Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)

Gold Coast Indy race replaced by faster A1GP cars UPDATE The IndyCar Series won't be returning to the Gold Coast in 2009.

In a major coup for A1GP, their Ferrari cars with their  screaming Ferrari engines will take over the streets of Surfers Paradise
Queensland Premier Ana Bligh announced at a Nov. 11 news conference in Brisbane, Australia, that event organizers - the Queensland government and entertainment/media giant IMG - and the Indy Racing League were unable to reach agreement on a long-term scheduling solution and financial terms.

The IndyCar Series made its debut on the streets of Surfers Paradise in late October as a non-points race won by Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske -- the first Australian to win in the event's 18 years (formerly sanctioned by CART and Champ Car). The Gold Coast event, along with the Edmonton race in July, was added to the schedule after the unification of North American open-wheel racing in February.

During Nikon Indy 300 race weekend meetings, officials of the sanctioning body presented date options to carnival organizers to either dovetail the event its annual trip to Twin Ring Motegi or shift it to March. The Indy Japan 300 on Sept. 19 will be the penultimate race on the 18-event IndyCar Series schedule -- preceding the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights championship weekend Oct. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 2009 season kicks off April 6 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

For the past 10 years, the Gold Coast race weekend has been held in late October to fit the schedule of the V8 Supercar Championship (an Australian-based stock car series that completed its 13-race campaign last weekend in Bahrain).

Read more & Comment...

Brawn wants equal engine performance
Honda F1 team principal Ross Brawn wants an equalization of engine performance throughout the engine manufacturers, saying that the engine freeze has left engines with lower outputs with too much of a disadvantage long enough, and that their should be subtle changes to bring them up to level with stronger engines.

"Our situation on record is that we think the concept of a frozen engine without some parity system is not very fair," Ross Brawn shared with 'autosport'. "It is partly because of the time involved."

"If you said, right we are going to freeze the engine, you guys did a great job and you will get an advantage for a year and then we will find some way to bring it all together, I think everyone would understand that."

This may or not be related to his new team not designing a V8 engine adequately enough to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.


Toyota: IRL needs to adopt CART formula
The following excerpt is from Gordon Kirby's latest column titled "The Way It Is/TRD South comes on line."  He asks Toyota's Lee White about Toyota returning to IndyCar Racing.

Before leaving Lee White to allow him to continue TRD's relentless effort in NASCAR, I asked his opinion about IndyCar's 2011 rules debate.

"Rod Campbell called me and they wanted me to come," White related. "We had a board meeting in California when they scheduled their first meeting, so I couldn't go. Then they decided they just wanted anybody wearing a Toyota shirt. So to me, at that point in time, hopefully without being too critical, this wasn't about really having a discussion. It was about demonstrating that they had interest from the manufacturers."

White says that if TRD tried to sell Toyota Motor Sales on entering NASCAR in today's economic climate it would be a difficult if not impossible sale to make. He says that means Indy car racing is completely off Toyota's map.

"To be honest, we have serious challenges budget-wise," White said. "The concept of going back to Indy, or to open-wheel racing, given those challenges and the fact that we haven't got ourselves to the level we want in NASCAR yet, I'd be a fool to even propose it to the company. So I wasn't going to go and sit and listen to yet another meeting because I do enough of that, and I wasn't about to send somebody else just to take notes. So we did not go.

"I asked (former Ford Racing boss) Dan Davis before he retired if he was going and he said, 'Heck, no!' And I stopped somebody from Chevrolet and asked if they were going and they said, 'No. Why would we do that?'."

White says he took the opportunity to suggest his own solution to Indy car racing's debate about its 2011 formula.

"I did give Rod my opinion. I told him to go get a 1994 Lola or Reynard and put a Cosworth engine in it and go racing. Then you would have something that sounds great, runs great, looks great and puts on a great show, and everybody who loved them will jump at the chance to come and watch because there's still a lot of people out there who remember how great those cars were. Use that as a kind of retro starting point and build it from there. But I don't think they listened."


Castroneves trial date set for March
Race car driver Helio Castroneves will stand trial in March in Miami federal court on tax evasion charges.

U.S. District Judge Donald Graham on Monday set the March 2 trial date for Castroneves, his sister and a Michigan lawyer. Prosecutors say Castroneves and the others tried to hide $5.5 million in income from the IRS.

Castroneves is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and gained more fame as the 2007 winner of TV’s “Dancing With The Stars” competition. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $10 million bail.

Monday also marked the first appearance in the case of high-powered Washington lawyer Robert Bennett, who is representing co-defendant Alan Miller. Bennett represented former President Clinton in the Paula Jones scandal. Yahoo! Sports


Brabham Voted Number One Again
David Brabham
David Brabham captured the imagination of motorsport fans across the globe with his characteristic last lap charges that kept crowds on the edge of their seats and saw him narrowly miss out on the American Le Mans Series LMP2 title this season. Already the recipient of two 2008 Most Popular ALMS Driver awards, voted for by ALMS fans and Motors TV viewers, the 43 year-old also topped the Autosport Magazine’s list of elite LMP2 drivers for 2008 (Thursday 6 November issue).

Delighted to be given the number one spot by the world’s best-selling motorsport weekly, Brabham commented: “This is mega. I haven't been in the top two of the acclaimed Autosport top 10 for a while, so I am very honored. This year was definitely one to remember as I have been working hard to improve myself using the techniques that Brabham Performance Clinic teaches, so I will continue to get better for next year’s P1 program with Acura and the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing team.”

The mild mannered gentleman was on fire this season with a blinding mid-season charge good enough to put the British born Australian within just four points of the Penske pairing of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard as the series reached its penultimate Road Atlanta round. Brabham’s championship dreams, however, were over within the first hour of the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans race when teammate Scott Sharp made contact with the wall.

Read more & Comment...

Major cutbacks for Penske ALMS sponsor DHL
Deutsche Post AG will close all of its DHL Express service centers, cut 9,500 jobs in the United States and eliminate U.S.-only domestic express shipping by land and air, the company said Monday, citing heavy losses and fierce competition. The Bonn-based company said the new round of cuts are on top of another 5,400 job cuts it already announced and blamed heavy losses at the unit, which competes with rivals UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp.


Kevin Harvick Inc. Announces Continued Partnership
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) has renewed their partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) for the 2009 season. The VFW Racing team will continue a presence in both the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide Series.

Three-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday’s No. 33 truck will feature the VFW Racing paint scheme and logo in several races next year. Two-time Nationwide Series champion and KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick will also drive VFW's No. 33 car in the Nationwide Series. The red, white and blue VFW car and truck will compete in eight events next season. The No. 33 VFW Racing truck will make its first appearance of 2009 on March 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The VFW logo will also appear as an associate on the No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet Silverado throughout the 2009 racing season.

“Everyone at KHI is excited to continue working with the Veterans of Foreign Wars on their NASCAR effort to bring exposure to the many services the VFW provides,” said Kevin Harvick, co-owner of KHI.  “VFW is an incredible organization, and we expect this program will continue to help educate the public about the great work they do to support our country’s heroes.”


McLaren man takes major Force India role
(GMM)  A McLaren director has been appointed in a leading role with the Force India team.

With the confirmation of Force India's technical linkup with McLaren-Mercedes on Monday, it also emerged that the Silverstone based team will receive "operational support".

As more details were divulged at a media event at Force India's Northamptonshire headquarters, it became clear that 46-year-old Simon Roberts, McLaren's operations director, will forthwith now work full-time for Force India.

But despite the significant scope of the deal, McLaren figures insisted that the team does not have the right to extend its will regarding Force India's race lineup beyond mere advice.

German racer Adrian Sutil told the news agency SID: "I am convinced that the partnership is a big step forward.  I am looking forward to 2009."


Force India announces deal with Mercedes Benz
Force India Formula One Team is pleased to announce a major new partnership that will propel the team forward for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship and beyond; a ground-breaking technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies (which is a company wholly owned by the McLaren Group) and with Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines.

In a unique long term deal, the Force India Formula One Team VJM02 cars will be powered by engines designed and built by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, the first time that the legendary manufacturer has supplied another chassis constructor other than McLaren. Additionally, Force India will have access to the McLaren Group's network of bespoke suppliers that has supported this year's World Championship victory.

McLaren Applied Technologies will additionally supply the Force India Formula One Team cars with McLaren Racing gearboxes and hydraulic systems and will provide operational support to ensure Force India functions at its highest possible level.

The Force India Formula One Team also plans to fit its cars with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that is currently being developed by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines and McLaren Racing (which is also a company wholly owned by the McLaren Group).

Read more & Comment...

Chevy clinches Manufacturers Championship
Once again Chevy won the NASCAR Sprint Cup manufacturers title
Getty Images for NASCAR
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's Impala SS, did exactly what he set out to do at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) Sunday - collect the maximum amount of points possible in his quest for his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship (NSCS). His victory, the seventh of the season for the Hendrick Motorsports driver, clinched the 32nd Manufacturers' Cup for Chevrolet in NSCS competition. "On behalf of the men and women at General Motors," said Terry Dolan, Manager, Chevy Racing.

"It is an honor for Chevrolet to clinch our 32nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers' Cup title. It is a proud achievement based on a come-back run for the title given the tough competition we face every week on and off the race track. "This championship has been earned through the perseverance and dedication of Team Chevy's drivers, owners and crews with the collaboration of our GM Racing engineers. We look forward to carrying the momentum of achievement in to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season." GM Racing PR


ABC moves end of PIR race to ESPN2
With TV Ratings falling Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway moved from ABC to ESPN2 before it was concluded, which will help to drive TV ratings even lower.

ABC officials made the decision to shift the conclusion of the race to ESPN2 in order to show the regularly-scheduled "America's Funniest Home Videos" to viewers in Eastern and Central Standard Time zones.

"After two red flags, rain in Phoenix and 4 1/2 hours on ABC, we were still 34 minutes from the end of the telecast as it turned out," said George McNeilly,  ESPN senior director, communications, in a statement. "We told fans in the East and Central from the second red flag on that the race was moving to ESPN2. ABC's entertainment viewers and NASCAR fans were both well served in a tough spot, and we are fortunate to have ESPN2 among our networks to serve the fans."

"It doesn't say very much," team owner Rick Hendrick said when asked what the move said about the Chase. "I didn't know that. That's where my mother is. I'm glad my phone went dead at the end of the race."

"Well, I thought it went dark and nobody could watch it," he said. "So the fact that it was on another television channel was, I mean, it's better. It's still somewhat on a prime channel of course on ABC, but to go to America's Funniest Home Videos, that one hurts, no doubt. I thought we have a lot of characters. Why do we need that show?"

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Ends Live from Homestead on ABC

The NASCAR season comes to an end this weekend, and the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is down to the last race to determine the 2008 NASCAR champion. ESPN on ABC will have live, high definition coverage of the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway beginning with NASCAR Countdown at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 16.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying from Homestead on Friday, Nov. 14, at 3 p.m., along with practice on the 1.5-mile track earlier that day at noon. Coverage of final practice airs Saturday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. The race will re-air Monday, Nov. 16, at 10 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 season-ending Ford 300 from Homestead on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m.

Read more & Comment...

Big banks back off consumer car loans
Despite a $700 billion bailout, the nation's big banks are not in any rush to get back into the automotive lending business -- more bad news for an automobile industry struggling to rebound from some of the worst sales in decades.

The federal government's bailout of Wall Street was supposed to get America's credit markets moving again, but experts say they have been slow to loosen their purse strings.

"I haven't seen any impact yet," said Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit for Experian's automotive group. "We're starting to see a little bit of a loosening, but it has not been significant."

One Wall Street source told The Detroit News that some banks have decided to remain on the sidelines, waiting to see how the car market shakes out over the next several months -- despite having received billions in taxpayer dollars to get the credit channels moving again. [Editor's Note: Then the government should take the money back.]

That is likely to keep car and truck sales from rebounding, said analyst Erich Merkle of Crowe Horwath in Grand Rapids.

"As long as lending standards remain tight, you're not going to see vehicle sales coming back," he said. "They're going to remain depressed until lenders start to relax their standards." More at Detroit News


Brian France says NASCAR can weather loss of Manufacturer
NASCAR chairman Brian France said Sunday during an impromptu media conference (Full Transcript) at Phoenix International Raceway he's not certain the Big Three automakers will be able to continue their involvement in NASCAR as they battle to stay viable during the current economic crisis. Should funding of race teams suffer because of the nation's credit crunch, France is confident NASCAR will remain a viable, healthy sport.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France speaks with the media prior to the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at PIR
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
"We're also not going to live or die if one manufacturer or another has a pullback or pullout," France said before Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway. "I hope it doesn't happen. We're working like mad to make sure it doesn't happen, but the sport is on very solid ground that transcends one manufacturer or another."

France said he and president Mike Helton have visited the CEOs or high-ranking executives with all four of NASCAR's manufacturers and all were in unison that NASCAR continues to be an effective marketing tool.

"I've been told directly by each of companies having challenging times that one of the things that works best for them is NASCAR," France said. "Each went out of their way to tell me that while there are pullbacks and cuts to meet these challenges, the last thing would be to abandon something that works so well."

Read more & Comment...

Two developers halt plans near NASCAR hall
In a sign of the faltering economy, two developers have pulled out of land deals that city officials hoped would help pay for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. City staff members say the broken contracts will not hurt the NASCAR hall, however, because of safeguards that ensure it has secure funding and is built on time. They also believe that when the real estate market gets better, the city will have no trouble selling the land. The land deals were on two parcels that will become available once a redesign of the Interstate 277 interchange at South Caldwell Street is complete next year. The city plans to sell a total of five such parcels – about 12 acres – and estimates it will pull in about $60 million from the sales. Some of the money will pay for the road construction, and $20 million is committed to the NASCAR hall. Charlotte Observer


Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 faces test Speedcars in Dubai
  • Abu Dhabi to be ready for earlier 2009 finale
  • 5m euro engines to arrive in 2011, not '10
  • Boss wants Kimi 'double' to vacate Ferrari
  • Hamilton cuts deal to keep key trophies
  • Hamilton also dismisses 'arrogant' jibe
  • Webber joins Ecclestone in racism 'joke'
  • 'Bad car would test Hamilton's loyalty'
  • Toro Rosso sounded out Montoya for 2009
  • Renault seeks agreement for 2009 engine parity
  • Ferrari name road car in F1 title tribute
  • Hamilton double wants career as lookalike

F1 faces test Speedcars in Dubai
(GMM)  Numerous former formula one winners and drivers on Sunday turned out to test ahead of the Dubai based Speedcar stock car series.

Ferrari race winner Jean Alesi was fastest at Dubai Autodrome, ahead of fellow grand prix victors Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Johnny Herbert and Alessandro Nannini.

Also in the field was Force India test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, and former F1 drivers Sakon Yamamoto, Alex Yoong and Gianni Morbidelli.

1980 world champion Alan Jones' son Christian was also in action, as well as 2003 Champ Car title winner Paul Tracy.

The series begins in Dubai early next month.

Abu Dhabi to be ready for earlier 2009 finale
(GMM)  Abu Dhabi's new formula one circuit will be ready to host the 2009 season finale late next year, according to track chief Philippe Gurdjian.

According to the FIA's latest provisional calendar, the race has been brought forward two weeks, from its original November 15 date to November 1.

"Actually, the (circuit) will be completed and finished some time before the new date of the championship," chief executive Gurdjian told the local Gulf News.

The circuit is currently under construction on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island.

Gurdjian said the track was always scheduled to be finished before the beginning of November next year.

5m euro engines to arrive in 2011, not '10
(GMM)  The proposal to install a 5 million euro cap on the price of customer engine deals has been agreed to begin in 2011, Luca di Montezemolo has clarified.

It had been reported that the measure, believed to be designed to stave off the FIA's threat about standard engines, would begin in 2010.

The issue was voted upon by the F1 teams' alliance FOTA, of which Ferrari president Montezemolo is chairman, last week.

"We unanimously decided that by 2011 an engine will cost 5 million (euros), compared to the more than 20m they used to cost," he said.

At the end-of-season Ferrari World Finals event at Mugello, Montezemolo also revealed that he destroyed his television as Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2008 championship from Ferrari's Felipe Massa earlier this month.

"Luckily we had another television so I was able to watch the podium ceremony, which I enjoyed," the Italian said.

Read more & Comment...

Johnson Needs 36th-Place Finish to Clinch at Homestead
Jimmie Johnson’s third consecutive championship is well within reach, needing to finish 36th or better in next Sunday’s season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch.

Even if second-place Carl Edwards wins and leads the most laps – a 195-point day – Johnson would clinch with the 36th-place finish.

Additionally, Johnson can clinch by finishing 37th and leading at least one lap or 39th and leading the most laps.

tv news

Milka Duno will be featured on MTV UPDATE A reminder that Milka Duno will be featured in this MTV segment tonight.

IRL star Milka Duno
Check out MTV Tr3s' Pimpeando on Nov. 10 (4 and 9 p.m. ET) as the show features IndyCar Series driver Milka Duno in "Cars & Gals."

The bilingual interview was conducted at Chicagoland Speedway in September and delves into Duno's passion for racing and personal life.

"I was excited for this opportunity with MTV Tr3s and to be involved with a show that has such a huge fan following," said Duno, who competed in her second IndyCar Series season. "I've loved cars since I was a teenager and am very fortunate to be considered a role model for Latinas in the car culture." More at Indycar.com

racing news

Quotes of the week
"We managed to save Hamilton from being sent to the psychiatric ward." Luca di Montezemolo, President, Ferrari, referring to Felipe Massa's near win of the World Drivers Championship

"If I had Lewis' car then I'd have been world champion too. Lewis is a worthy world champion but he wouldn't have done as well as me in my Honda. I mean, the guy has never been in a bad car.  I think you learn from it and become a better driver trying to work with a bad car. Jenson Button, Formula 1 driver, Honda, finished 18th in the World Drivers Championship

“He [Lewis Hamilton] shouldn’t have been in that position. 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.” Sir Stirling Moss, former Formula One driver, commenting on the results of the Brazilian GP and the outcome of the World Drivers Championship

"I'm with the team I've always dreamed of being with and, if you have the car of your dreams, why would you leave? The day I get in the car and don't have the motivation, maybe that's the time to get out.  But I want to see my career out with this team." Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes, 2008 World Drivers Champion, commenting on the lure of joining Ferrari 

Read more & Comment...

Jean Alesi turns fastest lap in testing Sunday
The Speedcar Series conducted the first of a 2 day test session at the Dubai Autodrome on Sunday where a total of eight teams and 14 drivers attended.

Teams from various parts of the globe turned out to test the 6.2 liter V8 Speedcars including David Price Racing from the UK; Malaysian team Meritus Racing, Christian Jones Racing from Australia and German Phoenix Racing that also ran in Speedcar Series' debut season. Three teams from Italy including AF Corse (winner of the FIA GT Championship), Durango and N Technology were also present.

"We're pursuing a different strategy this year by leasing the cars to teams as opposed to maintaining the cars ourselves as we did last season. We are targeting professional teams that have proven track records in motorsport with successful racing histories,” Claudio Berro, Speedcar Series' Operations Director said. “The evolution of the cars is equally important to growing Speedcar Series and the new fuel injection system will make for better track action and excitement. The cars have already shown better performance compared to the ones from last year and we are very happy that our strong technical have achieved this."

Read more & Comment...

Officials say new Yas Island F1 circuit will be finished on time
The Yas Island Formula 1 car circuit will be ready to host the final round of the Formula 1 World Championship next year despite the change of dates of the championship made by Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), according to a top official in Yas Marina Circuit.

The FIA has brought the date of the race two weeks ahead to - for November 1, 2009, instead of November 15 - but that does not bother the officials in YMC.

"Actually, the YMC will be completed and finished some time before the new date of the championship." Philippe Gurdjian, CEO of YMC, told Gulf News.

"The new date is not worrying us and we will surely be ready to host the final round of the F-I World Championship in November 1 next year.

Even before the change of the dates, our plans were to have the YMC finished before November 1."


Ferrari boss smashed TV after F1 finale
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo smashed a television set after seeing McLaren's Lewis Hamilton snatch the Formula One world title from Felipe Massa in last weekend's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

"I broke the television, I must tell the truth," Montezemolo told a news conference at a Ferrari event in Mugello on Sunday.

"When a television breaks it makes a terrible bang. My daughter in the other room was given an awful fright. Luckily we had another television so I was able to watch the podium ceremony, which I enjoyed."

Ferrari's Massa won his home grand prix and was poised for championship victory before Hamilton overtook a slowing Timo Glock on the final bend to finish in the fifth place he needed to clinch the title.

"I reckon that in the history of F1, we have never seen a world championship decided on the last bend of the last lap of the last grand prix," added Montezemolo, who saw Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen steal the title last season in the final race.

"Miracles, when they happen, usually only happen once. I say that because last year was a miracle. A repeat is usually impossible. In Brazil, with Massa, we were in the process of producing another miracle."


Mario Dominguez DWI UPDATE Statement from Mario Dominguez regarding his traffic accident in Mexico City: “Unfortunately I was involved in a car accident here in Mexico City on Saturday and thankfully no one was hurt. I was on my way to an early golf tournament and I made an error and hit a taxi cab. 

Mario Dominguez with bruise from where other driver hit him
I left the scene for help because I was assaulted by another taxi driver that stopped at the scene.  It was an unfortunate accident and despite there being no citations issued, I have offered to cover the vehicle damage.  I am frustrated by the false interpretations reported of this incident, and I would like the media to know and report the truth, which is why I’ve asked to include this police report.  I hope in the future my good results and charity efforts garner the same type of coverage.” – Pacific Coast Motorsports Public Relations.

11/08/08 Former Champ Car driver and part-time IndyCar driver, Mario Dominguez, was the cause of a hit and run accident in Mexico City today. AR1.com sources say Mario Dominguez was clearly drunk, and nevertheless the police let him go. His insurance was expired, so he had to take care of the victims and the damage caused.

Dominguez started a police chase in the Condesa Neighborhood DF, apparently drunk. The chase ended when he crashed into a taxi and injured its passenger.

After hitting the first taxi he ran from the scene, and then hit another one. The reports say he ran from the first crash after refusing to take care of the damages caused to the taxicab valued at 200 pesos (around 16 US dollars).

Dominguez was chased by several taxi drivers and two police patrols. The other taxis stopped him because he hit another taxi and injured the taxi's passenger.

Nevertheless, he was apparently driving drunk, and the police officers let him leave the scene....

Something that AR1.com readers should take into account - The Mexican law is very flexible, or at least it seems flexible when celebrities have car accidents related to alcohol. It was a shame to have a Mexican star behave like this. Mario Dominguez looked so wasted, and had a little injury on his left cheek just below the eye. He appeared fine though. Source

tv news

Weber, Loeb, Sullivan and Dunlap guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that Bill Weber, Sebastien Loeb, Danny Sullivan and Ray Dunlap will be guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight.

11/07/08 The guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday will be Bill Weber, Sebastien Loeb, Danny Sullivan and Ray Dunlap.

Bill Weber, veteran NASCAR anchor and host of SPEED’s Championship Off-Road Racing coverage, will share his thoughts on this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup as well as look ahead to the CORR season finale in December.

Five-time World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb, clinched a series record 5th title this past weekend in Japan.  It was his 5th in a row.

1985 Indy 500 winner, Danny Sullivan, will talk about off-road racing. Sullivan will make his second attempt in the legendary Baja 1000 later this month driving a Toyota.

Ray Dunlap, SPEED Craftsman Truck Series reporter, will talk about the battle for this year’s Truck Series championship where just three points separate leader Johnny Benson and second place Ron Hornaday.

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


Button: Even I can win title in Hamilton's car UPDATE (GMM)  Jenson Button insists he is a better driver than his British countryman Lewis Hamilton -- at racing a "bad car".

Hamilton wrapped up the drivers' title in Brazil one week ago, while Honda's 28-year-old Button completed the 2008 title eighteenth; the lowest placed contender excluding those at the wheel of Force Indias or Super Aguris.

But he is quoted as saying by the British Sunday tabloid The People: "If had Lewis' car then I'd have been world champion too."

Button, whose only grand prix victory dates back to 2006, insists his comments are not sour grapes, but rather a reflection of his recent experiences.

"Lewis is a worthy world champion but he wouldn't have done as well as me in my Honda.

"I mean, the guy has never been in a bad car.  I think you learn from it and become a better driver trying to work with a bad car," he said.

11/09/08 Jenson Button bragged this week: "If I'd had Lewis Hamilton's car then I'd have been world champion too."

Button, whose only Grand Prix victory came in Hungary two years ago, scored a paltry three points last season. He said: "Lewis is a worthy world champion but he wouldn't have done as well as me in my Honda.

"I mean the guy has never been in a bad car. I think you learn from it and become a better driver trying to work with a bad car."

Hamilton has always driven a car with a fair amount of downforce - downforce in line with the HP of the car.  Next year with F1 downforce set to reduce significantly but HP to stay the same, and with the car sliding more, we will see how Hamilton does.


BMW kills the 8 Series
Munich car maker BMW has cancelled the Concept CS, which was set for production as the 8 Series.

The Concept CS was revealed at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The large, premium saloon would have been a flagship for the BMW line-up.

Profits have fallen by over 60% at BMW, in the wake of the banking collapse and falling new car sales.

A statement simply said, "The BMW Group will no longer produce a series version of the Concept CS since this vehicle does not meet the internal requirements for rates of return."

The company intends to focus its efforts on small car development and the EfficientDynamics program.


Schumacher turned down Todt's job
Schumacher could have taken over for Jean Todt at Ferrari
Michael Schumacher has revealed that he could have succeeded Jean Todt as boss of Ferrari's Formula 1 team, but turned the opportunity down because he realized that an office-based job would not have suited him.

The seven-times world champion retired from racing at the end of 2006, and has continued to work with Ferrari in an advisory position which includes occasional tests in both its F1 and road cars.

But Schumacher says he could have had a much bigger role had he wished.

"I had a possibility to do what Jean Todt was doing, to become director of Ferrari for the racing part," he told the International Herald Tribune.

"And when I saw how much passion and dedication that he put into his job - similar to what I did in my job - but he simply was just sitting in Maranello, day by day, even on weekends, late into night, I said: 'Do I need this? Simply not. Simply not.'"

Read more & Comment...

Lucas di Grassi not surprised by Renault shaft
Lucas di Grassi reveals he wasn't surprised to miss out on a Formula One race seat with Renault to wanker Nelson Piquet Jr.

"I've known for a long time the decision in Renault," he wrote on his website. "It wasn't at all a surprise for me that they would keep their line-up. Some people there are very well connected (read that Piquet Jr. and his daddy) and it was not easy for me, even having the support from some RF1 people, to get a race seat."

di Grassi will join Honda for the upcoming F1 test at Catalunya where he will get time at the wheel alongside fellow GP2 racer Bruno Senna and while the young Brazilian admitted his focus was on trying to secure a race seat for next year, he said he would be happy to continue with Renault if no options were available.

Read more & Comment...

Webber hopes new rules will improve overtaking
Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber is hopeful that a raft of rule changes for the 2009 season will improve overtaking in the sport, but admits it will be pretty difficult to have a more competitive championship fight overall.

"There are many changes next year - slick tires on the cars and the aerodynamic regulations are very aggressive - and we haven't seen changes like them for many years," Webber told the BBC. "Hopefully we'll have better overtaking but are the cars going to be closer together on the grid in terms of time? I don't think so."

"The main thought behind them is to make overtaking easier," he added. "A few races this season could have put even the most hard-core fan to sleep, such was the lack of overtaking, so changes were necessary. It's hard to predict exactly what effect they will have, but will it make it a more competitive title race? I don't think so. The differential between the best and worst teams might get even bigger in terms of overall timings so I don't think it'll close that gap."

"Hopefully we'll have better overtaking but are the cars going to be closer together on the grid in terms of time? I don't think so but we'll see," he concluded.


Earnhardt Jr. a flop
For years now AR1.com has told its readers that Earnhardt Jr. is a mediocre driver at best.  His results on road courses will tell you all you need to know about his driving skill.  With Hendrick he now has the best cars on the grid.  No more excuses folks.  Typical American racing - the sports "poster child" is not the best driver.
It started with a bang, one of the loudest in NASCAR history, but it's ending mostly with a whimper.

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved from his family's team to the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports at the start of this season, it sent shock waves through stock car racing.

Earnhardt, son of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt and himself the sport's most popular driver, was joining forces with arguably the best team on the track.

And as Earnhardt's army of fans relished the new marriage and snapped up the jackets and other merchandise minted with his new number and logo, Earnhardt immediately responded.

He won the opening race of the year -- the non-points Budweiser Shootout sprint at Daytona International Speedway -- in his new No. 88 Hendrick Chevrolet.

Now, his fans hoped, Earnhardt was on the way to his first Sprint Cup championship, which, after all, was the reason he moved to Hendrick.

Except it didn't work out that way.

With only two races left in the season, including today's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Earnhardt's season has been a glass half full and half empty. More at LA Times


Miss TW Steel China Crowned in Chengdu City
Miss TW Steel China
TW Steel, the ‘Official Watch and Timing Partner’ of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport crowned Miss Dyan Zou Xiao Qian as the winner of ‘Miss TW Steel China’ in Chengdu City today as Round 2 of the 2008-09 A1GP season played out at the Chengdu International Circuit in the Sichuan Province of China.

The second leg of TW Steel’s global search to find ‘Miss TW Steel 2008-09’, with the grand finale to be held at Brands Hatch in England in May 2009, stopped in China this weekend following a successful debut at the opening round of the new A1GP season at Zandvoort in The Netherlands last month.

The 10 finalists proved to be an immediate hit with the enthusiastic Chengdu crowed as they faced the judging panel between Sunday’s Sprint and Feature races.  The judges charged with the task of picking a winner included Jordy Cobelens, Managing Director of TW Steel, Michael Farnan, Director of the Chengdu Blades – the local Chinese Super League football team, and A1GP TV presenters Diana Binks and James Hinchcliffe.

Read more & Comment...

A1 Team Korea join forces with A1 Team China
A1 Team Korea have joined forces with A1 Team China in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in an agreement which will see the team’s trade space on their respective A1GP cars in the 2008/09 season. 

Competing in its first season in the global racing series, A1 Team Korea joins 19 other nations from around the world, including A1 Team China, who have been part of the series since the inaugural season. 

The new agreement takes affect from the A1GP Chengdu, China, with the Korean sponsor Good EMG taking its place on the home nation’s car this weekend.  Good EMG (Good Entertainment Media Group) is the second largest entertainment company in Korea and manages popular acts such as the Korean boy band Shinhwa (Legend). 

Read more & Comment...

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Brazil tried to thwart Hamilton title - Dennis
  • No cash bonus for Hamilton title - Dennis
  • Hug means Alonso hostility over - Hamilton
  • Hamilton admits need for more bodyguards
  • Hamilton in no rush to return to cockpit

Brazil tried to thwart Hamilton title - Dennis
(GMM)  Toy black cats were not the only weapons used to try and throw Lewis Hamilton's championship bid off the rails in Brazil a week ago, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has revealed.

Local comedians hurled the cats, a sign of bad luck in Brazil, at not only the British driver at a sponsor press conference, but also his disabled brother Nicholas in a hotel lobby.

"(There were) efforts to disrupt Lewis' sleep, telephone calls, threats of putting an all-night samba band into Lewis' hotel, all sorts of silly things," Dennis, 61, is quoted as saying by The Times.

"But you smile, you don't waste energy on it and just get on with the job," he added.

No cash bonus for Hamilton title - Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren boss Ron Dennis has countered reports that Lewis Hamilton is set to perhaps double his retainer as a reward for securing the British team's first drivers' title in nearly a decade.

"We have no links to performance in any of our contracts with either drivers or sponsors," the 61-year-old clarified.

It was reported by the British press after Interlagos a week ago that Hamilton's career could make him a billionaire, amid claims that McLaren may renegotiate his current contract to stave off the temptation of a switch to Ferrari.

Dennis told The Times: "Lewis's income is fixed for the duration of his contract.  There is some flexibility in respect of what we can do together outside the contract, but his salary is not linked to success."

Hug means Alonso hostility over - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, previously the bitterest rivals on the formula one grid, seem to have buried the hatchet more than a year after their stint as McLaren teammates ended.

We reported nearly a week ago that Alonso, the former double world champion who split with the British team following a venomous single season in 2007, returned to the McLaren garage at Interlagos to congratulate 23-year-old Hamilton on his drivers' title triumph.

"It took a big man to do that," Hamilton admitted at the Mercedes-Benz 'Stars and Cars' end of season event in Stuttgart.

"I was very thankful for it and I respect him for that gesture.

"I got back to the garage and he was there.  He shook my hand and gave me a hug and then he said congratulations to the rest of the team," Hamilton said.

Spaniard Alonso, 27, had previously boasted that McLaren is now his least favorite F1 team, vowing to help Ferrari's Felipe Massa beat Hamilton to the championship.

Hamilton admits need for more bodyguards
(GMM)  2008 world champion-elect Lewis Hamilton has admitted his title success is likely to lead to him organizing extra personal security.

The McLaren driver, who secured the championship at Interlagos a week ago, was surrounded by four bodyguards at the Stars and Cars end-of-season Mercedes-Benz event in Stuttgart this weekend.

In Brazil last weekend, he was driven around Sao Paulo in a bullet-proof car.

"I rarely go around on my own any more," the 23-year-old admitted.

"The more I go through my life then the best it is to be safe.  I may need extra security," he is quoted as saying by the News of the World newspaper.

Hamilton in no rush to return to cockpit
(GMM)  One week after securing the world championship in Brazil, Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is in no rush to return to the cockpit of his McLaren.

"There are three tests coming up but I haven't decided which ones I will do, if at all," the Briton said at the Mercedes-Benz end-of-season event in Germany.

23-year-old Hamilton said it is important to recharge his batteries ahead of the 2009 season.

"I have done a lot of driving this year, so to jump straight back into the car is probably not wise," he said.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR Confidential -Race Control 
10:30am-11:30am SPEED
NASCAR in a Hurry Phoenix 
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Phoenix 
1:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Phoenix
3:00pm-3:45pm (L) -Pre-race
3:45pm-7:00pm (L) -Race
7:00pm-7:30pm (L) -Post-race ABC
Race of Legends Laguna Seca 
3:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
Formula Drift Series Englishtown 
4:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
Atlantic Championship Long Beach 
5:00pm-6:00pm (4/20/08) SPEED
BorgWarner World Championship Off-Road Races Crandon, WI 
6:00pm-7:00pm (08/2008) VS
Formula One Debrief Brazil 
6:00pm-7:00pm (R) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Phoenix 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Bill Weber (NASCAR Anchor, CORR Host)
Sebastian Loeb (World Rally Champion)
Danny Sullivan (1985 Indy 500 Winner)
Ray Dunlap (SPEED Craftsman Truck Reporter) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com


F1 sponsors hit by global recession
The world’s economy is still reeling from the traumas of September and October.

F1 sponsors give $300m to F1 teams each year - but more and more of those companies are reporting huge profit falls and staff cut backs. Some are even falling back on their national governments for financial support.

Could we soon see a major reduction in F1 sponsorship? Here’s a look at how some of the biggest names in F1 sponsorship are faring in the growing global recession.

AMD - Electronics

AMD began to experience problems before the economic downturn, beginning with its $5.4bn purchase of ATI. It has posted a loss for eight consecutive quarters and cut staff, but in October announced $8.4bn of investment from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airways - Airlines

The very high oil prices earlier this year put huge pressure on airlines, forcing 30 to close this year. Those prices have now fallen but reduced demands for passenger seats and cargo continues to squeeze airlines. However the emerging Asian airlines like Etihad are in the strongest position, and in July the company made one of the largest aircraft purchases ever, worth $20bn.

Read more & Comment...

Struggling GM to honor NASCAR commitments UPDATE If you do a little research, you will find that GM was very creative in how they funded some of the teams. Rumor has it, several people have been terminated over it.

11/08/08 A GM official told scenedaily.com that the company would be able to honor its contractual obligations to NASCAR teams in 2009. But GM has already made cuts in its marketing plans and teams clearly can't expect the manufacturer to add a lot of things to what it is absolutely committed to provide. GM has called off any talks of merging with Chrysler and its racing officials have nixed any NASCAR mergers that would involve associations with teams running another manufacturer's product. The effect of that for NASCAR is that some teams have fewer options as they try to stay alive and competitive than they would otherwise have had.


GM begins to reduce NASCAR race sponsorship UPDATE This week the International Speedway Corporation -- Daytona-based parent company to a dozen speedways and assorted subsidiaries -- announced a relatively small number of layoffs (50) nationwide. Annual raises are also being cut in half for employees (reportedly from 3 to 1.5 percent), while those at the top of the food chain are said to be losing their customary bonuses this year.

ISC has about 1,000 employees nationally and owns and operates a dozen race tracks around the country.

11/08/08 Excerpt from ISC teleconference transcript:

Q: Much discussion about the auto industry, what have you lost, what’s in negotiation that’s the toughest part? Can you give some thoughts as to the impact of the auto industries problems on your sponsorships and naming rights etc.?  Bob Simonson – William Blair

A: We’ve been notified by GM that they don’t intend to renew at Daytona and Martinsville. Having said that, we do have conversations ongoing with them and other manufacturers. We fully expect something to be in place should they exit but as I said the sales and marketing team are still working with GM and we have relationships with them at other properties and so we’ll see. It would be premature to see where it’s all going to end up. I’m confident that those deals, if they do in fact exit, that those deals will be replaced.  John Saunders - ISC

racing news

Mohammed Ben Sulayem elected VP on FIA council
Mohammed Ben Sulayem with FIA President Max Mosley
Mohammed Ben Sulayem has become the first Arab to earn a place on the most powerful body in world motor sport.

Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and a rallying legend in the Middle East, has been elected to the FIA World Motor Sport Council and named as Vice President of the FIA for Sport by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.

His double appointment was confirmed yesterday by FIA President Max Mosley during the FIA General Assembly in Paris.

Read more & Comment...

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Button wants Barrichello as 2009 teammate
  • Ferrari to join Toyota in Bahrain testing
  • Schu forgives Massa for drunken insult
  • Some F1 costs 'unnecessary' - Klien
  • Coulthard backs Ecclestone amid racism storm

Button wants Barrichello as 2009 teammate
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello's hopes of retaining his Honda race seat next year have been given a vote of confidence by his 2008 teammate.

At a press conference promoting the forthcoming Race of Champions event at Wembley, Jenson Button said he would prefer an experienced teammate next year rather than a young gun.

Honda is set to evaluate rookies Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi at the Barcelona test later this month, with team executive Nick Fry insisting F1 needs "fresh blood".

But given the sweeping rule changes for 2009, 28-year-old Button does not agree.

"They (the team) need a lot of feedback from us and having a new boy in the car, I don't feel that you get as much feedback.

"But it's not my decision," the Briton, who is widely expected to stay at Honda next year despite not yet agreeing a new contract, said.

Button notes that Barrichello, the most experienced driver in F1 history, has stated he is driving better than ever despite recent uncompetitive Hondas.

"I don't think Rubens lies," he said.  "I think he tells the truth which is always good in a teammate and he has put in some very good performances."

Ferrari to join Toyota in Bahrain testing
(GMM)  Like Toyota, Ferrari is also planning to conduct extensive winter testing in Bahrain in preparation for the 2009 season.

It emerged this week that Toyota has scheduled six days of testing in December at the scene of the annual Bahrain grand prix.

According to Gulf Daily news, Ferrari has also selected the desert venue at Sakhir for some F1 testing.

The local newspaper said Toyota will join the Italian team for six days of testing in February next year.

"We have a number of testing dates in December; Toyota are confirmed, but we still have interest from a lot of the other teams," circuit boss Martin Whitaker said.

"Whether or not (other teams) will come depends on where they are in terms of their development program.

"Toyota and Ferrari will then come back in the beginning of next year," he confirmed.

Read more & Comment...

Angry Bernie backtracks amid new racism storm UPDATE A reader writes, First we have Bernie the chauvinist hurling insults at Danica Patrick.  Then we get Max the Nazi dressing sadist hiring prostitutes for his perverted games.

Now it's back to Bernie the racist announcing to the world that it's Ok to dress in Afro wigs and intimidate the first black F1 driver.

Together with the gross parade of fashionistas and supermodels our beloved sport is drowning in its own swill.

I don't understand where the Manufacturers are coming from.  How can they put up with this crap?  By their inaction they are endorsing these Neanderthals and it is just disgusting.

Meanwhile...no more US GP, no more Canadian GP, no more French GP.

No worries...... let's get the uniforms on and don't forget the wigs.  All is well in F1 land. Ray Masters, Hawaii

Bernie Ecclestone
11/07/08 (GMM)  A furious Bernie Ecclestone has slammed the reaction to his comments that recent incidents involving Lewis Hamilton were jokes rather than examples of real racism.

The F1 chief executive's comments to a British radio program, immediately rejected by new world champion Hamilton himself, sparked outrage in the UK, including from anti-racism campaigner Paul Elliot who believes 78-year-old Ecclestone "should resign" as a result.

But the British billionaire has hit back at suggestions he is insensitive to the seriousness of racism.

"I was the one who pulled the grand prix out of South Africa (after 1985) in support of Nelson Mandela because of bloody apartheid before these people knew anything about racism," Ecclestone told The Times.

He also said he was prepared to take action on the episode at a Barcelona test earlier this year, when a group of fans blacked out their faces and screamed insults at 23-year-old Hamilton.

"I said to the promoters in Barcelona, 'Let me go and get the people that blacked their faces up and bring them into the paddock and introduce them to Lewis and then see what they've got to say.'

"But the police said, 'Don't do it,'" he explained.

In another subsequent interview, Ecclestone backtracked on his claim this week that the Spanish fans are "entitled to support who they want to support".

He now describes them as "cowards", and branded obscene messages on a Spanish website last week "disgusting".

"We won't put up with that in formula one," Ecclestone told the Mirror.

"They are cowards.  They are nothing, they are nobodies."

A spokesman for McLaren reiterated the team's support for the FIA's anti-racism campaign but declined to comment specifically on the latest developments involving Ecclestone.

"We don't want to say anything that will inflame the issue.  We want to be able to let Lewis enjoy his win in peace," he said.

The FIA also did not want to wade in on the latest debate, explaining the governing body "has consistently made its position clear" on the issue of racism.


Jimmie Johnson tops Phoenix practice session
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 27.094 Leader
2 5 Casey Mears Chevrolet 27.096 -0.002
3 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 27.099 -0.005
4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 27.111 -0.017
5 26 Jamie McMurray Ford 27.163 -0.069
6 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge 27.173 -0.079
7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 27.189 -0.095
8 10 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge 27.196 -0.102
9 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 27.215 -0.121
10 99 Carl Edwards Ford 27.229 -0.135
11 01 Regan Smith* Chevrolet 27.244 -0.150
12 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 27.256 -0.162
13 8 Mark Martin Chevrolet 27.257 -0.163
14 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 27.262 -0.168
15 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 27.268 -0.174
16 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 27.273 -0.179
17 84 Scott Speed Toyota 27.277 -0.183
18 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet 27.285 -0.191
19 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 27.302 -0.208
20 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 27.316 -0.222
21 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 27.331 -0.237
22 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 27.339 -0.245
23 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 27.347 -0.253
24 20 Tony Stewart Toyota 27.357 -0.263
25 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 27.358 -0.264
26 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 27.393 -0.299
27 44 David Reutimann Toyota 27.403 -0.309
28 16 Greg Biffle Ford 27.406 -0.312
29 7 Robby Gordon Dodge 27.411 -0.317
30 347 Marcos Ambrose Toyota 27.431 -0.337
31 6 David Ragan Ford 27.440 -0.346
32 77 Sam Hornish Jr.* Dodge 27.491 -0.397
33 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 27.494 -0.400
34 21 Bill Elliott Ford 27.526 -0.432
35 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 27.531 -0.437
36 45 Kyle Petty Dodge 27.536 -0.442
37 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 27.536 -0.442
38 96 Ken Schrader Toyota 27.549 -0.455
39 66 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 27.588 -0.494
40 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 27.604 -0.510
41 38 David Gilliland Ford 27.610 -0.516
42 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 27.643 -0.549
43 109 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 27.674 -0.580
44 28 Travis Kvapil Ford 27.713 -0.619


Tafel Racing's Tony Dowe on 2008 season
Tony Dowe
Over the course of the next month, Tafel Racing will offer a glimpse at the past American Le Mans Series season and a look into 2009. Today’s view comes from Tony Dowe, VP and Technical Director.

Tony Dowe has long been considered one of sports car racing’s most brilliant minds. It showed again in 2008 as Tafel Racing scored four GT2 victories and a runner-up championship finish in the American Le Mans Series’ deepest class. Dowe, who serves as both VP and Technical Director for Tafel, offered his view of 2008 as well as glimpse ahead to 2009.

Question: Looking back on the 2008 season, what is the first memory that jumps out at you?
Answer: Winning at the second race (St. Petersburg, Fla., the team’s first American Le Mans Series victory) and winning the last race (Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the team’s fourth Series triumph). It means that we stayed the course. We never gave up.

Q: You have said that you enjoyed racing this season more than you have enjoyed racing at anytime in your career. Why is that?
A: Good people.

Q: Tafel Racing has quickly progressed through the ranks of the American Le Mans Series GT2 class from third in the championship in 2007, to a close second in 2008. During the offseason, how do you prepare to win the championship in 2009?
A: We look at what was good and what was not good. We try and think about what will change with rules and the people we will race against and what, if anything, we can do to be ahead of those situations.

Read more & Comment...

2008 Atlantic races to air starting this weekend
The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda will go down in history as one of the most exciting and entertaining championship battles in the 35-year history of the series, and beginning this weekend, race fans will have the opportunity to relive all of the excitement on SPEED.

As was announced in September, the 2008 Atlantic Championship season-opening Imperial Capital Bank Atlantic Challenge of Long Beach will be televised beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 9, kicking off a run of Sunday afternoon Atlantic telecasts that will air through Sunday, December 28. Bill Stephens will provide the play-by-play alongside color commentator Jon Beekhuis. The telecasts were produced by Mullin Production Group, which has been involved with the series since 1994.

Read more & Comment...

Scott Speed calls IndyCars boring
Scott Speed likes stock cars just fine. The ex-Formula One driver who will run full-time in the Sprint Cup Series for Red Bull next year was asked in a radio interview if he would ever consider racing in the Indy 500.

"Honestly, holding an open-wheel car flat-out around an oval is not exactly very exciting," he said. "I love this NASCAR thing because you're really having to work in the car. When we go to places like here in the truck where you're wide open in qualifying. We qualified 18th and we were wide open. So what else do you want to do? There's not really a lot of input that you can have as a driver.

"And honestly, the IRL Series is not half as competitive as NASCAR, even a quarter as competitive as Formula One was. It's just how it is. You see the guys who come from open-wheel over here and go over there. It's not the same sport."

Read more & Comment...

Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes
Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while those for the Truck Series will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams to run at Phoenix this past April . . . this is one of the more popular tire combinations in Goodyear's 2008 tire lineup . . . in addition to Phoenix, teams in all three major NASCAR series have run this specific combination at Richmond and New Hampshire this season . . . teams in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series have also run this tire set-up at Milwaukee, Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Memphis this year . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage. Goodyear's "Spirit of America" airship, based out of Carson, Calif., will be covering the NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix. Goodyear PR


GM announced $5 billion more in cost-cutting measures
General Motors Corp. has targeted $5 billion in cost-cutting measures in addition to $15 billion it already planned to conserve and save in a plan announced July 15.

Shortly before noon, GM said it will:

• reduce 2009 capital spending by $2.5 billion.

• Reduce GM North America structural costs by an additional $1.5 billion.

• Reduce working capital spending by an additional $500 million.

• And announce further salaried employment cost reductions by $500 million.

“Volatility in the world’s financial markets, tightening of consumer and business credit and historically low consumer confidence has created a very challenging environment,” said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. “Given the current lack of credit availability we must take further difficult `self-help’ actions.”

Analysts believe it is all but impossible for GM to raise $5 billion through asset sales or debt raises, though GM is pursuing the sale of Hummer, ACDelco, and a plant in Strasbourg, France.


GM opens $300 million Russian plant to offset U.S. auto slump
General Motors Corp. opened a $300 million factory in Russia as it looks to compensate for slumping sales in western Europe and North America, Bloomberg News reported today.

Located on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, the plant will produce 70,000 Chevrolet Captiva sport-utility vehicles and the Opel Astra, with plans to manufacture the Chevrolet Cruze compact car next year, the Detroit automaker said.

"Our strategy is to become the leading manufacturer in Russia," Carl-Peter Forster, GM's chief for Europe, told reporters during the plant opening today. "For us Russia is not an emerging market. Russia emerged long ago."

Read more & Comment...

Hamilton invited to Race of Champions
Lewis Hamilton has been invited to take part in this year's Race of Champions event at Wembley Stadium.

Organizers say the newly crowned F1 champion has an "open invitation" to partner with fellow Brit David Coulthard as part of F1 Racing Great Britain.

Should the 23-year-old accept, it would also mark the first time he would face seven time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher on a competitive race track. The German, who will partner with highly touted Sebastian Vettel for Team Germany once again, retired before Hamilton made his F1 debut. 

Read more & Comment...

Tracy going testing in Dubai
Not quite a week removed from his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut, 2003 Champ Car champion Paul Tracy is taking his show to the other side of the globe.  After an impressive showing at Texas Motor Speedway in Germain Racing’s #9 Bombardier Learjet/Sport Clips Toyota Tundra, Tracy has been invited to a SPEEDCAR Series test in Dubai.  A literal last-second deal, Tracy is departing today for the Arabian Peninsula. 

The SPEEDCAR Series is quickly becoming one of the most popular racing series in the world, as they have lured many former Formula 1 drivers, such as Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert, Gianni Morbidelli, Jacques Villeneuve and Stefan Johansson. The Asia and Middle East-based stock car racing series also features a $3 million (USD) purse and offers a $10,000 (USD) award for the drivers who capture the pole position for each respective race.

Read more & Comment...

Marco Andretti gets 1st taste of A1GP
Marco Andretti in the team USA car
Third generation racer Marco Andretti had his first experience of A1GP when he was the first driver out onto China’s Chengdu International Circuit this morning in A1 Team USA’s car, and he liked what he saw, apart from the dust…

“They were certainly really difficult circumstances when I first went out. If it wasn’t dusty at any point around the lap, it was wet,” the 21-year-old son of Michael and grandson of 1978 World Champion Mario, told A1GP.com, talking of several points on the circuit where natural springs weep out through the surface.

Andretti finished the day in eighth place for the USA, eight tenths of a second behind pace-setting Neel Jani, driving for Switzerland.

“From my short initial experience of the car, though, I can tell that it will be really nice to drive when we find the sweet spot.

Read more & Comment...
track news

Indy Chamber awards George
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief Executive Officer Tony George was named the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's 2008 Business Leader of the Year for his continued efforts to elevate the state's most famous sporting facility to new heights and for his impact on the community.

George received the honor Nov. 6 at the Chamber's 19th Annual Awards Dinner before more than 1,200 business, civic and political leaders at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

"I'm honored to receive this award, which is especially meaningful since it comes from fellow Indiana business leaders," George said. "Maintaining family management and stewardship of the Speedway is very important to me, and I'm grateful to be surrounded by talented people who work hard every day to help us grow our business."

Read more & Comment...

Force India releases Kolles and Gascoyne
Following on from today's announcement regarding the amicable termination of the Ferrari contract, the Force India Formula One Team has taken yet another step forward with its 2009 revamp plans.

Force India's senior management structure will be streamlined with immediate effect. Dr Vijay Mallya will assume the responsibilities of Team Principal in addition to his position as Chairman, to play a greater role in the direction of the team, assisted by Robert Fernley, Director of Force India. In a reorganization of the team's technical department, Mark Smith, design director, and James Key, technical director, will share entire responsibility for the design of the VJM02 and future cars.

As a result of the restructure, Colin Kolles, Mike Gascoyne and Patrick Missling, formerly corporate and business director, will no longer form a direct part of the team's design, manufacture, race and test operations.

Dr Vijay Mallya commented, 'Force India is my most difficult project to date and it has become clear that it requires more direct input from my side and greater performance accountability. We have come a long way this season, but we need more and that requires some radical reorganization of the management structure to ensure the maximum productivity. I would like to thank Colin Kolles for his tireless efforts in keeping such a small team alive and to Mike Gascoyne for bringing his wealth of technical expertise. Both have played an instrumental part in making the team what it is today. On Monday November 10th,I will announce the new Technical direction of the team as well as the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer who will assume overall responsibility for our Silverstone and Brackley facilities, Race and Test operations."


Force India ends Ferrari contract
(GMM)  Force India on Friday announced it has terminated its engine supply contract with Ferrari.

The Silverstone based squad was contracted to continue to use customer Ferrari V8s also in 2009, but has been in talks with McLaren-Mercedes about a technical collaboration for next year.

"Force India wishes to thank Ferrari for its much appreciated and valued support to date, which has always been carried out at the highest level; technically and professionally and within an excellent relationship," part of a media statement read.


Sato gets second Toro Rosso test
(GMM)  Takuma Sato later this month will test for Toro Rosso for the second time.

Following the former grand prix driver's maiden outing with the Faenza based team at Jerez earlier this year, the Japanese has now been confirmed for the Barcelona test in mid November.

It is believed that Bruno Senna, to already be at the Spanish venue for his Honda run, will also be in action for the Ferrari-powered team, as will fellow 2009 race seat contender Sebastien Buemi.

Rubens Barrichello has also been linked with the partly Red Bull-owned team for 2009.

The news of 31-year-old Sato's test was not confirmed by Toro Rosso, but by the veteran of 91 grand prix's management on Friday.

"We are extremely happy to announce that Takuma will be testing for Toro Rosso in Barcelona on 17-18 November," a brief statement read.

The statement added that Toro Rosso is "yet to decide (its) driver line up for the 2009 season".

Sato debuted in 2002 with Jordan, and subsequently raced for BAR and Super Aguri before the latter team folded after this year's Spanish grand prix.


Ford reports $129M third-quarter loss
Ford Motor Co. today reported a third-quarter loss of $129 million and said it must eliminate more salaried positions and cut other operations to keep its restructuring plan on track as automobile sales continue to decline.  The Dearborn automaker said it will cut 10 percent of its North American salaried payroll -- that on top of the 15 percent cut in white-collar jobs it announced earlier this year.


NASCAR Texas TV rating UPDATE ABC’s coverage of the Dickies 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.7, the same as last year’s race, the network reported Thursday. Through eight races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, ABC’s ratings are basically even with last year, averaging a 3.7. Ratings for the males ages 35-54 demographic have seen an increase of 4 percent, according to the network.  Coverage of the Nationwide Series O'Reilly Challenge earned a 1.2 household coverage rating, down 7.7 percent from the 1.3 for last year’s race. Both races aired on ESPN2.

11/03/08 The NASCAR Sprint Cup Dickies 500 on ABC Sunday earned a 3.3 overnight TV rating, down 8.3% from last years overnight of 3.6 (also on ABC) and down 17.5% from the overnight in 2006 on NBC.  NBC consistently had higher ratings than ABC now has.  NBC refused to re-bid the money losing deal so we can only imagine how much ABC is losing given their ratings are dropping - hence lower TV ad revenue.

In the same time slot Sunday the Cowboys vs. Giants NFL game garnered a 16.8/31 share overnight rating making NASCAR's 3.3 look rather anemic, sending more sponsors for the exit given the high asking price for sponsorship in NASCAR.


Car dealers suffering huge losses
As General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. prepared to announce massive financial losses for the third quarter -- numbers that could help them make a case for federal aid -- the nation's largest seller of domestic cars and trucks, AutoNation Inc., reported Thursday an ominous financial plummet of its own.

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based AutoNation, which owns 311 dealerships in 15 states, said that its net income during the quarter had swung from a $72.1-million profit in the same quarter a year ago to a $1.4-billion loss. AutoNation's net income from GM, Ford and Chrysler stores alone plummeted 57.4%, while it declined a lesser 23% for import and luxury brands.


Whincup takes V8 Supercar pole in Bahrain
V8 Supercars championship leader Jamie Whincup will start from pole position for the opening race of the Desert 400 in Bahrain.

The Ford young gun topped the charts in the qualifying session with a lap of one minute and 25.0415 seconds on the world class Bahrain International Circuit, to secure his fifth pole of the year.

He will be joined on the front row by Triple Eight Racing teammate Craig Lowndes, who clocked 1:25.0624 following his impressive performance in practice.

Whincup's closest championship rival and last year's Desert 400 winner Mark Winterbottom (1:25.5967) will start from ninth while Holden's reigning champion Garth Tander, the other man in the title race, qualified fifth fastest with a 1:25.4116.

Read more & Comment...

Benson to leave Bill Davis Racing
Johnny Benson doesn’t believe the fact that he will not return to Bill Davis Racing next year will impact his quest to win the 2008 Craftsman Truck Series title.

Benson leads Kevin Harvick Inc.’s Ron Hornaday by six points with two races remaining.

“It doesn’t really change anything,” Benson said Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway. “The guys know we’re not going to be back next year. We don’t know what the future holds yet, but I’m not worried about that.

“I’m worried about this year. They’re excited about the fact that we have an opportunity to win a championship. The incentive doesn’t change. We want to make that happen either way. It would mean a lot to get this for Bill and Gail [Davis].”


F1 needs 'fresh blood' - Honda's Fry
(GMM)  Honda team chief executive Nick Fry hinted the Japanese team will "bring some fresh blood into F1" next year.

The Brackley based squad fielded Jenson Button alongside Rubens Barrichello in 2008, but the latter Brazilian veteran's race seat is in doubt.

Honda will test Bruno Senna at the forthcoming Barcelona test, and it was announced on Friday that fellow GP2 competitor and Brazilian Lucas di Grassi - Renault's 2008 reserve driver - will join him in Spain.

"We want to look at some new guys," Fry said at Interlagos last weekend.

"I think it is important that we bring some fresh blood into F1.  There are some good guys out there and we want to try them out," he added.


Di Grassi to test Honda this month
(GMM)  2008 Renault test driver Lucas di Grassi will test for Honda later this month, the Japanese team announced on Friday.

Di Grassi, 24-years-old and from Sao Paulo, was hoping to make his debut with Renault next year, but said recently if he did not get a seat, he would negotiate with other teams.

Honda on Friday said he will test at the Circuit de Catalunya during the first test of the winter, as will his GP2 rival and compatriot Bruno Senna.

Jenson Button is expected to remain with the Brackley based squad next year, but Rubens Barrichello's race seat is apparently up for grabs.

Honda said di Grassi with familiarize with the team for a part day in Spain, before testing for a full day in the 2008 car.

"We look forward to seeing Lucas in action and will take a keen interest in how he performs," said team boss Ross Brawn.


PIR expects 'full house'
Phoenix International Raceway president Bryan Sperber said he anticipates a "full house" for Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500. That might not be the same as being sold out. Given the noticeable number of empty seats at recent Sprint Cup events, however, he's encouraged.

"The economy has an impact on everybody, not just NASCAR," said Sperber. "We're a discretionary spend, and people have to make decisions. I'm expecting to have a full house. We're grateful NASCAR fans have chosen to spend their money with us. This year is tracking a little bit behind last season (when) we sold out probably six weeks before the race. That set the bar pretty high. I can't say for certain it will be a sellout, but if it isn't, it will be very close."


Harvick worried about nonracing investors
Team owners Jack Roush, Ray Evernham, Richard Childress, Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip have brought in nonracing investors in recent years.

Kevin Harvick, who drives for Childress in Cup but owns his own Truck and Nationwide Chevrolet teams with wife DeLana, has a concern about the trend.

"The scariest part about that for me is . . . you see a lot of rich people come through the sport that don't respect it to the point that it needs to be respected and don't necessarily understand what they are getting into and the amount of work that it takes . . . Hopefully, they're patient enough and don't just throw money at it.

"There's a lot of investment firms that are involved now, and I hope that the expectations from a racer's standpoint are explained and managed so that you don't get to the end of the road and those people get out, and then the racer is stuck with nothing."


Gore denies he is quitting
Craig Gore, Queensland businessman and co-founder of Team Australia, wishes to make the following statement in concern to media reports today in Australia regarding his future involvement in motorsport.

“I have not made any announcement regarding my retirement from motorsport,” said Gore.

“I did state that I was taking time this week in Byron Bay to reflect upon things and my future after a life threatening illness and that if it came down to having to make a choice, I would prefer to spend time with my kids rather than go racing. I made no comment of whether I discussed this with my family or close friends. I considered this conversation to be in confidence.

“I also stated that I had discussed my position with my partners, Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser.

“If there is a Surfers Paradise IndyCar Series event I will work with my current partners to bring Team Australia to the event with Will Power as our driver.

Read more & Comment...

Gore quits motor racing, Team Australia DOA?
Gold Coast businessman Craig Gore has quit motor racing. Speaking from a family holiday at Byron Bay, Mr. Gore said he had an epiphany when he underwent life-saving surgery in London last month, forcing him to rethink life's priorities.

"I was given a week to live before my operation, and that's really changed my view of things," he said.

"I would rather spend time with my kids than race cars."

While on business in Britain in early October, the flamboyant businessman suffered a perforated bowel which required emergency surgery and saw him almost ruled out as a spectator at Indy only two weeks ago.

Determined not to miss what was billed as the possible swansong for IndyCars in Surfers, he made a surprise appearance at Indy to support his Team Australia.

However, Mr. Gore has now claimed that was the last Indy he would be involved in.

"I am considering myself retired from motorsport," he said.

"I am so happy to be down at Byron Bay at the beach house and pleased not to be involved in it any more, with all the time and energy that went into it."

Earlier this year, Mr. Gore also sold his two V8 Supercar licenses, citing 'personal business and health' reasons, leaving IndyCars his only remaining involvement in the motor racing world.

Mr. Gore said he had discussed his decision to leave the industry with billionaire team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven, family and close friends and felt he could walk away with his head held high.

Read more & Comment...

Schu controversy arises over Barrichello insult
(GMM)  A controversy has erupted in Brazil and Germany, as the health of the relationship between Felipe Massa and his Ferrari mentor Michael Schumacher is called into doubt.

According to the Brazilian newspaper Lance, Schumacher's former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello - after a few too many caipirinhas - leapt onto a stage at the Sao Paulo nightclub 'Disco' last Sunday night and began singing.

Reportedly, the song consisted of the puerile claim that Schumacher is "viado" -- a derogatory term meaning gay in Brazilian Portuguese.

Lance reports that Massa, an open admirer of the seven time world champion and recipient of the Ferrari advisor's guidance, initially disapproved but ultimately joined in the chorus when Barrichello threw his arm around the 2008 championship runner-up.

"That Rubens does something like this does not surprise me," Schumacher's long time manager Willi Weber told Bild newspaper.

"But as for Felipe, I am surprised, because the two have a really good understanding with each other and are close friends."

A Ferrari spokesman, Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, and Schumacher himself declined to comment.

Schumacher, 39, has been married to wife Corinna since 1995, and they have two children.


Working with Kubica 'not easy' - boss
(GMM)  Team boss Mario Theissen says he still respects Polish driver Robert Kubica, despite the Pole's criticism this year about the pace and intensity of development of the 2008 car.

Kubica, 23, has been outspoken this season about BMW's split focus on its 2009 car alongside his unsuccessful bid for the drivers' title, as well as the intense efforts to bring his struggling teammate Nick Heidfeld back up to speed.

Theissen confirms that Kubica has not been easy to work with at times.

"Robert was in top form and if the car was not quick enough he took it as a personal affront," the German said.

"The working relationship was therefore not always easy, but his unreserved determination to achieve success commands respect."

Kubica was in with an outside shot of the drivers' title until late in the season, when a very poor last couple of races meant he even fell behind Kimi Raikkonen for third place in the final classification.

"We made too many mistakes during the weekend and this is the result," the Pole said as he left Brazil.

Theissen insists that "fighting for the world championship title" is BMW-Sauber's goal for 2009.


Truth in 24 debuts at Mann Chinese 6 Theater in LA UPDATE It turns out "Truth in 24" was produced (in part) by NFL Films.  The Audi film is an excellent film for motor racing fans. If you watch it you realize why Audi have won Le Mans so many times.

11/06/08 SportsBusiness Journal reports that the motorsports documentary "Truth in 24" debuts tonight at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre in L.A. Shot and produced by NFL Films, the movie follows an Audi team to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and chronicles everything from preparations to the event itself, encompassing five months of filming in four countries. Intersport, Chicago, is handling future distribution, which has yet to be determined.


Calls for Ecclestone to go
Anti-racism campaigners have branded Bernie Ecclestone's comments on the racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton as "shameful" - and called for the Formula One chief to leave the sport.

Ecclestone described the antics of some spectators wearing wigs and dark make-up at pre-season testing in Barcelona last February as "a joke" and told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I don't think it was anything to do with racism."

Hamilton, the first black driver in Formula One history, has refused to trivialize what happened and Paul Elliott, ambassador for European campaigners FARE, has gone further to question whether Ecclestone should be in the sport. He said: "The comments are shameful and disgraceful."

He added: "Lewis Hamilton has made a colossal contribution to the country and the sport, and the sport has a duty of care to protect him and his family.

Read more & Comment...

93 Champ Car engines go on the block
Will Ben Johnston bid on these Cosworth XF engines for his Green Prix USA series?
The Chapter 7 Trustee for the Bankruptcy Case of Champ Car World Series, LLC has filed a Motion with United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Case No. 08-02172-AJM-7 to Approve Bidding Procedures and to Approve Asset Purchase Agreement and Sale.

In summary, the sale proposed by the Trustee will be for 93 Cosworth Engines from the Champ Car World Series Races, for a cash sale price of $250,000.00 "as is, where is." The minimum overbid is $275,000.00 and minimum bid increments of $5,000.00 thereafter.

The Trustee is in possession of 18 of the engines-the Trustee will obtain orders from the Bankruptcy Court directing the third parties in possession of the remaining engines to deliver them to the Trustee and/or buyer.

A hearing on the Bidding Procedures is set for November 18, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. and a hearing on the Asset Purchase Agreement and Sale (and any competitive bidding) is set for November 25, 2008 at 10:00 a.m., in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Room 311, U.S. Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46224. Orders and Notices of the Hearings, as well as a copy of the Motion to Approve Asset Purchase Agreement and Sale, with an Asset Purchase Agreement Attached as Exhibit "A," which contain the details of the proposed sale and other important additional information, are found at this link.


RML announces Mazda AER deal for 2009
RML’s LMP2 sports prototype program has been one of the most successful of the last five years, with back-to-back victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the class title in the Le Mans Series in 2007. Co-drivers Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos have established an excellent reputation as the driving line-up to beat in LMP2, especially at Le Mans, and for seven years the team has championed the motorsport heritage of iconic British marque MG.

From November 5th 2008 a fresh era begins for RML AD Group with the signing of a new deal with car manufacturer Mazda and race engine specialists AER. The deal means the end of the link with MG, but the start of an exciting new partnership for RML and the Mazda-Lola Coupé. “Everything is signed and sorted and we are very happy to have an agreement for two years,” confirmed Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. “We shall be running the Mazda unit in 2009. It will be an evolution of the current Mazda MZR-R engine raced this year in the American Le Mans Series. It is a two-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine developed exclusively for Mazda by AER, and it represents not only an exciting way forwards for us, but also the continuity of our excellent working relationship with AER.”

Read more & Comment...

Valiante Joins Michael Shank Racing
After a break-out 2008 Rolex Sports Car Series season, which saw Columbus-based Michael Shank Racing team take a record-setting pole for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and close out the year with two consecutive race wins, the team is already getting a fast start on 2009 with the signing of Michael Valiante.  The Canadian-born racer will co-drive the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley with John Pew.

Valiante brings an impressive racing resume to the effort, having raced to championships from the very start of his karting career before moving up the formula car ladder to Atlantic and Champ Car competition. Valiante made his first Daytona Prototype start in 2005, and competed full-time in the Rolex Sports Car Series starting in 2006.

“As a driver, you want to be involved with a team that is willing to put in the effort that it takes to win, and that is definitely the case with Michael Shank Racing,” said Valiante. “Their shop is incredible, and their on-track record speaks for itself. I’ve known Mike (Shank) since the Atlantic days, and I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with John (Pew), and the Riley-Ford is a proven package. The team has shown for several years that it is a winning organization, and I’m hoping to be a part of even more success for this team this season.”

Read more & Comment...

Penske to field 2nd DP in Rolex 24
Penske Racing will field a second Daytona Prototype, while Childress-Howard Motorsports will test for the first time at Daytona International Speedway next week during a two-day test for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Penske Racing and Childress-Howard Motorsports will be joined by many of the Rolex Series veteran teams among the 18 Daytona Prototypes and 19 GT entries entered for the Tuesday and Wednesday test, Nov. 11-12, in preparation for the season-opening 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Testing will include a Tuesday evening session running until 7:30 p.m. The sessions will be open to the public, and fans are able to view testing from the Sprint FANZONE with a $10 Daytona 500 Experience track tour-only ticket. Fans who have already purchased tickets to the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona will be admitted free.

Read more & Comment...

Dyson splits with Porsche
Dyson Racing has announced that with the end of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, it will be concluding its partnership with Porsche Motorsport and Porsche Motorsport North America. For the 2007 and 2008 race seasons, Dyson Racing campaigned two Porsche RS Spyders in the Series’ LMP2 class, successfully assisting Porsche in winning back-to-back manufacturer championships.

“There is no more competitive and interesting series in racing today than the American Le Mans Series,” noted Team Principal Rob Dyson. “Competing at the highest levels of sports car racing with Porsche and their historical pedigree has been an invigorating experience for our whole organization. We have enjoyed working with Porsche and their people here in the States and over in Germany. Their help in putting together a new car in less than five days after our crash at Lime Rock this year will always stand in our minds as a singular display of their dedication.”

Read more & Comment...

2009 Atlantic schedule
The 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda schedule unveiled today represents a substantial departure from previous Atlantic schedules but will bring the series to many new and important markets.

The 11-weekend schedule features five venues that hosted the series in 2008, four venues that hosted Atlantic events at some point in the past and two facilities that will feature Atlantic Championship competition for the first time. Owing to the series being sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), seven weekends will be shared with the American Le Mans Series. The Atlantic Championship will be the featured attraction on three other weekends and the 2009 series will get underway in March alongside the new Green Prix USA in Savannah, Ga. Green Prix USA is owned by Ben Johnston, who also recently completed his purchase of Atlantic Racing Series, LLC.

Read more & Comment...

Photos of IndyCar and Indy Lights banquet
A link has been added to the feature article of the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights awards banquet of photos from the event.


Forums down
Our discussion Forums are currently down.  We are working to rectify the problem.  We apologize for the inconvenience.


Toyota to start winter test season in Bahrain
(GMM)  Unlike most other formula one teams, Toyota is to kick off its winter test program outside of Europe.

According to the Dutch portal f1today.nl, the Cologne based team does not intend to travel to Barcelona later this month for the first major group test of the post-season period.

Instead, it seems the Japanese team will hold off until mid December, when on the 10th, 11th and 12th of the month it will have exclusive use of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Toyota's Bahrain test, to take place at the scene of the island Kingdom's annual formula one race, will continue for three more days between 15 and 17 December, f1today.nl added.


Ferrari saved Hamilton from madness - Montezemolo
(GMM)  Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo on Thursday could not resist a jocular jibe at the outcome of the 2008 world champion.

At Interlagos last Sunday, the Italian team's Felipe Massa missed winning the drivers' title by a single point, and for a few corners of the slow-down lap much of the entire racing world thought he actually was champion.

Championship victory for the Brazilian would have been an extraordinary against-the-odds outcome, after Hamilton entered the decisive race with a commanding 7-point victory.

Montezemolo said of Massa's near-feat: "We managed to save Hamilton from being sent to the psychiatric ward."

In New York, he was addressing Ferrari's ranks by phone as Maranello stages its end-of-season party.

At the team's Italian base, boss Stefano Domenicali hailed Ferrari's less prestigious 2008 constructors' championship, and said key reliability failures and mistakes cost Massa the drivers' crown.

He said of Hamilton and McLaren: "They were really strong and earned what they achieved."


Racism no joke, Hamilton tells Ecclestone
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has issued a quick-fire response to Bernie Ecclestone's claim that recent incidents of apparent racism were over-the-top jokes.

"I don't particularly think it was a joke," the 23-year-old, who last Sunday became F1's youngest ever and also first black world champion in history, said on Thursday at the launch of the new Blackberry Storm phone at the Vodafone store on Oxford Street (London).

Hamilton was referring to a test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya earlier this year, when fans of Spaniard Fernando Alonso blacked out their faces and wore t-shirts scrawled with 'Hamilton's family'.

"It's something that happened in the past and going forward all that is important to me is that I know I have lots of fans, especially here in the UK," the Briton said.

"As long as I have my country behind me it makes me very proud."

He did not want to specifically take issue with Ecclestone's remarks, given he had not read them himself.

"I'm sure whatever he said was a positive thing," said Hamilton.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hamilton 'not arrogant' - boss
  • India confirms 2011 GP delay
  • McLaren to launch 2009 car in January
  • F1 racism claims 'nonsense' - Ecclestone
  • Rossi to test Ferrari at Mugello

Hamilton 'not arrogant' - boss
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's boss has defended the new world champion in the face of claims he is "arrogant".

Many observers acclaim the 23-year-old McLaren driver's talent, but insist his overconfidence is less appealing.

But Ron Dennis, head of the McLaren-Mercedes team, does not agree: "People say Lewis is aggressive, that he's arrogant, but he is not.  Definitely not.

"He wants to win and, sometimes, people see that positivity as arrogance -- but they're wrong," he told The Sun.

"He is a remarkably level-headed young man and you have to remember he is still maturing," Dennis said.

At a celebratory homecoming at McLaren's Woking headquarters this week, Hamilton reiterated his promise to see out his career with the silver-clad team.

Amid his soaring stock, however, some observers find it hard to believe the Briton could forever resist the lure of Ferrari.

"It's easy," Hamilton answered.  "I'm with the team I've always dreamed of being with and, if you have the car of your dreams, why would you leave?

"The day I get in the car and don't have the motivation, maybe that's the time to get out.  But I want to see my career out with this team," he said.

India confirms 2011 GP delay
(GMM)  Indian grand prix promoter Suresh Kalmadi has confirmed the country's inaugural formula one race has been delayed until 2011.

Bernie Ecclestone said recently New Delhi is not now slated to join the calendar until "probably" a year after its originally scheduled 2010 debut.

"Formula one will be held in India in 2011.  Bernie (is) working on this plan," Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), is quoted by Indian media as saying.

When asked for the reason for the delay, he answered: "I don't know."

The IOA signed a reportedly ten year grand prix deal in June last year, with a circuit to be designed by Hermann Tilke.

Read more & Comment...

More hybrid cars coming
Consumers are about to lose two choices from the range of hybrid vehicles on sale, but three more of the fuel-efficient models will hit the market shortly.

The hybrid Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango, which just went on sale, are casualties of Chrysler's decision to close its Newark, Del., assembly plant Dec. 31.

Hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are to debut this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Fusion and Milan get the latest version of Ford's hybrid system. It has smaller and lighter batteries that can power the midsize sedans in all-electric mode at an unprecedented 47 m.p.h.

A new version of the Saturn Vue hybrid -- with the two-mode system GM developed for its full-size SUVs and pickups -- should score EPA ratings of 28 m.p.g. in the city and 31 m.p.g. on the highway when it goes on sale shortly.

More hybrids arrive in 2009, including the new Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.


BMW Review of the season 2008
Mission accomplished.

The highlight of the season for BMW was Kubica's win in Canada
In a Formula One season full of surprises, the BMW Sauber F1 Team was a model of consistency. As if setting out to reinforce the popular stereotypes of German thoroughness and Swiss precision, the young team swept through 2008 without a single technical retirement and notched up by far the most race laps and fastest pit stops of any team.

The BMW Sauber F1.08 racers were not only reliable, they also proved their mettle in performance terms. The highlights of the season were the one-two finish in Canada when Robert Kubica took the checkered flag ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld a year after crashing heavily at the Montreal track, Kubica's pole position in Bahrain and two fastest race laps courtesy of Heidfeld (Malaysia and Germany). Together, the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers collected eleven podium trophies in what was the team's third season on the grid - up from two in 2007.

Read more & Comment...

Ferrari: Proud to be World Champion
It's time to celebrate the World Champion. Today the conclusive event of the Prancing Horse's motorsports season - the "Ferrari Days" - started at Mugello. In the after noon the Scuderia met at the "Nuova Logistica" department to celebrate the 16th Constructors' World Title, the eight in the last decade. "I want to congratulate you all for what you have done this year: we earned this Title, because we never gave up," Stefano Domenicali told the Scuderia's men and women of the team.

"It's was a complicated season, where many things happened, but we always knew how to react. I remember that last summer we asked you for another effort as far as your work was concerned to try to reconquer the leadership in terms of performance: we made it and I have to acknowledge that. We had the best possible car and all credit belongs to you."

Furthermore Domenicali wanted to thank two people: Luca di Montezemolo and Jean Todt: "Our President was always close to us and he always supported us. He asked us eight out of ten at the end of last year and we made it. Todt, who had a new role this year, followed us step by step, helping us with his experience and his knowledge. I can assure you that in this position the pressure is really high and it's important for me to know that they support me and that I can count on your work and your passion."

Read more & Comment...

Raikkonen: Ferrari won again!
The season is over and this is the verdict: Ferrari won again! The last race was a mirror for the Championship. We were really strong and we gained an excellent result, but not the perfect one. The most important thing is that the Team gained the Constructors' World Title; the most realistic goal we could reach in this last race. It's a very important result for all who work for or are part of the world of Ferrari: the people from the Scuderia, our partners, and more above all Stefano Domenicali, during his first year as Team Principal. It's also a little victory for me, at the end of a difficult and complicated season. It's good to win after such a year; it shows how united the Team has been and that we have fought right until the end. My hopes ended up in smoke at Spa and Monza. From then on I tried to gain as many points as possible for the Team and I tried to understand how to improve things for the next year.

I want to congratulate Lewis Hamilton. He gained more points than any other driver and the one who's leading the standings earns the title. It doesn't make sense to think of the "ifs" and "buts"; that only makes you feel worse and it won't change anything anyway. I'm sorry for Felipe: the situation last year was very similar and things went our way; this year it went the other way. It was a season our fans will remember for a long time. Now it's time to relax and to celebrate together with our supporters at Mugello another win of the Constructors' Title. Then we'll think about our holidays, to charge the batteries for the 2009 season. The last season didn't go as I wanted. It started very well, but then there were too many negative moments. We made some mistakes, as did our competitors. But we paid a higher price for them, we couldn't make up and I was out of the title race too early.

But this is already part of the past. Next year we'll be back to win again. There will be new rules and many things will change. So it's difficult to say how it will look like in 2009. But I think that we'll be competitive again. Whenever there were changes Ferrari usually managed to adapt to them faster as all the others. We have to wait and see what our capacities will be and we can reach in the next Championships.

tv news

Jimmie Johnson to be guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno UPDATE A reminder that Jimmie Johnson will be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight.

11/02/08 Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR driver, Hendrick Motorsports, will be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this Thursday night, November 6.  The Tonight Show airs at 11:35 pm - 12:35 am in most time zones on NBC.  Check local listings for your time zone.


McLaren working to keep Hamilton on top
Lewis Hamilton's reign as Formula One world champion is less than a week old but McLaren boss Ron Dennis has already revealed plans to keep him at the top of the sport are making good progress.

Hamilton made a triumphant return to the McLaren Technology Centre at Woking yesterday less than 24 hours after flying in from Brazil where he clinched the title in the final Grand Prix of the season.

"As always, the roundabout doesn't stop with the world championship," said Dennis.

"We are really well advanced in our new car and we will announce the car in the latter part of January."

Read more & Comment...

Domenicali backing for Raikkonen
At the end of a season in which Kimi Raikkonen failed to mount a substantial defense of his world championship, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has backed the Finn to bounce back in a similar way to Valentino Rossi did in Moto GP.

"I think for sure this year was a difficult year for him," Domenicali said. "But he is happy because we won together as a team. And he is looking forward to starting again, because for sure this is not the one that he knows."

"I already said that a lot of people were talking last season about Valentino Rossi being finished this year, and he has actually done a lot," he added. "So I am expecting the same kind of approach in 2009."


F1 Testing ahead
No sooner has one F1 season ended than we are looking ahead to the next. In fact, the F1 teams will be back in action in just a couple of weeks time as winter testing begins in Barcelona from the 17th to the 19th of November. Mind you, preparations for 2009 started a long time ago, and with the biggest shake-up in the sport’s technical regulations (including KERS) in years, the teams know that there is a busy winter of hard work ahead.


Delphi Continues with Hendrick Motorsports & JR Motorsports
Delphi announced that it will continue its major associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor for seven Nationwide Series races with JR Motorsports next year. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for one Nationwide Series race with driver Tony Stewart in the #5 Delphi Chevy fielded by JR Motorsports. Additionally, Delphi will be the primary sponsor for Brad Keselowski in the JR Motorsports #88 Chevrolet for six Nationwide races in 2009. The race details will be announced in the near future. Delphi also will be an associate sponsor of all 2008 Hendrick Motorsports 2009 Spring Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2009 season, including four-time Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, two-time defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. For more information about Delphi's involvement in motorsports, visit www.delphi.com/about/motorsports

Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review