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DATE

News (chronologically)

7/4/04

So why wasn't Michael penalized?  At the start of the formation lap of today's French Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher immediately shot far ahead of pole-sitter Fernando Alonso and stayed about 50 meters in front of Alonso for several seconds, then slowed down to let Alonso pass. According to Article 149 of the FIA rules, "Overtaking during the formation lap is only permitted if a car is delayed when leaving its grid position and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. . . Either of the penalties under Article 54a) or b) will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the formation lap." It didn't appear to us that Alonso was slow off of the grid at the start of the formation lap. Article 54 says that "The stewards may impose any one of three penalties on any driver involved in an Incident: a) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping. b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least 10 seconds and then re-join the race. c) a drop of ten grid positions at the driver's next Event." American TV commentators, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett pointed out that the stewards should have a look at it. However, the rules were apparently greatly relaxed today because no penalty was imposed.  Paul Josephson

7/4/04

Are oval cartel races fixed?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have watched with amusement over the years as many times a NASCAR car carrying the same sponsor as the event sponsor wins the race or the pole.  I have always suspected the NASCAR races are fixed.  With the IRL modeled after NASCAR I was not surprised to see the Argent Mortgage car win today's Argent Mortgage 300 and last night the Pepsi car win NASCAR's Pepsi 400.  How convenient.  I don't know how they are fixing the races, whether it's a special rev limiter in the IRL or a special restrictor plate in NASCAR, and I can't prove it, but it happens just too often to be a coincidence.  Gotta keep those sponsors happy ya know.  David Moses, Cincinnati, OH  Dear Dave, While we have noticed the same thing over the years, we can't endorse any conspiracy theories without any hard evidence. It makes for good speculation, but as they say, innocent until proven guilty. Mark C.

7/4/04

Closest finishes in IRL history  The Argent Mortgage Indy 300 run today was the second closest finish in IndyCar Series history (Photo to right by Honda) and demonstrated the accuracy and precision of timing in the series. Today's close finish put Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira on top in the TAG Heuer Closest Finish Award that will go to the two drivers who are part of the closest 1-2 finish during the 2004 IndyCar Series season. There have now been 40 races in IndyCar Series history with a finishing margin of less than one second, including four races in 2004.  10 Closest Finishes in IndyCar Series History:
Margin Date Venue Winner Runner-up
1. 0.0024 9/8/02 Chicagoland Sam Hornish Jr. Al Unser Jr.
2. 0.0051 7/4/04 Kansas Buddy Rice Vitor Meira
3. 0.0096 9/15/02 Texas Sam Hornish Jr. Helio Castroneves
4. 0.0099 9/7/03 Chicagoland Sam Hornish Jr. Scott Dixon
5. 0.0111 6/8/02 Texas Jeff Ward Al Unser Jr.
6. 0.0121 7/27/03 Michigan Alex Barron Sam Hornish Jr.
7. 0.0188 10/6/01 Texas Sam Hornish Jr. Scott Sharp
8. 0.0281 3/24/02 California Sam Hornish Jr. Jaques Lazier
9. 0.0590 6/11/00 Texas Scott Sharp Robby McGehee
10. 0.0640 8/17/97 New Hampshire Robbie Buhl Vincenzo Sospiri
Previous closest finish of 2004
11. 0.0698 2/29/04 Homestead Sam Hornish Jr. Helio Castroneves

7/4/04

Unser has found a home   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Kudos to Al Unser III (Just Al) for his third place finish in his very first IPS race at Kansas on Saturday.  While he was a backmarker in the Champ Car ladder system, it was good to see him move up into a top position right away in the IRL's IPS series.  Why is it that drivers from Champ Car or its ladder system can go over to the IRL and do so good right off the bat.  Tracy McFarlane, Portland, OR.  Dear Tracy, Champ Car and its ladder series are focused on road racing.  Road racing drivers simply are better drivers.  Always have been, always will be.  The skill level required to excel on a road course is far greater than an oval.  Hence why it is so important that OWRS bought out the Champ Car Series and did not let it fall into the hands of the oval-centric IRL.  If that had happened, the quality of drivers produced would have gone way down because they have no desire to focus on road racing, hence the USA would have never again produced a World Driving Champion.  Sure the IRL is going road racing, but it will be a half-hearted effort (few races a year) with cars so slow (lazy racing) that there will be little driver development.  To underscore what a waste of time the IPS is, AJ Foyt IV and Mark Taylor both won handily in the IPS, yet when they graduated and moved up to the bigger IndyCars, they failed miserably.  The IRL is dominated by ex-Champ Car drivers and those from the junior ranks.  Even Buddy Rice came out of the Toyota Atlantic series and won the pole and this year's Indy 500.  IRL star Sam Hornish is a product of the Champ Car ladder system.  It is imperative that this talent generating American series not only continue, but prosper.   Fortunately OWRS is going to raise the level of Champ Car to become the 2nd most popular series in the world behind F1.  That will help to draw the best drivers in the world and the most talented Americans.  With that perhaps one day we will see the USA finally produce its third World Driving Champion.  Mark C.

7/4/04

Scott Sharp crashes out before start of race   Today was a disappointment for the Kelley Racing team and driver of the No. 8 Delphi entry Scott Sharp. As the field came around to take the green flag on the opening lap of the 200-lap event, traffic checked up on their brakes and Sharp did as well but had to turn to avoid making contact with other cars. Sharp made contact with the wall exiting turn 4. The Delphi team made a valiant effort to repair the car, hoping to rejoin the field prior to lap 100 and attempt to collect points. Unfortunately, they weren't able to make the repairs to the No. 8 Delphi machine in time and the team officially retired for the day.

7/4/04

Champ Car owners rule the skies   Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven and his partner Dan Pettit rule the racing skies.  Kalkhoven and Pettit each own brand new Gulfstream G500's.  Pettit's landed at Burke Lakefront Airport this weekend and is depicted below.  His was the first one off the assembly line.  This isn't your run of the mill corporate jet.  These jets are state-of-the-art.  For example they can fly anywhere in the world without refueling and while a commercial jet fly's around 38,000 feet or lower, these jets fly at over 50,000 feet.  At that altitude Kalkhoven tells us you begin to see the curvature of the earth.  They fly straight up to 40,000 feet and then the computers take over and increase the altitude in 1,000 foot increments.  When the air gets that thin, the air/fuel mixture must be carefully adjusted and monitored.  With these two jets, plus that owned by Gerald Forsythe (we're not sure if Gentilozzi has his own) the OWRS owners are able to be anywhere, anytime to complete business deals, the fruits of which will become evident in the near future.

    
Photos courtesy Champ Car

7/4/04

Montoya's 'pain in the neck'  France was a 'pain in the neck' for Juan Pablo Montoya - literally.  The Colombian said he hurt his neck in a big Magny-Cours crash on Friday. ''I could barely keep my head up at the end,'' the BMW- Williams driver moaned.  ''I didn't expect it to hurt so much.'' 

BMW's Mario Theissen blamed a lack of testing on the apparent failure of a new aero package. ''We didn't really test [the parts] for this race,'' he claimed.  Ralf Schumacher's stand-in Marc Gene (10th) started badly and hit Mark Webber. ''Both my car and I,'' said the Spaniard, ''needed a bit more speed today.''

Michael Schumacher's Bridgestone tires looked a bit blistered after each stint. ''But they were consistent throughout,'' insisted Hisao Suganuma.

7/4/04

Four-stopper quells Schu 'bad mood'  Michael Schumacher was still in a bad-mood as he got-in the Ferrari.  The German has been glum all weekend at Magny-Cours as he wasn't sure the scarlet package was good enough to beat Renault's Spaniard Fernando Alonso.  But after the second of three planned pit stops, technical director and tactics wizard Ross Brawn decided to switch Schumacher on to a FOUR STOP pit strategy.  ''I had nothing to lose,'' Michael beamed.  ''It was a case of 'no risk no fun!''  Plaudits aside, though, Michael reckons the opposition - like Renault and BAR and BMW-Williams and McLaren - is ''getting closer. It doesn't surprise me.'' Brawn insisted Luca Baldisserri 'came up with the idea' of a very aggressive four-stopper. ''I just supported him on that,'' the burly Englishman explained.

7/4/04

New McLaren 'as quick as a Ferrari' - DC  McLaren's 'B spec' car is as quick as a Ferrari, a Renault and a BAR.  That's the claim of David Coulthard after trailing the podium -dueling trio at a warm Magny-Cours circuit (France) on Sunday but eventually finishing fifth.  ''I had the same speed [as them],'' he smiled.  Teammate Kimi Raikkonen (6th) set the third-fastest lap of the race.  ''I lost some grip in the middle,'' said Scottish DC, ''but it's an encouraging and reliable debut for the 19B. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year.''  Ron Dennis promises 'continuous development' for the balance of '04.

Giancarlo Fisichella's was the fastest Sauber in France - but it wasn't very fast. ''Hopefully some new aero bits will help [at Silverstone],'' he frowned.

7/4/04

Taku's Honda goes BANG!  Takuma Sato's Honda engine went 'BANG!'  That is not a rare observation in '04 but the little Japanese reckons Formula One team BAR has suffered a 'different problem' than in previous grands prix.  ''The other ones [blew up] very quick,'' he said at Magny-Cours.  This one was more gradual.''  But Brackley boss Dave Richards canned a theory Sato's failures are just ''bad luck. A rigorous investigation now has to take place,'' said the Briton.  Amazingly, Sato's was the only mechanical car-failure all grand prix.  Geoff Willis, technical director, said the situation is 'unacceptable.'

Jenson Button fumed fifth place is 'not good enough.' At the last pit stop, an anti-stall device kicked in. ''We really have to solve these problems.''

7/4/04

Trulli's 'gutted'  Jarno Trulli is 'gutted.'  The Renault ace, who's now put pen-to-paper on a new '05 race deal, was on-course to fend-off Rubens Barrichello for the final podium spot at Magny-Cours.  But he let the Brazilian's Ferrari pass him into the race's SECOND-LAST corner!  ''I was defending hard against Rubens,'' he told a pack of media afterwards.  ''I tried to close the door but I couldn't. All I feel is disappointment.  ''I guess I'll just have to get over it.''  A furious-looking team boss Flavio Briatore fumed it is 'very, very disappointing' to see the Italian miss the podium by 'tenths of a second.'  Barrichello said Trulli 'made a mistake' by slowing down too much. ''[My move] was risky,'' he beamed in an interview, ''but I thought it was worth the risk.''  * Second-placed Fernando Alonso said Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were just 'too strong' in France. ''I feel disappointed for Jarno,'' the Spaniard added.

7/4/04

Spike to air T/A race   Highlights from the Trans-Am 100 from Infineon Raceway, Round 3 of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series championship, will be broadcast on tape-delayed basis in the popular “Dangerous Curves” timeslot Sunday, July 4 on Spike TV. The June 27 race was part of Infineon Raceway’s Dodge Save Mart weekend. Spike TV, which also broadcasts the Champ Car World Series, has expanded its 2004 motorsports programming to include the Trans-Am 100 race in highlights format. The event will air at 1:30 p.m. on both the East and West Coasts. In other areas, please check local listings for availability and times.

7/4/04

NASCAR fans struck by lightning   Three unidentified men were struck while walking past souvenir trailers before the start of the Nextel Cup Pepsi 400. They were transported to the care center and held briefly for observation, track spokesman David Talley said. Talley said the men had only minor injuries and were released. FoxSports

7/4/04
Formula GP2

Bridgestone signs GP2 deal  Bridgestone Motorsport has agreed to become the official tire supplier for the new GP2 series, which is due to replace the current F3000 category in 2005.  “Bridgestone is extremely proud to have been chosen as the official tyre supplier by the GP2 series organizers," director of Bridgestone Motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa, commented, "It is a wonderful opportunity for our tyre engineers to play a greater role in the education and training of young drivers as they aspire to become our future world champions.  As supplier of tires to the past six consecutive Formula One driver and constructors champions, we recognize the importance of nurturing talent and look forward to working with the next generation of grand prix drivers as they develop their skills and technical knowledge in GP2.”  Also, the series will present the championship winning driver with the 'Bridgestone Prize', totaling $100,000.  GP2 will run with Renault power in identical Dallara chassis.

7/4/04

Ralf's 2005 ride to be announced at British GP  Ralf Schumacher's 2005 Formula One drive will be announced at next week's British Grand Prix, according to manager Willi Weber. "The team will do this," Weber told Reuters at the French Grand Prix Sunday. "They are going to say what is going to happen next year, where Ralf is driving." Asked which team would make the announcement, he replied: "The team that he will drive for. You will have to wait until Silverstone."   Rumors suggest it will be Toyota.

7/4/04

Walker supports open-wheel merger   In this Indy Star article, Derrick Walker says, "It was just a meeting. People read way too much into it," he said. "We're set on doing our deal and we can't let ourselves be distracted from that. Champ Car is not for sale."  Walker, who has spent time in both series, said with the rules packages in both expiring after next season, now is the time to work together.  I don't see a reason not to try. It's what needs to be done," Walker said. "The people running this sport have an obligation to get it right. We've tried to kill each other, we've tried to outsmart each other, we've tried to outsell each other, and none of it has worked.  It's time to put aside personal gain and look at what's best for the sport. I don't see why reasonable men can't compromise."

Bobby Rahal, the latest CART stalwart to switch allegiances, doubts anything is going to happen. "Frankly, I don't see why the IRL needs to," he said. "Champ Car is looking to be more international, which creates an even bigger difference. And as the IRL adds road courses, it becomes what CART once was in everything but name."

Paul Gentilozzi said a meeting last week brokered by Indy Racing League team owner Roger Penske should not be construed as a major step in that direction. Gentilozzi said he and partners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe had a cordial and informative meeting with Penske, who co-founded Champ Car's predecessor, CART, in 1979 and was its most powerful force until bolting to the IRL after the 2001 season. But Gentilozzi said no new ground was broken and no further talks are scheduled. "It was just a meeting. People read way too much into it," he said. "We're set on doing our deal and we can't let ourselves be distracted from that. Champ Car is not for sale."

7/4/04

Champ Car campers too white collar to have any fun   This Cleveland Plain-Dealer article says, Sitting on top of his RV in a lawn chair with a cold beer in his hand, George Wolfe couldn't imagine a better way to watch an auto race.  "Basically, you're sitting in your own yard watching the race," said the 47-year-old resident of Grove City, near Columbus.........The Wolfes were among hundreds of fans who set up camp during race weekend on a large plot of land provided for fans in recreational vehicles or campers......Between the various races held at Burke over the weekend, the RV crowd cooked on grills, watched DVDs, played lawn games and enjoyed each other's company when the race cars weren't roaring around the track, about 100 feet away.   But for most, the view was the real attraction. Jerry Cox of Medina said he was excited to get a spot along the fence near what he called a "crucial corner" of the race track.   Sitting on top of a folding ladder on Thursday, he reveled in the smell of fuel and said he heard four cars hit or brush the wall during the day's practice laps.   "I never expected to be this close to the track in that exciting of a corner," said Cox, 50.

Camping out during auto races isn't a new phenomenon. It has been a staple at the Grand Prix of Cleveland for about five years and has always been a tradition at NASCAR events.   Camping at Burke, however, has a different feel than at a NASCAR race, said Robert Gildone, 35, of Strongsville. He has camped at the Grand Prix of Cleveland three times.

Larger numbers of campers and rowdier crowds prevent Gildone from taking his 3-year-old son, Matthew, to NASCAR races. But with the more laid-back Cleveland crowd, Matthew got to join his dad for this year's event.   "It's a good crowd," Gildone said of his fellow campers. "There's just not enough people."

Last year, 11 passes were sold for the campground, said Steve Legerski, media and marketing director for the race. This year, 40 passes were sold. Before the race, officials for the first time publicized the campground in the Columbus and Detroit areas.   While the civil Cleveland crowd pleased parents like Gildone, some campers were disappointed in the lack of a party atmosphere.   "I thought there'd be a lot more action out here," said Matt Cole, 35, of Ashland.   Cole and his friends began camping on Wednesday evening. He said he might camp out again next year but he won't arrive so early in the week. "There's just nobody raising hell," Cole said. "It must be too white-collar to have any real fun."

7/4/04
MotoGP

Surprise MotoGP pole to American Roberts  Former world champion Kenny Roberts won pole position in the final qualifying session for the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix in Brazil Saturday.  Riding the Bridgestone-shod Suzuki, the American led the way and was joined on the front row by the Hondas of Italian Max Biaggi and American Nicky Hayden. It was Robert's first pole position for nearly four years at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet circuit where he clinched the world 500cc title in 2000.  "It's been a long road back for me and Suzuki but, at last today, we have found a little sunshine," said the delighted American, who will join Suzuki in starting from the front of the grid for the first time since Valencia in 2000.  Roberts set pole position with a new lap record, his 1min 48.418secs.  "Bridgestone came up with a great tire that allowed me to make time up in the corners which we lose down the straightaways," he commented, "We've had a new motor for the last couple of races and we're making progress, just trying to make it back to where we know we can ride. It's a long road but, at least today, there was a little sunshine."  Current championship leaders Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau will start 8th and 4th respectively.

7/4/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Don't expect 'classic' French GP
Renault to announce F1 line-up 'in ten days'
Michelin's 'ultra-competitive' - Dupasquier
Ferrari's rivals 'are back' - Schumacher
FIA boss must 'put ego aside' - Coulthard
Mercedes are 'coming good' - Coulthard
F1 drivers to 'have a word' with Doctor
'World Council' made Mosley quit - Dennis
Button desperate for F1 win
Ralf sub on 'race-by-race' basis - Williams
Ralf could only miss three races - Weber
Silverstone's a 'mess' - Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone and Azerbaijan
Coulthard slams 'race fuel' qualifying  

7/4/04

Champ Car fans more educated, higher income   This Cleveland Plain-Dealer article says, He's 32, educated and lives within 100 miles of Cleveland. His yearly household income of $51,000 is higher than the region's average. And while he enjoys domestic and imported beer, he's an even bigger enthusiast of champagne or sparkling wine. Meet the typical Grand Prix of Cleveland fan.

Those who go to open-wheel races like this weekend's Champ Car circuit stop at Burke Lakefront Airport are a breed unto themselves. They are as identifiable - and as unique - as a Browns Dawg Pound fan or a red-and-blue clad Indians devotee.

And they're distinctly different from even their brethren who follow the undisputed king of racing, NASCAR. Fans of open-wheel racing, with its high-tech cars and road courses, are more likely to be male and 5 percent more likely to have a college degree than NASCAR fans. They tend to be better educated - more than half are college graduates or have post-graduate degrees - and are more interested in strategy than spectacle.

Chris Economaki, a veteran racing broadcaster and publisher of National Speed Sport News, said the difference in fans has its roots in the origins of the different kinds of races. In the earliest days of car racing, Economaki said, there was only stock car racing, which was "an exercise to sell cars and show endurance, speed and performance. They were production cars."

After the turn of the 20th century, racetrack owners started building wooden tracks for specially constructed cars, a combination that permitted incredible speeds. "That intrigued a different class of people," Economaki said. Open-wheel fans talk about the latest technology and design, while technology is not of primary interest to stock car fans, Economaki said.
"The tastes are different," he said.  More....

7/3/04

Medeiros all the way in Kansas IPS race  Results Saturday of the Aventis Racing for Kids 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event July 3 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
2. (4) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
3. (6) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
4. (3) Rolando Quintanilla, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
5. (9) Brad Pollard, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
6. (8) Jesse Mason, Dallara-Infiniti, 67
7. (5) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 66
8. (10) P.J. Chesson, Dallara-Infiniti, 24, Accident
9. (7) Billy Roe, Dallara-Infiniti, 24, Accident
10. (2) Leonardo Maia, Dallara-Infiniti, 17, Accident
Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 146.838 mph
Time of race: 41:36.7931
Margin of victory: 0.1322 of a second.
Cautions: 2 for 13 laps.
Lead changes: 0
Lap leaders: Medeiros 1-67.
Point standings: Medeiros 198, Luyendyk Jr. 123, Dana 114, Mason 110, Giebler 106, Quintanilla 104, Pollard 98, Maia 83, Beardsley 68, Roe 66.

7/3/04

Engine change moves Franchitti to back  ArcaEx driver Dario Franchitti recorded a lap of 208.646 miles per hour in qualifying this afternoon at Kansas Speedway, earning him the ninth starting position for Sunday afternoon's running of the Argent Mortgage Kansas Indy 300. However, the team made a precautionary engine change following the qualifying session which, by IRL IndyCar Series rules, moves Franchitti to the back of the 21-car starting field. The #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone had been among the fastest group of cars during the two morning practice sessions, but had a slight drop in speed during the qualifying run, which led to the decision.

7/3/04

Denver GP promotion gets early jump  Grand Prix of Denver officials are hoping for a quick jump off the starting line this year. The past two years, officials of the Champ Car race did not begin a hard promotional rush until about two weeks before the race. This year, though, things are going to be different. "Beginning (today) we will be starting our promotions at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center," Grand Prix director John Frew said Thursday. "We are going to be there through race weekend."

Series show cars will be on display at the shopping center, and there also will be a contest for local artists. The art contest, which concludes Aug. 12 with an auction for the paintings, will convey the race's theme, "Denver at full throttle - Denver in the fast lane." Proceeds from the auction will be given to charity.

Frew also said the Grand Prix, scheduled for Aug. 13-15 on the Pepsi Center grounds, plans to advertise more on radio, television and in newspapers. And beginning Monday, the race will advertise for the first time in movie theaters throughout the metro area. "This is my third time around with a different ownership for the race," Frew said, referring to Robert Sutton and Jim Hancock, officers for new sponsor Centrix Financial. "Working with Bob and Jim is like night and day. "I believe fans will have a different and better experience."

Of all the Grand Prix's new plans, the one that might most interest race fans is a go-kart course that will replicate the actual Grand Prix track. On Aug. 7, fans will be able to drive go-karts on a specially prepared course located across Auraria Parkway from the Pepsi Center. For those who don't want to drive go-karts, race officials will offer Lunch Time Grand Prix races in which contestants will race radio-controlled cars in a mini-Grand Prix. Daily winners of the event, which will be contested through July at locations around the city, advance to the Remote Champions Race at a street party Aug. 12. The winner of that event will receive VIP Grand Prix tickets and admission to the Sugar Ray concert Aug. 14.

In another promotion, several restaurants will participate in a Grand Prix International Restaurant Tour. Diners at those restaurants will be given a punch card representing the drivers' countries, and those who eat at all the restaurants on the card will receive free Grand Prix tickets. "The last couple of years have been a challenge for our staff, but now, I think it is finally becoming fun for everyone," Frew said. He believes the races' new dates have revitalized attitudes.

"Our race was dying on Labor Day weekend," Frew said. "There are just so many things going on that weekend in Denver. School is just getting started and there are so many people who were actually out of town." Now, Frew said, "there is no baseball, hockey, basketball or other races to conflict with our event. "I hope this will show that we are taking this race in the right direction. We don't want this race to go away. We want to be around for a long time."  Rocky Mountain News

7/3/04
LMES

Audi R8 wins again  After the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the "Petit Le Mans" at Road Atlanta and the 1000-kilometre races at Spa and Monza the Audi R8 has won another classic motorsport event: Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx secured Audi a 1-2 victory in the Nürburgring 1000-kilometre race. After six action-packed hours, Pierre Kaffer and Allan McNish were victorious ahead of their team-mates Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert. After two rounds of the newly formed Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES), now four Audi drivers are in the lead with equal scores.

Ever changing weather made the conditions in the 1000-kilometre race as difficult as at the Nürburgring 24 Hours three weeks before. Sunshine and rain showers kept alternating, the right tyre choice was a crucial factor. Kaffer/McNish lost about a lap and dropped to fifth position after an excursion into the gravel and a slow puncture. However, the German-Scottish duo fought their way back to the lead in impressive style.

With their 1-2 victory, the British Audi importer took revenge for their narrow defeat in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Le Mans winning car from Audi Sport Japan Team Goh was hit by a spinning GT car in the closing stages of the race. This caused the change of the left rear suspension which cost the Japanese team any chance of victory or a podium finish. Seiji Ara and Rinaldo Capello eventually finished the race fourth.

Quotes after the race
Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): "What a race! It was real fun to drive here. The race was even more exciting than Monza. To win my home race at the Nürburgring is simply fantastic. I am so happy. Thanks to all the team and everybody who has made this possible, of course including Allan who did a superb job."

Allan McNish (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): "After what happened at Le Mans it was important for us to have a good result. At one point I thought it was gone. But in Endurance racing you never know until the finish what the result will be. So I am very happy. But today, to be honest, Pierre Kaffer was the hero, not me.

The results at the Nürburgring
1 Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 180 laps in 6hrs 00m 32.645s
2 Davies/Herbert (Audi R8) - 1 lap
3 Minassian/Campbell-Walter (Zytek) - 1 lap
4 Ara/Capello (Audi R8) - 10 laps
5 Ayari/Helary (Pescarolo-Judd) - 10 laps
6 Short/Barbosa/Pearce (Dallara-Judd) - 12 laps
7 Erdos/Ramos/Newton (MG Lola) - 13 laps
8 Lamy/Bouchut/Zacchia (Ferrari) - 15 laps
9 Bartels/Alzen/Konrad (Saleen) - 15 laps
10 Gabbiani/Bennett (Saleen) - 18 laps

7/3/04

Weaver wins pole at Lime Rock  James Weaver relied on years of experience on the tricky Lime Rock Park circuit to win the pole Saturday for Monday's American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix sports car race.

The English driver won the New Century Mortgage FastQual Award by turning a lap of 47.962 seconds (115.592 mph) on the 1.54-mile track, fastest of the 27 cars that will start the two-hour, 45-minute timed event. Weaver and Butch Leitzinger of State College, Penn., will co-drive a Lola EX257-AER/MG Prototype fielded by Dyson Racing, a team located less than an hour from Lime Rock in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

JJ Lehto qualified second in the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 at 48.134. Lehto and co-driver Marco Werner won last weekend's ALMS race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace qualified third in another Dyson Lola.

"The car has been good all weekend," said Weaver, who also won the pole for the Mid-Ohio event but was eliminated by a mechanical problem on the first lap of the race. "We've tested a lot in the last few months and the car was competitive straight out of the truck. We were watching JJ (Lehto) qualify and he was absolutely wringing that car's neck, so we didn't know if he had anything left. We were still quick even at the end of qualifying. The Audis are tough to beat because they have all the bases covered but we think we have a few things left in our back pocket for the race."

"We had a little bit of a hectic morning because we had a leak on the radiator and spent some time fixing that," said Lehto. "We changed the car a lot after the first practice yesterday and we kind of liked it in a way but then there were some other things we didn't like so we went back to set-ups. Qualifying was the maximum effort for us. I was able to do a couple of similar lap times but I couldn't gain or improve so I thought I would come in and save the tires."

1) J. Weaver/B. Leitzinger Dyson Racing 47.962
2) J. Lehto/M. Werner ADT Champion Racing 48.134
3) C. Dyson/A. Wallace Dyson Racing 48.691
4) J. Field/D. Dayton Intersport Racing 49.413
5) O. Gavin/O. Beretta Corvette Racing 51.425  More to follow....

7/3/04

Dalziel completes dominating weekend in Cleveland   Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel ended any hopes of an all-American celebration in Cleveland today as he stamped his authority in Ohio following up yesterday’s pole position with a lights-to-flag victory in Round 6 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship this afternoon. Americans Bryan Sellers and Danica Patrick came home 2nd and 3rd respectively.  More.....

7/3/04
Formula BMW

Summerton doubles down in Cleveland  Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) took his second win of the U.S. Bank Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland weekend by taking the victory in Round 8 of the Formula BMW USA Championship. The win, his fourth of the season, moved him to second place in the Championship standings. Summerton and HBR Motorsport team mate Andreas Wirth battled for the lead throughout the entire 16-lap contest, the two never separated by more than one second. Wirth took the lead from pole sitter Summerton on lap eight. On lap14 Summerton set up his move for the lead coming down the long front straight. Side- by-side with Wirth, he completed the pass in turn 4. He held off Wirth’s last challenge to take the win by only .359 seconds. Rookie Championship leader James Hinchcliffe finished third. On the opening lap Matt Jaskol, quickest in the morning warm-up session, jumped from his eight starting spot to third. Unfortunately his charge was short lived as contact forced him out of the race on lap three. James Hinchcliffe and Brian Frisselle consolidated their hold on fourth and fifth places as the race developed. Tom Milner, Graham Rahal and Billy Johnson fought among themselves for the fifth.

Race 8 - Results 16 laps:
Results
1. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 20:42.137 (97.659 mph)
2. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 20:42.496
3. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 20:43.072
4. Brian Frisselle (PoleVision Racing) 20:43.436
5. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 20:50.162
6. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 20:56.147
7. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 20:57.031
8. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 21:18.881
9. Lawson Aschenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 21:30.039
10. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 21:33.602
11. Derek Burseth (R) (PoleVision Racing) 20:56.971
12. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 05:37.266
13. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) no time
Championship points after 8 of 14 races:
1. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport, 115), 2. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport,
108), 3. James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport, 102), 4. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica,
79), 5. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport, 54), 6. Brian Frisselle (PoleVision
Racing, 41), 7. Tom Milner (Team PTG Motorsport, 35), 8. Joey Hand (Team PTG
Motorsport, 22), 9. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team, 20), 10. Kyle Herder
(Atlantic Racing Team, 16), 11. Lawson Aschenbach (Team PTG Motorsport, 13),
12. Graham Rahal (Vitesse Farm Racing, 13), 13. Federico Montoya (Atlantic
Racing Team, 10), 14. Gerardo Bonilla (Jensen Motorsport, 8), 15. Tom Sutherland
(Team PTG Motorsport, 5), 16.Trevor Daley (Atlantic Racing Team, 4), 17. Alan
Sciuto (Team PTG Motorsport, 1), 18. Daniel Herrington (Jensen Motorsport, 1), 19.
Derek Burseth (PoleVision Racing, 1), 20. Alexis Fenton (Team Autotecnica, 0), 21.
Mogan Spurgas (Jensen Motorsport, 0)
Rookies: 1. James Hinchcliffe (140), 2. Jonathan Summerton (128), 3. Tom Milner
(95), 4. Graham Rahal (58), 5.Tom Sutherland (54), 6. Alexis Fenton (23), 7. Trevor
Daley (22), 8. Federico Montoya (20), 9. Derek Burseth (20), 10. Alan Sciuto (16),
11. Daniel Herrington (14)

7/3/04

Weaver leads Friday practice at Lime Rock   The Dyson Racing team threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the American Le Mans Series field on Friday by leading testing for Monday's inaugural New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.  James Weaver drove the team's Lola EX257-AER/MG to a lap of 48.165 seconds on the 1.54-mile, eight-turn circuit, the "home" track for the Dyson team. Located less than an hour's drive from the track, the Dyson team has years of experience at Lime Rock and was expected to lead the way as many ALMS drivers and teams were seeing the tricky circuit for the first time on Friday. Weaver and co-driver Butch Leitzinger have won several times at Lime Rock in other forms of racing.  Setting the second-fastest time in the two-hour test session was the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, winners of last week's ALMS event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with a lap of 48.827. Neither of the two European drivers had been on the Lime Rock circuit until today.

7/3/04

Schu's 'not quick enough' to lead in France   Michael Schumacher was 'just not quick enough' for French pole.  The German has won all but one of the season's grands prix so far.  ''Second place was not what I expected,'' Schumacher lamented.  Ferrari's Ross Brawn, however, said Michael would have struggled to lead at the first corner anyway if a fast-starting Renault was anywhere near the front.  ''I think we know which way it's going to go,'' the Briton laughed.  Fernando Alonso, in a blue car, has the pole.  * Off the pace (10th), Brazil's Rubens Barrichello - in the sister Ferrari - could not do a pre-qualifying lap when a hydraulic problem was discovered.  ''It was hard,'' he said. ''Being first on track means you have less grip.''

7/3/04

Missing pole is 'a shame' - Montoya  It's a mark of how far Jenson Button and BAR-Honda have come this season when fourth on the grid is ''disappointing. I wanted top three,'' he bemoaned.  Button, 24, said McLaren's sudden turn of qualifying pace - with David Coulthard and the 'B spec' car in third - ''is a bit interesting. It is, isn't it ... ?''  Team principal Dave Richards thinks France - with the top eleven qualifiers within one second - might be 'the most unpredictable' grand prix of the season.  * BMW-Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya could not build on his impressive 'provisional pole' of the first session and lines-up just sixth in the FW26.  ''It's a shame,'' said the Colombian.  ''I had a lot of problems in the practice,'' Montoya - who was quickest in the lap's first sectors before a big mistake - added, ''so I'm glad we solved it.''  Ralf Schumacher's Spanish stand-in Marc Gene (8th) found it tricky to adjust to the one-lap qualifying format - ''I made a mistake,'' the test driver admitted.

7/3/04

'B spec' McLaren 'is faster' - Coulthard  'B' stands for 'better,' McLaren's David Coulthard proved at Magny-Cours.  The Scot, debuting MP4-19B in France this weekend, qualified a season-best third. ''We have made progress with the car,'' he said on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday will reveal just how much fuel is in the Mercedes-powered car.  ''But, no matter what, we have improved significantly,'' he insisted.  CEO Ron Dennis, meanwhile, claimed Kimi Raikkonen's 'enthusiasm got the better of him. ''I tried too hard,'' the Finn admitted, ''and made some mistakes.''  Also, Cristiano da Matta said the Toyota is quicker in France than he expected it to be. ''I'm certainly not going to complain,'' the diminutive Brazilian laughed.   He's half a second quicker than France's F1 ace and team-mate Olivier Panis.

7/3/04

Montoya last to first  Slowest in this morning's practice session after a big shunt on Friday, Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace in this afternoon’s pre-qualifying session. The BMW Williams driver set a new lap record around the 4.411km circuit with a best time of 1:13.377. Michael Schumacher was second fastest in his Ferrari ahead of David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen who are making their debut in the new McLaren MP4-19B. Just 0.359s seconds covered the fastest four runners. 

7/3/04

Richmond TV Rating tanks  Despite the millions of dollars being pumped into the IRL by Honda and Toyota, the IRL continues its downward spiral.  Last Saturday's IRL SunTrust Indy Challenge from Richmond earned a 0.24 on ESPN2.  This represents a 50% drop in one year, down from last years 0.48 rating.  And to think where the sport of Indy Car racing would be now if Tony George did not destroy it by creating the IRL in the first place in 1996.

7/3/04

Sonoma TV Rating down  Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., drew a 4.7 final rating and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, Friday’s Sports Business Daily reports. The 4.7/11 represents a 2 percent dip versus last year’s event, which drew a 4.8/11. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter  Fox' Nextel Cup average through 13 races is a 5.6/14, down 3% from last year's 5.8/14. The average does not include races from Daytona (Fox). FX's three-race Nextel Cup coverage this season averaged a 3.95/ (3,307,000 HHs), down 7% from last year's three-race average of 4.25/ (3,395,000 HHs) (FX). FX earned a 0.80/ (864,000 HHs) for last Saturday's Busch Series Alan Kulwicki 250.

7/3/04

All eyes on DEI cars tonight  Greg Biffle is the defending race champion and Jeff Gordon will start from the pole. But Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip, teammates at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and winners of five of the past seven races at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, are heavy favorites in tonight's Pepsi 400. "You know going in that the two DEI guys are going to be tough," Gordon said. "I want to win and I'll do everything I can to keep the competition behind me, but we can all be pretty confident that the No. 15 (Waltrip) and the No. 8 (Earnhardt) will be the guys to beat."  AP

7/3/04

Champ Car treating Rahal well  Bobby Rahal still has interest in Champ Car weekends, if not the main event. He has a car driven by Danica Patrick in the Toyota Atlantic series and a son, Graham, driving in Formula BMW. Both will be in action before today's Champ Car race. Rahal will then fly to Kansas to be with his Indy Racing League team for Sunday's race. He said no one has treated him like a traitor. "Nothing bad has happened. Everyone's nice to me."  Indy Star

7/3/04

Bell gives up on F1 hopes, will try IRL  Townsend Bell has stopped looking to become the next U.S.-born driver in Formula One.  "Sitting around gets a little old after a while," he said Friday. Bell tested with Jaguar and BAR last year but failed to generate a full-time ride.  That's why he accepted Panther Racing's month-to-month offer to replace the ousted Mark Taylor. Bell's series debut comes this weekend. Practice and qualifying are today.  Bell, a 29-year-old Californian, said he plans to move to Indianapolis immediately to continue planning for a full-time ride in the United States in 2005.  Bell said he has learned from the mistakes he made in CART, where he drove too aggressively. Watching the IRL on TV has been beneficial, too, he said. He knows that most of the former CART drivers have done too much blocking on the IRL's ovals, a situation that has been addressed by Barnhart.  "I've got a good feel for what's appropriate here," Bell said. "I know what's smart, what's aggressive and what's dumb."  Indy Star

7/3/04

Hornish warned, not penalized  Sam Hornish Jr. will not be penalized for his aggressive driving near the end of last weekend's Indy Racing League event in Richmond, Va., but the league's top official asked him to exercise more control the next time he falls four laps off the pace. Hornish admitted he was frustrated after his car stalled on the backstretch following tire contact with Tomas Scheckter on lap 189 of 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Hornish responded by using his fast car to battle several lead-lap cars in the late stages of the race. Brian Barnhart, the IRL's chief steward, said Hornish should have given the leaders more room to race against each other. Barnhart relayed that message to Hornish on Thursday by phone before their arrival at Kansas Speedway for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Indy 300. "We had a good, productive discussion," Barnhart said Friday. "He understood."  Indy Star

7/3/04

Button added to London F1 demo card  As the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda F1 team gears up for the challenge of its home Grand Prix at Silverstone next Sunday (11 July), over 100,000 spectators will get a rare opportunity to see lead driver Jenson Button and his B*A*R Honda race car at close quarters when 'Formula One Comes to Regent Street' in London on Tuesday 6 July.  B*A*R is one of eight teams participating in this historic event, which will see F1 cars and drivers taking to the streets of London for the first time ever and the West End reverberating to the awe-inspiring sound of Formula One. In the thick of the action will be Jenson, who has finished on the podium seven times in nine races for his B*A*R team, which is currently fighting for second place in the FIA 2004 Formula One Constructors' Championship behind Ferrari.  'Formula One Comes to Regent Street' is an incredible achievement for Regent Street and Westminster Council and will draw major public and media attention worldwide. Further details of the event, and the teams and drivers who will participate, can be found at www.regentstreetonline.com/f1.

7/3/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

'It doesn't mean I'm fast' - da Matta
No rain expected on Saturday
Todt worries about 'revised' rivals
Schu's in for a French fight - Button
Montoya's engine saved in 'big crash'
Mosley sick of blunt F1 knives
'Indy doctors did a good job' - Sid Watkins
Parting Max has 'one more job' to do
Renault supports V8 engine plan
'It reminded me of Senna' - Montoya
Ralf saga 'won't happen again' - Webber
Ralf response didn't 'take too long' - Mosley
'You can't un-disqualify someone' - Mosley
No 'standard electronics' in Formula One - Mosley
No 'interim' president for FIA
F1 scraps 'tire monopoly' plan

7/3/04

New McLaren jumps to top of charts  Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the final practice session ahead of this afternoon’s pre-qualifying and qualifying sessions at Magny Cours. Driving the new MP4-19B, the Finn set a new lap record with a best lap of 1:14.513 to edge out Jenson Button in his BAR Honda by just 0.055s. Raikkonen's fast lap was the best anyone turned all weekend.

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"513 213.112 Km/h 18
2. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'14"568 + 0'00"055 14
3. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'14"571 + 0'00"058 14
4. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'14"711 + 0'00"198 18
5. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'14"817 + 0'00"304 12
6. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'14"883 + 0'00"370 23
7. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'14"885 + 0'00"372 22
8. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'14"977 + 0'00"464 7
9. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'15"033 + 0'00"520 12
10. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'15"096 + 0'00"583 15
11. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'15"179 + 0'00"666 10
12. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'15"350 + 0'00"837 24
13. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'15"449 + 0'00"936 22
14. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'16"062 + 0'01"549 19
15. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'16"161 + 0'01"648 9
16. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'16"861 + 0'02"348 15
17. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'17"104 + 0'02"591 12
18. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'17"162 + 0'02"649 15
19. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"401 + 0'04"888 8
20. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'21"458 + 0'06"945 8

7/3/04
American GT Challenge

Paul Newman takes provisional pole The American GT Challenge series will test a dual qualifying session during the Lime Rock Park event. Drivers set a fast lap time during Friday’s qualifying session and will be provided the opportunity to better that time Saturday morning during a second qualifying session. The concept provided for varying results.  Three of the top five qualifiers had their times disallowed during a post session technical inspection. All three cars were found to be in violation of the ride height rules of two inches minimum. The times of Jack Busch, Peter Mohrhauser and Frank Ciopettini were removed. Paul Newman was the fastest car to pass tech inspection and earned the provisional pole position.  "I am getting to old for this," Newman quipped. "If I was only 75 again it would have been quicker."  The crew for the number 79 Happy Hands Massage Corvette will make a few subtle setup changes and look to better their time on Saturday. "I am going to load up on Geritol tonight, I’ll be even quicker tomorrow," Newman said.  Edsion Lluch [number 72 Don Q/El tuque Hotel and Resort Corvette] was pleased with his second place qualifying effort. "I am really enjoying the track," stated Lluch. "The competition and competitors in AGT are really excellent."

7/3/04
Star Mazda

Marco Andretti to run first Star Mazda race Marco Andretti, grandson of legendary racer Mario Andretti and son of Michael Andretti, has teamed with G&W Motorsports this weekend for the Star Mazda Series race at Lime Rock Park. Andretti is subbing in for Brian Frisselle, who is competing in Formula BMW Series in Cleveland this weekend. Andretti is piloting the No. 15 Pro Formula Mazda for G&W Motorsports, and team regular Brad Coleman, of Houston, is at the wheel of the team's No. 33 car. Both drivers took to the track Friday for practice, with Andretti turning a 49.105-second lap (7th fastest) and Coleman clocking a 49.903-second lap. Seventeen-year-old Andretti is already on his way to following in his father and grandfather's footsteps. He captured the Skip Barber's Formula Dodge Southern Series Championship earlier this year and won the Eastern Series Championship in 2003. With numerous race wins and track records to his credit, Andretti will look to add a Star Mazda Series victory to his resume at Lime Rock Park.  Star Mazda Series qualifying will be held at 10:45 a.m., on Saturday, with the race getting underway at 4:10 p.m. For more information on the Star Mazda Series please visit www.starmazda.com.

7/2/04
Industry News

Let's go racing!  YokeTV hits the airwaves YOKE TV.COM a new Canadian Web Based Broadband Television broadcaster with production offices located in Cleveland and new marketing offices opening in Chicago next month had an exciting day today as they broadcast Fridays qualification run for the Champ Cars LIVE ON YOKE TV. "Everything went great and we are really excited to broadcast the Champ Car race live tomorrow, stated Brent Meikle Yoke TV CEO. Yoke TV.Com had an uplifting day as Months of work finally came to a result with the company's first live broadcast. And just a reminder SATURDAY, JULY 3rd 2004 at 5pm Eastern Time YOKE TV.COM WILL BROADCAST LIVE THE 2004 RUNNING OF THE CLEVELAND GRAND PRIX. Just a note, "This is the only place you can see this race live in the United States. Remember to log onto YOKETV.COM on Saturday at 5pm Eastern!!!   YokeTV.com

7/2/04
Formula BMW

Summerton wins third race of year  Taking the lead on lap seven and turning some of the quickest laps of the weekend, Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport) won Round 7 of the Formula BMW USA Championship. The victory was Summerton’s third of the season. He completed 16 laps of the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport Circuit in the 30-minute race and finished 3.2 seconds in front of James Hinchcliffe. Matt Jaskol finished third. Andreas Wirth finished fourth and was credited with the fastest race lap (1:16.830). He retained his lead in the Championship. Hinchcliffe stands second, Summerton third, Jaskol fourth and Johnson fifth. Hinchcliffe still leads the Rookie Points after a fourth second-place finish. Summerton is second, Milner third, Rahal fourth and Sutherland fifth. As pole sitter Milner led Summerton on the first lap the action behind them was intense. Both Matt Jaskol and Graham Rahal had very good starts. Jaskol jumped into third from his fifth starting spot and Rahal moved from 10th to fifth. Daniel Herrington spun and hit the wall coming onto the front straight and brought out the yellow flag. The single-file restart came four laps later. Summerton took the point on lap 7 while Jaskol and Hinchcliffe traded the third and fourth positions. On lap 13 Formula BMW USA Milner faded to fifth as Hinchcliffe, Jaskol and Wirth consolidated their hold on the second, third and fourth positions. “We are at the halfway point of the season now,” said Summerton. “I am only two points from second and 12 points from first. Of course race wins are important, but I have to keep my eye on the Championship. I want the opportunities that come with the title.” Hinchcliffe added, “A fourth second for the season is great, but I really want to get to the top step of the podium. I touched the wall on the first lap and I think something was damaged because the steering wheel was not straight. Still I was able to run within three-tenths of Jonathan.” Jaskol said, “Third wasn’t good enough because I had a car that was capable of running up front. James and I had a great battle, but I think it allowed Jonathan to get away from us. “

1. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 23:55.858 (84.483 mph)
2. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 23:59.142
3. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 24:00.695
4. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 24:02.463
5. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 24:03.746
6. Brian Frisselle (PoleVision Racing) 24:04.021
7. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 24:04.949
8. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing)
24:07.448
9. Lawson Aschenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 24:09.758
10. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 24:36.315
11. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) no time
12. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) no time
13. Derek Burseth (R) (PoleVision Racing) no time
Championship points after 7 of 14 races:
1. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport, 100), 2. James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport, 90),
3. Jonathan Summerton (HBR Motorsport, 88), 4. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica,
79), 5. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport, 50, 6. Brian Frisselle (PoleVision
Racing, 31) 7. Tom Milner (Team PTG Motorsport, 27) 8. Joey Hand (Team PTG
Motorsport, 22), 9. Dominik Jackson (Atlantic Racing Team, 20) 10.Kyle Herder

7/2/04

Gentilozzi last to first again   Paul Gentilozzi can thank his Rocketsports Racing crew’s tireless efforts for him winning Friday’s Trans-Am on the Tarmac Motorock Trans-Am Series race at Cleveland. Gentilozzi, driving the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR, started at the back due to being forced to start with a back-up car, and drove through the field to earn the victory.

Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Dodgeball—The Movie Jaguar XKR) and Jorge Diaz (No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR) were second and third, respectively, both in Jaguar XKRs. Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products/Coyote Closures Chevrolet Corvette) and Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Toyo Tires/ROH Wheels/Autotrend Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five.

Gentilozzi crashed his primary car in qualifying Thursday, forcing his Rocketsports Racing crew to travel to his East Lansing, Mich. shop to retrieve a display car, which had no engine or transmission and was used primarily for auto shows and press events. His crew spent all night preparing the car. Starting last, Gentilozzi drove through the field, taking the lead for good on lap 26 when leader Tommy Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR) pitted with mechanical problems. Kendall 11th.

The victory was Gentilozzi’s 27th in Trans-Am competition, moving him to second on the all-time Trans-Am win list, two victories behind the legendary Mark Donohue. It was also Gentilozzi’s third victory this season, placing him first in the championship, ahead of Diaz.

“This car was my 1999 championship-winning Ford Mustang,” said Gentilozzi. “We sold it to Tomy Drissi in 2000 and Tomy drove it in 2000 and 2001, then we parked it. Last year, we needed a show car for Jaguar so we bought it. It’s been in car dealerships and shopping malls. Strangely enough, the car was here in Cleveland, but it went back to Lansing Wednesday night.

“Yesterday, when I wrecked my car, we had to go back and get it,” added the three-time Trans-Am champion. “They got there at midnight last night, towed it back here, worked all night and into today and got us on the grid in a competitive car.”

The next race for the Motorock Trans-Am Series is scheduled for July 10, part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend.

1. (13) Paul Gentilozzi, Jaguar XKR, 48, Running.
2. (3) Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, 48, Running.
3. (4) Jorge Diaz Jr., Jaguar XKR, 48, Running.
4. (2) Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette, 48, Running.
5. (9) Joey Scarallo, Chevrolet Corvette, 48, Running.
6. (6) Greg Pickett, Jaguar XKR, 48, Running.
7. (7) John Baucom, Ford Mustang, 48, Running.
8. (8) Tim Cowen, Ford Mustang, 48, Running.
9. (11) Jon "Chevy" Leavy, Chevrolet Camaro, 47, Running.
10. (10) B.K. "Kenny" Bupp, Chevrolet Camaro, 47, Running.
11. (1) Tommy Kendall, Jaguar XKR, 26, Mechanical.
12. (5) Bob Ruman, Chevrolet Corvette, 12, Contact.
13. (12) Philip Simms (R), Chevrolet Corvette, 3, Mechanical.
Race Statistics
Time of race: 1:06.48.312
Margin of victory: .927 seconds.
Winner's average speed: 90.791 mph.
Caution flags: 1 for 7 laps.
Lead changes: two among two drivers.
Lap leaders: Kendall 1-25; Gentilozzi, 26-48.

7/2/04

Dalziel takes pole in Cleveland   It’s hard to imagine not being happy as a race car driver after leading every single session over a two-day period, but Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) wasn’t satisfied with his qualifying effort on Friday. Despite producing the top time of 1:06.447 (114.100 mph) to lead the second round of qualifying, winning his sixth career pole for tomorrow’s Argent Mortgage Presents The Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Sunday, June 11 – 1 p.m. ET), Dalziel wasn’t exactly pleased with the effort.  “I think we were actually a little disappointed in the way the session went,” said Dalziel, the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship series runner up. “We honestly think we can get more out of the car.”

The 22-year-old Dalziel led all four Atlantic sessions over the first two days of action at the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport road circuit this weekend. He earned a championship point on Thursday for leading the first round of qualifying and he scored another marker with his effort today. The Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver now trails series points leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) by just 13 points heading into Saturday’s Round 6 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Dalziel knows that he has the car this weekend to close the gap even further on Fogarty and that’s why he’s setting the bar so high.

The first step to a good race is getting cleanly through the legendary tight and treacherous Turn 1 in Cleveland. Dalziel hopes the start will go smoothly and he’ll have his teammate starting next to him as rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) tied his top Atlantic career qualifying effort of second place with a time of 1:06.615 (113.812 mph).

Another driver racing at Cleveland for the first time this season, Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) will start third as he continued to excel in his first weekend with Polestar Racing Group, based in nearby Chardon, Ohio. Bremer, who joined the team from Brooks Associates Racing earlier this week, posted his fastest time of 1:06.643 (113.764 mph) to qualify third for the top effort of his Atlantic career.

Fogarty, the championship point leader, was second in provisional qualifying yesterday, but he struggled with a gearbox problem in today’s final session and wound up fourth overall with a time of 1:06.681 (113.700 mph). The 2002 series champion is looking to win his fourth consecutive event on Saturday but he hasn’t started any worse that second during his stretch of three-in-a-row.


Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company), who entered the weekend second in the championship, 12 points behind Fogarty, also suffered her worst qualifying result of the season. She was ninth with a time of 1:07.727 (111.994 mph). Aussie rookie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) had a top lap of 1:07.794 (111.833 mph) to complete the top 10. Full details and live timings can be accessed on www.toyotaatlantic.com.

7/2/04
Industry News

In the sports business, biggest battles fought off the field  Televising professional and college sports games is no longer a profitable slam-dunk as the value of broadcast rights have soared and the sports media field has become crowded with new channels and networks, such as Yes and College Sports Television. Professional sports leagues themselves, such as Major League Baseball, want to generate new revenues for team owners through web sites, 24-hour cable channels and marketing deals that could dilute sports franchises for broadcasters.

The heyday of easy money and fast growth is over, according to a recent discussion among three sports-business professionals at Wharton moderated by Robert DiGisi, who lectures at Wharton on “Marketing in the Entertainment and Sports Industry,” and who owns Iron Horse Marketing. “The growth rate is certainly going to slow,” DiGisi says in an interview, noting that some of the fundamentals that led to an economic boom for the sports business in the 1990s have probably changed for good. For example, the Fox Network spent billions of dollars to secure rights to professional football in the early 1990s as it was establishing itself as the fourth broadcast network. “You could argue that sports built the Fox network,” DiGisi suggests. But now that Fox is firmly established with CBS, NBC and ABC, it may no longer feel the same pressure. NBC, for its part, has signaled its unwillingness to pay the high price of broadcast rights for professional games and has focused its efforts on the Olympics.  Read full story at Wharton Business School

7/2/04
Industry News

Steve Potter to Lime Rock Park  Steve Potter, a longtime member of the motorsports community with extensive experience in sports marketing and public relations, has been named the new general manager at Lime Rock Park. Potter will take over the day-to-day operations at Lime Rock, beginning with the Rolex Vintage Festival presented by BMW, Sept. 3-6. He replaces Michael Johnson, who is leaving Lime Rock to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. "Steve’s experience as a journalist and then an auto industry and motorsports executive makes him eminently qualified to help us realize our vision for the future of Lime Rock,” said track president Skip Barber. “He has seen this industry from both sides of the fence, and that gives him a unique perspective.” Potter for six years managed Mercedes-Benz USA’s sports marketing programs in men’s professional tennis (ATP Tour), men’s professional golf (PGA Tour) and Indy cars (CART.) He was for nine years the New York Times Motorsports correspondent and for six years managed Mazda USA’s east coast public relations office. Potter’s ties to Lime Rock go back 34 years. As a writer for both the New York Times and several auto racing publications, he covered numerous events at the track. He also attended the Skip Barber Racing School, and competed at Lime Rock many times during a fifteen-year amateur racing career.

7/2/04

Simmons replaces Unser Jr. for Kansas  U. E “Pat” Patrick announced today that Jeff Simmons will takeover for the recently retired Al Unser Jr. behind the wheel of the #20 Patrick Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry, which has associate sponsorship from Stacker 2, this weekend at the Argent Mortgage 300 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Simmons, 27, is the only two-time winner of the Barber Dodge Pro Series taking the championship in 1998 and 1999. Last year, he finished second in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series scoring 10 top-10 finishes with nine top-five showings, six podium performances and two wins in 12 starts. He was running at the finish of a series record 11 of the 12 races. Simmons has competed in one Infiniti Pro Series event this year finishing second at the Futaba Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis 500 on May 22.

“After careful consideration and extensive research we made the decision that the best thing for our team was to go with a young, aggressive driver,” Pat Patrick said. “We feel that Jeff Simmons has the potential to be very successful with our team. Jeff is a proven winner with the driving style we were looking for” he noted. “Therefore, we asked Jeff to driver the Patrick Racing car this weekend at the Argent Mortgage 300 at Kansas Speedway and he accepted. Following the Kansas race we will evaluate all of our options and make a decision for the future,” Patrick concluded.

7/2/04

Rain washes out IPS qualifying  Thiago Medeiros earned the pole position for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Aventis Racing for Kids 100 by posting the fastest speed during practice July 2 at Kansas Speedway. Medeiros, the series points leader, recorded a lap at 28.9307 seconds, 189.142 mph in the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone to claim his third consecutive pole, breaking the record Medeiros shared with 2002 Series champion A.J. Foyt IV. "We had a good setup to start the session," Medeiros said. "We just played a little bit with the car, made a little change. I was really comfortable in the draft and by myself. The car was feeling really good. I'm happy with the pole and confident for tomorrow." The starting field was determined based on practice speeds after qualifying was cancelled due to rain. It was the first time qualifying has been cancelled in the three-year history of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
1. (11) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 189.142 mph
2. (33) Leonardo Maia, Dallara-Infiniti, 188.527 mph
3. (10) Rolando Quintanilla, Dallara-Infiniti, 188.159 mph
4. (91) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.952 mph
5. (5) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 187.603 mph
6. (2) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.293 mph
7. (24) Billy Roe, Dallara-Infiniti, 186.235 mph
8. (3) Jesse Mason, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.509 mph
9. (64) Brad Pollard, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.401 mph
10. (76) P.J. Chesson, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.277 mph
Note: Starting line-up determined by practice speeds after qualifying was cancelled due to rain.

7/2/04

Mosley fed up with team owners  Today in France Max Mosley addressed the media and one of the questions on everyone's mind was why he was stepping down as FIA president after this season.  Essentially he is fed up with the team owners in F1 who agree to one thing one day and then change their minds the next.  He said he had not lost his love for the sport, just the politics.

7/2/04

Mosley outlines F1 rules changes that FIA will impose  Today in France Max Mosley has outlined his view of the immediate future for the Formula 1 regulations. "The Technical Working Group has two months to produce proposals and we then have to decide if they are acceptable."

"If not," Mosley went on, "then we can give the teams three alternative proposals of our own, from which they choose one. If this is not done within 45 days, then we can impose a set of measures of our own which can come in after a three month period. To help them [the teams] we will furnish them with a precise set of regulations on three topics – aerodynamics, engines and tires – within the next two weeks."

"With regard to tires," Mosley said, "we suggest dramatically reducing the number available, with one set for Friday/Saturday and then a second set for qualifying and race, with two types available. The original set could be used as back-up if they found they could not use the second set.

"On engines, we are proposing that in 2005 an engine will need to do two weekends between rebuilds as a means of achieving a slight reduction in power before, in 2006, introducing 2.4-litre V8s with more restrictions [in terms of dimensions, crank centre lines, etc] than those presented by the manufacturers. People will say, well, what about the teams who don't have access to a 2.4-litre V8 because they are not aligned to a manufacturer? We will therefore allow a 3.0-litre V10 to be used, complete with a rev limiter set at a level that ensures that the engine is less powerful than the 2.4s. An incidental benefit of that for the smaller teams will be a significantly smaller power deficit than they currently have. We will worry about the rev limit when we know the power curve of the V8s.

"On the aerodynamic side, there will be a significant package for 2005, which is still being worked on, and we will have details within the next two weeks." He still wants standard ECUs, hopefully by 2006, but has moderated his position on tire supply. "I would have liked a single supplier," he said, "but we can't see a reason to reduce performance that way when we can do it by regulation and our best advice is that we can. If it doesn't work, then we'd have to look at a monopoly."

7/2/04

Why Tracy did not run NASCAR Cup race  We quizzed Paul Tracy here in Cleveland today about why he was not allowed to race in last weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway.  Tracy said, "Jerry talked to Paul and Kevin about it and they were concerned that it would create rumors that I might be going to NASCAR.  I have a good contract with Jerry now and we are currently in negotiations to extend it.  Champ Car is my #1 priority and I want to stay here.  I would have had two days of testing in the recent open test at Infineon and I think if I had kept my nose clean I would have finished in the top five because so many drivers went off and had troubles.  I think it would have been good publicity for Champ Car."  Mark C.

7/2/04

Jourdain: " I have not forgotten how to drive."  In an interview with El Norte, Michel Jourdain Jr. assured his Mexican fans that he's still driving like the two last years, and said half joking half serious “ I have not forgotten how to drive.”  He also said that RuSPORT is making small but consistent improvements, and explained to fans that although Milwaukee was a great race for him and the team it is not an indication of what to expect from RuSport.   “Milwaukee is an oval, we were lucky on getting the car just right, but we are improving and we will improve more.”  He also said that before the season is over RuSport will be fighting for the first place in every race, and said he is expecting a good race tomorrow in Cleveland. José de Jesús Arrambide

7/2/04

Quote of the week  When asked about the rumors of the IRL racing in Mexico City, Paul Gentilozzi had this to say - "That's like saying I am going to grow hair again.  That's simply not going to happen."

7/2/04

Dalziel stays fast in Friday Practice  

Pos Driver Car# Team Lap Time Mph Kph Leader Previous
1 Ryan Dalziel 28 Sierra Sierra Enterprises 1:06.377 114.220 183.814 0.000
2 Jon Fogarty 96 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:06.673 113.713 182.998 0.296
2 Jon Fogarty 96 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:06.673 113.713 182.998 0.296
3 Ronnie Bremer 4 Brooks Associates Racing 1:07.117 112.961 181.788 0.740 0.444
4 Andrew Ranger 27 Sierra Sierra Enterprises 1:07.259 112.722 181.404 0.882 0.142
5 Alex Figge 69 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:07.613 112.132 180.454 1.236 0.354
6 Danica Patrick 24 Rahal Letterman Racing 1:07.713 111.967 180.188 1.336 0.100
7 Jonathan Bomarito 8 Transnet Racing 1:07.870 111.708 179.772 1.493 0.157
8 Tonis Kasemets 6 Brooks Associates Racing 1:07.956 111.566 179.543 1.579 0.086
9 Josh Hunt 15 Lynx Racing 1:08.461 110.743 178.219 2.084 0.505
10 Chris Festa 25 Rahal Letterman Racing 1:08.715 110.334 177.561 2.338 0.254
11 Alex Garcia 9 Transnet Racing 1:09.095 109.727 176.584 2.718 0.380
12 Bryan Sellers 19 Lynx Racing 1:09.387 109.265 175.840 3.010 0.292
13 Philip Fayer 3 Polestar Racing Group LLC 1:09.520 109.056 175.504 3.143 0.133
14 Eric Jensen 2 Jensen Motorsport 1:09.561 108.992 175.401 3.184 0.041

7/2/04

Da Matta goes fastest in Free Practice 2 in France  Cristiano da Matta nipped Jarno Trulli  in the final seconds of another rain dampened practice session today in France. With the track drying, the Toyota driver lapped the 4.411km circuit in 1:15.518s, a full six tenths clear of his nearest rival in the session. However, countryman Rubens Barrichello’s 1:15.487s set in the bone dry conditions at the start of the first practice session remained the fastest lap of the day.

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'15"518 210.276 Km/h 12
2. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'16"206 + 0'00"688 9
3. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'16"231 + 0'00"713 17
4. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'16"397 + 0'00"879 8
5. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'16"397 + 0'00"879 7
6. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'16"454 + 0'00"936 10
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"464 + 0'00"946 8
8. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'16"745 + 0'01"227 14
9. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'16"794 + 0'01"276 10
10. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'17"094 + 0'01"576 5
11. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'17"303 + 0'01"785 10
12. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'17"324 + 0'01"806 13
13. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'17"556 + 0'02"038 5
14. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'17"688 + 0'02"170 17
15. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'17"735 + 0'02"217 15
16. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'17"936 + 0'02"418 10
17. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'17"967 + 0'02"449 11
18. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'18"614 + 0'03"096 7
19. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'18"711 + 0'03"193 10
20. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'19"179 + 0'03"661 16
21. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'19"270 + 0'03"752 12
22. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"349 + 0'03"831 10
23. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'19"490 + 0'03"972 25
24. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"636 + 0'04"118 13
25. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'19"914 + 0'04"396 16

7/2/04

NASCAR favors certain drivers  Jimmy Spencer punched someone and was suspended. Tony Stewart had a similar confrontation and is allowed to race. Different rules for different drivers? That was the debate Thursday in the garage at Daytona International Speedway. There, NASCAR was being scrutinized for its punishment of Stewart following his postrace altercation with Brian Vickers. Stewart was fined $50,000, docked 25 championship points and placed on probation until Aug. 18 for allegedly striking Vickers after the race Sunday in Sonoma, Calif. "I think Tony should feel fortunate that the penalty wasn't more severe," driver Jeff Burton said Thursday. "I think Tony has some issues that he needs to figure out and the people around him need to find a way to help him do that. "The talk in the garage is he got off easily."  Indy Star

7/2/04

Yoke TV furthers relationship with Champ Car  Yoke TV™.Com, a new Canadian web based broadband television broadcaster with production offices located in Cleveland and new marketing offices opening in Chicago next month, released a series of announcements at the “U.S. Bank Presents the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland” event today.

Most relevant to the Champ Car event was the announcement of a two-year internet broadcast rights deal Yoke TV™.com has reached with Champ Car. The agreement results in Yoke TV™, which joined the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford this year as the primary sponsor of the #11 Dale Coyne Racing machine driven by Oriol Servia, broadcasting each Champ Car race over the internet during the 2004 and 2005 seasons beginning with the July 3, 2004 event in Cleveland.   More....

7/2/04

Kendall takes pole in Cleveland  Tommy Kendall won the pole Thursday for Friday’s Trans-Am on the Tarmac race at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport. Driving the venerable No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR, Kendall turned in a 1:14.466-minute lap (101.813 miles per hour) to earn his 41st career and a record third Cleveland pole.

Randy Ruhlman qualified on the outside pole in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette, while Tomy Drissi completed the top three in the No. 5 Dodgeball—The Movie Jaguar XKR. Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR) and local driver Bob Ruman (No. 23 McNichols/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five.

Kendall won the pole using Jaguar’s new production-based, overhead-cam, fuel-injected engine, the only one of its type in the field. It was the third pole for the engine and the first this season in dry conditions. Kendall won the pole in the season opener at Long Beach in rainy conditions.

“One of my goals was to be outright fastest car,” said Kendall. “We found out last week that we had too much rear brake bias. We solved that problem this week. I said on the first lap ‘We’ve got a hot rod here.’ It was like a whole different car. I’m very happy to get the heads up pole for Jaguar’s AJ-V8.”

Paul Gentilozzi, who ran in the top three during much of the 30-minute session, spun in debris and hit the tire wall in turn eight. He was transported to the Champ Car Medical Center, where he was checked and released.

“I did a Bruno (Junqueira),” referring to an off by the Brazilian driver in this morning’s Champ Car World Series practice. “I hit in the exact same spot except I knocked the wall down. The car ahead of me cut the corner, scattering dirt all over the track. I got into it and knew I was on my way to a wreck.”

Today’s race is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport. The Trans-Am Series is part of a full weekend of racing, featuring the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and also includes the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama and Formula BMW USA.

7/2/04
Industry News

Ligier gets back in race car business  Former F1 team boss Guy Ligier has taken a significant shareholding in Automobiles Martini, the French single-seater racing car constructor which is based at Magny-Cours. The 74-year-old has put his son Philippe Ligier in to run the business and has appointed F1 engineer Gilles Alegoet to be technical manager. In addition former F1 man Rick Gorne has been taken on to market the company's products on the international scene. This is interesting as it seems to suggest that Automobiles Martini will be moving into the North American market where Gorne has a strong influence, having worked for both Reynard and more recently Lola. The cars are expected to be called Ligiers and the apparent aim is to sell cars to the many racing schools around the world. One cannot help but wonder however if there are not plans for the Ligier name to be seen in competitive formulae as well. The first new car which is to be called the Ligier MK84, has been developed under the direct responsibility of Tico Martini. It is a brand-new concept of inexpensive racing car design combining a very stiff and strong carbon monocoque with six-speed semi-automatic sequential F1-type gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shift, and inexpensive standard parts to ensure minimal maintenance costs. The car will be presented officially at the Paris Automobile Salon in September.  Grandprix.com

7/2/04

New sponsorship deal for Toyota  Toyota Motorsport has today announced that it has signed a sponsorship deal with US-based IT company BMC Software Inc, effective 1 July 2004, which sees BMC become a sponsor and technical partner for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula 1 team. As part of the deal, the BMC Software Inc. logo will appear on the front wing end plate of Panasonic Toyota Racing's TF104 race cars, as well as on the team's motorhome, garage pitboards and trucks starting from this weekend's French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours. BMC Software, Inc. is a leading provider of enterprise management solutions that empower companies to manage their IT infrastructure from a business perspective. Delivering Business Service Management, BMC Software solutions span enterprise systems, applications, databases and service management.

7/2/04

Parkland makes way for V8 Supercar pits in Surfers  PARKLAND will become part of new pits for the Indy race carnival after the State Government yesterday rejected a last-ditch attempt to save the strip of land.  Sport Minister Terry Mackenroth said work would begin on the pits for the V8 supercars in a month.   "The Indy is so important to the economy of the Coast and to tourism in Queensland that we should approve this," Mr Mackenroth said.   Indy organisers had said the event could lose the V8 race if the pits were not built on the parcel of land at Macintosh Island park, but hundreds of Gold Coast residents campaigned against the move saying it threatened the habitat of wildlife in the area.   They were backed by Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke who put together a last-minute compromise plan, which involved removing a median strip to accommodate the pits.   But this was rejected because it would have created an unsafe surface for the cars.  He said the council's proposal to remove the existing median strip would have created a small "kink" in the track and all of the work would have been completed at night, ensuring minimal disruption. "They obviously value the Indy experience more than the need for community and public open space," Ms Levy said. The Indy is estimated to pump about $50 million annually into the state's economy.  Courier-Mail

7/2/04

Ferrari 1-2 in Free Practice 1 in France  The two Ferraris were only on the track for 4 laps in Free Practice 1 at Magny-Cours this morning and already they are miles ahead of their competition, but it was a bit of good fortune.  Rubens Barrichello took advantage of a dry track to set the fastest lap in Friday's first free practice session at Magny-Cours as teams prepare for this weekend's French Grand Prix. Teammate Michael Schumacher was second quickest to make it a Ferrari one-two. Most drivers set their fast times on a wet track, so the gap is larger than it will be in later sessions.

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'15"487 210.362 Km/h 4
2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'15"713 + 0'00"226 4
3. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'19"348 + 0'03"861 14
4. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'19"428 + 0'03"941 17
5. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'19"466 + 0'03"979 12
6. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'20"531 + 0'05"044 12
7. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"203 + 0'05"716 13
8. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'22"267 + 0'06"780 11
9. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'26"552 + 0'11"065 17
10. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'26"757 + 0'11"270 5
11. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'27"449 + 0'11"962 4
12. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'28"317 + 0'12"830 5
13. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'29"085 + 0'13"598 18
14. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'29"626 + 0'14"139 8
15. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'29"877 + 0'14"390 12
16. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'30"092 + 0'14"605 10
17. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'30"204 + 0'14"717 17
18. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'39"392 + 0'23"905 4

7/2/04

Montoya in big crash  Juan Pablo Montoya has escaped injury in a high-speed crash in free practice for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. The Colombian lost control of his car at about 150mph in wet conditions and removed two corners from his Williams against the tire wall after coming close to rolling the car in the gravel trap.  Autosport.com

7/2/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Max Mosley 'to quit' in October
'I could have died' - Ralf Schumacher
'Frank hasn't phoned me' - Mark Webber
Gene 'hopes' Jacques isn't a candidate
Schu fears 'another death' in F1
Qualifying is 'not qualifying' - Alonso
Da Matta ignores 'internet' rumors
Button wants first win in next ten days
GPDA to discuss Indianapolis 'mistakes' - Trulli
'Bring back slicks' - Rubens Barrichello
'Luck' has left F1's former sensation
Ralf has 'nothing to prove' - Schu brother
F1 drivers 'must accept danger' - Panis
Mosley was 'champion' for safety
'We're on the pace' - Toyota's Panis
Rain to fall on Friday 

7/2/04

Cleveland on live in Canada  UPDATE  A reader writes, In England, glancing at this week's Autosport, I see no reference to the Champ Car race being on TV in the listings at the back. If you have Sky satellite TV, you can watch the race live on Motors TV www.motorstv.com <http://www.motorstv.com> Channel 413 at 22.00 hours live on July 3."  Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England. You don't even need a Sky subscription. MotorsTV is free-to-air on the Eurobird satellite. 7/1/04 - While the neglected USA Champ Car fans have to wait 24 hours to see this weekend's Grand Prix of Cleveland on Spike TV at 4:00 PM EST Sunday, Canadian fans gets to watch the Champ Car race live if they wish, on TSN starting at 5pm EST Saturday.

7/1/04

Mosley quits FIA  UPDATE It is understood that Mosley, 64, finally tired of the inability of the team principals to reach agreement over reforms. The final straw appears to be the u-turn made over qualifying. A new format, featuring two 25-minute sessions 10 minutes apart, was to have been introduced at next week's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The changes had been agreed informally but when the teams talked at a meeting of the F1 Commission in London last Monday to ratify the proposals, the new qualifying format was voted out. At Monday's meeting of the F1 Commission, Mosley invoked Article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement, which allows him to enforce changes on safety grounds. As a result he imposed a 60-day deadline on the teams to come up with methods of cutting costs and reducing speeds by 2005. Mosley believes it is possible to bring in longer-life engines, lasting at least two races, the use of only two sets of tires per weekend and a significant reduction in down force. If the teams fail to meet the Aug 31 deadline, the FIA will impose their own changes 45 days later, in time for their introduction next year. Mosley is scheduled to spell out his reasons for standing down at Magny-Cours this afternoon. His impatience with some of the most powerful figures in the pit lane is widely understood but privately known. Today it will become public. Expect blood on the floor.  7/1/04 -  In a surprise move, Max Mosley has told the FIA General Assembly this morning in Paris that he intends to resign the FIA Presidency in October this year - 12 months before his mandate runs out.  There will presumably be an election in October to choose an interim President for one year.  Grandprix.com

7/1/04
Formula BMW

Milner takes first pole  Tom Milner (Team PTG Motorsport) won his first pole position of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship with a lap of 1:17.190 minutes around the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport Circuit. Milner’s last two laps of the half-hour session were his fastest as he held off the charge of HBR Motorsport teammates Jonathan Summerton and Andreas Wirth to take the Round 7 pole. Summerton will start second (1:17.532). Championship Points leader Wirth will start third (1:17.757). Only 44 points separate the top-five in the Championship battle. The top-five in points are Andreas Wirth (90), James Hinchcliffe (75), Jonathan Summerton (68), Matt Jaskol (67) and Billy Johnson (46). James Hinchcliffe leads the Rookie points with 110. Summerton is second (88), Milner third (71), Graham Rahal fourth (38) and Tom Sutherland fifth (32). The quickest Rookies in today’s qualifying session were Milner, Summerton and Hinchcliffe. Formula BMW USA “This weekend has been quite a surprise for me,” said a very pleased Milner. “We came here with a new set-up and it has shown to be a quick one. We don’t have the experience with these cars that some of the other teams have and have worked hard.” Round 3 and 5 winner and Round 5 and 6 pole sitter Summerton said “We will have HBR team mates surrounding Tom at the start, but that has both positives and negatives. We will see tomorrow. I am on the front row, but I am not completely happy with my performance. I think I could have gone faster.” Wirth added, “I made a mistake on my quick lap that cost me a few tenths, but I have to look at the points situation. It is important for me to be in the top-three. Obviously anything can happen in the race, but I know that I can go faster.” Round 7 is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow after Round 8 qualifying at 8:30 a.m. Saturday’s Round 8 is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. Saturday. Qualifying: Round 7

1. Tom Milner (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:17.190
2. Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 1:17.532
3. Andreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) 1:17.757
4. James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 1:17.898
5. Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 1:18.025
6. Lawson Ashenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:18.381
7. Daniel Herrington (R) (Jensen Motorsport) 1:18.939
8. Tom Sutherland (R) (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:19.621
9. Brian Frisselle (PoleVision Racing) 1:19.748
10. Graham Rahal (R) (Vitesse Farm Racing) 1:20.934
11. Alexis Fenton (R) (Team Autotecnica) 1:21.502
12. Billy Johnson (Team PTG Motorsport) 1:22.068
13. Derek Burseth (R) (PoleVision Racing) 1:22.539

7/1/04

Dalziel takes provisional pole  Looking to get back on the winning track on a circuit where’s he’s performed well before, Ryan Dalziel(#28 Pro-Works) paced the 30-minute Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama morning practice session today at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport. Dalziel, who finished third last season at the annual Roar by the Shore event, owned a time of 1:08.088 (111.350 mph) to lead the Atlantic field. The Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver won the opening race of the season at Long Beach, but has managed only one podium finish since, coming in the last round of the championship in Portland. Series points leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports), who has won the last three Atlantic events, was second in practice with a top lap of 1:08.954 (109.952 mph). Fogarty’s teammate, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports), posted the third-fastest time in the morning session at 1:09.407 (109.234 mph). Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) was fourth quick with a time of 1:09.713 (108.754 mph) while Tonis Kasemets 1:09.822 (108.585 mph) rounded out the top five in practice. The first round of Toyota Atlantic Qualifying will take the green flag at 4:45 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon.

RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) qualified on the provisional pole at 1:07.093 (113.001 mph). He's guaranteed a front-row starting spot regardless of what happens in the second qualifying session. "We had a difficult race weekend at Portland - our last run - so we came back here very determined. The car rolled off the truck very quick. We knew coming back we had some struggles here. I'm pretty excited about going back out tomorrow and see what we can do. (He sat in the pits through more than half the session.) We had an electrical problem. We changed a lot of things. I had to go out. I was lucky (to get a quick lap) because I got held up by traffic. These cars don't change much from track to track. You have an oval car and you have a road car (setup). There are two guys here next to me that are pretty good and I'm sure they're going to find some more speed. We're going to have to be on top of our game."
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) qualified second at 1:07.502 (112.317 mph). He has led every lap (140) in winning the last three races in a row, two from the pole. "The car's reasonably good. Obviously, it's not quite what Ryan has going on. We're not going to make a huge chunk of changes. I'm not shooting for consecutive wins. I just do the best I can each race. The competition has not been that far behind (the last three races). I just had three good races. The results we've had all year have led to this. It's not P1, but it's OK."

7/1/04

Hunter-Reay:  I could have been on pole  Ryan on the day: “The team has done a fantastic job preparing for this event, my car was excellent. We should have been on pole or at the very least in the top three. Unfortunately, Sebastian (Bourdais) ruined my fastest lap, he backed off right in front of me at the approach to three and that was it. It was my final flyer of the session and it was good, unfortunately we won’t benefit from it, but I will do it again tomorrow. I am definitely looking forward to final qualifying."

7/1/04
Industry News

BMW sales shatter USA record again  The BMW Group (BMW and MINI brands combined) reported an increase of 12.4 percent in June for 27,909 vehicles compared to the 24,820 vehicles sold that month in 2003, making it the third consecutive month of all-time sales records for BMW sales in the U.S. The BMW Group also reported first-half sales of 143,646 vehicles, an increase of 4.8 percent from 137,098 sold in the first six months of 2003

7/1/04


Vintage Racing

Vintage F1 and Champ Cars to invade Road America  More than 40 of the top level of open-wheel race cars are pre-registered to participate in the Brian Redman International Challenge July 14-18, at Road America, according to George Bruggenthies, president and general manager. Formula One (F1) is the featured marque for the event, which also includes a Nickey Chevrolet Reunion and a celebration for 45 Years of Formula Junior Racing. The four-day Super Ticket is $70 until July 7; daily tickets are $10 Thursday, $15 Friday, and $35 Saturday and $35 for Sunday. Children 12 and under are free, as is parking and shuttle rides through the park-like setting. Tickets include access to the paddock, where teams set up for the race weekend. Special temporary garages will be built for the Historic Grand Prix Formula One cars, many of which are in their original livery. More than 20 F1 cars are pre-registered to participate in the event. The Village of Elkhart Lake will host the Road and Track Concours d'Elegance (car show) for race cars on Friday evening and for sports car on Saturday evenings. Vintage cars will line the street of the community both nights. The cars will be judged from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday. Road America will host a Formula Junior (FJ) race on Saturday at 5 p.m. Italy's Count Giovganni Johnny Lurani, established the class to train young drivers for Formula 1 racing. The first FJ championship was in 1959, and the short-lived class was discontinued in 1964. The cars used components from production to foster reliability. Today the cars range in value from $20,000 to $85,000 for the rare models.

7/1/04
Industry News

Strong support for NJ racing complex  UPDATE The Millville, NJ planning board met in special session Tuesday to review and recommend to city commission a seven-page amendment to the zoning ordinance providing for an Airpark Motorsport Entertainment District. No one from the public attended.  It now goes to city commission for approval.   "There was not anything in our zoning ordinance that comes anywhere near reflecting that kind of use," Dr. Kim Warker, planning director, said.   Among other things, it limits major races to six a year on the oval track and permits no night racing on that track   Warker said the proposed motorsports facility is a unique project which combines many different types of uses.  The criteria would include requirements for a minimum of 450 acres, availability of municipal water and sewer, one entity as the owner and a maximum coverage of 75 percent of the tract. A significant amount of trees, vegetation and natural features would have to be maintained.  Permitted uses would be racetracks, offices, conference/convention centers, restaurants, hotels/motels, condos, recreation and entertainment facilities, grandstands, training academies, clubs, public buildings, broadcast towers and parking.  Warker said the limit of six major races on the oval track was set with input from city commission.   We feel that is best in terms of noise, traffic and disruptions," she said. "We don't want that to become a major use of this track."   Board member Jack Myers asked if six were enough.   Derella said it would be because the biggest focus would be on the 4.1-mile road course.   Warker said by Feb. 1 of each year, there must be a schedule of races for that year and an annual schedule of non-motorsports events also must be submitted.  "That allows the restaurants and merchants to be aware of what's coming," Derella said.  6/13/04 - According to National Speed Sport News, the $100 million, 707-acre Millville, New Jersey Motorsports Park received two key regional endorsements within 72 hours of its June 1 announcement. "The vision of this multifaceted project, including the raceway and its myriad complementary businesses, educational institutions, hotels and conference centers, make it a one-of-a-kind project," said The Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey in a statement released Wednesday. "The facility will also attract thousands of tourists to our region."

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

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

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

7/1/04

Junqueira fastest, then crashes  Bruno Junqueira was quickest in the first practice session at Cleveland, but ended the session prematurely when he clouted the concrete at the exit of the final corner and heavily damaged the #6 PacifiCare car. Qualifying gets underway at 3:30pm local/E

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.533 127.351 204.951
2 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.889 126.594 203.733 0.356
3 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 59.900 126.571 203.696 0.367 0.011
4 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.129 126.089 202.920 0.596 0.229
5 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.252 125.832 202.506 0.719 0.123
6 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.717 124.868 200.955 1.184 0.465
7 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.872 124.550 200.443 1.339 0.155
8 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:00.940 124.411 200.220 1.407 0.068
9 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.943 124.405 200.210 1.410 0.003
10 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.992 124.305 200.049 1.459 0.049
11 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.087 124.112 199.738 1.554 0.095
12 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.763 122.753 197.551 2.230 0.676
13 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.807 122.666 197.411 2.274 0.044
14 N. Philippe 17 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.937 122.408 196.996 2.404 0.130
15 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.937 122.408 196.996 2.404
16 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:02.163 121.963 196.280 2.630 0.226
17 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:02.185 121.920 196.211 2.652 0.022
18 O. Servia 11 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:04.595 117.371 188.890 5.062 2.410

7/1/04
NHRA

NHRA implements new rules  In light of Darrell Russell's death in a Top Fuel car accident last weekend at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis, the NHRA announced safety changes effective immediately. Beginning at the next national event -- the Mopar Mile-High Nationals on July 16-18 near Denver -- Top Fuel and Funny Car teams must run a new specification tire and all Top Fuel cars will be required to have roll cage shielding installed. The cause of Russell's accident is still under investigation and no conclusions have been reached, the NHRA said.

7/1/04

Statement from Terrible Tony Stewart  NASCAR has penalized NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart following a garage area incident with fellow driver Brian Vickers after last Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Stewart, driver of the #20 Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, was docked 25 championship points, fined $50,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 18. The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team was also docked 25 owner points. The following is a statement from Tony Stewart: "I understand and accept NASCAR's penalty. With NASCAR's continued growth and their rise in mainstream popularity, I realize their rules have become stricter than they were in the past. And after meeting with Brian France (NASCAR Chairman and CEO), I know it's my job to live within those rules.  I'm putting this incident behind me and I plan no further comments. I'm going to focus on Daytona and the remaining races before the final 10-race run for the championship."  The following is a statement from J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing:  "On behalf of everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, we agree with NASCAR that Tony Stewart's actions after the Sonoma race were unacceptable. We understand the reason for the penalties handed down by NASCAR and we accept their decision."  [Editor's Note: This slap on the wrist by NASCAR substantiates the rumor that NASCAR calls the offenders into the trailer, informs them the miniscule fine they will announce, then pat them on the back on their way out saying "job well done."  You see, NASCAR learned a long time ago that their customers, known as NASCAR Bubbas, and the media, thrive on controversy.  It keeps the juices flowing and the fans coming back for more.  They need good guys and bad guys to play to the fans' heartstrings.  Terrible Tony Stewart is one of their bad guys and ca-ching, NASCAR is laughing all the way to the bank.]

7/1/04

2-seater is one wild ride This AP article is yet another reporter's testimony of how awestruck he was after experiencing a Champ Car 2-seater ride.  "The initial jolt of speed is astounding, catching me off guard as we barrel down a straightaway. About the time I re-taste my meal, we brake going into a right corner with a crushing force unlike anything I'd ever felt before. Carrying a piano might be close.  Glancing at the wall of tires built in case we crash, I wonder how or why anyone does this for a living.

With amazing precision, Tagliani shifts three times before we again blast down the runway. The wind whips my helmet with so much force that I actually wonder if my head is going to be pulled off.  Another time around, and Tagliani brings us back to the starting point. Whew.

He's not done, though, and makes a U-turn. This time, he whips the car through an impossible right-hand turn and an equally jarring left before straightening the car.  The move leaves me breathless and for the first time I get a sense of the skill level of these drivers who must shift, brake, pass and think at 200 mph.  And they do it for 100 laps - not five. And, they do it knowing that one error in judgment could cost them their lives."

7/1/04

NASCAR has a flat tire Saturday night's Pepsi 400 will be Fox's last Nextel Cup telecast of the year, and halfway through the fourth season of NASCAR's television package, ratings are slumping. Fans are confused, irritated and even turning off the TiVo. Despite a delightfully topsy-turvy race at Michigan and Ryan Newman's victory two weekend's ago, ratings were off a whopping 16 percent from last June's race at Michigan. Daytona executives are awaiting the full ratings results from Jeff Gordon's runaway in California on Sunday, and the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend is typically not a very good night for TV ratings......While NASCAR itself has been thriving, the last eight or nine years, the rest of American motorsports hasn't. And Speed is more than just NASCAR.  "I don't think it's so much that racing has been struggling to find an audience as the racing audience in and of itself is very much divided," SPEED Channel's Executive Producer Rick Miner says. "The open-wheel fan is not necessarily the stock-car fan who is not necessarily the motorcycle-racing fan who is not necessarily the sports-car-racing fan.  "At one point I was adamant we were going to bring all these fans together and cross-pollinate this audience so that they experience just the thrill of racing and it didn't matter what was on the track. I don't think I'm so confident that can be done anymore.  "I do think a great finish or a great race will attract a racing fan, even if they're tricycles. But I don't think you're going to force sports-car advocates or open-wheel race fans to become stock-car viewers on a regular basis. I think they'll drop in and see what's going on."  Winston Salem-Journal

7/1/04

Inmates are running the asylum in NASCAR  If the penalty handed down to bad boy Tony Stewart on Wednesday is any indication of what happens when NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France gets serious, then the inmates truly are in control.   France was emphatic in a press conference this week that Stewart was in deep trouble for assaulting fellow driver Brian Vickers following last Sunday's race at Sears Point. "It is a big deal," France told reporters. "His behavior . . . is unacceptable."   So what did NASCAR do? It levied a fine of $50,000 against a guy whose career earnings in the Cup alone exceed $30 million and put him on probation.  Florida Today  Related article: NASCAR's credibility falls further with Stewart penalty.

7/1/04

Gentilozzi: Champ Car not for sale  This Cleveland Plain-Dealer article says, The dream may be reunification, but the business at hand is rebuilding. Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkoven, the three owners of the Open Wheel Racing Series, met last week with Indy Racing League team owner Roger Penske to discuss the future of open-wheel racing.   But Gentilozzi said Wednesday the immediate challenge is making Champ Car vibrant again. So the team owners are not giving up, or giving in.   "What that means is, we will not sell our company and just go away," he said.

Like Penske, Gentilozzi said the purpose of the meeting was information, not reunification. Beyond that, Gentilozzi, like Penske, is keeping those discussions close to the vest. "It would be wrong to do our business in the newspaper," he said. "We have huge respect for Roger Penske, and he was very open to listening. But Champ Car is not for sale, simple as that."

To back up his claim that the series is starting to get its legs after just five months of new life, Gentilozzi announced the U.S. Bank Presents the Grand Prix of Cleveland and the city of Cleveland are partners through 2007. "We're not backing away," Gentilozzi said. "This is a great market. We are committed."

He also said similar announcements will occur at other venues in the coming weeks.

"We've shown people that we are around, that we are stable, and that we are going to be here in the future," he said. "Kevin and Gerry and I all run different kinds of businesses. But the thing we all are is bottom-line guys. This is not a charity. We didn't step forward because we felt like we were saving the whales or the seals or the spotted owls. This is a business. We looked at the assets of Champ Car, we looked at the reputation and the market position it had with the agreements it had and felt that was its strength."

"The other aspect of us, people want to quantify everything we do based on the United States," the Champ Car owner said. "We are really big in Mexico and Canada. When you look at North America, last year we had about 2.6 million spectators buy tickets to our races, which is a million more tickets than our competitor sold, which is a significant amount. Those are hard numbers, published numbers.

"When you look at how many people watch us on TV, everybody focuses on domestic television audience, and that is a nice thing to do. But let's assume on a given week if you do a .7 or .8, a million people watch us in the U.S. But they don't talk about the fact 2.5 million people watch us in Brazil, or 1.5 million in Canada or 2 million in Mexico. On any given weekend, cumulatively, over 5 million people are watching Champ Car on television, somewhere. That's a big number.

"When we compare it, NASCAR has 4 or 5 million watching domestically, but their worldwide audience is a lot smaller. When we compare it to a series like the IRL, we know we have a much bigger worldwide audience."  So while the Internet, HDNet and Spike TV are not mainstream television, to Gentilozzi and Champ Car, for race fans to watch their events at those TV outposts does say there is a market, and a breath of life, for American open-wheel racing. [Editor's Note: Yes, Paul but why not have the best of both worlds - a big TV audience domestically and internationally.  Races need to be on CBS in 2005 - problem solved - sponsors will be happy and potential new consumer oriented sponsors will take notice.]

7/1/04

Big YokeTV announcement  Yoke TV. Com will be making a large announcement tomorrow (scheduled for the morning, could change to afternoon) at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on July 2, 2004. The announcement will discuss the launch of the company with a major announcement.

7/1/04

Formula BMW

AutoRacing1 readers welcome  AutoRacing1.com readers are invited to visit the Jensen Motorsport team transporter for an open house to check out both their Atlantic cars and the Formula BMW's... Fans can get up close and take photos.   The time is Friday from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.  The JENSEN MOTORSPORT transporter is in the Toyota Atlantic / ChampCar paddock... It is white, and will have the Westin & Sheraton crowd barriers out front.

7/1/04

YokeTV.com returns to NASCAR team  Eric McClure, who made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start earlier this season in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, is entered in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona this weekend. The 25 year-old McClure will drive the #04 YOKETV.com and 77sports.com Chevrolet in his second NEXTEL Cup Series event. YOKETV.com is pleased to return as a primary sponsor to Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which began the 2004 season with the YOKE logo embellishing its #4 Chevrolets. In addition, 77sports.com returns after launching its first primary sponsorship outing at McClure's Talladega debut. The #4 car and Jimmy Spencer return to competition at Daytona, where Morgan-McClure Motorsports has five wins. Spencer, who gained his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona on July 2, 1994, will make his 450th career Cup Series start. Brent Meikle, CEO of YOKETV.com, quotes: "I am pleased to be able to announce this resolution with Morgan-McClure and our return to the exciting Nextel Cup series. We have a great deal of confidence in Eric and I want to thank Larry McClure for giving us the time we needed to make a fresh start. While this resolution currently does not include a full season, it paves the way to a 3-year relationship which hopefully will result in our full support for Eric and, in any event, will allow us to work together with the good folks over at Morgan-McClure." Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR

7/1/04

Why a V10 for Champ Car and F1?  If Max Mosley has his way, Formula One is going for a 2.4 liter V8 engine starting in 2008. Until then the V10 will survive, but from 2006 maybe even 2005 onwards, it must have a life span of two weekends. Some speculate BMW will almost certainly retire at the end of 2007 out of protest. They feel F1 should stay a V10 but extend the engine life at to 3 or more race weekends to save money. 

Some speculate BMW could supply V10 engines to the Champ Car series if F1 goes V8 since the USA is its biggest market for selling cars.  Of course Champ Car needs manufacturer support like that which BMW could bring, and we have made the argument repeatedly that Champ Car needs to establish itself as the premier road racing series in North America and, if it wants to sell its product to markets worldwide, it had better look and feel a lot like F1, but at a lower cost.  A V10 implies something more than a V8 (a V8 is far too common and brings connotations of a stock car engine such as those used in passenger cars.), something special, something sexy.  The GP2 series will be a lowly V8 for heaven's sake.

The V8 is the wrong decision for both Champ Car and F1 for a number of reasons,  A V10 for 3 race weekends saves more money than a V8 for one weekend.  A V8 is too close to the new GP2 (new Formula 3000) engines, which will be V8’s with 4 liter capacity, but restricted revs.  How is Champ Car going to sell itself as a premier series to countries when F1's feeder series GP2 will make almost as much HP, be lighter (hence faster), and have the same 8 cylinders?  Ditto for F1.

7/1/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Ralf's out for 'several months'
McLaren to debut 'B spec' at Magny
Brundle to drive F1 Jaguar
'Someone will be killed' - FIA's Mosley
F1 calendar to feature 19 races in '05
Ralf 'considering legal action' - report
Ralf 'will recover' - Frankfurt doctor
Michelin wants to cut 'speeds and costs'
FIA delays engine rule imposition
Williams' car 'looks different' in France
Webber shunned Goodwood for 'tougher challenge'
Jordan and 'hot pit babes' in London  

7/1/04
Industry News

Thompson murder case going to trial  This Pasadena Star-News article says, The former business partner of racing legend Mickey Thompson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he orchestrated the murders of Thompson and Thompson's wife 16 years ago.   Michael Frank Goodwin, 59, made his first court appearance in Los Angeles County dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and glasses. The one-time racing promoter has been in Orange County jail for two- and- a- half years.   Los Angeles County prosecutors agreed earlier this month to take the case after an appellate court ruled Orange County had no jurisdiction over the case.   Thompson, who once set a land- speed record, was shot to death outside his Bradbury home along with his wife Trudy in March 1988. Witnesses said the two killers, who have never been caught, escaped on bicycles.  Thompson and Goodwin had a rocky business relationship in the 1980s that dissolved in a cloud of litigation. Thompson ultimately won a $766,000 judgment against Goodwin, forcing Goodwin to declare bankruptcy.  Goodwin was an early suspect, but detectives were never able to put together enough evidence for Los Angeles County prosecutors to charge him. The Sheriff's detectives took the case to Orange County prosecutors on the theory that Goodwin may have planned the murders from his Orange County home.   An appellate court ruled in April there was insufficient evidence to show the plotting occurred in Orange County. Goodwin would have been released had Los Angeles County not stepped in.   Los Angeles County prosecutors re-examined the evidence, and opted to charge him. They have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty. More....

6/30/04

Stewart rates 5 best Americans in F1  In the June 28, 2004 issue of Sports Illustrated, Jackie Stewart ranks the five best ever Americans in F1.  He called Dan Gurney the hands-down best ever American in F1 and Mario Andretti the best driver in the world in the late 70's.

1.  Dan Gurney - 4 wins, 0 World Championships

2.  Mario Andretti - 12 wins, 1 World Championship

3.  Phil Hill - 3 wins, 1 World Championship

4.  Eddie Cheever - 0 wins, 0 World Championships

5.  Danny Sullivan - 0 wins, 0 World Championships

What about Peter Revson Jackie, who won F1 races before being killed driving for McLaren while in his prime?

6/30/04

Bernie reserves 19 2005 F1 dates  "Bernie Ecclestone has, as it were, booked 19 weekends but it's by no means sure that there will be 19 races," FIA President Max Mosley told Reuters. "He would have to get our agreement for that, which would not be automatic. We have to give our consent for it to be more than 16 races. And you have to get the agreement of the teams.   "But it was sensible to block those dates so that you wouldn't then get, for example, a round of the world rally championship that conflicted."

2005 dates blocked for the 2005 FIA Formula One Championship
March 6th
March 20th
April 3rd
April 17th
April 24th
May 8th
May 22nd
June 5th
June 12th
June 26th
July 3rd
July 17th
July 31st
August 21st
September 4th
September 11th
September 25th
October 9th
October 23rd

6/30/04

HANS Device saved Massa  UPDATE We have added this AP photo which shows how violent Massa's head-on crash with the barriers in Montreal was.  At 113g's you can imagine what would have happened to his neck.  Can you say Basil Skull Fracture and instant death?  BTW, if that was a concrete wall instead of tire barriers, the g's would have easily exceeded 200.  6/30/04 - The  mandatory HANS device (developed and perfected in the USA in the Champ Car Series first) saved Brazilian Felipe Massa from death or serious injury in his high-speed  shunt in the Canadian Grand Prix last month.   That is the view of FIA head Max Mosley, who maintains that the 113g impact sustained by the Sauber driver when he ploughed into the tire barrier at the Montreal circuit’s hairpin could have been fatal but for the HANS (Head And Neck Support) device.  Mosley said: “If he hadn’t been wearing HANS and had all the latest gear in place, he’d have probably hit the steering wheel very substantially – in excess of what we believe to be the limit for injury, in fact. So we think he might have been badly hurt or possibly worse.”

6/30/04

Stewart fined, docked points  Tony Stewart has been fined $50,000, penalized 25 driver championship points and placed on probation until Aug. 18, resulting from a post-race altercation with fellow driver Brian Vickers last Sunday at Infineon Raceway. In addition, Joe Gibbs, owner of the No. 20 Chevrolets driven by Stewart, has been penalized 25 car owner championship points. The point penalty drops Stewart one spot in the series standings, to sixth place. Stewart was found in violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in altercation with another competitor). “This action we’ve taken speaks for itself,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Tony Stewart is well aware of what is expected of him going forward."  NASCAR PR

6/30/04

#77 crew chief fined  Shane Wilson, crew chief for the #77 Dodge driven by Brendan Gaughan, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. He was found in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel cell container modification). NASCAR PR

6/30/04
Industry News

Thieves steal from kids camp  Missing: two children, 6 feet tall, with metallic complexions and a combined weight of several hundred pounds. Police have few clues, but one thing is certain. The kids didn’t run away. Thieves boosted a bronze statue from the Victory Junction Gang Camp late Monday or early Tuesday, less than two weeks after the Petty racing family opened their camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Administrators reported the theft to Randolph County sheriff’s deputies about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. “Just the brazenness of it,” said executive director Brian Collier. “We’re in a neighborhood, and they pulled right up, took the statue and made off. You can’t get any lower, to me, than stealing from a children’s camp, especially children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.” The statue, which was beside a gatehouse at the camp’s front entrance, depicts two children playing leap frog. It is about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Deputies are investigating the theft and have no suspects or leads. Camp officials were trying Tuesday to contact the art gallery that donated the statue to determine its value. Collier said a rough estimate is between $7,000 and $10,000. “I just hope that someone either took it and returns it, or they know who took it and they turn it in,” he said. Anyone with information is being asked to call Detective Brian Arrington at 336-318-6699 or Randolph County Crimestoppers at (800) 672-2530 News and Record

6/30/04

Michelin proposal to reduce speeds  Michelin makes proposals to control performances in F1, while reducing Teams' operational costs by over 50% and making the racing more interesting.  Following today's announcement by the FIA that the Formula One Technical Working Group has been asked to propose measures to reduce the performance of F1 cars, Michelin offers a number of proposals, as it stated it would in the company's press release of May 7, 2004.  Michelin feels that its proposals are very much in line with the FIA's main objectives for the future. These objectives are to control performances by reducing cornering speeds for reasons of safety, to offer a very substantial reduction in costs through the virtual elimination of tire testing, and to improve the racing spectacle without introducing artificial rules.   After consultation with its partner teams Michelin produced various proposals which are listed below. The company feels that these proposals could be introduced from as early as 2005.

The proposals made by Michelin are:

  • the use of one set of tires for qualifying and the entire race;

  • between four sets and two sets of dry tires to be available for each driver per weekend, available in one or two types;

  • supply of same specification prime and same specification option for all teams;

  • six sets per team for each test day (with a recommendation for a drastic reduction in testing during the F1 season, to be decided by either the Team Principals or the FIA);

"We believe that the FIA's objectives can be met by implementing these proposals," said Michelin Competition Director, Pierre Dupasquier. "Firstly, to be able to provide tires that last much longer, we will be obliged to use much harder compounds, which in turn will be less "grippy", thus reducing speeds. Secondly, to seriously reduce costs, testing must be limited. This can be complemented by providing fewer tires, so the amount of testing would be further reduced.  I'm sure there can be a saving in Teams' operational costs of over 50%. And finally, these 'hard' tires will leave less rubber on the track, making the 'dirty' line a thing of the past and therefore encouraging overtaking, something everybody around F1 wants."

Michelin Group Chairman and CEO, Edouard Michelin added, "Our proposals offer a triple benefit: an increase in safety, a reduction in costs and an improvement to the racing spectacle - particularly by having more overtaking. These proposals therefore both respond positively to the wishes of the FIA and also allow teams the freedom to choose their tire supplier; a freedom that is at the very heart of the companies involved in Formula One. Michelin is therefore happy to continue to work with its partners and the F1 Technical Working Group in order to find the best way forward."  Michelin

6/30/04

ALMS visits Manhattan   American Le Mans Series race cars were on display in New York City on Wednesday as the inaugural American Le Mans Series "Festival of Speed" took place at the World Financial Center-Winter Garden in lower Manhattan.  ALMS racing teams and drivers were in the New York area in advance of the July 2-5 New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in nearby Lakeville, Conn. More with Photos.......

6/30/04

Champ Car World Series LLC To Race In Cleveland Through 2007 Season  The Burke Lakefront Airport course has been a fixture on the Champ Car circuit since Medina’s Bobby Rahal won the inaugural event in 1982, and today in Cleveland, Champ Car World Series co-owner Paul Gentilozzi, along with Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, announced that the series has committed to race on the shores of Lake Erie through the 2007 season.

“I am thrilled that the Champ Car World Series will continue its successful racing event in the City of Cleveland,” said Mayor Campbell. “Keeping Champ Car in Cleveland not only benefits racing fans, but it also brings in millions of dollars in economic development revenue for the City and our residents.”

As one of the longest-running temporary road courses on the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford calendar, the U.S. Bank Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland has provided fans, teams and drivers of the Champ Car World Series with a number of thrilling events in the last 22 years.

“Cleveland is a place that really started Champ Car on the path of staging successful events at temporary racing facilities, something that has helped us take racing to the heart of major urban markets,” Gentilozzi said. “As an owner as well as a competitor, this track and this city are very special to me and I feel that the support we have always gotten from the Cleveland fans made this announcement possible.”

The series has assumed an agreement from former race promoter IMG, which gives Champ Car the rights to conduct a race in Cleveland for at least three more years beyond this weekend. This year’s event is the 23rd race to be run at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport and is being promoted by Champ Car, which has put a veteran staff in place to organize the event, led by General Manager Rena Shanaman. The efforts of the staff have led to unprecedented support from local businesses, city and county officials and major corporations, all working together to give the racing fans of Ohio the best possible show when the Champ Car World Series comes to town July 1-3.

“This is a tremendous event for the City of Cleveland as well as for Champ Car and we could not be happier with the way the local leaders have contributed to its success,” Shanaman said. “The Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and her staff, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of Greater Cleveland, U.S. Bank, Bridgestone and many others have come forward and really supported this event this year and we look forward to giving the fans of Cleveland a great race this weekend and for years to come.

6/30/04

Former Champ Car great retires  One of the top competitors ever to grace a Champ Car grid called it a career Wednesday when two-time Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Al Unser Jr. announced his retirement for open-wheel racing in Indianapolis.

The 1990 and 1994 Champ Car title winner retired 22 years after making his Champ Car debut with a fifth-place finish at Riverside, ending a career that left him among the most well-known and accomplished racers in the sport’s history. The Albuquerque, New Mexico native won 31 Champ Car races, second in Modern Era history (1979-present) and sixth in the 95-year history of major-league open-wheel racing. He holds a share of the Champ Car Modern Era records for most wins in a season and most consecutive victories and finished in the top five in the season standings 11 times.

“Al was a great champion and was a master of race craft because he was never a great qualifier, but was always a guy you had to watch on Race Day,” said fellow Champ Car title winner Jimmy Vasser, who is just five starts away from equaling Unser’s record of 192 consecutive Champ Car starts. “It was an honor to compete against him. His legacy in the sport is well earned.”

Al won a record six times at Long Beach, four times at Vancouver, and three times in Cleveland and Portland including his first-ever Champ Car win in 1984 in a race where he climbed from 10th to take the victory. He made the last of his 273 Champ Car starts in 1999 with a seventh-place run at Fontana and scored his final Champ Car victory in 1995 in typical fashion, charging from his ninth-place starting spot to win in Vancouver.  Champ Car Related Story

6/30/04

Zanardi on Cleveland  "Cleveland to me is a super, super place; just fantastic! It's not a permanent track it's what we call a street circuit but its layout is in an airport and you can easily imagine how cool it is to race on runways. The track promotes a lot of overtaking possibilities during the race because the course is very wide. It's quite bumpy, but for me is a fantastic place that brings back many memories. In 1997 I had a fantastic race, one of my overall favorite, because I was basically dead last and I was able to recover, also thanks to a great race car, all the positions and took the lead from Gil de Ferran with 2 laps to go. I would love to race back in Cleveland even if it's going to be almost impossible for me now. Cleveland is also a very special place for the fans because you have great advantage points from which you can dominate the entire track. Overall Cleveland rocks!"

6/30/04
Industry News

Zanardi meets Flag Marshal amputee  On Sunday morning in Donington Park, during the autograph session, Alessandro Zanardi met Steve Tarrant, an amputee motorsport marshal. Four years ago, Tarrant lost his right leg when he was hit by a racing car during the 2000 Goodwood Festival of Speed; an accident that cost the lives of the driver, John Dawson-Damer, and another marshal, Andy Carpenter.  "He sent me a few messages right after my accident, which were both moving and encouraging. And when he contacted me again a few months ago, saying that he wished to meet me personally at Donington, I was very pleased," Zanardi said. "For me this was a great emotion. Both Alex and I we love our sport very much, and we are still participating despite what happened to us. Life's going on, this is our passion and we've got to live it," added Steve Tarrant, who runs a website on his own career:

6/30/04
Industry News

The Glen announces staffing changes  Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust announced today the promotion of three individuals within the track's marketing and communications department. Andy Longenberger will now serve as Corporate Sales Manager, while Ryan Mosher has been named Corporate Sales Executive. Rust also named Eiron Jones Public Relations Manager of the historic road course.  Julie Giese, Director of Public Relations at Watkins Glen International and Nazareth Speedway, has been named Director of Communications at Daytona International Speedway.

6/30/04

Caution light snafu at Richmond was human error  The caution lights at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) which remained on during a last-lap restart in Saturday's IRL race, are controlled by a switch in the flag stand. IRL Senior Vice President of Operations Brian Barnhart said the lights didn't turn off for Saturday's last-lap restart because the flagman didn't flip the switch. RIR workers still rechecked the lights Sunday morning to ensure the problem wasn't mechanical. RIR President Doug Fritz said the system "went on and off 40 to 50 times flawlessly."

6/30/04

First NASCAR team to bring 2nd female driver  Jay Robinson Racing will make history this weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Tina Gordon will make her debut with the #39 Yahoo! Ford team in Friday night’s Winn-Dixie 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at the 2.5-mile speedway, and will be in the driver’s seat the rest of the 2004 season. At that point, Jay Robinson Racing will be the first team in NASCAR history to have placed two female drivers in full-time driving roles. Tammy Jo Kirk was in a full-time driving role for Robinson last season. Gordon is a 33-year-old native of Cedar Bluff, Ala.

“We’re excited to bring someone with Tina Gordon’s potential to our race team. Besides her obvious future as a driver, she is a great fit for the team and for our sponsors,” said team owner Jay Robinson. “This will also give us some continuity with a driver for the Yahoo! team, which should help us on the track as well.” Gordon comes to the Yahoo! Ford team from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but also brings strong experience credentials from the weekly short tracks of Alabama, the same tracks that spawned racing legends such as Davey Allison, and helped build legends such as Bobby and Donnie Allison, Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett.

“The tradition of racing in Alabama is important to me, and I want to help carry on that heritage,” Gordon said. “Being able to work with a consistent team such as Jay Robinson Racing and a cutting-edge sponsor like Yahoo! is important to my career and to my development as a driver.”

Microtel Inn and Suites, which has received the J.D. Power & Associates award for highest guest satisfaction the past two years, and Vasarette, a top of the line lingerie manufacturer, will join Jay Robinson Racing as associate sponsors on the #39 Yahoo! Ford. Jay Robinson Racing, in its fourth season of operation, is one of the fastest-growing teams in NASCAR. Robinson, a Charlotte, N.C., native who is a successful businessman, founded the team as a high-value endeavor that offers high-end equipment and efforts, while proving to be one of the most cost-efficient teams in the sport. Robinson fields two sponsored cars fulltime on the Busch Series: the #39 Yahoo! Ford and the #49 Advil Ford, and runs a third car in many Busch Series events.

6/30/04

Giese named by Daytona Speedway  Julie Giese, Director of Public Relations at Watkins Glen International and Nazareth Speedway, has been named Director of Communications at Daytona International Speedway, President Robin Braig announced today. Giese, who will begin her new duties at the "World Center of Racing" in September, will be responsible for advertising and promotions, continuing to develop sports car, motorcycle and go-kart events and helping coordinate pre-race and post-race activities. "Julie has been instrumental in the success at Watkins Glen and we're looking forward to her joining an already talented team at Daytona," Braig said. Giese, a native of Wisconsin, joined Watkins Glen in January 2001 as Manager of Public Relations. In May 2003, she was named Director of Public Relations for Watkins Glen and Nazareth Speedway. Prior to joining Watkins Glen International, Giese served as a Public Relations Account Executive at Miller Meester Advertising, located in Minneapolis, Minn., for two years. At Miller Meester, Giese developed and implemented the public relations accounts for Cargill, Inc. and BASF Corporation, along with working to maintain and write content for several racing-orientated Web sites. Giese is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Marketing.

6/30/04

Casey Mears to appear on Days of our Lives  NASCAR driver Casey Mears will appear on NBC’s “Days of our Lives” as himself at 1:00pm

6/30/04

Shanghai street circuit completed  Autosport Magazine reports that work has already been completed on the new street circuit in Shanghai that will host a non-championship DTM race in two weeks’ time.  Race promoter the Brilliant Culture Group attended last weekend’s Norisring race. BCG’s Maggie Ip said: “The circuit, including all the hospitality facilities, was constructed entirely within just 30 days. The track is finished already and the stands can accommodate 22,000 spectators.”  Ip and a delegation from China confirmed that they hoped the race would have a long-term future if the inaugural event is a success.  [Editor's Note: Champ Car could have been racing on this very same circuit, though it would have required the erection of more grandstands.  In this story from our archives, we show the layout that was proposed to Champ Car under Chris Pook's reign, but never materialized.  Here is a 2nd story on Shanghai]

6/30/04

Gene to replace Ralf  The BMW WilliamsF1 Team confirmed that the team's official test and reserve driver, Marc Gené, would replace Ralf Schumacher at this weekend's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. After a high speed accident at Indianapolis ten days ago, doctors have confirmed that Ralf Schumacher has sustained two fractures in his spinal column, and will require a recovery period of up to twelve weeks. It is not clear when Ralf will be fit to race again. In the light of yesterday's medical diagnosis, future decisions regarding driver nominations will be taken at a later date.  Williams BMW

6/30/04

Cleveland course leaves drivers gasping for air  This Cleveland Plain Dealer article says, While many racers ride bikes and run in preparation for race day, Sebastien Bourdais gets in the swim when he prepares to race in the Grand Prix of Cleveland.

"What makes it difficult here is, first it's very hot. Then you hold your breath for like half a lap, because the turns are so long and so bumpy," he said. "If you are breathing, you're just gonna . . . well, you physically can't do that. So, turns are so long that it's like six seconds without breathing.

"Every time you go through a fast turn, or big braking, you have do that.

"I have a special training thing just for that. I'm swimming, I [swim] one line underneath [the water], one line coming back recovering, one line underneath. It's like 20-20, or 20-30. The faster the corner is, the shorter the time is [you hold your breath]. The problem is, in Cleveland, the straight lines are limited. That is why it is very difficult.

"Like the turn one chicane," he said. "You hold your breath for the braking, then after you come out of that you are right into your approach into turn two and turn three and four. All that time, forget about breathing. It's not happening. You get a very small break, then you do it all again, five and six, then a small one [breath] between six and seven, then seven and eight you just stop breathing again. You have a decent break after than, but then the fast chicane. Then it starts all over again.

"That's what makes this track so demanding. When you are not giving oxygen to your body, when you have to give something to your muscles, well, you are always in debt. After three laps, you're like [panting].'"

6/30/04

Only Tony George can end Open Wheel sputtering  This Cleveland Plain Dealer article says, Yes, there was a meeting. Several power brokers in the land of open-wheel racing met last week offering hope that, somewhere in the future, a near 10-year split between the Indy Racing League and what is now labeled the Open Wheel Racing Series can become one once again.

Can it happen? Hey, anything is possible. Will it happen? Recent history says no way.

Kudos to IRL team owner Roger Penske and the OWRS/Champ Car owners - Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkoven - for taking the necessary step of instigating dialogue. They met last week in person, after first having a conference call, for what was essentially a ground-breaking session. "I thought it was good conversation, but I don't have anything to report," Penske said in published reports. We basically talked philosophy . . . we didn't discuss concessions." He said the spirit of the talks was to "come up with something where no one loses and everyone wins."

However, listen to the major player, IRL President Tony George: "I am totally out of the loop on this one," George said in a published report over the weekend. "It's hard to conduct negotiations by yourself."

There was no split until George made one, starting the IRL as a grass-roots, cost-conscious oval racing series. There will be no healing until George puts it back together. Perhaps nearly a decade of division has George and Champ Car looking at the sport in a new, albeit much dimmer, light. If so, there is hope.

Understand, after George, the initial IRL power brokers - John Menard, A.J. Foyt, Ron Hemelgarn and several others - have been relegated to being pawns, if not pushed out completely, as George's original grass-roots, hands-on All-American philosophy has gone high finance, corporate and international.

The strongest IRL teams are almost all former members of Champ Car's predecessor, Championship Auto Race Teams. Many, including Penske, were founding fathers of CART. Having lived on both sides of the fence, Penske obviously knows the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of both.

6/30/04

Paul Newman finds plenty of room for optimism  This Cleveland Plain Dealer article says, There's no doubt that those who have lived through the last few years on the CART and Champ Car circuits have seen some bleak mornings and stormy nights.  But team owner/actor Paul Newman said that's part of the past, not the future.

"The last couple of years have been tough," Newman said in a recent telephone interview. "It's not because the fans have lost their loyalty, and I must say we have them to thank for us still being in business. But the teams that have deserted Champ Car because they've been paid a lot of money to go race someplace else has been hard to overcome."

That exodus led to the bankruptcy of Championship Auto Racing Teams and opened the door for new leadership and the new Champ Car brand name. Despite the defections, Newman, half of the Newman/Haas race team, has not budged from the ranks. Now, instead of talking about a series going under, he speaks of one on the rise.

"The venues we have to race at both this year and next year are very positive," he said. "I think the promotions are good, I think we'll have more sponsors next year and we may find some guys coming back from other series to join us."

"The tradition for road racing in America goes way, way back to the beginning of the century," he said. "I've road-raced myself and have always admired the discipline. Road racing and street racing are in the same tradition of Formula One. The technology in Champ Car is amazing as well. You know, these cars will stick to the ceiling at 140 mph."

"Well, I guess it's the fans. The fans have always been so loyal to street racing and road racing. I mean, look at Cleveland. They really get out and support the race in a way they are not supporting IRL. If the fans keep supporting us, we'll be there for them."

"I think road racing fans are a lot more committed than other race fans," Newman said. "I can remember some hot, miserable, humid rainy days racing in Cleveland. And the fans always came."

"We've run a lot of races there, but that has been a bad-luck track for us," Newman said. "We have fewer wins there [three] than almost any track we go to. It's a very, very demanding track. That's the only track where I ever saw Mario [Andretti] get out of the car and just sit down. I never saw that happen very often."

6/30/04

Pollard moves to Sam Schmidt Motorsports  Brad Pollard will drive the No. 64 XBOX entry for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series beginning with the Aventis Racing for Kids 100 on July 3 at Kansas Speedway. Pollard competed in the final two events of the 2003 season with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, but began this season driving for Kenn Hardley Racing. He finished fifth at Homestead-Miami and recorded 11th-place finishes at Phoenix and Indianapolis. The relationship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports will allow Pollard to team with Thiago Medeiros and Arie Luyendyk Jr. who rank first and third, respectively, in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series points standings. "Kenn Hardley runs a great organization with quality people and was a great owner to work with and drive for," Pollard said. "As I learn at this new level, I struggled to communicate exactly how I needed the car to be set up to go fast. "I tested with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last year, and had a great working chemistry with his team. We approached Sam and he agreed to run me the remainder of this year and to help me learn to better communicate with the team. I'm also very excited about the opportunity to drive with guys like Thiago (Medeiros) and Arie (Luyendyk Jr.), just as I was to drive with Billy Roe." Pollard, who was the 2002 Southwest Formula Mazda Rookie of the Year, will also draw upon Schmidt's experience as a former driver and owner in the IRL IndyCar Series® as he strives for that level. "Sam will be a tremendous resource as I learn to communicate with the team and can provide a smooth transition for me when I make the step up to the IndyCar Series," Pollard said.

6/30/04

McLaren confirms new car for French GP  The Mercedes powered McLaren team have today confirmed that they will be introducing their heavily revised 2004 F1 car, the MP4-19B at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours this coming weekend.

"The entire team is continuously working to improve our overall package and whilst the MP4-19B is a significant part of this process additional developments are already planned for the coming weeks and months,” said McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh.

The Mobil 1 French Grand Prix is actually the mid-point of the 2004 season and regular driver David Coulthard can’t wait to take to the French track in the new car…

“I am looking forward to the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix, partly because it is an event that I particularly enjoy, but primarily because we are using the MP4-19B for the first time. After the two North American races, we returned to Europe to continue our test program at Jerez with the MP4-19B. It was my first opportunity to get behind the wheel and it was a constructive couple of days,” he said. “As with the rest of the team, I feel it is a positive move and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes this weekend.”

“Similar to circuits such as Monaco and Nurburgring, Magny Cours is more of a technical circuit than a full power track. This characteristic tends to suit my driving style and I have had some excellent battles here that were hopefully as enjoyable for the fans as myself! My victory in 2000 is without a doubt one of my career highlights. The circuit itself has a very smooth track surface, this allows low ride heights and therefore leads to low mechanical grip.”

“Following the United States Grand Prix, myself and the team again felt that the result of the race didn’t fully demonstrate our potential, but that is racing. We are now focused on the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix, where David and myself are racing with the MP4-19B. It has run well in testing and I hope that it will run as reliably in the race as it did at Jerez,” added teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

“Magny Cours is a mix of low speed hairpins, fast chicane and medium speed corners. There is one main high speed section, from Estoril to Adelaide. It’s crucial to drive the long, fast sweep of Estoril flat out without lifting, so that you have as much speed as possible as you swing round onto the fast section to power towards the hairpin in order to get a quick lap time. It is also a great corner to drive, as it allows you to really push the limits.”

6/30/04

Cleveland pre-race Hot-Topics  US Bank Presents the Grand Prix of Cleveland (HDNet, 5 p.m. Eastern Time, July 3; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, July 4), is Round 5 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a current round-up of the latest Champ Car news, trends to follow, names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing heads to the 2.106-mile temporary road course on Burke Lakefront Airport.  Champ Car Hot Topics | Toyota Atlantic Hot Topics

6/30/04

F1 stars to honor Gonzalo Rodriguez  A number of Formula 1 drivers have confirmed that they will be attending an event at Monza this September to remember the Uruguayan racer Gonzalo Rodriguez. The Formula 3000 driver was killed at the wheel of a Penske Racing Lola Indycar in the autumn of 1999 while practicing for the Laguna Seca CART event, as part of his plan to build a career for himself in the United States of America, having been unable to find the money to get into F1.

The Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation was established in 2000 and is now supporting the sporting activities of thousands of children in Uruguayan state schools. The foundation introduced a series of awards in Formula 3000 to help to draw attention to this work and this year the third Winning Attitude Awards will be held at Monza. It is expected that Fernando Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Webber, Marc Gene, Giorgio Pantano, Zsolt Baumgartner, Antonio Pizzonia, Bjorn Wirdheim and Ricardo Zonta will all attend the event.  Grandprix.com

6/30/04

Ralf's back is broken, another concrete oval track wall victim  How many broken backs, legs, heads, necks, arms, etc. have we seen as a result of a driver hitting a concrete wall on an oval track?  Although F1 only uses 1/3 of the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the oval has claimed yet another victim.  Ralf Schumacher could be out of action for three months after tests found that the Williams driver sustained two fractures to his vertebrae when he crashed in the recent USGP. The German crashed into the Turn 1 wall (Turn 1 of the oval track) backwards at the fastest corner of the Indianapolis racetrack where there was no SAFER Barrier.  "The diagnosis is a hammer blow," Schumacher admitted to German newspaper Die Bild. "The injury is worse than we originally feared, but there is nothing I can do now but try to get through it. I am already looking forward to the moment where I can sit in the car again.“

6/30/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Coulthard for Regent Street parade
'I've got to make a choice' - Mark Webber
BAR's 'Ant' hopes to emulate Raikkonen
Ralf's in 'no condition' to race - doctors
'Pizzonia-saga' won't happen to Klien
'I put a barrier between me and my Dad' - Jacques
Mosley 'willing to compromise' - report
Ferrari backs decision to keep one-lap qualifying
'Formula One Group' to open Swiss office
BAR often 'better than us' - Jarno Trulli
'My feet' to blame for unhurried start - Rubens
Michelin to go 'extremely well' - Button
Sauber vow to attack McLaren might
Ralf's out for 'several months'
McLaren to debut 'B spec' at Magny
Brundle to drive F1 Jaguar  

  Much More...click on 2004 archives button below
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