People, Places & Racing News

OFFICIALS CANCEL HOUSTON GRAND PRIX AND OTHER RACING NEWS

CANCELLED: Few were surprised when the Grand Prix of Houston, scheduled April 25–27 was officially canceled. The event was on the Champ Car World Series schedule but was not picked up when Champ Car was dissolved into the Indy Racing League. Promoters of the street race around Reliant Park hope the event will return in 2009 with an IRL sanction. The cancellation also leaves the American Le Mans Series with one less race this season.

RETIRING: Jim Aust, president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development USA, will retire at the end of June. During more than 10 years at his post, Aust has led Toyota’s transition first into U.S. open-wheel racing and then into NASCAR.

HIRED: Max Papis has signed to drive the Rubicon Race Team entry in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. The team is owned by Jim Freudenberg and Jason Priestley, and the cars will be prepared by Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

REPLACED: Former open-wheel racer A.J. Allmendinger has been replaced in the No. 84 Team Red Bull Toyota by Mike Skinner for this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Allmendinger qualified for only 17 of 36 races last season and has missed all three events this year. Allmendinger could return to the seat later this season.

BACK ON TRACK: The legendary Terre Haute (Indianapolis) Action Track has gotten new life thanks to rookie promoters Brian Dorsett, Davey Hamilton and Mike King, who will offer an abbreviated six-event schedule at the Western Indiana half-mile oval this year.

ON HER OWN: Indy car racer Sarah Fisher has formed her own Indy Racing League team and will race a limited schedule, including the Indianapolis 500 this season.

POWER RANKINGS: With his second-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory Carl Edwards jumped to the top of the National Speed Sport News Power Rankings, which are published weekly in the 74-year-old motorsports publication.

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