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DATE News (chronologically)
11/19/08
f1

Ecclestone answers angry Canadian F1 fans
Bernie essentially tells Montreal to pay his demands or pound sand
The head of Formula One racing has a retort for a city so infuriated with him that a leading newspaper carried an editorial cartoon Wednesday that depicts him being tortured.

Bernie Ecclestone says he isn't greedy.

The F1 czar told a Montreal radio station that he loves the city, that he hopes its popular annual race will return there and that his cash demands have been fair.

He scoffed when an interviewer for CJAD asked whether his demand - reportedly $175 million over five years, plus advertising and attendance revenues - was unreasonable.

Ecclestone said many other places around the world pay far more to host the race. He said the offer to Montreal was actually a steal, compared with what others pay.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay had called it unreasonable.

Read more & Comment...
11/19/08
alms

First test of BMW for Rahal team
Rahal BMW
BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team got its first “meet and greet” with the new BMW M3 on Wednesday at Road Atlanta, a chilly day that saw the North American debut of BMW’s newest GT2 challenger. Jörg Müller, the 2001 GT champion in the American Le Mans Series with BMW Motorsport, had most of the seat time Wednesday in the brand-new, freshly liveried M3.

Among those on hand for the two-day test is Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal, no stranger to Road Atlanta or the American Le Mans Series. Rahal Letterman fielded a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in GT2 during the 2007 season, and Rahal himself is eager to begin this new chapter.

“It’s a great relationship between Rahal Letterman and BMW North America,” Rahal said. “Sports car racing is where I got my start so there were a lot of emotional reasons for being involved but there also were a variety of business-related reasons as well.

Read more & Comment...
11/19/08
irl

Six IndyCar Series drivers earn AARWBA All-America nominations
Six IndyCar Series drivers are on the ballot for the Auto Racing All-America team, which will be voted on by more than 300 members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Two nominees from each of seven categories will be named to the first team, to be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet Jan. 10 in Ontario, Calif. The winner of the Jerry Titus Award, which honors the top vote-getter regardless of category -- also will be announced.

Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe is a first-time nominee in the open-wheel racing category. Former Jerry Titus Award winners Dan Wheldon (2005) and Tony Kanaan (2004) also are on the ballot, along with IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon, series championship runner-up Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick.

Read more & Comment...
11/19/08
fil

Genoa Indy Lights hosts Open House at Homestead-Miami
Genoa Indy Lights has yet to test its Firestone Indy Lights cars, but the team is moving forward with plans to return to the series with two cars in 2009. The team, which has won Firestone Indy Lights events with drivers Ryan Hampton (2002) and Thiago Medeiros (2003), will hold an Open House at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 in conjunction with testing activities by several other teams.

The Open House will be attended by current and prospective drivers and will display Genoa Indy Lights cars.

"By the very nature of this developmental series, the current crop of drivers may be unaware of our championship legacy," said Thomas Knapp, who helped Greg Ray win the IndyCar Series title in 1999 and will serve as Genoa Indy Lights general manager and chief engineer. "It is very important to re-introduce ourselves to the current and future participants. With cars that have been on pole at Indy and ran up front throughout 2007, and with Genoa’s 30 years of championship-winning performance, we’re obviously proud of where we’re at, and we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to show it off a bit.”

Firestone Indy Lights veteran C.R. Crews has taken a driver development position with the team and is working with Knapp and team president Mark Olson as Genoa Indy Lights secures its driver lineup.

“Facing a long winter off-season, most of the other teams have packed it in for the year," said Crews. "The top drivers are all in Florida this weekend to determine who has the resources to put them on the top of the box. We certainly have the equipment, personnel, and commitment to compete with the premier teams in the league, and we’re excited to demonstrate it at Homestead.”

Comment
11/19/08
fil

Firestone Indy Lights modify engine for 2009
Firestone Indy Lights engines will undergo a modification for 2009. The 90-degree crankshaft used in the engines since the series' inception in 2002 has been changed to a 180-degree crankshaft.

"We primarily made the change to make the car sound more like they have single-seater racing engines," said Roger Bailey, executive director of Firestone Indy Lights. "The change will help the car's performance as well. It doesn't really change the horsepower, but the drivers will see an improvement in the power-band in the mid-range. And that will help our cars get off the corner better."

"From the outward appearance, there won't be any changes to the motor," said Speedway Engine Development’s Jeff Gordon, Firestone Indy Lights program manager. "The noticeable difference is the sound the engine makes is more similar to the IndyCar Series engine.

"Our goal is to make the engines the same so they are not a factor in any way. Our goal is be reliable and consistent and make the teams forget about the engines."

So far the modified engine has been both reliable and consistent.

"It pulls more off the corners," said Richard Antinucci, the 2008 series runner-up who tested recently with the new spec engine. "And it's a lot quieter in the cockpit. I was pleasantly surprised by that."

Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which ran the crankshaft during test sessions throughout the 2008 season, and Panther Racing have taken delivery of the engines utilizing the new crankshaft. The remainder of Firestone Indy Lights teams will have access to them when the holiday testing break ends in January.

Comment
11/19/08
alms
lmes

ACO announces 2009 LeMans regulations
The 2009 set of regulations defined by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has already come out; it contains the technical regulations for all entrants in the LM P1 and LM P2 prototype categories and LM GT1 and LM GT2 grand touring car categories.  This year it is accompanied by the initial measures adopted for the 2011 season regulations.
 
All races run under the Le Mans label in 2009 (Le Mans 24 Hours, American Le Mans Series in the USA and the Le Mans Series in Europe) will be governed by a single set of ACO regulations. This is why it is so important to publish them well before the first events of the 2009 season so that the entrants can prepare their cars according to the technical specification.  These regulations include the guidelines announced by the ACO at the Silverstone press conference on 13th September: level playing field, safety, cost reductions and sustainable development.  It consists of 5 documents: LM P1 and LM P2 technical regulations, LM GT1 technical regulations, LM GT2 technical regulations, supplementary technical regulations and sporting regulations.

The main outlines of the 2011 regulations

The technical definitions for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours concern 4 precise points:

  1. LM P1 and LM P2 engines: reduction of power, and cubic capacity reduction in LM P1 (diesel, 3.7-litre twin turbo 8 cylinders maximum instead of 5.5 liters, petrol, normally aspirated 3.4-litre 8 cylinders maximum instead of 6 liters, petrol, 2.0-litre turbo 6 cylinders instead of 4.0 liters), in LM P2 (diesel, 4.0-litre turbo 8 cylinders, petrol, 4.0 liters prepared on the basis of 2010 GT2, petrol, 4.5-litre series production). The minimum weight in LM P1 remains at 900 kgs and is increased from 825 to 900 kgs in LM P2
  2. Hybrid systems aimed at reducing fuel consumption (free development in compliance with precise rules).
  3. Fuel tank capacities (75 liters instead of 90 liters for petrol engines, and 68 liters instead of 81 liters for diesels)
  4. Wheel dimensions unchanged in relation to the 2009 regulations).

2009 specifications
11/18/2008
Sporting Regulations 2009
11/18/2008
"Le Mans" Prototype - "LM"P1 & "LM"P2
11/18/2008
"Le Mans" Grand Touring "LM"GT1
11/18/2008
"Le Mans" Grand Touring "LM"GT2
11/18/2008
Appendix A, B and C

Comment
11/19/08
f1

Barcelona Test Day 3: Vettel again fastest UPDATE Bruno had his opportunity for a full day of running today. His focus during the morning was to establish a good baseline set-up. However traffic frustrated his new tire runs. Bruno continued to work on improving the car in the afternoon, completing two further new tire runs and setting consistent lap times.

"Today has been a really good day and I'm very pleased. I've become a lot more comfortable and confident in the car and I think that showed in the lap time, both in the actual time and also the consistency. We found some good set-ups and we were able to make a lot of progress through the day. Whether what I did today is good enough is for the team to decide now and I respect that. But for me personally, for my first time in a Formula One car, I have to be happy with what I achieved today. Driving a Formula One car is a very special feeling and it is very easy to know why it is the pinnacle of motorsport. It's very different to anything else you can drive and I just wanted to go faster and faster. Aside from the hard work and focus here this week I have really enjoyed myself. The Honda team are very professional and I am proud to have spent the time with them during this very special week for me."

11/19/08 The two Red Bull teams again topped the testing timesheets in Barcelona Wednesday with Sebastian Vettel again on top in his Red Bull car 0.6 seconds ahead of the Red Bull sponsored Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais.

Bourdais beat Sebastien Buemi, one of his two rivals for an STR seat next year (Sato also), by 0.3 seconds as the Swiss GP2 front-runner completed the top three.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett was fourth in his KERS-equipped car, ahead of Honda's Jenson Button and BMW Sauber duo Christian Klien and Nick Heidfeld.  Klien was also using a KERS device.

Wednesday's times:

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.295 75
2. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:19.839 122
3. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.154 115
4. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.140 81
5. Button Honda 1:21.387 94
6. Klien BMW Sauber 1:21.534 88
7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.592 106
8. Senna Honda 1:21.676 107
9. Piquet Renault 1:22.148 94
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota 1:22.410 52
11. Badoer Ferrari 1:22.866 120
12. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:23.086 93
13. de la Rosa Force India-Ferrari 1:23.103 88

Comment
11/19/08
nnw
tv news

ESPN2's Nationwide Series Ratings Up for 2008
NASCAR Nationwide Series Season Ends on High Ratings Note; ESPN2’s Ratings Up for 2008

A season of improved ratings and viewership for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on ESPN2 ended on a high note this past weekend as the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway delivered a 1.6 household coverage rating, an increase of 33 percent from the 1.2 rating for last year’s race that also aired on ESPN2.

ESPN2’s coverage of 23 NASCAR Nationwide Series races during the 2008 season averaged a 1.5 rating, a seven percent gain from last year’s 1.4 average. The coverage also saw a double-digit increase in the Males 25-54 demographic, averaging 1.3 vs. 1.1 last year.

The event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in which Clint Bowyer wrapped up the series championship, averaged 2,096,644 viewers, up 38 percent from last year’s telecast.

Live NASCAR racing returned to the ESPN networks in 2007 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series immediately became ESPN2’s highest-rated series.

ESPN2 airs highlights of the NASCAR Nationwide Series awards banquet on Sunday, Nov. 30, at noon ET.

NASCAR Season Reviews Air Sunday on ESPN2

The recently-completed NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series seasons will be reviewed in a pair of half-hour special programs airing Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Sprint Cup season review program airs first, followed at 1:30 p.m. by the Nationwide Series review.

ESPN and ABC aired the final 17 races of the Sprint Cup season, while ESPN2 was the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season.

Comment
11/19/08
irl

IndyCar Series 2008 TV Exposure
Target, the primary sponsor of 2008 Indy Racing League Indycar Series Champion Scott Dixon and his teammate Dan Wheldon, secured $16 million of exposure value during race broadcasts this past season, more than twice the amount of the next most successful team sponsor, Motorola.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which specializes in measuring sponsorships across all forms of media — Target’s name and/or logo was monitored for four hours, 31 minutes, five seconds (4:31:05), while the retail brand was also referenced verbally on 166 occasions during 2008 race telecasts appearing on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. One way Joyce Julius determines exposure value is by comparing the in-broadcast time and audio mentions garnered to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during the telecasts.

In-broadcast exposure accrued during ABC’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 last May, which incidentally was won by Dixon, accounted for 40.1% ($6.4 million) of Target’s finally tally. On average, the Series’ top-10 exposure earning team sponsors secured 53.2% of the year’s TV exposure from the Indy 500 coverage.

In comparison, Motorola, one of the main brands backing Danica Patrick, collected $6.9 million throughout 2008, with nearly 70% of its season-ending amount having originated from the Indianapolis 500 telecast.

Top Team Related Brand Exposure Results:

Rank / Brand

Exposure Time Verbal Mentions Exposure Value % From Indy 500
1) Target 4:31:05 166 $16,055,725 40.1%
2) Motorola 1:30:56 9 6,922,865 69.5%
3) 7-Eleven 1:16:29 36 4,736,105 46.1%
4) GoDaddy.com 0:49:37 0 4,735,120 77.4%
5) McDonald's 1:08:48 35 4,633,720 43.4%
6) XM Sat. Radio 0:51:32 0 4,423,530 76.2%
7) Ethanol 1:01:38 22 3,728,860 36.6%
8) Mobil 1 1:01:26 0 3,072,435 32.3%
9) AirTran 0:27:17 0 2,945,510 78.9%
10) Delphi 0:33:35 31 2,907,015 56.6%

Comment
11/19/08
f1

Schumi tells Rubens "you simply were too slow"
At Ferrari about the only time Barrichello won a race was when Schumacher gifted him one out of pity, as he did at Indy
Michael Schumacher has responded to former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello's threat to one day reveal the 'truth' of their time together at Ferrari, insisting the Brazilian was never quick enough to be number one.

Michael Schumacher has responded to suggestions made by former Formula 1 teammate Rubens Barrichello that a lot more went on at Ferrari during their time together than met the eye by insisting that the Brazilian simply wasn't quick enough to be number one.

Last week Barrichello hinted that 'the public does not know even half of the story about what I experienced with Ferrari', adding that 'perhaps they will be able to read the truth one day in a book.'

Read more & Comment...
11/19/08
f1

Webber's adventure race kicks off
(GMM)  Australian formula one driver Mark Webber on Wednesday set off on the latest edition of his annual outdoor adventure race.

The 31-year-old, renowned as an outdoor fitness enthusiast, was among a field of 70 in his fourth five-day mountain biking, kayaking and trekking challenge in the Australian island state of Tasmania.

"I really enjoy seeing people from all different backgrounds using this event to challenge themselves, initially thinking they won't get through, but they always do," the Red Bull driver said.

The first leg of the challenge involved kayaking in the picturesque Cradle Mountain region, before they trek to the summit and then climb aboard mountain bikes.

By Sunday, as the challenge finishes in the capital Hobart, they will have covered a total of 280 kilometers.

Comment
11/19/08
f1

UK stamps to honor Hamilton title
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's world championship will be immortalized with a set of British postage stamps.

The Times newspaper reports that the UK's national postal service is planning to honor the 23-year-old's achievement with the stamps in the new year.

A Royal Mail spokesman would not confirm the news, but he admitted: "It is certainly an idea which is under consideration."

Earlier this year, Finland's postal service similarly honored its 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, in the form of a commemorative stamp set.

Comment
11/19/08
f1

Kubica agrees modified BMW ugly
Most do not like the look of the 2009 wings on the F1 cars
(GMM)  Robert Kubica agrees with his BMW-Sauber colleague Christian Klien about the dubious aesthetics of the 2009-style aerodynamic rules.

Klien, the Swiss based team's Austrian test driver, said at Barcelona this week that the modified F1.08 is the "worst formula one car I have ever seen".

Also referring to the 2008 car, whose rear and front wings now conform to the new regulations for next year, BMW race driver Kubica added: "We definitely all agree that the appearance of the cars is not really the best."

To the German broadcaster RTL, however, he highlights a positive in the fact that "I can now see much more out of the mirrors".

Opinions as to whether the 2009 rules will improve overtaking are mixed, but Klien believes the very wide front wings may complicate the jostle for position at the start of grands prix.

He said racers will have to be careful not to "knock off the front wing at the first corner".

Comment
11/19/08
f1

Di Grassi plays down Brazil-Honda link
(GMM)  Lucas di Grassi has played down the role his nationality could play in his selection for a Honda race seat in 2009.

Like countrymen Bruno Senna and Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian is in the running to race with the Japanese team next year.

Earlier this year, it was suggested that the Brazilian oil firm Petrobras wanted a local driver to complement its arrival as a Honda sponsor in 2009.

24-year-old di Grassi, who finished third behind Senna in this year's GP2 championship, played down the link.

"It has nothing to do with nationality, but I am proud that so many Brazilians are fighting for a seat," he is quoted as saying by Formule 1 Race Report.

"Bruno and I were offered this test because of how we performed in GP2," di Grassi insisted.

Comment
11/19/08
f1

Di Resta wants 2009 F1 debut
Paul di Resta
(GMM)  Paul di Resta has set out his goal of lining up on the 2009 formula one grid.

The McLaren and Mercedes-backed Scot narrowly missed securing this year's DTM title, and has been linked with one of the Mercedes-powered Force India seats for 2009.

McLaren's Ron Dennis recently confirmed that the organization’s target is to bring the 22-year-old - who is managed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony - into formula one.

Another year in DTM, however, or perhaps a graduation to GP2, were believed the most likely scenarios for di Resta for next year, despite his recent McLaren tests.

But di Resta, whose cousin is Dario Franchitti, said: "What I want to do now is be on the formula one grid in 2009 to race head-to-head against Lewis.

"Lewis has made it, and so too has Vettel, who I beat comfortably to the Euro F3 championship in 2006.

"If they can do it, I certainly know I can too.  Now we just have to see what happens for next season."

Comment
11/18/08
nassprint

Pemberton leaves MWR for Red Bull
After asking for his release, #44 crew chief Ryan Pemberton is expected to reunite with his friend and former boss Jay Frye at Team Red Bull. Pemberton, 39, spent this year working with David Reutimann and the #44 Toyota after weathering the MB2 Motorsports buyout and the Ginn Racing/Dale Earnhardt Inc. merger last fall. The Pemberton-led crew won the pole at Homestead, but finished 20th on Sunday. Pemberton's official position has yet to be determined. FoxSports

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11/18/08
nassprint

Parrott leaves Yates
Todd Parrott, a second-generation racer with more than two decades of racing experience, was released from Yates Racing after leading the #28 Ford and driver Travis Kvapil to a 23rd-place finish in the point standings. FoxSports

Comment
11/18/08
nassprint

Yates announces Paul Menard
Yates Racing is pleased to announce Paul Menard as the driver of the No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion in 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.  Following his first full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Menard finished 26th in the point standings, while earning his first career pole at Daytona International Speedway and his first career top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway.   

"I’m really looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life with Yates Racing and behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford Fusion,” said Menard.  “The No. 98 has been to victory lane 25 times, many times with Marvin Panch and Lee Roy Yarbrough. It’s exciting to be starting with Max (Jones) and Doug (Yates), and having Larry Carter on the box making the calls.  I’ve seen how solid the Roush/Yates engine program has been over the years and I know we can have a really good season in the No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion.”

Helping Menard make the transition to Yates Racing and Ford Motor Company will be veteran crew chief Larry Carter.  Carter comes to Yates Racing from Roush Fenway Racing, where in 2008 he helped Jamie McMurray earn four top five and 11 top-10 finishes.  Prior to working with McMurray, Carter worked with veteran driver Rusty Wallace in his final season of Sprint Cup racing. 

Yates Racing co-owner Max Jones is pleased with the addition of the No. 98 to the team's racing stable. “Paul is a focused and determined young man. His efforts combined with the strength and compatibility of our sponsor partners, and with Ford, will take him to new levels,” Jones said.

Comment
11/18/08
nascar

ISC lays off 50 employees
International Speedway Corp. has laid off about 50 employees company-wide a spokesman said.  Some of those cuts came at ISC, Daytona International Speedway and Americrown, spokesman Wes Harris told the Daytona Beach News Journal.

"The last thing we wanted to do is lay off even one person," Harris said. "But we have a great business model, and we want to make sure we stay in a strong financial position."

Comment
11/18/08
ga

Honda Engine Approved For Grand-Am Rolex Series
Margraf Racing, working in conjunction with Comptech USA, has successfully completed the approval process of a Honda engine for use in Daytona Prototypes of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.  The Honda engine is a production based 24 valve, DOHC V6, displacing 3.9 liters.

A lengthy development process to ensure the balance of performance and reliability for endurance racing was spearheaded by Bill Margraf of Margraf Racing, Inc. and the engine development team at Comptech USA.

Bill Margraf is very excited about the potential of the Honda engine.  “It took a little longer than we had hoped, but it was worth the wait”, said Margraf. “The Honda engine showed very well on the dyno. We are now seeking a long term partner to work with so we can get the engine package on the track.”

Comment
11/18/08
irl

APEX-Brasil to be official IRL Ethanol Supplier
In an effort to communicate the many options in which ethanol can be produced and to enhance its position as a global commodity, the IndyCar Series -- which has been at the forefront of the greening of racing and embraced renewable fuels since 2006 -- has announced a partnership with APEX-Brasil making the trade promotion agency the official ethanol supplier to the IndyCar Series beginning with the 2009 season.

The multi-year deal names APEX-Brasil an official partner of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500, which includes cooperation from UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) to identify those interested in supplying ethanol to the series. Initially, UNICA will look to partner with a U.S.-based ethanol company to supply the IndyCar Series with corn-based ethanol.

One of the primary messages of the new partnership is that regardless of the sources used in the production of ethanol - corn, sugarcane, or various cellulosic materials in the future - the end product is identical, a clean, renewable bio-fuel that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and combats one of the major causes of climate change.

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11/18/08
nassprint

Wood Brothers lay off 25 people
Wood Brothers Racing has downsized its Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series operations [supposedly 25 people] effective immediately. The Wood Brothers expect to continue the 58-year tradition of the #21 Ford when racing resumes in February. "This economic downturn has been tough on everyone and racing is not immune," team owner Eddie Wood said. "What we're experiencing now is a dramatic correction but we will be geared up for the 51st running of the Daytona 500. We will be racing in 2009. We're just not sure what that schedule looks like at this time. We're going to do whatever is necessary to survive." FoxSports

Comment
11/18/08
a1gp

A1GP R3 Preview – Sepang, Malaysia
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – The 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport remains in the Far East this weekend, following a successful debut visit to China’s Chengdu International Circuit two weeks ago, with Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit hosting A1GP for the fourth consecutive season with Round 3, Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd November.
TW Steel, the ‘Official Watch and Timing Partner’ of A1GP, will again be pro-active on-site with the Malaysian leg of the ‘Miss TW Steel’ competition – the Malaysian winner going on to face nine other national winners from around the globe in the grand finale at Brands Hatch in England in May 2009.  ‘Miss TW Steel 2008-09’ will not only have the honor of the title but she’ll also collect $25,000 in prize money and receive a photo-shoot with a leading lifestyle magazine.
TW Steel will also be showcasing and selling product at the Sepang International Circuit with the TW Steel A1GP watch range expected to be a ‘must have’ item for race fans.  Based on the successful TECH collection and launched at the start of the A1GP season at Zandvoort last month, the three TW Steel A1GP models have proved to be extremely popular – not least with the A1GP drivers.

Read more & Comment...
11/18/08
f1

Vettel leads Barcelona test on day two
Sebastian Vettel topped the test times on the second day of testing at Barcelona.

The German driver led four Red Bull cars, his plus the three Toro Rossos that finished behind Vettel.

The Red Bull Racing driver lapped the Spanish track in less than 80 seconds, posting a best time of 1:19.751 to outpace Sato, quickest yesterday, by nearly four tenths.

Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi proved the battle for the 2009 Toro Rosso seats is a tight one, finishing right behind Sato.

"I have really enjoyed the test and it was great to be back in the car," said Sato. "The last test in September was a little disappointing, because I could do only 3 hours, as it rained in the afternoon.

"But this test has been great - I have now done my first full day's driving in 7 months and completed a total of 200 laps. The car has worked really well and felt great to drive.

"I enjoyed working with the team and it was very interesting for me to see how the engineers work. It was a great experience and chance for me and so I would like to say a big thanks to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz, as well as to the Scuderia Toro Rosso team."

Tuesday Times

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.751 70
2. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.017 79
3. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.034 48
4. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.223 99
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.340 31
6. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:21.521 76
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.525 113
8. Button Honda 1:21.770 110
9. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:22.073 58
10. di Grassi Honda 1:22.283 110
11. Piquet Renault 1:22.348 85
12. Badoer Ferrari 1:22.425 127
13. Gene Ferrari 1:22.772 31
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:22.945 81
15. van der Garde Renault 1:23.250 37
16. de la Rosa Force India-Ferrari 1:23.499 86

Comment
11/18/08
nassprint

Mainstream media thinks Edwards or Martin won NASCAR Cup title UPDATE #2 Wonders never cease.  They finally got it right!  The Live with Regis and Kelly website has now changed Mark Martin's photo to show Jimmie Johnson instead.

11/18/08 The Live with Regis and Kelly Guest Guide has been corrected to list Jimmie Johnson as the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion instead of Carl Edwards, but now they are showing a photo of Mark Martin.  Stay tuned.......

11/18/08 Look who the Live with Regis and Kelly show is showing for their guest as the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion this morning.  Jimmie Johnson is going to be very disappointed to learn this news!

Comment
11/18/08
f1

New look F1 cars for 2009 UPDATE (GMM)  Test driver Christian Klien has issued a damning appraisal of the appearance of F1's cars of 2009.

Observers had already raised their eyebrows when Williams recently tested a car fitted with a rear wing that conformed to next year's radical aerodynamic rule changes.

The towering, skinny and basic look is back in action at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this week, and BMW-Sauber's interim offering is complete with a wide and flat 2009-style front wing.

"It's a sexy car isn't it?" BMW's Klien joked to reporters after driving the modified F1.08.

"As it is at the moment it's the worst formula one car I have ever seen.  It doesn't seem like it fits, all the big wings and everything.

"But everyone will get used to it and it's not how it will look in March."

Complete with a KERS system and slick tires, however, the car was more competitive than its aesthetics suggest, Klien said.

"It actually drives quite nice, the lap times are already quite good as you saw," he explained.  "The high speed (sections) is a bit trickier but the slick tires give a lot more grip at slower speeds."

11/17/08 These photos of the BMW team running 2009 aerodynamics in testing at Barcelona today gives you some idea what the F1 cars will look like in 2009.

Comment
11/18/08
superleague

Beijing sets sights on premiership glory
Beijing Guoan’s Davide Rigon will have a host of local Spanish stars hot on his heals as his Chinese club is just one round away from premiership glory in the inaugural Superleague Formula championship.

Beijing holds a handy lead heading into the final 2008 event at Jerez in southern Spain next weekend – 59 points separating them from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven with Liverpool FC only a further three points adrift.

Going into the final round, only Beijing, PSV, Liverpool and AC Milan are in contention to claim the championship crown

With 50 points up for grabs for each race win, Beijing can see the finish line – but will still have to complete a solid weekend in Spain to claim the crown.

Read more & Comment...
11/18/08
f1

Force India sees 2009 chassis delayed UPDATE (GMM)  It is likely that this week's three day test at Barcelona will be Force India's last track action of 2008.

Despite the newly announced deal with McLaren and Mercedes, the Silverstone based team is running at the Spanish venue this week with its customer Ferrari engines.

Barcelona, however, looks certain to be the last joint outing for Force India and Ferrari, and the small team does not intend to build an expensive 'interim' version of its 2008 car to accommodate the different installation of Mercedes' V8 power plant.

A team official told motorsport-total.com that because the Force India-McLaren deal was finalized only recently, designers are now hard at work on the 2009 configuration.

"We are building a completely new car around the (Mercedes) engine," the official said, predicting that it will probably not be ready to be tested until February.

11/17/08 It is going to be a difficult winter for the men in Silverstone working at Force India. The team will not be able to complete any days on track in December as the team's 2009 chassis won't be ready until the end of January or perhaps even February.

Force India is currently in Barcelona with the other F1 teams to complete a three-day test at the Spanish track. It will be the team's final test with the Ferrari engine and the last test for a while as a team spokesperson confirmed to GPUpdate.net. He said: "The McLaren deal is such a last minute deal that we have to build a completely new car around their engine and unfortunately we don't expect it to be finished any time soon. We'll probably be back on track in February."

The winter test sessions are going to be crucial for the upcoming season as there are a number of large changes in the Formula One regulations. Especially the aerodynamics of the cars will undergo major changes.

Comment
11/18/08
f1

Brundle confirms TV switch to BBC
(GMM)  Martin Brundle has confirmed he will continue to call formula one races for British television in 2009.

When the former grand prix driver retired at the end of 1996, he moved into the commentary booth with the independent broadcaster ITV.

The exclusive F1 television rights in Britain, however, have changed hands to the BBC for 2009 and beyond, but the award-winning 49-year-old Brundle was tipped to also move from ITV.

He confirmed the news as he addressed the Autocar Awards in London on Monday night.

"I'm delighted to be able to tell you all that I'll be joining the BBC next year," the Briton, who raced in F1 with McLaren, Williams, Jordan and others, said.

"I've been commentating on F1 for the past dozen years and I briefly considered calling it a day, but in the end I decided to take up the BBC's offer and I am now very excited about working for them next year," Brundle added.

Comment
11/18/08
f1

De la Rosa to test Force India in Spain
Pedro de la Rosa
(GMM)  McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa will test with the Force India team on Tuesday and Wednesday at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The Silverstone based team's 2008 car in Spain is still being powered by a Ferrari engine, but a major technical collaboration for next year and beyond was recently concluded with McLaren-Mercedes.

Force India is yet to officially announce its race driver lineup for next year, despite team boss Vijay Mallya's declarations that Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella will be staying in 2009.

However, Mallya subsequently admitted that he will from now on take McLaren's advice in all areas, including drivers.

De la Rosa, 37, is a veteran of more than 70 races, and despite fulfilling the role of McLaren's primary test and reserve driver for several years, harbors a desire to return to the grid.

The news of de la Rosa's two-day Force India test was reported widely in the Spanish press, including in the sports newspaper Marca, as well as Diario AS, El Pais and El Mundo, and by the news agencies EFE and Europa Press.

The Spaniard is already in Barcelona, where on Monday he tested McLaren's KERS-equipped hybrid 2008 car, the newly-named MP4-23K.

On Monday he also met with Force India officials, where the details of his test were discussed, including which sponsors will be displayed on his car, helmet and overalls.

Comment
11/17/08
f1
roc

ROC engages Hamilton for publicity help
Chris Hoy (L) and Lewis Hamilton (R) will face off

Britain’s two most successful racers from 2008 – Lewis Hamilton and Chris Hoy – will go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium next month, as the youngest ever Formula One World Champion takes on Britain’s triple Olympic gold medal winner as part of the entertainment package that will run alongside The Race of Champions on Sunday, December 14.

On a parallel track, Hamilton will take to the seat of a Mercedes-Benz road car, while Hoy takes to the saddle of a bike. Starting side-by-side on a tight and twisty course which is alien to both machines, the two stars will race around the circuit in the ultimate test of man and machine. Hamilton and Hoy’s head-to-head chase will be the highlight of the pre- show entertainment, running before The ROC Nations Cup begins. Hamilton will also perform a demonstration run in his championship- winning Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

Comment
11/17/08
tv news
NASSprint

Jimmie Johnson to be guest on Live with Regis and Kelly show UPDATE A reminder that this show will be aired tomorrow morning, Tuesday, November 18, in most time zones.

11/16/08
Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson, the newly crowned 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Tuesday, November 18.

The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Please check your local listings for your time zone.

Comment
11/17/08
a1gp
irl

Marco Andretti expects to improve in A1GP
Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti's internal clock was wound way too tight when I caught up with the Andretti Green Racing driver in New York late last week. The 21-year-old was combating time zone malaise.

Andretti recently had arrived from competing in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports event in China and carried an airline ticket (fortunate as a navigation reference if anything) in his pocket for Miami for a few days of R&R. On Nov. 18, it's off to the next round of competition in Malaysia.

Andretti will finish out the A1GP calendar in the Team USA car, which is an in-house Andretti Green Racing production. Blair Pershbacher is the engineer and Dave Popielarz is the chief mechanic.

"We went in pretty cold turkey, so we weren't familiar with the cars at all," said Andretti, who advanced seven positions to finish eighth in the feature in his debut in Chengdu, China. "Obviously we're learning and should be able to take the things we learned in China and make improvements this time out.

"We just need time with it, but on the other hand we need to start showing results. We can't just be driving race cars; we need to be winning races. We need to make something happen."

Team USA is 12th in the standings after two rounds, with Sepang, Malaysia, on the schedule for this weekend. Charlie Kimball drove in the opener (10th in the feature and eighth in the spring race) at Zandvoort, Netherlands.

"It's driving, which is the best training," said Andretti, who finished seventh in the 2008 IndyCar Series championship. "It keeps you fresh and sharp, and that way you don't show up at St. Pete and everything seems fast and you're trying to knock cobwebs off at the first race weekend. It's a lot of seat time and it's a fun car to drive. Ours will be fun when we get it working." Indycar.com

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11/17/08
f1

Senna gets first F1 test
Honda returned to the test track today just two weeks after the 2008 season finale in Brazil as the Formula One teams travelled to the familiar testing venue of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona to commence preparations for the 2009 season.

The three-day test will see the Honda team run two programs. Alex Wurz and Jenson Button will focus on the development of the 2009 car whilst the team also evaluates young Brazilians Lucas Di Grassi and Bruno Senna.

Wurz kicked off the main test program evaluating various aerodynamic components for next season and running the Bridgestone Potenza slick tires. Button will take over the car tomorrow to complete the final two days of the test.

Di Grassi was the first of the 'young drivers' to complete his half-day familiarization program this morning. He went out for an initial run on grooved tires to acclimatize to the car before the team fitted used slicks for the remainder of the session. After lunch, Senna took to the track for his first ever drive in a Formula One car. He followed the same program as Di Grassi, starting on grooved tires before moving to used slick tires midway through the session.

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11/17/08
f1

Lauda: BMW will be even stronger next year
Former F1 Champ Niki Lauda reckons BMW can give McLaren and Ferrari a run for the titles in next year's Championship.

BMW started the 2008 Championship in strong form, claiming four podium finishes in the opening six races. However, it was in Canada where the team really came to the fore with Robert Kubica winning the grand prix ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld.

The team's solid results continued with Kubica firmly in the running for the Drivers' title before BMW's performances started to falter as they failed to match the development rate of rivals McLaren and Ferrari.

The team eventually finished third in the Constructors' Championship on 135 points while Kubica was fourth in the Drivers' standings.

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11/17/08
nassprint

Stewart named NASCAR Illustrated person of the year
Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart was named the NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year presented by Old Spice in a prerace ceremony at the Ford 400.

NASCAR Illustrated chose to honor Stewart because of his charitable interests and the generosity of the Tony Stewart Foundation. Through his non-profit foundation, Stewart has twice donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and has given over $4 million in total since starting the foundation in 2003.

Stewart joins a list of previous recipients including Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace.

Stewart is the cover subject of the December 2008 issue of NASCAR Illustrated, which is available on newsstands across the country.

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11/17/08
fil

Westphal Tests Indy Lights Car With Andersen Racing
Sebring International Raceway was the site of the one day test for Jeff Westphal in the RLR Andersen Indy Lights Machine. "I was extremely excited coming into this test.  When Dan Andersen gave me the call about testing with his Indy Lights program, I immediately went to work logistically trying to get everything nailed down."

The 450 horsepower V8 was a hurdle that Westphal quickly and effectively cleared. Coming from his background in a 4 cylinder 150 horsepower F2000 car, he had the right approach by methodically picking up the pace and asking more of the Dallara chassis as the day progressed.  By the end of the day, Westphal posted a time on par to that of many drivers that had tested with the team in the past. "I know I could get more out of the car with a bit more seat time, the differences in weight, wheelbase, down force and horsepower demanded a different approach that I feel like I have grasped, but you can always go a bit faster and find a little more time. The engineers were instrumental with their feedback and use of data to work with me on specific tasks as the day progressed."

The 22 year old Californian was the 2008 Pacific F2000 Champion, also setting a new win record in the series with 9 out of the 12 races.  He had 8 poles and 8 fastest laps of the race to add to the outstanding year.  "Dan and John Andersen have a great program going right now.  The ideas and opportunities they bring to the table are going to be just what the racing industry will need in the next couple of years, mainly with their in-house driver development ladder that is in place.  It is a one stop shop for moving forward with your development as a driver!"

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11/17/08
irl
karting

Kanaan claims eighth Granja Viana title
Tony Kanaan teamed with Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Giaffone, Renato Russian and Luciano Burti Nov. 15 to win the Granja Viana 500 - a 500-mile kart race in Sao Paulo, Brazil - for the eighth time in its 12 years.

The event, held at the Giaffone family's venue, featured 65 karts. IndyCar Series drivers Vitor Meira, Mario Moraes and Raphael Matos also competed. A second Kanaan kart included co-drivers Cristiano da Matta and Antonio Pizzonia.

"Each time I win, I feel a different emotion," said Kanaan, who finished third in the 2008 IndyCar Series championship with Andretti Green Racing. "The team was very dedicated during the race, and in the end this helped us to win the trophy. This is my eighth victory, and I have a great history with this race that I can tell my son about.

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11/17/08
f1

Sato leads opening day of testing in Barcelona UPDATE Final test times for the day:

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.763 121
2. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.071 117
3. Wurz Honda 1:21.198 77
4. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.417 65
5. Badoer Ferrari 1:22.038 93
6. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.235 47
7. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:22.341 56
8. Loeb Red Bull-Renault 1:22.503 82
9. Piquet Renault 1:22.560 80
10. Klien BMW-Sauber 1:22.883 53
11. Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota 1:23.467 116
12. Liuzzi Force India-Ferrari 1:23.794 86
13. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:23.832 88
14. Gene Ferrari 1:24.117 32
15. Senna Honda 1:24.343 39
16. van der Garde Renault 1:24.908 27
17. di Grassi Honda 1:25.512 48

Today the BMW Sauber F1 Team carried out testing with two F1.08B interim cars featuring a modified 2008 chassis with some of the bodywork complying to the 2009 regulations. In addition, Christian Klien’s car was fitted with BMW’s own KERS device. During the first of three test days in Barcelona the team’s main goal was to collect data in preparation for the 2009 season. Both drivers tried different mechanical and aerodynamic solutions as well as sampling first impressions of the 2009 slick tires.

“We are gaining more and more experience with the KERS system,” commented Klien, “but we still have a lot of work to do to fine-tune the system.”

Ferrari also had two cars on track, both running wings to simulate 2009 downforce levels. Luca Badoer's car also simulated carrying the extra weight of the KERS system.

11/17/08 Formula One stepped into a new era this morning as testing for the new-look 2009 season got underway in Barcelona. Today marked the first time the 2009 interim cars have been seen in public, with only BMW Sauber and Williams running with 2009-spec aerodynamics. All other teams tested with cars featuring 2008-spec wings.

As we reported last week, Bridgestone have slick tires and their grooved counterparts available to the teams this week, and although the majority of running has been completed on slicks this morning in Spain, a number of teams and drivers have opted for the grooves. As a result times from this week's test will be meaningless just because one driver or another is fastest will mean nothing.

A total of 16 drivers took to the track during the morning, with Toyota being the only team absent. In the battle for the open Toro Rosso seat Sato is ahead of Buemi so far.

Unofficial morning times from Barcelona
1. Takuma Sato (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) - 1:20.763, 58 laps
2. Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) - 1:21.071, 61 laps
3. Alexander Wurz (Honda) - 1:21.198, 38 laps
4. Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1:21.417, 29 laps
5. Gary Paffett (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1:22.289, 23 laps
6. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber-BMW) - 1:22.899, 36 laps
7. Nelson Piquet Jr. (Renault) - 1:23.386, 51 laps
8. Luca Badoer (Ferrari) - 1:23.515, 40 laps
9. Christian Klien (BMW Sauber-BMW) - 1:23.685, 25 laps
10. Nico Hülkenberg (Williams-Toyota) - 1:23.757, 64 laps
11. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Ferrari) - 1:23.852, 44 laps
12. Sébastien Loeb (Red Bull-Renault) - 1:24.044, 44 laps
13. Marc Gene (Ferrari) - 1:24.521, 10 laps
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India-Ferrari) - 1:25.344, 41 laps
15. Lucas Di Grassi (Honda) - 1:25.512, 48 laps
16. Giedo van der Garde (Renault) - 1:26.968, 8 laps

Comment
11/17/08
fil

Prendeville Joins Team Moore Racing for 2009
Team Moore Racing (TMR) announced today that Chatham, N.J. native and current Las Vegas resident Andrew Prendeville will drive the Xtreme Coil Drilling machine for TMR in the Firestone Indy Lights Series in 2009.

"We are excited to have Andrew join our team," said Tom Wood, TMR co-owner.  "He has great skills as a driver, and with our top-flight racing team, we think that will be a winning combination in '09.  Watching him race last year, Andrew is a winner."

Prendeville will be entering his third season of Firestone Indy Lights competition.  The 27-year-old has compiled an impressive racing resume, including seven top 10s in his 12 starts during 2008 while running for RLR/Andersen Racing.

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11/17/08
alms

RLR announces Auberlen and Hand As Drivers For New ALMS Program
BMW of North America, LLC and Rahal Letterman Racing have named Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand as the first two drivers of the new M3s for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team in the 2009 American Le Mans Series. In choosing Auberlen and Hand, BMW of North America has picked two of the most successful BMW drivers in the world and two of the most familiar names to M3 racing fans here in North America.

Auberlen, 40, of Redondo Beach, CA first drove for BMW of North America in 1996 when he joined the previous M3 racing program, then in its second year of competition. Auberlen would go on to become the team’s most successful driver, winning driver titles in both 1997 and 2004. When he takes the green flag at Sebring International Raceway for the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21, Auberlen will have the distinction of having raced every generation of BMW M3 campaigned by BMW of North America.

Hand, 29, of Sacramento, CA joined the previous M3 racing program in 2004 and raced through the 2006 season. Coming from a background in open wheel racing, Hand quickly adapted to the M3 and endurance racing. He drove to five wins and 17 podium finishes for BMW of North America in three seasons, many of those races partnered with Auberlen. 

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11/17/08
a1gp

A1GP Prepares for Sepang
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads to Malaysia this weekend for round three of the 2008/09 Season on 21 – 23 November, with home favorite Fairuz Fauzy looking to keep his team top of the leader board at the Sepang International Circuit.

A1 Team Malaysia is the first nation in A1GP history to head to its home event leading the series. Fauzy will be looking to give the crowds something to cheer about by repeating his first round success in Zandvoort and make it back onto the top step of the podium on home soil.

“After such a brilliant start to the season at Zandvoort the pressure was on to stay at the front and leaving China with the lead has given me a big confidence boost,” said Fauzy. “I’m delighted A1 Team Malaysia has put its faith in me and given me the chance to compete for my country in my home race.”

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11/17/08
f1

F1's new era kick starts in Spain
(GMM)  Fifteen days after formula one engines fell silent at the checkered flag of the 2008 season finale, post-season testing on Monday got underway at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The first half of the day was an insight into the future of the category, with BMW-Sauber using full 2009-specification front and rear wings, in the hands of Christian Klien and Robert Kubica.

The hybrid F1.08 single seater looked radically different to its specification at Interlagos just two weeks ago.

All the winglets and aerodynamic finesse have gone, the nose has become fatter, and the long, flat and basic front wing harks back to decades past.

The Williams used by Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg also featured a high, thin 2009 rear wing, while McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa evaluated Bridgestone's slicks.

Bruno Senna watched from the pits, as his fellow contender for the Honda race seat Lucas di Grassi circulated in an RA108.

Takuma Sato and Sebastien Buemi were both on track for Toro Rosso, and multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb began his full day's test in a Red Bull.

Every team except Toyota is running this week at the Spanish venue.

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11/17/08
gp2

Pantano helps develop the GP2 car
Updates in 2009 for GP2 car
GP2 Series
The GP2 Series concluded its development program for 2009 with Giorgio Pantano at the wheel.

GP2's technical staff remained in Paul Ricard last Thursday and Friday to continue its winter development program in preparation for the new season, with the 2008 GP2 Series Champion Giorgio Pantano on driving duty for the two days.

The main goal was to validate the 2009 upgrade kit, and more precisely to work on the new clutch reliability. In mild and sunny conditions Giorgio was able to complete 104 laps (400 kms) without any problem.

Didier Perrin, GP2 Series Technical director commented: "We enjoyed a trouble-free session and are very satisfied with the clutch in particular: I believe both the teams and the drivers will enjoy its input. It was a real pleasure to benefit from Giorgio's expertise and experience. He is not only able to run fast laps one after the other with impressive regularity, but he can also analyze with great finesse the behavior of the car. His feedback allowed us to gather precious data that will help us work on strategies and on adapting the clutch to the engine."

Giorgio Pantano said: "The test went really well, and we were able to complete a great number of laps without any problem, and the car proved to be both competitive and consistent. I am really grateful to have been given the opportunity to help develop the car: The GP2 Series will always be a very important part of my career, and I am glad to help them."

Comment
11/17/08
automotive

GM to sell stake in Suzuki
General Motors Corp., a struggling U.S. automaker, will sell its entire stake in Suzuki Motor Corp. for 22.37 billion yen ($230 million) to raise cash, the Japanese company said today.  Suzuki said it would buy back a 3.02 percent stake from the American auto giant, which is seeking a $25 billion government lifeline, together with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, to weather the deepening economic crisis.

Hit by the worst sales slump in more than 25 years and frozen credit, GM has warned that it might not survive through year's end without the U.S. government's financial support.

Suzuki said GM's stake sale was necessary for the ailing American automaker to raise capital, but the Japanese company insisted it would continue a business partnership with GM.

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11/17/08
automotive

Dealers try to hold on as Big 3 drama plays out
General Motors Corp. dealer Bill Shotwell tried something new last month at the North Carolina State Fair.

Just past the vendors selling deep-fried Snickers bars, wedged between the Kiddieland Fun Park and the livestock exhibit, he created a mini-showroom with a full line of Saturn models. The Raleigh dealer thought the novel approach might snag some customers.

About 5,000 people an hour filed past the Sky sports car. "The common phrase from people was 'That's a Saturn?' " Shotwell said. He may have changed some perceptions about Saturn, but it takes more than creative marketing to turn admirers into buyers these days. Shotwell hasn't been able to make his 100-vehicles-a-month sales target.

Like dealers around the country, he's caught in the weakest U.S. auto market since 1983. Detroit's Big Three have taken the brunt of the sales slide all year, and the situation worsened this month after GM and Ford Motor Co. reported dismal third-quarter earnings and GM said it could run out of money early next year, sparking fears of bankruptcy.

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11/17/08
nhra

Pedregon adds win to championship
Cruz Pedregon probably has never experienced a day quite like he did on Sunday at the 44th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season finale at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona where he not only clinched his second career NHRA POWERade Funny Car world championship but did so in convincing fashion by winning the event, his third straight to end the season.

A trio of drivers who finished in second place in their classes – Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Chris Rivas (Pro Stock Motorcycle) -- enjoyed some retribution for falling just short by punching home wins at the season finale. Rivas earned second place by defeating newly crowned champ Eddie Krawiec in the final round while Dixon downed Rod Fuller and Anderson beat red-lighting Kurt Johnson.

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11/17/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ecclestone slammed as Canada GP rescue fails
  • Walker questions BBC's F1 return
  • Barrichello wins Brazilian kart race
  • Police catch Panis doing 212kmh in Ferrari
  • NASCAR stops F1 test for Kyle Busch
  • Schu says Ferrari treated Rubens fairly
  • Protesters say no to Disneyland Paris GP
  • Alonso to test new Renault in late January
  • Alonso rubbishes Glock conspiracy theory

Ecclestone slammed as Canada GP rescue fails
(GMM)  Organizers of the axed Canadian grand prix have slammed F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone as "unreasonable" and "unrealistic", after their efforts to rescue the race for 2009 failed.

In a statement and with a press conference on Sunday, they confirmed that Ecclestone turned down a package to reinstate the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on next year's calendar.

"The unreasonable demands of formula one exceeded the taxpayer's ability to pay," Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay commented.

Quebec government minister Raymond Bachand added: "We cannot meet Mr. Ecclestone's unworkable demands.

"Unless he eases his requirements and adopts a different approach, there will be no grand prix in Montreal in 2009."

Bachand also said Ecclestone's multi-million dollar demands were "unrealistic".

In the information released publicly on Sunday, the organizers revealed the precise monetary demands contained in Ecclestone's final contract offer, including the need for a government or bank guarantee of $175m over five years.

"Ultimately, no private promoter expressed interest in taking on such a great risk, considering the limited revenue generated by the event," the Canadian officials said.

When faced with a counter-offer, Ecclestone "refused to budge", they added.

"Faced with this intransigence, he was presented with an enhanced proposal for the 2009 edition, but Mr. Ecclestone would not alter his position," the statement explained.

In the accompanying press conference, the officials were no less scathing of the diminutive 78-year-old billionaire, but the door to a return in 2010 was left open.

"After 2009, there may be another round of negotiations," Bachand said.

Walker questions BBC's F1 return
(GMM)  Despite headlining the British broadcaster's coverage for years, retired commentator Murray Walker is unsure formula one's return to the BBC is the right move.

Walker, 85, called races for the BBC until 1996, when he - and the British television broadcast rights - switched to the independent channel ITV.

From 2009, however, F1 is returning to the public broadcaster -- a move Murray Walker, who retired in 2001, openly questions.

"ITV devoted a lot more time to formula one than the BBC ever did and they did an absolutely superb job," he told The Independent newspaper.

"They will have a hard furrow to plough to even match the ITV coverage," Walker added.

He suggested that the BBC did not commit "the right people and facilities" to their last F1 foray.

"They didn't appreciate how important it was.  ITV spent a great deal on those rights and they made the most of them.

"They devoted a lot more time than the BBC ever did."

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11/16/08
racing news

Quotes of the Week
"The future looks very complicated with these new regulations. We feel introducing KERS this year was already a mistake, even though we're supportive of F1 being a technology proving ground. However, the energy recovery systems for our race cars will be very different from road car systems. The costs are very high. We've studied proposals with FOTA to meet the FIA's fair requests regarding spending cuts and the engine costs should be halved next year compared with 2008." Luca di Montezemolo, President, Ferrari

"For two years I've had a Concorde Agreement available for them to sign, but the problem is they have so many smart-arses in the teams -- doctors, lawyers, masseurs ..." Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

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11/16/08
nassprint

Johnson Adds His Name To List Of Legends
In becoming only the second driver to win three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, Jimmie Johnson joins an exclusive list of sports legends. Cale Yarborough is the only other driver to win three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships in a row (1976-78).

The New York Yankees were the last Major League Baseball team to win three straight, from 1998-2000. The Los Angeles Lakers were the most recent NBA team to do it, from 2000-02. The last NFL team to win three consecutive championships was the Green Bay Packers (1965-67).

Like other championship-winning greats, Johnson once again thrived in playoff pressure. During this season’s 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Johnson had three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s, an average finish of 5.7 and a Driver Rating of 116.2. Below are his Chase statistics from all three championship winning years:

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11/16/08
a1gp

A1GP boss denies financial woes
Australian A1 Grand Prix boss Alan Jones has slammed 'malicious' rumors the A1 Grand Prix is in a shaky financial state.

Mr. Jones, who heads A1 Team Australia, hit back at media reports which claimed the open-wheel event had hit 'another stumbling block'.

"It upsets me when I read these false headlines," said Mr. Jones.

"They say we've stalled again but I would dispute that and ask when have we ever 'stalled'."

Mr. Jones said the reports had falsely identified British firm RAB Capital as the owner of A1GP and suggested the company's losses in the global financial crisis would harm the future of the fledgling sport.

The British investment management company reportedly paid $200 million in December last year to buy an 80 per cent stake in the A1GP racing series from Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al-Maktoum of Dubai's royal family.

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11/16/08
f1
irl

Canadian GP dead for good, opens door for IndyCar
Canadian officials blamed the 'unreasonable demands' of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday for the failure of attempts to save the country's grand prix.

The officials had hoped to persuade the Briton to reinstate the race in Montreal after it was axed from the calendar, leaving North America without a grand prix for the first time in 50 years.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, who said last month after meeting Ecclestone that he was hopeful a deal could be done, recognized that the talks had come to nothing.

"Despite our endeavors and those of the business community, the unreasonable demands of Formula One exceeded the taxpayer's ability to pay," he said in a statement on the city's website (www.ville.montreal.qc.ca).

The statement said Ecclestone had made a final contract offer on October 28 demanding that an eventual promoter put up a government or bank guarantee of some $175 million over the next five years.

It said no private promoter was willing to take on such a level of risk, considering the limited revenue generated by the event.

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11/16/08
alms

Dindo Capello beats Valentino Rossi
Audi sports car driver Dindo Capello has once again proved that he is also a good rally driver: The Le Mans winner won the Rally di Monza at the wheel of a World Rally Car together with co-driver Luigi Pirollo. The Audi factory driver beat none other that Motor GP World Champion Valentino Rossi in the process.

Comment
11/16/08
nhra

NHRA Finals: Coughlin clinches Pro Stock title
Jeg Coughlin raced to his second consecutive and fourth NHRA Pro Stock world championship title Saturday by qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

He joins Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) as a 2008 POWERade Series champ as Countdown to 1 battles in Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be settled during Sunday’s final eliminations at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Coughlin, who advanced to three finals during the six-race playoffs in his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt, needed only to qualify at this event to lock up the series title.

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11/16/08
track news

5 titles could be decided at Homestead in 2009
Clint Bowyer's crew hustles to service his No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet at Homestead.  Bowyer won the Nationwide title before a rather sparse crowd
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
MIAMI—In a historic first for motorsports, Homestead-Miami Speedway will host five world-class motorsports championships in 2009, as the IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series join the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series Championships. In doing so, Homestead-Miami will become the first speedway ever to host all of the premier North American motorsports championships.

Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the site of the 2009 IndyCar and Grand-Am finales on Oct. 10, and NASCAR’s series-crowning Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 20-22.

“This is a moment on par with any announcement in recent motorsports history,” said Homestead- Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “Because this is more than a South Florida celebration; this is international motorsports history. As host to the championship finales of the IndyCar Series, Grand-Am and NASCAR, Homestead-Miami Speedway is irrefutably THE Championship Track.” Homestead-Miami Speedway shares a rich partnership with both the IndyCar and Grand-Am Series, as IndyCar opened its season in South Florida for seven years running (2002-2008), and Grand-Am has run at Homestead-Miami since 2000—the series’ inaugural season.

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11/16/08
nassprint

Waltrip suggests more NASCAR changes
Three-time champion Darrell Waltrip says NASCAR needs to make several changes -- other than the test ban for 2009 -- to help the sport. One major change he would make is with the schedule.

”You’ve got to get the season shortened up, so we’re not competing against the NFL," Waltrip said of the fall portion of the schedule. “I firmly believe this would help TV ratings and it would also give us an offseason."

”I’d race on New Year’s Eve,’’ he said. “I’d go to Fontana. I could pack the joint. I’d have a race that afternoon, and I would have fireworks that night. People would love that.

”I’d race on Super Bowl Sunday. We could start the race at 1 o’clock like we used to, everybody is at home and parties are going on for the Super Bowl, plus I get to watch a race."

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11/16/08
f1

Honda's winter testing preview
The 2008 Formula One season may have reached its thrilling conclusion at the Brazilian Grand Prix but the Honda Racing F1 Team has some busy weeks ahead as winter testing gets underway.

Just two weeks after the race at Interlagos, the Honda Racing F1 Team will kick off its on-track preparations for 2009 with a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona commencing on Monday 17 November.

Jenson Button and Alex Wurz will complete the main test program focusing on the key areas of technical change which will be introduced for the new season. The pair will use a modified RA108 chassis to complete an initial evaluation of various 2009 aerodynamic parts and run the Bridgestone slick tires which replace the current grooved tires.

Joining the Honda Racing F1 Team in Barcelona will be young Brazilians Lucas Di Grassi and Bruno Senna as the team takes the opportunity to evaluate the two 2008 GP2 Series title contenders.

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11/16/08
nassprint

Info, questions about the DEI/Ganassi merger
On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced they were “launching a combination of racing operations” for 2009, collectively planning to race four cars in 2008. According to a press release issued by the two teams, Martin Truex Jr. will drive the #1 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next season, Aric Almirola will drive the #8, Juan Pablo Montoya the #42 and a driver to be named later will pilot the #41.

Left unsaid were almost all the important details:

• What brand of cars the teams will campaign? (Chevy of course - Dodges too slow)
• Whether Ganassi’s crew will supply engines or whether Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will. (DEI of course - they have Chevy experience)
• Whether the team will be run out of DEI’s shops in Mooresville, N.C. or Ganassi’s complex in Concord, N.C.
• Who will be in charge and which executives will remain from the two teams?
• Who will sponsor the #8, which has no announced sponsors or the #41, which has sponsorship for only half the season?
• And, most importantly, whether Teresa Earnhardt or Chip Ganassi has the final say in the operation of the newly merged organization. (God help the team if Teresa is still in charge)

Apparently, most of those questions remain to be sorted out. While it is expected that the new entity will, in fact, campaign Chevrolets, sources close to the situation insist that the two parties have not yet worked out many of the critical details in the agreement. So why announce it now if it isn’t sorted out? Sources say that DEI’s deal with Bass Pro Shops requires the team to field a minimum of three teams and that if it fails to do so, the sponsor could walk. And in this brutal economy, losing yet another sponsor is the last thing DEI could afford, figuratively or literally. Ford Racing

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11/16/08
f1

Bahrain's F1 Grand Prix 'a success story'
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has praised Bahrain and its annual hosting of an F1 Grand Prix as "a fantastic success story".

Ecclestone said that the kingdom has "an exciting state-of-the-art set-up", and he now expects the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to be just as successful.

"I have moved our sport into areas some people thought would never work. Bahrain is one, and a fantastic success story that is, and there is Abu Dhabi to come at the end of next year," Ecclestone was quoted as saying in an interview published in Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News.

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11/16/08
nassprint

Yarborough will not be at Homestead on Sunday
Cale Yarborough won't be on hand to see Johnson potentially tie his record of three consecutive titles on NASCAR's premier series. An invitation was extended to Yarborough, who had a conflict with another appearance, according to NASCAR. Yarborough won titles from 1976-78. NASCAR.com

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11/16/08
nassprint

Roush: No plans to build test track
Back in the day, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush had contemplated building his own test track. On Saturday, the day after NASCAR had announced that it was banning all testing on the tracks it sanctions, Roush was asked if he had revived the idea. “I have neither the money nor the inclination to build a test track,” Roush said. Roush also said he has no intention of circumventing NASCAR’s ban. “If we could organize a situation where all the established teams could hold hands and resolve not to test outside of the NASCAR mandated or approved testing, not go to the skid pads, not go to Canada, not go to Pikes Peak or any of the places they are checking on,” he said, “I’d be happier with that than to skirt around.” Roush said, however, that if other teams started skirting, he would be forced to as well. Kansas City Star

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11/16/08
nassprint

Jim Beam back with Robby Gordon in 2009
Jim Beam will be back with Gordon
Jim Beam plans on returning as a primary sponsor for the majority of Sprint Cup races with #7-Robby Gordon next year as he visited with the company's distributors annual conference a couple of weeks ago and was introduced as the 2009 driver. Neither side will comment until the contract is signed and becomes official. The sponsorship should put Gordon in good shape for the 2009 season. He already had confirmed that he had renewed his sponsorship from Menards. SceneDaily

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11/16/08
f1

Alonso 'proud' to top British poll
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he is "really proud" to have been voted the best formula one driver of 2008 by readers of a British newspaper.

Despite the fact that the Briton Lewis Hamilton broke Alonso's record as the youngest ever world champion this year, and following the pair's poisonous relationship in 2007, it was the Spaniard who took the checkered flag on The Times' ranking.

The 27-year-old Renault driver's minor victory made international headlines, and he was asked about the accolade by the Spanish press.

"To be recognized for your work in your own country is one thing," he is quoted as saying by El Mundo, "but from somewhere else it makes me really proud."

Alonso also clarified reports that he may vacation until the beginning of 2009, revealing he plans to test at Jerez in December.

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11/16/08
f1

Rosberg says 2009 Williams' last chance
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has issued a clear ultimatum to his British F1 employer Williams -- give me a competitive car, or lose me for 2010.

The German driver was one of the most exciting rising talents on the grid a couple of years ago, but in 2008 his Grove-built single seater was good enough to propel him to just thirteenth in the drivers' championship.

And given that next year is his fourth consecutive season with the former world champions, he insists 2009 is Williams' last chance to retain him.

When asked when he will make up his mind about 2010 and beyond, Rosberg told Formule 1 Race Report: "By the middle of the coming season.

"If Williams are still not there, then I will have to think about somewhere else.  I have to think of my own career.

"There are other options for me, but if I wait for too long, those doors obviously close."

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11/16/08
f1

Barrichello to miss first Honda test
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello's fading chances of keeping his Honda seat for 2009 have receded yet further.

The Japanese team has announced a full complement of four drivers for its first test of the 2009 post-season in Barcelona next week -- and the most experienced racer in grand prix history will not be among them.

The respective race and test regulars Jenson Button and Alex Wurz will be running in Spain, Honda announced, as will GP2 drivers Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi, who are in the running to take Barrichello's place next year.

Button and Wurz will be at the wheel of a modified 2008 car, featuring slick tires and some 2009 components, while Senna and di Grassi complete their shootout in a regular RA108.

Senna and di Grassi, both Brazilians, will each test for one and a half days.

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11/16/08
tv news
NASSprint

Waltrip, Berggren and 2008 Sprint Cup Champ guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that the 2008 Sprint Cup Champion will be the featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight.  The newly crowned champion will be joined by Darrell Waltrip and Dick Berggren live via satellite.

11/10/08 The 2008 Sprint CUP Champion will be the featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday, November 16.  More than likely, that champ will be Jimmie Johnson, who would become only the second driver in NASCAR history to win three consecutive CUP titles.

FOX Sports NASCAR analyst and 3-time CUP Champion, Darrell Waltrip, along with Dick Berggren, FOX Sports NASCAR reporter and executive editor of Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated, will be live via satellite on Wind Tunnel.  They will re-cap the 2008 NASCAR season and help Dave Despain interview the new CUP champion.

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

Comment
11/16/08
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Sunday
NASCAR Now
 
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
Tradin' Paint Homestead-Miami 
10:30am-11:00am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Performance Homestead-Miami 
11:00am-11:30am (R) SPEED
NHRA Raceday Pomona 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Homestead-Miami 
11:30am-12:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Homestead-Miami 
12:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford 400 Homestead-Miami
3:00pm-3:45pm (L) -Pre-race
3:45pm-8:00pm (L) -Race ABC
Formula Drift Series Las Vegas 
4:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
Atlantic Championship Highlights 
5:00pm-5:30pm Laguna Seca (5/18/08)
5:30pm-6:00pm Edmonton (7/25/08) SPEED
The SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Pomona
7:00pm-10:00pm (SD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Homestead-Miami 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Darrell Waltrip (NASCAR)
Dick Berggren (NASCAR Reporter)
2008 Sprint Cup Champion 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now 
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
The SPEED Report -Homestead Wrap-up 
10:00pm-11:00pm SPEED

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11/15/08
nnw

Edwards wins Homestead Nationwide race
Ford driver Carl Edwards captured his 20th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and first at Homestead Miami Speedway Saturday night.

The Homestead Miami Speedway win was the ninth for Ford in 2008 and is Edwards' seventh victory of 2008.

Quotes

CARL EDWARDS - No. 60 Save-a-Lot Ford Fusion - (finished 1st, qualified 2nd)

THERE WAS A LATE RESTART AND YOU HELD OFF KYLE BUSCH FOR THE WIN. "That is a great win. To be able to hold off 18 [Kyle Busch] as strong as they are. That was a good race. I had a really good time. Congratulations to Clint and those guys. He is a class act. It is no good to finish second in the championship, but I know he will be a good champion for Nationwide. If I have to get beat by somebody a dirt racer from Imporia, Kansas is the best guy to get beat by. I just want to thank Save-a-Lot, Scotts, World Financial Group, Under Armor, Ford Motor Company and especially the fans for showing up in such great numbers for these Nationwide events."

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE BATTLE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR? "One of the neatest things about this series and about the championship is that it is different from the Cup Series in that it is all season. It is not tonight that determined this championship. We will be back next year and I hope Clint comes back and races with us, that would be fun. The great thing is I think we have a lot to look forward to. We have a great team both here and on the Cup side. There is no shame in giving a hundred-percent effort and finishing second. That was the best we could do."

Full report to follow on Home Page.

Comment
11/15/08
automotive

Honda poised to gain USA market share
Honda has never bought into big V8s, they never bought into body-on-frame pickups such as the ridiculous gas guzzling Ford F-250.  Some Americans have low self-esteem and when they sit up high in their gas guzzling bloat-boxes it makes them feel like "big shots."
Honda is planning to hold an official dedication ceremony Monday at a new Civic plant in Greensburg, Ind., which will put even more pressure on domestic automakers who are rushing to produce more of their own small cars.

Although fuel prices have backed off from the historic highs of the summer, analysts say consumer demand for small cars is here to stay. Domestic automakers have filled their pipelines with plans to develop compact cars, but many of those plans aren't expected to bear fruit until 2010.

Honda, in contrast, put production changes in motion that will be completed next year. Honda began producing Civics at its Greensburg plant in October and by sometime next year plans to ramp up to a production rate of 200,000 annually. Eventually, Honda expects to be capable of delivering 50,000 Civics each month.

"Honda has never bought into big V8s, they never bought into body-on-frame pickups, and the Civic has always been a bread-and-butter model for them," said Paul Seredynski, executive editor of Edmunds.com. "Any facility that gives you the ability to produce more of your fuel-efficient models and one of your best-selling models cannot be a bad thing."

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11/15/08
f1

Honda's winter testing preview
The race season may have ended but the Honda Racing F1 Team has some busy weeks ahead as winter testing gets underway. Just two weeks after the thrilling conclusion to the 2008 season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Honda Racing F1 Team will kick off its on-track preparations for 2009 with a three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona next week.

With the test taking place from Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 November, Jenson Button and Alex Wurz will complete the main program, focusing on the key areas of technical change which will be introduced for the new season. The pair will use a modified RA108 chassis to complete an initial evaluation of 2009 aerodynamic parts and run the Bridgestone slick tires which replace the current grooved tires.

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11/15/08
fil

Summerton has good first test with Anderson Racing
Bobby Rahal has had an eye on Jonathan Summerton for the past few years. Bobby suggested Anderson Racing give Jonathan a test for their Indy Lights car which they did this week at Sebring.

Jonathan Summerton
Although only a 1 day test Jonathan started his first day ever in the Indy Lights car and was quickly on the pace, settling in with the car's features. He was soon giving the Anderson racing engineers some great feed back. This allowed them to try several different set up configurations that could be useful in the upcoming season. Jonathan's comments on the day, "It was a great test. The Indy Lights car is a fun car, and once you get the feel of the car it becomes very rewarding. The Indy Lights car has more speed on the straights than the Atlantic car I drove this season, but has less down force  and handles differently in the corners."

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11/15/08
nnw

Harvick Inc. Announces Sponsorship with Pinnacle Foods Group
Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) announced today that Pinnacle Foods Group LLC will be the primary sponsor for three NASCAR Nationwide Series races on the No. 33 KHI entry in 2009. With 13 individual brands, Pinnacle Foods Group LLC represents brands such as Vlasic, Hungry-Man, Duncan Hines, Armour and Mrs. Paul’s. 

“I’m excited to expand my relationship with Pinnacle Foods by having them join our Nationwide program at KHI,” said Kevin Harvick, KHI co-owner and two-time Nationwide Series champion. “With my Cup car, I currently have a partnership with Vlasic pickles as an associate sponsor, but this will give Pinnacle Foods their first primary sponsorship opportunity. I look forward to a great partnership in 2009 and in future opportunities.”

"Pinnacle Foods Group is thrilled to be joining forces with the KHI Racing Team for 2009,” said Mark Parker, Senior Vice President, Business Development.  “We have a great portfolio of household food brands at Pinnacle and we are excited that 3 of those brands, Vlasic, Armour Canned Meats and Hungry-Man Frozen Dinners will be stepping forward as the primary sponsors for Kevin and the KHI Team.  We see our brands and the NASCAR consumer as having incredible synergies and we look forward to bringing everyone these exciting and energetic programs in 2009, along with a spectacular racing season. “

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11/15/08
nascar

Helton expects testing ban to save millions UPDATE In a cost-cutting initiative reflective of the nation's economic climate, NASCAR officials yesterday announced a ban on testing that is expected to provide a savings of a reported $30 million-$40 million. Effective Jan. 1, NASCAR will no longer permit testing by its teams at sanctioned tracks that stage Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series races, as well as Camping World East and West events. While NASCAR has been perceived as a prosperous sport that enjoyed unbridled growth over the last two decades, it was not immune to the economic concerns of its teams, sponsors, and manufacturers. According to car owner Rick Hendrick, some teams spent "as much as $700,000, $800,000 to $1 million a team, depending on how much you test." Boston Globe

NASCAR President Mike Helton speaks with the media about the 2009 testing policy.
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
11/15/08  NASCAR considered implementing a limited testing policy for 2009, but after considering the impact the downturn in the economy may have on the sport next year, decided to suspend testing at most tracks, NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday.

That means no preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway or at Las Vegas Motor Speedway or Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway.

“There’s a lot of variables that went along with this conversation,” Helton said. “One of them was the typical preseason testing that goes on at Daytona getting ready for Speedweeks.

“The ultimate decision was that the best-case scenario for this decision was 'no' means 'no' and would be applied across the board for an entire season.”

NASCAR announced Friday that there will be no testing at tracks that host NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Truck, Camping World East and Camping World West Series events. The sanction agreements signed by the track operators forces them to abide by the testing rule, Helton said, and will allow the sanctioning body to enforce its rules. “Beyond [those sanctioned tracks], it’s more challenging if not impossible to have an enforcement element that we can lean on or utilize,” Helton said. “That’s basically where we’ve always gone, limit it to the tracks that we have relationships with.”

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11/15/08
track news

Testing ban screws NASCAR tracks
The stars of NASCAR will not be visiting Kentucky Speedway as often next year.

NASCAR on Friday announced a no-testing policy for 2009 that includes tracks where Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series or Truck Series races are held. Kentucky Speedway hosts events featuring two of those three series each season.

The moratorium was hailed as a cost-cutting measure to help NASCAR teams operating in the worsening economy.

"This is a significant move during an unusual time for all of us," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "NASCAR has routinely adjusted its test policy over the years to reflect current conditions. This is another example of that."

Kentucky Speedway has benefited from NASCAR's old testing policy that limited testing at tracks that host Sprint Cup Series races. Because it does not have a date on the Sprint Cup schedule, teams that compete in the series were free to rent the 1.5-mile track in Gallatin County as often as they wanted.

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11/15/08
nhra

Top Fuel, Funny Car to remain at 1,000 feet
NHRA announced Nov. 14 that the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season will begin with the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories racing to 1,000 feet. All other professional and sportsman classes will remain at 1,320 feet. Over the next several months, NHRA will test various engine combinations following up on the analysis it has conducted to reduce power in the two nitromethane categories.  Upon the conclusion of the engine combination testing program, NHRA will evaluate rule changes and determine whether to return to 1,320 feet or stay at 1,000 feet in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories.  

There is no timetable, but a change could possibly be made at any time, including during the 2009 season.

Comment
11/15/08
f1

Ecclestone vows to 'never' retire
(GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone insists he has no plans to retire -- ever.

The 78-year-old billionaire, who shaped the modern commercial success of the sport and today remains in charge and a shareholder, told Gulf News he will keep working indefinitely.

"Never, never, never," he told the newspaper, when asked when he will hand over control to a successor.  "The first day I won't be going into work is the day they will be lowering me into my grave.

"And that won't be for a long time to come," he promised.

Ecclestone had triple coronary bypass surgery nine years ago, but he said in late 2008 he feels "as fit as a fiddle".

He also predicts a healthy future for his sport and the annual calendar, despite the recent loss of the traditional Canadian and French grands prix.

Bernie insists there are plenty of alternatives clamoring to join the exclusive circus.

"If you could see the list of requests I have in my office you'd hardly believe it.  It is mind-boggling," he said.

Comment
11/15/08
nassprint

Dale Jr. talks about DEI/Ganassi merger
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., #88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed DEI-Ganassi merger among other topics:

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE DEI/GANASSI MERGER? “I think it is good for both teams to try to do that. It gives those guys a good opportunity to try to get through the season financially. Chip Ganassi is a racer. They really need somebody like that. I just hope that they move forward and make some things happen. It is tough this year, tough next year, especially for all the guys trying to find money. That is this biggest problem. There are some great personnel at Ganassi. Steve Hmiel will be reunited with a bunch of old employees at DEI and buddies. The need a racer around there over the top of things and really making hard decisions. It will be interesting to see how all of that works. I think it should be seamless and it should be productive for everybody.” 

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11/15/08
macaugp

Edoardo Mortara wins Macau qualification race
Italian Edoardo Mortara celebrates
Edoardo Mortara will start Sunday’s Windsor Arch Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix from pole position after taking a convincing win in Saturday’s qualification race.

The Signature Plus driver started the race from third on the grid, but managed to get up to second, right behind leader Keisuke Kunimoto, by the time the field streamed into Lisboa Bend for the first time.

After a brief Safety Car period required to clear the stranded car of James Jakes from the side of the track after the Briton collided with Brendon Hartley off the start, Mortara bided his time to steadily close in the leading TOM’S driver.

At the start of lap seven Mortara was right onto Kunimoto’s tail and he got a slipstream on the run down to Lisboa, which allowed him to pull alongside on the left and grab the lead under braking.

James Jakes (#15) and Brandon Hartley (#5) clash.  Hartley makes it back to the pits, his team, Carlin Motorsport, repairs the car and Brandon rejoins and sets fastest lap
From there, Mortara opened up a gap of more than two seconds before easing off to take the checkered flag just more than one second ahead.

“It was a good race today,” said Mortara. “Once I created a gap it was not so important to push, so I controlled the race. I am really happy for this victory, for myself, Signature and Volkswagen.”

Kunimoto was able to hold onto his second place during the remainder of the race, finishing just ahead of a train of cars comprising Roberto Streit, Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird.

There was disappointment for pole position man Carlo van Dam, who retired on the first lap of the race. He brushed the wall going through Mandarin on the first lap and suffered a puncture.

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11/15/08
nassprint

Ford unveils 2010 Sprint Cup car
The new-look NASCAR Fusion was unveiled at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will compete in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Comment
11/15/08
atlantic

Atlantic Championship Notebook

DRIVERS HAVING PRODUCTIVE OFF-SEASON
The 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season ended little more than a month ago, but many 2008 Atlantic competitors have been busy in a number of different ways since the season ended.

Last week, reigning Atlantic champion Markus Niemela was joined by 2008 Atlantic teammates Carl Skerlong and Frankie Muniz at the world famous SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The trio of drivers participated in autograph sessions at the Cooper Tire display.

Shortly before his appearance at SEMA, Muniz teamed up with another 2008 Atlantic competitor, Simona De Silvestro to finish third overall in a six-hour endurance karting event in Monaco on October 19. Muniz and De Silvestro shared the No. 41 StargateWorlds.com-sponsored kart with French racer Gregory Breuer for Team Brightec. Forty-four karts participated in the event which was organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco.

“I had a great time racing in the six-hour Monaco Kart Cup,” said Muniz. “It was a whole new experience for me to be racing karts, and then to finish on the podium in a very strong field just made it a very memorable and amazing weekend. I was very happy to have been a part of the www.brightec.com team sponsored by www.stargateworlds.com. My teammates, Simona and Greg, drove so incredibly. I was really lucky to be a part of such a strong team.”

“I am a ‘kart-aholic,’” De Silvestro added. “I started off in karts and I cherish any chance of being able to compete at a professional level in that category. Being out in Monaco at this prestigious event was a great opportunity. Being able to run strong through all the sessions and finish on the podium made things very special. I am so glad to have shared this experience with Frankie and I hope we do it again next year. I would like to thank our team sponsor www.stargateworlds.com and also Mr. Gary Whiting for having come out all the way to see Frankie and I compete. It was a great weekend and I look forward to next year. I hope we can win it then!”

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11/15/08
irl
fil

NexGen MTD and Walker for partnership
For over five decades, open wheel racing has had a rich tradition in America.  Hundreds of aspiring drivers have tried to work their way up the infamous ladder to pave their way into IndyCar, but many haven’t had the opportunity to make it that far, until now.  NexGen MTD is proud to announce that they have formed a relationship with Walker Racing to help talented youth reach the pinnacle of the sport.

NexGen MTD has established a long-term business relationship with Walker Racing to create a driver development program that competes in the Indy Lights and IndyCar Series over the next five seasons. 

Charlie Patterson formed NexGen MTD to formally seek out those young men and women who meet or exceed very stringent criteria for consideration and placement as a professional driver-athlete within the highest ranks of competition.

“Derrick Walker and Walker Racing are a perfect fit to our program mission,”  commented NexGen partner, Charlie Patterson. “Derrick and his team bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is second to none in this sport. And, we are especially pleased that Derrick has elected to help us advance the professional racing career of 19 year old driver, Michele Bumgarner.”

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