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DATE News (chronologically)
11/05/08
a1gp

Info on A1GP Chengdu, China circuit for this weekend
Chengdu, China circuit
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan, in the southwest of China. This ‘City of Abundance’ is the fifth most populous city in China, with over 100 million people living there. It is a city that is known for its magnificent historical features and for being the most important economic, transportation and communications hub in China.

This great city is also known for its handicraft especially the intricate brocades and delicate embroideries, which have been honed since the Han and Tang Dynasties, as well as its bronze culture which has now become an indispensable part of ancient Chinese culture.

One of the most recognized features of Chengdu has to be its delectable, spicy hot pot Sichuan food, one of the most outstanding in Chinese cuisines.

Circuit Location : West of the Sichuan Basin and 16km southwest of the center of Chengdu City (about 1200 miles due west of Shanghai), it takes approximately 20 minutes from the Shuangliu International Airport.

From Tianfu Square, take the South Renmin road and exit at the Third Ring road. Then head towards Shi Sheng Road to get to the circuit.

Airport :  Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

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11/05/08
automotive

GM's `Time Is Very Short' for U.S. Aid
General Motors Corp., hammered by the worst auto market in 25 years, needs U.S. aid because ``time is very short'' to stop its collapse, says Roger Altman, the former Treasury official advising GM in merger talks with Chrysler LLC.

With the government offering a $700 billion rescue for banks, it should have enough to assist GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co., Altman, 62, said in an interview. Altman, now chief executive officer of Evercore Partners Inc., helped with the 1979 Chrysler bailout plan as an assistant Treasury secretary.

``The consequences of a collapse by GM or all three would be very severe,'' he said. ``The impact would be widespread,'' with jobs lost by the companies and their suppliers.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
automotive

GM will announce 'important changes' on Friday
General Motors Corp. is expected to announce "important changes" to its automotive operations Friday when the automaker releases third-quarter financial results, according to an internal e-mail obtained by The Detroit News.

According to the e-mail sent to company executives Monday, CEO Rick Wagoner and President and Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson will announce changes to employees at 11 a.m. Friday that address challenges "brought on by the volatile global economic situation."

"Clearly given the challenges the industry is facing, we're probably going to have to make additional adjustments," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said today. "It's a very challenging time right now."

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
nhra

NHRA Technical Services previews rule changes for 2009
NHRA Technical Services today announced certain rule changes that will be included in the 2009 NHRA Rulebook. "We have worked to minimize cost impact to the teams from 2009 changes, given the current economic situation," said Don Taylor, NHRA senior director-national technical operations.

Select changes are listed below. See the 2009 Rulebook for the final and complete wording of the rules. The Rulebook will be available in December and sent to NHRA members with Issue 48 of National DRAGSTER.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
f1

Whitmarsh congratulates Massa
The McLaren team gave a great homecoming reception to Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday at their Woking-based installations, where a thousand people greeted the newly-crowned World Champion.

Hamilton also gratefully recognized the work and effort every team individual put into clinching the 2008 drivers' title, which came down to an amazing teeth-clenching finish at the Interlagos circuit last Sunday.

Martin Whitmarsh, the Chief Operating Officer of the McLaren Group, also had good words to say about Hamilton's down-to-the-wire rival for the championship laurels, Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

"Felipe Massa drove brilliantly to win the Brazilian Grand Prix," he said.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the quality of his driving throughout the season and the impressively sportsmanlike way he handled the disappointment of finding out at the last minute that he hadn't won the drivers' World Championship," Whitmarsh declared.

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11/05/08
irl

Panther hires Mower as manager
More than 30 years ago, John Barnes worked with Chris Mower's father at Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing. Now the Panther Racing co-owner will be working with Mower's son.

Panther Racing has signed the open-wheel veteran as its team manager. Since 2003, Mower worked in the same capacity with Conquest Racing.

"Chris brings a great depth of knowledge and experience to our team, and we're excited about having him," Barnes said. "What impressed me most is that he's incredibly organized, has a sound mechanical mind and has been raised in this business. He's somebody that's going to make our entire team better and operate efficiently during a time when our expectations are very high."

Earlier this season, team manager Ron Catt moved to a more hands-on role in overseeing the team's two-car Firestone Indy Lights operation. He'll remain in that role.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
nascar

O'Reilly Auto Parts named NASCAR official auto parts retailer
O’Reilly Auto Parts and NASCAR officials announced today a multiyear agreement for the company to become the official auto parts retailer of NASCAR. The agreement allows O’Reilly Auto Parts to be an exclusive NASCAR partner and utilize NASCAR marks and marketing programs in its stores and in related media.

As part of this agreement, O’Reilly will become a contingency sponsor for the competitors as well as provide season-ending awards in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series. The O’Reilly Auto Parts “People, Service and Performance” Award recognizes the team effort made both on the track and in the pits.

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11/05/08
ga

Krohn Lolas to be Powered by Ford Engines in 2009
Krohn Racing returns to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2009 for its fourth time as an independent race team of owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn. 

The driver line-up for the 47th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, will include Tracy Krohn paired again with endurance sports car veteran Eric van de Poele in the No. 75 entry, along with Brit Oliver Gavin. The No. 76 car will re-join team regular Nic Jönsson with former Formula One star Ricardo Zonta and English sports car ace Darren Turner. The six drivers were paired identically in last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The Proto-Auto Lolas, which Krohn Racing debuted in March 2008 at the Miami Grand Prix at Miami-Homestead Speedway will be powered by Roush-Yates prepared Ford engines in 2009.

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11/05/08
automotive

Bucking trend, Audi posts slight gain
Audi today announced sales for the month of October totaling 7,443, an increase of 0.3 percent.  This follows on a robust September when the luxury brand attained an all-time record share of the luxury sector.  Strong performances from the A5, A8, R8 and all-new A4 models contributed to the October increase. Audi new vehicle sales are down only 3.5 percent year-to-date as the company contends with a double-digit decline in the luxury market due to the softening economy.

“While others in the industry focus on cutting, we're focused on building," said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president, Audi of America.  "The current market conditions represent an opportunity for consumers and for Audi.  Audi's European heritage means that we are well positioned with vehicles featuring powerful, but fuel-efficient, high-performance engines.  And our vehicle portfolio is among the youngest and most dynamic in the industry today.”

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11/05/08
automotive

Plan the funeral, GMAC posts $2.52 billion quarterly loss
General Motors Corp.'s financing unit posted a $2.52 billion net loss in third-quarter results released today, with red ink spread across GMAC Financial Services' housing and auto units.

Meanwhile, GMAC's auto finance division lost $294 million, dwarfing a $97 million profit from its insurance business.

GMAC's third-quarter loss compares to a $1.6 billion loss a year ago.

GMAC blamed the loss on a slumping housing market and an auto industry pressured by weak consumer confidence, low used-vehicle prices and dealer credit performance.

"The economic and market conditions created an unrelenting environment for our business and the financial services sector overall," said GMAC Chief Executive Officer Alvaro G. de Molina in a written statement. "Clearly, this weighed heavily on financial results in the third quarter."

GMAC is currently an industrial bank, which isn't eligible for a capital infusion from the Treasury.

Order the flowers and plan the funeral, GMAC will be bankrupt before long.

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11/05/08
track news

Shelby Automobiles to sponsor NASCAR Sprint Cup race
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2009 will be sponsored by Shelby Automobiles.  The event will be lengthened to 427 miles and will be called the "Shelby 427."

Together, LVMS and Shelby will market a Las Vegas Motor Speedway Limited Edition Shelby 427 package for the Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang.

LVMS President Chris Powell and Shelby Automobiles founder Carroll Shelby made the announcement today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

"We are ecstatic to have the legendary Shelby name on our 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup race," Powell said.  "It's a tremendous opportunity for us to give added exposure to the Shelby brand that has, over the years, become synonymous with the best in high-performance cars."

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11/05/08
nastruck

Truck Series ratings, rise, still miniscule
With only six points separating driver Johnny Benson and defending champ Ron Hornaday and only two races remaining in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, race fans continue to tune to SPEED in increasing numbers. Last weekend's race from Texas scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 0.76 (558,000 households), up 38 percent from last year's 0.55 (398,000 households). The Texas race peaked at a 0.89 (654,000 households), up 33 percent from last year's peak of 0.67 (491,000 households).

The Texas increase marks the 16th time in 18 races on SPEED that Nielsen Household Ratings have topped last year’s numbers, 13 times by double digits.

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11/05/08
nassprint

RCR Reorganizes its Business Unit
Richard Childress Racing has reorganized its business unit to help strengthen the overall performance of the 11-time NASCAR championship-winning organization.

Ben Schlosser has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, business operations. Schlosser joined RCR in April 2002 as director of corporate sales and sponsorships and was named vice president of marketing in 2004. In his newly expanded role, departments reporting to him will include partnership marketing, business development, communications, licensing, the RCR Racing Museum, and show car and promotions.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
f1

FIA confirms extended F1 engine life
From 2009, engine life in Formula 1 will be extended from two to three races. This is no surprise as the teams all agreed that this was the easiest way to reduce costs significantly without disrupting the show.

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11/05/08
nassprint

Layoffs at Hendrick Racing
During a modest round of layoffs Monday and Tuesday at Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson's spotter, Stevie Reeves, was told he would not return to the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet team next season, Reeves confirmed Tuesday night.

Reeves and the Hendrick organization part on good terms. The spotter, who helped guide Johnson to his second consecutive Sprint Cup championship in 2007, has already been contacted by other teams and is weighing his options.

"They wanted to give me plenty of time to find something before Homestead and not leave me hanging high and dry," said Reeves, who will spot the final two races of the season for Johnson as he attempts to win a record-tying third straight championship. "Rick Hendrick knows how to treat people, and that's what makes him so successful. Jimmie Johnson is a class act, and the only thing I regret is that I won't be working with him next year, but I'm going to land on my feet OK."

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11/05/08
f1

Chinese GP moves to April
The latest F1 calendar from the FIA sees the China race move to April from October.

17 -race 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship

Mar 29  Australia
Apr 05    Malaysia
Apr 19  China
Apr 26  Bahrain
May 10  Spain
May 24  Monaco
Jun 07    Turkey
Jun 21  Great Britain
Jul 12  Germany
Jul 26  Hungary
Aug 23  Europe (Valencia)
Aug 30  Belgium
Sep 13  Italy
Sep 27  Singapore
Oct 04  Japan
Oct 18  Brazil
Nov 01  Abu Dhabi

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11/05/08
f1

FIA unveils steward system reform for 2009
(GMM)  Following a number of controversial decisions in 2008, F1's governing body on Wednesday announced some changes to the stewarding system.

In 2009, short written explanations of stewards' decisions will be published on the FIA's public website, it was decided in a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

"Film evidence" of the incident, which may not have been included in the broadcast coverage of the grand prix in question, will also be posted on the FIA and official F1 websites.

Short CVs of each steward, meanwhile, will be posted on the FIA website prior to grands prix.

The FIA also addressed suggestions that former drivers should be made F1 stewards, insisting that "no former driver is excluded" from going through the normal processes to gain the necessary super license.

In other World Council decisions, the FIA ratified FOTA's proposal that engine life be extended from the current two races to three races in 2009.

A further iteration of the 2009 calendar was also published on Wednesday, with two main features -- a much earlier date (19 April) for the Chinese grand prix, and no reprieve for the still missing Canadian grand prix.

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11/05/08
f1

Renault keep same drivers for 2009
(GMM)  Renault announced on Wednesday it will keep the same drivers for the 2009 season.

For the second season in succession, the French squad will therefore field former double world champion Fernando Alonso alongside the Brazilian rookie Nelson Piquet.

Alonso's deal is for a further two years, while 23-year-old Piquet has been confirmed only "for a further season", according to a media statement.

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11/05/08
f1

Hamilton tells McLaren - 'I'm going nowhere'
(GMM)  World champion-elect Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday seemed to counter speculation his future may lay outside of the McLaren team.

Former Ferrari racer and Briton Eddie Irvine this week recommended a future move for the 23-year-old to the famous Italian marque, as the British press predicted he now wields immense financial power along F1's pitlane.

But as Hamilton returned from Brazil on Wednesday to personally thank McLaren's staff in Woking, he promised the nearly 1000-strong ranks that he has no plans to swerve his long-term contractual arrangement with Ron Dennis' team.

"I love this team and I'm going nowhere," he told them, to a rapturous reception.

Hamilton had pulled up outside the ultra high-tech McLaren Technology Centre after guiding his MP4-23 around the nearby lake.

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11/05/08
a1gp

Prost gets France drive
Nicolas Prost will finally make his A1GP race debut this weekend in Chengdu, A1 Team France has confirmed.

With regular driver and Zandvoort Feature race winner Loic Duval unavailable for selection for this weekend’s Chinese race – the team was always going to have to look elsewhere for its race driver.

After two days of extensive testing at Silverstone, it has decided to promote its regular rookie driver Prost – son of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain – to lead driver duties for the second round of the championship, as it looks to move into the lead of the championship.

“We’ve made a great start to the 2008/09 championship and we feel it’s time to give Nicolas his chance,” said sporting director Olivier Panis. “Since last season he’s done a great job for the team, and seems ready to take up the challenge posed by the race.

“We’ll do everything we can to make his weekend as easy as possible, and we’re convinced his performance in China will be an eye-opener for many people.”

The 27-year-old has promised to make the most of the opportunity. “I’m very happy to be part of A1 Team France’s Chinese adventure this weekend,” Prost said. “I felt at home straight away in the new car, and I set competitive times in my first test behind the wheel. So I’m tackling this meeting with confidence, but I’ll take things step-by-step.”

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11/05/08
irl
automotive

Andrettis forced to deep-six dealership
Owned by racing legends Mario and Michael Andretti, Andretti Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Northeast Ohio has the following note on their website:

Our Dealership is now closed, and no longer provides service, or can sell new vehicles, however we are still liquidating our used vehicle inventory over the next few weeks.  Please feel free to call and ask for Mike for purchase details.

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11/05/08
nassprint

NASCAR Bubba shoots a fellow Bubba UPDATE Fort Worth police are investigating reports from a 49-year-old Benbrook man who says he may be responsible for the stray bullet that hit an Arlington woman Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway. Kennith Jaramillo contacted Fort Worth police on Monday after hearing that Jill King Moss, 62, was hit in her arm by a .50-caliber bullet that pierced the roof of her RV, authorities said. Ms. Moss was taken to Harris Methodist Hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries. Given the bullet’s trajectory, Fort Worth police investigators believe the bullet came from a long distance away. Mr. Jaramillo told police he was target shooting five miles away from Texas Motor Speedway between 10 and 11 a.m, said Lt. Paul Henderson, a Fort Worth police spokesman. Mr. Jaramillo fired five or six rounds at a berm, a mound of dirt, with his .50-caliber Vulcan single shot rifle. Fort Worth police confiscated his weapon for ballistics tests. If tests confirm the bullet was fired from his weapon, Mr. Jaramillo could be charged with deadly conduct for recklessly firing a weapon, Lt. Henderson said. Mr. Jaramillo has not been arrested or charged in the incident. Dallas Morning News

[Editor's Note: Even a 50 caliber rifle cannot hit someone from 5 (yes 5) miles away, especially after it was first fired into a dirt mound.]

11/03/08 A NASCAR fan in her recreational vehicle at Texas Motor Speedway was wounded by a stray bullet after someone apparently fired a gun into the air, police said.  A bullet suddenly pierced through the motor home’s roof Sunday morning before the Dickies 500 race, hitting a woman in the right arm, relatives said.

“She immediately (screamed), ‘I’ve been shot. I’ve been shot.’ She took off running out the door,” her son-in-law Bobby Cook told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT.

The 62-year-old woman, whose name was not released by authorities, was taken to a nearby hospital with a “significant wound” and was listed in stable condition, police Lt. Paul Henderson said Monday.

The bullet is believed to be a rifle round and appears to have been fired from a long distance because it penetrated the roof at a slight angle, Henderson said.

He said he did not have information on whether investigators had any suspects. Yahoo Sports

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11/05/08
f1

Moss: Hamilton did not serve title Sunday
Lewis Hamilton’s poor fifth place in Sunday’s thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix did not deserve to earn him the World Championship. That is the opinion of four time championship runner-up Sir Stirling Moss

Hamilton’s championship rival Felipe Massa crossed the line in first place, prompting huge roars from his Brazilian supporters who, along with Massa’s family and the local boy himself, believed they were witnessing the first Brazilian champion since Ayrton Senna in 1991.

But as Hamilton navigated the final few corners he approached and passed Glock, who was struggling in the conditions, to take fifth place, and with it the title.

“He shouldn’t have been in that position,” Moss told Forumula1.net. “If he’d been allowed to drive as he normally does - aggressively and quickly - he wouldn’t have been in a situation where we’re thinking is he going to make it or isn’t he.”

“I mean he lined up fourth but finished fifth and I thought that was very disappointing. He was very very lucky to get the title. I think he deserves it because he’s done so well during the year, but he certainly did not deserve it on Sunday.”

Comment
11/05/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 needs new points system - Montezemolo
  • Hamilton - no plans for new biography
  • Ecclestone happy with F1's new champion
  • F1 bigwigs endure 'nightmare' flight
  • Fortunate Hamilton still deserves title - experts
  • Bourdais hoping for second F1 season

F1 needs new points system - Montezemolo
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has told an Italian newspaper that F1 needs a new scoring system.

When asked what his first rules change would be if he was in charge of formula one, the Ferrari president told La Stampa: "Instantly, the points score for the (race) winner.

"Massa won 6 races (in 2008), Hamilton 5, but the Englishman is the champion," Montezemolo remarked, despite earlier saying in an official statement that Hamilton's drivers' title was "well deserved".

It is true that, under the pre-2003 points scoring system, Ferrari's Felipe Massa would have won the 2008 world championship by two points.

In 2002 and before, grand prix winners received 10 points compared with 6 points for second.  Today, the winner's margin is just 2 points.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/08
IRL
FIL

IndyCar & Indy Lights Championship Celebration in Las Vegas tonight UPDATE A reminder that the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Championship Celebration in Las Vegas will be shown live exclusively on indycar.com via streaming video tonight.  Log on to the webcast at 11:37 pm ET.


11/03/08 Scott Dixon and Raphael Matos will receive their share of awards (in the form of checks and hardware) during the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Championship Celebration on Nov. 5 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

You're invited to watch the awards part of the show (sorry, the Penn & Teller act to open the festivities won't be available) live exclusively on indycar.com via streaming video. Log on at 11:37 p.m. (ET) Nov. 5.

Other drivers, teams and crew members from both series also will be honored during the show, and all will gather in the resort's Rain Nightclub for an after-party (sorry, that won't be available via streaming video either). But check out indycar.com after the show for a full rundown of award winners and behind-the-scenes photos. More at IndyCar.com

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11/05/08
nassprint

NASCAR says Kentucky would not further NASCAR expansion
International Speedway Corp. turned down an opportunity to buy Kentucky Speedway for $186 million and NASCAR officials indicated the track "would not further NASCAR's expansion goals," according to a filing Tuesday in the track's antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and ISC.

NASCAR and ISC filed their brief to Kentucky Speedway’s appeal today in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. In their brief, NASCAR and ISC reiterate many of the arguments they have made in the past in denying that they illegally conspire to keep tracks such as Kentucky from obtaining Sprint Cup races.

A Sprint Cup race was worth $6.51 million to a track operator in 2006, according to NASCAR and ISC’s brief.

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11/04/08
nassprint

Smallest NASCAR crowd in TMS history
The attendance at Sunday's Dickies 500 was estimated at 171,000, the fewest number of fans for a Sprint Cup race in the history of Texas Motor Speedway. It's a decrease of 6.8 percent (12,500 people) from last year's November race. But TMS president Eddie Gossage said he was pleased because he expected attendance to dip anywhere from 8 percent to 10 percent. He said the nice weather (temperatures around 85 degrees and sunshine) provided a late boost on ticket sales. -- Dallas Morning News

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11/04/08
nnw

Allmendinger will drive for Gillett Evernham in Phoenix
AJ Allmendinger will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season when he drives the No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

Allmendinger has seven career starts in what is now known as the Nationwide Series but hasn’t raced in it since Homestead in 2007. He secured his career-best series' finish at PIR one year ago when he finished 13th. The team is 16th in owner points.

He is also attempting to make the field for the Cup race with Gillett Evernham.

“Any driver will tell you that all they want to do is race,” Allmendinger said. “This weekend I get double the opportunity with the Nationwide and Cup races. I was thrilled when I saw the Phoenix race on my schedule. I appreciate Gillett Evernham giving me the opportunity to run the Valvoline Dodge, and I hope we can earn a strong finish.

“Racing on the Nationwide side of things is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it when I raced over there last year. I know the Valvoline team are hard workers, but they like to make things fun, too. It helps make for a great atmosphere to work in.” Scenedaily.com

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11/04/08
automotive

BMW abandons 2008 profit target UPDATE Carmaker BMW AG said today net profit for the third quarter dropped 63% as the global economic turmoil made consumers more reluctant to shell out for its sports and luxury cars and credit costs made it difficult for consumers and the company to borrow.

The Munich-based company said net profit for the July-September period fell to 298 million euros ($375.5 million) from 803 million euros a year ago.

“The knock-on effects of the international financial crisis and a downturn in the global economy had a significant negative impact on the performance of the automobile industry,” BMW said in a statement.

“Ongoing consumer reticence on the main sales markets, the weak state of the preowned car markets together with difficult refinancing conditions also took their toll on the BMW group, resulting in a perceptible drop in revenues and earnings.”

11/04/08 BMW warned on Tuesday it could no longer give an earnings outlook for 2008 beyond expecting a profit after quarterly results at the world's largest premium carmaker fell far short of expectations.

With group sales set to fall again sharply in October in tough markets, it chopped planned production by at least another 40,000 units on top of the 25,000 vehicles it had earlier scrapped. The total cuts represent 5 percent of 2007 output.

Its shares fell 5.3 percent to 19.495 euros by 0827 GMT, the biggest decliners among German blue chips .

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11/04/08
automotive

Honda Cuts U.S. Sales Goal, Predicts Full-Year Drop
Honda Motor Co., Japan's second- largest automaker, cut its 2008 U.S. sales forecast by 4.1 percent because of the faltering economy, predicting the first decline in the country in 15 years.  The company expects to sell 1.51 million vehicles for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, compared with its earlier estimate of 1.575 million vehicles, Chief Financial Officer Yoichi Hojo said in an interview in Tokyo today. The sales decline will be 2.6 percent from 1.55 million vehicles in 2007.

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11/04/08
motogp

Yamaha and Fiat to continue together
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd and Fiat Automobiles Spa have concluded an agreement to continue their partnership for a further two years.

The agreement will see Fiat continue as the title sponsor of Yamaha’s Factory MotoGP Team, which will continue to be known as the Fiat Yamaha Team, for 2009 and 2010.

Fiat joined Yamaha at the start of 2007 and their partnership has been a successful one with 14 grand prix wins to date, culminating in the capture of the 2008 Rider, Team and Manufacturer titles. 2009 will see the same team with Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo contesting the championship for the Fiat Yamaha Team.

“I heartily welcome the extension of the agreement with Fiat as title sponsor of our MotoGP Factory Team for another two years” said Masao Furusawa, Executive Officer Engineering Operations of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. “We will be working to continue the great partnership that resulted in the Fiat Yamaha Team winning the triple crown in 2008”. 

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11/04/08
f1

Schumacher congratulates Lewis Hamilton
Michael Schumacher has congratulated Lewis Hamilton on becoming Formula One world champion.

The seven-times former world champion admitted that he was "overwhelmed" by Sunday's title decider in Brazil, and has send his best wishes to Hamilton on his achievement.

"I congratulate Lewis Hamilton and I am sending very warm greetings to Felipe," he said.

An overtaking maneuver on Toyota's Timo Glock at the penultimate corner on the last lap of the final race of the season helped the 23-year-old capture the crown by a point from Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

"What a finale," Schumacher said, who currently works in an advisory role for Ferrari. "I am still overwhelmed from the race. I have never seen anything like this, not as a racer and not as a spectator - you can probably only say it was fate."

Schumacher also praised Felipe Massa, winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix, who lost out to Hamilton by just a point in the drivers' standings.

"He can leave that race with his head up as with this performance he surely has convinced all the people who still had doubts about his driving skills. He will for sure attack again next year."

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11/04/08
nassprint

Sponsor Texaco/Havoline prepares for final NASCAR race
Texaco/Havoline, which has sponsored a car in NASCAR’s Cup series for the last 22 years, will have its final outing in this weekend’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
       
Parent company Chevron announced in August that it had opted to discontinue the sponsorship that has seen Texaco/Havoline split time with Wrigley gum this season on the Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya.
       
“It was a very, very difficult decision for Texaco/Havoline and for the Chevron corporation to make,” said Ann Barker, manager of motorsports and sponsorships for the corporation. “It wasn’t made lightly. We have been in the sport for 22 seasons.
       
“We kind of hope that we are considered an icon in it, and we appreciated our fans so very, very much. NASCAR fans are obviously a huge and important target market.”
       
Texaco began in the sport in 1987 with driver Davey Allison at Ranier Racing, which became Robert Yates Racing in 1989.
       
It also sponsored Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Irwin and Ricky Rudd at Yates before moving to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003 with Jamie McMurray.
   
At Ganassi, the company also sponsored the teams of Casey Mears and Montoya.
       
“It’s really for us a matter of working with our marketers and wanting to move to more locally focused marketing,” Barker said. “We do not have distribution throughout the United States. We really wanted to take this spend and focus on it locally. It doesn’t mean the marketing dollars are going away by any stretch; they’re just shifting the marketing strategy.”

Barker indicated that it “remains to be seen” if the local marketing directors will do something in NASCAR.

“We’re not walking away from NASCAR – that fan base will always be important,” Barker said. More at Scenedaily.com

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11/04/08
irl

Engine makers await IRL specs
While most Hoosiers are headed for the polls this election day, Indy Racing League teams and officials are headed to Las Vegas for their post-season banquet at The Palms Casino Resort tomorrow.

Word coming from series officials as they get ready to wrap up the season is that there is still a fair bit of interest from several engine makers interested in joining the series in coming years. Those manufacturers are especially interested in the 2011 engine specifications, which are expected to be released any day. The expectation is a four-cylinder turbo-charged engine. Since 1997, IRL cars have been powered by non turbo-charged engines. The return to turbo-charged engines is especially enticing to some engine makers.

There were 10 engine makers at a June 25 meeting about the specifications. The most keen interest now is coming from Alfa Romeo, Porsche, BMW and Audi. Honda, which has committed to staying with the series has made clear its interest in competing against other engine makers. Honda has been the sole engine maker for the series since Chevrolet and Toyota exited in the past three years. IBJ.com

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11/04/08
starmazda

Star Mazda Goodyear Renew Title Sponsorship
The Star Mazda Championship and Goodyear have announced a five-year extension of the tiremaker's title sponsorship of the hugely successful driver development racing series; it will continue to be known as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear through the end of the 2013 season and Goodyear will be the exclusive provider of Goodyear Eagle radial racing tires utilized by the Star Mazda open-wheel racing cars.

With the recent announcement of a similar five-year extension of series title sponsorship by Mazda North America, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has now created a stable and secure environment for the future growth and expansion of the series.

"The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is now in a unique position with respect to the evolving motorsports landscape in the U.S. and around the world," says Star Mazda Championship founder and President Gary Rodrigues.  "Growth requires stability of rules and relationships, and we now have both.  Our sponsors, teams and drivers all know what to expect for the next five years – the most cost-effective, career-enhancing open-wheel racing on track today.  We have a variety of exciting new initiatives under development, such as our recently-announced partnership with iRacing.com, and we now have the solid foundation on which to build them into a racing series ideally suited to both the changes and opportunities that lie ahead."

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11/04/08
swc

SPEED World Challenge returns to Long Beach
The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT - featuring such quick marques as Porsche, Corvette, Viper, Cadillac CTS-V and Mustang Cobra - will again wrap up racing activities at the 35th Anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-19.

The World Challenge GT starting field will take the green flag on Sun., April 19 after the conclusion of the inaugural IndyCar race.

The addition of World Challenge GT completes the six-series weekend racing program, which also features the annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Formula Drift.

The revamped series will run under the auspices of the SCCA and WC Vision, a group of GT owners, headed up by co-chairmen Bob Woodhouse and Peter Cunningham, who have committed financing for the 2009 series.

"We're pleased to welcome SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT back to the streets of Long Beach in 2009," said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.  "It's a hotly competitive series that has been a big hit with our fans, and it'll once again be a terrific way to bring down the curtain on another non-stop racing weekend."

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11/04/08
track news

Mid-Ohio announcer dies
Walter "Scotty" Scott, a cornerstone of the Mid-Ohio Sports Course announcing team, died Oct. 18th. He was 61. Known as the "Voice of the Esses," Scott's calls informed fans of the action at the end of Mid-Ohio's back straight and as drivers fought for position through turns seven, eight, nine and 10 as cars drove under the Honda bridge and out of his sight through turn 11.

U.S. Navy veteran Scott was employed by Enterprise Rental and worked at Mid-Ohio as an announcer for 40 years. He is survived by his wife, Mary Miller; sons, Zachary Scott, Joshua Scott, Andrew (Amy) Miller, Joseph (Kathleen Cline) Miller, Daniel Miller, Robert Miller; two sisters, Cindy (Gary) Schlaegel and Melinda Butler; two brothers and six grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the donor's choice of charities.

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11/04/08
f1

Hamilton vows to remain a tax exile in Switzerland
Lewis Hamilton declared yesterday that he will stay a tax exile despite making history for Britain as the youngest Formula One champion.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Hertfordshire, said he would continue to live in Switzerland 'for the moment'.

His thrilling last-gasp victory on Sunday in the Brazilian Grand Prix could put Hamilton on course to become the world's highest paid sportsman. But his decision to stay abroad will disappoint fans including racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, who has led calls for him to return to the UK.

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11/04/08
f1

No KERS delay again
(GMM) Team bosses in Brazil reportedly tried again to install a one-year delay to the forthcoming introduction of KERS systems.

At one of a series of FOTA meetings at Interlagos, the prospect of calling off the implementation of the energy-recovery technology until 2010 went to a vote, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Teams overwhelmingly agreed, except BMW-Sauber, who want the KERS introduction to take place as scheduled next year. FOTA votes, when immediate rule changes are concerned, require unanimity.

The smaller teams, like Toro Rosso, but also carmaker teams including Renault, are unimpressed. "The veto is a bill of six million euros for us. We have to buy a system externally," co-owner Gerhard Berger said.

Renault's Flavio Briatore said: "We have gone through the same nonsense with the quick shifting gearboxes. Today everyone has one and we are all millions of euros poorer."

Auto Motor und Sport said McLaren has already invested 30 million on KERS, while Honda's development bill is closer to 90m. "Our system has so far cost us two million," said Sam Michael, technical director of the Williams team which has taken an unique flywheel approach to KERS.

It emerged in Brazil that Toyota intends to start the 2009 season without a KERS-equipped car, while Ferrari is also lagging behind, after its initial design proved flawed and was scrapped.

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11/04/08
automotive

Congress mulls more support for ailing auto industry
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with key House Democrats on Monday to consider a variety of ways to aid the struggling U.S. auto industry.

The hour-long meeting focused on whether Congress should move to quickly approve up to $25 billion in "bridge financing" to aid automakers through a mounting fiscal crisis. The money would be in addition to the $25 billion auto loan program funded by Congress in September to help retool factories to build more efficient vehicles.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said "discussions (are) ongoing," but declined to elaborate on Monday's meeting.

If an agreement is reached to provide more aid, House Democrats will insist that the money come with strings attached, including limits on executive compensation and bonuses, a person briefed on the meeting said.

Congressional aides said they are optimistic that up to $25 billion in immediate government loans can be quickly approved. Several options for administering the money were reviewed at Pelosi's meeting, including giving the Treasury Department explicit authority to distribute the loans.

Another option discussed was to route the money through the Federal Reserve's discount window, which makes low-cost loans, typically to banks, or other Federal Reserve programs.

Congressional leaders did not agree on a specific amount of aid, and planned to gather more information this week.

"The message was they aren't going to let the industry die," a person briefed on the meeting said. Detroit News

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11/04/08
automotive

Ford, Toyota, GM & Chrysler post big drops UPDATE Chrysler LLC today announced its U.S. sales dropped 35% in October compared to a year ago.  The Auburn Hills automaker sold 94,530 cars and trucks in October, the company said.  The automaker attributed the decline to conditions of the overall industry and a reduction in fleet sales.

11/03/08 Ford's U.S. auto sales plummeted 30 percent and Toyota's dropped 23 percent in October as low consumer confidence and tight credit combined to scare customers away from their showrooms.

Both automakers' results, compared with the same month last year, are strong indications that sales for the industry as a whole may perhaps be the worst in 25 years.

General Motors said Monday its October sales tumbled 45 percent from a year ago, saying the industry was on track for its worst month in 25 years.

GM delivered 170,585 new cars and trucks in the month, a stunning decline attributed to "uncertainty over the deepening credit crisis" and weak consumer confidence.

GM truck sales of 97,119 were down 51 percent and car sales of 73,466 were off 34 percent.

"The market has been shrinking for three years, but in October we saw a dramatic decline for the industry and GM," said Mark LaNeve, vice president at GM North America.

"We are obviously disappointed in our results which reflect a difficult comparison with a strong year-ago October performance. More importantly, it also reflects an unprecedented credit crunch that is dramatically impacting the entire US economy -- from the housing market to big and small companies to banks to family-run businesses. The credit freeze has also had a very negative impact on consumers' confidence and their purchase behavior across America."

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11/04/08
a1gp

David Garza ready to represent Mexico
David Garza
The future young Mexican Racing star, David Garza was announced last week as the official driver for A1 Team Mexico for A1GP’s season 4. Garza has committed to be the lead driver for all the races of this season and thinking of this he started his preparation two weeks ago in Europe.

David had almost zero seat time during the last two months before going to Europe due to a hip injury that kept him out of the car for 5 of the last 6 races of the Atlantics Series season where he raced for Forsythe Racing.

After his recovery David only came back for Atlantic’s season finale at Road Atlanta on October 3rd where he had a good run to finish 6th. But besides this, he hadn’t been in a car for more than 60 days, so as soon as he was chosen to drive for A1 Team Mexico at the World Cup of Motorsports, he decided to go to Europe looking to gain some miles driving a race car before his debut this weekend in Chengdu. 

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11/04/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hamilton eyes three titles and $8m supercar
  • Dennis hints at reduced role at McLaren team
  • Hamilton father admits F1 quit thoughts
  • Irvine urges Ferrari switch for Hamilton
  • Stories differ as McLaren explains last laps

Hamilton eyes three titles and $8m supercar
(GMM)  The terms of their arrangement seem to have changed, but Lewis Hamilton still expects team boss Ron Dennis to give him a multi-million dollar McLaren supercar one day.

We reported earlier this year that the 23-year-old was promised by Dennis the ultra-rare orange $8 million McLaren LM, housed in the team's Woking factory, if he became the 2008 world champion.

But Hamilton told reporters in Sao Paulo on Monday morning that he will be handed the keys with his third drivers' championship.

"We made a deal, three world championships.  I will definitely work as hard as I can to get to number three," he said.

Dennis said the LM in question is among the rarest supercars in the world.

He said: "At least I don't have to give it away for a couple of years but it will be a small price to pay for three world championships."

Dennis hints at reduced role at McLaren team
(GMM)  The morning after Lewis Hamilton delivered McLaren's first drivers' title in nine years, Ron Dennis hinted he is about to step down from the helm of the formula one team.

He told reporters in Sao Paulo that he is keen to develop the company's production car program, but played down any link between the news and Hamilton's title triumph.

"Nothing that will unfold over the next few months will be as a result of yesterday," Dennis, 61, said.

He insisted that a scaled down role at McLaren-Mercedes, to almost certainly be headed in his absence by chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, will not diminish his presence at grands prix.

"You are most definitely going to see me at grands prix, it is something I like too much to take it out of my life," Dennis said.

"But I think over the next few months I will make it abundantly clear what I am doing and why I'm doing it."

He said a McLaren production car program, designed to match the success of key F1 rival Ferrari's, is very close to being launched.

"I have believed passionately in the need for a grand prix team to diversify," he said.

"We do intend to try and match the success of Ferrari and to do that we can't just be a grand prix team."

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11/04/08
track news

Skip Barber Launches New Superbike School
Skip Barber Racing School LLC and KTM North America, Inc., today jointly announced the creation of a new instructional program that pairs the world’s premier racing and driving school with a leading worldwide manufacturer of power sports vehicles. The Skip Barber Superbike School Powered by KTM will debut in 2009 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., the home of MotoGP in the United States and one of five national locations for Skip Barber’s automotive program offerings. The two-day school will feature the new KTM 1190 RC8 supersport motorcycle, which embodies high performance, new technology and unique design. It will be the only Superbike school in the United States to feature such large displacement machines.

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11/04/08
racing news

Ganassi team signs deal with Champion
After winning series championships in both the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series, their eighth and ninth championships overall, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. (CGR) announced today a multi-year agreement with Champion that will see the leading athletic apparel brand on the backs of all of CGR’s six race teams across NASCAR, IndyCar and the Rolex Sports Car Series beginning in 2009.

As official apparel provider for CGR, Champion apparel will be featured on Ganassi’s stable of championship drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Alex Lloyd and future star Bryan Clauson.  The partnership includes outfitting all CGR drivers, team members, pit crews and staff with CGR/Champion branded apparel.  In addition, CGR and Champion will look to create a custom apparel line designed specifically for the race team beginning in 2010.

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11/04/08
atlantic

US RaceTronics Continues Off-Season Testing
Juan Carlos Sistos
Just one week after testing the young Colombian driver Juan Camilo Acosta, the US RaceTronics (USRT) squad was once again pounding the testing trail, this time it was with two young talented drivers: Sergio Pena and Juan Carlos Sistos. Pena resides full time in Winchester, Virginia and though he's only sixteen years old he brings with him a wealth of experience. Pena's experience in the racing circles includes a successful karting background, wins in the Formula TR Pro Series 1600 class, and he recently tested an ASA Speed Truck at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale to expand his racing experience.

Another East Coast native, Sistos lives in Miami, Florida and made the trek to the West Coast to test with the US RaceTronics team. Sistos, who also brings with him extensive karting experience and last year competed in the Skip Barber National series, most recently raced in the LATAM Challenge Series presented by KUMHO Tires. 

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11/04/08
f1

Montezemolo praises rival Hamilton
Ferrari left Interlagos Sunday night having wrapped up an incredible seventh constructors' title in nine years.

While the team celebrate that title success, Felipe Massa was left disappointed having lost out to McLaren Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton by one point in the drivers' championship.

Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo was however delighted with another successful campaign for the prancing horse - and underlining the thaw that has taken place between the Italian and British-based teams this year - was happy to offer congratulations to Hamilton, albeit with a warning.

"I would like to send my congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, the youngest ever world champion in the history of Formula One," di Montezemolo told Ferrari World. 

"He was a very powerful rival indeed and his win, close though it was, was well deserved," he continued. "He’ll have the number 1 on his car next season, but he can rest assured of one thing: we’ll be doing our very best to put it back on a Ferrari!”

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11/04/08
irl

IRL announces two staff additions
Today Brian Barnhart announced the addition of two new staff members to the Indy Racing League Competition and Operations Division.

Steve Krisiloff will serve as the Field and Office Coordinator and be responsible for fuel purchases (ethanol and racing gasoline), equipment rental, and nitrogen and race chassis part orders (wing flaps, attenuators, wicker bills, camera covers, timing and scoring covers, etc.). In the past, Steve has worked at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Patrick Racing.

Phil Sparks will serve as the Manager of Administration and be the primary point of contact for participants on entrant/driver licensing and credentials-related issues.  Since 2002, Phil has worked at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Brickyard Crossing Resort and Inn in such areas as Client Services, Hospitality/Suites and Mobile Marketing Initiative.

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11/03/08
racing news

Quotes of the Week UPDATE #2
"It's like getting kicked in the balls over and over. That sucked." Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR driver, Hendrick Motorsports, leading contender in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, commenting after his 15th place finish in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

11/03/08
"The only thing I can say is that we are extremely happy with the achievement we have done today on the Constructors' championship. In eight of the last 10 years we were champions. It is something only Ferrari has done so I am very proud of the team, and all of the guys - here and those at home. For us it is a great achievement. I am very happy also for Felipe. He did an incredible season - no one in the beginning could have said something like that. For Felipe to lose the championship by one point, as it was last time but the other way around, I know it can hurt. I saw in him a great serenity inside because he did the maximum. That was really a great day today. From this victory lost you can be strong inside and that will be the case for him. But I would like to stress one point that I am very proud of. That is the fact that all the people who are part of this team share the same values, the same passion, the same philosophy. They are all honest people and are all proud to work for this great team. I have the honor and the privilege to be their boss." Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal, Ferrari

11/03/08
"Well, that was a really tough race. We never pushed hard, we never did anything silly, but of course the late rain made things extraordinarily tense. Even so, even when Sebastian [Vettel] got past Lewis, we never gave up, and Lewis never gave up, because we knew that Timo was on intermediate tires. But Lewis took his chance brilliantly, and the result was one of the most thrilling finishes in sporting history. I'm so proud of Lewis; I'm so proud of the team; everyone - every single one of them - did an absolutely fantastic job." Ron Dennis, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes, whose driver, Lewis Hamilton, won the 2008 World Drivers Championship by one point at the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix

"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." Ron Dennis, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes commenting on the team's technicians checking and servicing every single component of the MP4-23 race car. At 3000 individual parts, the week-long task would have cost McLaren about $7 million dollars.

"The most dramatic race of my whole life. It's pretty much impossible to put this into words. I'm still speechless. It's been such a long journey, but I've always had the support of my family, the team, our partners and the fans. We did a fantastic job throughout the whole year and, with all the sacrifices we made, I'm so thrilled to be able to win this for everyone. Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable, and I was just focused on having a clean race. Then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks - but Sebastian (Vettel) got past me and I was told that I had to get back in front of him. I couldn't believe it. Then at the very last corner I managed to get past Timo (Glock) - it was just amazing. This was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest. I was shouting, 'Do I have it? Do I have it?' on the radio. It was only when I took the checkered flag and got to Turn One that the team told me I was World Champion. I was ecstatic." Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 driver, McLaren Mercedes, winner of the 2008 World Drivers Championship at the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix

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11/03/08
f1

Storm of hate hammers Hamilton in UK
Stunned Lewis Hamilton endured a vicious backlash yesterday after becoming the youngest driver to take the Formula One crown.

The BBC helped heap criticism on Britain’s newest sporting hero with a phone-in encouraging callers to vent their dislike of the Grand Prix ace.

In Spain, where 23-year-old Hamilton has been the target of racist abuse, thousands of bitter motor-racing fans bombarded newspapers and radio stations with claims that the world title was fixed.

On the internet the attacks were worse. Car-racing fans, devoted to abusing Hamilton on social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo, included one who declared: “I’d Like To Kill Lewis Hamilton”.

The day after Hamilton clinched the world title by a point in Sao Paulo, Brazil, BBC Radio 5 invited listeners to air their views on the star. Presenter Aasmah Mir revealed that a third of callers wanted to slate the first black winner of the F1 title for living as a tax exile in Switzerland and for being “smug and arrogant”. 

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11/03/08
racing news

2009 Corvette Competition Cup Announced
A new racing category for Corvettes will be included in the 2009 BF Goodrich Long Distance Championship. The Corvettes will race at the Nurburgring in a category called the Corvette Competition Cup. The Cup will feature 2009 Corvette C6s and they will join other competitors at the Nurburgring racetrack. The specially designed Corvettes for this series will be named Corvette Competition R.

Their 6.2 L LS3 V8 engines provide a maximum of 500hp/368Kw and 600 Nm of torque. The North loop (Nordschleife) combined with the Grand Prix track will host this Cup series on ten Saturdays. Nine 4-hour races and one 6-hour race will be included in the 2009 schedule.

Each Corvette will be equipped with a sequential racing gearbox and a system that allows full throttle shifts. This system will allow drivers to change gears at full throttle without causing engine damage. They will be equipped with a custom racing exhaust system so drivers and racing fans can hear the distinctive Corvette V8 sound. Additional enhancements include a motorsport specific aerodynamic package with fixed adjustable front splitter and rear wing. These Corvette sporting attributes will pay tribute to the brands racing heritage. The Corvette Competition Cup will be a cost-effective racing alternative in the Gran Turismo category. The Corvette Competition R offers lots of racing fun that includes reliable and proven racing technology components.

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11/03/08
ga

Frisselle Joins Angelelli
Brian Frisselle, the 24-year-old American who scored a pair of breakthrough Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series victories this past August, has joined the No. 10 SunTrust team of Wayne Taylor Racing as co-driver with Italian former series champion Max Angelelli for the 2009 season.

Frisselle, who was born in Southern California and resides in Aspen, Colo., recently wrapped up his second full season and fourth overall in the Rolex Series, co-driving with his brother Burt in 2005 and 2006 and the past two seasons with Mark Wilkins on the AIM Autosport Ford Riley team. He and Wilkins scored AIM’s breakthrough back-to-back wins in August at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and the very next weekend after earning his first career pole position at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Frisselle and Wilkins, who finished fifth in the season-ending point standings, scored a third-consecutive podium finish in late-August with a third-place effort at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., where Angelelli and the SunTrust team scored their lone victory of 2008.

“Brian is a winner, plain and simple, and with SunTrust Racing being all about winning championships, that makes Brian the perfect choice to join Max as co-driver in 2009,” said Wayne Taylor, who co-drove to the 2005 Rolex Series title for SunTrust with Angelelli.

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11/03/08
f1

Record TV audiences for 2008 F1 finale UPDATE In Italy 13.44 million tuned in to watch the F1 finale from Brazil, a 53.12% share.

11/03/08 (GMM)  At least three key markets have revealed record viewing figures from their television broadcasts of Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.

France's TF1 said its record was achieved when more than 5 million viewers tuned in to the dramatic finale to the 2008 season at Interlagos, where Lewis Hamilton was crowned champion.

The figures represent an audience share of 25 per cent, and a peak audience in the closing laps of more than 8 million viewers -- apparently easily the highest of this year's 18-round calendar.

In Germany, the average number of viewers of the free to air RTL coverage was 8.8 million, representing a 31.5 per cent market share.

For RTL, the peak audience of 9.46 million was recorded after the checkered flag, when an emotional Felipe Massa was presented with his race winner's trophy.

An average of 8.8million (42 percent audience share) watched the program in the UK making it the most watched race since ITV began broadcasting the sport in 1997 as ITV televised its last race before the rights switch to the BBC from 2009.

The peak audience was 13.1 million, representing a 42 per cent market share; the best figures recorded by ITV since it began broadcasting live grands prix in 1997.

The only sporting event with a higher peak audience (14.6m) in Britain this year was live coverage of the Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea in May.

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11/03/08
alms

Mazda statement regarding closing of B-K
"Retirements always leave mixed feelings. We're happy for Bob, but we're sad that we won't be seeing him at the track on a regular basis. Bob and the entire B-K team were a part of the MAZDASPEED family for almost a decade and will be missed on both a professional and personal level.

B-K was a great example of a team moving up the ranks with Mazda. I remember when Bob was racing in the Star Mazda series before moving up to the ALMS. B-K will forever have a place in Mazda history having scored our first ALMS win in 2005. They have also been a tremendous help in developing the new Mazda MZR-R engine. We wish Bob the best in retirement, but suspect he'll still come out to watch us race at Road America," said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner.

Mazda will announce their 2009 ALMS plans later this year.

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11/03/08
f1

Heavier rain on final lap saved Lewis Hamilton
Q&A with Timo Glock
Q: How did the rain at the end of the race affect your strategy?
Timo Glock:
In the final laps we saw that we had the opportunity to make up some places due to the rain. It started to rain lightly on parts of the circuit with around six laps to go and at that stage everyone was on dry tires. We took the decision to stay out on dry tires even though the intensity of the rain was increasing we were sure we could make up positions when the other cars pitted for wet weather tires and because it was only on the last couple of laps that the wet tire was superior. We stayed out and I was up to fourth but it was not easy in those conditions in the last laps.

Q: What was it like in wet conditions with dry tires?
Glock:
It was not so bad until the final lap when the rain really began to come down very heavily and it was just impossible. It was so difficult to just keep the car on the track because it was very wet and the car was basically undriveable in those conditions. I was sliding everywhere, with absolutely no grip at all. [Editor's Note: Had it not rained so hard on that final lap Hamilton would have lost the title, having been outdriven in the rain by Massa, Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel and Glock.  The God's certainly were smiling on Mr. Hamilton on Sunday.]

Q: Were you taking it easy on the final lap?
Glock: Absolutely not! It was completely the opposite; the final lap was one of the hardest laps I have done in Formula 1 because there was no grip at all and on dry tires it was almost impossible to keep the car on track. I was pushing really hard to keep fourth place and if you look at the lap times I was actually faster than Jarno on the final lap and he was the only other car on dry tires at that stage.

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11/03/08
f1

Massa feared for Glock safety in Brazil
(GMM)  In the midst of his despair, Felipe Massa turned his thoughts to the wellbeing of Toyota team members.

According to Germany's Sport Bild, Massa feared that his Brazilian supporters at Interlagos might turn their frustration on members of the Japanese team.

Toyota driver Timo Glock's dramatically slow final lap of the Brazilian grand prix, which gave fifth place to Lewis Hamilton, cost Massa the world championship.

Sport Bild reports that Massa sent his younger brother to the Toyota garage to advise team members to change out of their uniforms before leaving the circuit, located just outside sprawling Sao Paulo.

Apparently, Toyota figures did heed the warning, returning to their hotels or to the airport wearing Brazilian national team jerseys, or spare uniforms of the Renault or Ferrari teams.

German driver Glock, meanwhile, was forced to deny wild conspiracy theories that - albeit with an unexplained motive - he deliberately slowed to allow Hamilton to be champion.

"Maybe the Brazilian fans are not on my side any more but I tried my best and drove my race," he told BBC radio.

Hamilton was not afraid to enter the city to celebrate his triumph on Sunday evening.  He was spotted dining at a local steakhouse before partying with his entourage at an invitation-only nightclub party just after midnight.

And, just for the record, even the Briton's arch-enemy Fernando Alonso returned to the McLaren garage after the race on Sunday to personally congratulate Hamilton, the German newspaper Bild reported.

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11/03/08
f1

Toyota to start 2009 without KERS
(GMM)  Toyota team president John Howett has confirmed reports the Japanese squad will probably commence the 2009 season without a KERS system.

After a FOTA alliance meeting voted down a proposal to delay the new technology until 2010, McLaren boss Ron Dennis suggested to the media that "one team" planned to race in Melbourne next March without a KERS system anyway.

"It is very unlikely that at the first race we will have a safe and reliable KERS that will add performance benefits," Howett said at Interlagos.

"I am not saying that after some time it won't, but there are some pretty big issues."

He also seemed to scold Dennis for tipping off the press about Toyota's plans after a confidential meeting.

"I do resent that people have mentioned that.  It was a genuine meeting of absolute confidence," Howett said.

Comment
11/03/08
tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
The Chase is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Phoenix on ABC

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is down to only two races, and this weekend’s 500K race at Phoenix International Raceway moves drivers one step closer to the top honor in NASCAR. ESPN on ABC will have live, high definition coverage from Phoenix beginning with NASCAR Countdown at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 9.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying from Phoenix on Friday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m., along with practice on the 1-mile track earlier that day at 2 p.m. Coverage of final practice airs Saturday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m. The race will re-air Monday, Nov. 9, at 8 a.m. on ESPN Classic.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace, three-time champion crew chief Ray Evernham and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

Also this weekend, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD air live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. The telecast is presented by Craftsman. 

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11/03/08
f1

British media gaga over Hamilton UPDATE Lewis Hamilton’s fifth place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix – allowing him to clinch the title by a single point – is likely to see him become a $1 billion sportsman.

According to UK newspaper, The Times, the youngest ever world champion in the history of Formula One could become the only person who could knock Tiger Woods from the top of the podium as the world’s highest-earning sportsman. The golfer is on course to become the first person to accumulate $1 billion from sport by 2010, according to Forbes magazine, pocketing an estimated $115 million (£71 million) in the year to June.

Hamilton’s contract with McLaren contract is worth an estimated £75 million over five years and a sponsorship deal with Reebok will add a further £20 million or so.

That could surpass the estimated career earnings of Schumacher, who at his peak was a one-man business empire, complete with branded dolls, sunglasses and a vacuum cleaner, and David Beckham, Britain’s highest earning sports star to date, whose lucrative sponsorship deals earned him £20 million a year at the height of his career.

Then again if Alonso signs with Ferrari Hamilton's winning days will most likely be over and his earning power greatly diminished.

Hamilton is the darling of the British media
11/02/08 Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton wakes up this morning as the youngest world champion in the history of Formula One – and well on the road to becoming a $1 billion sportsman.

His nail-biting fifth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix – allowing him to clinch the title by a single point – will go down as a key moment in the annals of the sport.

For most people it would undoubtedly be the pinnacle of a life’s work. But the man who is named after Carl Lewis, winner of nine Olympic gold medals, is not most people.

Having conquered Formula One by the tender age of 23, and in only his second season, Hamilton could have more than a decade left at the top of his sport – plenty of time to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships.

That, in turn, means that he is also perhaps the only person who could knock Tiger Woods from the top of the podium as the world’s highest-earning sportsman. The golfer is on course to become the first person to accumulate $1 billion from sport by 2010, according to Forbes magazine, pocketing an estimated $115 million (£71 million) in the year to June.  More at London Times

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11/03/08
f1

'Sweet boos' as press sums up Hamilton title
(GMM)  The world's press broadly hailed Lewis Hamilton as a deserving world champion, after the dramatic last-corner climax to the 2008 season in Brazil.

The boos of the Interlagos crowd, devastated by local driver Felipe Massa's narrow defeat, was summed up by the local media.

The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper dismissed Hamilton's achievement as "a title of 700 meters", also pointing out that the Briton is "champion with fewer victories than Massa".

In Italy, the homeland of the famous Ferrari team, La Gazzetta dello Sport was more complimentary to Hamilton, declaring "hats off to this 23-year-old Englishman" and giving him 8 out of 10, compared with a perfect 10 for race winner Massa.

Timo Glock's last-corner role in the drama, meanwhile, was forgiven, as Gazzetta said Hamilton "stole nothing and Glock gifted him nothing".  La Stampa did not really agree, remarking that Hamilton's title is "thanks to the German's Toyota".

Elsewhere, it is clear Hamilton universally divides opinion.  The French daily Liberation hailed the McLaren driver "selfish, egocentric, sometimes shifty and willing to do anything to meet his objectives".

A writer for L'Equipe added: "He has conquered F1 with the spirit of a rookie and the driving skills of a veteran, with intelligence and talent, but, with an obvious taste for celebrity and an evident need to win at whatever price, in total contempt of his opponents."

Even the British corps, delirious at its first champion since 1996, acknowledged the near-calamity of the last laps of Hamilton's title.  The Telegraph said he triumphed "not so much at the death but at the funeral".

"Boos will never sound so sweet."

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11/03/08
f1

Domenicali: "...I am very proud of what we achieved."
Stefano Domenicali
Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali showed the true soul of Ferrari when he spoke after Felipe Massa won the Brazilian Grand Prix and clinched the Constructors' championship, but 18 seconds later lost the Drivers' series to Lewis Hamilton.

Domenicali was passionate, generous, admiring, complimentary, humble, philosophical and understanding. And like the racer that he is, he appreciated the extraordinary finale that came down to an amazing last few last seconds. "It is impossible to say that that isn't true. It was an incredible end to the season and once again I think we have to be proud of what we have done. There is no reason for us to look back and say, what if, what if. With what ifs you can build the world.

"The only thing I can say is that we are extremely happy with the achievement we have done today on the Constructors' championship. In eight of the last 10 years we were champions. It is something only Ferrari has done so I am very proud of the team, and all of the guys - here and those at home. For us it is a great achievement."

Domenicali went onto pay tribute to the maturing driver who is Felipe Massa, who so nearly won the Drivers' championship. "I am very happy also for Felipe. He did an incredible season - no one in the beginning could have said something like that.

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11/03/08
f1

Q&A with Lewis Hamilton

A happy Lewis Hamilton and team boss Ron Dennis
World Champion Lewis Hamilton reflects on an incredible Brazilian Grand Prix during which he came oh so close to losing the title.

Q: You made history, are you really aware what you have done?
LH: I don't think it has hit home yet, I just had the most intense race of my life and my heart is still racing, I'm just so thankful for the opportunity the team gave me. Huge respect to McLaren and Mercedes-Benz for giving me a wonderful opportunity, for everyone involved with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and my family who came here and supported me and people back home as well, without them I wouldn't be doing this. Felipe did an amazing job today, congratulations for his win and for challenging me all year but it's great to be on top.

Q: We almost couldn't stand the last laps, what was it like from inside the car?
LH: My heart was about to explode, just like yours. I don't know how I kept my cool and I was very fortunate especially on the last lap and you know, this has been my dream.

Q: Talk us through the last few corners?
LH: I had a problem with my tires, they were beginning to grain, there was nothing I could do, I was just trying to keep my car on the track. My heart was in my mouth and I was trying to get back in front of him. Fortunately, there was the opportunity to get back in front of Glock and I did what I had to do. We came, we saw and we did what we needed to do. 

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11/03/08
f1

Jackie Stewart praises Hamilton
As Lewis Hamilton became the youngest Formula One champion in the history of Formula One at Interlagos yesterday, several legendary British racing icons were quick to praise the McLaren driver. Sir Jackie Stewart was one of them. The three times world champion believes that Hamilton's success could be a first of many.

Sir Jackie Stewart: "There's no reason why he can't win more. He's with probably the best racing team in the world. He's a lucky boy to be there so early in his career with the team's support, resources and technology behind him. He's a man with exceptional talent.

"I've never seen anything like it in history. It came down to the end a championship at the last corner of the last lap of the last grand prix of the season."

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11/03/08
nassprint

No further penalty for Gilliland
Members of the No. 42 team look over the wreckage
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
David Gilliland swore that he didn’t mean to tag #42-Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 263 of the Dickies 500, but that didn’t mean that NASCAR didn’t penalize him. NASCAR parked Gilliland after the accident, which left Montoya fuming and with a torn-up race car. Gilliland didn’t tear up his race car, but NASCAR sat him for the rest of the race leaving him in 42nd while Montoya was 43rd. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said there will be no further penalties although both drivers likely will be talked to again prior to practice at Phoenix informing them not to keep the feud going on the race track. Scene Daily

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11/03/08
nassprint

Hutchens has offer from Stewart Haas
Longtime Richard Childress Racing team executive Bobby Hutchens confirmed Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that he has a contract offer to become general manager at Stewart Haas Racing. "I have an opportunity with Stewart Haas," Hutchens said as he walked through the garage toward pit road prior to the Dickies 500. "I'll make a decision here in a couple days." Several sources close to SHR, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- Hutchens' current employer -- told ESPN.com that Hutchens had already signed a contract with Stewart Haas, but Hutchens said otherwise. "Nothing is signed," Hutchens said. ESPN.com

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11/03/08
f1

The Dale Jr mystery yellow flag
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had another forgettable race that ended up with a 20th-place finish after he was forced to stop late for fuel. Just about the time he was about to go a lap down on lap 143, NASCAR officials threw a debris caution. Now some would call that a "Junior Caution." Me? I just call it making sure the track was safe – nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Yahoo Sports

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11/03/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Wednesday set for Renault announcement
  • Senna to also test Toro Rosso
  • Intrigue surrounds Glock's last lap
  • Dennis not thinking about future decision
  • Wurz to stay Honda tester in 2009

Wednesday set for Renault announcement
(GMM)  "Wednesday is the day" scheduled for the announcement of Renault's 2009 driver lineup.

"We will announce both drivers on Wednesday," said team boss Flavio Briatore reiterated at the Interlagos circuit on Sunday, scene of the last race of the 2008 season.

It is widely expected that former double world champion Fernando Alonso will be retained by the French team, particularly after the Spaniard also told reporters at the weekend that "next week" his plans will be revealed.

Alonso's current teammate is Nelson Piquet, who has had a difficult rookie season in 2008.  Renault test drivers Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean have been linked with his seat.

23-year-old Piquet's famous namesake and father was spotted in meetings both with Briatore, and Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger during the Brazilian grand prix weekend.

Senna to also test Toro Rosso
(GMM)  Bruno Senna will also test for Toro Rosso in the forthcoming winter period, as the Brazilian lines up his 2009 formula one debut.

It emerged at Interlagos at the weekend that the 25-year-old GP2 runner-up, the nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton Senna, is to test with Honda at Barcelona next month.

He is in talks with both teams about a seat next year, but told reporters at the scene of the Brazilian grand prix that a deal has not yet been concluded.

"I will test with both teams," Senna said.  "It's going to depend on these tests before we can talk about something official."

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11/03/08
f1

Honda to give Bruno Senna his first Formula One test
Bruno Senna
The Honda Racing F1 Team will give 2008 GP2 Series title contender Bruno Senna his first experience of a Formula One car in Barcelona later this month. Bruno will attend the team’s first winter test at the Circuit de Catalunya from Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 November where he will drive the Honda RA108 to enable the team to assess how Bruno has developed in his career to date.

The program for Bruno will include an initial familiarization with the car and its systems before progressing to a full program during which the team will be evaluating his performance, technical skill and ability to work with a large team organization.

Bruno, 25, has impressed in the British F3 Championship and GP2 since his first full season in junior motorsport formulae in 2005. He won two GP2 races in 2008 and finished second in the Series.

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