Three crew chiefs working for cars out of Michael Waltrip Racing have been suspended for the four remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship races and fined $50,000 apiece after windshields on cars driven at Talladega last weekend by Bobby Labonte, David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. were found to be illegal.
As NASCAR always does, the drivers were allowed to keep their finishing positions but were docked driver points, as were the three car owners.
Bobby Kennedy, director of competition for MWR, said it was a mistake in fabricating that resulted in the cheating.
“Michael Waltrip Racing is ultra-sensitive and very serious about working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy,” the team said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “We do not condone this type of activity, and, as such, we will take appropriate internal corrective action immediately.
"We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions; therefore, we will not appeal.”
Boy, those guys can sure suck up, can't they?
TICKETS DISCOUNTED FOR FIRST INDIAN GP
My friend Clive Rayman, a wildly talented Canadian Formula Ford driver in the 1970s (some would say he was just plain wild . . .) is travelling the world and has stopped off in India for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix that will be held this weekend.
An aside: because of the time difference - 9.5 hours - the race will be shown Sunday by TSN at 5:25 a.m. (qualifying Saturday is at 4:25 a.m.) and won't be repeated on TSN2 till 9 p.m. Sunday night. So fire up the PVR or your video recorder and watch it when you wake up Sunday morning.
Anyway, Clive reports that he's really pleased he didn't pay top price for a ticket because tickets for race day have now been seriously discounted in hopes of attracting more people.
So far, organizers have only been able to sell 80,000 tickets and capacity for the new Buddh circuit is 120,000.
In other Formula One news, the injured Robert Kubica's doctors have said he's well enough to try to race again so Renault is expected to put him to the test in a private session in the near future. Adrian Sutil is telling Force India to hurry up and confirm him for 2012, or buy him out, in reaction to rumours that Nika Hulkenburg is in line for his race seat. And Karun Chandhok, who won't be driving at his home Grand Prix this weekend because Lotus thinks Jarno Trulli has a better chance of doing better (doing better than what? finishing last?) warns against trying to make racing too safe:
"It's an exciting career and the essence of excitement would get lost thinking of too much safety measures. You have to take your chances on the track. No one asked us to join Formula One or placed a gun on our head that you have to race. It's a career we chose."
Although the first Indian race has yet to be held, there is talk of applying for a second Grand Prix.
UPDATE ON RACING DRIVER WILL POWER
Team Penske communications director Merrill Cain reports that IndyCar driver Will Power underwent further testing in Indianapolis on Monday for a back injury suffered in the multi-car accident that killed Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
It was determined by IndyCar Series orthopedic specialist Dr. Terry Trammell that Power suffered a compression fracture of his fourth thoracic vertebra in the accident. Trammell expects Power to recover from the injury with rest and rehabilitation.
Power hopes to be able to continue testing the 2012 IndyCar in the coming weeks and he is expected to be fully healed and ready to compete in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.
UPDATED: NEW U.S. GP ANNOUNCED, COULD THREATEN CANADIAN RACE
The United States, which hasn’t had Grand Prix since Indianapolis in 2007, is officially getting two in the next two years.
The Grand Prix of the United States will be held next year in November on a purpose-built Formula One track just outside Austin, Tex.
Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that another F1 race, the Grand Prix of America, will take place in the Township of Weehawken and the Town of West New York in New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan, in June 2013.
Race officials and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced a 10-year agreement to hold the race along a 3.2-mile course that will run along the river before going uptown and looping around through city streets - very much like Monaco.
Weekhawken Township, about the size of the principality, is where traffic between New Jersey and New York goes through the Lincoln Tunnel. It is also home to the Port Imperial ferry terminal, where the start/finish line will be.
Bernie Ecclestone has long lusted after New York. An attempt to get an F1 race there in the early 1980s (a promotion that involved the then-owners of Mosport International Raceway, Harvey Hudes and Bernie Kamin) that would have been run either through parkland and some city streets in Lower Manhattan or at a site on Long Island, never really got off the ground.
But since then, Ecclestone has talked to any number of groups and finally struck a deal. Interestingly, Ecclestone was not present for the announcement, reportedly because he was travelling to India for this weekend's inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Now, it’s one thing to announce something of the magnitude of an F1 Grand Prix and another thing to get it formally approved, once the NIMBY crowd gets wind of it.
But if it does get the OK, and it goes ahead as scheduled, I remain apprehensive about the future of the Grand Prix of Canada at Montreal. Many millions of dollars are going into the pockets of Ecclestone and his F1 partners as a result of the deal in Austin and you can bet there will be as much, or more, for the race in the New York area.
Canada’s race is a cheap one, by F1 standards – $15 million a year with the current contract scheduled to end in 2014, which presents a problem.
Ecclestone will not agree to continue racing in Montreal if the accounts receivable side of the ledger is millions of dollars short of the total being paid for another race that’s almost next door. And the New Jersey organizers say they'll market the new Grand Prix throughout the northeastern U.S., where many of the fans who travel to Montreal for the Canadian GP come from.
So enjoy our GP while you can. I fear its days are numbered.