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DATE

News (chronologically)

6/13/04

Fellows returns to Trans-Am series  Ron Fellows, who announced his return to Motorock Trans-Am competition last week, was part of a Chevrolet Corvette sweep of the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Sunday. Teamed with former Champ Car World Series driver Max Papis, and Johnny O’Connell, Fellows finished second in class behind the similar car of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen.  Fellows, a two-time Le Mans winner, will make his Trans-Am homecoming during the 35th Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières July 30-Aug. 1. Ranking seventh on the all-time Trans-Am win list with 19 victories, Fellows departed the Series in 1997. Fellows will wheel a Chevrolet Corvette fielded by Derhaag Motorsports, teaming with longtime Trans-Am competitor Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada Chevrolet Corvette) at Trois-Rivières. The next race for the Motorock Trans-Am Series, the Albertsons Trans-Am 100, is at Portland International Raceway, during the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford weekend, scheduled for June 18-20. The Albertsons Trans-Am 100 will take the green flag Saturday, June 18, at approximately 3:45 p.m.

6/13/04

NASCAR goes to church  Bannockburn Baptist Church ran an advertisement this week in the Austin Texas newspapers that read "Join us Sunday morning as Ryan Rush speaks on "How to finish in Victory Lane, and you get the chance to view a Nextel Cup car up close.  Don't miss out."  The ad shows a photo of the #18 Interstate Chevy.

6/13/04

Toyota misses appeal deadline  Mike Gascoyne - "Unfortunately, the front brake ducts on our cars were found to be illegal after today's Canadian Grand Prix. We presented a case to the Stewards of the Meeting, attributing the cause to a stack-up of manufacturing tolerances, stating that even with this, the brake ducts were still within a generally accepted tolerance level. The Stewards of the Meeting decided not to accept this case and whilst we are disappointed to lose our hard-fought eighth and tenth places, we have to accept their decision. It is Toyota's policy to always run cars that conform to all regulations. This is simply a regrettable and unforeseen issue that led to no competitive advantage."  John Howett, President - "After an internal discussion with the relevant personnel, we intended to appeal against the disqualification imposed by the Stewards of the Meeting, however we were unable to meet the FIA appeal deadline. I must stress that the alleged technical infringement resulted in absolutely no increase in our performance level during today's race. The brake ducts on our race cars were still within a generally accepted tolerance level. We reluctantly accept this unpleasant penalty and must now look to next week's grand prix in Indianapolis." Toyota Racing

6/13/04

Why is Valiante still w/o a ride  In today's F1 race in Montreal Timo Glock scored two points for the Jordan team in his first ever F1 race, ahead of his more experienced teammate Nick Heidfeld.  While both benefited from the disqualification of the two Williams and Toyotas for brake duct infractions, the fact that Glock beat the highly regarded Heidfeld underscores just how good Michael Valiante is.  In pre-season testing for Dale Coyne, Valiante buried Timo Glock on the same day in the same car.  For both it was their first time in a Lola/Ford Champ Car. Yet the extremely talented Valiante remains without a ride while some real wankers have one.  OWRS has been extremely shortsighted to have let Valiante get away because he was destined to be the next big Canadian star.  Perhaps the IRL will pick him up when they add a Canadian race to their schedule in 2005.  Mark C.

6/13/04

Williams and Toyotas both disqualified  The BMW WilliamsF1 and Toyota teams were disqualified from Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix after technical checks on their cars' brake ducts revealed irregularities. The FIA confirmed that both Toyotas and both Williams cars have been excluded from the official result. Ralf Schumacher finished second and Montoya fifth for Williams while Cristiano da Matta finished eighth and Olivier Panis tenth for Toyota. Williams technical director Sam Michael said: "The front brake ducts on Juan Pablo's and Ralf's cars were not in accordance with the regulations. It was a mistake, it was not intentional. "There was no performance gain, and no gain in brake cooling as the inlet area was not bigger. However, the duct is not in compliance with the regulations, therefore we accept the FIA's decision."  Below is the revised result following Williams and Toyota's exclusion:
1 M. Schumacher Ferrari 10 points
2 R. Barrichello Ferrari 8 points
3 J. Button BAR 6 points
4 G. Fisichella Sauber 5 points
5 K. Räikkönen McLaren 4 points
6 D. Coulthard McLaren 3 points
7 T. Glock Jordan 2 points
8 N. Heidfeld Jordan 1 point

6/13/04

Montreal names grandstands after drivers  The Montreal Champ Car race has a new promoter, Alan Labrosse, and one change he made was to rename all the grandstands after famous driver names like Andretti, Zanardi, Villeneuve, etc.  Now that the Canadian GP is over, tickets are immediately on sale here.

6/13/04

Champ Car graybeard going strong  This Portland Tribune article talks about Jimmy Vasser, the senior member of the Champ Car World Series at 38 years old.  He says he will race a few more years but this goes to show you how young the average driver is in the series.  Mario Andretti raced and won into his 50's but times have changed and road racing is definitely a young man's sport, in contrast to oval track racing which usually favors the older, more experienced drivers.

6/13/04

F1's loss was Champ Car's gain  This Toronto Star article describes how Champ Car's very successful Toronto race almost was a F1 race and if not for some greedy people, Toronto would be home to the Canadian GP and not Montreal.  An interesting read.

6/13/04
Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA Race 4 - Jaskol takes thrilling win in Montreal  Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnicia) took a thrilling victory in Round 4 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship today in front of a large Canadian Grand Prix crowd. The 19-year old, from Las Vegas, Nevada, completed 12 laps in the 30-minute race, finishing .473 seconds ahead of Rookie points leader James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport). Championship points leader Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) came from 15th to finish third.  More....

6/13/04

BMW hints at possible F1 pullout  [Editor's Note:  This is posturing at its best.  With that said, Theissen is right, two extra cylinders don't raise costs significantly, it's how many miles between rebuilds that determines a huge portion of a manufacturers budget.]  BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen has warned that his company could pull out of F1 if radical new plans to adopt a 2.4 liter V8 configuration are accepted. Speaking at the Canadian GP BMW's Mario Theissen made it quite clear where the company stands. "That would be a serious issue," he said of the proposal. "We have the same view we had from the beginning, we think if you really want to cut costs, the most efficient way to do that is to extend engine life and seriously restrict design of components. If you do that with a V10 you will come down to 800 horse-power and at the same time significantly cut costs.  "If we want to achieve something before 2008, we need to talk to each other and find some common ground because it can only be done unanimously," he added. "We think Mercedes may be re-considering their position." Asked about the possibility of BMW withdrawing from F1, he replied: "In this business you can't guarantee anything."   

6/13/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Jarno's power struggle
Brawn blames Bridgestone
Sato incurs BAR boss' wrath
F1 on course for 'great Canadian GP'
Trulli struggling for voice
Ralf wants Canadian win
FIA sanction Alonso damage repair
Button enjoys revenge on Villeneuve's turf
Why would Ralf abandon pole-winning Williams?
Pantano may return in America
Villeneuve to test Williams in August
A 'beautiful' loss - Michael Schumacher
New qualifying set for Silverstone
Webber favorite for Williams ride - Sam Michael
Da Matta wants another Toyota chance
Ferrari to sue rumor spreader?  

6/13/04
Industry News

NHIS sues Action Performance  New Hampshire Int’l Speedway is suing Action Performance alleging breach of the state’s consumer protection act. The track says it let Action sell race weekend souvenirs for $5,000 per trailer against 25% of gross sales. It now contends Action did not live up to this agreement. Last year a similar suit against Action by Dover Downs resulted in a cash settlement which Action reported cost between 3 and 9 cents a share. Other tracks reportedly have settled similar complaints.

6/13/04
Industry News

Strong support for NJ racing complex  According to National Speed Sport News, the $100 million, 707-acre Millville, New Jersey Motorsports Park received two key regional endorsements within 72 hours of its June 1 announcement. "The vision of this multifaceted project, including the raceway and its myriad complementary businesses, educational institutions, hotels and conference centers, make it a one-of-a-kind project," said The Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey in a statement released Wednesday. "The facility will also attract thousands of tourists to our region."

"If there ever was a project that deserves to make it to the winner's circle, it's the $100 million motor raceway plan in Millville," said The Press of Atlantic City's Friday editorial. "The project could generate more than 1,500 jobs, an influx of visitors, thousands of dollars for Millville and additional momentum for that city's fledgling arts district."

The developers unveiled the five-stage proposal on Millville Municipal Airport grounds Tuesday. Groundbreaking on NJMP's 4.1-mile Thunderbolt Raceway road course, motorcycle circuit and all-terrain vehicle trail is to be next spring, provided the needed approvals come from myriad local, state and federal regulatory groups. The first one-year construction phase is to include a 15,000-seat grandstand, paddock, garages an advance driving school and motorsports academy. Siegel, Brahin and Millville Mayor James Quinn estimate that 3,000 people will start coming to NJMP's core every weekend starting in spring 2006.

The other four phases to be built between 2006 and 2010, will include three or four hotels, a conference center and a car exhibition gallery.

6/12/04
Formula BMW

Summerton wins Formula BMW Race 3 in Canada  Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) became the second winner of the 2004 Formula BMW USA season and moved to third in the overall points standings with a win in today's Round 3 contest in support of the Canadian Grand Prix. The 16-year old from Kissimmee, Florida covered 12 laps in the 30-minute race, finishing 2.629 seconds ahead of Rookie points leader James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport). Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) was third.

Pole-sitter Hinchcliffe led the field in the opening laps until Summerton found his way by the Canadian on lap five. Summerton held off Hinchcliffe for the remaining seven laps of the race. Jaskol immediately jumped from his fifth starting spot to third, but could not close on the front two.

Behind the top-three the race was equally exciting. Federico Montoya (Atlantic Racing Team) moved from tenth to sixth by lap four before spinning. He battled with Tom Milner (Team PTG Motorsport) for the rest of the race and ultimately finished ninth, one spot behind Milner. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) and Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) started from the rear of the field after their qualifying times were disallowed. They carved through the field and finished fifth and seventh respectively. Wirth was credited with the fastest lap of the race (1:45.223).

"I am over the moon," said an elated Summerton. "I was happy to race with James as I knew Matt was coming behind us, but when I saw an opening I was able to make the pass stick. My crew and I are really beginning to communicate and today's win is the result." Hinchcliffe added, "It would have been wonderful to have reached the top step of the podium today, but second is a very good result. One of my goals is to win the Rookie title. That will require solid finishes and we got another one today."

"Fifth to third is good, but not where I want to be," said Jaskol. "Summerton and Hinchcliffe drafted well together and I could not close on them. We still have the race tomorrow and it is all about the championship. This is my second podium of the season and I will look for a better finish tomorrow."
Race 3 - Results - 12 laps
1. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 21:26.968
2. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 21:29.597
3. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 21:33.040
4. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 21:39.091
5. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 21:40.156
6. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 21:40.323
7. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) 21:47.771
8. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 21:48.402
9. Federico Montoya (Atlantic Racing Team) 22:03.986
10. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 22:15.069
11. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 22:20.987
12. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 22:21.321
13. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 23:00.835
14. Brian Frisselle (Atlantic Racing Team) 20:01.156
15. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 21:41.587
16. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport 3:52.034
17. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) no time

6/12/04

LeMans 9 Hour Mark   

TEAM CAR FASTEST LAP LAP #
1) Davies J./Herbert J./Smith G. Audi R8 3:36.148 153
2) Ara S./Capello R./Kristensen T. Audi R8 3:39.199 152
3) Ayari S./Comas E./Treluyer B. Pescarolo Sport 3:41.285 148
4) Short M./Barff R./Barbosa J. Dallara Judd 3:41.217 147
5) Lehto JJ./Werner M./Pirro E. Audi R8 3:36.060 144

6/12/04

Fan disagrees with Milwaukee Journal estimate   UPDATE Dave Kallman responds to questions about his attendance estimates at Milwaukee in this article6/7/04 - Dear AutoRacing1.com, Dave Kallman, the race reporter for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel wrote in his report in the Sunday paper that the Champ Car race had an attendance of 20,000 people and was down from the year before. This is an interesting statement considering that Mark Perrone the GM of the Mile is claiming a 38% increase in the race from last year. Having attended the last two races myself, Dave K. is either lying or he needs to get off his butt and do some journalistic reporting. This type of reporting does not surprise me from Dave. He's very good at taking whatever the AP wire gives him. It's guys like him that are giving Champ Car a bad name. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI  Dear Arno, There were not that many people in actual attendance at the event.  It was a decent crowd, but certainly 48,036 people did not show up for the three days.  However, we believe the track is telling the truth about how many tickets were sold.  We suspect a good number of people bought season ticket packages, and we heard the package ticket sales were good.  One package gets you a seat for all the events the entire year (including Champ Car, ASA, IRL, Busch, etc.).  Another gets you the Champ Car and IRL weekends together.  For whatever reason, they may have sold 48,036, but the number of people in actual attendance was definitely less than that.  While Dave Kallman's estimate may be a wee bit low, he was estimating actual people there vs. the track that was reporting tickets sold.  Two entirely different things unfortunately.  Mark C.

6/12/04

Zanardi saves woman's life   Former Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi played a fundamental role in convincing a young 36-year-old women from Rome to accept a second leg amputation after she had decided to give up and die. Francesca, who is also a mother of a 12-year-old boy, suffers from a rare disease and was determined not to live without legs. The discrete meeting between Alex Zanardi and Francesca took place two days ago, but has not been publicized until today when hospital Professor Bollero  delivered the news. Alex Zanardi spent three hours from 8:45 pm to 11:45 pm convincing the woman to accept the second amputation. Francesca’s story touched many people including Italian singer Claudio Baglioni and Rome’s mayor. According to TGCOM.it the surgery went well and the women may be home soon, maybe within 10 to 15 days.  Related story.

6/12/04

Happy Hour notes from Pocono  The Dodge Dealer / UAW Dodge Intrepids fielded by Evernham Motorsport drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield were quickest in Happy Hour in preparation for tomorrow's Pocono 500. Kahne's final practice speed of 167.657 mph was nearly six miles an hour slower than his record setting Bud Pole qualifying effort of yesterday.......Elliot Sadler was third quick during Happy Hour, perhaps showing some of the power that the new Ford engine heads may be delivering the Yates camp drivers of Sadler and Dale Jarrett........While no accidents of note occurred during practice, Sadler, Robby Gordon, Jimmy Spencer, and Kurt Busch all had brushes with the wall during practice, and during yesterday's qualifying effort Scott Riggs made a remarkable save as his car got sideways coming off of turn three.......Dale Earnhardt Jr had an UnHappy Hour as he had trouble getting the Budweiser Chevrolet up to speed during final practice, having to settle for the 11th place. Earnhardt Jr., was not happy with his performance, and will need to look for speed while the car is prepped for tomorrow.  Frank Ryan

6/12/04

New Spanish Forum   Autoracing1.com is happy to announce that we have implemented a new Champ Car forum for our many Spanish speaking readers.  That forum is a subset of our regular English Champ Car forum and can be found at the top of this page, or by going directly to it via this link.

6/12/04

120,000 expected on Sunday  Canadian officials confirmed Friday that the Canadian GP is sold out for the third consecutive year, including General Admission. A crowd in excess of 120,000 is expected Sunday.  Meanwhile to benefit next year's race, rumors continue to suggest that 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve (Canadian) will return to F-1 in 2005, perhaps with Ferrari or Williams. Michael Schumacher is in favor of it. "He's obviously a big name, and a good name," the six-time series champion said. "I might have a problem fighting with him."

6/12/04

Montreal practice 3: Schumacher back on top 

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'13"865 212.545 Km/h 13
2. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'13"946 + 0'00"081 9
3. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'14"047 + 0'00"182 10
4. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'14"284 + 0'00"419 12
5. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'14"421 + 0'00"556 11
6. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"584 + 0'00"719 7
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"747 + 0'00"882 7
8. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'15"067 + 0'01"202 17
9. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'15"191 + 0'01"326 13
10. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'15"290 + 0'01"425 10
11. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'15"573 + 0'01"708 13
12. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'15"764 + 0'01"899 16
13. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'15"843 + 0'01"978 13
14. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'15"854 + 0'01"989 6
15. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'16"124 + 0'02"259 10
16. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'16"305 + 0'02"440 15
17. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'16"928 + 0'03"063 13
18. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'18"409 + 0'04"544 15
19. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'18"711 + 0'04"846 15

6/12/04

Glock to replace Pantano  Jordan's test driver Timo Glock will make his grand prix debut at Montreal this weekend after regular driver Giorgio Pantano was unable to resolve his management dispute. Glock has driven in all Friday free practice sessions this year, and due to Pantano's internal dispute between his management and his family, Timo was called up to replace him.

"It's a sad situation for Giorgio, but Timo is the natural choice to replace him," said Jordan. "I rang him up to tell him to get himself to the track because he's going to be a busy boy today."

Jordan has drawn parallels between Glock's call-up and that of Michael Schumacher, to replace Bertrand Gachot, in 1991 in the Belgian Grand Prix.

"The story goes on – Jordan is once again able to help a young German driver make his grand prix debut," said Jordan. "It's a fantastic story that we've taken Timo into our driver academy and now he's getting his chance. How good is he? We don't know that, but we didn't know how good Michael Schumacher was before he came to our team.

"Timo has the benefit of a hugely experienced team-mate in Nick Heidfeld. He's very helpful, a really nice guy, so he couldn't be making his F1 debut in a better situation."  Autosport

6/12/04

The woes of oval track Indy racing   The astronomically high cost of racing in the IRL continues.  Every hit with the wall costs a team owner a lot of money.  This Indy Star article says, Less than two weeks after leaving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with huge dents in his car and his plans, Greg Ray has once again managed to piece together his Access Motorsports team for another try. Ray will start 15th in tonight's Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. But he is starting, after being forced to dig deep into his team's limited reserves to pay the $250,000 repair bill on his car (ouch - just one accident). "That's a quarter-million dollars we didn't need to spend," said Ray, a native Texan from nearby Plano. "We don't have a lot of fat. We don't have a safety net like the bigger teams. But we're scrappin."

6/12/04

Webber agonizes over future  Although he is still under contract for another season with Jaguar, his deal contains a performance-related opt-out clause which Jag look unlikely to meet. Williams are believed to want Webber, with Toyota also in the queue.

"At this stage I've achieved not a great deal in Formula One at all, I've been doing okay and I need to go to that next level," Webber told Reuters.

"Where that is we don't know. I definitely have a decision to make, yes. The decision will be in my hands. I haven't really made the decision. I think about it nearly every day."

"I did worry that it is [a distraction] but every time I get in the car I realize on Sunday night that I didn't actually think about it from Friday through to there. I just get into my little world there with my engineers and my car and do the job at each venue."

"Jaguar can do a very good job. BAR have had a phenomenal amount of progress and input from the engine company but still the car is a sound beast.

"It is possible to go maybe not as far as that but to have a season which is very different to the one we are having this year."

6/12/04

Button - I'm the best driver in F1  Jenson Button has declared that he is the best driver in F1.  "As a driver I think I am the best on the grid," he announced, with his tongue firmly in his cheek. "If I have the equipment to win I will win, whoever my competition is. I've no worries."

"You have to admire Michael Schumacher's consistency - although when you are in the best machinery it is a lot easier. If you look at Ayrton when Alain came along he didn't have a choice as to who his team-mate was.

"That was pretty amazing to be able to perform when you've the other best driver in the world alongside you. With Ferrari now it is difficult to say. I think they get the same equipment, but nobody knows do they? Michael is just doing the best he can and he has won because he has been the best driver at the time."

"We've taken a new step with the engine which should help us on the long straights, but it's not going to pull back the advantage Ferrari have.

"I still think we're probably a long way behind them. Over one lap we seem to be quick, although I think that comes from the tires more than anything else, but in the race we're some way off Michael, both Ferraris in fact, but Michael has the upper hand.

"That's frustrating, but then it's the same for every other team. Everyone is a step behind them, although from what I have been used to this is great.

"We've had seven races and we've got a little bit closer, but there is still a gap. We obviously come into this race looking to win, although the possibility is very slim.

"We still have to try for it and we will push as hard as we can to try to achieve that. But he is playing games if he says we can beat him, although it is good what he is doing because it keeps the excitement going."

6/12/04
Formula BMW

Hinchcliffe takes double pole in Canada  Yesterday's qualifying session for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship was the most important qualifying session to-date. The single 25-minute session set the grid for both races, with the drivers fastest laps setting the starting order for Saturday's Round 3 race. Their second fastest laps set the order for Sunday's Round 4 contest. Rookie Championship leader James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport) will start from the pole after posting a time of 1:45.726 around the 2.7-mile circuit. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) will start second (1:45.875) and Billy Johnson will roll off third (1:46.127) for an all BMW Junior top-three. The trio's second fastest times were also the best of the field and they will start at the front in Round 4.

Round 1 and 2 winner Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) and Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) were the quickest of the session, but both were disqualified for failing post-qualifying technical inspection. A one-hour practice session earlier in the day gave the teams and drivers the chance to try and find the fast way around the Canadian Grand Prix circuit. Andreas Wirth was the fastest in the session.

"At Lime Rock I started fourth and sixth so to start at the front is outstanding." said Hinchcliffe. "Racing in Canada and in support of my home Grand Prix is a great feeling. I had some problems with traffic, but with only one qualifying session it was bound to be busy. We have a little bit of work to do on the No. 56 car tonight and we'll be ready."

Round 3 is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. EDT tomorrow and Sunday's Round 4 is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Qualifying: Round 3
1. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 1:45.726
2. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 1:45.875
3. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.127
4. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.150
5. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 1:46.253
6. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:46.486
7. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.589
8. Brian Frisselle (Polevision Racing) 1:46.999
9. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 1:47.098
10. Federico Montoya (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:47.502
11. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 1:48.046
12. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:48.665
13. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 1:50.604
14. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:51.884
15. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) no time
16. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) no time
17. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) no time

Qualifying: Round 4
1. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 1:46.096
2. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 1:46.142
3. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.471
4. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.500
5. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 1:46.618
6. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:46.723
7. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:46.813
8. Brian Frisselle (Polevision Racing) 1:47.054
9. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 1:47.171
10. Federico Montoya (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:47.764
11. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 1:48.198
12. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:48.835
13. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 1:52.199
14. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:53.272
15. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) no time
16. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) no time
17. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) no time

6/12/04

NASCAR simplifies scoring procedures  NASCAR President Mike Helton apologized Friday for the 24-lap caution period that occurred at Dover, calling it "unacceptable" and announcing that NASCAR was taking steps to help ensure it doesn't happen again. Beginning with this weekend's Cup race at Pocono, NASCAR will now rely solely on its electronic timing and scoring system to determine when the field is frozen and the running order when a caution flag waves. NASCAR officials have been using both electronic scoring and what Helton called "the human element" to make such decisions. NASCAR uses electronic loops around the race track to determine the running order at different points around the race track. Those loops will now be the sole source for determining the running order when the field is frozen. NASCAR will also attempt to shorten its caution periods with two moves: One, it will allow the free pass or "Lucky Dog" driver to move ahead of the pace car and back onto the lead lap quicker, between the first and second laps of pitting, or while the leaders are pitting. It will also shorten the laps it will take before it opens pit road. Pit road will now open the second time the leader -- not the pace car -- reaches the entrance to pit road. That means that the field may not have to complete two full laps now before pit road opens. Press Conference Transcript

6/12/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Pantano's car stays silent
Massa, Schumacher, taste Montreal wall
Raikkonen damages McLaren
Unhappy Panis slams lazy F1 drivers
Webber's Jag is still unreliable
Ferrari debut new-spec V10 engine
Woe in a Williams garage
Bruni sixth on last year's grid
'Big bump' for Friday star Davidson
Alonso vows to 'improve in myself'
Montreal track 'bumpier' than usual
Pantano problem is 'management dispute'
Brawn slams 'super grip' tire rumor
Michelin won't quit F1 - Dupasquier
Honda to fast-track engine development
'Friction' between two Mercedes F1 arms
Williams' 'walrus nose' to get the chop ... ?
How to tackle Canada's tobacco-ad ban
'B spec' McLaren to feature new Mercedes
Whitmarsh rejects call for new brake rules
Sauber wants to keep 'single lap' qualifying
Schu is 'playing games' with F1 - Button
Lap records tumble at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
F1's media corps are 'desperate' - Montoya
Barrichello 'won't win a race' - Montoya
Ralf's 'definitely' leaving in '05 - Frank Williams   

6/12/04

Champ Car becoming invisible?   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Although Champ Car appears to be marketing heavily in the local market around each event, I have noticed a marked decrease in national and international media coverage to the point I am afraid it is withering away into oblivion.  Can the series survive or are they just treading water, only to sink when the money men behind the series decide to pull the plug?  David Albright, Baltimore, MD  Dear David, Until the series owners are able to 1) Put 50% of the races on CBS, 2) land a major series title sponsor, 3) land major engine manufacturer support, and 4) significantly improve their anemic international TV coverage, the series will continue to tread water because OWRS has not shown an inclination to spend the kind of money that a major automotive corporation will spend in any racing series they participate in.  We do not know how close they are to landing some major backers, perhaps they will surprise us for 2005. Hence you understand why we proposed Why Bernie Could and Should buy Champ Car now.  Just putting his name on the series, even as a minority stakeholder, would instantaneously increase the series awareness and credibility, and hence help to attract major backers sooner rather than later.  With that said, Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi have each pulled off some incredible business deals over the years, so we can't underestimate what they may be up to.  One thing is rather clear, they are playing things rather close to their vest until such time as they have their ducks in order.  2004 appears to be a treading water year.  2005 appears to be a solidifying of their long-term schedule year, and 2006, when new cars and engines are planned, appears to be their major breakthrough year.  They have a plan and they are not going to be rushed into making bad deals in haste.  They are well aware that the oval cartel is waging a relentless attack on every aspect of their business in an effort to put them out of business.  They try to undermine their every move, and marginalize their every advantage.  It's going to take some strategic moves by OWRS to outmaneuver their opposition. Unfortunately, in their efforts to put Champ Car out of business, the oval cartel has just about killed open wheel racing in the USA, meaning their ability to make money from that form of racing is significantly diminished and one questions whether open wheel racing on oval tracks will ever be profitable in the USA again.  We call that cutting off ones nose to spite ones face.    Mark C.

6/11/04

Schumacher and Davidson clout wall  Michael Schumacher hit the Turn 9 wall in the second session today in Montreal. Meanwhile, BAR's Anthony Davidson suffered a sizeable crash at Turn 6 but escaped unhurt. After a 10-minute break during which his car was checked out, he was back on track, and ended the session third fastest.

Davidson's accident was much more severe. He lost control of his BAR under braking for the second gear Turn 6, which is approached in fifth gear at 160kph. The car turned sharp left, and slid across the inside of the corner before plowing back across the track, over the gravel trap and into the tire wall. The right-front corner of the BAR was severely damaged, but Davidson was able to walk away from the damaged machine. Just before the crash, he had set the fastest first sector time of the day. BAR team principal David Richards said: "We don't know exactly what happened, but Anthony said the rear brakes locked. It certainly looked an unusual accident."   Autosport.com

6/11/04

Pantano out of money? Giorgio Pantano is having to sit out the first practice session in Montreal because of a dispute over money. Pantano is committed to paying Jordan to drive for the team this year and the money is in place but it seems that there is now a dispute over who is going to run his career in the future. The money has been raised by Pantano and his father Giuseppe but he is under a management contract with Denmark's Lars-Christian Brask and it seems that the two parties are now in conflict and the money is not being paid, so Jordan is refusing to run the car for Pantano. The team is now in a situation whereby it could end up running reserve driver Timo Glock in Canada, if the dispute is not settled. The team says that Pantano has not appeared because of "a personal problem". Eddie Jordan says that there is no decision yet whether Glock will race. "I haven't thought about that yet," said Jordan on Friday morning, just before the cars went out.  Grandprix.com

6/11/04

Petrobras renews with Williams  The BMW Williams F1 team has announced that it is extending its commercial agreement with the Brazilian oil company Petrobras. In a new phase of the relationship, Petrobras branding will be visible on the side pod tops of the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26s today in the first practice sessions for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. The Formula One program with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team has also provided an R&D and marketing platform in the creation of Petrobras’ high performance road car fuel, Podium. After a successful roll-out in Brazil in 2002, Podium was launched on Petrobras’ Argentinean forecourts this week at a press event held at the Oscar Gálvez race track in Buenos Aires with Juan Pablo Montoya. To support the growth of Petrobras’ premium consumer fuel, the Podium brand will be visible on the wing mirrors of the FW26, underlining the performance gains achieved by Petrobras’ blending technologies for both Formula One and production car applications.

6/11/04

Schumacher and Sato fastest in Canada 

Session 1
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'14"013 212.119 Km/h 15
2. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'14"291 + 0'00"278 13
3. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'14"519 + 0'00"506 19
4. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'14"952 + 0'00"939 23
5. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'15"428 + 0'01"415 11
6. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'15"606 + 0'01"593 14
7. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"905 + 0'01"892 10
8. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'15"928 + 0'01"915 13
9. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'15"948 + 0'01"935 12
10. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'15"997 + 0'01"984 14
11. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'16"240 + 0'02"227 12
12. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'16"475 + 0'02"462 13
13. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"570 + 0'02"557 7
14. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'16"655 + 0'02"642 13
15. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'16"820 + 0'02"807 7
16. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"947 + 0'02"934 8
17. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'17"135 + 0'03"122 17
18. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"447 + 0'03"434 6
19. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'17"890 + 0'03"877 27
20. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'18"463 + 0'04"450 23
21. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'18"828 + 0'04"815 16
22. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'18"959 + 0'04"946 19
Session 2
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'14"086 211.910 Km/h 20
2. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'14"426 + 0'00"340 29
3. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'14"535 + 0'00"449 26
4. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"581 + 0'00"495 19
5. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'14"705 + 0'00"619 31
6. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'14"871 + 0'00"785 33
7. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'15"146 + 0'01"060 30
8. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'15"152 + 0'01"066 21
9. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'15"164 + 0'01"078 19
10. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'15"293 + 0'01"207 28
11. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'15"492 + 0'01"406 17
12. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'15"513 + 0'01"427 21
13. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'15"538 + 0'01"452 28
14. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'15"803 + 0'01"717 22
15. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'15"926 + 0'01"840 14
16. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'16"119 + 0'02"033 25
17. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'16"235 + 0'02"149 22
18. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'16"508 + 0'02"422 23
19. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'16"524 + 0'02"438 28
20. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'16"564 + 0'02"478 6
21. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'16"815 + 0'02"729 27
22. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'16"981 + 0'02"895 17
23. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'17"697 + 0'03"611 23
24. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'19"260 + 0'05"174 18

6/11/04

Final Dover ratings  The final TV Rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Dover last Sunday on FOX FX (cable) was a 3.7/3Share with 3.68 million households tuned in.  In the big LA market the rating was only a 1.0/3 Share.

6/11/04

ALMS team wins GT pole at LeMans    American Le Mans Series racing team Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing earned the GT class pole position for this weekend's 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as two days of qualifying ended at midnight (France time) Thursday.

Meanwhile, ALMS team Corvette Racing was knocked off the provisional pole in the GTS class when Prodrive Ferrari driver Tomas Enge pulled off a flying lap just 10 minutes before qualifying ended, after his team had repaired the car from earlier crash damage. Eleven racing teams that regularly compete in American Le Mans Series events are in the field of 48 that will start Saturday's race at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. U.S. Eastern). Twenty of the teams competed in March's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring that opened the 2004 ALMS season.

Fourteen Americans and two Canadians are among the 144 drivers who will race in the Le Mans event, which will be televised live in North America by the SPEED Channel beginning at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern). The cable television channel will have 20.5 hours of live racing coverage.

With qualifying spread over two days, racing teams set the bar on Wednesday night and then raised it on Thursday. The Petersen team, however, retained the provisional pole that it had won on Wednesday night as two-time American Le Mans Series GT class champion Sascha Maassen drove the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a fast time of 4.07.394 on the 8.6-mile circuit. One of his co-drivers for the race, Jorg Bergmeister of Germany, had set the fast time of 4.09.679 on Wednesday. Patrick Long of Oak Park, Calif., will be the third driver as the Petersen team aims for its second straight GT class win in the event. "I didn't have a lot of laps in the car and this was my first run in daylight and my only timed lap," said Maassen, the most winning driver in ALMS history with 21 race victories. "I am happy that it worked out. But I am sure that everyone in our car was able to do that. This just shows that our car is quick and we might not have to push it 100 percent. So we can save a little bit. We can rule our pace and not have to hassle to drive another pace. The others have to look after us and that is good."

6/11/04

Corvettes improve 6 seconds per lap at LeMans    The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team improved their qualifying times in Thursday's second qualifying session before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Oliver Gavin, driving the #64 Corvette C5-R along with Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen, set a best lap of 3:49.750, second fastest in the GTS class. The #63 Corvette C5-R will start close behind after Johnny O'Connell, co-driving with Ron Fellows and Max Papis, set a time of 3:51.378. The lap times represent a significant leap in development for Chevrolet over the past year; the Corvettes improved by nearly six seconds over their best 2003 qualifying time.

"This qualifying session is a testament to the great racing at Le Mans," said Doug Fehan, program manager for Corvette Racing. "We dedicated the majority of our session to preparing the cars for a good race setup, which I believe we've found for both cars. We did utilize qualifying tires and put forth a couple of really good laps. The competition is fierce and that's why you see over 300,000 people attending this race. This is yet another chapter in a great rivalry."

The factory-backed Corvette C5-R race cars will attempt to capture their third GTS title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in five years. The American sports car icon continues to have a wide-ranging and enthusiastic fan base at Le Mans, extending as far and wide as hand-painted Corvette murals on local buildings in the small French town.

"Pole position would have been great to achieve, but we are totally focused on being at the front after 24 hours of racing," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #64 Corvette C5-R. "I was happy to see that Jan ran very comfortably at a consistent pace during our night session. All three of the drivers on the #64 team are very happy with the setup of the car and I expect this will suit us well over the 24 hours."

While many fans and competitors expected afternoon rain to spoil Thursday's chance to improve the qualifying order, the track dried and many teams on the 47-car grid improved their position. Gavin set his fast lap during the tail end of the first session as cooling track temperatures allowed him to break the 3 minutes, 50 seconds mark. Johnny O'Connell went for a qualifying run during the first part of the 10:00 pm session and found conditions to his liking, although he reported heavy traffic.

"We did what we had to do to get a proper setup and I am very happy that we have a comfortable race car for Saturday," said O'Connell. "We will make a few more changes to some settings, but I believe we are ready. The teams that win here are able to look after their cars the best, and we're planning on doing that for the entire 24 hours."
Gran Tourisme (GTS) Class
Pos. Overall No. Car Best Time
1 17 66 Ferrari 550 M 3:49.438
2 18 64 Corvette C5-R 3:49.750
3 20 63 Corvette C5-R 3:51.378
4 21 65 Ferrari 550 M 3:51.755
5 24 69 Ferrari 550 M 3:55.500
6 27 62 Ferrari 575 GTC 4:00.714
7 31 61 Ferrari 575GTC 4:06.375

6/11/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Jordan has new 'front and rear wings'
'B spec' McLaren waits on spare parts
Minardi's pace 'worse than ever' - Stoddart
'I know I must drive faster' - Rubens
F1 cars 'are too quick' - Fisichella
Schu condemns 'illegal tire' rumor
McLaren to struggle in Canada - Kimi
Heidfeld in running for 'top flight' drive
Ferrari 'is not boring' - Schumacher
Sauber waits for first Ferrari engine step
Honda have further engine step for Indy
Fisichella likely to stay at Sauber
Schu doubts if usual rivals can 'bounce back'
F1 car 'more sophisticated' than jet fighter
Smoking McLarens have Montoya quaking
'Tusk nosed' Williams to get French upgrade
Jacques' 'understudy' under pressure in Canada?
Why Raikkonen is F1's own 'Iceman'
Raikkonen defends Nürburgring tactics
Who's better - Japan's Sato or Button ... ?
Formula One IS boring, says younger Schu
Ralf and Ferrari    

6/11/04

Pocono to test new Ford engines  People very close to Ford are cautiously excited about their new cylinder head and what it does for them. You don't want to wind up a casualty, especially at Pocono, of something that may not be proven. Ford definitely feels like it's a much more powerful engine combination than they've had before, and it will be a big plus at a place like Pocono. On that long straightaway, you need to have acceleration up off the corners so it's exactly what the Blue Oval teams wanted. I'll be interested to see how many of them show up in their cars this weekend.   Jeff Hammond/Fox Sports

6/11/04

NASCAR faces big hurdles in NY City  This NY Journal News article talks about the major hurdles ISC and NASCAR will have to overcome to build a SuperSpeedway on Staten Island, NY.  "You can't move around here as it is,'' 37-year-old air freight worker Joseph Rinaldo said. "Fuggedaboudit. You can't drive on Staten Island now. Let them put it someplace else. We're overdeveloped as it is. You've got houses one on top of the other.''

6/11/04

Grand week scheduled around USGP in Indy  A calendar full of cultural, social and sporting events will fill Indianapolis’ sidewalks and streets June 14-20, creating “A Grand Week in Indy,” culminating with the fifth running of the United States Grand Prix Formula One race June 20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The week will be dedicated to cars, concerts and causes as Indianapolis revs its cultural engine for residents and visitors of all ages and for racing fans from all around the world during “Grand Week” festivities “Grand Week” information is available at www.indy.org/usgp, the official Web site of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. Additional USGP event information is available in the United States Grand Prix section of www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. The United States Grand Prix Fan Guide, which lists many of the “Grand Week” activities with locations and times, will be available beginning June 14 at a number of locations around the Indianapolis area, including the Indianapolis International Airport; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s ticket office and Hall of Fame Museum; local Marsh Supermarkets and Firestone tire retail stores; and hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and various other locations.

6/10/04

Vasser to pull alongside Champ Car legend Andretti this weekend   American Champ Car standout and 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of PKV Racing has contested many a race in the Champ Car World Series throughout his career– 207 to be exact– but when the 10-time racewinner takes the Green Flag at next weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland on Father’s Day for number 208, history in the form of the legendary Mario Andretti awaits him on the all-time Champ Car Career Starts List [Modern Era]. Vasser’s 208th scheduled Champ Car start June 20th on Portland International Raceway’s 1.969-mile road course will tie him for fifth all-time with fellow Series Champion and racing icon Mario Andretti, who turned the championship trick in 1984. He is scheduled to pass Andretti with his 209th start during the 23rd Annual U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, July 1-3 at Burke Lakefront Airport.

In addition to the spectacular Starts List statistic, the California native is rapidly closing in on former Champ Car competitor Al Unser Jr., who is perched atop the Most Consecutive Starts list with 192. In Cal Ripken Jr.-like fashion, Vasser, known for being one of the most durable drivers in any racing paddock across the motorsport landscape, is scheduled to pass Unser Jr. with consecutive start number 193 later this season in Round 10 in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Vasser’s current streak dates back to his 22nd career start at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1993, with his first Champ Car start coming in Surfers Paradise, Australia in 1992. Most recently, in start number 207 Vasser vaulted four notches from 14th to 10th in the championship point standings in Round 3 at Milwaukee on the strength of a fourth-place run, a season-best for the second-year PKV Racing team in which he co-owns with venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven and Dan Pettit.

Vasser’s much-touted racing resume includes a $3,071,500 (US) championship run in 1996, Series Runner-Up honors in 1998 and winning the fastest race in Champ Car history in 2002 at California Speedway (197.995 mph). In addition to capturing 10 wins, eight pole positions and 30 podiums, the Las Vegas resident is one of just seven drivers to earn more than $11 million in a Champ Car career. Now in his 13th season, Vasser ranks in the top-20 in almost every statistical category, while having helped mold the careers of former teammates and Champ Car titlists Alex Zanardi (1997-‘98) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) along the way.

6/10/04

Dangerous curves goes deep this weekend   Spike TV’s behind-the-scenes look at the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will run the gamut in Sunday’s broadcast of Dangerous Curves, going from high in the sky to deep underwater and carries fans to the altar as well. The Spike TV show, which airs at 1:30 Eastern Time Sunday and is re-aired at 12:00 a.m., will recap last week’s action from the Milwaukee Mile where Ryan Hunter-Reay set a new Champ Car record in pacing all 250 laps in taking his first win of the season. Hostess Bronte Tagliani interviewed the 23-year-old Floridian in Victory Lane after the race to get his thoughts. Tagliani and Hunter-Reay will also take viewers underwater as they go snorkeling in Ft. Lauderdale as Hunter-Reay gives viewers a look at one of his hobbies. Champ Car pit reporter Calvin Fish will give a report on pit positions, what goes into choosing them and why locations are so important to the teams of the Champ Car World Series. There will also be a segment on the driver’s traffic reporters, the spotters that spend their race days on the radio with drivers. A key part of the driver’s support team, the spotters are instrumental in keeping their team out of trouble during the event and use their perches above the track to point out possible problems. Dangerous Curves also takes viewers to a race-track wedding in Milwaukee as a pair of Champ Car fans took their vows in the track chapel on Saturday. The fans were given their vows by a member of Champ Car Ministries and were joined during their celebration by eventual race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.

6/10/04

Sensational lap by Enge gives Ferrari GTS pole over Corvette   A sensational lap of 3m 49.438 from Czech driver Tomas Enge – just ten minutes before midnight – saw him claim GTS pole position for the third consecutive year and set a new GTS pole record. The Czech driver’s feat was all the more remarkable given that he had heavily crashed his Care Racing owned Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello during the evening’s first two-hour session. The car was not returned to the team’s garage until 2115 hrs and the Prodrive mechanics once again proved their excellence and superlative teamwork by repairing it in just over two hours, to such a level that Enge was able to go all out for pole. A new front splitter, parts of the steering system, right rear suspension, bodywork and fixings were the main areas of the Ferrari which were repaired or replaced. After one installation lap, he left the pits on a set of Michelin qualifying tires with just 15 minutes of the session remaining and stunned and delighted all within the Care Racing supported team. Enge said, “You can see how good these guys are in the Prodrive Ferrari team. I shunted the car quite badly and they repaired it in two hours time and they made it so good I could put it on the pole. Fantastic and a really big thank you to everyone. This is the best team I’ve ever been in. They like me and they know about me and I love them because the co-operation and working relationship we have is really huge and you can see the results. This is just the first part of the weekend though and I hope we can repeat what we did last year too and finish on the top step of the GTS podium again.”

6/10/04

Herbert Audi wins LeMans pole   For a fourth time after 2000, 2001 and 2002, an Audi R8 starts the famous Le Mans 24 Hours from the front of the grid. Thursday evening, former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert captured pole position of the French Endurance classic for the newly formed Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx. The Briton beat last year's pole time set by Tom Kristensen (Bentley) by 0.005s. Herbert's team mate Allan McNish, who had been fastest in Wednesday's first qualifying session, also improved his time making it a silver front row. Five-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen qualified fourth for Audi Sport Japan Team Goh. American Team ADT Champion Racing fully concentrated on race setup, starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday from the third row.  More to follow.  The top-10 are:

1 Davies/Herbert/Smith (Audi R8) 3m 32.838s
2 Biela/Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 3m 33.233s
3 Wallace/Brabham/Shimoda (Zytek) 3m 33.923s
4 Ara/Capello/Kristensen (Audi R8) 3m 34.038s
5 Collard/Bourdais/Minassian (Pescarolo-Judd) 3m 34.252s
6 Lehto/Werner/Pirro (Audi R8) 3m 34.927s
7 Katoh/Michigami/Fukuda (Dome-Mugen) 3m 36.285s
8 Lammers/Dyson/Kaneishi (Dome-Judd) 3m 36.353s
9 Short/Barff/Barbosa (Dallara-Judd) 3m 39.260s
10 Coronel/Wilson/Firman (Dome-Judd) 3m 40.261s

6/10/04

Da Matta talks about Champ Cars and F1  A reader writes, I was at the open house today in Montreal for the F1 race and picked up a program. Inside is an interview with Cristiano da Matta (p. 121), and it talks about his F1 career, how he got there, etc. But it has some interesting quotes from him about Champ Cars.
On the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve:
"My experience from Champ Car helps. I know more about the characteristics of the track, like where the bumps are and what curbs you can ride, so I can start getting the setup right when I get out on the track first thing on Friday morning." "To be quick here you have to brake quickly and be catapulted out of the chicanes, which the F1 car does very well."
On F1 versus Champ Car:
"Everything about F1 is so much bigger than Champ Car, that you need to keep a very close watch on everything. The team is much bigger, the setup possibilities are endless, the PR commitments are huge, and the car is much faster, particularly under braking and through the fast corners. There aren't any real fast corners in Montréal, but you can feel the F1 car's greater capabilities under braking and acceleration."
On switching to F1 and Champ Car ovals:
"The switch to F1 came at exactly the right moment in my career because I had achieved everything I was going to achieve in America and, to be honest, I'd had enough of the ovals in Champ Car. They are very dangerous."

The article's writer also describes F1 as much safer than Champ Car and that the difference between Champ Cars and F1, "like comparing field hockey to ice hockey.. the F1 car far superior in terms of speed" Loyal AR1 subscriber, Shaun M. Atradeus

6/10/04

Wallace hits 228 MPH at Talladega  Rusty Wallace gave a new meaning to the term "high speed communication" on Wednesday afternoon when he piloted his Miller Lite Dodge at speeds up to 228 mph at Talladega Superspeedway. "We hit 228 (mph) at the end of the straightaway and averaged 221 (mph) for that overall lap segment," an excited Wallace said late Wednesday as he prepared to head back home to North Carolina. "It was a helluva deal that I certainly will remember for the rest of my life. We'd all been wondering what it would feel like to run at Talladega again without the (restrictor-) plates and now I know. I'll bet we could be running speeds up to 235 (mph) without the plates if we spent time doing some tweaking. "But I'll tell you this -- there's no way we could be out there racing at those speeds," Wallace offered. "It was neat to be out there running that fast by myself, but it would be insane to think we could have a pack of cars out there doing that."

Wallace's high-speed opportunity came at the request of NASCAR officials on behalf of series sponsor Nextel and Racing Radios, the Hampton, Ga.,-based company that serves as the "Official 2-Way Radio provider" for all three of the major NASCAR racing series. "I've enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Racing Radios and I jumped at the opportunity to assist them with their 'Communication of the Future' program for NASCAR," Wallace said. "We were invited to bring our Miller Lite Dodge superspeedway car down for the test to assure quality audio at high rates of speed. The NASCAR, Nextel and Racing Radios officials were all extremely pleased at the end of the day, so I'd say that we did a good job for them."

Wallace's speed far exceeded the official track qualifying record of 212.809 mph (44.998 seconds), set by Bill Elliott on April 30, 1987. "I guess it was about as official as you could get as we were operating under the watchful eyes of NASCAR," chuckled crew chief Larry Carter, who flew to Talladega with Wallace after testing at Sonoma, Calif., on Tuesday. "John Darby (NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director) and Buster Auton (long-time series official who has served as the pace car driver since 1997) were in charge, along with officials from Racing Radios and Nextel. So, there were plenty of witnesses on hand.

"They were timing lap segments and straightaway speeds and Rusty's fastest lap had him running an average 221 mph in that segment and 228 mph at the end of the straightaway," Carter offered. "The overall lap time was a 44.27 (-second, 216.309 mph) and that beat Elliott's old record by more than seven-tenths (of a second). It was some sight to see, I'll tell you that. It was one of the most exciting experiences I've had in a long time," said Earl Barban, spotter for Wallace's team who was on the other end of the communications link with Wallace during his fast laps around the Talladega track. "One of the things that impressed me most was the sound of the engine screaming down the straightaways and into the turns. It's totally different than what we're accustomed to hearing with the (restrictor-) plate motors. As for the actual audio test, Rusty was out there barreling into the corner at 228 (mph) and I could here him crystal clear. So, I'd say that it was a successful test for our friends at Racing Radios."

6/10/04
Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA gears up for Montreal  Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship may allow some competitors a glimpse into their futures when the Championship travels to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in support of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 11-13. The next two weeks will be very busy ones for the drivers and teams of the Formula BMW USA Championship as they follow the Formula 1 World Championship through North America. Formula BMW USA is the only open-wheel series to support the two North American Grands Prix," said Alex Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Manager. That statement in itself proves the commitment of BMW to developing and showcasing young driving talent." After two exciting and very competitive opening rounds at Lime Rock Park on May 29 and 31, Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) leads 15 other young competitors in the points standings. Wirth was a double victor at Lime Rock, winning both races by a total of less than one second. In Round 1 he topped James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport) by just .443 seconds. Only .503 seconds separated Wirth and Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) at the checkered flag in Round 2. Matt Jaskol won the pole position for both races, but a mechanical problem while leading Round 1 kept his Red Bull machine out of the points. He led Round 2 early, but had to settle for second. Three Canadians will be making one of the most important starts in their young careers in support of their country's Grand Prix. James Hinchcliffe, of Markham, Ontario leads the Rookie standings after his second and fifth place finishes at Lime Rock. Fellow BMW Junior driver Trevor Daley calls Brampton, Ontario home and Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) resides in Stouffville, Ontario. Practice and qualifying for both Rounds 3 and 4 will be held on Friday, June 11th. Round 3 is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. EDT Saturday and Round 4 is scheduled prior to the Canadian Grand Prix at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

6/10/04

Montezemolo to remain as Ferrari-Maserati chairman  This Grandprix.com article says, Luca di Montezemolo is going to be a busy man as he is to stay on as chairman of Ferrari in addition to running Italy's industrial federation Confindustria and being chairman of the entire Fiat group. Montezemolo says that he will play a supportive role to Fiat's new chief executive Sergio Marchionne but will not be running the whole company on a daily basis. Montezemolo wants to use the reflected glory of the success of Ferrari-Maserati to boost the image of Fiat Auto, which owns the Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat and Innocenti brands.

6/10/04

Honda now just like the old Honda  This Grandprix.com article talks about how Honda operated when it dominated F1 racing back in the Ayrton Senna days and how it has recently reorganized it's F1 operations to function in the same way now.  Since then progress has been obvious and this year the BAR-Honda team is on the verge of a breakthrough, with a victory likely at some point this year and a sign that Honda has a steely determination to knock Ferrari off the top. At every race BAR-Honda has a different spec engine, just as it used to be in the old days. While most engine companies tune the engines differently for each event and have three or four upgrades a year, Honda is operating a different system and the signs are that it will soon pay off. This weekend in Canada Jenson Button and Takuma Sato will have a revised version of the Honda V10 engine and after the impressive displays in Monaco and at the Nürburgring, Ferrari is beginning to look over its shoulder. The Rising Sun is rising again.

6/10/04

Legault honored for saving Canadian GP  This Canadian Press article says, Normand Legault has every reason to celebrate the 26th Canadian Grand Prix.  The promoter has achieved his promise made last November of ensuring the race's survival without tobacco advertising.  The Canadian Grand Prix was removed from the Formula 1 racing calendar last August because of the Canadian law banning tobacco advertising.  ``Simply running the event this year is a bit of a miracle,'' Legault said Wednesday at a ceremony recognizing his efforts to save the race.  Legault said he never believed that Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was bluffing about removing the Canadian race.  ``We knew we had to fight an extremely difficult battle, a fight that lasted several months,'' he said. ``We had to convince a lot of people - car manufacturers, the International Automobile Federation and teams. But it was worth the fight.''  The agreement calls for $29 million in compensation for the lack of tobacco ads. Legault said the amount has been obtained.  While nothing is certain, Legault said the Canadian Grand Prix doesn't face a short-term problem.  ``For now, the weekend is promising. And our contract has two more years after Sunday's race.''  The race is sold out, even for general admission.  Record attendance was achieved in 2002 when 117,000 fans watched the race, 326,000 people over three days.

6/10/04
Industry News

VW signs Olympic deal  VW is the largest seller of automobiles in China and they aim to keep it that way.  Volkswagon has signed a sponsorship deal with the local organizing committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. VW China will be the ‘automobile partner’ of the Games, and assist the China Olympic Committee and Chinese teams competing in 2006 and 2008 Games. Said Dr Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen: "Volkswagen is eager to provide the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with all the support it needs to successfully promote the Olympic sports."

6/10/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Fast-moving 'flying camera' at Indy
Villeneuve readies for F1 return
F1 veterans' 'mundane back-up plan'
Ilmor chief blamed for Mercedes' F1 crisis
Rain 'less likely' for Canadian GP
Early start for F1 drivers in Canada
Ferrari deny 'higher-spec' engine plan
Overtaking 'is possible' at Montreal
Sato eyes 'podium dream' in Canada
Don't expect a 'huge leap' - Toyota chief
F1's rules on brakes 'are unsafe' - Newey
Rookie Pantano expected 'a little more'
Canadian GP 'is a miracle' - promoter
Dennis wanted Canada-debut for new McLaren
Coulthard questions new McLaren delay
Schu was 'extraordinarily mature' F3 star
Former F1 ace angers art world
Canadian GP can 'live without' Villeneuve  

6/10/04

Ralf's wife's "boob job"  Oops - Ralf Schumacher's wife is no racing driver, a female pro has claimed.  Girl racer Ellen Lohr, who recently competed in the Baja Rally, said Cora's 'breasts might burst' if she gets into a crash whilst driving her speedy Mini.  Cora finished 13th and 18th on her debut at Lausitzring on the weekend.  ''No real driver takes an additional 800 grams of extra weight with them in the car,'' Lohr told Ananova in an apparent reference to Schumacher's big boob-job.  But should Ellen Lohr really be dishing out the criticism ... ?   She recently drove a Mitsubishi in the Baja 1000 and finished just twenty-second overall (and 79th in one stage) after clouting a tree not far into the event.

6/10/04
Industry News

Beijing Auto Show: Courting the East  Ford Motor Co. might need to step up investment in China, the world's fastest-growing car market, in light of General Motors Corp.'s announcement that it plans to spend $3 billion and more than double production, analysts and investors said.  The showpiece for Ford at the Beijing auto show this week is the prototype of the new Focus small car, and company officials declined to say whether it would be produced in China. The automaker is showing other models that aren't being made in China including Aston Martin-brand sports cars.    Ford said in October it would spend $1.5 billion to boost China production. GM, Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. in the last eight months said their combined investment will be six times larger. Investors say Ford is lagging in the world's third-largest auto market.  "Ford is late enough to China that it's going to be tough," said Sasha Kamper at Principal Global Investors in Des Moines, Iowa, who helps manage $65 billion of debt, including Ford and General Motors bonds.

Tuesday's unveiling of the Focus in Beijing follows General Motors' announcement Monday that it plans to introduce 20 new models, build a transmission factory and boost engine production in China.  GM has said its profit from sales in the country more than tripled to $437 million, and the nation could be its second-biggest market in two years.  General Motors "is notable in that they're all over the place" in China, said Alan Baum, director of forecasting at automotive consultant Planning Edge in Birmingham.

Ford and Japanese partner Mazda Motor Corp. will spend 70 billion yen ($639 million) to build a second car plant and engine factory for Changan Ford in Nanjing city in eastern China, Nikkei English News has reported.

Volkswagen, the largest carmaker in China, said last year it planned to invest 6 billion euros ($7 billion) by 2009 to double its China manufacturing capacity to 1.6 million vehicles. Volkswagen sells about 30 percent of the vehicles in China, half its market share before General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota started making cars in the country.

Toyota is expanding in China five times faster than it did when it entered the United States, executive vice president Kosuke Shiramizu said in March. The Chinese auto market is growing at about five times the pace the U.S. market was when Toyota began making cars there in 1984, he said.

With two of the exhibition center's 10 halls, Ford has the largest display of any of the 1,400 companies presenting their products at the show. For the first time in China, Ford has representatives of nearly every one of its brands: Ford, Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover and even one Lincoln.  Auto China 2004 is expected to draw about 400,000 visitors over 10 days.  Detroit Free Press

6/10/04

What would you be if you were not a F1 driver?  The 20 competitors in the 2004 United States Grand Prix, June 18-20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, were asked what job they would like to have if they weren't a Formula One driver.  More...

6/9/04

Total resurfacing of Martinsville  After a couple of months of thought, research and planning, Martinsville Speedway’s racing surface is set for a total facelift.  Construction crews began demolition of the concrete in the turns this morning in preparation for a total resurfacing of the .526-mile oval. The project, which includes new concrete in the turns and asphalt on the straights, should be finished by mid-July.  "I think the drivers are going to like what they see when they come back in the fall," said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. "A lot of time and effort has been put into this to make the racing surface as smooth, as near-perfect as it can be."  Drivers and fans alike will notice a slight change at the exits of the second and fourth turns. The two grooves of concrete will be extended about 100 feet past the exit point of the turns.  "Drivers have expressed concern for years about the transition between the concrete and asphalt," said Campbell. "In the past they were still trying to accelerate off the corner while they were changing surfaces. Now the concrete will extend out further. It will be less upsetting to the car."  The transition point from asphalt to concrete entering the first and third turns will remain the same. "Entering the turn isn’t really an issue," said Campbell.  Surveying crews spent several weeks carefully charting the racing surface to make sure the finished product was as smooth as possible.  "The resurfacing will be done with computer precision," said Campbell. "The track is going to be very smooth; the transition points will be near-perfect."

6/9/04

Toronto sales off 10%   The Toronto Star reports that Molson Indy general manager Bob Singleton admitted ticket sales are down 10 per cent for next month's race, but blames that on a slow start brought on by the uncertainty of the circuit's future last winter. But as was the case last year when the SARS scare affected early sales he feels crowds will match last year's figures by the July 9-11 race weekend.

6/9/04

Ralph Moody dies  Ralph Moody, a partner in the legendary Holman-Moody Racing operation that helped put Charlotte on the map as a worldwide center for motorsports, died Wednesday morning at his home in Mooresville after a long illness. He was 86. Between 1958 and 1971, cars owned by Mr. Moody and partner John Holman won 93 races in what is now know as NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series. He also won five races as a driver in the 1956 and 1957 seasons. "His place in life was making a car go fast around a race track," said Lee Holman, the son of John Holman who is still president of Holman-Moody, a company that Mr. Moody sold his share of in 1972. "If you were a racer, you and Ralph Moody could get along." One the many racers who benefited greatly from Mr. Moody's expertise in building fast race cars was David Pearson. Pearson won 30 of his 105 Cup victories in Holman-Moody Fords, winning 16 times in 1968 and 11 more races in 1969 on his way to championships in both of those years. Pearson, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Fred Lorenzen, Nelson Stacy, Fireball Roberts, Dan Gurney, Dick Hutcherson, Mario Andretti and Bobby Allison all did win in Holman-Moody cars. According to the book "Holman-Moody: The Legendary Race Team," by Tom Cotter and Al Pearce, it was when a young Bobby Allison saw Mr. Moody driving his 1940 Ford coupe in a race Hialeah, Fla., that Allison was inspired to become a racer himself. Mr. Moody was born Sept. 10, 1917, in Taunton, Mass. As a teen he built a Model T Ford race car and ran it on nights and weekends. He served in the Army in World War II, driving a tank under the command of Gen. George S. Patton. After the war, he resumed racing. He and his wife, Mitzi, were married in 1949. They moved from New England to Hollywood, Fla., where Mr. Moody could race year-round. He also opened an auto repair shop and drove stock cars owned by Red Vogt and Pete DePaolo, the 1925 Indianapolis 500 champion. Mr. Moody was inducted last year into the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994. Funeral arrangements for Mr. Moody were to be finalized Wednesday through Cavin-Cooke Funeral Home in Mooresville, NC.  ThatsRacin.com

6/9/04

Matt Alexander & Jeff Green interviews  Matthew Alexander took time out during today's NASCAR test session to talk with the media about several topics concerning Chicagoland Speedway, as well as NASCAR.   Selected quotes from Matthew Alexander - Vice President/General Manager of Chicagoland Speedway:

Meanwhile, Jeff Green took time out at a Dodge media teleconference to answer some very poignant questions related to NASCAR issues.

6/9/04

Three penalized for post-race altercation  NASCAR Busch Series driver Brad Teague, Jeffrey Smith, motor coach driver for driver Kevin Harvick, and James Caldwell, a public relations representative for Harvick, were issued varying penalties for their involvement in an altercation following the May 29 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced Tuesday. Teague and Smith each were fined $2,500 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for their involvement in the incident that occurred in pit lane following the race. Caldwell was suspended until July 21 in addition to being fined $2,500 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. All three were penalized under Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation on pit road after the conclusion of the race.) NASCAR.com

6/9/04

Stoddard not upset with Waltrip  Bill Davis Racing crew chief Frank Stoddard refuted Tuesday an Internet report published Sunday in which an intercepted scanner transmission ripping driver Michael Waltrip was incorrectly attributed to Stoddard. The comment on the BDR frequency for the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge driven by rookie Scott Wimmer bluntly demeaned Waltrip's driving ability. "I didn't say it -- Michael and I are friends and still were, the last I knew," Stoddard said. "There are 18 guys on my crew that are on that frequency and that doesn't count the guys on the 23 crew (BDR's second car) that also have access to it." Dave Blaney, driving Davis' No. 23 Ollie's Dodge, was involved in an accident with Waltrip Sunday that prompted the radio commentary. "There has to be some responsibility used when you access scanner transmissions," Stoddard said. "If you asked me for a comment, I would give you one. "In this case, I think there were general comments about this accident being like speedway racing and a number of drivers were acting like idiots -- not anyone specifically." Stoddard said his concern, in addition to potentially being quoted out of context, is that teams, drivers and crew chiefs might alter their radio communication for fear of similar mistakes. "Some teams scramble their radios now and I don't think that's right," Stoddard said. "Our radio communication is part of the total experience for our fans. "I would hate to see a day when all fans could hear on the radio would be 'we're taking four tires next time.'" NASCAR.com

6/9/04

LeMans action starts today   On-track action starts today at the Circuit de La Sarthe as race teams begin practicing and qualifying for this weekend's 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Teams will have two hours of track time today beginning at 7 p.m. Paris time (1 p.m. U.S. Eastern) and then another two starting at 10 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern). The sessions are both practice and qualifying, as the best lap turned by each car will be considered its qualifying lap. Race fans who want to follow the action can listen to the broadcast of Radio Le Mans online at www.radiolemans.com and with live timing and scoring online at www.lemans.org.  A similar schedule will be followed on Thursday. There will be no track time on Friday as teams make final preparations for the race, which starts at 4 p.m. (Paris time) on Saturday. A brief warm-up will be held Saturday morning.

6/9/04

Dominguez becoming frontrunner   What began innocently enough with a fifth-place finish in Montreal has morphed into a living, breathing testament of the great strides taken by Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in becoming one of the stars of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

That fifth-place finish started a streak of consecutive top-10 finishes that reached eight on Saturday night in Milwaukee when Dominguez brought his Herdez Competition machine home in the eighth spot. That streak eclipsed the mark formerly held by Adrian Fernandez and gives Dominguez the second-longest streak of top-10 finishes ever by a Mexican-born driver.

“This streak has really been a team effort and it shows the improvement that we have made over the past couple of years,” Dominguez said. “Adrian is the driver that opened the doors for us in Champ Car, but I am happier about how the team is performing than I am about besting his mark and chasing the record.”

The streak is about more than just consistency for Dominguez and Herdez Competition, as it documents the team’s rise from one that struggled for top-10 finishes to one that competes for wins and poles. Dominguez himself has wins in each of the last two years and Herdez scored a third win just last week with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) dominating victory at Milwaukee.

The eight-race streak is more than just finishing in the top half of an 18-car field as well. It includes Mario’s win at last year’s Grand Prix Americas in Miami and podium finishes in Mexico City and Monterrey. For a driver that nearly lost the rookie title in 2002 to a driver that ran less than half the season, going to the racetrack is much easier now that the team is a threat to win.

“It’s so much nicer and makes me a lot more confident when we go into a weekend,” Dominguez said. “Before we really didn’t have a competitive package but now we both have a real shot at winning races every week. It hasn’t happened overnight. Everyone with this team and the organization has worked very hard to get where we are.”

Next on the list is a streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes put together by Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) from 2001-02, but Dominguez and the team are focused on loftier goals.

“We’ve really raised the expectations across the board this year,” he said. “We know we have what it takes to win races and we come out every race looking to get into the top-five. Once you do that, anything can happen.”  Champ Car

6/9/04

SPEED Channel to provide international feed for USGP  SPEED Channel will bring Formula One to the world on June 20 at 12:30 p.m. ET with LIVE coverage of the United States Grand Prix from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With all eyes on the network, the SPEED cameras will be everywhere. Highlighted by a special pit-lane "Fly Cam" designed to travel at speeds of 80 mph, the arsenal of equipment will include 22 fixed cameras, seven robotic cameras, three jibs and three pit area radio frequency cameras.

"This is a very big deal for SPEED Channel on par with an Olympic event in terms of size of audience," said Frank Wilson, SPEED Channel Sr. Coordinating Producer. "We have been working very hard since the end of last year's race to improve upon the groundwork already put down in 2003."

Estimates for the worldwide television audience range from 350-400 million viewers.

SPEED Channel's veteran F1 on-air team is lead by host Bob Varsha. Former Formula One driver David Hobbs and F1 mechanic Steve Matchett will provide analysis from the booth and Peter Windsor and Derek Daly will report from the pits.

The SPEED Channel USGP broadcast schedule (all times ET):

· June 18 - USGP Practice (Noon to 4 p.m., LIVE)
· June 18 - F1 Decade: 1994 German Grand Prix (midnight)
· June 19 - USGP Practice (9 a.m. to 11 a.m., LIVE)
· June 19 - SPEED Special: On the Limit - Jordan Grand Prix Test (12:30 p.m.)
· June 19 - USGP Qualifying (1 p.m. to 3 p.m., LIVE)
· June 20 - United States Grand Prix (12:30 p.m., LIVE)
· June 20 - SPEED Special: On the Limit - Jordan Grand Prix Test (5 p.m., replay)

SPEED CHANNEL F1 SPECIAL: Former Formula One driver and current SPEED Channel analyst Derek Daly reunites with the man who gave him his start in racing, Eddie Jordan, to put together a special SPEED Channel program entitled On the Limit: Jordan Grand Prix Test set to debut June 19 at 12:30 p.m. (Media preview copy available upon request).

Jordan, the Team Principal for the Jordan Grand Prix team, allowed Daly and SPEED Channel's cameras unprecedented access to a Formula One test. Daly spent the day shaking down the Jordan EJ/13 -- the same car that contested the 2003 F1 season. The test was conducted alongside the debut of the Jordan EJ/14, a car driven in F1 in 2004.

Daly will provide a unique perspective on the process, as on-board cameras document his every move on the Silverstone Circuit, while the former racer provides real-time commentary while piloting the Jordan car. Daly not only was allowed to drive the car, but he was given access to the team and their engineers for an entire day.

"This program will take you inside the inner workings of a Formula One team," said Frank Wilson, SPEED Channel Sr. Coordinating Producer. "Derek will introduce SPEED Channel viewers to one of the most sophisticated racing cars on the planet. The audience will be allowed to eavesdrop on meetings with team engineers and will get an up close look at a very complicated piece of machinery."

6/9/04

New BAR Honda engine for Canada  "Following our recent podium successes, the team is looking forward to racing at Montreal, where we also expect to be competitive," he says. "We have a few small car developments for this race but the main change is a new specification of engine. Our target for Canada is to finish on the podium again but most importantly to finish both cars in the points to try to close up with Renault in the Championship.”

"The circuit itself is a mixture of high-speed straights broken by low-speed chicanes and hairpins, with the only real corners being in the sequence after turn two," continues Willis. "The downforce level will be quite low but determined by the balance between braking stability and sufficiently high top speed for the race. The track is quite bumpy and, as it is used only once a year, the conditions change a lot through the weekend as the track cleans up. Good traction and stability over the bumps is important, and the circuit is always very hard on brakes. The track presents few overtaking opportunities so qualifying position and start performance will be significant factors in determining the outcome of the race."

6/9/04

Ferrari puts on show in Shanghai  UPDATE We have added photos below of the event.  Note the mass of people who came out just for this demonstration. 6/7/04 - The adulation reached fever pitch for Ferrari in China. At the brand new Shanghai circuit, the Ferrari Maserati Group was the guests of honor. Formula 1 will touch down for the first time here on 26 September for the Chinese Grand Prix. In front of over 35,000 spectators, 70 Prancing Horse and Trident vehicles laid down the first rubber on the track. The cars were driven by their proud owners who hailed from all over South East Asia. Then it was the turn of Gerhard Berger – for six seasons a Ferrari driver - in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship winning F2003-GA. The growl of the car’s engine was matched by the roar from the crowd as the Chinese crowd followed the Austrian’s five laps with great enthusiasm. In the main stand were gathered the top brass of modern Chinese society. They had come to witness the opening of what, maybe a little immodestly, has been dubbed the ‘greatest circuit of all time’. The fans looked on as Jean Todt, flanked by dignitaries from the local and central Chinese government, FIA and FOM representatives, thanked the supporters for the warm welcome. He also praised the circuit, designed by the specialist, Hermann Tilke. Ferrari and Maserati mechanics shared the pit lane facilities as above them a huge screen projected the debut of the Maserati MC12 Stradale to the throng. The new model was driven by Andrea Bertolini. Alongside him in the cockpit was new Maserati CEO, Martin Leach. As if that were not enough, Luca Badoer also took the Enzo for a spin. The Chinese driver, Tengyi Jiang, had a fabulous day out and took the wheel of a Maserati Trofeo in which he will compete in some European meets. Ferrari



Photos courtesy of Ferrari

6/9/04

Button spurs British GP sellout   Recent success by Jenson Button has resulted in a sellout for the British GP at Silverstone in July.

6/9/04

More Dover frustration  Jeff Hammond says in this Fox Sports article, "Dover race weekend was one of the toughest weekends I've ever spent at a track as part of the NASCAR and FOX families because so many things that could go wrong did go wrong.  From the weather to the way the weather was handled all the way down through the competitors' frustration with not being able to race like they wanted to, I'm really concerned that we are losing fans. I'm worried about people not buying tickets because NASCAR can't get some things done quickly. And I'm probably more worried about the fans at home who block out a certain amount of time to watch a race, and all of the sudden, it starts cutting into either family time or other plans.  Longer races frustrate new fans in particular. When they don't understand everything that's happening, it may drive them away. NASCAR has always said that it is a family sport that everybody should understand and appreciate. Yet when we confuse fans and can't totally explain why we're making the decisions that we're making, we're doing a disservice, and we're losing fans instead of gaining them.  We're going to have to start trusting available technology a little more, and we're going to have to spend a little bit more money to make sure that we use the technology that we do have to expedite the process of determining the running order."

6/9/04
Formula
BMW

Pole Vision enters Formula BMW    After several months of intense negotiations and with the great effort of all team members, the owners of Pole Vision Racing USA, Benoit Morand and Markus Bischof, are proud to announce the engagement of two Formula BMW FB2’s for the remaining 2004 season. Pole Vision Racing USA, headquartered in Guntersville, Alabama, plans to start the season this weekend at the Formula One Race in Montreal with two American drivers, Derek Burseth and Brian Frisselle. For Derek Burseth, this will be the second race of his young career. The likeable young man from Chicago proved in his very first race at Lime Rock Park that he has a great deal of potential. Brian’s goal in Montreal is to place in the top three. After having won the last three Formula Dodge National Championship races in 2003, Brian has high ambitions and is going for the championship in the Formula BMW FB2. In Montreal (June 12/13, 2004) as well as in Indianapolis (June 19/20 2004), the Formula BMW races will be held before the Formula One races as an opening attraction as well as at numerous Champ Car events.

6/9/04

NASCAR drivers unhappy with Dover officiating  This Winston-Salem Journal article talks about the fiasco that occurred at Sunday's Dover race.  Just when it seemed that NASCAR's race-day credibility couldn't sink any lower, NASCAR officials found yet another way to shoot themselves in the foot in the MBNA America 400.

So when Tony Stewart called the last 80 laps of the race "a circus, a joke" he was supported by many of his fellow drivers.  Stewart dominated the race but faded to finish second. But, he said, he really was just happy to finish: "I feel pretty lucky to get in here with second with the way this day ended up."

Ryan Newman's spin while leading on a lap by himself with 75 miles left provided the clearest proof yet that NASCAR could save itself and the sport a lot of embarrassment by instituting a rule - long called for in several quarters of the garage - to use the running order at the start-finish line of the last green-flag lap for the restart after a yellow flag comes out.

That green-flag lap is the only lap for which NASCAR has any clear and convincing evidence of the order of all the cars, because the start-finish is the only line where electronic transponders record each car's position.

However, for reasons that NASCAR has yet to fully explain, eight months after it began the practice, it continues to insist on trying to visually "freeze" the field by eyeballing the cars at the yellow. That, of course, is a practical impossibility, and technology still doesn't exist to handle the job, either.  On top of that, NASCAR has no verifiable written or electronic scoring to back up its freeze-the-field lineups.

So anyone wanting to audit Sunday's scoring is simply out of luck. There is no paper trail. You simply have to trust that NASCAR officials got it all right.  Little wonder, then, that even Dale Earnhardt Jr. was scratching his head about Sunday's scoring. After finishing third, he said he suspected he might have been a lap down, and he didn't know how he got that lap back.  "But we weren't going to argue when they were giving them back," he said.

6/9/04

Miller announces 2004 effort  2003 Motorock Trans-Am Series championship runner-up Johnny Miller announced today he plans to compete in two Trans-Am races this season. Miller will return to his racing roots, driving the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette with backing from longtime sponsor Eaton Electrical. Miller is set to compete at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. (Aug. 5-8), with plans to race at the Grand Prix of Denver (Aug. 13-15).
 
Miller comes into this year following what was arguably his best Trans-Am season on record. Last season, Miller finished second in the title chase, after earning his second career victory, and scoring eight podium finishes in 10 starts. Miller was also one of NASCAR’s “hired guns,” competing in two NASCAR Nextel Cup races for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Miller finished 24th, on the lead lap, in his Nextel Cup debut at Infineon Raceway, and ran has high as fourth before a mechanical failure relegated him to finishing 36th at Watkins Glen International. Miller was Trans-Am Rookie of the Year 1996 and was named BBS Most Improved Driver in 1998 in a vote by his fellow competitors.
 
Miller will drive this year for veteran Trans-Am team Derhaag Motorsports. Miller’s effort this season is a prelude to a planned full-time season in 2005.
 
“Due to the overwhelming success of the program both on and off the track in 2003, and Trans-Am’s triumphant turnaround this season, Eaton Electrical wanted to seize upon the opportunity to continue their support this season,” said Miller, who has two victories, 27 podiums, as well as 40 top-five and 67 top-ten finishes in 100 career Trans-Am starts.
“We rely on our sponsors to race,” added Miller. “Eaton Electrical has proven it is dedicated to this program. I’m glad the decision was made to return this season and we’re looking forward to 2005.”
 
“Road America and Denver are significant races for our sponsors,” continued Miller. “Eaton Electrical has one of its major facilities in Milwaukee and counts Denver as a key market. Being a sponsor-driven program, our off-track success is just as important as our on-track performance. Along with racing to win, we will support all of Eaton Electrical’s motorsports activities this year. We’re going to attend to them full force to give Eaton Electrical even more added value for its support.”

6/9/04

Russo on future Champ Car engine   In this CART.com article, Champ Car team owner Carl Russo says, There are lots of conversations going on about this [new engines and controlling cost] and I think you’ve seen some inkling of it with the new rules they’ve put forward for Formula 1 with controlled ECUs. When you allow the engineers into the ECUs you’re letting them into software and once you do that the variability they can address is enormous.   So I think a controlled ECU has to be a cornerstone of that approach. That’s entirely my own opinion. I’m speaking with no knowledge of what Champ Car’s intentions are.”

Russo believes a normally-aspirated V8 engine will be the correct route for Champ Car to pursue in the future. “But first and foremost, before you do any of this,” he notes, “we have to stay focused on building the value in the series.   “In the long-term I suspect we should probably go normally-aspirated. When I look at production cars I see V8s. When you say V8 to an American you think small-blocks, big-blocks and Holley four-barrel carburetors, but that’s not what V8s are today. Modern V8s are very sophisticated engines. The DTM engines in Europe for example are pretty sophisticated engines and I think that’s the type of engine we have to go after." [Editors Note:  Hmm....Is that why Kevin Kalkhoven was at the German DTM race at EuroSpeedway this past weekend talking to Mercedes, Audi and Opel?]

6/9/04

Russo bullish on Champ Car   This ChampCarWorldSeries.com article, says, Russo took equally serious looks at racing in either Champ Car or the IRL. “We started from a clean slate and did an evaluation, and there were two parts to our final summation.  First of all, I thought we should look at the fact that NASCAR has proven that motorsport can be a mainstream sport. A lot of people look at NASCAR with either disdain or envy. I look at it and say what they’ve done has been good for the sport because they’ve made motor sport a mainstream sport.  When you understand that NASCAR has carved out a segment of the market, that they have a demographic that they address, and that they have a fan and spectator base that they address, you have to understand that if you are to have a viable business in open-wheel racing it has to be a different demographic.   If you’re competing for the same demographic that NASCAR’s competing for I think that’s a very, very difficult situation. I think the demographic of the IRL fan is quite similar to NASCAR. Therein lies a very big long-term challenge for the IRL. But I think the demographic of our Champ Car fans is quite different so I think Champ Car has a chance to build its own identity and therefore its own value. So that was the first piece.  “The second piece was the events. We visited a lot of events. Obviously, with our Toyota/Atlantic team we went to most of the Champ Car events. We also visited a lot of IRL events and there’s no comparison in the spectators that are in the grandstands. For a race team you can say that our customers are our sponsors but actually our customers are the spectators. Sponsors come here to get to those customers and if you don’t have those customers it doesn’t work.  If you don’t have the best TV package but you have great spectators you can fix the TV package. But if you’ve got a great TV package and no one is spectating I’m not sure how you fix that. The product has to be compelling enough to cause someone to get off the couch and go to the event."

6/9/04
Formula GP2

30 cars promised for GP2    Renault-backed GP2 series promoter Bruno Michel has promised to make available 30 Dallara Automobili-built chassis for the 2005 series. The new category, that will replace the FIA F3000 International Championship, will support European F1 events with cars built to F1 dimensions powered by Groupe Meccachrome 4-litre V8 engines and ‘spec' grooved tires. Michel confirmed that Dallara plans to begin a 10,000km test program at Magny-Cours after the French Grand Prix on July 4.  Autosport

6/9/04

Fans can race Sarah   IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher will compete in a race with fans on June 11 at the Bailey Banks & Biddle in Northpark Center in Dallas to help launch the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Collection. From 3 to 5 p.m., participants will compete for best time playing the Codemasters' IndyCar Series video game outside the Bailey Banks & Biddle location. The contestant with the best time will test his or her skills during a one-on-one race with Fisher. The first 50 guests at the event will receive two complimentary tickets to the Bombardier 500K at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12. Any customer who purchases a TAG Heuer watch will receive an autographed copy of Codemasters' IndyCar Series game.

6/9/04

IRL to hold aero package   For Remainder Of 2004: IRL IndyCar® Series cars will continue to use the aerodynamic changes introduced at the Indianapolis 500 during the remainder of the 2004 season, league officials announced on June 2. The quarter-inch vertical spine, designed to keep a spinning car from lifting off the track, will be used at all tracks for the rest of the season, while the other new pieces introduced at Indianapolis will be used at selected events.
The curved skid plate will be used at all tracks greater than one-mile in length, while the one-quarter inch reverse wicker will only be used at Texas Motor Speedway, California Speedway and Michigan Speedway.   At tracks where the reverse wicker is not used, the cars will use brake ducts, tire ramps and sidepod extensions to create drag and extra downforce on the cars.

6/9/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Canada's a 'difficult' challenge - tire makers
Young Americans target F1 future
Bertolini tests Formula One Ferrari
McLaren to develop 'another road car' - report
Teams duel for 'best of rest' plaudit
Renault unveils second 'engine evolution'
Schu vows to check mirrors for BAR
No F1 protest when destination is Montreal
Berger offers 'thumbs up' to China track
Ralf's wife takes heat for 'boob job'

Sauber to get 'new aero parts' in coming races
'GP2' tests to start in July - promoter
Traffic plans ensure Brit GP future - Stewart

6/8/04

Home Depot expands to China, Can NASCAR be far behind?  US DIY chain Home Depot has announced plans for an aggressive push into the fast-growing Chinese market.  Home Depot, the world's biggest home improvements retailer, said it would set up an office in China to explore opportunities to buy or build stores. The company said it had chosen to expand in China because the DIY market there was fragmented and offered only limited competition. The market, fuelled by rising incomes, is valued at up to $50bn a year. Home Depot's newly-appointed Asia head, Bill Patterson, said the company hoped to become the biggest player in Chinese DIY retailing. "Anything the Home Depot takes on we will do with the same intensity," he told the Associated Press. "I think anybody's goal would certainly be to be the biggest player." To date, international DIY chains with a presence in China include Britain's B&Q and OBI of Germany.  BBC

6/8/04

Kia expands to China   South Korea's Kia Motors Corp., said that it will build a $645 million automobile manufacturing plant in China by 2006. [Editor's Note:  Perhaps if Champ Car also had a race in China, South Korean companies like Kia and Hyundai, which are eyeing Champ Car's Seoul race carefully, would jump onboard with the series]

6/8/04

Home Depot expands to Mexico, Can NASCAR be far behind?  The Home Depot Inc. said Thursday it will buy Mexico's Home Mart and its 20 stores. Terms were not disclosed. The purchase will expand Atlanta-based Home Depot's presence in Mexico to 39 stores. Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement retailer; Home Mart is Mexico's second-largest home improvement retailer. With the purchase, Home Depot also announced it is raising its new store opening guidance from 175 stores to 185 new stores, reflecting the Home Mart acquisition and the company's decision to move 10 stores previously scheduled to open in 2004 to 2005. Home Mart stores will be converted to The Home Depot brand after a transition period and employee training.

6/8/04
Industry News

SPEED Channel continues growth    In May, SPEED Channel added 798,000 U.S. households according to Nielsen Media Research. The network now reaches 61.7 million U.S. homes and 4.5 million homes in Canada. SPEED Prime Time May ratings are up 25 percent over May '03 and Total Day ratings are up 23 percent.

6/8/04

Carpentier smokin'   This Toronto Sun article says, After the first three rounds of the Champ Car World Series, Canada's Patrick Carpentier sits just one point behind Bruno Junqueira in the drivers championship. Carpentier likes the view and he wants to be No. 1 by the time the Champ Cars light up the temporary street course at the Toronto Molson Indy on the second weekend of July. If that means pushing aside teammate Paul Tracy to do it -- as he did on Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile -- that's just fine, too. Carpentier spoke to The Toronto Sun yesterday against the backdrop of construction workers putting together seating for the 150,000 fans expected at the Molson Indy on July 11. "I have never been this high in the standings at this time of year," Carpentier said.  The 32-year-old Joliette, Que., native had a pair of run-ins with Tracy at Milwaukee -- one on the opening lap and another after a restart -- where he held his racing line, refusing to let his teammate pass. On the second incident,Tracy lost control of his Ford Lola and ended up crashing into the wall. Tracy blamed Carpentier for not giving up a position to let him pass. "I'm a little bit sorry for what happened with Paul, but we didn't touch," he said. "We both went in really hard into that corner and I said to myself 'if he makes it through this corner he deserves to pass me.' But he didn't make it."

6/8/04

SAFER Barrier installation begins at Daytona  Installation of Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers are currently underway at Daytona International Speedway. The project to install the SAFER barriers is scheduled to be complete by June 27. The Pepsi 400 Weekend is scheduled for July 1-3. The safety of our competitors and fans is a top priority at Daytona International Speedway, Speedway President Robin Braig said. We look forward to working with NASCAR, Dr. Dean Sicking and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as they enhance the safety features at the World Center of Racing.

6/8/04

Blaney to driver AOL Chevy at Pocono  Due to conflicts with Johnny Sauter’s racing schedules, Dave Blaney will drive Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) No. 30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the June 13 Pocono 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. “There were conflicts with Johnny’s schedules in trying to run both the Busch and Cup series’, so we decided it would be best to put Dave in the car for Pocono,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. Blaney is the 1995 World of Outlaws champion. In eight NEXTEL Cup Series starts at Pocono Raceway, he earned two top-10 and four top-20 finishes, including a ninth-place finish in last July’s Pennsylvania 500.

6/8/04
Industry News

Goodwin charged again for Thompson murder    Mickey Thompson's former business partner--Michael Goodwin--has been charged in the murders of Thompson and his wife, Trudy, in 1988. The case was filed in Pasadena today as an arrest warrant for Goodwin, currently in custody in Orange County. He is being held without bail. Two men on bicycles were seen fleeing when the Thompsons were gunned down in front of their home in the San Gabriel Valley. Goodwin was a suspect. Orange County prosecutors filed the case against Goodwin in 2001 but a state appeals court dismissed charges on jurisdictional grounds.

6/8/04

Chris Dyson confirmed for Toyota Atlantic   Chris Dyson announced plans today to supplement his primary 2004 commitment to the American Le Mans Series with a campaign in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, beginning with the June 18-20 Toyota Atlantic Championship doubleheader at Portland International Raceway. Dyson Racing recently obtained a pair of Swift .014 chassis, and last week completed a successful two-day test at Sebring International Raceway. Dyson will contest selected events on the remainder of the Toyota Atlantic series that do not conflict with the ALMS schedule.

"My career is still developing, and at this point I want to be racing as much as possible," said, Dyson, 26. The 2003 ALMS LMP675 champ noted that the Toyota Atlantic series has provided an important stepping stone for some of history's great drivers, including Gilles Villeneuve, Keke Rosberg, and Danny Sullivan, but has also helped advance the careers of current open-wheel stars such as Sam Hornish and Buddy Rice. And today the series represents an opportunity to compete with many of the other up-and-coming North American road-racers. "Many of the drivers that I'll be competing with through the course of my career are now in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, and I'm looking forward to further developing my driving skills by racing with them starting this month in Portland."

Sponsorship of the Toyota Atlantic program will be an extension of Dyson Racing's existing ALMS program with Thetford / Norcold, it was announced by Mike Farmer, the company's Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

"Thetford / Norcold has been very pleased with our relationship with the Dyson team, and we believe that this extension of it into some key markets with Chris Dyson in the Toyota Atlantic Championship will help us reach more of our wholesale and retail customers," Farmer said.

Thetford / Norcold is the world's leader in RV sanitation and care, and America's premier manufacturer of gas absorption refrigerator/freezer units.  More...

6/8/04

BMW signs on with GP of Denver   The CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver has been added to the venues for the Formula BMW USA Championship Series. The 11th and 12th races of the series 14 race inaugural season will be run in conjunction with the Grand Prix on the weekend of August 13 to 15. "We built a solid foundation for this event last year, and we are committed to taking it even farther this year. A series as exciting and important as Formula BMW is an outstanding addition to the Grand Prix," said CENTRIX Financial Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Sutton. "The development of a real 'farm system' for U.S. racing is necessary if we are going to continue to create drivers like A.J. Allmendinger and Danica Patrick who can take on the world. The BMW series, even in its first year, is becoming a premiere proving ground for young talent." Formula BMW was formed in 2002 by the German auto manufacturer as a way to help develop and educate young talent as they prepare to make their way to formula racing and ultimately Formula 1. All competitors in the series drive the same cars (Formula BMW FB2s) and run on the same budget, allowing for an even playing field that truly test driver skills. For its inaugural season Formula BMW is running 14 races, eight of which are being run in conjunction with Champ Car events. The series is supervised by the heads of BMW, Williams F1 and BMW Motorsports. "With the addition of Formula BMW, we clearly have something that will appeal to every racing fan this year," said the General Manager of the Grand Prix, John Frew. "You've got talent at the top of their game in Champ Car, stars about to move up to the big times in Toyota Atlantics, some of the best factory road racers in Trans-Am, the classics of the vintage race and now the next generation of racing standouts."

6/8/04
Industry news

The importance of China - II  This Detroit Free Press article says, China got an official introduction to the icon of American capitalism Monday, as General Motors Corp. launched the Cadillac luxury brand in a ceremony worthy of Hollywood.   GM and joint-venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. plan to begin selling the CTS luxury sedan, SRX crossover and Corvette-based XLR luxury roadster within a year in the world's most populous nation and fastest-growing auto market.

Aside from China's incredible growth, Cadillac has two advantages in coming to China now, said Stuart Pierce, the Cadillac brand director for Shanghai GM. One is that a new generation of young entrepreneurs is "not afraid to flaunt their success" with a bold-looking car. The other is that while Chinese know of Cadillac's rich history as a car favored by U.S. presidents and the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, they never had to bear witness to underpowered or uninspired Caddies, such as the Catera.

"We're focused on building a brand right this year," he said in a news conference. The aim is to position Cadillac favorably against BMW and Mercedes, so it can be strong in a few years, when GM believes China will surpass Japan and become the world's second-biggest auto market. Murtaugh and others expect more vehicles to be sold in China than in the United States by about 2025.  "By 2010, China could represent 15 to 20 percent of our total volume," LaNeve said Monday night.

 

Separately, GM executives clarified that the $3 billion in planned investment in China over the next three years would include reinvested profits of its joint venture partners, as well as its own profits in China. The scope of the investments, including previously announced expansions, had been announced Monday morning in China, which was Sunday night in the United States.

6/8/04

Another F3000 team eyes F1  Enrique Scalabroni is not a man who gives up easily. The former Williams, Ferrari and Team Lotus engineer from Argentina spent two years trying to put together funding to enter F1 with a team led by Japanese racing entrepreneur Tetzu Ikuzawa. That closed down in 1996 and Scalabroni then went to work with the Williams sportscar programme before designing a car for the Nissan World Series in Spain. This was followed by the Asiatech project which aimed to enter F1 by first becoming an engine supplier and then building a chassis but that program ran out of money in 2002 and Scalabroni decided that his best move was to buy the Nordic Formula 3000 team and run a team called BCN Competition in partnership with Spanish racing entrepreneur Jaime Pintanel, who was a successful team owner in Spanish GT racing in 1999-2001 and then entered open-wheelers in the Nissan World Series. The team won its first FIA International Formula 3000 victory at the Nurburgring with Enrico Toccacelo and Scalabroni's ambition to make it to F1 has once again emerged. "With the new proposals for F1 in 2006 we are interested in a programme," Scalabroni says. "We are already engaged in a feasibility study for an F1 project."  Grandprix.com

6/8/04
Industry news

The importance of China - I  This week Beijing is hosting the Auto China 2004 show, drawing attention to the country's increasingly-important role in the automotive world. Vehicle sales in China boomed by 34% last year to 4.4m, which makes it the world's third biggest market behind the US and Japan. The Chinese government has estimated that this market will grow to 20m vehicles a year by 2020 and the major car companies are falling over one another to get a slice of the action. There is massive potential for growth, even if the Chinese economy slows down. At the moment luxury cars are selling fastest as China's rich develop a taste for the automobile. General Motors is launching its premium brand Cadillac at this year's Beijing show and Toyota is laying the groundwork for a network of Lexus dealerships. Last weekend Ferrari opened a store in Shanghai and more and more other projects are coming to light as the car companies go into partnership with local firms, at the moment the only way they can enter the market as a domestic manufacturer. Chinese car production is still struggling to meet demand but already there are fears that China's car manufacturers will soon start exporting cars. In the light of this boom, the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai later this year is going to be a great opportunity for the car companies involved in F1 to promote their products and create the right image for the eager Chinese consumers.  Grandprix.com

6/8/04

Does NASCAR need shorter races?  The issue of shorter races for NASCAR recently came up and, as is typical in NASCAR, everyone had an opinion.  Here are some of the responses:  More.....

6/8/04

ALMS teams arrive at LeMans 

6/8/04

Kalkhoven visits EuroSpeedway  UPDATE: We have added photos of Kevin Kalkhoven being prepared by Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Audi Motorsport Boss) himself, with Dr. Ullrich and Hans-Jörg Fischer getting in the car coming back and getting out of the car.  

6/7/04 - Editor's Note: See related rumor about Champ Car returning to EuroSpeedway from two days ago]  To celebrate his 60th birthday, Kevin Kalkhoven is on a 2-week vacation in Europe. Sunday Kevin Kalkhoven, Hans-Jörg Fischer and the Prime Minister of the Federal State of Brandenburg met at the German DTM race at EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Fischer invited Kalkhoven to attend the race and to be his guest (see AutoRacing1 exclusive photos below and above right).

74,000 fans attended a spectacular race. The facility and organization were rated as first class in Germany from Norbert Haug (Mercedes), Volker Strycek (Opel) and Dr. Ullrich (Audi). Haug said, "I always thought that Hockenheim and Nürburgring were the top Germany motorsport venues. But what happened here today is outstanding. The race track operator has prepared a first-class track and provided first rate organization for this event. This was the best ever DTM race at EuroSpeedway Lausitz".

Kalkhoven was very much impressed by the event and the facility. He was invited by Audi Boss Dr. Ullrich to have a ride in an Audi DTM car just an hour before race start, which he obviously enjoyed very much (more photos tomorrow showing Kevin in driving suit).

Kalkhoven also had the opportunity to meet with Opel Boss Volker Strycek. Strycek showed him the cars in the pits, and explained to him the cars and engines in detail (like Dr. Ullrich did as well before).

Our sources tell us EuroSpeedway's objective is to find a way to bring back the Champ Car World Series to EuroSpeedway Lausitz in 2005 and to establish a successful event in the years to come. We hear they will now start the hunt for a potential long-term event sponsor and hope to find the necessary support from the German industry.  Mark Cipolloni



Photos of Kevin Kalkhoven with EuroSpeedway and German officials

6/8/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Fisichella on a flying trapeze ... ?
Alonso vows to up his game
Nelson Mandela calls on F1 support
Toyota engine is 'best on grid' - da Matta
Schu expects to be 'very competitive'
Button targets 2005 championship
Mosley hails Todt as ideal FIA president
Davidson won't race a BAR in 2005
Indy works overtime to prepare F1 track
Jaguar 'worked on brakes' - Mark Webber
Trulli a busy boy

6/8/04

SPEED extends deal with LeMans  SPEED Channel returns to the Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans for the ninth consecutive year, with 21.5 hours of coverage from the 72nd running of the round-the-clock classic -- an increase of more than four hours from a year ago.

"As always in June, SPEED Channel is extremely energized by the 24 Hours of Le Mans," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel's Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "Once again, we will send an extensive team of experienced talent to France, and in addition to the outstanding host broadcast, we will provide SPEED-only in-car and pit lane cameras.

"We also are pleased to announce that we have signed a new deal , ensuring that what is clearly one of the world's premier motor sports events will be on SPEED through 2008," Miner added.

SPEED hits the air at 8:30 a.m. on June 12 with taped recaps of test day and qualifying, before beginning 20.5 hours of live coverage at 9:30 a.m. ET. Veteran broadcaster Bob Varsha will lead the SPEED team of on-air talent which includes Leigh Diffey with play-by-play, David Hobbs, Derek Daly and five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell as analysts, and Calvin Fish, Brian Till, Andrew Marriott and Amanda Stretton reporting from in the pits.

"Le Mans has taken on the aura of one of a select group of sporting events that belongs to the entire world," said Hobbs, who competed 20 times in the event. "It belongs with such events as Wimbledon and the Indy 500.  As a driver, it is a magnificent course to race on -- it's very smooth with long straights, great sweeping corners and a few slow corners that basically are rural intersections the rest of the year," Hobbs added. "And the atmosphere separates it from every other event in motor sports. There is a fairground-like setting with shops and villages popping up just for the event. There are hundreds of thousands of people at Le Mans, but they are not crammed into a race track, they are spread out over the French countryside."
SPEED Channel's 24 Hours of Le Mans broadcast schedule (all times ET):
Saturday June 12
· 8:30 a.m. - Test Day Recap (taped)
· 9 a.m. - Qualifying Recap (taped)
· 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans (Live)
· 2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans (Live)
· 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. - Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans (Live)
· 10 p.m. - midnight - Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans (Live)
Sunday June 13
· 12:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. -- Michelin 24 Hours of Le Mans (Live)

6/7/04

Lopes talks about Champ Car's international expansion   Scott Dryden, from our forums, was kind enough to transcribe a conversation that took place between Jeremy Shaw and Champ Car's John Lopes, during the international TV broadcast, from Milwaukee. It makes interesting reading.
Shaw: This event here in Milwaukee is certainly great. A lot of people would like to see another race or two on the ovals during the year. Is that possibly on the cards for the future?
Lopes: Yes it is, and that’s something we’ve been asked specifically this week because we’re here. Oval racing is part of the history and legacy of Champ Car, and we will continue that mix, on a going forward basis. Right now, we’re looking for additional ovals to race on - not just in the United States, but around the world.
Shaw: And of course, we’ve had some very popular oval races at both Rockingham Motor Speedway, in England, and EuroSpeedway Lausitz, in Germany.
Lopes: And both are tracks we’d love to go back to should the opportunity be there. Hans Jorg Fischer, the promoter in Germany, is a great friend of Champ Car. And of course, some day hopefully we’ll be back there. Last year the EuroSpeedway might have been our best race, for sure.
Shaw: Yeah, that was stunning, wasn’t it? That was an absolutely sensational race, one year ago, in Germany. And I know we don’t have a race in Europe this year, but there is a lot of fan interest, and I know it’s part of the plan to get back to Europe within the relatively near future.
Lopes: Yes. We’re looking around the world. Of course, this is the Champ Car WORLD SERIES. We are looking in Europe - going forward. We’d like to be there, as well as parts of the East. Particularly our events outside the borders of the United States are huge super bowl kind of events, wherever we go.
Shaw: They certainly are. When we went down to Mexico there was 97,000 people on race day. And when we go to Surfers Paradise, Australia, we have well over 300,000 over the race weekend. When we go to Canada, we have huge crowds. There’s been all sorts of talk of doom and gloom about the Champ Car World Series, John, but it’s not dead yet, is it? [Laughs]
Lopes: No. I think the best way to gauge that is the fans who vote with their butts, and there are a lot of butts on seats at Champ Car events. Of course, last year we drew over 2.6m for the season. That would be the envy of most major league baseball teams, for a season. We’re quite happy with that right now. We are working to grow the television package on a world-wide basis, and then we’re off to the races.
Shaw: It’s certainly good to see new foreign interest with Gaston Mazzacane, from Argentina, coming into the championship as well. I know there’s some talk of a race in Argentina, or maybe back into South America.
Lopes: Certainly South America. We’ve been looking at South America most recently.

6/7/04

Rice to appear on Letterman   After spending a week of media appearances following his Indianapolis 500 win, Buddy Rice will return to New York to appear on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on June 9.  Indianapolis native David Letterman, who hosts the popular late-night talk show, co-owns the cars of Rice and Vitor Meira with 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal. He attended the 500 and witnessed his first win as an IndyCar Series car owner.  "It has been in his backyard and he has been going to the race since he was a kid," Rice said of Letterman's relationship with the Indianapolis 500. "It's the biggest race that he has always wanted to win. That was the whole reason he became a team owner and involved in racing.   "I think it was excellent. I was just glad he was able to be there, to take it in and be a part of the victory."

6/7/04

Hornish gets hitched   Two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr., married Crystal Liechty on June 5.  The 24-year old Hornish and his bride were married in front of approximately 500 guests at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis. Among the guests was Hornish's teammate at Marlboro Team Penske, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.  Following the ceremony, the couple climbed into a horse-drawn carriage for a moment alone before returning for the reception, which was also held at Scottish Rite Cathedral. After the reception, the Hornishs returned to their new home in Ohio because the IndyCar Series schedule precludes them from having a honeymoon.  After Saturday night's Bombardier 500K at Texas Motor Speedway, the couple will fly to Las Vegas for a few days.

6/7/04

Misleading the fans in Mexico  UPDATE We had previously told you that a new series in Mexico called “Desafio Corona” would start activities this month. Yesterday Televisa (TV Azteca's rival) hyped their new series and their first race that was staged yesterday in Mexico City.  The announcers said that “Desafio Corona” was a NASCAR type series (yes, they used the word  NASCAR) and that it had the 3 big elements of a NASCAR series. 1.- Crashes (out of more than 30 cars for their first race only 13 finished and they showed all the crashes), 2.-Women (They showed the Pit Babes) and a great Show (They showed more crashes). We're not kidding they presented the 3 big elements of the series in that order, with crashes as the main attraction. The announcers told the public to look out for the next big shows (they didn't mention the word race, they used "shows" instead). José de Jesús Arrambide  6/5/04 - This month there will be a new racing category in Mexico called “Desafio Corona”, and it will be a stock car series.  It will try to rival the “Mustang Series” which is the most popular stock car category in the country. Televisa (which is TV Azteca's biggest rival) will be broadcasting all the races in an effort to battle TV Azteca's “Mustang Series” broadcasts. The part that gets interesting is the way Televisa has been advertising the races.  They are running ads with NASCAR footage.  In fact 100% of the ads are done with NASCAR footage while an off camera voice says “A new series is coming to Mexico, and every race will be on Televisa, so stay tuned for “Desafio Corona” races” . Apparently the ads are trying to mislead the public into thinking “Desafio Corona” will be part of the NASCAR circuit, and also try to hype the possible NASCAR Truck or Busch Series race to be held in Mexico City. There is no need to mislead the public. José de Jesús Arrambide

6/7/04

Fan disagrees with Milwaukee Journal estimate   Dear AutoRacing1.com, Dave Kallman, the race reporter for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel wrote in his report in the Sunday paper that the Champ Car race had an attendance of 20,000 people and was down from the year before. This is an interesting statement considering that Mark Perrone the GM of the Mile is claiming a 38% increase in the race from last year. Having attended the last two races myself, Dave K. is either lying or he needs to get off his butt and do some journalistic reporting. This type of reporting does not surprise me from Dave. He's very good at taking whatever the AP wire gives him. It's guys like him that are giving Champ Car a bad name. Arno Fritz, Milwaukee, WI  Dear Arno, There were not that many people in actual attendance at the event.  It was a decent crowd, but certainly 48,036 people did not show up for the three days.  However, we believe the track is telling the truth about how many tickets were sold.  We suspect a good number of people bought season ticket packages, and we heard the package ticket sales were good.  One package gets you a seat for all the events the entire year (including Champ Car, ASA, IRL, Busch, etc.).  Another gets you the Champ Car and IRL weekends together.  For whatever reason, they may have sold 48,036, but the number of people in actual attendance was definitely less than that.  While Dave Kallman's estimate may be a wee bit low, he was estimating actual people there vs. the track that was reporting tickets sold.  Two entirely different things unfortunately.  Mark C.

6/7/04

Milwaukee attendance up 29% 38%  UPDATE Mother Nature held up her end of the bargain, allowing fans of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford to come out to the Milwaukee Mile this weekend without fear of rain or cold, and they did so in increased numbers according to figures released by the Mile staff Monday. A total of 48,036 race tickets were issued to fans attending the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 Presented by U.S. Bank this past weekend. Race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) thrilled the fans with a stellar drive, leading wire-to-wire from the coveted pole position in Saturday night’s Champ Car race. He set a new series single-event record by leading all 250 laps and became the first driver since 1992 to lead every lap of a Champ Car oval race. This past weekend’s attendance was up 13,324 tickets from 2003, an increase of 38 percent from last year’s inaugural Champ Car race weekend under temporary lighting provided by Musco Lighting. “We are very pleased to have a substantial increase in attendance for the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 250 Presented by U.S. Bank weekend,” commented Mark Perrone, Vice President & General Manager of The Milwaukee Mile. “For the first time, our race fans really responded to the season ticket package we’ve offered them, and we were happy to accommodate hundreds of first-time infield suite guests. We more than doubled the number of infield spectator tickets sold in comparison to last year, and the weather was more conducive, which all contributed to this increase.” The initial weekend figure announced Saturday night was 46,532, released prior to a final ticket count conducted Sunday. The figure boosts Champ Car’s 2004 attendance to 399,847 over just three events this season.  Champ Car  6/5/04 - Race promoters in Milwaukee announced the weekend attendance for tonight's Champ Car race at The Milwaukee Mile as 46,532, which is up 29% over last year.  Race day attendance was announced as over 38,000 but it looked closer to 25,000 to us.

6/7/04
A1 Grand Prix

A1 Grand Prix chooses engine   Zytek has won the contract to supply all engines for the A1 Grand Prix Series, based in the Middle East.  All cars will use a Lola Chassis and a V8 from Zytek.  The engine will be similar to the V8 Zytek currently supplies for the FIA F3000 series, but with a bit more HP.  Photos

6/7/04

Todt, not Stewart, to be groomed   Ferrari's managing director, Jean Todt, will succeed Max Mosley as president of the FIA if Max gets his way. Autosport's sister magazine, F1 Racing, has long been tracking rumors of Todt's preferment, but, as exclusively reported in the new (July) issue, the fact that Mosley intends to groom Todt for the FIA's top job is no longer in any doubt.

F1 Racing has sighted a confidential letter from Mosley to all 150-plus presidents of the member clubs of the FIA General Assembly, in which he expresses his wish to split his ever-expanding work load in two – between "someone with political talent and contacts [ie, the president] and someone with the necessary in-depth knowledge to run motorsport [ie, the deputy president]".

Mosley's letter continues: "Should you agree to it, there would be, of course, no reason why the deputy president should not later be elected president, in turn leaving the sport to a new deputy president."

"I'm not sure he'd know what the job entails," Mosley said of Stewart. "The fact that you're a one-time racing driver, even a very good one, probably wouldn't in itself be good enough. But I can think of a few [other former racing drivers] who have more in-depth understanding of modern motorsport, and a better appreciation of the politics of international sport."

For good measure, Mosley adds: "If for some reason [Marco] Piccinini didn't want to continue in the role of deputy president [of the FIA], and Todt wanted it, and he was no longer working for Ferrari, then it would be very foolish of me to say no."  Autosport

6/7/04

Drivers help other drivers out of gas  After his planned pit stop went awry when he spun on pit road, #12-Ryan Newman ran his tank dry with the extra mile he had to go to come back around for gas. He received some unexpected help from Ricky Rudd, who pushed him most of the way around with his #21 Ford. Once on pit road, one of Newman’s Penske Racing teammates, Brendan Gaughan, provided similar assistance. Driver #99-Jeff Burton, who like Rudd drives a Ford, criticized Rudd for assisting Newman, who drives a Dodge. Said Rudd: "He was out of gas. Our spotter said to push him. I didn’t think about it." ThatsRacin.com

6/7/04

Brack recovering from TMS crash, but race return in doubt   This Dallas Morning News article talks about Kenny Brack's horrific crash at TMS last October and the prospects of his return to racing.  "I can lay my helmet on the shelf right now and know I had a successful career," Brack said. "When I get on the track, I will know where I stand. If all the components are still there, then I want to do it. If not, believe me, I'll walk away." Brack doesn't need to come back. He is financially secure and has other options in racing. So why do it? "I'm a competitor," Brack said. "I'm not a gear-head or some guy who just needs to be around racecars. I do this because I love competition."  [Editor's Note: Isn't it ironic that it was Brack who apologized to Eddie Gossage for the cancelled CART race at TMS (as if to say CART should have raced there), and who later was nearly killed and very likely had his racing career ended at the same track in a similar race?]

6/7/04

Changes at RCR  A change in management occurred last week when Richard Childress Racing [#'s 29,30,31,33] promoted Mike Dillon, a former Busch Series competitor and Richard Childress' son-in-law, to general manager. Bobby Hutchens was named vice president of competition. Childress says RCR has been operating as a three-team organization despite its growth to five full-time teams in Cup and Busch. Childress did not rule out additional changes with his teams if performance does not pick up. Dillon added, "We're trying to improve all aspects of competition, and the change will take some of the weight off Bobby's shoulders." The move will allow Hutchens to spend more time with the engineering and R&D departments. FoxSports/Sporting News

6/7/04

Kenseth not happy  Late in the race, while the number of lead-lap cars had already been reduced dramatically through attrition, leader Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth spun in oil dropped on the track by Casey Mears' Dodge and wrecked in Turn 4. Kenseth, the reigning series champion, complained that NASCAR waited to call a caution knowing Mears had dropped oil. He also criticized the safety crews for not sending an ambulance to get him. "I think race fans should be mad. First, NASCAR spends 40 laps under caution screwing around for who knows what. Then a car blew up half a lap before we got (to the turn) and they never threw the caution. They just let it go green until we all rode down in there and wrecked," he said. "We've run two laps under yellow and haven't seen an ambulance. Glad I'm OK. I haven't seen anybody check me out yet." ThatsRacin.com

6/7/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Williams 'has made step' for Canada
Zonta's flat-out scare at Parabolica
Minardi in South Africa
Button eyes Montreal win
Badoer sets new Monza lap record
Schu to sign new Ferrari contract ... ?
'Nineteen grands prix' in 2005 - report
'Let Rubens race' - Frank Williams
'B spec' McLaren set for French debut
Sato vows to try amateur move 'again'
F1 men are 'sexist pigs' - reporter
'I have no offers' - Jacques Villeneuve
Indian Grand Prix 'is off' - report
Berger does three laps at Shanghai
Mexico and Formula One
'More difficult' for Williams in '04 - Berger
Jaguar want to keep 'near-perfect' Webber
Sunday at Albert Park
Michelin 'talking to Bridgestone' - Dupasquier
Da Matta likes probable new qualifying
Rain might add spice to Canadian GP 

6/6/04

SCCA

Paul Newman is an amazing man  Champ Car team owner Paul Newman is 79 years old yet he still is able to race competitively. Saturday, in an SCCA New England Region race at Lime Rock, Paul Newman won the pole position and then drove his Corvette (pictured right by Dan Tooker) to a 2nd place finish in a GT1 race. "If the outside pole sitter didn't get the jump on me at the start I would have won," lamented Newman.  "I had the faster car but could not find a way past." Not bad for a 79-year old who, despite those famous blue eyes, is color-blind. 

6/6/04
Industry News

Canadian vote NASCAR #1  A recent poll of Canadians by the Toronto Sun yielded the following result:
What is the most exciting racing circuit?
Total Votes for this Question: 7577
29% voted for NASCAR (Ranked #1)
2% voted for IRL (Ranked dead last - Psst, someone tell Tony George to forget Canada)
22% voted for F1 (Ranked #2)
8% voted for Champ Car (Ranked #3)
3% voted for Le Mans (Ranked #4)
2% voted for Other
33% no opinion

6/6/04

Stoddard says Waltrip a wanker  Nineteen cars were tore up in a massive accident following a restart with just over 50 laps remaining in Sunday's MBNA 400 "A Salute To Heroes" at Dover International Speedway. A number of contenders were taken out on Lap 347.  The race was red-flagged with 53 of 400 laps remaining to clear the massive amount of debris and wrecked cars.  The melee appeared to start when the cars of Dave Blaney, who was on the lead lap, and Michael Waltrip, who was a lap down, made contact at the end of the backstretch, sending Blaney's Dodge spinning into Turn 3.    "You've got to understand Michael Waltrip -- he's not that talented," Scott Wimmer's crew chief Frank Stoddard, a teammate to Bill Davis Racing driver Blaney, said. "This isn't speedway racing and he doesn't know what he's doing."

6/6/04

14 Americans to race at LeMans  Fourteen American racing drivers will be among the 144 drivers from around the world who will compete in this weekend's 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race.

Only 12 American drivers have been able to score an overall victory at Le Mans in the past 71 races, including some of the most famous names in American racing history. Interest in Le Mans among Americans had waned over the years until the birth and growth of the American Le Mans Series, which started in 1999 as a series of sports car races in North America using the same rules and many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans.

 

Though American drivers have scored numerous Le Mans class wins in recent years, the last time an American driver won the event overall was Davy Jones in 1996. Legendary road racing stars Phil Hill, Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood were each three-time overall winners at Le Mans during their careers, with Hill's win in 1958 the first for a United States native.

Other American overall winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been Price Cobb (1990), Masten Gregory (1965), Dan Gurney (1967), A.J. Foyt (1967), Carroll Shelby (1959) and Bill and Don Whittington (1979). In addition, Luigi Chinetti scored his third Le Mans overall win in 1949 after becoming an American citizen.

Though no American drivers were winners at Le Mans in 2003, U.S.-based racing teams scored two class wins. ADT Champion Racing, based in Pompano Beach, Fla., won the LMP 900 class and finished third overall behind the winning Bentley factory entries. The GT class-winning team was a combined effort of Alex Job Racing of Tavares, Fla., and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing of Las Vegas, Nev.

Practice and qualifying will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evening, with the 8.46-mile Circuit de La Sarthe open until midnight both nights. The twice-around-the-clock event begins at 4 p.m. (France time) on Saturday, June 12. In North America, race fans will be able to watch 20.5 hours of live coverage of the event on the SPEED Channel, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday and concluding at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Live coverage of the entire race can be heard online at www.radiolemans.com.

The 2004 American participants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, by state, showing hometown, team, type car (class):
CALIFORNIA (2): Patrick Long, Oak Park, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT); Rick Sutherland, Los Gatos; Intersport Racing, Lola B2K/40-Judd (LMP2).
FLORIDA (2): Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, Epsilon Sport, Courage JPX (LMP2); Jim Matthews, Boca Raton; PK Sport, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT).
GEORGIA (1): Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch; Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS).
ILLINOIS (1): Philip Collin, Deerfield; Seikel Motorsport; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT).
KENTUCKY (1); Danny Sullivan, Louisville; Barron Connor Racing, Ferrari 575 Maranello (GTS)NEW HAMPSHIRE (1): William Binnie, Portsmouth; Intersport Racing, Lola B2K/40-Judd (LMP2).
NEW YORK (3): Duncan Dayton, North Salem, Intersport Racing, Lola B160-Judd (LMP1); Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley; Racing for Holland, Dome-Judd (LMP1); Leo Hindery, New York City; Orbit Racing/BAM!, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT).
OHIO (3): Larry Connor, Centerville; Intersport Racing, Lola B160-Judd (LMP1); Clint Field, Dublin; Intersport Racing, Lola B2K/40-Judd (LMP2); Jon Field, Dublin; Intersport Racing, Lola B160-Judd (LMP1).

6/6/04

Positive feedback on new Spike TV lineup These two letter pretty much sum up the feeling of Rick Benjamin taking over for Bob Jenkins as the Champ Car TV broadcast anchor.  A reader writes, The Spike TV coverage was much better! Rick Benjamin is like night and day compared to Jenkins.....great move! Also, the race was MUCH easier to follow and (can you believe it?) there was a great deal of action and PASSING! This HAS to do with returning to the MANDATORY PIT STOPS! It is really amazing to see it all work if they use the same rules from last year (real racing, real sport). I think Champ Car gained some fans with the last race. Could you imagine how many they would have lost if they were using the old "let's make this a fuel stop strategy" race and Hunter-Reay lost to someone who just got lucky and had the yellows fall right? That doesn't sound much like racing to me. More like who is the luckiest.   Also,  Gerald Forsythe pretty much sums up the CART/IRL split perfectly in two sentences for most of us fans:  "Look, I enjoy Champ Car racing and I enjoyed competing at the Indy 500 and the split never did make any sense," said Forsythe. "It was all about one person wanting control and now he's devastated the Indy 500."  Derek Hughes Jacksonville, FL, Another writes, It looks like Spike made a great decision on replacing Bob Jenkins with Rick Benjamin. I only got to see the last half of the race, but from what I did see - he did a great job. He knew the drivers names. He and Tommy Kendall worked very well together. It also looked as though Spike did a better job with the race broadcast. They had some nice graphics up from the cars. All in all, this was by far the best broadcast Spike TV has had thus far. Now they need to get busy and start commercial ads for future races. Thanks to AutoRacing1 for the great website. Tim Clingenpeel

6/6/04

Detroit, NASCAR, afraid of Japanese invasion  This Winston-Salem Journal article talks about the NASCAR (and Detroit's) struggle to manage the invasion of the Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Honda, in their sport.  Clearly things are going to change and a lot of questions arise as to whether NASCAR is prepared to manage the change so that the Japanese don't overrun the American companies like they have done everywhere else.

6/6/04

Gentilozzi says Tony George stands in way of unification This Indy Star article says, If open-wheel racing is to return to being one series, Paul Gentilozzi vows it won't be because the Champ Car World Series quietly goes away.  Three races into his first season as co-owner of the former CART series with partners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, Gentilozzi reiterated this weekend that he would welcome discussions with Indy Racing League president Tony George but is heartened by the long-term prospects for Champ Car.

After first saying he has to be "careful about what I say because some people are actually listening now," Gentilozzi made clear who he believes is responsible for the problems in open-wheel racing.  "Why aren't we together? What is the obstruction?" he said. "Is it about preserving the throne of the royal family of motor sports, or is it about preserving a motor sports discipline?"

He said there are no differences that can't be overcome if officials of both series commit to finding a solution.  "The mechanics of it is not the issue. It's the philosophical issues that have to be resolved," he said. "It's not about rules and (engine) liters. All of that can be fixed."

Gentilozzi was peeved by a first-person story by Roger Penske published last week in The New York Times, in which the CART co-founder and current IRL team owner wrote he is going to work "the next couple of months to come up with a way to repair the split."  Penske intimated that George is close to landing a title sponsor for the IRL and that will lead to more Champ Car teams jumping series.  "Open-wheel racing has been telling the world what it ought to think for the last decade," Gentilozzi said. "I don't think that's working very well."

6/6/04

Toyota names Program Manager  Toyota has named Pat Wall to a newly created position as vice president and Craftsman Truck Series program manager for Toyota Racing Development USA Inc. Wall, who has spent 15 years as a motorsports consultant providing marketing and sponsorship services, will be responsible for oversight of all TRD resources in High Point, NC [where Bill Davis Racing is located]. He will also oversee Toyota’s technical and racing relationship with NASCAR. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

6/6/04

ISC hires lobbying firm for NY deal  This Charlotte Observer article says, The New York Times reported Friday that International Speedway Corp. has hired a lobbying firm headed by a former Staten Island borough president as it pursues plans to build a NASCAR track in the New York area.  The Molinari Group is headed by Guy V. Molinari, a Republican who could help ISC work through the obstacles it might face in building a track on the site of a former industrial park in Staten Island.  Molinari told the newspaper his firm was put "on standby" less than a month ago and that ISC has looked at sites in three boroughs.  ISC spokesman David Talley told The Times that the company has also retained HNTB Corp., an engineering and planning firm that helped design Chicagoland and Kansas speedways, to work on the potential project.  Last week, Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler said that ISC and Speedway Motorsports Inc. might wind up as partners on a New York City-area track since the project would be such a huge undertaking.

6/6/04

A lap of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve  The Canadian Grand Prix is this coming weekend.  Here McLaren’s third driver Alexander Wurz, takes us on a lap of the circuit, host to this weekend’s eighth round of the 2004 season.  More.....

6/6/04

Champ Car continues crash tests  This past week Champ Car conducted another crash test of a fully equipped and instrumented Champ Car, this time a rear-first crash into a concrete barrier.  The  50 MPH 90-degree perpendicular to the wall crash spiked to a high of 150 g's as soon as the transmission and differential finished crushing and the engine itself contacted the wall.  High-speed slow motion cameras filmed the entire sequence.   They had conducted a front-first crash test last year.  The data they are collecting will be used to design the next generation Champ Car to be even safer than the existing one.

6/6/04

Carl Russo happy with early podium  Carl Russo, owner of the new RuSPORT Champ Car team was quite pleased with the third place performance turned in by Mexican Michel Jourdain Jr. in Milwaukee Saturday night.  "This finish shows the effect that Michel has had on this team. He's the consummate professional and you see why he was a championship-contending driver last season. A rookie team in the third race and we're on the podium. A lot of that credit goes to Michel."

  Much More...click on 2004 archives button below
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