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DATE News (chronologically)
12/11/08
f1
Donington boss has no doubts British GP will come off  Donington Park owner Simon Gillett insists he is thriving on the skepticism surrounding his ability to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.

Gillett, via his company Donington Ventures Ltd, signed a 10-year agreement with Bernie Ecclestone after Silverstone stalled over a new deal.

Speaking at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monte Carlo, Gillett said: "I don't have to convince people, and I'm not about to convince them.

"I'll convince them by building it. I'm not going to stand here and tell everyone 'you have to believe me, honest, please'.

"I'm not interested in that. They'll see when buildings come out of the ground and cars turn up on the grid.

"If they still want to sit at home not believing me, that's their prerogative, but the buildings will still come out of the ground, and the cars will still be on the grid. More ...

12/11/08
nhra
Prudhomme Racing releases Dixon  In a move that apparently clears the path for Larry Dixon to drive Alan Johnson's Al-Anabi Top Fueler in 2009, Don Prudhomme Racing has announced that Dixon has bought out the remainder of his employment contract from Don Prudhomme Racing.

Dixon's name has been at the top of the list of drivers reportedly in the running for the coveted seat in the new dragster tuned by the world championship crew chief, but he still had a year on his contract with Prudhomme, for whom he has driven since 1995.

The move also could push Spencer Massey into the cockpit of Prudhomme's dragster for 2009. Earlier this year, Massey, a national-event-winning driver in the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster ranks, signed a developmental driver contract with Prudhomme for a proposed Top Fuel ride in 2010. The team has said that future details of its 2009 plans will be announced shortly.

12/11/08
alms
Porsche supports ALMS program  The annual Porsche Motorsport Night last weekend in Weissach, Germany gave Wolfgang Duerheimer, member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche, a chance to discuss the famed marque’s current and future path in sports cars and the American Le Mans Series.

“The completion of the extensive RS Spyder development project gives our engineers the chance to look very intensively at different motorsport engagements in the future,” he said. “Naturally, we give our attention to alternative drive systems. Porsche race vehicles were always known for their excellent overall efficiency and environmental friendliness. More ...

12/11/08
automotive
GM board hired advisers to consider bankruptcy  General Motors Corp hired outside advisers to weigh bankruptcy, but the board determined that a filing was not an option for the struggling automaker, a GM spokesman said on Thursday.

"We said all along that the board had considered bankruptcy and had concluded it was not a viable option," GM spokesman Tony Cervone said.

"The board continues to meet frequently and to weigh all options and has retained appropriate advisers for all contingencies."

GM is lobbying for a share of a $14 billion auto rescue package stalled in Congress and has warned it could run desperately short of cash by the end of this month without an emergency federal loan.

GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, who also chairs the automaker's board, has said repeatedly a bankruptcy filing was not a strategic option for the automaker because of the risk it would be unable to reorganize under court protection and would be forced to liquidate instead.

12/11/08
ama
AMA to double purses  With a combined total of over $3.3 million in purse money and cash bonuses posted for the AMA Pro American Superbike, AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT championships next season, the total posted payout for the 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing season is more than double the total 2008 purse, AMA Pro officials announced today. The rich prize-money pool includes traditional race-event purse payouts as well as lucrative bonuses through the new AMA Pro Road Racing PaceSetter Program.

The premier AMA Pro American Superbike and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike divisions will each offer up to $1.5 million in total purse and bonus awards in their respective 12-event championships. By comparison, the total combined purse for all 2008 AMA Pro Road Racing championships was $1.6 million.

12/11/08
ama
US Government may impose 100% tariff  The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) today strongly criticized the Bush Administration's consideration of a possible 100 percent tariff on a broad range of popular European motorcycles and scooters in retaliation for European Union (EU) restrictions on imported American beef.

"In this tough recessionary climate, it's ludicrous for the U.S. Trade Representative to even consider imposing a 100 percent motorcycle and scooter tariff, because the move will cost countless Americans their jobs," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice present for government relations.

"This very day, the Administration and the U.S. Congress are planning to bail out troubled U.S. automakers to the tune of billions of dollars to save American jobs," Moreland said. "How, in good conscience, can the U.S. Trade Representative turn around and propose a measure that will spell the end of many motorcycle and scooter dealerships, and put their employees out in the street?" More ...

12/11/08
irl
IndyCars cars noticeably quieter at Homestead  It was noticeably quieter with multiple cars on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval. So much so that A.J. Foyt didn't have to raise his voice to speak with son Larry on pit lane.

The proposed 2009 exhaust system, which will reduce noise by about 9 decibels and temper the shrillness of the note, was further vetted during testing this week. The difference was especially noticeable when Vision Racing's No. 20 car driven by Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt Racing's No. 14 car driven by Vitor Meira (with the system installed) were being trailed by 2009 IndyCar Series rookie Raphael Matos in the No. 12 Luczo Dragon Racing car (without the system).

Cars driven by Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) and Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) also were on the track, conducting a Firestone tire test. More ...

12/11/08
irl
Marco Andretti and Clayman Promotional sign contract  Clayman Promotional Group announced today that it will be the exclusive distributor of branded merchandise on Marco Andretti's website. Just in time for the holidays, Indy racing fans can visit the online store at www.marcoandretti.com. The site will feature the latest designs of men's and women's apparel as well as Marco Andretti branded articles such as hats, iPod-related accessories, drink ware, backpacks and Sharpie® pens with Marco's signature and logo. The website is also the exclusive destination for fans looking to purchase authentic Marco Andretti race-worn fire suits and race helmets.

"Marco's fans are seeking out product offerings that are cutting edge," said Gary Tribolet, National Account Executive for Clayman Promotional Group. "Our global resources and creativity allow us to deliver the latest in merchandise with appealing designs. Marco Andretti's personal race-worn items give fans a chance to own an authentic piece of racing history." More ...

12/11/08
irl
Marco Andretti re-signs with father's team  Andretti Green announced today that it has signed Marco Andretti to drive its #26 IndyCar Series entry for the 2009 season.

Andretti will once again be part of the team’s four-driver IndyCar Series lineup, which includes 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, 2008 Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year Hideki Mutoh and 2005 Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick.

Andretti enters his fourth season in the IndyCar Series coming off a 2008 campaign that saw him lead 330 laps, which ranked fourth among all drivers and tallied more than his previous two seasons combined. The 21-year old son of team owner Michael Andretti scored four podium and six top-five finishes in 2008, including a third in the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 - his second top-three finish at Indy in just three starts.

In addition to his IndyCar Series responsibilities with the team, Andretti has also made two starts for Andretti Green’s A1GP World Cup of Motorsport effort and is expected to compete in several more events for A1 Team USA in early 2009. More ...

12/11/08
nassprint
Allstate 400 tickets on sale Monday  Tickets for the 16th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, July 26, 2009, will go on sale Monday, Dec. 15.

As a special incentive for loyal IMS fans, anyone who buys a Race Day ticket between Dec. 15-26 will receive a promotional code good for a 15 percent discount on all purchases at the IMS Online Store through 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Race Day, Sunday, July 26.

Fans have three methods to buy tickets:

  • Online: Visit the Tickets section of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Web site, www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
  • Phone: Call the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally.
  • In person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office, located in the IMS Administration Building at the intersection of 16th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. More ...
12/11/08
atlantic
John Edwards joins Newman Wachs Racing  Newman Wachs Racing (NWR) is excited to announce that the 2008 Star Mazda Champion, John Edwards, will be joining the team for the 2009 Atlantic Championship and will drive the #36 MAZDASPEED/ Nuclear Clean Air Energy/ Entergy Nuclear Swift 016.

Mazda joined the Atlantic Series as a sponsor and engine supplier in 2006 and has identified the Atlantic Championship as the top rung on its MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder.  As part of the program, Mazda ensures that the Star Mazda Champion receives a ride in the following season’s Atlantic Championship, which will again be the case this year with John Edwards.

Edwards claimed four victories and four pole positions on his way to capturing the 2008 Star Mazda Championship, and brings with him to the Atlantic Championship experience with the current car and knowledge of many of the courses on the 2009 schedule. Edwards drove in the Atlantic Series in 2007 with Red Bull/ Forsythe Racing, and has one podium at Toronto and one additional top-five at Long Beach to his name coming into the 2009 season.  Edwards worked with engineer, Nick Harvey, in 2007, and will be re-united with him as he was just named engineer of the #36 machine last week.

Eddie Wachs, Team Owner:

“I am thrilled that John has decided to join us for next year and it is our intention to vie for the Championship. With his experience with these cars, and his relationship with Nick (Harvey), I think they will be a force to reckon with. We are also pleased to have the support of Mazda and proud to carry their banner this season.”

Jim Jordan, Alternative Marketing Manager, Mazda North American Operations:

“We’re thrilled for both the Newman Wachs team and for John Edwards.  We’ve known John for several years now and he has impressed us with his on-track skills and his off-track professionalism.  It’s easy to forget that he’s only 17 – his maturity is well beyond that of a typical teenager.  We expect him to have a great season in the Cooper Tires Atlantic Championship with our Mazda power.” 

Newman Wachs Racing heads into its fourth year of competition in the Atlantic Series and will debut their new line-up at the season opener in Savannah, GA next March.

12/11/08
alms
Dyson becomes factory Mazda team  
Dyson Mazda Livery
Dyson Racing and MAZDASPEED Motorsports have joined forces for a long-term partnership in the top echelon of American sports car racing. Sponsored by the BP energy company, the team will campaign two Lola LMP2 coupes in the 11-race American Le Mans Series for the 2009 season. The BP Dyson Racing Mazda coupes will be powered by the 2.0 liter turbo Mazda MZR- engines prepared by Advanced Engine Research (AER) Ltd.

“No other car company can match Mazda’s breadth of motorsports involvement,” stated Team Principal Rob Dyson. “They are an ascendant car company and while other car companies are cutting back their on-track programs, Mazda is strengthening theirs which highlights the depth of their commitment and dedication. Throughout all of our discussions, it has impressed us how closely their passion for the sport matches ours.” More ...

12/11/08
ga
Grand-Am unveils new logos  
Grand-Am Road Racing unveiled a new set of logos today that will be used to identify America's premier sports car competition series, reflecting NASCAR Holdings new ownership of the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based organization.

The distinctive new design features the words "GRAND-AM" in bold italicized script, and a red and blue background image representing the twists and turns of a road course. Also unveiled at the annual Performance Racing Industry show at the Orange County Convention Center were new logos for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the KONI Sports Car Challenge, both incorporating the new design.

"We decided to come up with a fresh look to reflect our change in ownership," said Grand-Am President Roger Edmondson. "The new logo reflects our new look as we move forward in our relationship with NASCAR as we work together to enhance both forms of motorsports."

"NASCAR is proud to offer so many forms of racing to its fans," said NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France. "NASCAR has long provided its fans with the best stock car, truck, late model and modified racing. NASCAR is proud to add the best sports car racing, for its fans." More ...

12/11/08
nassprint
Wrangler continues relationship with Dale Jr.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will stay comfortable and stylish during 2009 with a continued relationship with the Wrangler brand. Today, the denim giant proudly announced it will once again be the official jean of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a sixth consecutive year. Earnhardt Jr. will continue to be featured across a range of high-profile consumer promotions and Wrangler marketing initiatives. Wrangler PR
12/11/08
nassprint
Watkins Glen Cup sponsor terminates agreement  Watkins Glen International is searching for a new title sponsor for its NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Centurion Boats, which has sponsored the event the last two years, is opting out of the third and final year of its contract with the Glen, said Les Clark, the East Coast general manager for Fineline Industries, the parent company of Centurion Boats.

"What I understand is that we won't be back as a (title) sponsor next year," Clark said Wednesday. "It's based on the downturn of the national economy. With the tough economic times, we have to focus on our core business."

The Glen's Sprint Cup Series event will return for its 24th consecutive year Aug. 6-9.

"Centurion was a great partner, but nobody could have foreseen the economy turning the way it has," WGI President Craig Rust said Wednesday. "We're supportive of their decision and pleased that they will still have a presence here, but in a greatly reduced role."

Although no official announcement had been made of Centurion's departure, securing a title sponsor is something Glen officials have already been working on.

"The economy is not going to make this easy, but we will do everything possible to find a title sponsor for our Sprint Cup event," Rust said. "We've been active and have a couple of companies that we're looking at. We've been a strong partner with our sponsors and feel like we offer a good value."

Said Clark: "We were very happy with our sponsorship at Watkins Glen. We got some great marketing out of it. The community and the people at the Glen were great to us."

12/11/08
ga
New Starting Time Set for Rolex 24 At Daytona  The starting time for the 47th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25 will be at 3:30 p.m., Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig announced.

The new starting time is two hours later than last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona and adjustment will allow race fans more time to enjoy all of the fun-filled activities that are planned for America’s most prestigious sports car race and the season-opening event to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

“We’re looking forward to the new starting time for the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” Braig said. “The adjustment in the starting time will give race fans a better opportunity on both Saturday and Sunday to witness the action on the track but also participate in the numerous activities that we have planned off the track.” More ...

12/11/08
track news
ISC won't lower prices for fans  International Speedway Corp. officials told financial analysts this week that they expect lower admissions revenues in 2009 but don’t plan to offer any last-minute fire sales of tickets to fill more seats at their tracks, nor will they lower high tickets prices across the board.

“We’re going to stay true to our pricing principles … to treat our best customers the best,” said ISC Senior Vice President Roger VanDerSnick during the conference call. “Those that renew with us early will continue to get the best deals possible.

“We’re going to be very cautious about reacting late in sales cycles and providing discounting pricing to new fans when we don’t provide those to our current fans.”
 
“We do anticipate some pickup [in sales] as we get closer to events throughout 2009,” VanDerSnick said.
12/11/08
nassprint
Roush Fenway team sued  A former Roush Fenway Racing fabricator and over-the-wall crew member is suing the team for money he alleges he is owed for being laid off prior to the completion of his three-year contract.

Nick Bailey, signed a three-year deal in October 2006 to run through the 2009 season, according to the complaint and portions of his contract filed recently in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte.

He initially worked in the Truck shop at Roush as well as on the pit crew for the No. 16 Nationwide team. He was then transferred to Roush’s ARCA team in April 2008.

At the time he was laid off Nov. 10 , 2008, his base salary was $1,050 per week, according to the complaint. He also was eligible for bonuses depending on the performance of the team and the pit crew.

Bailey is asking for $63,000 – his salary from Nov. 10, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2009 – and for whatever bonuses it is determined he deserves.

Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith confirmed that Bailey had been laid off as part of a reduction in the company work force but declined further comment. Scenedaily.com
12/11/08
f1
Jerez Day 3: Buemi again fastest  Sebastien Buemi was fastest for the third day in a row at Jerez in Spain Thursday, just edging out his Scuderia Toro Rosso teammate Takuma Sato.  Both drivers set their fastest times late morning, when the track conditions were at their best.  The question is how real are the test times, i.e. are the cars light to give their 'Sugar Daddies' the false sense that they are great drivers worthy of their millions?  Both drivers have a dubious history of not being great and we know the team desperately needs money.

Pity Bourdais who doesn't have any Sugar Daddy money and may lose his ride to one or both of these inferior drivers.

Today's Times

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.258 139
2. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:17.520 119
3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.049 96
4. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.782 82
5. Massa Ferrari 1:19.050 72
6. Alonso Renault 1:19.319 124
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:19.388 130
8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.499 47
9. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:19.559 134
10. Klien BMW-Sauber 1:19.738 101

12/11/08
roc
Alguersuari becomes youngest driver ever at ROC  Reigning British Formula 3 champion, Jaime Alguersuari, will team up with Australian Troy Bayliss to form an All-Star team that all but completes the driver line-up for The Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium this Sunday (Dec 14).

The Spaniard is the youngest driver ever to win the British F3 International Series (eclipsing the record set by Ayrton Senna) and this year also became the youngest driver to test a Formula 1 car, when he tested for Red Bull Racing. Alguersuari, who has also previously won the Formula Renault Winter Trophy, replaces Red Bull’s F1 driver, Mark Webber, who broke his leg in a cycling accident last month. “Being invited to participate in The Race of Champions is a totally unexpected prize within an unforgettable year for me, after winning the British F3 International Series,” said Alguersuari.   

“I am very proud to be among such an impressive group of drivers. Some of them were already world champions when I was just racing in karts, so racing with them is going to be something very special. I am a single- seater driver and The ROC 2008 will be one of my first times at the wheel of touring and rally cars. I am just 18 and I got my driving license just 6 months ago but I will do my best to contribute for a huge show!!” Jaime Alguersuari will bring his youthful talent to The Race of Champions Fredrik Johnsson, president of ROC organizers IMP, said:  More ...

12/11/08
f1
FOTA chairman eyes 'complete new F1' in 2012  After yesterday's meeting at Monte Carlo with FIA President Max Mosley and the team principals of all Formula One teams, lead by FOTA Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, the latter made the following statement:

“I am very glad about the climate of enormous collaboration at the meeting. There is a common sense of the difficult moment of our sport. Yesterday we could see the great responsibility of all the participants."

"The world-wide economical crisis and the enormous increase of costs in Formula One over the last years lead the FIA and its President to give a strong and right impulse to cut costs as of 2010 to get our sport back into acceptable economical dimensions, so all teams will be able to participate."

"The answer we could find was beyond our all expectations. The extreme compactness, never seen before, and all the participant’s passion for this sport brought the FOTA members to go beyond the requests made by President Mosley, taking into account courageous proposals, while voting unanimously for a substantial reduction of costs already as of 2009, which will be the most difficult year for the world economy and for the automotive industry in particular.” More ...

12/11/08
skip barber
2009 Skip Barber National Series schedule  
Spring Training, February 28- March 1, Sebring International Raceway
Rounds 1 & 2, March 17-20, Sebring International Raceway with American Le Mans Series
Rounds 3 & 4, April 24 - 26, Virginia International Raceway with Grand-Am
Rounds 5 & 6, June 12-14, New Jersey Motorsports Park with Atlantic Championship
Rounds 7 & 8, July 17-19, Barber Motorsports Park with Grand-Am
Rounds 9 & 10, August 13-16, Road America with American Le Mans Series
Rounds 11 & 12, September 22-25, Road Atlanta with American Le Mans Series
Rounds 13 & 14, October 8 – 10, Lime Rock Park (with Skip Barber Regional Race Series &
MAZDASPEED Challenge)
12/11/08
irl
HVM team confirms Viso  
EJ Visio
HVM will continue to build on their strong foundation in the IndyCar Series in the 2009 season by returning the No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara with driver E.J. Viso.  Viso will be returning for his second season with the team after building a solid rapport and finishing the year with seven top-10 finishes and a season-best of fourth on the Streets of St. Petersburg.

“Well, most people knew it was coming, but everything had to be put in place,” said Team Owner Keith Wiggins.  “This is a natural progression and a sensible move for both team and driver. It will actually be the first time since 2004 that we have the continuity of retaining the same driver for a second season. That in itself shows a positive picture for our team and the single open-wheel series. 

“We are delighted to continue with E.J going into our second IRL season and believe that together we can make big strides in 2009,” continued Wiggins. “The addition of a second entry will further strengthen our program.” More ...

12/11/08
Baja 1000
SCORE Baja 1000 On NBC TV Sunday  NBC Sports will air the 2008 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 on Sunday, Dec. 14th  at 1PM ET/10AM PT. Produced by Aura360 in association with NBC and SCORE International, the one-hour special will feature green flag to checkered flag coverage of the 41st running of the granddaddy of all desert races.  This year, the treacherous 631.35-mile course designed by legendary Sal Fish on the majestic northern part of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula was regarded as one the most technical and taxing courses in decades, with many vehicles falling prey to the terrain. The legacy of the race lived on; with harsh conditions, fierce competition, and unforeseen threats cementing its legendary status in the realm of off-road racing.

This TV special will chronicle the endurance, nerve, and luck that carried the victors to the finish line where they emerged from the dust to claim their fame and glory. It will highlight the battle for the overall victory among the Motorcycle classes as well as the competition for the overall win among two-wheel victories.

It will celebrate the overall motorcycle victory of the No. 1x Honda team of Robby Bell, Sun City, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif./Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif.,  as well as the overall car and truck win by Roger Norman, Reno., Nev./Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., in the No. 8 Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck. More ...

12/11/08
irl
Porsche says no to IndyCar  Porsche was one of five manufacturers (not counting current engine supplier Honda) to meet with Indy Racing League officials in June and September regarding the IndyCar Series' 2011 engine specifications, as the series seeks future engine suppliers in addition to Honda. But Porsche research and development board member Wolfgang Durheimer does not foresee the German company entering IndyCar competition any time soon.

"IndyCar in the U.S. market is a very important series. Very historic and classic, Roger (Penske) is competing (in it) for a long time, we are good friends with Roger, we are also quite interested in IndyCar," Durheimer told AutoWeek. "But we've defined very closely our motorsport pyramid in the past and (we) try to shake out what is for our customer base the most important series to be in and we found that the (American Le Mans Series) with the prototypes is better suited to the demands of our customers. I think that it is not very likely that we are going into IndyCar. There is no open question (about entering the series) on the table right now." More ...

12/11/08
f1
Mosley makes a dig at Ferrari  FIA President Max Mosley took a dig at current Formula one teams, actually naming Ferrari as not being up for the challenge, stating that he is shocked by their reaction to implementing the new KERS system.

Mosley cites the Maranello based squad as saying that the newest innovation in Formula One was ‘too complicated’, something he could never imagine former F1 pioneers as saying and this is just another symptom of how ‘diseased’ Formula One has become.

"We've finally found a serious engineering challenge for the teams in Kers," Mosley was quoted as saying in the Guardian. "Some manufacturers have risen to this challenge, one manufacturer has produced electric systems which will astonish people when they appear, another team is working on a completely new technology which will also astonish.”

“But some leading teams, such as Ferrari, have said that they don't like Kers because it is too complicated. Could you imagine the great Formula One engineers like Colin Chapman (the founder of Lotus) or Keith Duckworth (co-founder of Cosworth) saying, 'I can't do that because it is too complicated'? It is a symptom of a disease in Formula One where incremental change becomes the whole object of the exercise and real, serious innovation plays no part."

12/11/08
nassprint
Sprint/Nextel ratings cut to junk  NASCAR title sponsor Sprint Nextel Corp. shares fell in late trading Wednesday following a downgrade of the company's debt to junk status. Sprint shares were down 2.1% to $2.37. Moody's Investors Service cut the company's senior unsecured-debt rating to Ba2 from Baa3, or junk grade, and assigned a corporate-family rating of Ba1. The downgrade comes as Sprint's market position has weakened significantly.

The outlook for the ratings is negative.

Sprint continues to lose more and more customers each month to AT&T and Verizon and insiders question what the NASCAR sponsorship is doing for the company as it has lost customers since day 1 of its NASCAR deal.

12/11/08
FR20
Hitech team to contest Formula Renault UK championship  
Marlon Stockinger, David Hayle and Nick Yelloly
After a successful debut season in Formula Renault, Hitech Junior will return to race in the UK next season with an assault on the 2009 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship. The Silverstone-based team has already signed rapid Filipino Marlon Stockinger and British kart star Nick Yelloly with negotiations well under way for the two remaining seats.

At Monday’s signing of former Formula BMW Pacific Scholarship winner Stockinger and Yelloly, who contested this year’s FRenault Winter Cup, Team Principal David Hayle confirmed his team’s participation in the UK’s leading one-make single seater championship, which next year celebrates its 20th anniversary.  Following a successful first year in Renault, Hayle indicated that the team may also contest a number of European races during the season. More ...
12/11/08
a1gp
A1GP Lippo Village Tickets Now On Sale  Racing enthusiasts can now purchase tickets for the only street race on the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport  2008/2009 season calendar.  A1GP Lippo Village, Indonesia will be held from 6th - 8th February 2009, using the streets of the township that is just 45 minutes away from the centre of Jakarta.

The 3.2km track is centered on the hub of Lippo Village that includes University Pelita Harapan and the massive Supermal and was designed by Herman Tilke, who has been responsible for some of the most exciting race circuits round the world.  The track will host a number of family entertainment activities during the race weekend, offering an abundance of food and beverage outlets as well as street performances and games.  Twenty two teams from around the world, including A1 Team Indonesia, will be there racing for ‘the pride of their nations’. More ...

12/11/08
nassprint
NASCAR greed drives Revell out of sport  UPDATE Over the years we have been pleased to provide you with the finest NASCAR plastic model kits featuring the most popular drivers. Regrettably however, over the last several years we have faced increasing licensing costs that are greater than our increase in sales. Despite our best efforts to secure reasonable licensing terms for NASCAR model kits in general, and the Car of Tomorrow in particular, we have been unable to develop a program that allows us to market the product at a viable price point. Consequently, we will not be issuing a kit on the Car of Tomorrow and, in fact, will be exiting the NASCAR business altogether. We will discontinue all sales of NASCAR plastic kits by February 28, 2009.

This has been an extremely difficult decision to make as we are fully aware of the avid fan base of NASCAR model kit builders and truly appreciate your support over the years. We trust you will find other model kits in our line that will be of interest and that will provide you with the model building enjoyment you desire.

Please note that we still have inventory of selected models as shown below. Check with your favorite dealer to see if they are carrying any of the items. If they are out of stock, they can obtain any of these items for you very quickly through their distributor.

* 85 2029 0 0012 #20 Home Depot Monte Carlo ('04)
* 85 2030 0 0012 #48 Lowes Monte Carlo ('06)
* 85 2075 0 0012 #24 DuPont Monte Carlo ('07)
* 85 2078 0 0012 #20 Home Depot Monte Carlo ('04)
* 85 4206 0 0012 #11 FedEx Denny Hamlin

Cordially,

Revell, Inc
Jim Haught

12/10/08 Business is so bad that even model kit maker Revell has terminated their NASCAR operations. They made the following announcement:

Over the years we have been pleased to provide you with the finest NASCAR plastic model kits featuring the most popular drivers.

Regrettably however, over the last several years we have faced increasing licensing costs that are greater than our increase in sales. Despite our best efforts to secure reasonable licensing terms for NASCAR model kits in general, and the Car of Tomorrow in particular, we have been unable to develop a program that allows us to market the product at a viable price point. Consequently, we will not be issuing a kit on the Car of Tomorrow and, in fact, will be exiting the NASCAR business altogether. We will discontinue all sales of NASCAR plastic kits by February 28, 2009. revell.com
12/11/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • FIA, teams unite after four-hour meeting
  • McLaren try 2009 wing, nose at Jerez test
  • Alonso doubts Renault to follow Honda exit
  • Honda 'no great loss' to F1 - Ecclestone
  • F1 exit could cost Honda $150m - report
  • Mosley to decide own future in June
  • Webber to return to Europe shortly
  • Webber races near top of Aus sports rich list
  • No proper launch for new Williams

FIA, teams unite after four-hour meeting
(GMM)  In Monaco on Wednesday, F1's governing body, and the alliance of nine remaining teams, hailed the sport's "most successful" meeting ever.

Following the four-hour summit in Monte Carlo, a joint statement said agreement was reached on matters for 2010 and beyond, while "significant cost saving" should result from FOTA's proposals for 2009.

More details will be available after Friday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, but it is understood a compromise solution has been found between Max Mosley's stance on standard engines, and FOTA's proposals for a low-cost 2011 engine formula to retain F1's "DNA".

"Agreement was reached on measures to meet all the objectives originally put forward by the FIA for 2010 and thereafter," an extract of the statement, provided with a joint FOTA/FIA letterhead, said.

"I am delighted with the outcome of this meeting," FIA president Mosley said.

McLaren tested a 2009 front wing on Wednesday
McLaren try 2009 wing, nose at Jerez test
(GMM)  Another piece of the 2009 formula one grid fell into place on Wednesday, when McLaren debuted a front nose and wing conforming with next year's radically altered bodywork rules.

BMW-Sauber, Williams and Honda have already tested visible elements of the 2009 regulations, including the front wing, which is notably wider than in 2008.

The task of testing McLaren's new wing at Jerez fell to test driver Pedro de la Rosa, whose MP4-23 was fitted with a 2008 rear wing.

"The evaluation was extremely positive," McLaren said in a statement.

Also at the Spanish circuit on Wednesday, local Fernando Alonso drew crowds with his first appearance of the winter, but while he was trying slick tires, he ran off the circuit and clipped a barrier.

"It was nice to run on the slick tires as they are more grippy, but when you lose the downforce from the car they don't feel massively different to grooved tires," he said.

The 27-year-old will again be on duty on Thursday, for Renault's last day of testing in 2008.

Other notable contenders in action on Wednesday were both Ferrari and BMW-Sauber's 2009 race drivers. More ...

12/10/08
f1
Alonso upbeat on return to cockpit  Renault remained in Jerez today to continue with its final test of the 2008 season as Fernando Alonso returned to the cockpit of the R28 for the first time since the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Despite a chilly start to the day, the team made the most of a warm and sunny afternoon to continue with its technical program and add further miles to the car. Alonso also sampled slick tires with a car set up to best simulate 2009 settings. Despite a brief interruption to the program in the morning, the team completed its objectives for the day.

The team now looks forward to the final day of work tomorrow when Fernando will again be on driving duty. More ...

12/10/08
irl
IRL gets it right with ESPN International deal  UPDATE #2 The IRL's John Griffin contacted AR1.com and provided their perspective on how it will play out. 

"ESPN International plays two equally important roles as a distributor of international programs," said Griffin:

  1. They distribute programming to all ESPN affiliates around the world.
  2. Further, they syndicate programming, as they will with the IndyCar Series package, to non-ESPN affiliated/related networks around the world.

"The entire schedule, as I have been told, will air live in Canada although an affiliate/network, but that network has not yet been identified. The same can be said for Europe as well as other countries around the globe.

"It is important for your readers to know that just because ESPN does not have its own network in a country it does not mean that country can’t see our races.  That is where syndication comes into play.

"This is identical to any previous ESPN International agreements with CART, CC, the IndyCar Series or any other sport that has a partnership with ESPN International."

12/10/08 Well they almost got it right.  Unfortunately this ESPN press release regarding 'worldwide' distribution of the IndyCar Series is misleading! ESPN International not only excludes the US and Brazil, but it also excludes Canada and most of Europe ... see here

On the European map it shows: ESPN America, which in actual fact is NASN (http://www.nasn.com/) and ESPN Classic (http://www.espnclassicsport.com/home.php). (you can click on the icons to find out ...)

NASN has never shown and doesn't show IRL (nor NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, by the way !), just NASCAR Nationwide Series, that's all ... ! Then there is hockey, and more hockey, and basketball and college football and ... again hockey!  As for ESPN Classic, forget about it.

As for Canada, they do not get any ESPN channels in Canada nor do they get Versus, yet the IRL has two races in Canada.  What are they thinking?

12/10/08 IndyCar Series extends deal with ESPN International for worldwide television rights: The IndyCar Series today announced an extension of its long-time association with ESPN International for worldwide (excluding the United States and Brazil) distribution of IndyCar Series broadcast rights until 2010, with a further two-year option for both parties.

The multi-year extension agreement gives ESPN International the exclusive right to distribute live, delayed and highlight programs via all forms of broadcast media, broadband, webcast and mobile for all IndyCar Series events, including the Indianapolis 500, Indy 500 support programming and Firestone Indy Lights.

“We are very pleased to extend our long-term partnership with ESPN International,” said Charlie Morgan, president and chief operating officer for IMS Productions. “The broad reach of ESPN International is a real benefit to our drivers, teams, sponsors and not least of all, the worldwide open-wheel racing fan.” More ...

12/10/08
nhra
Garlits plans to return to competition in 2009  Drag racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits will return to NHRA competition in 2009, but not with one of his iconic Top Fuelers. Garlits, a longtime Mopar devotee and racer, has purchased the first production Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicle and plans to race it in NHRA Division 2 competition; he is aiming to make it to the 2009 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to commemorate his 60th year in drag racing.

Mopar, Chrysler LLC's Global Service and Parts division, will present Garlits with a special certificate recognizing Garlits' purchase of the first production Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicle at the 21st annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show. The ceremony will take place on the Mopar Stage at the PRI show following the presentation of the Economaki Champion of Champions award, scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. The PRI show will be held Dec. 11-13 at Florida's Orlando Convention Center. More ...

12/10/08
f1
FIA and teams agree to F1 cost reduction measures  UPDATE
Joint statement - FIA and FOTA meeting:

FIA and FOTA have had the most successful meeting on Formula One matters which any of the participants can remember. 

Agreement was reached on measures to meet all the objectives originally put forward by the FIA for 2010 and thereafter in addition to which FOTA have now made proposals for very significant cost saving in 2009 while maintaining Formula One at the pinnacle of motor sport and reinforcing its appeal.

These proposals will be put to the FIA WMSC on Friday following which full details will be released.

FIA President Max Mosley said, "I am delighted with the outcome of this meeting."

FOTA President Luca di Montezemolo said, "The unity of the teams was fundamental to meeting the goals for a new Formula One, but with the same DNA, as requested by the FIA."

12/10/08 Formula One's world governing body and teams have agreed significant cost cuts from next year, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Wednesday.

"FIA and FOTA (the Formula One Teams Association) have had the most successful meeting on Formula One matters which any of the participants can remember," the FIA said in a statement after a meeting in Monaco.

"Agreement was reached on measures to meet all the objectives originally put forward by the FIA for 2010 and thereafter.

"In addition to which FOTA have now made proposals for very significant cost saving in 2009 while maintaining Formula One at the pinnacle of motor sport and reinforcing its appeal," the statement added.

12/10/08
roc
ROC signs up Jason Plato  British Touring Car Championship ace, Jason Plato, has become the fourth British driver to be confirmed for this Sunday’s Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium. Plato, BTCC Champion with Vauxhall in 2001, finished third in this year’s championship with SEAT and has always been a crowd favorite thanks to his ‘no-holds-barred’ style of racing and his regular spot as a presenter of the popular motoring TV show, Fifth Gear. “I’m over the moon to be taking part in The Race of Champions,” beamed Plato. “I was asked to compete a few years ago and couldn’t because I was on my honeymoon at the time! But I’ve followed the event over the years, watching it on television, and I’ve always wanted to do it.
12/10/08
Track News
Bruton Smith's daughter injured in accident  The daughter of Bruton Smith, Anna Lisa Smith, was taken to the hospital after an accident this morning in Huntersville, NC. The single vehicle accident happened on Gilead Road near Beatties Ford Road around 5 a.m. The wrecked vehicle was found off the road in a field. Smith’s daughter is listed in serious condition at Carolinas Medical Center. NewsChannel 36
12/10/08
irl
Eleven IndyCar Series drivers entered in PRI karting event  The Masters division for the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IndyCar Series All-Star Karting Classic on Dec. 11 will resemble an IndyCar Series race grid.

Eleven IndyCar Series drivers are entered in the event to be held in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry trade show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Scheduled to compete are Marco Andretti, Townsend Bell, Ed Carpenter, Jay Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira, Will Power, Buddy Rice, Alex Tagliani and Dan Wheldon. Also entered are former series drivers Bryan Herta and Max Papis.

For many of the drivers, the competition on a course set up in a parking lot of the convention center will be a return to their roots. For Vision Racing’s Carpenter, it’s also a second day of track activity before he joins his family at Walt Disney World. He joined Meira and Matos in testing Dec. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. More ...

12/10/08
f1
Alonso sees F1 cuts as sure thing  Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso on Wednesday predicted Formula One would find a way to cut costs so that no more teams follow Honda's 'surprise' pullout.

"All the teams now agree to have a reduction in costs, to find a solution, to spend less money, and I'm sure they will find it," he said.

"There are plenty of solutions to reduce the budget of teams without reaching the point of leaving Formula One," the Spaniard told reporters during Formula One testing at the circuit in Jerez de la Frontera, southern Spain.

Honda on Friday announced its shock withdrawal from Formula One raising fresh fears over the future of the multi-million dollar sport struggling to keep afloat in the current economic downturn.

The decision shocked the sport, which had already seen backmarkers, and fellow Japanese team, Super Aguri go the wall earlier this year.

"It's a shame and it was a surprise for me and most of the people in the paddock because Honda has been in Formula One for a long time and is one of the biggest teams as well," said Alonso.

"I think it was not an easy decision for them to make and hopefully no more teams will follow their decisions," added the Renault driver.

12/10/08
f1
Jerez Day 2: Buemi still on top  Sebastien Buemi continued to show the way in testing at Jerez, where the Swiss driver topped the F1 test times for the second day in a row.  Buemi's time of 1:18.073 was over half a second clear of Takuma Sato, as Toro Rosso dominated the session once again.

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.073 128
2. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.601 38
3. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.673 81
4. De la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.032 78
5. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:19.334 89
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.631 64
7. Alonso Renault 1:19.907 106
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:20.309 122
9. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:20.365 87
10. Massa Ferrari 1:20.490 27
11. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:20.954 38

12/10/08
British F3
Chilton joins Carlin for British F3  Max Chilton will race with Carlin Motorsport in the 2009 British F3 International Series.  The 17 year-old racer and BRDC Superstar, who will compete in his third season of single seater racing next year, will join the 2008 champions for an assault on the title. 

Chilton became the youngest ever driver to compete in British F3 when he raced at the Donington Park round of the 2007 season, on his 16th birthday.  Racing in the 2008 season and aged just 17, Chilton claimed two podiums and two pole positions– becoming the youngest ever driver to take an F3 pole.  Displaying the raw speed that has sparked interest from the motorsport fraternity, Chilton claimed the fastest lap at the prestigious F3 Masters of Zolder earlier this year, one of the most competitive events in single seater motorsport. More ...

12/10/08
f1
Honda to help buyer survive 2009 - Mosley  (GMM)  To facilitate a takeover deal, Honda - despite pulling out of formula one with immediate effect - will "help" a buyer of its Brackley based team through the 2009 season.

That was the revelation on Wednesday of FIA president Max Mosley, as he spoke in Monaco at the Motor Sport Forum.

The Japanese carmaker Honda has already offered to assume any of the team's debts, and then pass on the team and its impressive facilities to a buyer for a nominal fee as low as a single British pound.

Mosley confirmed to the Press Association: "If a serious buyer came along then Honda would help to keep it going.

"Any person would then be on their own in 2010, but they would get some help in 2009.  That's my understanding," he said in Monte Carlo.

Former BAR chief David Richards earlier this week admitted his interest in the team, but said the "overheads" of such a previously well-funded operation are an obstacle.

But Mosley said Honda's undertaking to help would make buying the team more viable.

"It becomes a reasonable proposition for an entrepreneur, providing he is satisfied we (the FIA) are going to get the costs down in 2010," he added.

12/10/08
f1
Sato admits money crucial to 2009 seat  (GMM)  Takuma Sato has joined Sebastien Bourdais in admitting that the size of their respective sponsorship portfolios will play a major role in determining which contender will race with the Toro Rosso team in 2009.

With the Swiss youngster Sebastien Buemi almost certainly guaranteed a seat for 2009, the identity of his teammate is still unknown, as incumbent Bourdais and the Japanese veteran Sato test again with the Red Bull-owned team this week.

It is believed that Sato, 31, is the more heavily backed of the pair.

"I have my money," he acknowledged to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.  "My management has worked feverishly to find sponsors." More ...

12/10/08
f1
Mosley willing to see FOTA engine proposal  (GMM) Max Mosley has indicated he may be willing to drop his plans for a standard engine formula, so long as F1's manufacturers propose an "interesting" alternative.

Cosworth last week was revealed as the winner of the FIA tender, with at least four teams urgently invited to accept the invitation to use a powertrain package from 2010 for a low cost.

But at the same time, the F1 teams' alliance FOTA was meeting in Geneva, where it is believed it was unanimously agreed to propose an alternate low-cost 1.8 turbocharged - but not standard - engine formula.

"We are in discussion mode at the moment," said FIA president Mosley on Wednesday, amid speculation up to five teams - possibly including Renault - have reacted positively to his Cosworth plan. More ...
12/10/08
f1
Renault denies breaking ranks with FOTA  (GMM) Renault has denied it is contemplating breaking ranks with its fellow manufacturers and accepting the FIA's proposals for effectively a standard engine formula.

It was reported on Wednesday, both in English-speaking as well as foreign media, that F1's four independent teams, but also Renault, have responded favourably to Max Mosley's request for interest in receiving a low-cost Cosworth engine from 2010.

But at a recent meeting, the F1 teams' alliance FOTA unanimously agreed its own alternate plans for a low-cost - but not standard - turbo engine formula for 2011 and beyond. More ...
12/10/08
nassprint
Todd Parrott to stay with Yates Racing  Yates Racing's Travis Kvapil said today that Todd Parrott will return as his team's crew chief for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Kvapil told SceneDaily.com that a Nov. 20 story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that said Parrott had left the organization wasn't correct. "Todd's going to crew chief in 2009 again," Kvapil said. "I know there was some talk that he retired or quit, and none of that is true. He is still under contract. I'm excited to take what we established last year and work together again in 2009." In the Journal-Sentinel report, Kvapil was quoted as saying that because of the team's lack of consistency in 2008 that the organization has decided a change in leadership was needed. "Todd found out a lot about me, about what I like this year," Kvapil said in the report. "At the same time, we weren't content with how we ran, 23rd in points, and I guess the team felt we needed a change." It was unclear why there was a discrepancy over whether or not Parrott had left the team. The #28 Yates Racing team has yet to secure a primary sponsor for the 2009 season, but Kvapil said he believes the organization is close to signing a deal soon. SceneDaily
12/10/08
irl
Foyt team makes key hire, tests Meira  Vitor Meira tested with A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team for the first time on an oval track December 9th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The one day test was conducted in conjunction with Firestone Tire Testing with drivers Tony Kanaan and 2008 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. Also testing was rookie Raphael Matos in the Luczo-Dragon car.

“It was very good for the first day at an oval with the team,” said Meira afterwards. “Everything went smooth which is very important on an oval. We were able to get a feel for each other and see how we work together but we were also able to improve the car. There is still a lot of work to be done to get where we want to be but we have a good starting point. We have a lot to look forward to next year.”

Meira ran 140 laps and while no official times were given, the team was satisfied with the results. More ...

12/10/08
f1
Lauda backs calls for KERS delay  (GMM)  Niki Lauda has voiced support for the majority of formula one teams that would like to postpone the introduction of expensive energy-recovery 'KERS' technology in 2009.

In the wake of Honda's exit from the sport for financial reasons, Mercedes' racing chief Norbert Haug said an immediate way to slash engine budgets by "at least 25 per cent" would be to call off the KERS implementation.

He is not alone in his belief, following several attempts at FOTA meetings this year for an unanimous vote to delay the technology.

It is believed the subject will again arise during the team alliance's meeting with Max Mosley in Monaco on Wednesday, but BMW-Sauber is staunchly using its veto vote to insist that the KERS debut remain on track.

Lauda, a former team boss and triple world champion, said the current conditions makes plugging ahead with KERS illogical.

"The current topic is, for reasons of cost-cutting, using the engines now for three or four races (instead of two)," he said in interview with the German language sports magazine Kicker.

"At the very same time every team is in the middle of an incredibly difficult development phase, spending 20 or 30 million each, on gaining 80 horse power for a few seconds per lap," Lauda added.

FIA president Max Mosley, however, said KERS would be "the last thing" he would abolish, insisting that expensive technologies like seamless gearboxes, lightweight materials and ultra high-revving engines do nothing for the sport.

12/10/08
f1
wrc
Loeb plays down tales of F1 switch  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  In the wake of his Red Bull test last month, Sebastien Loeb has admitted he would seriously consider an offer to switch to formula one in 2010.

The multiple rally world champion, who is contracted to drive for Citroen in the WRC next year, impressed observers and experts alike when he was firmly on the pace of F1's regular drivers during the recent Barcelona test.

"The team bosses think I am too old, but mentally I am not: age would not be an obstacle for me," the 34-year-old told the French newspaper Liberation.

Loeb said: "With a testing program in 2009, I would go to the formula one grid in 2010."

The winner of the last five world rally titles admitted disillusionment with the WRC, criticizing the 2009 calendar, the evolution of the cars, and the regulations.

11/04/08 (GMM)  Multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb has countered speculation his proper test for Red Bull later this month could be a precursor to a switch to formula one.

The 34-year-old Frenchman has confirmed he will test the Renault-powered RB4 alongside other grand prix drivers at the Barcelona group test on November 17.

But Loeb insists the drive is simply a "present" from the energy drinks company, which is now a major sponsor of his rally team Citroen.

"I'd like to clear up any speculation about me possibly switching to F1.  Next year I'm definitely going to be driving a Citroen C4 WRC in the world rally championship," he said.

Following his F1 test debut on an empty track with Renault last year, Loeb admitted that Barcelona is going to be a different challenge.

"I'm going to find myself in the midst of all the regular F1 drivers during an official test," Loeb said.

"I just hope that I don't make a fool of myself!"

11/01/08 (GMM) Multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb is set to return to the wheel of a formula one car for a test this winter.

According to the French source RMC, the 34-year-old Frenchman, who made his F1 test debut last year with Renault, will drive the current Renault-powered Red Bull single seater.

The test, backed by a sponsor of his rally team Citroen, is due to take place on November 17 at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya.

Loeb is no stranger to circuit racing, having contested the famous Le Mans 24 hour race twice, in 2005 and 2006.
12/10/08
f1
Bourdais 'looking for money' to save seat  (GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais has conceded that retaining his seat at Toro Rosso in 2009 has become a race to find some personal backing.

The Frenchman has this week travelled to Jerez, where at the Spanish circuit he is again facing off against his main challenger for the drive, Takuma Sato.

Bourdais told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport at Jerez: "I'm on the lookout, but in the current economic crisis, it is difficult to find money, and not just in France."

It is believed that at least some of team owner Red Bull's interest in Sato, the 31-year-old Japanese, is his potential ability to promote the energy drink in the burgeoning Japanese market.

On top of that, it is rumored that the veteran of approaching 100 grands prix is already offering personal sponsorship to Toro Rosso in the form of a double-digit million euro sum.

"There are so many stories," Bourdais explained, "but the fact is that even in Japan you don't just find money on the street."

12/10/08
f1
No KERS testing for Ferrari until 2009  (GMM)  Aldo Costa, Ferrari's technical director, has singled out "the famous KERS" as the most challenging aspect of the 2009 regulations.

"It has to be compact and lightweight, affecting the handling of the car as little as possible," he told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Costa reveals that, to date, Ferrari has not track-tested its KERS system for 2009, and the debut of the energy-recovery technology is not due to arrive this week at Jerez or at the final test of the year at Portugal's new Algarve track.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Ferrari and electronics partner Magneti Marelli's main problem is with the electric motor.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni confirmed: "We will begin testing KERS with our new car."

The F2009 is scheduled to roll out in January, and it is understood that Ferrari has not decided whether to target the first race of the 2009 season for the system's debut.

12/09/08
racing news
Brabham Collects BRDC Woolf Barnato Trophy  
(L to R) Darren Turner and David Brabham receive the BRDC Woolf Barnato Trophy, presented by Jackie Oliver, BRDC Director, and Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of Gulf UK – sponsors of the award
David Brabham was awarded the BRDC Woolf Barnato Trophy, sponsored by Gulf, on Monday 8 December during the British Racing Drivers’ Club Awards 2008 ceremony at the Café Royal, London. For the second year in a row, Brabham jointly collected the award with Aston Martin Racing teammate Darren Turner, as the highest-placed finishing British or Commonwealth drivers in a British car, following their double GT1 Le Mans 24-Hour class victory in the Aston Martin DBR9 #009.

The British-born Australian ace was delighted to accept the award and commented: “This year was my 15th year of racing at Le Mans, so to win the GT1 class again with Aston Martin Racing and the support of Gulf was something special.  The BRDC Woolf Barnato Trophy just tops it off.

“The Le Mans 24-Hour race is one of the highlights of my season and after competing in it for so long I am always keen to return. What will happen next year is anyone’s guess, but I have an open mind and hope the opportunity will arise again. Naturally my priority for 2009 is the LMP1 program in the American Le Mans Series with Acura and Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, so if the race fits around that schedule I certainly hope to return.”

12/09/08
scca
Paul Newman Leads List of New Inductees  
Paul Newman
Sports Car Club of America has announced the five individuals who will be inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame at the 2009 SCCA National Convention. The diverse group, including Paul Newman, Bill Chambres, Bill Johnson, Kim Kimberly and John Timanus, spans all facets of the Club, from former volunteers and drivers to former SCCA Presidents. Paul Newman’s accomplishments in the entertainment industry are well known throughout the world and it is because of this, that his accomplishments within SCCA are so respected. A championship car owner, four-time National Champion and President’s Cup winner, Newman never sought any extra concessions while participating in Club Racing. Rather, Newman, who went by P.L. Newman on SCCA entry lists, chose to blend in with the SCCA crowd and only be recognized for his accomplishments behind the wheel, which he most certainly achieved through sheer driving skill. Though quite possibly SCCA’s most famous member, Newman treated his fellow members as equals, something for which the Club will always remember him.  More ...
12/09/08
racing news
The Tour de Road America raises $34K  Elkhart Lake, Wis., - The Tour de Road America – Bike Ride to Fight Cancer presented by Delta Dental concluded its 2008 fundraising campaign recently with record results. As of December 1, over $34,000 has been raised by the 350 cyclists, race car drivers, fans, and supporters of the 5th annual Tour de Road America, which took place on August 8, 2008 on the historic Road America race track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The total was also bolstered by a silent auction of unique motorsports memorabilia, as well as donations supporting the Corvette Challenge. That competition pitted American Le Mans Series driver Oliver Gavin against his boss and manager of the Corvette Racing Team, Doug Fehan. Oliver won on-the-bike competition, while Doug prevailed in the fundraising competition. But the real winners were the beneficiaries, who received over $8,000 from the challenge to help with their cancer survivorship programs. More ...

12/09/08
nhra
Schumacher wins prestigious Driver Of The Year Award  NHRA Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher has been voted the 2008 Driver Of The Year by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists. Schumacher, who crushed his rivals on the dragstrip, became only the third NHRA driver to win the original Driver Of The Year award in its 42-year history.

In taking a record fifth consecutive Top Fuel world championship, he tied an NHRA record with 15 victories. He also won the third quarter Driver of the Year award.

"What an honor it is to be singled out as the Driver of the Year for 2008," said Schumacher. "I'm happy that the NHRA is front and center again with this award. It's been a few years since Greg Anderson won it (in 2004). Of course, John Force also won it in 1996. You can't forget the living legend himself. More ...

12/09/08
nassprint
NASCAR delivered $1.7B in exposure to sponsors  NASCAR sponsors received almost $1.7 billion in exposure for their brands this year, according to the results of custom research for the recently concluded season.

For the second straight year, SportsBusiness Journal/Daily teamed with Kansas City-based sponsorship measurement firm Image Impact to measure the exposure received by companies doing business with NASCAR. This year, we captured and assessed more than 138,000 sponsor impressions, 44 percent more than last year’s study, through NASCAR’s 37-race Sprint Cup Series schedule, which includes the Sprint All-Star Challenge.

Nearly 600 sponsors were tracked. Primary and secondary car and driver partners were analyzed, along with all race venue signage, and the myriad graphics and audio mentions from the races’ TV broadcasts. Six additional sponsored locations were measured this year, including exposure a sponsor may have received by having its logo on a trophy. Tertiary sponsors on driver and pit crew uniforms and on the quarter panels of the racecars were not reported.

Image Impact’s proprietary software provided analysis of the video feeds from each race. Each race broadcast was broken down and evaluated for all brand detections that occurred on screen and were clear and in-focus for at least one full second. Each of those individual detections was then evaluated based on its duration, average size, location and relative isolation (or lack thereof) from competing brands: Was the logo a featured image on the screen or was it shown among other sponsors? More ...
12/09/08
alms
Jim Tafel reflects on 2008  Jim Tafel had a unique perspective to the success of his Tafel Racing team in the 2008 American Le Mans Series. From both on top of the Tafel pit structure during a race to behind the wheel of one of the team’s Ferrari F430 GTs, the season was an unqualified success. Tafel Racing won four GT2 races and finished second in the championship while the team owner continued to make progress on the track. Here is his perspective.

Jim Tafel
Question: Looking back on the 2008 season, what is the first memory that jumps out at you?
Answer: Definitely our first American Le Mans Series win at St. Petersburg, Fla. Now that was a rush! That result showed to me that Tafel Racing can and will win races in a world-class series.

Q: What do you recall as your biggest surprise within the team in 2008?
A: To complete the season with four GT2 class wins and getting an overall Top 10 finish (ninth) at Mid-Ohio.

Q: What do you think was the best moment for the team this year?
A: I think the biggest moment we had actually came between Atlanta and Laguna Seca. We were no longer in the running for GT2 championship after Petit Le Mans but we came back to answer that disappointment by posting a win at Laguna Seca. I think that was the greatest challenge that Tafel Racing had to overcome in 2008. More ...

12/09/08
ga
SunTrust Racing Completes Rolex 24 Lineup  The lineup is complete for the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team at the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance classic at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Joining regulars Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle in the four-driver lineup that will share the duties behind the wheel of the SunTrust Ford Dallara will be team owner and two-time Rolex 24 winner Wayne Taylor, as well as Portuguese sports car and Formula 1 veteran Pedro Lamy.

“I’m really happy with the lineup we’ve been able to put together for the upcoming Rolex 24,” said Taylor, who co-drove to victory with Angelelli in the 2005 Daytona season-opener en route to that year’s Rolex Series championship for SunTrust, and also was a Rolex 24 winner in 1996. “Max and I have tried in the past to have Pedro join us but were unable to work it out until this event. So we’re very happy to confirm that he will be joining Max and Brian and myself starting at the January Test Days.” More ...

12/09/08
f1
Tuesday: Buemi fastest in Jerez  UPDATE Rain in the afternoon meant times did not improve from the morning.  The day was neatly divided in two by the weather, which was dry at first, before rain affected the afternoon running. Most cars went out on track in the same configuration as at the previous Barcelona test, with downforce levels replicating those expected from the new aero rules for next year.  Tires were also the same Bridgestone "soft" slicks. At Toro Rosso both Sebastiens concentrated on set-up work, with Buemi additionally assessing various aero options. The rain saw a switch to wet weather tires, with the two drivers running a comparison between this year's rain tire and a development tire for the 2010 season.

12/09/08 Formula One teams returned to the test track in Jerez this morning, as they continued with the preparations for 2009. A greatly reduced field of just eight drivers took to the track before lunchtime, with the absence of Toyota, Honda and Force India meaning just seven teams made it to the second test of the post-season. All teams bar McLaren had just a single driver on duty, conserving mileage before they hit the 30,000 km limit by the end of the year.

By the time the teams broke for lunch, Sébastien Buemi, this time piloting a Red Bull, replacing the injured Mark Webber, set the fastest time, half a second quicker than Toro Rosso's Sébastien Bourdais. McLaren occupied third and fourth places, while Kimi Räikkönen made his return to the test track in the F2008.

Once again, BMW Sauber and Williams were the only teams to test with 2009 wings, the latter having kicked off their week's testing with Dani Clos yesterday. Renault's Nelson Piquet was the final driver on-track, clocking the seventh-quickest time.

So far this morning, there has been just a single red flag period, when Kazuki Nakajima ended up in the gravel an hour before midday.

Unofficial morning times
1. Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) - 1:18.742, 53 laps
2. Sébastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) - 1:19.288, 33 laps
3. Gary Paffett (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1:20.134, 20 laps
4. Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren-Mercedes) - 1:20.261, 29 laps
5. Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) - 1:20.261, 29 laps
6. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber-BMW) - 1:20.910, 30 laps
7. Nelson Piquet Jr. (Renault) - 1:21.547, 66 laps
8. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) - 1:22.724, 30 laps

12/09/08
f1
F1 should scrap expensive KERS - Haug  (GMM)  Amid Honda's shock exit and the urgent need to cut costs, F1 should call off the introduction of KERS systems in 2009.

That is the view of Norbert Haug, motor racing chief of the German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz.

Given Honda's departure due to the global slump in road car sales, Haug told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell "the time for games is over" as F1 seeks to slash out of control expenditure.

Numerous teams have recently tried to postpone the planned introduction next year of KERS, but outfits like BMW-Sauber are in favor of the energy-recovery technology.

Haug said KERS "is an extremely expensive exercise" and said the saving to the engine budgets by scrapping it would be at least 25 per cent.

He explained that the KERS concept should not be sidelined entirely, but in the current financial climate the prudent action would be to put it aside and "think about it later".

12/09/08
a1gp
Portugal track to get A1GP preview  A1GP will trial-run the new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in January, ahead of the circuit’s A1GP debut later this season.

The black test car is set to lap the new circuit on 10-13 January 2009, ahead of the A1GP Algarve on April 12, which will be the circuit’s first international car race meeting.

The 4.7-km circuit has recently been built in Portimao, Portugal for a total cost of €195 million.

In addition to the circuit, the project also includes a karting track, a technology park, a five-star hotel, a sports complex and apartments.

Meanwhile, the Motor Sport Business Forum takes pace this week in the Grimaldi Conference and Exhibition Centre in Monaco. The event is a marketing and networking event, bringing together motorsport professionals in a unique business setting away from the track.

This year A1GP CEO, Pete da Silva, will be at the event on 10 – 11 December as a key speaker on ‘The business of world motorsport’.

A1 Team Monaco will also have its car on display, although it will be in black livery with gold diamonds, as opposed to the red and white livery usually seen when racing on tracks around the globe.

12/09/08
f1
Brundle hits out at award night food  (GMM)  Martin Brundle is renowned for his forthright, no-nonsense formula one commentary, but his latest outburst has put the wind up one of London's most famous luxury hotels.

The veteran of 158 grands prix, who will remain in the commentary booth in 2009 as the British rights switch from ITV to BBC, raised eyebrows on Sunday night as he rose to announce a winner at the annual Autosport Awards.

He complained to the 800-strong audience, including the great and good of the world of international motor racing: "I'm still picking the lamb out of my teeth.
 
"Wasn't that the worst meal we've ever been served at the Grosvenor House (Hotel)?" he added.

Brundle's verdict is said to have left the chef considerably unimpressed.

A hotel spokesman told The Independent: "We would like to get in touch with Mr. Brundle and speak to him about it."

12/09/08
f1
'Earth Dreams' not to blame for Honda exit  UPDATE (GMM)  In the wake of Honda's withdrawal from formula one, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has questioned the sincerity of the manufacturer's 'Earth Dreams' campaign.

In 2007 and 2008, which turned out to be Honda's last two championship campaigns, the Japanese outfit spurned regular 'money for logos' liveries and instead promoted an environmental message.

But according to the marketing publication Brand Republic, Dennis has revealed he was unconvinced the sentiment was genuine.

"The most important issue when presenting a green image is that it is authentic," he said.

"Honda's 'earth car' was driven more by the perception it wanted the public to have than its true objectives," added Dennis.

12/09/08 (GMM)  Honda commercial director David Butler has denied the manufacturer's decision to pull out of formula one represents a failure of the unique 'Earth Dreams' sponsorship concept.

Ahead of the 2007 season, the Japanese marque dispensed with four decades of the customary 'money for logos' model and instead painted only a satellite image of the world on its single seaters to promote an environmental message.

With very little visible sponsorship, Honda was essentially left to carry the entire burden of financing the F1 team, which will now close its doors before the 2009 season if a buyer is not urgently found.

But Butler told The Guardian: "Honda is not withdrawing because of a failure to sell commercial partnerships."

He explained that a "multi million dollar" partnership would have been announced in January, and said talks with two potential title sponsors have also taken place.

12/09/08
Formula BMW
Keep your eye on this young American  UPDATE
Alexander Rossi after winning the BWM world title Sunday

We told you back on November 4th to keep your eye on American Alexander Rossi.  This past weekend, Rossi became the Formula BMW World Champion in Mexico City. The 17-year-old crossed the line 0.655 seconds ahead of Michael Christensen with local hero Esteban Gutierrez third. As a reward for his victory, Rossi will be given a drive in a BMW Sauber F1 Team race car.

“Obviously it’s going to be incredible,” Rossi said. “I’ll have a difficult time in trying to stop thinking about it. But I’ll need to do that, just to focus on 2009.”

Rossi, who won the Formula BMW Americas title before the Mexican event, drove a stunning race to pass three men ahead of him and took the lead after 13 laps.

"Alexander drove a fantastic race and passed one car after the other," said BMW's Mario Theissen. "He deserves his win, but Michael Christensen and Esteban Gutierrez can also look back on a strong weekend. I’m convinced that all three of them will have successful careers in international motor racing. Who knows, maybe they will knock on our door in F1 in the future."

With his 10th win of the year, three of them at F1 races, Rossi has the eye of many F1 teams we hear and is headed to Europe next year to drive in some series.  His goal - F1.

American Alexander Rossi
11/04/08
  Not sure if you have been paying attention or not but young Alexander Rossi, from Nevada City, has won 10 Formula BMW North America events this season with 10 poles and insiders in the series tell us he is the first real young American talent of the last few years in open wheels. He is the first American to win the FBMW Title.

And take him outside the USA and he does just as well.  His Eurointernational North American Team was in Interlagos this past weekend running as a support race to the F1 finale.  Rossi dominate Round 16 and 17 of the North American Formula BMW Championship in front of his teammate for
Rossi charges thru Turn 1 at Interlagos Sunday
this one race Daniel Juncadella, a very highly regarded Red Bull Junior Team driver from the Formula BMW Europe Series.

Rossi has the character and talent to be a real future star. 

Look for him in the Dec. 5-7,  Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City where he competes against the top Formula BMW drivers from around the world.
12/09/08
nassprint
Yates team still needs sponsorship  Sponsorship issues are again a question for the Yates Racing team next season, but both #28-Travis Kvapil and #38-David Gilliland are expected to be back in what will grow to a three-car stable with the addition of #98-Paul Menard. The former DEI pilot brings his family's lucrative home improvement store sponsorship money with him to Yates, which will provide the financial resources the team so desperately needs. Veteran crew chief Larry Carter, who helped Jamie McMurray turn around his 2008 season, moves over from Roush to call the shots for Menard next year. "I'm really looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life with Yates Racing and behind the wheel of the #98 Ford Fusion," said Menard. "The #98 has been to Victory Lane 25 times, many times with Marvin Panch and Lee Roy Yarbrough. It's exciting to be starting with (team co-owner) Max (Jones) and Doug (Yates), and having Larry Carter on the box making the calls. I've seen how solid the Roush/Yates engine program has been over the years and I know we can have a really good season in the #98 Menard Ford Fusion.". Kvapil will also have a new crew chief with the team's decision to release veteran Todd Parrott, although no official announcement of his replacement has yet been made. CBS Sports
12/09/08
nascar
Kahne under investigation after incident with security guard  UPDATE Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #9-Kasey Kahne will have his record cleared provided he performs 50 hours of community service and donates $50 donation to a court charity to resolve a misdemeanor battery charge from Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2007. The court will dismiss the misdemeanor charge against Kahne once he performs his community service, according to Miami-Dade County (Fla.) court records. Such matters are typically resolved with this type of agreement when there is a dispute over the facts and the accused, with no criminal record, prefers to take care of the matter without going to trial. Kahne has maintained his innocence in the matter over whether he pushed security guard Archibald Hutchinson, who was guarding the driver motorhome lot Nov. 16, 2007 during the race weekend at Homestead. Kahne typically does community service as part of his foundation work. Kahne still faces a civil suit in the matter. SceneDaily

Kasey Kahne

11/17/07
Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne is under investigation by the Homestead Police Department for pushing a track security guard to the ground Friday before the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A conflict ensued between Kahne and the security guard after Kahne could not provide the proper credential for his brother, Kale Kahne, in order to enter the drivers' motorhome lot inside the speedway, according to Police Capt. Tom Foglia. After the incident, Foglia said, the security guard complained his blood pressure had escalated. An emergency vehicle was called and the security guard was taken to the infield care center. Foglia did not have the name of the security guard or his condition as of early Saturday afternoon. "We are looking into the matter; the detective is handling it," Foglia added. After Cup practice on Saturday, Kahne said, "It was all a misunderstanding." NASCAR officials are aware of the incident and said the sanctioning body will not take action until the local police conclude their investigation. "We can't comment on that right now," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. NASCAR.com
12/09/08
nassprint
Richard Petty has son Kyle axed  
When Richard Petty sold Petty Enterprises to Boston Ventures, he cut son Kyle completely out of the deal
If you want to know what's going down at Petty Enterprises these days, don't ask Kyle Petty. So says Kyle Petty, son of Richard and grandson of Lee, who founded the race organization in Level Cross, N.C., in 1949. Richard Petty is part owner of Petty Enterprises, which currently is in merger discussions with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Petty Enterprises entered into a partnership agreement with outside investment firm Boston Ventures this past May. "I don't work for Petty Enterprises," Kyle Petty said Monday. "When they did their deal and sold to Boston Ventures, Chad [McCumbee] was going to drive the second car and Bobby [Labonte] was going to drive the first car; they pretty much let me know there wasn't a place for me there going into '09. My deal runs out at the end of the year, but I don't go over there [to the shop in Mooresville, N.C.] because I don't work there. It was a different business and it got into a different place than where Boston Ventures wanted to be -- and I just don't think they have the stomach for it. It's their company and they can do with it what they want to. That's the way it works."

When Boston Ventures came on board, Richard Petty said he would still be heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of Petty Enterprises. But Kyle Petty made it sound as if those from the investment company are pulling most of the strings for the organization now. "I don't know what the division is, and it's got nothing to do with me because it's my father's company," Kyle said. "So it's between Richard Petty and Boston Ventures. Me talking about it is about like anybody else talking about it from the outside looking in. I was not privy to any of the meetings. I was not a part of it. Once David Zucker took over as CEO, then I was out of the loop. So I've got no skin in this game." ESPN.com

12/09/08
nnw
5-Hour Energy to fuel Steve Wallace  Officials of Novi, MI-based Living Essentials, LLC (LE) and Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC (RWR) announced today that LE, through its 5-Hour Energy brand, will return for its second season as primary sponsor of Rusty Wallace Racing’s No. 66 team and driver Steve Wallace in 2009.

5-Hour Energy will serve as primary sponsor of Wallace’s No. 66 Chevrolet in ten 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, beginning with the March 21st race at Bristol Motor Speedway, in which Wallace claimed his first career Nationwide Series pole in 2007.  Additionally, 5-Hour Energy will serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 66 for the remainder of the 2009 Nationwide Series schedule.

Stated RWR team owner and former NASCAR champion, Rusty Wallace, “Our entire team is very excited about the opportunity to continue our relationship with 5-Hour Energy in 2009.  They have an exceptional product, a great brand and are the true leaders in their category.  When you add in the fact that they also have one of the most energetic drivers in NASCAR, in Steve, this whole program just makes a lot of sense for everyone.” More ...

12/09/08
nassprint
NASCAR TV ad revenue down $30M  According to an Advertising Age analysis of TNS Media Intelligence figures, advertisers spent $538.8 million on TV ads surrounding NASCAR programming from January through September of this year, down from $567.2 million in the same time period in 2007.

On December 12, 2005, NASCAR announced its current TV contract: eight years, $4.8 billion with Fox/SPEED Channel, ABC/ESPN, and TNT for the Sprint Cup and Truck Series.  That means NASCAR gets paid $600M per year.  Add to that the production costs associated with broadcasting 38 Cup plus over 20 Truck races and you are looking costs of about $1B per year, which pales in comparison to the revenue being generated. 

The $30M drop in ad revenue means of course that FOX and ABC/ESPN are taking an even larger financial bloodbath with the NASCAR contract then they would otherwise have.

According to a Sports Business Journal report, even NASCAR’s legendary brand loyalty among fans is down. Of more than 400 race fans who were surveyed by the publication, only 42% said they were "much more likely" or "somewhat more likely" to trust a particular product or service that is an official sponsor of NASCAR, down nearly 13 percentage points from the responses to the same question in 2007.

12/09/08
f1
'Trust' returns to F1 with Red Bull  Sebastian Vettel is not the only new addition to the Red Bull Racing team for next season; the Formula One squad also has a new Team Partner for 2009: Trust.

Both Sebastian and Mark Webber will have the Trust name visible on the chin bar of their helmets in the new year.

Trust provides affordable technology for computers, laptops, Macs and iPods. Technological innovation and motor racing are obvious partners - Trust know this only too well having been involved in motor racing for many years, most recently in GP2 with Trust Team Arden. More ...

12/09/08
f1
Verstappen faces jail over wife assault  
Jos Verstappen
(GMM)  Former formula one driver Jos Verstappen appeared in court this week, accused of harassment and assault against his wife.

The 36-year-old Dutchman, who most recently contested grands prix with Minardi in 2003 and now races sportscars, faces a maximum of eight months in prison, with a verdict set to be announced early in January.

He told the court on Tongeren, located near his residence in the Flemish region of Belgium, that he accepts he is experiencing "relationship problems" with his separated wife, but said he believed the legal proceedings were excessive.

His wife, the Belgian ex-kart driver Sophie Kumpen, claims Verstappen has threatened her by text message, assaulted her, and last week slashed the tires on her car three times, the Dutch radio Omroep Brabant said.

Verstappen and his wife have two children.

12/09/08
f1
F1 test action to resume this week  (GMM)  As the initial dust of the bombshell Honda news settles, the on-track formula one test action will resume this week.

At damp Jerez, Spanish youngster Dani Clos was on duty for the Williams team on Monday, ahead of the major three-day session at the circuit that is to commence on Tuesday morning.

Since the end of the 2008 season, test drivers have undertaken most of the cockpit duties, but racers including world champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen are expected to be running in Spain.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will also be in action this week, but from Wednesday they will enjoy exclusive use of the Bahrain grand prix venue at Sakhir.

The media and members of the public are not welcome, as Toyota gets its winter test program moving after sitting out the recent Barcelona session.

"In the past, we've had open days for fans, but of course we would like to respect the wishes of the team (for a closed-door test) as it is a crucial stage for them in their preparations for next year's championship," circuit boss Martin Whitaker told the local Gulf Daily News.

For a second three day test in the island kingdom next week, the Japanese team will be joined by Ferrari, and a further Bahrain test is scheduled for February.

At the same time early next week, McLaren and Ferrari will be heading to the new Algarve circuit in Portugal for the venue's first F1 test.

Honda had been expected to join the two teams, but has suspended its winter test program for now following the Japanese manufacturer's decision to pull out of the sport.

12/08/08
irl
Patrick films "inappropriate" Super Bowl commercial  Danica Patrick was the most-searched athlete on AOL in 2008. She'll likely get a boost early in 2009 by appearing in a Go Daddy commercial during the first half of Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1.

Patrick, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based domain name registrar, is featured in two TV spots filmed last week in Los Angeles.

“They are both fun and edgy," Patrick said. "They are just what you would expect from GoDaddy.com.  You’re going to have to watch the Super Bowl to see them. I can’t ruin the surprise.”

The commercials still have to be approved by NBC-TV censors, who gave Go Daddy more publicity in 2005 when they pulled its commercial after one airing.

"We have two options and they're both absolutely … Go Daddy-esque," Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons said. "They are fun, edgy and slightly inappropriate; surely network censors will have a sense of humor, people could use a good laugh these days."

The Andretti Green Racing driver also has donated a 2008 worn race suit - plus four pit passes and four race tickets to a 2009 race of the winning bidder's choice except the Indianapolis 500 - to the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research auction. The auction runs through Dec. 16. Link: https://auction01.charitybuzz.com/secure/viewItemDetail.do?auction_item_id=22301

12/08/08
nassprint
Petty Racing releases 39 employees  Petty Enterprises released 39 employees on Monday, bringing the total to 65 since the end of the season. A source close to the situation said Petty Enterprises has about 54 employees anxiously waiting to hear whether there will be a merger with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. "Everybody is still looking for marching orders in what direction we're going in," the source said. The Pettys have been in negotiations to merge with several teams for months. Two were eliminated when Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates merged last month. The possible merger with GEM would have the famous #43 joining the #9 (Kasey Kahne), #19 (Elliott Sadler) and #10 (Reed Sorenson) of GEM to become a four-car operation. Whether 2000 Cup champion Bobby Labonte, the current driver of the unsponsored #43, would be a part of that deal remains unclear. Labonte, who signed a long-term deal that included partial ownership with Petty Enterprises earlier this year, has reportedly had talks with DEI-Ganassi about driving the Target-sponsored #41. That could clear the way for AJ Allmendinger, released by Red Bull Racing late this season, to move into the #43. Officials at Petty Enterprises and GEM were not available for comment. Should the merger occur it would be the first time NASCAR has been without Petty Enterprises as it is known today since 1969. Richard Petty sold majority ownership to Boston Ventures earlier this year, but the name of the company and driving school remained the same. ESPN.com
12/08/08
f1
Williams team continues to oppose customer cars  (GMM)  Despite Honda's withdrawal and the danger that other teams could follow, Williams remains opposed to the concept of 'customer cars' in formula one.

The British team is the only outfit in the paddock not backed either by a car manufacturer or a billionaire individual.

Financially, all does not seem rosy at Williams, after recent two-year losses of $88m were revealed, and sponsors Petrobras and Lenovo are expected to switch to other teams.

Should the numbers on the grid dwindle further, however, Williams would remain opposed to the relaxing of the rule that states formula one teams must design and build their own cars, team chief executive Adam Parr insists.

"There is the scope for teams to put three cars on the grid and if we have eight teams with three cars, that's 24 cars which is four more than we have had this year," he is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"Williams would rather compete on equal terms with constructors and take our chances than mess around with customer teams," Parr added.

Veteran F1 commentator Murray Walker denies the 'three car' proposal is unworkable in these times because it will only add to cash-strapped teams' costs.

"The overheads are going to be the same," he told the BBC.

"Yes, using a third car is going to be a bit more expensive, but if the cost-cutting measures that are hopefully going to be implemented work, then there will be some money left over.

"It's better than formula one disappearing altogether," he said.

Parr believes the likelihood of another team following Honda out of the door prior to the start of the 2009 season is high "and there is a very high chance it will be a manufacturer".

Red Bull's motor racing consultant Helmut Marko denied reports the missing team could be the energy drink's Red Bull Racing or Scuderia Toro Rosso.

12/08/08
f1
Oris extends sponsorship engagement with Williams  The AT&T Williams team today confirmed that Oris SA of Switzerland, the premium Swiss watch maker, has extended its sponsorship engagement with the team. This renewal will bring the partnership between Williams and Oris to eight years and reflects an established relationship based on mutual commercial benefit and a resonant sponsorship logic.

During the 2008 season, Oris launched its second successful range of Williams F1 Team Collection watches inspired by the world of Formula One. 2008 also saw the launch of the TT3 Formula Gold Limited Edition, which was commissioned to celebrate 30 Years of Williams F1.

Ulrich Herzog, Executive Chairman of Oris SA, commented, “We are pleased to confirm our continued partnership with the AT&T Williams team. The agreement is important to our business in the Oris world of motor sports watches and we are convinced of the value of the partnership we have developed over the past six years.”

Frank Williams, the AT&T Williams Team Principal, responded, “I am delighted that Oris, together with Philips and Allianz have all recently extended their partnership agreements with the team. Oris can be assured of our best endeavors to return their confidence in the team with measurable commercial dividends next year, and I hope today’s agreement will be the first two year step to Oris joining team partners such as Allianz and Accenture who have sponsored us for over a decade.”

12/08/08
nassprint
Barraclough parts ways with Yates Racing  Crew chief Cully Barraclough will not return to the No. 38 Yates Racing team for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Driver David Gilliland confirmed in a phone interview with SceneDaily.com that he and Barraclough will not be racing together next season. Gilliland also said he has not been told who his 2009 crew chief will be and that the team is still seeking a primary sponsor.

Barraclough has left Yates Racing to join Roush Fenway Racing.

"We're still really looking for sponsorship," Gilliland said. "Everybody is looking for a sponsor and the economy right now is not in NASCAR's favor."

Gilliland said he was disappointed that Barraclough will not be back.

“We had a good relationship and it was his first year as a Cup crew chief,” Gilliland said. “I thought we were growing in the right direction together, but I guess sometimes change can be a good thing. We’re still great friends and I wish him nothing but the best.” Scenedaily.com

12/08/08
automotive
GM Statement on the Auto Rescue Bill  We appreciate the tireless work of Speaker Pelosi, Leader Reid, Chairman Dodd, Chairman Frank, and the Administration to craft a bill that provides immediate aid to the domestic auto industry with the appropriate mechanisms for accountability and transparency to the taxpayer.

The current set of extraordinary economic circumstances the industry faces requires equally extraordinary action now on the part of both the automakers and Congress.  We have listened to Congress and have put together a restructuring plan that will deliver a stronger, sustainable GM in a quicker timeframe and without the negative market consequences that could result from bankruptcy. General Motors Corporation Restructuring Plan for Long-Term Viability.

As part of our plan, we will abide by the conditions proposed in the bill and will continue our restructuring with great urgency.  Millions of jobs, America's manufacturing base and future competitiveness hang in the balance and we urge quick passage of this bill.

12/08/08
nassprint
Media Selects Jimmie Johnson  Jimmie Johnson winning his record-tying third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship was voted the sport’s top story for 2008 by members of the media.

Members of the media ranked the top highlights of the 2008 NASCAR season on NASCARMedia.com. More than 180 votes were cast online between Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Each highlight received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, eight points for a third-place vote, etc. down to one point for 10th.

Johnson’s championship run garnered 75 first-place votes and finished with 1,727 points. Johnson joined Cale Yarborough as the only other driver to win three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. Kyle Busch winning a combined 21 races in all three national series – NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series – earned 13 first-place votes and finished second with 1,574 points. More ...

12/08/08
racing news
Autosport Show: John Bolster Award for Carl Haas  UPDATE Added photos of Haas receiving his award below.

Carl Haas goes up to receive his award
Carl Haas on stage in the UK
12/07/08 Legendary American team owner Carl Haas was presented with the John Bolster Award for technical achievement on behalf of his Newman/Haas partnership with the late Paul Newman at tonight's Autosport Awards in London.

"It was a great program we had together and we really miss him," he said. "In 24 years we won a lot of races and worked with some great people."

Mario Andretti paid this tribute to his former team boss: "As I look back with fondness on the 12 years I drove for you, I know this honor is truly deserved.

"Your victories and championships were a testament to your passion and love for the sport, and the outstanding team you assembled during the years.

"Congratulations on this lifetime achievement award, well done my friend."

12/08/08
nastruck
Benson signs with Red Horse team  
Benson after winning truck title in Homestead
2008 truck champion Johnny Benson, who had previously announced he would leave Bill Davis Racing at the end of the 2008 season, will drive the No. 1 truck as a teammate with David Starr for Red Horse Racing, team co-owner Tom DeLoach confirmed Monday.

Trip Bruce, Benson’s crew chief, also has joined the team.

“It’s fantastic,” DeLoach said in responding to reports that Benson might not return fulltime to the series next season. “I’m looking forward to it. I think Johnny and David will work together really well and I expect good things out of both of them. We have one team and we’ve got two drivers. … Johnny is such a fantastic guy to work with – very analytical, very thoughtful.

“I’m just looking forward to working with him. It will be sweet for Red Horse. I’ve wanted to run two trucks for a couple of years and couldn’t get pieces put together and finally got it done.”

As far as sponsorship, DeLoach said that sponsors are still being courted. Benson has won titles in the Nationwide and Truck and has 274 career Cup starts.

“Johnny will be especially strong, and we’d like to do what no one has ever done before,” DeLoach said. “Johnny would see it as a tremendous accomplishment to repeat with different owners. That would be quite a statement.”
12/08/08
fil
Donoso receives national honors  Firestone Indy Lights Series driver Pablo Donoso was chosen as Auto Racing Sportsman of the Year 2008 by Deportes 13 magazine, a leading sports publication in Chile.

The award, voted on by approximately 1,800 athletes across Chile, is given to the best Chilean athletes in various sports. Donoso, who finished seventh in the Firestone Indy Lights point standings, was honored alongside some of Chile's most-famous sportsmen including ATP tennis player Fernando González and international soccer coach Manuel Pellegrini.

This is the fifth time Donoso has been honored as Auto Racing Sportsman of the Year in Chile. He was previously honored four times by the Chilean journalists in 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007.

12/08/08
irl
IndyCar drivers, owner honored at Autosport Awards  IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, drivers Justin Wilson and E.J. Viso and team co-owner Carl Haas were recognized Dec. 6 at the annual Autosport Awards in London.

Dixon, who won a series record-tying six races including the 92nd Indianapolis 500, was a nominee in the International Driver of the Year category. Wilson was a nominee for the British Competition Driver award and Viso was nominated in the Rookie of the Year category.

“It’s definitely an honor and a big deal to be nominated,” said Dixon, who also was announced recently as a finalist for the Economaki Champion of Champions Award, presented by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and National Speed Sport News, a finalist for the SPEED Performer of the Year Award, presented by SPEED-TV, and as the Sportsperson of the Year by the New Zealand Herald.

Haas was honored with the Autosport John Bolster Award on behalf of his partnership with the late Paul Newman for their services to motorsport. Haas and Newman joined forces to enter the 1983 CART season and hired Mario Andretti, the former Formula One champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, to drive. Andretti placed third in the championship standings in the team’s first season, and the first of eight titles followed in 1984. More ...

12/08/08
irl
cc
The last Will of Paul Newman  Here is the Last Will and Testament of deceased IndyCar and former Champ Car team owner Paul L. Newman.
12/08/08
nascar
Weekly NASCAR cheating report  A car owned by NASCAR’s Kyle Busch was disqualified after winning the 41st running of the Snowball Derby at 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida Sunday.

It marked the second time in three years that a car has been DQ’d from the prestigious late model event in post race inspection after winning.

Inspectors found two fans underneath the car, driven by Brian Ickler, near each of the right side tires. The fans were connected to a switch inside the car and were designed to keep the tires cool and allow better traction on the half-mile track.

”As soon as I knelt down and looked inside, it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Ricky Brooks, the chief technical inspector at Five Flags told a local newspaper. “I hate to have to do this. But we have to maintain rules for everyone who competes in this race.”

The second-place finisher Augie Grill, 32, was awarded the victory; he was the defending champion of the event. More ...

12/08/08
alms
Brabham karting event drawing big names  Some of the top drivers from the American Le Mans Series will join David Brabham in raising more than $70,000 as part of the BP Ultimate Charity Karting Challenge at next month’s Autosport International Show in England.

The latest entries have an Audi flavor. Tom Kristensen, eight-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and fellow Le Mans champions Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela will participate. They will join fellow American Le Mans Series competitors Darren Turner, Johnny Mowlem, Guy Smith, Rob Bell and Oliver Gavin, among others.

“I am delighted with the response from such high-caliber drivers for this year’s BP Ultimate Charity Karting Challenge,” Brabham said. “This event truly amazes me. We raised nearly £50,000 last year and January’s race is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet. Despite the current financial situation, it’s fantastic to see that the sport and public alike are still committed to this event and to helping to raise money for some very worthy causes. It should be a fantastic event.”

12/08/08
f1
Williams 'committed' to F1 - spokesman  (GMM)  British formula one team Williams has rubbished reports it could be in danger of joining Honda in walking away from the sport.

In the wake of Honda's shock departure amid the global financial crisis, many teams hastily issued statements insisting they remain committed to F1.

Grove based Williams, however, an independent team that has failed to add to its tally of nine constructors' and seven drivers' titles since losing carmaker support, did not immediately pledge its commitment, sparking speculation about its future.

"We are unequivocally committed to F1," a team spokesman told the BBC.

"Unlike many of our competitors who are owned by carmakers, for us the consideration to stay involved is superfluous, as we only exist to race," he added.

Despite the global situation, the spokesman said it is possible Williams, which uses Toyota engines, will be "better funded" next year than it was in 2008, when it finished the constructors' championship ahead of Honda in eighth place.

12/08/08
track news
NJMP announces 2009 schedule  New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) announces the 2009 season schedule featuring a full slate of seven major spectator races over the course of its second season of operation. The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series returns to NJMP this year as a marquee race, on April 30 – May 3.A new highlight on the schedule this year will be the 2009 AMA Superbike Championship series, September 4 – 6.In addition, NJMP will be booking over 400 club and driver school events, featuring some of the biggest names in amateur racing including SCCA, EMRA, Porsche Club of America, BMW Club of America and New York Sport Bike Club.

More than 100,000 spectators will visit the Millville, NJ-based complex over the course of the season, as the facility welcomes some of America’s top racing series. Tickets for all spectator events as well as two types of Season Tickets will be available beginning Wednesday, December 10.The first type of Season Ticket, allowing access to Spectator Events only is $275.The second type of Season Ticket, allowing access to both Spectator Events and all Club Events is $350.Tent and RV camping passes are also available for purchase as are gift certificates in increments of $25.Visit www.NJMP.com for details on how to order or call the NJMP Ticket Office at (856) 327-7217.

2009 New Jersey Motorsports Park Spectator Calendar

Date Race Venue
April 30 – May 3 Grand-Am Thunderbolt Raceway
May 29 – 31 New Jersey Vintage Grand Prix Festival Thunderbolt Raceway
June 12 – 14 Mazda Formula X Thunderbolt Raceway
Sept 4 – 6 AMA Superbike Thunderbolt Raceway
Sept 11 – 13 ARCA RE/MAX Series Thunderbolt Raceway
Sept 18 – 20 Ferrari Challenge Thunderbolt Raceway
Oct 1 – 4 SVRA Thunderbolt Raceway

More ...
12/08/08
racing news
SPEED Names Finalists for Andretti Trophy  The 15-member SPEED voting panel, headlined by racing icon Mario Andretti, has named 11 finalists for the 2008 SPEED Performer of the Year honor, with the winner to be announced as part of the SPEED Performance Awards one-hour television special in February.

"This is the only award that considers all the major disciplines of motor sports,” Andretti said. “Because of that, it's a daunting job for the individuals tasked with selecting a winner.  Because all the different series are included, you've got a bigger and deeper pool of talent from which to select a performer of the year.  What I also like is that the criteria for this award is not just about winning championships.  The ultimate performer of the year doesn't have to be the series champion -- he just needs to have driven with gusto."

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and two-time winner of the SPEED Performer of the Year Jimmie Johnson is on a ballot that represents eight different racing series. The top six vote-getters will be featured on the special. More ...

12/08/08
f1
Ferrari to slash F1 budget  Formula One team Ferrari is planning to accelerate its cost-cutting plans for 2009 in the wake of Honda's pullout from the sport.

"This process had already begun over the last few years. But now it's going to have a sharp acceleration," team director Stefano Domenicali said in an interview with Corriere della Sera on Monday without providing further financial details.

Still, Domenicali warned that cuts in F1 spending shouldn't reach the point where it wouldn't allow healthy engineering competition. Ferrari announced in October that it too would leave F1 if the sport's governing body goes ahead with plans to have a sole engine and transmission supplier beginning in 2010.

"We're at the forefront in the process of auto racing renewal, which has to remain a technological and sporting competition," Domenicali said. "Ferrari will continue to be a leader. The fans should stay calm." More ...

12/08/08
f1
Top-5 (10 cars) remain committed to F1  Five of Formula One's top teams have pledged to remain in the sport, according to UK broadcaster, The BBC.

The broadcaster reports that BMW Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault and Toyota are all determined not to follow Honda by quitting F1.

Toyota, believed to be under pressure in the current economic crisis, said they were "committed to succeeding in Formula One and to reducing costs" whilst French team Renault, who finished in fourth with 80 points to Toyota's 56, also revealed they remained committed to the sport.

BMW board member Klaus Draeger, whose team won in Canada this year and finished third overall, said in a statement that Honda's decision would have no bearing on his company's involvement in F1. More ...

12/08/08
nassprint
Merger of Petty team a wakeup call for team owners  NASCAR without a Petty Enterprises? It's an idea that competitors were struggling to comprehend last Thursday, in what should have been a celebratory atmosphere during Champions Week.

Jimmie Johnson was crowned the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion on Friday evening at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, but the mood in New York was tempered by reports that Petty Enterprises was in negotiations to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, in a deal that could alter one of auto racing's most recognizable names. The Petty team has competed in NASCAR since the beginning, winning 10 championships and 268 races on the sport's premier circuit.

But the team has been dogged by sponsorship issues in recent years, to the point where its flagship No. 43 car -- the one Richard Petty drove to seven titles and 200 wins -- has yet to secure backing for the 2009 season. More ...

12/08/08
f1
Webber due to return to UK in time for Christmas  Following his accident in Tasmania recently where he was taking part in the charity endurance challenge he hosts, Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber was eventually discharged from hospital on November 30. Then, following this, last Wednesday he had staples removed from his right leg - he’d had a rod and three pins inserted in his leg after breaking it in two places in the road accident.

Now the Aussie racer has to spend the next couple of weeks in his native Australia in order for the swelling to go down and make sure that there’s no risk of infection while his wound heals. Once this is over, the Red Bull Racing driver will travel to the UK for physio-based rehab.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it means a lot and I’m looking forward to getting back on my feet again and preparing for next year,” he said.

12/08/08
track news
Singapore GP wins Autosport Award  
Singapore skyline from track
For the second time in a month, the 2008 FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix and the Marina Bay circuit are recipients of a major international award. Representatives from the Grand Prix were presented with the Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award at the Autosport Awards, at a gala event in London attended by some of the most influential personalities in motor sport, including F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The FORMULA 1™ SingTel Singapore Grand Prix venue was commended both for the revolutionary track lighting and the spectacular way in which it wove the track through the heart of the city. Colin Syn of Singapore GP received the award from McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen on behalf of the race.

Said Autosport of the Pioneering and Innovation Award; “It wasn't just the sight of floodlit racing that went down well. The Marina Bay street circuit itself also received plenty of deserved praise. Comparisons with Monaco were fully justified, as the track blended beautifully into the cityscape and made excellent use of landmarks such as the historic Anderson Bridge.” More ...

12/08/08
f1
French backer urges support for grand prix  (GMM)  The group behind the abandoned project to stage a formula one race at Disneyland Paris has urged the French prime minister to save the country's grand prix.

With the sport moving away from unpopular Magny Cours, and the Disneyland plans having failed due to lack of backing, the Lagardere Group said PM Francois Fillon should move to ensure France returns to the calendar in 2011.

"There will be no grand prix in 2009, and probably in 2010 as well.  If there is still no race in 2011, France could lose its grand prix completely," said a statement by Lagardere, formerly the racing car company Matra, according to the French language La Presse.

The Paris headquartered group therefore said it hoped the French government backs a "decision to build a new formula one circuit".

Lagardere, originally believed to have earmarked about $100m for the Disney project, said two alternate locations - in Flins-sur-Seine (40 minutes from Paris) and Sarcelles (30 minutes from Paris) - are proposing "high quality" projects for future French grands prix.

"This is an issue of jobs for French people, and the image of the country," the statement continued.

"It is not too late, but time is running out," Lagardere said.

12/08/08
f1
Brawn, Wurz, not worried about own futures  
Ross Brawn
(GMM)  Team boss Ross Brawn, and test driver Alex Wurz, have each admitted to having relaxed attitudes about their future in the wake of Honda's F1 withdrawal.

Brawn, as team principal alongside Honda's F1 chief executive Nick Fry, is busy trying to rescue the Brackley based outfit, and its hundreds of staff, by finding a buyer before Christmas.

But 54-year-old Brawn, who joined Honda one year ago following a long and successful career as technical director at Ferrari and Benetton, said he is less worried about himself.

He told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "If the team has to close, I'll just go fishing for a year, which is my hobby anyway."

2008 was also 34-year-old test and reserve driver Wurz's first season with Honda, after his retirement as a race driver following his disappointing stint with Williams in 2007.

The Austrian told the news agency APA that he would be open to a role elsewhere, but will "not seek it with full power".

Honda's exit seems to have spelled a definite end to the long career of racer Rubens Barrichello, but his 2008 teammate Jenson Button is being linked with a switch to Toro Rosso.

Gerhard Berger recently withdrew his 50 per cent share of the second Red Bull team, but admits that Button "has always been an interesting man" in the minds of Toro Rosso chiefs.

12/08/08
f1
Experts pessimistic in Honda quit wake  (GMM)  A heightened sense of pessimism has enveloped the world of formula one following Honda's decision to withdraw.

Many experts predict the Japanese manufacturer could be just the first in pitlane to fold.

"A large portion of the teams face the question of survival," ousted Force India team boss Colin Kolles told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Niki Lauda, former triple world champion, says there is a danger other struggling manufacturers could follow Honda.

"It is often the case that the first thrown snowball triggers an avalanche," he told Sport Bild.

Former F1 driver and now VW motor racing representative Hans-Joachim Stuck believes even the most successful teams will now be reassessing their commitment.

"I can well imagine a chief executive like (Mercedes') Dieter Zetsche thinking 'We have just become world champion, what more can we do?'" said Stuck.

Gerhard Berger, meanwhile, pulled his 50 per cent share out of Toro Rosso recently, and doubts Honda will find a credible buyer.

"I know just how difficult it is nowadays to find sponsors.  Finding someone to buy a whole team?  Forget it," said the Austrian.

12/08/08
f1
Honda exit triggers radical cost cutting  (GMM)  In the wake of Honda's decision to quit formula one, the sport is bracing for a new round of radical cost-cutting measures.

As the teams attempt to keep F1 viable but also retain its core principles, the FOTA alliance is understood to have accepted the need for severe measures.

According to the German magazine Sport Bild, one of the most radical proposals to be rubber-stamped in the coming days is a complete ban on private testing.

The recent measure to increase engine life from two to three races could be ramped up to four weekends, while the rev limit is reduced from 19,000 to 18,000 rpm.

Weekly wind tunnel use is slated to drop to just forty hours per team, and the power of super-computers will be capped.

"These changes would save the top teams some 140 million euros in 2009 alone," a FOTA insider is quoted as saying.

12/08/08
f1
FIA backs teams in F1 income fight  
With other cost cutting initiatives being put in place such as the standard Cosworth engine , Bernie Ecclestone will laugh at the idea to give the teams more of F1's revenue.
(GMM)  Max Mosley, the president of F1's governing body, has sided with the teams in a new push to prize more revenue from the sport's owners.

The teams' FOTA alliance was already working hard to agree cost-cutting measures before the Japanese manufacturer Honda last week announced it was pulling out of formula one.

After Honda's shock news broke, the FOTA chairman, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, said the next step is a meeting with FIA chief Mosley.

"Furthermore we also agreed that it's necessary to meet with Bernie Ecclestone to talk about the distribution as far as the earnings are concerned," he said.

Mosley agrees that the revenue generated by formula one, owned by CVC and run by Ecclestone, should be distributed more generously to the teams.

"The FIA would join with FOTA in seeking to persuade FOM (Formula One Management) to divide the prize-money so that up to 12 teams are guaranteed at least $50m each."

On the other side of the fight is Ecclestone, who is refusing to budge.

"We have an agreement with the teams that they receive 50 per cent of the (pre-tax profits)," he is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"What we do with our share is up to us."

The first meetings will take place later this week, as the motor racing world heads to Monaco for the annual FIA awards gala, and a key meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

12/08/08
tv news
NCTS Banquet Special on SPEED  UPDATE A reminder that this highlight special of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series banquet will be shown tonight.

12/02/08 After a year of record Nielsen Ratings for its coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, SPEED will air a highlight special from the NCTS banquet Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET. The special will be hosted by Krista Voda and Rick Allen.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED was the highest rated ever, averaging a 0.80 and 585,000 households. On the year, 19 of the 22 races on SPEED saw year-to-year Nielsen Ratings increases, 15 in double digits.

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