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DATE News (chronologically)
11/22/09
tv news

ESPN to Welcome NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion on Monday
As has become a tradition, the newly-crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will appear on multiple ESPN platforms Monday during a visit to ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Conn.

Jimmie Johnson may secure his record fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, or Mark Martin could win his first title and at 50 years of age become the oldest champion in the history of the series. Regardless of the outcome, the new champion will travel from Miami to Bristol on Monday morning for a day of interviews.

ESPN First Take will host the champion for an interview at 11:40 a.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by a live chat on ESPN.com at 12:30 p.m. ESPN’s flagship news and information program SportsCenter will welcome the champion for a live interview at 1:10 p.m.

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11/22/09
nassprint

Hendrick misses Homestead race
A family emergency will keep team owner Rick Hendrick from celebrating a record-tying ninth Sprint Cup championship for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick's 29-year-old niece Alesha Gainey, the daughter of John Hendrick who was killed in the 2004 plane crash near Martinsville Speedway, is undergoing an emergency liver transplant in North Carolina. "Rick obviously wishes he could be here, but Rick's priority at this point is to support his family at this crucial time," Hendrick Motorsports general managers Marshall Carlson said. ESPN

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11/22/09
f1

Fans bid farewell to Toyota's F1 racing cars
Fans of Formula One racing gathered Sunday at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture for an event to bid farewell to the F1 racing cars of Toyota Motor Corp. as the nation's top automaker withdrew from F1 racing at the end of the 2009 season.

Many fans applauded and took photos of Toyota's two F1 cars as they roared around the circuit.

"We are sorry that we could not meet your expectations in F1 racing," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at the opening ceremony of the event.

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11/22/09
score

Robby Gordon Clinches Off-Road Title
Following a dominating season, Robby Gordon and the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team were named the 2009 Overall Series and Trophy Truck division Champion for the Tecate SCORE International Off-Road Racing Series. Gordon clinched the championship with his top-five finish in the Baja 1000 on Saturday, November 21st. Throughout the 2009 Tecate SCORE International Off-Road Racing season, Gordon raced in all five events and finished in the top-ten in each race. Additionally, Gordon actually scored two wins throughout the five race season. The 2009 Tecate SCORE International Off-Road season kicked off in January with the Laughlin Desert Challenge where Gordon dominated the competition, winning the unique two-day event. Gordon returned to victory lane following the PRIMM 300 in early September, when he missed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in Richmond, VA.

"I'm so pleased with the progress Robby Gordon Off-Road made throughout the 2009 SCORE International Off-Road season," commented Gordon. "When the season began, we didn't even know that we were going to compete in the entire season. But after winning the Laughlin Desert Challenge in such dominating fashion, we knew that we could make a run for the championship. The guys did a great job continually building and preparing the trophy truck, which made it easy to run upfront. I'm very proud of our success. Returning to my roots to win two of five races is great, but capturing the championship is very exciting and rewarding. The entire Robby Gordon Off-Road team is extremely thankful for such great sponsors. Because of the support of Monster Energy and Toyo Tires, we have experienced great success this season." RGM PR

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11/22/09
f1

Mercedes' 2010 lineup to 'surprise' - Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug has passed up an opportunity to clearly rule out speculation that Michael Schumacher is set to make a sensational return to full time formula one racing - See related rumor.

Amid intense speculation that the almost 41-year-old will join Nico Rosberg in an all-German 2010 lineup for Mercedes GP, the marque's competition director said: "You might be surprised.

"I'm pretty sure you and your readers will like our choice," Haug told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

When asked specifically about the Schumacher rumors, he added: "There is always speculation in this sport, especially when cockpits have not yet been filled.

"And there are dreams, and that's a good thing.  Fulfilling these dreams is another thing."

When told by the Sunday newspaper that German fans are expecting a German superteam, Haug added: "You seem to know more than I do.  And with all due respect, I don't think so."

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11/22/09
nassprint

NASCAR's biggest star a wanker UPDATE It appears some NASCAR drivers also think Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a wanker.  Tony Stewart clarified the critical remarks he made about Dale Earnhardt Jr. over the team radio last week at Phoenix International Raceway, saying it was in the “heat of the moment.”

Stewart, after being caught up in a wreck caused by Earnhardt Jr.’s spin, cursed on the team radio and said, “Dale Jr., that no-talent [expletive].”

The comments received airplay on ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” program and made the rounds on YouTube throughout the week. NASCAR later made Stewart retract his comment saying it was in the heat of the moment, but bottom line we now know deep down inside what Stewart thinks of Earnhardt's driving ability.



11/21/09 No matter how you look at it, 2009 has been Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s annus horribilis. With no wins, two top-five finishes and five top-10s, he had the worst full season of his Cup career. The most dispiriting part is he really seems to have no excuse. During his final years at DEI, when his winning ways were on the decline and his presence in the Chase was an irregular occurrence, we heard a lot about how things would be different if only he had better equipment. And we believed.

But since he made the jump to Hendrick Motorsports of last season, he's hardly been any better. In fact, he hasn't been better at all. Everything is different for Junior now: new cars, new equipment, an abundance of resources and money, a team that is second to none. He even has a new crew chief. And here's what he has to show for it after 71 races: one win, 12 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s. Such totals would represent a bad season for Jimmie Johnson. They're actually worse than Junior's results in his last two years at DEI.

And through it all, nobody has been more up front about Junior's decline than the man himself. He's taken the jibes from Kyle Busch, endured the vociferous doubters in the media and allowed Rick Hendrick to demote his own cousin from on top of his pit box. He's never ducked questions or refrained from acknowledging that he might be the problem [Editor's Note:  Indeed, as we have been telling you for years, NASCAR's biggest star is a wanker and should retire before he disgraces the Earnhardt and NASCAR names further.  He should simply be a NASCAR team owner.]

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11/22/09
macaugp

Mortara Triumphs in Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix
Marcus Ericsson (1) makes a poor start, as Mortara (16) passes him on the outside on the long way to Lisboa Corner, chasing Jean-Karl Vernay (14)
Edoardo Mortara took a hard-fought victory in the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after triumphing in a race-long duel with Signature team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay.

The Italian had started from third on the grid, but a good start allowed him to move past front-row starter Marcus Ericsson and pole position man Vernay on the run down to Lisboa.

The race was stopped a few moments later, however, when the track was blocked following a multiple-car collision caused when Daniel Ricciardo crashed into the wall at the Solitude Esses and was clipped by a number of other cars.

At the restart, Mortara got away cleanly but his advantage was not enough to prevent Vernay getting into his slipstream and overtaking him into Lisboa.

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11/21/09
f1

F1 around the 'net
1999 championship runner-up Eddie Irvine hits the celebrity headlines:
http://tvnz.co.nz/entertainment-news/rachel-hunter-reportedly-dating-eddie-irvine-3170122

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McLaren makes a profit:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23772169-mclaren-races-back-into-the-black-thanks-to-hamilton-f1-win.do

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New world champion Jenson Button looks to buy British singer Robbie Williams' mansion:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2740084/Jenson-Button-in-6m-bid-for-Robbie-Williams-mansion.html

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Sebastian Vettel visits a NASCAR race:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/2009-11-21-1665011611_x.htm

Comment
11/21/09
f1

Williams insists equity sale will not change team
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams insists he has sold a minor portion of his Grove based team to pay some bills rather than wind down his involvement in formula one.

The independent British team, historically owned only by 67-year-old Williams and Patrick Head since its inception in 1977, announced this week that investors led by Austrian entrepreneur Tito Wolff, 37, have bought an undisclosed share.

"It is explicit that this is not the beginning of a progressive disposal of equity in the business by the owners," a team spokesman is quoted as saying in a Reuters news report.

Williams, who since 1986 has been confined to a wheelchair after a road car accident, said the decision does not indicate he wants to step back, but did refer to his advancing years.

"I'm not getting any younger," he said in an interview posted on the team's official website.

"I have no intention of losing control of this company or ceasing any of my formula one activities, but I would prefer to be prepared for when Patrick and I are not here and not to leave it until the last minute," Williams added.

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11/21/09
nassprint

Edwards wins Nationwide pole
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ortho Ford Fusion captured the pole for Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford 300 race at Homestead Miami Speedway. Edwards posted a lap of 32.073 seconds at 168.366 miles per hour.  This is the 18th career pole for Edwards in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and seventh of the 2009 season.

“Boy, I’m looking forward to a good race," said Edwards.  "That’s a fast race car, that Ortho Ford Fusion is good and I’m glad to be driving a Ford for a lot of reasons but here at Homestead, they just seem to run so well.  I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why we’re able to go so fast here but that’s the best we’ve run at a mile-and-a-half in a long time.  I’m really excited about the race.  I’m really excited to have Ortho on board.  They made a new mouse trap, it’s great and they want to get a win with that car.  I’d really like to finish this season strong with it.”

Comment
11/21/09
macaugp

Vernay Wins Formula 3 Macau Qualification Race
The start
Jean-Karl Vernay took victory in the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race on Saturday with a dominant victory in an event that witnessed two safety car spells.

The Signature driver, who had qualified second for the race, made a better getaway at the start than pole position man Marcus Ericsson – but he only held onto the lead on the run into Lisboa as his TOM’S rival slipstreamed past him before the corner.

Following a brief safety car period, caused when Jake Rosenzweig crashed heavily at Mandarin Bend on the first lap, Vernay moved back to the front when he dived past Ericsson into Lisboa at the restart on lap four.

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11/21/09
nassprint

Mayfield holds auction
Jeremy Mayfield sat in the back of his large barn Friday morning about 800 miles from where NASCAR's season-ending weekend was kicking off. Several hundred people surrounded him, listening intently as a fast-speaking auctioneer sold dozens of items. Banned from driving by NASCAR after testing positive for methamphetamines, Mayfield has become an auction fanatic. Only this time, he was selling his own stuff, ranging from a second home, land, cars, dirt bikes and bulldozers to weed-whackers, humidifiers and sunglasses. If it was all sold by the end of the day it would be worth about $5 million, money needed to help his ongoing court fight to be reinstated to the sport. "Obviously, this will help financially," Mayfield said. "But it's also what I like to do." And besides a few old pieces of sheet metal for sale and the racing hats worn by some of the visitors, there were few signs of NASCAR on the premises. Mayfield walked around his land with a smile, but also determined to prove that he's not a drug user. His wife, selling clothes and shoes in another section of the facility, took a harder stand against how others in the sport have treated them. "It's hurtful when you've been with people who you thought were your family for 17 years and then you're kind of left out here," Shana Mayfield said, referring to other drivers and their wives. "You kind of feel like you're out in the middle of a field and the vultures are after you. Nobody is standing up for you or trying to help you. That's a hard feeling, and it hurts. And everyone will know the truth before it's over with." The legal fight has cost Mayfield his race team and has put him into debt, although he disputed claims that he owes his former attorney money. "I've paid Bill Diehl a lot of money," he said. "We'll get it worked out." Associated Press

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11/21/09
nasprint

Hamlin to have knee surgery
Denny Hamlin will have arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday to repair some minor damage to his right knee, he said Friday. Hamlin was originally scheduled to have the surgery during an off week this summer but elected to postpone it until after the season. "There's tears in there," he said. "[The surgery is to] basically scope it out. I just have problems with it when I get out of the car, it really is stiff and the joints really hurt, so it's something that needs to be done for the long run."  SceneDaily

Comment
11/21/09
racing news

After failing in F1 Bourdais keeping options open
After being soundly defeated in F1 Bourdais is back to his winning ways in the Superleague
Sébastien Bourdais is keeping his options open ahead of the 2010 racing season after a turbulent year in 2009. Having been sacked by Toro Rosso after the German Grand Prix, the four-time ChampCar Champion has enjoyed success in the Superleague Formula. Racing with Spain's FC Sevilla, Frenchman Bourdais has already enjoyed race victories since joining the championship in which all outfits are run by international football teams. "The F1 story didn't go as planned but that's life," the 30-year-old explained to SunSport. "They (Toro Rosso) couldn't help me in the way I wanted."

Despite believing that the team tried its upmost to find a solution, Bourdais has put the disappointment behind him and admits that there are various possibilities for 2010; returning to America or continuing in Superleague are both feasible as well as an F1 comeback, should the circumstances be suitable.

"When you don't have anything signed, anything is possible," Sébastien concluded. "If there is the right opportunity for F1, for sure, I'd be interested."

Comment
11/20/09
tv news

Sunday on Wind Tunnel
This will be Wind Tunnel’s season finale. We will pick back up the night of the Daytona 500 in February 2010.

This show will feature a round-table discussion hosted by Dave Despain who will be joined by the panelists listed below. The panel will speak on a variety of NASCAR and motorsports-related topics.

In addition, the new Sprint CUP Champion will make a LIVE appearance to talk to Dave and the panel.

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11/20/09
nassprint

Brian France says changes to current Cup car possible

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France answers questions from the media
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
THE MODERATOR:  Good morning, everyone.  We're joined by NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.  He will give a few opening comments and we'll go into our normal Q&A session. 


BRIAN FRANCE:  Good morning, everyone.  One way or the other this weekend we're going to make a little bit of history or a lot of history depending on how it goes.  Jimmie Johnson could make history with his fourth consecutive championship, quite an accomplishment.  We could make history if Jimmie has a problem and Mark Martin wins, he would be the oldest champion in NASCAR history to win a title.  We could make history either way if Rick Hendrick, and he will, wins his ninth championship and ties Richard Petty.  Either way, however it goes out this weekend, it will culminate a good season of racing and we're excited about that, whatever the outcome is. 


Obviously the big thing is the dominance of Jimmie Johnson, the 48 team, what they've been able to accomplish.  I don't think even historians in the past that were looking at different things in any particular season could have predicted how successful they are, how good they are.  Everyone at NASCAR certainly congratulates them.

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11/20/09
nassprint

Jeff Gordon to stay full-time another few years
Jeff Gordon will drive through at least the 2013 season for Hendrick Motorsports, team owner Rick Hendrick said Friday. There has been speculation that Gordon, who has a lifetime deal with HMS, will retire within the next couple of years. The speculation arose in part because of Gordon's back problems and in part because he wants to spend more time with his family. "He's committed to at least 2013, maybe 2014," Hendrick said. "I'm hoping he's going to drive a bunch of more years. We know it's going to be at least three or four." Hendrick said he's also negotiating a new deal with DuPont, the primary sponsor on Gordon's car since he entered the Sprint Cup Series in 1992. DuPont's contract is due to expire in 2010 and Hendrick said the company will remain on the #24 at least for a good portion of the races through the end of Gordon's career. ESPN

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11/20/09
nassprint

Lowe's extends with Johnson team
Lowe's Companies Inc. will continue its successful relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing a three-year agreement that secures primary sponsorship of the #48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Driving the #48 Lowe's Chevys will be current points leader and three-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who has signed a five-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports that will keep him with the organization through 2015. Johnson and Lowe's previously were signed through the 2010 season. The new pacts build upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Johnson was selected by Hendrick Motorsports to drive for the new Lowe's-sponsored #48 team. After nearly eight full seasons, the driver-sponsor relationship has become one of the most successful in NASCAR.

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11/20/09
alms

Gavin talks about the Corvette Racing Team
1. How did it feel to say goodbye to the Corvette GT1 car in the ALMS after so many successful seasons?

It felt quite sad because the car had generated a huge amount of success for the team and me personally, and I got so much enjoyment out of driving it. With my team mates, I won Le Mans four times in the GT1 car, starting in 2002 and then three great victories with Olivier [Beretta] and Jan [Magnussen] in 2004/05/06. I also won three ALMS championships with Olivier so it played a huge part in my career. The GT1 car spanned a decade of successful competition which is really impressive; I'm pleased to have been part of the history of such an important and special car.

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11/20/09
nassprint

Brian France addresses the media
NASCAR chairman and CEO, met with the media Friday to give an update on the sport and to respond to a myriad of questions posed by reporters.

"On balance we have had a very good season," France stated. "We are not without our ups and downs with the long season that we have, but we are real pleased with a lot of things that we have accomplished in a very difficult economy. We are also pleased with our promise to the teams to recognize everything from rules packages to testing, to see what we can do to take costs out of race budgets." Recognizing the economy for 2010 doesn't look much better, he underscored the objective to assist the sport in any way possible.

Commenting on the stellar performance of the Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick team, he said, "We are going to make a lot of history this weekend if Jimmie Johnson's wins his fourth consecutive championship and if Mark Martin wins it, he would be the oldest driver to do so. However it plays out it will culminate a good season of racing. Whatever the historians have forecast, I don't think anyone could predict how good the No. 48 team is."

France praised the NASCAR tracks for taking steps to address the prevailing economic uncertainty, to include the reduction of ticket prices and working with hotels to keep prices down. In particular, he addressed the negative business climate in California and Michigan. "We will continue our part to make it more affordable for our teams to race and to help the sponsorship piece that they are relying upon," he noted.

Regarding the car manufacturers, he said, "All the car companies seem to have stabilized and the good news is that they are doing business better than they had been doing in the past. This is a very encouraging thing as they are an integral part of NASCAR. We have worked carefully with them, so they would stay in NASCAR and continue to be a big part of our future. On balance, we got through things fairly well."

France acknowledged the difficulties relating to sponsorship needs, and he was guardedly optimistic that NASCAR is starting to see daylight on this subject. "It is the only place you can brand on the playing field what we do," he indicated.

While testing was banned for the 2009 season, the rules for 2010 have been relaxed slightly, to allow for nominal testing, but France doesn't see the program reverting to its old format for the foreseeable future. "There was lots of testing in the past, which helps rev up marketing and helps rookies. There needs to be a perfect balance, and we have chosen to go the route of cost savings even though it is not perfect. As the economy gets better, we may be able to dial it back."

The Chase format was discussed at length, but other than the statement that it is subject to ongoing review, France said he wouldn't want to make any changes that would take away from Jimmie Johnson's accomplishments. "We could not have predicated that anyone would have achieved what Jimmie has done," the executive stated.

France stated that the results of the fall race at Talladega are always closely reviewed, to see whether improvements can be made for the following year's Daytona 500. He regards the Talladega and Daytona events as two of NASCAR's signature events. "These two races receive our highest television ratings," he said. "We have to have safe racing, but we have to have typical (close) Daytona and Talladega racing."

Race scheduling was addressed and France stated that the Kentucky Speedway wants a race as does the Kansas Speedway, which desires an additional event. While no commitments were made, France did indicate that changes could be made when the 2011 schedule is released.

The Fan Council, which has 12,000 members, was given credit for proving considerable input to NASCAR management. France acknowledged that the fans, the race teams and the manufacturers all offer input and NASCAR relies upon these groups to assist with its decision-making process. "Year after year we will make far more good decisions than poor ones, and for the poor ones, we will fix them as quickly as we can," he said.

Discussing the Car of Tomorrow, the NASCAR leader indicated the drivers have become much more comfortable with the car, but the sanctioning body will review the car in the off-season, plus the input obtained during the town hall meeting in May will be addressed. "We are going to keep pushing forward and achieve between great racing now and utopia, which is up here."

Published reports indicate NASCAR's television ratings have been going down throughout the season, and France indicated there are many reasons for this to have happened. He doesn't believe the season is too long and believes it is important for fans to see or hear about their sport on a weekly basis.

As rumors continue to swirl that Danica Patrick will race with NASCAR in the near future, France said she would be very welcome and indicated he has conveyed that thought to her. "She is a very accomplished driver, and I would love to see her compete in the highest form of racing in the world," he said. "I don't know how well she will do, but that's why you play the game. And she will be good for NASCAR." (Motorsport.com)

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11/20/09
irl

TCGR Featured in Versus' 'Sports Jobs with Junior Seau'
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) opened their garage to New England Patriot Junior Seau and the crew of Versus’ new series Sports Jobs at Infineon Raceway in August as Seau joined 2008 IndyCar Champion and Indianapolis 500 Winner Scott Dixon’s pit crew for the weekend.

In addition to his duties serving as a member of Team Target’s No. 9 pit crew in the IndyCar race, the new Versus series, similar to Discovery's Dirty Jobs, will follow Seau as he finds out just how hard it is to work behind the scenes across different teams and different sports.

The half-hour series begins December 2nd and will air at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays. Versus has ordered 10 episodes and the Team Target episode is scheduled as the third show, Dec. 16th. (TCGR-PR)

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11/20/09
irl

Speedway launches $500 Mil improvements
In front of a backdrop of workers removing asphalt, government and business leaders from Speedway and Marion County broke ground today on a Main Street project that kicks off a $500 million revitalization of the aging town.

"Although the skies are cloudy, this is a bright, sunny day for the town of Speedway," said Scott Harris, executive director of the redevelopment effort. Indianapolis Star

Nearly 100 people attended today's groundbreaking despite chilly, rainy conditions. Many of those in attendance, who have been part of the effort in some way during the four years of planning, wouldn't have missed it.

"What a hallelujah day," said Elizabeth Glover, owner of Charlie Brown's restaurant, one of the businesses along Main Street. "I can just picture this as a destination point, and I can't help but be excited."

The $6.7 million Main Street road construction project, which began Wednesday, should be completed by May 2011, in time for the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500. It is intended to fire up a redevelopment effort that civic leaders say will attract $263 million in private investment.

Planners say the redevelopment, which encompasses more than 400 acres directly south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will attract new commercial and industry that could create more than 2,000 jobs and foster a 10-year economic boost up to $5.2 billion, according to financial consultants Crowe Horwath.

Other infrastructure improvements also will follow, including the realignment of 16th Street, now set to begin next summer and finish by November 2011, a Holt Road extension, 10th Street realignment and a Georgetown Road closure between 16th and 25th streets to add a linear park to serve as a buffer from the track.

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11/20/09
f1
IRL

Stefan Wilson gets dream test in McLaren F1 car
Stefan Wilson in McLaren MP4-24
Stefan Wilson, coming off a recent dream-test in a McLaren F1 car, related the experience to us for our AR1 readers:

Stefan Wilson is hopeful for a return to Firestone Indy Lights in 2010, but first he gets to fulfill a lifelong dream of testing a Formula 1 car, with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Here he talks to us about that opportunity - the dream drive.

I hardly slept the night before. It was the date of my test, Friday 13th November. What a day to drive a Formula 1 car, eh? No, I’m not superstitious really, I just thought it was funny how it fell on that day.

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11/20/09
f1

Villeneuve reunites with trainer
Jacques Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve has underlined his desire to return to Formula One next season by rehiring personal trainer Erwin Gollner to oversee his winter preparation program.

The Canadian, who has not won a race in the top flight since claiming the 1997 world title at the second attempt and has missed the past three-and-a-half seasons since being usurped by Robert Kubica in the BMW-Sauber line-up, has long maintained that he is targeting a return in 2010, and has been a frequent visitor to grands prix throughout the year.

Reuniting with Austrian Gollner - who oversaw his fitness regime at BMW Sauber - Villeneuve has already begun training at a base just outside Salzburg as he continues to work on deals rumored to include Lotus and fellow newcomer USF1.

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11/20/09
karting

Buemi and Schumacher to race in Vegas this weekend
Toro Rosso's Sébastien Buemi and 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher will be taking part in the SKUSA Supernationals karting event in Las Vegas this weekend. The Swiss and German drivers will be joined by more then 300 other competitors in the multi-class contest. With Buemi already re-signed at Toro Rosso for a second season and Schumacher out of F1 racing since the end of 2006, the pair will be taking part in the American event as part of the Super Pro KZ2 class, with Buemi driving for the Intrepid outfit and Schumacher with Tony Kart Racing Team.

Other famous faces set to attend include former Renault driver Nelsinho Piquet, Pietro Fittipaldi - grandson of double World Champion Emerson - and past Indy 500 victor Buddy Rice as the drivers tackle the 0.66-mile track set in the vicinity of the Rio Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

Comment
11/20/09
MacauGP

Macau F3 Qualifying
Marcus Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson secured pole position for the Macau Grand Prix Qualification Race with another last gasp effort in qualifying on Friday – before making a mistake that caused minor damage to his car.

The TOM’S driver, who had been quickest in first qualifying on Thursday too, saw a number of his rivals improve on the benchmark overnight time early on in Friday’s session to push him down the order.

Following a lengthy red flag spell halfway through qualifying, caused by water on the track, Ericsson instantly responded to the challenge and delivered a lap time that secured him pole position by just 0.039 seconds from Signature’s Jean-Karl Vernay.

“I had got pole but on the radio the team said it was tight, so I pushed harder,” explained Ericsson. “Unfortunately I went into the wall. It bent a wishbone but it is not a problem – and it’s looking good for tomorrow.”

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11/20/09
f1

Williams sells team share to Toto Wolff
(GMM)  Williams has sold a minority share to an investment company, the independent British formula one team announced in a short media statement on Friday.

The media release said the new shareholder and board member is Austrian Toto Wolff.

Wolff, whose real first name is Christian, was a racing driver, contesting junior single seater categories as well as Le Mans and GT sportscars.

He recorded one of the fastest ever laps of the Nurburgring's famous Nordschleife layout in a Porsche 997 in April 2009.

Wolff founded his investment company Marchsixteen in 1998, and is involved with other motor racing firms and driver management.  His partner is the Scottish race driver Susie Stoddart.

Grove based Williams was previously owned only by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head.

Comment
11/20/09
racing news

Smrz Captures Jim Russell Championship Series Title
American junior formula car standout Brett Smrz completed his goal of winning the 2009 Jim Russell Championship Series this past weekend (November 14-15), scoring the victory in both rounds of the season-finale at Infineon Raceway. It marks the second consecutive year the 18 year-old has captured the championship crown.

Smrz, having recently returned from racing in England as part of the Team USA Scholarship campaign – finishing fourth at the historic Formula Ford Festival and ninth at the renowned Walter Hayes Trophy – entered the Jim Russell Championship Series season-final doubleheader confident he could once again challenge for race wins and the series title. This belief immediately proved justified, as despite missing the previous event in mid-October, Smrz was quickly up to speed behind the wheel of his spec Formula 3 equivalent FJR-50 car.

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11/20/09
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • No early contract release for Button - Fry
  • Button switched for less money and 'new challenge'
  • F1 on Friday: around the 'net
  • Mercedes GP in no hurry to replace Button
  • Neel Jani to test Force India at Jerez
  • Still no deal for 2010 British GP - Ecclestone
  • Sauber waits while FIA considers Toyota penalty
  • WRC options emerge for Raikkonen

No early contract release for Button - Fry
(GMM)  Angry Brawn chief executive Nick Fry has announced pre-emptively that Jenson Button will not be released to commence work for his new team McLaren in the remaining days of 2009.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the 29-year-old new world champion is under contract until the last day of December.

"Jenson will not be doing anything at all for McLaren until the end of this calendar year," said Fry.

"And if he does, we will be looking on it very dimly."

He suggested that Brawn/Mercedes' position, after their title successes of 2009 and a cooperation dating back seven years, was prompted by Button's "signing process" with McLaren.

It is rumored, for example, that Button's recent visit to McLaren's Woking headquarters was technically in breach of his existing contract.

"There are other constraints on what Jenson can do between now and the end of the year which we will be rigorously enforcing," Fry added.

A McLaren spokesman told the Daily Mail: "We haven't asked Brawn GP to release Jenson early, so this isn't really an issue for us."

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