Danica Patrick to retire from racing after Daytona and Indy

Danica Patrick to retire from racing after Daytona and Indy

Danica Patrick‘s racing career is coming to a close. As ESPN reports, Patrick, who has accomplished a number of “firsts,” “mosts,” and “highest-placings” in IndyCar and NASCAR, will retire from the sport after competing in the 2018 Indianapolis 500. She made the announcement in a press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“This will be my last season as a full-time driver,” she said.

She plans to race in the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 one last time. “This ignites something in me,” she said, “but I am done after May. Everyone needs to put their mind there. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I’m done.”

Patrick hasn’t pinned down sponsorship for those races, but hopes to sort that out in the coming weeks.

Danica Patrick drove her way to seven podium finishes in IndyCar, winning the Indy Japan 300 in 2008. She is also the highest-placing woman to ever race the Indianapolis 500, finishing third in 2009. She began stock car racing in 2010, switching to full time in 2012. She is the only woman to have won pole position in the NASCAR Cup Series. That was at the 2013 Daytona 500, in which she finished eighth.

She says she’ll continue to attend NASCAR races to support her boyfriend, Roush Fenway Racing driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. She says she’s excited to pursue her other interests and businesses, which include a winery and a clothing line.

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Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:00:00 +0000

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2018 Kia Stinger vs. other premium liftbacks by the numbers

2018 Kia Stinger vs. other premium liftbacks by the numbers

Ten years ago, if you had told us that one of the many new luxury segments to develop would be sedan-style hatchbacks, we’d have said you’d lost your mind. And yet, here we are today with not one, but four competing in just such a niche segment: The Kia Stinger, Buick Regal Sportback, BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and Audi A5. That’s just in one size and price bracket. Two of the manufacturers listed here make larger versions of each hatchback. We aren’t entirely sure how it happened, but we’re not going to complain, because we love the idea of a car with almost no compromise: luxury features, sporty performance, and plenty of practicality.

One of the reasons we’re taking a look at these cars right now is that Kia has recently released pricing for its entry in the segment, the Stinger and Stinger GT. Buick wasn’t far behind with the Regal Sportback and Regal GS, nor was Audi with the A5 and S5. So it seemed like an appropriate moment to look at the numbers and see which come out ahead or behind, with victors in each category highlighted with bold and underlined text.

Premium liftback specs

What we found when comparing these cars’ statistics is that each one has a clear area of expertise. For performance, it’s hard to beat the four-cylinder Kia Stinger and the V6 Stinger GT. The four-banger has the most horsepower of the four cars, and is just behind on torque. The V6 has the most power and torque among the six-cylinder versions. The Stingers are also the second lightest of the group when equipped with rear-wheel drive, though they fall to third with all-wheel drive.

Space is a split between the Buick Regals and BMW 3 Series Gran Turismos. The Buicks have the most cargo space with the rear seats up or folded by a significant margin. The BMW on the other hand generally offers more space for passengers. It’s up to you what’s most important.

When it comes to cost, nothing can beat the four-cylinder Regal’s base price of under $26,000. But if a V6 is what you’re after, the Stinger GT is the cheapest. Neither matches the Audi A5 and S5 for fuel economy, though. Both Audis have the highest numbers for city, highway, and combined EPA estimates.

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Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:15:00 +0000

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Michigan retail chain in shadow of Detroit 3, others bet early on Tesla Semi

Michigan retail chain in shadow of Detroit 3, others bet early on Tesla Semi

Tesla’s new electric semi truck is unveiled during a presentation in Hawthorne, Calif., on Thursday. Photo credit: REUTERS

UPDATED: 11/17/17 3:41 pm ET – adds details

Tesla Inc.’s Semi is headed for the grocery stores in the backyard of the Detroit 3.

Meijer Inc. has reserved four Semi trucks for $5,000 deposits apiece, Dan Scherer, a fleet manager for the Grand Rapids, Mich., retailer, said at the  unveilingof the Semi Thursday near Los Angeles.

He said the closely held company operates 220 trucks in six states in the Midwest.

“Electric drivetrains are a proven technology,” Scherer said. “Electricity is cheaper fuel than diesel, and you are less dependent on the spot pricing of fossil fuel.”

Walmart plans to order 15 Tesla trucks, five for the United States and ten for Canada, as part of a study of the technology.

“We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions,” the retailer said in a statement.

Canadian grocery chain Loblaw placed an order for 25 of the electric heavy duty trucks, a Loblaw spokeswoman said.

The order furthers Loblaw’s goal of having a fully electric corporate fleet by 2030, spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said Friday it also placed a reservation to purchase the Semi.

“Reserving Tesla trucks marks an important step in our efforts to implement industry-changing technology,” said John Roberts, CEO of J.B. Hunt.

The Lowell, Ark., logistics company said it will deploy the trucks on the West Coast.

Tesla says Semi production will begin in 2019.

Tesla has to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks.

The heavy batteries eat into the weight of cargo an electric truck can haul.

The Semi can go up to 500 miles (800 km) at maximum weight at highway speed, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, without giving the size of the payload.

Musk said the Class 8 vehicle, the heaviest weight classification for trucks, in 30 minutes can recharge the battery enough to go 400 miles, and that Tesla would build a global, solar-powered network of “megachargers.”

Diesel trucks are capable of traveling up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km) on a single tank of fuel. Musk said diesel trucks were 20 percent more expensive per mile to operate than his electric truck.

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc, the nation’s fourth-largest, less-than-truckload carrier, and other carriers appeared more cautious in weighing electric trucks.

“Carriers have been skeptical about the heavy-duty tractor applicability to their models, given questions regarding torque, total hauling capacity, and recharging infrastructure,” said Benjamin Hartford, a sector analyst with brokerage Baird. “We expect other carriers to follow as electric tractor viability becomes proven.”

A spokesman for United Parcel Service Inc. said the giant courier had nothing to announce regarding Tesla’s truck but would always look for options that fit its needs.

Brad Pinchuk, CEO of Dubuque, Iowa-based Hirschbach Motor Lines, said the trucking firm was looking to test non-diesel, big-rig options but needed longer ranges than Tesla could provide and speedier fuel-up times.

Pinchuk said he plans to buy two hydrogen-powered trucks made by Salt Lake City-based electric Nikola Motor Co. when they are available in 2020.

“It’s a different application – putting liquid hydrogen into tanks – so it will be very similar sort of situation to diesel,” Pinchuk said. “You’d be able to fuel up. It would take about the same amount of time to fuel up a diesel and go about the same distance.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:19:20 +0000

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Lamborghini Urus' interior spied uncovered

Lamborghini Urus' interior spied uncovered

Lamborghini Urus interior spied Photo: altdynamic on Instagram

Lamborghini Urus interior spied Photo: altdynamic on Instagram

Enlarge Photo

Next month, Lamborghini will reveal the wild Urus SUV, the brand’s first sport utility vehicle since the classic LM002, but ahead of its reveal an Instagram user by the name of “altdynamic” spied its interior completely uncloaked.

The Instagram post shared three photos of the Urus’ interior, which houses typical Lamborghini interior styling. The center stack features an angled design, and a chunky flat-bottom steering wheel sits in front of the driver. The entire gauge cluster looks digital. We see plenty of angular lines and a screen mounted in the angled center stack. The starter button is located in the typical Lambo position: under a red cover at the base of the center stack. It appears that the shifter is located just in front of the starter button and the mode selector is off to the left of it.

The photos make it hard to decipher what kind of materials are present, but it looks like the cabin is wrapped in plenty of leather accented by metallic trim. It appears to be a pleasant place to spend some time.

Lamborghini provided two teaser videos this month that show the Urus playing in the sand and in the snow. The SUV will feature various new terrain modes: Neve, Terra, and Sabbia, which translate from Italian to Snow, Earth, and Sand, respectively. They join the usual Strada (street), Sport, and Corsa (track) modes.

We expect drivers sitting inside the Urus will look over a hood housing a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with an estimated 650 horsepower. Power will likely find its way to all four wheel via standard all-wheel drive, too.

We’ll have full details on the Urus when it debuts on December 4. Stay tuned.

Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:00:00 +0000

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Working at Taco Bell gets you a $4,385 discount on a Chevy Corvette

Working at Taco Bell gets you a $4,385 discount on a Chevy Corvette

We doubt many regular Taco Bell employees have a Chevrolet Corvette on their car buying list, but if they do, there’s a sweet deal to be had. CarsDirect uncovered some of the strangest discounts on new cars, and Taco Bell employees are, for some reason, eligible for GM Supplier Pricing.

That means any fast food employee can receive a $4,385 discount on a 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, a car that does not offer any rebates at all. Such a discount is pretty generous considering the Grand Sport starts at more than $66,000. For the average Taco Bell employee, that’s likely more than what he or she makes in a couple of years. It doesn’t hurt to dream, we suppose.

GM often extends its friendly discount to other companies that aren’t affiliated with automotive parts, so maybe Taco Bell is the official lunch of the automaker’s Detroit, Michigan, headquarters? We don’t know.

Over at Acura, Honda’s premium brand also offers an obscure discount. When financing or leasing through Acura Financial Services, dealerships are able to pass along up to $30,000 worth of cash-back bonuses to the customer for a brand-new NSX. Considering the car’s nearly $160,000 sale price, $30,000 off isn’t chump change in the slightest. The report notes, however, that dealers have no obligation to pass the cash-back along to customers, so it will pay to shop a few different dealers to see which is most generous. 

Fiat Chrysler is offering up to $1,500 to buyers with bad credit. Yup, not good, but bad credit. Buyers with a FICO score under 620 receive the discount when buying, not leasing, the Chrysler Pacifica; Dodge Charger, Challenger (both non-SRT), and Journey; RAM 1500; and Jeep Cherokee (non-Sport).

For more strange deals, check out the CarsDirect story here.

Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:00:00 +0000

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