Bowe to Drive a Holden in TCM...... WTF

John's release on his social media site.

"I confirmed today I'll park Mustang Sally for this weekend's Touring Car Masters round at Winton Raceway.

I've accepted Gary O'Brien's invitation to drive his new Torana SLR 5000. For me, it's a great challenge as I love to play a role in developing cars.

It's what I've done throughout my career. It's not the first time I've raced a Holden either.

I've driven a couple. Who remembers the 1980 'Race of Champions'? I drove a Commodore in that race and I actually won.

Mustang Sally is still race prepped and ready to go... I've spoken to Steve Johnson about having another steer in Sally. We'd need to raise a budget though.

I don't think I could have anyone else drive her so I'm hoping he can join us during the year.

Gary and his Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars team have done a remarkable job building the SLR 5000.

If you're at Winton, make sure you swing past the TCM garages and take a look for yourself. "

Cheers JB

NASCAR XFINITY Series Team Penalized For Rule Violation At Talladega Superspeedway

The No. 40 team OF Driver Derek White that competes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series has been penalized for a rule infraction discovered during pre-race inspection May 2 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The infraction is a P3 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.17.2.1: Overall vehicle weight
            B. Any and all ballast added to the vehicle must be bolted inside an added ballast container, inside the main frame rails, and/or inside the front sway bar mounting tube.

As a result of this violation, crew chief Kevyn Rebolledo has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Additionally, driver/owner Derek White has been docked 15 NASCAR XFINITY Championship driver and car owner points.

Erik Jones' dominating Kansas run goes dry

No one had a faster truck than Erik Jones in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway.

But speed requires fuel, and with only a handful of laps remaining, the fuel cell in Jones' No. 4 Toyota ran dry. His lead, and a dominating performance, evaporated.

"It just sucks," a disappointed Jones said afterward. "We had by far the best truck; we were up to an 11-second lead at one point.

"It's just so terrible for these (Kyle Busch Motorsports) guys when we bring that fast of a truck."

Jones, who finished 11th, wasn't alone in his misery. Almost as soon as second-place Tyler Reddick moved into the top spot, his No. 19 Ford (Brad Keselowski Racing) began to sputter. He led seven laps and had the lead from 162-164 of the 167-lap race, before he too was out of gas.

Incredibly, Daniel Suarez suffered the same fate – when Reddick slowed, Suarez, also in a KBM Toyota, inherited the lead. One lap later, and just two laps from the finish, the orange No. 51 entry's tank ran dry.

All of which left two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton out front, and two laps later, headed to the winner's circle.

Jones, who started on the pole and will make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Saturday's SpongeBob SquarePants 400, led five times. Before his fuel problems, he lost the lead only on pit road.

"No, I didn't know how short (on fuel) we were," he said. "I knew the fuel window. I knew we had to save. I couldn't give the lead up to the 19 (of Reddick) at that point, if a caution had come out (and knowing) how big track position is if we'd have lost the lead we'd never been able to get it back.

"It's just a shame, I saved as much as I could there later on and it just wasn't enough."

Reddick's charge to the front was almost as impressive as that of Jones. The winner at Daytona International Speedway in the series' opener, Reddick and teammate Austin Theriault both started Friday's race in backup entries after crashing during qualifying.

INDYCAR: Manufacturers Championship Points Update

INDYCAR announced the following manufacturers' championship points adjustments following the Indianapolis 500 Open Test Day on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

• Honda received a bonus of 30 engine manufacturer points for attaining the life cycle minimum for three of its engines. According to Rule 10.6.4.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, any engine that reaches a lifespan of 2,500 miles will receive 10 bonus for its manufacturer. Honda engines for the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry, No. 26 Andretti Autosport entry and No. 98 BHA with Curb Agajanian entry all reached at least 2,500 miles.

• Chevrolet received a points deduction of 20 points. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its life cycle. The engine in the No. 83 entry did not reach 2,500 miles before it was changed out.

• Chevrolet also had four of its entrants' engines - the Nos. 1 and 22 from Team Penske and Nos. 9 and 10 of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams - reach their 2,500-mile lifespans, but they will not receive manufacturer bonus points according to Rule 10.6.4.4, which states that an engine is no longer eligible for mileage lifespan points once it has undergone a non-minor repair approved by INDYCAR.

Following the adjustments, Honda has a total of 380 manufacturer points and Chevrolet 216.

Spain preview - will car upgrades upset the pecking order?

After a three-week gap, this weekend sees the teams and drivers rev back into action with the first European race of the season in Barcelona. As is customary at this time of year, all of the major players will be bringing serious updates to their cars, so it will be fascinating to see whether there are any changes to the pecking order at a track reckoned to be the best reflection of true form.

Reigning champions Mercedes, of course, have won three of the opening four races, but Ferrari’s victory in Malaysia demonstrated that the Italian team have seriously closed the performance gap, and ever since they have kept the Silver Arrows honest.

The indications from the opening rounds were that Mercedes still have a power and downforce advantage, but Ferrari have superior tyre wear. Will those remain each team’s outstanding characteristics in Barcelona, or will their respective updates change anything significant?

Ferrari’s brilliant strategy in choosing a soft-medium-soft tyre schedule nearly enabled Kimi Raikkonen to score an upset win in Bahrain last time out, as team mate Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg opted for soft-soft-medium, and team boss Maurizio Arrivabene plans to maintain that aggressive ploy while Ferrari continue to work on closing the gap.

"In Bahrain we put together an aggressive strategy and this is exactly what we discussed," he says. And he warns: “We now have some solutions for Barcelona. We are doing all of our development step-by-step but I think here we are going to finally take a good package."

Mercedes, however, are determined to weigh up all of their options, rather than just rushing developments through to try and stem the Ferrari tide. Non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says that they won’t be bringing revised engines to this power circuit. "What may appear as a disadvantage now will become an opportunity when it really counts, in the second half of the season," he says. "The right thing to do is to not change work programmes on a whim. In any case, we'll have big changes to the car at Barcelona."

Lauda also says that he isn’t surprised that Ferrari have recovered so quickly after last year’s disappointments. “Their resurgence is deeply rooted in last season, in the good job done by (technical director) James Allison, in the restructuring of the team."

Both Lauda and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believe that their drivers are at their peak, and that Bahrain signalled Rosberg’s return to form. He is currently 27 points adrift of championship leader Hamilton, but Wolff is adamant that the German will be back on the pace this weekend.

"Nico wouldn't be in Formula One as a multiple race winner and a challenger for the championship if he allowed himself to be destabilised after a few races,” Wolff says. "I fully expect him to come bouncing back. I don't know when it will happen, but he's always going to be there, no doubt."

Elsewhere, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are hoping for good news from Renault. The French power unit manufacturer’s director of operations Remi Taffin says that they have high hopes after making changes based on lessons learned from the first four races: “Barcelona is much more of a traditional circuit than the first four tracks we have visited so far this year. The layout flows a lot more, with high and medium speed corners rather than tight, slow hairpins and long straights.

“The three-week gap has given us an opportunity to look at all the information from the start of the season. We have been flat out to counter the issues encountered early on and we will have a modified spec of engine for this race that should give improved reliability and driveability.”

That should be a relief to Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz after their recent powertrain tribulations.

Williams are bringing not just updates but better knowledge of how to get the best out of their Pirelli tyres, which already helped to reduce the deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari in Bahrain. The Grove-based team will run test and development driver Susie Wolff in FP1 - her first appearance of the season.

Lotus have also heavily revamped their promising E23 Hybrid, which among other things will feature a Williams-like nose this weekend. And reflecting his performances in China and Bahrain, tester Jolyon Palmer will get another outing on Friday morning.

McLaren will be bringing more development to their MP4-30, but perhaps the most noticeable difference to the Honda-powered car will be in the livery department. The team have dropped the chrome colour scheme that has adorned their cars since 2006 and replaced it with a more “predatory” stealth-grey look. Local favourite Fernando Alonso will be hoping the new look brings him extra luck at a track he won on in 2006 and 2013.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, at which the teams tested in February, places very high demands on tyres, especially the left front, because of its wide range of high-speed corners and rough asphalt. Thus tyre suppliers Pirelli are bringing their orange-marked hard and white-marked medium tyres this weekend.

“Spain is obviously one of the more familiar venues that we go to, as there has already been plenty of data gathered during testing,” says the Italian company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery.

“One of the things we have noticed so far is that this year Barcelona will once again be a front-limited circuit, from a tyre perspective. Last year, the increase in traction and torque from the cars meant that for the first time the race became a rear-limited event, with the useful life of the rear tyres dictating the pit stop strategy.

“Thanks to the improvements we made to the rear tyre construction for this year, we’re back to Barcelona being a front-limited circuit again. However, we do not expect this to mean that there will necessarily be more pit stops this year: last year the majority of competitors used a two-stop strategy and that will probably be the case again.

“The start of the European season traditionally means that many teams bring important upgrades, and it will be very interesting to see how these interact with our 2015 tyres.”

The 4.655-kilometre Barcelona track, a staple on the calendar since 1991, is largely unchanged since last year, though changes have been made to the kerbs at Turn 9 and Turn 15. A new CCTV camera has also been installed at Turn 3 - the site of Alonso’s unusual pre-season testing crash.

As in 2014, two DRS zones will be in operation over the weekend. The first has a detection point just after Turn 8 and an activation point after Turn 9, while the second has a detection point just ahead of Turn 16 with the activation point 157m along the pit straight.

The weather is expected to be dry, sunny and warm all weekend, with a high of 26 degrees Celsius on race day. Sunday’s Grand Prix will start at 1400 hours local time (1200 GMT) and will run over 66 laps or 307.104 kilometres (190.825 miles).

National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Statement

Today the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of a P5 penalty issued on March 31, 2015 to Richard Childress (owner), Ryan Newman (driver), Lucas Lambert (crew chief), James Bender (tire technician) and Philip Surgen (race engineer) relative to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicle #31 at Auto Club Speedway.

The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.16: Wheels and tires
            A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
20.16.2: Tires
            F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.

12.5.3.5.2: Minimum P5 Penalty Options (includes all four points below):

            A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not
            B. $75,000-$125,000 fine
            C. Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR
            D. Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons

12.5.3.5.3: P5 Level infractions detected during post-race inspection:
If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added to those listed previously in this section:
            A. Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not
            B. Loss of an additional $50,000

The original penalty assessed included a $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000) fine, six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to Lambert; six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to both Bender and Surgen; and the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship car owner and 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver points to both Childress and Newman.
 
On April 16, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and made the following decisions:

1. The Appellants violated the Rule or Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice and it is a P5 level  violation.
2. The Panel amends the original Penalty levied by NASCAR because there is no written explanation of what constitutes a post-race inspection. Therefore the Penalty elements added under Section 12.5.3.5.3. are removed and the Penalty adjusted to:
-Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points for Richard Childress.
-Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points for Ryan Newman.
-$75,000 fine.  Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for crew chief Lucas Lambert.
- Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Tire Technician James Bender.
-Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Race Engineer Philip Surgen.

Upon hearing today’s testimony, Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, made the following decisions:
•    Based on a preponderance of evidence, the Appellants violated the Rules.
•    Based on a preponderance of evidence, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer upholds the penalty as amended by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel.

The decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.