30th May 2010

GM said to consider lead bank for 2010 IPO

General Motors Co. and the U.S. Treasury may choose an underwriter as soon as next week for the automaker’s initial public offering, two sources told Bloomberg.

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30th May 2010

National, international racing schedule (March 27-31)

Courtesy of The Associated Press
All times Central (U.S.)

IndyCar
Indianapolis 500
Site:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval, 2.5 miles)
TV schedule: Friday, Carb Day, including Firestone Freedom 100 Indy Lights race (10 a.m., Versus); Sunday, race (noon, ABC)
Race distance: 500 miles/200 laps
2009 winner: Helio Castroneves
Fast facts: Scott Dixon won for the second straight year at Kansas Speedway, leading the final 150 laps in the May 1 race. Dario Franchitti was second. … Helio Castroneves won his fourth Indy pole Saturday, averaging 227.970 mph in his four-lap run. The Brazilian star will be joined on the front row by Penske teammate Will Power and Target Chip Ganassi’s Franchitti. Patrick will start 23rd, her worst career position at Indy. … The drivers will be allowed to use the push-to-pass button 15 times. The extra horsepower boosts will last 18 seconds and take 10 seconds to reset. The button, introduced in August at Mid-Ohio, is being used for the first time at Indianapolis. … Franchitti, the 2007 race winner, won the season title last year. … Dixon won the 2008 race. … Ray Harroun won the inaugural event in 1911.
www.indycar.com

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Coca-Cola 600
Site:
Concord, N.C., Charlotte Motor Speedway (oval, 1.5 miles)
TV schedule: Today, practice (2:30 p.m., Speed), qualifying (6 p.m., Speed); Saturday, practice (10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Speed); Sunday, race (4:45 p.m., Fox)
Race distance: 600 miles/400 laps
2009 winner: David Reutimann
Fast facts: Kurt Busch won the All-Star race Saturday at Charlotte for Penske Racing, sailing past feuding Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch to take the $1 million prize. Hamlin and Kyle Busch were racing for the lead in the final segment when Hamlin tried to block Kyle Busch’s pass, sending him into the wall. … Kevin Harvick leads the series standings with 1,768 points, followed by Kyle Busch (1,699), Matt Kenseth (1,642), four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson (1,637) and Hamlin (1,618). … Johnson, the Charlotte winner in October, won five times in a six-race stretch at the track — taking the 2003 Coca-Cola 600 and sweeping the spring and fall races in 2004 and 2005. He has three victories — worth 30 bonus points when the Chase begins — to share the series lead with Hamlin … Dale Earnhardt Jr. is winless in 69 races and has only one victory in 84 starts for Hendrick Motorsports. He has 18 career Sprint Cup wins. … Kyle Busch won the Trucks race last week at the track for his 70th victory in NASCAR’s top three divisions. … Jeff Gordon won the 1994 race for the first of his 80 Cup victories. He also won in 1997 and 1998, and has two Charlotte fall victories. … Darrell Waltrip won the race a record five times.
www.nascar.com

NASCAR Nationwide
Tech-Net Auto Service 300
Site:
Concord, N.C., Charlotte Motor Speedway (oval, 1.5 miles)
TV schedule: Today, practice (1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Speed); Saturday, qualifying (8:30 a.m. Speed) and race (1 p.m., ABC)
Race distance: 300 miles/200 laps
2009 winner: Mike Bliss
Fast facts: Kyle Busch raced to his fourth Nationwide victory of the year, leading 191 of 205 laps May 15 at Dover. He won the Sprint Cup race the following day. … Busch won the October race at Charlotte en route to the season title and took the Trucks race last week for his 70th victory in NASCAR’s top three divisions. He has 34 Nationwide victories and has won 18 times in both Sprint Cup and Trucks competition. Not planning to run the full Nationwide schedule, Busch is second in the standings — 11 points behind fellow Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski. … The race is the series’ first afternoon start at the track since 2004.
www.nascar.com

Formula One
Turkish Grand Prix
Site:
Istanbul Speed Park (road course, 3.32 miles)
TV schedule: Friday, practice (6 a.m., Speed); Saturday, practice, qualifying (6 a.m., Speed); Sunday, race (6:30 a.m., Speed)
Race distance: 192.25 miles/58 laps
2009 winner: Jenson Button
Fast facts: Mark Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix on May 16 for his second straight victory. Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel was second. … Webber and Vettel each have a series-high 78 points after six races. Webber leads the standings based on his two victories. … Jenson Button, now racing for McLaren, also has two victories this year and is third in the standings with 70 points. … F1 will return to the United States in 2012 in Austin, Texas, on a track built specifically for the event. F1, Austin and Texas state officials announced the deal Tuesday, saying Austin would host the U.S. Grand Prix until 2021. The race was dropped after an eight-year run in Indianapolis from 2000-07.
www.formula1.com

Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
Memorial Day Classic
Site:
Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. (road course, 1.53 miles)
TV schedule: Race, Monday (1 p.m., Speed)
Race duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
2009 winners: Event not held
Fast facts: The Daytona Prototypes will make their debut at The Memorial Day Classic this year. The event was a GT-only race in 2008. … The visit to Lime Rock Park will be a one-day event. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Monday morning with the race set to begin around 1 p.m. (Central). … The series heads to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for the Six Hours at The Glen on June 5.
www.grand-am.com
 

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30th May 2010

News & Rants: MotherProof.com’s Most-Recent Reviews

From the 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid to the 2010 Lincoln MKZ, MotherProof.com has reviewed plenty of cars that will appeal to families. Here at MotherProof.com, we put cars through real-life test drives with our families. That means these cars are subjected to carpool, daily errands and maybe even a date night (minus the kids). Here are our latest car reviews:

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30th May 2010

ATS Loses Traffic Camera Court Battle Against Redflex

A federal jury ruled Thursday against a traffic camera company that had sought to impose a $20 million fine on its nearest rival. The panel of eight spent an hour-and-a-half to arrive at the verdict denying American Traffic Solutions (ATS) payment for contract revenue lost in twelve cities after the Australian firm Redflex Traffic Systems snuck uncertified equipment into the country in violation of Federal Communications Commission regulations.

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29th May 2010

Ask The Best And Brightest: Mandatory Manual Training?

With the autoblogosphere abuzz over Peter Cheney’s “unintended acceleration event,” Jill McIntosh has made a fascinating connection between one auto-journo’s son’s voyage of manual transmission discovery, and a former Ontario Attorney General’s killing of a cyclist back in September. Linking to a Toronto Star report on the trial of Michael Bryant, who killed cyclist Darcy Allan Shephard, McIntosh notes a strange similarity between that fatal incident and Cheney Junior’s garage door tango:

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29th May 2010

BP’s unfolding PR disaster



I think we all know – deep down – that the relentless burning of hydrocarbons brings with it some occasionally troubling consequences. Most of the time we don’t give it too much thought when we fill the petrol tank with that invisible black liquid gold. You’d probably go a bit mad if you worried constantly about all the things that aren’t quite right with the world. It’s a long list.

And let’s face it, we are still living in an economy that depends on the burning of hydrocarbons. We can wean ourselves off them, step by small step, but the alternatives are still not quite there, whether we are talking about power generation for electricity or powertrains for mass-market vehicles.

The dark side of mining, trading and burning the liquid black stuff – along with associated interdependencies – was neatly summarised by Al Gore: “We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.” I’m not sure I agree with everything Al Gore says, but that is very well put.

The Persian Gulf part of the sentence alludes to the ‘energy security’ argument that plays well in the US. Dependence on the Middle East for oil is widely seen as A Bad Thing. The implication is that things that lessen that dependence are A Good Thing. That might mean consuming less oil, which is where hybrids and electric vehicles can make a contribution. But it might also mean developing more oil extraction locally. And for the US, the Gulf of Mexico is pretty local. They’re now going into deeper water to get the oil.

The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has shown what can happen when things go wrong with offshore drilling. Clearly something went very wrong with the systems and checks that are meant to ensure that a catastrophic event like that doesn’t happen, or that if it does, effective remedial action can be quickly applied to limit the resultant harm.

Hopefully, the relevant authorities and regulators will get to the bottom of it and put in place any necessary changes to ensure that it cannot happen again.

There will always be some level of environmental risk with oil though, in both its extraction and transportation.

As far as BP is concerned, as well as the immediate challenge of dealing with the crisis itself, there is clearly a very big PR disaster unfolding in North America (and to some extent the world) that it will have to contend with for many years to come. A fat multinational corporation that makes supernormal profits and colludes with dodgy regimes in the Middle East to bring us hydrocarbons to burn is probably walking a thin line at the best of times. But if it’s not whiter than white on safety and on presenting its case for corporate social responsibility, there surely will be a longish queue of unsympathetic people only too happy to have a pop.

What’s happened in the Gulf of Mexico is a nightmare scenario for an oil company and manna from heaven for those with a natural antipathy to oil companies and what they represent.

And these days, you have to fight your PR battles in the blogosphere and in social networking forums. A fake BP Twitter page has illustrated how easy it can be for your digitally agile opponents to quickly gain visibility and help to shape public opinion. Well honed – or even crude (sorry) – satire is not easy to fight.

Example of tweet from @BPGlobalPR: “We are dedicated to helping the wildlife in the gulf. Any birds that need cleaning must report to 287 Quartemain St, Baton Rouge, LA 70801″

I wonder how long it will be before other companies – dare I say it, maybe some in the auto biz – find themselves targeted by similar campaigns?

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