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DATE News (chronologically)
01/11/07
formula bmw

Sammy Hagar adds Formula BMW team too
Team KMA principals Ingo Strackerjan and Jon Lewis announced today that the famous Cabo Wabo Cantina owned by legendary rocker Sammy Hagar will be a sponsor of the Formula BMW team. In a simultaneous announcement today, it was announced that Sammy Hagar has also become a co-owner of the Indy Pro Series race car to be campaigned by Team KMA in 2007.

“It’s really exciting to announce the Cabo Wabo Cantina as an associate sponsor,” stated Lewis. “Besides being a music icon and car fanatic, this truly demonstrates Sammy Hagar’s belief in supporting young talented athletes. As a sponsor of our Formula BMW Team and a co-owner of our Indy Pro Series racecar, this further enhances the ladder system we have established for our drivers to successfully progress in their careers.”

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
lmes

Villeneuve and Bourdais headline Peugeot LeMans effort UPDATE Added photo of the Peugeot driver lineup.

01/10/07 Peugeot has confirmed the six drivers who will pilot their new diesel powered 908 HDi during the Le Mans Series season and in the Le Mans 24 Hours itself.

French duo Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin and former F1 racers Pedro Lamy and Marc Gene will race the new cars in the Le Mans Series (LMES) throughout the year, and will be joined for the Le Mans 24 Hours by former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve and triple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais. Another Frenchman, Eric Helary, will act as test and reserve driver.

"We were not looking for a particular profile but rather drivers that have certain qualities," team manager Serge Saulnier said of his line-up. "We need speed of course, but also consistency, a driver who knows how to get the best from his vehicle in all conditions, especially changes in the track, whilst being able to master the traffic and, of course, someone who is in excellent physical condition. I initially looked at those from Formula One or the young ex F1 drivers. Despite what you may think, there are not that many of them who have these qualities.

"It's obvious that a manufacturer such as Peugeot cannot have a wholly French team in such a large scale program. Nevertheless I have received no particular guidelines. To start with I set my sights on a German and English driver. But a lot of them were signed up to drive for Formula One."

Comment
01/11/07
cc

Pacific Coast continues preparation of DP01
Oxnard, CA – The entire Pacific Coast Motorsports organization is hard at work as they prepare for their Champ Car debut. The team’s second DP01 arrived today and PCM rookies Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel got acquainted with their new rides as they spent Wednesday and Thursday of this week at the PCM headquarters in Oxnard, California for their seat fittings.

“My car just arrived and I am thrilled,” said Scottish rookie Ryan Dalziel with a telling grin.  “The car is awesome and I am surprised at how much room there is.  At 5’11, I am typically pretty tall in an open wheel car, but there is a lot of space inside the cockpit, and you sit very low in this car, it is very comfortable.”    

The removable seats which fit in the Champ Car are made specifically for each driver.  It is a long and precise two-day process, as PCM crew chief Roy Wilkerson explains, “Fred Gans is here at the shop from Mark One Composites.  MK1 is considered to be one of the top seat makers in the business.  MK1 uses a bead type system, which consists of thousands, maybe millions of small beads and two-part glue.”

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01/11/07
gp2

Conway signs with Super Nova
Leading British race driver, Mike Conway announced his plans for 2007 on the main stage at Autosport International Show, Birmingham NEC today. He will contest the 2007 GP2 Series with Super Nova International, one of the leading GP2 teams led by David Sears.

Conway tested with the Super Nova team in October last year, finishing inside the top ten at the end of the first day. He successfully concluded a deal to race for the Norfolk based team early in 2007.

The 23-year-old Kent driver says of his upcoming season, "I'm very happy to have my deal secured for this season and I can now concentrate on preparing myself for this new challenge. Super Nova are a successful GP2 outfit with the experience and resources to compete for podiums and wins. I was very comfortable working with them at the Valencia test last year and gelled easily with the team, so I'm looking forward to the year ahead.

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01/11/07
f1

Ferrari techs meet the press
Ferrari presented their new hierarchy at their annual Wrooom press meeting at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy today. Stefano Domenicali, sporting director, and new technical director Mario Almondo held their first press conference to explain their new roles, that of Michael Schumacher, the driver hierarchy and the innovative new car due to be launched on Sunday at Maranello.

The pair both joined Ferrari on the same day in 1991 and now find themselves at the forefront of the team's 2007 campaign, under the direction of team principal Jean Todt. But asked if Todt would be at all the races, Domenicali said "I can confirm that he will be at the tracks but maybe not right from the start of the weekend. He is still managing director, he is still the boss. I will continue to work and maintain relationships with the governing body, the staff and be chief at the race tracks and head of our own tracks such as Mugello."

Almondo, meanwhile, may not be at all the races, and certainly won't have nor want such a high profile role as his predecessor. "I am the technical director, but this is not to be confused with the task undertaken by Ross Brawn, who was the chief at the track as well. However, that task will be undertaken by Luca Baldisseri.

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01/11/07
cca

Newman Wachs Racing announces new Lead Engineer
Renowned engineer Don Halliday has signed on to become the lead engineer for Newman Wachs Racing's (NWR) 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season. His acquisition comes on the tails of NWR's announcement of hiring rookie driver J.R. Hildebrand. Halliday's hiring has been one of many restructuring decisions NWR team principles Eddie Wachs and Ove Olsson have made in preparation for 2007.

Born in New Zealand, Halliday began in Europe in the F1 circuit before moving to the US in 1989. Halliday designed a CART Champ Car for Truesports and Rahal-Hogan racing, in addition to designing Champ Cars and Indy Lights cars for Steve Horne's Tasman team.

He retired from racing to run Halliday Technologies before coming out of retirement to become lead engineer for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing's 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season. There, he and CCA rookie driver Graham Rahal had a "welcome back" season for the history books. In twelve races, Rahal took five wins and the team enjoyed a record-breaking nine consecutive podium finishes. The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team finished the season leading the series in most laps lead, most fast laps, and most prize money. Rahal finished 2nd in both the championship standings and Rookie of the Year points. Halliday was also voted Engineer of the Year for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season.

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01/11/07
nascar

Rudd fastest on Thursday
Ricky Rudd closed the final session of the first week of preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway with the fastest speed.

Thursday AM

1. Ricky Rudd, No. 88 Ford, 186.405
2. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford, 185.410
3. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet, 185.143
4. Scott Riggs, No. 10 Dodge, 185.067
5. Sterling Marlin, No. 14 Chevrolet, 184.904
6. Regan Smith, No. 13 Chevrolet, 183.887
7. Scott Wimmer, No. 33 Chevrolet, 183.587
8. Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Dodge, 183.509
9. Dave Blaney, No. 22 Toyota, 183.453
10. Boris Said, No. 60 Ford, 183.438

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
f1

Ferrari nets Middle Eastern deal
Ferrari has signed a sponsorship agreement with Mubadala Development Company, an investment company owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In July 2005, Mubadala Development purchased a five percent stake in Ferrari from Mediobanca of Italy.

The Mubadala logo will feature on the Ferrari cars that will compete in the Formula 1 World Championship, as well as on the drivers' caps.

"We are pleased to have reached a sponsorship agreement with such a dynamic company as Mubadala, with whom we share important values such as the research into innovation and a passion for our work," said Ferrari boss Jean Todt. "Furthermore, this agreement strengthens our ties with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, where a Ferrari theme park is being created in a State located in a region in which interest in Formula 1 is growing ever stronger."

The sponsorship deal is for three years.

Comment
01/11/07
f1

Ferrari always open to Brawn F1 return
Ferrari's door will always be open to former technical director Ross Brawn should he seek to return after a break from Formula One, his replacement said on Thursday.  "Our approach is that outstanding people are always considered part of the team..... If he comes back, it will be up to him to decide what role he has," Mario Almondo told a news conference at Ferrari's winter retreat in the Dolomites.

"I had a call with Ross a few days ago and he was fishing in Argentina," added Almondo, who said that his own role was different to that of Brawn's in that more of the responsibility had been delegated to other members of the team.

Brawn was Ferrari's technical director throughout the most dominant period in their history, helping them to six successive constructors' titles and Michael Schumacher to five championships in a row.

He also helped Schumacher win his first two titles with Benetton. More at Reuters

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01/11/07
cca

Ryan Lewis joins Walker Racing
Ryan Lewis will compete for the Champ Car Atlantic crown with Walker Racing in 2007. After a successful rookie season, Ryan moves over to the 2006 Championship-winning team this year, putting himself firmly back on target for single-seater success. He will partner Swiss driver, Simona De Silvestro, who also joined the team recently.

Ryan stormed to the British F3 Scholarship Championship title in 2004 before moving up to the top class in 2005. A troubled season took the young British driver's eye off the F3 title chase and by the start of 2006 it looked like Ryan would retire from racing. What a difference a year makes! Ryan headed Stateside in 2006 and set about proving his doubters wrong. Finishing second in his first Atlantic race he completed a part season with the Mi-Jack Conquest team where his competitiveness drew praise from such luminaries as Bobby Rahal.

Under the leadership of Derrick Walker, Walker Racing has a fantastic history as a Champ Car team, fielding great drivers such as Gil de Ferran, Alex Tagliani and Christian Fittipaldi. The team's first foray into the Atlantic Championship produced a title for Simon Pagenaud in 2006 with seven podiums and a win for the Frenchman.

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
track news

Caborn backs Silverstone future
The government looks set to help Silverstone with its plans to become a leading global motorsport venue.  Despite recent redevelopment Silverstone's future as a Formula One venue remains under threat.

Minister for Sport Richard Caborn said: "We are looking for the development of Silverstone, probably in a way we have never seen before.

"We really do want to see it become the international centre of excellence for performance car production."

The Northamptonshire circuit is owned by the British Racing Drivers Club, whose president is former world champion Damon Hill.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently proposed Silverstone share its place on the calendar with the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours, with the two venues alternating each season - a suggestion that was rejected.  More at BBC Sport

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01/11/07
cc

Bourdais to appear on Letterman
Sebastien Bourdais, three-time Champ Car World Series champion and driver of the No. 1 McDonald's race car will make his third appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" on Tuesday, January 16.  Paul Newman, co-owner of Newman/Haas Racing will appear with him for the first time.

Comment
01/11/07
nascar

Daytona 500 to start later
The 2007 Daytona 500 will have the latest start time in the race's history and could lead to the Great American Race finishing under the lights at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR announced a 3:15 p.m. scheduled start time for the Daytona 500, marking the third consecutive year the start time has been pushed back by at least 30 minutes. DIS Director of Media Relations David Talley said he believes fans will embrace the change, which was made at the request of FOX TV.

"It's a great opportunity for fans to come out earlier and now have time to experience everything the speedway has to offer," Talley said. "And (the possibility of finishing under the lights) adds another element to NASCAR's most prestigious race."

Starting times for Daytona 500 since 2000:

2000: 12:15 p.m.
2001: 1 p.m.
2002: 12:30 p.m.
2003: 1 p.m.
2004: 1:30 p.m.
2005: 2 p.m.
2006: 2:30 p.m.
2007: 3:15 p.m. Daytona Beach News Journal

Comment
01/11/07
dakar

Robby Gordon wins 6th stage of Dakar
Now that the first 8 cars have arrived at the finishing line of this 6th special stage, American Robby Gordon has won his 3rd special stage victory on the Dakar, 17" ahead of Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser and 6’52 in front of South African Giniel de Villiers.

The Race Touareg continues Volkswagen’s monopoly at the head of the leader board after six of the Dakar Rally’s 15 stages: The Spaniard and his French co-driver Michel Périn lead the Dakar Rally for the fourth consecutive day.

On the extremely fast stage from Tan Tan in Morocco to Zouérat in Mauritania, at 817 kilometers also the longest of the rally, Sainz recorded the fourth fastest time behind the two Buggy drivers Robby Gordon (USA) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (France) and Volkswagen team mate Giniel de Villiers from South Africa.
 
Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz, currently second overall, reduced the leader’s gap by 25 seconds and now lie 3:11 minutes behind Sainz. Holding third is the Portuguese-German duo Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz in the Lagos Team Volkswagen Race Touareg, who set the sixth fastest stage time.

Top 10 Thursday

Pos. N° Name Make Time Variation Penalty
1 320 GORDON (USA) GRIDER (USA) HUMMER 02:58:57 00:00:00
2 310 SCHLESSER (FRA) DEBRON (FRA) SCHLES-FORD-RAID 02:59:14 00:00:17
3 301 DE VILLIERS (AFS) VON ZITZEWITZ (ALL) VOLKSWAGEN 03:05:49 00:06:52
4 303 SAINZ (ESP) PERIN (FRA) VOLKSWAGEN 03:06:14 00:07:17
5 302 PETERHANSEL (FRA) COTTRET (FRA) MITSUBISHI 03:06:46 00:07:49
6 309 AL ATTIYAH (QAT) GUEHENNEC (FRA) BMW 03:07:21 00:08:24
7 313 SOUSA (POR) SCHULZ (ALL) VOLKSWAGEN 03:09:00 00:10:03
8 300 ALPHAND (FRA) PICARD (FRA) MITSUBISHI 03:09:42 00:10:45
9 305 MILLER (USA) PITCHFORD (AFS) VOLKSWAGEN 03:11:35 00:12:38
10 329 HOLOWCZYC (POL) FORTIN (BEL) NISSAN 03:18:40 00:19:43

Comment
01/11/07
tv news

SPEED Signs Voda to Multiyear Deal
SPEED has signed veteran sports journalist Krista Voda to a multi-year deal that will include hosting the network’s pre-race show for all of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2007. Voda also recently signed with FOX Sports as a pit reporter for their NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races in ’07.

"Krista is a tremendous talent with great passion for her work,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED VP of Production. “She understands racing, knows the players, and has a great deal of experience and credibility covering NASCAR and all forms of racing."

Voda began her work in NASCAR for FOX Sports and SPEED in 2002 as a reporter and host for Totally NASCAR. Over the last several years, Voda has worked on multiple programs for both networks, including SPEED’s coverage of the popular Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series.

“The competitors, their families, and everyone involved with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series welcomed me with open arms last year and I’m honored to be back,” Voda said. “I’m also excited that the pre-race show, which was introduced last fall, will be returning for the full 2007 season and beyond. All of us who cover trucks believe the series produces the best racing …and that the racing is done by some of the sport’s most interesting and most genuine people.”

Comment
01/11/07
nascar

Kerry Earnhardt joins DEI
Kerry Earnhardt will join Dale Earnhardt Inc. as a full-time employee next week, serving as a liaison between the Nextel Cup and Busch programs and driving in a handful of races.

“Teresa and Richie have been talking to me about coming there for several years,” Kerry said of team owner/stepmother Teresa Earnhardt and director of motorsports Richie Gilmore. “I’ve been thinking about the company a lot in my head. It’s hard to give up driving. Now I’ve come to a point where I realize that doing the things I’m doing is not doing me any good, just riding around and not having any decent finishes.”

Kerry, 37, has asked to drive in at least five Busch races and a couple of Cup races for DEI, but said his future with the company doesn’t hinge on that. always wish I had the opportunity to be in equipment like this,” said Kerry, who was 20th-fastest in the morning practice while Earnhardt Jr. honored previous commitments. “Now if I run three to five Busch races and can be successful with that maybe more things can come to me.” Kerry hopes to fill part of the role of Tony Eury Sr., who has moved from team liaison to crew chief for DEI’s third Cup team with Paul Menard.

Comment
01/11/07
alms

Audi banks on TDI Power again in the USA
Audi AG continues its successful involvement in the American Le Mans Series to coincide with the imminent Diesel offensive in the USA. The Audi Sport North America team competes in every round of the world’s leading sportscar race series with a pair of Audi R10 TDI cars during the 2007 season.
 
With defending champions Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) plus Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany), Audi relies on proven drivers to retain its crown. All four drivers have won the American Le Mans Series at least once already. Marco Werner celebrates his comeback in the USA after a year-out. The two-time ALMS Champion and double Le Mans winner was heavily involved in the revolutionary Audi Diesel racing car’s development during the 2006 season.
 
Audi Sport North America once again assumes responsibility for running the brace of R10 TDI cars. The team’s core personnel originate from Champion Racing. As last year, Dave Maraj’s team receives support in a similar way from Audi Sport and Joest Racing.

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
gp2

Senna and Zaugg to race for Arden in 2007
Today at the Autosport Show, Arden International are pleased to confirm that Bruno Senna (Brazil) and Adrian Zaugg (South Africa) complete the GP2 team driver line-up.  Both drivers earned their positions within the multiple championship winning team after an intensive driver evaluation during October, November and December 2006.

Bruno Senna (23) is a graduate from British Formula 3 having finished 3rd in the championship.  Adrian Zaugg (20) clearly demonstrated his potential by winning races in Formula Renault, Renault World Series and A1GP in 2006.

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
racing news

Villeneuve to front Villars ski marathon
(GMM)  He might no longer be a formula one driver, but Jacques Villeneuve will still make his traditional appearance at the 'Formula Charity' ski event for charity this weekend.

The former world champion, who will contest Le Mans for Peugeot in 2007 and is also tipped for a NASCAR foray, has headlined the event - which culminates in a 24-hour skiing and snowboarding marathon - since his days as a Williams racer.

It is held at the Villars-sur-Ollon resort, near where Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock has a house.  Amateur singer-songwriter Jacques will make a stage appearance alongside the artist Garou in 2007.

The French Canadian, 35, "will preview some of his forthcoming debut album Private Paradise", a statement said.

Villars regular David Coulthard will attend the event but not actually race, as will former F1 racer Patrick Tambay and sometime Spyker tester Giorgio Mondini.

The event was first staged in 1998.

Comment
01/11/07
nascar

Carter-2-Motorsports adds Nextel Cup Series
Carter-2-Motorsports, a new full time professional race team set to launch a championship effort in the ARCA RE/MAX Series this season announced today the team has extended their busy schedule by planning to compete in at least four NASCAR Nextel Cup (NNC) series races towards the end of the season.

Roger Carter, II who is running for Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the ARS (ARCA RE/MAX Series) plans to utilize the No. 54 Dodge Charger in Cup competition with primary backing from Isaiah10.com

The team’s first attempt will come in September at New Hampshire International Speedway, followed by Kansas Speedway (September), Lowes Motor Speedway (October) followed by the team’s 2007 season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 28th.

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01/11/07
nascar

Jeff Burton tests COT at Phoenix
Jeff Burton wrapped up a day of testing the COT Goodyear Tire test at Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday. PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show

Comment
01/11/07
f1

New orders for testing
Like athletes in the starting blocks, like race horses in the gates, the Red Bull Racing test team members are all keyed up to spring into action and start testing again as soon as the new RB3 car is cleared for take off. This will be on 26 January.

But in the meantime, the rules of engagement for testing have changed for this year and to sum up the differences in a couple of words, it’s a case of less testing. Most of the changes to the testing regulations are based on the fact we are now competing in a championship where one tire company has a supply monopoly and Chief Test Engineer Ian Morgan explains what the test team has to contend with now. “There is a limit on the number of kilometres which can be covered from 1st January to 31st December this year. You can do 30,000 kilometres per team, including shake-downs, aero testing, basically any situation where a car turns a wheel, with the exception of filming and promotional events. In the case of these exemptions, the car must run on a tire that is not representative of anything the team might actually want to race on. So the key numbers are 30,000 for the kilometres and 300 sets of tires.”

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01/11/07
nascar

Jarrett steers clear of Toyota debate
Dale Jarrett, a long-time Ford driver, is steering clear of Xenophobic NASCAR fans who detest the fact that that he will be driving a Toyota in Nextel Cup this year.

“Sure, the parent company is foreign,” Jarrett said Wednesday at preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. We could get into the argument about where the Ford Fusion is built; every one of them is built in Mexico. The (Chevrolet) Monte Carlos are built in Canada.

“We could go through all that stuff and see who is right and who is wrong, but there are a lot of Toyotas that are built in the United States. They employ a lot of people. ...But you're not going to get that across to some people, and I'm not going to try to and that's not my job or my plight to come out here and try to convince everybody that this is the right thing to do for Toyota to be involved.

“I'm as American as the next person…and I pay my taxes just like everybody else and I love this country,” Jarrett said. “But check and see if that TV you’re watching our races on was made in the United States.”

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01/11/07
racing news

New hydrogen-powered racing series announced
The Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation was unveiled on Wednesday, the first step toward on-track competition for hydrogen electric fuel cell-powered racing. HERF plans on beginning that on-track competition, dubbed the "Hydrogen 500," beginning in 2009, with additional races, including international events in 2010 and 2011.

Peter M. DeLorenzo, president and CEO of HERF, introduced "the future of racing" in a speech before auto industry executives, senior executives from Bridgestone-Firestone and Michelin, as well as Tony George, the CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League, and Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. AP News

Comment
01/11/07
alms

B-K Motorsports dumps Mazda for AER power
Faced with increased competition in the American LeMans Series LMP2 category, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development and B-K Motorsports today announced they will partner with Advanced Engine Research Ltd (AER) and Lola Cars to develop an all-new Mazda-derived engine and purpose-built chassis for their 2007 championship effort. The goal is to improve on the 2006 result of third place in the American LeMans Series (ALMS) Championship for P2 cars, with an eye on the top step of the podium.

Ongoing Support of the American LeMans Series and IMSA

While Mazda has raced in many series across the country and around the world, most race fans think of endurance road racing and Mazda in the same sentence. “Mazda thrives on innovation, and the American LeMans Series supplies a great challenge to our engineers and teams. Over the past two years we have enjoyed a number of successes in the P2 class and are looking forward to the increased competition in 2007,” said Robert Davis, Senior VP, Product Development and Quality, Mazda North American Operations, and the man responsible for the company’s North American motorsports programs.

Read more & Comment...
01/11/07
TV News

USA TV reminders for Thursday/Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Thursday
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 5 Versus
NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona
7:00pm-7:30pm SPEED
Friday
Dakar Rally Highlights Lisbon to Dakar
3:00pm-3:30pm -Stage 6 Versus
NASCAR Preseason Thunder Daytona
7:00pm-7:30pm SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Comment
01/11/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
Renault to test new car in temporary livery
Heidfeld under pressure as BMW rookies loom
Kimi returns McLaren's parting shot
Buoyant Massa sees Kimi as a 'new opportunity'
Kimi hopes Schu tests for Ferrari in 2007
Toyota retain long time sponsor
Toyota donate formula one car to FIA

Comment
01/10/07
cc

GP of Arizona picks up sponsor
PHOENIX – Officials from Grand Prix Arizona and First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International, a nationwide credit card processor, announced Wednesday that the Grand Prix Arizona planned for Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2007 in downtown Phoenix will now be called the First Data Grand Prix Arizona as part of a multi-year, multi-city partnership between the two entities. 

First Data Grand Prix Arizona owners Bradley Yonover and Dale Jensen said the partnership agreement with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International is for a minimum of three years.  It includes the title sponsorship for the Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa and other partnership opportunities with subsidiaries of their company, DDB Ventures.

“Today marks the second phase or our growing partnership with First Data Independent Sales® Fresno by Cardservice International,” said Yonover, co-owner of the First Data Grand Prix Arizona and the Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa. “This is a relationship that is bringing cutting-edge technology to the entertainment business, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this trend.”

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01/10/07
ga

Gentilozzi decides to forego Rolex 24
Due to the Panoz Champ Car test schedule and a planned press conference in Montreal for the Mont Tremblant Champ Car event on the 24th, Paul Gentilozzi has decided not to drive the #12 RVO Riley-Pontiac in the Rolex 24 as originally announced.

Comment
01/10/07
ips

Sammy Hagar joins new Indy Pro Series team
Music, tequila and now the Indy Pro Series.  Sammy Hagar has joined Jon Lewis as co-owner of Team KMA Racing, which will have a two-car entry in the Indy Pro Series for 2007. What a perfect fit for the rocker who “… can’t drive 55.”

“I’m very excited about our entering the Indy Pro Series,” said Hagar, who was lead singer of Van Halen and currently tours with his group Sammy and the Wabos. “The fans of Indy Racing are enthusiastic and it’s a tremendous venue to compete in. I’ve been a car fanatic for as long as I can remember, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of Indy Racing.”

Read more & Comment...
01/10/07
nascar

Andretti put on display NASCAR will never forget UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It was interesting that you had that nice piece about Mario Andretti's victory at the 1967 Daytona 500.  That race will always be extra special to me because that was my very first race and that one got me "hooked on racing".  Since then I have been to a bunch of very good ones but that one will always be special.  Doug Ferguson, Florida

01/10/07 This story by Tom Higgins about the 1967 Daytona 500 is a great tribute to America's greatest ever race car driver. 

Bob Moore, my friend of 40 years and a former Charlotte Observer colleague, was sure of it.

If Mario Andretti didn't wreck on the current lap, he surely would the next.

Bob's assessment was shared widely across the press box at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 26, 1967, as the Daytona 500 roared on.

"Mario's car was sideways through every turn," Moore recalled this week. "It didn't seem possible that he could keep holding it lap after lap."

This view also held in the pit of the storied Holman & Moody team that was fielding the Ford driven Indy-car star Andretti, an interloper in the NASCAR Series.

"We thought he was a wreck waiting to happen," remembers Waddell Wilson, a Holman & Moody team member who had built the engine powering Andretti's No. 11 Ford. "I have been going to races for more than 50 years, and I have never seen a driving performance like Mario put on that day 40 years ago."  More....

Comment
01/10/07
nascar

COT Chassis Approved
The first NASCAR-approved Car of Tomorrow chassis didn't clear inspection until the final week of the 2006 season, leaving teams with considerable concern that they'd be ill-prepared for the March 25, 2007 debut [at Bristol]. That particular concern has subsided a bit. The COT still has several question marks, but it seems the chassis issue is all but resolved. Nextel Cup director John Darby said Tuesday that the sanctioning body is closing in on 100 approved COT chassis, and that virtually every team in the series has submitted a viable product. Even Cal Wells, whose team has currently suspended operations, has submitted an approved COT chassis, Darby said. NASCAR inspected five COT chassis Monday and all were approved, Darby said, marking the first day they've had a 100-percent approval rate. ESPN.com

Comment
01/10/07
nascar

Green uses draft to top Wed. testing
Jeff Green drafted to the top of the Nextel Cup speed chart Wednesday afternoon, turning a lap of 186.722 mph that is the fastest speed in preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. Several teams made drafting runs Wednesday, and Green's No. 66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet made the quickest. Dale Jarrett, in the No. 44 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, was second-fastest Wednesday at 186.517.

Morning Speeds

1. Jeff Green, No. 66 Chevrolet, 186.722
2. Dale Jarrett, No. 44 Toyota, 186.517
3. Tony Raines, No. 96 Chevrolet, 186.451
4. Scott Riggs, No. 10 Dodge, 186.420
5. P.J. Jones, No. 7 Ford, 186.397
6. Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Dodge, 186.382
6. Sterling Marlin, No. 14 Chevrolet, 186.382
8. Dave Blaney, No. 22 Toyota, 186.378
9. Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Chevrolet, 186.355
10. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge, 186.316

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01/10/07
ga

70 cars entered for Rolex 24
The 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona entry list includes 21 former overall winners and 47 previous class winners of America's most prestigious endurance race in addition to a host of champions and superstar drivers from various forms of motorsport.  Of the 70 cars entered, 32 will include at least one driver with a class or overall victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. There are 28 Daytona Prototypes entered and 42 GT machines. The race will be televised live beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX on Saturday, January 27, followed by three parts on SPEED which begin at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 28.

Five-time overall winner Hurley Haywood--who owns six class victories in the Rolex 24--heads the list of former winners entered for the race on January 27-28. Haywood earned overall victories in 1991, 1979, 1977, 1975 and 1973 and a GT2500 class triumph in 1972. He will co-drive the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley with Rolex Series race-winner J.C. France, Portuguese sports car ace and 2003 GTS class winner Joao Barbosa, and Brazilian former Formula 1 and Champ Car pilot Roberto Moreno.

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01/10/07
dakar

Sainz wins his 4th stage on Day 5
Spaniard Carlos Sainz clinched Volkswagen’s fourth stage victory on day five of the Dakar Rally and extended his overall lead in the progress.

Together with co-driver Michel Périn in the Race Touareg 2, the factory driver won today’s fifth stage from Ouarzazate to Tan Tan in Morocco by 30 seconds from Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel and Volkswagen team mates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, who finished the stage 1:41 minutes behind in third position.
 
Three Volkswagen Race Touareg prototypes continue to lead the field with one-third of the Dakar Rally already run: Sainz/Périn, who tasted victory on the second stage, hold the overall lead from de Villiers/von Zitzewitz by 3:36 minutes. The Portuguese Carlos Sousa and his German co-driver Andy Schulz, seventh today in the Lagos Team Race Touareg, are 11:17 behind in third place.
 
Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/South Africa) and Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons (Finland/Italy) in two other Race Touareg prototypes finished the fifth stage in positions eighth and fourteenth respectively. The teams must complete a 279 kilometer liaison stage before reaching the stage finish area this evening.

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01/10/07
f1

Raikkonen makes official Ferrari debut
Buongiorno a tutti" were Kimi Raikkonen's first official words as a Ferrari driver when he addressed journalists at the Madonna di Campiglio press meeting in Italy this morning. It earned him a round of applause as members of the press perhaps compared him to his predecessor, Michael Schumacher, who managed the same words after several years!

Everyone, of course, wanted to know how Kimi was handling the transformation from McLaren driver to Ferrari driver, from the silver of what is perceived as the austere combination of McLaren and Mercedes to the red of the most legendary team in Formula One.

"When I first went to the factory and for the test I noticed the atmosphere is different, is very good," said the Finn. "It's more like a family feeling, even if people are working as hard as they can, doing their best, it's very relaxed and the people are easy to work with so I was very happy and that's really what I expected and what I heard before, so I only have positive things to say. For sure, it's very different from McLaren. For me, it's only going in a positive way, so it's been very pleasant.

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01/10/07
nascar

Benny Parsons in Intensive Care UPDATE Benny Parsons remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Carolinas Medical Center, but his condition has not changed since the weekend, his family said on Tuesday. Parsons, 65, is listed as critical, but his condition has stabilized. He continues to fight complications brought on by treatments for lung cancer. Parsons is not allowed visitors at this time, but fans and associates can continue to send him messages at bp@goprn.com. NASCAR.com

01/05/07 Benny Parsons is currently hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit of the Carolinas Medial Center in Charlotte.  Parsons, who became a popular television and radio personality after retiring from driving in 1988, entered the hospital Dec. 26 as the result of complications stemming from his battle with lung cancer.  The cancer was diagnosed earlier this year and was recently reported to be in full remission.   ThatsRacin.com

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01/10/07
nascar

Trip Bruce joins Bill Davis Racing
Bill Davis Racing announced today that Trip Bruce will serve as the crew chief for Johnny Benson the No. 23 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.  “I couldn’t be more excited to help incorporate the resources that TRD has provided for the upcoming season,” Bruce stated.  “Johnny Benson wants to win his first championship, and I am going to do everything in my power to make that happen.”  Bruce, a Virginia native, began his racing career at the age of 18, racing Late Models and Grand Stocks at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Va.  He became acquainted with car owner Don Beverly, and joined Beverly’s team in 1989 as a fabricator and mechanic.

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01/10/07
nascar

Roush: "Dig your own grave and then lay in it"
Jamie McMurray went through three crew chiefs last season in his first season with Roush Racing, so when he asked car owner Jack Roush for a new one for 2007, Roush told McMurray he was on his own. "You need to go out and find who you think you're going to work well with," Roush told McMurray.

Perhaps it was even a little more blunt than that.

"I don't remember exactly how he worded it, but something like, 'You need to kind of dig your own grave and then lay in it,'" McMurray said.

No pressure, eh? So last year during the Chase For The Nextel Cup, McMurray made a list of 10 crew chiefs he wanted to work with and consulted with Roush.

"Jack and [Nextel Cup general manager] Max [Jones] left it up to me to make the initial phone calls and to go out and find the guy that I want and find somebody that I felt would fight for me and be on my side," McMurray said. Scenedaily.com

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01/10/07
irl
usac

New Indy 500 history book a must-have
INDIANAPOLIS - Motorsports fans and historians have a new book to put on their "must-have" list: the Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500 by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson and motorsports author and historian Rick Shaffer.

The 368-page "coffee table" book offers a definitive history of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, telling the story of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" from the track's pre-Indy 500 years in 1909-1910, to the events that led to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, to Sam Hornish Jr.'s stunning victory in the 90th Indy 500 in 2006.

Davidson and Shaffer have been students of Indianapolis 500 history for decades. Thanks to their dedication, readers of the Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500 will enjoy a thorough, lively account of each year of the Indianapolis 500 in an engaging narrative format.

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01/10/07
track news
cc
alms

EZ Lube to sponsor drifting at Long Beach
Racing fans who love the tire-smoking, sliding-on-the-edge sport of Drifting have something special in store for them at the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15.

EZ Lube, one of the nation's largest privately-owned oil change companies, has signed a two-year agreement to sponsor the EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge, which will feature six three-car teams piloted by the world's best Formula Drift drivers battling each other around the historic 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit.

The EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge is the first of four Formula Drift team championship points events to be held with Champ Car events in 2007.

The teams will compete each day of race weekend, with the winning team to be determined at the end of the Sunday, April 15 competition. 

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01/10/07
tv news

SPEED adds Fan Tower
Fans won’t have any trouble locating the SPEED Stage this season, as the network has commissioned a 50-foot “Fan Tower” to ensure fans can find their way through the crowd. The rotating SPEED logo at the top of the tower will be lit in the evenings.

“Our at-track programs have evolved into ‘must-attend’ events for NASCAR fans, and we hear all the time from people who say they wish they knew where the SPEED Stage was when they got to the tracks,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED Executive VP & General Manager. “Fan interaction is the key to the success of shows like NASCAR RaceDay, Trackside, Tradin’ Paint and NASCAR Performance. For SPEED, the process has grown from simply taping a television program, to creating a fan-friendly environment that adds to the NASCAR experience. We want everyone to have a chance to participate in our shows, so we’re putting up a huge welcome mat.”

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01/10/07
alms

Highcroft teams Johansson with Brabham
Highcroft Racing owner/driver Duncan Dayton made it official today and announced that Stefan Johansson (right) will join David Brabham and him on the driver roster for the team's new Acura Courage entry in the LMP2 division of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for 2007.

Johansson has been successful in Formula One, champ car and endurance sports car racing. He won the 12 Hours of Sebring twice (1984 and 1997), and he was also victorious at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1997).

The 50-year-old driver from Vaxjo, Sweden who currently lives in Sherman Oaks, Calif. has driven for some of the top factory efforts, including Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Audi.

Johansson reached the F1 ranks in 1980 and drove in the World Championship for 11 years, competing in 103 F1 events. He switched to CART champ cars in 1992, running primarily with Bettenhausen Motorsports. He was immediately impressive, winning the series' Rookie of the Year Award that season. He has three Indy 500 starts (1993, 1994 and 1995) prior to the IRL's first race in 1996.

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01/10/07
british f3

Carlin to switch to Mercedes power in 2007
Championship winning F3 team Carlin Motorsport are to use Mercedes-Benz engines for the 2007 season. Carlin, who have won 73 British F3 races in total – making them the most successful British F3 team in history – are to make the switch after a series of successful seasons with Honda. The Carlin team have enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Neil Brown Engineering, the British company which builds and supplies the Honda engines, which has seen the alliance win 84 races in British and International F3 and take three British championships. Team Principal, Trevor Carlin commented, “I’d like to thank Neil Brown Engineering, for the great contribution they have made to our success since 1999. But we must consider market forces and recent races have demonstrated that the performance advantage currently lies with Mercedes-Benz. In order to continue at our current level of success and provide the best possible equipment for our drivers, we feel this change is necessary. “Not only have Mercedes-Benz proved to be the engine supplier to beat, they also have a wider Motorsport strategy including a Young Drivers Program, which we feel is very important. We look forward to a successful partnership in 2007 which will see us challenging for the championship.” The Carlin team will take to the track for the first F3 race of the season on 6 April at Oulton Park. Runners-up in last year’s championship, the team will announce its driver line-up within the next month.

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01/10/07
irl

Hornish cherishes image on Borg-Warner Trophy
After winning 18 IndyCar Series races and three series championships, Sam Hornish Jr.'s trophy case is getting a little crowded these days.

But the hardware he received Jan. 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum will find a prominent place in his collection.

Hornish returned to the Speedway to receive his 2006 Indianapolis 500 Champion of Champions winner's ring from IMS CEO Tony George and to unveil his likeness on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which features the visage of every Indianapolis 500-Mile Race winner sculpted in sterling silver.

Almost immediately after George handed the diamond-studded ring to Hornish, he put it on his right ring finger. It clearly was a moment Hornish had been waiting for.

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01/10/07
track news

MIS NEXTEL Cup tickets on sale Saturday
With the 2007 race season at Michigan International Speedway quickly approaching, it’s time for fans to mark Saturday, Jan. 13 on their calendars.  Tickets to Michigan International Speedway’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events will be on sale to the general public that day.

Tickets to the two NEXTEL Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway, the June 17 Michigan 400 and the Aug. 19 3M Performance 400, will go on sale at 8 a.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 13 at MIS’ official Web site, www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.

“There’s never been a better time to be a Michigan International Speedway ticket holder,” Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis said. “We are in the process of making some incredible changes at Michigan International Speedway and are dedicated to improving the fan experience from doorstep to doorstep.”

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01/10/07
f1

Red Bull to launch RB3 on 26 January
(GMM)  Red Bull Racing will launch its 2007 car, the RB3, at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on 26 January.

In an elaborate media communique on Wednesday, the Austrian squad announced the news by emailing to media representatives a phone number to reach the car's designer, Adrian Newey.

In a recorded telephone message, Briton Newey revealed the date and location for the launch and concluded by saying: "I look forward to seeing you then.

"Thanks, bye."

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01/10/07
a1gp

A1 TEAM USA announces Ryan Hunter-Reay
On January 19, 2007, A1 TEAM USA will compete in A1GP World Cup of Motorsport action in Taupo, New Zealand with a new driver behind the wheel.  Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was on-hand at November’s A1GP Beijing race as TEAM USA’s rookie driver, will be driving the “We the People” car in the sixth race of the 2006-07 season and the first-ever A1GP to be held in New Zealand.

Hunter-Reay, from Boca Raton, FL, brings with him a wealth of professional racing experience.  The accomplished driver began racing karts at age 12 in Florida, and went on to make his mark in Champ Car racing.  In 2003, Hunter-Reay became the first American Rookie in over 20 years to win a Champ Car Race (Surfers Paradise, Australia).  In Champ Car, he also became the second youngest driver to ever win a street race, and the youngest American ever to win an oval race. Hunter-Reay has been busy preparing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has been testing for the NASCAR Busch Series.

“I’ve really been looking forward to driving for A1 TEAM USA for some time now.  It’s a unique opportunity in which I can represent my country on a global scale,” said Hunter-Reay.  “I love the fact that this is a new circuit for all participants.  That levels the playing field even more which is perfect for my first race with TEAM USA.”

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01/10/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari-clad Raikkonen appears in Italy
No apology for dumped Monteiro - Sutil
2007 Spyker to make February debut
Bahrain company buys 30% of McLaren
Clothing brand Esprit to supply Toyota
Malaysia hope for F1 test every year
McLaren sale is no disruption - Haug
Alonso is Sainz Jr's hero
'07 launch season set to blast off

Comment
01/10/07
Industry News

Ferrari celebrates 60 year anniversary
Ferrari is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2007 with a major event from June 21st to June 24th in Maranello, Italy. Maranello will be the finish line in a "relay race" across five continents where participants will carry a baton embossed with symbols of the 60 greatest moments in the company's history. The relay represents an extraordinary, collective sign of enthusiasm that will bring together Ferrari clients and their cars representing every model and era.

The "Ferrari 60 Relay" will kick off on January 28th in Abu Dhabi, site of the future Ferrari theme park, and conclude in Maranello on June 24th, after traversing about 50 countries in 148 days. The central theme of the final events is technological innovation pioneered by Ferrari in the 60 years of its existence. For the occasion, Ferrari is assembling its 60 most important innovations, ranging from aluminum pliers for disc brakes to the electric differential and the F1 gearbox.

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01/10/07
nascar

NASCAR now requires six-point belt harnesses
NASCAR is requiring drivers in its three national series to wear six-point belt harnesses beginning this season. Most drivers already used a six-point device but some still used five-point seat belts. The six-point harness has an extra strap and does not come straight up through the crotch as a five-point. Some of those using the five-point belts have added two straps to make it a seven-point system. Drivers went through their annual safety briefing with NASCAR's safety expert Steve Peterson, General Motors biomedical research scientist Dr. John Melvin and General Motors Racing Safety Manager Tom Gideon on Tuesday morning. Melvin said the change in belt requirements was probably the biggest change for 2007. SceneDaily.com

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01/10/07
f1

New Toro Rosso faces delay - Liuzzi
(GMM)  Toro Rosso has cancelled its first planned test in January because of a delay with the new 'STR2' car, according to team racer Vitantonio Liuzzi.

The 25-year-old Italian, who insists that the eventual confirmation of his seat for 2007 is "purely a formality", also told a newspaper that the new Ferrari powered car is running late.

"The STR2 will take a few days longer to finish than planned, so we have cancelled the first test at the end of January," Liuzzi told the newspaper Salzburg Nachrichten whilst training near Red Bull's base in Austria.

He added that the car, reportedly to be similar or nearly identical to Red Bull Racing's Adrian Newey-penned RB3, will instead make its test debut in early February at a winter circuit in Spain.

"Then we go to Bahrain," Liuzzi added, referring to the back to back offshore tests in late February and early March.

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01/10/07
nascar

McMurray tops Cup testing
Jamie McMurray posted the fastest speed Tuesday morning in preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway with a lap averaging 184.090 mph.

Nextel Cup testing results from Tuesday morning's session at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway:

1. Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford, 184.090
2. Mike McLaughlin, No. 20 Chevrolet, 183.981
3. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, 183.925
4. Ricky Rudd, No. 88 Ford, 183.872
5. Tony Raines, No. 96 Chevrolet, 183.805
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, 183.801
7. Joe Nemechek, No. 13 Chevrolet, 183.509
8. Casey Mears, No. 25 Chevrolet, 183.490
9. Boris Said, No. 60 Ford, 183.408
10. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, 183.385

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01/10/07
nascar
tv news

ESPN2 NASCAR Now host announced
ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily program dedicated solely to NASCAR news and information, will debut February 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Starting February 18, NASCAR Now will also be aired Sundays at 10 a.m. Erik Kuselias will serve as NASCAR Now host, giving up his role hosting ESPN Radio’s SportsBash (4-7 p.m. M-F), but maintaining a fill-in role at ESPN Radio.  

For the week of February 12, NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Now’s Daytona coverage will include the Busch Series’ Daytona 300 on February 17, the first race on ESPN2.  

When NASCAR Now returns to Bristol (Connecticut, not Tennessee) Monday, Feb. 19, the show will originate from a high-tech, garage-like, HD studio.

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01/10/07
f2000

Pacific F2000 Championship Series signs Cunningham
Seeking to repeat as Pacific F2000 Series champions, Dave Freitas Racing has announced the signing New Zealand driver Mitch Cunningham.

Cunningham, who is the younger brother of 2005 Indy Pro Series Champion and 2003 World Karting Champion Wade Cunningham, joins Dave Freitas Racing following a very successful test with the California based team. Making his car racing debut, the young New Zealand driver will pilot a Zetec powered Van Diemen RF03 and partner Ira Fierberg and Peter Hastrup at Dave Freitas Racing in 2007.

Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Cunningham will follow in his brothers footsteps, making his car racing debut in North America. Like his championship-winning sibling before him, the 20 year-old will compete in the competitive Formula Ford 2000 class, having achieved success in the karting ranks. A factory driver for kart manufacturer CRG, Cunningham has raced karts around the world for the past 12 years, winning numerous times.

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01/10/07
dakar

Rider dies in Dakar Rally
The organizers of the Dakar were this morning informed of the death of South African Elmer Symons, rider number 107, during the 4th stage. At the age of 29, Elmer Symons was taking part in his first Dakar as a competitor having participated in two others as part of an assistance team. The rally organizers waited for the arrival at the bivouac of his brother Kingsley Symons, who was providing assistance for him, in order to express their support and sadness.

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01/10/07
dakar

Sainz increases Dakar lead
Volkswagen maintains its triple lead on the fourth day of the Dakar Rally: Factory driver Carlos Sainz expanded his advantage at the top by 53 seconds to 1.55 minutes on the leg from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate in Morocco.

The Spaniard with his French co-driver Michel Périn set the third-best time on the 679-kilometre distance – the longest leg of the rally so far. Behind Jean-Louis Schlesser (France/Buggy) the Portuguese Carlos Sousa with German co-driver Andy Schulz at his side in the Race Touareg 2 of Team Lagos, prepared and fielded by Phoenix-Sport, finished as the best-placed Volkswagen duo of the day.

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01/10/07
ga

Graham Rahal confirmed for Daytona 24
Graham Rahal will join Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman in the No.3 Southard Motorsports/Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley for the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona later this month.

The 18-year-old from New Albany, Ohio, was given his first taste of the team's new car at a recent pre-season test and although his track time was limited, the youngster quickly settled in, turning competitive lap times as he acclimatized himself to the Lexus-powered sports racer.

Rahal competed in his first Daytona 24 hour race last year, driving a Porsche GT3 contender. This year he moves to the Daytona Prototype class with Southard Motorsports and is relishing the challenge that faces him in less than three weeks time.

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01/10/07
alms

Rahal names Kelleners and Milner
Drivers Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner are set to pilot Rahal Letterman's Porsche in the famed team's initial effort in the American Le Mans Series for the 2007 GT2 class. The Ohio-based team is one of three GT2 squads that will compete with the new Porsche 997 RSR race car.

Rahal Letterman will debut its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The team hopes to take delivery of the car in the coming days but not in time to have it prepared for the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test on January 22-24 at Sebring International Raceway.

"In Ralf and Tom I think we have found a combination of experience and potential that will serve as an excellent foundation for our Porsche GT2 entry," said Rahal Letterman co-owner Bobby Rahal. "We had a lot of interest in these opportunities from drivers in the American Le Mans Series and from other series. I feel strongly that in a first-year program it is important to have a level of familiarity in the program with the series and the competitors. Our drivers will set the tone for our program and they will certainly have a wealth of input in our on-track efforts in 2007. Nobody at RLR is underestimating the enormity of the task that competing in GT2 will comprise."

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01/10/07
iroc

IROC postpones season
The International Race of Champions (IROC) officials announced today a delay in the start of the 2007 season due to not having a title sponsor in place. The traditional IROC season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February will not take place while the Series continues to pursue a new title sponsor. IROC President Jay Signore said, “We’re very disappointed about not making it to Daytona this year and we’re working very hard to find a title sponsor. Our hopes are to find a new title sponsor in enough time to be able to have a full four-race season within 2007. I want to thank Robin Braig and his entire staff at Daytona International Speedway for all of their patience and support during this difficult period. All of IROC’s partners and associates have been, and continue to be, very loyal and supportive of our efforts to continue the IROC Series.” The elite All-Star invitational competition, which matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars, celebrated its 30th anniversary season in 2006 with Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart winning the prestigious $1-million IROC championship. All plans regarding the remainder of 2007 are pending the procurement of a title sponsor. IROC PR

Comment
01/09/07
f1

Bahrain company buys into McLaren
The Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company a wholly owned company of the Kingdom of Bahrain announced today that it had entered into an agreement, by way of a strategic investment, to acquire a 30% stake in McLaren Group Limited following a period of extensive discussions with the existing McLaren Group shareholders, Ron Dennis (McLaren Group Chairman & CEO), TAG Group (Holdings) SA and DaimlerChrysler AG.

As is required, an application is currently being made for the necessary competition law clearances which are expected to be received within a period of 6 weeks.

Other than to confirm that the new shareholding structure of the McLaren Group post completion would become 40% DaimlerChrysler, 30% Mumtalakat Holding Company, 15% Ron Dennis and 15% TAG Group (Holdings) SA and that the company will continue to be managed by its existing management team, no further comment will be made at this stage. Upon regulatory clearances being obtained and completion a full media statement will be issued.

Comment
01/09/07
nascar

Vickers doesn't expect Toyota to struggle
Brian Vickers says that while he does expect Toyota to go through growing pains in the manufacturer's first season at the Nextel Cup level, he doesn't expect Camry teams to struggle.  Vickers joins the upstart Team Red Bull after driving Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets for his first three seasons of Cup racing.

"I would rather always been underestimated and overachieve," Vickers said Monday after rain shortened the first day of testing at Daytona International Speedway. "It is a new program, a new manufacturer, a lot of new teams, and there's going to be a learning curve. But I don't think 'struggle' is the right word at all for any of the teams or the manufacturer. It's part of the process."

Vickers cited Dodge's return to Cup in 2001 as proof Toyota teams could do well. Dodge won four races that season and started the year on the pole for the Daytona 500.

"I see Toyota doing that, maybe even a little bit better hopefully," Vickers said. Scenedaily.com

Comment
01/09/07
nascar

Dodge selects Avenger decals for 'car of tomorrow' races
Chrysler Group officials announced today that the Dodge Avenger will compete in NASCAR Nextel Cup "car of tomorrow" races in 2007. The Dodge Charger will remain the manufacturer's entry in the other events.  This of course with body templates this just involves changing headlight decals to call it an Avenger, a Hummer, a Cadillac, a Sherman M1 tank or anything else someone wants to call a car.

The Avenger race car debuted alongside the 2008 Avenger passenger car today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Dodge Nextel Cup drivers Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, and Juan Pablo Montoya participated in the announcement.

"With NASCAR Nextel Cup racing two distinct cars for 2007, it makes perfect sense to have the Avenger join the Charger in the Dodge racing family," said Mike Accavitti, Director - Dodge Motorsports and SRT Product Planning, Chrysler Group. "Dodge is all about delivering bold, capable performance, and that will become even more evident when the Avenger hits NASCAR's race tracks this year."

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01/09/07
cca

Sierra Sierra Enterprises signs James Hinchcliffe
Minden, NV – Sierra Sierra Enterprises signed James Hinchcliffe into it’s two-car 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season line up. Bringing with him a strong racing background as well as a surplus of enthusiasm and excitement, James Hinchcliffe will pair up with Raphael Matos rounding out the two car effort.

"I'm really excited about signing with Sierra Sierra for next year's Atlantic series. After getting in touch with this team, it was clear how badly we wanted to work with one another, and we did everything we had to do to get the deal done. I can't wait for Vegas and I seriously expect to see some great results throughout the year,” commented Hinchcliffe.

The expansion of Sierra Sierra to a two car team was announced shortly after the successful 2006 season. Finding a driver with the right skill set and personality was critical to ensuring a successful season.

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01/09/07
track news
cc
Starmazda

Star Mazda added to Toronto lineup
Toronto, Ontario - The Grand Prix of Toronto is proud to ring in the New Year by announcing the addition of the Star Mazda Championship to its 2007 race schedule.  This final addition to the on-track line-up ensures the Grand Prix of Toronto will showcase the most impressive open-wheel and production-based racing events ever to hit the Exhibition Place circuit.

“As the largest annual sporting event in Ontario, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure fans have new reasons to return year after year.” says Charlie Johnstone, president and CEO, Grand Prix Association of Toronto.  “With six races that will bring more than 180 race cars, drivers from more than 10 countries and over 24 different makes of cars - from Champ Car’s Panoz DP01 to Mazda, Porsche, BMW, Cadillac and Dodge Viper - this year’s event will demonstrate an extraordinary range of racing action for our visitors.”

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01/09/07
tv news

SPEED Has Record Year in 2006
SPEED opened 2006 celebrating its 10th Anniversary, and wrapped it up with a fourth consecutive year of viewership growth and the highest Prime and Total Day ratings in network history.

“What a great way to roll into 2007 … it’s an awesome motivator for our entire team to see the results of their hard work in a milestone year for the network,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED Executive VP & General Manager. “In 2006, we celebrated our anniversary, signed landmark deals with NASCAR and Formula One and had our hit lifestyle show PINKS referred to as ‘the hottest car show on TV.’ All of this, and a lot more, went into a very successful year, but one we will continue to improve on in 2007 and beyond.”

According to Nielsen Media Research, Total Viewership (P2+) was up 10 percent in Prime 2006 vs. 2005, with SPEED averaging 247,000 viewers. Total Day numbers were up 14 percent (128,000 viewers). Both increases were driven by dramatic increases in ratings among younger demographics, with Men 18-34 up 45 percent and Men 18-49 up 17 percent in Prime.

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01/09/07
cca

Condor signs Junior Strous for ’07 Atlantic season UPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that Junior Strous has broken the Champ Car Atlantic lap record at Buttonwillow in recent testing and appears to be a possible future star in the making.  We hear the team was very impressed with him.

12/05/06 Condor Motorsports is proud to announce that it's signed talented driver Junior Strous, from The Netherlands, to compete for the team in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

During three successful test days at Buttonwillow, California recently, Strous proved his ability and the decision was made to secure the young Dutchman for the upcoming season.

“Junior did a great job while testing and made huge progress over the two test days,” said Carlos Bobeda, Condor Motorsports team owner. “I am certain that he will be a main championship contender in 2007.”

Strous, the new Atlantic rookie, commented “In the recent tests I have driven more than 300 laps at Buttonwillow Raceway. I would like to thank Carlos Bobeda for his advice and my engineer Martin Tremblay and also the Condor technical crew for all their help.”

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01/09/07
wrc

Mitsubishi not returning to World Rally
Mitsubishi will not return to the FIA World Rally Championship in any capacity this season.  According to reports by www.rally.gr Mitsubishi Japan have refused to allow the 'wannabe outfit', which would have been backed by Fly Emirates, to use the Lancer WRC05 and as such Toni Gardemeister and 2004 Middle East Rally champion, Khalid Al Qassimi look unlikely to compete at the Rallye Monte Carlo or on the Swedish Rally. Both had been listed with the team/car as 'MMSP Ltd Lancer WR05.'

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01/09/07
cc

Orders for new Champ Car presages expansion in 2007 Season
As many have anticipated, the introduction of the first new car to the Champ Car World Series in seven seasons has given the series an infusion of excitement as teams and drivers prepare for the 2007 season.

The new Panoz DP01 Champ Car will make its first on-track appearance in the hands of the series teams on January 23, running in the first of three open test sessions that Champ Car teams will use to prepare for the April 8 season-opening Vegas Grand Prix Fueled by Visa.

Twenty-five of the new cars have been ordered with teams putting down a substantial payment just to order one of the next-generation Champ Cars. Ten of those cars were delivered to the teams just before Christmas, with more being delivered as they roll out of the Elan Motorsports shop in Braselton, Georgia.

“Things are progressing according to plan and we feel good about where we are at this stage of the preseason,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “You are going to see a number of exciting driver announcements in the coming weeks incorporating many of our celebrated veterans battling alongside some exciting newcomers in a title fight that will capture the attention of sports fans around the world.”

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01/09/07
irl

Danica to appear in Super Bowl ads
GoDaddy.com®, known for its successful Super Bowl® commercial campaigns, announces a diverse cast of characters for this year’s big spot.

GoDaddy.com CEO and Founder Bob Parsons confirmed Danica Patrick will be in what he hopes will be his company’s next Super Bowl hit commercial, along with renowned ‘Go Daddy Girl’ Candice Michelle.

“We’ve been lucky with great results from our Super Bowl advertising campaigns,” said Parsons. “Each year, we work to top the previous year’s success and for 2007, we’re going all out – but you’ll have to wait to see how all these characters fit in a 30-second spot,” he said.

The ‘Go Daddy Girls’ won’t be the only celebrities in the new GoDaddy.com commercial. Additional cast members include stars from cable television’s popular chopper family. Paul Teutul Sr. and his sons Paul Jr. and Michael, of reality television fame, will have roles. Valerie Thompson, a motorcycle drag racing star, also makes an appearance. Additional personalities slated to be in the spot include Internet celebrities like Diggnation’s Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, along with Cali Lewis from GeekBriefTV.

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01/09/07
f1

Hamilton celebrates birthday
McLaren F1 rookie Lewis Hamilton turned 22 this past Sunday.

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01/09/07
industry news

Cadillac takes wraps off of new CTS
Cadillac opened the next chapter of its ongoing 21 st century comeback story, as the 2008 CTS Sedan made its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The performance luxury sedan is scheduled to begin production in late-summer of 2007, with worldwide sales to follow in the fall.

“The all-new CTS’s mission is to bring the performance of a sports car, the striking design of a concept car and sophistication of an elegant sedan right into the heart of the luxury market,” said general manager Jim Taylor. “Cadillac is injecting more dramatic character into the normally reserved luxury sedan category.”

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01/09/07
f1

Cropped Alonso has seat fitting at McLaren
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso sported a new cropped haircut as he visited Woking on Monday for his first official visit to McLaren.

Although the back to back world champion reportedly also spent all of last week at the McLaren Technology Centre, Ron Dennis' squad confirmed today that - on his "first visit" to the facility in England - 25-year-old Alonso had a seat fitting, spent time chatting with engineers, and used the team's driving simulator.

The newly Vodafone-sponsored MP4-22 will be launched at Valencia on Monday, before it debuts in Alonso's hands on Wednesday.

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01/09/07
Industry News

China is coming and why Detroit should be worried
If turnabout is fair play, the Motor City players pouring billions into the booming Chinese market should get set for metal from the Middle Kingdom. In an auto show press event more akin to diplomatic ceremony than industry unveiling, more a geopolitical statement than one of business strategy, China's Changfeng Group took the wraps off a few not-so-special SUVs Monday and issued a clear statement -- it wants to enter the U.S. market, preferably with an American partner.

Yes, be it a $25,000 Liebao CS6 SUV or a Feibao CT5 pickup from Changfeng, a $10,000 sedan from Geely or a tiny car from Chrysler made by Chery, the Chinese are coming.

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01/09/07
Industry News

All eyes on Toyota
Neither Toyota Motor Corp.'s chairman nor its CEO attended the Detroit auto show, but if their absence was an effort to downplay the Japanese automaker's growing presence in the U.S. market, it didn't succeed.
Toyota's inroads, and the pressure it puts on rivals, was a recurring theme in conversations and interviews with auto executives after Toyota finished 2006 in third place in the U.S. market, ahead of DaimlerChrysler AG.

With sales up 12.5 percent -- its 11th consecutive annual rise -- Toyota outpaced not only Detroit's automakers but also its Asian and European rivals.

"Quite obviously, the Japanese are very aggressively trying to conquer as much of this market as possible," said DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

This year, Toyota is expected to overtake General Motors Corp. -- the world's largest automaker for 75 years -- after forecasting sales of 9.3 million vehicles. It is already the richest carmaker, with profits forecast to reach $13 billion this year.

"Toyota is raising the bar for everybody," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. "They're consistent, and they work to consistently improve their business."

Ford Motor Co.'s new CEO Alan Mulally holds up Toyota as the industry model.  More at Detroit News

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01/09/07
nascar

Allmendinger, Whitt, not approved to race yet
Roush Racing's David Ragan, whom owner Jack Roush named as Mark Martin's replacement this Nextel Cup season in the #6 AAA Ford, has been approved to compete in the Nextel Cup Series events of Speedweeks 2007 at Daytona International Speedway. Two Nextel Cup rookies #72-Brandon Whitt and #84-A.J. Allmendinger will come to Speedweeks with "observation" approval. They must also participate in the final session of Cup testing Jan. 15-17. NASCAR.com

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01/09/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
FIA reveals F1 commission for carmakers
Schu won't be missed for long - Theissen
Ferrari racers to be 'rivals' in '07 - Todt
Schu to be Raikkonen mentor - Jean Todt
Kimi question marks 'stupid' - Rosberg
Albers to use new orange helmet in 2007
More teams sign up for Bahrain test
F1 aside, Ferrari had winning year in 2006
Todt: Schu was not pushed

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01/09/07
a1gp

Oliver Jarvis Q and A – Japan calling
London, England – The New Year brings a new adventure for A1 Team Great Britain’s Oliver Jarvis as he looks to further his racing career in the Far East having signed a deal to contest the All-Japan F3 Series in 2007 with the reigning champion TOM’S squad. 

Jarvis (23), who scored A1 Team Great Britain’s first podium of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in Round 3 in China last November, heads east hoping to emulate the success of many other European drivers who have gone on to make it big in Japan, not least his A1GP team-mate, Darren Manning, who dominated the All-Japan F3 Series back in 1999, also with the all-conquering TOM’S team.

No stranger to the demands of Formula Three competition, having captured the runner-up spot in the prestigious British F3 Championship last year as a rookie, Jarvis, winner of the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship and BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award, is raring for his next challenge as he prepares to base himself full-time in Japan.

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01/09/07
dakar

Sainz has taken the lead of the Dakar Rally
The Spaniard and his French co-driver Michel Périn took second place in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 on the third stage in Morocco from Nador to Er Rachidia. The Race Touareg was gifted its third stage victory by the South African Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, who led the Sainz/Périn duo by 25 seconds across the line and Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by 3:18 minutes to vault to second place in the overall standings. Yesterday’s leader Carlos Sousa and his German co-driver Andy Schulz round off the one-two-three lead for Volkswagen in the overall classification.
 
The Volkswagen duo Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford improved from seventh to fifth overall. The Finn Ari Vatanen recorded the eleventh best time with his Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons on the 648 kilometer stage. The Race Touareg remains unbeaten in this year’s running of the desert classic with three stage victories and as many days at the head of the leader board.

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01/09/07
nascar

Johnson healed and ready to race
Reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) arrived at Daytona in good shape and in good spirits. Johnson injured his wrist in a golf tournament during the off-season.

“My wrist is good; I’m feeling good,” Johnson said Monday. “I’m going to wear a splint in the car, just to be smart and to be sure, but my cast is off and my hand is working. The timing was perfect; I had the off-season to heal up and I’m ready for Daytona.

“The best motivation we have is experiencing what we did in New York and being honored as the champions. We want to do it again. We’re just as hungry as we’ve ever been.”

As further proof of his good health, Johnson said he’s proceeding with his plans to race in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona road racing event on Jan. 27-28.

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01/09/07
nascar

NASCAR community remembers Bobby Hamilton
Although teams and drivers were focused on testing Monday, the garage area also was filled with thoughts of long-time NASCAR competitor Bobby Hamilton, who passed away Sunday after battling cancer.

“Bobby was not only a huge part of the racing family, but of the Petty family as well,” said seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Richard Petty, whom Hamilton drove for from 1995-97. “He will always be a part of our family. He had a heart of a champion and that affected everyone around him. You could always count on Bobby. He was just that type of guy. He never let you down and gave you everything he had on-and-off the track. His family is in our hearts and prayers.”

Others in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage area also expressed their thoughts about Hamilton.

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01/09/07
nascar

New team for Nemechek
Joe Nemechek (No. 13 Ginn Racing Chevrolet) arrived at Daytona to begin his 15th season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. His team has no points in the owners’ standings, meaning Nemechek isn’t locked in the field for any of the first five races. Qualifying has never been an issue for Nemechek, who has nine poles in his career, but the driver of the No. 13 Chevrolet says his team isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s about having horsepower and having great aerodynamics here,” Nemechek said. “The number one goal is to have a great qualifying effort. We’re starting this deal with no points this year, so we’ve got to be on our toes in qualifying.”

Regardless, Nemechek is rested and ready for the season. He spent his off-season with friends and family, including a ski trip and one other unique trip – Nemechek took his son to visit and ride with motocross legend Ricky Carmichael. “That was cool,” Nemechek said. “It’s like any kid’s dream right there.”

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01/09/07
nascar

Kahne Down Under
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) was far from home over the holiday season, but not far from racing. He traveled to Australia to compete in a series of Sprint Car races, where he placed third and fourth, respectively, in two races.

“I grew up wanting to race there because they race during the wintertime which is their summer,” Kahne said. “It was great. I finally had the opportunity to go and do it.”

Kahne reported a positive experience abroad, but added that he’d missed his family and friends during Christmas. “From now on if I go to Australia or anywhere else, I'll go maybe on the 26th instead of the 20th and stay at home for Christmas,” he joked.

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01/09/07
nascar

Q and A with Earnhardt, Kahne and Harvick

Q. (Inaudible.)

KEVIN HARVICK: That's really the only turnover we've had on our team and it's intact as it was before. The new sponsor with Shell Pennzoil for me is good. You know, it kind of gets you out from underneath that shadow of everything that we had, you know, with Dale. It's hard for me to, you know, kind of beat down somebody else's path when you're used to beating your own path. It's a good start for me with a company that's behind me 100%, and not that Goodwrench wasn't, but it's just so much in the past that everything had to do with.

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Kasey Kahne, eighth last year driving the No. 8 Dodge Dealers. Getting ready for the Daytona 500, what's the outlook? 

KASEY KAHNE: Just nice to be back in the car. You know, I had a month and a half off from testing and just looking forward to it. Looking forward to getting started. Looking forward to Daytona. We had a good Daytona the last Daytona 500, and just looking forward to running better than we did. We have a new nose and we're doing all we can to go fast. 

Q. Inaudible – would you agree if they did that, and is there an optimum number that you feel like they should choose?

KASEY KAHNE: Personally, I think, you know, going into the Chase this year, I was the guy on the edge going into Richmond, going into California. It was as much pressure in those final five races to go into the Chase as much as I've ever had just to be able to make it, and that's a big part of the season to that point was those five races.

There's a lot on the line and, you know, for TV and for being at the track was exciting. I think ten guys was pretty good because you have probably 12 to 13th is really close, and if you put more in, there wasn't be quite as much on the line at Richmond I don't think.

KEVIN HARVICK: Myself personally, you know, I think everybody knows the way it's going to be coming into the year with the points. However they want it to be is fine with me. I think, you know, in the end, the guy who had the best year won the championship last year. So if we'd had the old points system, he would have won the championship. If we had the new points system, he'd win the championship still. To me the best car usually is going to come out on top in the end.

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01/09/07
nascar

Delphi extends with Hendrick
Delphi Product & Service Solutions announced Monday at a media reception held at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev., that it will continue its major associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2007 NASCAR season. Nextel Cup Series driver Kyle Busch personally attended the reception to help kick-off yet another year with Delphi. An associate sponsor of all 2007 Hendrick Motorsports entries, Delphi will also be the primary sponsor of Busch's #5 Chevy in the Busch Series for five races. Delphi sponsored events in the Busch Series will include Las Vegas (March 10), Talladega (April 28), Daytona (July 6), Chicago (July 14), and Texas (Nov. 3). In addition, Delphi will receive preferred logo placement on both the #5 Chevy driven by Busch and the #25 Chevy of Casey Mears in select 2007 Nextel Cup Series races. Yahoo Biz

Comment
01/09/07
ga

Carpentier pleased with performance at Daytona UPDATE Photos of Patrick Carpentier testing at Daytona by Brian Cleary.

01/07/07 Montréal, QC - Patrick Carpentier left Florida pleased with the team's performance following two days of on-track activities during the Daytona Test Days. Over 60 racing machines, including 25 Daytona Prototypes, took part in the final of the three pre-season Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series test sessions. Unfortunately, the #11 SAMAX Pontiac Riley missed the final day on Saturday following a mechanical failure that occurred during the late stages of the Friday night session, the only one run under the lights.

It was during the night session on Friday that Carpentier performed best ending the session in second place. The Canadian driver, now living in Las Vegas, held first place in the charts before handing over the seat to his teammate. However, two-time Rolex Series class champion Bill Auberlen logged the quickest lap late in the session to best Carpentier's time by only one tenth of a second. While on track, Carpentier's times were right up there in the Top-5 in every session he was part of.

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