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DATE News (chronologically)
01/09/05
skipbarber
Skip Barber hands out scholarships Skip Barber hands out scholarshipsScholarships totaling almost $100,000 were awarded to five young karters at the ninth annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out following three days of on-track assessment at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The biggest winner was Jordy Vorrath (right) of White Rock, B.C., Canada: He earned a fully paid season of competition in the 2005 Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER magazine, worth $39,000. The 23-year-old was quickest in almost every session over the three days, then won the final shoot-out session early Sunday afternoon. ''Fantastic, outstanding,'' said Vorrath after he was named the winner of the full National seat. ''That last session, I said to myself, 'Be consistent, do NOT fall off the road, and go fast.' It worked!'' Two karters earned half-seasons in the National. Chris Carmody, 20, of Valencia, Calif., and Cole Nelson, 17, of Atwater, Calif., now have approximately $18,000 each to enter the 2005 championship. Two scholarships for the Skip Barber Regional Race Series were won by Justin Moon, 16, of Shingle Springs, Calif., and Chris Wehrheim, 18 of Norcross, Ga. Each of these scholarships has a value of approximately $12,000, enough for a half- season of racing in any of the four (East, West, South, Midwest) championships. Vorrath, Carmody and Wehrheim were part of the group of 16 karters -- half of which are Snap-On Stars of Karting competitors -- that are automatically invited to each year's Shoot-out. [Pictured left: The five winners: From the left, Chris Carmody (in plaid shirt), Cole Nelson, Justin Moon (brother of four-time 2004 National race winner Benny), Chris Wehrheim and Jordy Vorrath] Nelson and Moon were part of the 30 at-large entrants that qualified for this year's scholarship run-off. The Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER is the junior-formula pro championship won last year by Marco Andretti.
01/09/05
f1
 champcar
Ford bankrupted Cosworth before sale Ford bankrupted Cosworth before saleFord called in the administrators at its Cosworth Racing subsidiary, which supplied engines for Formula One cars, days before selling it to the owners of the US Champ Car series last year.  The unusual move was to avoid possible legal action from Formula One team bosses who were angry about the US car giant's decision to exit the racing car business.

Documents filed at Companies House show three Grant Thornton partners were appointed administrators of Cosworth Racing by Ford on November 12.   Three days later Ford announced the sale of Cosworth to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe, co-owners of the Champ Car series – North America's equivalent of Formula One.

Cosworth supplied engines to three of the 10 teams on the Formula One grid - Jaguar Racing, Jordan and Minardi. Motor industry sources said the US car giant took the move to protect it from any legal actions  by teams worried about damage to their interests. One said: "Some of the Formula One customers were very upset and might have gone for litigation."

Ford confirmed that it had called in the administrators days before the sale of Cosworth to "facilitate a quick and non-disruptive sale" of its racing car engines subsidiary.  A spokesman added that all pension provisions – the company's scheme had a £12.9m gross deficit at the end of 2002 – will be met by Ford, while it is understood that Ford will also pay off all the creditors.

Ford also said Cosworth's new owners were relaxed about the need for administration. The spokesman continued: "We are working to ensure that all trade creditors are reimbursed as quickly as possible. Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe understood very well the technical requirements of this type of arrangement and agreed to purchase the business out of administration."

The Champ Car pair have changed the name to Cosworth Limited after paying "millions of pounds" for Cosworth Racing's assets to the administrators. Nigel Ruddock, a Grant Thornton partner, said it would take a year to 18 months for the defunct business to be wound up and for creditors to be paid. Telegraph.co.uk

01/09/05
grandam
Anchor Racing signs Boris Said Anchor Racing signs Boris SaidAnchor Racing will field two BMW M3s in the Grand Am Cup Series.  Team owner and driver, John Munson, will once again co-pilot the No. 92 Anchor Racing BMW M3 with James Sofronas.  Munson and Sofronas spent the majority of last season developing the M3 for the 2005 season, with a best place fifth finish at the California Speedway in Fontana, California.  Ace drivers, Boris Said and Anders Hainer will be copiloting the second Anchor Racing BMW M3.   The dynamic duo served as teammates last year in four Grand Am Cup races in the Unitech – Performance Nissan 350Z, with a first place finish at Homestead Miami Speedway.
01/09/05
nascar
Subway back at Phoenix Subway back at PhoenixPhoenix International Raceway President Bryan Sperber and officials from Subway Restaurants have reached agreement on a multiyear title sponsorship for the inaugural spring NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race scheduled April 23.  The formal name of the race is the Subway Fresh 500. The official race distance, however, is 312 miles, or 312 laps around the 1-mile oval. The reference to 500, which also is part of the November Checker Auto Parts 500 name, is for kilometers. "We're excited to be involved with a company like Subway," Sperber said. "They have a great reputation and have super people to work with." Arizona Republic
01/09/05
Dakar Rally
 NASCAR
Dakar Stage 9: Gordon 3rd Dakar Stage 9: Gordon 3rdRacing in the Dakar resumed today after stage eight was cancelled. Gordon and the Red Bull team regained form after disappointments in the previous two contested stages. The #317 Touareg finished 3rd in the stage, propelling the Volkswagen team to 21st in the overall standing.
01/09/05
f1
grandam
irl
Toyota keeps Briscoe in the family Toyota keeps Briscoe in the familyF1 refugee Ryan Briscoe's new life in American motor sport begins next month.  Confirmation that his F1 dream is dead, at least for the next two years, came from the US yesterday, with news Briscoe will race in the Daytona 24-hour race in Florida from February 3-6.   On the same weekend that Toyota unveiled its latest GP contender -- the TF105 -- in Barcelona, Briscoe was named in a three-car attack on the Rolex 24.

Briscoe will be driving for the Chip Ganassi empire, which will also enter him in the Indy Racing League later in the year, including the classic Indianapolis 500.  Ganassi is not expected to name Briscoe as one of his three IRL racers until later this month.

The Daytona program is in a car badged as a Lexus, which confirms Briscoe's long-term ties to the Toyota company.  It shows that even though Briscoe has been brushed aside as the F1 team concentrates on trying to move up the grid with Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli as its lead drivers, he is being kept in the family.  Briscoe cannot comment on his IRL program with Ganassi, which will be funded by the Target retail chain, but was happy to be racing again at Daytona after a year as Toyota's F1 test driver in 2004.  "While I'd like to treat this as I would any other race, I can't, because this is a big deal," Briscoe said.

01/09/05
irl
Foyt Racing Team Headed for IRL Open Test Foyt Racing Team Headed for IRL Open TestAfter his grandfather AJ Foyt said the team would skip the road races, A.J. Foyt IV and the Foyt Racing team is preparing to participate in the IndyCar Series open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway which takes place January 18-22. Foyt IV will drive the No. 14 Indy car on the 2.21-mile road course for the first time in his career.

The IndyCar Series will not compete on the Homestead-Miami road course but the test is in preparation for the three left and right turn courses they will compete on this year, which are: a street course in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., Infineon Raceway in California and Watkins Glen International in New York.

Young Foyt’s road course exposure is limited to his SCCA Formula Continental Series experience wherein he won the southwest regional title in 2001.

“I’m really looking forward to racing on the road courses this year,” said the 20-year-old driver. “I know I have a lot to learn there but I think they’ll be a lot of fun to drive.”

01/09/05
f1
Williams is bullish on F1 Williams is bullish on F1Sir Frank Williams insists that his team's new sponsorship deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland proves that Formula 1 is still in great health.  The recent court disputes involving Bernie Ecclestone and F1's shareholding banks, the ongoing controversies over potential cost-cutting strategies, and the prospect of the breakaway GPWC series commencing in four years' time have not taken the shine off the sport, according to Williams.  “(The RBS deal) speaks the truth that Formula 1 has got a great deal to offer still,” said Williams. “The talk about the future of F1 does not depress me at all.”

Ecclestone's extraordinarily powerful position has been the source of much controversy, but Williams remains supportive of Bernie and believes that he will remain involved in F1 indefinitely.  “It disappoints me that people see evil everywhere,” he said. “F1, for my view, is so dynamic and has got so much energy. It is a fantastic global business and without any criticisms whatsoever one man has made a tremendous fortune out of it – fully to his credit.  It is a very rich business and it is not going to stop. It may modify in some way, but Bernie will be involved.”

According to Williams, F1 is a strong enough entity to withstand all the current controversies.  “It has always got problems, but any sport has got problems,” he said. “Remember all the stories about bribery and corruption at the Olympics, did it wobble them? Not a chance mate. These things are big businesses.” Autosport.com

01/09/05
f1
Ralf denies Montoya allegations Ralf denies Montoya allegationsRalf Schumacher has denied that he ever had a poor relationship with his former Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya. Speaking at his 2005 team Toyota's chassis launch, Schumacher suggested that the presumed antipathy between the pair was a media exaggeration, and that they remain in touch with each other.  "The perception that we didn't get on was wrong,” said Schumacher. “We get on fine most of the time. And I actually called him before Christmas and we chatted.

“There were one or two times after a couple of incidents on the track (when) we weren't talking so much, but the media made more of that than was really true.”
 
Schumacher hinted that he felt Williams was at fault for not encouraging a smooth and co-operative team atmosphere.  “Williams is not noted as a team that tries to make its driver work together, which probably didn't help,” he said.

At Saturday's Toyota launch technical director Mike Gascoyne suggested that Ralf's form at Williams had been adversely affected by the “prickly” presence of Juan Pablo.  “(Montoya) must have been a distraction,” said Gascoyne. Autosport.com

01/09/05
grandam
Dallenbach prepares for Rolex 24 Dallenbach prepares for Rolex 24After a successful test in December, NASCAR Busch Series racer and NBC Broadcast star Wally Dallenbach is poised for victory in the 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Piloting the #74 74 Ranch Auto Racing Riley/Lexus, Wally will be reunited with his driving team from almost ten years ago, co-drivers Paul Dallenbach, Johnny Unser and team owner/co-driver George Robinson.  The race begins on Saturday February 5, 2005 and goes through Sunday, February 6, to be broadcast live on Speed Channel.

“There looks to be quite a field shaping up for this year’s race,” said Dallenbach, who has competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona more than ten times.  “It should be a lot of fun out there, and I cannot wait to race at Daytona with my brother Paul and good friends John and George in the #74 Riley/Lexus.”

A Rich History in Road Racing - Many NASCAR fans know of Wally Dallenbach as a NASCAR stock car pilot and NBC Sports commentator.  What they may not remember is that Dallenbach is one of the premier road-racing experts in the U.S., bringing a wealth of experience and an engineer’s sense of precision to road courses.  “Road racing is my first love,” said Dallenbach.  “I’ve had a lot of success on road courses in IMSA, Trans-Am and NASCAR, but I’m always looking to add another trophy to the mantle.”

Dallenbach’s racing career spans more than 20 years with more than 300 starts in series including NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, IMSA GTS and GTU, and SCCA Trans-Am.  He has driven and performed well for some of the biggest names in US racing, including Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick.  Dallenbach has also represented some of the largest companies in the world, including Proctor and Gamble, Budweiser and First Union Bank.

His victories are plentiful, but what’s most noteworthy in his road racing career are four (4) class wins at the grueling Rolex 24 at Daytona and three (3) class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring.  He was also the youngest SCCA Trans-Am Series Champion when he won the title for the first time in 1985 at the tender age of 22.  This was not an easy record to top, but he did so in 1986 with another SCCA Trans-Am Series Championship, joining the elite of the road racing community, which includes Bob Tullius, Peter Gregg and Mark Donohue. 

Above all else, Wally has earned the admiration of American racing fans by conducting himself as a gentleman, both on and off the track.  His easygoing style and intense competitiveness are universally respected in the racing world.  Right now, however, Dallenbach is itching to get back into the #74 Riley/Lexus.  “I’m always ready to get back into a corner carving road racing machine,” he says.  “Just tell me where to show up, I’ll bring my helmet and the will to win.”

01/09/05
grandam
Emmo returns to cockpit first time since ’96 Emmo returns to cockpit first time since ’96There were smiles all around the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran pits late this morning, but nobody had a bigger smile than racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi, who turned his first laps in a race car since a frightening Champ Car crash in 1996 at Michigan International Speedway.

The two-time Formula One world champion and two-time Indy 500 winner ran a handful of laps in the No. 54 machine just prior to the noon lunch break, and quickly got a feel for Rolex Sports Car Series competition. The Brazilian—who also won the 1989 CART championship—was thrilled with the opportunity and was immediately impressed with the Daytona Prototype.

“I think that the cars are a lot of fun to drive,” said Fittipaldi. “I like the concept, I like the rules. It’s a fun car to drive. For me it was very difficult, but I wanted to do this. I wanted to go back in an official practice like today with a lot of cars to see how it would feel on a race day. It felt great! There were a lot of people passing me, and I was very careful of people overtaking me. But then I started passing some people and started having fun again. I need more miles, just hours of driving time.”

“Emmo” tested the same car that his nephew, Christian Fittipaldi, has been entered to drive for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The younger Fittipaldi was among the interested onlookers as Emerson took to the race track, and did what he could to prepare his uncle for the experience.

“I think it makes him about 30 years younger,” the younger Fittipaldi said. “I think it was great. It was great for him and a good opportunity. You can help him up to a certain point and then after that, he’s going to see it by himself. On top of that, he has a couple of race miles underneath his seat and it’s not like he needs a lot of help. He needs a little bit of help, there’s no doubt about it, but not a lot of help. He knows exactly what to do out there. He just needs mileage and that’s it.”

It was Emerson’s first time driving the Daytona International Speedway road course. However, he fondly recalled a previous visit to the “World Center of Racing” for an IROC race in the 1970s, which had an entry list that rivals this year’s collection of racing superstars entered for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“It was a great time with Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, A.J. (Foyt), Bobby Allison,” Emerson said. “The Formula One guys were myself, Ronnie Peterson and I think Jody Scheckter. It was a lot of fun, but it was on the oval.”

While Christian has an established relationship with Bell Motorsports, he did not play a role in getting the opportunity for Emerson. The elder Fittipaldi did not need Christian’s assistance, as he has his own long relationship with team owner Jim Bell dating to the 1980s when Emerson raced for Bell’s team in IMSA competition. However, Christian was able to watch Emerson’s run with a critical eye thanks to his considerable experience and was pleasantly surprised with the performance.

“The other night he was looking at the times and he said, ‘ah, I think I’m going to do like a (lap at one minute) 57 (seconds), or 58,’” Christian said. “He ended up being a little bit quicker than that. I think he did a 56 or a 55, so that was pretty impressive for the amount of laps he had. Obviously, it’s one thing to do a 55, it’s something different to do a 50 or in the 40s, but as I said, the amount of laps he had and not having driven a real race car for a bunch of years, it was very, very impressive.”

Now that Emerson got some Daytona Prototype seat time, he will ponder his next course of action.

“I have to think a little bit, but I’m very enthusiastic,” he said. “I enjoyed every second I ran today. I don’t know (about the future) yet. I have to speak with Jim Bell.”

For his part, Christian is hoping to partner with Emerson and his father, Wilson—who is an accomplished racer in his own right—for the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“Let’s progress from here,” said Christian. “We’ll continue talking and maybe we can come up with something interesting together with Jim for next year. It would be awesome to put together a lineup like myself, my uncle and my dad all together, which believe it or not, we never managed to do. I only raced with my dad in long distance races, but never the three of us.”

01/09/05
grandam
Rolex 24 testing: Day 3 Rolex 24 testing: Day 3The three-day Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Test Days concluded today with 48 cars logging a total of 1,871 laps (6,660.76 miles) around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.

Running the quickest time of the day was Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. Pruett posted a best lap of 1:47.601 (109.569 mph) in the final session of the day. Running the quickest time in GT was the No. 71 Farnbacher Racing USA Porsche GT3 Cup entry of Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher, Shawn Price and Pierre Ehret at 1:56.967 (109.569 mph).

Driving the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, Max Angelelli logged the quickest time of the test overall at 1:46.729 (120.080 mph) during Friday’s evening session. Also on Friday, the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup turned the fastest time of the weekend in the GT class at 1:56.604 (109.910 mph). Over the three days of testing, the Rolex Sports Car Series entries turned 8,475 laps (30,171 miles).   See Home Page for complete story......

01/09/05
grandam
Negri gets Daytona Prototype test Negri gets Daytona Prototype testOswaldo Negri Jr. got behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype during this weekend's open testing for the 43rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, driving the SunTrust Racing Pontiac-Riley Mk.11 at the invitation of lead driver and car owner Wayne Taylor. Despite never having driven any laps in the Pontiac-Riley combination, Negri was up to speed quickly in his brief run on the 3.65-mile Daytona road course.
 
Taylor, who has scores of road racing victories and championships to his credit, was impressed with Negri’s run, and like many in the Rolex paddock, is hoping he will find a home for the 2005 season.
 
“It’s a shame that a guy with Oswaldo’s talent hasn’t found a ride for the season yet,” said Taylor. “We had finished most of our testing for the weekend, so we wanted to give him an opportunity to get out on track in the SunTrust car.”
 
Taylor will be joined in the cockpit for the 24 with Emanuel Collard and Max Angelelli, who shared the RaceSite.com “Rising Star” Award with Negri in 2004.
 
“I really appreciate that Wayne and his guys gave me this opportunity,” said Negri. “Last season was the best season of racing I have had in my career.  I have won races and championships in other series, but I have never enjoyed the sport as much as I did driving with Burt on the Michael Shank Racing team last year, and I am working hard to be back in a competitive car again this season.”
01/09/05
nascar
Tire testing at Atlanta Tire testing at AtlantaA Goodyear Tire test is scheduled for January 11-12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 2004 Rookie of the Year #9-Kasey Kahne and #48-Jimmie Johnson will test the brand new Goodyear compound at NASCAR's fastest track next week as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. The test session will be closed to both the media and the public. The test will be the first with the new Atlanta Goodyear tire, which is a different compound than any for any other speedway. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear's stock car tire development group, said the session will be used to gauge how well the new compound works with the 2005 NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height. NASCAR officials are expected to be on hand to analyze the results. Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams are scheduled to test throughout February and March for the spring race weekend.
01/09/05
grandam
Emerson Fittipladi to drive again Emerson Fittipladi to drive againThe consensus of the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway was that it made progress in testing today, but not quite as much progress as it made Friday.

The Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac turned approximately 60 laps in testing Saturday as it prepares to defend its 2004 Rolex 24 victory on Feb. 5-6. Terry Borcheller did approximately 24 laps; Paul Tracy did about 21; and Christian Fittipaldi and Ralf Kelleners each turned about eight laps.  The team worked hard at getting accustomed to its new Hoosier tires and working with the car's traction control system and its engine mapping system.

The team was ninth in the first practice session of the day, which was delayed three hours due to track maintenance. The car's fastest lap in that session was a 1:49.183/117.381 mph, according to Grand American's timing and scoring department.  In the evening session the team was 12th fastest with a 1:49.213/117.349 mph.

Team owner Jim Bell cautioned everyone to remember that this weekend is a test session, not a competition. "We aren't even trying to lay down a fast lap; I won't let our drivers do that," he said. "This is testing for an endurance race, not qualifying. We have a plan and we're sticking to it. Hopefully it will work and next month it will pay off."   Testing is scheduled to continue Sunday from 10:15 a.m. until noon and again from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Car owner/driver Forest Barber traveled back to his home state of Texas to attend a basketball game one of his daughters was playing in on Saturday, but he returned to the track late Saturday night.  The plan is for Barber to get the chance to test tomorrow morning, and then give a special guest driver a chance to try out a Daytona Prototype.

That guest driver is Emerson Fittipaldi, the two-time Formula 1 World Champion, two-time Indy 500 winner, and Christian Fittipaldi's uncle.  "He's been our friend for ages and he said he wanted to see what these cars are like to drive, so we're going to give him that opportunity," Bell said.  "I love the Daytona Prototype category," Fittipaldi told a Grand American representative. "I watched the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in September, and I want to have a test tomorrow to see how I feel. I like these cars very much. They are very similar and they are fun to drive. I spoke to Paul Tracy, and he said they were fun to drive. I'll see for myself tomorrow." BMS/LM

01/09/05
f1
Ralf thinks Toyota will take him to World Champion Ralf thinks Toyota will take him to World ChampionAsked if he had a better chance of becoming world champion at yesterday’s TF105 launch with Toyota, Ralf Schumacher said: "Oh yes, for the long-term future definitely and for various reasons. "There are a lot of capable people at Williams but it's still a very small company. And it all depends on two people basically - on Frank (Williams) and Patrick (Head) and they are not the youngest any more and they don't have a manufacturer behind them as well financially. These days a lot of Formula 1 is about having finance power and I think Toyota is a far better option. I think beyond three or four years anyway. That's what it takes. Especially in Formula 1 a season goes by so fast, it's amazing. The year is over and you haven't even realized. My main target is to be world champion and now I have a perfect opportunity with a young team with all the possibilities regarding this team. They have a different way of approaching drivers and people here which I only see as a good way. Williams just had a different way."
01/09/05
Team USA
SCCA
Slade Miller Experiences The Ups And Downs of Racing Slade Miller Experiences The Ups And Downs of RacingTimaru, New Zealand -- Team USA Scholarship driver Slade Miller encountered a wide range of emotions -- and weather conditions -- during today's pair of Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship races at Timaru International Motor Raceway. Miller showed great promise during the morning's 12-lap event, finishing eighth in the rain and turning some very promising lap times. Unfortunately, his high expectations for the weekend's 16-lap finale, run in dry conditions, soon turned to frustration when the car's handling deteriorated and he was further handicapped by a lack of straight-line speed.

"It was just a dog," said Miller after finishing 14th in Race Three. "The understeer was the most horrendous I've ever had in a Formula Ford. It was just scrubbing [speed] terribly." (Right: Slade Miller's Team USA Scholarship/Doug Mockett & Company Stealth/Van Diemen, taken at Timaru International Motor Raceway, by "Graham Blow Photography")

Race Two on Sunday morning was held in very wet conditions and saw Miller start 10th in his white, red and blue Team USA Scholarship/Doug Mockett & Company Stealth/Van Diemen. A good start saw him move to eighth on the opening lap, and he was soon piling the pressure on New Zealand veteran Simon Gamble's Spectrum.

"The visibility was horrible," said Miller. "I tried to make a pass a few times but it was really tough because when you got off line, it was really slippery and you'd lose all the grip."

Miller was reasonably content with an eighth-place finish in a race dominated by teen-aged Christchurch driver Andy Knight, taking the checkered flag in the midst of a train of cars headed by fourth-place finisher (and former series champion) Phil Hellebrekers.

Miller's 14th-place finish in the final race was enough to take his points tally to 102 for the weekend -- ranking him an impressive seventh among the 22-car field. Miller had been expecting more, but he still acquitted himself well and has much to look forward to as he will contest next weekend's New Zealand Grand Prix at Teretonga Park, Invercargill -- the world's most southerly race track.

"I was looking for better results but this has still been a great experience," said the 18-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma. "I have met a lot of good people and learned a lot about what makes these cars work. It has been good to drive in all sorts of different conditions, and this is a very competitive series. I'm looking forward to going on to Teretonga and moving up toward the front with the Team USA Scholarship car."

01/09/05
USAC
Hines captures Chili Bowl Midget race Hines captures Chili Bowl Midget raceTracy Hines scored one of the biggest wins of his Midget car career on Saturday night when he captured the 50-lap championship feature in the 19th Annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in the Tulsa Expo Center.  Hines, the 2000 USAC Silver Crown and 2002 USAC National Sprint Car champion, started from the pole and led all fifty laps to take his first ever win in the Chili Bowl championship feature race.

Although he led every lap from the pole, it wasn’t a walk in the park by any means.  Hines fought an increasingly ill-handling racecar and a strong challenge by 2-time Chili Bowl winner, and the event’s defending champion, Cory Kruseman in the late laps to take the checkered flag.

“That thing just started pushing like a freight train at the end,” Hines said in victory lane.  “Lapped traffic was so heavy at the end and I knew Kruseman was right up on me.  I had to hit my marks every corner or I knew that would be it.  Cory is one of the toughest guys to beat here, and I knew he would be all over me waiting to pounce if we opened the door.

“This is one of the absolute biggest races of the year.  There are 250 of the best race drivers from across the world here.  It means a lot to win a race that has the best of the best entered like this.  It is hard to win any race.  You have to work hard to win an 8-lap heat race against these guys.  To win this race against all of this competition is one of the highlights of my career.  I’d like to thank the Wilke-Pak guys for all of the hard work on this car.  The guys didn’t miss a beat both nights we were on the track.”

Hines led every lap of Thursday night’s 25-lap A-main preliminary feature and every lap of the 50-lap championship feature on Saturday night.

01/08/05
World Series by Renault
Fleming steps up with Red Bull Fleming steps up with Red BullColin Fleming took the 2004 German and European Formula Renault Championships by storm, netting countless podiums on his way to rookie of the year honors and only narrowly missing out on winning the German Championship to fellow American Red Bull racer Scott Speed.

Despite not taking the championship, Fleming's first season in Europe did nothing but boost Fleming's confidence, and he is hungry to get back in the car and onto the podium this season.

In yet another example of the continued commitment of Red Bull to find the next American F1 champion, Fleming has signed to make the step up to the 2005 World Series by Renault Championship. Fleming will be racing with Jenzer Motorsport, the same team he ran so well with in 2004.

“I am happy to be racing with Jenzer again this season,” said Fleming. “It’s a fiercely competitive outfit, and already knowing my engineer and the guys on the team is only going to help me get up to speed that much faster. I am absolutely ready to take on this challenge, and I just can’t wait to race again and continue to show what I can do.”

Fleming has continued the disciplined fitness program he began last season, giving him remarkable endurance and preparing his body for the challenge of the larger and faster World Series car.

The Red Bull Driver Search program aims to discover and support talented young racing drivers. The long-term goal is to have a steady group of three to six American drivers racing in Europe, on the Red Bull Junior Team, groomed to break into Formula 1 and compete for the World Championship.

01/08/05
grandam
Rolex 24 Testing: Day 2 Rolex 24 Testing: Day 2Following a three-hour delay due to track maintenance, on-track activity on Day 2 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Test Days got underway at 12:00 Noon ET and testing was extended to 7:00 p.m.  With another “Chamber of Commerce” weather day in Daytona Beach, 55 cars turned a total of 2,587 laps (9,209.72 miles) on the second of three days of testing. Scott Pruett turned in the day’s fastest lap at 1:47.654 (119.048 mph) driving the No. 03 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, while Johannes van Overbeek logged the fastest time of the day in the GT class. Van Overbeek turned a lap at 1:57.335 (109.140 mph) in the No. 75 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup.  The cars have turned a total of 6,604 laps (23,510.24 miles) around the 3.56-mile circuit through two days of testing activity. Daytona Test Days wraps up tomorrow, with sessions scheduled to get underway at 9:00 a.m. ET and running until 3:00 p.m. The sessions are open to the public.
01/08/05
grandam
Paul Newman uninjured in Daytona car fire Paul Newman uninjured in Daytona car fireAcademy Award-winning actor Paul Newman escaped injury Saturday when the race car he was testing caught fire following a spin at Daytona International Speedway.   Newman was driving a Daytona Prototype sports car for next month's Rolex 24 when he spun on the road course, said Adam Saal, Grand American Series spokesman. The car didn't hit anything, but when Newman tried to restart the engine it caught fire.

The fire was contained to the engine compartment, and Newman escaped without harm. He was taken to the track's infield medical center and released after a brief exam.

``I don't know what happened,'' said Newman, who returned to the track to watch one of his drivers, Sebastien Bourdais, test another car. ``I'm fine. It just caught on fire somehow.''

``Knowing Paul, I doubt if this changes his plans to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona,'' Saal said.

The 79-year-old Newman won the GTS class in the 1995 Rolex 24 and owns four championships in Sports Car Club of America competition. He first took an interest in auto racing while filming ``Winning'' in 1968. AP Story
01/08/05
grandam
Three Chip Ganassi Racing Daytona Prototype Entries Rolex 24 Three Chip Ganassi Racing Daytona Prototype Entries Rolex 24Following up on their 2004 Championship season, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be back in full force for the 2005 Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series with two Daytona Prototype Lexus-Riley entries for the entire season with proud partners CompUSA and newcomer New Century Mortgage. The team will certainly make their presence felt at the upcoming prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, the first race of the 2005 season, with a total of three Daytona Prototype entries with the addition of an All-Star Target car. 

“This was the perfect opportunity to build on the Chip Ganassi Racing concept of ‘one team’ by bringing it all together for an all out assault at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said team owner Chip Ganassi while overseeing the first day of testing at Daytona International Speedway. “Here we are with three DP Lexus Rileys, nine very talented drivers from three different series, and three major sponsors in CompUSA, New Century Mortgage and Target. We have the tools for success now we just have to put it all together on the track. With 30 Daytona prototypes and 57 cars total entered in this year’s race, it looks to be one of the most competitive we’ve seen. The 2005 season will certainly be a battle but we’re looking to win at Daytona, and defend our Rolex Championship title.”

The 2004 Rolex Champion Scott Pruett returns to the helm of the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley with a new partner for the season, Mexican driver Luis Diaz (teammate and driver of last season’s no.02 CompUSA car), and the motivation to defend his title while adding a few more wins to the team’s list of successes. Pruett and Diaz will be joined by Australian Ryan Briscoe, a sports car racing rookie and Toyota F1 test driver, as a third driver for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on February 5-6, 2005.

“It’s really something to start the season and get ready for the Rolex 24 At Daytona as the defending champion,’ says Pruett. “But as competitive as this series was last year, it’s going to be even stronger this season, and once that green flag drops, it’s anyone’s game and titles mean nothing. If you look at the all-star line up for this year’s race, it reads like a “who’s who” of racing with champs from past years and all different types of racing. It’s going to be an incredible race and certainly a very exciting season. Chip Ganassi has put together a stellar program and we’ll continue to build on that every day in order to defend our title as champs.”

New addition to the Chip Ganassi Racing family, the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley will feature the season long driver lineup of veteran drivers Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson.  “I’m very pleased to join Chip Ganassi Racing because this is a team that is no stranger to winning,” said California native Wagner. “To have New Century Mortgage, a company I’ve had a relationship with for five years, come on board is very exciting because these are two companies that complement each other very well. The team’s Rolex Grand Am program has had a lot of success in their first season and Stefan and I expect to contribute our experience and build on that in order to vie for the championship starting with the at Daytona.”

NASCAR young gun Jamie McMurray, who finished 11th the NEXTEL Cup standings in 2004 and was 2003 NASCAR Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year, will get a chance to see his first sports car endurance race up close and personal, as he will join Wagner and Johansson in the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley for the Rolex 24 At Daytona race.  “I’ve watched the Daytona 24 hour race on television but never had the chance to take it in as a fan or from the driver’s seat like I will this year,” said McMurray, who amassed nine top-five finishes and 23 top-tens in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2004. “This will be my first race in a DP but my teammates have the experience and I’m picking up a lot from them really quickly. This will definitely be something fun to do but we’ll be going for the win. There are lots of my NASCAR buddies out there this year and we’re all fighting for bragging rights too.”

The team’s third car entered for the 43rd running of the prestigious Daytona race will be the no.03 Target Lexus-Riley which brings together, for the first time, all the Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers from both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and IndyCar Series’ drivers with Casey Mears, Scott Dixon and Darren Manning.  “My Rolex 24 hour race was quite the experience last year and I think it’ll be great to have all three Target drivers together in the no.03 Target Lexus Riley,” says Dixon, 2003 IndyCar Series Champion. “Both Darren and I have a little more experience now after the podium in the Rolex season finale last year at Fontana and I know Casey is going to pick it up really quickly. This is going to be a really fun event but it’s also going to be ultra competitive out there.”  “This will be something really fun, and new for me and I’m really looking forward to the race,” said Mears, driver of the No.41 Target Dodge in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. “These Lexus Riley Daytona Prototypes are a happy medium of cars I have driven in the past. They have the downforce of an Indy car on the straight-aways and they are slower in the corners like a stockcar. It’ll be a lot of fun, especially if we can make it to the checkered flag first.”

01/08/05
Industry News
Vote for Driver of Year Vote for Driver of YearVote for the Driver of the year at SPEED TV.com  by January 16 for SPEED TV's 2004 Driver of the Year.  So far Champ Car's Sebastien Bourdais is leading in the voting.   Bourdais had a dominating year in Champ Car where driver skill still means something.  Apparently the fans are knowledgeable enough to recognize this.  The online vote will account for 1 vote while the media vote will account for a total of 18.  Please take time to register a vote!
01/08/05
champcar
Feedback on road course article Feedback on road course articleUPDATE #3 Yet another reader writes, I totally agree; road races are great and I think safer than the street courses. Champ Car needs to keep them, and forget about the ovals; there's another series for that. Road America is a fantastic track, but if you want to attract international race series like Champ Car you have to give the fans a way of following the action at the track. It's totally nuts that they have no Jumbotrons at RA! I was there in 2003 and DID get a scanner which was essential.  I was at turn 5. I went with my 6-year old son and we had a fantastic time, partly because the race was so badly promoted that it was not crowded and we could walk all over the pits, see the drivers etc. Then during the rain delay/cancellation we went up to Newman/Hass and walked into the pit and shook hands with Bruno Junqueira (who went on to win the race). The whole experience had the potential to make my son a fan for life! Now they've cancelled the race, and as we live in Chicago, the only option is the tiny oval in Milwaukee; for me that's not Champ Car racing!  Road America is a great track and I just can't believe that, with proper promotion (in advance, not two months before the race) and decent facilities for the fans, it wouldn't be a success. Alan Shortall, Chicago Dear Alan, Beyond a doubt Road America is the USA's greatest road course and it is unconscionable that both the track and Champ Car can't figure out how to make this race a success for both of them. If Champ Car thinks it can succeed by becoming a 100% street circuit race series they had better think again. Street circuits breed fans of the "event" more so than fans of the drivers and of the series. While the street circuits in urban settings are important, they can't become a 100% street circuit series because street circuit racing tends to be follow-the-leader boring processions. Why? Because Champ Car accepts Mickey Mouse short layouts, something Bernie Ecclestone would never stand for. Mark C. 01/07/05 Another reader writes, I live in Wisconsin and am an avid motor racing fan therefore making Road America a staple comparable to cheese, beer, and the Green Bay Packers.  It is my home away from home in the summertime as I frequent it often.  I am in total agreement with the statements you have put forth in your article.  It seems as though RA has installed a number of improvements in the past for fans such as bathrooms you can actually stand to walk into without being knocked over by the stench, as well as bleacher sections in turn 5, and various bridges and tunnels making more of the track accessible.  With these improvements though there have also been others that have taken away.  Visibility being the biggest one.  The track lining fencing, albeit good for fan safety, has really put a damper on the visibility of the track in just about every turn.  I yearn for the days of sitting on my father's shoulders in turn 5 looking down to see the cars flying into the turn.  Now I just see guardrails and concrete.  Road America has also lost the charm of a family type atmosphere it once had.  It has been catering extensively to the wealthy crowds by constantly increasing ticket prices, renting out an absurd number of golf carts, and by a general lack of advertising to the average Joe.  The lack of Jumbo screens, and the turn 5 scoreboard which is notoriously a few laps behind on scoring, are just a number of reasons this track is failing.  The track food, a longtime staple, is getting crappier every year, and the track sponsors seem to disappear yearly as well.  It is a shame that RA continues to shun the CCWS as it is usually their biggest event of the season.  It is unfortunate, but I really think that RA will be a club circuit in just a few short years.  ALMS will surely follow CCWS's path leaving 3-4 major weekends at RA.  It is a shame, and I for one am contemplating not attending any races at the track for what I feel is a jab to fans.  You hit the nail on the head in your article and all we as fans can do is hope RA will realize this and change.  My biggest fear is that the IRL will host a race there....scary!  Sincerely, Paul Carini, Milwaukee, WI 01/02/05 Readers respond, Loved the article, but the author neglected to mention Infineon Raceway (Sears Point), which is a successful, well run, modernized track.  There is a model that other road course operators should be looking at. Wes Barton  While I agree with most of the points that Mark Mathison makes, what about state-of-the-art road courses like Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL? (http://www.barbermotorsports.com/). My friend races AMA, and said it's the most amazing track he's ridden. Yet Champ Car has made no mention of it in their plans for expansion. The Grand Am series races there, so it's good enough for the France family. Or could that be the holdup? Tim Bogert   Dear Tim,  Champ Car probably does not have enough fans in Alabama that would make the race profitable.  Besides, Champ Car has a worldwide void to fill that F1 can't. Mark C. 01/02/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Thank you for publishing another article on a topic near and dear to my heart - USA Road Courses. I love road course racing. It is the ultimate test of driver skill. Yet I pull my hair out as I watch this nation become an oval-only, NASCAR-only nation. Why? Because that is where all the money is being invested. I do see the day when our natural terrain road courses only host club racing events. The author forgot to mention Portland, another dilapidated USA road course. Sad indeed! Scott Williams, Columbus, OH
01/08/05
nascar
NASCAR teams to invade LVMS NASCAR teams to invade LVMSAt least 30 Nextel Cup drivers, including Kurt and Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., are expected to take part in a two-day test Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to a track spokesman.  The two-day test will be open to the public at no charge -- as will the NASCAR Busch Series test Feb. 2-3. Las Vegas Sun
01/08/05
champcar
Champ Car inks deal with LVMS Champ Car inks deal with LVMSThe Champ Car World Series now has a signed agreement to stage its second race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 24, LVMS general manager Chris Powell said.  Champ Car officials announced in late October that the series would return to the 1.5-mile LVMS oval in 2005, but had not yet worked out the details of an agreement.  The series also is believed to be negotiating with LVMS to stage its annual "spring training. Las Vegas Sun
01/08/05
Team USA
SCCA
Miller Claims Top-10 Finish Miller Claims Top-10 FinishTimaru, New Zealand -- A disappointing day for Team USA Scholarship driver Slade Miller ended in respectable fashion as he overcame a poor start to salvage a ninth-place finish in the first of three Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship races to be held this weekend at Timaru International Motor Raceway.

"I was reasonably pleased with the result from the standpoint that I knew I didn't have a car that was capable of getting to the front in a very competitive field," said Miller, who struggled in the race with excessive understeer which meant he was unable to extract even close to the full potential of his car.

After two days of testing in dry and reasonably warm conditions, Saturday dawned cool and wet. A steady rain had abated by mid-morning but the track was still predominantly wet when the 22 cars ventured out for the weekend's lone 20-minute qualifying session. Miller had no prior experience of his Stealth/Van Diemen in the wet, and it soon became apparent that his setup was not working. After a quick spin which brought out the red flags, Miller, 18, from Edmond, Oklahoma, put his head down and tried his best to overcome the twin handicaps of the inclement weather and too much understeer.

"Conditions were difficult, with the track progressively drying," related Miller, "but we went with too conservative a setup and just didn't have the grip we expected."

Miller started the afternoon's 12-lap race from 11th on the grid, but his first-ever experience of a standing start did not go well -- "I just didn't get a good launch off the line; I think I let the clutch out too fast," he admitted -- and he completed the first lap in 15th place. Still, Miller once again applied himself to the task, and by the finish had worked his way through to ninth.

"It was a decent finish," he said, "and at least we didn't get caught up in any carnage so now we can concentrate on trying to make the car faster for tomorrow's races. It's difficult with the weather conditions varying so much, but hopefully we can improve the car and then make some progress toward the front."

Funding for this year's scholarship has been provided by Doug Mockett & Company, a Torrance, California-based supplier of "Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture," Champ Car team owner Dale Coyne, plus former Team USA Scholarship winners Rice, Vasser, Herta, Gidley, Allmendinger and former Lynx Racing Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Bryan Sellers (2001). In addition, Portland, Oregon-based Ivey Engines has provided the motive power for Miller's Stealth Van Diemen, and he is equipped with the world renowned Sparco racewear.

Results (12 laps): 1 Shannon O'Brien (AUS), Van Diemen RF03, 13m 22.646s, 80.195 mph; 2 Andy Knight (NZ), Stealth/Van Diemen Evo2, +3.7985s; 3 Hamish Cross (NZ), Stealth/Van Diemen; 4 Jason Liefting (NZ), Spectrum 010; 5 Jayant Singh (NZ), Van Diemen RF92; 6 Simon Gamble (NZ), Spectrum 010; 9 Slade Miller (USA), Stealth/Van Diemen. Fastest lap: O'Brien, 1m 06.088s, 81.165mph.

01/07/05
Industry News
karting
PitFit Training Brings Proven Fitness Tips to Aspiring Karters PitFit Training Brings Proven Fitness Tips to Aspiring KartersPitFit Training president and noted trainer Jim Leo will host Auto Racing Fitness: The Fundamentals Saturday, February 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in conjunction with the 13th Annual Kart Expo, Pheasant Run Resort and Convention Center in St. Charles, Ill. (Chicago area).   The workshop provides drivers with the same physical training knowledge and equipment utilized by PitFit Training’s top-level clientele including champions Paul Tracy, Scott Dixon, and Sam Hornish, Jr. as well as the entire Formula BMW USA series.

The PitFit Training staff will provide participants hands-on instruction to accompany the just-released training DVD of the same name and a detailed training manual.

“Physical training is key to the success and safety of drivers at all levels of the sport, but not everyone can afford the intensive services that are available to professional drivers,” Leo says.  “This workshop is designed to give racers the knowledge and tools he or she needs to start an effective training program to drive the individual’s fitness to the next level.”  Registration is available at http://www.pitfittraining.com/.

01/07/05
Industry News
Eurosport announces new channel Eurosport announces new channelA sister television channel to accompany the well-established Eurosport cable and digital sports network will launch across the continent next week.  Eurosport 2 will begin broadcasting on 10 January and will feature additional live programming of events, including motorsport, tennis, winter sports and football, to work alongside the existing channel.  Initially the channel will be broadcast in four languages – English, Polish, Turkish and Greek – across 35 countries, including the UK.  Laurent-Eric Le Lay, Eurosport managing director of broadcast, said: "The launch of Eurosport 2 will provide additional broadcasts of Eurosport's premier TV rights so that viewers have a wider offer on both channels.  “Eurosport 2 will therefore benefit from Eurosport's strong rights portfolio and will transmit other live events, which take place at the same time as those broadcast on Eurosport. [Editor's Note: Recall we rumored this channel was coming when we rumored the Champ Car TV deal in Europe.]
01/07/05
f1
Schumacher eyes up 2005 with an eye on 2004 Schumacher eyes up 2005 with an eye on 2004A few days after new year and his thirty-sixth birthday, the seven time Formula 1 world champion reflected on the recently concluded 2004 season. For the German driver and Ferrari it was a year of unbridled success.

How would Schumacher describe last season?
Michael : It was definitely a fabulous season, not just because we were so successful, but also because of the atmosphere within our team, which is incredibly good. But describing everything that happened last season is not easy for me. Maybe that’s because I’m someone who generally always tends to look ahead. I’m basically focusing on the next season and not thinking about having won the World Championship anymore.

Nevertheless you surely have lots of nice memories...
Michael : Of course, and I’m glad I do. Budapest was great, because we won the constructor’s title there. Looking back, Spa was great also, because after all I won the title there. Just after the race I had mixed feelings, because I had become World Champion without actually winning the race. I’m over that now. Monza was beautiful too, a one-two win in front of the tifosi – and it wasn’t looking to be happening at first. The podium there leaves you breathless, because it feels like you’re standing in the middle of the crowd.

But those weren’t all your fond memories?
Michael : No, luckily enough, there were quite a few special moments this year. Another one was the podium in Japan. Standing up there with Ralf is always very special, but this time it was even more so. He drove a great race and I was really happy for him for having a come-back like that.

... which takes us to the less pleasant moments of last year...
Michael : Ralf’s accident in Indianapolis was quite a shock for me, that’s true. But as I’ve said often: because I was supplied with all information straight away, I was able to carry on driving. And today the accident is history. The most important thing was that Ralf suffered no permanent injuries. Another dark moment for us as a team was Umberto Agnelli’s death.

How the team feels is very important to you, right?
Michael : Yes, absolutely. I’m a part of it after all, no more and no less. And I can only repeat time and time again: Formula One is a team’s sport. You don’t stand a chance without a good team. It’s about everyone working together, not a one-man show. The people at Maranello give us a solid foundation to work with when we’re at the race track. And each and every one of them puts so much passion and effort into their work, that’s truly unique – it’s not a coincidence that we went for more than fifty races this year without having to retire due to technical failure. It shows how much effort is made and it shows Ferrari’s heart. The victories and titles belong to every single one of them.

Next year will be your 15th Formula One season. You have just turned 36. Are you not starting to feel worn out?
Michael : Let’s put it like this: of course I have the odd small ache or pain every now and then, but they are only small ones. All in all I feel very, very fit and to be perfectly honest: much younger than 36. I play soccer with my colleagues quite often, with people like Fernando Alonso, who is ten years younger than I am, and I don’t see much of a difference. No, I am not getting worn out, and especially not psychologically. I still enjoy what I do immensely.

You have achieved so much, but that sounds as if you’re going to go for it again in 2005.
Michael : You bet! I’m starting off the new season just like all the others before: with a hunger, fully motivated and looking forward to the fights that lay ahead. Like I said, I have fun, I love my sport and I love being challenged. The things I’ve achieved so far have nothing to do with it. That doesn’t count in sports anyway. In sports, you can’t rest on your past victories, you have to take on the challenge again and again. It’s always all about the next race.

Do the new rules that apply starting from 2005 make it even more challenging?
Michael : Yes, because that is what the Formula One is all about: nothing ever stands still, you have to keep on developing new things. We’ll all have to get used to the changes next year. I already got a little taste of it when I drove the last test at Jerez with the configurations for 2005 – it all seemed extremely slow in the beginning. It will be a different Formula One, and everyone will have to adjust to it. Right now, I would say that the cars will be two, or more likely, three seconds slower per lap. So it will be different, but it will also be interesting.

But can a racing driver like the fact that the cars are being slowed down?
Michael : I was a bit skeptical at first, but in Brazil I realized that it has to happen. The cars are so fast that the forces you are dealing with are much stronger than in the last few years. I saw a lot of my colleagues in Brazil who had trouble holding their heads up straight after the race, and I was having trouble, too.

Couldn’t the reason for that be that the track in Brazil, unlike most others, is driven counter-clockwise?
Michael : There have been problems due to this, true, but that was when the race took place at the start of the season. This time, it was the season’s last race, and by then the neck muscles shouldn’t be causing any problems because they have been trained throughout the whole season.

And now something completely different. Together with your friend Peter Kaiser you have gotten involved in karting again. The two of you are board members of the FIA’s newly founded committee which aims to reduce the sport’s costs. Why did you decide to be a part of this?
Michael : For a simple reason: the sport of karting is meant to be affordable for a large group of kids. The more kids know how much fun this sport is, the better – for them and for the sport. Karting is a good solid background for any kind of motor sports, but if it is made accessible only to a select few, that’s no help to anyone. At the moment, karting is unfortunately going in a direction of being a very select and expensive sport, and we want to change that.

01/07/05
f1
Michael: I'll soon be behind wheel again Michael: I'll soon be behind wheel againThe first days of the new year signal the end of the holiday period for the seven time world champion, Michael Schumacher. The German driver will return to Italy next week. Before getting behind the wheel though, he will be heading to the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio for Wroom, the event that traditionally marks the start of each new Ferrari season.

When will you get back in the car again?
Michael : We've been here in Norway since the middle of December and will fly back to Switzerland well rested around this weekend. Ferrari's traditional event that marks the start of the new season is taking place next week at Madonna di Campiglio and the week after that I suppose I'll finally take a Formula One car for a spin around the track again.

Ferrari will not start the season with a new car, but will go into the first races with 2004's model. A disadvantage?
Michael : I don't think so. We've been doing that before and it's never proven to be a disadvantage. We have such a good car with the F2004, it's the championship winning car after all. On the contrary, considering all the new rules, I think it's good that we can fall back on something that's proven to be so reliable.

Could the new rules turn out to be a problem for Ferrari? After all, the team was the most dominant one last year. But now the cards are being shuffled again…
Michael : Yes, but everyone will have to get accustomed to the new conditions. I think that an experienced, well functioning and successful team like ours will be able to adjust to the new circumstances better. We're all set to fight for the title again this year - and we can hardly wait to start.

01/07/05
Industry News
Milt Minter dies Milt Minter diesUPDATE The Trans-Am Series finally got around to putting out this press release today after we reported this news over two weeks ago - Milt Minter, who competed in the Trans-Am Series from 1967 to 1982, died Dec. 23 from complications from cancer at his Sanger, Calif. home. Minter was 71.   Minter competed in 55 Trans-Am races during his career, and recorded three victories, as well as 20 top-five and 35 top-ten finishes. Minter's breakout Trans-Am season came in 1972 when he drove a Pontiac Firebird to second in the Drivers' Championship behind George Follmer. Minter also competed in the Can-Am Series, driving a Vasek Polak Porsche 917, as well as other SCCA series and vintage events.  "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Minter's family and friends," said Trans-Am Executive Director John Clagett. "He was a fierce competitor and is truly an important part of the Trans-Am legend."  A memorial service will be held for Minter at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 14835 E. Olive Street, in Sanger, Calif.  The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America's oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th consecutive year of competition in 2005. 12/24/04 We are sad to report that Milton Nelson Minter (Milt Minter) died on the 23rd of December, 2004 in Sanger, California.  After the long fight with cancer - he lost this race.  He was one of the racing drivers from the old school of CanAm (Porsche 917) and Trans-Am.  He drove for Vasek Polak Racing, Ferrari, Porsche and many other teams.  Here is a photo page to remember him by.
01/07/05
nascar
Wallace back with Waltrip Wallace back with WaltripKenny Wallace has signed a contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to compete in at least four Nextel Cup races in 2005. Driving the #00 Chevy Aarons Rent Car at both Daytona and Talladega Races. The car being used is the ex-Dale Jr Bud Shootout car from 2004, in which Dale came in 2nd. Wallace will have no provisionals available in any of the races so will have to race into each, but he can't wait to show everyone his speed in that car.
01/07/05
grandam
Kelleners joins Kodak team for Rolex Kelleners joins Kodak team for RolexThe Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team announced today that Ralf Kelleners will join Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Christian Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy behind the wheel of the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 5-6. Friday the team also participated in the first of three days of testing at Daytona in preparation of its defense of its 2004 Rolex 24 victory, turning 80 laps for the day. Kelleners, of Düsseldorf, Germany, has been in victory lane at the Rolex 24 twice before, as he was part of the winning GT2 entry in 1997 and the winning SRP II car in 2002. He finished third overall and second in GT at Daytona in 2003. Kelleners was part of the GT2 class-winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1996. In 1997 he was a factory Porsche driver at Le Mans, and in 1998 and 1999 he was a factory driver for Toyota at Le Mans.
01/07/05
alms
ALMS executives on the move ALMS executives on the moveAlthough the American Le Mans Series is not currently racing, there is no such thing as an off-season for everyone involved with the world's greatest sports car racing series. As a result of several announcements all directly involved with the ALMS, senior executives of the premier sports car racing series are traveling this week to show support of their clients.

President and CEO, Scott Atherton along with IMSA COO Tim Mayer will lead a contingent of ALMS senior leaders at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Key ALMS announcements involving both Audi and Corvette, reigning manufacturer champions in the ALMS LMP1 and LMP2 classes - are slated.

"Attending the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on behalf of our manufacturers is very important as they play such a critical role in the series," said Atherton. "This week is a perfect reflection of what sets the American Le Mans Series apart - a balance in which ALMS embraces both factory teams and top privateers. Earlier this week, my travel scheduled included a significant sponsorship announcement involving one of our privateer prototype teams (MB Quart). A few days later, it is extremely gratifying to be in Detroit on behalf of Audi, General Motors, Porsche and others."

In addition, Scott Duncan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the ALMS, will visit the headquarters of JeanRichard located in the mountainous region of Geneva, Switzerland to participate in strategic marketing and promotion sessions as well as a special video shoot.

"I believe it is important to have an actual working knowledge about the background and product as well as thoroughly understand the needs of our clients and sponsors," said Duncan. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to see where and how some of the world's most impressive watches are made. JeanRichard has dramatically increased its sponsorship commitment to the ALMS and a major portion of that will be evident with its planned special announcement in New York next month. It will be a significant step for our series."

01/07/05
alms
ALMS announces another sponsor ALMS announces another sponsorAdding to the growing list of major new sponsorship and promotional initiatives for 2005, the ALMS has introduced MB Quart as its "Official Audio and Electronics" partner. As part of a multi-year agreement, MB Quart will feature the American Le Mans Series in its national advertising and promotional campaign. In addition, the premium maker of audio and electronics equipment will entertain its retailers and customers at ALMS events with on-track activities and customer interaction with ALMS drivers. This important announcement was made at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - the world's largest consumer electronics convention - in Las Vegas, NV.

The at-track exhibit will include last season's LMP2 class champion Miracle Motorsports ALMS race car along with the ever popular Mercedes C230 demo car complete with 14 speakers and 4000 watts of power. In addition MB Quart will also offer select retailers the ability to attend races at the VIP level which will include race tickets and access to the MB Quart hospitality area and provide them with the opportunity to attend the popular Panoz Driving School at Road Atlanta at the end of each year.

"MB Quart is a premium stereo and equipment company and chose to align strategically with the ALMS based on the high demographics of its audience both at track and on television," commented Brian Sherman, Brand Marketing Manager for MB Quart. "We are thrilled about this relationship and look forward to having an incredible first year with the world's greatest sports car racing series."

"It is with tremendous satisfaction and enthusiasm that we welcome a company of MB Quart's stature into our family of corporate partners," said Scott Duncan, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of the American Le Mans Series. "The ALMS platform will be central to MB Quart's marketing efforts which has been recognized as a perfect fit for their consumer audience and retailer entertainment endeavors. MB Quart's at-track presence will allow them to display its premium equipment and components to the extensive live audiences that the ALMS attracts over the course of the season. As the series continues to grow, we will continue to strive to produce results and return on investments that exceed expectations for all ALMS partners."

MB Quart is a division of Rockford Corporation in Tempe, Ariz., a publicly traded company under the NASDAQ stock symbol ROFO. Company websites can be viewed at MBQuart.com and rockfordcorp.com.

01/07/05
nascar
Darlington Spring Changes Darlington Spring ChangesIt is the nature of every dedicated shopper to be on the lookout for what has become known as BOGO - buy one, get one. In May 2005, race fans attending the Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 weekend at Darlington Raceway can take advantage of a similar offer. A revised 2005 qualifying schedule will give fans double their normal dose of race action in a single day, as Bud pole qualifying for the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are held on Friday afternoon, May 6. The day will not end there, however. After the respective race fields are set, the NASCAR Busch Series stars will return that evening to race under the lights at legendary Darlington Raceway, in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200. In previous years, qualifying and the Busch Series race were held on different days. Catchfence
01/07/05
nascar
Wilburn leaves Penske Racing Wilburn leaves Penske RacingOrleans Racing has hired veteran mechanic Billy Wilburn as crew chief for its second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry, which will be driven by Brendan Gaughan.  Gaughan, who also is Orleans' interim general manager, is excited to be working again with Wilburn, who has nearly 25 years of industry experience. The two worked together last season at Penske Racing. "It's not often someone of Wilburn's caliber becomes available," Gaughan said. "And to be able to have him come to our race team is a real plus for our team. It will only make our team stronger than it's ever been. "Making the situation even better for us is my time with Billy at Penske Racing last year, which should help our program here at Orleans Racing gel that much quicker. This is really a giant boost for our race team." NASCAR
01/07/05
grandam
NASCAR drivers invade Daytona NASCAR drivers invade DaytonaTop NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers have invaded Daytona International Speedway this weekend as the annual Grand American Daytona Test Days for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona got off to a fast and furious start Friday at "The World Center of Racing."

No less than nine full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup stars are slated to drive Daytona Prototypes in the season-opening Rolex 24, February 3 – 6, and six of them were in action Friday as three-day testing got underway on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. 

Reigning NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte will all drive top-of-the-line Daytona Prototypes in the 43rd annual running of North America's premier endurance race.  Busch, Kenseth, Biffle, Mears, McMurray and the Labonte brothers all got behind the wheel Friday, some strapping into a Daytona Prototype for the very first time. Stewart will miss testing this weekend while he competes in the Chili Bowl midget race and Johnson is scheduled to arrive on Sunday. 

NASCAR Cup Champions Bobby and Terry Labonte will share driving duties with IRL IndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta and sports car ace Jan Magnussen in the No. 44 Doran Racing Pontiac Doran. The two were among the drivers taking their first laps in the Daytona Prototype.

"It's a race you always watch and you always want to be a part of," said Bobby Labonte, who drives the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. "We've always watched it on TV and we always know who wins from the Al Holbert days on back. It's kind of cool. Terry's driven this race before years ago. It's my first time and I'm really looking forward to it."

Terry Labonte, who is driving a limited NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule in 2005, was a regular competitor in the Rolex 24 in the 1980s. Labonte made seven starts between 1981 and 1987 and posted an overall best finish of sixth.
"This is exciting," Terry Labonte said. "Bobby and I have been talking about this for a while. Bobby really did all the work putting this together. We've got a good team. I think it's a great series. I've been following the series for a while and it's really come a long way."  Terry Labonte said the biggest challenge in the grueling twice-around-clock challenge will be handling all the shifting duties on the Daytona Prototype, which is the premier division of the Rolex Sports Car Series.

"The biggest difference is shifting the transmission," Terry Labonte said. "This transmission is completely different than what I'm use to running. I think that's going to be the biggest thing to get adjusted too is upshifting and downshifting. They don't use a clutch where we use a clutch some in ours."

"It's quite a mix of people that come here for the 24 hours," Bobby Labonte said. "Obviously this race has been going on for a long time. It's definitely a neat program getting a lot of different people here to do this."

Casey Mears was another driver who made his Daytona Prototype debut in the No. 03 Target Lexus Riley.  "The Daytona Prototypes are similar to the Indy Cars that I used to drive, yet they stick a little better than the stock cars," said Mears who joins McMurray in a three-car, nine-driver powerhouse line-up from reigning Daytona Prototype champions Chip Ganassi Racing.  "This is a totally different discipline. Talking to everyone, you run 85 or 90 percent pretty much the entire 24-hour race. The real objective for the first three-fourths of the race is to stay out of trouble and stay in contact with the leaders and try to be in a good, safe place and not be too hard on the car."

Mears will join fellow Ganassi teammates Darren Manning and 2003 IRL Champion Scott Dixon who carry similar Target sponsorship in the IndyCar Series.  "It's really fun that Target got the two Chip Ganassi cars together," Mears said.  "We've got a Target super team here this weekend, so I'm looking forward to the run.  This series just a couple years ago was having a hard time just staying alive, and they did a good job recreating it and bringing a lot of things back in to the sport. They made it attractive for guys from other areas of motorsports to come to the series.  It's really cool and there's a lot of depth. It's interesting, and I get to race against some old friends."

Rolex 24 At Daytona testing continues on Saturday and Sunday. Testing sessions are free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand available through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Tickets for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP

01/07/05
grandam
Rolex 24 testing: Day 1 Rolex 24 testing: Day 1Preparations for the 43rd Rolex 24 At Daytona officially got underway on Friday at Daytona International Speedway as more than 50 cars toured the 3.56-mile road circuit at the “World Center of Racing” during the opening day of the annual Daytona Test Days.

The cars turned a total of 2,734 laps (9,733.04 miles) through 5 p.m. ET on the first day of the three-day test, with the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford to be driven in the Rolex 24 by Andy Wallace, Jan Lammers and NASCAR star Tony Stewart posting the day’s best time at 1:48.770 (117.827 mph). Second-quickest was the No. 39 Orbit Racing Pontiac Riley of Jim Matthews, Marc Goossens, Guy Smith and Scott Sharp at 1:48.857 (117.732 mph), followed by the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley of Max Papis, Jorg Bergmeister and Oliver Gavin at 1:48.998 (117.580 mph).

In the GT class, the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of John Littlechild, Randy Pobst, Mike Fitzgerald, Manuel Matos and Spencer Pumpelly turned in the quickest time at 1:56.604 (109.910 mph). Second-quick in GT was the No. 75 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup of Johannes van Overbeek, Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman, Jon Fogarty and Patrick Long at 1:57.0 (109.552 mph), with the No. 65 TRG Porsche GT3 Cup of Kevin Buckler, Marc Bunting, Andy Lally, Carlos de Quesada and Hugh Plumb third quickest at 1:57.233.

Night practice is scheduled to conclude at 8 p.m. ET and any news from that session will be reported in Saturday’s Rolex Roundup from Test Days.

01/07/05
Red Bull
Red Bull places Edwards in Italy Red Bull places Edwards in ItalyThirteen year old American John Edwards is preparing for the trip of a lifetime. Edwards was selected to join the Red Bull Junior Team after the 2004 Red Bull Driver Search, and is leaving today to move to Italy and compete in the Italian Championship, widely recognized as one of the toughest karting championships in the world. Edwards will race with the factory CRG Kart Team, the same team that helped launch the careers of Alex Zanardi and Michael Schumacher, who took his first World Karting Championship with the team in 1987.
 
Edwards isn’t the only one making a big commitment to his future, as his mother will also be moving to Italy with the young star. Even though he is moving from home to live and compete in a foreign country, Edwards has shown the same level-headed nature as he did throughout the Driver Search, and is remarkably unfazed about the challenge.
 
“It is a big commitment to move to Italy and race in the Italian Championship, but I am just focused on what I will be learning on the track and working to prepare myself to move towards Formula 1,” said Edwards. “Racing against the best karters in the world with a team like CRG is an excellent opportunity for me. I know that I might not see success on the track right away, but I will be learning so much in that environment.”
 
Edwards will go directly from the US to the Red Bull Training Facility in Austria for an exhaustive series of tests to establish his physical training program for the season.

From there, Edwards will move to Lonato, Italy, to start working with the CRG factory team and preparing for his first Junior ICA race, which will take place in Sarno on the last weekend of January. Edwards will not only be learning lessons on the track, as he will continue with his education from his native Arkansas after his school established a program for him that will see him keep up his studies over the internet.

01/07/05
gp2
Arden will still run in GP2 Arden will still run in GP2Christian Horner's appointment as the new boss of Red Bull Racing will not affect the continued participation of his Arden team in the GP2 series, autosport.com reports. “Absolutely,” he said. “Arden's program will be unchanged this year and we are going to announce our drivers at the Autosport International show next week, which will be exciting and probably one of the strongest we have ever had. It is essential that Arden is competing for GP2 championship honors this year. I am involved in other projects as well,” he explained. “This deal [with Red Bull Racing] was structured in such a way to take that into account.”
01/07/05
irl
IRL meeting with engine manufacturers IRL meeting with engine manufacturersThe Indy Racing League will meet with its engine manufacturers today in Indianapolis. Honda already weighed in.  "I told them that keeping Chevy (beyond the 2005 season) should be their top priority," Honda Performance Development general manager Robert Clarke said Thursday. "Bringing in someone new will be more difficult than keeping Chevy, and both are going to be very difficult, it seems."

Chevrolet's IRL program manager, Joe Negri, said there's no chance his employer will participate in 2006. It's possible Chevy will return in 2007, he said, depending on the engine formula that is selected.  Options will be discussed today. A decision is due by May.

Rising costs and poor television ratings are among the most significant concerns for all parties. The expense of season engine lease programs has tripled since 2002, up to nearly $2 million per car. TV ratings barely register on a national level.

The IndyCar series has only 19 commitments for the Jan. 19-22 open test at Homestead, Fla., and having 33 cars for the Indianapolis 500 in May seems improbable.  Honda, which will power 10 cars for the season, plans to add only one more for Indy. Toyota only has seven commitments and Chevy two, although both manufacturers are talking to a few teams. Indy Star

01/07/05
nascar
Edwards to run full Cup and Busch slate Edwards to run full Cup and Busch slateRoush Racing driver Carl Edwards will compete for championships in two of NASCAR's national touring series this season. In addition to a full, 36-race Nextel Cup season in owner Jack Roush's No. 99 Ford Taurus, Edwards will also run the 35-race Busch Series schedule in Roush's No. 60 Charter Communications Ford.

Roush plans to announce a sponsorship program for Edwards' Cup program next week, a team spokesman said. "It means the world to me," Edwards said of the opportunity. "I remember reading about Kevin Harvick when he first moved to Cup (in 2001) and ran all the Busch races and all but one of the Cup races.

"I remember reading that story and thinking, 'man, can it be any better than that -- to get to run so many races and do it on so many different tracks? What a neat opportunity that would be.' So I really appreciate Jack giving me this chance. It's going to be a blast. Carl Edwards is definitely one of NASCAR's rising stars," Roush said. "Charter is getting a driver with the skills and determination to have a big impact in both Busch and Nextel Cup racing."

Edwards said details of his schedule, such as who will drive his respective cars when there is a conflict for practice and qualifying sessions, is still being worked out. NASCAR

01/07/05
champcar
irl
Champ Car VP John Lopes moves to AGR Champ Car VP John Lopes moves to AGRAndretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today it has hired John Lopes to serve as vice president.  Lopes, a 15-year veteran of the motorsports industry, will officially join Andretti Green's Indianapolis-based operation on Monday, Jan. 10. In his new role with the team, Lopes' primary focus will be business development, including new sponsor acquisition, special projects, administration and management services.

The announcement comes as Andretti Green prepares for the 2005 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season, where it will look to defend the championship it won in 2004. The team will once again field a league-high four Honda-powered entries during the 17-race IndyCar Series season, which begins March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

"To say that we're thrilled to have John join Andretti Green is an understatement," said Kevin Savoree, who owns the team along with partners Michael Andretti and Kim Green. "Michael, Kim and I have always had great respect for John and all the intangibles he brings with him. Personally and professionally, guys of John's caliber are very hard to find." Lopes comes to AGR from Champ Car where he has worked as executive vice president of operations since 2001.

"I have known Michael, Kim, Kevin and many of the members of Andretti Green Racing for years and I have admired them as one of America's premier sports properties," said Lopes. "Andretti Green Racing's on-track and off-track success is staggering.  I considered jumping back into the team side of our business for a while and I am eager to hit the ground running. Concurrently, I am sad to bid farewell to the dedicated staff at Champ Car who have accomplished so much in spite of great challenges. It has been my privilege to serve as an officer of Champ Car these past four years and I wish both the staff and the owners of Champ Car continued success." Lopes graduated in 1985 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., with concentrations in both engineering and international security.  While at West Point, Lopes served as co-captain of the varsity football team and class president of the class of 1985.  He served over five years as an air-cavalry aviation officer/helicopter pilot and served as an aviation headquarters commander in the Seventh Infantry Division during "Operation Just Cause" in the Republic of Panama.

Lopes began his career in motorsports in 1990 while attending Duke University School of Law where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1993.  While in law school, Lopes managed marketing projects in the stock car racing industry, including Winston Cup.  From 1993 to 1998, Lopes practiced law in Dallas, Texas, and extended his motorsports participation by representing drivers, teams and sponsors.

From 1998 to 2001, Lopes served as general manager of TeamXtreme Racing in the Indy Racing League. He joined Champ Car in 2001 (then known as CART) and managed the team owners franchise board. His scope of responsibilities as the executive vice president of operations also included logistics, safety, medical, electronics, chassis and engine programs, the competition department, management of promoter agreements and relationships, and other strategic planning initiatives, including the privatization of the company in 2004.

During his career, Lopes has also been involved in a number of charitable causes, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Dallas Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Indianapolis Hemophilia Foundation and Camp Jubilee of Children's Hospital in Dallas.

01/07/05
grandam
Rolex 24 might get squashed by Super Bowl Rolex 24 might get squashed by Super BowlUPDATE Another problem has risen.  With the Super Bowl in Jacksonville there is a major shortage of available hotel rooms.  Jacksonville does not nearly have enough rooms and people are booking as far away as Orlando for Super Bowl Week.  Some journalists were planning on going to Daytona for the Rolex 24 but are having a hard time finding a room.  The few available hotels have raised their rates significantly. 01/06/05 While the whole world is focused on the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida the first week in February, the Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hour race will be taking place a few short miles away in Daytona Beach. Too bad for the Grand-Am, their Super Bowl has the best lineup ever and the only thing all the sports editors around the country will care about reporting in their Monday editions is the Super Bowl (football's), while the Rolex becomes mostly an afterthought.
01/07/05
nascar
Johnson and Kahne to test new Goodyear tires Johnson and Kahne to test new Goodyear tiresIt may be January, but the 2005 NASCAR season is already revving up, beginning with a Goodyear Tire test scheduled for January 11-12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports superstar Jimmie Johnson will test the brand new Goodyear compound at NASCAR’s fastest track next week as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. The test session will be closed to both the media and the public.

Next week’s test will be the first with the new Atlanta Goodyear tire, which is a different compound than any for any other speedway. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear’s stock car tire development group, said the session will be used to gauge how well the new compound works with the 2005 NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height. NASCAR officials are expected to be on hand to analyze the results.

01/07/05
f1
BAT and Honda to complete BAR buyout BAT and Honda to complete BAR buyoutBritish American Tobacco and Honda are expected to complete the purchase of British American Racing later today. The Formula 1 team was put up for sale before Christmas as part of the necessary paperwork to establish a new ownership structure. This was challenged by former partners Gerry Forsythe and Craig Pollock but a British court rejected their claims and the BAR Holdings Ltd was put into administration. The company administrators Simon Morris and Andrew Hosking of the Grant Thornton company offered the shares of British American Racing GP Ltd (the racing team) for sale in the Financial Times but there was never any likelihood of any serious bidder other than the BAT-Honda combination as they were, in effect, paying themselves as they were the major creditors of the old company. None of this will have any obvious effect on the team and the cars will look much the same as they did last year but we expect to see some more Honda management in roles at BAR. The plan for the moment at least is for BAT to own 55% of the team and Honda to have 45% although this may change as tobacco companies are forced out of F1 in the months ahead. It is expected that eventually Honda will buy all the shares of the team. Grandprix.com
01/07/05
nascar
Bill Davis Racing announces '05 truck program Bill Davis Racing announces '05 truck programBill Davis Racing is pleased to announce the 2005 Craftsman Truck Series driver and crew chief line-up.  Mike Skinner will begin his first full season piloting the No. 5 Toyota Tundra in 2005.  Skinner competed for Bill Davis Racing in the final nine races of the 2004 and is looking forward to competing for the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship with his new team. Skinner has had unparalleled success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, compiling 16 wins, 41 top-five finishes, and 14 poles in 79 starts.  Skinner was crowned the first Craftsman Truck Series Champion in 1995 and is looking to repeat that feat in 2005.  The 1995 Series Champion will have veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley calling the shots.  The 2005 season will be Hensley’s second season as a crew chief for Bill Davis Racing.  Hensley led the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra to a 22nd-place finish in the points last season.  Hensley has been in the sport for over a decade. Before moving into his position at Bill Davis Racing, he served as a crew chief in the NASCAR Busch Series.  Bill Lester will return as the driver of the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra.  Lester had seven top-10 starts during the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, as well as a top-10 finish at Gateway International Raceway.  This will be Lester’s fifth season in the Craftsman Truck Series. Lester’s first career pole came in 2003 at the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Taking the reigns as crew chief on the No. 22 truck is Doug Wolcott. Wolcott has been at Bill Davis Racing since the beginnings of the 2000 season and under his tutelage have been drivers Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Ward Burton and Johnny Benson.  Wolcott brings a wealth of experience both working on race trucks and behind the wheel.  Veteran driver Johnny Benson will return as the driver of the No. 23 Toyota Tundra in 2005.  In 13 starts last season for Bill Davis Racing, Benson compiled five top-five finishes.  Benson best finish of the season came at the Texas Motor Speedway in October where he finished 2nd to race winner Todd Bodine.  Benson is looking forward to racing for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in 2005.  Greg Ely will return as crew chief of the No.23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra.  This will be Ely’s second year calling the shots for the No. 23 truck.  He and Benson worked well together last season and are looking forward to success in 2005.  Before moving to the Craftsman Truck Series, Ely was the shock specialist on the No. 23 car in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.  “I am really excited about 2005,” said team owner Bill Davis.  “With the unbelievable support we get from Toyota and the veteran experience that comes with all these drivers, I think 2005 will be a monumental year for Bill Davis Racing.  All three drivers are capable of winning the championship, and with the crew chiefs and teams that we have in place, I see nothing but success.  I am looking forward to going to Daytona in February and seeing what unfolds.” 
01/07/05
Dakar Rally
Sandstorm cancels stage 8 Sandstorm cancels stage 8Sandstorms have reduced visibility to zero and stage 8 of the Dakar Rally has been cancelled.
01/07/05
alms
Intersport announces sponsor Intersport announces sponsorIntersport Racing has announced that Very Berry Exotics of Denver, Colorado will sponsor the team for the 2005 American Le Mans Series and beyond.  "I am very happy to have Very Berry Exotics involved with Intersport Racing," said Jon Field, owner of the team. "Richard and Susan Berry, owners of Very Berry Exotics, have been involved with sports cars and sports car racing for several years and this is a great extension of that involvement."   Richard is a very accomplished amateur driver who plans to drive with Intersport Racing during the 2005 season. His racing credits include driving in the Grand American Road Racing Association.  Very Berry Exotics specializes in buying and selling some of the world's more exotics and hard to find automobiles. Not only do they sell cars already in the inventory, Very Berry Exotics will search for automobiles that are their customer's dream cars.
01/07/05
Dakar Rally
nascar
Robby Gordon back in Dakar Rally race Robby Gordon back in Dakar Rally raceRobby Gordon continued the rally on Thursday (Stage 7) after a fantastic team effort: The Volkswagen team repaired the US-American’s Race-Touareg overnight after he rolled the previous afternoon and had only arrived at the finish around midnight towed by a Volkswagen Race-Truck. Gordon and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz were on their way again at 12:40 P.M. – they started from 115th position and had worked their way up to 12th place already at the first checkpoint on the stage.
01/07/05
grandam
SPEED to air Year in Review SPEED to air Year in ReviewUPDATE A reminder this program will air tonight. 01/06/05 SPEED Channel will air an hour-long "The Year In Racing" show to highlight all the action from last season's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup Series this Friday, January 7 at 9 p.m. ET. The show will be hosted by SPEED Channel personality Leigh Diffey.

SPEED's "The Year In Racing" series recaps all of this past year's racing seasons. The Grand American edition starts with the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona and ends with Max Papis and Scott Pruett winning the driver and team championships for the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley team. The show will also feature GT champion Bill Auberlen's history making eight wins in the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3, and TPC Racing co-drivers Andy Lally and Marc Bunting in their quest for the SGS championship. In addition, the show will recap the down-of-the wire chase for the Grand-Am Cup Series GS and ST crowns.

The show will be rebroadcast January 7 at 1 a.m., January 16 at 9 p.m. & 2 a.m. and February 4 at 3 a.m. (All times are ET).   The Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup Series return to Daytona International Speedway this Friday, Jan. 7 for the annual Daytona Test Days. On-track activity gets underway with Rolex Series practice at 9:00 a.m. ET. The Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup Series will alternate sessions throughout the three days of testing. Friday's sessions will include night practice for the Rolex Series from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. ET. Saturday's sessions run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, while Sunday's on-track activity is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. All of the sessions are open to the public.

01/07/05
Industry News
GM sales jump big in China GM sales jump big in ChinaGeneral Motors said yesterday its sales in China rose 27.2 percent last year and it plans to introduce 10 all-new or upgraded models in 2005.  GM, the world's largest automaker, said its share of the world's fastest growing automotive market rose to 9.3 percent in 2004, up from 8.5 percent in 2003.  GM ranks 2nd behind VW in China.
01/07/05
f1
Pizzonia had Williams ride until Heidfeld smoked him Pizzonia had Williams ride until Heidfeld smoked him"We were very comfortable with having Antonio Pizzonia for 2005 but we felt it would be sensible to look at a rival in case there was someone better out there," Reuters report Williams as saying. "If Nick had not been so obvious to us then Antonio would have been confirmed already, we think he's that good.   We've decided that to be fair to the team and also to the two drivers to give them more time to demonstrate their abilities," said Williams. "We'd like to have a decision certainly at the latest by the launch of the new car at the end of this month in Valencia."
01/07/05
Team USA
SCCA
SCCA Racer Slade Miller Ready to go Racing in New Zealand SCCA Racer Slade Miller Ready to go Racing in New ZealandTeam USA Scholarship driver Slade Miller has made steady progress during two days of testing with his patriotically liveried Stealth/Van Diemen at Timaru International Motor Raceway on New Zealand's South Island. The 18-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, is now eager to begin his international career tomorrow, in the first of three Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship races to be held this weekend on the 2.4-kilometer (1.49-mile) road course.

"Testing has gone well and I'm really looking forward to seeing how I stack up against the rest of the field in the races," said Miller. "At the start of today I was a little bit frustrated, being a little more off the pace than I wanted to be, but we worked hard at it and the car is definitely handling better. By the end of the day I was pleased, because we were just a few tenths [of a second] down on the pace-setters."

Miller's fastest lap today was 1m 06.33s, which last year would have been good enough for a top-three position in qualifying, just a tenth slower than the pole position lap -- set in the very same car -- by another Team USA Scholarship representative, Joe D'Agostino. (Incidentally, current Champ Car rising star A.J. Allmendinger also took the pole at Timaru aboard a Team USA Scholarship car in 2002.) Still, Miller knows full well that the past 12 months has witnessed constant engine development in the ultra-competitive New Zealand Formula Ford series; especially on the lighter aluminum cylinder heads which have been introduced over the past couple of years; resulting in faster lap times at most venues. He knows, too, that there is more to come from both himself and his car.

"We still have a bit too much understeer, which is hurting my lap times in two key places, but we know what we want to do for the car in time for qualifying tomorrow," he continued. "The car has proved very responsive so far, so if it reacts the way we expect it to, I think we'll be looking to do fairly well."

The Timaru race track is tight and twisty, but Miller has enjoyed its technical challenges: "I like the track," he said. "It's tight and has a lot of flowing corners where you have to be smooth in order to be fast. It's relatively flat but it does have some fun aspects.

Team USA Scholarship alumni include 1996 Champ Car World Series winner Jimmy Vasser (who claimed the inaugural Scholarship award in 1990), Champ Car and IRL race winner Bryan Herta (1991), NASCAR race winner Jerry Nadeau (1993), recently signed Rolex Grand-Am sports car series contender Memo Gidley (1995), defending Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice (1997) and reigning Champ Car World Series Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger (2001).

Funding for this year's scholarship has been provided by Doug Mockett & Company, a Torrance, California-based supplier of "Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture," Champ Car team owner Dale Coyne, plus former Team USA Scholarship winners Rice, Vasser, Herta, Gidley, Allmendinger and former Lynx Racing Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Bryan Sellers (2001). In addition, Portland, Oregon-based Ivey Engines has provided the motive power for Miller's Stealth Van Diemen, and he is equipped with the world renowned Sparco racewear.

01/07/05
Industry News
Oldest oval track uncovered Oldest oval track uncoveredThe remains of the only known Roman chariot racing track in Britain have been found under an army barracks being redeveloped in Colchester. New homes are going up on a 209-acre site where builders preparing the groundworks excavated what they believe is a race track nearly 2,000 years old. Developers Taylor Woodrow said they are delighted at the find and will include it as a feature in their development. Archaeologists say it was built around the 2nd century. Finding the chariot track was an exercise in detective work according to archaeological consultants RPS of Colchester. Chariot racing was very popular in the Roman world but only four tracks have been found in the north western provinces

"Two trenches revealed two parallel walls which we thought were the precincts of a temple. "There was also a road nearby but it was not until we investigated a third side that we found another wall and the remains of an entrance." Phillip Crummy director of Colchester Archaeological Trust suggested that it may be a Roman circus where chariot races were held. He took a drawing from a known race track in Spain and superimposed it over a plan of the Colchester finds and all the features fitted with a discrepancy of only one meter. More at BBC

01/07/05
f1
Red Bull fires Purnell and Pitchford Red Bull fires Purnell and PitchfordChristian Horner, most recently the very successful head of the Arden Formula 3000 team, has moved up to Formula One. The 31-year-old Briton has been named Sporting Director of Red Bull Racing, effective immediately.  Horner will jointly manage Red Bull Racing together with a new Technical Director, whose appointment will be announced within the next week.  Horner and the new Technical Director succeed Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth, Managing Director and Team Manager of Jaguar Racing for the past season, both of whom spent the last weeks working for Red Bull Racing. Red Bull Racing  [Editor's Note: The appointment of Horner is good news for Liuzzi as Horner is known to be a big fan of his.  Grandprix.com also rumors that "the technical management of the team will be passing into the hands of Gunther Steiner, the German engineer was in charge of Jaguar Racing in 2002 before being dropped when the new management was appointed. Steiner has spent the last year working with the Opel team in DTM but the recent announcement that General Motors is not going to continue with the project at the end of 2005 means that there is no real future in that role and it seems that Steiner, who cut his teeth in rallying, is keen to get back into F1 to show what he can do. This will no doubt help communication between the German-speaking Austrian management at Red Bull and the English end of the operation."]
01/07/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Frank to bank on Royal Bank
Nick foiled Pizza delivery
Ferrari in F1 boycott
F1 help for Asian disaster
Red Bull to dump F1 principal
FIA to inspect F1 venue
F1 website bought
Grove team 'must succeed'
BAR to beam from Barcelona
'No cocaine in F1' - FIA
Vague role exciting Klien
'Nick is BMW-powered driver'
Second Dutchman to snare F1
Jordan no longer 'for sale'
'F1 media got Jag cost wrong'
F1 duo back 'Quick Nick'
Webber's 'winning spirit'
01/07/05
nascar
NASCAR drivers get good start in Chili Bowl NASCAR drivers get good start in Chili BowlNASCAR Craftsman Truck series driver Tracy Hines has won Thursday night's A Main feature at the 19th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl in Tulsa, OK.  Hines blistered the field in his heat race, grabbing the pole for the feature race.  He then paced the field of 24 drivers to take home the win, leading every lap of the A Main.  2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart notched a third place finish in the same race.  Stewart finished second in his heat race and started fifth in the A Main.  Both drivers will continue on to Saturday night's feature race.  2004 ROTY Kasey Kahne is set to qualify Friday night. Kimberly M.
01/06/05
nascar
Big shakeup at Petty Big shakeup at PettyThe struggling No. 45 team of Kyle Petty announced changes in its top leadership, with no replacements immediately named. Team engineer Adam Stevens has left to join Joe Gibbs Racing, and the Petty team consequently discharged crew chief Bill Henderson.

Petty Enterprises, which also presents the No. 43 for driver Jeff Green, seems to have been grasping at straws the past couple of years as it seeks to keep up with changing trends in the sport. Kyle Petty, CEO of the once-magnificent organization, said the Stevens/Henderson tandem came as a package deal.

“When we made the change to put Adam and Bill in charge of the 45 team in August of last year, we looked at it as a combination effort,” he said. “When Adam came back from the Christmas holiday and told us of his intention to take an offer with Gibbs, we decided to reevaluate the leadership of the team.”

Petty indicated that new leadership would be in place at the start of the season, with several experienced candidates available. One promising development is Petty's agreement to use engines from the Dodge flagship Evernham team in 2005.  Petty continues to express confidence. “I have a lot of faith in the 45 team, our engineering group, and the rest of the team in Level Cross that we will be competitive right out of the box in 2005,” he said. SPEED TV

01/06/05
nascar
Hermie Sadler announces ’05 Cup sponsor Hermie Sadler announces ’05 Cup sponsorHermie Sadler announced today that he will be sponsored by Peak Fitness during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.  Sadler, along with veteran crew chief James Ince, unveiled the No. 66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus at a press conference this afternoon in Matthews, NC.

HERMIE SADLER - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus - WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE THAT THIS IS GOING TO WORK?  "I know Jeff Stec (Peak Fitness CEO) and I know what his goals are and ambitions are.  I know James Ince and I know how committed and excited he is to have the opportunity to come back into the Nextel Cup Series and have an opportunity to prove what he can do.  I know the support we're gonna get from Ford and I know I'm gonna have plenty of power under the hood.  Someone asked me a little while ago if I felt a lot of pressure because of the surrounding I have now as opposed to last year and the answer is no.  Pressure is showing up at a race track with one car and one engine and three people and you're trying to make the race for the weekend.  I look for this to be fun and I think we'll perform much better than people expect." 

IT MUST HAVE BEEN HARD ON DAYS WHERE YOU WRECKED A BUSCH CAR IN PRACTICE AND HAD TO PULL OUT THE BACKUP.  "Going from day-to-day and week-to-week is difficult.  You can't race like you really want to race because the car you might be racing this week is the one you have to race the next week.  But Jeff Stec has done a great job of giving James everything he's asked for from a people standpoint, financially, cars, shop.  He's produced everything that James said he wanted to do his job, so I'm looking forward to it." 

THIS HAS BEEN A LONG, HARD ROAD TO GET HERE.  HOW DOES IT FEEL?  "I look at it kind of like the lottery and finally hitting the payoff.  I don't want to get too overly excited.  I'm just anxious to do my job and get out there and show people that I can race at this level and these guys can race at this level.  When I knew everything first came together I was excited and like, 'Yeah, I'm ready to go.'  And then shortly after that it came to, 'Let's get ready to go to Daytona.'  We're going to Daytona with a fresh outlook and a new team and a new attitude.  The last couple of years we haven't been in the position to race very good because of a lot of different things, so we want to come back and start at Daytona and do what we know how to do.  This is a great opportunity and certainly the best one I've had in the last seven or eight years - not just because it's a Nextel Cup ride - but just having new cars and the right people.  We've got good shock people, good engineers and we've got people at Robert Yates Racing to lean on for engineering support, and Ford.  We know that we're in a good position and now it's just a matter of us taking advantage of it."

01/06/05
nascar
Subway inks deal for 2nd NASCAR race Subway inks deal for 2nd NASCAR raceSubway today announced a multiyear title sponsorship deal with Phoenix Int'l Raceway for the track's spring NASCAR Nextel Cup event. The race, now titled the Subway Fresh 500, is the restaurant chain's second Nextel Cup event title sponsorship, joining the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Subway titled the Rockingham event through '04, but Rockingham lost its date. The inaugural Subway Fresh 500 will be run April 23 THE DAILY.
01/06/05
irl
IRL cars on display IRL cars on displayIndyCar Series Machines On Display: Two IndyCar Series cars will be prominently displayed at auto shows this weekend.  The race car that carried Dan Wheldon to his first IndyCar Series victory will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show beginning Jan. 7.   A Team Penske IndyCar Series car will be on display Jan. 7-9 at the Kentucky Speedway booth at the Cavalcade of Customs Auto Show at the Cincinnati Convention Center.
01/06/05
grandam
BMW Team PTG returns to Rolex Series BMW Team PTG returns to Rolex SeriesBMW of North America, LLC announced today that BMW Team PTG will return to the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2005 with two all-new BMW M3s ready to defend its 2004 GT class championships.
2005 will mark BMW Team PTG's 10th season of competition with the BMW M3. Since 1995, BMW Team PTG has recorded 46 wins in nine years of North American sports car competition. Ten of those wins came in last season's sweep of the Rolex Series GT class Manufacturer, Driver and Team championships.

While GT class rules changes have required BMW Team PTG to construct new M3s for 2005, 2004 Rolex GT driver champion Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand will return to anchor BMW of North America's effort in the No. 21 M3. Veteran road racers, Chris Gleason and Ian James will join BMW Team PTG and co-drive the No. 22 M3.

The two new BMW M3s, painted in BMW Team PTG's traditional red, white and black livery, will be readied for this week's Daytona Test Days and the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team will expand to race four BMW M3s in the second race of the season in March.

The third and fourth M3s will be sponsored by F1 Air and fly that company's blue and white colors. R.J. Valentine and Kelly Collins will drive the No. 17 F1 Air M3 and Tom Milner and Justin Marks will share the No. 16 F1 Air M3.

All eight Team PTG drivers will share the two BMW of North America BMW M3s at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, marking BMW Team PTG's seventh start at the classic endurance event.

Daytona Test Days will take place January 7th, 8th and 9th and the 14-race Rolex Sports Car Series will begin with 43rd Rolex 24 at Daytona on February 5-6.

01/06/05
champcar
San Jose release final track layout San Jose release final track layoutThe layout to the right is an updated version of the San Jose track that was uploaded to their website.  They have removed some of the Mickey Mouse stuff, but the track is still too short.
01/06/05
grandam
CITGO renews with Howard Motorsports CITGO renews with Howard MotorsportsFor the second consecutive season, CITGO Petroleum Corporation and CITGO Racing have announced that they will continue to sponsor racing stars Milka Duno, Andy Wallace and the Howard Motorsports team in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

In 2004, CITGO Racing sponsored Duno in the Rolex Sports Car Series, teaming with full-season co-driver Wallace and the Howard Motorsports team in their #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype.  In their first full season, Duno and Wallace scored two race wins, seven top-five finishes and eleven top-ten finishes.  Duno also became the first woman in history to win overall a major sports car race in North America.  The CITGO-sponsored team finished third in the Team Point Standings and Wallace and Duno finished third and fifth respectively in the Driver Point Standings. The effort also helped earn Pontiac a first-place finish in the Engine Manufacturers Standings and Crawford a second-place finish in the Chassis Manufacturer's Standings.

"We're excited to renew our relationship with Howard Motorsports, Crawford Racing, Milka Duno and Andy Wallace for the 2005 season," said Geoff Smith, Manager, Sponsorship Marketing and Sales Promotion for CITGO.  "The strong performance of the team in 2004, the experience gained, and the strides that have been made during the brief off-season have fueled our enthusiasm - and our expectations are high."

"I'm very honored for the opportunity to race with CITGO sponsorship again in 2005 and I can't thank them enough," said Duno. "We had a great inaugural season in 2004 with CITGO's support and hope to build on the momentum we achieved last year.  This is a first class racing effort and I expect big things in 2005."

"Everyone at Howard Motorsports is very excited about the upcoming 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series season and continuing our relationship with CITGO Petroleum Corporation," Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports stated. "With CITGO's support, we enjoyed a successful 2004 season and look to build on that success in 2005. We have a very talented driver lineup for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the #2 and #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototypes and look forward to the entire fourteen-race Rolex Series as well."

01/06/05
champcar
nascar
Why all the fuss over Jourdain? Why all the fuss over Jourdain?I guess I am having a hard time understanding all the hand-wringing going on over Michel Jourdain's decision to go to NASCAR. No doubt Michel was a decent driver, but it would be a real stretch to say that he was burning down the house. Now if Paul Tracy were to make this move, then we have something to discuss. Michel based his decision on economics and an effort to try something new. NASCAR probably made it very worthwhile for him. Personally, I see the move as being similar to Christian Fittipaldi's NASCAR move. Not very promising as far as results will be concerned. The fact is that NASCAR needs a Mexican presence if they want to fill the seats in Mexico. Can Adrian Fernandez be far behind? As to the next great Mexican hope for Champ Car - I believe that there are other very talented young Mexican drivers that can step in and step up. The hand-wringing also extends to Patrick Carpentier's move to the IRL. Just as there is fresh young Canadian talent crowding upwards, the loss of Patrick, although regrettable, is not going to cause fans to cancel their tickets to the races in Montreal, Toronto or Edmonton. Let's give our sophisticated fan neighbors to the North and South a lot more credit than that. Just remember, when the US media was jumping on the IRL Bandwagon and joining the "CART is Dead" chant, it was the Mexicans and the Canadians who just shook their heads in silent wonder. Werner Fritz, Trevor, WI
01/06/05
champcar
CMG writes Champ Car IOU in stock CMG writes Champ Car IOU in stock[Editor's Note: This is as a result of Betelgeuse going belly-up last year and Champ Car having to bail them out to finish up the 2004 TV production]  Catalyst Media Group PLC ('the Company' or 'CMG') announces that it has issued 14,678,968 new ordinary shares of 1p each ('Shares'), representing 8.28 per cent of the Company's share capital as enlarged by the issue of Shares, to Champ Car World Series LLC ('Champ Car') in relation to an agreement dated 15 December 2004. The Shares, which have a value of £1.14million (US$2.2million) based on the closing share price of 7.75p on 12 November 2004 (the date of the suspension of trading in the Company's shares) have been issued in consideration for Champ Car agreeing to satisfy certain financial obligations of up to £1.14million (US$2.2 million) of the Company's television production subsidiary Betelgeuse Productions, Inc ('Betelgeuse') incurred by Betelgeuse whilst providing television production services to Champ Car for the 2004 Champ Car World Race Series. Champ Car has given certain undertakings with respect to the sale of the Shares such that they may be only be sold in specified tranches during a 90 day period from the date that the shares re-commence trading, such sales to be with the assistance of CMG. If funds received from the sale of the Shares by Champ Car exceed payments made by them under this agreement the balance will be payable to CMG. If there is a deficit, CMG is required to pay any shortfall to Champ Car. Any such shortfall would not increase the Group's liabilities and would only result in an acceleration of cash outflows from the Group. However, as the proceeds of the sale of the Shares by Champ Car reduces Betelgeuse's, and hence the Group's, overall liabilities, CMG will be in a stronger financial position following any sale of Shares by Champ Car.
01/06/05
f1
Ferrari manager still irked about testing Ferrari manager still irked about testingJean Todt, has told Autosprint Magazine that he doesn’t think the teams should have a say in how many testing days are allocated as each outfit is only interested in satisfying their own needs and the plan to reduce it by half, to just 24 test days, in 2005 is simply aimed at cutting Ferrari’s superiority.

"By what I feel and see, there shouldn't be an agreement over private testing among the teams, because everyone does what he wants and I think in a sense it's better that way," Todt said. "As I said, we are working on a program of costs reductions. We want to reduce our testing costs but we aren't working only on that. And besides, there are already programs for costs reductions in F1 after 2005. Regulations to have a less costly F1 are being looked at. These are all things we want to do in an articulated and well thought out way, however the impression is that there is a desire by everyone to make Ferrari less competitive and that they are trying to find out where we can be damaged the most. “

“So, we have our Fiorano track: it was an investment. We have the advantage that, when we want to test, we can just cross the road or go to Mugello. Why should we lose this? To please others? We are only obliged to please our share holders, our clients and our fans, certainly not our competitors. The truth is that every time there's talks of cutting costs, we are the first ones accepting to talk about it. We certainly didn't fight for the two-race engine, even if every regulation change penalizes us, since at the moment we are competitive.”

“When in 2002 they wanted to change qualifying at all costs, it was in order to damage Ferrari. I've now heard that they want to change the starting order of qualifying on Saturdays. Why? It's clear: who starts first gets a dirty track. So 'they' already think that Ferrari will win the first GPs in 2005, so we must start first in qualifying to be penalized. If others want to play smart to beat Ferrari, we can respond. But this is not the problem: the important thing is to always act with sense and I must say we share the same ideas with the FIA. Then everyone says 'ah, Ferrari and FIA always act in accord...', well, let them say what they want. The truth is that FIA is cooler and more detached with regards to the problems that need to be solved."

01/06/05
transam
Trans-Am signs naming rights extension Trans-Am signs naming rights extensionThe Champ Car World Series, which operates the Trans-Am Series, and the Sports Car Club of America have agreed to extend an agreement granting Champ Car the marketing and promotional rights to the Trans-Am name. The agreement is an extension of a pact originally signed in 2003.

“We are pleased to carry the Trans-Am banner into its 40th consecutive year of competition,” said Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. “Trans-Am has a tradition as a powerful and valuable brand that dates back four decades as America’s most legendary road racing series. We are honored to continue that tradition.

“As the Series enters its second year under the Champ Car umbrella, we are preparing for yet another great season of Trans-Am racing,” added Clagett. “The Trans-Am Series, which will again contest the majority of its races on Champ Car weekends in 2005, is an integral piece of Champ Car’s overall entertainment package. Trans-Am also has the added bonus of capitalizing on Champ Car’s immense popularity in North America.”

“We're pleased to extend our relationship, continuing the Trans-Am name and heritage for 2005,” SCCA President and CEO Steve Johnson said. "We look forward to the 40th Trans-Am season.”  The Trans-Am Series features closed-fendered, production-based, V-8-powered sports cars, competing on permanent road courses, and temporary street and airport circuits throughout North America. The Trans-Am Series is America’s oldest continuously running road racing series and celebrates its 40th consecutive year of competition in 2005.

01/06/05
grandam
Ten Motorsports hopes to create buzz Ten Motorsports hopes to create buzzWhat will be a welcome reminder to Memo Gidley, will serve as a welcome introduction to the hallowed grounds of Daytona International Speedway for Ten Motorsports drivers Michael McDowell, Michael Valiante and Jonathan Bomarito, as the team prepares for the test at Daytona this weekend.   Despite having not driven the mythical 31-degree banks at Daytona, McDowell views the opportunity as another stepping stone in his young but successful career. Having dominated an outstanding field for two consecutive years in the Star Mazda Series, McDowell has had the opportunity to race on different style tracks that blend traditional oval tracks and road courses against hefty competition.

“I’m certain that the three of us will never forget our first experience climbing the banks at Daytona, but I know that in four short weeks we’ll be back here again for a bigger task,” said McDowell. “We’ve got to prepare for the [Rolex] 24 – that’s what we’re here for.”

To date the team has been very satisfied with the performance of the BMW-Riley and looks forward to gauging their team against the competition this weekend.

“We were able to post some solid times at Homestead despite having received the car just days before the test,” said Gidley.  “Now that the Camerons have had some time to work their magic at Infineon, we’re likely to remain competitive throughout the test, and we can get an accurate depiction of where we stand against the field.”

The test at Daytona also marks an exciting landmark as it will be the first true opportunity to see the Ten Motorsports team in action as Michael Valiante and Jonathan Bomarito were announced as the third and fourth drivers for the upcoming Rolex 24, following impressive testing at Homestead.

Steve Cameron, Ten Motorsports crew chief, noted: “All of the drivers we tested at Homestead were fast and safe, which made it difficult to make the final decision, but we’re extremely pleased with where the team is and we look forward to making optimal performances at the 24.”  Rob Finlay, owner of Finlay Motorsports that owns and operates Ten Motorsports, knows that he’s fortunate to have secured such an incredible collection of talent to race in the team’s debut competition.  “Our goal was to assemble a team that gives us the best chance at standing on the podium at the end of the day and the end of the season,” said Finlay. “With Steve and Rick’s [Cameron] expertise, we’re poised to make some noise going into the test.”

Look for the number 19 Ten Motorsports Daytona Prototype to post competitive lap times this weekend at the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Test Days at Daytona International Speedway.  For more information, please visit www.tenmotorsports.com

01/06/05
champcar
nascar
Champ Car comments on loss of Jourdain Champ Car comments on loss of JourdainWhat follows is a statement from the Champ Car World Series on today’s announcement that two-time Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford race winner Michel Jourdain Jr. will leave the series in order to join ppc Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series.  

Jourdain scored Champ Car wins in 2003 at Milwaukee and Montreal in a season that saw him finish a career-high third in the standings. A nine-year veteran of the series, Jourdain made 152 starts and earned nine podium finishes. He finished 12th in the 2004 Champ Car standings with two podiums.

Added Champ Car President Dick Eidswick, “We are disappointed to lose a driver of the caliber of Michel from our series and we wish him success in his new endeavor. Michel’s decision to stay in Champ Car after the departure of his former team prior to the start of the season was a key in building momentum for a successful 2004 and is something that Champ Car will always be grateful for.”

01/06/05
nascar
Andy Petree liquidation auction Andy Petree liquidation auctionAs Andy Petree has closed his Cup and Busch Shops - sold the building and will be moving, he has chosen the Auction way to liquidate all his personal property. This will be the first of two sales. Charlie Sentman Auction's will sell at Public Sale to the Highest Bidder Sale Days with no Minimums or Reserves. Sale will be inside with air conditioning, seating, food, etc. The first sale is January, 6, 7, 8, 2005, the second sale is January 26, 27, 28, 29, 2005 at the Andy Petree Racing location in Flat Rock, NC. For additional info go to: www.sentmanauctions.com
01/06/05
Industry News
Renault worldwide sales up Renault worldwide sales upThe Renault group realized an advance in worldwide sales in 2004, which increased by 4.2 percent to a record level of 2,488,523 units sold, corresponding to a 4.1 percent world market share.

Consolidating its leadership of the Western European market, Renault also accelerated its progress outside Europe. In the Western European automobile market, which grew slightly (2.9%), Renault ranked as the leading passenger-car brand for the third consecutive year, with a market share of 10.3 percent, and retained its place as leader of the passenger car and light commercial vehicle market for the seventh consecutive year with 10.8 percent of the market.

Thanks to its very good performance, Renault confirmed its solid first place in France, a rank it also secured in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium, and figured among the top three brands in Austria, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Outside Western Europe, Renault group sales experienced a significant acceleration, progressing by 16.4 percent with 676,870 vehicles sold, accounting for 27.2 percent of group sales. The group experienced a very strong resurgence in Turkey (+101.1%), substantial gains in Eastern Europe and Russia (+32%), and a notable progression in Africa and the Middle East (+32.9%) and Latin America (+16%). Renault

01/06/05
f1
Royal Bank of Scotland joins Williams BMW Royal Bank of Scotland joins Williams BMWRBS joins BMW WilliamsF1 Team as major sponsor for 2005 Oxford, January 6th 2005. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), currently the world’s 6th largest bank, will join the team as a major sponsor in a multi-year deal.

Commenting on the new investment, Howard Moody, Group Director of Communications for RBS, said, “This represents an important next stage in our advertising and sponsorship program which is designed to grow the Group’s brand presence internationally. The RBS Group has now reached a scale in both size and international reach where a step change in our profile was required to ensure that our brand recognition keeps pace with the reality of where our business is.

“There is no silver bullet to deliver such recognition, we already invest in TV and print advertising in the US, airport branding and a variety of prestige sport sponsorships. The logical next step was to find a property that gave us a truly global reach in a quality format. Formula One was assessed against a number of other international brand-building options. Its reach through TV audiences presented the best investment for building the RBS brand in terms of round the year TV airtime value, offering approximately three times the size of the Superbowl TV audience - every fortnight. In the BMW WilliamsF1 Team we have outstanding partners. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team have a great track record of innovation and performance, and we look forward to working with them during the 2005 season.”

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal, Frank Williams said, “We are delighted to have attracted an organization of the caliber of RBS to join us as major sponsor for the 2005 season and beyond. They join an impressive list of leading global brands who have also recognized the commercial value of investing in Formula One to build awareness. We are very much looking forward to working with them in the years ahead.” Williams BMW

01/06/05
f1
Gascoyne on Ralf and Jarno Gascoyne on Ralf and JarnoWith Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli teaming up with test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis, Toyota have one of the most experienced driver lineups in Formula One. Toyota Technical Director Mike Gascoyne believes that both Schumacher and Trulli will bring a boost to the team assuming the team creates the right environment for both drivers.

“Both Ralf and Jarno are proven race winners and I think they are both very quick,” Gascoyne said. “Jarno is exceptional over one lap, but in his career he has struggled for consistency in races. However, in the first half of 2004 he did an excellent job before relationships deteriorated for him at Renault. For his first win at Monaco, he had pole, was quickest in practically every session and led every lap of the race. That is quite an achievement!”
 
Trulli has competed in two races so far with Toyota finishing 11th in Japan and 12th in Brazil. Trulli’s new teammate Ralf Schumacher has yet to race with the team.

“Ralf is also very quick and he’s won several races in his career,” Gascoyne continued. “Again, there is perhaps some evidence of a lack of consistency down the years. On some weekends he seems to dominate his teammate and is just unbelievable. At some of the races he has won in the past he has seemed to dominate the entire weekend, but at other times he seems not to be at that level. So I think both Ralf and Jarno are drivers who need to be in the right frame of mind to perform consistently, and a lot of that has to do with having the right team and the right environment around them. We have got to make sure that that we give them a car with which they can do their best, and that we create the environment where they can do that consistently.”

After a dismal season in 2004, Toyota will be pushing both drivers hard for race results as another poor season could be a disaster for the German-based outfit. Toyota

01/06/05
nascar
Burton to test in Mexico Burton to test in MexicoJeff Burton to test in Mexico: NASCAR says Richard Childress Racing and driver Jeff Burton will conduct a test next Wednesday of the Mexico City road course where the Busch Series will race March 6. Burton, who has won 20 races in the series, will spend the day on the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, where the Mexico 200 will be run. The race will be the Busch Series' first road-course event since the 2001 race at Watkins Glen International in New York. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
01/06/05
nascar
Gordon to appear on Leno show Gordon to appear on Leno showUPDATE #2 Gordon talked about the upcoming season a little bit, but there was absolutely no discussion about the Racing Stripes movie.  Jeff mentioned how he had never been to a psychic, however he "predicts" that he will win the Daytona 500 in February.  He said he spent some time in Aspen snowboarding and snowmobiling, and also talked a little about his role in putting together teammate Jimmie Johnson's bachelor party.  Leno challenged Gordon to see who could do the better burnout.  Gordon marked a 45 yard burnout while Leno marked a 44 yard burnout. 01/05/05 A reminder this show is tonight. 01/04/05 Jeff Gordon will appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Wednesday, January 5th [11:35pm/et on NBC]. Gordon will discuss the upcoming NASCAR season as well as the premiere of the Racing Stripes movie. A portion of the opening weekend proceeds from the movie will benefit the Jeff Gordon Foundation. Also on the Tonight Show will be actress Patricia Arquette. The musical guest will be Brian Wilson. Gordonline.com
01/06/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
New logo for Williams' F1 car
Klien, Liuzzi, sign RB deal
Webber in Bahrain
Heidfeld told to 'open mouth'
Quali 'may change again'
Speedy American in GP2
Schu's bodyguard dead
Ferrari firm on F1 benefit
'I wanted Button to leave'
'Aggressive' R25 - Fisichella
Blessed Schu applauded
Prost rejects Schu comparison
'Tire rule to topple Ferrari'
Juan befriended Kimi
Tough tenure awaiting Webber
F1 to help tsunami effort
Drug claim 'comical' - Webber
01/05/05
Industry News
Bell Sports acquires Bell Racing Bell Sports acquires Bell RacingBell Sports, the company that invented the first protective helmets for auto racing, motorcycle riding and cycling over the past 50 years, has reunited all three sports categories and their respective product lines and world champion athletes under one dominant brand force.

The company announced today that it has acquired Bell Racing, Inc., maker of industry-leading auto racing helmets and gear. The deal gives Bell Sports exclusive rights to design, market and sell Bell-branded auto racing helmets and accessories in North and South America. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Since 2002, sole proprietor Bob Booth has held the rights to the Bell brand for auto racing helmets and accessories in the Americas.

Bell Racing management, staff and distribution strategies will remain intact and will operate from its current facilities under the direction of Kwai Kong, president of the Specialty Business at Bell Sports. Bell Racing will benefit from Bell Sports' world-class research, design and development teams, among other significant manufacturing and distribution resources available in the Bell family of motorsports, cycling and action sports businesses.  More information is available at www.bellsports.com.

01/05/05
Dakar Rally
Gordon crashes, McRae injured Gordon crashes, McRae injuredUPDATE Latest word is that McRae didn't break any bones, but he probably has a concussion and is suffering from blurred vision.  His navigator apparently is a bit more serious, but nothing life threatening.  Poor visibility from blowing winds and sand were blamed. 01/05/05 After crashing his Volkswagen Race Touareg, Robby Gordon (n°317) was seen repairing his vehicle. It appears he has front brake and gearbox worries and is awaiting an assistance car. Meanwhile Giniel De Villiers (NIS – n°314) suffered a puncture at km 360. After suffering a crash at km 410, Colin McRae (NIS- n°308) was taken back to the Zouerat bivouac by helicopter. The Scot appears to be injured and was therefore forced to withdraw from the race.
01/05/05
nascar
Waltrip to host dinner Waltrip to host dinnerDriver Michael Waltrip and his wife, Buffy, will host a gala dinner at Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover on Jan. 15 in hopes of raising $1 million for the Victory Junction Gang and other charitable causes. The public is invited to the black-tie event known as `Michael Waltrip and Friends,' which will benefit Operation Marathon, a program the Waltrips developed in conjunction with the Victory Junction Gang. Musician Edwin McCain will perform at the gala. For more information, contact Jill Skowronek at (704) 604-4368. Charlotte.com
01/05/05
nascar
Teenager Charged Selling Fake Tickets Teenager Charged Selling Fake TicketsA 16-year-old St. Louis boy arrested in September on multiple counts of forgery was charged Tuesday with selling fake NASCAR race tickets on the Internet. Police said the boy admitted that he didn't have the tickets when he advertised them on eBay, an Internet auction site. He also said that he used someone else's Missouri identification card and Social Security number to open a bank account into which he deposited $800 sent by a Wisconsin man who wanted to buy the tickets. Police say he also admitted to using the same account to deposit money from other fake sales. The boy is charged with identity theft and stealing more than $500 and is being held on $10,000 bond. Kansas City Star
01/05/05
nascar
NASCAR on the 'West Wing' and NBC NASCAR on the 'West Wing' and NBCTaking a page out of President Bush's campaign playbook, the fictional administration of "The West Wing" will visit the NASCAR Nation. Last February, Bush visited Daytona for the start of the racing season. On the Jan. 19 episode of "The West Wing," the First Lady visits a racetrack where she congratulates real-life driver Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane. Martin Sheen's President Bartlet can't make the trip because of a flare-up of his multiple sclerosis. New York Post
01/05/05
nascar
MIS announces scheduling changes MIS announces scheduling changesJust five days into the New Year, Michigan International Speedway President Brett Shelton has already come through on his new year’s resolution. He made his resolution way back in August for the 2005 season and can be summed up in two simple words with what fans have been asking for all year, “more racing!”  Shelton announced today an enhancement to the MIS Friday and Saturday schedule for both the June 17-19 and August 19-21 NASCAR/ARCA weekends, giving fans more racing and adding value to each day.

The highlights of the schedule on Fridays include qualifying for the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and two practice sessions for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in both June and August, as well as two practice sessions for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in June and NASCAR Busch Series in August. The practice sessions will be followed by an ARCA RE/MAX Series event on each weekend that will start at 5:15 p.m. 

JUNE
Friday, June 17, 2005                                                      
8:00 a.m. -                    Gates Open to the Public
9:30 a.m. -                     ARCA RE/MAX Series Qualifying
12:00 noon - 1:10 p.m. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Practice
1:20 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.     NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Practice
2:50 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.     NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Final Practice
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Final Practice
5:00 p.m. -                    Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
5:15 p.m. -                   ARCA RE/MAX Series Race (100 Laps, 200 Miles)
Saturday, June 18, 2005           
8:00 a.m. -   Gates Open to the Public
10:00 a.m. - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying
12:05 p.m. - NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Qualifying       
2:30 p.m. -   Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
3:00 p.m. -   Start of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race
Sunday, June 19, 2005 (Father’s Day)               
8:00 a.m. -   Gates Open to the Public
1:40 p.m. -   Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
2:10 p.m. -  Start of NASCAR NEXTEL Series Cup Race 
                    (200 Laps, 400 Miles)

AUGUST
Friday, August 19, 2005
8:00 a.m. -                   Gates Open to the Public
9:30 a.m. -                   ARCA RE/MAX Series Qualifying
12:00 noon -1:10 p.m. NASCAR Busch Series Practice
1:20 p.m. -2:40 p.m.    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Practice
2:50 p.m. -3:50 p.m.    NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice
4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.   NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Final Practice
5:00 p.m. -                  Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
5:15 p.m. -                 ARCA RE/MAX Series Race (100 Laps, 200 Miles)                      
Saturday, August 20, 2005       
8:00 a.m. - Gates Open to the Public
10:00 a.m. - NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying
12:10 p.m. - NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Qualifying
2:30 p.m. - Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
3:00 p.m. - NASCAR Busch Series Race (125 Laps, 250 Miles)
Sunday, August 21, 2005                 
8:00 a.m. - Gates Open to the Public
1:40 p.m. - Pre-Race Activities & Driver Introductions
2:10 p.m. - GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (200 Laps, 400 Miles)

The changes will give fans more racing than ever before and also provide a great value for fans as well with the Friday ticket only $15, which includes practice sessions for the NEXTEL Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series/Busch Series, plus an ARCA RE/MAX Series event. Saturday’s ticket will also provide a greater value to fans with a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying session and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying in June for just $40 and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying along with NASCAR Busch Series qualifying and race in August for just $50. Also, for the fourth consecutive year, children 12 and under will be free once again on Fridays and Saturdays in 2005.  "With the changes in the NASCAR weekend schedules for 2005, MIS will be able to provide more of what fans ask for all the time, more racing at a great value,” said MIS President Brett Shelton. “With NASCAR going with new qualifying procedures, it gave us a great opportunity to have races all three days at an attractive price.”

While tickets for both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 12, tickets are on-sale now for all other events, including fan favorites such as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, IRL IndyCar Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Tickets can be purchased in real-time on MIS’ newly redesigned official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.

01/05/05
nascar
NASCAR organizing united branding campaign NASCAR organizing united branding campaignNASCAR announced today that it is working with its media partners, sponsors and tracks to launch the ‘05 season under a unified campaign, “NASCAR Acceleration 2005.” The branded platform —- a first for the sport — includes a marketing, public relations and media plan that comprises broadcast, print and online ads; a “destination page” on NASCAR.com featuring special content and a link to track ticket sales; millions of NASCAR pocket schedules and fan guides; and local events and activation in some of the nation’s largest markets. NASCAR Acceleration 2005 will be supported with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign. Three new ads will air on Fox, FX and Speed Channel, in addition to radio spots on MRN, PRN and NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio. Print ads will appear in NASCAR-licensed publications and online at NASCAR.com. Three million NASCAR pocket schedules and 300,000 fan guides will be distributed at retail outlets nationwide, by NASCAR sponsors, in NASCAR.com SuperStore shipments and through grassroots marketing in major cities. The guides will be produced in Spanish, as well as in French and Japanese for overseas distribution.
01/05/05
irl
Kanaan nominated for SPEED Award Kanaan nominated for SPEED AwardReigning IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan is one of seven drivers nominated for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Year award.

The 30 year-old Brazilian, who dominated the 2004 IndyCar Series season en route to his first series title, completed an unprecedented streak of finishing every lap, 3,305 in all, in his Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Kanaan, who broke or tied eight series records in 2004, had three wins, two poles and 11 top-three finishes in the 16- race campaign.

Kanaan is joined on the ballot by NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NHRA PowerAde Pro Stock record-setter Greg Anderson, NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser, NHRA PowerAde Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher, and Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais.

01/05/05
irl
Yasukawa Joins Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Yasukawa Joins Dreyer and Reinbold RacingIRL IndyCar Series veteran Roger Yasukawa will drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the 2005 season, the team announced on Jan. 5.  Yasukawa, who finished 10th at the Indianapolis 500 last May with Rahal Letterman Racing, will drive the team's No. 24 Honda-powered Dallara.

"We're excited to welcome Roger to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold. "He's a proven competitor with Honda power, and our team is eager to get onto the racetrack.  Our new relationship with Honda provides additional motivation for the team, and we have high expectations for 2005."

Yasukawa competed in his rookie season in 2003 with Super Aguri Fernandez, finishing 12th in points with eight top-10 finishes. He competed in two races with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2004.

"I'd like to thank DRR and their sponsors, as well as Honda, for giving me the opportunity to be back in the IRL," Yasukawa said. "I'm excited to work with the crew and the whole team. Although I ran an abbreviated season this year, it's been a great previous experience and I am very confident that we'll do well at Dreyer & Reinbold."

Born in Los Angeles, Yasukawa is fluent in English, Japanese and Italian. He began racing karts in 1990, before working his way through the Barber Dodge Western Series (1998 Series Champion), Barber Dodge Pro Series (1999 Rookie of the Year), and Toyota Atlantics.   

"Roger has solid experience in the IndyCar Series, and has proven he can run with the leaders," team co-owner Robbie Buhl said.  "I also look forward to his hospital visits with me on behalf of "Racing for Kids," and the sponsor relationships we'll be able to extend."

Open-wheel veteran Len Paskus will serve as lead engineer for Yasukawa.  Paskus has previous experience with Red Bull Cheever Racing and also worked for Pagan Racing, ISM, Blueprint, DRR and Heritage Motorsports.

01/05/05
f1
Schumacher bodyguard killed Schumacher bodyguard killedA bodyguard for seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was among those killed in the tsunami disaster.  Burkhard Cramer died in Phuket, Thailand, Schumacher spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said Wednesday. Cramer's two sons also are believed to have died.
01/05/05
champcar
Vote for Bourdais Vote for BourdaisPlease log onto: http://speedtv.com/features/591/ and vote for Sebastien Bourdais by January 16 for SPEED TV's 2004 Driver of the Year. Criteria for the award is:
 
- Track Performance (Wins, Top-5's, Top-10's and poles: Seb led the series in poles, laps led, and victories in 2004. In 14 races, he never started lower than third and finished in the top-5 all but 3 times)
- Sportsmanship (high marks)
- Humanitarianism (ditto)
- Fan Recognition (ditto)
 
The online vote will account for 1 vote while the media account for a total of 18. Seb won the fan vote during the third quarter but finished second in the overall ballot for both the third and fourth quarters. Please take time to register a vote! Your vote helped Cristiano da Matta win this award in 2002 and become the first open-wheel driver since Nigel Mansell (1993) to do so. Newman/Haas Racing
01/05/05
champcar
Memorial Details for Kenny Ferris and Vitor Pinto Memorial Details for Kenny Ferris and Vitor PintoHVM Inc. will hold a memorial service celebrating the lives of teammates Kenny Ferris and Vitor Pinto this Saturday, January 8th at 11:00 am at Champ Car (5350 West Lakeview Parkway South Drive). Champ Car minister Hunter Floyd will officiate.

Kenny Ferris, 42 of South Tidworth, England joined HVM before the 2003 Champ Car season. He was a mechanic on Roberto Moreno’s 2003 entry and Ryan Hunter-Reay’s #4 car throughout the 2004 season. Prior to joining HVM, Ferris was a member of Alex Zanardi’s team at Mo Nunn Racing and he was chosen to participate on Zanardi’s car during his comeback at Lausitzring in 2003. Kenny came to the United States after a successful career in Formula One where he was a member of Ayrton Senna’s Lotus team, winning four Grand Prixs. After arriving in the United States, he worked for Jim Hall Racing, Walker Racing, Team Rahal, Reynard Racing Cars and Intersport ALMS. Kenny worked in the auto racing industry for 27 and is survived by his wife Mary and friends and family in his native Britain.

Vitor Pinto, 44 of Coimbra, Portugal joined HVM in 2002. He was a mechanic on Mario Dominguez’s #55 Champ Car and a member of the over-the-wall crew where he changed the inside front tire throughout the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons. Vitor’s U.S. motor-racing history includes Team Menards, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and Ralt America. Vitor won the Atlantic Championship in 1994 with David Empringham and Ralt America. He came to the United States from Europe where he worked in the World Rally Championship with the Fiat-Abath 131 and in the Portuguese F3 series. Vitor is survived by his mother and his brother Fernando who reside in Portugal and many friends around the world.

Both Kenny and Vitor were valued members of the HVM team and their professional ethics and talents, along with their inspiring personalities will stand as a benchmark as HVM continues its quest in the Champ Car World Series. They will be deeply missed by the team.
Memorial Details:
Saturday, January 8, 2005
11:00 AM
Champ Car World Series
5350 West Lakeview Parkway South Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46268
317-715-4100

01/05/05
f1
Williams extends supplier contracts Williams extends supplier contractsThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team today announced that the Dräxlmaier Group and W.L. Gore & Associates will join the team as official suppliers for the 2005 Formula One season and beyond.

The Dräxlmaier Group, an existing supplier to BMW and already involved in the Formula BMW program, develops and manufactures modern electrical systems, exclusive automotive interiors and Function-Integrated Systems (FIS). Draxlmaier are one of the very few automotive suppliers which possess extensive expertise in the areas of auto electric, interiors and trim, tooling and logistics. The company, with headquarters in the Bavarian town of Vilsbiburg, employs more than 28,000 people in 42 locations across the world.

W.L. Gore & Associates started its relationship with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as a promotional partner in 2004. As a validation of its commitment to the team, Gore has stepped up its involvement to official supplier status for the forthcoming season. W.L. Gore & Associates was founded in 1958 in the United States by Dr Wilbert L Gore. Famous for its GORE-TEX® clothing, Gore offers high quality functional fabrics for every occasion from functional fashion and sportswear to work wear and professional wear.

Of the two new partnerships, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen commented, "We are always pleased to welcome new partners to our team who have a premium approach just like ourselves. We already have existing relationships with both companies, with Dräxlmaier through the Formula BMW project and with Gore from its existing relationship with the team, and we are now looking forward to working with and developing both associations throughout the season."

For further information, please visit www.draexlmaier.com, www.gore-tex.com, www.windstopper.com or www.airvantage.com Williams BMW

01/05/05
gp2
Scott Speed lands GP2 ride Scott Speed lands GP2 rideAmerican Scott Speed has signed to race the 2005 GP2 season with the iSport International team. Speed was selected as a finalist in the 2002 Red Bull Driver Search, and with the support of Red Bull took twelve wins on his way to the 2004 German and Eurocup Formula Renault Championships.
 
“I am excited about the opportunity to race in GP2 this year,” said Speed. “It’s a big step up from the Formula Renault in terms of power and speed, and that’s exactly what I am looking for as a driver trying to make it to Formula 1.”
 
Red Bull has committed significant resources to the discovery and development of the next Formula 1 World Champion, and iSport’s philosophy of driver development was an important factor in the decision to place Speed with the team.
 
Jonathan Williams, son of Sir Frank Williams, is on the Board of Directors for the new team, which is dedicated to developing talent for the top ranks. Williams discovered the talents of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jenson Button, and iSport team members have proven their ability to work with talent as it ascends the motorsport ladder with drivers including Bruno Junqueira, Takuma Sato, Antonio Pizzonia, and Nelson Piquet Jr.

The Red Bull Driver Search program aims to discover and support talented young racing drivers. The long-term goal is to have a steady group of three to six American drivers racing in Europe, on the Red Bull Junior Team, groomed to break into Formula 1 and compete for the World Championship.
01/05/05
f1
Oris Upgrade Sponsorship of Williams team Oris Upgrade Sponsorship of Williams teamThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that Oris SA of Switzerland, the premium timepiece maker, will upgrade its sponsorship engagement and will be an on-car sponsor with the team for 2005 and beyond.

Oris, whose specialist expertise is in the design and manufacture of mechanical watches, joined the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as an official watch partner in January 2003. Building a marketing strategy around synergies of precision mechanical engineering shared by both organizations, Oris has used its partnership to bring this long-established premium time-keeping brand to the attention of new markets and consumers.

As a central element of the sponsorship, Oris has developed and marketed a number of limited edition chronographs based on the Formula One engagement, where one hundredth of a second can make the difference between winning and losing.

Ulrich Herzog, Chairman and CEO of Oris SA, Switzerland, said, "The rationale for our initial partnership with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team was obvious. However, I have been delighted with the tangible results we have achieved in building the Oris brand visibility over the past two years, and of course, how this has positively influenced our worldwide sales. Based on this success, we are confident that the Oris brand appearing on the BMW WilliamsF1 Team race cars, visible to a global audience of 300m each fortnight, will contribute to another step change for the Oris success story."

On the announcement of the new Oris relationship, BMW WilliamsF1 Team Principal Frank Williams said, "I am delighted that Oris consider their original investment to have worked so well, and their increased commitment to the program is a validation of the value Formula One offers. I hope the increased investment will continue to offer measurable business benefits to Oris, and I thank them for their continued support of the team."

01/05/05
Industry News
Ford, GM down, Chrysler, Japanese up Ford, GM down, Chrysler, Japanese upThe traditional Big Three automakers retained their positions atop the U.S. industry in 2004, but record years for Japan's top carmakers helped them chip away further at Detroit's historical hold on the American automotive market.
  • Toyota's U.S. division sold more than 2 million vehicles for the first time in its 47 years of existence as its sales grew 10 percent for the year. Business in December rose 18 percent.  "Our products have stimulated demand," said Yukitoshi Funo, president and chief executive of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. "The sales milestone is a reflection on the acceptance of products as varied as Scion, Sienna and Prius."
  • Chrysler, the smallest of Detroit's Big Three, sold 146,000 more vehicles than Toyota last year. Chrysler's edge in 2003 was roughly 260,000.
  • Honda's 30-percent rise in sales in December helped propel the automaker to its 11th consecutive year for a sales increase. With 1.4 million U.S. vehicle sales, Honda said business rose 3 percent in 2004.
  • Nissan North America said sales rose 23.7 percent for the year and 32.7 percent in December.
  • GM's business declined 1.4 percent in 2004, a disappointment given its industry-leading 29 vehicle introductions. Car sales were down 3.7 percent; truck sales rose less than 1 percent.
  • No. 2 Ford's U.S. sales fell 4.9 percent for the year and 3.6 percent in December, the 10th monthly decline of 2004.   For the year, car sales were off 14 percent, despite Ford's much-touted "Year of the Car" promotion.  Truck sales fell slightly less than 1 percent for the year, but Ford's F-Series lineup retained its position as America's best-selling vehicle for the 23rd straight year. Truck sales include pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles.
01/05/05
Industry News
champcar
Molson shareholders against Coors merger Molson shareholders against Coors mergerA major Molson Inc. stakeholder is encouraging shareholders to vote against a merger with Adolph Coors Co. <RKY.N>, arguing that the deal between the two brewers "makes no sense at all," a Canadian newspaper reported on Tuesday.   In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Burgundy Asset Management said the proposed deal to create the world's fifth-largest brewer is flawed because it does not place enough value on Molson's profitable business in Canada.

U.S.-based Coors and Canada's Molson agreed to merge last July, but the deal has run into some opposition. It has been amended several times since then in a bid to entice shareholders.  David Vanderwood, Burgundy's senior vice-president, said the key problem with the merger is that it fails to recognize the gap in profit margins between the two companies.  Vanderwood argues that Molson's five Canadian breweries earn almost four times as much money per hectoliter of beer as Coors does.  Burgundy also claims that EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is "horribly misleading" because Molson's depreciation expense and its need for capital expenditures are far lower than Coors'. Reuters

01/05/05
Formula Ford
Team USA
Miller Gains Initial Taste of New Zealand Formula Ford Miller Gains Initial Taste of New Zealand Formula FordThis year's Team USA Scholarship winner, Slade Miller, has gained his first experience of the Stealth/Van Diemen chassis with which he will contest the next two rounds (comprising a total of six races) of the hotly contested Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship, beginning this weekend at Levels Raceway, Timaru, on New Zealand's picturesque South Island.

Miller, 18, from, Redmond, Oklahoma, completed almost 100 laps of the technically challenging Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park, near Christchurch, on Monday, making steady progress with a car which proved to be quite different from his regular SCCA Formula Ford-spec Quantum Mechanics Van Diemen.

"The biggest difficulty was getting used to the tires they run down here," said Miller, who won the 2004 Mid Western Division Championship. "I'm used to running on very soft, slick [non-treaded] tires in the U.S., whereas here they run on very hard, treaded Avon tires. It made a much bigger
difference than I expected and it takes a different driving style to get the most out of them. For one, they use trailing throttle to get the cars to turn well.

"It was difficult at first," he admitted, "but I began to get used to it and turned some pretty good sector times. I felt quite comfortable and was turning some consistent times by the end of the day. It was good."

Miller has spent today fettling the car and making a few subtle changes in preparation for a test day at Levels Raceway tomorrow (Thursday). His busy schedule includes more track time on Friday, while Saturday will comprise one official qualifying session and one race, with two more races to follow on Sunday.

Miller, who arrived in New Zealand just before the New Year, also has found time to do some sight-seeing, including a drive west across the Canterbury Plain and over the Southern Alps, via the breathtaking Arthur's Pass.

"The big, green mountains, flowers, caves, rivers and waterfalls are all really pretty," he said. "I've heard that is where quite a bit of the Lord of the Rings footage was shot. It's beautiful. I also visited the beach in New Brighton."

"But now I'm looking forward to getting some more time in the car and to the competition," continued Miller, who has never before traveled outside of North America.

"I'm so grateful to everyone who has made this possible for me. It's a great responsibility to follow in the footsteps of great drivers like Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice and A.J. Allmendinger, and for them to continue supporting the Team USA Scholarship in the way they do -- as well as people like Doug Mockett & Company, Jay Ivey Engines and Dale Coyne Racing -- makes it extra special."

01/05/05
nascar
Charlotte Interested in a NASCAR Museum Charlotte Interested in a NASCAR MuseumUPDATE NASCAR wants to build a hall of fame in one of four cities, and Charlotte leaders want to land it to cement the city's claim as the center of the stock-car racing world. Charlotte, Atlanta, Kansas City and Daytona Beach, Fla. will get letters from NASCAR this week asking them to pursue the chance to host it, NASCAR vice president of licensing Mark Dyer said. They will have five months to respond. NASCAR, the private corporation that owns and operates the most popular U.S. auto-racing league, could select a site by the end of the year. "We want to feel good about it 10 years from now, rather than just have a big flashy opening and make headlines for a short time," said Dyer, who is based in NASCAR's Charlotte office. NASCAR's proposal will not include requirements about size and funding sources, Dyer said. But NASCAR wants something as large and as attractive as the baseball, basketball and football halls of fame, all in smaller Northern cities. The motor sports sanctioning body will probably want the cities or local groups to build and operate the facility, Dyer said. Auto racing already has several halls of fame adjacent to NASCAR tracks, including one in Talladega, Ala., and another in Darlington, S.C. The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, about 20 miles north of Charlotte, draws 250,000 visitors per year. Many race teams have their headquarters near Charlotte, and their shops attract thousands of visitors. One racing team, Hendrick Motorsports, has 150,000 visitors a year.  Since last spring, arts leaders have been lobbying the city for at least $88 million worth of downtown cultural projects, including a new art museum. Later this month, a mayoral task force on cultural facilities is scheduled to suggest revenue sources, including a higher rental car tax, a targeted uptown property tax hike and a parking surcharge. Wilmington Star-News/AP 12/29/04 Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory's arts task force is nearing the finish line, and he's waving the checkered flag -- literally -- as he calls for adding a NASCAR museum to the list of possible new projects. In early 2005, when the Charlotte City Council starts talking about public money for new museums and theaters, it should discuss the NASCAR idea, too, McCrory said. Since late summer, NASCAR reportedly has been shopping the proposal around to several cities, including Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla. McCrory said an uptown NASCAR museum could be the hub of what he's been calling NASCAR Valley, racing's version of the California wine country. "You come to Charlotte, spend a couple days, go to the NASCAR museum and other cultural facilities and from there, go visit the incredible racing team exhibits throughout the museum," McCrory said. NASCAR will tell cities more about the project in early 2005, said Tim Newman, president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. That includes details about its size, cost and location. "Whatever process they design, we'll make it a highest priority to respond and make the case for why Charlotte ought to be the home of an officially sanctioned NASCAR hall of fame," Newman said. NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment. ThatsRacin.com
01/05/05
nascar
NASCAR moves further mainstream NASCAR moves further mainstreamIn another example of NASCAR stock car racing moving into the mainstream of the American public, the first novel completely based on the sport's lifestyle and fans will be published within the next few weeks and distributed nationally. Sharyn McCrumb, a Virginia writer best known for her Appalachian "Ballad" novels, including New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, has based her new novel on another Southern tradition: stock car racing. St. Dale, the story of a modern-day group of racing fans on a " Earnhardt pilgrimage" to the Southeast speedways from Tennessee to Florida., will be published in February, 2005, by Kensington Publishing Corporation of New York. In St. Dale Harley Claymore, a down-and-out ex-Cup driver, takes what he thinks is a job leading a tour of Southern speedways, only to be told that the tour is a memorial pilgrimage, and that the passengers intend to lay a wreath in honor of Earnhardt on every Southern speedway from Bristol, Tenn., to Daytona Beach, Fla. The horrified tour guide, who raced against Earnhardt, did not think the Intimidator was a saint, but from Bristol's 2002 Sharpie 500 through the Labor Day Race at Darlington, and at all the empty speedways they visit in-between, he has to keep his opinions to himself. McCrumb calls the novel The Canterbury Tales set on the NASCAR circuit. The bus is filled with a diverse group of characters, all there for various reasons. For Harley and his passengers, the trip soon becomes one of self-discovery as all of their lives are altered forever. Miracles begin, prayers are answered, secrets are revealed and bonds are forged as the bus rolls onward. Williams Company PR
01/05/05
nascar
Three NASCAR drivers in Chili Bowl Three NASCAR drivers in Chili BowlMore than 250 drivers including 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart hit the track this weekend in 19th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the indoor Tulsa Expo Center. Stewart heads a group of three NASCAR drivers — 2004 Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley are also entered — along with Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski, the top two World of Outlaws sprint-car drivers. Open wheel driver PJ Jones and drag racing star Cruz Pedregon also plan to race. Qualifying begins Wednesday night and the finals are Saturday. Cory Kruseman is back to defend his title. USA Today
01/05/05
nascar
Engine Contest Starts Engine Contest Starts RCR will be hosting the first round of the 2005 Clevite Engine Builders Contest this Wednesday, Jan. 5, and Thursday, Jan. 6, at RCR. There will be four builds each day, at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. RCR's Lanny Barnes and Todd Hamm took top honors in last year's final round. They will begin the defense of their title Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Everything kicks off Wednesday at noon when RCR's Ron Liddell and Freddie Turza go up against RCR's Wes Adams and John Goodwin. 2002 runners-up Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell step into the ring Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. The six quickest competitors will move on to the second round. No word on if the public is allowed to attend. RCR PR
01/05/05
nascar
NEMCO Motorsports puts coach behind the wheel NEMCO Motorsports puts coach behind the wheelIn an era where most rookie drivers in the top NASCAR series are young enough to still be in school, NEMCO Motorsports opted for a different approach by entering a teacher instead of a student for four NASCAR races in 2005. Chris Cook, a driving instructor for NASCAR drivers including NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and Tim Fedewa for more than a decade, will enter the road-course events at Mexico City (Busch Series), Watkins Glen (Nextel Cup and Busch Series) and Infineon Raceway (Nextel Cup) with the NEMCO Motorsports team. Cook, 33, who owns the driver coaching and testing company Shift Into Gear, has more than 20 years of racing experience. He has raced everything from late-model stocks at the Nashville Fairgrounds (Rookie of the Year in 1992), to less traditional categories like the Alaska Ice Racing Series, Grand-Am Racing Series and the Formula Drift Series. Cook has one previous start in a NASCAR Busch Series event at Watkins Glen in 1999. He ran as high as second place until a mechanical failure ended his race. Cook earned the new opportunity through the financial backing of Western Pennsylvanian entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Chris Evans, one of Cook's students. With a testing schedule in place, the search for primary sponsorship has begun. Cook's support from Stewart has generated interest from companies focused on the Hispanic market for the Mexico City event, as well as companies located near his birthplace of Sonoma, Calif., also home of Infineon Raceway. Chris and his fiancé Tabitha Meready are relocating to North Carolina from Phoenix and will continue to operate the Shift into Gear business. NEMCO PR
01/05/05
nascar
France is No. 2 France is No. 2The Sporting News Power 100 lists NASCAR chairman and CEO, Brian France #2, with only NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue ahead of him. France ranked #17 last year. 3rd is Bud Selig, MLB commissioner. 1st in 2003, George Bodenheimer of ESPN/ABC is 5th this year. NASCAR's vice chairman, Bill France Jr. is 23rd. Also listed: Bruton Smith, chairman, Speedway Motorsports Inc.; Lesa France Kennedy, president, International Speedway Corp. More at FoxSports/Sporting News
01/05/05
grandam
Mowlen returns to defend crown Mowlen returns to defend crownBritish sports car racing star Johnny Mowlem has joined forces with EbiMotors to defend his 2004 GT class victory in the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway later this month.  Mowlem lives in Charvil, England and is a regular in IMSA’s American Le Mans Series. He will run the full ALMS schedule with the same ACEMCO Motorsports ride he shared with Terry Borcheller in 2004. One of England’s brightest racing stars; Mowlem has a busy schedule planned in 2005 and hopes to start things off with another victory at the Daytona Speedway.  The Rolex 24 is part of the Grand American Road Racing Association’s Rolex Sports Car Series and is one of the world’s most famous sports car races. Driving in the GT class, Mowlem has finished second overall in the last two editions of the famed race.

“I think it will be very competitive at the front of the GT class, as it always is at Daytona,” Mowlem said. "Still, we have a very strong team and I like our chances, so I think we have a solid chance to finish in the top ten overall, maybe top six with a bit of luck. In all honesty I just can't see a GT car finishing on the overall podium again. Having said that, I've been second overall 2 years running now with a GT, so you never know! However, my real aim is to just win myself another Rolex Daytona watch!”

Mowlem’s Daytona ride is the Red Bull-sponsored EbiMotors 911 GT3 Cup Porsche. His co-drivers will include European sportscar stars Luca Riccitelli and Dieter Quester, as well as ex Formula One driver Karl Wendlinger.  "It's a high profile team in every respect," says Mowlem. "EbiMotors is one of the best Porsche teams, so we're hoping that a repeat of last years GT win is a definite possibility."

01/05/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Sauber cancel 2005 launch
Schu's $10m pledge
F1 got all-clear drug report
Schu buys $32m 'Villa'
Klien offered Red Bull deal
Sato's 'ragged' - Button
Montoya - 'it's not perfect'
Renault set for Jan. rollout
Massa to 'improve' in '05
Sauber switch surprised chief
Schu outpaced by Frenchman
'I was misguided' - Button
01/04/05
grandam
Martini, Collins To Partner in New Porsche Martini, Collins To Partner in New PorscheSynergy Racing announced that Brent Martini (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Kelly Collins (Newport Beach, Calif.) will partner for the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Series in the team's new No. 81 Porsche 997.  “This is becoming a long-term partnership with Brent and Kelly," Synergy Racing team owner Cole Scrogham said. "It seems anything that lasts more than a year in the racing community is an oddity, but we think it is stability and people working together that develops into championship-winning teams.

"Our Grand-Am Cup effort for 2005 is nothing less than that -- a championship effort built around great drivers and a huge decision to jump into the new Porsche 997. We could have sat back and used last year’s car, but our investment is in the future, and we are going to be hard at work to make that the right decision. I know the drivers will be up to the task, so we will have to rise to the occasion and put a great deal of effort into the new cars to achieve our technical goals for the season.”

"I'm looking forward to another season with Synergy Racing," said Martini, who piloted the Rx.com Daytona Prototype in last year's Rolex Series for Synergy Racing, then G&W Motorsports. "I have the utmost respect for (team owner) Cole (Scrogham) and the entire Synergy Racing team, and I'm confident in their ability to help develop and race the new Porsche 997 toward a championship in Grand-Am Cup."

01/04/05
grandam
nascar
Grand-Am using NASCAR drivers to boost series Grand-Am using NASCAR drivers to boost seriesChip Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray will this weekend join regular CGR Cup teammate Casey Mears and sometimes CGR road-racer Scott Pruett in one of the three Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototypes the team is looking to field for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. That makes for nine fulltime and one part-time Nextel Cup drivers who will participate in Grand American's annual Test Days at Daytona International Speedway and, presumably, go on to the Rolex 24 race itself. In all, there are five past or present NASCAR Cup champions - Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Terry Labonte, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart - actually representing six championships, who are going to be on hand for the first race in Grand American Road Racing Association's 2005 season. At least three of the above-named drivers have additionally stated their intentions to run in at least one other 2005 Rolex Series race. Champ Car's Paul Tracy, the last driver to wear a CART crown, will be teaming with defending Rolex 24 champ Bell Motorsports. Again along for the ride this year are Forest Barber, Terry Borcheller and Christian Fittipaldi. Crash.net
01/04/05
champcar
LB media blitz starts in earnest LB media blitz starts in earnestA quarter page ad appeared in the Sunday LA Times sports section for the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 8-10th: "Speed into Spring! Cars, Stars, Music and Fun. The ad features a photo of Paul Tracy's 2004 winning car and above the "stars" is a photo of Tom Cruise with Roberto Moreno (who drove celebrities around the track in the 2-seater last year). Featured at the bottom was Sebastien Bourdais in his McDonald's car.
01/04/05
irl
Gregg Rejoins Sam Schmidt For Full Season Gregg Rejoins Sam Schmidt For Full SeasonTravis Gregg will drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series in 2005.

Gregg, 26, from Camden, Ohio, contested three races with the team in 2004. He debuted at Kentucky where he qualified on the pole position and led 57 laps before finishing fifth. Gregg also started on the front row at Chicagoland and Texas and finished the season with a second-place finish.

 "We are very pleased to add Travis to our team for 2005," said team owner Sam Schmidt, who will also field a car for Chris Festa in 2005. "With his past racing experience and his excellent performances with us last year, the crew is looking forward to contending for the championship. Travis honed his skills and gained sufficient confidence to compete for victories immediately. In addition, I believe Travis and Chris will make excellent teammates due to their varied backgrounds, but similar driving styles."

Gregg began racing go-karts at age 7, raced Formula Atlantics in the late 1990s and spent the past few years racing sprint cars on dirt tracks in the Midwest before testing and racing with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last season.

"With the three races last year, learning from driving legends like Rick Mears and testing this winter, I feel we are prepared to win races and the championship," Gregg said.  "The team is fantastic, and I feel like we can pick up right where we left off at Texas. I'm looking forward to the tests at Homestead and Phoenix with the other series participants."

01/04/05
irl
AGR cars headed to Honda museum AGR cars headed to Honda museumSteve Price says he's losing a friend.  Price, a mechanic on the IRL IndyCar® Series championship-winning team of Tony Kanaan, had seen the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry through an unprecedented 3,305 laps in the 2004 season.  He polished and protected it, and even talked to it.

Now the car is destined for a place of honor in the Honda Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. On the way, it will be displayed at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 15-23 at Cobo Hall/Exhibition Center in Detroit.  Kanaan set numerous IndyCar Series records, including leading 889 laps and recording 15 top-five finishes.

"I grow attached to my car," said Price, a certified aerospace machinist. "It's a memento to me of what we've done. I take it personal; maybe too much. It's my baby. I don't like to see anything happen to it."

There are six crew members assigned to each Andretti Green Racing entry on race weekends who cover mechanical issues - the crew chief, four mechanics and a gearbox person. Much like the four Andretti Green Racing drivers who get along famously, a bond developed during the championship season between the crew members.

"We all get along with our crew chief (Jeff Simon) and he understands what we're doing," said Price, also the right rear tire changer on the No. 11 entry. "He knows we have the same goals, so he lets us do our thing.

"We can joke with each other while we do our jobs, go out to dinner with each other and do things outside the shop with each other. It just makes it easy. When you have a team like this, it gives you the opportunity to do what you love and appreciate what you do."

Price will be able to visit the car when the IndyCar Series competes for the third consecutive year at Twin Ring Motegi on April 30.

Like the No. 11 entry, the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone car will become a "running" member of the Honda Collection Hall. The car, driven by 2004 IndyCar Series points runner-up Dan Wheldon, was the first Honda to win on its home track. A stop at the Los Angeles Auto Show Jan. 7-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center is scheduled before it is shipped to Japan.

01/04/05
f1
Schumacher comes to aid of Tsunami victims Schumacher comes to aid of Tsunami victimsFormula One world champion Michael Schumacher will donate 10 million euros ($13.60 million) to help the victims of the South Asian tsunami, his manager Willi Weber said on Tuesday.  The donation from Schumacher was announced by Weber on a German television fundraising drive that on Tuesday evening received more than 34 million euros in pledges.  The official death toll from the Asian tsunami on December 26 has climbed to around 150,000, with millions left homeless, hungry and threatened by disease. Reuters
01/04/05
Industry News
Jaguar seeks cash infusion from Ford Jaguar seeks cash infusion from FordJaguar Cars is negotiating with parent Ford after taking a charge of £534m to cover the cost of writing down UK investments in the face of lower sales and profit forecasts, over and above the cost of rationalizing production facilities. Ford’s PAG group last recapitalized Jaguar a year ago with an injection of £260m. Delayed statutory accounts filed just before Christmas showed that Jaguar lost £601.1m in 2003, almost double its 2002 loss, and Joe Greenwell, chief executive, told the Commons Trade & Industry Select Committee last autumn that Jaguar’s 2004 losses would be “hundreds of millions” of pounds.

David Smith, a Jaguar director, told the FT Jaguar has a negative net worth of £322m. “We will obviously need to take further actions to recapitalize the company,” he said. “We are working on that and we will be doing something in the New Year.” Mr. Smith added that the write-down only affected Jaguar's UK accounts and would have no effect under US accounting standards, leaving Ford's profits unaffected. Ford has already taken a charge of $312m to cover the restructuring of Jaguar and the sale of its Formula One operations. Financial Times

01/04/05
Industry News
BMW shatters sales record BMW shatters sales recordThe BMW Group (BMW and MINI brands combined) reported robust sales for 2004, breaking past annual sales records for both brands, to record a total of 296,111 vehicles, an increase of 7 percent over the 276,869 in 2003. The Group also reported record December sales of 29,292 vehicles, up 18 percent over the 24,915 vehicles sold in the same month in 2003, for an all-time monthly sales record.
01/04/05
champcar
grandam
Champ Car trio to join Rolex testing Champ Car trio to join Rolex testingThe three most recent champions of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will likely be heading to Florida this weekend to get a jump on the 2005 racing season as they participate in testing for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

2004 series champion Sebastien Bourdais and 2003 titlist Paul Tracy have confirmed their intentions to compete in the February 3-6 road racing event, and are expected to be joined by 2002 series champion Cristiano da Matta. A number of drivers with strong Champ Car ties will be gearing up for runs at the prestigious Rolex 24 crown this weekend as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series opens up the 3.56-mile road circuit at the Daytona International Speedway for three days of testing January 7-9.

Tracy will join former Champ Car pilot Christian Fittipaldi in the 2004 race-winning Bell Motorsports machine, while Bourdais will partner with five-time championship-winning team owner Paul Newman in the Newman Racing entry. Newman has made a number of appearances in the Rolex 24 with a 1995 IMSA GTS class victory to his credit, a victory he earned at the age of 70. The Bourdais/Newman/Michael Brockman team is expected to be joined by da Matta, who won the 2002 championship for Newman/Haas before moving to Formula 1.

“Other guys like Sebastien and Jimmy have been driving whether it was in Baja or the Race of Champions or whatever and I didn’t want to be sitting idle,” said Tracy. “I was not happy with how the 2004 season ended for our team. We aren’t scheduled to test our Champ Car until January and this won’t interfere with anything we do, so I thought this would be a great way to get ready for the 2005 season.”

A trio of other drivers that made Champ Car starts in 2004 will also be participating in the test days as they prepare for the twice-around-the-clock event. Former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Guy Smith, veteran Memo Gidley and rookie Michael Valiante will kick-start their racing seasons at Daytona this coming weekend. Smith and Gidley raced for Rocketsports Racing in 2004 while Valiante made his Champ Car World Series debut at the season finale in Mexico City, running for Walker Racing. Valiante and Gidley will be teammates in the Ten Motorsports entry while Smith will have former Dale Coyne Racing driver Joel Camathias as a partner in the Orbit Racing machine.

Along with those mentioned above, 14 other drivers with Champ Car experience under their belts will be competing in the Rolex 24 Hours including sports-car aces Jan Lammers, Didier Theys, Scott Pruett and Max Papis. A number of other drivers from the Toyota Atlantic and Formula BMW ranks will be testing including 2004 competitors Jonathan Bomarito and Brian Friselle. In addition, another driver with Champ Car ties will be strapping in when the green flag drops in Daytona as Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach General Manager Jim Michaelian will compete in the endurance classic.

01/04/05
champcar
Tracy concerned over loss of Engineer Tracy concerned over loss of EngineerPaul Tracy says in his latest article in the Toronto Star - "Todd Malloy had worked with me for more than five years - through my time at Team Green, Players and here at Forsythe," wrote Tracy. "After a two-week holiday following the Mexico City race, he came back to work and gave notice he was leaving to work for the RuSPORT team.  The team would like to sign Tony Cicale, who I worked with at Team Green and in 2003," Tracy continued. "We wanted to sign him up this year but because of budget restraints we didn't have enough money. We'll see what happens before Long Beach."
01/04/05
Dakar Rally
McRae regains lead at Dakar McRae regains lead at DakarColin McRae has regained the lead of the Dakar Rally. McRae's Nissan teammate Giniel de Villiers finished second on today’s 381km special stage between Agadir and Smara, the fifth (and longest so far) of the marathon across the Sahara.

If ever there was a day to be conservative in the 2005 Dakar Rally, today was it. Fresh off two wins out of the previously contested three and a stage five that presented some extremely rocky tracks, Gordon and Von Zitzewitz took it easy on the Red Bull Volkswagen Touareg. Fastest at the first checkpoint, the #317 team yielded 9:01 in the overall standings to Colin McRae and is now 7th overall.

Dakar Rally, leading overall positions after Stage 5
1) McRae/Thorner, Nissan Pickup, 5h07m24s
2) de Villiers/Lurquin, Nissan Pickup, 5h12m52s
3) Alphand/Picard, Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, 5h13m25s
4) Kleinschmidt/Pons, VW Touareg, 5h13m28s
5) Saby/Perin, VW Touareg, 5h14m36s
6) Al Attiyah/Guehennec, BMW X5, 5h15m01s
7) Gordon/von Zitzewitz, VW Touareg, 5h16m25s
8) Kankunnen/Repo, VW Touareg, 5h17m24s
9) de Mevius/Dubois, Nissan Pickup, 5h21m59s
10) Shinozuka/Maimon, Nissan Pickup, 5h22m07s

01/04/05
irl
Tom Carnegie Bobblehead now on sale Tom Carnegie Bobblehead now on saleNow motorsports fans can bring Carnegie and some of his famous sayings from the Speedway to their homes.  A talking bobblehead doll of Carnegie is now available for purchase for $29.95. Fans can buy the 8.5-inch-tall resin doll via the World Wide Web at the Online Store of the official Indianapolis Motor Speedway Web site, www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or at the IMS Gift Shops in the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum or at the Brickyard Authentics Stores located at Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport, respectively.

The bobblehead also includes audio recordings of three of Carnegie’s most famous sayings over the years from his commentary during the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and United States Grand Prix, each saying selected by Carnegie:

“And it’s a new track record!”

“And heeee’s on it!”

“Oh, no, he’s slowing down on the backstretch!”

Carnegie, 85, has been the PA voice of every race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the 1946 Indianapolis 500, the first race at the facility after it reopened at the end of World War II. Since then, his rich, baritone voice and friendly personality have helped him become one of the most beloved and respected figures in Speedway history.  “I’m excited about it, and the quality of the item is really good,” Carnegie said. “It’s a good salute to my 60th race this year.”

01/04/05
champcar
Bourdais nominated for SPEED Channel DOY Bourdais nominated for SPEED Channel DOYA popular name on SPEED Channel's website during the past year was the 2004 Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais, who had an outstanding sophomore season in clinching his first Vanderbilt Cup in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The Newman/Haas Racing pilot had those accomplishments recognized again at the end of the 2004 season by being one of seven drivers nominated for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Year award.

The 25 year-old Frenchman dominated the 2004 Champ Car campaign en route to his first series title. He led the series in poles, laps led, and victories in 2004. Scoring eight poles, Bourdais went on to score five of his seven victories from the pole position. The flying Frenchman took the lead in 11 out of 14 races this season, including a series-record nine in a row, producing a total of 443 laps led. Bourdais stood on the podium ten times this year.

During the fourteen races of the season, Bourdais never started lower than third. One of his best runs came in Denver when a first-turn spin caused him to drop to the back of the pack. Bourdais worked his magic by maneuvering his way through the field on a tight street-course track to reclaim the lead and earn one of his many wins of the season.

Racing fans of all disciplines recognized Bourdais for his furious climb to the top as he was voted as the Driver of the Quarter for the third quarter of the 2004 season. Despite winning the fan vote during the third quarter, he finished second in the overall ballot for both the third and fourth quarters.

Bourdais is joined on the ballot by NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NHRA PowerAde Pro Stock record-setter Greg Anderson, NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser, NHRA PowerAde Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher, and Indy Racing League winner Tony Kanaan.

The year-end winner is determined by 18 journalists' secret ballot votes and the overall winner of the fan votes on SPEED TV.com. Fan voting for the 2004 Driver of the Year award began on January 1 and will end on January 16, 2005. The winner will be announced exclusively on SPEED Channel January 24.
01/04/05
skipbarber
2005 Schedule: Skip Barber National Championship 2005 Schedule: Skip Barber National ChampionshipThe Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER announced its 2005 schedule today. Two of its seven race-weekends will support premier ALMS events: the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in mid-March, and the Road America 500 in late August. National Championship Managing Director Todd Snyder said, ''We made a concerted effort to get the National on the cards at some big spectator events, and Sebring and Road America are two of America's most noteworthy tracks. Of course, VIR, Lime Rock and Mont-Tremblant are also fantastic venues, so we think we've got a very solid 'driver's' championship on tap for 2005.'' Snyder added, ''We're still working on a venue for the finale -- right now, we're focusing on getting a top-notch West Coast event -- and hope to have some exciting news in that regard soon.'' New for 2005 is the integration of the Skip Barber Masters National Championship into the 'regular' field; drivers over the age of 40 will compete for their own championship awards as a distinct category. The Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER is a professional junior formula series that employs up to 30 identically prepared 150hp Dodge 2.0-liter, sequential gearboxed, wings-and-slicks R/T 2000 single-seat race cars. A full season of the seven-weekend, 14-race championship costs $38,150. The Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER 2004 Schedule:
Sebring International Raceway    Mar. 16-18 Sebring, Fla., w/ALMS
12-Hour Virginia International Raceway    Apr. 22-24 Ashton, Va.
Lime Rock Park   May 12-14 Lime Rock, Conn.
Road America    July 1-3 Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant July 22-24 Mont Tremblant, Que., Canada
Road America    Aug. 19-21 Elkhart Lake, Wis., w/ALMS 500-mile
To Be Announced Sept./Oct.
01/04/05
f1
Tsunami cancels Sauber launch Tsunami cancels Sauber launchThe Sauber Formula One team have cancelled next week's launch of their 2005 car in Malaysia after the Asian tsunami disaster.   "As a mark of respect to the victims of the disaster in South East Asia and their families, it was decided to cancel the launch," the Swiss-based team said on Tuesday.  A spokesman said the launch would not be rescheduled elsewhere. The new C24 car will have a track debut in Valencia on January 14 with Brazilian Felipe Massa testing for the first two days and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve for the third.  The team had planned a January 11 launch in Kuala Lumpur to mark Malaysian oil sponsor Petronas's 10th anniversary in Formula One.  The December 26th disaster has claimed more than 150,000 lives, which thousands killed on Thailand's Andaman Sea coast and islands by giant waves unleashed by an undersea earthquake. Reuters
01/04/05
nascar
Brazilian to attempt four NASCAR starts Brazilian to attempt four NASCAR startsBrazilian driver Carlos Bueno, the current runner-up in the Stock Car V8 championship - the country's version of NASCAR, tested one of Richard Childress' NASCAR cars at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Bueno's characteristic #0 was emblazoned in an orange Monte Carlo with his name and the Brazilian flag plastered on its skin. Two days and 520 laps around Caraway Speedway, the second Brazilian to ever steer a NASCAR car was ecstatic: his quickest time of 17.0 seconds topped 2004 team regular Ron Hornaday's best, who also tested on the same days, by 0.2sec. The Brazilian is committed to another season of Stock Car racing this year, but intends to attempt four NASCAR races in 2005: two Busch starts, "preferably on short ovals," and a step-up as a hired gun for the Nextel Cup's two road races [Sonoma and Watkins Glen]. His ambitious planning stretches way ahead, though: "My target is to be a full-time Cup driver in four years." More at Speed Channel
01/04/05
nascar
DEI sends drivers for training DEI sends drivers for trainingDale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is trying to stay a step ahead of the competition. With the 2005 racing season rapidly approaching and a new road race in Mexico City slated for the NASCAR Busch Series schedule, DEI recently enrolled members of its driver development program into the Advanced Road Racing two-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving near Phoenix. The goal was to sharpen the drivers’ road-racing skills under the supervision of some serious road-course masters. The students included Shane Hmiel, who has shown great promise since joining the Busch Series at the end of 2001, and Ryan Moore, a 21-year-old upstart who only recently signed with DEI after earning Busch North Series rookie-of-the-year honors in 2003. Driver Paul Menard, another DEI hopeful, was also on hand for a day of instruction. To help accelerate the learning curve, GM Racing called upon veteran Corvette driver Ron Fellows. Fellows’ role was to assist Bondurant’s expert team in teaching advanced road-racing skills to the DEI drivers in both the classroom and on the track. Hmiel will run a full Busch schedule this year, and to be successful he will have to apply what he learned from Fellows and the Bondurant instructors. Moore will again compete in the Busch North Series and is standing by for the rest of his upcoming duties for DEI. Fellows, who will be back behind the wheel of a Corvette in the American Le Mans Series this year, says he will be “very surprised” if he doesn’t compete in the Busch Series race in Mexico City. AutoWeek
01/04/05
Formula BMW
BMW opens Perfomance Center in Bahrain BMW opens Perfomance Center in BahrainThe Middle East is about to add another chapter to its fledgling motor sport history on 9th January 2005, when the BMW Performance Center Bahrain throws open its gates for the first time at the Bahrain International Circuit. More than 20 junior racing drivers from all over Asia will take part in the three-day inaugural event at the Gulf region’s most modern circuit – the license course and Scholarship Qualifying for Formula BMW Asia 2005. The aspiring drivers, some as young as 15, will first be introduced to the theoretical foundations of the art of motor racing at the Formula BMW Racing Center Bahrain. They will then have an opportunity to put their freshly acquired insights into practice in ten brand-new FB02 BMW Formula cars packing 140 bhp and a top speed of almost 230 km/h.

Acting as instructors are former racing drivers Paul Spooner and Mike Strotmann, director of the Formula BMW Racing Center Valencia. The BMW Performance Center in Bahrain is a new home not only for Formula BMW but also for BMW Driver Training. Starting in spring of 2005, a variety of training courses will be on offer to all-comers. The range of cars involved extends from the BMW 1 Series to the BMW M3, and the safety training courses at varying levels of difficulty will be held within the Performance Center as well as on the race track.

The circuit to the south of the capital Manama was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke. It took a mere 16 months from the official start of construction in December 2002 to the inaugural race on 3rd April 2004 – the season’s opener of last year’s Formula BMW Asia, which was held as part of the Formula One Grand Prix support program. Today the complex offers six circuit variants. The Grand Prix Course, which this year again hosts Formula One and Formula BMW on the first weekend in April, is 5.417 kilometres long. “We are delighted to have won the Bahrain International Circuit as a partner of the BMW Performance Center,” says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “The race track is brand-new and boasts first-rate safety standards. The Gulf region, moreover, offers good climatic conditions in winter as well.” BMW

01/04/05
champcar
History of Vanderbilt Cup History of Vanderbilt CupWhen the inaugural Vanderbilt Cup race took place on October 3, 1904, the World Series was a brand new baby, contested for the first time the year before. The first Indianapolis 500 was still seven years away and another dozen years would pass before the first Le Mans twenty-four hour race was run and five more before the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix. Neither the Daytona 500 nor the Super Bowl were even figments of anyone’s imagination, laying more than half a century in the future.   More at Champ Car
01/04/05
champcar
Popular LB establishment changes Popular LB establishment changesDowntown Long Beach, California pioneer John Morris shuttered his Mum’s restaurant and reopened as an upscale sports bar called Smooth’s. Next door, Leader’s Drugs closed after a long history. A 7-Eleven is slated to take its place.  Mum's was a popular spot for Champ Car fans each year during the Long Beach GP.
01/04/05
champcar
Toronto lowers ticket prices Toronto lowers ticket pricesRenewals are out for the 20th running of the Champ Car race in Toronto. The event is scheduled for July 8, 9 & 10, 2005. Ticket prices are down from last year! Three-day Gold seats are $199 CDN vs. $255 last year. There are similar reductions across the board (about 20%), however, you have to order before January 14, 2005 in order to get this deal.
01/04/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
GPWC to present F1 plan
Oz city to host GP 'demo'
Priaulx ready for F1 shot
'Ludicrous' F1 cocaine claim
Want to attend F1 launch?
Schu set for 'different' F1
Klien reveals New Year wish
'Quali's my weakness' - DC
Todt - 'I may marry'
Verstappen wants to race
Schu to help karting world
F1 quali may change again 
Button and manager split
Toyota 'demand' F1 podium
F1 tire war to rage on
Massa made special delivery
01/04/05
grandam
Westernesse Racing Announces 2005 Daytona Prototype Program Westernesse Racing Announces 2005 Daytona Prototype Program[Editor's Note: These new Grand-Am teams are coming out of the woodwork with no real credentials.  The France family money must be flowing freely in a major effort to make the series look big and strong. The cost of entry is said to be low, subsidized heavily by the Frances. What happens when the Frances turn off the money spigot?  Let's see if with this effort they can double race attendance from an average of 50, to say 100.  Look for a lot of caution laps at the Rolex 24 as these inexperienced teams/drivers crash into each other all around the track.]  Westernesse Racing, LLC has announced plans to compete in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in the Daytona Prototype class. Westernesse drivers Dominic Cicero, Chad McQueen and John Bender will pilot a Ford powered Crawford DP04 Daytona Prototype for this season's efforts beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Team principal Ted Spooner said, "This effort is the culmination of many years of preparation and investment. Our partnership with the driver, team and partners allows us to bring a competitive effort to our first season with Grand-Am."

Westernesse partner, responDESIGN is the premier developer and publisher of, "Games that are Good for You", and their fitness title - Yourself!Fitness will be the title sponsor for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Phin Barnes, Chief Marketing Officer for responDESIGN says, "We are a publisher of games that enhance people's performance in the game of life. Our goals and values are shared by Westernesse Racing in their efforts to achieve optimal performance in racing, together we form a winning combination."

Chad McQueen's racing career began practically the day he was born. Piloting a Porsche 917 from his father's lap while shooting the legendary film, "Le Mans", Chad was born to race and between film industry opportunities, has pursued this passion his entire adult life. Chad most recently teamed with Belgium racing legend, Jackie Ickx and his daughter piloting a trio of Porsche 959s restored by Porsche Motorsports for the 2004 Goodwood event. Chad has competed in every type of racing from Motocross to the Baja 1000. This year he qualified for the SCCA Runoffs winning multiple events. Racing for Westernesse, Chad finished 4th at the Runoffs proving himself against the best amateur racers in the country. Chad is "excited to be connected with Ted Spooner and the entire Westernesse team," and comments "I look forward to a great year with the entire Grand-Am family."

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