Many NASCAR, Rally and Formula 1 fans were speculating on the future of Kimi Raikkonen, as there were rumors that he might be moving over to NASCAR like his former McLaren team mate, Juan Pablo Montoya. But up until Saturday it was merely stories. On Saturday the formal announcement was made that Kimi Raikkonen had signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports, and confirmed that Raikkonen was leaving rally driving behind to enter the world of NASCAR. It is hoped that Kyle Busch’s NASCAR experience and Raikkonen’s driving talent will be a winning combination for the motorsport team.
Kimi Raikkonen, a Finnish driver nicknamed Iceman, entered the Formula 1 circuit in 2001, and spent nine years in this racing industry, driving for Ferrari, Sauber and McLaren. At the end of 2009, it was announced that Raikkonen would not continue driving for Ferrari in the 2010 season and negotiations with other teams failed. Raikkonen then made the transfer to rally driving in 2010, participating in the World Rally Championship for the Junior Citroën Team. He established his own team, Ice 1 Racing for the 2011 season, and has now officially been contracted by Kyle Busch Motorsports for NASCAR.
He will be making his debut for the team at the Charlotte Motor Speedway where the Trucks Series will be hosted, and will be driving a KMB Toyota Tundra. Raikkonen expressed his excitement in regard to his new venture saying, “Kyle is one of the best in NASCAR, and being able to draw on his knowledge will be a valuable asset as I make my transition to a new form of racing. He has put together an experienced team that builds fast race trucks. I look forward to being a part of a team that has proven to be a winner on and off the race track.”
Jeff Gordon, who has won the NASCAR championship four times, seems excited that yet another Formula 1 driver has made the leap to NASCAR, commenting, “I can’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it when Juan Pablo made that announcement. So many things going through my mind. I think it says a lot about NASCAR that somebody like him is considering coming here. I admire him for wanting to take the step and go Truck racing and not just jump in a Cup car.”
There is a new landmark that can be seen from outer space, and it is located next to the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond. A massive solar power field has been erected by the Pocono Raceway to break ground as the first sport facility to be run on sustainable energy. Their dedication to the environment and to becoming leaders in the field of sustainable energy in the sports industry, has earned Pocono Raceway and NASCAR praise and admiration. It is hoped that once other sporting facilities recognise the potential and advantages of sustainable energy, they too will make the necessary changes to promote an environmentally friendly industry.
The piece of land utilised for the construction of the solar field belongs to the racecourse and was used for parking until the course was able to provide alternative parking spaces for its thousands of NASCAR enthusiasts. Each solar panel is three mega-watts, and to harness enough power to run the entire racecourse a staggering 39 962 solar panels were installed. The solar field covers an area of twenty-five acres and the solar panels form part of a photovoltaic ground mounted system. President of the Pocono Raceway, Brandon Igdalsky, explained the reasoning behind the solar field, saying: “Pocono Raceway strongly believes in the NASCAR industry’s commitment to operate in a more environmentally responsible way and is proud to be the first race track to power our sport with clean, renewable sunlight as the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility. This solar power system, built with timber, steel and solar panels made in the U.S., satisfies all our Raceway’s energy needs, while helping to power local homes. This project demonstrates real sustainability and proves that any business that truly wants to go green can do it.”
The huge undertaking of developing the solar power field was taken on by enXco. NASCAR voiced their approval through the CEO and President of NASCAR, Brian France, confirming NASCAR’s dedication to developing renewable energy, and is excited to be a part of the sustainable energy adventure that Pocono Raceway is embarking on. They have become a testing ground for renewed energy sources, and new innovative technology that will assist in conserving the environment. They are beginning to pave the way for other industries, and are a brilliant example to other sports facilities and organizations.
The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum is located in Knoxville, and is dedicated to the preservation of the history of sprint car racing. Within its walls are numerous items, photographs and memorabilia that document the development of the sport, and each year an awards ceremony is held to honor the contributions made by members of the sprint racing industry, inducting them into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. This year more than five hundred people attended this prestigious event and many worthy inductees had their names cemented into the history of sprint racing.
There were twelve new names added to list of inductees on Saturday, 5 June 2010, at the ceremony that was held at Marion County Fairgrounds in the Dyer-Hudson Hall. During the three hour ceremony, a tribute to the career of each inductee was showcased. The inductees included drivers, car owners and workshop crew. The sons of both Hal Robinson and Frank Riddle, legendary sprint car drivers, accepted the awards on behalf of their fathers. The award and induction of Fred Brownfield, a promoter, was accepted by his wife Debbie, with Rhoda Krasner accepting the award for her father and promoter, Ben Krasner. Other awards that were accepted by family members and friends, included the award for the late Hank Arnold, driver and builder, Clyde Adams, George Bentel and Herman Schurch. Drivers Bobbe Adamson and Fred Linder were also honored at the ceremony, as well as Don Shepard (Mechanic) and Casey Luna (Car Owner). Celebrity members of the sprint racing industry who were present at the awards ceremony included Jimmy Oskie, Allan Brown, Ray Lee Goodwin, Bob Trostle, Jerry Daniels, Don Mack, Bill Smith, Lynn Paxton, Lanny Edwards, Jack Elam and Harold Leep.
Dr. Pat Sullivan was the Emcee for the evening and the entire program of this year’s Sprint Car Hall of Fame ceremony was dedicated to a number of Hall of Fame Inductees of previous years, namely Earl Wagner, Clarence Anderson, Jeff Sharpe, Palmer Berger, Walt James, Ken Coles, Stew Reamer, Hal Minyard and Billy Wilkerson. Visitors to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum will be able to view the names and and find out about the contributions of the new inductees, while taking a journey back in time into the history of sprint racing.
Hurst Performance Vehicles is a respected name in the racing industry, producing vehicles that have been known for their breathtaking performance, quality engineering and speed. They were founded in 1958, and have grown into an industry leader. The Larry H. Miller Dealership groups, founded in 1979, are leaders in their own right, as they are amongst the top ten dealerships in the United States. Together, these two powerhouses have made it possible for the 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Pace Car to be donated to raise funds for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.
The new 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Pace Car will make its debut on 25 April 2010, at the Virginia International Raceway, during the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge. This special edition vehicle was built by Hurst Performance Vehicles, and many collectors will be waiting for the opportunity to place their bid for this magnificent Mustang. This unique pace car features a massive 550 horsepower engine that is complimented by a polished supercharger that provides the car with 542 lb-ft of torque. Other features include a specialized Ford Racing braking system, coil-over suspension, K&N filter and a stainless steel cat-back exhaust system. A one of a kind spray job completes this superior muscle car, and it is most definitely going to be a wanted vehicle. The interior will be fitted out with leather that will feature embroidered logos and contrast top-stitching, as well as floor mats and a rear deck spoiler. Before the pace car goes on auction in January 2011, Mustang and racing enthusiasts will be able to view the car at various Larry H. Miller Dealerships, as well as the Hot Rod Power Tour.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer will be benefitting from the auction, and the funds raised for them will assist the centre in much needed diagnosis research, as well as being able to treat many more children. The development of cures for various cancers is ongoing, and over and above treating children the facility also provides emotional assistance to family members and offers educational and developmental programs. The 2010 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Pace Car will bring hope to many families and health to numerous children.
The Geneva International Motor Show will be hosted for the 80th year, and motoring enthusiasts will not want to miss out on this event. With approximately a hundred cars on display, from all over the world, visitors will be able to marvel at the cars of tomorrow. Many of the cars fall under the eco-friendly category, being electric or promoting technology that uses alternative power sources. With more than thirty countries participating, the Geneva International Motor Show will feature 250 exhibitors, spread out across an area of 78 thousand square meters.
Exhibitors will also be displaying the latest products and technology available in the motoring industry, and more information in regard to the show and ticket prices, can be found on the website, at http://www.salon-auto.ch/en/pratiques/horaires/opening-hours-5-67.
Date: 4 – 14 March 2010
Venue: Geneva Palexpo