Teams automatically invited to 2010 24 Hours of LeMans Based on 2009 results, the following teams get automatic entries into the 2010 24 Hours of LeMans:
The invited teams in LMP1:
Peugeot Sport Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 Team Peugeot Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 Aston Martin Racing (Lola Aston Martin) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009 Pescarolo Sport (Pescarolo 01 Judd) - 2nd Le Mans Series 2009 Patr¢n Highcroft Racing (Acura ARX-02a) - 1st American Le Mans Series 2009 Sora Racing (Pescarolo 01 Judd) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009 Team Peugeot Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 1st Petit Le Mans 2009
The invited teams in LMP2:
Team Essex (Porsche RS Spyder) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 Speedy Racing Sebah (Lola Judd) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 Quifel ASM Team (Ginetta-Zytek) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009 Speedy Racing Team Sebah (Lola Judd) - 2nd Le Mans Series 2009 OAK Racing (Lola Mazda) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009 Lowe’s Fernández Racing (Acura ARX-01b) - 1st Petit Le Mans 2009 Speedy Racing Team Sebah (Lola Judd) - 1st Michelin Green X Challenge 2009
Quotes from ESPN NASCAR Analyst Dale Jarrett on Jimmie Johnson ESPN NASCAR analyst Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, will be in the booth for ABC’s live coverage of the final race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the Ford 400, on Sunday at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. The telecast begins at 2:30 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 3:30 p.m. In an interview on ESPNEWS, Jarrett spoke of Jimmie Johnson, who seeks to make history as the first driver ever to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles.
What does Jimmie Johnson have to do to win the championship?
I think you have to focus in a number of different ways and break the weekend down. On Friday before qualifying, I want to make my car as fast as possible and see if we can start up front. That allows me to run the race I want to run. Obviously practice on Saturday, making the car fast once again will allow me to run the race that I want to, and I think that’s exactly what Jimmie Johnson is going to do. He’s going to try to lead some laps early if he can do that, get those bonus points, and then he’s just going to settle into a good position. I think what we will see, on the double-file restarts, Jimmie be extremely careful around traffic until things get single-file, and then he can pass cars one at a time; it’s much safer that way. I think we’ll see their normal 13-second pit stops become 13 ½, 14 seconds which will probably lose them a couple of spots in the pits, but they want to make sure they don’t have any problems with loose wheels or anything like that. And then he can run his race, finish somewhere in the top 10, maybe even 15, that’ll bring him another championship home.
What about the level of appreciation that Jimmie Johnson gets from the public?
From the public it’s a little suspect. I think in the garage area everybody appreciates what Jimmie Johnson the driver has done. I think the public perception of him is that he’s with the best organization in the sport, he has the best race cars, he has the best engines, he has the best crew chief in the business, so therefore why shouldn’t he win? But that’s not exactly the case. I would have to disagree with everyone. Someone has to get in there and make all the right moves, push the buttons, do the things that you need to do on the racetrack. Jimmie Johnson does all of those things. He’s a tremendous talent behind the wheel, has a great head on his shoulders, and that makes for a perfect champion.
NASCAR ratings continue to slideUPDATE ABC’s live coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final national household rating of 3.3, down from the 3.6 earned for the portion of last year’s race that aired on ABC. The telecast averaged 5,172,384 viewers. Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix aired live on ESPN2 and earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.1, down from the 1.3 rating earned for last year’s race that also aired on ESPN2. The telecast averaged 1,419,953 viewers. ESPN PR
11/16/09 ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 2.8, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.
The figure is 17.6 percent lower than the 3.4 ABC earned overnight for the portion of the 2008 race that it carried before the event was switched to ESPN2. scenedaily.com
(Editor's Note: NASCAR's TV ratings continue to decline at every race. They better get Danica on the track real quick, so they can have another marketing machine that can't win races.)
Anderson Racing tests young hopefuls One of the many benefits Andersen Racing's karting and Star Mazda drivers enjoy is that their team already has a program in place at the next level of competition. This is very beneficial to young drivers because they can build on relationships they make within the team for continuity, as well as reap the benefits of Andersen Racing's many years of experience developing rising stars in open-wheel racing's ladder system.
Building on this unique structure, the team established a policy that each of its full-season Star Mazda drivers earns a test at the next level, Firestone Indy Lights, at the end of the year.
Richard Kent and Denis Navarro took advantage of that important benefit last week at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., and got behind the wheel of a Firestone Indy Lights car for the first time. Conor Daly, who actually had the best results for the team this year when he finished third in the Star Mazda point standings, was unable to participate in the Lights test due to age restrictions, but he'll receive his test after he turns 18 on Dec. 15.
Wallace team switches to Toyotas Officials from Rusty Wallace Racing and Toyota Racing Development announced Thursday that the organization will switch from Chevrolets to Toyotas for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.
RWR plans to once again compete full time in NASCAR’s No. 2 series with drivers Steve Wallace and Brendan Gaughan.
In a separate agreement, team owner Rusty Wallace, the former NASCAR Cup champion and current NASCAR analyst for ESPN, will represent the Toyota brand on a national basis.
"I'm very proud to have the opportunity for the team and I to represent the Toyota brand,” Wallace said. “Our team's decision on manufacturers involved input from a lot of people within the organization. We decided that at the end of the day, our goal as a race team is simple: To win races and championships. Thus, we all had to take a long look at which manufacturer partner could best help us reach that goal.”
Q&A with Kimi's manager Formula 1's driver market merry-go-round burst into life this week when Jenson Button made the shock switch from Brawn GP to McLaren for 2010. One of the consequences of that move is that it appears to have forced Kimi Raikkonen to take a sabbatical from grand prix racing – although there are rumors now he could take the seat vacated by the World Champion.
With speculation linking Raikkonen with moves to the World Rally Championship or Le Mans, Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson in Macau offers the latest on the situation now that Button's future plans have been decided.
Q. Can you clarify what the current situation with Kimi Raikkonen is? Is it 100 percent that he will not be in Formula 1 next year?
Steve Robertson: Pretty much so – although you could never say 100 percent. Kimi had a goal and a team he wanted to be with, but it didn't work out. We tried. We had many meetings with McLaren, but, unfortunately, there were a few issues there that we could not find common ground on. And we realized in the last four or five days that it would be very difficult for a deal to be done.
And Kimi, if he cannot get a competitive drive in F1, where he feels he can win races and the championship, then he does not need to do F1 for the money. He does it because he wants to win. He would rather take a year off, with the possibility of coming back in 2011.
Q. Does he have the hunger to get back into F1?
SR: Yes. As far as Kimi is concerned he has unfinished business – if the opportunity is there to win races and another championship. That is his main goal. Now that it looks like he is not doing F1 we will look at other options. Rallying, or something else – but there is nothing firmed up in that area yet because F1 has only just finished for us in the last few days. Now it is the time to discuss other things.
Q. Are there any ongoing talks with F1 teams right now? There has been speculation that Kimi could take the Mercedes GP seat vacated by Jenson Button.
SR: This is Formula 1. If they can offer, or convince us, that they can provide Kimi an opportunity that Kimi is happy with, and that we are happy with, and he feels he can win races and the championship then never say never. There is always a possibility.
Q. What do you think is most likely for Kimi next year if he does not get anything in F1? Is rallying the preferred option?
SR: In all honesty, he wanted to do a couple of rallies with F1. Since F1 has no testing, Kimi gets a little bit bored during the week because he cannot do anything. He feels it does not do him any harm. If you look at what happened this year, when he rallied and then came back to F1, his results were always strong. For him, it keeps him sharp. So, if he does not do F1, then I am sure he will do something in the World Rally Championship.
Q. What would you say percentage wise his chances of eventually returning to F1 are, because a lot of fans are disappointed he will not be there in 2010 after what he did with Ferrari in the second half of this season?
SR: It is true that Kimi had a fantastic second half to the year when you consider that there was no development with that car – and he still won a race at Spa. But listen – a lot of F1 teams are interested in Kimi. He is one of those unique drivers, who gets in something and instantly he is quick. He does not need days and days of testing. It has always been that way.
There are not that many teams that would appeal to Kimi because he is honest when he says he has got to have a car to win. He is not interested in the money. Of course, money is a part of it but he doesn't need the money. He wants a car where he can show his talent. He was very frustrated this year by the fact that he could not win more races, and challenge for the championship. When you have been in F1 for nine years and been a World Champion then you need challenges – and for Kimi the challenge is to win championships and races.
Q. So, it is fair to say that the phone will always be on for anyone willing to offer him something?
SR: Yes, for sure. Kimi has made it clear that he wants to return in the right situation.
Q. What is your reaction to Jenson Button's decision to join McLaren?
SR: Obviously, after McLaren could not get Kimi, they looked at what they thought was the next best option. People say that to have two British drivers in one team is not a good thing, but McLaren has never operated like that. They want to take the best drivers available, irrespective of nationality. It will be interesting that they have two World Champions in their team next year – and I am watching with interest, like everyone else, to see how that develops. Racer.com
Peter Windsor does laps at Lime Rock Lime Rock Park has seen more than a few F1 cars take to its sinewy 1.53 miles, albeit in vintage form, while F1’s Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director and safety delegate, comes every few years to complete his track inspection preceding the issuance of Lime Rock’s circuit license. And it goes without saying that literally dozens of former Grand Prix drivers have competed at Lime Rock in other categories.
Yet, one of F1’s most recognizable and well-known – especially to American fans – players had never been to Lime Rock Park.
On Saturday, November 14, Peter Windsor came to the famed track at the behest of local legend Sam Posey, a longtime friend. Posey was going to give Windsor some hot laps during one of the Lime Rock Park Drivers Club’s private track days.
Windsor works alongside Posey during the broadcasts of the Formula 1 races on SPEED TV; surprisingly, Windsor had never been to the circuit in all his years covering motorsport.
Posey, driving a Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 sedan provided by his friend Rob Moran, an M-B public relations officer, did a bunch of hot laps with Windsor riding shotgun.
“Of course, I’ve known of Lime Rock forever and had always wanted to visit,” Peter said, “and it truly is a gem. The Downhill is brilliant – you carry a lot of speed through there, so your front straight velocity is much higher than you would think, given its length. I’m glad Sam asked me up here.”
Windsor has been a player in the Grand Prix world since the late 1970s, when he began covering the sport for various U.K.-based racing publications. Throughout his F1 career, Windsor has held numerous influential positions on both the commercial and editorial sides of F1, including management posts with Williams and Ferrari.
Today, Windsor is the Grand Prix editor of F1 Racing Magazine (published by Haymarket Worldwide, which also produces California-based RACER and U.K.-based Autosport) in addition to his broadcast journalism duties with SPEED.
Of course, F1 fans know that earlier this year, Windsor and engineer/designer Ken Anderson announced the formation of their new-from-the-ground-up Grand Prix team, USF1, which is set to hit the season-opening grid March 12-14, 2010, at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Windsor is leading the first American F1 racing team – it’s headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. – since Penske Racing ran a U.K.-based team in 1974, ’75 and ’76
Will Power to drive Verizon Penske Car for 2010 Penske Racing announced today that winning open-wheel racer Will Power will compete in a full-season entry for the team in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, driving the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dallara/Honda.
Joining forces with Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and Ryan Briscoe, a top contender for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship, Power will complete a powerful three-car lineup in 2010 for Penske Racing.
Today’s announcement is a key element of a multi-year program between Penske Racing and Verizon Wireless that began in 2009. The 2010 Verizon Championship Racing platform will include the IndyCar Series with Power, Castroneves and Briscoe and NASCAR competition with Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier.
2010 FIA Formula Two Championship Announced The successful maiden season of the FIA Formula Two Championship saw Andy Soucek crowned the first F2 champion for 25 years with a dominant performance that his rivals recognized was well deserved.
To build on that success, series organizer MotorSport Vision is pleased to announce that it is working closely with the FIA and Williams F1 in proposing a number of significant advances for the 2010 FIA Formula Two Championship, to ensure that the championship continues to provide the revolutionary combination of optimum performance, professionalism and equality at an exceptionally low cost.
As in 2009, the eventual champion will again receive a full test with the Williams F1 team at the end of the season.
No Lotus contract for Trulli yet (GMM) Jarno Trulli has denied suggestions he is already signed to race with the new Lotus F1 team in 2010.
Lotus boss Tony Fernandes revealed recently that one driver has now inked a contract, amid rumors a Trulli announcement is being held off until after he drives a Toyota at this weekend's Fuji Speedway Motor Sport Festival.
But as the Italian tested a Sprint Cup NASCAR in Florida on Wednesday, the local Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported that Trulli, 35, said he "has not yet signed with the (Lotus) team".
"I haven't signed with anyone yet and I've talked to teams," he confirmed to the Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) website. "My door is open right now."
Button can thrive alongside Hamilton - Coulthard (GMM) David Coulthard has rubbished reports his friend Jenson Button will be unable to thrive alongside fellow British world champion Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
In the wake of Wednesday's announcement, the Times newspaper's Edward Gorman accused new title winner Button, 29, of making "one of the least wise moves in recent formula one history" by switching from Brawn/Mercedes.
Many pundits agree that with Hamilton so ensconced at the Woking based team and one of F1's most highly rated drivers, Button will comparatively struggle.
Brawn chiefs disappointed with Button outcome (GMM) Brawn/Mercedes bosses Ross Brawn and Nick Fry have admitted disappointment after 2009 world champion Jenson Button on Wednesday jumped ship to rivals McLaren.
"I was very disappointed at the way things finished up with Jenson," admitted team principal Brawn to the UK newspaper Daily Express.
The parties have been locked in post-season negotiations about Button's salary for 2010, sparking waves of rumors and leaks about the purported figures involved.
Chief executive Fry said: "We offered loyalty which we hoped, perhaps naively, he would return."
Salo and Trulli fare well in NASCAR debut Michael Waltrip Racing officials were pleased with the outcome of a two-day test with Formula One drivers Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo behind the wheel of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Florida.
"Both Jarno and Mika have done really well," said Steve Hallam, Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing and a 27-year Formula One veteran. “They have both delivered competitive lap times. They bring a different perspective to our ears. We are able to hear about the cars in a different way. Also, Trevor (Bayne) being here is very useful because he is articulate and able to relate their experiences to reality. It has been a really positive test and has brought good value to us."
Viso hopeful 2009 challenges lead to stronger team "I'm very happy that I made the decision in early 2008 to come to this great racing category. I've had a great time; I think among the best years of my career. Maybe not talking about success, but it's been a great challenge to be working really hard to get up to speed with this very competitive category. There are so many good drivers.
"It's been a big challenge to be on a small, new team in this category, so the work that we did was twice as difficult as everybody else because we needed to get up to speed with them.
"I think we've done a decent job. In 2008, we had a great year - better than 2009. This season has been difficult. We had some mechanical problems, also some accidents. But we can never forget that it's from these types of years that we learn the most. And I'm sure, as a team, we learned a lot and we will improve ourselves as human beings and as professionals. That's all that matters.
Andretti hopeful 2010 season comes together "It's easy to get down on the season we had, especially with the way it ended in Homestead, but it's over with and we can't go back. So that leaves us with having to find the good and learn from where we've been.
"We didn't win races, but out of 17 starts we had 11 top-10 finishes. We finished eighth in the points - still inside the top 10. It wasn't a great season, but made we progress throughout the year.
"It was a frustrating season, for sure, and it was a strange feeling. People would congratulate us for a sixth-place finish. We got pats on the back for mediocre results, and the team was working so hard for it. There's no getting used to bad luck and low results. And, for us, it was twice as frustrating because we used to be able to compete with Penske and Ganassi - and not just that - we were able to beat them not that long ago. I think we just have to stick to it and keep some faith that we'll come back from whatever low point we've fallen into. We might be down, but we're not out.
"I don't know how to do it though. I don't know what we need to make that jump back to the top. This season, guys like Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe were in a race of their own most weekends. We were lucky if more than three cars finished on the lead lap. The league helped by changing some aero options and the push-to-pass helped with overtaking, but there's still such a big gap from the front of the field to the back. How do we fix that? Again, I don't know the answer. I'm not sure many people really do. All I can do is keep working hard with my team and my engineers, and hopefully things will turn around next season.
"A lot of good things are happening at AGR. I have great hopes for 2010. By now, everyone knows about the changes coming at the team and we're all really positive about things. I think Kim Green and Kevin Savoree are going to continue putting on great events, and dad can be focused on the team and what we need to be on top again. It's really the best option for everyone involved.
"I can't be 100 percent certain what the future holds for me, but I've said before that in IndyCar right now there's nowhere else I'd rather be than with this team. But it takes more than just me. Of course, the biggest step is funding to run the car. We hope to have that taken care of soon, so with funding out of the way we can really focus on making the car better. On top of that I have a great crew. I think we have all the right pieces, we just have to get them to fall together in the right way, and that's what we'll be working on all winter." Marco Andretti
Graham Rahal best in 2-class IndyCar Series "The 2009 season was both an up and down one for both myself and the McDonald's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing crew.
"We started with two extreme highs in St. Petersburg and then shortly after in Kansas by getting poles in both places, but what we quickly learned was starting up front was the easy part. It seemed as though through only the first few races that we knew our luck would challenge us through the entire season, which became oh so true.
"In St. Pete, we got hit from behind at the very start. Perhaps this was slightly my fault as I was very careful due to the fact it was my first pole in my IndyCar Series career and I didn't want to screw it up. Well, when Tony Kanaan hit me, I quickly realized maybe I was too cautious. We struggled for the remainder of that day, but again our luck would strike us in Long Beach. We ran a fantastic race, staying out of trouble, running fast laps, saving fuel, and found ourselves in second place with only 20 or so laps to go. Well what happens then -- a freak incident where I got waived out of the pits too early and pulled the fuel tank with me.
Winless Danica Patrick frustrated with 2009 results "It's hard to look back at 2009 and not feel a little bit frustrated or just want to shrug your shoulders and wonder why or how things went the way they did for us this year.
"That's not to say that it was all bad. I finished fifth in points, which is the best finish I've had in the points in my career. So that's a good thing and it's not something you want to take lightly. But let's face it - at the end of the day you want to be contending for wins every weekend and battling for the championship until the last lap of the season, and we just weren't at that level this year.
Donington goes bankrupt Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd., the company that owns the leasehold of Donington Park racing circuit, has gone into bankruptcy protection.
Corporate recovery company Begbies Traynor is handling the administration process, and is hopeful that DVLL will be bought by a third party with the aim of holding the British Grand Prix in 2011 reports Racer.com.
"We are certainly hopeful that a 2011 grand prix could take place at the site," said Nigel Price, a partner in Begbies Traynor. "We are looking for a purchaser for the business and the potential opportunity to bring Formula 1 to this part of the Midlands by funding the work that needs to be carried out to the circuit. It still remains a fantastic location – next to an airport and main motorway (freeway) connections. It needs people of vision to get the dream to the starting grid and we would be very interested in talking to interested parties."
Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Finalizes 2010 Schedule The 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge season will feature a new wrinkle in the championship. Mustang Challenge officials have confirmed the final 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge schedule, which will see the series feature three double-header race weekends and grow to an 11-race calendar.
Established in advance of the 2008 season in partnership between Miller Motorsports Park and Ford Racing,|2010 marks the third year of racing for Mustang Challenge, which utilizes the Ford Mustang FR500S as the competition platform riding on the g-Force R1 BFGoodrich Tire.
SPEED Live Coverage of NASCAR Finale SPEED will open its coverage of the final NASCAR race weekend of the season with live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Champions Contenders” press conference from the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables, Fla., beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday. Points leader and three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will be joined by teammate Mark Martin, currently second in points, and team owner Rick Hendrick. Other special guests will include driver Juan Pablo Montoya and 1983 NASCAR champion Bobby Allison, who will serve as the Honorary Starter for Sunday’s race.
“We are going to wrap up this NASCAR racing season in the same fashion we started it back in Daytona … all hands on deck and standing on the gas,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “Whether tuning in to witness Jimmie Johnson’s run at history or simply cheering their favorite drivers, fans expect SPEED to finish as strong as we started and we won’t disappoint them.”
On Friday, SPEED is live from Homestead-Miami Speedway with NASCAR Live! (11 a.m. ET), coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (11:30 a.m. ET), NASCAR Nationwide Series practice (1 p.m. ET), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying (5 p.m. ET), NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice (6:30 p.m. ET), NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda (7:30 p.m. ET) and the final race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season (8 p.m. ET), followed by the first of two editions of Trackside (10:30 p.m. ET).
Rising country star Jessie James, a spokesperson for the SPEED Dream Ride campaign (www.speeddreamride.com), will sing the National Anthem prior to the NCWTS race. James also will be on hand to sign autographs at the SPEED Stage on Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Experts weigh-in on Button's McLaren challenge We know McLaren's position of equal treatment for their drivers. However, if one driver shows more speed than the other, the team is not going to ever have the ability to ultimately control the emotions and motivation of the people that tend to their drivers. It is a natural inclination to want to work hard for the guy who will win for you. So just because they do not have a number one driver policy, that does not mean that at every corner, things are entirely equal.
However, when McLaren had Senna and Prost, it went right down to the last race, and Senna intentionally crashed them both out of the race because he had the points lead going in, and knew he would secure the championship that way, because he knew Prost had the same car and could challenge him.
Still, Jenson Button faces the toughest challenge of his Formula One career when he joins Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season and he knows it.
Cosworth receives award Cosworth, the leading supplier of aftermarket performance components for production vehicles has received the SEMA Global Media Award for its new electronic dash display, the Cosworth ECPro Omega.
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association represents the $31.85 billion specialty automotive industry of 7,144 member companies. It is considered the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for the specialty auto parts industry. To receive an award from the association demonstrates Cosworthâ€™s commitment and quality within the performance aftermarket industry.
Held at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas (NV), the awards ceremony attracted hundreds of international buyers, SEMA-member company representatives and the media. A prestigious jury made up of international journalists representing various titles and countries selected the various award winners. The voting panel reviewed over 2000 new style and performance products introduced at the SEMA Show, and from these each journalist selected products that would most interest enthusiasts in their respective country.
McLaren confirms 'multi-year' deal for Button (GMM) McLaren on Wednesday announced that new world champion Jenson Button will be Lewis Hamilton's teammate in 2010 and beyond.
The "multi-year deal" was confirmed in a media statement, at the end of a salary standoff with the 29-year-old Briton's title-winning team of 2009, Brawn/Mercedes.
"I want to make clear that Jenson's decision to join us was in no way motivated by money," said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
"We'll be paying him no more than he could be getting elsewhere", he added.
McLaren said 2010 will be the first time in F1 history that a team has housed the sport's two most recent world champions, and the first time since 1968 that two British title winners are paired together.
Button said he made the "difficult" decision because he wanted a "fresh challenge".
"That's why I've decided to join McLaren," said the Briton, who will wear the number 1 on his MP4-25, while Hamilton's sister car is to bear the number 2.
NCWTS continues to see TV ratings increase According to Nielsen Media Research, ratings for Friday's coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from Phoenix were up 14 percent from a year ago. Race coverage on SPEED scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of 0.72 (534,000 households), up from last year's 0.63 (466,000 households). Friday night's race peaked at a 0.89 (665,000 households), up 17 percent from last year's peak of 0.76 (559,000 households). The season finale for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is set for Friday from Homestead-Miami Speedway. SPEED coverage begins at 7:30pm/et with the popular pre-race show, NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda. Race coverage begins at 8:00pm/et. SPEEDtv PR
Motor Trend on Tuesday named the 2010 Ford Fusion its "Car of the Year." The award marked the second consecutive year that Ford Motor Co. claimed one of the influential magazine's top honors. Last year, the 2009 F-150 pickup claimed "Truck of the Year."
Ford's midsize sedan beat out 22 other contenders, including the new Toyota Prius, Nissan 370Z and BMW 7 Series.
Members of the magazine's editorial staff told The Detroit News they were impressed by the improvements Ford has made to every aspect of the Fusion since it debuted in 2005.
"Ford has proven its resilience in these tough times by delivering to market a car with broad appeal to a broad range of consumers," said Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie.
"The Fusion range has matured into a competitive roster of midsize sedans, able to compete with sales juggernauts such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord."
Despite one of the worst markets in automotive history, the Fusion has set a new full-year sales record this year, gaining market share and becoming the best-selling car from any U.S. automaker.
CEO Alan Mulally called the Motor Trend award "another proof point" that Ford's turnaround is working.
Prosecutors paint Penske backed ex-mayor as a lying crookUPDATE #4 Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Tuesday refused to give under oath the names of those who provided him financial support, choosing instead to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
But prosecutors revealed during the second day of a hearing over Kilpatrick's ability to pay $1 million restitution to the city that others played a role, including local developer John Rakolta Jr., who backed out of an agreement that involved other prominent businessmen and attracted the attention of FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents.
"Someone is paying for his restitution, and he is claiming to this court that he has the inability to pay when he in fact is not paying for it himself," said Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Athina Siringas. "Money just keeps on appearing and people just keep on giving."
Agents from the FBI and IRS contacted Compuware Chairman Peter Karmanos Jr. in August about a $240,000 loan he and other business leaders made to Kilpatrick, a Compuware lawyer testified. General counsel Daniel Follis said Karmanos told him to cooperate with investigators.
After federal agents contacted Compuware, a hurried effort was made to complete the repayment terms, which hadn't been squared away, Follis testified. Kilpatrick signed the promissory notes after federal agents made inquiries. Prosecutors argued the money was a gift all along, and therefore should have been disclosed to the court weighing Kilpatrick's ability to repay $1 million to the city.
Kilpatrick originally was to receive $300,000, but John Rakolta Jr., chairman of Walbridge construction company, backed out. Rakolta said Tuesday he declined after consulting with advisers. Much more at Detroit Free Press
10/31/09 Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's claim that he knows little about his family finances because they are now handled by his wife is common when spouses face legal liabilities, experts say. Cooley Law School professor Curt Benson said Carlita Kilpatrick has a right to protect herself and her children from her partner's debts.
But, in the last year, more than $1 million has moved through five bank accounts in Kwame and Carlita Kilpatrick's names, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. And, at least several hundred thousand was available to Kilpatrick when he claimed he had only $6 per month left after his expenses for $1 million restitution he agreed to pay the city, according to prosecutors.
Part of that money was a $240,000 loan to Kilpatrick from four prominent businessmen and a $50,000 gift to Carlita Kilpatrick from Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun.
When the hearing into whether Kilpatrick has been honest about his income continues on Nov. 17, prosecutors will likely focus on where the other $710,000 came from and where it went, experts said. The hearing will determine if Kilpatrick's $6,000 monthly restitution payments should be cut or raised.
NASCAR finale has a lot of storylines to watch for Jimmie Johnson Enters Ford 400 Seeking History with Sprint Cup “4-peat” Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson holds a 108-point lead on Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin heading into Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson is attempting to make NASCAR history as the first driver ever to win four consecutive Sprint Cup Championships and separate himself from NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough, the only other driver to win three straight Sprint Cup titles (1976-78).
Inaugural Class of NASCAR Legends to Be Inducted to Homestead-Miami “Hall of Champions” On Saturday, THE Championship Track, in conjunction with NASCAR President Mike Helton, will enshrine the inaugural class of the Homestead-Miami Speedway Hall of Champions. Inaugural inductees include Cup Champions Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison and reigning three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Champions Club high above Turn 1.
Roush's Smith not retiring Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith has decided to delay his retirement. Smith said because of tough economic times and the merger between partner Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports that he will stay on at least through the 2010 season. Smith is handling a lot of the paperwork in the merger that he said is agreed to on all major issues and should be announced soon. He also plays a major role in bringing sponsors to the cars for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Smith has yet to wrap up a full season of sponsorship for the #17 of Matt Kenseth. More at ESPN Insiders
IndyCar Notebook IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson will join Jim and Monica Sexton of Z-Line Designs furniture and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch at an event in Miami on Nov. 19 to raise funds for Operation Helmet.
The event, which will be held at Nikki Beach Club on South Beach, is a fundraiser for Operation Helmet, which provides helmet upgrades for U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jack Arute, a commentator for ESPN on ABC and VERSUS coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series, will serve as emcee for the event, which includes a silent auction with scores of gift items including a private jet flight to Las Vegas with accommodations for two at Caesar's Palace and two tickets to a concert featuring Cher.
IndyCar question on Jeopardy! Danica's notoriety is still serving IndyCar well. We like this question too, because it tells people about karting.
The Nov. 13 broadcast of "Jeopardy" featured the category "Young Athletes," and a video clue shot at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was included in the second of the two-day final for the Teen Tournament.
For $1,200: "I'm Danica Patrick. Long before I got into race cars, I was a 12-year-old winner of the Grand National Championship in this sport - if you're cool, you don't put the 'go' in front of it."
Of course, the contestant answered correctly. "What is karting?"
Gainsco sees returns as GrandAm Sponsor The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype racing team needed to finish at least fourth in last month’s Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Championships, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty did just that to give title sponsor GAINSCO, Inc. its second Rolex Series championship title in the last three years.
The encore championship came after another banner season for the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance team, which saw victories over such blue-chip competitors as TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing, SunTrust Bank/Wayne Taylor Racing, and perennial powerhouse team Penske Racing and its title sponsor Verizon Wireless. In addition to capturing the prestigious Rolex Series Daytona Prototype team and driver championships, Team GAINSCO also led the series with four victories and six pole positions in the year’s 12 races.
GAINSCO is the first team in Daytona Prototype history to capture two championships with the same driver pairing and primary crew members after the winning combination scored its first Rolex Series titles in 2007. Gurney and Fogarty also ended 2009 as the most successful driving duo in Daytona Prototype history with 12 career wins with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.
GAINSCO’s success in a demanding and competitive racing environment reflects its growing emergence in the auto insurance market. With the familiar bright-red No. 99 GAINSCO Daytona Prototype race car — known to the team and its fans as the “Red Dragon” — serving as a brand identifier and corporate rallying point for independent agent partners and employees alike, both the racing team and the Company itself have enjoyed parallel success in recent years. GAINSCO Auto Insurance first began using motorsports as a marketing medium in May 2005 as the title sponsor for the Bob Stallings Racing team, which made a mid-season debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Series.
“Our involvement in major-league racing extends well beyond that of traditional sponsor,” said Glenn Anderson, GAINSCO President and CEO. “We have a fast-evolving, high-performance Company, and intentionally developed a corporate brand and culture around our No. 99 GAINSCO race car. It is the cornerstone for everything we do as a Company, and connects our management team and employees directly with our valued agent partners through the universally understood values of winning and being driven to succeed.”
With the dual objectives of building brand awareness and increasing marketing efforts among insurance agents in key sales regions, GAINSCO initiated its “Are You Driven?®” marketing campaign in conjunction with the sponsorship. The trademark tagline is frequently positioned in conjunction with the image of the red No. 99 race car in GAINSCO marketing collateral and promotional campaigns.
“Our goal is to continue to build and grow a uniquely different and competitively innovative auto insurance Company,” Anderson said. “At GAINSCO, we truly are driven to win and, just like the championship-winning racing team, we know the path to victory is a high-performance team working together to compete and win in a competitive marketplace.”
Since the inception of GAINSCO’s sponsorship program, a variety of at-event and off-track programs centered around the No. 99 team have been used to enhance business relations with insurance agents and bolster employee camaraderie. In 2009 alone, GAINSCO entertained hundreds of key business partners and employees at race events, where guests had the opportunity to see the race car up close, tour the team transporter, meet the drivers and experience the excitement of major-league sports car road racing from a true “insider’s” perspective.
GAINSCO’s motorsports marketing program has had a welcome if not unexpected benefit that has taken the No. 99 campaign full circle. After nearly five years, the racing team and drivers have grown accustomed to and actually depend on the support of the “GAINSCO nation” at races and during corporate office visits at the Company’s headquarter facility in Dallas and its regional offices in Miami and Phoenix.
“The incredible support we get from GAINSCO employees and agents is almost like having a home-crowd advantage at a baseball or football game,” Fogarty said. “You really can’t measure the motivation and adrenaline that sea of GAINSCO red gives us. We can’t wait to put on a great show for everyone coming to watch. We really do have a great team and sponsor, and they are as fired up to win as we are. We have really grown to depend on that energy.”
The season-ending race at Homestead-Miami marked the 50th career event for Gurney and Fogarty as teammates, with each and every race together behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley.
“GAINSCO has been such a committed sponsor,” Gurney said. “It’s quite an experience to see all the employees and agents who are not just fans, they are fanatics. They absolutely love the Red Dragon!”
About GAINSCO Auto Insurance
GAINSCO, INC. (NYSE Amex: GAN), through its insurance brand, GAINSCO Auto Insurance, specializes in minimum-limits personal auto coverage, which is sold through a network of thousands of independent agents in the states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas, and through an independent managing general agency in California. Established in 1978, GAINSCO’s corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, with key regional field offices in Miami and Phoenix. Its insurance company subsidiary is MGA Insurance Company, Inc. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.
Cosworth expects USF1 to race in 2010 (GMM) Engine supplier Cosworth expects USF1 to race in 2010.
Following FIA Senate president Nick Craw's recent backing of the rumor-ridden Charlotte based team, Cosworth's general manager Mark Gallagher also reveals that he expects a full grid in Bahrain next March.
The returning British supplier Cosworth is contracted to supply the new independent teams USF1, Campos and Manor.
"I can tell you that every team paid us and is working on the new car," Gallagher told the Italian website 422race.com.
"Of course each team is in a different place in its project. Some are very advanced, other are still at the beginning.
"But for sure, at the moment, we see all four teams are working hard and we have not seen any indication that they are stopping," he added.
Gallagher also played down suggestions the FIA improperly forced F1's new teams to sign supply contracts with Cosworth.
Referring to the FIA/FOTA breakaway war at the time of the 2010 team selection process, he said: "I think the only thing the FIA pushed for was for the teams to have an engine contract.
"I believe at that time Cosworth was the only company prepared to make a commitment for all of the teams," added Gallagher.
Gallagher also said he is "quite sure" that Red Bull will stay with Renault power next year, following speculation of a possible switch to Mercedes or Cosworth.
It had been rumored that the dilution of Mercedes' relationship with McLaren could pave the way for a Red Bull/Mercedes engine deal, but it is believed that McLaren's veto on that arrangement stands.
Status signs Gary Anderson for GP3 Status Grand Prix has finalized an agreement with renowned Formula One designer and technical director Gary Anderson to continue as the team’s Technical Consultant as it enters the newly launched GP3 Series.
Status Grand Prix, which won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this year running the A1 Team Ireland entry, is one of 10 elite race teams to be selected to compete in the pan-European championship established to identify Formula One stars of the future.
NASCAR Now Originates from Homestead for Season Finale NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will close out its 2009 season with four shows originating from Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of this weekend's final races of the NASCAR season. Allen Bestwick will host the programs with analysts including Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Ray Evernham and Dale Jarrett, and reporters Mike Massaro, Nicole Manske and Marty Smith.
The first program from Homestead airs Friday, Nov. 20, at 12:30am/et (late Thursday night), with another airing Saturday, Nov. 21, at 12:30am/et (late Friday night). The one-hour weekend edition airs Sunday, Nov. 22, at 10:am/et with a preview of that day's NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead, with the final NASCAR Now of the season airing at 10:00pm/et Sunday. Massaro hosts half-hour editions of NASCAR Now from ESPN's high definition studios in Bristol, Ct., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 1:30am/et (late Tuesday night), and Wednesday at 6:00pm/et. Smith will report from Miami for both programs.
Massa steals the show at Granja Viana 500 free practice An unexpected presence stole the show at Granja Viana 500 first free practice session at Kartodromo Granja Viana on Monday. Just arrived from Valence, where he drove on Sunday his F60 for the first time since the Hungarian GP qualifying accident, Ferrari ace Felipe Massa led the (so far) three drivers squad on track. Lucas di Grassi and Stock Car local regular Pop¢ Bueno are already confirmed at Felipe’s Santander sponsored team in the outstanding endurance event scheduled for December 4th and 5th, but the others mates remain a mystery.
New Ford NASCAR Engine hits the track...UPDATE Ford will run its new FR9 engine again next week at Homestead, said Doug Hervey, who oversees Ford's North American racing operations. The plan is for #6-David Ragan to run the car at Homestead, Hervey said. It will be the second race for the engine. The restrictor-plate version was run at Talladega with Ragan and #17-Matt Kenseth. This will be the first time the unrestricted version has run in competition. Roanoke Times
10/23/09 New Ford Engine to debut at Talladega: After months of anticipation, Ford Racing announced that the FR9 engine will make its debut under the hood of Matt Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion and David Ragan's #6 UPS Ford Fusion in next week's Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. "I'm very excited about the debut of the FR9," said Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North America Motorsports. "All of us are anxious to see it in competition for the first time. Those of us who have been involved in this project agree that one of the biggest hurdles we've faced in making this transition to the FR9 this year has been the fact the current Ford engine is still so competitive, along with the economics of obsoleting the inventory of the current engine and parts. This has been a tough year for us and our teams on the track, especially since we had such a strong 2008, and the priority for everyone this year has been solving the on-track performance, which has slowed down the rollout of the FR9."
(GMM) Timo Glock has signed to race with the new British formula one team Manor.
In the Abu Dhabi paddock earlier this month, it seemed the 2009 Toyota driver would almost certainly be switching to Renault to become Robert Kubica's teammate.
But the 27-year-old German was on Tuesday revealed as Manor's "lead" driver, having reportedly inked a two-year deal with an option to include 2012.
"I had several options for 2010, some of them with more established teams," Glock said. "The (Manor) team may be small and new but it has big ambitions and a very impressive car and development program."
It is expected that a major tie-up with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin brand will be announced shortly.
Manor said: "The (Glock) announcement is a prelude to the official launch of the team later this year, when Manor Grand Prix expects to reveal more of its plans and car development program."
Daimler figure critical of Brawn buyout (GMM) A member of Mercedes parent Daimler's Betriebsrat (supervisory board) has criticized the decision to buy the formula one team Brawn.
Erich Klemm, chairman of Daimler's Corporate Works Council and an employee representative, said the "exit at McLaren-Mercedes was a chance to completely leave the costly and controversial circus".
Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche on Monday announced that McLaren is buying back Mercedes' 40 per cent team share, and Klemm is quoted as responding to the DPA news agency: "We can not understand why the board of directors has immediately started a new formula one project."
He continued: "In the (car) factories, every cent is being turned over three times. The employees are feeling the financial crisis with shorter working hours and loss of income.
"In these economically difficult times, the company should invest in better marketing of its real cars," said Klemm.
Mercedes-Benz Brawn statement in full Mercedes-Benz will enter the Formula 1 World Championship with its own team, beginning with the 2010 season, and Daimler AG and McLaren Group will change their form of cooperation with effect as of 13 November 2009. This was announced by Daimler AG today.
Daimler AG together with Aabar Investments PJSC will take over 75.1 per cent of the Brawn GP team, with Daimler taking 45.1 per cent and Aabar 30 per cent. The rest of the 24.9 per cent will remain with the current stakeholders. With 9.1 per cent, Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG. This transaction is subject to the approval of the EU and the Swiss cartel authorities.
The background to this decision are the new terms and conditions for Formula 1. The "Resource Restrictions" set by FOTA and FIA effectively limit expenditure for the design, construction and running of the racing cars. In addition, there will be a significantly higher income available for a Formula 1 team generated by the commercial rights of the racing series following the signing of the new Concorde Agreement.
The partnership between McLaren Mercedes has been in place since 1995 and ended its 15th joint Formula 1 season in 2009. The change to the form of cooperation is taking place by mutual agreement. Mercedes-Benz and McLaren will continue to co-operate with each other and the supply of engines could continue until 2015.
Mercedes-Brawn buy-in pulls in capital Daimler's largest shareholder Aabar wants to beef up its 9.1 percent stake in the German carmaker after teaming up to jointly acquire a majority of Formula One champions Brawn GP. Shares in Daimler rose over 4 percent on the back of comments from Aabar Chairman Khadem al Qubaisi to Bloomberg on Monday that the Abu Dhabi-listed investment company was "in talks" to raise its holding to 15 percent. The timing would depend on the stock price, he said.
When asked on Monday whether Aabar was considering raising its interest in Daimler, al-Qubaisi told Reuters by telephone "yes", without elaborating further.
The listed non-energy investment arm of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund IPIC, invested 1.95 billion Euros ($2.9 billion) in March year to overtake the Gulf state of Kuwait as Daimler's largest shareholder.
Raising its interest to 15 percent would require buying an additional 62.7 million shares, which would cost Aabar another 2.24 billion Euros at current prices.
Daimler declined to comment on Aabar's statements.
Cancer Survivor to run Baja 1000 solo It’s said that preparation can make all the difference in challenging endeavors, and Joe Bacal and his JTGrey Racing Team have taken the idea straight to heart for the 42nd running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000—the toughest and most prestigious off-road race in the U.S.—set to start this Friday morning.
Sponsored by Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Bacal began his rookie off-road racing season in June of this year with a remarkable victory in the Baja 500. He followed with a solid second-place finish at the Primm 300 in the new-to-racing Lexus LX 570 that, much like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor Bacal, has proven durable and unrelenting. But Bacal knew there was more potential in the Stock Full-class Lexus to make it quicker and easier to drive in rough terrain, so the team spent useful time between races testing and developing various components with their eye on conquering Baja.
Mercedes to buy Brawn, sell back McLaren stakeUPDATE This has been confirmed with this item from statement from Mercedes Benz:
Mercedes-Benz will enter the Formula 1 World Championship with its own team, beginning with the 2010 season, and Daimler AG and McLaren Group will change their form of cooperation with effect as of 13 November 2009. This was announced by Daimler AG today.
Daimler AG together with Aabar Investments PJSC will take over 75.1 per cent of the Brawn GP team, with Daimler taking 45.1 per cent and Aabar 30 per cent. The rest of the 24.9 per cent will remain with the current stakeholders. With 9.1 per cent, Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG. This transaction is subject to the approval of the EU and the Swiss cartel authorities.
NHRA Champ Schumacher send Trophy to Fort Hood Tony Schumacher won his sixth straight and seventh overall Top Fuel championship on Sunday, beating Larry Dixon by two points in the closest season title race in NHRA history.
Schumacher was on deck, sitting on a two-point lead over Dixon, when Dixon was upset in the semifinals by Spencer Massey, clinching the title for the U.S. Army team.
"This trophy will go to Fort Hood. I don't think there's any question in the world where it belongs," Schumacher said. "We'll present it to the family, the friends, everyone at that base."
Hendrick still supports unimpressive Dale Jr. The fact that Dale Jr is NASCAR's favorite driver really seems to say something about that sport and its fan base. He was with the best team, that will win yet another championship, and yet could not seem to even come close to the pace of any of his teammates, one of them being 50 years old.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lost season continued Sunday when he lost control on Lap 171 of the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 and triggered a 10-car crash.
Earnhardt's No. 88 Amp Chevrolet got loose underneath Marcos Ambrose in Turn 4 at Phoenix International Raceway. Junior spun, collecting Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano and others. Extensive front-end repairs took more than 50 laps and Earnhardt finished 35th.
"We had an oil leak," said Earnhardt, winless since June 2008. "It had been running down the right-side of the car. I don't know why we didn't come in and get it fixed."
Earlier, team owner Rick Hendrick repeated support for his embattled driver.
"You can't have a season like this without being frustrated," said Hendrick, who also owns the Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin Chevys. "But we're committed to fixing it, and we will. We have some of the right pieces in place now, and we're going to make more changes."
Hendrick told The Republic that he and Earnhardt's Nationwide team have not yet a signed contract with Danica Patrick. www.azcentral.com
Mercedes and McLaren to be F1 'rivals' - Zetsche (GMM) Mercedes' step away from McLaren was a "friendly" transaction, but they will be "rivals" in 2010 and beyond.
It was announced on Monday that the McLaren Group will have bought back Daimler's 40 per cent stake by 2011, with Mercedes to control the majority of Brawn and rename it Mercedes GP.
Brawn's new structure will be 45.1pc ownership by Daimler AG, 30pc ownership by Daimler shareholder Aabar, an Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle, and the remaining 24.1pc staying in the hands of Brawn's existing owners.
Ross Brawn and other senior management of the Brackley based team are staying in place, but Mercedes competition chief Norbert Haug is switching from the McLaren garage.
Referring to McLaren, Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said: "We will be rivals on-track but, off-track, we will cooperate with McLaren and the other teams in order to create the best possible product for spectators worldwide."
Video: Montezemolo beaches Ferrari in pea gravel Watch as Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo stuffs his Ferrari in the pea gravel as he drives his two F1 drivers around the Valencia circuit for the marque's 'Finale Mondiali' event .
Massa reunites with F60 at Valencia (GMM) For the first time since a flying spring struck his helmet in Hungary in late July, Felipe Massa at the weekend returned to the cockpit of Ferrari's F2009 single seater.
Since recovering from his serious head injuries, the Brazilian has completed a few laps in a two-year-old Ferrari F1, but he admits that Sunday's action - about 20 laps of the Valencia circuit for the marque's 'Finale Mondiali' event - was particularly special.
"It was fantastic and I am so happy. Although I could drive just a little, I really enjoyed being here," the 28-year-old is quoted as saying by the Ferrari website.
"I am very motivated: this today for me is like victory. It was just like before the accident at the Hungaroring," Massa added.
Due to his ongoing contract with Renault, Massa's 2010 teammate Fernando Alonso was present at the Spanish circuit but not able to drive or even wear official Ferrari clothing.
But he did sit in the back of a Ferrari California with Massa, before the driver Luca di Montezemolo beached the car in a gravel trap.
At the end of the day, Massa dashed to the airport to return to Sao Paulo to be with his pregnant wife Rafaela.
"The doctors confirmed that our child will not be born this weekend, so I decided to make this flying visit here in Spain," he said.
NASCAR reads Keselowski the riot act NASCAR chairman Brian France and other top officials talked to rookie #12-Brad Keselowski before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway about his over-aggressive driving that has angered several drivers. "It's hard to bust a guy for being aggressive, but there's a fine line between being aggressive and destructive," Series director John Darby said. "From listening and talking to people, he's already got a few drivers upset. Typically if you leave it alone you get a worse situation, so we'll talk to him." Keselowski said the meeting was good and that he was impressed that France was part of it. "It's the first time I've ever had a conversation with him," Keselowski said. "It's good to know he cared enough to be there and is paying attention to what is happening in the sport." The meeting was called in response to Saturday's Nationwide Series race at PIR in which Keselowski reignited his feud with Denny Hamlin. Asked if he thought the meeting was necessary, Keselowski smiled and said, "I don't have all the answers." Darby said there are no plans to talk to Hamlin and he's not worried that the retaliation will take place in the Cup race. ESPN
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