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Senna, de la Rosa, could lose F1 seats?UPDATE #4 (GMM) It is not yet clear if Bruno Senna has permanently lost his HRT race drive. The struggling Spanish team's boss Colin Kolles told reporters at Silverstone late on Thursday that reserve Sakon Yamamoto will be regular driver Karun Chandhok's replacement teammate this weekend.
He said no more information will be available until a press release is issued on Friday morning. But Kolles did tell the BBC that Yamamoto, who turns 28 on Friday, is not guaranteed the seat for the rest of 2010.
"A decision as to who will drive for Hispania for the rest of the season will be taken over the weekend," he said.
With the situation almost certainly related to the drivers' available sponsorship funds, Finland's Turun Sanomat said Japanese Yamamoto is better financed than HRT's other reserve driver Christian Klien. Senna, the 26-year-old nephew of the great Ayrton Senna, made his debut with HRT this year with the backing of Brazilian companies Banco Cruzeiro do Sul and Embratel.
07/08/10 (GMM) As Thursday evening fell at Silverstone, a rumor swept the paddock that Bruno Senna has been dropped by HRT. The speculation was treated with skepticism by some, given the Brazilian rookie's PR visit during the day to the nearby Cosworth factory.
Bruno Senna - if he is canned for being too slow, F1 will need to find a replacement track cleaner on Friday mornings
And just three hours ago, he wrote on Twitter that he is "looking forward to the weekend at Silverstone", and last week an official team statement quoted him as saying: "I am looking forward to the British grand prix."
But team boss Colin Kolles told reporters at the Northamptonshire venue late on Thursday that reserve driver Sakon Yamamoto will race Senna's car this weekend.
He said more details would be provided in the morning, amid rumors the Japanese former Spyker and Super Aguri driver Yamamoto has simply stumped up with enough money to buy out Senna's race seat.
Martin to Red Bull in 2011?UPDATE Martin's Business Manager, Benny Ertel, called the reports "aggravating," saying his driver has grown tired of answering the same questions, week after week. "It's the same thing, over and over again," he said. "We walk into the media center and someone immediately raises their hand and asks about where Mark will be racing next season. Mark has answered the question a thousand times and it's always the same answer. `I will be driving the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season.' That's as simple as it is, but some reporters just don't listen."
"Randy Pemberton went on Sirius NASCAR Radio the other day and said Mark will be driving for Red Bull next season," said Ertel. "There's not a shred of truth to that statement, and he never bothered to ask Mark, Rick Hendrick or anyone else about it. If he had asked, he would have been told -- in no uncertain terms -- that it was a load of hooey. I don't know what's so difficult to understand, Mark Martin will drive the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Period." Sirius Speedway
07/07/10 On the Sirius NASCAR Radio Facebook page - "Randy Pemberton says that Mark Martin will move over to Red Bull Racing next year and Kasey Kahne will come to Hendrick and race the #5 car next season." Doesn't say which Red Bull car the #82 Scott Speed, the #83 that Brian Vickers is supposed to return to in 2011 or a third Red Bull Racing team.
Senna out, ride buyer in We have it on good word that Bruno Senna will not be suiting up this weekend for the British Grand Prix. Apparently the team will replace him with Japanese ride-buyer Sakon Yamamoto. The purity of the sport continues to wane. Look for an official announcement soon.
Renault to steal Cosworth's best teamUPDATE #3 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today based on this report.
06/28/10 (GMM) Adam Parr is not ruling out a change of engine supplier for Williams. Amid rumors both Williams and Lotus could each be eyeing a supply of Renault V8s in 2011, Cosworth's Mark Gallagher has insisted both teams are under contract for three years.
Cosworth 2.4L V8 F1 engine. How does a small company like Cosworth fend off the deep pockets of a Renault?
Parr, Williams' chief executive, likened a F1 team's relationship with its key suppliers to a marriage.
"You do have rows with your wife, but you know you have got the common interest and I still think that is the case," Parr, referring to Williams' recent qualms about the drivability and degradation of the Cosworth engine this year, is quoted by GP Week.
"But we have no plans to change engine partner, and we have no desire to change engine partner," he continued.
"I just don't want to rule out the possibility of something happening because that would be a stupid thing to do," he added.
Another USF1 team to emergeUPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. The American outfit Cypher Group on Thursday confirmed it is vying for the final place on the 2011 formula one grid. A flutter of activity on Twitter earlier this week revealed that the hopeful outfit is in talks with 22-year-old Indy Lights driver and American Jonathan Summerton.
"They (Cypher) have applied and (I'm) pretty sure things are looking good," he said.
With the withdrawn application of the GP2 team ART, it is expected that Cypher is in contention for the 13th team place with Epsilon Euskadi and Stefan GP.
"We aspire to bring America's red, white, and blue back into formula one," said part of Cypher's Thursday statement.
The group also confirmed that it will potentially collaborate with Summerton.
06/15/10 Autosport reports that another USF1 bid by Parris Mullins, the advisor to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley moved up a gear in Canada last weekend when representatives met with teams and Bernie Ecclestone to advance their talks.
Mullins travelled to Montreal last weekend to continue discussions with teams about possible options for the future, which he has made clear will be with a current team rather than as a start-up operation.
Paddock speculation has already linked him with both Sauber and Scuderia Toro Rosso, because of his good personal links with Ferrari, but Mullins insists he is totally open-minded about how he gets involved.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT about how his visit to Montreal had gone, Mullins said: "Over the course of these three days progress has been huge. There was only so much I could do from the US anyway, and all the right people are here congregated in to one area.
"I made a lot more progress this weekend than what I was expecting, I hope to be making just as much progress between now and Valencia so we will see. The project is moving ahead.
"More options have come up. As I have mentioned before I had several different ideas for not just myself to enter the sport, but also for the group of people that I am representing. So more possibilities have popped up. It has been a very productive weekend."
"Like I have said before, if the project makes sense Bernie is willing to help," he said. "If it makes sense then he will get behind it. I am taking it one step at a time, going at his pace and following his advice."
Luca di Montezemolo
05/26/10 (GMM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has added weight to recent reports that an American team could soon be a reality in formula one.
In the wake of the USF1 debacle, skepticism accompanied the recent news about a US-based outfit called Cypher Group submitting a "letter of interest" about obtaining the last spot on the 2011 grid.
But a few days later, USF1 backer and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley's aide Parris Mullins admitted to Autosport that "I would be lying if I said that I haven't been exploring other ways of entry into this sport".
"I am part of a project right now that is trying to enter the sport," he added, admitting that he sees a customer car as a viable initial route.
And Montezemolo, who has been pushing hard for a rule change to allow three-car team entries, told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I dream of a third Ferrari managed by an American team, with the stars and stripes flag."
05/24/10 Parris Mullins, the advisor to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley who led a last-ditch bid to try and save US F1 earlier this year, is behind a fresh American attempt to break into Formula 1, AUTOSPORT reports.
Hurley appointed Mullins as his official representative in 11th hour talks to save US F1 once it became clear how far behind schedule the team was with its car. But despite lengthy discussions with Bernie Ecclestone, Campos Grand Prix, Stefan Grand Prix and other team figures to try and find a rescue package, which would have seen him installed as team principal, Mullins could not get a deal that he and Hurley were happy with.
Mullins are totally separate from the new team bid put together by former US F1 staff members known as the Cypher Group.
"I am part of a project right now that is trying to enter the sport," Mullins told AUTOSPORT, in his first full-length interview since the end of US F1. "I can't give away any specifics right now, but I can say I don't believe a start-up team is possible. That is definitely a topic that will be debated for some time until a practical solution is found, but I think personally, given the current state of the sport and its rules, then a competitive start-up team simply isn't possible.
"This sport is all about knowledge, and you need to apply the experience gained from the previous years of competing in the sport, and the team needs to be operating in a cohesive environment. I think a great example is the Honda/Brawn situation last year. Here was an existing team that was taken over, the necessary changes were made and it was turned into a championship-winning team the following year. And that is no different from what we have seen in the past, with Red Bull Racing, Force India and Toro Rosso."
05/12/10 (GMM) In the wake of the USF1 calamity, another American group has signaled its intention to race in formula one next year.
Cypher Group confirmed on Thursday that it has submitted a "letter of interest" about obtaining the 13th and final spot on the 2011 grid.
The company said it consists of "experienced F1 engineers, designers and businessmen" whose objective "is to create a successful US-based F1 team".
Cypher said it "recognizes the significant challenges" of building a team in a short amount of time and will therefore "utilize 'best of breed' components throughout the car".
"In support of this strategy Cypher is in contact with established manufacturers of formula one racing cars and components," the outfit added.
"Our aims are ultimately to be competitive and provide unrivalled access and interaction for our supporters whilst maintaining high standards of integrity and values, alongside creative out of the box thinking."
Cypher clarified that it has not yet lodged a formal entry to compete next year.
The outfit said it will only do so "should we achieve fully the budget we believe is necessary to do this properly.
"We are not in this to embarrass America, the fans or ourselves. We simply want to give America the shot it deserves."
Rahal to D&R for Toronto and Edmonton? No ScheckterUPDATE Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and veteran IZOD IndyCar Series driver Tomas Scheckter will reunite in Toronto next week.
Scheckter will fill in for the injured Mike Conway in the No. 24 MonaVie entry for the Honda Indy Toronto on July 16-18. The South African competed for the team last year as well as for two races this season (Indianapolis and Texas).
"We are happy to have Tomas and MonaVie back with us for the Honda Indy Toronto," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "We have developed a good relationship with him, and, for us, Tomas made the most sense because we had a great run with him last year. He did extremely well and unfortunately was taken out of the race when he was running up high. We hope to finish what we started."
Webber to race Vettel's 'Luscious Liz' in BritainUPDATE #2UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Red Bull driver Mark Webber will be at the wheel of 'Luscious Liz' at this weekend's British grand prix.
The RB6 chassis was named by his teammate Sebastian Vettel at the beginning of the season, before it sustained damage and the German underperformed while Webber dominated in Barcelona and Monaco.
So Vettel, 23, stepped into the winter testing chassis and called it 'Randy Mandy'.
Ecclestone already has plans for a second US Grand PrixUPDATE Ecclestone has revealed that talks with Liberty State Park are continuing. “It's happening,” he told Autosport. “We are talking to them and trying to do our best. Let's see what happens.”
07/06/10 Just over a month after it was announced that there will be a United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2012, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that a second race may take place in the country and his circuit designer Hermann Tilke is currently there investigating it. "Tilke is in New Jersey now looking into it," he said over lunch last week.
In March, Ecclestone first revealed that a race in New Jersey was being investigated. "It would be in front of Manhattan in New Jersey, with the skyscrapers in the background," Ecclestone said adding: "Fifteen minutes from the centre of New York to the circuit would be marvelous." A 3.6-mile track was scheduled to be built in the grounds of New Jersey's 600-acre park but it was vetoed for environmental reasons by the public and the Jersey City mayor.
McNulty predicts IndyCar's demise in Canada With only a week before the big rigs carrying the IZOD IndyCar series teams arrive for the first of back-to-back stops in Toronto and Edmonton, one has to legitimately question the future of big-time, open-wheel racing in this country (Canada) outside of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.
If you listen to the naysayers — and this column has had some real concerns about IndyCar’s viability — what we could be seeing over the next three weeks is an inglorious end to the single seaters north of the 49th parallel.
On the other side of the coin, Toronto will get a second chance to re-invent the wildly successful Honda Indy Toronto next week and will do so with the added impetus of having lured the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series to headline the Saturday show. That alone should do wonders to bring back the big crowds that once jammed the Exhibition Place temporary street course.
2011 Schedule buzz Topics being discussed include shuffling the last 11 dates of the season so different venues could promote Chase races on a revolving basis. Another issue is geography and bouncing between coasts. While the Sprint Cup schedule is likely not to be shortened any time soon, the Nationwide schedule is under review. And by 2012, some Truck and NNS dates could move to weeknight shows. Certainly, the six tracks that have been mentioned as possible candidates for realignment include Kansas, Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New Hampshire and Kentucky. At this point, it's up to the track owners to determine what they're willing to give up to make something happen. From an attendance standpoint, Fontana and Atlanta could both stand to lose a race. Time will tell whether Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith is serious about taking a date from New Hampshire - the only track that serves the New England area. The Fontana spring date is likely to fall, but what to put in its place? Phoenix is likely to move to an earlier date. One thing is for certain, Homestead-Miami Speedway stands to lose a chunk of change if the season finale is moved from that track. Ford has a contract to be the title sponsor through 2014 - but only if it's the last race of the season. An alternative placement for Las Vegas could be in the kick off position for the Chase, replacing the first race of the playoffs, which is currently being held in New Hampshire. Fox Sports
Ferrari's full blown diffuser yet to come (GMM) Ferrari will only get its real blown rear diffuser up and running at a forthcoming grand prix. It was believed that the Italian team began running the Red Bull-style low exhaust layout at Valencia.
But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reveals that, in fact, the European GP was only the first phase in a multiple-step development for the F10 car.
The first step was a new gearbox, debuted only by Felipe Massa because Fernando Alonso was in the middle of the four-race mandatory period for his existing transmission.
ISC forcing IRL to take Fontana in order to keep Chicago race According to sources, the one ISC track IndyCar wants to keep is Chicagoland but in order to keep it, ISC wants IndyCar to return to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. That would allow ISC to take one of the dates away from Fontana and move it to Kansas Speedway, which is trying to get two dates on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule.
"We aren't going to throw anything off the table until we see what the options are -- the weaknesses and the strengths," Bernard said. "Eddie Gossage (president and general manager of SMI track Texas Motor Speedway) and I have also had talks but haven't discussed a second race at Texas. But if anybody can promote four races in one year Eddie can." SI.com
Mercedes discuss F1 team with chairman Zetsche - NoUPDATE Mercedes asked that the title of this rumor to be changed to no, i.e. there was no meeting with Zetsche.
(GMM) According to well-known French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet, a notable meeting involving the Mercedes GP team took place on Monday.
Moncet wrote in his Auto Plus blog that the video conference would involve the Stuttgart based Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche, and the Brackley based team's Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
He said the "various statements by members of the team to the media" would be discussed, even though a Mercedes spokesman rubbished the report.
And although Mercedes insists the comments were taken out of context, Moncet could be referring to Rosberg's quoted claims about being frustrated by a lack of development progress.
Brian France, above. All indications are that the France family, like CART and Champ Car before it, would just as soon see IndyCar dead
Conspiracy theory? Cal it what you want, but we told our readers years ago that NASCAR would love to see open wheel racing dead - so all their sponsors and fans could move to NASCAR to feed all the sponsor hungry teams in Truck, Nationwide and Cup. With three series, plus a 4th in GRAND-AM the France family has plenty of series they can offer to track owners. The following article sheds light on just how the France family feels about IndyCar.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France isn’t showing much love for the IZOD IndyCar Series these days.
France answered questions from reporters at Daytona over the weekend. One question concerned the possibility of a doubleheader weekend featuring a Sprint Cup race and an Indy race.
Renault must be fourth by July to retain KubicaUPDATE #3 (GMM) Renault has proposed a deal that would see Robert Kubica stay at Renault in 2011, according to a French publication.
Auto Hebdo said the matter could be finalized shortly after this weekend's British grand prix due to the imposition of a mid-July deadline.
And Italy's Autosprint believes Kubica could even stay with Renault beyond 2012, but the 25-year-old reportedly "wants guarantees" about the Enstone based team's funding.
"We are determined to have Robert with us," team boss Eric Boullier is quoted as saying. "He knows our ambitions and our potential."
06/12/10 (GMM) Robert Kubica has admitted he is not too bothered about suggestions he is the key to the 2011 driver market. Before Mark Webber and Felipe Massa were re-signed by their respective Red Bull and Ferrari employers, it was rumored the Pole might shake up the grid by switching camps.
Weber back in court, facing jail - reports (GMM) Willi Weber is back in court and if convicted almost certainly faces jail.
Michael Schumacher's long time manager, now handling the young career of Williams rookie Nico Hulkenberg, was sentenced to probation and a hefty fine by a German court two years ago.
The case surrounded the moving of money and assets from a merchandise company before it was declared insolvent.
For related matters regarding the fraudulent bankruptcy of the 'Pole Position Marketing' company, 68-year-old Weber has now returned to a Stuttgart district court on the charge of embezzling EUR 1.2 million.
Overheard at Watkins Glen - Sunday We had a chance to speak to IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard at Watkins Glen Sunday and he told us that he no longer wants to end the IndyCar Series in Homestead. "If Homestead stays on the schedule in 2011 we do not want it to be our season ending race. I like a place like Las Vegas for next year's season closer where we can hold our championship banquet the next night. I see the power of Vegas because that is where the PBA (Professional Bull Riders Assoc.) was. We also have a great relationship with Las Vegas as well as SMI and Bruton Smith. I have a great relationship with the city of Las Vegas. We had some great events in Vegas with the PBA" Reading between the lines it sounds like Homestead is another NASCAR family track (i.e. ISC) the IRL will drop, and instead go with another SMI/Bruton Smith track in Vegas. We believe the IRL will also drop ISC's Kansas track because they are probably getting a 2nd NASCAR and a race market simply cannot support two Cup races plus an IndyCar race. So that would be a 2nd ISC track dropped (Kansas and Homestead) and replaced with two SMI tracks (New Hampshire and Vegas). Also, look for a possible 18 races for 2011.......A 3rd ISC track might get dropped from the 2011 IndyCar schedule, which would nearly complete the ISC/IRL divorce (only Chicagoland would remain). Bernard said that a decision on a 3rd ISC track, Watkins Glen, won't be made for about 6 weeks, but if it does remain on the schedule it will probably not be on July 4th weekend. "There's several ways you can measure if the IndyCar Series is a good fit for this area," said Bernard. "How many people come to the event is a key measurement. Second off, is the territory," continued Bernard. "Being up here in the Northeast is an area that we need to continue to stay at, like we are at Loudon (N.H.) and Baltimore. "Thirdly, does it make sense from a financial standpoint? The last point would be, how aggressive are your partners going to be and how much marketing and opportunity will the event create?" "As I talked to Michael, we have about 24 promoters that want an event," said Bernard. "This year we have 17 races and we might be able to take that to 18, but we're going to have some winners and some losers. We've already announced new races at Baltimore and Loudon. There's probably at least one we're going to have to cut. I am not too crazy about races on holiday weekends because our sponsors don't like to entertain guests on those weekends, they prefer to be home with their families," said Bernard. He met with Watkins Glen president Michael Printup this weekend on this very topic. "We don't want dates, we want marriages. The date is not as important as a good marriage for both sides. Michael Printup said he was happy with the fan base. There are a lot of campers out there today."..........Traditionally in racing, a series will sign a sanctioning contract with an individual track and that track will promote the event with assistance from that series. Bernard is looking to possibly have his series own its events and promote them accordingly. "Co-promotions are a way of the future for the IndyCar Series," he said. "If we are going to tell someone how they should market and promote that event, we should be willing to take the risk on that event as well. We need to know exactly how many tickets we're selling and how the event is advertised and marketed. Those are all very important to me. It's very hard to do that if you're not an owner of the event. Sanctioning agreements to me are a way of the past." AR1.com took a walk around the track Sunday, there were a lot of people there, even those most chose to watch the race under shade trees instead of the hot bleachers. Printup wanted to impress upon Bernard was to not judge success here by the grandstands. “They don’t want to sit in the grandstand, they want to be trackside and there’s always an issue of the image of ‘You’re empty.’ No we’re not. We’re pretty darn full,” Printup said. As to what race might replace The Glen should it get dropped (we do not feel it should be dropped, as this race is definitely building in popularity), Road America or Milwaukee come to mind.....The Delta Wing concept car has not been eliminated from contention for the new chassis Bernard said, "we did not say whether the new engine had to be a stressed or non-stressed member, so no we have not eliminated any option. We are down to three options and we will vote on it the morning of the 14th (day of the announcement) so if anyone tells you they know which way we are going, it's not true. We purposely delayed the final vote until the morning of the announcement to ensure nothing leaked out early.".....The drop-dead date for a new engine manufacturer to commit for 2012 is October 2nd. "I would not be surprised if another one (besides Honda) does not sign on for 2012 given the timeframe. That does not mean we won't see more in 2013 and later." Mark C. reporting from Watkins Glen
F1 could return to rebuilt A1-RingUPDATE (GMM) Dietrich Mateschitz has rubbished reports a rebuilt A1-Ring circuit could see formula one return to Austria. Formerly known as the Osterreichring, the central Austrian venue dropped off the calendar in 2003 and was demolished.
But supported by Red Bull mogul Mateschitz, EUR 70 million reconstruction works began late in 2008, including new pit buildings and grandstands.
The billionaire said at the time that "speaking about a return of formula one" to Austria "would be absurd".
No NASCAR ethanol use in 2011? NASCAR Chairman Brian France said that the series might not use ethanol next season, going against previous comments from series officials that it would be used in 2011. "I don't know that we'll see (ethanol) in 2011 as a biofuel," France said this weekend at Daytona. "It's certainly an option that is interesting. There's a lot of thought that goes into it. It will be important for us to evolve the fuel source in the national divisions over time. I don't know what will happen in '11. We're working on a lot of things. What I can tell you is we will have a very slow, very steady and sometimes with a big impact, but steady march towards... this sport looking and feeling and acting more green." Hampton Roads
Overheard at Watkins Glen - SaturdayUPDATE Below is a video of EJ Viso's crash on Saturday that was mentioned below.
The "Marlboro Experience" is in the Watkins Glen midway. We've reviewed both the legislation and FDA rule. Without question, the inclusion of an interactive display at a sporting event violates the spirit and intent of the law and the rule (which went into effect on June 22nd).
The Marlboro experience at The Glen
What is so unusual is that Philip Morris was the most "responsible" amongst "Big Tobacco" after the 1998 MSA.
So much for Uncle Sam trying to protect kids from Big Tobacco.....
The FDA rule07/03/10 Another beautiful day at Watkins Glen Saturday where the IndyCars were preparing for qualifying for Sunday's big race. A lot of talk in the paddock was about anticipation on what the soon-to-be announced new IndyCar chassis rules will be. We spoke to a number of team owners about this and ask them what did they want to see in the new car. Cost was the number 1 key item. Everyone is concerned about the cost of the new cars and the inventory of parts they will need to stock, rendering all their existing inventory obsolete.......One team owner said, "the value has to be there for me to be able to justify buying all new equipment. We are not a front running team and if there is never any focus on us by the series or by the TV then we get no exposure for our sponsors. I don't really think the car is what is wrong with this series. A new car might bump the TV ratings up a tenth of a point or two.".......Another team owner felt that a good overall package was important, "It must have the right amount of performance, right downforce, it must look good, it must be easy to work on and it must not allow the 'rich' teams to make any modifications to any part whatsoever. They have the deep pockets to do that kind of stuff and that has been the cancer of this series all along. It drives up cost for everyone and results in the same two teams winning all the races........Another team owner thought that sound was also important. "F1 blows your socks off with the sound, it is mind-blowing. NASCAR cars also have a great sound. These cars used to sound sick, but now they sound better but are so muffled by the darn mufflers they don't excite anyone." ......We heard some talk of moving the existing IndyCars to the Lights series but with a less powerful engine so the drivers coming into IndyCar are better prepared for IndyCar and the team owners can better judge if they are good enough. However, cost was a concern - parts to repair crash damage of an IndyCar are simply more money than the current Light car.......Speaking of moving up to IndyCar from Lights, we hear 23 year old Indy Lights star James Hinchcliffe from Canada is ready to make the move up and is already talking to several teams with things looking very promising. Whether he can continue to do TV and radio announcing and do Indy Cars at the same time is questionable, but he hopes to have that as a career when he retires from racing. He is very good BTW, if you have not heard him......Stefan Wilson on the other hand, who is a rookie this year in Indy Lights, feels he needs another year of Indy Lights under his belt before he is ready to join his older brother Justin in the big cars......Word is what caused EJ Viso to crash in the morning practice was the fact that he bent the skid block on the car when he transitioned from the asphalt runoff area to the grass - the skid block folded under and got his car airborne long enough that Viso was along for the ride and he whacked the Armco clear on the other side of the track. The car was done for the weekend and the KV Racing team did not have time to finish preparing the backup car so he set no time in afternoon qualifying, and hence will start dead last on Sunday. Mark C. reporting from Watkins Glen
Hunter-Reay getting ride for remainder of Year? A media conference has been scheduled for noon Sunday with Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay and reps from Team IZOD. Speculation is that IZOD may have agreed to sponsor Hunter-Reay for additional races or for the remainder of the year.
Tonight may be last time Dale Jr. drives Dad's No. 3UPDATE
Legions of Earnhardt Sr. fans salute Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 3 car by showing three fingers on Lap 3, which was led by you guessed it, Earnhardt Jr.,
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Well it has happened again in NASCAR - a PR coup just too good to be true. Many have said "the call" exists in NASCAR and everything happens for a reason in NASCAR and tonight proved once again in my mind that is indeed a fact. After claiming he will drive the Wrangler No. 3 this one and only time, NASCAR wasn't going to let this golden PR opportunity slip away and lo and behold, who led Lap 3? Who won the race? You guessed it, Dale Jr. who wasn't capable of winning a Nationwide race since 2006, but by the grace of God he was tonight. What a coincidence that he won at Daytona, the very track where his father was killed because he wasn't wearing a HANS Device because NASCAR refused to mandate them even though everyone told them they should and most race series already had. By the pure grace of God these things only happen in NASCAR. I feel so blessed to know that God truly does perform miracles, he does in NASCAR over and over and over. You can bet this car will someday be enshrined in the NASCAR museum a place full of NASCAR mythical happenings. I feel the need to pray. Mordichai Rosen, LA, California
Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
07/02/10 If you want to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. drive a No. 3 Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway, you better get to the track tonight for the Subway Jalapeno 250. Earnhardt confirmed tonight's NASCAR Nationwide Series race -- 100 laps over Daytona's 2.5-mile tri-oval -- will be his last ride with that number on the side of a stock car he drives anywhere.
It's not just any race car.
Earnhardt is driving the No. 3 with in blue and yellow Wrangler colors, the sponsor who helped propel his father, Dale Earnhardt, into stock-car stardom in the 1980s.
Before the Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series new car race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Childress get ready to roll out the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet, bringing back memories of Dale Earnhardt
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Well a Ford did not win tonight's Nationwide race but the next best thing did. Dale Earnhardt Jr. slid into a car honoring his late father on Friday and gave a fitting tribute as he drove the No. 3 straight into Victory Lane at Daytona. Driving the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet in honor of his late father for the one and only time he will do so, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a Nationwide Series drought of almost four years in winning Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
06/29/10 Rumor has it that NASCAR won't miss this opportunity to gain some good PR and a Ford will win the Daytona Nationwide race this weekend. Don't be surprised if a Ford wins the pole too. Ford Racing will debut its new Nationwide Series Mustang at Daytona International Speedway Friday and is offering Ford drivers extra incentive to win the race.
Any Ford driver who wins the Subway Jalapeno 250 will receive a 2011 5.0-liter Mustang GT production vehicle.
Nationwide Series teams will race NASCAR’s new Nationwide car for the first time. Ford’s new-car model is the Mustang.
IRL Chassis decision - surprise!!!UPDATE Speculation here in Watkins Glen this weekend is that the IRL will put out specs for a standard chassis and then allow any chassis manufacturer to build and sell them to new and existing teams.
07/02/10 After previously announcing that they would allow a variety of engine formats for the new 2012 IndyCar, rumor is swirling around here in Indy and the Watkins Glen paddock is that the chassis decision will not be a single chassis. More on this as we hear...
ISC and SMI submit realignment plans for 2011 NASCAR knows what the track-operating companies want in the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule and is now trying to see if it can fulfill the wishes of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. ISC has announced that it wants to realign a Cup date to Kansas Speedway, a condition of ISC’s landing a casino license for the track, while SMI has not announced any part of its realignment request.
“We have heard from the public companies and the track operators as to some of their wishes,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Friday morning during his midseason news conference at Daytona International Speedway. “We are digesting that now and working with them. We typically put our schedule out, as you well know, usually around Labor Day, give or take a couple of weeks here or there.
Overheard at Watkins Glen - Friday The weather here in Watkins Glen today is absolutely perfect - cool dry and a high of 75. The temperatures will rise Saturday and then hit 92 on Sunday. The first practice for IndyCars does not get underway until 2:45 PM..........Ran into Justin Wilson. He has high hopes for this weekend, but unfortunately every test session they have gone to this year has rained out. Wilson is the defending race winner here and although Dale Coyne's team owns the winning setup from last year, Wilson says he remembers what worked and what did not and he hopes to apply that to the Dreyer and Reinbold car. Speaking of Dreyer & Reinbold, Paul Tracy will be Wilson's teammate this year. Wilson jokingly said, "my goal is to have every driver in the paddock as a teammate before the year is over."......After this race for Dreyer & Reinbold, Paul Tracy will return to the KV Racing team for the upcoming Canadian races in Toronto and Edmonton......We hear that any new engine manufacturer who wants to enter IndyCar under the new 2012 rules, must notify the IRL by the end of this season. As far as who might have an interest besides Honda, we hear that Ford and GM are looking at it.....More later..... Mark C. reporting from Watkins Glen
F-duct a factor in Webber's crash? (GMM) According to a media report, Red Bull's first race with the F-duct concept in Valencia could have contributed to Mark Webber's huge crash.
In-car footage of the moments before the Australian struck the rear of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus show him activating the downforce-stalling device.
Unlike McLaren's pioneering system which is triggered by the drivers' knee, the Red Bull F-duct - debuted in qualifying and the race in Valencia - works by Webber and Sebastian Vettel blocking a hole with the four fingers of their left hand.
RM Reportedly Buying Kruse Auction No one at RM Auctions would confirm or deny the rumor that’s been running rampant through the collector-car world for the past week, that RM has reached an agreement to buy troubled Kruse International of Auburn, Indiana.
A terse message was sent out by RM today that it would hold a news conference Thursday morning for an “Important announcement for collector car community and the state of Indiana,” which seemed to lend credence to the story. SPEEDTV.com
Dodge President Ralph Gilles said that the automaker may submit the Dodge Challenger for Sprint Cup competition at some point in the future, replacing the Dodge Charger. Gilles said, "It's up to NASCAR," adding "the fans will tell us" what they want to see. Ford's North American Motorsports Manager, Jamie Allison said recently that the Blue Oval is considering bringing its Mustang brand to the Cup Series, if it performs well at the Nationwide level. The new Nationwide car makes its competitive debut Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Sirius Speedway
Tesla reportedly raises $226 million with IPO Some analysts were bullish on Tesla's initial stock offering, and a report from Bloomberg proves that the electric car start-up is a buy with the investors of the world. Tesla reportedly raised $226 million with its IPO, or 13.3 million shares at $17 per. The $226 mil total went above and beyond the high-end figure of $16 per share.
The news has to come as a pleasant surprise for Elon Musk, the company's CEO and largest shareholder. Musk has reportedly spent $70 million of his own personal fortune propping up Tesla while the company's losses mounted. The successful IPO is even more surprising given the fact that the company has yet to turn a quarterly profit and lost a substantial $230.5 million since 2003. Even at the expected median price of $15 per share, Bloomberg data shows that Tesla was valued at 5.5 times its net tangible assets, which doesn't exactly sound terrific.
FIA officials 'angered' by Ferrari outburstsUPDATE (GMM) A spokesman for F1's governing body has confirmed there will be no disciplinary action after Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's post-Valencia outbursts.
Alonso accused FIA stewards of manipulating the European grand prix by imposing a late drive-through penalty on Lewis Hamilton after the Briton overtook the safety car.
Ferrari supported its Spanish driver, calling the outcome a "scandal" and repeating on its website the cries of angry team fans, including one who slammed the "Federation of clowns".
Is IndyCar picking a NASCAR fight? Whether they acknowledge it or not, IndyCar and NASCAR are competitors. Again, similarly unacknowledged, NHMS owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) is a direct competitor to International Speedway Corp. (ISC). ISC and NASCAR are essentially one entity, owned as they are by the France family.
Connecting the dots, Sunday's announcement of a return to New Hampshire for IndyCar and demonstration run by Dario Franchitti before the NASCAR race could be perceived as SMI and IndyCar teaming up to take on the France family and their ISC/NASCAR juggernaut. And even though everyone involved said all the right things, there is no doubt that NASCAR fought the day's activities tooth and nail. When the IndyCar contingent was en route to New Hampshire early Sunday morning, league officials were still in doubt whether NASCAR would allow Franchitti's demonstration run.
Lotus courting two retired automobile bosses Two anonymous sources have told Automotive News that Lotus is courting both Bob Lutz and retired BMW executive Tom Purves to become advisors to the British brand.
As previously reported, Lotus' Malaysian parents at Proton are on a kick to increase both volume and model mix to take on its exotic rivals at Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche. In order to boost production to around 8,000 units annually, Lotus needs to take a long, hard look at what it's offering and how it can expand the brand to take on Europe's elite – possibly at the expense of Lotus' core values. Or not.
To that end, Lotus could be looking at both Lutz and Purves for their product knowledge, which in the case of Maximum Bob is as wide and varied as it is successful. Lutz has already said he's open to future gigs and he's already accepted a board position at Transonic Combustion. But at this point, however, formal bids for both retired execs have yet to provided by Lotus.
Reiser to return as Kenseth's crew chief? Loomis moving to Roush? Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Robbie Reiser is likely to return as crew chief for Matt Kenseth's #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford next season. Team owner Jack Roush pulled veteran Jimmy Fennig out of Roush Fenway's R&D Department to replace Todd Parrott as crew chief last week, the second change of the season for the #17 team. Fennig is Kenseth's fifth crew chief since 2007, and said last week that he expects to remain atop the pit box for the remainder of the 2010 campaign. Sources tell Sirius Speedway that there is "a very strong possibility" that RFR General Manager Robbie Reiser will return to the post in 2011. "Robbie wants to come back," said one source on condition of anonymity, "but he's doing such a good job as GM that Jack can't justify making a move right now. Next season, expect to see Reiser back on the pit box, with Robbie Loomis succeeding him as General Manager." Kenseth admitted that consideration is being given to bringing Reiser back as crew chief, saying, "He probably would have filled in for the rest of the year (and tried) to do both, but there just are not enough hours in a day." Sirius Speedway
Jimmie Johnson looking at new open-wheel challenge? Jimmie Johnson was recently quoted talking about getting into an IndyCar or F1 car. Jimmie even states that his background and aspirations were to be in IndyCar racing, just like his teammate Jeff Gordon. The unfortunate part is that the world of open wheel racing in the USA has it's compass and values all wrong. Even though it looks like it's growing and doing better these days, it's not. 17 cars in this year IRL field are buy-a-rides. That is not what a professional sport is about.
“The way I grew up, IndyCar racing was really the only outside exposure I had. I dreamt of racing in the Indy 500 and would go to the Long Beach Grand Prix and hope that I could be on that circuit racing at some point. So I’d love to try an IndyCar or an F1 car. My path has taken me a different way and I think it would be very difficult to get an F1 test. But maybe by putting it out there it could happen.
“To experience driving an IndyCar or F1 car on a road course would be really good for me. Running the Grand-Am car has helped me be a better road course driver, and it would be another step in an F1 or IndyCar to see things at a faster speed in the braking zones and the capabilities of the car, how it turns in.”
IndyCar eyes return to Belle Isle, other former venuesUPDATE IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has also been talking to the Michigan and California Speedways, both of whom used to run 500-mile races for Indy cars but suffered precipitous fall-offs in crowds amid the worst of the CART/IRL war.
"It depends how much interest we have from our fans [in Michigan]," he remarked. "I think that's a very important question to ask in that process. We have talked to the California Speedway. It's a big issue with ISC. They would love California to be part of our series.
"I think our relationship with ISC is good," Bernard added. "What we're trying to do right now is to ask what can you bring to the table that you currently aren't bringing to the table in support of marketing and advertising. On the other side we have to make sure that we have compelling races that are very competitive and exciting."
Other domestic tracks Bernard is talking to include Road America, Laguna Seca and the Milwaukee Mile. He's also interested in trying to get back to the Pacific Northwest.
NASCAR Sprint Cup and Indy-cars: Double-header race weekends? NASCAR/Indy-car doubleheader weekend? Cup and Indy-cars?Randy Bernard, the new CEO of the Indy Racing League: "I'd love that! That's a great question for NASCAR.
"If it makes sense for everybody, we'd love to do it.We've talked with ISC about a couple different (track) locations about doing that...and they said they'd go talk to NASCAR.We'd love to do it. It makes sense for us. Any place we can showcase our sport, we want to do it."
Mike Helton, the NASCAR CEO, says it's never been brought up to NASCAR by any promoters, but he didn't rule it out.
Did Hamilton try to screw the Ferraris? Fernando Alonso’s race was ruined when he got stuck behind the safety car during yesterday’s European Grand Prix. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton finished second despite getting a penalty for overtaking the safety car. Video footage suggests Hamilton may have done his bit to make sure Alonso got stuck behind the safety car.
In the video below it’s clear that Hamilton is behind the safety car when he crosses the second safety car line, then overtakes the safety car. That explains why he got a penalty under article 40.7 of the sporting regulations which says:
With the following exceptions, no car may overtake until it has passed the first safety car line for the first time when the safety car is returning to the pits. [...] Any car leaving the pits may be overtaken by another car on the track before it crosses the second safety car line.
However it looks as though Hamilton could have reached the second safety car line before the safety car, but slowed down before he got there. Why was that?
24 races possible for IndyCar The New Hampshire oval joins a Baltimore street race as new events on the 2011 schedule, which Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard said he hopes to have finalized by late summer. Still to be decided are what tracks will drop off to maintain the current level, although Bernard said "in a perfect world, with a perfect television contract," he believes the series could eventually sustain a 24-race schedule.
"From what we're hearing from promoters, there is that much interest out there," he said.
Bernard said New Hampshire is a good fit because it fills two needs: a short oval to compensate for the losses of Milwaukee and Richmond, Va., and a foothold in the Northeast. Indy Star
Bruton Smith to move two Cup races? Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith says fans shouldn’t listen to rumors about the possibility of New Hampshire Motor Speedway losing one of its two Sprint Cup dates.
In announcing Sunday that he is bringing an IndyCar Series event back to the track in July 2011, Smith wouldn’t offer any hints about what he will ask NASCAR to do for the 2011 Cup schedule. Smith threatened to move a race from New Hampshire to another SMI track because of a dispute with local police in Loudon.
IndyCar returning to New Hampshire - to look badUPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
06/23/10 For those who attended the IRL race at what was then New Hampshire International Speedway in 1997, The race was fantastic. Unfortunately, there were virtually no fans there to receive it. Fans who supported CART during the split will no doubt recall that their favorite series drew fine crowds at New Hampshire, at first, but then they dwindled and CART dropped the track.
Can this product draw a respectable crowd at a facility that has added capacity to accommodate NASCAR Cup? And let's not forget that racing is a tough sell in New England. When you have to sell so many tickets to fill the grandstands for the two NASCAR Cup races it has, the race fans in this area are not going to also be willing to buy IndyCar tickets in large numbers.
Having seen the market breakdown for the Indianapolis 500 television ratings, we can tell you that the three local markets that had the lowest ratings were Boston, Providence and New York. Yes, there are racing fans in New England, but they tend to like NASCAR, Modifieds and the like. Will they want to watch the IndyCar product at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
Most of the massive New Hampshire grandstand seats will be empty when the IRL returns
We doubt IndyCar has really done their homework on returning to New Hampshire, instead making a decision based on the flawed notion that IndyCar must return to its short oval roots to be successful. Do we need to list for you all the oval track races that the IRL had to deep-six because very few bothered to show up (including this one)? As a racing outsider, Randy Bernard does not know or understand what has failed for CART and IndyCar (and will fail again) and instead is making the same mistake Tony George made - listening to people around him who wear rose colored glasses, instead of making decisions based on factual data.
Mercedes makes offer to Kubica in ValenciaUPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today based on this report.
06/26/10 (GMM) Mercedes, as well as "well-placed sources in Germany", have scoffed at reports Michael Schumacher might be dumped and replaced in 2011 by Robert Kubica.
Schumacher laughs when he hears the rumors
But overnight, a second specialist Italian website reported that Mercedes chiefs have now met with Kubica, who currently drives for Renault. A team spokesman told the Guardian that "there is absolutely no truth" in the reports.
Also referring to the rumor, the Daily Mail newspaper said Mercedes "laughed if off", while "well-placed sources in Germany ruled it out entirely".
Finland's Turun Sanomat also said Mercedes denied the reports, while Nico Rosberg defended his under-fire and famous teammate.
"He's had some very strong races this year. Sometimes I've had the upper hand, but in general I see him as strong," he said.
No Cup race at Kentucky in 2011?UPDATE #2 Speedway Motorsports Inc. has not asked NASCAR to move a 2011 Sprint Cup date to Kentucky Speedway, nor has it asked for a Cup date to be moved from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, according to SMI Chairman Bruton Smith.
Smith sidestepped several questions about what the 2011 Cup schedule will be like at his race tracks. He currently has two Cup points races at Charlotte, Bristol, Texas, New Hampshire and Atlanta while he has one Cup date at Las Vegas and Infineon. There is no Cup date at Kentucky.
NASCAR typically works on the upcoming year’s schedules in May and June with the hope of releasing them by Labor Day. It has historically allowed track operators to request realignment of dates within their track portfolios.
IndyCar to re-try where it failed miserably before [Editor's Note: This article talks about the groundswell beginning to happen in the IndyCar paddock to add more oval tracks to the schedule, in particular short oval tracks. That's all well and good but CART and the IRL failed there before and they will likely fail there again. Why is that you ask? Because NASCAR owns the oval track business in the USA. For whatever reason, probably because they can rub fenders and bump and bang and keep going, race fans would rather watch stock cars on oval tracks than open wheel cars. Don't believe us? We suggest you check the facts. Just the facts and nothing but the facts. And in places like Phoenix, New Hampshire, etc where the NASCAR Cup Series already races, forget about it. Fans spend their discretionary dollars on the NASCAR races(s) in that market. The open wheel races get the left over crumbs. Even the NASCAR Truck series outdraws IndyCars at a given track on the same weekend. Unfortunately people are pulling on straws trying to find a way to revive the IndyCar Series to the glory days of CART. Unfortunately that was all destroyed the day Tony George started the IRL and ruined a good thing. It also opened the door to NASCAR's monopoly of racing in America. And so it is.....the facts, and nothing but the facts.]
The verdict from a jury of fans, participants and pundits says that last weekend's Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway was one of the best Izod IndyCar Series races in years.
Although Tony Kanaan ultimately won by more than four seconds, the Iowa race featured 16 lead changes among seven drivers -- the last when Kanaan nipped past longtime rival Helio Castroneves with 10 laps to go -- not to mention numerous prolonged wheel-to-wheel battles.
Tracy to drive for Dreyer & Reinbold at Watkins GlenUPDATE #2 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Canadian driver, Paul Tracy, will replace the injured Mike Conway next weekend. He will drive the team's No. 24 Honda Indy Toronto / Dreyer & Reinbold Racing / Dallara entry for the Camping World GP at The Glen on Sunday, July 4th.
During the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing pilot, Mike Conway, was involved in a big crash. With one lap to go, the Brit collided with Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had slowed to conserve fuel in order to finish the race. Unfortunately, due to the varying speeds between the two cars, Conway's machine launched into the catch-fence and disintegrated as it ran along the track. As a result, Mike was transported via helicopter to Methodist hospital where he was released a week later. He had surgery that night to repair fractures to his lower left leg. Additionally, Conway has a compression fracture of one of his thoracic vertebrae and was fitted for a back brace, which he will wear for three months and will prevent him from racing. He is in excellent spirits and is back home in the UK recovering.
107% rule to return? We are hearing buzz that the 107% rule will return to F1. This came from the World Motorsports Council this week:
"From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable laptime in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards."
MasterCard considering F1? There are suggestions that MasterCard is looking at becoming involved in Formula 1. The credit card firm has been talking to several teams, notably Renault.
The company is an active sponsor in sports with a long-standing commitment to soccer with the UEFA European Championships and the Champions League, in addition to several Latin American tournaments. It sponsors several golf events and is involved in Major League Baseball, it is also involved with the All Blacks rugby team and with Cricket Australia, in addition to being involved in music and fashion sponsorships.
Why Montezemolo wants a third car The Italian media seems to have come up with an explanation as to why Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo is always going on about the Italian team being allowed to run a third car. According to reports in Italy, Montezemolo has the desire to see four Ferraris on the grid: the third and fourth being run in US and Italian colors.
Reports suggest that Montezemolo recently met with Parris Mullins, who used to be a Ferrari salesman in Silicon Valley, but who has been employed of late advising Youtube founder Chad Hurley on his F1 investments. Hurley wasted in the region of $20 million on the USF1 debacle, but is now trying to build a Ferrari project for 2012. This cannot happen until the end of the current Concorde Agreement – unless the majority of the teams agree to it, and there is no reason to suggest that they will.
Pirelli wins race to be F1 tire supplierUPDATE #4 (GMM) Pirelli today is tipped to finally be approved as formula one's new tire supplier for 2011. With the teams' FOTA group signing a letter of intent to be supplied by the Italian brand, and contracts having apparently also been signed with Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA's World Motor Sport Council is set to meet in Geneva.
Media reports, including by Italy's Autosprint, claim one outcome of the meeting could be the announcement of a three-year official supply deal for Pirelli.
FIA president Jean Todt recently appeared keener on seeing Michelin return to formula one, but after a meeting in Paris is believed to have now approved the Pirelli deal.
It is also believed the possibility of disciplinary action against the failed 2010 team USF1 will be decided in Geneva on Wednesday.
Renault eyes Raikkonen, others for 2011 seatUPDATE #2
Is F1 really an option for Raikkonen in 2011, or will he stay in rally cars (above)?
(GMM) As the 2010 season speeds towards its mid-way point, Kimi Raikkonen is still not ruling out taking a seat on next year's grid. The 2007 world champion stepped out of his Ferrari last year and into a full-time debut in the world rally championship.
"Yes, I watch races on television, but I don't miss anything except for the driving," 30-year-old Raikkonen is quoted as saying by Italy's Autosprint.
"I will make my decision completely calmly and without outside pressure," said the Finn, who has been linked with the Renault seat alongside Robert Kubica. "I have only a one year contract (in 2010) but I don't have any hurry to make any decisions," he added.
Will the IRL lose yet another sponsor to the higher TV ratings NASCAR has to offer?
We heard a rumor that Richard Childress Racing is talking to 7-11 about them moving over to sponsor the #29 Sprint Cup car next year. We would imagine that 7-11 may not get their money's worth by being in NASCAR, as they will spend quite a bit more, and we are not sure their sales will increase enough to cover the much larger investment for NASCAR. Plus, what company can spend marketing dollars going to Bristol, Pocono, etc. twice! It is hard to justify going to these places once, let alone twice. They have a loyal fan following in the IndyCar Series, but the call of the high TV ratings NASCAR has to offer as compared to the IRL on Versus, and the justification to move may be just too great.
New Ferrari to feature Red Bull-like exhaustsUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ferrari has confirmed that a new exhaust system is among the changes to its 2010 car to debut on the streets of Valencia this weekend.
It has been reported that the revised F10, tested by Fernando Alonso at Fiorano and seen on a fan video posted on the internet, features a Red Bull-like layout for the exhausts.
Ferrari also revealed that test driver Marc Gene was at the wheel of the car for an aerodynamic test at Vairano last week.
The low-mounted exhausts, located directly ahead of the double diffuser, are tipped to slice up to half a second off lap times.
McLaren's departed Fry heading to FerrariUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ferrari on Tuesday confirmed reports that Pat Fry is joining the famous Italian team. It emerged at the weekend that the 46-year-old Briton, who until recently was heading McLaren's 2011 car project as long-time joint chief engineer, was linked with a move to the Maranello based squad.
Italian reports had said Fry, although currently on compulsory 'gardening leave', will be able to have an impact on Ferrari's next car.
A team statement on Tuesday confirmed that Fry will begin his new role as assistant technical director, reporting to Aldo Costa, on 1 July.
Ferrari said the "structure of the technical department remains (otherwise) unchanged".
Fry joined McLaren from Benetton in 1993. "I think it was probably good for him, the right decision for him to take a bit of a break, take a breather," McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said last month.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard hinted this weekend that some new sponsors could join the series.
"We will have a new sponsor in the next couple of weeks," he said. "We will continue to move forward with a marketing strategy and long-term and short-term business plan in place by Sept. 15. That and the schedule will be the next two top priorities."
Iowa Speedway has been a tremendous facility for the IndyCar Series because it is located in a state with little sporting competition. The "big fish in a small pond" theory works well for IndyCar at Iowa but Bernard said it takes a variety of venues to hit the target audience.
"Our overall strategy that we need to play on is IndyCar is much more," Bernard said. "You reach a significant amount of NASCAR fans with the ovals but look at what you can do with St. Pete and Long Beach and the road courses. You are reaching a more lifestyle, youthful, social audience and that is very important. Look at how many people came to Iowa Speedway. These are passionate, devoted fans and it lets me see that this sport has never left the Midwest and that should be an important part of our long-term strategy.
"There are a lot of devoted fans here and that is what I love. These fans know who every driver is when we come to Iowa."
And that is a tremendous boost for a racing series that once ruled America as the No. 1 form of auto racing but has since yielded that status to NASCAR.
But with some fresh, forward-thinking, IndyCar is ready to race into the future. SI.com
When it comes to ISC and the France Family, Randy Bernard has a lot to learn
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard also has some business decisions to formulate other than the new IndyCar. One key point is the relationship with the International Speedway Corporation (ISC), which has many of its facilities on the IndyCar schedule but has often been criticized for a perceived lack of promotion for the IndyCar events. ISC is owned and controlled by the France family, which also owns and controls rival sanctioning body NASCAR.
"I have a good relationship with ISC but it has to be in the best interests of ISC and IndyCar and what we are determining right now is what is in the best interest for both parties," Bernard said. "IndyCar has to give them a product to market, No. 1. For me to say that they don't do a good job marketing, that would be taking the lazy way out. We have to do everything we can to make sure we have a competitive series that fans want to see.
[Editor's Note: The France family would love to have every single sponsor in the IndyCar Series in NASCAR or Grand-Am. Between the Truck, Nationwide, Sprint Cup and Grand-Am series they have a lot of 'mouths' to feed. Anyone who thinks the France family run ISC has any interest in seeing the IRL thrive, and hence depriving the France Family race series from sponsors, is just naive. How does the old saying go - "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." The France Family wants to stay close to the IRL so they can keep their finger on their business and squish them like a bug when the time is right. Are we skeptical? You bet we are!]
Now McLaren, Mercedes and Renault to copy Red Bull exhausts (GMM) Mercedes, McLaren and Renault look set to become the next formula one teams to emulate the unique exhaust layout of Red Bull's 2010 car design.
With the RB6 proving the most consistently competitive chassis of the 2010 season so far, it has emerged that Ferrari's Valencia-spec upgrade features low-mounted engine exhausts.
Rival engineers believe the layout, pioneered by Adrian Newey, allows air to be channeled more efficiently into the downforce-producing double diffuser.
The benefit, with also the fast-moving exhaust fumes channeled through the diffuser, is believed to be up to half a second per lap.
Report - Webber did not press overtake button (GMM) Even three full weeks and a grand prix after the Red Bull teammates' crash, details of the Turkish incident are still leaking out.
With controversy and intrigue having surrounded their crash whilst leading May's Istanbul race, the latest tidbit is revealed by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
The report claims that although Sebastian Vettel was roundly criticized for jinking to the right before contacting the sister RB6, Mark Webber could have followed the advice of his race engineer and perhaps avoided the incident altogether.
Monticello Motor Club still in running for F1 race Rumor has it that the Monticello Motor Club, located about a 90 minute drive from New York City, is still in line to get the USGP F1 race should the City of Austin, Texas deal fall apart. Austin has promised Ecclestone a lot of money for a 10-year contract. Well administrations change over time when the incumbent party loses an election, and with city, state and federal tax revenues down significantly because of the recession, one has to question whether an expensive purpose built F1 track ever see the light of day in Austin, this on top of the huge sanction fees demanded by the FOM and Bernie Ecclestone.
Was it a mix-up, or hanky panky, at Infineon?UPDATE Jeff Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports team avoided potential damage to its engine Friday when crewmen discovered lower-octane gasoline in its fuel cans during the day's first practice session at Infineon Raceway. The discovery was made when the team was topping off the #24 Chevy after Gordon had made brief runs early in the day's lone practice. Once the team realized the gasoline going into the car didn't have the expected bluish-green tint, crewmen alerted officials to the problem. That fuel was then drained from the car and replaced. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said officials checked every car in the garage after the Gordon issue was brought to their attention, but found no other problems. In addition to racing fuel, Infineon Raceway's tanks also contain lower-octane gas that can be used to fuel track vehicles. Track officials said Saturday that officials with Sunoco, the official fuel supplier for NASCAR, take control of the pumps a day before the track opens. In most cases, any pumps that dispense lower-octane fuel at a track are locked so that that fuel is not accidentally provided to competitors. Jeff Andrews, head of engine development for Hendrick Motorsports, said the team never made it out on the track with the lower-octane fuel. Such gasoline, he said, raised some concern initially. Teams arrive at the track for race weekends with empty fuel cells and gas cans. The cars are fueled while going through the inspection process prior to practice and only after the fuel cells have been inspected. The fuel that was added at that time, Andrews said, "looked normal" and said the Gordon team "was the only team in our camp that we know of, for sure, that had that issue." SceneDaily
06/19/10 Jeff Gordon's #24-Chevy, for some reason no one really wanted to explain, wound up with a tank of gasoline that wasn't the right stuff, when it was filled up at the Sunoco gas pumps Friday morning. Sunoco officials said they couldn't discuss the situation and referred questions to NASCAR officials NASCAR officials said they were studying the situation and didn't have anything to say just yet.
"We'll know more after qualifying," NASCAR's Robin Pemberton said. Doug Duchardt, one of the top bosses at the Gordon-Rick Hendrick operation, likewise said he couldn't say much about the situation either. Chevrolet officials also declined to comment.
Ferrari F10 update worth 7 tenths a lap? Back in February, when Ferrari hit the test tracks along with other Formula 1 teams, rumors began circulating that Ferrari somehow were no longer impressed with their wind tunnel figures of the F10 after learning about this ‘other’ solution. This was the spark behind the F10 B-Spec rumors.
Some have suggested that the design was originally to be featured on the Toyota 2010 challenger, the TF110, before the Japanese giant pulled the plug on F1.
Ferrari upgrade caught on Video
Ferrari admitted that the effort to reproduce McLaren’s blown rear wing stalling mechanism, the (F-Duct) swayed too much focus from their own “other areas” of the car.
Kahne to the #09 car in 2011?UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Rick Hendrick says he still has not figured out where Kasey Kahne will drive next season, and he dismissed a report that he had a deal with James Finch's No. 09 car. Kahne has signed to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 in the No. 5 Chevrolet currently driven by Mark Martin.
06/12/10 Kasey Kahne said he's still unsure where he'll drive next season, even with a report on Sports Illustrated's Web site that states he could be driving for James Finch's single-car team next season. "I've never even heard of that until just now,'' Kahne said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "There's so many teams that have talked to Mr. Hendrick about 'Could we do this? Could we try this? Could we do this?' '' Kahne said. "There's a lot of them in the garage area trying to work something out with myself.'' Roanoke Times
06/11/10 Hendrick Motorsports and James Finch are working on a partnership to put Kasey Kahne in the #09 Chevy for 2011. Multiple sources indicate the deal could be completed within the next few weeks. Hendrick will not be allowed to own the car under NASCAR's four-team rule, leaving Finch in the position of ownership, although engines and chassis would continue to come from Hendrick. Once completed, the partnership solves the HMS dilemma of where to put Kahne next season. Signed to take over the #5 Chevy in 2012, Kahne leaves RPM at the end of the year but Hendrick already has four signed drivers -- Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson -- under contract for 2011. Stewart-Haas Racing was the first option for Kahne, but sources claim sponsorship and financial constraints for that team have made such a move impossible.
Carlin in running for F1's final grid spotUPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' British F3 champions Carlin have no plans to enter the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship contrary to reports in the international media today. The Hampshire based squad, who currently lead the British F3 and Formula Renault 3.5 championships, as well as competing in the inaugural GP3 Series, have not submitted an application to be part of the Formula 1 grid in 2011.
Carlin’s Racing Director Trevor Carlin said, “While F1 may be a long-term goal for the team, we have not submitted an application for the 2011 season, nor are we in any position to do so. At the moment we are 100 per cent focused on our current programs and continue to put all our efforts into winning championships and races in the junior categories.”
06/18/10 (GMM) Another team reportedly in the running to become F1's 13th team in 2011 is Carlin.
Headed by former Jordan boss Trevor Carlin, the outfit is the most successful in the history of British F3, and also races in GP3 and the Renault World Series.
Since 2007, Carlin has been based at Brabham's old F1 factory in Surrey, featuring a wind tunnel, and late last year the team was bought by Grahame Chilton.
Finland's Turun Sanomat said the team, alongside Epsilon Euskadi and ART, is in the running for the 2011 spot made vacant by the demise of USF1.
The owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway said Thursday he will consider moving next year's summer race if Loudon's police chief doesn't cut the cost for providing safety details. NHMS owner Bruton Smith said that if he can't reach a compromise with the town on security costs, he may move next June's race from New Hampshire.
"The dates are scheduled year to year with contracts with NASCAR," said Jerry Gappens, NHMS vice president. "There is the option of doing that. Let's hope it doesn't come to that option." Gappens said Loudon charges too much to organize security, and Loudon's police chief makes too much doing it. He said Chief Robert Fiske makes $50 per hour, amounting to almost $59,000 for covering the races over five years. NHMS is asking Loudon to reduce its price tag for June's upcoming race from $170,000 to $65,000.
Bernie Ecclestone (R) talks to Ferrari driver Felipe Massa
(GMM) If the F1 teams and Bernie Ecclestone want to do a deal with Pirelli, the FIA will have to go along with it.
That is the claim of an unnamed team boss, amid rumors the president of F1's governing body Jean Todt is pushing for Michelin to re-enter the sport as the new tire supplier.
It is believed commercial contracts with F1 chief executive Ecclestone have now been signed by Pirelli, while the teams group FOTA has signed a letter of intent to be supplied by the Milan based company from 2011.
Super soft tire to spice up more races - Bridgestone
(GMM) Before departing F1, Bridgestone is considering equipping teams with its 'super soft' compound at more races in 2010.
The compound is credited with spicing up the recent Canadian grand prix by graining and degrading on the track's slippery and smooth surface in cool conditions, thereby opening up a range of pitstop strategies.
And according to a report on Autosprint magazine's Italian-language auto.it website, although harder tires are necessary at Silverstone, the softest compound is tipped to re-appear for the subsequent Hockenheim round.
A decision on the next Izod IndyCar Series chassis might not be announced by June 30 as hoped and promised by series officials, chief executive officer Randy Bernard said this week.
"I don't want to jeopardize (potential) contracts just to make the June 30 date," he said. "But we'll have something to say by (the stated deadline)."
IndyCar's committee studying new engines and chassis -- a seven-member group known as the ICONIC Committee -- heard presentations from five chassis groups last week (Delta Wing, Swift, Dallara, Lola and BAT). Everyone involved with the process signed a confidentiality agreement requested by Bernard, and they have upheld it.
VW/Audi to ditch IRL plans, go to F1 with World EngineUPDATE #11 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ulrich Baretzky, head of engine development for Audi Sport, has now said about participation in the IndyCar Series is out of the question. Baretzky has been the spokesperson for proliferation of the GRE Engine, which F1 and other series are adopting, and his words below apparently speak for the intentions of Porsche, Audi, and the Volkswagen Group.
Baretzky said, "We is no interest in the IndyCar engine because of excess capacity (i.e. 2.4L instead of the 1.5L most manufacturers want) and ethanol fuel."
Here at AR1.com we have objected to Honda's proposal of a V6 and 2.4L as being out of touch with the way the rest of the world is moving. If the IRL allows a range of engine capacities from 1.5L up to 2.4L you can bet that ultimately the 2.4L will generate more HP, and perhaps more importantly, more torque. So that pretty much means a manufacturer will have to build a 2.4L V6 in order to compete with Honda, and since that does not meet the Global Racing Engine (GRE) size (turbocharged 1.5L 4-cyclinder) the IRL will probably be shunned by most, if not all, car manufacturers, and remain a single engine series once again.
05/22/10 Volkswagen could be set to buck the trend and make a move into F1 as early as the 2013 season. While the likes of Honda, BMW and Toyota have walked away from the sport due to the global financial crisis, VW motorsport boss Kris Nissen has revealed that the Volkswagen Group – which also includes Audi and Porsche – could look at an F1 program, although such a move would be dependent on the confirmation on new engine regulations.
“All I can say at the moment is that nobody is aware of the new regulations for formula one engines,” he told the Brisbane Times. “Until that is clear I think nobody, including Volkswagen, can do any comments on their interest. First we need from the FIA to know exactly the regulations from 2013 or ’14 and we also need formula one [in general] to recover a bit.
No Mercedes engine for Red Bull in 2011 Red Bull may have to look elsewhere for a new engine supplier after Mercedes declared it would be "very difficult" to provide for another team.
Red Bull Racing are believed to be considering dropping Renault at the end of the season with team boss Christian Horner claiming that his decision will be based on whether the FIA allows Renault to increase their power to match that of Mercedes' units.
This immediately sparked rumors that Red Bull could look to Mercedes, which would mean four teams were reliant on the German manufacturer for their engines.
Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug, though, has all but ruled this out.
"We have probably KERS next year, so we need to look at our capacities," Haug told Autosport. "It definitely would be very difficult for us to supply a fourth team - but no final decision is taken yet.
"We have cut the workforce on our engines, and we also need to prepare in a while for 2013 when there will be no rules. So probably the best decision is to stick with three teams.
"That is not the final decision taken, but probably we will stay as we are."
Mercedes already supply engines to their own Mercedes GP F1 team as well as McLaren and Force India.
D&R working on permanent Rahal deal Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is rumored to be working on a permanent deal with Graham Rahal, kicking off with a drive in the Iowa event.
Rahal will be subbing for injured Mike Conway. Though Tomas Scheckter raced at Texas Speedway Larry Curry favors an extended deal with Rahal.
"I hope this is the beginning of many races with Graham...We will certainly look at that and I'm sure discussions will continue into next week about what we can do beyond Iowa."
It was expected that Conway's seat would be filled by drivers who could bring money to the team, but Curry said that is not the plan.
"We've worked really hard to improve the credibility of this team, if we put someone in who doesn't have the talent but has a lot of money, then we're back to square one. We feel that Graham is an incredible talent, and to get him shows we're serious and competitive."
Changes coming to NASCAR ChaseUPDATE NASCAR officials are meeting with drivers and team owners to discuss possible changes in the sport, including how the Sprint Cup champion is determined. While NASCAR chairman Brian France has been careful not to make abrupt modifications to the title Chase since its debut in 2004, it seems as if changes are due. The Chase field expanded from 10 to 12 drivers in 2007. NASCAR also began awarding 10 bonus points that year for each race a driver wins before the Chase. NASCAR can examine the Chase and other topics because of the sense that the racing has improved. So the meetings this past week - some still need to be held - provide NASCAR a chance to discuss the Chase, testing, what to do with Cup drivers in Nationwide Series races and other topics. "They're certainly looking at the future," said Jeff Burton, who joined Richard Childress Racing officials in meeting with NASCAR last week. "Every conversation I've ever been in with NASCAR, once a year there's a conversation about the Chase. Does it work? Could it be better? That's almost an annual conversation." With the Chase, some of the questions being asked are about the number of competitors, the format and how to determine the champion. When asked about possible changes about how the champion is determined, Mark Martin said he told series officials: "Go for it." Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also met with series officials last week, said: "I didn't get a sense that there was a guarantee on any major changes." Among some of the ideas involving the Chase would be expanding the field. Based on the percentage of teams that make the Chase (27.9 percent of a 43-car field make it), NASCAR trails other pro sports when compared to the percentage of teams that make the playoffs. One suggestion tossed in the meetings is resetting the points for the top drivers heading into the final race. Virginian Pilot
06/10/10 Are changes coming to NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup?
NASCAR is holding town hall meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with drivers and owners at its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., to discuss a variety of topics.
The sanctioning body is using the competitors as sounding boards to gather ideas on the Chase format and schedule, changes to the testing policy and parameters for Sprint Cup drivers that enter Nationwide Series events.
Increasing the number of participants that are eligible for the Chase as well as the 26th race of the regular schedule and the 10 events of the postseason were open for discussion along with opening the testing ban and limiting the number of Cup drivers eligible for points in NASCAR’s feeder series.
Williams to keep Barrichello as driver market stalls
(GMM) Williams is reportedly set to retain an unchanged driver lineup for the 2011 season.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that while rookie Nico Hulkenberg is regarded as a long-term investment for the British team, Williams is also happy with the performance of the Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello.
"Without Rubens, we would be nowhere," team co-owner and principal Sir Frank Williams is quoted as saying.
The lineups at top teams Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull will also stay the same for 2011, while Robert Kubica looks likely to stay at Renault.
Felipe Massa (L) has failed to keep pace with his faster teammate Fernando Alonso (R)
(GMM) According to the latest rumor, Felipe Massa may have agreed a 'Barrichello-clause' in the pages of his new Ferrari contract.
As the 29-year-old arrived in Turkey mid last week, the Italian team said Massa will keep racing a Ferrari in 2011 and 2012, contrary to speculation that Mark Webber or Robert Kubica might replace him.
But so far in 2010, Massa has struggled to match the pace of his new Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso, including in Turkey, where he was outqualified before driving a messy race and crossing the line a lap down.
The latest edition of the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell reports rumors that one of the conditions of Massa's contract renewal was that he agree to be the number two driver.
Mears not returning to the #83 after Infineon? Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Casey Mears will not return to the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota when the series returns to oval tracks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27. Road course expert Mattias Ekstrom will drive the car this weekend at Infineon Raceway, and no decision has been made on who will fill the seat for the remainder of the season. Mears took over the ride when Brian Vickers was sidelined by blood clots last month at Dover, with a best finish of 22nd and an average finish of 27.5 He finished 36th at Michigan last weekend after becoming involved in a crash with teammate #82-Scott Speed. Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway
Possible future Sprint Cup car, but with rear spoiler instead of wing.
Is NASCAR ready to Pony up in the Sprint Cup Series? One year ago, FOXSports.com first reported that sportier cars were coming to the Nationwide Series. With the popular response that both the manufacturers and the sanctioning body have received over the last 12 months and the anticipation of the new car rollout next month at Daytona, it’s not surprising that the car chiefs are now pushing for a sexier car with more brand identity in the Cup series.
Certainly, the adverse reaction to what was first called “the car of tomorrow” by NASCAR fans accelerated the timetable for a design change. The Nationwide car, in essence, is an attempt at the second generation COT, first introduced by the sanctioning body in 2007. While the car proved to be safer, its boxier design void of any resemblance to a race car or a showroom car was not well received by manufacturers or the public.
Ecclestone putting the squeeze on teamsUPDATE (GMM) F1 teams could be set to lose control of their advertising signage rights within the pit garages. Team sponsor signage is commonplace within the confines of the garages, but bosses last week received a letter from Allsport Management.
Allsport is a company contracted by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to look after certain commercial aspects of the sport -- including trackside advertising. According to GP Week, the letter reminded teams that Allsport is actually in control of the advertising that can be displayed within the garages.
The report said the letter might be a negotiating ploy by Ecclestone in response to those teams pushing for a better tire deal for 2011.
06/11/10 Bernie Ecclestone is said to be threatening a clampdown on F1 teams displaying sponsor signage in and outside their garages.
For decades teams have displayed logos in their garages without any outside interference. However yesterday they received a letter from Allsport, the organization that controls trackside advertising, which in effect pointed out that it owns the garage advertising space.
Teams have no doubts that Ecclestone is behind the letter. The suggestion is that it’s part of a wider political game that is going on in relation to Pirelli and the deal it will have with teams, with some teams apparently still trying to negotiate their own special arrangements with the Italian company.
Sebastien Buemi. Like Vettel, he also smoked teammate Sebastien Bourdais in his rookie year
(GMM) Sebastien Buemi is on course for a seat with Red Bull in 2012, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.
The head of the energy drinks company's driver program, Dr Helmut Marko, was quoted last weekend suggesting that if the 21-year-old youngster does not up his game, he could lose his seat with the junior team Toro Rosso.
But Buemi then had an impressive weekend in Montreal, finishing in the points, overtaking Michael Schumacher and even leading a lap of the race.
Blick reports that the "plan" at Red Bull's Salzburg headquarters is to field Buemi alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2012.
Cosworth to return to IndyCar The engine that powered a third of Formula One’s grid on Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix could be on the streets of Toronto and Edmonton by 2012 for the Honda Indys. And it could even be in the endurance racing sports cars of the American Le Mans Series at Mosport International Raceway by next season.
In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun, Cosworth general manager Mark Gallagher said Sunday that it is the goal of his company to be building race engines for a number of North American racing series with the next year.
“We would love to be putting our Cosworth engines into the IZOD IndyCars series and the American le Mans Series,” Gallagher said.
Canada GP to see pitstops after three laps (GMM) The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday may host the bizarre situation of normal tire-change pitstops within the first three laps of the Canadian grand prix.
After the overly 'green' surface chewed up the tires on Friday, before overnight and morning rain washed away the rubber on Saturday, the extreme graining and degradation is now likely to feature throughout the Montreal event.
The prospect of a normal one-stop race has been ruled out, while it might seem prudent that drivers will qualify with the more durable 'prime' tire in order to ensure a better product for the first stint of the race.
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