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New sponsor for Hinchcliffe Tomorrow Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport will announce a new primary sponsor for the No. 27 car, currently driven by James Hinchcliffe, in 2014. Will it be Honda of Canada?
NJ race still in doubt (Update)UPDATE Formula One fans have followed the “will it or won't it happen” saga of the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial in New Jersey since its executive chairman, Leo Hindery Jr., first announced the project in October 2011.
The planned street race would take place in Weehawken and West New York, N.J., just across the Hudson River from Manhattan -- America's No. 1 media marketplace, and a venue F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has long coveted for the world championship.
But doubts have plagued this deal from the jump. The original plan to hold the race in 2013 fell through due to a lack of funding. According to a document UBS financial services prepared in June this year and provided to potential investors -- and obtained by Autoweek -- Hindery and his management team are seeking $100 million to make the Grand Prix of America a reality.
Valencia had quality assets that NJ will benefit from
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has excused Valencia of a fine for dropping off the F1 calendar, "but everything in Formula 1 has a price," according to Pablo Juanarena of MARCA. Ecclestone wants to "take fencing, spare tires, grandstands and retaining walls from Valencia."
This is an "insignificant price" compared to a fine for breach of contract, which would cost more than $68M. The beneficiary of Valencia dropping from the calendar is F1's new Grand Prix of America, "which is scheduled to take place June 1 on the banks of the Hudson River." Ecclestone "has a personal interest in having a race with the N.Y. skyline as the racetrack's backdrop."
The idea is to "move as much of the material as possible by ship from Valencia to the site of the Grand Prix of America." MARCA
10/17/13 There are layers of intrigue coming out of Fontana this weekend with regards to the 2014 IndyCar Silly Season.
Relatively big news broke yesterday that Sebastien Bourdais will join KVSH Racing next season, replacing Tony Kanaan, who will join Chip Ganassi Racing. The future of Kanaan's current teammate Simona de Silvestro however is undecided. Earlier today, Marshall Pruett of Racer speculated that de Silvestro may find a home with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Of course, news broke last week that RLL had secured sponsorship from the National Guard for driver Graham Rahal. Young Rahal is known to have a deal with TBD Retail that was multi-year before this season. So, one has to wonder if RLL is a no-go for de Silvestro simply because they have the luxury of going out and hiring a driver with the TBD Retail money.
Walker: IndyCar considering overseas races in 2015 (Update 5)UPDATE #5
Why Tony George stopped IndyCar from continuing in Surfers Paradise is beyond belief.
The 2014 IndyCar schedule is a "transitional" calendar that could open the series to extensive international events in 2015 and beyond, IndyCar's top executive told USA TODAY Sports.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., which oversees the Izod IndyCar Series, said the compact, 18-race, March-to-August schedule will eliminate lengthy periods of downtime during the season.
"The strategic move here is to condense the schedule," Miles said. "The point is to make the season more compact, which opens it up to international events before and after the North American part of the schedule. Frankly, we want to avoid a situation like we had this year, where we waited a month between races near the end of the season."
Will IndyCar’s 2014 schedule confirm the series' downward spiral? (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with the announcement of the 2014 IndyCar schedule and the loss of two venues - Brazil and Baltimore, the loss of IZOD as the series sponsor and TV ratings that have hit an all-time low to the point where almost no one is watching. How many will drop in 2015? We suppose they can add more doubleheaders to make up for any further lost races. We now live under socialism rule where everyone expects less and where everyone is learning to do without. Such it is with IndyCar and its diminishing fan base.
09/20/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1,
I saw your news item on the IndyCar downward spiral. I am a very prominent and successful CEO. Yes, you would likely know my name and see it in the news from time to time. I am an avid IndyCar fan.
Yes, as I have accurately predicted the demise of CART, Champ Car, IRL, Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic, open wheel racing is not sustainable with a dominant buy-a-ride environment. This must go away. The only way to do that is build value for sponsors in both the consumers (i.e. fans) that buy sponsor products, and build value for the B2B deliverables in the paddock.
People complain about the TV package, but that is all tied to the fans and viewers. Yes, you can get higher ratings on network television, but if you are having to buy those telecasts, that represents a cash drain that should be a cash infusion, like it is with pretty much every other sport that can call one of its events a global spectacle of racing.
Hinchcliffe eyes move to Sports Cars (Update)UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. “The Andretti Autosport team will have very exciting announcements about drivers and sponsors in the very near future,” said Andretti Autosport director of corporate communications Ryann Rigsby when reached by RACER on Thursday.
Andretti Autosport had been in discussion with Chevrolet, but as has been rumored since the Ganassi switch was revealed at Houston, the need for Honda to sign a replacement anchor team and for Andretti to position itself as the top program for a manufacturer has met its expected outcome.
Assistance from Honda Canada, which has also been mentioned as a possible source of funding to keep Hinchcliffe at Andretti, should be confirmed in the Hinchcliffe press conference.
Bourdais to replace Kanaan at KV Racing (Update)UPDATE Four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais has signed on to replace Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, The Associated Press rumors.
Three people familiar with the signing said Wednesday that Bourdais signed a two-year contract with KVSH Racing. They spoke on condition of anonymity because principals Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and James "Sulli" Sullivan had not announced the signing.
Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 in May with KVSH, but decided to leave for Chip Ganassi Racing next year. KVSH acted fast in offering the same deal it offered Kanaan to three-race winner James Hinchcliffe, but the team gave Hinchcliffe a short deadline to accept the contract that did not require the driver to bring any sponsorship.
2014 IndyCar ScheduleUPDATE A quick update to our schedule below.
Ray Dunlap is reporting that IndyCar will run a doubleheader with the NASCAR Camping World truck Series July 11 and 12 at Iowa. This is good news in that July 12 is a Saturday, meaning IndyCar will run under the lights again at Iowa Speedway. Also, last year's Iowa event was only IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights, which had only 8 cars competing.
The combination of too little racing content, and the event being Sunday afternoon may have contributed to the uncharacteristically less-than-capacity Iowa crowd. A Trucks/IndyCar doubleheader with a Mazda Road to Indy category mixed in will make for a good event at the racy track in Newton. Plus, we imagine the night race will be nothing but a positive for the gate.
What this does to the rest of the schedule remains to be seen.This could move the Houston doubleheader to the weekend of June 20-22, because if Houston is the last week of June that would make for 6 races in a 4 weekend stretch from June 28 to July 20.
Milwaukee to have a slot on 2014 IndyCar schedule (Update)UPDATE The FIA has announced the 24 Hours will be held on June 14-15, which marks a return to its traditional mid-June date, and that an F1 race will again not take place on the same weekend as the most prestigious round of the World Endurance Championship. It would be lame for IndyCar to schedule a race on the same weekend as LeMans as it deprives top IndyCar drivers and teams from competing and thereby elevating their reputation.
10/15/13 The Milwaukee Mile will have a place on the 2014 IndyCar schedule, and on Wednesday, we’ll find out when the race will be. Both the race promoter and The Business Journal serving Greater Milwaukee have confirmed Milwaukee’s return.
Michael Andretti’s Andretti Sports Marketing group resuscitated the race after previous promoters hit financial issues through 2011. It came back to life in 2012 as the Milwaukee IndyFest and featured an uptick in corporate support this year, but flat attendance (roughly 25,000 fans) according to the report by The Business Journal.
Jenson Button will be given the chance to finish his Formula 1 career with McLaren according to reports.
The former World Champion joined the Woking-based team in 2010 and the Daily Mail claim they want to retain the British driver for another three seasons.
Although not officially confirmed, Button's one-year extension for 2014 has already been sealed, but McLaren are also now looking to the longer term.
'The team are already planning for 2015 and are ready to offer Button the chance of up to three more seasons as they strive to build a partnership with Honda which can rekindle the kind of success they enjoyed when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were behind the wheel,' the newspaper reported.
College Football And Motorsports To Merge For Epic Event (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Tennessee and Virginia Tech will finally play a football game at Bristol Motor Speedway in what is being billed as the "Battle of Bristol.” Track and officials from both universities formally announced the plans Monday during a news conference. The game scheduled for Sept. 10, 2016 will be a national showcase for both programs that could set an NCAA single-game attendance record at the 52-year-old racetrack.
Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said this is something that he started talking to his Tennessee counterparts about nearly 17 years ago. After all that talking, the rumors and speculation, it's finally going to happen.
Formula E About To Unveil Four New Teams Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said Formula E will announce four new teams but he did not announce who they were, nor did he name any new drivers. Agag told SBD Global the new teams “will be announced soon.” Those will include teams from England, Japan and France. Formula E will race its inaugural season with a total of 10 teams as the series has about 25 requests for the remaining two slots, Agag said. In terms of drivers, he said that they have received “a lot of interest from experienced drivers.” The prize purse of $5M may also convince well-known drivers to join the series.
Did Penske bring Allmendinger back to help stop Dixon Roger Penske, needing nothing short of a miracle for Helio Castroneves to win the IndyCar title in next week’s season finale, will run a third car for AJ Allmendinger in what’s presumed to be a strategic move to aid their championship chances.
But if the plan is for Allmendinger to try to snatch points away from championship leader Scott Dixon, Penske isn’t showing his hand. “I thought it would be a good idea to have Izod in the last race of the series, so he’s going to run the No. 2 car,” Penske deadpanned Saturday night before the NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
MWR about to lose billionaires backing Meanwhile the sport continues to await some word from Rob Kauffman about the Michael Waltrip Richmond controversy.
Kauffman, 49, is Waltrip's business partner, joining in late 2007. Kauffman's primary business is as a private equity investment manager, with his Fortress Investment Group, with some $17 billion (B) under management. Kauffman himself is listed by Forbes as one of the world's top billionaires.
Now comes word from people close to the situation that Kauffman may be planning to separate himself officially from Waltrip's racing operations and establish his own NASCAR team. Kauffman's pick for his driver, again, according to people familiar with it all, is Jeff Burton.
A spokesman for the Barney Visser-Todd Berrier Chevy #78 Furniture Row Racing operation says the team is "very hopeful" of signing Martin Truex Jr. to a contract for 2014. Truex was victim of the Richmond (MWR) controversy, first making the championship playoffs in a hard stretch charge...only to be bounced out of the chase and replaced by #24-Jeff Gordon, in the wake of the #15-Clint Bowyer/#55-Brian Vickers flap. Not only did Truex get booted from the playoffs for no fault of his own, his sponsor NAPA is pulling the plug at the end of the season over the controversy. That has many Waltrip people quite worried about their own jobs for next season. MikeMulhern.net
National Guard dropping Panther Racing for Rahal It's thought to be the best sponsorship package in the IndyCar paddock and it's heading to another team in 2014. RACER reports that the National Guard is leaving Panther Racing following the Oct. 19 finale in Fontana, Calif. in favor of the team of Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Mike Lanigan.
And 25-year-old American Graham Rahal will become the new face of The Guard for the IndyCar Series.
NASCAR to start and end season in Daytona? Whereas IndyCar management would rather run a silly road course race in May at Indy rather than end their season under the lights at Indy (Indy being the IndyCar Mecca) in what would be a very grand finale, NASCAR gets it. But then NASCAR seems to beat IndyCar at every turn, so why would this latest rumored move surprise you?
There renewed speculation that 2014 may yet indeed have a surprise NASCAR championship finale, and not at Homestead.
Daytona-to-Daytona is now being heard in the stock car garage as a possibility.....in part because of the huge construction projects set for play at that facility, but in part because NASCAR knows ending their season at Daytona (Daytona being NASCAR's Mecca).
<any fans have long insisted a Daytona championship finale could be a real zinger.
And where might Homestead-Miami fit in such a shakeup?
One possibility thrown out for consideration -- under the lights July Fourth weekend. Couldn't be much hotter or rainier than Daytona that weekend, could it?
It all does sound rather far-fetched, though Daytona for the final race would certainly be a crowd pleaser.
Some NASCAR rules changes in 2014? NASCAR officials are apparently considering a number of possibly significant rules tweaks for 2014: -- Elimination of the minimum height rule. That would be to end the rather meaningless post-race controversies and penalties for cars being 'too low' after a race. Some worry, though, that such a rule would force teams to discard thousands of dollars of expensive springs. However the current rules have led teams to spend huge sums on very trick springs. -- Adding roof 'wickers,' similar to used in years past, designed to break up air flow over the roof and presumably make it easier for a trailing car to pass. Mike Mulhern.net
Vettel's speed behind the wheel combined with this man's (Newey) genius in the shop is unbeatable
This ridiculous rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. An engineer working for the team's engine supplier Renault has dismissed reports Red Bull may be cheating its way to a fourth title.
Recent reports have cast doubt on the superior traction and odd tones of Sebastian Vettel's RB9 as the German cruises to yet another championship victory.
But Ricardo Penteado, a Brazilian engineer for Renault, said claims of illegal traction control are clearly wide of the mark.
"Everything is checked by the FIA," he told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. "The electronic control unit is distributed by the FIA itself, to ensure that all the (electronic) programs are in compliance with the rules.
Drivers giving up on F1 wet dream, eye IndyCar Young driver after young driver in Europe, all of whom have to buy their way into F1 with a minimum of $10 million (for the worse seat on the grid) are now realizing that F1 is just a wet dream and are now eyeing the more economical IndyCar series. In addition it appears a number of F1 teams are about to go belly-up and that will require drivers to bring even more money. It is not a sustainable model.
In recent days Sam Bird, Jack Harvey, Conor Daly, the Carlin team, Mike Conway, Luca Filippi, and others already have or are starting to eye IndyCar. Karun Chandhok is the latest.
Carlin considering Indy Lights and IndyCar Leading European single-seater team Carlin could expand to include a US and IndyCar program in the coming years, according to team boss Trevor Carlin on Autosport.com.
Carlin made the trip to the US for last weekend's IndyCar double-header in Houston, and while he said that the visit was partly an opportunity to catch up with friends, he also admitted that there was a research element.
"I have a lot of people who are friends and ex-drivers in IndyCar," Carlin told AUTOSPORT.
"I used to work in the States many years ago, so I have quite a soft spot for this sort of racing. I just thought I'd come out and see if anything's changed, and what's going on.
Several candidates for Franchitti's seat at Fontana Several drivers could be in play for Dario Franchitti’s now vacant seat at Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the IndyCar 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Eight drivers have prior “big oval experience” in the Dallara DW12. Between 2012 and 2013, Alex Tagliani, Conor Daly, Ana Beatriz, Wade Cunningham, Buddy Lazier, Michel Jourdain Jr., Carlos Munoz and Rubens Barrichello have competed at either or both of Fontana and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Tagliani is potentially the strongest candidate among that group given his IndyCar career experience level, but the Canadian endured a tough first 13 races this year with the Barracuda Racing team.
Voodoo economics were employed to kill off ALMS (Update)UPDATE As much as we talk about the "sport" of racing and try to convince non-racing people that it is, in fact, about competition, the challenge, the enduring quest, the heroic endeavor, etc., when it comes right down to it racing is about the money. To deny that fact is simply head-in-sand thinking that bears no resemblance to the real world and how it works. That was reaffirmed in a very interesting article in this past Sunday's Charlotte Observer by Rick Rothacker, in which he reveals that during the course of testimony in ongoing divorce contretemps involving Felix Sabates and his wife Carolyn, the entire Grand-Am series was exposed for what it was all along: a play by the France family to control major league sports car racing in this country at all costs, even if they had to prop up the series by paying teams to compete.
26-year-old Sam Bird has a few weeks to pass as he and the other GP2 drivers wait for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. The Englishman sits second in Formula 1's top training category, eight points out of the lead, and with a win at the most recent round in Singapore, he's riding a wave of momentum into more than a month of downtime between rounds.
With little to do but train and evaluate his options for next year, Bird, who has been part of the Mercedes F1 team as a test and reserve driver since 2012, revealed to RACER that he's taking a serious look at making the switch to IndyCar.
2014 Sprint Cup Schedule expected this week The 2014 Sprint Cup Series schedule is finally expected to be released this week and apparently there will be some shifts. In addition to Texas moving its spring night race to an afternoon affair to avoid a head-to-head conflict with the NCAA Final Four also in town that weekend, a couple more tweaks were rumored over the weekend. The first race at Kansas, which has longed for a night event, may move to later in the season and possibly take the Mother's Day weekend slot from Darlington, which might shift to an April Sunday afternoon. Nothing was officially confirmed but all of this could be a precursor to even more moves for the 2015 campaign. MRN
Brazil IndyCar race to cease? (4th Update)UPDATE #4 A section of Brazilian highway is holding up the future of IndyCar racing in Sao Paulo, the liaison to the deal said Sunday at Reliant Park according to a report in the Indy Star.
Willy Herrmann, a Brazilian, said Sao Paulo’s new mayor doesn’t want the racing circuit using that key stretch of freeway, which gets too congested when losing lanes for construction.
Herrmann said possible solutions include moving the straightaway inside the property. Other locations within Sao Paulo are being considered, too, he said.
“The problem is we’re up against a time (shortage),” he said.
This year’s Brazil race was held May 5, but that date isn’t available next year due to the inaugural road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 10.
NASCAR to steal Indy 500 champion (3rd Update)UPDATE #3 This rumor is of course 'false' now. Now that Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan has signed with Chip Ganassi’s team for 2014, the driver clarified the relationship he was building with Joe Gibbs Racing for him to race in NASCAR next season.
“It wasn’t an offer, it was a talk,” Kanaan said prior to crashing out of Sunday’s IndyCar Series race. “It was like, ‘What can we do together?’ That’s it.”
Kanaan’s other offer was from Jimmy Vasser to return to KV Racing Technology. Vasser gave Kanaan the chance to stay with the team for two more years without having to bring sponsorship.
Does divorce case prove Grand-Am was only there to kill off ALMS? It was voodoo economics in Grand-Am from Day 1, to kill off ALMS, just as the IRL was formed and run with voodoo economics to kill off CART and Champ Car. To attract participants in a lesser-known sports car racing series, one of NASCAR’s leaders helped pay a team’s startup costs and guaranteed a profit, according to a deposition in a contentious divorce case in Charlotte.
A motion filed last month in team owner Felix Sabates’ divorce provides a window into the financial condition of Grand-Am Racing, a race circuit started by NASCAR’s France family in 1999 and acquired by the racing organization in 2008. It also shines a light on the little-known practice of promoters sometimes financing teams that compete in their races.
Overheard in Houston - Sunday When the rain finally stopped about 90 minutes before the start of the IndyCar race the day turned out to be a perfect day for racing in Houston. As a result the fans poured in and most of the grandstands were near full. Attendance was not announced but we estimated it at about 30,000 to 35,000.
And because the temperatures were good, the fans stayed in the grandstands for the entire race, whereas yesterday the fans were cooking in the heat and by the end of the race the grandstands were nearly empty. And they want to run this race in June next year? That's the craziest thing we ever heard. The heat will kill this race.
So we went to speak to race promoter, Mike Lanigan, about it and he told AR1.com, "no matter what month we run this race in the future, we will see if we could do it as a night race like we did with Champ Car in 2006. It was not cheap to light the track, so we have to look at it."
Will F1 approve 21 race F1 schedule? (Update)UPDATE AR1.com heard a rumor this weekend that the Malaysian GP could drop off the F1 calendar next year, but we think that might just be the GP2 series race, which makes no sense to fly all the way there from a cost perspective. Meanwhile the future of the Korean GP is set to be plunged into fresh doubt after a fire truck was deployed midway through Sunday's race without proper permission. In a remarkable interlude to proceedings, the race was brought to an unexpected crawl when race leader Sebastian Vettel suddenly encountered the fire track as it meandered along the back-straight on lap 37. The race had only just been re-started after the Safety Car was called out when the front-right tire of Sergio Perez's McLaren lost its tread. As the field snaked through Turn Three, Mark Webber's RB9 was hit by the Force India of Adrian Sutil and, for the second time in as many races, caught fire. Although the fire was quickly extinguished, the fire truck was then sent out in "a unilateral decision" taken by the circuit's fire chief without approval from Race Control. "It's an outrageous thing to happen and totally outside organizational procedure," reported Sky F1's Ted Kravitz.
What is that Mickey Mouse chicane doing in the middle of the Turn 1 oval?
In this article when the new Indy road course was announced AR1.com questioned the silly chicane (turns 12 and 13) in the middle of the oval Turn 1. Well it appears others have the same opinion. The Indy Star reports that driver feedback regarding the 14-turn, 2.434-mile road course layout announced last week by Indianapolis Motor Speedway has caused officials to reconsider.
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said Saturday that it’s possible the oval track’s first turn could be used in favor of Turns 12 and 13 at the south end.
That decision will be made later, IMS President Doug Boles said.
Marussia Formula One team teetering on bankruptcy The Marussia Formula One team has posted a loss of $78.2 million (U.S.) for the 2012 calendar year -- having lost some $61 million in the previous season for a combined total of $98 million.
Marussia, which is officially registered as Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited, had a turnover of just $38.3 million, which was up from $37 million in 2011.
In its annual report the team says that the increased loss reflected “further significant investment in people, technology and infrastructure.”
To date, losses have been covered by loans from the shareholders. The report notes that as of April 13 this year “loans, accrued interest and fees of $188.7 million were capitalized. This has improved the group’s balance sheet considerably and makes the company a more attractive prospect to potential investors and sponsors.”
Overheard in Baltimore - Sunday (3rd Update Ganassi to Chevy?)UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement that the Ganassi team is switching over to Chevy power in IndyCar starting in 2014.
09/07/13 "There’s always opportunities when contracts come up for people to consider other options," Stephen Eriksen, vice president and chief operating officer of Honda Performance Development Inc. said. "Honestly, I think the history of Ganassi and Honda together being successful is a pretty strong reason to stay together. If you look at it, I think we’ve won eight championships together, something like 77 Indy Car victories. We’re really on a winning streak with them. We’ve now won four races in a row with Ganassi. We’ve tied up the manufacturing championship with Chevy. So I think what you’ve seen over the course of the season is we’ve jelled tighter as a group, and our results speak for themselves."
Eriksen doesn’t expect to lose any other teams to Chevrolet, either.
Kanaan to Ganassi in 2014 (5th Update)UPDATE #5 Chevy just announced that Chip Ganassi's team will switch to Chevy power in 2014.
10/04/13 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today as AR1.com has learned that Chip Ganassi will soon announce Tony Kanaan as his 4th IndyCar driver for 2014. In doing so Honda has also stolen the defending Indy 500 champion from Chevy, so look for them to work that into their advertising. Mark C. reporting from Houston
Rest assured that Honda would love to snatch the defending Indy 500 winner from rival Chevy
Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan said Friday that the only job offer he’s received for the 2014 IndyCar Series season -- verbal or otherwise -- is from KV Racing Technology, his IndyCar team of the past three seasons.
Kanaan made that point in the aftermath of an Associated Press story saying he has all but signed with Ganassi Racing.
The AP story attributed its news to two sources who said Kanaan is leaving KV for Ganassi. “I do not have a deal,” Kanaan told Autoweek Friday.
Did Dale Earnhardt Jr. Let Jimmie Johnson Win At Dover? Here we go again. Another Dale Earnhardt Jr. conspiracy theory.
After Chicagoland, conspiracy theorists took to Twitter claming that Earnhardt's engine blew up on purpose (so teammate Jeff Gordon could get a much-needed caution). Now - after Dover - some are wondering if Junior held back so teammate Jimmie Johnson could take the checkered flag.
2014 IndyCar schedule to be released at Fontana IndyCar boss Mark Miles said the series’ 2014 schedule likely will be announced Oct. 17 at the season-ending event, and he expects Houston to continue with its doubleheader. St. Petersburg also wants two races on the same weekend. Detroit and Toronto also had them this season. Indy Star
Briscoe signed by Panther Racing Word is that the ink is almost dry on a contract that will see Ryan Briscoe drive for Panther Racing in 2014. The team is working on a second car for Oriol Servia if sponsorship can be found.
Minardi raises Vettel 'traction control' doubts (3rd Update)UPDATE #3 Reports that Sebastian Vettel has sped into a position of dominance in the second half of the season with the help of some sort of traction control-like system, but Red Bull and the FIA have dismissed suggestions it is illegal, and Vettel said on Thursday: "We are pretty proud of the system. "The others have to figure out how we have done it," the German is quoted by the Associated Press.
Did broken exhaust header slow Vettel in Singapore?
10/02/13 (GMM) Red Bull has slammed reports it is flouting the rules as Sebastian Vettel stamps his dominance on the 2013 season.
After Singapore, former F1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi raised doubts about the German's RB9, saying its handling and engine tone reminded him of traction control.
"Utter nonsense!" Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told the German newspaper Bild.
Reports have suggested Red Bull might actually be mimicking the banned 'blown exhaust' era with a clever engine mapping solution.
Hulkenberg too heavy for 2014 McLaren (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg's weight could dent his chances of securing a McLaren seat in 2014.
Earlier this year, it emerged that the tall German's feet were a squeeze in the footwell of the Sauber.
Now, with Sergio Perez's place in doubt, Hulkenberg's candidature could end simply because he weighs in at 74kg.
Amid rumors Perez's Mexican sponsors are behind in their payments to McLaren, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that yet another problem for Perez is the possible identity of the Woking based team's next title sponsor.
Vitaly Petrov. You knew that once Russia was on the schedule Bernie Ecclestone would ensure there was a Russian driver on the grid
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov could be set to burst back into F1 as a powerful pay-driver, it has emerged.
Once racing for Renault and Caterham, the Russian's former manager, Oksana Kosachenko, claimed last week that Petrov has managed to come up with an impressive EUR 25 million in sponsorship to offer a 2014 team.
Speaking to Russia's Championat, 29-year-old Petrov did not deny Kosachenko's claim.
"I think Oksana always knows more about everyone, in all the projects," he said sarcastically.
Horrible TV package to cost another IndyCar team major sponsor (3rd Update)UPDATE #3 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, what is this sport coming to when GoDaddy drops a winner like James Hinchcliffe, who also has a fabulous personality, yet still sponsors that wanker in NASCAR who can't even drive nails? Is this a sport anymore, or just a circus? I'm disgusted. Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA
09/30/13 With GoDaddy history along with Izod, the sponsorship front in IndyCar appears dire and it all points back to management's decision to stick with the miniscule TV ratings on NBC Sports Network. Robin Miller reports on Racer.com that James Hinchcliffe, minus his GoDaddy sponsorship, has an offer from another good IndyCar team.
"I'll just say it's a good team and it's a pretty damn good deal and I don't have to bring any money, so that was encouraging,” he told Miller Monday. “At least now I'm confident I'm going to be employed next year.”
Hudgens interested in IndyCar position During Robin Miller's segment on "Speed Freaks" radio tonight, the host (Crash) mentioned that Ken Hudgens (COO of very successful indoor Motocross Feld Motor Sports) has expressed an interest in the VP of IndyCar job.
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello's return to formula one could even happen this season.
It emerged late last week that the Brazilian veteran, who lost his Williams seat at the end of 2011, could be a shock contender to race alongside the highly inexperienced Sergey Sirotkin at Sauber next year.
But the highly respected Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio claims 41-year-old Barrichello - the most experienced driver in F1 history - could even race the Sauber at his home race at Interlagos for November's 2013 finale.
Marty Reid out? (Update yes)UPDATE ESPN says motorsports announcer Marty Reid is no longer with the network.
Reid had been with ESPN since 1982 and is the only television play-by-play announcer to cover five different North American motorsports series. He's called NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series, as well as IndyCar and NHRA.
An ESPN spokesman says the network is going in a different direction and Allen Bestwick will call the remainder of the Nationwide Series races this season.
The Guy Responsible For IndyCar @ NBC Can't Take A Hit From A Girl? (Update)UPDATE ESPN called reports of Beadle's return "premature." An ESPN spokesperson said, "While we appreciate her work, we have not discussed or explored a return." The Daily
Michelle Beadle, host of The Crossover
Eight days ago, Michelle Beadle blasted NBC’s lack of promotion for her show, The Crossover. Two days ago, the show was cancelled. And now, sources say, Beadle is in the process of leaving the network altogether – and possibly returning to ESPN.
Sources say Sam Flood, the executive producer of NBC Sports and the NBC Sports Network, was irate when he learned of Beadle’s comments on the Sports Media Watch Podcast earlier this week. On Sept. 19th, here’s what Beadle told Keith Thibault and Ken Fang:
“I love what we’re doing now, but then again I’m not an idiot. I realize we’re on a network that is new and struggling and we don’t get a lot of promotion. So I kind of battle with that every day. Do I fight the good fight and promote the show on my own? Do I just give up and act like a whiny person? It’s interesting, but we have such a good crew and they work hard.”
IZOD dumps IndyCar, were low TV ratings to blame? AR1.com has told its readers time and time again that the NBC Sports Network ratings are a noose around the neck of IndyCar. We have stated that teams cannot land good sponsorship because of those horrible ratings. GoDaddy is rumored to be dropping sponsorship of James Hinchcliffe, a winner, but keeping its sponsorship of a backmarker in NASCAR. Now this:
INDYCAR announced today that IZOD will conclude its sponsorship of the IndyCar Series after the current season.
"We are proud of our partnership with IZOD over the past six years and we're grateful to PVH Corp., owner of the IZOD brand, for its support, creativity and vision," said Mark Miles, chief executive officer of Hulman & Co., the parent company of INDYCAR. "But circumstances change and now we're seeking new partnerships with brands looking to align with the fastest, most versatile form of racing.
5-Hour Energy Won't Commit To MWR For '14, questions NASCAR's integrity (3rd Update)UPDATE #3 Clint Bowyer sponsor 5-Hour Energy announced Friday that it would return next season as a sponsor of Bowyer and Michael Waltrip Racing.
The company, which is a popular energy drink maker, is in its second year of a three-year deal through 2014 to sponsor Bowyer for 24 races each season. In 2012, the company expanded that commitment to nearly the full season and then kept it at the original 24-race plan in 2013. Its commitment for 2014 came into question following the recent integrity controversy embroiling MWR, sparking 5-Hour Energy officials to say they would wait until the end of the year before making a decision.
Why NASCAR teams cheat Here at AR1.com we follow a simple motto, when in doubt, follow the money. Some people wondered why Michael Waltrip Racing would try so hard to get into the Chase. Well, many of the sponsorship contracts in NASCAR Sprint Cup have performance bonuses for wins, poles, and to make the Chase. So, it is most likely that NAPA was going to have to pay a multi-million dollar bonus if the car made the chase… Hence the reason for trying to get him into the chase.
And probably why NAPA left the sport when this unfolded knowing they were almost scammed out of millions.
A young Sebastian Vettel three years after the secret IndyCar test
In our latest editorial, Brian Carroccio outlines why Sebastian Vettel is a superstar. But I bet you did not know that before F1 he tested a Champ Car and who knows, maybe Red Bull would have brought him to Champ Car (Now IndyCar) if the series was big like in the CART days.
In secret Derrick Walker tested Vettel for two days at the Homestead road course in 2003. Walker had tested Timo Glock in the Reynard in the off season, and he decided to stay in Europe and not come to IndyCar (He would later). However, his manager also was working with this other up and coming young driver from Germany, Vettel.
IndyCar reaching back into the well to replace failed races RACER.com's Robin Miller reported there are "no fewer than four new players in the mix for an IndyCar race" in '15. Road America at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin and Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., along with a pair of new venues in Circuit of The Americas in Austin and Providence, R.I. "are taking a hard look."
If drivers, teams and fans are "universal on one thing it's bringing back Elkhart Lake ... and its daunting, scenic, historic four-mile Road America course." It has been "six years since major open-wheel racing last appeared there ... but it sounds like" Road America President & GM George Bruggenthies is "serious about making it happen" in '15. He said, “I'm probably letting the cat out of the bag but we've also talked about having a two-day, mid-week test here next summer for IndyCar that's open to the public to keep the juices flowing.”
Phoenix raceway to make major announcement Tuesday PIR to make major announcement on Oct 1st: Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber will make a major announcement regarding the track's history and its future at a media event Tuesday, Oct.1 at The Ritz-Carlton. The event will begin with a reception followed by the announcement at 1:00pm/pt. Sperber will be joined by a number of dignitaries from local and state government as well as the motor sports industry. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and 1983 Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva are among the special guests expected to participate.(PIR)
Auto Club Speedway might lose IndyCar season-finale to....Indy? (Update)UPDATE Sources tell AR1.com that Fontana will be the season finale for IndyCar in 2014. So the grand final will have maybe 35,000 in attendance instead of over 100,000 that would be at Indy under the lights on Labor Day weekend 2014. But who ever said IndyCar cared about being a huge success. Staying small has its benefits it appears.
IndyCars on the Indy oval are spectacular. Running a 2nd race on the oval, under the lights on Labor Day weekend would be the spectacular IndyCar season finale the series needs
Nothing is official, but there’s an indication change is in the air as far as the Auto Club Speedway’s IndyCar Series date is concerned.
In a story on the Racer.com website, veteran open-wheel reporter Robin Miller said the IndyCar Series is considering moving the MAV TV 500 from its season-finale status at Fontana to a date in June 2014. The initial MAV TV 500 was run last September and this year’s race is schedule for Oct. 19.
It’s among several changes the series is considering, according to Miller.
Logistical Reasons Could Push London Formula E Race To The End Of 2015 Schedule (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Formula E, the world's first series for open-wheel single-seater electric race cars, has delayed what would be its inaugural race in London until 2015 due to planning and logistical hurdles.
The series launches next year and the U.K. capital was due to host the opening round in September 2014. However, when the Formula E calendar is announced on Friday, Beijing will be revealed as the season-opener with London becoming the final race in 2015.
Formula E is ready and able to hold its first race in London but Alejandro Agag, chief executive of the series, says that progress “is very slow because there are so many layers. It is not the mayor who controls this, it is the borough. For logistical reasons it is better to start in a continent and stay in the same continent anyway, so we are putting together all of the races in Europe. London now looks like it is going to be the closing race in 2015.”
Quicken Loans to Join Ryan Newman and RCR in 2014 (Update)UPDATE A reader writes, dear AR1.com, I was trying to figure out why Ryan Newman was on pole this past weekend in Loudon driving the Quicken car after having a disastrous season, and I could not put my finger on it. Now it's clear they put him on pole to seal the Quicken Loans deal. Welcome to NASCAR where everything happens for a reason. Mordichai Rosen
Dear Mordichai, Prove your allegations. Just because this sort of stuff happens all the time, is not proof enough to make such allegations. Surely it must be coincidental. Mark C.
09/25/13 Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation's largest online home lender and country's third largest mortgage originator, today announced it will join Richard Childress Racing (RCR) for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and serve as the primary sponsor of Ryan Newman's No. 31 Chevrolet SS for 12 races and associate sponsor for all remaining races. The move continues a strong partnership between Quicken Loans and Newman, whom they first sponsored in 2012.
"Ryan has shown that he is not only an incredible race car driver, but also someone with great integrity and class," said Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quicken Loans. "The way Ryan has handled some very tough situations this year, while also continuing to ignore the noise and perform at a high-level, made our decision to stick with him a no-brainer. He embodies what we stand for each and every day."
Vettel F1 era coming to an end: Ecclestone (Update)UPDATE Mindful of the effect Michael Schumacher's domination of F1 had on the sport, Bernie Ecclestone suggests that Sebastian Vettel's dominance is coming to an end.
At the height of the Schumacher era, as the German reeled off win after win, title after title, interest in the sport declined. Indeed, things got so bad sections of the media virtually dropped their coverage of the sport.
Today, as Vettel heads towards his fourth successive title, the F1 supremo is mindful that along with the media, the moneymen, sponsors and promoters, will lose interest if virtually every race is going to end with the same result.
NJ race will be added back onto 2014 F1 calendar (6th Update)UPDATE #6 The planned grand prix in New Jersey was on a new draft calendar shown to the teams during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, but remains unlikely to appear on the final schedule.
According to Adam Cooper the race was placed in between the Monaco and Canadian Grand Prix weekends which would create an unprecedented triple-header. But transporting the teams’ equipment from Monaco to New York in such a short space of time would not be realistic.
The next free weekend for the race would be June 14th to 15th, in between the Canadian and Austrian rounds. However this would clash with the Le Mans 24 Hours, and FIA president Jean Todt is believed to have a guarantee that F1 will not race on the same weekend as the World Endurance Championship’s blue riband event.
IndyCar desperate to backfill failed events While IndyCar's 2014 calendar is only getting a couple of tweaks, there could be some major changes for '15...
For the most part, IndyCar fans are a patient lot. They waited 13 years on unification and an eternity to finally see a new car. But right now they're somewhat agitated about the 2014 schedule because they've heard it won't include any new venues.
Save for the inaugural road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a possible swap of double-headers (St. Pete for Houston) and loss of Baltimore (and perhaps Sao Paolo), next season will be a condensed carbon copy (no a reduced schedule) of 2013. However, if Mark Miles could ask one thing of the IndyCar faithful today it would be to just give him a little time to reshape the landscape because 2015 figures to hold some interesting possibilities.
2014 IndyCar schedule (2nd Update)UPDATE #2For the 18th consecutive season, Texas Motor Speedway will play host to an Izod IndyCar Series/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader June 6-7. The IndyCar event has been renamed the Firestone 600 to reflect the addition of 50 kilometers to the race distance. The races in bold are confirmed.
08/15/13 Based on this Racer.com article by Robin Miller, here is our latest estimate of what the 2014 IndyCar schedule will look like. And it sounds like IndyCar has listened to some of AR1.com's recommendations - most importantly ending the season on Labor Day weekend. And Mark Miles gets it, "our focus is promoting IndyCar and open wheel racing in Indianapolis in May,” Miles replied. “I have no idea where this rumor about Jim France and sports cars in May at Indy came from but it is false and we are not considering it,” said Miles. Exactly what AR1.com stressed.
Racer: Honda to test twin turbo Racer Magazine reports that HPD will press its 2014 2.2-liter twin-turbo powerplant into service for the first time during Tuesday's official IndyCar series test at Fontana.
The majority of IndyCar Series teams will test on the 2.0-mile southern California oval in preparation for the season finale event on October 19th. Schmidt Hamilton Racing's Simon Pagenaud, who sits third in points with three rounds remaining in the championship, is expected to split his time between his primary No. 77 Hewlett Packard single-turbo Honda and a spare car fitted with the 2014 twin-turbo system.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway Looks To Add Lights (Update)UPDATE
Ambrose spins at NHIS
Gappens said, "New Englanders don't like 90-95 degree heat and high humidity. And I’m seeing the (ticket) numbers reflect that in renewals for July." He added he is "in the process of trying to navigate through" Loudon's time restrictions for races. Gappens: "The town obviously doesn't want to re-open the lawsuit and have to defend itself. So we just have to navigate our way through … we have a couple of approaches that we are working on." NASCAR.com
09/23/13 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Exec VP & GM Jerry Gappens said that he "has been advocating for lights the past two years," but a five-year-old agreement between former track Owner Bob Bahre and the town of Loudon states that "racing must be through" by 7:30pm ET, according to Ray Duckler of the CONCORD MONITOR.
Road America could get IndyCar testing dates Wisconsin racing fans won't get the NASCAR Sprint Cup race they have craved and that had been rumored, at least not next year.
An IndyCar race at Road America looks highly unlikely, too. But at least there could be a consolation prize for IndyCar fans.
"We are hoping once they get their schedule set they might do a two-day test here that I could open to the public," said George Bruggenthies, president and general manager for the facility in Elkhart Lake.
Felipe Massa says his management are speaking to a number of teams about a seat for 2014, but does not expect a deal to be confirmed soon.
The Brazilian's eight-year stint at Ferrari will come to an end when he is replaced by Kimi Raikkonen next year and he has been heavily linked with the spot being vacated by the Finn at Lotus.
Massa's manager Nicolas Todt was seen having a meeting with the Enstone-based outfit's Team Principal Eric Boullier at Singapore, but the 32-year-old says it is just one of a number of options being considered.
Brawn buying into Williams? (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 Another wild rumor was also shot down in the Singapore paddock late on Friday, after it emerged at Monza recently that Mercedes boss Ross Brawn could buy Toto Wolff's 15 per cent stake in the Williams team.
"I'm definitely not buying shares in Williams!" Brawn exclaimed to the British broadcaster Sky.
"I'm planning to be here (Mercedes) next year so there's nothing else happening, I can guarantee it," he added.
(GMM) According to one rumor in Singapore, Bernie Ecclestone has cancelled an order for a new F1 motor home that would have made its debut in 2014.
"Is it because he can still use the old one," wondered the German-language Speed Week, "or because he knows he will no longer need one at all in 2014?"
Understandably, the news about the F1 chief executive's motor home is being tied up with speculation about his future, amid a looming German court battle that could even see the 82-year-old Ecclestone jailed.
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