NASCAR clueless as to why it has lost 25% of its fan base Four years after signing a record $4.48 billion media deal with Fox, ESPN and Turner, NASCAR has lost nearly a quarter of its TV viewership base, a four-year trend of massive viewer defections that has been punctuated by the erosion of the young male demographic.
This year’s TV numbers were down for 26 out of 34 races (two Monday races weren’t included), extending the sport’s viewership free fall and separating it further from other sports leagues, which have seen viewership remain relatively resilient in recent years.
Unlike past years, however, NASCAR executives and their media partners are not considering major changes designed to boost TV ratings. Rather, they are preaching patience.
GM Announces Repayment of Additional $1.0 Billion of Debt General Motors Company announced today that its GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, Inc. subsidiary (GM Daewoo) will fully repay its Korean revolving credit facility this month.
The facility had a drawn balance of $1 billion (USD) as of September 30, 2010.
General Motors CFO Chris Liddell said, “Following our successful IPO, we will continue to take opportunities to strengthen our balance sheet. Our objective remains to have minimal debt and a fully funded pension plan.”
Upgrades for Pocono Raceway Pocono Raceway expects a safer track in 2011 and beyond. The NASCAR track should be finished by the end of this year with significant safety upgrades that include a soft-wall barrier and catch fence. Work on the multimillion-dollar project started in October.
The new fence will run from the end of the front stretch and connect with the existing catch fence in Turn 2. The 6,155-foot fence will now surround the entire 2.5-mile race track.
The SAFER barrier will run on the entire length of the inside of the track from the exit of Turn 1 to the entrance of Turn 3 for a total of 5,516 feet. Pocono Raceway already has soft-wall barriers at each of the track's three turns.
Ganassi Wins International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award
Legendary car owner Chip Ganassi received the first-ever International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) Achievement Award Tuesday night during the IMIS welcome reception at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing and one of the founders of IMIS, presented the award to Ganassi, who scored two championships and numerous high-profile race wins throughout the 2010 season as an owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, IZOD IndyCar Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
“What Chip was able to accomplish as a car owner this season was incredible,” Paulsen said. “To have the amount of success he did across three completely different racing series was amazing, and it will be tough for any owner to repeat what he did in 2010. It was a no-brainer for us to award him the first-ever International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award. Our show is for hardcore racers and no one is a better example of a hardcore racer than Chip Ganassi.”
Chevy Executives Say IndyCar Project Won’t Impact NASCAR Program Chevrolet announced earlier this month that it would get back into the IndyCar Series, supplying engines to a handful of teams beginning in 2012. That move, company executives say, will not impact its NASCAR program, which includes Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Although those who oversee Chevrolet’s motorsports programs will have the IndyCar program as an additional part of their responsibilities, the money and personnel to run the program will not be taken from its NASCAR budget.
Eurointernational made Formula BMW their playground
Eurosport drivers swept the podium in Macau - the final Formula BMW race
Carlos Sainz Jr., Red Bull Junior Team, conquered the notorious 6.2 km Macau Gaia Circuit, with a light-to-flag victory in the final Formula BMW race in support of the 5th Macau Grand Prix.
Eurointernational swept the podium as Tomoki Nojiri (JPN) and Tom Blomqvist (GBR) finished second and third, respectively, while Dustin Sofyan (INA) completed the triumph for Eurointernational finishing fourth and winning the Formula BMW Pacific race as first non-guest driver of the event.
For the third time in the 2010 season EUROINTERNATIONAL sweep the podium, but for the first time ever took the top 4 positions with the 4 cars entered.
U.S. Army And Stewart-Haas Racing Renew Sponsorship Deal The U.S. Army Accessions Command today announced that the U.S. Army has renewed its motorsports partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing for '11. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 39 Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman will have U.S. Army as its primary sponsor for 15 races next season. The U.S. Army also will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 39 car for the remaining Cup races, as well as on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet. U.S. Army PR
Trulli and Kovalainen stay with Lotus for 2011 With Formula 1 governing body the FIA having released its first draft of the 2011 entry list on Tuesday afternoon, it has been confirmed that Lotus retains its line-up of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, although the eventual name of the Norfolk-based outfit remains to be seen.
At present, the squad is entered on the list as ‘Team Lotus’ although this is still subject to a High Court ruling involving the F1 team and sports car manufacturer Group Lotus, which has contested the label and since expressed an interest in the Renault F1 Team ahead of next season.
U.S. Army Renews Partnerships with Don Schumacher Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing The U.S. Army Accessions Command announced today that the U.S. Army has renewed its motorsports partnerships with Don Schumacher Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing for 2011. The U.S. Army will again sponsor Tony Schumacher’s Top Fuel Dragster in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, while Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet Impala will sport the U.S. Army colors as the primary sponsor for 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races next season. The U.S. Army also is set to continue its associate sponsorship with NHRA Full Throttle driver Antron Brown in 2011, as well as its role as the official military partner of the NHRA.
Lowe's signs on as sponsor of Las Vegas Sprint Cup event Lowe's and its Kobalt Tools brand are joining Las Vegas Motor Speedway to "build something together." The companies announced a multi-year agreement that will make the home-improvement chain's tool brand the sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Kobalt Tools 400, the 14th NASCAR Sprint Cup event to be held at LVMS, will take place March 6 on the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
"Lowe's is one of the nation's most-recognizable companies, and we are thrilled to have a company of its stature as our partner in this event," said LVMS president Chris Powell said. "It's a tremendous opportunity to help give Lowe's more exposure to NASCAR fans. The Las Vegas race, which represents the largest sports event west of Texas, is one of the most popular on the NASCAR circuit, and together with Lowe's, we can build this event even more."
Toyota to fix 650,000 Prius hybrids over heat Toyota Motor Corp will pay to fix about 650,000 Prius models worldwide for a coolant pump glitch that could cause the top-selling hybrid to overheat and lose power, the automaker said. The repair campaign covers Prius cars for the model years 2004 to 2007. The bulk of the cars, or 378,000 units, are in the United States.
The Japanese automaker said it had not received any reports of accidents or injuries from problems with the pump, which circulates coolant for the hybrid system
Major automakers, including Toyota, often conduct repair campaigns that are separate from safety recalls filed with U.S. regulators in cases where they determine that a defect does not present a safety risk.
Bobby Hamilton Jr. pulls gun Race car driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. is in the middle of a controversy involving a gun. Members of a race crew said Hamilton pulled a gun on them Saturday night at the Highland Rim Speedway in Greenbrier, TN. Anthony Walker had entered a super stock car in the race. Walker and Scott Thompson, a member of his crew, said they got into a heated argument with Hamilton, who runs the track, about whether their car was the proper weight. They said Hamilton disqualified them from the race, and Walker and Thompson wanted a refund of their entry fee. That's when Thompson says Hamilton pulled a gun out of his back pocket. "He cocked it back and started waving it around. Saying, I'll pop it, I'll pop it. I'll pop it," Thompson said. "I've never had a gun pointed at me, and I definitely didn't like it," Thompson said.
Hamilton's story is different. He said he was going to his truck to refund the crew's entry fee, when the members of the crew followed him. "I was almost surrounded," Hamilton said. He said he felt threatened when he saw the men reach into their pockets. Hamilton said he saw that the men had pocket knives. Thompson said no one had knives or guns. Hamilton said he was well within his legal rights. "I kept watching their hands, watching their gestures, they kept getting more frustrated, about the time their hands go in their pockets, about the time they were coming out, they charged, and that's when I said, 'not today, not today,'" Hamilton said. Hamilton said he lifted his shirt to show the men the gun in his pocket. That contradicts the statement he gave police. It quotes Hamilton as saying that he took the weapon out of his pocket. Walker said Hamilton had no right to point a gun at the crew. "In no way could he have felt threatened from me, because I never once told him I wanted to hit him. I never acted like I was going to hit him. I never did anything of that fashion," Walker said. Hamilton said he's married, with a young child, and he wasn't going to risk his life that night. "I'm going to protect my business. And I'm going to protect my life," Hamilton said. Millersville Police Chief Ronnie Williams said Hamilton does have a carry permit and that no charges were filed because it's a 'he-said, she-said' situation. The chief said either side can go to before a commissioner and swear out a warrant for a private prosecution. wsmv.com
GM to hire 1,000 engineers for electric cars General Motors will hire 1,000 engineers and researchers in Michigan for research and development of electric vehicles, CEO Dan Akerson said on Tuesday morning in Detroit.
The new hires will work on batteries, electric motors and power-control technology. Akerson made the announcement at the factory that builds the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
“We are well on our way to the electrification of the automobile,” Akerson said.
Andretti and AFS sever IndyCar and Indy Lights relationship Andretti Autosport and AFS Racing announced today they have ended their partnership in INDYCAR. Andretti Autosport plans to field multiple entries in Firestone Indy Lights again in 2011, while AFS Racing will continue in Firestone Indy Lights and will explore additional opportunities in the IndyCar Series.
Since joining forces in 2008, AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport captured two Firestone Indy Lights championship titles and 11 race wins. In 2009 and 2010, AFS Racing expanded its role and fielded an entry within the IZOD IndyCar Series in a joint venture with Andretti Autosport - first for driver Franck Montagny and then for Adam Carroll.
In 2011, Andretti Autosport will be the first team to compete with entries in each step of INDYCAR's 'Road to Indy' ladder development program, including the Star Mazda Championship and the USF2000 National Championship.
FIA lists six teams with 2011 driver vacancies (GMM) Six teams are yet to confirm their full driver lineups for the 2011 season, according to the official entry list published on Tuesday by F1's governing body.
Only the top four teams as well as Sauber and Lotus have lodged FIA entries naming two race drivers.
One vacancy is at Renault alongside Robert Kubica, although Vitaly Petrov is expected to be retained for a second season.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado is yet to be announced at Williams, and Force India failed to nominate a single driver, with Adrian Sutil, Tonio Liuzzi, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg all reportedly in the running.
Toro Rosso's lineup is also officially unconfirmed, even though the Faenza based team have said Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari are staying, alongside Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo in a Friday practice role.
Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli have been listed by Lotus, whose entry has been lodged as 'Team Lotus' amid speculation the Malaysian team might change its name before the start of next season.
Similarly, Renault is still officially 'Renault F1 Team', but Group Lotus could step in as a title and naming sponsor, even though that change could compromise its 2010 Concorde Agreement prize money.
Timo Glock is expected to stay at Virgin, but the British team - now renamed Marussia Virgin Racing in deference to its new Russian supercar co-owner - has not listed a single race driver.
Penske Racing announces Wolfe as Crew Chief for No. 2 Dodge Just a few weeks after helping Penske Racing win its first NASCAR championship, Paul Wolfe has been selected to serve as crew chief for one of the most iconic teams in motorsports.
Wolfe, who led Penske Racing’s No. 22 car team to the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series title, has been named crew chief of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team for 2011. Wolfe will continue to work with Brad Keselowski, who will take over as driver of the No. 2 Dodge beginning next season.
The diminutive Ecclestone (L) with his former wife Slavica is so short he must look like a soft touch to would-be thieves. "They look for victims, they look for anyone who looks like a soft touch and not too bright," said the Briton in Sao Paulo after Jenson Button almost got mugged. "People who look a bit soft and simple, they will always have a go at."
FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone has spoken out after his harrowing ordeal on the weekend that saw him and his young girlfriend attacked by robbers outside his London home, telling the Daily Express that he would have handed over the items that were taken if he was only asked for them...
“It was completely stupid and uncalled-for," he said of the attack. "If they had confronted me and asked for everything we had, I would have handed over everything in my pockets, my wallet, anything.”
However, instead of being asked, Ecclestone was knocked to the ground and kicked and punched into unconsciousness. He was taken to hospital after the attack and released with an all clear from the doctors. Meanwhile, his Brazilian girlfriend Fabiana Flosi, was physically unharmed in the incident, but was quite shaken up by what went down.
Ecclestone explained just what happened to the British publication.....
“I’m feeling it now. A bit painful; it was a good whacking. I drove, as I often do, and we had just got out of the car when suddenly these guys laid into me. They said nothing to me, just went on the attack, so there was no chance to feel scared or react. When I was on the ground I could hear Fabiana screaming for help, and I took a kick or two in the head and went unconscious. When I came to, there was blood everywhere from my head wound but I was lucky, they weren’t worried about taking my eye out or head injuries when they were kicking.”
Smith impresses during McLaren test Formula One hopeful Dean Smith admits that he is incredibly happy with the way his recent test with McLaren worked out.
The 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion was given the opportunity to have a run in the MP4-23 McLaren Mercedes - the team's 2008 F1 challenger - around Silverstone's South Circuit because he won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award last year.
The Briton enjoyed three six-lap runs, and reveals that the team were impressed with his performance.
Evernham no longer legally bound to RPMUPDATE Ray Evernham isn't sure what he'll do in 2011. The three-time champion crew chief for Jeff Gordon and former team owner could continue to work for ESPN, work for another race team or just continue running his race track and developing a modified dirt car designed for new and part-time racers. Evernham has not been allowed to work for a team since selling the majority of his Evernham Motorsports to George Gillett in 2007. With an exclusive consulting clause included in his agreement with Gillett as part of the sale, Evernham has not had a role in the NASCAR garage beyond his work as a commentator for ESPN. For 2011, Evernham believes he is "free and clear" from any commitments to Gillett (whose Richard Petty Motorsports is being restructured without Gillett playing no role in the new company) and the 53-year-old is looking for his next opportunity. "[I] don't have a complete direction for next year," Evernham said last week. "Obviously I've been buried under a mire of legal paperwork, caught up in something I don't want to be involved in. It is what it is. I think I'm probably as apprehensive or a little bit nervous about my future as I ever have been." Does he want to get back in the garage working for a team? "It would be on that part-time basis," Evernham said. "I have no desire to be the guy on the top of the box to try to come in and save the day. I'm past that. That was a different time in my life, and the sport was different." Evernham has talked with Hendrick Motorsports, where he earned his three NASCAR Cup titles with Jeff Gordon, about consulting roles and even roles outside the motorsports operation. Evernham, who owns East Lincoln Speedway, a dirt track in Stanley, N.C., has also developed a new dirt Legends car, which is being sold through Bruton Smith's U.S. Legends Cars International. "I love my ESPN job and I love the people I work with," Evernham said. "We're talking about that. We haven't talked about specifics, but I haven't made any decisions because I haven't had enough time to think about it quite yet. Everybody always tells you that there are going to be a ton of offers coming your way, and your biggest fear is that they don't. Obviously, I've had a great time doing ESPN, and I am talking to them." SceneDaily
11/20/10 Famed crew chief and ESPN analyst Ray Evernham is free to return to the competition side of the Sprint Cup Series. Evernham said Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway that he no longer is legally bound to the exclusivity deal at financially strapped Richard Petty Motorsports that kept him from entertaining offers from other organizations. He said he will entertain offers of being a consultant, making it clear he does not want to return full-time.
"Ray Evernham, for the first time coming into the final race of a NASCAR season, does not have a complete direction for next year,'' Evernham said. "Obviously, I have been buried under a mire of legal paperwork, caught up in something I don't really want to be involved in. But it is what it is. I'm probably as apprehensive or a little bit nervous about my future as Ray Evernham has been. I am free and clear according to my people now. Basically, every contract I've had has been breached in every shape or form.''
Evernham sold majority interest in Evernham Motorsports in 2007 to George Gillett. That organization later merged with Petty Enterprises to become Richard Petty Motorsports, but it kept Evernham in the loop as a consultant and would not allow him to work with other teams. Evernham said he has not brought legal action against Gillett for outstanding money owed him in the original transaction, but he has hired attorneys that have plans in place to do so, if necessary. "Honestly, the thing before you file a lawsuit, you have to make sure there is something to get,'' he said.
Evernham isn't sure whether he'll remain with ESPN in 2011 or be with a race organization, or both. There has been speculation that he could return to Hendrick Motorsports, where he helped Jeff Gordon win three of his four titles and help turn around the struggling Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I love my ESPN job and the people I work with,'' Evernham said. "So we're talking about that. We haven't talked about specifics. I haven't made any decisions because I haven't had enough time to talk about it.'' ESPN.com
Ed Carpenter to drive in place of Sarah Fisher When the IZOD IndyCar Series raced at Kansas Speedway earlier this year, someone asked Sarah Fisher about her car. Fisher, whose Sarah Fisher Racing team was fielding two cars for the first time, responded with a detailed report on the No. 66 car, which had been damaged in a practice crash and not her own No. 67 car.
And as the year went on, Fisher found it more and more difficult to separate her jobs as owner and driver for Sarah Fisher Racing.
So she made the decision to step out of the seat of the No. 67 Dollar General car and focus on her role as team owner. On Nov. 29, she announced her retirement and that she'd hired Ed Carpenter to drive the car for at least nine events in 2011.
"Being both an owner and a driver is both time consuming on both sides," said Fisher, who recently turned 30. "I really want to see this team move forward and to have one driver who does all the races - ovals and road courses. It's just very hard to do both."
Richard Petty to take more active role in salvaged teamUPDATE Statement from Jamie Allison, Director, Ford North America Motorsports, on Richard Petty Motorsports:
“We’re elated that Richard Petty has been able to complete this very complex task of restructuring Richard Petty Motorsports. Everyone knows that The King is a motorsports icon and to have him part of the Ford Racing family is something we cherish. We’re also excited about moving forward with Andy Murstein and Doug Bergeron, two men whose knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be successful will serve RPM well in the future. I am extending a personal welcome to Andy and Doug from all of us at Ford. Now, we can concentrate on the task at hand, which is getting AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose the resources they need to win races and make the Chase in 2011.”
11/29/10 Despite the financial challenges that RPM faced throughout the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, last Wednesday plans were put into motion for a new ownership group featuring Andrew Murstein, Douglas Bergeron and Richard Petty. The deal, first reported on FOXSports.com, was made official this morning.
“I looked at a lot of sports teams over the years and to me, this is a great brand in sports,” said Murstein, the new majority owner. “It’s like the Boston Celtics or the New York Yankees. I saw how people brought them back to their glory years and I think the same can be done with Petty.
“It’s a phenomenal name, great track record and it was just a perfect storm of things that made this a great investment opportunity.”
Gurney, Moss Join SPEED Performer of the Year Panel Motor sports icons Dan Gurney and Sir Stirling Moss have agreed to become voting members of the SPEED Performer of the Year panel, joining Mario Andretti in helping select the annual recipient of the Mario Andretti Trophy as the top racer of the year.
“If this award was in place when these gentlemen were driving, they would have been locks to win the trophy,” said Andretti, who personally asked both men to join the panel. “They are both great examples of what this award represents and I am honored to have their support moving forward.”
“The names Andretti, Gurney and Moss are synonymous with greatness in racing,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “And more importantly that that, all three carry themselves with the class of a champion … we are truly honored to have them associated with the SPEED Performer of the Year program.”
2011 ILMC calendar announced 1. Sebring 12 Hours (Florida USA) 19th March 2011 2. Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (BEL) 8th May 2011 3. Le Mans 24 Hours (FRA), 11&12 June 2011 4. Imola 6 Hours (ITA) 3rd July 2011 5. Silverstone 6 Hours (GBR) 11th September 2011 6. Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta, Georgia, USA) 1st October 2011 7. 6-Hours race to be organized in China (name defined in relation to circuit) 12th November 2011
Jean-Claude Plassart, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Thanks to this balanced international seven-race calendar our events will take place in six countries on three continents, so the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will really take off in 2011. Endurance, the bedrock of our activities since 1923, will come out of this championship, whose regulations are based on those that have made the success of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with its prestige reinforced. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is especially proud to contribute directly to the international development of this branch of motor racing in which the sporting, competitive and attractive aspects for the general public are highlighted, as well as the most innovative technologies.”
F1 would have been hard, says Loeb Seven-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has reiterated that he will not be aiming for a full-time Formula 1 career, despite having considered the possibility after a one-off test session with Red Bull Racing in Barcelona two years ago.
With his F1 test having come in November 2008, Loeb admitted that he was pondering a career switch but now admits that Kimi Räikkönen’s tough transfer to the WRC has acted only as confirmation that he made the right decision.
Auto GP and Campos Racing are eager to announce the signing of an agreement that will see the team enter the Series in 2011. Managed by former F1 driver Adrian Campos, the Spanish outfit will line-up two cars on next season's grid, adding even more quality to an already outstanding Auto GP field. Following the partnership with WTCC and the Eurosport live coverage announcement, this is again great news for Auto GP as Campos Racing is undoubtedly one of the best teams in European Motorsport. Founded in 1998 when Adrian Campos decided to stop racing himself in order to commit to team management, Campos Racing started winning right from the first season of activity, clinching the Formula Nissan title with Marc Gené.
Clauson Captures USAC National Drivers Championship, 2011 Indy Lights Ride While most of the news coming out of the Izod IndyCar Series won't take effect until the 2012 season, Noblesville's Bryan Clauson made sure that open wheel fans will have at least one intriguing story line to follow through the 2011 season by winning Thursday night's Turkey Night Grand Prix USAC Midget Race at Irwindale Speedway in California.
By winning the historic Turkey Night Grand Prix for the second consecutive year, Clauson maintained his five point advantage over Levi Jones to claim the inaugural USAC National Drivers Championship. The Drivers Championship was originally created to award the top performing driver across USAC's National Silver Crown, Sprint Car, and Midget series with a $40,000 cash bonus. On October 20 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard raised the stakes for the Championship revealing that the points champion would also be awarded a $300,000 Firestone Indy Lights Scholarship to be used to fund a team for the six oval races in the 2011 Indy Lights season.
Felipe Massa was one of the main attractions at this fantastic final day of the 2010 Ferrari World Finals. “I am happy to be here: it’s an amazing event and it’s nice to be here alongside our fans and our customers and to see so many extraordinary cars out on track,” commented the Brazilian driver. “It was really a lovely day.”
As for the subject of Formula 1, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver could not but draw a parallel between the way the 2008 and 2010 seasons ended, when in both cases, a Prancing Horse driver lost the fight for the Drivers’ title at the very last race. “They were both very difficult moments for the team. Sure, in Brazil two years ago, going into the Grand Prix, we did not have much of a chance, but then, during the race, the situation developed so that it looked as though I could win, but it all changed in the last two corners. Two weeks ago, on the other hand, Fernando set off leading the classification, but we know how it turned out in the end. You cannot compare the two situations, but I can understand how my teammate felt.”
Rolex Series Cars Set for Homestead Test Competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will have their final official testing of 2010 in a three-day session Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will test at the circuit on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and will have a pair of Wednesday morning sessions on Dec. 1 from 8:30 - 10:50 a.m. The Rolex Series will test on Wednesday from 9:10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., with 30 cars entered - 12 Daytona Prototypes and 18 GT cars.
Filipe Albuquerque wins ROC individual competitionUPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Why on earth would the USA team send a NASCAR driver to an event like this - there are right turns in this event and most NASCAR drivers can only turn left. Yet again Team USA made American motorsports look inferior. The only NASCAR driver worth a grain of salt is Jimmie Johnson. He won the ROC for Team USA one year. In addition he has won 5-straight NASCAR titles. Yehuda Rubenstein
11/28/10 After a breathless afternoon of action, this is what some of the drivers had to say, including NASCAR star Carl Edwards who got his clock cleaned all weekend long.
Filipe Albuquerque: “Today was my day. Everything went so well and I made no mistakes. Since the beginning I was up against such good drivers - I had to beat Sebastian Vettel twice and in the final, wow, Sébastien was really on it. I just drove my race and when I won the first one I was really happy. In the second race I made a small mistake and straightaway he was there and won - a little mistake can cause you to lose everything in this competition. But in the deciding race I was nice and smooth with no mistakes. I can't believe it - it's the first time I am here and I have won - I could not ask for more. To win against great names, including Vettel in Germany when he has just won the world championship, is just fantastic.”
Michael Herck ends on top The Yas Marina Circuit hosted the fourth and last post season test day today marking the end of the 2010 campaign, but also the last run of the GP2/08 car after three thrilling seasons that crowned Italian Giorgio Pantano, German Nico Hülkenberg and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado. In three years, teams and drivers have covered 63.500 kilometers on Bridgestone tires.
Luiz Razia and Adrian Zaugg (still struggling with a sore wrist following a collision in the last round of the 2010 season in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago) joined the field today at Barwa Addax and Trident while James Jakes, Pal Varhaug, Jan Charouz and Charles Pic re-entered the drivers’ list respectively at Super Nova, Dams and Rapax.
Formula 3 young guns surprise F1, IndyCar stars in Granja Viana 500
The race winners
SÃO PAULO - Sudam F3 reigning champion Yann Cunha, his series rival Lu Boesel and kart regular Luiz Cordeiro Filho surprised the hot favorites to win the 14th edition of the Granja Viana 500 Mile, held on Saturday at Kartodromo Internacional Granja Viana in São Paulo. The trio started only from 27th slot in the grid, courtesy of a contact during the Top Qualifying sprint race, but moved up in the field right after the beginning of the 644-lap endurance challenge. They covered the full distance with an advantage of one lap to the second placed duo Nelson Angelo Piquet-Christian Fittipaldi.
Swiss motorcyclist wins, then dies DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A Swiss motorcyclist was killed after colliding with another rider only moments after winning a race, track officials said Saturday in a statement.
Pascal Grosjean, 39, had crossed the line Friday and slowed to celebrate winning a Sportsbike Championship race when third-place finisher Tony Jordan ran into him at about 124 mph, throwing both riders to the tarmac at the Dubai Autodrome.
Grosjean was airlifted to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Jordan remains in a serious condition.
Shanghai. Fortune in the Far East. Scottish Mercedes-Benz driver Paul Di Resta ends up second in the DTM finale in the metropolis of Shanghai, which makes him the 2010 DTM champion. Bruno Spengler from Canada (Mercedes-Benz), who was the points’ leader prior to the race, failed to make up positions from 17th place on the grid following an accident in qualifying, which cost him his three points’ margin. In the final standings, 24-year old Di Resta has 71 points. “This smile won’t be off my face for a long time. Fortunately, my flight is only booked for Monday. I would have liked for more family members to be here to celebrate with me. But now, I will celebrate with the team. Today, it was more about the title rather than victory in the race. That has worked out”, Di Resta described his feelings. In total, the Scot scored three race wins and three second places this season. Di Resta only failed to score points on two occasions.
It was a trouble-free test session today at Yas Marina Circuit for the third day of post season testing which saw eight drivers join the paddock – Alexander Sims at ART Grand Prix, Brendon Hartley at Racing Engineering, Rio Haryanto at iSport International, Romain Grosjean at Dams, Davide Rigon at Rapax, Alexander Rossi at Arden International, Karun Chandhok at Ocean Racing Technology and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs at Scuderia Coloni.
The three-hour morning session was only briefly interrupted by one red flag, thus, all twenty-four drivers could benefit fully from continuous track time with Sam Bird - today at the wheel of an iSport car - the first one to top the timesheets. However, after dominating Day 2 of these post season tests, Rapax’s Fabio Leimer, on his fifth lap today, set his lap time in a 1:47.856, a lap that nobody could then better. Josef Kral, today at Arden International, came very close to the Swiss’ best, along with DPR’s Michael Herck while Bird had to settle for fourth quickest, a shy two tenths away from Leimer.
Vettel and Schumacher win for team GermanyUPDATE #2 It looked like Schumacher and Vettel might be hard-pressed to continue their Nations' Cup winning streak, as both suffered shock defeats in the initial heats - Vettel losing out to Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana, both American extreme sports stars, and Schumacher being pipped by Belgian IndyCar driver Bertrand Baguette.
But winning their other three group-stage heats allowed Schumacher and Vettel to sneak through on a tie-break at the expense of Team USA's Pastrana and Carl Edwards, the German duo's best times being crucially slightly quicker.
They then defeated Baguette and his sportscar ace Team Benelux partner Jeroen Bleekemolen in the semi-finals, to set up a classic final showdown with Great Britain - this time represented by touring car heroes Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx - in the deciding head to head.
Although Schumacher took a straightforward win over Plato in the first of the three final races, Priaulx then defeated Vettel, meaning it all came down to a tense head to head between Priaulx and Schumacher - which the seven-time F1 champion (many say the best driver there ever was) won by 0.7s to clinch the honors for Germany.
Paul Di Resta in front on the streets of Shanghai, China
Scot Paul Di Resta has secured himself the best position for the battle for the 2010 DTM title. The Mercedes-Benz driver did the best job in the action-packed qualifying of the DTM season finale at the narrow 2.465 kilometers long street circuit in Shanghai and will be starting from pole position on Sunday at 8.23 h (CET). British driver Gary Paffett will also be starting from the front row, but from second place into the 60 lap race. Third in the drivers’ standings, Di Resta’s fellow Mercedes-Benz driver also still has title chances.
More changes to Shanghai street circuit DTM organizers plan to carry out further work on the Shanghai street track overnight following the number of crashes in qualifying on Saturday. All four segments of qualifying were red-flagged at some point due to crashes. Drivers complained in particular of how slippery the white lines on the track were, and the lack of grip due to the surface at Turns 1, 2 and 3.
Some work had already been carried out after Friday's running, but it is now expected that more work will take place before the race.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug said: "I think we will have a close look, together with the [German motorsport authority] DMSB at what we can improve overnight.
Motorsport goes electric in Race of Champions build-up Electric power replaced the roar of an engine at the practice sessions for The Race of Champions in Düsseldorf, when the stars of world motorsport got behind the wheel of the ground-breaking Tesla Roadster.
Ever the pioneer of innovative concepts in motorsport, The Race of Champions took a step into a green future with several demonstration runs featuring the electric-powered cars on the unique parallel track at the ESPRIT arena.
The drivers due to compete in today's ROC Nations Cup and Sunday's Race of Champions took turns behind the wheel – including Formula 1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.
Tony Stewart wins Las Vegas Sprint Car Nationals Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart won the first edition of the Las Vegas Sprint Car Nationals Presented By K&N Filters tonight at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win was Stewart's first-ever Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car victory in only his second ASCS start.
The redraw following the B-Features placed Tony Stewart and teammate Jessica Zemken together in the third row in sixth and fifth positions, respectively. At the opening green flag, Sam Hafertepe Jr. ran from the fourth row to take the lead. Following a caution flag for debris with 15 laps remaining, Stewart, driving Steve Kinser's car, passed two cars and took the lead. As soon as Stewart took the lead he began to put distance between himself and second-place runner Brian Brown. Jack Dover occupied third place. The caution flag flew again with 10 laps remaining and Stewart held the top spot on the restart and once again ran away from the field. Another caution flag with two laps remaining gave Brown one more shot at Stewart. The final green flag flew, Stewart dropped the hammer and went on to win his first ASCS Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series win. Brown finished second and Dover was third.
British F3 secures title sponsor for 4 years Cooper Tires to continue to back series and to provide control tires - 30-date 2011 calendar revealed with races at Monza, Nürburgring, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps & Silverstone
Cooper Tire is to continue as title sponsor of British F3 until at least the end of 2014, it is confirmed today. The tire giant’s backing for the coming four seasons provides unrivalled stability which will maintain the championship’s position at the forefront of international motorsport as the premier academy for the Grand Prix talent of the future.
Drivers get their first taste of ESPRIT arena trackUPDATE The superstars of world motorsport are ready to do battle in The Race of Champions this weekend after practice concluded this evening on the unique parallel track in Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena.
New Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was among the drivers taking part in the final practice session this evening on the specially-constructed indoor track. Also on track were NASCAR ace Carl Edwards, motorcycling great Mick Doohan, Travis Pastrana, Jason Plato and Tanner Foust.
The group pushed to the limit – and beyond when Vettel went straight through a trackside barrier and into a gravel trap in the KTM X-Bow.
After the final practice session, the second group of drivers held a press conference to give their thoughts on the weekend’s event. This is what they had to say:
Edmonton IndyCar race back on City council has voted to restore the Edmonton Indy. To make up for a $3 million breakdown in contract negotiations, the city will use $1 million from private partners, and the remaining $2 million from new parking revenue.
City council was asked Friday to increase its Indy budget by $3 million, cash that will now come from private partners and parking revenues.
Modifications to the Indy track and public areas are estimated to cost $3 million.
Brooks team tests at Firebird with Goncalvez Brooks Associates Racing's much anticipated entry into the Firestone Indy Lights Championship kicked off with driver Jorge Goncalvez doing a two day test at Firebird International Raceway. "This track presented a lot of challenges to Jorge from his last Indy Lights test at Putnam. Where Putnam is a high grip, fast and flowing sort of track, Firebird is a bumpier, stop-and-start style with much less grip. We were impressed at how Jorge handled this huge variance - like a seasoned veteran." said John Brooks, team owner.
Hertz to offer electric sedans in California Coda, a maker of electric cars, just got a break from Hertz. The car rental agency will offer Coda electric sedans in California starting next year. Coda plans to make 14,000 cars next year for the U.S. market at $44,900 before tax incentives.
Mucke signs Steindl for GP3 Mucke Motorsport has signed Willi Steindl to its 2011 GP3 Series lineup. The German team has already confirmed that Nigel Melker will return for a second season, and has now concluded a deal with the 18-year-old Austrian.
Ricciardo reserve driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso Daniel Ricciardo will be Scuderia Toro Rosso’s third and reserve drive for the 2011 Formula 1 season. This is not just an “honorary” appointment as the 21 year old Australian will drive in the Friday morning free practice sessions at all the Grands Prix, replacing each of our current two drivers in turn.
As already confirmed earlier this year, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s driver line-up of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi remains unchanged for 2011. Ricciardo is a product of the Red Bull Young Driver Program. This year he came second in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, after winning the 2009 British Formula 3 championship.
Watch ROC 2010 LIVE on the Web The Race of Champions will be screened LIVE on the web this weekend by www.freecaster.tv
The webcast costs just €4.99 for the whole weekend, offering two days of elite racing that no motor sports fan could afford to miss.
Join our English commentators John Hindhaugh and Martin Haven for a front row seat, delivered direct to the comfort of your home thanks to the latest webstreaming technology. Watch it on your computer, or link up your TV for the ultimate home entertainment experience.
Drivers will be under starter’s orders from 1900-2200 CET (1800-2100 GMT) on Saturday 27 November for The ROC Nations Cup.
Steve Parker: Jimmie Johnson Should Quit NASCAR We have a big stage in this country, but the fame it offers is short-lived.
This peculiar "Here today, gone tomorrow" American phenomenon is nowhere more powerful than in the world of sports.
Now, after winning a fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title championship, it's time for racing phenomenon Jimmie Johnson to leave NASCAR. As they might say down South, JJ should "get out now while the gettin's good."
And he can't do it soon enough. He should announce it at the NASCAR Awards Banquet this week in Las Vegas.
Costa: We didn’t want to face reality Aldo Costa, Race Engineer to Fernando Alonso, has recalled the moments when Ferrari realized it would not be winning this year’s Drivers’ World Championship in Abu Dhabi, with a tactical error from the team having left the Spaniard stuck in traffic and defenseless to new title winner Sebastian Vettel.
With Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov having stopped under Safety Car conditions at the end of Lap 1, Alonso soon found himself behind both cars after also pitting early when shadowing the strategy of other championship rival Mark Webber.
“After a tough winter, we had some problems mid-season but had those sorted,” Costa explained to Italy’s la Repubblica. “We arrived in Abu Dhabi and Alonso did the job in qualifying. Then the race and the error.
Petrov must show consistency to keep seat Renault demands the kind of pace shown by Vitaly Petrov in Abu Dhabi on a more consistent basis if they are to sign him up for the 2011 season.
That is the view of Genii Capital chairman and RenaultF1majority shareholder Gerard Lopez, who said the decision to keep Petrov on for next season has not yet been made.
"It's not done yet. As much as we have been happy during the course of the season, we were a little bit disappointed with the results coming towards the end of the season," Lopez told ESPNF1. "The one criticism we had of him and still have, to some extent, is not his pure speed but his ability to put together a whole weekend in a very focused and concentrated way. If anything in Abu Dhabi, he showed that if he wants to, he can. There is no reason why Vitaly can't be a top five or six driver throughout his career but we haven't made a final decision. Abu Dhabi did a lot for us to re-consider his position and we'd like to be able to sign him up but he's been away so we have to sit down with him, look him in the eye and see if he can do what he did in Abu Dhabi during the race throughout the season during practice, qualifying and the race."
Assen manager dies Johan van der Kaap, the technical manager of the circuit of Assen in Holland, died this morning of lung cancer. The cancer was only discovered 3 months ago. Sad news. Another victim of cancer sticks (cigarettes).
Ready to ROC in Düsseldorf! The stage is set for a thrilling 2010 edition of The Race of Champions after the draw for the opening group stages was made in Düsseldorf this afternoon.
The Mayor of Düsseldorf, Dirk Elbers, made the draw at the 50,000-seater ESPRIT arena, host of this weekend’s Race of Champions and ROC Nations Cup.
An all-star line-up of 16 motor sport stars past and present - including current F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and seven-time title winner Michael Schumacher - discovered what awaits them in this weekend’s event.
Aston Martin Racing has launched a new Vantage GT4 for 2011. The new V8 engined racing car takes design inspiration from Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage road car, giving it enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. It also has a remapped 4.7 liter engine offering increased levels of power and torque.
As with the current 4.7 liter Vantage GT4, which made its race debut in 2009, the 2011 car is closely based on the V8 Vantage road car with key attributes being carried over including the aluminum chassis, base engine and suspension design. In addition to the engine and aero upgrades, competitors can, for the first time, choose a race-developed Bosch ABS and traction control system. This system has been specifically optimized by Bosch Motorsport for the Vantage GT4 to provide race-enhanced performance in both wet and dry conditions.
Porsche expands R&D center Porsche is implementing a long-term strategic plan for its research and development centre in Weissach, near Stuttgart, Germany, with the announcement of an extensive construction project.
The sports car manufacturer is investing around 150 million euros in the expansion, which will see the creation of a new wind tunnel, a state-of-the-art design centre and an innovative electronics integration centre.
The technology implemented in the new wind tunnel will meet future requirements for vehicle development, which are increasingly focusing on energy efficiency. "The new facility will help us to maintain the top position of Porsche in the fields of aerodynamics and design, and to further extend our lead,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “Outstanding design with optimal aerodynamic efficiency has always been a classic Porsche stronghold.”
This 1947 Ford 1/2 ton pickup truck was just sold to FORD MOTOR COMPANY of Detroit Michigan USA for the sum of $800,000.00 plus a brand new Ford F350 dually truck By Dave Hill from Whitby Ontario Canada. This truck was being restored by Dave and his father Len, who has since passed away. That made it hard for Dave to part with the truck since it was a joint effort with his father.
Dave and his father purchased this truck from a farmer, who was the ORIGINAL OWNER, who had ordered it equipped new, as it was in 1947.
Hendrick pit crew tryouts Hendrick Motorsports will conduct pit crew tryouts on Nov. 29, 2010, for all positions. Two-hour sessions will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and candidates must attend both sessions. Interested parties should e-mail email@example.com for details and to reserve a slot. Inquiries must include an up-to-date résumé.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - IndyCar has become so popular under Randy Bernard even governors beg IndyCar to race in their state
Randy Bernard, who became chief executive of the Izod IndyCar Series nine months ago, continues making changes in hopes of boosting IndyCar's fan appeal and financial well-being.
He announced at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday that the British auto company Lotus would provide engines to IndyCar teams starting in 2012, joining longtime supplier Honda. Last week Chevrolet also said it would provide engines in 2012.
IndyCar plans to use a new Dallara chassis in 2012 that would be "dressed" with different body work, or aero kits, from competing designers.
Ford adds 40 new dealers in China Ford Motor Co. inaugurated 40 new dealerships in China Wednesday in a bid to increase sales in the world's biggest auto market.
As part of its growth plans in China, Ford's goal is to have 100 new dealerships this year, mostly in secondary, inland cities, for a total of 340.
"Following the call to 'Go West,' we are expanding west and in developing cities in China where most of the future growth here in the world's largest automotive market will come from," said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford, Asia Pacific and Africa, and chairman and CEO of Ford China.
Ford reduces its debt by $1.9B Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday that it expects to end the year with more cash than debt after converting $1.9 billion in debt to new common stock that will be issued at month's end.
The last time this situation occurred was the second quarter of 2008.
Debt reduction is crucial for the company that avoided following General Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC into bankruptcy, where those carmakers shed most of their debt. Ford mortgaged everything the company had, including its Blue Oval trademark, to restructure itself and has made cleaning up its balance sheet a priority.
Auto GP to use F1 points system in 2011 The partnership with WTCC and the live TV coverage on Eurosport won't be the only news for Auto GP in 2011. In order to make the racing even closer, the Series has decided to revamp its points system adopting the same allocation table of Formula One for Race 1, and changing consequently also the scoring scheme for Race 2. Under the new system the top ten finishers will score points in Race 1, with 25 points awarded to the winner. In Race 2, points will be allocated up to P8 and the race winner will get 18 points. Here is the complete table:
1st 25 points
1st 18 points
2nd 18 points
2nd 13 points
3rd 15 points
3rd 10 points
4th 12 points
4th 8 points
5th 10 points
5th 6 points
6th 8 points
6th 4 points
7th 6 points
7th 2 points
8th 4 points
8th 1 point
9th 2 points
10th 1 point
Enzo Coloni: "Having been a racing driver, I know that winning a race is a really big undertaking. So for Auto GP I wanted a points system giving some more value to wins, both in Race 1 and Race 2. I feel that the F1 allocation system is very good for that, and that it should also bring other good side effects. Extending the points zone in both races we should see drivers fighting for position also when they will be a bit back in the standings, providing a better show for fans on track and on TV".
The worldwide appeal of Narain Karthikeyan became evident Monday when the former Formula One driver from India received the Most Popular Driver award for NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. The winner was determined by fan voting on NASCAR.com.
Karthikeyan, 33, drove a nine-race schedule for locally owned Turn One Racing (formerly Wyler Racing) through a partnership with Starbeast Motorsports. His best finish was 11th in June at Texas Motor Speedway.
Each of his truck races was broadcast live in India, he said.
"It's good that fans in India are supporting me," Karthikeyan said. "I've found some new fans here, too. The biggest thing is taking NASCAR to India. NASCAR's going to have a huge fan base back home."
But, we ask again, what is this Indian doing racing in a xenophobic red-neck race series like NASCAR where he will amount to nothing, instead of an open wheel series like IndyCar that has a more international friendly fan base and drivers from all over the world?
Sarah Fisher Development Driver Heads West For Turkey Night Grand Prix Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) development driver, Kyle O’Gara, will participate in the Ford Focus Nationals, the preliminary event for the 70th running of USAC’s Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California on Thanksgiving night, driving the No. 4 East Enterprises / Sarah Fisher Racing / Beast / Ford / Hoosier machine.
“I’m really looking forward to being on track in Irwindale this week,” said a very enthusiastic O’Gara. “I’ve learned so much this season, and it’s been a blast. I can’t thank Andy and Sarah, Bob (East), and my crew chief, Dave (Newman), enough for giving me such a great opportunity. I’m hoping my blue No. 4 East Enterprises / SFR machine will be up front this week. I’m definitely going to being trying my hardest to keep it that way.”
Coyne buys barbecue restaurants An IndyCar racing legend and his wife bought two local Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q franchises last week. Dale and Gail Coyne bought the franchises in Port Orange, Florida and Orange City, Florida as part of a seven-franchise deal, which closed Nov. 15, Sonny's spokeswoman Monique Yeager said. The Coynes now own 16 franchises statewide, making them the largest franchisee.
Sonny's did not make the details of the transaction public, but Volusia County records show the Coynes paid $880,757 for the Orange City property and $1.475 million for the Port Orange property.
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