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DATE News (chronologically)
12/05/10
f1
V8

F1 wreck led to Australian title for former tester
(GMM)  Former Jaguar tester James Courtney on Sunday secured his first V8 Supercar title.

But as a 22-year-old in 2002, the Australian was testing a Jaguar at Monza when a rear suspension failure sent him into the barriers at an incredible speed.

When he regained consciousness with blood in his eyes, someone was shouting at him.

"I looked up and it was Michael Schumacher," Courtney, now 30, told the country's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"It's a miracle that I survived," he admitted.  "I went straight into the wall at 306kph and (then) I got sent backwards at about 70.

"They told me I was lucky my retinas did not detach because of the force of the crash.  It looked like a plane crash."

Read more & Comment...
12/05/10
f1

Australian GP organizing dispute now over
(GMM)  A dispute that threatened to derail the future of the Australian grand prix has been resolved.

The organizer of the Melbourne event, Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) chairman Ron Walker, dashed to the Abu Dhabi finale last month when the country's sanctioning body threatened to recommend the cancellation of the 2011 race.

The AGPC and CAMS, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, were at loggerheads over $800,000 in fees that Walker was refusing to release.

"We will not sign a new contract with CAMS unless they modernize their management and reduce their prices," he said in November.

Reports at the weekend suggested CAMS president Andrew Papadopoulos had told the media that the row is over.

"CAMS is delighted to have reached this agreement," confirmed chief executive David Morgan in a letter to CAMS affiliates.

Comment
12/05/10
Racing News

New Racing Poll
What is wrong with American motorsports today? (Take poll on our Home Page)
  1. Its biggest stars are backmarkers
  2. Today's race cars have no relevance to cars fans buy
  3. Fans have very busy lives
  4. Racing is no longer a gladiator sport
  5. Fans are tired of hearing and seeing NASCAR everywhere
  6. There are too many forms of racing, fracturing the fan base 


Comment
12/05/10
irl
nassprint

Poll Results
Given Milka Duno's lack of pace, IndyCar should:
Only allow her on 100% throttle no talent reg'd oval tracks  4% 
Impose a 110% qualifying rule akin to Champ Car and F1  36% 
Suggest she take her CITGO money and become a co-team owner with Dale Coyne  34% 
All of the above  25%

Biggest challenge facing the IndyCar Series in the year ahead:
Versus TV Ratings 33%
Marketing its drivers 34%
Attendance 18%
Sponsorship costs 7%
Scheduling 3%
Health of US automakers 3%
Other 4%

Biggest challenge facing NASCAR in the year ahead:
TV Ratings 24%
Mainstream appeal of drivers 20%
Attendance 17%
Rising Sponsorship costs 14%
PR and messaging 8%
Backmarker status of its most popular driver 5%
Health of US automakers 5%
Scheduling 2%
Other 4%

How would you characterize the state of NASCAR Today?
Not delivering value for what it is charging fans and sponsors 53%
Needs better PR, product is just fine 33%
Still a very strong domestic product, No. 2 to NFL 8%
Other 6%

Comment
12/04/10
nnw

Layoffs at Roush Racing
With its Nationwide program contracting and the need for fabricators shrinking, Roush Fenway Racing has decided to lay off as many as 60 employees, a source close to the situation told Sporting News.

Roush will run three Nationwide teams next year, full-time entries for Carl Edwards (No. 60) and Trevor Bayne (No. 16) and what the company hopes will be a full-time ride for 2010 series rookie of the year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 6), pending sponsorship.

Roush ran four full-time Nationwide cars in 2010. In addition, with Roush affiliate Richard Petty Motorsports contracting from four teams to two next year, Roush is overstaffed when it comes to building the cars it supplies to RPM.

Comment
12/04/10
nassprint

Earnhardt's mother needs to wash his mouth out with soap
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch both say they have to clean up the blue language that sometimes invades their radio chatter—but for different reasons.

Earnhardt learned recently that the wife and children of new crew chief Steve Letarte will be regular listeners on his scanner frequency.

"I just learned on the plane ride here (to Las Vegas) that his wife and kids listen to the radio at home through the speaker system in the house," Earnhardt said after Thursday's Myers Brothers Luncheon at Bellagio, where he received his eighth straight award as NASCAR's most popular driver. "Definitely going to have to change my vocabulary if I can."

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
f1

Buemi impressed with next years Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi reckons his 2011 challenger is on track to be a "good" car because it "definitely looks impressive."

Although Buemi's name did not appear under Toro Rosso when the FIA released the 2011 entry list, it's believed to be only a matter of time before the team confirms him for next year's Championship.

Already the Swiss driver, who scored eight points this season, is preparing for 2011, his third year in Formula One, visiting the Milton Keynes's factory earlier this week.

"I went to the simulator in Milton Keynes" he told the team's website. "It was a useful session, even if it was not the usual routine of preparing for the next race, as Bahrain 2011 is still a long way off!

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
f1

Di Resta better than champion Vettel - Franchitti UPDATE Interesting that Dario didn’t mention that Di Resta is his cousin.

12/03/10 (GMM) Paul di Resta is even better than F1's new world champion Sebastian Vettel.

That is the claim of triple Indycar title winner Dario Franchitti, who is Scot di Resta's cousin.

Di Resta, 24, is on the cusp of his formula one debut, having secured the 2010 DTM title and forged a strong link with Force India by spending last season as reserve and Friday driver.

"He definitely has the skills," 37-year-old Franchitti told Germany's Sport Bild.

"He is one of the most talented drivers I've ever seen," he added. "He beat Vettel in the Formula 3 Euro series (in 2006).

"Sebastian is a good driver, but Paul is better," said Franchitti.

Di Resta told Motorsport-Magazin.com: "Sebastian and I have had some ding-dong encounters, and I hope and feel sure that we can continue this in the formula one arena."

Comment
12/04/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday UPDATE Former ITV commentator James Allen wrote on his website, jamesallenonf1.com: "Montezemolo keeps saying that he does not want to get into politics and that he does not want to leave Ferrari, so you have to take what he says at face value."

He added: "According to my best sources in Italy, for the moment, there is nothing to suggest that he is about to change his role."

12/01/10
  • Robert Kubica
    Kubica admits Petrov decision 'difficult' for Renault
  • Press awaits December meeting with Montezemolo
  • Alonso not sure if Ferrari to make staff changes
  • Soucek sees 'problem' for new talent in F1
  • Lotus name dispute continuing due to 'public support'
  • Only Red Bull free to spurn driver inequality - Villadelprat
  • Ecclestone blames Mosley for new teams' 'problems'
  • Webber is Australia's top sports earner 

    Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
f2

Lariche fastest on final day in Portimao
Benjamin Lariche stormed to the top of the timesheets in the final test session in Portimao, setting a scintillating pace despite cooling conditions around the 4.6km circuit on Friday.

Lariche's best effort, a 1:34.619s effort, came in the final ten minutes of the session as he battled with Alex Brundle and Jack Clarke to finish fastest at the close of Formula Two's official winter test in Portugal. His benchmark time was more than five tenths faster than the overall best set in qualifying when F2 visited the track in July this year.

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
tv news

On Cable, ESPN empire tops
Which sports networks on cable TV have the deepest penetration in terms of U.S. households?

1. ESPN, 100 million households
2. ESPN2, 100 million households
3. Golf Channel, 83.1 million households.
4. SPEED 77.2 million households
5. Versus, 75.1 million households.
6. ESPNU: 72.5 million.
7. NFL Network, 56.8 million households.
8. MLB Network, 55.2 million households.
9. NBA TV, with 54 million households.
10. ESPN Classic, 39.7 million households.

Comment
12/04/10
automotive

Honda will stop making Element
Honda Motor Co., the fourth-largest automaker in the U.S., said it will discontinue the Element sport-utility vehicle after the 2011 model as sales fall for the seventh straight year.

Deliveries of the Element peaked at 67,478 in 2003 and have declined every year since, dropping to 12,960 this year through November.

Consumers have shifted to models like Honda's CR-V compact crossover SUV, the Tokyo-based company said Friday in an e-mailed statement. "Compact SUVs have been one of the strongest segments this decade, but the Element never proved to be a high-volume seller despite its low price," Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for automotive data provider Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, Calif., said in an e-mailed statement.

"It probably suffered from too much competition — even from within its own showroom."

Comment
12/04/10
racing news

Successful Track Test of Zytek KERS System
The last of three, two-day tests of the Zytek KERS system installed in Honda R&D's HEV Super GT test car was successfully completed last week. Driver, Katsutomo Kaneishi was very positive in his comments regarding the delivery of the increased performance.

In total, over 2000kms of track running were completed at competitive race pace. The 40kW system ran without fault throughout the test and proved to be capable of up to 1.5 seconds per lap improvement in performance or eight per cent reduction in fuel consumption for the same lap time. Using the push to pass option provided a 10km/h boost in the end of straight velocity. The car was also able to accelerate through the gears from a standstill up to the pit lane 60km/h limit using only the electric motor power.

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
alms
ga

ALMS and Grand-Am team owner Loles target of fraud case UPDATE The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford has returned a 32-count indictment charging GREGORY P. LOLES, 51, of Easton, with securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering offenses stemming from an alleged fraud scheme that defrauded several investors, including a Connecticut church, of millions of dollars.

The indictment was returned yesterday, November 30. LOLES has been detained since his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on December 15, 2009.

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
f1

Virgin to rely just on CFD again
Virgin Racing team principal John Booth says he has faith in computational fluid dynamics after the outfit's first year of exclusively using Wirth Research's CFD capability to race in F1.

Booth confirmed that the same methods will be employed for 2011 and added that it was the cost-saving potential of CFD that allowed the team to carry on after Max Mosley's original budget cap plans did not come to fruition.

"We took the decision to continue, but within the financial framework we'd decided on for the old regulations and we could only do that because of Nick's CFD capability," Both explains. "The Silverstone upgrade that we made to the car would have cost six, eight times as much if it had been developed in the conventional manner.

Read more & Comment...
12/04/10
irl

IndyCar drivers selected to Auto Racing All-America team
Five IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, led by overall series champion Dario Franchitti and Will Power, and Firestone Indy Lights champion J.K. Vernay were selected to the 2010 All-America Auto Racing Team by members of the nation's motorsports press.

The team includes the largest group ever named to the First Team, 21 drivers, as a result of the addition of a new category this year by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Franchitti, who won his third IZOD IndyCar Series title in four years and his second Indianapolis 500 and Power, who scored a series high five win were named to the first team while Vernay, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe were named to the second-team selections. Tony Kanaan was an honorable mention selection.

Read more & Comment...

12/03/10
f1

Race calendar becoming too long for F1 - Mosley
Max Mosley says F1 calendar too long
(GMM) A 20-race calendar is too long for formula one, according to former FIA president Max Mosley.

2010's tally of 19 races was the equal-biggest in the history of the sport, and next year the rally is growing to twenty rounds.

The USA and Russia are set to join possibly more additional grands prix in the near future, moving Sir Frank Williams to recently muse that he can envisage a 22-race schedule before long.

"For me personally, it's too much," Mosley told the German newspaper Welt.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
irl

IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Tim Cindric
Tim Cindric, president of Penske participated in an IZOD IndyCar Series teleconference earlier today to discuss Shell-Pennzoil sponsoring the No. 3 Shell-V-Power Pennzoil-Ultra car in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.

Below are select quotes from his interview. A full transcript and MP3 audio file can be downloaded at the IZOD IndyCar Series media website at www.indycar.com/media

Q. The team had a pretty exciting event last night in Las Vegas, which is where Helio is somewhere between here and there. You unveiled the livery for the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Dallara/Honda that he will drive in the Indianapolis 500. I guess it is a homecoming feel with Pennzoil's great history with Penske Racing, and especially at Indy.

Read more & Comment...

12/03/10
nassprint

Childress Named 2010 Owner of the Year by the Sporting News
Richard Childress, the 12-time NASCAR championship team owner of Richard Childress Racing, has been named the Sporting News 2010 Owner of the Year.

It is the third time Childress has earned the distinction. He was the magazine's first owner of the year in 2001 and won the award again in 2006.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
TA

Trans-Am Series Announces Three Dates On 2011 Schedule
SCCA Pro Racing today confirmed three races on the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series schedule, including the season opener at Sebring International Raceway, a May date north of the border at Mosport International Raceway, and an August race at Road America.

The 2011 season will not only include the traditional ground-pounding Trans-Am machines, but also the recently announced Trans-Am 2 (TA2) and Trans-Am 3 (TA3) classes. All three classes will race together for the 2011 season for separate championship titles, with Trans-Am drivers chasing defending Series Champion Tony Ave.

Among the events to be included on the 2011 schedule are the opener at Sebring International Raceway (March 17 - 19) in Sebring, Fla.; Mosport International Raceway (May 20 - 22) in Bowmanville, Ontario; and Road America (August 19 - 21) in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
lmes

Rebellion Racing statement on Toyota engine deal
REBELLION Racing and Toyota Motorsport GmbH are pleased to confirm their plans for a Le Mans Prototype LMP1 engine supply partnership. The agreement will see two REBELLION Racing Lola LMP1 cars powered by Toyota engines, commencing with the 2011 season when REBELLION Racing will be the exclusive partner of Toyota Motorsport in LMP1.

Alexandre Pesci, Rebellion Racing Team Principal: "This agreement is the cornerstone of REBELLION's challenge for the forthcoming season. Toyota is an impressive and remarkable industrial giant, we are proud to have been selected by Toyota Motorsport as their partner in this project. It means a lot for our team to have secured their support in our efforts to target the victory."

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
f1

Lotus hires former BMW, Ferrari execs
Lotus Cars has added former BMW boss Karl-Heinz Kalbfell and ex-Ferrari executive Guillaume Chabin to its management lineup.

Kalbfell will advise Lotus CEO Dany Bahar and provide operational support at the company's headquarters in Hethel, England.

"It's not often that you get the opportunity to work with such an iconic automotive brand at such an exciting stage of its development, and I really feel that now is the perfect time for me to contribute toward the future of Lotus," said Kalbfell.

Kalbfell worked in engineering and marketing while at BMW, where he was responsible for the early BMW M sedans. He also was vital in putting the BMW V12 into McLaren's Formula One supercar and forged the engine-supply deal with Morgan Motor Co.

Comment
12/03/10
nassprint

Dale Jr. working on extension
Despite Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s struggles on the track, Hendrick Motorsports has begun negotiating a contract extension for NASCAR's most popular driver. Team owner Rick Hendrick told ESPN.com of his plans Thursday after Earnhardt was named the sport's most popular driver for the eighth straight year during the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers luncheon at the Bellagio. "We're looking at extending it," Hendrick said of Earnhardt, who just completed the third year of a five-year deal that ends in 2012. "I really like him. I think the world of him. I know he can do it. We just have to get the right combination in, and I think we're going to have it. I hope we get to race together until he retires ... until I retire. I'll retire first," he said. Extending the contract would end any speculation that Earnhardt might move his Nationwide Series program to Sprint Cup after 2012 and drive for himself or go to another team. But Earnhardt's first priority is making sure the next time he returns to Las Vegas for the season-ending banquet it is as a member of the Chase field and not just to get a popularity award. "The only person that can truly help me get where I need to go starts with me, then it goes to Rick, Steve [Letarte] and those guys in your inner circle every week and in your corner every week," said Earnhardt, who finished 21st in points. "My biggest problem, I think, is my confidence," he said. ESPN

Comment
12/03/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday (UPDATED) UPDATE See updates noted below in red.

12/03/10
  • Davide Valsecchi
    Valsecchi meets with HRT bosses in Germany
  • Lotus to start 2011 season without KERS
  • Proton confirms talks for partial Renault F1 takeover
  • Vettel considered for Laureus award nomination
  • No sponsorship is 'handicap' admits de la Rosa
  • Hamilton switch to Car No. 3
  • Sauber, Toro Rosso say new cars on track for first test New
  • Glock says '100pc' likely to race Virgin in 2011 New

Valsecchi meets with HRT bosses in Germany
(GMM)  Davide Valsecchi is visiting HRT's German headquarters this week.

Last month, it was reported that the 23-year-old is a candidate to make his formula one debut with the Spanish team in 2011 if he can find enough funding.

Valsecchi, a race winner in GP2 this year, was the quickest of any of the young runners with F1's three new teams at the Abu Dhabi test in November.

"Italy should support him," team boss Colin Kolles was quoted as saying.

Italiaracing magazine said Valsecchi's strong pace in Abu Dhabi "surprised" Kolles and his management colleagues, who therefore invited him to Germany for a meeting.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
f1

No IndyCar for Pedro de la Rosa
Pedro de la Rosa will stay home and pull weeds in his garden for 2011
Pedro de la Rosa insisted that he is not yet thinking of switching to North American open wheel series IndyCar, despite his poor chances of landing a driving job in Formula One next year. The Spanish driver was ousted by BMW Sauber-Ferrari 14 races into the 2010 campaign and has been looking to secure a 2011 race seat with any other team ever since.

“I'm not considering that (IndyCar switch) yet. It's interesting, but - for now - I still think that I can be in F1,” said De la Rosa in a recent interview with Spanish newspaper Marca.

Recently, the prospect of seeing De la Rosa inside the cockpit of a HRT F1-built car next season have been slammed by the very owner of the Spanish team, who told the media that as much as he'd want to see his countryman drive for him next year, “without money, there is no place for him.”

Comment
12/03/10
track news

Daytona repaving Project approaches checkered flag
The mythical fat lady is not singing, but you can hear the orchestra tuning up in the background at Daytona International Speedway.

Repaving of Daytona's 2.5-mile tri-oval -- a project started on July 5 -- is rapidly coming to a close as the checklist developed by Lane Construction and the North American Testing Company becomes shorter by the day.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
ga

Rolex Grand Am testing Homestead testing update
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is holding its final scheduled activity of 2010, a two-day open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday.

Testing is scheduled in groups from 9:10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Thursday.

And the Fastest Is ... Michael Valiante (Updated Thursday at 6 p.m.)

Back in June, Michael Shank Racing's no. 6 Ford/Riley was all but written off in a fire at pit entrance late in the running of the Sahlen's Six Hours of Watkins Glen. Thursday, Michael Valiante drove the renumbered No. 23 entry to an unofficial lap of 1:13.2, edging out teammate Ozz Negri and Level 5 Motorsports' Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut for bragging rights.

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
f2

Clarke heads first day of Portuguese F2 test
Jack Clarke
Britain’s Jack Clarke finished at the top of the timesheets on the first of two days for Formula 2 testing this week. Circulating the Algarve circuit on Thursday, the 22-year-old wrapped up proceedings three tenths of a second faster than compatriot Alex Brundle.

“Fastest in the morning, fastest in the afternoon, fastest overall - I can't ask for more really!” smiled Clarke, who is the stepson of former Formula 1 and British Touring Car driver Julian Bailey.

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12/03/10
f1

Alonso voted best driver of 2010
Fernando Alonso
While young Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel, took the Formula One world by storm when he secured his maiden F1 crown at the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it was Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who had the lead in the drivers battle going into the final event, that was voted as the best driver of the 2010 season, by the twelve team bosses.

Going into the final event, Alonso thought that Mark Webber was the man he needed to fear the most and while he was concentrating on keeping the Australian driver behind him at all costs, Vettel stormed to victory and the championship crown. However, the Autosport poll on the twelve team bosses returned the verdict that Alonso was the best of all on track, something that pleased the Spaniard to no end....

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
nascar

Ethanol teams up with NASCAR for upcoming racing season
The U.S. ethanol industry announced this week it will team up with NASCAR for the upcoming season. On Oct. 16, NASCAR announced it will use an E-15 blend in its three national touring series in 2011. The fuel will be provided by Sunoco Green E15, which is a 15-percent ethanol blend using ethanol from corn grown by U.S. farmers.

Dick Gallagher, chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and farmer from Washington County, said it was good the hard work and background work for 12-15 months finally paid off with the announcement.

Dean Taylor, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Jasper County, explained American ethanol is a group of over 100 organizations working to promote U.S. ethanol and is coordinated by Growth Energy, an ethanol trade group. Further details of the NASCAR and the ethanol industry will be made available later.

Comment
12/03/10
track news

Road America forces to sock it to fans, NASCAR style
Nearly a year ago, Wisconsin racing fans first heard the news that NASCAR would bring the Nationwide Series to Road America.

This year's bit of information about the series and the Elkhart Lake track didn't provide the kick of an early Christmas present but rather the cringe of the post-holiday bills.

While ticket prices for the Bucyrus 200 have held steady, the cost to camp on the grounds for the June 23-25 weekend has risen sharply [Editor's Note: High prices are common at France family NASCAR events where fans pay exorbitant prices while their company reaps millions in profits even in the worst of times].

Read more & Comment...
12/03/10
nassprint
irl

Penske seeks sponsor for Hornish, may run him in Indy500
Like Dale Jr., Hornish is a backmarker in the Sprint Cup series because the new Car of Tomorrow requires a real loose setup to run fast and those two drivers cannot do it well.  Hence both are backmarkers
Penske Racing is planning to run three NASCAR Sprint Cup and one Nationwide series team full time in 2011, though the entry for Sam Hornish Jr. is dependent on sponsorship. In 2010, Penske fielded three Sprint Cup teams (with drivers Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Hornish) and two Nationwide teams with drivers Justin Allgaier and Keselowski. Keselowski won the Nationwide Series title, the first NASCAR championship for team owner Roger Penske. Approximately 50 people were laid off from the organization this week, with more cuts expected to come Friday. Hornish will definitely run the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup season opener, and the organization is working to land sponsorship to continue running his #77 team.

"We need to take advantage of the resources we have going forward," said Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. "We haven't ceased our efforts. This just hasn't been a strong sponsorship climate. We had tough decisions to make. We have a couple of things going, but we had to base those decisions on today, not tomorrow." Penske says that if he can't find sponsorship for Hornish in NASCAR, he will run him in the Indianapolis 500. FoxSports

Comment
12/03/10
f1

2011 Sauber to launch end of January
Planning for the 2011 season is taking shape: The Sauber F1 Team will be introducing the Sauber C30-Ferrari on the morning of the 31st January 2011 at the Circuit Riccardo Tormo in Valencia. The day before the official testing begins Team Principal, Peter Sauber, the team’s management and the drivers will be available for the media. In the afternoon filming with the C30 is planned.

Comment
12/03/10
nassprint

Backmarker Earnhardt is NASCAR's biggest star....again
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his second straight disappointing season on the track but he has not lost the adoration of his fans as Earnhardt Jr. won the voting for the NASCAR NMPA Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award for the eighth consecutive time.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver was given the award during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon on Thursday afternoon at the Bellagio Ballroom in Las Vegas.

Earnhardt Jr., winless in the last two years with career-worst points finishes of 25th in 2009 and 21st in 2010, is third all-time in the number of Most Popular Driver awards behind Bill Elliott (16) and Richard Petty (nine). Elliott also holds the record for most consecutive years winning the award with 10 from 1991-2000.

Read more & Comment...
12/02/10
automotive

Chrysler to bring back the Viper
Chrysler Group LLC plans to bring the iconic Dodge Viper back to its lineup in the summer of 2012.  The all-new Viper will be a 2013 model.  The Auburn Hills automaker ceased production of the all-American sports car last summer after 18 years.

There has been speculation since then that the hiatus would be short-lived and Chrysler would bring the car back.

Ralph Gilles, head of the Dodge brand, confirmed the Chrysler board has given the Viper final approval and development is on schedule.

Read more & Comment...
12/02/10
f1

Austin’s $4 million F1 incentive?
Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison recently caused a minor stir when she alluded to what seemed to be another public subsidy for Formula One. Here’s what she said:

“As I understand it, there is going to be discussions later next year about whether or not the City of Austin is interested in participating in economic incentives to the tune of what I think I heard is $4 million per year for 10 years, and obviously at that point in time, in order to consider or that request, there is going to be a whole lot more information that’s needed in terms of economic costs and benefits, environment issues.”

Read more & Comment...
12/02/10
automotive

November auto sales jump 17 percent as market gains strength
U.S. car and truck sales jumped 17 percent last month, raising hopes the industry will end 2010 on a high note while creating momentum for the new year.

Light vehicle sales rose to 873,407 units in November, for the market's 11th advance in the past 12 months. The industry's sales total through November--10.45 million--has now topped 2009's full-year mark of 10.43 million.

For the second consecutive month, U.S. sales reached an annual selling rate of 12.26 million units, according to AutoData Corp. A year ago, light vehicles sold at an annual rate of 10.86 million units.

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12/02/10
irl

What could the V6 turbo IndyCar engine sound like?
Here are YouTube videos and sounds of formula 1 cars when they had the turbo V6 engines back in the 1980's. 

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12/02/10
f1

Sauber: Telmex hasn't bought into team
Peter Sauber has confirmed that Mexican firm Telmex has only joined his team in a sponsorship capacity and that he retains full control of the squad – adding that he will only sell it on when he is happy it is fully stabilized again.

“I own 100 percent of the team and there are at present no plans to sell the team or any part of it,” he said.“Our partnership with Telmex, which will come into force on 1st January 2011, does not include any kind of stakeholding and is purely a sponsoring agreement.”

Comment
12/02/10
f1

No KERS for Lotus Racing at start of 2011 season
The KERS system, which stores energy from braking to help boost acceleration later in a lap, has been reinstated for next season.

Adjustable rear wings will also come in to help improve straight line speed, although the F-duct – which provided a similar effect and helped McLaren and Red Bull among others in 2010 – has been outlawed.

“We will have the adjustable rear wing but not KERS for the start of the season – it’s in development – really because of engineering resource,” said chief technical officer Gascoyne.

Read more & Comment...
12/02/10
f1

Schumacher cautious but expecting to win in 2011
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is cautious about the 2011 season after a difficult return to formula one this year.

Following a three-year retirement, 2010 was the first full season in the German's record-setting career in which he didn't visit the podium even a single time.

He told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he is expecting a better 2011.

"We are clearly in a better situation now because of the immense support from Mercedes," said the seven time world champion.

"But we cannot presume to think that we will be fighting for the championship.  We will make a big leap forward and – if all goes well – win races," insisted the 41-year-old.

Read more & Comment...
12/02/10
f1

Q and A with F1's newest rookie
Wednesday brought with it the much-awaited confirmation that Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado will be making his Formula 1 debut with Williams next season, pairing up with Rubens Barrichello as replacement for GP2 Champion predecessor Nico Hülkenberg. The 25-year-old Maracay driver shares his feelings.

What started your career in motorsport?

Having competed themselves, my father and my uncle are very passionate about motorsport, so I inherited it from them. In my city of Maracay, there is a go-kart circuit about five minutes from my home.

When I was about three or four years old I said I wanted to race but I was too young, then when I reached the age of seven my father gave me a kart and we started from there - from that moment until now we have never stopped.

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12/02/10
irl

Q and A with Randy Bernard from Vegas
What’s in a name? Actually, quite a lot when you’re a player in a crowded global professional sports and multi-level entertainment market.

In a wide-ranging interview session moderated by SportsBusiness Journal executive editor Abraham Madkour and attended by about 200 industry representatives at the 11th Motorsports Marketing Forum at the Venetian Resort, Randy Bernard formally announced the name change of the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the USF2000 National Championship to INDYCAR.

“When I came in, I heard from fans that there was a lot in the divorce of 1995 of IRL and CART,” said Bernard, who joined INDYCAR as CEO in March after 15 years with the Professional Bull Riders. “IRL had a very negative connotation. We know we lost 15 to 20 million fans, and the first thing I asked myself was how do we get them back? They were once involved in open-wheel racing and passionate about it.

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12/02/10
f1

British GP tickets selling well
Interest in the 2011 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix is 'high', organizers have confirmed. Indeed tickets for the event at Silverstone on July 8-10 2011 are selling fast, with seats overlooking the new starting grid in the new International Pits Straight between Club Corner and Abbey already now sold out.

“The 2010 Formula 1 season has reignited people’s passion for the sport. We are already looking forward to 2011 and another exciting season,” said Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited.

“Interest in the British Grand Prix has been high, with tickets selling well. There are still plenty of tickets available, but some of the more popular grandstands have already sold out, including International Pits Straight and one or two sections in the Copse and Stowe grandstands.

“The drivers and teams will be based in our new Pit and Paddock Complex for next year’s British Grand Prix.

“The grandstands around that section of the circuit are being elevated and re-positioned to offer prime views of the start / finish straight and pits, and fans have been quick to purchase their tickets in those areas.

“Changes to the circuit and moving the F1 Paddock have also given us an opportunity to rethink some of the viewing areas for General Admission ticket holders. For 2011, we will be opening up the inside of the Brooklands / Priory Complex, creating new spectator areas and getting fans much closer to the track.”

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12/02/10
tv news

Johnson & NFL's DeAngelo Williams in SPEED Test Drive: Corvette
A star-studded roster featuring NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, NFL’s DeAngelo Williams and American Le Mans Series star Johnny O’Connell are all going behind the wheel of Chevrolet’s newest lineup of sixth-generation (C6) Corvettes when SPEED original series Test Drive premieres on Dec. 8 @ 10:30 pm., ET.   

Hosted by Setup lead Tommy Kendall, the SPEED Test Drive team visits Bank of America Stadium (BoA Stadium) in Charlotte, N.C., and Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) in Kershaw, S.C., putting the Grand Sport convertible, the Z06 and the 638-horsepower brand flagship, ZR1, through there paces.

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12/02/10
WC

World Challenge Returns to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, WC Vision and SCCA Pro Racing today announced that the World Challenge Championships will race as part of the 2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, April 15-17.

Since 2006, World Challenge teams and drivers have battled it out on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street course. From 2006 to 2009, only the World Challenge GT class ran at Long Beach. In 2010, fans were treated to a World Challenge race that included GT, GTS and Touring Car fields - a first for the series. All World Challenge classes will race again at Long Beach in 2011.

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12/02/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Toro Rosso insist drivers not changing for 2011
  • Vergne backs Red Bull's tough junior program
  • Fans disliked Petrov comments - Alonso
  • Statistics prove Vettel deserves 2010 title
  • F1 sponsorship for Group Lotus makes no sense - Gascoyne

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12/01/10
nassprint

Fired from F1, Scott Speed fired from NASCAR
Scott Speed wore his hat sideways in F1 and got smoked day in and day out ending in his termination.  Next up was NASCAR and now he has been terminated again, this time for good as Red Bull has sent him packing.  Speed was a rear-engine open wheel driver all his career.  Did he really think he could succeed in front-engine taxi cabs?
According to Scott Speed's Twitter account, he got the official termination letter last Tuesday. "Not a huge surprise," Speed wrote. Speed became expendable when Red Bull Racing signed Kasey Kahne to drive its second Sprint Cup car for the 2011 season before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. His only hope to remain with the company was if Brian Vickers, who missed most of last season after being diagnosed with blood clots, was unable to return. General manager Jay Frye said before the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that no complications were expected when Vickers went off blood thinners.(ESPN.com)

AND Red Bull Racing officials confirmed Wednesday the team's contract with Scott Speed has been terminated, effectively ending a seven-year association with the brand. Earlier in the afternoon, Speed revealed on his Twitter account that he had received a termination letter as of Nov. 24. "We have exercised our rights to end the relationship at the end of 2010," according to a statement from the team. "We wish Scott the best of luck in his career." But with Brian Vickers scheduled to return to the team following successful heart surgery -- and Kasey Kahne signed to a one-year deal before heading to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 -- Speed found himself as the odd man out. It "will for sure be weird being a free agent," Speed wrote.(NASCAR.com)

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12/01/10
nastruck
nnw

Colin Braun canned by Roush Fenway Racing
After spending the last three seasons at Roush Fenway Racing, Colin Braun is looking for his next opportunity. Braun has been released from Roush Fenway, which is focusing on finding sponsorship for Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne for the Nationwide Series next season.

The 22-year-old Braun won a Truck Series race at Michigan on his way to a fifth-place finish in the series standings in 2009 but then had a rough year in the Nationwide Series in 2010. He made 24 starts with five top-10s but seven races which he didn’t finish.

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12/01/10
nassprint

NASCAR Takes Vegas By Storm for Sprint Cup Series Champions Week
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards ceremony will cap off Champion's Week, a postseason celebration of fan-friendly activities in Las Vegas. The NASCAR Victory Lap, featuring the top 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers from the 2010 season, will once again provide fans a unique experience on Las Vegas Boulevard. This postseason black-tie celebration will crown the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, as well as honor the top 10 drivers in the final standings. In true Las Vegas style, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, hosted by comedian Frank Caliendo, will include red carpet arrivals, and entertainment by multiplatinum and award-winning recording artist Martina McBride, country music vocal group Rascal Flatts, Grammy-winning artist Colbie Caillat, comedic host Frank Caliendo, and a special performance by Cirque du Soleil's "Viva ELVIS." 

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12/01/10
fil

Yacaman joins Team Moore for 2011
After two seasons in Firestone Indy Lights, Gustavo Yacaman feels like he can contend for the Firestone Firehawk Cup.

He's found the team he thinks can bring him wins and the championship.

The 19-year-old Colombian announced Dec. 1 that he has signed with Team Moore Racing for the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights season where he will be team with noted race engineer Lee Dysktra.

"I believe with all that I learned last year, I am ready to take on the championship," Yacaman said. "Lee Dykstra will be a very important piece this year. (Both my dad and I) believe he is one of the best, if not the best engineer out there, in combination with Team Moore Racing being one of the neatest and most detailed teams in the field. I am looking forward to testing in January and to start working on a really good car to make it as close to perfect as we possibly can."

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12/01/10
irl

Franchitti, Ganassi nominated for Economaki award
Three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and his team owner Chip Ganassi are among the 11 finalists for the Economaki Champion of Champions award.

The award is annually given to the North American racing champion judged to have had the best season on and off the track. It is named after legendary motorsports journalist and publisher Chris Economaki who began editing National Speed Sport News in 1950. National Speed Sport News is often and accurately described as "The bible of Motorsports." Itis the weekly must-read for serious fans, drivers and crew, and industry leaders alike.

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12/01/10
irl

IndyCar modifies TEAM program for 2011
Seeking to increase the competitive balance throughout the IZOD IndyCar Series field, INDYCAR officials have modified the Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix for the 2011 season.

Though the financial guarantee to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series teams will remain the same as it was in 2010, the program will be limited to the top 22 entrants in the final IZOD IndyCar Series entrant points from the 2010 season.

"Credibility is very important to us, and we consistently hear from fans that they want to see teams fielding the best of the best on the track," said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR. "Our fans want to see the very best teams and drivers, and in achieving that goal, it was very important for us to define our sport. We have the fastest, more versatile race car and race car drivers in the world and that differentiates the IZOD IndyCar Series from other forms of motorsports. We want to make sure we're showcasing our sport by putting more emphasis on great drivers and teams coming together to ensure quality competition. When our fans show up at an event, we want to guarantee they're seeing the fastest, most versatile drivers on the track. We never want to have someone uncompetitive who can buy their way into a series."

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12/01/10
tv news

NASCAR's Johnson Dominates TV Coverage
While it should come as no surprise five-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson received the most attention during race telecasts this past season, the degree to which he dominated is staggering when considering Johnson was interviewed an entire half-hour longer, and mentioned 1,800 more times by the announcers than Series runner-up Denny Hamlin throughout the year.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 25 years — Johnson’s name was mentioned 7,875 times during the 36 live event telecasts (and replays) of the 2010 season.  Johnson also appeared in a series-high 88 interview segments, which collectively added up to one hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds (1:31:35) of television face time for the driver.

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12/01/10
karting

Superkarts! USA Confirms 2011 ProKart Challenge Schedules
When the dust finally settled at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino after the record-breaking Superkarts! USA SuperNationals XIV, completing the organization’s 2010 season, the focus immediately turned to the upcoming 2011 calendar year. Prior to the Las Vegas event, the locations for next year’s SKUSA Pro Tour were released to the public, throwing fuel on the fire of excitement that blazed throughout SuperNats week. And now, the dates and facilities for the flagship regional programs for California are ready for release as well. The ProKart Challenge South is entering season #7 while the ProKart Challenge North is now into its fourth round – with both programs making notable changes for the upcoming year.

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12/01/10
racing news

Veteran Motorsports Professionals Partner to Form GRand Solutions LLC
Gene Cottingham, former CFO of Champ Car, and Ruthie Forbes, former director of Event Marketing for INDYCAR, have joined forces to create GRand Solutions LLC – a unique company dedicated to providing innovative, affordable and effective business solutions to the global sports community and beyond. 

GRand Solutions LLC unites the complementary skills and industry experience of Cottingham and Forbes.  The team is committed to exceeding client expectations in the traditional areas of sponsor and event activation, public relations, guest services and consumer marketing -- as well as financial and operational consulting, risk management and business process improvement.  They will focus on providing each client with creative and comprehensive solutions, tailored by specific individual need and crafted for affordability. 

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12/01/10
automotive

General Motors Sales Increase 21 Percent in November
General Motors dealers reported 168,704 total sales in November, a 21-percent increase from the prior year for the company’s four brands. The gains were the result of balanced contributions from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars, crossovers and trucks.  With sales for GM’s four brands up 22 percent through November, GM is on track to gain market share for the year.

November retail sales for the company’s brands rose 20 percent compared to a year earlier.

“Each brand came to the party in November,” said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. sales operations.  “These results show that our brands continue to gain momentum with consumers who want stylish, fuel-efficient vehicles.”

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12/01/10
irl

Meijer Joins Team Penske for 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series Season
Penske Racing announced today that Meijer will join Team Penske as a sponsor of its three-car IZOD IndyCar Series program, beginning with the 2011 season. Coca-Cola will play an integrated role in this sponsorship as they are a key supplier to Meijer and a sponsor with Penske Racing.

Meijer, which operates nearly 200 retail stores in the Midwest, will be a major associate sponsor on the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske IndyCar driven by Will Power next season.

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12/01/10
racing news

MasterCraft Safety Announces the Acquisition of Bill Simpson's Impact! Racing
With the introduction of the suspension seat to the niche off-road community in 1970, MasterCraft Safety immediately became an innovative leader and safety advocate for the off-road racing and recreational four-wheeling markets.  Over the last 40 years, MasterCraft Safety has continuously evolved and has strived to expand its presence and improve driver safety through pioneering suspension seat designs and the addition of occupant restraints and driving suits.

Today, MasterCraft Safety once again elevated the company’s presence as a revolutionary manufacturer of safety products and stunned the motorsports industry with the announcement of their acquisition of Bill Simpson’s Impact! Racing Products.  The official announcement of the asset-based purchase was delivered during a press conference held at the “Impact! Racing by MasterCraft Safety” booth shortly after the opening of today’s International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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12/01/10
f1

Williams completes 2011 lineup with Maldonado
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado will make his formula one debut with Williams in 2011, the famous British team announced on Wednesday.

The Venezuelan and new GP2 champion completes the team's driver lineup for next season alongside Rubens Barrichello.

"We are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year," said team boss and co-owner Sir Frank Williams.

The last Venezuelan in F1 was Johnny Cecotto in 1984.

"I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today," said Maldonado, 25.

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12/01/10
f1

Interview with Peter Sauber: Sights set high
Peter Sauber
Five days ago it was exactly a year since Peter Sauber bought the Formula One team back from BMW. Here, the team principal looks back on an eventful season.

Have you ever regretted the decision to buy the team back?
Peter Sauber: “No, never. And I never will, although I knew that keeping the team alive would be a very difficult task. But if I hadn’t taken the plunge, every day I’d have been asking myself why. We’ve cleared one obstacle after another from our path; when I compare the situation a year ago to where we are today, everybody in the team can be proud of what we’ve achieved.”

The team’s progress early in the season was very slow. What was going through your mind?
Sauber: “That was tough, no question. The car was not only too slow, it was also unreliable, which is extremely unusual for this team. And then, as so often happens in sport, we also had a fair amount of bad luck. That wasn’t just annoying, it also made negotiations with potential sponsors pretty much a non-starter.”

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12/01/10
superleague

Superleague Formula set for further global expansion in 2011
Superleague Formula by Sonangol is planning further global expansion in 2011 and has targeted races in the Middle East, Australia and the Americas.

2010 saw the football-themed series hold events outside Europe for the first time with a double-header in China and, after the success of the races at the Ordos International Circuit and Beijing International Street Circuit, further flyaway rounds are planned for Superleague Formula’s fourth season.

While a return to China for at least two races seems certain, talks are also being held with race promoters and circuits elsewhere in Asia, while new markets are also being targeted.

Several venues in Australia have already expressed their interest in bringing Superleague Formula to the Southern Hemisphere, while Brazil, which boasts two football clubs - Corinthians and Flamengo – in the series, is just one of several countries in South and Central America eager to see the series’ V12-powered, 750bhp single-seater cars racing on their soil. Talks have also been held with at least one circuit in the USA.

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12/01/10
irl

IndyCar won't pay for backmarker ride buyers
Milka Duno (L) and team owner Dale Coyne
Since unification in 2008, teams competing in the full IZOD IndyCar series were awarded $1.3 million per car in TEAM (Team Enhancement & Allocation Fund Matrix) money.

For the past two seasons that has included the Top 24 in entrant points but, beginning in 2011, SPEED.com has learned only the Top 22 in the final 2010 standings will be allowed to partake in the TEAM funding.

And that leaves out one car each for Eric Bachelart’s Conquest Racing and Dale Coyne’s (Milka Duno) operation.

“Our fans want credibility and they ridicule a couple of our drivers (especially Milka Duno) for not being good enough so if those people are still going to try and compete, IndyCar is not going to pay for them,” said Bernard, who singled out Milka Duno in the owner’s meeting last week as he informed his paddock of the TEAM change.

“We’ll put that money back into the series.” SpeedTV.com

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