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Red Bull to switch to Chevy Some rumors in the NASCAR paddock say that Red Bull Racing could switch from Toyota to Chevy, with engines and chassis coming from Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey Kahne, who will drive for Red Bull the rest of this year and all of next, will move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, to the #5 Chevy.
Red Bull to axe Scott Speed It was reported on SPEED's NASCAR Race Hub that driver of Red Bull Racing's #82 Toyota, Scott Speed, was told that his 2011 option was not picked up, making him a free agent in 2011. And two people familiar with Kasey Kahne joining Red Bull said he'll replace Scott Speed next year in the two-driver lineup. Kahne will take over Speed's #82 team, but the car number will be changed to #4 to mimic what Kahne uses in sprint car competition. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because Red Bull has not announced its full 2011 plans. Associated Press
The abrupt departure of Kasey Kahne from Richard Petty Motorsports Wednesday night has fueled a new round of rumors about the team’s ongoing financial woes.
Multiple sources confirmed to SPEED.com on Thursday that Roush Fenway Racing, which builds RPM’s cars, briefly repossessed RPM’s Talladega cars and engines because of non-payment. Roush Fenway Racing allowed RPM to take the cars back Thursday morning, sources told SPEED.com.
Additionally, sources said that one of the reasons Kahne was released from the team is that RPM owed him a substantial amount of back salary.
A team spokesperson contacted Thursday afternoon declined to say whether or not Kahne was owed money, Roush Fenway Racing was owed money, when team owner George Gillett would publicly discuss his team’s situation or what RPM’s plans were beyond this weekend. “There’s just nothing much to comment on right now,” said Tiffany Breaux of Richard Petty Motorsports.
Nationwide race may be the last one for Gateway When promoter Chris Pook secured $21.5 million in state-issued bonds to build Gateway International Raceway near Madison in 1996, many signs pointed to long-term success.
There was a new 1.25 oval track along with a new drag strip located a few miles from downtown St. Louis along the attractive and accessible location of Interstate 55/70.
With Pook's ties to CART and affiliation with the Long Beach Grand Prix, the track seemed to be on solid footing. There was a successful racing debut in 1997 and over the years some of the world's top drivers on several racing circuits competed at Gateway.
Ford to sell off Mazda shareUPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. Mazda's chief executive said his company's partnership with Ford remains unchanged amid speculation the U.S. automaker plans to further reduce its stake, and ruled out tie-ups with other companies.
The comments Wednesday from Mazda Motor Corp. President and Chief Executive Takashi Yamanouchi come after Japanese media reports that Ford, which has an 11 percent stake in Mazda, may reduce its stake to raise cash for investments in booming emerging markets.
Yamanouchi said Mazda and Ford share basic parts for autos called platforms, and also have joint production plants in Asia and other regions.
"There is no change to our strategic relations," he told reporters at a Tokyo hall. "We are always talking together about creating a win-win situation."
Was Yarborough's HoF exclusion payback from NASCAR?
NASCAR seems to best like those who play for the team. They realize that image does matter and they work very hard to see to it that their image is what they want it to be. So, could it be the case that those who buck the system the sanctioning body holds as ideal are punished in one way or another?
For years, there have been people who claim that if someone says something negative toward NASCAR one week their car will have trouble getting through technical inspection the next. And just earlier this year it was revealed that NASCAR had secretly fined a couple of drivers who had spoken their minds and thus done damage to the image of the sport.
For a week now there has been all sorts of debate regarding who made the HoF second class and why. So, knowing that there is proof that NASCAR can levy behind the scenes reprimands, is it possible that Cale Yarborough was left out of this year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame class because he did not attend when Jimmie Johnson tied his record of three consecutive championships? [Did Darrell Waltrip get left out because he has spoken against NASCAR on some of the TV broadcast for Fox? NASCAR is a monopoly and a dictatorship. After Kyle Petty revealed to the media that NASCAR does make "the call", i.e. artificially influence who wins races, he never won or even came close to winning another race again. Was it because tech inspection never cut his team a break?]
Van der Garde and sponsor McGregor eye 2011 Virgin seat
Giedo van der Garde
(GMM) A Dutch GP2 driver is edging ever nearer a formula one race cockpit for the 2011 season. Earlier this month, 25-year-old Giedo van der Garde's manager revealed he is in talks with several teams and has received "concrete offers" from two.
Former Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen said at the time that he believes van der Garde's talks were with Virgin and Lotus.
And now the Dutch magazine formule1.nl reports that he is in "extensive negotiations" with Virgin, who are believed to be seeking a pay-driver to be Timo Glock's next teammate.
Interestingly, van der Garde's manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen is also the commercial director of the Dutch fashion brand McGregor, who are set to stop sponsoring the Williams team.
Karthikeyan's sponsors eye 2011 Force India seat (GMM) Narain Karthikeyan has emerged as a contender to race with the Force India team in 2011.
Before Karun Chandhok made his debut in 2010, 33-year-old Karthikeyan was India's first grand prix driver, contesting the full 2005 season with Jordan.
The Silverstone based team has since been re-branded as Midland, Spyker and is now Force India, headed by the Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya.
Force India's current driver lineup is reportedly not secure for 2011, with Adrian Sutil eyeing a move to a bigger team, Vitantonio Liuzzi struggling to keep up with his German teammate, and reserve driver Paul di Resta thought likely to move into a race cockpit.
IndyCar to announce deal with USACUPDATE #2 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard confirmed Wednesday that the winner of the USAC sprint car championship will receive a $300,000 bonus from IndyCar. The cash will be applied to a ride in the oval-track races of the Firestone Indy Lights series next season.
Levi Jones currently leads Bryan Clauson by 91 points heading into the final four sprint car races of the season.
“When I took this job I started reading about A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and the Unsers and how they got to Indy so I think it's imperative we embrace our history and tradition,” said Bernard. “Tony Hulman founded USAC and it's important to restart the tradition of USAC oval racers competing at Indianapolis in May.”
10/20/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. We await the formal announcement.
10/19/10 INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, is expected to reveal a partnership with USAC tomorrow that will see an opportunity for a USAC driver to race in the oval races of the Firestone Indy Lights Series, including the Freedom 100 at Indy.
Expected in attendance are: Randy Bernard, INDYCAR CEO Kevin Miller, USAC President and CEO Roger Bailey, Executive Director, Firestone Indy Lights Tony George Jr., Manager of Business Development, Firestone Indy Lights Bryan Clauson, USAC driver Levi Jones, USAC driver
Wet weather possible for Korea F1 event (GMM) There is a chance of another rain-affected grand prix event this weekend.
The forecast for the city of Mokpo - the closest to the Yeongam venue in Korea's Jeollanam-do province - is not predicting the kind of extreme conditions that caused qualifying for the recent Japanese grand prix to be postponed.
But the skies above the Korean International Circuit will be cool, cloudy and breezy for much of the weekend, with the chance of showers increasing late on Saturday and into the small hours of Sunday.
And some reports are forecasting a definitely wet day in Mokpo on Monday, the after the inaugural South Korean event, with the accuracy of that prediction clouded by the super-typhoon 'Megi' off China.
"I think we have a very interesting weekend ahead," said Virgin team boss John Booth.
While F1 reject Jacques Villeneuve belongs in IndyCar, he will only go where the money is
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has apparently moved his sights from a full-time return to formula one, or a seat in the American NASCAR series, to Australia's domestic touring car series V8 Supercars.
The French Canadian driver will be one of the international drivers in this weekend's one-off Gold Coast 600 event, and he said he is prepared to move his family to Australia if he lands a full-time ride for 2011.
"I wouldn't mind coming and doing it full-time because it could be a lot of fun," said the 39-year-old world champion of 1997.
He admitted to the Sydney-published Daily Telegraph newspaper that his efforts to move into F1 next year with a Durango collaboration have likely come to an end.
Pony Cars for NASCAR Sprint Cup? Next year will bring a host of important changes to the Sprint Cup Series, including a significantly revised schedule, new front ends for the race cars, the introduction of Sunoco Green E15 ethanol fuel and, at some point, fuel injection. But what lies further beyond next year is even more intriguing. With the next-generation Sprint Cup cars tentatively scheduled to roll out in 2013, there's a strong chance that Ford will move its Mustang up from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the possibility that Chevrolet could dump its four-door Impala Sedan for the hot-selling Camaro. And a Mustang-Camaro rivalry could be just the thing to rev up NASCAR fan interest anew.
Today, the automakers and NASCAR are working closer than ever in trying to bring the audiences back to the tracks and the television sets. Brand identity, something the automakers felt was largely lost when the current Sprint Cup car was introduced in 2007, is a hot-button issue these days. And it's one reason NASCAR has gone back to traditional blade spoilers on the Cup cars and next year will eliminate ungainly cow-catcher front splitters in favor of a more aesthetically pleasing design. The automakers want even more brand identity, because they are trying to recapture the old "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" marketing focus that was predominant in prior generations.
Green to replace Smith at Force India According to reports in Autosport, the Force India Formula One team will promote from within when it comes to replacing their Technical Director, Mark Smith, who announced his departure to Lotus Racing earlier this season, and as such Andy Green, the team’s engineering director, will take over the role.
"When Mark leaves, which will probably be towards the end of this year/early next year, we have Andrew Green, who is going to take his place," Otmar Szafnauer, the team’s CEO, told the British publication. "We've made some internal restructuring as well to take up the gap that James Key left, and all that will happen at the start of next year.”
“We've got a good plan to overcome the fact that we had two of the key people leave. Although he is not a big name, he has been around a long time, knows the team well and is a good competent designer/engineer - so the ideal man to lead the team in the right direction.”
South Korea Weather could be similar to Suzuka Virgin Racing Team Principal John Booth believes that this weekend’s weather conditions in Korea could be similar to those seen in Japan two weekends ago, albeit not quite as spectacular; this coupled with a brand-new track surface could be a recipe for drama, according to the Englishman.
With no track data having been collected from Yeongam’s Korea International Circuit as yet, all teams will start with clean sheets as practice begins on Friday morning.
Korea's Hyundai 'not interested' in F1 (GMM) The likelihood of Hyundai entering formula one in the near future has diminished.
Some years ago, the Korean carmaker - currently the fifth largest in the world and comprising Kia - was linked with Minardi when Paul Stoddart was selling the Faenza based team.
And "We are in discussions with Bernie Ecclestone," an official of the Seoul-based company said in 2006.
Another Korean multinational, Samsung, has also been linked with F1 sponsorship, which now seems timely given the sport's journey this week to the southwest Jeollanam-do province for the country's inaugural grand prix.
The son of two-time F1 World Champion may follow in the footsteps of Mika Hakkinen, Mika hopes at least. Like his famous father, Hugo Hakkinen began karting at a young age.
Mika Hakkinen is currently in Italy with his 10-year old son where he participates in a race for the Minis. In this class children race aged eight to twelve years.
Häkkinen was married for almost ten years with Erja Honkanen and has a son and a daughter Aina Julia Hugo. In February 2008 their marriage stranded. Hakkinen focuses on the career of Hugo. By choosing for the WSK Master Series, Hakkinen indicates it is a fanatical approach.
Hugo Hakkinen, competing for a CRG T3M SPORT race with start number two
Virgin to sell most of F1 teamUPDATE Speculating on what Russian group may be in the negotiations - This could also be Mikhail Aleshin, who clinched the World Series by Renault title last weekend at the last race in Barcelona. Aleshin is being backed by Gazprom, one of the largest energy companies in the world.
One of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games national partners is former Sauber Team sponsor MegaFon. This company might now be interested in (partially) owning a Formula One team.
Anton Nebylitskyi, another Russian driver and also driving in the World Series by Renault is being backed by the KMP Group. KMP Group, who is one of the largest Russian travel companies, has already invested into their own team in this series and might also have good cards in hand to buy themselves into Virgin Racing as well.
Last but not least: Virgin F1 has already got Russian backing from super sportscar builder Marussia. In this case Russian driver Daniil Move is in the running for an F1 seat. Move has also competed this year in the World Series by Renault series for the Lotus Junior Team.
10/14/10 According to AutoRacing1.com sources Virgin is in negotiations to sell the majority of its ownership in their F1 team to a Russian company. This ahead of an anticipated announcement that F1 will race in Russia starting to 2014. If our sources are correct, don't be surprised if Petrov, whose ride is on shaky ground at Renault, drives for them.
Football crushing NASCAR in rating race Track mogul Bruton Smith believes NASCAR should push start times for Sunday races back an hour to 2 p.m. ET to better compete against the NFL.
"If people want to tune in and watch football – and every game seems to be about the same – by 2 o'clock maybe they're tired of it and then they'll come over and watch a real sport," said Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns Charlotte Motor Speedway and several other NASCAR venues.
In another pre-race appearance on Saturday, NASCAR chairman Brian France declined to discuss any potential changes to the Chase format.
"Today is not a day on the Chase," France said during a news conference to announce NASCAR's change to an ethanol-blend fuel in 2011.
NASCAR to run E15 fuelUPDATE This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact' - see Hot News page.
10/16/10 Word is that NASCAR has told Sprint Cup teams to prepare for E15 fuel blend for the 2011 season. NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series are expected to use E15 fuel at Daytona Speedweeks in February. Sources say the blend will be ready for testing in January. An announcement of the change could be made as early as Saturday afternoon when NASCAR Chairman Brian France has scheduled a news conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Teams tested the E15 blend -- a mixture of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline -- in May. Both Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing have tested the fuel on the track. RCR's Jeff Burton tested a Sunoco ethanol blend this week during a tire test at Richmond. Roush Fenway Racing has tested the mixture in engines on the dynamometer. Lee White, president and general manager Toyota Racing Development, says that to his knowledge, TRD has not track tested the E15 fuel. However, White believes the move to an ethanol blend "is the right thing to do." According to the ethanol.org website, ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane motor fuel that is produced from renewable sources. At its most basic, ethanol is grain alcohol, produced from crops such as corn. In 2003, NASCAR inked a 10-year deal with Sunoco to be the official fuel supplier for the sport. Sources say Sunoco, which produces ethanol blends, will continue to provide teams with fuel. Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol coalition backed by POET, an ethanol producer, will be NASCAR marketing partner. FoxSports
Adrian Newey's RB6 is getting down the straights faster than ever now
(GMM) The Red Bull team does not fear straight lines as much as it did earlier in 2010, according to a German media report.
After dominating on the slow, corner-dominated Hungaroring in August, the RB6 was subsequently beaten to the flag at Spa and Monza; circuits punctuated by long stretches of asphalt.
Then, before he dominated at Suzuka, Sebastian Vettel said the Japanese layout was "designed for" the Adrian Newey-penned car, even though the Renault engine was not expected to be strong on the front straight and the long run between Spoon and the chicane.
Newman/Haas to fold? Q: What is the story on Newman/Haas? In a year they went from being one of the top teams to completely off the radar screen. Is it JUST because Paul Newman passed away? Loss of $$ from Newman's Own? I can't believe Haas wouldn't keep racing as hard as ever, but suddenly they have no drivers and no competitive mojo. Are they winding down for good? I can't find anything in the press about this, and maybe I missed it in one of your columns. My wife and I are particularly interested because we have each volunteered at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp for more than 15 years, have met Newman and have followed his race team religiously. If you can't get this into your Mailbag for one reason or another, could you at least give us some kind of short private update so we can know what's going on? Or refer us to articles where it was covered?
Tony Carroll, Coatesville, PA
RM: Even with McDonald's on board, Paul and Carl were still spending their own money to keep two cars on track and without a sponsor or PLN, Graham Rahal lost his ride. Mike Lanigan also left after PLN's passing so Bernie Haas has been calling the shots because Carl's health is failing. Newman/Haas was like Ganassi and Penske, it never took money from drivers, it always hired the best available until this year. But I've heard if Bernie hasn't secured a sponsor by Dec. 1, it could be lights out for one of the great teams of the past 30 years. SPEEDTV.com
Massive layoffs coming for IndyCar teams Q: Maybe I’m just your typical impatient American who can’t wait to see if the policies of the new regime have had time to address the many problems AOWR faces, but the last few weeks seem like things are getting worse. There were what, ten people in the stands at Homestead, with next to one watching on Versus as usual. Barely a blip on the radar of the press about Dario winning his third Championship (the Hybrid Porsche in ALMS had more press, and it came in 18th). By my count three Champions looking for rides (Tracy, Kanaan, and Wheldon), plus a few other top guys who shouldn’t have a problem getting a seat, but don't have the sponsorship. And the scariest sign of the apocalypse, sponsors pulling out left and right in just about every series, let alone IICS. Is Indy Car going to make it much longer? Maybe Delta Wing would have been the way to go, better to go out in a blaze of glory than having to watch this protracted death rattle continue. What would happen if IICS goes belly up? Any other sanctioning bodies who might buy the series in a fire sale (FIA or ALMS)? Could the 500 go back to being a sort of one off race for the fastest 33 cars that show up in May? Steve J. Sollon
RM: There's no denying it's a shaky situation and I'm hearing massive layoffs for IndyCar teams (mechanics) are starting. I think as long as the Hulman-George family provides TEAM money, IICS can survive but having most of the races on VERSUS is killing the owners' ability to raise sponsorships. It might take buying its way out of that VERSUS deal for IndyCar to have a fighting chance. Could there just be an Indy 500, run whatcha brung? Hate to find out but it could come to that some day. SPEEDTV.com
Bernie, Russia agree deal for 2014?UPDATE #6 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Bernie Ecclestone is in Russia on Thursday for a ceremonial signing of a seven year formula one race contract.
Earlier, it emerged that Russian president Vladimir Putin has travelled to the resort city Sochi to approve the plans for a $200m circuit and to sign F1 chief executive Ecclestone's race promotion contract.
But the state owned Ria Novosti news agency, and the Vedomosti business daily, said 79-year-old Briton Ecclestone is also in Sochi for the signing.
Officials of the local Krasnodar Krai authorities confirmed the reports.
Ganassi to pickup American driverUPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to near-'false' today. Despite the presence of some quality racing drivers on the free market, IZOD IndyCar Series championship-winning car owner Chip Ganassi said this week that he is not likely to expand his two-car operation in the series.
“First of all, there are some great free agents out there,” Ganassi said on the weekly IRL teleconference. “None, I think, as great as the drivers I have, but nonetheless there are some great free agents out there that are available.”
Second-generation driver Graham Rahal has a sponsor in hand and is shopping for a team while Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay are among those looking for sponsorship or new rides for the 2011 campaign.
Dario Franchitti has won consecutive championships for Ganassi, while Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon won the IndyCar title in 2008.
“I’m perfectly happy with the two guys I have whether these free agents became available last week, last month or six months ago,” Ganassi continued. “I’m perfectly happy with the guys I have. And I doubt very much that I would do anything to dilute our team right now.
“Whether that’s with a — I wouldn’t think a third car is in the cards at Target Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Fuzzy's to expand to 2nd IndyCar? There is a "chance" Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka could expand its sponsorship of Panther Racing's No. 20 IndyCar Series entry driven by Ed Carpenter. Carpenter has said that Fuzzy's "would like to expand its program, although to what degree probably ultimately depends on the price and the value for the dollar." INDYSTAR.com
Versus ratings behind IndyCar's loss of 7-Eleven to NASCAR? SI.com's Bruce Martin reported 7-Eleven is "being linked to NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet." Gordon's longtime primary sponsor, DuPont, is expected to reduce its role next season. 7-Eleven last week announced that it "would not return" next year as the sponsor of Andretti Autosport's No. 11 Izod IndyCar Series entry driven by Tony Kanaan.
Did the low TV ratings IndyCar gets on Versus cause 7-Eleven to look at NASCAR, which has much higher ratings? You can pretty much take that one to the bank.
Panasonic backed the Toyota F1 team and its Japanese driver for years
(GMM) Sauber has refused to comment on speculation the former Toyota title sponsor Panasonic could be set to return to formula one.
It is rumored that officials of the Osaka-based electronics giant met with Sauber chiefs, and the team's impressive Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi, at Suzuka last weekend.
The speculation is now being reported in the German-language media, including the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung.
The report said Panasonic's backing would be a "multimillion dollar commitment", which would be further good news for Hinwil based Sauber, whose 2011 driver Sergio Perez is bringing the backing of Mexican telcom Telmex next year.
(GMM) Confirmation of Jarno Trulli's extended stay at Lotus next year is due before the forthcoming Korean grand prix.
That is the claim of the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, insisting that the Italian's current teammate Heikki Kovalainen has already penned a new deal for 2011.
It was reported from Suzuka that Trulli, 36, was bullish about the future, even though it had been expected that Lotus' 2011 lineup would have been confirmed by now.
Turun Sanomat said Finn Kovalainen - who is currently staying in Kuala Lumpur at team chief executive Riad Asmat's house - signed his new deal on the Sunday morning of the Italian grand prix last month, but that Trulli's salary talks were ongoing.
IndyCar team to field ALMS entry in 2011 Racer Magazine published an article today announcing that Keith Wiggins and his HVM Racing team intends to field a prototype entry in the American LeMans Series in 2011. Already having a relationship with Lola that started back in 1997, the team plans on running a Lola chassis with an engine manufacturer that is yet to be announced. They are currently in negotiations with an engine producer and are not yet ready to make an announcement regarding their potential partnerships until all the contracts are signed.
“I have no intention of leaving IndyCars; the U.S. open-wheel scene will always be a passion of mine. It’s just that ALMS is another very attractive program out there, and I think it makes sense for our team not to have all its eggs in one basket. I’ve always been someone who enjoyed technology and, to my mind, racing has always been about development, advancements, being cutting edge and being relevant. The ALMS is a natural fit for that. There’s a lot of manufacturer interest, the cars are technically attractive with new technology, the TV package is strong and I just think the series has a good thing going.” Keith Wiggins, owner of HVM Racing in Racer Magazine’s article
Mobil 1 to StewartUPDATE #2 Stewart-Haas Racing today will announce that Mobil 1 "will join Office Depot as a primary sponsor" on Tony Stewart's No. 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy in '11, with Old Spice opting not to renew its sponsorship of the car after this season. Exact numbers were not provided, but Office Depot is "believed to have 22 races as the primary." Mobil 1 is in the final year of a deal with Penske Racing's No. 77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. ESPN.com
10/10/10 Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a news conference Tuesday and is expected to announce Mobil 1 will be a sponsor for the team next season. Roanoke Times
10/9/10 Stewart Haas Racing has emerged as the leading candidate to get the Mobil 1 sponsorship that Penske Racing will vacate in 2011, when it switches to Pennzoil as sponsor for Kurt Busch in the #22 Dodge. If SHR lands Mobil 1, it will replace Old Spice as the co-primary sponsor of Tony Stewart's #14 Chevy. The team's other car, Ryan Newman's #39, will have the U.S. Army and Tornado's back for part-time schedules next year and is trying to woo Wix Filters for a partial schedule as well. Ford Racing
Might Gordon move from NASCAR to IndyCar? What if Robby Gordon can't get a sponsor for 2011? An underreported story surrounds a different type of NASCAR race down the stretch: A battle for the 35th and final "locked in" spot in owner points. Whoever has it after Homestead earns an automatic bid to the first five events in 2011, perhaps making the difference between finding a sponsor in this economy and auctioning off a team this November.
Right now, owner/driver Gordon is holding onto the position but just barely after stepping back and letting a funded driver, rookie Kevin Conway, take over to keep his team in business. It's an off-track boost to the bank account, albeit one that's come with a long-term price. The freshman has run awful, failing to record a top-30 finish while the team's main competition, the No. 38 of Front Row Motorsports, has closed to within 25 points with six races left.
That could leave Gordon on the outside looking in next year, a fatal blow to one of the sport's vibrant, independent personalities who's been a staple on the Cup Series tour for well more than a decade. Instead, his best opportunities could now come in the open-wheel ranks, a telling sign of an underground momentum shift that's seeing ownership and driving jobs shift back into IndyCar. SportsIllustrated
Ferrari gives Massa 'Italian ultimatum' (GMM) Luca di Montezemolo's post-race message for Felipe Massa was "subtle but powerful", according to one formula one writer.
In the midst of rumors he risks being ousted by Ferrari at the end of 2010, Brazilian Massa qualified poorly in Japan and then crashed at the first corner of the Suzuka race.
The dismal performance followed Ferrari president Montezemolo's pre-event warning that he has "waited with great perseverance" recently for Massa to "shave points off the rivals" of the team's championship favorite Fernando Alonso.
More trouble with Goodyear tires at Fontana? Goodyear is working with about dozen teams to figure out why the left-front tire was tearing at the beginning of runs during Sprint Cup practice Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in California. The issue seemed isolated to about a dozen teams and most of the top teams were not affected, Goodyear Product Manager Rick Heinrich said Saturday after the final Cup practice.
It is not a heat issue, and because teams either have the issue or they don’t, Goodyear doesn’t believe the problem would be from a bad batch. The tearing, which occurred on the shoulder of the tire, does not look good but did not result in any air loss or handling issues, Heinrich said. Teams noticed the problem when they looked at the tires after they came off the track.
Schumacher to base 2012 decision on form next year
Schumacher had the measure of his younger teammate Rosberg all weekend in Japan so in 2011 he may return to winning form, which will make people like Niki Lauda and other jealous drivers look foolish.
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher on Sunday indicated he thinks it is possible 2011 will be his older brother's last season in formula one.
Mercedes this weekend denied reports that 41-year-old Schumacher could be shown the door is he again fails to match the pace of his teammate Nico Rosberg next season.
Currently, the seven time world champion is contracted to the end of 2012.
Asked about his brother's full three-year commitment, former Williams and Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher, standing in this weekend for absent RTL commentator Niki Lauda, said: "You have to be realistic, and Michael is a realist.
Sadler may join KHI in 2011 Elliott Sadler is looking to resuscitate his NASCAR career, and it may begin with Kevin Harvick Inc. next season. Sadler has struggled at Richard Petty Motorsports since the team tried to break the driver's contract last season. It was finally announced this July that Sadler would not return in 2011, and there were no viable options in the Cup Series on the table. Meanwhile, Sadler had run races in the Camping World Truck Series for team owner Kevin Harvick along with a Nationwide Series race at Bristol where Sadler sat on the pole. He also won the inaugural truck race at Pocono in July. With his schedule open, both drivers said they are working towards offering a Sadler something more permanent for next season in the Nationwide Series along with more Truck races. The desire to go racing full-time with Sadler next year is there. Now all KHI has to do is find the financial backing. Sadler said Harvick does nothing halfway and won't run a limited schedule without the proper funding. "Right now, he's obviously a part of our Truck Series program and has run the Nationwide races," Harvick said. "We'd love to have him play more of a role with the organization." Harvick said the organization is still working through plans for next season. "Hopefully we can kind of lay out our truck and Nationwide plans as we get through the next three or four weeks," he added. What is definite right now is that Sadler will be in at least four Truck races for KHI in 2011. Meanwhile, leaving the Cup Series after more than a decade doesn't seem to bother Sadler. More at NASCAR.com
F1 team Lotus loses support of Chapman family (GMM) Tony Fernandes has reportedly lost the support of Clive Chapman.
The news was reported by the well-known French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet in his latest Auto Plus column.
He said he received the information from "a very good source" at Lotus Cars.
The famous British sports car maker is locked in a legal battle with Fernandes, who intends to continue to use the Lotus name in formula one next year, despite Group Lotus withdrawing its official license.
Moncet's source said Fernandes, Lotus Racing's majority owner and team boss, continually says he has the backing of Chapman, the son of the late Lotus founder Colin Chapman.
Penske will not make aero kits for new IndyCarUPDATE #2 Team Penske president Tim Cindric said it doesn't make financial sense for a team to manufacture something that must be shared with others for a league-mandated $70,000. Research and development costs are too high. "I don't see how we could do that," Cindric said. "We don't have Penske Cars anymore." IndyCar currently has only one aero kit maker -- Dallara, which will make the standard pieces -- but Lotus Motorsport officials have said they will make one. IndyStar
08/28/10 Helio Castroneves said bossman Roger Penske – owner of the most successful team in domestic open-wheel history has no plan to manufacture an “aero kit” for use with the basic chassis to be produced by Dallara Automobili. “No, he’s not,” the native Brazilian said. “I heard something around but he said no, he does not want to because if you got to do it for one car you got to do it for all the rest. It’s another thing Roger might not want to be involved in at the moment."
08/24/10 There has been a lot of speculation that Team Penske might produce their own aero kit for the new 2012 IndyCar. We hear that is not the case. If produces one for his cars he has to sell it to all other teams who may want it. That would not give Roger an advantage, hence we hear he has no interest.
Perez headed to Ferrari to replace Massa? He’s not even raced in F1 yet but the rumor mill is already linking him with a seat at the sport’s most famous team even though his Mexican sponsor money went to the Sauber team.
Sergio Perez, who was this week confirmed as a Sauber driver for 2011, will also become part of the Ferrari Driver Academy upon his arrival in F1. The academy – which isn’t an academy in the sense that Police Academy was, but rather a young driver mentoring program – also currently includes GP2 hotshoe Jules Bianchi and GP3 racer Mirko Bortolotti. This has already set tongues wagging that the Scuderia are lining the Mexican up as a replacement for the unhappy Felipe Massa in 2012.
Yet another new IndyCar sponsorUPDATE #2 Here are some more photos of the planned livery. Note it's on the Panoz Champ Car, a far better looking car than today's IndyCars.
10/06/10 SH Racing, which has secured sponsorship from REDLINE Extreme energy drink, is partnering with KV Racing Technology for a one car effort next May with a driver to be named later.
“I’ve been in stock cars and motorcycle racing but the Indy 500 is something I’ve always dreamed of,” said James “Sulli” Sullivan, the co-owner of SH Racing along with T.J. Humpreys.
“I brought the REDLINE folks to Indianapolis this past May and we had the contract signed before they dropped the green flag. We’ve already got our show car and we’re unveiling it and our plan tomorrow night (Wednesday) in Atlanta.
A South African company and an investor from Abu Dhabi are working to meet Bernie Ecclestone's desire for a Grand Prix in Africa.
The company behind this effort to return F1 to South Africa since the 1993 Kyalami race is Night Bridge Investments, working in conjunction with the Royal Group from Abu Dhabi. The original plan was to build a track in the South African province of Gauteng.
But now the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast is also a possible location. The race track will be built in the vicinity of the airport of Durban. Durban hosted the A1GP series from 2005 to 2008 and drew up to 100,000 spectators at the start.
The hope to land a race for an estimated ten years at a cost of 680 million euros.
At the moment Russia is more important to Ecclestone than Africa. Russia, from a business perspective, is wide open.
"We have talked repeatedly with people in South Africa. We talked about building a track. It would take perhaps three years. At least that's what I hope," said Ecclestone, who wanted to go originally to Cape Town .
British Government may lift street race ban Britain’s new government is considering a lift of rules which currently bar motor racing events from being staged on public roads, it is being reported by the BBC. The news comes following a Conservative conference which referred to a legal clause dating as far back as the 1960s.
Talk of a London Grand Prix was at its peak in 2004, when the likes of Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button and Martin Brundle took to the streets of the capital city in a highly-popular street demonstration attended by British-based teams such as Jordan, BAR, Jaguar and Williams.
Tony Kanaan is exactly the kind of driver KV Racing needs
Q. With Tony Kanaan now a free agent because of the loss of 7-Eleven sponsorship at Andretti Autosports, where do you think he might end up in 2011? Dave from Indianapolis
A. He could end up back with Andretti if sponsorship is found, but if we had to venture a guess we would say KV Racing will pick him up. The team has shown they have the speed to run up near the front, but they need a veteran driver like Kanaan who can run up front without stuffing it in the fence. KV Racing had so much crash damage this year you have to wonder if team owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser still have any hair left. Mark C.
(GMM) Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto will be HRT's race driver lineup for the remainder of the season.
That is the claim of the German language Speed Week publication, following speculation that the struggling Spanish team was considering making more driver changes before the end of 2010.
So far in its debut season, HRT has deployed Senna and Yamamoto as well as Karun Chandhok and Christian Klien at grands prix.
There was some uncertainty about the team's Suzuka lineup, but at the Japanese circuit on Thursday, Senna is speaking to international media while local Yamamoto has been summoned to the official FIA press conference.
(GMM) Timo Glock and Adrian Sutil had hoped to secure the second race seat at Sauber for 2011, according to a Swiss newspaper.
The Blick daily said the German duo, who currently drive for Virgin and Force India respectively, were in the running to be Kamui Kobayashi's teammate until the Hinwil based team signed well-backed Mexican rookie Sergio Perez.
"Several times," wrote veteran correspondent Roger Benoit from Suzuka, "they or their managers have appeared in Hinwil -- in vain."
Also hoping for the Sauber seat was its current occupant Nick Heidfeld, who according to Blick must now consider a 2011 switch to Force India, Lotus, Virgin or HRT.
ALMS team Highcroft Racing boss Duncan Dayton told SPEEDTV.com, “It’s a bit premature to formally announce anything, but I will say we’ve always had our eye on the IndyCar Series. When Acura withdrew from the ALMS LMP1 program at the end of last year, we realized we needed to broaden our horizons and to consider something beyond the ALMS. The ALMS is our primary focus; we believe it’s the most demanding proving grounds of any series in North America or the world, for that matter, given the technology that manufacturers can bring to bear. The rather unregulated rulebook is very appealing to us, but the idea of participating in the IRL and the Indy 500 is something that is also important to us.”
“We are aware that Penske and Ganassi have had almost a decade with the current cars and have built amazing ‘cookbooks’ of knowledge and setup info, so I think it would be difficult, at best, to be competitive straight away [next year]. We’d stand a better chance with the new car in 2012. We’d still be behind the 8-ball against these guys even then, but nonetheless, we’d probably have a better chance of success by starting from scratch like everyone else. Our primary focus for 2011 will be the ALMS, but we’re striving towards doing a couple of one-offs in IndyCar next year.”
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Andretti Autosport announced today that it is in negotiations with multiple companies to assume the 2011 primary sponsorship of the IZOD IndyCar Series entry driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
IZOD served as primary sponsor with the team in 2010 and notified the team last week that it will not renew beyond its initial one-season contract. Recent media inquiries led to this clarification of Hunter-Reay's status with the team.
Fueled by a popular win at the Long Beach Grand Prix and runner-up finish in the season-opening race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Hunter-Reay's breakthrough season grew from a scheduled three events to fulltime status when Andretti Autosport's sponsors rallied behind Hunter-Reay. His full-season effort resulted in three podiums, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
Simona de Silvestro to stay with HVM Simona de Silvestro and HVM Racing are expected to be teamed together again in the 2011 IndyCar Series and their focus will now turn to the changes, improvements and financial structure that will be implemented before the first race of 2010.
"We have tremendous chemistry as a team and money can't buy that. I am thankful for the chance Keith gave me this year and for Imran's support. The whole team has come a long way. We faced a lot of adversity, yet we remained strong and that speaks to the character and cohesiveness of our team and my supporters. We have proved we can run up front, despite the funding challenges from sponsorship short falls."
Dietrich Mateschitz has long been a man with ambitions in motor racing. He has been involved in the sport since the very beginning of the Red Bull story, when the then new drinks company had a personal sponsorship deal with Gerhard Berger. He then became the sponsor of Sauber and ultimately bought the Jaguar Racing and Minardi teams to become Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. He also acquired the Osterreichring, which is now known as the Red Bull Ring. On top of all of this he has invested in a NASCAR team and in any number of personal sponsorships in the junior formulae, in rallying, touring car racing and so on. His ambition is to win the World Championship, while at the same time increasing sales of his celebrated energy drink.
NASCAR Close To Deal With Ethanol Group NASCAR is “poised to sign its first new high-profile sponsorship in 20 months and take a significant step forward in the green initiative it began two years ago by aligning with an ethanol lobby group known as Growth Energy,” according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the deal is “close to completion.” The arrangement would make Growth Energy an official marketing partner. Sunoco will remain the official fuel of NASCAR, though sources said that the company “raised some concerns about the Growth Energy deal that are being worked through.” Growth Energy is expected to use its NASCAR partnership “primarily to promote the American ethanol industry.” It is “unclear whether Growth Energy members would provide ethanol to Sunoco.” Terms of the proposed deal were not available. NASCAR official partnerships typically range from $2-10M annually. Sunoco is in the seventh year of its NASCAR partnership and it “pays approximately $10 million annually.” The ethanol partnership “would be tied to NASCAR’s reported plan to convert to 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel” in ‘11. Growth Energy is a two-year-old advocacy organization that represents more than 65 ethanol production plants across the U.S. Its only current sports relationship is with Vikings LB Chad Greenway, “a former Iowa Hawkeye who has Growth Energy spots on his Facebook page.” The “last high-profile new sponsorship NASCAR signed was with Ask.com in January 2009” SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL
Will Japanese GP survive w/o Honda, Toyota and Bridgestone? The Japanese Grand Prix at the popular Suzuka track is the next venue on the F1 calendar.
Not only is the track a favorite of many of the drivers, but the race is well-attended by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowd.
But in several important respects Japan’s involvement in F1 has shrunk dramatically in recent years.
This is the first season not to feature a Japanese-engined car on the grid since the beginning of 1983. In the last two seasons first Honda, then Toyota have disappeared – though the latter’s equipment is currently being used by Pirelli to test their tires.
Pirelli are arriving as another Japanese name departs: Bridgestone, whose participation in F1 dates back to 1997.
The disappearance of these major Japanese names from F1 has coincided with several of their domestic rivals pulling out of other championships. Suzuki, Subaru and Mitsubishi have all reduced or abandoned their rally programs in recent years.
Japanese car manufacturers even seem less interested in making sporty road models. The Toyota MR2 and Supra, Honda’s NSX and even the souped-up Civic Type-R are all either facing extinction or fossils already. Taking their place are thoroughly unsporty Priuses and Civic Hybrids.
The car manufacturers played a major role in advancing F1's presence in Japan: first at Honda’s Suzuka circuit then briefly at Toyota’s revamped Fuji Speedway.
Lotus paid to end F1 Cosworth contractUPDATE Update on the IndyCar note below, Lotus Cars and Lotus Racing (F1) are two completely different entities currently at war with each other. KV Racing only deals with the Lotus Cars group, so the termination of the F1 agreement with the F1 team sends no money to the IndyCar effort.
10/04/10 (GMM) Lotus had to pay to be released from its 2011 contract with current engine supplier Cosworth. The parties agreed in principle at Monza last month to terminate the agreement, amid widespread reports Lotus is set to announce a comprehensive technical deal with Renault.
But the news was only formalized mere days ago, with Cosworth saying it finally "agreed settlement terms satisfactory to both parties".
According to Finland's Turun Sanomat, Malaysian-backed Lotus "had to pay compensation for the cancellation of the contract". [Editor's Note: Another rumor has them increasing their IndyCar effort with Kevin Kalkhoven from one to two cars as compensation to Kevin Kalkhoven who co-owns both Cosworth and the KV Racing team.]
Lotus and Cosworth have been contacted for comment.
Mexican money for SauberUPDATE #3 This rumor is definitely 'fact' now based on this announcement.
09/28/10 Rumors linking the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, to the Sauber team are gathering momentum.
Longer term, the thinking is that Sauber could become a 'Mexican Superteam.' The Hinwil outfit already has inaugural GP3 champion, the promising Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, only just 19, under contract as third and reserve driver for 2011.
The other name regularly linked with the team and the Slim stories is Sergio Perez, a 20-year-old Mexican who finished runner-up in this year's GP2 championship with Barwa Addax.
Interestingly, the word on the street is that Slim's motor racing consultant, Mexican former CART IndyCar series runner-up (behind Gil de Ferran in 2000) Adrian Fernandez, has established himself a base close to Sauber's factory in Hinwil, Switzerland.
ISC was losing money on IndyCar races Homestead-Miami Speedway gave the IndyCar Series a South Florida-style sendoff on Saturday with fireworks and flyovers, but the crowd was so sparse, it wasn't difficult to see why the track is not on the series 2011 schedule.
Speedway President Matthew Becherer said he wanted to keep IndyCar, but hosting the series — as the track has for the past decade — costs the speedway. He said when IndyCar chose to raise the sanctioning fee to host the series by 30 percent, the track couldn't justify the expense.
"Financially, it's an event that doesn't really make a lot of sense for us anyway and when they asked for an increased fee, it made even less sense," Becherer said. "From a business perspective, it's really not any sort of a hit we're going to have to worry about."
[Editor's Note: But who is to blame for the lack of attendance? Take your pick - 1) Poor track race promotion 2) The Economy 3) Only a handful of diehards are in love with IndyCars on oval tracks, but IndyCar can't accept that. 4) NASCAR is oval track racing and the American fans think IndyCar is one oval track series too many, 5) The split in open wheel racing caused when Tony George created the IRL to destroy CART was indeed a pyrrhic victory.]
Carmichael moving up to Nationwide Series Legendary off-road motorcycle racer Ricky Carmichael slowly but steadily keeps working his way up NASCAR's ladder after making the switch to stock cars. The 30-year-old Floridian, widely viewed as the best motocross and supercross rider ever with a remarkable 15 championships, has been toiling in stock-car racing's lower ranks since 2007. But on Saturday, Carmichael will move up a notch by making his first start in the Nationwide Series, NASCAR's equivalent of baseball's triple-A minor leagues, at the series' race at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval. Los Angeles Times
Latest on possible Chase changes NASCAR is examining several options at altering the Chase format. The options include increasing the number of Chase drivers to 15, turning the 10-race Chase into an elimination tournament, going to some different tracks and creating a separate points system for the Chase drivers separate from the rest of the field. "We're going to make changes in the Chase that we think would serve us well for many, many years," NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier this year. "If that means it's not something we're reacting to, whether it's lower ratings than we want & we look at these things annually. We looked at it very hard last year & but we didn't think the timing was right. But whatever we do, it will be with the industry having lots of chances to weigh in, and us in the end thinking this is something that we can build around that enhances winning, enhances the championship, gives us more of a playoff field than we currently have now, if that's where we end up."
One proposal that has been suggested by ESPN, which televises the Chase, is an elimination format where drivers are eliminated from contention each week until two remain going into the season finale at Homestead. Whoever finishes highest in that race would be declared the champion. Another suggestion is the separate point system for the Chase drivers in which they're credited points as if it were a race within a race. That system would keep all 12 Chase drivers in contention as opposed to now when, for all intents and purposes, the last four drivers in this year's Chase are already out of the running after two races Kansas City Star
Fiat 'would consider' selling some Ferrari shares (GMM) Italian carmaker Fiat has confirmed rumors it would consider selling some of its 85 per cent stake in Ferrari and the famous Maranello based F1 team.
The rumor emerged last week at the opening of the Paris motor show, with a newspaper report saying Fiat wanted to raise money to up its stake in the American carmaker Chrysler.
Fiat initially denied suggestions it is prepared to reduce its shareholding to as little as a controlling 51 per cent; a sale that is theoretically worth about $1 billion.
Overheard in Miami - Friday It was warm and sunny at Miami Homestead Speedway Friday where the IndyCar teams were gathered for their season finale. All eyes are on Dario Franchitti and Will Power who are neck and neck for the title. The two team's garages are side-by-side as are their pits........The first practice was rather processional with no major incidences........Sarah Fischer's car is painted pink this weekend in support of the Susan G. Komen Cancer foundation, but Dollar General is still on the car on black letters..........Hearing that Tip Nunn is stepping down as PR director for the St. Petersburg IndyCar race. No word yet on who will step in to fill the role.......Some of the track personnel here think that IndyCar will be back after a 1-year hiatus in 2011. Don't hold your breath.......Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi met the media this morning. TCGR driver Dario Franchitti is 12 points behind points leader Will Power entering the season finale this weekend. He feels his driver has the edge going in. "We’re in this sport for weekends like this. We’re in this sport for competition like this.” (Does your experience in these championship fights give you an edge this weekend): “I think we have an edge. I look back to where we were a year ago coming into this race, where nobody gave Dario a shot at winning the championship last year. It was Dixon or Briscoe. We were back there on another strategy that worked out. Coming into this situation, the pressure is off us. It’s very hard to do what our competitors have to do, which is maintain. It’s very hard to do as a race driver. While I’d rather not have a 12-points deficit on our side, I like our position better. I think we have the driver and the team to do what we need to do. I think it’s his sort of a “been there, done that” kind of thing. I think he has all the tools he needs. This will be just one more feather in his cap.”............We hear that Dale Coyne's team will probably look the same next year with Alex Lloyd and Milka Duno......Ran into Oriol Servia who is still trying to put together a deal for next year. He is frustrated because in a small country like Spain they get 1 million TV viewers for the Nissan Series races, yet IndyCar is lucky to get 1/2 million in a big country like the USA..........Also ran into Bruno Junqueira who still lives in Miami even though he races in the truck series in Brazil. He gets paid by Ford to drive in Brazil and he said there are 4 or 5 manufacturers in the series and it is a big success. "We go out to the middle of nowhere and we still sell out every seat." The lesson learned here is that auto manufacturer involvement is the key to the success of every prosperous race series and that will be the legacy of Randy Bernard - whether he can land more manufacturers for IndyCar..........Jonathan Summerton is in Miami this weekend looking for a possible IndyCar ride in 2011. Mark C. reporting from Miami
Volkswagen to NASCAR? The latest entry into America's most popular motorsports series could very well be the first ever from Germany. According to Matthias Muller, the newly appointed CEO of Porsche, Volkswagen Group -- his employer's parent company -- is considering entering NASCAR. Should it follow through, Volkswagen would be just the second foreign automaker to participate in NASCAR. Toyota was first, entering the competition in 2007. The German automaker will reportedly begin discussions with NASCAR officials once the current season ends in late November. One of the owners that Volkswagen is considering team up with is Roger Penske. Motortrend
Penske Racing will not be switching from Dodges to Volkswagens in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year, nor will the German automaker be fielding cars in America's premier stock-car series in 2011. Beyond that, though, VW could make a play to race stock cars. The operant word there being "could," as the automaker has not petitioned NASCAR to go racing next year. Sources at Penske Racing told SPEED.com that it is the team's "full intent" to continue fielding Dodges next year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series. Furthermore, sources at NASCAR said that while Volkswagen officials intermittently have expressed a casual "interest in NASCAR," the German automaker has not taken any of the steps necessary to be granted approval to race in NASCAR. In order to be approved to compete, VW or any other automaker would have to formally submit its race car and engine package to NASCAR. That has not happened, NASCAR officials told SPEED.com Thursday. And even if VW wanted to race in NASCAR, the earliest a car could be approved would be for the 2012 season. SPEED
Toro Rosso fires mechanic after Singapore incident (GMM) A mechanic has been dismissed by Toro Rosso following an incident before Sunday's Singapore grand prix. Jaime Alguersuari qualified a strong eleventh under the street circuit's lights, but then had to start the race from the pitlane due to a coolant leak.
"My hopes of having a good day disappeared," recalled the Spaniard.
According to Spanish reports, including in the AS newspaper and the Motor21 website, an unnamed mechanic apparently discovered the leak with five hours to spare but did nothing but regularly wipe up the water puddle.
The problem therefore only came to the attention of the Faenza based team in general after Alguersuari left the pits to form up on the grid. There was then not enough time to replace the radiator before the pitlane closed.
Toro Rosso has been contacted for comment and verification.
Inspection process could blow up on NASCAR There was a time when a NASCAR official would come into the media center after that final inspection process and either announce all cars were clear and legal or outline inequities that were found. In either case, when you left the track Sunday night it was clear who was within the rule book and who wasn't.
However, now things are different.
With the advent of the next generation Sprint Cup car, a more precise method of inspecting cars is needed, one that without delving into too much technical talk involves laser measurements and other technology that cannot be done trackside.
So now it's necessary to take vehicles back to NASCAR's Research & Development facility outside Charlotte where this high-tech equipment is housed and the proper inspection can be completed.
And as was the case with Clint Bowyer's car after his New Hampshire win two weeks ago, problems can be found at the R&D center two days after "winning" a race that will result in fines and penalties.
RCR appeal to be heard and denied on Wed.UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Did RCR, or any team for that matter ever think they would win an appeal with NASCAR? How silly of them. It is as we predicted, the appeal would be denied.
The National Stock Car Racing Commission on Wednesday upheld NASCAR's punishment for the Sprint Cup team of Clint Bowyer. The governing body penalized Bowyer 150 points because the car that won the Chase opener at New Hampshire didn't meet specifications. Crew chief Shane Wilson was suspended for six weeks and fined $150,000. Richard Childress was docked 150 owner points. Childress said he was disappointed in the decision and plans to appeal to chief appellate officer John Middleton, who will have the final say. No date was given for that appeal. "We have proof," Childress said.
Childress brought in Dr. Charles Manning, who owns Accident Reconstruction Analysis in Raleigh, N.C. Manning said he has no doubt that Bowyer's car was knocked out of tolerance the sixty-thousands of an inch that NASCAR claimed by the wrecker that pushed it after it ran out of gas following the win. Manning said he duplicated the incident with a wrecker and car of the same specifications.
Meira back with Foyt for 2011 Veteran IndyCar driver Vitor Meira will probably be back with AJ Foyt Racing for the 2011 season according to Diario Motorsport.com who talked with the Brazilian driver recently at the Miami Homestead Speedway.
According to Vitor Meira, final negotiations with the primary sponsor ABA Supply are well under way and should be finalized in the coming weeks which will be the moment when Meira’s return will be confirmed.
The Brazilian, who started out his career in IndyCar in 2002, is so sure to be back with the team that he did not even had any talks with any other teams.
Vitor Meira was one of the drivers that took part in a practice session at the Homestead Speedway that will hold the season finale this coming week-end.
Hispania Racing driver Christian Klien has stressed that teammate Sakon Yamamoto will be returning to action in his home Grand Prix next time out, with the Austrian having replaced the Japanese at last weekend’s night race in Singapore.
HRT has race now raced all four of its drivers on at least one occasion this season although Klien is unsure whether he will be returning either this or next season. However, he does point out that enquires continue with a number of teams with regards to the 2011 campaign.
“(I will return) later on perhaps, I don’t know,” he explained to F1Pulse.com.
“I cannot say that but for Japan it will definitely be Sakon in the car. Obviously, the performance (in Singapore) was pretty good. Maybe the team will make another decision towards the end of the season but I have no idea at the moment.
Comcast-NBCU Wants To Expand Sports, Could Challenge ESPN The joint Comcast-NBC Universal media conglomerate "sees a unique opportunity to compete head to head with ESPN for sports programming," according to a cover story by Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter. Once the Comcast-NBCU merger goes through, the combination of the two companies "will shake the playing field in the multibillion-dollar world of televised sports rights." SNL Kagan analyst Derek Baine said, "They really want to take Versus and do something dramatic with it. They've lost a lot of money on that channel. They've invested heavily in programming that hasn't gotten a lot of ratings." Wallenstein reports even before Comcast "decides what it wants to do to expand its sports business, the mere commingling of the two companies' assets will establish a new power player." With NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol "likely in the driver's seat, it's certain Comcast will look for NBC Uni to extend its Olympics rights into 2014 and 2016" when bidding begins next year, though "ESPN-led Disney and other conglomerates will attempt to put an end to that streak before the year is out." Wallenstein notes Golf Channel and Versus "could share in the Olympics coverage (golf again becomes an Olympic sport in 2016); NBC and Versus will bring the entirety of NHL rights under one company; and Comcast's most underestimated sports asset -- its 11 regional sports networks -- will be a handy bargaining chip for reeling in the lowest-hanging fruit in sports rights: college football conferences." If Comcast-NBC "fails to secure the next two Olympics, look for the focus to switch to year-round sports." Comcast "surely will try to wrest TV rights to at least one major sports league." While rights "to the NBA (out until 2016) and NCAA basketball (ditto until 2024) are out of reach in the short term, the company is sitting on enough cash -- even if NBC Uni holds onto the Olympics -- to make a run at the likes of baseball or the NFL, both of which are divvied among a handful of networks" until '13 or '14. This expanded sports focus could help IndyCar as well. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Mulally: Ford model lineup may go to 20 Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the automaker may reduce its product lineup to as few as 20 models.
"There will be less than 30, on our way to 20 to 25," Mulally said in response to questions on the future lineup of nameplates, or models, after addressing the Confederation of British Industry in London. "Fewer brands means you can put more focus into improving the quality of engineering."
Ford offered 97 models when Mulally became CEO of the company in 2006. The lineup has since been reduced by terminating some products and selling luxury brands Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
"It was absolutely clear that we had to simplify Ford dramatically," said the CEO, who is in Europe prior to visiting the Paris Motor Show this week.
HVM on the rocks?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Signs posted, locks changed, guards patrolling etc. etc. -- were an "unfortunate misunderstanding," with the landlord of their building according to the team leader Keith Wiggins of HVM:
"The situation with the landlord was an unfortunate misunderstanding and has since been resolved. We are in full swing in preparation for the season finale, at Homestead Miami Speedway, and we will be releasing exciting news of a new partner soon. Thank you for your interest in setting the record straight."
09/26/10 Rumor are circulating that the HVM team is not on solid financial footing and their future is in doubt. This may be why we heard rumors that Simona di Silvestro is looking for another ride in 2011.
According to AutoRacing1.com sources, American Charlie Kimball, a current Indy Lights driver, is working on a deal to race IndyCars in 2011. No word yet on who the team is.
Kimball ran Formula 3 and the World Series by Renault in Europe before moving back to the USA. In 2007, Kimball was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was forced to abandon his racing program mid-season. Today Kimball is the only licensed driver with diabetes in the history of the Indy Racing league.
After his surprising diagnosis, Kimball returned to the cockpit in 2008 and claimed a podium finish in his first race back in the car.
Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug has claimed that under-fire team principal Ross Brawn's position is not under threat.
Pit land rumors had suggested that both Brawn and seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher could be fired at the end of the season after disappointing results this year, but Haug denied that there are any problems.
“We have full confidence in Ross,” the 57-year-old told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
“Work for the future is going well. It is normal that rumors come and go. I’ve heard rumors about Michael, about me and about Ross. When I say no, I mean no, and when I say yes, I mean yes. My answer is no - there are no cracks in the relationship.
“The automotive industry has gone through a crisis, and several other manufacturers have left F1. Mercedes is committed to the future of this sport. We do not yet have a winning team, but we are putting in the work to become a winning team.”
NASCAR team will not continue next year Steve Turner has big plans for Turner Motorsports, which expanded its Camping World Truck Series operations to the Nationwide Series beginning this weekend when it was announced Friday that he had bought the four-car operation of Braun Racing. The plans for the organization on the Nationwide Series side include replacing Brian Scott after Dover with Turner's current Camping World Truck Series drivers Ricky Carmichael and James Buescher. Braun driver Tayler Malsam also will be phased out. Jason Leffler and Reed Sorenson will keep their Nationwide rides through the end of the year and it is possible they will remain with the team. The team plans to run three trucks and three Nationwide cars next year because the economics of running those operations lend themselves to have three teams, Turner said. Turner also said he will shut down the part-time Sprint Cup operation fielded by Braun this year. Scene Daily
Fisher to retire? Sources hint that following the IndyCar season finale in Miami, Sarah Fisher will retire as a race driver to become a full-time team owner. Sarah has said in the past that at some point she would retire from driving to start a family.
Ride buying out of control in IndyCarUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with yesterday's announcement.
09/23/10 AutoRacing1.com sources tell us that Ana Beatriz brought the big check and will take Tracy's spot in Homestead.
09/23/10 Rumor has it that Paul Tracy has been bumped out of his ride for the season ending IndyCar race by a ride buyer with an even bigger check. Imagine an NFL football player getting benched because another player paid the team a big check to play. Ride buying destroys the credibility of any race series.
Keselowski team to move to Sprint Cup Where does [the purse cuts in Nationwide] leave this operation heading into 2011? Keselowski:
If we can't run Nationwide, I'd like to run Cup. I don't know, there's a lot of uncertainty. We've got three solid months to figure out what we're doing for next year. But if we get to January 1 and we don't know what we're doing, we're really behind the [eight] ball. It sounds like they're going to change the front ends of the Cup cars a little bit next year, so even the ones I already have would have to be worked on. I'd like to say that I will just run the Cup deal, because if nothing else I could just focus on one car, and the money over there is enough that I could afford to race the race. I never wanted to start a second team or a third team [in the Nationwide Series], I wanted to race. But it wasn't going to make business sense to do it. I'm getting kind of sick of it. It's getting to a point where it's really not any fun. We work really, really hard and you feel like racing isn't getting anywhere. You're just busting your butt and not getting anywhere, running 30th all day long. Frontstretch
A new track in Rio? During my investigations into the idea of an Olympic Grand Prix last night, I stumbled upon an interesting development in Brazil, which past me by earlier in the year. It seems that since the future of Jacarepaguá is compromised by the construction of Olympic facilities there is a plan for the construction of a completely new racetrack , a few miles to the north in the suburb of Deodoro. Nothing is yet certain but the Federação de Automobilismo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, under the leadership of Djalma de Faria Neves has a plan to build a multipurpose racing facility in what is now a park, wedged between two motorways. The whole thing seems fairly unrealistic given the fact that the entire place is ringed with houses, but in Brazil there is such passion for racing that this might be overcome, although the club says that it is worried about the environmental impact survey that is needed. The facility would include a flat oval for IndyCars and a karting centre. The design I found was by a local architect called Artur Katchborian and I must say did not look that interesting. To do all of this makes no sense to me when you have an existing facility that could be botched around and revamped into something good for half the price of a new facility. The plan is apparently to plough up the existing track to turn it into an Olympic training centre, which makes no sense to me as Brazil is much more famous for its racing drivers than it is for its athletes but, hey, it is there money… It is worth noting that Bernie Ecclestone is beginning to put the pressure on Interlagos to improve as its contract runs out in 2015 and he wants a better facility. That is going to be tough in Sao Paulo and so other options will be considered. Rio de Janeiro would love to get the race back, of course, but the question is down to money. Joe Saward
ISC cancels IRL testUPDATE This test was indeed cancelled by the track, they claim for fence work. It has ben rescheduled for Monday and the two drivers battling for the title, Dario Franchitti and Will Power will take part in that test.
09/07/10 We are getting wind of the fact that some IndyCar teams drove all the way to Homestead for a team test on Monday and never got to run. Why? ISC said there was a problem with the backstraight fencing of their Homestead track. If true did ISC put the screws to IndyCar because the IRL is telling them to go pound sand and dropping all their events from next year's calendar? Hmmm......
(GMM) Jarno Trulli has reportedly signed a contract to remain with Lotus for the team's second season in 2011.
On Friday afternoon in Singapore, just before a heavy rain downpour, the Malaysian owned team confirmed reports that it will be known as the historic Team Lotus next year, rather than Lotus Racing.
The move follows team boss Tony Fernandes' purchase of the name from David Hunt, with the separate Group Lotus believed to have signaled its intention to no longer allow the team to use the Lotus Racing moniker under license.
Lotus did not also confirm reports that it will be powered by Renault engines next year, but it is expected that an announcement about the team's drivers for 2011 is imminent.
Finland's Turun Sanomat claims that while Heikki Kovalainen signed a contract at Monza two weeks ago, his Italian teammate Trulli may only have inked a deal this week in Singapore.
Rossi set to run Iannone in 2011 Moto2 team It is being reported that reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has launched a bid to help fund a Moto2 project from next season. The squad, as revealed by Motorcycle News (MCN), would be run alongside lifelong friend Uccio Salucci.
With the latest race having been staged at the Motorland Arag¢n circuit in Spain, it was then reported that the Yamaha rider - bound for Ducati in 2011 - was in negotiations with Eskil Suter with regards to a chassis deal.
Moves afoot to move Melbourne GP to permanent venue (GMM) A new venue for the Australian grand prix beyond 2015 could be shaping up near Melbourne.
Earlier this month, Calder Park owner Bob Jane denied a major redevelopment of his circuit was a move to become an alternative for current F1 host Albert Park.
The Australian round, currently hosted on a mainly temporary circuit south of the city, made international headlines last week when an unprecedented $50m taxpayer's loss for the 2010 edition was revealed.
Massa to Sauber, Kubica to FerrariUPDATE In recent days there have been reports in various countries suggesting that Robert Kubica could be moving to Ferrari in 2011, with Felipe Massa being farmed out to Ferrari customer Sauber. Such a move would require agreement from Renault and Massa himself. One can see that Renault might be happy to part with Robert if there was a big pay-off, as money remains tight. However, if the team did agree to release Robert there remains the question of whether or not there is a suitable replacement. Kubica is widely seen as being a bit special and selling his contract would inevitably leave the team with a bit of a vacuum. There are the rumors of Kimi Raikkonen, of course, but there is no reason why the Finn would be any more motivated than he was in 2008 and 2009 at Ferrari – and he has unfinished business in the world of rallying. Massa might agree to move to Sauber, if only to get away from the situation in which he is deemed to be a number two to Fernando Alonso (which is not a status that Robert Kubica is likely to accept). Having said that, a move to Sauber would provide a far less competitive car as Ferrari customers are rarely in a position to win races. Massa says that his goal is to win and so one must presume that he still sees Ferrari as his main chance, even if the team did instruct him to move over for Alonso. Sauber would welcome back Felipe, although it is not entirely clear who would pay him. This all adds to the belief that Sauber is on the verge of a big new partnership, probably with the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim. It has been suggested for some time that Sergio Perez might step up to F1 next year, but the team already has a deal with Kamui Kobayashi, so there is not room for everyone… Joe Saward
09/22/10 (GMM) Rumors of driver movements within the top teams are yet again gaining traction.
Recently, a Spanish television station reported that, notwithstanding the existence of new contracts, Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica could be set to swap seats for 2011.
The Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell is now reporting a similar rumor, whereby Massa would leave Ferrari at the end of the season to make room for Pole Kubica.
But the report said Brazilian Massa would be accommodated not by Renault but by Ferrari powered Sauber, where he drove as a rookie in 2002 and again in 2004-2005.
USAC's best to get Indy Lights ride IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is working on a plan to reward USAC’s best with a ride for all the Indy Lights ovals in 2011.
“One of things I hear most from fans and media is that we need more American drivers and I agree, I think it’s very important,” said Bernard, who has been to Bloomington and Kokomo for USAC shows this summer and is planning to be at Rossburg, Ohio this Saturday night.
“There are a lot of good young racers in USAC who deserve a chance to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and USAC is a valuable part of our heritage in Indy cars.”
None of USAC’s full-timers thinks about a career in the IZOD IndyCar series because they aren’t road racers. But past USAC champions like Tracy Hines, Dave Darland, Jerry Coons Jr. and Bud Keading are certainly some of the most accomplished open-wheel racers in this country and are deserving of a shot.
Toro Rosso F1 team up for sale There have been rumors that Mateschitz would sell the Toro Rosso team since the chassis-sharing decision was made, but he has kept it on, paying the necessary and making the investments needed. He will never make back the money he has sunk in the project and really it is just a matter of when he decides to cut his losses. At the moment there are lots of stories about Toro Rosso being for sale, although now is a lousy time to sell a Formula 1 team. It is tough for anyone to find the money to run such an operation and while there are many people with ambitions, there are few with hard cash. The latest rumors suggest that the Faenza team could be moving to Mexican ownership in the future, but it should be said that this may simply be a negotiating ploy as the Mexicans talk with Sauber. Joe Saward
Report links Stefan GP with HRT buyout bid (GMM) Zoran Stefanovic could be looking at yet another route onto the formula one grid.
With his Stefan GP project, the Serbian first tried to gain entry to the 2010 grid with the unraced Toyota car, and reportedly then gave up his push for the 13th 2011 entry due to the FIA selection process taking too long.
Now, according to Italy's 422race.com, Stefanovic could be among the group of Serbian and Czech entrepreneurs apparently looking to buy the struggling Spanish team HRT.
Government could seek foreign investors for GMUPDATE China's largest automaker SAIC Motor Corp. has reached out to General Motors Co. about acquiring a stake in the Detroit automaker when the company launches a public stock offering later this year, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.
SAIC spokeswoman Zhu Xingjun said Sunday, "SAIC is closely watching the progress of GM's IPO. SAIC wishes the success of the GM IPO." She declined further comment.
Last month, Shanghai Auto Chairman Hu Maoyuan told reporters in China that the company was considering an investment in GM. Maoyuan said SAIC "will watch GM's IPO closely, and think carefully if we should purchase the shares or not," according to the Financial Times.
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. The Virgin Racing F1 Team is pleased to announce that it has signed rising talent Jerome D’Ambrosio in an evaluation role for four of the remaining five race weekends of the 2010 season. Jerome will take part in the first free practice session on Friday mornings at the Singapore, Japanese, Korean and Brazilian Grands Prix and the team will be using this opportunity to evaluate Jerome’s potential. Jerome will join existing long term reserve driver Luis Razia who continues in his role supporting the Virgin Racing F1 Team.
The 25 year old Belgian will run in car number 25 for the 90 minute opening session, alongside Timo Glock, before handing over the reins to Lucas di Grassi for the remainder of the race weekend.
Fiat changes to effect Ferrari? Fiat has long been Italy’s predominant industrial business and the Agnelli Family have ruled the roost. In recent years the company has been run by chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, who has this week won the approval of the shareholders to split Fiat’s industrial businesses away from the car manufacturing units. The plan is for Fiat to combine the car brands, notably Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Ferrari, while a new company called Fiat Industrials will be created as a separate entity to manufacture Iveco trucks and various other brands of farming and construction equipment. Fiat Industrial will list on the Milan stock exchange next year and will be independent of Fiat, with its own management board. The company chairman is now John Elkann, who is believed to be in favor of the move, which will help Fiat to complete its merger with Chrysler. Quite how all of this impacts on Ferrari remains to be seen, but in reality the company is self-sufficient. Joe Saward
Will traffic be Austin's eventual undoing?UPDATE #2 Twelve hours. That’s how long it would take fans on race days to get into, and then out of, the proposed Formula One track to be built southeast of Austin, according to a quick analysis of the site plan by county planners.
Imagine, if you will, thousands of cars, trucks and RVs trying to travel to and from the Formula One racetrack on this section of Elroy Road. No plans have been announced for its upgrade.
Planners working on the race track site plan reached that estimate after a field trip to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where it takes about three hours for fans to enter and exit the track, said Joe Gieselman, manager of Travis County’s Transportation and Natural Resources Department. He added that the F1 calculation was reached by plugging in the number of anticipated attendees at the Austin event.
“It was like, Hello, that [12 hours] cannot happen,” he said. “But tell us what it will take to get” the time down to a reasonable figure.
“Mainly what’s lacking is the big picture and the context,” he said. “They’re still at the PR level — still selling F1. But now let’s talk about what we have to do to make it successful.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt also told Suttle she wanted to see a “hard number analysis” on how Formula One racing has affected other communities economically.
Suttle was also asked about who would pay for upgrades to the roads around the site. Gieselman said that as a general rule, site developers are expected to pay for necessary improvements to public roadways.
Today, Suttle told the Statesman that further discussions are needed on what infrastructure — such as adding lanes or intersection improvements, mainly work to roadways — might be needed and who will pay for it.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in the next two years,” he said, adding that Full Throttle’s engineers were in the midst of talking to planners in Silverstone, England, to learn about how that site handled traffic. More at The Statesman
Allgaier likely out in NASCAR Verizon's exit from NASCAR figures to mean the departure of Justin Allgaier from Roger Penske's organization. The winner of one Nationwide Series race this season has been told by team officials that he can pursue other options.
The 24-year-old Allgaier is fourth in series points heading to Saturday's race at Dover Downs.
Penske officials expect to field two Nationwide cars next season, including the one driven by series points leader Brad Keselowski. The other program likely will be for Sam Hornish Jr., whose Sprint Cup Series future is in limbo given the loss of his No. 77 car's primary sponsor.
Penske to demote backmarker Hornish?UPDATE #6 Sam Hornish Jr. has been given permission by Penske Racing to seek employment elsewhere, and the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner no longer is ruling out a return to IndyCar. The three-time champion of the Izod IndyCar Series is nearing the end of his third full season in the Sprint Cup Series, and sponsor Mobil 1 is leaving the team. Hornish says team owner Roger Penske wants to keep him in the fold but might not be able to if sponsorship doesn't materialize. "Roger has told me a million times and the media a million times that if they have the money to put me in the Cup series that they'd do it," Hornish said after qualifying 15th Friday for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "We just don't have that yet. They asked what my preference was, and my preference was to stay in the Cup Series. They're not going to stand in my way if I get the opportunity to be able to do that." Hornish says there are several scenarios that could keep him with Penske in either a Nationwide or Cup ride, but nothing was certain. During an interview in April, he seemed steadfast about staying in NASCAR. But Friday, he had softened his stance on IndyCar. "I need to see how everything plays out," Hornish said. "I've said a lot of times I don't have a lot of interest to go back. But I'm not going to say never. My goal is to try to stay in the Cup series, and if I have to take a step back and run Nationwide, that's a possibility. I'll have to wait and see how it plays out, I guess." Speculation about a possible return was heightened in the past week when it became apparent that Panther Racing might have an opening. After this season, 2005 Indy 500 and IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon apparently will leave the team that gave Hornish his break. USA Today
09/17/10 While Penske Racing is keeping mum on Verizon leaving the NASCAR side of the program and Justin Allgaier's status for next season, sources say don't be surprised if Sam Hornish Jr. ends up in a Nationwide Series ride as Brad Keselowski's teammate in 2011.
09/15/10 From a NASCAR.com interview with Penske Racing boss Tim Cindric:
Q: What do you foresee happening with the 77?
Cindric: Right now we're still in search of a primary sponsor for that car. That search will continue for the rest of the year. The good news is that it's September and not December.
Q: What does that mean for Hornish? Will he be back for sure?
Cindric: I wouldn't say anything is for sure. You can't race without the funding. So as we sit right now, we're collectively trying to do that -- but we also understand that if there are opportunities for him, it's an open book as far as communication. We're certainly not going to stand in his way as far as furthering his career, but we'd certainly like for him to be able to continue with us.
NASCAR New Hampshire race to sell out Despite solid June numbers - at least in this economy - NHMS is actually already ahead of those numbers for this Sunday's opening race in the Sprint Cup Championship.
The speedway sold roughly 91,000 tickets (out of 105,491) for the race back at the end of June. According to Gappens, the numbers for Sunday's race have already exceeded those totals by nearly 7,000 tickets.
"We've really picked up in the last couple weeks, we're down to about 7,500 left for Sunday," Gappens said yesterday afternoon. "I don't know if we'll get it completely sold out, but we're certainly in a lot better shape than we were a month ago and I feel really good about that. But I'll tell you, from what I'm seeing from other tracks and everything, we should be really proud of where we are with our ticket sales and how many people are going to be here on Sunday." Concord Monitor
NHRA Driver eyes NASCAR Antron Brown admitted he'd be interested in NASCAR during lunch last week at the Charlotte Motor Speedway's Speedway Club, in town to promote this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at the zMax Dragway. Brown is the only racer to ever make a successful jump from Pro Stock Bikes to Top Fuel. He's led the point standings in both divisions, winning 16 races on the bike and, so far, eight in the dragster. He's also ridden shotgun with the USAF Thunderbirds, set sprinting records at New Jersey's Mercer College, ran a 100-meter dash fast enough to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, hangs out with NFL players and, as the folks at zMax Dragway have documented, he can do just about anything in four seconds.
Lotus to team with Toyota instead of Renault in 2011?UPDATE According to what we hear Lotus will name the “new” (old) name of the team in Singapore as well as Renault supplying engines.
09/17/10 (GMM) Lotus has informed the media that it will be making "a number of very exciting announcements" in Singapore next weekend.
It is widely expected that the new team's current drivers will be retained for another season, and that Lotus Racing will take on the historic Team Lotus moniker for 2011 and beyond.
And according to the rumor mill, with the team's 2011 contract with Cosworth now dissolved, Lotus will be confirming an engine and gearbox deal with Renault.
But the Italian language Autosprint reports that Malaysian-owned Lotus could actually be set to announce a technical cooperation with Toyota Motorsport, the Cologne based outfit that raced in formula one between 2002 and last year.
Jordon: Schumacher will quit after 2010UPDATE The latest gossip is that Ross Brawn and the Mercedes board are once more in discussions regarding share ownership of the team. This time Mercedes want Brawn out or Brawn to buy all their shares.
Schumacher is simply too old for F1 now
Eddie Jordan – the man who gave Schumacher his big break at the highest level just under two decades ago in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, and who correctly forecast that he would rejoin the fray this season – contends that the Hungaroring incident with Barrichello has had just as profound an effect on his former charge's mindset as has his lack of pace in 2010, and the Irishman suggests that as such, the end could well now be nigh.
“I've a hunch something fundamental has changed,” Jordan told BBC Sport. “I believe he is disillusioned and thinking of quitting. There are too many indications that now give me the feeling he is reconsidering his commitment to his three-year contract. There is far too much movement in the Mercedes motorhome involving managers of drivers from other teams.
Busch to shut down NASCAR truck team Driver Kyle Busch yesterday said that he would "shut down" his Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series team "after this season if he cannot find a sponsor." Earlier this year Busch "thought he had Miccosukee Resort & Gaming as a sponsor for one truck for the entire season, and had hoped to find sponsors for two more trucks," but a "change in leadership at the Indian tribe resulted in the loss of that sponsorship and no other full-time sponsors materialized." The team currently ranks "second in the owner points," and Busch has had "some one- and two-race sponsorships but no full funding for an entire season." Busch: "It's hard to get anything and there really is nobody coming into it" SCENEDAILY.com
Lotus to announce Renault in Singapore Lotus Team Principal Tony Fernandes has revealed that some ‘very exciting announcements’ are set to be made at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix as the Norfolk-based outfit continues to make preparations towards 2011.
It was confirmed earlier this week that Lotus would be parting company with 2010 engine supplier Cosworth at the end of the season, therefore ending the contract two years early; paddock gossip now states that a Renault deal is in the pipeline.
“Singapore is going to be amazing, for me and the whole team,” said Malaysian Fernandes. “We’ll be making a couple of very exciting announcements over the race weekend, so it’ll be good for us on and off-track.”
Raikkonen return could push Petrov to LotusUPDATE (GMM) Renault team owner Gerard Lopez insists the Enstone based outfit is in no rush to confirm the identity of Robert Kubica's teammate for 2011.
The big news in F1 this week was team boss Eric Boullier's claim that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who moved from Ferrari to rallying this year, has enquired about driving for Renault next season.
Renault was already looking at its options for 2011, given that Vitaly Lopez's presence has not resulted in an influx of Russian sponsors.
Also questionable has been the rookie's performances, where despite a run of better results at recent events, Petrov notably struggled at Monza last weekend.
"I doubt Monza is the place where he has done enough to justify his seat next year," Lopez, boss of Renault's Luxembourg based majority owners Genii Capital, is quoted by Press Association.
At the same time, he admits there are "a lot of drivers" knocking on the door for 2011, Lopez said.
Verizon to ditch NASCAR for IndyCar Sources tell Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that Verizon will not return to Penske Racing as sponsors of Justin Allgaier's NASCAR Nationwide Series Dodges in 2011 and that Allgaier has been told he is free to seek employment with other teams next season. Verizon will reportedly remain with Penske Racing next season, increasing its level of involvement with the team's IndyCar program. "It's true that they're evaluating their NASCAR investment right now," said Penske Racing Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jonathan Gibson, "and it's true that they may increase their involvement with our IndyCar program." Gibson said the team is talking with other companies about potentially replacing Verizon next season, adding, "Our intent to continue with two Nationwide Series entries next season." He declined to comment on reports that Allgaier has been given permission to look elsewhere, but called him, "A great young driver who we would like to keep in our organization." Gibson said Verizon has had "issues surrounding their ability to activate the sponsorship in light of Sprint's involvement in the sport. Verizon has been hindered in what they can do," he said. "They can't do much (at the tracks) and they can't do anything with Sprint Cup Series drivers, which is difficult. They've been very creative in what they have done, and they would like to do more. It's not the perfect world they'd like to play in, but Sprint obviously does a lot for the sport, so it is what it is." Sirius Speedway
Heidfeld to replace de la Rosa from SingaporeUPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.
09/14/10 (GMM) Another day has passed without confirmation that Pedro de la Rosa has lost his Sauber race seat.
Evening reports after Sunday's Italian grand prix suggested grand prix veteran and current Pirelli tire tester Nick Heidfeld will occupy the sister C29 alongside Kamui Kobayashi in Singapore and beyond.
De la Rosa and Peter Sauber have refused to comment.
And now German sources Die Welt newspaper and SID news agency quote Heidfeld's manager Andre Theuer as saying: "The only thing I can say is that I cannot say anything."
33-year-old Heidfeld, having attended the Monza event at the weekend, admitted that his new Pirelli role made him a sought-after figure in the paddock.
New FIA tests may have curbed Red Bull dominance (GMM) The jury is out as to whether Red Bull will bounce back into top form at Singapore in less than two weeks.
According to the Austrian team, the RB6 was simply unsuited to the long straights of Spa and Monza, and will return to dominance on the more conventional circuits that are set to host the last five races of 2010.
But another line of thinking is that the tougher flexible wing and floor tests, introduced by the FIA amid suggestions the Adrian Newey-penned car is illegally bending at high speed, have hurt the pace of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
The Sportwoche publication said the team had to make last-minute changes before Friday practice at Monza, which explains the bright green aerodynamic paint seen initially at the rear of the car in Italy.
Simona De Silvestro says no to F1....for now It was rumored on Wind Tunnel last night that the best female driver in America today, Simona De Silvestro, was offered to test with two F1 teams but supposedly she refused saying she wants to have more success in IndyCar first. Given she runs with the low budget HVM team is a testament to just how good she is. Imagine her in a Penske, Ganassi or even and Andretti car!
Apex-Brasil to renew with IndyCar Government-funded agency Apex-Brasil, which promotes natural resources and investment, got involved with IndyCar in 2009 to promote Brazil’s ethanol industry.
Through its partnership, Apex-Brasil is able to pass on its hospitality rights to Brazilian companies and industries. As many as 350 Brazilian companies attend IndyCar races and entertain up to six guests each, who are typically U.S. buyers. The effort generated $370 million in new business last year and is projected to generate more than $600 million in new business this year, Pierson said.
The agency hopes to renew its partnership with IndyCar at the end of the season and extend it through 2012.
NASCAR mulls expanding Chase Next year, the drama surrounding the September NASCAR Richmond race -- the final race before the Chase begins -- could be different if series officials again alter the Chase.
Series officials expanded the Chase field from 10 to 12 in 2006, a year after former champion Tony Stewart missed the Chase. Yet, the jokes were that the changes were made to ensure Dale Earnhardt Jr., the sport's most popular driver, and Jeff Gordon made the Chase since both missed it 2005.
NASCAR chairman Brian France suggested this summer that changes could be made to next year's Chase. Some of the suggestions have included expanding the Chase to 15 or more drivers.
Lotus also set for engine switch despite Cosworth's denialUPDATE #5 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
09/07/10 AUTOSPORT understands that a deal has been agreed in principle for Lotus to secure a supply of Renault customer engines for 2011 – which would see the team receive the same specification of power-unit as other customer outfit Red Bull Racing.
It is believed the move came out when Lotus originally sought out a new supplier of gearboxes and transmissions for next year and they proposed to Lotus that they would do it if they also used their engines.
It is not clear at the moment whether a financial settlement can be reached for Cosworth to agree to cut short its deal, or whether Lotus will be forced to delay its Renault ambitions.
Cosworth general manager of F1 operations Mark Gallagher said: "As with the other new teams, Lotus has a fixed term three-year contract with Cosworth and we are very pleased it is happy with our engines and the job we have done for it during its first season in Formula 1."
Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne said: "We've got a contract with Cosworth and there is no further comment to make."
09/03/10 Stories intensified in Belgium that a deal has been concluded for Lotus Racing to switch to Renault engines next year.
The catalyst for the change is understood to be the reliability problems Lotus has suffered in 2010, principally with gearbox hydraulics rather than any issues with the team's current Cosworth engines themselves. It is understood that the supply of a Renault gearbox is also part of the deal.
Speaking in Belgium, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said of the Lotus return: "We would have been much happier being more reliable. That has been a disappointment to us. Some of it has been out of our control through outside suppliers and we have got to make sure we put that right for next year
"Gearbox and hydraulics have been a particularly weak area. We haven't had the resources to put all the fixes in place and I think we have been let down by some suppliers who have not done as good a job as they should have done. But you cannot make excuses. You have to put things right."
Van der Garde to f1? GP2 driver Giedo van der Garde told GPUpdate.net that he is in talks with a selection of Formula 1 teams with regards to a possible full-time drive in 2011. The Dutchman, who has picked up three GP2 wins to date, highlights Virgin Racing and Lotus as two likely candidates.
After being crowned World Series by Renault Champion in 2008 before winning a trio of GP2 races for iSport on his way to finishing seventh overall last season, the unfortunate 25-year-old has been unable to enjoy victory so far in 2010 although he remains positive that F1 is an option.
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