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DATE News (chronologically)
Sponsorship announcement for Stewart Haas Tuesday  
Tony Stewart
Stewart Haas Racing is expected to announce sponsorship for Ryan Newman Tuesday and likely will include existing nine-race sponsor Quicken Loans, according to those with knowledge of the announcement. Newman is losing the U.S. Army's 12-race sponsorship after this season.

He re-signed with the team in early September even though it had not announced any sponsors for 2013. Stewart himself needs a sponsor to replace Office Depot and its 22 races for next season. Several sources indicated that SHR is talking with Bass Pro Shops and an announcement could come as early as late next week. Bass Pro Shops already is an associate sponsor of the organization and has been on the hood of Newman's car for a couple of races. A Bass Pro spokesman said last week the company had no comment on the speculation of the company sponsoring SHR.
Overheard in Baltimore - Sunday  UPDATE #2 As reported back in Baltimore, Randy Bernard has now told USA Today that for the doubleheader rounds, standing starts will be introduced for one of the two races. “We believe the average distance traveled by fans will be longer for doubleheaders, so we'll draw more fans. The more time you get to see people competing in a race is better, and adding a standing start to one of the races adds to the intrigue. We feel like it will be a big positive for the fans, but it also gives us better exposure for our sponsors, more TV time, and it helps the promoters by giving them something additional to sell.”

09/02/12 We hear that team owners are encouraged that IndyCar is working on a 5-year strategic plan.  Ganassi Team Managing Director Mike Hull was glad to hear it. "I think the team owners have to sit down with IndyCar and discuss where are go from here.  We went since Long Beach, almost the entire season, with the cost model issue and nothing was done.  I support the idea of a 5-year plan.  It is important that we can represent to our promoters, sponsors, fans, other sanctioning bodies that we share race weekends with, engine manufacturers, everyone, as to where the series is going and where it plans to be 5-years from now. But we cannot have another year like this one where the cost model doesn't work.  I look forward to seeing the plan." More ...
FIA, F1 close to Concorde agreement  FIA president Jean Todt is confident that motor sport's governing body will sign Formula One's Concorde Agreement next month.

The new commercial agreement would bind together the FIA, the 12 F1 teams and commercial rights holder CVC Capital Partners.

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA said in a statement on Friday that "the FIA President confirmed that positive and constructive discussions continue with regard to the new Concorde Agreement and it is anticipated a contract will be signed by the end of October."

New F1 engines set to be scrapped  Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that controversial environmentally-friendly new engines which are due to be introduced to the sport in 2014 are likely to be scrapped. He says the move will save the teams as much as 30% of their projected budgets, which will help them stay in business during the economic downturn.

The new engine regulations are understood to be at the heart of the decision by British driver Lewis Hamilton to move next year from McLaren to Mercedes. The change in engine regulations was expected to give Mercedes an opportunity to improve performance as it would be a fresh start for the teams. More ...

Esteban Guerrieri to IndyCar in 2013  Based on these photos from his Facebook page, it appears that Esteban Guerrieri will be driving IndyCars in 2013.

Hamilton to Mercedes, Schumacher to leave  UPDATE #16 See the official announcement on our home page.

Lewis Hamilton goes for the money
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' now with enough sources reporting it. Lewis Hamilton will walk out on McLaren, the Formula One team who have nurtured his extraordinary talent for more than half of his lifetime, and sign for Mercedes, the German car giant is expected to announce later on Friday.

Contrary to widespread speculation that the 27-year-old Hamilton was about to re-sign for McLaren, the team he joined as a 13-year-old and with whom he won the world championship in 2008, the fastest and most gifted driver of his generation has decided to join Mercedes, despite the fact that they have won only one championship race this season and languish in mid-table in the constructors' title race. More ...
Sergio Perez to replace Lewis Hamilton  UPDATE #2 This rumor is now 'fact' with this announcement.

09/27/12 Sergio Perez could be announced as Lewis Hamilton's replacement at McLaren on what promises to be a busy Friday for Formula One. Perez is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and has tested for the Italian team, but he emerged as a potential candidate for McLaren after his superb performance in the Italian GP.

This could spell big trouble for Sauber if Perez takes all his Carlos Slim money to McLaren.

Is Perez being used as a pawn to keep Hamilton at McLaren
Mexican Sergio Perez is being lined up to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren as the British star's contract negotiations reach crisis point.

Only a week after McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted the team did not have a 'Plan B', it is understood contact has been made with Perez as Hamilton ponders a £60million offer from Mercedes.

McLaren's approach to the 22-year-old Sauber driver is an indication the team are growing impatient with the negotiating strategy of Hamilton's management, XIX Entertainment.

The agency is controlled by Simon Fuller, the man behind the Spice Girls, David Beckham, Andy Murray and creator of the Pop Idol TV franchise.  More ...

Smith out of the #78 after Talladega?  UPDATE Kurt Busch hopes to get a head start on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season by jumping in the #78 Furniture Row Chevy early. The next chapter of the Busch saga could begin as early as in two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Aligning with the team before the end of the season would offer Busch an opportunity to acclimate to the group and its systems for the final six races of the season.

"He's going to be out after Talladega," said Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch, for whom Busch currently drives. "We're going to go down there and try to win that race. We were up front for most of the spring race, and Brad (Keselowski) dumped us with three or four to go. We'll be fine at Talladega." So who would fill the Phoenix Racing seat currently occupied by Busch?

Since Finch has operated for most of 2012 sans sponsorship, he's looking at candidates "who have the potential" to bring financial support to the team for the final six race and possibly next year. Finch has spoken to representation for AJ Allmendinger, who has been sidelined since July 7, when he was suspended for testing positive for amphetamine the week before at Kentucky Speedway. Regan Smith, who will be displaced in the #78 Chevy by Busch, could be part of an easy swap with the #51 Phoenix team. Finch isn't limited to considering Sprint Cup candidates. He also has been approached by the camps of Nationwide Series drivers James Buescher and Justin Allgaier. Fox Sports

09/26/12 SPEED's Race Hub reported Wednesday evening that Regan Smith's final race of the season in the Furniture Row Racing #78 would be at Talladega. Kurt Busch is expected to drive the car the remainder of the season.
Ecclestone headed behind bars?  In Munich, Klaus Ott reported that Ecclestone "will soon be indicted in Munich on corruption charges" following a "decisive statement" made by convicted banker Gerhard Gribkowsky. The prosecutor "is preparing a charge of bribing a civil servant," as Gribkowsky was working for state bank BayernLB. Bribing a public official in Germany is more serious than bribing an ordinary citizen. What is more, Ecclestone -- according to Gribkowsky's jailhouse statement -- apparently referred to him as "civil servant," and therefore knew he was bribing an "officer of the state."

Thus an accusation against Ecclestone of bribery of public officials moves closer. Gribkowsky said that Ecclestone made his "civil servant" remark in a "derogatory fashion" to him. The public prosecutor's office "wants to complete its investigations against Ecclestone by the end of the fall and bring an indictment." Suddeutsche Zeitung
Elliott Sadler close to deal for 2013  
Elliott Sadler said Tuesday that he is "close" to determining where he will be working next season, but said first he must focus on taking care of unfinished business this season. Sadler currently drives the #2 Chevy full-time for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series, where he is the current points leader by a slim margin. But he already has said he and RCR will be splitting ways at season's end. He also has said that he would like to make a return to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series as soon as possible, and reiterated that point Tuesday after an appearance at RCR where he helped promote the Bank of America 500 that will be run Oct. 13 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More ...
IndyCar to replace Firestone  UPDATE #3
Would Pirelli consider IndyCar?
Knowing the France family, they will go with a single tire manufacturer for the merged ALMS/Grand-Am series, leaving the many tire manufacturers in ALMS up a creek without a paddle.  That includes Michelin, Dunlop, Continental and Pirelli.  Do not be surprised if IndyCar welcomes with open arms any one of these brands (Michelin being the best), along with Firestone.

Financially it would be good for IndyCar to have multiple tire manufacturers, but as history shows, tire wars in racing lead to more tire marbles, rising speeds and teams with the wrong manufacturer unhappy because they are uncompetitive.  So we expect IndyCar will pick a single supplier for IndyCar and another one for Indy Lights. 

The AR1.com solution to this is to get multiple manufacturers to agree to one company supplying the rubber for all tires while giving each company the freedom to do their own structural design.  This ensures minimum marbles (IndyCar controls the tire compounds), stops runaway speed escalation, allows multiple tire manufacturers to compete, keeps costs down for each manufacturer (no R&D for winning tire compound formulas) and it keeps all tires regardless of manufacturer in about the same performance envelope resulting in fair competition and no really unhappy teams.  However, this makes too much sense so IndyCar will find a reason not to do it. More ...
Ferrari set to announce Massa for 2013  UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  Felipe Massa has admitted he is "very close" to agreeing a new deal to stay with Ferrari in 2013.

Blick newspaper reported this week that Ferrari is set to keep the Brazilian for an eighth consecutive season next year, with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport agreeing that an announcement could be imminent.

Asked by the Brazilian sports daily 'Lance!' how close he is to securing a new contract, the 31-year-old driver answered: "Very close."

Asked when he expects the final decision to be made, Massa added: "It's hard to say. More ...

Schumacher has agreed to new deal?  UPDATE #2 If the rumor below can be believed, when the Mercedes board meets this week they will vote not to retain Michael Schumacher as an F1 driver.  If true, this rumor becomes 'false'....so stay tuned.

08/30/12 (GMM)  Team boss Ross Brawn on Thursday would not be drawn on speculation Michael Schumacher and Mercedes have now agreed to stay together at least another year.

German commentator Christian Danner, a former grand prix driver, earlier brought the seven time world champion's uncertain future back to the headlines when he revealed he thinks Schumacher, 43, has decided to stay in F1 in 2013.

"I ask for your understanding that we are not going to constantly give statements about our decision-making process," team principal Brawn told DPA news agency. More ...

Frijns could be Sauber or Williams tester - report  
Robin Frijns
(GMM)  A 21-year-old Dutchman could be a regular in the formula one paddock next year.

Last Friday, we reported the rumor from the Singapore paddock that Renault World Series driver Robin Frijns has lined up a F1 reserve driver role for 2013.

De Telegraaf newspaper reports that the possible destination teams are Sauber and Williams.

The report said Sauber could give him a cockpit for the Abu Dhabi young driver test, before announcing him as a full-time test driver for 2013. More ...

Racing News
Beverly Hills, CA to get 2014 street race  
Formula E car
Beverly Hills moved one step closer to hosting its own Electric Gran Prix following an initial meeting between Mayor Willie Brien and the competitive car race’s architect, Formula E Holdings CEO Alejandro Agag, on Wednesday.

“It was a very interesting concept that they presented,” Brien told The Courier. “I’m excited to talk to them about options…but it really depends what the details are.”

Agag said the world’s first Formula E car race sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) would kick off in 2014, with 10 teams racing two drivers each through 10 cities in Asia, Europe, the United States and South America in a series of street races. More ...

So what was Grubb hiding when TV showed his laptop screen?  Denny Hamlin crew chief Darian Grubb wasn't too happy Sunday when ESPN attempted to show his laptop computer screen on TV near the end of Hamlin's victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin was leading with four laps remaining in the 300-lap race when an ESPN cameraman climbed onto Grubb's pit box and showed an over-the-shoulder shot of Grubb in front of his computer. Grubb then put his hand over the camera lens, and he and another crewman covered Grubb's computer screen with their hands. The reaction led to fans asking on Twitter what Grubb and his team did not want fans and TV viewers to see on his computer screen. Was he attempting to hide some sort of secret data he didn't want the world to see? "Just tire pressures, fuel mileage, race strategy, and other misc stuff," Grubb wrote on his Twitter. Sporting News
Kurt Busch to Furniture Row Racing  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Furniture Row Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has been hired to drive the team’s No. 78 Chevrolet during the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

Busch, a former NASCAR Cup champion, will replace Regan Smith, who joined Furniture Row Racing at the beginning of the 2009 season.

“Though we have made strides as a resourceful single-car Sprint Cup team, we are not where we want to be, which led us to the difficult decision of making a driver change as we move forward,” said Furniture Row Racing's general manager Joe Garone. “Kurt’s exceptional driving talent has the capacity to take a team to another level. We look forward to having Kurt join our Denver-based organization and feel his racing experience will play an important role as we plan ahead to 2013.” More ...
2013 F1 Provisional Calendar  Singapore is no longer provisional as a new contract was signed this past weekend.
March 17: Australia (Melbourne)
March 24: Malaysia (Sepang)
April 14: China (Shanghai)
April 21: Bahrain (Sakhir)
May 12: Spain (Barcelona)
May 26: Monaco (Monte Carlo)
June 9: Canada (Montreal)
June 16: America (New Jersey)*
June 30: Britain (Silverstone)
July 21: Germany (Nurburgring)*
July 28: Hungary (Hungaroring)
Sept. 1: Belgium (Spa)
Sept. 8: Italy (Monza)
Sept. 22: Singapore (Marina Bay)
Oct. 6: Japan (Suzuka)
Oct. 13: Korea (Yeongam)*
Oct. 27: India (Buddh International Circuit)
Nov. 3: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
Nov. 17: United States (Austin)
Nov. 24: Brazil (Interlagos)
* subject to confirmation
Alguersuari to Sauber or Force India?  UPDATE
Jaime Alguersuari
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari on Saturday said the world should know his plans for 2013 in "a little while".

After losing his Toro Rosso seat at the end of last year, the young Spaniard became Pirelli's main test driver and a commentator for British radio.

But he told his 100,000 Twitter followers after touching down in Singapore this week that his plans for a return to action in 2013 are now set.

Asked by Marca sports newspaper if he knows he is going to be racing next year, he admitted: "Yes, I will race, for sure."

Asked what colors he will be wearing, the 22-year-old added: "No, obviously I cannot say yet." More ...

KV Racing to merge with Ed Carpenter Racing?  Rumors that KV Racing was for sale surfaced at Fontana last weekend, which Jimmy Vasser refuted.

“It's not my understanding that the team is for sale,” he said. “That's a decision that I can't make as a minority owner but Kevin Kalkhoven would make. They’ve got an old saying, ‘He who writes the big check makes the big decisions.’ So you’re not talking to the right guy.”

A more realistic scenario for 2013 involves a single-car KV Racing program partnering with a fellow single-car Chevy team. More ...

Mercedes eyes partial F1 withdrawal for 2014  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Mercedes is right at the heart of swirling speculation under Singapore's lights.

And it's not all about Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

German sources Auto Motor und Sport, and the SID news agency, are reporting rumors the Stuttgart carmaker could withdraw from F1.

"Whilst the second driver is not named and the Concorde Agreement is not signed, it is normal that there are rumors," insisted Mercedes' Norbert Haug on Friday.

The big rumor is that Briton Hamilton is simply waiting on Mercedes to commit to the sport before also putting pen to paper. More ...

Bottom half of 2013 grid taking shape  (GMM)  While Lewis Hamilton is holding up the 'silly season' at F1's sharp end, the bottom half of the 2013 grid is now starting to take shape.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that new Marussia reserve Max Chilton, backed in GP2 by his wealthy father, is set to make his grand prix debut next year.

He will replace Charles Pic, who will take his well-heeled sponsors to Caterham to replace Vitaly Petrov, whose Russian backers have called time on the F1 project.

Caterham, whose boss Tony Fernandes has appointed Renault official Cyril Abiteboul as its new CEO, wants to keep Heikki Kovalainen, but if the highly rated Finn jumps ship, Auto Motor und Sport said former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is in the frame. More ...

Media muzzle won't stop Hamilton future rumors  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is no longer talking about his future.

Earlier in Singapore, the Briton drive a McLaren road car for a promotional event, but the team's press officers insisted questions about Hamilton's contract were off-limits.

Then, as the 2008 world champion sat down to talk to the media on Thursday, he started by laying down the rules of engagement.

"I'm not here to speak about anything apart from the weekend," he told the two-dozen journalists.

"I've got no extra news for you so use your time wisely to speak about other things if you can," said Hamilton. More ...

Another F1 paddock abuzz with 2013 'silly season'  (GMM)  Just like two weeks ago at Monza, the 2013 'silly season' is abuzz in the paddock ahead of this weekend's Singapore grand prix.

Sergio Perez was asked directly on Thursday if, having been turned down by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, there is any truth in the speculation he is now near the top of McLaren's short-list to replace Lewis Hamilton.

"Before it was Ferrari, now it's McLaren," the Telmex-backed Mexican, who currently races for Sauber, said.

"Always when I have a good race, they (the media) put me in a different team," he added.

A straight denial sounds different. More ...

Chilton favorite to succeed Pic at Marussia  (GMM)  A 21-year-old Briton has raced to the top of the list of candidates to make his F1 debut in 2013.

Marussia has signed GP2 driver Max Chilton - who is currently fifth in this year's F1 support category - to be its reserve for the rest of the season.

As soon as the announcement was made, insiders said Chilton is surely now the favorite to replace Charles Pic, should the well-funded Frenchman move as is strongly rumored to Caterham next year.

Chilton is also well funded, with his father Grahame being the vice-chairman of the Aon insurance group and a big motor racing fan.

Aon sponsors Chilton in GP2, as well as the touring car team that runs Tom Chilton, who is Max's brother.

The Daily Mail said Chilton could be fast-tracked into F1 action, perhaps initially in Friday practice for the Abu Dhabi grand prix.

And team boss John Booth said Chilton will be "fully prepared to step into the MR01 (car) should it be required".

Report - Red Bull to blame for alternator failures?  (GMM)  The specific design of Red Bull's RB8 could be the reason behind its Magneti Marelli/Renault alternator failures, according to a report.

With team owner Dietrich Mateschitz calling on engine supplier Renault to dump its alternator partner Magneti Marelli, the Kolner Express tabloid said Adrian Newey's chassis design could be the real problem.

Although Renault also supplies engines to Lotus, Williams and Caterham, the lion's share of the alternator problems have been suffered by Red Bull. More ...

BMW to buy De Tomaso  De Tomaso’s short-lived revival has pretty much gone under the tank, but despite the gloomy times from the Italian automaker, there could very well be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Automotive News Europe is reporting that the Italian Industry Ministry is looking for suitors in the industry willing to buy the struggling Italian automaker, and one of them is BMW.

The German automaker has previously stated its lack of interest in buying De Tomaso, but we all know how the winds can change course abruptly in the auto industry. More ...

Will Penske rehire Allmendinger to replace Briscoe?  UPDATE #2
Allmendinger had his greatest success in Champ Car in 2005 driving for Forsythe racing
Reinstated by NASCAR from a substance abuse suspension Tuesday, A.J. Allmendinger's next career step could be returning to the team that fired him -- but on another circuit.

Penske Racing already has filled the Sprint Cup ride vacated by Allmendinger, but the team could have a 2013 opening in the Izod IndyCar Series. Allmendinger attended Saturday's season finale at Fontana, Calif., as a guest of car owner Roger Penske, who fired the driver last month from his NASCAR team after his backup sample from a random drug test returned positive for an amphetamine.

Penske has just two drivers firmed up for three IndyCars in 2013. More ...

Paul Page to replace the departing Bob Jenkins for IndyCar?  UPDATE #4 Dear AR1: Very disappointed about the Paul Page news.  I was very hopeful he'd be back in the saddle with Indy Car.  I just wonder what's wrong with Page.  I thought it was a sure thing after seeing the farewell video for Bob Jenkins start and end with comments from Page.  Fond memories from the CART years. At least we still have Jon Beekhuis! What are your thoughts? Tim Howell, York, PA

Paul would have been a worthy consideration.  Would love to see Bob Varsha do both F1 and IndyCar if contracts can be worked out.  Mark C.

09/17/12 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Paul Page will not be on NBC Sports. He announced on Facebook this morning that he has met with NBC and they are not interested in him.

08/24/12 Paul Page will soon find himself at a broadcasting crossroads, and he hopes to turn back to IndyCar. The longtime Indianapolis resident recently learned he won't return to ESPN next year after seven seasons hosting drag races. An ESPN statement said there will be a change in direction with NHRA coverage.

Where that leaves Page is unclear. He became synonymous with Indy-car racing in the years after replacing Sid Collins as chief announcer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network in 1977. He held that position through 1987 and hosted NBC and ABC races from 1979 to 2004.

Page has had a secondary role on Indy's radio network for the past four Indianapolis 500s. He was the first person on the broadcast to note that Dan Wheldon was the surprising winner of the 2011 race after JR Hildebrand hit the Turn 4 wall as the leader. Page, 67, said he would be interested in any IndyCar role as he rounds out his TV career over the next three to five years.

"Yeah, I (would)," he said. "IndyCar is really my legacy, not just as an announcer but as a race fan, and I want to get back to it." More ...

2013 NASCAR schedule released this week?  It won't become official until later this week, but several reliable sources have released next year's NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. The sanctioning body expects to confirm the "working copy" before the upcoming race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The 2013 schedule includes 36 points-paying races, 26 "regular-season" events followed by the annual 10-race Chase for the Championship playoffs.

All teams will run a 150-mile, non-points qualifying race at Daytona Beach in February. Some teams will run the non-points Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Beach in February and the Sprint Showdown and/or Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte in May. Other than the traditional Easter weekend in March, teams will have only one open weekend between mid-February and mid-November. There are no new venues and only one date change: Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway will swap their fall dates, Kansas City moving two weeks before Talladega (a week after Charlotte) instead of two weeks after. The 10 Chase venues remain the same as the past two years. Auto Week More ...
Petty to pick Ford over Chevy, Ambrose and Almirola to return  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  The director of Ford Racing said on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway that the manufacturer is "very close'' to a new deal with Richard Petty Motorsports. "All the pieces are in place,'' Jamie Allison said before the Chase opener. "We're working on giving them the tools so they can be competitive. It's all going to work." There was a report last week that Chevrolet might be in the mix for RPM, but sources close to the situation said the plan is to re-sign with Ford. Allison was excited about the prospects of keeping RPM in the Ford camp. He also mentioned maintaining a relationship with Marcos Ambrose, the driver of RPM's #9 car who is in the final year of his contract. He did not mention Aric Almirola, the driver of the #43 who also is in the final year of his contract. ESPN

09/15/12 Richard Petty is busy lining up his team for 2013 (and, hopefully, beyond), and he is moving in waters that remain choppy and with changeable tides. Discussions about Richard Petty Motorsports' future continue, but the landscape as it currently is painted appears to keep the RPM cars in the Ford camp for the next season, although the King has been talking with more than a few other possible partners. More ...
Hunter-Reay to remain with Andretti  UPDATE #2
Michael Andretti, President, Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport:
"We are happy to have Ryan (Hunter-Reay) back with us for the 2013 and 2014 IndyCar seasons. He is a tough competitor and has become an important part of our team. He is the ultimate team player and I know we can count on him, along with his teammates, to continue to be a foundation for us. We believe that he, Marco (Andretti) and James (Hinchcliffe) will continue to work together and take the team to great places with great success."

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Driver, Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda:
"I have a lot of deep rooted relationships with the team and the team sponsors and I'm looking forward to continuing and further developing those relationships. I'm happy to be able to enjoy the off season knowing what the next two years hold. I'm looking forward to my return with Andretti Autosport and hope to have the opportunity to speak more on it soon, but today we are focused on leaving Fontana tonight with a championship."

09/15/12 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  After being wooed by Team Penske, SPEED can report that Hunter-Reay has declined Roger Penske’s offer and re-upped with Andretti Autosport.

“It came together late but it’s done and we’ve signed Ryan to a multiple-year deal,” said John Lopes, the president of Andretti Motorsports Marketing, on the eve of Saturday night’s season finale at Auto Club Speedway.

“We came into this weekend with two major goals – keep our team together and win the championship so we’ve already accomplished one of them.” More ...

Viso follows Conway, retires?  UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AR1.com, And to think, the Champ Cars were going around this track 10 years ago at over 240 mph average.  Crowds were over 90,000.  Real men.  Real racing. Then Tony George thought he had a better idea.  We all know how that turned out.  And now we have an inferior designed diabolical handling Dallara beast that spooks the drivers at 215 mph and they will be lucky to get 30,000 in the stands, and a 0.2 TV rating.  Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA

E.J. Viso
IMS Radio is reporting that EJ Viso Tweeted that if the downforce formula isn't changed for this weekend, he's vacating his seat for the race.

Earlier in the week Mike Conway "retired" from oval races.

According to IMS, Viso has agreed to at least try the evening practice session to see if he might feel more comfortable when the sun goes down.

Viso is normally very visible in the paddock, but has been conspicuous by his absence today. Viso qualified 22nd, some 6 mph slower than the pole speed.
Kovalainen to Lotus or Ferrari? - F1 'silly season' keeps racing  UPDATE #2
Kovalainen in the running to replace Massa?
(GMM)  Finnish reports say Heikki Kovalainen's management have been summoned to Maranello.

The speculation follows Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo ruling out Sergio Perez as Felipe Massa's 2013 successor, due to his lack of experience.

Finn Kovalainen, 30, is on the market after three years of rebuilding his reputation at Caterham, following his less-than-shining first three years in F1 at Renault and McLaren.

The Finnish broadcaster MTV3 said representatives of Kovalainen's management team at IMG Worldwide will travel to Maranello next week. More ...

IndyCar to run doubleheaders in 2013  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded back to 'strong' today.  IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard wants a minimum of two doubleheader weekends in 2013 and as perhaps as many as four. Detroit will be one if television contracts can be worked out, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway likely will be another. Both tracks could offer different circuits.

Event chairman Bud Denker said the wheels are in motion to extend the course to a pass layout, which would provide another passing zone. The key to the initiative, he said, is the state of Michigan's new management oversight of Belle Isle.

Sonoma has been quiet on the subject of IndyCar doubleheaders. Track president Steve Page has only acknowledged that final details are being worked out for the Aug. 25, 2013, race, but one of those details apparently is how to use the road course differently for a Saturday race.

Promoters not interested in hosting a doubleheader say that IndyCar is asking for an additional $100,000 to cover the cost of the extra race's prize fund. Indy Star More ...

Bass Pro to sponsor Stewart?  Bass Pro Shops is expected to be a co-primary sponsor for #14-Tony Stewart's NASCAR Sprint Cup effort next season. Office Depot, which supported Stewart since the inception of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, will withdraw its sponsorship at the end of the season. The company was the primary on 22 of the 38 NASCAR Cup races this season. Mobil 1, which was a co-primary with Office Depot this season, will continue in that role in 2013.

Bass Pro Shops has enjoyed a long relationship with NASCAR. The outdoors company sponsored Martin Truex Jr. in a limited run at Dale Earnhardt Inc. when the driver won his first Nationwide Series title in 2004. The company took over as a full primary the following year and graduated with Truex to the Sprint Cup Series for his first full season in 2006. When DEI merged with Ganassi Racing prior to the 2009 season, Bass Pro Shops accompanied Truex and then remained with the team with Jamie McMurray when he returned to Ganassi in 2010 and has been with McMurray since. Fox Sports
Dale Jr. getting married?  
Smoking Hot Amy Reimann
Don't send those wedding gifts just yet, but where there is smoke, there is fire. NASCAR’s most popular driver says he’s not getting married, no matter what the National Enquirer says. The National Enquirer posted a story online Wednesday saying that Earnhardt is expected to marry girlfriend Amy Reimann by the end of the year. Don’t send those wedding gifts to Dale Earnhardt Jr. just yet.

Earnhardt, says, not so fast.

“Totally false,” Earnhardt said when asked about the report Wednesday during media day for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which starts this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. More ...
FIA to again look at closed F1 cockpits after Spa crash  UPDATE #5 “Head protection is a controversial subject and, unusually for me, I'm still on the fence on it,” Webber explains in a column for BBC Sport. “Open-wheel, open-cockpit racing is what most racing drivers want to do - it requires incredible precision and they are the best racing cars in the world. You don't want to lose that, so we have to get this decision right. It's a big step for the sport. People are saying things like 'it's going to be ugly'. But you have to park that stuff.

“The tricky thing is to decide what exactly you are protecting against. The Grosjean incident, and a similar one involving David Coulthard and Alexander Wurz in Australia in 2007, happened because of cars climbing over each other and being launched into the air. That also happened to me when I flipped in Valencia in 2010. More ...

Ecclestone happy with sound of V6 engine  
Bernie is reported to be happy with V6 sound
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is now happier with the prospect of F1's V6 engine rules switch.

Until now, the F1 chief executive's main worry has been that the new 1.6 liter turbo units will not sound as good as the current normally-aspirated V8s.

But just ahead of last weekend's Italian grand prix, he travelled to Maranello to meet with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as well as FIA president Jean Todt.

While at the famous Italian team's HQ, Ecclestone visited Ferrari's engine department and heard a live V6 running on the dynamometer, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports. More ...

Ferrari using foot-activated 'DRS' pedal  (GMM)  Ferrari is using a clever foot-activated switch to trigger the drag-shedding 'DRS' system in 2012, it has emerged.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said drivers for most other teams trigger the rear wing flap with a button on the steering wheel.

But renowned F1 technical illustrator Giorgio Piola is reporting that, when Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are between corners and therefore not braking, their left foots can trigger 'DRS' with a switch to the left of the brake pedal.

When they want to stop the car, their left foot is therefore automatically taken off the 'DRS' pedal - therefore returning the wing to its normal position - when they apply the brake.

'Ferrari considering Perez for 2013'  UPDATE #3 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Luca di Montezemolo has dealt a knockout blow to speculation Sergio Perez could be set to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year.

After his second place at Monza last Sunday, rumors that Sauber's Mexican Perez is now set to step up to Ferrari are rife.

But Ferrari president Montezemolo said: "Next season is too early.

"To put a young guy to Ferrari with the pressure of Ferrari, you need more experience," he told Sky Sports News. More ...

Ford prepares to name Fields COO  
Mark Fields
Ford Motor Co. directors are preparing to promote Mark Fields to chief operating officer from president of the Americas, a move that anoints him as probable successor to CEO Alan Mulally, a person familiar with the plan told Bloomberg.

Ford's board may vote this month or next to elevate Fields, 51, a 23-year veteran of the automaker who helped lead a transformation of its North American operations from record losses four years ago to record profits this year, said the person, who asked not to be identified disclosing private plans. More ...

DeltaWing to run at Petit LeMans  An announcement is expected in the next day or two that the Nissan Delta Wing will race again this year at the ALMS’s season-closing Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 20th.

“We’ve been loading up the test miles,” Delta Wing designer Ben Bowlby told Gordon Kirby of Motor Sport Magazine. “We ran for two days and completed heading on for a thousand kilometers. We’re still working through some very basic parts of the test program but the reliability is looking good and we’re learning a lot. We’ve been working through reliability concerns to make sure we can run 1000 miles.” More ...

Detroit GP to get doubleheader, longer track  If Bud Denker has his way, that’s what will happen at next year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Randy Bernard, CEO of the IZOD Indy Car Series, has let it be known that they are considering doubleheader races for some stops next season and if he gets the go-ahead, Denker, chairman of the Belle Isle, wants to be in on the ground floor.

“I’ve raised my hand,” Denker said. “I’ve told Randy Bernard that we want to be one of those locations. I said I’d love to have a doubleheader where we have an IndyCar race on Saturday and an IndyCar race on Sunday. That’s what I’m hoping for.” More ...
Phoenix Racing could close shop at end of 2012 season  James Finch, a 20-year-plus veteran NASCAR team owner, who this year has been fielding #51 Chevrolets for Kurt Busch, says unless there is a big change in economics in this sport "I'll have to hang it up at the end of this season." Finch says the new 2013 NASCAR stockers will obsolete his entire fleet of race cars. "I'll have to throw everything away," Finch says. Finch has no major sponsor this season, and his hauler here is painted stark black. He used Hendrick engineering, at a price of course, and he leased Hendrick engines, at a price too of course. MikeMulhern.net
Briscoe out at Penske  UPDATE Penske Racing president Tom Cindric said the team is looking for sponsors for its IndyCar program, which fields three full-time cars. Penske picked up the 2013 contract options on points leader Will Power and Helio Castroneves, but is in limbo right now regarding Briscoe.

"We've told Ryan Briscoe it would be OK for him to go look and try to understand what's out there because our deal will come together late," Cindric said. "And we'll look to see who is available at that time. We haven't told him yes and we haven't told him no, we want him to land on his feet whether it's with us or someone else."

Ryan Briscoe may be headed to Ganassi's satellite team
09/03/12 The winner of last month's race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway declined Sunday to discuss his efforts, but multiple sources within the sport expect him to be a free agent.

Briscoe acknowledged that his contract is up at season's end, which puts him in limbo.

Team owner Roger Penske said all three of his drivers -- Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Briscoe -- understand sponsorship isn't currently in place to field all of them in 2013.

"They all know it's a matter of sponsorship," Penske said prior to the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Indy Star

Busch could move to Richard Childress Racing in 2013  
Kurt Busch
Team owner Richard Childress says he has talked to embattled driver Kurt Busch about driving for Richard Childress Racing if sponsorship can be found.

Childress told ESPN.com Friday that he would field a fourth Sprint Cup team for Busch if he could find sponsorship.  "I have talked to Kurt about running a full season with a fourth team if we had sponsorship,'' Childress told ESPN.com Friday at Richmond International Raceway. "He's a very, very talented driver. More ...

Newman renews with Stewart?  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Ryan Newman and boss Tony Stewart have been saying for months they've been working on a deal for 2013. And now it's done. Newman has agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the team, a Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman confirmed Thursday.

09/05/12 Ryan Newman and boss Tony Stewart have been saying for months they've been working on a deal for 2013. And now it's apparently done.

Newman has agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the team, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday night, citing sources.

Newman moved from Penske Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing after the 2008 season. He has made the Chase for the Sprint Cup in two of the three previous seasons but is a long shot to make it this year. More ...

Boss insists 'no plan B' amid Hamilton exit rumors  (GMM) Martin Whitmarsh has rejected claims McLaren is now frantically looking around for a new teammate for Jenson Button.

Stories are circulating widely that Lewis Hamilton could be about to jump ship for 2013 to Mercedes.

Paul di Resta, Kimi Raikkonen and even Nico Rosberg have been touted as potential candidates to replace the 2008 world champion.

But team boss Whitmarsh told Germany's Sport Bild: "I have no 'plan B', because I really think that Lewis is staying."

Some believe the long and rumour-filled negotiations reveal an impasse, but Briton Whitmarsh insists there is "no fundamental problem".
Doornbos to IndyCar?  UPDATE Correction, Doornbos drove in IndyCar in 2009, Newman-Haas and HVM.

09/05/12 Strange that Dutch driver Robert Doornbos would make this recent commercial wearing a driving suit with an IndyCar patch on it. He used to drive in Champ Car, not IndyCar. Make of it what you will.

Penske threatens to leave IndyCar?  In this USA Today article Roger Penske gives the first hint that he might leave the IndyCar Series.

"I'm going to stay out of the political part of it. If we don't like what's out there, we've got plenty of racing to do in other series," Penske says. "But we support Indy and the series, and we have from the very beginning. So I don't see a situation that would be much different, but you never know."

Out of one side of his mouth he says he supports Indy and the series, but out of the other side he says "If we don't like what's out there, we've got plenty of racing to do in other series (we assume he means his NASCAR teams) and then he says, "I don't see a situation that would be much different (i.e. he supports the series), but you never know."

Take it for what it is worth, but Roger can turn his back on IndyCar with the snap of his fingers, much like he did to CART and more recently to Dodge.

Note to Ryan Hunter-Reay - choose your team carefully.  Is Roger in IndyCar for the long haul or isn't he?  Hmm.........

Ascanelli leaving Toro Rosso, Key to replace him  UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Scuderia Toro Rosso announces that Giorgio Ascanelli has resigned from his post as Technical Director. 

“Over a period of almost five years, Giorgio has contributed positively to the development of our team” team boss Franz Tost said. “Especially in the difficult transition period from a simple racing team to a fully-fledged constructor he made an important contribution and his undoubted experience was very valuable to us. We would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future.”

“I've enjoyed the past years working at Scuderia Toro Rosso,” Giorgio Ascanelli said. “It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a small team to a much larger one, and everybody has put a lot of effort to bring us where we are today. We have sown the seeds for a successful future and I think the team challenge is now to gain a stable presence in the upper mid-field and I wish all at Toro Rosso the very best for the future.” More ...

ALMS sells out to Grand-Am  UPDATE #3 Live coverage from tomorrow’s (Sept. 5) historic Grand-Am/American Le Mans Series press conference from Daytona Beach, Fla. can be seen at SPEED.com starting at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT.  Jim France (NASCAR Vice Chairman/Executive Vice President), Ed Bennett (Grand-Am President & CEO), Don Panoz (American Le Mans Series Founder) and Scott Atherton (American Le Mans Series President & CEO) are expected to be in attendance, discussing the future of sports car racing in North America.

Like Champ Car, Don Panoz and ALMS lost the war against the voodoo economics of the Grand-Am and the France families deep pockets.  He finally threw in the towel and sold.
First of all, this is anything but a merger as AR1.com told you when speedtv.com said it was a merger. It is not a merger, it is a surrender. In fact Grand-Am is buying the ALMS lock, stock and barrel in a straight-up cash deal (I know the number but I’m choosing not to reveal it now), including Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway, the two road racing facilities the ALMS owns. I doubt whether this was planned to be unveiled on Wednesday at the announcement in Daytona Beach, but there you have it. (Besides, if this truly was a “merger” you would think that the announcement would come at a neutral site or at least near a major media center, instead of at the home of Grand-Am and of course, NASCAR, right?)

The knowledge that this is an outright buyout changes absolutely everything about this discussion. I have to wonder what direction this new road racing organization will take and that begs many, many questions. As in, will the hard-won international perspective and reputation of the ALMS be enhanced and continued, or discarded? Will Grand-Am leave intact the hottest road racing series in the world right now - the ALMS GT class - or will it mess it up by some convoluted “blending” exercise with its weak sister GT classes that will only serve to dilute the racing? Will the new series make sense of the racing calendar by walking away from the underperforming races and come up with one outstanding schedule? Sportscar Insider More ...
Roger Penske still pondering driver for No. 22; Joey Logano leading candidate  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with this announcement.

Logano out at Gibbs, in at Penske
09/04/12 Joey Logano didn’t deny this past weekend that he had a deal done with Penske Racing, and an announcement is expected this week that he will move from Joe Gibbs Racing to Penske starting in 2013, according to sources and published reports.  The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that Logano would take over the No. 22 ride. Sources familiar with the situation said they expected an announcement this week.

08/26/12 The owner of Penske Racing acknowledged on Saturday that Joey Logano is a candidate to drive the #22 in 2013. Roger Penske also didn't rule out expanding from two to three cars and including Sam Hornish Jr., who has been in the #22 since AJ Allmendinger was suspended and ultimately released for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy, in the mix for next season. Penske said he hoped to have a decision by the Sept. 16 Chase opener at Chicagoland. Sources close to the situation said Logano, who is in the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, is the front-runner for the #22. Logano told ESPN.com recently he has two offers for 2013, and that one was from JGR. The issue at JGR is finding a full-time sponsor. More ...
Hornish out, Logano out and in, Kenseth in  UPDATE #6 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

Kenseth (above) will replace Logano in the No. 20 Home Depot car
09/03/12 Joey Logano didn’t deny this past weekend that he had a deal done with Penske Racing, and an announcement is expected this week that he will move from Joe Gibbs Racing to Penske starting in 2013, according to sources and published reports.

Logano, 22, who has spent all four of his Cup seasons at JGR, would drive the Shell/Pennzoil-sponsored No. 22 Cup car, currently driven by Sam Hornish Jr. after AJ Allmendinger was fired in July for failing a NASCAR drug test. When asked Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway if the deal with Penske was done, Logano said, “I’ve got nothing to tell you, yet.”

As rumors swirled over the AMS race weekend that the deal was done, Logano’s and Shell’s representatives did not confirm nor deny the rumors, and The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that Logano would take over the No. 22 ride. Sources familiar with the situation said they expected an announcement this week. More ...
Does ALMS/Grand-Am merger make NASCAR a monopoly?  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, It is inconceivable that the Justice Department would ever permit this "merger."  The problem is that it's such a small deal that it may never reach the halls of Washington.

It would be one thing if the entities were truly independent, but this has the makings to be an anti-trust sham of the greatest proportion.

NASCAR (France Family) predominantly controls stock car racing domestically.  NASCAR (France Family) also predominantly controls motorcycle racing (AMA) domestically.  Now, with the "merger," NASCAR (France Family) will predominantly control sports car racing.  NASCAR (France Family) will now predominantly control motorsports in this country. More ...

FIA to drastically increase entry fees for F1 teams  Motorsports governing body FIA is considering a drastic "increase of the entry fee for F1 teams," according to Rencken & Nimmervoll of Motorsport-Total.com. The fight regarding money distribution in F1 between FIA and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "could lead to a cost explosion for the teams." Under the current circumstances a team like Red Bull Racing "has to pay an entry fee of" €305,000 ($384,280) a year.

Based on Red Bull's '11 numbers, "the new proposal would bump the team's fees up to" €5.25M ($6.15M) annually. Under the new proposal the entry fee for teams "would increase from €305,000 to €700,000" ($881,945) plus an additional €7,000 ($8,820) "for each championship point." More ...
2013 IndyCar Silly Season update  Updates to our IndyCar Silly Season table based to today's speed.com article.

Team 2013 Drivers Engine Comment
A.J. Foyt Racing Mike Conway and maybe AJ Allmendinger but his license is suspended for substance abuse. Chase Austin (Indy only) Honda 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
Andretti Autosport Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti. Chevy No change anticipated, but Hunter-Reay may have an offer from Team Penske to replace Ryan Briscoe
Barracuda Racing Alex Tagliani Honda No change anticipated
Dale Coyne Racing Justin Wilson and James Jakes. Honda No change expected
Dragon Racing Sebastien Bourdais and maybe Katherine Legge. Chevy Depends on Jay Penske getting two Chevrolets.
Dreyer & Reinbold Oriol Servia Chevy No change expected
Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter and maybe a second car. Chevy 2nd car depends on sponsorship
Ganassi Racing Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball, Ryan Briscoe or Rubens Barrichello. Honda If Penske does not run 3rd car Briscoe could end up here, as could Barrichello
HVM Racing Simona De Silvestro, maybe Takuma Sato. Honda Sato could be 2nd driver. Likely trading Lotus for Honda.
KV Racing Technology Tony Kanaan, TBD, TBD. Chevy With Barrichello expected to leave for a Honda team and EJ Viso looking to start his own team (rumored) this team will need to add 1 or 2 new drivers
MSR Indy AJ Allmendinger. Honda 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
Panther Racing JR Hildebrand. Chevy No change anticipated
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Graham Rahal and maybe Takuma Sato, Rubens Barrichello or Ryan Briscoe. Honda Son Graham rumored headed to Dad’s team.  Will Sato stay or Barrichello consider them.  Briscoe also rumored
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Josef Newgarden. Honda No change expected
Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Simon Pagenaud and Rubens Barrichello Honda Rob Edwards run team hoping to add a 2nd car and Rubens Barrichello may be in the running
Team Penske Will Power and Helio Castroneves.  Maybe Briscoe Chevy Penske told AR1.com he wants to stay with three cars if sponsor found

Cosworth to stay in F1?  Cosworth told Autosport magazine it is ready to commit to building a new Formula 1 engine for the V6 era in 2014, as it dismissed suggestions it plans to leave the sport at the end of next year.

"We are ready to supply engines for 2014," he said. "Initial discussions have been had with some people, and I think by the end of September we would like to know where we are. But I don't think we have to have all the t's crossed and the i's dotted by then. It can go a little bit longer than that." More ...

Is NASCAR a sport or is it fixed?  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used a late push from runner-up Brad Keselowski to pass Kevin Harvick and win the Nationwide Series race Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Stenhouse passed Harvick on the final lap all fair and square, but Harvick didn’t believe everything in the race was on the up-and-up as he blamed Keselowski for his being in position to lose the NRA American Warrior 300.Keselowski threw a water bottle out of his car with 12 laps remaining, and Harvick believed that caused a caution that cost Harvick a big lead, bunched up the field, resulted in a crash with seven laps left and set up the three-lap green-flag dash to the finish.

“Obviously, (our winning) wasn’t what NASCAR wanted so they kept throwing cautions for things,” said Harvick, who led 157 of the 195 laps. “It’s just one of those deals. … What do you do?” basically saying NASCAR manipulates race results. For saying that look for NASCAR to be hard on Harvick's cars in the inspection line. He won't win for a long time. That is the way it is. More ...
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