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DATE News (chronologically)
12/18/10
track news

Tax-cut legislation includes benefits for NASCAR track owners
A host of industries, from Caribbean distilleries to Hollywood producers, would gain billions in tax breaks and other subsidies under compromise tax-cut legislation now moving its way through Congress. The $858 billion package approved by the Senate is focused primarily on continuing the Bush administration tax cuts for two years, extending unemployment benefits and other large-scale expenditures. But buried inside the legislation are more than $55 billion in other giveaways and tax reductions for some of Washington's most influential industry groups. Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motor-sports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects. Estimated cost to taxpayers: $40 million. The motor-sports provision stems from an ongoing dispute between racetrack owners and the Internal Revenue Service, which concluded that racing facilities should be subject to longer depreciation schedules - thus decreasing tax benefits for owners. The motor-sports industry, including the popular NASCAR series, argues that a shorter, seven-year depreciation schedule used by amusement parks and similar facilities should apply instead. Congress has periodically approved the accelerated depreciation schedule since 2004; the tax-cuts bill would extend the provision again through 2011. The main beneficiaries of the provision would be large track owners such as International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports. But other racing organizations also support the change. "For us to be able to run our events at the track, you have to have quality facilities," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications at NASCAR. "Being able to provide the track owners the opportunity to invest more in their tracks and make them better and safer is important for us and our fans." More at Washington Post

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12/18/10
karting

Di Grassi wins first battle of Massa’s race in Brazil
The start of Heat 1
Lucas di Grassi drove a superb race to grab the heat 1 of the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs on Saturday night at Arena Sapiens in Florian¢polis, Brazil. Still searching a seat in Formula 1 after his début for Virgin Racing in 2010, Di Grassi started in second spot and won a fierce battle against Felipe Massa and the polesitter Antonio Pizzonia, respectively second and third at the checkered flag.

Race 2 will begin at 11h00 local time (14 ECT). Rubens Barrichello will start on pole according to the GP2 Series reversed grid style, while Di Grassi will close the fourth row along with Massa. The only foreigner in the field, Toro Rosso’s ace Jaime Alguersuari made an impressive début in the event to finish fourth. Aggregate points will reveal the champion after the second race.

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12/18/10
alms

Video: ALMS "Flashback" Road America 2006 vs 2010
Today’s ALMS “Flashback” takes us back to Road America in 2006 for the GT2 duel between Jörg Bergmeister and Joey Hand. Bergmeister, driving a Porsche for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing at the time, had to come back to best Hand’s BMW M3 from the BMW Team PTG stable after the 911 went off in the waning minutes. As you will see below, we’ve published a comparison in-car from this year’s Road America race from the winning BMW Rahal Letterman Racing BMW M3 GT.

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12/18/10
automotive

Honda Passport recalled for suspension fix
Honda will recall 35,984 copies of the Passport SUV from the 1998 to 2002 model years in the United States for a suspension piece damaged by road-salt corrosion.

The lower suspension link could become corroded in areas where road salt is used extensively. Honda says the lower link bracket could detach from the frame, which would affect handling and increase the risk of a crash. A small number of incidents have been reported from the problem but no injuries.

The recall is limited to states in which road salt is frequently used, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

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12/18/10
motogp

Jonathan Rea impressed with MotoGP bike
The HRC MotoGP test team brought curtain down on the 2010 season on-track when they wrapped up the three-day test at Sepang Malaysia today. The test session was scheduled to end yesterday but was extended to include a three-hour session this morning due to time last to heavy rain yesterday afternoon. HRC MotoGP test at Sepang ends 2010 on-track development work

The test team and HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi were happy with the data gleaned while verifying information and technical data gathered at the last team test session, held at Valencia in early November.

The HRC test was also a happy experience for Ten Kate Honda World Superbike team rider Jonathan Rea. The Ulsterman was given the opportunity to test the RC212V as a reward for his WSB performances in 2010. Race completed the test alongside Akiyoshi running for 40 laps in fine sunny weather with temperatures close on 30 degrees for the morning session.

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12/18/10
motogp

Pedrosa to resume full training in January
Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa is now in the final stages of recovery from the shoulder injury he sustained last October and is excited to return to training in early January. Pedrosa to resume full training in January

The Spaniard will spend a full month working on his physical condition to ensure that he is in the best possible shape for the first MotoGP test of 2011 at Sepang, Malaysia, from February 1st to 3rd.

Pedrosa, who finished the 2010 MotoGP World Championship second overall, was told by specialists to rest the shoulder, which sustained heavy trauma damage when broke his left collarbone in two places during practice for October’s Japanese Grand Prix. The injury was pinned and plated at Barcelona’s USP Instittut Universitari Dexeus, but serious bruising and swelling in the shoulder caused Pedrosa a serious lack of strength and feeling throughout the arm during the last few races of the season.

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12/18/10
irl

Rahal wants long career at Ganassi
Graham Rahal says he wants his new deal with Ganassi to be the start of a long relationship with the hugely-successful IndyCar team.

"When you look at the history of this team, there is no one that's been better," said Rahal. "So for me, it's the perfect opportunity to come in and hopefully expand on a very young career.

"I hope that I can be here a long, long time. Of course, you need to succeed to do that, and I think that all of the tools and the people are in place to make that happen."

Comment
12/18/10
karting

Pizzonia sets the early pace in Massa’s karting race
Former Formula 1 "Jungle Boy" Antonio Pizzonia set the best lap in the first free practice for the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs, the race promoted by Felipe Massa that once again has attracted a huge number of top class drivers from various series in Florian¢polis, Brazil. Pizzonia closed the stopwatch in 56s814 in the 1.207 m long track last evening at the Arena Sapiens, beating by a narrow margin of 0s139 his Brazilian Stock Car mate Thiago Camilo.

The pair was closely followed by Super GT Japan ace João Paulo Oliveira and IndyCar frontrunner Vitor Meira, while Felipe Massa fought hard to grab the fifth spot, just 11 thousandth faster than his Formula 1 pal Lucas di Grassi. Local hero Leonardo Nienkotter, a Trofeo Linea regular who finished 8th in the timesheet, was the best among an impressive list of newcomers that includes three-times Indy500 winner Helio Castroneves, Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna and GP2 Series man Alberto Valério.

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12/18/10
usac

Prelude to the Dream 2011 beneficiaries named
The seventh annual Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt Late Model race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio is slated for June 8, and just as last year's event benefitted four of the nation's top children's hospitals, the 2011 edition will do the same -- with a slight twist.

Applications are now being taken for children's hospitals from across the nation to win one of the coveted four primary beneficiary spots of the Prelude to the Dream. An application can be downloaded at www.TonyStewartFoundation.org. Hospitals have until Jan. 21 to return a completed application.

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12/18/10
irl

Drug Companies Take Their Pitch to Social Media and IndyCar
Kimball, a diabetic Indy-car driver, shows his racing helmet and steering wheel. His helmet is designed so he can sip juice through a tube, and the steering wheel is equipped with a device to monitor blood sugar during a race
Scott Keeler / St. Petersburg Times / ZUMApress
On Twitter, professional race-car driver Charlie Kimball's nearly 1,300 followers monitor his every move: the countdown to key races; television interviews; dinner in Sonoma, Calif. It's hard not to be inspired by one crucial detail of Kimball's narrative: the 25-year-old is among the world's few professional racers to be diagnosed with diabetes. That's partly why Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical giant, pursued Kimball for an elaborate campaign in which he regularly tweets about taking two of the company's insulin products. "Just used my Levemir FlexPen," he tweeted last June, referring to Novo Nordisk's disposable insulin injector. Levemir appears on the front of Kimball's racing uniform, his car and on his official Twitter page, racewithinsulin. "It's a great way to connect with the diabetes community," he says.

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12/18/10
alms

The first look: West Racing - Yokohama Lamborghini
As we reported last week, West Racing had expected to take delivery of its first Lamborghini this month for GT competition in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. Today we can show the first photos from Dan Boyd of the Lambo LP 560 GT, which West will run in conjunction with tire partner Yokohama.

Team manager Brian Ma confirmed that West, owned by Eduardo Espindola, will test at Sebring in late January and plans to participate in the annual ALMS Winter Test from February 9-10. West also expects to announce its driver lineup by the end of the year.

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12/18/10
f1

Russian GP will be 'gimmick free
The Sochi circuit due to host Russia's first Formula One race in 2014 will encourage overtaking, be ready on time and without "gimmicks", local officials have promised.

City mayor Anatoly Pakhomov told Reuters, in emailed and translated replies to questions, that the track would be ready well ahead of the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort that year.

"Of course there are some more specific features that will need to be added upon the completion of the Olympic Games such as run-off areas, catch fencing etc," he said.

"But we foresee the base requirements of the track being completed approximately one year prior to the first race being held."

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12/18/10
automotive

Government: Ban hand-held cell phone use in trucks
The USA government is proposing to ban commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones from behind the wheel. The Transportation Department says the proposal would prevent interstate truck and bus drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating their vehicle.

Bus and trucking companies and their drivers could face fines and drivers who rack up multiple offenses could lose their licenses.

Nearly 5,500 people were killed and half a million were injured in 2009 in crashes involving a distracted driver.  The government estimates 4 million commercial drivers would be affected by the proposal. Already this year the government banned text messaging while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

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12/18/10
automotive

GM recalls 2011 crossovers over safety belt issue
General Motors Co. is recalling nearly 100,000 2011 crossovers over potentially faulty safety belts — its third similar recall this year.

In total, GM has recalled more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide this year over varying safety belt issues.

GM said today it will recall 97,843 2011 Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles over concerns the driver and or front passenger safety belt buckle anchor may fracture and separate during a crash. That could disable the restraint system and send a driver or passenger flying in a crash.

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12/18/10
f1

Ecclestone dismisses Montezemolo's threats UPDATE (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed as "complete nonsense" Luca di Montezemolo's new threat about a F1 series breakaway in 2013.

Just as the major teams threatened a split last year whilst in conflict with the FIA about budget caps, Ferrari president Montezemolo told international reporters this week that F1 should share more of its revenue after the current Concorde Agreement expires at the end of 2012 or lose its major players.

"It's what he (Montezemolo) says every time he goes to Monza (Maranello) every year.  'We need more money'," 80-year-old F1 chief executive Ecclestone reacted to the Reuters news agency.

"They're not going to break away," he insisted.  "They've tried it all before.  Luca's a lovely guy but he likes to say these things and then he forgets what he is saying."

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12/18/10
f1

Austin gives FIA plans for 2012 US GP circuit
(GMM)  Organizers of the 2012 United States grand prix have submitted plans for the bespoke circuit outside of Austin with F1's governing FIA.

The lodging is earlier than expected, with the body's Circuit Commission not scheduled to meet until February.

"Our early submission is a true indicator of our ability to meet our slated opening in 2012," said promoter Tavo Hellmund.

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12/17/10
f2

Extended global TV coverage for FIA Formula Two in 2011
The FIA Formula Two Championship will benefit from a significantly enhanced TV package for the 2011 season, with more than 130 hours of broadcast time as a flagship championship for the Motors TV network.

Available in 39 countries across the world but predominantly in Europe, Motors TV will show each of the 16 races live as part of a one hour program which will include a qualifying review, pre-race build up and podium and post-race interviews – placing a far heavier focus on F2 drivers than ever before.

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12/17/10
Skip Barber

Skip Barber announces 2011 National Series schedule
Hot on the heels of the 14th Annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout, Skip Barber
Racing School is announcing the schedule for the 14th year of the Skip Barber National Race
Series.

The 2011 14-race season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda will kick
off at Sebring International Raceway, joining the festivities of the legendary 12 Hours of
Sebring. From there, the racers will compete on some of America’s best road courses: Virginia
International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Road America, Road Atlanta, and Mid Ohio Sports Car
Course.

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12/17/10
ga
arca

Rolex Series, ARCA shake down new Daytona racing surface
Following the tire tracks of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards got their first taste of the new racing surface of Daytona International Speedway on Friday.

Two Rolex Series teams participated in the morning session turning laps on the 3.56-mile road course. Five-time Rolex 24 champion Hurley Haywood and Andrew Davis were behind the wheel of the No. 59 Brumos Porsche GT3 while Paul Edwards drove the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Coyote.

“It felt great,” Haywood said. “I’ve been battering around these bankings for over 40 years. You get use to every single bump and ripple out there. It’s now completely free of bumps. It’s absolutely smooth as silk. There’s no bump in (Turn) 4. There are no bumps out of (Turn) 2. It’s really nice.

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12/17/10
FIAGT

McLaren confirms GT3 program for MP4-12C
McLaren today confirms its plans to bring back the McLaren name to GT sports cars racing. From 2012, McLaren and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car for European-based privateers.

15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR famously won the world-famous 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans) on its debut, and 12 years since six ‘Longtails’ last raced at Le Mans, McLaren and CRS Racing, a successful and experienced UK-based racing team, have begun development work aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car. As part of the development program, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races in 2011.

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12/17/10
f2

Extended global TV coverage for FIA Formula Two in 2011
F2 cars in battle
The FIA Formula Two Championship will benefit from a significantly enhanced TV package for the 2011 season, with more than 130 hours of broadcast time as a flagship championship for the Motors TV network.

Available in 39 countries across the world but predominantly in Europe, Motors TV will show each of the 16 races live as part of a one hour program which will include a qualifying review, pre-race build up and podium and post-race interviews – placing a far heavier focus on F2 drivers than ever before.

Read more & Comment...
12/17/10
alms

Lanigan Joins As Co-Owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
On the heels of clinching its first American Le Mans Series team championship, Rahal Letterman Racing today announced that successful entrepreneur and former Indy Car team owner Mike Lanigan has joined the team as a co-owner of what will now be known as Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Today’s announcement expands a relationship between Lanigan and Rahal Letterman Racing that began back in 2006 when Lanigan’s Mi-Jack Products was the primary sponsor of Graham Rahal’s Champ Car Atlantic racing efforts with Conquest Racing. Lanigan first delved into open-wheel racing in 1992 as a sponsor of Eric Bachelart in the CART series, eventually becoming a co-owner with Bachelart of Conquest Racing in 2001. In 2007 he joined Paul Newman and Carl Haas as a co-owner at Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing, which also campaigned Rahal in Champ Car and Indy Car.

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12/17/10
autogp

Filippi: “Auto GP is in my 2011 plans”
Luca Filippi was a key player in the maiden Auto GP season. He was 5th in the Championship despite missing the Magny-Cours round due to a clashing commitment in GP2, clinching two wins and always being among the quickest drivers on track. Now he's making plans for 2011, and he has some very clear ideas on what he's going to do:

"I'm seriously working to find a place in F1, no matter if it's as a test driver. I already did that for Honda F1 in 2008, and I think that with what I've shown throughout my career I should be linked to an F1 team today. You know, last year after finishing 2nd in GP2 Asia a Formula 1 deal seemed really close for me, so I don't feel that I can already call it quits. Anyway I must also be realistic and to be fair I can't see that happening at the moment, too many things have to fall in place. What I can say, is that if it won't be F1 then it will be Auto GP. I already have advanced talks with one of the teams, and we are very close to an agreement. In 2010 it was a really good Championship, and now they have secured a TV coverage that no other feeder series have and a partnership with WTCC. I'm really looking forward to that".

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12/17/10
karting

Position One Motorsports closes its doors
After a successful 2010 racing season, Position One Motorsports will officially close its doors on Friday December 17th. With sell off of both the Avanti and Maddox product lines, Position One Motorsports owner Luis Martinez will shift his focus to his closed wheel oval track car program on a more full-time effort in 2011.

“This was not an easy decision for me to make,” expressed Martinez. “I wanted to make sure that the brands that we were carrying were fully supported by another company that had the same standards that we do. We have finally put everything in place and we are ready to move forward.”

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12/17/10
superleague

Superleague Formula 2011 calendar announced
A number of historical, established, new and returning venues will shape next season's 12-round provisional Superleague Formula by Sonangol schedule.

The biggest development concerns three additional flyaway events which, although yet to be confirmed, will build on the series' first non-European rounds staged in China last October.

Indeed, Superleague Formula will return to Asia for races at the Ordos International Circuit and in Beijing, both of which move forward in the year to accommodate the trio of brand-new events.

The first half of 2011 remains very much a European affair with Italy's historical Monza, last visited in 2009, kicking off the year in mid-April, before moving on to picturesque Portimao in Portugal three weeks later.

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12/17/10
racing news

RRDC/FIA Young Drivers Symposium Attracts Large and Appreciative Audience
A capacity crowd of 150 young drivers, family members, managers, coaches and assorted guests participated in the Road Racing Drivers Club/FIA Young Drivers Symposium on Dec. 11, at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

Hosted by RRDC President, Indianapolis 500 winner and BMW-Rahal Letterman Team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the third in a series of free “Safe is Fast” workshops – with S.A.F.E. an acronym for Skilled, Assured, Fit, Empowered – was supported by a grant from the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund.

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12/17/10
f1

Kubica tries new Renault on for size
As the new Renault F1 car nears completion, one of the final pieces of the jigsaw is fitting the driver in the car. And that’s exactly what has been happening at Enstone recently as Robert Kubica met with his engineers for a preliminary seat-fit in the mock-up chassis.

Of course, the new Renault has been designed around Robert, but it makes sense to check that it’s a good fit. That’s why he squeezed into the mock-up cockpit to check dimensions and all-important driver comfort.

After trying the car for size, the Polish driver headed over to the wind tunnel to see the guys who are currently working on the designs that will be on the car in Bahrain next March. He had a chat with the guys for a progress report and inspected the latest version of the model.  Renault PR

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12/17/10
track news

Richmond business groups push for NASCAR ticket sales
Several local leaders are urging business owners to buy tickets to the two NASCAR races in Richmond or run the risk of losing one or both.

"As wonderful as it is to host this semiannual sporting spectacular, we must not become complacent or take this for granted," the letter said.

It asked that owners consider buying four tickets and keep buying them year after year.

The letter is signed by the heads of four local organizations: the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Richmond Sports Backers, the Greater Richmond Chamber and Retail Merchants Association. Henrico County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett also signed the letter.

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12/17/10
track news

Miller Motorsports Park announces weak 2011 schedule
Miller Motorsports Park has lost both Grand-Am and ALMS and has no top racing series event.  The track proves that if built in the middle of nowhere the fans won't come.
Miller Motorsports Park will offer an unparalleled variety of racing activities during the 2011 season. As the track enters its sixth year of operation there will be something for everyone, ranging from road racing automobiles and motorcycles to off-road racing and karting.

“We think the 2011 season is going to be our most successful yet,” said John Larson, General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park. “We had a very strong response to our off-road events last year. As a result we have added more off-road events to our calendar. Those, combined with our road racing events for cars and motorcycles and our karting events, are going to make it a great year for fans of almost every type of motorsport you can think of. We can’t wait to get started.”

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12/17/10
automotive

Rick Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale
Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevrolet Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14.

“This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community,” said Hendrick, an avid car collector. “I have been a Chevrolet dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976.

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12/17/10
nassprint

Scott Speed upset over lawsuit
Scott Speed is shocked and ill he was put in the position of having to file a $6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull Racing, the organization that gave him his shot in motorsports. The suit was filed in Statesville, N.C., last Friday, about two weeks after Speed received a termination letter from the Sprint Cup organization and about seven months after Speed says the team agreed to a three-year extension through 2013. "They can't say 'We'll give you three more years' and then at the end of the season say 'Just kidding,'" Speed said Wednesday. "They think they have a way of getting out of my contract. I think they're crazy." Red Bull Racing officials said prior to Speed's release there was a provision in the contract that allowed for dismissal if the driver wasn't in the top 16 in points. Speed, who finished 30th in points, said that isn't "100% the truth" and that proof will come out later in the process. Speed was released to make room for Kasey Kahne, who will drive the #4 for Red Bull Racing for one season before moving into the #5 at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Brian Vickers, who missed most of this past season after being diagnosed with blood clots, will drive the #83 Red Bull Toyota. ESPN

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12/17/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Friday (UPDATED) UPDATE Update shown in red below.

12/17/10
  • Montezemolo makes new F1 breakaway threat
  • Fernandes denies demanding too much for Lotus deal
  • Briatore sells QPR share to majority owner Ecclestone
  • Vettel tells di Resta - 'see you on 2011 grid'
  • Toro Rosso confirms 1 February car launch New

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12/16/10
f1

Fiorano hosts the Italian F1 media dinner
Toasts, presents and best wishes last night at the Fiorano Track, as Luca di Montezemolo welcomed guests from the Italian Formula 1 media and old friends to the traditional Christmas dinner, which was followed on Thursday 16 December, by a similar evening with foreign sports journalists.

This year’s meeting was preceded by a host of events, starting with a press meeting with Luca Baldisserri, who summed up the first year of the Ferrari Driver Academy (see separate story) followed by the journalists tackling a pit stop competition using the F10 that Fernando Alonso had raced in the last few Grands Prix of the season. 5.4 seconds was the quickest time for the part-time mechanics. After this they were treated to a surprise visit to the Formula 1 simulator which has also reached its first birthday.

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12/16/10
f1

Luca di Montezemolo fires another warning
At Ferrari's annual media lunch president Luca di Montezemolo fired another warning that the F1 teams will want a bigger slice of the sport's commercial revenues when it comes to negotiating a new Concorde Agreement - the document by which the sport is run - for 2013.

"We are at a crossroads," Montezemolo said. "We have F1 in our hearts and minds but we don't want to be in an F1 prison." He added that he could see three possible scenarios for the teams: 1) they stick with rights holders CVC Capital Partners, 2) they find new owners but stick with the same business model, 3) they break away and promote their own series like they do in the NBA. It was a condition of the first option, he said, that Bernie Ecclestone remains in charge.

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12/16/10
nassprint

Speeds hit 197 mph on repaved Daytona track
The two-day Goodyear tire test in advance of the 53rd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20 wrapped up on Thursday and the new racing surface of Daytona International Speedway continued to receive positive reviews from the drivers.  Top speeds were 197 mph in the draft.

Eighteen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers took part in the historic test, which was the first time race cars turned laps on the new asphalt of Daytona International Speedway. The entire 2.5-mile tri-oval, pit road, skid pad and apron was repaved for only the second time following the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola in July.

2010 Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte as well as DIS President Joie Chitwood III, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and Goodyear Director of Racing Greg Stucker gave an update on the progress of the test during the lunch break on Thursday.

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12/16/10
irl

Franchitti to appear at Canadian motorsports show
Motorsports fans will have an opportunity to meet one of the world's most successful racers at the Canadian Motorsports Expo. Three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will be at the CME to participate in a fan Q&A / Autograph Session on Jan. 22.

"I'm really excited about coming to Toronto and the Canadian Motorsports Expo, in January", Franchitti said. "I always have a great time racing there each summer and it will be good to connect with Canadian racing fans during a weekend when I don't have to focus on trying to win a race. I'm looking forward to talking with the fans and signing autographs at the CME."

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12/16/10
usac

Video: Dario Franchitti drives Jim Clark's Indy winning Lotus


Comment
12/16/10
fil

Juan Pablo Garcia joins Jensen Motorsport
Mexican driver Juan Pablo Garcia joins Jensen MotorSport team to race in the Firestone Indy Lights Series next year.

Jensen MotorSport team owner Eric Jensen states: "Juan Pablo is a terrific addition to our Indy Lights program. He has experience in the series and with the Indy Lights car, including a strong sixth place finish at Infineon Raceway in California during the 2010 season. Having confirmed his program so early, Juan Pablo will definitely benefit from extensive pre-season testing to challenge for a pole and podium at the first race of the 2011 season at St. Petersburg, Florida in March."

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12/16/10
f1
irl

Will IndyCars be faster than F1 cars?
A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In 2013 F1 will switch to an In-Line 4 cylinder which will rev up to 12,500 rpms and 650 horsepower while the Indy cars will have V6 engines that will rev up to 12,000 and 750 hp. So will the Indy Car replace F1 as the fastest open wheel races in the world? Al Fannell

Dear Al, An IndyCar is like a Sherman Tank, the heaviest open wheel car on the planet.  So on road courses an F1 car will easily dust off an IndyCar.  However, on 100% throttle ovals, once you get the large mass of an IndyCar moving, it would be able to reach a higher terminal velocity since it will have 100 more HP.  However the IRL wants the cars to have less HP on ovals (talk is around 650) and if that is the case, the Sherman Tanks of open wheel racing will still be slower than an F1 car, assuming they are both running low downforce, low drag wings.  Mark C.

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12/16/10
f1

Schumacher now on a par with Rosberg - Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve reckons Michael Schumacher was on a par with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by the end of the season.

Schumacher finished the season 70 points adrift of his younger team-mate, but Villeneuve reckons that can be attributed to Schumacher's acclimatization period in the first half of the year.

"It was difficult for him until mid-season but by the end he was ahead of his teammate," he told autohebdo.fr.  This of course resulted in the British-centric F1 media to eat crow.

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12/16/10
automotive

Honda to Recall 1.35 Million Fit Subcompacts Globally
Honda Motor said on Thursday it would recall about 1.35 million Fit subcompacts globally to repair defective wiring in the headlights.

Comment
12/16/10
ga

Hurley Haywood to race again in Rolex 24 at Daytona
Hurley Haywood
Five-time overall Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Hurley Haywood will race once more, after all.  Haywood said that the 2010 Grand-Am endurance classic at Daytona was his last, but as many suspected, he could not stay away. The 62-year-old sports-car racing legend has confirmed he will come out of retirement to race for the 39th time in the Rolex 24 in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. He joins defending Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas and racer/actor Patrick Dempsey among the latest drivers entered for the race.

The 49th running of the event starts at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, at Daytona International Speedway, opening the series' 12th season.

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12/16/10
automotive

Chrysler minivans recalled over airbag issues
Chrysler is recalling 367,350 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008 model year because water leaks could cause air bags to inflate inadvertently.

Dealers can fix the problem by replacing a heating and cooling drain grommet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which posted the recall on its Web site today.

Separately, first shift workers at Chrysler plants in Toledo and Brampton, Ont., were sent home today because of delays in parts shipments caused by weather conditions that prevented some suppliers from delivering parts on time.

Chrysler spokesman Jodi Tinson said the company is monitoring the situation and workers will be informed when production will resume. Chrysler produces the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro at one Toledo plant and the Jeep Wrangler in a second plant. Workers at the Brampton factory assemble the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger.

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12/16/10
automotive

GM offers early buyout to more workers
General Motors is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14 plants around the U.S.  The automaker will pay eligible workers $60,000 to retire with full benefits. Younger workers will have the option to take the $60,000 in exchange for giving up retiree health care and other benefits.

GM spokesman Chris Lee didn't know how many workers will get the offers. The company estimates that it has 2,000 more skilled trades workers than it needs right now. Skilled trades workers do jobs that need special training, such as electrical work and welding.

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12/16/10
Racing News

Bortolotti, Zampieri lose Ferrari places
Mirko Bortolotti and Daniel Zampieri have lost their places in the Ferrari Driver Academy.
The two Italians were among the young driver development scheme's first recruits, along with Jules Bianchi, last year, but Ferrari says it will not be continuing with its support for them.

Bortolotti first came to Ferrari's attention when he set an impressive pace during his Formula 1 prize test after winning the Italian Formula 3 Championship in 2008. He spent this season in GP3, but only took one podium finish. Zampieri, Bortolotti's successor as Italian F3 champion, was ninth in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

As well as Bianchi, Ferrari has also added new Sauber F1 signing Sergio Perez to the FDA for 2011. Other members include karter Lance Stroll and Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth champion Brandon Maisano, while Brazilian Nicola Costa recently won an FDA course by claiming the Felipe Massa-backed Formula Future Fiat title in his homeland. Racer.com

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12/16/10
f1

India to host FIA Gala and key meetings next year
(GMM)  Next year's formula one world champion will be officially crowned in New Delhi.

Indian reports reveal that the next end-of-season FIA Gala event, traditionally held in Monte Carlo, is scheduled to take place in the capital -- a first for Asia.

The news was confirmed by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), after its chairman and Force India boss Vijay Mallya made a presentation at the recent World Motor Sport Council meeting.

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12/16/10
f1

Ferrari opposed to grand prix in Rome - team
(GMM)  Ferrari has waded into the fierce debate in Italy about whether a Rome street race should co-exist with historic Monza on the formula one calendar of the near future.

Previously, the famous Italian marque has been reluctant to comment on the controversy, with Monza and its supporters fiercely opposed to the capital's serious plans for an event in the EUR district.

But Luca di Montezemolo is reported to have finally made his position clear with Italian media this week when he said he would like to see "a one race per nation limit".

But Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The president of Ferrari told me that he has never said anything indicating that he is against a one-off race in the capital."

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12/16/10
f1

Lotus target self-made F1 engine UPDATE (GMM)  CEO Dany Bahar has not ruled out Group Lotus building an engine to power its new formula one foray.

The Proton-owned manufacturer has teamed up initially as title sponsor with some equity in the Renault F1 team, but is not hiding grander ambitions for the future.

Danny Bahar
Bahar met in London for a media dinner on Wednesday, where he confirmed that Group Lotus has "plans underway" to consider whether to build its own engines for its sports cars as well as an engine for IndyCar in 2012.

"We have the capacity, we design engines for other OEMs so there is no reason why we should not be able to build and design engines for ourselves," said Bahar, who admitted that an F1 engine program is a "long way" from concrete.

"This is the first step, having a complete own product - a sports car with an own engine - and then the rest is a logical consequence," he added.

But the main topic of conversation with the reporters in London was the embittered spat with Team Lotus, and Bahar said he expects the dispute to be settled out of court.

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12/16/10
f1

Ferrari names Ganassi, Penske as ideal third car partners
Luca Montezemolo would applaud if Chip Ganassi or Roger Penske agreed to run a 3rd Ferrari F1 car for them
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has named two famous American motor racing names as ideal partners to run a third Ferrari car in formula one.

The Maranello based marque's president is a regular critic of F1's struggling smallest constructors, arguing this week that it's "better to have a third (Ferrari) car with a competitive team than a team that cannot even do GP2".

"I think it's common sense and Bernie Ecclestone agrees.  Who (would run the third Ferrari)? A small but competitive team," he told Italian reporters.

The Italian magazine Autosprint has now given more details about Montezemolo's plan, revealing that Ferrari wants its third car up and running in 2013.

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12/15/10
Announcement

Give an AR1.com subscription for the Holidays
Not sure what to give a fellow race fanatic for the holidays?  How about a subscription to AutoRacing1.com (AR1.com) at a discounted rate?  See our Home page (center column) for the ad, or click here.  What better way for them to satisfy their hunger for racing news.  And don't forget members have access to the latest AR1.com news from our free iPhone app and soon to be released iPad app when they're on the road. 

Hurry as this deal only lasts until December 25th.

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12/15/10
automotive

Designer leaves Mercedes, returns to BMW
Karim Habib is returning to BMW to take over as head of exterior design, the automaker announced on Tuesday.  Habib spent the first 10 years of his career at BMW. During that time he was responsible for designing the exterior of the current BMW 7-series and the Concept CS.

The 40-year-old returns after a two-year stint with Mercedes-Benz’s advanced design studio.

“I’m really delighted about coming back to the BMW brand and being given the opportunity to help shape the future of BMW as part of an outstanding team,” Habib said.

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12/15/10
automotive

Ford ramps up for electric car production
Ford Motor Co. reopened its retooled Michigan Assembly Plant to build the new Ford Focus small car, billing it today as the world's first factory to produce three versions of electrified cars.

After a 13-month, $550 million conversion from making large SUVs, the suburban Detroit plant has started producing a conventional gasoline-powered new-generation Ford Focus that will go on sale in early 2011. Three electric versions of the Focus will follow: a battery electric model in late 2011 and hybrid and plug-in hybrids in late 2012.

“We've modernized just about every square foot of this facility to establish a new standard for a high-tech, green, flexible and efficient auto factory,” Jim Tetreault, Ford vice president of North America manufacturing, said in a statement. He called the retooled plant “a symbol for the transformation of Ford.”

Ford also announced it is teaming up with utility Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power to establish a 500-kilowatt solar-powered generation system and 10 electric vehicle-charging stations outside the plant. AutoWeek

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12/15/10
f1

So just what is Marussia?
Virgin Racing announced in Abu Dhabi that Marussia Motors has bought “a significant shareholding” in the team. From the start of 2011 the official team name will change to Marussia Virgin Racing.  But what is a Marussia – and why do some Russian businessmen want to be involved the Formula 1 World Championship?

The Marussia story begins with Nikolai Fomenko, a showman who started his career in the pop world back in the days of Soviet Russia. He was one of a group that modeled themselves on the Beatles and called themselves Secret. They enjoyed much success in the early 1980s. Fomenko moved on to become a television presenter and personality, appearing in a number of TV series, mainly comedies before becoming the host of the Russian version of The Weakest Link and, more recently, the host of Top Gear Russia, a spin-off of the hugely successful British car program.

Along the way Fomenko married the glamorous Russian movie star Mariya Golubkina. Fomenko’s dream of running a car company was supported by a well known philosopher and brand strategist called Efim Ostrovsky, who was famous for his writings about the social trends of post-Soviet Russian society. They decided on the name Marussia, which is a play on words as the affectionate version of the name Mariya is Marusya, which ties in nicely with the name of the country. A showman and a philosopher are perhaps not the obvious people to be running a car company named after a film star. They needed some more business experience (and money) and so turned to Andrei Cheglakov, a celebrated entrepreneur, who had made his name by building a electronics empire.

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12/15/10
automotive

Nissan, Mitsubishi will cooperate to build new vehicles
Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will expand their cooperation and build vehicles for one another to save money, the companies said Tuesday.  The Japanese automakers will establish a 50-50 minicar venture and plan to roll out a minicar in Japan in 2012.  Nissan also will produce a small van for Mitsubishi, which in turn will make an SUV for Nissan to sell in the Middle East.

"In the global auto industry, cooperation on specific projects among automakers is becoming increasingly common," Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said at a news conference in Tokyo with Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko.

"Our relationship with Mitsubishi demonstrates the ability of the Renault-Nissan Alliance — with its network of global partnerships — to constantly evolve and create new win-win relationships with other companies."

The agreement comes as the Renault-Nissan partnership considers raising its stake in Russia's largest automaker, AvtoVAZ.

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12/15/10
f1

Interview with Hispania’s Colin Kolles
Hispania Racing was officially classified as the second best of Formula 1’s trio of new teams in the 2010 campaign although Team Principal Colin Kolles admits that ultimate results did not satisfy pre-season expectations. The Romanian shares his opinions ahead of the Christmas break.

How would you describe Hispania Racing’s first year in Formula 1?

It was a difficult year but we were the most reliable new team. I think the only reason why we didn’t finish tenth is that teams like Lotus and Virgin had more experienced drivers over the whole season. I think that in testing we showed quite a good performance in relation to the other new teams.

Hispania showed a good improvement. How can this help for 2011 and how will the experience help next year?

We improved over the season. Reliability was the first objective. We learnt a lot and hope that from now on we can concentrate more on improving the performance.

What is the actual situation of the team and what can you say about the car for the 2011 season? What is being done over the winter?

We are working to have a better package than last year. From my point of view the season was not as good as we would have liked it to be, in terms of performance, and this has to improve - obviously this depends on a lot of factors but we’re working to achieve our goals.

What do you think about Williams F1 and Cosworth being your suppliers next year?

It can’t be wrong to have a package which has already proven to be in Q3 qualifying on a regular basis.

What are your objectives for the new season?

To stabilize the team and to improve its performance.

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12/15/10
irl

Hinchcliffe IndyCar Test Q&A
High winds and cold temperatures failed to stop Canada’s James Hinchcliffe enjoying his first outing in an IndyCar as the 24-year-old concluded two days of testing with the legendary Newman/Haas Racing outfit yesterday, Tuesday 14th December, at Sebring International Raceway, Florida.

Hinchcliffe, a three-time race winner and runner-up in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Series, reveled in the opportunity to test the Honda-Dallara-Firestone IndyCar package for the first time at the 1.65-mile permanent road course.  Joined by veteran racer, Oriol Servia, the duo braved some unseasonal elements but successfully worked through their respective test programs for the Illinois-based team.

Setting a fastest time of 52.8 seconds from 81 laps recorded on Tuesday, ‘Hinch’ was happy to download his thoughts on his maiden IndyCar test:

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12/15/10
irl
alms

Tickets for Baltimore GP on sale Thursday
Tickets for the Baltimore Grand Prix, a new event for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n, will go on sale starting at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, December 16.

“We are very excited to announce that our tickets are going on sale December 16,” said Jay Davidson, president of the Baltimore Grand Prix. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the Baltimore Grand Prix since it was made official in June. Based on the huge number of fans that we are hearing from every day, we expect a very strong demand for tickets. We are also happy to make tickets available just in time for the holidays... we think that Baltimore Grand Prix tickets will be great gift ideas this season.” The ALMS and IndyCar Series will headline the September 2-4 event weekend along Baltimore's Inner Harbor, along with a full three-day festival of music, food and fun.

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12/15/10
nassprint

Teams, drivers lined up for Daytona test
The Goodyear tire test scheduled for next week at the repaved Daytona International Speedway is an important one for data gathering but not so important that all teams will attend to help the tire manufacturer confirm which tire would perform best for the Daytona 500. Plans for teams and drivers can still change before the Dec. 15-16 test on the new surface, but tentatively only four drivers from this year's Chase For The Sprint Cup- #24-Jeff Gordon #22-Kurt Busch, #31-Jeff Burton and #17-Matt Kenseth - say they plan on participating. Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Front Row Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports are not planning on attending the test, which had been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7-8.

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12/15/10
nascar

Pastrana to Make NASCAR Debut in Toyota All-Star Showdown
Motocross and rally racer-turned-budding NASCAR competitor Travis Pastrana announced Tuesday that he would be making his NASCAR debut on January 28th and 29th in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA. Pastrana will compete for the first time with his newly-formed Pastrana-Waltrip Racing team in a K&N Pro Series East car. Pastrana completed a test in a NKNPSE car at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) on Monday and Tuesday. Speed51

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12/15/10
track news

Dover to auction off Memphis Motorsports Park today UPDATE After being vacant for more than a year, Memphis Motorsports Park sold at a live auction Tuesday morning for slightly less than $1.9 million.

Independent investor Joe Lubeck placed the highest bid for the tract – $1.875 million – after the bidding opened at $3 million. Lubeck is managing partner of Jupiter, Fla.-based Palm Beach International Raceway, formerly Moroso Motorsports Park. Jason Rittenburry, Lubeck’s partner, ran the track for 11 years.

The bidding took place onsite at one of the facility’s parcels, , near Millington. The property’s two tracts were sold as a whole after had publicized it could be sold as separate tracts or together.

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12/15/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Alonso serious about losing weight
    Alonso vows to lose weight for KERS return
  • Organizers get construction green light for US GP site
  • Webber plays down impact of team orders 'return'
  • Van der Garde still in running for Virgin seat
  • Montezemolo asked if Dyer getting Christmas present
  • 'Calm' Liuzzi expects to keep Force India seat
  • Alguersuari says 2011 Toro Rosso deal '100 per cent'
  • Piquet says sorry for crashgate scandal
  • Kolles blames drivers for HRT's 2010 letdown

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12/15/10
karting

P1 engines relocates
It has been a busy few weeks for California based P1 Engines and isn’t due to the upcoming holiday season. Following a successful Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals event in Las Vegas, the premier engine building company has moved to a new location as well as begun preparation for fifteen customers to compete at the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup event in Daytona Beach, Florida from December 28 - 30th.

"The new location will be a closer to my home as well as leave me with only a three minute drive to California Speedway,? expressed Jesus Vasquez, Owner of P1 Engines. ?With the close proximity to a karting facility, I will be able to better support my local customers as well as execute on track testing on a more regular basis."

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12/15/10
Track News

Austin F1 track planners get a green light on land grading
Travis County commissioners voted Tuesday to grant a permitting variance that is likely to allow promoters of the proposed Formula One racetrack to begin grading work on the site southeast of Austin as soon as the end of the year. Organizers have said they need to break ground by then to have the facility ready for the inaugural 2012 race.

Because portions of the 900-acre site lie within a flood plain, grading work normally requires review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency before dirt can be moved. The agency typically takes as long as six months to weigh in.

The variance, which passed on a 4-1 vote at the recommendation of county planners, allows track developers to proceed before the county receives FEMA's comments. County officials said they anticipate no significant objections from FEMA.

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12/14/10
nascar

Travis Pastrana tests stock car
Travis Pastrana - doomed to fail in NASCAR
Travis Pastrana, a fearless athlete known for going fast, began the process of learning how to go fast in a stock car this week.

Pastrana turned his first laps in a stock car Monday and Tuesday as he tested a K&N Pro Series East car at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.

The supercross, freestyle motocross and Rally star plans to compete in seven Nationwide races in 2011 and hopes to make his NASCAR debut in an East car by qualifying for the Toyota All-Star Showdown next month at Irwindale, Calif.

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12/14/10
irl

Hildebrand confirmed at Panther Racing
Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Panther Racing announced today it has signed California native JR Hildebrand to a multi-year contract agreement. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion will replace Dan Wheldon and take over the reins of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing entry for the 2011 IndyCar Series season.

Hildebrand, of Sausalito, California, won the Firestone Indy Lights championship in 2009 after capturing a total of four victories, six poles, 11 Top Five and 12 Top Ten finishes in 15 starts in the series. Last year, he made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and also started at Infineon Raceway, where he ran as high as fourth position and posted the fastest lap of the race. The 22-year-old has tested an IndyCar Series machine at Kansas Speedway in 2009 with the team formerly known as Andretti-Green Racing and also tested a Formula One car with Force India F-1 at Jerez in December of last year.

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12/14/10
f1

McLaren becomes first-ever F1 team to earn Carbon Trust certification
The McLaren Group is delighted to announce that it has achieved the Carbon Trust Standard – official certification of the company’s commitment to successfully measuring, managing and improving its carbon efficiency. This achievement makes Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the first and only Formula 1 team to be officially recognized by the Carbon Trust for taking action on climate change.

It follows a three-year period of rigorous assessment, during which the McLaren Group achieved annual savings of more than 1500 tones of CO2 emissions – the collective equivalent of running the McLaren Technology Centre’s wind tunnel for seven months, or the total annual carbon footprint of McLaren Electronics.

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12/14/10
nassprint

Kahne to drive No. 4 Toyota for Red Bull in 2011
Kasey Kahne and Red Bull Racing confirmed Tuesday that Kahne's car number in the Sprint Cup Series will be the No. 4. Kahne will drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011, taking over the former No. 82 car of Scott Speed.

Kahne's open-wheel cars carry the No. 4.

Kahne drove the No. 9 car for Richard Petty Motorsports for all but the final five races of the Cup season before moving over to the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. Brian Vickers, who missed most of the 2010 season with blood clots, is expected to return to the No. 83. Speed was released by Red Bull earlier this month. NASCAR.com

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12/14/10
irl

Newman/Haas team completes 2nd day of Sebring testing
Brian Lisles
Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) completed a trouble-free, two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway road course today.  Oriol Servia worked through the team’s long list of setup items to test while James Hinchcliffe continued to get acclimated to driving an Indy car.

“The cars ran faultlessly and we are very pleased with the pace of Oriol and James,” said Brian Lisles, general manager of Newman/Haas Racing.  “We were able to get through a large part of our program despite the weather.  Fifty-degree temperatures don’t sound very bad but our guys deserve accolades for working so long in near-arctic conditions.  The wind was unbelievable and it was remarkably cold.”

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12/14/10
Track News

Austin Commercial selected as general contractor for Austin track
Formula 1 United States developers announced that Austin Commercial, a subsidiary of Austin Industries and one of the largest construction companies in Texas that specializes in civil, commercial and industrial construction, has been selected as the general contractor for the Austin racetrack venue. Austin Commercial joins the local and international team assembled for the construction of the world–class, multipurpose facility in Austin, TX, that will be home to the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

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12/14/10
f1

Austin F1 team pitches plan to trim exit time significantly
Formula One race organizers say they have a plan to drastically reduce the estimated time for moving traffic in and out of the proposed track site east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, but Travis County planners contend that doing so will require more than $6 million in road improvements that F1 promoters must pay if they want the county to sign off on the project.

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the issue at today's meeting. It is not expected to affect county action on a requested grading permit for the site, which F1 hopes to obtain by the end of the year.

A plan that promoters submitted to the county earlier this month claims that the F1 facility could be emptied of all 120,000 spectators expected on Sunday, the race's busiest day, in 3.25 hours by managing traffic flow with "an aggressively controlled special event management plan." That would include contra-flow lanes (temporarily using all or most lanes on two-way roads to move traffic in a single direction), numerous shuttle services, and multiple entry and exit points into the track complex.

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12/14/10
irl

Franchitti, Power nominated for SPEED Performer of the Year
Three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and series runner-up Will Power are among the 18 drivers nominated for the SPEED Performer of the Year.

The two IZOD IndyCar Series standouts, along with USAC National Drivers Champion Bryan Clauson -- who earned a scholarship to compete in Firestone Indy Lights in 2011 -- will vie for the Mario Andretti Trophy. The award celebrates the wide variety of cars Andretti piloted to victory in his decorated career, and this year that same range of talent is on display as SPEED reveals its list of finalists for the honor - 18 racers from 10 different disciplines.

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12/14/10
irl

Castroneves wins fifth Golden Helmet Award in Brazil
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves won his fifth Capacete de Ouro, one of the highest honors given to Brazilian racing drivers by the magazine Racing.

Castroneves, who has won the honor three consecutive years, earned the award in the TOP category, which is given to the top driver racing in North America. Tony Kanaan was awarded the silver helmet while Vitor Meira received the bronze helmet.

Created in 1997 for Racing, the primary auto racing magazine in Brazil, the Capacete de Ouro (Golden Helmet) is selected by a vote of the Brazilian journalists. The award ceremony took place Dec. 13 in São Paulo and Castroneves was represented by his father.

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12/14/10
irl

Ganassi wins NSSN Champion of Champions Award
For the first time in the eight-year history of the Economaki Champion of Champions presented by National Speed Sport News, a non-driver has won the award.

Chip Ganassi, whose teams won the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and the Grand Am Rolex Series and IZOD IndyCar Series championships, was selected by the staff of National Speed Sport News as the winner of the award, which is named for longtime National Speed Sport News Editor Chris Economaki. The Economaki Champion of Champions is annually given to the North American racing champion judged to have had the best season on and off the racetrack.

Ganassi is recognized on the cover of the Dec. 15 issue of National Speed Sport News.

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12/14/10
f1

Bahrain GP offer tickets at discount prices
‘The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East’, continues to provide among the best offers available on the FIA Formula One World Championship, with the continuation of a 20% discount on all tickets to next year’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

The event will be held from March 11 to 13 at the award-winning Sakhir race track. It will be the first round of the 2011 season, giving the kingdom’s race fans the coveted first race for the second year in a row.

Following the discount, tickets can now be purchased for as low as BD 36 for the entire three-day event, or for as low as 32 BD for just race day.

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12/14/10
irl

IZOD and Team Penske Head To The Desert For Photo shoot
Hot on the heels of IZOD’s sponsorship announcement of Team Penske, IZOD headed to Palm Desert this week with Team Penske drivers Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power – in addition to other IZOD IndyCar Series drivers including the legendary Mario Andretti - to film their new “World of IZOD” commercial that will launch at the beginning of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

In addition to the drivers, the commercial showcases the band Weezer, both historic and modern cars, the Palm Desert landscape, IZOD models and IZOD fashion. Below are some behind-the-scenes photos from the commercial.

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12/14/10
TV News

43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 to air Sunday on NBC
One of the world’s premiere motorsports adventures, the 43rd running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will be broadcast Sunday (Dec. 19) on the NBC network as a featured special broadcast of the World of Adventure Sports series at 3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT.

In a year when the race course spanned the entire Baja peninsula from Ensenada to La Paz and dreams were made and broken across all 1061.69 -miles, few teams would emerge unscathed as the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 once again proved itself as the most grueling desert racing challenge in all of motorsports. The World of Adventure Sports will go behind the scenes of the granddaddy of all desert races with highlights from the motorcycle, SCORE Trophy-Truck as well as other classes. 

Complete with stunning aerial footage and epic point to point coverage will help viewers experience the majestic charisma and amazing adventure that is what the 2010 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is all about. This year’s season-finale of the five-race 2010 SCORE Desert Series is being televised for the eighth consecutive year on NBC in association with SCORE International and SCORE’s electronic media partner Aura360.

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12/14/10
WC

Johnny O'Connell to join Team Cadillac for World Challenge
Johnny O'Connell will move from his longtime seat in Corvette Racing's American Le Mans Series team to the new Team Cadillac motorsports program in the SCCA World Challenge GT in 2011. After 10 successful seasons in Corvettes, O'Connell will join former Corvette Racing teammate Andy Pilgrim in a pair of Cadillac CTS-V Coupes as Cadillac returns to racing in the SCCA production-based series after a three-year absence.

"Johnny O'Connell has made a tremendous contribution to the success of Corvette Racing both on and off the track," said GM Racing director Mark Kent. "Now as GM launches a new motorsports program with another iconic brand, Johnny was the unanimous choice for Team Cadillac. We are very pleased that Johnny will continue to be a valued member of the GM Racing family, and we believe that his proven speed, race craft, and outgoing personality will be great assets for the Cadillac racing program."

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12/14/10
nassprint

Judge refuses to reopen Mayfield case against NASCAR
Jeremy Mayfield's allegations that NASCAR Chairman Brian France had him black-flagged in the 2006 Brickyard 400 were not enough to sway U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reopen Mayfield's lawsuit against the sanctioning body. Mullen issued an order Monday that denied Mayfield's request to reconsider a May ruling in favor of NASCAR that dismissed all of Mayfield's claims. In that May decision, Mullen ruled that Mayfield had given up his right to sue through various waivers he had signed to compete in NASCAR and questioned whether Mayfield had the evidence to support his claims that NASCAR erred in ruling he tested positive for methamphetamines.

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12/14/10
nassprint

Penske team names Geisler to oversee NASCAR program
Penske Racing announced today the appointment of Travis Geisler to the position of Competition Director for the storied organization. Geisler, the former crew chief of the No. 77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series, will be responsible for coordinating all facets of Penske Racing’s NASCAR racing programs between the organization’s crew chiefs and its engineering department.

“I am very excited about this new challenge,” said Geisler. “With all of the resources and experience at Penske Racing, we have the opportunity to build on the high level of competition that we have established in NASCAR and continue to develop our programs for the future.”

In his new position, Geisler will report directly to Penske Racing Vice President of Operations, Michael Nelson.

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12/14/10
irl

Mears remembers that bright yellow Pennzoil car
Mears in the Pennzoil car in 1988 (Top) and Castroneves (bottom)will drive the Pennzoil car, but it will not be all yellow this time
Rick Mears smiles broadly as he recalls two race cars that helped make him famous. They were both beautiful – the March chassis from 1984 and the Penske chassis from 1988 – and both won the Indianapolis 500. But what Mears remembers most vividly about those cars is what almost everyone else recalls first.

The color.

“That was the great thing – and the most troublesome thing – about those cars,” Mears says. “Nobody missed you in that bright yellow car, but that was also the problem. Nobody missed you. It was a gorgeous color and two gorgeous race cars, but if I made a mistake in that color, everybody noticed it.”

There’s more behind Mears’ smile than memories of two of his four Indy 500 winners. He’s also thrilled that the Pennzoil brand is returning to IndyCar racing and Team Penske. Shell-Pennzoil announced last week that it would sponsor Helio Castroneves car for the 2011 Indy 500. Castroneves has won the race three times.

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12/14/10
f1

F1 champions feature on Red Bull cans
Red Bull have announced they will release a ‘Champions edition’ can to celebrate winning both the Formula 1 Constructors and Drivers championships.

The new 473ml can will feature portraits of drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

The cans will be available across the UK before Christmas. It’s the first time in their history that Red Bull have updated the can design in the UK.

Red Bull released a similar can in the USA featuring the Red Bull Racing NASCAR team.

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12/14/10
f1

F1 teams banned from hiding secrets on their car
The recently released FIA 2011 Formula One Sporting Regulations prohibit teams from obscuring their cars with covers or screens, most of the time, during a Grand Prix weekend.

In 2010, particularly, teams went out of their way to obscure their cars from prying eyes. Now with the introduction of Article 27.4, gone for good are the crowd of mechanics blocking the view of their team cars on the grid, covered cars in the pit garages and any other attempts by teams to block the view of their cars.

Exceptions to the rule “no covers” will be when cars are in the parc fermé overnight or if the cars is in the pit lane or grid when raining. (See unabridged rule 27.4 below.)

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12/14/10
f1

Ferrari to launch new car in late January - Montezemolo
(GMM)  Ferrari's 2011 car will be launched officially in the week preceding the first group winter test at the end of January.

That was one of the revelations made by Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday as he met with the Italian press at Fiorano for a traditional pre-Christmas media event.

The Ferrari president said the F10's successor will be launched on January 25-31 -- before the first test of the pre-season at Valencia.

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12/14/10
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Villeneuve denies turning down Lotus F1 chance
  • Senna unsure of F1 seat for 2011
  • FIA reveals more new rules for 2011
  • Team Lotus to replace reserve Fauzy with GP2 drivers
  • Hulkenberg made fewest mistakes in 2010, Kobayashi most
  • Schumacher's F1 return not a failure - Villeneuve
  • Engine supply move 'positive' for Renault - Prost
  • $150m F1 track proposed for Vietnam

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12/14/10
nassprint

Scott Speed panned
A reader writes, Dear Ar1.com, In these financially trying times does it really make sense for a driver to bite the hand that feeds them? I have a hard time thinking that Scott Speed (see article) is looking at a long term racing future with this lawsuit and is focused on the immediate future. Does he not realize that biting this hand will undoubtedly keep some future hands from reaching out now they know they might get bit?

I'm a firm believer that the further you are from P1 the more often you have your hat in your hand but it doesn't seem to me he shares my sentiments. Does this situation say something about his talent as a driver? In my eyes it is get on with it or get out of the way. Mark Bartlett

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12/14/10
f1
Racing News

World Motor Sport Council meeting decisions UPDATE A clarification of F1 rules changes:

"Maneuvers liable to hinder other drivers, such as more than one change of direction to defend a position, deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted," it said.

"Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the curbs are not."

Some drivers had been criticized this season for deliberately gaining an advantage by leaving the track to gain a better line where there was a hard run-off.

The gearbox rules were also tweaked, with drivers allowed one penalty-free change.

"For 2011 only, except during the last event of the championship season, each driver will be permitted to use a replacement gearbox without incurring a penalty the first time this becomes necessary during the season," the new rules said.

"Under such circumstances the replacement gearbox will only be required to complete the remainder of the event in question."

Drivers are currently penalized five places on the starting grid if gearboxes do not last four consecutive events but that will stretch to five next year.

The 107 percent rule, which excludes a driver from taking part in a race if his best lap in qualifying exceeds 107 percent of the fastest time set in the session, was restored after being dropped to help the new teams.

Under exceptional circumstances, however, stewards could still allow a car to start.

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12/14/10
f1

FIA imposes curfew on mechanics
Fatigued Formula One mechanics will be spared regular all-night shifts next season after the sport's governing body inserted a "curfew" in new rules published on Monday.

The first grands prix of the 2010 championship saw some of the new teams working around the clock to get their cars ready in time.

Next season will be the longest ever, with a record 20 races.

The International Automobile Federation said in the new sporting regulations that team personnel "associated in any way with the operation of the cars" would be barred from the circuit for two six-hour periods before the start of practice on Friday and Saturday.

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12/14/10
f1

'Team Lotus' resolute after Group Lotus announcement UPDATE Former Team Lotus owner David Hunt believes confusion will reign supreme if two teams bearing the Norfolk marque reach the 2011 Formula One grid.

Hunt, brother of former world champion James Hunt, tried to salvage a financially-stricken Team Lotus in 1994. Hunt ultimately failed, but kept hold of the rights to one of the sport’s best-loved names in the hope someone would resurrect the team in F1 – something set to take place through Tony Fernandes’ Hingham outfit in 2011.

And Hunt believes Group Lotus are completely wrong in their efforts to claim the marque in F1 by sponsoring Renault’s outfit from next season. (See related AR1.com article)

“I think it’s silly, whatever angle you look at it,” he said. “Talk about confusing the public. Group Lotus and (their owners) Proton know the truth of the history and of their legal position in respect of the Lotus brand in F1. Even (Group Lotus chief executive) Dany Bahar knows.

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