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Sale of DuPont paint division to affect NASCAR? The DuPont Co. has agreed to sell its auto paint business in an almost $5 billion cash deal, advancing its strategy to move out of oil-based products and delve more deeply into advancing agriculture, nutrition and renewable fuels. The company announced the $4.9 billion sale of its DuPont Performance Coatings business, a cornerstone in the firm's traditional lines, to The Carlyle Group, a global asset management firm.
The transaction is expected to close early in 2013, and DuPont will retain ownership of its signature oval label. Carlyle will replace the oval and rebrand the unit's products, according to DuPont. When the deal closes, all DuPont Performance Coatings workers will become employees of a new company under Carlyle. Company officials said it is too soon to tell what staffing plans the new owners will have once they take over.
Overhead in Baltimore - SaturdayUPDATE Rumor has it that the cost reductions Brian Barnhart has been working on with Dallara won't go into effect until the 2013 season and one team owner said that whatever Barnhart comes up with it won't be enough, but at least it's something.
Sarah Fisher is quick to give praise to her drivers – both Josef Newgarden (who is on injured reserve this weekend) and fill-in driver Bruno Junqueira. Sarah reminded us that, not only had Bruno not been in an Indy car for a while, he’d never been in this version of Indy car – ever. In fact, it’s been several years since he’s been in a single seater. Bruno qualified 10th, but will start 20th due to an engine penalty not of his doing. As for Josef – he’s been a pleasant surprise. “He surprised us a lot.” The team believes he’s got all the tools to be great, and unlike other talented drivers in their rookie season, he has avoided tearing up a lot of equipment. BTW, the team's nickname for Newgarden is "Noogie." Honest. Not "Joey" but "Noogie."
AutoRacing1 did some eavesdropping as Sam Schmidt talked to the "Day at the Races" crowd outside of his hauler. The event is designed to bring wheel-chair bound fans, plus a helper, to the races to enjoy the sights and sounds. IndyCar has long known that Sam is one of the best known quadriplegics in the world, and has supported this effort for several years now. Sam commented to AutoRacing1 -- "Yeah, it sucks to be in a chair, but you can make your dreams come true if you put your mind to it."
With the announcement that Chase Austin would be running the Indy 500, AJ Fort Racing continues to make waves. Not only did Mike Conway qualify second for tomorrow's race (he will have to start 12th due to a motor penalty), it now looks like Foyt will be running three cars at Indy. AutoRacing1 caught up with Larry Foyt, who also confirmed that they are trying to get a development driver program going as well. Not only do they want to develop drivers, but they'd love to develop some quality IndyCar mechanics -- which is something that has been a concern for years. Conway is working hard to be back next year with Foyt.
How hard is a bumpy course on the human body? Yesterday, Justin Wilson was quoted that one of the bumps he took was on par with the one that injured him last year at Mid Ohio. We caught up with Justin, who was in a great mood prior to qualifying (no doubt his accident during qualification dampened his mood some). Justin said that the bump yesterday wasn't quite as bad today, and with the changes made yesterday, that bump isn't even felt. However, he did recall (foggily) the day after a Champ Car race in San Jose, where the course was so bumpy that he and AJ Allmendinger were "punch drunk" the next day -- "We were, like, what should we be doing now? Oh that's right, we need to get on the airplane." Justin said that after the big shot yesterday, literally his mind wouldn't let his foot stay on the gas through that section of track.
Sebastien Bourdais is still hurting from his accident in Sonoma. "I wish I wasn't bouncing so much. It Would hurt less," said Bourdais. It's a tough break. I'm physically pretty hurt right now, pointing to his whole left side. I don't know how it's going to play out for tomorrow."
Sadly -- the crowd is down considerably from last year. While luxury sales appear to be up, grandstands are nearly empty. No doubt that part of that is due to the early morning rain, and part because the race wasn't even happening at one point. And with 60% chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday, the walkup crowd is sure to be impacted, meaning this race could be a financial bloodbath again.
We hear drivers would like to see the entire front straight (Pratt Street) repaved with asphalt and the chicane eliminated.
Quote of the day: "Dallara should sponsor that wall." -- Dario Franchitti referring to the wall after the chicane that so many drivers have hit and the money Dallara will make due to their high replacement parts prices.
09/01/12 Continuing with yesterday's Silly Season rumors from Baltimore, we added more fodder and made it into table format for you. We will update this as we hear more.
A.J. Foyt Racing
Mike Conway and maybe AJ Allmendinger but his license is suspended for substance abuse. Chase Austin (Indy only)
2nd car possible, AJ Allmendinger mentioned if he wants to return to IndyCar after his license is reinstated. 3rd car at Indy 500 to be driven by African American Chase Austin
Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti.
No change anticipated
No change anticipated
Dale Coyne Racing
Justin Wilson and James Jakes.
No change expected
Sebastien Bourdais and maybe Katherine Legge.
Depends on Jay Penske getting two Chevrolets.
Dreyer & Reinbold
No change expected
Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter and maybe a second car.
2nd car depends on sponsorship
Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball, Ryan Briscoe or Rubens Barrichello.
If Penske does not run 3rd car Briscoe could end up here, as could Barrichello
Simona De Silvestro, maybe Takuma Sato.
Sato could be 2nd driver. Likely trading Lotus for Honda.
KV Racing Technology
Tony Kanaan, TBD, TBD.
With Barrichello expected to leave and EJ Viso looking to start his own team (rumored) this team will need to add 1 or 2 new drivers
Wanted to race this year but could not get an engine. Since Allmendinger owns part of this team, it could be an option for him to drive
Barrichello likes this Chevrolet team, but it feels like he’s headed back to Honda.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal and maybe Takuma Sato or Rubens Barrichello.
Son Graham rumored headed to Dad’s team. Will Sato say or Barrichello consider them
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
No change expected
Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports
Simon Pagenaud and TBD
Rob Edwards run team hoping to add a 2nd car
Will Power and Helio Castroneves. Maybe Briscoe
Penske told AR1.com he wants to stay with three cars if sponsor found
Mark C. and Tim Wohlford reporting from Baltimore.Comment
No track testing for new F1 engines The way the F1 rules are currently written, it is likely that the new generation of V6 turbos due for introduction in 2014 will be debuted without any previous track testing, which is a concern to some of the sport's engine men.
The possibility of allowing a test mule to be used at 'engine-only' track test sessions has been discussed but has not found favor.
Maldonado could be out of Williams seat for 2013 (GMM) Pastor Maldonado on Thursday admitted his priority is to stay with the Williams team in 2013.
With financial backing in tow, the Venezuelan made his debut for the Grove team last season and, despite some ups and downs so far in this campaign, he broke through in Barcelona for Williams' first pole and win in years.
But he admitted at Spa Francorchamps that he is not yet signed up for 2013.
"First of all I am concentrating on this season," he told reporters in Belgium.
"We're only at about half the season behind us, but of course I am looking forward to the next one. The team is working hard on the new car.
Also McLaren to debut double-DRS at Spa - reportUPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. Martin Whitmarsh on Thursday played down reports McLaren is set to follow Mercedes and Lotus' lead by racing a 'double DRS' system this weekend at Spa.
But the Woking based team's boss did not deny McLaren designers are working on the straightline-speed boosting concept.
"We are not announcing when, where and if we are going to be introducing it," he told reporters during sponsor Vodafone's regular media teleconference.
"I think we will see different wing variants, certainly on our car along with a number of visual items as they go through scrutineering later today and hit the track on Friday.
"We will see new bits, but McLaren will not have a double DRS in Belgium," Whitmarsh said from Belgium.
Kurt Busch, like his brother Kyle, another unhappy NASCAR driver ripe for stealing
There is not another free agent as talented as Kurt Busch. The former Cup champion has bided his time with Phoenix Racing this season, as patiently as he could. However, since Busch has driven nothing but top-of-the-line equipment in his career, the tendency this season has been to overdrive the equipment in order to compensate.
Yes, there's been plenty of twisted sheet metal to contend with and if team owner James Finch had an extensive fabrication shop, that wouldn't be a problem. But he doesn't. And the answer won't be bringing in a buy-ride next year with Brian Scott.
His eyes say it all. Kyle Busch has lost interest. He's been neutered by NASCAR
This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' now. When Busch was winning everything, he had an air of invincibility and walked through the garage without a care in the world. If he minded being NASCAR's bad boy, he sure didn't show it. With his trademark celebratory bow to the crowd, and his refusal to back down to anyone, Busch had established himself as the centerpiece in almost every NASCAR story line. Now? He seems somewhat defeated. The constant booing from fans, the nasty messages on Twitter, the stifling media scrutiny and the never-ending sponsor glad-handing he's got to do as both a driver and a team owner has pushed Busch to the edge of bitterness. He wasn't cocky or confident in his media availabilities at Bristol; he was fulfilling an obligation with zero enthusiasm. How is NASCAR Neutering Busch? In Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup, speculation is that how strict they are in the technical inspection line governs how fast you go on the race track.
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Carl Edwards put to rest the rumors he would bolt Roush Fenway Racing to take the wheel of Penske Racing's No. 22 Sprint Cup Series ride next season.
During a national media teleconference on Wednesday, Edwards addresses reports that had him moving from Roush to Penske in 2013.
"To clear the air, I guess no one has asked me specifically about it, but there's a lot of talk about me driving the 22 car next year," said Edwards. "I just want everybody on the call in the media to know that's impossible.
"First of all I haven't discussed that ever with anyone at Penske. Two, I'm contracted to drive the 99 car. I'm very excited about next season. That's what's happening in case anybody wants to know. I wouldn't mention it except that it's gotten bad enough that sponsors and folks are asking me about it. I guess I have to try to address that now and make sure you know I'll be driving the 99 car next year for sure."
Overheard at Sonoma - SundayUPDATE Regarding our report on Sunday (below) that participants wanted the P2P delay removed - INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, has removed the activation delay to the overtake assist for this weekend's Grand Prix of Baltimore.
The push-to-pass system has been utilized at Toronto and Edmonton with an activation delay of 5 seconds introduced at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 5. The delay was reduced to 3.5 seconds for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26. The system will have no delay for the final road/street race of the 2012 season at Baltimore.
Mello Yello Taking Over As NHRA Title SponsorUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. NHRA announced today that The Coca-Cola Company has extended its relationship with the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body and will continue its longstanding association as title sponsor of NHRA's premier series through the year 2018. In addition, it was announced that beginning in 2013, Mello Yello, The Coca-Cola Company's popular citrus-flavored soft drink brand will be the new series title sponsor: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Sharon Byers, Senior Vice President Sports and Entertainment Marketing Partnerships at The Coca-Cola Company, and NHRA President Tom Compton jointly made the announcement in downtown Indianapolis at Monument Circle on the eve of the start of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, the world's largest and most prestigious drag racing event.
Keselowski says Hendrick teams may be cheatingUPDATE #4 Rumor has it that NASCAR wants to remove the side skirts and ban all of the crazy rear suspension stuff, but they have told the teams that there will be no change this close to the Chase. Apparently the risk of fan favorite Dale Jr. losing his mojo would be too severe. Dale Jr. was a backmarker until Hendrick implemented their 'trick' rear suspension. It fits his driving style apparently.
08/25/12 NASCAR officials said mechanical devices the Hendrick Motorsports teams and other organizations in the Sprint Cup Series are using to gain a competitive advantage in the rear housing are legal -- today. "We watch it weekly because it has ramped up the last couple of months,'' series director John Darby said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "If it stays pretty level we'll probably leave it alone the rest of the year. "If there is a higher extreme somebody takes it to that could create issues we don't want to see, then we'll react to that.'' The HMS cars in May were the first this season to develop devices that allow the rear axle to turn slightly to follow the front, creating more speed particularly in the corners. "Where we're at today, right now, there is no illegal procedures going on,'' Darby said. "Obviously, there was one we found Tuesday that was questionable. But the mechanical devices, the way they're using them, there's a clear understanding of what the teams are doing.'' Darby said teams are using different methods to create a "hook and ladder fire truck effect that allows the rear axle to turn so the rear of the car follows the front.'' He said there's nothing in the current rulebook that doesn't allow that, but he didn't rule out that changing in 2013. "It's just a direct everybody has gone to maximize, optimize,'' Darby said. "Right now it's pretty level throughout the garage. If you take the most extreme to the least developed, it's not a huge difference.'' ESPN
Zipadelli back on Stewart's car? Tony Stewart denied on Tuesday a weekend social media report that Greg Zipadelli would become his crew chief in 2013. "No, that's not true,'' Stewart said during a promotion for sponsor Mobil 1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "That's the first I've even heard about it. Nobody has thought about that or discussed that. We're pretty comfortable where we're at with our lineup right now.''
Stewart and Zipadelli won two Sprint Cup titles together at Joe Gibbs Racing before Stewart became the driver/owner of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. Zipadelli joined Stewart as competition director at SHR this season. Zipadelli also is the crew chief for #10-Danica Patrick's 10 Cup races this season. Stewart said there are no plans to leave Zipadelli with Patrick when she moves to Cup full time in 2013. ESPN
Truex to re-sign with MWRUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Martin Truex Jr. has agreed to an extension to stay in the #56 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing with NAPA as his primary sponsor. MWR has scheduled a press conference for Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway where Truex and NASCAR president Mike Helton will be present to announce 2013 plans and unveil a car. ESPN.com
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr claims he is "very close" to extending his relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Speaking at Watkins Glen on Friday he said his new deal with MWR is nearly set and he is looking forward to seeing his work during the past few years rewarded.
"We're very, very close," said Truex about his new deal. "I'm not going to say it's done, but it's basically done. I'm very, very happy about that.
IndyCar Car parts dilemma nears resolution A resolution to IndyCar’s pesky and divisive car parts issue is expected this week, Dallara’s Indianapolis-based director said Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
The deal will reduce the cost of parts to teams by as much as 20 percent, although details are still to be resolved, said Stefano Deponti, general manager of Dallara’s U.S.-based operation.
Also to be finalized: The length of the agreement, which at present is targeted for the end of the 2013 season.
Team owners have been seeking an overall reduction in the price of IndyCar participation, and Dallara has been caught in the middle since being named sole supplier of the first-year DW12 chassis. Indy Star
Kubica to try return to racingUPDATE (GMM) Robert Kubica has tested a world rally car in France.
Ford's technical director Christian Loriaux was quoted on Saturday by the French-language L'Avenir as saying works drivers Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala tested over four days at the asphalt Circuit des Ecuyers.
Also in action was a "mystery driver who does not want to give publicity to this collaboration", Loriaux reportedly said.
The mystery driver, according to Ford's Loriaux, is a "guy with some experience on asphalt, and I take off my hat to him: he came at his own expense and worked gracefully".
"And his expertise was very interesting. During our first contact, he told me he was not sure if he could do the job physically, but everything went well," he added.
Jonathan Rea to replace Stoner? Jonathan Rea, Ten Kate Honda rider in WSBK, will join the Repsol Honda team for tomorrow's test in Brno, and also for the 2 day test in Aragon that will take place on the 4th and 5th of September.
In case, as doctors anticipate, Casey Stoner is not able to re-join the Repsol Honda Team in time, then Jonathan will replace him in Misano and Aragon.
Honda Racing Corporation would like to thank Honda Europe, Ten Kate Team and all their sponsors for their cooperation under the circumstances.
IndyCar Takeover bid - Officials say series is not for saleUPDATE #4 As expected, this rumor is now downgraded to 'false.' The president and CEO of IndyCar's parent company put an end to speculation that a group of car owners is interested in buying the series.
IndyCar isn't even for sale, said Jeff Belskus of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.
"The story is (fictional)," Belskus said Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, where today's GoPro Indy Grand Prix will be held. "We have had no meaningful conversations about anyone wanting to buy the series.
"The series is not for sale."
That hasn't stopped people from talking about it, beginning with a report on Speed's "Wind Tunnel" show last weekend.
If there are indeed "four or five car owners" consolidating to force a leadership change, they couldn't be counted Saturday.
A survey of the 15 team owners that regularly field cars failed to find one to confirm involvement. More at Indy Star
Overheard at Sonoma - Saturday Some team owners still do not want to see body kits introduced next year because they will likely all be the same after a year or so, just like F1 cars all look very similar. Everyone copies a winning design.
We hear that Entergy, the Nuclear Energy sponsor for the HVM Racing team are on the fence about returning. We hear they are very disappointed that they are hamstringed with a Lotus engine they can't replace because of the politics between IndyCar and Lotus over breaking of the Lotus contract so they can depart.
We hear most team owners feel Randy Bernard's doubleheaders won't work. Promoters are not going to pay two sanction fees for the weekend and a Saturday race would take away from the Sunday attendance. So instead of having one successful event you end up with two poorly attended (i.e. loser) events.
GM looking to expand their credit line Rumor has it that General Motors is in early stages of talks with banks about expanding its credit line by as much as $5 billion, a person familiar with the discussions said.
GM, based in Detroit, may seek $4 billion to $5 billion in additional revolving credit from some of the banks that provided its current line of credit, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Overheard at Sonoma - Friday A prefect day weather-wise in Sonoma for the first day of practice for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on the modified Sonoma road course. As usual there was a lot of behind the scenes happenings to report on. One good news item is the fact that ticket sales are up about 8% over last year and expect the large main grandstand behind the pits to be almost full.
I hear that IndyCar is close to making two important announcements, either this weekend or next weekend in Baltimore. One is the decision of go or no-go for the body kits for 2013. We know Honda, Chevy, IndyCar, the customers (i.e. the fans) and some team owners want them. Mike Hull of the Ganassi team told us the cost of the body kits probably would not be an issue for the team owners if they were not spending so much more than anticipated on parts this year. And speaking of parts, we hear the second key announcement to be made by IndyCar is the work Brian Barnhart has done with Dallara, Cosworth, X-Trac, etc. to lower the cost of parts. It is our hope that the costs will be lowered enough that the team owners can agree on the new body kits. NASCAR tried a single body kit and we all know how that turned out. Horribly, but NASCAR has reacted and in 2013 the cars will look different and resemble the passenger cars a bit more. Stay tuned......
Bruton's Bristol changes failed If Wednesday night's Truck Series race is a good indicator, grinding the top lane hasn't eliminated the two- and sometimes three-wide racing that fans have complained about since the track was reconfigured with progressive banking in 2007.
Timothy Peters led all 204 laps -- the first 82 were under green -- before a single-car incident brought out the first caution. There wasn't a time when a driver had to move another out of the way to gain position as was tradition before progressive banking.
Grinding the upper lane was intended to make racing tighter and create more of the beating and banging that Bristol became famous for when the track was the toughest ticket in NASCAR, selling out 55 consecutive races between 1982 and 2010.
It hasn't helped, according to tweets from several Sprint Cup drivers.
"Just as expected. Killing the top groove doesn't make the bottom groove any better," Martin Truex Jr. wrote on Twitter.
Responded Kevin Harvick: "One day they will listen." ESPN.com
Volkswagen Plans To Join F1 In 2015; Reportedly Talking With Sauber TeamUPDATE #4 (GMM) Volkswagen has played down reports it is making plans to enter formula one in 2015.
The German weekly Sport Bild said the Wolfsburg based carmaker giant was planning to enter F1 with Sauber, or even considering getting involved in chassis design at its state of the art Porsche Motorsport Centre in Weissach.
The report said the FIA was aware of VW's plans.
But the marque's marketing and communications boss Stefan Moser said: "Nothing has changed since our last statement.
"We are continuing to focus on the WRC. Entering formula one is not an issue for us right now," he told Germany's motorsport-magazin.com.
(GMM) Felipe Massa, who is fighting to keep his seat at Ferrari after seven consecutive seasons with the famous Italian team, gave his August break a boost at the weekend by going P1 at his home circuit, Interlagos.
He was faster than regulars including former grand prix driver Christian Fittipaldi during practice for a round of the Brazilian Copa Fiat touring car series.
“Having one set of tires more than the others helped me but I was not expecting to be quicker than excellent and experienced drivers like Christian Fittipaldi, Caca Bueno and André Bragantini, who are leading the championship,” said Massa.
Bidders show interest in purchasing, bringing back A1GP series At least two groups are interested in re-launching the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports that closed down following the 2008-09 season.
The administrator of A1GP Operations has confirmed that two bids have been made for the assets, which include the fleet of Ferrari-powered, single-seat cars used in the final season of A1GP in 2008-09. Both bidders are known to be looking to use the cars to revive a series that went bust in the wake of its fourth season.
The A1GP series featured open-wheel racing in which drivers represented countries rather than teams or themselves.
Dyson-Led Group Submits 2014 Indy Lights Proposal The interest surrounding the 2014 Indy Lights car continues to grow as a new constructor has stepped forward to submit a chassis and engine proposal.
SPEED.com's sources have confirmed that a group led by Dyson Racing, along with a collection of ex-Lola employees, have entered the running to supply a car it has dubbed the "Hulman" in honor of Tony Hulman and the Hulman George family that owns both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IZOD IndyCar Series.
If the Hulman HGIL014, which bears some resemblance to Lola's 2012 IndyCar renderings, is accepted by the series as the new 2014 Indy Lights car, the chassis would contain state-of-the-art design, the latest technologies and would be manufactured in North America.
IndyCar engine design shop to open in BrooklynUPDATE This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact'. A company that specializes in the elite design of globally competitive auto-racing engines plans to open shop on a former brownfield site in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.
"You might say this is 'Silicon Alley' meeting 'Gasoline Alley' and it's another example of how when it comes to creating jobs our administration has the pedal to the metal," said Mr. Bloomberg, failing to elicit much laughter for his word play, during a news conference at the site at 105 Metropolitan Ave.
Company owner Ethan Bregman plans to open the facility next summer and continue work on a project designing the Honda IndyCar. The environmental cleanup at the site, which has been vacant for 27 years, is slated to be completed at the end of this summer.
Parts crisis threatens IndyCar's future Is there any sport in the world that features as much infighting between the governing body and the participating teams as Indy car racing?
Don’t kid yourself: the dissention in the sport didn’t start with the CART/IRL split of 1996. It goes all the way back to the late 1970s, when CART was formed by a group of team owners who believed that USAC focused almost exclusively on the Indianapolis 500 and was not placing enough emphasis on the kind of season-long championship the teams needed to survive as business entities.
Therefore, it’s either ironic or disturbing that the IZOD IndyCar Series could be on the brink of another owner’s revolt. In a USA Today story published this week, Jeff Olson documented the current war that is quietly raging below the surface, pitting team owners against exclusive chassis supplier Dallara, with INDYCAR forced into the role of mediator.
Sonoma last race for Bourdais Rumor has it that this coming weekend's IndyCar race at Sonoma will be the last one this year for Sebastien Bourdais and Dragon Racing. Word is that Katherine Legge will run the final two races at Baltimore and Fontana for Dragon.
IndyCar eyeing New Orleans as it struggles to find 19 venuesUPDATE New Orleans will not be on the 2013 IndyCar schedule. A road course is under construction outside New Orleans that reminds Tony Cotman of a track from the old CART days but it may not quite be ready for an IndyCar race.
“It’s very flat, like Cleveland, and it’s got a raised berm down one side so you can see all around it and that’s good,” said Cotman, who recently inspected NOLA Motorsports Park to see if it was up to snuff for a race in 2013.
“But there’s not a lot of infrastructure right now and it may be a year or two away from being ready for us.”
AR1 reply to Mordichai Rosen, Assuming your conspiracy theory is right, NASCAR computer generating the grid to sell more tickets did not work. The photo to the right shows the grandstands 5 minutes before the start of the Nationwide race. It appears this race may not have a future. Note all the people with the same colored shirts, meaning they are probably there for free from some sponsor/hospitality.
08/18/12 Add Danica Patrick to the mix. As ratings and attendance are dwindling they need to have her up front. When she starts in the back moving forward is not her best attribute. Still blaming others for almost every miscue she makes. Now with her being upfront let’s see what happens. JFS, Albrightsville, PA
08/17/12 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, How convenient. A Canadian on pole in Montreal for the NASCAR Nationwide race. The NASCAR computers are hard at work again this weekend to ensure maximum ticket sales. Nothing against Alex Tagliani, he certainly is a good open wheel driver. But to come in and sit on pole with minimum stock car experience this year is just too transparent. Another Canadian, Villeneuve, is right up there too. Mordichai Rosen, LA, California
IndyCar to announced a reduction in testing for 2013UPDATE IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard reiterated Thursday that cutting back on testing is the best way to reduce costs for teams in the Izod IndyCar Series.
But Bernard said that won’t stop the series from lowering the price of parts sold by Dallara, the chassis company that has a virtually exclusive contract with IndyCar.
“Testing is one way (to lower costs), parts is another,” Bernard said. “But lowering the parts cost needs to be in good faith with Dallara.”
IndyCar teams previously saved money by making many of their own parts. IndyCar gave Dallara more control of the parts in negotiations that included Dallara establishing a U.S. base in Indianapolis.
The cost of spare parts is one of the issues IndyCar team owners have complained about the most this season.
BMW may have padded U.S. July sales to edge Mercedes BMW AG may have inflated its flagship brand's July sales figures to edge rival Mercedes-Benz for the month as the best-selling luxury brand in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
On July 31, the day before industrywide July sales figures were reported, BMW offered dealers discounts of as much as $7,000 per 2012 vehicle if the dealers reported the vehicles as sold on that day, according to today's Journal.
Hundreds of vehicles that were reported as sold are still on dealership lots being advertised for sale as new, according to the report. BMW division's July sales figure included demo vehicles, which are used for test drives, company spokesman Kenn Sparks said.
Logano faces uncertain future with Joe Gibbs RacingUPDATE #3 Team owner Joe Gibbs reiterated Thursday that he wants to re-sign driver Joey Logano but said that Logano’s future with the organization is still “up in the air.”
Logano is 18th in the Sprint Cup standings, but is in contention for a Chase wild card thanks to his victory June 10 at Pocono Raceway. Logano’s contract is up after this season and Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to announce soon that it has signed 2003 champion Matt Kenseth to replace him in the No. 20 car. The organization likely would have to start a fourth team to keep Logano in a Sprint Cup car. Logano, meanwhile, is considered the leading candidate for Penske Racing’s No. 22 car next season.
“Everything right now is up in the air with Joey,” Gibbs said Thursday in an interview on ESPN’s Sports Center. "We want to re-sign Joey and we’re trying to do that, but he has other options, too. So you could say that everything is up in the air there. We would love to keep him. We signed Joey when he was 16 and it’s been a great relationships and we’d like to keep him.”
General Motors Is Headed For Bankruptcy -- Again President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors. That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again predicts Forbes Magazine. The company is once again losing market share, and it seems unable to develop products that are truly competitive in the U.S. market, which is what you become from free handouts - mediocrity at best.
Right now, the federal government owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company. It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion.
Right now, the government’s GM stock is worth about 39% less than it was on November 17, 2010, when the company went public at $33.00/share. However, during the intervening time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by almost 20%, so GM shares have lost 49% of their value relative to the Dow.
If Allmendinger did lie to the world his reputation is shot.
It is highly unlikely that AJ Allmendinger's positive test for amphetamines resulted from a single pill taken one time, as the suspended Sprint Cup driver recently stated, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com.
It also is highly unlikely that Allmendinger will complete NASCAR's Road to Recovery program, necessary for reinstatement, by the end of August, as the driver stated, the source said.
"That's not going to happen," the source said.
Allmendinger, who drove the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge in Sprint Cup, was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on July 24. He likely will need a lengthier recovery period, according to the source.
More Canadian races in the future? This weekend's annual Nationwide race in Montreal might be just a taste of what's to come north of the border for NASCAR. Since 2007, the Nationwide Series has visited the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road circuit. Every year, rain or shine the event draws one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire season.
The success of the race has sparked speculation more of NASCAR's top divisions may compete in Canada in the not too distant future including the Sprint Cup Series. Ron Fellows is now co-owner of what was once known as Mosport International Raceway, a storied motorsports facility in Ontario that includes a 2.5-mile road circuit as well as a one mile oval track. Fellows has made it clear he would like nothing more than to bring a NASCAR Nationwide and/or Camping World Truck Series race to what's now known as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park sooner rather than later. "We've talked to NASCAR and yes while we weren't able to put it together for 2012, we're pursuing something for our 2013 schedule," said Fellows.
NASCAR CEO Brian France was in Montreal in recent months to meet with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve officials and speculation is the sanctioning body would consider adding a third road course to the Cup schedule and take the series international. But the question is where would the date come from? NASCAR will not add another weekend to the racing schedule. In order for Montreal to host a Sprint Cup event, another track will have to lose one. Therein lies the roadblock for NASCAR to bring its premier circuit to Canada. CBS Sports
McLaren close to re-signing Hamilton for $31M per year
Is this driver worth $31M per year? We have a bridge For Sale McLaren!
McLaren Managing Dir Jonathan Neal revealed that F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is close to an extension with the British racing team, according to Juline Delfosse of AUTOHEBDO.fr. Hamilton, who has been with McLaren since '07, is currently in the middle of negotiations to extend his deal.
The team "seems to have proposed" a new five-year contract worth €25M ($30.9M) annually. However, the F1 driver "wishes to negotiate certain elements, like the trophies, which he would now like to keep."
Neal told Sky Sports the sides were close to a deal. Neal: "We are close to a signature and of course, we are still talking. For obvious reasons, I cannot speculate at the moment. We are working hard to reach a deal that satisfies both parties" AUTOHEBDO.fr
China still in play for IndyCar for 2013 As we spelled out in this article in June, an IndyCar race in China is not out of the question for 2013. A call to our contacts in the China government tell us that the government is keen on getting this done to restore face for the country. They feel the cancellation was a real set back in relations with the U.S. and a black eye for China. As was the case with the Olympics, they like to show the world that they can get things done. In short, the Central Government wants this fixed ASAP. As you would expect, the Series is keeping an open mind but their expectations are much higher for approval of a new event. Check in hand, etc.. before any public acknowledgement. So add China to the possible list of new venues in 2013. It is one of the reasons IndyCar is waiting as late as possible on a schedule announcement.
Quicken Loans to sponsor Newman in 2013UPDATE A team spokesman said Monday that no announcement is scheduled, but reiterated that the team is focused on re-signing Newman and new sponsors. "Negotiations regarding retaining Ryan Newman as the driver of the #39 car are ongoing, as are discussions with various brands to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and the #39 team," SHR spokesman Mike Arning said in an email. "Stewart-Haas Racing continues to negotiate with one driver and one driver only for the #39 car, and that driver is Ryan Newman." Sporting News
08/13/12 Ryan Newman is expected to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing with additional support from sponsor Quicken Loans. An announcement could come as early as next week. FoxSports
Hamilton may have decided to quit McLaren - NoUPDATE #8
McLaren are ever closer to confirming a new contract with Lewis Hamilton, team Managing Director Jonathan Neale told Sky Sports. Any rumors of a departure were all but confirmed as untrue when Mark Webber signed another one-year contract with Red Bull earlier this year. Hamilton has already said that he is thinking about longstanding goals, suggesting at least a three-year agreement.
“We are closer and of course we are in dialogue,” Neale told Sky Sports. “For obvious reasons I can't speculate more at the moment. We are working very hard to find a common ground.”
When asked to confirm that a new deal is what both parties are looking for, Neale replied:
Petty team could be left with engines in 2013 While celebrating the win by Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose in victory lane Sunday, Richard Petty went up to Ford motorsports director Jamie Allison and delivered a message. It was less than a week after Petty and the rest of the NASCAR world learned that Dodge would not return to NASCAR in 2013, and Petty figured he would try to capitalize on Allison’s excitement over Ambrose’s victory at Watkins Glen International. Richard
“I told them, ‘Me and Marcos won the race and I had the contract in my pocket,’” Petty said. “I was going to let them sign it right there. I don't think it went over too good.”
Barrichello may leave KV Racing for Honda teamUPDATE #2 “We’ve got an investment in Rubens, we want to keep him and we’ve got people in Brazil right now trying to sell sponsorships,” Jimmy Vasser told speed.com, who co-owns KV Racing with Kevin Kalkhoven.
“He’s free to do what he wants but I’d like to get some clarity because I keep hearing all these stories about where he might be going.”
“You would have to ask Rubens if he’s interested in our team,” replied Rob Edwards, team manager for Sam Schmidt’s operation, when asked if they had approached the 40-year-old veteran about joining Pagenaud next year.
“We definitely want to run a second car and Sam and I have a list of drivers we’re interested in and we’re going through it.”
The package of state aid that seemed to have rescued Nurburgring Automotive GmbH—the company that operates the publicly owned German race circuit—is being investigated by the European Commission.
If the commission judges that its state-aid regulations have been breached, it would insist that the financial package be withdrawn. This would almost certainly trigger the immediate bankruptcy of the Nurburgring, making it even less likely that it would be able to stage the Formula One German Grand Prix as scheduled in 2013.
DeltaWing Submits 2014 Indy Lights Proposal It started out as an open-wheel concept, morphed into a sports car project and, if IndyCar's Firestone Indy Lights Series accepts their proposal, the consortium behind the wild DeltaWing chassis is prepared replace the antiquated Dallara Indy Lights chassis that debuted in 2002.
SPEED.com has confirmed the DeltaWing's oversight group, comprised of its designer, Ben Bowlby, Dan Gurney's All American Racers, ALMS founder and Elan Technologies owner Don Panoz, IndyCar, NASCAR and GRAND-AM team owner Chip Ganassi and Highcroft Racing owner Duncan Dayton, has joined the array of constructors vying for the the contract to supply the new-for-2014 Indy Lights car.
Speed says he will run full time in 2013 Scott Speed said on SPEED's NASCAR Racehub that he would run the full-time 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2013 for the #95 Leavine Family Racing team . No announcement from team yet.
Red Bull set to be announced as new promoter of the World Rally Championship Red Bull is set to be announced as the new promoter of the World Rally Championship, AUTOSPORT is hearing.
The FIA, the sport's ruling body, opened a tender to find a new promoter for the WRC in February after the previous promoter, North One Sport, had its contract terminated when its parent company CSI went into administration.
Red Bull Media House was one of three candidates that had been shortlisted by the FIA for the role. The other two were a South African partnership and Eurosport.
Lawsuit Could Undo Sale That Created New GM, Company Says The new General Motors Co. (GM) could be undone by a lawsuit that pits general creditors against hedge funds including Elliott Management Corp. and Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) over $3 billion, the car company said in a lawsuit that went to trial today.
A trust for creditors of the old, bankrupt part of the auto-maker now known as Motors Liquidation Co. sued the hedge funds in Manhattan bankruptcy court in March, alleging that while GM was preparing its bankruptcy filing on June 1, 2009, four hedge funds, which held notes in a Canadian unit of GM, “saw an eleventh-hour opportunity for profit and pounced.”
The trust seeks to have a $2.67 billion claim and a $367 million payment negotiated for holders of notes in GM’s Nova Scotia unit disallowed or reduced, saying the hedge funds seek more than three times what General Motors actually owed them. The amounts, agreed to as part of a settlement known as the “Lock-Up Agreement” resolved a dispute the hedge funds had brought over an intercompany claim GM’s Nova Scotia Finance unit had against GM Canada.
McLaren to follow Ferrari's 'pull-rod' lead in 2013 (GMM) Another publication is reporting rumors McLaren will follow Ferrari's lead in opting for innovative pull-rod front and rear suspension for its 2013 car.
A little more than a month ago, the Spanish sports daily Marca said the British team's MP4-28 - like Ferrari's current F2012 - will have pull-rod front suspension.
Until 2012, the configuration had not been seen since Fernando Alonso raced a Minardi more than a decade ago.
Penske to run Fords, not build Dodge enginesUPDATE #3 In an exclusive interview with SPEED.com, Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said Monday afternoon that a potential deal between the team and Dodge to continue building Dodge Sprint Cup engines next year fell apart last week.
As a result, Cindric said, Penske is looking at a variety of options for its Mooresville, N.C., engine shop, which currently builds the motors for Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Those options including building engines for other racing series or selling the engine operation entirely, Cindric told SPEED.com.
Penske announced earlier Monday that it will get its engines from Roush Yates Engines next year, when it will switch NASCAR manufacturer alliances from Dodge to Ford.
As far as the Penske engine operation, Cindric said, “We’re going to continue to explore opportunities there.”
The original plan was to continue to work with Dodge, but that’s off the table now, said Cindric.
Allmendinger to IndyCar? Can't yetUPDATE #3 MSR Indy, which AJ Allmendinger owns along with Michael Shank, could be an option for Allmendinger in 2013 assuming he completes his 'Road to Recovery' program and gets his license reinstated. They have a new IndyCar but could not get an engine for 2012. They are expected to get one for 2013. Then the question is whether anyone would sponsor A.J.
08/02/12 AR1.com has learned that AJ’s career is largely toast and IndyCar or sports cars are not an option. His FIA license has also been suspended and that is a requirement for IndyCar, GrandAm and ALMS.
Allmendinger was a rising star in Champ Car before switching to the dark side. Now the question is whether IndyCar will take him back given the two black marks on his record - a DWI conviction and now an uncontested NASCAR drug suspension.
In a move that comes as no surprise, Penske Racing on Wednesday officially released AJ Allmendinger as driver of the No. 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dodge Charger. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week after testing positive for amphetamines during the Kentucky Speedway race weekend.
Allmendinger’s final stats with Penske are 17 starts, one pole, one top five and three top 10s. He was 23rd in points at the time of his suspension.
Where this leaves Allmendinger’s future is uncertain.
While he is participating in NASCAR’s Road To Recovery program, Allmendinger now has a positive drug test on his record, as well as a no contest plea to a charge of driving while impaired in Mooresville, N.C., in October 2009.
Lotus to dump IndyCarUPDATE IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Lotus is still expected back in the series in 2013 despite speculation that it will drop out. “They have not told us they are out,” he said prior to Sunday’s race. “They have a contract, so it’s not going to be that easy for them to tell us they’re out.”
07/23/12 AR1 rumored this a month ago. SPEED.com now reports that the British marque is planning to depart the series with four years left on its five-year commitment, and once those talks are concluded, Chevy and Honda would be the primary engine suppliers for at least the 2013 season.
Speaking with Olivier Picquenot, Lotus' dedicated program manager, after the Edmonton race, the Frenchman was unable to provide a definitive response regarding the manufacturer's future plans.
"Personally, I don't have the answer," he said. "Lotus for sure will try to stay as long as possible in IndyCar if we keep going...and have some success and we have more teams in the future. We can't run with one car, for sure. I can't really say yes if we continue or no [we do not]."
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