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Are Corvettes sandbagging? With Ford and BMW engines consistently topping the Daytona Prototype speed charts at the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" test at Daytona International Speedway, many in the paddock were wondering: Are the Chevrolet Corvettes sandbagging, fearful of being penalized before the race if they show too much speed?
That suspicion was fed by the fact that immediately after the test, one of the fastest Chevrolets -- the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona car -- was required to pull its Chevrolet V-8 engine on the spot, under the watchful eye of multiple Grand-Am officials. The engine will be taken to the NASCAR Technical Center in North Carolina to be tested.
No other car was required to pull an engine after the test.
Rumor has it that the US Postal Service will issue a set of Muscle Car stamps in conjunction with the Daytona 500 events held during the last weekend in February and AR1.com got its hands on a bootleg copy of what they supposedly will look like.
Allmendinger still may end up in IndyCars in 2013UPDATE AJ Allmendinger tried to close the book on 2012 by going to bed early on New Years Eve and not celebrating the end of the year. But it was hard for him when just a few days later he drove through the tunnel at Daytona International Speedway. He couldn't help but remember last July when he drove through the DIS tunnel wondering if he would ever race again as NASCAR had just suspended him for a failed drug test the previous weekend at Kentucky Speedway. His return to Daytona Friday didn't have that type of drama as he set the fast time in testing for the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, which is scheduled for Jan. 26-27 on the track's road course.
GM, Ford gave NASCAR an earful And you can add the manufacturers to the list of those concerned as well. The powers that be in NASCAR - Brian France, Lesa France & Mike Helton - make an annual visit to the participating manufacturers every December. They do that to personally thank the manufacturers for their participation and exchange pleasantries.
This past December they visited GM and Ford executives and after the pleasantries they got an earful. In those meetings NASCAR was told that it has to do something about the declining ratings, the slow embrace of technology, the poor lack of engagement with the younger demographic, a needed rethink of The Chase, etc., etc., etc.
For years NASCAR has blithely assumed that Detroit-based manufacturer participation was automatic, but with the burgeoning influence of ROI considerations, that era is rapidly coming to a close. Autoextremist
Dodge + Judd = IndyCar? Dodge is like a rookie at Daytona and just can’t find a partner who wants to draft with them. Judd Engines has an IndyCar engine ready to go and just waiting for a manufacture to badge it. Perhaps Dodge can pick up the pieces of Lotus’ failed IndyCar effort and run to the front with it.
I suspected long before the initial announcement that Dodge would leave NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and despite their comments otherwise I don’t think they have any intention to return. Just to get on the track Dodge would have to spend millions. The only team with fabrication experience and no contract is Robby Gordon Motorsports, and the only open top of the line engine shop is owned by Roger Penske. It would take millions in development just to get on the track, and then spend millions more to pull off a top line racing team.
Is Danica Patrick switching teams? Turner Motorsports is losing a sponsor but apparently could be gaining a driver who should attract plenty of interest from the companies that help fuel NASCAR team budgets.
ESPNW.com reported Wednesday morning that Danica Patrick will drive 10 Nationwide Series races for Turner in 2013, starting with the Feb. 23 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. In the Daytona 500 the following day, Patrick will begin her first full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 10 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
(GMM) Mark Webber looks set to struggle to keep his Red Bull race seat beyond 2013, or maybe the rumors of Vettel going to Ferrari in 2014 are true.
Granted just a one-year contract for a seventh consecutive season at the team, the 36-year-old Australian is already on notice by Red Bull's tough Dr Helmut Marko.
Now, Austrian Marko has made clear Red Bull was not happy with Webber's driving at the 2012 Interlagos finale, when teammate Sebastian Vettel was fighting for the title against Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Indeed, Flavio Briatore - still involved with the management of Webber's career - said after Brazil: "The only one who helped Ferrari was Webber."
Force India in talks for Ferrari powerUPDATE We are bumping this rumor up to strong based on new information received in Europe by AR1.com.
01/02/13 (GMM) Force India is in negotiations to revert to Ferrari engine power, according to Italy's La Stampa newspaper.
The talks between the Silverstone based team and Ferrari are "under way", the correspondent Cristiano Chiavegato claims.
Force India is currently powered by Mercedes' V8 engine, but Vijay Mallya's team began its formula one career with customer power supplied by fabled Ferrari.
Central to the new talks, according to La Stampa, is the Ferrari-linked French driver Jules Bianchi, who was Force India's reserve in 2012 and is now reportedly first in line for the race seat alongside Paul di Resta this year.
Dakar Rally kisses Africa goodbye forever The legendary Dakar Rally will start on Saturday and send its participants through the deserts and mountains of South America. It will be the fifth consecutive time the rally "will take place in South America after terror threats led to an abandonment of its original route through West Africa that was last used in '07."
However, terror threats "are not the only reason why a return to West Africa seems highly unlikely." The route through the Sahara desert was "as legendary as remote" and, therefore, was only sparsely attended. The Dakar's South America premiere on the other hand "had 4 million visitors." In addition, "a booming South American continent fits better into the marketing concepts of sponsors and manufacturers."
Danica Patrick will drive for Turner Motorsports in her 10-race commitment to this year's Nationwide Series schedule, sources tell espnW.com. Driving for JR Motorsports in her first full-time Nationwide season last year, Patrick produced the highest final points finish (10th) among women in NASCAR history. She will begin her partial campaign in NASCAR's second-tier series on Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway in conjunction with her first full Sprint Cup season with Stewart-Haas Racing the same weekend.
NASCAR looking to marginalize IndyCar and F1 on NBCUPDATE The Motor Racing Network (MRN) recently revealed that the NBC Sports Channel, formerly known as Versus, is looking for a piece of NASCAR action to possibly knock out ESPN/ABC for the last third of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. NBC Sports is also currently out shopping for top TV sports programs beyond the NASCAR Sprint Cup as well.
That last third of the NASCAR Sprint Cup is currently aired by ESPN and ABC with those rights expiring in 2014. However, NBC Sports could knock TNT out of the NASCAR box instead of ESPN/ABC only because it would be a lot easier for them to get a foothold in NASCAR now during the middle of the NASCAR season. Consider the fact that ESPN and ABC have a lot of depth and opportunities that NASCAR benefits from now with all of their extensive sports programming on the ESPN channels.
Barrichello to opt for stock carsUPDATE #2 Rubens Barrichello has announced that he will leave IndyCar to race in Brazil's Stock Car V8 series in 2013. He will drive for Peugeot squad Full Time Sports.
"After my 20-plus years representing Brazil racing all over the world, it is time to come home," said Barrichello.
"It will be amazing to race in my home country again, while allowing me to be closer to family. I have much enthusiasm for what this perfect fit will bring."
12/12/12 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. There will not be a second IndyCar Series season for former Formula One standout Rubens Barrichello.
Friends of the popular Brazilian said Tuesday that he will race in his home country's stock car series in 2013, driving for the Medley Full Time team. He had three races with the team in the fall.
Tony Kanaan said Barrichello couldn't secure the sponsorship for a full-time IndyCar ride before he had to decide on joining the Medley-sponsored team. Medley is a Brazilian pharmacy company. Barrichello also will work television broadcasts of F-1 races next season.
Barrichello, 40, finished 12th in the IndyCar standings. His best finish was fourth at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in August. He was 10th in the Indianapolis 500. Indy Star
(GMM) New GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi has admitted his best hope of breaking into formula one in 2013 is as a third driver.
On his fifth attempt in the F1 support series, the 25-year-old Italian this year beat Brazilian Luiz Razia to the title.
Valsecchi was hoping to follow recent champions like Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg into F1, but admitted to Italiaracing: "At this point, I'm working to get the place of the Lotus team's third driver.
"I honestly thought I could find the financial support allowing me to find a team for 2013, but the various possibilities have weakened."
Zanardi, Alguersuari, Senna linked with DTM moveUPDATE Former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari is linked to the eighth and final BMW seat for the 2013 DTM season. BMW were unwilling to confirm or deny the Spaniard's link to the eighth seat but expects the name to be revealed in January, similar to Alguersuari's answer when asked by Motorsport Total. "I will talk about my future in January, I can't say anything about it now," said Alguersuari.
12/05/12 (GMM) Three well-known F1 names are being linked with the premier German touring car championship DTM.
When former F1 and Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi recently tested a modified hand-controlled BMW, the 46-year-old played down suggestions his next project could be a DTM race seat.
But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said there is a chance the popular Italian will soon be chosen by BMW.
"Who will drive the eighth BMW M3 DTM in the coming season will be announced at a later date," a spokesman is quoted as saying.
Former Toro Rosso driver and 2012 Pirelli tester Jaime Alguersuari has also been linked with the seat.
And Portuguese reports say 2012 Williams driver Bruno Senna, who has been replaced for 2013 by Valtteri Bottas, did some test laps at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz DTM car at the Estoril circuit at the beginning of this week.
Force India does not have enough money to race in 2013UPDATE Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya's ailing carrier, on Monday submitted its revival plan to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in a bid to restart limited operations after having remained grounded for almost three months.
Kingfisher had a few weeks ago submitted an application for renewal of its flying permit, which is due to expire on December 31. The permit was suspended by DGCA on October 20.
DGCA officials had then said a decision to renew or revoke the suspension of its Standard Operating Permit (SOP) cannot be taken till it submitted a comprehensive financial and operational revival plan, that was given Monday.
Daly to test with Foyt, but his heart is in F1UPDATE #2 All of a sudden, Conor Daly's future is coming together. The Noblesville driver said Thursday he expects to sign for next year with a strong team in Europe's World Series by Renault while keeping his options open for a full-time IndyCar ride in 2014.
A couple of weeks ago, none of that seemed possible.
"I was just saying that last night," said Daly, who turned 21 earlier this week. "Life is good. We've suddenly gotten things going."
Details won't be made public until contracts are finalized, but Daly, who is in town for the holidays, said a sponsorship package for what's officially known as Formula Renault 3.5 is nearly in place. A budget for a competitive team is about $1 million.
Vettel signs Ferrari contract?UPDATE #11 We are bumping this rumor up to 'strong' based on positive Vettel comments in this news article by Luca di Montezemolo.
11/26/12 Sebastian Vettel refused to be drawn on whether his next challenge will be winning a title with another team after claiming his third with Red Bull. Asked about whether his next step in Formula One would be to win a title with "another" team, Vettel said: "I want to enjoy now.
"I tried to explain to you that for the whole team the most important thing is the present, I don't want to get carried away with next year or next years, I want to have a good time tonight and let's see how long... Sometimes at some stage you have to charge your batteries, come back in shape next season.
"I am with the team, I have a contract until the end of 2014, I am very happy with what we have achieved so far and this story isn't over yet.
"I am very happy and extremely committed to give everything I have in the next years and at the moment I don't see any point about seeing another team or something else."
Judd to return to IndyCar with different manufacturer?
John Judd told SPEED.com he’d welcome the chance to their IndyCar program with a new manufacturer.
“At the moment, to continue in IndyCar, we’d need a manufacturer that has a contract with the series,” he said. “We haven’t had any approaches so far, but the most likely way would be through IndyCar. The engine is there, and it’s available.”
“The IP (intellectual property) and the physical parts all belong to us," said the former CART Indy car engine supplier. "All the engines are our property and have ownership of all the tooling and everything else to produce more engines, to develop them and to support a continuation of the program.”
Christian Sylt revealed in Pit Pass that Bernie Ecclestone "has spoken to the King of Morocco about hosting a grand prix in the country though he stresses that this is unlikely to take place." The last Moroccan Grand Prix was held in '58 near Casablanca."
A senior F1 sponsorship agent said, "There is a huge amount of investment in Marrakech. Some locals said it's even overcrowded and prices are falling again." He added: "Great location. But these kinds of money are only in the King's coffers, and I think he would promote Casablanca or similar cities that need a new drive."
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