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Ford wants IndyCar to move to production based engines Ford's Jamie Allison told Marshall Pruett that IndyCar would not be an option for Ford until production-based engines are used. When the IRL first started they used production based engines and after the inferior production based engines kept spewing their guts all over the race track and sending the cars into the walls and drivers to the hospital, they finally abandoned the idiotic idea.
Paul Menard enters the season in a contract year with Richard Childress Racing. After a disappointing 2012 effort, he needs a much better performance to ensure his Sprint Cup Series future. But Menard is not concerned about the business aspect of the sport right now and remains focused on simply improving his effort. "I'm sure those questions will be coming throughout the year," Menard said. "I hope by the middle of summer, we'll have an answer for everybody." Despite the advantage of having his family's home improvement warehouse company's funding for sponsorship, Menard says he hasn't discussed joining any other team with or without crew chief Slugger Labbe.
NASCAR likely to make concussion test mandatory NASCAR is on pace to make neurological baseline testing, used to determine whether there is a loss of function after a head injury, a mandatory part of the preseason physical by 2014. Vice president of race operations Steve O'Donnell told ESPN.com on Thursday that drivers are being encouraged to take the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) baseline test on a voluntary basis this year with plans to become mandatory by next year. Baseline testing already is used in the IndyCar Series and other forms of motorsports. It was brought to light in NASCAR last season when #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced to sit out two races in the Chase after suffering a concussion at Talladega Superspeedway. O'Donnell said the decision to move forward with baseline testing came after NASCAR officials recently met with the organization's panel of doctors and neurologists.
IndyCar to remain a lowly spec development series Rumor has it that IndyCar will not introduce body kits in 2014 either due to self-serving selfish interests. Hence, like any other spec series, IndyCar will remain a mere shadow of it's former self. All development series use spec chassis'. IndyCar will remain a training ground for Grand-Am, NASCAR and F1 and the series will continue to lose fans.
Barnhart to be named IndyCar CEO?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' Speculation regarding Brian Barnhart's future within the IZOD IndyCar Series will not include leading the open-wheel organization from the top.
“Brian continues to be an executive member of INDYCAR and his understanding of our sport continues to provide our organization with valuable input," read a statement supplied by the series. "However, Brian’s future role with INDYCAR will not be as CEO of the organization.”
Barnhart will, however, play a greater role within INDYCAR's competition department.
02/12/13 Speculative rumors (and a tweet from John Oreovicz) say that Brian Barnhart will be named as the new IndyCar CEO soon.
A possible F1 race for Dubai?UPDATE So, where would a Dubai Grand Prix be held?
Dubai Autodrome is the obvious choice but it would need improvements to meet current FIA configuration standards. The other alternative would be a street race, much like Singapore, Valencia and Monaco.
The standard of roads in Dubai is generally excellent and a circuit that took in the coastal area with its spectacular hotels and marinas would be stunning.
The big advantage, from Dubai’s point of view, is that this kind of grand prix would also be totally different to the race at Yas Marina Circuit, which would be hard, if not impossible, to match.
New combined series to get name On March 14, two days before the 12 Hours of Sebring, expect a press conference in which the new name of the combined ALMS and Grand-AM series will be announced, as well as the name of the four or five classes that will be racing at Daytona next year, the variable being whether or not the Mazda-centric GX class is dovetailed into the Grand-Am GT class.
Those classes are, of course, P2-DP, ALMS’s GT class, Grand-Am's GT class combined with the ALMS Porsche-spec GTC class, and ALMS’ LMPC class. The LMP1 cars are left out, but could be reconfigured to run in P2. As it is, Ken Atherton said, 94 percent of the cars that have been competing in ALMS and Grand-Am will be able to compete in the new combined series with minimal changes.
Is the DeltaWing dead? Common sense will tell you that the DeltaWing is dead. Even Michelin, which was the first company to back the project, is out.
Nissan, which paid for a four-cylinder engine for Le Mans and Petit, is gone. Ray Mallock Limited, the British company that built the engine from a Chevrolet block and helped prepare and race the car at Le Mans, is gone. Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, which built and tested the DeltaWing, is gone. Duncan Dayton's Highcroft Racing, which helped develop the car and raced it at Petit, is gone.
The drivers who raced the car at Le Mans and Petit are gone.
And perhaps most of all, Ben Bowlby, the engineer who conceived and designed the car, is gone.
At this point it is time to throw in the towel and say we have it a try but there just wasn't enough support.
New IndyCar too easy to drive? Penske President Tim Cindric said he believes AJ Allmendinger will adapt quickly to IndyCar's DW-12, which debuted last season.
"This IndyCar is relatively easy to drive — it needs more power and less downforce, so his learning curve would be less than other IndyCars," Cindric told AP News (referring to the Champ Cars he drove previously). "When he was driving the Champ Car open wheel car, he was very competitive. When you gauge him next to Will Power — it was the reason why he was able to make the step to NASCAR, because he was successful and a proven talent. Typically, guys don't forget what they know."
Allmendinger to drive 3rd Penske IndyCar in 2013UPDATE AJ Allmendinger was at Penske Racing on Thursday having a seat fit in an IndyCar. "Roger is one of the most loyal owners you will ever know, and I think his loyalty has come into play in this case," Penske President Tim Cindric told AP News. "AJ is obviously talented and when you look at the circumstances and how he handled the circumstances, well, he made a mistake. But he's a talented guy and someone who has shown what he can do in an IndyCar. We are in the racing business, and AJ has gone through the process required for him and as far as we are concerned the slate is wiped clean."
"When we look at the drivers out there, we've been looking at AJ and asked, 'Is he someone who wants to do this longer-term if there was a possibility with us?'" Cindric said. "For him to be a candidate to run at Indy, it would have to be something he'd be interested in doing beyond Indy. He's consistently told us, 'Whatever is the best ride for me, I just want the best opportunity as a driver.' He's convinced us that should we want him to drive beyond Indy, we would be his first priority."
HVM eyes IndyCar returnUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
01/19/13 Could this be where EJ Viso lands? Remember he wants to be a team owner and what better way than to buy into HVM Racing, which needs more funding.
HVM team boss Keith Wiggins told speed.com's Marshall Pruett last November that he would need vastly improved circumstances to return to IndyCar.
His wish, as he told SPEED.com on Thursday, is close to being granted.
“I would say we are having discussions with a couple of different entities on projects in IndyCar,” said Wiggins. “I think it’s fair to say we’ll have an [IndyCar] entry and we are working with a couple of groups talking about doing IndyCar, and it could take a couple of different forms. We’re not sure what it will be yet.”
Viso to drive for AndrettiUPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
02/07/13 Andretti Autosport will announce their 4th driver today at 12 PM ET. It is still expected to be EJ Viso.
02/04/13 Details were still being finalized Monday, but Andretti Autosport is expected to announce later this week that veteran IndyCar driver EJ Viso will join its program.
If signed, Viso will join a stable that includes reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe.
Michael Andretti’s team is expected to field five cars at the Indianapolis 500, the last one for Firestone Indy Lights driver Carlos Munoz. Indy Star
02/01/13 Word is Viso will be confirmed early next week and Michael Cannon will be his engineer.
01/22/13 According to sources out of his home country of Venezuela, rumor has it that EJ Viso will be the 4th Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2013. We have updated our 2013 IndyCar Silly Season page with this rumor.
Baltimore teeters on bankruptcy, will it affect IndyCar race? The Baltimore city democrat run government is on a path to financial ruin and must enact major reforms to stave off bankruptcy, according to a 10-year forecast the city commissioned from an outside firm. Baltimore joins a long line of democrat controlled cities facing bankruptcy as they try to raise tax on the people who pay all the tax revenue now and they in turn leave, resulting in no one left to taxes.
The forecast, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its release to the public and the City Council on Wednesday, shows that the city will accumulate $745 million in budget deficits over the next decade because of a widening gap between projected revenues and expenditures.
If the city's infrastructure needs and its liability for retiree health care benefits are included, the total shortfall reaches $2 billion over 10 years, the report found. Baltimore's annual operating budget is $2.2 billion.
(GMM) Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed he is still in the running to move up to Red Bull's championship-winning team in 2014.
The Frenchman, who last year debuted for the energy drink company's junior squad Toro Rosso, said he and continuing teammate Daniel Ricciardo are potential candidates in the event Mark Webber does not stay beyond his contract this year.
"If we do a good job, maybe one of us will go to Red Bull, provided there is a free space," he is quoted by France's L'Equipe.
Ecclestone, F1 To Finalize Five-Year, $200M Sponsorship Deal With EmiratesUPDATE #5 "Ecclestone proves "the sky's the limit when it comes to spreading his Grand Prix gospel worldwide." It is "typical of the sport's supremo that he honored what was no doubt an Emirates' request to keep quiet on the dealings between them until the details had been trashed out to their mutual satisfaction and benefit." His "delight and complete trust in doing business with associates from the UAE are one of his oft-stated pleasures." Now, "his show will be stylishly placarded around the world at 30,000-feet." Gulf News
02/05/13 In Dubai, Alaric Gomes noted four races are exempt from the partnership "because of pre-existing title sponsorship commitments": Melbourne, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Monaco. Emirates "has been at the forefront of sports partnerships," now reaching the Dhs 1B ($272.2M) mark in sponsorships. Sheikh Ahmad said, "This new partnership will truly become one of our main associations with a truly global reach." Gulf News
02/05/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, IndyCar could never land a deal like this. They think small, they think domestic. Emirates would never do a deal with a domestic small minded organization that has no clue how to grow. As long as the Penskes and Ganassis are winning they are happy to see IndyCar stay just the way it is. It is their little fiefdom. For this reason IndyCar will always be small and a blemish on NASCAR's posterior. They tried to do a race in China that could have been the start of the series becoming a global brand, but they could not even get that right. Now the rumor is they are going to bring Angstadt back and if he comes back, can Tony George and Brian Barnhart be far behind? Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA.
02/05/13 This rumor is updated to 'fact' today. Emirates airline today agreed to a five-year sponsorship deal with F1 "as it tries to outdo regional rivals for global prominence." The Emirates name now will appear on F1 circuit bridges, around race course grounds and in team paddocks, "starting with the Malaysian Grand Prix in March." Reuters The deal is reportedly worth about US$200M, which would make it "one of the biggest in motorsport." Financial Times
F1 today announced a five-year deal with Emirates in which the airline will serve as a Global Partner of the racing series. Emirates' branding starting with the March 22-24 Malaysian Grand Prix will be displayed on F1 circuit bridges, ground signs and the F1 Paddock Club.
Emirates Chair & CEO Sheikh Ahmed said that the airline's “total sports sponsorship" now stood at $272.3M this year. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said it would now be "the natural thing to do" for Emirates to launch an F1 racing team. Reuters
The word on the street is that Terry Angstadt has been offered the job of IndyCar CEO and John Lopes is moving into the Chief Financial Officer role at IndyCar to replace Richard McComb.
But, according to both parties, the word is untrue.
“It’s certainly something that’s crossed my mind but I have not had one communicative about it,” said Angstadt, the former commercial division president of the Indy Racing League who landed IZOD in as series sponsor four years ago. [In other words he would love to have the job.]
Menard won't return to IndyCar until they get rid of spec-car racing A recent hot rumor was that John Menard would be returning to IndyCar as a full-time competitor, or at least competing in the Indianapolis 500.
“I looked at it and thought about it but decided the timing wasn’t right,” said Menard, the self-made Wisconsin billionaire who began fielding cars at the Indianapolis 500 in 1979 and captured the 1997 IRL title with Tony Stewart.
“I’ve still got a shop in Indianapolis and I still love the Indy 500 but I’m not wild about spec cars and engines. Someday, if the rules change and they go back to letting teams do something different, then maybe I’ll be interested.” Speed.com
Report - a Sauber 'spy' at Red Bull? (GMM) Tongue in cheek, a German specialist publication has wondered if there is a Sauber spy in the house at world champions Red Bull.
After Swiss team Sauber surprised the world with its ultra-slim sidepods and a half-'stepped' nose for its newly launched C32, Auto Motor und Sport's Michael Schmidt noticed that Red Bull's new RB9 - which broke cover on Sunday - "has the same characteristics".
Actually, Red Bull insisted the RB9 is a simple "evolution" of its title-winning predecessor, while Adrian Newey argued the whole concept of a 'new' car is now outdated.
Bianchi to get Force India seat, bringing Ferrari along? At Force India, it appears Adrian Sutil is still a candidate, but on Friday the higher bets were being placed on the Ferrari-linked Frenchman Jules Bianchi.
The Silverstone based team denied the decision is all about money.
"The decision we will make will be for the benefit of the team," deputy boss Bob Fernley insisted, according to Reuters.
"And it doesn't necessarily follow that that is a financial requirement. In fact it's highly unlikely that it will be."
There might, however, be an engine link, with rumors Bianchi's drive could be crucially linked with a Ferrari engine deal for 2014.
"It's part of the decision-making process," Fernley said.
"It would be too simplistic just to say it is linked to an engine, because it's not the case at all."
Caterham to also sign van der Garde, Chilton to MarussiaUPDATE #4 Here is the press release confirming what AR1.com told its readers.
02/01/13 This van der Garde portion of this rumor is also 'fact' today. According to AR1.com sources Van der Garde has signed with Caterham. We await the formal announcement.
12/18/12 The Chilton to Marussia portion of this rumor is now 'fact' with today's announcement. Ride-buyer Chilton's father Grahame reportedly has a personal fortune in the region of $150 million. He will be Timo Glock's fourth different rookie teammate since 2010.
12/17/12 (GMM) Marussia team owner Nikolai Fomenko has confirmed speculation British rookie Max Chilton will make his formula one debut in 2013.
Fomenko, the head of Russian supercar Marussia who bought into the then Virgin team at the end of 2010, was asked by Russian journalists the identity of the driver replacing Caterham-bound Frenchman Charles Pic.
International reports, including RMC (France), Speed Week (Switzerland) and MTV3 (Finland) say Fomenko answered Chilton's name, the GP2 driver whose wealthy father Grahame is the chairman of the Aon company.
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. According to AR1.com sources Van der Garde has signed with Caterham. We await the formal announcement.
01/02/13 (GMM) Giedo van der Garde's hopes of finally breaking into formula one in 2013 have "shrunk", according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
The now 27-year-old flirted with a move to F1 several years ago with brief test roles at Super Aguri and Spyker, and while racing for Caterham's GP2 team in 2012 he finished the F1 season as reserve driver for the green-colored outfit.
With sponsor backing, the Dutchman was a leading candidate to be Charles Pic's 2012 teammate.
Van der Garde's new year has kicked off on a happy note with his engagement to his girlfriend, but De Telegraaf is reporting that Caterham incumbent Vitaly Petrov is now the hot favorite to complete the team's 2013 race lineup.
Van der Garde's manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen, however, said nothing has been decided.
Sponsor UBS could quit F1 (GMM) UBS, a major sponsor of formula one, could be considering pulling out of the sport.
The Swiss based global financial services company entered F1 in 2010, powered by its then chief executive Oswald Grubel, who had also brought the Swiss bank Credit Suisse to the sport and was a board member of the BMW-Sauber team.
But Grubel is no longer in charge. UBS is now headed by Sergio Ermotti, a Swiss banker.
Blick newspaper reports that, under Ermotti's new watch, the company has been conducting market research into the wisdom of Grubel's F1 deal.
HRT F1 team to be revived by Americans and CanadiansUPDATE #2 (GMM) A new formula one team could rise from the ashes of the failed Spanish outfit HRT.
Reports - including in the Spanish newspaper AS - claim a group of investors from Canada and the US want to enter this year's world championship with an evolution of HRT's 2012 car, featuring a Cosworth engine and Williams gearbox.
The team is reportedly called Scorpion Racing, and the Press Association said it would be based at Silverstone and operate with equipment bought from HRT.
But there could be an issue with getting up and running for 2013, given that the official entry deadline for this season's championship closed last November.
Bernie Ecclestone is quoted as saying: "I've spoken to them and told them to get in touch with the FIA and ask for an entry.
No more Cup races for Bill Elliott? Although it's been a quarter of a century, Bill Elliott remembers his first short track win at Bristol Motor Speedway like it was yesterday. In a recent interview, Elliott talked about that win, racing at BMS and his son Chase's career, among other topics. Following is a transcript in part about his plans to race in 2013:
Q) You competed some last year. Will that continue?
Bill Elliott: I ran twice last year and that was enough for me. Now about all I do is try to keep up with Chase and our Late Model program. We've helped Ben Kennedy some, T.J. Reed and Mason Massey and between those three and what Chase has going on, I haven't had time to do anything else. It was fun to run that car at Daytona last year for Turner. That was the best car I've been in in I don't know when. But, the way I look at it, if I keep doing that then I'm taking away from somebody else getting in a car so it's kind of a doubled-edge sword. BMS
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Vautier will be announced by Sam Schmidt Motorsports Tuesday as their 2nd IndyCar driver alongside Simon Pagenaud making it an all-French lineup. Vautier will receive the full $1 million advancement prize due to signing to drive for a team that does not have a Leader Circle contract for the second entry he will pilot. We have updated our 2013 IndyCar Silly Season Page.
01/04/13 Rumor has it that with Sam Schmidt signing Lucas Oil, adding an equity partner, getting engineer McDonald from the Andretti team and with what Tristan Vautier has been posting on Twitter, our limited French, and his Indy Lights Championship money tells us Vautier is about to sign with Schmidt in the car that had long been earmarked for Rubens Barrichello.
And that combo of Pagenaud and Vautier is going to put Schmidt/Hamilton right behind the big three teams. We have updated our IndyCar Silly Season page above.
Lotus to lose Honeywell DealUPDATE The Honeywell brand name might not be on the car as yet, the colors are already there: Genii in white on a red background ... this says enough - See Honeywell Logo.
01/16/13 The "expected title sponsorship deal between the Lotus F1 Team and U.S. technology company Honeywell seems to be falling through," according to Rencken & Luttgens of Motorsport Total.
Lotus announced several new sponsorship deals in the past several months. In November, the team "signed a deal with Coca-Cola." The U.S. soft drink producer "will advertise its energy drink brand Burn on the team's cars."
Ecclestone interested in buying Indy Speedway? Q: In your last mailbag, you casually mentioned that Bernie might be interested in buying the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Really? Why? Could you expand on this a little?
RM: I heard it from a buddy in England who works at McLaren but I don’t have Bernie’s home phone number anymore (he changed it after I called him and woke him up in 1979) so I can’t really check it out. Robin Miller, Speed.com Mailbag January 26th
Dragon Racing IndyCar team owner and Variety Media‘s Chairman/CEO Jay Penske is planning editorial firings at the top-heavy Variety Magazine in March. He also is overseeing a redesign of Variety’s website for March.
Penske laid off between 20 and 25 employees last November 15th from the circulation, database and conference departments – but not editorial. Variety had about 120 staffers before Penske took over. Tim Gray keeps pontificating to editorial that things are going to change and Variety will go in a new direction. But nobody knows what that means.
Penske announced on October 9th that he bought the once $200 million-valued trade, reportedly for the fire-sale price of $25 million. Penske now maintains an office at Variety’s headquarters at 5900 Wilshire Blvd as well as at PMC’s Inglewood, CA headquarters. Deadline.com
November date for '14 Russian Grand PrixUPDATE The weather / temperature in Sochi can be in the 80s in November.....then again it can also be 17 degrees F. But the average in November is in the low 40s (too low we think).
01/25/13 The inaugural Russian Grand Prix will be held in the month of November, according to Sochi's mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov. The 2014 race will therefore take place after the Winter Olympics, which is being staged at a new sports park in and around the circuit.
With three Grands Prix scheduled for November on the 2013 Formula 1 calendar, a significant reshuffle is likely when the Sochi event gets added to the roster next year.
"It will be held in November, after the Olympics," Pakhomov is quoted as saying by Reuters, before going on to explain: "The circuit’s construction is being closely monitored by the regional government. Everything is going according to plan."
Will ROY battle end Patrick's affair with Stenhouse?UPDATE #3
Stenhouse (L) and Patrick (R) now confirmed lovers, and competitors
Danica Patrick's personal life is no longer a secret — she's dating a fellow driver.
Patrick revealed to The Associated Press she and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are a couple, ending widespread speculation about the nature of their relationship.
“I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard,” she said during an exclusive telephone interview with AP.
“I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this,” Patrick laughed, sounding almost giddy as she said the two-time Nationwide champion's middle name is Lynn and he prefers she use his first name.
More F1 engineers to be poached? The speculation regarding Paddy Lowe’s departure possible departure from McLaren in order to join Mercedes has started the ball rolling. It is too late now for the changes to have any influence on the 2013 cars. These are being built and will start running in the next couple of weeks. This is traditionally the time that engineers move on. There follows a period in May-June when there is more movement depending on the quality of the cars that each team has. Movement at this time of year is generally by choice, in May and June it is usually because an engineer has been shown the door. The preparations for 2014 are more important than in most years because of a change in the regulations which will offer a great opportunity for a new pecking order to be established in F1.
Glock to BMW, no Marussia move for Vitaly PetrovUPDATE #2 Photos from Glock's first on-track BMW DTM test.
01/22/13 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' as we have added the photo of Glock getting his seat fitting with BMW. He will test in Valencia this week.
This rumor is 'fact' as Glock gets his seat fitting for a test with BMW at Valencia this week. Like so many F1 drivers before him, Timo Glock will be the latest to move to DTM and come out looking like a loser. What makes these drivers think that after driving rear engine cars all their life they are going to be fast in front engine cars? Very few do it successfully, most fail miserably.
01/22/13 (GMM) BMW has refused to comment on speculation Timo Glock could rescue his racing career with a seat in the German touring car series DTM.
Marussia announced on Monday that, despite the 30-year-old having a "valid contract" for 2013 and apparently also 2014, it has agreed to part ways with German Glock to make room for a pay driver.
"Although it is not the path I expected to be taking, I am in fact very excited about what the future holds in terms of my own career and I hope to comment on that very soon," the statement quoted Glock as saying.
An exchange on Twitter between Glock and BMW-contracted driver Dirk Muller indicated a DTM move was indeed on the cards.
"We confirm nothing, we deny nothing, we don't comment at all," a spokesman for the German marque, Jorg Kottmeier, told SID news agency.Read more & Comment...
'Financial crisis' threatens F1 (GMM) Talented drivers are proving the victims of a financial crisis in formula one, according to media reports.
Major newspapers like Germany's Bild, and specialist outlets including Auto Motor und Sport, say the sport is "sick".
"Only the top four - Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes - are having no problems," said Bild.
Auto Motor und Sport added: "We have to worry about formula one. HRT has gone. Caterham and Marussia can only survive with pay-drivers. Drivers like Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen are losing their jobs.
Road America and Road Atlanta to get Sprint Cup races? Rumors coming out of this week's NASCAR media tour say to expect NASCAR to give serious consideration to adding more road races to the schedule, because the participating manufacturers let the NASCAR hierarchy know this should be a priority. Two road races, in fact.
Road America and Road Atlanta, with one of the two being part of The Chase. Also expect a corresponding deletion of two existing oval events to accommodate this move so that there will be no expansion of the already bloated Sprint Cup schedule. And we should see NASCAR finally moving to on-board telemetry in the cars, so fans can see everything going on in the cockpit. Autoextremist
Budweiser and Jimmy Johns to follow Harvick to SHRUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. NASCAR team owner Richard Childress confirmed what driver Kevin Harvick would not since November 2012. Harvick will leave Childress, where he has been since his first Cup race in 2001, and drive for friend and team owner Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
Childress, who spoke Monday night at NASCAR's Sprint Cup Media Tour, talked about knowing about Harvick's plans last year before the race at Phoenix International Raceway -- a race Harvick would win to snap a 44-race winless streak.
"We had a meeting and he told me his plans and we discussed what we were going to do in '13," Childress said Monday. "He'll do well over there at Stewart-Haas, and RCR will keep going and moving forward.
"I think him and Tony will have a good relationship."
Pit-crew competition may not be held in 2013 Sprint shifted its sponsorship of the pit-crew competition during all-star week to the Daytona event to give it sponsorship of both non-points Cup events, the Sprint Unlimited and the Budweiser Duel. The pit-crew competition currently is without sponsorship, and NASCAR has not determined whether it will be held this year. "We are working to continue the event," NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O'Donnell said in a statement. Sporting News
Penske engaged?UPDATE IndyCar team owner Jay Penske confirmed to The Indy Star on Monday that he is engaged to model Elaine Irwin. Congratulations to both of them.
12/21/12 We mentioned in this article that at one point Elaine Irwin Mellencamp (now just Elaine Irwin), the ex-wife of singer John Mellencamp and Jay Penske were dating despite the ex-Mrs. Mellencamp being nine years Penske's senior. Now rumor has it they may be engaged.
Glock's check not big enough for Marussia, moves to DTMUPDATE #2 Marussia Team Principal John Booth has hinted that the current economic climate played a role in Timo Glock's departure ahead of the 2013 Formula 1 campaign, with the German leaving the outfit on amicable terms after three seasons onboard most likely because his sponsor's check was not big enough.
Having missed out on tenth place in the 2012 Constructors' standings, Marussia is set to receive a lower share of television revenues this year, with the money split based on a team's overall position, so they need a ride buyer who brings a bigger check.
Toto Wolff set to join MercedesUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC today announced that Toto Wolff, one of its Executive Directors, will be leaving the Company with immediate effect to take up a new role with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Toto will be relinquishing his seat on the Company’s Board of Directors but will retain his shareholding. Team Principal and majority shareholder Sir Frank Williams will continue to oversee the running of the Company with Toto’s responsibilities being shared between members of the Board’s Executive Committee.
RCR to drop Chevy for Dodge?UPDATE Don't look for NASCAR to add a new manufacturer anytime soon. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during Friday's "Gen 6" test at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he doesn't anticipate another manufacturer joining Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota in the "foreseeable future ... the next year or two." Dodge pulled out of the sport after winning the championship last season with Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing, which moved to Ford in 2013. There has been speculation that Dodge might return in 2014, possibly with a premier team such as Richard Childress Racing that has fallen to third among organizations in the Chevrolet fleet. Pemberton said the governing body periodically gets "cold calls" from potential manufacturers, but none that appear ready to join the sport in the next few years. ESPN
NASCAR to run races in Europe? NASCAR is considering running exhibition races in Europe in hopes of bringing more exposure to the sport. NASCAR has revealed that it would consider hosting exhibition races in Europe to boost the profile of stock-car racing in the region.
“NASCAR would consider future exhibition race opportunities in Europe as part of a broader strategy of promoting stock-car racing in a region and supporting existing efforts like our Euro Racecar NASCAR Touring Series, which is about to embark on its second season,” Silbermann told Autoweek.
“NASCAR's philosophy has evolved over the years, from the NASCAR exhibition race model of the 1990s -- when we ran several races in Japan -- to the more recent model we implemented beginning with Mexico,” said Silbermann.
“The prime difference being that the NASCAR national series races staged in Mexico City nearly a decade ago were part of a broad strategy of promoting stock-car racing in that country. The results are clear today, with a healthy NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series having just completed its seventh season under the NASCAR banner. The series boasts close racing, strong car counts, record crowds, and the fifth new oval circuit in the country having just been completed in Chihuahua.” AutoWeek
Alfa Romeo and IndyCarUPDATE #5 The actually last Alfa Romeo IndyCar (Champ Car) was this 1991 Miller Genuine Life Alfa Romeo driven by Danny Sullivan. John Capels ran the Alfa the first time in 1989 with Roberto Guerrero driving with the Morales team.
In 1990, Pat Patrick sold his Chevy team to Ganassi and Pat, Jim McGee and Morris Nunn were partners in the new Alfa program with MGD sponsorship.
Guerrero drove the 20 car all year with Al Unser Sr. in the 40 car at Indy. It was a March chassis in the early part of 1990 season before they switched to Lola.
Steve Nielsen to join Toro Rosso as Sporting Director Grandprix.com rumors that Steve Nielsen, Sporting Director at the Caterham Formula One team, is to leave the Anglo/Malaysian outfit and take up the same position at Scuderia Toro Rosso starting on February 1.
Nielsen has previously worked with technical chief Mike Gascoyne at Caterham, Tyrrell and Renault. At Caterham Nielsen oversaw the team's factory move from Norfolk to the former Arrows premises in Leafield.
Nielsen will move to Italy to take up the position.
What is The Captain up to?UPDATE We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong' today. AR1.com did a little research on the Leaders Circle program and found that it is the ENTRY that qualifies for the subsidy. Once the ENTRY has qualified a team can ‘sell’ that ENTRY to anyone. Penske ran with three cars (ENTRIES) last year and each of those entries qualified for the 2013 Leaders Circle membership (subsidy).
Penske is a very astute businessman. If he does not want to run a third car he can simply draft up a contractual agreement for a third party to ‘use’ his entry. The name of the entry is allowed to be changed so it is not necessarily a ‘Verizon’ or ‘Penske’ name that would have to appear it. It could easily be ‘XYZ Company’ and be fielded by Dragon as we speculated below.
So not only is the $50k registration a good value, it locks in over a million dollars of entitlements to that ENTRY. Penske can sell that ENTRY to a third party for whatever the market will bear, but we'll sure he would sell it to his son for less than he would sell it to another team. Mark C. reporting for AR1.com
Austin Dillon to move up to Cup in 2014, running #3? It's almost a given that Austin Dillon will be NASCAR's 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year. He'll run another full Nationwide Series schedule this year before moving up to Cup. His grandfather, legendary team owner Richard Childress, plans to run him in six to eight (maybe more) Cup races this year to prepare him for 2014. With Dillon still registered as a Nationwide driver, he can run unlimited Cup races without jeopardizing his rookie status. (That's why Danica Patrick, who ran 10 races last year, remains eligible for the Cup ROTY awards this year). Dillon plans to run some Cup races for Circle Sports (the Joe Falk-owned associate of RCR) and will get some starts for owner James Finch at Phoenix Racing.
Larson to NNS in 2013 and some Cup races? Earnhardt Ganassi Racing development driver, Kyle Larson said he was going back to Charlotte on Sunday to find out what [team owner Chip] Ganassi has planned for him this season but it's believed he'll be driving a Target car full-time in Nationwide with a few Cup [#41?] races thrown in at the end of the year. Robin Miller/SPEED
IndyCar to announce new CEO and COO?UPDATE #2 Robby Greene, the president and chief operating officer of Indianapolis-based IMS Productions, the television entity owned by Hulman & Company, has assumed COO duties of IndyCar. Greene will serve in a dual capacity until a more permanent day-to-day leader is found for the sanctioning body of the sport. The move is expected to be confirmed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials soon, perhaps this week. Mel Harder, the senior vice president of operations, will move to a new role overseeing the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, the MotoGP event held at IMS the past three years. Indy Star
Doug Boles moves up to Chief Operating Officer
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. IMS CEO/interim IndyCar CEO Jeff Belskus will promote IMS communications VP Doug Boles into the COO position effective immediately, and Robby Greene, who heads IMS Productions, will be given the 'interim COO' tag at the IndyCar Series according to Speed.
01/08/13 Rumor has it that IndyCar is close to announcing a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Short of it being Roger Penske himself, or NASCAR taking it over, not sure who can turn the ship around.
Experience might secure Caterham reprieve for Petrov, talks stallUPDATE (GMM) Following reports he was the favorite to secure the other Caterham race seat, Vitaly Petrov's manager actually sounds far from optimistic.
German reports had suggested the Russian has found new sponsors and was on the cusp of sealing the deal to secure his place at the team for 2013.
"So far, we haven't managed to find new sponsors," Petrov's manager Oksana Kosachenko is quoted by R-Sport.
"Where do journalists get this information from? I'm a journalist myself and I know very well how this can just pop into someone's head."
Ludicrous NASCAR Bump-Drafting over There were few complaints and even less direct involvement from NASCAR officials. By all accounts this week’s Sprint Cup Series test at Daytona International was a resounding success – well almost.
There was the 12-car wreck on Friday afternoon when teams elected to try drafting in packs, but even that produced one positive – teams were able to gauge how the parts and pieces on the new 2013 model cars faired in an accident.
“All in all, I think the test progressed quite nicely,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “Speeds look to be where they need to be.
Kyle Busch has re-signed a long-term extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, removing one of the biggest names from the Sprint Cup Series' impending free-agent market. Two officials with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports that Busch, whose contract at JGR was set to expire after the 2013 season, signed a multiyear deal in December.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce the deal. The team had no comment on Busch's contract status. Asked Thursday night by USA TODAY Sports about whether he had a deal done, Busch coyly replied that "everybody will find out on (the team's) media day what's coming down."
With Busch's future secure, JGR has its three drivers under long-term deals. Denny Hamlin re-signed an extension last season, and Matt Kenseth joined the organization this year in a multiyear contract. #78-Kurt Busch, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #39-Ryan Newman are the biggest names who aren't signed beyond 2013. USA Today
Ganassi to close down 2nd IndyCar Shop? Rumor has it that Don Prudhomme has sold his racecar shop in Brownsburg, Indiana, to John Force Racing. Could the Snake be all through with racing? And wasn't that the shop that Ganassi was using for his second team? Does this mean no fourth car and he runs three cars out of the Target shop?
Pirelli To Extend Contract As Official Tire Supplier Of F1 Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli "has confirmed its desire to continue in F1 beyond its current contract," which is due to expire at the end of this year, according to Mat Coch of PIT PASS. Pirelli Motorsports Dir Paul Hembery said that "the company is ready to submit a formal proposal to the teams after months of preliminary discussions."
Returning to F1 in '11 as the sole tire supplier, the Italian company "was subject of heavy criticism" before being credited with helping reinvigorate the sport. Hembery said, "We've had two very exciting seasons, and we feel we've contributed our bit to that, which is what we were asked to do. As a company we are interested in going forward."
Nurburgring still has shot at German GP in 2013UPDATE #5 The Nurburgring is set to be confirmed as the host of this year's German Grand Prix, with Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone confident of finalizing a new deal. The 82-year-old, who also explained that the 2013 calendar will feature 19 races after Turkey's failed bid to return, believes an agreement can be reached this week.
"It should be the Nurburgring and we are trying to make it happen," Ecclestone is quoted as saying by Reuters, ruling out the possibility of Hockenheim hosting the event. "I'm talking with them today."
Meanwhile, a Nurburgring spokeswoman explained to GPUpdate.net on Tuesday afternoon that the circuit is awaiting a response to its latest proposition.
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.
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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