Monday, December 3, 2012

Smart Fortwo Electric Canadian Price to Start at $26,990

Photo Credit: CNW Group/Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc

Joining the zero-emissions vehicle trend, Mercedes-Benz owned small vehicle builder smart has prepared their first customer available fortwo microcar. After a Three-Phase process that involved testing the electric powertrain around the world, customer orders for the smart fortwo electric drive is now being taken in many markets including Canada.

While the nearly 8-year presence of the smart brand in Canada is greeted with mixed interests depending on individual motoring tastes, the fortwo electric drive versions of the small two-seat vehicle is priced very attractively. For the smart fortwo electric drive coupe, Canadian buyers will be paying $26,990. About $12,000 the starting price of the gasoline-burning fortwo coupe, smart's electric drive is currently the most reasonable priced fully street legal electric vehicle. For an open-air electric drive, a cabriolet variant of the vehicle is being sold at $29,990.

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

A 2013 model, the smart fortwo range will expand with the available of zero-emission electric versions of the recognized mircocar. Receiving power from a 55-watt motor, the smart fortwo electric drive will achieve a top traveling range of 145 kilometers (equating to about 90 miles).  Top speed of the fortwo electric drive car is rated at 120 kilometers per hour allowing it to run on major highways.

When the first cars will be delivered to Canadians in spring of next year, the 2013 smart fortwo electric drive will sport a freshened exterior complete with a larger grille and high-efficiency LED lighting. Standard features owners can expect to find in their electric-powered smart fortwo includes air conditioning, heated seats and electronically-adjustable heated exterior mirrors.

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

The smart fortwo electric drive range will join the Smart ebike that is scheduled for a mid-July launch. Retailing at $3,240 in Canada, the two-wheeled ebike represents the Smart brand's technology in one of the most efficient, lightweight vehicles for urban transportation.

The anticipated new product line for smart will go a long way to increasingly cater to the enivronmentally-minded motorists who had fallen in love with the current gasoline-misting fortwo. Responding to their upcoming vehicle, Tim A. Reuss, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada said, "The new smart fortwo electric drive has garnered significant attention since its official debut earlier this year, and I am extremely pleased that the pre-ordering program we introduced has generated a lot of excitement at our dealerships in anticipation of next year's official launch."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bruno Spengler Wins All at Hockenheim DTM Finale

Photo Source: DTM

Concluding what has been another exciting tour for the DTM series, the race cars and teams return to the Hockenheimring, where the 2012 season started less than six months earlier. Despite starting the season as an early casualty of the opening 2012 DTM series event, Canadian driver Bruno Spengler (who had signed with the returning BMW squad late 2011 after a long time with Mercedes-Benz teams) roared back with three wins to challenge season-long points leader Gary Paffett.

Trekking out on the 4.574-kilometer long Hockenheim circuit on Saturday prior to Sunday’s main event, qualifying saw Gary Paffett muscled out a 2nd fastest time in his Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe sponsored by THOMAS SABO. Bettering Spengler’s BMW M3 by just one position, the Brit Paffett only needed to finish ahead of Spengler to clinch the championship honours for a season of racing. Augusto Farfus took the pole for the DTM Hockenheim finale with a 1-minute, 34.140-second lap time.


Photo Source: DTM

While Paffett rested on the grid in prime position for his second DTM championship leading up to the start of 42 laps at Hockenheim, the contention for the 2012 series title immediately heated up. Due to a weak start by Gary Paffett, Bruno Spengler was able to storm by the Mercedes-Benz rival for the second place spot. Spengler’s BMW Bank M3 race car would waste little time displacing the fellow BMW Augusto Farfus from the race lead by the end of lap 1.

Dropping to as low as fourth position, Gary Paffett recovered to second place before the halfway point of the event and would put up a formidable challenge against the leading BMW of Bruno Spengler. Never able to stretch a lead of more than 3.6 seconds under race conditions, Spengler would be able to read the inverted THOMAS SABO lettering in his mirrors often throughout the event. By lap 36, Gary Paffett had closed to within 1.2 seconds of the Canadian Spengler and prepared to give the BMW Bank car a late-race battle for the event victory as well as the all-important championship. Resisting the challenge, Bruno Spengler added some more speed to his BMW M3 creeping away from the Mercedes-Benz race car. Crossing the line 2.2 seconds in the lead to win the Hockenheim event, Bruno Spengler (a 29-year old driver defined in media as “The Secret Canadian”) celebrated the end of his 8th season in DTM racing with his first driver championship.

Photo Source: DTM

Finishing 2nd on two occasions in yearly title chases, Spengler had seen the DTM championship slip away from him in 7 previous seasons in the largely German-based racing tour. However, in 2012, it was finally Bruno Spengler‘s turn to be crowned the DTM driver champion. "My pulse was really racing." said the victorious Spengler that overcame a slow start to the 2012 DTM series to win the championship. "Thank you to BMW Team Schnitzer. My team did a great job all season. Once again, everything went exactly to plan today. In a race, in which we were under extreme pressure, the team did another amazing job on the pit stops. You never win on your own – only as part of a team. I am totally confused and have no idea how I should be feeling. Standing on the top step of the podium, raising the trophy to the sky and seeing all the many fans cheering for me is an amazing experience. I have waited for this for so many years. It is simply sensational.”

Gary Paffett applied a solid fight to Bruno Spengler in this final race at Hockenheim that did not go unnoticed by the victorious Canadian. “Congratulations to my rival Gary Paffett, who performed brilliantly throughout the entire season and put up a fair fight. He would also have been a worthy champion. He is a great sportsman. He put me under a lot of pressure in the final race today. I spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror and he just kept getting closer. However, I was able to maintain my pace and close the race out.” said Spengler.

Photo Source: DTM

By a matter of four points, Gary Paffett had to settle for a runner-up spot in the 2012 DTM championship. “My team has done brilliantly well this season in terms of performance and it is very unfortunate that we missed winning the championship title in the last race by four points.” said Paffett after the Hockenheim event. A winner of a DTM championship in 2005, Gary Paffett doubt with the narrow 2012 season title loss in stride saying, “So in the immediate aftermath of the race, disappointment sits deep, of course, because from my point of view we deserved to win the championship title just as much as Bruno Spengler and BMW. Congratulations to Bruno on his first DTM title! We will go on the attack again next year to take the championship.“

2012 DTM Series
Race Results

Pos # Driver Nationality Race Organization Car Make
1 Bruno Spengler Canada BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3
2 Gary Paffett England THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
3 Augusto Farfus Brazil BMW Team RBM BMW M3
4 Jamie Green England Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
5 Dirk Werner Germany BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M3
6 Edoardo Mortara Italy Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
7 Andy Priaulx Guernsey (Britain) BMW Team RBM BMW M3
8 Joey Hand United States BMW Team RMG BMW M3
9 Ralf Schumacher Germany Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
10 Christian Vietoris Germany Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
11 Filipe Albuquerque Portugal Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi A5
12 Timo Scheider Germany Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
13 Susie Wolff Scotland TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
14 Martin Tomczyk Germany BMW Team RMG BMW M3
15 Roberto Merhi Spain Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
16 Rahel Frey Switzerland Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5
17 Miguel Molina Spain Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
18 David Coulthard Scotland DHL Paket Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
19 Robert Wickens Canada stern Mercedes AMG Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
20 Mattias Ekström Sweden Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi A5
21 Mike Rockenfeller Germany Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi A5
22 Adrien Tambay France Audi Sport Team Abt Audi A5

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Exclusive Interview: Canadian ALMS Driver Kyle Marcelli

Photo supplied by Kyle Marcelli

Two weekends ago, the streets of Toronto was consumed by the action surrounding the 2012 Honda Indy. Within the major league open wheel IZOD INDYCAR Series competing on the temporary street circuit, many Canadian eyes rested on the efforts of Toronto-born and raised driver James Hinchcliffe. As the IZOD INDYCAR Series circus departed Toronto without a favourable outcome for Hinchcliffe, nearby Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (previously known as Mosport International Raceway) hosts professional sports cars under the American Le Mans Series banner with another stand-out young Canuck eager for victory at home soil.

At 22 years old, Kyle Marcelli has three years of experience in the American Le Mans Series' Prototype Challenge category (a one-class competition containing only Oreca chassis powered by Chevrolet engines). In 2011, he co-drove his way to a total of three major sports car racing class victories. Of the three, there was a class win in the European Le Mans Series 6 Hours of Imola that ultimately became Kyle Marcelli's first big league sports car victory. After two years at Intersport Racing, Marcelli joined the newly-formed Merchant Services Racing LMPC class team for 2012 assembled by his Imola win co-driver Chapman Ducote. A class pole in the last race at Lime Rock Park has been a highlight for what has been a difficult start to the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season.

1RM: What have been your icons as you have developed your career in motorsports?KM: On the race track I look up to guys like Ron Fellows, a first generation race driver that found his passion for the sport and did everything it took to be successful. For Ron, I know it required taking a few years off to work in the northern mines to earn some money to get back behind the wheel. When he was behind the wheel, he was driven to be a winner. Off the track, my dad is a big inspiration. He is an extremely hard working man, I get my passion, persistence, dedication and hard work ethics from him.


1RM: Last year was, by definition, a breakthrough era as you were part of the winning driving team in a class category at Imola. Winning a major event, was there anything unique you have learned about yourself after the accomplishment?KM: 2011 was definitely a successful year of competition for me. I earned two ALMS pole positions and race wins as well as my first ELMS race win. 2011 marked the first time in my career that I was back in the same car for a second season. I was always told while moving through the ranks that you should plan on two years at each level. The first as a learning year and the second as a year to win the championship. For me that really clicked in during 2011. I was so confident and comfortable in the car and I think it really showed in my performances.

Photo Credit: Oreca


1RM: You have earned a reputation as being a fast driver in the largely spec LMPC class. What is most difficult, driving fast in a sports car or the endurance aspect of racing?KM: Thank You. The LMPC category is a spec class, each team is working with the same equipment so it really comes down to the driver and engineer to get the most out of the machine. The professional drivers on each team are very close in speed, to be the fastest it really takes a perfect lap. For me its very rewarding to put in a perfect lap and get the most of the race car, words cant describe the sensation.


1RM: Sponsorship is obviously a big component in major, modern motorsports. Besides winning on the race track, what do you believe are key factors companies have looked for from you?KM: That's correct, this is a very expensive sport for the race teams and manufactures. There is no right or wrong answer to what it takes for companies to want to be involved. The goals are really different for everyone. However, I'd say the number one factor that companies look for in a race driver aside from being fast is personality. At the end of the day we are representing a brand and the better you can do that the more companies will take a liking to you.

Photo supplied by Kyle Marcelli


1RM: What do you think is one thing motorsport fans may not fully grasp about the career of a race car driver?KM: The number one thing that fans may not fully grasp about the career of a race driver is one the sacrifice and time that is put into building your career and two is the travel and time away from home, friends and family. Like professional sport, you literally need to dedicate you entire life for the chance at being successful. That said, I believe that if you work hard enough and want it bad enough, dreams do come true.


1RM: Sports car racing is a very international sport. Do you think that you are racing for your country as much as you are racing for yourself, teams and sponsors?KM: Very good question. The simple answer is "Yes". I'm a very proud Canadian and the only Canadian currently competing full-time in the American Le Mans Series. For me this is very important and I do feel like I am racing for not only myself but my country.

Photo supplied by Kyle Marcelli


1RM: What is your general assessment of motorsports in Canada?KM: Motorsports in Canada seems to be pretty dull. For what ever reason, Canadian's just don't seem to have the same passion for the sport as other counties in the world do. That said, it's amazing how many talented race drivers Canada has produced.

1RM: If you had an opportunity to run another form of auto racing, what would be your preference?KM: Next to sports car and prototype endurance racing for me would be Indy Car. I'm very content to stay at this level of auto racing, however Indy Car is on the radar.


1RM: If you could have driven in any era of sports car racing and drove any type of race car in competition, when and what type of vehicle?
KM: If I could have driven in any era of sports car racing, I would choose the mid to late 90's. I'm a big fan of Porsche's Le Mans winning 911 GT1 race car. Its such an attractive piece of machinery and proved itself to be the car to beat on the track as well. It wouldamazing to get behind the wheel.

Kyle Marcelli will be competing in both the American Le Mans Series 2-hour, 45-minute event and the two Porsche GT3 Cup Canada Series races this weekend with the #9 car.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Briscoe Toasts an INDYCAR Series Win in Sonoma Wine Country


The third to last event on the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series calendar, the Sonoma region of California hosted a 85-lap contest of turbocharged, open wheel racing during a pivotal time in the rapidly passing season.

Retuning to action after a three-week hiatus, the IZOD INDYCAR Series drivers and teams entered the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma knowing they’re proceeding into the homestretch of their 2012 season. Drivers Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and Scott Dixon approached the hilly 2.385-mile California road course with the knowledge that you miscue could desperately impact their chance of hoisting the overall IZOD INDYCAR Series championship trophy.

Taking his fourth pole in the 2012 season, Australian Will Power placed his Chevrolet-powered #12 Team Penske car at the front of an event he had won the previous two years. A 1-2 start of Team Penske cars with Power’s teammate Ryan Briscoe claiming the second-fastest time in qualifying, the third Roger Penske-owned machine piloted by Helio Castroneves would gain unfavourable attention once the green flag dropped. Starting 4th, Castroneves made contact with championship rival Scott Dixon’s #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car in the turn 7 area of the Sonoma racetrack. Contact that amounted to Dixon spinning on-track losing ground to the lead of the field early, the #3 car of Helio Castroneves would himself be plucked from the front of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma when the IZOD INDYCAR Series assessed the Brazilian driver a penalty. Serving a drive-through penalty in the pit lane, Castroneves would make his way back through the race field to 6th place at the end of 85 laps.
Photo Credit: F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA/Honda

With the first 65 laps of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma passing without a single yellow flag, the Team Penske race cars of Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were supreme to the rest of the IZOD INDYCAR contenders. Will Power was in control for much of the event reflected in a 8.44-second lead he had on teammate Briscoe on lap 50.

Contrasting the fortune of the Team Penske organization, the other IZOD INDYCAR superteam of Andretti Autosport suffered bad luck for 2 of its 3 entries. Canadian James Hinchcliffe retired from the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on lap 35 due to an engine problem. Hinchcliffe’s exit in the #27 car would be followed 11 laps later by Marco Andretti. Only Andretti Autosport car left was the championship-contending driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma’s first caution would be the result of a scary collision in turn 8 section of the road course. Colliding entering the corner, the #7 of Sebastien Bourdais and he #67 driven by Josef Newgarden sailed into an outer retaining wall. Despite a severe impact with the concrete wall, both drivers escaped major injury. However, it was determined after the race that Josef Newgarden did suffer an injury to his left index finger. His Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team opted to place Bruno Junqueira for the upcoming Labour day weekend street course race in Baltimore.

As the field operated under its first full-course caution, this incident would be defining for the event. Two laps prior to the Bourdais/Newgarden accident, the leader Will Power had pitted relinquishing the lead to the #2 car of teammate Ryan Briscoe.

Restarting on lap 74, the late laps of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma would claim other championship-contending driver when an overly ambitious move performed by Alex Tagliani led to contact with the #28 car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. INDYCAR race control penalized the Canadian driver Tagliani but Hunter-Reay lost a potential top-5 finishing a disappointing 18th place with only two races remaining to compete for the series’ overall championship.

Photo Credit: Camden Thrasher.LAT Photo USA/Honda

With his newfound advantage over teammate Will Power, Ryan Briscoe soared away on the race’s final restart at Sonoma winning his first IZOD INDYCAR race since the 2010 race at Texas Motor speedway. As the 2012 had been reaching an end, Briscoe’s presence with Team Penske for 2013 and beyond has been much questioned. With the victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, the Australian driver Ryan Briscoe has allowed Team Penske to have all three drivers in the 2012 winner’s circle.

Chevrolet-powered contenders in the IZOD INDYCAR Series led every lap in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma acting as additional garnish to locking up the engine manufacturer championship for 2012. A season where the Bowtie brand has won 9 of the 13 races so far in the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series, Chevrolet’s battle against tour mainstay Honda and the limited resources of Lotus is a triumphant return to a series they were absent from since the end of 2005. Chevrolet’s open wheel racing is made possible with a twin-turbocharged, 2.2 liter V-6 engine the auto company says reflects the technology currently being implemented in production cars for the street.

Next race for the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series is a Labour Day weekend Sunday race on the streets of Baltimore.


2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Race Results

Car # Driver Driver Nationality Race Team Engine Supplier

1 2 Ryan Briscoe Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
2 12 Will Power Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
3 10 Dario Franchitti Scotland Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
4 8 Rubens Barrichello Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
5 38 Graham Rahal United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
6 3 Helio Castroneves Brazil Team Penske Chevrolet
7 77 Simon Pagenaud France Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda
8 4 JR Hildebrand United States Panther Racing Chevrolet
9 98 Alex Tagliani Canada Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Honda
10 11 Tony Kanaan Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
11 18 Justin Wilson England Dale Coyne Racing Honda
12 19 James Jakes England Dale Coyne Racing Honda
13 9 Scott Dixon New Zealand Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
14 14 Mike Conway England AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda
15 17 Sebastian Saavedra Columbia Team AFS Chevrolet
16 5 EJ Viso Venezuela KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
17 78 Simona de Silvestro Switzerland Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus
18 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
19 22 Oriol Servia Spain Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
20 20 Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
21 83 Charlie Kimball United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
22 7 Sebastien Bourdais France Dragon Racing Chevrolet
23 67 Josef Newgarden United States Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
24 6 Katherine Legge England Dragon Racing Chevrolet
25 26 Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
26 27 James Hinchcliffe Canada Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
27 15 Takuma Sato Japan Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda


Saturday, July 14, 2012

1 Racing Mind: New Name, Same Motorsport News

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/1 Racing Mind

After almost three years of sharing motorsport insight through XSL Speed Reporter, I felt it was time for a change. Sometimes made for the better, I would like you, my loyal readers, to follow me at my new web blog 1 Racing Mind. Frankly, I'm a little bit happier with the new blog name and I will enjoy carrying it forward as I pursue the latest auto racing news.
Please note the following link:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Alonso Feels at Home with European GP Win

Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

The first 7 races of the 2012 Formula 1 racing season has produced an unpredictable year to a series that had long been regarded as near scripted. For the 8th event on the Formula 1 calendar, the 5.419-kilometer Valencia Street Circuit holds the European Grand Prix with the potential of becoming a venue for an unprecedented trend or the location for the first two-time winner of the 2012 season.

Set up as 57 laps, Sunday’s European Grand Prix featured a 23-car grid after Marussia F1’s Timo Glock was unwell from a weekend-long illness to compete by race time. On pole, the winner of the previous two races in Valencia, Spain Sebastian Vettel sailed his Red Bull-Renault to an advantage over the McLaren-Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton (a driver fresh off the Canadian Grand Prix victory two weeks ago). Through what was ultimately a clean start for the Formula 1 cars, Vettel pulled away to an easy lead in the Red Bull-Renault looking as if he would be the driver that become the first to repeat in 2012.

While the 2012 European Grand Prix initial laps were rather tame, it would be deeper into the race where several on-track altercations between competitors would transpire. At lap 20 on the Valencia race course, Formula 1 stewards would react to Bruno Senna’s Williams-Renault and the Sauber-Ferrari of Kamui Kobayashi making contact. Executing a drive-through penalty on the Williams F1 car of Senna, Kobayashi would fall victim to another incident of contact with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa retiring on lap 33.

As Sebastian Vettel held onto a 20-second lead just ahead of making his second pit stop of the race for medium compound Pirelli tires, a safety car period brought upon the European Grand Prix on lap 28 when Toro Rosso-Ferrari of Jean-Eric Vergne and Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham-Renault made contact. Erasing Vettel’s leg-up on the competition, the Red Bull Racing ream’s efforts for winning the European Grand Prix for a third-straight year would ultimately be defeated on the lap 33 restart. Launching to the lead with the intent of recreating his lost advantage, Vettel’s race car began to lose power eventually slowing to a stop. With Sebastian Vettel slowing to what would be a retirement, the Ferrari driven by Spanish drive Fernando Alonso took the lead to the pleasure of a home country crowd. Leading the European Grand Prix from lap 34, Fernando Alonso rose from 11th place to the lead of the race.

Photo Credit: Nissan/Infiniti

Alonso’s Ferrari was steadily out front of the European Grand Prix in the late laps, the fight for the remaining podium positions. Attempting to score a podium, the Sahara Force India team placed driver Paul di Resta on a one-stop strategy after a lap 23 stop for medium compound slick tires. Installed in a podium spot late, di Resta’s older tires allowed the Mercedes-Benz powered car to fall prey to other race contenders who had pitted later.

Also fighting to hold a podium position was the McLaren-Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Fighting off a push from the Williams-Renault of Pastor Maldonado, Hamilton was defending a 3rd place with two laps to go in the European Grand Prix. As Lewis Hamilton moved to protect his podium spot on lap 56, he forced the charging Maldonado off the preferred racing line and the two cars collided. The McLaren ended the race impacted into the retaining wall with a 19th place finish. Pastor Maldonado limped home in 10th place but was docked 20 seconds for the altercation with Hamilton.

Winning his second Formula 1 race in his home country of Spain (last win coming in 2006), Fernando Alonso’s victory is the first at the Valencia track. A home turf victory for Fernando Alonso, his celebration did not wait for the customary pit lane arrival. Parking his Ferrari F2012 race car on a corner, the Spaniard partied on-track as a salute to his nation who were only too happy to cheer on Alonso.

Trailing Alonso by 6.4 seconds, the 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen put the Lotus-Renault into the runner-up spot for the second race in a row this season. Raikkonen ties his best result of the 2012 Formula 1 tour achieved at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Early in the race, Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus F1 teammate Romain Grosjean was in position for a potential podium until his Renault engine lost power in a similar fashion to Sebastian Vettel. In post race, two Renault engine failures were linked to an alternator problem according to the powerplant supplier.

Prevailing in the hard-fought battle for the third place position of the 2012 European Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher scored his first podium for Mercedes GP in three seasons for the team. Only the third time of 2012 where Schumacher scored points after a grand prix, this year has been a particularly hard season for the veteran driver of the Mercedes factory team. The first 8 races of the year for the 7-time world champion contained 5 DNFs occurring while teammate Nico Rosberg scored the Mercedes GP team‘s first win in China. Rosberg claimed 6th place for the Mercedes GP squad becoming the sixth straight Formula 1 race where he has scored grand prix points.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg wrap up the top 5 finishing positions at the European Grand Prix. Due to Pastor Maldonado’s late race foal, Williams F1 teammate Bruno Senna was promoted to 10th after his early race issues.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is next for the 2012 Formula 1 season set for July 8th.

2012 Formula 1
European Grand Prix
Race Results

1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
2 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
5 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7 11 Paul di Resta Force India
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
9 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
10 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
11 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
13 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
14 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
15 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
16 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
18 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
19 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
20 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
21 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
22 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
23 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vettel Takes Pole for European GP

2012 Formula 1
European Grand Prix
Qualifying Results

1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
3 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
4 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
9 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
10 11 Paul di Resta Force India
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
12 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
13 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
16 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
19 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
23 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fellows Returns to JR Motorsports for 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Road Races

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images

A road racing ace who has stepped on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, Canada's Ron Fellows has also been effective in showing his road racing mastery in NASCAR competition. Winning six times in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series, one of Fellows' greatest triumphs was in the 2008 NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. A race track named after an inspiring figure for Fellows, the patriotic feat was achieved with a JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Less than a week ahead of 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series debut of the three-race road racing campaign, the dynamic duel of JR Motorsports and Ron Fellows will be back together.

Officially announced Monday, Ron Fellows will pilot the #5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports for the three road course races starting with the June 23rd race at Road America. August races at Watkins Glen and the Montreal Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track will also be part of Ron Fellows' 2012 competitive outing. AER branding and colours will be worn on #5 Chevrolet at Road America this weekend only. Major retail chain Canadian Tire will be the primary sponsor for Fellows through the Watkins Glen and Montreal rounds later in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Canadian driver Ron Fellows enters the JR Motorsports three-car effort where he will be fielded alongside teammates Cole Whitt and Danica Patrick.

Happy to be part of the JR Motorsports in NASCAR Nationwide competition for a 5th year, Ron Fellows enters into the 2012 season confident in what he has grown accustomed of finding in the team. "They have an amazing group of people, and we've been competitive at almost all of the races." said Fellows who added, "That's what brings me back and keeps me young. My relationship with Dale Jr. began more than 10 years ago, and I'm proud to have driven for both him and his father.”

While the 2008 win at Montreal has been the only victory by the pairing, Fellows and the JR Motorsports team has scored 6 top-10 finishes in 9 races together including a close second at Road America last year. Maintaining a role largely behind the scenes in motorsports in general that includes becoming an member of the Mosport Park (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) new ownership, these NASCAR road races are some of the only occasions for fans to see one of Canada's most successful road racers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Earnhardt Jr Rises at Michigan! Ends 143-Race Winless Streak

Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR

The lead storyline through the first two days of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend at Michigan International Speedway circulated around the tires Goodyear brought to the newly repaved 2-mile oval. With an emergency Saturday evening practice session subtracting magnitude of the issue, Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway would receive headlines for another more positive reason. After 200 laps, a driver piloting a superhero-themed car battled his foes for a much-needed triumph.

The Sunday main event was initially threatened by rain showers that drenched the Michigan oval. Pushing the start of the Quicken Loans 400 past 3pm eastern time, the 43-car Father’s Day race still received enough daylight in the mid-June sky to create a rich, Sprint Cup spectacle.

Pole-sitter Marcos Ambrose #9 Ford was part of a trio of blue oval-badged race cars that would lead all but one of the race’s first 69 laps. Ambrose, the #16 Ford of Greg Biffle and the #17 car driven by Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth led early at the Michigan racetrack. Over the span of the Ford Fusions leading, four cautions would slow the progress of the Quicken Loans 400. With two being competitions caution called so the tire situation of days prior would be assessed, the issue was ultimately defused in the 400-mile race limited to only some blistering Goodyear rubber coming off some cars. The race’s first caution involved a lap 3 spin by the #51 Chevrolet driven by the heavily scrutinized Kurt Busch. The Phoenix Racing #51 car would also spin on lap 121 of the Quicken Loans 400 ending with the elder Busch driver placed 30th in the finishing order.

Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR

Progressing from a 17th place qualifying position, the black and green #88 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr had been moving in the right direction during the first one-third distance of the Michigan International Speedway race. On lap 70, the Hendrick Motorsports car themed to support the upcoming Batman movie “Dark Knight Rises” flew to the front of the Quicken Loans 400. The site of Earnhardt Jr’s last points-scoring win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series back in 2008, crowds were anxious to see if the #88 Chevrolet will have the staying power to keep the top spot to the end.

Unwilling to simply allow NASCAR Sprint Cup’s most popular driver to claim a win, the efforts of Dale Earnhardt Jr was challenged by auto racing comrade Tony Stewart. In a similar Hendrick Motorsports prepped Chevrolet Impala to that of Earnhardt Jr’s team vehicle, Stewart powered his #14 car around the #88 on lap 87. Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet and the #42 of Juan-Pablo Montoya would also spend a handful of laps at the front of the 400-mile event. After Ford’s dominating the early stage of the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Chevrolet had an impressive control of the later stages of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

As Chevrolet and Ford teams enjoyed being at the peak of competition at Michigan, one of Toyota’s most prolific organizations had an outing at Michigan they would prefer to forget. Joe Gibbs Racing saw all three cars fall deep in the running order. First, the #18 car of Kyle Busch spent an extended time in the garage due to a valvetrain issue on the car’s race engine. Busch returned the race 40 laps down to the leader and would finish the day 32nd across the start/finish line.

In back-to-back incidents, the remaining Joe Gibbs Racing vehicles driven by Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were taken out of competition. Logano’s #20 Toyota was part of a lap 127 wreck that collected the #38 of David Gilliland and the #5 Hendrick Motorsports car of Kasey Kahne. Both winners in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Joey Logano and Kahne would retire from the Quicken Loans 400. The #11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin would leave the Michigan race on lap 134 when an apparently harmless spin turned into an inferno from the Joe Gibbs Racing car’s engine compartment. Denny Hamlin was classified 34th in the race while the #20 of Joey Logano ended the day in 35th spot.

Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images for NASCAR

When the final caution period of the Quicken Loans 400 concluded on lap 140, the #88 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr led Tony Stewart across the flag for the crucial green flag. Without another yellow flag slowing the Michigan race in the last 60 laps, teams would require one remaining pit stop for fuel under green flag racing conditions. A pivotal moment, the Hendrick Motorsports crew rose to the occasion to give Earnhardt Jr a flawless, final pit service stop for two tires and fuel on lap 164. Retaking the lead on lap 171, the #88 Chevrolet would lead the final 30 circuits around the Michigan International Speedway to cross the line first.

Victorious at the Quicken Loans 400, Dale Earnhardt Jr entered the winner’s circle in what was celebrated as a popular 2012 race win. Convincing winning the Michigan International Speedway race by 5.3 seconds over Tony Stewart, the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet led for 95 laps on the day. In what had previously been a rare state, Dale Earnhardt Jr was the class of the field. “
I saved a little in my pocket in the last 50 laps and ran only as hard as I thought I needed to, and at the end of the race, this thing was a rocket and I couldn’t slow it down, it was so fast.” said Earnhardt Jr.

143 races and 4 years since his last Sprint Cup Series win in a regular event, this second win with Hendrick Motorsports is the result of some long struggles. Responding to the racing fortunes of past races, Earnhardt Jr commented, “I was so nervous in the last few laps of that race four years ago, and today, this was the worst -- that’s the worst feeling riding around there with 15 laps to go wondering what’s going to happen or how you were going to lose.” While just winning his first race of 2012, Dale Earnhardt Jr has actually been enjoying a strong season overall with the victory at Michigan now catapulting him to second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standing.

Finishing second, Tony Stewart placed ahead of the Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusions of NASCAR Sprint Cup point’s leader Matt Kenseth and the #16 car of Greg Biffle. With Dale Earnhardt Jr becoming the third driver to add a win to Hendrick Motorsports’ 2012 tally, two teammates also had strong outings at Michigan concluding with top-10 runs. Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Chevrolet finished 5th just ahead of Jeff Gordon’s #24 car. Clint Bowyer for Michael Waltrip Racing was the highest finishing Toyota Camry in the Quicken Loans 400 with the #15 5-Hour Energy car.

With many of the approximate 82,000 spectators in audience electric in the celebration of the Dale Earnhardt Jr victory, the next trip for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup tour is to the California road course in Sonoma for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Quicken Loans 400
Michigan International Speedway
Race Result

Pos # Car # Driver Sponsor/ Car Make
1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. DietMtnDew/TheDarkKnightRises/NtnlGuard Chev
2 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
3 17 Matt Kenseth Ford EcoBoost Ford
4 16 Greg Biffle 3M/Salute Ford
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
6 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
7 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
8 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
9 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
10 29 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet
11 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
12 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
13 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
14 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet
15 39 Ryan Newman US ARMY Chevrolet
16 47 Bobby Labonte Charter Toyota
17 43 Aric Almirola Medallion Ford
18 83 Landon Cassill Burger King Toyota
19 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil Dodge
20 13 Casey Mears Valvoline NEXTGEN Ford
21 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
22 27 Paul Menard Menards/Duracell Chevrolet
23 34 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
24 33 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet
25 36 Dave Blaney Seal Wrap Chevrolet
26 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King Toyota
27 38 David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
28 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
29 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
30 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services, Inc. Chevrolet
31 32 Ken Schrader Federated Auto Parts Ford
32 18 Kyle Busch Snickers Toyota
33 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
34 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
35 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
36 10 Tony Raines Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
37 49 JJ Yeley America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents Toyota
38 98 Michael McDowell Presbyterian Healthcare Ford
39 19 Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Toyota
40 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota
41 23 Scott Riggs North TX Pipe Chevrolet
42 26 Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
43 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford