December 2008
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RACE NEWS & VIEWS
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Indy Speedway News Index
Speedway Motel To Be Razed
Dec 16 - Brickyard Crossing Inn -- the history-filled motel on the southeastern
edge of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- couldn't keep up with times.

The IMS said Monday the 96-room motel, built in 1963, will close immediately
and be razed in the coming months.

"To bring the motel up to the standards and quality of what guests expect at the
Speedway would require significant capital expenditures,"
Joie Chitwood,
president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.,
said in a written statement.

The IMS said it is exploring uses -- including a new hotel -- for the property.
According to Chitwood, the IMS is evaluating how a new hotel would fit with the
town of Speedway's planned redevelopment.

About 15 employees are losing their jobs as a result of the closing. The main
Brickyard Crossing building -- home of a restaurant, Flag Room pub, conference
space and a golf pro shop -- will continue to operate, the IMS said.

The Brickyard Crossing Inn has seen plenty of history in its 45 years.

NASCAR star
Jeff Gordon ate pizza there to celebrate his 1994 win in the
inaugural Allstate 400. Scenes from
Paul Newman's movie "Winning" were
filmed at the motel.

And
Jim Nabors has stayed at the motel while in town for his traditional singing
of "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" before the Indianapolis 500.
Some People Never Learn
Dec 13 - The Unsers continue to crack me up.  This time, Little Al has been being blackmailed by some pimp in New Mexico who runs a strip
club and a prostitution ring.  He wanted $750,000 from
Al Unser, Jr. or he threatened to release a 2004 video of Al in some compromising
position.  This information came to light after police began investigating the prostitution ring.  Unser told detectives he was concerned about
the threat because of a morals clause in an endorsement contract.  He has made payments, but the amount is not clear.
New 2009 F1 Car Changes
Dec 16 - The FIA has made sweeping changes to the F1 regulations in an effort
to help improve the on-track action.

* The rear wing's width will be reducted from 1000mm to 750mm.  Its perch's
height will be increased from 800mm to 950mm.  Larger end plates too.

* The front wing will be widened 400 mm and lowered.  The drive will be able to
adjust this wing up to twice per lap.

* Aero appendages on the bodywork will be drastically reduced.

* They will be returning to slick tires!

* Changes to the rear diffuser to decrease "dirty air."
New "Car Of Tomorrow" For NASCAR Nationwide Series
Dec 16 - A new Nationwide Series car will premiere in 2010.  The chassis will be
identical to the Cup car, but the body will be different.  The car will have a rear
spoiler instead of a rear wing.  NASCAR says a different suspension package
will make the Nationwide COT easier to drive than the Sprint Cup COT.
Like Father, Not Son
June 08 - The father of
F1 Champ
Lewis
Hamilton
, crashed his
$450k Porsche Carrera
GT through a fence and
into a playground, while
demonstrating his driving
prowess.
Dallara Cuts Prices
Dec 13 - IndyCar Series teams will save approximately 11 percent on chassis
parts in 2009 with Dallara's announcement that it would reduce the cost on
spare parts such as radiators, wishbones and wings.

"If we can help the teams go through this difficult time, it is in the best interest of
the manufacturers, the series and the teams," said
Andrea Toso, IndyCar
Series project leader for Dallara. "If we don't do anything now, maybe one year
from now it's too late. We hope that all suppliers and partners will understand
this initiative."

Dallara has been an IndyCar chassis supplier since 1997.

"In light of the current global economic crisis, to see the effort Dallara has made
to help all of our teams with an across-the-board cost reduction is truly the
definition of a partner," said
Brian Barnhart, president of competition and
operations for the Indy Racing League.
2009 Detroit Grand Prix Cancelled
Dec 20 - The IndyCar/American Le Mans Series double-header weekend at
Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, has been canceled for 2009.  The economic
condition of Detroit is unpredictable now with the auto makers on the brink of
bankruptcy.  The race depended upon a lot of corporate sponsors.

The cancellation leaves IndyCar a 17-race schedule and ALMS with 10 races.

Since the race was scheduled for Labor Day, another event will likely fill the gap.
NASCAR Silly Season
Dec 20 - Robby Gordon will start his seventh full-season racing in the NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series with Toyota power. Just days ago, Gordon confirmed that his
sponsor Jim Beam will remain on board with the champion off-road racer for its
fifth season as his primary sponsor.

Gordon's team is one of the few remaining single-car teams in NASCAR. At the
end of the 2008 season, Gordon finished in 33rd in the points, placing him in the
top 35 and a guarantee start in the 2009 season opener, the Daytona 500.

Bobby Labonte is now out of a ride for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The 2000 Cup champion parted ways with Petty Enterprises today under a
mutual agreement, according to Labonte. The winner of 21 Cup races joined
Petty for the 2006 season; his fourth team in the top-level of NASCAR.
Victory for Germany in ROC Nations' cup
Dec 20 -Team Germany won the 22nd Race of Champions Nation Cup again
this year with drivers
Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.  
Sébastien Loeb won the Race of Champions.

Team America lost to Team Great Britian.  Our drivers were NASCAR's
Carl
Edwards
and drifting expert Tanner Foust.  (Foust hosts my favorite TV show  
"Super Cars Exposed", which is on the Speed channel.)
Honda Drops F1
Dec 26 - Honda has decided to drop out of Formula One.  They cite economic
downturn, but lets not forget they have not been competitive.  The company is
willing to sell the team.  Honda-backed F1 team Super Aguri also dropped out of
F1 this year.  Could Toyota be next?

With an operational budget of around $294 million,  Honda finished ninth in the
constructors' standings last season with
Jenson Button 18th out of 20 drivers
with three points.
Rubens Barichello, who was dropped by the team going into
2009, was 14th with the remaining points.

FIA president
Max Mosley described F1's combined $1.6 billion spending in
2008 as "unsustainable," saying the teams were relying too heavily on the
goodwill of rich individuals and corporate sponsors. Mosley has vowed to push
through cost-cutting measures by 2010 in a bid to make the sport more feasible.
Furious Ecclestone reveals financial deal with Ferrari
Earlier this month, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo declared that he
and the FOTA want more transparency about the revenues in Formula One.
Now, F1 supremo
Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at di Montezemolo and
revealed that Ferrari has always had a special deal with F1 as they are
receiving millions more than the other teams.

Ecclestone declared to the British newspaper 'The Times': "The only thing he (di
Montezemolo) has not mentioned is the extra money Ferrari get above all the
other teams and all the extra things Ferrari have had for years - the 'general
help' they are considered to have had in Formula One.

"Ferrari get so much more money than everyone else. They know exactly what
they get, they are not that stupid, although they are not that bright, either. They
get about $80 million more. When they win the constructors' championship,
which they did this year, they got $80 million more than if McLaren had won it."

Ecclestone also revealed the reason for this arrangement. This goes back to
2003 when some F1 teams tried to form a breakaway championship, but the
only team who stood up to them was Ferrari. "They were the only team that
broke ranks with the other manufacturers - why did they break ranks? That's
where the $80 million comes in. We 'bought' Ferrari. We 'bought' Ferrari's
loyalty. Our deal with Ferrari was that we 'bought' them so they would not go to
the others."
Andretti Will Race in A1GP Series
Michael Andretti and Andretti Green Racing have snapped up the American
A1GP franchise and will bring two of their Indycar drivers to the series in 2009,
Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick.  Marco has already raced in the last race,
at Malaysia, finishing 3rd.

This spec series races at famous road courses around the globe, but currently
not in the USA.  The cars have Ferrari engines, F2004 chassis, Michelin tires
and a boost button that gives the cars a temporary 600 hp.

The A1GP series has teams from Switzerland, New Zealand, Great Britian,
France, South Africa, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, India, Portugal,
China, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon,
Monaco and Korea.

A1GP Website