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Fogarty takes pole for race #1  Despite having his share of mechanical challenges on the opening day of practice and qualifying for this weekend's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Portland Presented by Yokohama, Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) was able to get the most out of his car when it mattered most.

Fogarty, the 2002 Toyota Atlantic series champion, suffered through gearbox problems in the morning practice session at the 1.969-mile Portland International Raceway permanent road course, but he still wound up posting the fastest time in practice. The mechanical gremlin came in a different form during the afternoon qualifying, but the result was the same. Fogarty bent his left rear push rod early in the 30-minute qualifying session for the first of two Atlantic races held here this weekend, but not before he carded a time of 1:08.404 (103.626 mph) that would not be touched during the remainder of qualifying.

While Fogarty's crew rushed to repair the rod, it turned out they didn't need to hurry. Aided by a late red flag that limited the opportunities to top Fogarty's time, no driver was able to wrestle away the pole and Fogarty never had to leave the pit lane again after earning the pole on his sixth lap.

Fogarty's six career pole position enables him to start on the point for Round 4 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (SPEED Channel, Saturday, June 26 - 2 p.m. ET), which will take the green flag on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. PT.

Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company), who entered the weekend second in the championship hunt, looked to have the second spot in qualifying secured before the late red flag that was caused by a Turn12 accident involving Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) and series points leader Ronnie Bremer (#10

Less than two minutes remained in qualifying after the cleanup was complete from the accident, but it proved to be just enough time for first-year pilot Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye). Ranger hustled around the course to beat the checkered flag on qualifying and wound up posting the second-fastest time of the session at 1:08.654 (103.248 mph). The second-place qualifying effort was a career-best for the young Canadian.

Patrick equaled her best-ever qualifying position in third following Ranger's late run. The Rahal-Letterman Racing driver owned a time of 1:08.686 (103.200 mph) and will start from the third spot for the second time this season (Monterrey, Mexico).

Qualifying for Race 2 this weekend will take place at 8 a.m. PT at PIR on Saturday and Round 5 of the championship - The Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Portland Presented by Yokohama (SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 3 - 2 p.m. ET) will get under way Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.

Industry News

Man crashes new Ferrari within 4 min. of delivery  It is every motor enthusiast's dream to drive a Ferrari. But for Simon Nimmo it turned out to be the worst nightmare of his life. According to The Sun, the managing director of city mortgage firm waited a year to collect his new Ferrari. He splashed out 175,000 pounds on the rare 575 F1 supercar and then wrecked it completely four minutes later. Simon drove the car into a giant pothole less than four minutes after pulling off the forecourt of the Maranello Garage in Egham, Surrey. The collision smashed one of the 2, 000 pound wheels and cracked the Ferrari's front suspension. "It was a total nightmare for him. He had been looking forward to collecting the Ferrari for months. He must hold the world record for the fastest Ferrari driver to wreck his brand new super car," a company spokesman was quoted as saying.


Drissi wins provisional pole in Portland  Tomy Drissi earned his first Motorock Trans-Am pole Friday, in qualifying for Saturday’s Albertsons Trans-Am 100. Drissi was elevated to the pole due a technical infraction that placed Paul Gentilozzi, who timed first, at the back of the field.

Gentilozzi was penalized in post-qualifying technical inspection for his car violating Rule 9.12.4 “Maximum height rear wing” in the 2004 Trans-Am Rule Book. The penalty moves Tommy Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar XKR) to second on the grid, ahead of Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Jaguar XKR), Greg Pickett (No. 6 Jaguar XKR) and Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Chevrolet Corvette).

“To be on the front row, I’m happy,” said Drissi. “The guys had a problem with the clutch at the last minute and in the less than an hour and 15 minutes, they changed the clutch and we went out not knowing if everything was tight. The crew did a great job today.”

Kendall, who is driving a car equipped with Jaguar’s four-valve, stock-block, overhead-cam, fuel-injected engine, said he was getting up to speed with the new powerplant.

“At the end, we were pretty close,” said the Series’ only four-time champion. “We have a few adjustments to make on the engine to be really good. I feel really good about tomorrow’s race.”

Formula BMW

Montoya Jr. qualifies 2nd for both Indy races  As in Rounds 3 and 4 in Montreal last weekend, the starting grid for Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship (sanctioned by Champ Car) were determined in today's single 25-minute qualifying session. Each driver's fastest lap set their starting order for tomorrow's Round 5 race. Their second fastest laps set the order for Sunday's Round 6 contest. With the pole undecided until the final seconds, Round 3 winner Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) recorded his first pole of the season after posting a time of 1:37.456 around the 2.6-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway USGP circuit. He just took the top spot on his last lap from Federico Montoya (Atlantic Racing Team). Montoya will start second (1:37.769) after pacing the field for most of the session.

Round 4 winner Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) will start third (1:37.909). The trio's second fastest times were also the best of the field and they will start at the front in Round 6. The quickest Rookies in the field were Summerton, Montoya and Rookie points leader James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport). "I think my last lap had a bit of luck attached to it," said Summerton. "My dash indicator did not say I was that quick so I was quite pleased to find out I had the pole. I might have had a bit of a draft going into the last corner, but I think what really did it was simply setting the goal of catching the car ahead of me." Montoya added, "In the beginning of the session we had a little bit of a problem with cold tires and a track that was not perfect. I kept pushing and pushing and we started to improve as the track got better. I have seen in Formula BMW Germany that if you have to start in the back it is very difficult to pass many cars in the short amount of laps we have in our races. I am happy to have the advantage of starting up front." "I was the first in line for qualifying," said Jaskol. "We came from fifth to win in Montreal so we have proven that you don't have to be on the pole to win the race." Round 5 is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. CT tomorrow and Sunday's Round 6 is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. CT.
Qualifying: Round 5
1. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 1:37.456
2. Federico Montoya (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:37.769
3. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 1:37.822
4. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 1:37.953
5. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 1:37.992
6. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:38.452
7. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:38.628
8. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:38.704
9. Brian Frisselle (Polevision Racing) 1:38.738
10. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 1:38.854
11. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:38.965
12. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:38.969
13. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:39.048
14. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:40.347
15. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 1:41.291
16. Morgan Spurgas (Jensen Motorsport) 1:41.646
17. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:42.635
Qualifying: Round 6
1. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 1:37.828
2. Federico Montoya (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:37.838
3. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 1:37.909
4. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 1:38.528
5. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 1:38.079
6. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:38.528
7. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:38.717
8. Brian Frisselle (Polevision Racing) 1:38.770
9. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:39.052
10. Trevor Daley (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:39.125
11. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:39.263
12. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 1:39.284
13. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:39.341
14. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:40.635
15. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 1:41.322
16. Morgan Spurgas (Jensen Motorsport) 1:42.290
17. Derek Burseth (R) (Atlantic Racing Team) 1:43.056


Schumacher #2 behind Tiger Woods - 50 Highest Paid athletes in world  

Source: Forbes Magazine
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Dominguez leads Friday PM practice at Portland 

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.419 117.321 188.809
2 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.648 116.878 188.096 0.229
3 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.808 116.570 187.601 0.389 0.160
4 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.981 116.239 187.068 0.562 0.173
5 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.044 116.120 186.877 0.625 0.063
6 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.155 115.909 186.537 0.736 0.111
7 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.322 115.593 186.028 0.903 0.167
8 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:01.578 115.113 185.256 1.159 0.256
9 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.953 114.416 184.134 1.534 0.375
10 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:02.550 113.324 182.377 2.131 0.597
11 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:02.660 113.125 182.057 2.241 0.110
12 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridge 1:03.798 111.107 178.809 3.379 1.138
Combined Results (sessions 1 & 2)
Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.807 118.521 190.741
2 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.936 118.266 190.330 0.129
3 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.234 117.681 189.389 0.427 0.298
4 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.419 117.321 188.809 0.612 0.185
5 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.481 117.200 188.615 0.674 0.062
6 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.590 116.990 188.277 0.783 0.109
7 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.625 116.922 188.167 0.818 0.035
8 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.648 116.878 188.096 0.841 0.023
9 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.725 116.730 187.858 0.918 0.077
10 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.732 116.716 187.836 0.925 0.007
11 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.820 116.547 187.564 1.013 0.088
12 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.824 116.540 187.552 1.017 0.004
13 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.041 116.125 186.885 1.234 0.217
14 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:01.238 115.752 186.284 1.431 0.197
15 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.421 115.407 185.729 1.614 0.183
16 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgest. 1:01.497 115.264 185.499 1.690 0.076
17 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:02.550 113.324 182.377 2.743 1.053


Barrichello stays fastest with new lap record   Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello maintained his place at the top of the timesheets after setting an very fast lap in the second free practice session for the US Grand Prix. He held off the challenge of BAR's Anthony Davidson by over 0.6 sec.

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'10"365 214.470 Km/h 24
2. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'10"967 + 0'00"602 42
3. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'10"982 + 0'00"617 29
4. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'11"036 + 0'00"671 28
5. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'11"230 + 0'00"865 19
6. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'11"530 + 0'01"165 30
7. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'11"893 + 0'01"528 35
8. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'11"994 + 0'01"629 30
9. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'12"019 + 0'01"654 42
10. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'12"197 + 0'01"832 20
11. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'12"438 + 0'02"073 33
12. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'12"441 + 0'02"076 28
13. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'12"537 + 0'02"172 27
14. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'12"601 + 0'02"236 3
15. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'12"761 + 0'02"396 30
16. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'12"950 + 0'02"585 31
17. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'13"196 + 0'02"831 32
18. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'13"384 + 0'03"019 18
19. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'13"446 + 0'03"081 33
20. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'13"732 + 0'03"367 3
21. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'13"961 + 0'03"596 18
22. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'14"407 + 0'04"042 20
23. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'14"409 + 0'04"044 21
24. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'14"428 + 0'04"063 17


Gentilozzi confident Champ Car will return to Portland Paul Gentilozzi said he's confident an agreement can be worked out to bring Champ Car back to Portland in 2005 and beyond despite the overtures of the rival Indy Racing League. "It is our plan to come back," he said. "This is a pretty tough business deal, but we're pretty confident about how it's going to turn out."  The Oregonian


Junqueira tops Friday AM practice at Portland 

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.807 118.521 190.741
2 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.936 118.266 190.330 0.129
3 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.234 117.681 189.389 0.427 0.298
4 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.481 117.200 188.615 0.674 0.247
5 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.590 116.990 188.277 0.783 0.109
6 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.625 116.922 188.167 0.818 0.035
7 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.680 116.816 187.997 0.873 0.055
8 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.725 116.730 187.858 0.918 0.045
9 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.732 116.716 187.836 0.925 0.007
10 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.820 116.547 187.564 1.013 0.088
11 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.824 116.540 187.552 1.017 0.004
12 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.943 116.312 187.186 1.136 0.119
13 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.041 116.125 186.885 1.234 0.098
14 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:01.238 115.752 186.284 1.431 0.197
15 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.421 115.407 185.729 1.614 0.183
16 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgest. 1:01.497 115.264 185.499 1.690 0.076
17 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:02.626 113.186 182.155 2.819 1.129


Herdez team wants both drivers back  While rumors abound that both of their drivers have an eye on F1 in 2005, Herdez Team Owner Keith Wiggins reveals that he wants to keep both drivers next year.  He told, "They’re just both good race drivers. We’ve got two young guys out there, which is really good.” Adds Wiggins: “Obviously, I’d like to keep both drivers for next year.”   With strong commercial and personal backing and a healthy marketing department for his team, Wiggins is a big believer in the Champ Car World Series.   “I think it’s still the best series,” Wiggins declares. “I’ve been in all the world’s open-wheel series, except the IRL, but this series has got everything from the downtown races to the road courses to ovals. We’ve got the costs under control. We need to look at where we’re going to go to keep it sensible and just build on what we have.   “If we can get a couple more good downtown events and a couple of good international events in Europe and keep the costs sensible, I think we’ll have manufacturers coming back at the right time with the right structure of rules that controls them. I think the series has the key elements. We have to just grow it and learn from our mistakes. So stability is very important.”


NASCAR boys to visit F1 again  NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers and possibly the sport's biggest name Dale Earnhardt Jr will be jetting into Indianapolis on Saturday to watch Formula 1 qualifying. The Nextel Cup is at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan this weekend and the NASCAR stars will take Jeff Gordon's plane down to Indianapolis before returning to Michigan for the final practice, known as Happy Hour, on Saturday afternoon. Such activities can only help to raise the profile of F1 in the United States where Gordon and Earnhardt are household names. Earnhardt's visit will, if it happens, be on behalf of his sponsor Budweiser, which is also a backer of the Williams F1 team. Gordon and Johnson visited the Spanish GP recently and seem to be developing quite a taste for Grand Prix racing.


Sugar Ray to headline Denver GP concert   Today, The CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver announced that Sugar Ray is the headlining band for the Rock n Roar concert on Saturday, August 14 at the Universal Lending Pavilion. Doors open at 5:00 pm and the concert starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are now on sale. Tickets for the concert only are $20 each. A concert ticket with the purchase of a reserved ticket, available on Friday and Saturday of race at box office is $10. The Rock and Roar Combo is $35 and includes a Saturday general admission ticket to the races and a concert ticket. Coors Race Pack is $79 and includes two Saturday reserved tickets, two Coors beverages, two Paddock Passes and two Rock n Roar concert tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the Pepsi Center box office, at Ticket Master outlets, or online at or "When we talk of living life at full throttle, this is what we mean -- three days of racing, food, music and entertainment on the streets of Denver. Sugar Ray adds to the energy and excitement we will have during this year's Grand Prix," said the General Manager at the Grand Prix of Denver, John Frew. Two concert tickets, which includes meeting Sugar Ray and two tickets to the Grand Prix of Denver VIP party, will be given to the final winner of the Grand Prix Lunch Races taken place once a week from now until August 12. Sponsored by local restaurants, the races allow downtown lunch-goers to race remote-controlled cars. Each weekly winner enters the championship race happening on Thursday, August 12 at the Street Party.


Paul Newman to race at ALMS event  Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor and Connecticut resident, has competed in SCCA Club Racing events at Lime Rock Park this season and he plans to be back at the Road Racing Center of the East on July 4th weekend. Newman, 79, will pilot the No. 79 Chevrolet Camaro in the American GT Challenge race on Saturday, July 3, which is part of the four-day American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix. The New England Grand Prix, July 2-5, features the first ever appearance in the Northeast for the ALMS. Three of the four class-winning teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be competing at Lime Rock along with established sports car stars such as JJ Lehto, Ron Fellows, Butch Leitzinger, James Weaver and all the ALMS series regulars. The Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear, the Formula SCCA Championship and the Spec Miata Challenge will also be racing at Lime Rock. On Sunday, July 4, celebrate the holiday with the whole family at a spectacular Corvette car corral and hear live music, see live ALMS pit stop demonstrations, and take a tour of the Petersen Motorsports ALMS team compound. Newman has won four SCCA National championships in three different classes; D-Production (1976), C-Production (1979) and GT-1 (1985-86). SCCA GT-1 is one of the classes eligible to compete in the American GT Challenge, a series for tube-framed chassis, V-8 or V-6 American muscle cars. Newman won the 1986 Trans-Am Series race at Lime Rock and has competed in other some of the biggest sports car races in America, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Tickets for the American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix can be purchased online at and are available at Lime Rock ticket outlets, including participating AAA branch offices, throughout the tri-state area or by calling 1-800-RACE-LRP.


New lawsuit filed against OWRS & Motorock  This just in, a lawsuit was filed Thursday in Federal court in Los Angeles by Lion Limited Partnership, a Nevada LP against Motorock LLC, JR Properties, a New York LLC; James Rose; Paul Gentilozzi; Trans-Am Racing LLC.; and Open Wheel Racing Series LLC on charges of fraud. More details to follow....


Ferrari 1-2 in first USGP practice session   Rubens Barrichello set the pace in the first practice session today at Indianapolis. The Ferrari driver lapped over two-tenths faster than team-mate Michael Schumacher with a best lap of 1:11.354s.

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'11"354 211.498 Km/h 11
2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'11"619 + 0'00"265 11
3. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'11"693 + 0'00"339 18
4. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'12"553 + 0'01"199 10
5. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'12"575 + 0'01"221 5
6. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'12"631 + 0'01"277 10
7. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'12"669 + 0'01"315 7
8. 4 R.SCHUMACHER Williams BMW M 1'12"968 + 0'01"614 8
9. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'12"989 + 0'01"635 8
10. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'13"045 + 0'01"691 15
11. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'13"351 + 0'01"997 5
12. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'13"747 + 0'02"393 6
13. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'13"762 + 0'02"408 4
14. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'13"868 + 0'02"514 7
15. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'13"877 + 0'02"523 22
16. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'13"916 + 0'02"562 4
17. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'14"208 + 0'02"854 10
18. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'14"868 + 0'03"514 13
19. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'15"179 + 0'03"825 6
20. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'15"242 + 0'03"888 17
21. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'15"260 + 0'03"906 10
22. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'15"468 + 0'04"114 9
23. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'16"538 + 0'05"184 12
24. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'17"138 + 0'05"784 11
25. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 3'56"560 + 2'45"206 1


Jim Long back at Michigan  Jim Long, crew chief of the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, is expected back in the garage this weekend after sitting out the race at Pocono. He remained home in Denver, N.C., last week for tests and treatment of migraine headaches while chief engineer Alan Gustafson served as interim crew chief.


Vickers getting road course ready  On Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Vickers and Jeff Gordon spent the day polishing their road-course skills as the No. 24 and No. 25 teams participated in a one-day test session at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for the June 27 NEXTEL Cup event at Infineon Raceway.


Happy Father's Day  The Chevrolets of Vickers, Labonte and Jimmie Johnson will sport slightly different looks this weekend at Michigan. Along with nine other NEXTEL Cup drivers, the Hendrick Motorsports trio will carry special paint schemes honoring Father's Day. The highest-finishing driver in the program will earn $25,000 toward their dad's favorite charity. "There's a lot of satisfaction for me, maybe even more for my dad though. My parents (Clyde and Ramona Vickers) sacrificed many things to get me to the level I'm at. The special paint scheme is the least I can do to show my appreciation to my dad -- I can't thank him enough. I wouldn't be here today if it were not for him." Vickers said.


Honda almost dropped out of F1   Just 24 hours before Jenson Button took third place at the Malaysian GP in March, Honda was set to withdraw from their £100million-a-year deal with BAR. But the 24-year-old's first podium in F1 managed to change Honda’s plans.  “Halfway through last year the board were close to pulling out. They were disenchanted with the results because they expected more,” revealed Honda chief Shoichi Tanaka.  "Things improved towards the end of last year but the turning point was Jenson’s third place - his first podium finish - in Malaysia. The day after the race the executive board had a meeting and, because of the result, were persuaded to continue,” said Tanaka to The Sun.   Tanaka added: “What we are waiting for now is our first win with BAR. Jenson is doing a great job.”  Honda are believed to have extended their contract with BAR until 2007.


F1 points system hurts Michael   At the start of the 2003 season the new format of awarding points to the top eight finishers was introduced, replacing the previous scale where only the top six earned points. This was done not only to reward the lower order teams who often missed out on a top-six finish by one or two places, but also to narrow the points deficit between first and second in the hope that it would tighten up the Championship, which it did.

This season with the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale Championship leader Michael Schumacher has a 16 point lead over his nearest rival, Rubens Barrichello. However, if the old 10-6-4-3-2-1 system were still in place the gap would double to 32, and the Drivers' Championship would be decided all too soon.

According to Webber "the problem is Michael. That's why it's like that. It was set up really to keep it (the Championship) alive for longer because he buried it quite early a few years ago. It's like hanging him up slowly, slowly and every now and then someone gets to have a nibble at him again."

But even though the Aussie can see the benefits of the new system he admitted to Reuters he "liked it when it was only down to six because that was how it was for the last 1,000 years and I don't know why we should have changed it just to give other people more of a chance. It was fine how it was but I've been with teams like Minardi and the distribution of points is crucial as well. So it's a difficult one."

He added: "To finish in the top eight now I'd say is actually quite similar to finishing in the top six in years gone by, it's still quite tough. But I'm just a bit old fashioned I suppose when it comes to all that sort of stuff."  Planet-F1


Boring Michigan might help NASCAR save face  Most times, NASCAR fans shudder when they see Michigan -- big, flat, wide, fast, boring Michigan -- on the race schedule.   But perhaps big, flat, wide, fast, boring Michigan is just what NASCAR needs to calm its suddenly stormy seas.   An astounding 24.5 percent of the laps in NASCAR's two most recent races have been run under caution --34.3 percent in the final half of the races -- due to NASCAR indecisiveness and the vagaries of racing. In contrast, only 13.8 percent of the laps in Michigan's last 10 events have been run under yellow.   That's mostly due to the track being parking-lot wide and having multiple racing grooves, allowing the drivers to mash the accelerator and the cars to get spread out. It all makes for less than dramatic theater but fast, mostly safe racing.   And after the caution-laden, mistake-riddled shows at Dover and Pocono, with fans in an uproar and the sport in turmoil, NASCAR needs Michigan like a wet horse needs a dry blanket.  Florida Today


Trans-Am race to be broadcast on Spike TV  The Albertsons Trans-Am 100, Round 2 of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series championship, will be broadcast on Spike TV with expanded coverage on HDNet. The race is part of Portland International Raceway’s Champ Car Grand Prix weekend and is scheduled for Saturday, June 19 at 3:45 p.m. PDT.  Spike TV, which also broadcasts the Champ Car World Series, has expanded its 2004 motorsports programming to include the Albertsons Trans-Am 100 race on tape-delayed basis in the popular “Dangerous Curves” timeslot. The event will air Sunday, June 27 at 1:30 p.m. on both the East and West Coasts. In other areas, please check local listings for availability and times.  The race will also air in next-day, tape-delayed format on Sunday, June 20 at 11:30 AM EDT, as the lead into the Champ Car World Series broadcast on the rapidly growing HDNet. HDNet is the first national television network broadcasting all of its programming in 1080i HD, the highest-quality format of high-definition television (HDTV). HDNet is available on most major cable systems, as well as many satellite providers.  Veteran play-by-play announcer Rick Benjamin and color analyst Jon Beekhuis will call the action from the booth, while veteran announcer Chris McClure and Becky Gordon will handle pit-reporting duties. Betelgeuse Productions, which also is responsible for the Champ Car World Series broadcasts, will produce the Trans-Am show.


Renault F1 and Boeing to collaborate  Renault F1 and aerospace technology leader Boeing will collaborate on technology development for aerospace and motor racing projects, the French squad announced on Thursday.  Renault said they have signed a memorandum of understanding to "investigate technology collaboration projects of mutual interest."  "Formula One is the ideal proving ground for leading-edge technologies, and we believe that this relationship will make a valuable contribution to meeting our performance objectives, as well as theirs," said Renault's technical director Bob Bell.  "Within the team, we are excited at the prospect of collaborating on innovative research programs with Boeing, and look forward to exploiting the natural synergies between the aerospace industry and Formula One."  Miller Adams, vice president of Boeing Technology Ventures, added: "Boeing Phantom Works has been entering into research relationships around the world as part of our effort to find new technologies and processes for improving aerospace products and services.  "There are interesting similarities between the technologies required to develop Formula One racing cars and aerospace products. We are very pleased to commence this collaboration with the Renault F1 Team, a world-class racing organization."


Barrichello and Brawn USGP press conference  Here are the first two, Rubens Barrichello and Ross Brawn. I think you probably can tell the difference between the two of them. Greetings, gentlemen. So it wasn't so long ago the Canadian Grand Prix. Ross, perhaps I can start with you. In Canada, we saw the two Ferraris very much racing against one another. I know they're not meant to not race one another, but is it a slight change of philosophy that they're allowed to race one another, given that the team is so far ahead of everybody else?  Transcript


People Magazine names Kahne  Who says a good man is hard to find? This week PEOPLE picks, for the fifth year, “The 50 Hottest Bachelors” in a special double issue. From a pro tennis player (Andy Roddick), to a NASCAR driver (Kasey Kahne) and an astronaut (Benjamin Alvin Drew), there’s someone for everyone.

This year PEOPLE has chosen actor Orlando Bloom as Bachelor #1. Bloom’s is the face that launched a thousand Internet searches. Troy’s younger lover has been ranked higher on Yahoo!’s Buzz Index than Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Bloom says that he tries to treat women the way he’d want them treated if he were their fathers. Other leading men on this year’s list include: Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Jake Gyllenhaal.

“I’m going to wake up Nov. 3 and my stepdad is President,” says Bachelor Chris Heinz of the looming fork in his life’s road, “or it’s back to your regularly scheduled program.” His stepdad, John Kerry, married his mother, Teresa, in 1995. For now Heinz accepts that the press IDs him as “rich and single.” Says Heinz: “I’d be more upset if it weren’t true. I’m kidding. I wish it were drop-dead gorgeous and rich.

We’ve seen them scheme, dream and kiss on camera. But these Reality TV hunks are still single, sexy and ready for love. “It’s like guerilla warfare,” says The Bachelorette’s Charlie Maher. “I can’t stop being a bachelor. It’s very hard to find someone who’s quality.” Aggressive women need apply! “Honest to God, I’m shy,” says Apprentice winner Bill Rancic. “Even now I just can’t walk up to a girl in a bar.”


Schumacher reveals his secret  Michael Schumacher met the mainly American media, standing in the rain in the paddock, but while storm clouds gathered, all was calm as far as the reigning world champion was concerned. 'Last year the atmosphere here was very special and I am looking forward to this year's event,' was his opening remark. 'In 2003, I remember coming here in a pessimistic mood and leaving Indy with much more than I had anticipated. We put on a good show and the fans gave us a great reception.'


This is the first time in the five years Indianapolis has hosted this race that it takes place in June rather than September and temperatures and humidity are significantly higher. 'I don’t think we have raced yet this year in such high temperatures,' commented the Ferrari man. 'The weather could be a factor for the race, although I’ve heard it is due to get a bit cooler over the weekend.'

The American media are fascinated by Schumacher’s relaxed demeanor and thought it might have something to do with the fact he was in the United States. Sadly, they were disappointed. 'I’m always relaxed,' replied the German. 'Even when I’m in Europe,' he added, although he did admit to enjoying the anonymity as to his identity here in North America.

It was a day for quick responses and when Michael was asked what made him better than the rest, he replied: 'At the end of the day, I’m just better at driving round in circles! For whatever reason, I am having a very good year.'

The British media were keen to get Schumacher’s views on the two Ferrari drivers' closest rival, Jenson Button. 'He is waiting for his first win and I think it will come. Racing is like any sport in that you don’t know when it will happen, but he is a very motivated driver.'

In three races time, at the British GP, the qualifying system changes again, meaning that cars will once again qualify in 'classic' trim, with minimum fuel loads, before being free to chose their fuel load for the race. With suggestions that at times, Bridgestone’s rival tire has performed a bit better over a single lap, was Michael not concerned over the change in format? 'No, if you take all the eight races we have done so far this year, I think there have only been two grands prix where we had a slight disadvantage in qualifying and in the others we have been quite dominant, so there is no need for concern. In any case, if our tires have not been the best in qualifying, they have made up for it in the race.'

As the season enters its second half, the opposition is naturally hoping that Ferrari's effort might have reached its top level, but this is not the case according to Schumacher. “I am confident in the development of the car for the rest of the year. Ferrari's strength has always been this ability to develop a car over the whole season.'


Latest F1 News in brief 

Ferrari teammates are 'free to race'
'Clumsy, not cheats' - Frank Williams
Berger linked with Ferrari top-job
Pantano 'will race' - Jordan's Phillips
Panis asks Toyota for 'one more year'
'Blame Bernie' if new quali fails - Brawn
Do Williams employees still get points bonus?
Silverstone GP 'is sold out' - circuit
'No Grand Prix' in Hyderabad - confirmation
Woods earns more than Schumacher 
Schu wants 'another points system'
Schu 'wants to keep Rubens' at Ferrari
Updated Williams 'might not race' at all
Ross Brawn is not Ferrari's new boss
Schu 'will quit' if titles stop - brother Ralf
'Some reservation' about aggregate quali - Williams 


New ALMS team and driver  A new race team and a young aspiring racing driver from Georgia will make their first appearances in the American Le Mans Series when the professional sports car racing series competes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, June 25-27. The event will mark the debut of a new Georgia-based racing team known as Race Car Company, formed by James Cooke of England and Jason Dunken of Nicholson, Ga. The team will field a Lola B2K/40-Millington Prototype in the LMP2 class of the ALMS. Driving will be 20-year-old Ryan Eversley of Winder, Ga. The drive at Mid-Ohio is a payback of sorts from Cooke to Eversley, who as a mechanic helped prepare the cars that Cooke and partner Dennis Marshall fielded in the full ALMS season in 2002 with Archangel Motorsports. Eversley has raced open-wheel cars in the past and spent the 2003 driving a Nissan Sentra in the Grand-Am Cup Series with Archangel Motorsports owner Mike Johnson. In addition, Eversley worked as a mechanic for the former JML Team Panoz in the ALMS last season. He tested the Lola recently at a South Carolina road racing track. "Ryan comes highly recommended to me by Mike Johnson," said Cooke. "He has been around the game long enough now to know we are looking for a mature, level-headed driver who will not only be on the pace but will also look after the car." Eversley's co-driver for the event at Mid-Ohio has not been announced. Cooke said that Race Car Company has two Lola chassis and hopes to enter two cars in selected ALMS races later this season.


ims_photo8.jpgPit walkabout a big hit at USGP  Many of the thousands of fans at the 2004 United States Grand Prix pit walkabout were as much of a spectacle as the Formula One cars and drivers they were there to see.  The festive event June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway provided a fitting kickoff to the United States Grand Prix weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

While thousands of fans converged on IMS in "traditional" race fan wear - team and driver T-shirts and hats - many die-hard fans showed their allegiance to their favorite F1 teams with face paint, Jaguar-green and Ferrari-red wigs, flags and other gear.
Sam Grasso, from Philadelphia, took devotion to Italian team Ferrari to new heights with a Roman centurion costume, complete with helmet, plastic body armor and a staff. Grasso adorned the body armor with select decals of the Ferrari F1 car, the classic "Prancing Horse" logo and Shell Oil, one of the Ferrari team's corporate sponsors. Being an American of Italian descent, Grasso even had Italian music playing from small speakers on his belt.

"To be honest, I wore this because nobody else did last year," Grasso said. "I walked around and I saw people's faces painted, I saw costumes I loved and took as many pictures as I could."

Grasso attended the inaugural USGP pit walkabout in 2003 and praised the track for improving the 2004 event.  "Last year we were all kind of sardines on pit road, but it was great, don't get me wrong," he said. "It is 10 times better this year. I don't know where you (the track) can go with it, to be honest with you. I love what they do here."

In addition to walking along Indy's famous pit lane and viewing the cars and team garages of Formula One, fans were treated to an expanded pit walkabout entertainment lineup for the 2004 event. Past and present Formula One drivers signed autographs in the plaza behind the Bombardier Pagoda control tower, including American World Champions Phil Hill and Mario Andretti and current F1 stars Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli, among others.  Photos


Ray-Ban and BAR announce deal  Ray-Ban, the world's leading sunglasses and optical eyewear brand, has chosen to enter Formula One with Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda. Ray-Ban's Team Partner status with B·A·R will be one of the key elements of its global communications campaign and was born out of the synergy between Ray-Ban's iconic brand and the young and successful B·A·R team. Ray-Ban operates in more than 100 countries and is today the top-selling eyewear brand in the world. Formula One with B·A·R, which relaunched its own brand in 2003 under the pure racing theme, will be a powerful global promotional vehicle for Ray-Ban. Ray-Ban has always been synonymous with style, design, quality and coolness. The partnership kicks off this weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix with the unmistakable Ray-Ban signature appearing for the first time on the cockpit sides of the B·A·R Honda 006 race cars as they roll out of the garage for the start of Friday's Free Practice. The brand will also feature on the helmets of race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato and third driver Anthony Davidson.


Michael Schumacher will never race in Indy 500  Arguably the greatest driver of all-time, Michael Schumacher, was asked today in a media conference, as a lead-in to the USGP, the following question

Q: Would you like to compete in the Indy 500 one year?

That is all he said, no!  He was direct and to the point.  The Indy 500 used to mean something at one time.  F1 greats like Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Nigel Mansell and others came to Indy in the past because it was once the greatest race in the world. No more.  Tony George, with his vision called the IRL, has run the Indy 500 into the ground to the point drivers like Schumacher have zero interest.  More of his interview.


IRL Texas TV ratings  More bad news for the IRL.  Texas is the IRL's 2nd biggest event behind the Indy 500.  Last year's final rating for Texas on ESPN was a dismal 0.4/1.0 share, this in prime time when there are more viewers watching TV.  The league was hoping for an improvement this year with all the money Honda and Toyota are pumping into the series.  The overnight rating for 2004 was a 0.4/0.8 share (339,000 households) and since the IRL's finals are 99.9% of the time lower than the overnights, it looks like we will see a drop in the dismal final rating from last year.  Already we see the share is down 20%.  Last year's 0.4 rating was down from that in 2002 of 0.62, which represented a 35% drop in one year.  There is no growth in the IRL and in fact it continues to decline into oblivion as a result of Tony George's vision.


London street event to be held rush hour  The Formula 1 demonstration run on the streets of London will be held at rush hour on Tuesday July 6. The event, which is being run by the Regent Street Association, the Crown Estates and Harvey Goldsmith Productions will take place between 6pm and 8pm and will run on a circuit which will start at Waterloo Place, at the bottom of Lower Regent Street and will go up to Picadilly Circus and from there into Regent Street itself. It will run up to the DH Evans department store and then turn to the right through the pedestrian precinct outside the London Palladium and then on to Marlborough Street opposite the Liberty's department store and from there back on to Regent Street for the run back down to Waterloo Place. The cars will run one at a time and then for a grand finale will all run together around the course. The event is likely to be watched by anything between 100,000 and 250,000 people and we understand that TV coverage is open to all stations.


Childress: NASCAR made a bad call  Below are select quotes from Wednesday's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team owner Richard Childress comments on the actions and NASCAR punishment of his driver Kevin Harvick at Pocono. Wind Tunnel airs live Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m. ET exclusively on SPEED Channel.

Childress: "(NASCAR) should have sent checks, but instead we got the royal shaft. I can't really say on the air what I really think. It was probably, in my years of racing, one of the most unfair -- and I am not a whiner, hell, we're big boys and we take our licks when we get 'em. And sure, Kevin has done some things in the past where we know we've been wrong and we've known what's happened. But at the end of the day, this one here was not Kevin's deal. I don't know what happened to Matt when he spun, but our car did not have a scratch on the nose and we told NASCAR to look at the black marks. They agreed with the black marks that Matt had tried to brake check Kevin and then he came back around and deliberately spun him -- I mean he drilled him. That's what you've got to do to spin someone out. You hit him in the back and turn right. I've been a race driver myself.

"I'm pretty upset about it and terribly upset with NASCAR's decision. I think it was ... if a guy robs a bank and he's been a bank robber and he walks by, he's going to be accused of robbing the bank. Kevin's past caught him up a little. We knew he'd probably get a fine, but the equal penalties is what I am so upset about. All you've got to do is watch your TV ... and I like Matt. Matt's a great guy and a good champion, but at the end of the day, I think NASCAR made a bad call."


Cola wars in NASCAR  UPDATE The Coca-Cola C2 cars will be driven in the July 3 Nextel Cup race by members of The Coca-Cola Racing Family, including Tony Stewart (#20), Bill Elliott (#98), Ricky Rudd (#21), Kurt Busch (#97), Greg Biffle (#16), Jeff Burton (#99), John Andretti (#1), and Kevin Harvick (#29). The Coca-Cola C2 race cars each will feature a unique take on the brand's signature red and black colors, and the drivers will wear Coca-Cola C2 fire suits as well. Coca-Cola C2 is a new soft drink created by The Coca-Cola Company that offers the great Coca-Cola taste consumers want with fewer carbs and calories than regular colas. For NASCAR fans who have yet to try new Coca-Cola C2, there will be extensive sampling opportunities in and around the Daytona area over Independence Day weekend. "We are revving up our engines and rolling out Coca-Cola C2 all over the country right now, and when eight Coca-Cola C2 cars take to the track on July 3, we'll be at full speed," said Javier Benito, president, U.S. Retail Division and chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. "What better way to introduce NASCAR fans to America's hottest new soft drink than to field an 8-pack of the best drivers in NASCAR in 700-horsepower Coca-Cola C2 cars?"  6/17/04 - In the latest salvo in the sports marketing battle between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Coke will run one of its largest race promotions around the July 3 Pepsi 400 in Daytona, as its new C2 brand will be the primary sponsor for eight cars. While the two brands have gone back and forth for years — who can forget Jeff Gordon drinking Pepsi in Victory Lane at the Coca-Cola 600 — a Coke spokesperson downplayed the notion that this is just an ambush marketing ploy, saying the race's high profile and holiday weekend date make it an ideal platform for the new brand.  Sports Business Daily


Rain washes out 2nd day of Milwaukee test  Steady rain showers canceled the final day of the IRL IndyCar® Series Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile.  Track drying delayed the start of the test's second day, and a rain shower shortly before 2 p.m. (EDT) prompted IRL officials to end the test early.  "Being able to come and run here for a day has certainly been beneficial, but we would have liked to run today and work a bit more on the race setup," Marlboro Team Penske president Tim Cindric said.  Sam Hornish Jr. had the fastest combined practice speed at 164.868 mph in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Teammate Helio Castroneves was second quick at 164.582 mph, and Scott Sharp was third at 163.707 mph in the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.   Reigning IndyCar Series champ Scott Dixon said the one day of testing on June 16 was good enough to develop a base setup.  "I think we're not too bad," said Dixon, who was fourth quick on the chart at 163.332 mph in the No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. "We're only a tenth-and-a-half (of a second) off of the top time, and I think we found enough (speed). It will be a pinch having to find it when we come back, but we're all right."  The IndyCar Series returns to Milwaukee for the Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225 on July 25. The IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesT Milwaukee 100 also takes place on July 25.  [Editor's Note: Hornish's fast lap of 164.582 MPH not only would have put him dead last on the recent Champ Car grid, Ryan Hunter-Reay was almost exactly 2 full seconds per lap faster (20.509 sec vs. 22.578 sec.) meaning every 10 laps Hunter-Reay's Champ Car would have lapped Hornish's IRL car.   In a 250 lap race the IRL car would be 25 laps down to the Champ Car.]


NASCAR Pocono TV Rating  UPDATE The final TV rating for the Pocono race was a 5.2/14 share compared to last year's 5.3/14 share, a drop of just 2%.  NASCAR definitely gets a strong bump from the smaller markets underlying the fact it has become very mainstream in America.   6/14/04 - The overnight rating for NASCAR's Nextel Cup race at Pocono Sunday on Fox was a 4.7/11 share.  This is down 7.8% for last year's overnight of 5.1/12 share.  The final last year was a 5.3/14 share so it will be interesting to see how this year's final compares, due out Thursday.


Alex Zanardi pre-Portland quotes  
Alex Zanardi on Portland: "Portland is a permanent road course built in a beautiful State, which is for me a fantastic area for many reasons. The downside is that the weather is so unpredictable that it's not uncommon to start the race on the dry and end with the rain as it happened to me in 1996 when I won my first Champ Car race.  Obviously my feelings for Portland are quite special because that's where I obtained one of my greatest career satisfactions; like the first love you never forget the first win!  It's not a long track, but it's quite difficult to overtake unless you have the opportunity to draft someone on the long straight because in turn one you have a great braking point and you can complete the maneuver. The course it's pretty technical and you have to set-up the car quite well because if you don't you can end up with a lot of under steering during the race, but overall I believe it's a good place to come and race."
Alex Zanardi on his health:  "My physical condition is remarkably excellent because after what I've been through it's a blessing that I could get back to a normal life. I really feel great and I don't have to do any particular everyday rehab, but just be concerned about the rehab when I decide on new components I like to try, but life is great! My living is very similar to what it used to be and that it's a great accomplishment. I'm now at a point where I can make any decision like in the past and as you know I now drive in the ETCC - European Touring Car Championship with a BMW 320i of Team BMW Italy-Spain run by Ravaglia Motorsport."
Alex Zanardi on his racing:  "It's not really a comeback because from my point of view I never quit racing; I was forced to stop because of the accident. After the rehab, which has been my priority for many months, as soon as I had the possibility to choose I spoke with my family and I decided to resume my racing activity.  I'm not afraid nor I feel I'm in any danger, actually I have an advantage because if something happens I will just need a tool in order to fix my leg!"
Zanardi in the News:   Alex Zanardi played a fundamental role in convincing a young 36-year-old woman 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 a week ago, but was not been publicized until after the surgery 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 Italian web site the surgery went well and the women may be home soon, maybe within 10 to 15 days.


British GP a sellout  The British Grand Prix has sold out for all three days of the meeting, which will take place between July 9-11. The race will take place in front of a capacity crowd of 100,000, which will be the highest attendance since 1999 and the first sell-out in the same period. Demand has been high, largely because of the new pricing structure, which has offered enhanced value and a range of options for fans. There are a limited number of hospitality packages still available but general admission tickets are no longer being sold and Silverstone has already started pumping out the message that people should not just turn up hoping for a ticket. One of the innovations at this year's event is Grand Prix Drivers Association support for The Grand Prix Party which will take place in the centre of the circuit after the event. This will guarantee the attendance of a number of drivers along with music from the Beach Boys, Jenson Button's fiancée Louise Griffiths and Atomic Kitten's Jenny Frost.


Indy expects big crowd for USGP  Although the Speedway doesn't release attendance figures, observers say the race's turnout has decreased since its debut in 2000. Previously reported estimates indicate the inaugural race drew about 200,000 fans, while the 2001 race drew about 175,000. The past two years, the crowd has been estimated near 120,000. Although the attendance is smaller than the 500-Mile Race in May and NASCAR's Brickyard 400 event in August, the U.S. Grand Prix still remains one of the top draws on the Formula One circuit. IMS spokesman Ron Green said ticket sales are going well. In fact, the Speedway has built two temporary terrace grandstands on the track's infield. The one on Turn 6 has sold out, and sales for the other on Turn 10 have gone very well, Green said. "That's a good indicator that not only the word is getting out about the date change but about these new grandstands," Green said. "We're very pleased with fan response, and we're optimistic Sunday will be a strong, strong day for us as far as turnout goes." Any turnout of more than 100,000 people, many coming from overseas, still has a tremendous impact on the local economy.  Indy Star  


Daytona 500 wins TV ratings race  All the final television numbers were in from Memorial Day weekend, which included the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR jewel Coca-Cola 600. The Daytona 500 beat all comers. It wasn't even close. The 500, staged in February, enjoyed a 10.6 rating with 18 million viewers on NBC. In contrast, the Indy 500, shown by ABC, had a 4.1 rating and the 600, staged in primetime by Fox, had a 5 rating. The Indy 500 was watched by six million people while the 600 had eight million people tune in to watch. If you add the ratings generated by the ABC and Fox broadcasts during Memorial Day, it comes out to a 9.1, still less than the rating generated by the Daytona 500. The 500 also beat both races combined on viewers as a total of 14 million flipped the channel to watch both races. The Indy 500 still rules as far as paid attendance, drawing some 350,000 race fans every year while over at Lowe's Motor Speedway, there was the disturbing sight of empty seats in the giant Turn 2 grandstand area. Anyway, based on TV numbers the argument can be made that the Daytona 500 has become the premier racing event in the country. Braig took it a step further. "The World Center of Racing continues to rightfully claim its title not only in television audience but in viewership worldwide as the most important race in motorsports," Braig said.  Daytona Beach News-Journal  [Editor's Note: In the CART years the Indy 500 had bigger TV ratings than the Daytona 500.   Now look where it is.  History will show than Anton Hulman George (nee Tony George) took a sport that was a huge success and totally destroyed it with his harebrained concept that Indy Car racing should be some dumbed down formula run on ovals.  Now it's too late, NASCAR has become a monopoly and you can take a fork and stick it in his IRL series, it's done.  As we have said on numerous occasions, if Anton George was the President of any other company, he would have been fired ages ago.]


Montreal Champ Car race has new sponsor   The Montreal Molson Indy has a new sponsor and the Champ Car series race scheduled for Aug. 27-29 will go ahead as planned, promoter Alan Labrosse announced Wednesday.  Labrosse, however, said he wasn't ready to identify the new sponsor.  The race at the Gilles Villeneuve track is expected to equal last year's draw of 152,000 spectators over the weekend by stressing the interactive nature of the event.  ``We are accessible at all levels,'' Labrosse told a news conference. ``Spectators can approach drivers, talk to them and even touch their cars.''  Labrosse appeared to be making a comparison with the more exclusive Canadian Grand Prix, which was recently run on the same track.  Molson Indy tickets will cost between $75 and $249 for three days. Parents can also bring two children 13 years and under for free.  The first three Champ Car races this season have attracted large crowds in Long Beach, Calif., Monterrey, Mexico and Milwaukee, giving it ``a good potential,'' said Canadian driver Alex Tagliani of Lachenaie, Que., who attended the news conference with Andrew Ranger, a rising Quebec star who will race in the Toyota Atlantic series.  ``Last year I got the pole and finished fourth,'' Tagliani said. ``This year, I'm not coming here to finish second.''  Tagliani has had a difficult start to his season, which he attributed to bizarre incidents.  Labrosse hopes for good races from Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier of Joliette, Que., who finished second to Toronto native Paul Tracy in the championship standings last year.

Industry News

Luxury cars target China's rich  Luxury car makers from the United States, Europe and Japan are targeting China's new rich.   Two models of DaimlerChrysler's luxury sedan Maybach were spotlighted at the German auto giant's 3,400-square-meter pavilion at China's biggest auto show , running from June 9 to 16.   Peter Honegg, president of Mercedes-Benz's China division, was quoted by Beijing Daily Messenger as saying that the company expects to sell 1,000 Maybachs annually in China.   The sedan is sold so far at 5.38 million to 6.18 million yuan.    According to Mercedes-Benz and Audi reports issued last month, 130,000 Chinese are driving Mercedes-Benz while 63,000 have Audi sedans.   In China's economic hub Shanghai, British Bingley has sold 15 sedans since the beginning of this year and it said the sales are very much likely to end as 20 this year, double from last year.   "The growth of China's luxury market was impressive in recent years," said Honegg, "I was surprised to learn that many rich Chinese know Maybach well."   Two days before the auto show's opening, Ford said it would start dealerships of Aston Martin, its sports car series, in China next year.   And General Motors will begin to produce its Cadillac sedans in its Shanghai joint venture factory this year.   Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor Corp. announced Tuesday last week in Tokyo that it will open six exclusive Lexus dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen this year and plans to increase the number to 14 by the middle of 2005.   So far only Volkswagen's Audi and BMW were produced in China. BMW has produced five models in China and Audi will soon put two new models on the Chinese market.   According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, each urban Chinese had 8,472 yuan (1,042 US dollars) of disposable annual income in average in 2003.  The rich, accounting for 10 percent of the country's population, owned 45 percent of the wealth in cities.   In 2003, Chinese owned 4.89 million private cars, 42.56 percent more than the previous year.   However, China's car sales dropped in April by 3 percent from March though still higher than April 2003 and insiders worried about a continuous drop in May.  English Eastday


Latest F1 News in brief 

Toyota aim for third on grid
Renault 'can stay competitive' - Trulli
Pantano 'ready to race' - source
Schu gets 'more choice' at Indianapolis
McLaren reluctant to embrace 20-race calendar
Why aren't BAR on-form in North America ... ?
Ferrari's tobacco livery banned in US
Montoya might 'come back' to Williams
TV broadcasters dislike new quali format
Evolution can 'breed' winning F1 car
Villeneuve to drive Ferrari
Sauber does a deal with AMD
McLaren defends pre-season title boast
Swiss GP talk is premature - politician
Brawn to continue in F1 beyond '06   


Feedback on Autosport engine article   Dear AutoRacing1.Com, I'm sorry but I simply can't let the latest addition to the IRL Media Shills list, Autosport, get by with the utter garbage they have spouted and you were kind enough to bring to our attention (see rumor on Toyota renewing with the IRL).
" . . . cementing the championship's dominant position in US open-wheel racing." What in God's name are these alleged journalists talking about? Their reading must be limited to IRL propaganda kits and press releases. What "facts" do they have to back up such an outlandish, absurd and illegitimate assertion?! Tony's vision has managed to put the 500 on life support. TMS tried to give away all their IRL tickets before they were forced to knock it off. Penske and Mikey suddenly want unification? The IRL talks about going road racing next year but none of the existing equipment works on a road course without expensive upgrades and only the superteams can afford dual chassis.

"Dominant Position!?" To what? SCCA club racing?!
"Our continued involvement beyond that (2006) has far more to do with how many people are in the seats in the grandstands or watching on television than it does any of our NASCAR activities." Ya think! Get ready to pack your Anvil cases guys 'cause it isn't gonna get any better than it is right now! There isn't enough Yen or Hulman-George Trust Fund greenbacks to change the fact that the fans Tony needs ( THEY AINT COMIN' BACK!) to survive either will not support his series or they're now stock car fans and could care less about them there open wheel cars a Shaker Heights High School cheerleader could drive at full tilt! That was TILT! I can't believe both Toyota and Honda bought into this nonsense! Renew for what?! More empty grandstands? More massive ticket giveaways (like this year's 500)? More boring racing? More non-existent TV ratings? What the hell were these guys thinking?
"We see signs of strengthening in the teams attending the races, but the television figures are still an issue." Strengthening? Is Honda suddenly putting up more YEN for Andretti-Green to run a fifth car? Why not let Tony out-source the entire grid to Andretti-Green-ARAMARK! This is competition? They should change the name to the Penske/Andretti-Green/Ganassi Racing League. How many other teams besides Greg Ray's are on the verge of going bust? How many will throw in the towel in disgust at the end of the 2004 season? Strengthening? The only thing that's "strengthening" around the IRL is the stench of death that's been hanging over the league since Penske's call for unification appeared in the New York Times and a big orange "DNR" sticker was added to the 500's medical chart!
"We see the move to road courses next year as a positive thing." So do Champ Car fans. Real Men Turn Right and there are no real men driving in the IRL. Just cash grubbing ingrates. As Scott Dixon learned, an IRL driver's career has nowhere to go . . . but DOWN the you-know-what!
"The confirmation of the engine deals is also an indirect blow to the Champ Car World Series. It had stood to gain if either of the engine suppliers, which pump money into the IRL, had pulled out."  CCWS is unaffected by any of this for 2.6 million reasons: the 2.6 MILLION fans that bought a ticket (they didn't hang out in front of a 7-11 waiting for a Philip Morris rep to press a thick stack of freebies into their hands) with their own money and went to see the best open wheel racing in North America: "Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford." It may be a mouthful, but it sure beats the pile of dung known as the IRL.  J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois


Menards to sponsor Milwaukee IRL race   A.J. Foyt assisted Molly Menard, Director of Motorsports Marketing for Menards Home Improvement Stores in unveiling the event logo for the inaugural “Menards A.J. Foyt Indy 225” IRL IndyCar Series race, set for Sunday afternoon, July 25, 2004 at the historic speedway.  This is the first time an event has been named in honor of the Houston native, affectionately called “Super Tex”.  "We can’t think of a better way to honor a gentleman who is synonymous with racing itself,” stated Mark Perrone, Vice President & General Manager of The Milwaukee Mile.  In total, Foyt has captured 10 wins on The Milwaukee Mile as a driver, four in Indy Cars and six in Stock Cars.  “I’m glad to be back here at Milwaukee,” Foyt said. “I’ve had a lot of good days and a lot of bad days here. I had some good days in the hospital here, too, believe me! This is one of the best places I’ve ever raced at, and I’m glad to see us (Indy Cars) back here.”


Foyt shared one of his favorite memories of a Milwaukee race weekend in August 1965, where he qualified pole position in his mud-covered front-engine dirt champ car against a field of sleeker, better handling rear-engine cars. Had it not been for a needed pit stop for tires and fuel, Foyt would have amazingly won the race. He had to settle for second to Gordon Johncock that afternoon.

Foyt will compete as an IndyCar Series owner on July 25 at The ‘Mile, as owner/team engineer for his grandson, A.J. Foyt IV, a sophomore driver in the IRL IndyCar Series.  Long-time team owner John Menard and his successful lumber and home improvement store business has been involved in the Indy Racing League since its inception in 1995, but the Eau Claire, WI-based businessman had never sponsored an IRL IndyCar race event to this point. “To be associated with The Milwaukee Mile and the IRL will forge a mutually beneficial relationship, and will provide Menards a great and innovative marketing tool,” commented Molly Menard, Director of Motorsports Marketing for Menards, and John’s daughter. “Some of the best race fans are here in Wisconsin. It’s going to be a great race, and for us, this is a natural fit.”


Tobacco Ad bans could put racing in the pits  This Christian Science article talks about what the banning of tobacco ads, and hence sponsors, could do to the sport of F1.

Industry News

Honda extends deal with Mid-Ohio  American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and TrueSports, Inc., announced today an agreement that will extend a current ten-year partnership through the 2006 racing season. Through this relationship, Honda will remain the "Official Vehicle of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School". As part of the agreement, The Mid-Ohio School will continue to use the Acura RSX Type-S and Honda Civic EX Coupes in eight different driving courses offered at The Mid-Ohio School. Honda also continues a long relationship with Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Included is the continued use of the Honda S2000 as the official pace car for all events at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and significant signage throughout the facility, including the landmark Honda walk-over bridge near the "esses". Honda remains the title sponsor of the AMA Pro Racing Superbike Series stop at Mid-Ohio, the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire. "American Honda Motor Company has been an integral part of the growth of both Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School over the past 10 years," said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, Inc. "The relationship we have built has directly enabled us to grow the Honda Super Cycle Weekend, along with a number of other events and activities at the facility. "We appreciate the loyalty and support that Tom Elliot and the entire motorsports team at Honda have provided us in this partnership; one that we are truly proud to be a part of." Honda also retains the naming rights of three different driving programs offered by The Mid-Ohio School for its Honda and Acura brands, including the Honda Teen Defensive Driving Program, the Acura High Performance Course and the Acura Advanced High Performance Course. "The Honda/Mid-Ohio relationship has been mutually productive for many years," said Tom Elliot, Executive Vice-President of Auto Operations for American Honda. "For the past two decades, Mid-Ohio has set the standard for road courses in the U.S., and we are pleased to extend this agreement, which ensures that Honda will be an important part of the Mid-Ohio experience for the foreseeable future."  [Editor's Note:  If the IRL races at Mid-Ohio in 2005 don't be surprised if Honda sponsors the race since they have a plant in nearby Marysville, Ohio.  Perhaps they will give all their employees a ticket to the race to artificially bolster the gate and save face for the IRL, which was otherwise sure to draw a lot less people than when the Champ Cars raced there.]


Computers chase the checkered flag  As a lead-in to Sunday's USGP, this NY Times article talks about all the technology associated with a modern F1 car.  Technology, of course, is reshaping the preparation and tactics for many sports. But in Formula One racing, it is at the center of the sport, a test of the ability to perfect the synergy between man and machine. And the result has been to create a cyborg - a blend of man and machine in every sense of the word.

The emphasis on technology in Formula One racing is a striking contrast to the Indy-car circuit, which has less powerful cars and more strictly limits computerized technologies.

Even so, the high-tech push has created tensions in the Formula One world - particularly over the remarkable spending war among the 10 teams that compete each year for the championship.

The numbers are not public, but according to Paul Stoddart, owner of the Minardi racing team, the teams will spend $2.8 billion during this year's circuit, which continues over the coming weekend with the sole American event on the tour, the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

"You can run a small country on $2.8 billion and still get change," he said.

He said the Ferrari, Toyota, McLaren-Mercedes and Williams-BMW teams had spent more than $400 million this year, while Minardi, which has yet to notch any points this season, has a budget of $40 million.  [Editor's Note:  If the escalation in cost continues unabated in F1, it is safe to assume Champ Car will be able to go into the world market at a fraction of the cost and erode F1's market share significantly.  Of course a Champ Car will have to look and sound much like a F1 car and that's all they need.]


Champ Car makes progress on next-gen car   Champ Car racing has proven to be one of the fastest racing series in the world. With these amazing stalwart machines housing the top drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, safety is on top of all priorities.

With all the hype and glamour of high speed racing, the potential danger that accompanies driving a Champ Car is often overlooked, but not in The Champ Car World Series where improving safety is a continual process. On June 2, Champ Car teamed up with IMMI, one of the industry leaders in the science of safety technology, to conduct a crash test designed to gather further information to provide useful safety-related data in the design of Champ Car’s next generation chassis, a project spearheaded by Champ Car Director of Technology, Lee Dykstra and the Champ Car Technical Staff.   More.....


Hornish goes dead last on Champ Car grid   Sam Hornish Jr. had the fastest practice speed of the 22 car-driver combinations that turned laps on the first day of a two-day Open Test at The Milwaukee Mile.  Hornish's best speed was 164.868 mph in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. His teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second quick at 164.582 mph. Scott Sharp, who turned a field-high 217 laps, was third on the speed chart at 163.707 mph.  "We've been real good on the handling tracks so far this year," Hornish said. "That's a positive for us."  Drivers recorded 3,021 laps on the asphalt surface without incident.
Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1 6 Sam Hornish Jr. D/T/F 164.868 mph
2 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 164.582 mph
3 8 Scott Sharp D/T/F 163.707 mph
4 1 Scott Dixon D/T/F 163.332 mph
5 5 Adrian Fernandez G/H/F 162.025 mph
THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
9 a.m. to noon: IndyCar Series Practice
Noon to 1 p.m.: Lunch break
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.: IndyCar Series Practice 

[Editor's Note: Let's hope the speeds pick up some tomorrow because Hornish's fast speed of 164.868 MPH would have put him dead last on the grid for the recent Champ Car race and way off the Champ Car pole speed of 181.150 set by Ryan Hunter-Reay.  This establishes the IRL as a trainer series for the top open wheel series in North America - Champ Cars.  It will be interesting to see if the IRL cars are even as fast as a Toyota Atlantic car on a road course.]


Da Matta vows to fight for F1 seat  Cristiano da Matta wants to stay in Formula 1, even though he has been linked with a return to Champ Cars with Newman/Haas Racing.   The Brazilian is under pressure to lift his game and convince Toyota top brass that he should partner Ralf Schumacher in the team next year.  “I just want to have one season in a competitive car, to be able to fight for race wins, because I feel like I can do the job,” said da Matta. “I think I have a good chance to stay and, until I have a proper chance to get some good results like I had in mind when I came here, I don’t want to leave.”


Airport panel against NASCAR track  In a sense, an important line was drawn in the sand with the Arlington Airport Commission's (near Seattle) recent adoption of a resolution opposing the proposed site for a NASCAR track.   The commission is the first public body to formally oppose location of a track just south of the airport.

"This is a beginning," said Guy Kennedy, the commission's chairman. "It's a statement. It needs to be highlighted."   The resolution, adopted by a 6-1 vote, lays out a number of reasons for the action but fundamentally says the track could threaten operations of the airport, which has been a key part of Arlington's culture since World War II.

"There's probably not a group that's done more work regarding the track than the Airport Commission," Kennedy said.

The commission resolution comes to several conclusions.   One is that the commission is convinced that locating the track near the airport "would change the recreational-sport, general-aviation role of the airport."   A second is that the airport master plan calls for a restriction on "large concentrations of people" near the flight line. On race days, thousands of racing fans would flock to the track.

The commission's action came as a letdown for track supporters, who questioned the background of the resolution.   "I'm disappointed," said Gigi Burke, a founder of Fans United for NASCAR (FUN) and co-owner of Crown Distributing, an airport-area beverage business. "I don't think that they're getting all the information correctly," Burke said.  She said the opposition fails to fully recognize the benefits the track would bring with a minimum of drawbacks.  Seattle Times


Cleveland GP cash grab   One lucky race fan will get an opportunity to watch this summer's U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland with a few extra bucks in their pocket. The Grand Prix is teaming with its presenting sponsor to create a unique fan promotion - the U.S. Bank Champ Car Cash Grab - which will allow one fan to walk away from the 23rd annual Roar by the Shore (July 1-3 at Burke Lakefront Airport) with up to $1,000 in cash. Through the promotion, fans can log on to the official web site of the Grand Prix,, and register to become one of the five finalists for the Cash Grab. Entries in the contest may be submitted online through midnight on Sunday, June 27. Five winners will be selected at random from the entries received and all five lucky fans will be notified by June 29. Those five winners will each receive two 3-day reserved grandstand tickets along with pit and paddock passes to the U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, as well as two U.S. Bank hats. Prior to the start of the featured race of the weekend with the turbo-charged Champ Cars on Saturday, July 3, the winners will all be given keys to the specially-designed U.S. Bank Cash Machine. Only one of the keys will open the doors to the machine, placed on the victory podium adjacent to the race track. The lucky fan that holds the right key will then get 60 seconds inside the machine to grab as much cash as they can, with up to $1,000 floating around inside the machine. The selected finalists must be present on race day to have a chance at winning the grand prize and all contestants must be 18 years old to enter. Complete contest details are available online and fans can register for the contest as many times as they like by completing the registration form at  Business Wire


Waltrip comments on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE  A reader writes, I know there's a long standing tradition and perfectly valid reasons for why the leader of a race often times has to restart essentially in 15th or so place, even though they are the correct leader of the race. Seems to me that the cars on the tail end of the lead lap should be allowed to proceed at caution speed on around the track so as to close up on the actual tail end of the lead lap, thus leaving the leader just coming out of the pits to restart in first position and keep their advantage of track position and being in clean air. I've seen several races where the leader was messed up while battling with those tail-end of lead lap cars that were struggling, of course, to stay on the lead lap. This would also benefit the tail-end of lead lap cars as they could close in on the main field of cars. Dave Borton  6/16/04 - Below are select quotes from Monday's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. Three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and FOX/SPEED Channel analyst Darrell Waltrip was Despain's guest, talking about some of the recent issues with NASCAR officiating.

Waltrip on changes he would make in NASCAR: "A number of things come to mind. One of the things that appears to me is happening -- it's almost like a race team going to the race track and doing (research and development) work every week. They're falling out of races, they are not a contender because they keep doing this R&D stuff. ... That's kinda how I feel it is happening with NASCAR right now. The timing and scoring thing is electronic, and you have lines around the race track, you have loops around the race track that tell you where the cars are every so often -- not near enough of those in the track right now to make the system work flawlessly. I would put that on the shelf. I would do something that everybody could understand. The start-finish line is king. Whatever happens there has always been gospel. It's in front of me, it's in front of you, it's in front of everybody. If I win the race by an inch, it shows up right there. If I get a lap back by an inch, it shows up right there. If it happens the way it's happening now, I can't see it. I can't tell you what happened. If I'm a fan, I can't see what happened, so I am frustrated. How do I know that so-and-so was in front of so-and-so where they said it was. I would go back -- and this is an old-school thought and way of doing it -- I'd go back to the last green flag lap. Now a lot of people say, 'Oh, you can't do that,' but we know that works. It's foolproof. We know that works. In the meantime, be doing your R&D work, be working on your computerized system. And when you have it worked out and you know it's bulletproof and you know it is flawless, then you put it in service.

"That's the first thing I'd do and there are a lot of other things. You know, the freezin' the field was a great idea, but we knew it was going to cause a lot of problems that we couldn't envision. There are a lot of things that can be done, but you can't just keep saying you are working on it. You need to go back to things that have worked in the past -- races finishing under caution, they've been finishing under caution for years, and that's just a product of racing. Every time somebody complains, every time there is an e-mail or every time there is a bad letter in a racing magazine or some guy gets on TV and says he doesn't like something, we can't fix everything that goes wrong every Sunday."

"One more thing -- I would open the pits up, pace car goes on the track and you go in the pits when you want to, not when somebody tells you you want to. If you go in too early and screw up -- bad luck. If you time it right and come out ahead -- good luck. It's the way we always did it. If the pace car went out on the track, if you could get in the pit and get out before the pace car came around and lapped you, then more power to you.

"Another thing I would do, every re-start, the inside cars would be the odd numbers, the outside cars would be the even number and if there were cars at the tail end of the lead lap, they would go around and start at the back of the field. There are just so many simple things that could be done."

Waltrip on Harvick-Kenseth wrecking each other under caution: "First of all, you cannot use race cars to get even with somebody. You want to go in the pit and break a guy's face, that's you and him and his face. Don't use somebody's race car when you get upset with somebody. It's dangerous and sends the wrong message. We are professionals that are supposed to be able to control our emotions. You could say 'no harm, no foul because it happened under caution,' but there are always repercussions to things like that happening. (NASCAR) has to be strong when it comes to things of that nature. You cannot allow people to throw things on the race track. These are fundamental things that our sport cannot survive if you let people throw things on the track, drivers start retaliating against each other -- all these things that have been happening the last few weeks, people are upset."


SAFER Barrier goes up at Daytona  The SAFER wall is currently being installed at Daytona International Speedway.  It will run continuously for 3,240 feet from the entrance to Turn 1 through the exit of Turn 2 and 3,184 feet from the entrance to Turn 3 through the exit of turn 4. Additional SAFER barrier with a length of 1,140 feet will run along the inside Superstretch wall and another 944 feet of SAFER barrier will run along the inside wall of the skid pad in Turn 4. In the tri-oval, there will be 1,280 feet of safer barrier.  The SAFER walls extend 30" from the old wall.  It took 35 truck loads to deliver the SAFER Barrier materials to Daytona International Speedway.  Elrod Corporation is completing the installation of the SAFER Barriers at Daytona International Speedway with a 20-man crew working from dawn until dusk.


California Speedway bids for IRL closer   With speculation mounting that the IRL IndyCar Series finale will have to be moved from SMI’s Texas Motor Speedway next year due to scheduling conflicts with that track’s new NASCAR Nextel Cup Series date, California Speedway – owned by rival racetrack conglomerate ISC, has been in discussion with the league to take over the season closer. "As soon as California [Speedway] officials heard about TMS getting the fall NASCAR date, they were on the phone with us," IRL executive vice president Ken Ungar told the Dallas Morning News. "They are very serious about taking over the final race." TMS’ long-sought second Nextel Cup race is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2005. If the IRL schedule stayed the same for next year, the season finale at TMS would fall only three weeks before the NASCAR weekend. TMS president Eddie Gossage has said he wants at least a six-week gap between the race weekends. That, however, would require ending the IRL season on the final weekend of September, and with the league looking to expand its calendar to include road races net year, such a move is not likely to fly. "We love TMS, but this situation gives us an opportunity to build a new venue for our final event," said Fred Nation, IRL vice president of communications. "And we also think it could enhance the June race here."  SPEED TV


Drivers penalized   Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick were penalized for bumping each other at the end of the Pocono 500. With Sunday's race about to end under caution, Harvick spun Kenseth into the infield in Turn 3 on Lap 197. Kenseth then did the same to Harvick on the backstretch on the next lap. Both Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, and Harvick were interviewed after the race by NASCAR officials, who then dropped them to 20th and 21st. Harvick originally finished 11th, and Kenseth had finished 10th. More penalties could be coming later this week, NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "It boils down to a frustration level between the 17 (Kenseth) and the 29 (Harvick) that got played out on the racetrack, under caution, and that's something we frown on ... greatly," Helton said.


Another example of NASCAR officiating at its worse   NASCAR has many strange and some secret rules, but among the strangest are its "Unwritten Rules." That may sound like the "Double-Secret Probation," gag of the comedy Animal House. But for Larry Woody, a veteran reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, it was no joke. Woody, who has been covering NASCAR for more than 30 years, ran afoul of one of NASCAR's apparently new and secret Unwritten Rules on Saturday night while covering the Busch race at Nashville Speedway. NASCAR officials threatened to eject him from the track. Woody, who writes for the biggest newspaper in Tennessee, was "grabbed" and "yanked," Woody said, by a NASCAR pit-road official for the offense of trying to interview race leader Martin Truex Jr. on deadline during a long rain delay. Woody waited patiently as first television reporters, then radio reporters interviewed Truex. Then when he tried to interview Truex, NASCAR officials surrounded him, grabbed him, and threatened to pull his credentials, Woody said. When Woody protested, he said, the officials were unclear about the rules they were enforcing and were at times contradictory. Woody was then summoned to the NASCAR trailer by race director Brian DeHart, who said that it was "NASCAR policy" that only Fox TV and Motor Racing Network radio reporters are allowed to do pit-road interviews during red flags. That's a rule that none of the sport's regular journalists has ever heard of. Woody persisted and demanded more details of NASCAR's supposed pit-road interview policy. Woody said that DeHart told him it's not written down. Mike Zizzo, a NASCAR spokesman, confirmed the incident but said that NASCAR public-relations people are willing to get drivers for interviews when requested.  Winston-Salem Journal  [Editor's Note:  When we were covering the Pocono race this past weekend it appeared to us that less media were covering the event. Perhaps the media are getting tired of NASCAR shenanigans, i.e. favoring TV and radio and making the print and internet media feel like 2nd class citizens.]


A sign of how bad things are in Champ Car   In a Toronto Star interview Champ Car World Series champ Paul Tracy noted, “At tracks it’s a lot quieter now after hours than it used to be. There’s a lot less money around in the series now, and I am the only driver who can afford to own and run his own motorhome.”


Blaney replaces Sauter at Childress  Dave Blaney will replace rookie Johnny Sauter in Richard Childress Racing's No. 30 in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series. Blaney finished 29th at Sunday's Nextel Cup Pocono 500 while filling in for Sauter, who raced in Saturday night's Busch series event in Nashville, Tenn. Sauter, who will remain under contract with RCR and could still drive some races for the team this year, had been racing full-time in the Busch series, for Brewco Motorsports, and Nextel Cup. ``This sport has gotten so tough and complicated, sometimes tough decisions have to be made,'' team owner Richard Childress said Tuesday. ``Our sport is driven by business decisions and that is what this driver change is, a business decision. ``Blaney has a strong, consistent driving style that will fit well with the No. 30 team.''


Rossi denies Spaniard hometown win   Hometown hero Sete Gibernau may have set the fastest lap ever at the Catalunyan circuit with his pole position time of 1 minute 42.596 seconds, but it was Italian Valentino Rossi (right) who won the 25-lap race for glory last Sunday. Rossi made his final pass of an enthralling duel with Gibernau with just two laps to go and squeezed out a slight advantage to take the checkered flag by just 0.159 seconds.

In a display which must strike fear into Honda’s heart, Rossi edged out Gibernau for the second straight race, with Yamaha taking three of the top four places.  "To win at Mugello and Catalunya is like a dream because we knew they would be two difficult tracks for us with the long straights and the extra top speed of the Honda," Rossi said.

Gibernau was the highest-placed Honda rider by over 20 seconds and still holds a slim five-point championship lead over Rossi, but the Spaniard recognizes the challenge ahead.  "I will have a chat with Honda about how we can improve the situation and do everything I can to make them understand that we have to face up to Valentino and Yamaha," Gibernau said.

The championship after five of 16 rounds: Gibernau leads Rossi 106 to 101; Biaggi is still third despite finishing eighth in Barcelona, now on 80 points; Checa is on 49 and Barros 48.  Next race - the Dutch TT in Assen, Holland on June 26.


Coors extends Denver sponsorship deal   Beer brand Coors has extended its sponsorship of Champ Car race the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver.   The renewed deal will see it continue as the event’s official ‘malt beverage’ sponsor. Said Coors Brewing Company's event marketing director, Steve Saunders: "We want to give back to our home town and this event is the perfect summer festival to support.”


Latest F1 News in brief 

Button to collect trophy in US
Knocks leave McLaren 'numb' - Ron Dennis
Massa cleared to race at Indy
Panis notches 150 races at Indianapolis
Stewart, Indianapolis and Bagpipes
Ferrari keep an eye on F1 rivals
Jordan and BAR selling up ... ?
Swiss move to lift Formula One ban
Honda work to solve Sato's engine drama
A lesson for the UK government ...
Panis backs new qualifying format
Jaguar's North American headache 


Michael Andretti calls for unification   UPDATE A reader writes, After Michael bolted and bashed CART for the IRL/Honda money, one has to wonder how much he is getting for this latest bit of shilling. Does ANY serious race fan give him ANY credibility? Michael, Roger, Chip, et al, and all tried to torpedo CART just for the money and now that the CART/Champ Car "ship" won't sink, indeed it looks like it's making headway, this group of turncoats and their cronies have gone into damage control mode. Could it be that they are starting to realize that they made a huge mistake and by taking the short-term money and bashing CART they have alienated their huge (former) fan base and have in reality torpedoed their own ship and now have nowhere to go now that it (IRL) is sinking. I hope they all enjoy NASCAR because if Champ Car were to fold, I for one, would never support anything involving Tony George, Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal, Adrian Fernandez or their sponsors. Especially Tony George. Tony Traugott, Santa Monica, CA  6/14/04 - Michael Andretti says in this Charlotte Observer article, "When the split happened, it was music to NASCAR's ears and they took advantage of it," Andretti said. "Without the split, open-wheel racing was ready to shoot up just like NASCAR. I believe we would have had two series that were both bigger but more equal. Both would have grown, but NASCAR wouldn't have been this thing it has become.

"The first thing we have to do is get open-wheel racing together so people don't turn on the TV and see a race at Milwaukee and wonder where everybody was. The casual fan doesn't understand. We need to bring it back to where all of the best teams and the best drivers are in one place."

The Milwaukee race Andretti speaks of was the Champ Car race there on June 5. The rest of the world's best open-wheel drivers were there instead of here, and anybody who really gives serious consideration to the hare-brained idea of splitting NASCAR into East and West divisions would do well to look at what splitting the drivers and teams into two groups has done to - and that's to and not for - open-wheel racing.

You don't have to do much poking around to find out how deep the resentment runs between open-wheel racing's factions. The folks who run the IRL and the people who own the Open Wheel Racing Series, who bought the vestiges of CART and now run the Champ Car series, all apparently have more money than sense and clearly have more interest in protecting their respective fiefdoms than acting to the overall benefit of American open-wheel racing.

"I think we can show sponsors we're a heck of a bargain because we're a lot cheaper than NASCAR right now," Andretti says. "Wouldn't you want to be a big fish in a small pond as opposed to getting kind of lost over there?  That's where I think this series has a future, where we can start to sell it that way and eventually grow it. Maybe we'd start being a little bit of a thorn in NASCAR's side."


NASCAR is turning into sorry operation  If NASCAR officials continue to be mistake-prone, the most famous phrase in stock-car racing won't be "Gentlemen, start your engines," but "We're sorry."   Sunday, NASCAR President Mike Helton addressed the sanctioning body's third officiating mistake in the past month. One of those mistakes changed a race's outcome. Another might have if Jimmie Johnson hadn't rallied to win Sunday at Pocono Raceway.   "It would be nice if we could go a few weeks without stuff like that [Sunday's error] happening," Helton said after the race.   While NASCAR should be commended for admitting mistakes, its credibility sinks. NASCAR has 12 races to fix its problems before the start of the 10-race championship chase. Any officiating mistake then could cost someone the title and $3 million, the approximate difference between first- and second-place money.   "We've got to get our act together," NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said Monday. "Not just for those last 10 races. We're a professional group. Mike, I think he's tired of apologizing."   Hunter called Sunday's mishap an "honest mistake" when an official near pit road waved a green flag, signifying pit road was open when it shouldn't have been.


Hot Topics  The Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland (HDNet, 4 p.m. Eastern Time, June 20; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, June 20), is Round 4 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a current round-up of the latest Champ Car and Toyota Atlantic news, trends to follow, names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing heads to the 1.969-mile permanent road course at Portland International Raceway.  Champ Car | Toyota Atlantic


What Todt really said  It has been widely reported that Ferrari boss has said that he does not want to replace Max Mosley as president of the FIA but this is not at all what Todt said. Todt said that Mosley is doing "an outstanding job" but said that he was not sure if he really wants to do the same thing as Mosley. This does not mean that Todt does not want to be put in charge of the sporting side of the FIA nor does it mean that he will not take the job in a year from now. At the moment he is busy in his new role as managing-director of Ferrari-Maserati but that does not mean that the Frenchman will want to go on doing the same thing for ever.   "Now is now," said Todt, "and the future is the future.''  In other words, anything is possible.


Medeiros fastest in IPS open test   Thiago Medeiros continues to be the driver to catch in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.  The Brazilian, who has won the last two races, posted fastest laps in each session during Open Testing at the Milwaukee Mile on June 15. Medeiros' top speed was 144.629 mph, 25.6747 seconds.  "We were trying to find a good quality lap for the qualifying, and for the car for the race," Medeiros said. "We made a couple of changes to improve the car. We'll see what's going to happen."  Jesse Mason was second fastest at 142.260 mph, while Arie Luyendyk Jr. posted a lap at 142.069 mph just before he hit the wall in Turn 4 with 15 minutes left in the session. Newcomers Ross Fonferko and Al Unser were fourth and fifth at 141.494 mph and 141.328, respectively.  In addition to Luyendyk, two other drivers found the Turn 4 wall on the tricky 1-mile concrete oval. P.J. Chesson's debut test ended when he made contact with the rear of the car, while Brad Pollard suffered light damage when he spun just before the lunch break. Pollard's team repaired his car and he returned later in the day. None of the drivers was injured.
Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed
1 11 Thiago Medeiros D/I/F 144.629 mph
2 3 Jesse Mason D/I/F 142.260 mph
3 5 Arie Luyendyk Jr. D/I/F 142.069 mph
4 2 Al Unser D/I/F 141.394 mph
5 22 Ross Fonferko D/I/F 141.328 mph


Montreal organizers to hold press conference  The organizers of the Molson Indy Montreal will announce their 2004 plans for the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford weekend Wednesday in Montreal. The Championnat automobile de Montréal (CAM) organization, led by President Alan Labrosse, will hold its first public press conference in advance of the August 27-29 Molson Indy Montreal, entertaining dignitaries and press from around the region.  Champ Car World Series co-owner Paul Gentilozzi and his Rocketsports Racing driver Alex Tagliani will speak at the press conference along with Vice-President and General Manager, Molson Sports and Entertainment Bob Singleton, Toyota Atlantic driver Andrew Ranger and Canadian-born AMA Superbike legend Miguel DuHamel. The Molson Indy Montreal will take place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, site of last week’s Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada, and will mark the third visit by the Champ Cars.


Michigan is Ford territory  The Nextel Cup series moves to Michigan this weekend.  Ever since Michigan International Speedway opened in 1969, Ford Motor Company has enjoyed a great deal of success in NASCAR's top division.

  • Ford has won the most NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan.

  • 10 different Ford drivers have posted 26 victories in 69 all-time series races at MIS.

  • When the Mercury brand is included the win total jumps to 38.

  • Ford has won three out of the last four MIS races with Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch each posting one win apiece in that stretch.

  • Bill Elliott posted seven MIS wins with Ford, including consecutive sweeps in 1985 and '86.

  • The Wood Brothers won the first race at MIS when Cale Yarborough piloted a Mercury to victory in the Motor State 500 on June 15, 1969.

  • Kurt Busch became the youngest driver to win a Cup race at MIS when he captured last year's Sirius 400 at the age of 24 years, 10 months and 11 days.

  • Three of the top four all-time winning car owners at MIS currently run Fords, including the Wood Brothers (11), Jack Roush (6), and Robert Yates (6). Harry Melling won all seven of his MIS races with Bill Elliott in a Ford from 1984-89.

Kurt Busch says,  "Michigan is big for Ford Motor Company and for Roush Racing. All of our teams put a big emphasis on that race because that's where Roush Racing is based, so there's a lot of hype around it every year. It was cool that we got a chance to go to victory lane, but it is a difficult track to race on. It's similar to California in many ways, but it has its own latitude and the track changes so violently with temperature that it's hard to find the right setup. We had a setup last year that would go on the short run and that's what propelled us to victory lane because we had a lot of yellows at the end of the race. This year, you never know what's gonna happen, but you have to have a car that will run on the low side or the high side so you can maneuver in traffic."


Hunter-Reay thinks Push-To-Pass genius  Ryan Hunter-Reay, when asked what he thought about the push-to-pass button, had this to say, "I think it's an excellent idea and Cosworth has done a great job. First of all the motors are bulletproof. They are so reliable and everybody is extremely equal. I'm totally surprised they came into it in the first season. At first I had my doubts how equal each motor was going to be. It's unbelievable how equal they are. Now that we have the push-to-pass it's a genius idea and it's something we needed. We race on these street circuits and road courses where everybody's so equal that you're just waiting for a mistake. Now you can go ahead and make a pass when everything is right. It makes a better show that way. It throws in another area of strategy. Maybe you want to save it till the end, use it in the beginning. It throws another wrench into the whole thing and it's a great idea. I would actually like another 50 horsepower, but I love it the way it is."


No sponsor for Portland race  Race team owners Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe rescued what once was Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) out of bankruptcy court, much to the chagrin of Tony George's rival Indy Racing League. Portland seems to be caught in the open-wheel crossfire -- will Champ Car be back here in 2005 for a 22nd consecutive race, or will the IRL take over? Local promoter Mike Nealy has found it difficult to find a major sponsor in the tradition of Budweiser, G.I. Joe's or Freightliner, but Nealy said he doesn't think that will affect Champ Car's decision on an extension. The business community hasn't completely turned its back on an event that started in 1984: Nealy said Albertson's, the Port of Portland, Mexicana Airlines and Comcast are involved in various capacities. But unless there is a last-minute change, the Portland race will keep its generic name. Almost all of the financial burden falls on Champ Car, perhaps more than $2.5 million, because the series is promoting the race (the IRL has a sponsor already lined up and the IRL hopes to take over Portland after this year) . "There is a financial impact (in not having a title sponsor) and we're disappointed we haven't been able to find one," Nealy said. "Considering the time we had, I think Champ Car understands the difficulty we faced. . . . You can't start something in March and do what you did when you have 10 months (to sell) the year before." Nealy said ticket sales for the three-day Champ Car weekend are meeting projections, based on the shortened timetable. He said it would be unrealistic to expect the 70,000-plus Sunday crowds that packed into PIR during the event's peak days in the 1990s. Although no one says it, organizers would be happy with a Sunday crowd of 40,000.   The Oregonian


Switzerland to vote on racing  On Wednesday the House of Representatives is set to consider a motion put forward by Ulrich Giezendanner, a rightwing Swiss People’s Party parliamentarian. He wants legal clauses prohibiting Formula One racing in Switzerland removed from the statute books. Giezendanner says the return of Formula One would bring many economic benefits: construction of a grand prix circuit would create initial investment worth several hundred million Swiss francs; it would provide jobs for at least 300 people; and television coverage would generate publicity for the whole country. However, the big question is where a new racetrack would be built. A disused military airfield near the resort of Interlaken has been suggested, but the local authorities have already scotched the idea. They are concerned about noise and pollution from a circuit that would need to be used on at least 100 days a year, including weekends, to be profitable. “There is a place for everything: putting on Formula One in Interlaken would be like staging the America’s Cup on Lake Brienz,” said Andreas Gross, a centre-left Social Democrat parliamentarian.


Massa shunt sends tire into grandstands, him to hospital  2nd UPDATE A flying wheel from Felipe Massa's crashed Sauber cleared a safety fence and struck a full-to-capacity grandstand during the Canadian Grand Prix.  His left rear had bounced off the tire barrier but no-one was injured.  Early crash analysis hints at a rear suspension failure on Massa's C23 car.  6/13/04 - Massa was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after complaining of pain from his arm. "I have no idea what happened - I was just a passenger," the Brazilian said, "I'm okay and am fortunate that the car is strong. I'm only going to the hospital for a precautionary check-up on my left elbow. Before the accident, I was having a strong race, after catching and passing Sato, Glock, Klien and da Matta. I lost a lot of time in my first pit-stop because of a problem with the left rear wheel and, later, I also had some trouble with the steering wheel. Then I had the accident." 6/13/04 - Towards the end of today's Canadian GP race Felipe Massa had a huge accident in the hairpin. He walked away but a tire got into the grandstand but we don't know the outcome of it or if anyone was hurt. We did see several people ducking and moving to avoid it. Hopefully everyone is ok.


Cleveland GP radio ads  We overheard an ad on 97.1 WKRK FM Talk Radio Station this morning in Detroit for the upcoming Cleveland Grand Prix. Detroit is about a 2.5 hour drive from Cleveland. It seems Champ Car is making a strong push to promote its events in the local markets to maximize attendance, but on a nationwide basis the series has remained relatively invisible.


Drivers face wrath of unhappy officials  The NASCAR trailer was a post-race penalty box for Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon, and NASCAR's Mike Helton and John Darby spent more than an hour chewing those drivers out for their antics in Sunday's Pocono 500. Penalties could be coming this week. "I don't know what his deal is," Harvick said of Kenseth. "I raced him clean, cleared him, and he got up underneath me and tore my back bumper. Then under caution he brake-checked me. "I don't know why he decided to wreck me. He needs to check his ego because it's getting too big." Kenseth jumped in his car and left the track, ignoring questions. The two were battling for 10th. Kenseth then pitted, falling to 21st, and NASCAR penalized Harvick by moving him to 20th. Ryan Newman's day ended when Gordon knocked him out of the groove and into the wall. "I guess Robby Gordon just ran out of talent," Newman complained. Gordon drew a reprimand from NASCAR and faces a possible penalty, though NASCAR officials were unclear on that.  Winston-Salem Journal


Johnson saves day for floundering Nextel Cup  Jimmie Johnson's victory saves NASCAR's bacon. Another Sunday, another NASCAR fiasco. At Pocono, NASCAR trumpeted its new rules, intended to avoid another disastrous day like Dover, and then fell on its face -- again. Its incompetence, miscommunication or just plain dumb luck -- your choice -- during a caution period resulted in Johnson losing the lead and led to more confusion, second-guessing and ill will. But worst of all, it was another blow to the credibility of the sanctioning body running the nation's second-most popular sport. Fortunately, Johnson and his superb team -- led by the best crew chief in the business in Chad Knaus -- rallied for the victory, leading to huge sighs of relief in race control. But all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't save NASCAR president Mike Helton from having to apologize. "If a driver makes a mistake, it affects that race team," Helton said after the race. "We make a mistake, it affects the entire sport. We recognize that and understand it. "I can't explain why days like today happened. I know how much effort we put into training officials, analyzing rules, regulations and procedures to be ready for what happens on race day. It will be nice if we can go a few weeks without stuff like this, and we'll keep working on it." We sure hope so.   Florida Today


NASCAR bubbas continue to throw stuff  Nextel Cup flagman Jimmy Howell wasn't hurt after being hit in the back of the head by a cooler thrown by a fan [a NASCAR bubba] on the final lap. A Pocono spokesman said the fan was escorted away but wasn't arrested because Howell didn't want to press charges. Bobby Labonte's #18 Chevrolet also was dinged by a beer can as other fans rained debris on the track during yesterday's final caution. Since Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet was pelted by trash after winning at Talladega, Cup races have been plagued by a rash of incidents involving fans [bubbas] littering the track. Richmond Times Dispatch


Honda already testing 2005 engine   Honda has already tested its 2005 V10 engine on the dynos at the company's Research & Development headquarters in Tochigi, Japan. The new engine will be used to power next year's BAR. The V10 will be lower, lighter and more powerful than the existing unit which is now widely regarded as being the best engine in F1 at the moment, even if it is still fairly unreliable.


IRL continues to get hammered by fans   UPDATE A reader writes, I'm responding to why Champ Car fans continue to ridicule the IRL.  DID YOU WATCH THE RACE SAT. NIGHT? Well there’s one answer, what a BORING RACE. What was the 1st caution for? They never did tell us. I do not like the IRL but I tape the races so I can see how Helio does in the races. I feel so bad for him because his talent is being wasted in the IRL going in circles risking getting hurt. Notice the camera angle by ESPN to make it look like there was a better crowd but when there was a shot from the pits there was a lot of empty seats.  Who are they kidding 90,000 people.  The main grandstand holds 120,000 and there were massive areas of aluminum exposed. The Busch Race that I watched was much more exciting even with a rain delay. Race of the weekend was F1. NASCAR has to get their act together.  When Jeff Gordon starts whining maybe they will listen and he whined Sunday. In fact you would of thought some of the IRL drivers must of thought they were driving in NASCAR Saturday night.  Name withheld by request   6/13/05 - The Indy Racing League continues to get ridiculed by resentful fans for its 100% throttle, no talent required, expensive form of motorsports. One of them as gone so far to create a website containing playing cards highlighting each of the drivers and their strengths and weaknesses.  As we have said, even if Champ Car eventually dies, Champ Car fans will never embrace the IRL, there is just too much resentment that has been created by Anton George's new league.  It's unfortunate really, and all so unnecessary.

Formula BMW

Formula BMW USA heads to USGP  The Formula BMW USA Championship will follow the Formula One World Championship to the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis, Indiana for Rounds 5 and 6 on June 18-20. Two new winners emerged from an exciting two rounds in support of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) won Round 3 and Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) took the Round 4 checkered flag. As a result of close competition in the first four races, only 13 points now separate the top-three drivers. Winner of Rounds 1 and 2 at Lime Rock Park, Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) leads James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport) by only seven points. Canadian Hinchcliffe scored two second-place finishes in Montreal and also sits on top of the Rookie points list. Matt Jaskol is third, only six points behind Hinchcliffe. Jonathan Summerton is fourth and Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) stands fifth after a season-best fourth-place finish in Round 4. "To be racing at the Speedway - to cross the yard of bricks - will be unbelievable." said Jaskol. "It is the most important race of the year for me. I think I will be able to sleep easier after the next weekend." Jaskol sports a helmet design that is very representative of his Las Vegas hometown. Circling the top is a roulette wheel in which Jaskol has the car numbers of his Formula BMW USA competitors. "It was something my neighbor and I came up with," he said. "And after my win in Montreal we will place a checkered flag ball right above the number 5." Kissimmee, Florida's Summerton stands fourth overall and second in the Rookie points, "Formula One has always been a dream of mine," he said. "It has been great to race in support of the Canadian Grand Prix so the US Grand Prix is taking on a greater significance for me. My confidence is growing with each race so, yes, I am very excited, but it is an excited confidence." Hinchcliffe, of Markham, Ontario, Canada, added, "Racing in support of the two North American Grands Prix is wonderful. Of course, the fans at the Canadian Grand Prix made me feel very much at home, but I look forward to every time behind the wheel. I try and look at every race as the most important." Graham Rahal's father, Bobby, has a significant history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway having won the 500 as both a driver and a team-owner. When asked if racing at Indy has been a dream of his, Graham answered, "At 15 I am dreaming about everything, but Indy is special to everyone. I never really thought I would be there this early, but, fortunately, this year I get the chance." Practice and qualifying for both Rounds 5 and 6 will be held on Friday, June 18th. The Round 5 race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday and the Round 6 race is scheduled after the United States Grand Prix at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Formula BMW

Lawson Aschenbach to Contest Remainder of Formula BMW USA  Bloomfield Hills, Michigan based management and marketing firm Sports Management Network, Inc. (“SMN”) announced today that the firm has reached an agreement with Prototype Technology Group, Inc. (“PTG”) for client Lawson Aschenbach to contest the remainder of the inaugural Formula BMW USA season for the team.

Aschenbach, a twenty-year old native of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is the 2002 US Formula 2000 Zetec Series Road to Indy Oval Champion and multiple race winner in the Zetec series. Having also scored championships in karting and Formula Ford, Lawson recently completed his sophomore year at Vanderbilt University’s prestigious School of Engineering.

“This is a great opportunity for me that SMN worked hard to put together with Tom Milner’s PTG team,” said Aschenbach. “I know BMW is placing a lot of resources and effort behind this series and to be competing for a team with the track record of success that PTG has achieved confirms that this is a good place for me to be at this point of my driving career.”

Although open-wheel racing is a departure for Team PTG it is a homecoming of sorts for owner Milner. The 30-year sportscar racing veteran began his career managing teams that included a partnership with Bill Scott Racing that produced 10 Formula Vee, Super Vee and Formula Ford championships from 1967 to 1984. PTG has been BMW’s primary United States motorsports research and development team for the past nine years. Since 1995, PTG has won four sportscar manufacturer championships, four team titles, and three driver championships. Drivers who have raced for Tom Milner and PTG include Bobby Rahal, Paul Newman, Rick Mears, Pete Halsmer, Scott Goodyear, Arie Luyendyk and Scott Sharp.

2004 marks the inaugural season of the Formula BMW USA series. Already established in Germany and Asia and recently announced in the UK, Formula BMW has become a very successful proving ground for young aspiring open-wheel drivers. Formula BMW USA's 14-race, seven-weekend championship becomes the premier North American open-wheel foundation series with races at the most visible venues including the Canadian Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and four Champ Car events.


Latest F1 News in brief 

Jordan sub Glock has sore back
Jaguar certain to lose Webber
Smoking Sato to ease driving style
Ferrari chums dispute race honor
Todt doesn't want FIA's top job
'Euro 2004' fever grips Formula One
Ralf drowned his excluded sorrows
No-one's going to catch Ferrari - Richards
Kimi hopes for clear Indy race-day
Renault lost 'one two' win in Canada
Rubens tried to overtake Michael
Why do they want Schu to lose ... ?
Canada vows safety improvements for '05
Williams 'not ready' to win a grand prix - Ralf
Alonso hopes broken Renault was 'one off'
Massa's wheel struck grandstand  


NASCAR Pocono overnight TV Rating  The overnight rating for NASCAR's Nextel Cup race at Pocono Sunday on Fox was a 4.7/11 share.  This is down 7.8% for last year's overnight of 5.1/12 share.  The final last year was a 5.3/14 share so it will be interesting to see how this year's final compares, due out Thursday.


NASCAR announces formation of NASCAR Canada  NASCAR announced the formation of NASCAR Canada, in partnership with TSN, that establishes a Canadian base of operation with a new office and dedicated staff in Toronto and further extends the marketing of the sport in NASCAR’s largest market outside of the U.S. The business venture with TSN, a division of Bell Globemedia, one of Canada’s leading media companies, supports the continued growth of the fan base of NASCAR in Canada and brings a range of sponsorship and licensing opportunities to all businesses involved in the sport. Under the agreement, TSN Events, TSN’s marketing division, retains exclusive rights through NASCAR Canada to NASCAR’s marketing assets over a multi-year period and will operate NASCAR Canada, providing partners with numerous opportunities in a sport known to have the most brand-conscious and brand-loyal fans. NASCAR Canada will provide Canadian businesses with marketing rights to the NASCAR mark; a multi-platform TV, print and radio media program; grassroots initiatives through the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series which has events at Delaware Speedway in Ontario and St. Eustache Speedway in Quebec; event marketing; and a licensed goods program. The bond between NASCAR sponsors and fans is unmatched in professional sports. NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase the products of NASCAR sponsors versus non-sponsors. NASCAR fans also purchase more than $2 billion in NASCAR licensed merchandise each year. Canadian fans already exude a strong passion for NASCAR. With TSN televising NASCAR since the network’s inception in 1984, NASCAR is the top-rated motorsport on Canadian television. Additionally, a significant number of Canadian NASCAR fans regularly travel to NASCAR events across the United States. NASCAR, the second-highest rated television sport in the United States, is also seen in 150 countries in 23 languages through relationships with 30 international broadcast partners. TSN recently signed a three-year agreement for 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races annually through the 2006 season. Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races are broadcast in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet, Craig Media and SPEED Channel. NASCAR Canada will be based at TSN headquarters in Toronto and will liaise directly with NASCAR’s International Division in Los Angeles. The Canadian operation will work closely with NASCAR’s New York and Charlotte offices to assist sponsors and licensees, respectively, with their activation plans to extend their reach into Canada. TSN's programming and news content is also available online at NASCAR PR


Scott Dixon finishes 14th in Mexico!?   UPDATE A reader responds, Another way to look at this is that the Kiwis are no more interested in the IRL than are US fans, even though they have a native son as incumbent series champ.  James C. Allen  6/14/04 - According to this New Zealand newspaper article, Scott Dixon finished 14th in Mexico Saturday night in an IRL race.  With all the rumors of the IRL going to Mexico and Canada, they have the world believing they already race there.


Brazilians tuning in for Champ Car   [Editor's Note: Some credit must go to Emerson Fittipaldi, he negotiated the TV deal and has owned the rights since 86.]  Brazilian Champ Car fans are taking the opportunity to follow the exploits of their racing countrymen live on RedeTV and are doing it in increased numbers over last year as the over-the-air network reports a 20 percent overall improvement in ratings from a year ago for broadcasts of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. RedeTV provides the only live terrestrial network broadcast of American open-wheel racing in Brazil, and fans are using that broadcast to follow the trio of Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) and Alex Sperafico (#14 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) as they chase the Champ Car World Series title. The first three races of the 2004 season have been viewed in an average of over 1.5 million households in Brazil, led by the most recent event in Milwaukee, which earned a rating of 1.7 and a share of 2.9, which equated to a household viewership of 2,142,000. Peak viewing statistics are even more impressive as the Long Beach event topped off at a 3.5 while Milwaukee’s peak reached a ratings number of 2.5. “We have worked very hard on our international television package as we realize that there are millions of Champ Car fans around the world that want to watch their heroes in action,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “The people at RedeTV have done a great job in helping promote Champ Car in Brazil and we look forward to great things for the rest of the year.” The peak ratings for Champ Car broadcasts in Brazil are up 37 percent from a year ago while share numbers have climbed 11 percent.


Added attractions for USGP  The schedule for the second annual United States Grand Prix pit walkabout is set, and IMS officials are eager to welcome fans for one of the most popular, fan-friendly events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The pit walkabout is open to all 2004 USGP Race Day ticket holders and will take place from 8 a.m.-noon (EST, local time) on Thursday, June 17. This is one of the few fan pit walkabouts available on the 18-event, global F1 schedule in 2004.  More....


NASCAR spinning out of control  This article says,  Nothin' like a little road rage to spice up a NASCAR Nextel Cup event. Add to the temporary insanity some typical incompetence by NASCAR officials, who change rules almost weekly like John Kerry alters his stance, and Sunday's Pocono 500 was a pathetic example by a southern-fried sport that promotes itself as a positive mainstream attraction. Trying to remove much of the human element after many recent mistakes, NASCAR showed again that at its base elements, it remains a lot of runaway rednecks overwhelmed by their own technology and egos - and not long removed from their back-road forefathers who ran moonshine......And seeing the red flag made the most bloody-eyed in NASCAR Nation see red. Somebody actually hit the flagman, Jimmy Howell, in the back of the head with a beer cooler as the race ended, fortunately not injuring him. NASCAR officials pointed out that a good many decent fans pointed out the culprit (Howell didn't press charges). OK, so it's a small percentage of idiots, kind of like Eagles fans.


Lucky Race Fan Awarded 2004 Daytona 500 Pace Car  Debra McCann got a phone call from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig on Friday morning that every race fan dreams about. Braig informed McCann, who resides in nearby Wilbur By The Sea, Fla., that she was randomly selected as the winner of the  2004 Daytona 500 Pace Car - a Chevrolet Corvette. In a visit to McCann, a 45-year-old retail manager and Daytona 500 attendee since 2000, chose the online option to renew her Speedweeks tickets for 2005, which entered her in the "Win a Daytona 500 Pace Car Contest."

"I remember the contest but I couldn't remember what the prize was," an excited McCann said. "I think it's incredible. I've never won a thing ever." On Monday afternoon, Braig presented McCann with the 2004 Daytona 500 pace car in Gatorade Victory Lane. "We're glad to offer the convenience of purchasing and renewing tickets online to our thousands of race fans," Braig said. "We look forward to similar promotions in the future." When asked about her plans for the one-of-a-kind racing memorabilia, McCann said she will drive the Corvette from time to time in the neighborhood. "I'll definitely drive it," McCann said. "I've got a normal vehicle I drive. I'll probably use (the pace car) on special occasions."


Wallace, Waltrip trade words after late crash  According to this Tennessean article, Michael Waltrip was heading toward a respectable finish until he was hit from behind by Rusty Wallace. Both were knocked out of the Pocono 500 and Waltrip was irate that his No. 15 Chevrolet was damaged in an accident he felt could have been avoided.

''I am just amazed that somebody could do something that stupid,'' Waltrip said. ''I mean, if I put other people in jeopardy and ran over somebody like that, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. I just can't imagine what could have led to a mistake like that that put me in such a compromising position.'' Wallace blamed the brakes on his No. 2 Dodge. ''It looks like it's only got a quarter inch of brakes left on the right front wheel,'' Wallace said. ''I popped them and got the brakes back right now. When I went in there and hit them, there was nothing there.''

The accident happened on lap 168 — 32 laps shy of the finish. The accident brought out the yellow, one of 11 in the race. Wallace apologized and said he didn't blame Waltrip for being upset. More...


IRL finale could head west   According to this Dallas News article, The IRL would love to keep its season finale next year at Texas Motor Speedway, schedule permitting. TMS wants it to stay, under the right conditions. Sometimes, the best option is to move on. And the California Speedway, sensing a rare opportunity, already has put in its bid to replace TMS as the host of the season-ending event.

"As soon as California officials heard about TMS getting the fall NASCAR date, they were on the phone with us," IRL executive vice president Ken Ungar said. "They are very serious about taking over the final race." The IRL and TMS have helped each other grow. That relationship will continue for the June event, but staying at TMS for the final race next year doesn't work for the league or the speedway.

Ungar says figuring out the 2005 IRL schedule is similar to running through a maze blindfolded. Fred Nation, IRL vice president of communications, sees it as a "three-dimensional chess game." The long-awaited second Nextel Cup race for TMS comes Nov. 6, 2005. If the IRL schedule stayed the same for next year, the season finale at TMS would fall only three weeks before the NASCAR weekend.

TMS president Eddie Gossage has 200,000 tickets to sell for the Cup race, along with Busch and Craftsman Truck Series events that weekend. He isn't going to schedule an IRL race three weekends earlier. Gossage wants at least a six-week gap between the race weekends. That would end the IRL season on the final weekend of September.

Which can't happen. The NHRA event at the Texas Motorplex falls on that weekend, a wise move that eliminated the conflict of the IRL race and the Ennis event falling on the same weekend in 2003. "There's no way I'm going down that road again," Gossage said. "We would not schedule on the NHRA weekend."

That leaves Sept. 18, 2005, as the first available option at TMS for the IRL. The league has ended its season that early a few times in the past, but the IRL is adding road racing events next year – probably at Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen, N.Y. Adding races and ending the season earlier don't add up. More...


BAR losing patience with Sato  BAR boss Dave Richards is finally becoming exasperated with his race performances and his inability to coax his Honda engine to last an entire race distance.  While Jenson Button claimed his sixth podium finish of the season in Montreal on Sunday, Sato once again retired, and did so due to another Honda engine failure. Sato's woes, though, didn't start on Sunday, but on Saturday when he made a costly mistake in qualifying that left him 17th on the grid. "I am very disappointed with his (Sato's) performance as he had the speed to deliver at the same level as Jenson. Having made a couple of errors in the second sector he should have consolidated the lap into what would have been a row two grid slot," Richards said. However, he added that he still "fully supports his brave and ambitious spirit; we just need to channel it in the right direction."  According to teammate Button, "There has been a difference in our driving style which could have caused some of the problems," he told ITV. "I know he was trying to change that but I'm not sure if he managed that in the race here." 


NASCAR losing reputation  Yesterday's problems at Pocono were yet another chapter in one of the biggest stories of the season - NASCAR's dwindling credibility and numerous faux pas. One team owner, who declined to be named, shook his head and said: "I've been in this sport 30 years, and NASCAR's credibility in the garage is at an all-time low. Nobody believes them anymore." Among questions raised here: Was Kasey Kahne's car too low after winning Friday's pole and did NASCAR ignore it, as several rivals complained? Was Michael Waltrip's Talladega car too low and did NASCAR ignore that, as rivals too complain? The lower the nose, the faster the car. Car owner Ray Evernham denied that Kahne's car was too low: "Nothing was brought to my attention about our car being low, so I would say that's probably fake".  Winston Salem Journal


IRL and Champ Car fight over Portland   This Columbian newspaper article gives the latest details over the fight between Champ Car and the IRL over Portland.  A must read.  Bottom line - if the IRL gets the race in 2005, it's a dead event for sure as the Champ Car fans in Portland will not support it.  However, that hasn't stopped the IRL from trying to follow Champ Car into a market only to find they fall flat on their face.  Merging the two series "would be a start, but I don't think it's the big, magic answer," Speed Channel president Jim Liberatore told Sports Business Journal. "Open-wheel racing in this country has been down for a long time. There are things they have to look at that are more drastic. This isn't a cycle. It's not like for no good reason somebody is going to start loving open-wheel racing.  One quote in the article says it all.   "Nobody is doing anything different. They (IRL and Champ Car) see crowds at their better events, surround themselves with people who love the sport, and they don't understand that they've gotten to where, in mainstream America, there's hardly anybody who cares any more."  Everyone in open wheel racing can thank Anton George for killing an entire sport.


Latest F1 News in brief 

Williams, Toyota, disqualified in Canada
Broken drive-shafts for Renault duo
Da Matta slams 'ridiculous' blue flags
Massa airlifted to hospital
Drivers queue-up to set on Klien
Another Honda blow-up for furious Sato
Mick Gomme 'bruised' in Heidfeld hit
Another record for 'seven-times' Schumacher
Car isn't a podium-winner - Ralf Schumacher
'Bumpy' Montreal track is unsafe - Barrichello
BMW issue V8 quit threat  

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