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DATE News (chronologically)
ISC may move a Cup race to Kansas and replace IndyCar  UPDATE Kansas Speedway will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2011 with two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends — one in June, the other in October — and lights for the facility.  Lesa France Kennedy, chief executive officer of International Speedway Corp., will appear at a news conference this morning at Kansas Speedway and formally announce the specific dates. Kansas Speedway, which opened in 2001 with one Sprint Cup race a year, will be one of 13 tracks to have two Cup weekends.

Kennedy, who was a driving force behind the design and construction of Kansas Speedway, pledged to petition NASCAR’s board of directors for a second date if the state of Kansas approved the Hollywood Casino that is now under construction at the track.

Kansas Speedway began asking ISC for lights when the track was host to Indy Racing League and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events during 2001-06 on July 4 weekends that proved to be uncomfortably hot for fans and competitors.

The addition of lights was estimated in excess of $2 million when Kansas Speedway began requesting them, but much of the conduits and infrastructure for lights were installed when the $260 million track was built.  When ISC did not approve the installation of lights, Kansas Speedway eventually moved those races to late April and early May in 2007. Now, with a Cup weekend in June and the casino in operation around the clock in 2011, the timing was right for lights at the track.

06/28/10 The France-controlled International Speedway Corp. has asked NASCAR to realign one of its current Sprint Cup dates to a second Cup event at Kansas Speedway, a condition of ISC’s landing a casino license for the track.

ISC’s current smallest venues – all under 100,000 seats – with two dates are Auto Club Speedway, Martinsville and Phoenix.

Not saying where that date would come from, O’Donnell said NASCAR can’t do much in figuring where that second Kansas date will fit into the schedule until it hears from Bruton Smith this week. O’Donnell said the earliest in the year a race could be held in Kansas is in late April, which is the IndyCar race date, but with attendance dwindling there is a good chance the Kansas IndyCar race will be axed. More ...

Kahne going to Red Bull for 2011  UPDATE #3 Statement from Rick Hendrick: "Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Of everything we looked at, he and I agree it's the best opportunity for him to be successful in 2011, which was always our number-one priority. The process went on longer than any of us anticipated, but I'm glad that we took our time to make sure it was right. And although I'm not looking forward to racing against him next year, I'm comfortable knowing this is the best situation for Kasey." As announced in April, veteran Mark Martin will continue to drive Hendrick Motorsports' #5 Chevys in 2011. "We're looking forward to another year with Mark Martin, one of the true class acts in racing, driving for Hendrick Motorsports," Hendrick said. "There aren't many things in this world I'd rather do than win a championship with him, and that will be our goal with the #5 team for the rest of this year and in 2011." Hendrick PR

08/10/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced Tuesday.  “We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “This is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every day. Kasey is a perfect fit for our company, team and Red Bull.”

Kahne, 30, owns an impressive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series résumé. He has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes and twice was a Chase participant in 2006 and 2009. “This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said. “I have great respect for Red Bull, so to have the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing Team in 2011 is a great fit for me, both personally and professionally. It feels good to be able to finally put this to rest and focus my energy on finishing the season strong for the 9 team and our sponsors.”

“This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added. “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.” 

Red Bull Racing Team’s final driver lineup for 2011 will be confirmed later this year. 

08/09/10 According to AR1.com sources, Red Bull was looking to sponsor one of the Hendricks teams through Stewart-Haas last year.  With the possibility of Kahne going to Red Bull for 2011, what you are actually looking at is Red Bull moving into a sponsor only role with Hendrick/Stewart-Haas when Kasey joins them in 2012.

08/09/10 Red Bull Racing has emerged as the likely place for Kasey Kahne in the 2011 Sprint Cup season, the Observer and ThatsRacin.com have learned.

Under a proposed arrangement, Kahne would drive one of Red Bull Racing’s Toyota’s next season as he waits to take over Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolet in 2012, sources close to the situation confirmed Sunday.

Mark Martin, as he has maintained since news of Kahne’s signing by Hendrick became public in April, would drive the No. 5 next season, his last with Hendrick. More ...

Glock, Sutil, Trulli and Senna eye 2011 grid  (GMM)  Timo Glock has admitted he is keeping his "eyes open" for a better seat on the formula one grid.

The former Toyota driver is under contract with the struggling new team Virgin for another season, but he has been linked with a possible move to Renault.

"If there is an opportunity at Renault, I don't know at the moment," German Glock, 28, told ITV, amid uncertainty about Vitaly Petrov's future at the Enstone based team.

Adrian Sutil has also been linked with Petrov's seat.

But on a trip to India, the German said: "Force India is the best team to be with currently." More ...

Roush back at Michigan  Jack Roush continues to recover from his airplane accident at the Mayo Clinic where he has had operations to repair fractures to his face.  Word is that Roush is hoping to be at the Michigan race next weekend if all goes well.
Vickers to miss at least three months?  UPDATE Brian Vickers continues to tell those close to him he intends to come back next season. The 26-year-old driver has been out of the seat since May. Red Bull GM Jay Frye says Vickers will have his three-month check-up in the next few weeks but "his job right now is to get better." Fox Sports

Brian Vickers
05/20/10 Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers is expected to miss at least three months while undergoing treatment for blood clots, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday. Red Bull Racing officials said they continue to wait for final recommendations from doctors and that details of Vickers' prognosis will be announced on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the 26-year-old driver and general manager Jay Frye will appear at a news conference. Casey Mears replaced Vickers last weekend at Dover International Speedway and finished 22nd. Mears again will drive the #83 in Saturday night's All-Star Race after Red Bull requested a driver change on Wednesday. Vickers' former boss, Rick Hendrick, said Wednesday on his Amp Energy video conference that he has spoken to Vickers. More ...
Mid-Ohio to split Indy and ALMS weekends  UPDATE Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be on the 2011 Izod IndyCar Series schedule, according to TrueSports President Michelle Truman Gajoch, owner and operator of the permanent road course.  There was much speculation this summer regarding the future of open-wheel racing in Lexington as the series was adding new venues at New Hampshire and Baltimore to its schedule and Mid-Ohio was allegedly at the end of its contract year. Trueman Gajoch said they are still in talks regarding a specific weekend, but speculates it could be the first weekend in August again next year.

As for the American Le Mans Series, CEO Scott Atherton expects it to be a part of Mid-Ohio's 2011 calendar, too.

"We are very close to confirming our future," ALMS CEO Scott Atherton said earlier this week before its Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge race set for this afternoon. Trueman Gajoch admits the two are in talks about extending their deal beyond 2010 and is hopeful a pact can be struck, but said no agreement has been reached yet.

Atherton said ALMS wouldn't mind being a part of more doubleheaders with IndyCar like the last four years, but no decision on that front has been made. More ...

IndyCar drivers to setup advisory committee  UPDATE The IZOD IndyCar Series drivers got together Friday night at Mid-Ohio to share ideas and opinions. "TK (Tony Kanaan) has been the driving force behind this and he’s been trying to get all of us to sit down together since the first race in Brazil,” said Dario Franchitti, who pretty much serves as the unofficial spokes person to chief steward Brian Barnhart. ``Rather than a couple of guys talking to Brian or Randy (Bernard), this opens up communications.  It’s a matter of getting everyone on the same page and getting people to speak up and I’d say about 80 percent shared their opinion,’’ Dario Franchitti told SPEEDTV.com.

08/03/10 IndyCar Series drivers wanting their voices heard on various topics are considering launching a Drivers’ Advisory Group.

The drivers of the open-wheel series have had concerns about some of the tracks on this year’s schedule from a safety standpoint and also the ability to pass. The drivers also feel like an official Drivers’ Advisory Group would help keep their ranks apprised of all the rules and recent rules changes.

The chatter of a drivers’ advisory group heated up at Edmonton. Those discussions are expected to continue this weekend at Mid-Ohio. More ...

Will MLS move to Versus help or hurt IndyCar  There are reports the Major League Soccer Commissioner Doug Garber is planning to move the league and possible the United States Soccer Division 2 Leagues NASL & USL to the Versus channel in 2011 which makes sense for soccer since it is growing here in the U.S.  However, will this help or hurt the Indy Car Series?  While more people learning about Versus is a good thing for all parties, if soccer becomes a bigger draw it will make IndyCar look bad.
Two new possible IndyCar teams in 2011  Word is that Gary Peterson is going to go full time next year in the IndyCar Series with a s single car effort in conjunction with Andretti Autosport.  Word is that he bought the Vision car that ran second at Kentucky last year and that's what Adam Carroll will be driving next year.

James Sullivan, a Dallas businessman is rumored to be teaming with VPX/Redline vice president TJ Humphreys, Sullivan and newly formed SH Racing have everything but a driver in place to run at next year's Indy 500, with an eye on developing a full-season program by 2012.

"At this point, the check is in the bank," Sullivan said. "We're not waiting on anything other than the very best driver at the best price we can get."

The car will be operated in conjunction with an established, but yet-to-be-named IndyCar team and SH Racing is in talks with at least three drivers, including open-wheel vet Paul Tracy.

Sullivan was negotiating with VPX/Redline for another two-wheel deal, but shifted to IndyCar because the company can't market to anyone under 18. The two sides starting working on the deal before this year's Indy 500 and are committed to racing at the Indy 500 the next three years. If all goes according to plan, the team will race a full IndyCar season in 2012.

"IndyCar has really been a passion of ours for a long time, but we've never been able to make the economics of it work," said Sullivan, the Baylor Bear mascot from 2001-02. "It's a tough sell, it really is, but we found a way to get it done."

Texas IndyCar race date to change  UPDATE IndyCar is coming back to Mid-Ohio next year. And Indianapolis is a certainty. As for the rest of IndyCar's 2011 schedule? Well, CEO Randy Bernard says you'll just have to wait and see.  Bernard said on Saturday the series was still working on its 2011 schedule, one that could see plenty of changes. He'd like to unveil the schedule by the end of the month, though it may take longer to iron out the details.  Bernard would like the series to have at least 17 races next year, but won't commit to a specific number. "The promoters and the courses that want to grow the series, we'll continue to do business with," he said. "If you're not in that ballpark, we're probably going to let you go."

08/05/10 Traditionally the race after the Indy 500 on the IndyCar schedule, rumor has it that Texas Motor Speedway's IndyCar date might change in 2011 with the race running before the Indy 500.  As it looks now, there would have been no oval race on the 2011 IndyCar schedule prior to the Indy 500 if the Kansas race goes away as rumored, and the desire is to have at least one.

In another related rumor, the spring Texas NASCAR race might to earlier in the schedule to take the spring Atlanta race date after it was announced today Atlanta would lose that race.  Alternately, Texas would become the IndyCar season opener in early in early March rather than take the early May Kansas date.
Kahne could lose Budweiser sponsorship next year  UPDATE Sources tell ESPN's Marty Smith Kevin Harvick will have a split sponsorship on the #29 in 2011, and Budweiser will be on the car in the majority of points races, as well as the two exhibition events. There are still some hurdles to jump to get the Bud deal done. RCR had no comment when Marty asked them about it. Budweiser, either. Budweiser and Harvick are a good match. His edgy personality fits the brand well. He meshes with the no-nonsense good ol' boy, red label demographic. I'm told Harvick did himself a huge favor with the way he conducted himself in Victory Lane at the Shootout in February -- beer in hand while saying and doing the right things in front of the company's new management. ESPN.com

05/02/10 If there's a level of uncertainty regarding Kahne's crew chief, there's even more regarding the future of his current sponsor, Budweiser.  Brian Dunlap, Anheuser Busch Manger of Sports Marketing, said Friday that his company hasn't even begun discussions about the future of one of the sport's most iconic sponsors.

"Our focus is on Kasey Kahne and 2010," Dunlap said. "Until we have those discussions, there's really no comment on our part."

Kahne and Budweiser were sporting a retro paint scheme this weekend in Richmond, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Darrell Waltrip's Winston Cup championship in the red-and-white Budweiser car. USA Today

Overheard in Mid-Ohio Friday  Word is that Randy Bernard's trip to Europe to meet with manufacturers about engines and aero kits for 2012 has been delayed.  No one’s been to Europe yet because no one wanted to talk to the IRL during Europe's vacation season. Bernard and his staff will be leaving on August 29th and hope to meet with as many auto manufacturers as they can.....On the good news front, last year, the total sponsorship spend in IndyCar was about $34 million, and this year it’s estimated to be about $81 million......It’s now a mandatory rule that all TV and radio commentators sit through the drivers’ meeting so they don't disagree with a call made by Brian Barnhart. When they don't understand the rules, as happened in Edmonton with the whole Helio Castroneves blocking incident, they make the IRL look bad because the comments they made during the broadcast did not agree wit the call Barnhart made.......The 2011 schedule is now very much up in the air because the NASCAR schedule is changing so much and the IRL must bow to them.  Brazil, is locked it in, as we previously reported in early May.  Baltimore has to be change as we already rumored (late August we hear) and Kentucky must change because it is now getting a Cup date. One or two races are indeed being dropped as we previously reported.  Although the IRL wants to have their season finale in Vegas, because it is the perfect place, the fear is that the France family is telling Bruton Smith he can only have a 2nd Cup race in Vegas if he prevents the IRL from having their season finale in Vegas.  NASCAR may even be offering to move their season finale to Vegas to rain on the IRL's parade.  It's all conjecture but the IRL is quickly learning who their friends are not.
Peugeot to quit World Rally  Peugeot Sport director Olivier Quesnel has threatened to walk out of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge if Skoda continues to field factory entries in next year’s series.

The Peugeot 207 S2000 has been unable to match Skoda’s Fabia S2000 for pace this season, with one of the Czech manufacturer’s official drivers - Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky - taking a podium place on every IRC round so far this season.

Going into this week’s Rali Vinho Madeira, Skoda leads Peugeot in the makes’ race by 31 points.

Quesnel said: “We intend to stay in the IRC but for me IRC is done for the importers and privateers. If next year there is still the Skoda official team as they are this year I won’t stay. It’s impossible for me. More ...

Dominguez to try hand at Superleague  Former Champ Car race winner Mario Dominguez aims to join the Superleague Formula grid as soon as the next round at Adria next month.

The 34-year-old Mexican attended the Brands Hatch race last weekend with the Emilio de Villota Motorsport team, and has targeted making his debut in the football club-themed series as soon as possible.

“I really like this series, it’s a good category and I’m looking to come back to racing in something that excites me,” Dominguez told AUTOSPORT. “This kind of car is definitely the way to go, and it’s not that expensive for my sponsors. More ...

Saab tipped for WRC comeback  The World Rally Championship’s return of retrospective manufacturers looks set to continue, with Saab now tipped to follow Mini back to the sport’s highest level.

Saab, which last competed in the WRC in 1979, has been linked to a possible entry in 2012, with the firm’s first ever World Rally car running off a possible 9-1 or 9-2 base car.

The engine for the car would be likely to come from BMW, meaning a universal 1.6-litre turbocharged motor for the Mini and Saab. More ...

Pirelli tires to make August test debut at Mugello  (GMM)  Pirelli is expected to kick off its formula one testing program before the 2010 calendar's August break is out.

The Italian marque recently began testing its new GP2 tires, and Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport believes Mugello will be the scene of the first F1 prototypes' debuts -- fitted to Toyota's 2009 car, the TF109.

Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld is tipped to be in the cockpit, with a public announcement expected imminently.

Mugello will reportedly be the first of six dedicated Pirelli tire tests before Abu Dhabi, where in the days after the F1 season finale, the 12 teams will get their first taste of next year's rubber. More ...

Rumors link Sauber with Mexican talks  
Mexican Esteban Gutierrez has starred in GP3 this year and could be on his way to F1
(GMM)  Reports are linking Sauber with a significant Mexican investment.

In the wake of former owner BMW's F1 departure, the Swiss team has been running a mainly blank livery in 2010, whilst working hard on securing a full budget for next season.

Recent paddock rumors have hinted at talks with Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire.

Slim's Telmex company already sponsors Sergio Perez in GP2, but already under contract at Sauber is another Mexican, the teenaged GP3 driver Esteban Gutierrez. More ...

Maldonado eyes move up to F1  
Pastor Maldonado
(GMM)  Pastor Maldonado's manager has refused to deny rumors he is in talks about a race seat at Sauber for 2011.

Earlier this year, the Venezuelan GP2 driver was linked with Pedro de la Rosa's place at Sauber, and more recently it emerged the 25-year-old's main sponsor PDVSA is pushing for a presence on the formula one grid.

Maldonado, who came close to signing with Stefan GP for the 2010 season, is managed by Felipe Massa's manager Nicolas Todt.

When asked about the Sauber rumors, Frenchman Todt answered: "I don't want to go into details, but obviously I'm talking to a few teams about next year for both drivers." More ...

Magneti Marelli offering F1 KERS for US $1m  (GMM)  Magneti Marelli is reportedly offering a KERS system to formula one teams for a price of US $1 million per season.  The Sesto San Giovanni-based company is a Fiat subsidiary and electronics specialist that was involved with Ferrari's energy-recovery technology deployed in formula one last year.

It has already been reported that Ferrari-powered Sauber is considering using a Magneti Marelli system next year, as is Red Bull, whose engine supplier Renault also turned to the Italian company for its KERS in 2009.

Autosprint reports that Toro Rosso, also powered by Ferrari, could also use a Magneti Marelli KERS in 2011, as well as the new teams Virgin, Lotus and HRT.

4th team for RCR? Menard?  UPDATE Frontstretch is reporting #98-Paul Menard has agreed in principle to move to Richard Childress Racing for 2011. Sponsorship would continue to come from his father's company, Menards, with a car number and crew chief to be announced. No word on an official announcement yet from either side, but the team would expand to four cars while retaining their current driver lineup of #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, and #33-Clint Bowyer. Frontstretch

08/01/10 Richard Childress Racing is looking at possible expansion to four teams in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011 and is in the process of finalizing a deal to run next year's Nationwide Series program through Kevin Harvick Inc. Team owner Richard Childress said an announcement on the deal with KHI should be made soon. The plan is for RCR to supply engines to KHI for the Nationwide program and for RCR to field two teams in the Truck Series where Childress' grandson, Austin Dillon, drives the #3. RCR Cup drivers Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick would run KHI cars when in the Nationwide Series. Childress would not comment on speculation that Paul Menard, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, would be his fourth driver. But he did say that a fourth team is a possibility. "We're looking at it," Childress said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. RCR had four teams in 2009, but returned to three this season after sponsorship for the fourth team and Casey Mears could not be found. Menard would bring the family business, Menard's, with him as a sponsor if he made the move. RPM does not have a deal with Menard for 2011, but has been in talks with Marcos Ambrose to drive either the #9 being vacated by Kasey Kahne or #19 currently driven by Elliott Sadler. Team officials are optimistic that AJ Allmendinger will be back in the #43 next season even though Allmendinger has talked to other teams. ESPN
Atlanta loses one NASCAR race to Kentucky  AMS will keep its Labor Day race date on the 2011 schedule the track announced today. It's the first official move of what are expected to be many changes for the 2011 schedule. Kentucky Motor Speedway -- a sister Speedway Motorsports Inc. track to Atlanta -- is scheduled to host a news conference on August 10th where it is expected that it will announce a Sprint Cup race date for 2011.

In order for Kentucky to get a race, a SMI track would have to lose a race, and Atlanta had long been rumored to sacrifice a date. Speculation has also intensified that Las Vegas Motor Speedway, another SMI track, would get a second Cup race for 2011, and in order for that to happen another SMI track -- possibly New Hampshire -- would also have to give up a date.  Sports.Yahoo.com

IRL to switch to full Carbon Brake Rotor package  Rumor has it that IndyCar is evaluating a switch to carbon brakes and it tapped Target Ganassi to test the proposed layout at Mid Ohio recently. It is the first piece of testing for the controversial new for 2012 Dallara.

Target Chip Ganassi Managing Director Mike Hull commented after the test:

"Our Target guys had a great tune-up today at Mid-Ohio. Dario concentrated on the continued development of road track team technology. Scott worked today for the Indy Car Series on a full Carbon Brake Rotor package comparison that's under consideration for the future."

BMW to withdraw from ALMS or WTCC?  BMW will withdraw from either sportscar racing or the World Touring Car Championship if it presses ahead with its proposed DTM entry in 2012, reveals this week’s AUTOSPORT magazine.
The manufacturer’s motorsport boss Mario Theissen admitted to AUTOSPORT that it could not sustain three works programs and it will have to decide its priorities.

BMW still has not committed to the WTCC as a factory entry beyond the end of this season, while its GT project is so far confirmed to the end of 2011.

It is pressing ahead with development of the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that will form the basis of the new Super 2000 regulations in touring cars and rallying from next year, but Theissen denied this is a sign that it will continue in the WTCC. The unit - which will also power the Mini WRC car - was conceived as a customer engine for BMW touring car teams around the world.

20-race 2011 draft F1 calendar  UPDATE

Possible 2011 calendar
March 13, Bahrain
March 27, Australia
April 3, Malaysia
April 17, China
April 24, Korea
May 15, Spain
May 29, Monaco
June 12, Canada
June 26, Turkey
July 10, Britain
July 24, Germany
July 31, Hungary
August 21, Belgium
August 28, Europe (Valencia)
September 11, Italy
September 25, Singapore
October 9, India
October 23 Japan
October 30, Brazil
November 13, Abu Dhabi

08/02/10 (GMM)  An unofficial draft calendar for the 2011 season emerged in the paddock during the Hungarian grand prix weekend.

The leaked schedule, published in German by 'sport1', features an unprecedented 20 races, beginning in Bahrain on 13 March and ending with a 13 November finale in Abu Dhabi.

The extra race is the inaugural Indian grand prix, provisionally scheduled for 9 October.

Korea's second race is reportedly scheduled to take place in late April, instead of October as in 2010, and will be held just seven days after the Chinese grand prix.

After South Korea, there is a three-week break until Barcelona.

But like China-Korea, Australia (27 March) and the subsequent Malaysian grand prix are scheduled back-to-back, as are Germany and Hungary in late July and Belgium-Valencia in late August.

It means this year's four-week summer break in August has been reduced to just three weeks in 2011.

And the flyaway Japan-Brazil double-header in late October will be a real logistical challenge.

Ambrose could quit NASCAR, return to Australia  Marcos Ambrose hopes that his career path continues to include NASCAR, though he says he's truly not ruling out a return to racing in Australia. Ambrose, in his fifth season of NASCAR competition and second full season at the Sprint Cup level, recently announced that he will part ways with his JTG Daugherty Racing team at the end of this season. The former V8 Supercar champion says that he recognizes that he took a risk in making that move - especially considering his role with that team was both sponsored and covered by a contract through next season. Still, he says that there seems to be a bit of buzz in Australia about any potential for a return. "I've spoken to a few people down there, and all have been well received, and it's actually been in the papers and on national television over the last few days, you know, obviously not ruling out the possibilities of me returning and where I would potentially go," Ambrose said during a national teleconference Tuesday. "But my heart is in NASCAR to be honest with you. I've got unfinished business at this level of racing. I feel like I've become part of the sport but I haven't become a contender on a weekly basis, and I feel like I'm really -- if I left now, I would feel like I've got unfinished business. Fox Sports
Not just endplates bending on Red Bulls  
Mark Webber's Red Bull
(GMM)  Those who believe only Red Bull's front wing endplates are flexing appear to be wide of the mark.

Pressure from McLaren, Mercedes and perhaps other rivals of the Austrian owned team has resulted in new wing flexibility tests being devised by the FIA for the forthcoming Belgian grand prix.

Reports indicate that the new tests will involve the doubling of the testing load from 50kg to 100kg, amid suspicions Red Bull and Ferrari devised a way to have the endplates bend under disproportionately higher loads out on track. More ...

Epsilon Euskadi in lead to be 13th F1 team?  (GMM)  Hopeful Spanish outfit Epsilon Euskadi has begun wind tunnel testing a scale model of its 2011 formula one car.

The Azkoitia based team, involved in single seater categories as well as Le Mans with a prototype car, has applied to fill the 13th F1 team entry for next year.

It is believed the FIA has already turned down some 2011 applicants, while the GP2 team ART and American group Cypher have pulled out of the running due to lack of funding.

It emerged this week that the governing body will interview the remaining contenders - probably Villeneuve/Durango and Stefan GP - in Paris next Friday.

It would also appear that Epsilon Euskadi, headed by former F1 team members Joan Villadelprat and engineer Sergio Rinland, is still in the running. More ...

track news
Indy to steal NASCAR race from ORP  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  The NASCAR Nationwide Series is staying at O'Reilly Raceway Park, its home for 28 years.  Late Monday, NASCAR informed the NHRA, which owns ORP, the 2011 race would not be moved to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which in the wake of attendance drops is looking to beef up its schedule on Brickyard 400 weekend.  "It's very good news," ORP spokesman Scott Smith said. "A lot of people were very much wanting to see it stay here."  Indy Star

07/30/10 Indianapolis Motor Speedway's answer to dwindling interest in NASCAR's Brickyard 400 apparently includes acquiring the Nationwide Series race held at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

IMS chief executive officer Jeff Belskus confirmed interest in hosting stock car racing's No. 2 series, which has been at ORP for 28 years. It draws an annual crowd of 30,000 the night before the 400.

"Our partners have mentioned it to us," Belskus said Thursday. "We are looking for ways to invest in the Brickyard 400." More ...

Kentucky getting Cup race  UPDATE SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith today in a statement said that he "believes there will be a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in 2011." The date of the race is expected to be formally announced next Tuesday during a news conference at the track. A release from SMI "did not indicate which of Smith's tracks would lose a Cup date." Atlanta Motor Speedway "seems to be the most likely candidate, although speculation also has included New Hampshire Motor Speedway" SCENEDAILY.com

08/01/10 NASCAR's biggest series - and its biggest stars - are finally coming to Kentucky Speedway in July, 2011. There hasn't been an official announcement, but Associated Press is reporting that a Sprint Cup race is coming to Gallatin County next year.

Kentucky Speedway’s owner, Bruton Smith, hinted last week that a Sprint Cup Series race was coming. He has scheduled a news conference at the track Aug. 10, and an official announcement is expected then.

Kentucky Speedway, which opened in 2000, already hosts NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series events, as well as an IndyCar race. Plans are in place to add 50,000 seats to the current capacity of 66,089.

When Smith's company, Speedway Motorsports Inc., purchased the speedway from the original ownership group in 2008, Smith said his main goal was to bring a long-coveted Cup race to Kentucky.

SMI will likely have to move a race from one of its other seven tracks to Kentucky. Smith has consistently played coy about his intentions, but during a Cup visit to SMI's New Hampshire Speedway in June, he didn’t exactly endorse the prospect of continuing to have two Cup races a year in New England. Cincinnati.com
What drivers will stick with backmarker Petty team?  UPDATE Free-agent Sprint Cup Series driver #43-AJ Allmendinger will stay put after signing a contract extension with Richard Petty Motorsports, Sporting News has learned. The contract, signed Tuesday, is a multiyear deal, according to sources close to the situation. The team is optimistic about the prospect of re-signing Allmendinger's sponsor, Best Buy, though sponsorship was not settled before Tuesday's contract signing. A formal announcement will take place Friday at Watkins Glen International. The driver of the #43 RPM Ford is 22nd in the series standings. Now that Allmendinger has decided to remain in the organization's flagship car, RPM will work toward filling the remaining slots on the team. Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler have announced plans to depart at the end of the season. Marcos Ambrose, who will leave the #47 JTG/Daugherty Toyota team at season's end, is a leading candidate to fill the seat of one of the RPM Fords. Paul Menard, who drives the #98 RPM Ford, has not announced plans for next year but has talked to other teams, including Richard Childress Racing, according to multiple sources. Sporting News

07/13/10 Richard Petty Motorsports plans to have a three- to four-car stable next season that includes AJ Allmendinger and Paul Menard, vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. Loomis also didn't close the door on re-signing Elliott Sadler, who declared himself a free agent on Friday and said he didn't expect to return to the organization.

"We have interest [in Sadler]," Loomis said. "Elliott is among three or four drivers who is on the table we're looking at. The bottom line is, I always say this, we're in the performing business and when you're performing it's easier for everything."

Sadler ranks 28th in points, but Loomis hopes the addition of crew chief Todd Parrott can turn the No. 19 team around.

"I don't think the door is closed by any means," Loomis said. "Elliott is a talented racecar driver. For whatever reason we haven't been able to put together the finishes we need. More ...

New flexi-wing tests to affect most teams  (GMM)  Almost every formula one team will need to beef up the rigidity of their front wings before the Belgian grand prix late this month.

With the Red Bull and - to a lesser extent - the Ferrari wings visibly bending towards the track at recent races, the FIA advised all teams last Sunday that it will be revising the flexibility load tests.

Previously, the wings had to bend no more than 10mm with 50kg of weight applied to the endplates, but from Spa-Francorchamps the test will double to 100kg/20mm.

The implication is that Red Bull and Ferrari had devised a way to pass the 50kg test with wings that flex only when under proportionately higher loadings. More ...

Dracone with Conquest at Mid-Ohio  UPDATE
Francesco Dracone
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Conquest Racing has signed Italian racecar driver Francesco Dracone to pilot its #34 Dallara for the next two rounds of the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.

Dracone will be making his Series debut this weekend at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance, the same track where he passed his IndyCar Series rookie test last week. More ...

Opel to turn to Williams for DTM program - report  (GMM)  Williams could be looking to get involved with the premier German touring car championship DTM.

It is reported by Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell that German carmaker Opel is keen on a collaboration in the series with the famous British formula one team.

Williams chief executive Adam Parr is quoted as saying that a meeting with Opel took place "a few months ago", but described reports of a likely collaboration as a rumor.

But he added: "Personally, I would love to do it.  I would be very interested."

Opel is thought to be on the verge of announcing a DTM program, with spokesman Volker Brien confirming a decision is due "within the next two months".

Reports say Opel would compete with its Insignia model, prepared by Williams.

Race stewards to slam Schumacher?  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this report.

08/01/10 Look for the F1 race stewards to hand Michael Schumacher a hefty fine after his reckless, unsportsmanlike like conduct during the Hungarian GP.  Schumacher came under late pressure from ex-Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who had fresher tires in the latter stages of the race.

Barrichello closed onto the tail of the Mercedes and setup the 7-time World Champion for the pass heading down to Turn 1 with a few laps left.

Schumacher squeezed Barrichello against the pit wall to the point that Barrichello nearly scrapped it.  If he had hit it a huge crash could have happened.  Barrichello kept his cool and then jinked his car to the left toward Schumacher in a clear case of anger, and took the corner.

France to keep fixing NASCAR until it's broken  Prior to last Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR CEO Brian France said that 2011 would bring “impactful” changes. If anything, these changes may not only be impactful, but a major pendulum swing from racing as we have grown to know it.

The Sprint Cup schedule itself looks to be perhaps the biggest single change, with Atlanta Motor Speedway likely losing its spring date to Kentucky Speedway, while Kansas Speedway siphons the fall date from Auto Club Speedway. Losing a race at Atlanta is a bit like losing the pinky finger on your left hand, while exchanging a date in Kansas Snoozeway for Caliboringya is akin to choosing the leper with the most fingers. In this case, one leaper has a casino now – so you can add gambling to your race weekend in the heartland; just be careful not to end up like Cousin Eddie from the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. More ...

Backmarker HRT team looks for next ride-buyer  UPDATE (GMM)  Christian Klien could soon get a race at the wheel of the Spanish team HRT's 2010 car.  Since Silverstone, Japanese test driver Sakon Yamamoto has been contesting grands prix for Hispania; first in Bruno Senna's car, and then in the place of Karun Chandhok.

It is very likely the 28-year-old's sponsors will pay for another outing at Spa later this month.

But even though he wields less pay-driver power, Austrian Klien - HRT's second test driver - is also hopeful.

"We have always said we have four drivers and we will use all of them," team boss Colin Kolles said in Hungary.

Asked specifically about Klien, he said it is "a possibility" he will race in 2010. More ...

IndyCar could return to Pocono  On the same day he was talking about making major safety changes to their track after criticism from NASCAR drivers, Pocono track president Brandon Igdalsky, and his brother Nick, are easing Pocono into an always-evolving modern day sports world. As a dogged promoter, Igdalsky is searching for ways to bring more events to the Pocono. That's why he won't rule out making a pitch for an IndyCar Series race, only a month after the open-wheel series announced it was returning to New Hampshire.

"This place was built for IndyCars. It was built by IndyCar drivers," Igdalsky said. "I'm not going to say it's going to happen."

One thing he won't do is surrender a Sprint Cup series race. Mattioli and Igdalsky are both adamant that they will never give up one of their two races.

"I know that for a fact," Igdalsky said. "We're not giving up any races."

Evidence why F1 will fail in Elroy (Austin)?  ELROY — This ain't Monaco.

F1 racing out here? Are you kidding? Maybe an F1 tornado.

As you drive into this tiny, rural town 15 miles southeast of downtown Austin, you won't see any zippy, low-slung foreign sports cars. Instead, you pass by five aging pickups lounging in a field, waiting for buyers; a couple of fireworks stands; cows; and a house with a sign out front advertising menudo.

So they're fixing to build an at least $200 million Formula One racetrack nearby, huh? Some folks here might think Formula One comes in a baby bottle. More ...

Is the IRL circling the drain?  IRL CEO Randy Bernard, who took his post on March 1, is hopeful the open-wheel series can break even in 2011 and reach profitability in 2012.

“I’d like to believe that, but it sounds optimistic,” said Tim Frost, president of Frost Motorsports, a Chicago-based motorsports business consultancy. “I like what Randy is doing, but he has a steep hill to climb.”

George, before his ouster, said the series must be profitable by 2013 or there would be no 2013. More ...

Will NASCAR force IMS to light the Brickyard?  UPDATE Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have discussed the possibility of not allowing future Brickyard 400 races to be broadcast live on local television. It is one option that could help organizers deal with declining attendance for NASCAR's annual event. IMS Communications Director Eric Powell says it's something NASCAR will have to work on because it controls the television contracts for the entire series.

Powell says IMS works directly with television partners for the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, which does not air live on TV in the Indianapolis market.

IMS has already announced lower ticket prices for next year's Brickyard 400 in an effort to attract more fans.

07/27/10 Could the Indianapolis Motor Speedway lose its place on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule?

What would have seemed utterly ridiculous a few years ago, may not seem so ridiculous now. Speedway officials said they absolutely want to continue the event, and insist it remains profitable.

NASCAR honcho Brian France, however, has IMS officials scratching their heads over comments he made at an impromptu press conference before Sunday’s Brickyard 400. He indicated that Indianapolis’ July calendar date could be shipped to Kentucky Speedway.

You must be joking? Well, this is Brian France, so maybe not. More ...
Lotus to develop aero kit for IndyCar  UPDATE #2 Lotus will develop an aerodynamic package for the next-generation Dallara IndyCar in 2012, this week's AUTOSPORT magazine confirms.  Lotus Cars motorsport director Claudio Berro said: "We plan to do our own bodykit. It is a natural evolution of our involvement in the IndyCar Series."

07/29/10 Lotus may be playing a bigger role in the premier level of American single seater racing which is the IndyCar series. This comes after the announcement that the race series will allow teams to design their own aero packages onto a standard Dallara chassis from 2012. Currently Lotus and Cosworth are partnered with IndyCar team KV Racing Technology which is driven by former F1 driver Takuma Sato. The series uses stock V8 engines and chassis from Honda and the aforementioned Dallara chassis respectively. This isn’t unusual in the racing game and is a cheaper form of racing which creates a level playing for all teams.

The arm of Lotus involved within IndyCars is Lotus Cars (Lotus Group) and has very little affiliation with the Lotus Racing team. It is headed by CEO Dany Bahar who was a former Ferrari man. It would be good to see what role they may play in the coming months of the race. Tony Fernandes had this to say about the matter, “Lotus Racing congratulates the IZOD IndyCar Series on this exciting news and supports the ICONIC Advisory Committee’s recommendation on the revolutionary concept of a standard safety cell with various manufacturers producing aero kits. We look forward to seeing more details on this future car strategy, and hopefully, allow our involvement in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”

07/15/10 Lotus has hinted at a greater involvement in the next generation of IndyCar, following Wednesday's announcement of the series' future.  Rumor is that they want to be one of the companies to brand the new IndyCar using the Lotus name.

IRL yesterday unveiled plans for a spec Dallara chassis from 2012, onto which constructors will be invited to build their own bodywork and wings and brand the car.

The Lotus Group is already involved in the branding of Takuma Sato's KV Racing car, but Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes hinted at an increased role after yesterday's announcement.

"Lotus Racing congratulates the IndyCar Series on this exciting news and supports the revolutionary concept of a standard safety cell with various manufacturers producing aero kits," Said Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes.

"We look forward to seeing more details on this future car strategy, and hopefully, allow our involvement in the series."

The Lotus Group is already involved in the branding of Takuma Sato's KV Racing car, but this statement hints at a bigger role.  After all, Lotus does sell passenger cars, so calling an IndyCar a Lotus would be right up their ally.

Ford to announce sale of Volvo to China  UPDATE Ford Motor Co. plans to complete the sale of Volvo Cars to Zhejiang Geely Holding Co. next week, marking the biggest acquisition of a global brand by a Chinese company, people familiar with the plans said Wednesday. Ford is selling Volvo to Geely for $1.8 billion, less than a third of what it paid for the Swedish carmaker in 1999, as part of the Dearborn automaker's strategy to focus on its blue-oval brand.

03/28/10 Ford Volvo and Chinese automaker Geely have scheduled a news conference at 9:30 a.m. today to announce an agreement to sell Volvo.

The event will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, at Volvo’s headquarters with Geely Chairman Li Shufu, Volvo Cars President and CEO Stephen Odell and Ford CFO Lewis Booth, Ford spokesman Mark Truby said.

The announcement will cap months of negotiations between the companies and represents one the most prominent foreign brands to be purchased by a Chinese company.

The sale will allow Ford to concentrate on its three core brands – Ford, Lincoln and Mercury – and is expected to be valued at about $1.8 billion. It also caps the sale of a number of brands in recent years. Since 2007 Ford has sold Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover and has reduced its ownership stake in Mazda.  Ford acquired Volvo in 1999 for $6.4 billion.

Fuel Injection coming to NASCAR?  UPDATE #6 This Fox News article makes us laugh.  The NASCAR folks make it sound like they are at the forefront of the move to fuel injected engines.  For the past 10 years we hear at AR1.com have laughed and mocked NASCAR for still using carburetors.  With TV ratings and attendance plummeting NASCAR is finally realizing that their 1950's technology cars just don't cut it with today's high-tech younger crowd.  They are finally pulling their heads out of the sand but it may be too late.

03/23/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  2010 will be the last season for carbureted engines in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series.  NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton confirmed Tuesday that the series is on target to replace carbureted engines with fuel injected models for 2011.

11/19/09 Several sources, including a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief and a manufacturer's representative, have confirmed that the sanctioning body intends to replace carburetors with fuel injection on Sprint Cup engines in 2011. The move has been discussed for several years, but in a meeting between NASCAR representatives and representatives of the manufacturers held after the Talladega race, the plan was reportedly presented to those in attendance.  Orlando Sentinel

09/27/09 Richard Childress predicts that NASCAR will go to fuel injection in 2011. Childress has a share company that builds Chevrolet motors. He says "we're constantly working on it right now.''

Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR, said that series officials met with teams about it last week.

"It wasn't about ideas, it was about laying out the groundwork ... with fuel injection,'' Pemberton said. "We're right in the very, very early stages of all of that.'' More ...
NASCAR moves to make puppets out of its drivers  UPDATE #2
Ryan Newman muzzled
Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were the two Sprint Cup drivers fined by NASCAR for making disparaging comments about the series, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Neither driver could be reached for comment. Newman was fined first and Hamlin second, the sources said. The sources would not confirm which statements made by the drivers were responsible for the fines, but both drivers have been outspoken on several issues.

07/27/10 NASCAR would neither confirm nor deny an Associated Press report Monday that it has fined two drivers for comments critical of the sanctioning body.

The fines, which were as much as $50,000 according to the AP, are not common in NASCAR, which typically allows its drivers to speak their minds.

“I won’t comment directly on the issues of assessments, but I will say that it is the sanctioning body’s obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport’s brand,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement Monday night.

“Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion; it’s focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport. We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders.” More ...

Monaco GP could be scrapped  UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with this announcement.

07/22/10 (GMM)  The Automobile Club de Monaco has confirmed it is in "negotiations" with Bernie Ecclestone. The F1 chief executive said recently that formula one could "do without Monaco", moving former driver Patrick Tambay to surmise that it is a strategy to have the famous race's fees "revised upwards".

The Club reacted on Thursday by saying it is reluctant to comment on the reports because it is unaware of their "context".

"The reality is simple," a statement issued only in French added.  "Negotiations are underway between l'Automobile Club de Monaco and Formula One Management."

The Club added that it will make an announcement if an agreement is reached.

It is believed Monaco pays little or no fees for the rights to host its annual race in the Principality. More ...

HRT and Virgin F1 teams to fold  UPDATE (GMM)  "One or two" of F1's existing twelve teams might bow out of formula one before November's Abu Dhabi finale, Bernie Ecclestone has warned.

"I think there are a couple of teams in formula one who really shouldn't be there.  They are a bit out of their depth at the moment," he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Losing two teams would drop the grid down to 20 cars, but the FIA is in the process of perhaps allowing Villeneuve/Durango, Epsilon Euskadi, Stefan GP or Cypher Group to debut next year.

But Ecclestone insisted: "All we ever want is 10 teams.  Lotus is a good name.  I wouldn't want to lose them.  But in general this year has been a bit of a nuisance because it has cost money to keep these (new) teams in.

"It has cost a lot of money to pay for them to compete." More ...

Montezemolo to leave Ferrari?  (GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo could be set to leave Ferrari.

It is reported that French broadcaster TF1 is predicting a change at the top of the Maranello based team.

Italian Montezemolo, 62, joined Fiat in the 70s and worked as Enzo Ferrari's assistant before running the famous team.

He became Ferrari president in 1991, but for several recent years has been linked with a move into politics.

Tipped to be Montezemolo's successor is 34-year-old Andrea Agnelli, part of the famous Agnelli family and currently president of the Juventus football club.

However, earlier in July, Fiat denied similar rumors that appeared in the Milan newspaper Libero.

Austin F1 race benefits California  Although Austin's 2012 Formula One race is being touted as a potential revenue boon locally, the sure money to be made goes to the Formula One Group, which owns the international racing series.

And the $25 million that Texas pledged for the race could ultimately benefit taxpayers across the country, in California.

The ownership structure of F1 is complex and shadowy, but this much is known: In 2006, the Formula One Group was sold for $1.7 billion to CVC Capital Partners , a private equity firm based in offshore tax havens where it does not have to file financial statements. More ...

Castroneves faces fines for grabbing official  UPDATE #4 “We’ve reviewed the videos since we’ve returned from Edmonton but I haven’t had an opportunity to contact him,” Brian Barnhart said. “Hopefully, we’ll be doing so very shortly. We’re extremely disappointed in his behavior post-race but certainly understand his frustrations and emotions. He’s a very passionate person and very competitive driver. I think he represents the majority of our field; it is that competitive and that tight. When things have gone against them, they feel like they’ve been wronged, they’re going to have some expressions.

“That’s still inexcusable to put your hands on an official and abuse the officials the way he did. We’ll have a conversation, take his side into consideration as well as what he did, and act appropriately.”

“You have to keep in mind why the rule is there in the first place, and our rule against blocking is there from a safety aspect – the inherent danger of open-wheel cars making contact – and we’re also trying to improve the entertainment value. When you road race as often as we do, by the nature of these tracks they don’t have a lot of passing zones. If you allow cars to defend and take away the only passing lane, you’re going to have a boring event.”

Barnhart said if competitors in the series approach the sanctioning body to review the blocking rule, “we’re open-minded and will look at the rule.”

“That’s why it’s there, but be prepared if it goes away because you’ll have some safety issues, you’ll crash a lot of cars that cost a lot of money and you’re going to have follow-the-leader parades,” he said. “As the rule is written now, it was a clear violation.”

07/27/10 CORRECTION: We originally got this one wrong as we thought we understood the rule different from what it actually was.

07/26/10 CORRECTION: Video showing Castroneves grabbing and pushing an IndyCar official.  Look for the IRL to throw the rulebook at him.  This video also shows what Barnhart said in the drivers meeting about blocking and the video shows that Castroneves did exactly what Barnhart said was not allowed.

07/26/10 Clearly upset with the penalty that cost him a victory in Sunday's Edmonton IndyCar race, Helio Castroneves, who was scored in 10th place, confronted series officials after the race. He later apologized for his actions.

“Obviously, I disagree with the decisions made by the race officials on the last restart in today’s race, but there is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag,” Castroneves said. “I apologize to my team, our sponsors, the fans and the entire IZOD IndyCar Series community for my behavior. My actions were totally wrong and I acted inappropriately to some people who are my friends and people I respect very much. Obviously, I am a very emotional person and today I let my emotions get the better of me and I’m very sorry for that.” More ...

Another NASCAR team to fold  UPDATE Phoenix Racing and James Finch want to set the record straight. "I have not talked to Rick Hendrick about putting Kasey Kahne in my car, and furthermore I haven't talked to Kasey! Obviously I would l like to provide the car for them next year, who wouldn't" Finch stated, "I also have had no opportunities to sell my team to Mark Martin" said Finch "I haven't talked with Mike Mulhern, and I have no intentions of closing Phoenix Racing" Finch stated "I am definitely looking for sponsorship for my Cup team and Nationwide cars. Times are tough, but we are moving forward and will entertain all sponsorship opportunities". Phoenix Racing

07/26/10 #09-Car owner James Finch's hopes of putting together a deal with fellow owner Rick Hendrick for driver Kasey Kahne for 2011 appear to have fallen through. Now Finch appears back on plan to shut down his entire NASCAR operation. He first raised that possibility in April. MikeMulhern.net Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
Ambrose to change teams  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Marcos Ambrose has decided to leave JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the season, the team announced today. The Australian driver, in his second full year of Sprint Cup racing for the team, is a disappointing 27th in the standings after finishing 18th last year in his first full season.

Marcos Ambrose
Ambrose has been with the team for five years – one season in the trucks, one in Nationwide and then three in Cup. Ambrose has recorded four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in Cup.

“After five years, I personally felt it was time for a change,” Ambrose said in a news release. “I have no firm plans of what will come next for me and my career.

“I would like to continue in NASCAR and finish off what I started, but I have not discounted returning to Australia. I’m grateful to JTG Daugherty Racing for giving me an opportunity to become a NASCAR driver and I wish them the best in the future.”

While he has no firm plans for 2011, Ambrose’s name has reportedly been mentioned as a possible driver to replace Kasey Kahne at Richard Petty Motorsports. With a career-best second at Watkins Glen last year, Ambrose nearly pulled off his first career Cup win at Infineon Raceway earlier this year but accidentally stalled his car while trying to save fuel late in the race. Scenedaily.com

07/26/10 At least two rival team owners are taking a look at #47-Marcos Ambrose for 2011, if the always-smiling Aussie/Tasmanian racer decides to move on. Ambrose' 2009 rookie NASCAR season was so spectacular, with several near-wins. But he has struggled through the past few months, to put it mildly. And that lost victory at Sonoma last month was all the more biting. MikeMulhern.net
Nurburgring plays down F1 calendar exit rumors  (GMM)  The German grand prix will definitely revert as scheduled to the Nurburgring next year.

The track has recently been alternating the annual hosting of the formula one race with Hockenheim, with the arrangement originally set to run only until 2011.

But at Hockenheim last weekend, there were rumors that Bernie Ecclestone is so happy with his new arrangement with that circuit that he wants to return next season and beyond.

Last year, when Hockenheim said it could no longer afford the F1 chief executive's race fees, Ecclestone agreed to share the "business risks and opportunities" with a new deal through 2018. More ...

Heidfeld back to F1 in 2011  
Nick Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld remains committed to returning to the formula one grid in 2011.

After holding out for a competitive seat with an established team in the wake of BMW's withdrawal at the end of last season, the veteran of 167 grands prix found himself without a drive at all.

German Heidfeld, 33, has therefore attended the grands prix this year as Mercedes' reserve driver, but on Tuesday he revealed that he does not think he will graduate to a race seat with the Brackley based team in 2011.

Heidfeld said his current job is not all bad. More ...

Will Kentucky race result in more empty Brickyard 400 seats?  After drawing the smallest crowd Sunday in the 17 years NASCAR has been coming to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a new challenge could await the 2011 Brickyard 400.

NASCAR chairman Brian France confirmed Sunday that Kentucky Speedway is in the mix to join a reconfigured Sprint Cup schedule. The 1.5-mile oval lies just outside Sparta, Ky., about 160 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

"It's no secret that Kentucky is talking about hosting a Cup race. That's not far away," France said. "It's a worthy market to at least discuss, but it has implications to Michigan (and) certainly to Indianapolis from a geographic standpoint." More ...

Elimination style Chase still under consideration?  NASCAR officials are still debating several changes to the Chase For The Sprint Cup format for next year but are leaning toward a system that would eliminate drivers from the playoffs, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Sunday. France didn't give much insight into what could be changed. He said he will attend focus groups with fans in two weeks to get their input and is still cultivating reaction from the NASCAR industry to a variety of proposals. "Regarding the options that we have on the table, the only ones we would consider are ones that would make winning at a given moment more important than they are today," France said Sunday prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "How you do that? There's a number of ways to do that. It comes with some version as you go along where certain races in the Chase, you have to win or do very, very well, to in fact move on. When you peel that back and look at it, it's not that different," It is possible no changes will be made, France said. "We haven't made a decision. We may not think the timing is right. & Not changing the Chase is definitely a viable option," he said. "The Chase, although we haven't seen the results of that as often as we'd like, is certainly better than the total consistency model that was in place for so many years." Scene Daily
NASCAR looks to usurp IndyCar in Las Vegas  NASCAR's 2010 Sprint Cup schedule is expected to have a considerably different look next season, including the site of the season finale. Some changes are expected in response to requests from major track owners International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., but several other race dates are believed to be in play. Several sources told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com on Sunday that changes being contemplated include the season's final race, now held at Miami-Homestead. That ISC-owned track could get the second race of the 2011 season. Auto Club Speedway currently occupies that spot on the schedule. The sources said two tracks figure in the options being considered to replace Homestead as host of the season's final race weekend: Las Vegas and Daytona. A Las Vegas finale could make it more convenient for fans, teams, media and others to attend NASCAR's season-ending awards events. Those events, held in New York City for years, moved to the desert gambling-and-resort city for the first time last year. A season finale at Daytona would add a second restrictor-plate race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Charlotte Observer

Rumor has it that NASCAR decided to move their season finale from Homestead to Las Vegas to undermine IndyCar.  Randy Bernard is on record as wanting to move the IndyCar season finale to Bruton Smith's Las Vegas track.  Rumor has it that the France family doesn't want Bruton to do that and has offered them a carrot and a stick - they will move the NASCAR season finale to Las Vegas and Bruton won't get his Kentucky Cup date if he also lets the IRL have their season finale in Las Vegas.  So if the IRL's plans to have their finale in Las Vegas fail, you'll know why.  Without a doubt, NASCAR is the #1 enemy of the IRL.  The IRL is learning this and is finally reacting, with rumors they may drop all their ISC (France family) tracks.

Ride-Buyer Yamamoto set to keep HRT seat for Hungary  (GMM)  Sakon Yamamoto looks set to retain his race seat at HRT for now. The Japanese, reportedly with $5 million in sponsorship to pay to the struggling Spanish team in 2010, raced initially in Bruno Senna's cockpit at the recent British grand prix.

He then replaced Karun Chandhok in Germany, but the Indian rookie - whose new sponsor Japyee was on the Cosworth-powered F110 at Hockenheim - said it is possible he will be back in the car this weekend in Hungary.

"After the (Hockenheim) race we are going to talk about the next race," said Chandhok in Germany before returning to his home in England.

Senna said in Germany that he will keep his seat at all the remaining races in 2010, but Finland's Turun Sanomat suggested that HRT's fourth driver Christian Klien is expecting to race the dark grey car before the season is out.

But the publication added: "It is probable that money talks and Senna and Yamamoto will be (in the cars) in Hungary."

In Hispania's post-race statement on Sunday, Yamamoto sounded confident.

"We tried some adjustments on the set up (at Hockenheim) which will help us already for the next races."

More sponsors leaving NASCAR  With attendance and TV ratings dropping, another sponsor leaving NASCAR after 2010 is the Old Spice sponsorship that Tony Stewart has had for years.
Penske to drop cars in 2011  UPDATE Rumor has it that Brad Keselowki's No. 12 may get the Miller Beer sponsorship next year, with Pennzoil/Shell going on the No. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge.

07/25/10 Sam Hornish's No. 77 Dodge doesn't have a primary sponsor for next season with the impending departure of Mobil 1. Penske Racing can't use Verizon, a sponsor of its Izod IndyCar Series team, in NASCAR because of a conflict with series title sponsor Sprint.

"No updates as far as I'm concerned yet," Hornish said. "I definitely would like to be back in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and I'm going to try and do that, but there are definitely things tough with the economy and trying to find full-time sponsors.

"We're going to do whatever we can do to make that happen, (and) if that doesn't work, we're going to take a look around at something else."

"We're doing everything we can to have three cars (in Sprint Cup) next season, and to say we're not is not fact," Roger Penske said. "As you know, it's not easy out there (financially)."

"At the end of the day, these (cars) don't run on no gas," Penske said.

Over the years, Penske hasn't been keen on having three Indy cars, but that's what he has this season with Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. The cars of Castroneves and Briscoe don't have a primary sponsor in the aftermath of Philip Morris USA withdrawing because of tobacco sponsorship restrictions. More ...

NASCAR may test fuel injection in a handful of 2011 races  Ron Dennis was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday to discuss several topics including the upcoming introduction of fuel injection in NASCAR. Dennis, 63, is the executive chairman of McLaren Automotive. He was the team principal of McLaren's Formula One team until last year, helping win eight drivers' championships.

"I'm here representing my group of companies, specifically my (McLaren) electronics company," Dennis said.

"We're hoping the commitment to quality and excellence is something that will allow us to become selected by NASCAR in production for some of the fuel injection and some of the other safety benefits and ecological benefits that we can bring with some of the technology that we have."

Jack Roush met with Dennis on Saturday morning and discussed the transition of fuel injection in NASCAR. Roush said McLaren Companies has a proposal in to NASCAR to bid on fuel injection. But Roush believes the change will come with a price. "Don't think that it's going to be less expensive," Roush said. "It's going to put a burden on the teams. Any time you bring in a new technology that is complex, there's a cost. And there will certainly be a cost for the teams. It's likely to occur sometime in 2011. I think we've all heard the same thing. I don't think it will be more than a handful of races. Maybe start with the (Budweiser) Shootout. That would be my suggestion. They might do that, then look at the end of the year and see what they think about it, then full time in 2012." Fox Sports
Silly Season kicking in gear at IMS  "All signs point to Richard Childress Racing announcing the week of the Watkins Glen Race next month that Budweiser will be on #29-Kevin Harvick's car. Mobile 1 had been courting #24-Jeff Gordon, but HMS ended that by reupping with Quaker State. Don't be surprised to see that sponsor pop up at Stewart-Haas.

"Richard Petty Motorsports' future seemingly hangs on what #43-AJ Allmendinger does. If he and sponsor Best Buy stay, then #98-Paul Menard and his sponsor may hang around, as well. But Allmendinger has talked to several teams, including Penske Racing. Menard is beating the bushes as well, with speculation he'll be in the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing. All we know for sure is Stanley is the only sponsor contractually committed to the organization beyond this season. Odds are RPM will shrink from four teams to three, two or none. The last would be a huge blow to the garage and increase the possibility of fields of fewer than 43 cars next season. It also could end Richard Petty's presence in the garage, which would be sad to see. ESPN.com
Austin F1 site revealed?  UPDATE #2 There was a news piece on KVUE television last night about the F1 track.  The current rumor for the track is that it will be near Manor, which is farther north than the previous rumor.  An announcement is expected early next week.

07/11/10 UPDATE This article in the Austin Chronicle, Austin's "alternative" weekly newspaper, is a good read on the proposed Austin, Texas F1 race.

Possible site of Austin F1 track
The sign outside Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill on Elroy Road promotes one of the restaurant's specialties: fried coyote tail.

It also says, "Elroy welcomes Formula 1?"

In this corner of Travis County, about a mile east of Texas 130 and southeast of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the buzz is about whether the track for the high-profile race will end up in their neck of the woods.

Organizers of the race, which was announced last month, have yet to disclose the site for the track, the investors and most other details, although they have lined up a commitment for $25 million in state money to help pay for the first year. More ...

Elimination style Chase still under consideration?  Wondering what topics were discussed during the most recent NASCAR Town Hall Meeting this week? If Fox Sports' sources are correct, the times they are a changin' - again. Let's start with the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup format. For now, the one format being discussed is where the top 15 drivers in the points standings are selected for an elimination-style championship. The first five drivers could be ousted, say, after the first four races and five more drivers knocked out depending on points perhaps four or five races later. The five left standing will battle for a winner-take-all in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway - or whatever race NASCAR determines to place in that pivotal position on the schedule. Other hot topics included: The schedule, Changes to the Nationwide Series where Sprint Cup drivers in the top 35 would not be able to compete against full-time development drivers, The addition of more testing, and Fuel injection. Fox Sports
Ferrari testing Red Bull-like constant gas concept  
Is the diffuser on Massa'a Ferrari blown with constant gas pressure?
(GMM)  One of Ferrari's developments for the F10 car this weekend is the Red Bull-like constant exhaust-gas pressure concept.

It emerged recently that Red Bull's dominance of the Q3 qualifying segment this year was due to a system that keeps exhaust gases flowing through the blown diffuser even when the driver is not on the throttle in slow corners.

Diario Sport claims that Ferrari's version was tested for the first time in Hockenheim practice.

Another Spanish newspaper, AS, said Ferrari, Renault and McLaren are known to be experimenting in the area of constant exhaust pressure. More ...

HRT close to Toyota technical deal  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Colin Kolles has confirmed that a technical partnership with Toyota's former Cologne-based F1 team is an "option" for Hispania.  At Hockenheim on Friday, HRT driver Bruno Senna indicated the two parties are in talks but insisted that no agreements are signed yet.

A Toyota Motorsport spokesman also would not confirm the reports.

"Toyota is an option," HRT team boss Colin Kolles is quoted by Spain's AS newspaper at Hockenheim.  "I think it might be good for us," he added.

Reports said the HRT/Toyota deal would involve use of Toyota's Cologne headquarters, staff and designs of the unraced 2010 car. Before the money arrives from Spain, Toyota is reportedly rehiring engineers including by publishing announcements in specialist magazines. More ...

Toro Rosso drivers to switch teams?  
Sebastian Buemi
(GMM)  According to paddock speculation, both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari have reached only 'verbal agreements' to keep racing with Toro Rosso in 2011.

After boss Franz Tost said recently the duo are re-confirmed for next season, the young drivers both indicated it is possible they will in fact not be racing a Faenza-built car in 2011.

"The team confirmed its intention to continue with me and I am very happy," Swiss Buemi, 21, is quoted by Auto Hebdo at Hockenheim.

He has been linked with a move to Renault in 2011.

"It's normal that there has been some discussions elsewhere, but for me, the situation has always been more or less clear," added Buemi, who like Alguersuari is believed to be contracted to team owner Red Bull, not Toro Rosso. More ...

Calgary to be 3rd Canadian IndyCar race?  UPDATE #2 As for Octane’s plans to hold a race in Calgary in the near future, IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said “there are some rumblings at this point but nothing to be taken seriously.” Edmonton Journal

07/22/10 The bosses at Octane Racing Group denied on Wednesday that they are considering a second race in Alberta after signing a deal to run the Honda Indy Edmonton.

Sources had told the Toronto Sun that Octane -- the same group that promotes both the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix and the NASCAR Nationwide NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal -- had planned a meeting with Calgary officials to discuss the possibility of putting a race in the Stampede City by 2012.

"We have not talked to anyone in Calgary," Normand Prieur, spokesman for Octane said in a telephone interview. "Octane is 100% concentrating on the Honda Indy Edmonton."

Prieur emphasized that while the group considers Calgary a very viable race market, to try to promote two IndyCar events in such close proximity would be "very difficult."

In fact, Prieur said Octane officials were waiting late Wednesday afternoon for the results of the Edmonton City Council vote to name them promoters of the IndyCar race in that city. More ...

Brawn GP’s Brown and Piquet eye USF1  UPDATE In a regurgitation of a rumor we posted almost a week ago, Italiaracing.net reports that the latest name linked with the hopeful American outfit Cypher Group is Nelson Piquet Jr. 22-year-old Indy Lights driver Jonathan Summerton has already confirmed he is working with the team to form "the American F1 team with an American driver".

Italiaracing.net reports that Piquet, the Brazilian and crashgate conspirator, is also being linked with Cypher.

Since being ousted by Renault mid last season, the 24-year-old has been racing mainly in NASCAR's lower-tier truck series. It is also reported that Cypher has recruited Steve Brown, the former Brawn GP research and development engineer who switched to the abortive USF1 last year.

07/16/10 Steve Brown, the Research and Development Officer of 2009 Champions Brawn GP before making a switch to the now defunct US F1 team, is one of the key figures behind the hopeful American Cypher Group project, it has been revealed by Brazil’s iG Esporte website, who also claim that Nélson Piquet Jr. is in talks with the outfit.

With Cypher hoping for a place on the 2011 grid, the group consists of several ex US F1 engineers - but has no connection with founders Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor - plus several others.

However, it has now been revealed that Brown is at the forefront of the effort, with former Renault driver Piquet - who left the sport shortly before last year’s highly controversial ‘Crashgate’ scandal emerged - in discussions for a possible drive.

Also in talks, as known previously, is America’s Jonathan Summerton.

Red Bull team to announce new sponsor  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Red Bull Racing today unveiled LG Electronics as its new Team and Technology Partner. LG is already heavily involved with Formula One, but this new, multi-season tie-in with Red Bull Racing allows the global leader in consumer electronics and technical innovation to reach an even broader market.

LG will supply Red Bull Racing with its latest products at both the track and the team’s Milton Keynes headquarters and its logo will appear on three prominent positions on the RB6 as well as the drivers' race overalls and underwear and their helmet visors. More ...

IRL Vice President Resigns  UPDATE Confirming what we heard yesterday, this rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  John Lewis, VP/Sales for the Izod IndyCar Series, said today that he is leaving to take a position outside of motorsports. Lewis has been with the IndyCar Series for 16 years and was a prominent member of the sales and marketing team that sold Izod on the IndyCar entitlement last year. The Daily

07/21/10 Rumor has it that John Lewis, who has held many positions with the IRL and the Indy Speedway, most recently as VP of League Development, and who worked closely with Brian Barnhart, resigned from the IRL Yesterday.
Edmonton race in jeopardy?  UPDATE #5
With the city center as a back drop, the Edmonton Indy is a popular stop on the IndyCar circuit for drivers and fans alike. (Jason Franson,Sun Media)
With the city centre as a back drop, the Edmonton Indy is a popular stop on the IndyCar circuit for drivers and fans alike. (Jason Franson, Sun Media)
This rumor is now downgraded to 'false.'  The City of Edmonton will sit down with Octane Racing Group to negotiate a deal that would see the Indy car race remain in Edmonton for at least the next three years. Councilors voted 7-5 Wednesday in favor working on a sponsorship arrangement with the Montreal company, which would continue to hold the race at the City Centre Airport, Mayor Stephen Mandel said.

“When you look at what we get from it, it’s $18 million just on the (national) media coverage,” he told reporters following a closed-door meeting.

“That stuff is invaluable … in addition to all the intangible things.” More ...

Briatore's Ferrari visit triggers rumors  (GMM)  Flavio Briatore made a visit to Ferrari's Maranello headquarters last week.  The news, revealed by Italian sources including Autosprint and La Gazzetta dello Sport, has unleashed a flood of rumors about the reason for the disgraced former Renault boss' visit.

Briatore reportedly met with team boss Stefano Domenicali as well as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

The 60-year-old is banned from having a direct operational role in formula one until 2013, but he remains Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso's manager.

He also manages Mark Webber, rekindling suggestions that the disgruntled Australian driver might be eyeing a move to Ferrari, even though both he and Felipe Massa are under contract for 2011. More ...

Hartley axed from Red Bull junior team  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Red Bull has confirmed the ousting of Brendon Hartley.

Daniel Ricciardo
It emerged this week that the 20-year-old New Zealander, who in 2010 jointly held the position as Red Bull's F1 reserve with Daniel Ricciardo, had lost the support of the energy drinks company.  He was in the Red Bull pits at Silverstone, and a few days earlier had been at the wheel of the team's driver simulator.

On Wednesday, Hartley was still listed on the Red Bull Junior Team website, but at the time of writing on Thursday, his name and results had been removed.

Red Bull confirmed that Jean Eric Vergne will replace Hartley with immediate effect alongside Australian Ricciardo in the Formula Renault 3.5 series team Tech 1.

"The move comes following Red Bull Junior Team's decision to release Brendon Hartley after four seasons with the program," said a statement.

New Zealander Chris Amon, who contested more than 100 grands prix until 1976, said on Thursday that the news is a huge setback in Hartley's quest to race in formula one. More ...

track news
NASCAR track may be part of Atlantic City plan  Cars often idle bumper to bumper on Atlantic City streets. Congestion could get even worse if a NASCAR track is built. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will announce his plans to overhaul New Jersey's gaming industry Wednesday. As part of those plans, a NASCAR track could be built in or near Atlantic City, according to The Star-Ledger. There would seem to be no feasible place to build a track in the city. The most logical site in the city for a race track would be Bader Field but that location has only 142 acres, and there are questions about whether the roads in that area could handle the crowds that come to NASCAR races, which can draw 100,000 fans. This is not the first time the idea of a NASCAR track in southern New Jersey has been floated. Bruton Smith, one of NASCAR's most prominent figures and owner of several tracks, announced in 1997 his intention to build a track in the Atlantic City area. There was talk of building a NASCAR track at the Meadowlands in 2002 but that too was defeated, mostly because northern New Jersey residents claimed the region was already too congested. Press of Atlantic City
Overheard in Toronto - Friday  UPDATE #2 With regard to the rumor note below on Paul Tracy, there’s a possibility of doing more races this year with Dreyer & Reinbold.  Talks between Tracy’s sponsors , mainly Motegi Wheels and Monster Energy Drink are ongoing.  Representatives from Motegi Racing were in Toronto over the race weekend and are said to be interested in partnering up with the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, we hear for another race or two this year, but more importantly full-time next year.  They sat in a suite right behind Tracy's pits in Toronto.

07/17/10 We spoke to a Honda spokesperson who took issue with what we had to say below regarding the IRL giving in to Honda and allowing a 6-cyclinder engine.  Honda's position is that you cannot hit the cost, HP and durability requirements that the IRL was looking for with a 4-cyclinder engine.  And as far as the Global Racing Engine, "we have not seen any manufacturer step up and say they will build one."

Regardless, the consensus in the paddock by the majority of the team owners is that IndyCar will remain a Dallara-Honda spec series (which is what Brian Barnhart wanted all along anyway) because the value is not there for another engine manufacturer to develop an all-new engine for IndyCar to compete head-to-head with Honda.  One team owner told AR1.com "I have spoken to all the manufacturers and not a single one is interested."

And another car manufacturer is not going to put their name on the chassis by developing the aero package as long as there is a Honda engine in the car.  A Ford-Honda winning the race would simply not cut it for Ford (or with any other car manufacturer for that matter).

Free Friday crowd
On a warm and sunny day in Toronto the fans took advantage of the free admission and turned out in big numbers at least twice as many as Friday last year.  Word in the paddock is that everyone was extremely impressed with Tony Purnell's work on the ICONIC committee and that he was one of  the smartest guy they've seen in racing  Word is that Randy Bernard had already talked to him about coming aboard and Purnell really wants to do it once he wraps up a few loose ends in Europe. Purnell is a former FIA technical consultant the former boss of Jaguar's F1 team..........Roger Penske has been out of the country and hence has not yet made a comment on the new Indy Car.......Other team owners said it was a bit too early to comment because not enough details are known yet.  For example, will the car parts be locked down so the rich teams cannot modify them to gain an advantage?  Can you mix and match parts between two different aero kits?  Who gets the first 28 discounted cars - the first 28 takers, or will the existing full-time teams get first dibs?  Is there enough profit in a $70K aero kit for companies like Lola and Swift to compete?  Will, say Ford, develop an aero kit for a car that will have their name on it but a Honda engine?  Besides Honda, will any other engine manufacturers come into the series?  The general consensus on that is no because the IRL did not adopt the Global Racing engine (GRE).  By allowing Honda to get their way on 6 cylinders instead of 4, they drove away all the manufacturers (around 10) who will be making a GRE engine in F1 and other series.  A turbo 6 is going to beat a Turbo 4 every day, so why bother?  The drivers felt the new car was the best compromise the IRL could have come up with given the economy and lack of money in the series.  They are all OK with Dallara as the chassis builder to reduce cost yet have diversity with various aero kits.......The new car has a push-rod front suspension which is better for road courses and easier to work on when suspension changes are required..........We ran into Star Mazda ace Conor Daly (USA) who appears headed the Star Mazda title this year.  He tells us he would like to follow in his father's footstep and do GP3 next year, then GP2a and eventually F1.  He would consider Indy Lights if there is a requirement that is where the money he gets from winning the Star Mazda title must go......We hear Paul Tracy is trying to put together a full-time IndyCar ride in 2011.  "We are obviously trying to find sponsors and put a deal together for next year,” Tracy admitted.  “We don’t have anything signed yet but we have commitments for what we’ve done this year, whether it be the Indy 500 and the Canadian races. That’s far short of a full season, and if that can happen it would be great and, if it doesn’t, we will just pick and choose what we can do.”....Sebastien Bourdais has quit the Superleague team he was racing for.  Will he make a move back to IndyCar?  "There was just no other way out of this situation," Bourdais told AUTOSPORT. "LRS was never a race team before, we started the program really late and the car wasn't race-ready when they got it. Despite that, we had a really good weekend at Silverstone, which was a big surprise to me, but since then we've gone from one problem to another.  I've stopped for the moment and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone or anything, but I don't see it getting any better. The team doesn't have the time, the equipment or money to compete against structured, experienced teams. We wanted to do well, but we were struggling along and breaking down every weekend. It's frustrating."...........CEO Randy Bernard said he has had no indication Danica Patrick is ready to follow other IndyCar drivers such as Tony Stewart, Sam Hornish Jr and Juan Pablo Montoya and make the jump to racing stock cars full-time.  He acknowledged that if Patrick were to defect it would be blow to a series.  "Anyone would tell you that if she’s going to be a huge asset she is going to have to win," Bernard told Reuters. "She knows that. There would be a little deflation at first (if Patrick were to leave) but the series needs winners and champions and people who are going to grow our sport. The series would go on, we have too much momentum right now. But for sure she is a tremendous asset."  Mark C. reporting from Toronto
Honda to unveil new plug-in, electric cars  Honda. is working on a hybrid model that can be re-charged at home and an "all-electric car" due to be released in roughly three years, according to a report published Tuesday. Honda President Takanobu Ito is expected to announce the company's plans for the plug-in hybrid and electric car at a news conference, the Nikkei business daily reported. Honda says its plug-in hybrid will be able to go 60 kilometers (37 miles) on a single liter of gas, making it more fuel-efficient than the Prius hybrid, made by Toyota, according to the report.
Colonel Gaddafi's son linked with Villeneuve/Durango  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve has moved to cool increasing speculation about his plans for a formula one team.  The Italian racing team Durango recently confirmed it is collaborating with Villeneuve Racing for the 13th F1 entry in 2011.

It was then reported on Tuesday that one of the 1997 world champion's backers is Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, the 37-year-old son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

37-year-old Gaddafi Jr, reportedly with close ties to the state-owned oil company Tamoil, is known as a businessman and professional football player.

"There are a number of rumors circulating at the moment and I wanted to clarify a few things before this gets out of hand," Villeneuve said. More ...

NASCAR to decide about Edwards today?  NASCAR officials are reviewing whether to punish Carl Edwards for intentionally wrecking Brad Keselowski on the last lap of Saturday night's Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Speedway, multiple sources told ESPN.com. A decision will be made Tuesday or Wednesday. Edwards turned Keselowski sideways heading for the checkered flag on the straightaway coming off the final turn. The incident triggered a multi-car wreck that allowed Edwards to win and left point leader Keselowski 14th. Afterwards Edwards said it was justice for Keselowski getting him loose to take the lead in Turn 1 to start the final lap. ESPN

There’s no way this can be any more clear. NASCAR needs to park Carl Edwards — not fine him, not hand him another joke of a probation, not take away points. NASCAR needs to park him before he kills someone.


Anyone in their right mind who saw the finish of Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race at Gateway International — live or on tape — would be out of their mind if they felt any differently.

And don’t start — again — with the ad naseum of it’s just NASCAR being NASCAR and “have at it boys” at its best.

Bull. More ...

Williams tester Bottas eyeing F1 debut in 2012  
Valtteri Bottas
(GMM)  Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas is targeting a place on the 2012 grid.

"Williams is not likely to change drivers for next season, but 2012 might be different," the 20-year-old Finn, a frontrunner in the F3 Euroseries, is quoted by Turun Sanomat.

Currently, Bottas conducts some straight-line tests for the famous British team, and like his predecessor Nico Hulkenberg undertakes tasks at the Grove factory.

"It is a bit like an apprenticeship for an F1 driver," he said.

Bottas said he will do some more aerodynamic testing in 2010, "and after the season the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi". More ...

Many in IRL paddock think chassis deal was 'fixed'  Before opening up the bid to other IndyCar chassis manufacturers IRL Competition Director Brian Barnhart was quoted as saying Dallara would be doing the next generation IndyCar. We here at AR1.com hammered him hard on that - why on earth would he sole-source the contract to Dallara?  How was that going to get the best price without open competition?  Then Delta Wing came forward with their innovative proposal and Barnhart was forced to open it up to others.  However, most figured he would still find a way to give the contract to Dallara and this past weekend most in the paddock we talked to assumed that Barnhart had made a strong case for Dallara and pushed it through.  Was the ICONIC formed just to make it look good so that when Dallara was chosen it would not look like an inside deal? Regardless, in the end Barnhart got what he wanted all along, but at least the open competition forced the price lower.

A few quotes:

"For whatever reason, Dallara are the blue-eyed boys."  IndyCar's rumored $200,000 license or registration fee for aero kit builders might dissuade Lola from entering the game.  "If that's true they're sending us another message. That's tilting the table where they don't want competition." Martin Birrane, Lola  More ...

Will F1 teams badge IndyCars?  With Formula 1 teams now being forced to reduce their aerodynamic development work, there is an opportunity for all those with more than one wind tunnel to use the other to develop a bodywork package for the American IndyCar market in 2012. Although the costs of these is being kept to a minimum ($70K max) – and profits would be limited – it would nonetheless provide F1 teams with an opportunity to have cars running in their livery in the United States.  The problem is another car company will not want a Honda engine in the back.  So it would have to be a non-auto manufacturer team (Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso, Williams, etc.) not a Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes unless they decide to also produce an IndyCar engine.
Overheard in Toronto - Sunday  UPDATE As we expected, after checking there are no discussions to bring Surfers back to the IndyCar schedule.......And where is Tony George, the man who put IndyCar where it is today?  Having been cut off from the family money by his sisters (rumor has it he went through up to $1 billion of the family wealth starting the IRL and all but destroying the sport CART had built bigger than NASCAR), we hear he is now a spokesperson for SONAX car products and traveling around the country pulling a trailer.  BTW, SONAX products are very good.

07/18/10 On a nice day here in Toronto the attendance this year is up noticeably from last year, but still has a long way to go before this race gets back to its heyday when Molson sponsored the event and CART ran the race.  We found out you cannot buy a single day reserved grandstand seat for this race, only a 3-day reserved seat so anyone showing up today had to take their chances with general admission.  We have never heard of such a thing!........We hear a big crowd is anticipated for the Motegi race because Takuma Sato is now in IndyCar, a big favorite in Japan..........Well wishes go out to Chip Ganassi's father Floyd who is staying at Chip's house recovering from recent cancer surgery.  The fabulous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota did arthroscopic surgery and removed 1/2 of one lung and Chip tells us the doctors think they got it all and won't require any chemotherapy or radiation.  Get well soon Floyd!........A lot of speculation and rumor on the 2011 schedule includes all the ISC races possibly going away (Watkins Glen, Homestead, Kansas and Chicagoland) as well as Mid-Ohio.  We find it hard to believe that they would drop 5 races in one fell swoop, but if they do not want to meet the IRL's sanctioning fees they just might.  Three new races include Las Vegas, Loudon, and Baltimore, but others supposedly in the running to be added back include Milwaukee, Road America, Cleveland, Houston, and Surfers (yes Surfers, which sure surprised us).  Exactly which ones will be dropped and added only the IRL knows, but if we had to guess we would say Milwaukee has the best chance to be added.  Unfortunately all these events would like an IndyCar race but with the higher sanctioning fees the IRL is charging these days they cannot afford to take the risk of losing money..........We talked to more team managers about the new car and everyone is frustrated that there is no rulebook for it.  By the time they write the rules and get them approved, time will be running short for a new car in 2012.  Dallara has to design the new rolling chassis and give the body kit designers a solid model so they can design the aero pieces.  Then of course there is CFD and wind tunnel testing followed finally by on-track testing.  Honda is also a bit frustrated because they have no idea what the engine rules will be except it will be a 2.4-liter V6 running on Ethanol with 100 HP push-to-pass.  Turbo boost pressure, single or dual turbo, how many push-to-pass seconds per race, minimum engine weight and maximum overall dimensions, etc will all weigh on the engine design.  Mark C. reporting from Toronto.
Villeneuve 'working hard on F1 project' with Durango  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Italian racing team Durango on Saturday confirmed it is collaborating with Jacques Villeneuve in a bid to enter formula one in 2011.

In April, the former GP2 outfit, founded in 1980 and with experience in sports car and other forms of racing, announced it has lodged an application to fill the thirteenth spot on next year's F1 grid.

And this week, it emerged that 1997 world champion Villeneuve has formed 'Villeneuve Racing' and would possibly collaborate with Durango.

"I really hope together we will find a place," Durango owner Ivone Pinton confirmed on Saturday to the Italian website 422race.com. More ...

Haug's visit to see Raikkonen fires F1 rumors  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  The signs are growing that Kimi Raikkonen will keep rallying next year rather than return to formula one. The 2007 world champion has been linked with both Renault and Mercedes for 2011, but reports on Thursday said Raikkonen, 30, is close to agreeing a new deal with the Red Bull-sponsored world rally team Citroen.  At the same time, Raikkonen's current co-driver Kaj Lindstrom has told Turun Sanomat newspaper that the Finn has all the necessary talents and "only lacks experience".  "The hard work is now beginning to pay off," he added.

07/14/10 The story about Haug's visit to Raikkonen, with whom he enjoyed a working relationship when Kimi drove for McLaren-Mercedes between 2002-6, was first printed by a Finnish newspaper but was confirmed to a TV station by Haug over the British GP weekend.

"I have been in contact with Kimi as a friend," Haug claimed. "Kimi will make a decision for himself but I do hope he comes back because it would be a good thing for F1."

Raikkonen was dropped by Ferrari in favor of Fernando Alonso and now drives for the Citroen Junior Team in the World Rally Championship. When he left F1 he said he had an open mind about a return but would only drive for a top line team. More ...

Briatore to benefit if Webber wins title  (GMM)  Flavio Briatore stands to benefit financially if Mark Webber wins the 2010 world championship, according to a German report.

Italian Briatore, the crashgate conspirator and former Renault team boss, is still the Australian Red Bull driver's manager.

And amid reports the 60-year-old is attending a string of grands prix ahead of possibly assuming a future role alongside Bernie Ecclestone, Germany's Bild newspaper gives a different theory for Briatore's presence.

Bild said Webber's contract extension for 2011 is for just 8 million euros, but that as champion the 33-year-old will be in a position to negotiate a much higher retainer, with "a 20 per cent commission for his manager". More ...

Houston IndyCar race gets more unlikely by the day  Owners of the Grand Prix of Houston feel confident their race will be part of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, but persons with knowledge of the situation say the city will be left off the series’ soon-to-be announced 2011 schedule.

The series is expected to release its 2011 schedule in early August — without Houston on it. But Mi-Jack Promotions, owners of the Grand Prix of Houston, hope to announce the race’s return to Houston for 2012 by September. The Grand Prix of Houston left the city in 2008 when the Champ Car World Series merged with the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“Mi-Jack Promotions remains committed to returning the Grand Prix to Reliant Park, and we are optimistic that we can secure a spot on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule,” said Chuck Kosich, general manager of Mi-Jack Promotions [We have heard that line before]. “However, it is a very competitive environment for race dates so we will have to demonstrate that we not only have all the necessary elements in place for a successful event, but also strong community and corporate support.” More ...

track news
ISC still pursuing Denver track  According to AutoRacing1.com sources, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) are still moving ahead with plans to build a Speedway outside of Denver.  AR1.com has learned that ISC recently awarded, or is close to awarding, an engineering contract for program management, design, construction and traffic services.
Grand-Am and DTM tie-up?  Grand Am had a team owners meeting and cocktail reception on the 8th floor of the new ISC/NASCAR digs on International Speedway Boulevard last Thursday afternoon and evening. It’s probably where A.C. saw FIA chief Jean Todt accompanied by fiancé Bond Girl Michelle Yeow. Todt is heading an FIA delegation, including American Nick Craw, on a “good will” tour – shoring up support amongst racing series and motoring club after AAA’s recent resignation.

With Bernie’s payments for F1 rights about to end with 89 years of exclusivity left the Frogs are facing a big ($35 million) hole in the budget. If others follow AAA out the door, things will be dire indeed.

As if to illustrate how dire, Grand Am told the assembled dignitaries they are in negotiations with DTM for a tie-up that will bring DTM to the USA. Some think a NASCAR-DTM alliance could get along quite well without the FIA.

Will the tube-frame silhouettes replace the ungainly DP’s at the top Grand Am, just be added to the field, or run in joint weekends? We are getting to the end of the DP’s  “10 year guarantee,” aren’t we?  Murphy The Bear

Not selecting the GRE has cost the IRL another manufacturer  Spokesman Kevin Kennedy told ThatsRacin.com that Ford considers first-year CEO Randy Bernard a "forward thinker." Although it has made no commitments, Ford has discussed future engine regulations, specifically how they might be used as a platform "that will help speed along automotive technological advances, especially in the area of electrification."

Ford is also interested, Kennedy said, in developing engine formulas "that can be used in multiple race series around the world," [Read that the Global Racing Engine (GRE)] ostensibly to support its large grassroots-racer program.

Virgin eyeing pay-driver Perez for F1 seat?  (GMM)  A young Mexican driver is knocking on the door of his formula one debut. 20-year-old GP2 driver Sergio Perez, with the backing of the telecommunications giant Telmex, was linked last winter with the available pay-drives at F1's new teams.

And according to the latest whispers, he may have now attracted the interest of the struggling Virgin team.

The currently Richard Branson-backed outfit is struggling for performance and reliability with a budget of less than $40 million, and Timo Glock is now being linked with a move for 2011.

The Sergio Perez rumors might be linked with the appearance in the Silverstone paddock on Saturday and Sunday of Carlos Slim. More ...

track news
SMI to lose Infineon backing  Watch for Infineon Raceway to possibly get a new name as we hear Infineon is dropping their backing of the historic road course owned by SMI. Rumors are that officials are looking for a new "sustainable" naming-rights sponsor.
Barnhart already has chosen Dallara  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.  Brian Barnhart was on the ICONIC panel for a reason - to drive home his goal.

02/06/10 This SPEEDTV.com article exposes Brian Barnhart for what he is what he is trying to do to ensure a foreign company, Dallara, wins the 2012 IndyCar chassis contract.  Barnhart is doing things that officials used to do in USAC that caused the CART breakaway. 

02/06/10 Rumor in IndyCar circles is that IRL President Brian Barnhart has already chosen Dallara to supply the 2012 IndyCar.  Rumor has it he hates change and will not risk another company building the cars.

After other companies came forward and said they can produce the car 55% cheaper in the USA, company boss Gian Paolo Dallara said in a release, "The new Dallara Indy car will be built in Speedway, Ind., and it will set new standards in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, raceability, technology performance and cost containment.  We can achieve all of these objectives."

Why did they put out their concept designs and make this statement ahead of the Delta Wing project unveiling next week at the Chicago Auto Show?  Did Barnhart put him up to it?  Where were they all these years charging the team outrageous prices by building the car in Italy where the exchange rate between the American dollar and the Euro was a killer?  Why does the IRL continue to give the contract to a foreign company instead of an American company?

Dallara is one of four groups hoping to lure IndyCar's business. The others are Lola, Swift and Ben Bowlby's design, known as the Delta Wing project that will be unveiled next week at the Chicago Auto Show.  However, AR1 sources are 99.99% sure Barnhart will find a way to pick Dallara.

Briatore back in paddock amid rumors of future role  (GMM)  Rumors continue to mount about Flavio Briatore and a major future role for the Italian in formula one. At Silverstone last weekend, the former Renault boss - banned for life by the FIA amid the crash-gate scandal last year - was once again spotted in the paddock.

It was his third appearance in five races and less than eight weeks, including his famous visit to Monaco and then his stroll on the Valencia grid.

Briatore was wearing a VIP paddock pass, which can only be issued by his friend, business partner and F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. More ...

Red Bull got front wing idea from Force India  
Was the Red Bull front wing copied from Force India?
(GMM)  The concept of Red Bull's new front wing was pioneered by Force India, according to a report. The wing sparked the Silverstone furor, when it was taken from Mark Webber's RB6 before qualifying after the only other example broke on Sebastian Vettel's car in morning practice.

The two distinguishing features of the old wing, compared with the older specification fitted to winner Webber's car in qualifying and the race, was an extra flick on the endplates and the camera mountings.

Most cars this year have the mandatory front camera pods mounted on either side of the nose, but the new Red Bull wing featured the cameras just above the main front wing element, located between the wing supports under the nose.

But although Force India's camera mountings appeared conventional in Britain last weekend, Italy's authoritative Autosprint magazine claims the Red Bull wing was based on the Silverstone based team's original concept. More ...

Senna benched over email  
Backmarker Bruno Senna
(GMM)  An email mistakenly sent to his boss could have led to Bruno Senna sitting out the British grand prix.

In the absence of an adequate alternative explanation, it had been thought the Brazilian was replaced due to sponsorship issues, with Sakon Yamamoto reporting wielding $5m in funding.

But after a series of meetings at Silverstone, HRT announced that Senna will be back in the car at Hockenheim and beyond; an indication that there is more to the story. More ...

No Delta Wing for IndyCar  Robin Miller said on Wind Tunnel Extra that he took Randy Bernard to sprint car races this weekend where he met Levi Jones, Dave Darland, and others and was stunned to learn that Sprint Cars had more HP than the current IndyCars cars and drivers had to actually drive them.  Miller rumored that the new IndyCars will be so cheap people will be shocked by it, and they will be inexpensive without using the Delta Wing concept!  Just think how much the chassis makers have been ripping off the teams for years!  Bernard supposedly told Levi he should and needs to be in the Indy 500.  he invited him to the 7/14 announcement. Bernard has been meeting with potential auto makers left and right. 
Stewart tips Schumacher to retire before 2011  
Michael Schumacher cannot quiet his jealous critic, Jackie Stewart.  Let's not forget that Schu pulverized Stewart's most-win record, a pathetic 25 to Schu's 91
(GMM)  Sir Jackie Stewart thinks Michael Schumacher will return to retirement after November's Abu Dhabi finale. The seven time world champion is committed to Mercedes in 2011 and 2012, but his mediocre comeback only got worse in Britain at the weekend.

Schumacher qualified eight tenths behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, before the younger German raced to the podium while his 41-year-old countryman finished ninth.

Asked if he thinks the winner of a record 91 grands prix can now keep up with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, Stewart told the Cologne Express: "He cannot even keep up with his teammate. More ...

FIA budget to have 7m euro shortfall  (GMM)  7 million euros will be missing from the budget of F1's governing FIA in 2011.

A report in the British Express newspaper claims the shortfall is due to the expiry of a fourteen-year run of annual fees paid by Formula One Management, headed by chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

The deal, in which the sport's commercial rights were handed over to Ecclestone, was signed in 1997.

The report said the 7 million loss represents 15 per cent of the FIA's 48m annual budget, while the commercial rights generate almost a billion euros every year for FOM. More ...

Sorenson to stay with Red Bull  Reed Sorenson is expected to remain in the #83 Toyota for Red Bull Racing at Indianapolis and Pocono, the next two Sprint Cup races. Saturday night was originally the last of a three-race deal he had with the team with regular driver Brian Vickers out this season because of blood clots. Roanoke Times
Red Bull, Renault, eye team switch for Buemi  
You knew Sebastien Buemi was fast when as a rookie he smoked Sebastien Bourdais week in and week out
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi has leapt into contention for a move to a better team in the future.

With the backing of owner Red Bull, the 21-year-old Swiss currently drives for Toro Rosso but is hoping to eventually graduate to the energy drink company's main team.

The Swiss daily newspaper Le Matin said Buemi currently has no contract for 2011, but has attracted the attention of rival team chiefs with his driving at recent races.

Helmut Marko, Red Bull's F1 consultant, said: "His Montreal race was perfect; exactly the kind of performance we expect from him." More ...

F1 wants same safety car rules for 'uncertainty'  (GMM)  Marc Gene thinks it is mainly the drivers who want better safety car rules.

In an interview with El Mundo newspaper, Ferrari's Spanish test driver was asked about the controversial incidents sparked by the safety car period in Valencia two weeks ago.

In response, the FIA has tweaked the rules for Silverstone and beyond, but the thrust of the current regulations remain unchanged.

A questioner proposed to Gene that one solution would be to genuinely "neutralize" a race during a safety car period, with the race order frozen until it can properly resume. More ...

Red Bull favoring Vettel?  
Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull Racing made a right royal mess of the PR situation in Istanbul a few weeks ago when Sebastian Vettel collided with Mark Webber. This gave rise to the suggestion that the team was favoring the German over the Australian. The controversy dissipated only when it was announced that Webber would be staying on for another year – although Mark had actually signed his new contract on the night before the Grand Prix. The suspicion remained that the Austrian-owned team was favoring Vettel.

A pissed Mark Webber
Thus it was not a very smart move on Saturday at Silverstone to take the new front wing from Mark Webber’s car and give it to Vettel for the qualifying session. The two men started the day with two new identical front wings, but in the morning Vettel’s fell off the car when there was a problem with the fixation points. It was decided that Sebastian should be given Mark’s wing, because he was ahead in the World Championship. More ...
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