labeled Ferrari's alternate approach as possibly the result of "aggressive race strategies".

But Honda team boss Brawn told reporters: "The safest place to start from is right at the front.

"The McLaren is fast enough to get far enough in front with a short first stint not to drop not too far back into the field after the pitstop."

track news
Iowa Speedway selling tickets dirt cheap  Fans can buy into Iowa Speedway’s 10-event racing schedule for 2009 beginning Saturday for as little as $99, according to a track news release. The schedule at the Newton track features the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the IndyCar Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series, among others.

Grandstand season tickets range from $99 to $199, but will rise after Dec.31. Orders can be placed online at iowaspeedway.com beginning at 7 a.m. Phone orders will be taken from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (866) 787-8946.

Alonso wins duel as best 2008 teammate  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso was the only driver on this year's formula one grid to outqualify his teammate on every occasion in 2008.

At all 18 grands prix this year, rookie Nelson Piquet lined up on the grid lower than the sister Renault, meaning his seat is in doubt for next season.

"It has been a tough season obviously but I am learning a lot and improving a lot and discovering a lot of new things," the Brazilian said.

When asked if he was confident of staying in F1 next year, he answered: "I think I have a good chance."

Behind Alonso's perfect qualifying achievement, Red Bull's Mark Webber outpaced his teammate David Coulthard 15 times on Saturday afternoons this year, while Toyota's Jarno Trulli dispensed with Timo Glock on 14 occasions.

Heikki Kovalainen's deficit to Lewis Hamilton was 13:5, but the Finn often carries more fuel in his McLaren in the decisive 'Q3' segment.  At Ferrari, Felipe Massa saw off world champion Kimi Raikkonen 12:6.

Like Piquet, Honda's Rubens Barrichello is also fighting to retain his seat, but the Brazilian veteran actually outqualified his teammate Jenson Button on 10 occasions in 2008.

"And I can tell you, he is damn fast," said Barrichello of Button, insisting that he "deserves" a better Honda for 2009 following the poor single seaters of the past two seasons.

At Force India, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella are tied at 9:9, while Nick Heidfeld (BMW), Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) and Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso) all managed to outqualify their teammates only 5 times out of 18.

Ecclestone signs off new Brazil GP deal  (GMM)  The immediate future of the Brazilian grand prix has been definitively secured through 2014.

It was reported last year that Bernie Ecclestone agreed the contract extension for the race, held at the Interlagos circuit outside downtown Sao Paulo.

Only this weekend, however, was all the documentation signed and ratified by the F1 chief executive, promoter Tamas Rohonyi, and city mayor Gilberto Kassab.

The full year's delay in the final implementation of the new deal was so the organizers could fulfill their promise to spend $15m in paddock improvements, a new medical centre and extra seating.

Formula BMW
Rossi continues domination for Formula BMW  
Alexander Rossi (USA)
Unchallenged in practice, qualifying or today, 2008 Formula BMW Americas champion Alexander Rossi (Eurointernational) took the Round 16 victory in front of the Brazilian Grand Prix crowd. Starting from pole, Rossi led all 14 laps around the 2.677-mile Interlagos circuit, setting a race record on lap 12 (1:40.842 minutes), to hold off Formula BMW Europe driver Daniel Juncadella (Eurointernational) by 2.078 seconds at the checkered flag. Rookie and Formula BMW Junior Mikael Grenier (Apex-HBR Racing Team) finished third to take over the lead in Rookie points for the first time this season.

Daniel Juncadella
Grenier now leads fellow Formula BMW Junior Gianmarco Raimondo (Autotecnica), who finished sixth, by two points. Brazilian Giancarlo Vilarinho (Eurointernational) finished fourth to move to third in Rookie points. Formula BMW Junior Alexandre Ruiz (Apex-HBR Racing Team), also from Brazil, finished ninth, falling to fourth in the standings. With only 12 points between them, these four young men will decide the 2008 Rookie Championship in tomorrow's final race of the season.

Another notable Rookie performance was put in by Luis Felipe Nasr (Amir Nasr Racing). Starting third, the young Brazilian finished fifth in his very first Formula BMW start. More ...

Hamilton car refit cost $7m - Ron Dennis  (GMM)  McLaren achieved the most expensive tenth-and-a-half improvement in the British team's long history, by working meticulously on Lewis Hamilton's car between the Chinese and Brazilian grands prix, according to Ron Dennis.

After Hamilton qualified fourth for the decisive round of the 2008 championship that, the team's boss revealed that technicians at Woking had been tasked after Shanghai two weeks ago with checking and servicing every single component of the 23-year-old's MP4-23 racer.

At 3000 individual parts, the week-long task would have cost McLaren about $7m, the Daily Mirror newspaper said.

"It's the most expensive 0.15 of a second in our history.  We have checked every single part and even eliminated the infant mortality of new parts," Dennis said.

He then questioned the wisdom of Ferrari's seemingly "aggressive" fuel strategy for the last qualifying session of 2008 in Brazil, but some wondered if a strategy stranding Hamilton on the back of the second row, and among notable enemies like Fernando Alonso, is wise.

"I do not believe Lewis Hamilton will make it past the first corner of the race," former triple world champion and Brazilian Nelson Piquet told Globoesporte.

"There are many drivers in the field who do not like him," the father of the Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr added.

Two teams announce 2009 car launch dates  (GMM)  Toyota and BMW-Sauber are the first two formula one teams to confirm launch dates for their 2009 cars.

The Japanese team Toyota is to reveal its next car, to be called the TF109, on 16 January, probably at its Cologne headquarters in Germany.

It is believed Toyota was the team referred to by Ron Dennis during a press conference at Interlagos, when the McLaren boss revealed that "there is one team that does not intend" to begin the 2009 season with a KERS system fitted to its cars.

"I don't think it's in doubt that everybody else will have it," he added.

Dennis' comments are said to have annoyed Toyota and some of his other fellow team bosses, as Toyota's plans had been divulged in a confidential meeting of the FOTA alliance.

BMW-Sauber will launch its 2009 car a few days after Toyota, on 20 January, when it unveils the F1.09 at the permanent Ricard Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain.

Massa dismisses 'black cat' Hamilton prank  (GMM)  Local driver Felipe Massa dismissed as "part of the sport" a prank designed to curse his championship contender Lewis Hamilton's quest for the 2008 title in Brazil.

Brazilian TV comedians threw a toy black cat, a sign of bad luck in Brazil, at the British driver at a sponsor function earlier this weekend.  They also gave Hamilton a football jersey of Vasco da Gama -- a team renowned for finishing second.

Hamilton confided later that he doubted "very much" if a similar prank would ever take place against his rivals in Britain, and McLaren was said to have launched an investigation into how the pranksters were even given access to the Johnnie Walker event.

"Sport is like that," Massa said after driving to pole position on Saturday.

"I think if somebody went and hurt him I would be very disappointed but I think that's part of the sport."

Two years ago, the same comedians presented Rubens Barrichello with a toy tortoise, telling the Brazilian it was a prize for his contribution to the sport.

tv news
Weekend USA TV Reminders  UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Reminder: Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 am.
Set clocks back one hour.
Inside Grand Prix Brazil       
3:00am-3:30am (R) SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying Brazil       
3:30am-5:00am (R) SPEED
Tradin' Paint Texas       
8:30am-9:00am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Performance Texas       
9:00am-9:30am (R) SPEED
NASCAR in a Hurry Texas       
9:30am-10:00am SPEED
NASCAR Now         
10:00am-11:00a ESPN2
NASCAR Raceday Texas       
10:00am-11:30am SPEED
NHRA Raceday Las Vegas       
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
11:30am-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Dickies 500 Texas
3:00pm-3:30pm (L) -Pre-race
3:30pm-7:30pm (L) -Race ABC
Formula Drift Series Road Atlanta       
4:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Flat Track Grand Nationals Indianapolis       
5:00pm-6:00pm (9/13/08) VS
Superbike World Championship Portugal
5:00pm-6:00pm (SD) -Race 1
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) -Race 2 SPEED
SPEED Report         
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
7:00pm-10:00pm (SD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Texas       
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
John Henry (Co-Owner, Roush Fenway Racing)
Bob Varsha (F1 Host)
Special Feature: Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes SPEED’s Robin Miller for a ride of a lifetime         
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now         
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2 More ...
Kyle Busch talks about another dominating win  
Can you talk about your run today?
“It was a strong car all day and it kind of set the tone. We had a good race car yesterday when we were practicing it. It felt good, it had speed but the balance wasn’t quite there so we were working on it. Joel (Weidman, crew chief) did some good calls in practice trying to get it right and we made it to where it was really good today off the bat. It sort of got loose a little bit through the race and tightened it up some with some adjustments there. Fortunately for us we were up front all day and didn’t have to mire through much traffic but I still feel like our car was good enough to do so. (Jeff) Dickerson (spotter) made a good call and that slow car that brought out that caution that caught (Kevin) Harvick in the pits, he saved us there. Luckily we had enough gas to make it back to pit road. That was our saving grace and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. The two tires on the last stop was my call, Joel wanted four and by being a rookie crew chief I had to over step him one time here, go me, that’s the first time I’ve won myself one. I’m proud of myself for that. Joel did a great job believing in me with that and bumping up the air pressures there to go at it at the end of the race. Luckily we hung on for enough there and beat out Carl.”

What does this win mean to you?
“It means a whole lot. Sam Ard is one of the pioneers of this deal and to be tied with him at 10 wins is something that’s pretty spectacular and really, really special to me. He’s in Florence, South Carolina with his wife Jo with Alzheimer’s and I just want to say ‘hey’ to him. I told myself during this race that I knew he had health issues and stuff like that and I’m going to go ahead and give him 100,000 dollars and I’m going to try to help him out and see what I can do. It’s not much but it’s something that can try to help cure him and everything he’s going through. I’ve got to thank Farm Bureau Insurance and Toyota and all of these guys and the fans for coming out. These guys are just awesome man, I don’t know what else to say. It’s been a dream year and Joel Weidman (crew chief) who come on board has done a phenomenal job and Jason (Ratcliff) back at home gives us a great race car every week.” More ...

team usa
Two wins for Team USA  Teenaged Americans Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden today notched dominant victories aboard their identical Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GR07/08 cars during their respective qualifying heat races for tomorrow’s Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford event at Silverstone. After qualifying was held in cold, damp conditions, Heat One started on a wet track. Daly made a stellar start from row two of the grid, then lunged around the outside of Copse Corner to emerge in the lead.

“I was a bit nervous because of the wet conditions,” said Daly, “because I hadn’t done a standing start before in the wet, but I kept the revs really low and basically just inched off the line. I didn’t get any wheelspin and it was better than all the guys in front of me. At the first corner, I went in way too fast, which is what I planned, went wide onto the runoff and came out in front.”

From there, Daly engaged in a close tussle with 2007 British Formula Ford Champion Nathan Freke, driving a similar Ray. The pair exchanged positions a couple of times before Freke got sideways on the exit of Luffield and 16-year-old Daly took full advantage to nip past into Woodcote Corner. He then put his head down and gradually edged away to win by 1.45 seconds. Daly also set fastest lap at 1m12.672s. More ...
Big ethanol producer goes belly up  VeraSun Energy Corp., the nation's second largest ethanol producer accounting for about 13 percent of U.S. capacity, said late Friday it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after skyrocketing corn costs and a deterioration in capital markets left the company short on cash. VeraSun said it was working with lenders and expected to reach an agreement on additional financing to fund normal operations before a court hearing scheduled for Monday. The company said it plans to resume operations during the Chapter 11 proceedings, and it doesn't expect to reduce raw material purchases.

"Today's filing allows VeraSun to address its short-term liquidity constraints as we navigate historically challenging market conditions while we focus on restructuring to address the company's long-term future," Don Endres, VeraSun's chief executive, said in a statement.

VeraSun said it had significant losses in the third quarter due to a "dramatic spike" in the cost of corn it turns into fuel. The company also said the capital markets and a tightening of trade credit placed "severe constraints" on its liquidity.
Ferrari delay Force India-McLaren deal  (GMM) Contrary to Vijay Mallya's recent promise, the announcement of Force India's new technical alliance with McLaren-Mercedes will no longer take place in Brazil.

The team's Indian co-owner said last week its partner for 2009 would be unveiled "in Brazil, or before Brazil", amid reports all the details of the McLaren deal have been agreed.

The final hurdle, however, is the Silverstone based squad's existing contractual arrangement with Ferrari, its current engine supplier.

Force India wants to switch suppliers because McLaren is ready to offer a complete engine, KERS and transmission package.

Mallya revealed last week that he is willing to "reimburse" Ferrari for pulling out of the 2009 contract, but Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims this has not yet been agreed.

For that reason, the Force India-McLaren linkup will not be announced this weekend, with McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh confirming that a deal cannot be signed off "as long as Ferrari do not consent".
Brazilian GP: Alonso on top again in practice 3  Fernando Alonso once again proved that Renault and he are back as he turned the fastest lap again in Brazil ahead of qualifying this afternoon.  The times were very tight so qualifying should be quite interesting.


No rain for today's Brazilian GP qualifying  The weatherman says it will be partially cloudy today with no rain and an ambient temperature high of 19 degrees Celsius in Sao Paulo, Brazil for today's F1 qualifying.  But though the temperature will rise to 26 degrees on race day, thunderstorms are also predicted.
Force accepts 2008 Female Athlete of the Year award  
Ashley Force
Ashley Force accepted the 2008 Female Athlete of the Year award from the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation (JMMF) at its 10th anniversary Tribute to Living Legends of Sports and Media awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Oct. 30.

Force, the 25-year-old NHRA Funny Car driver, was introduced by her father, 14-time Funny Car world champion John Force, and spoke emotionally about growing up in a racing family and her journey to the top of her profession.

"Being presented with the Jim Murray Foundation Female Athlete of the Year award means a lot to me and my team. Seeing all the people here at this event and hearing all the great things they have said about Jim Murray just shows me what a great writer and individual he was. The sports media is so important. I just want to continue to showcase all the positive sides of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, and being presented with this award is just a great honor," said Force during her acceptance speech. More ...

Stoner wrist surgery a success  
Casey Stoner
Former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has undergone a successful operation to his left wrist, according to a statement from the Australian's team Ducati.

Stoner, who came runner-up to Italian Valentino Rossi on this year's MotoGP championship, had surgery in a hospital in Modena, Italy.

The Australian, who won the season-ending Valencia GP last weekend, was discharged Friday, whereby he returned to his home in Switzerland to recover.

Hamilton plays down possible title loss  
Will Hamilton choke again this year?
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton in Brazil said he does not see Sunday's championship showdown with Felipe Massa as his 'now or never' shot at the formula one title.

"I've plenty of time yet.  "I'm still at the early stages of my formula one career, so I've room.  It's not like it's my last year," the McLaren driver said.

The 23-year-old, with a seven point advantage over Ferrari's Massa, was speaking on Friday, after going just ninth quickest in afternoon practice at Interlagos.

A similar result in the grand prix, with Massa at least in second place, would hand the championship to the Brazilian.

Hamilton was coy when asked if losing a second consecutive title showdown, following his failed shot as a rookie this time last year, would be a "disaster".

"When you lose a game of tennis it's a frigging disaster," he told reporters.

"It's just another competition," Hamilton insisted, when it was pointed out that a world championship is surely worth more than a tennis match.

"We've still had a good season, and I've done a pretty good job.  But I would say I want to do a better job next year," he added.

Sunday will also be Hamilton's second and final chance to snatch the record of being F1's youngest ever champion from Fernando Alonso.

"It doesn't make any difference," said Hamilton of the possibility.

"Whether you are the youngest or oldest, no difference."

Rossi to race in Rally of Britain  MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will switch to four wheels to take part in next month's Rally of Britain, a spokesman for the Italian said.

The eight-time motorcycling champion, who has competed in two rallies, will face his four-wheeled nemesis Sebastian Loeb, who is on course to win his fifth WRC title at this weekend's Rally of Japan.

Rossi, the son of a keen amateur rally driver, raced in the 2002 Rally of Britain in a Peugeot 206, and four years later placed a respectable 11th in a Subaru in the New Zealand edition.

The motor-mad Rossi has also competed in two Formula One grand prix with Ferrari.

Dale Jr. hammers NASCAR  
Dale Jr. tears apart NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. went from race car driver to philosopher Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. And in the process, stock car racing's favorite son likely ruffled quite a few feathers in NASCAR's front office.

In one of his most poignant interviews ever, Earnhardt confirmed what a lot of people – most notably disenchanted or former NASCAR fans – have been thinking for a long time.

Namely, NASCAR has grown too big, the season is too long and the watered-down result, particularly the Chase for the Sprint Cup, is hurting the sport dramatically, with potentially even more damage to come as the world remains in economic crisis.

With rumors swirling that current Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series teams will lay off close to 1,000 employees at season's end, as well as reports that several teams across the sport's top three series are likely to close their doors or merge with others, this is one of the most challenging times NASCAR has ever faced. In a year that the sanctioning body was supposed to get back to its roots, it may be time for NASCAR to take an even longer, harder look at itself, Earnhardt said.

Foremost in his mind: the length of the season.

"We have saturated the market with race after race after race," Earnhardt said. "The NFL, they do such a great job. I hate to keep comparing to them and using them as examples, but they do the best job.

"They give you just enough to keep you wanting more. The season ends before you want it to. You get just enough to get excited and then it's all over and there's such a long wait. The model works."

[Editor's Note: The greedy France family will never reduce the number of races run at their tracks, that is how they make the majority of the money.  This greed is leading to the downfall of NASCAR.  Don't order the flowers or plan the funeral just yet, but Americans are increasingly become disenchanted with NASCAR's bloat, high costs and 1950s technology in its new Car of Yesterday.]

With expansion both geographically and event-wise, the bloated NASCAR schedule has, in effect, become a victim of its own success. More ...

Corvette chief Wallace retires today  Tom Wallace, the Corvette's chief engineer, retires from General Motors today.  Gene Stefanyshyn, GM's global vehicle line executive for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, will add the Corvette chief engineer responsibility to his duties, a GM spokesman said Monday.

Wallace, 60, who has worked for GM since 1966, retires just one month shy of having run the Corvette program for three years. He is only the fourth chief engineer in Corvette's 56-year history.

The Corvette team recently finished and launched the ZR1--a supercar laced with racing technology, from its carbon-fiber body panels to composite-material brake discs and its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 rated at 638 hp.  With the next generation Corvette on hold indefinitely Wallace decided to get out now.

Senna hopes to test McLaren next season  Bruno Senna hopes he can join the McLaren Formula 1 team next season for a day of testing. The team where is uncle Ayrton Senna won the F1 championship title three times would be the perfect team for the 25-year-old Brazilian.

"I don't really need a race seat in Formula 1 from the start. I've already said several times that I wouldn't mind being a Formula 1 test driver for a year," Bruno Senna told Nu Sport. "I'd love to become a test driver by a top team such as McLaren so I've got a good learning year.

"If Kovalainen's contract does end at the end of 2009 it could be an advantage for me, but I'm not going to speculate what is in someone else's contract. We'll see what happens when we get there."

Gordon say Letarte will continue as crew chief  Should Gordon not crack the win column before the season finale at Homestead, don't expect any wholesale changes to the #24 squad including crew chief Steve Letarte's post. "We're not changing Steve or crew chiefs," Gordon said. "I believe in him. The problems we're having are not Steve. We need to build more depth on the team, and Steve is a big part of organizing that and has really been spearheading a lot of the ideas that are going to be improvements for us for this season and next year." CBS Sports
McClure pleads not guilty  Morgan-McClure Motorsports co-owner Larry McClure pled not guilty to tax fraud charges Thursday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va., according to court records. According to the indictment issued Tuesday against McClure, in a dispute over $325,000 of unreported income from 2002-2004, the government alleges that McClure's claim that the money was a loan he received was false and was an attempt to avoid paying taxes on it. The race team is not mentioned in the indictments. According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, McClure faces up to 115 years in prison and a $2.75 million fine if convicted. Bond was set at $10,000. A trial date is set for Jan. 20-23 on the tax charges as well as charges stemming for an alleged fraudulent $59,852 invoice for painting of show cars. Scene Daily
Anti-Hamilton racist website taken down  (GMM)  The website at the centre of the latest Lewis Hamilton racism storm has been removed from the internet.

The development followed a media storm, after it emerged that Spanish fans left obscene messages about the McLaren driver's ethnicity on the site, which invited users to leave virtual nails and hazards in Hamilton's path on a mockup of the Interlagos circuit.

Britain's foreign secretary was urged by government politicians Keith Vaz and Andy Burnham to make a formal protest about the affair to the Spanish government.

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis commented from Brazil: "Really it's not for us to take action against these people; in some instances it's government and in some instances it's organizations that are designed specifically to address these issues in this world."

The site was run by the Spanish branch of the New York-based global advertising agency TWBA.

"This is not what we condone as a company," spokesman Jeremy Miller told The Guardian, promising to take "appropriate action" once it had made further enquiries.

Fernando Alonso, F1's only Spanish driver, also condemned the racism of the website's users, who have been referred to as his fans.

"If it's true, obviously this is not possible (acceptable)," he told reporters at Interlagos.

"In 2008 we cannot have these kind of people in our world."

Massa's father makes it to Interlagos  (GMM)  Felipe Massa's father, Luiz Antonio, nearly had to miss the Interlagos championship showdown this weekend due to a medical problem.

It has emerged that Massa Snr, who bears a striking resemblance to the 27-year-old Ferrari driver albeit carrying a few extra pounds, was in hospital earlier this week to have kidney stones removed.

Luiz Antonio recovered in time, however, to see his son get off to a rapid start on Friday at Interlagos, where he must win the race with Lewis Hamilton lower than fifth to be crowned world champion.

Also at the circuit this weekend will be Massa's mother Ana Elena, sister Fernanda and wife Rafaela Bassi.

"Having the family together is very important," Massa said.

Sam Michael nearly missed Brazil  (GMM)  Sam Michael nearly didn't make it to Interlagos for the final race of the 2008 season.

Williams' technical director was not scheduled to travel to Brazil, but he was asked at the last minute to attend by team co-owner and engineering boss Patrick Head.

However, Head's call was made too late for Michael, a 37-year-old Australian, to organize a visa in the traditional way.

Apparently, team boss Sir Frank Williams phoned the Brazilian embassy in London to fast-track a visa, and Sam duly touched down in Sao Paulo on Friday morning.

A1GP Teams for China, Malaysia and New Zealand  A1GP Chengdu, China is the next stop on the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Season Four calendar, and the final freight and chassis for the event will leave the UK on Saturday.

The cars for A1 Teams Great Britain, India and Mexico will be on the plane to join the 17 others that raced in Zandvoort, but A1 Team Pakistan will have to miss the next two races in China and Malaysia while the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car is readied for its Seat Holder and driver, Adam Khan. The problem arose after the chassis did not provide the 23-year-old with a comfortable and, therefore, safe racing environment. “Not every driver is the same height and, while Adam is perhaps taller than average, he is no different to some of the world’s successful racing drivers. It is just unfortunate our chassis needs changes to be made to it to allow Adam to race to the best of his abilities. These will be made and we look forward to seeing his Season Four race debut in Taupo,” said A1GP CEO, Pete da Silva. More ...

team usa
Team USA ready for Silverstone challenge  
Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly
Team USA Scholarship drivers Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly are widely tipped to be among the front-runners for this weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone after their stellar performance in the recent Formula Ford Kent Festival at Brands Hatch.

Both drivers were lauded in the British specialist press after their impressive UK debut, but they will face even tougher opposition at Silverstone with the addition of several well-established names on the entry list for the event which honors one of the originators of Formula Ford.

Almost 130 Formula Ford cars will be on hand for what has become one of the British calendar’s most popular events. Among the one-off entries are former Le Mans winner Andy Wallace (who raced for many years in the American Le Mans Series with Team USA Scholarship supporter Dyson Racing); Aston Martin factory GT1 driver and Le Mans class winner Darren Turner; former British Formula Ford champion Nathan Freke (who also contested several Firestone Indy Lights Championship races this year); three-time Walter Hayes Trophy winner (and former US FF2000 competitor) Joey Foster; and former Formula Ford Festival winner Michael Vergers.

Newgarden and Daly have been testing at Silverstone for the past two days. Their sessions have been far from trouble-free, with Daly encountering persistent engine problems as well as some handling difficulties, and Newgarden losing time today after he fluffed a gear change and over-revved the engine. Nevertheless, both of the Cliff Dempsey Racing-prepped Ray GR07/08 cars have been fast, and the drivers are excited about their prospects for the weekend. More ...

Brazilian GP: Friday Highlights  
Friday Quotes

Friday Press Conference

Barrichello wears Hoffman's helmet  
Rubens Barrichello’s helmet
(GMM)  In what could turn out to be Rubens Barrichello's final grand prix, the Brazilian veteran is not wearing his usual white, orange and blue helmet design.

Instead, the Honda driver is speeding around the Interlagos circuit with the livery worn throughout the career of fellow Paulista Ingo Hoffman.

The gesture is a tribute to 55-year-old Hoffman's long motor racing career, which included six grands prix for the struggling Fittipaldi team in the mid 70s, the local O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper said.

Hoffman, at Interlagos this weekend, is reportedly hanging up his helmet, painted bright yellow and orange, after the 2008 Brazilian stock car series.

Barrichello, 36, revealed that his own familiar white, orange and blue helmet livery was partly inspired by Hoffman.

"The orange color was inspired by the helmet of Ingo Hoffman and the blue top came from Raul Boesel's helmet," he said.

Renault backer denies F1 pullout  (GMM)  The Dutch bank ING insists it is staying in formula one, despite the global financial crisis.

It emerged recently that Renault's title sponsor received a 10 billion euro bailout from the Dutch government as shares plummeted.

But despite fears that sports sponsorship programs may need to be cut, ING's head of marketing Isabelle Conner said the bank is committed to F1 at least until the end of next year.

The International Herald Tribune newspaper estimated ING's annual spend on F1, including trackside advertising and naming sponsorship of some grands prix, at between $50 and $100m.

"This formula one sponsorship is the best thing that ever happened to ING," Conner said.

"Now we are in year two.  It's strategic, a growth driver, a revenue generator for us.  We're in it for three years, we've always said that, that's our commitment.

"You bet we're continuing this, because this works," she added.

Brazilian GP: Alonso tops practice 2  Felipe Massa ended the opening day of practice for Sunday's championship showdown smiling, but it was also clear that the Lewis Hamilton camp is not panicking.

Ferrari's Massa, who must win in Brazil with Hamilton lower than fifth to be crowned world champion, was quickest in the morning session at his home Interlagos circuit, and beaten only by Fernando Alonso in the second drizzle-affected 90-minutes of practice.

Dominant Chinese grand prix winner Hamilton, on the other hand, was two tenths behind the Brazilian in the morning, before slumping to just ninth quickest in the afternoon.

"Our car is much more competitive than in Shanghai and that is for sure a very good start," Massa enthused.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug, however, insisted to German television that McLaren adopted a "very conservative" practice program for Hamilton, who must finish fifth on Sunday to guarantee his points advantage over 27-year-old Massa.

"(Ferrari's) Kimi Räikkönen is two and a half tenths away.  That to me seems to be a more realistic comparison," Haug, Mercedes' motor racing chief, said.

Many observers also pointed out numerous front tire lock-ups for Briton Hamilton, but it is also true he did not take part in the late-session dash, during which many fast times were set.

Haug, noting that Ferrari prefers circuits that use the softer compounds of tire, admitted: "It is clear that we have a strong opponent."



Driver Car Time Behind Laps
1. Alonso Renault 1:12.296 + 0.000 43
2. Massa Ferrari 1:12.353 + 0.057 41
3. Trulli Toyota 1:12.435 + 0.139 44
4. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.600 + 0.304 32
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:12.650 + 0.354 45
6. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:12.687 + 0.391 47
7. Piquet Renault 1:12.703 + 0.407 44
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:12.761 + 0.465 42
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.827 + 0.531 33
10. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:12.886 + 0.590 42
11. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:12.896 + 0.600 38
12. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:12.971 + 0.675 48
13. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:13.038 + 0.742 49
14. Glock Toyota 1:13.041 + 0.745 39
15. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.213 + 0.917 37
16. Barrichello Honda 1:13.221 + 0.925 39
17. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.273 + 0.977 41
18. Button Honda 1:13.341 + 1.045 49
19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:13.428 + 1.132 32
20. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:13.691 + 1.395 33

Atlantic Racing Series, LLC Purchased by Ben Johnston  
Ben Johnston
On the heels of an outstanding, 35th anniversary season of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, which wrapped up at Road Atlanta earlier this month, the series’ future has been solidified as it was announced today that Atlanta-area businessman Ben Johnston has purchased Atlantic Racing Series, LLC from Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“It is very exciting to play a part in the future of such a historic racing series,” Johnston said.  “The Atlantic staff and teams are the best racing has to offer and we are honored to have the continued sponsorship of Cooper Tires and Mazda.  It will be a fantastic season.”

Johnston, 53, also owns Alpharetta, Ga.-based Media Brokers, Inc., which specializes in media planning and buying. He is a long-time road racing enthusiast and owns eight regional titles in SCCA Atlantic competition. Johnston also made one start in the Atlantic Championship in 2005. More ...

Atlanta NASCAR TV Rating  UPDATE The final rating for last Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Atlanta was a 3.6/8 share, down 10% from last year's 4.0 final rating, also on ABC.

The grandstands in Atlanta looked like a Nationwide or Truck race
10/27/08  The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pep Boys Auto 500 from Atlanta Sunday on ABC was a 3.2, down 9% from last year's 3.5 overnight rating, also on ABC.  The prior year the overnight was 4.3 on NBC, so the alarming rating drop for NASCAR continues.  That combined with the horrible attendance Sunday and it's not hard to imagine that Atlanta will have only one Cup race starting in 2010.  One might say the economy is keeping people away at the race track but that does not explain why people are tuning out on TV as well where the cost to them is zero.
Marco Andretti to make A1GP debut  
Marco Andretti will make the step up to an A1GP car in China
Andretti Green announced today that third-generation driver Marco Andretti will drive the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports U.S. entry at Chengdu, China, on Nov. 9.

Andretti will be making his first start in the A1GP car in the second race for Andretti Green's A1GP World Cup of Motorsports effort.  This will be the third different race car that Andretti has piloted during the 2008 calendar year.  In addition to his 18 starts and seventh-place finish in the IndyCar Series championship, Andretti made three starts in the American Le Mans Series at Sebring, Lime Rock Park and Road Atlanta.

Andretti's third season in the IndyCar Series concluded with six top-five and eight top-10 finishes.  He led 330 laps in 18 races, more laps led than in his previous two seasons combined.  He also reached another career milestone on May 31 by recording his first open-wheel racing pole position at The Milwaukee Mile.  The pole position was the 118th pole in Andretti family open-wheel history.

Andretti continued to make a name for himself at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" by finishing third at the 2008 Indianapolis 500.  In three career starts at the famed track, Andretti has a second-place result (2006) and a third-place finish (2008). More ...

Brazilian GP: Massa tops practice 1  World championship protagonists Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton got the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix meeting off to a fitting start by finishing 1-2 in Friday’s opening practice session.

Hamilton held sway for most of the session, but Massa steadily inched closer to him and demoted his McLaren rival with six minutes remaining.

Massa’s best time of 1m12.305s beat Hamilton’s earlier benchmark by 0.19s.

Massa’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest despite a late spin on a track rendered slippery by drizzle.



Driver Team Time
1. MASSA Ferrari 1m12.305s
2. HAMILTON McLaren 1m12.495s
3. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1m12.507s
4. KUBICA BMW 1m12.874s
5. KOVALAINEN McLaren 1m12.925s
6. ALONSO Renault 1m13.061s
7. WEBBER Red Bull 1m13.298s
8. PIQUET Renault 1m13.378s
9. HEIDFELD BMW 1m13.426s
10. GLOCK Toyota 1m13.466s
11. TRULLI Toyota 1m13.600s
12. ROSBERG Williams 1m13.621s
13. BOURDAIS Toro Rosso 1m13.649s
14. BARRICHELLO Honda 1m13.676s
15. BUTTON Honda 1m13.766s
16. NAKAJIMA Williams 1m13.806s
17. VETTEL Toro Rosso 1m13.836s
18. COULTHARD Red Bull 1m13.861s
19. SUTIL Force India 1m14.704s
20. FISICHELLA Force India 1m14.821s

Wall of security closes around Hamilton  (GMM)  Unprecedented levels of security have tightened around championship challenger Lewis Hamilton as the 2008 season winds up in Brazil this weekend.

Following a McLaren official's admission that the 23-year-old Briton is "vaguely aware" of the latest wave of racist hostility against him, it emerges that an exclusion zone has been set up in the area around Hamilton's hotel in the wealthy Morumbi district in Sao Paulo.

Fans and reporters are therefore unable to get anywhere near the McLaren driver away from the Interlagos circuit.

Hotel staff have been barred from giving out information about Hamilton, and when a reporter for the local Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper was interviewing his teammate Heikki Kovalainen, a security guard intervened.

Renault oppose 2009 test cuts  (GMM)  Renault surprised its formula one team rivals in Brazil when it stood opposed to moves to slash testing next year.

In China two weeks ago, all ten outfits agreed at a meeting of the FOTA alliance to reduce in-season test mileage from the current 30,000km to 20,000 for 2009.

But according to the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Renault's team manager Steve Nielsen was instructed by team boss Flavio Briatore to oppose a further push on Thursday to further limit 2009 testing to 15,000km.

Given the French team's usual stance on cost-cutting, the move ahead of the Brazilian grand prix was initially surprising.

But Auto Motor und Sport contends that Briatore's stance may be political.

Should the teams fail to agree adequate cost cuts, FIA president Max Mosley has vowed to introduce his own draconian measures, such as standard engines.

Mecachrome, with strong links to both Briatore and Renault, would be high on the list of potential suppliers of a standard engine.

Unanimity in FOTA votes, however, is required only for imminent rules changes.  A 15,000km testing limit could be introduced for 2010 with just a 70 per cent majority vote.

Penske's Long part of Porsche driving school  
Patrick Long
Penske Racing’s Patrick Long will join four other Porsche driving legends as part of an elite instructional program at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.  The Porsche Sport Driving School - one of the nation’s most prestigious driving schools - is offering its first fantasy camp for a handful of qualified participants who will spend a day on the track with some of the finest race-car drivers ever to don Porsche driving suits.

The program, called the Porsche Legends Course, runs December 16 and 17. This exclusive opportunity for just 10 people is the first of its kind and is limited to recent graduates of the school’s Masters Course, who will be personally coached by many of the greats in Porsche racing lore.

Long will join Porsche legends Derek Bell, Vic Elford, Hurley Haywood and Brian Redman. In addition to perfecting his or her skills during a full day of track sessions with these world class racers as personal coaches, each guest will have the opportunity to socialize with the drivers for a closer one-on-one relationship.

Long, a former GT2 champion in the American Le Mans Series, recently completed his first full season of prototype competition with Penske Racing and its Porsche RS Spyder. The lone factory driver from America, he has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and has nine career Series victories to his credit.

racing news
No NY Marathon for Zanardi this year  
Zanardi last year
AutoRacing1.com has learned that Alex Zanardi will not take part in this year's NY City Marathon because of racing schedule conflicts. 

Recall that Zanardi finished a close fourth in the handcycle class for handicapped racers last year, an amazing result given it was his first attempt.

New TV role for Hinchcliffe  The millions of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport fans who follow the fortunes of the series on their TV screens will have two new personalities to watch and listen to in Season Four.

The series will use former A1 Team Canada racer James Hinchcliffe and Diana Binks its world feed pit lane reporters, working alongside its regular, vastly experienced commentary team of John Watson and Ben Edwards.

This will not be totally new territory for Hinchcliffe, who raced for Canada in Seasons Two and Three.  He has been a co-commentator for Champ Cars’ international TV feed and also made a guest appearance in the A1GP pit lane as a reporter last season in Sepang.

He views taking on the role full-time as a natural next step: “I am thrilled that A1GP has asked me to be part of the pit lane line up for Season Four,” he commented. “I got the opportunity to work with A1GP TV last season and it’s great to now be on board full-time.  This is shaping up to be the best season of A1GP yet, with the introduction of the new car, and it's awesome to think that I get to watch all the action unfold from pit lane.  More ...

Team Rensi will run remaining '08 Nationwide race  Team Rensi Motorsports will run the rest of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season after driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. put up the money for the team to compete in the final three races, team president Ronnie Russell said Thursday afternoon.

The team’s sponsorship had run out for this year, and Smithfield Foods has already indicated it would not return next year.

“He’s actually funding this out of his own pocket,” Russell said in the Texas Motor Speedway garage. “We’ve got several things going on and he’s taking the chance to where we keep racing long enough to where we can seal something up here for next year.”
Coulthard confirmed as Britain’s third driver  David Coulthard has become the third British driver to be confirmed for this year’s Race of Champions, which takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 14 December. The Scot, who retires from F1 competition at the end of the weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, will join fellow F1 star Jenson Button and triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx as the best drivers in the world compete for the title of “Champion of Champions.” In The Race of Champions the competitors – who include seven-times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher and four-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb – race head-to-head in identical cars for both individual glory and for the pride of their country, on a specially-built tarmac course constructed within Wembley Stadium. Coulthard, who has taken part in The Race of Champions for the past four years, is the first of two drivers to be confirmed as racing for Team F1 Racing Great Britain in The ROC Nations Cup. Button and Priaulx will race for Team Autosport Great Britain in the event, while Coulthard’s teammate will be announced at a later date.
Team Pakistan will have to miss the next two races  A1GP Chengdu, China is the next stop on the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Season Four calendar, and the final freight and chassis for the event will leave the UK on Saturday.

The cars for A1 Teams Great Britain, India and Mexico will be on the plane to join the 17 others that raced in Zandvoort, but A1 Team Pakistan will have to miss the next two races in China and Malaysia while the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car is readied for its Seat Holder and driver, Adam Khan. The problem arose after the chassis did not provide the 23-year-old with a comfortable and, therefore, safe racing environment. “Not every driver is the same height and, while Adam is perhaps taller than average, he is no different to some of the world’s successful racing drivers. It is just unfortunate our chassis needs changes to be made to it to allow Adam to race to the best of his abilities. These will be made and we look forward to seeing his Season Four race debut in Taupo,” said A1GP CEO, Pete da Silva. More ...
Texas Goodyear Tire Notes  Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Texas this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while those for the Truck Series will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams to run at Texas earlier this season -- Cup and Nationwide in April and Truck in June . . . in addition to Texas, NASCAR teams have run this specific tire combination at Chicagoland earlier this summer . . . teams in all three of these series will run this setup again at Homestead in two weeks . . . this left-side tire code (D-4134) has also been run with a different right-side code at Dover, Michigan and Kentucky in 2008 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams will are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Brands Hatch Prepares for Great Britain A1GP Finale  The UK fans of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport can start making plans to see an event and support their team now as this Saturday (1 November) tickets go on sale for the Season Four finale, A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain that will be held on 1 – 3 May 2009.

The Kent circuit has played host to three superb A1GP events so far, including the inaugural race in September 2005 where 72,000 fans attended.  In 2009, to offer fans value for money, all entry tickets will remain at the same price as in 2008, with a weekend ticket available from £39 if purchased online in advance.  Grandstand seating prices also remain unchanged, starting from £8, and camping is available from £20.

In addition, this year a new £20 pit and paddock pass has been introduced, which includes access to both the GP paddock and the pit lane walkabout.  Tickets, grandstand seating and paddock passes will all be available to purchase from this weekend through the Brands Hatch website.

After unfortunately missing the season-opener at Zandvoort, Great Britain have still not tested their chassis, but its car will be in the freight that leaves the UK on Saturday to go to China. The A1GP organizers will allot extra testing time to the team next week at the Chengdu International Circuit prior to official practice. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • FIA, McLaren, slam latest Hamilton racism
  • Trulli absent at Interlagos on Thursday
  • Kubica gives thumbs down to Hamilton scorn
  • Strong finale could help Bourdais keep seat
  • Alonso's 2009 news due 'next week'
  • Barrichello 'on hold' while Honda test alternatives
  • Kovalainen wants winter talks with McLaren

FIA, McLaren, slam latest Hamilton racism
(GMM)  F1's governing body, and the McLaren team, have condemned a new wave of racism against championship challenger Lewis Hamilton.

A Spanish website, whose name will not receive publicity in this news item, included a game inviting visitors to leave virtual nails and hazards on a mock-up of the Interlagos circuit, scene of Sunday's title showdown.

Thousands of visitors to the site left vile and racist messages for the 23-year-old Briton, who earlier this year was subject to taunts and abuse at a test in Barcelona.

"The FIA's position is very clear," a spokesman for the Paris based body said in response.

"Discrimination and prejudice can have no place in sport or society.  Everyone in our sport will join us in condemning these abusive and hateful comments."

A McLaren spokesman added: "We've seen today's statement from an FIA spokesman, and we can only echo it."

Trulli absent at Interlagos on Thursday
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli sat out Thursday's proceedings at the Interlagos circuit, amid reports he is not well.

Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell revealed that, while other drivers met with the media and attended briefings and other commitments, the Toyota driver remained in his Sao Paulo hotel with a high fever.

Italian Trulli, 34, was visited at the hotel and reportedly treated by team doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli.

"We assume he will be okay for Friday," Toyota team president John Howett said. More ...

The middle sector at Interlagos is critical  The Brazilian Grand Prix marks the end of a very successful season for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the team from Munich and Hinwil, is hoping for a "positive end" and describes the "Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace" sector by sector.

"Interlagos is one of the few circuits - alongside Istanbul Park and Singapore - which we drive anticlockwise," says Rampf. "The middle sector is critical, with one corner following the next. The key elements are good traction and car balance."

In contrast, Rampf feels that the top speed will be important in the first and third sectors in Interlagos. One feature here is the start-finish straight, which is relatively long and uphill. Engine performance is the decisive factor here, in order to achieve low lap times. "This section also offers a good overtaking opportunity, as does the end of the straight in sector one," says the German.

In the past, the "Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace" has often been the subject of discussion: uneven asphalt is tiring and irritating for the drivers. In the meantime, this problem has been solved. This affects the choice of tire, as Rampf confirms: "The track was resurfaced in 2007, which evened out a lot of bumps. In contrast to last year, when we opted for the softest tire option, this time around we'll be using the medium compounds."  Source BMW Sauber

GMAC Says It May Halt Financing to Some GM Dealers  GMAC LLC, the lender partly owned by General Motors Corp., is telling some GM dealers it will no longer provide them with financing to buy vehicles because of its own reduced funding, according to letters sent to the retailers.

Some dealers also are being told that they will have to start repaying such loans after vehicles have been on lots for at least 180 days, according to one of the three letters. Gina Proia, a GMAC spokeswoman, yesterday declined to confirm them.

Hundreds of the retailers may have received such letters in recent weeks, Denny Fitzpatrick, chairman of the California New Car Dealers Association, said in an interview. The Detroit-based automaker has about 6,500 U.S. dealerships.

``Turbulence in the markets reduced our access to funds and increased the cost of funds where available,'' GMAC Chief Executive Officer Al de Molina said in a letter sent Oct. 21 to the California group. ``In response, we adjusted our credit policy to reflect the reduced level of funding availability.''

Brazilian GP: Thursday Press Conference  
DRIVERS: Rubens BARRICHELLO (Honda), David COULTHARD (Red Bull), Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes), Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), Nelson PIQUET (Renault)


Q: Nelson, what are your experiences of the Interlagos track? How much racing have you done here?

Nelson PIQUET: To be honest not much. It is going to be like arriving at the track like I arrived in Australia or China. I did one race with my father back in 2005 if I remember. It was in an Aston Martin in a 12-hour race and that was it. When I started my F3 career here the first season we didn't have any races here and then I went straight to England, so I don't have much experience but I think motivation and the crowd will help me.

Q: You have had some good races recently. What chances do you think you have of holding onto the seat next year?

Piquet: I think I have a good chance. The team is quite happy. I mean all the boys are on my side, so I don't see any reasons why I would be under threat. It has been a tough season obviously but I am learning a lot and improving a lot and discovering a lot of new things. It has been a tough year but I am sure we will be okay.

Q: So you are quite hopeful or confident would you say?

Piquet: Confident. More ...

Kobayashi still quickest in Jerez  
The GP2 paddock carried on with their tests in Jerez today. In perfect track conditions – sunny, dry and fresh air – the performance of the GP2/08 car was at its best this morning, especially with Kamui Kobayashi (pictured right) at the wheel of his Dams as he posted the quickest lap time.

The weather conditions changed this afternoon in Jerez and the rain appeared twenty minutes before the end of the session. With track conditions relatively different from this morning, lap times were slower this afternoon and Kobayashi’s impressive morning lap time remains the fastest of the two-day test session.

Once again, it was the Dams driver who was the quickest this afternoon in a 1:25.071 ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who never left the Top 5 during those two days at the wheel of the ART car. Third this afternoon, Davide Valsecchi confirmed his good form on Durango. Also confirming his competitiveness, Charles Pic, on the second ART car, finished the session in fourth place and a clear three tenths ahead of the more experienced Roldan Rodriguez on Piquet. More ...

Arie Jr. busted  His dad won the Indy 500 twice. He's a race car driver himself. But Arie Luyendyk Jr. isn't fit to drive in a 35 MPH zone in your neighborhood.
Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
Luyendyk Jr., the 27-year-old son of Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk Sr., just got popped twice in Scottsdale, Ariz. within a six-day span....once for driving on a suspended license, the second time for not having a valid registration.  TMZ.com
Andretti celebrates Phillies' win  IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti is among the many Philadelphia Phillies fans who are celebrating the team's World Series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Andretti, who grew up in Nazareth, Pa., is a fan of all of the Philadelphia professional sports teams. The win by the Phillies is the first World Series win he has been able to celebrate. The team's last title came in 1980 – seven years before the 21-year-old Andretti was born.

“As a native of Pennsylvania, I’m thrilled that the Phillies won the World Series," Andretti said. "Philadelphia is a city of great fans and they are going to enjoy this title, for sure.  The Phillies are another in a long line of Pennsylvania champions and hopefully I’ll be able to join that list.”

Panther drivers complete Firestone Indy Lights rookie testing  English racers Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann successfully completed Firestone Indy Lights rookie testing on Oct. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, clearing the way for them to compete for the Firestone Firehawk Cup in 2009.

Plowman, 20, and Mann, 24, each completed nearly 300 miles of testing under the supervision of Firestone Indy Lights executive director Roger Bailey and Firestone Indy Lights driver coach Rick Mears.

"The test went very well," Bailey said. "Both drivers were very impressive and running times comparable to (Raphael) Matos in the last race here. Both Pippa and Martin did a very good job of understanding the car and the changes being made to the car, and I think they will be assets to the series."

Both drivers have signed to compete for Panther Racing in 2009.

White livery for Coulthard's last race  UPDATE (GMM)  Team bosses had to unanimously agree to allow Red Bull to run two distinct liveries in Brazil this weekend.

It emerged on Thursday that, for David Coulthard's final race, his RB4 will be painted predominantly white, in deference to the 'Wings for Life' foundation.

The other Renault-powered Red Bull, driven by Mark Webber, will feature the team's usual dark blue livery.

"We had permission from all the teams to run my car in an independent livery which I think is a first in this modern era of formula one," Coulthard said at Interlagos.

In 1999, BAR asked for permission to run two distinct liveries, in the colors of British America Tobacco's brands 555 and Lucky Strike, but the teams did not agree.

The situation resulted in the new team running an identical split livery on both cars.

F1's sporting regulations state that both cars belonging to the same team must have the same livery, with only minor differences allowed, including the car number, and the drivers' nationality flag and name.

10/30/08 (GMM)  David Coulthard's Red Bull will feature a special livery in Brazil this weekend for the last race of his 15-year formula one career.

Mechanics for the Milton Keynes based squad were at Interlagos spotted working on a predominantly white RB4, also featuring brown on the front wing, and the words 'Wings For Life'.

"I'm dedicating my last race to the vision of making paraplegia curable," said the Scot, referring to the Red Bull-backed spinal cord research foundation.

Scot Coulthard, 37, made his debut at the age of 23 for Williams in 1994, going on to contest a further 246 grands prix for McLaren and Red Bull.

team USA
Newgarden Ready for Walter Hayes Trophy  Seventeen year-old Josef Newgarden would like nothing more than to bask in the afterglow of becoming the first American driver to win the prestigious Formula Ford Festival.  A week and half on from his historic achievement, it’s only somewhat sunk in because there’s still another race to be won, and that’s been the primary focus.  The Silverstone Circuit, home of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the British Grand Prix, will host the upcoming Walter Hayes Trophy this weekend.  As the second jewel on the international Formula Ford scene, a victory in the Walter Hayes Trophy would complete what has been up to now a magnificent tenure for Newgarden as a Team USA Scholarship member.

“This whole experience has just been unbelievably awesome,” said Newgarden.  “Winning the Formula Ford Festival and being the first American to do so, is definitely starting to sink in, but I think it will be a while before I really get the full magnitude of that.  There’s still another weekend of racing to finish, so right now, that’s where I’m trying to direct my focus.” More ...

Penske Auto Says Profit Falls 44% as Demand Slumps  Penske Automotive Group Inc., the U.S. auto retailer most reliant on luxury models, said third- quarter profit fell 44 percent as demand slumped. The shares rose on optimism that interest-rate cuts will boost the economy.

Net income declined to $24.2 million, or 26 cents a share, from $43.4 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier, the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. Penske abandoned its 2008 earnings forecast and didn't give a new one.

``We experienced a rapid decline in consumer interest for new vehicles in both the United States and the United Kingdom,'' Chief Executive Officer Roger Penske said in the statement. ``It was a difficult quarter for auto retailers in our markets.''

track news
S&P lowers ratings for Bruton Smith's SMI  Standard & Poor's has lowered its corporate credit and issue-level ratings on Speedway Motorsports Inc., criticizing the speedway for higher debt leverage and other practices.

The rating agency lowered its credit rating further into junk territory, to 'BB' from 'BB+,' and removed the Concord, N.C.-based speedway from CreditWatch, where it was placed with negative implications on June 18.

The rating outlook is "Stable."

"The rating change is based on Speedway Motorsports' more aggressive financial policy, higher debt leverage and our discomfort with the narrowing margin of compliance for the previous 'BB+' rating," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Andy Liu said.

IRL freezes IndyCar specifications  As world stock and credit markets continue to exhibit extreme levels of volatility, the IRL has decided that any technical changes which will necessitate near term expenditures by the teams will be suspended until the League and the teams can better assess the effects of the current economic situation.

They suspended implementation of the 2009 suspension changes until the country returns to a more stable environment. Changes to radiators and driveshafts that are under consideration (which they feel will be of genuine benefit to the teams and League) will be discussed with the teams in the next few weeks prior to a decision concerning implementation.  One change involves a new exhaust system that Honda has been developing over the last several months. This system is effective in managing the noise levels of the current IndyCar® Series cars. A reduction of 9-10 decibels has been recorded at some tracks during testing of the system.

In order to make the cars as fan friendly as possible, this new system will be the required specification for the 2009 season. Complete systems will be available from SS Tubes in the UK or from Howerton Products in Indianapolis at a cost similar to the current 2008 exhaust assembly. The only modification required to the car will be cutting a hole in the top surface of the sidepod and adding a small snorkel to shield the exit.

In general, there will be a complete freeze on current specifications and no new areas of development for the 2009 season.

Algarve circuit to host GP2 finale  GP2 Series and the Aut¢dromo Internacional do Algarve have signed an agreement that will see the series make its racing debut next year in a country where motorsport has a big following. The Algarve track will host the last round of the 2009 GP2 Series championship, with the date to be announced shortly.

GP2 Series organizer Bruno Michel commented: “I am very pleased to be adding Algarve to our race calendar. On top of displaying and developing tomorrow’s talents, our aim also includes new venues that will generate track action as well as meet our security standards. The Aut¢dromo Internacional do Algarve has made a tremendous job into providing us with a track that delivers everything a high-level category needs. I am really looking forward to the first event.”

Paulo Pinheiro, Aut¢dromo Internacional do Algarve director, added: “I am delighted that the GP2 Series have chosen to conclude their 2009 season at our track. It rewards our hard work and dedication to build a circuit that can welcome such a prestigious category. This is a great honor and we are now entirely focused on finalizing every detail before welcoming GP2 next year."

NASCAR weekly cheater report  NASCAR has penalized Jay Robinson Racing driver Kenny Wallace 100 points and the team 100 owners points after the safety foam in the fuel cell did not meet the minimum specified height following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday.

The infraction, a safety issue, was found following Wallace’s third-place finish Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park. Crew chief Chris Rice was fined $10,000 for that infraction as well as $1,000 for a rear coil spring that exceed the maximum specified height. Jay Robinson Racing has indicated it will not appeal.

NASCAR also fined Means Racing crew chief Jimmy Means $6,000 – $5,000 for carburetor venturis that exceeded the specified size and $1,000 for a non-approved rear brake caliper. Those infractions were found prior to the race.

Both Rice and Means were put on probation for the rest of the year.
High-performance computing puts Ferrari in pole position in Formula One  Technological advances are making all the difference in Formula One

On a sunny mid-week day in October, the racetrack at the Ferrari headquarters at Maranello in Italy is empty save for the occasional hum of a familiar red sports car being put through its paces.

Today, the real activity is away from the track. The Formula One team is making its way to China for the next race, while in Italy, the firm is announcing a technical collaboration with Microsoft in high-performance computing (HPC).

This is strategic to Ferrari because of how it uses technology in designing and building cars. “Our business in IT in Formula One is following the lifecycle of the car,” explains Piergiorgio Grossi, head of IT at Ferrari Gestione Sportiva.

Ferrari Formula One cars have a relatively short lifespan of 18 months, from initial concept and testing through to the final lap of the race season. “The car is not built at the beginning up front. The car evolves during the season,” says Grossi. More ...

The Englishman who can engineer defeat for Lewis Hamilton  
Rob Smedley (L) and Felipe Massa
Rob Smedley is a no-nonsense Yorkshireman who has transformed Felipe Massa from being a hot-headed also-ran into a genuine threat to Hamilton's title dream in the decisive Brazilian Grand Prix.

Smedley is Massa's chief engineer, ostensibly tasked with the job of making the Brazilian's Ferrari at least the equal of the McLaren driven by Hamilton. But the 34-year-old technical genius - he has degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering - is much more than that.

Over the last three seasons, Smedley and Massa have become brothers-in-arms whose relationship transcends most of those formed in the pit lane.

Massa, who with Smedley's help has this year out-raced Ferrari team-mate and defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, says: "Rob can be my engineer, he can be my psychologist, he can be my friend. More ...

Brazilian GP weather forecast  UPDATE The forecast claims that conditions will be overcast for much of the time, and that there is a significant risk of thundershowers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, although conditions will remain rather warm.

10/29/08 Sao Paulo, the venue of the Brazilian GP, is set to be hit by scattered thunderstorms and showers this weekend. There’s a 60% chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, news that will delight McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, who have dominated in the wet in 2008, except for Monza where Vettel buried Hamilton in the wet.  Conversely, Felipe Massa is horrible on a slippery track, as he proved at Silverstone this season, when his Ferrari took on the appearance of a clown car.
IRL deep-sixes Race Control feature  The IRL put out the following notice to its website Race Control subscribers.  It appears that the agreement between the IRL and Media Zone is being terminated.

Dear 2008 IndyCar Race Control subscriber,

Thank you for your past support of IndyCar Race Control. Over the past year we have been able to deliver many exciting hours of top-level racing to our subscribers. We hope you enjoyed the content we were able to provide this season. Regrettably, we will not be able to provide access to the race archive as previously intended. Effective November 3, 2008, the site will no longer be accessible to view.

Partial refunds will be issued in November. Please ensure your account information, particularly the credit card information, is up-to-date, so we can refund your credit card appropriately.

IndyCar Race Control has valued you as a customer.

Thank you again for your support.

Best Regards, IndyCar Race Control Support

Brazilian GP: Ferrari confident it can win constructors title  Once again, the two categories in the Formula 1 World Championship, the Constructors' and Drivers' titles will be decided at the final round, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will be fighting to secure both those titles, boasting the remarkable achievement of having been in this situation, or in a position where it has already clinched one or both of the crowns prior to the last race, in eleven out of the last twelve seasons. The team can therefore take pride in its achievements, whatever the outcome this time. In fact, the Scuderia has won a total of 30 world titles: 15 Drivers' and 15 Constructors'.

This year, the team prize is the one currently closest to our grasp, given that Ferrari has to protect an eleven point lead. This puts the team in a relatively comfortable position. The Constructors' championship is very important to the Maranello marque for two reasons: firstly, as a car constructor, it is prestigious to win a constructors' award and secondly, Formula 1 is a team sport and victory in this category is therefore a reflection on the entire team: the Scuderia has lifted this trophy in eight of the last ten years, a record without parallel, not just in motor sport, but in most other international sporting events.  More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Champion's parents to wave Brazil GP checker
  • Banana boy back in Brazil as title charger
  • Locals to hurl 'dirty words' at Hamilton - Massa
  • Piquet fears Grosjean to take Renault seat
  • Moss doubts Donington to host British GP
  • Report shows another record loss for Aus GP

Champion's parents to wave Brazil GP checker
(GMM)  Family members of the 2008 world champion will be invited to wave the checkered flag at the end of Sunday's championship showdown in Brazil.

Organizers of the race at Interlagos said that, depending on the outcome of the preceding 70 laps, either Felipe Massa's parents Luiz Antonio and Ana Elena, or Lewis Hamilton's father and brother Anthony and Nicholas, will be invited to officially mark the end of the race.

"We believe it would be a very special thing if the families can participate in such a way," race official Carlos Roberto Montagner said, according to Brazilian sports publication Gazeta Esportiva.

Banana boy back in Brazil as title charger
(GMM)  When he swipes his paddock pass and enters the Interlagos paddock on Thursday, championship contender Felipe Massa will undoubtedly recall 1999.

Then a teenager, it was the Brazilian's first visit to the circuit's inner sanctum, where nine years later the now 27-year-old local is in contention to succeed Ayrton Senna as the latest Brazilian winner of the drivers' title.

Massa, then a Formula Renault racer, earned his 1999 credential by convincing someone to let him deliver pasta and bananas to Benetton's hospitality area.

"I'll be back in formula one.  Remember me," he told Benetton's chef, Felice Guerini.  Today, Guerini is the cook at Ferrari, the famous Italian team for whom Massa now drives.

It was not a smooth ride for Massa between then and now, however.  Some paddock sages still find it difficult to rate the Paulista, given his less than impressive debut season with Sauber in 2002.

"Because of the first year, my reputation was bad for so many years," he now admits.

"That was not a great thing for my image and it took very long to recover and change.  But, fortunately, I think we changed it," said Massa.

He admits, however, that his early days do still haunt him, such as when he has a bad day with Ferrari.

"I am sometimes massacred by the press," Massa told La Gazzetta dello Sport, "but my team always supports me unconditionally."

With just Sunday's race left to run in 2008, Massa is 7 points behind title favorite Lewis Hamilton. More ...

GM announces sales decline  General Motors Corp. reported Wednesday it sold more than 2.1 million vehicles globally during the third quarter, down 11.4 percent from last year.

Sales outside the U.S. accounted for almost 61 percent of GM's global sales, up from about 56 percent last year, but down from a record 65 percent during the second quarter.

Through September, GM sold 6.7 million vehicles compared with 7.051 million for Toyota, which expanded its lead in a bid to become the world's largest automaker. The recent challenges in the global financial markets, including credit tightening and the drop in commodity prices, have negatively impacted market demand," Jonathan Browning, vice president, global sales, service and marketing said in a statement this morning. "However, our sales performance shows that we are continuing to take advantage of new emerging market opportunities and are meeting customer needs with fuel efficient products that offer compelling design and great value."

Moss expects Silverstone to retain British Grand Prix  Sir Stirling Moss has said that he believes the British Grand Prix will not be held at Donington Park in 2010 but at Silverstone. According to Moss, Donington Park will not be ready in time to host the British Grand Prix.

"I don't think Donington is capable of holding it because it's a tremendous change," Moss told the BBC. "Silverstone can cope with it, it's greatly improved. The drivers like it and it's quite exciting there. "I'm hoping that it will happen and it would be good for all of us."

Speaking about Donington Park, Moss said: "Have they even got planning permission yet? I doubt that and to get it done it's very difficult. I think you'll find that when it comes to it there won't be anywhere else it can go other than to another country.

"England is so important in motor racing. We have so many drivers and cars, so many parts and we manufacture a lot of cars here too."

Germain Racing to field 3 trucks in Texas  When Germain Racing arrives in Texas, they will debut what could easily be the most diverse team of drivers that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has ever seen.  On Sirius Satellite Radio on Monday, radio host Dave Moody questioned if the world was even ready for what they were about to witness on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. 

What they will witness is three drivers, three champions and three personalities that are as different from each other as the east is from the west.  They will see drivers with the nicknames ‘Mad Max’, ‘The Thrill from West Hill’, and another guy who refers to himself as ‘The Onion’.  At this point, you may begin to understand Dave Moody’s perspective.  More ...
Carl Edwards getting married  
Dr. Kate Downey and Carl Edwards are engaged to be married
Carl Edwards recently got engaged to Dr. Kate Downey, a hometown friend.

"She’s a wonderful, wonderful woman," the 29-year-old driver from Columbia, Mo., said Tuesday. "I can’t believe I’m getting married. If you had asked me four years ago if I’d be proposing to someone, I would have said, ‘No way.’

"But she’s just got me. She’s awesome. She couldn’t be any better. I’m really excited about it."

"With anything, life is complex, and it’s really special if you can find somebody that you really feel a bond with that is a really good friend and person that you care about," Edwards said. "I don’t know if it’s any harder in auto racing to find that person, but I can tell you with my schedule and all of that, I didn’t plan on finding somebody as great as Kate.

"For me, I’m very fortunate. I went to high school with her. I know her family. It just all kind of fell into place. I’m certain that we really care about each other for the right reasons. That’s a gift, and I feel lucky to have that."
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