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Top IndyCar team to enter Formula E It is understood that one of the top IndyCar teams will be unveiled as a Formula E entrant by the end of the summer along with several based in the UK. There will be a $3.3-million annual budget cap on teams. The first Formula E race will be held in September next year and it will host two U.S. races -- in Los Angeles and Miami. F1 team McLaren is making the 300 bhp electric motor which will power the Formula E cars. Its sponsor TAG Heuer will handle the timing and former F1 supplier Michelin will provide the tires. Williams is supplying the batteries.
Overheard in Toronto - Saturday Bet you didn't know that Sage Karam's father, Jody, used to be Michael Andretti's personal trainer. When Andretti moved to the IRL from CART Karam got Andretti in the best shape of his life, losing 27 pounds in a short period. Both Sage and his father are physically in very good shape just looking at them, so it's clear Sage, who is still in high school, takes after his old man.
We learned that Sage is now managed by Julian Jacoby's management company and is assigned to Mickey Ryan. Given the ties Jacoby has in Europe, you have to wonder if Karam is eyeing a move to Europe next year. Hmm........Would be a big loss to IndyCar because they need every talented American they can get.
Overheard in Toronto - Friday (Update)UPDATE Barfield will resume his duties in Race Control at the next IZOD IndyCar Series event, the Honda Indy 200 on Aug. 2-4 at Mid-Ohio. We hear he had passport issues getting into Canada.
07/12/13 It was a nice day with temperatures in the low 70's in Toronto Friday as the IndyCar Series gathered for the Honda Toronto Indy doubleheader. It was a decent crowd but not great given it was "Free Friday" courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation. This event sorely misses the backing it had with Molson Beer.
Half of what was the paddock area has been demolished and sits vacant, which has taken away from the 'feel' of the event. Rumor has it that a Casino might be built on the site, which would be a shot in the arm for the race, assuming the Casino does not force the race to move elsewhere.
The pit straight grandstands are now smaller but sections have been moved elsewhere around the track. For example the grandstand at the end of the backstraight is larger than it ever has been. We could never understand why it was so small in past years given all the passing that gets done at that corner.
Allmendinger can't cut the mustard in IndyCar A.J. Allmendinger may not be returning to IndyCar after an embarrassing outing in Detroit. Once you drive a taxicab your reflexes are dulled and most drivers cannot make the transition back. He crashed at the start of both races at Belle Isle Park. Once a taxicab driver, always a taxicab driver.
And Allmendinger doesn’t sound like a race car driver planning to return to the IndyCar Series.
“I haven’t even talked to Roger (Penske) about that,” Allmendinger said today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, site of this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series event, the last race before the July 28 Brickyard 400.
Asked if he planned to talk to Penske about additional IndyCar races, Allmendinger said: “Probably not.”
Kanaan to compete in 'Dancing With the Stars' Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan is in talks to compete on "Dancing With the Stars," following in the footsteps of fellow racecar driver Helio Castroneves. The 38-year-old won the Indy 500 in May, becoming the first Brazilian driver to nab the crown since Castroneves took the title in 2009. And Kanaan may be taking another page from the Season 5 "DWTS" champ by heading to the ballroom and competing in the arduous dance contest.
Kanaan tells HollywoodLife.com, "Yeah, we're in talks. Obviously, Helio did such a great job representing the drivers and the Brazilians. Me, being a Brazilian, I'm going to have a tough task but I'll try. We'll see. If it's the right time, I'll definitely accept it and go try it." Season 17 of "DWTS" will premiere this fall.
Ryan Briscoe is back driving for Panther Racing at this weekend’s IndyCar Series race in Toronto, and it looks more and more like that’s a pairing for the 2014 season.
The Toronto doubleheader will be Briscoe’s fifth and sixth races with Panther since JR Hildebrand was released following an early crash in the Indianapolis 500. Oriol Servia drove the car in the other two.
Team owner John Barnes has said there are as many as six candidates to drive the No. 4 car next season, but Barnes said this week that he will not rob another IndyCar team of its driver.
Throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the driving duties for the Michael Waltrip Racing-Aaron's Dream Machine-Toyota have been shared by Mark Martin-24 races, Brian Vickers-9 races and Waltrip himself for 3 restrictor plate races at Talladega and Daytona.
In his first two appearances this year, the 50 year old Waltrip has performed very well for himself. He finished 4th at the May 5th race at Talladega and fifth at the July 6th Daytona event. He also collected $296,985 for his company from those two events.
Is Waltrip thinking about hanging up the helmet to divide his time between team ownership and SPEED Channel broadcaster?
Is it over for Massa? F1 matters move on very quickly. And if you need recent evidence of this you need look no further than to the curious case of Felipe Massa. It seems no time since, earlier in the year, we were declaring Felipe as finally being back to his best. He looked confident out of the car and quick in it, and had out qualified his haughty team mate Fernando Alonso four times in a row. Some of the excitable started to talk about his 'getting under Alonso's skin'.
Yet before we know it we seem almost back to where we started. Massa's in the doldrums again, his last four race weekends have each featured at least one accident or spin (and he's scored but 12 points in this time), including in the latest race in the Nurburgring where he spun off after four laps, which the man himself admitted subsequently was a driver error.
Hulkenberg to quit Sauber, move to Lotus (4th Update)UPDATE #4
Hulkenberg. Lotus bound?
(GMM) Eric Boullier on Tuesday confirmed reports Nico Hulkenberg is a candidate to drive for Lotus in 2014.
That is because the Enstone based team is facing up to the very real possibility lead driver Kimi Raikkonen will switch to Red Bull.
We reported earlier that Frenchman Boullier, the Lotus team boss, is scheduled to sit down with Finn Raikkonen's management this week.
In the meantime, German Hulkenberg is technically a free agent, because - while he will continue to race for Sauber in 2013 - the struggling Swiss team reportedly breached contract by failing to pay him in May and June.
Overheard at Pocono - Sunday (Update)UPDATE As we rumored yesterday below, Mike Conway has been confirmed for the Dale Coyne ride in Toronto and Houston (Announcement)
A nice crowd went home disappointed because IndyCar does not know how to orchestrate great finishes like NASCAR does
The crowd Sunday was estimated to be about 40,000. Not only were the huge NASCARsized grandstands fuller than we expected, the huge infield had at least 10,000 people in it. Certainly have Andretti on the pole and the good weather helped the walkup crowd. Rumor has it their business plan for this race was a minimum of 25,000 attendance, so 40,000 ensures this race will continue, hopefully for many years to come. The current deal is two years with an option year.
One thing the fans like is the garage access they have with IndyCar. At NASCAR races they are on the outside looking in.
Did you know that Pocono has a new infield road course? Yup, and it has 20 different configurations.
Berlin To Host FIA Formula E World Championship Race In 2014 Berlin "will reportedly play host to a FIA Formula E World Championship race in '14," according to AUTOBILD. The electric racing series "will host one of its 10 inaugural races in Berlin in '14."
The official date and course layout "will be announced at a press conference on Thursday."
The most likely course "seems to be at the discontinued Tempelhof airport because Berlin previously declined to host a Formula E race due to security concerns." Formula E circuits "have a maximum length of 2.5km, and the races consist of two 25-minute races plus an additional 10-minute final"
IndyCar to abandon failing Indy Lights Series (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. IndyCar is relinquishing control of the struggling Indy Lights series to Dan Andersen, who owns the other two steps in the Mazda Road to Indy development program.
Andersen founded the USF2000 series in the 1990s, sold it and bought it back a couple of years ago. He also recently acquired Star Mazda, re-branding it as Pro Mazda. He is the owner and CEO of both divisions.
Andersen is scheduled to be confirmed to lead Indy Lights at a news conference Friday in Toronto (according to AutoWeek), an IndyCar event where all four divisions will participate.
Football at Daytona International Speedway? Is NASCAR's most famous race track ready for some football? Or basketball? Or even hockey? Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III thinks it will be after a $400 million renovation, and he is more than a little bit interested in making it happen. "We're spending $400 million improving our facility," Chitwood told Yahoo! Sports Saturday.
"Why wouldn't we? We can look at soccer, football, music," he said. "We can do anything. The opportunities are limitless."
The idea of football at the place made famous by the Daytona 500 seems far-fetched, with the emphasis on far: The Speedway is so mammoth it seats more than 100,000 in the frontstretch that it's tough to imagine being able to making out the numbers on the backs of players' uniforms from the sweeping grandstand. Yet Chitwood points out that when it holds Supercross events, fans are seated on the track here. So once the renovation is complete and the place is more intimate, he says, "the door is wide open." Yahoo Sports
Mateschitz, not Ecclestone, also eyeing Nurburgring rescue (Update)UPDATE (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday performed a swift u-turn, having said earlier he is "thinking about" buying the financially embattled Nurburgring.
"If I do that (buy the circuit)," the F1 chief executive had told Die Welt newspaper, "it would mean the German grand prix is secure in the future".
According to quotes that will appear in the Rhein-Zeitung newspaper on Monday, however, 82-year-old Briton Ecclestone has had a rapid change of heart.
Rumors swirl around struggling Sauber's future (Update)UPDATE (GMM) Sauber could have an all-new driver lineup next year, as rumors of a radical shakeup for the struggling Swiss team gain speed.
Nico Hulkenberg, reportedly not paid by the Hinwil based team since May, has already confirmed at the Nurburgring that boss Monisha Kaltenborn is working to pull Sauber out of a financial crisis.
Nicolas Todt - a GP2 team chief, prominent F1 driver manager and son of FIA president Jean Todt - has been linked with a buyout, as has Chelsea football club's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
A perfect weekend so far for a happy Marco Andretti
On a Partly Cloudy and warm day in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, the IndyCar gathered to watch practice and qualifying. Unfortunately the place looked empty - a very big facility with NASCAR size grandstands and a few thousand fans in attendance. However, given it is an oval event, which never draws a big crowd before race day, the few thousand fans is a lot more than some tracks.
And with Marco Andretti winning the pole it is sure to help ticket sales on Sunday. The Andretti name is huge around this neck of the woods.
Marco dominated all three practices and qualifying. His car has been quick off the trailer and he is very confident going into tomorrow's race. Whatever his team has figured out, so far it is working.
Valencia back in 2014? 2014 return again in doubt (5th Update)UPDATE #5 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has shed little light on the uncertainty surrounding the identity of next year's Spanish grand prix host.
Reportedly, a verbal agreement between the regional presidents should see Valencia and Barcelona annually alternate a single Spanish F1 race from now on.
The port city of Valencia, absent from the 2013 schedule, was set to kick off the arrangement in 2014, but the Circuit de Catalunya has already put tickets on sale for a Spanish grand prix next year.
"If they are doing that," Valencia vice president Jose Ciscar said, "you will have to ask Catalunya as to why."
Another Russian F1 track to be built After Moscow Raceway and Sotchi next year, plans for yet another new F1 circuit in Russia, this time close(r) to Moscow, near Vnukovo airport.
The Moscow government will start work next year on construction of a racetrack capable of hosting Formula One races, a leading city planning official in the Russian capital said Wednesday, July 3, according to RIA Novosti.
“It will be possible to hold Formula One on the racetrack. The rest of the time it could be used by car fans and for motorsport competitions,” said Moscow development official Vladimir Zhidkin.
Pirelli changed tires without consent at Silverstone
Pirelli F1 Tires
(GMM) F1's tire scandal could be set to deepen yet further, as a Spanish sports newspaper claims Pirelli - already under reprimand for 'test-gate' - blatantly broke the rules.
Marca correspondent Marco Canseco reports that, prior to the tire-explosive British grand prix, F1's official supplier changed the construction of its 2013 tire without the knowledge or the consent of the FIA or the teams.
"At worst, it jeopardized the lives of the drivers," Canseco said, referring to the spate of spectacular tire failures at the British grand prix that have thrown the sport into crisis.
Will Hulman George family light IMS to help the enemy? [Editor's Note: Everyone knows that IndyCar is in a death fight with NASCAR for survival, everyone except maybe the Hulman George family who thinks they should help the enemy by putting lights up at the Indy Motor Speedway so the enemies race prospers. Discretely NASCAR does everything it can to destroy IndyCar. For example did you notice that two Nationwide races now bookend the Iowa IndyCar race? Fans can only buy so many tickets in a given market. Did you notice the massive empty seats at the recent Iowa IndyCar race? Stick a fork in that event. In a few years it will be done.]
With $100 million in renovations coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon doesn't know where he would spend the money. He wouldn't mind seeing lights installed at the track for the Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race weekend, though.
Gordon spoke to the media at Kentucky Speedway over the weekend, answering several questions about Indianapolis in advance the upcoming NASCAR Kroger Super Weekend.
The four-time Sprint Cup champion frequented the Indianapolis 500 as a child but hasn't sat in the grandstands since before his own career began. As a result, he believes the fans should have the loudest voice when it comes to possible changes.
Fox In Talks With NASCAR To Widen Broadcast Package Fox Sports and NASCAR are involved in discussions to broadcast at least half of the Nationwide Series as well as adding some additional" Sprint Cup Series races beyond its current eight-year extension, according to sources cited by Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. ABC/ESPN currently "broadcasts the entire Nationwide schedule." However, Nationwide Insurance last week "asked for an extension of its exclusive negotiating window to extend its current deal so that it would know what the series' TV partners will be."
Silverstone circuit, not Pirelli, caused tire failures? (Update)UPDATE Silverstone organizers have shunned claims that the circuit's curbs could have played a role in the dramatic sequence of tire failures suffered at the British Grand Prix.
Four drivers were hit with left-rear blow-outs during Sunday afternoon's race, including early leader Lewis Hamilton, prompting sole tire supplier Pirelli to launch a full-scale investigation at its Milan headquarters in a bid to uncover the root cause of the issue.
Reports later emerged linking the tire problems to sharp curb edges at selected corners, but Derek Warwick, President of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), brushed them aside as "absolute rubbish".
Drivers to boycott German GP (Update)UPDATE [Editor's Note: Drivers and teams are ignoring the fact that it was a combination of the drivers riding the curbs and the Silverstone curb designs that likely caused the failures. See video] McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has warned there is a danger of this weekend's German Grand Prix being boycotted, with various teams and drivers expressing concerns over safety after a succession of tire failures at Silverstone on Sunday.
Four drivers suffered dramatic left-rear blow-outs throughout the 52-lap race, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton describing the situation as "unacceptable" after being struck with the issue along the Wellington Straight while holding the lead.
And with the next round in Germany just days away, it is feared that the events of the 2005 United States GP at Indianapolis, when all Michelin runners withdrew from the race due to blow-outs along the banking section of the track, could arise once more.
Sauber F1 Team In Financial Trouble, Can't Pay Driver, Suppliers Sauber F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg "is still waiting for his May salary," according to Uhl & Pohl of BILD. In addition, the Switzerland-based team "has not paid its suppliers in the past several weeks." The Sauber team "is one of the seven F1 teams that have financial difficulties."
Sauber counts on Russian gas producer Gazprom "to invest millions in the team." Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said, "It is true, we currently have some difficulties. But we will get out of it again. We'll definitely finish the season." BILD
UBS Tipped In Bid To Land $100M For N.Y. Grand Prix Swiss investment bank UBS "has been appointed" by N.Y. Grand Prix organizers in a bid to secure $100M of funding to enable the race to go ahead in '14, according to Christian Sylt of the London Telegraph. F1 circuits "typically cost" more than $250M to build, but using public roads "avoids this expense."
The downside is that "there is no asset for investment to be secured on." No public funds "will be invested in the race." The UBS memorandum states that the funding "is required to complete the engineering work and build the Club of America VIP hospitality area, where guests will get a close-up view."
UBS forecasts that corporate hospitality tickets will cost $4,255 each and, along with general admission, will generate 80% of revenues. It added that "the average ticket price is expected to be" around £358 ($563), compared to £288 ($438) at the British Grand Prix Sunday. London Telegraph
Edwards to Penske? The rumor of Carl Edwards, who is signed with Roush thru at least 2013, driving a third Penske Racing car with Quicken Loans as the sponsor next season circled around the garage the last few weeks. "Absolutely not," team owner Roger Penske said emphatically. "That's a good one, but no. We would do a third car if we had proper sponsorship. But right now we have two good young drivers and we continue to get our cars better." Penske didn't rule out the possibility of adding a third car down the road but he remains loyal to Sam Hornish Jr. FoxSports
NJ F1 race to be week before Canadian GP Hidden away in the details of the FIA World Council was the news that in order to preserve the historic date of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the June 14/15 date has been blocked to ensure that no Formula 1 race is hosted the same weekend. This is bad news for New Jersey which was hoping to have a back-to-back race with Canada.
So either Canada has to move a week earlier or the NJ race will have to happen prior to Canada.
Webber will leave Red Bull, signs 5-year Porsche deal (11th update)UPDATE #11
Will Webber sign for another year to be beaten by his faster teammate, Vettel, week-in-and-week-out?
This rumor, first reported on March 27th, is finally upgraded to 'fact.' Mark Webber is retiring from formula one at the end of the year in order to drive for Porsche's new Le Mans prototype program in 2014 and beyond.
The popular and outspoken 36-year-old Australian has driven for Red Bull since 2007, and has more than 200 grands prix under his belt, including nine wins.
"I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge," Webber said in a statement.
2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is the favorite to replace Webber at Red Bull.
IndyCar back to Chicago? Keep hearing Chicagoland is making a big push to bring IndyCar back but I’d much rather see MIS instead – it would draw better than Joliet…. Robin Miller Speedtv.com
Prediction: Either venue will have a massive number of empty seats and paint IndyCar as a big loser, turning off fans and sponsors. Everyone loves a winner. Success breeds success. Fans who attend 'loser' events never return. Fans who attend events like Long Beach, Indy or any F1 race come away feeling they just were part of something special......and therefore return every year. IndyCar needs to build on success. As Einstein said, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Fontana is a clear example. IndyCar went back and made themselves look like losers. You can shoot a cannon in those grandstands and not hit anyone. Mark C., AR1.com
Truex, shown here spinning in practice, miraculously became a road course ace overnight when it was race time
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Since when is Martin Truex a road racer? I see he won the Toyota sponsored race in Sonoma last weekend in a Toyota. Toyota has not been winning much in NASCAR these days. Did NASCAR, where everything happens for a reason, give them an extra special ECU for Sonoma? Mordichai Rosen
Hamilton will go where he can get the biggest paycheck
Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he would like to drive for Ferrari at some point in his career, but added that he is happy with his seat at Mercedes for the time being.
The Brit drove for McLaren from 2007 but made the switch to Mercedes at the end the last season and is currently fourth in the Drivers' Championship behind Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton recently spoke of his desire to stay with Mercedes for a long time, but said in an interview with F1 Racing that he, like most drivers, would like to race for Ferrari during his career as well.
Danica Patrick May Get Ryan Newman's Crew Chief in 2013
Danica Patrick may end up with Ryan Newman's crew chief in 2013, but Stewart-Haas Racing claims that nothing has been officially decided at this point. Rumors about the change have increased since Newman received a sponsorship deal with Quicken Loans. Greg Zipadelli, who joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012, is Patrick's current crew chief. However, the team is allegedly interested in having Zipadelli focus more on his role as competition director.
Speculation continues surrounding the possibility that Ryan Newman's crew chief, Tony Gibson, will switch to supporting Danica Patrick in the 2013 Sprint Cup. Both Newman and Patrick plan on running the full schedule next year, and the rumors have intensified after the announcement that Quicken Loans would sponsor Ryan Newman.
Last year for IndyCar to race in the cornstalks? (4th Update)UPDATE #3 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Have gone to the race 5 years in a row, the best attended race was under the lights on Saturday night last year. Farm country works during the day and comes to the race at night. Cooler, Musco lighting, great atmosphere, great racing, couldn't be better. The race needs to go back to Saturday night. Regards, Jerry M. Topeka, KS
06/24/13 Attendance was estimated at 22,000 a rather optimistic number given the huge number of empty seats. Texas, Milwaukee, and now Iowa - three oval races all poorly attended and for all three the trend is down, down and down, making their economic viability tenuous at best.
06/24/13 Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and Iowa Speedway Principal Owner Conrad Clement called a press conference before yesterday’s Izod IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 to "stomp out the buzz" surrounding the future of the race, according to Bryce Miller of the DES MOINES REGISTER. Miles, addressing comments from IndyCar driver Graham Rahal on Saturday alluding to rumors that the event would not return, said, “I don’t think there’s any chance we won’t be back.” Miller wrote Iowa Speedway is “generally considered a success story" for IndyCar. Though attendance “has slipped from the speedway’s headiest days, it still exceeds most on the schedule in terms of crowds and driver love.” That is what "made the unsolicited comments from Rahal puzzling to most." Miles said, “The way we approach making our calendar next year absolutely includes Iowa. Maybe people have been somewhat, what’s the right word, confused by the fact that we still are talking about the exact date. We’d both like to get back to the point where we have a multi-year agreement. (But) those aren’t reasons for us not to be here." Rahal on Saturday said, “There's a lot of rumors we won't be coming back here, and I hope that's not true.” Clement said of his reaction to the comments, "I was pissed. Irritated. Let’s say irritated. You get these microphones in front of these drivers, in the heat of the moment. I don’t know why it comes up." Des Moines Register.
Will anyone replace IZOD as IndyCar title sponsor?UPDATE The IndyCar Series continues to search for a presenting sponsor that could replace Izod as its title sponsor in the future.
Izod has two years left on its deal with the series, but it’s had discussions with IndyCar about exiting the deal early. The company has cut back its activation around the series and stopped advertising during races on NBC Sports Network.
“They’re trying to figure out where we fit in their portfolio,” said Greg Gruning, IndyCar executive vice president of corporate sales, who declined to comment on IZOD’s future as a title sponsor.
Red Bull to setup their own private test like Mercedes did (Update)UPDATE (GMM) Red Bull on Monday was quick to officially deny reports it is considering breaking the rules as a counter-punch to the 'test-gate' scandal verdict.
According to The Times, the world champion team is reportedly so furious about Mercedes' lenient penalties that it is considering boycotting next month's young drivers test at Silverstone.
In its place, Red Bull - and possibly also Ferrari - would reportedly stage their own private, three-day test, in a directly confrontational move against the FIA, who might be hard pressed to issue penalties beyond the kind of benign 'reprimand' dealt to Mercedes.
Red Bull wanted $100m fine for Mercedes (GMM) The curious outcome of the 'test-gate' saga is that, although found guilty of breaking the rules, Mercedes is reacting with relief at the outcome of the international tribunal' verdict.
And Ferrari, though its ascerbic 'Horse Whisperer' column, and fellow protester Red Bull, sound like the losers, angry that their German rival is only banned from the forthcoming young drivers' test.
Indeed, Austrians Niki Lauda - Mercedes chairman - and Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko made a bet in the midst of the scandal in which the 'loser' would have to pay EUR 50 to the winner.
Will NASCAR finally switch to a relevant engine design? Considering that NASCAR has taken steps in both marketing and competition to modernize its image, whether with its green approach and consequent change to ethanol, the addition of electronic fuel injection and this season’s Generation 6 rollout, can a renovated engine be far behind?
“It’s long-term, very long-term,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director John Darby. “Four or five years ago we had a similar exercise and it’s about understanding new technology. What we can apply or not apply and what makes sense to do with all of our checklists, the competition and the costs and everything else.
Bill Elliott's son next 2nd generation driver to star in NASCAR?
It's pretty safe to assume that by now we all agree that Chase Elliott has a very bright future in NASCAR racing. Just this season alone the 17 year old son of NASCAR driving icon Bill Elliott has four starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resulting in two top five finishes and three top tens. Then on June 8th he put on an outstanding performance while winning the ARCA Racing Series event at Pocono Raceway.
Super team owner Rick Hendrick made quick work of recognizing Elliott's potential and signed him to a multi year driver development deal back in 2011. The young driver has become a very high priority for Hendrick and he very much wants to see Elliott driving in NASCAR's Nationwide Series beginning with the 2014 season.
If Mercedes loses tribunal, will they exit F1? A key group of Mercedes-Benz shareholders are said to be pushing for the brand's exit from Formula 1.
The main factor in the negative sentiment appears to be growing tension surrounding the tire test undertaken with the sport's sole supplier Pirelli, though a lack of significant success is also a factor.
A large group of private shareholders are said to be viewing Thursday's FIA international tribunal as a line in the sand. Should Mercedes be punished for their part in the test, they will strengthen their calls for a Formula One exit.
Some, however, already believe the time has come to abandon the sport.
Red Bull using secret traction control? (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 (GMM) A photo has emerged that some believe is evidence Red Bull is using illegal 'traction control' aboard its championship-leading RB9 car.
"Bumps or traction control?" a report by Italy's Autosprint said.
The photo shows Mark Webber's single seater exiting a corner in Canada and leaving rubber marks on the track due to wheel spin.
But, apparently moments into the wheel spin, the rubber marks become dotted, as if to depict the kicking-in of a form of traction control, which is not allowed in F1.
The photo was sent in by a reader, who admitted that the dotted wheel spin marks may also have been caused by a phenomenon of resonance in the rear suspension.
"Anyway, the image is worth reporting," the Autosprint story read.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. close to landing new sponsors (Update)UPDATE The sponsor Hendrick Motorsports is close to signing to a multiyear deal for Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be new to NASCAR. HMS owner Rick Hendrick said the deal likely won't be completed in time for the sponsor to be on the hood for the July 6 race at Daytona International Speedway -- the first race in which the No. 88 was unsponsored. Hendrick said National Guard likely would be on the car at DIS. "We're going to have to switch some stuff around,'' Hendrick said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR's most popular driver entered the season with 13 unsponsored races. Hendrick insisted in February there was plenty of interest and he was looking for a long-term fit for the 88 and not a quick fix for this season. "This will be a pretty neat deal when we get to announce it, but I think we're in good shape,'' said Hendrick, not naming the sponsor other than to say it is new to the sport. "There hasn't been a lot of new sponsors in the sport just because of the economy and the way people go to market, a combination of a lot of things. [But] there's always been a lot of interest in him.'' ESPN
Montreal is poised to agree a new 10-year deal Rumor has it that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been in talks with race organizers about extending the Montreal contract for the Canadian GP that ends next year, for another 10 years.
“Ten years allows us to think long term, to think about improvements to the circuit, ” said Montreal promoter Francois Dumontier.
New Jersey, which will run back-to-back with Montreal starting in 2014 recently inked a 15-year deal.
Could this be the end of the line for IndyCar at Milwaukee? (Update)UPDATE
It had to be a disappointing attendance for Michael Andretti
The crowd looked similar to last year's, when it was estimated at 22,000 by the Journal Sentinel and 25,000 by Andretti Sports Marketing. Everyone wants to keep Milwaukee on the schedule, but there do not appear to be enough 'oval track' fans to support it. Why? It's all laid out in this AR1.com article. And if IndyCar, NASCAR and the entire automotive industry don't work together to fix it, motorsports will eventually cease to exist. AR1.com will lay out how to fix it in Part 2 of this article in the near future.
Dale Coyne talks to his drivers Ana Beatriz and Justin Wilson during qualifying as the huge oval crowd looks on.
06/15/13 Andretti Sports Marketing has every intention of bringing IndyFest back to the Milwaukee Mile for a third year in 2014.
IndyCar expects to be back, too.
But unlike last June, Michael Andretti won't announce to the crowd before Saturday's race that next year is a go.
"There's a lot of different variables that we're working hard to get it set up," said managing director Kevin Healy, who has headed IndyFest since Andretti got the Milwaukee Mile back on the schedule last year.
Issues include IndyCar's growing list of racetrack options for its schedule, as well as sponsorships for IndyFest and the cost to put on the event.
Indy could be the last race for the #51 team Phoenix Racing team owner, James Finch, has decided that enough is enough when it comes to owning a NASCAR team. Phoenix Racing has struggled over the last couple of years in getting a full time sponsor for the #51 Sprint Cup Series car and his #1 Nationwide Series car, which has made financing a Nationwide Series car and a Sprint Cup Series car difficult.
Phoenix started out the year with a deal with Guy Roofing, who sponsored the #51 car for the Daytona 500 and a couple other races, but since then Finch and Phoenix Racing have been in search of a major sponsor. That search has come up empty spurring rumors of the closing down of the Phoenix Racing team.
Long Beach talks 'a message' to New Jersey (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact'. The promoter of the Grand Prix of America has confirmed a new long-term deal is now in place to hold a round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The agreement will see F1 go to New Jersey until at least 2029, starting from next year.
The inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial was due to take place this season, but was postponed in October 2012 with the initial contract then cancelled by F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone, however, has continued to back the plan and according to some reports has even helped the organizers’ settle a number of debts.
Infiniti to help develop Red Bull's engine (GMM) Luxury Nissan division Infiniti, Red Bull's title sponsor, will get involved in the actual development of the world champion team's 'power unit' next year, it is rumored.
We reported recently that Red Bull's 'works' Renault engines will be branded 'Infiniti' for the start of the turbo V6 era next year.
Red Bull denied the story, but those rumors have now resurfaced.
"The Renault V6 in the 2014 Red Bull will not only be called Infiniti," said Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
(GMM) While the FIA readies to analyze a possible breach of the official rules, Germany's Sport Bild claims Mercedes also broke an explicit gentleman's agreement between the teams when it ran its 'secret' test in May.
The magazine published a copy of the signed 'Testing Agreement 2013', featuring the signature of every team boss, including the under-fire Ross Brawn.
The document shows that F1's eleven teams agreed that in the event Pirelli wanted to run development testing for 2014, any test would have to be jointly approved by the testing committee - the teams - and the FIA.
James Allison to design Honda test car? (Update)UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' now. McLaren on Wednesday denied reports former Lotus technical director James Allison will re-emerge at Honda.
Allison is currently on 'gardening leave', after stepping down from his duties but remaining under contract to Lotus.
In the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, correspondent Luis Vasconcelos claims his next destination is the Japanese marque Honda, who are returning to F1 in 2015 for a works engine collaboration with the great British team McLaren.
Is 2014 the last Canadian GP? The Canadian F1 Grand Prix "is popular with drivers and fans, however its place on the series' calendar is in jeopardy," according to the Kurier. The contract between the racetrack operators and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone expires in '14, and a targeted 10-year extension "is still not in sight." The reason the track has not yet reached a deal with Ecclestone "is most likely due to the Canadian government's unwillingness to use public funds to pay for an increased hosting fee demanded by Ecclestone." He "reportedly demands an increase of about 5% as well as track modernization." Canada currently pays an annual starting fee of $15M, "a third of it comes from public funds." Kurier
Will Lotus F1 go belly-up? There has been a lot of talk lately of the financial situation in which Lotus allegedly finds itself. F1Plus bumped into Ben Cowely of team Lotus yesterday and had a little chat about this and other things.
We asked Cowely if Kimi's success was bittersweet. If the team is truly in money troubles and the Finn is paid per championship point, is Kimi's points streak slowly bleeding the team dry? Ben indicated that as usual, things get misrepresented and that the team has no concerns at all about finances.
Lotus has every intention of keeping Raikkonen for next season, despite the rumors of Kimi replacing Webber at Red Bull, the Enstone based team will make a serious bid to continue the success together with their number one driver.
Hankook or Michelin to replace Pirelli in F1 (3rd update)UPDATE #3 We have heard this before, but rumors that Pirelli will leave formula one at the end of the season are growing by the day.
Heavily criticized for its 2013 tires, and now embroiled in 'testgate', the Italian supplier is also unhappy with F1's tight testing limits and the obstacles to tire specification tweaks being erected by the teams.
Facing the wrath of the FIA's new international tribunal for accepting Pirelli's invitation of a private test at Barcelona recently, Mercedes' team boss Ross Brawn on Friday sounded uncertain Pirelli will still be in F1 in 2014.
Michelin considering F1 return (GMM) Michelin is the latest tire brand linked with F1 in 2014. In recent days, former F1 supplier Bridgestone joined Korea's Hankook in playing down the prospect of replacing Pirelli next season.
Manuel Franco, the correspondent for the Spanish sports daily AS, wrote on Thursday: "In the Montreal paddock it is being said that Michelin representatives have met with F1 executives to look into returning to the sport."
Michelin returned to F1 in 2001 to compete against Bridgestone, but fell out badly with the FIA in the wake of the 2005 US grand prix fiasco at Indianapolis, and pulled out a season later when F1 moved to a control-tire formula.
Allison to replace Newey after 2014? (Update)UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Red Bull has denied the latest reports linking Lotus' departed technical director James Allison with the world champion team.
While Allison was earlier linked with a move to Ferrari, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reported rumors the Briton could actually go to Red Bull.
"Those speculating in the paddock believe that Adrian Newey will stop at the end of 2014," correspondents Michael Schmidt and Bianca Leppert said.
Quebec on 2015 IndyCar schedule? According to reports, Quebec City officials are in negotiations with the IndyCar to bring the open-wheel series to the city and it could be part of the 2015 schedule. A few years back, Quebec had been courted to hold such an event but Quebec's colorful Mayor Regis Labeaume had been against the project mainly because he did not agree on where the race would be held, especially in historic Old Quebec
FIA to 'freeze' V6 engines by 2018 (GMM) The FIA will move to 'freeze' development of F1 manufacturers' new turbo V6 engines, it has emerged.
Just as substantial development of the current V8 engines was frozen years ago in order to control costs, a similar 'freeze' will gradually be introduced between 2014 - when the new rules are introduced - and 2018, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Next year, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will equip the twelve F1 teams with V6 power, while Honda's works deal with McLaren will begin in 2015.
Overheard in Detroit - Sunday Rumor has it that Audi is still attending the IndyCar engine meetings so apparently there is still interest there. There are trying to make a decision between IndyCar and the new United Sports Car Racing Series. Given they have never raced in Open Wheel we suspect they will stick with sports cars, but who knows, they could do Audi in one series and VW or Porsche in another. With today's announcement that IndyCar is looking for a new engine around 2019 we wonder if they will delay coming into the series until then.
Staying on the engine topic. The teams put a new engine in the cars before Indy 500 qualifying and then another engine in on Carb Day. So each car currently has two engines under the 2,000 mile limit. So until both engines are mileaged out, the teams may not get an engine refresh to almost Mid-Ohio. It is at these refresh points that engine manufacturers can introduce new engine parts (limited) to enhance performance.
Are new penalties a way for cash strapped IndyCar to generate revenue?UPDATE INDYCAR announced today that it has withdrawn the $10,000 in-race penalty issued to the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry of Graham Rahal and suspended the $10,000 in-race penalty issued to the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry of James Jakes. Both penalties were issued during the May 26 Indianapolis 500.
Upon post-race review of video and timing and scoring data, INDYCAR officials determined that the No. 15 car did not violate Rule 22.214.171.124.6 regarding blend out procedures for exiting pit road.
INDYCAR officials determined that the No. 16 car did not comply with Rule 126.96.36.199.6 during a pit stop on Lap 39 of the race. However, officials have suspended the fine provided the member does not engage in similar violations in the future. Should there be future violations of the rule by the member, INDYCAR shall re-instate the fine and additional penalties.
Overheard in Detroit - Saturday (Update)UPDATE After his dominating win here in Detroit Saturday, rumor has it that Dale Coyne will put Mike Conway back in the car when the series finishes the next series of three ovals. That means look for him in Toronto. Jim Campbell, GM's head of motorsports, paid a visit to the media center to congratulate Honda and say hello to a number of the reporters on hand, even after Honda again ate their lunch in Saturday's IndyCar race.
06/01/13 The first IndyCar doubleheader of 2013 was on tap today in Detroit. We will have a separate report on that event. Most impressive so far this weekend was Mike Conway who stepped into Dale Coyne's No. 18 with no practice and qualified 2nd for Race 1 and put it on pole for Race 2 on Sunday. Dale Coyne was very happy with his performance and likewise Conway told us that he was impressed at how fast the Coyne car was right out of the box.
Of course Mike Conway has no interest in running oval races so he will not be in the car the next three races. Rumor has it that Pippa Mann might get that ride. Of course she ran for Coyne as a third entry in the Indy 500 so we rate that rumor as very strong.
Who will replace Hildebrand? Panther owner John Barnes drove that point home Friday by saying “three or four” drivers will join the team in the coming weeks for job interviews keyed toward 2014.
This week’s candidate is Ryan Briscoe, who doesn’t have an IndyCar ride this season.
“You can know how they perform with other teams, but we want to see how they react with our team, our sponsors and the soldiers,” Barnes told The Star at Belle Isle Park, site of this weekend’s IndyCar doubleheader. “It’s a test.”
Hildebrand's IndyCar ride under review (3rd Update)UPDATE #3 Ryan Briscoe has been named driver of the National Guard entry this weekend at Detroit but SPEED.com reports that veteran Oriol Servia is expected to be in the car for the remainder of the season, which is what AR1.com originally rumored.
Servia, who could not be reached for comment, has been Hildebrand's teammate in the partnership of Dreyer & Reinbold and Panther the past two years so it was assumed he was leading candidate since DRR has shut down its IndyCar operation for this season. But sources tell SPEED.com that a legality issue in dissolving the partnership needs to be sorted out and that's why the 38-year-old native of Spain won't be in No. 4 this weekend.
05/30/13 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.
05/30/13 The driver of Panther Racing's No. 4 National Guard-sponsored Chevrolet figures to be revealed Thursday when IndyCar Series teams arrive at Belle Isle for the Detroit Grand Prix.
J.R. Hildebrand has been that driver since the beginning of the 2011 season, but he has had a difficult start to this season. He ran over Will Power's car under caution in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and crashed by himself on lap four of last weekend's Indianapolis 500.
The latter miscue was particularly troublesome given all the military dignitaries at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the team race. It was one of the lowest moments for the Panther team that joined the Indy Racing League in 1998.
2014 F1 Silly Season starts early Although still early in the season, the topic of driver moves for 2014 is not off the table. An issue clearly on Sky F1’s David Croft’s mind during the Team Principal press conference as Christian Horner was quizzed about Mark Webber’s status at Red Bull, while Franz Tost was asked about whether Ricciardo or Vergne could usurp that seat, should it become available. The catalyst for this talk is Mark Webber; all speculation about seats for 2014 can be traced back to him as whispers have rippled around the paddock since the Multi 21 affair in Malaysia.
With events at The Malaysian Grand Prix adding to the already fractious nature of the relationship between Vettel and Webber, speculation about the Australian’s replacement has been rife ever since, with the possibility of it being Kimi Raikkonen at the forefront of the rumors. Lotus seems like a perfect team for Kimi, they complement each other. Eric Boullier gives him space to be himself while he delivers the goods.
(GMM) German-language publication Speed Week has named Ford as a potential candidate to return to formula one after the new V6 rules debut in 2014.
Honda, having pulled out at the end of 2008, has already announced its return with McLaren in 2015, but Toyota and BMW have denied speculation they are also tempted by the sport's incoming, automobile industry-relevant engine rules.
Speed Week, however, is now mentioning Ford.
Ford bought Sir Jackie Stewart's team in 1999, rebranding it Jaguar Racing, but pulling out of F1 at the end of 2004.
The Milton Keynes based team was subsequently sold to current champions Red Bull and their engine manufacturer, Cosworth, to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe.
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