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DATE

News (chronologically)

5/11/04

McLaren fastest in France  Paul Ricard testing day 1 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m32.460s 113
2 Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW M 1m32.556s 87
3 Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m32.875s 99
4 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m32.956s 84
5 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m33.165s 73
6 Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m33.746s 70
7 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m34.189s 12
8 Timo Glock Jordan B 1m34.335s 88

5/11/04

Penske working with NASCAR to remove fumes from cockpit  A new take on removing carbon monoxide from the driver's cockpit. That's what engineer Paul Rochotte and a group from Penske Racing and NASA - yes, the rocket science people - have been toiling on for more than a year now.

The device weighs less than 3 pounds and looks like a large Thermos bottle.  The black carbon-fiber housing contains two filters. The first that uses carbon to take out nasty things like sulfur dioxide from race car emissions.

Carbon monoxide goes right through that, however, so the second filter contains a catalyst with a platinum base that was developed by NASA. That catalyst converts carbon monoxide, which is poisonous, into carbon dioxide, which is the natural by-product of breathing.

Brendan Gaughan gave the unit an on-track tryout May 5 at Richmond International Raceway during his team's test there. Gaughan and teammate Ryan Newman plan to use the unit in Saturday night's Chevy 400 at the .75-mile Richmond track.

Carbon monoxide poisoning became a major issue last year when driver Rick Mast announced that its effects had forced him to end his driving career.   Other competitors have complained about having severe headaches and other symptoms after races. Some drivers still take oxygen immediately after races to help clean the dangerous gas out of their system.

NASCAR has worked to develop a filtering system that would improve the quality of air being breathed by competitors. What the folks at Penske Racing have been doing is working on their own system in hopes of making something even better.  More from Charlotte Observer

5/11/04

NASCAR's deep pockets at work in Washington DC  NASCAR is lining the pockets of the best lobbyists money can buy in Washington DC.  At stake is their profit margins.  This AP article says, Stuffed in a U.S. Senate package of proposed corporate tax breaks is an order to the Internal Revenue Service: Don't start treating NASCAR like it's something other than a carnival ride.

For three decades, the owners of NASCAR tracks have built new grandstands and added restrooms or concessions using a seven-year depreciation schedule, an arrangement also enjoyed by amusement park owners.

But given the actual life of such grandstands, the IRS has begun challenging whether racetracks and amusement parks should be treated the same. Recently, the agency has been telling track owners they should use depreciation periods of 15 years or more, which would reduce their tax deductions by half on an annual basis. They still could recoup their investment, but it would take twice as long.

NASCAR leaders say they aren't seeking anything special; they just want the tax treatment they've enjoyed in the past put into law.

"We've had this. It's worked, and why mess it up?" said Humpy Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports, which operates six tracks. "Everybody's trying to get an economic advantage today, whether it's taxation or whatever it is. There just simply won't be as much construction if we don't have the favorable depreciation."

While track owners are the primary beneficiaries, politicians are conscious of the latest political target demographic: "NASCAR dads." They're white, working-class men who like President Bush but could be persuaded to vote Democratic, particularly in state and local races.

"Politicians react to what's in the news, and NASCAR dads have dominated a lot of the political coverage, rightly or wrongly," said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist.  More....

5/11/04

Manning on ESPN2 all month  Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s driver Darren Manning will have his own two minute video segment on ESPN2’s Sportscenter at 6:30 pm EDT every weekday during the month of May leading up to the Indianapolis 500. The daily feature called “The Main MANning” debuts May 10th as Darren Manning begins his preparations for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It’s kind of a daily diary of my adventures this month as I get ready for my first experience racing in the Indianapolis 500,” says Manning, driver of the No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. “It’s a long month and a lot goes on behind the scenes from my preparations with the team, to interactions with fans, and a look at what life at the track is like and what I do on my down time. I’m never sure what’s going to happen next and this feature will give the fans a chance to get to know me and the Target Team in a more personal way and live out the month with me on a day by day basis. It should be good fun.”

5/11/04

Tweaking the Nextel Cup Challenge at Lowe's  NASCAR’s all star race may have done away with the elimination-style format, but they aren’t done tweaking the race quite yet. According to sources, NASCAR and series sponsor Nextel plans to add a new twist to the 20th running of the NASCAR Nextel All Star Challenge to be held May 22 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Following the conclusion of the Nextel Open – the preliminary race where the winner moves onto the Nextel All Star Challenge – fans can call in or get on-line and choose which of the remaining drivers from the Nextel Open field will get the final spot in the all star race. Fan participation has played a role in the all star race in the past few years, with fans voting to decide the number of spots for a field inversion during the segments of the race. No official announcement has been made regarding any changes to the format, and Lowe’s Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler was notably coy when asked about the rumor on Tuesday. “We’re always looking for a way to get more interactive with the fans, that’s the big thing – we want the fans to have input,” Wheeler said. “We’ve always had fan input here. The fans have decided in the past whether to invert or not, so this is just another way to get the fan’s input.”  Pete McCole

5/11/04

Miller official beer at Lowe's  Miller Brewing Company announced today they have reached an agreement to become the Official Beer of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. As part of the new agreement, Miller will host the "Miller Lite Party Deck" where 100 lucky consumers over the age of 21 will enjoy the race from the backstretch of the track. Miller Beer will also play a part in the festivities for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel All Star Challenge with the Miller Lite Rock N’ Racing concert featuring the band Live on May 22. Rusty Wallace’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge will feature a special red, white and blue “Vote Miller For President of Beers” during both the All Star Challenge and the Coca Cola 600.  Pete McCole

5/11/04

Indy may not fill 33-car field  This AP article says, There are plenty of cars at the track and several drivers looking for jobs. Still, the Indianapolis 500 might not have a full field for the first time since 1947. Just three days before qualifying begins, only 28 driver-car combinations are listed on the entry sheet. A full field for the race May 30 would be 33. "I don't know where we're at now," said John Barnes, one of six co-owners with Panther Racing. "I've heard there's 27 to 30, but if you have another engine lease available it would be stupid to keep it in your garage." The last time the race started with a short field was 57 years ago, when there were 30 cars.

5/11/04

American Idol at Dover  Clay Aiken will sing the national anthem at the inaugural running in Dover of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes on June 6, 2004. Aiken also will take the time while in Dover to perform a benefit concert in the Dover Downs Rollins Center on Saturday night, June 5. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation and the Autism Society of Delaware are the beneficiaries of this very special evening with Aiken. MBNA recently announced the name and theme of the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway. The "The MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes" will be held on June 6, 2004 -- the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Pre-race activities will honor those Americans whose heroism in the liberation of Europe earned them the title, "The Greatest Generation."

5/11/04

Martinsville ticket bargain  Tickets for Martinsville Speedway’s popular Family Section will now be sold in advance for the October 24th running of the SUBWAY 500. For many years, Martinsville Speedway has reserved a section of reduced-price seats in the third-turn area for families, but tickets went on sale the morning of the event. And adults purchasing tickets had to have their children present at the time of purchase. “Last spring was the first time we sold the Family Section in advance and it was a big hit,” said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. It’s much more convenient for fans to make these purchases over the phone. All the old rules still exist for that section. The only change is fans can now buy in advance.” Tickets for the Family Section are $40 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

5/11/04

Haberfeld happy with Homestead test  Brazilian driver Mario Haberfeld (Walker Racing) completed this Tuesday two days of testing at Homestead, Florida. This was the first time he was behind the wheel of a Champ Car since the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18th. “This was my second test with Walker Racing since joining the team, so it was a great opportunity to get more acquainted with the engineers, with whom I am really enjoying working with,” said Haberfeld. Walker Racing was the only team testing at Homestead this week, allowing the team to work on a variety of set-ups. “My mechanics are working very hard to make sure we can find the right set-up and get maximum speed out of my Reynard,” said Haberfeld. “Also, the tires we used in this test are the same we will be using in Monterrey in a couple of weeks, so I feel prepared heading to Mexico.” Haberfeld, who finished ninth at Long Beach, also felt the car is much better after Homestead. “Since I signed with Walker Racing only one week before the season-opener in Long Beach, we were unable to have much preparation for the season,” commented the Brazilian, “but after this test I am confident of a good showing for Walker and myself in Monterrey”, concluded Haberfeld.

5/11/04

Some dubious drivers to make Indy 500 field  With less than 33 cars a distinct possibility at Indy this year, some drivers with questionable talent will make the race.  Most notably - there's Marty Roth who has already spun twice and hasn't gone fast enough to have spun in the first place. A back marker in the IPS series, we're shocked that qualified him for an Indy Car license.   AJ Foyt IV (how many times did he crash last year?) and Larry Foyt (NASCAR back marker who usually isn't fast enough to qualify) are both out to lunch and in way over their heads, both riding on AJ Foyt Jr.'s coattails. Even with the powerful Toyota engine they are back markers and tarnishing the good Toyota name.  Then there's Sarah Fisher whose record, or lack thereof, speaks for itself.  She sometimes qualifies well but when the green flag drops, she falls back through the field faster than lead through water.  Is there any doubt she got a ride because she's a woman and the IRL's sweetheart?   Al Unser Jr. is way past his prime and should have retired a year or two ago.  Greg Ray, who Jack Arute once called the Tiger Woods of auto racing, and a former IRL champion, buckled under the pressure of Michael Andretti at Indy in 2001 like a deck of cards (crashed trying to hold off Andretti for the lead).  That was the year the CART drivers came to Indy and out of seven of them, finished first through sixth.  Rookie Juan Montoya was there as the lone CART representative the year before and waxed the IRL's best like a man in a boy's game. The Indy 500 used to be the 33 fastest.  Now you qualify if you can find your way to the Speedway without getting lost.  Tony George must be proud of what he has done to his grandfather's once great race.

5/11/04

Speeds climb to 221.8 at Indy  The speeds keep climbing. IRL IndyCar Series rookie Kosuke Matsuura turned the fastest lap of the month in the afternoon May 11 at 221.857 mph (40.5666 seconds) on the third day of practice for the 88th Indianapolis 500. Adrian Fernandez, quick all week, was second at 221.705 mph, and Tony Kanaan was third at 220.855 mph. Helio Castroneves recorded a fast lap of 220.300 mph (40.8533 seconds) on May 10 -- the second day of practice on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval -- in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Castroneves posted the fast lap with two minutes left in the session. "It was a great day," said Matsuura, driver of the No. 55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda Firestone. "It is not qualifying; it is a test day, but it was a good day. Our car was very good, and the Honda engine, as well, and the team did a very good job. Adrian (Fernandez) and I, both our cars were very quick and very strong, which is good. We will see for this Saturday. It depends on the weather and how conditions change, but it is the same for everyone. We need some luck for the qualifying, but I am very confident."  Matsuura's team co-owner, Adrian Fernandez, was second at 221.705 mph, in his No. 5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda Firestone and Tony Kanaan was third at 220.855 mph, as Honda took four of the top-five spots on the speed chart.   Felipe Giaffone (No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone) was involved in the only incident of the day, when he made light contact with the right rear of the car with the wall in the short chute between Turns 3 and 4, then made hard secondary contact with the SAFER Barrier with the right front of the car in Turn 4. Giaffone was uninjured in the incident. Top 15 times at 6:00 PM CST
Pos Driver Diff Time Speed Lap C/E/T Status
1 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 40.5666 221.857 53 G/H/F Pit
2 Adrian Fernandez (5) 0.0278 40.5944 221.705 33 G/H/F Pit
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.1841 40.7507 220.855 20 D/H/F Pit
4 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.3542 40.9208 219.937 78 D/T/F Pit
5 Bryan Herta (7) 0.3595 40.9261 219.909 55 D/H/F Pit
6 Sam Hornish Jr. (6) 0.3778 40.9444 219.810 53 D/T/F Pit
7 Buddy Rice (15) 0.3835 40.9501 219.780 26 G/H/F Pit
8 Dan Wheldon (26) 0.4141 40.9807 219.616 59 D/H/F Pit
9 Tomas Scheckter (4T) 0.4970 41.0636 219.172 46 D/C/F Pit
10 Scott Dixon (1T) 0.5205 41.0871 219.047 17 G/T/F Pit
11 Bruno Junqueira (36) 0.5295 41.0961 218.999 19 G/H/F Pit
12 Roger Yasukawa (16) 0.5481 41.1147 218.900 5 G/H/F Pit
13 Darren Manning (10) 0.6053 41.1719 218.596 69 G/T/F Pit
14 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.6081 41.1747 218.581 52 D/H/F Pit
15 Ed Carpenter (52T) 0.6231 41.1897 218.501 39 D/C/F Pit

5/11/04

Midday report from Indy  Top 10 times at 12:00 noon CST
Pos Driver Diff Time Speed Lap C/E/T Status
1 Adrian Fernandez (5) 40.7728 220.735 11 G/H/F Pit
2 Buddy Rice (15) 0.2225 40.9953 219.537 7 G/H/F
3 Helio Castroneves (3) 0.2227 40.9955 219.536 20 D/T/F Pit
4 Sam Hornish Jr. (6) 0.3028 41.0756 219.108 15 D/T/F Pit
5 Dan Wheldon (26) 0.3033 41.0761 219.106 6 D/H/F Pit
6 Tomas Scheckter (4T) 0.3251 41.0979 218.989 17 D/C/F Pit
7 Roger Yasukawa (16) 0.3419 41.1147 218.900 5 G/H/F Pit
8 Ed Carpenter (52T) 0.4608 41.2336 218.269 29 D/C/F
9 Bryan Herta (7) 0.4723 41.2451 218.208 5 D/H/F Pit
10 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 0.5553 41.3281 217.770 16 G/H/F

5/11/04

Ferrari & Shanghai news  Shanghai Circuit is proud to announce that the opening race of the China Circuit Championship will take place at the newly-built circuit on 6th June 2004. To coincide with this opening event, Ferrari known throughout China for its famous prancing horse brand - will be running a number of exciting events at the Shanghai Circuit and throughout Shanghai.

The China Circuit Championship (CCC), jointly supported by Shanghai Circuit and CCTV, marks the start of a new era for Chinese motor racing. The endorsement of FIA Formula One World Champions Ferrari is an excellent added bonus for the Championship organizers, sponsors and the spectators. This will be the highest level of motor racing in mainland China. The CCC is a race dedicated to Chinese spectators and the aim is to provide a sporting event that is participated in and enjoyed by the Chinese people who love sport as well as cars.

The involvement of Italy's legendary Scuderia Ferrari racing team and sports car manufacturer with the Circuit's authorities will coincide with the first ever race to take place on the Circuit. The presence of the F1 team, whose name is synonymous with the sport, is recognition of the importance of establishing motor racing in Shanghai and in China. This is seen as a springboard for a number of commercial, sporting and cultural developments.
Forthcoming Ferrari & Maserati Events at the Shanghai Circuit
4th May:
- Free Practice for China Circuit Championship.
- Grand Opening of Shanghai Ferrari and Maserati Show Room.
5th May:
- Qualifying for China Circuit Championship.
- China Circuit Championship Grand Opening with Ferrari at the Shanghai Circuit.
6th May:
- Race Day for China Circuit Championship.
- Ferrari Track Event on the Shanghai Circuit.

5/11/04
Industry News

Condom backing for Formula Woman  UPDATE The Mates Formula Woman series has delayed its start, and amended plans for the inaugural season. Series chiefs say the delay is necessary to provide ‘the girls with more testing time prior to their first race experience’. The championship will now begin at Oulton Park on June 12, with a revised seven-round series, culminating with the final at Brands Hatch.   5/6/04 - From the too funny department - Mates, a European condom manufacturer is sponsoring the new Mazda RX8 series run exclusively for women in the UK called Formula Woman. The series kicks off at Mallory Park in May.   We can see it now - big air filled condoms sticking up vertically a hundred feet into the air at the races advertising "Safe Sex."  We can't imagine what the trophies will look like. This puts a whole new meaning on the phrase "have a safe ride."  Oh my!  That's not the first time a condom company has been a sponsor in racing. When Keke Rosberg was running in Formula Atlantic in '78, he had Excita as his sponsor. If you didn't see his car race, you really missed something. It was bright pink!

5/11/04

Lowe's testing update  Mark Martin showed the "young guns" he will be a contender during the May 22 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 as open testing began Monday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Martin, the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 winner, ran numerous laps at just over 180 mph. According to the unofficial stopwatches, the 45-year-old Martin led the search for speed with a best lap of 181.733 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Dave Blaney, driving Bill Davis' unsponsored #23 Dodge, was second fastest, just a tick of the watch behind Martin at 181.147 mph, while Casey Mears was third on the speed chart at 179.087 in the #41 Target Dodge. With 11 teams on hand, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing session started at 4pm and ended under the lights at 10pm. The caution flag was never unfurled as both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series testing sessions were run without incident. Testing continues Tuesday and Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway and fans can watch the action from the main grandstand free of charge. Tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway are still available and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.
Unofficial NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds:
#6-Mark Martin, 181.733mph
#23-Dave Blaney, 181.147
#41-Casey Mears, 179.087
#88-Dale Jarrett, 177.445
#1-John Andretti, 177.282
#43-Jeff Green, 177.270
#96-Johnny Benson, 177.264
#84-Kyle Busch, 177.218
#30-Johnny Sauter, 176.678
#44-Mark Green, 175.063
#33-Kerry Earnhardt, 174.848. LMS PR

5/11/04

Jones urges Webber to leave Jaguar  Ex-Australian F1 champion Alan Jones has advised his countryman, Mark Webber, to walk away from the Jaguar racing team as soon as he has a better offer,   “It's typical Ford and typical Jaguar," he told the AAP. "It's almost like when the team was Stewart - they would make good progress but it was two steps forward and three steps backwards. They're just too inconsistent.  I'd like to see him in a Williams or a Renault," he confessed. "Unless Jaguar has something up its sleeve, he should be out of there at 100 mph if he is given the chance. It's like Jenson Button at BAR, all of a sudden the BAR has come good and everyone's saying what a great driver Jenson Button is."

5/11/04

F1 still dwarfs NASCAR  2nd UPDATE A reader responds,  Dear AutoRacing1.com, Comparing German TV figures of the Spanish Grand Prix? More people were watching the Auto Club 500 than watched the latest Ferrari test drive Sunday in Barcelona. The replay, that is. For all your excitement about the grandstands being full at Barcelona, it only totaled 108,000 people. Indianapolis will have 300,000. Daytona had 200,000.Indianapolis, for a US Grand Prix race no one cares about, will have 150,000 in June, if not more. We care the least about Ferrari parade racing in America; yet we are respectful enough of Ferrari-won racing to produce its largest crowd. The real answer to Ferrari Intramural racing was indeed in the garage area at Barcelona. Jeff Gordon could breathe life into this dying series. He would bring millions of American TV viewers, including this one. I sincerely hope it happens. Like Jeff Gordon, I love open-wheel racing. Ferrari is killing it. Does that make them a serial killer?  Brian Golden, Lancaster, California  Dear Brian, What you fail to mention is the fact that grandstand ticket prices for a F1 race in Europe are two to three times more expensive than a NASCAR ticket and 3 to 4 times more than for the Indy 500.  Couple that with the fact that the annual income of a Spaniard is below an American and their population is perhaps 1/10th that of the USA, and you see that in reality the attendance in Spain was high.  Can't agree more on Jeff Gordon.  He certainly would bring a lot of attention to F1 from Americans. However, he signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick Motorsports and would have a hard time getting out of that.  He also would struggle in F1 despite all the hype. He's past his prime now and has never driven a rear-engine open wheel car in competition.  Sure the PR stunt at Indy last year got a lot of media attention, but when push comes to shove we suspect Mr. Gordon would get his clock cleaned.  10 years ago it may have been different, but now it's simply too late and all this talk is just another PR stunt to get NASCAR fans interested in F1.  Mark C.   5/11/04 - Formula One has never been more popular in Spain.  108,000 trackside spectators joined a record 5.6 million people in television-land to cheer-on the efforts of local Spaniard Fernando Alonso on Sunday.  5/10/04 - NASCAR may be king in the USA, but in the rest of the world it's not on anyone's radar screen.  Compare that to F1 which pulled in 9.48 million viewers yesterday for the Spanish GP in Germany alone.  That equates to 51.8% of households (i.e. 51.8 share) watching in Germany, a far smaller country than the USA.  And you thought NASCAR was a religion in the USA?

5/11/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari and Phillip Morris
It'll take 'half a year' - McLaren
Media to cheer for Button
Schu is 'Sportsman of Year'
Villeneuve to test Williams this week
Verstappen deal 'is done' - report
Button's eye 'is ok' - report
'No-one will catch' Ferrari - Michael
Todt 'promotion' triggers Ferrari fall?
Toso 'fights big battle' - Trulli
Hakkinen and Mille Miglia
Formula One is 'boring' - Max Mosley
Toyota 'sack aerodynamics manager' - report
BMW want V10 engines 'to stay'
Schu clean sweep would be 'fantastic' - Bernie
Panis admits to 'finger trouble'
GPWC 'can't run own series' - Ecclestone
Coulthard has raced last win
Sato 'gaining momentum' - Richards
Todt keeps pressure on Bridgestone
F1 is 'more popular' in Spain
Was pitstop fumble 'a conspiracy'?
Webber had 'no grip' in Spain
Schu 'threw a party' - report
Spain to get F1 'street race'
Schu 'may struggle' at Monaco - Brawn
Two hydraulic failures - Jordan  

5/10/04

NASCAR pit party  The Science Museum of Virginia will hold a "NASCAR Pit Party" from 2-10 p.m. Wednesday, May 12th. Admission includes access to a Nextel Cup car simulator, screenings of "NASCAR: The IMAX Experience," barbecue dinner, a pinewood derby track and a chance to meet Busch Series drivers Jason Keller, Kenny Wallace and Tony Raines in a question-and-answer session at 8:45. The movie will be screened on the theater's Ethyl IMAX Dome at 2, 3:30, 5 and 6:30 p.m. Admission to the pit party is $20. For more information, call 864-1544 or visit www.smv.org. Richmond Times Dispatch

5/10/04

Petty team testing engines  Petty Enterprises broke two engines at California, and they weren't the first engines to blow this year. The #45 and #44 Petty Enterprises cars will test this week at Charlotte. The #44, a developmental car driven by Christian Fittipaldi last year, will be used strictly for engine work and will be driven by Mark Green, who normally works as the spotter for Kyle Petty and the #45. FoxSports/Sporting News

5/10/04

Bernie Ecclestone: I'm too busy for Champ Car now  Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone read our recent article by Mark Cipolloni, Why Bernie Ecclestone could, and should buy Champ Car now.  Today he faxed a statement to our headquarters in New Jersey that read, "At the moment I do not have time to even consider becoming involved in Champ Car."  He is busy of course with the restructuring of F1 and reaching an agreement on a new Concorde Agreement and reducing costs in F1.  While this puts to rest any notion that Bernie will become involved with Champ Car in the immediate future, he does leave the door cracked open by saying, "At the moment...."  Given that, it is now up to OWRS to make a go of it on their own for the time being, however, as we understand it, they are both being very careful to keep the communication lines open so as not to step on each other's toes for the time being.

5/10/04

BMW wants to retain V10's  With regard to the recent suggestions that F1 reduce its engine costs by 50%, BMW's Mario Theissen says: "The goals listed in the FIA proposal are aimed at significantly reducing the costs while improving the show. Quite obviously, BMW is supporting these goals.

"But in spite of all these discussions you must never forget that Formula One is the pinnacle of motor racing and should keep this position, with regard to sport, business and technology in equal measure. For BMW, this position represents the main reason for its Formula One involvement," he continues.

"We are supporting many of the technology recommendations of the FIA proposal and we will bring in further proposals at the forthcoming meetings of the task force," adds the German. "The key factor to reduce engine costs - particularly for the independent teams who have to pay for their engines - is the number of engines that are required over the course of a season.

"Therefore, we are prepared to extend the mileage of an engine to three race weekends. Should this measure be combined with a limited testing program, a 50-percent reduction of the engine production costs will be viable.

"The technological concept of the engine, however, is far less important when it comes to reducing the costs. Bearing in mind the stability of the regulations and to avoid a further increase of costs, we are pleading for the perpetuation of the current 3-litre V10 concept.

"The increased mileage and technical limitations would reduce the horsepower output of the engines by some 100 bhp, thus increasing the lap times and reducing the top-speeds without losing the fascination of the 10-cylinder engine." [Editor's Note:  We agree with Theissen, a V8 format as proposed by Max Mosley is too mundane and too easily associated with Saloon cars. The pinnacle of racing, open wheel cars, should be something special and a V10 helps portray that image.  It also has other benefits - smaller and lighter pistons and connecting rods equals less reciprocating mass.  Hence you can turn more RPM for a given engine longevity. 

Champ Car would be wise to also adopt a V10 format lasting 3 to 4 race weekends (as proposed by Theissen) but probably use a slightly larger displacement, say 3.5 L in order to get a decent amount of HP at the lower RPM that a Champ Car engine would most certainly have.  One would hope that Champ Car's version turns about 14,000 RPM (vs. something like 17 or 18K for the F1 version) so it emits a lower pitched variation of the F1 scream and not that of a low RPM farm tractor. 

Champ Car must reinvent its image into being state-of-the-art like it was in its heyday, but use, as we have suggested, single suppliers wherever possible to keep the high-tech pieces affordable so as to control costs.  What is key is for Champ Car is to distance itself as far as possible from anything that looks or sounds like a butt ugly IRL car.  Dumbed down race cars only work for Saloon cars and Demolition Derby's.  If Champ Car is to sell itself as a world class championship series, it has to walk the walk, and talk the talk.]

5/10/04

Castroneves fastest on B'Day  Helio Castroneves celebrated his 29th birthday in style. The Marlboro Team Penske driver lapped the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in 40.8533 seconds, 220.300 mph, in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone to lead the second day of practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

"A lot of people went out late in the session, so we just waited, waited, waited until we got a clean track," said Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion. "We don't want to keep trying to just put a fast time out there. We just want to make sure the car handles well. That's why we didn't do many laps."

Reigning IRL IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was second fastest at 40.9894 seconds, 219.569 mph, in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone as Toyota swept three of the top four spots on the time sheets.

Tony Kanaan was third at 40.9923 mph, 219.553 mph, in his Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tomas Scheckter was the fastest Chevrolet for the second day in a row at 41.1160 seconds, 218.893 mph.

The session was interrupted by rain for 3 hours and 35 minutes and there were two incidents for spins. Marty Roth's No. 25 Roth Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone entry was not damaged when he spun off of Turn 2 during the final hour of practice, but Robby Gordon's No. 70 Meijer/Coca-Cola  Robby Gordon Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone suffered moderate damage when he made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 following a spin in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2.
FASTEST SPEEDS OF DAY
Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 220.300 mph
2 1 Scott Dixon G/T/F 219.569 mph
3 11 Tony Kanaan D/H/F 219.553 mph
4 6 Sam Hornish Jr. D/T/F 219.357 mph
5 5 Adrian Fernandez D/H/F 219.118 mph

5/10/04

Gordon OK after Indy wreck  Robby Gordon was uninjured in a single-car accident with approximately 10 minutes remaining in Monday's Indianapolis 500 practice session. Gordon lost control of the Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet in turn one and hit the wall. Gordon was checked and immediately released from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield medical center. The car received left-side suspension, underwing, rear wing and bodywork damage and Gordon plans to drive his team's backup Meijer Chevy in Tuesday practice. 

"I went down into turn one and the car compressed in the corner and the rear got a little bit sideways," Gordon recalled. "I tried to save it and it hooked back the other way and spun around.

"It is what it is. When you can walk away from one here, it doesn't matter how fast you were going. We were going to run four straight hot laps on new tires and our warm-up lap was over 218 mph. I think we were going to be pretty good. We'll be fine."  Gordon finished the session, delayed by rain, 10th fastest at 218.446 mph. Helio Castroneves was quick on the day at 220.300 mph.

5/10/04

Gigante ads with Jourdain start in Mexico  Gigante has begun a national ad campaign for the upcoming Monterrey race with Michel Jourdain. The TV ad has Michel Jourdain doing some shopping in a Gigante store wearing his driving suit. He stops to see some cereal boxes and 4 Gigante employees run to his shopping cart and change the 4 little wheels. The radio ads have a woman talking about racing through the store PA system.  Why don't you see ads like that in the USA for Champ Car?  Because the series lacks sponsors who sell consumer products and a winning sales pitch from Champ Car to convince them to feature their drivers in their ads. Jose Arrambide

5/10/04

Rain delay hits Indy  Rain has hit the Indy Speedway today and practice has been halted.  The trucks are trying to dry the track with the hope of getting cars back on the track.  So far Scott Dixon was fastest at 219.373 MPH.

5/10/04

Trans-Am added to Toronto ticket  The Motorock Trans-Am Series race will be the featured event on Saturday, July 10 at the Molson Indy Toronto. The event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. EDT, following the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series by Ford qualifying. The Trans-Am Series will help kick off a weekend featuring the Champ Car World Series race on Sunday, July 11, as well as the Toyota Atlantic Series.

“Scheduling the Trans-Am race on Saturday, following Champ Car World Series qualifying, gives fans a substantial value for their racing dollar,” said Motorock Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. “The Trans-Am Series, which makes its return to Toronto after a nine-year hiatus, is an ideal headliner for Saturday’s events, making for a truly action-packed weekend of racing.”

The race will air live, commercial free, on HDNet. HDNet is the first national television network broadcasting all of its programming in 1080i HD, the highest-quality format of high-definition television (HDTV). HDNet is available on Adelphia Communications, Charter Communications, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, Time Warner Cable and several NCTC cable affiliate companies.

5/10/04

Peter Young to host TV shows  North American Formula Renault Championship television production partner Image Productions has named Peter Young as the host for the 2004 season, which will feature thirteen half-hour magazine-style shows focused on each race weekend. Young has extensive experience on both sides of the camera, having covered major events both as a producer and as a broadcaster for a wide range of sports.

Young, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has spent the past two years as President of Hockey Operations for the World Hockey Association and WHA2 in Orlando, Florida. For 18 years he was an internationally-known broadcaster and producer for the Canadian Television Network (CTV) covering events across the globe, from Canada and the United States to Russia, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and the United Kingdom.

Young has a broad motor sports background, from covering ice racing in Northern Ontario and the dirt tracks of the Midwest to broadcasting Formula 1 and Formula 3000 in England and Curacao, as well as Indy Car races, the Daytona 500, and numerous network documentaries on racing. Young has also produced and hosted shows in Canada for Wide World Of Sports on the Formula 2000, Formula Atlantic and CASCAR Series.

"I'm excited to be working in a developmental series environment, and particularly this category, as I think North American Formula Renault has the right ingredients to become a major part of the open wheel picture in North America,” said Young. “The magazine style show is going to be a great format for us to develop excitement for our viewers and give them understanding of the series and develop stories about the exciting talents racing in it."

5/10/04

IRL tidbits  Team Penske is going to stick to one chassis this year. Gil de Ferran won in a G Force last year while Castroneves ran a Dallara. Penske said Sunday that the team's G Force will stay in the garage unless he leases it to another team. . . . Sign of the times: Hemelgarn Racing has had the same garages in Gasoline Alley for at least two decades. But the team doesn't intend to participate this month and its garages have been taken by Andretti Green Racing. Ron Hemelgarn formed his Indy-car team in 1984. . . . The No. 41 A.J. Foyt-owned car entered for son Larry did not make its track debut but will draw attention when it does. It is coyote orange, the signature color of the four-time 500 winner. . . . Access Motorsports and driver Greg Ray were among those who didn't participate Sunday. (we hear they are pissed because they are paying for engines but the ex-CART teams are not)  Indy Star

5/10/04

Bob Jenkins two-timing in IRL and Champ Car  Bob Jenkins was a noticeable new member of the Speedway's public address team. Jenkins, who was the host of the IRL's television shows last year, is also working this year as the voice of Champ Car's TV broadcasts on Spike. Track spokesman Fred Nation said there isn't a conflict of interest working simultaneously for the rival open-wheel divisions. "He notified us (of his Champ Car opportunity) and we were OK with it," Nation said. "He has to make a living."  Indy Star

5/10/04

No shortage of engines for 500  This Indy Star article underscores just how bad things are at the Brickyard nowadays.  As the IRL has morphed into CART, gone are the small teams who simply can't compete against the mighty Penske team.  There certainly is no shortage of engines for the 500, but there simply are not enough teams and sponsors willing to spend so much money for just one race.  It's clear now that Tony George is going to have to open his wallet once again if he wants 33 cars to start the 500.  We count about 28 car/driver combinations right now.  He needs five more to fill the field.  There is no shortage of team owners willing to relieve him of his money.  There was never a short field in the CART days.   We ask once again, what has Tony George accomplished by starting the IRL?  Answer - by causing a split in the sport, he has just about killed  Indy car racing.  In doing so has put a lot of drivers in the hospital, crippled some for life, and destroyed a lot of cars with his concept of what open wheel racing should be.  As a result, America has now become a NASCAR-only country.

5/10/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Schumacher: 'Pulse and Passion'
Forget Americans in F1 - Gordon
GPWC 'not moribund' - source
Barcelona 'investigate' track invasion
Todt for FIA president
McLaren to open 'Paragon'
Villeneuve and Williams
Williams 'got it wrong' - Michael
BAR lost out to Renault - Willis
Webber's start-line trouble - Gillan
Trulli dedicates podium to Dino Tosa 
Button eye injury 'treatable' - Richards
Montoya votes for Pizzonia, Gene
V8 or V10 'undecided' - Haug
'Incredible demands' on Spanish hero
Beaten 'fair and square' - Dupasquier
Luck rode with Mr Schumacher - Todt
Silverstone's hotel
Bernie won't promote British GP
'Worried' about Ferrari quit threat - Bernie
No checker for Minardi racers
Toyota 'not quick enough' - Gascoyne 

5/10/04

Steering through turbulent times   A few quotes from this Milwaukee Journal article on Champ Cars - Ultimately history will show whether the true believers' optimism was founded. But for now, at least, a tight-knit, energized group of racers and businessmen takes pride in the fact that the series has outlived the expectations of its detractors.

"A lot of people were doubting, and a lot of people played tricks along the way," said Paul Tracy, the defending series champion and Long Beach winner, during a break in testing at the Milwaukee Mile.

"It's not over, though," said Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 CART champion who drives for and co-owns Kalkhoven's team.

"We need to produce good product. We need to make the series stronger, get more strong cars back, get more fuller fields. Eighteen cars is great, but we need to get to 20 and 22 and 24 again."

What the tough times seemed to do is shake the series free of anyone with doubts. Talk to the competitors, the owners, the workers and they truly believe they work in a series that has a solid future.

"We don't have a lot of sponsorship this year like we would have liked, because everything was decided so late, but I think for the coming years it's going to get better," said Carpentier, who like Tracy drives for Forsythe.  "We've got a lot of people coming to the races. We've just got to get the ratings up on TV, and then we'll be set."

5/9/04

Dixon & Castroneves top charts at Indy  Reigning IRL IndyCar® Series champion Scott Dixon topped the speed chart on the opening day of practice for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dixon lapped the famed 2.5-mile oval at 219.760 mph, 40.9537 seconds in his No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

"Today we were just getting both cars up to speed," Dixon said. "We didn't really do much with the T car. We trimmed it out a little, put a new set of tires on it, and I think that's where we got the time. It was pretty windy, but I think we were quite surprised at how much grip the car had, considering the last time we were here."

Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, was second fastest at 219.7529 mph, 40.9552 seconds in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Adrian Fernandez was third with a lap of 218.342 mph, 41.2197 seconds in the No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone.

"We pretty much started the way we left off at the Open Test," Castroneves said. "The car seemed to be handling with no problems. The wind was a bit stronger than at the Open Test. We just need to wait and see once it gets closer to qualifying. Everyone knows that it's like two races: one is for qualifying, and the next one is the race. We just have to be patient and wait for the right time."

There were 33 cars on the track today, the most on a scheduled opening day since 1999, when 38 cars turned laps. A total of 43 cars are now at the Speedway, and 41 have passed technical inspection. There were 25 drivers on the track. Drivers completed 931 laps.
FASTEST SPEEDS OF DAY
Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1 1 Scott Dixon G/T/F 219.760 mph
2 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 219.752 mph
3 5 Adrian Fernandez D/H/F 218.342 mph
4 4 Tomas Scheckter D/C/F 218.308 mph
5 26 Dan Wheldon D/H/F 218.007 mph

5/9/04

New safety camera for IRL, NASCAR maybe  The view out back of the IRL's Chevrolet four-door trucks is obscured by an 80-gallon water tank and a locker crammed with rescue tools. That view will improve during this year's Indy 500-Mile Race, thanks to technology developed by Delphi's Kokomo-based electronics division. Three of the IRL's safety trucks now sport Delphi camera systems that show the view out back on a liquid crystal display monitor, bolted to the dashboard console. It's technology Delphi someday might convert to the consumer market, particularly in trucks and recreational vehicles for which backing up is a hazard because of poor visibility. On the safety trucks, a camera is perched mid-vehicle in a clear dome atop the water tank. One benefit is that the safety truck driver can see whether he has dumped enough oil-dry material onto the track after a crash. More importantly, safety truck drivers can watch for hazards behind them and can move the truck and crew if they see a car careening toward them. The display also lets the truck driver make sure that the two firefighters who ride in jump seats in the truck bed are seated properly before pulling away. Each truck also has a forward-facing camera. This portends an even bigger safety benefit: letting crews more effectively respond to a crash and better conveying the type and severity of a driver's injuries to awaiting medical teams. The trucks can transmit the camera images in real time to the track's medical center. The IRL/Delphi video system may have implications for NASCAR. Herb Branham, communications manager for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, noted that NASCAR and the IRL have worked together previously to improve safety -- such as in developing flexible track walls that minimize driver injury in a crash. "This is the first time that we've really heard about this type of thing. . . . They (IRL) have a lot of good ideas. Rest assured, we'll give it a look." Indianapolis Star

5/9/04
LMES

Audi sweeps to Monza win   With a clear triple victory Audi made a dream start into the opening round of the newly founded Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES). At the season opener in the royal parc of Monza Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert beat their Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx team mates Pierre Kaffer and Allan McNish. The margin after more than five hours of racing was only 0.663 seconds. Seiji Ara, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, starting for the Audi Sport Japan Team Goh, finished third and so completed an Audi triumph in the 38 car strong field.

The drivers of the Audi R8 sports cars, who are entered by different importer teams this year, settled on their first three positions in the first hour of the 1000 kilometre race. Fighting against the competitors who had shown a strong performance during qualifying and the advantages of the Audi FSI engine paid off: Due to the lower fuel consumption the R8 sports cars were able to stay out on the track longer and saved worthful time in the pits.

The internal fight of the Audi drivers delivered tension and excitement during the race which was also broadcasted live in Great Britain and France. During the first hours of racing it was Jamie Davies and Allan McNish who fought for the lead for several laps. In the second half former Formula 1-driver Johnny Herbert and Pierre Kaffer enjoyed a thrilling but fair duel. Rain, which set the track under water only 30 minutes before the finish mixed the field once more and so brought additional tension to the Monza race.
Results
1 Davies/Herbert (Audi R8) 173 laps
2 Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) + 0.663s
3 Ara/Capello/Kristensen (Audi R8) 1 lap behind
4 Ayari/Collard (C60-Judd) 4 laps behind
5 Barbosa/Barff/Short (Dallara-Judd) 5 laps behind
6 Brabham/Johansson/Wallace (Zytek) 8 laps behind
7 Erdos/Newton/Ramos (MG Lola) 12 laps behind
8 Lupberger/Stirling (Nasamax) 15 laps behind
9 Bouchut/Lamy/Zacchia (Ferrari) 19 laps behind
10 Biaggi/Bosch/Sullivan (Ferrari) 22 laps behind

5/9/04

Spanish GP wrap-up
Rubens 'gambled' in Spain
Trulli gives away trophy
Trulli 'amazed' Sato
Ralf 'expected more'
Button 'couldn't overtake'
Fisi 'quicker' than Montoya
'So many nice numbers' - Schu
McLaren is 'weak' - Haug
'Not surprised' by Renault - Schu
'Once in a career' start - Trulli
'Two stop' surprise
'Six in a row' in Monaco?
Trulli ambitious
'No grip' - Alonso
Montoya 'ran out of brakes'
Why did Schu's exhaust crack? 

5/9/04

Intruder runs onto track  Similar to last season, an intruder carrying a banner ran onto the Barcelona circuit today while the F1 cars were on their warm-up lap.  Race Marshall's ran him down and eventually tackled him to the ground and dragged him off before the cars formed on the starting grid.

5/9/04

Engine manufacturers meet to discuss next engine  The F1 engine manufacturers Ferrari, BMW, Renault, Honda, Mercedes, Toyota and Ford, met at the Spanish Grand Prix to discuss a way to cut costs in the next 18 months and to reduce HP to around 700 by reducing engine size to around 2.4 Liters.  Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug said after the meeting, "I cannot tell you whether it will be 10 or eight cylinder but I think we are on a very, very good development," he said. "I have been at various engine meetings in the last 10 years and I think we are better equipped right now for changes than we have been before. I just hope we can manage to finalize it in time so that the new engines are already running in 2006. This would be the perfect plan. If we can cut the costs by 50 percent by 2006 it would be a great job."

5/9/04
F3000

Liuzzi wins in Spain  Vitantonio Liuzzi has won his second F3000 race of the season, after taking the lead at Barcelona's first corner. The Italian, racing for Arden, made a better start than polesitter Enrico Toccacelo, then stayed in front until the checkered flag. Liuzzi's teammate Robert Doornbos had less luck. Slow away from the grid he continued on to lose places during the race, and after making two pit stops, he retired three laps from the end. Enrico Toccacelo finished second, with Raffaele Giammaria third after the AEZ driver emerged as the survivor of a massive four-way battle over the last fifteen laps. Jeffrey van Hooydonk had held the final podium position after the end of the scheduled pit stops, but Alan Van Der Merwe in the SuperNova behind him was clearly faster, and unable to get passed.

5/9/04

Big crowd in Spain  The attendance for today's Spanish GP in Barcelona was announced as 108,300.  All of the grandstands were full.

5/9/04

Bernie Ecclestone meets the press  While at Barcelona to conclude negotiations over the circuit's Spanish Grand Prix extension to 2011, Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone gave 20 minutes to the sport's press. Ecclestone shared his thoughts on several of F1's hottest topics of the moment and what he said makes essential reading.  Transcript

5/9/04

Latest F1 news from Spain
Stats 'don't impress' Button
Jaguar quiz 'standard ECU' plan
Spain wins F1 until 2011, but ...
F1 set for qualifying shake-up - Bernie
F1's 'not doomed' without change - Brawn
Coulthard 'not sick' of Formula One
Schu is 'already champion' - bookmaker
McLaren was 'distracted' - Newey
Bernie regrets F1's Europe-snub
'Michael and Juan' show resumes Sunday
Sato eyes 'special' F1 record
Button 'let off steam' - Barcelona
Coulthard waits for new McLaren
'Three stops' in Spain
What's wrong with Renault?
Bernie hints at 'long term' Brit GP future
Concorde is 'probably dead' - Ecclestone
Like talking to a 'stone wall' - Head
Schu 'does what he wants' - Montoya 

5/8/04

Berg named to post  RaceTeam Promotions announced the appointment of former Formula One racer Allen Berg as Manager, Driver and Team Relations for the North American Formula Renault Championships. Berg’s primary responsibilities will involve working as a liaison between series organizer RaceTeam Promotions and the drivers and teams of North American Formula Renault as the series continues to grow. Berg will begin work during the next round of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship on the weekend of May 20-22 at Mont Tremblant in Canada.

Berg is uniquely qualified for the role, as he has been an active participant in the sport for over thirty years, with his experience ranging from racing his way into Formula One from the karting ranks to running his own race team, and nearly everything in between.

“Allen brings a wealth of experience to this position, and I think that his knowledge will be a tremendous asset to the teams and drivers in North American Formula Renault,” said RaceTeam Promotions president John Kolody.

“We are continuing to assemble everything needed to develop the Formula Renault program here in North America, and work towards its continued growth from its start just under three months ago” continued Kolody. “Allen’s experiences-from team owner to driver coach to successful driver, will help us as an organization provide support for our drivers and teams as they establish themselves and move up.”

As part of the growth plan for the series, Berg will also work to promote the series and attract new teams and drivers to the Formula Renault ranks. Berg is looking forward to being an active participant in the series and believes the hard-fought lessons he has learned will help North American Formula Renault drivers as they race for their future.

5/8/04

Indy 500 FAQ's  Frequently asked questions about the Indianapolis 500. The 88th Indianapolis 500 takes place Sunday, May 30, with Indianapolis Star Opening Day on Sunday, May 9.  More.....

5/8/04
LMES

Audi on pole at Monza   Audi have given a clear indication they have the car to beat in the season opener of the newly founded Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES): Johnny Herbert, driving for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx, qualified the Audi R8 on pole position for tomorrow's race at Monza. He set the fastest time in the second of the two 45 minute sessions of qualifying on Saturday. Allan McNish qualified the second Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audi R8 in third place on the grid, completing the excellent result for the British importer. Audi Sport Japan Team Goh is starting the race from fourth position. Tom Kristensen set the best time in the number 5 R8 sports car during the last ten minutes of the session. The race will start on Sunday at 13:20hrs local time and will be finished after 1000 kilometres or six hours of racing.

Top-10 at Monza
1 Davies/Herbert (Audi R8) 1m 38.461s
2 Brabham/Johansson/Wallace (Zytek) 1m 38.617s
3 Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 1m 38.672s
4 Campbell-Walker/Minassian/Zacchia (DBA) 1m 39.542s
5 Ara/Capello/Kristensen (Audi R8) 1m 39.580s
6 Katoh/Michigami (Dome-Mugen) 1m40.012s
7 Barbosa/Barff/Short (Dallara-Judd) 1m 40.222s
8 Ayari/Collard (C60-Judd) 1m 40.730s
9 Lupberger/Stirling (Nasamax) 1m 42.078s
10 Belmondo/Gosselin/Saviozzi (C65-Courage) 1m 43.112s

5/8/04

TV Azteca starts ad campaign   As of today TV Azteca in Mexico is advertising their coverage of the Monterrey Grand Prix. The TV ad shows the Fundidora Park on a normal day, no stands, no huge crowds, kids playing. Then they show the park on day race. An off-screen voice says "isn`t it true that Fundidora Park is not the same without the race, we know you have been waiting for over a year, so TV Azteca is showing you the race live, May 23rd, only on TV Azteca."  Although you can also watch it on Fox Sports Espanol, if you have cable, it's good to see ads of the coverage 2 weeks before of the race.   Jose Arrambide

5/8/04

Latest F1 news from Spain
It's 'about time' - Montoya
'It means so much' - Sato
'Average,' says Rubens
'Of course I'm not happy' - Ralf
Da Matta 'overdrove'
Jaguar tell Klien to 'speed up'
'We knew it'd be difficult' - Haug
Sauber 'on fumes'
'Oops' - Button
Quicker than a Jordan - Bruni
Trulli gusty
Sato not 'intimidated' - Richards
Rivals line up for Spanish rematch
Ferrari 'has advantage' - Theissen
'It wasn't ideal' - Schumacher 

5/8/04

Bernie looking for new British GP promoter  Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that there is no British Grand Prix contract after the 2004 race and says that he is not going to promote the event himself. "I am not used to losing money," he said. Ecclestone said that he felt "sure" that a promoter would come forward and if they did a good job could "make it work and make a profit" but he added that it is looking more and more that races need government support to survive and pointed out that governments do support the Olympic Games and World Cup competitions. Asked whether he felt the British government would support the British GP, Ecclestone said that it was "pretty slim".  Grandprix.com

5/8/04

Bernie wants qualifying changed by midseason  Bernie Ecclestone says that he wants to see a new qualifying structure for Formula 1 within a few weeks. He said that if agreement can be made the qualifying could be changed in the midseason and said that he would prefer to see a system where qualifying would take place for one hour on Saturday, divided into two 30 minute sessions during which cars must run a minimum of six laps per session. If a car did not complete six laps it would be sent to the back of the grid. The grid would then be established by putting the best times from the two sessions together.  Grandprix.com

5/8/04

GPWC meeting in Barcelona  There is to be a meeting of the GPWC in Barcelona tomorrow to discuss the next moves in the negotiations over the future of the Formula 1 revenues. The talks over the regulations which will come into force in 2008 have revealed that the most important issue in order to get change accelerated is a new commercial deal between the teams and Formula One Management (FOM), the holder of the commercial rights of F1. Bernie Ecclestone, the man in charge of FOM wants to maintain his revenues from the sport but the teams are arguing that they should be getting more of the money and although Ecclestone appears to be willing to give some ground, it is still not enough for most of the team principals.  Grandprix.com  The GPWC is now considered by most people in the Formula 1 paddock to be a moribund organization and the plan appears to be each of the Formula 1 teams to negotiate their own commercial deal with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management. There have been rumours for some weeks that Ferrari has already concluded a long-term deal with FOM and that the other teams will now follow. Ecclestone has let slip that he is going to be spending an extra $670m on the teams between now and the end of the current Concorde Agreement in December 2007 but it seems that Bernie is keen to convince all concerned to agree to cancel the Concorde Agreement early so that cost-cutting changes can be brought in earlier than planned.. The additional money will be an incentive for the teams to agree terms. The GPWC representatives are not saying what the purpose of the Barcelona meeting is but speculation in the paddock is that it will be a question of how to unwind the organisation.  Grandprix.com

5/8/04

Spanish GP extended until 2011, Bernie sends warning  Bernie Ecclestone announced today that a new F1 deal for Barcelona – to host F1 grands prix until 2011.  On announcing the deal, Ecclestone said: “This contract is a normal standard contract that we have throughout Europe and it has a condition concerning tobacco legislation. Although the (Spanish) government is very happy to support this new contract, we have to bear in mind that the contract is subject to the legislation about what is going to happen on tobacco.   We hope that we can get that all sorted out so that we don't have to keep disappearing out of Europe. That is the last thing we want to do, especially leaving Barcelona.”   That said, we believe that there are many grands prix in Europe and that it's unavoidable that Europe will lose some of its races to some of the new tracks. Not only because of the new facilities that have been built, but also because of some of the new regulations on tobacco that makes Europe a less competitive place than other countries."

5/8/04

Sato leads Free Practice #4 in Spain   Live Timing

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'14"836 222.583 Km/h 13
2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'15"025 + 0'00"189 11
3. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'15"232 + 0'00"396 13
4. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'15"457 + 0'00"621 15
5. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'15"540 + 0'00"704 12
6. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"627 + 0'00"791 11
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"768 + 0'00"932 13
8. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'15"874 + 0'01"038 12
9. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'15"895 + 0'01"059 24
10. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'15"895 + 0'01"059 18
11. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"983 + 0'01"147 7
12. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'16"308 + 0'01"472 17
13. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'16"648 + 0'01"812 24
14. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'16"746 + 0'01"910 12
15. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"145 + 0'02"309 12
16. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"282 + 0'02"446 6
17. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'17"665 + 0'02"829 14
18. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'18"392 + 0'03"556 5
19. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'20"449 + 0'05"613 10
20. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"005 + 0'06"169 6

5/8/04

Button leads Free Practice #3 in Spain  

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"984 219.220 Km/h 10
2. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'16"015 + 0'00"031 8
3. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'16"048 + 0'00"064 4
4. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'16"233 + 0'00"249 7
5. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'16"519 + 0'00"535 8
6. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'16"685 + 0'00"701 11
7. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'16"721 + 0'00"737 6
8. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'16"795 + 0'00"811 8
9. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"106 + 0'01"122 8
10. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'17"252 + 0'01"268 8
11. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"277 + 0'01"293 6
12. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'17"294 + 0'01"310 4
13. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"428 + 0'01"444 8
14. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"860 + 0'01"876 7
15. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'18"643 + 0'02"659 13
16. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'19"146 + 0'03"162 10
17. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'19"851 + 0'03"867 18
18. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"949 + 0'03"965 12

5/8/04

Jourdain Jr. in shopping tour   Michel Jourdain will be on a supermarket tour in Monterrey. Gigante had full page ads in Monterrey newspapers announcing that Michel will be signing autographs in 3 different Gigante Stores, 2 on Monday the 10th, and 1 on Tuesday the 11th.  Jose Arrambide/AutoRacing1.com

5/8/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Sauber struggle
Nervous Alonso
Ralf 'on the way'
Panis wants point
Button not happy
Klien in gravel trap
I must improve - Pantano
Schu not sure
Kimi parks it up
Button can find time
Juan dislikes Spain 
Monopoly F1 is 'unsatisfactory' - Michelin
Toyota backs 'early engine' plan - Howett
Blame a 'lack of testing' - Jaguar
We'll stay in 'control tire' F1 - Bridgestone
Rookie Klien's 'doing ok' - Jaguar
'Give us another groove' - Michelin
Toyota has 'no room' for Scott Dixon
Toyota drivers to go - Howett
Celebrities in Spain
Rubens has F1's 'toughest job' - Brawn
Schu on pole 'unlikely' - Brawn
Button 'not happy' with BAR
Ferrari 'set the standard' - Montoya
Frank 'crazy' to ignore Nick - Eddie
'Keep an eye' on Button - Barrichello
Spain is 'waking up' to F1 - Marc Gene
We're 'champions' over one lap - Button
Schu presses 'main man' Button
'Should have kept Jacques' - Irvine
Ferrari 'can be caught' - Hakkinen
Jordan and a 'melting clock'
BAR is 'zero politics' team - Willis
Walkinshaw gets '$10 million' bill
Nothing 'new or radical' for FW26 - Montoya
'Nudge Schumacher off' - Irvine
'We won't win all 18' - Ross Brawn
Unusually cold at Catalunya
Michelin 'no longer' the best - source  

5/7/04

Dyson sets lap record at Mosport   Dyson Racing today completed a two-day test at Mosport International Raceway that saw James Weaver set a faster lap time with the #16 Thetford / Norcold Lola than he did in winning the pole for last year’s American Le Mans Series race at the legendary Canadian road circuit.

“Combined with the results from last month’s test at Mid-Ohio, the results this week at Mosport confirm the technical progress that our team has made over the winter,” said team owner Rob Dyson. “We won’t be racing at Mosport until August, but when we get there our goal is to win the pole again and improve by one position on our second-place overall finish last year.”


The program did hit one bump in the road – literally. The running schedule was interrupted briefly on Wednesday when the #20 Thetford / Norcold Lola crashed before entering Turn 8. Driver Andy Wallace was not injured in the accident, and while the damage to the car was relatively minor, on-site repairs were impossible and the test continued with just the #16 Lola.

The accident was caused by a combination of a maintenance problem with the track and a strong headwind. While driving through gusty conditions, Wallace’s Lola pitched over a severe frost heave left by an unusually harsh Canadian winter, and turned over. The car landed on its rollover bar, skidded briefly along the track, and then flipped back onto its wheels. Wallace stepped unaided from the car.

“It was a bit of an exciting ride,” Wallace said. “We checked the track first thing in the morning but you don’t notice everything in a rental car. Besides, all of us were eager to get on with our work. Afterwards, walking around the accident site, we noticed a large frost heave, which the data downloaded from the car confirms as having been the primary cause of the accident. I was sore when I woke up this morning, but other than that I’m fine.” Wallace continued to participate in the test, driving the #16 car.

The test was briefly delayed in order to give an outside contractor time to repair the frost heave. Later in the day, with the track fixed and despite cool temperatures, Weaver posted lap times approaching his 2003 ALMS pole time. “It’s a pity that we didn’t have both cars available,” Weaver noted. “We could have gotten through the items on our list faster with two cars, and it’s useful to be able to compare data from both cars. But we still had a productive and successful test.”

5/7/04

New Cleveland GP website   Bringing the annual Roar by the Shore Cleveland summertime celebration to the rest of the world through the Internet, Grand Prix of Cleveland officials today proudly unveiled the design for the 2004 Official Web Site of this year's event at www.grandprixofcleveland.com. Designed and managed by web partner Cinemagic Inc., the grandprixofcleveland.com offers visitors a complete overview of this summer's U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, July 1-3 at Burke Lakefront Airport. "This new web site design is very user-friendly and we're certainly proud to unveil www.grandprixofcleveland.com to those around the world that will be following our 23rd annual event this summer," said Grand Prix of Cleveland General Manager Rena Shanaman. "Whether you want to purchase tickets or just follow the news as the event draws closer, you can do it all and do it easily at the new Internet home of the Grand Prix."

5/7/04

Indy 500 TV times  ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 will provide extensive live coverage of the 88th Indianapolis 500 as ABC celebrates its 40th anniversary of coverage of the most prestigious race in the world.  ABC first broadcast the "500" in 1965 as part of its "Wide World of Sports" series and has covered the event live since 1986. It's the second-longest broadcast partnership in sports.

Television coverage of the Indianapolis 500 will include on-track action and a view of the many behind-the-scenes efforts from the famed Gasoline Alley garage area, as teams and drivers work to find the speed to first qualify and then challenge for a coveted Indy victory. Live, nightly updates on track activity days will air on "SportsCenter at Indy," a new show from 6:30-7 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 with popular motorsports commentator John Kernan serving as host. The "SportsCenter at Indy" shows start Monday, May 10.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will team up to provide five hours of MBNA Pole Qualifying coverage Saturday, May 15 and six hours of coverage on Bump Day, Sunday, May 23. ESPN2 will deliver four hours of coverage on the second day of qualifications Sunday, May 16.  Dr. Jerry Punch will serve as host for ESPN and ESPN2's coverage of qualifications, and 2003 Indianapolis 500 race winner Gil de Ferran, who retired from competition after the 2003 IRL IndyCar(R) Series season, will work alongside Punch as analyst.

ESPN2 will broadcast the second annual Futaba Freedom 100 Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesTM race live from 2-3 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, May 22. Punch will provide play-by-play while de Ferran's former Marlboro Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, will assist Punch as color commentator.  ESPN2 will also carry 2 1/2 hours of live coverage from Miller Lite Carb Day on Thursday, May 22, which includes the all-important two-hour final practice for the "500" starting field and the Checkers/Rally's Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge.

ABC's live broadcast of the 88th Indianapolis 500 will begin with pre-race coverage at 11 a.m. (EDT) May 30, followed by flag-to-flag coverage of the race at noon. The broadcast television talent for the 88th Indianapolis 500 includes: Terry Gannon, race broadcast host; Paul Page, play-by-play announcer; Scott Goodyear, analyst; Jack Arute, color commentator; Jamie Little, Gary Gerould, Todd Harris, Punch and Vince Welch, pit reporters.

5/7/04

IRL to smell pretty  Engineered for excitement, R.P.M. is an exhilarating, competitively on trend scent cologne. The concept was inspired by the growing popularity of the #1 spectator sport - race car driving. Our year-long partnership with the Indy Racing League will enhance recognition for both R.P.M. and the exciting IndyCar® Series events. The R.P.M. Eau de Toilette Spray (too funny) is $14.50 -- a great price and just in time for Father's Day. Be sure to stock up so you can offer it to your Customers as the perfect gift. The more you order the more chances you have to win two tickets to the IndyCar® Series race in California on October 3. The lucky winner will get an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of the race track garage and pit, and a chance to meet famous IndyCar® drivers. Avon Cosmetics

5/7/04

F1 cars to go on a diet  Grand Prix cars are now designed to come in weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds) UNDER the minimum weight of 600 kilos (1,320 Lbs with driver, compared to over 1,700 Lbs with driver for Champ Cars). Then, to prep the car to the specific needs of the next track, heavyweight tungsten plates are fastened to various areas of the car to precisely tailor it to that track. Proposed new regulations would lower the minimum weight to eliminate this practice.  The lighter F1 cars will then be at 1,100 Lbs with driver compared to 1,700 Lbs for a Champ Car and IRL.  That is a 600 Lb difference.  And you wonder why Champ Cars look so slow on street and road courses?  Imagine how slow an underpowered  IRL car will be?  Road courses will make the IRL look like a 4th rate training series behind Toyota Atlantic cars, which will be faster.  They should stick to their ovals or risk severe image damage.

5/7/04

Herdez team completes Milwaukee test   Herdez Competition has completed another successful test, this time at the historic Milwaukee Mile. It was the first oval test of the season for the Herdez duo. Demonstrating the fact that Champ Car drivers are the most diversified, perfecting all track disciplines, both Dominguez and Hunter-Reay were up to speed immediately at The Mile, despite not having driven on an oval in nearly a year.

Team Manager Vince Kremer was pleased with the results of the test and the team’s continued progress. “We went to this test with two trains of thought and worked toward one direction. We validated our developments with both drivers as they both left the test happy with their cars and confident for the race. Our times showed good progress being second quick on the first day and first and third quick on day two.”

Hunter-Reay completed nearly 200 miles on Wednesday, setting the second fastest time of the day when he lapped the 1.032-mile oval in 20.93 seconds. “I haven’t had a lot of time on the ovals in a Champ Car and this was my first experience on an oval with the Lola. My car was great. I am confident we will run up front when we return here in June,” said Hunter-Reay.

Thursday saw Dominguez top the charts with a best lap time of 21.22 seconds, his day was cut short when the rain set in; he completed 115 laps. Dominguez commented on his test, “the set-up my crew put on the car last night is good. It’s been a while since we have been on an oval, but my team never gets rusty. I have a good car for the race and I am looking forward to it.” Hunter-Reay completed a race segment simulation, completing 45 laps and setting the third best time of the day at 21.80 seconds.

5/7/04

California final ratings up 15%  Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway earned a 6.1 rating and a 14 share in final Nielsen Media Research figures, a 15.1 percent increase over last year's 5.3. Fox says that through nine races this season it is averaging a 5.9 rating, up 2 percent from last year's 5.8. Friday's Sports Business Daily also will report that final figures for the May 1 Stater Brothers 300 Busch Series race on Fox earned a 1.9/5, down 5.0 percent from a 2.0/5 in 2003 and down 20.8 percent from a 2.4/6 in 2002. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter The Auto Club 500, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race held last Sunday at California Speedway, was the second most-watched sporting event of the weekend. The Auto Club 500 also finished as the highest-rated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in the speedway's history. An average of 9,817,000 viewers tuned in the Auto Club 500, a 19% increase over the viewers that tuned in to the 2003 event. An average of 6,577,000 households tuned in to the Auto Club 500, a 17% increase over the households that tuned in to the 2003 event. The Auto Club 500, won by four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, ranked second only to the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby. It out-rated the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game, which it aired directly against. The Auto Club 500 also aired directly against the PGA, AFL, NHL Playoffs, MLB and LPGA. Several key markets have shown year-to-date household viewing increases in 2004. They are Orlando (39%), Miami (31%), Dallas (28%), Los Angeles (19%), New York (10%), Atlanta (15%) and Seattle (19%). The largest growing demographic viewer groups for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are females ages18-24 (a 27% increase over 2003), females ages 18 to 34 (20%) and males ages 18-24 (11%). Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research. NASCAR PR

5/7/04

Dangerous Curves seen by 550K households, Tracy next   Most racing fans know of the exploits of 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), whether they be his on-track clashes, his irreverent off-track demeanor or his 27 Champ Car victories. Champ Car fans will get an up-close look at the defending series champion and current points leader on this weekend’s installment of Spike TV’s Dangerous Curves show. The show, which follows the behind-the-scenes action and lifestyles of those involved in the Champ Car World Series, airs Sunday afternoon at 1:30 Eastern Time, with a replay that night at 12 a.m. Host Bronte Tagliani will join Tracy at his Las Vegas home where the Canadian driver shows his vast guitar collection, his stash of driving helmets from many of his racing counterparts and his custom street cars. Tracy also gives a separate interview where he talks about his desire to become the first back-to-back Champ Car title winner since Alex Zanardi in 1997-98. Bronte and her husband Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) will go to a Las Vegas kart track where Alex explains why karting is an integral part of a racer’s training regimen. The Tagliani family, each of whom has their own personal karts, will then hit the track for some hot laps. Dangerous Curves made the trip to the Milwaukee Mile this week to cover the open test session at the venerable oval track and will have on-track action and interviews from the first two days of the session. In addition, the action of the Champ Car World Series will be set to music with a new music video. This will be the fourth installment of the Spike TV Champ Car-themed show. Last week’s episode drew a respectable 0.5 rating on a Sunday afternoon, drawing 411,000 households while the late-night re-air drew another 165,000 households. The show airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time for the next two weeks as the series leads into the second race of the 2004 season, the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. The race will also be shown live on Spike TV as well as on HDNet.  [Editor's Note:  550,000 households equates to around 700,000 viewers.  A respectable number for a Sunday afternoon show.  Hopefully for Champ Car's sake, they start getting those kind of numbers for their races on Spike.  Since the broadcasts are already delayed until 4:00 PM in most markets, they would be wise to delay them to Sunday evenings.  Ratings would then go to 2.0+ instantly.  Why?  Because that is prime time.  Except for diehard NASCAR fans, few people stay home on Sunday afternoons to watch TV.  Busy, busy, busy is the norm today.]

5/7/04

Ford sees improvements in Nextel Cup cars  By the numbers, Ford's fortunes through the first 10 races of the 2004 Nextel Cup season aren't much different from the start of its frustrating 2003 season. That's a bad place to look, said Greg Specht, Ford Racing of North America's operations manager. In this case, Specht said the numbers are fibbing a bit. He said they are not indicative of the way the Tauruses are performing. “Overall,” Specht said, “I'm pleased and I'm optimistic.” A year ago at this time, three Ford drivers were in the top 10 in points — leader Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Elliott Sadler. Between them, they had three victories and four DNFs — races they failed to finish. This year, there are again three Ford drivers in the top 10 — the same three drivers. They have a total of four victories and just two DNFs. Improvement in the Fords is most evident, they say, on bigger tracks such as Daytona International Speedway in Florida and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Those are the tracks where the aerodynamic shortcomings of the past appear to have been reduced. The 2004 Fords have subtly changed their noses and tails. The most noticeable change is on the grille opening, which has gone from oval to a more rectangular shape. It's a subtle change, but an apparently effective one. Ford picked up a victory at a superspeedway when Elliott Sadler won at Talladega. And there have been Fords on the poles at both superspeedways— Greg Biffle at Daytona and Ricky Rudd at Talladega. In addition, Sadler started alongside Biffle on the front row at Daytona. There is major optimism in the Ford camp when it comes to engine power. Though there have been some mechanical problems, the collaboration of Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing in building engines has been a success, Specht said. Engines built in the new Yates-Roush engine shop have won four of the first 10 races. More good news is in the pipeline — though that pipeline appears to be longer than had been hoped. NASCAR granted Ford teams use of a new piston head late last year. It was hoped that the head would be attached to the engines a couple of weeks ago, but it is still in the testing stage. Specht says the philosophy has been to not rush the new piston heads into use. Kansas City Star

5/7/04

Jeff Gordon visits F1 in Barcelona  NASCAR star Jeff Gordon is in Barcelona this weekend as a guest of the Williams F1 team.


Photos by Clive Mason & Mark Thompson/Getty Images

5/7/04
Industry News

Despite ruling, Goodwin still in jail  A state appellate court has refused to order the immediate release of former racing promoter Michael Goodwin, even though the same court ruled last month that there is not enough evidence to try him in Orange County on murder charges.  Goodwin has been in Orange County Jail for more than two years, under suspicion of killing racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife, Trudy, outside their Los Angeles County home in 1988. On Monday, the 4th District Court of Appeal, without comment, denied Goodwin's request for immediate release. FOR THE RECORD: Thompson slaying case —An article in some editions of Thursday's California section about Michael Goodwin, accused of killing racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife in Los Angeles County, included a quote from his attorney saying that a state appellate court had found Goodwin innocent. As the story stated, the court ruled that Orange County prosecutors could not prove they had jurisdiction to try Goodwin for murder. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has refused to prosecute Goodwin, citing insufficient evidence. But the Orange County district attorney's office did file charges, alleging the murders were plotted in Orange County.  On April 23, the appellate court ordered the dismissal of charges against Goodwin, ruling that Orange County prosecutors could not prove they have jurisdiction. The judges' opinion said: "The prosecuting county is not connected with the murders at all. That is the problem." After the ruling, Goodwin's attorney, Jeffrey S. Benice, asked the judges to order Goodwin's immediate release. On Monday, the court refused. The ruling won't become final for 60 days, meaning Goodwin will remain locked up at least into June. Benice said Goodwin might have to remain in jail even longer, because Orange County prosecutors were expected to appeal to the state Supreme Court. "Goodwin is very disappointed. He has to sit in the can for another 30 to 60 days, even though the [appellate] court said he is innocent. He has been locked up for 2 1/2 years. It's an Orwellian and sad experience," Benice said. Benice said he would file another motion in June seeking Goodwin's immediate release.  LA Times

5/7/04
Industry News

Watkins Glen to get a facelift  Continuing with a fan-focused initiative that began last year, Watkins Glen International will begin several new upgrades to the historic road course, highlighted by new frontstretch grandstands. Immediately following the final race of the 2004 season, Glen officials will begin tearing down the existing frontstretch grandstands and putting in its place new aluminum grandstand seats that include seatbacks. Ticketholders for the 2004 SIRIUS at The Glen in the frontstretch grandstands will be given first right of refusal on the new seats for the 2005 event, as is customary with each renewal year.

"New grandstands are yet another step in our ongoing plan to renovate and upgrade our facility," said track President Craig Rust. "The commitment of several million dollars to Watkins Glen reinforces International Speedway Corporation's commitment to road racing and The Glen."

In addition to new grandstands, the existing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage will be renovated, answering the calls by teams to double the width of the doors, making entry and exit much easier. A new roof will be added, as well as a new exterior to match the newly-installed gray Sunoco office at the front corner of the garage.

The multi-million dollar enhancements and upgrades also includes Phase Three of the ongoing municipal water and sewer project, which calls for remaining infield areas, including the campgrounds, to be hooked up to the new system. A new restroom has also been added in the Gate One area that will include shower capabilities on the SIRIUS at The Glen NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend.   The Glen

5/7/04

Michelin statement on proposed single-tire idea  The FIA has recently made public a project for the future which includes the introduction of a single tire manufacturer in Formula One. Michelin has yet to be consulted officially on this subject. “I am surprised by this course of action,” said Michelin Group Chairman and CEO, Edouard Michelin, “as, when we entered Formula One in 2001, it was following strong lobbying by certain teams that wanted to benefit from the positive effects of our technology on the performance of their cars. What’s more, their requests were supported by the Formula One organizers to heighten the sporting interest.” Michelin has decided to consult with all its partners before making its position known on the very important subject of an eventual single tire monopoly. Michelin is of course very much in favor of the objective to reduce costs in F1, costs which have increased greatly in recent years. Faced with this objective, Michelin believes the single tire manufacturer option is not a satisfactory solution. On the other hand, Michelin would like to propose a number of solutions to reduce costs while maintaining the spirit of competition, that is to say the possibility of comparing one’s performance against that of one’s competitors, within the framework of clear and stable rules.  [Editor's Note:  Bridgestone and Michelin can collaborate and develop a single tire together, badged as either Bridgestone or Michelin, depending on which team they are for.  In this way their engineers can still work on developing better tires over time, but you would not have the runaway speed escalation you now have with head-to-head competition.  It can be better managed with new tires being released only with FIA approval - i.e. managed speed escalation.]

5/7/04

Button tops Free Practice 2 in Barcelona
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
 1. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"935 219.361 Km/h 19
2. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'16"188 + 0'00"253 34
3. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'16"360 + 0'00"425 37
4. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'16"433 + 0'00"498 25
5. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'16"534 + 0'00"599 20
6. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'16"698 + 0'00"763 28
7. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'16"729 + 0'00"794 25
8. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'16"734 + 0'00"799 20
9. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"798 + 0'00"863 17
10. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'16"833 + 0'00"898 24
11. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'16"925 + 0'00"990 23
12. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'17"067 + 0'01"132 27
13. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"069 + 0'01"134 16
14. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'17"178 + 0'01"243 31
15. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'17"608 + 0'01"673 31
16. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'17"676 + 0'01"741 21
17. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"906 + 0'01"971 22
18. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'17"970 + 0'02"035 4
19. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'18"001 + 0'02"066 24
20. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'18"117 + 0'02"182 23
21. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'18"726 + 0'02"791 21
22. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"149 + 0'03"214 17
23. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'20"313 + 0'04"378 15
24. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'22"189 + 0'06"254 31

5/7/04

Drissi intense and determined  When Motorock Trans-Am series driver Tomy Drissi heads to the track, his intensity meter is pegged and is sole focus is on winning. Drissi’s passion and vigor work well behind the wheel of his No. 5 Jaguar XKR and compliment the Rocketsports Racing championship team. Drissi entered the Trans-Am competition in 1999 and won “Rookie of the Year” honors. He followed his debut award with “Most Improved Driver” and “Crew of the Year” for the Drissi Motorsports team, which he formed in 2000.   More....

5/7/04

Schumacher tops Free Practice 1 in Barcelona
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'15"658 220.164 Km/h 8
2. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'16"033 + 0'00"375 8
3. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'16"616 + 0'00"958 26
4. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'16"639 + 0'00"981 26
5. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'17"060 + 0'01"402 6
6. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'17"165 + 0'01"507 12
7. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'17"429 + 0'01"771 11
8. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'17"481 + 0'01"823 6
9. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'17"489 + 0'01"831 6
10. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"563 + 0'01"905 5
11. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'17"635 + 0'01"977 10
12. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'17"763 + 0'02"105 11
13. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'17"973 + 0'02"315 7
14. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'18"341 + 0'02"683 16
15. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'18"362 + 0'02"704 12
16. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'18"603 + 0'02"945 20
17. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'18"615 + 0'02"957 14
18. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'18"655 + 0'02"997 23
19. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'18"760 + 0'03"102 11
20. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'18"886 + 0'03"228 12
21. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'19"198 + 0'03"540 16
22. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'19"925 + 0'04"267 14
23. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'20"858 + 0'05"200 16
24. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"053 + 0'05"395 21
25. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"535 + 0'05"877 17

5/7/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Dave Richards to buy BAR?
Alonso 'uncomfortable' in Renault
Qualifying 'to change' in 2004 - Briatore
Button targets F1 win
Honda to stay with BAR - Richards
Now the 'vested interests' come out - Richards
Did Villeneuve spark BAR form?
Formula One to shed jobs
'Streamlined' Button has changed 
Don't try to 'cut costs' - Richards
Button doubts he can beat Schu
Future is 'in my hands' - Schumacher
Rubens needs 'more time' in F2004
Brawn slams 'test limit' plan
Heidfeld and Williams
Montoya renews Schu assault
Button backs Schumacher
BAR is a 'tough nut to crack' - Schu
Schu flattery 'can go to your head' - Richards
'Difficult' to cut costs - Schumacher
Speedy Coulthard
Shunt was 'Ralf's fault' - Alonso
Ralf backs brother over Montoya rant
F1 aces play tennis
Concorde Agreement is 'obsolete' - Mosley
Barcelona is '103 meters shorter' - Coulthard
New team must 'earn rights' - Jordan
Pizzonia 'info' doubtful - Ralf
Jaguar's not on the pace - Webber
BAR unveil 'radical' new livery
Traction control ban is no quick fix - Montoya
Ralf tells Head to 'get the car right'
Blue sky at Catalunya 

5/6/04

Gordon picks up Char-Broil backing  Char-Broil®, the world’s leader in gas, charcoal and electric grills, has joined race driver Robby Gordon as a sponsor of his Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Busch Series teams. Char-Broil’s portable grill brand Thermos Grill2Go has prominent identification on the No. 70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet that Gordon will race in the May 30th Indy 500. In addition, Thermos Grill2Go has placement on the No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevy that Gordon drives in the NASCAR Busch Series.

Char-Broil’s Grilling Team Tour will be trackside at the Indianapolis 500 over Memorial Day weekend, the NASCAR GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 22nd and the NASCAR UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 16th in Charlotte. The tour consists of a 40-foot mobile marketing trailer that will travel to races, events and retail locations along the east coast and throughout the midwest for 27 weeks this summer.

"I've learned during my career that racing success comes from associating yourself with the right people and forming partnerships with the right companies," said driver-team owner Gordon. "We've been fortunate enough to do that with Char-Broil and Grill2Go. Their support allows us to do what we love to do. Our team has gotten off to a very good start in the NASCAR Busch Series this year, and I'm confident we'll be competitive at Indianapolis, as well."

5/6/04

Dominguez paces 2nd day at Milwaukee  Those hardy fans of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford that braved the chilling temperatures at last year’s night race at the Milwaukee Mile know all about how quickly the weather can turn for the worse in the Wisconsin city.

Some of the teams and drivers of the Champ Car World Series got a first-hand reminder of what Mother Nature can do Thursday afternoon as they dodged raindrops in a day that tested patience as much as it did race cars. Five teams disdained the weather forecast and took to the Milwaukee Mile oval in preparation for the June 3-5 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250. Heavy cloud cover greeted the teams in the morning, but the clouds held off long enough for teams to get some work in before opening up in the noon hour.

The rains caused a three-hour delay while trucks worked to dry the track, but like it did in last year’s qualifying session at the Mile, the raindrops came back just as the trucks were making headway and put a premature end to the day’s efforts.

Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) put up the fastest lap of the day among the eight drivers that took to the track, making a trip around the 1.032-mile oval in 21.22 seconds. Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonalds Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) also broke into the 21-second range before the day was cut short.

Bourdais nearly had his day ended much earlier when he had hard contact with the Turn Two wall, but upon finding out that Bourdais was unhurt, the Newman/Haas Racing team went to work on the backup car and had the Frenchman back on the track in short order.

Both RuSPORT cars, the two PKV Racing machines and the Rocketsports car of Nelson Philippe (#17 Lease Plan Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) also turned laps on the breezy day, the second of three test days available to Champ Car teams at the Milwaukee Mile this week.

“I’ve driven here in a Barber Dodge Pro Series car, but there is absolutely no comparison between those and Champ Cars,” said Philippe on the venerable oval, “I think that driving a Pro Series out here now would feel like I was pitting in a Champ Car.”

Weather permitting, teams will test on the Milwaukee Mile again Friday as they prepare for the June 3-5 Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250. The event will feature the Champ Car season’s only night race on Saturday, which can be seen on Spike TV and HDNet as well as on the official website of the series, www.champcarworldseries.com. The unofficial top times of the day are listed below.
1) Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 21.22 seconds
2) Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 21.60
3) Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 21.80
4) Jimmy Vasser (#12 NII Holdings Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 22.03
5) Nelson Philippe (#17 LeasePlan Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 22.32
6) Roberto Gonzalez (#21 NII Holdings Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 22.51
7) A.J. Allmendinger (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 22.61
8) Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) – 22.67

5/6/04
A1 Grand Prix

A1 Grand Prix to mimic Champ Cars street circuit market  In an interview with Pitpass, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, or simply 'Mak' said, "We know the circuits that we're going to use and there'll be a lot of street races," he replies. "We don't want to do ovals. We're currently looking at between ten and fourteen different events."  Well, we hear they may have already beaten Champ Car to sign a deal with Durban, South Africa.  What's next?

5/6/04

Briatore: Monaco meeting best in 14 years  Q: What are your feelings about the rule changes? You were pushing for major, major cuts. You wanted 50 percent cost cutting. How do you feel about the meeting on Tuesday?
BRIATORE: It depends on the budget you have. You are cutting 50 percent, if someone is already cutting 50 percent it is not possible to cut another 50 percent. I believe we need to do something and the meeting was very good and, really, it is one of the first few meetings good in Formula One in the last 14 years. I believe that together we need to do something because we need to take care of our public, our customers, the people watching television. We need to give them a better race. I don’t think that people care if, in Fernando’s car, there is a 2.4 liter engine, a three liter, 1.9, people don’t really have an interest in that. What they are interested in is if Fernando and Michael are fighting together. They want to watch a race. And our product is so expensive and we never take into consideration our customer. I mean, it is a very engineering exercise, our business, and we forget there are millions and millions of people watching us, we forget the marketing issue, we forget the commercial issue. Ten years I have been talking about that and everyone thinks that I don’t have the motorsport in my stomach or this shit. Now everybody has motorsport in the stomach and everyone has run out of money and it is very good!  Full Interview - Alonso & Briatore

5/6/04
Industry News

One Lap of America comes to Road America  One Lap of America competitors from all over the U.S., in a wide variety of competition-prepared vehicles, will be on track at Road America. Gates open at 7 a.m. and entrance is free. Andrew The Bachelor and Adam Firestone, along with George Bruggenthies, Road America president and son Alec, are among the competitors. Car and Driver magazine columnist Tony Swan and new bride Mary Seelhorst are competing, plus uplinking photos and daily stories to Car and Driver's website, www.caranddriver.com Competitors will be driving to Elkhart Lake from Hallett, Okla., a 900-mile cross-country trek for the next-to-last day of the endurance event. The first runs will start around 9 a.m. and the second runs will start around 12:30 p.m. Following the second runs, teams will head off for the seventh and final day of the competition in the endurance event to be held at Tire Rack's headquarters in South Bend, Ind.

5/6/04

John Andretti wants to do double  John Andretti said during his segment when ask what his plans are to run the Indy 500 and possible the Coca-Cola 600 in May: "I hate not being out there every weekend, and hopefully the plan is to get back on track as soon as possible. The Coca-Cola 600 is such a great race as is the Indy 500. We were the first one to do them both, and I would love to do them again. Who knows what's going to happen? But we're working toward both of them actually at this point, and we'll see. Obviously the Coca-Cola 600 is toward the end (of the month), and right up to the end, we're looking at all of the options, but then we have the Indy 500 and there are so many activities that go on. Even though the track opens, it doesn't mean there's not an opportunity. There are three days of qualifying, and, of course, the last day of qualifying being after the Nextel All-Star Challenge." FoxSports

5/6/04

Larry Foyt wants to do double too  Larry Foyt will be heading to Indianapolis on Sunday, May 9th to spend the month of May preparing the car for his first attempt to run in the Indy 500. Foyt Racing is still in search of a sponsor for the event, and would also be interested in running the "Memorial Day Double" when a sponsor is found. There will be three Foyt's at Indy for the first time ever, AJ (as owner), Anthony (14 Conseco) and Larry. “It’s incredible,” Larry said. “I have always said that Indy was the reason I wanted to drive race cars. Every time I go there I am reminded of that--the place just gives me chills. By far it will be the biggest thing I’ve done in my life. I am thrilled beyond words.” Any one interested in sponsoring Foyt Racing in the Indy 500 or the Memorial Day Double should contact Foyt Racing in Mooresville, NC

5/6/04

Montoya calls for permanent Race Stewards  "You need more consistency. We have been pushing to have the same stewards every weekend,” Juan Montoya said in Barcelona on Thursday. ‘I think everybody believes that would be a good thing. It's about how the things are handled. You are meant to do one move on the straight and after the first chicane he went all the way to the left and all the way to the right, so how do you handle that? That's two moves. We need to know what we are and are not allowed to do.”

"I don't mind closing the door and things like that but I do mind when you actually hit someone off the circuit. You look at his hands, the way they went, you can't do anything. People complain there is no overtaking, it is boring, but you try to do some overtaking and when you are taken off the circuit nothing happens. How do you allow overtaking when you make moves like that?”

"What are you allowed to do and what are you not allowed to do. I think it needs to be clearer. But we have to have some sort of rules. If it is out of hand like this with rules, then without rules it would be outrageous."

5/6/04

Borg Warner trophy expanded  The Borg-Warner Trophy, which carries the sterling silver bas-relief likeness of each Indianapolis 500 winner, has been enlarged to accommodate additional winners through 2034. The expansion "ensures a place for Indianapolis 500 winners to be honored for the next generation," Indianapolis Motor Speedway senior vice president Joie Chitwood said Thursday. The trophy now stands 5 feet, 4-3/4 inches and weighs 150 pounds, an increase of 4 inches and 15 pounds. The difference is in an enlarged base, which is 12-3/4 inches high.

5/6/04

NASCAR looks to diminish Champ Car on Spike TV  The oval track cartel continues to attack the Champ Car product from every angle.  Now they are muscling in on Spike TV.  Prediction: NASCAR will soon overwhelm Spike TV with their brand of racing, so much so that Champ Car will be hardly visible.  Press Release:  Spike TV hits the ignition Sunday, May 9 (10:00-10:30pm) with the greatest thrills and spills from the history of NASCAR with Stock Car Nation. This original, half-hour series, will delve into the network's rich collection of NASCAR highlights and will feature thrilling moments from the sport's most memorable races. Stock Car Nation will run the gamut of NASCAR history with different themed episodes including a countdown of racing's royal families, a look at the "Bad Boys of Racing," a compilation of Stock Car's most fantastic finishes, and a decade of bumper to bumper battles between Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. "This isn't your dad's highlight show - it's a wild, action-packed trip through the hottest moments in NASCAR history," said Kevin Kay, Executive Vice-President, Programming & Production, Spike TV. "This must-see series for the NASCAR fan serves as a major component of our "Motor Mayhem" month. The series also includes exclusive interviews with NASCAR's top drivers as they take a look back at many of the sport's most historic and unforgettable moments. Those interviewed include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle, Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, and Ned Jarrett. Legendary artist, Sam Bass, who was NASCAR's first officially licensed artist and who creates the car paint schemes for many of the sport's top drivers, will have his original art displayed on the series. "I'm thrilled to be a part of Spike TV's new program," said Bass. "Having grown up watching the sport and always wanting to be involved through my artwork, this platform for showcasing my artwork and integrating it with the sport's history is a tremendous opportunity." Spike TV PR

5/6/04

Local government campaigning for IRL race at The Glen  Letters were received today from Barbara Halpin, interim President, Schuyler County chamber of commerce.  The letter stated "the chamber has joined a regional effort to secure an Indy League race here at Watkins Glen International in 2005. The potential benefits to Schuyler and the region are many, including direct spending, increase in sales tax and additional exposure. You can help us secure a race by joining in a letter writing campaign. We have included a sample letter for your use. Please feel free to create your own. Please send a copy of your letter back to the Chamber so we can track our progress. ..." The sample letter, addressed to Mr. Ken Ungar, Senior VP of Business Affairs, IRL, is as follows: "Dear Mr. Ungar: I'm a big fan of auto racing and a big fan of Watkins Glen International. "The Glen" hosts a broad range of racing events. The facility is great, the staff is professional, and it all comes together as one of the best locations for road racing. Fans come from all over the Northeast and Canada. There is one thing that is missing...open wheel racing. Won't you please consider Watkins Glen International for an Indy Racing League event?  The teams are prepared for road courses; IRL should come to the location where it all started. After all, they've been racing in Watkins Glen since the late 1940's.  As a race fan, the combination of Indy Racing League and Watkins Glen would be very powerful. Sell lots of tickets, open up a new market, and be the newest part of America's road racing history. Best regards, Your Name"  [Editor's Note: She forgot to mention CART deemed the track too unsafe for their fast open wheel cars.  Even though the IRL cars will be much slower than a Champ Car, the IRL will still have to accept unsafe conditions for their drivers, or demand the track make improvements.  Will the IRL draw a big crowd at The Glen?  Absolutely not.  Why they are road racing is beyond us.  Their fan base is primarily oval track folks who despised everything about what CART was.  Now they have foreign drivers, leased engines, high cost and road races.  They would be wise to stick with their original business plan - riding piggyback on NASCAR on the ovals.]

5/6/04

McFarland crashes in TMS test  Mark McFarland was involved in a fourth-turn incident during the final hours of Wednesday's Dodge NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series test at Texas Motor Speedway. McFarland, driver of the Harris Trucking Dodge, was transported by ground to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth following the accident as a precautionary measure. McFarland made hard contact with the fourth-turn wall with his truck coming to rest on the apron. McFarland was out of the truck and walking around with safety personnel following the incident. Seven Dodge teams participated in the first of a two-day test at Texas. The drivers testing included Ted Musgrave, Andy Houston, Bobby Hamilton, Chase Montgomery, Chad Chaffin, Steve Park and McFarland.

5/6/04

IRL's day in DC  2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner Scott Sharp gave members of Congress and the media rides in an IndyCar(R) Series two-seater race car through the streets of Washington D.C., on Wednesday, May 5 in a ceremony honoring the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Also participating in the ceremony, hosted by U.S. Representative Julia Carson of Indiana and the Indiana Society of Washington, D.C., were Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Tony George, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr., 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. and recently retired Indy 500 veteran Robbie Buhl.

"We had a great day in Washington D.C. where we helped Delphi celebrate Indiana Day," George said. "They hosted a reception here in Washington for Congressional delegates and members of the media who came out, and we had a great afternoon. We were introduced by Congresswoman Julia Carson, who later took a two-seater ride with Scott Sharp, which was a highlight of the day.

"It was a great opportunity for the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be represented here in the nation's capital to kick off the month of May."

Congressional delegates that took rides included U.S. Representatives Carson, who received the inaugural ride, and Chris Chocola, both from Indiana. U.S. Representative Mike Pence of Indiana will take a two-seater ride at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


"It was great," Sharp said. "There's so much excitement around May for Indiana, obviously. We're about to kickoff a three-week stretch. There's such support that comes from Julia Carson, so to have the two-seater down here and to be able to drive around the Capitol grounds as well as give her a ride, it was pretty special."

Sharp and Unser will compete in the 88th Indianapolis 500. Cheever owns Indianapolis 500 participant Red Bull Cheever Racing, while Buhl is co-owner of Indy participant Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Rutherford is a driving coach for the Indy Racing League(R) and drives the Pace Car at league events.

The 88th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 30. Indianapolis Star Opening Day is Sunday, May 9, with Pole Day Saturday, May 15.

5/6/04

Bourdais totals car at Milwaukee  UPDATE  McDonald's® driver Sebastien Bourdais was involved in a testing accident at approx. 9:15 a.m. CST today but did not sustain any injuries. It was the second of a two-day test that began yesterday at the 1.032-mile Milwaukee Mile oval at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. Bourdais lost control of his race car between Turns 1 & 2 and made heavy contact with the concrete wall at the exit of Turn 2. The extent of the damage will not be known until the car returns to the race shop in Lincolnshire, Ill. He resumed testing in his backup race car until rain ended the day in mid-afternoon. "I was probably going 150 mph when the back end of the car swapped ends between the first and second turns," said Bourdais. "There was no warning. It was a hard hit but fortunately I was okay. We were able to continue testing in the back up car until the rain came." Both Bourdais and PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira tested yesterday while Bourdais continued today. Neither the amount of miles completed nor the best lap time was available at release time.   Newman/Haas Racing  5/6/04 - Newman/Haas driver Sebastien Bourdais had a big accident today at Milwaukee.  He is OK, but his car is totaled.  The high cost of oval track racing continues.  Yesterday Hunter-Reay was on a flyer when Roberto Gonzalez, driving substantially slower, unexpectedly pulled down into Ryan's line taking all the air off the front of the #4 car at the exact time all of the weight of the #4 car was transferred to the front of Ryan's car because Ryan had totally backed out of the throttle attempting to avoid Gonzalez. Ryan did an amazing job of not only avoiding Gonzalez but then keeping it off the wall riding out a pretty spectacular tank slapper with plumes of smoke.  We imagine Ryan went to have a talk with Jimmy Vasser about schooling Gonzalez about not coming down on cars that are passing at warp speed.  The EXACT same thing just happened to Bourdais in the exact same place (exit of T2) but this time it was Nelson Philippe that was the offender.

5/6/04

Photos from Petty Charity ride  

5/6/04

Gordon victim of drunken NASCAR Bubbas  The celebration after Jeff Gordon won the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway last weekend was much more subdued than his victory lap around Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.  But then again, that's like Barry Bonds saying he isn't fazed by baseball's steroid scandal.

California Speedway fans didn't throw quite as many beer bottles and soda cans at Gordon's No. 24 Chevy as their Talladega counterparts. But more things came flying out of the stands than Gordon would like to see.  This is a hard one to figure out. On a day when Tony Stewart was swiping cars, pushing drivers out of his way, being more annoying than an old lady doing 55 in the fast lane, Gordon is the one being targeted as the bad guy by fans.  OK, maybe there were a couple of idiot fans who thought it would be funny to act like the idiot fans in Alabama and throw stuff at Gordon's car.

To his credit, Gordon has a pretty good sense of humor about it. He even joked about how he isn't going to copy Indy Racing League driver Helio Castroneves' act of climbing fences after winning races.  "I think I would be in trouble then," Gordon said. "It's funny, I was driving along and I was heading to the start-finish line after the race was over to go do a burnout and all of a sudden ... bam! I thought I must have run over something. And then I saw a bottle fly in front of me."

So far, the damage has been minimal, just a couple of dents and chips on the fenders and hood. But the more brazen fans get, the more likely someone will throw a beer bottle on the track during a race when cars are turning laps at 190 mph.  "I agree things should not be thrown on the track," Gordon said. "Certainly not during a race."  Apparently, objects have been hurled at Gordon's car during a race in the past.  "I can remember at Charlotte several years ago, a full can of some beverage thrown over on the back straightaway, and I drilled it -- I mean right through the windshield," Gordon said. "It has happened. We're seeing a lot more now."  Daily News

5/6/04

BAR confirms Honda to stay  "We will be with Honda for some years to come," BAR team boss Dave Richards told the Formula 1 media in Spain, but he was not willing to give more details about the plans for the relationship. The current deal between the team and the Japanese engine manufacturer runs out at the end of the current season but negotiations have been going on for some time and it seems that the logical conclusion has been reached to continue building the current relationship with the aim of taking BAR to the top and returning Honda to a dominant place in F1. The company was unbeatable in F1 in the late 1980s and early 1990s but has struggled to beat Ferrari in the last few years.  Grandprix.com

5/6/04

North Carolina test facility planned  An effort is gearing up to build a state-funded motorsports test-track complex near Charlotte, with organizers saying the $50 million facility would help attract more Nextel Cup teams to the area. The Charlotte Regional Partnership is spearheading the idea, seeking up to 150 acres within 30 miles of Lowe's Motor Speedway for a facility that would include super speedway, mid-length oval and road-course tracks. "It could be configured to represent 75% of the types of tracks on the NASCAR circuit," says Michael Almond, chief executive of the regional partnership, a 16-county, public-private economic development agency. The complex, tentatively dubbed the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex, would include garages, administrative space and about $5 million in testing equipment but no grandstands. No site has been selected. The proposal faces two key challenges: Organizers are seeking state funds to pay for construction, and they want the land to be donated. "We are assuming that the land would be contributed as a way of having skin in the game," Almond says. Such property may already be available. Sources familiar with the test-track proposal say officials in Cabarrus, Iredell and Stanly counties have expressed interest in the project, suggesting sites that would be available at little or no cost. Also, Humpy Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., has offered 100 acres at the Lowe's Motor Speedway for the complex. Presumably, that Cabarrus site would have to be supplemented by 50 acres. Some have suggested using North Carolina Speedway at Rockingham for the testing complex, especially if that track loses its last NASCAR-sanctioned race.  Charlotte Business Journal

5/6/04

Mixed report for SMI  Speedway Motorsports Inc. today reported lower first-quarter revenues and earnings because this year's Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR races fell in the second quarter but said its figures were up for comparable events. The Charlotte-based track operator reported first-quarter revenues of $122.2 million, down 16 percent or $23.9 million; net income of $24.7 million, down 29 percent or $10.1 million; and diluted earnings per share of 57 cents, down 30 percent or 25 cents. But when comparing similar race schedules in 2003 and 2004, which exclude the Texas NASCAR events, using other than generally accepted accounting principles, the company said results reflect increases in revenues of $17.2 million or 16 percent, net income of $5.6 million or 29 percent and diluted earnings per share of 12 cents or 27 percent, over last year. The company said it had record attendance for its spring Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and for its Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, along with sellouts for Cup.  NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

5/6/04

Drivers circle wagons over Mile  This Milwaukee Journal article talks about Champ Car's last remaining oval on their schedule - the Milwaukee Mile.  Essentially this may be the last year the Champ Cars visit the historic Mile.  If attendance remains lackluster this year with 2 for 1 ticket deals, it could be the final time we see Champ Car on ovals in the USA.  NASCAR rules the ovals in the USA.  Everything else pales in comparison, including the IRL.  If a form of racing is not profitable, like any unprofitable business, it needs to be eliminated to stop the hemorrhaging of money.

5/6/04

The IRL is not real racing and AJ Foyt is obsolete  In this Racingpress.com article, the boys from Brazil take a few good pot shots at the IRL and their beloved AJ Foyt.  We summarize:
Helio’s deepest desire, of course, is Formula One. But you get a sense of resignation, and a slight fade of that everlasting smile, that signals the understanding that perhaps his window to compete in an F1 setting is closing. “Hope is the last to die. But I know each passing day doesn’t make me any closer to it. [Last year’s Toyota F1 test] was the biggest disappointment of my life, to do so well and not have another shot.”

While Moreno is seeking a ride at the world’s most famous superspeedway, a couple of other drivers think differently. “It’s not that I don’t like ovals, but sixteen of them every year?” says Gualter Salles, owner of the Golden Cross team comprised of drivers Thiago Camilo and André Bragantini. Salles hasn’t given up on a Champ Car ride for 2004. He was in talks with Dale Coyne and Pat Patrick, but things didn’t materialize the way he’d hoped.

Echoing Salles’ discontent with left-turning-only is 2001 Toyota Atlantic champion Hoover Orsi. Driver of the #12 Terra car, Orsi is having his first full racing season since his Atlantic title. “When I won the championship, there were 25 cars in CART,” Orsi states. “On my turn to move up, it fell down to 18. I wanted to be in CART real bad, but was forced into a sabbatical.”   Orsi shares Salles’ disdain for IRL racing. “No braking, no downshifting, no proper turning? That’s not really driving, is it?” he asks.

On the other side of the fence is Airton Dare, who had a promising IRL career a couple of years ago. “I want to race ovals. It’s what I do best. But only in 2005, since I have a good contract here,” Dare says.  Airton Dare hasn’t forgotten the good times he had in the IRL, which included one win. Tony George’s league is where he’s set his sights – as long as the last name “Foyt” isn’t in the cards. “It’s a shame to say, but the old man’s just obsolete,” says Dare, who spent a portion of his IndyCar career driving for A.J. Foyt Racing. “He wants to make the setups himself, using the same standards from his driving days. But technology has come a long way in the past 30 years. Perhaps [A.J. Foyt IV] could learn and improve if he were in a different team, without his grandfather complicating everything around him.”

5/6/04

NASCAR hands out Talladega fines  Nextel Cup crew chiefs Ted Brown, Mike Ford and Terry Wooten were fined Wednesday by NASCAR for rules violations at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR said Brown, crew chief for Morgan Shepherd, was assessed $2,000 for allowing crew member Scott Cianci to go over the wall without a helmet during the race April 25. NASCAR said the crew chief assumes the responsibility for the actions of team members. Ford, Dale Jarrett's crew chief, and Wooten, crew chief for Kenny Wallace, were fined $1,000 apiece for using unapproved underpans. Both violations were discovered during the pre-qualifying inspection on April 23.  AP Story

5/6/04

Indy 500 radio coverage  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and its affiliates will provide extensive coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May leading up to and including the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 30.

More than 400 affiliate IMS Radio Network radio stations located throughout the United States and Canada - plus the LeSea Broadcasting network, which provides worldwide shortwave radio coverage, and the American Forces Radio Network, which broadcasts to United States military installations and ships around the world - will broadcast live Race Day coverage of the Indianapolis 500 at 11 a.m. (EDT) May 30 with a pre-race show, followed by the Indianapolis 500 broadcast at noon.  
More.....

5/6/04

Rocketsports tests at Milwaukee  Rocketsports drivers Alex Tagliani and Nelson Philippe took to the 1.032 mile oval in the heart of Milwaukee for the first of a two-day test session involving the majority of Champ Car World Series drivers. Pole sitter of the 2003 Milwaukee Mile, Alex Tagliani was second quickest of the day posting a lap time of 20.9 seconds without the use of the “push-to-pass” boost. Tagliani, who finished fifth here last season, was pleased with the test results and performance of the No. 8 Johnson Controls Lola. “This was the first test on an oval for the 2004 Rocketsports team and we were among the quickest. Things look great with the team and the set-up of the car was effective,” said Tagliani. “I had to fight some over-steer, but now is the time to work on that and any other foreseeable problems with time to prepare the car, rather than in the race weekend. “The cool conditions were perfect for testing since the Milwaukee race is a night race. We had some good speed and I’m confident the car will qualify well here when the time comes,” said Tagliani with a look ahead to the June 5th race. Adding to the string of ‘firsts’ in his career, Rookie sensation Nelson Philippe in the No. 17 LeasePlan Lola, today ran a Champ Car on an oval for the first time. While Philippe is familiar with the Milwaukee Mile from his Barber Dodge days, his experience in a 750 horsepower Champ Car was positive, and left the French teenager eager to compete with the full field on the historic ring. “We had an excellent session today and I was very impressed with the Lola on the oval. I built up my speed with each lap and expect this will improve tomorrow,” said Philippe, who posted a lap time of 22.0 seconds. “Rocketsports has done well here in the past with Alex on the pole last year, and this is a benefit to us all. “The No.17 Lola was fast and I was patient to develop the handling and even passing before pushing it, but that will come! I’m looking forward to the challenge of all 18 cars on the track and feel well prepared for it,” concluded Philippe. Catch Tagliani and Philippe in the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 at the Milwaukee Mile in Round Three of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford, which is set for the evening of Saturday June 5, 2004.  Rocketsports

5/6/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Gordon scraps Formula One dream
Path is lit for 20 grands prix - source
Prost at Fiorano - again
Verstappen to test Jordan
Briatore's a Dad
Spain remembers Senna
F1 to scrap qualifying format
Raikkonen urges 'patience'
Da Matta 'encouraged' by BAR pace
Engine makers to meet in Spain
Michelin to leave 'control tire' F1
Rain in Spain - updated
McLaren car 'features developments'
'They talk about Rossi' - Max Mosley
Girl-racer wants F1 'by 2006'
'F1' ace wants special number-plate?
Kyalami to host F1 race
Mosley 'heralds new F1 era' - Walker
Didn't agree about 'everything' - Mosley
Pedro de la Rosa lives in Barcelona
'We're working hard' - Coulthard
Schumacher signs 'letter of intent'
Hill urges Button to 'ignore' Williams  

5/5/04

Engine manufacturers to meet in Spain   Formula One's seven engine manufacturers will meet during this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in a bid to agree regulations designed to cut costs in half. The engine suppliers - Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes- Benz, Renault, Honda, Ford and Toyota - have agreed in principle to cut their costs by fifty percent, with current totaled expenditure at one thousand million Euros a year.  They have been given four weeks to finalize proposals for a potential change in 2006 to submit to the FIA World Council, which is scheduled to meet in Paris on June 30th, and will kick-start discussions at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"The engine manufacturers - the seven companies concerned with engines - are going to sit down together to reduce the costs of the engines by fifty percent," said FIA President Max Mosley, who met with team bosses in Monaco on Tuesday. "The engine companies all stayed behind after the meeting to arrange an agenda so that they all meet in Barcelona and really get on with this with speed. 

"Originally they said they wanted to come with proposals for a fifty percent reduction in costs and they wanted two months. We said 'can't do that because these proposals are going to go to the World Council on June 30' and also there is an agreement between the engine manufacturers that they can do a new engine for 2006 provided they know what they are doing before July 1.

"They need that 18 months to do it. After that we said to them 'well, please do make these proposals but we want them within 30 days, not within 60 days'."

Mosley wants engines to last for multiple events, and is keen for horsepower to be reduced as he attempts to halt increasing speeds in the series. The proposals made are intended for 2008, but Mosley believes that if the seven manufacturers can agree that new regulations will be brought in for the 2006 season.

The engine bosses will also discuss whether to accept Mosley's push for 2.4-litre V8 power units or ensure a 3-litre V10 can be used for up to six races. F1-Live

5/5/04

Milwaukee test times (Wednesday)  On a cold and windy day with about 30 people watching testing today at the Milwaukee Mile, below are the official times right from Cosworth.

Carpentier: 20.86
Hunter-Reay: 20.93
Tagliani: 20.98
Junqueira: 21.00
Bourdais: 21.14
Tracy: 21.22
Wilson: 21.39
Vasser: 21.44
Jourdain: 22.04 (50 Miles Only)
Philippe: 22.09
Dominguez: 22.27 (50 Miles Only)
Sperafico: 22.27
Gonzalez: 22.82
Allmendinger: No Time
Hunter-Reay had a great tank slapper coming out of turn 2, slid a bit and kept it pointed on the straight, kept it off the wall no damage or yellow. We noticed that the infield needs some work in the next month!  Forecast for rain tomorrow in Milwaukee is 40% by Noon increasing to 60% by 3PM.  The test concludes on Friday.  More....

5/5/04

What it means to win the Indy 500  Quotes from all living past winners of the Indianapolis 500 about what it means to win the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" (listed alphabetically by driver, followed by years of victory in parentheses): The 88th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 30. Indianapolis Star Opening Day is Sunday, May 9.

MARIO ANDRETTI (1969): "Winning the Indy 500 changed my life. It created tremendous opportunities that I wouldn't have had at that stage of my career. It's the only single auto race in the world that is as valuable as winning a championship."   More.....

5/5/04

NASCAR OK with Tony Stewart's actions  After the incidents this past race at the California Speedway Cup race between Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, few have asked what would happen to Stewart, saw this........But NASCAR on Monday said, no harm, no foul. Well, at least no foul. "We addressed Tony Stewart's driving before [Friday's] practice started at California and there was nothing that happened on the race track [Sunday] that we would term anything other than a racing incident," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications. I don't know if Rusty's had a chance to review film or video of the race, but it was just a racing accident. [Stewart] got loose. That happens. It just happened to be Tony Stewart." Stewart, who underwent anger-management counseling at the direction of his Home Depot sponsor two years ago, has been remarkably proficient at finding controversy on the track recently. He also banged doors with eventual winner Jeff Gordon, and drove behind Ricky Rudd and briefly lifted Rudd's Ford off the pavement with the nose of his Chevrolet. "Tony has a way of picking up the bull's-eye," Hunter said. "When stuff happens with Tony, he becomes an obvious target. He's a hard charger, there's no doubt about that. But so is Rusty and a lot of other drivers, and that's one of the things that makes our sport so great." Hunter also said NASCAR was not going to reprimand Wallace for his on-air comments.  Los Angeles Times

5/5/04

Fans treated for heat exhaustion at California Speedway  Nearly 1,000 people were treated by on-site medical facilities, almost all for heat-related issues. The speedway has eight permanent first-aid buildings and the infield care center. There were 92,000 fans in the grandstands, and about 20,000 in the infield. The reported temperature at the speedway Sunday was 98.6 degrees with a track temperature of 139.7. Speedway spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said the speedway used 18 misting machines, six behind the terrace suites in the garage area, and 12 spread behind the grandstands and midway. The public address system advised fans to hydrate themselves. Bottled water sold for $3, but the track has more than 25 drinking fountains. Concessionaires were still doing inventory on Monday, but Bickmeier said more than 70,000 bottles of soda and lemonade were consumed, and at least 80,000 bottles of water.  Los Angeles Times

5/5/04

Solution to F1 tire dilemma   Now that the FIA has decided to switch to a single tire supplier to reduce cost and the speed escalation brought on by a tire war, much talk centers around what will the company that loses the bid do?  In fact, both Michelin and Bridgestone might lose the bid to, say, a Pirelli.  Again this is where we would apply the AutoRacing1.com engine badging concept to the tires.  Either the two companies can develop a single tire together and half the cars would run with the spec tire badged as a Bridgestone and the other half Michelin, or one company can make the tires and any number of companies can badge them for a tolling fee.  It can work with engines as well as tires.  Of course the traditionalists will say we're nuts, but the badging concept allows multiple companies to be involved in the sport at a much less R&D investment, but a corresponding increase in marketing and advertising.  From a commercial aspect the sport gets more money and the companies can still advertise they won a race if the winner's tire has their badge on it.  Michael Schumacher can still have the Bridgestone brand on his Ferrari and Alonso the Michelin brand on his Renault.  Do you really think the average consumer would know the difference, or care for that matter?  It's time to put egos aside.  May common sense (accept badging or a lot of potential companies who want to be involved will be on the outside looking in) and fiscal responsibility prevail.  There is no reason why Champ Car could not use a similar system.  There's no question they can use additional manufacturer/supplier involvement.  Mark C.

5/5/04

Auto giant to combine series or kill one According to a report in this week's Autosport Magazine, ether the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup or the Dallara Nissan World Series will be axed for next season as part of rationalization of the two companies' motorsport activities.  Nissan parent Renault is working on a plan that will result in a maximum of three categories under its new premier series, GP2, in place of the current five. Its bosses want a more defined route to the Formula 1 feeder series in Europe.   Renault Sport Technologies competitions director Jean-Paul Mari said: "It is stupid for the group to have both FRenault V6 and Dallara Nissan. We have to rationalize.   We want three clear steps: one class with around 400bhp, one with 200bhp and another with 125bhp."  Mari claimed that stopping either FRenault V6 or the Dallara Nissan was just one option. A new formula combining elements of the two is another possibility, as is rebranding the World Series as the V6 Eurocup.   The World Series Lights, which supports Dallara Nissan, is certain to be scrapped. It is attracting grids in the region of 10 cars while the Formula Renault 2000 category is booming on four continents.  Combining Renault's Formula Monza category, also known as FRenault 1600 in Belgium, and Nissan's Formula Junior series only involves rebadging identical cars.  [Editor's Note: There needs to be a similar restructuring of the open wheel ladder series in the USA too]

5/5/04

Spanish GP to extend F1 deal  While Bernie Ecclestone is in town, Spanish GP bosses are hoping to confirm a new deal to keep their race at Barcelona until 2011 this weekend.

5/5/04

Byrne to stop in 2007  Ferrari chief designer Rory Byrne will not renew his contract when it runs out in early 2007.  The 60-year-old, who will still be in charge of the design of the next three Ferrari Formula 1cars, may still retain an involvement in the team. He could take a consultancy role.   Speaking exclusively to Autosport, he said: "My contract finishes in February 2007. It's a while still. We'll see at that point in time, but I certainly won't be carrying on in my present capacity. That's certain. I'm not even worried about it, and I'm fully committed at the moment."  Byrne explained that one of his principal jobs over the next three years will be to put a structure in place to ensure he is adequately replaced.  "We're already working in that direction," he said. "I'm confident that when I leave, Ferrari is actually going to be a stronger team. We're bringing on some very good people."

5/5/04

Brawn: Test ban will not save money  In the latest issue of Autosport Magazine, Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn believes that the decision to restrict the amount of testing that the larger teams can do will not save money because they will only spend cash on more expensive solutions based in their factories.   The plan by the smaller Formula 1 teams and FIA president Max Mosley to dramatically cut back on testing in a bid to slash costs is misplaced, claims one of the sport's leading technical figures.   Speaking about the major testing ban, Brawn said: ªYou have got to be careful you don't just distort the whole thing and do the same work some other way.   "We test because we have the funds to do it and it is the most efficient way for us to develop the car. If you stop us going to the circuit then we will test at the factory and any way we can dream of. So, I don't know if reducing testing is a solution.   I know it is a grim statement but everyone has a choice in the amount of testing they do, it is not a compulsory activity. In the same way Williams has two wind tunnels, we have one because we choose to spend our money on testing and the balance between wind tunnels and testing."

5/5/04

XBox to sponsor Brad Pollard in IndyCars  Brad Pollard is in his first full season competing in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™. He plans to add to his workload by running in the final three IRL IndyCar Series® races of the season. Pollard, 38, said during the IRL teleconference May 4 that he plans to compete in both IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series races at Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 11-12), California Speedway (Oct. 2-3) and Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 16-17). Xbox, sponsor of his Menards Infiniti Pro Series car, will be the primary sponsor of his IndyCar Series effort. Pollard said he is exploring whether to use sponsor money to “purchase and build a team from scratch or whether we’re going to just align with another team and do a turn-key operation.” “We’re working on a plan for ’05, aligning back with Xbox for the full season in an IRL IndyCar Series car,” said Pollard, the Southwest Formula Mazda Series Rookie of the Year in 2002. “There are still a few partnerships that we’re working on that we can’t announce yet, but there are some very exciting things coming. “My goal is to get something up and running by June 1 because we really need to be purchasing cars and getting tests set up in order to get me prepared for September because I need as much seat times as I can get.”  IRL

5/5/04

Hemelgarn pulls Indy 500 entry  Hemelgarn Racing has cancelled plans to run a car in this year's Indy 500, because it cannot find a sponsor for the diminished event.  The team is now concentrating on running a car in the Infiniti Pro Series for Paul Dana and exploring options for a Champ Car program later in the season.  "If you can't do Indy, it's really difficult to fill in just for the other IRL races," Hemelgarn Racing manager Lee Kunzman told Indystar.com. "We're in the racing business, so if I want to keep my crew, I've got to find a place for them to race. What I'm looking for is survival."  Hemelgarn's withdrawal, added to that of PDM Racing, makes it less likely that a full 33-car field will line up for the 500 on May 30.  Hence why you will see teams like Team Penske pull out their backup cars and qualify them on Bump Day. 

5/5/04

Verstappen has seat fitting at Jordan  Jos Verstappen today had a seat fitting at the Jordan factory in preparation for a test with the Silverstone-based team.  Our rumors page had previous stories on the possibility of Jos replacing Heidfeld or Pantano in the not too distant future.

5/5/04

More on NASCAR's car of the future  NASCAR may be stepping up plans for its "car of the future." "The first iteration of the car is going together right now," said John Darby, NASCAR's competition director. "Once it's completed it will take quite some time to smash it and crash it (testing for crash-worthiness) to see what works and what doesn't. So we're a ways out with it. There is another debate, too, about where to introduce the car. At Daytona and Talladega, for example, aerodynamics is so critical that if we're a little off it shows up a whole bunch. So let's maybe roll it out at Martinsville, so if the aero isn't exactly right, we'll at least be able to get through the weekend." There is talk, however, that the project may be doomed. Darby dismisses such talk: "It's far from dead. Typically what happens is the ideas keep getting better as we go through the process. You get something engineered and apply it to the car, and then 30 days down the road somebody comes up with a better idea. So there's a lot of leapfrogging. The teams have helped a lot; their engineers have given us a ton of input. It is an intricate process. "It could probably be run in late '05 somewhere. But '06 is probably a better date." Winston Salem Journal

5/5/04

Interview with Brad Pollard and Felipe Giaffone  Welcome to the Indy Racing League's weekly teleconference. Today's teleconference features driver Brad Pollard from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, and driver Felipe Giaffone from the IndyCar Series. Brad Pollard joins us on the call first, and Felipe will join us soon. We'll start the call with Brad. Brad was the Southwest Formula Mazda Series Rookie-of-the-Year in 2002. He joined the Menards Infiniti Pro Series for the final two races of the 2003 season, and is back for his first full season here in 2004. Thanks for joining us today, Brad.   Full Transcript

5/5/04

Dixon expects typical race at TMS  Defending Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon looks for a "typical" race at Texas Motor Speedway for the Bombardier 500k on Saturday night, June 12. The result should be more wheel-to-wheel action that has made "The Original Nighttime IndyCar Race" famous. Dixon and current IRL IndyCar Series point runner-up Tony Kanaan finished the second day of incident-free testing for Firestone tires Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for the Bombardier 500k. The test session was the first at the speedway utilizing IRL's new 3.0-liter engine package and new aerodynamic rules aimed at slowing the IndyCar Series machines. Even with the new rules, Dixon still anticipates close and exciting action in the Bombardier 500k. "Texas is Texas," said the champion. "You are still going to have the big packs (of cars), your top teams are going to be up front. "The IRL is heading in the right direction. Speeds are definitely down. The biggest difference with the three-liter engine is we have to take off some downforce that makes the car harder to drive. But at Texas it doesn't matter as much because of the banking."

5/5/04

Walker Racing staying alive  This SPEED TV article talks about the fact that business is so good now at Walker Racing that they have run out of parking spots around their building for all of their employees.  They have a Champ Car team, an IRL team for Patrick Racing, multiple Formula BMW cars and are doing work for a GT-40 program.

5/5/04

Latest F1 news in brief
Mosley 'surprised'
'Breakaway' threat averted
F1 to reduce power
F1 needs 'two more' teams - Mosley
No manual gearboxes - Mosley
Slick tires to return?
Qualifying change in 2004?
F1 to tinker with points system
FIA to get control of rule-changing 
Todt gets promoted
Another Ferrari win? - Bridgestone
Feeling 'especially optimistic' - Trulli
F1 cars are 'more exciting' - Schu
Prost returns to Fiorano
Schu turns 200
F1 bosses 'positive' in Monaco
Doesn't want to 'fail' - Alonso
Renault make 'podium return' - Bell
BAR and Renault 'pose challenge' - Schu
Both F1 tire suppliers to drop out?
'New team' to hit F1 in 2005 - Mosley
Alonso takes 'no risks' on road  

5/5/04

Schumacher shoots for 5th straight  It's hard to imagine that six-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher can add to his already spectacular record book. But this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, the Ferrari driver will seek to tie Nigel Mansell's five-win season opening victory streak in the Spanish Grand Prix. The incredible German superstar has opened the 2004 campaign as he did in 1994 with four consecutive F-1 triumphs and he has made it look easy. Only Jenson Button's impressive drive in the recent San Marino Grand Prix has given Schumacher any challenge this year. In 1994 while driving for Benetton, Schumacher opened the season with four wins (the last one coming at the horrific San Marino race that claimed the life of Grand Prix legend Ayrton Senna). Senna also had four opening victories in 1991. In fact, Michael won six of the first seven races in 1994. With this current start, Schumacher is well on his way to equaling or bettering his 2002 win total of eleven.

Schumacher, who is attempting to win his seventh world title, will be after his record 75 F-1 win this weekend in his 199th official start. He was disqualified twice in 1994 (British, Belgium) and suspended for two races that year so those races do not count. He also missed six races in 1999 due to injury. Could he go undefeated this year? Michael doesn't believe that. "I don't want to have anything to do with such speculation, not only because it's too early, but also because I believe it's totally unrealistic," he said on his website. "We're talking about Formula One. All the teams work extremely hard and improve constantly. In the next race (Spain) things could be very different."

Button has been the surprise of the 2004 season after one pole, a second place and a third place in the BAR Honda. That is the same team that Jacques Villeneuve couldn't get to the podium. Rumors are wild about Button going to one of the top financed teams (i.e. Williams, McLaren and even Ferrari) in 2005.

Home country hero Fernando Alonso just missed winning on his home turf last year in the Spanish Grand Prix. He placed second to Michael last year. Now he is ready for a victory at home. "The attention adds motivation, not pressure," Alonso said recently. "When I am driving, it gives me something extra: somehow, you concentrate more, you focus more."

CURRENT FORMULA ONE POINT STANDINGS - (with 4 of 17 races completed) 1. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 40; 2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), 24; 3. Jenson Button (BAR), 23; 4. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), 18; 5. Fernando Alonso (Renault) 16; 6. Jarno Trulli (Renault), 15. 47 DAYS TO INDY - UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

  Much More...click on 2004 archives button below
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