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DATE

News (chronologically)

7/12/04

Economaki named Grand Marshal   VIRginia International Raceway is pleased to announce that legendary motorsports journalist Chris Economaki has been named Grand Marshal of the 2004 VIR 400, the 10th of 12 rounds in the 2004 Grand American Road Racing Association’s Rolex Sports Car Series which will take place over the weekend of October 1-3. The editor and publisher emeritus of National Speed Sport News, the 83-year-old Economaki is generally known as the "Dean of American Motorsports Journalists". He has worked with National Speed Sport News since its founding in 1934

7/12/04

Spencer leads Brickyard 400 test   Jimmy Spencer, the 2001 Brickyard 400 pole winner, was fastest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   Spencer, driving the No. 4 Wide Open Energy Drink Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, turned a lap of 50.4155 seconds, 178.517 mph on a sunny and humid day in Indianapolis with temperatures reaching 86 degrees.  More....

7/12/04

Access Motorsports hires Mark Taylor   [Editor's Note:  Mark Taylor was recently fired by Panther Racing because he crashed all the time and Access Motorsports could not pay their engine bills and were shut down by Honda.  A marriage of the two formed today - Access Motorsports took Mark Taylor's money (or someone's money), paid their Honda bill, and presto, the team is back in business.]  Greg Ray, owner of Access Motorsports, is pleased to announce signing Mark Taylor, the 26-year-old British IRL Rookie to compete in the remaining nine races of the Indy Racing League series.  Despite missing the last event in Kansas, Taylor who won seven IPS races in 2004, currently lies 3rd in the Rookie Championship standings, just 44 points behind Kosuke Matsuura and 15 points behind Ed Carpenter. With 50 points available for victory and nine races in hand, Taylor is still within reach of the goal.  Greg Ray - Former 1999 IRL Champion, 2000 Indy 500 Polesitter and Team Owner of Access Motorsports – “Mark’s pace and learning curve have been impressive to date; he’s run near the front all year and recently qualified 3rd at Richmond. There’s no doubt this kid is quick. We have been working with University Loft, one of our sponsors, in establishing many new distribution networks in the U.S. and Internationally. University Loft distribution partners in Europe and the UK are very excited and have been instrumental in creating this opportunity for Mark and the Access Motorsports Team,” said Ray.  “Away from the cockpit temporarily, I have decided to focus my time and energy on the business that will ensure our growth to be a healthy and competitive two-car program for 2005. I look forward to building the personal working relationship with Mark very quickly, as we could be teammates next season. We know Mark has the raw talent, that is without question. With awesome Honda engines and the G Force chassis, we know we have the best tools for Mark to continue his winning ways he demonstrated when dominating last years IPS Series,” concluded Ray.  Mark Taylor – “I am delighted to be back in the IRL with Access Motorsports for the rest of this season. I have already had my seat fitting and the team is very committed to achieving some good results in the nine races we have left to run. I am very excited to run the Honda-powered G-Force chassis for the rest of the year and I would like to thank Greg Ray very much for this opportunity. I’m totally re-energized and focused on winning the Rookie of the Year Title,” stated Taylor. Mark will also be re-united with his lucky car number 13, the number that he ran with as an 8-year-old in Cadet karting, through to his Formula Ford successes of 2000.

7/12/04

Is Trans-Am doing a disappearing act? A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, A question about Trans-Am: 13 cars in Cleveland, 11 in Toronto. Isn’t it about time you posted a little article about what is happening? You mention that the Champ Cars will join Trans-Am in Puerto Rico. At this rate the only Trans-Am cars we’ll see in Puerto Rico will be some low riders in the city streets. Jeff Skinner, Northridge, CA  Dear Jeff, There isn't a lot of factory support in Trans-Am, and like most racing series w/o factory support, they wither away.  Broadcasts on Spike TV are so low the series has become invisible.  With SPEED World Challenge out there getting some decent PR, the market is oversaturated with saloon style racing.  If you think about it, almost all forms of motorsports in the USA are in an oversaturated state, hence all are floundering while Nextel Cup solidifies its monopoly on American motorsports.  The France family must be laughing all the way to the bank.  Mark C.

7/12/04

Shanghai update  A new era for Chinese motorsport began on Sunday 6th June when the International Circuit held its inaugural event, the first round of the China Circuit Championship, together with a demonstration by Ferrari. Shanghai Vice Mayor, Yang Xiaodu was joined at the event by Shanghai International Circuit President Mr Mao Xiaohan, Ferrari Managing Director Jean Todt and Martin Leach, the CEO of Maserati. Watched by 32,000 enthusiastic fans, former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger drove the first ever lap by a Formula One car in mainland China, in the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship-winning Ferrari F2003.GA. This was followed by a spectacular parade lap of 55 road-going Ferraris and Maseratis, led by F1 test driver Luca Badoer, adding further glamour to the occasion.   More....

7/12/04

Huge TV ratings for F1 in Germany & Italy  RTL Germany had 11 million peek viewers for Sunday's British GP, and averaged for the race 9.75 million, 50.5% market share.  This is up significantly over last year's race which saw 8,24 million/46.2 Share viewers tuned in.  In Italy Rai Uno had 10.8 million people watching with 65.5% share

7/12/04

Drivers criticize Champ Car officials, Tagliani explodes over black flags  This Toronto Star article says, The color on Alex Tagliani's face said it all. His face turning red, Tagliani lashed out at several drivers and Champ Car officials after a wild seventh-place finish in the Toronto Indy yesterday.  "I don't know how we got black flagged twice. C'mon, we have a lot of in-car video to prove our points. I want to know why."................."Tracy took out Wilson, and when I clipped him (Wilson) in the nose (front end of car), he was pointing in the opposite direction because of Tracy," Tagliani said.  "Our replays showed I (wasn't responsible) for touching anyone at that stage, so we're very confused." ................"There's supposed to be no blocking ... I got passed (when he was momentarily in third place) by Jimmy Vasser because I was blocked ... Gonzalez was all over the track, and then I hit Wilson on the nosepiece ... I don't know what's going on anymore," said Tagliani, whose description of the same was filled with profanity and shouting once the media dispersed.  [Editor's Note: 4 or 5 drivers had harsh words for Champ Car officials after the race.  In many cases a better call could be made if more camera angles were available.  The TV viewers would also see a better race with more TV cameras covering the action.]

7/12/04

Jaskol takes Toronto win  Red Bull racer Matt Jaskol made the most of his debut race in Formula Renault competition as he dueled his way to a thrilling victory ahead of Ontario native Brandon Thomas to win round four of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship, held in support of the Champ Car Molson Indy Toronto event. 

Eurointernational’s Juan Martin Ponte took third position to move atop the championship standings once again after pole sitter and championship leader Mark Wilkins of Toronto was eliminated by contact from the race while leading a dramatic race, which saw three different leaders and fierce battles all through the order on the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit.

Jaskol, who had never previously raced a Formula Renault, and had also never raced on a street circuit before, drove a smart race as he was patient in the early stages of the race, and turned on the speed when it counted to take a 1.478-second victory over Western Union’s Thomas, who was in fine form all weekend as he scored his first podium finish of the season.

“This is absolutely a fantastic race car to drive, and an unbelievable result for Red Bull and Autotecnica,” said a champagne-soaked Jaskol. “I had a blast out there racing wheel to wheel with these guys. I had to be patient at the beginning, and the race really just came to me. I had a great battle with Thomas for the lead, and from there, I just tried to pull out as much of a gap as I could to take the win.”

Second place finisher Thomas was pleased with the result, but was wishing he’d had a little bit more for Jaskol.

“Second is okay, I guess, but of course, I wish I could have held Matt off a little bit longer-maybe until the finish!” a smiling Thomas said. “But this is a great result for Western Union, and to do well at home is so rewarding, I can’t wait to do some more street racing again soon.”

7/12/04
Industry News

SAFER Wall for part of Dover only  SAFER walls will line the inside of the backstretch at Dover International Speedway when the Nextel Cup Series returns for the MBNA America 400 on Sept. 26.   However, Jerry Dunning, senior vice president and general manager of motorsports for Dover, said the outside walls in all four turns will not have the barriers installed until after the track's fall race weekend.   Civil engineering professor Dr. Dean Sicking and his team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are still conducting tests to determine how best to install the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers at the high-banked, one-mile oval.   "Right now we are planning to do [the turns] over the winter since the engineering is not complete," Dunning said. "After the September race, all of the engineering team will be back and all the key decisions will be made."  Delaware Online

7/12/04

Stewart comments on Kahne accident    The controversy was pretty uneventful. We took two tires on the first stop and got the lead because of it, and had a really strong car even with the two tires. So we knew track position was going to be important. As far as the deal with the 9, I’m waiting for somebody to tell me what happened, because I got a real good run on the restart down by the 40 car and got back in line behind him and didn’t even try to pass Kasey but as we came out to the wall his car wiggled for some reason, this is before I even got to him. I don’t know if he was shifting or missed a shift or what happened.   The next thing I knew, I already stopped my momentum of catching up and all of the sudden he backed up to us. We ran into the back of him, I don’t think it was my fault I ran into him but I don’t know why he backed up. I don’t know what caused him to check up. You know a wreck would have tore us up easier than it tore him up in all reality, so it’s not something I was expecting by any means. He had a pretty good run, he had pulled away from the 40 car and somebody said the 88 got pinched or something. So, I don’t know, I haven’t seen the tape for it to see what happened.

7/12/04
F3000

Liuzzi wins yet again  Vitantonio Liuzzi scored his fifth win from six races at Silverstone on Saturday in his Arden International Lola B2/50 to extend his already comfortable lead in this year's FIA International Formula 3000 Championship. Giving Banbury based Arden it’s second home victory in as many years ‘Tonio claimed a fine pole position before heading title rival Enrico Toccocelo in to Copse from where he was never headed. Although the Italian appeared to be in control of the entire race he still had to work hard for his 10 points, saying; “ Enrico put the pressure on me in the later stages of the race but I was able to control a reasonable gap,” he said. “ The team did a great job as usual with the pit stop and it is nice to win here at Silverstone, as we are based not far from here.” Liuzzi eventually won by just over a second from Toccocelo who scored his fourth runners up position of the year in his BCN entered Lola, saying, "I tried very hard to overtake Liuzzi, more after the pit stop because my second set of tires was better than the first.”

7/12/04
Industry News

Qatar opens new track  A major new international motorsports venue in the Middle East has been officially opened. The Losail International Circuit of Qatar will host a MotoGP race in October, before staging a round of the World Superbikes series in 2005. Track chiefs say it has no intention of bidding for Formula One races yet – modifications to the track would be needed to bring it up to standard – but says it has secured a long-term commitment from MotoGP to stage races at the circuit.  The circuit is 3.24 miles. The longest straight is 3,200 feet, and a total of 16 turns. The track cost an estimated $75m.

7/12/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Pizzonia to race at Hockenheim
Trulli to Toyota; Fisi to Renault
Da Matta asks Toyota for '05 plan
Ralf's crash to affect F1 insurance
'I'll make a hack run naked' - Ron Dennis
BAR has 'dropped off' the pace - report
Does Rubens always get the dud strategy?
'I'll amputate Silverstone' - Ecclestone
Trulli should thank FIA president
Montoya's missing Ralf Schumacher 

7/12/04

Bourdais and F1  We quizzed Sebastien Bourdais on whether his recent success in Champ Car is beginning to open doors in F1 for him.  SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think it's really early to talk about that. People are asking me the question a lot. I mean, even if people are talking about me in the Formula 1 paddock, that doesn't mean that teams are talking about me. The only thing I want to do right now is keep focused on what I'm doing. I have a job to perform. It's to win this championship. You know, if I have a shot in Formula 1, I have a shot. But I've been knocking at the door for a long time. I won the 3000, never got a chance. I got one, but the team collapsed like a month later. Since then I never really had another chance. I think it's really difficult to have one. If it comes, I will consider it. But, you know, first I have something to do and to do well for McDonald's, and I will do my best.

7/11/04

Bernie says Silverstone improving  After trashing the facility for weeks, Bernie Ecclestone today played his best game of Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde.  Speaking today, Bernie Ecclestone admitted that Silverstone is "getting there" when it comes to updating its facilities.  When asked about the possibility of 19 races in 2005, he said "no, we'll bring it down to 17" even though dates have already been booked for 19.  "I thought we may see 20,000 people in London," said Ecclestone of the crowds estimated to be 150,000 or more. "It shows how popular Formula One is," he said, "but we need to put on a better show and we need to bring costs down."

7/11/04

Drivers love push-to-pass  All three top drivers in Toronto were asked what they thought about the push-to-pass button and all three, Bourdais-Vasser-Carpentier had nothing but high praise for it.  PATRICK CARPENTIER: To me it was fantastic. Some guys use it early on, some guys save it for the end. It's really different. I think that's why for sure there's a bit more crashes or guys that get together I think because of that, because it gives us the opportunity to make a pass, where normally it might not. It's not a lot, but it's enough to succeed making that pass or to keep from getting passed. To me it's a fantastic thing. It just makes the races more exciting.  SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I guess you've seen a lot of passing. That's just a result of that. Guys see opportunities because they can have a small advantage over the other guy. That's good enough to make a pass. I think, you know, Jimmy showed how good it was.
JIMMY VASSER: I think it's a great thing for the series. I think it's good for the young ones to connect with because it's like a video game, right? You can push the turbo boost, take off. I think in some places it's not as effective than it is in others. Perhaps maybe a little more boost (laughter). Tracy came up with an idea that maybe it was a good thing on the first lap, with full fuel, cold tires, cold brakes, some people are on it, some aren't, it could promote pile-ups. That might be something we need to look at. I thought it was a good point.  PATRICK CARPENTIER: It's good to have the back light flashing so everybody knows which one's using it and which one is not.

7/11/04

Champ Car jet wars  We previously reported that Kevin Kalkhoven and his business partner Dan Pettit had Gulfstream G500 jets.  As it turns out Kalkhoven is about to take delivery of a G550, which has an extra 1,000 mile range (to 6,600 nautical miles or over 15 hours) and is fully loaded with all the extras. Both planes will fly to 51,000 feet and 0.885 Mach Speed and carry up to 18 passengers.  Not to be outdone, RuSPORT owner Carl Russo has a Cessna Citation X which also flies at 51,000 feet but flies faster at 0.92 Mach Speed.  Flying faster than the speed of sound (714 MPH) is not permitted over land and the only jets that are allowed to fly supersonic since the Concorde stopped flying are military jets.  The Concorde was only allowed to fly supersonic over water.  Russo's jet is a bit faster, but it holds less people (6). Needless to say, these businessmen do deals and look after their interests in many geographical areas, including some overseas, so getting there fast is of utmost importance.

7/11/04

Toronto attendance tops 164K  Race day attendance for Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto Champ Car race was announced as 72,561 making it a 3-day weekend total of 164,218.  Great weather helped pull ticket sales up to just 3,000 shy of last year's Sunday attendance of 73,255 and 3-day attendance of 167,352, despite the Champ Car bankruptcy and the late start to ticket sales.  Champ Car hit another home run with a successful Toronto race as the revitalized series continues its comeback.

7/11/04

Washington revs up to land Nextel Cup race   This Seattle Times article talks about the strong effort being made in Washington State to land a NASCAR Nextel Cup date.

7/11/04

More on FOX TV ratings drop    Fox reports that its NASCAR Nextel Cup ratings dropped three percent this season, as NBC and TNT take over broadcasting the rest of the Cup season with today's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Greensboro, N.C., was the nation's No.1 market with a 15.9 rating and a 30 share for Fox's broadcasts. A rating point is the percentage of TVs tuned to a program relative to the total number of TVs. A share represents the percentage of all TVs turned on that is tuned to that program. Norfolk's ratings dropped 9 percent. Norfolk's rating was 9.1 with a 17 share. After Greensboro, the top five markets were Greenville, S.C. (13.6 rating), Charlotte (12.7), Dayton, Ohio, (10.9) and Knoxville, Tenn. (10.2). Overall, Fox's rating this season was 5.6, down from the 5.8 the network had each of the last three seasons. A rating point equals 1.08 million homes. Fox's ratings were down 9 percent through the season's first three races. Network officials blamed the off weekend after the season-opening Daytona 500 for disrupting viewer patterns. After Darlington in March, the network reported a 2 percent increase in the next nine races before dropping at Daytona last weekend. NBC's ratings dropped two percent last year but could show an increase this season with NASCAR's new season-ending 10-race championship format. Ronaoke Times

7/11/04

Interview with Brian Regnerus    One on one from the track with Brian Regnerus, at 26 years of age and presumably the youngest Public Relations Coordinator of a major racing facility in the US, events in his life have contributed to shaping his career to what it is today, and certainly we will be the catalyst that will propel him up the chain of command in the industry of producing racing entertainment.  More......

7/11/04

Western Union sponsors Allmendinger  RuSPORT signed a one race deal with Western Union to sponsor the AJ Allmendinger car for this weekend's Champ Car race in Toronto.  The deal was completed Sunday morning before the race.

7/11/04

Fogarty wins Toronto Toyota Atlantic race   Things came pretty easy to Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) for most of the weekend here in Toronto, but Sunday’s 35-lap Toyota Atlantic Championship race was hard work for the 2002 series champion.

After capturing the provisional and final pole positions without much of a sweat over the first two days of racing at Exhibition Place, site of this weekend’s Molson Indy Toronto, Fogarty faced constant pressure from Canadian rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) throughout Round 7 of the series championship. The 17-year-old Quebec native spent most of the race positioned right behind Fogarty’s back wing, but the veteran was able to hold off the young hardcharger to win the Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Toronto presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 17 – 11 a.m. ET) in the series’ closest finish of the season.

Ranger started in fourth position but moved up to third after passing Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) on Lap 1. After an incident involving Jonathan Bomarito (#8 Dixien/Omnisource) and Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) caused an early yellow flag, Ranger got a great jump on the restart and zoomed past fellow rookie Ronnie Bremer (#4 PaySystems) into second place on the fourth circuit around the 1.755-mile street course.

While Fogarty tried desperately to shake Ranger, the Canadian seemed to draw energy from the vocal crowd that tried to will their countryman to his first Atlantic win.

Bremer is just one point behind Ranger in both the rookie and overall season standings after claiming his second podium result of the season in third place.

Rahal-Letterman Racing’s Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) earned a fourth-place finish for her sixth top-five effort of the year. The 22-year-old Patrick remains third in the overall standings with 162 points, just 22 behind the leader Fogarty.

Despite falling off the pace early, Sellers rebounded to finish fifth and he now has five top-five efforts in the first seven events of the season.

After completing a stretch of four races in five weeks, the Toyota Atlantic series will enjoy a rare weekend off next week and will return to action with its second of three Canadian events, July 23-25, with Round 8 of 12 at the Molson Indy Vancouver.

7/11/04

NASCAR reverts to old caution rule    NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday the series will return to its old way of scoring cars on pit road under a caution because the new rule caused more complications and confusion than first thought. The positions of the cars on the track will be ``frozen'' once the yellow flag waves, but Helton said pit lane will now be active. The change is effective immediately, and will affect all three of NASCAR's top series. ``That's how we used to do it, and it's pretty black-and-white,'' Helton said.

7/11/04

Canadian races will remain Champ Car events   UPDATE This SPEED TV article has more on this topic.  A veteran Canadian motorsports writer was at Indianapolis last May when a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff approached him and said: "Looks like we'll be seeing you next year in Toronto."  The inference, of course, was that the Indy Racing League would be replacing Champ Car in the annual street race that's been a big hit here since 1986.  But it appears the only way the IRL will be racing anywhere in Canada next year is if it goes to Mosport, St. Jovite or SanAir.  "I'll buy the first 10,000 seats for the IRL race here," said Paul Gentilozzi, one of the principals of Open Wheel Racing Series who also fields a two-car effort in Champ Car, when asked about the future of the Molson Indy of Toronto. "No, let's change that. Whichever series is racing here next year, the other has to buy 10,000 seats.  "Seriously, we've got the nationalism of Canada on our side with three excellent drivers who got massive support in this country. And, to be honest, I don't think the Molson folks want anybody else but the guys we've got."  It's expected that Molson, which sponsors all three Champ Car races in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, and Champ Car will announce contract extensions in Toronto and Vancouver -- with a possibility of adding a fourth date in Calgary. Montreal has two years remaining on its current contract.    7/10/04 - Molson Indy promoter Bob Singleton was at the track here in Toronto since 4:30 AM.  He's hard working and leaves no stone unturned, hence why all three Canadian races are big hits.  We quizzed him about ticket sales for this race.  "They are fine.  Instead of dropping off the last two weeks they picked up this year because we got a late start and people waited to buy."  The Toronto Star reports - Yesterday's crowd of 41,701 was less than 2,000 fewer than last year's Friday crowd, a drop of only 5 per cent. "We're catching up," said Molson Indy general manager Bob Singleton, who earlier this week said sales were lagging by more than 10 per cent over last year. He attributed the decrease to slow renewal sales due to the uncertainty over whether there would be a race this year following the bankruptcy of CART. "We need good weather for the next two days," he said. "If we're near last year's (three-day) total I'll be a happy guy."    We quizzed him about the rumored Calgary race, but he said he was focused on getting Toronto and Vancouver done and wasn't in a position to comment, except to say that Calgary is definitely interested.  He assured us Calgary would not be a replacement for Vancouver.  It's a totally separate deal.  When asked whether Vancouver would go away he told us that because of the Olympic construction, due to start in 2006 the track could not remain as-is.  Whether or not the race can stay there, in perhaps a different configuration, will depend on what the Olympic construction entails.  Right now they don't know where all the buildings are going. We know that the race can keep the existing configuration through 2005, and perhaps even 2006, depending on what month construction started in 2006.  We asked him whether Molson is happy with Champ Car and the rumors of the IRL wanting to steal the races away.  He responded, "We are happy with Champ Car and we will continue to dance with the partners who brought us to the party."  Mark C.

7/11/04

Tagliani and Tracy stop public bickering   The hot topic off the track at Toronto's Molson Indy has been the bickering between Tracy and Tagliani. Tracy claimed Tagliani instigated contact that knocked the defending series champion out of the Cleveland race last weekend.   The dispute continued with both sides dishing out barbs through the media the whole week, but Carpentier said it's not an isolated incident.   "This week? Try this year. It's always the same story," said Carpentier. "We come here once a year so you hear about it once a year. For me, I follow the circus, I hear about it all the time. It's always like that."   Carpentier joked that he would be the referee if they decided to take their fighting to a professional level.   "They say when they retire from racing, they want to go wrestling," Carpentier said. "Paul already has the mask."   The trash-talk between the two drivers finally died down by Saturday's qualifying, with neither driver commenting on their disagreement.  Canadian Press

7/11/04

BAR men in head-on car accident  British American Racing engineers Jock Clear and Tristan Timmins will be out of action this afternoon following a road accident this morning on their way into the Silverstone circuit. The car in which they were traveling was hit by another car after it had been involved in a head-on collision on the road that goes from Stowe to Silverstone. Both men were taken to hospital for a check up and are all right but they are not expected to take part in the race this afternoon with the team having called in the test team engineers led by Mark Ellis to do the job. Clear is Takuma Sato's senior engineer while Timmins works as race engineer on Jenson Button's car.   A BAR spokeswoman said: "Everyone is apparently okay and walking about, but they have gone to hospital for precautionary checks. We are expecting that they will get to the circuit in time but, if not, we have a surfeit of engineers all able to step into the breach. There should be no problems."  Grandprix.com

7/11/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Raikkonen not expecting to win
F1 has lost a 'good guy'
F1 descends into qualifying 'farce'
Hakk's coming back - Ron Dennis
Dubai 'in talks' to buy Jordan
Webber to drive Williams in Hungary - source
Bernie to 'fine' lazy drivers - report
McLaren to oppose '05 reform 

7/11/04

Jorge Diaz wins Trans-Am race  Jorge Diaz, Jr. predicted at the beginning of the 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series season that he would win a race before the end of the year. His prediction came true Saturday as the young Puerto Rican driver won the Trans-Am in T.O., part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend. The 2003 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year, driving the No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR, took the lead from Paul Gentilozzi on lap 30 when Gentilozzi spun, and he never looked back, beating second-place finisher Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada/Coyote Closures Chevrolet Corvette) by 6.307 seconds. Local driver Ron Fellows, in his return to Trans-Am competition after a six-year hiatus, finished third in the No. 40 Molson Indy Chevrolet Corvette after leading the first two laps. Fellows scored his 41st career Trans-Am podium. Gentilozzi, who set a record fast race lap (1:12.149) was fourth in a Jaguar XKR. Tomy Drissi was fifth, also in a Jaguar.

“This is the biggest accomplishment in my racing career,” said Diaz, who with the win, closed the gap in the points race. Diaz now sits just two points behind championship leader Gentilozzi.. “I just followed Paul (Gentilozzi) until I got the right opportunity. I didn’t really relax until the end of the race. We made a pretty big gamble coming into today. We made four changes this morning. My team and my crew chief Millo Martinez worked really hard and it paid off for us today.  “We are dedicating this season to my sister, Monique, who recently survived cancer,” added Diaz. “I’m so proud to bring this first-place trophy back to Puerto Rico for her.”

The caution-free race ran in a record one hour, 39.670 seconds at an average speed of 85.058 miles per hour (136.887 kilometers per hour). Highlights from today’s race will run on Spike TV’s “Dangerous Curves” show on Sunday, July 18 at 1:30 p.m. (EDT/PDT). The next race for the Motorock Trans-Am Series is scheduled for July 30-Aug. 1 at the 35th Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivičres in Quebec.
1. (3) Jorge Diaz, Jr., Jaguar XKR, 49, running.
2. (4) Randy Ruhlman, Chevrolet Corvette, 49, running..
3. (2) Ron Fellows, Chevrolet Corvette, 49, running.
4. (11) Paul Gentilozzi, Jaguar XKR, 49, running.
5. (5) Tomy Drissi, Jaguar XKR, 49, running.
6. (7) John Baucom, Ford Mustang, 49, running.
7. (6) Joey Scarallo, Chevrolet Corvette, 48, running.
8. (8) Charles Webster, Chevrolet Corvette, 47, running.
9. (10) Garrett Kletjian, Qvale Mangusta, 45, running.
10. (1) Tommy Kendall, Jaguar XKR, 25, mechanical.
11. (9) Blaise Csida, Chevrolet Camaro, 2, mechanical.
Race Statistics
Time of race: 1:00:39.670.
Margin of victory: 6.307 seconds.
Winner's average speed: 85.058 mph (136.887 kph).
Caution flags: 0.
Lead changes: four among four drivers.
Lap leaders: Fellows 1-2; Kendall 3-20; Gentilozzi 21-29; Diaz 30-49.
Points leaders
1, Gentilozzi 121. 2, Diaz 119. 3, Ruhlman 105. 4, Kendall 101. 5, Drissi 100. 6, Scarallo 99. 7, Baucom 98. 8, Pickett 83. 9, Philip Simms 61. 10, Boris Said 58.

7/11/04

Molson Beer in trouble?   [Editor's Note:  This could work for or against Champ Car.  To strengthen the brand, Molson might increase its advertising and branding by adding a 4th Champ Car race in Calgary (as rumored), and perhaps a 5th one in Edmonton so they cover all the major Canadian markets.  Conversely, if Molson Canadian continues to lose market share, advertising budgets might be slashed.  Alternately, Molson could be sold to a new owner who may not view sports marketing in the same light as Molson currently does]  According to this Toronto Globe and Mail article, To marketing managers at archrival Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd., Molson Inc. seemed to be acknowledging what they themselves believed to be true: That Budweiser, that most American of beers (and brewed by Labatt under an agreement with Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis), had quietly overtaken Canadian as the country's best-selling beer.

The ad appeared to be a tacit admission of a brand in crisis: under siege from American beers, cheap discount brews, chic micro-breweries and trendy imports, it was losing market share at a rapid clip.

"Canadian's just plummeting . . ." says Michael Palmer, a long-time Molson watcher and president of Veritas Investment Research Corp. "Brands, if you neglect them, will die on you. And I think Canadian is in its death throes."

For Montreal-based Molson, one of the country's oldest companies, the decline of its flagship brand could not be coming at a worse time. Its $1.2-billion investment in the Brazilian beer business has gone sour; it's now in full-court overhaul mode. Internally, a nasty, backstage family feud for control of the company has erupted openly, raising questions about whether the 218-year-old brewery might soon be sold.

And now Canadian -- as much the franchise for Molson as Jarome Iginla is for the Calgary Flames or Vince Carter for the Toronto Raptors -- is in trouble.

What does that mean? For Molson, everything: While it now sells more beer in Brazil than it does in Canada, suds are so cheap in South America that sales in Brazil represent just one-fifth of Molson's revenue. Canadian likewise represents roughly one-fifth of the company's revenue. And while Molson could theoretically sell its stake in Kaiser Beer and cut its losses, reversing the decline in the Canadian brand could be much more challenging.  More.....

7/10/04

Spanish embassy irked at Servia   According to this Toronto Star article, Oriol Servia, if you check his passport, is a citizen of Spain. But his Web site lists his home country as Catalonia. His helmet bares the red and yellow of the Catalan flag. Even the Champ Car Nation's Cup standings lists Catalonia in seventh. But Catalonia is not a nation per se. It's a region of Spain whose capital is Barcelona and which is often at odds with Spain's Madrid-based government.

"It's a similar position that Quebec is in," Servia said. "We have our own language, Catalan. ... And through the history of time, we've been a little bit — how do you say? — taken advantage of."

Servia, 30, grew up hearing stories of the brutality of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. During his almost 37-year rule, harsh laws meant that Catalans would be jailed for speaking their language. Franco died in 1975, as did his regime. Today, Servia is sponsored by Catalan companies who encourage him to fly the region's flag "so people around the world will know the distinction between Spain and Catalonia."

The Spanish embassy in Ottawa isn't thrilled with that. "We can be annoyed, but we are not going to be fighting (Catalans) everywhere," said Antonio Torres, the embassy's deputy chief of mission. "He's free to do it. We can't fight it. Spanish unity is not going to depend on the private decision of Oriol Servia."

7/10/04

Schu spun on purpose   Michael Schumacher said that he deliberately spun in pre-qualifying for the British GP.  With the teams expecting rain at the end of the second qualifying session, Silverstone spectators were greeted by the absurd sight of cars slowing down at the end of their lap in pre-qualifying to ensure they would be one of the first cars out in the second session.  "Teams clearly deceived the public by not ensuring their drivers pushed to the limit," complained Toyota Technical Director Mike Gascoyne. "I hope the crowd was entertained by the second qualifying session because the first one was a disgrace in front the huge numbers of people who have turned up at Silverstone today. It is unbelievable that the fans are let down in such a way."   Asked about the spin on ITV, Michael announced haughtily: "Let's just say it was for strategical reasons."  Asked whether he had genuinely spun on purpose to slow down, Michael answered: "Would I say so if I didn't?"

7/10/04

Yeley to make Nextel Cup debut   Vigoro along with The Home Depot will be primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing driver JJ Yeley as he attempts to make his debut at Michigan Speedway. Yeley will drive the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22nd.   Rick Schenk

7/10/04

Another Labonte wins    Justin Labonte, son of Terry Labonte, won today's NASCAR Busch race at Chicagoland. For Labonte, this is his first NASCAR Busch Series win. It came in this 31st career NASCAR Busch Series start. The Tropicana Twister 300 marked Labonte’s eighth start of 2004. He started 34th. His previous best finish of 2004 was an 18th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (May 29).  Rick Schenk

7/10/04

Fogarty wins Toronto pole   Running up front in Toronto is nothing new to Toyota Atlantic Championship series point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports). The American driver started on the pole in his only other start here during his series championship season in 2002, and he completed the weekend qualifying sweep Saturday by claiming his seventh career pole position with a fast lap of 1:05.803 (96.014 mph).  Fogarty’s machine has been the fastest Atlantic car on the track all weekend at the Molson Indy Toronto and he became the only driver to post a sub 1:06 lap and top the 96 miles-per-hour mark in final qualifying Saturday. Fogarty will start from the point in tomorrow’s Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Toronto Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 17 – 11 a.m. ET) and will be looking for his fourth win of the season to extend his lead in the series championship. With the point earned for leading provisional qualifying on Friday and today’s point for the final pole, the 29-year-old California native now holds a 151-146 lead on Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) in the pursuit for the season title.  The only thing that might slow down Fogarty this weekend is his back. He admitted after qualifying that he strained a nerve in his back and shoulder early in this afternoon’s session and that it caused him considerable discomfort.  While Fogarty doesn’t think the pinched nerve will affect him in tomorrow’s race, he’ll also need to contend with fast pack behind him at the green flag. Coming off his best Atlantic finish of second last week in Cleveland, Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) continued his recent roll by qualifying second with a top lap of 1:06.088 (95.600 mph) coming late in Saturday’s 45-minute qualifying session. The effort equaled Sellers’ top qualifying performance of second in Monterrey, Mexico in Round 2 of the championship this season.

Rookie Ronnie Bremer (#4 PaySystems) has also proven to be quick this weekend. The Copenhagen, Denmark native led final qualifying for a time before Fogarty had the last say. Bremer’s top time of 1:06.210 (95.424 mph) puts him third on the starting grid, tying his best qualifying effort that he established last week in Cleveland.  Canadian favorite Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) of Quebec, gave his all in his effort to secure the top spot in front of his home country fans, but he fell just short and wound up fourth in qualifying with a time of 1:06.374 (95.188 mph).

7/10/04

Toronto tidbits   After 20 laps the abrasive Toronto surface is wearing out the Bridgestone Champ Car tires causing them to go off.  With pit stops planned about every thirty some laps, the drivers are going to have to nurse their tires or they will be in big trouble.....Below are photos of Ford VP of Canada, Mexico and South America, Anne Stevens, going for a 2-seat Champ Car ride.......The Champ Car TSN TV contract in Canada has one year remaining........AJ Allmendinger when asked about a possible F1 test said, "no, I'm not even thinking about that.  I am 100% focused on Champ Car.  I have to start winning races here.".......The weather forecast for race day is good, which should help attendance...........Spotted Mark Perkins, Johnny Herbert's agent, making the rounds trying to land a 2005 Champ Car ride for Herbert.  If Champ Car returns to England, Herbert's chances of landing a ride will improve significantly..........Tim Mayer, formerly with CART, now Chief Operating Officer of IMSA, was making the rounds renewing old acquaintances.  His wife is a Champ Car pace car driver.......Attendance for Saturday was 49,953.  So far for two-days the combined total is 91,657, numbers the IRL can only dream of as their Friday and Saturday attendance is usually in the 100 range, sometimes less. Look for over 60,000 on Sunday, which means the once bankrupt series is well on its way to recovery.....Andreas Leberle was talking to many people and is still trying to put together a Champ Car effort for later this year and all of 2005.  Mark C.

7/10/04

Bernie slams F1 qualifying farce   This This London article says, Bernie Ecclestone has slammed the farce of pre-qualifying for the British Grand Prix as "very stupid" and has vowed to step up his bid to change the format.

Formula One supremo Ecclestone has long advocated an alternative system to the current pre-qualifying session which determines the order in which the drivers will then run in official qualifying.

Recently it appeared the British Grand Prix would herald a new qualifying program, with two free-for-all 25-minute runs, with an aggregate time taken from each to determine the grid. But that was vetoed before the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours last week as teams such as Minardi and Jordan feared the re-introduction of the 107% rule which potentially could have led to their cars failing to qualify.

Ecclestone clearly rued the decision as pre-qualifying at Silverstone became a contest over who could drive slowest as teams prepared for the prospect of rain. With menacing clouds hanging over the circuit, most drivers chose to go slow and use the current regulations to their advantage.

7/10/04

Georgia patrol in hot water for Elliott trip    The Georgia State Patrol, already slapped for letting the governor fly its aircraft, now is under investigation for letting NASCAR driver Bill Elliott take the controls of a helicopter — and then giving him a lift home. Pilots with the State Patrol invited Elliott to fly their military-style helicopter June 28 during a marijuana-eradication mission in North Georgia. On Friday, the head of the State Patrol, Col. George Ellis, ordered an investigation after he heard a civilian had been brought into a law enforcement mission that also included the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the local sheriff. Elliott, who is a licensed pilot, said the troopers involved in the mission asked him to come along on the trip and offered him the controls. "I wouldn't do anything to get anybody in trouble," he said in a telephone interview. "They were out doing this deal. I just thought I could help them out doing stuff. I fly a helicopter . . . I flew it some [on the patrol trip]. It has dual controls." The patrol was criticized a year ago because it kept poor records and because it shuttled Gov. Sonny Perdue to political events and let him take the controls once the state helicopter was in the air. As a result, the State Patrol adopted detailed policies on aircraft use and record-keeping. Attorney General Thurbert Baker said the state's aircraft could be used only for legitimate state trips. The helicopter Elliott piloted was one of two military-style aircraft used that day. The task force has access to 11 of the department's 14 aircraft. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7/10/04

Talk of the Champ Car Paddock   The talk of those in the know in the paddock is about Justin Wilson.  Everyone is impressed at the way he manhandles the car, throwing it around and wringing everything out of it.  The other talk is the great Rookie of the Year (ROY) battle between AJ Allmendinger (American) and Wilson (British).  Wilson leads Allmendinger by just one point.  In talking to AJ he said, "going up against a driver of Justin's caliber is great.  I know that if I can beat him for the ROY award I will really have accomplished something and I will consider my rookie year a big success."

7/10/04

Tobacco cops pay Forsythe team a visit   This Toronto Star article says, Forsythe Racing got a visit Thursday night from Canada's tobacco cops.  Apparently, the Tobacco Control Program department of Health Canada had suspicions the team was still flaunting the product of its former sponsor and co-owner, Player's cigarettes, through the blue and white colors of its cars driven by Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier.  They sent four investigators swooping down on the Forsythe Racing garage in the Molson Indy paddock.  They interviewed Forsythe officials and took photographs of the two cars. However, none of the team engineers or mechanics was seen being led away in handcuffs.  Forsythe's vice-president of operations, Neil Micklewright, said he felt the investigators seemed satisfied with the explanation of team officials.  "They came and looked at everything last night," he said. "They went through the (paddock) door and took some photographs.   "They went back and discussed things with their colleagues and came back this morning and said they understood our situation; that we were no longer affiliated with Player's, but that design is intrinsic to Forsythe as well.  "I think they were mainly concerned that we were still affiliated with Player's and we were surreptitiously displaying or advertising Player's, which isn't the case."

7/10/04

Alonso also changes engine, loses 10 spots   Giancarlo Fisichella had the 2nd best time on Friday, but had to change an engine and lost 10 spots.  Now comes word that Fernando Alonso will lose ten grid positions after qualifying this afternoon following an engine failure in the fourth free practice session, which will require the engine to be changed. It is currently too early to diagnose the exact cause of the problem. Alonso will continue to use his race car, with the engine from the T-car being transferred into chassis R24-02.

7/10/04

Minardi Sporting Director dies from heart attack   Minardi sporting director John Walton passed away late last night after suffering a heart attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Minardi squad released a statement to say that they are profoundly saddened to report that John passed away peacefully at 23:18 last night at St Thomas’s Hospital, in London, with his family at his bedside.

7/10/04

Kimi fastest yet again in 4th practice  

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'18"280 0.000 Km/h 14
2. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'18"414 + 0'00"134 12
3. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'18"623 + 0'00"343 13
4. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'18"694 + 0'00"414 14
5. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'18"832 + 0'00"552 10
6. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'18"912 + 0'00"632 11
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'18"919 + 0'00"639 11
8. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'18"951 + 0'00"671 8
9. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'19"169 + 0'00"889 12
10. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'19"895 + 0'01"615 10
11. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'20"183 + 0'01"903 19
12. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'20"281 + 0'02"001 6
13. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'20"310 + 0'02"030 23
14. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'20"531 + 0'02"251 16
15. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'20"726 + 0'02"446 12
16. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'20"837 + 0'02"557 8
17. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'20"913 + 0'02"633 18
18. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'21"980 + 0'03"700 15
19. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'22"014 + 0'03"734 11
20. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'23"941 + 0'05"661 12

7/10/04

Kimi fastest again in 3rd practice   Kimi Raikkonen once again topped the timesheets at Silverstone. The McLaren Mercedes driver took the fastest time of 1:19.315s.

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'19"315 0.000 Km/h 5
2. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'19"468 + 0'00"153 6
3. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'19"571 + 0'00"256 11
4. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'19"585 + 0'00"270 8
5. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'19"699 + 0'00"384 10
6. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'19"966 + 0'00"651 5
7. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'19"979 + 0'00"664 5
8. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'20"177 + 0'00"862 6
9. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'20"482 + 0'01"167 13
10. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'20"552 + 0'01"237 13
11. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'20"685 + 0'01"370 6
12. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'20"759 + 0'01"444 9
13. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'21"017 + 0'01"702 11
14. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"295 + 0'01"980 5
15. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'21"416 + 0'02"101 15
16. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"706 + 0'02"391 6
17. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'21"984 + 0'02"669 11
18. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'22"503 + 0'03"188 12  

7/10/04

Fogarty fastest on Friday   [Editor's Note:  Fogarty is a past Toyota Atlantic champion, took a year off, and is now right back at the top against a strong Toyota Atlantic field.  This American youngster deserves a shot at Champ Cars]  After seeing his point lead dwindle to three in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) knew he had little margin for error on the tight Toronto streets this weekend.

Fogarty held nothing back and attacked the first day on track at the Molson Indy, pacing the morning practice session and then leading the first round of qualifying to earn a championship point and extending his slim lead in the series title chase.

The 2002 Toyota Atlantic Champion got a clear lap on fresh tires relatively early in the 30-minute qualifying session, posting a time of 1:06.509 (94.995 mph) on his sixth lap that no one was able to seriously threaten. The effort secures Fogarty a front row starting spot for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Toronto Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, July 17 - 11 a.m. ET) and it widens his gap to 150-146 over Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks), his closest pursuer in a tight championship race.

7/10/04

Bridgestone tire tidbits   Bridgestone delivered 668 dry-condition and 304 wet-condition Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Bridgestone brought a single dry tire specification and a single wet spec to Toronto, allowing every team and driver equal footing on the racetrack. There will NOT be an alternate dry-spec tire available this weekend.
* Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives eight sets of slicks (32 total tires) for the race weekend, to use as its team sees fit in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport engineers chose one of their most popular race tire specifications for this weekend, opting for the "soft" street-course compound/construction combination. The spec performed well at this year's season opener in Long Beach and will be utilized at future street-course events in Vancouver and Denver this season. It is also the "softest" Potenza race tire in the current Bridgestone lineup for the Champ Car World Series.
* Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Bridgestone supplies each car up to four new sets (16 tires) of grooved-tread rain tires per race weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, teams may use two sets of rain tires per car issued at a previous event. Bridgestone brought its street-course rain tire specification for this weekend.
Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Returning to Canada is an annual highlight for the Bridgestone Motorsport program. The enthusiasm that the Canadian fans show for their Champ Car races gets our motors running as well, so to speak. The Toronto circuit is a tight, challenging street course that demands excellent grip from the tires. The drivers constantly charge their cars into the turns and count on the Bridgestone tires to deliver them through to the other side. Exiting the turns is just as important and just as stressful on the tires, as the drivers punch the accelerator to put the power down. The tires must provide the grip to launch the cars forward without sliding. The Potenzas that all 18 Champ Cars will be riding on this weekend have already shown they can handle those challenges because we ran the same specification here a year ago with great success. We're confident the tires will be up to the task again in 2004."

7/10/04

Formula Renault news   Marcos Gomes of Brazil led the opening practice session for North American Formula Renault on Friday at Toronto with a 1:12.222-second lap of the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place. Gomes’ rival Juan Ponte was close behind with a 1:12.440-second lap, as the top six drivers were within one second of Gomes’ time.  Gomes, a graduate of the Brazilian Formula Renault ranks, knows that the track will continue to change throughout the weekend as the Champ Cars rubber in the track, but he is pleased with his weekend so far.  “My car is good, so we will see how things go this weekend,” said Gomes. “The track has a number of different kinds of surfaces, so it’s a big challenge to find the best line around here. I have raced on street circuits in Brazil before, so while the track is a new one for me, having walls all around is not a new thing.”

Jaskol joins Renault   Matt Jaskol of Las Vegas Nevada is making his first ever Formula Renault start this weekend with Autotecnica, and the young ace adapted immediately to his new surroundings after making the transition from Formula BMW.  “I really like the Formula Renault cars-they are really close to the F3 car I drove in Europe as part of the Red Bull Driver Search,” said Jaskol. “This is my first time ever on a street circuit, and the first race in the series, so to be this competitive early in the weekend on older tires is pretty encouraging.”  Jaskol ended up fifth quickest during the session after spending the first half of the session atop the sheets.

Jourdain visits Formula Renault Drivers meeting  RuSport Champ Car pilot Michel Jourdain, who earned a career-best third in the 2003 Champ Car Championship, visited the Formula Renault drivers meeting on Thursday to give the drivers some words of advice about the tricky street circuit as the field prepared for the weekend. Jourdain, who raced against Formula Renault Team/Driver Relations Manager Allen Berg in his native Mexico before stepping up to Champ Cars as a 19-year old, emphasized the importance of patience on the temporary circuit.  “There a number of places that are good here to make up time, but some of the corners, like turn six, require that you just be patient through the corner,” Jourdain said. “Turn five is also very important—you need to be clean through there, and not try to force anything-if you do it 100%, you can make up less than a tenth, and if you do it 101%, you can lose a whole lot more than that tenth, so be very smart in that corner.”

Legge makes North American Formula Renault Debut  Another new driver for the series is Katherine Legge, who is a former pole winner in UK Formula Renault competition. Legge will race with the GTI/Roshfrans operation, and is excited to be back in the cockpit after some time out of the car.  “I am really taking it easy the first part of this weekend,” said Legge. “It is my first street course ever, and it’s been some time since I have raced, so I am just trying to ease back into it to get into a rhythm and be ready to be fast at the end of the weekend when it counts!”  The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.

7/10/04

Roush offers military discount    Roush Performance will offer all members of the military (active duty, reserve status or National Guard) and/or their spouses a discount on Roush vehicles from July 4, 2004 to December 31, 2004. All branches of the military are eligible (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard).  The incentive comes as a result of feedback from a visit made by Jack Roush to Iraq to visit troops during the 2003 Christmas Holiday. The trip was part of an effort coordinated by the Speedway Children's Charities group, which is directed by retired United States Air Force M/General Thomas Sadler.  "The soldiers that I visited with last winter wanted to talk about three things: their girlfriends, the cars they had and the cars that they wanted," said Jack Roush. "If a U.S. Soldier wants a Roush vehicle, I want our team to do what they can to make that happen. We want them to know that our team appreciates their sacrifices."

Roush Racing has had a relationship with the National Guard since last December when the Guard came on board with the No. 16 Roush Ford driven by Greg Biffle in the Nextel Cup Series. The partnership has grown and proven to be both beneficial and more than a business venture for Roush Racing and the National Guard.   "We feel like we're a team in every sense of the word," said LTC Michael Jones of the National Guard. "What Roush is offering our soldiers and soldiers from other branches of the military is incredible. Our soldiers love to show their support for the team at Roush and this is an excellent example of how Roush is showing support for our military team."

The Roush military rebate is available through all participating Ford dealerships that sell Roush vehicles. Roush Performance will include all of its models in the program; such as the Stage 3 and 380R Mustangs and most of the other Roush F-150, Mustang and Focus models.  Roush Performance is the retail street-performance division of Roush Enterprises, which is also a parent company of Roush Racing.   For details on participating dealers and the rebate guidelines, visit www.roushperf.com or toll free at 800-59-ROUSH.

7/10/04

Misc. News from the Paddock - Silverstone - III  

BAR's technical director Geoff Willis believes the 'easiest' (albeit most expensive) way to promote overtaking in grands prix is by modifying the tracks.

Sam Michael agrees tracks need slow corners into straights into slow corners. ''There should be a [requirement that tracks] feature sections like that.''

Toyota's Mike Gascoyne said Cologne would not decide who is to be Ralf Schumacher's '05 team-mate until 'probably the end of the [current] season.'

Jackie Stewart reckons the UK government spent about $4 billion on sport last year but motor sport ''did not get a penny because people think we're rich.

''Only Formula One is. The tracks can't afford to spend big money.''

BAR's helicopter could be the secret to Jenson Button's success at Silverstone. ''It can tell you exactly what the weather is doing,'' said boss Dave Richards.  

7/10/04

Misc. News from the Paddock - Silverstone - II 

Renault's Pat Symonds is 'absolutely amazed' teams like Ferrari, BMW-Williams and McLaren can't match the R24's so-called 'manual start' clutch system.

''There are elements of [electronic] control,'' the engineering boss admitted.

''We learned an awful lot from our automatic system [of '03].''

Marc Gene is no closer to keeping Ralf Schumacher's BMW-Williams race drive for the remaining seven grands prix after the British race at Silverstone.

''We're still [deciding] on a race-by-race basis,'' said Sam Michael.

F1 teams should be informed next Friday if the Technical Working Group's proposed 'diffuser' modifications are acceptable to the governing FIA.

''We're making bigger cuts than we probably would like,'' said BMW-Williams' technical director, ''but I think overall we're all fairly happy with it.''

7/10/04

Misc. News from the Paddock - Silverstone - I  

David Coulthard has personally visited 'three teams' on a wish-list of employers for '04. And of one he said: ''It's important [they] know who I am today ...

''... as opposed to who I might have been when they last knew me.''

There's one thing Juan Pablo Montoya doesn't like about Silverstone - testing here. ''I wish they didn't let the fans in the circuit,'' said the Colombian.

''We come here to work, it's important. It destroys it for us when we get mobbed. Let them in, by all means, but let us get on with what we do.''

FIA president Max Mosley doesn't want to 'pre judge' it, but he said he'll likely accept a proposal to slow down F1 cars by way of diffuser modification.

''It seems like the best thing to do,'' said the Briton.

Mark Webber has reportedly turned-down a huge money offer from Toyota in favour of a lesser Williams one. ''It'll break my heart [to leave Jaguar],'' he said.

Rain is more likely than no rain at Northamptonshire-based Silverstone on Saturday. A 'few showers' are also predicted on Sunday for the grand prix.  

7/10/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Technical directors agree to slow down
'I'll wrap Jackie's kilt around his neck'
Ferrari's done with F2004
BAR pull planned aero package
Agree to F1 changes, BAR's Willis urges
Ralf won't be 'number one' driver
F1 wants to 'do less testing'
Stewart mocks London GP
Button axes 'Union Jack' helmet

7/9/04

British GP:  Raikkonen leads Free Practice 2  UPDATE  Team-by-team analysis  7/9/04 - West McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi Raikkonen finished first in today's second practice session at the Silverstone circuit. Kimi set the fastest time with 1:18.655. Kimi said afterward, "We completed our planned program today and experienced no problems. I had a positive test here at Silverstone with the 19B a few weeks ago, so I was quite confident that the car would be good. Hopefully we can continue to improve it during tomorrow's practice. We were quickest today, but there is nothing to celebrate yet? Saturday and Sunday are the important ones." 

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'18"655 0.000 Km/h 16
2. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'18"660 + 0'00"005 20
3. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'19"162 + 0'00"507 14
4. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'19"287 + 0'00"632 17
5. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'19"401 + 0'00"746 19
6. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'19"473 + 0'00"818 22
7. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'19"540 + 0'00"885 20
8. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'19"601 + 0'00"946 21
9. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'19"611 + 0'00"956 13
10. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'19"676 + 0'01"021 23
11. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'19"746 + 0'01"091 20
12. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'19"874 + 0'01"219 30
13. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'20"095 + 0'01"440 35
14. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'20"489 + 0'01"834 25
15. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'20"829 + 0'02"174 19
16. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'20"861 + 0'02"206 14
17. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"073 + 0'02"418 30
18. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"352 + 0'02"697 27
19. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"353 + 0'02"698 33
20. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'22"365 + 0'03"710 13
21. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'22"500 + 0'03"845 24
22. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'22"516 + 0'03"861 25
23. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'22"586 + 0'03"931 14
24. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'22"792 + 0'04"137 20
25. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'23"436 + 0'04"781 23

7/9/04

McReynolds resigns from Bang.   Fox TV commentator and former Nextel Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds said Friday he had resigned from his role with Bang Racing on Tuesday and will concentrate his time on his family and his broadcasting duties with Fox and Speed Channel. "It was a business decision. I was spreading myself awfully thin," he said. "Not that I felt like I was short-cutting anything. I still feel I was doing as good a job broadcasting as I was when I didn't have anything else going on. My days were getting longer and longer and longer. I am going to devote a little more time to broadcasting. I'm going to catch my breath a little bit. I hope I never leave Fox or Speed because I enjoy it and I feel I put a lot into it," McReynolds said. He did not rule out an eventual role again as a consultant or team owner. "I'm not saying that in the near future I won't go back and do something" he said. "It would have to be probably under some different circumstances, though. I bit off an awful lot." ThatsRacin.com

7/9/04

Friday Press Conference  Transcript Friday's media conference with TEAM PERSONNEL: Mike GASCOYNE (TOYOTA), Sam MICHAEL (WILLIAMS), Pat SYMONDS (RENAULT) and Geoffrey WILLIS (BAR) on Friday for Sunday's British Grand Prix, round 11 of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship Series:   More (interesting read).....

7/9/04

Friday Notebook   The Trans-Am Series used a new qualifying format today for tomorrow’s Trans-Am in T.O. The 45-minute session was divided into three segments. The first 15-minute segment was an open practice, followed by a 10-minute rest period. The final 20-minute segment set the grid for the race. Teams were allowed to make technical adjustments during each of the first two segments. No adjustments were allowed during the qualifying segment.

TOUGH TOW…Garrett Kletjian (No. 20 www.upscalelingerie.com Qvale Mangusta) returned to Trans-Am competition here after missing the first four races of the season; though he didn’t miss those events by choice. Kletjian’s transporter, containing a race car, as well as all of his pit equipment, was stolen from a hotel parking lot while he was attending a press conference in Trois-Rivičres several months ago. Kletjian plans to compete in several Trans-Am races this season.

CANADIAN CUP… The top finishing Canadian in tomorrow’s race will receive a special trophy, called the Canadian Cup, and will be honored in victory circle. He will also be given the opportunity to participate in the post-race press conference in the media center. The Canadian Cup is a new award, announced today by Series Executive Director John Clagett. The cup will also be awarded at the next race in Trois-Rivičres Aug. 1.

NEW CAR…Ron Fellows took his first turn behind the wheel of his No. 40 Molson Indy Chevrolet Corvette in today’s practice session. In fact, aside from a seat fitting, Fellows hadn’t even sat in the car prior to the start of the 45-minute session. Interestingly, his Derhaag Motorsports team has a car built specifically for Fellows at its Shakopee, Minn. shop. However, they didn’t bring that car to Toronto as Fellows’ deal didn’t come together until Thursday. Fellows therefore is driving Derhaag’s backup car this weekend.

STILL IN THE SHOW…Paul Gentilozzi is driving the same “show car” he used to win last week’s race in Cleveland here at Toronto. Gentilozzi crashed his primary car in qualifying at Cleveland, forcing his crew to transport a show car from his Lansing, Mich. shop. The crew spent all night in Cleveland rebuilding the show car, which is usually used at tradeshows and media events. Gentilozzi started last and drove through the field for the victory. There wasn’t adequate time between races for the team to fix the primary car for the Toronto event.

EXPERIENCED…Only Gentilozzi, Randy Ruhlman, Tommy Kendall and Ron Fellows have competed at Toronto in the past. Of the quartet, only Gentilozzi and Fellows competed in both previous Toronto Trans-Am events in 1993 and 1994.

7/9/04

Kendall takes Trans-Am pole   Tommy Kendall proved that he remembered something from his last race at Toronto during Friday’s qualifying session for the Trans-Am. Kendall, who won the last race Trans-Am held at the Molson Indy Toronto, earned a record pole for Saturday’s race, part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend. Kendall (No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR) turned the 1.75-mile temporary circuit in one minute, 11.713 seconds (88.101 miles per hour earning his third pole this season.   However, an equally impressive run was turned in by Toronto resident Ron Fellows. Fellows earned outside pole in the No. 40 Molson Indy Chevrolet Corvette in his first start in six years. Fellows, who hadn’t even sat in the car prior to this morning’s practice session, was just more than a tenth off the pole speed with a 1:11.867-minute lap (87.912 mph). Points leader Paul Gentilozzi was third quickest in the No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR) and Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Canada/COYOTE Closures Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five.

P # Driver Sponsor (Make/Model) Best Time Lap Mph Lag
1 11 Tommy Kendall Jaguar R Performance (Jaguar/XKR) 1:11.713 5 88.101 0.000
2 40 Ron Fellows Molson Indy (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:11.867 5 87.912 0.154
3 3 Paul Gentilozzi Jaguar R Performance (Jaguar/XKR) 1:12.560 4 87.073 0.847
4 8 Jorge Diaz, Jr. Puerto Rico Grand Prix (Jaguar/XKR) 1:12.767 7 86.825 1.054
5 49 Randy Ruhlman Performed Line Products (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:12.846 11 86.731 1.133
6 5 Tomy Drissi AVP -- Only in Theaters (Jaguar/XKR) 1:12.867 8 86.706 1.154
7 6 Joey Scarallo Toyo Tires/ROH Wheels (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:13.593 6 85.851 1.880
8 86 John Baucom Map Quality Engineering/Bullydog (Ford/Mustang) 1:14.125 7 85.234 2.412
9 95 Charile Webster C.J. Webster of Canada (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:16.467 6 82.624 4.754
10 7 Blaise Csida (R) GT-1 (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:17.932 3 81.071 6.219
11 20 Garrett Kletjian UNICCO Integrated Fac. (Chevrolet/Corvette) 1:18.623 11 80.358 6.910

7/9/04

Black cloud continues to haunt Petty family   Austin Petty, 22-year-old son of Kyle and Pattie Petty, is recovering in a Greensboro, N.C., hospital with non-life threatening injuries following a motorcycle accident last night near Level Cross, N.C. Petty's motorcycle was hit by a car on Highway 62 near Level Cross Thursday evening. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro with two broken ankles and some minor injuries. His release is anticipated later this week. Williams Company

7/9/04

Rain delays NASCAR trials   Busch Pole Qualifying for the Tropicana Twister 300 is being delayed by rain at Chicagoland Speedway. When action resumes, we will have the results.

7/9/04

No threat from Bridgestone/Firestone   There have been published reports that insinuate that Bridgestone/Firestone was threatening a possible pullout from the IRL and Champ Car series if the two sides did not find a way to merge.  We quizzed Bridgestone spokesperson Mark Robinson about that today in Toronto.  His response, "yes, Al Speyer has had some casual meetings with people from both sides expressing an opinion that it would be good to have one series again, but at no time were there any threats, implied or otherwise, that Bridgestone or Firestone would pull out if there wasn't a merger."  Mark C.

7/9/04

Schu's in for British fight  Michael Schumacher looks like he's in for a British fight.  The German, in the Ferrari, was only third fastest on Friday. ''We really expected rain in the afternoon,'' he said. ''We know the competition is tough.  ''However I think we're in the fight for the win.''  Technical director Ross Brawn clarified Schumacher's half-second deficit to Kimi Raikkonen by revealing he only ran 'on used tires' in the afternoon session.  * McLaren's David Coulthard targeted the podium after his F1 team-mate was quickest and the Scot, six tenths further behind, went fourth at Silverstone.  ''[The podium] has to be the goal,'' he said.

7/9/04

Silverstone hero has work to do  Silverstone hero Jenson Button - just fifth quickest in Friday's practice - has a bit of work to do if he wants to join the fight for Sunday's British GP.  The Englishman beamed the crowd's already 'been fantastic.  ''I think we know where we're headed. ''We just have a lot more work to do with the car.''  Friday tester Anthony Davidson, also a local lad, had a bad day in the BAR-Honda car - in the afternoon, the 25-year-old's gearbox broke after just 14 laps.  ''All is not lost,'' he lamented, ''but it's not ideal.''  Takuma Sato expected the 006 to be quicker. ''We had a positive test here,'' said the ninth-placed Japanese. ''The car isn't as quick as we had hoped.''  * Christian Klien's (17th) was the fastest Jaguar. ''We're definitely finding the (windy) conditions more frustrating than normal,'' said Mark Webber.

7/9/04

Kendall tops first practice session   Tommy Kendall set the fastest time during first-round practice Friday for tomorrow’s Trans-Am in T.O., part of the Molson Indy Toronto weekend. Kendall, driving the No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR, turned the 1.75-mile temporary street course in one minute, 12.774 seconds at an average speed of 86.817 miles per hour. Jorge Diaz, Jr. was second quickest in the No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR, ahead of Paul Gentilozzi (No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR). Ron Fellows (No. 40 Molson Indy Chevrolet Corvette) and Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Dodgeball—The Movie Jaguar XKR) completed the top five.

7/9/04

Big crowd for Champ Car in Toronto   The announced attendance for Friday's practice and qualifying for the Champ Car Molson Indy Toronto was 41,704 on a cool overcast day.  Even larger crowds are expected Saturday and Sunday.

7/9/04

Happy Fisichella loses 10 spots   A good and bad start to Giancarlo Fisichella's British GP - take your pick.  On a cool but dry Friday at Silverstone, the Roman in his Sauber came very close - five thousandths - to taking top spot from McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.  ... then his Ferrari-built engine died.  ''It means I'll lose 10 grid places,'' he lamented.  But Giancarlo, with the new rear bodywork package, is still happy. ''We've taken a big step forward,'' he confirmed. ''Probably the biggest of them all.''  Meanwhile,  Renault's Fernando Alonso stopped out on track in the morning with a throttle problem. ''It wasn't a big deal,'' engineering director Pat Symonds insisted.

7/9/04

Forsythe Canadian duo tops first practice in Toronto  

Pos Driver # Engine/Chassis/Tire Lap Time Mph km/h Leader Previous
1 P. Carpentier 7 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.125 105.081 169.111
2 P. Tracy 1 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.312 104.755 168.586 0.187
3 J. Vasser 12 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.484 104.457 168.107 0.359 0.172
4 B. Junqueira 6 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.580 104.292 167.841 0.455 0.096
5 J. Wilson 34 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.707 104.074 167.490 0.582 0.127
6 A. Allmendinger 10 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.775 103.957 167.302 0.650 0.068
7 M. Dominguez 55 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.799 103.916 167.236 0.674 0.024
8 S. Bourdais 2 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:00.855 103.821 167.083 0.730 0.056
9 A. Tagliani 8 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.165 103.294 166.235 1.040 0.310
10 R. Gonzalez 21 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.268 103.121 165.957 1.143 0.103
11 R. Hunter-Reay 4 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.318 103.037 165.822 1.193 0.050
12 M. Jourdain Jr. 9 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.323 103.028 165.807 1.198 0.005
13 R. Lavin 3 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.410 102.882 165.572 1.285 0.087
14 O. Servia 11 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:01.606 102.555 165.046 1.481 0.196
15 M. Haberfeld 5 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:02.302 101.409 163.202 2.177 0.696
16 A. Sperafico 14 Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone 1:02.662 100.827 162.265 2.537 0.360
17 G. Mazzacane 19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone 1:03.591 99.354 159.894 3.466 0.929

7/9/04

Gidley to replace Philippe   According to Rocketsports team owner Paul Gentilozzi, Memo Gidley will replace Nelson Philippe effective immediately.  "We had a contractual dispute with Nelson and Memo will take over the car effective immediately," said Gentilozzi.  "We are not sure about the rest of the season, but we are also talking to Michael Valiante.  We tried to get him here this weekend, but it was too much to pull together at the last minute.  He is also working a deal with Walker Racing and we don't want to interfere with that."  Mark C.

7/9/04

Sun breaking through in Toronto   After rain last night and storms the last couple of days, Friday morning in Toronto dawns partly cloudy with improving skies.  The forecast for the weekend looks promising.  The Champ Cars will be on track at 10:00 AM EST for opening practice and AutoRacing1.com will be there to cover all the action throughout the weekend.

7/9/04

Tracy confident in direction Champ Car going   Paul Tracy voiced his confidence in the direction of Champ Car under OWRS stewardship.  “I feel very comfortable with the direction – from my standpoint, I'm very comfortable with what my owner, Gerry Forsythe, Paul [Gentilozzi] and Kevin [Kalkhoven] are doing. I'm very pleased with how the series has been going this year. Adding races like this is only a bonus. As we sign races up for longer term in the future, like Cleveland last week has re-signed for three years, and I know that they're in negotiation with the races in Canada. I would like to continue doing it.   I guess from my standpoint, my motivation is always to win. This year has been a bit of a bumpy road for us. I won the first race, but we've had a bit of an up-and-down go at it. Hopefully my team owner is going to offer me a job here in the next month or so. I'll just wait and see."

7/9/04

Champ Car considers Handford Device for Las Vegas In the past some had questioned whether the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Superspeedway track, which features 12-degree banking in all turns, three-degree banking on the backstretch and nine-degree banking on the front stretch, might prove too fast for the powerful Champ Cars.  During the press conference this week to announce the race OWRS principal Paul Gentilozzi said, “Lee Dykstra, our technical director, is doing simulations and reviewing that package now.  We'll release something to the teams pretty shortly. But it is under study. We want to be very careful about what that final aero package is, based on our experience the last two years."  Paul Tracy chimed in - “We'll have an incredible race,” he declared. “It's a Handford-style wing like we used to run at places like Michigan or Fontana. You'll see a pack of eight to 10 cars all dicing for the lead for 300 miles. It's going to come down to the very end, the guy who positions himself."

7/9/04

HP renews with Williams BMW  The BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that their principal sponsor, HP, has extended its commercial partnership for a multi-year period. The renewal of the Formula One agreement that has already spanned five years is a clear statement of mutual confidence in the partnership by both companies. HP provides a broad range of products, technologies, solutions and services for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, across car design, performance, data management, manufacturing and telemetry at the Team's headquarters and Grands Prix around the world.

7/9/04

British GP:  Ferrari leads Free Practice 1  As usual, Ferrari paced the first practice at Silverstone today. Rubens Barrichello set the pace from Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher in the opening practice session of the British Grand Prix weekend. Barrichello, who claimed pole position at Silverstone last year, lapped the 5.141km circuit in 1:19.138s, comfortably under his pole position time recorded last year to nip Michael Schumacher by just 0.076s. With Ferrari at the top of the timesheets once again, BMW Williams set the third and fourth fastest times.

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps Laps
1. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'19"138 0.000 Km/h 16
2. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'19"214 + 0'00"076 25
3. 3 MONTOYA Williams BMW M 1'19"502 + 0'00"364 13
4. 04 GENE Williams BMW M 1'19"687 + 0'00"549 14
5. 35 DAVIDSON BAR Honda M 1'19"748 + 0'00"610 23
6. 5 COULTHARD McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"021 + 0'00"883 6
7. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas B 1'20"430 + 0'01"292 17
8. 11 FISICHELLA Sauber Petronas B 1'20"446 + 0'01"308 10
9. 6 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"633 + 0'01"495 5
10. 9 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'20"866 + 0'01"728 8
11. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'21"095 + 0'01"957 27
12. 37 WIRDHEIM Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"277 + 0'02"139 24
13. 10 SATO BAR Honda M 1'21"285 + 0'02"147 13
14. 14 WEBBER Jaguar Cosworth M 1'21"520 + 0'02"382 6
15. 7 TRULLI Renault M 1'21"792 + 0'02"654 13
16. 8 ALONSO Renault M 1'22"003 + 0'02"865 5
17. 15 KLIEN Jaguar Cosworth M 1'22"279 + 0'03"141 11
18. 16 DA MATTA Toyota M 1'22"466 + 0'03"328 16
19. 17 PANIS Toyota M 1'22"520 + 0'03"382 15
20. 19 PANTANO Jordan Ford B 1'22"664 + 0'03"526 20
21. 18 HEIDFELD Jordan Ford B 1'22"716 + 0'03"578 20
22. 39 GLOCK Jordan Ford B 1'23"149 + 0'04"011 22
23. 20 BRUNI Minardi Cosworth B 1'23"663 + 0'04"525 19
24. 21 BAUMGARTNER Minardi Cosworth B 1'23"715 + 0'04"577 20
25. 40 LEINDERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'24"887 + 0'05"749 18

7/9/04

Bourdais comes to the USA to succeed  This Indy Star article talks about Champ Car star Sebastien Bourdais' decision to leave Europe and come to America to make a name for himself in the big leagues of racing.  It concludes by saying, Bourdais said Haas has told the team to keep its mind on this year and he'll worry about the future. So that is what the young driver is trying to do, even as he faces difficult decisions about his own future.  As his stock rises, Bourdais will generate renewed interest from Formula One. And he admits being homesick, although having his girlfriend, Claire Ragot, join him at his home in Tampa, Fla., has helped. She is on a track and field scholarship at the University of South Florida.  Bourdais said he would not leave a championship-caliber Champ Car team to run in the back of the pack in F-1, but clearly he hopes to win a title this season and see if it opens doors closer to home.  "I try not to think about it too much," he said. "I have absolutely no problem with my career being here. Living in the States is OK.  "The only problem is we miss our friends and family. There's nothing wrong with America. It's just not home."

7/9/04

Silverstone ownership shored up  Silverstone's immediate future has been secured after the British Racing Drivers' Club agreed to accept Ł27m to take the circuit back.  The BRDC own the track but had leased it out to marketing giant Interpublic, along with the rights to the British Grand Prix.  That arrangement saw Interpublic incur heavy losses and they bailed out of Formula One by paying the sport's supremo Bernie Ecclestone to take the rights back earlier this year.  Now they have stepped aside from British motor racing completely by ending their lease on Silverstone early.  The company were due to lease the facility until 2007, but have now agreed a package with the BRDC which will see them hand over control before the end of the year.  BRDC chief executive Alexander Hooton insists the organization will not lose out.  He said, "  This payment will give the BRDC security in the medium term, which will enable the club to carefully evaluate its future options and therefore determine its own destiny."  ICWales

7/9/04
DTM

Audi DTM cars head to Shanghai  On 17th and 18th July the DTM will stage an invitation race in Shanghai. The two Audi works teams of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest will compete with a total of eight cars at the "East Race Festival" in the Chinese metropolis. Most of the DTM teams enter unknown territory in Shanghai, whereas for Audi it is not the first race in China: The legendary Audi quattro won the Hong Kong-Peking rally twice in succession in 1985 and 1986. Today, Audi is the leading automobile manufacturer in the premium segment in China; the A4 and A6 models for the Chinese market are produced at the Changchun factory.

7/9/04

Possible sellout in Toronto  Ticket sales are picking up in Toronto and while tickets were still available as of Thursday morning, the usual sellout was predicted for Sunday's 19th edition of the race over the 2.82-kilometre temporary street course at Toronto's Exhibition Place. Uncertainty over the future of the series had led to a slow start in ticket sales.

7/9/04

British GP: Thursday Press Conference  

Jenson Button (BAR)
David Coulthard (McLaren)
Mark Webber (Jaguar) 
Anthony Davidson (BAR)  Transcript

7/9/04

Toronto Fan Forum Details  

Date: Saturday, July 10, 2004
Time: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Autograph Session Tent in Thunder Alley
Who:
Nelson Philippe – Champ Car Driver Rocketsports Racing
A.J. Allmendinger – Champ Car Driver RuSPORT
Jeremy Dale – Team President RuSPORT
Bryan Sellers – Toyota Atlantic Driver Lynx Racing
Champ Car Representative – TBD (hoping this will be Chris Kneifel)

7/9/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Webber's off to Williams
'I'll be in F1 next year' - Coulthard
Ferrari aren't cheating - British rivals
Future's 'looking good' for Friday stunner
Rubens turned down Williams drive
'Seventeen or nineteen?' - the '05 calendar
F1 must quit smoking - research
'Don't give me Jacques' - Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan must 'respect the challenge' - Williams
Button rules out Williams return
Webber's 'bloody awesome' sporting hero
Schu laughs at BAR's 'home pitch' advantage
Want overtaking? F1's 'got it'
Button was 'too immature' - Jackie Stewart
Why all the 'Silverstone-bashing'? - Coulthard

7/9/04

Daytona reconstruction starts   Benny Parsons, 1975 Daytona 500 champion and NBC Sports analyst, kicked off the multi-million dollar, multi-faceted infield renovation project on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. Parsons, donning a DIS construction hard hat, became a construction worker for a few hours. He bulldozed the Turn 1 wall and Garage C in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage and drilled into the pavement in Turn 1. "That machine was powerful," Parsons said after tearing down a garage stall. Daytona International Speedway's infield renovation project, which is scheduled to be completed in time for December's Daytona Kart Week, includes:
* A new tunnel located in Turn 1 that will accommodate team transport vehicles and guest's specialty vehicles.
* New NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series garages * Uniquely designed Fan Zone that offer a variety of entertainment and fun for all ages as well as roof-top viewing of the new NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch Series garage areas and action on the track
* Waterfront specialty vehicle parking area with premium and standard specialty vehicle parking spots as well as waterfront docks, activity zones, playgrounds and an exclusive community center.
* New Gatorade Victory Lane where fans can now also be part of the Victory Celebration by taking advantage of the new unique Victory Lane Club and Victory Circle Plaza.

7/9/04

Indy testing quotes   KYLE PETTY, DRIVER, #45 GEORGIA-PACIFIC/BRAWNY DODGE: “Some things change year to year and some things don’t. Indianapolis is still very weather-sensitive. That never seems to go away. It was hot and the track was slick for our test but that is what you usually get during the summer months in Indiana. If we see these same weather conditions when we come back in August, we’ll be ahead of the game because we know how the car will react. The Cheerios team (Jeff Green’s #43) had a full day on Wednesday with the track under some cloud cover, so we can learn a lot from them too. A lot of what happens at Indy depends on the weather, and our teams have had a chance to see some differences along those lines. We had some engine problems on Tuesday but we still learned a lot. Our car drove really well and that was important for us to know. I think we’re going to see the same racing that we’ve always seen at Indianapolis. It’s going to be hard to pass, and the handling and the setup of the cars are going to be big factors. We have been pretty good with our flat track stuff this season so we’re not too worried. It’s the weather that everyone will be watching - that and the reaction of the track conditions. It’s going to be more crucial for qualifying than for the race, but it’s going to have an effect either way. It was a good idea for us to come test because we were able to maybe get a step ahead. Hopefully what we learned will help us in a few weeks.”

JEFF GREEN, DRIVER, #43 CHEERIOS/BETTY CROCKER DODGE: “Our test session went really well. We were able to get two good, complete days in. The weather was perfect for testing. Tuesday was a bit warmer and Wednesday it dropped off a little bit. That gave us a feel of what the track will be like, but it still is going to come down to having a fast car. That much was pretty easy to figure out about the place. But we know what we need to do to make the car we take to Indy a little bit faster. We put the car through a race run, and we had it in qualifying trim. We collected a lot of data in two days. We tried some different things with the body and I think that has worked out for us. Our cars are looking good for the Brickyard 400. They have more a little more drag, a little more downforce, and that is what you want at a speedway like Indianapolis. The race always comes down to having a good handling car. The weather, the track conditions and all of those other things don’t mean a whole lot if you don’t have a good handling car. After spending two days at Indy, we’re going in the right direction.”

7/8/04

Quote of the week  In this week's Indianapolis Business Journal - "It's funny how things have come full circle, it's 10 years later, and about the only substantial thing that's been accomplished is a racing series has been destroyed. Open-wheel racing had this big fight, the sport got stuck in neutral, and 75 million people became NASCAR fans. It makes you wonder what's next." Zak Brown, head of an Indianapolis motorsports marketing firm called Just Marketing.   [Editor's Note:  How many millions of dollars did Tony George spend to destroy the sport?  What a legacy he leaves for his family to bear.]

7/8/04

Details of Las Vegas race revealed  This Las Vegas Review-Journal article talks about the announced Champ Car race in Las Vegas.  With 4 of 18 Champ Car drivers living in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas fans are sure to have a lot to cheer about.  This should help attendance and generate a lot of press around the event.

7/8/04

Rampant sexism defines world of F1  This Independent newspaper article says, Nestled in the wooded area between the Gold and Silver entrances to the Hungarian Grand Prix were 20 whitewashed booths beneath a banner proclaiming "Erotik Camping". Each contained a red carpet, a grey-blanketed bed and a neat stack of toilet rolls. Formula One had come to town, and an open-air brothel had been specially erected for the occasion.

F1 was perceived as a prime market for prostitution. It is hard to imagine any other sport engendering such an obvious association, but then no other sport has such an outdated relationship to women.

During my three seasons as an F1 TV reporter, I witnessed the world of elite motor racing defining itself as "cutting edge", but promoting ideologies from the Dark Ages. The driver Eddie Irvine turned his charms on me at the Brazilian Grand Prix when the conversation turned to a mutual friend, a German F1 presenter whose contract had been unexpectedly cancelled.  "Oh that's a shame," he said from behind mirrored sunglasses. "It was good watching her arse walk down the paddock."  I assumed he was being sarcastic. "Hmm..." I said. "I'll miss her conversation too."  "No, I won't miss that," he said, quite seriously. "She just looked good - she was just here to be looked at. That's all any of you are here for, just to be looked at."  There were eight other men sitting listening. Nobody said a word, except for Niki Lauda. He looked at me from beneath his baseball cap and shrugged. "It's a man's world," he said.

In a sport driven by global marketing ambitions, it is extraordinary that nobody has yet seized this potential. Ecclestone described his ideal female racing driver as "Perhaps a black girl, with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish".  It was a joke, I think, but a revealing one. In Formula One, sexism even defeats the forces of capitalism.  
More (interesting read).......

7/8/04

Toyota increases bid for Webber  Following its signing of Ralf Schumacher on a three-year contract yesterday (Wednesday), Toyota has upped its offer to wrest Mark Webber away from Williams next year due to doubts over Schumacher's long-term return to fitness, according to this week's Autosport magazine.  Schumacher is convalescing at home in Austria following his 165mph crash in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, during which he recorded a 78g impact that left him with concussion and two fractured vertebrae. In case he does not start next season on top form, as this was his second high-speed crash in two years, Toyota is anxious to line up another star driver.  Autosport understands that Toyota management held further talks with Webber's manager, Renault chief Flavio Briatore, at Magny-Cours last weekend. The Australian has admitted that he has several options for next year, and hinted that a lot would depend on Toyota's long-term potential.  [Editor's Note: This just confirms our rumor from April that Toyota will probably replace both its drivers for 2005.  Ralf's signing means one is gone.  If they sign Webber too, both Panis and da Matta will be out of a ride.]

7/8/04

Dale Jr. on 60 Minutes  Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear on the long-running CBS TV program 60 Minutes later this year. The Bud Chevy driver was interviewed by 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace for a half-hour in Daytona after Dale Jr. rode the 86-year old Wallace around the track at 130 miles per hour in a 2005 C-6 prototype Chevrolet Corvette. Earnhardt Jr. said "I’ve always liked the show. I don’t think NASCAR is anyplace to go shopping for a gut wrenching story but when I’ve seen a controversial topic on 60 Minutes typically it’s been fair on both sides. They just ask the real questions and want the real answers." No air date has been set for the interview; however it will run this fall in conjunction with the chase for the championship. PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show

7/8/04

The high cost of F1  According to this This London.com article, Claims that Formula One finances are out of control can today be confirmed by the revelation that Michael Schumacher's race to last year's world championship title cost over $100,000 per mile. Ferrari are estimated to have spent over $300 million on getting two cars onto the grid for 16 races.

7/8/04

Tagliani thinks Tracy gives up too soon  This Toronto Star article says, Alex Tagliani isn't surprised that Paul Tracy blames him for a first corner crash that knocked the Scarborough native out of last Saturday's Grand Prix of Cleveland.  He says that's the Torontonian simply being himself.  "The most surprising thing of all in the newspaper articles is not the things he says about me, but rather that he says he has no more chance to win the championship," Tagliani said yesterday. "I'm kinda surprised how easy he's given up.  I'm one point ahead of him and my team thinks we still have a chance to win it, especially with the way the new points system is this year. The top six, seven or eight drivers still have a chance, mathematically, to win. He's only 50 points behind (current points leader) Bruno Junqueira. So how can you see your chances being completely over?  Giving up that quickly ... is what surprised me most of all in his article."  Tracy wrote on Tuesday in the first of a series of exclusive columns for the Star this week:  "Less than 10 seconds into the Cleveland Grand Prix and it was all over — my race, and more than likely, my shot at winning the championship again this year."

7/8/04

Toronto race to air live in Canada  This Toronto Star article says, The fact that this year's Molson Indy broadcast will be produced by Canadians again isn't the only good news surrounding Toronto's vroom with a view.

The main one for Indy organizers is that Sunday's event will remind viewers that the Champ Car series still exists.

"The fact that we're live gives us an opportunity to put out the message that Champ Car is alive and well," said Molson Entertainment's Paul Gris, producer of Sunday's race for Global.

That statement is testament to the sorry state of open-wheel racing in North America. Since the Indy Racing League split with CART (Champ Car's former moniker) a few years back, both series have suffered. Television ratings are dismal, so much so in Champ Car's case that it must pay to get its races televised in the U.S. Champ is averaging a paltry 80,000 viewers a race on TSN this season. Even previously bulletproof events like the IRL's Indianapolis 500 are suffering.

Worse for Champ Car is the fact that the best TV deal it could cobble together this season, after narrowly escaping bankruptcy in the winter, was one with Spike and most of the races on tape. Among those is the Toronto race.

Last year, with CBS carrying the race, Molson and Global decided it made more financial sense to simply pick up the American broadcast. Apparently the prospect of a major Canadian auto race being presented in Canada by an American network was overshadowed by the prospect of raking in the simulcasting dollars. In Global's defense, it did insist CART do its best to make it look like a Canadian production and that it did. The CBS announcers were so Canada-centric they almost said "eh" a few times.  "Doing the race ourselves is the ideal situation," said Global programming head Adam Ivers. "Splitting the audience between Global and CBS last year didn't make any sense, but we're excited to be doing an all-Canadian production.

7/8/04

Toronto part of Champ Car's international push  This Toronto Star article talks about Toronto being a key part of Champ Car's international flavor. "Champ Car has always been a quasi-international championship," said Gentilozzi.   "We've been to Brazil, Japan, Australia; all over the world. Heck, we've been in Canada almost 20 years.   We welcome the fact that we're a North American-based series that has some international exposure. I'm sure we'll be in four or five countries outside the U.S. next year."

While he wouldn't directly name the countries or cities Champ Cars is targeting as future sites, Gentilozzi did offer some hints.  "It would be foolish for me to talk about venues," he said. "But I think we'll be in South America next year and we're looking hard at European venues. We think there are opportunities there.  We can't afford to do just one race in Europe because of the transportation costs," said Gentilozzi.  When we get two races we can go back to Europe."

There was some talk about Champ Cars going to South Africa as early as next year, but that's off the screen, at least for now.  "It's all about funding and that event did not get funded," said Gentilozzi. "The part the government needed to do they couldn't do. So South Africa is dead."

There have also been rumors about a fourth Canadian race, this one on the streets of Calgary, which has a high number of corporate headquarters, especially those in the rich oil and gas industries.  "We're looking at every avenue," he said. "It's just another North American city. We want to look at cities which, No. 1, welcome us and No. 2 can do business with us."

And therein lies the secret to which cities or countries might wind up as a future Champ Car race venue.  With the hugely successful NASCAR series having a virtual stranglehold on sponsorship of consumer products, Gentilozzi and his partners have narrowed their aim to Champ Cars' traditional sponsors, the manufacturing sector.

"The NASCAR sponsor probably isn't the Champ Car sponsor," said Gentilozzi. "The NASCAR sponsor is probably going to be a consumer product, mostly in the U.S. and based mostly in the southeast. And they're looking at large volumes of people that simply see the exposure.  The Champ Car-sponsor relationship has been different. This is a place where companies come to do business. It really is a business-to-business relationship forum.

Gentilozzi points out that a company can't take 20 employees to a NASCAR race and walk them through the pits, talk to the drivers and then have lunch with them.   "If you're selling beer in the U.S. NASCAR is a better venue," he said. "But if you're selling industrial jets this is a much better one."

Both Gentilozzi and Kalkhoven insist that because of the type of companies that sponsor Champ Cars it makes television coverage less important to them than to the businesses that sponsor NASCAR or F1 teams.  "Take my sponsor Gulfstream," said Kalkhoven. "They're not here (in Cleveland) to exactly sell a lot of Gulfstream (private jets) via television. They're going to sell to pilots and potential owners. It's a wonderful opportunity to get these people for three days and indoctrinate them in Gulfstream.  They're using the romance and excitement of motorsports that really appeals to the pilots and potential owners."

Gentilozzi feels there are similar companies worldwide that are interested in using auto racing as a venue for business-to-business schmoozing. As the business world recovers from the slump that resulted from the 9/ll terrorist attacks he feels the market will improve.  "The first think big companies do is take away discretionary spending when the economy is down. Everyone wants to keep their stock value up, so you look at marketing, public relations and advertising budgets."   "The big advertising agencies, they're hot properties right now because everybody knows that as the economy gets stronger their activities are going to get stronger," he said.   "As companies spend more money promoting their products they'll come back to motorsports." [Editor's Note:  Champ Car can't survive on just business-to-business relationships.  Their marketing department must be able to land consumer focused companies who like the international nature of Champ Car]

7/8/04

Nick Hayes steps down from Cosworth  As a result of the increasing likelihood of a significant review of Formula One engine technical regulations in the near future, Cosworth Racing’s Technical Director Nick Hayes has decided that now is an appropriate time to hand over responsibility for redefining Cosworth’s position within Formula One to the next generation of engineers.

Naturally this presents an immense challenge to the team of young and extremely talented engineers currently working within Cosworth Racing, not only in terms of developing Cosworth’s own Formula One engines but also forming part of the engine advisory group to the FIA.

This group of engineers encompasses a new generation of thinking, a desire to break the image of Cosworth as a supplier of only customer engines in Formula One and demonstrate the company’s core values of reliability, performance, innovation and excellence. To establish a measurable target, it has set itself the goal of developing the most powerful and reliable Formula One engine in line with the new engine regulations, the benchmark against which all others will be measured.

The Cosworth Racing Formula One department will effectively be split into two sub-divisions; Race Engineering and Future Engines, each reporting directly to the Board of Directors. The Race Engineering team will concentrate on on-going track support, development and implementation, while the Future Engines team will focus on developing engines to suit changing requirements, such as likely specification changes, defined by the FIA in the near future.

The two departments will work closely together, as well as with the relevant Formula One teams, and by sharing best practice, will ensure that developments made by the future group are seamlessly integrated into the current specification of Formula One engines.

Commenting on the changes, Cosworth Racing MD Tim Routsis said; “Obviously it is with sadness that Nick leaves the company, having made an enormous contribution to Cosworth’s success over the years and been an integral part of the company.

“However, I am confident that the teams of engineers will bring fresh and innovative thinking to the development of Cosworth’s future Formula One engines. Our target to develop the benchmark engine in Formula One is a bold one but one we feel that we can achieve and we look forward to seeing Cosworth-powered cars at the front of the field once more.”   Cosworth

7/8/04

NASCAR tracks create non-Bubba sections  This AP article talks about the family-only sections of grandstands that some of the NASCAR tracks now offer for people who want to keep their family members away from the beer drinking, rowdy, NASCAR fans called Bubbas.  It's a start, however, 95% of the grandstands are still filled with Bubbas who whoop it up, yell, scream and ask women and young girls to take off their tops.  When Mark Spangenberg goes to the track with his wife and teenage daughter, he'd rather not be near the tailgate parties and rowdy drinkers. And Richmond International Raceway is one of a handful of tracks offering fans like the Spangenbergs a haven of sorts. In three sections of the track - 3,300 of the 107,100 seats, fans are prohibited from drinking alcohol.   ``We're not against drinking, but when people overdo it, it can take away from the quality time of other people,'' said Spangenberg, who lives in Huntingdon, Pa., and recently attended a Nextel Cup race in Richmond. ``As we walked in, I didn't appreciate the people who you knew had been drinking asking the young ladies to raise their shirts. If we were to come back again, we would make sure we were in the same section.''

7/8/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

London GP earns big-guns' support
'I'm not moving for the money' - Schumacher
'I haven't phoned Ralf' - Juan Pablo Montoya
Mosley leaves F1 in a 'vacuum'
'I want to blow Kimi away' - Coulthard
Dark clouds over Silverstone - Stewart
Toyota about to change F1 tires
Panis wants job as Ralf's new teammate
Toyota can't wait for 'B spec' F1 car
British team expects 'home pitch' advantage
Drivers love Silverstone
Dennis gave Haug 'a bollocking'

7/8/04

Set those VCR's  Champ Car fans may want to set their VCR's to tape the rerun of the MotoGP bike race from this past weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It's on at 3:00 AM EST July 8th on SPEED Channel.  With rumors of Champ Car possibly returning to Rio in 2005, it's a good opportunity to see what a wonderful road course they have in Rio, though Champ Car is likely to use the Roval again.  That is also clearly shown in the overhead shots.  The track appears to be in good condition.  Photos below taken by Autoracing1's Steve Levinson this past weekend in Rio.


(L to R) Start, Lap 1, Corcovado, Copacabana Beach

(L to R) Barra da Tijuca, New condos across from track, Crowd, Sugar Loaf Mountain

7/8/04

Bourdais thinks push-to-pass button good in Toronto  Over the years there has been plenty of excitement on the tight street course in Toronto. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time can have a big impact on your finishing position. Bourdais anticipates even more excitement this weekend and thanks to the addition of Ford-Cosworth's Push To Pass button.

"I think the Push to Pass button will be powerful because the backstraight is very long in Toronto (and) I think it will have a big effect," added Bourdais who was able to avoid a Lap 1, Turn 1 collision in Cleveland to take the lead of the race. "The straight part is not very long but the amount of time you are full throttle is pretty long so it's going to be a benefit. The only downside is that the track is pretty narrow and there is basically only one line. It's going to be interesting. I think we will see some interesting moves."

7/7/04

Franchittis to team up  Dario Franchitti and brother Marino are hoping to team up for next year’s Daytona 24 Hours sportscar classic.  Dario, who has never raced a sportscar, said: “I really want to do it. It is something we talked about for this year, but my team wasn’t keen after I’d been out with injury all last year. If it works out it would be great.”  Marino said: “It’s just a plan at the moment, but it is something we are working towards. I would love to be able to share a car with my brother at Daytona.”

7/7/04

Champ Car Hot Topics  The Molson Indy Toronto (HDNet, 1 p.m. Eastern Time, July 11; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, July 11), is Round 6 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 1.755-mile temporary street course at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.  More....

7/7/04

End this war says Mario  UPDATE  A reader writes, Dear Mario, I share your concerns and have analyzed the situation from my vantage point, which admittedly is not the same as your intimately involved situation. Unification of open wheel racing in the US can happen instantaneously except for two small, simple words: “Tony” and “George”. Time and time again this person has blocked any and all comers to the reunification arena. I can (as my buddy Tommy Lasorda puts it) guaran-f’ing-tee you that nobody, I mean nobody that supported CART and now supports its successor, OWRS, will give one dime or one ounce of effort in supporting any series that is run by this person. Other issues like technical specs can be worked out. I’d prefer a common higher tech V-10 with more nimble chassis design (best), or keeping the current OWRS cars as is (good), or some kind of N/A V-8 formula (fair), or even settle on the ugly farting bee crapwagons if necessary (worst, what a joke on road course those dogs would be). The issues of where to race can be worked out whether it’s 10-ovals / 10-road courses (fair) or 7-ovals / 7-road courses / 6-street/temporary courses (better), or whatever. But what I will NOT do is put one dime of my hard earned money into a series where Tony George is in control. I see where he just shut down Roger Penske’s efforts just like all the other reunification efforts and until he gets out, he’ll shut your efforts down too. Two separate series is better than one TG-run series in my mind. At least now I have a choice where to go and spend my time and money. He apparently is an ego-maniac and will not yield until the Indy 495 is on the precipice of the toilet, a direction he is heading towards in startling rapid fashion. Sincerely,  Glenn Tanner, Palos Verdes Estates CA  7/7/04 - This Toronto Star article says, The civil war tearing apart open-wheel racing in North America must end for the sake of the sport, says legendary racing champion Mario Andretti.  "It should have happened yesterday," Andretti said after signing hundreds of autographs at a Molson Indy event downtown.  "To have open-wheel racing so divided; it's just that, it's divided. All the energy should be funneled in one area."

While recent talks between Champ Car and Indy Racing League team owner Roger Penske, who brokered the meeting as a personal mission to unite the two groups, are very preliminary, Andretti said it is encouraging they are at least sitting down.  "Whenever you have dialogue, there's hope," he said. "Hopefully they'll find a way for an acceptable compromise for both sides."

"I love the sport and I'm concerned because it's not enjoying the prominence that it should," he said, noting open-wheel racing is falling behind NASCAR. "That was not the case only a couple of years ago and all this demise was created by the creation of the IRL and nothing good ever came out of it."  Anyone involved with the sport wants the war to end, said Andretti.

"The reason for (the merger) is so strong; it makes so much sense," he said. "The reason this split happened was never a good one. There was never a good idea behind it."

Andretti said there are IRL drivers who would like to street race. Likewise, he said, there are Champ Car drivers who would love to race on the ovals.  "The drivers are caught in the crossfire. The drivers don't want to hear about politics, they want to race."  Andretti said the only people who don't want a merger are the owners of the two organizations who want to maintain control.  "The race will always be successful ... but it can be better, it can be stronger with all factions together," Andretti said, ending the interview with a simple message to both sides: "Get it done."

7/7/04

ISC earnings drop 50%  ISC today reported Q2 ’04 earnings, and REUTERS reports that the company’s net earnings “fell more than 50[%] as one-time charges [related to the closing of Nazareth Speedway] offset higher broadcast and attendance revenue.” ISC earned $6.1M in the quarter, down from $12.5M in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 11% to $132.7M, while attendance revenue rose 6% to $46.2M REUTERS.  ISC shares were trading at $49.80, up 1.3%

7/7/04

Stewart not amused by Bernie's threat   Former champion Jackie Stewart has accused Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone of backtracking on assurances that the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was safe to 2006.  "We are dismayed at Bernie Ecclestone's latest threat to the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone," the Scot said in a statement issued by the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), of which he is the president, on Wednesday.

"We are surprised at Mr Ecclestone's backtracking on the FOA's assurances of the security of the 2005/2006 grand prix," it added.  Ecclestone's Formula One Administration (FOA) holds the right to promote the event.  Stewart said: "It is sad to see a dark cloud over the future of Silverstone this weekend when we should be celebrating the pre-eminence of our motorsport industry and hoping for a British winner on Sunday."

7/7/04

Ralf says he has chosen the future  Ralf Schumacher says he has ‘chosen the future’ by moving to Toyota. The German has signed a three-year deal with the team and told his official website that he believes he can become a World Champion with the Cologne outfit. "I've chosen the future," he said. "I know you can't buy success and I also know that Toyota cannot become an overnight success but I can promise I will put all my energy and patience into what they ask of me. When I think I'm going to be at the heart of Toyota's long term project for the world title I start to have stomach cramps.  I've earned so much money I don't have any worries about the future. Money has never been what motivated me in Formula One,” he said. Toyota insist they concluded a ‘reasonable’ deal with the German. "As usually happens regarding Formula 1 budget figures, the amount of money reported by the media is largely overestimated. The rumors about the contract between Toyota and Ralf Schumacher are not an exception," said team boss Tsutomu Tomita.

7/7/04
Industry News

Mansell & Fogarty start magazine   Former World Champions Nigel Mansell and Carl Fogarty have entered into the world of publishing with the launch of a new magazine – Planet Driving. The magazine, which embraces the art and enjoyment of driving, is a unique blend of driving disciplines covering on and off road driving, riding and competition, along with news and features centered on marine, flying and recreational craft. Besides Mansell and Fogarty, five-time Class One world powerboat champion Steve Curtis and Wing Commander Andy Offer, highly-experienced Harriet pilot and former member of the Red Arrows will be regular contributors to Planet Driving. Mansell and Fogarty, who are joint editors-in-chief of the magazine, are delighted to be teaming up. Speaking at the official media launch of Planet Driving at Café Grand Prix, Mayfair, Nigel said: “I feel privileged to have Carl as a fellow editor-in-chief and look forward to working closely with him and the rest of our world-class team to produce the very best from the car, motorcycle, marine and aviation worlds.” Carl added: “I am very excited about this project and to have joined forces with Nigel Mansell, someone who shared my commitment to success. We are very proud of our first issue and want Planet Driving to continue to provide an honest and candid insight into the art, enjoyment and science of all types of driving and riding - and not just of cars and bikes.” The first issue of Planet Driving is on sale now at WH Smith and all good newsagents.

7/7/04

Fake Richard Petty making the rounds  Earlier this year at Dover we had a small problem arise. On Saturday during the time when they were trying to get the Busch race started (or the track dry) there was a gentleman who visited the grandstands who was impersonating Richard Petty. The real Richard Petty was in New Jersey that day making an appearance for a sponsor and not at the track. Petty Enterprises was made aware of this imposter when they received a call from another teams' rep stating that Richard was in the grandstands and they actually thought it was him. This guy apparently had the look because he fooled many fans into thinking he was the real deal. The imposter even went as far as to sign autographs for almost two hours. He was signing the name "Richard Petty" but the signature is not even close to the actual. The 'fake' King even had a security escort with him during his 'autograph session'. Apparently this guy has fooled the fans, the track and even the security or police into thinking that he was Richard. Petty Enterprises wants to make the fans aware that this man was not Richard Petty...for one thing, Petty never visits the grandstands and is usually in the infield or garage area. The fake Richard Petty is a few years younger then the real Richard Petty, who just turned 67. No other reports of seeing the fake at other tracks. Richard Petty prides himself in being good to his fans and the fans of this sport. Petty Enterprises do not want is for this imposter to give Richard a bad name. Petty Enterprises

7/7/04

Frank Williams backs London GP  "If ever Mr. Ecclestone intends to run a Grand Prix in London, this is going to be a major step up the ladder for him.   Monaco is the most fantastic of the major sporting events on the motoring calendar. A Grand Prix of London could become the same," he said.   'I'm a strong supporter, otherwise we wouldn't have sent a car. I think it would work for us."   Sir Frank Williams

7/7/04

Status quo in GrandAm  The leaders of all three Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series classes maintained their position atop their respective driver standings following last week's Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway-the halfway point of the 12-race 2004 calendar.

Following a second-place finish in the Paul Revere 250, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley teammates Scott Pruett and Max Papis continue to lead the Daytona Prototype standings with 183 points. However, No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley co-drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor used their victory last week at Daytona to close the gap to 11 points behind the Ganassi duo. CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford driver Andy Wallace stands alone in fifth place with 164 points, while Wallace's CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports teammate Milka Duno is sixth with 151 markers.

Defending Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller, who drives the No. 54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran is tied for seventh with No. 81 Rx.com/G&W Motorsports BMW Doran driver Cort Wagner with 148 points apiece. No. 27 Doran-Lista Racing Lexus Doran driver Didier Theys occupies ninth in the driver standings with 145 points, and No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley pilot Jimmy Morales is 10th with 144 markers.

The No. 01Lexus team also leads the No. 10 Pontiac squad in the team standings, 183-172, with the No. 2 CITGO-Howard-Boss Motorsports team third with 159 points. Pontiac leads the Daytona Prototype engine manufacturer standings, 202-196 over Lexus, and BMW is third with 147. Riley tops the chassis manufacturer standings with a 192-178 advantage over Doran followed by Crawford with 177 points.  GrandAm

7/7/04

Last 10 laps best ever  The last 10 laps of Buddy Rice's win in the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 not only produced the second-closest finish in IndyCar Series history, it also provided one of the best on-track battles the series has ever seen. The lead officially changed six times in the final 10 laps, the most lead changes in the final 10 laps of any IndyCar series race. The previous most lead changes in the final 10 laps was four, which occurred at Michigan in July 2003 and Texas in June 2002. This also was the sixth time that the lead changed on the final lap of the race. Other drivers to make last-lap passes for victory were: Sam Hornish Jr., who twice passed Helio Castroneves for wins at Homestead in February and at Texas in 2001; Alex Barron, who beat Hornish at Michigan in 2003; Jeff Ward, who passed Al Unser Jr. at Texas in June 2002; and Scott Sharp, who passed Gil de Ferran at Nazareth in 2002.  IRL

7/7/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

F1's London parade 'cut short'
London GP 'within one year' - Mansell
Gene to again fill Ralf Schumacher's shoes
'No contract' for '05 Brit GP - Ecclestone
'Bingo! - I'm joining Toyota,' says Ralf S.
'I don't want Mosley's job' - Jean Todt
One-lap qualifying 'will stay' - FIA
Ferrari 'can comply' with Mosley's rules - Brawn
'I hope Webber stays' - Jaguar's Pitchforth
Montoya and McLaren 'can succeed' - Ron Dennis
British GP 'might be the last' - Brundle
Toyota confirm Ralf S. for '05
BMW wanted Ralf to stay - Mario Theissen
Brit fans 'appreciate' F1 - Schu 

7/6/04

Champ Car needs Viagra and Cialis  Champ Car desperately needs a double dose of Viagra and Cialis.  Why?  Because they can't get it up.  All kidding aside, the grandstands that are erected at most Champ Car events, especially the temporary ones, rise at so shallow of an angle we wonder why they waste their time erecting them at all. Champ Car and its track designers need to take a lesson in Track Design 101 - Steeper grandstands on same footprint = more rows = more seats = more revenue.  If the fans are not seated high enough to see all the action, and can't see over the 6 footer sitting in front of them, the paying customer is not a happy camper. One thing you can say about the oval cartel, they seat their customers high and in steep grandstands and many have backs to them.  Nothing like sitting on High School bleachers.  We don't know who Champ Car contracts with for their temporary grandstands, but they should get a company that supplies 21st century stands.  Mark C.

7/6/04

More merchandise for Champ Car in 2005  UPDATE  According to this Global Racing News website, some details have been leaked on the upcoming Champ Car video game. It will be on store shelves in early 2005, it started development in early 2003. It will put all other racing games to shame. It appears to feature both arcade and hard-core simulation modes.  Furthermore, it will be released on the PC, XBOX, and Playstation 2.  The game is being made by a small firm by the name of SE Games, they were in Cleveland this past weekend working on the development of the game itself. We have also learned that the game will attract some new companies to the Champ Car series. Another possibility that has come into play is that SE Games is being headed-up by ex-Papyrus employees. Papyrus developed the original CART video game.   If it's true that these guys are ex-Papyrus employees then Champ Car has done the best possible thing it can do. Papyrus are the king of racing sims.   They also created the NASCAR series of games....and brought NASCAR a huge worldwide audience.   7/2/04 - Paul Gentilozzi said today in Cleveland that because their buyout of the series happened so late, they do not have a full merchandising program in place for 2004.  They are working on several fronts for 2005 - putting all their old races (since 1979) on DVD for sale to the public, more merchandising for all drivers and a new video game by SE Games that will be available on all platforms - PC, Playstation, Xbox, etc..

7/6/04

F1 speeds through streets of London   This Sky Sports article talks about the F1 event on the streets of London today, but this article says it was called off early due to safety fears.

7/6/04

Rodger Ward dies at 83  UPDATE  Information on services for two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward, who died July 5 at age 83: Memorial service: A memorial service for Ward will take place at 5 p.m. (PDT), Sunday, July 11, San Diego Automotive Museum, 2080 Pan American Plaza, No. 12, Balboa Park, CA 92101-1636. (Web: www.sdautomuseum.org) Cards and letters: Cards and letters can be sent to Sherrie Ward, 24701 Raymond Way, No. 29, Lake Forest, CA 92630. Donations: Donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association.  7/5/04 - Rodger Ward, one of the greatest drivers in Indianapolis 500-Mile Race history, died July 5 in Anaheim, Calif. He was 83. Ward won the race twice and during a six-year stretch between 1959 and 1964 never finished worse than fourth during that span. His victories came in 1959 and 1962, and he was the last surviving winner from the 1950s.  "Indy makes the race driver," Ward said in a 1999 interview. "You become famous when you come (to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). I don't care where else you race in the world.  "I was pretty famous in my own territory, but when I came to Indianapolis, and the first time I ran here, I wasn't known as a driver from California. I was an Indy driver." More

7/6/04

Indy hospital defends itself   The Indianapolis Methodist hospital, where Ralf Schumacher was treated immediately after his US GP accident, has denied that the Williams driver received substandard care. Ralf recently lashed out at the Indy doctors when it was discovered a week after his accident that he'd sustained two spinal fractures in the accident. The injuries mean Ralf will be out of F1 for eight to twelve weeks. "I could not believe that they did not recognise the injuries in Indianapolis," Ralf, who is considering legal action, said last week. "They did a lot of examinations but did not pick it up. I'm angry that they did not wait and put me on a plane the next day." However, according to the hospital's spokesman, Jon Millis, hospital officials "clearly communicated" the medical information regarding Ralf's injuries to his team and that "those facts have not been communicated to the media." Millis wasn't unable to say anything else about Ralf's medical treatment as he is forbidden from doing so by US privacy law.   Planet-F1.com

7/6/04

Bernie calls team owners "little girls"   Bernie Ecclestone and the team owners are headed for another showdown. The Formula One supremo says he wants the qualifying format changed in time for this weekend's British Grand Prix, despite the fact the initial proposal was scrapped last week during a meeting of team bosses. Ecclestone says all the teams initially agreed to the deal before two owners, Eddie Jordan and Minardi's Paul Stoddart, reversed their position at the last minute. "I don't care if people don't agree, but when they agree and then change their minds... that's what little girls do, not grown men," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

7/6/04

Tornado hits Stewart's WoO shop  Mother Nature has been a thorn in the side of many of the World of Outlaw teams these past few weeks with all the cancelled events due to rain. Things elevated to another level for the Tony Stewart Motorsports team early Sunday morning when a tornado hit the Lasoski Racing shop located Southeast of Higginsville, MO. The full extent of the damage is not known at this time but included structural damage to the building and shop equipment. “The most important thing is nobody was hurt and we are very thankful of that,” said Tony Ross, team manager for Lasoski/Stewart Motorsports. “The tornado blew off part of the roof and blew every door off the shop. We are looking at four to six weeks before the structural damage can be repaired. We do not know the full extent of the damage just yet but we know we hurt some cars, top wings, and trophies and put a gouge in the hauler. It also blew a tree into the main part of the shop. We are really fortunate because it could have been so much worse than it was. Everything that was damaged can be replaced. Danny, Chris, Hope and Landon were all in the house just a few hundred yards away and luckily they were not hurt,” said Ross. “None of the guys were at the shop when the tornado hit. I hate to think of what would have happened if anybody ‘d been here when it hit. Most of the damage was on the side where we keep the racecars. It is a very unfortunate deal, but we can buy more racecars and we are lucky it wasn’t worse.” Jimmy Carr and Todd Splain were able to leave in the hauler as scheduled Monday for the upcoming events at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, SD and Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, ND. Danny Lasoski site

7/6/04

NASCAR great passes away  Jim Paschal, a NASCAR pioneer, died Monday. He was 77. Paschal drove in NASCAR's first race for late model cars. That was in 1949 at Charlotte. His career in racing continued into the 1970s. He won 25 races in what is now the Nextel Cup Series and ranks 23rd on the all-time win list. Paschal died of cancer Monday morning at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC. His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Briggs Funeral Home in Denton. Burial will be at North Bend Cemetery near Jackson Creek. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Briggs Funeral Home.  High Point Enterprise

7/6/04

Narain hopeful of shot at F1   Narain Karthikeyan -- the best Indian bet to race alongside the German in the near future -- is quietly confident that a call from Formula One could come any time. "I'm still confident of breaking into F-1. The call may come any time but I'm not unduly worried about it," Narain said while enjoying the French Grand Prix on a big screen as part of a promotional program organized by his sponsors JK Tires here on Sunday. The fastest Indian, who is now one of the top contenders in the World Series by Nissan, also referred to as Formula 2, was also not feeling uneasy over the fact that so many young drivers are pushing hard around the world to get into the elite circuit. "Look, so many great drivers have made their entry into Formula One even at the age of thirty. So I am still hopeful," said the 27-year-old Tata RC Motorsport driver sporting a World Series T-shirt and jeans. The Indian told PTI that his immediate aim is get into the F-1 even with low profile teams. "I don't mind whether it is Minardi (the Italian F-1 team) or any one else. The important thing is to get in and then look to progress." Besides testing with Minardi, Narain had test drives with leading F-1 teams Jordan and Jaguar. If he makes it into F-1, Narain would be the second Asian after Japanese Takuma Sato of BAR Honda to make the elite grade.  Hindu Times

7/6/04

Swintal produces another masterpiece   Racing artist and former Champ Car starter Jim Swintal has produced another of his racing masterpieces.  The rendering shown to the right was on display at the Cleveland Grand Prix and depicts many of the past winners of the Cleveland event that has been held at Burke Lakefront Airport.  Mr. Swintal has combined a number of eras into his latest, hasn't he? There is Monsieur Bourdais (2003 & 2004) in front, with Patrick Carpentier (2002) sliding toward Bourdais' right rear. Coming up between them is Roberto Moreno (2000), with Alessandro Zanardi (1997 & 1998) and Gil de Ferran (1996) behind on either side. The 20 Marlboro car, of course, is Emerson Fittipaldi (1987, 1989), with Paul Tracy (1993), Mario (1988), Al Unser Sr. (1983), Danny Sullivan (1984 & 1986), and Bobby Rahal (1982) coming up from behind.  There's actually a bunch of Cleveland winners not depicted - where's Dario in his 2001 race winner and Villeneuve's from 1995? Also Al Jr.'s from 1994 or 1985, Fittipaldi's from 1992, Michael's from 1991, Juan Montoya's from 1999, or Sullivan's from 1990 or 1986.  Copies of the rendering were made available to Champ Car Fan Forum members for $5.00 and will be available at the Champ Car merchandise trailer until supplies run out.

7/6/04

Drivers discuss green-flag finishes  For stock car racing fans there seems to be nothing more disappointing than a race ending under caution. Thrilling side-by-side finishes have often been the norm in major league stock car racing and a late caution flag ends those possibilities. NASCAR has worked hard recently to set up green-flag finishes when it can, announcing prior to each event at what point it will red flag a race in order to avoid a yellow-flag finish. But it’s not always possible.  The newest reported proposal is a one-time four-lap green-flag finish. Instead of red flagging the race, the cars would stay under caution and try to end with a green flag-green flag-white flag-checkered flag finish.  Here is what some competitors had to say:  More....

7/6/04

Wilson explains first-turn Cleveland accident   In this Autosport.com article Justin Wilson says, The Cleveland circuit, built on an airport, is great fun. The road is wide open and you carry a lot of speed and you can really attack the track.

Obviously the race was disappointing. I was on the front row and Alex Tagliani started on the third row but we still met at the first corner! I tucked in behind Paul Tracy at the start, who was in the lead, then into the first corner I braked a little late. I was looking to cut the inside of the corner off and go to the apex, maybe go past Paul, but at least let him know I was there instead of running into the back of him.

I started to turn in and as I got halfway across the track I saw somebody alongside me going much quicker than I was. I turned back the other way as quickly as I could, but Tag hit me and damaged my sidepod, floor and everything. At the same time I had turned hard left to try and avoid the impact but Paul was already turning in and I just hit him.

The crash took me out on the spot. Paul's radiator was punctured and he managed to get around a couple more laps but then he had to stop. But Tag continued and finished third!

It could be said that this was our best chance so far but we want to convert the chance. The key word in that sentence is definitely ‘so far' though. We are very positive and optimistic that we are going to get the chance. I'm over here to win. Next week we are back to street racing in Toronto. It looks like quite a good track and if I can get a good starting set-up I could be in with a real chance.

7/6/04

Tag is ripped for his driving   This Toronto Sun article talks about the controversy surrounding Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani, especially the criticism being aimed at him from fellow Canadian driver Paul Tracy.  Could it just be an English Canadian vs. French Canadian thing? 

7/6/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

F1 roars in London tonight
Williams make Marc Gene wait
Bosses made F1 'look stupid' - Ecclestone
BAR 'mystified' by Sato's broken Honda
'Teams must make own changes' - Ron Dennis
Mansell's 'switched off' Formula One
'Bureaucrats' to thwart London GP
'Sid - I've broken my leg' - Schu '99
Ralf's 'lucky to be alive' - Zanardi
F1 speed is 'not a problem' - Schumacher
Michelin's 'better than us' - Jean Todt 

7/6/04

Josh Hunt's Champ Car debut grows closer   19-year old Australian Josh Hunt is a rookie in the Toyota Atlantic Series this year.  When word got out that he would probably make his Champ Car debut in Surfers paradise this year a lot of eyebrows were raised, "how could he possibly be ready," said the critics.  Hunt is making steady progress in the Atlantic series and this past weekend in Cleveland he finally showed he indeed might be OK come October when the Champ Car series treks down to Australia.  Hunt went from tenth on the grid to second behind eventual winner Ryan Dalziel at the start of the Cleveland event.  “In all my years in karting I was renown for my good starts,” he said. “I knew that the opening turn could really make or break my race and in my case it made it.”  However a high speed spin caused by a damaged side pod saw Hunt drop out of contention for a podium.  “It was pleasing to show that I could match it with the front-runners in the championship,” he said. “The car felt the best it had been all weekend, we had good pace during those early laps and I was really holding my own, even extending the gap from third.  It is only a week before I get back in the car to make every lap count and be right at the pointy end of the field.”   Mark C.

7/6/04

The slippery slope of liquor  This Dallas Morning News article raises the issue of hypocrisy over NASCAR's ban of hard liquor ads on its race cars.  The Roush team has had to turn away a $15 million per year sponsor deal from Diageo, a London-based firm that distributes many of the top-selling brands of liquor in the world. Some of those are Smirnoff, Crown Royal, Johnny Walker, Tanqueray, and Jose Cuervo.  Their argument is that if it is not allowed to be advertised on TV then it is not fit for NASCAR.

7/5/04

Denver promotion   A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, I was flying United Airlines over the weekend and noticed a half-page ad for the Denver Champ Car event in their In-Flight magazine; very nice and well done. Sounds like the Denver promoters have their act together. Denver is a major hub for United. Trey Wilson

7/5/04

Bell's decision to join IRL blows up in face  This Excite.com/AP article says, Townsend Bell's decision to join the Indy Racing League blew up in his face. Literally. Townsend, who joined Panther Racing this week at Kansas Speedway, had to make two extra pit stops during Sunday's Argent Mortgage Indy 300 when his car's cockpit fire extinguisher discharged. "I couldn't see anything," said Bell, a former CART and Formula 3000 driver who signed an IRL deal last week after Panther parted ways with rookie Mark Taylor. "We brought it in, then had to come back in another time because I just couldn't see a thing. Then the radio button fell out, and I was holding it in to talk to the crew."  Bell's crew replaced his steering wheel after 75 laps. He finished 17th - the last car running - after starting seventh.  Sounds to us that Panther Racing has lost their way since expanding to a two-car operation.

7/5/04

Verdict still out on Champ Car race in Cleveland   This Cleveland Plain-Dealer article talks about the Cleveland Grand Prix but wasn't able to get any hard numbers from Champ Car as to whether it was a successful event or not.  Champ Car said it exceeded their expectations, but with around 20,000 in attendance, despite some pretty heavy advertising, their expectations must have been pretty low.  Our opinion is that it was a reasonable event given the bankruptcy, but clearly there is still a lot of work yet to be done.  Will the race be back under the lights?  The article says, Gentilozzi also said it is not out of the realm of possibility that a night race could return to the lakefront. "It's a great idea," Gentilozzi said. "But there is a financial and logistical burden that goes with it. As the race gathers more success, we can afford to do that. Obviously, it's a lot of fun. And the race could probably then be a two-day event, two 12-plus hours of racing. But we need more bodies, more people to make that happen." Champ Car, however, would not say how many people it would take to make that happen.

7/5/04

Mansell has harsh words for F1  Nigel Mansell told The Times newspaper. "How can you bear to watch F1 on TV when there is virtually no overtaking on the track and little genuine excitement?" he asked. "I still keep in touch with what's happening in Formula One and I'll usually sit down to watch the start of a Grand Prix -- but after a few laps I find I can't watch any more and switch off.  It's that bad." "The regulations, far from helping the other teams, are helping Ferrari, who have an incredible record of reliability," said Mansell. "Michael last had a breakdown three years ago, so which team is likely to be least affected by the one engine rule? Ferrari, of course. And if they do have to change an engine and forfeit places on the grid, they are the one team capable of making up those places. It's a Mickey Mouse rule -- and what we're left with is not a level playing field. I don't buy the argument about saving money. It's nothing compared with the cost of development and testing." Mansell thinks the cars are "too easy to drive". "The most inexperienced young driver can climb into a Formula One car and drive it competently," he said. "Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport and engineering excellence, but it should be the ultimate test of driving ability," he said. "You can't judge anyone until you strip the cars of the technical stuff and put them back into the control of the drivers."

7/5/04

Champ Car International TV in shambles   Supposedly RedeTV in Brazil is getting big ratings for its Champ Car broadcasts.  Not any more.  Our Steve Levinson was in Rio all weekend and reports the Cleveland race was never listed nor broadcast at all.  Then comes word Champ Car's other big TV market, Mexico is in shambles as well.  TV Azteca didn't even bother to show Portland, and for Cleveland the Azteca web site announced the race would be shortened to 1 hour and shown at 11 AM on Sunday, but showed it at 8AM when everyone was still asleep but didn't bother to tell anyone.  This page on Champ Car's website shows the international TV schedule for Cleveland and the rest of the races.  It reads "TV schedule unavailable at this time," for all the races.  Hello, is anyone home?  Is there a doctor in the house?  The patient is ill and on life support.  Mark C.

7/5/04
MotoGP

Big boys fall, Japanese driver gets first win  Japan’s Makoto Tamada may have taken his maiden victory in the Rio MotoGP, but it was Italian Max Biaggi who was the biggest winner as the race unfolded.  Perhaps one of the most important races of his career, Biaggi capitalized on the surprise exit of Sete Gibernau, then Valentino Rossi, to score 20 valuable world championship points and narrow the gap to the leading pair to just 13 points. More....

7/5/04

Latest F1 News in brief 

Trulli's in big trouble - Briatore
'Don't shout about sixth' - Coulthard
'We need a fit driver' - Toyota's Howett
BAR 'can win' at Silverstone - Richards
Williams' Montoya out with neck injury?
Schu's 'worried' about Brit GP win
'I was right' to debut untried parts - Williams' Michael
One-lap qualifying could still be axed - Dennis
Teams 'will agree' to 19-race calendar
'Switched on' F1 chief attacks Mosley
Barrichello defends Silverstone  

7/5/04

Rubens: Move was worth it  Rubens Barrichello on his last lap pass of Jarno Trulli in the French GP on Sunday: "Although I had better corner speed in turn three, it was difficult to follow him through the chicane and then he had better traction," the Brazilian explained, before going on to recall his part in what appeared to be an all-or-nothing move at the end.  On the final lap, he slowed a bit too much at turn 13, and I was able to get alongside at 15," he said, having put the nose of the F2004 into the inviting gap and forced his opponent to take a slower line out of the corner, "It was risky, but I thought it was worth the risk, even if I was a bit careful not to damage the car as it would have been a shame to get from tenth to fourth and then not finish.  I was trying 85 per cent and, when I saw I had a chance, I added another 20 per cent - making it 105 per cent in total! From tenth to third – I am very happy and I had a lot of fun today."

"Rubens did a great job to go from tenth to third," technical director Ross Brawn commented, "He made the most of every opportunity that came his way, and his move on Trulli was simply brilliant.  A few laps before the end of the race, I told him it would really suit him to be on the podium today and he should give it his best. He did!"

7/5/04

Finally agree on the V10's   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I wanted to tell you that I finally agree with you and feel that ChampCar needs to drop their turbo engine and go with a V-10. (never thought I would say that) I always thought that the turbo was CART's niche, not anymore. I don't know if it is the Spike TV broadcast or what but the sound of the turbo just doesn't carry thru from the track to the TV broadcast. If next year is the final year for the Ford engine, I would love to see what AR1 has been proposing for some time and that is multi-badging the engines...then in '06 come out with a screaming V-10 and a smaller more nimble chassis. At the track the cars look quick and sound great, on TV. - they look slow and lumbering. That is not fair to how good the drivers are and how the race looks to the fans watching at home. Keep up the great website. Tim Clingenpeel, Lafayette, IN  Dear Tim, I got back from Cleveland Sunday and watched the tape of the F1 race in France and the Champ Car race from Cleveland.  The F1 cars are blazingly fast compared to a Champ Car.  They are too fast at the moment, while Champ Cars are too slow.  They both need to move closer together in performance, ideally with Champ Cars about three seconds slower per lap.  About the screaming V10, F1 is making a mistake if they drop it, which will leave the door open for Champ Car to have one leg up on F1 in that category.  Unfortunately there are some in the Champ Car paddock who think the engines should stay V8.  We simply do not agree with that philosophy.  When Champ Car was at its peak, there was zero correlation between a Champ Car engine and a production engine that a consumer might buy.  Consumers do not identify with open wheel race engines and their passenger car.  They do with a stock car series, but stock car is not what open wheel race cars are supposed to be.  Do they look like a passenger car?  Absolutely not.  They are a purpose built racing rocket ship, if you will, built to showcase something special that you can't buy. Whenever Indy Cars ran stock block engines, or anything that resembled a passenger car engine, they were shunned by the fans and consumers.  Mark C.

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