Chip Ganassi to be honored for achievements in his racing career

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NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA team owner Chip Ganassi is one of the most low-key guys in motorsports.

But on August 7, Ganassi will find himself smack dab in the spotlight as he’s honored during the International Motor Racing Research Center awards dinner at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y.

The event, to be held three days before the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup race at nearby Watkins Glen International road course, will honor Ganassi for a lifetime of achievement in motorsports, according to the Elmira Star-Gazette.

The 56-year-old Pittsburgh native will receive the first-ever Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for his contributions to motorsports. Argetsinger, who passed away in 2007, is considered the father of road course racing in the U.S., and helped establish racing in the Watkins Glen area of upstate New York.

Among those in attendance who will pay tribute to Ganassi are NASCAR president Mike Helton, IndyCar vice president Brian Barnhart and Sports Car Club of America president/CEO Lisa Noble.

“That’s a lot of horsepower right there,” J.C. Argetsinger, IMRRC president and son of Cameron Argetsinger, told the Star-Gazette. “I think it’s going to be a very good evening.”

Dr. Jerry Punch, NASCAR Sprint Cup pit road commentator for ESPN, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event and associated fundraiser.

Ganassi will receive the award from J.C. Argetsinger and IMRRC and IndyCar team owner Bobby Rahal. Fellow multi-motorsports team owner Roger Penske will appear via a video tribute, according to the Star-Gazette.

Ganassi is approaching his 25th anniversary as a team owner in the motorsports world. He’s won 17 championships, including four Indianapolis 500 victories.

“(Ganassi’s) accomplishments are notable because he has conquered all three major branches of racing: IndyCar, NASCAR and sports cars (USCC),” Argetsinger told the Star-Gazette.

Not only is Ganassi a deserving honoree, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. A big shout out of congratulations to the Chipster.

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F1 drivers split on new ‘shield’ protection

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) Formula One drivers are split over plans to test a new “shield” device to protect against flying debris.

The FIA will trial the transparent screen in the coming months for a potential introduction in 2018, as it pushes for greater head protection for drivers. Recent years have seen major head injuries in several motorsport series.

“I wouldn’t mind trying out the shield, seeing how is the visibility,” Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday. “In terms of safety it would be a good step compared to what we have now.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was another supporter, saying “we’ve still got to see a bit more, but first impressions seem OK.”

The FIA previously seemed to favor a metal frame known as the “halo,” which was designed to stop a flying wheel hitting a driver’s head but was criticized by some drivers on aesthetic grounds.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat said on Thursday he was “quite against” the shield and the halo. “The way Formula One should look should remain the same,” he added. “We have enough protection.”

Romain Grosjean of Haas voiced concern the “next step” would be completely closed cockpits.

Recent years have seen several high-profile head injuries, including the deaths of Formula Two driver Henry Surtees in 2009 when he was hit by a loose wheel and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who was struck by debris, in 2015.

In Formula One, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season when a loose spring from another car hit his helmet, leaving him needing surgery.

Haas changes F1 brake supplier ahead of Russian Grand Prix

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Haas has switched from Brembo to Carbon Industrie brakes ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in a bid to remedy its long-running braking issues in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, with Romain Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points through its debut season.

Grosjean and then-teammate Esteban Gutierrez had their efforts spurned on a number of occasions by brake issues which continued to arise through pre-season testing in 2017 and the early races.

Haas pushed to remedy the issue by testing new Carbon Industrie brakes in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, with Grosjean and new teammate Kevin Magnussen conducting running.

The team duly decided to fit the new Carbon Industrie brakes for this weekend’s race in Russia, with both VF-17 cars to run with them from Friday onwards.

“To be fair to Brembo, the last update in brakes we had that arrived in China were much better. It took a long time to get them,” Grosjean explained.

“So then I was not screaming to change to Carbone Industrie but it was in the pipeline, so we tried them, and both drivers were pretty pleased with them. We felt like we had more control under braking.

“I’m very sensitive to my left pedal, so I really need to get good brakes to get good confidence and push the car to its maximum limit. So we are going to run them here.

“There is still a little bit of work we need to be doing around the mapping and finding the solution around those brakes but I think yeah, definitely it’s going to help me a little bit to find the last few hundredths.”

NHRA: Chad Head to substitute for Alexis DeJoria in Charlotte

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Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, with her Kalitta Motorsports team confirming DeJoria will need to tend to a family matter.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports Director of Safety, will step into the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend. No timetable was given for DeJoria’s return; after Charlotte this weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues for its third consecutive race weekend next week in Atlanta.

This isn’t the first race DeJoria has had to miss recently, as she also was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the 2016 NHRA season finale in Pomona.

F1 Paddock Pass: Russian Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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Following his victory in Bahrain two weeks ago, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel arrived in Russia on Thursday targeting a third win of the year to extend his lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

Not since 2004 has a Ferrari driver made such a good start to a season, putting Vettel in contention for a fifth world title this year – although with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton hot on his tail, it will have to be a hard-earned success.

The fourth round of the year sees F1 head to the Olympic city of Sochi, which hosted the winter games back in 2014. The Sochi Autodrom played host to its first grand prix the same year, and is now a key part of Russia’s post-Olympic legacy.

Bringing you all of the latest news and interviews ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Will Buxton brings you Paddock Pass.