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Danica to NASCAR a done deal Danica Patrick may not have formally announced her plans for the 2012 NASCAR season yet, but SPEED open wheel reporter Robin Miller had it all mapped out months ago.
Miller, a longtime IndyCar Series journalist and SPEED.com reporter, predicted as early as Feb. 27 on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain that Danica Patrick would run the full NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 for JR Motorsports. For this video, please visit http://bcove.me/aw72zp94
In the following weeks, Miller stuck to his guns and reiterated his expectation in his weekly Miller’s Mailbag on SPEED.com on July 13, adding that Patrick would run six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for Stewart Haas Racing in 2012, and possibly the 2012 Indianapolis 500 for Tony Stewart. For this Mailbag, please visit: http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-millers-mailbag-7131/ (transcription below).
Sutil, Hulkenberg linked with Barrichello's seat (GMM) The names Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg are suddenly being linked with the F1 seat currently occupied by Rubens Barrichello.
With Williams happy with Pastor Maldonado and his links with important Venezuelan backer PDVSA, the Grove based team at present is refusing to say the 39-year-old veteran Barrichello will surely stay beyond 2011.
Increasingly, the Brazilian's rhetoric is sounding impatient, and Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports he is calling a halt to the practice of using his car as a test mule for struggling Williams' technical experiments.
Johnson to run Nationwide race at Watkins GlenUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. If Jimmie Johnson will race anything with an engine, driving one that could carry him to victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International is a no-brainer. JR Motorsports announced that Johnson will pilot the #7 Chevy in the Aug. 13 road-course event at Watkins Glen in promotion of his soon-to-be-launched video game Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine. Published by Autumn Games and developed by Isopod Labs, Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine is scheduled for an October 2011 release on all three major home consoles. JRM PR
07/15/11 Dr. Jerry Punch reported during the Nationwide race at Nashville Superspeedway that Jimmie Johnson will drive the #7 for JR Motorsports at the upcoming race in Watkins Glen. Jamie McMurray is also expect to drive the car in August.
Speculating on where Danica will land in NASCAR While Danica Patrick is reportedly in the final stages of finalizing a deal to move full time to NASCAR in 2012, many questions still remain about her racing future if she was to complete the transition to stock cars from the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Currently, Patrick is running a limited schedule for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports team in the Nationwide Series. When asked prior to the Brickyard 400 about Patrick making the full-time move, Earnhardt said that he had a good feeling about the contract negotiations.
"I feel confident that she's content where she is and happy with what we're doing," Earnhardt said. "I think things are looking positive for us to put something together."
Danica finalizing NASCAR deal with JR Motorsports, Stewart-Haas RacingUPDATE #2 08/02/11 One of the people says the talks also include her continuing to run the Indianapolis 500.
08/02/11 Danica Patrick is finalizing a deal to run a full Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports and a partial Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing next season, according to The Associated Press.
JR Motorsports spokesman Mike Davis and Patrick agent Mark Dyer both declined to comment on the report.
It has been widely speculated that if Patrick moved from IndyCar to NASCAR full-time, she would run the full Nationwide schedule for JRM, where she has run partial schedules the last two years with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com.
She also is expected to compete in select Sprint Cup races with Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing, according to the AP.
Tonio Liuzzi has hinted that he is keen on another year at HRT in 2012, but says nothing will be confirmed for another two or three races.
Liuzzi joined HRT at the last pre-season test at Barcelona this year after losing his seat at Force India to Paul di Resta. He has led the team so far this year with Narain Karthikeyan and Daniel Ricciardo as teammates. Liuzzi said that his options for 2012 are still open, but added that he is keen on continuing at HRT as it develops under its new owners Thesan Capital.
"For sure there have been a few talks but it is a bit too early to say anything at the moment," he told ESPNF1 in his latest column. "People have come to chat with me, but everything is good with HRT and they are happy with me, so at the moment I would say everything is normal. For sure there are people that came to talk but at the moment everything is good with HRT. Their program seems really interesting for the future and within the next two or three races we should know something better."
More Ferrari visits add fuel to Briatore rumorsUPDATE #2
(GMM) Flavio Briatore has refused to simply rule out speculation linking him with a role at Ferrari.
Recent rumors have suggested the former Renault team boss could be signed shortly by the Maranello based as a consultant, in view of possibly replacing Stefano Domenicali when the 'crashgate' ban lifts in 2013.
The flamboyant Italian was asked about the speculation by Onda Cero radio in the wake of last weekend's Hungarian grand prix.
"I am a Ferrari tifoso (supporter), but in life you never know -- anything can happen," said Briatore, who is still involved in the management of Fernando Alonso's career.
Automotive legend Carroll Shelby -- the guy who designed the Ford Mustang Cobra -- has been sued by a former receptionist who claims the 88-year-old sexually assaulted her ... and also ignored her complaints when she told him she was raped by one of his employees.
According to the lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, Angelica Smith claims she began working for Shelby back in 2005 as a receptionist ... but was treated as a "personal servant" ... with Shelby often forcing her to go out on "grocery runs, liquor runs, pornography runs."
In the docs, Smith claims Shelby ran a "pervasively hostile work environment" ... and "on at least one occasion, Shelby himself sexually battered [Smith] by groping her" at his home.
IndyCar may add 2nd race in IowaUPDATE #2 A dinner conversation between Iowa Speedway President Jerry Jauron and IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard two days before this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 raised a unique proposal for the Newton race facility — the potential for a doubleheader race weekend in coming seasons.
According to Jauron, the two groups are in early negotiations to have two separate 250-lap Indy races at the Speedway on a Saturday and Sunday. Both events would have separate qualifying sessions and both races would count toward a driver’s overall points total in the series.
“The event would be such a fast turn around and it’s never been done before, so the odds are probably against us,” Jauron said. “But eventually Randy would like to see it here in Newton. They brought the idea to us.”
The facility president says that he “does not want to put the cart before the horse,” but it’s a proposition he and others at the speedway are excited about. A decision for the 2012 season is expected by Aug. 15.
Currently discussing the proposed race weekend with team owners such as Roger Penske and Mario Andretti, Bernard is weighing the strain a doubleheader race would put on drivers and equipment. The Firestone Twin 275s, a similar event put on at the Texas Motor Speedway, takes one IndyCar race and splits it into two separate days, but Jauron says the Iowa Speedway doubleheader would actually be two separate races both contributing to points standings.
Will Raikkonen choose IndyCar? Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Räikkönen might walk away from the World Rally Championship at the end of this season.
The Finn, who turns 32 in October, is competing in the WRC this year with a privately backed team, with nothing like the funding he enjoyed from Red Bull last season. Asked this weekend about his future in motorsports, Räikkönen said he has no firm plans for 2012 in either the WRC or in NASCAR, where he has competed recently.
“We haven't really given a thought to what's going to happen next year,” said Räikkönen, “[or] if we're going to do anything at all.” AutoWeek
Given his open wheel experience, one has to wonder if IndyCar might be where he lands given next year's new car and everyone being on the same playing field.
Kasey Kahne eyes $5M Las Vegas IndyCar challengeUPDATE
IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard wants NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kasey Kahne to race in the $5 million all-star Izod World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October and Kahne said he is interested.
“[It would be good] if you could get in the right car, work with the right guys, have enough time to feel like you were prepared going into a race,” Kahne said Saturday during NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “But I don’t think you just get in an Indy-car and race. It’s a high-speed sport. You’ve got to know what you’re doing.
“If I can spend the time to figure out what I’m doing and work with the right guys, it’s something I would look at.”
Kahne said he has not talked yet to any IndyCar teams but he knows Team Penske is open to fielding a car for the right driver. Kahne and extreme sports star Travis Pastrana are the most recognizable drivers to express interest in the challenge but Pastrana fractured bones in his foot and ankle Thursday night during the X-Games in Los Angeles.
Kahne doesn’t know if his NASCAR contract holder, Rick Hendrick, would let him try an Indy-car, but he’s willing to ask once NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship field is settled. He is 14th in the standings before Sunday’s Brickyard 400.
Memphis Motorsports Park to reopen? With so many tracks closing it is nice to hear of a re-opening of a major dragstrip. Rumor has it that work on the Memphis Motorsports Park dragstrip and road course (purchased by the same group who bought and renovated Palm Beach International Raceway) is on schedule and the track is expected to re-open around the first of September.
Gateway to reopen There is a lot of talk about the Gateway Raceway track at St. Louis, formerly owned by Dover Entertainment, re-opening soon. The Agent talked to Rod Wolter, who is helping to facilitate the purchase of the track, who said the purchase is moving along, but slowly.
There are three different owners of land parcels the facility sits on who have to be dealt with and even when that issue is done it will take a considerable amount of time to refurbish and re-open the track.
What is verifiable is that there’s a tentative agreement (nothing is signed) with the NHRA and the potential new owners of the facility for an NHRA national event to return to the St. Louis track in October of 2012.
Hulkenberg could leave F1 for 2012 IndyCar rideUPDATE He was asked if he was referring to DTM, Le Mans or IndyCar. "To be honest, I don't want to waste time worrying about it at the moment because I am confident that I can stay here (in F1)," said the 23-year-old at the Hungaroring.
Nico Hulkenberg would leave the formula 1, next year if he does not land a fulltime according to sources. Hulkenberg, currently a test driver for Force India, wants to return in 2012 to a race seat. Should he not succeed he will leave the Formula 1.
"I do not want sit around all weekend, I love to race too much," said the former Williams driver.
What could be the alternatives? "This is pretty obvious," says the 23-year-old. "Only the most professional of motorsports - DTM, Le Mans and the North American IndyCar Series."
Bowyer close to a deal to stay at RCR Clint Bowyer met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed his contract status. The transcript in part:
Q) RICHARD SAYS HE HOPES TO HAVE YOUR DEAL DONE HERE IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, ARE YOU COMMITTED TO HIM AND HE'S COMMITTED TO YOU? Bowyer: "I hope we have it done in a couple of days. We're getting close."
Q) THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING IF CARL EDWARDS LEAVES AND THAT WILL BE AN OPEN SEAT AND YOU ARE LOOKING THERE, ARE YOU LOOKING AROUND NOW?
Bowyer: "Yeah, that's the biggest thing. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that have to be put in place. Like Carl where he decides to go is a big part of that. Like you said the puzzle is not put together yet."
Q) BUT FOR YOU, ARE YOU LOOKING ANYWHERE ELSE? Bowyer: "No, we are getting close to having a deal put together." Team Chevy
Watching NASCAR race causes accidents? Accidents caused by aggressive driving rise notably, in West Virginia, five days after a NASCAR race is shown on TV. That's the finding of a new study that explored whether the televised spectacle of aggressive, crash-filled racing shaped the day-to-day motoring habits of West Virginians. The state is fertile ground for such a study, the researchers observed, because it has more NASCAR fans, per capita, than any other. And it has no NASCAR tracks, the study said, so TV is how most people take in races.
The study looked at all aggressive-driving accidents (a category used by the state's Division of Highways) from 2003 through 2006 - nearly 29,000 in all. Poor road conditions and rain predicted such accidents, unsurprisingly. But 156 televised NASCAR races also had a detectable effect. Accidents actually dropped the day of a race, possibly because people were glued to the TV. But days that followed NASCAR events by five days had 23.59 aggressive accidents, on average, compared to 19.40 for other days. More at the Wall Street Journal or the study at wiley.com
(GMM) Although Thesan Capital recently bought HRT, the Spanish team could be set for yet another change of ownership in the very near future.
AS and El Economista newspapers say the buyer is Pau Gasol, a famous Spanish basketball player for the famous NBA team Los Angeles Lakers.
The reports said Gasol, 31, has an opportunity to snap up HRT for EUR 48 million given that investment group Thesan has not yet formalized its deal.
As an existing small shareholder, Gasol - through his rights management company Wassermann Media Group and with links to Chinese company Erdos - reportedly has the right of first refusal until August 22.
2012 F1 calendar set for major overhaul Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone plans to move the Bahrain Grand Prix to the tail end of the 2012 season, AUTOSPORT reports, as part of a revised calendar that looks set to see Turkey dropped entirely.
Although the FIA published its version of the 2012 schedule at its most recent meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council last month, it is understood that Ecclestone has undertaken a major reshuffle in the plans for next year.
With teams concerned about the first race being in Bahrain - because of the still uncertain political situation and the spotlight that could overshadow the season build-up ahead of the event's return to the calendar Ecclestone's primary focus was on sorting out what to do with the Sakhir date.
Crown Royal may become Brickyard 400 title sponsorUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Crown Royal Co. officials today will announce that the whisky brand has signed a deal to title sponsor the Brickyard 400 starting with next year's race. The name of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will be changed to Crown Royal Presents "Your Hero Here" 400 at the Brickyard. Sources said that the deal is "worth about $15 million over five years" and that it is "financially bigger than any other current NASCAR title sponsorship agreement" IBJ.com
07/22/11 Indianapolis Motor Speedway has apparently firmed up plans with Crown Royal for the whiskey to be the title sponsor of next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400. A press conference to confirm the news is scheduled for Thursday.
The official name of the NASCAR event, which will have Grand-Am and the Nationwide Series on the bill along with the Sprint Cup race, has not been confirmed.
The Sprint Cup race earlier this year at Richmond International Raceway was called "Crown Royal presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400," which honored the U.S. Marine Corps as part of online fan voting.
Crown Royal last month announced the impending end of its sponsorship of Matt Kenseth's car at Roush Fenway Racing after this season. That's part of a change in sponsorship philosophy for the company. The Brickyard 400 has not had a title sponsor since Allstate left after the 2009 race. AutoWeek
07/13/11 An unlikely match could give the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a new title sponsor for the Brickyard 400 and a seven-figure windfall starting next summer. That's the direction things are headed, despite appearances to the contrary. Sources are beginning to bubble that Crown Royal is ready to sign a deal to become the title sponsor of the Brickyard 400. It's rumored to be a multi-year deal starting in 2012. Don't be surprised if Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Jeff Belskus along with Crown Royal honchos make an announcement at this year's race. And stunningly, the Crown Royal deal& is financially bigger than any other current NASCAR title sponsorship deal. Yes, that means bigger than the Coca-Cola 600 and Irwin Tools Night Race (Bristol) deals. In a soft economy, when the race's attendance has wavered, Speedway officials are going to get around $1.5 million annually for the title sponsorship of its race, sources are whispering. Indianapolis Business Journal
Ken Block too tall for F1? Gymkhana star and X Games rally competitor Ken Block is supposed to test Pirelli's ex-Toyota Formula One test car at Italy's Monza circuit in August, but the 43-year-old appears to have a problem: He's too tall.
According to a report by the U.K.'S Autosport, Block--who also competes in the World Rally Championship--on Thursday arrived at Toyota Motorsport's base in Germany for a seat fitting and other preliminary items, only to find he does not fit in the car. According to Autosport, the six-foot-two-inch Block managed to squeeze into the cockpit, but there was no room left for him to turn the steering wheel.
Toyota and Pirelli are believed to be investigating alternatives that will allow Block to perform his demonstration run as planned.
Investor keen to save Belgian GP?UPDATE Renault-owner Gerard Lopez could take on Spa-Francorchamps, and thus secure the future of the Belgian Grand Prix
Gerard Lopez and his investment company Genii Capital owns the Renault team and stated they with Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, could save the future of the traditional race track in Spa-Francorchamps. Apparently thinking the networked businessman in Luxembourg about it, to take over the financially ailing circuit in the Ardenns.
IndyCar wants to race in front of Richmond's empty grandstands disguised as fans again?
Robin Miller mentioned at the end of ESPN's Speedcenter Sunday that Indy Car could return to Richmond. Richmond is another oval that failed miserably after Marlboro and Firestone stopped giving away free tickets, but realize Richmond is a NASCAR town and the fans are not going to show up for an IndyCar race unless you give them a free ticket.
Fontana, New Hampshire, Las Vegas, etc. All failed ovals that will fail again. Sure, the season finale on the Vegas oval will have some fans in the grandstands, but realize 90% of them will be freebies.
Newman/Haas to be Lotus team?UPDATE #2 Lotus is believed to looking for a team to buy, but it won't be KV reports the Indy Star. Kalkhoven said he's having too much fun being a part of the team, evident by the fact he was at the Edmonton track at 7 a.m. Sunday, an hour before the morning warm-up.
"Besides," Kalkhoven said with a laugh, "what else would Jimmy [Vasser] do?"
07/23/11 After further investigation, there appears to be no concrete evidence that Lotus is looking to buy out the Newman/Haas team. One would think that KV Racing would remain the Lotus team, but there have been rumors they may go with Honda power.
There were also rumors that Cosworth may be for sale. If that were true, then Kevin Kalkhoven would not have a conflict of interest running Lotus engines when he co-owns Cosworth.
Would Kalkhoven sell Cosworth (for a profit of course) and then also sell KV Racing to Lotus who are rumored looking to buy an IndyCar team much like they did in F1?
07/22/11 Chevrolet previously announced Team Penske as its lead team and Honda announced the 4-car Ganassi team. Lotus has not announced a lead team. Its officials are believed to be shopping to buy an existing two-car team, and it might be a team other than KV Racing Technology, which currently has Lotus sponsorship. Rumor has it Newman/Haas may become the lead Lotus team. Would Lotus but them? Well Carl and Bernie Haas are way past retirement age, so you decide.....We hear KV Racing may go with Honda.
According to AutoRacing1.com sources rumor has it that Bob Osborne will probably follow Matt Kenseth and be his crew chief at the Wood Brothers. Jimmy Fennig will most likely retire.
07/22/11 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Roush driver Matt Kenseth will be switching to the famous Wood Brothers No. 21 car in 2012. If true, no word on where that leaves current driver of the No. 21 Trevor Bayne who has no money.
Was Fontana a trade for Indy? Speculation is rampant that the deal to bring IndyCar back to a France Family (ISC) owned facility in Fontana next September was contingent on the Nationwide and Grand-Am series being added to the Brickyard 400 weekend.
Recall that the two announcements - IndyCar to Fontana and Nationwide and Grand-Am to Indy happened one right after the other.
(GMM) Romain Grosjean has emerged as the most likely candidate in the event Robert Kubica cannot return to Renault next year.
Injured Pole Kubica's current substitute Nick Heidfeld is pushing to keep his seat, but Frenchman Grosjean's manager is Eric Boullier, the boss of the Renault team and a major player in a government committee to revive France's presence in F1.
"We are working hard to get Grosjean there (to F1). France needs a good F1 driver," Boullier is quoted as saying by Polish publication Wirtualna Polska.
Trevor Bayne had to miss five Nationwide races earlier this year after suffering from what his doctors think was Lyme Disease. But he feels fine now.
"I'm great. I'm going back in a couple months to find out if that's officially what it was," he said. "I had treatment for that and my symptoms are gone. Hopefully, that's what it was and they knocked it out." Associated Press
Overheard at Indy Toronto - FridayUPDATE Honda is expected to soon announce its third team, pairing with Ganassi Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing. Andretti Autosport appears headed for Chevrolet, which if true confirms our rumor from Toronto below.
07/08/11 It was a beautiful day here in Toronto, Ontario Canada where the IndyCar series is gathered for their silver anniversary - the 25th year racing on the streets around Exhibition Place.....We hear that Firestone will start testing of the new IndyCar in August with no change to their tires, but will make design changes if warranted.......As for the rumored NASCAR Nationwide Montreal race going away, we hear it is all politics to scare the government into thinking they won't be back........Still no date set for the start of testing for the 2012 IndyCar, but we hear mid to late August. We are still hearing that the Honda engine will be the first one tested. We also hear that Chevy will soon announce their second team (Team Penske already announced as their anchor team) and although nothing has been announced or rumored, our gut tells us it will be Andretti Autosports. And speaking of engines, we hear Cosworth has had serious talks with Fiat, which could mean the engine would be badged a Fiat, Alfa Romeo, or perhaps a Dodge......Spotted ex-CART team manager Steve Horne in the paddock and he tells AR1.com that he is not actively looking to land a job with a team or the IndyCar Series itself, but he's willing to listen to offers. "I like what I see happening in this series says Horne, who enjoys sailing as a stress buster. Later we spotted Horne in the KV Racing Pit Box with KV Racing headphones on. Hmm..........
Rumored/Confirmed drivers for Gold Coast 600 Confirmed drivers bold, rumored drivers not bold:
TeamVodafone:Andy Priaulx, Sebastien Bourdais Jim Beam Racing:Dirk Müller, Joey Hand Kelly Racing: Ben Collins, Alex Tagliani Jack Daniels Racing: Richard Westbrook, Jörg Bergmeister Mother Racing: Alexander Wurz Ford Performance Racing:Will Power, Mika Salo Bottle-O Racing: Christian Klien Lucky 7 Racing: Helio Castroneves Stone Brothers Racing:Scott Dixon, Mark Lieb Holden Racing Team:Ryan Briscoe, Patrick Long Walkinshaw Racing: Dario Franchitti Supercheap Auto Racing: Jan Magnussen Garry Rogers Motorsport:Simon Pagenaud, Augusto Farfus Jr Wilson Security Racing: Vitantonio Liuzzi Brad Jones Racing: Max Wilson, Fabrizio Giovanardi VIP Petfoods:Boris Said Lucas Dumbrell Racing:Marino Franchitti
Renault to switch to conventional rear-facing exhausts
Renault may switch from their radical forward-pointing exhaust system to a more conventional rear-pointing method, Eric Boullier has revealed. A number of updates will be rolled out for this weekend’s German Grand Prix as the Enstone-based team strives to retake fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
After grabbing fourth overall from Mercedes GP in Valencia, the German team retook the position last time out at Silverstone. Boullier, however, remains highly optimistic that the Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov can prevail.
“Yes, we most certainly can,” the French Team Principal comments. “There will be some upgrades on the car which will help considerably. Also, on the race team side, we must not miss any opportunity that we are provided with.
Sauber, Lauda sponsor in financial strife (GMM) A sponsor of the Sauber team is in financial trouble, according to German-language reports.
The Austrian newspaper Die Presse said the owner and founder of the Liechtenstein based Money Service Group has left the company, ostensibly for health reasons, as partners complain that their invoices are not being paid.
"I have tried to reach Mr. Seidl but unfortunately I have not heard from him yet," Niki Lauda, whose blue cap is sponsored by MSG this year, told the Kurier.
Valencia scandal good for Barcelona GP (GMM) A Spanish newspaper has interpreted the demise of Valencia president Francisco Camps as good news for Barcelona's Spanish grand prix.
It was reported recently that Spanish port city Valencia wanted to be the country's only F1 event by paying Bernie Ecclestone EUR 20 million per year and taking the Circuit de Catalunya's May date on the annual calendar.
But since then, a corruption scandal returned to the Spanish headlines and on Wednesday Camps resigned amid accusations he took a bribe.
He reportedly told a news conference that the decision was "for the sake of Valencia, Spain and the PP (Partido Popular)".
No title sponsor for Baltimore Grand Prix The inaugural Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix "doesn't have a title sponsor and organizers said they will probably celebrate at the finish line without one." Baltimore Racing Development President Jay Davidson said that offers have been received for the Sept. 4 race, though they "have either 'undercut' the asking price of $800,000 to $1 million or the asking party hasn't been the right fit for the Grand Prix." Davidson said, "I'm not going to act like it's inconsequential. It would make things easier for us. (But) it's not something we're going to give away just to say we have one." Jackson reports race organizers are 15-20 sponsors "short of their goal of 35 to 40, and as much as 35 percent short of what they expected to raise in sponsorship cash." The race's goal is for sponsorships "to total 20 percent of the event's revenue in year one." Honda Grand Prix at St. Petersburg VP & GM Tim Ramsberger said, "It's obviously going to be something they've got to address going forward, but I don't think it's going to prevent them from putting on a good show in September" Baltimore Business Journal
Will Whitmarsh get the boot?UPDATE (GMM) McLaren on Wednesday played down speculation there might be a change of leadership at the very top of the famous British team.
After a difficult home grand prix at Silverstone, British media referred to a "crisis" at Woking based McLaren, triggering rumors Ron Dennis might return to the helm to replace current team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
But the team's managing director Jonathan Neale on Wednesday told reporters that Whitmarsh has done "a fantastic job", not only in charge of McLaren but also the teams' alliance FOTA.
Referring to the speculation, he said during a teleconference: "I'm afraid it's just part of the media circus and expectation, caught in the home grand prix if you've got to deliver and we didn't, you've got to expect a bit of comeback.
The BBC would have to pay at least £50 million in compensation if they back out of their Formula One contract this year.
Channel 4 and ITV are keen to screen F1 races if the BBC decide to stop grand prix coverage because of cost-cutting.
Sky TV have also had a senior executive at a recent grand prix as the companies await a decision from the BBC, who are reviewing their sports budget. Cutting the popular F1 races would save the BBC about £60m-a-year, but it would leave a massive hole in their viewing figures.
New owner already making changes at HRT (GMM) HRT's new owner is already making changes at the struggling Spanish team.
The sports daily AS reports that the team's former owner is no longer involved in any way, contrary to earlier speculation that Jose Ramon Carabante's son Jose would be installed in a senior management role.
The newspaper also said new owner Thesan Capital, a Madrid-based investment company, has dispensed with the team's media boss Alba Saiz.
Champ Car put on some pretty spectacular races at the Eurospeedway oval in Lausitz, Germany in 2001-2003 and AR1.com was there
IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard is considering adding races in Chicago or Houston next year, but the long-term plan calls for a European swing.
“Oh yeah, in the next five years, I think you’ll see the IndyCar Series reach more international markets,” Bernard said. “I’d love to see us do the oval in Germany.”
A likely initial target for the IndyCar Series would be the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, a two-mile tri-oval race track situated near Klettwitz. The track is located in the eastern part of Germany between Dresden and Berlin.
Gibbs to close engine shop?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he has no plans to shutter the team's engine shop and merge motor-building operations with Toyota Racing Development.
"I think a lot of that started when Red Bull Racing announced they were going to cease operation," said Gibbs. "A lot of people started trying to plug things into different spots. There are some things that TRD and Toyota do really well, and there are some things that we do really well. For several years, we've been working on how to bring all those strengths together. (JGR Head Engine Builder) Mark Cronquist has got some real sharp guys& and the question - again - is how do we bring all that together (with Toyota and TRD)? If we can do that, I think there will be some real value. But there is no shutting down our shop, or shutting down theirs. We're going to keep working on combining what they do well with what we do well."
No Montreal for IndyCar? While IndyCar appears to have momentum in Canada, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said he's not interested in putting additional races there. He wants to grow Toronto and Edmonton first.
All the 2011 tracks are expected to return next year with the exception of Motegi, which previously announced its final race, and probably Milwaukee. A second race in Brazil and the return of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., are planned, leaving little room next year for growth.
"We can only take two or three new places next year," Bernard said.
Chicagoland Speedway, an oval track, and street races in Houston and Mexico City are among the events considered frontrunners. Indy Star
Foyts to make team announcement Larry and AJ Foyt are going to make a "team announcement" at 3 p.m. Eastern Time July 19th. No word yet what they will announce, but we suspect it is either the previously rumored 2nd car or a new sponsor.
Roush Fenway to drop down to two cars in 2012UPDATE Although it's too early to predict for certain, sources say that Biffle and Stenhouse may be the only two left at Roush next year with Edwards and Kenseth looking for work elsewhere.
07/12/11 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Roush Fenway Racing will only field two entries in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Difficulty finding sponsorship is said to be the primary reason.
Raikkonen rejects NASCAR for return to F1UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Red Bull team figures were out in force on Wednesday, playing down links with Kimi Raikkonen and suggesting Mark Webber will be staying in 2012.
It has been reported that the energy drink owned team had targeted world rally and NASCAR driver Raikkonen, F1's 2007 world champion and a former race winner for McLaren and Ferrari, for next year after Australian Webber openly ignored team orders during the British grand prix on Sunday.
But team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is quoted by the German news agency SID: "There is still no doubt about Mark's contract extension.
Penske to field Porsche LMP1 team? After an ultra-successful run in the American Le Mans Series together, could Penske Racing reunite with Porsche for its factory LMP1 effort in 2014? Team Principal Roger Penske revealed on Sunday’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain that he’s had preliminary talks with the German manufacturer on a potential effort that could see his fabled American team return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in over 40 years.
Penske is no stranger to the world of sportscar racing, having fielded Porsche’s factory RS Spyder program in the American Le Mans Series from 2005-2008. The LMP2 effort, which saw the DHL-sponsored prototypes earn 24 victories and three class championships, was brought to a close at the end of a planned three-year run.
More on Octane eyeing take over of Toronto race Are the people who promote the Montreal Grand Prix and the Edmonton Indy positioning themselves to take over the Toronto IndyCar Series race as well?
With several members of Octane Motorsports Events sighted at the Toronto Indy on the weekend, including president Francois Dumontier and associates Normand Prieur, Dominique Fauteux and Julie Rioux making a pit stop on their way to Edmonton, there’s growing speculation.
It might be good business for Octane if for no other reason than the 25th annual roar by the shore once again proved to be a wonderful vehicle to promote the Edmonton Indy, which follows it on the schedule every season. Edmonton wouldn’t want to lose Toronto as an appetite wetter.
IndyCar CEO may take control of more races to boost TV ratings The Indianapolis Business Journal wrote an article today saying that IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard is so driven to increase race attendance and television ratings, he’s considering taking control of more of the open-wheel circuit’s races to make that happen.
Which of course means IndyCar might be getting into the race promotion business. Historically when race series try to promote their own races the results are not good. The main focus for Randy Bernard right now must be on securing a TV deal with NBC that will see at least 50% or more of all IndyCar races broadcast on NBC and the rest on NBC Sports (Now Versus). Possibly more important is signing a deal with ESPN International or equivalent to broadcast the races worldwide.
Williams to keep existing driver lineup (GMM) Williams is likely to retain its current driver lineup for the 2012 season, according to chairman Adam Parr.
Team boss Frank Williams at Silverstone described Brazilian veteran Barrichello as "superb", while rookie and reigning GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado is improving and his Venezuelan sponsor PDVSA is under contract to the famous Oxfordshire based team.
Asked if that means Williams is keeping its drivers, Parr told reporters: "Yes. I think that's vastly the most likely outcome."
The previously ultra-successful Williams has had a challenging past half-decade, but the future looks brighter with Renault coming on board as engine supplier and Parr looking to seal new sponsor deals.
Overheard at Honda Indy Toronto - SaturdayUPDATE With regard to this report from Saturday and the chance that IndyCar might replace the NASCAR Nationwide series race in Montreal - INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said he "wanted to make sure we're doing our events (in Canada) right" before investigating an IZOD IndyCar Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Last week, Quebec's tourism ministry denied a request for $500,000 to assist organizers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the circuit, potentially curtailing that event after its fifth running in August.
"We have two great events and great promoters (in Toronto and Edmonton) and let's make sure they continue to grow," he said. "I just want to make sure we're doing things right."
Firestone Indy Lights will be the headliner at the Grand Prix de Trois Rivières (between Montreal and Quebec City) in early August -- the same weekend the IZOD IndyCar Series is at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
07/09/11 It was another beautiful day here in Toronto, Ontario Canada where the IndyCar series was gathered for qualifying on the streets around Exhibition Place..... Randy Bernard is going all-out to make the Las Vegas World Championship weekend a big event and a big success. Select MGM Resorts will serve as base locations for IndyCar's ancillary fan events that will complement the season finale, including a charity blackjack tournament, pit stop competition, a golf tournament, a parade of cars down the strip, and the annual Championship Banquet......Perhaps more importantly, MGM's Scott Voeller says that they really want to do an IndyCar street race at the southern end of the strip down where the Mandalay Bay resort is. He called it the Golden Goose that they are after. Recently The Strip has been closed down for a marathon foot race and so the precedent has been set for closing The Strip (which is a state road) and they are confident of getting approval. A street race in that part of The Strip will be less disruptive than one further north, but most importantly it will be a huge spectacle, especially if they decide to hold it at night under the lights. If anyone can pull it off, Randy Bernard can.
Overheard at Honda Indy Toronto - Sunday It was another beautiful day here in Toronto, Ontario Canada where the IndyCar series was gathered for the 25th time to race on the streets around Exhibition Place.....Spotted Steve Horne listening to the radio of KV Racing raising speculation further that he and the team are talking about a possible relationship.......EJ Viso was sporting yet another new helmet this weekend in Toronto. Last year he ran a different helmet design every race. This year he has cut it down to 6 or 7 different designs for the year........Today our sources tell us that Versus will be renamed to NBC Sports at the end of July. Look for the announcement and a closer alignment with NBC......The grandstands today were fairly full, but the amount of spectators they hold are significantly reduced from the CART days when 60,000 to 70,000 on race day was common.
We spoke to Steve Horne about his opinion of the rumored race in Perth Australia. His eyes lit. "Oh that would be a great place to have a race," said Horne, happy to talk about a race in his neck of the world. "They are rabid sports fans in Perth. It is the capital of Western Australia and it is a vibrant and booming city and the mining industry brings a lot of wealth into that part of Australia. It would be a better place to race than even Surfers was," concluded Horne.....We hear that Justin Wilson's current contract with Dreyer & Reinbold is up at the end of this season, so it will be interesting to see whether he moves to another team or not in 2012.....Rumor has it that Bryan Herta organized a meeting with the Indy Lights team owners on Saturday to discuss various issues facing the series. Some of the topics we hear were discussed was proper management of the series (or lack thereof), the low car count (currently at just 14), and whether or not the series needs a new car or if the team owners can even afford one. This last topic warrants of separate article, which I may do in the coming days after talking to a lot of team owners and officials about it. Mark C. reporting from Toronto.
Clockwise from top left: Sunset at City Beach, Black swan and family by the Swan River, St Georges Terrace at night, the city skyline from Kings Park, Sorrento Beach, and Parliament House
Perth has emerged as the possible venue for a new IndyCar street race in Australia.
Flamboyant US chief of international IndyCar series Randy Bernard has told Auto Action magazine that he has had preliminary discussions with Australian entrepreneur Paul Dainty about a possible Perth event.
The IndyCar series has not been held in Australia since it ended an 18-year stint on the Gold Coast in 2008. Mr. Bernard said the drivers and teams would favor a return to Australia.
Mr. Bernard took over at the helm of the IndyCar series last year after a successful stint as the boss of the International Bull Riders tour. He first became involved with Dainty Consolidated Entertainment during a bull-riding event on the Gold Coast in 2007.
This involvement prompted Mr. Bernard to contact Mr. Dainty about reviving an IndyCar event in Australia.
"When I took this job, I asked Paul if he'd be interested (in staging an Australian IndyCar event)," Mr. Bernard said. "He said: 'Yeah, I'd be interested if we could find the right opportunity'.
"The Red Bull Air Race pulled out of Perth, so they (DCE) called me and said there might be some opportunities over there."
(GMM) HRT may be in breach of contract for sidelining Narain Karthikeyan ahead of the British grand prix.
India Today claims the 34-year-old has made both of his scheduled sponsor payments to the Spanish team, guaranteeing his race seat at least until the end of July.
The report claims Hispania team figures are saying Karthikeyan is "still part of the team", despite the fact Daniel Ricciardo has replaced him at Silverstone off the back of a driver deal with Red Bull.
Karthikeyan as well as HRT, who are still running 'Tata' sponsor signage on the F111 car, have not responded to requests for comment.
India Today suggests the driver could be keeping quiet at the expectation of returning to the cockpit in Singapore, a month before India's inaugural grand prix.
The other HRT driver is Vitantonio Liuzzi, who on Saturday qualified half a second ahead of Australian rookie Ricciardo at Silverstone.
Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Alex Tagliani has agreed to an extension of his contract with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and sponsor Bowyers & Wilkins that will take him to the end of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Rumors were rampant throughout the IndyCar paddock over the past month that Tagliani’s deal with Schmidt was in danger of collapsing before the end of the current season.
Those rumors ramped up earlier this week when SSM announced it would add former Firestone Indy Lights series driver Martin Plowman to the team in partnership with AFS Racing.
BMW Motorsport has been preparing a new model for next year’s DTM Series, but so far we have not had the chance to see it. This time it seems that German car manufacturer has tested its new model and the photographers were there to photograph it for us.
The German newspaper Bild has caught the new BMW M3 DTM car on picture for the first time. Two weeks before the official presentation BMW are currently testing the first DTM prototype at the German track Oschersleben.
BMW is going to reveal a concept DTM car in Munich on the 15th of July and the German brand has stated that the looks of the final car is going to differ from the concept as well as the test car shown in the picture above.
Kansas Speedway plans major changes to add Grand Am race? Kansas Speedway will have a whole new look in its second decade of racing.
The track, which opened in 2001, will undergo a massive renovation project next year that will include repaving the existing track surface, reconfiguring and rebanking the 1.5 mile trioval and adding a new infield road course for the GrandAm Sports Car Series.
The changes will begin immediately after the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup STP 400 next spring and be completed in time for the Sprint Cup Hollywood Casino 400 in October 2012.
The 2012 schedule has not been set by NASCAR, but Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren said Thursday that the STP 400 will run in early spring to provide as much time as necessary to get the repaving project finished.
Adam Carroll eyes one-off IndyCar race with Andretti Adam Carroll could make his return to IndyCar racing at Motegi later this year with Andretti Autosport, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.
Carroll contested two IndyCar races last year in an Andretti Autosport/AFS entry at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio, and is now eying a Motegi race drive with Michael Andretti's team.
"Andretti Autosport is where I want to be, and I'm working flat-out to make it happen," he told AUTOSPORT. "I'm working on a sponsor at the moment. We're talking about a one-off [this year], which would be Japan if it happens."
IndyCar 400-mile race at Fontana date revealedUPDATE
AR1.com was there in 2000 when Gil de Ferran set the World Closed Course record in qualifying for a race at over 241 MPH in his CART IndyCar. What isn't talked about much was the fact he was towing the Handford Device Wing (with all its drag) around the track and his trap speed down the backstraight was still over 260 MPH. Now that was when IndyCar was exciting. Real men in real machines.
The night race marking the return of IndyCar-style racing to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana next year will be a 400-mile event with ticket prices starting at $30, track and IndyCar officials said Tuesday.
The big question is how large a crowd the Fontana race might draw.
Auto Club Speedway, with 92,000 grandstand seats, this year lost one of its two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in good part because of slipping attendance, and NASCAR is more popular overall than IndyCar racing.
Even so, "we fully expect to have a big crowd," said track president Gillian Zucker, noting that the track and series would have a year to promote the race. Tickets go on sale Sept. 12.
"There isn't a day that goes by that we don't have fans asking for the return of open-wheel racing," she said. "They also want to see racing under the lights."
Zucker said a "significant portion" of the grandstand seats would be reserved for those buying the $30 general-admission tickets, and that "kids 12 and under are free in the general-admission sections."
07/05/11 Rumor has it that IndyCar's return to the 2-mile high speed Fontana oval will be on the night of September 15 or 22, 2012 - under the lights.
(GMM) Confirmation of a new deal for Kamui Kobayashi is likely "soon", according to Swiss newspaper Blick.
The report said the Japanese, whose exciting racing style has earned him many fans since he debuted for Toyota at the end of 2009, is an attractive prospect for "a lot of teams" but will almost certainly stay at Sauber.
"As long as I drive for Sauber, I give everything for this team, because without Peter Sauber I would not be in formula one now," the 24-year-old said.
GP2: Turkey 2009 Lucas Di Grassi (BRA, Fat Burner Racing Engineering) celebrates his victory on the podium with Javier Villa (Left, ESP, Super Nova Racing) and Vitaly Petrov (RUS, Barwa International Campos Team)
(GMM) Javier Villa has refused to deny speculation linking him with a race seat at HRT.
With the team's new owner Thesan Capital vowing to strengthen Hispania's credentials as a truly Spanish outfit, former GP2 driver Villa was immediately linked with becoming HRT's first Spanish racer.
Sports daily AS reports that the "first contact" between the team and World Touring Car driver Villa, 23, took place this week in Madrid.
The newspaper said "both parties" denied it is true.
But Villa commented: "I'd love to be the first Spanish driver with Hispania. F1 is F1 and it's obvious every driver wants to go there.
IndyCar paddock looking for extra $30M Rumor has it that IndyCar as an economy is going to have to come up with around 30 million dollars to outfit just the new car package. That's a lot of money and many of the teams are already tight on budget.
Iowa Speedway to be soldUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
07/05/11 Question: Marco finally has developed a personality. He did well on Wind Tunnel. I’m glad to see this, it should be good for the sport. (John, Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Answer: I didn’t see the TV show, but yes, he’s improved. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, we all forget how young he still is. He came to Indy cars at age 19, and he was very shy. I think we all expected him to be polished and ready, and he wasn’t on all counts. The win at Iowa should do wonders for his confidence. And yes, that’s good for the sport. Speaking of Iowa, look for it to be announced as sold. I’m getting conflicting reports on the buyer, but I do expect Indy cars to continue racing there. Indy Star
Grand-Am, Nationwide to race at IndyUPDATE #3 Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add Nationwide and Grand-Am Rolex Series races to its Sprint Cup weekend in 2012, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
A press conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at the start-finish line at IMS.
IMS officials told ESPN.com last month that they were looking to add the two events -- the Nationwide race will be held on Saturday afternoon with the three-hour Grand-Am race on Friday afternoon -- to give the fans added value for the weekend.
Densham retiring, not Ferrari-bound - sourceUPDATE (GMM) F1 designer Tim Densham is not bound for Ferrari following his departure from Renault.
It emerged earlier that the Enstone based team's long-time chief designer has left Renault, not long after speculation linked him with a switch to Ferrari.
Confirmation of Densham's departure had been reported by Greek website gocar.gr. Ferrari's current chief designer is Athens-born Nikolas Tombazis, and Densham worked closely with Fernando Alonso in his championship seasons.
But a source at the publication insisted on Tuesday that the Ferrari gossip is wide of the mark, as Densham has stepped down for personal reasons and intends to retire.
Deputy Martin Tolliday has taken over 56-year-old Briton Densham's role at Renault.
New owner HRT owner to hire Spanish drivers, move team to Spain? (GMM) Two Spanish drivers and a new headquarters could be among HRT's plans after it emerged Thesan Capital has taken over the Spanish team.
In its first two seasons, Hispania has been effectively based at Colin Kolles' Greding headquarters in Germany, with no Spanish drivers on the roster.
But it was announced on Monday that the buyout will involve the "search for opportunities to optimize and improve the performance of the team" as well as "progressively making the team more Spanish and definitively settling ... in Spain".
The Penske team lines up just prior to start of the 2002 race. Note the huge crowd
Unless they giveaway free tickets, these photos show what IndyCar can expect upon their return to Fontana
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today based on this Hot News story.
07/03/11 The IZOD IndyCar Series figures to expand by one or two races in 2012 and one of those venues is likely to include an old friend that hosted good racing but sparse crowds according to SPEED.com.
SPEED rumors that a deal with Auto Club Speedway, formerly known as California Speedway, is all but a done deal and could be announced as early as Monday.
“We’re in serious dialogue and I’d say it looks promising,” said INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard. California Speedway president Gillian Zucker could not be reached for comment but met with Bernard last week.
(GMM) Nico Rosberg insists he is happy at Mercedes but has admitted other teams are interested.
With German Rosberg faster than Michael Schumacher in the past two seasons but still seeking his debut victory, team boss Ross Brawn asked the 25-year-old to have "faith" in Mercedes to eventually build him a winning car.
"I have the opportunity to help the team, and it's a fantastic opportunity," Rosberg is quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte.
"I wouldn't say I'm uncomfortable or something, I feel very comfortable in being part of a project and challenge like this.
"But of course, I am a racing driver, and above all, I want to win. I wouldn't say I'm impatient for it, but I hope for it soon. I just need to judge whether the team will be able (to win) soon, but it is a fact that the team will succeed eventually.
Will GoDaddy.com's sale to KKR cutoff racing sponsorship?UPDATE #3 According to Internet report Saturday, the sale of GoDaddy.com to investment firm KKR won’t affect the company’s sponsorship of Izod IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. The well-known Internet domain Web site was sold Friday to KKR and two other firms for $2.25 billion.
GoDaddy sponsors Patrick’s full-season IndyCar effort at Andretti Autosport and her part-time effort with J. R. Motorsports in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. It’s widely thought Patrick will leave IndyCar (except perhaps for the Indy 500) next year and move full-time to the Nationwide series. It’s thought she’ll do one full Nationwide season before going to Sprint Cup in 2013.
Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, wasn’t at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race. Patrick did well in Friday night’s 250-mile Nationwide race, leading five times for 13 laps. She was leading in the final laps before a last-lap crash relegated her to 10th behind two Cup starts and seven more-experienced Nationwide regulars.
Porsche LMP1 Entry Could be a Hybrid When Porsche returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in search of its 17th overall victory in 2014 the famed German sports car maker could rely on hybrid power to do so admits motorsports boss Hartmut Kristen.
Commenting in a release issued by Porsche on its return to the top-tier of sports car racing and the future of the program, Kristen said that, “the integration of our hybrid technology in the vehicle concept is one possible option.” Kristen is cautions, however, admitting that the entire plan would rely on exactly what the rules allow, but you can be certain Porsche is already lobbying the sport’s governing body.
Monster energy drink to replace Red Bull in cup? There happens to be a two-car Sprint Cup team owned and sponsored by a certain energy drink (Red Bull) looking for investors or a graceful exit from NASCAR next season. There's a Nationwide series driver (Ricky Carmichael) sponsored by rival Monster still making his way in NASCAR after one of the most successful motocross careers in the sport's history.
Carmichael doesn't think Monster will swoop in to replace its nemesis, but he candidly admitted Red Bull's possible exit is good for him and his sponsor.
"[Monster is] a great brand, No. 1 in the energy drink business domestically, probably going to be No. 1 worldwide," he said. "As far as supporting me, they like where I'm at and have been willing to follow me wherever I go. As far as the other energy drink pulling out, I don't think they really care."
Ricciardo to replace Karthikeyan at HRTUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Before HRT could release an official statement, Daniel Ricciardo confirmed reports he will be making his formula one race debut next Sunday.
It is now widely reported that the Australian, who turns 22 on Friday, will replace Spanish team Hispania's Indian regular Narain Karthikeyan from Silverstone.
"It's pretty, pretty exciting," he told the Herald Sun newspaper at Heathrow airport, where he was departing for Budapest for his next Formula Renault 3.5 race.
"It's awesome, just awesome," added Ricciardo, the Red Bull-backed youngster who in 2011 has been the Friday driver at the energy drink company's junior Toro Rosso team.
Chrysler to take next-gen Viper back to Le Mans? Mending a rift in motor racing is good for everybody. It was good for American open-wheel racing when the Champ Car and IndyCar Series put aside their differences to rejoin forces. And it will be good for sports car racing now that the FIA and the ACO are in the same corner.
Just as Indy is set to grow with new manufacturers participating, so is it expected of the new FIA World Endurance Championship. Toyota is one of the major automakers reportedly working on a new LMP1 program, and now reports indicate that the Chrysler Group could be preparing to rejoin endurance racing with a competition version of the upcoming next-generation Viper.
MWR to field full time Grand Am team in 2012 SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing will field a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series entry in 2012. Team owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman recently drove a Ferrari 458 Italia in the 24 Hours of Lemans endurance event, and sources say they are in Daytona Beach, FL, today talking with Grand Am boss Jim France about adding a sports car effort to their two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation. Executive Vice President for Competition Steve Hallam will reportedly oversee the effort.
Abu Dhabi GP in trouble? (PVM) Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM) confirmed that about 60 employees at various levels have been retrenched as part of the company’s “evolving business model” – which translates to a cost cutting exercise at the company that manage the iconic Yas Marina Circuit venue of the Abu Dhabi GP.
Sport 360 newspaper reports that ADMM Communications Director Peter Ray said in a statement: “ADMM is evolving its business model after two full winter seasons. We are shaping our commercial focus, and naturally, with the changed strategy, some roles are no longer required.”
Ray would not confirm the exact numbers of people retrenched, however he did state “it would be fair to say about 60.”
IndyCar eyes two new international racesUPDATE IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard told the Toronto Star he’ll sit down at the end of the season with Toronto race owners Kevin Savoree and Kim Green as well as Edmonton promoter Octane Management of Montreal to determine if there’s interest in another Canadian race.
“I’d like to use the promoters we have because they’re doing a good job,” he said. “Toronto this year is going to be off the charts, I’m hearing.”
05/18/11 Word on the street is that IndyCar hopes to add two international races to its current schedule when the Motegi, Japan race goes away after 2011. Qatar, Mexico City, a 2nd race in Brazil (previously rumored during this year' Sao Paulo, Brazil round), and China are said to be on the short list.
Qatar (pronounced Cutter) would be a waste of time in our book due to the hatred for America in that part of the world, Mexico City makes a lot of sense but right now it's too dangerous for Americans in Mexico, the 2nd Brazil race will happen and China is all but a wet dream for IndyCar unless Ho-Pin Tung gets a lot of attention from China, thus boosting IndyCar in China.
Greg Zipadelli back with Tony StewartUPDATE #2 A rough start to a season that began with high expectations has Greg Zipadelli admittedly unhappy right now. But the crew chief downplayed speculation that he's so upset with how Joey Logano has been running he's considering reuniting with Tony Stewart. Zipadelli won 33 races and two titles with Stewart, but stayed at Joe Gibbs Racing when the driver left to own a team. Now that Stewart is seeking a director of competition -- he fired Bobby Hutchens earlier this month -- there's been talk that Zipadelli could move to Stewart-Haas Racing in some capacity. But Zipadelli said he's got two years left on his contract with JGR, and no immediate plans to leave the organization. "I love Tony, he's as close to me as my brother," Zipadelli said. "But that doesn't mean anything. I love the organization I work for, they've been very positive and very supportive for over 13 years. I learned a long time ago to never say never in this sport about anything." Stewart, while not speaking specifically about Zipadelli, said SHR isn't close to hiring a new competition director. "We haven't got anywhere yet. We are still looking at our options," he said. "It would be nice to have a person in that position. We definitely want to get that role filled. At the same time, we want to make sure just like we did when we hired Bobby, we want to make sure we're hiring the right person. So we'll take our time on it." Associated Press
Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli back in 2008
06/22/11 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. "I laughed when I saw that," Stewart said. "It's not the first time I've read something that's not true." Sports Illustrated
06/21/11 Rumor has it that Greg Zipadelli, currently the crew chief for Joey Logano, is tired of trying to make Logano a race winner. Word is he could be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing to take over as the crew chief for Tony Stewart, who he won two Sprint Cup titles with in 2002 and 2005 in the Home Depot Gibbs racing car.
Red Bull to renew with Renault Red Bull Racing is close to extending its engine partnership deal with Renault, having revealed it was already close to a new contract before last week's rules switch to 1.6-liter V6 turbos for Formula 1 in 2014.
Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz said: "We always tried to be associated with a big manufacturer. Renault will remain our first approach for a deal for 2013 and beyond."
Asked about the team's plans going forward, Red Bull's motorsport adviser Helmut Marko said: "Talking with Renault about 2013 and further on has progressed very well, as we expected to run the 1.6-liter four cylinder turbo. An extension of our contract was close until the new situation came up. Concerning the V6 turbo from 2014, we have received positive signals from Renault, but we have to discuss the details of the new situation." More at Racer.com
Earnhardt, Jr. contract renewal in final stages Rick Hendrick said he's down to the final paperwork on signing #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to an extension of three to five years. The owner of Hendrick Motorsports isn't sure when the announcement will be made, but he said Earnhardt wants to keep it low-key. ESPN.com
IndyCars may replace Australian F1 Grand Prix at Albert Park FORMULA One could be replaced by IndyCars at Albert Park if proposed new "green" engines go ahead, according to Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker.
F1 circuits, including Monaco, Monza and Silverstone, have united to reject the new eco-friendly powerplants planned for 2014.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) voted last week to delay its introduction of smaller 1.6 liter engines from 2013 until 2014.
It was also agreed that the new turbocharged engines be V6s rather than four-cylinder as initially proposed.
Race track planned for Columbus Ohio? Race cars could be roaring inside the old Cooper Stadium by 2013.
Columbus City Council members, citing the potential of hundreds of jobs and promises that the developer made to shield noise from neighbors, voted unanimously yesterday to rezone the 47-acre site for the controversial Cooper Park project.
The development also would include an automotive-research and technology center.
"We cannot pass up a $40 million investment in the area," Councilman A. Troy Miller said.
Project supporters clad in white T-shirts applauded after City Council's vote.
Developer Arshot Investment still needs a special permit from the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment that would allow it to open the half-mile track.
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