Stenhouse, Roush Fenway Make it Back-to-Back Championships Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leaves Homestead-Miami Speedway as the sixth driver to capture back-to-back NASCAR Nationwide Series championships in series history after a sixth-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 Saturday. Stenhouse Jr. shares this accomplishment with Sam Ard, Larry Pearson, Randy Lajoie, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. This is the fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series championship for car owner Jack Roush.
“I think it’s just a testament to how hard Jack (Roush) works to put these guys together. Mike (Kelley)’s done a great job building this team. It’s just a lot of hard work by a lot of great people and I’m just blessed to be a part of it,” Stenhouse Jr. said.
Keselowski moves up to pole after Logano crashes in practice Point leader Brad Keselowski will move onto the front row of Sunday's Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway thanks to a wreck during Saturday's first practice. Pole-sitter Joey Logano will go to a backup car and start at the back of the field after being involved in an accident with Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle. When Logano drops back just prior to the start of the race, the inside line will move up and put Keselowski essentially on the pole position. Keselowski qualified third. NASCAR has the discretion of whether to allow the pole-sitter to pick what lane he would have started. Officials opted not to give Logano, who will be Keselowski's teammate at Penske Racing next year, that choice. Keselowski enters the race with a 20-point lead over five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who will start 10th. Johnson in the outside lane will not move up.
Yet another technical problem compromised McLaren in Saturday’s qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix. This time the issue occurred for Jenson Button, who was left 12th on the grid when his car appeared to lose power towards the end of Q2.
“It was such a pity to be put out of the running so early,” the Englishman commented. “We had a throttle pedal problem – the engineers don’t yet know exactly what caused it – but I suffered a loss of drive. Fortunately I got one decently quick lap in during Q2, which was good enough for P12, otherwise I’d have been starting much further back.”
Button went on to express his concerns of a chaotic opening lap, with those who have qualified off the racing line all expected to endure slow starts.
Lewis Hamilton has admitted that the dirty side of the race track could prove to be a problem when the Austin start lights go out for the first time on Sunday. The new Circuit of the Americas has been treacherously slippery, even on-line, all weekend.
“I’m not really concerned (about the first corner),” Hamilton said in the post-qualifying press conference. “It’s more about the dirty side. I did a (practice) launch in third practice and it was quite slippery, so I just hope for a good start.
“Turn 1 itself is wide so not much should go wrong there, but I could be wrong. I don’t want to get in Seb (Vettel)’s way but I do want to win this race.”
Hamilton’s last race victory came at Monza in early September. Since then, the 2008 Champion has dropped out of the lead in both Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel kept his record perfect this weekend at the Circuit of Americas by topping Lewis Hamilton to lead the final practice session for the USGP. Vettel's lap of 1m36.490s was 0.258s clear of Hamilton's McLaren.
Pastor Maldonado put his Williams third on the charts with a spectacular on-the-limit lap ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
Nico Rosberg was fifth for Mercedes, ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa in sixth with Mark Webber seventh in the second Red Bull.
Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) confirmed today its current drivers, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola, have re-signed for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Ambrose will enter his third season driving for the organization. He will again be behind the wheel of the No. 9 Ford with partners Stanley and DEWALT. Almirola will begin his second season as the driver of the No. 43 Ford with primary support from partner Smithfield Foods and its family of brands, Smithfield, Eckrich, Farmland and Gwaltney. In addition, long-time Petty sponsor, STP, will also continue as a primary partner of the No. 43.
Hornish Jr. back with Penske in 2013, to run full-time NNS and some Cup Q. You mentioned young drivers. What are the plans for Ryan Blaney for next year? Roger Penske: "Well, right now I know there's some people asking me some questions when I walked in. We've signed Sam up to drive the #12 car, Alliance car in Nationwide next year. We have a commitment for a number of Cup races on a third car, which Sam will be there to run those races. And Blaney at this point, we're considering him to be -- to drive the truck. Haven't announced it yet. It's not a done deal. But we'd like to see him in the truck, and also we'll provide him some Nationwide rides. We started with him maybe running two or three this year, and I think he'll end up with seven or eight. We think that he's a fine young man, and he's got a lot to learn like they all do, but I think he's certainly coming from a family that's been racing, and he seems to have the talent. There's a lot of good young talent out there today, so we certainly want to support him." SRT/Dodge/RAM Motorsports PR
Video: Ryan Hunter-Reay on the $25,000 IndyCar Steering Wheel American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, a four-time winner for Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year, takes you inside the can't-believe-it-costs-that-much world of custom steering wheels and explains all of the various functions they provide.
A reader writes, Looking at the ticket renewal page for the Toronto GP IndyCar race in 2013 the following changes are planned (we wonder how many seats they are eliminating to hide the poor attendance?):
Gone are the following Grandstands: Turn 9/10, Pit-In, Turn 9. Replaced by: New Turn 10 aluminum grandstand with more rows. Enhancements: Turn 3 will have better sight-lines more rows, better angles, and aluminum structure. Dr. Pepper also gets an aluminum stand with more rows, slightly different tilt and better sight-lines.
Antonio Felix da Costa has taken a superb win around the streets of Macau during this afternoon’s Qualification Race. Having started from the front row of the grid Da Costa took the lead holding more than a second gap in his Volkswagen powered Dallara Formula Three car over his nearest rival Felix Rosenqvist.
Lining up on the grid on the front row Da Costa had his sights set on pole man Alex Lynn from the moment the lights went out. However it was a fast starting Rosenqvist who led going into the first corner before Da Costa was able to brilliantly snatch the position and pull away in the lead.
Penske begins layoffs at Variety The first round of reductions at Variety under new owner Jay Penske (also IndyCar team owner of Dragon Racing) was announced in a 1:40 p.m., unbylined post at sister site Deadline.com. "The total number of this first round of layoffs is 20-25 people — none in editorial, we’re hearing." The "Dear Team" memo from Penske is up there:
For the past six months, we have diligently reviewed every aspect of the Variety business. And in more recent weeks, we have outlined to Variety senior management an exciting and also aggressive trajectory for the brand’s resurgence. These steps will include substantial further investment in editorial and digital, but will unfortunately require some immediate eliminations in the following business units: LA411/NY411, Circ, Systems, Conferences, and Admin.
Kanaan and de Silvestro get jump on 2013 seasonUPDATE
11/16/12 The start of the IZOD IndyCar Series is more than five months away, but for KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro the preparations for 2013 are well underway as the duo took part Thursday in a closed test at Texas Motor Speedway.
F1 team bosses were unanimous in their praise for COTA today as the sport attempts to create some momentum in the USA.
Although the slippery track and hard Pirelli choice made life difficult for the drivers, the facilities have received positive reviews.
“I think we have to congratulate everyone, Bernie and the organizers, for putting together not only a great circuit with great facilities,” said McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh.
“And also it’s great to see how many people were here on a Friday. So we’ve got to make sure that as Formula One as a whole, we put on a show this weekend; that we reach out over the coming year and we build this into a fantastic event.
Circuit of The Americas draws A-list celebrity guests
Mario Andretti, Formula One/IndyCar champion and Circuit of The Americas ambassador
Circuit of The Americas today released the preliminary list of celebrities expected to attend the inaugural FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX Nov. 16-18. The roster of famous faces includes mega-movie stars and movie makers, top-charting singers, political figures and a large collection of professional athletes spanning a variety of sports from professional football to motorsports.
FILM AND TELEVISION STARS: George Lucas, producer Ron Howard, producer/director Rupert Grint, actor Kyle Chandler, actor Luke Wilson, actor Patrick Dempsey, actor
Buescher Crowned 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion James Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Great Clips Chevrolet Silverado, claimed the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship with a 13th-place finish in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His title, the first for Buescher and team owner Steve Turner, clinched Chevrolet’s 12th driver’s title since the Series’ 1995 inception.
"On behalf of Chevrolet, congratulations to James Buescher and the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado crew on winning the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “James and his team demonstrated determination, perseverance and that never-give-up attitude to win their first championship. Congratulations to Steve Turner and his entire Turner Motorsports organization on this accomplishment.”
Lewis Hamilton was delighted to see hoards of American and international F1 fans turning out for free practice in Texas, with both grandstands and corporate hospitality areas heaving. The McLaren driver was less pleased with Sebastian Vettel’s pace, as the leading Red Bull driver was a full second quicker than the highest-placed McLaren.
“What a great turn-out for a Friday!” Hamilton began. “I never expected to see so many people in the grandstands – it makes me feel even more excited.”
Circuit of The Americas announces 65,360 fans to first day
A healthy Friday crowd
Circuit of The Americas today welcomed a massive first-day crowd of 65,360 to the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Race goers were treated to a spectacle of sound and color as Formula 1 drivers took to the Grade 1, 3.4-mile circuit for the very first time.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, current points leader in the drivers’ world championship standings, produced the best time of the day during the second of two 90-minute practice sessions, recording a sizzling lap time of 1:37.718. His teammate, Mark Webber, posted the second-best time of 1:38.475.
Some hiccups on Day 1 at Austin While most race fans have been effusive in their praise of Circuit of the Americas on the first day of U.S. Grand Prix practice, the event has not gone off completely without a hitch.
Several merchandise and food vendors across the circuit have been unable to accept credit cards, and some food vendors have even run out of food.
As of 2:30 p.m., circuit officials had not returned calls or emails for comment.
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Racing, will end a highly successful chapter of his racing career this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400. The 2003 Sprint Cup Series Champion and two-time winner of the DAYTONA 500 will race for the final time in his iconic No. 17 Ford, ending 13 seasons in the Cup Series with Roush Fenway. Kenseth took some time this week to reflect on special moments during his time with the organization as he looks to make his 472nd career start in the series on Sunday.
Kenseth has numerous accolades on his racing resume but one of his favorite memories came in his first Cup Series start with Roush Fenway in the 2000 DAYTONA 500. Kenseth and his crew chief Robbie Reiser moved up to NASCAR’s elite series that season together after both had started out racing in their home state of Wisconsin.
After topping the opening practice session comfortably, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber made it a Red Bull Renault 1-2 at the top of the time sheets after second practice for Sunday’s inaugural United States Grand Prix™ at the Circuit of The Americas™.
Once again world champion Vettel was in splendid isolation, the only driver to dip under 1 minute 38 seconds in the session despite turning only 17 laps.
HPD Begins 2013 Sports Prototype Testing Program The first 2013-spec Honda Performance Development, (HPD) ARX-03c LMP1 car - incorporating larger front tires as well as other significant performance upgrades - will test for the first time at the Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain, November 18-20.
British team Strakka Racing will conduct this inaugural test. Strakka's ARX-03a, which achieved considerable success in this year's FIA World Endurance Championship, has been subjected to an exciting upgrade package taking it to '03c' (2013) specification. This upgrade includes wider Michelin front tires, plus new front-suspension geometry, steering configuration and bodywork.
FIA considering penalty points system F1 drivers could be put on a points system next season that sees drivers docked points for offences with a one-race ban the end result.
FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting is keen to see a system put into place that penalizes drivers who commit repeat offences.
Each offence would be allocated a number of points with the more severe costing the driver more. And once a certain number of demerits had been reached, the driver would be hit with an automatic one-race ban.
First fine handed out in Austin HRT has racked up the unenviable statistic of being first to receive a fine in practice for the United States Grand Prix, after Ma Qing Hua broke the pit lane speed limit.
The Chinese driver was clocked at 69.9km/h five minutes before the end of first practice at Circuit of the Americas, equating to a fine of 2,000 euros (£1,600).
Ma was the only reserve driver taking part in the session, replacing Narain Karthikeyan, as all other teams preferred to give their drivers maximum track time.
Kubica: I still can't drive single seaters Robert Kubica has admitted that he cannot currently test single seater racing cars, with his right arm still yet to fully recover after a heavy rally accident early in 2011. The Polish driver is uncertain as to whether he will ever be able to return to Formula 1 and has set his immediate sights on getting back to full health.
"For the future I don't have any plan, I'm still at the stage of rehabilitation," said Kubica. "I would love to compete in a high level championship, either rallying or on a circuit. I did some testing in high performance cars on a racetrack. I hope my hand and general condition will improve, then we'll see what the future will bring."
Formula 1 cars are on track at Circuit of The Americas™ and it was Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel who set the pace in the opening free practice session for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.
Team engineers had predicted a lap time of around 1 minute 39 seconds around the 3.427-mile (5.516 kilometer) Austin circuit but that wasn’t quite good enough for the reigning world champion. Vettel posted a best time of 1:38.125 on his 30th and last lap of the 90-minute session to edge out Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren Mercedes by almost a second and a half.
Another death at Macau GPUPDATE #2 Video of today's fatal accident of Phillip YAU ... if you compare this accident of the multiple car accident during last year’s GT race (see my previous e-mail with video), then you wonder what on earth happened here ... YAU sort of drives straight on into the guardrail without outside help and his car eventually comes to a halt ... This could even have been a heart attack ... or something similar ... very strange ...
11/16/12 Last year there was a massive accident during the Asian GT round at Macau at Mandarin Corner, and although it looks like at least someone must be hurt, all drivers walked away from this accident ...
Today's fatal accident happened at this particular high speed corner ... this time the driver wasn't that lucky ... Let’s just hope it stays like this and there won't be any further fatalities ... but it was only day 2 (out of 4 days) of racing ...
Complete 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule Announced, COTA Added As Formula 1 gets set to race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, WC Vision today announced the Pirelli World Challenge will race there May 17-19, 2013. The announcement of the COTA race completes the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule.
GT, GTS, Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec teams will race on the 20-turn, 3.4-mile track as part of a big weekend event with the Australian V8 Supercars Championship. GT and GTS teams and drivers will compete in two races, while TC and TCB competitors will run three races.
“We are excited to announce the Pirelli World Challenge will race at the Circuit of the Americas as part of a big sports car weekend in May of 2013,” said Scott Bove, President and CEO, WC Vision. “The new COTA facility is state of the art and we look forward to putting on a good show for the fans alongside the Australian V8 Supercars Championship.”
Alex Lynn Wins Macau pole Fortec's Alex Lynn has won pole for the 59th Macau GP. Carlin’s Antonio Felix da Costa will start tomorrow’s Qualification Race in Macau from second the grid following a disrupted second Qualifying session this afternoon. Having set a time quick enough to hold provisional pole overnight, Da Costa went into the afternoon session hoping to defend his position however three red flag periods meant he just missed out on taking pole. Team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr will start from fifth place while Felipe Nasr had an unlucky session during which he hit the wall – the Brazilian will line up sixth. Daniel Abt makes it four Carlin cars in the top 10 finishing ninth; Jack Harvey will start 13th and Will Buller in 17th.
In the opening minutes this afternoon it was provisional pole man Da Costa who was once again on the pace early on in his Volkswagen powered Dallara Formula Three car however there was very little time for the drivers to set a quick lap due to a red flag caused by Felix Serralles who had crashed heavily into the barriers.
A wet Grand Prix? Slight chance of rain remains in Sunday forecast A slight chance of rain remains in the forecast for the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday. But, if it does rain, it may only be a sprinkle. Mostly sunny skies are expected through Sunday, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.
“It will be cool enough for jackets most of the time,” National Weather Service forester Joe Baskin said Friday afternoon. But people should keep hydrated, he said.
Sunday could be slightly warmer, in the upper 60s, with more clouds and a slight chance of sprinkles, as a small storm system sweeps in from the Southwest and picks up moisture from the Gulf, forecasters said. But the showers it could bring would be small, forecasters said.
“From the fans’ perspective, it should be pleasant to be outside,” said Bob Rose, chief meteorologist with the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Stewart-Haas Racing says goodbye to yet another sponsor This weekend will mark the final race for the U.S. Army as sponsor of the #39 Chevy of Ryan Newman. The U.S. Army announced in July that it would not return to Stewart Haas Racing or the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2013 season. The U.S. Army was the first partner announced for Newman's #39 entry when SHR was formed in 2009.
TMS back in good graces of IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan has run a lot of races at Texas Motor Speedway, and most of them he has enjoyed. But last year, he was one of the top critics of big high-banked ovals such as Texas and Las Vegas, where a year ago Dan Wheldon died in a spectacular multi-car accident when a pair of cars touched at high speed, triggering a massive wreck.
The drivers call it pack racing, and in open-wheel cars, it is their biggest fear. But after the June race at TMS, when a rules change made for a safer, more entertaining race, and a test session Thursday in the IndyCar Series' new car for 2013, Kanaan is again a fan of Fort Worth's oval.
Q&A with NASCAR championship contender Jimmie Johnson Q. I know there's so many people trying to downplay the mind games, but are you just trying to plant a seed in Brad's (Keselowski) mind?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, you definitely want to plant a seed, but the thing that I know is regardless of the prodding or poking I can do, that moment is coming. The aha moment comes for everybody that's in that championship battle. It's easy right now to focus on just the drivers because we're here with the mics and doing this whole press conference. But every guy that goes over the wall to perform the pit stops can have that moment and will have that moment. Every guy turning a screw, a nut, putting fuel in the car, crew chiefing the race, engineering the race, everybody has the same thing on their mind. You're protecting something. It is something we have all worked for our whole lives to get to this point. It is a huge, huge moment.
So regardless of what I say or needling I can do, those moments are going to show up, and if I can plant that seed and help spur that moment along, then cool. But I'm not -- I didn't come in here with a huge agenda today thinking that I was going to make a difference in that because I know those moments are going to come. I've been there.
45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 underway As nighttime began to fall at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) over Mexico’s majestic Baja California peninsula, desert racing action is heating up as 298 adventurers battle the terrain, the competition and their own endurance levels as the 45th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 roars into the evening. Early leaders on unofficial corrected time in motorcycles is the 1x Honda team led by rider of record Colton Udall, San Clemente, Calif. and in four-wheel vehicles is the No. 97 Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy Truck driven by Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin.
With the bone-jarring 1,121.55-mile course traveling on both sides of the peninsula, the granddaddy of all desert races started Thursday morning in Ensenada and will finish all the way down the peninsula in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
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