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DATE News (chronologically)
06/25/15
irl

Honda likely to return - throws Dallara under the bus (3rd Update)
UPDATE #3
How many Honda team sponsors will stick around if the Honda teams have little chance of winning?
How many Honda team sponsors will stick around if the Honda teams have little chance of winning?
Negotiations to renew Honda as an engine supplier and one of the IndyCar Series' biggest sponsors are coming down to the wire with only six races remaining in the 2015 season.

If Honda leaves, it would be an eight-figure annual blow to the open-wheel series. Honda, which joined the series in 2003, and Chevrolet are the series' two most important corporate sponsors from a financial and marketing standpoint.

Even though discussions between Honda and IndyCar have dragged on since October and have hit more than a few bumps, Honda officials told IBJ Tuesday there's reason for optimism.

Read more & Comment...
06/24/15
f1

Azerbaijan to buy F1 team
Azerbaijan circuit
Azerbaijan's Sport Minister says the country is keen to see its own team on the F1 grid.

Due to host its inaugural Grand Prix next year, a street race through its capital Baku, oil-rich Azerbaijan is now said to be keen to become further involved in the sport.

According to Sport Minister Azad Rahimov, the government would be "interested" in either seeing a national team contest the world championship or perhaps sponsor an existing team.

Read more & Comment...
06/23/15
nassprint

Tony Stewart to retire soon?
Tony Stewart to retire as a driver soon?
We all fear that day. That day when we get the honor of cheering on our favorite driver for the last time. The day when they finally decide to take their final left turn and hang up their helmet for good. Sure, they have the memories of exciting passes and races won, but does that doesn’t always relieve the pain of not seeing their favorite driver amongst the 43 car field. 

One driver who should be considering this option is none other than Indiana native, Tony Stewart. The three time Sprint Cup Champion has already raced 16 full season in The Sprint Cup Series and has never really been the same after his Sprint Car accident at Southern Iowa Speedway, where he broke both the tibia and fibula in his lower right leg.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
automotive

Hyundai close to replacing GM as NFL sponsor
Hyundai Motor Co. is close to an agreement on a sponsorship contract with the National Football League, two people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Hyundai would replace General Motors, which ended its association with the most-watched U.S. sports league this past season after holding rights since 2001.

The people requested anonymity because they haven’t been authorized to discuss.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
irl

IndyCar to sack Toronto race promoter?
Kevin Savoore
Kevin Savoree of Savoree Green Promotions to lose Toronto contract?
Both the Honda Indy Toronto and the Verizon IndyCar Series have seen better days.

In the beginning, back in the 1980s when the race through the streets of Exhibition Place was known as the Molson Indy, more than 160,000 admissions - 70,000-plus on race day - would pass through the turnstiles each year. The race was one of three huge summertime festivals in Toronto - Pride Week and what was then known as Caribana being the others. It dominated the headlines; everybody knew about it. It was very "in."

And the sanctioning body of the day, CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) was seen as a viable alternative to Formula One. Enough of an alternative, incidentally, that none other than Bernie Ecclestone was moved to keep an eye on its progress.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
irl

IndyCar eyeing Homestead return, South America (Update) UPDATE With only one big weekend of racing at Homestead a year - the NASCAR season finale, ISC would like to add a 2nd big weekend early in the season to make better use of the facility.  And some people may be questioning Colombia as a venue......

Colombia is a major global economy. Its exports include oil and coal. It has tremendous mineral deposits. And it has a long history of representative government. And unlike virtually any other country in Latin America, Colombia has never been ruled by a dictator. It is also the only country in Latin America to never default on its sovereign debt. Meanwhile, the country was hamstrung for more than 50 years by a never-ending civil war largely financed by the global drug trade. 

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
f1

Red Bull 'Losing Patience,' May Quit Formula One
Dietrich Mateschitz
Dietrich Mateschitz ready to pull the plug on F1?
F1 team Red Bull Racing is "on the verge of quitting a sport they once dominated," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.

Frustrated, Red Bull Owner Dietrich Mateschitz has "lost patience with what was once his favorite sporting toy" because his team -- "hobbled by useless Renault engines -- cannot win."

Mateschitz has spent more than £1B on his team and another £60M "turning a faded old circuit at the foot of the Styrian mountains into one of the most spectacular sporting venues on the planet" to host the Austrian Grand Prix. Yet his "love affair with fast cars is over." 

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
irl

After the 100th Indy 500 will speedway be sold? (Update) UPDATE [Editor's Note: The improvements to the facility will be nice - kinda like someone who repaints a house and does some remodeling for curb appeal prior to putting the house on the market for sale. They are spending $40 million of the $100 million.  Will be interesting to see whether some of the remaining $60 million will be used to light the facility so the final race of the IndyCar season could be the Indy 400 under the lights.  It would be spectacular.]

The Indiana media's coverage of the mechanics of the $100 million public subsidy for improvements to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been less than informative. A press release this week from Fitch Ratings announcing an AA+ rating for the bonds provides more information than previous news reports have offered about the deal. Along with issuing its second-highest rating to the IMS bonds, the credit rating agency also reaffirmed the state's AAA bond rating.

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
wec

Verstappen closes on sportscar deal
Jos Verstappen (L) and son Max
Former F1 driver Jos Verstappen could make a return to international racing after a six-year absence later this season, Motorsport.com has learned.

The Dutchman, who is currently overseeing his son Max's debut F1 season, is working on a plan to race later this season in a major European sportscar championship.

"We are talking and we will see," said Verstappen. "It is something that could happen."

Read more & Comment...
06/22/15
f1

Ecclestone 'negotiated' with Mateschitz
Mateschitz and Ecclestone
(GMM)  His quit threats still echoing around the paddock, Dietrich Mateschitz met quietly with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday.

"No photographers, no journalists -- even their staff kept a safe distance," reported Osterreich newspaper.

The report speculated that the main topic of conversation was not Mateschitz's quit threats, but the Austrian billionaire's interest in buying the marketing rights to the entire sport.

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06/19/15
f1

Mosley met with Ecclestone, Wolff in London
Ecclestone and Mosley
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has met secretly with his old sparring partner Max Mosley, the German newspaper Bild reports.

As the increasingly-troubled sport looks to take a sharp turn for the future, the meeting follows hot on the heels of Mosley, the former FIA president, wondering if F1 needs a "generational change".

"Bernie is unable to mediate by himself and, personally, I think the Federation (FIA) should intervene," said Mosley, the immediate predecessor of current FIA president Jean Todt.

Read more & Comment...
06/17/15
track news

IMS lays off staff, outsources jobs
Question: What is going on at IMS? Rumor swirling Kevin Forbes has been terminated along with numerous other long-term employees. (Steve, Greenwood, Ind.)

Answer: I don't know about other long-term employees, but I know Kevin Forbes no longer works there. I've had a brief exchange with him, but I don't know any details, and I don't expect to learn many given the sensitive nature of these things. Kevin has obviously done great things at IMS as director of engineering for what seems like 20-plus years. He has tremendous institutional knowledge that can't be replaced. He also has an incredible way of explaining technical things, so, suffice it to say, he'll be missed. What's also clear is that Michael Browning's company is in charge from a facilities standpoint. Curt Cavin/Indy Star

Read more & Comment...
06/16/15
f1

Report links Manor with Honda switch (Update) UPDATE
Would Manor really switch from Ferrari to Honda power?
(GMM)  McLaren and Honda have played down speculation linking Manor with a supply of Japanese power for 2016.

Honda, returning to F1 this year, decided to focus exclusively on McLaren, but boss Yasuhisa Arai has said repeatedly he is open to adding a customer in the future.

Reports have linked backmarker Manor with such a move.

Currently, the team is powered by year-old Ferrari engines in the wake of the Marussia collapse and resurrection.

Read more & Comment...
06/16/15
f1

Leimer in frame for second Manor seat (3rd Update)
Fabio Leimer - his check just wasn't big enough
UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Fabio Leimer will not make his Friday practice debut in Austria this weekend.

In Canada two weeks ago, the 2013 GP2 champion was unveiled as the new Friday and reserve driver for backmarker Manor.

It has been reported the Swiss driver's first Friday outing could be at the Red Bull Ring, but only if his manager Sven Mangold manages to put together the necessary sponsorship purse.

"Everything depends on the sponsors," Mangold had admitted to the Swiss newspaper Blick in Canada.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/15
f1

More evidence VW may enter F1? (3rd Update) UPDATE #3 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Volkswagen has no intentions of entering F1, according to a high-ranking official of the German car brand. Volkswagen Motorsport Dir Jost Capito told SBD Global "there are no talks" about joining F1. Volkswagen, as a volume manufacturer, is more interested in activities that represent cars that people can buy in the showroom, he said. "It has been well-decided and it was a serious evaluation to go into the World Rally Championship because as a volume manufacturer we believe it’s right to be in a series where the cars are recognizable, where you run the technology that you sell in the showroom." Volkswagen joined WRC in '13 and won back-to-back drivers and constructors titles in '13 and '14. Volkswagen's commitment to its WRC program sees it stay in the series until at least '19.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/15
IRL
usac

Hamilton out at USAC UPDATE This rumor reported by Tim Wohlford of AutoRacing1 last week has been updated to 'Fact.' Davey Hamilton is out at USAC.

http://www.nationalspeedsportnews.com/sprints-midgets/usac/hamilton-and-usac-part-ways/

06/08/15 AutoRacing1 is hearing that former IndyCar driver, current IMS radio personality and Kingdom Racing manager Davey Hamilton is no longer employed at USAC. If so, the tenure was short – he was named Executive Director on March 10 of this year. -- Tim Wohlford reporting for AR1.com

Comment
06/15/15
nassprint

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire in year or two?
Dale Jr. eyes retirement - will cause NASCAR popularity to plummet
After watching Jeff Gordon compete in his final season in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his final lap around the NASCAR circuit may soon follow.

"I'm turning 41," he told Autoweek Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "So it's on the horizon, as far as my retirement."

Voted NASCAR's most popular driver for 12 consecutive years, Earnhardt has amassed 24 career wins in the Sprint Cup and is approaching 8,000 career laps led. He is still seeking his first points championship and may not hang up his fire suit until he hoists the Sprint Cup trophy in Homestead, Fla.

Read more & Comment...
06/15/15
irl

BHA to add 2nd car?
Might Bryan Herta's IndyCar team be expanding?
AutoRacing1 hears there is a possibility Bryan Herta Autosport may field a second car at this year's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma - the the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series finale. While there have been additional entries rumored previously for the team, BHA has been a single-car operation since entering IndyCar full-time in 2012. This year rookie Gabby Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires is piloting the #98 BHA with Curb-Agajanian Honda. The 21-year-old Colombian-American currently sits atop the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

As for who might be driving the potential second BHA entry at Sonoma Raceway?

Read more & Comment...
06/13/15
nassprint

2016 low-downforce rules to be introduced earlier (2nd Update)
UPDATE This rumor, originally broke by AR1.com, is getting close to becoming 'fact.' NASCAR had a teleconference with Sprint Cup teams earlier this week to discuss a lower downforce aero package which could possibly debut as soon as at Kentucky Speedway on July 11th. Teams would have an open test date on Thursday July 11 to shake down the cars. Several sources told motorsport.com that the revised package was tested by the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team and Jimmie Johnson during the Darlington Speedway test on Wednesday.

The new configuration would likely include a 3.5-inch spoiler (down from six inches), and 25-inch radiator pan (down from 38 inches) and a shorter splitter. It's the same package that was expected to be run during the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May but the idea was scrapped. NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp told Motorsport.com, "NASCAR's commitment includes putting the best racing on the track. All options remain viable at this time." Motorsport 

Read more & Comment...
06/12/15
wec

Ford announcing "major news" for this Friday (Update) UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

06/10/15 Word has it that Ford is planning to make a "major Ford Performance news announcement" this weekend, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ford isn’t really looking forward towards telling us what this "major news" will be before this weekend but rumor has it that the performance division of the company will pull the wraps off a racing version of the new GT supercar. The vehicle in question has already begun testing in Canada, last month, and it is expected to be quite different than its road legal brother and to receive an updated and more aerodynamic exterior design, along with a stripped out interior and the 3.5 liter V6 engine under its hood.

Read more & Comment...
06/12/15
f1

Manor could delay new car plans until 2016
Will Stevens in the Manor in Malaysia
(GMM)  Manor is reportedly contemplating shelving its plans to introduce a new car in 2015.

Earlier, having hurriedly modified the 2014 machine for the 2015 rule changes, the former Marussia outfit announced its intention to debut an all-new car after the summer break.

But Speed Week now reports that, as the current car is comfortably qualifying within 107 per cent, the team is wondering whether it should instead turn its focus towards the 2016 season.

Read more & Comment...
06/11/15
r2i
nascar

Brabham switching to stock cars???
Instead of chasing money to buy a seat in a sport with no commercial value, Matthew Brabham appears to be looking for the opportunity to get paid to drive a race car. We wish him the best.
This SpeedCafe.com article notes that 2012 U.S. F2000 Champion and 2013 Pro Mazda Champion Matthew Brabham tested a Late Model car for David Gilliland Racing yesterday at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Will Brabham, the son of Former Indy Car driver Geoff Brabham and grandson of three-time World Champion Jack Brabham, and holds dual citizenship in Australia and the United States fall off the Mazda Road to Indy ladder due to a lack of funding? Will he find a safe port down south in a sport that is commercially sound, and IndyCar lose another potential prospect to the stock car set?

We don't know. Maybe, Brabham was just taking the Late Model for a spin. Or perhaps, he realizes that if he wants to be a professional racing driver, his best bet is down south where they actually pay people to race. 

Read more & Comment...
06/10/15
f1

New Hope For NY/NJ Formula One Race After Ecclestone Meets With Promoter
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has held fresh talks about resurrecting the New Jersey Formula 1 race," despite the event appearing to be "dead in the water," according to Adam Cooper of MOTORSPORT.

Billed as the Grand Prix of America, the street race at Port Imperial "appeared on the provisional calendar in 2013 and 2014, only to be dropped on both occasions." The main problem was that promoter Leo Hindery "could not find the outside investment he had been seeking."

Read more & Comment...
06/09/15
nassprint

Crew Chief swap at Michael Waltrip Racing
According to AR1.com sources, Michael Waltrip Racing team boss Rob Kauffman swapped the two crew chiefs between the 15 and 55 teams. The change goes into effect immediately we are told.

Comment
06/08/15
irl

Briscoe expected to continue in SPM car for balance of IndyCar season
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team hasn’t confirmed it officially, but it is likely that Ryan Briscoe will be in the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda for the final six races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, after he misses this weekend’s upcoming Honda Indy in Toronto.

Conor Daly will fill in for Briscoe while he races this week with Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So Briscoe would race at Auto Club Speedway on June 27 through to the season finale in Sonoma August 30, unless James Hinchcliffe is cleared and ready to go at some point. NBC Sports

Comment
06/08/15
il
fe
grc

Piquet to fill in for Chilton? (Update) UPDATE
Nelson Piquet Jr.

This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. As you read here first on AutoRacing1...Nelson Piquet Jr will join Carlin in this weekend’s Indy Lights race in Toronto. Piquet, who has experience across several categories of top level single seater racing, will join Ed Jones on the streets of Toronto, while Max Chilton is busy with Le Mans duties with Nissan.

Piquet is on top form this season, leading the FIA Formula E Championship with five podiums including two race wins to his name.  Piquet is also racing in the Global RallyCross Championship, and scored a podium in the season opener two weeks ago.

Read more & Comment...
06/07/15
f1

Total involved in Renault's Lotus buyout - report
(GMM)  Details of Renault's apparent interest in buying back the Enstone based team known currently as Lotus are now emerging.

It has been rumored for some time that, having sold the outfit to Gerard Lopez's Genii company at the end of 2009, the French carmaker now wants to ramp its F1 profile back up with a return to full works status.

Lotus chief executive Matthew Carter played down the speculation in Canada.

Read more & Comment...
06/06/15
f1

Small F1 teams set to trigger EU investigation
Small F1 teams set to trigger EU investigation
(GMM)  The prospect of an investigation into formula one by the European Commission could be back on.

In late April, we reported that the Commission's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager would not investigate unless a formal complaint is lodged.

It has been rumored for months that certain small teams are furious about the unfair income distribution model in F1, and a lack of representation in the powerful Strategy Group.

Read more & Comment...
06/03/15
f1

McLaren set to crash-test 'short nose' - rumor
Will McLaren shorten their long nose?
(GMM)  McLaren on Wednesday confirmed it is bringing a significant package of aerodynamic upgrades to the MP4-30 car in Austria.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button left Monaco recently expecting the Honda-powered car to struggle on the long straights of Canada this weekend.

But then it emerged the team's Japanese 'power unit' partner has for the first time in 2015 traded in some in-season 'tokens' to bring performance to the turbo V6.

Read more & Comment...
06/03/15
f1

Mercedes still sandbagging
Marko (L) with Lauda: The Mercedes engine is still so superior that they don't need to use engine upgrade tokens. They just play with all of us, using as much horse power as they need.
(GMM)  Ferrari's token-upgraded engine will bring it just 15 horse power short of dominant Mercedes' turbo V6.

That is the claim of Germany's Sport Bild as the world of F1 begins to descend on Montreal ahead of the Canadian grand prix.

The report said the upgrades have added 20 to 30 horse power, bringing the Ferrari unit to around 815hp in total.  Mercedes' engine is believed to be 830hp.

The upgraded Ferrari engine is in the Italian team's Montreal luggage, but the team is reportedly yet to decide if it will actually be fitted to the cars at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Read more & Comment...
06/02/15
f1

Renault to take over Manor? (Update) UPDATE Dear AR1, Manor signs up Bob Bell, former Toro Rosso designer Luca Furbatto and former Caterham engineering chief Gianluca Pisanello. So where did the money come from to hire these dudes? This is a team that didn't have enough money to fire up engines at the first race. Now all these people show up out of the blue? UMMM... let me guess,... they are working for free? Please follow the money for us! Jim Barrie, Madeira OH

Dear Jim, Indeed the money may be from Renault and there may indeed be something to this rumor of Renault buying Manor. That does not mean, however, that they would not continue to sell customer engines to Red Bull and Toro Rosso. We hear Red Bull may be talking to Honda about a future deal if they can get their bugs worked out. We do not see them staying with Renault past the end of their current contract as too much finger pointing has occurred from both sides.  Mark C.

Read more & Comment...
06/02/15
irl

IndyCar: Aero changes for TMS (3rd Update)
As you read on AR1 weeks ago, it was the Butt Bumpers that were getting the cars airborne and causing lift. INDYCAR has mandated that panels be installed to prevent the air from getting to the sloped surfaces inside the rear wheel guards.
UPDATE #3 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, My hat's off to Mark Cipolloni and the AR1 team.  You guys nailed the problem of why the Chevys were taking flight when they turned backwards at Indy way before anyone else, including IndyCar themselves.  I recall you posted that the backside of the 'Butt Bumpers' should be closed off to prevent the lift that was occurring as air flowed through them due to the design on the Chevys. My hats off to you guys.  Greg Morehead

06/02/15 As first rumored and recommended by AR1.com to solve the problem of flying Chevys, INDYCAR announced today it has implemented the use of closure panels to the rear wheel guards (AR1 calls them Butt Bumpers) of both Honda and Chevrolet superspeedway aero kits beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The panels were developed by Honda and Chevrolet, respectively, and will also be utilized at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

"This has been a collaborative effort with both manufacturers and they have been working on these since the Indianapolis 500 qualifications," said Will Phillips, INDYCAR Vice President of Technology. "These closure panels serve as a blocker so air cannot flow through the rear wheel guards. This will ultimately raise the point at which cars would experience lift when traveling backwards."

Read more & Comment...
06/02/15
nassprint

Rob Kauffman Leaving Michael Waltrip
According to AR1.com sources, Rob Kauffman is negotiating to purchase the minority share in Richard Childress Racing that Chartwell Investments has been looking to sell since February. If successful he will leave Michael Waltrip Racing.

Comment
06/02/15
f1

Canada GP partly for sale - report
(GMM)  The Canadian grand prix is partly for sale, the Montreal daily La Presse reports.

The newspaper said promoter Francois Dumontier, with a new ten-year race contract with Bernie Ecclestone in his pocket, is having talks with potential investors regarding his company Octane Racing Group.

La Presse said Dumontier is open to selling "up to 50 per cent" of the company.

"I am talking to several people," Dumontier confirmed.  "I think right now we have a value, and I am looking at my options as any businessman would.  This is a normal process."

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06/01/15
irl

Daly to drive at Toronto, Briscoe Texas UPDATE This Racer article by Robin Miller reiterates what you read here first on AutoRacing1. Apparently, Ryan Briscoe will drive the #5 SPM Honda in this weekend's Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, while Daly will return to the car for the Honda Indy Toronto the following week.

We await official announcement.



05/31/15 AR1 is hearing that Conor Daly will drive the #5 SPM Honda car in two weeks at Toronto. However, SPM will have a different driver in the car for Texas. Could this mean Ryan Briscoe who replaced the injured James Hinchcliffe at Indy will be in the car at Texas?

Lucille Dust reporting for AutoRacing1

Comment
06/01/15
automotive

Major breakthrough for electric cars
Cadillac ELR electric car - Supercapacitor Batteries made from Graphene rather than Lithium Ion could be the final nail in the coffin of fossil fuel powered automobiles
The problem of limited range and slow recharge times has been an important factor curbing the wide-spread adoption of electric cars. But scientists in South Korea have developed a new technology which could solve the problem.

The lithium-ion batteries used in most of the current generation of electric cars have limitations. They are expensive and store insufficient power for the needs of many drivers, requiring frequent top-ups. And when they have to be recharged the charging process is time consuming.

The technological breakthrough could solve these problems. And in the process, Dr Lu Wu of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea has discovered a new use for the miracle substance graphene.

Read more & Comment...
05/31/15
irl

Rain tomorrow in Detroit (Update) UPDATE It rained all night and has still not stopped raining in Detroit. It will be interesting to see what INDYCAR decides today with an already quick turnaround for a race next Saturday night in Texas.

05/30/15 As you can see here, rain is expected tomorrow in Detroit, which we imagine will impact  tomorrow's Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented By Quicken Loans.

AR1 Staff Report

Comment
05/30/15
track news

Update: Dover to remove more seats? (Update 2) UPDATE #2 Dover International Speedway will remove another 10,000 seats bringing capacity down to around 85,000. The plan is for the removal to be completed in time for next Spring's race.



10/13/14
Like many tracks, Dover has seen attendance declines in recent years.
This rumor is upgraded to fact, as discussed in this Delaware State News article.

Dover International Speedway plans to reduce seating capacity, and will remove nearly 20,000 more from the 'Monster Mile' by this Christmas. Capacity at Dover, which was 135,000 in 2001, will be under 100,000 for 2015.

Such measures to reduce seating capacity follow a trend witnessed at major racing facilities in recent years. Michigan, Talladega, Daytona and others have all removed seating as live attendance at race events has dwindled steadily over the past decade.

AR1 Staff



09/26/14
Empty seats galore
In 2001, Dover International Speedway completed an expansion of the grandstand that had been ongoing for 16 years. The result: 135,000 seats for NASCAR fans. But since the economy crashed in 2008, NASCAR tracks across the country have battled sagging attendance, a problem that has been all too apparent on TV broadcasts showing rows and rows of empty seats.

In recent years, track officials have covered some of those empty sections with large banners. Now, Dover officials are considering removing some seats entirely. Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment and Dover Motorsports Inc., said there is "serious consideration" of removing seats. In 2011, the track cut capacity from 135,000 to 113,000 by widening seats. Company officials would not say when a decision would be finalized. A lot of factors, like sight lines to the track and restroom placement, have to be taken into account. USA Today

Comment
05/30/15
nassprint

Overheard in Dover
Mike Helton
I spoke with Mike Helton around 9 a.m. this morning. The soft-spoken NASCAR vice chairman was enjoying some morning coffee, and took a few minutes to answer some questions about the upcoming schedule.

For some background, we've heard some rumors about what shape the NASCAR schedule may take not only in 2016, but beyond. As you might imagine, there are numerous parts in motion such as what exactly may happen to the NASCAR All-Star race. We also know that Atlanta Motor Speedway is seeking a new date. Remember, the cold temperatures at Atlanta this season the weekend after Daytona.

Another thing we've heard (to be clear, this is prior to this weekend) is that NASCAR may look to add a road races or two to the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Of course, NASCAR has long had just the two road course races at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. However, Road Atlanta has been mentioned as a possibility, and we also know there has even been discussion about the currently undergoing a redesign Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

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05/30/15
f1
gp2

GP2 team ART on pole for 2016 F1 debut (Update) UPDATE (GMM)  McLaren has played down claims about a 2016 'B' team.

After the FIA kicked off a search for a new F1 team late this week, speculation suggested an early frontrunner could be ART, a French GP2 outfit.

Leading the McLaren-liveried team in the feeder series' 2016 championship is Stoffel Vandoorne, a McLaren-backed junior.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport suggested ART could become a McLaren-Honda 'B' team next year, along the lines of the new Ferrari-Haas alliance, and might also prove a route back onto the grid for Kevin Magnussen.

Read more & Comment...
05/29/15
f1

German fans to lose free TV coverage
With German team Mercedes making a boring parade out of F1, coupled with the boring engines, F1 popularity in Germany plummets
(GMM)  F1's struggling German market could be dealt yet another major blow.

The country's traditional spot on the race calendar was axed for 2015, and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone last week blasted top German stars Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg for inadequately promoting the sport.

"As the cancellation of the German grand prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for formula one," Ecclestone told F1's official website.

Now it emerges that, in the not-too-distant future, German fans may be unable to watch formula one on free-to-air television.

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05/29/15
f1

Red Bull open to driver change
Russian Daniil Kvyat - if he gets sacked Russian GP ticket sales will plummet and F1 can kiss that race goodbye
(GMM)  Red Bull is open to changing its driver lineup for 2016, according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

The news follows Dutch teenager Max Verstappen's meteoric debut for the junior outfit Toro Rosso this year, even though his progress hit a bump in Monaco with his heavy crash and subsequent penalties.

But until then, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner was declaring both Verstappen and fellow rookie Carlos Sainz's debuts this year as "one of the positive stories in formula one at the moment".

At the same time, pressure is mounting on the shoulders of Red Bull's struggling Russian Daniil Kvyat, while lead driver Daniel Ricciardo is reportedly out of contract at the end of the season.

Read more & Comment...
05/28/15
f1

Gutierrez and Rossi for Haas F1 team? (Update) UPDATE
Mexican Esteban Gutierrez
As the summer comes on, the driver market for next season begins to click into motion and for 2016 there is an extra team for drivers to aim for; Haas F1 Team. It may be a start-up, but it’s an attractive seat as the team has strong links to Ferrari.

The new Haas F1 team is taking shape and next weekend in Canada Gene Haas, team boss Gunter Steiner and other execs will be on hand to continue their preparations for their F1 debut.

The talk in Monaco last weekend was that Esteban Gutierrez is in pole position to get one of the seats; he is currently Ferrari reserve driver and the commercial tie-ups with his sponsors from Mexico seem to be working with Ferrari. He is 23 and has two years of F1 racing experience with Sauber.

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05/26/15
irl

Wilson or Daly to replace Hinchcliffe? (Update) UPDATE Per today's announcement, Conor Daly will replace Hinchcliffe for this weekend's Detroit doubleheader.

05/26/15 James Hinchcliffe's return hasn't been defined, but Schmidt Peterson Motorsports co-owner Sam Schmidt said Monday there's reason to believe the IndyCar regular could race again this season.

"Sometime in August," Schmidt said.

Hinchcliffe is recovering from Monday's surgery at IU Health Methodist Hospital, and Schmidt said he could go home Wednesday or Thursday.

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05/25/15
irl

Overheard at Indy (2nd Update) UPDATE #2 More proof it is the Chevy Butt Bumpers that are causing the cars to take flight.  Watch this video closely.  Tony Kanaan crashes his Chevy Sunday at Indy and the car gets backwards but does not take flight.  Why? Because his Chevy Butt Bumpers were knocked off the car on first impact and therefore when the car turns backwards it stays on the ground. IndyCar would be wise to require the Chevy teams to either remove their Butt Bumpers before the Texas race, or have them redesigned to be squared off in the back like the Hondas.

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05/25/15
irl

Overheard in Long Beach - Sunday (3rd Update) UPDATE #2 This year the total 3-day attendance was 181,350 which as was stated was just about 1000 more than in 2014. This year's figure represents the highest level of attendance at Long Beach in the modern IndyCar era. All credit goes to our staff, volunteers, sponsors, sanctioning bodies, and suppliers for this tremendous accomplishment. Jim Michaelian

05/24/15 We spoke to Toyota GP of Long Beach boss Jim Michaelian at Indy yesterday and he told us that there were slightly under 1,000 more people that attended the 2015 race than attended the 2014 race. They do not make public the exact numbers.

04/19/15
IndyCar redeemed itself at the best venue on the calendar
UPDATE
We hear the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be run on April 17, 2016. Today's crowd was huge with people 5 to 10 deep in most places.  The prediction before the race was 90,000 for today and it appears like they got it. After today's excellent run look for Conor Daly to possibly be in the dale Coyne #18 for the GP of Indianapolis but in SPM's third car for the 500 according to Robin Miller and look for Alex Tagliani to be in Foyt's 3rd car. We still have James Davison penciled in for Coyne for the 500.

04/19/15 The IndyCar welfare program - free money teams get for showing up to race, similar to the money the government takes from those of us who work our tails off and doles out free money to the slackers in life that show up at the welfare office and fill out the proper paperwork - has been a constant criticism here on the pages of AR1.com.

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05/22/15
irl

Will PGA golf event step on Boston IndyCar race?
Since its debut in 2003, the Deutsche Bank Championship has always been held over Labor Day weekend, drawing tens of thousands of fans to TPC Boston. There might be a Red Sox home stand competing for spectators during the same time, or a Boston College football game, but the golf tournament has taken pride and ownership as the primary local sporting event destination over the late-summer holiday.

In 2016, another event will call on Boston over Labor Day weekend. The Verizon IndyCar Series announced this week that its season finale next year will be the Grand Prix of Boston, run over a temporary street course in South Boston.

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05/22/15
irl

Vautier to replace Huertas for Indy 500 (Update) UPDATE
Carlos Huertas
This rumor is updated to 'fact' this morning.  Verizon IndyCar Series driver Carlos Huertas has been ruled out of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with an inner ear condition, according to Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR medical consultant. Huertas will have to undergo further evaluation before being cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition. The 23-year-old Colombian is out for the remainder of Indianapolis 500 on-track activities, including today's Coors Light Carb Day practice and the May 24 race.

Huertas was scheduled to start on the outside of Row 6 in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. The team will announce Huertas' replacement and the car will be moved to the last row of the 33-car field. It will start 32nd based on entrant points, according to Rules 8.1.8.6 and 8.1.8.6.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

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05/21/15
IRL

Will IndyCar do the right thing and end season in Indy?
AR1.com readers know that we have strongly recommended that IndyCar end their season with a 400-miler on the oval at Indy, the home of IndyCar racing. At today's announcement for the Labor Day weekend race in Boston IndyCar CEO Mark Miles made a surprising statement when he said Boston may not be the final race of the 2016 season.

"We haven’t confirmed that yet,” said Miles. “It’s Labor Day. We won’t announce whether that, in fact, is the finale of the championship until we announce the full season."

So.......has IndyCar finally pulled their head out of the sand and seen the light? Time will tell......

Comment
05/21/15
irl

IndyCar race in Boston gets green flag for Labor Day 2016 (Update) UPDATE
2.25-mile Boston Street Circuit
INDYCAR's footprint will expand to the Northeast in 2016 with the addition of a Verizon IndyCar Series race Sept. 4 in Boston -- Labor Day weekend -- in an agreement that extends to 2020.

The Grand Prix of Boston will feature an 11-turn, 2.25-mile temporary street course winding around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the Seaport District. The event will mark the first time an Indy car race has been contested in the area. An Indy car race was held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon from 1992-98 and in 2011.

Grand Prix of Boston "The level of enthusiasm we have received from the Boston community has been phenomenal and we look forward to showcasing the Verizon IndyCar Series on Labor Day weekend in 2016," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “There has been a tremendous amount of work from community leaders and Grand Prix of Boston officials and those efforts led to this key addition to our 2016 calendar. We’re thankful to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Grand Prix of Boston CEO Mark Perrone and many other supporters who were instrumental.

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05/20/15
f1

Hamilton in $40m stand-off with Mercedes (4th Update) UPDATE #4 Mercedes confirmed a new 3-year deal with Hamilton this morning.

05/20/15 Lewis Hamilton's new deal with Mercedes is "planned for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, ending months of speculation," according to Daniel Johnson of the London TELEGRAPH. Hamilton and Mercedes have become "increasingly frustrated with questions over the status of negotiations," so they will be "relieved to draw a line under the episode." 

Once bonuses are "taken into account," Hamilton's new three-year deal could be worth in excess of $46.5M a season, a $14M-a-year "increase on his current contract which expires at the end of this year." The reigning champion "dispensed with XIX Entertainment last year and has been negotiating himself with the help of his lawyer, Sue Thackeray" TELEGRAPH

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05/20/15
wec

BMW Evaluating LMP1 Program for 2017
Might BMW take on Porsche, Mercedes and Toyota?
Could BMW be the latest manufacturer to join the LMP1 ranks and go up against rivals Audi and Porsche, as well as Toyota and Nissan with a factory hybrid prototype?

That appears to be a strong possibility, judging by recent reports in German media.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that a LMP1 design project is underway from the Bavarian manufacturer, which if given the green light, could see BMW on the grid by as early as 2017.

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05/19/15
irl

IndyCar's hole in the head (floorpan)
Triangular holes in IndyCar underbody

A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Does IndyCar have a hole in their heads? They put a hole in the floorpan to reduce underbody downforce for 2015.  It is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. If they wanted to reduce underbody downforce all they had to do was add blockers in the underbody exit tunnels like CART did years ago.  Worked perfectly at 1/100th the cost.

Had those idiotic holes not been there, the aero kit designers could have used that 'dead' space to reconfigure the sidepods that would have helped the aerodynamics as well as add some additional level of protection for the drivers. Signed, Curious Minds Want To Know

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05/18/15
f1
irl

Audi to buy Red Bull team (6th Update)
UPDATE #6 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Audi has no plans to enter F1, the company said on Monday, seeking to "end speculation that the sportscar maker was tempted to broaden its commitment to motor racing," according to Edward Taylor of REUTERS. An Audi spokesperson said, "This is not a topic for us." 

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler had "ruled out" an entry into F1 after speculation of a partnership with former champions Red Bull arose. Stradler was quoted saying, "Formula 1 needs to solve its problems on its own." The sport, in which Ferrari and Mercedes race, is "seeking to make cars faster and louder again to maintain its allure." Last week Stadler was quoted as saying that F1 "remained an option for Audi." In response to a question about the sport, he said that "in life you must keep things open." REUTERS 

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05/18/15
f1

F1 rumors firing for Audi yet again (4th Update)
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Audi has no plans to enter F1, the company said on Monday, seeking to "end speculation that the sportscar maker was tempted to broaden its commitment to motor racing," according to Edward Taylor of REUTERS. An Audi spokesperson said, "This is not a topic for us." 

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler had "ruled out" an entry into F1 after speculation of a partnership with former champions Red Bull arose. Stradler was quoted saying, "Formula 1 needs to solve its problems on its own." The sport, in which Ferrari and Mercedes race, is "seeking to make cars faster and louder again to maintain its allure." Last week Stadler was quoted as saying that F1 "remained an option for Audi." In response to a question about the sport, he said that "in life you must keep things open." REUTERS 

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05/17/15
imsa
wec

Bentley is targeting a re-entry into prototype racing, IMSA?
While currently achieving success around the globe with its Continental GT3, Bentley is targeting a re-entry into prototype racing, with a focus on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Speaking to Sportscar365, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer revealed the British manufacturer is monitoring developments in the new-for-2017 Prototype class, with an eye towards building a program that would compete for overall wins in North America.

“It’s our philosophy at Bentley Motors to race where we can win overall,” Durheimer told Sportscar365 in an exclusive interview Saturday at the Nürburgring.

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05/16/15
automotive

Penske seeks $1 billion for truck parts unit, report says
Roger Penske
Transportation services company Penske Corp. is exploring a sale of Truck-Lite Co. in a deal that could value the maker of lighting, wiring harnesses and mirrors for trucks at close to $1 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Penske, a company controlled by billionaire former race car driver Roger Penske, owner of the eponymous racing team, has hired investment bank Robert W. Baird & Co. to run an auction for Truck-Lite, the people said this week.

Truck-Lite has annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of around $100 million, the people added.

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05/15/15
f1

Cosworth linked with dual engine F1 solution
Could the old screaming V8s be allowed back like the Honda shown here?
Ahead of looming talks about future engine rules, as the sport bids to find ways to cut costs for independents, one idea being considered is for there to be two power unit types in F1.

It is possible that while manufacturers will be left free to continue developing the current turbo power units, smaller outfits could be offered cheaper alternative V6 twin turbos or even the old V8 engines.

F1's commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone told Motorsport.com: "I think we can possibly have the other teams running maybe with a different type of engine that will be the same performance, but a lot less money. I'm saying we'll leave everything as it is for the constructors. Don't touch it."

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05/12/15
irl

Davison to again drive in Indy 500 (Update)
James Davison
UPDATE As a follow-up to the rumor first published by AR1.com on April 16th, Australian James Davison is closing on a return to the Indianapolis 500 after turning laps with Dale Coyne Racing on the second day of practice.

The 28-year-old has been one of three drivers linked to the third Coyne seat in recent days, with Vitor Meira and Katherine Legge also chasing funding to secure the drive.

Davison finished 33rd of the 34 cars which took part in the second round of practice, completing a ‘refresher’ outing at the speedway which requires 15 laps to be turned under 215mph.

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05/12/15
irl

Lots of rain in Indy over the next week (Update) UPDATE The weather forecast has improved since yesterday, as chances for thunderstorms have been reduced to 60% for Saturday and 50% for Sunday. Also, it seems there will be plenty of good weather for the teams to continue fiddling with the new speedway aero kits over the next few days.

As for the weekend, it looks like there's a decent chance it will rain at some point. The question, of course, becomes, when.

AR1 Staff Report

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05/11/15
irl

Costs of running the Indy 500?
Pippa Mann practicing for the 99th Indianapolis 500
Have you ever wanted to race in the Indianapolis 500? Well, we've done a little digging hear at AR1 and word is that with a budget somewhere in the range of $400,000-$750,000 depending of course, on the terms of the agreement, you too can get your foot in the door at an opportunity to run The Greatest Spectacle of Racing.

Now, allow us to begin by saying that we estimate (to be clear, this is very conservative) a team's cost for the month per car to be around $600,000. And that's for a low-end barebones effort. Driver are on different plans depending of teams, funding, etc.

Those on the barebones plan might not have as many tires, they may have an older generation engine with mileage restrictions on said engines. In essence, they have fewer laps at their disposal in preparation for the race because the more laps you turn, the greater the cost. You'll notice throughout the month that certain drivers turn fewer laps. While there can be numerous reasons for this, you can rest assured cost is at the top of the list.

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05/11/15
f1

'Fuel flow story' puts Ferrari on back foot
Sandbagging Mercedes have widened the gap to Ferrari, which means the rest of the F1 season will be a borefest Mercedes parade.
(GMM)  The Hamilton versus Rosberg show is back on, according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff after the Spanish grand prix.

Team chairman Niki Lauda beamed at Barcelona on Sunday as he declared Nico Rosberg is "back" after ending a run of defeats to his on-form teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"We saw it last year" too, boss Wolff agreed.  "Nico went on a run and the balance swung to him.  I think you are going to see the same this season."

F1 fans will be hoping that is true, as Mercedes' extra-team battle against the earlier resurgent Ferrari appeared to fizzle over the weekend.

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