Massa: Alonso even better than Schumacher

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Outgoing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa believes that Fernando Alonso has been the best of all his teammates at the team, claiming that the Spanish driver is “more perfect” than seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher.

Massa joined Ferrari in 2006, partnering Schumacher for one season until the German driver’s first retirement at the end of that season. His replacement, Kimi Raikkonen, led the team to a drivers’ and constructors’ championship double in 2007, with Massa then taking the mantle for 2008, missing out on the championship by a single point. He was then joined at the team by Alonso in 2010, and Massa had nothing but good to say about the Spaniard in an interview with Sky Sports.

“I’ve always had very strong teammates. I always learnt that you need to be perfect because if you’re not perfect they will be in front of you,” he explained.

“For sure I’ve had some tough times as well with strong teammates. The one [I] was suffering more [against] was Alonso. I think maybe he’s more complete. Schumacher was very, very good. He was amazing and a very complete driver as well.

“But I think maybe Alonso is even more perfect.”

Massa also underlined his desire to stay in Formula One and add to his tally of eleven grand prix victories, with Lotus confirming earlier this week that they had spoken to the Brazilian driver’s management.

“I want more,” Massa said. “I want to win more races; I want to make more pole positions. So when you’re not happy you need to try and carry on and try to do more.”

Rubens Barrichello has offered Massa sympathy following his split from Ferrari, assuring his compatriot and friend that there is life outside of the Italian team.

Theriault clinches ARCA title before finale at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) There is no long, convoluted story about how Austin Theriault came to Ken Schrader Racing, forging a team that so dominated the ARCA Series that it captured the title simply by showing up for the finale.

“We both wanted something to do,” the folksy Schrader said with a smile and shrug before Friday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. “He didn’t have a car to drive and I didn’t have a driver.”

So, they solved each other’s problem.

Theriault hopped into the seat and proceeded to win seven times over the first 19 races, building such a lead on his nearest challenger that he sewed up the title at Kentucky. And that made for a rather enjoyable weekend at Kansas, where all the pressure was off their team.

Along the way, Theriault became the first driver to win at a superspeedway, short track, dirt track and road event in the same season, and he swept the superspeedway and short-track challenges.

If there was something to win, he won it.

“I hoped we’d have a shot at it and it’s proved out this year that we’ve really exceeded anybody’s expectations,” Theriault said. “We had some things to work on early. We kind of dusted off a bit, went back to work. We had some time between Daytona and the mile-and-a-halfs that came up later in the season, and we realized where we were strong and where we had to work.

“But in the end it came back to pure dedication, I think,” he explained. “The amount of time it took behind the scenes to make this happen.”

The 23-year-old driver from Fort Kent, Maine, knows something about dedication. He appeared to be on racing’s fast track, scoring a Truck Series ride a few years ago for Brad Keselowski, when a terrifying crash at Las Vegas left him with a broken back and sitting on the sidelines.

The best ride he could find last year was in the K&N Pro Series.

It was at a trade show in Indianapolis last December that Theriault ran into Schrader, who was busy putting together a team for this season. They had dinner a couple nights later and, Schrader said, it was his wife Ann who came away impressed by the yes-sir, no-sir driver.

“My wife doesn’t go to all the races,” Schrader said. “After we talked she said, `I like that guy. How good is he?’ She doesn’t know. I knew he was racing well in Keselowski’s truck, had an unfortunate wreck, had to sit out a bit. I told her, `That’s somebody who could make us very happy next year.”‘

Theriault delivered on that promise.

They weren’t the only ones happy Friday, either. Zane Smith earned his second pole of the season, beating teammate Sheldon Creed to earn the top spot for the Kansas ARCA 150, while 20-year-old Natalie Decker announced a full-time ride with Venturini Motorsports next season.

“This is obviously a big step in my career,” said Decker, who made six starts as a rookie this season. “I’m confident and ready for this next move. After tonight my focus shifts to next season. We’ll be ready to go at Daytona.”