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Z-Line Designs Teams Working Together for a Cause  The roar from the crowd will be deafening as Kyle Busch, NASCAR’s Nationwide Series point leader and Justin Wilson, Top 10 IndyCar driver, lead a pack of their teammates and racing rivals including Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin into the Nikki Beach Club on South Beach November 19th to headline a red-carpet fundraiser for Operation Helmet. In hot pursuit will be numerous celebrities from the world of music, sports and entertainment all joining forces to support Operation Helmet which provides helmet upgrades for our soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hosted by Jim and Monica Sexton of Z-Line Designs furniture with additional support from GameStop, the world’s largest video game retailer, this star-studded event will feature signature Nikki Beach entertainment, music by DJ Dojah, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, a grand selection of champagne, wines and top shelf beverages plus game stations with the latest equipment and accessories provided by GameStop as well as a number of surprise musical performances. More ...

Toro Rosso to run Hartley at Jerez test  With Red Bull Racing confirming that British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo will join the team for Jerez's December test, sister outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso has revealed that Red Bull Young Driver Brendon Hartley will also be running at the session in south-west Spain.

After driving a Formula One car at Jerez for the first time last year, New Zealander Hartley will be repeating the feat this winter. "Yes, we will test Brendon Hartley and we will see if a second driver comes to join us from Red Bull for this test," Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost confirmed to Autosport.

19-year-old Hartley, having taken over from David Coulthard as Red Bull's reserve driver in May, later decided to concentrate more on his racing schedule as Jaime Alguersuari consequently filled the breach.

Stoner tops Valencia test times  
Valencia Test lap times

Rider Team Time Laps
Casey Stoner Marlboro Ducati 1m 32.660 32
Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 1m 32.685 45
Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1m 32.826 37
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1m 33.088 31
Nicky Hayden Marlboro Ducati 1m 33.358 58
Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 33.496 50
Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda 1m 33.675 51
Mika Kallio Pramac Racing 1m 33.726 52
Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 1m 33.775 61
Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda 1m 33.839 59
Aleix Espargaro Pramac Racing 1m 33.878 63
Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha 1m 33.929 35
Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 1m 34.144 55
Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda 1m 35.229 51
Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki 1m 35.772 52
Hector Barbera Aspar Team 1m 36.204 63
Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda MotoGP 1m 37.964 40
Michael Schumacher Confirmed for SKUSA SuperNationals XIII  Simply put, the Superkarts! USA SuperNationals has just stepped to the next level. SKUSA CEO Tom Kutscher is thrilled to confirm to the North American karting community that seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has officially entered the upcoming SuperNationals at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The former Ferrari F1 driver will compete in the SuperPro category against the top 125cc drivers from North America and the world, running with the factory Tony Kart team aboard a Vortex-powered Racer EVR. Schumacher’s participation will certainly explode the global interest in the annual event, which was already closing in on selling out the paddock. More ...
Hight, Prock look to lock up first funny car title  Auto Club driver Robert Hight and crew chief Jimmy Prock are heading to a track that they are very familiar with but in a total new position. The tandem enters the 45th Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals as the points leader and the favorite to win their first NHRA Full Throttle championship.

For Hight a successful weekend at Auto Club Raceway would be a culmination of a dream that he thought had already come true on one level when he joined John Force Racing as a crew member.

“I never honestly dreamed that I would be at this point. I didn’t ever think that I would ever get to drive a race car. I was just content and happy driving down the road in John Force’s truck and working on his race car, and I just owe it all to him for giving me this opportunity to come out here. When you’re on a team like this, you’re expected to win, so that puts a little added pressure on you, but you also know that you have good equipment, a good car, and that makes it easier to learn. Trust me I’m still learning,” said Hight.

The perennial championship contender Hight has been in position to win the Funny Car title almost every year of his racing career. The previous two year have by far been his best opportunities but a mechanical failure at the Las Vegas race in 2007 and then tire smoke in the first round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals last season sealed championship victories for Tony Pedregon and Cruz Pedregon, respectively. More ...

The end of manufacturer dominance in F1  Last week, Toyota announced their immediate withdrawal from the sport, citing economic difficulties as the reason. Added to that team president John Howett revealed that Toyota had already "discussed and rejected' the possibility of selling their Formula One team.

Toyota's demise leaves just three manufacturers in the sport, Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes and Renault, however, the latter's future in Formula One is in doubt with reports claiming that they will leave at the end of next season.

But while manufacturers are walking away from F1, privateer teams are coming to the fore with four new outfits, Lotus, Manor GP, Campos and USF1 joining the fraternity next season.

"This week marked the end of manufacturer dominance in F1 - something that had been growing for a decade," Parr told the Financial Times. More ...
AT&T Williams 2009 season review with Technical Director, Sam Michael  Q: Thinking about 2009, what are your overall thoughts about the team’s season?
SM: 2009 was a good step forward from where we’ve been in previous seasons, particularly from
an aerodynamic perspective and in terms of consistency of the car across different tracks. It was
a very competitive season this year with only a second covering the field at some races, so it was
also satisfying when we were getting an extra one or two tenths out the car at those tracks.
Overall, this year was a good step forward, but we didn’t end it where we wanted to be.

Q: What were the highs and lows?
SM: I think the high points in terms of performance were when Nico was leading in Malaysia
before the rain came and then Singapore before the white line incident. The car’s much stronger
performance at Silverstone also upped our credibility as well. More ...

RSR Jaguar ALMS GT2 gears up for 2010 assault  

RSR Jaguar

Debut, test, first race: with those initial milestones out of the way, RSR continues to focus on preparation for 2010, which will see the team field an RSR built Jaguar XKR GT in the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship.

After the RSR Jaguar XKR GT's first event, the 2009 season finale for the ALMS at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, the team returned to its East Lansing, Michigan-based race shop ready to measure up the results and begin the development process.

"Since the announcement of our partnership with Jaguar at Long Beach we have been focused on putting the RSR Jaguar XKR GT on the track," said Paul Gentilozzi, RSR Team Owner / Driver. "Now we can focus on making it faster and even more reliable.  We have the time to improve the performance of the car as we prepare for the grueling 12 Hours of Sebring in March to kick off our 2010 assault."

In the first of several planned trips to the wind tunnel, with the Jaguar XKR GT, RSR's engineering staff got a validating glimpse into the aerodynamic performance predicted by Jaguar Engineers in their CFD planning of the car. RSR engineers needed to get a good estimate of how much drag and downforce the car is making. Now that the Jaguar XKR GT has been to the wind tunnel, RSR can feed those results back to the aero dynamists at Jaguar, where they can interpret that information versus the CFD simulation. More ...

USF1 hits back at latest reports  (GMM)  Peter Windsor has hit back at and firmly denied reports that USF1 will certainly not be ready for the 2010 season because it is not yet crash-testing parts for its car.

The reports also said Windsor, the new Charlotte-based team's sporting director as well as a formula one journalist, has left the door open to the possibility of selling the official team entry to another outfit.

"The report seemed to come out of Switzerland/Germany, the land of BMW-Sauber," he told the online magazine GPWeek, referring to the fact that the Hinwil based team has not yet been granted a guaranteed berth on the 2010 grid.

Windsor said "several" components for the 2010 car have been "successfully" crash-tested, and that more tests will take place this and next month. More ...

Sam Michael: Cosworth has two hurdles  After two seasons with Toyota power, the Williams Formula One team have opted to return to Cosworth engines for their 2010 Formula One campaign and while it is now known that Toyota will no longer be competing in the pinnacle of Motorsports it is thought that this is part of the reason, however according to the team’s technical director, Sam Michael, it is a lot more complicated than that.

Speaking to Autosport, Michael explained that there have been so many regulation changes since their former deal with Cosworth came to an end in 2006, however there are still hurdles that will need to be jumped throughout their new partnership such as fuel consumption and reliability.... More ...

Weekly NASCAR cheating report  The #1 Bass Pro Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. failed a post-race inspection when NASCAR officials found the height of the car was too low. The violation was discovered because the #1 Chevy was the random car selected for inspection after the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Truex finished 14th. Any penalties for the team will be announced on Tuesday, NASCAR officials confirmed. NASCAR also is taking three cars back to the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. -- the #2 Dodge of race winner Kurt Busch, the #24 Chevy of Jeff Gordon, who finished 13th, and the #5 Chevy of Mark Martin, who finished fourth. NASCAR also will take three engines to the R&D Center -- the #2 Dodge, the #11 Toyota motor of driver Denny Hamlin, who finished second, and Gordon's. The winning car and the engines from the top two finishers always are inspected in the R&D Center. ESPN
Yamaha team wins triple crown again  Yamaha is very proud to have won it all in MotoGP again this year.  Tsunji Togami, President and CEO, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. had this to say about it:

"It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that, for the second consecutive year, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has achieved its ultimate goal in MotoGP competition by winning the Triple Crown of rider, team and manufacturer championship titles.

"We owe this great achievement today to the spirited support of the many Yamaha fans and our sponsors, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend to all of you my heartfelt appreciation.

"We at Yamaha Motor believe that our participation in MotoGP and our challenge to win titles makes it possible to share the excitement and deep satisfaction we call Kando with people all over the world, while also contributing to the marketing of our motorcycles.

"In these efforts, I ask for your ongoing support of our company and our teams."
Q & A with motivated Lewis Hamilton  
Q. On Saturday, you looked unstoppable around the Abu Dhabi circuit, but the race brought the first mechanical retirement of your Formula 1 career - was it a weekend of mixed fortunes?

Lewis Hamilton: Not really. Of course, it's disappointing not to finish a race – particularly when you're at the front leading it – but I have to be realistic: to have got through nearly three seasons of racing and to only now be stopped by a mechanical failure is an incredible statistic.

You almost take reliability for granted these days, so it was weird to be stood in the garage watching the race rather than being in it. But I think we can all be proud of what we've achieved this year. We started the season with what was the slowest car in the field, but we never gave up, and on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, you could argue that we had the fastest car out there. That's an absolutely incredible achievement – and I can't think of a single team other than Vodafone McLaren Mercedes that could have done that.

It would have been great to have won the race and sent us into the winter with our heads held high, but it wasn't to be. I loved the circuit – for a new track, it has a good blend of corners and it needs you to be very focused and precise to get the best from the laptime. We'll be back to try and win it next year! More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari near 'guarantee' of success - Alonso
  • Button deserves 2009 title - drivers
  • Buemi admits Toyota talks, to stay with Toro Rosso
  • Toyota fallout signals new era for F1
  • Campos car has passed FIA crash tests
  • BMW-Sauber board member resigns
  • Racing in two series a 'mistake' - Alguersuari

Ferrari near 'guarantee' of success - Alonso
(GMM)  Racing with Ferrari is close to a "guarantee" of success in formula one, according to the famous Italian team's new driver Fernando Alonso.

After winning back to back titles in 2005 and 2006, and squabbling with McLaren in 2007, the Spaniard has struggled for pace during the past two seasons with Renault.

"I can be optimistic now," the 28-year-old told Cadena SER radio.  "With Ferrari you can be calm because you know they will give the maximum.

"Ferrari is a brand made to compete; sometimes they win the title, sometimes not, but there are no disastrous periods.  I think Ferrari is the safest option for any driver," Alonso added. More ...

Lotus/Force India in new F1 spy scandal  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  The new Lotus F1 team has moved to distance itself from claims its 2010 car is improperly based on Force India's design of this season.

It has been reported that the wind tunnel model being used by the Italian Aerolab facility to design the aerodynamic shape of the 2010 Lotus is the same as the 2009 Force India.

Aerolab hit back at the reports last Friday by saying Force India breached contract during their recent collaboration, and that the rumors are to "divert attention away from the facts".

Mike Gascoyne, involved initially in the Force India project and now working with Lotus, has denied any wrongdoing.

"We are not going to add anything more to this as it is not our issue," Lotus F1's chief executive Riad Asmat told the New Straits Times.

"We are very sure that we have not infringed any rights," he added.  "It is entirely between the wind tunnel operator and the other team." More ...

Brian France discusses TV Coverage  Dustin Long of the Virginian Pilot / Roanoke Times ran into NASCAR Chairman Brian France on Sunday morning before the race at Texas Motor Speedway and got the chance to sit down with him for 15 minutes alone in the NASCAR hauler discussing some of the various issues that have arisen recently in the sport.

Q: What is your feeling of the comments TV commentators made to me in the Frankly Speaking series and the things were said on the ABC broadcast last weekend at Talladega.

Clearly, this is a sport that has a lot of opinions and most other sports channel their thoughts and criticisms differently and that is an unusual thing that we have to have people within the sport openly just criticizing as we go along but maybe that's something very unique in NASCAR that no other sport has to sort out. We'll sort it out.''

Q: Some fans may look at your comment as NASCAR is trying to quiet the commentators and keep them from telling the truth per say, can you clarify your feelings on the subject: See the transcript of what France said at the Virginian Pilot
Runaway Toyota fatalities mount  More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Times review of federal records has found.

The crashes resulted in at least 19 deaths and scores of injuries over the last decade, records show. Federal regulators say that is far more than any other automaker has experienced.

Owner complaints helped trigger at least eight investigations into sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the last seven years. Toyota Motor Corp. recalled fewer than 85,000 vehicles in response to two of those probes, and the federal agency closed six other cases without finding a defect. More ...
Jarama Races 2 & 3: Tung and Buurman win  

Liverpool claimed the 2009 Superleague Formula by Sonangol title in front of 33,000 spectators in the season finale at Jarama after a spectacular weekend of racing at the Spanish circuit.

Adrian Valles drove intelligently throughout the final meeting, scoring seventh and fourth place finishes, to protect the healthy points lead he held over Tottenham Hotspur’s Craig Dolby coming into the weekend, despite the British driver’s best attempts to cause an upset in race 2.

Anderlecht’s Yelmer Buurman was the other star of the weekend as he backed up his race 1 victory with a win in the six-car, five-lap Super Final to net a €100,000 prize, while Galatasaray secured their first ever Superleague win thanks to a faultless drive from Ho-Pin Tung in race 2.

The Super Final saw two of the six runners out of the reckoning within seconds of the start as Dolby stalled from pole position and FC Porto’s Tristan Gommendy out-braked himself into the first corner while fighting Sevilla’s Sebastien Bourdais for the lead. More ...

Hornish takes out points leader Johnson  Jimmie Johnson's seemingly inevitable march toward his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title was thrust into doubt on the third lap Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Contact with Sam Hornish Jr. sent Johnson into the wall on the backstretch, and the No. 48 car sustained major damage that required a comprehensive rebuild in the garage area. Johnson started the race with a 184-point advantage on the field with only three events remaining in the season, with a chance to clinch the championship next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The wreck changed all that, cutting a substantial chunk out of his lead in the immediate aftermath of the accident. More ...

Pedrosa wins in Valencia  Dani Pedrosa led from start to finish in today’s Grand Prix of Valencia to win the final race of the 2009 season in dominant fashion on his Honda RC212V. Underlining his brilliance at the Valencia circuit, Pedrosa set the fastest lap of the race on his way to his second victory of the season - a win which elevated him to third place in the World Championship standings following Casey Stoner’s surprise exit on the warm-up lap. 

Pedrosa made it look easy today, but this was a masterclass of flat-out riding for the entire 30-lap race. The 24-year-old Spaniard led into Turn One, and an inch-perfect first five laps gave him a gap of 2.1 seconds as his pursuers squabbled over second place. Then, for the next five laps, Pedrosa was pursued hard by Valentino Rossi, and the gap hovered at around the two seconds. But Pedrosa was in control and put on a surge of speed, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 and extending his lead to over four seconds by two-thirds distance. From then on, it was a case of maintaining his rhythm, and he brought his factory Honda home to take the his second MotoGP win at Valencia; his fifth win here in all classes of Grand Prix racing.



Rider Nation Team Total time
1 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 46'47.553
2 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team + 2.630
3 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 2.913
4 C. EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 32.515
5 N. HAYDEN USA Ducati Marlboro Team + 34.585
6 T. ELIAS SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini + 34.888
7 B. SPIES USA Sterilgarda Yamaha Team + 37.706
8 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team + 38.364
9 M. KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing + 42.491
10 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 43.689
11 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 46.018
12 J. TOSELAND GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 50.226
13 A. ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing + 57.168
14 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1'06.877
15 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1'11.701
16 G. TALMACSI HUN Scot Racing Team MotoGP + 1'14.405
17 M. MELANDRI ITA Hayate Racing Team + 1'33.425
DNS C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team

Jarama Race 1: Buurman handles Bourdais  Yelmer Buurman produced a dominant performance in race 1 of the Superleague Formula by Sonangol season finale at Jarama to clinch a first win of the season for Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht and gain revenge on Sevilla FC’s Sebastien Bourdais.

Bourdais beat Buurman by just six thousandths of a second in yesterday’s qualifying final to clinch pole position, but a fine passing maneuver immediately after the pit stops and then a string of unmatchable quick laps saw the Dutch driver avenge that loss.

Meanwhile, the title fight between English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will go all the way to the last race this afternoon as Spurs’ Craig Dolby narrowed the lead of Liverpool’s Adrian Valles by ten points. More ...

Toyota committed to NASCAR  Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, said Toyota's departure from Formula One has no bearing on its NASCAR program, but he also said NASCAR should learn from F1's mistakes. "Leaving Formula One was not an easy decision to make," White said Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. "Obviously, it affects a lot of people, and a lot of those people are friends of ours, so we feel for them. But it should have no effect whatsoever on our NASCAR program, our NASCAR plans and our NASCAR future. We remain completely committed to NASCAR and NASCAR is completely committed to us."

White's biggest concern at the moment is finding a way to compete with Hendrick Motorsports and its Chevrolets. Jimmie Johnson probably is headed for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title and Hendrick drivers hold down the top three spots in the standings. "The Hendrick organization is a tier higher than everyone, including other teams from that manufacturer Chevrolet," White said. "So give Hendrick credit. They've done a fantastic job. We don't begrudge them that. We just want to work hard and find ways to beat them." White understands the Hendrick domination has left a perception of a lack of competition, but he doesn't blame NASCAR. "It's very hard to legislate competition," White said. "How can you legislate against Hendrick other than making their life miserable by checking their cars every week and taking them apart? Oh, wait. They did that and it didn't work. I give NASCAR credit for trying. They are doing the best they can. Some of these things just take time until someone figures out how to get as good as they are." ESPN
racing news
New track blower, uses vacuum  After six months of research and a year of development, Rob Brush believes he has a better alternative to help dry race tracks. The project manager for a steel fabrication company in Canada has designed a track dryer that travels about twice the speed as the current jet dryers used at NASCAR tracks. Rather than just blow hot air on the track as the jet driers do, Brush's vehicle also uses a vacuum to suck up water akin to a Shop-Vac. "With eight of these units at Daytona International Speedway, we could dry the track in under an hour," Brush said, estimating he could cut the current drying time in half. Brush has built a prototype that was given a successful trial run by NASCAR when a shower followed Sprint Cup qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway two months ago. Brush is expecting to meet with NASCAR officials in Daytona Beach, Fla., in two weeks before bringing the prototype dryer to the season finale at Homestead, Fla. The invention could be a boon for NASCAR, which has been plagued by rain this year (three Cup races were delayed a day and three were shortened by bad weather). The dryer also would fit with NASCAR's green initiatives because it runs on propane. Brush estimates it would burn less than 500 gallons to dry Daytona vs. 3,000 gallons of jet fuel. Brush has attended several races over the past two seasons, taking nearly 4,000 photos in researching the dryer. USA Today
Toyota looking to stick with current teams  Toyota has contracts to supply parts and engineering support to eight Sprint Cup teams. White said the manufacturer isn't pursuing deals with more but didn't rule out adding to its stable. "That's a possibility," he said. "Any team that chose to run a Toyota product would be evaluated and then decisions would be made whether engineering support would be provided." White said Toyota has had discussions with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, which is mulling a switch from Chevrolet, "but we have discussions with a lot of people." SceneDaily
Wingo to stay at Roush  Crew chief Donnie Wingo appears to be headed back to Roush Fenway Racing next season in a capacity still to be determined. Wingo's future with the organization has been uncertain since it was revealed in late July that driver Jamie McMurray's #26 team would go away and sponsor Crown Royal would move to Roush driver Matt Kenseth's team next year. The breakup of McMurray's team is part of a downsizing by Roush Fenway to conform to NASCAR's new four-car limit set to take effect in 2010. Asked on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway if there would be a place for Wingo next season at Roush Fenway, team co-owner Jack Roush said, "The answer to that is yes." Wingo later backed up his boss' assertion. "I don't think the plan is finalized for next year but we have spoken and he says he's got a place for me there next year and I'm real happy about that," he said. "It's where I want to be right now and I hope I can end my career here. ... I'm just looking forward to whatever they have for me in the future, whatever I can do to help." SceneDaily
track news
Surfers might include air races  Queensland, Australia councilors have refused to back the SuperGP unless an international component is in the weekend schedule.

A strategy was formulated behind closed doors yesterday afternoon before Mayor Ron Clarke sat down with SuperGP reviewer David Williams to discuss the council's position.

Cr Clarke told Mr. Williams city hall had major reservations about the future viability of the event if it remained a sole V8 Supercars race.

The Red Bull air race and international Formula 3 series were backed as alternatives by councilors to the A1GP which pulled out of last month's event at the 11th hour.

"A lot of the councilors think that there should be an international component," said Cr Clarke.

"We want a seat at the table.

"We would like to see a company operation and we would like to be a part of it." More ...

track news
As predicted, NASCAR moving into Middle East  Recall we predicted that NACAR would go into the Middle East to establish the sport of stock car racing there after the SpeedCar series failed.  NASCAR's goal is worldwide racing domination/monopoly.

Now comes word that Bruton Smith is looking to expand his race-track empire.

And this time, he is looking to royalty overseas to do it -- or rather, royalty first came looking for him.

Qatar is located in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Saudi Arabia
Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., is in negotiations to build three race tracks in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. It is not clear yet if Smith and SMI would assist in ownership and/or operation of the facilities, or simply construct them and hand over the keys to the Emir of Qatar and his royal family, but Smith said Friday that he hopes to have all the details worked out soon, perhaps within another week.

Smith said he was approached about construction of the tracks by the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani -- and not the other way around. The Emir was in the international news recently for reportedly offering 400 million euros to purchase the former Elysee Palace Hotel in Paris. More ...

Danica in NASCAR  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, So Brett Bodine says Danica will have to submit a resume before she's allowed to race? Are you kidding me? All she has to do is send a bank statement. Chrissy Wallace just raced a truck at Talladega and her resume says her uncle's a Nascar Hall of Famer, another uncle is popular with fans and her dad runs good at restrictor plate tracks. The second part of resume says her cousin Steven keeps many body men employed during these tough financial times.

Anyone who thinks the Danica / Junior rumors going to Nascar just happen to coincide with the Izod announcement are random is an idiot! Nascar wants to dominate the US racing scene and they'll through The Wallaces, Pettys, Bodines, Labontes and any other set of brothers under the bus to do so.  I believe her resume reads something like this.
  • I have been featured in photo shoots for FHM, Shape, and other fashion or mens magazines.
  • I called Ryan Briscoe an idiot at Sonoma and a few years later stomped down pit lane at Indy to confront him before getting stopped by some NFL looking dude in a really nice suit with a walkie- talkie.
  • I grabbed Dan Wheldon by the shoulder and complained to him about his driving at Milwaukee and bitch slapped another wanker who's name a don't even remember.
  • I've had TV ads that featured me on during the Super Bowl and get more commercial time during IRL telecast's than the rest of the bums combined.
  • I present awards at the ESPY's and also appear in Jay Z video's with some other guy who doesn't measure up to the hype but also is looking to improve his/my brand.

Also FYI  I'm a part-time race car driver.
              Signed while wearing huge sun glasses
                                                Danica Patrick

Truthfully, what entertainment program doesn't want that? Ron Thompson

P.S. I refuse to a call a spec Nascar series real racing.

Q&A with Kyle Busch after another dominating win  
For the second day in a row, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/WWE Smackdown Toyota, celebrates a win at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. After winning Friday's NASCAR Camping World Series WinStar 350, the 24-year-old driver won the NASCAR Nationwide O'Reilly Challenge on Saturday to record his eighth win this season. Busch could possibly set a NASCAR national series record if he can win Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 -- he starts in the fifth spot
Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kyle Busch won Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. It was Busch's fourth consecutive NNS victory at Texas. Busch led the field six times for 179 laps (of 200) at the one-and-a-half-mile oval en route to victory lane. In the last four NNS races at Texas, Busch has led 657 of 800 laps. Jason Leffler (third), Brian Vickers (seventh) and Mike Bliss (10th) also earned top-10 finishes for Toyota. Camry drivers Trevor Bayne (13th), Michael Annett (22nd), Joey Logano (24th), Kasey Kahne (24th) and Chase Miller (39th) were also in the field. This season, Camry drivers have recorded 14 victories, 64 top-fives, 119 top-10 finishes, and have led 3,628 laps. Busch extended his lead in the unofficial NNS point standings to 272 points over second-place Carl Edwards with two races remaining this season.

How does this win feel?
"I wanted to win this, not just get it, you know.  They gave it to me, but I wanted to win it.  We outwrestled all these guys with this 'Smackdown vs. Raw' Camry.  I want to thank Z-Line Designs, NOS Energy Drink, Gillette, Direct TV, the fans of course and all the guys on this team.  This track is fun.  It's fun when you have good cars, of course.  These guys do a phenomenal job for me.  Dave (Rogers, crew chief) on the Cup side for tomorrow, they do a great job too working their butts off this weekend.  I feel like we have a decent car right now.  Maybe not a winning car now, but a decent car where we can contend and if things fall our way we can do it." More ...

Weekly NASCAR cheating report  Kyle Busch might need to finish a little better than originally expected to clinch the Nationwide Series title next week. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver faces a possible point penalty as the team had improperly secured weight in opening-day inspection, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR penalized Nationwide Series Mike Harmon 25 points for a similar improper weight violation earlier this year at Daytona. And while it did not take points, NASCAR fined Sprint Cup crew chief Donnie Wingo $25,000 for an improperly secured weight violation last year. More ...

Bourdais takes first pole  
Buurman (L) congratulates Bourdais (R) after being beat to the pole by just 0.006s in the shootout
Sevilla’s Sebastien Bourdais took his first Superleague Formula by Sonangol pole position in qualifying at Jarama, but the title race was blown wide open as both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur failed to make it out of the group stages.

Spurs, who trailed their Premier League rivals by 49 points heading into this weekend’s final round of the 2009 season, missed out on a place in the knockout stages of qualifying by just two one hundredths of a second, meaning driver Craig Dolby will start Sunday’s first race in tenth.
Liverpool driver Adrian Valles will be even further back on the 18-car grid after finishing seventh, two places behind Dolby, in qualifying Group B. The Spaniard was clearly disgruntled when he felt his best lap was ruined after he was caught up behind Anderlecht’s Yelmer Buurman. He will start race 1 from 14th. More ...

Rolex Series not coming to Laguna in '10  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO/General Manager Gill Campbell is scrambling to try to put together a schedule for the world-renowned race track for next season.

Normally, there have been five major events at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course. That's the max allowed by contract with the County of Monterey.

The raceway is actually a concessionaire at what is a County park. The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) oversees the operation of the track, which includes scheduling the Skip Barber Racing School, club events and so on. But, the ultimate governing body is the County. More ...

Stoner takes pole in Valencia  Casey Stoner’s superb display at Valencia continued on Saturday afternoon, as the Australian secured pole position for Sunday’s race.

Casey Stoner will start the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana in pole position after repeating his domination of the free practice sessions in qualifying.

The Australian topped the timesheet by a clear 0.263s, with a best lap of 1’32.256 securing him the lead on the front row of the grid.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was next quickest as he improved his own best practice time by over 0.4s to secure second place, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo, who was third fastest overall in the practice sessions, was not far behind with a margin of just 0.018s separating him from his fellow Spaniard. More ...

tv news
Sunday on Wind Tunnel  
Featured Interview  Tony Schumacher (NHRA Top Fuel Championship Leader)

6-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion, Tony Schumacher, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. After winning his 5th title in a row last season with famed crew chief, Alan Johnson, Johnson left the team to form his own Top Fuel operation with driver, Larry Dixon, for 2009. Heading into next week’s finale in Pomona, Schumacher leads Dixon by just 1 point.

Featured Interview Nick Craw (Senate President, FIA & President and CEO, ACCUS, FIA Inc.)

Recently elected FIA Senate President, Nick Craw, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. In addition to his new role as Senate President under Jean Todt, Craw has served as President and CEO of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS) since 2004.

ACCUS serves as a liaison between its members and the FIA in Paris. Members of ACCUS include: Grand Am, IMSA, Indy Racing League, NASCAR, NHRA, SCCA, and USAC.

We’ll talk to Nick about his new position in the FIA and learn about the role ACCUS plays within the American motorsports community.

This Week’s Races:
Sprint CUP, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks in Texas
World of Outlaws finale in Charlotte
MotoGP finale in Valencia, Spain

Newman meets with NASCAR over Talladega wreck  Ryan Newman met with media at Texas on Friday and discussed some issues regarding his big wreck at Talladega last weekend:

Q. Obviously a lot of frustration and concern for you last weekend. I believe you mentioned thinking about things from an engineering standpoint. Looking at it from an engineering standpoint, could you talk about what your frustrations were last week, what you see? I've had a lot of people email me and say did the wing cause the car to lift as opposed to a spoiler. Talk about everything from your helmet getting wedged in the roll cage, to the car lifting up. From an engineering standpoint, are there things you see that could be done differently that would have prevented some or all of that? More ...
IndyCar expects big boost from Izod  Forget 650-horsepower race engines. The IndyCar Series will be powered for at least the next six years by one of the nation's best-known apparel brands.

Officially, Izod began its series' title sponsorship Thursday, becoming the first for the Indy Racing League since small Internet search engine Northern Light left in 2002.

The deal could be the most important in the history of the Indianapolis-based league.

"We've never had someone help us like this, whose reach is as great as this," said Brian Barnhart, who has been with IMS Corp. since the league was founded in 1996.

Here's what IndyCar hopes to draw from Izod: More ...

Danica serious about move to NASCAR  Danica and Dale Jr. What a sponsor’s match made in heaven. It must have left GoDaddy.com feeling like a proud papa this week when reports surfaced that Danica Patrick, whose IndyCar Series ride with Andretti Green Racing is sponsored by GoDaddy, was close to signing a two-year deal to drive a limited Nationwide Series schedule next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s. JR Motorsports team.

With GoDaddy, of course, as the primary sponsor.

After recently signing a three-year extension with Andretti Green through 2012, Patrick seems intent on pursuing an exploration into NASCAR by joining Earnhardt’s team, which had a seat available because Brad Keselowski signed a Sprint Cup deal with Penske Racing to replace David Stremme in the No. 12 Dodge.

“She’s really serious about coming to NASCAR,’’ Earnhardt told SceneDaily.com, who said there is competition for her services. “A lot of people, I guess, thought that it was just a media hoax or her kind of blowing smoke. She’s really serious about it, and she’s going to do it with somebody.’’ More ...

Ferrari sponsors to pay $4.7m to Force India  UPDATE (GMM)  Ferrari sponsors Etihad and Aldar will appeal the outcome of this week's London High Court ruling.

The Abu Dhabi companies were ordered to pay $4.7m to Force India for breaching contract when they switched to Ferrari in 2008.

"Etihad Airways and Aldar Properties were surprised at the judgment and strongly disagree with its conclusions," an Etihad spokesman was quoted as saying on Saturday by the UAE daily The National.

"We have been advised that there are strong grounds for appealing the decision."

In court, Etihad had argued conflict with Kingfisher, the brand owned by Vijay Mallya, the Indian billionaire who bought Spyker and renamed it Force India. More ...

Alonso finally arrives in Maranello  UPDATE
Fernando Alonso (L) is greeted by Felipe Massa as he arrives at Maranello
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Friday spent his first day at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters.

Although still under contract to Renault, the Spaniard arrived at his 2010 team's Italian base at 8am in time for a meeting with his new boss Stefano Domenicali.

Alonso, 28, also met with technicians, saw a wind tunnel model of the 2010 car, worked on his seating position, sampled the Fiorano test track at the wheel of a red 458 Italia, and closed the day with a 30 minute meeting with Luca di Montezemolo.

11/06/09 Today early in the morning, just after 8am. Fernando Alonso arrived at the gates of the Scuderia Ferrari for his first contact with the new team, although still not as an official member due to his contractual commitments regarding image management, which still tie him to his previous team and his sponsors.

The first meeting was with Stefano Domenicali, who then left him to the technicians, who started to work with the driver on the upcoming season’s program. Between meetings connected to the new single-seater’s project Fernando visited the wind channel to see the model and worked on the sitting position in the car’s cockpit, while the day ended just after 5pm. Before leaving Maranello, Alonso was received by Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who personally wanted to welcome the Spaniard at Ferrari in a cordially meeting of around half an hour.

Today’s intermezzo was a couple of laps on the Fiorano race track with the 458 Italia, naturally in red: as he couldn’t yet drive a red Formula 1 car Fernando wanted to feel the emotion of driving a Ferrari on the track where all the Prancing Horse’s single-seaters are born and raised.  Source: Ferrari

tv news
DESPAIN TO HOST FROM THE DIRT TRACK – Dave Despain will host SPEED’s live coverage of the WoO World Finals from The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tomorrow night beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The SPEED Sprint Car announce team will include Bobby Gerould with play-by-play, Brad Doty providing analysis and Erin Crocker Evernham reporting from the pits. Shane Andrews will handle play-by-play for the Late Model races, with Roger Slack on analysis and Sarah Jane Hunt in the pits.

GORDON FEATURED ON ‘THE REAL DEAL’ – Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will be the featured guest on this week’s edition of “The Real Deal’ with Wendy Venturini, part of the popular pre-race program, NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot. The show, hosted by John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Other NASCAR RaceDay guests include Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski and Robbie Loomis. More ...

Zaxby's and Townley to RCR in 2010  Richard Childress Racing has partnered with Zaxby’s, a southeast favorite for Buffalo wings and chicken fingers, to be the primary sponsor for a NASCAR Nationwide Series team in 2010 with John Wes Townley as their driver.

Zaxby’s success is rooted in a simple operating philosophy developed by its founders that has matured into the company’s mission statement: “Consistently create encore experiences that enrich lives one person at a time.” The fast-casual chain built its business, which now includes more than 410 restaurants throughout the Southeast, by providing the freshest chicken fingers, Buffalo wings, sandwiches and more in a fun, relaxing atmosphere. Zaxby’s restaurants are currently in 10 states throughout the Southeast -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. More ...

Stoner tops Friday practice at Valencia  Valencia as he set the best lap time in the opening MotoGP session of the weekend.

In fine sunshine at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday, Ducati rider Casey Stoner started his weekend in the manner in which he hopes will secure a third straight race win as he recorded the best lap time in Free Practice 1.

After overcoming some early dissatisfaction with the response of his Desmosedici GP9, Stoner set a best time of 1’32.813 to leave Jorge Lorenzo next fastest.

Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo aims to secure second spot in the World Championship standings this weekend, ahead of Stoner, and followed the Australian by a margin of 0.382s. More ...

Kubica to go rally racing  The Formula One season is over and with the winter testing period yet to begin, Robert Kubica will spend at least one weekend at the controls of a rally car.

The 24-year-old's name appears on the entry list for Sicily's Rally Taormina-Messina, where he will race at the wheel of a Renault Clio R3 on November 13th and 14th.

Rumors also point at the Pole's presence with the same car at the Rally du Var in France two weeks later – an event which features six-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.

Kubica will be switching to the Renault F1 team next year; it is therefore not surprising to see him racing at the wheel of Renault machinery although Kubica already owns a former works Skoda Fabia WRC. 

Fellow F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen, who participated in his maiden World Rally Championship round at Rally Finland last August, is also keen on the sport. The Finn, who has yet to confirm a place on the 2010 grid, is requesting a clause allowing him to drive at rallies and has shown interest in eventually taking on a WRC career.

F1 colleague Heikki Kovalainen has also indicated he wishes to try his hand at rallying in the near future. F1Live.com

Little Debbie renews NASCAR Ambrose sponsorship  McKee Foods,  a family bakery best known for their Little Debbie® brand, announced today that they will once again sponsor ‘Awesome Aussie’ Marcos Ambrose and the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota Camry in 2010.

Chris McKee, EVP of Marketing & Sales, says the sponsorship of Ambrose has paid dividends in 2009.  “Marcos is a tremendous driver and a great spokesperson for our Little Debbie brand.  Little Debbie is all about adding simple fun and enjoyment to life and Marcos’ ever-present smile and upbeat attitude really illustrates our brand message. We are impressed with his performance in his first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing and we are excited about the possibilities for next year.  2010 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Little Debbie Brand –so it’s a big year for Little Debbie and I think it is going to be a big year for Marcos and JTG-Daugherty Racing.”

Crown Royal to honor McMurray with donation  When all the dust settled at Talladega Superspeedway, there was only one king in victory lane: NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray.  To commemorate McMurray’s third career victory, The Crown Royal Company, which is a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), and primary sponsor of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, will make a $10,000 donation to The Century Council in McMurray’s name.  Should the Roush Fenway driver go back-to-back and hold off the rest of the field to capture another win this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Crown Royal will pledge an additional $50,000 in an effort to raise awareness for drinking responsibly. 

As the official spirit of the No. 26 car, Crown Royal wants to take the lead in drumming up excitement for NASCAR fans, and reminding them of the importance of responsible drinking.  The Century Council is a charitable organization that along with Diageo – its leading contributor – and Crown Royal, is committed to eliminating drunk driving and promoting responsible decision-making as it pertains to consuming beverage alcohol.

After rolling off a third place finish in Texas last year, Crown Royal is confident that its driver will bring home the trophy. 

“Jaime’s Talladega win has provided the perfect opportunity to congratulate him and the team, as well as give them added incentive to support such a great cause if they repeat the victory,” said Guy Smith, Executive Vice President, Diageo and Crown Royal.  “When a NASCAR driver celebrates a triumphant finish at the podium, fans will notice they celebrate with a bottle of champagne.  This time, the celebration will be with Crown Royal, and we’ll be writing a $50,000 check.”

In addition to the donation to The Century Council, Crown Royal provided the entire No. 26 team and McMurray with embroidered Crown Royal bags with a congratulatory message

track news
Bruton Smith featured in Fortune magazine  Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruton Smith is among Fortune magazine’s list of “8 over 80” in its Nov. 9 issue.
The introduction to the one-page list states “these titans are still cutting deals and calling the shots.”

Smith, 82, is CEO of both SMI and the Sonic Automotive chain of auto dealerships. SMI owns tracks in or near Charlotte, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas, Bristol (Tenn.), Sonoma (Calif.), New Hampshire and Kentucky.

Smith is ranked fourth among the eight executives.

“The man known for bringing NASCAR to Wall Street hasn’t slowed down,” the magazine wrote. “He runs eight race tracks through his Speedway Motorsports and oversees 160 car dealerships.” SceneDaily

A busy day for Ecclestone daughters  (GMM)  Friday was a busy day for F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone's two daughters.

First, his eldest Tamara (25) made headlines for stating that Jenson Button does not deserve to be world champion, because "Lewis Hamilton is a better driver and a nicer person".

Her outburst follows a recent interview at a grand prix, when Ms Ecclestone - a presenter for Sky Italia's F1 coverage - became annoyed that 29-year-old Button answered his phone mid-way through.

Later on Friday, it emerged that Ecclestone's other daughter, 21-year-old Petra, lost a libel case in London's High Court.

She had sued the Daily Telegraph for quoting her as saying she doesn't have "much time" for high-profile vegetarians, when asked about her use of real leather for her fashion label.

Vatanen cries sour grapes  On Wednesday, just hours after Toyota had announced their withdrawal from the sport, Renault's board held an extraordinary general meeting to debate their future in Formula One.

The meeting did not result in an absolute commitment to F1 with the team's chief executive Carlos Ghosn saying they will "make an announcement on our participation in Formula 1 before the end of the year."

Should Renault walk away from the sport, they would join big-name manufacturers Honda, BMW, Toyota and Bridgestone, all of whom have quit in the past 12 months.

Both Honda and Toyota cited "economic realities" as the reason for their withdrawal, however, former World Rally Champion Vatanen believes the actual cause is those who have governed the sport in recent years, adding that under new president Jean Todt's reign the "old guard are still in power."

"If you analyze it Renault is right, they are a serious international corporation and not loonies like Max Mosley has called them, they are just very disillusioned with the governance of Formula One," the 57-year-old Finn told CNN.

"(Renault) would stay in the FIA Championship if the sport was known for positive news and if it was a good avenue for marketing and promotion - but Formula One is only known for conflict, crisis and court cases recently, and big companies cannot afford that.

"We must realize the economic realities is nothing to do with the crisis. Big companies always look to market and promote, even when times are tough, but only if it is in a sensible way.

"I do hope ([Renault do not leave), but if they do it is the final alarm call that we cannot continue with business as usual. I'm sad to say the old guard are still in power in the FIA but teams are starting to vote with their feet."

Vatanen, however, is not the only one who believes Max Mosley's reign did more damage than good as Ferrari released their own statement earlier this week blaming the former president.

"The reality is that this gradual defection from the F1 fold has more to do with a war waged against the major car manufacturers by those who managed Formula 1 over the past few years, than the result of any economic crisis," the Scuderia said. PlanetF1
NASCAR Talladega TV Rating  UPDATE ABC's live coverage of Talladega's AMP 500 Sunday Nov. 1 earned a final national household rating of 4.2, considerably lower than the race drew the last two seasons. Though the 4.2 was the highest rating among the seven championship chase races this season, it was below the 4.6 the event earned in 2008 and 2007.  ABC says Sunday's 500 averaged 6,627,058 viewers.  The fall Talladega race is typically the highest-rated of the 10 playoff races.

11/02/09 The overnight NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy 500 on ABC Sunday earned a 3.8 overnight TV rating, down 5% from last year's 4.0 overnight rating, also on ABC.
Debt to Ferrari highlights crisis in A1 Grand Prix  Struggling motor racing series A1 Grand Prix, which runs cars designed by Ferrari, owes the company almost £5.4million.

This casts further doubts over the future of the series, which was yesterday forced to cancel two more races from a calendar which had already lost its season-opener.

A1 Grand Prix was launched in 2005 as the self-styled World Cup of Motorsport but has been hit by a spate of financial problems. A1 Grand Prix Operations, which controlled the logistical side of the series, went into administration in September. More ...

NASCAR blames ABC for its own failure  Almost everybody who watches TV sports is an instant critic. One exception: Sports leagues themselves, who almost never publicly criticize the networks that cover them. And when it comes to ESPN, and its various TV platforms including ABC, the last criticism you'd expect is that the worldwide leader in hype wasn't enthusiastic enough about something it had paid to cover. But NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston, in a blog posting on nascar.com, specifically knocked ESPN/ABC's coverage of Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Talladega, Ala. At issue: Whether the race was boring.

Usually, TV sports analysts go to great pains to avoid even hinting what they're showing is boring. But Poston suggested ESPN/ABC analysts, including Dale Jarrett, "certainly weren't happy with the race and felt compelled to remind viewers of that virtually every lap. ... And along the way, ABC missed a lot of very good racing." On Sunday's race on a long track with steep banks, NASCAR cited safety reasons for prohibiting so-called bump-drafting to provide extra room between cars on turns. Although ESPN/ABC let viewers eavesdrop on driver Tony Stewart asking his crew during the race to tell him something interesting "so I don't fall asleep out here," Poston says the event had "seriously intense racing." ESPN, in a statement, said only that it had a "strong telecast" and had no comment on Poston's post.  USA Today
Gossage says Danica needs to promote NASCAR  Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage believes Danica Patrick needs to take advantage of her entry into NASCAR by doing more to promote her involvement. "She needs to understand that she has to take an active role in the promotion of the sport," Gossage said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. "If I were one of her advisors, I would encourage her to do a lot more." Patrick is close to reaching an agreement to drive a partial Nationwide Series schedule next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his JR Motorsports team, while she continues to race full time in the IndyCar Series. Gossage wants to see Patrick make the most of her NASCAR debut by helping track promoters, sponsors and NASCAR take advantage of her mainstream celebrity status. "That's something that I don't think some people around her in Indy car emphasize to her as much as they should," Gossage said. "I think people in NASCAR will encourage her to take a more active role."  ESPN
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Toyota say no to selling F1 team
  • Silverstone deadline set to pass without deal
  • Todt has taken 'charm lessons' - Williams
  • Ferrari still wants third car for Schu
  • No joy yet as Sauber waits for FIA
  • Kobayashi eyes F1 lifeline at Lotus
  • Teams still in running for sponsor Petronas
  • Raikkonen eyes lucrative sabbatical in 2010
  • Massa to be father next week
  • Brawn surprised USF1 not yet crash-testing

Toyota say no to selling F1 team
(GMM)  Toyota has "rejected" the idea of following the example of fellow carmakers Honda and BMW.

When Honda withdrew from F1, the Japanese carmaker agreed to hand over its Brackley based team to managers including Ross Brawn and Nick Fry for a symbolic British pound.

And when BMW made the decision to leave the sport, it was sold to the Qadbak consortium.

But team president John Howett said those options have "already been discussed and rejected" by the Toyota Motor Corporation.

"Maybe these ideas can be reopened but, at the moment, it would appear not," he told the Times.

Silverstone deadline set to pass without deal
(GMM)  The 48 hour deadline issued by Bernie Ecclestone is likely to pass without a deal for a 2010 British grand prix in place.

It was reported earlier this week that the F1 chief executive was giving Silverstone bosses a "day or two" to sign his contract before the British race is pulled from next year's calendar.

The Times reports that the Northamptonshire track's management was "surprised" by the ultimatum, which is now set to end.

"Their puzzlement is such because they say Silverstone is waiting for Ecclestone to respond to amendments to the contract, not the other way round," the London based newspaper said. More ...

Long Beach GP welcomes IZOD sponsorship  The centerpiece of the April 16-18, 2010 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend, Sunday's IndyCar Series race, got a boost on Thursday when the Indy Racing League announced the multi-year signing of Phillips-Van Heusen's IZOD apparel brand to be its title sponsor.

The IZOD IndyCar Series, which marks the League's first title sponsorship since 2001, introduced its new logo and partnership details in a press conference today. Key elements of the agreement are expected to include multi-year, multi-million dollar activation plans around the League's television partners, ESPN on ABC and VERSUS, as well as online initiatives and promotions.

"We're delighted of hear of this new partnership with IZOD," said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "It makes a strong statement about the corporate attractiveness of the IndyCar Series, especially in these tough economic times. We look forward to partnering with IZOD in showcasing their apparel to the fashion-conscious Southern California market next spring." More ...

UPS and Boys and Girls Clubs of America Unveil New Paint Scheme  
NASCAR driver David Ragan and the UPS (NYSE:UPS) team will have an extra 4.5 million fans cheering them this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway when Ragan gets behind the wheel of his No. 6 Ford Fusion, which will sport a new paint scheme that reflects UPS and Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) UPS Road Code safe driving program.

The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS, introduced a national program this year in collaboration with BGCA to teach the company’s industry-leading safe driving techniques to teens. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, but UPS and its world-renowned drivers are making an effort to change that with the help of BGCA and Ragan.

“UPS drivers are among the safest on the road. The Road Code program gives us the opportunity to use our nationally recognized safe driving training to directly impact a need in our communities and prevent teenage deaths,” said Ken Sternad, president of The UPS Foundation. “This special paint scheme captures our commitment to driving safety, starting with teens at local Boys & Girls Clubs, and sharing it with UPS NASCAR fans.” More ...

track news
Milwaukee Mile may have to be plowed under  UPDATE Despite the latest setback in signing a new race promoter, racing at the Milwaukee Mile in 2010 remains a possibility, a NASCAR spokesman said Wednesday.

After a three-month process, Historic Mile LLC informed State Fair Park on Tuesday that it could not secure the financing necessary and would withdraw as the prospective promoter.

Almost immediately, park management turned its attention to a group led by Frank Giuffre, a former promoter, and his brother, Dominic. That group was rejected in August, when the park board of directors instead chose to sign a letter of intent with Historic Mile.

The racetrack is on the agenda of a fair board meeting Friday. More ...

racing news
Indy veteran joins Wells Fargo  Wells Fargo Special Risk is pleased to announce that Steve Chassey has joined our Motorsports insurance Program as Vice President. With his long and extensive Motorsports involvement in both racing and insurance, Steve will be providing public relations and marketing services for Wells Fargo Special Risk in addition to servicing the needs of Agencies and Agents Nationwide. Steve will hove on active and visible role with Key Customers. Insurance Companies, Agencies and Agents to ensure that their needs ore met in a timely and efficient manor.
Renault will race in F1 in 2010 - Maybe  UPDATE (GMM)  Following Wednesday's emergency board meeting, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn on Thursday refused to confirm whether the French carmaker will stay in formula one in 2010.

"You will have to be patient," he told reporters at a PR event.  "We will announce our strategy in terms of Renault's role in formula one before the year's end.

"It's not very far away, it's in a few weeks," Ghosn added.

Citing the global recession and amid the slump in new car sales, Toyota announced its immediate departure from the sport on Wednesday.

It was then reported that Renault was meeting to discuss its commitment to F1.  Honda and BMW have already left the sport, and Bridgestone will follow suit after the 2010 season.

Failed FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen told CNN the big companies are "right to quit".

"(They) would stay in the FIA championship if the sport was known for positive news and if it was a good avenue for marketing and promotion -- but formula one is only known for conflict, crisis and court cases recently, and big companies cannot afford that," the 57-year-old Finn added. More ...

New Sprint Cup Team for 2010  Raymond Key, younger brother of NASCAR Nationwide Series team owner Curtis Key, announced he is currently assembling a Sprint Cup Series team with assistance from Key Motorsports. Key's Sprint Cup team, Keyed Up Motorsports, plans to debut in the 2010 Daytona 500. Key Motorsports, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, is providing technical and engineering support as well as engines, personnel and shop space to Keyed Up Motorsports for the Sprint Cup effort. Key Motorsports, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, is providing technical and engineering support as well as engines, personnel and shop space to Keyed Up Motorsports for the Sprint Cup effort. "I am excited to be working with Raymond and Keyed Up Motorsports on the Sprint Cup program," Curtis Key said. "Raymond has traveled with our Truck and Nationwide teams and has been a lot of help to us. He has wanted to start his own team and he feels it is the right time." Keyed Up Motorsports will field Chevrolets purchased from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., with the team being committed to the first five races on the 2010 Sprint Cup Series schedule which include Daytona, California, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol. Curtis and Raymond Key, both Virginia businessmen who developed their companies from humble beginnings, have selected #90 for the Keyed Up Motorsports entry, a number that is rich in Virginia racing history [#90 was run for decades by Virginia based Junie Donlavey, winning once at Dover]. While no announcements were made regarding a driver or sponsor for the #90 Keyed Up Motorsports Sprint Cup Series team, team owner Raymond Key says it will not be a start and park team.(HardcoreRaceFans)
The Sport That Conquered Arabia  Over the past decade, the United Arab Emirates, a young country with about 600,000 citizens, has been using its oil billions to stage an elaborate audition. It's trying to settle on a national sport.

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer have played here, but golf and tennis don't seem to fit the cultural vibe. Soccer and cricket have won some local followers, but these games face some obstacles in a place where grass is a contrivance.

This past weekend, at a new $1-billion track in Abu Dhabi, the number of Emiratis in traditional dress who sat in the stands, relaxed on yachts docked at the course or mingled in the pits where the smell of motor oil lingered in the air, suggested this audition is effectively over. The winner is Formula One.

"This is one of the best things to happen in our country, ever," gushed Khalid al Qubaisi, a 34-year-old fan. More at Wall Street Journal

Too late for Epsilon Euskadi to race in 2010 - boss  (GMM)  Even if yet another team pulls out of formula one, it is now too late for Epsilon Euskadi to be ready to race on the 2010 formula one grid.

"The project has been stopped for two months so it is not possible.  The car would not be ready in time," boss Joan Villadelprat told Spain's Radio Marca.

"What we could do is take up the work already carried out by one of the other new teams if they are not ready," he added.

However, Villadelprat ruled out buying Toyota's Cologne operation.

"It has many, many jobs and a very big structure; a bag too heavy to carry," he added.

Petronas to stay with Sauber in 2010  (GMM)  The Malaysian sponsor Petronas is likely to stay with its long term F1 partner Sauber now that Toyota has withdrawn from formula one.

With Sauber's plans uncertain following BMW's decision to quit, it had been rumored that Petronas intended to stay in F1 next year by switching to another team.

Lotus, with Malaysian ownership, was touted as a favorite to receive Petronas, and team boss Tony Fernandes confirmed to the New Straits Times newspaper that an approach was made.

"As it is, it looks like an announcement will be made by Petronas in the coming days once it becomes clearer whether that vacancy left by Toyota becomes Sauber's," said a source.

"If Sauber are back in F1 for sure, and it looks a virtual certainty, then Petronas aren't going anywhere."

Rivals made 'offers' to 'unsettle' Button - Brawn  (GMM)  Rival teams tried to "unsettle" Jenson Button this season by offering him alternative cockpits for 2010, according to his boss Ross Brawn.

Brawn and 2009 champion-elect Button, 29, are yet to agree terms on a bigger retainer for the British driver for 2010.

McLaren has emerged as one alternative for next season, and in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Five, Brawn hit out at some "people" who made approaches to Button in the midst of his championship campaign.

"There were people, when they became aware of Jenson's contractual situation, who tried to unsettle him during the championship," said Brawn, who confirmed that Button "has some offers" to move elsewhere in 2010.

"He knew some of those tactics were for that reason."

Brawn indicated that a replacement for the Williams-bound Nico Rosberg, believed to be the Mercedes-backed Nico Rosberg, will only be announced once the Button situation is resolved.

Ecclestone gives Silverstone two days to sign contract  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has announced a deadline for Silverstone to either sign a contract or lose the British grand prix.

The F1 chief executive, whose desired deal with Donington collapsed last week, indicated to the Daily Express newspaper that negotiations with the Northamptonshire circuit are now over.

"Maybe they have lost their pen but if they don't find it in the next day or two then that is it," he said.

"I will pull the race off the calendar and there will be no British grand prix to argue about," the 79-year-old billionaire added.

Renault board meets to discuss F1 commitment  (GMM)  While the world digested Toyota's departure from F1, the French carmaker Renault was considering its own commitment to the sport.

The Paris board meeting, attended by the F1 team's chiefs Bob Bell and Jean-Francois Caubet, came amid rumors that Renault might sell its Enstone based outfit but remain on the grid as an engine supplier.

A complete Toyota-like withdrawal is considered unlikely, even in the wake of the crash-gate scandal, given that Robert Kubica has been signed for 2010 and a new engine deal with Red Bull is believed to have been agreed in principle.

"I'd be surprised if they were that active in the market to suddenly just willy-nilly pull out," former team boss and owner and now broadcaster Eddie Jordan told Sky News.

The timing of the meeting also suggests that no dramatic decisions were to be taken, with Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn scheduled to attend a major PR event to champion green technologies on Thursday.

A spokesman said the description of Wednesday's gathering as an "emergency meeting" was wrong, because it had been planned for weeks.

F1 tensions resume after Toyota exit  (GMM)  F1's governing body has expressed "concern" about Toyota's decision to quit the sport.

The Japanese carmaker only recently signed the new Concorde Agreement; a document binding the teams and the commercial rights holders with the FIA until 2012.

"Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship," read a statement issued by the Paris federation, whose newly-elected president is Jean Todt.

"This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry," the FIA added.

Toyota team president John Howett told the Times that he did not know if the FIA would pursue legal action, and Bernie Ecclestone commented: "We're looking into it." More ...

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