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DATE News (chronologically)
06/24/09
f1
FOTA's 'New Formula' eyes 17-race calendar  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Queensland's state government has not ruled out making a bid to host a round of the breakaway championship on the Gold Coast.

Responding to the leaked FOTA calendar that showed Adelaide or Surfer's Paradise as representing Australia, sports minister Phil Reeves admitted it is a possibility.

Surfer's Paradise has for years hosted Indycars, and from 2009 the A1GP series will race on the coastal street circuit.

"We are always interested in bringing world-class events to Queensland and certainly would not rule out the possibility of hosting a formula one race on the Gold Coast," Reeves said.

Reeves' Victorian government counterpart Tim Holding, however, rubbished claims that the prestige of Melbourne's Australian grand prix risks being usurped. More ...

06/24/09
f1
US F1 looks to Paul Ricard for European base  
Outside the final turn at Paul Ricard
(GMM)  US F1, formula one's new American team for 2010, is reportedly now looking for an alternative European headquarters.

We reported earlier this year that the outfit fronted by British journalist Peter Windsor was hoping to base its European operations at the headquarters of the Spanish Le Mans team Epsilon Euskadi, while the cars are designed and built in North Carolina.

But Epsilon Euskadi subsequently lodged its own application to launch a grand prix team, and although not confirmed on the current 2010 entry list, is on standby should the eight FOTA teams really depart.

The French newspaper Nice Matin reports that US F1 is instead looking to France, and a possible base at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet.

The newspaper said Windsor is in "advanced negotiations" with Paul Ricard chiefs, like director Gerard Neveu.

Neveu commented: "Their project is very structured and leaves no doubt.  They are completely serious."

06/23/09
f1
FOTA, IMG and Danica  
With IMG's guidance, Danica Patrick could become one hot property for FOTA when they bring F1-style racing back to the USA
According to rumors at Silverstone, the organization of the new FOTA championship could be placed in the hands of the International Management Group (IMG), the world's premier and most diversified sports, entertainment and media company.

IMG is involved in event management and talent representation across golf, tennis and fashion and has a significant presence in many other sports, cultural and lifestyle categories. Its media division is one of the world's top independent producers of sports and entertainment television.

The company is now owned by Ted Forstmann, an attorney who made a fortune in private equity. He acquired IMG in 2004 after the death of its founder Mark McCormack. IMG's international headquarters is in Chiswick in London, although the main company operates out of New York. The company's sports and entertainment division is run by George Pyne, who made his name in NASCAR, while Andrew Hampel, the managing director of IMG Europe, Africa and Middle East, was involved with F1 in the early 1990s, as head of the IMG motorsport division representing Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost. More ...

06/23/09
f1
No going back, Rebels to form new series  The leader of the Formula One rebels will go to the headquarters of the sport's ruling body in Paris to tell them that there is no going back on plans for a pirate series.

A source close to Luca Di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president and chairman of the breakaway teams (FOTA), confirmed ahead of this morning's crucial FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting: 'There is no need for us to change our position. We are sticking firm.'

Their defiance reflects a growing conviction among FOTA members - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW, Toyota, Brawn, Red Bull and Toro Rosso - that they have finally broken free of the old order, having become fed up with FIA president Max Mosley's dictatorial rule and billionaire commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone swallowing up much of the profits. More ...

06/23/09
irl
IRL aiming to ruin Cleveland  UPDATE #2 Chuck Kosich responds to Terry Angstadt's comment, Dear AR1.com, I wanted to respond to your recent article (see below) that mentioned Houston and Cleveland and stated, “community support just isn’t there”. I wanted to let you know that from our perspective this statement could not be farther from the truth, and as a result we remain committed to returning open-wheel racing to Houston and Cleveland.

Since we were forced to cancel the Grand Prix of Houston and Grand Prix of Cleveland after the IndyCar/Champ Car unification, our company has been in discussions with the IndyCar Series about the possibility of adding both cities to the schedule. After lengthy discussions with IndyCar as well as business and government leaders, we have recently determined that 2011 is the optimal year for us to return these races to the schedule. The Grand Prix of Cleveland has a proud 26-year history, and Houston was a spectacular event in 2007 with over 168,000 fans in attendance. Therefore, when the events return it is very important to us to do things the right way, and the current economic conditions and various other factors left us with too much uncertainty to run the events in 2010.

The support that we have received from both communities has been exceptional. In Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson has been an early and ardent supporter of the race, and we have been working with Mayor Jackson and his staff for the past year to put together a plan for the event’s return. The city has pledged many resources that will be integral to the 2011 event in Cleveland. In Houston, we have benefited greatly from the leadership of Reliant Park and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and we have worked with those organizations to establish a foundation for the future. Lastly but most importantly, the interest from the racing fans of Cleveland and Houston could not be stronger and we continue to receive letters of support from fans on a daily basis.

As race fans and stewards of the Grand Prix of Houston and Grand Prix of Cleveland, we are eager to get back to racing and we are disappointed that 2010 was not possible. However, we wanted to let you and your readers know that our commitment remains strong and that the support we have from the local communities is unwavering. We look forward to working this year to make our goal of racing in Houston and Cleveland in 2011 a reality. Chuck Kosich, General Manager, MJ Promotions

06/22/09 Terry Angstadt said two events that won't make the cut in 2010 are Cleveland and Houston. Cleveland "certainly had a wide open opportunity," but community support just isn't there, he said.

04/30/09 That's what it will be if IndyCar returns to Cleveland in 2010 AS AN OVAL, writes Robin Miller in his latest SPEEDTV.com article.

The scuttlebutt is that IndyCar has told Cleveland promoter Mike Lanigan he could have a race again next year but maybe it needed to be an oval. Lanigan declined to discuss it last weekend at Kansas City.

"Maybe some IndyCar brass never saw a race at Cleveland so here's a little tip: DON'T BE IDIOTIC. This was one of the most entertaining tracks Indy cars ever ran on. It worked. You shut down the airport, put up a few barriers and turned 'em loose. There were big crowds and they would come back with unification, the right prices and promotion," writes Miller.

Turning Cleveland into an oval would be as dumb as switching their TV deal to Versus and getting the predicted 0.15 rating - in essence making the series invisible to the viewing public.

06/23/09
nascar
GM to give NASCAR teams zilch  There have been numerous legal 'objections' filed by GM's creditors over the past few days, to try to get in line, so to speak, for whatever money the bankruptcy court is willing to eventually dole out. But the key GM legal document everyone is awaiting is the list of GM's "critical vendors," which is a listing of those companies and people that will likely be first in line to get paid from the U.S. government bailout fund. It is unclear which, if any, NASCAR people will be on that list.

One top Cup driver, who asked not to be named, said GM executives themselves appear uncertain about just what is really going on in this bankruptcy and what might happen next: "A couple of weeks ago, they told us 'Everything is fine, everything will be okay. But now they're saying 'We just don't know.'" MikeMulhern.net

06/22/09
nnw
nastruck
Toyota to leave Nationwide and Truck Series  UPDATE Word in the Infineon Raceway garage over the week was that Toyota has decided to follow its three corporate rivals and pull all but engineering and technical support and parts supplies from the two NASCAR tours. Lee White, head of Toyota' racing development operations: "Toyota and TRD have been in the process for over a year, of adapting our series support for the Truck/Nationwide programs to be appropriate to the value of each series. Our process in the future will not be determined by other manufacturer's actions but by the value delivered by each series. At this point there is no plan to change our involvement for the remainder of this season. As always we will re evaluate each series over the winter and could make appropriate adjustments." MikeMulhern.net

06/22/09 Toyota appears ready to withdraw its financial support of NASCAR Truck and Nationwide teams, though continuing engineering support, in the wake of General Motors' decision to join Ford and Chrysler in withdrawing all but engineering support for those two NASCAR tours. There has been no specific comment on that yet from Toyota executives. MikeMulhern.net
06/22/09
nnw
nastruck
Spec Engines for NNS/Trucks?  Detroit's NASCAR people are talking with NASCAR officials about a new 'spec' engine ('crate' engine) program for the Truck and Nationwide series, which could be supplied by a 'consortium' of engineers from the four NASCAR car makers, Toyota, Ford, Dodge and Chery. However NASCAR executives have so far shown little interest in such a program. According to one Detroit executive, such a 'spec' engine program could provide competitive Truck and Nationwide engines to a team for perhaps as little as $600,000 for the season. mikemulhern.net
06/22/09
track news
Wheeler to take over Indy?  UPDATE Last night, Humpy Wheeler told SpeedTV (see transcript) there’s a chance he could play a role in the IMS’ future.

“As far as Indy is concerned, Tony (George) and I are good friends and I actually may help them do some things,” said Wheeler, former president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C. “As far as going to a fulltime deal, that’s probably not in the cards.”

In May, Wheeler told Sirius NASCAR radio he would be interested in working for another track [besides Lowe’s].

“If it was the right one and the right owner, I probably would,” Wheeler said. “That’s the main thing. I’m not interested in going through 80-hour weeks again.”

“I think Tony will get this thing straightened out,” Wheeler said. “We’re in a tough economy right now and racing all over’s been hit pretty hard.” Wheeler told Sirius that Speedway President Joie Chitwood “is a great general manager.”

“I had a ball up there,” Wheeler said. “I’ve been to the Brickyard [400] and all that but the Indy 500 is such a special [event].”

05/31/09 Will legendary NASCAR promoter Humpy Wheeler be asked to take over the reins of legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway? That's part of the speculation swirling around the 100-year-old track the past few days, following Sunday's Indy 500, which showed yet another significant TV ratings drop. Wheeler, at Indy over the weekend instead of at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway, which he ran for more than 30 years for Bruton Smith, has been noncommittal about the Indy affair.

Tony George, the 49-year-old who has been running the privately owned Indianapolis track for his family, has been equally noncommittal about what lies ahead, except to deny that he has been ousted as Indy boss. George says he's still the CEO. But there is pressure on George, from family members, to pump up the Indy Racing League, which has struggled to make a go of it. So NASCAR's France family isn't the only American racing giant operation under the gun in these turbulent economic times. George and his family, which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League, is suddenly in the news for an internal squabble over how that family's racing operations are going. George himself denies reports that his family has asked him to step down as boss of the deal, but the mass confusion over what really has been happening this week behind closed door in Indianapolis has everyone wondering just what's up. mikemulhern.net
06/22/09
nassprint
4th Gibbs team?  Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs is still open to the idea of four Sprint Cup teams if the sponsorship can be found for 2010 by the end of the summer. “We can still plug in a fourth team,” Gibbs said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “The problem is from an economy standpoint. You can probably get a few [sponsors] to mix and match, but we don’t have a full fourth ready to go from a sponsor standpoint. We’re in no hurry. If we have to wait a year, that’s fine. You have got to have the right driver, the right core group and the right sponsor. But if that happened, we could do it pretty quick. I wouldn’t cross it off for next year but at the same time we’re not going to force it.” When asked if that fourth car could be Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick, Gibbs laughed. JGR uses IMG to help it find sponsors and Danica is represented by IMG. “I don’t know what she wants to do,” Gibbs said. “Does she want to still run what she’s running and dip her toe in the water, does she want to do the whole thing? … I think it would be great for the sport wherever she goes. I don’t think she would want to be part of a new fourth team here.” In addition to a fourth team, JGR also could become a vendor for other teams. JGR did not have a successful affiliate/vendor program with Hall of Fame Racing from 2006-2008, and Gibbs said if JGR did it in the future, it would be a closer relationship. Gibbs said the team management would have to decide whether such an arrangement would be simply for profit or help the organization run better. He also thinks that adding a fourth team would be more of a priority. SceneDaily
06/22/09
nassprint
RCR to scale back to two teams?  There is speculation that Chevy team owner Richard Childress may have to cut back to a two-car operation next season, if the Shell for Kevin Harvick and Jack Daniels for Casey Mears sponsorships are not renewed. Childress says he intends to have four Cup teams again next year, but conceded sponsorship issues remain to be resolved. Childress, through the Winston-Salem law firm Womble, Carlyle, has filed legal papers over what he says is GM's non-payment of a bill of $2,538,750. Childress insists he's not suing GM over its failure to make that payment due June 15th. That bill would apparently be a scheduled quarterly payment, part of a $10 million a year Chevrolet sponsorship for Childress' four-team operation. mikemulhern.net
06/22/09
f1
Patrick battling for USF1 drive  Danica Patrick is battling to secure a race drive with Team USF1 for 2010, as the outfit prepares for its first year in Formula 1.

The IndyCar Series racer faces plenty of competition for one of the two race drives with the new team, but she seems to be a strong position.

“We’re getting near to the point where we start looking at drivers, and Danica is on our list for sure, because she’s the best-placed American in the leading single-seater championship of the United States,” Team USF1’s sporting director, Peter Windsor, told GPWeek. “She’s doing a really great job. More ...

06/21/09
irl
IRL to extend Iowa deal  UPDATE Iowa Speedway and IndyCar Series executives announced that they are nearing completion of a two-year extension for the series to compete at Iowa Speedway.

STAN CLEMENT (Chief Executive Officer, Iowa Speedway): "Today is the third IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway. From the very beginning the Iowa Corn Indy 250 has been the premier event on our schedule. We have a record crowd this weekend, and all the additional seating in place is sold out. We are working to finalize a multi-year agreement. We continue to develop this event and are excited about its potential and feel great about the current agreement we're working on." (About Iowa's location): "The fans around here have always gone to the Indy 500. We just bring it closer to them with a different type of track."

JERRY JAURON (President and Chief Financial Officer, Iowa Speedway): "I want to thank the IndyCar Series for their commitment to Iowa Speedway. What excites me is when you look out there, Iowa Speedway is going to hopefully continue to be part of the exclusive racing venues that host the IndyCar Series. That will solidify Iowa Speedway as one of the top motorsports venues in the world. That's exciting. We have actually sold tickets to our race today in 24 states. I think that says a lot about Iowa Speedway and our future. We look forward to many years with the IndyCar Series." (About the success of the Speedway): "There are studies done around the country by different independent groups, and in the upper Midwest 70 percent of all people are race fans are out here. We are the heart of America and the heart of race country. The state of Iowa has 68 or 69 tracks alone, so I think it's built in the perfect spot. We're in open-wheel country. These drivers are going to average 180 mph, they're going to do laps in under 18 seconds. But beyond that, it's all about entertainment value. I believe Iowa Speedway has benefitted from the economy. People now are really scrutinizing where they're going to spend their entertainment dollars. When you can come out to Iowa Speedway on a season ticket basis on an average of $25 or $30 for the best seat in the house, you get world-class racing, you get nationally acclaimed concert acts, fireworks, tailgating, racing simulators, a midway like the state fair. You can't get that anywhere else in Iowa except here."

TERRY ANGSTADT (President of the Commercial Division, Indy Racing League): "We are very excited about being here. We're excited to be here every year. I think this year is even more special because of the opportunity to extend this into the future. When we show up from people at the airport, to people at the hotels, to fans in and around the grounds, you're made to feel very welcome, and that doesn't happen in every market. We love the configuration, the distance of the track. It works so well for us. It works for us on every level."

06/21/09 Iowa Speedway and the IRL are expected to announce a new "multi-year" deal today before the green flag drops.
06/21/09
f1
BBC could cancel F1 contract  Lawyers from BBC and Europe's other major broadcasters were last night studying their contracts with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management.

And a BBC insider admitted: "There are a lot of nerves over the threat of a breakaway. Who is going to want to watch drivers for Campos or Manor when Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are racing elsewhere?"

The BBC is in the first year of its deal but Sport of the World understands they have NO get-out clause if the likes of Ferrari, Button's Brawn GP team or Hamilton's McLaren outfit quit F 1.

But Sky TV in Italy is understood to have it written into their contract that Ferrari MUST be part of the championship.

The rebels - under the Formula One Teams Association umbrella - have been contacted by several circuits about plans to host races.

06/21/09
f1
Virgin to drop sponsorship of Brawn  UPDATE Meanwhile, the flamboyant British billionaire curiously blamed the "strong personalities" involved in F1 for its current political crisis, and offered to play a role to solve it.

"I think that certain of those personalities on both sides need to know the art of compromise and sense needs to prevail," Branson said.  "If I can do anything to help I'd certainly be interested in doing so."

06/21/09 Virgin boss Richard Branson on Sunday revealed that he does not plan to continue his sponsorship of the Brawn GP team next year because it would be too expensive to compete in the drunken sailor spending breakaway series that Brawn GP has aligned with where the top teams spend over $400M per year.

Virgin stepped in as a key sponsor for Brawn as they scrambled to get the team off the ground immediately before the start of the season.

At that stage, no one expected Jenson Button to be the runaway leader of the Drivers' Championship and for Brawn to be heading the Constructors' table.  But that runaway success will change the equation significantly for next year, and Branson admits the numbers will no longer add up.

"We got in when it was very cheap and it's been great for us with global coverage, but I suspect next year the price will be astronomical and we may have to look somewhere else with a smaller team," he told Radio Five Live's Sportsweek.

"We at Virgin have most likely got the mileage we needed from it. "Their value has gone from next to nothing to £50million a year and we're delighted for them and we'll have had a fantastic year with them."

06/21/09
f1
FIA could run breakaway series  (GMM)  In an odd twist to F1's political crisis, Ross Brawn on Sunday indicated that FOTA may demand that the FIA acts as the regulatory body for the breakaway championship.

Although the eight rebel teams are weary of Max Mosley and want to split with the Paris federation, Brawn said FOTA may ironically call upon the FIA to stand over the non rule-making elements of their own series.

"I think the agreement with the European Commission is that the FIA has to offer to do that (for) any competitive series that wants to set up," said the Brawn GP chief.

"If you want, the FIA can run the series for you.  They can provide the stewards, the scrutineers and things of that nature.  So, that is available if FOTA wants to take it up," he added. More ...

06/21/09
nassprint
scca
GM racing support coming to grinding halt?  We spoke to a few teams that run production based GM products at the June Sprints at Road America yesterday and they reported that GM quit returning their phone calls for technical support a few months back and that "test" parts stopped before the season started.
06/21/09
irl
Rain threatens Iowa IndyCar race  Cloudy with numerous thunderstorms in the morning...Then partly sunny with scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. High in the mid 80s. South wind 10 to 15 mph with gusts to around 25 mph. Chance of thunderstorms 70 percent.
06/21/09
irl
IRL to add passing system to IndyCars  A power enhancer similar to the push-to-pass device used on the turbocharged engines in the Champ Car World Series has been offered to the Indy Racing League by Honda. The system has been tested at several tracks, most recently last week by Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan at Chicagoland Speedway. Dixon said it added 5 horsepower and 200 rpms at Chicagoland, laughable compared to Champ Cars 50 HP boost.

"It works," said Dixon, the reigning series champion, Saturday at Iowa Speedway, site of today's Iowa Corn Indy 250. "It makes a half mile per hour per lap at Chicagoland."  Yes, but 5 HP will not be enough to make the pass so they are wasting their time.

"It's not a game changer, but it would be a help, no question about it," he said. "I don't know how you put a value on it, but entertainment is a big part of what we do, and that's what we're lacking at the moment.    The people in the grandstand need to feel they've gotten their value back."

A Honda official said this device added a 5-mph burst during a test at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of next week's race.  Champ Cars 50 HP increase on ovals led to some additional passing, but not that much more.  5 HP? Don't hold your breath as the driver being passed will just push his button too.

06/21/09
irl
Foyt to add 2nd car if Meira returns  A.J. Foyt Racing could be a two-car team later in the season if Vitor Meira, who crashed in the Indianapolis 500, returns from his injuries sooner than expected.

Doctors have told Meira, who is recuperating in Miami, that his two fractured vertebrae will require four to six months of recovery because he did not have surgery. That puts him in the window for returning at IndyCar's season-ending race Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A.J. Foyt's team has committed to fielding Ryan Hunter-Reay for the rest of the season, but team manager Larry Foyt said Meira will be brought back when he's ready.

"We'll run two cars in that case," Foyt said. "We know Vitor is progressing really well, so we'll be ready for him when the time comes." Indy Car

06/21/09
f1
Donington to pull plug amid breakaway  (GMM)  Donington would consider cancelling its contract to host the next 17 British grands prix if the major teams break away, the Leicestershire circuit's boss Simon Gillet has warned.

He told BBC radio that the FOTA split would make it even harder for him to secure the necessary funding for the project, which is scheduled to host its first formula one race next summer.

Gillett said the situation is already causing "a little bit of a slowdown" in the search for investment.

He suggested that the contract with Ecclestone would allow him to pull the plug if the major teams are missing.

"There are elements that certain things have to arrive on my grid, and if they don't I can have a discussion with Bernie," he said.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone performed a u-turn on Saturday by suggesting that if Donington is not ready for next year's grand prix, Silverstone will be.

Gillett also revealed that his funding plans will not be announced until next month, and that the sale of tickets has been postponed until August amid the sport's current political crisis.

"We'll make sure what we sell is what we can deliver," he insisted.

06/20/09
f1
Ecclestone to sue Ferrari, other FOTA teams  UPDATE #4 In a letter sent to Ferrari on 8th June the FIA said: “Ferrari... has already breached its agreement with the FIA by threatening to withdraw from the Championship. The instability that this has caused continues to give rise to damage.” On Friday it announced legal proceedings were under way.

Ferrari’s response is that it has “no contractual obligation” to remain in F1. The car company says that it has an agreement with FOTA to extend the Concorde, and to stay in F1 until the end of 2012 but this is conditional on the FIA accepting the extension which it claims it has not done.

CVC has a lot to lose from a split. It got $2.1bn in debt from Royal Bank of Scotland to buy FOTA in 2006 and its annual interest payments now come to $260m. The sport’s running costs are around $300m annually so if it fails to make $560m in revenues it will not be able to meet its liabilities. More ...
06/20/09
nassprint
GM stops writing checks in NASCAR?  Richard Childress, a General Motors supported NASCAR team owner for 40 years now, says times are tough and his meeting with GM executives Wednesday showed it's time for his four Sprint Cup teams to tighten the belts.  But Childress declined to offer any specifics about what cuts GM might have proposed or made, calling that "personal business."

Childress said at the moment he expected to have four Cup teams again in 2010. "But who knows what will happen," Childress added. "There are a lot of things moving forward.

"I look around the garage and other companies have made cutbacks too."

Did Childress get his June 15th payment, apparently about $2.5 million, from General Motors? Childress declined to answer: "That's personal…I didn't ask you if you got your paycheck this week."

Just what is really going on here? Nobody with GM or its teams really seems to know.

"I don't really know what all is going to happen," Childress concedes.  "We're going to have make cuts. We don't really know what all we will have to do. More ...
06/20/09
f1
Breakaway series could doom several F1 venues  If marquee names like Ferrari carry out their threat and pull out of the Formula One championship to form a rival series, Singapore will probably not be able to host a leg of the new race just yet.  It is understood that the Republic's five-year deal with F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, which runs out in 2012, has a clause that prohibits this. Other cities on the 17-race calendar, such as Melbourne, are believed to be bound by similar clauses.
06/20/09
f1
Abu Dhabi to host 'breakaway' race  (GMM)  Another circuit has put its name forward as a potential venue for a round of FOTA's breakaway world championship.

Far from worrying about the major F1 teams' war with the governing FIA, the boss of the new Abu Dhabi track sees the situation as a potential opportunity to host a second major annual event at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The purpose-built track is due to host its inaugural grand prix in November.

"This (the crisis) won't affect Yas," Richard Cregan, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, told the local newspaper The National.

"We might have two races in the future.  We will never not consider any kind of an event.  In the case of that (a breakaway series) we will look at that event the same as any other," he added.

06/20/09
nassprint
How much does GM pay to NASCAR teams?  While no one is saying how much General Motors is cutting its financial support from teams, at least one court document puts a price tag on it. Try $2,538,750. And that's to one Cup team. A court document shows that GM was to have paid RCR Enterprises, LLC (i.e. Richard Childress Racing) that amount on June 15. Childress spoke Friday at Infineon Raceway about the GM situation. Asked if he received his June 15 payment from GM, Childress said: "That's kind of personal. I didn't ask you if you got your paycheck this week.'' If nothing else, that gives you a sense of some of the money that's out there and involved in this sport. Childress would not reveal what kind of cutbacks GM is making with his team. Asked if he would have to lay anyone off, Childress said: "I don't know really what all is going to happen. We're going to have to make cuts like everybody in the sport or in business. We don't want to cut performance. For sure, we're not going to cut performance. We'll cut a lot of other things before that.'' Virginian-Pilot
06/20/09
f1
McLaren eyes British Airways as sponsor  UPDATE In a desperate move to try to recover from their worst annual loss of over $600m this fiscal year, British Airways has asked its 40,000 or so employees to help battle the “tough market conditions” by working for free. Coming on the heels of a 2,000 employee job slicing British Airways will ask employees to either take a 1-4 week unpaid leave, or come to work for no pay during that time span. British Airways CEO Willie Walsh (left) took the “initiative” and said he would renounce his salary for the month of July.

But don’t expect such a heroic move to be taken as so, as Big Willie makes more in a month than most British Airways employees make in a year! Willie Walsh makes £735,000+ per year, or £61,000 per month. A basic salary, just for reference, at British Airways is £11,000 yearly.

06/20/09 (GMM)  McLaren is reportedly in talks with British Airways about a sponsorship for 2010.

The business publication Domain-B said the airline's negotiations are being handled personally by its CEO Willie Walsh.

Woking based McLaren-Mercedes was sponsored by the Dubai airline Emirates in 2006.

06/20/09
irl
Record crowd expected for Iowa  The race for the record crowd at Iowa Speedway is officially over. Iowa Speedway president Jerry Jauron said in a press release today the track will exceed attendance of 40,000 for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 — topping the mark of 39,271 set last season.

Tickets are still available for the races today and Saturday — the Kellogg’s Klash USAC Midget Series event at 8:10 tonight and the Firestone Indy Lights Miller Lite 100 at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Limited infield grandstand seating and standing room only is available for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, which starts at 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday, and will be shown live on ABC.

06/20/09
nassprint
Stewart to expand team to 3 cars?  Tony Stewart is off to such a strong first season as a team owner, he's already open to expansion.  The Sprint Cup Series points leader said Friday he'd consider adding a third team to Stewart-Haas Racing next year if the right combination was available. Although he promised his team not to expand too quickly, their success so far this season has made him consider his options.

"I wanted to make sure we had two cars that were competitive and had a chance to win a championship," he said Friday at Infineon Raceway. "I'm proud of the fact that I think we're at that point. So if the right situation came along, we would entertain it."

06/19/09
f1
Mosley expects Silverstone to keep GP  (GMM)  Max Mosley on Friday said he expects the British grand prix to remain at Silverstone beyond this weekend's event.

The race is due to switch to Donington next year, and even if the alternate venue is not ready, eternal Silverstone critic and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone insists the series is not going to return to Northamptonshire.

But FIA president Mosley told the BBC at Silverstone: "I think the chance of there not being a British grand prix next year is very small, and my personal view - and it's not for me to decide - is that it is highly probable it will be at Silverstone."

The formula one circus is ruing the fact that Sunday may be the last F1 race at popular Silverstone, which hosted the first ever modern world championship event in 1950.

But former driver Mark Blundell raises the prospect that, amid the specter of a breakaway series, "this time next year we might have two top motor sport events in this country". More ...

06/19/09
nnw
Pony cars to Nationwide Series  Fox Sports is reporting that Ford and Chrysler plan to introduce Mustang- and Challenger -bodied racers into the Nationwide series next year.

The new designs are due to be submitted for approval on June 26, and the 2010 NASCAR competitors are reportedly going to be visually closer to stock than anything we've seen since the new "aero-matched" cars began rolling out earlier this decade. Unfortunately, the new Mustang and Challenger cars will still be far removed from their stock siblings, and General Motors has apparently decided not to join its domestic rivals and produce a Camaro shell. Both GM and Toyota will reportedly run their current Impala and Camry.

The Nationwide Car of Tomorrow will probably be like the Sprint Cup COT in that the cars are all identical with just front nose decals making them look a bit like the real car.....a very small bit.

06/19/09
f1
Perhaps Bernie can solve F1 crisis  (GMM)  Christian Horner on Friday morning said F1's so-called 'supremo' and chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is working hard to solve the political crisis.

Although FOTA's breakaway statement overnight indicated that negotiations with the ruling bodies have ended, Horner - boss of the FOTA member Red Bull Racing - indicated that the situation is still evolving in the Silverstone paddock.

Indeed, FIA president Max Mosley arrived at the Northamptonshire venue at the beginning of Friday practice, and rapidly decamped to Ecclestone's motor home and 30 minutes later had not emerged.

"Bernie is in a situation where his key assets are saying they can't enter.  If anybody can deliver a solution to all this, I think he's about the only man who can," Horner told the BBC.

"But it isn't forthcoming at the moment," he added.

It is also clear that the political games are still being played, with rumors that Prodrive, N.Technology and Lola are being courted by FOTA to enter the alternative series.

The latter two prospective FIA entries have already withdrawn their 2010 applications, a day before the governing body publishes its definitive entry list.

One solution being mentioned in the Silverstone paddock is that the FIA World Motor Sport Council could vote to expel Mosley and then rescue the situation by bowing to FOTA's demands.

"It has become very serious," former team owner Eddie Jordan admitted at the circuit, "and heads will roll before this sorts itself out."

06/18/09
f1
Dave Ryan and Ferrari  (GMM)  Dave Ryan, McLaren's former sporting director, was seen entering Ferrari's motor home at the Silverstone circuit on Thursday.

The 55-year-old New Zealander, a long-serving McLaren member since the 1970s, was sacked by the British team earlier this year after telling Lewis Hamilton to lie to race stewards in Australia and Malaysia.

06/18/09
irl
nnw
Stanton Barrett back to NASCAR?  Stanton Barrett is listed in the #41 entry for the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Milwaukee this weekend, as the IndyCar Series heads to Iowa. The last time Barrett was in an Indy Car was at Milwaukee, when the #98 wrecked during practice.  Jaques Lazier was in the #98 for Texas and again in Iowa this weekend.  Barrett may have decided IndyCars are too hard for him.
06/18/09
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Hendrick team to lose two key sponsors  We've been hearing for months that sponsors, including those at top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, won't fully commit past this season. Team owner Rick Hendrick made that clearer on Sunday when he indicated that Kellogg's and Carquest may not return in their full capacity in 2010. "Our sponsors are coming back," Hendrick said after Martin won at Michigan.

"We don't know to what extent. That's the question. As you go along with this economy companies are taking longer to get their budgets in line. They're not a year out, or not even eight months like they have been in the past. We're in good shape. We have a lot of sponsors inside our company that we're talking about, you know, splitting up the car. So look for the guys that are on it to be back, but there will probably be someone new along there with them." That not only goes for the #5, but the #24 of Jeff Gordon and #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could have more partners next season. Jimmie Johnson and Lowe's appear solid on the #48. The same sort of restructuring is going on at other organizations such as Roush, which is trying to find multiple partners to lessen the load of DeWalt [of #17 Matt Kenseth]. ESPN Insider
06/18/09
f1
Dispute to cause two carmakers to leave F1  (GMM)  According to the latest rumor, the current political crisis in formula one could result in the loss of two manufacturer-backed teams.

With this week's negotiations not yet resulting in a compromise being found, it seems likely that the Friday deadline is in danger of passing.

If five teams do not sign and return letters that are being sent to them individually by the FIA, they will be deleted from the 2010 entry list and therefore locked off the grid for 2010.

It is suggested that the barred teams could later buy one of the smaller new entries and therefore ultimately race next year, but the latest rumor is that the teams' alliance FOTA is likely nearing its last days.

A breakaway world championship is being dismissed by astute observers as nothing more than a threat, meaning that only those who do not intend to race in a premier open-wheel category in 2010 will let the Friday deadline pass without signing up. More ...

06/17/09
f1
Rumors of tension between Red Bull duo  (GMM)  If recent rumors are to be believed, an increasing tension has crept into the relationship between Red Bull Racing's teammates.

With the exception of the Brawn duo, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber occupy the best car in the 2009 field, and their battle for third in the drivers' title is separated by just 1.5 points.

After finishing behind his more experienced teammate in Turkey two weeks ago, Vettel was clearly unhappy that his championship charge had been road-blocked by the 32-year-old Australian.

"I don't think there is tension between Mark and Sebastian," David Coulthard, Webber's teammate last year and now a consultant to the Milton Keynes-based team, said.

The Scot, speaking from Lima, Peru, where he demonstrated an F1 car, said inter-team rivalry is just a normal part of the sport. More ...

06/16/09
irl
Sisters cut off George's money supply  According to SPEEDTV.com, word is that Tony George wanted in the neighborhood of $750,000 from the IRL/IMS coffers to run Ryan Hunter-Reay the rest of 2009 and was, ostensibly, denied by his sisters who comprise three of the six votes on the IMS board.

And that would support the assumption that while Mari Hulman George's son still retains the title of IMS president, he no longer controls the checkbook, as SPEED reported late last month.

Now Tony admittedly helped support many IRL teams financially during the past 13 years and still does with the TEAM money, so the irony of this RHR deal should not be lost.

The IRL founder, who spent millions on teams, drivers, purses, promotions, and marketing since 1996, went to the well one more time and came up dry. So he had no choice but to shut down his second car.

This of course also supports the statement made by Tony George that if the IRL isn't profitable by 2013, there will no longer be an IRL.  Of course the highly successful CART could then take back over and return IndyCar racing to its rightful place in the racing world.  Oops, no they can't, someone worked hard to destroy CART.  So what now open wheel fans?

06/16/09
irl
nassprint
Danica Patrick could pump $50M per year into NASCAR  UPDATE #2 Based on her comments in this interview, Danica Patrick has no interest in going to NASCAR unless it is with Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing or perhaps the JGR Toyota team.  We predicted all along that she will remain in IndyCars, and we stick by that notion.

06/15/09 Danica Patrick will be in NASCAR next season. If NASCAR executives can pull it off. George Pyne -- the former NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, and thus one of the top officials in stock car racing, and now head of IMG sports and entertainment, the high-buck talent marketing agency – and key NASCAR executives are together working the entire Sprint Cup garage trying to put together a package for Patrick to run NASCAR next season. Finding sponsorship is quite likely not the big issue, as hot a property as Danica Patrick is. mikemulhern.net

06/10/09 NASCAR might just have an answer to the soft economy that's hurting TV ratings, live attendance, and sponsor recruitment: Danica Patrick. Arguably one of the best-known drivers in the world -- despite having won just one race -- Ms. Patrick is allowed to begin negotiations this week on a new contract with IndyCar team owners, and the racing rumor mill is churning that she is seriously contemplating a switch from open-wheel to stock-car racing in NASCAR.

Ripple effect
What would it mean to NASCAR to have Ms. Patrick line up each week with the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, current three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and a host of other well-known drivers and personalities? Well, some sports pundits believe it could bring in $50 million in fresh sponsorship money, not to mention the ripple effect her popularity would have on TV ratings and at-track attendance.

"I guarantee this is what will happen if Danica Patrick jumps to NASCAR," a sports marketing executive who does business with the racing league told AdAge.com. "One, every TV rating for every race will increase from the year before as new fans and old tune it to see if she wins, crashes or pitches a fit and gets into fights on pit road like she does now. Two, track attendance will go up. Three, even though NASCAR has a pretty loyal and wide-open fan base now among women, it will skyrocket if she's driving every week. And four, I guarantee it will bring in $50 million in new sponsors annually of marketers looking to activate around her, whether it's [sponsorship] on the car or off the track." More ...

06/16/09
Automotive
Volvo to buy Saab  UPDATE Saab Automobile, General Motors Corp.'s struggling Swedish unit known for its family cars, was rescued Tuesday by a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive AB, a tiny luxury carmaker which produces only a dozen custom-made models a year.

GM said in a memorandum of understanding that the sale would include an expected $600 million funding commitment from the European Investment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government. Additional funding for Saab's operations and investments would be provided by GM and Koenigsegg Group AB, it said.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter and is subject to regulatory approvals by authorities.

"This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM and its European operations," GM Europe President, Carl-Peter Forster, said in a statement. "Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company," he said, adding "Koenigsegg Group's unique combination of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and financial strength, combined with Koenigsegg's proven ability to create world-class Swedish performance cars in a highly efficient manner, made it the right choice for Saab as well as for General Motors." More ...

06/16/09
f1
Raikkonen puts the screws to Ferrari  Word on the street is that Kimi Raikkonen said no to Ferrari's offer to buy out his contract so they can replace him with Fernando Alonso.  According to sources, Ferrari signed a right of first refusal deal with Alonso for 2009 and in 2010 with the intent of ridding themselves of Raikkonen.  Supposedly Ferrari will now have to pay Alonso's full salary of $30M in 2010 only to see him drive for a rival team.

If these rumors are true, look for Ferrari to start giving Massa better equipment, thereby making Raikkonen look inferior.  If he is costing Ferrari $30M they may as well destroy his career in return so when he moves to a rival team in 2011 it's a backmarker and Ferrari secrets don't fall in the hands of its chief rivals.
06/15/09
nassprint
"Sportier" COT on the way?  Manufacturers reportedly poured more than a half-billion dollars into the sport last year through factory and technical support to the teams, track support, vehicle programs and advertising. Yet NASCAR turned its back on Detroit with each generation of its race car as it morphed further away from what was on the showroom floor. Yes, the new Sprint Cup car has proved to be safer. After the initial blow of scrapping entire fleets of the old car, the new model will be more cost efficient. The level of competition with the new car — at tracks other than intermediate and two-mile venues — has picked up considerably. But the majority of core NASCAR fans have never embraced this car. The evidence of their displeasure can be measured in the dramatic drop in attendance, souvenir sales and television ratings, all of which started long before the economy tanked. Now NASCAR is feeling a similar pain in its pocketbook. And the sanctioning body is responding by offering an olive branch in the form of a sleeker, sexy race car to entice the fans back to the stands. A car, which will hopefully revive the "Win on Sunday, buy on Monday" mentality with fans so automakers and sponsors can continue to enjoy a return on investment in the sport. Rather than admitting their mistake in the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR will begin filtering elements of the Nationwide cars back to the Cup model. The cockpit is expected to remain the same to maintain the integrity of the safer vehicle but the car will take on a sportier appearance. FoxSports
06/15/09
irl
Penske gets sponsor for 3rd car  UPDATE We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong' today.  Roger Penske says his IndyCar team will field a car for Will Power in five more races this season.  Power drove a third car for Penske as a teammate to Ryan Briscoe and Castroneves at Long Beach (finishing second) and Indianapolis (fifth).

Speaking before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (where he spotted from the roof), Penske said the team was looking at some road and street courses for Power over the final 11 races of the IndyCar season.

Team Penske spokesman Merrill Cain said the organization wasn't ready to announce which races Power would run. USA Today

06/14/09 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Team Penske may have landed You Tube as a sponsor of their 3rd IndyCar for Will Power.  Power's last race was thought to be the Indy 500 because of lack of sponsorship.
06/15/09
f1
New rumor links Coca-Cola with F1  (GMM)  New rumors have arisen linking Coca-Cola with a sponsorship foray in formula one.

Muhtar Kent, who became president and CEO of the world's largest drinks company last year, attended the recent Turkish grand prix and was a VIP guest in the paddock.

It is believed that Kent, who was born and is based in America but with Turkish ancestry, is a formula one fan.

Coke has never sponsored a formula one team, but in 2005 rumors surfaced that the company was interested in title sponsorship of the entire world championship.

Marketing boss Philipp Bodzenta denied the reports at the time, but added that it "is not to say that we can never hold a conversation in the future".

06/14/09
nassprint
Michigan NASCAR race looking at dismal attendance  UPDATE #2 "A roughly 20 percent drop in MIS ticket sales this year — on top of the 15 percent drop from 2007 to 2008 — is a far cry from the sellouts of years past, but it's not surprising given the economy. Even the fans who make it out to MIS this weekend are bringing thriftier attitudes to accompany their love, loyalty and need for speed." Michigan Live

06/12/09 Rumor has it there are as many as 100,000 unsold tickets for this year's Allstate 400 at Indy, just underscoring the huge drop in popularity of NASCAR.

06/12/09 According to the Detroit News, the MIS NASCAR race ticket sales are down 20-25 percent, despite MIS reducing ticket prices 25 percent and children 12-and-younger will be admitted free.  This for a race that sold out for many many consecutive years.

What is interesting to note - if fans cannot afford to attend the races in person due to the economic downturn, one would think that TV ratings would be up because fans would stay home and watch races on TV for free.  The fact that both are down significantly tells us that after years of oversaturation of NASCAR everywhere you turn, fans are losing interest in it.
06/13/09
f1
Pantano to drive for Campos F1 team?  
Giorgio Pantano has his sights set on Formula 1
Reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano says he would be keen to renew his relationship with the Campos team in Formula 1 now that Adrian Campos’ organization has been granted a 2010 entry.

“There is nothing that we can say at the moment, just that we have had a good relationship, myself and [Adrian Campos], and also that we had a great time together,” Pantano told AUTOSPORT.

“We’ve had a good announcement from the FIA and I am happy for him and the people working for him because they are wonderful. Now we’ll see if there is a chance for me there.”

“I think Campos will do a very good job as they have Dallara building the car,” Pantano said. “It is good to have another racing manufacturer come in, and Dallara is the best man to do it.

“We’ll wait and see what happens, but I think that I won’t have to wait a long time to find out what happens for me.”

“I think you have to be honest. Jenson [Button] is my age, Jenson was racing with me in go-karts, and he is now doing the job,” said Pantano.

“[Fernando] Alonso was racing with me, he’s just one or two years younger than me. [Sebastien] Bourdais is similar to my age, I think he’s one year older. Kimi [Raikkonen] is around my age.

“They are not too old, but I realize that if I am going to do the step and jump into Formula 1 then I need to do it soon. I don’t have time to wait. I have enough experience now; I need to do the job soon.

“My dream is Formula 1 or IndyCar, they are the first series that I want to be involved in. I don’t want to race in other categories, my focus is on them, and otherwise I’ll think about changing my job if there isn’t something good. I have to look at my future now.”

06/13/09
nassprint
Cup races for Steve Wallace in 2010?  Rusty Wallace Racing’s plans to move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 are on hold, as Wallace said Friday at Kentucky Speedway that his two-car team will remain in the Nationwide Series next year. “My goal is still to get in Cup, but not now. Too much weird [stuff] is happening with this economy. Our Nationwide cars are funded real well. I’m happy with that. It’d be too much for me to bite off [to move to Cup].” Wallace said he is working on a deal to get son Steve as many as 10 Sprint Cup races next season, pending sponsorship. “There’s a good chance I can pull that off,” Wallace said. “Then I’d want to partner with an existing Cup team that already has points. Maybe they could run 26 and we could run 10.” Scene Daily
06/13/09
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Red Bull to Chevy?  It is very possible that Brian Vickers, winner of the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, could be behind the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Chevy next season. Yes, Chevy. Over the last three years, the Red Bull program has worked to gain speed but has experienced some reliability issues with the Toyota Racing Development engines. Red Bull's contract with Toyota is up at the end of this season. And although General Motors likely cannot afford to support additional teams at this time, Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns race teams in both NASCAR and Formula One, could certainly afford to take on the role as Chevy parts customer. If Red Bull Racing was to make the switch to Chevy engines, Hendrick Motorsports would be the logical choice of vendor. Given Jay Frye's relationship with HMS, most recently during the management of Ginn Racing and MB2 Motorsports prior to that, there's a familiarity as a technical customer. FoxSports
06/12/09
f1
Manufacturers to join FOTA teams in pounding sand in 2010 and beyond  The European Automobile Manufacturer's Association (ACEA) has decided to throw its full weight behind the 'rebel' teams and risk being out of F1 and pounding sand with the FOTA teams they support in 2010 and beyond.  There will always be one F1.  If the FOTA teams really think they can start up a new series when the FIA and Bernie control the naming rights for F1, and have contracts with all the best circuits as well as massive TV contracts, they are dumber then we first thought.

On the table are Max Mosley's controversial €45 million (US $62m) budget cap (excluding certain salaries and marketing expenses), an amended Concorde Agreement offering an increased portion of F1's revenues to the teams, and a greater role for the teams in the governance of the sport.

"Today, the members of the Board of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association discussed the current situation prevailing in Formula One, and have concluded that the current governance system cannot continue," the ACEA press release begins.

"ACEA has come to the conclusion that the FIA needs a modernized and transparent governance system and processes, including the revision of its constitution, to ensure the voice of its members, worldwide motorsport competitors and motorists are properly reflected." More ...

06/12/09
irl
Tracy to land ride at Watkins Glen  Paul Tracy says he’s close to a deal with KV Racing to compete in July’s IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen.

Tracy, who competed last month for KV at the Indy 500, told RACER.com: “Jimmy [Vasser, KV co-owner] said he wanted me to have some preparation for the two Canadian races I’m running for him later that month, and with the Honda engine lease being a three-race deal, it sort of makes economic sense to run a third race beforehand. I’d say we were 95 percent of the way to making it happen.

“Watkins Glen is one of the races being shown on ABC, so the higher ratings [over Versus] helps to make that kind of deal more attractive to sponsors.” More ...

06/12/09
f1
Silverstone would host breakaway race  
Damon Hill
(GMM)  Damon Hill has hinted that departing British GP venue Silverstone could side against formula one if the series splits and a breakaway championship is formed.

The Northamptonshire venue is preparing to host its final grand prix next weekend, after Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA awarded rival Donington Park the hosting rights from 2010 until 2027.

A sell-out crowd is expected at Silverstone this weekend, it is loved by fans and drivers alike, but track-owner the BRDC's president Hill told the Press Association that it could not compete with the fees and facilities offered by government-subsidized venues.

"The reason is simply because I am not king and this isn't my country," said the 1996 world champion.  "My belief is that it is the ambition of formula one to be funded by governments wherever it goes, to have state funding. More ...

06/11/09
f1
FOTA Split to destroy F1 as it did IndyCar  Former World Champion Damon Hill has pleaded for Formula 1 powerbrokers to reach a solution to the current crisis and avoid the prospect of a breakaway series.

Hill believes any moves to form a rival elite category could ultimately prove damaging, citing the fate of open wheel racing in North America following 1996’s CART/Indy Car split.

After Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George launched the Indy Racing League to compete with Champ Car, interest in open wheel racing plummeted as confusion arose over which series could lay claim to be the premier category in the country.

While the decade long battle for supremacy has finally reached an end following the merger of the IRL and Champ Car, the situation allowed NASCAR to capitalize on the disarray and cement its status as the most popular form of motorsport in the continent. More ...

06/10/09
irl
Danica Patrick not going to F1 or NASCAR  UPDATE #2 As predicted by AR1 about 10 times in the past 6 months, the rumors of Danica Patrick going to NASCAR are just the wet dream of many journalists who cover NASCAR.  Somehow they think every driver aspires to be in NASCAR.  Not so with most open wheel drivers and especially Danica Patrick who would get eaten alive in NASCAR.  To substantiate our prediction from months ago, SPEEDTV.com is rumoring that Chip Ganassi is negotiating to put Patrick in a third Ganassi car next year alongside Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti.  While that will improve her chances of winning, fact be told that Dixon and Franchitti will beat her regularly.

05/11/09 Every couple of years, when her contract comes up, the talk of IndyCar sensation Danica Patrick ("that girl who drives IndyCars" to the non-racing fan) looking to come over to NASCAR from IndyCar racing is brought up. Her deal expires at the end of the 2009 season, so the talk has returned.

The major racing media eats it up and hypes it … It’s a match made in heaven to them – the most famous female driver in the world in the most popular racing series in America.

And Patrick stokes the fires, saying things like this:
"I'm very flattered everyone is curious," Patrick was quoted as saying in a New York Times story. "It's interesting to me as well. Do I stay where I am? Do I try to change? It's all about evaluating options, and I think that's something any good business person does. One of the things I think of is the exposure level that you get in NASCAR with the ratings and viewership. Their numbers are so much larger than ours and with that comes a bigger following, comes more popularity, comes more demand for you to endorse other products. So I think it would be an exponential sort of growth." More ...

06/10/09
f1
Ferrari using STR to test engines?  UPDATE Toro Rosso have strenuously denied that they are being forced to test old engines in Friday practice sessions by their engine supplier Ferrari. A report appeared in the German publication Auto Motor und Sport today claiming that Ferrari were using Toro Rosso as a B-team to test the longevity of their V8 powerplants, a claim dismissed by the Faenza-based squad.

Suspicion was aroused when both Toro Rossos appeared at the bottom of the speed trap readings in the Turkish Grand Prix Friday practice sessions at the weekend, before gaining 5 km/h when race engines were fitted on Saturday morning.

When contacted by Manipe F1, a Toro Rosso spokesperson explained that it is the team's decision to run with whatever engines they see fit. With a limit of eight engines per driver per season, all teams are being forced to test their engine mileage to the limit, especially in Friday practice.

“You've got a certain number of engines [per season] - you do what you have to do, bringing an engine to the end of their life before changing it,” the spokesperson told Manipe F1. “The engineers have got their plans, their program. They decide everything together.

“At the end of the day, you can have your reasons to use an engine until the very last possible kilometer, and you just do it.” More ...

06/10/09
irl
Alex Lloyd to leave Ganassi Racing  Alex Lloyd said he is going to be leaving Ganassi Racing and become a free agent as he is tired of sitting around waiting for a full-time ride.
06/09/09
nassprint
Carpentier in the #55 for road course?  Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Patrick Carpentier will drive the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry in the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. “There are so many great road course racers competing in Sonoma this year, and as the owner and driver of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, I am in a unique position,” said Waltrip who has two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his NASCAR Sprint Cup road racing career. “If I see where I can improve my car’s performance then that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am a good road racer, but Patrick is a great road racer. I love being an owner and I want to get another win for NAPA. It will feel just as good if I get the victory for NAPA or watching from the pit box with Patrick driving the car. I appreciate NAPA allowing me to make these kind of personnel moves when I feel it is best for the team.” More ...
06/08/09
automotive
Ferrari looks at turbo and hybrid for cars  After months of internet rumors, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa today reiterated Ferrari's direction in powertrain development, hinting more strongly than ever that a hybrid concept is in the works. Felisa said that in order to meet stringent 2014 European emissions regulations, Ferrari is looking at three solutions beyond those offered by the company's current V-8 and V-12 lineup. Felisa first noted that Ferrari is exploring turbocharging, but insisted that the engines would "still have that high-revving Ferrari feeling." Biofuel, a current hot topic among European politicians, is also being explored behind the gray Maranello gates. Felisa said, "The ECU in the California can already adapt to E85, so the know-how is there." Finally, and perhaps most interesting, Felisa hinted that a hybrid Ferrari concept will make its debut soon. "Not at Frankfurt," he said, "but shortly thereafter, probably at an American show." Our money's on the Los Angeles show in December. Car and Driver
06/08/09
f1
FOTA looks to MotoGP for 2010 breakaway  (GMM) Carmelo Ezpeleta could be the figure FOTA turns to if the major formula one teams decide to quit formula one at the end of the year, according to the Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS.

He is the CEO of Madrid based Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of F1's two-wheeled equivalent MotoGP.

Dorna was bought by CVC, F1's current owner, in 1998 but is now controlled by its management.

It has been credited with transferring the rule-making power of the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) to the GP Manufacturers Association (MSMA).

The newspaper said FOTA has already had contact with Ezpeleta, who would be reportedly willing to take command of a breakaway.
06/07/09
nassprint
Carpentier in the #55 for road courses?  Jayski rumors that Patrick Carpentier will drive the #55 NAPA Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at the two road courses: Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen. Of course he is also driving in the Montreal Nationwide race.
06/06/09
f1
Piquet's days numbered  (GMM)  Even before Nelson Piquet beached his Renault in the gravel during 'Q1' on Saturday, speculation that his seat is still in danger was floating around the Istanbul paddock.

The latest rumor is that the Brazilian has been given until next month's Hungarian grand prix, to be staged the day after his 24th birthday, to prove he should remain Fernando Alonso's teammate for the rest of 2009.

Alonso has scored all of Renault's 11 points so far this season, but in Turkey Piquet vowed not to let the negativity get him down.

"Criticism is going to be around my whole life, so it's nothing that bothers me; it won't make me go quicker or slower," said Piquet, whose famous father and namesake won three world championships and 23 grands prix. More ...

06/06/09
nassprint
Changes coming to improve the Car of Tomorrow?  Drivers says NASCAR officials are telling them now changes are coming with controversial Car of Tomorrow, but no one seems to know what NASCAR might do, or when. "I think they're going to go look into the engines -- to maybe reduce horsepower," Denny Hamlin says. "Maybe do something to the cars…but it's tough to say whether they're going to add downforce or take it all away. But I think they are going to make changes to the car. And I think it's going to be after a lot of meetings with team engineers and finding out what we need to do to make them better."

Two of the biggest problems with the new COT is --- that it doesn't want to turn in the corners, so teams are doing really far-out things with the chassis to help it turn (once reason apparently for some of the Dover tire issues); and that it has such a high center-of-gravity and so much right-side weight that it eats up right-side tires.

Kyle Busch says "I'd like to see NASCAR do something to help these cars – either by taking 100 pounds out of these cars, or taking some right-side weight out. We've all gotten smarter in building these cars, and now we all have maybe 200 pounds of lead, or rather tungsten, in the car (as ballast)."  mikemulhern.net

06/06/09
automotive
Penske purchase of Saturn will put screws to American autoworkers  Detroit auto icon Roger Penske will save huge overhead costs with the Saturn brand he is buying from GM by concentrating on sales and distribution instead of manufacturing, industry experts said. And by returning the brand to its independent roots, Penske can establish a new Saturn and focus on selling and marketing instead of spreading resources among multiple brands, as was the case at GM.

Penske has signed a memo of understanding to acquire Saturn and its dealer network, with a due diligence period of 60-90 days.

The deal will preserve 13,000 jobs, but only for 2 years.  Penske said GM will supply the Saturn Aura sedan and the Vue and Outlook SUVs on a contract basis for at least two years, after which he envisions importing vehicles. He could form a venture with Nissan Motor Co., the Japanese affiliate of Renault SA, according to a source familiar with the talks.

Automotive News, an industry trade publication, has reported that Penske plans to import vehicles made in South Korea by Renault Samsung Motors and sell them through the Saturn dealership network.

With Saturns eventually being made by foreign automakers, Penske will put all the American workers on the unemployment line. Ultimately, Penske says he wants to build Saturn vehicles in the United States but he probably never will as long as he can get them much cheaper overseas.  More ...

06/06/09
irl
Antinucci to drive IndyCar at The Glen  Jaques Lazier, who missed Thursday's practice session as Team 3G worked on the car, qualified 24th in his first race of the season. No decision about Lazier's future with the team has been made, but former Firestone Indy Lights driver Richard Antinucci is expected to drive the No. 98 car at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on July 5. Indy Star
06/05/09
automotive
Chinese Government to nix Hummer deal  According to a report from Bloomberg, state-owned Chinese news agency Shanghai Securities News is predicting that it is unlikely the Chinese government will approve the purchase of Hummer from General Motors by Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Why? Apparently, China actually wants to reduce the number of automakers operating within its borders and favors keeping manufacturers with an eye towards fuel efficiency. Of all the labels people have put on the Hummer brand, fuel efficient hasn't exactly been one of them. According to Tim Payne, a spokesman for Tengzhong:

"Some people may have views and speculation but the Chinese government has a process that we respect. We have only just signed an MOU but as we develop our proposals with GM and Hummer we will continue to work with the appropriate authorities." Bloomberg

06/05/09
f1
Force India faces FOTA expulsion (so what?)  (GMM)  Despite earlier denying the reports, Force India has now confirmed officially that it has lodged an unconditional entry to contest the 2010 world championship.

Toyota's John Howett, the vice-chairman of the F1 teams' alliance FOTA, said the action is likely to result in the Silverstone based team following Williams into suspension from the body.

It means that only eight out of F1's current ten teams are still threatening to sit out next year over the budget cap dispute with the FIA.

"While the Force India team is broadly in agreement with the FOTA objectives, commercial obligations have demanded that Force India review its conditional entry jointly submitted by FOTA on deadline day," read a team statement.

Team owner and boss Vijay Mallya is only due to arrive in Turkey on Saturday.  Force India confirmed that he will meet with Howett then.

"No further comment will be made until those discussions have taken place," the team added.

06/05/09
automotive
Penske to buy Saturn from GM  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  General Motors has agreed to sell its Saturn brand to Roger Penske, a major auto dealer, and a deal is expected to be announced on Friday, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The move is the latest by G.M. to sell off assets as it reorganizes itself in bankruptcy. Saturn, which was part of G.M.’s bankruptcy filing on Monday, had drawn 16 bidders over a months-long sales process, G.M. said earlier this week.

Roger Penske, expanding his empire
Under the terms of the deal, Mr. Penske, a former race car driver whose Penske Automotive Group is one of the largest dealerships in the country, will initially buy Saturn vehicles from G.M. But he is expected to eventually buy cars from other carmakers like Renault, through its Samsung Motors Unit in Korea.

Mr. Penske’s company, which owns 310 franchises around the world, already serves as the sole distributor of Daimler’s Smart line of small cars.

05/05/09 Two new suitors, including Detroit auto tycoon Roger Penske, have surfaced for General Motors Corp.'s endangered Saturn brand, according to sources familiar with negotiations.

Penske is the highly successful head of Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Automotive Group, Inc., which operates more than 300 franchises in the United States and internationally, selling 40 different brands. The billionaire Detroit booster, who oversaw the city's Super Bowl XL preparation, has accomplished almost everything in the auto industry, from racing cars to building engines as owner of Detroit Diesel Corp. to snagging exclusive U.S. distribution rights for the iconic Smart minicar. But buying a brand and building vehicles would pose a new challenge.

"We look at things all the time," said Tony Pordon, a spokesman for Penske Automotive Group. "We have been offered an opportunity to look at Saturn. It's very premature to assume anything will be done. I can confirm to you that we are looking at it." More at Detroit News

06/04/09
f1
Wurz to lead new F1 team  UPDATE (GMM)  Alex Wurz will be lobbying both FIA officials and Bernie Ecclestone at the Turkish grand prix this weekend.

The Austrian, who began the season as Brawn's reserve driver, is now bidding with his business partner Christian Baha to launch Team Superfund under next year's budget cap rules.

But with multiple official entries, including the dissident nine FOTA teams, vying for just 13 spots on the 2010 grid, Baha told Austria's Kurier newspaper that he is serious about succeeding.

He revealed that another representative of the foray will accompany Wurz for the Istanbul talks, because "to request (an entry) just once would be too few".

To another newspaper, Kleinen Zeitung, 35-year-old Wurz said: "This is no PR gag."

Austrian Christian Klien, currently BMW-Sauber's test driver, has been mentioned as a possible driver, but on Thursday he was quoted as playing down the speculation.

05/31/09 Formula One driver Alex Wurz has decided to take on the role of Team Principal for a potential new competitor planning its inclusion on next year's starting grid, Autosport reports.

In addition to the USF1, Prodrive, Lola, and Campos operations vying to join the ranks of Formula One, it appears that investment firm Superfund - with the company's Austrian founder and racing enthusiast Christian Baha at the helm - is working on its own project as well and has filed its registration with the sport's governing body, the FIA.

Team Principal Wurz is looking into forming a partnership with an existing UK-based team, in which facilities could be rented or shared in the same physical space while Superfund constructs its own factory elsewhere, perhaps in Austria.

The Autosport report also indicated that the necessary money was in place, in addition to a deal with Cosworth as an engine supplier.

06/03/09
irl
Iowa Corn Indy 250 nearing a sellout  This month's Iowa Corn Indy 250 is nearing a sellout. Craig Armstrong from the Iowa Speedway says only about 700 seats remain in the temporary grandstand that will bring capacity for the event to 30,000. He says they are the same size seats as in the regular grandstand and have a good view.

Armstrong says in total there are fewer than 1,000 tickets still available. He says the best deal in his opinion are the 300 Newton club seats that are available for $85. Those seats give access to the Newton Club, the patio and a premium seat right behind the start finish lines.

This is the third year the Indy car series has returned to the speedway. Armstrong says it will be the biggest crowd for an Indy car race and he says that races the enthusiasm for the NASCAR Nationwide race August 1st where they expect 40,000.

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 is June 21st.  Radio Iowa

06/03/09
nassprint
GM to follow Dodge with major NASCAR cuts  In the wake of GM’s bankruptcy filing — in which the manufacturer reaffirmed its support of NASCAR — we heard the same types of comments from Dodge, almost to a T.  Rewind to the end of April, and you get the following statement from Chrysler’s Director of Brand Marketing:

“NASCAR is a strategic part of our marketing plan and the Dodge brand. We plan to continue our Dodge sponsorship and relationship into the foreseeable future.”

Now, two months later we hear a federal court is both restricting the amount of money Chrysler can use to market, as well as team owners complaining they’re no longer being paid support money due from the manufacturer for about the last two months.

So with that pattern already established, tell me, please … why would GM be any different? How is it going to avoid this same type of scenario? Especially with the government – directing their attention towards more modern, fuel efficient cars that are exactly the opposite of what NASCAR represents – owning 60 percent of the company?

Houston, Houston, Houston! We’ve got some serious, serious problems … and not even Danica and double-file restarts can solve them. Frontstretch

06/03/09
irl
nassprint
Hulman-George family feud could push Danica to NASCAR  A Hulman-George family feud may provide IndyCar star Danica Patrick with the nudge she needs to jump to NASCAR. Patrick was asked about that scenario by SI.com at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday and said stability of the racing series will factor into her decision. She is in the final year of her contract with Andretti Green Racing and has said she will look at any and all options, including a jump to NASCAR. That option didn't diminish last week as reports of strife within the Hulman-George family surfaced. Never mind that Tony George's position as Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO seems safe for now; the turmoil raised some concerns. "That's kind of an interesting question," Patrick said. "What you want in a league is stability and upward momentum. I have no idea what that is right now. There seems to be conflicting answers and ideas on what is really happening." Patrick has hired IMG, who has NASCAR connections, to represent her as she negotiates her next contract. Sports Illustrated

[Editor's Note: Without the Indy Speedway money to keep it afloat, the money losing IRL could die.  And to think when Tony created the IRL, CART was bigger than NASCAR.  Splitting the sport killed off CART and now it may eventually kill off the IRL.  It will go down as the biggest blunder in the history of motorsports and could lead to the eventually extinction of open wheel racing.]

06/03/09
f1
March and Brabham to return to F1  UPDATE (GMM)  Two iconic names are bidding to return to formula one's front line in 2010.

It has emerged that March, founded in 1969 by a group involving Max Mosley, and also Brabham, originally headed by triple world champion Sir Jack Brabham, have been named in official entries for budget-capped teams.

The internet publication ESPN Racing-Live has sighted a fax sent by the FIA, confirming that March's new owner Andrew Fitton lodged its entry paperwork by the deadline last Friday.

Moreover, a source close to March Racing Organization, which is not currently involved in any form of motor sport, confirmed the reports but said the outfit is "not getting too excited" due to the competition for the three vacant spots on the 2010 grid.

"We are waiting until we hear more from the FIA," the source added.

Meanwhile, the Swiss specialist magazine Motorsport Aktuell said Brabham Grand Prix Ltd, now owned by a German automotive supply company, also filed a 2010 official entry. More ...

06/02/09
british f3
Daly eyes British F3  
Conor Daly in the Fortec British F3 garage
In the interim between his first oval tests at Milwaukee and Iowa and his next Andersen Racing test session in New Jersey on June 3 and 4, 2009, Mazdaspeed driver Conor Daly and his Dad flew to England to take a close-up look at racing in Europe. During last weekend's British Formula 3 event at Rockingham, the youngster spent time with many of the leading F3 teams including Richard Duttons Fortec Racing.  Conor will test in England during his summer school break and is also negotiating to do some European races during the same time period. Conor’s next race event will be the fourth and fifth rounds of the Star Mazda Series at the New Jersey Motorsports Park double header weekend, June 13th-14th.
06/02/09
f1
McLaren in talks with British Airways  British Airways (BA) is in discussions with the McLaren F1 team about "becoming an official partner," joining current sponsors such as Vodafone, Hilton, Johnnie Walker and Santander. If a deal is reached, the partnership would be "financed solely on a value-in-kind basis," and it "would not begin until the start of 2010 at the earliest." A deal with BA would enable the team to "reduce overheads." McLaren previously had a partnership with Emirates Airline in '06 MarketingMagazine.co.uk
06/02/09
industry news
GM receives Gulf Arab, Chinese interest in Hummer buy  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  General Motors Corp., a day after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has a tentative deal to sell its Hummer brand to Chinese-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., a person familiar with the matter confirmed.

GM did not reveal the sale price -- though in a bankruptcy filing GM said the brand is worth $500 million or less. The company said the deal could close by the end of the third quarter and would protect more than 3,000 manufacturing, engineering and dealership jobs across the country.

The automaker declined comment on the buyer, saying the party had requested anonymity.

"Hummer is a strong brand," said Troy Clarke, President of GM North America, in a prepared statement. "I'm confident that Hummer will thrive globally under its new ownership. And for GM, this sale continues to accelerate the reinvention of GM into a leaner, more focused, and more cost-competitive automaker."

06/01/09 According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, General Motors plans to announce a tentative sale of the Hummer brand less than a day after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Although GM won't release the name of Hummer's (possible) future owner(s) on Tuesday, the WSJ's sources say that a deal could be struck by the end of the third quarter and the H2 and H3 will continue to be produced at GM's plants in Indiana and Louisiana.

It's been widely accepted that if GM couldn't offload Hummer this month, it would be killed during the bankruptcy proceedings, and the General has been entertaining bids from a interest parties, including a Chinese firm, for somewhere in the sub-$500 million range since late last year. When the announcement is made tomorrow, expect GM to be hyping the sale as part of its turnaround efforts and that the SUV purveyor's new parent will continue to work on expanding the Hummer line, including the production of future alternative-fuel models.  Wall Street Journal

08/27/08 General Motors Corp (GM.N) (GM) has received interest from two separate investors from the Gulf Arab region to buy its Hummer brand, the company's Middle East chief told Reuters on Tuesday. For sure, there has been interest from various parties within the Gulf ... there is a precedent in the cases of Aston Martin, Ferrari or Daimler and those kinds of solutions could be very realistic solutions," General Motors Middle East Managing Director Terry Johnson said in an interview.

General Motors is readying sales documents for its Hummer brand and has initial expressions of interest from potential buyers that it hopes to develop into formal sale talks, the automaker's chief executive said on Aug 21.  More ...
06/02/09
irl
Foyt IV in for Tracy at AJ Foyt Racing  UPDATE Paul Tracy will not drive for A.J. Foyt Racing at this weekend’s sixth round of the IndyCar Series, but there is a chance of them reuniting later in the season.

Tracy finished last and six laps down in last weekend’s IndyCar round at Milwaukee, but had decided to race for the team in all but the Canadian rounds (where he’s contracted to drive for KV Racing). However, Tracy told RACER.com that Foyt informed him yesterday that his grandson, A.J. Foyt IV would drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. car this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Said Tracy, “I spoke with Larry Foyt [team manager] yesterday to say, okay, let’s do this season, and he appreciated that, and said he’d discuss it with his dad. Then later, A.J. called and said, ‘Look, I’m embarrassed about the car we gave you in Milwaukee. I can’t afford to be putting you in my equipment until we’ve got ourselves up to par. Having you in the car puts our team under the microscope, and I want to get our team better before we do that again.’

Tracy said he had spoken to Vitor Meira, the driver who he was filling in for, following the Brazilian’s vertebra-breaking crash in the Indy 500. He said: “Vitor and I spoke about how the weekend went, and how frustrating it is to be with such an enthusiastic bunch of racers at Foyt’s team, but who don’t have the budget to do all they want to do. I told him that at KV Racing, there are about six engineers for the one car.” More ...

06/01/09
automotive
Tesla to take aim at Porsche 911  Electric drivetrain aside, the Tesla Roadster isn't the most practical sports car on the market. Like its Lotus counterpart, the Roadster is lacking space for both passengers and parcel, something Tesla CEO Elon Musk is all-too-happy to admit. But as you'd expect from the plucky upstart and its confident chief executive, Tesla has big plans to expand beyond the Roadster and Model S sedan, and it's got the Porsche 911 in its sights.

Although we've known for some time that Tesla plans to base future models on the Model S platform – ranging from a base model to a full-fledged GT – the automaker's been tight-lipped about the specifics of future sports cars. However, Musk let it slip during an interview that a 911 Turbo shares a space in his garage with a Roadster, and he loves its ability to schlep the kiddies to school in its diminutive back seats. More ...
06/01/09
automotive
Ford to increase production by 10%  General Motors and Chrysler are knee deep in bankruptcy proceedings, with many plants closed for weeks on end. With Ford's domestic competition embroiled in financial distress, the Blue Oval has a unique opportunity to grab market share. Ford has experienced share growth for six of the past seven months, and it plans a larger assault on sales increases in the third quarter. As such, FoMoCo plans on upping its Q3 production by 10% to capitalize on the situation.

The Dearborn, MI-based automaker plans to increase production to 460,000 units from Q3 2008's total of 418,000 cars and trucks. While many calls have been trumpeted to increase car sales because customers want more fuel efficient products, Ford is actually decreasing its car production from 184,000 units to 150,000. The big volume increase falls squarely into the truck category. The move to increase truck production is a gamble for Ford, considering the fact that gas prices are inching upward. Truck demand could see a shot in the arm, though, as construction work from the $788 billion stimulus plan starts to take effect. More ...
06/01/09
irl
Cleveland considering oval/road course doubleheader  UPDATE #2 Individuals trying to organize IndyCar events in Houston and Cleveland are scheduled to present their plans to their respective cities leaders this week, league officials said Sunday. IndyStar [Editor's Note: Read that Mike Lanigan and company.]

05/28/09 If and when the Grand Prix of Cleveland returns to Burke Lakefront Airport, it could do so as an all-star event of open-wheel auto racing -- a unique event featuring an oval race and a street-course race, all in the same weekend.

Talks continue between Cleveland representatives and the Indy Racing League, which expects to announce its 2010 schedule in July, about what role the city will play. Some proposals on the table:

• The IRL wants to put a one-mile flat oval, with no walls, inside the existing 2.47-mile Burke street course layout and have an oval race.

• One day later, the IRL would hold the traditional 2.47-mile street course race.

• Included with those two races could be other potential wrinkles, which would add up to an All-Star weekend of open-wheel racing.

"We only have one shot at this," said Mike Lanigan, CEO of MJ Promotions, promoter of the Cleveland race. "We have to do it right." More ...

06/01/09
irl
Foyt IV to sub for Tracy in Texas?  Paul Tracy said he hasn't decided if he will drive for A.J. Foyt's team at Texas. If he doesn't, it's likely A.J. Foyt IV will. Indy Star
06/01/09
irl
Penske to field Power in more IRL races  Will Power expects Team Penske to field him at races that do not conflict with its Grand Am Series schedule, since that's where the majority of his crew members work. The next such weekend is at the end of June when IndyCar is at Richmond. Indy Star
06/01/09
nassprint
NASCAR moving to double-file restarts  UPDATE NASCAR distributed proposals to crew chiefs regarding possible procedures for double-file restarts which could be introduced as early as Pocono Raceway next week. The proposal states all starts will be double file. The race leader will have his choice of which lane to use for the restart. The third-place car will always start in the inside lane. There will be no changes in the free pass or "lucky dog," and cars that are one lap down can choose not to pit, therefore regaining a lap during a caution. The new rule appears to be a work in progress but Pocono is a 2.5-miler with plenty of space and opportunity to figure it out. FoxSports

05/31/09 NASCAR appears close to moving ahead with making all restarts in races in its three national series -- Cup, Nationwide and Trucks -- double-file restarts with lead-lap cars up front. Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communication, said Saturday the issue is on the "front-burner" right now but offered no timetable. Several Cup drivers, some of whom attended NASCAR's state of the sport meetings in Concord, N.C., on Tuesday, said they believe double-file restarts could be implemented within weeks.  Charlotte Observer
06/01/09
f1
McLaren may scrap 2009 car program  (GMM)  McLaren is considering scrapping the 2009 season and turning its full attention and resources to next year.

"That is one of the possibilities, but we haven't yet arrived at that point," team boss Martin Whitmarsh said in an interview with Spain's El Pais.

"We are still going to all the races with the intention to win.  Giving up is not our style," the Briton added.

However, defending champion Lewis Hamilton is already a massive 42 points behind drivers' title leader Jenson Button.

The Mercedes-powered team, meanwhile, acknowledges that the MP4-24 is not going to shine at aerodynamically-demanding circuits like the forthcoming Turkish venue.

"Perhaps for formula one it is not bad that Ferrari and McLaren are struggling, as it demonstrates that winning in this sport is very difficult," Whitmarsh said.

He applauds the success of the new Brawn GP entry, but points out that the team's car is based on former owner Honda's 2008 efforts comprising "four wind tunnels and hundreds of millions of euros".

Whitmarsh also pointed out the contribution of the 'double diffuser' controversy.

06/01/09
f1
Another team wants Button for 2010  (GMM)  An unnamed team official has expressed interest in wooing runaway championship leader Jenson Button away from Brawn GP ahead of the 2010 season.

Brawn's CEO Nick Fry has already admitted that, in the wake of the Brackley outfit's survival following the withdrawal of Honda, the team will have to boost the Briton's slashed retainer for next year.

At the same time, an unnamed boss of what the Mirror newspaper described as a 'leading team' said of the 29-year-old: "We'd love to have him in our car next year."

The unnamed boss said any doubts about Button after his nine up-and-down prior seasons have been eradicated now.

"We are certainly interested in his services and have made that known, but we'd be daft to assume we're the only ones," the boss said.

In the opening six races of 2009, Button equaled Michael Schumacher's 2002 record by winning five times, and heads the drivers' championship by 16 points.

05/31/09
irl
Dixon to De Ferran and Wilson to Ganassi  Robin Miller just reported on SPEED that Scott Dixon may drive for Gil de Ferran Racing next season and that Justin Wilson may replace him at Ganassi Racing.
05/31/09
irl
Doornbos to run out of money  
Q: I'm a life-long Andretti fan. For the past 2 years, it seems that I continue to hear how AGR is struggling financially. Is this true? They are the only 4 car team in the IRL. If they were having money woes, wouldn't they scale back by eliminating a driver or two? When Graham Rahal crashed during qualifying at St. Pete, a commentator said that Newman/Haas/Lanigan didn't have a back up car for Graham. Are they having money issues? While experts (including you) continue to talk about AGR's money problems, I don't see anything on the track that would lead me to believe that the claim is valid. I may be wrong. Would you please help me understand this? Steve Shanahan

Robin Miller: I've never talked about AGR having money problems, they seem to be pretty well oiled at the moment. Michael Andretti said he was concerned about next year because a lot of their contracts expire (Motorola and $21 million for Danica) so, yes, it could be a factor in 2010. As for Newman/Haas/Lanigan, McDonald's isn't mega bucks and Doornbos has funding from his father but it may or may not be enough for all of 2009.  SPEEDTV.com

05/30/09
f1
Did Friday bring peace to F1?  (GMM)  The fact that nine FOTA teams lodged conditional 2010 entries was hailed by some as the end of hostilities with F1's ruling bodies.

But the crux of the fight was always Max Mosley's budget cap, and though FOTA did meet the championship entry deadline, its statement made no mention of the controversial cost-limiting mechanism.

Later in a press interview, Toyota team president and FOTA vice-chairman John Howett confirmed that a budget cap is indeed still not on the agenda, even in 2011.

Sources, however, were suggesting that FOTA's promise of "significant" cost-saving actions over the next three years might be acceptable to the FIA president, although the governing body issued no statement and made no media comments.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told the Times newspaper that he believes the budget cap has not been scrapped.

"I am sure there will be a cap," said the Briton, before joking: "I think we are seeing the start of what is going to be a huge row.

"No, this is the beginning of something positive," Ecclestone added.

05/29/09
nassprint
Mayfield to sue NASCAR?  UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Jeremy Mayfield sought a temporary restraining order on Friday in an attempt to lift his suspension and return to his No. 41 Sprint Cup car until his case is settled.  Mayfield and his attorney, Bill Diehl, filed the suit in Mecklenburg County Court on Friday afternoon, challenging NASCAR's suspension of Mayfield on what it said was a failed random drug test.  In presenting Mayfield's side, John Buric, an attorney in Diehl's firm, said Mayfield had taken Claritin-D, an allergy drug, in addition to Adderall, a prescription psychostimulant he takes daily to treat attention deficit disorder.  ESPN.com

05/20/09 NASCAR driver/owner #41-Jeremy Mayfield, suspended indefinitely from the sport for violating its substance-abuse policy, has retained legal counsel in the effort to clear his name. Bill Diehl, the same attorney who represented Elliott Sadler last winter in a dispute with Richard Petty Motorsports, confirmed Wednesday he is working with Mayfield, but that no suit has yet been filed. "Yes, we're working hard for Jeremy," Diehl said. "Either we'll work it out or the court will. We have not filed yet, but we're working hard. That's all I can tell you." NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed that Diehl had been in contact with the organization. "I can confirm that Mr. Diehl has been in touch with NASCAR, and we've provided him with relevant information pertaining to Jeremy's suspension, including the toxicology report," Poston said. Mayfield was not immediately available for comment. ESPN

05/17/09 Suspended owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield on Saturday night was asked to leave the infield area of Lowe’s Motor Speedway by NASCAR officials.  Mayfield left without incident.

05/16/09 "All I can say is you can see I'm alive, well and healthy. I'm fine," Mayfield said. "I'm here to watch my car run. I appreciate what y'all [in the media] have done because y'all are asking the right questions to the right sources and getting the same results. ... They've indicated something different every day of the week. That's what I've heard. I've heard the same stories y'all have heard. I really don't want to say a whole lot to stir anything up."

Mayfield indicated that he is exasperated by what he said was the lack of information he has received about his positive test results.

"If any of you guys were in my shoes, wouldn't you want to know your results of what happened? I've got nothing from them. I got reinstatement papers, that's it. I'd like to see results and I don't have them," Mayfield said.

Mayfield insisted -- again -- that he took a prescription drug and that his allergies flared up so badly during the recent Richmond race weekend that he mixed over-the-counter medicine with it. He said the over-the-counter medicine consisted of two Claritin D pills.

"That's the honest-to-God truth," Mayfield said. More ...

05/29/09
nnw
RCR Signs Caisse to its Nationwide Program  Richard Childress Racing has signed Sean Caisse to drive its No. 2 Chevrolet Impala SS in a limited number of NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009 and a more expanded program in 2010.

The 23-year-old driver from Pelham, N.H., is scheduled to make his RCR Nationwide Series debut next month at Nashville Superspeedway. Caisse will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet Impala SS at the June 6 Federated Auto Parts 300 and a yet-to-be-determined number of other Nationwide Series races this season before a more expanded program in 2010. More ...

05/29/09
NASSprint
Mayfield Motorsports skipping Dover  Reliable sources says Mayfield Motorsports reportedly sent all their employees home on Tuesday, and told employees they will not compete at the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.  racingforthewin.com
05/29/09
f1
David Richards set for 2010 F1 entry  
Dave Richards
(GMM)  David Richards' Banbury-based outfit is set to make its formula one debut next year.

The team, expected to link up technically with McLaren-Mercedes, will initially enter the world championship as Prodrive, before becoming Aston Martin by 2012.

It is believed Richards, formerly team boss at Benetton and BAR, committed to lodging his official paperwork by Friday's deadline after discussions with Bernie Ecclestone that lasted until late Wednesday night.

It was on Wednesday that the FIA rules finally became clear (pending official confirmation), following a compromise deal amid the existing teams' standoff with the sport's ruling bodies.

Next year, the budget cap will be 100m, with special concessions such as cheap components offered to small teams, before the figure shrinks to 45m in 2011.

"The cars will be built at Banbury and have Aston Martin-badged customer engines obtained from a supplier," Richards confirmed to Autocar.

Among the backers is Aston Martin's majority owner Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti shareholding company, and another Middle Eastern interest.

05/29/09
f1
FOTA teams to lodge 2010 entries by deadline  (GMM)  The remaining formula one teams, with the possible exception of Toyota, are expected to lodge their official entries for the 2010 world championship on Friday.

The registration period closes at 11.59pm on Friday night, but Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Brawn and Force India are expected to deliver the paperwork to the FIA in a block FOTA package several hours earlier.

The news comes in the wake of multiple sources reporting that the standoff between the teams' association and the sport's ruling bodies is now over, with the proposed FOTA compromise accepted in principle by Max Mosley.

However, the teams' 2010 entries - particularly the one lodged by Ferrari - may be attached to a proviso that the concerns about governance are also addressed, in exchange for all the teams signing a Concorde agreement through 2012. More ...

05/29/09
f1
Toyota to axe money-losing F1 race  (GMM)  Owners Toyota have decided to no longer host the Japanese grand prix at Fuji Speedway, the Asahi newspaper reported on Friday.

The circuit, located in the foothills of Mount Fuji west of Tokyo, hosted the country's 2007 and 2008 F1 races, and was due to return to the calendar in 2010.

This year, an annual alternating scheme with Suzuka commences.

The Asahi Shimbun said Toyota's decision was based on the need to cut costs, amid speculation the Japanese carmaker may not lodge an entry on Friday to enter its Cologne based team in the 2010 world championship.

But a Toyota spokesman told the news agency AFP that Fuji Speedway is "making preparations to host F1 next year".

Toyota driver Timo Glock has spoken this week about the speculation suggesting the marque's involvement in formula one may be coming to an end.

"If I was to worry about that then I would not be concentrated enough on my job," he told the German daily Der Tagesspiegel, "and that would not help anybody."

05/28/09
automotive
GM May File for Bankruptcy as Early as Next Week  UPDATE #2 General Motors, which today unveiled a sweetened deal to shed billions in debt, plans to file for bankruptcy reorganization Monday, the Free Press has learned. The Obama administration today offered General Motors Corp. creditors carrying $27.2 billion of the company's bonds up to 25% of a reworked GM if they vowed not to oppose its bankruptcy -- a deal that officials said had the backing of at least one-third of the bondholders.

GM also revealed that the U.S. Treasury plans to give GM at least an additional $30 billion to pay for the bankruptcy on top of the $19.4 billion already lent to keep the automaker in business, with all but $8 billion of that about $50 billion swapped for an initial 72.5% stake in the new GM. More ...

05/28/09
f1
Mosley willing to compromise on budget caps for 1 year  FIA President Max Mosley has finally conceded that he is ‘willing to compromise’ over the controversial budget cap row that is rocking Formula 1 – and is optimistic that a solution will be in place by the stated 2010 entry deadline tomorrow (Friday) that will avert an impending crisis.

Following another meeting of the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) on Wednesday – one publicly marked by the temporary expulsion of Williams from the organization, in response to the former multiple world championship-winning Grove-based outfit having earlier this week become the first of the present incumbents to sign up to participation next year – it is understood that a resolution is now all-but in place.

“I am willing to compromise,” Mosley told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, “but only if small and new teams can operate with much lower budgets and are not much slower than the others. I am very optimistic about a solution. The big and small teams have very different interests, and we have to protect everyone.

“Will Ferrari enter by Friday? I think so. I am optimistic and confident. Ferrari is very important for Formula 1, but Formula 1 is very important for Ferrari as well.”

05/28/09
nassprint
Hendrick Motorsports to sack Eury Jr.?  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today - see Hot News article.

05/27/09 Team owner Rick Hendrick, who has previously said he doesn't plan to make changes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 team, wasn't as definitive on Tuesday. "Could it change?" Hendrick said Tuesday following a meeting with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center. "We're talking about things. We're going to make decisions as the days go by, but we haven't made any decisions as it stands now." Earnhardt Jr. finished 40th in Monday's rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600. Hendrick did not specifically address breaking up Earnhardt and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. But in the past when discussing changes he made it clear that wasn't a consideration. He wasn't so clear on Tuesday with Earnhardt 19th in points, 203 behind Mark Martin for the 12th and final Chase spot. "We're always concerned when we have a car not run well," Hendrick said. "We're always meeting and trying to figure out how to make it better. We've got to come up with a plan and we've got to work toward that. We thought we had a pretty good plan coming to Charlotte. I was fairly pleased with the All-Star race and thought we would do better Sunday. We weren't." ESPN

05/26/09 This week, I had a reliable source tell me Tony Eury Jr. won't be the crew chief of the No. 88 as of Dover this weekend. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen, but the two weeks in Charlotte made it obvious both driver and team need a change.  SI.com
05/28/09
f1
Google may enter F1 as sponsor  (GMM)  The famous internet brand Google could soon be seen on the painted carbon bodywork of a formula one car.

The company's co-founder Larry Page, one of the world's richest billionaires, was a guest of McLaren title sponsor Vodafone at last weekend's Monaco grand prix.

Interestingly, the 36-year-old American is a friend of Sir Richard Branson, the British billionaire who has been considering ramping up his Virgin backing of the dominant Brawn team.

Page was married on Branson's own Caribbean island, and the pair have also been linked in various business ventures.

Brawn is not the only team interested in Google sponsorship, however; every major outfit on the grid is believed to have put out the feelers as to how serious Page's interest is.

05/28/09
f1
More current teams set for FOTA split  (GMM)  Without a rapid solution to the teams' FIA standoff, Force India and Brawn will be the next current teams to imminently sign up for the 2010 world championship.

It is now believed that the crisis is indeed nearly over, after at a Heathrow meeting on Wednesday, the FOTA alliance apparently agreed a compromise that is likely to be accepted by Max Mosley.

But with Friday still looming as the deadline for next year's entries, any further delays will result in Brawn and Force India - who like Williams see F1 as their core and only business - also breaking ranks and lodging the 2010 paperwork.

It is understood that, when Sir Frank Williams and team CEO Adam Parr were asked to leave the meeting room on Wednesday, Force India and Brawn did not join the other FOTA members in voting to expel the Grove based team.

As reported on Wednesday, however, the FOTA alliance is unlikely to fracture further, with Mercedes' Norbert Haug and McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh receiving much of the credit for the compromise that is now likely to speed towards a handshake deal. More ...

05/28/09
f1
Briatore could buy Renault team - reports  (GMM)  Flavio Briatore could buy Renault's formula one team and continue to run it in 2010 and beyond, according to media reports.

The reports, in Italy's Autosprint and also carried by the Dutch publication Formule 1 Race Report, tie in with persistent rumors that the French carmaker is contemplating pulling out of the sport at the end of this season.

It is suggested that, amid the slump in new car sales, three seasons of average race results, the expiring contract of title sponsor ING, and the likely departure of Fernando Alonso, Renault - already threatening to quit over the Max Mosley rules dispute - is set to decide the time is right to step out.

The specialist magazine Autosprint said Renault, who currently also supply customer V8s to Red Bull Racing, may continue to supply engines.

Romain Grosjean, Renault's high profile reserve driver, is mentioned as a likely driver for a Briatore-branded entrant.

05/27/09
irl
Tracy to finish out year for KV Racing and Foyt  A. J. Foyt Racing said Tuesday that veteran star Paul Tracy will substitute for Vitor Meira--likely out for the rest of the season after breaking his back in last weekend's Indianapolis 500--this coming weekend at the Milwaukee Mile, and both parties say they would like to add more races to their 2009 collaboration.

"Well, I'm going to talk to Paul and see what he really wants to do. Sure, we'd like to have him for all the races," Foyt said Wednesday during a teleconference.

Both Tracy and Foyt noted that they have not had much time to discuss the matter, as Tracy had been traveling home to Las Vegas for the last two days. But the driver agreed he wants more seat time.

"[Obviously] I want to race as much as I can," Tracy said. "I'm a race driver that wants to race and wants to win. And A. J. is the same. So we'll see how this weekend goes and then go from there."

Tracy has already signed on with KV Racing for the Toronto and Edmonton races, so Foyt would have to find another driver for those two races.

05/27/09
irl
Tony George axed from power at Indy  UPDATE Tony George denied a SpeedTV report that he has been ousted from his leadership post at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  See IMS statement

George, who has headed IMS for 20 years, came to the speedway's administrative offices early Wednesday afternoon to refute the SpeedTV report.

George said there was a board meeting Tuesday night, but said that discussion at that meeting was routine and did not involve his dismissal. 

"I only found out about this a little while ago," George said. WRTV.com

05/27/09 The controversial, groundbreaking, tumultuous 20-year reign of Tony George at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over. SPEEDtv.com is reporting that George was voted out of power in a Tuesday night board meeting in Indianapolis.  A source close to the situation told SPEEDtv.com that the 49-year-old grandson of Tony Hulman would no longer be CEO of the Speedway after a vote of the IMS board of directors which includes mother Mari, sisters Josie, Nancy and Kathy, attorney Jack Snyder and George.

Calls to Snyder and Fred Nation, IMS vice president of communications, were not returned to SPEEDtv.com and George did not respond to an email.

This comes on the heels of Tony's wife being fired from the Speedway by his sisters and Tony's statement about there possibly not being an IRL after 2012 if it was not profitable.

05/27/09
f1
Customer cars may break F1 crisis stalemate  (GMM)  After hours of meetings, the F1 teams' rules dispute with Max Mosley may have moved closer than ever to a resolution on Wednesday.

After a further meeting in London, it was rumored that the FOTA alliance, despite kicking out former champions Williams, finally agreed to essentially accept a compromise offered at Monaco by the FIA president.

It is believed that Mosley had signaled a willingness to agree to a so-called 'glide-path' for his budget cap, with 2010 a transition year: a compromise position apparently actively urged on by McLaren and Mercedes.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport believes the main stumbling block now is the teams' desire for a 100m euro cap next year; a huge step away from Mosley's desire to woo new entrants to the sport with an immediate 45m cap.

The compromise deal's sweetener, however, could be the technical compromises potentially on offer to new entrants, primarily the permitted use of customer cars in 2010, until the budget cap is lowered for 2011.

Another potential compromise could relate to the thorny issue of policing the cap.  The teams were unhappy about the concept of intrusive external auditors, but it now emerges that expenditures may be self-policed, with forensic accountants Deloitte to supervise.

It is believed that the compromise scenario was in fact close to being agreed in Monaco, but that Ferrari and Toyota staunchly refused to embrace the concept of budget capping in any form.

05/27/09
f1
Hungarian GP in doubt beyond 2012  (GMM)  The Hungarian grand prix beyond 2012 is in doubt, reports out of the central European country on Wednesday said.

The economics and political daily Vilaggazdasag claims the Republic's government is questioning its commitment to the event, despite the apparent extension of the race deal last year for the period 2012-2016.

The newspaper said it has seen material showing that finance and local government ministries no longer support the grand prix due to a lack of central funds and the recent weakening of the Hungarian currency.

Cancelling the race prior to 2012 is not feasible, reportedly because the race promotion fees until then are payable whether the events are staged or not.

The Hungaroring, in Mogyorod about a thirty minute drive from historic Budapest, hosted its first grand prix in 1986, the first ever behind the Iron Curtain.

05/26/09
f1
Pantano eyes F1 return  Having been overlooked for a Formula 1 seat in 2009, Giorgio Pantano has now revealed that he has 'been in touch' with a number of the top flight's potential new entrants for next season, as he bids to re-ignite a grand prix career that stalled five years ago.

“The entry of new teams is probably the most likely situation in which I can be in Formula 1,” he told GPWeek. “I've been in touch with some of the new teams who want to come in and, well, we need to see what happens in the next two weeks. Campos is one of the teams I've been talking to.”

05/26/09
automotive
US government to tell GM what cars to build  I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."  The punch line to an old joke embodies the fear that grips many people over what government control will mean for General Motors.

Will the automaker be free to develop cars and trucks of all types, or will bureaucratic meddling force GM to abandon popular and profitable model lines like trucks, luxury and performance vehicles? Will GM become Government Motors, trying to jam politically correct minicars down the throats of Americans who don't want them?

It appears not, although GM will certainly rely less on pickups and SUVs in the future. More ...

05/25/09
irl
Penske to run Will Power in more races  Will Power will be rewarded for his fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 but not immediately.

Team Penske owner Roger Penske said today that he will field the Australian driver in more races this IndyCar Series season, but not at this weekend’s event in Milwaukee.

“We can’t do that,” Penske said as his primary driver, Helio Castroneves, was being photographed with his winning car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “But we’re going to run him more.

“He’s been great for us.” More ...

05/25/09
automotive
Porsche teeters on bankruptcy  German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that times are so tight at Porsche that it actually skirted bankruptcy for three days in March. The German automaker received a 700 million euro loan ($978 million USD) from VW to stay out of trouble, but needs another 2.5 billion euros (nearly $3.5B USD) to stay in business. Porsche has tried to tap the German government to receive more loans to pare down the enormous debt it had incurred in attempting to buy VW. In fact, Porsche, which sells fewer than 100,000 vehicles per year, has accrued an astonishing 9 billion euros worth of debt (around $12.6B USD). That's 50% more debt than Chrysler.
05/25/09
irl
Will this be the next generation IndyCar?  UPDATE See feature article for an update on this rumor.

05/22/09 On display in the Indy Speedway media center today was a concept model car of the next generation IndyCar.  The concept was developed by Dave Marek who heads up the Acura design studio in Pasadena, California.  He was involved with the design competition with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA (The other college was the College of Creative Studies in Detroit) that the league engaged but took it one step further.  Everyone seems to love it, even the drivers who all got to see it in NY City this week during the Times Square event.  The model shown below is an exact 1/4-scale model that is used in Wind Tunnels.

The design hits all the key points that the next generation car should be:
  1. It is futuristic looking (very much so)
  2. It offers increased driver protection (note the sidepod design)
  3. It reduces the chances of wheel-to-wheel interlocking (note sidepod design)
  4. It generates most of its downforce from the undertray, which is less affected by turbulence from the car in front (Note the huge diffuser exit tunnels and recall the article I wrote with Dr. Mark Handford on this very topic many years ago.)
  5. The wings are small so they generate less turbulence for the cars following, which increases the chance for passing.
  6. The sidepods offer a huge amount of real estate for sponsor logos

If Dallara can build this car the IRL will have hit a home run  Mark C. reporting from Indy

Sidepods protect drivers Very futuristic Looking Note huge diffuser exits Front wings may be small

05/23/09
f1
Force India also likely to oppose Mosley proposals  A three-hour meeting between the grand prix teams and the FIA, the sport’s governing body, on Friday ended with the future of Formula One still in the balance. The teams are now united in their opposition to Max Mosley’s plan for a £40m budget cap but the FIA’s president said: “We had a good constructive meeting and there will be ongoing discussions. I’m always confident there’ll be agreement.”

Mosley’s summary did not appear to match the mood of John Howett and Mario Theissen, the team principals of Toyota and BMW respectively, who left the meeting with set expressions and refused to say a word. However, Luca di Montezemolo, the president of Ferrari, was upbeat and said there would be further meetings on Saturday between the teams and then with Mosley. “It was a long and constructive meeting,” said di Montezemolo, who returned to Italy Friday night. “What we want is that Formula One stays as Formula One, and that it doesn’t become something different and go towards constant changes which confuse the public and all the  others. What we want is that we work over the next two years to arrive at a way of further reducing costs.” More ...

05/23/09
f1
Bourdais in 'row' with boss Tost?  (GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais has denied speculation that an apparent falling out with team boss Franz Tost could cost him his Toro Rosso race seat.

Already under pressure after a difficult start to the 2009 season, the 30-year-old French driver is said to have got into a row with Tost in Barcelona, after crashing into teammate Sebastien Buemi at the start of the race.

Team figures obviously blamed Bourdais for the incident, with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko telling Switzerland's Blick newspaper: "Maybe he should have put his glasses on."

But Bourdais told the BBC at Monaco: "No, there's absolutely no row."

He insists the start of the season has been difficult.

"I think the team knows that I'm doing the best I can.  We had zero running at the start of the (winter) season and we've had to learn a car that changes every race; every race there is something different," said Bourdais.

05/23/09
f1
Silverstone for sale, Ecclestone buyer - report  UPDATE #2 There were rumors knocking around at Monaco suggesting that Bernie Ecclestone is going to buy Silverstone, in order to stage the British GP at the Northamptonshire track. It is not the first time there have been such rumors and while such a deal has always made quite a lot of sense, there has never seemed much likelihood of that actually happening. The logic behind such a deal is sound. The British Racing Drivers' Club is supposed to be a social club for racing drivers, but for years it has been highly-politicized because of its desire to run the British Grand Prix. The logic of a sale would be to return the BRDC to the role that it was intended for: giving the club the money to buy a suitable clubhouse somewhere useful (such as London); and to create a trust fund to provide money for such things as scholarships for young drivers and so on.

The rumors of a sale have arisen this time because BRDC chairman Robert Brooks has written to members inviting them to discuss the future role of the BRDC with regard to its responsibilities and functions, and to consider whether or not, under the right terms, and with a commitment to significant further development of the circuit and its facilities, the BRDC would be prepared to divest itself of its current responsibilities at Silverstone and hand these over to a suitable partner. More ...

05/23/09
nascar
NASCAR..going green?  With President Obama making the strong case this week for more fuel-efficient cars out of Detroit, and with the heads of all the car makers there at the White House, what's the take in the NASCAR garage on what this sport should be doing to be more green? NASCAR's John Darby, head of the Sprint Cup series, says it's nice to look at racing more fuel-efficient engines, or using more fuel-efficient fuels, and all that, but he says NASCAR's main point right now is this: "We have been, for the last five years, looking at green – at alternative fuels, at new engine designs. But we feel we can have a huge effect on being environmentally friendly by attacking the biggest group we deal with – our fan base and our competitors in the garage. For example, you have a choice when you rent a car, so rent a hybrid. Or put four people in a car; you don't need four cars. Those kinds of things. More ...
05/23/09
f1
Abu Dhabi finale may be night race  (GMM)  The Abu Dhabi grand prix could be staged at night, because the new Yas Marina circuit will be equipped with floodlighting, boss Philippe Gurdjian revealed at Monaco on Saturday.

This year's November season finale in the United Arab Emirates capital is scheduled to take place in daylight.

But when asked about emulating the success of Singapore's night race, Gurdjian said: "We have the possibility to do it.

"(Artificial) light will be in place," he added.

05/22/09
irl
Ribbs to start IndyCar team?  Two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Willy T. Ribbs, the first African-American to compete in the race, attended Carb Day activities.

(About owning a race team for the 2011 Indianapolis 500): "It's in the talking stage right now. There's a lot of chin music in this business. It is definitely being talked about. In 2010, it would be too soon. But in 2011 it could be done real well. It would be perfect because the 75th anniversary was when I was here. So, to come back as a team owner in the 100th -- mind blower. Indy is really my second home. The energy here is incredible. When I was here in '91, it was a tough month, but you could just feel the energy. The energy kept me going. And this is the biggest race on the planet. It was then - it is now - and it will always be the biggest race auto race in the world."

05/22/09
nassprint
Boris Said to skip race at Infineon Raceway?  Boris Said the road racer is always a threat to win out West, but he won't be there unless some last-minute funding comes through. RCM Motorsports is moving forward with plans to put Boris Said in 10 to 12 races this season. But in securing sponsorship for races like Watkins Glen in August, the team has run into issues where their sponsors won't be ready to fund them until the second half -- leaving Sonoma out in the cold. "This is the best time of my career in the sport, because we're on the cutting edge," said owner Rick Clark, optimistic despite the hardships. "All we can do is hope a significant sponsor will realize the marketing upside for Sonoma. Of the sponsors that we are talking to, they're trying to do their best to reposition in time ... but we could use the additional help." Clark is excited, however, about some of the other opportunities that are in place for selected races in the summer and Fall. "The Ford people have been in contact with us weekly and are really excited about the team. We're looking at a Hispanic network and programming opportunities to feature our team, as well as a possible cartoon in the works. We are going to make an announcement about partnering with a major viral TV network that has 35-45 million homes and counting. So, someone is recognizing the value we bring to the table, and before long we will be a major team to be reckoned with." Sports Illustrated
05/22/09
f1
Brawn and Virgin may split  (GMM) The Virgin logos may soon disappear from the livery of the championship leading Brawn team.

According to The Times newspaper, the glitch in the tie-up with high profile billionaire Sir Richard Branson's brand is the immense success of the Brackley outfit in 2009, and Branson's persisting desire for a low-price deal.

The initial deal, clinched on the eve of the Australian grand prix, was for just $250,000 per race, but after four out of a possible five wins, the cost - overseen by Brawn's CEO Nick Fry - has logically skyrocketed.

Branson arrived in Monaco on Thursday, but it is rumoured that he will be a guest of the Red Bull team this weekend.

He then dined on Vijay Mallya's superyacht in the evening, and The Times believes Ferrari and McLaren are also interested in negotiating with the 58-year-old.

Fry, however, who met with Branson on Friday morning, is unlikely to be overly worried, given that swathes of companies are believed to have registered their interest in backing Brawn GP.
05/22/09
irl
Ganassi to be first to switch to VW engines?  Chip Ganassi was quick to switch to Honda power in CART/Champ Car early, which combined with his jump to Firestone tires, led to many victories in the Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser era.  Then he ditched Honda and switched to Toyota power and enjoyed many wins with Juan Montoya.

Ganassi was also the first CART team to break rank and run the Indy 500 in 2000 with Juan Montoya - a race they dominated if you recall.

Now rumors are swirling in the IndyCar paddock that Ganassi may be the first big team that jumps to VW power in 2012 if VW enters IndyCar racing as rumored.  VW will probably want to snatch at least one additional big team and Team Penske could be that other big team as Roger Penske as both VW and Audi dealerships.  Penske and Ganassi are joined at the hip when it comes to racing, where one goes the other usually follows.

05/22/09
irl
Power's last race at Penske could be Indy  Will Power looks at the statistics and shakes his head. Runner-up in his last IndyCar race at Long Beach. Sixth in the opener at St. Petersburg. Ninth in points this season, and number 9 on the 33-car starting grid for Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

And Sunday's race could be Power's last of the year.

The 28-year-old Australian understood this was possible when he accepted Penske Racing's offer to temporarily replace Helio Castroneves in January. Rather than risk everything on a possible full-time gig in a bad economy, Powers opted for a safer play - joining the series' most prominent team while the two-time Indy winner fought federal tax evasion charges.

Now that Castroneves is back, Power's future is unclear. "I have no clue what's going to happen,'' he said. "It's always on your mind, but it's out of my control.''

Should Power win at Indy, it would be tough for Roger Penske to let him go. A top-10 finish Sunday might be enough to turn heads, yet an early exit could leave Power unemployed.

Power understands the stakes: Every lap, every pass, every move will be closely monitored by Penske and others. More at AP Article

05/21/09
irl
Overheard in Long Beach - Tracy  UPDATE #6 According to AR1.com sources, Tracy is going to be sponsored for the 2 Canadian races by the Honda Dealers Association of Canada. They are also stepping up as a sponsor of the Edmonton race.

05/20/09 The part of this rumor about Paul Tracy driving in the two Canadian IRL races in Toronto and Edmonton for KV Racing Technology is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

05/03/09 Hearing that the 2nd Dale Coyne Car at Indy may not be for Bruno Junqueira like everyone thinks, but for a young American driver instead. 

04/17/09 The part of this rumor that Bomarito will drive for the Genoa Racing Indy Lights team this weekend is 'fact' with this announcement.  We expect the Paul Tracy driving for KV Racing piece to be upgraded to 'fact' later today.

04/17/09 It's also anticipated that Paul Tracy, who calls Las Vegas home, will drive in the two Canadian Indy Racing League stops this summer in Toronto and Edmonton.

"Part of Paul's lack of activity in the IndyCar ranks is partly his own engineering,'' said another ex-IndyCar driver, Tomas Scheckter. More ...
05/21/09
f1
Rumored 8 new teams for F1  UPDATE #2 GP2 Series pace-setters Barwa Addax have issued a statement to deny rumors linking the team to a potential Formula 1 graduation in the top flight’s new ‘low-cost’, budget-capped era in 2010.

A number of motorsport publications and websites had claimed that the leading Spanish outfit – formerly known as Campos Grand Prix and previously run by ex-F1 driver Adrian Campos – was looking at submitting an entry for a move into the uppermost echelon, but such speculation has now been refuted.

‘The Barwa Addax team, which is currently taking part in the GP2 series, does not have, at this moment in time, the intention of presenting any project to compete in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship,’ the statement underlines. ‘With this, Barwa Addax hopes to avoid any misinterpretation concerning this point and would also like to make it clear that they are not involved in any project of this kind.’

“Barwa Addax are the reigning team champions from last season and are currently leading this year’s championship in both the team and driver rankings,” added team owner Alejandro Agag. “Our main objective is to work hard and make a conscious effort to emulate these successes in the GP2 series.”

05/20/09 The 8 potential new F1 teams are Wirth Research, Lola, USF1, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech, Campos, and iSport

05/19/09 The FIA President Max Mosley has made much of the need to keep costs down in Formula 1 in order to allow new teams to enter the sport. His reason for this is that the car manufacturers will not make a commitment to the sport for the longer term because they believe that the teams should get a larger share of the revenues that the sport generates. With the existing teams bonding (to a lesser or greater extent) in the Formula One Teams' Association, it is very useful to have some other organizations to talk about. One might argue that this is not very different from the use of dummy tanks during World War II to confuse the enemy into believing that units existed when in fact they were simply Jeeps fitted with metal frames and canvas.

So what is real and what is just hot air? More ...

05/21/09
f1
F1 teams likely to miss deadline  Most current Formula One teams are unlikely to submit entries for next year's championship by a May 29 deadline, according to commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"We'll have to wait and see. I think the majority probably won't put an entry in," he said.

Toyota, champions Ferrari, Renault and the two Red Bull teams have all threatened to walk away unless the 2010 regulations, which include an optional £40 million budget cap, are rewritten. More ...

05/20/09
f1
Top teams, drivers, to exit decimated F1  (GMM)  The big teams' quit threats are not being taken seriously by all, but top drivers in Monte Carlo on Wednesday warned that formula one could "disappear" amid its latest crisis.

The iconic Ferrari, enraged by the FIA's budget cap intentions, has been accused of self-interest and dramatic posturing, but its Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen told reporters: "I'm pretty sure we are going to disappear from formula one."

The 29-year-old, who won the drivers' title with the Maranello marque two years ago, said he is committed to staying with Ferrari in 2010.

"They will find something for me to do since they still have a contract with me.  They are racing in many other categories," said Raikkonen. More ...

05/20/09
f1
Ferrari may prolong FIA legal action  (GMM)  After losing its court bid to annul the 2010 budget cap, Ferrari on Wednesday said it is considering prolonging the legal action against F1's governing body.

It was understood that the verdict of Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance includes a right of appeal.

In a statement issued by the Maranello concern, Ferrari said it is indeed evaluating "whether or not to continue with this legal action already underway".

Ferrari also warned that its threat to withdraw from F1 at the end of this season still stands.

05/20/09
f1
KERS for Trains?  KERS F1 technology could be introduced to the next generation of trains on the London Underground network, after Tube engineers were 'amazed' by the potential of the system following a visit to Williams F1.

According to Professional Engineering, KERS technology could potentially be adapted to power trains over complex sections of track, such as point crossings.

“On a recent visit to Williams Racing, I was amazed at the potential of the flywheel systems they were looking at, “PE quotes London Underground’s head of Train System Engineering, Malcolm Dobell, as saying.

“We are looking at this from the point of view of a train mounted enginery recovery system. I’m quite agnostic as to whether it would be flywheel, supercapacitors or battery technology.”

However, Dobell has concerns about safety.

“I’ve got to be clear about what would happen if the system, for some reason, decided to give up all its energy in one go: say if the flywheel decided to fail, or the supercapacitors or battery decided to short-circuit. Where would that energy go in the tight confines of a Tube tunnel?” he asked.  Yahoo! Sports

05/20/09
nascar
NASCAR Media Group prepping for NASCAR Network?  The NASCAR Media Group is not even two years old, but nowhere is the sanctioning body spending more money or more carefully plotting its future. Over the next few months, the media group will start moving out of its cozy, well-worn offices just south of downtown Charlotte. Its new $45 million home - $30 million in state-of-the-art equipment, $15 million in construction - will be adjoining the sparkling NASCAR Hall of Fame building in the heart of downtown, where it will occupy floors two through five of the 19-story office tower. Inside, the group will have everything it needs to start its own network, from multiple studios and control rooms, to full graphics and high-definition capability. Even though the hall of fame won't open for another year, the office space adjoining the attraction will be ready for occupancy in June. It will give NASCAR nearly limitless options when it enters the next round of media talks - its current deals for TV, radio, mobile and the Internet expire in 2014. And the idea of joining Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL and NFL in starting its own network will be part of the discussion. Sports Business Journal
05/20/09
track news
Bad blood between SMI and Humpy Wheeler  Interesting news on TV last night in Charlotte, NC.  Humpy Wheeler will be at the Indy 500 this weekend.  Apparently he wasn’t invited to the NASCAR race he ran for years for Bruton Smith.  Hmmmmmmm ...
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