|Toronto's Paul Tracy hasn't had much success lining up a full-time IndyCar ride for 2012. (REUTERS)
The official start of the 2012 racing season is still a ways off but it is a busy time as teams and drivers attempt to get their respective garages in order.
Here are some of the announcements that have been made over the holiday period that fans may have missed regarding plans for 2012 in NASCAR, Formula One and IndyCar:
— Scotland’s Allan McNish will attempt to match Canada’s Ron Fellows by completing sports car racing’s triple crown — winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, the 12 Hours at Sebring and the Rolex 24 Hours. McNish already boasts victories at Le Mans and Sebring and will try to win the 50th Rolex at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 28-29, with Starworks Motorsport where he’ll team up with Lucas Luhr and IZOD IndyCar stars Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Fellows won all of his three big races with Corvette Racing.
— After Kasey Kahne took his foot out of his mouth and apologized for his stupid tirade against public breast feeding, the NASCAR Sprint Cup star announced he will compete in 15 Nationwide Series races in 2012 in the No. 38 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet.
— IndyCar will formally announce its new race director in a press conference Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
— Nico Rosberg, for one, does not believe that missing the first official test will affect Mercedes’ performance in the new Formula One season. The Mercedes F1 team has announced it will skip the first tests at Spain’s Jerez circuit to add final touches to its WO3 chassis. But if the German team starts out poorly in 2012 watch for team boss Ross Brawn to come under attack.
— So you think NASCAR fans are overweight? Well, apparently so do the owners of Dover International Speedway. The one-mile oval — nicknamed the Monster Mile — is in the process of installing all new seats in the grandstands at the Delaware track. According to a track release “the multi-year process, which will take place throughout the entire outdoor grandstands, will begin in all seating sections located in Turns 2 and 3. Additional widening of seats toward Turns 1 and 4 and the front stretch will begin after the conclusion of the 2012 season. When the process is complete, all seats will have increased from 18 inches to 22 inches in size throughout the venue.” The Dover’s new seating capacity will be reduced from 132,000 to 113,000 as a result of the wider seats.
— Nigel Mansell, the 1992 F1 world champion and the 1993 CART champion, was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in her New Year’s honour list. Mansell had previously been named to the Order of the British Empire for his racing exploits.
— Canada’s Paul Tracy is still seeking a full time job in IndyCar for the 2012 season. He has said he would not race another part-time schedule as he has the past three seasons. But IndyCar insider Curt Cavin at the Indianapolis Star reported that there are no offers for the 2003 Champ Car champion to do all the races. “I think PT would take a half-season ride over nothing unless the sponsorship he has requires a full-season commitment,” Cavin said.
— Bad news for Sebastian Vettel’s competitors in F1. Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s superstar engineer, thinks the young German will only get better after dominating F1 in 2011 with 11 wins on his way to a second world championship. “He will be analyzing very carefully everything he has done this year and trying to improve on that,” Newey told Autosport magazine.
— The latest twist in the fate of Red Bull’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team has its assets being bought up by Michael Waltrip Racing. Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Dave Moody is reporting that MWR is negotiating to get both the left over race equipment and championship points from Red Bull. Those points would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the Daytona 500.
— Speaking of MWR, Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced it has reached a deal with David Reutimann — ex-driver of the No. 00 MWR Toyoya — to drive one of their Fords alongside Dave Blaney. In a team release Baldwin said he is still seeking sponsorship for both Reutimann and Blaney and that details regarding car numbers and sponsors will follow in the upcoming weeks.